Monday Mantra: things we love

Happy Monday to you.  If it feels like time is flying by and its hard to believe its monday again…well you are right!!  I can’t believe it either!  Life has changed just a bit for us in the last few months and I couldn’t be happier.  Even though there are so many things that have been pushed to the side for now, the love and joy (despite the tiredness) from our little one is indescribable.

“We lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there, too.”

metal heart

Embrace whatever it is in your life that make you the happiest!

Cheers & Happy Monday!
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: how far you can go

Happy Monday to ya!  The past two months have flown by here for us, and I just can’t believe how fast our little miss is growing.  Life has changed in the most amazing ways!  There are so many reasons to be thankful (the most important one happens to be pretty cute too!) and we are truly blessed beyond words.  I never could have imagined how full my heart has become.  I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the months to come (and I secretly want them to slow down just a bit).

“Take pride in how far you have come and
have faith in how far you can go.”


Happy Monday
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: fountain

Good Morning and Happy Monday!  What a beautiful weekend of weather we had here in Georgia.  Finally a little break from the sweltering heat and humidity of the last few weeks!  We were finally able to enjoy being outside and spent the weekend relaxing, playing in the garden and catching up with family and friends.  We want to make sure that our little miss loves the outdoors, so these days you can find us enjoying the summer breeze on a rocking chair outside (if you catch us between naps that is).  So many wonderful things to be thankful for right about now, its hard not to walk around with a big old smile on our faces!

“Be a fountain, not a drain”


Cheers & Happy Monday
~ Jillian

Guest Post: DIY Dining Tables

It’s DIY time here at HSE and today we’ve got a fabulous guest post brought to us by the lovely Gina Carlson (via Modernize).  Gina lives in Minnesota with her husband and four crazy pets, and is a DIY home improvement addict.  She’s pulled together some great inspiration and DIY ideas to turn your dining room into something fabulous!  Found a table you love but its not really in the budget…well you’ve come to the right place today!!


DIY Dining Room Table Ideas
By: Gina Carlson
via Modernize

dining 1

When we started looking for a dining room table, we had grandiose visions of something elegant but simple, with clean lines, but unique design. After touring dozens of home stores, scouring the internet, and coming up empty handed, we debated about creating something of our own that would fit our style and existing decor.

If you’re considering going the DIY route, you’ve got a lot of options at your fingertips. Since you likely don’t have a woodshop in your garage, you probably won’t be re-creating a Queen Anne piece, but you can still make something that will be gorgeous and distinctive to your home.  The first thing any DIY’er needs to do is determine what material you are going to use. Creating a table can take a considerable amount of time, depending on the materials you use, so don’t anticipate knocking it out in a day. However, the payoff is well worth the effort – so plan your attack, and start your shopping! An easy way to DIY a table is to find a style you love – and refinish it!

Yard sales, thrift stores, and secondhand shops are all a source to find a table that will fit the size and shape you need. Look for sturdy construction with steady legs – and don’t worry if there are scratches and nicks; you can handle those during the process of refinishing, and depending on the style of your home, the imperfections will add some character.  If you’ve searched the stores and come up empty, there are dozens of online stores that sell table legs and bases, which are the core of any good space to sit. Once you’ve found the table of your dreams, you can start your design.

dining 2via Modernize

For a wood table in good condition, you can simply sand it down and add a new coat of polyurethane to brighten and refresh the finish. If the table has too much of a retro vibe for you, your first order of business is to sand the table down and refinish with a new color, or spice up the color with a new paint job. This creates a very modern look, and will give your dining area a flare that none other can match!

dining 3via Modernize

A paint job is easily completed by hand – start with coarse sandpaper, and work your way to a finer grit. A power sander will do the job in a quick time frame – but elbow grease is required for the legs and/or any design elements the table features. Once you’ve sanded off all the old polyurethane, wipe the table down with a tack cloth to remove all the excess sawdust from all the surfaces. Choose a paint color that will coordinate with your decor, and after a few coats, you’ll be ready to go!

If you’re looking for less legwork, there are a few other options to choose. Metal table bases can be spray painted, using any of the variety of colors and textures available at any home improvement store. From there, you can purchase a large piece of glass for the top, or even go so far as to use reclaimed wood, screwed and glued together to create a table top that fits your style and taste.

