Thursday, October 17, 2013

The TV Room Plan

So the other space I'll be spending a lot of time is a TV room/family room addition in the back of the house. This was originally a patio, but has been finished to be a cozy {but not cozy-small... more cozy-warm} space to relax.

Here's what we were dealing with before:

So many things that I like and dislike in one room!

First up, I'm the granddaughter of a bricklayer. Painted brick is not ok with me. I know it's a huge trend right now to paint brick, but I think many, many people will be sad that their brick won't ever be natural again. That's just my two cents. Plus, the color that this fireplace was painted did not look very good in person. It looked dirty... like smokey. And on top of that, if I were to paint brick, I really only like white... BUT with the paneling {which I did not love, but could stand until a future phase} being white, it would have been white over-kill.

With that being said, here was the original plan for the space:
  • Strip the brick fireplace and get it as close back to natural brick as possible
  • Remove stinky carpet and lay hardwood floors
  • Work with the white woodword
  • Add crown molding and chunky baseboards
  • "Beef-up" {a very technical term} the built-ins and paint them a bright color like you see below... possibly build out cabinets on the bottom section of either side of the built-ins for more hidden storage {DVD's, extra pillows and blankets, etc.}, also below.

  • "Beef-up"/add a reclaimed wood mantle or concrete mantle {I'll share inspiration pics later}
  • Purchase a kilim rug full of color to bring life to the white room
  • Mount a TV over the mantle
  • Add comfy furniture for lots of lounging 
  • Add bamboo blinds and colorful curtains
  • Paint the back door a fun color {yellow, maybe?}
So there you have it. That was the original plan... but if I've already learned something from this process {besides that everything is more expensive than what you have budgeted for}, I've learned that plans change quickly. Here's the scoop... my contractor came to me and said there were repairs that needed to be done to the paneling that were going to become somewhat expensive. With that in mind, I asked him to give me a quote for removing the paneling and hanging drywall. Long story short, although I was planning to do that in a future phase, I went ahead and had it done already. Don't get me wrong, I'm super pleased not to have paneling {goodbye 1970's!}, but part of me was kind of excited about working around that design challenge and having some colorful built-ins {my built-ins in the front living room are also white, so I was thinking something different back here}. Here's what the room currently looks like pre-floors... yes, there was linoleum under the carpet! {Sidenote: holy moley looking at pictures like this of the in-between phase gets me a little overwhelmed!}

I chose a avocado-ish color for the walls. It's called Hearts of Palm by Sherwin Williams. I really like the color... it's a great yellowy-green, but as I'm reflecting on my original plans, I'm still sad that I won't have my bright built-ins. So this room will definitely be a work in progress... who knows, maybe I'll change the walls to a more neutral color to accommodate bright built-ins. We'll see. I do know though that there is still much more to do, but I'm excited to cuddle up in this room and relax! I did already purchase that kilim rug I mentioned earlier, but now I'm trying to decide if I want it in this room or in the dining room. So many decisions! Only time will tell!

Off to Canada tomorrow, so I'll probably be away from the blog for a bit! But next week is a BIG week! Cleaning, painting {more} and moving! You'll be sick of my updates once it's all over... just hold tight!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Master Bedroom Plan

So I'm going to go through each space of my house and share my initial plan... and what better place to start but the very place I will lay my head down every night... well, every night that I'm not traveling at least!

You're aware of the before:


As you can see, there is no door. Interesting, huh? Well, the master is the only thing on the top floor, so a wall is not necessarily necessary for privacy, however, it feels a little odd not being able to close the door to my room. I contemplated a few options here. I knew I had to get rid of the current wrought iron railing, but I initially thought I'd replace with a more traditional wood railing and just leave the space open as-is, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized I'd really like to be able to retreat to my room and close of the rest of the world house if I felt like it... so I added a wall to my to-do list. 

And I already have a great furniture set for my bedroom, so that helps the budget, as well as some of my bedding! I'm a sucker for a simple white bed with pops of color, texture and pattern. Here's a little idea of what I started with:

Still love the pillow combo on my bed, but I'm ready for something different and I have plans to use these pillows in a different room {stay tuned on that!}.

