Life’s a Beach

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Hello there :-)  What have you been up to?  It’s been one doozy of a year and I realize it’s been a while since I posted.  With a busy work schedule, far too many projects to keep track of and the ease of other platforms like Instagram to satisfy a creative/content craving in a pinch, I’ve found myself moving away from my little home blog base and catch myself missing it often.  I think I psych myself into thinking every post needs to be an elaborate tutorial, an over-the-top shoot that took weeks to curate or something crazy, but sometimes simple is better.  In the words of Don Draper himself, “make it simple, but significant.”  See you next week for a little catch up.  Until then, I hope you find a little down time for some summer breeze and a good book at the beach.

Cheers!

Meg

{photo via Gray Malin}

I’m Back!

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Huge apologies for being MIA this past week, but my computer that I’ve had since design school finally kicked it.  And by “kicked it” I mean that it took 90 minutes to resize 10 photos last week, I could feel my stomach ulcer attacking my insides and I was about to be hairless if I didn’t start PULLING OUT MY HAIR in frustration and stress.  I finally caved and got a brand spanking new computer that feels like absolute lightning and my life is complete again.  Transferring files, fonts and contents has been a bit of a process while trying to keep up with holiday madness already happening at work, but I’m back with some SUPER fun content lined up for this week and next.  I can’t wait to share :-)  Thanks for your patience!

PS: This image reminds me that my favorite time of the year is almost here, gets me excited to wrap presents for loved ones and gets my creative juices flowing.  Isn’t it so wonderfully simplistic and just perfect?! Image via.

Feeling Blue

Surfers Manhattan Beach Pier 3

Surfers Manhattan Beach Pier

Surfers Manhattan Beach Pier 3

Surfers Manhattan Beach Pier 2

Last week was super emotional… To the nth degree.  Over the course of the past 2 weeks, we’ve had some big personal obstacles and I really hadn’t been that down in the dumps in a while.  Do you ever have those weeks when you just feel blue?  Thankfully, the 4th of July rolled around at just the right time and instead of throwing a big bash like we’d originally planned, we opted to spend time together – just the two of us and a few close friends for the fireworks.  It really was all that I needed to feel whole again.

A few weekends ago, Jake was out of town and I biked up to the Manhattan Beach pier alone.  I parked my bike, grabbed a sandwich at my favorite deli and walked the pier until I could walk no further.  It’s funny and so cliche that some of the simplest things really are what make you the happiest, but that day, I was completely overcome with joy and gratitude.  My heart and soul felt full and I was bursting with sheer bliss.  Some days when we’re doing the daily entrepreneur grind, feeling like we’re scraping by and wondering when we’re ever going to start saving for a house… or a wedding, I forget why we live here.  Days like this day at the Manhattan Beach pier remind me why I moved here and why it’s all worth the wait.

Here’s to simplifying, getting past the daily noise and filling your life with gratitude.  Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

 

TGIF!

tumblr_m85f6tm0C21qlu8g1o1_1280Came across this a while back on Pinterest and it always helps me feel a little better when I need it most.  This week was tough.  My mom and aunt were visiting last week and having them in town was SO nice.  It’s really hard not having any family within 2,500 miles and saying goodbye only gets harder over the years.  Coming home to an empty house on Monday after work felt a lot lonelier than I’d anticipated it would and even little Lily couldn’t fill the void (although she tried with tons of cute snuggles and meows).  Fast forward 2 days and I’m drowning in a sea of work in preparation for what feels like a million projects before I leave for a week on vacation.  SUPER excited to go on vacation, but trying to squeeze in a TON beforehand to make up for the time I’m going to be gone has been stressful.  Do you ever feel that way too?

