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Decorating Wisely
Friday, 07 June 2019 22:59

Living Wisely: Buongiorno!

Buongiorno!

 

It is me, Grayson. Usually, I am saying something in French, but I leave for Italy in less than a week! I am so fortunate and ecstatic to be able to study abroad there this summer. I’ll be there for around two and a half weeks so packing smart and light is a must!

 

Fun fact about me: I love packing. Perhaps its because it builds to the excitement of traveling somewhere or maybe its because I love creating outfits and seeing how organized my suitcase can be. Now... I am not the most organized person by any means, so honestly, my suitcase is the most organized thing in my life. So, I have some tips on how to be a better packer!

 

This first tip will sound so obvious, but you would be surprised that a lot of people don’t do this! Do not -- and I repeat -- do not bring so many dang shoes. I guarantee you those six-inch heels you bought three years and only worn once will not be beneficial to walking the streets of wherever you are going. I’m bringing two pairs of shoes to Italy: Tevas and a pair of nicer (but still extremely comfortable) pair of closed toe sandals. Go for comfortable and space-saving shoes!

 

Also, don’t pack your suitcase to the brim! Most likely you’ll buy something on your trip and you are totally going to need to pack it somewhere. To avoid those pesky baggage weight fees and having to get another bag, just pack less. That being said, if you are gone for fourteen days, you do not need fourteen outfits. Wear things twice, you’ll thank me later.

 

With less stuff to worry about, you will probably end up enjoying your trip better. Keep it simple, and just enjoy some life. I’ll keep you all updated after my trip to Italy.

 

Ciao!

 

Grayson Wise

Friday, 31 May 2019 23:30

Decorating Wisely: Favorite Vases

 

By Glenda Wise

 

The other day I got an email from a company selling vases. The subject line was, “Our 10 Favorite Vases.” Of course, they were hoping that I would purchase one of those 10 favorite vases, but it really only led to the question, “What are my 10 favorite vases?” This question had to go back to my 10 favorite vases around the house, since I’ve sworn off buying anything unnecessary for this year. Here are my top vases and/or flower containers around my house:


1. Bud vases are a perfect way to create a simple centerpiece. All you need to do is group a few together, pop a bloom in each and place them in the center of your table.


2. Repurposed candle jars make great containers for roundy-moundy type arrangements because the mouth of the jar is usually wide. Roses and carnations are a good flower choice for low-mounded arrangements. Group a few blooms in your hand and snip the stems keeping them short to just come over the top of the jar.


3. Glass drinking glasses also make nice floral containers. You can either create the roundy-moundy or you can make the arrangement a little taller with greenery and flowers.


4. Wine glasses are another fun floral container and mix well with other vases.


5. Mason jars are another go-to. I automatically think of a summer picnic with a few sunflower blooms.


6. Teacups filled with a few blooms make a fun table setting.


7. Wine bottles are so pretty; it is hard for me to throw them away. I just put them in the dishwasher and most of the time if I get them out while the label is still damp it comes off with little effort.
8. I save old flower vases from professional arrangements. They are perfect for creating taller fuller arrangements.


9. Small bowls are a good way to create arrangements with flower heads. Add a little water and pop the flower head in for an instant floating centerpiece.


10. Anything unusual around the house is always fun to give an unexpected use like holding flowers. As long as it is watertight, give it a try!


I’ll close with this to ponder...Would you consider the following situation a necessary purchase or not? One of the drawer knobs of our chest of drawers is stripped out, so it comes off if we pull on it too hard. Donnie and I were discussing buying new hardware, but I’m not sure that this technically constitutes “a necessary purchase” since the drawer still works.

 

Here is the dilemma, Donnie was in a hurry and pulled on it too hard and somehow the whole drawer fell out and in order to save the cat from being hit, he stuck his foot out and you know how that ended..a hurt foot. On the one hand, it feels unnecessary, but on the other, it feels necessary to avoid breaking the cat’s back or Donnie’s foot.

 

What are your thoughts?

