My 4th of July mantel

I am keeping my holiday mantel simple – I found a couple of items at our local vintage store and added items from IKEA, Walmart, and World Market.

The metal stars are something I’ve wanted for a long time, and I got them for a steal at Roost, and I love that the red in them is pretty close to the red of the mantel. The fabric banner is from World Market.

The wreath is from WalMart — I added a small banner that I found at Roost, it is the shape of our new home state of Wisconsin, with a heart to denote Lake Country, the area where we live. And yes, that is one of those ubiquitous IKEA lanterns, I always swear I won’t get more and then they come out with new colors and I grab a bunch.

A closer look at the little paper banner, I had originally grabbed it on impulse, but it looks perfect on the wreath, marking our first 4th of July here.

And that’s it. Like I said, I kept it simple, but I do like to mark the holidays and put out some decorative pieces. My next two projects are the guest room/office, and my walk-in closet. The closet is such a dumping ground right now and I’m over it, so it’s getting some TLC. Wish me luck!

Roost at Lynndale Farm

There are many places written down on my list of Must Visit around the Milwaukee area, and one of them is Roost at Lynndale Farm. It’s a collective where sweet vintage goods are sold next to beautifully crafted items, it was my first visit but I can say with confidence, it won’t be the last.


It is less than ten minutes from my house – hello! – and there is a gluten-free bakery next door. I know, right?



From the moment you step out of your car, you see beautiful items for your home that will make you smile.



Inside, there are many little shops next to each other, lots of furniture that I had to tear myself away from (for now!), some pieces that I could not tear myself away from :D There are homemade decor items, soaps, candles and cards, jewelry and knitted pieces, and so much more.





I bought the earrings shown above plus three items for my home – you will get to see where I used them in my home in a couple of weeks.

The lady who was working there was very helpful, there are two floors full of treasures, and many of the vendors do custom work. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you stop by Roost.

The guilt, it’s green



We had our lawn serviced for the first time yesterday.



It’s not just our lawn. There is so much gorgeous green around here — as I type, I am staring out at fields, acres of gorgeous green, grass and trees and plants and flowers. It’s 78 degrees today but it’s been sprinkling and we expect heavier rain this weekend.

But it was not long ago that we were living in the middle of a severe drought. The before and after pics of what’s been happening in my beloved California for the last few years are simply shocking. You have the mayor of my former hometown of San Jose drinking recycled sewage to show it’s a viable option to tap water. I posted one of the above pics on my personal Facebook and a friend in San Jose wrote “Your lawn is a different color than mine.”

We have lots of plans for gardening next year. Beginning with all the cold-weather crops we couldn’t get to grow in San Jose. The lettuce and spinach would start making little leaves and nope, they were out of there, bolting like nobody’s business. We miss our avocado tree and our grapevines — here there is the possibility not only of salad greens, but apple trees, cranberries and cherries? We’re so there. Hydrangeas remind me of my dear friend Kat, who had them at her house, but I could never grow them in our super sunny backyard, maybe here I can get them to bloom without scorching.

This year, however, we are enjoying all this lovely green, but tempering out enjoyment with just a little bit of guilt.

My husband’s walk-in closet

I know. How fricking lucky are we, right? We get two walk-in closets in our master suite. Mine is still a mess because I haven’t figured out exactly how I want it configured, but Steve did a great job organizing his space, all on his own.


There is a place for everything, so it’s super easy for us to put his laundry away. He also has a dresser, for shorts and t-shirts, socks, etc.

Work shirts and ties:

Heavier shirts and hoodies:

Work trousers:

There is even room for beloved childhood toys, along with sweatpants.

Toiletries and clothing accessories.

Shoes are neatly housed in IKEA shoe racks.

The back of the door is the perfect place for his collection of caps.

Steve also did a purge of his clothes before organizing them, which is exactly as it should be. We do keep heavy winter coats in the closet by the garage, and I am sure some more winter gear will be added to his wardrobe.

Didn’t he do a great job?

Master bedroom

A wise friend advised me to focus on the master bedroom, to create a sanctuary there even if the rest of the house was not finished. For the most part we did that, because having a place for the whole family to gather was at the top of our list, so our living room did get top priority. Today I’m sharing our master bedroom as it is now. I still want to have a little sitting area, but for the most part, it is functional, and after a few things we added this past weekend, I think it’s beautiful.

I wanted warm, soothing neutrals, a bit of glam, a bit of Paris (of course), and I definitely wanted to make good use of things we had in our California house.

The main purchase here was the bed. We wanted a king-sized bed (Eastern king, not California king), and Steve wanted a sleigh frame, so we looked and looked, and found the bed at Wayfair.

We had the white duvet cover, got white sheet sets from IKEA and WalMart, and the beaded pillow is from the clearance aisle at Pier 1. Our Stearns and Foster mattress is absolutely heavenly to sleep on, and was purchased from Ashley Furniture in nearby Brookfield.

