Afternoon Loveliness

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What could be better than a bouquet of summer loveliness? Pink peonies from Costco (Costco flowers rock!) and purpley-blue hydrangeas from the generous hydrangea bush in the backyard. Perfect. Now all this afternoon needs is a pretty stemmed glass full of sparkling lemonade, a big comfy chair, and a classic to read. (Too bad housework and some client work is calling my name...)

Hope your Tuesday is going great!
Kari

The Pillow Post:

It's nearly 4th of July, a time that leaves me (Kari) feeling particularly grateful for the beautiful country I live in. I won't completely get on my soapbox here, but I will say that the 4th of July should remind each and every one of us to stay informed, interested, and involved in what is happening in our country's government (locally and nationally). We are so, so, so blessed to live in the United States and our freedom came at great cost and it is worth continually fighting for.

I have lived in California my entire life but I have always loved to travel. Usually, though, that travel happened from the West Coast to the East Coast (skipping that big part of U.S.A. in the middle where all that corn grows...) or to a different country. Being married to my midwestern-bred hubby, though, has afforded me experiences in much of the Midwest, too. I've been to fabulous places that I never gave much thought (for instance, I have fallen in love with Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Stillwater, OK) and it has reinforced strongly that our country is uh-amazing. The U.S.A. isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn great.

This summer, I am loving these pillows from StatePillows.com that celebrate the different parts of the ol' U. S. of A. There are pillows for each state, pillows for major cities, and pillows for regions...The only problem is choosing which one or two to purchase!


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California---my home state and where our current address resides

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Indiana---the hubby's home state

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New York City---because it's my favorite city ever and both the hubby and I enjoy every second we spend here. Wishing we could get our NYC apartment from the summer of '08 back...

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Oklahoma---my husband is an Oklahoma State University Alum. (Do NOT call him a Sooner!) He spend a lot of time in this state and loves it dearly.

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Paris. Yeah, I know. This isn't an American city. Sorry---I couldn't help it! I love Paris! It is a city that embraces weird creative people, so I always feel at ease here. Plus, any city where it's easier to get a glass of wine than a glass of water is alright by me! Last summer, I spent two weeks in Paris with a friend taking a class. For two weeks, we tromped all over Paris and drew. It was pretty darn great.

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There appears to be no pillow for Philadelphia, so I had to choose the Pennsylvania one. My hubby spent a couple of blissful years in Philly at Wharton, getting an MBA. He has a lot of good memories that go along with Philly. Plus, have any of you ever been to Le Bec Fin for dinner? The hubby took me here a couple summers ago and it was a truly memorable meal---enough to have me love Philly almost as much as he does!

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San Francisco---a very Californian city. I'm not a Southern California fan as much as I am a Northern California fan, so San Francisco has always been a special place to me.

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Telluride---the hubby and I had a favorite vacation here and we are always scheming on how we can get back to duplicate it! Telluride is great in the winter for the snow, but we are actually summer Telluride fans! The hiking, clean air, Telluride festivals, great food, and gorgeous scenery...it's perfect. (By the way, if you are going to Telluride, we can't recommend staying at the Capella Telluride enough. The beds are made of clouds and the service is amazing!)

What pillows would you choose and why?

Dreaming of a Farmhouse Table:

We love a good farmhouse table! Being raised on a farm in combination with having a mother who loves furniture with "personality and history," the two of us girls were destined to fall in love with the rustic workhouse of a table dubbed "the farmhouse." We like that a true farmhouse table will look better the more beat up it is so it's never too precious of an item to live real life around. A great farmhouse table can take a toddler beating it with a toy as well as it can offer a beautiful backdrop for a glamorous dinner party. We must say it again: We love a good farmhouse table!

Here are some lovely farmhouse tables in some lovely rooms:
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We really love the very rustic line that Restoration Hardware has out right now. (We are both suckers for a little rustic paired with a little modern or funky---rooms with a mix of styles and a dash of wit make us happiest.) This guy could come home with either of us, if either of us had $2,725 to spend on a new {old} table:

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Anyhoo, we think maybe we'll just follow the lead of Ana White from Knock-Off Wood and create this gorgeous rendition of Restoration Hardware's Farmhouse Salvaged Wood Rectangle Table:
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Ana spent ten bucks making this table! And, since we are both fairly handy with power tools, enjoy making things for ourselves, and love a bargain, we might have to get to work on this. Now, to find some discarded, weathered wood...

