2018 archive

Your Perfect Summer Staycation

We are already in the middle of July, and BOY it is a scorching summer.  Since my daughter started college this past year, she did not have the same spring break as my son. This is normally when we do our big family vacation. This summer hasn’t been a better time to plan on going.  Between Taylor working and my son’s commitments, there is just no time for a family vacation.  So, we decided it was time to plan the perfect summer staycation.

A staycation is when you take a couple days off and vacation at home or do fun things around your own city.  I’m going to give you some ideas of things to do at your home to create the perfect relaxing time no matter where you live.  However if you would like more info on the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, let me know and I can do a post on that.  The one rule you have to remember is you can’t find things to work on at your house.  It is easy to do when you see laundry needing to be done or the grass needing to be cut.  Hold off on the chores until your staycation is over. Seriously, don’t worry!  It will still be there when you’re off vacay.

Perfect summer staycation ideas

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

During the Day- The best thing to do when the weather is hot like this is to be near a water source.  I have never used our pool more than I have this year. Laying out by the pool is easy with these towels by Crane and Canopy.  The Fouta Towels are light weight, absorbent, and quick drying.  An unique thing about these towels are they are made of 100% Turkish cotton and they have a built in loop where you can hang the towel up after use.  With kids around, having a built in way to hang up towels is a very smart idea.  I bought the blue ones, but they also come in yellow and coral.

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I also enjoy reading when I have the time. I always take a book on vacation so why not read on your staycation?  I’m currently reading, “When Life Hands You Lululemons.”  It is written by Lauren Weisberger who also wrote, “The Devil Wears Prada.”  It is calming and takes you to new places and experiences.  This one is the perfect summer chick read.  Because you can lose yourself in the book and it’s not too heavy of a topic.  It’s about one of the characters from “The Devil Wears Prada,” Emily Charlton who was Miranda Priestly’s assistant.  She’s now in her 30s and living in LA with her husband.  She gets a call from an old friend in Connecticut.  See was happens as the story takes off from this point.

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 In the Evening- Snuggle in with these lightweight quilts by Crane and Canopy.  With this luxurious bedding, you will feel like you are in a hotel and not on a staycation at your own home.  It is a good idea to have a different set of bedding for the winter and the summer.  Plus it’s an amazing opportunity to change up your decor for the seasons.  In the winter, I use more layers and heavier bedding.  In the summer, you definitely want to go with lighter weight fabrics and less layers.  You can still make your summer ensemble look beautiful while being practical at the same time.

This seafoam green chevron stitched pattern, is luxurious and lightweight.  It is 100% premium cotton and is perfect for luxe layering.  It’s silky, smooth softness will give you that chic look you’re going for.  It is 100% naturally breathable and has no toxins.  I love how their shams have the envelope enclosure to give you that tailored look.  To see a combination of their pillows, check out my winter post using the Crane and Canopy bedding with this type of shams.  I love the green, but it comes in many colors.  This may be your favorite way to relax in the evening.

Use this luxurious lightweight summer bedding by Crane and Canopy. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

To check out some of the other colors from this bedding collection go to Crane and Canopy.

Use this luxurious lightweight summer bedding by Crane and Canopy. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Another way to relax is to create a spa-like feel in your bathroom.  You don’t have to go to the hassle of making an appointment, getting dressed, and paying for expensive spa treatments to relax and have glowing skin.  You can do that in your own home with these simple tips. These are the ways you’re going to upgrade your bathroom to a calm, relaxing spa feel.  Start with a clean bathroom.  Prior to your staycation, you want to make sure the tub is clean and there isn’t any clutter to take away from this relaxing experience.  My favorite part of this is using fresh, fluffy towels from Crane and Canopy.  These classic towels are so soft.  They are great for everyday use, but make great towels for a guest bathroom when you have company. They are made from 100% Turkish cotton.  I got the white towels, but they come in grey, taupe, green, lilac, purple, and French blue.

