A Funny Story and a Great Deal on Chairs…

Dolce checking out my new chair...


Finally, I had found the PERFECT chair for my cocktail area…the only problem was I had my heart set on five and could only find four. Ironically, I found a table in the living room that I decided to try. It was oval and I had always envisioned round…but hey, I decided to give it a try thanks to my friend Margie’s suggestion and guess what? Yep, it was perfect. The shape has grown on me and I actually really like it. 

And…now that I really like it, guess what. Yep, I found a 5th and you’ll never believe this story. I got my chairs at HomeGoods and called all the stores within a 2 hour radius to see if I could find a 5th chair. Of course I couldn’t. Then I asked the Queen of Shopping, my friend Margie, to look in stores in Florida. And did she have any luck? Nope, none. I had resigned myself to four chairs. 

Fast-forward to this past Sunday when I get an e-mail from one of my very favorite bloggers Sarah, aka Thrifty Decor Chick, with a post she’s written about a great site called Wuslu. You can read more about the site here, but in a nutshell they have one featured product a day that they sell for a super great price for that day only. Additionally, the featured product is not revealed until that day. 

BUT… Thrifty Decor Chick had an inside look at Friday’s pick (May 28th) and I’ll bet you can’t guess what it is… 

Can you believe it? IT'S MY CHAIR!


Imagine my surprise! And the best part is it’s selling for $138.95 which was my cost at HomeGoods. But, you say…shipping will be outrageous. Nope…its $5.00. Seriously, shipping is $5.00. You can’t beat that! 

After looking at it closer, I think it is slightly different from mine in three, maybe four ways. Can you see the differences? 

I spy three, maybe four differences...do you?


Did you see these?


 The arrow on the first chair shows a side seam that is not present on the other chair. Additionally, the pattern runs in an opposite direction. See the pattern on each chair? Look at the sides, back and top of seat. Third, my chair, which is on the right, has three tufted buttons on the back…I don’t think there are any buttons on the one to the left. Fourth, although I’m not sure about this one, my chairs have a soft low-cut plush fabric…it looks to me that the one on the left might be a printed canvas, although the color does look the same. Not 100% sure about that though.  

For me, the differences are too big…it would drive me nuts if it didn’t match perfectly, but for you…if you want to try them in your home – I don’t think you can go wrong! I should add that I am not being paid to say this…just wanted to pass a good deal along and share the story.  Amy xoxox  

Creating a Cocktail Area: Part II Selecting furniture

It's time to get this room some furniture!


Yesterday I shared how I selected the draperies for my new cocktail area and today I’m so excited to show you how it’s developed so far! A few months ago while shopping at one of my all time favorite stores – Homegoods, I stumbled upon the perfect chairs for my cocktail area. I had hung the draperies a few month prior and had yet to find the perfect chair and yet lo and behold…there they were. Well, there two of them anyway… and they were beautiful. I promptly bought them and called surrounding stores locating two more.    

I could have not have found a chair that matches any better...I love them!


Beanie adores the new chairs too...


and so does Angel... it's their new favorite place to unwind


I needed a table, but just could not find one I liked. I wanted it  high as the top of the chair seat or maybe even a bit higher. I also wanted it big enough for 5 chairs, just in case I miraculously discovered one more…more on that tomorrow. In the meantime, I borrowed a table from the living room and I actually found it to work quite well. It’s an oval shape and looks quite unique. I like it…what do you think?    

Here is a view of the table from the living area. It's morning and the sun is shining in...


If you walked through my front door and looked to your left, this is what you would see. I put one of the mirrors I previously had on the adjacent wall above a fern and placed a chess set on the table...


To the left is a desk that belonged to my husband's Grandmother. It still needs to be accessorized properly, but I love it in this corner. I placed a small crystal lamp that I got at a yard sale for $15 on top and in the evening it sends a soft gentle glow to that corner of the room


Here’s the room standing in front of the living room sofa. Eventually, the fan is going up stairs and I’ll hang a pendant fixture over the table and chairs. I also want to add an area rug and valances to the french doors, but even though it’s not complete I must say… it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Tomorrow I have a “I can’t believe it” story and a source for to get the same chairs at a great price… xoxox Amy   

Creating A Cocktail Area – Part I, Selecting Draperies

Ready-Made lined draperies from Z Gallerie, and yes, that's dolce and sami checking it out. Nosy aren't they?


