2017 archive

Ways To Fake A Clean Home

Spring is here guys and the outdoor chores are soon going to be added to our already full plates.  I love being outside in that gorgeous weather, but then I have to deal with the pool, and the yard work and all the other things that go along with spring and summer.  I bet you guys do a big spring cleaning to get your home and yard ready. If you feel overwhelmed with all this extra work there are several things you can do to fake a clean home.

I decided this year to use my winter months wisely. If you’re like me, You’re kind of cooped up inside and that means you’re looking at everything that needs to be done in the house.  I have been organizing my attic and home this winter so when spring comes I could solely focus on all things outdoors (which to me is kind of fun.) We are currently in the process of building an outdoor kitchen and fire pit area and I am so thrilled to be adding these cool entertaining areas to our back yard (more on this in later posts to come).

So lets get into what things you can do to fake a clean house.  My daughter just attended her boyfriend’s ring dance and the kids came here to take pictures.  Of course I wanted the down stairs to look nice in the areas where they were going to take pictures. So here are some things I did to make sure the house was in great shape.

Clean off your desk area or any cluttered space visible to guests. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

  1.  MAKE SURE THERE IS NOT CLUTTER- Our desk area in the kitchen is a place where papers and little items seem to congregate.  I made sure that each item was either thrown away or was put in its proper place.  Don’t just throw things in the drawers because you will then have to take care of them at another time and things just start to pile up.
  2. USE BASKETS IN YOUR HOME IN HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS-. My kids are older and don’t have toys in our home, but I do have a son that is very into his shoes.  So in our mudroom, I have a large basket for the shoes that stay downstairs.  It looks so much nicer to have the shoes contained in one place.  Everyone can find them easily in the morning and no one is tripping over them in the kitchen anymore.
  3. USE TRAYS TO ORGANIZE YOUR DECORATIONS- Trays are great for keeping all your decorations together and organized on your ottomans and coffee tables.  Plus, there are some really beautiful ones that can really pull your decor and style together. They also limit the amount of things you can place on them so you’re not tempted to over decorate.
  4. HAVE FRESH FLOWERS PLACED AROUND YOUR HOME- Fresh flowers add so much to a room.  They are fragrant and give such a polished elegant look to your home.  You can’t go wrong with fresh flowers.  For a cheaper option, go with store bought flowers and make your own arrangements.
  5. LIGHT A CANDLE- When I go into a hotel or someone’s home that smells fresh or of baked goods, I automatically think it is a clean home and I want to spend more time there.

Use baskets to help keep your home clean. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I hope some of these tips can help get you through some of your special events or when someone says they’re stopping by in 30 minutes and you need to straighten your home up quickly.  Do you have any tips that could help us?  Leave a comment down below and let us know a tip to create a clean house in a jam.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

Tips for The Procrastinator

Tips for the Procrastinator

Are you still going strong on your New Year’s resolutions or are you already slipping back into your old habits? They say it takes 21 days to change a habit or get into a new routine and 90 days to change a lifestyle. I never really do resolutions. I like to set obtainable goals for my professional and personal life. That way I have ways to evaluate those goals for success or to reassess if need be. Procrastination is a huge obstacle that throws a wrench in even the best intentions. When I was in college and had a big test to study for I would do everything else I could think of before I would focus and study. I would clean every inch of my apartment, I would go to the gym and workout, and I would put in a couple extra hours at my campus job. Finally, after everything was done then I would study. I put it off until I couldn’t think of anything else to do. It would always get done, but why wouldn’t I just focus and buckle down from the beginning and just study?

We tend to procrastinate on things that we fear or are not good at.  This makes perfect sense to me. Who wants to do something that you’re dreading?  I have found the best way to tackle my week is to make lists.  I am definitely a list kind of girl. Then I prioritize my list into tasks that need to be done in order of importance.  Seeing everything visually allows me to check what items I can finish myself and what tasks I can delegate to other people in my house.

Sticking to a routine helps me stay on task.  My kids leave for school at the same time everyday and as soon as they leave I’m dressed and ready to work.  Setting a timer also helps.  Giving yourself a certain amount of time to check emails and social media really saves you from going over board and wasting a lot of time.

Try to limit distractions especially if you work from home.  There are so many things that can distract you.  I work from home and there are tons of things that can get me off task. The best thing I did was to create my own work space.  I have my own office where I can shut the door and be creative in a beautiful space. I try to get all my work done before my kids come home so I can give them my full attention when they get home.

The key to being productive is just starting.  You wouldn’t believe how much you can get done if you just start.  This will put you in such a positive place that I bet you will want to keep going and stay motivated to complete whatever project you’re currently working to finish. You can do all the research in the world for your business, but if you don’t take action nothing will ever get done.

