Merry & Oh-so-Bright Minted Holiday cards

*This post is sponsored by minted, however all excitement, opinions and happy thoughts are 100% my own!

The holidays are creeping. Like really creeping up on us. The Christmas décor hasn’t been busted out in its entirety over here yet, but it IS about that time to start thinking about and ordering holiday cards.

I simply adore this tradition.

There is something so warm and nostalgic about sealing an envelope and placing a stamp on the corner just-so. I admit,  handwritten thank you cards and yes, snail mail will always be something I take pride in putting forth that extra bit of effort.

I feel the same way about sending Christmas cards.

I remember being little and helping my mom get the Christmas cards and envelopes all prepped and ready to go out in the mail. We would listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate. I couldn’t wait to “grow-up” so I could send out my very own Christmas cards  🙂

If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, then you know my love for all things glitz, glam, shimmer and sparkle runs deep. like real deep. Basically an obsession.  I can’t seem to walk away from anything that gleams gold, so why would our holiday cards be any different?

Have you seen the foil-pressed holiday card collection from Minted?!
Fullscreen capture 11102015 74711 PMIf you aren’t familiar with Minted, you need to sit down immediately and go check them out!

Minted is an online marketplace of independent artists who create the most jaw-dropping, stunning designs – from artwork and calendars, to stationary and home décor (did someone say pillows?!) I’ve ordered a number of prints and custom photo gifts (you may remember them from the guestroom revamp project) in the past and have been so super pleased! They even allow you to customize your very own holiday wrapping gear – paper, stickers, fabrics and more. And their holiday cards? Seriously gorgeous.

I’m a personal fan of their foil-pressed collection – the cards actually S H I N E ! You can choose to have your card dazzle with silver, gold or the new hot trend, rose gold. Truly beautiful.

The design process is a cinch – take a peek!

You start by selecting a design, choosing flat or folded and then your paper type – there are 5 to choose from! and then uploading your photo…
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For the foil-pressed cards (my personal favorite!) you choose which bright and shiny finish you want (gold, silver or rose gold)…choose your shape and then design your front by inserting your custom text in the box.
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Next, design the back…
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Don’t want to do your own mail merge or hand-write your own envelopes? No problem! They have FREE recipient address service available! So convenient 😉
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I really love this address style, too.
Fullscreen capture 11102015 75009 PMFinally, a preview!   You even get a free digital proof to ensure your design is exactly how you want it.

It’s that simple! Of course, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun of sharing our actual Christmas cards with you all, but we just might end up going with one of these options – you’ll have to wait and see! Here are a few more of my favorites!
MIN-T8X-HFS-001_A_PDIt’s a wonderful life
MIN-4XM-HFS-001_A_PDgilded tree
MIN-3KC-HFS-001_B_PDgilded brush – joy
MIN-TGM-HFS-001_C_PDsnowflake squares

Which is your favorite? Are you already scheming your design? 324 foil-stamped cards to choose from, plus countless more designs! I may or may not already have my eyes set on next year’s pick!

I can’t wait to skip to the mailbox… or rather, load the boys up in the car to drive to the post office – they love helping me drop envelopes in the drop box – and get these babies out! fa la la la la… la la… la.. LA!

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Gallery Wall Wednesday #1 [where it all began – a monochromatic gallery wall]

There is no question that I love a good gallery wall. I’ve created at least one in every room in our home. A well executed gallery wall is like a form of art. A collection of photos, mixed with art (canvases, prints, metal pieces, etc.) and grouped in such a way, can make a BIG statement in a room. You can also go for a more subtle look by creating a small arrangement. The options are endless!

Today,  I am sharing one of my gallery walls with you. It hangs proudly over the couch in our formal living room. I put it together nearly 3 years ago and went for a monochromatic look using all black frames that varied in size and shape. I used color & black and white photos in the arrangement. As often as I like to rearrange and shift things around, for some reason, I haven’t wanted to lay a finger on this wall. It was my very first gallery wall and first collection of family photographs that I knew I wanted to display together.

Maybe it has something to do with when I created it?