I have an area that is kind of sorta attached to my living room and shamefully it has never been used. Even worse…it’s never had furniture in it except for when we set up card tables for a occaisional graduation party or two. I have always envisioned it as a cocktail area; a place that guests can spill into for a cozy conversation or two. Of course if it’s a family gathering, that conversation may be a bit livelier, haha! Family is always entertaining isn’t it?   

I don’t have a before photo of the room, but below is a “before” photo of the dining room that’s nearby with the previous owners furniture. The room I’m working on had  dirty white walls, blue/grey carpet and the same floral draperies… at least that is, until I moved in. They came down the second I took a breath. Actually, the day I moved in.  We later replaced the blue carpet with hardwood and painted the walls gold. That was as far as we got until recently.    

Picture dirty white walls, those floral valances and yuk gray-blue carpet...that was what we started with. It still makes me shudder


 Here’s was my thought process…   

  • I want the two rooms to flow…the paint is already the same  and I want the same fabric for all the windows in both rooms as well. This will help create visual flow and continuity between the spaces. 
  • Draperies for three sets of french doors and 5 windows (10 panels) =  pricy
  • To stay within a reasonable budget, I need to stick with ready-made
  • Because there are so many windows, the draperies need to be subtle enough that they don’t take-over the look of the room
  • I needed to find lined draperies not only for a consistent appearance from outside looking in, but to protect the fabric from the sun that comes in every morning.
  • My color scheme is gold, chocolate, and creme.
  • I have 9 foot ceilings and want 108″ long draperies so they puddle like the one’s in the Dining Room
  • I need to order two extra panels to have classic valances made for the 6 doors (3 sets of french doors).
  • The more I spend on drapes, the less I have to use somewhere else…I need a deal 🙂



TIP: Getting a “deal” does not mean sacrificing style or look. It means looking deeper and sometimes longer than normal to find exactly what you want at a great price. NEVER sacrifice the look for the price. Be patient and you will find it. Kind of like that baseball movie…build it and they come…or something like that – haha!    

I have three of these windows plus french doors to work with. The windows are getting ready-made panels and in the future, the doors are getting custom valances.



Although the future cocktail area and the living room have many similarities: identical windows, matching french doors and walls painted with Gold Buff from Home Depot, there is one significant difference. The cocktail area has beautiful crown molding and the living area does not. Since adding crown molding is not on the current agenda, I had a problem with the length of the draperies.  I wanted my drapes hung close to the top of the ceiling and for both rooms to have the same size puddle on the floor. The crown molding put a bit of a crimp in this because it means the rods in the cocktail area will be installed several inches lower than the one’s in the living room.   


The solution actually was quite simple. In the room with the crown moulding, I slipped the rod through the sleeve in the top of the drapery…   

Under the crown moulding the drapes are hung directly from the rod using the sleeve of the drapery



In the other room that didn’t have crown moulding I attached the draperies to the rod with rings. The rings gave me an extra few inches or so of length which allowed me to hang it higher and closer to the ceiling, but still have the same puddle effect.  Obviously, It would have been nice to just add crown moulding, but it isn’t on my list of priorities right now and truth be told,  I have to say I really like it.   

In the main living area, the drapes are hung with clips; adding a few precious inches for a quick solution



Here you can see the difference in this photo. The draperies make such a difference don't you think?



Here's another shot...tomorrow, I'll show photo's of the furniture! I am falling in love with this room...


The fan will be replaced eventually, and the mirrors have already been relocated…it’s a work in progress, but what do you think so far? Amy xoxoxo

5 Tips for Planting Annuals in Flower Boxes, Planters and Urns.

Cascading Flowers in a Flower Box


Every year around Mother’s Day I plant a few flower boxes, planters and urns with annuals for the deck. A gardener I am not, but I find that by following these 5 simple rules I always like the end result.   