If you're looking for some amazing classic towels, try these from Crane and Canopy. yourstrulyjenn.com

Using the Crane and Canopy classic towels make your spa night very enjoyable. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Here are some other ways to elevate your bathroom to create a relaxing atmosphere.  You can use candles, bath salts, wine, and dim lighting to help you change the mood of the room.  Lighting candles around the room and dimming the lights make the ambience so relaxing and a little romantic.  Using bath bombs or bath salts can really up your spa game.  I love the way these make my skin feel.  I know I will come out feeling relaxed after a bath. Last but not least, having a glass of your favorite drink just tops off the bath.  This is a great time to finish some reading and have a little wine.  If you’re not a reader you could put on a relaxing playlist and just unwind from your day.  Whatever leaves you the most relaxed is key here.

Use Crane and Canopy classic towels in your bathroom for a spa-like retreat. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

When you are refreshed and relaxed you are better for yourself and others.  Hopefully these tips help you think about planning your own staycation.  Check out the Crane and Canopy Classic and Fouta towels if you’re looking for some new items to upgrade your outdoor living area and the bathroom.  Please leave me a comment and let me know where you’re from and what activities you do at your own home. Enjoy your staycation!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

7 Ways to Stay Connected to your Child at College

When that time comes in August when you drop your child off at college you don’t drive home that night and say “yes, I’m done parenting.”  That first year is a learning curve for you and your child. Trust me when I say your child needs you more than ever their first year. Here are 7 ways you can stay connected to your child while they are at college.

7 Ways to stay connected to your child while they're at college. yourstrulyjenn.com

Whenever there are dorms, apartments, and students you are bound to run into some problems. I have heard many horror stories such as roommate issues, money problems, grades, bed bugs, mold, professors not being fair, not getting the classes you need and oh so much more. Of course you will want them to try to work things out on their own if at all possible. But, there is that ever so important issue of credit that you have spent years getting just the way you want it. So you might want to make sure you check up on things through your child’s 4-6 year endeavor. Yeah I said 4-6 years. It takes the average college student 6 years to get a 4 year degree.  Only 19% of students are finishing in 4 years these days. YIKES!  I am proud to say my daughter made Dean’s List her first year!

7 ways to stay connected with your children while they are in college. Yourstrulyjenn.com

Here are some ways I have found that you can use to contact your child without seeming too pushy or clingy. You want to be able to check in without them thinking you are always spying on them.

  1.  Use facetime to check in. I used to talk to my parents every Sunday when I was in college. We had a set day to talk and kind of check in with each other. You guys can do that too if you want to have a check in day. Of course, we didn’t have facetime back then. I love being able to see each other now. It just feels more personal when you can see the person.
  2. Send care packages on holidays and special occasions. My daughter loves care packages. It really lets them know you care and are thinking of them. Send all their faves in different seasonal themes or color combos.
  3. Give their address to family members so they can write them as well. It is always fun to get cards and letters from family; especially when you’re not expecting it. You might even send a little pizza money every once in a while.
  4. Stay in contact through social media. My kids and I text and have Snapchat streaks going. This is an easy way to send pics and text back and forth with your kids and let them know the little day to day happenings. Plus, just to see a pic of your kid makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy.
  5. Plan to attend Parent’s weekend at least the first year. Plan ahead and make hotel reservations way in advance. The school has lots of events planned and you don’t want your child to be without a parent if at all possible. It is a fun weekend and they usually have a ball game and other on campus fun for all involved.
  6. Plan trips to visit and for your child to come home. It is always good to have something to look forward to on the calendar. If you don’t do this the time will get away from you and your weekends will fill up with other activities.
  7. When you see your child, connect with them like you used to. Go shopping, have a game night, go to the movies, do facials, go to the batting cages, etc… Whatever you did before they went to college will make them feel right at home again when you get back to those same activities.

7 ways to stay connected with your children while they are in college. Yourstrulyjenn.com

I hope these communication tips were helpful.  They helped me when my daughter went to live on campus.  She has an apartment now and that has a whole other set of challenges. But they will get through it just like we did.  The best thing is to communicate as much as possible so you are on the same page.  If you have other ways to communicate please share them below so they can help other families getting ready to go through this in August.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Dos and Don’ts of Entertaining

Throwing a party can be so fun if you plan way in advance. If you don’t do that it can be so overwhelming and a total nightmare.  The key is to be organized and to handle the details in stages.  I love having a party planning Notebook for my go to info. I will share mine with you in a couple posts from now so you can see how I organize all my information.  That way I  have easy access to all the info I need in one place.  There are so many things that need to be done for a party, but these are my givens. Here are some standard dos and don’t guidelines that I hold firm for each party I throw.

