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  • The Un-Made Bed

    Confession: I've now gone 4 years without a bed.  

    That doesnt mean what you think it means.  I have a mattress.  I have a bedframe and box springs.  I have super-heavy cotton sheets that feel like you're being cuddled by a polar bear.  But, I have no real bed.  No headboard, no footer.  

    In 2012, when the man and I decided to sell the Manor house and downsize to suburbia, I knew I needed a change from the uber-modern, shiny white platform bed that we had, if- for nor other reason- that I scraped the hell out of my calves trying to get out of the thing every morning.  I'm short, so sometimes getting out of bed is difficult to begin with, but in the case of Z Gallerie's Jett bed, it was also painful.

    ** the culprit **

    For a while after delivering said torture device/bed to a couple in Indiana (who paid full craigslist asking price!), I began to toggle over what to do.  Should we buy the bed I'd had my eye on? Go bed-less until we move? For at least a month, we were relegated to having what the man dubbed a "floorbed," which was just our Tempurpedic on the floor of the bedroom.  It was hell for our bones to get out of in the morning, but our dogs were thrilled.  

    Finally, I gave up and ordered a bedframe and box springs, and we have a thing that's largely considered to be a "bed." The linens are great, and our quilt and matching dustruffle do the trick, but it's the one thing that's currently missing to make our bedroom feel really finished.  

    I'll be honest- I love, LOVE our bedroom.  We're on our second floor, overlooking the front yard, and almost everything in here is monochrome.  The walls are painted a beautiful mocha color with gray undertones (Valspar's Seine), and my dresser and nighstands are finished in a dark brown (Ashley Furniture's Naomi Collection- an inexpensive, but beautiful buy!!).  My desk and chair are a pale ivory (the Salon collection from Bernhardt), and our quilt and shams are an almost-shimmery pale gold (something discontinued from Macy's Hotel Collection).  Together with mercury glass lamps and abstract black and white art, I feel like I'm floating inside a latte- especially when the light hits things just right in the evening.  But friends, its naked in here.

    My initial thought was to head back to Z Gallerie for an upholstered number named Ginger.  One of the fabric options looks like a velvet extension of the wall color, and the massive height would definitely make a statement on the otherwise bare wall between our windows.  

    ** Z Gallerie's Ginger Upholstered Bed **

    Sadly, Ginger has been discontinued.  The fabric is still available, though, and I have a craftsman who has volunteered to build the headboard.  It's a thought.

    As of now, almost every room in this house has *something* that remains to be done before it could be considered truly, truly finished.  I'm waiting on new furniture for the living room, and a sketch is missing from the dining room.  New chairs still need to arrive for the kitchen... My foyer is perfect, as is the powder room, but my bedroom...  I just need to pull the trigger on this one thing.  Soon, friends.  Soon, this bedroom will be made!

  • On Thanksgiving, 2016

    It's no secret that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Regardless of my birthday on the 4th of July and the Derby (which is DEFINITELY considered a holiday for those of us in Louisville), it's Thanksgiving that always gives me the warm fuzzies.  There's no underlying motive- no pressure to pain-stakingly gift hunt, no obligation of buying a pink heart-shaped box of chocolates, no real religious undertones.  Thanksgiving- just a day to call friends and family, and invite them to dinner.

    This year, of course, was a little difficult, as it's the first holiday season without Daddy.  We decided that the easiest way to move forward was to open the house to friends, inviting those who may not have had anywhere else to go, asking entire families to shrug off roasting the perfect turkey, and letting me be the one to worry about possibly overdone poultry.  22 pounds of bird and 16 people later, we feasted for 8 hours, with friends making themselves at home on our stairs and sprawling in front of the fireplace, getting up every hour or so to stretch and grab another slice of pie.

