Playroom Makeover + DIY Fireplace for Kids

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Playroom BEFORE: It really had no focal point and the plastic storage bins always annoyed me. They are a necessary evil until I find a permanent storage solution I like.

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Playroom NOW:

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This outlet in the middle of the focal wall was a real eyesore not to mention safety hazard so I decided to use it as a starting point for my fireplace measurements.

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I used one of Avery’s preschool collages for the “fire” and backed it with thick paper and a velcro strip that I attached to the plastic over the outlet. This way if it gets ripped off it won’t tear and the outlet is still covered with the velcro strip so we can stick it right back on.

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I bought these sconces at a thrift shop for 25 cents each. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them but I just kind of liked the shapes. Turns out when spray painted white they made the perfect addition to my playroom fireplace 1 (2)

 I like the irony of using classic masterpieces to decorate a children’s playroom so I did a good old fashioned google search and picked a few of my favorites. My girls have a Degas over their fireplace and a Van Gogh in their dining room. I’ve been reading this book about art history and I would eventually like to create a Salon Wall of classics in their playroom.

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The project took me three hours from start to finish (including cleaning the playroom) and cost less than $10 if you include the sconces and velcro strips I used to hang everything. The paint was just leftover from our bar.

Hope you like our cozy little playroom.

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Housewarming (candles, candles, candles)

    First of all, something amazing happened last night. I posted this picture to Twitter and then almost choked on my Pinot Grigio when I checked my email and got a notification that THE Kristin Chenoweth favorited my tweet! What?! I feel so “Popular”! (wink) Do you guys think she reads my blog now? Kristin (Ms. Chenoweth?) if you’re reading this, I along with every other girl my age, adore you. P.S. WHY did they cancel GCB?! That show was my jam!photo 1

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 On to a little entertaining decor from the weekend. By now, you know that I’m a fan of a lot of mini flower arrangements around the house rather than one big showy bouquet. To me, having fresh flowers in little vignettes all around the house feels like a bigger impact and it’s much more cost effective. I find the best strategy is just to head over to Trader Joe’s and buy several random $3.99 or $5.99 bouquets, then dump them all out on a work space and start putting things together. I’m normally not a big fan of Gerbera daisies (or daisies in general) but I could not pass up this cranberry color. Avery and I had a fun walk collecting those pine cones the other day for my apothecary jar. Free fall decor!photo 3 (2)

I’ve switched up the entry table since I last posted. I found this larger pedestal table at Tuesday morning and I think it’s a much better size for the space.

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Here’s a close up of my entry table arrangement.

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Sunflowers and eucalyptus feel so fresh.

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I always love to include a little tiny flower arrangement in the guest bathroom to make it feel bright and beautiful. I decided to use my roses all in one little group and add a few fillers for a little height. It was just the right size for a small guest bathroom.

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Here is my main set up in the kitchen. It’s more eucalyptus, sunflowers, mini pumpkins and gourds from Trader Joe’s, and lots and lots of white/off white candles from Michael’s. It was so simple and yet so warm and welcoming, especially when it got darker outside and the kitchen was glowing. Fun tip for flower arranging that I recently learned: remove ALL foliage that will be below the water level to make it stay fresh longer and avoid that yucky smell. You shouldn’t see ANY leaves through the glass, only stems.

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Here are the basic tools I used for my tablescape which were purchased mainly at Michael’s:

fall tablescape basics


Happy Home: My Office Makeover


When I first started creating my Pinterest boards to get ideas for my new house (doesn’t everyone do this nowadays?) I envisioned our home office in the style of Ron Burgundy with many leather-bound books and smelling of rich mahogany. Then I realized that I am the one who works from home so why not make my office space a reflection of the things I love to do with my non-mommy time like writing for my blog and Stella and Dot (and Pinterest and Facebook).


I regret not taking more detailed BEFORE pictures of the house, because sadly this is the only one I got of the office. This was taken when we first toured the home. They actually had it staged with two full-size desks which gives you an idea how large the room is. Making a room this size feel cozy without using a lot of furniture was a bit of a challenge but I resorted to filling the walls with art in order to make the space feel lively.


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The Keane print of the Girl in the Yellow Dress was purchased by my Mom’s mother on a trip to New York City back in the day, I’m assuming the 60’s. She bought one for herself and one for her mother, my Mema. Mema lived until one week before her 99th birthday and toward the end she insisted it was a portrait of her when she was a little girl. I always think of Mema when I see it.