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

DOS

Iron all your linens ahead of time.

Bring the hostess a gift.

Have food ready to go as the first guests arrive.

Try to have it catered so you can mingle with guests.

Hors d’oeuvres need to be bite sized and easy to handle.

Pay attention to all the small details. They make a difference.

Think about different food options for various foodies (clean eaters, vegans etc…)

Try to have a bartender if you’re serving alcoholic beverages.

keep all your contacts in a party NB so you will be able to skip the middle man when hiring
vendors.

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

DON’TS

Don’t serve a recipe for the first time at a party where you’re entertaining guests.

Don’t start preparing the day of the party.  Start way in advance.

Don’t run out of food, ice, plates, or silverware.

Don’t talk to one guest for too long. Try to mingle with all guests so everyone feels special.

Don’t use plastic if possible.  The real thing is so much more elegant.

Don’t put all the food in one area.  It makes getting to food very difficult and people hate long lines.

Don’t try to see the party vision in your mind.  Set up the table designs ahead of time. Then take a picture and the set up on the party day will go super quick. You won’t have a thing to worry about when it gets crazy (and it will) the day of the party.

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I hope these entertaining party tips were helpful.  I personally love having parties and entertaining at our home.  Some people don’t and that’s fine too.  If you do enjoy it, start out small. As you learn the tricks of the trade you can get bigger and bigger with your guest list and your budget.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

Must haves for College Freshmen to Pack

Since I have a lot of friends getting ready to send their children off to college for the first time, I will be writing college related posts on Wednesdays in July. So if you have a child leaving in August you might want to check back each Wednesday this month as I will have lots of advice from how to stay in contact with your child, how to prepare your child over the summer  to leave, and some differences between dorm and apartment living. This post will discuss what must haves college freshman should pack.

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

The time has finally come for your children to gain some independence and step out on their own.  However, things will go a lot smoother if  they start this adventure with a dorm room that is well organized with the essentials. Below is a must have college checklist that will be helpful when shopping and packing.  I hope this list helps.  You should also get a list from your college’s dorm director stating what they can and cannot bring.  Each college is different.  This is the list of things my daughter took to her dorm last year.

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Bedding

comforter
twin sheets
mattress pad
pillows
area rug
alarm clock

Toiletries

towels
wash clothes
shampoo/conditioner
shower shoes
razors/toothbrush/toothpaste
other make up products
shower caddy
plastic organizer for the bathroom
laundry basket
detergent
coins for laundry
toilet bowl cleaner
bathroom cleaner
trashcan
Shower Curtain

School Supplies

Computer
Printer
TV/Cable Cord/Power Strip
Desk Lamp
Notebooks and school supplies
stamps/envelopes
batteries
flash drive
docking station/chargers

Miscellaneous

band aids
thermometer
tylenol
vitamins
mirror
camera
bike
food
clothes
broom/dustpan
dustbuster
fridge
microwave

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Don’t forget things like prescription medications, retainers, EpiPen, inhalers, topical creams or acne medicines you might take.  These are things you don’t want to be without and are sometimes forgotten last minute.

Going to college is a huge responsibility, but it is also a lot of fun.  For some of you this is your first taste of freedom and a chance to show your parents how well you can do on your own.  The best piece of advice I could give you is to take what your parents have taught you and be the person you’ve always wanted to be.  There are no preconceived stereotypes because no one knows you. So take the confidence you may have lacked in high school and go out there and make friends, study hard, earn great grades, and this just might be the best experience of your life.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Ten Habits of A Healthy Marriage

