Friday, October 20, 2017

home tour: living room!

Please note, the artwork in this post was provided free of charge to me by Minted
All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

I am SO SO excited to kick off a home tour series here on the blog today! As many of you know, about a year ago (August, 2017) we purchased a new-to-us home and promptly got to work on renovating it.  This 'project' had been in the works for quite a few years when we knew we had outgrown our previous home as a family.  We searched high and low for a home that would work for our family as we moved out of the baby and toddler stage and into the teenager stage.  As it stands now, we plan for this house to be our home until we empty nest.  I absolutely LOVE looking at houses and planning and renovating them.  Yes, even through the tears, the frustration and the busted budgets.  I truly love the process... so I'm sure there will be some more amazing renovations in our future... heck, even this house isn't technically "done" yet. Are they ever?  And to keep things super interesting, I will even include some "before" photos at the very end... because who doesn't love a good before and after!?!?  Then stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for the rest of the main floor... the dramatic kitchen renovation, the super cozy dining room we pulled together, the family room that makes my heart pitter patter and the interesting thing we did with our "eat-in" kitchen!  Also, feel free to let me know if you have any questions about anything in the room!

So, the living room!  This room was the most difficult to decorate and it's so ironic because a "living room" was the number one wishlist item on our 'new house' list. I wanted both a living room and a family room on the main floor of our home - so that with growing kids we could all 'be together' but not "BE together" - if you know what I mean. I also wanted a room with no tv (again, teenagers) where we could all hang out but where it would *maybe* be more quiet.  The biggest hurtle of this room was that it also had to serve as my office.  Which isn't ideal, but is how it ended up.  SO, how do you pull together a room that is cozy and inviting (for the whole family), but also sophisticated and inspiring (as an office). This is the number one place I spend my days so I wanted it calming, pulled together and comfortable but it also had to be a place where the creative juices could really flow.  Let's just say I don't really know HOW I ended up pulling it off... but I did.  This room is all that and more.

The first inspiration was the artwork... I mean, seriously this huge dot artwork that Minted graciously gifted me for the room was our first inspiration.  If you are looking to add any artwork to your home, Minted is the place to go. They offer limited edition prints, original art work, quality prints - whatever your heart and budget desires.  I love their affordable framing service (because really, why buy the art if it's going to sit in it's package until you get around to framing it?) and of course their super quick shipping.  And if you are feeling stuck, they have personalized styling services to help you out for only $79.

After we had the artwork picked out we literally worked around it to create this room. And I say "we" because my husband is an amazing side-kick when it comes to decorating. He doesn't always have an opinion, and I don't always ask either... but about 99% of the time his taste is spot on and super helpful. Especially when I am feeling stuck.   So this room was definitely a group effort.  He wanted a super comfortable leather chair and I knew I wanted a white sofa.  So that is where we went next. I love IKEA sofas, they are perfect with kids as I never worry if they are too precious or not, the covers are always removable for spills and stains and of course, the price is always right.  Finding an affordable sofa opened up the budget for a splurge on the leather chair. So it's all about balance.

As I mentioned, this room also doubles as my office, which isn't ideal, but I will say we have made it work.  I love this little corner of the house in that it is still central to what is going on like kids coming and going or dining going in the kitchen, but that also still feels separate too.  My work space RARELY looks this tidy, but since this isn't the "tv room" (that room is coming soon to the blog!) it's fine if it's a little messy from time to time.  I desperately need some more decorative details in this part of the room, but inspiration hasn't struck yet, and I am okay with that.  That is one of the biggest challenges in renovating and decorating a home. You just don't have all the inspiration at once. It often comes in fits and starts. So when the inspiration strikes - this little corner will end up more finished, I am sure.

The wood floors and all white walls (as you will soon see!) go through out the entire main floor. So those were two big decisions we had already made for the room. The floors are solid hand scraped oak and we absolutely love them. We went for super dark floors in our previous house, so this was a big change up for us.  With the all white wall and lighter floors AND tons of natural light in the house - it makes for a super bright feel for the entire house.  I feel like the bright and white surroundings help wake up this non-morning person in the morning when I sit down to my desk.

These incredible hanging pendant lights were probably the most fun piece we've ever purchased for our home.  We tend to go traditional or modern traditional and these lights are definitely more boho chic.  They also happen to be the one thing we love most in this room.  They add a cozy yet sophisticated vibe that is TOTALLY out of our comfort zone, but so perfect for the space and our taste too. 