Quotes

I found these quotes pertaining to procrastination on Pinterest.  Some didn’t have the sources  but they are included where it applies.

PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF DREAMS. (CREE INDIAN SAYING)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU WANT TO BE IS WHAT YOU DO.

IF IT TAKES LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES TO DO, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. YOUR LIFE WILL INSTANTLY BECOME MUCH MORE ORGANIZED AND PRODUCTIVE.

CLUTTER IS THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF UNMADE DECISIONS FUELED BY PROCRASTINATION. (CHRISTINA SCALISE)

 I would love for you to check out what I’m doing on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

What’s New For Valentine’s in my Fave Home Stores

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away and you don’t want it to creep up on you at the last minute.   I thought I would check to see what’s new for Valentine’s Day in my fave home decor stores and share them with you.  What are some of your fave home decor stores?  I bet we have some of the same favorites.

Valentines in my Fave Home Stores

You don’t have to have a Valentine to enjoy these Valentine’s Day marshmallows from Crate and Barrel. They would be perfect for your hot chocolate or pancakes.  Your kids will love them too.

Crate and Barrel also has the amazing heart waffle maker.  Don’t only make them once a year on Valentine’s Day.   You could make them on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and that special Saturday swim meet.  Just think of all the days you could use it.  Your family will really appreciate all the extra effort you’re taking to make the perfect breakfast.

Check out this journal What I Love About You by Me from Amazon.com.  This journal allows you to fill in the blanks of the book about your affections in a relationship with someone special.

The Cambria 16 piece dinnerware set in red is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  I know I’m a huge proponent of white dishes, but if I had to pick a speciality set I would pick red.  You can use it for so many holidays like Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Christmas. This set from Pottery Barn is just too amazing to pass up and it’s on sale right now.

These Williams Sonoma white wine glasses come in a set of 2 and would be perfect for a romantic dinner with your significant other or someone special in your life.  They would look amazing on your table set for 2.

Don’t forget to check Target’s online store for some Valentine’s Day decor.  They had this amazing pink rug that would welcome all your guests. This festive pink Valentine’s Love Hooked Rug is 18″by 30″ and would look amazing at the front door.

Show me some love and follow me on Pinterest.  I have a ton of beautiful home decor and creative topics that you would love.  I post to Instagram daily so check me out there too.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Decorating Trends for 2017

Comfort with a touch of luxury best describes decorating trends for 2017.  I can’t imagine a better way to entertain guests and family in your home with big comfy couches and luxurious fabrics.  With new technology upgrades people are choosing to stay home and entertain in the comfort of their own home.

2017 Colors of the Year

Color is so important when it comes to decor.  Do you even know how many white paint colors there are? Who would ever imagine choosing a white paint color would be so difficult? The fashion trends that come down the runway dictate a lot about what styles and color you will see in furniture trends.  Below you will find some of the most popular colors of the year. I just did a guest bedroom for a client in a deep purple and white and it looked so rich and luxurious.

Pantone's 2017 color of the year is Greenery. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Pantone’s color of the year is Greenery.

Benjamin Moore’s is Shadow (deep purple)

Glidden’s is Byzantine Blue

Dunn Edward’s is Honey Glow (mustard Yellow)

Sherwin Williams’ is Poised taupe

Greenery office e-design board highlighting Pantone's 2017 color of the year. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Mixing metals is still in. YEAH! Shiny brass is making a come back and copper is here to stay. I’m happy about copper sticking around for a while. I am really into that look and it matches a lot of the dishes and decor that I own. No matter what the current trend is, buy things that are classic that will stand the test of time. Especially if they are expensive purchases. Items like pillows and accessories are easier to replace and are less expensive so those are good items to switch out and play around with.  These items can be your trendy “fun” pieces that you can experiment with using bold pops of color.

Whether your fave spot is a glamorous fur chair, a masculine leather recliner, or a plush one and a half chair; whatever furniture fits your style will work in 2017. Remember to make a personal statement in your decor and be yourself and your home will be a reflection of your style and personality.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Frequently Asked Questions

I have been blogging now for over two years and I get asked some questions over and over.  I thought it would be fun to answer some of your FAQ  in one place.  I didn’t know a lot about blogging when I first started.  You have to admit it’s not a job that a lot of people really understand so I can relate to people being curious about it.