  1. Start with Good Soil. Using a base of good soil such as Miracle-Gro Organic Moisture Control makes for happy plants. Plants will thrive in good soil making it easier to grow healthy lush plants all summer if you are diligent about watering each day.
  2. Select Plants According to Location. My deck gets early to mid afternoon sun so I make sure to select plants that will thrive in that environment.
  3. Create a Color Palette as you would when Decorating your Home. I wanted more of a wild flower look this year with a variety of colors and chose purple, pink, white, orange and red ones. It would be stunning to go with just one or two colors as well. It’s fun to change it up each year. The key is to stay true to your theme and be consistent throughout your yard.
  4. Include Plants of Varying Heights. When planting window boxes place tall plants in the back, medium in the middle and vining/draping plants in the front and on sides. Round planters and urns should have the height in the center, then medium plants and lower vining/draping plants around the rim.
  5. Consider the Texture. A mix of delicate flowers and large pedaled one’s work in tandem providing a great contrast. Add a tall sleek spike or two, trailing vines and greenery with interesting leaves to pull it all together.

Here’s what I planted yesterday evening…  

It's about selecting a color scheme and adding varying height and textures. I planted two of these flower boxes for the deck rail.


The same principles apply to an urn...


and planters such as this one that sits on a table.


In a hurry? Place a pre-planted hanging basket inside a barrel or urn. Snip off the wire or plastic hangar and guests will never suspect it's not planted. I found this huge gorgeous basket for under $40.00 and couldn't pass it up. It's well over 3 ft wide and fits perfectly inside this great rolling wooden barrel I found last year at the end of the season for $5.00. I need to snip the wire off this weekend. Can you see it?


I think it took me about 45 minutes to plant these and I’ll enjoy them all summer long. I located them so I can see them when I’m washing dishes, eating at the kitchen table or watching TV. Of course the best view is when grilling and eating along side of them all summer long. Flowers = Happiness don’t you think? Plant some today! xoxox Amy

Fresh Flowers

Lilacs from right outside my front door.


Have you looked around your home today? I walked outside this week and discovered my Lilac Bush had bloomed. Oh Yay! I love the smell and the look of freshly cut lilacs. We had one when I was young and I used to love to cut some branches and wrap them in a wet paper towel with foil to give to my favorite teachers. Go ahead, call me a suck-up, but it made me happy even back then to bring a smile to someone with something as simple as a bouquet of fresh flowers from the yard. 

Don’t forget to snip some fresh flowers this spring for yourself or someone special…Amy xoxoxo

Tea Parties, Toads, Baby Mockingbirds, Brown Rice Tortillas and Baby Great Horned Owls…


I really am getting work done here in Florida, but there are a ton of distractions from Mother Nature today. I am in continued awe of the beautiful things surrounding me here in Florida…I stayed within a 50 foot radius today and saw some pretty cool things! See if you agree…  

This little guy actually greeted us when we got home the other night...


Isn't he cute? Thanks for the greeting Mr. Toad!


To kick-off the afternoon, Loring stopped by to visit and invited me to a fabulous tea party


I'm pretty sure we solved some the world problems during this conversation


and I'm thinking I need a few sets of this children's silverware from Ikea to use with appetizers at my house - it has tiny forks, spoons (2 sizes) and knives...isn't that a great idea? You can get service for 4 for around $5.00


Look inside this thorny Bougainvillea bush. Is this Baby Mockingbird not adorable? Just to let you know I risked my life for this shot...mamma was about to dive bomb me. She was not happy


For lunch we had my new favorite dish. I am telling you it is to die for...low calorie, with a bit of crunch, juicy and healthy. Plus: it's ALL organic. We simply toasted the tortillas via a frying pan in grape seed oil, spread on a bit of Vegenaise (like mayo) and filled with a corn and black bean salsa from Wal Mart. Delicious!


Last time I was here, two (obviously mated) Great Horned Owls were pretty guarded about this Banyan Tree. Today, it cradles a couple of surprises...


Look waaaayyyyy up at the top of the tree on the end of a branch...


Do you see four sets of baby owl eyes looking down? Their adorable little heads followed us with their eyes wherever we walked...


Here Mom (or dad) is on the right, with her two babies to the left. One is being pretty brave now that mom is sitting next to her, the other is barely peeking her ears up...


