simple is beautiful

House Of Fifty: First Color Issue

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The latest House of Fifty is now available!  You can go here for a preview.  There are several ways to enjoy your own copy of House of Fifty which you can explore here.  I downloaded my copy on the ipad yesterday and am still pouring through it!  So much good stuff from lifestyle to design.  Just my cup of tea.

P.S.  I'm once again honored to be a part of this wonderful and inspiring publication.  I was one of several bloggers called upon to share how we make it through the long and often dreary winter months.  By the way, how do you beat the winter blues?  Do tell...

My New House Crush

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lately I've been a little underwhelmed in the decor department.  I've been content with stretching out somewhere comfortable, far away from the computer (perhaps because it didn't work for three days), and looking at decor magazines.  So, when I saw an image on pinterest yesterday I had to do a little more digging.  (insert heartbeat, rapid ones...and maybe some heavy breathing)  You may have seen this house 1000 times, but yesterday was my first allow me to share people.

Would you care to see more?  You can do so right here.

The One That Got Away & Client Inspiration

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Many moons ago, Mom gave me a piano.  It wasn't in great shape and needed tuning, but still - It was a piano.  We tried and tried to incorporate it into our home and one day we had a weak moment and gave it away for next to nothing.  I can now think of several places where it would fit.  And it doesn't help that the boys remind me of how we used to have a piano the fun they used to have playing it.  I'm not sure about the last part, but whatever.

My clients piano - lots of room for  a gallery wall :)

Fast forward to now...I have a client who has a beautiful piano in her living room.  The piano was a gift from a college friend and has a ton of sentimental meaning.  We are on a mission to update the living and adjoining dining rooms in a comfortable and tasteful approach without being too stuffy.  You know, pretty and chic yet inviting and usable.  Because my client loves pictures of her family, the instant I saw the piano, it reminded me of the time Emily skyped her sister and together they created a gallery wall around her sister's piano.  Do you remember that post?

This whole piano thing got me thinking and so I searched for more images of pianos in rooms that have a current feeling about them.  If you are in a piano rut, this might help...

Have you stumbled upon piano inspiration you would like to share?  Please feel free to add a comment & link.  Have a great day!

Turn Your Instagram Photos Into a Book

Monday, January 21, 2013

Last year when I included Blurb's photo books in my gift round-up for guys, it never occurred to me how fun an Instagram Photo Book  would be.  So the other day, when my friend Courtney shared her book (on Instagram of course), it made me take another look at photo books.

The filters available on instagram can give the book a really cool edge.  (Gosh, how many times can I say intagram?)

In addition to those filters, I also like using other apps on my i-phone for photo enhancement.  XnViewPhonto, and Camera+ are just a few of my favorites.

It is hard to believe, but next year our oldest son will be a senior in high school.  I'm thinking about making one of these books for him as a graduation gift - sort of his own personal yearbook.   And, to my design friends, you can also have a portfolio book made.  I think we all need one!

This Happened...

Friday, January 18, 2013

It is hard to believe that only a few days ago it was in the 70's here and we were sleeping with the window open!  Oh well, as they say in Greensboro, if you don't like the weather, stick around for another day because it will change. Happy weekend ya'll.

My First Keratin Treatment

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This blog is mostly about decor, but every now and then I share something on a more personal note.  

In early December I received my first keratin treatment.  Have you ever had one?  My hair stylist had mentioned it to me a couple of times and so I decided to give it a try.  If you have thin, straight hair this might not be for you. But if you are like me with naturally curly hair that tends to look like this 90% of the time...

you might benefit from a keratin treatment.

My stylist uses 100% pure keratin which is quite pricey.  The process took about two hours and went something like this:

  • I was shampooed twice using clarifying shampoo to remove any product build up
  • my hair was then dried completely
  • keratin was applied to my hair using a brush similar to the one used for applying color, section by section
  • then she took teeny tiny sections and flat ironed my hair sealing in the keratin

Here is the before.

And, here is the after with a much needed trim!

One more after shot.

So for the next three days, I could not wash my hair :(.  I work out and run most days which means that I also wash my hair every day.  This was tough, but I made it.  I was told to keep my hair dry and not to wear it up. In the morning if I would would wake up with bedhead I had to straighten it out with a flat iron during that three day period.  By day three I felt like a grease ball!  Time passed quickly enough and soon I was back to my usual routine.  

This shampoo was recommended to help the process last (which by the way the treatment should last 4-6 months).  It was kind of pricey too, but it only takes a small amount and so I'm learning not to pour a handful like I normally do.  

The process was extremely nourishing for my hair!  Almost two months later I am still seeing the effects of the treatment.  Overall, the frizz is less noticeable and my hair just looks healthier.  Would I do it again?  Yes.

