Light Up Your Life!

Hey all!  I’m not sure if any of you know this about me, but one of my degrees is in Interior Design.  After a couple years in the industry, I decided to leave as I quickly learned that I’d rather build you a house than pick out curtains.

However, my number one pet peeve (more than pictures that are too high or crooked) is lighting or your lack of lighting.  Most people do not have enough light or the proper kinds of lighting for a room.  So, I thought I’d educate us all on the different types of lighting…it should be layered.

There are four types of lighting:

Ambient or General Lighting: This is your basic fundamental overhead lighting (in most cases).  Ambient lighting should generally light the entire room & usually sets the mood.  In a lot of new homes general lighting is now on dimmers, which I approve of! ambient.gif

Task Lighting: Task lighting should be somewhat self-explanatory; this is the type of lighting that assists you while performing specific tasks.  In some rooms this would be a table lamp or desk lamp; in a kitchen this may be the light over the stove or under cabinet lighting (such a good investment).

Accent Lighting: This type of lighting is used to draw attention to something specific like a piece of art.  It should be used to create visual interest.

Natural Light: Some people do not consider natural light to be a “type,” but I consider it to be the unofficial fourth type.  This one is my personal deal breaker. Who doesn’t want big open windows with a view?  I am one of those people that isn’t a fan of being in nature, but wants to look at it from the window.  Make sure your curtains open wide enough to get the view, but also full enough if you ever want to shut them.

Okay, so back to my biggest pet peeve…buy some lamps, people!!!  If you have an end table next to a sofa or chair – it needs a lamp.  That lamp should be taller than you are while sitting…making it a task light.  I’ll confess that in my living room, I rely entirely on accent lighting & natural light.  In the five years I’ve lived in my house, the overhead light has been turned on maybe once.

Just like in your everyday life, your lighting needs to be able to multi-task.  I never walk into a room that is overly lit; if anything, it’s too dark.  I often hear the excuse, “If I get a lamp for that table my kids will destroy it.”  Not good enough!  Kids should learn the value of nice things, or the difference between right & wrong, or perhaps you’re not giving your kiddos enough credit.  Consider a lamp an accessory…you never go wrong with an accessory or two.

General lighting is often too harsh or not focused enough.  Thus task lighting is so important.  Personally, I think accent lighting is the least important, but makes a huge impact.  My dream house will have plenty of accent lighting! 🙂

Rant over.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!  See you back here on Monday for the Bachelor!

Kiss Hug,



It’s the Most Wonderful time of the Year!

It’s finally here…my long awaited, often promised post about Christmas decor!  I have a few hard & fast rules that I try to abide.  I’m most specific about wrapped presents, but we’ll get to that later.

Here are some tips & tricks that guide my decorating:

  1. I think it’s super cool, but expensive, to replace all your normal decor with holiday decor.  But, if you can afford it -go for it!  However, if you’re like me & on a budget – just replace a few key components with festive holiday gear.  I’m also a fan of homemade decor if you’re crafty.
  2. Find your one symbolic holiday item & go nuts!  I have a few: snowflakes, moose/reindeer/antlers, Christmas trees, & gingerbread everything.
  3. I’m a really big fan of being extra generous in any way I can this time of year.  I really try to pruchase locally made gifts or to make something myself.  I also really like to buy gifts from charities or that give back to charity, or both when you can find it!
  4. Okay, my biggest pet peeve – wrapped gifts!  Unless it’s alcohol or a super unusual shape, do NOT put the gift in a bag.  Your wrapped gifts should have crisp edges with a handmade bow (no store bought bows in my house).  If you can’t figure out how to make a bow – Google it – by a roll of pompoms & simply wrap it around the gift a few times.  Yarn is also a super inexpensive & charming alternative to a store bought bow.  Super festive, cute, & easy!
  5. I love outdoor lights, but struggle to put them up myself…shortness & laziness are big factors.  Just make sure the lights are straight.  No inflatables in the yard, please!
  6. One of my weird Casey-isms is that I am very strict about acceptable colors during the season.  Green, red, white, silver, & gold are the only colors I allow.  Very traditional.  Also anything plaid doesn’t hurt my feelings. 🙂
  7. Last but not least, all decorating should be done while listening to Christmas music or having a Hallmark movie on the TV.

Here are some pictures of my house.

The stocking in my chair is from my childhood.  Mama J tried to get rid of it when I went off to college; it was quickly saved from a certain purgatory, & now I put it out at my home even though I don’t have a fireplace.  We have another fun tradition in my family…my birthday is on December 14th, so for my birthday every year I get a Christmas ornament for my tree. 🙂  This year was a copper mama moose with her silver baby; my mom got it at The Escape in Georgetown.

