The Funniest Tea Towels

I don’t know about you… but I just love myself a cute, funny tea towel for my kitchen.  They’re just so darn punny! (hehe… get it?)  I know this sounds super nerdy, but I’m sort of a collector.  Whenever I find one with a phrase that speaks to me, I just have to have it.  I know there’s gotta be other addicts out there as well.  Fellow Tea Towels Anonymous members… where are you?  If you’re reading this and you’re already lost thinking… “what is this girl talking about?” you’ll find this article useful– What The Heck Are Tea Towels, Anyways?

I just love how it’s a fun, easy, inexpensive way to switch up the feel of your kitchen.  I have some that are staples that I use all year round.  Then I have others just for specific holidays or seasons.

So I’ve put together a list of my favorites to share.  I’m thinking I’ll be purchasing a few of these to add to my towel drawer to add into the rotation.tea-towel-rise-and-shine-mother-cluckers

 

Rise and Shine Mother Cluckers by RossCreativeStudio on Etsy – $12.95tea-towel-etsy-i-like-big-bundts

 

I like big bundts and I cannot lie by TheLilliePad on Etsy – $11.99tea-towel-francescas-rock-out-with-your-crock-out

 

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The Best Farmhouse Wreaths for Summer

Okay… the arrival of Summer is officially here… I know it’s not Memorial Day quite yet.  But, the temperature hit 89 degrees in Illinois today.  For us, that’s kind of a big deal!

So in celebration, I thought let’s talk summer style.  Lately, I feel myself obsessing over beautiful, farmhouse wreaths.  I’ve picked out my top 7 for the summer featuring some bold pops of color plus a few neutral staples.

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House Tour: Our Great Room

When my husband and I decided to build our home, we knew we wanted open concept.  The thought of having one big great room for our kitchen/living/dining was perfect for us.  Not only does it create a perfect experience for entertaining, I’m hoping that down the road when we have little ones, it will make our lives a bit easier as well.

I thought I would share a little tour of our Great Room to show how we set up our furniture to break up the space and to still make it feel purposeful.

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When you walk in our front door, we knew we wanted our entry way to make a statement.  My husband and I both fell in love with this Metal Orb Chandelier from World Market,  and you really can’t beat it for the price.  A similar option from Pottery Barn will cost you almost three times as much.  This light fixture gave the space a rustic/industrial feel the second you walk in the door.

Also, one of the upgrades in our home that we opted for was our front door.  Again, with such a grandiose entry way from the outside and the interior, we knew this was worthwhile and would immediately give the house some more curb appeal.  We went with the Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Canvas Collection fiberglass door with the craftsman grille and sidelites.

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I just love neutrals and simplicity.  That’s why we opted to paint the majority of our house using Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.  It’s the ultimate ‘greige’ paint.  Depending on the lighting, your furniture and decor, this color can look look anywhere from a light tan color to a cooler gray.  I like that it keeps the space light, bright and airy.   We painted our trim a slightly off-white using Benjamin Moore White Dove.  Our builder recommended that we stay away from a true white, because it tends to show dirt and dust much easier.

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We also had a very specific vision (and budget) in mind for our light fixtures in our kitchen and dining spaces.  We knew what look we wanted, but had a very specific budget we wanted to stick to.  When a building a house, it’s so very easy to go over on lighting.  It can really add up fast!  So when we discovered Menard’s Patriot Lighting® Judd 13″ Olde Bronze 1-Light Mini Pendant we were thrilled.

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After watching countless episodes of Fixer Upper, I always knew I wanted a “Joanna Gaines-inspired” farmhouse chandelier for our dining nook.  I’m telling you… the lighting selection at World Market has to be a best-kept secret.  The looks are so on trend, but yet an incredibly affordable price.  We went with the Rustic Wire Chandelier.  The color is a matte gray, but I’ve read some reviews from buyers who decided to paint it black and had great success.  For me, I don’t mind the gray color… but if you’re set on black this could be an option.

IMG_0315My absolute favorite part of our Great Room has to be our fireplace.  Truth be told, I never realized how large it would be until we started looking at mantle selections, but I’m in love.  Without it, I’m not sure the space would have the same flow.  When building our house, the fireplace was always a must-have.  Living in Illinois where it’s pretty cold at least six months out of the year, it’s so nice to have as a practical heat source in addition to being a focal point.

IMG_0346Rather than a traditional brick fireplace, we opted for stone to give it a more rustic look.  Our mantle is an actual old barn beam that came from a local farm here in our area.  We decided to showcase the slots in the wood by leaving them in the front to show the authenticity of the piece.  This serves no purpose, just injects some character. (We get this question a lot.)  The beam was sanded before it was installed, but we decided not to stain it, because we loved how it looked just raw.