It was shortly after our first son, Henry was born, which was just a few months after we moved into this house. I couldn’t wait to start decorating our new home & this wall seemed like a perfect spot to create a gallery wall of special photos – engagement photos, wedding pictures, baby and maternity shots.  With the exception of adding a picture of Simon’s feet and removing one of Henry, the layout and pictures have stayed the same. Plus, it’s my favorite room in the house.  😃 #myhappyplace #gallerywall

Have a look…
monochromatic gallery wall - this is our bliss Formal living room gallery wall - black frames over couch - how to gallery wall - this is our bliss all black gallery wall - family photos - This is our Bliss Gallery wall layout - monochromatic gallery wall - all black frames - formal living room - gray - this is our bliss monochromatic gallery wall - formal living room gallery wall - all black frames - This is our Bliss

Achieving this look is quite easy – simply collect various frames (and don’t forget to thrift some!) and start laying them out on the floor. If you are like me, you will just bust out a hammer and nails and go to town, but you can defintely take a more strategic approach. There are tons of tutorials out there on how to make paper templates or use painter’s tape to plan out spacing, layout, etc. right on the wall. Go for it though! The nice part is – it doesn’t have to be perfect or even uniform. Make it artsy and make it your own! It will give the walls in your home a one-of-a-kind look.

 How do you feel about gallery wall layouts? Do you like to match your frames for a monochromatic look or switch things up a bit?!

Have a great Wednesday!

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How to Thrift Picture Frames [tips for finding pieces for a Gallery Wall]

First, let me apologize for the, not one, but two random, incomplete posts that were blasted out earlier this week! Minor technical difficulties, my apologies! Now on to a post with some actual content 🙂
How to thrift picture frames & use them in a gallery wall - thrifted finds - tips & tricks - This is our blissToday, I am dropping in to share a few of my personal tips for buying those unique, one-of-a-kind frames to use in gallery walls or in other areas throughout your home. Vintage and second-hand picture frames are everywhere! I mean some of the places I pop into have aisles of them! You might not know exactly what you are looking for and you may not know where and when you will use them. But, when you can score a frame for as little as $.49, I say grab it now and figure out the rest later!

If you like the look of a gallery wall, but are worried that purchasing 4,5,6 or even 20+ frames can be costly, you are right. Store-bought picture frames can range from $10 – 100+ per frame. I highly recommend starting with a few frames from your local Goodwill or thrift stores in your area and then building your wall out from there. An eclectic gallery wall is so simple to achieve using frames of all different shapes, sizes and colors, so a thrifted collection is an ideal way to go. You can also incorporate a few thrifted frames when going for a more streamlined, balanced or monochromatic look. Start looking and you’ll be surprised what you’ll find!

Below, are my tips for thrifting picture frames and the key things I look for to help me spot the true gems (in my book!)

1 | Pairs or multiples

If you find a frame you like and there are more than 1, take them all! Using several of the same frames in a gallery wall give it that put together feel. You can use them next to each other or space them apart. For example, I found this pair of gold frames at Goodwill last year and had been hanging onto them for just the right use. They did not come with mats.
Pair of thrifted gold frames - goodwill frame find - this is our blissThey first appeared with a white mat on the playroom gallery wall.
playroom gallery wall with pair of gold goodwill frames - this is our blissAfter shopping my house for frames for the Guestroom Revamp project I completed for the One Room Challenge, I swiped them off the playroom wall, took the mats out and replaced the kid art with my two 8″x10″ Minted prints [top & bottom]. I then hung one below the other and placed a large, open frame around it. It now acts one, larger piece of art.
Guestroom revamp - Minted art - open frame - luggage rack - - dresser - fresh flowers - This is our Bliss

2 | Unique metal detail / hanging mechanisms

I don’t know how else to put it. If the frame has a great little metal hoop or ring attached to it, its coming home with me. You can use the ring to actually hang the frame by or there might be a sawtooth or something else and then the ring can just rest on the wall.

Round wood frame with unique metal detail - hoop or ring hanger - thrifted frames - this is our bliss

After removing the glass & art, I included it on another wall in the guestroom and left it as an open frame. If you look to the far left, there is a gold frame with a metal ring hanger as well. I loooove that one and I bought it for $.99.

Guestroom revamp - gallery wall - picture ledge - minted - This is our Bliss Guestroom revamp - picture ledge - gallery wall - This is our Bliss

3 | Interesting shape

or basically, any shape OTHER than a rectangle! I am quite a sucker for a round frame – I just love them! Breaking up the monotony of rectangular frames on your wall adds visual interest to your space. The eye is drawn to the piece that is slightly different and using a round frame or mirror is a great way to work some depth & dimension to your gallery wall.