This year Mama J & I will be heading to my Dad’s side of the family for Christmas Day lunch.  Then on Monday, we’ll head over to my mom’s side of the family for Christmas brunch.  Our gift exchange theme this year is “something recommended to you.”

What about y’all?  Do you have anything fun planned?

Next week will be the last Holiday playlist of the year…whah, whah.

Kiss Hug,

Blog Signature

STOP! You’re Hanging Your Art Too High!

Okay, so most of you don’t know this about me, but one of my degrees (#humblebrag) is in Interior Design.  I’m not currently in the design field, but did work in it for a few years before the economy crashed in 2008/2009.  I didn’t enjoy as much as I had hoped…I was more interested in building the house rather than picking out the furnishings.

That said, my biggest design pet peeve is people hanging their art & photos too high.  I will not hesitate to straighten a picture in any room I walk into, regardless of whether I know the person or not; & no offense, but if it’s too high I’ll let you know.

There are a few simple rules to follow:

  1. The middle of the piece of art should be hung at eye level.  In the design world “Eye Level” is considered to be 5′ 6″ from the floor.  You can measure this out precisely, or if you’re like me – 5′ 4″ then I eyeball 2″ higher than the top of my head.
  2. If hanging something above a sofa or chair, the bottom should be 8-12″ from the top of the furniture.  That should be high enough to clear the head, but not so high that you can’t see it.
    1. If it’s a long horizontal piece of art, you can hang it a little higher…think 15-18″ above the sofa.
  3. Also, the art or photo should be centered above the piece of furniture, not necessarily centered on the wall.  You don’t want your art to look like it’s floating oddly in the middle of the wall, when the chair is off-center.  That’s. Weird.
  4. If you’re going for a gallery or collage wall (I’m a big fan!), keep in mind the spacing between the pictures.  Smaller scale pictures should be hung 1 – 2″ apart.  Larger pictures can be spaced out a little more, but no more than 6″ apart.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ll walk into someone’s home and see small pictures a foot or more apart from each other!  It looks unbalanced & ameture; if you feel the need to space them that far apart then the art is too small for the wall. gallery-walls


Other Tips & Tricks:

  1. I’m a big fan of using Hercules Hooks to hang big pieces art, that’s not too heavy with minimal damage to the walls.  For the heavy stuff you’ll want to use weight appropriate anchors & screws (and maybe a professional).
  2. Once the piece in hung, I like to use the wax from Babybel Cheese to stick the corners of the frame to the wall, which keeps it from swaying on the hook.  Yes, you read that correctly!  It’s perfect because it’s pliable & doesn’t stain the wall.  fullsizerender
  3. For art that has multiple hooks on the back, I like to use painter’s tape to mark where my nails should go on the wall.  This makes getting it level super easy the first time.  So, what you do is cut a piece of tape the length from hook to hook.  Then place on the wall & make sure it’s straight (with a level or eyeball it); once straight, your nail should go at each end of the tape.  Wall-la!

I personally have a large painting, done by a fabulous local artist in Austin (Kerri Tullius – check her out on Facebook), hanging above my sofa.  grassfireOn the opposite wall I have a rather large photo gallery on picture rails from Pottery Barn.  All the frames are black in varying sizes, some have white matting & some are just frames.  I LOVE the rail system because I can easily switch out photos or re-arrange as I add more.  I also didn’t limit my framing to just photos – I have some really beautiful fabric handkerchiefs from Mexico that I co-mingled into the gallery, along with some other local art mixed in.

It’s okay, & encouraged, to think outside the frame box.  You could include shadow boxes with mementos from your travels on a gallery wall.  You could include actual art or artifacts in your gallery, or mirrors.  Seriously, use your imagination.  My particular gallery is on the same wall as my TV, & since my TV is a large rectangle I treated it like another one of the frames within the gallery.

Here is a website that has more hanging tips in relation to furniture. Inspire Wet Rust

For cool home decor, check out this Buzzfeed list. Online Home Decor

Do y’all have any good tips?  What’s your decor aesthetic?  Any local artists I should know about?

Kiss Hug,

Blog Signature

Coffee…COFFEE, Coffee, Coffee!

I wish

You guys, I wish this could be my life about 99.99% of the time.  Don’t you think I’d look super cute walking around with a coffee IV?  I truly LOVE coffee, specifically Hawaiian coffees.  I once had a roommate that shipped Kona coffee beans from Hawaii every month to our apartment, thus my obsession began.

