2020 Gift Guides

This year has been tough. The pandemic, a crazy election cycle and all the personal struggles that come along with quarantining for 9+ months has worn on me. Despite feeling rather “meh” about the holidays, I’m trying to infusion the season with the typical joy and magic. It’s different this year, but different isn’t always bad.

All of that to say I put together the 2020 gift guides and I’m so excited about them. I know that the people in my life would love these gifts and I think they would definitely bring joy to one of your family members, too.

Girls’ Gift Guide

I don’t have a daughter, so putting together a girls’ gift guide felt a little odd at first, but, luckily, I have nieces to help me. I paid attention to the things they like and tried to remember my own girlhood for ideas.

  1. Loopdedoo $32.48: This is a friendship bracelet making kit and tool. I loved friendship bracelets as a girl, and it appears that girls are still into this.
  2. Mini Electric Sewing Machine $36.99: The pandemic is a perfect opportunity to learn a new skill and I thought a sewing machine would be a great gift. It can provide endless opportunities for projects.
  3. Dual Tipped Markers $15.99: My nieces love to draw and color, so this seemed like a perfect gift for them. I, as a mid thirties woman, am obsessed with office supplies, too and also secretly want these.
  4. Tie Dye Kit $25.00: I can’t believe how popular tie dye is again….but here we are with the younger generations embracing it. I remember tie dying shirts with my mom as a girl and it’s something I’ve never forgotten. Hopefully this kit will create equally fond memories.
  5. Martha Stewart’s Crafts for Kids $17.69: A book to spark creativity and keep kids busy.
  6. Glittery Key Chain $12.98: Who doesn’t love a little personalization?
  7. Tie Dye Hoodie $17.88: As I already mentioned, tie dye is popular again AND my niece likes oversized hoodies…so if I order this a size or two larger, I’m sure she’ll love it.
  8. Off-Brand Go Pro Kid’s Camera $37.97: I feel like every kid I talk to mentions that they want to have a YouTube Channel. I know some parents roll their eyes at this, but I embrace it! I’m excited to see kids want to do something and put in the work to learn how to create, shoot and edit videos. I think this little camera could help draw out their creativity.
  9. The Girl’s Doodle Book $11.18: Who doesn’t like to doodle? This book has half drawn scenes with prompts to help the kid complete the picture. It leaves enough room for creativity but gives them a place to start.
  10. A Soft Cover Notebook $7.95: When I was a girl, I had about 1 million notebooks. I was far too shy to keep a diary and would have been mortified if anyone read it. However, I still had journals that I would doodle in, make lists and write down general ideas. I still do this and I feel very strongly about having a soft and flexible cover.
  11. Backpack Purse for Girls $21.99: This brought me back to the mid 90’s when backpack purses were very cool. I remember when I finally got one and I felt like I had made it (made it where? who knows but it felt cool).
  12. Lanyard $10.97: This lanyard comes in lots of different colors/patterns. These days lanyards seem even more practical for kids as a way to keep them from losing their mask.
  13. Lady Bug earrings $12.99: I have no idea if lady bugs are hip any more. They had a moment when I was a kid. I thought the earrings were adorable and I know that my nieces would like them.

Boys’ Gift Guide

I realized while putting together these gift guides that the girls and boys gifts are actually the same. I considered combing them into a general kid’s gift guide, but I decided not to because when I have a hard time thinking of a gift idea I google very specific information (gift ideas for 10 year old girl). So any item on this list can be applied to a girl and the girls list could easily translate to boys, too.

