Changing it up

You may notice that something’s a little different. ;)

I’ve been  working on updating the blog (about time right?) because it’s been two years! The problem is….decisions, decisions and daylight savings always does me in this time of year. My body does not appreciate the lack of sunlight. With it getting dark so early, I’m sleepy and unmotivated before I even leave from work. So I’m determined to do yoga more often this winter to stay active.  It’ll keep the dogs active too because they love that we’re down on their level, especially Bella who is content to lie in the floor beside us. To entertain you in the meantime, here’s an adorable video of people trying to do yoga with their interrupting pets. It delights me every time because it’s so true. Even better, check out this 3D animated x-ray of a body doing yoga. Too cool.

So bear with me for a few more days until I decide on a new theme and get everything into place. I’m really looking forward to the changes ahead. Stay tuned!

XO,

Mad

Rush Residence: Library Reveal

When I first eyed the listing for our now-home, the dining room made the first impression (see light fixture from the Eating Nook Reveal). However, who needs a dining room?! There was already an eating nook perfect for our table plus plenty of extra room in the living room, and there are only two of us! As soon as we were under contract, we came to the agreement that the dining room would become a multi-use room to house our books, TV, and games in a space inspired by our small, but growing, art collection. Matt, being the book and literature nerd that he is, insisted that this be called our “library.” Thus, I am proud to show you our library!
We talked about this room before moving so much that we began its creation from the very start. Before we moved, we sold our couch to buy this Pottery Barn suede loveseat on Craiglist. This was the first piece of furniture in the room, truly the first piece of furniture to find its place in our new home. Its neutral color balances the light blue walls nicely, and it is comfortable for watching TV or laying down for a nice read. 


Days after moving in, we made a two hour trip to Ikea just to buy decor for this room: book shelves for our wall of books, a cable to hang some pieces of art above the couch, and a rug. After purchasing this navy and white carpet from Ikea for a bargain, we realize we’ll eventually need a bigger rug to better fit the space, but I love that the darker color and interesting print ground the color in the room.
It took me forever to find 96″ curtains for the house, but I was ecstatic to finally find this khaki and white rugby stripe pair at HomeGoods. We placed an antique buffet table, our first Craigslist find after the move, between the two windows to house our media, and Matt decided to organize the bookshelf by color to bring more vibrancy of color to the room. The first thing on the walls was our dear friend Charles Clary’s colorful paper sculpture art that we put beside the shelves, and the room began to come alive.





We paired the couch with a refinished white magazine table, also a Craiglist find, and topped it with a simple lamp with a linen shade. Then, we suspended the art we’ve been slowly collecting in anticipation of our new home from the Ikea cable system above the couch. In addition to our three Charles Clary pieces, we have two pieces by Graham Franciose, “Your Story I” and “Your Story II,” given to us by Matt’s colleague and friend, a print of a girl with horses by Lexington-based Cricket Press I picked up in Louisville, Kentucky at the Forecastle Music Festival last year, a watercolor of the Sam Davis Home by Phyllis Razo (available in the gift shop!), and the poem “Home” by Debbie Gayle Rose Matt got from the print shop at Middle Tennessee University before they closed.


It is still a work in progress, will continually be evolving. We need to figure out an ottoman for the room, replace the light fixture we moved to the eating nook, and add finishing touches, but we love its coziness and think it perfectly reflects our style and personality!

XO,
Mad

4 Days Until Halloween: DIY Decor

We finally pulled the box of Halloween decorations down from the attic to decorate the front porch. Using just what we already had from years past, I think it will do nicely. There’s a black light in the porch light, glow-in-the-dark spider webs, skulls, a rat, an owl jack-o-lantern, and spooky picture frames in the windows. 

I’m so excited about all the little trick-or-treaters this Friday. (We still need to carve our pumpkin though, and it is a big one!) I’m really hoping given the size of our neighborhood and the neighborhoods attached, we’ll get a lot of trick-or-treaters. I miss seeing the adorable, steady stream of trick-or-treaters we used to get in our neighbor growing up. 
With that being said, I figured lots of us are decorating the week of or still adding finishing touches in the days before, so if you need some more inspiration, flashback to two years ago when I first started my blog and shared my DIY Halloween Decor.