Here you can see the 2 round frames on Simon’s pegboard gallery wall in his nursery. They actually started as wooden plate holders (similar to the one above, but without the metal hanger), but after applying several coats of white spray paint and adding some fabric, I added them to the wall along with various other frames & objects.
Nursery pegboard gallery wall - round frames with fabric - thrifted frames - this is our blissBaby Boy Nursery DIY Pegboard Gallery Wall + Navy, green & grayAs rare as it might, I would always say yes to any other shape out there! The gold octagon frame was a thrifted diamond in the rough – I haven’t found any others like it, but you can bet I would be first in line if I happened to come across another one. Like I said, I love to pick up frames that have a unique shape and this one definitely stands out amongst the others on the wall.
octagon thrifted frame - gallery wall - black white and gold - this is our bliss

The above shot is our stairway gallery wall. Although it took months to prepare for, the stairway gallery wall was not as big of an undertaking as one might think. I mean, I had frames stacked up and spread out our upstairs loft for quite.some.time. But the act of hanging it – I actually put it up one day while Ted was at work. He came home and said, “Ummm. How did you do that?” I actually don’t know the answer to this question and I am not sure if I could replicate this again. HA! I started at the bottom of the staircase, placed a few larger frames throughout, working my way up, and then started hammering away and filling in the gaps. This is NOT good advice to follow, but that is how I did it! It’s definitely the largest, craziest and most time-consuming gallery wall I have created to-date, but also my favorite.

 4 | Rounded edges

I found a few of these round-edge frames and really love how they are just so subtly different than an ordinary frame. The rounded edge gives the frame a slightly unique look. One might not even notice at first glance, which is what I like about it.
round edge frame - thrifted frames - this is our bliss(Maybe those edges were a trend of the 80’s???)

I painted one of these rounded edge frames white and used it on our stairway gallery wall, so I still have the 2 pictured above to use somewhere else. Again, buy in multiples!

5 | Don’t pay attention to what’s inside the frame

There might not be anything at all! I have scooped up a number of picture frames without glass or any backing. I have also bought frames with not so glamorous art inside. Although there could be an entire blog series written on super cool thriftstore art.

Exhibit A…

thrift store art in gold frameI simply removed the backing, popped out the glass and took out the matted art. I decided to leave it as an open frame again and hung it on the outside of a canvas for a slightly different look. Gotta love that gold + the simple detail on the inner edge of the frame. <3
Guestroom revamp - life doesn't have to be perfect - open gold thrifted frame - This is our BlissKind of like, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’… don’t judge a frame, but its art!

Tips for thrifting frames has been a topic I have wanted to write about for awhile now. People always ask where I find my frames and how much I spend on some of my gallery walls in total. Well, to be honest, I haven’t ever added up the total cost, but I can tell you I have saved quite a few pennies by hunting for unique frames around town. I plan to do a post somewhat related to gallery walls a couple of times per month, perhaps an occasional #gallerywallwednesday post. I will share some shots of the stairwell and several other gallery walls in our home and you might even see some walls from the past. I tend to switch things up every now & then! However, some of the walls in our home have yet to make their internet debut, so I will get workin’ on that STAT 🙂

Thrifting frames and beginning gallery walls can be quite intimidating, but once you get out there and start searching, it becomes a really fun hunt to see what you can score! It also helps to save some cash and maybe be able to put it towards more expensive frames or pieces of art to include in the gallery wall as well. A mix of art, photographs and other unique objects can result in a totally unique & artsy looking wall.

Have you attempted to put together a gallery wall in your home? Any good tips & tricks? Please share!


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Simon’s Safari-style Soiree [1st bday party deets]

Although we celebrated our littlest guy’s 1st birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to share some of the safari-style goodies and a few shots of the birthday boy himself. I am still pinching myself that a whole year has passed since he was born. I know this isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last time I say, where did the time go? I mean, come on!
Simon's 1st bday invite -This is our BlissA first birthday party is such a special celebration of all of the big milestones of the year, as well as the sweet little moments that you never want to fade from your memory. Things can be tough at times, especially in the beginning, getting used to something, or rather someone, new. But each day that goes by, it gets a bit easier, and then eventually busier, sillier and then crazy all over again! Simon’s party was no exception – a fun-filled day and night celebrating with our family and friends, with lots of little ones in attendance, too!