  1. Paper Airplane Kit $14.95: My son is obsessed with making paper airplanes. He happily folds them while waiting for the bus at school and will share them with his friends. He only knows one or two patterns, so this kit would increase his options.
  2. Electronic Snap Circuits $74.99: Over the summer, we purchased a science and engineering activity book. After completing some of the projects, we found that our son really liked the electronic-related ones. We thought this kit would expand the different type of projects he could do.
  3. Gem Dig Kit $17.99: We’ve had about 5 of these kits and my son loves them. Warning – It is messy, but put down some newspaper and have a vacuum ready and it won’t be too bad.
  4. Mini Drone For Kids $29.99: My son has been asking for a drone. I have no idea why, but he and my husband both seem interested in flying one of these things around.
  5. Origami for Beginners $16.14: Origami can be difficult and I tried to do one by watching YouTube. Um, embarrassingly, it was too hard for me and I gave up. So I thought this book would be a nice introduction to some of the basic origami techniques. I think it will also help with focus.
  6. Sticks and Stones $17.95: The subtitle is a A Kid’s Guide to Building and Exploring In The Great Outdoors. My son built a “camp” outside earlier this summer with some friends and he loved it. It was a few sticks and stones but it unlocked so much imagination. I think this book, with it’s series of little projects will keep him busy and continue to use his imagination.
  7. Minecraft Key Chain $7.99: My son is obsessed with Minecraft, so I know he’ll love this little key chain.
  8. K’nex Value Building Set $32.38: My son spends hours creating completely unique things with his K’nex. He got one or two kits last year to build specific things (i.e. ferris wheel). That was fun, but he preferred to make up his own things.
  9. Walkie-Talkies $21.99: My son feels like a spy when we use these. He loves it and I love it.
  10. Elmer’s Slim Kit $21.97: I don’t know if the slime phase is over for other kids, but my son is still into it. He got tired of making my “boring” slime and wanted to put other things in it. This little kit has everything you need, including some extra fun things to make the slime special.
  11. Minecraft Legos $63.99: Legos are a natural choice for most kids. This Minecraft one is fun!
  12. Slippers $27.96: Bootie slippers seem to be a big hit with my son. These Land Ends slippers are soft and look super warm!

Men’s Gift Guide

  1. Suede Leather and Flannel Slippers $27.47**SALE: These slippers are both cozy and cute!
  2. Brain Teasers Kit $19.99: This comes with three brain teaser puzzles. My husband kept these on his desk at work and fiddled with them when he needed a minute to think.
  3. Banana Republic Zip Up Cardigan $119.00 : Zip up cardigans seem to be my husband’s thing. I guess they have the ease of the zipper but a look that is professional enough for an office meeting.
  4. Nautica Leather Wallet $19.75 **SALE: My husband has owned this wallet five times or more. It’s simple and classic.
  5. LL Bean Pocket Knife $23.95 : I never really understood why men carried pocket knives, but my husband recently stated carrying one and it has been incredibly handy. My husband stresses that you must buy a good quality knife (he thinks this boy scouts one is good, too!).
  6. Patagonia Fleece Vest $79: My husband recently moved into the fleece vest stage of life and I’m here for it ( I, myself, love a good vest). You can’t go wrong with this one.
  7. Robinson Crusoe Board Game $48.13: In the last couple of years, our family has discovered cooperative board games (where you work together to win instead of against each other). This is one of our favorites.
  8. Land’s End Leather Belt $22.47***SALE: This belt is classic and versatile. It’s available in black or brown. It would make a great gift for the guy who is all about function.
  9. Ermenegildo Zegna Sunglasses $210: These sunglasses are cool but don’t scream, “look at me.”
  10. Wool Smartphone Gloves $34.50**SALE: We can never seem to keep gloves for more than a couple of years. These look stylish, warm and your husband can still play Among Us when wearing them.
  11. Leather Messenger Bag $89.99: I bought this bag for my husband years ago and it still looks awesome! It has plenty of storage and a laptop pocket. It is perfect for a business trip or just every day use.
  12. Dilbert Page-A-Day Calendar $14.39: If your husband works in an office in any capacity, he’ll probably enjoy this Dilbert Calendar and the relatable scenarios.
  13. Bucket Bag $8.97: This is one of the most functional gift’s I’ve ever given my husband. If your guy does DIY projects around the house, he’ll appreciate the ease of throwing what he needs in this bucket and toting it to his project.

