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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fifty Shade of Grey Penthouse

I couldn't stand the chatter any longer, so I drank the Kool-Aid...I'm reading the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. Yeah, um, yeah. So, I can't quite pull myself away from them. And I'm embarrassed to tell you, because if you've read them, then you know!! I'm hoping my mom doesn't read them, because then she'll know the smut in my head, too. And divine smut, it is!

It's not literary genius, but neither is the series the books are based upon. And that didn't stop me from devouring those in four days. (Fifty Shades was originally a fan fiction using the characters of Twilight.) The Grey Series is like Twilight, but with all the nasty you wish Edward and Bella had been doing. Times 100. Plus one million.

The story takes place in the penthouse of Escala, a fancy-schmancy high-rise condo in Seattle. Turns out, that's a real building, and the 5,000 square-foot penthouses start at a cool $6 million. Care for a visual glance at where all the action in the book takes place?

all images via zillow

I suppose the realtor left out the 'Red Room of Pain' images on purpose. Fess up....have you read this smut party?! I hope to finish them this weekend so I can return to normal life. I have no idea how they'll make a movie out of these!!?? Who do you envision as Christian Grey? How delicious would Robert Pattinson be in the role? Oh, I think my head just exploded at the possibility.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Simple Teacher Gifts

We are wrapping up the end of a fun and eventful school year this week. And while I'm excited for Summer and the easier schedule that comes with it, it's a bittersweet feeling as well. This was the only year my kids would attend the same school, since our son moves to Middle School next year *gulp*

He had a blast in 5th grade, and Babygirl loved every second of Kindergarten...and I know this is all due to their phenomenal teachers. Call it working-mom guilt, if you will, but I like to send little treats of gratitude to the teachers throughout the year, and especially on the last day of school. This year I put together a simple Starbucks gift.

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I grabbed some of their (free!) empty cups and a box of biscotti, filled them with shredded paper and topped with a gift card. Easy breezy! And all it cost me was a box of $5 biscotti and the gift card amounts....not bad for four gifts.

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I rounded up a few other gifts I've made, in case you're looking for ideas.

My friend, Courtney, is the Queen Bee of thoughtful gifts.

And if you're running short on time, these Fanta bottles from Michelle are super cute and easy to put together.

I can't imagine trying to wrangle 20 kids and actually teach them something. I can hardly stand when my kids have a friend over! So I'm grateful there are people out there willing and able. To all the teachers, bless your sweet souls! You know you have a direct path to Heaven, right?!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

{Breakfast Room} Laying Down the Rug

Hello, hello...and Happy Tuesday! I hope all of you had a great weekend. We had a relaxing time, soaking up the sunshine and breaking in our new favorite table. We also got the first thing crossed off the short and sassy Breakfast Room List.

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I had been toying with the idea of a sisal rug, but with the bar chairs and fig tree basket, I worried the room would start to look like a natural fibers convention. Then I fell in love with Megan's Dash & Albert striped rug, but worried about the thin weave tripping us up on such a high-traffic area.

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Then the glorious and dreaded email from West Elm arrived, with 15% off all rugs, and I was powerless against the alluring link. The Ikat Links Rug sang to me, and I am smitten with how she looks in this room! The new wall color is the exact shade of icy gray I wanted. But while it's great in the Kitchen, the Breakfast Room translates it a little too blue. The charcoal in this rug tones that down, I think, and coordinates with the gray walls in the adjoining Den.

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It's super cushy underfoot and doesn't flip up or slide around (even without a rug-pad). A scrunched up rug drives me bonkers, and I certainly don't need more triggers. The pattern is contemporary, without looking trendy, and the colors are subtle and neutral. I could seriously put it in any room in my house.

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It's crazy how simply adding a rug helps to define the space and give the room it's own weight. Wow, that window looks really naked now! Here's a refresher of the room with no rug...

And After...

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And one more Before...

 And After....Better, yes?

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That was an easy enough project, since all I had to do was pull out my credit card and bat my eyes at Mr. Sugarplum to swing by the store. But it counts, and I get to mark it off The List! Did you get anything crossed off your list this weekend?