    Like clockwork, we listened to Alice's Restaurant at noon and 6pm, and I swear, I could almost feel and smell B's mother's fireplace burning in Cleveland.  Thanksgiving just always feels like home. After everyone left, and my mom made her way upstairs, I laid on the man's lap and took a breath.  Our squishy little beagle curled up by my feet, and even though 2016 has been such a year of loss and heartache, I still found myself thankful- thankful for my teeny family and the opportunity we have to host holidays, thankful for our incredible home, which- despite its small size- can accomodate countless friends and family.  Thankful for the way that Bryan breathes and half snores when he's eaten too much turkey, and thankful for the way our dog does the same thing.  

    It's been a difficult year, friends, yet as I sit here, I can't help but think of how fortunate I am... Isn't that what thanksgiving is, after all?

    Cheers.

  • Dream Dining

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of helping a long-distance client close on their new home- a two-story townhome, backing up to a fountain-filled lake in a secluded Louisville neighborhood full of geese and deer.  It really is a dreamy space, and- lucky for me!- really dreamy clients who have provided me with a Pinterest mood-board and *almost* given me free reign to decorate for them!  A commision check AND a project! Who could ask for more!?

    Their new home has a very cool layout; the large foyer has a staircase to the second floor wrapping around the left and rear walls.  The hallway to the right opens on one side to a bright kitchen and on the other, to a large dining room with tray ceiling and an INSANE amount of woodwork.  

    Its this room that has had the most of my attention, since my clients bought the Modern X-Base table from Wisteria.  L and D, as we will call my Buyers, seem to have a very updated French style about them- lots of navy, blue and white porcelean.  L is planning on turning a first floor bedroom (complete with private patio, overlooking fountain/lake) into a garden shed/office, for crying out loud!  These folks are fun, and have a massive amount of antiques.  How, then, do I make the new, funky X-base table work in what's supposed to be the most formal room in the house?

    ** Wisteria Modern X-Base Dining Table **

    ** Ralph Lauren Paint in Felt Green **

    L loves some navy blue and from the very beginning, she mentioned that she wanted to incorpirate the color into every room in the house.  For whatever reason, Ikept finding myself drawn to a gorgeous hunter green from Ralph Lauren called Felt Green, and I keep thinking that just maybe, coating the dining walls (from wainscoating upward) in this rich green and bringing navy in through the dining chairs and her porcelean would look incredible.  Inspiration? These cozy, jewel-toned areas:

    ** via House Beautiful **

    ** via Archetectural Digest **

    My thought is to bring in blue upholstered dining chairs as well as a large, ivory bookcase that L and D had in their former home.  The bookcase would be placed on the left wall, and then be filled with their books, yes, but also beautiful dishes as well as their blue and white porcelean pieces.  

    ** source unknown **

    ** source unknown **

    Blue and white dishes from their former bedroom would surround a very Kentucky-esque equestrian painting, also from their former home (and still available at Pottery Barn) on the right wall.  

    ** via Pinterest, original source unknown **

    ** via Pottery Barn **

    Centered, straight ahead as one walks in, I'd hang an oversized mirror, possibly black (to couple the dining chairs), but a bit distressed, like the one below, in an almost-ornate sort of frame, to reflect the light of a simple iron lantern.  Between the lighting, the mirror, and whitewashing the now-cream-colored woodwork, I see a bright, beautiful dining room that can reflect my clients' personalities, as well as blend their love of traditional elements and a want for something a little funky.

    ** source unknown **

    ** via Lamps Plus **

    There you have it, my dear readers- a jewell-box of a dining space for my clients' new Old Kentucky Home.

  • Butternut Squash Pie

    As soon as the weather begins to cool, my food cravings change.  During summer months, it's completely normal for me- and everyone else, I'm sure- to want watermelon for dessert, canteloupe and proscuitto salads, shrimp cocktail and BBQ...  For most folks, it seems they look forward to the days they can retire to Florida and eat nothing but pulled pork and fried fish all the livelong day. Folks live for summer food, all light and chilled and perfect.

    Not me, though.  

    I want fall.

