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  • Transitioning Home for Fall

    Happy first day of Fall! I've been begging- begging!- for cooler weather to arrive here in the Bluegrass, and while it's still a sweltering and humid 89 out at the moment, I've still found ways to get the house ready for fall and winter months...

    A new, pale blue linen blanket from Ellen Degeneres Home, found at Scout on Market, has moved into the living room for sofa snuggle sessions, alongside our tassled, black cashmere throw.  A new basket from Mahonia Studio holds both under one of our end tables. 

    Fall flowers replace my usual fluffy pink florals.  Dark sunflowers, moody berries, and black scabiosa join wheatgrass on the coffee table and a tiny bud vase of berries perch on my reading table.

    Also from Mahonia, Pickwick and Company's Sweet Tea candle has been burning non-stop through the warmer months, filling the house with the scent of black tea leaves and lemon.  Moving forward, though, I'll be sniffing Oakmoss- a blend of fern, balsalm and spices.  The scent reminds me of a manly soap... warm and wonderful.

    I'm continuing to wait for cooler temps and rustling fall leaves, and in the meantime, friends, I'm hoping football season and the prospect of Halloween candy comforts you throughout the rest of September!

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

    ** all photos via Kyle Lueken **

  • Pottery Barn Buffalo Check

    For me, Fall has always been a time of joy.  Being a lover of cold weather, steaming comfort foods, and roaring fireplaces, there's something about that first onset of cool weather that gets me excited for squash soup, gingerbread, football, and sweaters.

    The folks at Pottery Barn have always done an incredible job at rolling out new pieces for the fall-themed home.  Over the years, fluffly blankets, fur throws, and cable-knit pillows have popped up on favorite list after favorite list, while each year new loves like faux fur-lined bathrobes have appeared and sold out within days.  Last year, it was the red and white buffalo check table wear.  This year, it'll be black and white.

    ** salad plate **

    Half picnic-y, half glamorous witches-a-brewing, the neutral shades of this year's collection can fit in on any tabletop.  Pair it as shown with gourds for a Halloween smorgasboard, or stick to all black and moody everything else for a sleek dinner party.  Throw a pink tablecloth down, and use the plates to celebrate your daughter's 1st birthday.  

    Last year, the red and white buffalo check tablecloth found its home on my dining table for a huge Thanksgiving dinner, paired with glittrey silver and white Wedgewood china (see details here and here).  This year I see a black and white themed Christmas dinner, perhaps a deep red pomegranite tart as a centerpiece.

    ** napkins **

    However you coose to use this goodness, friends, act quickly!  The tablecloth, above, has already sold out twice, and I'm on my way to grab the salad plates now.  

    Fall starts this week, friends- Cheers! 

    ** this post was not sponsored in any way **

  • NEW LISTING!! 10245 Riverstone Circle, Louisville

    Cute and updated stand alone condo in conveinent location off of Cooper Chapel!  3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths allow plenty of space for a single person, family, or couple to spread out.  Open living and dining space on the first floor couple with an updated kitchen and two storage closets.  

    Wood laminate, new carpet and fresh paint keep things looking breezy, while a covered porch and gas fireplace allow for cozy living no matter the weather.  Attached 2 car garage is a bonus!  Offered at $139,900.

    Brought to you by Joyce Duncan, Semonin Realtors.

    For more information, click here.

  • An Abundance of Airplants

    Walk into my home on any day of the week, and you’ll be greeted by tufts of green everywhere. My neighbor, Jim, has mused at least once that I have a large amount of plants in my home. It’s true. Since becoming friends with Bridget at Mahonia Studios, I’ve become a bigger plant lover than I thought possible.

    While a peace lily and spider plant are thriving in my dining room (along with an aloe plant in my china cabinet), a Calathea happily looks out the window in the guest room, an orchid greets folks as soon as they walk in, and a succulent thrives under the TV, they are far outnumbered by airplants.

    Tucked behind framed photos, sidling up next to the Bourbon, and perched flamboyantly on the mantle, these green critters look like they’ve taken over, and I can’t stop adding more!

    Aside from having enough light and soaking in the sink for a half hour or so each Friday, airplants really don’t require a huge amount of care, which make them the perfect pet for me. The green fluffs make me happy when I see them every day.

    For your own, or for any information on plant care and keeping, reach out to Mahonia Studios.