* Add drapes, hang them high and wide to really showcase the window
* Add rug to define the space and bring more color
* Finish painting the chairs
* Do something to the Fig basket so it's not so matchy with the bar chairs
* Consider amping up the drum shade

Saturday, May 26, 2012

{Giveaway} Willow House Summer Goodies

Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you're neck-deep in an awesome long weekend! My friend and sponsor, Alycia Wicker, asked if she could share some of Willow House's new Summer products...and give you a chance to win $50 in store of course I agreed! Good luck little duckies, and take it away, Alycia!


Yo yo yo, wazzzz up, Hi Sugarplum readers!? I'm Alycia Wicker, blogger, designer and Willow House lover. Anyhow, if you've been following my blog, you know I have become a Willow House Design Consultant. You know Willow House, right? Yes you do. It was formerly known as Southern Living at Home. Yep.

I love Summer, and I want to help you get your groove on for summertime parties with some of my faves from Willow House...

Nola Party Bucket & Stand $109.96

This is the "MUST HAVE" item for Summer. Everyone love this... perfect for decorating, tailgating, dinner parties and more. The drip pan under it catches the condensation from the ice. Peeps also have used it in their bathroom when they have guests over and roll up bath towels with a cute ribbon around them for their guests! Oh, but that isn't all. Go check out all the ways people are using this indoors and outdoors alike on My Style Share. At My Style Share you can see all the creative ways people are using this product and all our other Willow House products. I know you want it, so put that on your shopping list.

French Wire Plantholders $39.96

Then you know you want to add sweet greenery and flowers to your outdoors. So you can do it with these! The stone inserts are heavy and porous, so they’re perfect for plants. You can also use the french wire baskets for something else, separate from the stone containers. I know! Coolio!! Like what you ask? Girlfriend, Willow House has this awesome website called My Style Share where you can see how peeps use all of our products in different ways. You can go over there and see what peeps are doing with these French Wire Plantholders right now. I just love looking for new ideas there.

French Wire Tiered Stand $59.96

This hot item is another must have. I use it every day for my fruits and veggies, but if I have peeps coming over to my house I set it up as a coffee bar, a breakfast bar or a dessert display. But the possibilities don't stop there. For birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, oh everything! It comes completely apart for storage, and you can use only two tiers, if desired (so it will fit under your cabinets). You can also use the wire baskets as nests for other serving pieces or as risers under plates to add interest to your buffet table service. In the bathroom, use it for hair accessories and styling products, or for linens and convenience items for your guests. In the kitchen, it also makes a lovely and accessible spice rack. Once you have this in your home, you will be amazed at how many additional uses YOU will find for it!

Galveston Hurricanes ($64.96/ Large $84.96)

Here's one more of my all time faves... the Galveston Footed Hurricane. Looking for a go-to vase that complements any d├ęcor, and is easy to decorate and holds even the largest and most intricate arrangements? Jackpot! This hurricane is stunning with flowers and works equally well with pillar or floating candles. Use indoors and out, on your table, mantel or sideboard. Glass is removable and can be used separately. Here's a little secret to these hurricanes. You can take the glass out, flip the iron stand over and re-insert the glass into the top of the iron stand. Makes the hurricane twice the height. Perfect for adding drama to a summer tablescape! Of course, more ideas can be found on My Style Share.

Okay, so those are but a few of my fave items right now for Summer parties, but there are a few more special things about Willow House that I want to share with you. Because I like you. A lot. So here's a sweet Customer Special...

An I also offer a Savvy Shopper program for my muy especial customers. You can be one, too. You only need a minimum purchase of $41.96 per month for 3 months (pre-tax & S/H) & each month’s order is eligible for a customer special (see above)... Build rewards for shopping!! Interested? Email me!

Here is why I am so proud to be a part of Willow House... There is currently a company-wide initiative to bring manufacturing back to the USA. Today we are more excited than ever about our decision to seek out unique American-manufactured items. This fall we will be bringing the first of these American-made products to market. You won't want to miss these new items!!

On a side note before we get to the really good stuff... if you are looking for a home based business to make extra income... I want to chat with you about joining my Willow House team. I have team members all over the USA! You can be sure I am going to match my effort to your effort in order to get you where you want to go with Willow House. If you are ready to make friendships, earn money and work with a fabulous company I want to talk to you!