If there was ever a person that was obsessed with shoes it is my son. He loves tennis shoes.  He knows everything about them and when they are dropping new releases.  He keeps all the boxes and takes very good care of them.  Someone that is obsessed with shoes is going to make sure he takes care of them more than someone who isn’t. The same thing goes for a happy marriage. You can work at this with your significant other to have a great marriage. Now of course if you are married to the right person it naturally helps and makes things easier. In honor of my 23rd anniversary on July 8th, I thought I would share 10 habits I feel helps couples have a healthier marriage.  This is what helps us stay balanced between family and work.  I hope they can help you too.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

1. Share in the daily grind. If you take pleasure in your daily activities such as your jobs and raising a family, you will feel like you’re living life in the moment. You are making memories in the everyday happenings of your life.  You can’t just count the lavish vacations and the holidays.  Life with your spouse and family are made up of mainly the everyday occurrences.  Get used to enjoying the small things and make the most of the everyday events that mean so much.  Time really flies and before you know it your children are out of the house and you’re wondering how you spent your time.

2. Have something to look forward to. You could have a monthly group get together that you look forward to such as your supper club, monthly game night etc. Or you could have something a little more in depth like your upcoming retirement, a planned vacation or purchasing a vacation home together on the beach. No matter what the level; have something that you look forward to doing with your spouse. The anticipation of an upcoming event is the best feeling.  That excitement gives you an amazing feeling to hold onto.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

3. Go on date nights. Have set date nights planned out with your spouse. Take turns planning them and try to think about what activities would make the other person happy.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Trying to make the other person feel loved and thought about.

4. Speak your spouse’s love language. One of my favorite books is 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. To see my top ten favorite books you can check that post out here. Take the time to find out your spouse’s love language. It is a quick read and it can help you understand your spouse better to know what makes them feel loved and valued.

5. Play up each other’s strengths. Don’t push each other’s buttons or play on their weaknesses. Lean on your spouse and praise them for what they do well. Everyone likes to be complimented. Raise each other up and tell them when they do good things that make your life easier and better.

6. Put in the commitment. Invest time and effort to your marriage. Spend quality time together. If you travel for work, then make time to spend together when you return. Do whatever it takes to show your spouse that you value him/her and they are your priority.

7. Pursue your passions. Do something for yourself. Don’t lose who you are. Go out with your friends and continue to do your hobbies.  Losing yourself is the worst thing you can do in a marriage.  You want to still be an individual so you can bring something to the table in your marriage.  Be a strong person.  That is probably one of the qualities your spouse loved about you in the first place.

8. Have open communication. Communicating with your spouse can really bring you closer together along with problem solving.  Being able to problem solve is key.  If you can talk and resolve your problems you are set.

9. Be best friends. My husband is my best friend. He is the first one I want to tell good news to and the first person I run to if I have a problem. I truly have the best time with my husband. I want to be with him all the time. Even after 23 years I get excited when he comes home from work and wish he didn’t have to leave in the morning. You should love your spouse a little more than the day before.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

10. Set a good example. My parents set a great example for me as a married couple and I hope I’m setting a good example for my children. We’ve been happily married 23 years and I hope my children will find a spouse that loves them just as much as my husband loves me.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

If you are engaged or a newlywed congratulations.  I am very excited for you.  Marriage is amazing, but it is not to be taken lightly.  So many people today get caught up in planning this amazing wedding that they forget that a marriage follows that big party. The marriage is what it truly is about. Think about the things that made you fall in love in the first place and start there.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Most Popular Pinterest Pins of the Month

You guys have been loving Pinterest this month and for good reason. When summer arrives there are so many opportunities to entertain guests and have parties for the kiddos. BBQ recipes, 4th of July bashes, and pool parties all are amazing reasons to scour Pinterest for hours on end. Pinterest is such a great search engine because it comes with great visuals.  Here are your 5 most popular pins of the month. I had more than 120k viewers on my Pinterest this month.  For more of your faves, check out these boards.  These were also your favorites of the month.

guest bedrooms

Entryway Decor

Entertaining Ideas

Most popular Pinterest pictures of the month. yourstrulyjenn

Carlaaston.com

This is such a romantic bedroom.  I imagine it being in a tropical location as a second home.  I I love the wispy curtains and the throw at the end of the bed.  Who wouldn’t want to relax here at the end of the day?

