Category Archives: Decorating & Organizing Ideas

Christmas Decorations…The good, bad & the ugly!

After my post last year on the good, bad & the ugly Christmas trees, I’d mentioned I would do the same for Christmas decorations.  Sadly, I never got around to it.  I now have.  After browsing through some catalogues and photos, it really surprises me what some people think is a tasteful decoration.  Below you will find some gems I came across…Enjoy!

GOOD: Flowers are (almost) always a tasteful decoration.  These poinsettia plants are a classy way to add a little holiday cheer to your living room.  Found: CollectionsEtc

BAD: This toilet seat cover is pretty horrid.  If I walked into a bathroom & saw this, I would probably not be able to stop laughing.  If that’s what you’re going for, buy it.  If you’re decorating your home and actually think that this is cute, then we need to talk.  Found: CollectionsEtc

UGLY: I posted these last year, too.  I will reiterate: these are ugly and should not be used to decorate your chairs!  Found: Country Living

GOOD: Cute DIY idea for a wreath – yarn wrapped around Styrofoam balls & glued onto a Styrofoam wreath.  This is creative & can be re-used year after year. Found: Country Living/The Farm Chicks

BAD: I don’t know where to start.  Just don’t… Don’t buy the chair cover or the table feet covers, unless you are hosting a tacky holiday party & want to give your friends a good laugh (or gasp in horror).  Found: Christmas Tree Shop

UGLY: This is an adorable house & the lighting is very tasteful.  Surprisingly enough, I actually don’t really have a problem with the lit deer in the yard – it’s the giant inflatable Santa and polar bear that I think is just plain ugly.  Found: HomeDepot

GOOD: Wrap some of your picture frames or framed art in holiday gift wrapping paper for a fun & inexpensive way to get into the holiday spirit.  Found: Small and Simple Things

For some more GOOD simple holiday decorating ideas, please check out my Pinterest Simple Holiday Decorations board

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I ♥ my lab…Tips on how to keep a clean home with a dog

Let’s all be honest, we’ve all walked into a house and immediately know that a pet lives there.  In fact, we might be the culprits.  Here are some tips on how to not have a gross house that no one wants to stay at because you have a dog…

If you have carpets in your home, it is very important that you vacuum at least once a week to help get out the grit and dander that can build up within the carpet.  Get a good vacuum, too.  Even if you have wood floors, it’s important to vacuum often, as those fur balls can collect dust in the corners.  Dust = allergies for many!

Clean up those “oops” immediately
We all know that training a puppy isn’t fun/easy/clean.  It is important to clean up those “oops” ASAP, so they don’t stain.  It is also important to clean up those “oops” well, as you don’t want the dog to go back to that spot because it has their smell!  Speaking of smell, don’t use anything with ammonia, as it smells like urine to dogs.  Go to the pet store and buy products that are especially made to clean up those messes!

Wipe your dog down at the door
Keep a designated dog towel by the door.  If it is raining out or mud season, wipe down your dog when they come in, to avoid tracking in the mess!  Having a rug (especially a mud-absorbing one) at your door entrance can also help with this, as hopefully their paws will get wiped off when they come in.

Brush your dog often
Cut down the amount of hair flying around from the source…Get a good dog brush & brush Fido (OUTSIDE) once a week (more often for longer-haired dogs or during season changes).  It’s also a good idea to get your pup professionally groomed once a month or so, if they have long hair.
Tip: Start brushing your dog as a pup, so they get used to it & it is a bonding experience for you both.  It is a good task to do at the end of the day or after a romp, when they are tired & not squirming!   

Get a dog bowl mat
Water dishes and meal time can get a bit messy, so mats are highly recommended.  A small (washable) rug will do the trick, too.

Don’t let your dog on the couch
This may be hard for some, but if you don’t want a fur coat every time you sit on your furniture, keep Fido off the couch.  Dog beds are made for a reason.  It is important that dogs have some boundaries.  Allowing dogs on the couch also means that your couch’s life will be cut almost in half (which means you’ll be buying new furniture more often=$$).  Dogs nails can also be extremely detrimental to couches, especially leather!
~If you do allow your dog on the couch, roll the couch often with a lint roller & vacuum over the couch at least once a week (make sure to get under the cushions, too!).  Also make sure their nails are always clipped or else you’ll have scratches/holes all over & the couch/chair will be ruined.  Another option is to get a sofa cover, which can be removed when you have company.

Orvis Grip-Tight Furniture Protector

Keep your dog out of the bedrooms (or at least off the bed)
This is especially important if you have a guest room.  It is best to keep the dog out of the guest room in case you have a visitor that has allergies, so at least they’ll have a place to breath a little easier.  If you are prone to allergies, it is best to not let your dog in your bedroom, either (especially on your bed).  Dogs have a way of carrying things in that you want to keep out.  It is also a good way to avoid fleas & other bugs, which often looooove mattresses & pillows!  It’s a big debate, but keeping dogs off the bed is just plain healthier.  