The babies don't fly and have really soft looking feathers. Do you see his little head looking at me?


I just can't get enough of them, they are that cute...do you see mom's ears on the left? A storm was brewing, so their feathers are blowing with the wind.


 Okay, it’s time to get back to work…hope you discovered something fun today! xoxoxo Amy   

Short on Storage Space? No Problem!

If you take a few minutes to dissect these Pottery Barn shelves, you can get a ton of great storage ideas!

My friend Margie was showing me some clever ideas she had snipped from magazines and catalogs the other night and one in particular really caught my eye. She has a great ritual of clipping ideas and putting them into binders with plastic sleeves for reference at a later date. I used to do this all the time when I had my design business. It was a great tool to share with clients to get an idea of their likes and dislikes, especially when working with a couple. It’s a great habit to develop, especially for future decorating projects  

Below (and above) is the photo that really caught my eye…if you’re short on storage space and have room for a simple shelving unit, there are some really clever ideas within the examples of one shelf unit found at Pottery barn Check it out…  

I really love the different uses they show for the baskets on the shelf. They're used for storing wine, books, magazines, and water bottles. You could also stack dishes or store linens for the table. The ideas are endless.

And look at these clear vases and pitchers storing lemons and fruit...it's convenient and pretty. Use clear glass containers to display a group of items with color that adds to the charm of your decor.

Look at the dishes. They are pretty and functional...ready to use. There are coffee cups around a french press, glasses layered with a wood tray (very smart), Utensils in clear glasses and various dishes included a set of stacked plates. Did you notice the wine rack next to the stacked plates...

This was the photo in the catalog, the photo above was used online. I love that this tray of glasses is ready to pick up and transport. And look at the white ceramic container holding utensils. Very clever. It would be easy to spray paint an inexpensive vase a color to match your decor

A wire basket is adorable, provides a nice change of texture and holds a daily newspaper and mail

The key to these shelves is threefold. To get this look AND successfully store lots of items here are some tips…  

Concentrate on the color scheme, use of texture and balance.  

  1. COLOR: They basically used white, natural wood tones, stainless and glass as a back drop for anything that went on the shelves. Additionally, anything stored fit with the color scheme and became an accent or was placed inside a basket. 
  2. TEXTURE: The use of wicker, stainless, ceramic, glass and glass also provided a bit of nature and glam.
  3. BALANCE: It’s important when arranging a shelf to balance items. Note that the natural wood color sprinkled throughout the shelves as is the use of white ceramics and glass items. Color, texture and the feeling of weight is equally dispersed.

It’s really fun to do. Arrange everything, step back, and look. If something “feels” wrong, move it around.  

Have a great day! xoxoxo Amy

The Ikea Adventure: Part 2


Welcome to Ikea in Ft. Lauderdale. We shopped here for 4 hours the day before and are about to spend about 6 more hours here...time just seems to fly in this place.


Yesterday I confessed to getting so wrapped in exploring and shopping at Ikea on Monday that I forgot to take photo’s to share with you. I also promised to take photo’s during my return trip on Tuesday afternoon… 

It was a beautiful day as we turned into the parking lot...and of course I had my trusty camera ready to go! And do you think I took some great photo's in addition to this one and the photo above?


Nope. Not one. Are you kidding me? Nope, nada, none. I am telling you that at 8:30 pm we had three flat beds and two full-size carts filled to the hilt and were running like crazy women down the aisles in the warehouse trying to pick and pull everything we needed for the salon before Ikea closed at 9:00 pm. You know I love Ikea and I will be back soon I’m sure, but here are my two issues. 

  1.  If something is not available, they need to note it on the showroom floor so you are not totally frustrated surprised when you go to the warehouse to buy it. Yes, I know there are computers to check stock, with everything we had to purchase, that would have added another couple of hours – time we didn’t have.
  2. Employees are not very helpful in the warehouse. Two or three times a guy tried to take our cart thinking we abandoned it and when he found out we had 5 overloaded carts full of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that we were ABOUT TO PURCHASE. Did he ask if we needed assistance? Nope. Did he offer to take it up to the cashier or store it for us? Nada. I have to say at that point, I was a bit miffed and when he acted like our FIVE carts of MERCHANDISE that we were going to BUY to support his PAYCHECK were in his way…I had to bite my tongue. I guarantee you I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

Anyway, below is what the Excursion looks like at the moment after taking quite a while to scan and pack everything. I think we left the parking lot at around 10:20 pm. I should add that we were verrrry productive  and can’t wait to share photo’s of everything put together. 