Women’s Gift Guide

  1. Sleek Watering Can $29.99: Christmas is an opportunity to get someone something they may not usually purchase for themselves. I have a very functional watering can, but it’s definitely not as pretty as this one. I’m sure any gardener would appreciate this beauty.
  2. Blanket Scarf $15.89: These were all the rage years ago, but I am still into them. I am into every single color. I could get one for the next 10 years and be happy. They are so, so, so functional. I use them as a blanket in the office, I throw them on a chair and sometimes I actually wear them as a scarf.
  3. Soft Pajamas $25.00: I usually wear nightgowns to bed, because it’s super easy and comfy. However, I hate being cold in the winter and this pajama set from Target both looks super cute and is reportedly extremely soft/comfy. Sign me up.
  4. Rattan Book $49.99: I made a decision earlier this year to expand my book collection related to interior design. I have slowly started purchasing more books, but this one caught my eye. I am obsessed with Rattan and I have never meant a rattan product that I didn’t love. So, I can’t wait to dig into this book and not only ogle the beautiful pictures but learn more about my favorite material.
  5. Zip Up Cardigan $57.40: This cardigan looks high end. It reminds me of something Tory Burch would design…so I’m into it.
  6. Opal Necklace $34+: This dainty necklace is my jam.
  7. Live Bonsai Tree $41.99**SALE: Plants add life to any space and the bonsai tree would add an interesting and natural shape to any room.
  8. Bird House $35: This bird house is too stinking cute!
  9. Woven Baskets $88+: Baskets and trays are my love language. These black ones come in two different sizes and I can imagine them in every room of the house.
  10. Tory Burch Oversized Round Sunglasses $197: These adorable sunglasses have a classic shape, but the subtle two-toned detail makes them feel special.
  11. Dooney & Bourke Leather Handbag $298.50**Sale: I own this handbag and the leather is buttery soft, the hardware is substantial and the size is great. It’s a great quality handbag but doesn’t cost a $1000.
  12. H&H Science Peel Kit $84.00: Full disclosure– this brand is owned by my dermatologist. So many of her products are wonderful, but this peel kit is my favorite so far. If you struggle with oily skin or adult acne, start using this kit every other night and you’ll see a difference.
  13. Hummingbird Drop Earrings $44: These bird earrings make me happy. I think we should all find something in our wardrobe that brings pure joy when we wear them. I think these earrings are my joy.

I’ll come back later with my formula for stockings. What is on your wish list this year?

Hardwood Floors – Week 1 & 2

Pinch me! We’ve officially started prepping for our flooring installation. Just a quick reminder, we are laying wood floors throughout our entire first floor. Since this is our first time installing hardwood floor, we are taking it slow and going room-by-room.

We decided to start with our Living and Dining Rooms. They are attached and both rooms can be temporarily emptied while we complete the project. We are only working on this project during the weekends–so our weekly progress will probably equate to a few days of work per week.

Step 1: Remove all Furniture

We move the furniture from these two rooms to other places in the house. I had most of it worked out in my head, and just hoped that everything would actually fit. It did work out–although the house is looking very crazy. Like you might start worrying if this is the start of a hoarder’s house. The Family room is packed full of furniture. Every wall and corner is filled. But the living and dining rooms are emptied!

We moved the dining room table to the eat in kitchen area of the house. Even with the leaf out of the table, it’s much too large. But it works for now.

Step 2: Remove Baseboards

We removed the baseboards in both rooms by using a hammer and this mini set of crow bars. We are replacing the baseboards with taller versions, so we prepared these to be disposed (removed nails and cut into smaller pieces to fit in the garbage can). However, if you plan on reusing your baseboards, I’d recommend labeling them so you know which wall they belong on.

We also removed the chair railing, because we have plans to install board and batten in the dining room (more about that below).

Step 3: Remove Carpet and Padding

We cut the carpet between the living and dining room with a razor blade, so that we would have a small pieces to work with. Then we just stated in a corner and pulled it up. The Carpet will easily detach from the tacks and you can roll it up. Carpet is surprisingly heavy, so you’ll need to make sure you can carry it and dispose of it. The padding is light and easily comes up. However, you may have some carpet padding that remains because of the staples.

Next, you’ll need to remove the carpet tack strips and the staples from the floor. Removing the staples is pretty straight forward, just use plyers (I usually have a needle nose and regular pair) and pull them straight up.

Step 4: Paint Trim

We plan on painting all the trim white. I like the wood trim but it’s too orange and feels too 90’s. White feels classic and can easily painted another color if needed.

To paint the trim, we used a deglosser (we used this one), Ultra Pure White Behr paint, and my favorite paint brush. To prep the trim for painting, first wipe everything clean. Here is my secret–I love using baby wipes for this. They don’t leave behind any residue or lint.

