Coffee Table Book Love

I’ve never been an avid reader.  I’m envious of the people that can sit down and finish (and enjoy!) a book, but I’m just not one of them.

That’s why I love coffee table books!  I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to this love.  I can sit and go through every page, or thumb through as I have the time and patience.  Plus, we all know how easy it is to style with books!

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In my opinion, there are a few staples that every well-decorated home should have…

1. The Big Book of Chic by Miles Redd

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“An internationally acclaimed interior design sensation, Miles Redd is known for his quirky brand of cozy glamour. This lavishly illustrated volume features a diverse selection of his unique interiors, an inspiration to anyone interested in spirited, eclectic design.”

2. Domino: The Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman

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“Domino: The Book of Decorating cracks the code to creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders’ secrets from today’s premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual.”

3. The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman

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“Over the years, founding editor in chief of Domino Magazine Deborah Needleman has seen all kinds of rooms, with all kinds of furnishings. Her conclusion: It’s not hard to create a relaxed, stylish, and comfortable home. Just a few well-considered items can completely change the feel of your space, and The Perfectly Imperfect Home reveals them all.”

4. Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

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“’Thank you,’ wrote a reader to Design*Sponge creator Grace Bonney, ‘for teaching me that houses don’t have to be frumpy and formal. They don’t have to be matchy-matchy or rigidly modern. They can just be comfy and unique and reflect who you are, no matter how small your budget or space.'”

And then there are some that I am just dying to get my hands on…

1. Glamorous Rooms by Jan Showers

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“Glamorous Rooms showcases the elegant eclecticism of renowned designer Jan Showers’s interiors, including many projects unpublished until now.”

2. The Age of Elegance by Alex Papachristidis

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“One of today’s eminent tastemakers, Alex Papachristidis is known for arresting, elegant interiors that meld classical motifs with a modern perspective and sophisticated details. This volume pays homage to Papachristidis’s refined sensibility and celebrates Alex Papachristidis Interiors’ twenty-fifth anniversary.”

3. Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin

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“In this gorgeously illustrated volume, Slatkin, an interior designer and founder of the iconic home-fragrance and lifestyle brand Slatkin & Co., opens the doors of his legendary Fifth Avenue apartment and invites readers to accompany him on an intimate tour.”

4. The Welcoming House: The Art of Living Graciously by Jane Schwab

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“The owners of the acclaimed stores and decorating firm Circa Interiors present eight stylish, beautiful homes blending comfort, beauty, and function with classic Southern hospitality. A house with an open door is like a friend with an open heart: inviting, generous of spirit, and constant at the core.”

5. The Find by Stan Williams

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“In The Find, Stan Williams and some of today’s most clever style makers, including Simon Doonan, John Derian, and Real Simple’s Kristin van Ogtrop–all diehard devotees of New York City’s Housing Works–show not just what to look for, but also how to look at an object to identify a great piece.”

I’m ashamed to say that the only one of these I have in my collection is Design Sponge.  But you have to start somewhere, right?

What are some of your favorite coffee table books?  Do you have a good collection going?

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Bless This House

Hi friends!  I’m in need of a little advice today.

It’s very important to me to have our house blessed.  To some, it probably sounds really silly, but to each his own, right?  It’s more a spiritual thing than a religious thing.  This is the house that Charles and I hope to be in for the foreseeable future, and it’s important to me that it be filled with love and “good vibes,” for lack of a better word.  I’m a strong believer in energies, and I want our home to emit nothing but happy and peaceful energy.  I feel that a house blessing is especially necessary after all of the months of stress and frustration that have led us to where we are now.

I’ve done a lot of research, and I’ve read a lot on how to bless your own house, but I really want to bring in a professional.  We are not Catholic–in fact, we are Southern Baptists, which is far from it.  Do Baptist ministers perform such blessings?  Where should I look to find someone to do this for us?  Does anyone have Rafiki’s number?

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Moving is Messy!

On Saturday, we moved a lot of our things over to the Park Avenue house.  No, we have not officially moved in yet, but we’re getting close.  We are waiting until the second guest bathroom is finished, which should be Tuesday or Wednesday.  Charles and I are determined to spend Valentine’s Day in our new house!  Wouldn’t that be perfect?!

The move was very very exciting, but also overwhelming.  Now the house looks like this…

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I kind of had a “where do I start” deer-in-headlights look on Saturday.  How did we ever accumulate so much stuff?  There were several items, mostly wedding gifts, that I had completely forgot we had.  It’s like Christmas all over again! :)

I’ve decided to work room by room to get things unpacked.  Because they will still be working on finishing the master bathroom once we move in, we’ve decided to make one of the guest rooms our temporary home.  It’s looking like this…

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Obviously it’s nothing fancy, but it will do for now.  I need to find all of my comforters and duvet covers so I can start making beds!