Your favorite Pinterest pins of the month. yourstrulyjenn

Yourstrulyjenn.com

I used these flowers for my daughter’s graduation party.  You know I love black and white.  But luckily, her school colors are teal, black, and white.  Of course I didn’t even need to purchase any ribbon.  I already had every black and white ribbon you could imagine.

Your favorite Pinterest Pins of the month. Yourstrulyjenn

makeover.nl

This is my dream office. You guys must like it too since it is in the top 5. I love the rug and of course the dark desk and cabinets.  These colors are also practical for hiding any marks made on the desk while working.

Your favorite Pinterest pins of the month. yourstrulyjenn.com

Stylemepretty.com  by Theo Milo Photography

This tablescape was actually inspired by an upcoming election.  No matter what the inspiration, it is just breathtaking.  The colors are beautiful and I thought about using it as inspiration for a 4th of July centerpiece.  I think it would be perfect for that.

Your favorite Pinterest pins of the month. yourstrulyjenn

thelilypadcottage

No matter what month it is, a Christmas picture is always welcome as a top 5 pick.  Kelly does Christmas better than anyone. This picture was a hit on Pinterest last year.  It got so many hits and was a favorite on Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Housewalk.  You can check out all 32 homes on the tour at the link above. Kelly’s home is number 18.  If you missed my Christmas tour from last year you can check mine out here as well.

That is it for this month’s top 5 Pinterest picks.  I love the statistics behind the blog and love sharing them with you guys.  If there is anything else that you guys are interested in knowing or topics that you are curious about please leave a comment below.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Modern Outdoor Kitchen Reveal

Happy Friday!  Since my son is out for the summer I have been getting the dates and days a little messed up, but I still know when the weekends are here. I’m glad you came back today to check out the final reveal of my modern outdoor kitchen. If you missed the first part of the outdoor reveal you can check that out here. I hope you enjoy this one.  You can definitely use it for some inspiration if you are redoing your yard or you’re just looking for a couple updates.  You’d be amazed what a couple pillows, some flowers and an umbrella can do to a yard.

Those of you who have been on my blog a long time know my signature colors are black, white and blush pink.  That is what I chose to decorate the outside with this year.  However, last year I used black and a lime green color.  To check out last year’s colors you can catch that here.

Modern Outdoor Kitchen Reveal

Modern black and white backyard oasis with Frontgate chaise lounges. Yourstrulyjenn

These chaise lounges and cushions were purchases from Frontgate and have held up nicely.  They are so comfortable that I often fall asleep outside.


Modern black and white backyard oasis with Frontgate chaise lounges. Yourstrulyjenn

All the outdoor appliances came from East Coast Leisure.  The grill is a Bull Barbecue Angus Grill with a 30″ door and drawer combo.  We also have a fridge and sink.  The stain on the pergola is Special Walnut.  we went with a medium shade to go with our furniture and roof color on our house.

Frontgate chaise lounges and outdoor kitchen reveal. yourstrulyjenn

The black and white throw blankets and lumbar pillows are from Target.   They are the perfect accessories for those chilly nights when the sun goes down.

Modern black and white backyard oasis with pink accents. Yourstrulyjenn

These pink salad dishes are the new ones from Target’s Opal House collection.  The white dinner plates are my favorite from the Emma set at Pottery Barn.  They are classic and I use them as a base for all my tablescapes.

Modern black and white backyard oasis with pink accents. Yourstrulyjenn


Modern black and white backyard oasis with pink accents. Yourstrulyjenn

This gorgeous flower arrangement is from Grandin Road, the pillows are from West Elm,  and the lanterns are from Pier 1.

Outdoor console table styled for entertaining. yourstrulyjenn

I love how these baskets from Target give this console table a finished look. In the winter I use these in my mudroom for gloves and hats.

Outdoor console table styled for entertaining. yourstrulyjenn

This console table was purchased from Grandin Road.

This is the perfect seating area for entertaining guests. yourtrulyjenn

This seating area is perfect for entertaining guests.

This square fire pit was built for backyard entertaining.

The marble on top of the fire pit and outdoor kitchen was purchased from Rock Solid in VA Beach, Virginia.  I don’t remember the exact slab we used, but my consultant was Courtney and she is amazing.  If you’re in the Hampton Roads area and want her contact information just let me know.


