5 Stylish Home Organization Spaces

I feel that when I’m totally overwhelmed/stressed out/anxious in life (currently: 9 out of 10), one of the things that helps me most is to get (and stay!) organized. Now, y’all know I’m a huge fan of to-do lists and making the bed each morning but there are some bigger, more effective ways to stay organized in your home, while keeping things stylish. Let’s be honest, not everyone has the time, money or patience to spend hours at The Container Store buying organization pieces. Also, who wants their home to look like Martha Stewart feverishly took over each room? Ain’t nobody got time for this:

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{Sorry, Martha}

I find that there are 5 main areas in the home that not only get the messiest quickest, but cause the most added stress when they’re a clusterf**k. Let’s explore…

  1. The Pantry

Ahh, who doesn’t love an organized pantry? I hope to have a walk-in pantry one day and I know that I’ll be that annoying person with labeled jars and baskets. But, if you cook often, this type of organization is a lifesaver! Minimal waste, no spoiled food & easy access to all. This is an easy rainy day project – do it!

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2. Kitchen Countertops

Lucky for me, I grew up in a home where the kitchen was always clean and that stuck with me. I prefer a minimalist kitchen, with just a few decor pieces on the counters. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing 10 appliances on the counter with a ton of knick knacks. I’m too OCD for that!

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3. Bathroom Closet

You’ve got guest towels, sheets, toiletries, hair dryers, curlers, etc. On top that, if you’re like me, your guest bathroom and master bathroom are the same thing so you’ve got a lot of stuff in a little space. Nobody likes a messy bathroom or bathroom closet. It’s gross. Spend an hour, take everything out, and re-organized it. Easy peasy!

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4. Mudroom/Laundry room

Let’s get real. Nobody likes doing laundry. It’s even more annoying when there are piles everywhere. This clean, calm space even makes me want to do laundry….a little bit.

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{mudroom via}

5. Home Office

Whether you work from home or just have an office with a family computer, this space is one of the most important to stay organized. From taxes to documents to calendars, there is so much information stored here, why have it messy? The key to a home office is to have a system- once everything has a home, you can keep it organized pretty easily.

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What’s your best organization tip?!

5 Ways to Bring Spring into your Home

First, congratulations to all of you who completed the Boston Marathon yesterday! It was a beautiful 70 and sunny day – we watched for hours and were consistently inspired by all of the runners, especially those running with disabilities. Those who ran with guides, the push-rim division, those with prosthetic legs, etc…what unbelievable athletes!

Now…let’s talk decorating for Spring! With longer days & warmer temps in full effect, it’s time to make sure your home is ready as well. I’ve put together 5 simple, effective ways to bring Spring into your home:

 1. Swap out some white accessories…vases, pitchers, potters, books…white accessories are fresh, clean & perfect for sunnier days.

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2. Go for fresh flowers…cherry blossoms, tulips & hydrangeas all scream spring. I currently have pink tulips in the kitchen, yellow & white tulips in the den and hydrangeas in the master. You seriously can’t go wrong!

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3. Trade out the textiles…I have a ton of different blankets, pillow covers, etc that I keep on hand and like to swap out! For spring, think light colors, floral patterns & palms. Now’s a good put away the faux fur throws & the heavy fabrics.

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4. Get fruity…fruit is an inexpensive, colorful, practical way to bring spring into your kitchen& dining room. I like using lemons, limes, oranges, apples, etc & displaying them in either clear apothecary jars or an oversized bowl. Odds are, you’ll eat these yummy treats so simply replace when you head to the grocery store!

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5. Tidy up! Really this should be number one, as I believe it’s the most effective way to make any space look fresh. Spend a day purging your closets, junk drawers & everyday spaces. Trust me, there’s no better way to feel like you’re officially in a new season.

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What’s your best tip for bringing Spring into your home?!

Easter Tablescape Inspiration

Happy Thursday y’all….if your week has been like mine, you are counting down the seconds until the weekend is here! We quickly went from no Easter plans to hosting dinner for 6 (maybe 8) overnight, so my mind is going into planning mode!

So, what’s on our menu?

Appetizers & Nibbles:

Deviled eggs & Mediterranean platter

Jelly beans & Jordan almonds

Main Menu:

Baked ham

Chilled asparagus,  roasted brussel sprouts & scalloped red potatoes

Spinach, fruit, walnut & goat cheese salad

Desserts:

Homemade brownies, coconut macaroons & strawberry shortcake

Yummy, right? We’re in charge of the ham, salad, apps & desserts. Our guests will be bringing sides and of course, lots of wine!