We also had a tasty gourmet first meal at the dining room table….Mickey D’s!!

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TV in the Bedroom – Yay or Nay?

Lately, I’ve seen that this can be a pretty controversial topic.  And honestly, I’ve gone back and forth several times.

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In theory, I would choose not to have a TV in the bedroom.  I always have had one until our most recent move, and I’ve learned to really love being able to unwind with a magazine or my iPad in bed before turning out the light.

But here’s my hang up.  I’m a scaredy cat!  I’ve lived by myself before and have never had a problem staying alone when Charles is out of town.  But it has proven impossible for me to just turn out the lights and go to sleep when I’m alone in the house.  I know it’s just in my head, but every little creak and moan sounds like footsteps or door-knocking.  (And you know that’s only going to get worse when we move into our 112-year-old house!)  Having the TV on, even on the lowest volume, just helps to drown that out.  Even though I know it’s a bad habit, I’ve never had trouble sleeping with the TV on when I’m alone.  Luckily Charles rarely has to travel for work, but it’s still something to think about.

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I’ve read all of the articles, like this one, about why it’s a bad idea to have a TV in the bedroom, and I have to say–I agree.  But will I be able to get over my fear of strange noises when I’m alone?

(And before you say there’s ways to hide the TV…I’ve seen the options, and I really don’t want a big chunky piece of furniture in the room just for the sole purpose of hiding the TV!)

What’s your opinion?  Would you put a TV in the bedroom?

Organization Melt Down

You know how expectant mothers go through a whole nesting phase?  Well I feel like I’m doing that in anticipation of our fast-approaching move in date, but only backwards.  After living in our temporary home (Charles’ grandfather’s house that my in-laws are gracious enough to “lend” us rent-free!) for almost 9 months, I have finally started to organize.

I guess for so long I was in denial that our temporary home was actually still a home to us.  As grateful as we are for this free place to live (and trust me, we are SO grateful), I have not felt like a true homeowner yet.  It still feels like we’re renting, living in someone else’s house.  That moment when we finally lock up the doors, turn off the lights, and lay our heads down in our Park Avenue house is going to be so surreal.  I’m sure it will take some getting used to…and some pinching myself to make sure it’s real!  I seriously cannot wait.

But back to the organizing.  When January 1 hit, all of a sudden I had a minor panic attack that all of our crap was in 4 different locations.  Some is at Park Avenue, some is in our current house, some is at Charles’ parents’ house, and some is at my parents’ house.  Whew, that’s exhausting just saying it.  I felt so very unorganized, which, if you know me at all, you know I hate.  So to cope, I just started organizing anything I could get my hands on!

I started with a new little mail station.  It’s nothing fancy, just a place for us to automatically sort our mail, which is important since we have mail coming to about 3 different locations right now!  There’s a “To Pay” folder, a “To File” folder, and an “Unsorted” folder for our lazy days.  Plus I have a folder, Charles has a folder, and Charles’ grandfather has a folder (he still gets mail there, and we take it to him at the retirement home).  On the front, I’ve attached a monthly calendar, which also includes dates that bills are due.  I must be the biggest nerd, because coming home and sorting the mail has become a real thrill to me.  I know, it’s sad.

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The next stop on my list was our filing cabinet.  Charles and I are both pretty good about saving what needs to be saved, but we both had gotten in the habit of just throwing it in the drawer with the intent to file it later…which of course never happened.  So over the weekend I organized all of our important documents, and broke everything down into 7 main categories: Park Avenue, Joint Financial, CPG Financial, SPG Financial, CPG Work, SPG Work, and Miscellaneous.

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Next, I picked up a bunch of these little plastic baskets for $1 at Target and started using them anywhere and everywhere, like to organize the medicine cabinet and my nail polishes.

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Then I turned my organizational prowess to our finances.  I kept finding printables here and there that I liked, but I couldn’t find one place that had everything.  And you know I can’t have that stuff all mismatched!  So I created my own.  They are so simple and definitely nothing special, but it made me happy to get all of this information in one place.

First I created a tracker for monthly bills.  This helps us in our budget to know what we are spending each month.  (Hint: the “A” column is to note whether or not it is an automatic draft.)  This tracker is especially important for us right now, since we are paying two electrical bills, two water/trash bills, and two gas bills (one for each house).  I also created a quick guide with all of our account information for easy access.

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Next I created two trackers to help us with our tax preparation.  This will help keep all of our donations, expenses, etc. in one place so that we can easily see what we’ve spent at the end of the year.

Charitable Donation Tracker

Medical Expenses

Up next?  I’m hoping to tackle our gift wrap box.  It needs a lot of help after the holidays! Here’s a little inspiration:

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I’d also really love to snaz up our filing cabinet a bit.  Maybe something like this:

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PS- The above printables are free for your use! Enjoy!

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