Thursday, May 30, 2013

{Fashion} Brights and Stripes Are Easy and Timeless

What's more classic than a nautical stripe or a tailored jacket?  Combining the two elements is a certain win for pulling any outfit together with a classic French-sailor-chic!

The jacket's tailored cut really defines a waist and creates a beautiful shape.  And who says you can't wear a horizontal stripe?  Whatever.  You so can.

It all comes down to the cut of the piece, not so much the pattern.

Injecting brights into any outfit makes the look really modern and fresh. 

Cropped skinny jeans and a flat are retro... so Audrey Hepburn.  Doing the loafer in a snakeskin is a little unexpected.

Fearlessly mix textures and prints, girlfriend.  It works.  

Adding a bold, playful piece of jewelry gives a classic outfit a personal twist, and a wide belt nicely offsets the thin line of the stripe.

Do you have some stripes in your wardrobe for summer? 
Are you loving the brights that are everywhere now as much as I am?  
I'd love to know what your favorite summer looks are!

(Model: Lia J)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thrifty Decor: Updating Vintage Lights with Modern Accents

Every time I'm at a home improvement store, I gaze longingly at the vintage-styled pendant lights that would look ever so chic over our kitchen island.  And every time, I walk away thinking, "That's an awful lot of money..."

Our house is an old Victorian, and we have some of the old light fixtures, although they border on great-grandma-tastic with their ornate and flowery glass.

It occurred to me that we happen to have a slightly ancient double pendant light over the dining room table, which I detest there, because it seems so un-spectacular.  (I have chandelier fantasies.)  How I spent ten years in this house not noticing how superb a fit that light fixture would be over the island will forever boggle my mind.

blah blah blah, double pendant over the dining table... 

All the pendant light needs is cooler-looking glass, and they would be authentic vintage-chic!  And way more budget friendly.

While all this brilliance was going on in my mind, I remember the old light fixture in my living room, which also has (mismatched) grandmotherly glass, so I sweet talked my husband into a run to the store to shop for replacements.

I'm charming like that.

In our flurry of activity, my husband started removing the glass from this fixture before photos, so he kindly put it back for a whole 3 seconds so I could snap a quick picture. It's way tackier up close.  This is pre-makeover.
New, seeded glass shades are so vintage and still so right-now, so for under $7 each, we buy three of these babies for the living room fixture.

Because the whole makeover for the living room light fixture only cost $21 so far, I allowed my typically cheap frugal self buy three light bulbs that each cost $7, but they are so darn cute, with old-school style filament that shows beautifully through the seeded glass. 

It was a splurge, but look how snappy!

Moving back to the kitchen, we (meaning my husband) took down the stainless light fixture and brought in the pendant from the dining room.

The kitchen light fixture is sporting a more contemporary shade in a graphic cylinder shape of milky white glass, with a subtle linen-inspired cross-hatching.

We need the one fixture to give enough light for the whole room with only two bulbs, so using white glass and white bulbs offers bright, soft light.  

I'm totally nuts about the patina on the old metal.  And the darling little twisty light switch!

He's handsome, even when wiring, checking for length of the chain to be equal after adjusting it for the island.

Pretty, repurposed vintage lights over the island.  Total cost $15.
Not too shabby.

Do you love to repurpose in your decorating?  This is my first lighting up-cycle.  Usually I work with furniture pieces, but it's fun to imagine the possibilities all around us in our homes.  

Do you have any favorite ways to decorate on the cheap?  I'd love to hear on Facebook or here in the comments.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Help me choose a paint color for my house!!!

You'll never believe this about me, but I am a painstakingly slow decision maker.  Primarily this is when there are several good options, all of which I like relatively well.  If it's about something strange that probably no one but me would like anyway (yellow antique sofa anyone?), I can make a decision in a jif.

So for the past couple months, my hot husband has been up in the cherry picker, diligently scraping paint off our 3-story, 100 year old Victorian home.  We are total DIY rock stars, people.  

Really, it should be a crime for someone to look so hot scraping paint.

(Ok, this is a time when I'm saying "we" but just mean "he." You know... like, "Hon, we need to get the dishwasher pulled out and repaired this weekend." Or, "Babe, can we get my truck cleaned out today, you think?")  

I learned of a killer Sherwin-Williams paint sale mere minutes (not even kidding) before it ended.  Normally, the frugalista in me would have sent me speeding to the store, however, my 4yr old was in the bath, and my husband was 3 stories up in the cherry picker with his iPod going, so there was no way I was going to have this crew at the store and a decision made before the sale ended, 45 minutes from the second I saw the sale online.  (This is painful.)

There is another similar sale ending today!!!!  

This is where YOU come in.
I've found a few colors I like, and I need to get to the store and spend fewer than 16 hours choosing color.  Would you help a girl out?  

If I show you the colors, could you leave a comment or a Facebook page post naming your favorite color choice?  