To apply the deglosser (or “liquid sandpaper”), soak a lint-free rag in the solution and rub onto the surface in a circular motion. Occasionally refold the rag to prevent any spread of dirt/dust that you may have picked up along the way (cleaning prior to this will help prevent this). After the deglosser has dried, I wiped the surface again with a baby wipe and I was ready to paint. (QUICK NOTE: If you do not want to use a deglosser, you can use a special “gripper” primer. The one I used for painting B’s desk the second time is recommended. I did not want to use it because it’s extremely stinky.)

I knew I was going to paint the room, so I did not worry about being precise when painting the trim next to walls. However, when painting the window trim, I took it slow and steady. You do not need to use painters tape if you have a steady hand and are patient with the short handled 2 inch angled brush. I have tried all the gimmicky stuff for painting trim, but I have found just being patient and taking it slow usually works best.

The trim needed 4 coats, oye! But my gluts are feeling good guys. All those squats really paid off!

Step 5: Project Scope Creep

To be honest, this happened right after step 1. Jer and I were discussing the project to make sure we we’re both on the same page. Jer wanted to install the board and batten in the dining room prior to installing the hardwood floors. I was skeptical and had my reservations about doing this. But we continue to talked and he convinced me that installing it before the floors would prevent unnecessary damage to the floors. I agreed….so now we are installing board and batten.

The model of our board and batten in the dining room.

The board and batten deserves a post of it own. It will be on all four walls of the dining room. While designing it, we struggled with how to space the stiles. I wanted everything to look unified. After a couple of iterations, we finally landed on one design that made sense. We’ll do a separate post on the design/construction.

Step 6: Paint the Walls

After the trim was finished, we painted the walls. I’ve been collecting paint samples for 3 years and I had already decided on the color I wanted. It’s Asiago by Valspare. I am really liking the Infinity HGTV Sherwin Williams paint at Lowes, so we color matched Asiago in that paint brand (we purchased the satin finish).

This weekend we’ll start installing the board and batten. I’m going to cross my fingers that we did the math correctly and it all works out!

I Like Plaid, Just Like your High School Boyfriend

Did you see the meme going around a couple of months ago about your high school boyfriend’s comforter?


Of course, it’s totally true. Most guys I remember in high school either had plaid bedding or some other geometric pattern. This is probably an unpopular opinion based on reading the responses to the meme, but I really like plaid bedding! To make it feel a little less “high school boyfriend-ish” you just need to add patterned sheets and other blankets/pillows to break up the pattern and add some interest. Pottery Barn does a great job of styling it to make it look fresh.

Source: Pottery Barn Kids
Source: Pottery Barn

They do such a good job, I’m considering just having a plaid Christmas duvet cover. Right now our duvet cover is white and it feels blindingly bright in the midst of winter. The bedroom is pretty neutral, so the room could use some personality. As a lover of plaid, it felt like a great option. So I started hunting around the internet and I’ve found so many cute options!

I ended up ordering #11. It has a subtle pattern, but I think it will be nice addition for right now. I am totally onboard with ordering a bolder pattern down the road. Christmas bedding 2021?

November Link Up

David Attenborough: A Life on Planet Earth is a wonderful documentary on how earth has changed since David Attenborough has been alive. Climate change can feel overwhelming, because it feels like a problem bigger than one person or even 10,000 people. David offers (at the end) several things that we can do to reverse the impact humans have had on earth. It’s possible for us to change the future.

Why Context Matters When Designing A Home is a short, but informative, YouTube video that describes the different contexts that influence house design.

Live Election Results: I’m completely engulfed by the election right now….so this is what I’ve been watching non stop for the last couple of days.

Random Updates & The Next Project

I though I would do something a little different – a more casual post on a couple of updates.

We finished the outer frame on the XL artwork project ages ago. Writing up the DIY post has been, well, very slow. The more time that goes by the less I remember about the actual project and I realized I didn’t take a lot of pictures. I’m still getting use to this whole documenting process…so sometimes I’m so wrapped up in the project that I forget to take pictures. I am going to try to finish it soon and post it, but here is what the finished project looks like.

Remember my cute little desk I was re-doing? Well after I could no longer use a sander, the project halted and my husband wanted the garage to be functional again, so he moved the desk to a corner and that is where it has sat for the last several months. The desk is so close to being finished and I know exactly where I want to put it. I think I’ll have to wait until next spring to dig it out and finish it, but that’s okay because I still need to think about what to do with a couple of things (like the top that has a few gashes). Side Note: Do you see that wicker peacock twin headboard I found at an antique shop? I have no idea what I am going to do with it, but it was too cute not to purchase. (Here’s a link to one being sold on Amazon.)