One of my favorite color palettes for decorating is black and white.  Our previous home was A LOT of black and white. So when we moved into this house, it was my intention to move away from the black and white all over look and try more neutrals. Which you will see in other parts of the house, but in this room, black and white just felt right. And since it was the LAST room we pulled together, I just had zero desire to make it more complicated than it needed to be - so I went with black and white because I know it and love it.

(all photos above by Jennifer Ketchum)

Of course, every home and every room is a work in progress.  I'm sure over the coming months and years this room will continue to evolve.

Source list:
Artwork, courtesy of Minted
Walls, "Super White" by Benjamin Moore
Floors, "Sable" by Viking
Sofa, "Farlov" IKEA
Rug, World Market
Cocktail Table/Bench, CB2 (no longer available, similar)
Pendant Lights, World Market (jute rope swag kits)
Marble Side Tables, World Market
Throw Pillows, various from Target (similar, this exact one, similar)
Pom pom throw blanket, Urban Outfitters (no longer available, similar)
Leather Chair, West Elm
Pouf, Home Goods (similar or similar)
Gold Lamp (by chair), Target
Desk, IKEA (technically it's a dining room table)
Desk Chair, Home Goods (similar)
Curtains, IKEA (these are the cheapest and BEST curtains EVER!)

As promised... here are the before photos!
(please note, these were taken from the real estate listing for the home)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

10 shoes you'll want for fall!

Ahhhh.... fall shoes, my favorite! It's the last couple months of fair weather here in the midwest where all shoes are fair game - before we move into the all-boots-only-boots of the later winter months.  So it's a veritable shoe free for all right now... you can wear boots if you like, but sneakers, flats, mules, you name it... are all still fair game.

Today I've rounded up the trends and the classics that you will love to have in your wardrobe this fall.    You can pair flats and ankle boots with jeans or fall dresses or prep your wardrobe for the cooler temps with all-weather wedge bootie or riding boots   There is something here for every style and every budget. My personal favorite is to pair distressed jeans with ankle boots and a sweater.  Or black jeans, a t-shirt, leather jacket and leopard flats are always a win.  I haven't gotten out my over the knee boots yet this season, but they are always a definite winner. And one style that I've been surprised how much I love is platform sneakers - have you tried them yet? Velvet is going to be a huge trend for late fall and early winter - I love this pair of velvet flats  Is there a pair you have your eye on this season? Or a pair you are wearing and really loving this season? I would love to know!

top row from left:

bottom row from left: 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

finding your Perfect Fit beauty products this fall!

This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and Shopstyle.  All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Fall is finally here and with the chilly mornings and evenings I have already started noticing that my skin and my hair is significantly drier lately.  Here in the Midwest, we are settling in for the long haul of winter and with that comes the need for so serious beauty products to add to my arsenal.  Frizzy hair and dry and cracked hands are the two problems I deal with the most during the cooler months.  So when Rite Aid challenged me to find my "perfect fit" for all over beauty with Aveeno skin care and OGX hair care products I knew just what I needed to stock up on for the next few months.

Like I mentioned, I get the worst dry skin on my hands and cuticles and I find that I am constantly putting lotion on during the day.  I recently picked up the Aveeno Skin Relief and was amazed that I can put it on one time in the morning and my hands stay soft and moisturized all day. Seriously! All day! I've been keeping this product right on my desk to apply as soon as I sit down to my computer to work for the day. I felt like I had truly tried all the hand creams without really finding one I loved - until this one. I can't say how impressed I am with this product.  I also keep the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion on hand for after I shower or before bed to make sure my skin is staying as fresh as possible. And I can already tell I will be using both these products with my kids this winter too!

I'm also pretty over the moon about the OGX Argan Oil Healing Dry Oil for my hair right now.  I try not to treat my hair with heat everyday, but the days that I don't I end up with some pretty serious frizz action. You can put a few pumps of this treatment on dry or wet hair (I prefer dry) and it mimics the smooth feeling that I can usually only get from a flat iron or a curling iron.  I'm hooked! The coconut version smells like vacation (uh, yes please!) and is a little lighter weight which is perfect for using when your hair is wet.