My husband will thank you to infinity if I have a color picked out before we get to the store.  He might even come do projects at your house as an expression of his gratitude.... (please disregard the word "out" on each sample... I typed that to indicate "outside" and it could be confusing, I realize...)

The trim we will use will be fairly bright white, just a bit off, and currently we have a red door.  I like that, but I could change it, too.  Ok, GO!

links to color are from the handy SW Colorsnap App for iPhone - LOVE it!!!

Thanks bazillions and bazillions for your big help!  

If you have friends who love to decorate and do all this house-y stuff, PLEASE for heaven's sake, send them a link and ask them to weigh in!  

And if you are a realtor and you think one color sells better than another, I'd love to know!  We hope to list the house after we get all spruced up.  

Remember: post your choice in the comments here or on my Facebook!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finally! Nail polish that can survive YOUR life.

In my former life I owned a nail salon. I've been crazy about nails since SWV rocked the talons in the early 90's. I got my first ever j.o.b. just to pay for my acrylic fills. I'm hardcore, people.


So when I heard there was a whole new technology being used to formulate a polish that will last for a whole week, I almost couldn't stand it.  What kind of friend would I be if I didn't hound the woman at the salon supply store on an almost daily basis starting a week before the actual release date so I could test drive these bad boys for you?  

CND Vinuylux Weekly Polish

You know Shellac?  The UV-light cured 2-week Power Polish?  I've been an addict since it came on the market a few years ago, even training some local salons' staff on using the product line.  I'm die-hard.  Two weeks of gorgeous nails?  Perfect. 

Except I'm a little neurotic about wanting to change color more often. But the thing is, traditional nail polish just doesn't hold up in my life. (Or yours, I'm guessing.)

Until now.

(so many colors, they won't all fit in one photo)

What's new and different about Vinylux

* No base coat.

* Over 60 insanely gorgeous colors.

* Dries by air in only 8 minutes.  (Yes, you can DO STUFF after 8 minutes.  No waiting an hour or two to fold laundry.)

* Removes with acetone-based remover and cotton, like traditional polish.

* Top Coat becomes more durable with exposure to natural light, so it get tougher and more resilient over the week, instead of becoming brittle!

*  YOU can do it AT HOME if you like.

I'm on my fourth color.  I've worn them for 6-7 days at a time, and my nails still look fantastic - only a little bit of wear at the tips, but zero chips.  
ZERO. CHIPS.  After a week of my life.  This is nuts.

Here's a photo of the French combination I did with Grapefruit Sparkle and the pure white. 

Check with your salon to see if they offer CND Vinylux manicures and pedicures yet, and if they don't, definitely request it be added to the menu.  You can even do a DIY mani-pedi because it's available for retail at about $8.50/bottle. Ask about retail, and if you have trouble locating Vinylux, shoot me an email at shannonwheeler05 (at) hotmail (dot) com so I can help a sister out.

Now you have exactly zero excuses not to pamper yourself with pretty summer nails. 

What's your favorite nail product or service?  Are you a nail-girl or not?  
Curious about Vinylux?

Please leave your answers in the comments or on the Facebook page - I love hearing from you!

I just learned that a local salon, Anthony John's Salon and Day Spa, will be introducing Vinylux to their service menu really soon!  

(Mandatory blogger legalese: I am not being paid for this review.  I'm just wild about this product.  And I purchased it myself. The opinions are my own.)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

(From Lisa-Jo Baker's blog.  She's started a fun Friday thing I'd like to start doing, and it would be great if you would join in, too! Here's the scoop, in her words.) 
"Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and brave and unscripted.
Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.
“Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” ~E. B. White –>click to tweet this.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.
And if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your five minutes of writing as a comment. And we’ll love on you there.

Today's word: Song  (set your timer and.... GO!)
There was always a song in the air at my house when I was little.  My dad played classical, or The Irish Rovers or something from a musical on big vinyl records.  He would sing along, or whistle.  And often we would dance.  
There was music wafting through the air, mingling with the fragrance of his Irish breakfast.  The bacon frying alongside diced tomato.  Eggs on top of pancakes.  Funny things like that.  
I loved Monday mornings when I'd come home from school to his day off.  Dad in his white shorts with blue terry cloth trim.  I don't know why I remember those shorts.  
He played music in the car, and he'd drum on the steering wheel, and he whistled along. I loved to ride to school with him in the big white Oldsmobile with burgundy pillowy seats. I sat in the middle, even though no one needed the passenger seat. 
My dad is my sweetheart.  His accent is music.  He lost his speaking for a short time after a stroke, and his voice returning and his Irish lilt making a comeback is the most beautiful music my ears and my heart have heard.

We talked of Ireland, of going there one day, and maybe we will.  Maybe we won't. I don't know. Some things we plan don't happen.  But some of the things that already happened live on like songs in our hearts. My memories of him from childhood are swirling always inside my soul, like a melody.  Like song. 