Here is how we celebrated safari-style…
Welcome to the Jungle 1st birthday party - safari style party - This is our blissW E L C O M E   T O   T H E   J U N G L E !

Welcome to the Jungle bunting - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - food table - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - party table set-up This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle DIY bunting - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss

The bunting was a quick & easy DIY. Well, I guess it was DIY, but I didn’t do a whole lot, at least this time around. Remember back to the buntings I made for Henry’s 1st birthday party and his 2nd ABC & 123 birthday party, too? Well, this time I bought the chipboard triangles in packs with pre-cut holes (at Michaels), then I added the chalkboard letter stickers and strung them on my favorite jute twine. I did far less work since I didn’t cut out the triangles, punch the holes or stencil + paint the letters. These birthday / welcome banners have hung in the very same spot with mini command hooks on the window trim and acted as a backdrop for the food & dessert tables.
The “vines” alongside the bunting were these leaves, hole-punched and strung on twine (with knots in between each leaf) and hung by a command hook from the nook ceiling.Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - diy food labels - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle DIY bunting - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - Pretzel twigs - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - food table - gold labels - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - jungle vines -This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle DIY bunting - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - safari animal cookies - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss

Aren’t those cookies the cutest?! If you are local, check out A Sweet Touch by Sara T. They are not only adorable, but the almond flavor is to die for! My version of cookies are animal crackers – party animals, rather 😉
DIY food labels were printed & then popped into old placecard holders after a couple coats of gold spray paint. Party label printables coming in a follow-up post!
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - DIY poster - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - King of the Jungle -This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations -monthly photo posters This is our BlissTwo simple larger décor pieces were made using foamcore board, some animal print wrapping paper & photos. I hung them with the same twine (that I always use!) and more clear command hooks.
The black & white framed word art was printed off the computer on cardstock.
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party favors - DIY party decorations - This is our BlissI strung small stuffed animals with Velcro hands on some twine across my formal living room window so each child could pick out one to take home along with a treat bag with their name on it. The bags were filled with an animal mask, animal stickers and these super cute animal sunglasses!
animal print sunglasses party favors - this is our blissA few more DIY’s below and a closer look at the gold touches…
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - DIY gold animals -This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - gold animals wooden candleholders - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - the watering hole - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Printable here!Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - DIY chipboard crown - DIY party decorations - This is our BlissWelcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party decorations - DIY party decorations - DIY I am ONE chipboard crown -This is our BlissThe chipboard crown was another Michaels find. I added gold foam stickers & more chalkboard letters to the front, then tied a long piece of  twine around the top of the crown & then simply added a few strands of animal print ribbon to each side to hang down from the twine. It was taped underneath his highchair tray to hold it in place.

My dear dad painted this incredible canvas banner for us to hang as party décor, too. I asked him if he would mind painting a small jungle animal of some sort and this is what he came up with. He is so talented and sweet!
hand-painted Jungle book themed canvas banner - This is our Blissand now for the King of the Jungle in action…
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - Birthday boy - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - birthday boy - tie bib - pre cake - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - smash cake - DIY party decorations - This is our Bliss post-cake…
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - birthday boy - tie bib - smash cake -  DIY party decorations - This is our BlissHe even kicked back to relax with one knee up.
and I can’t forget about my other monkey who had an absolute ball that day…
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - party animal masks - DIY party decorations - This is our BlissAnd to think he is turning 3 in July…my oh my.
The kids played. We all ate & drank. It was undoubtedly a super safari-stylin’ start to our Memorial Day weekend. 🙂
Welcome to the Jungle - safari jungle birthday party - first birthday party - birthday boy - tie bib - DIY party decorations - This is our BlissONE last shot of my one year-old. That crooked little smile gets me every.single.time.

Now, I am off to tend to my basement punch list. I thought these lists were supposed to get smaller & smaller as you cross things off, but for some reason, this dang basement one is doing the opposite. Gearing up for a full day tomorrow to return the pendant lights (yes, the ones I shared on IG…I will dish more on the lights soon, but they just weren’t quite what I wanted), pick out door handles & closet door knobs and hopefully find a custom glass shop to do the shower door & the bar shelves. Oh and order the carpet. Woo hoo!