About 4 or 5 years ago I switched from my regular coffee maker to a Keurig, which I love. I even got Mama J hooked even though she hates coffee.  WHAT?!?!  Say it ain’t so!  She uses hers to make hot tea & hot chocolate.  I use my Keurig on a daily basis…sometimes multiple times a day.  But, the one flaw I found was that the K-Cups were so wasteful, which is why I now have found a way to use more of the coffee & recycle the cups.

Once a week I gather all my used K-Cups & empty out the coffee grounds onto a towel to dry out.  After a day or two of letting the grounds completely dry out, I mix them into my potting soil & use them on my flower beds & potted plants.

I put coffee grounds on my plants to help keep bugs away, but you do have to be careful not to throw off the acidity in the soil too much.  There are so many uses for your leftover coffee grounds, which you can find here: 34 Uses for Coffee Grounds.  My next batch of grounds will be used to make a salt scrub & dark under eye remover.

Do y’all have any cool tips & tricks for coffee grounds, or better yet the used K-Cups?  Here are some cool ideas for the cups: 33 Ways to Use K-Cups.

I’d love to hear your brilliant ideas.

Kiss Hug,

Blog Signature

Post 8: DIY Projects

It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these posts, partially because nothing major has been going on (this is a good thing) in my life.  I’ve been working on a DIY project that I’ve been waiting to share until it was completed.  Well, the time has come – I finished it yesterday & I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself.  So, without further ado…

Take It: Vertical Gardens

About a year & half ago I pinned some garden ideas on Pinterest, some of which were vertical gardens.  My goal was to beautify my garage wall in my backyard; from my couch I look directly at this wall – it was tan & boring.  I’ve rented this house for 4 years now, & have done lots of things to cutesy it up (especially the curb appeal), & have a constant battle with the yard.  I have tons of things I would do – if I owned the house – but since I rent I don’t want to do anything too permanent, too costly, or something that would ultimately piss off my landlord.  He & his wife are super cool & my rent is so cheap for the area I live in!!!  It was a great find & a cute little “cottage”!

My friend Ruthy brought me a pallet from her husband’s (Paul) work, Karbach Brewery (shout out to some super delicious beer).  The pallet has been sitting in my garage for over a year (I kid you not).  Last weekend, the first weekend in a long time that I haven’t been booked with stuff, I got up at 7am (my attempt at beating the heat – didn’t work) to start working on the garden.  As you can imagine, I had very specific ideas about how I wanted it to look.  If you knew me personally then you would know that I am very particular about most things, but in a good way. 🙂

The pallet needed a few replacement boards & minor repairs, which I did myself.  #dustofftheshoulder  This is what I started with:  Pallet Before

Okay, so I replaced a board, cut down boards (using an old school hand saw) to fit inside the pallet to create “shelves,” sanded the entire thing, primed it, painted it, polyurethane’d it, & added a protective fabric to the back so soil wouldn’t fall out.  Phase 2

Please ignore the poor excuse for grass.  My entire yard is 90% shade 90% of the day, which is great for my utility bills but horrible for growing anything other than moss.  If you have any suggestions please share!  Yesterday, my mission was to complete the garden with shade loving plants.  My favorite are fuchsias, but the season has passed for them (at least in the Houston area).  Whomp, whomp.  After looking high & low yesterday, I found enough plants to fill the pallet & a small flower bed.  Phase 3

I love my vertical garden!!!  It was harder than I thought it would be, I am a novice after all, but didn’t take as long as I thought it would…once I actually started it.  Shout out to the amazing garden lady at Ace Hardware for giving me some Wandering Jew cuttings for free!  The only thing I would change is that ideally I would have mounted the pallet itself to the house.  Once again, I rent so thought it might behoove me to make it less permanent.  The plants you see are succulents, begonias, cyclamen, ferns, Wandering Jew, & a couple others I cant remember.  I’ll eventually add some herbs & what not in there.


Leave It: Lack of Time

Nothing terrible or dramatic is going on in my life – just the way I like it – but I could use some more time.  Can’t we all???  I feel like I’m being pulled in a couple different directions, which I allow so it’s a “me” issue.  I either need a caffeine drip intravenously or more time to myself.  I’m an only child, so I really thrive & value having “me” time.  My goal in the next few months is to commit myself to things a little less.  I used to read 2-3 books a week & now it takes me several weeks to finish 1 book – I’d like to get back to the former.

I have a few other personal projects going on, & once they yield results (one way or the other) I’ll share with y’all.  Thanks for reading & hope y’all enjoyed.

Kiss Hug,

Blog Signature