Now it's YOUR turn, friend!  That was my maiden voyage to the Five Minute Friday prompt-land.... come along, won't you?  It's so fun and freeing to write with no editing, no second-guessing, no planning, for five minutes!  

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 16, 2013

{Recipe} Lia's Favorite Crock Pot Meatballs

Looking for a quick fix for a get-together, or to use in an easy meal?  Throw together a batch of these bad boys in under 5 minutes.

I'm addicted to my crock pot!  If memory serves me (this is questionable most days), I fed my family almost nothing but crock pot meals for at least 3 months after baby #3 was born.  

It continues to be a huge help, now that we're cheering on my 8th grade track super-star lots of evenings til after dinner time. Tonight is Lia's last meet of regular season, and this is her most favorite meatball recipe, so of course I have to share!

(this girl flies, people!)

Lia's Favorite Crock Pot Meatballs
1 Cup Apple Jelly
1 Cup Grape Jelly
1 8oz can Tomato Sauce
1 Cup Ketchup 
a few dashes of hot sauce (if you're wild, like we are)
1 bag of pre-cooked, frozen Meatballs  (or you could use homemade and let them simmer briefly with the sauce, if you prefer)

1. On the stovetop, combine the apple and grape jellies, and heat until melting, stirring constantly. 

2. Add the tomato sauce, ketchup and hot sauce.  


3.  Simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  All the ingredients will blend and begin to very slightly thicken, and then you can remove from heat.

4.  Place meatballs in the crock pot. 

5.  Pour sauce over meatballs and stir to coat.  Cook on low until heated through.  You can also simmer the meatballs on the stovetop according to package directions, if you prefer.  

I serve with egg noodles and a steamed veggie to make a meal.  You can also take these guys to a potluck as an appetizer, where they'll be super-popular.  

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe to share with us?  Post it on the Facebook page or in the comments below, so I can try it out!  

Would you like me to share more crock pot recipes here?  Let me know on Facebook or in the comments!   It's fun for me to know what you're interested in. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

{Vintage Thrifting} Colorful Global-Style Table Decor

Finding ways to add personality to my home on-the-cheap is one of my favorite hobbies.  I especially love hunting through vintage thrift shops and antique stores, yard sales, and (of course) HomeGoods and Target.  

Right now, I am obsessed with international elements (and peacock feathers) in my decor, so I had fun pulling together some wild and crazy colorful, playful gems at a local vintage shop, Between Friends.  (If you're in Maine, you should be sure to pop in!  Classical music playing and beautiful treasures from all over the place are set out like total eye candy. This is a totally unpaid endorsement.)

Take a peek at the fabulousness I found!!!

The brights and neons are so on-trend this season, so I couldn't pass up this colorful ethnic tapestry that just so happens to be the perfect (can I say that again? PERFECT) length and size for a table runner!!!! 

Oh my gosh, I'm going to have a dinner party, like, TODAY just so we can gaze lovingly at this table runner...

These crazy candle stick holders had to come home with me!  (I don't know if they're actually kind of hideous or if they're really beautiful - is it weird that I consistently once in a while am drawn to design items that I love, even though I find myself asking that question?)

They're a wooden base with cut and nailed tin applied.  So wild! It's possible they are either someone's Industrial Arts class project OR that they originate in some exotic place half the globe away.

(I love the element of story that exists within vintage items, and I realize the shop class version is very possible in this instance. To me, they're way-cool.)

Hanging on a back wall of the little store were bright yellow tapers.  What's better than seeing yellow tapers on the dining room table, with a yellow couch just through the double doors, right?  Divine.


I thought I was done, when I spotted two lone (are they "lone" if there are two???) peacock feathers!!!!!! Really?  I think I'm in heaven.....

 ... all things peacock-feather
I love...

 And what could be more perfect than a tall, cobalt blue bottle to stand the feathers in as a centerpiece?

 A year ago, I was antiquing at The Schoolhouse Antique Mall and found these really sweet orange and hot pink embellished napkin rings.  (They had tons of great retro kitchen goodies - I even found a tea towel from 1979, the year I was born!  It had a calendar on it, so I had to have it.  It's crucial I know which day of the week any dates from 1979 fall on, right??? Or so I told myself.)

The natural fiber napkins and the round woven placemats are from the clearance section at Target this winter.

Mixing neutrals with brights is an instant mood booster, I think.  

And remember one of my favorite rules of style: 

"It doesn't have to match, it has to 'go'." 
-Stacy London

Do you love thrifting?  
Love using vintage pieces in your decor? 
What's your favorite thrifty find?  

I'd love to hear about it (or see a photo!!!) on Facebook.  Be sure to "like" the page, so we can keep  in touch over the next cup of coffee.  

Have a friend who loves decorating?  Please invite her to come by!