No matter what you choose, a DIY table is the way to bring YOU into your home, and have a conversation starter you’ll use for years to come!  
For more design ideas and inspiration, head to


So get your DIY brainstorming going and create something beautiful for you and your family to enjoy!  Happy Dining (and DIY-ing)

~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: Change

Good Morning and Happy Monday!!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend enjoying good weather and spending time with loved ones.  We visited with friends and family, worked out in the yard and of course enjoyed lots of snuggles with our little miss!  What a crazy month it has been and for sure the best (and most sleepy) I’ve had.  As life changes and we move thru the different stages it is easy to get lost a bit in where you are headed.  What’s most important is that you stay true to yourself and realize that most importantly life is about the journey and about what you make out of the moments you are handed.  So enjoy yourself.  Make the most out of every moment and realize that you are only in control of how you handle the out of control moments that come your way.

“I can affect change by transforming the only thing that
I ever had control over in the first place – and that is myself.”


Happy Monday!

Guest Post: Design Apps

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Julia Thoran.  Julia spends most of her time on mobile technology, and she’s dedicated her life to sharing just how effectively our phones can make our lives easier. From learning to cook simple to complex recipes with cooking apps to redecorating her home, she’s learned a lot from her trusty mobile phone, and she’ll gladly share some of her favorite apps with you.

Three Great Apps That Can Help Redesign Your Home

Home redesign can be a tricky affair. On the one hand, starting with a bare room can help you express and explore your creativity. On the other, one always has to work around limitations such as budget, time, and energy. Nobody wants to invest on three cans of paint and realize that it wasn’t the color they wanted, or buy a new couch to match the new carpet, only to find out that it doesn’t fit in the room, or that it sits at an awkward angle against a window. These are just some of the risks we take when we begin renovating our living spaces, but luckily, there are now many ways to avoid these problems, and some of them involve little more than whipping out your smartphone.

Accoding to the company that operates mobile-optimized website Iceland Bingo, growth in mobile internet is among the strongest trends on the internet landscape to date, with over a billion people on smartphones in 2012. In the past few years, mobile phones have evolved from simply being used for communication, and the Harvard Business Review reports that many people also use smartphones for seeking out new information, shopping, and of course, preparing for upcoming activities. As such, there are many apps that have been developed to help users make the most of their mobile phones, and those who want to redecorate can benefit from these apps immensely.

Struggling to pick a new color scheme, or wondering what kind of furniture will go with what’s already in your home? Here are three apps that can help you decide!

Home Design 3D

Home Design 3D is among the most popular design apps around, and with good reason. It allows you to recreate rooms in 2D, and then visualize it all in 3D. You can then add furniture, curtains, carpets, and wallpapers so you can visualize what you want your room to look like. It’s fairly easy to use as well, and although it is a premium app, there’s a free version available to try out.

Homestyler Interior Design

Already stripped your room to its bare bones and just getting ready to figure out what to install? Homestyler Interior Design would be a good choice. Simply snap a photo of your bare room, and then use the app to try different furniture and light sources. You can even install mirrors, rugs, paintings, and more to further customize your room. Once you’re done, you can share the design with friends and family to see what they think, or share it with the rest of the Homestyler community and get feedback on your ideas.

Dulux Visualizer

When it comes to repainting, you need to be extra careful that you don’t accidentally choose the wrong color of paint. The Dulux Visualizer makes it easier to ensure that you pick the right color, allowing you to take photos of the room you want to recolor, and try out different shades using the app. Once you’ve selected a shade you like, you can then order paint from your closest Dulux store.

BIG Thanks to Julia for contributing to HSE!!

~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: do different

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend doing exactly what you wanted to do!!  We relaxed at home, caught up with friends and spent some much needed time with family.  The weekend flew by but it was so lovely to spend it with so many wonderful people.  As we settle into life and start embracing the changes that a new member of the family brings, now more then ever its apparent that with life being so busy and time flying by it is incredibly important to keep a positive outlook on things and to make each day count, no matter what.