  • Favorite Home Accessories of the Moment

    I’ll admit that aside form prepping my home for cooler and warmer months, I’m pretty static in how I decorate. I’ll ponder over the perfect candleholder or sconces for months, then pray that they stay in their “spot” for all eternity. My poor boyfriend can vouch that every time he gets off the sofa to grab a soda or head to the restroom, I’m on my feet moving the pillows back into place (He inevitably moves them again as soon as he sits down, but that’s another issue entirely).

    I’ve always assumed that its part of my homebody Cancer zodiac that causes me to be overly particular about keeping my home just so. Still, my eye can’t help but wander every so often to new home accessories that hit the market, and I’ve found a few lately that I just LOVE.

    ** via Target **

    Target has just been killing it lately with home decor! The raw wood slice on a stand is so pretty, and seems to be able to work in with every sort of interior. Presently, there’s one sitting on my desk at work, and one in my guest room. It’s entirely possible that one may find it’s way into the Bellaire house as well!

    The linen front photo frame looks so much more expensive than it is. With a silver border and a creamy linen insert, it’ll make any of your photos look special. I have one on an end table in the living room (holding a photo from the Kentucky Oaks, 2012), flanked by an airplant.

    ** via Target **

    Also from Target, the Davis floorlamp. Tall and slender, with a mix of flat black and antique silver finishes, this guy toes the line between modern and traditional. I’ve made one happily at home in Bellaire’s living room, next to the sofa. The three way lighting option in there is just perfect for a living room full of west-facing windows.

    ** via Williams-Sonoma **

    The sculptural candleholder from Williams-Sonoma…. Swoon…. I pondered over this darn thing for months- Months!!- before finally spending the money. I’ve always been a sucker for the clean line of a long, white tapered candle, and just adore the way that- when lit- they make any gathering feel extra special. This guy is patiently waiting for our basement to be finished, where he can live in the family room down there.

    ** via Pottery Barn **

    When we needed something a little heavier on our bed last winter, the first thing that came to my mind was a fur throw. Pottery Barn’s Grand Throw was perfect- large enough to cover our king size bed, and in a beautiful caramel ombre color, it was heavy (and fuzzy) enough to keep me warm at night, and fashionable enough to look right at home draped on the foot of the bed during the day. See it at home in my bedroom here.

    ** via eplanters.com **

    Having finally reached a point in my life where I’m not killing every houseplant I touch, I’ve found myself looking for indoor planters that still feel as if they go with my home. The Odessa planters from eplanters.com come in a variety of colors (I’m partial to the brushed espresso) and sizes, and are very affordable, starting at only $15 for a 7” diameter.

    I hope some of these beauties find their way into your home, and if so, please tell me about it!

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

  • Missive Press

    I’ve been a sucker for stationery my entire life. From birthday cards to perfect gift tags at the holidays, I always remember thoughtful and coordinating wrapping paper and notes.

    The first experience I had with personalized stationery was- believe it or not- from my grandma’s Sunday school class. These 70 and 80-some year old ladies had a stack of papers just for them, titled in script, “The Winsome Class.” Run almost like a Board of Directors, there was a secretary elected each year, and when it happened to be my grandma, I remember their box of letterhead and envelopes coming home with her, and being stored in her nightstand drawer.

    My own experience with “grown up” stationery began right after college, when I stumbled upon a company that would personalize your correspondence with not only your name and info, but a cartoonish avatar as well. It was cute, and worked throughout my early 20’s. Then came elongated note cards from a local shop, printed in a swirly navy script. It was functional and pretty, but seemed to be lacking.

    Now, though, brightly pink embossed notecards from Missive Press are perfect. I’m a sucker for the Socialite Stationery, which arrive on a heavy cotton paper, with a beautiful, deep embossed name. I opt for the return address printing on the rear of the envelope, and there’s an option available for a matching envelope liner as well.

    One of my favorite greeting cards from Missive is the Champagne Bubbles Card. Perfect for every occasion- birthdays, congratulatory notes, thank you’s for a girl’s night out, or an invite for the same- I buy these in multiples, and they always receive wonderful feedback!

    Missive Press shop owner Lisa Willis is quick to respond to any questions you may have about personalized stationery, and is kind enough to offer opinions on color choices and suites as well. Lisa has been kind enough to offer my readers a 15% off coupon code good from today though the 30th of September. Just enter YMS15OFF at checkout! Additionally, all orders of $75 or more will ship for free within the continental US. Happy shopping, readers!

