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Pink Balloons For Lunch

Amazingly Affordable DIY Projects For Your Home

Posted in DIY, Home
on January 19, 2017

Having bought and sold a home, I completely understand how expensive the everyday maintenance can be. That’s why when I see a way to make something I already need and save little money, I’m all over it. Plus I’m a little crafty, so I enjoy painting and sewing whenever inspiration hits.

Every now and then I come across a few that truly mimic the look and quality of their expensive retail counterparts. I get really excited about those types of  DIY’s! For example, this West Elm Bench cost $699 and Ursula of Homemade by Carmona creates an almost identical bench for under $15! When you can save that much money, it’s worth a little extra effort.

Don’t these benches look amazing?

Head over to the Life + Storage Blog and get the rest of these fantastic and frugal DIY’s!

Playful Patterns & Bold Colors in Stacey Blake’s North Carolina Home

Posted in Home, Interior Design
on January 16, 2017

Stacey Ann Blake didn’t know that becoming a stay at home parent to her two young boys would provide the time needed to discover her new design talent. A talent that has landed her in the esteemed pages of Better Homes and Gardens, Simple Spaces and featured on popular blogs like Design Sponge and The Jungalow. It almost seems unimaginable that a woman so talented didn’t know all along.

Her breathtaking Fayetteville, North Carolina home is what designer’s dreams are made of.  A mixture of bold hues like magenta and orange are grounded by rich earthy greens. Eclectic textures and patterns stitch both modern and bohemian styles together seamlessly. Stacey is a gift to the design community and an inspiration for a North Carolina girl like me. Her blog, Design Addict Mom, highlights her thoughts on developing design trends, creative roundups and of course her own amazing living space. Here are a few of my favorites.

This lively chair is the star of the show, displaying its vivid pink color mixed with a striped pattern. The cowhide rug is also a major focal point, creating an unexpected twist in this beautiful living area.

Soft blue wall color acts as the perfect backdrop for bold punches of pink and orange. Intricate patterns from the pillows, rugs and sofa combine for a gorgeous ensemble of color.

This Mid-Century-Modern style chair is a welcomed introduction of deeper color in this space. Various pinks and greens gently cascade down the patterned leaf wallpaper, creating a calming effect.

Oh, to be a kid again! Pictured here are Stacey’s two handsome sons in their magical playroom. A whimsically colored blackboard design creates a sense of wonderment and a myriad of patterns and shapes make this the ultimate fun land!

Photography by: Lea Hartman

Want more of Stacey’s interior amazingness? Read her latest musings at Design Addict Mom and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!


the best is yet to come + free planner printable

Posted in Inspiration
on January 9, 2017

As I look in the mirror at the creases under my eyes, I can tangibly see the effects of time. I see that those invisible hours are passing me by whether I decide to use them or not. Youth doesn’t have any respect for time, but the realization of wasted time is like being jolted awake from a peaceful slumber. You’re going through the motions of everyday life, but deep inside you know that you can do more, that you’re capable of much more. Mediocrity feels like an ill fitting garment on me, obtuse and completely awkward.

But there’s a silver lining. I have time to make some changes. I can become more productive and make steps towards the dreams I want to see in the sun. These are some of the questions I asked myself:

  • What shows am I watching on TV and Youtube?
  • Who am I talking to or getting advice from?
  • What’s my daily routine like?
  • What are those comfortable things that lulled me to my wakened “sleep,” state?
  • Are my inner thoughts towards myself compassionate?

I no longer desire to be loyal to dysfunction.

One sided relationships and interactions that leave me feeling depleted  have to go.

Negative and bitter people have to go.

I thought about what I could accomplish if I stopped listening or participating in any form of gossip. I thought about what I could do with my time if I was truly focused. An average life sparked by glimpses of brilliance is not enough for me. And it’s not enough for you either. I honestly believe that everyone is a genius, but everyone doesn’t take the time to discover what really makes them special. There’s a difference between having money and living in your purpose. I know people with 6 figure salaries who still feel lost.

I wanted to share a free daily planner printable with you to spark your creativity and awaken you to your possibilities. I honestly believe that it’s not about being successful, it’s whether you had the confidence to take a chance on yourself despite the possibility of failure. Here are few things I’ve done in the last few weeks from being more cognizant of my time.

  • I took two online photography classes on Brit + Co.
  • Read “Mama,” by Toni Morrison (Great read for pleasure)
  • Started reading Joel Osteen’s “Think Better, Live Better.”
  • Rereading “Unmerited Favor,” by Joseph Prince
  • Participating in more fun and educational activities with my children
  • Expanded my copywriting business with new clients
  • Designed my son Drew’s room and painted his dresser

These are the types of things that keep me inspired, especially taking the classes! Learning a new skill is so exciting! I think I’m hooked!