Hope you all are off to a great start to the week!

---Jill & Kari

Weekend Shopping List...

Do you ever just feel the need for retail therapy? (If you didn't answer that question with a "YES!" so loud that your neighbors heard you, it's quite possible that you have nothing in common with us...) :)

Even if spending the cash on pretty things isn't in the budget, isn't it fun to window shop, just a little? The two of us have a pretty solid love for anything turquoise or robin's egg blue. The following are some pretty things that I (Kari) have on my "I-really-like-this-and-think-it-should-come-home-with-me-but-I'm-pretty-sure-the-hubby-will-question-why-I-needed-this-and-I-don't-want-to-have-to-explain-that-I-can't-tell-the-difference-between-need-and-want-so-I'll-just-ogle-this-online-instead" list. Do any of you have a list like this? :) If so, I wanna know what's on it! (My list changes weekly, by the way. Another reason why I should just window shop and not buy---because I am very fickle!)


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Super cute turquoise shoes from Seychelles.

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A really pretty necklace from Anthropologie. I have seen this on someone and it's beautiful!

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A perfectly oversized and girly flower corsage from Emerson Made.

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The most perfect summer dress in the most perfect hue from J.Crew. (This one might actually end up in my closet. I NEED it. Don't tell the hubby...)

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A really fun statement piece from Stella & Dot, for when I need to dress up jeans and a t-shirt.

Enjoy your weekend, shopping or not! :)

Another Darling Shower...

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Need some Friday eye-candy? Check out this DARLING baby shower as posted by Hostess With The Mostess. Seriously, so sweet! The colors, the details---we love it all. Oh, and that chair---what a great way to dress up a chair! Seriously, it kinda makes us want to do all our dining room chairs that way, just 'cause...
Happy Friday!

----Jill & Kari

A Really Good Site...

Let's face it: there's just a lot of junk on the internet. It can be downright tricky to sort through all the information out there, can't it? Every once in awhile, however, we come upon a site we really, really like. We thought we'd go ahead and share one of those sites that we are pretty much in love with...

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Houzz is an amazing website dedicated to (um, obviously) houses. It's an incredible resource for anyone needing a home-related design idea. And, if you create a log-in, you can save photos that you really like to your own "ideabook." If you are a design professional, you can upload your portfolio to Houzz. If you are not a design professional but are a dedicated stalker of all things design-related, you can browse portfolios to your heart's content. The site is super-organized, too, so you can hone in on the type of room or type of project that you want to check out. And, if you are not necessarily focused on gleaning ideas to implement, you can use the images on Houzz as delightful eye-candy and a refreshing way to avoid housework. :)

Yes, Please...

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The color in this room is so happy, isn't it? Makes me want to dive into some bold home projects with lots of happy color. Also makes me want to curl up on that bed with a great book and hide out from the ton of housework I have to get crossed off my list today. {sigh} I think my incentive to finish the housework will be that when the house is all clean today, I'm gonna pull out the sewing machine and catch up on some little projects that have been in the back of my mind for some time. :) Happy Monday to you, and may you be productive today!

---Kari

(This lovely image is from Canadian House & Home. Check out the site for more pretty inspiration pictures!)

The Birdcage Report...

Thanks for the great response regarding the baby shower we posted yesterday! We like getting emails and notes from ya'll----really, we do!
Several of you have asked about the birdcages and the milk glass vessels that we used in this party. The milk glass pieces are all from Kari's personal collection---collected from garage sales, flea markets, and consignment stores. The birdcages came from a variety of sources. See below:
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Birdcage sources:
1. Pottery Barn clearance
2. Thrift store
3. Ross
4. Thrift Store
5. All these smaller birdcages came from a clearance at K-Mart! Jill scored 'em there...

The K-Mart cages and the Pottery Barn cage were already gray, which was perfect. We spray painted one of the thrift store cages gray, because it was really ugly. The other thrift store cage (#5) we didn't paint because we loved the patina on it as is. The Ross birdcage was soooooo ugly---we definitely painted that one! :)
All of the milk glass vessels with the flowers were tucked inside the cages after the flowers had been arranged.
Thanks for your questions about this party---if you have any other questions about sources or whatnot, leave us a comment or send us an email!

---Jill & Kari

A Very Special Baby Shower...

