WHEN LESS IS MORE

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Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

For many years, I was one who thrived on multitude. If I loved a piece of clothing, I’d buy it in every color, sometimes even in multiple sizes (because hello, my weight fluctuates), and store it for what seemed like years. If Target had a 70% off clearance section, I would ravenously explore it and leave with half the inventory, because it was on sale. I’ve tried to analyze the reasons why I was likely to do so, and have realized that for some time, my income was so limited (thanks, grad school, postdoc, and daycare tuition!!), that when something went on sale, I felt like I had to have it, and as I mentioned, sometimes in multiples. I would also keep every single I owned for years, largely because I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to buy something to replace it later. Thus, clutter ensued. As time went on, I had kids, life got busier, and the enormous quantity of stuff that I owed became overwhelming. It caused chaos, lack of organization, and truly, became a source of anxiety.

Over the course of the past two years, I have slowly purged many of the rooms in our small-ish house. The purge was largely driven by our kitchen remodel and the need to displace kitchen items for storage in other places throughout the house. When those spaces were limited, I began to purge.

Today, a large majority of our house has been purged and streamlined. I recently worked on a closet that was overflowing and thanks to the magic of ziplock storage bags, is now a functional closet with space for guests.

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This past weekend, I took 5 large bags (think blue, Ikea large bags) to consign. Several items were accepted, so I am now $200 richer and the owner of 40 or so fewer items. My last project focused on the kids’ room, and their room too, is now a bit more organized thanks to the magic of Closetmaid and their cube-organizers!

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I have four major projects left on my list: our master bedroom, a closet in our basement (current catch-all), our garage, and my cloffice. My cloffice started as a blank slate, but with the busy-ness of the year, became full of un-edited clothing, shoes, etc. My goal is to take it from this:

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to this (credit https://www.whowhatwear.com/expert-ways-to-organize-your-closet/):

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While this ultimately requires a more monochromatic wardrobe, not achievable in my life, what I love about it is the seemingly sparseness of items, the uniformity in use of hangers, and ultimately, the way the items are staged, such that the characteristics that generate “joy” – to quote Marie Kondo of The Magic Art of Tidying Up – are highlighted and featured prominently.

I plan to give myself until the end of the year to accomplish the editing of all four rooms, but am excited to get started! Do you have any streamlining/editing projects you’re currently working on? If so, what are some strategies you are using to implement the process? Looking for any tips or suggestions as I start these next projects!

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How to Host a Galentine’s Day Party

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Photography by Mary Margaret Photography

I love to host.  Parties, birthdays, you name it.  I love the detail that goes into the preparation, but most of all, I really enjoy the set up and decorating.  I’ve always wanted to throw a dinner party with a true tablescape and decor so a Galentine’s Day celebration was the perfect excuse.

So, where do you start??  If you don’t have a lot of money to dedicate to such an event, or if you simply don’t WANT to spend a lot of money on the event, then you take what you have and make the most of it!  You also invite friends who can make the event FAB.  In this case, Vasu of The Nutritious Bite and Lexi Mota of The Cakerie were on board to help with food!!  Vasu made an brie with green apples and pecan dressing, green bean bundles wrapped in bacon (YUM!), and THE most amazing superfood salad with avocado dressing. I mean, DELISH.  Lexi made individual heart shaped cakes, with fresh raspberry filling and the most decadent buttercream frosting.  Lexi went to culinary school, and it showed in her baking because the cake was seriously the best cake I’ve had in a while.  If you need a cake, she’s your girl.  AH-mazing.  Finally, Tropicaleo, a Puerto Rican restaurant soon to open at Pizitz Food Hall, provided a delicious plantain soup to complete the meal.  Please visit their websites to read about their tutorials and also to get the recipes!  Here’s a sneak peak to pique your interest:

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Once the menu was planned, it was time to get to the other details:  decor!  My friend Heather of My Life Well Loved has an amazing friend, Sara of Gold Leaf Floral who provided floral arrangements for our bash.   They arrangements were AMAZING. Can I also mention that the floral arrangements lasted DAYS after the dinner party??!  And, they were oh, so fragrant!!  She’s really so super talented!

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{By the way, Heather has a great post detailing an affordable Valentine’s Day outfit on her blog that you will want to make sure you check out!}

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Sarah graciously connected me with Ginger of Swan Lindsey Lettering, who made the cutest oragami name cards to complete the place setting decor.  I gave her the names of everyone who was going to be attendance and we all shared a Pinterest board and off each went to create magic!  The name cards were the cutest!

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Sometime before Christmas, I purchased wood chargers because I was hopeful that our kitchen remodel would be done and I would be able to use them for Christmas or NYE. Sadly, they sat unused as our kitchen remodel is just now on the verge of being complete (we are about 99.8% done now, with just a few minor details left to complete), and it occurred to me that they would be perfect for this Galentine’s Day dinner.  I used china that I owned, my own utensils, a crochet runner that my mom made and gifted me when I bought my house in AL, and a heart garland I found in the Dollar Spot at Target.  Target is also the place where I found a tassel garland that I hung over backs of the two chairs you see when you walk in the room.  Oh  yeah, I also had votives from long ago that I often use during Christmas time, so I pulled those out and put in a candle in each to add a bit of romantic flare to the table.  Two blush pink mercury vases added the final touch to the tablescape!  The two vases were also from the Dollar Spot at Target.