Front Porch Boards and Bats

Foam Board Tombstones

Festive Buffet Table


Spooky Gallery Wall


I’m a bit bummed we won’t be hosting our annual Halloween bash, but we are going to a party with new friends! Matt and I have finally figured out what we’re going to be. For my work costume contest, I’m going as Dora the Explorer, and for the Halloween party, we considered Alfalfa and Darla from The Little Rascals but decided on Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson. Last year, we went as Lord and Lady Grantham, and the year before, we were Richard Gere and Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman. Yes, I changed halfway through the party, and if you can’t tell, Matt likes to wear suits. :D



XO,
Mad

P.S. Thanks to my friend, Amanda, who gave me the burlap pumpkin door hanger last year!

My Second Stitch Fix Experience

I got my second Stitch Fix! As you may already know, my first fix was a bust, but I happily gave it another try and was delighted. This time Matt was home, so I was able to get him to take some pictures (yay!). I ended up keeping three of the five pieces, spending $208 in all. That may seem a lot (believe me, that’s a lot to me too!), but as I mentioned before, these are quality pieces handpicked just for me and my style without having to drive from store to store and try on a hundred things to find the perfect piece, so I think it is absolutely worth it. Not to mention, I feel special with pieces that are unique, selected just for me, and I feel great leaving the house in pieces I’m proud of and reflect my style.
From this fix, I kept a necklace, shirt and pair of pants. This fix was styled by a different stylist (I haven’t figured out and still wonder if you get a different stylist every time or if you eventually will get hooked up with someone who is your personal stylist.) who I felt was a little less fashion forward (or thought I was), as a lot of the pieces weren’t nearly as trendy (loved that color block blouse…I still dream about it. If only it had fit! *shakes fist*), sticking to simple classics. However, I completely understand going a little safer when I didn’t keep anything from my first fix!
Here’s what was in my second fix…


1.     Kayle French Terry Striped Blazer $128


As much as I’ve loved the idea of having a striped blazer, I knew pretty quickly that this one wasn’t for me. Besides having a hole from a snag on one of the shoulders, the grey and black wasn’t my favorite combination, and the stripes weren’t the right width. I also felt the two-button and length combined didn’t work for me. Add in the price tag, and this one was a no-brainer.

2.      Hilda Crystal Flower Statement Necklace $42

 

When I read the note from my stylist, she mentioned a floral statement necklace, so when I opened the rest of the box, this was the first piece I reached for. So much anticipation! I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like. Jewelry is my thing. It’s the piece I choose most often as the statement of my outfit, I never go without it, and it’s the category in which I take the most risk. Over the past few months, I’ve been drawn to the vintage, Anthropology-type necklaces that have been all over stores, so of course this necklace and I were meant to be before we even met. It is in antique gold, my tone of choice at the moment, and is much flashier than any piece I already have. With the holidays just around the corner and our sixth (!!!) wedding anniversary and cousin’s wedding in January, it was just what I needed.

3.     Level 99 Patrick Chino Pant

Since I just sent my Stitch Fix pieces back yesterday, you better believe I am wearing these pants today. They were so soft, the right length, and oh my gosh, the perfect fit. Let me just tell you, coming from a woman who frequently leaves dressing rooms feeling bewildered and defeated, it has felt glorious having things fit just right, especially pants. 

4.     Skies are Blue Haldis Roll-Tab Henley Blouse $58

As soon as I pulled this out of the box, Matt was in love. This was the piece from my fix he liked best. I’ve tried several different henleys like this, but none of them have been the one. Not that there’s just one, but they have either been too big, too small, too short, too long, or ill fitting altogether. Not only was the blouse beautifully silky in a navy color with gold buttons and embellishments, it was also form fitting and long enough to be tunic-esque or tucked into a skirt. In one word, perfect.