    I don't want the leggings and pumpkin spice latte fall that seems to dominate Instagram and Pinterest feeds, though (seriously, pumpkin spice lattes?  Ick.).  I want winter garden foods.  Beet salads.  Black rice with root veggies.  Fingerling potatoes on my pizza.  And winter quash.  So many winter squash.  Stuffed acorns full of homemade sausage and garlic.  Spaghetti squash reamed out and baked into a steaming pan of homemade gratin.  Risotto made with sugar pumpkin and Gruyere cheese. Mostly, butternut squash pie.

    I stumbled across a recipe years ago for the pumpkin pie alternative of butternut squash blended into a nilla wafer crust.  A little timid at first, but lured into giving the recipe a shot (mostly because of the prospect of a solitary lick of Eagle Brand Milk- I won't lie), every fear of a dessert pie made of a traditional veggie melted away.  

    Originally taken from www.myhabitfix.com, I've altered the crust as well as the suggestion of stirring the filling- a direction that left the fiberous squash flesh a little too textured for many friends' taste.  

    Easy to make, with a warm, nutmeg-y scent that'll fill your house, this one will become a fall favorite, and may have you leaving the Pumpkin Pie of every fall holiday behind.

    Makes 2 Pies

    For the crust:

    1 1/2 boxes vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed or ground

    1/2 cup melted salted butter, plus more, if needed

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    For the Filling:

    The innards of one large butternut squash, seeded, roasted until tender, and shelled

    1 can Eagle Brand Milk (less one taste, for sanity's purposes)

    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

    3 eggs

    1/4 cup whole milk

    3 tablespoons all purpose flour

    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    1 teaspoon nutmeg

    Mix together the vanilla wafers and melted butter, adding more melted butter, if necessary, to help the crusts hold togeteher.  Press into the bottom and sides of two pie pans (either 8" or 9"). 

    In a Vitamix (or equivalent) add all ingredients for filling and blend until smooth.  Pour, slowly, into prepared pans.  Place pies into pre-heated 350 degree oven on lowest rack.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set.  If needed, cover pies with foil to prevent the tops from browning. Chill in the refrigerator.

    Make a MASSIVE AMOUNT of whipped cream by beating together one pint (or more... I love some homemade whipped cream) heavy whipping cream and a teaspoon of vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Heap whipped cream on top of pies and sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg.  

    You can store pies uncovered in the fridge for up to a week... if they last that long.

    Enjoy!

  • New Listing! 8919 Riley Avenue

    VERY well-kept and detail-filled 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home in the heart of Lyndon! Gorgeous kitchen opens to cozy living and dining areas. Bedrooms, full bath and master suite are on second floor.

    Only 6 years old- perfect for the first time Buyer, or someone craving a low-maintenance home.

    For more information, click here.

    Brought to you by Joyce Duncan, Semonin Realtors.

  • New Listing! 1629 Belmar Drive

    Adorable bungalow in Camp Taylor! 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, as well as a bright and airy den, PLUS additional living space above the garage, which includes two large rooms, an additional half bath, and a large closet.

    With easy access to the Highlands, the Watterson, and St. X high school, this one won't last long! Offered at $141,500.

    Brought to you by Joyce Duncan, Semonin Realtors.

    Find more info here.

  • New Listing! 5100 Windy Willow Drive

    Sweet 3 bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home off of Ballardsville Road! Readily acessible to 64, 71, and the Gene Snyder, and incredibly close to Costco, The Paddock Shops, and Springhurst shopping. Roof, flooring, mechanicals, and appliances all less than 5 years old!

    Brought to you by Joyce Duncan, Semonin Realtors.

    Find more info here.

  • Where Did You Come From?

    Two months.  Two months!? 

    Friends, readers, I must apologize again for disappearing on you.  This year has been nothing short of trying...  While there have been great nights out, and quick weekend trips, wedding celebrations, and a laundry list of improvements made at the house, I've continued to struggle with a few things following Daddy's death.  It's hard to believe that the bigger part of a year has passed since I heard his voice or watched him sing like a maniac over the sound of the tractor.  Eight months...  So much has happened.  You deserve an update;

    ** TILE!!! Sweet Jesus, The Tile! **

    June, 2015...  That's when I first mentioned the backsplash, and it has come up countless times over the last year.  Finally- FINALLY- it is complete.  In the end, a traditional marble subway tile won out, and I have to say, its not a regretted decision AT ALL.  Our kitchen now looks so complete, and so polished.  New lighting has gone in (see below), and soon, funky new dining chairs will find their way in.  Soon, a reveal of the entire space- and of the fireplace- will happen, post-facelift. 