See you right back here for the rest of the party sources & DIY details soon!
*updatedSafari-style source list + printables !

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Guestroom Revamp | How to Mix Prints | Pattern Play Tips

Love the Look? | Guestroom Revamp Source List

Hello and welcome! I hope you all had a nice Mother’s Day weekend! Mine was lovely! I spent the weekend away with my husband at an out-of-town wedding of a friend of his. On our way home on Sunday, we stopped by his parents’ house to surprise his mom. After a short visit, we headed to our house where my parents and the little guys were there waiting for us! The afternoon was spent playing outside and after a nice dinner and a couple of drinks, we were all off to bed early. My kind of night 🙂

 As promised, I am back today with a full source list from the newly finished guestroom I completed for the One Room Challenge with Calling it Home! I am smitten with how it turned out and have been so unbelievable overwhelmed and humbled by the response – wonderfully sweet comments on the blog and plenty more on social media! You guys are awesome – thank you! I even got the stamp of approval from our first guests. When my mom first walked in she said, “I don’t even want to set my bags down in here!” I took that as a compliment. The challenge conveniently ended just before my parents were due for a visit – perfect timing!

So if you like the look, scroll down and see where I scored all of my finds!

Guestroom revamp - pattern play - floral, dalmation, geo, gold - This is our Bliss

gold urchin [HomeGoods]
black metal circle wall art [Hobby Lobby + black spray paint]
Guestroom revamp - pattern play pillows - floral - dalmation - hexago - This is our Bliss

geometric headboard [DIY tutorial coming soon]
pillows: floral Euro pillow [ insert + DIY cover using this fabric] | Animal print standard sham | gold shimmer ruffle pillow [HomeGoods]
Guestroom revamp - full bed & wall view - This is our Blissbedding: white comforter | gray quilt | teal throw [Threshold from Goodwill]
guestroom revamp - bedside table - trinket dish - fresh flowers - water decanter - This is our Bliss

guestroom revamp - bedside table - gold - This is our Bliss

bedside items: black frame [HomeGoods] | Decanter & glasses | round gray tray [lid from box set] | black & white mirror [Target – no longer available]
lamp [previously owned + fave gold spray paint | lux candle | white & gold trinket dish [HomeGoods]

Guestroom revamp - bedside table - gold lamp & clock - succulent - design books- This is our Bliss Guestroom revamp - bedside table - gold lamp & clock - succulent - Nate Berkus book -This is our Bliss

succulent pot & gold clock [HomeGoods]
round boxes
Books: Elements of Style | The Things That Matter – Nate Berkus

Guestroom revamp - gold magazine rack - nightstand drawer pull - This is our Blissteal & gold drawer pull
gold magazine rack [thrifted + fave gold spray paint]
Guestroom revamp - Minted art - open frame - luggage rack - This is our BlissGuestroom revamp - Minted art - open frame - luggage rack - - dresser - fresh flowers - This is our Bliss

art: top | bottom [both 8″x10″]
frames: Gold wall frames [thrifted] | black frame | small standing gold frame [HomeGoods]
luggage rack [thrifted + DIY makeover tutorial]
dresser items: teal vases [HomeGoods] | faux peonies [Michaels] + real hydrangeas | exotic branches [Dollar Tree]
gold drop ring drawer pulls 
small round gold mirror [thrifted]

Guestroom Revamp - dresser details - leaning art - This is our Blisshexagon tray [Target – no longer available]
gold wing trinket dish
"GuestroomHenry Matisse tree art print [IKEA – no longer available]
black & white framed art [Hobby Lobby]
Guestroom revamp - planter - armoire - ombre lamp - This is our Blissplant [Meijer] + plant basket
teal lamp & gold geometric vase [HomeGoods]
cane chair makeover - floral and houndstooth fabric - Guestroom revamp - This is our Bliss

chair [thrifted + reupholstered with this fabric + buttons & seat back in this fabric – see previous chair posts 1 | 2 | 3 ]