Finally, to enhance our home’s rustic, farmhouse look, we decided to go with hickory wood flooring for our entire great room.  We knew that we wanted a wood that was a bit harder, and would be able to handle some wear and tear from our dog and future children.  Originally, we thought we wanted a wider plank and dark floor.  But we completely changed our minds and decided with a more narrow plank to hide any flaws and a lighter color so we didn’t need to keep up with the cleaning quite as often. I have to say… this was a GREAT decision for us.

Traditionally, hickory isn’t a wood that is typically stained.  However, I knew that I wanted to eliminate any sort of yellow tones that the wood has a tendency to show. We went with Minwax Weathered Oak Wood Finish with a matte top coat.  This was one of the only decisions that the hubby and I couldn’t agree on… I was Team Stain and he was Team Natural.  After much debate, the right team won (obviously) and today he agrees that it was the right choice.  I win!

That pretty much covers our whole great room… if you have any questions at all, please ask!  I hope you found this home tour blog post helpful when it comes your own renovation/building projects.

xo,

lauren

The Best Farmhouse Bedding on a Budget

As I write this post, I’m currently watching the season finale of ‘Fixer Upper’, and I’m just swooning over this gorgeous master suite that Jo and Chip have completely transformed.  They have taken the original siding of the shack and used to create an accent ceiling.  It’s just stunning!

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You may not be able to accomplish that look all that easy… but you can make your own statement in your Master Bedroom with some beautiful bedding with farmhouse flair!

I’ve made it my mission to scour the internet for the best quilts, duvets and bedspreads all while staying on a budget.  Here’s the best of the best…

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The Best Industrial Decor from Target

How do I love thee, Target?  Let me count the ways.  But seriously though, is Target not the best?  I mean… what other store can you walk into looking to buy just one thing and you walk out with a trendy outfit, some seasonal Dollar Spot finds and a bunch of new home decor?

Target has to be one of my favorite spots to shop for home furnishings.  Not only is it budget-friendly, but it’s always on trend, and they really have something for every style.  Lately, I have been loving all of the industrial elements I see in interior design.  I’ve thoroughly searched Target to pick out the best industrial decor items.

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1.  Real Wood Floating Shelf – Threshold

Floating shelves are in!  I’ve seen them used in bathrooms, dining rooms and everywhere in between.  I really love them in all spaces.  These real wood floating shelves come in three different sizes so that you can style them in any size space, or you can stagger them with all different sizes for a more unique look.

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Farmhouse Finds at the Flea Market

Last weekend I attended my first Flea Market of the season.  Even though it was a bit chilly, it was well worth the trip.  This was the first time I attended the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles, Illinois, and I highly recommend it.  It’s laid out really well, and there’s a large variety of vendors.  Definitely something for everyone!  If you’re local, check it out.

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If you’re looking to incorporate some farmhouse flair into your home, a flea market is a great place to start especially when you’re on a tight budget.

Here’s a few pieces that are fairly simple to find at any flea market at a fair price…

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1.  Chippy Spindles

Chippy spindles have been popping up all over lately.  I love how you can incorporate them into almost anything.  Throw them in a dough bowl, hang them in a gallery wall or just style them on a shelf.  The opportunities are endless.  I snagged these beauties for just $14 for the pair.

2.  Wooden Crates

Wooden crates are always plentiful at any flea market.  Just be sure you’re not overpaying for them.  For me, I feel like $10 is fair for an old crate in decent shape.  These rustic beauties are good for adding height when styling shelves and tables.  You can also use them to hold pillows and blankets or just for storage in general.

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3.  Old Mason Jars

Another flea market find that is always in abundance!  I think old Mason jars are just beautiful.  I use them to hold cotton balls, cotton pads and Q-tips in my bathrooms, but you can do so much more.  They would be super cute in a craft room or an office as well.  Whenever you have small items that can be stored together on display, they are stunning.  Make sure that when you’re buying these, that they’re in good shape.  No cracks or chips.  Also, check to make sure the lid is old and original.  If it’s too pristine, it’s likely too good to be true.  On the underside there will be a glass if it’s truly old.

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Spring Cleaning Tips (from the girl who hates to clean)

5springcleaningtipsI hate cleaning. I’m really not great at it. Growing up, my room was always a complete disaster. Like tornado style. Just ask my close friends. Now as I’ve grown older, I realize how much I love having a clean house to call my own. But… I still can hate the process.

With the warm weather arriving here in Illinois, it has me thinking all about spring cleaning. I’m going to share my tips and tricks here, not because I’m a clean freak pro by any means. But I feel like if I can handle this, you can too.

1. Declutter your life. Do you need it? Does it bring you joy?  Does it bring joy to someone else in your home?  If you answered no to all, then get rid of it. If you answered yes to any one of these questions, find a place for it. If it doesn’t have a place, and you can’t find one to dedicate to it, then bye. I know this sounds so much simpler than it actually is, but I promise this is great advice to live by. When you remove all the extra noise from your living space, you can truly appreciate everything you love around you. Make it your mission to sort and organize this spring.

