Everyday Inspirations

 
 

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One of my favorite pieces in my kitchen is this blue and white glass dish from my grandmother. There is something so beautifully old fashioned about it -- I just adore it.
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{angie}
Yes, I had six inches of snow in backyard last night, but that doesn't mean spring isn't here. The bunny is coming and it's time to get ready for Easter. Maybe it's the return of the sun, but I've been feeling a bit crafty lately and here are a few adorable DIY Easter projects I have run across. Can't wait to make some of these and get my house all done up! 
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Decoupage Wooden Eggs
In the springtime, one of my favorite decorations is a big bowl of colorful Easter eggs. But for some reason they are ridiculously expensive at home decor stores. That's why I'm so excited to make these beautiful eggs from Moda Bake Shop myself where I can even pick the patterns I like best. These would make a perfect DIY Easter centerpiece too!  

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Easter Card
I have plenty of family out of state that I don't get to celebrate Easter with. Sending a pretty, handmade card like this one from Make and Takes is a great way to send a little joy. 

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Easter Egg Garland
Use up those old paint chips to make this cute, colorful Easter decoration from Modern Parents Messy Kids.

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DIY Easter Baskets
Whether you're making baskets for the kids' Easter egg hunt or just for home decor, these do-it-yourself baskets from Beauty and Bedlam are the perfect fit. Combining bright spring colors with a natural feel, they add a little class to the sometimes cheesy-looking decor.      



 
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{angie}
Sometimes you just need to buy yourself flowers. Do you need to feel weird about it? Absolutely not. Here are the top five reasons you should.

5. They make your house cheery. I love looking at my nice dining room table with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. It suddenly gives the whole house a little life and color.

4. It's spring! Today I was driving in my car in a tank top, windows rolled down, the warm sunshine blasting on me. What better way to bring a little of that feeling inside than with these sunshiney tulips? 

3. It makes the occasion feel a little more special. Whether you're having people over or it's "just another day," flowers just have a way of making you feel like there's something to be celebrated--even if it's just life.  

2. It gives you a reason to pull out that gorgeous vase. You know that beautiful vase that is usually tucked away? Buying yourself flowers is a perfect reason to give it some use.

1. Flowers make you smile. If for no other reason, just do it to make your day a little happier.
 

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Yes, that is popcorn on our table. I was mixing it up and tossed it right out of the bowl! Made for an OK pic.
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My life is always crazy this time of year, especially when I decide to run a race. My workout plan includes a lot of six-day weeks, so whenever I have a rest day, I guard it like gold. The best rest days are the days I have nothing planned. In fact, if you tell me my rest day will be at home and will include a combination of good food, a movie, and pajamas, I'll love you forever.

Sunday was a rest day and I loved every minute of it. After dinner with my family, Dan and I popped some popcorn, poured some wine, and settled in for the night. It was a small, simple event, but it meant a lot. I felt relaxed, re-energized, and ready to start my week.
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Try to not be jealous of our old school, speckled countertop.
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I remember the first time I received my first cup of tea. I was probably six or seven years old, and I thought it was the stinkiest thing ever. I didn't even try a sip.

In college, though, I was always stopping by the cafeteria in the morning to grab a hot cup of mint tea before my first class. I still love enjoying tea in the mornings (and sometimes at night). Around the holidays, Dan had to purchase a white elephant gift for his family party, so he picked up this adorable teapot. He ended up forgetting it, and it became ours. I was pretty stoked. In fact, it's so cute that I don't ever banish it to a cabinet. It sits out on our counter and adds a sweet little touch to the kitchen.

Hmm. I think I'm going to make a cup now and settle in to watch The Biggest Loser. Go black team!
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Valentine's Day table setting
{angie}
love centerpiece
Remember how I was talking about do it yourself Valentine's Day? Well if you're keeping Cupid at home, first thing you need to do is to set the scene. Sure, you can just cook a yummy meal and have a nice night in, but how often do you set a nice, romantic table for just the two of you? For me it's almost never. Start off by creating a mood for the evening with a beautiful table.

First I chose my color scheme. Red, white and black with accents of pink--it's Valentine's...that was easy. But I would recommend choosing a focus to make it come together.

Since our ceilings are fairly high I really wanted fill the area. Having decor hanging from above will always add some extra drama. I already had these lanterns (from the dollar store) from a bridal shower I hosted, so why not put them to extra use?