Tips for when you’re redecorating your home & you have a dog:

Carpets: Buy all-synthetic fibers, as unfortunately natural fibers tend to absorb everything!  Loops are suggested versus a shag & also get a color that will be able to hide stains (aka white is not suggested).  If you can, get a carpet that has a stain-shield.  It also isn’t a bad idea to get carpets that somewhat match your dog’s fur, which can mask it between vacuumings.

Upholstery: Tightly woven fabrics are recommended.  If you can, try to scotch-guard your fabrics, too!  Couches or chairs with removable/washable covers are also ideal.  Leather is fine, but make sure you treat it before you use it.  If you really like the look of leather & have to snuggle up to your pup on the couch, opt for pleather instead to avoid scratches/ruining it.  Avoid velvet & velvet-like fabrics at all costs-they are fur-magnets!

Furniture: Wicker is honestly not suggested.  While it looks nice, it can fray easily and then be very tempting to Fido to chew on.  Hopefully you have a well-trained dog, though.  Get durable furniture & lamps with a solid (not tippy) base.

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Simple fall DIY decoration ideas for your home

Have I mentioned I love fall?!  Between the beautiful autumn colors, crisp air & harvest bounty, what’s not to love?  I’m not one to over-decorate my home, though.  I think too many decorations looks cheesy, and can get expensive.  Here are some fun ideas I’ve come across for you to get into the fall spirit, without overdoing it…

My Pinterest Board:

Bean Mosaic:

Fun craft project that you can do with kids!  How To

Mums & Wrapped Pumpkins:A surprisingly simple DIY craft project-wrap pumpkins with some fall fabric (secure with hot glue) and glue on a few wooden buttons.  Add a few mums for color & voila, you have a classy front stoop!  Idea from: Good Housekeeping 

Pine Cone Garland:I am absolutely in LOVE with this idea from Twig & Thistle, especially since it is so easy to make!

Fall Leaves Garland:Fun & easy to make!

Burlap Fall Wreath:DIY Burlap Fall Wreath from CraftaholicsAnonymous.comInstructions on how to make this burlap wreath: How To


If you aren’t that crafty & would like to buy a wreath, here are some pretty ones: Etsy



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Decorating…Fall Catalog Fun

Fall catalogs are coming!  Fall catalogs are coming!

Pardon the vulgar analogy, but seasonal catalogs to a gal like me are like porn magazines.  I cannot wait for the Pottery Barn and other seasonal catalogs to come in the mail.  Looking at the images on-line sometimes just isn’t the same (but thank goodness for on-line catalogs).  My boyfriend turned to me last night, after I excitedly showed him a photo of a gorgeous table and said, “These things are dangerous!”  I giggled.  While I cannot afford most of the items inside these catalogs, it is fun to flip through the pages and imagine my dream home decorated with the drool-worthy rugs, fine dinnerware on my table and the crisp sheets on my bed.  A gal can dream…

Here are some of my favorites from the fall home decor catalogs:

Pottery Barn:

The seasonal catalogues are also good to look at for ideas – then buy a similar item for less $ elsewhere or ideas of what to look for at yard sales & thrift stores!

Crate & Barrel:

The red couch is gorgeous (never be afraid of a little RED)

I love the look of these retro yellow vases, mixed in with the candles!

L.L. Bean

These are two great ideas for my front hallway that I’ve been eyeing!

Restoration Hardware:

Maps are a great (and inexpensive) way of decorating your walls!  The maps with the leather couch give a very dignified look for a study or living room.



A few fails…

I’m not sure which is worse, the creepy shag rug or the faux-fur pillows…eeek! (Crate & Barrel)

One word: tacky.  Sorry Pottery Barn…

A trunk desk by Restoration Hardware that I’m honestly just not sure what to say about it…tacky, yet funky, yet just not right…

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Living Room Renovations…Adding a bit of color


I did a post a few weeks ago on how much of a difference shifting around your furniture makes for the energy of a room, so today I’m posting about the difference a little color makes!  My boyfriend’s whole condo was cream when I moved in, so I encouraged him that we needed to add a bit of color.

 We LOVE the living room color.  It is called “overcast” in an eggshell finish by Benjamin Moore, from Aubuchon Hardware.  The paint has primer built in, which is nice, but we still needed to do two coats.  The color is calm, cool & just makes you feel more relaxed as soon as you walk in.