After living in a rental house for the past three years, I came to a couple of conclusions:
  1. I am ready for a little more than a neutral color on my walls.
  2. I love hardwood floors in my bedroom.
So with those two items at the top of my list, here's where my mood board started out:

wall color image: Country Home Magazine - chair: world market - bedding sources {clockwise from top}: the hunted interior /apartment therapy / unknown / style me pretty

And here's a breakdown of my to-do list:
  • Paint the walls a great bluish/green color
  • Remove icky carpet and install rich hardwoods
  • Build a wall to close off space from stairway and add a door
  • Replace ceiling fan {I have a serious fear of a ceiling fan falling on me while I sleep... so scary!, but this is a phase 2 project when I replace the lighting throughout the house}
  • Paint doors black for a glamorous look
  • Add trim to doors
  • Add crown molding
  • Re-purpose some of my existing bedding
  • Add new pops of color and monogram pieces
  • Create a cozy reading and/or TV watching area
  • Add a rug, drapes, new wood blinds and accessories
  • Add storage unit for hidden shoe storage {yes, I have a shoe storage problem} and accessories
I'm happy to report that the first few bullets have been knocked out! Floors are in and being stained right NOW! So the bones of this room are coming together, just need to get my stuff moved in so I can see what I still need to fill in the gaps!

Here's a sneak peak:

Wondering why there is an outlet smack dab in the middle of the new wall? Planning on mounting my TV!

Don't mind that weird built-in cabinet thing in the corner... I'll figure something out to do with it! I was thinking of taking the doors off and just making it an open shelving area {maybe painted a cool color or striped or lined with a pattern}, but the shelves are crooked and I think it might be more of an eye-sore. We shall see what I come up with here!!! Oh the "charm" of old houses!
Well, there it is! Hope you liked my first house update. There's lots more where that came from... just bear with me!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Return of the Curl

You know the age-old question that always seems to pop up in fashion magazines... if you could only put on one make-up product before you walked out the door, what would it be?

Well, for me it's always been mascara... with a curled lash, of course. Ok, ok, so that's technically two products, but they're like peanut butta and jelly. They just have to go together.

I shared from the get-go here that my fav eyelash curler was a bargain buy, but sadly, they changed the sponge in it {it used to be black... and it was ah-mazing... now it's a clear-ish/white and it's no good}. So I've been on the hunt. And it's been a long one. I mentioned here that I ordered and tested the highly recommended Shu Uemera and it was terrible. 

But finally, the search is over! Meet my favorite new eye-opener:

Shiseido 'The Makeup' eyelash curler. Heaven. I feel like I can see out of my eyes again! Ok, so that's a little dramatic, but it really is a great tool. It's not quite the $2 bargain I used to rely on, but I don't even care. Best $19 I've ever spent. I recommend you all add one to your makeup bag ASAP. Enjoy!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Before {Inside}

I mentioned I bought a house and we are mid-reno, but what reveal would be complete without a good look at the before? {And by the way... I finally upgraded to a legit camera, unfortunately, these before pics were my first try using the gadget and I was painfully unaware of how to zoom out. Oops! Oh well, the 'afters' will be better!}

Here we go...

Living Room:
Coming in and looking immediately to the left you see these built-ins.

Dining Room: 


TV Room:

Downstairs Bedrooms:
Front Bedroom

Back Bedroom

Downstairs Bathroom:


Clearly my Dad was excited to take the stinky carpet up!

Master Bath:

I'm sure you're all just dying to know what I have planned, but let's let the beauty of the wallpaper, blue contertops and stinky carpet all sink in, shall we? As you can probably gather, each of those items are on the chopping block. Stay tuned for details on what I have planned for each of these spaces! And I owe you pictures of the outside spaces... the patio is going to be wonderful!

Have a great weekend! And a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my MOM! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Don't Even Have a Good Excuse

I disappeared. I did. And I had just promised that I wouldn't. Gosh darn it.

Sorry folks. I really don't have a good excuse as to where I went or why I took a break... except, I will say this... I put a lot of pressure on myself with this little blog to have something to write about each and everyday that is new and different. And while coming up with ideas is not terribly hard for me, finding the time to create a post that is thoughtful, engaging, fun and pretty is another story. There have been many times where I've wanted to drop back in and just say 'hello' here, but stopped myself because I didn't have a weeks worth of posts lined up to keep the communication going. The truth is, my favorite blogs are the ones that do have a new post each and everyday. I feel like when I read what they have to say, I'm hearing from a friend. I strive to create that experience for readers here, too, but I've also realized that most of the blogs I read are created by guys and gals who work full-time for their blog. Well, I already have a full-time job, so in truth, as much as I want to keep up posting on a daily basis, I've come to the conclusion that it is ok to keep up as much as I can. I'm taking the pressure off and going back to the reason why I started this little blog, which was to give my two-cents on style, document moments of my life and basically just share what was on my mind.

And in case you are interested in a few of the things I've been up to lately, here they are in a nutshell.