Since completing B’s room (reveal post is coming soon!), we’ve been hesitant to start a new project. We originally planned to tackle the office, but some of the materials were delayed and we needed to make sure that my crazy idea would actually work before investing in cabinetry.

After the office plans were delayed, I thought we could work on the laundry room. I have most of the supplies already, but then something happened — our huge order of flooring came in. BAM! Two pallets and almost 4,000 lbs of white oak.

It’s more flooring than I expected and it hit me just how big of a project the flooring is going to be. We anticipate working room-by-room, but it stills feels like a lot of work…especially since we’ve never laid hardwood floors before. Nevertheless, I am excited about the project. So I imagine that over the next few months we’ll tackling the floors. We’re starting in our living and dining rooms. They are both rectangular, so they will hopefully be straight forward. We can temporarily not use those rooms while we figure out this whole flooring thing. I’ve already been thinking where to move the furniture to being the process.

I have a couple of other small projects that will be happening while we are laying the floors. Mostly wrapping up smaller things around the house just never seem to get done and organizing/de-cluttering. There will still be fun content and I’ve decided to commit to posting every Tuesday and Thursday! Please come visit to see what kind of crazy stuff we’re getting into.

The Home & Garden Television Line Up I want to see

I know that everyone loves a good before and after (so do I!), but lately I’ve been craving a different type of home television. I want shows with more information, a slower pace and less drama. Here are the 10 shows I would like to watch right now.

  • Restore Design: This would be a modern take on This Old House. The show would focus on renovations and restorations of older homes with a designer’s perspective. Each episode would go through one room and would show viewers how to do things like scrape windows, repair floors or install a window. This will appeal to millennials who love Instagram’s “Cheap Old Houses” and have the gumption and desire to DIY things.
  • Designer to Mogul: This television show would interview designers who leveraged their design careers into multi-faceted and successful businesses. Each episode would tell a brief history of their business and how they diversified and grew. It would include the struggles and the process. Each episode will focus on a different designer (or maybe each season could focus on one or two designers). Designers could include: Shea McGee, Sheila Bridges, Amber Lewis Interiors, Joanna Gaines, Justina Blakeney, Caitlin Wilson Design and many more. It will focus on how creatives can utilize their skills to build successful businesses. It will be of interest to aspiring designers and/or business-minded individuals.
  • Com Design: This show would focus on commercial designs including hotels, restaurants, retail, hospitals and more. Karin Bonn would be a great host and each episode could follow her in the various commercial design projects that her agency designs and oversees. I would like the entire seasons to focus on one or two design projects. This would (hopefully!) give each project enough time to get into the weeds of some of the nitty gritty details.
  • Lush Yards: This would follow a landscape designer when working with both residential and commercial clients. It would demonstrate how she designs the space, why she picks certain plants and how to care for the design over the long term. It would be an education on plants, design and curb appeal.
  • Town Revival: Okay, this one is a bit out there but give me a chance to explain. This show would include experts like economists, city planners, educators and other community stakeholders that come together to reinvigorate small cities or towns. There are so many things that go into building a successful community. It would talk about economics, education, mental health, community wellness and employment. I WANT to see this show. I think bringing opportunities to smaller towns will bring more diverse voices into the world. It would have a similar vibe as Strong Towns. Heck, maybe the Strong Towns people could create this show. Seriously, pretty please create this show. I think it would be so fascinating!
  • Textile School: Textiles are all around us and play a role in our everyday life. Textile School will introduce the different types of textiles, what they are used for, how to care for them and advances in the industry. Viewers will learn how to pick the right fabric for their homes, clothing and more.
  • Creative Communities: This television show would focus on how different cities, towns or organizations are fostering creativity through education, programming and business. It would cover a wide variety of topics and types of creativity. Each episode could explore a different community and how it’s supporting the arts and creativity. For example, one episode could explore San Jose’s Creative Industries Incentives Fund and businesses/projects that were supported by this grant.
  • The Wood Shop: The wood shop would follow a carpenter as he creates unique and beautiful wood furniture. It would provide an education on how to design and execute wood working projects.
  • Creative E.P. : Creative E.P. follows entrepreneurs in creative fields. It would focus on the entrepreneurial process (hence E.P.) and talk about running a business at various stages.
  • Behind Closed Doors: This is a dorky show about “how the sausage is made.” Every episode would go behind the scenes of different careers/industries and talk about how it works. It’s kind of like “How’s it made” but for industries/careers. It could have episodes that focus on interior design process, styling for magazines, how to make a TV show, starting a business, how to get a book published, how to make wallpaper, how to start a design line, how to start a podcast, how to style a room and on and on.