Right now you can buy one and get one at 50% off for all Aveeno products with your Plenti card, which makes it the perfect time to stock up before winter. And for the OGX products if you spend $20 on OGX products with your Plenti card you can earn 800 bonus Plenti points which really adds up for future saving! If you haven't signed up for a Plenti card yet, you really should - it's easy and free! You can earn points at several participating retailers like Rite Aid, Macy's, Hulu, Exxon and Expedia to earn points on items you already buy.  Then you can "spend" those points on great beauty purchases like these in the future!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

my everyday style: errands and date nights with Vanity Fair!

This post is sponsored by Vanity Fair Lingerie. All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

Fellow mamas... you know we wear SO many hats! One minute we are running errands, the next taking a conference call, immediately followed by cleaning, the laundry, sending important emails, trying to connect with loved ones. And on and on... And let's not forget about our own needs.  One minute we want to feel confident and able, the next we want to feel beautiful and feminine.  For all the things that need getting done and for all our many moods we often depend on clothing and style to help us feel our very best in those moments.  And of course, what goes under our clothes needs to support all the many hats we wear in a day, a week or a month.

Today I am really excited to be working with Vanity Fair Lingerie to talk not only about feeling and looking our best from day to day, but to help other women feel the same.  You know that feeling of slipping on a brand new sweater that fits like a glove.  Or the feeling of putting on a new bra that makes you comfortable and confident all day.  Vanity Fair knows how important that feeling is too and they are partnering with Dress for Success to make that confidence available to ALL women. You probably know that Dress for Success is an amazing national organization that empowers women  with their network of support, business attire and developmental tools to help them look and perform their best in their professional lives.

Right now Vanity Fair is running a fantastic BOGOGO promo (that's Buy One, Get One, GIVE One - whew!) with some of your favorite department stores like Macy's, Sears, Kohl's and many more (find one near you here!) that helps you AND Dress for Success.  Simply stop by one of the retail locations during the promotion and buy one Vanity Fair bra and get one FREE and then Vanity Fair will donate one to Dress for Success on your behalf as well.  For the entire partnership Vanity Fair has agreed to donate 50,000 bras - isn't that amazing!?!?!

For my BOGOGO purchase I decided to go neutral and classic with a the Beauty Back Full Coverage Underwire for daytime running errands with the kids and working around the house... and then went for something a little more feminine and ready for a night out on the town like Beauty Back Strapless option (and it just so happens to be a very comfortable strapless bra - yay!).  For me everyday wear usually includes a comfy pair shoes like these sneakers, always jeans and usually a layer or two, like this casual tee (I'm actually wearing it backwards, it's cute either way!) paired with a jacket.  For night time I break out the heels and pair it with a feminine top - this top can be worn off the shoulders like I am wearing here, or on the shoulders as a cowl neck top and either way is so cute.

bras shown above: grey & black

Outfit Details:

Day time look
T-shirt (I'm wearing this one backwards)

Date night look

Monday, October 16, 2017

Instagram lately!

I always love doing a little round up here of all the fun that is happening over on Instagram... give me a follow there if you aren't already for lots of behind the scenes fun and of course, plenty of extra style and outfit inspiration on the regular. The past month or so has been all about getting into the fall groove with my wardrobe... lots of layers, lots of texture and lots of coziness, which is my favorite part about this season.

I love grey and caramel brown together in the fall... these stretchy jeans are officially the best and I always get so many compliments on these very comfortable loafers. (sweater, henley, bag)

A huge portion of my Instagram outfits are weekend looks for sitting on the sidelines at my kids' sports.  The weather is always a challenge so I'm usually wearing plenty of comfortable layers like this sweatshirt and sneakers. (jacket, less expensive jacket, jeans)

Sweater season is OFFICIALLY here and I couldn't be happier!  This gorgeous cashmere sweater is a great price and the perfect color for fall. (sunglasses, bagloafers, jeans)

This flowy cowl neck top has quickly become a favorite (and it's available in a lot of colors!) paired with jeans and a plaid scarf it's perfect for busy days! (bag, shoes)

Did I mention layers!?!? Oh yes, lots of layers.  A classic quilted vest is always a good idea for a little extra warmth and style. I love it paired with a striped top, naturally. (jeans, hat, boots)

I have a thing for cream colored sweaters... I don't know what it is. They are just so easy to wear.  I love pairing them with a pair of distressed jeans and loafers for an easy and quick fall look. 