Bonjour et joyeux été! (that means ‘hello and happy summer’ in French)

 

It is moi, Grayson, writing for my mom this week. Today, I am going to talk about coffeeOne of my absolute favorite things to do is just go coffee-shop-hopping and explore new places! If you’ve ever seen my Instagram feed, you know I do this quite often. There are tons of coffee related pictures. I may have a slight problem.

 

Anyways...

 

It can be a little confusing knowing what to order if you aren’t an avid coffee drinker. I am here to help with that. I am by no means an expert, but I feel like I can help the inexperienced at least a little bit! I’m going to talk about some pretty standard drinks that I am known to get (quite often, oops).

 

Okay, so common misconception is that a latte and a café au lait are the same thing. Well, I am here to tell you that is wrong. A latte is going to be made with espresso, steamed milk, and some froth. This is going to be a better drink to get if you’re less keen on a strong espresso flavor. A café au lait, on the other hand, is exactly its translated name: coffee with milk. There is no froth and no espresso, therefore it literally is a cup of coffee with milk. Still quite tasty, and if you’re not feeling the espresso vibe and don’t want plain black coffee, I’d go with this.

 

Next is the beloved cappuccino, well, beloved to me. This is kind of like a latte because it uses the same ingredients as a latte! The main difference is that a latte has more steamed milk! The cappuccino will be more froth and usually given in a smaller cup. The espresso flavor will be stronger than in a latte, so if you’re like my mom... stick with the latte!

 

Lastly, in warm weather, I am known to basically survive off of cold brew coffee. Cold brew is always brewed cold (hence the name) and so it will taste less bitter than traditional iced coffee. I’ll drink it straight, but my favorite thing is to put oat milk in my cold brew. Wow, I cannot express the love I have for this drink. I make it every morning and one for my mom too (she is as obsessed as me!). You can make cold brew at home very easily so this is definitely something to try if you’re looking to save a little money.

 

Happy coffee drinking, I wish you the best.

 

Bisous,
Grayson

Friday, 10 May 2019 23:08

Decorating Wisely: Breaking the Rules

By Glenda Wise

 

 

Regardless of your style and space, you should always pay attention to the details. It’s time to put your creativity to the test and be brave enough to possibly break some old myths about decorating.


• Don’t be afraid to use big patterns in a small space. A small bathroom is a great way to test this theory. Back in the old days, the “experts” used to say not to use big tile in a small bathroom, because it would make the room look smaller, but actually, that is not true. Large tile on the floor in a small space can make a space look larger. Don’t limit yourself just because the room size is small.


• Display your collectibles in a spot you can see them and enjoy them every day.


• Mix old and new things. Mixing things up keeps a room interesting and full of character.


• Use repurposed items to give a room a dose of the unexpected. The Farmhouse style does a beautiful job of using repurposed items. Even if you’re not into the farmhouse style, you can still repurpose items to match your décor.


• Another old rule is that you shouldn’t pair expensive and not-so-expensive items in the same room. Personally, I think having one expensive piece makes it more of a statement piece and stands out rather than have three or four expensive pieces.


• Add a few natural elements to a room to add balance. This can be anything from a jar of seashells to a green plant.


• Never sacrifice comfort for style. In this case, you can have your cake and eat it too. There are lots of great stylish and comfortable options available on the market.


• Allow your home to evolve, just like your life does. As you age and your children age, things change in your life. You accumulate new memories and things to go along with those memories. Display those things proudly in your home to tell the story of your life.


Bottom line, don’t be afraid to break the rules and try something new and unexpected.

Thursday, 02 May 2019 08:28

Decorating Wisely: OU Art Exhibit

 

By Glenda Wise

 

This past weekend when we were in Oklahoma City for the marathon, I had the privilege of getting to see the OU School of Visual Arts Annual Student Exhibition.

 

All I can say is, “Wow!” I originally went to see it because Grayson had a piece selected to be exhibited. I had no idea how blown away I was going to be by the other students’ pieces. Of course, they are all talented artists, but the meaning behind their works were what really impressed me. For people that think that there is no hope for the younger generation, all I can say is that you haven’t been around the right kids. In so many ways, they are much smarter and more forward thinking than we ever thought about being. I’m pretty sure when I was 19 and 20 years old, I wasn’t thinking about some of these major problems going on in our world and if I was I certainly didn’t know how to express my feelings in such a moving way.


