Month : July 2013

it’s the little things…

…that sometimes make the biggest difference. And there’s nothing like hosting a get-together to help you take a fresh look at your home and determine some little things that need to happen before the guests arrive. So between tasks in the basement (which will be finished THIS WEEK!), I’ve been tackling some little things like the front porch.

Of course I forgot to take a before shot of our front door, but picture it with a layer of grime on it, dulled in color, and boasting a few scratches from a way-too-agressive wreath that kept catching some air in the wind and banging against the poor guy.

Insert a four dollar upgrade to our front entrance. After a good power-washing and a fresh coat of paint on the door (already on hand)…

fresh paint

…we swapped a new face plate for the doorbell, which before was a lovely shade of yellowed plastic (seriously? who thought that was okay?) when all other hardware (our lanterns, door knobs and locks, etc) are oil-rubbed bronze.

doorbell upgrade


Best four bucks I’ve spent in a while…I feel like you don’t notice the doorbell now – as it should be. Back this week with an amount of basement photos you might expect of a mother with a newborn child. But seriously, it HAS been about nine months (plus!), so I’m quite excited to show you all. 😉

mothers know everything.

I spent the weekend at my parents’ while Page was out of town. For only being a couple hours down the road, this happens much too infrequently. But when I do get to catch up in person, there’s always a plethora of inspiration I get to take away from our visits. I come home with a new excitement to decorate, to put together outfits, and in the case of this visit, to try some new beauty products.

It’s one of the many reasons we need other women in our lives – to share favorite things and make recommendations. 🙂 Here are a few of the goodies I’ll be adding to my cart from my mom’s stash of makeup marvels…

(And ignore my super-chipped nails…proof positive we HAVE been making basement progress again!)

photo (2)


Urban Decay Naked Basics.  I have a handful of favorite (individual) shadows of various brands, but I like the compactness of having all the basics in one spot, plus they’re matte and not shimmery – which I highly prefer for daytime.

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Obagi-C Vitamin C Serum.  Ah, to be approaching thirty. I’ve noticed a couple of spots on my face and neck I’d like to fade. Sounds like this stuff will do the trick!

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GlamGlow mud mask.  I LOVE a good facial mask, and as much as I love my Bliss Steep Clean for purifying, I do miss that feeling of mud. This one smells like licorice and is really dark in color…Mom knows best; use a dark washcloth you don’t care about for removing it!



It’s not so much a product, but I loved her idea of using a pretty mirrored toothbrush holder to store makeup brushes. I’ve always stored mine “Sephora style” in a clear vase of little glass stones, but I may have to re-think this…especially when super fun glam options are available like the holder in this set from Z Gallerie.

Anyone else have a product (or many?) you’re in love with? I may have to do a faves post again soon – it’s been a while and there are so many great products to try!

do you have a lipstick I can use?

built ins in progress

Fortunately, I knew where he was going with this request, but I still had to laugh when my husband asked me for a lipstick I no longer cared about.

Yes, we are back at it in the basement! And no, not like that. 🙂 After trimming out the window you see to the left (yay) and the “counter” portion of the media wall, the last part left to trim out were the bookshelf “cubbies” on either side, and some center shelving for components like our DirecTV, game consoles, and receiver.


Here’s the (tired) handyman himself who works with no blueprints – just feels his way through the project and continuously amazes me….showing off the first insert for the shelving.

When we built our bookcases upstairs, Page did the old fashioned “measure how far in the outlets are, trace on the back board and jigsaw it out” method. Worked fine…but in the name of speed and ease, this time we used LIPSTICK to template where to trim out the outlets. Observe if you will (and please forgive shaky phone photos)….

mark outlet with lipstick

By rubbing the outlet plugs with lipstick (which unlike paint or something else, will quickly/easily wipe back off)…

construction kisses


…you get an easily transferred and super accurate idea on the backside of the shelf as to where to cut through to access your electrical plugs. Kind of like little construction kisses hehe.

outlet cover

We’ll add the face plate to the backer of the cabinet (with extra long screws to hold it in place through the back of the cabinet), (and wipe off the lipstick) and voila, we have electrical access in each of our bookcases!

summer (decorating) reading

summer decorating reading

I love to hear about titles of good reads, recommended by others. And yes, I’ve been devouring some good novels on my Kindle, but I do love a good tangible color-filled book when it comes to the topic of decorating. Like so many others, I go crazy pinning on Pinterest with house ideas, too, but there’s something about the feel of a real book in your lap, absorbing the photos and words on the pages.

summer decorating reading

I recommend any and all of these titles if you’re looking for a great decor read – I love having them around my house to pick up and peruse when I’m looking for a dose of inspiration!

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Updated & Show Your Home Some Love

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room In Your Home

Design*Sponge At Home

Jonathan Adler on Happy, Chic Colors


(And these are on my wish list….)

Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design

Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy

just can’t leave it alone.

I can’t seem to stop playing around with the living room decor. Once I got started (and posted that I was done!) I kept seeing things I wanted to change.


Aside from adding the lamp I blogged about earlier, I’ve wanted to swap out these green accent tables for a while now, and so has Page. We liked the pop of color but have since found other ways (especially since adding the bookcases) to bring it into the room. These tables just felt cheap/dorm room, but when we first moved in and were at the end of our furniture budget, they were “good enough” in the moment and the price was next to nothing. After selling them on Facebook, I knew I wanted another pair, rather than one large coffee table (we already have a big ottoman in the room and I like the mobility of being able to split them up as needed). I replaced the green ones with a new pair I found (on clearance!). They are just what I was looking for…

tables | life in yellow

…a light colored surface (less noticeable dust), modern/clean lines/more sophisticated, and open (I didn’t want any drawers or trunk-style tables, I wanted to be able to see past/through them so they didn’t make the room feel any smaller or chunked up). Mission x3 accomplished. Love these!

tables | life in yellow

(The final change in this room…moving the darn rug over in line with the sofa! Ahh I notice it every time Page isn’t home to help me!)

des moines artwork

For the second year, Page and I headed downtown to support PedalArt, an annual art event to kick off Bike Month. For those not from around here, Iowans take their bicycling VERY seriously. The state hosts a weeklong, cross-state bike ride every summer called RAGBRAI, which is the “oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world”.


But back to PedalArt. It’s particularly fun to go when you know some of the artists who are exhibiting (go Kari!). We took home one of thirty prints of a piece by a local artist named John Bosley. I love that beyond the Iowa/bike reference, it’s so very Des Moines – against the buildings is a red bicycle in place of the red Traveler’s Insurance umbrella that is so visible along the downtown skyline. It’s fun to know that no matter where we live in the future, we have this little piece of Des Moines with us.


But for now…it’s hanging in our upstairs hallway. 🙂