5.    Margaret M Emer ‘X’ Print High Waisted Cropped Pant $98


I was unsure about these pants from the start, but I gave them a try anyways. They were made from a thick fabric, but they didn’t have pockets, beltloops or a zipper or button…essentially, they were leggings. They were black with a very small white micro dot. They fit well and were comfortable, but I’m an advocate of leggings aren’t pants. I never would have been comfortable wearing these as actual pants, and when I walked around in them, they were too fitted, like yoga pants and I felt it created somewhat of an optical illusion with the micro dots. Call me crazy, but it’s true!
So in my first fix, they got a lot right. The style spoke to me for sure, but the pants were too long, and the shirts were too tight in the bust. Otherwise, everything else felt right. This time around, they paid a lot of attention to my comments on fit from my last fit and sent me pieces with that in mind, even if that meant selecting different sizes from my style profile.
I’m already looking forward to my next fix. Given the price of the items that really requires some right then and there commitment, my next fix won’t be for a few months, but I can’t wait to try it out for some beautiful, colorful spring pieces. Yes, I’m already talking about Spring when Winter is creeping up. For now, here’s to Fall! Love me some Fall. 

XO,
Mad

P.S. Here’s my referral link if you want to give Stitch Fix a try!

5 Netflix Movie Recommendations

We’re always looking for good Netflix recommendations because it’s so much better than TV! It goes through phases of new additions and periods of hum drum, but there is always a TV show or movie to watch (without commercials!). If you’re gearing up for a night in, check out one of five recent favorites. What do you recommend?
 

The Giant Mechanical Man
Zoo keeper and street performer fall in love and meander their way through a relationship. 
Slow-moving but beautifully done.

In a World…
Quirky darling fights for her career as a film voice-over artist. 
(Written, directed by and starring Lake Bell. You go, girl!)

The Duchess
 Who doesn’t love a Keira Knightley period film?

Thanks for Sharing
Dark comedy about sex addicts, with some side-splitting scenes. 
It actually manages to be quite profound.
The birdcage
For a racy Robin Williams classic. (It will always be too soon. *tear*)

XO,
Mad

Rush Residence: Eating Nook Reveal

This was the first and easiest space to put together. The whole kitchen has a sage green grasscloth-looking wallpaper on the walls with white chair rail, painted taupe beneath. I loved it as soon as I saw it at our first showing and couldn’t wait to put our heirloom table in it. Thus began our kitchen eating nook. The table was my great grandmother’s (You’ll see her sideboard in the living room later, and you’ve seen her Blue Willow china before.), and my brother refinished it as our wedding gift. I wish my Dad hadn’t lost the leaf! I bought the Parsons chairs on Craiglist when we first got married.
We didn’t have plans in any of the bedrooms for the wooden hope chest that my parents gave me for Christmas as a teenager, and it was the exact size of the space under the window where I was contemplating building a window seat.  Topped with my favorite grey pillow with a white stenciled owl and sage pillows, the beautiful light shining in all around, it has quickly become my favorite place to sit.

This gorgeous shell light fixture that came with the house was too long for the original dining room now turned library (more on that later!), so we moved it to the eating nook. To add detail and cover a hole a bit larger than the fixture, we added a small 9″ ceiling medallion (that we’ll eventually paint).

For the table decor right now, I’ve got this beautiful table runner my mom bought me with citron, patterned napkins I’ll have to show you another time. I picked up whimsical bird salt and pepper shakers to match. It’s really too summery now, so I’m currently gaining inspiration for a fall tablescape. If you’d like to see it and other tid bits sooner rather than later, look for photos on Instagram. :) I’m pretty new to it though!

We still haven’t decided what to do with the space between the nook and the back door that is currently housing the dry erase calendar you can see. We’re making the whole space around the back door a mud room and multi-functional open area, so we’re trying to figure out what we want that to look like. 

Making decisions purposefully and figuring out your style is no easy task, but it is fun! More reveals to come.

XO,
Mad

P.S. Last weekend, we completed a DIY project out on the deck that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in a few weeks.

Rush Residence: Preview

In the last three months, we have slowly curated our style and begun making our house a home. Of course, it’s not quite finished, but here’s a preview of some of the reveals to come.

Eating Nook
Library

Master Bathroom
Master Bedroom




Deck
XO,
Mad
P.S. Rush Residence–you think it’s too formal and cheesy? Ha. I can’t decide!

Moving with a Portable Storage Container

Moving In
Moving Out

Now that we’ve been living in North Carolina for three months (What?! How did that happen?), I think it’s definitely time to share insight into the long and torturous moving process. Call me dramatic if you will, but I truly never want to do it again. Despite our first buyers’ financing falling through and having to terminate the contract after the home inspection on the first home we found in North Carolina, we got a better offer on our house and found a new home in North Carolina. Somehow, things always find a way of working themselves out, thank goodness.