This square fire pit was built for backyard entertaining.

The inside glass pieces were purchased from American fire Glass and are 1/4″ black.  We love making s’mores and hanging out by the fire when we swim at night. The fire pit really does help extend the season well into the fall.

This table is ready for backyard entertaining by the pool.

 

This table is ready for backyard entertaining by the pool.

I love that the outdoor area also has a fan and lights on the 4 columns for using at night.  The lights were bought from Ferguson.  Then of course we have flood lights on the house and up lighting in the mulch beds.

This outdoor oasis is ready for entertaining guests. yourstrulyjenn

Adding landscaping around your entertaining area can give it that detail to finish the look. If you want to go the extra mile and take on this job you may want to hire a landscaper who knows what plants, shrubs and trees grow best in your area. We did this and it was the right decision.  We love the finished product.


Entertain guests in this backyard oasis. yourstrulyjenn
I had a great time styling this outdoor space for you. Even though my pillows are for the outdoors, I do bring them on my covered porch after using them just to keep them in the best condition as possible.  You don’t have to, but I feel that sun, rain, and other damage destroys them quite quickly.  I do leave my cushions out there unless there is a huge storm where I think they are going to blow away.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Our Outdoor Kitchen Reveal Part 1

In early 2017, I designed a pergola with outdoor kitchen and fire pit.  My hope was to add value to our home and to provide extra entertaining space. We would like to live in this home until our son graduates and then move closer to my husband’s office.  Today I am showing the construction portion of our outdoor kitchen reveal and posting most of the styled backyard on Friday. I would love for you to come back and see the finished product then.

I wanted this to be completed for my daughter’s prom pictures and graduation party in June 2017. We started the project in March 2017 with a 6 week projected timeline. Then a week for my landscaper to come in and do grading and adding flowerbeds around the new areas.

Outdoor entertaining area great for guests. yourstrulyjenn

via pinterest

Here was my inspiration picture I used to help me design the pergola and get an idea of what I liked. I used it to show my builder the style I liked and then she made a rendering to scale of the design. From there, she started hiring out contractors and I started picking materials and products for my project.

Building the pergola for outdoor kitchen area. yourstrulyjenn

Everything for this project was custom for my specific design. All the details were chosen through me and finalized through my builder Tara, owner of Preston Homes. Let’s just say the options were endless. There was so much to choose from that it really was like designing something for a project inside your home. I really do think of our outdoor space as an extension of our square footage in the home. So of course I wanted to carry over a similar style.

Updating the backyard with outdoor kitchen entertaining area. yourtrulyjenn

I decided to take the project in the black and white color palette. Some of my accessories were already that color and I liked it so I wanted to continue down that path. Here are some pictures of the beginning of the project. We went out of the country in the middle of the project so I did my best with the pictures I had.

Building a square fire pit for a unique entertaining area. yourstrulyjenn

Here is a sneak peak of the finished product from Friday’s post.  I would love for you to come back and see the backyard styled and ready for the final reveal.

Outdoor kitchen entertaining area and Frontgate chair lounges. Yourstrulyjenn

Thanks for stopping in, I can’t wait to show the final reveal on Friday.  Make sure to come back to see that post.  It is one of my favorites for the whole year.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

How to Hide Outlets (Design Mistakes That Annoy us)

Do you have those design problems in your home that just annoy you?  I think one of the worst ones is cords and outlets showing all over the place.   If you have a newer home, hopefully your builder got creative with outlet placement. If you live in an older home you may have to get creative on how to hide outlets using smart decor placement.

Take this console table in the hallway.  I really don’t want a whole bunch of light switches and outlets showing.  Especially if I’m showing a house for sale or taking photos of something. I want to hide the outlets the best I can.  I remember I had just remodeled a room and my sister said, “I love everything you did, but there is one thing bothering me.  That fire detector just looks out of place.”  I had painted our walls Kendall Charcoal and the ceiling was white. However, the fire detector was a very yellowish cream color.  Now it was already there from the previous owner and the ceilings are 24′, but it’s something she clearly noticed.  So people do notice out of place things, they just might not say anything.

