Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Living Room Reveal

I'm so excited to finally share one of the most loved spaces of our home, our living room. Its actually our living room/dining room combo. Living in a 1950's Cape-Style house you sometimes have to get creative with your space. We don't have a separate dining room and the way our kitchen is set up there is no place to put a table so we've combined the space with our living room.

Here's the dining room side:

We have our table and chairs along with our hutch set up in the corner of the room to delineate a dining area. The table and chairs was actually the set I used growing up. When my parents moved last year they asked if we wanted it. We had a larger rectangular table in this area previously that went with the Hutch but it was just a little large for the space so I was happy to downsize to a smaller table. I think it still goes nicely with the hutch. It does have a leaf so we can open it up and add more chairs if we have guests over.

Before I get ahead of myself here's what the paint in here looked like before..

Eek! I was debating even posting a before picture because its so awful. I snapped this picture just before we started to paint. The worst part of it is that this green was self-inflicted, we painted the room this color if you can believe it! I will say that it always photographed awful. I swear it wasn't this intense in person, but it was still pretty bad.

When we moved into our house (almost 7 years ago, wow!) this was one of the first home projects we did. The room was originally painted a dusty green and the trim was painted brown (The previous owners painted ALL the trim in our house weird colors like brown, maroon, gray...not sure what they were thinking..) Anyways, I actually liked the wall color but there were a lot of holes from where the previous owners had things hanging so we decided to re-paint.

Being paint novices, and living in a time before pinterest, we just picked a paint chip, swatched a small area and went for it. About halfway through the project I could tell we'd made a mistake. What looked good in a small swatch wasn't translating well for a whole room. We finished the project anyways and I've been not-so-crazy about it ever since. Whats worse is that the paint continues down the front hallway and up our stairwell. It took such a long time to paint the first time that we just decided to live with it for a while rather than do all that work again.

Finally last spring I finally convinced Mike to help me re-paint. Coming off that crazy green, I knew I wanted something neutral this time around. The new color is Benjamin Moore Clay Beige. Its a warm gray-beige. It looks more gray or more beige depending on the lighting in the room. Its a really beautiful, neutral color.

Its crazy how much a new coat of paint can change the feel of the room. It is so light and bright now!

One of the best things about painting with a neutral color is that it leaves you with so many options for decor. I decided on blue as an accent color and worked to add pops of color back into the room. One of the first ways I did this was through throw pillows. We've had the quatrefoil print rug for a few years and I wanted to get some fun throw pillows to compliment it. I chose to mix trellis and ikat patterns that are all very different but I think together they somehow make sense. I've been loving mixing patterns lately.

Besides throw pillows I added some more pops of color through fresh flowers, candles and coffee table books. Its those finishing touches that made the room feel complete.

We've been working on this space little by little since we painted last spring. Its definitely "lived in". Its not perfect with a lot of mix-matched furniture but I think it the pieces oddly work together. I've had so much fun revamping this space. Its not the biggest space, but it's cozy and we've made it work for us. We've come a long way since the green monster! Hope you enjoyed this peek into our living room/dining room!


Curtains: Target
Monogram Pillow: Sew Gracious on Etsy
Patterned Pillows: Say it with Pillows on Etsy
Candles: Anthropologie
Coffee Table Books: Amazon
Tray: Home Goods
Rug: Target
Frames: Crate & Barrel
Table Runner: Ikea
Coasters: Anthropologie
Fish Bowl Vase: Home Goods
Bud Vase: Crate & Barrel

Friday, November 21, 2014

IT Cosmetics Brushes for ULTA Review

It Cosmetics has come out with three new brush collections that are available exclusively at Ulta. There are three different collections: Airbrush Essentials, Live Beauty Fully and Velvet Luxe. They are all about delivering a high quality brush that leave a flawless finish. Here are the three I chose:

Live Beauty Fully All Over Powder Brush #211 - This is a jumbo-sized fluffy round brush. I use it for applying setting powder by lightly buffing my T-zone, inner cheeks and jawline. The bristles don't grab too much product when I dip it into a pressed powder which helps create a flawless finish. With its buttery soft bristles, you truly feel pampered when using this brush. This was the priciest of the three brushes, retailing for $40. It takes some of the sting away knowing that with every brush purchased from the Live Beauty Fully line, IT donates a brush to the Look Good, Feel Better foundation, a charity that supports women living with cancer.

Velvet Luxe LBD Foundation Brush #302 - This is part of the Velvet Luxe Blurring Collection. As the name intends, this line is very fancy. The brush handle has a soft-touch grip (think Nars packaging) and is ergonomically correct.  Each brush even comes with a velvet pouch. The brush features a medium domed brush head designed to blend foundation evenly across your face. It reminds me of a more luxurious version of the Real Techniques expert face brush. The blend is seamless and I don't have any problems with streaking as I do with the expert face brush. The brush head is also a bit larger. The brush itself is made up of dense micro-fine anti-microbial optical blurring hair. The bristles seem to soak up hardly any product which means I'm wasting less foundation.

Velvet Luxe Plush Blush Brush #316 - This is a custom cut angled brush that is designed to softly blend blush into your skin for a natural flushed complexion. I was looking for a synthetic version of my beloved Sigma F40. Although I do like this brush, I find that the extreme softness of the bristles are actually a hindrance in this case. My usual method of applying blush is I dust it onto the apples of my cheeks and then go back in and blend it out with the same brush without any additional product. This gives me a natural and uplifted finish. The bristles on this brush are just too soft to do this and I find myself having to go back in with a Kabuki to fully blend my blush.