Guestroom revamp - gallery wall - picture ledge - minted - This is our Bliss

gold metal side table [HomeGoods]
picture ledge
Guestroom revamp - picture ledge - gallery wall - This is our Bliss

personalized heart snapshot art square frame + custom mat
black & gold foil art [DIY tutorial here]

Guestroom revamp - gallery wall - Illinois watercolor - This is our Blisscustom state watercolor [details here]
Guestroom revamp - life doesn't have to be perfect - This is our Bliss

canvas [TJ Maxx]
open gold frame [thrifted]
Guestroom Revamp - guest towel hooks - gold pineapple hooks - This is our BlissGold pineapple hooks [Ross Stores]
Guestroom revamp - pineapple art - mini gallery wall - This is our Blisspineapple print | white frame | metallic gold framed canvas [HomeGoods]
all other frames not listed [thrifted]

I did not keep a running tally of the amount I spent on the room, but since I was able to use all of the furniture we previously had with the exception of my reupholstered cane chair and the small gold side table sitting next to it, I really only had to buy decor / accessories. Working with what you already have when it comes to large pieces of furniture is definitely a great way to save some $. Leave it “as is” or update it with a couple coats of paint or new hardware and it will give it a whole new look while still being able to stash some cash.
There were a few DIY pieces included in the room and I plan to get the follow-up tutorial posts out in the next week. Since I was also able to shop my house for several items, too, which is always an added bonus, those items might not be listed. If you have questions about anything you see or don’t see, just leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

See how the Guestroom Revamp project transformed throughout the 6 week One Room Challenge here:

Week 1: Inspiration | Week 2: Design Board | Week 3: Progress | Week 4: Cane chair Makeover | Week 5: Progress  | Week 6: The Reveal

Have a great day and I hope to see you back here soon!
this is my bliss signature*Affiliate links were used in this post, so if you click on certain links and make a purchase, a small percentage goes back to This is our Bliss, but it does not increase costs to you whatsoever! Thank you!

Holiday Happenings Recap

Hello & happy 2015! I am shocked that it is already the 5th day of the new year! After a crazy, fun-filled, super-busy 2 weeks of holiday & family shenanigans, we are back to our normal routine. We traveled to Central Illinois & then to Iowa over the week of Christmas and spent 5 days with both sides of our families. It was really special to be able to see everyone, but especially my husband’s aunt, who traveled to Illinois to visit from Qatar and then be able to have another Christmas with my grandparents. I was able to see all but one set of grandparents this year. All are living, but the extra added bonus, is that they are all remarried, so I actually have 8 wonderful grandparents in my life. My grandparents in Arizona were the only ones I didn’t see, but a trip down there is only a couple of months away 🙂

After the eating and drinking and presents and more presents over those 10 days away, we were fortunate enough to have Ted home with us all of last week! He works a very hectic schedule throughout the year, where 10-12 hour days are the norm and weekly travel to his second office located 2 hours south is a regularly scheduled event. Taking 2 weeks off at the end of December and having him all to ourselves has become part of our holiday routine and we loved every minute of it this year! We got home from my parents’ house last Sunday night, so last week was all about us – just the 4 of us! We filled our days with a trip to the children’s museum, lunch at a kid’s train-inspired restaurant, family movies & shows snuggled on the couch, more books & puzzles than I can count, lazy mornings in bed followed by leisurely sipping cups of coffee & yummy breakfast (compliments of the breakfast king himself), dance parties after dinner and a family-friendly New Year’s Eve at our friends’ house (see the NYE drink sticks I made to take with!). Ted & Henry also had a special “fun day” including a trip to Jump Zone and a lunch date, just the 2 of them. Oh! I almost forgot! We had a “date day” last week, too 🙂 Our sitter came to watch the boys while we went out to lunch, did some shopping, saw a movie (while lounging in those fancy leather recliners) and then out for dinner & drinks. A fabulous 8 hours away from home! must. do. again.

This past weekend we deconstructed the trees and sorted and packed away all of the holiday decorations. I also seriously dedicated a HUGE chunk of time to unpacking suitcases, shopping bags and boxes of gifts and then furiously plucking things out of the closets sack up and donate. With everything we brought into the house, we must send just as much OUT! Today was bittersweet. It was just me and the boys! Although it was nice getting back into the swing of things and finding our groove again, we sure did miss someone. Now that the house is returning to normal, I have started to put some serious thought into my goals for this year. What are my hopes and dreams? What do I want to do for me? What do I want to accomplish for our family? What projects am I going to tackle in our home? Where do I see my blog going this year? These are just a few questions I am asking myself right now as I start to compile a list of focus areas for the year. Last year was an incredible year and I want 2015 to be just as memorable, although I don’t think we will be having another baby this year, so memorable in different ways!!