    ** this post was sponsored in part by Missive Press.  all thughts and opinions are my own **

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

  • On Vegas

    ** Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas **

    Our visits to Las Vegas never remotely turn out like the trippy trips depicted in Fear and Loathing or the Hangover.  We don't even get dressed up to attend games at high rollers tables or attempt a heist at the Bellagio like Ocean's 11.  I admit that I'm pleased to never had a Vegas vaction ending in an unmemorable wedding to a stripper, or an arrest for trying to rip off a high-powered casino boss.  Rather, after several visits to sin city, the man and I have settled into happy habits that have made our trips as relaxing as vacations should be.

    The first two times I visited- in 2008 and 2011- were for week-long conferences that took place at Paris Las Vegas.  The customer service that we had there over these long periods was wonderful, and despite the existence of more fashionable hotels like Aria and Cosmopolitan popping up, we've always been happy to stay at Paris.  

    Paris's room service menu- especially for breakfast- was pretty long (crepes a l'orange! Bowls of Stawberries and creme!), and food arrives on a white-tablecloth covered cart within a short amount of time, even when the hotel is packed.  The pool is surrounded on two sides by the hotel's high walls, while the Eiffel Tower and tall trees and planters allow guests to seek out some shade from the harsh desert sun.  A poolside bar offers snacks like nachos and sandwiches, along with a massive selection of frozen drinks.  I'm partial to the Miami Vice- a half-and-half with Pina Colada and Strawberry Daquri. 

    ** Paris Las Vegas, as viewed from the pool **

    ** the ceiling in the Shops at the Bellagio **

    Shopping options in the city are ridiculous!  The Forum at Caesar's Palace has high-end options like Gucci and Mulberry as well as smaller, less-expensive stores like H&M and The Gap.  Resturants and fountains are dotted throughout, and at one end, a huge indoor aquarium mesmerizes.  I'm partial to the shops at Bellagio, which curve around the famed fountains, and make one want to hit it big, with Tiffany and Co., Valentino, and Louis Vuitton.  Along the strip stretch souvenier shops and attractions like the M&M store stretch for what feels like miles. 

    Downtown, along Freemont Street, dollar buffets and the famed Golden Nugget make for some incredible people watching, while the zipline running underneath Freemont's brightly lit ceiling fills the area with screams and laughter each time someone zips by.

    ** The Linq Promenade **

    In Ocean's 13, while overlooking Bellagio's fountains, Rusty says to Danny that the town's changed.  I've never witnessed a place that changes so much.  The long moving walkway that was in front of Bally's has been removed to make way for an outoor mall, where- if one was so inclined- one could grab a slice of Giordano's Chicago pizza.  The Linq hotel has sprouted next to The Flamingo, and in between the two, a walkable street called the Linq Promenade appeared.  Here, we found In-N-Out Burger as well as Sprinkles Cupcakes.  I treated myself to a double-double and a strawberry cupcake, and had zero regrets.

    Vegas is a city that can either hypnotize you into betting your car, or keep you calm and relaxed enough to order one more cocktail from the sweet poolside waitresses.  It really is a paradise in the middle of the Nevada desert, beckoning all who walk into the wall of heat waiting outside McCarran airport, and it keeps calling us back.

  • Bellaire Update

    We have a sofa.  There's been a chair delivered.  Paint is on the walls, and cabinets are installed.  My sweet little shotgun on Bellaire is starting to look like a real house!!

    After a quick change of pace with the wall color (Spare White looked almost mint green, so Extra White made an appearance on all surfaces), the floors have been installed, can lights have gone into the kitchen, and everything- EVERYTHING!- has gotten a lovely coat of paint.  It's amazing to me what fresh baseboard can do for a room, or how beautiful wide, gray floors can look in such a small space.  

    Our lighting has all been delivered, but not yet installed, thought I find myself a little more excited each day to see what the Arc Sconces from West Elm are going to look like in the bathroom, and how the Mobile Chandelier is going to light up the dining area.

    This week, I'm told that fun black and white tile will go down in the bathroom, and soon, my sweet landscapers are going to tackle the mess that is the yard.  

    Four more weeks, friends, until another update is due.  I can't wait to show you the progress!

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

  • The Mane Revival

    1993.

    I was 10 years old the last time I really, truly looked in the mirror and saw my own hair color.  It was in the South where the 80's had just ended, and I remember seeing a huge, spiral curled head of hair in one of the beauty magazines laying around the parlor my grandma visited every Friday.  I went home and begged- begged!- to be allowed this beauty indulgence. I never took into account that my collar-touching bowl cut would shrink up to the size of nothing, or that the chemicals used in a perm would lighten my locks.  It was these oversights (despite coke-bottle glasses) that stuck me with the nickname "the poodle" for the rest of my 5th grade year.  