There are over 60 brushes in the three lines so these are just the tip of the iceberg. Have you tried any of the new IT Brushes?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Burn Notice: My Favorite Fall Candles

I love all things decorating and home decor. While I like things to look put together and pretty, I also want our home to be cozy. That's why I always look to candles to add the perfect finishing touch to a room. The season that I find myself burning candles the most is in the fall. Here's a roundup of my seasonal favorites:

Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin - Yankee describes this scent as "pumpkins baked in simmering spices of clove, nutmeg and sweetened with cinnamon and brown sugar". To me this scent is heavy on the spice, light on the pumpkin. The spicy notes makes this a nice transitional candle as we approach the holidays. It really makes me think of Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Pie, which might be why I really love burning this in the kitchen. It has a great throw that permeates throughout the whole house.

Beanpod Chai Tea - As fall rolls around I start to crave Tea and Chai Tea is my absolute favorite. So when I saw this candle I knew I had to take it home. It has a nutty scent with notes of Ginger and a twist of citrus and vanilla, a lovely mild scent.

Bath & Body Works Leaves - It was this candle that started my love affair with Bath & Body Works candles. I grew up using their soaps and lotions but really hadn't been into the store in a few years. I had no idea they even sold candles. I had heard rave reviews on this candle so I finally went into the store to check it out. I was astonished with all the amazing candles they had to offer and I've been a convert ever since! B&BW describes this scent as a blend of golden nectar, red apple and spiced berries. It is the most classic fall scent that reminds me of an apple pie. As with all the B&BW candles, the burn is flawless. It burns evenly all the way down to the last drop.

Bath & Body Works Autumn - B&BW describes this candle as blending the scents of dark pomegranate, red delicious apple and juicy fig. It reminds me of a less spicy version of the Leaves candle, it is a more pure apple scent. This one has the prettiest packing of the bunch with the embossed gold leaves. The lid is topped with two decorative leaves that make it extra special.

Bath & Body Works Sweater Weather - B&BW describes this candle as a blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry and fresh sage. This is the strongest scent of the bunch. I'll admit that it took some getting used to but now I love it. The scent is hard to describe. The word that comes to mind is crisp. It is a very cozy scent that freshens the whole house. Theres almost has a hint of musk in there, like a nice nice men's cologne. This has the best throw out of the five. It makes the whole house smell like a crisp autumn breeze. If you aren't into the pumpkin and apple fall scents, this ones for you.

Have you indulged in any seasonal candles this fall?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall Nail Polish Picks

Fall not only motivates me to change up my Makeup routine, its also a great time to change gears when it comes to Nail Polish. Each time the seasons change, I like to check out the new collections from my favorite brands as well as peruse my own stash to find the perfect colors for the upcoming season.

Where Fall is concerned, its time to turn in those summer brights for some rich and cozy tones. If you're on the hunt for the perfect fall polish, here are 10 shades I recommend:

(Left Hand)

OPI In the Cable Car-Pool Lane - This is a vampy reddish-purple color with a creme finish. Opaque color in two coats. I've been wearing this one a lot recently and its a great neutral color that goes with any outfit.

OPI Got the Blues for Red - This is a deep red creme finish. I'd call the color a deep blood red that leans more oxblood in in the shade. Opaque color in two coats. 

China Glaze Salsa - This is a bright, fire engine red polish with a creme finish. It leans a bit Orange in natural light which makes it a perfect fall red. Opaque color in two coats.

Essie Going Incognito - This is a beautiful Emerald Green. There are some cool blue undertones in there which makes it not your average forest green polish. Opacity is to die for, you could get away with one coat if you're careful. I think the color is versatile enough to be appropriate for all seasons but I find myself wearing this one most in the fall.

Essie The Perfect Cover Up - This is from Essie's Fall 2014 "Dress to Kilt" collection. The color is a deep teal green creme. The formula is very thick but not goopy. Opaque color in 1 coat!

(Right Hand)

OPI Live and Let Die - This was part of one of my favorite OPI collections, the James Bond Skyfall collection that came out for Holiday 2012. The color is a deep dark green with green and gold shimmer. The formula is thick and again, you can get away with one coat if you're careful. This color is so pretty in the sunlight, it really sparkles.

Deborah Lippmann Chain Reaction - This color is a blend of Gold, Olive and Green shimmery glitter. It is just such a unique color. I think the green and copper in it make it a great accent color for fall. Opaque in two coats. I actually got this one as part of the the "Rock this Town" trio on GILT a while back for a nice discount so keep your eye out for it on the daily deal sites. 

Sephora by OPI Metro Chic - This is a gray-purple creme color. The consistency is very sheer. I used three coats. I can get over the sheerness because I love the color, I really don't have anything like it in my collection. This line is now discontinued by Sephora but they come up every so often on Hautelook and I've spotted them at Big Lots for a huge discount.

Formula X Cosmic - This is a dark plum purple with blue shimmer. It definitely has that celestial vibe as the name intends. Its multidimensional and really sparkles in the sunlight. Two coats to opacity. 

China Glaze Bermuda Breakaway - This is an indigo blue creme. The base color is actually similar to Cosmic but without any of the glitter. Its an inky blue that's appropriate for all seasons. Opaque in two coats.

I hope this post gave you some great ideas to change up your nails for Fall. I love curating my own little collection of go-to colors for the season.

What polishes are you loving for Fall?