Clockwise from top left:
  1. I bought a house! Here she is! It was a pretty quick process. I had put an offer on one house before this one and was heartbroken when I thought I had lost the one, but in hindsight, I'm so, so, so glad this is the house I ended up with. And yes, you guessed it... there are lots of posts in the future about house details. I'm mid-reno right now, so I've got a few things to update you on already!
  2. Took my annual to NYC. Gosh I love that place. It makes me feel all sorts of happy and alive.
  3. Ohhhh Canada. I've taken a position with my company that has me traveling to the land up north... a lot. I love my company, but have to say this position has offered its fair share of challenges. Live and learn... and I'm learning a lot. International travel {even if it's just to our neighboring nation} is tough. Bottom line. End of story.
  4. And, lastly, I've just been happy taking a step back and enjoying a calmer life. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Feeling Blue

I put an offer on a house yesterday... and I didn't get it. I'm pretty bummed. It was a beauty and it got away. 

And that's the end of my wallowing! Instead, I'm just going to continue to look forward to when I find the one {house and husband, of course... haha}.

One thing I realized as I was picturing myself in this home, is that I'm really craving a shade of relaxing blue in my bedroom. Here's some inspiration:




Cozy up? Don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm Alive... and Cooking!

Hi there! Sorry to miss you fabulous folks the last couple of days. You may have noticed {via instagram - follow me... username 'ktzeller'} I snuck away for a quick trip to Colorado this past weekend! I went for my best friend Lisa's baby shower. She is the most wonderful person and I just can't wait to see her as a mom... although I kinda hate her right now because she's one of those pregnant gals that looks amazing while taking on the task of creating life. Lisa, her sweet hubby Ryan and pup Lucy were the best of hosts for a relaxing weekend in the mountains!

I can definitely understand why so many people love living in the mountains... I had the most amazing scenery for my morning run where there was zero humidity, followed by an afternoon of hiking. I was more outdoorsy in one day than I've been in the past two years put together! Yikes!

While I was away, my family took a little trip to the farmers market. I was sad to miss it {I love fresh fruits and veggies... they're my only inspiration to make anything besides sweets!}, but I sent them with long list and they delivered!

Tonight, I'll be putting this Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Martha Stewart to the test:



  • Olive oil, for baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) store-bought chunky tomato sauce or homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Step 2

    Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
  3. Step 3

    Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Feeling Artsy

If you've been keeping up with your fav lifestyle blogs lately, you've probably noticed a few of them doing round-ups sponsored by Fab. This is definitely not a sponsored post {I wish!}, but the other bloggers have inspired me to peruse the goods on the site.

Can't wait to have walls of my own to hang art like so:

Not even sure what I love about them so much, but I do... especially that last one. I could do a whole room around that baby!

All paintings are by artist Eileen Lang and can be found here on Fab. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Playing Dress-Up With Pleats

My super-stylish friend {who's closet I want to raid!!!} had this dress on the other day...

source $98

...and I fell in love! The color is great. I love that it is light and airy. Big fan that it's not strapless. And most of all, those pleats! Ah-mah-zing. Since falling for this number, I've been on the hunt for acordian/knife/deft pleated pieces. Here are a few good finds to icorporate this look in your closet:

source $23 {what a deal!.. and it's reversible! 2 for 1!}

source $56

Any my favorite find:

source $98

Don't you just love the unexpected deep-v in the back? I sure do!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday 5: Funnies

I recently purchased some cute sticky notes at J.Crew that seriously brighten my day on a daily basis.

I tell ya, it's the small joys in life!!!

I did a little research on the brand or these funny little notes and found many products that were right up my alley... in fact I was happy to find out that I already owned one of the products listed below... can you guess which one??? I've had it for years and I'm not afraid to use it!

All of these products {plus lots more} can be found here. Even if you're not in the market for new paper goods, I highly recommend perusing the sight for a good laugh! How can you not love a company who's tag line is "We put the fun in functional!"?

And it if you're still wondering, I've had the Fashion Citation notepad for quite a while... and have issued them for sure! You've been warned!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SOS: Stressed Out Skin

I feel like I'm always saying how crazy and stressful life is. In the grand scheme of things, this week/month/stage of my life is probably no more or no less stressful than other times I've been through in the past, nor will this be the end of stress. I'm just glad to have friends, family and fun {and maybe wine} to help me get through.

But no matter how much I seem to put my stress into perspective, my skin seems to miss the memo. What do I mean by this? I mean my face is broken out like a junior high girl waiting to see N'Sync in concert. It is not fun. And it doesn't feel good. And it definitely doesn't look good.

One of my saving graces when my skin overreacts {ha!} is this little miracle in a bottle:

bobbi brown face tonic $29

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic. It's like a refreshing glass of water for your face. It's infused with cucumber, lavender, chamomile and aloe... basically it's heavenly. When you first put it on it immediately gives your face a cooling effect that feels so fresh. It definitely has helped to restore balance to my face, while smoothing and soothing!