    When I found out I was changing schools and school systems the following summer, I decided to let my hair dictate who I was going to be.  The terrible perm was growing out, but provided me with two-tone hair that I decided to correct with Sun-In, which resulted in a chemical green tinge when I started spending so much time in a pool.  I tried to get my hair back to its natural shade by buying a box of brown hair color which took my drug store bleached hair past brown to black, at which point I was referred to as Wednesday Addams.  It was not a good look for me, but it was one I was stuck with until the sun came out in spring, and I again reached for the Sun-In.

    I went without a haircut until I was 13, and the bottled lightener took me to a shade of icky blonde that reeked of 1970's television, when my middle school crush began referring to me as Marcia Brady, something that- looking back- may have been meant as a compliment.  

    At this point, I realized that new looks weren't always all bad, and my hair began to fluctuate from a tiny, bleach blonde pixie cut to a fire engine red shag (prom, junior year...).  By the time my freshman year of college rolled around, I was happily sporting an overly highlighted and hairsprayed soccer-mom 'do that was just as horrible as it sounds.  In 2005, after a pretty signifigant shift in my life, I decided, finally, to start letting my hair- and that terrible color- grow out.      

    When my grandma passed in 2007, I needed a change more than anything and took the Wednesday Addams risk once again and went jet black.... it wasn't as bad this time, and was a hair color that stuck with me for almost all of the past 10 years, save for a couple quick weekends as a redhead.  

    June of 2015, I decided it was time to try and return to my roots.  My stylist (patient and loving) and I spent 8 hours or so bleaching, lightening, color matching, and highlighting to try and get me back to what seemed like a natural, highlighted blonde (for evidence, click here).  It wasn't a bad look, and aside from the highlight, felt natural, but it was too much change too quickly, and too much of a dramatic turn from the black hair that I had become accustomed to.  I panicked.  It lasted three days before I returned to JK and asked for the black color again.  This time, though, we reached for a semi-permanant color, determined to get me back to my natural- whatever it was- once and for all.

    It's been almost 2 years, and finally I see the color that seems familiar to me.  A little brown, a lot gold, a little red... and surprisingly to me, a little gray.  

    I didn't realize the sheer amount of damage I had done to my locks with bleaching, sun-in, razor cuts, and dollar-store products, and it wasn't until I saw a disgusting video showing the buildup that can be caused by cheaper haircare produts that I began to wonder if there could be a better way to care for my newfound natural hair.  

    After trying multiple formulas, morning routines and finally agreeing to have my trusty stylist, JK cut in some major layers, I've found what is working best, gives my hair a ton of life, and keeps my ends silky soft and hydrated.

    I've completely fallen for Aveda's Brilliant shampoo and conditioner.  I focus on massaging my scalp with the shampoo.  The lower-bubbling formula took a while to get used to, and after the first real wash, my hair seemed to be twice as volumnous as normal. I concentrate the conditioner only on the lower half of my hair, squeezing it through my ends.  After morning blow-drys and styling, I massage a teeny bit of Moroccan Oil light into my ends to separate and define, and slide a bit along the strands by my face to tame flyaways.

    I only wash my hair every other day, so on days off, if I look or feel a little oily, I LOVE Aveda's Shampure dry shampoo.  The application is very different than any other dry shampoo I've used- instead of an aerosol type spray, this one puffs out using your hand's gentle squeeze.  After landing on my roots and sitting for a few minutes, my oil is absorbed, and I'm right back to being ready for a new day, gray hair and all.

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way ** 

  • Williams-Sonoma Lacourte Collection

    I'm seriously considering new furniture for our guest room here at the house.  After giving away the same desk and end tables I'd had for 12 years (from Target!), and coming around just a bit more to gold accessories, I stumbled upon the Lacourte Collection from Williams-Sonoma Home.

    Finished in a gorgeous ebony stain, with brass details, each piece has a glamorous personality, but seems to be built for small spaces. The upright desk fold up to a slim 19" deep, and the side tables offer a pull-out tray above the drawer.  The four-poster bed is just short enough to fit under my eight foot ceilings.  

    The overall look is sharp and clean, and I wonder if ivory and shimmering gold linens would be enough to stand out, or if something bolder would be in order.  I'd pair the desk with either an uphosltered side chair, or to keep our guest room feeling a bit more vacation-y, the chippendale dining chair in a black stain.

    The collection really is a beautiful one, and one I'd be happy to sleep in.