We bought some prints from street vendors when we were in Paris last November, and I’ve held on to them until I figured out what I wanted to do with them. We considered putting them in the living room, dining room, but in the end I liked the idea of having them in our bedroom.

The frames are from the “value” section at Michaels, and the set of mirrors are from Kohl’s, but I’ve seen similar at Target.

Steve did a great job putting them up and we both love how they look up there.

The neutral frames let the color in the prints pop and this little gallery is a sweet reminder of our trip.

The nightstands are IKEA Expedit pieces we brought from California, and the lamps and shades are from WalMart.

I love these curtains.

They’re from World Market and the moment I saw them I knew that I wanted them. They’re neutral and warm, and I liked that they give us privacy but are not completely blocking the light. Don’t worry, we don’t light those candles when the curtains are closed :D

The painting to the left was brought from our California bedroom.

We also have our two dressers facing the bed, as well as the trunk that is a family heirloom. We’re really happy how our bedroom is coming along, it is a soothing, comfortable space we both love.

Our first Easter egg hunt in Wisconsin

The Easter Bunny found us! The boys were thrilled to see how much he left out for them, two dozen eggs filled with sweet goodness, which is now being rationed so that they’re not bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day.

Alex was very anti-Easter egg hunt at first, he said he was “too busy” but eventually he came around. Aidan had no such doubts and was only concerned that the Easter Bunny found us at the new house.



I think Alex is glad he changed his mind.

Aidan examines his loot.

We had fun watching our boys scouting around the backyard. Foxy chose to stay inside the house, nice and cozy.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

Our Wisconsin house

I figured it’s about time I show y’all a little bit more of our new house.

Isn’t it beautiful?


This is the living room, right now we have the TV console with a TV on top (priorities, people!) and the cable and internet services were installed yesterday. No furniture other than a folding table and four accordingly-folding chairs. Gas fireplace and a taller mantel than I’ve ever had to decorate in my life. Hmmmm.

We get lots of light, obviously, with all these huge window spaces, and we might have to go with two-story curtains, as the afternoon light comes straight in and you get glare on the TV, but that will be something to be done later. My very vague idea for this area is a neutrals/mixed metals sort of thing that can easily be changed around for holidays or parties with a few colorful accents.

The kitchen is gorgeous, love the stonework and the lighting. It has traditional colors and fixtures but it is open and bright and airy.

The dining area also gets lots of light, and both it and the living room windows look out onto a line of trees marking the edge of our property and two fields beyond that, one is corn and the other one I believe is soy.

The hardwood floors are lovely. My husband suggested a glass-top dining table, but it seems 99% of them have some kind of futuristic-looking base that puts us both off. I’d love to find a glass-top on something like this one.

There is a master suite downstairs with his and hers walk-in closets:

and a gorgeous bathroom.

The boys’ will have their own rooms and they are the ones sleeping most comfortably already thanks to the kindness of Steve’s boss and his wife, who had twin beds they no longer used and passed them on to us. Our bed arrived yesterday but we have no mattress for it, yet.

I tell you, starting from scratch is very, very frustrating sometimes. There isn’t a single comfortable place to sit in the house right now. We have office chairs and folding chairs, but that’s it.

The piece de resistance upstairs, however, is the “bonus room.” Okay, in California, a bonus room usually means something the size of a closet. Behold the 35-foot-long behemoth bonus room that will be the domain of my children:

RIGHT???

We figure this will be a great game room, craft room, a place for them to have their friends over and hang out. It is fully wireless-ed and internet-ed, of course, and most of the toys have been making their way up there.

We got the washer and dryer a couple of days ago, which has made my life easier. I got two laundry baskets so each boy can take the one with his clean and folded clothes upstairs (laundry is in the main level) and put them away in his room.

There is a huge basement, unfinished, which will be my husband’s big project for the next two years. We do want to have a living area there, and it is already wired and plumbed so it will be its own little apartment. There is also plenty of space for our storage and my husband’s workshop, since you know he’s already making plans for Halloween and the holidays.

So this is our new house, I love the palette inside, the off white walls with the cherry wood, the lighting is lovely, the fixtures are all brushed nickel, which goes so well with the dark wood. We have stuff all over everywhere, unpacking boxes and trying to figure out where they will go. Once we have our bed, living room furniture and dining set I think we’ll have a much better idea of how things will fit. We brought most of our things, our decorations, photos, frames, etc. but no big furniture other than dressers and hutches, etc.

Foxy is learning quickly where the heating vents are :D She’s adjusting well and is busy exploring the back yard. She was such a great traveler and my oldest continues to dote on his “yum yum girl.”

I will (hopefully) have pictures of this weekend’s furniture shopping – follow me on Instagram for more up-to-date pics. Have a wonderful weekend!