Now, because I love Cassie so much I want to do a giveaway! 
How about a $50 gift certificate to my Willow House store!?!
Here's how to enter...

***UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to #46, Angela! Check your inbox, girlie!***


* Visit Alycia's online Willow House store, pick something you like and come back here and tell us what it is in a comment below.


* Tweet this: "WIN this Willow House $50 gift certificate & get ready for summer entertaining!"
* Share this post on your Facebook.
*Like Alycia Wicker, Independent Willow House Design Consultant Page on Facebook
*Subscribe to Alycia’s newsletter at her blog so you don't miss out on the Weekly Deals.
* Subscribe to the Monthly Willow House newsletter that gives you style tips, recipes and more at her Willow House site. 
* Subscribe to her design blog, Alycia Wicker
* Favorite her Etsy store for your decorating emergencies
For each of the above entries, please leave a separate comment.
Winner will be chosen at random Saturday, June 2, 2012.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Potting or Party, This Bench is Busy

Hello, friends! We are thisclose to the long weekend...can you feel it?! I'm so ready for the extra day off, and hope you get to enjoy one, too. And even though Memorial Day is the official kick-off for Summer, my kids have been swimming for the past six weeks! Mama doesn't venture in until the water is a little warmer, but the backyard is spruced and ready for a Summer of fun. Let's tour, shall we?!

Ever since Carmel showed us her amazing potting bench last year, I've been dying to have something similar. The corner by the back door (it leads to the recently remodeled Pool Bathroom) is the ideal spot, and my procrastination patience finally paid off when the World Market Potting Table went on sale!

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It was fairly simple to assemble, and fits the nook by the back door perfectly.

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And while it's marketed as a potting table, lets get real...I'll be using it as a drink station, party zone and all-around catch-all for backyard gear. It sits near the barbecue grill, so it will get a lot of use when we're cooking out, too.

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The bucket is perfect for icing down drinks, and the flip-up leaf provides more surface space.

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We added a small hook for a hand towel or hats, and a bottle opener for the fancy drinks. Honestly we don't have glass bottles around the pool much, but it's fun to pimp out store-bought furniture for a more custom look.

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The bottom shelf holds towels so there's hopefully no more tracking through the house with wet feet, and the bucket holds sunscreen, bug spray and goggles.

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What used to be a sad little corner with nothing but the dryer vent and piles of crapola, is now a cute and functional spot!

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In case you missed them, read about the Lacquered Stripe Pots, the Reclaimed Bucket and Adding Texture & Character to a Builder Grade Door.

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And while I'm still not ready to subject myself to a bathing suit, the rest of the backyard is ready for the season!

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I decided to keep things simple this year, and chose only plants that are proven heat-tolerant....Lantana, Vinca, Sweet Potato Vine and Esperanza. And by keeping the flowers only yellow and white, the effect is much cleaner and gives a bigger impact in the small backyard.

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This is my first time trying succulents outside and in direct sun, so fingers crossed.

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I chose yellow since it's so vivid, and much of the decor is already the No Sew Outdoor Pillows and Vintage Birdcage.

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Our New Fence is holding up great and aging beautifully. So far we have no plans to stain it since we love the natural look of the aging cedar. And honestly, who wants to freaking stain a fence when it's already 90-degrees outside?! Not this person!

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I've tried three years to plant in these containers, but have yet to find something that can withstand the heat coming off the brick and the all-day sun. Any suggestions? If not, the Esperanza will be 7-feet tall in another month, so I'm willing to look the other way.

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The DIY Convex Sunburst Mirror looks as great as the day we hung it, and hasn't budged from this spot. So that's our Backyard Tour, everything is blooming and the pool is open...what time shall I expect you? Bring Fritos, please.

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What are your big plans for the weekend? Have you braved a swimsuit yet? Thank goodness our backyard is fenced, because I need some sun on my jiggly, blue legs! Happy Weekend, lovebugs!

*** P.S. -- I love learning all the real and juicy details of my favorite bloggers! Do you? Now's your chance to ask me anything under the sun...personal, bloggy, projects, cereal choices, whatever! It's a Free-For-All Q & A to celebrate my 2 year blogging anniversary. Go here to leave yours! ***

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