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{marble + wood cutting board / textured bowls / long wood bowl / wood + ceramic dip bowls}

One of my favorite parts about hosting is of course the table setting…however, living in a small 900sq ft apartment with no dining table proves to be a challenge. Luckily we have a 6′ folding table that fits directly over our coffee table so we’ll just move the sofa out back & place some chairs around it. Hey, you gotta work with what you have!

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Easter Easter Table Decor with White Hydrangeas and Tulips Cente

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How beautiful are those tablescapes? Whether you have the space or not, here are a few pieces to help you build a classic, pretty table for your guests:

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{table runner / gold flatware / wine glasses / white dinner plate/

gold salad plate / cake stand}

What’s on your Easter menu?!

How to Decorate with Pastels

Happy Friday y’all!

With Spring in full force and Easter just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to talk pastels. These soft, pretty colors are appealing, yet can often look very youthful and childish when poorly executed. Let’s be honest- nobody wants to walk into an adult living room and see baby pink splattered everywhere #amiright?!

So…I’ve broken this post down into 4 sections, where I’ll be giving you some examples of beautifully decorated spaces in pastel blue, green pink & yellow. Then I’ll help you pick some pieces to get started, if you’re interested in sprucing your space up in a mature, stylish way. Let’s get started…

Pastel Blue

I find blue to be one of the easiest colors to incorporate into a home- it’s versatile, well liked & there are so many wonderful shades. For example, you can mix pastel blue with white, cream, navy & green. It’s also the perfect compliment to any finish- gold, bronze, silver, etc. Blue can be used via textiles, decorative pieces (such as vases & ginger jars), books, lamps, etc. I’m also loving the blue in the kitchen trend!

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Pastel Green

Okay, so green is kind of a polarizing design color. I find that most of my clients either love it or hate it. If you’re the latter, I’m here to change your mind! Soft green, when used in doses, can be such a lovely pop of color. One of my favorite ways to use pastel (or “mint”) green is in all white kitchens! A green cake stand, pitcher, or serving bowl is subtle, yet effective. If you’re feeling bolder, try a green paint or wallpaper in a small space, such as a bathroom or laundry room.

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Pastel Pink

Ahh, pink. It’s a beautiful color, but please use it sparingly so that your home doesn’t look like a 5 year old girl’s room. Front doors painted light pink are a warm, welcoming, fun way to treat your exterior. It’s such a charming touch! Also, a pink chair or sofa, when used in conjunction with other mature, classic pieces, can be an excellent choice.

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Pastel Yellow

Textiles and flowers are the perfect way to introduce yellow- they’re subtle & with yellow, a little goes a long way. Pair yellow with whites, creams, grays & other neutrals to keep the space from looking too loud.

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{yellow bedding | green blanket | cake stand | blue-green pillow | pink teapot | pink vase}

What’s your take on using pastels in home design/decorating?!

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Get Your Home “Guest Ready”

We’ve all been there…you get a call in the middle of the day from your old neighbor/relative/long lost friend. They’re in the area and want to stop by in  15 minutes. You’re super excited to see them yet horrified that your place feels like a tornado came through…now what?!
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Step 1. Light Candles
Right away, light candles. They’ll get your home feeling warm & cozy and smelling amazing while you complete steps 2-5.

Hint: I always keep scented candles in the living room, bedrooms, bathrooms & kitchen!

Step 2. Tidy Up Main Spaces
The last thing you want is a guest walking into your home & seeing yesterday’s undies on the floor. #awkward…Picking up all of your random sh*t off of the living room floor, sofas/chairs/beds, and main countertops will create a visually clean space. Even if you only have 5 minutes, grab a basket to toss all of the stuff in, throw it in your closet & deal with it later. Clutter = messy = gross.

Hint: When in doubt, stack it! Have a stash of old mags or some new books? Stack them neatly & put a small bowl with a candle or cute decorative piece on top…wa la!

Step 3. Clean Surfaces
This one is important. Nothing gives away a dirty space more than leftovers crusted onto the counter. Quickly wipe down the coffee/end tables, kitchen counter & guest bathroom vanity. Then grab some windex & hit the main mirrors. Instant sparkle!