Instead of trying to make the move in a moving truck through the curvy mountains towing a car (eek!), we moved with a portable storage container. We originally decided to go that route because we weren’t sure if we would find somewhere to live in North Carolina immediately or if we’d have days or weeks in between. A portable container provided us with the ability to fill it over multiple days instead of in a rush all in one day since we were doing majority of the moving by ourselves. It also gave us the flexibility to take a few days between Tennessee and North Carolina to visit our family in Georgia while the container was in transit and waiting in storage until being delivered to our new home when we arrived. It only cost a few hundred dollars more than renting a moving truck with trailer for a car and paying for gas, so it was worth it for us.

We priced a lot of different companies. However, I only priced those with online quotes that didn’t require a name or telephone number, and there were still a lot of great choices: PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, U-Pack, and UnitedMayflower, among others. We decided to go with…

UnitedMayflower

Pros:

  1. They matched the price to the lowest quote we received. 
  2. The unit had a clear plexiglass roof to make it easier to pack (but only during the day) and keep it cooler, but apparently a lot of the other companies have this too. 
  3. They had faster delivery and delivered on more days than other companies. 

Cons: 

  1. It wasn’t very clean on the inside or out, even the writing on the outside was faded, nearly illegible. 
  2. The cable ties were in the middle of the wall which made strapping down things up high very difficult. 
  3. They weren’t able to put it on our driveway at the new house, leaving it sitting on the street quite a distance from the house. (Though I doubt this would have been different with any other company, we might have been able to back a moving truck down it.

In all, it was a much better experience than it would have been with a moving truck. I’m glad we did it, and I would definitely recommend moving with a portable storage container. More moving tips to come!

XO,
Mad

Pretty Pouts

I’ve been really into lip glosses this last year. Since having to be in front of people all day, it’s become part of my daily routine. Plus, it makes me feel pretty! :) I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. Berry is the new fall lip color. I don’t think I could pull off anything too dark. But everyone looks good in jewel tones, so I think it’s a color anyone can find the perfect shade of! I’ll certainly be looking for some other berry glosses to add to my rotation. Who couldn’t use a good lip gloss recommendation? Here are a few I’ve found that are worth sharing…

Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in “Dolly”

On a shopping trip to Sephora with my mom, she got a gift size of this lip polish that she let me try. It was a nice color that went well with both of our complexions, and it was tingly. Not too long thereafter, I went back to buy my own full-sized one.

Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in “Mudslide”

I don’t think I’ve ever liked a lip gloss as much as I like this one. I received a sample size with my purchase at Sephora, and it has been my go-to ever since. It’s creamier than the other Buxom, but it’s also tingly and stays on a long time. I’ll be buying another one soon.

bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in “Panache”

I’ve had this one as a favorite for a while. It’s one of the darkest colors I’ve worn, but it goes on smooth and just the right thickness. I do wish the brush were better though.

NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss in “Creme Brulee”

This one was one in a “best of” set of five or six that my mom gave me for Christmas. I like a lot of them, but this one is my favorite. The color is more saturated than most other glosses, and it’s a light pink that always makes me feel very feminine.

Always in my bag are my two classics: Smith’s Rosebud Salve, which I’ve mentioned before is good for many things, and Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, which I can’t live without (plus, they’re headquartered here in Durham, NC, and it always makes me think of my grandparents who are beekeepers). During the move, I left mine in my golf bag and was constantly reaching for it as if in withdrawal. Silly, but only because it’s the best!

XO,
Mad

My First Stitch Fix Experience

Last week I mentioned that I was waiting for my first Stitch Fix to arrive, and it came! For those of you that don’t know about Stitch Fix, it’s a personal styling service. First, you complete your Style Profile including everything from what sizes you typically wear to your ratings of pictures of particular style compilations, and specific items or trends you are looking for. You can even link it to your Facebook profile to provide access to profile pictures and to Pinterest boards where you’ve pinned looks you like.

Then, you choose a date that you want to receive your fix. You can do them one at a time or schedule regular fixes at intervals of your choosing. By the date you chose, five pieces are delivered to your door specific to your style and fit. The cost? $20 styling fee per fix, and that’s it! If you choose to purchase any of the items in your fix, that $20 gets credited toward your purchase. If you choose to purchase all of the items in your fix, you also get 25% off. Keep what you want, return what you don’t.