  1.  How do you keep your white furniture nice with pets and kids?  Honestly, when my kids were younger I had darker leather furniture that cleaned up very easily.  We don’t eat in the room with white furniture.  My kids are old enough now that they know how to take care of the furniture which is nice.  However, there are so many options these days with slipcovers you can wash and wonderful fabrics.  I think you just have to do your research and be knowledgeable about what you’re buying and for what purpose.
  2. What camera do you use?  I use the Canon Rebel T5I.  The very first DSLR I had was a Nikon D60.  My son used to play travel baseball and my daughter used to cheer and I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures each weekend of their sports.  That camera was very good with the long range lens.  I really love my canon for my indoor blogging shots.  I have several different lenses that I use according to what project I’m shooting.
  3. You were a reading specialist. How did you become an interior design blogger? This is the biggest question I get.  I guess because the two seem so different.  But they are both very creative jobs.  I loved teaching and I was quite good at it.  I had a Master’s Degree in Reading and taught the lowest performing first grade readers in a program called Reading Recovery.  I loved my job.  Once my second child was born I only worked one year and that was it for me.  I knew I wanted to stay home with my children.  But that first year was a hard transition for me at home.  The stay at home mom role didn’t just happen easily for me.  There was an adjustment period, but I never looked back.  When my kids were both in school I enjoyed volunteering at their schools.  Then when my son was 10 and daughter was 13, I even tutored SOL students for about 3 years.  However, I just didn’t feel this was right for me. Something was missing. I started doing little projects around the house and practicing my photography and finally I merged the two together and decided to start Yours Truly Jenn. I loved it.  It was the creative piece that I didn’t even know was missing.
  4. Where did you get your animal print chairs from in your living room?  This room took me 8 months to pull together and the chairs and coffee table were the hardest pieces to find. The chairs came from Horchow. You can find similar ones here.  I love them so much.  Between the animal print and the leather they really bring a  masculine element to the room.  If you missed my fall room tour you can check it out here.
  5. Do you like working from home? People that know me really well know I can’t stand traffic or driving.  I hate driving at night too.  Skipping a commute is amazing.  Whenever I’m out during rush hour I’m really thankful for my husband and how much he provides for our family because he is constantly on the road.  I have an office that I adore so I get a lot done there.  What could be better?

If you’re still curious about me and my blogging experiences you can check out these posts.  They may help you find what you’re looking for.

25 Things About Me

10 Facts About The Person Behind The Blog

Ways to Get Rid of the Winter Blues

Do you have the winter blues?  I know for me, putting away my Christmas decor makes me very sad. You have all those twinkling lights and beautiful decorations and they make you feel so happy. Then you also have the time home with your family and all of it together is almost magical. Today’s post is going to give you some ideas to help you get rid of the winter blues.

Right after New Years I want it to be spring.  In Virginia it doesn’t snow that much.  The last couple of years we have had unusual winter weather, but if it’s not going to be a beautiful snow that we can play in, then I’m ready for spring.  I do not deal well with winter weather. I would rather be hot then cold.

You don’t need to have a beach home or live in Florida or California year round to ward off the winter blues.  There are some things you can do to make sure the winter months are manageable. Try these tips and see if they help.

There are several things you can do to ward off the winter blues. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips For Getting Rid of Winter Blues

Have Fresh Flowers in the house-   Fresh flowers always make me feel better.  They brighten my day as soon as I see them.  You don’t have to have anything expensive.  You can get an inexpensive arrangement each week when you go to the grocery store.  I think they will brighten your day.

Exercise with a friend- Exercising makes you feel good and is good for you.  You feel like you have accomplished something productive in your day.  Exercising with a friend holds you accountable and gives you social interaction for the day.  Both are great for the winter blues.

Make your home feel cozy in the winter- I did a whole post on this topic for a design challenge with Douglas Elliman.  I was asked to transition from my Christmas decor and show how to make your home feel warm and cozy for the winter.  If your decor gives you the warm fuzzies you will want to spend time there.  You can check out that mood board post here.

Making your home warm and fuzzy can ward off the winter blue. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Do a before and after project- Having a project to work on is a great mood changer.  Anytime I have a set goal that I’m working toward gets me excited to see the end product.  Before and afters are even better because you are starting with something that is not so beautiful and you’re changing it into something amazing.  Seeing that end result will have to make you feel good.

Have a set Morning Routine- The hardest part of anything is getting started.  I once heard if you haven’t started by 10:00 it’s probably not going to happen.  Having a set morning routine gets you up and knowing exactly what you need to do to prepare for the day.  Now of course weekends are different, but it’s nice to have a work week schedule. Here is an example of one I posted as well as one my friend Michelle from http://www.bornceativeblog.com wrote.

Have a Hobby- I love to read.  I always have about 4 books by my bed at any given time.  Of course they are different types of genres, but I always have my nose into some kind of book.  Being a former reading specialist is not something you can just turn off. However, this year I am trying my hand at calligraphy and flower arranging.  I am already having a great time with these and it gives me something to look forward to in my down time.

