Home Decor: 5 Changes We Made to Make Our Home More Relaxing

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I spent the majority of ours working, but painted and read for a few hours on Saturday night while hubby was working. SO relaxing!

I just wanted to take one quick second to thank everyone for the support last week as I launched the blog. The texts, emails, kind words at work and Facebook comments were so sweet and I cannot explain how much it meant! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Today’s post is all about the home. When we first moved to New Orleans, I wanted all red everything! It was a color we both liked — Jason went to Rutgers, I’m an Ohio State fan — and it was bright, bold and fun. I started throwing in a pale blueish green hue in our second place, as well with pops of yellow to creat a fun, energetic feeling in our main living area.

As much as I loved it, when we moved into our new place, I wanted to come home and feel calm and relaxed. I started being more observant when we stayed at hotels or got a spa treatment and was immediately drawn to the grey-blue hues.

Here are the five ways we made our living space/bedroom calm, cool and relaxing:

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1. Embrace the natural light. For me, feeling outside is relaxing, so I wanted to take advantage of all of the windows we had in our downstairs living area (Please excuse the yellowish light coming from the kitchen!). I went with sheer curtains all around, but wanted something a little more dramatic for the french doors, so we went with a heavy, grey fabric (I made these myself; they’re a little long, but I’m okay with the pooled bottoms.

2. Find your calm color. For us, it’s all about the blues and neutrals. All of our basics pull from those color families… I’ve even kind of given up those pops of color. When we first bought the furniture set (from Rooms to Go; I’ll talk more in-depth about this when we talk furniture shopping for your needs), I wasn’t totally feeling the mix of gray and taupe, but it’s become more prevalent when I’m looking at home decor items, so I’ve come to accept it. I did, however, HATE the pillows that came with our couch. I brought home about six different options on three or four separate occasions and NOTHING was fitting the bill. Enter… H&M. It also helped that they were on sale and there was an extra 50% sale items, so I got them for $7 a cover (!!!). I found these covers at the French Quarter location and couldn’t have been more excited–H&M’s home section is a great resource for affordable, stylish home décor items.

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3. Find smells that chill you out. For us, clean, slightly beachy smells and are our favorites. Bath and Body Works has some great candles (our favorites are: Turquoise Waters, Mahogany Teakwood and Fresh Water & Sea Salt –OBSESSED!) and I’ve found a few Nate Berkus for Target candles that I have loved, too. Around the holidays, this goes out the window — I don’t know about y’all, but for us, it’s all about Fresh Balsam!

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4. Make it feel comfy. We have a lot of pillows and blankets around at all times near our sitting area. I’m a curl-up-in-the-corner-of-the-couch kind of girl and I want everyone that comes to our home to feel like they can embrace it as well. We simply store everything in the basket underneath the end table and encourage our guests to make themselves at home–there’s one caveat, however, the dogs WILL snuggle with you!

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5. Accessorize to give it some life. If everything was all neutrals, blues and grays, our house would be BORING! I love accessorizing with fun pieces – the cost is usually minimal, they make a huge impact and they’re easy to change. Some of my favorites in our home are the art piece about the kitchen table, the styled bookcase, the bar cart and my grandmother’s hutch with the Staffordshire Dogs. The hutch doesn’t perfectly match our aesthetic, but it is such a special piece and is gorgeous. The Staffordshire Dogs remind me of our own pooches and my cousin’s wife, Judy, found them at an estate sale outside Philadelphia. They’re so special because she was on the lookout forever! I’ve tried to keep it minimal, but with the bookcase, I’ve included pieces from some of our travels, framed photos and cookbooks (So. Many. Cookbooks.). I may do a separate post identifying everything. The fun accessories help bring some life and personality to the space without being too much – at least, that’s what I aimed to do!

How do you make your home your own? What are your favorite rooms to relax in? I’m always looking for decor tips so leave them in the comments if you have some to share!

Happy Monday — have a great day!

-Lindsey

Five things for Friday

This week has been one with happy moments and sad moments and just seems like it has been emotionally-charged for the whole country. In New Orleans, the majority of the City has spent the week reminiscing, showing gratitude and celebrating the progress after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Living in New Orleans has its challenges sometimes, but, no matter what, it’s impossible not to acknowledge, appreciate, respect and be grateful for the captivating spirit that the City embodies.

My hubby and I weren’t here for Hurricane Katrina as we moved to New Orleans in August of 2007, but some of the stories I’ve heard and what some of our friends went through was unimaginable. As New Orleanians remember that history-altering time, I hope they can celebrate the progress and positive changes that have occurred since August 29, 2005.