I love the new pop up outlets in counters of new homes.  They are also getting so creative with the outlet placement.  I've seen them in drawers for your curling irons and blow dryers in the bathroom which is brilliant. Also, in the kitchen, I've seen several outlets in the pantry so you can put your toaster and coffee pots in the pantry instead of cluttering your counters.  If you are getting ready to build talk to your builder about outlet placement and really think about where you want to put things during the building process.  It just takes a little planning.  

Look at these pictures. This decor is still nice, but you can see everything the builder did.  Now of course it is important to have a light switch at the top of the staircase for that foyer.  Sometimes you can’t get around it so that’s where your smart decorating comes in.  Watch how I made small changes so you couldn’t see the outlet or the light switch.

This picture shows that you can use design tricks to cover outlets and light switches.

I like this option a lot better.  It hides all the blemishes that I want to hide and the outlets and switches are still very accessible to me if I need to get to them. It’s practical and pretty. All I did was use some height and some smart decorating to solve this problem that annoyed me.  Think about what annoys you in your house and what ways you can disguise it with small decor changes.

This picture shows that you can use design tricks to cover outlets and light switches.

For those of you that might be building a new home, there are some really neat things out there in terms of outlets. I love the new pop up outlets in counters of new homes. They are flush and you push them and they pop up out of the counter.  They are also getting so creative with the outlet placement.  I’ve seen them in drawers in the bathroom for your curling irons and blow dryers which is brilliant. Also, in the kitchen, I’ve seen several outlets in the bottom of cabinets so they are hidden.  They are also putting them in the pantry so you can put your toaster and coffee pots in the pantry instead of cluttering your counters.  Talk to your builder about outlet placement and really think about where you want to put things during the building process.  It just takes a little planning.

I hope this simple demonstration gave you some motivation to go and fix things that are annoying you in your own home.  A couple simple changes fixed my design problem and I’m much happier with the result.  Good luck guys.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

My Podcasts Recommendations

I have really been loving some amazing podcasts.  Of course I love business related ones that teach me something, but I really love the inspiring shows that give me a great start to the day. They give me all the feels. Those are the ones I’m going to share with you.  If you are looking for some motivation or just some peace and calming vibes; you should check these out.  Here are my podcasts recommendations.  I hope you find them up lifting.

I started to listen to podcasts sort of by accident. There is a window of time where I have to wait in the line to pick up my son from school.  If I don’t get there early, I will be caught behind the buses and you literally can’t go anywhere.  I just choose to avoid that and get there as early as I can. During this time, I usually work on my blog, but there are some days that I read and listen to podcasts.  Try to think of a time that you could carve out of the day for yourself.  These really help because they are so positive and encouraging. They get you in the right frame of mind.  You could listen to them while you get ready, on your way to work, or the horrible rush hour on your way home.

My Podcasts recommendations

Happier by Gretchen Rubin- Have you ever read The Happiness Project?  Gretchen is the author and she is truly the expert on all things happy.  she really has a passion for helping people find their happiness in life and her podcast shows that. It is short and sweet and she talks about things that relate to all of us in our daily experiences.  I think you will really like this one.

The Chalene Show- You probably know her as Chalene Johnson from the Piyo commercials for her weight loss and exercise workout DVDs.  She is very peppy and a strong business woman.  I had been following her on Instagram for a while before I even knew she did podcasts.  She is very down to earth and so encouraging that you just want to listen.  Don’t worry, she doesn’t try to sell you her stuff.

Dear Sugars- Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond give you a dose of tough love but with empathy.  No question is too dark or too deep.  If you are feeling a little lost or need some direction, it feels like they are talking directly to you.

Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations-  Weren’t you sad when Oprah stopped hosting her show?  It was the end of an era.  I feel like these podcasts are somewhat an extension of her show.  She interviews some amazing guests and it feels like her in the old days. Of course it is great material that gives you such insight as everything Oprah does is quality stuff.

I hope you find these podcasts interesting and enjoyable.  Everyone has different tastes and likes different topics.  If you have podcasts that you think I might like, please leave a comment below.  I would love for you to share this list with someone you think would also enjoy these podcasts.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

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