Grab Your Free Printable Here and start keeping track of your activities and goals.  You need to know that your best days are in front of you! Oh and please be gently with yourself. If you don’t get everything done, just carry it over to the next day. I also label some things with an asterisk (*)which means it’s important and others with “cw,” which means it can wait.

Cheers to healthy, peaceful and productive days!

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” Psalm 90:12


chic halloween pumpkin inspiration

Posted in Home
on October 21, 2015


I love Halloween, although I may be a little biased because it is my birthday! I can distinctly recall my brother, sister and I piling into my mother’s car and going on base to go trick or treating. It was a night that I had tons of fun but there was a little bit of mystery and wonder in the air. My favorite Halloween memory is when my mother took us all to a haunted house. My brother, sister and I were all in a group of maybe 15 or 20 others. As we passed through the different corridors within the house, we walked into a small room. It played out just like a horror movie. When the girl ahead of us tried to open the door, the door was locked. Everyone in the room became concerned as the small room filled with raised eyebrows and semi-scared chatter. Different people kept trying to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. More concern grew as the people starting to feel trapped in the small space. Out of the blue, a zombie man burst out of the ceiling! Everyone screamed their heads off and magically the door opened. Ahhh! Halloween memories. But this post is about cute pumpkins, so let’s get into it!

Who doesn’t love doughnuts? If I could, I would eat them everyday. Every time I sink my teeth into a doughnut, I ask the good Lord to bless whoever came up with concept. Studio DIY nails it with their take on the pumpkin doughnut. These babies look good enough to eat and are definitely a fun take on traditional pumpkin décor. (Pictured Above)


There’s something so amazing about things being bite-sized. We want bite-sized candy bars and we’ll take our pumpkins the same way. Petite white pumpkins adorned with gold glitter in polka dots and stripes are very chic and modern. The Nest  shows us that diy projects can look professional without having to be one.


Sweet Paul Magazine’s DIY Glitter Pumpkin uses a traditional orange and brown color scheme with gold accents. Although simple, these colors look amazing together!

Have you decorated your pumpkins for Halloween yet, or did you pick up some from your local market and sit them on your porch? Either way is fine, as long as you’re celebrating this fun holiday! I can’t wait to see my children all dressed up but I’m already devising a way to get rid of their candy.



Apple Caramel Cake from Sweets By Chan!

Posted in Food
on October 1, 2015



Chan Vu is a blogger who loves to share her delicious recipes, DIY projects and love of travel through her creative space, Sweets By Chan.  She was born in Vietnam but raised in the south as a Georgia peach! This lovely combination of cultures provides her a unique vantage point and allows her to create recipes that are both Asian and southern inspired. I absolutely love her Instagram feed because one moment it’s a Southern Chicken Biscuits recipe and the next day it’s an Asian dish that looks amazing! She sometimes creates an infusion of both, like in her Asian Chicken and Waffles recipe. Check out my interview with her below and grab her Apple Caramel Cake recipe, just in time for fall! Yum!

What’s your favorite thing about cooking?

My favorite thing about cooking is that it allows me to be creative. I never follow a recipe as instructed. I always add a little something extra or substitute an ingredient for something else to make it my own. I’ve even created short cuts from a recipe to save time and money. The end goal is to create an easy and delicious recipe to share with family and friends.

Do you look for food inspiration when you travel?

Yes, of course! I live to travel. I travel to eat. And I eat to discover new foods. I’m a big foodie and will try anything, anywhere. My favorite places to eat would be in a mom and pop’s restaurant, night markets and street vendors. I always want to eat what the locals eat. It’s the best way to learn about a culture and thier cuisines. I get a lot of my recipe inspirations from places I’ve visited, my Asian-American heritage and of course, what’s trending in the foodie world.

What’s your best tip for entertaining guest?

Always leave them with something to remember. It could be an unforgettable appetizer you served, a newly discovered bottle of wine you shared or that inspiring story of traveling solo you told. It’s about having good conversations with people and creating a lasting bond.



Apple Caramel Cake from Sweets By Chan!
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Chan Vu
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Indulge in this savory and sweet dessert that has all the fall-inspired foods you love, apple and caramel! This cake would be amazing with a cup of coffee or tall glass of milk.
  • 1/2 cup of ground oatmeal, finely ground in a food processor
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple spice mix
  • 2 apples, peeled and cubed
  • 1 /2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of soft and chewy caramel, chopped small
  • 3 tablespoons caramel drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease flat pan and set aside.
  2. Combine ground oatmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and apple spice mix in a bowl. Mix well and leave aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and lemon juice. Add the dry ingredient and mix until everything is blended.
  4. Add apple chunks, soft and chewy caramel and walnuts.
  5. Spread the batter on the greased flat pan. Press it down evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tooth-pick test comes out clean.
  6. Let cool and drizzle caramel on top. Serve and enjoy.

Follow Chan’s cooking adventures at Sweets By Chan and on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram!


Chan Vu Backyard Retreat