    ** New Lighting, China Cabinet **

    When my mom moved in in February we quickly discovered that our home was just too small to be completely comfortable for two people and a dog.  While we are incredibly lucky to own a home whose bedrooms are both "master suites," complete with ensuite baths and ample closet space, we are now limited on not only a guest area, but also on living space.  Unless one of us wants to hide in our bedrooms while the other has company, we really need more living area.  That idea sparked a quick finality of living room furniture decisions, and the official plan for finishing the basement and extending into outdoor living space began.  

    Our new living room furniture will be a teeny bit more contemporary and funkified than it is in present condition, and- coupled with the addition of a HUGE gold urchin chandelier in the stairwell- the need for cooler lighting in the dining room and kitchen arose.  Enter Crystorama's Luna lighting collection:

    This big guy (at a whopping 23" diameter) is now happily hanging in our dining room, while is slightly smaller twin (16") is perched over the breakfast table in the kitchen.  Both are an incredible compliment to the "giant stabby-" as Bryan calls it- hanging in the stairwell.  Each now look now as if they belong in the same house.

    Joining the dining room light is now a large wood and glass china cabinet, showing off my favorite dishes and serving pieces.  Not to worry, though- the old, mirrored cabinet and both lights were rehomed with some fabulous local ladies!

    ** Helooooooo, Mac **

    After so many years operating on an iPhone and iPad alone, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a happy, huge, Mac desktop for my office.  I've never been so in love with a computer.  While he and I are still learning a few things about each other, we seem to be getting along rather well.  My desk is now just that- a happy, cozy, smelly-good corner of my world at which I can sit and peck out the day's work.  I've found that my working schedule has been much, much more productive since I'm forced to sit in this spot, rather than flit around the house.  That being said...

    ** You Betta Work **

    I have to toot my own horn a bit.  As difficult as this year has been, I have somehow still managed to stick to my lofty goal career-wise this year, and it seems that not only will I meet that goal, but I'll be soaring past it... by almost a 25% margin! I know that doesn't mean amount to a hill of beans to most of you, but for me- someone who has never been overly motivated, dollar-wise- I'm incredibly proud.  Reviews of my services as a Realtor have remained high, and each week, it seems as if potential clients are coming out of the woodwork.  I've birthed a sticktoitiveness that I didn't think I was capable of, and all of a sudden, I find myself wanting MORE.  Not more money, per se, but I want to help others in my office to grow, to offer an ear, business advice, to wake up in the morning and feel not only good about myself, but about what I'm doing each and every day.  Its an incredible thing.

     ** Oh yeah, and my hair is really long, now... **

    Friends, my sorries again for disappearing so often this year.  I owe you all more than a huge thanks for still reading (Are you still reading?) and for sticking with me.  I'm fighting my way back. If i'm not here next week, send out the search hounds.

  • About Face: My Return to Clinique

    Several months ago, I mentioned how I had accidentally run into a jar of Clinique's Moisture Surge gel  (read about it here), and how I was planning on giving that long-lost relationship another go.  A couple large sized jars of that celebrated moisturizer, and I was hooked again.  As it usually does, that usage and love has made me give the rest of Clinique's skin care and cosmetics another chance.

    The purchase of my second jar of Moisture Surge made me believe that maybe I should give the wash another go, then I wondered what their foundation felt like, and their mascara.... It snowballed.

    Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser

    The Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser is my everyday facewash.  I use it as soon as I wake up, as well as at night to wash off my makeup. It is gentle, and my face feels pretty clean afterwards, but not too dry or too tight.

    Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam

    Because I do still occasionaly fight acne (I hate that word.  Can I say that I occasionally fight pimples, or does that make me sound like a teenager?), my facialist suggested that I use a "more agressive" cleanser a few times a week.  So, now, three mornings a week, I use the Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam with my Clairsonic.   Whether its the more agressive cleaning, or the combination of all of these products, I'm not sure, but I haven't had a breakout in several weeks.

    Clarifying Lotion

    Clinique's Clarifying Lotions are each designed to be used with a particular skin type.  Personally, my skin is very normal, save for a teeny bit of oiliness around my nostrils and on my chin.  Lotion #3 is the one for me, and balances the amount of oil on my face, while getting rid of any dead skin cells and excess dirt.  I will say that even when I use my clairsonic and think my skin is SUPER clean, a swipe of this stuff on a cotton ball reveals all of the junk that my cleanser didn't remove.  I use it after cleansing, morning and night.

    Acne + Line Correcting Serum

    The Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum promises to treat acne as well as hydrate to reduce the appearance of fine lines.  I'll be honest- I do get a little Botox, so I'm not sure that it's the serum that helps keep me wrinkle-free or not, but I will say that there is a visible smoothness immediately after application.  I use it morning and night, after the clarifying lotion.

    Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

    Oh, my gosh, where do I start? The Moisture Surge gel is an incredible moisturizer.  It goes on a little thick, so it needs a few minutes to absorb, and if applied in excess, can "pill" off of your face...  However, when used correctly, it keeps you hydtrated ALL DAY, and you'll see a visible reduction in dry, flaky spots, even in winter or after sunburn. I use it morning and night, after my serum.

    All About Eyes De-Puffing Serum

    The All About Eyes Serum comes in this nifty roller-ball packaging.  Light and easily absorbing, the metal roller-ball stays cool, so each application feels like a refreshing little massage.  I like to use this formula in the morning before makeup, because it absorbs quickly, without drying, so that my concealer goes on super smooth.

    All About Eyes

    The original All About Eyes is a lotion-like formula that's thicker and (to me, at least) preferable on days when I'm not wearing makeup, or at night before bed.  Like the Moisture Surge, it does take a while to absorb, so I try to only use it if there isn't going to be makeup applied.

    Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick

    I HATE the name of this foundation...  But Holy Crap.  I don't know that I've ever used anything better.  The Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick goes on super sheer, but can be layered where needed for more coverage.  I like to blend it in with a Beauty Blender, and I'm not kidding- when its on and even, you cannot tell you're wearing makeup. I don't know how I've ever lived without it, and have no idea what I'll do if it ever goes away.  'Normous Neutral is my shade.

    Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm

    Again with the Chubby...  The Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm is a lot like its foundation counterpart, going on a little sheer, but easily layered for a more striking look.  I love Plumped Up Peony, personally.  Never using a cream blush, I didn't know what to expect, but on the apples on my cheeks, blended with the Beauty Blender, it leaves a hint of color that looks natural.  

    Line Smoothing Concealer

    "Line Smoothing."  I hate that I'm at the age that I have to worry about such things....  Still, the Line Smoothing Concealer comes with a traditional concealer wand applicator.  I use shade Medium, and I feel as if the formula has the tiniest hint of irredescence, helping to reflect light away from under eye circles (my biggest personal skin complaint, and something I've battled with my entire life). Again, blended with a Beauty Blender, it smooths very easily, and there isn't a hint of clash where it meets your foundation.  Light, yes, but needs to be set with a powder to keep from looking a little too shiny.  

    There you have it friends- my loyalty has changed, but this time, it feels like I've gone home again.

  • Locals We Love

    Introducing Locals We Love!

    What better way to answer your questions of "Who does your eyebrows?" "Where can I find the gym's website?" or "Any favorite local resturants?" than to develop a page dedicated to directing you to a few of our favorite local shops/services/eateries.  

    Find the page by clicking HERE, or by visiting the Locals We Love button in the menu.  Keep an eye out for more business to be added!