Next, I will be sharing a 2014 Year in Review and 2015 Goals. Following that, I will share tips for de-cluttering & organizing different areas of the house, my plans for a couple of room “refreshes” and more DIY’s just about anyone can take on!

{A few photos to sum up our Christmas joy this season}

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Have you set your goals for the year? What is number one on your list? Please do share!
Thank you for reading and I hope to see you back here again SOON!

sig main 1P.S. I love how it was an ugly brown Christmas, although decent temperatures and now we have several inches of pretty, fluffy white snow on the ground! Why and how does this happen? Fingers crossed for next year!

Reflecting on the Road

We have spent the last five days celebrating the Christmas holiday filled with cooking, cousins, gingerbread house making, parties, shopping, wrapping, photo ops, Christmas jammies, gifts & more at my in-laws. Now that we are nearly finished with our 5 hour drive to my parents’ house with a stuffed to the brim car packed with no rhyme or reason, 2 little ones who didn’t nap, colds upon us & plenty more festivities to partake in, I am reminded that none of that matters. We had a wonderful 1st half of our “Christmas vacation” and am more than excited to finish the holiday season with my family back in my hometown. We WILL catch up on sleep. Our car & suitcases WILL regain their order. Our colds WILL pass. And most importantly, we are making magical memories with our boys. I am very thankful for all the blessings in my life and am reminding myself that the vast majority of the stresses at this time of the year are trivial matters, most of which we won’t even remember in a few days.

If you are like me, sometimes we need to stumble upon some words of wisdom to remind us to celebrate the season with a smile on our face instead of focusing on the stresses on our mind!

Wishing you & your family a very merry Christmas! See you back here next week 🙂


Feeling Happy on Halloween!

Well, I just got home from a little craft-run at Michael’s and have a TON of ideas brewing! I would love to hop right on into Christmas, but we still have a little Fall left and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away! I didn’t quite finish the playroom bench over the weekend like I wanted to, but have my fabric ready to roll! As soon as my husband cuts the board down to size, it should be a done deal! Since most projects are middle-of-the-road for now, I thought I would share a few pics from all of the Halloween festivities last week. I think celebrating is only going to become more and more fun each year as the boys get older, but this year was still a blast!

IMG_6872 IMG_6876 IMG_6892 IMG_6904 IMG_6926 IMG_6945 IMG_6936h1Our big, scary Lion had the best time passing out candy.  His line was, “Bye, kids! See you next time!” 2 year olds sure know how to get you on the floor laughing uncontrollably.

Hope you all had a nice Halloween weekend as well! I hope to see you back here soon 🙂

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Gallery Wall Love.

If you know me by now, you know this to be true. I. love. gallery. walls. I have them pinned like crazy on my Pinterest board and I also love scoping them out in the homes of family and friends (not to sound like a creeper).  It is fascinating to me how people come up with such creative ways to display meaningful photos and other objects on the walls in their home. When these random things are hung together, they create such unique and beautiful works of art. That little something that makes a house a home. A small grouping of 3 or 4 pieces or a much larger one, like on my staircase… either way, I am crazy for them!

While on vacation visiting family down here in Arizona, I got the chance to spend some time at my Aunt’s house over the past week.  She has a beautiful home and was excited to show me 2 new additions to her house. 2 new gallery walls, that is.  She is a regular reader here at This is our Bliss and knew of my obsession with gallery walls.  I thought I would share some photos of her daughter, Lily’s super cute gallery wall and another in their newly redecorated basement family room.  Both are fun & eclectic and look fantastic in their designated spaces!

LittleGirlGalleryWall Lily1 Lily8 Little Girl Bedroom Gallery WallHow adorable is that?!  What 8 year-old wouldn’t love a big glittery initial?! The rest is made up of 2 different mirrors, a wordle, cute quote hanging from a ribbon and a black & white photo of her as a toddler. She recently received a “big girl” bedroom update and everything in the room is super cute! I, of course, love the gallery wall, which is opposite of her bed, but here are few other snapshots of her room.