But how was it, you ask?

Well, I’m going to be honest: my first fix was a bust. My biggest problem was fit, which was truly disappointing. However, I loved three of the five pieces and probably would have kept them all if they had fit properly. I’m choosing to believe that is because it’s my first fit, and they’ll get better. I asked for work clothes for my new job including bottoms with pockets for carrying my phone around and something to clip my caribiner-full of keys on. Here’s what I received…

It came in a much smaller box than I’d imagined, delivered to my doorstep. My first thought when I saw it was how could five pieces fit in there?

Once opened, the return bag was on top followed by an envelope that read “Your stylist thought these would look great on you.” Inside was a note from my stylist and style cards for each of the five pieces as well as a list of the prices (neatly folded in the back, nearly hidden of course). Then for the best part—the pieces all wrapped up, folded nicely, and begging to be tried on! I was so excited, I grabbed the whole box, ran upstairs to the bedroom, made sure the lighting was good, and moved a full-length mirror into the room.

1.     Pomelo Raven Polka Dot Sheer Shoulder Dolman Top $54

This was definitely my least favorite piece, so it wasn’t the best luck to have been the first. I’ve always been intrigued by the dolman style and have tried several pieces, but I’ve never found one that works on me. This top put me on the fence as it was very subtle. However, it was a lot of polka dot with the neckline so high and 3/4-length sleeves. In black and white nonetheless, which always makes me look pale, and the fabric was not my favorite. I found the sheer shoulders appealing, but the seams were tight on my arms.

2.      41Hawthorn Moni Abstract Chevron Stud Detail Blouse $58

As soon as I saw this piece, I gushed. I recently got rid of a nearly identical style top in black sheer that I adored, but it had gotten too big. This was a beautiful fabric in a very unique print, but it was too small in the bust. I would have loved to have it in one size larger.

3.     41Hawthorn Teresa Colorblocked Sleeveless Blouse $58

If I had to choose a piece that I felt most clearly reflected the style I would like to have, it would be this piece. Not only was it colorblocked, which I have been dying to find a piece in this style that I adored, it was blue and turquoise, which are pretty much the definition of my favorite clothing colors. The fabric felt wonderful, and it had a beautiful cut-in at the shoulder. This is the piece I wanted soooooo very much. I went back and forth and back and forth over it, but it was a bit too tight in the bust as well, which caused it to pull a bit at the arm holes. Although not noticeably tight, I could feel it pushing down my bust. To be a piece I adore and am willing to pay for, I want it to fit well.

4.     Kut From The Kloth Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pant $68

These knit pants were a very nice fabric that looked and felt like leggings. They were super skinny which is not work appropriate as I’d asked for, and they were 4″-5″ too long. They were nothing super special and not what I was looking for, plus I already have a pair of burgundy skinny pants.

5.     Level 99 Krissy Skinny Pant (that look green for some reason in this picture) $118

This was a very nice pair of skinny pants. The fabric was lovely, made very well. They were anti-fade, called “forever black” and looked and felt amazing on. However, they were again too long (Truly, I’ve never had this much of a problem with length!) and were $118. This is the other piece I went back and forth about, but for $118, I wanted them to fit perfectly, and I was truly looking for work pieces which I am still hesitant about qualifying skinny pants as work-appropriate, at least as a manager in which I want to look professional.

The people I know that use Stitch Fix and love it get one seasonally, and they get a few treasured pieces to add to their wardrobe for the season that are exactly their style and a look they adore. The average price of each item I got was $71.20, and if I bought all five pieces, it would be $252 after the $20 credit, an average of $54.40 per item. I absolutely think that is a very reasonable price point, considering you do not having to search through thousands of items, drive from store to store and spend hours of your time to find these treasured additions to your wardrobe. They are pretty nice quality items picked out especially for you and delivered right to your door exactly when you want them. And a lot of the brands are exclusive to Stitch Fix (like the two 41Hawthorn pieces I received), so you know they are more unique, making a statement. I will absolutely be giving it another try!

XO,
Mad

P.S. Watch the live footage of this past week’s New York Fashion week.