Credits: Television Frame, House Image, Toolbox Icon, Mogul image, Color Swatch Icon, Com Design Picture, Store Front Icon, Yard Image, Wheelbarrow Icon, Town Image, Building Icon, Textile Image, Fabric Bolts Icon, Flower Shop Image, Creative Cloud Icon, Tool Shed Image, Saw & Wood Icon, Café Image, Door Icon, Women with Laptop Image and Graph Icon.

Easy Halloween Decorating

The last couple of years I’ve felt blah about decorating for holidays which is a big departure from my usual over-the-top excitement. I think part of it is the imaginary pressure that I put on myself to create something new and impactful. This year I decided to keep it low key and minimal. I focused on decorating the entry and then sprinkled Halloween/fall décor into the living, dining and family rooms.

The Entry

To make the the entry feel more festive, I switched out my everyday décor for more fall-Halloween related items. I purchased these sweet natural braided mini pumpkins and lined them up on the tray. I also purchased this huge wooden jack-o-lantern bucket from Home Goods. I looked for this item online and the only thing that came up was this ebay link. This same bucket is listed for $185. WHAAAAAAT??! That is crazy.

I really love the bucket. It’s heavy and feels high quality. I think I paid $40 or $50 for it last year.

To make the entry feel a little spooky, I placed a large spider on one of the pumpkins and added spiders to the wicker mirror.

I used these super inexpensive spiders and gentle secured them by pushing their feet into the different crevices of the wicker. They’ve been up for about 7 days now and not one has fallen!

The Living Room

The living room is my happy place and I like to keep it neutral. Whenever I sit in here, I feel relaxed, so I wanted décor that would easily blend in with the rest of the room.

I added two skeleton spiders and a white fabric pumpkin that has an orange ticking stripe pattern. Sometimes less is more, right?

The Dining Room

I haven’t shown you pictures of the dining room before. The main pieces of furniture are in place, but I want to install board and batten on the walls, paint the trim and replace the carpet with wood floors. So while it’s a work in progress, you can see where we are right now.

I simply added gourds and small pumpkins to a long wood bowl. I did this last year, too and the gourds/pumpkins lasted until Thanksgiving. Both me and the pumpkins were ready to move on at that time.

I put some dollar store spiders on the light fixture and called it a day. Can you spot them above?

Family Room

Like the dining room, I have never shown the family room on the blog. It’s not ready and is still a mish-mash of furniture from our old house. The carpet needs to go, the bookshelves are too small, the wood mantel is too orange and I’m missing key pieces of furniture (a substantial sofa table and a TV armoire). It’s actually the lowest priority room for some reason….even though we spend most of our time in it. I will get to it, eventually.

Can I talk about something that I love and I may be the minority on? I keep our mantel bare for most of the year. The one exception is Christmas when it’s covered in garland and lights. I really like a bare mantel…it gives the fireplace all the attention. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who thinks this?

What I do love though is a decorated hearth. For Halloween I added a skeleton dog, stacked pumpkins (they light up!) and a black sequined pumpkin on one side. The lantern is a staple and stays there year round. The other side has a grouping of three artificial pumpkins.

In a demonstration of my “minimalism” this year, I only decorated one book case. It felt like a good idea at the time. I stretched a spiderweb material over the book case in a way that felt kind of natural. I added a sequin pumpkin (also from the dollar store) and called it a day. That creepy book was already sitting in the white bird nest basket, but it definitely adds to the spooky feeling. It was a happy accident.

There you have my simple and minimalistic fall décor. I may try to plan a little more for Christmas, but it’s 2020, so who knows.