Looking For a New Faucet

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

We are in the process of changing out the kitchen hardware (back to nickel) and are in the market for a new faucet.  When we bought our current faucet, we didn't realize how much we would grow to despise it.  The retractable spray wand only retracts if you say the right curse word and make a mean face simultaneously. Seriously, we all get frustrated with it.  Plus, we need a faucet with a higher arch for filling and cleaning large pots.

I adore this entire kitchen, faucet included.

I really like the idea of an industrial faucet too like this one.

This is another favorite kitchen of mine.  Note: the faucet finish is not the same as the cabinet hardware and this is OK.  I often have clients who think all finishes need to match and this is a perfect example of a good mixture. It all depends on what you like, right?

So basically, we need a single hole, single control, high arching pull-down faucet.  Oh, and I should probably mention that I don't want to spend $500 on it.  Do you have a faucet that you love?  Please share...

Color Crush: Pink

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The other day I wore a jacket that I received for Christmas.  It's just a simple jacket, but what makes it special is a little pop of pink on the collar.  As I went through the day, it made me realize how much that little touch of pink added to the jacket.  Without it, the jacket would just be mediocre.

As it turns out, I've been secretly crushing on pink for a while.  Wearing it instantly puts me in a good mood.

I love little touches of pink in interiors too...


especially in its palest form mixed with neutrals.

I'm also really digging pillows in solids lately and found this etsy store who offers linen pillows in lots of color and size options.  I ordered a pair in another color, but isn't this pink gorgeous?!


I do love a hot pink interior on a bookcase - especially when the rest of the room is fairly calm!

So tell me, how do you feel about pink?  Yay or nay?

New Blog Design!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Monday everybody!  Thanks so much for all of the sweet comments on Saturday's post!  Rick and I both enjoyed reading them!  We had an amazing anniversary celebration and were sad to see it come to an end, but here we are - back in reality.

Some of you have already noticed the new blog design.  I'm so happy with it and wanted to share a few of the details with you.  If you are receiving this post by email or reader, you might want to click over and join us.  I wanted the blog to be easier to read and to look cleaner and less cluttered.  It always surprises me to hear from someone who has been reading the blog for a while and still doesn't know how to find stuff on here.  My hope is that you can find what you are looking for now.

Starting at the top you will find tabs for things that might interest you.  I'm still updating a couple of the links and of course the "tutorials" tab will continue to be updated as new projects come along.

There are lots of ways to keep in touch and I've added a few buttons to help with that.  If you want to receive Cottage & Vine by email, all you have to do is enter your email address under the "subscribe by email" heading.  Also, if you need to look for something all you do is type a word or words that would help you search, for example; striped curtains or cleanse diet.  Your topic should pop up along with a few others.  If you still have trouble, you are always welcome to email me.

To keep the clutter down, I changed the "labels" tab to drop down instead of being cloud or list.  It takes up less space and looks better in my opinion.  To search labels just click on the arrow to the right of "click to choose a label" and all of the labels will appear.  Most of you already know all of this, but there are some who don't.

There may be a few more subtle changes, but overall this is it.  I hope you like it and would love to hear your feedback.  Have a great day!

January 12, 1991

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Today may be just another day for many of you, but 22 years ago today I married the most gorgeous (better looking today), wonderful person (soul mate) in the world. I am a better person because of René.

Webster's defines marriage as, "an intimate or close union". There have been times when we may not have felt very close or intimate, however, the love we have for each other rules in the end. When I think of what we have been through together it brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.  RenĂ© is an incredible, talented, smart, and beautiful woman.  I am truly thankful to have her in my life.

This post was my idea, unfortunately there are rules and I am not allowed to post any "cheesy" pictures; wedding pictures. "My hair looks horrible".  I guess I will play nice.

She is my best friend!  So here is to another 22+ years!

I love you Rene!

My Signature Style Board

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hello!  I'm sure that by now you have discovered Pinterest.  Admittedly I "pin" almost constantly.  While stuck in traffic, waiting for appointments, cooking, etc.  Pinterest is my single most favorite tool for keeping track of all that inspires me.  I even pin for clients and LOVE the new private board feature especially for that purpose.  Not everyone wants their business public, right?

Today I happened across Darlene's inspiring tutorial for making your own "signature style board".  By the way, are you reading her series, Overcoming Decorating Paralysis?  If you have some free time this weekend, check it out.  As I mentioned earlier this week, I've been thinking a lot about style and what really floats my boat.  So Darlene's tutorial came at the perfect time.

I had so much fun creating my board and really, it was super easy.  It's kinda nice having all the images in one place.  Maybe this will keep me on track going into the new year.
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