Because I had a lot of attention above (and it might be nice to be able to see each other) I wanted a lower centerpiece. I was able to find these cute glitter hearts on wires at a local craft store, filled a vase with white tulle and finished it off with a black bow to tie my color scheme together. Inexpensive and it took all of five minutes. I surrounded it with tea lights which not only add some romance, but also reflect really nicely on those sparkly hearts. 

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For the actual place settings I already had stuff to match my color scheme (on a side note, I've learned red is a great color to have for many occasions). I used my chateau stripe placemats and napkins, my regular black plates and silverware, the pretty wine glasses Ash gave us for our wedding and our Rebecca Moses dessert plates. 

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Finally, I put together a menu because, well, I'm a designer and that's my favorite part. It adds such a sophisticated element to dinner and really ties the whole thing together. With a cute little box on the side for a gift, dinner is all set to go.

So now, what should I fill the box with? What are your Valentine's Day gift ideas?  

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Over the last few months, I have learned an important fact: boys come with lots of remote controls.

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That kinda makes it sound like my boyfriend can be controlled with the click of a few buttons. NOT what I meant.

Anyway, I've noticed that the living room can easily taken over by remotes. Remotes on the table. Remotes on the armrest. Remotes on the cushion. You see where I'm going with this. Luckily, we discovered a simple solution for any type of clutter. My grandma gave us a bunch of kitchen stuff a few months ago, including this wooden container. She used to use it to collect various kitchen-y things on her counter (mints, sugar, dry creamer, etc.), but we have discovered it is the perfect place for small things that we want in the living room but don't necessarily want in the open. Things like remotes. And coasters, and that pencil I use for Soduku. It's the perfect little sanity saver that simply tucks away on the shelf under the table.
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get rid of your smelly disposal
{angie}

Don't throw those citrus peels away...let them go down the drain! Whenever I'm cleaning the kitchen or I get a smelly drain, I always grind an orange, lemon or lime peel down the garbage disposal. The ground citrus helps get rid of any less desirable odors while making your kitchen sink smell fresh and clean. 
 

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A few years ago my aunt Aime sent me this heart-shaped ornament for Christmas. I love it so much that I keep it up all year long. It's currently on the bulletin board above our desk--a perfect place for when I'm at the computer writing about inspiration. :) (By the way, money from this ornament went directly to the campaign at One.org, in case you're wondering what "Inspi(red)" means.)

I always think that the best part of anyone's home is small, personal trinkets that tell a story and brighten your day whenever you look at them. What creative ways do you display these mementos?
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holiday gift ideas
{angie}
Between the freezing cold temperatures and recovering from holiday spending, I've been feeling more and more like date night in sounds like a great idea. But staying in doesn't mean doing the same boring routine. Here are a few ideas that will keep you cozy and save you money.

Movie Night
An oldie, but a goodie. Pick out a new flick and cozy up on the couch. Make it a little more special by adding all your favorite movie elements, only better. Fresh popcorn with melted butter (no waiting in line for overpriced kernels with that nasty excuse for butter), a bowl of your favorite candy (chocolate covered almonds and cranberries anyone), and a yummy beverage of choice (alcohol allowed). 

Game Night
Of course this is a favorite at EI from Ashley's post. Whip out your favorite game and start a little competition. This is also a fun one to do as a double date with one or two other couples over for a fun night in.

Dinner for Two

Plan a gourmet meal cooking together. Split up planning the courses (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert) or work on all of them together. Try cooking something a little more challenging since you have four hands in the kitchen. Then serve each other, light candles and enjoy.

Spa Night

Take a load off and relax. Give each other massages, take a salt bath, or use an exfoliating rub to get rid of dead, dry winter skin. Light some incense or candles, play some soothing music, and pretend you're in a world-class spa together.

Listen to a Book

The joy of reading an amazing book doesn't have to be a lone activity -- listen to an audio book together. Snuggle in your warm bed, set up you ipod, and cozy up together with a good book. Daisy particularly likes this activity because she gets to snuggle right in the middle of her mom and dad who can't help but pet her.

Enjoy Something Sweet

Skip dinner and go straight for dessert. Have a sundae night with all the toppings. And who am I to say they all have to stay in the bowl?