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The above photos can be found here and were taken by Mario Tama of Getty Images. The Dome: then and now.

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The other story this week that was unfathomable to me, as well as the rest of the country, was the death of two media members in Roanoke, Va. after an unconscionable act of violence. It is so terribly sad and tragic that Alison Parker and Adam Ward (pictured above from here) from Virginia’s WDBJ7 were the victims in a shooting. There are so many, too many, innocent victims in shootings every day across the country, however, the way everything played out on-air is inconceivable. The dignity, humility, professionalism and heart that the victims’ station has show has been so admirable.

It was impossible to ignore the above mentioned events from the week, but I do want to end the week on a lighter note.

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Last weekend was one of my favorites in a long time as my college teammate, Julianne (far left), came to town to visit her friend from home, Rheannon (far right), and I had the chance to spend some quality time with the two of them. It was great to reconnect with my former doubles partner and make a new NOLA friend — it was a much-needed girl-centric weekend of fun and I feel so lucky to have had that time with them both!

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The above photo is of our new headboard (!!!). I have been contemplating making one for the past two years for our new place, but never committed until Jason was gone for training camp. The first one I made at our old place was so pretty, but so heavy, so hard to hang and I just didn’t want to repeat that. This one was SO much easier — thank goodness — and is made out of cardboard. I’m so happy the way it came out — simple, blends right in and keeps the cool colors going in our bedroom in hopes of creating a calm space.

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JoJo is a social media star! Ha ha! Since yesterday was #NationalDogDay, our digital media manager (Thanks, Beth!) chose a photo of one of our dogs while they were wearing a unibrow. We had the unibrows for a post-season award campaign for Anthony Davis a few years ago and I couldn’t resist putting them on the dogs as a part of the social media aspect. Don’t worry — no animals were harmed in the process, I promise!

It’s been a long week, but I hope everyone has a great weekend and has the chance to spend time with their loved ones!

Happy Friday!

-Lindsey

Breakfast Recipe: Protein Shake + Caffeine

Like most people, I struggle with two things in the morning: making sure I have breakfast and getting caffeine into my system.

In the off-season, I find that I have more time to prep for breakfast, but once things get busy come August, that goes out the window. Enter combining my two issues and finding a solution:

A protein shake + caffeine. 

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I looked up a few recipes online, but ended up coming up with my own:

Ingredients

1.5 scoops of protein powder

6-8 ounces of water

2-4 shots of espresso

Instructions

Put ingredients in a blender and mix. Serve over ice in a shaker bottle.

Tip: If possible, make the espresso the night before and leave it in the fridge so it’s cold.

I’ve tried a few different types of protein powder, but my favorites are pictured below. Top: Smoothie King’s Chocolate Lean 1 powder (my favorite smoothie!) Bottom left to right: Muscle Milk’s Vanilla Creme, Mocha Latte (which has caffeine in it!) and Peanut Butter Chocolate. I thought the peanut butter chocolate wouldn’t work with the espresso, but it was delicious!

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What are your go-to easy breakfasts?

Have a great day!

-Lindsey

Wednesday’s Wish List – Game Day Black & Gold [for the fan]

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Wednesdays are starting to become my favorite post days—I have an excuse to online browse!

Today’s Wish List is all about Saints game day for the ladies. When I first moved to New Orleans, I had to rethink my game day wardrobe. Up North, we wore hoodies, jeans and sneakers to football games and, in the South, the ladies are dressed to impress.

Thankfully, the Saints colors are easy to manage — we are truly lucky! I quickly found a few fun t-shirt stores in New Orleans and three are featured in today’s post: Fleurty Girl, Storyville and Sarah Ott. Throwing on one of their t-shirts, a pair of skinny jeans and some booties was my favorite game day look when I attended games as a fan, but you can’t forget a sweater — it’s FREEZING in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome! My favorite jewelry piece included into today’s post is made by a new New Orleans friend, Rheannon. The long geode necklace (9) is part of her new jewelry collection. Check it out on Etsy–the pieces are so pretty! She’s working on adding more items, too, and I cannot wait to see them.

Items 11 & 12 are from the Kendra Scott Color Bar – such a great way to customize some gorgeous pieces for game day! The first Kendra Scott store in New Orleans opens next month and I could not be more excited!

Cute headbands and jewelry are fun for game day and I love the leather cap — great for winter games or rainy days.