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I have had this Parasol since I was a child. I can’t believe it has held up through so many years and so many moves!

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In My Office

The collage on the wall here was originally  made for Savannah’s nursery in our old house. It includes strong, inspiring women from Jackie O to Eloise to my mom’s passport picture from the ’70s. The ‘portrait’ of me was done by a street artist in Paris when I was 15, on a school show choir trip (jazz hands). Funny story, on the way back to the hotel I ended up getting lost with two other students and we landed smack in the middle of the Paris Red Light District at night. The walk to the Pigalle train station was probably the longest, most educational walk of my 15 year old life up to that point. The portrait looks nothing like me but it reminds me of that trip, which makes it priceless.

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This pink fabric is from one of the first shirts Kevin ever bought me. The shirt would be totally out of style now but I always loved the print so I stapled it to a canvas I had and now it’s a bright spot in the room and reminds me of my hubby.

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So that’s the quirky little space where I sit and write to you all. Thanks for reading and commenting. I never planned to have a blog like this, but it’s been such a creative outlet and bright spot in my days to hear from you guys. As one of my high school besties and I always say: Love you, love your show!



MKM Style: Home Life

Happy Throwback Thursday! I thought I would give a quick update on my home decor now that I am settling into my new house with a little throwback to the “before” pictures. It was already beautiful when we saw it staged from the previous owners, but I’ve had a great time coming up with my own style. For me, home decor is an ongoing process. I’m always changing things around, moving furniture, trying different hangings on the wall (I get it from my mom) so I never really feel like a room is “done” but here are a few my favorite areas so far.

Foyer Before:

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Foyer Now:

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I’ve always loved the idea of having a little table in the entryway for flowers and there is so much space here that I can actually do it without fear of a child running through and knocking it over! The table and rug are both from Home Goods. Obviously there is potential here to do much more…send me ideas!


Hearth Room Before:

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Hearth Room Now:

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The painting over the mantel is one of my most prized possessions. It was a wedding gift from my parents and it was done by an artist, Nancy Milano, who knew me as a child but hadn’t seen me in years. They just said, paint something for Emily and this is what she came up with. It stuns me how reflective it is of my taste and aesthetic. It could not be more perfect. The rug is from good old Target and the bench is from Home Goods.

Formal Living Room Before:

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Formal Living Room Now:

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My husband didn’t really have any input on this room whatsoever, which is why it’s light and bright. He tends to like darker colors and more traditionally masculine materials like leather so we compromise in other areas of the house, but this room really reflects my personal aesthetic more than any other. If I have a quiet moment I like to sit here with a glass of champagne or a cup of tea and look out at our view of the trees and stream in the backyard. Maybe it’s the fact that I usually only sit here when my kids are sleeping, but I find it very peaceful.



Hope you enjoyed the little #tbt tour!



Happy Home: Where My Heart Is

Lately, all I want to do is be at home. I’ve been so caught up in nesting and lovingly unpacking old boxes full of treasures I never bothered to unpack in our old house. Who knew we had 9 vintage bibles?

And not one, but two sets of china passed down from our Grandmothers. 

I even found an eclectic ashtray collection from the 1960s. 

I am by no means a decorator, but I do have my own particular style that comes from moving a lot as a kid and traveling overseas as much as I possibly can. As I delve deeper into this new space, I will share some before and after pictures because who doesn’t love a B/A pic? Everyone does!

ALSO (drumroll…) my new logo is complete! Luckily I have the hook up with a fantastic designer in the Chi who created a custom logo for me and I am so excited to show it to you.  I am going to REVEAL my new logo and celebrate it with a Stella & Dot Giveaway so keep an eye out for that in the very near future (wink)!

Thanks for being here and thanks for commenting to let me know you were here! This blog is always a representation of where my heart is at the moment so the next couple weeks will be about wrapping up pageant season, decorating our new house, and some always fabulous Stella & Dot thrown in the mix, because that’s my #HAPPY!




Blue Magic, cheap sunglasses, and other happy things.