2020 Pop Culture Halloween Costumes

I doubt any of us will be attending Halloween parties this year due to COVID 19, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still dress up to have a little fun. Just like last year, I broke down 4 celebrity looks to create Halloween costumes I can get behind.

Reese: Wig, Glasses, Earrings, Sweater, Jeans, Book Club | Shea: Blonde Wig, Necklaces, Ruffle Top, Jeans, Tennis Shoes

Reese Witherspoon is an actress and media mogul. She has a fun and relatable approach to fashion. To create her “costume,” I paired one of her favorite staples, a gingham top, with medium blue skinny jeans. You can accessorize with hoop earrings, tortoise shell glasses, a short blonde wig and a book from her book club to really sell it.

Shea McGee, the owner and designer behind Studio McGee, is having a great year, okay, more like great half-decade. Her Target collaboration is a hit, her book is about to be released AND she has a new Netflix show. Much like Reese, her style is approachable and is easy to replicate. She likes flowery tops and dresses, items that have a flowy component and jeans. For her, I paired a ruffled sleeve top with destructed jeans and tennis shoes. Complete with a long blonde wig and layered necklaces to nail the look.

RBG: Earrings, Gavel, Necklace, Robe | Greta: Wig, Hoodie, Jeans, Poster

Ruth Bade Ginsburg was a supreme court justice who championed women’s rights and became a cultural icon. Dressing up like RBG would be an honor and, I hope, will remind us of her accomplishments and dedication. RBG was known for wearing various neck pieces which had different meanings (here’s a short article if you’re interested), so the main part of her costume will be a lace necklace that looks like RBG’s favorite one. You’ll need a judge’s robe and gavel to complete the look. Add some large emerald earrings and pull your hair into a tight bun and you’ve got yourself RBG.

Greta Thunberg is a 17 year old climate change activist. The key to her costume is to copy her signature long braid pulled to the side and a climate change poster. Pair with a hoodie, jeans and sparse make up to complete the look.

A Quick Spray Paint Project

I wanted a huge cork board in B’s room so he could display his drawings and pictures. I ordered a 36″ x 60″ cork board from OfficeSupply.com and waited patiently until it arrived. I’ve never ordered from OfficeSupply.com, so I was surprised when it took over a month for the order to be shipped. None the less the cork board is here and is the perfect size!

I planned on hanging it vertically, like it’s shown above. The only problem was the aluminum frame didn’t really go with anything else in his room and the name written on the frame would give away that it was meant to be hung horizontally. The cork board felt like it should be in an office or school rather than a bedroom. However there’s an easy way to fix it – Spray Paint!

I used frog tape and white printer paper to cover the cork and prepare it for painting. I decided a satin pure black frame would look good in B’s room. I went through a spray painting phase about 10 years ago where I sprayed all types of things – hooks, picture frames, you name it–I tried to spray it. I felt pretty confident that the cork board would come out well. I used Krylon Fusion-All-In-One Spray paint.

After the corkboard was taped up, I wiped it down to ensure it was clean and began spraying it. I sprayed it in the paint box my husband built when I sprayed B’s desk.

You want to apply the spray paint in thin, even coats. My first few coats always look like a disaster. I sprayed the board upright to get full coverage on the front. I then laid it on the floor to paint the sides.

I am not sure how many coats I did–maybe 5 on the front and sides? I let it dry over night. Peeling away the frog tape was the most satisfying part of the project. I wish I would have recorded it.

Now the board is waiting to be hung. B’s room is almost done and hopefully next week I’ll show you the final room reveal.

October Link Up

The first presidential debate was a train wreck. Watching it conjured up all kinds of emotions – anger, disgust, disappointment, exhaustion. I can’t imagine two more debates or 4 more years with Trump as president. I know that we can do better and we should expect more from our leaders.

Banksy Does New York is a fun documentary that followed Banksy’s 30 day residency in New York City in 2013. Every day he introduced a new piece of art and New Yorkers would go on a hunt to locate it.

Dolly Parton is a mastermind. At 74 years old, she is still in the zeitgeist and better than ever. Netflix announced that Dolly will star in the movie musical, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” which will be released on November 22nd. As a huge Dolly fan, I will be watching. (I briefly talked about my love of Dolly here and every time I encounter her I am uplifted by her spirit. She is something special and I hope this Netflix special can capture her magic.)