So that's that. Heaven for your face in a bottle. The bottle lasts for a long time, so it's well worth the price. I highly recommend you try it. You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shop Kate Spade TODAY!

Kate's having another suprise sale! Hurry over... it end tonight!

Here's a few things that have caught my eye:

With all the travel I do for work, and now adding trips to Canada to my regular rotation, carrying my gear in style is a must! This laptop bag, which is a steal, is at the top of my wishlist:

Lindenwood Leopard Chad $85

If all else fails with you outfit for the day, just put a bow on it!.. with this cute bracelet:

Double Bow Hinged Bangle $35

You can never have too many statement necklaces! Especially at such a good sale price:

Cut to the Chase Bib Necklace $49

And lastly, my favorite wallet style of all time:

Astor Court Neda $79

Seriously, I've had my wallet of the same style for over 5 years!!! Just now looking to replace it. I'd say that was money well-spent.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Check and Check

Last week got ca-ray-zay... and this week isn't looking much better! Sorry to leave my lovely readers hanging {I'm talking to you, ANNE!}, but I'll be back as much as possible. In the meantime, at least I've got good shoes and can handle doing my hair. Good old Iris seems to think I'm good to go with those couple of things checked off my list!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meant to be Monogrammed

Everything is better monogrammed. I truly believe that. Around me right now as I write this, my laptop case, clutch and throw pillow are all adorned with my initials. And I love it. I go by Reese Witherspoon's rule of thumb:


Here are just a few examples of how everything is better monogrammed:

headboard / long sleeve tee / pillow / gold bangle / silver bracelet / totes

In fact, my favorite housewarming/engagement/shower gift is a monogrammed blanket for the happy couple to cozy up in. Personal and practical. Win and win.

Now I just need a man to cozy up with... ha!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It All Started With a Rug

So I've been pinning the heck out of kilim rugs lately. 

left / center / right

Like I luff, lurve, love them. I think the colors are fantastic. I tend to lean towards the ones that have some pink in them {good thing I'm a single gal and don't have to pass my design decisions by a dude!}, a bright, vibrant magenta to be more specific. And a little navy/taupe/orange/yellow or combination thereof doesn't hurt either. These rugs are a fun way to incorporate a good dose of color! I want that one in the middle for an informal family room area. 

And if I could have one in my kitchen, too, I'd design my whole space around it, like so:

Rug: Sadly, no longer available, but a great inspiration for what I'll be looking for when I settle into my humble abode! {approx. $850}

Placemat: West Elm does a great version of the dip dye, but I've been itching to DIY something like this, too! {$14 for 2}

Copper Canisters: Loving touches of copper in design lately! It's a nice alternative to the traditional silver and gold. Plus, the texture of these guys is ahhh-mazing! {$90}

Table: Spoiler alert! I bought myself a kitchen table this past weekend. Who buys a kitchen table before she has a kitchen? This GIRL! It's not this one, it's better!!! But I'll save the big reveal for when it's parked in my place... soon! {$799}

Chair: Ya, no surprise here... love mixing in the industrial touch. My kitchen is meant to have these chairs {I've only talked about them here and here!}, although, I'm thinking the mint green is a must have for me, so I'll have to keep that in mind as I'm searching for my kilim. {$145}

Mia the Mixer: Of course she'll be front and center in my kitchen! {$450}

Art: Love the chalkboard look. Actually, I'm planning on incorporating a chalkboard wall in my future space, but a little touch on the inspiration board doesn't hurt! {$15}

Tea Towel: Pulling out some of the more understated colors in the kilim is a must. This little towel does just that! And it's a bargain. {$5}

Tea Cup: Of course I go for the polka dots. {$12}

So who wants to come over for dinner once this all comes together? Come one, come all!

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Favorite Brother

It sure seems like birthday season for my family, doesn't it? Well, today is a very special day... my wonderful brother-in-law is celebrating his birthday! 

Now, I may have, possibly, just maybe, might have once said "I never wanted a brother," but Geoff has become such a wonderful part of our family that I can hardly remember what it was like before he came along. He is a kind husband to my sister, loving Dad to my nephew and has become one of the people I count on most in my life. Plus he is a pretty darn good time. Exhibit A...

This is one of the only pictures I have of Geoffy and I, but I love it! Although it looks like he's nearly got me in a headlock, we look like we were having a blast... and if memory serves me correctly, poor Molly was preg-o and at home. Sorry, Mols!

Happy birthday, Geoff! 

I love you and am so glad you are a part of our family!!!