I took so many pictures and I wish I could share them all with you and tell you about every single thing I saw, but I guess that is not practical so I will just pick a few pieces.


The first piece I want to tell you about is one that is a particularly hot topic in our country today and I am certainly not trying to sway you one way or another, but one thing you can’t argue is that there are real human beings on both sides of the border wall. This artist grew up on the US/Mexico border; therefore, she witnessed the pain and desperation caused by the border conflict. She describes how on both sides of the large steel border fence there are remnants of lives that have been deeply affected by its existence. She wanted her piece to serve as a sobering reminder of the space that border families and communities must navigate daily life.


Another piece was titled, “Are You Coming Back Soon?” It is about how the artist had assumptions as a child when she played house that a home is something she would always have. She describes homes as “temporary, often fragile spaces.” She goes on to describe homes as abandoned, destroyed, and forgotten. The piece represents how she thinks of displacement and loss and transforming that sadness into “beautiful, magical pieces.”


Of course, I can’t leave you without telling you about Grayson’s piece. It addresses the societal problem of women constantly being “put on a pedestal of perfection.” How women’s bodies must be the ideal woman and how we are criticized for not being thin enough, pretty enough, and the list goes on. The piece addresses that women shouldn’t be held to an impossible standard of “beauty” and beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.


As you can tell I didn’t discuss one single thing about decorating, but I believe it is important to bring attention to what our young people are thinking about and to show there is hope for our future.

 

Saturday, 27 April 2019 00:08

Decorating Wisely: A Place of Refuge

By Glenda Wise

 

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a television show called, Welcome Home. The show is about a nonprofit organization called, Humble, that assists families in need who are transitioning out of homeless and domestic abuse shelters by providing furnishings and design services in their new home.

 

The episode I watched was about a woman and her two daughters that had been in an abusive home and had been living in and out of homeless shelters. She finally got an apartment, but the only piece of furniture she had was a couch that the three of them slept on together. It had been two years since they had a bed to sleep in.

 

It was amazing to see what the designers did with donated items and how they truly made that apartment into a home. It was important for one of the hosts to give the mom her own bedroom, a place of refuge for her to relax. It has been proven that having a place of refuge and calm reduces mental illness.


I started thinking about how bedrooms really can be a place of refuge for us to rejuvenate after a long day. It is important for a bedroom to be a private space designed for pure comfort and should be filled with inviting materials, soft textures and favorite mementos. You should have a couple of bedside tables with enough room for books and/or magazines, a lamp and any other comfort item you would like to keep nearby.


Don’t be afraid to bring in other items intended for other rooms. For example, if you have glass front console display favorite collections and mementos or a console table with shelves to hold books. Personally, I think there is something about books that makes a room feel like home.


Muted colors found in nature are perfect for a bedroom. If you want to add a bit of color, add a throw blanket or throw pillows. Plants are a nice addition to any room to offer relaxation and a mellow vibe. The point is to make your bedroom, your space.


Check out more information about this awesome nonprofit at www.humbledesign.org

 

Friday, 19 April 2019 23:34

Decorating Wisely: Timeless Style

By Glenda Wise

 