Anyway!  I’m excited for a weekend with my love and my kitty in an amazingly clean and adorable backyard that my mom and aunt so generously spruced up last week.  Can’t wait to share some images soon :-)  In the meantime, have a very happy weekend!

xoxo

Meg

Style At Home

Paul Katie Hackworth Rue

People ask me all of the time to define my style and I have a really hard time putting it into words.  Some days I’m really into mid century modern while on others, I’m craving a transitional home fit for a vineyard in Napa.  Beach chic?  Vintage chic?  Eclectic?  Those all seem so broad and non-descriptive.  When I came across this image in the November edition of Rue, I could not stop staring at it.  It’s the dining room of Paul and Katie Hackworth and is everything I love about design all in one space: bright, airy, crisp, neutral, white exposed beam ceilings, a farmhouse table with amazing patina, wingback upholstered end chairs with nailhead detail juxtaposed against the chic and timeless Philippe Stark Louis Ghost Chair… and of course a little splash of life in fresh greenery clippings throughout.  Their “modern farmhouse” is completely and utterly perfect.  The home’s comfort-meets-clean-lines aesthetic left me speechless and I find myself repeatedly pulling up the images whenever I’m suffering a design block and need to push the restart button.  It truly is simplicity at its finest with a real soul and a perfectly imperfect lived-in feel.  I can’t wait to have a house of my own one of these days and theirs leaves me truly optimistic and excited for the future.

Check out their Rue feature here and prepare to fall in love.

Pear Salad

Following a weekend traditionally made up of non-stop eating, I figured we could all use a salad ;-) Exhibit A:

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Believe it or not, until a few months ago I “hated” pears. I’d tried them as a little girl, decided they were “gross” and then never tried them again for probably 15+ years.  I can not believe what I’ve been missing!!!  When searching around for cocktail ideas for work, I kept coming across pear recipes and decided to overcome my ridiculous fear of pears and surprise, surprise… I completely fell in love with them!  You guys, I’m SO happy about this… I think they might be my new favorite fruit and I crave them constantly.  When I had a few left over from shooting this, I decided to put them to work in a new salad and figured it would be a nice change of pace from my go-to greens.  I found this recipe for a Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette (yes, it’s even better than it sounds) and knew that the flavors would pair insanely well with pear.

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

5 oz. Mixed Greens (I used spring mix + arugula)
3 oz. Goat Cheese
1 Pear
1/2 cup Glazed Walnut Pieces (I used Fresh Gourmet brand – available in the salad or crouton aisle)

Ingredients for Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions

1.  Combine all ingredients for dressing until thoroughly mixed. I like to put everything in a mason jar and shake it up to get an even consistency. This also makes it easy to save leftovers :-)

2.  Combine spring mix, walnuts and goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and mix. Top with sliced pear and serve with a crisp chardonnay. This and this are both great options for Chard :-)

Cheers!

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Weekend Project – Patio Garden

Last weekend, after returning home from New York, I was really adamant to finish something.  I’ve got a list of DIYs coming out of my ears, but really wanted to get one done, on the books and out-of-the-way.  Enter… our outdoor space.  When viewing our place for the first time, I was THRILLED when I stepped outside and my question of “oh, so this is a shared space?” was answered with “no, this would be all yours”.  Literally, you guys.  I was shaking with excitement.  I couldn’t get Jake on the phone fast enough.  I am obsessed with gardening (thanks to my mom for that gene) and I take no shame in enlisting friends to care for my little green kids as much as they do for Lily whenever I’m away.  Having a space that was so much bigger than ever before to create my own little garden by the beach?!  YES please.  Thankfully, after borderline stalking our now landlord, we got the apartment and I couldn’t wait to go to town.  We have a patio directly off of our bedroom as well as yard (glorified patio – not pictured) up some steps and behind our duplex.  Sold.  However, said patio was hideous when we moved in. HID.E.OUS.  Enter exhibit A:

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I told you.  Steps that needed to be stained, some RANDOM paint job going on there with a mixture of white and beige… But she had potential!  It was SPACE.  Real, live outdoor space of our very own that could be transformed into whatever we’d like.  The first thing on the list was to figure out what in the heck to do with the cinderblock walls.  Paint them?  Ideally, I wanted it to be a living wall to wake up next to (all Cameron Diaz like in The Holiday with electronic blinds that open with the sun shining in), but that seemed like a pretty lofty goal for a rental.  So, we needed to think of something else.  While running into Ikea one day for heavens knows what, I stumbled across the Applaro Outdoor Panel and knew I’d found a solution.  I figured out how many we’d need, bought them and since we got carried away with unpacking, traveling for work and life in general, there they sat until last weekend.  And then, finally came my little garden.

If you’re in a situation like us, here is what you need to create your OWN apartment garden with roughly $150.