“If you want something different, do something different.
Same crap, different day doesn’t describe the day;
it describes your attitude towards it.”


Cheers & Happy Monday!
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: surround yourself

Happy Monday.  It’s been a while (we’ve been busy over here!!)  but we are back with a little Monday inspiration to start off your week!  I hope you have kicked off your summer with lots of family & friends and are enjoying every ounce of it!  Our little family is settling in and so excited about the summer ahead of us.  Cheers to a great week and a fabulous summer!!

“Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life,
touch your heart, and nourish your soul.”

A group of people huddle in a field. Vertically framed shot.

Happy Monday!
~ Jillian

Design School: Mis-matched Nightstands

Welcome back to Design School.  I hope you’ve been doing your homework and adding lots of fabulous creative touches around your home!!

There is a great debate out there on matching vs non-matching furniture in a room, specifically in bedrooms.  I tend to fall on the Non-matchy side of things in most cases.  I love the look of a pulled together room that is interesting and has different elements to look at.  A sure fire way to add that designer touch to your space is to change up the more typical design-in-a-box details by putting together pieces that might not be expected!

All of that being said…I happen to currently have matching bedside tables in my master bedroom (gasp) BUT I do have different lamps and accessories on top of each table to achieve that more individualized look.  If you decide you want to go for a non-matchy look with your night stands, here are a few tips and inspirations images that might help you get started!!

1. Go for Similar details.  Look for similar leg styles, molding details, or overall style of the night stands.  The shape and style of the pieces will naturally tie them together.

nightstands 4(source)

2. Use similar accessories to tie them together.  Use the same lamps, add greenery and tie together with accessories of similar colors.  This can go a long way with marrying two pieces together.  Keep in mind the accessories don’t have to MATCH just have an element of each accessory on each nightstand to tie them together.

nighstand 8(source)

3. Mix together pieces with similar size and scale.  Pieces that are similar in size and scale will automatically go well together, even if the color, details and lines are exactly the same.  Aligning the height of the pieces can go a long way for bringing balance to either side of the bed.

nightstands 2(source)

4. Balance with visual weight.One nightstand that is a chest of drawers will automatically bring more weight then something that is more like an open table.  Consider balancing that difference with the weight of the base, color difference or even the accessories.  If you mix a dark espresso table with a lighter color chest of drawers, each piece carries a similar amount of visual weight and therefore balances each other.

nightstands 1(source)

5. Coordinate the color.  Two pieces that look completely different on the surface can easily coordinate with each other if the color is consistent.  The styles might be different but if they are both painted the same navy blue for instance, they will automatically tie to each other because of the color.  This goes for wood finishes too, if they are both the same maple wood finish they automatically look like they belong together.

nightstands 3(source)

6. Find pieces you LOVE!  As always, this is the most important rule, because really rules are meant to be broken.  If there is something you feel strongly about or want to try…DO IT!  Trust your instincts and pull together things you love.

nighstands 5(source)

nighstand 6(source)

nightstand 7(source)

Get Inspired and GO FOR IT!
~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: bloom

Happy Monday to you!  Life has been a BIT crazy lately (so I’m sorry for being so absent) but my mind (and body) have  been in a million different places lately as we prepare for this next chapter in our lives!!  With only a few weeks left, I can say that I am ready in mind and spirit but NOT ready physically (as in the to-do list is still INSANELY long).  I just keep reminding myself that in the end…it really doesn’t matter what gets done and what doesn’t…soon it will be the time and the timing will be perfect!!  SO all that being said, I hope you are doing well and I promise to be better about staying in touch!!

Life moves so fast these days, with instant gratification at every turn.  It makes it insanely easy to compare your life with others.  See what people are doing in real time and comparing it to what you are or aren’t doing.  I recently ran into a sweet sweet friend that I haven’t seen in ages (we literally ran into each other in a random parking lot in the middle of no where…total fate).  I met her children for the first time although because of all the pictures posted and stories written I feel like i know them!  As they grew tired of us adults chit-chatting and started getting restless, she said…see this is actual reality…I guess I should start posting pictures like this instead of just the cute ones right?!

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it,
it simply blooms.”


Stay true to yourself, no matter what.
Choose Joy
~ Jillian