With my job, I get to see all different styles and price ranges of homes all over the country...literally every price range you can think of from a few thousand to multi-million dollar properties. One thing I have noticed is that just because a house is at the top of the price range, doesn’t necessarily mean it is nicer than a home valued at a fraction of that price. Yes, of course, some of those multi-million dollar homes will just wow you with all the upgrades and some are really well done, but some not so much. I got to thinking about what makes some of these homes that are vastly different in prices just as comparable and appealing to me. Usually the homes that are decorated in a timeless style are my favorites. Timeless classics never go out of style. How can we add that timeless touch to our homes? Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve found throughout the years:
• Look to famous buildings around the world for inspiration. For instance, the beloved Cathedral of Notre Dame is an example of a timeless elegance that will never go out of style. This structure touched people that weren’t even religious just because of its sheer beauty.
• Mix textures to soften hard elements. Think about a leather sofa, without throw pillows and a soft blanket thrown across the arm, it can look a bit cold and uninviting.
• Don’t fill a room with things just because you think it needs something to fill the space. Wait for the perfect item to come to you, something that has meaning. I would much rather look at a blank wall than have something that I didn’t love hanging on it.
• Mix formal with casual. I love a little something unexpected in a room and that is why I love to mix formal and casual. I am a huge fan of a chandelier in the bathroom.
• Crown molding in a room adds a timeless elegance to any room and it adds value to your home.
• Finally, my favorite...blend old with new. Incorporate at least one vintage piece into a room for extra charm.
Wishing you all a wonderful Easter holiday!

Saturday, 13 April 2019 00:31

Decorating Wisely: Vintage Urn

By Glenda Wise

 

Lately, I’ve found myself drawn to anything vintage, more specifically French country vintage. I think it’s because I’m feeling ho-hum about some of the décor in my home. Also, part of my problem is that I’ve been picking things out for our two spec houses and, of course, I’m using all the latest color trends that have a much lighter feel to them.

 

Another reason is the changing of the season and I always have the urge to change things up.

 

As you know, I’ve sworn off buying anything new for my entire 48th year, which leaves me to finding things around the house to repurpose. You want to know which store has been the hardest to stay out of? The Goodwill Store of all places. I love going in there and seeing what kind of awesome things I can find for a couple of dollars.

 

I have found some great things there, but this ‘no buying vow’ includes even The Goodwill Store. Now that I’ve had my pity party, back to repurposing.

 


One of the things that I really love about vintage French country is the aged urns and containers. There is something quite charming about them and it’s almost as if they have some kind of story to tell. I rummaged around in my craft room and found a footed bowl that I love the style, but the color is blah. I’m going to try my hand at aging it. I’ll let you know how it goes. I have been researching to find the best techniques, so I thought would share with you.


This technique is from The Crowned Goat:


You will need an inexpensive chip brush, chalk paint in Pure White, wax brush and Dark Past Wax.


Brush on the paint. No need to be neat, because, well, aging isn’t neat. We want imperfections. Allow to dry. After dry, wipe away the excess chalk paint with a damp cloth highlighting all the etched and embossed details.

 

Using the wax brush, apply the wax over the paint getting into the nooks and crannies. Finally, use either a fine grade steel wool and lightly sand over the raised details. Continue layering until you get the desired look.

Monday, 08 April 2019 01:17

Decorating Wisely: Terrariums

By Glenda Wise

 

The temps are warmer and it finally feels like spring has sprung. The change of season has made me want to freshen things up a bit to move past the cold, winter months. The only problem is, I am lacking the time to really do some major freshening up until the end of May. I need something in the meantime to shake things up.


I just love little terrariums. Hobby Lobby has some beautiful terrarium containers. Now, if you will remember, I am not buying anything unnecessary this year, so purchasing a terrarium is out. I am improvising, here are some great ways to make terrariums out of household items.


• First, you need an open or closed glass container. This can be clear glass bowls, teacups, empty and cleaned apple cider jug, Mason jars, just whatever you have around the house.
• Next, cover the bottom with an inch-thick layer of pebbles or rocks for drainage. Otherwise, the soil will stay too wet.
• A thin layer of activated charcoal will help keep the water fresh and prevent mold and bacteria.
• Potting soil is the next layer. If using cacti and succulents you will need to use a special potting soil.
• Finally, add your plants. Start with the largest one first. You can also add little crystals and shells to add a different texture and shape to your terrarium.
A few helpful tips to remember:
• Never place the terrarium in direct sunlight.
• Do not over water. Only water when the plants start to droop.


Terrariums are perfect for any space because they give you the visual beauty of a garden without needing much maintenance. They perfectly accent a coffee table or entry table.


This is a great afternoon project for kids or friends. Have an assortment of containers and supplies ready and you have all the makings for a terrarium party!

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