Hint: Wipe out the sink & keep it dry (a trick the maid always does!)

Step 4. Take Out The Trash
A no brainer, yet often overlooked. This legit takes under 1 minute: empty the bathroom trash into the kitchen trash. Wrap it up & toss it outside. Done!

Hint: Keep a scented dryer sheet between the trash bag & the can to keep it smelling fresh.

Step 5. Put Your Hostess Hat On
If all else fails or you’re crammed for time, light the candles & skip to step 5.
Grab a tray, some cute cocktail napkins (like these) and lay out some snacks. Easy ones to keep on hand are assorted nuts, pre-cut cheese & crackers, olives, grapes & chocolates.

Hint: Set out a fresh pitcher of water…or even better, a bottle of rose!

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So there you have it, my easy way to prepare your home for guests. Focus for 10 minutes and they’ll never know you weren’t ready for them. Oh, and don’t forget to put on some tunes & smile…after all, they came over to see you, not your home!

What’s your best quick clean up tip?!

Blue, White & Gray Sunroom

Ahh, the thought of sunnier days. Given that it’s pretty cold & dreary here in Boston, designing a sunroom has me dreaming of warmer days. I’m working with some newlyweds who are moving into their first home. We’ve already knocked down walls, demolished old bathrooms/cabinetry, re-wired for new lighting, and painted the entire home. The major reno stages are over and now we’re planning room layouts, purchasing furniture, eyeing decor, etc. This week starts install and I can’t wait to see the first pieces come in!

When envisioning a sunroom, this is exactly what I was picturing in my head:

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 {via, original here}

This couple has the exact same amount of oversized windows & natural light. We’re sticking to the same color scheme throughout the house- ivory/cream, blues, natural wood, gray. It’s a monochromatic classic with a touch of rustic.

Here’s the sunroom game plan:

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{Sofa // Rug // Pouf // Butterfly chairs // Side table // Candles // Solid & Striped pillow}

I really wanted to keep it neutral but bring in pops of color with blue accessories and plants/greenery. It’s more of a rectangle shape so opposing the sofa will be a big buffet/bar cabinet, with the tv mounted over. I think they’re going to enjoy spending time in this room, watching football games, and hosting family & friends.

Thoughts?!

My New Year Resolutions 2017

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break. I really enjoyed my time off and made an effort to see as many family/friends as possible & limit my social media time (trust me, taking a few days away from Instagram/Facebook/blogging is good for the soul!)

As we enter into a new year, I think it’s always a good time to reflect on the previous year: what did I do well? what can I improve on? what do I want to focus my time, money & energy on for the next 12 months? Call them resolutions, goals, or what you want, but I always find it helpful to refocus & live life with a purpose.

(Reminder: vote HERE to help me regain focus on South End Style for 2017)

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As I reread my 2015 and 2016 resolutions, I found a common thread. While they all vary slightly, they all are heavily focused around 3 main things:

1.Stay active & healthy

This one is a no brainer for me…you’ve got to respect your body & treat it right to live the life you want. I believe in balance and try to stick to a most Mediterranean diet with lots of lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits & veggies. As for workouts, I’m lucky that I am heading into 2017 injury free with some kickass crossfit buddies to inspire me. As always, I’ll try to incorporate more “regeneration” days with yoga, meditation, steam/sauna, etc. Balance!

2.Make an extra effort to spend valuable time with loved ones

2016 was a very emotional, tough year for my family as we said goodbye to my beloved grandfather in February. After losing one of the most important people in my life, I was hit in the face with the rude awakening that tomorrow is not always guaranteed. We all lead busy lives, but no one is too busy to call their parents, check in with a friend, send a kind text, plan coffee with a sibling, etc. Trust me when I say, you can make time. So make the time. I’ll be doing way more of this in 2017.

3.Continue to travel & learn

Travel: a resolution that is always on my list & always the most fun! 2016 was good to me on this front- we rode bikes around Amsterdam, ate crepes in Paris, went white water rafting in Interlaken & Jackson Hole, and got engaged during a California Road trip in Santa Barbara. I learned about other cultures, ate local cuisine, met people all over the world & had some incredible experiences that I’ll never forget. As always, each trip leaves me wanting more. I’ll be sharing my 2017 travel goals on Wednesday: warning, it’s ambitious!

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What are your New Years Resolutions?