This sweater vest is seriously SO cozy! I adored this outfit and was tempted to wear it two days in a row (but I didn't... maybe I should have?). It was perfect with a simple tee underneath and skinny jeans. (bag, similar leopard shoes)

We were traveling both days this past weekend for sports and the weather forecast was all over the place.  I chose easy to mix and match pieces like a leopard sweater (similar), a simple black t-shirt, skinny jeans, leather-look leggings and a trench coat (similar).  It ended up being the perfect mix of pieces all weekend.  And of course, this bag is always my go-to for weekends away. (similar loafers, boots, grey twist-front top)

Friday, October 13, 2017

the October beauty edit!

Along with introducing the new series The Monthly Edit (you can read the first installment here) I am also launching a monthly series on all things beauty.  Beauty was never something I thought I would be blogging about or ever something I thought I would get SO many questions on from my readers. But the more I talk about beauty on Instagram or Instagram Stories or even here on the blog... the more you gals want!  I'm always paying attention to what works and what doesn't as far as posting and now it's a no-brainer why this is something that matters to you gals. And it matters to me more than ever too.

We aren't getting any younger!  And while I don't feel my age... let's be honest, there are signs creeping up that I may look it.  My skin wrinkles easier, my hair seems a touch thinner than it was in my 20s, somehow at almost 40 I still battle breakouts (why!?!?) but my skin takes longer to bounce back and the list goes on. Beauty matters because these days women are taking amazing care of their bodies, they are clued in to trends and style more than the generation before us was at our age and we want our skin and face to keep up the pace!  Aging gracefully is on everyone's mind these days.  Including mine.   This monthly series will keep you up to date on what I am using, trying, loving, and maybe even not loving!  Let me know how you like this post, and what beauty-wise you would like to see more of in the future.

Lemon water has all sorts of benefits and for me, less breakouts is one of them. Lately I've been taking mine with with collagen proteins.  This is a daily ritual I never skip.

L'Oreal Root Cover-up has been a life saver as I'm struggling with grey hairs popping up between trips to the salon big time.  This stuff WORKS! One warning is it can come off on lighter shades of nail polish if you touch your scalp.  So be careful!  I've also heard from readers that Bumble and Bumble or Oribe make great options that cost a little more, but that won't ruin nails (if that's a concern for you).  

I have recently purchased Kristin Ess' Shampoo & Conditioner and Texture Spray.  I'm not sure if the shampoo and condition are my all time favorites, but they do smell so, so amazing!  The texture spray is a clear winner though and I love using it!

BeautyCounter Mini Trio of Face Oils (the set is available for a limited time and only $21!) After a rough summer for my skin I am back to using a facial oil regularly.  #3: Balancing Oil works wonders on my skin.  If the words facial and oil together scar you, I promise you your skin will thank you.  You just need to use the tiniest amount and watch your skin be transformed. 

Dusty pink nail polish is my go-to for a lighter fall manicure color.  I love this ooh la lace nail polish -   it's the perfect fall pink.

Do you brush your hair? I find I only really comb it after a shower.  Recently I started using my Aveda Hair Brush before bed. It is such a relaxing way to end the day and I feel like my hair is shinier and more full of life.

If you've never tried the Juice Beauty Apple Peel you need to.  Like I mentioned, my summer skin was needing a reset big time this fall. This peel is one of the best you can get without going to a professional. I highly recommend it. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

my everyday style: boss (babe) boots with Everlane!

This post is created in collaboration with Everlane. All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

When Everlane offered to gift me their new "boss boot" that just released last week I was thrilled.  You know I love all things Everlane... their effortless pieces, their transparent and sustainable manufacturing and always fair prices make them a clear favorite for me.  I do have to admit that I giggled to myself at the name, the "boss boot" huh!?!? Well the minute I tried them on - I was like, yep, boss boot.  These babies aren't messing around.  The pointy toe is a little dressier than other boots I own and I love the low heel... since I don't tend to wear a lot of high heels. They are extremely comfortable and I am always easily swayed by black suede (they are also available in black leather, brown leather and a gorgeous taupe suede too).  I always love pieces that give a very pulled-together look to an outfit with minimal effort.  These boots are exactly that.

If you are looking for more great high end shoes at fair prices, you should see their loafers (love!), I'm obsessed with these mules and I just snagged these classic sandals for an upcoming trip south.