2. Clean out the fridge. This is a space in your home that you’re using at least once (if not MORE) each day. Why not make it more organized? When we first moved into our house, I realized that I really had no idea how to determine what went where. You know you’re adulting when you google ‘how to organize your fridge’. So here’s what I’ve learned…

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Tips for Building Your Dream Home

After going through the home building process, my husband and I get a lot of questions about building our home. When we started, we certainly weren’t experts! We were actually pretty clueless. So I’m sharing what we learned in hopes that it might help someone down the road.

1. Do your homework. This may sound like common sense, however you would be surprised how many people dive into home building before really knowing what they want. Research different builders in your area and talk to their past customers to find out the good/bad/ugly. Also, find out what kind of a reputation your builder has with your city. My husband’s uncle works for our city, and we relied heavily on his advice. He told us which builders to steer clear from and who might be worth considering.

2. Watch HGTV with your significant other. Come on, Lauren, really? I know… this might seem like silly advice, but I can’t tell you how many episodes of Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, House Hunters, etc. we watched in the last year. It was a lot! But what that did for us was create a conversation about what we liked and what we really didn’t like. It helped us to create a cohesive vision for our future home which I believe saved us from quite a few arguements down the road.

3.  Establish a budget. No one likes talking about money, but it has to be done. My recommendation would be to give yourself some wiggle room within your budget so if you do go a bit over, you’re not stressing. For our project, we ended up spending about 10% more than we originally budgeted. Those darn upgrades!

4. Meet with potential builders and discuss your budget. Take the time to get to know your builder before you hire them. Remember… you’re going to be working closely with them over the next 6 months or longer, so it’s important to have a good working relationship. Talk to them about your budget and your goals for your new home and any non-negotiables. If you know you need a three car garage, let them know that. Decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms you are looking for. From there, your builder should be able to recommend the size of home they would be able to accommodate within your budget.

5. Find a floor plan you love.  Some builders will already have established floor plans and models you can choose from for your new home, or you may decide to go with a completely custom builder, which is what we decided to do. There are so many websites out there where you can purchase floor plans, but we found our home at http://www.houseplans.com. There are different options available to fit any size of budget.  Here’s the plan we selected.

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6. Invest in ceiling height. When considering which floor plan might be best for you, remember to look at the height of the ceiling. It’s almost as important as the number of square feet. Most of the ceilings in our home are over 10 feet, so it certainly makes the space feel larger than it actually is.

7. Location, location, location. A true staple in any decision when it comes to real estate. Decide what matters most to you about your location. Is it proximity to good schools, walkability, safety, living near family, resale, etc.? Once you know what matters most to you, it makes selecting your lot a whole ‘lot’ easier. (hehe.)

8. Ask a lot of questions. The phrase “There are no dumb questions,” couldn’t be more true in this scenario. Just ask. I’m sure it’s nothing that builder hasn’t heard before.

9. Stay organized. Keep track of all of your decisions and paperwork. It’s not uncommon that your lighting selection can get lost in the shuffle, so make sure that you always have everything saved on file. I took photos on my phone of everything throughout the process including every selection with the item number and price. This made it very easy for me to pull up anything I needed at any given time.

I feel so very lucky that our home building experience was so positive. Hopefully with these tips and tricks, you will have no trouble constructing the home of your dreams.

xo,

lauren

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My Favorite Spring Decor from Hobby Lobby

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The weather this weekend has been beyond AMAZING.  In Illinois, it reached almost 70 degrees!  I honestly can’t remember a February ever being that warm.  The warmer weather has me craving some spring goodness.  This year’s spring decor is all about neutrals, galvanized metal, wood accents and greenery.  I’m absolutely loving it all, and just can’t get enough.  Hobby Lobby is really killing it with their spring style.  So I’ve decided to share with you my favorite spring decor finds from Hobby Lobby.

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Transforming a Garage Sale Find with Chalk Paint

My mother-in-law is the queen of garage sales. She’s a woman of many talents, but her garage sale skills are top notch. She once bought a high top wooden kitchen table with four chairs for $5. After four years, we still have it in our house. That’s skill!

One of my favorite finds that she brought home last summer was a coffee table/end table set that she got for $30. The set is great quality, super sturdy and heavy with black iron piping on the bottom shelf.

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When transforming a piece of furniture, I think it’s so important to start with a quality piece in order to transform it into a quality piece.

Fixing this baby up was super simple… if you’re willing to dedicate the time, anyone can do it. Here we go:

Supplies

  •  Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape
  •  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – pure white
  •  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – old white
  • Annie Sloan Soft Wax – clear
  •  Various sizes of paint brushes
  •  Sandpaper
  •  Clean rag or shop towel

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