We started off by taking all the furniture out of the room and setting up a dehumidifier.  Next, we filled in any holes or dings in the walls & removed the curtains/curtain rods.  Once the walls were ready, we vacuumed the walls (making sure to get all the corners!) and then prepped the edges with painters tape. We did the first coat one night and the second coat the second night.  It is very important that the walls are dry before you put the second coat of paint on!  Once the second coat was dry, we carefully removed the painters tape from the edges and then moved the furniture back in the room.  From the photo, it looks like a very subtle change & more of a difference in person.  
Living Room AFTER with Benjamin Moore Overcast

Next up for the living room: hanging some art on the walls & finding a different rug…

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Decorating Ideas….Small Offices

We just finished painting the living room (photos coming soon), so now it’s on to the office for organization & beautifying…If you live in a small space & have a lot of stuff (like me), here are some great ideas to help organize & fit it all in there…

Layout & Desks…

Double Sided Bookcase/Desk

DIY with these instructions:

Corner Desk Office

Closet Office

Creative use of small space from AZCentral

Storage Ideas…

DIY Gift Wrap Storage Idea from HomeMadeSimple

Or purchase at The Container Store

Drawer Organizer
Purchase dividers @ Container Store 

Wall Organizers…

Franklin Covey


Pottery Barn

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Living Room Feng Shui Before & After

As a follow-up to my post yesterday, Living Room Decorating Tips & Feng Shui, I am posting my own Before and After photos of the reorganization of my living room per my research.  Besides, who doesn’t like a good Before and After pic?!

Feng Shui tips I incorporated into how we rearranged the room:

  • Not having the TV be the main focus of the room or how the couches were arranged
  • Opening the room up to have a good flow of chi (energy)
  • Keep the windows open and unobstructed – the windows represent your “eyes”
  • Place the furniture to be inviting, especially to encourage conversation
  • Light dark corners
Living Room BEFORE:

Living Room AFTER:
Next-up: Painting & getting some artwork on the walls!

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Living Room Decorating Tips & Feng Shui

I’m figuring out the layout of our living room & have been struggling.  The design I had initially mapped out ended up causing horrible energy in the room, so naturally I looked up some Feng Shui tips…

Living Room Do Not’s

  • The television should not be your main focal point or have a central position in the room.  Essentially- don’t organize your room AROUND your TV!  If you can, put it in a stand or case that has doors that can be closed when it is not in use.
  • Do not place the seating with the backs towards the door-the seating should be place to welcome those who enter (but not necessarily facing the door).
  • Avoid placing the sofa against a window.
Living Room Do’s
  • A fireplace IS a good element to have as the room’s focal point.
  • Important that the room is inviting.  If you don’t have a fireplace, have the ability to have a conversation easily be the focal point.
  • Strategically place mirrors to give off more light into the room & make it look larger.
  • Light dark corners.
  • The living room’s main table should be tidy – the main table (i.e. a coffee table) symbolizes health.
Did you know…There are 8 points of a room when you walk into it:
Reputation-centered on right wall
Family-centered on left wall
Knowledge-left front corner
Friends-right front corner
Marriage-right back corner
Wealth-left back corner
Career-immediate right of doorway
My sources of information & additional reading:
How to create the perfect feng shui living room on FengShuiCrazy
Feng Shui Living Room  on FengShuiRoomDesign


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Fun website find…The Make Room (Planner)


I wish I’d known about this website back when I lived in my previous apartment, but now is as good of a time as any!  I can already tell that this website will save my back from a lot of pain and save my boyfriend and I from having disagreements about where things should go… We moved in together not too long ago & are in the process of sorting out where the rest of my stuff from storage will go.  This is a great FREE tool to plan where things will go.

Choose from plan examples or create your own!

I’m a visual person & a planner, so this is a great tool that satisfies both aspects of my personality. Check out the plan I came up with for our office (it’s a small room, so this thing really helped visualize!):

The Make Room tool allows you to add doors, closets, windows to the walls & place furniture throughout the room.  The furniture dimensions can all easily be adjusted and you can even add in little computers (how cute?!) and plants!  I can already tell I’m going to be “wasting” a lot of time on this website… I’m excited.

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Decorating Tips…Tweaking what you already have

This article in the Wall Street Journal is fabulous.  I suggest anyone who is bored with their current decor to read this article:

Introducing ‘the refresh’: Minimally invasive décor tweaks that give interiors a major lift

Not only does this article have some fun before and after photos (my favorite!!), but it has some great tips, too:

“Take everything out of the room, then assess,” said Amy Lau, a New York designer… “You accumulate tons of stuff. Take it all out, then layer it back in, and clean it up.”

Matthew Patrick Smyth put it this way: “Purge. Things from trips, gifts, what the kids bring home. You lose perspective. ‘Do I need this in my life?’ The answer is ‘No.’ Look at the place cold, as though you were showing up for a party. Think ‘thrift shop.'”

Tracey Pruzan advised focusing on the signature pieces, and letting them dictate what happens next, because “it’s hard to know what to change” when you start.

Reupholster.  This can bring an old piece back to life!

 “Color is the cheapest thing you can do,” Mario Buatta said. “Color changes the point of view of a room.” He once talked a client out of replacing all her furniture. “The walls went from yellow to dark green and the furniture came to life again.”

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