The last game-day must-have is an NFL-approved clear bag. Definitely not the most chic accessory, right? My favorite is this one from Design a Latte, a local online boutique in New Orleans. You can get it personalized, too, though I opted for the plain one so friends and family can use it when they’re in town (and since I’m working, I don’t need it on home game days).

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Sunday is our final home preseason game — I’m ready for the regular season! I hope this helps my fellow female Saints fans get ready for game day — and fellas, these make great gifts for the Who Dat in your life!

Have a great day and thanks for reading! Go Saints!

-Lindsey

5 Steps to Becoming a Sports Fan [or at least getting better at faking it]

Today’s post is for the ladies who roll their eyes every time their guy turns on SportsCenter or hides their nose in their phone during the Super Bowl.

I’m biased – I grew up around sports and was inundated by them from the time I was born – but sports can be engaging, fun, entertaining and downright emotional. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea–or bottle of Bud Light–but there are a few ways you can create a personal connection with sports and athletes so the next time your man says, “Let’s go catch a game!” you might be more open to screaming “DE-FENSE! right along with the rest of the super fans.

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Above: One of my favorite NBA players, Kevin Durant, is very tight with his mom and their relationship is genuine and heartfelt. Check out his MVP speech — you’ll be an instant fan. (Photo from Kevin Durant’s Instagram account: http://www.instagram.com/easymoneysniper).

Find your guy[s]. Having a team or favorite athlete is critical. The minute you emotionally invest in a team or particular player, you’ll be shocked how much game day affects you. First stop: social media. Twitter and Instagram are two ways to study up on individual players and teams. Some players share personal anecdotes and photos — it will humanize them and help you find a player that you can relate to or admire for how they live life off the court. Second stop: team websites. Check out articles and the site’s video gallery — you’re bound to find a guy you like after watching coverage from community events or post-game interviews.

Learn some of the rules. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re watching the game or do some googling at the office the next day if there was something that didn’t make sense to you. If the rules are too much, try learning the positions, or at least the most important ones, for your man’s favorite sport. If you know the difference between a cornerback and quarterback and your guy is a football fan, he’ll be impressed. Just try and learn a few basics and you’ll be able to hold your own. Extra tip–find a mentor! If one of your girlfriends is a sports fan, pick her brain or have her explain the must-know lingo to you.

Get some gear. What better way to get excited about something than buy a new outfit or accessory?! If hubby gives me the green light to get a new outfit, I’ll be excited about watching paint dry! Check Etsy and the league’s websites for cute gear. Kendra Scott’s Color Bar is a great way to accessorize — order some fun earrings or a necklace in your team’s colors. In New Orleans, local t-shirt stores (I’ll share some of my favorites in tomorrow’s post!) are one of the best routes for fun, sassy game day t-shirts. Find a cheeky shirt with a cute saying – it will definitely make you look forward to heading to the stadium if you look the part!

Head to the game. Even if you love sports, sometimes watching on TV isn’t the best way to catch the game. Surprise your man with tickets or ask if you can be his plus-1 the next time he heads to the ballpark. Guys who love sports light up like a Christmas tree when their team is playing right in front of them. Ask questions – even if you think they’re dumb! He’ll love explaining the rules and strategy to you. He’ll be spitting out stats you don’t even understand, but it’ll be a great bonding experience and a chance to make great memories together.

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Pictured above from left to right: Pelicans cupcakes at a pre-season planning meeting, chocolate cupcakes at a watch party later in the season.

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Pictured above from left to right: Pelicans Hutch décor for a March watch party, Pelicans BINGO cards and the featured prize for in-game fun. 

Have a watch party. Easiest way to enjoy sports with your man — invite other couples over so the girls can chat and catch-up while the guys drink beers and watch the game. Not only will you likely have a great time, but watch parties can be very low key – no tent cards in front of the chips and salsa needed! (Though, if you know me, I probably won’t be able to help myself–Pinterest has some seriously fun game day watch party ideas!) Have everyone pick up an appetizer, put some beer on ice, throw some burgers and dogs on the grill and you’ll be good to go!

Bonus tip. Respect your man’s routine. Every sports fan has at least one superstition that they practice – some might be completely off the wall, but accept it, don’t fight it. Not only will you avoid being the scapegoat if his team loses (heaven forbid you wash those lucky PJs), but you’ll also earn some brownie points along the way.

Regardless of whether or not you know the difference between a double and a double play on your next baseball outing, your man will appreciate that you’re trying. If you get really desperate, check out this book – the few reviews were positive and looks like it covers the basics.

Good luck in finding your team–in our house it’s go Saints & Pelicans!

Have a great day!

-Lindsey