Black jeans (I'm obsessed with this under $50 pair) and a blue denim jacket are always a go-to for me (I've already worn something similar here on the blog this fall!) - and really it's such a no-brainer.  You can basically throw any top or lightweight sweater underneath and you are set to go.  Easy peasy.  I'm so in love with this camel colored sweater... I went up a size up to get some more drape and room in it.  I find that I prefer a looser fit lately and depend on a little half tuck to still give my waist some definition. This camel color is so versatile, I can already tell it's going to get lots of wear this fall and winter.   And being cashmere, it should last for several years to come as well.

Outfit Details:
Boots - courtesy of Everlane
Similar Denim Jacket (mine is super old)
Jeans (the best under $50 jeans EVER!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

on my radar... October 2017!

With cooler nights and shorter days October has me craving everything cozy and comfortable.  Snuggling up with a book on the sofa, watching a movie by the fireplace or luxuriating in a hot bath before bed are a few things, among many, that I rarely indulged in over the summer.  So while the kids schedule is a little bit more hectic this time of year, there are infinitely more ways to relax in the downtime.  This month the items that I am loving represent this cozy time of year... especially before the madness of the holidays sets in...

Read on to see why these pieces are favorites right now...

top row: 
'juvenate' sneakers, I purchased these sneakers last year around this time and I STILL love them. Hands down one of the most comfortable sneakers I've ever worn... act fast though, these guys sell out quickly!
tassel scarf, after a few false starts it seems like fall weather is finally here to stay. That means I'll probably be wearing a scar for style AND warmth from now until spring. I love this tassel scarf and at such a great price!
floral pajamas, this is the time of year I definitely step up my pajama game... this short and top set is SO darling and perfect for sipping tea and reading in bed.
distressed jeans, right now I am craving ALL the distressed jeans and ALL the cozy sweaters to go with them! Who's with me?
plaid blanket, like I mentioned, there is a lot more hanging out on the sofa going on these days. And I don't mind one bit! Is it too early to add this plaid blanket to my Christmas wishlist?

bottom row:
robe, the other day on Instagram stories I mentioned this simple cotton robe I bought recently... everyone went nuts for it! So here is where I found it!
candle, I rarely burn candles in the summer, so I appreciate returning to the nightly ritual again in the fall. This is my favorite candle and pretty much the only one I will buy and burn around the house.
black turtleneck sweater, I snagged this black turtleneck sweater last year towards the end of winter and it's BACK! This gorgeous and soft cashmere blend is perfect for cool fall days!
pom pom beanie, cute hats make the cold weather (somewhat) bearable.  This cute is only $26 and available in quite a few colors!
pink coat, I decided I needed a pink coat this year... and really, why not!?!? Especially when it's under $50, pssttt... it also is available in 5 colors if pink isn't your thing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

10 fall must haves!

When it comes to building my fall and winter wardrobes I find that I easily get overwhelmed! I want it all or I never know if a trend is for me or not.  Or I will question if I will be able to get enough wear out of the pieces I do buy.  Maybe you have the same issues or frustrations?

Today I thought I would pull together my absolute top ten pieces I will be wear this fall... and include options at a number of price points as well. If you are looking to shop on a budget or to splurge on one or two particular pieces, I've got just what you are looking for.  This fall I am drawn to very casual and comfortable pieces... the first thing I seem to think about is: is this soft to wear? Items like flannel plaid tops, capes, perfectly worn sweatshirts and laid back denim are top on my list to have this fall.  The more I can mix and match the pieces I buy this fall, the better.  Sweaters and plaid tops can be worn beneath vests, jackets or capes or worn on their own with sneakers for day time or loafers if I am wanting to feel more pulled together. I've been on the hunt for the "perfect" fall bag and I love this neutral option.  Some of the items here you may already own or you may look at this list and instantly see the pieces you need/want for this season.   I hope this pared down list is helpful for your fall planning!

crewneck sweater (shown) or save or splurge
plaid shirt (shown) or save or splurge
loafers (shown) or save or splurge
cape (shown) or save or splurge
vest (shown) or save or splurge
sweatshirt (shown) or save or splurge
distressed denim (shown) or save or splurge
sneakers (shown) or save or splurge
nude handbag (shown) or save or splurge


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