We loaded everything into an Excursion which has a ton of room...


As you can see from the rear of the car this morning...it's pretty full. In fact, I couldn't open the door to the left for fear that things would fall out!


Although I couldn't open the door on the other side, I did get this open...


Anyway, again …sorry there aren’t more photo’s. To make up for it I’m going to do another post about some great shelving ideas I saw in a catalog! Stay tuned! xoxoxo Amy

The Problem with Ikea…

Shopping at Ikea takes time. Lots of time.


Yesterday I ended my blog saying that I was off to  Ikea and would take lots of photos along the way so you could see all the fabulous things with me. We left for the Ft. Lauderdale store around 4:00 pm and as we pulled in around 5:00, Margie lamented that we probably wouldn’t have enough time to explore and pick-up everything that she needed. I laughed… and then commented that certainly 4 hours is enough time for one store. We had a list in hand and knew pretty much what we wanted to get. 

First though, since I’ve never really been through the whole store, she wanted to show it to me through her eyes. Margie by the way is one the most creative and organizational minded people I know and I was really looking forward to it.. With you in mind, as I got out of the car, I said, “I need to take lots of pictures to share on the blog”. That said, here is my photo essay… 


Did you enjoy it? Kind of like the story about The Emperor’s  Clothes, isn’t it? I am sooooooo bad. I was so wrapped up in exploring, I totally forgot to take a single photo. Not a single one did I take. In fact it was so bad that at 9:00 they ushered us out the door and we are sooooooo totally not done that we have to go back to today, which is good news for you because I am sure I will take lots of photos, I think…haha! xoxoxo

Salamanders – (really Anoles or Lizards), Berries and Paint…

Happy Monday! I’m working in Florida all week and thought I’d continue my photo essays throughout the week! On Sunday, I spent a lot of time at a local hair salon under construction. We were a bit distracted along the way…   

Do you see what we saw? Hint: Look for two cute little lizards or anoles


 The thing I love about being here in Florida is yes, I get lots of work done, come up with tons of creative ideas to make new products for you, work on interesting projects etc…but most of all I see and learn so many interesting (and useful) things. It reminds me to stop, look and enjoy my surroundings each day. That’s something I don’t do nearly enough. With that said, here’s a glimpse into snapshots of my day yesterday…   

See them now? Sneaky little things arent' they?


I think it's so amazing how well this guy blends!


This is the green one before he realizes we are spying on him...I am told he is native to Florida


And the brown one after he scampered a few feet to a new branch...This one is actually a cuban anole.


But silly me steps on something crunchy sounding and he get's a little upset and telling me to back the heck up!


Apparently, Mr. Green Jeans has his friend's back...haha!


We didn't get a mile down the road before the car suddenly stops and my friend jumps out of the car. I look to my right and this what I see...


And straight ahead I see this... (that's Margie who I'm staying with this week)


And soon she shows me this...mulberries! They are delicious. Perfect for a quick road side snack!


This is why it's always a good idea to keep some wipes in the car, haha!


Margie is helping a friend open a new Hair Salon in her community and I've been helping a bit too. The black and white tile was existing and we chose a soft purple for the walls. It's really a great color, very neutral and clients will look fabulous!


The colors are a bit off in this photo, it's all purple but looks blue...but look up at the celing...we didn't like the dark painted ceiling ending at the top and the "feel" that the high ceilings gave to the space with the light purple going all the way up. We gave new instructions to the painter to bring the eggplant ceiling down a bit...I should have photo's of that later this week! I think it will be much more intimate.


This is the shampoo and color area...we determined where existing shelving would go and came up a few creative solutions for storage...this area should be completed as well later this week!


That’s it for now…running off later this afternoon to Ikea in Ft. Lauderdale and Whole Foods. I’m will take a few photo’s along the way for you of course! Stay tuned! xoxox