Lily9 Lily7 Big girl bedroom decorSitting on top of her desk is a small white canvas with her name in turquoise glitter paint.  A quick & easy DIY project! I think its neat to have your little one to be able to add a personal touch of décor to their room.  Next to her bed, a couple photos, an ultra-girly feather lamp and a cute little cactus. The walls are a light tan and I love the aqua accent wall where her bed sits and her name spelled out in metal photo-holder letters adorns that wall, too 🙂

Next up, some eye candy in their basement…

BasementFamilyRoomGalleryWall basementgallerywall1 basementgallerywall3 basementgallerywall2This wall is the perfect collection of family photos (framed, canvases, black & white and color) as well as a sunburst clock and mirror, a metal “A” and a few other personal pieces.  All different shapes and sizes and frame colors, too. There is black, white, silver and gold and it all works so nicely together. Most of the main living spaces of their home are very neutral, so these subtle variations in color and metal finishes are just right!

What do you think? Do you have any unique gallery walls in your home? Are they very uniform or more artsy? I’d love to hear from you, so please share!

My next post will be once we return home and I am able to begin cranking out playroom projects again and slowly, but surely tackling other spaces in our house too 🙂

Thanks so much for being here!

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If you’ve missed other Gallery wall posts from our home, be sure to check them out below:

Playroom Gallery Wall

Pegboard Gallery wall

Simple Nursery Gallery Wall

Stairwell Gallery Wall

{I have a few more throughout our house (believe it or not!) to post about coming soon!}

Nursery Project: Pegboard Gallery Wall

Hello! So I mentioned last week that I am working on some plans for our little playroom just off the family room.  I spent a couple hours last week going through toys – sorting them, pitching them, searching for them.  Lets just say we needed to do some organizing in there or I was going to lose my mind!  I know it is not going to be a room that stays clean, but as long as everything in it has a home, it will eventually make it back there someday 🙂 Along with some organizational strategizing, I began to do some decorative strategizing!  A shelf we had in the room with some art and books on it…well… came crashing down a couple of weeks ago and I am not going to be putting the shelf back up.  In its place, I am thinking I will put together a little gallery wall with a mix of art, photos and typography.  While pondering the design today, it got me thinking… I have had quite a few people ask me about the pegboard gallery wall I did in Simon’s nursery and I never really did a follow-up post with the deets, so thought it might be a good idea to revisit the nursery and give everyone some info on one of my favorite walls in the house.

The photo of this wall has been my most popular pin on Pinterest so far!


So, here we go…

I first went to Lowes & picked up a 4′ x 4′ pegboard.  I think it was about $8. I also bought a small foam roller and a few paint samples.  I went with shades of dark gray to test out.


I ended up mixing all 3 of the paints together until I got the color I was aiming for.  It took about 3 – 4 coats of paint for complete coverage.

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Next we cut 2 pieces of plywood (1″ x 4″) and laid them across the back horizontally.  We placed a couple of screws in each piece of wood to secure them to the pegboard.  We then measured our wall, found our studs and marked the wall where we wanted to drill.  We were able to drill into the plywood pieces from the front with long extra long screws, enter the wall and catch the stud.  The plywood allowed us to secure the pegboard firmly to the wall and also act as a spacer between the pegboard and the wall in order to be able to hang things on it from the front.


We used screws to hang the Bygel rail & basket and we placed them so they hit the lower piece of plywood. Everything else was hung with pegboard hooks (see link in source list below)

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There it is!  We hung the pegboard on the wall before attaching any of the frames, etc.  I am not one to lay out my frames on the floor beforehand and I definitely don’t take the time to trace out the frames and tape them on the wall in order to determine my placement.  I guess you could say I just wing it.  I need to get better about my planning when nailing into the wall, but the nice thing about working with a pegboard as your backdrop is you don’t have to worry about random nail holes in the wall! Not that I ever put 2 or 3 holes behind each picture before I get it where I want it or anything 🙂

Here is my source list from the original nursery post:


Pegboard Gallery wall

Please let me know if you have any questions or want more info on this project!  I would love your comments and feedback so please leave me some love (or whatever you are feeling) on this post!

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Thanks so much!

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