Supplies

Ikea Applaro Outdoor Panel – Pot hooks included (3) $39
Ikea Socker pots (8) $0.79
Ikea white pots (2) $10.99 (no longer available online, but next size up here)
Masonry anchors + Bit $7
Total: $152.30

I already had most of the plants and the lanterns, as well as a drill and a level to make this all come to life, but factor in another $100 if you’re starting fresh.

Step 1: Hardware – I knew I was going to need a masonry bit as well as concrete anchors so I was able to find a package that included both the anchors and the right size bit to drill pilot holes for the anchors.  I bought some longer anchors too just in case the 1.25″ anchors were too short so that I wouldn’t have to run back out to the hardware store.

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Step 2: Place wall panels where you want them and make sure they’re level.  Since I was doing this by myself and since the panels were going to be resting on uneven brick pavers, this was honestly the hardest part.

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Step 3: Drill your pilot holes and screw in anchors to attach your panel.  This is pretty self-explanatory, but just make sure that you stop every once in a while to give your drill a rest.  I have a pretty inexpensive drill and while it’s amazing for the price, drilling through concrete/cinderblock is entirely different from wood or anything else I’ve ever done in the past.  And for the love of god, be CAREFUL when removing your bit.  It was SO hot from the friction and of course I wasn’t wearing gloves (idiot) and burned my fingers.  I’m fine, but that was no fun.

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Repeat until all panels are attached!  YAY!  Minus all of the crap to the left, the space is already starting to look so much better!  Now, time for the pots.  I decided to use the Socker pots from Ikea because a) they’re inexpensive b) they’re cute and c) they’re the perfect size for herbs and that is what was going in them.  However, they don’t have holes in the bottom for drainage or for hanging them on the hooks so you have to drill those manually.  Just make sure you use a bit suitable for metal.

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Step 4: Put your little plants in the pots and hang on your wall!  You’re almost done!

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Step 5: Dress up the weird empty bottom area without rungs with plants, lanterns, candles, pumpkins if it’s October… get creative!  Or, if you have the space, Ikea sells a storage bench that can attach to the wall panels.

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Tadaaaa!  I still need to re-pot the larger rosemary plant as well as the olive tree AND re-stain those darn steps, but I think she’s looking pretty cute for just a few hours of work.

And for good time’s sake… before and after!

Before After Garden

Words of Wisdom

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I’m a huge fan of Bri Emery over at DesignLoveFest and her “Dress Your Tech” series is my absolute favorite.  I LOVE this desktop put together by Lauren Essl and it’s available as a free download over on Bri’s blog.  Simply put, these words of wisdom came when I really needed it most.  More often than not, I’m running at 100 miles per hour (October has been a complete blur) and I find that I beat myself up over absolutely everything – not responding to an email fast enough, not working out enough, not getting to the office early enough…  I think it’s imperative to constantly strive to create the best version of yourself, but it’s also so important to remind yourself every once in a while that you are enough.  You can not do everything and all anyone expects of you is for you to do your best.  Whenever I find myself wallowing in self doubt and on a downward spiral of feeling like I’m not enough, it’s usually my wonderfully honest and direct boyfriend reaffirming what I’m already feeling.  He has a really keen sense of when I’m headed into one of these lows and is so amazing (although I don’t always appreciate it) at letting me know to take a moment for myself to clear my mind.  I’ve realized that what sends me to this point is usually an overall lack of writing down my goals and keeping lists of what I want and need to accomplish.  Trying to organize it all in my mind simply doesn’t work for me when things get hectic.  I’m looking forward to taking a step back with some time to reflect this weekend in Michigan.  The good ole’ midwest always knows how to put things in perspective for me :-)

What do you do to help remind yourself to slow down?

Hello, New York!

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You guys!  I’m in New York right now for Bridal Market for work and I seriously can not stop smiling.  I just love it here so much.  The hustle, bustle, the crisp autumn air, the architecture… everything.  Give me a warm coffee in Union Square, some riding boots, an hour to explore on a chilly fall morning and I’m a happy girl.  I’m running around like a mad woman for the next few days as our company is the one and only wine sponsor of the Martha Stewart Weddings party this year (pinch me!!!), but I’ll be sure to check in soon.  Hope you all have a great weekend!  xoxo

image via me! (Flat Iron 2012)