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This past weekend, the two of us threw a very special baby shower. Special because it was in honor of our sister-in-law Meagan who is carrying a new little niece or nephew for us to spoil come August! We had a great time planning this shower and immediately settled on the gender-neutral color palette of yellow, white, and gray. We wanted to do a shower that felt modern and beautiful at the same time. We set the tone by sending out invitations announcing that "A New Little Birdie Joins the Nest..." (We will post on the invitations in the next week---need to take pictures first!) The theme was a loose "birdie" theme---but we wanted to keep the feel of the party fresh and adult, not overly babyish, because our sister-in-law is very chic!
The two of us both live two hours away (in opposite directions) from where our sister-in-law lives, so we were presented with the challenge of planning a shower in a town where neither of us lives. That meant that we had to be organized and everything had to be toted into town with us, with the exception of the rentals which we had delivered. We held the shower at our dear Aunt Joan's house. We are lucky to have a few amazing aunts in our lives (we know most people would be lucky to just have ONE amazing aunt, but we have several!) We had a great time setting up with Aunt Joan---the three of us did a lot of giggling and just enjoying each other while we got ready for the party.
So...the details....
First up, flowers. We decided to do arrangements inside of birdcages in keeping with our "birdie" theme. The four large arrangements were done for us by Tulip Floral Design Studio in Visalia. If you live in the Fresno-Visalia area and are looking for someone who does uh-mazing work with flowers, you need to check out Tulip. Rachel and her team are true artists and the large arrangements came out beautifully. Even when I (Kari) was a bit scatterbrained about explaining my vision, Rachel caught the idea and ran with it---and the outcome was truly beautiful! Check out her work below:
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There were about 25 guests at this shin-dig, and we decided on a long banquet-style table for lunch. Smaller birdcages ran the length of the tables (we put together the small arrangements inside these birdcages from some cheapo Costco flowers we got the night before. Gotta love Costco flowers!) The fabric is from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern line. (Love it.)
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Each place-setting had a gray-striped paper napkin (Ikea!) on it along with a favor: A gray box filled with Dutch mints, adorned with a cute ribbon-and-bird medallion.
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We tucked extra little arrangements around the yard, wherever people might linger or sit for a while...
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Mmmmm....lemon drops!
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Even though it was a baby shower, we are a strong believer that champagne is for every occasion. We set up a drink station with champagne and assorted juices: O.J., lemonade, blood orange juice, pomegranate, etc. Guests could have whatever concoction they desired!
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As the temperatures decided to get really warm just in time for this shower, we provided paper parasols for "instant shade."
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We must admit, we aren't big fans of games at showers. Perhaps there are some great games out there...but both of us have been asked to play some very tacky games at baby and bridal showers. We are a bit traumatized by some of these "games," we'll admit...
So, instead of doing games, we decided to do a different activity. One of the grandmothers, Babs, is in Liberia. We were very bummed that she couldn't be at the shower, but we found a fun way for her to be involved! Grandma Babs wrote a fun little story, using the letters of the alphabet. We printed the pages up with block letters and asked everyone at the shower to decorate a page with a letter---and we will be having everyone's artwork turned into a board book for the baby! We thought that this would be a fun way for Meagan to remember who was at her shower, and it also makes a fun keepsake for the child.
Now, we must admit, the board book idea is not really our original idea...it comes from Kari's husband's cousin Amber, who recently introduced this idea at a shower for Kari's sister-in-law Jennie (confused yet?:) Anyway, if you are interested in creating your own board book for a shower or for a child, you really should check out Amber's website here. (Lots of great ideas there---thank you, Amber for the excellent shower idea!) We were amazed at how seriously the guests took their artwork---Meagan will have a beautiful book! (We will post more on the book when it's finished, by the way.)
Anyhoo, we set up this little desk with craft supplies on it so people could work on their pages:
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Lastly, we set up a fabulous cupcake table. Kari's friend Becky did the cupcakes and they were amazing. Seriously, sinfully good! (If you live in the Fresno area and are looking for someone to do cupcakes for an event, contact me and I'll hook you up with Becky. She is super-talented!)
Oh, and those super-cute cupcake wrappers are from Olivia's Paper Shoppe. (Check out the site for great cupcake wrappers for your next party!)
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Most importantly, Meagan had lots of these to open:
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And, all in all, we think the ladies had a pretty good time! Thanks for checking in with us!
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