Plan a trip for the Spring- You don’t have to have a big spring break trip planned. You could even plan a long weekend catching up with your college roommate.  Having something to look forward to when the weather gets a little nicer makes it seem not that far off.

  If you think you are depressed or don’t feel yourself seek medical attention immediately.  I’m really looking forward to warmer weather and what this spring has to offer.  We’re putting in an outdoor kitchen and I can’t wait to get out there and entertain this year.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Best Posts of 2016

I can’t believe the holidays are over and we’re in 2017! I get so sad when I take down my Christmas decor, but I’m looking forward to all the new things this year has to offer. I love doing this post every year because it is kind of like a highlight reel of memories.  It is always fun for me to look back through the year in review to see the best posts of the year.  I love to see which ones did well and what you guys really respond well to.  I love analytics.  For those of you that don’t know much about blogging, there is a site that allows me to track a lot of data to help me know what kind of audience watches me and what posts you like.  I am kind of nerdy for data.  So I thought it would be fun to share some of that data in this year end review. Of course I’m going to show you the top posts, but I hope you like some of the other data too.

You guys are really into social media. The top 4 SOCIAL MEDIA REFERRALS came from:

1.Pinterest

2.Facebook

3.Reddit

4. Instagram

 Thank you to those of you coming from Pinterest and Facebook.  If you’re not following me on these sites what are you waiting for? We have tons of fun and I would love to meet you.

94% of you are female.  Shout out to my 6% male audience.  I love that you are coming back regularly.  

48% of you are using a desktop computer while the rest of you are using a tablet or mobile device. 

50% of you are in the age group 45-65 with the second largest group being 25-34 year olds. 

I had several career highlights this year.  I had the opportunity to help decorate a Homearama home for the talented builder, Tara Preston. She has won many prestigious accolades and pays close attention to detail.  Her home was in the paper showing off some of the special features, furniture, and holiday decor.  The tree I decorated was also showcased.  That was very special for me.

I participated in the LuxPad Magazine living room ideas article.  Bloggers, writers, and interior designers were asked to pick their favorite living room and give ideas and tips on how to style that room.  If you missed the article you can check it out here.  You can find mine next to last in the the article.

 I worked with Minted on their graduation and Mother’s Day campaigns.  This was such an honor for me.  I especially loved the graduation project because I have a senior this year. It really hit home for me. Everything I did was very authentic because I’m going through the experience myself.  I’m having to order all the invitations and cards so I really thought through the process.

I had the opportunity to partner with Chobani to promote their Flips.  By the way, these things are fabulous.  I have really become a fan of the PB & J flavor.  I eat one for breakfast every morning.  My post was right around the time of the olympics.  I know they were a huge sponsor.  Go Chobani!

My latest project was for Douglas Elliman.  I was asked to participate in their winter design challenge.  I started by creating a mood board of my dream cozy living room.Then I added my holiday decor and ideas for making your home cozy for the winter.

I have lots of projects already lined up for 2017.  I’m excited to jump in and get this year started.  I know I’m aiming high and shooting for the stars.  If you don’t step forward, you’ll always be in the same place. Now let’s get to the top ten posts of 2016.  These ranked as your favorite posts in chronological order.

Best Posts of 2016

 Holiday Home Tour 2015

Best of 2016 your favorite post on www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Perfectly Plaid

Best of 2016 favorite posts www.yourstrulyjenn.com Perfectly plaid tree

Merry Plaid House Tour

Best of 2016 favorite posts www.yourstrulujenn.com Merry and Plaid house tour holiday house walk link party

Christmas House Tour Part 2

Best posts of 2016 Rose Gold Christmas house tour part 2 www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Mother’s Day Minted

Best posts of 2016 Minted Mother's Day www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Wedding Reception Without Flowers

Gorgeous wedding without using flowers www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips For a Family Holiday Card

Best post of 2016 Great tips to help you prepare for a family photo www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Red and Gold Wedding Reception

Best post of 2016 Red and Gold Wedding Reception www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Entryway Makeover

Best posts of 2016- Entry makeover with Minted www.yourstulyjenn.com

Decorating Your Bar Cart 3 Ways

Best posts of 2016 Style your bar cart 3 unique ways www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Boy, you guys love Christmas as much as I do. Thank you so much for making this career possible for me.  Without you, the readers, I wouldn’t be able to do this full time.  This year I was able to blog full time and become a certified interior decorator.  At Christmas, I decorated several homes and businesses and look forward to expanding my decorating business in 2017.  I will be adding e-design services soon so I can service a wider range of clients.  I wish you all health and much happiness in 2017.

Yours Truly,

Jenn