Swimming laps is my all-time favorite way to stay in shape, but it wreaks havoc on my hair. Add to that, the other day I forgot my hair products so I had no choice but to use my gym’s “J.R. Watkins Naturals” all-purpose foam soap. Note to my gym: no need to list the fancy “natural” brand like you’re doing us a huge favor. It’s just foam soap. Anyway, the girl getting ready next to me happened to be using a jar of this Blue Magic Coconut Conditioner and she let me use some. She also saved me from looking like a greaseball because it’s for African-American hair and I would have put waaaay too much on if she hadn’t stopped me! One tiny bit took my hair from brittle, tangled and straw-like to soft, bouncy and manageable with just a blowdryer…no other heat styling! (Random gym girl: “Thank you for bein’ a friend!”) She said she gets it at Wal Mart.

Cheap Sunglasses!

Next time you are at the Dollar Store, check out their sunglasses! I used to have really nice sunglasses. Honestly I don’t know what happened to ANY of them. They are like phone chargers, they constantly disappear when you need them and show up in droves when you’re looking for something else. My new rule is that if I have to spend more than $8 on Sunglasses, they are a bad investment so I have been getting mine at the Dollar Tree and Forever 21 and it’s like the best kept secret, because even the “cheap” Target sunlasses are like $12. Here are some cute ones!

Forever 21 Oversized Rounds for $5.80

This sign!

Saw this at Nebraska Furniture Mart yesterday and couldn’t help but think it would make for hilariously chic Nursery decor.

These kids!

We spent the weekend in the sun at the pool and it was divine. Summertime with kids is the greatest. They play hard all day, wear adorable dresses and swimsuits, eat popsicles outside and then crash early so I can watch Orange Is The New Black until I fall asleep reluctantly because that show is just SO GOOD.


Happy Home: (Basically just more bargains and flowers.)

I finally got all my vacation pictures uploaded so I will be sharing those soon, but for today I wanted to share some of the simple things that put a spring in my step.

For some reason, the past two nights I have slept terribly due to several versions of a recurring nightmare I have had for years. It’s kind of embarassing because the whole thing is basically just that I find out that they made a mistake when they gave me my diploma and I have to go back to math class. The level of PANIC this creates in me cannot be adequately described, but I usually wake up with my heart racing, thanking God for my post-high school life and husband who is good with numbers. Continue reading

Happy Home: Tuesday Morning

I figured out a way to kick a nasty case of the Mondays yesterday when I discovered a new happy place. It’s a store called Tuesday Morning. The best way I can describe it is a mix between Home Goods and the Dollar Store. I walked in skeptical and instantly fell in love. I left with a few gorgeous things and a really long wishlist!

Here are some of my fun finds! (And flower arrangements! I recently took a class on this lost art form at Pepperologie with Emmy Ray. If you want more tips from the pro, see her blog Handmaker of Things)

Last week I tried my hand at flower-arranging using the skills I learned at the Pepperologie class.

Technique I learned at Pepperologie: Start around the edges and work your way in.

Added four roses, a sprig of babies breath and voila!


I specifically used only the pink roses to make a small, monochromatic arrangement.

Then I trimmed and rearranged the rest of the flowers to look like this.

At Tuesday Morning, I found this white ceramic pineapple statue (a symbol of hospitality) and fresh citrus candle to go on this bright, beautiful tray. I have it on my island as a little eye candy that will hopefully deter us from cluttering it up with junk mail!

The Candle, Pineapple and Tray were all a STEAL at Tuesday Morning.

My next purchase was a pair of table lamps to add a little bit of drama to my dining room. 

I found a similar style online (which I don’t even like as much) HERE. It is listed as a “hot deal” at the low price of $262. 

These gorgeous lamps were a whopping $29 bucks each at Tuesday Morning! 

I’ve always loved walking into a big fancy hotel and seeing a table with a huge, gorgeous arrangement of fresh flowers. Even though I have a normal-sized house in Kansas, I think this sweet little flower arrangement on my entryway table makes just as delightful of an impact! These were also taken from the deconstructed larger flower arrangement I did last week.

Since I’m having a party this week, I used some of the leftover flowers from the larger arrangement to make a bright little bouquet for the powder room. I hope these little details make guests feel happy and welcome!

To make these smaller arrangements, I used  these gorgeous crystal orb vases…

 Just kidding! They’re just from the Dollar Tree! Love that store!

Hope your home feels happy today!