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At some point during the dinner, I knew we were going to want to toast, so I pulled out some plastic champagne flutes that I keep for New Year’s toasts, bought some heart shaped Peeps, and red and white straws, and dressed up the pink moscato champagne I had chilling in the fridge for our Galentine’s Day toast!

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Last but not least, my friend Brittany of Southern Mama Guide joined us for dinner and since she and I were both going to have littles around, we agreed to have a good friend of mine who often babysits for me, keep all the littles in the basement while the mama’s dined and wined upstairs.  It worked perfectly and Shira if you’re reading this, we were so grateful!!  Brittany has a great post sharing a fun Valentine’s Day outfit if you still need ideas for an outfit of the night!

Oh, one other thing:  I thought it would be super fun to have “swag bags” for my friends to take with them when they left, so I am beyond thankful to Fabrik in Homewood, AL who provided the CUTEST parting gifts for my guests!

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I was honestly amazed at how well it came together.  I was super nervous about it all, but so grateful to all these women who helped make it a success!  I’ve linked all of their blogs and websites throughout the post, so be sure to click and visit each of their pages and follow them along on social media.  They are each amazingly talented entrepreneur mama’s!

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So there you have it!  My low-key, low-expense way to throw a Galentine’s Day party together.  What are your plans for Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day??  Check out my last post for a fun accessory idea for the big day!

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!

 

Kitchen Renovation – Part 1 AND Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway

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Well, friends, yesterday (Sunday) I told you that our kitchen remodel was going to start Tuesday, but it turns out that the start date has moved up a day, so they are starting today (Monday)!!!  Yay!!

Although my house will be covered in a fine mist of dust – okay, or more like a deep layer of dust, waa!! – I am eager and excited to see the final product.  I’ve dreamed of a kitchen like the one we designed since we saw a house in the neighborhood that had the exact same layout as ours, except, it had been converted to an open concept layout.  Since then, hubby and I have dreamed of converting our kitchen/dining room/living room into that same layout.  We have been in a semi-functional kitchen since July when hubby tried to surprise me with a kitchen remodel, but our contractor bailed and left us with a semi-destroyed kitchen, with about 10% of the completed job behind.  Sigh.

We met with several contractors, but finally chose JC TOP Services, LLC.  You can find them on Facebook and Instagram!  Juan Carlos Perez is the sweetest, most patient man you’ll find in the business.  He is punctual, honest, and incredibly accommodating.  He often arrives at appointments with his daughter Stephanny, who takes notes, and makes sure everything that is discussed is detailed on the contract.  Because of the magnitude of the project, I asked if they would be willing to make drawings of what they discussed and they did!  Together they make an amazing team!  I can’t say enough great things about them!  And no, I’m not getting a discount to say this, haha!  Btw, I found them on Thumbtack.  My neighbor told me about it.  It’s an a service app.  You tell it what you need and they’ll deliver up to five custom quotes from local pros ready to help.  All professionals who want to be listed on Thumbtack have to pass a background check and in brief, be legit.  That gave me even greater confidence to hire them.  Make sure to follow then on Facebook and Instagram so that you can support a local, great business.

To help my planning while I’m waiting on the construction, I’ve pinned several sources of inspiration on Pinterest.  I’m also looking at the items below for decor and such once the kitchen is built!  Check them out below.  I think the “feel” of the room will be a combination of “transitional” and “farmhouse”.  Is that a thing?!?!  Who knows.  But that’s what I’m imagining. 🙂

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Sentiment Mugs // Metal Orb Chandelier // Artificial Pencil Succulent // Cecilia Dining Chair // Keurig Coffee Maker (White) // Hydrangea (Set of 4) Flower Arrangement // Lettered Coffee Mugs

So, here we are.  About to start the remodel!!!!  I will be posting updates on Instagram and Instagram Stories.  I’m not sure how many parts there will be to this series, but hopefully not too many, haha!  I know I’ll not be getting too much sleep – because I’m basically waiting for the best Christmas present ever – so, I’m gonna need lots of coffee.  Since Starbucks is my coffee of choice and because it’s rude not to share, I am giving a lucky winner a $25 Starbucks gift card!!

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To enter, leave a comment below with your drink of choice at Starbucks.  

That’s it!  Winner will be announced Saturday, December 10, 2016 in time for your morning cup o’ jo!

What’s more?  I have several other friends who have giveaways going on.  Check them out here!

20161205_001204.jpgBut, before you leave, make sure to leave a comment below to enter to win your Starbucks giveaway!!!  Also, make sure to follow by email to get notifications when my next blog renovation update is live. And because you love me and want to support my blog. 🙂 #kthnxbye

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!