Couples Baby Shower Theme: Bebe Bistro for the Future Foodie

Last weekend I co-hostessed a Couples Baby Shower at my friend Maria’s home. First of all, her home is simply gorgeous. I started taking pictures of the party details and ended up taking some pictures of her elegant decor. I really love her contemporary, eclectic style. Her home is filled with art and photographs and gorgeous books and it just feels so sophisticated and chic yet homey and authentically lived in at the same time. Maria was my first girlfriend to have a baby, so I basically use her as a mommy model. She has three gorgeous, stylish, organically-fed children and she still makes time to take care of herself. I have known her for almost 7 years and she has not aged a day and looks better and better each year!

The baby shower was for our mutual friend Missy (see more on our friendship here in Pageant Weekend Approaches), who has a food blog called The Perfect Bite! So we decided to use that as the inspiration for the theme.

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The caterer (Carey Weir of Salt Catering) actually knew of Missy from reading her blog before so she generously came up with a custom menu that would suit this extra-special mommy-to-be. The entire menu was baby-themed gourmet appetizers! (Yum!)



Maria whipped up some gourmet homemade baby food from a cook book she had for a baby-food tasting. They looked so cute and were a great conversation starter (even if most people weren’t brave enough to try them!)

A few shots of Maria’s chic design style:


Maria spray-painted the Mason jars and Wine bottles with black spray paint to make these amazing centerpieces for the flowers!

To make this banner for the mantel I got a pack of plain white bibs from Buy Buy Baby and strung them on a simple black ribbon.

The cake is from Aunt Mary’s in North Kansas City and they made it look like a jar of gourmet baby food. The cookies are silver spoons with a monogram and a ribbon.

Baby food jar cake

Silver Spoon cookies

Maria had custom labels printed  for these wine bottles for the guests to take home as a reminder of the fun celebration!

Hard to imagine my life in KC over the past 7 years without these two gorgeous, amazing role models. So happy we get to go through this crazy mommyhood ride together!

Can’t wait for this pretty mommy to have her baby!!!


Happy Home: Avery’s Pink and Green Toddler Room

As I mentioned in my previous post Neutral Nursery Decor, when I found out Avery was going to be a girl I went on a shopping spree for nothing but pink, green, and all things girlie and shabby chic.  I didn’t want her room to feel like it was bought out of a catalog so I ended up using both new things and vintage items I collected from family and an antique shop in KC called Good JuJu to make it unique for my one-of-a-kind Princess.

When Avery was about 18 or 19 months old she started crawling out of her crib every night so we knew she was ready for a big girl bed. Rather than purchase a toddler-size or twin bed, we simply switched the crib with one of our queen guest beds and converted a guest room into the nursery for the new baby, leaving Avery in the same room she has had since day 1.

Winstead the Bear serves as a snuggle buddy and  the double toddler rails keep her safe

I decided to use the pom poms I bought for her 1st birthday party as permanent room decor rather than just storing them for who knows when.


This painting is another vintage find. My grandma was cleaning out her basement and asked me if I wanted an oil painting that my mom did in the 60’s. I love that it’s so personal and one of a kind!


 I purposely keep the toy box and bookshelf (both from Toys ‘R’ Us) in the closet so during nap time I can just close the doors and hope to take away some distractions. All her little shoes are in the craft box so I can grab them quickly on the way out the door.

I talked about this in my nursery post as well, but it bears repeating; I personally think traditional end tables are a waste of space and money. It’s better to look in the bathroom decor section to find something that can double as a storage unit. This one is from Home Goods. Since the changing table has moved to the nursery, I keep all of Avery’s diapers in this end table and just use the bed as a changing space. The chair and wall shelf are vintage and the customized pillow is from Pottery Barn Kids.


I wanted to put something above her bed that wouldn’t be at risk of falling so I found these stick-on frames at Bed Bath and Beyond. I used some of our favorite book illustrations for the decor and of course put the crown jewel, our dog Audrey, in the center. All in all it probably took 15 minutes from start to finish and cost maybe twenty dollars. Love that!

The crown decal is from Target. It originally came with a stick-on phrase that read “drama queen” which I think is beyond tacky so I tossed that part. The crystal dream-catchers in the windows and the green and white polka dot drapes are from Pottery Barn Kids.


So that’s Avery’s little shabby-chic, pink and green, eclectic and girlie, comfy cozy toddler room!