New York + Bourbon Country

By Friday, March 27, 2015 4 No tags Permalink 0

Who’s ready for vacation pictures? Last week I did a double-dip and went to New York with my sister before bopping down to Louisville for bourbon and basketball. I’ve written about New York many a time now, so I’ll keep this part short. My sister had never been(!) so I dragged her around to all of my favorite places, like the Met, which we learned is a ghost town if you go early on a Monday:

empty met

I’ve never been able to get a good shot of that room before because there’s always a horde of people in it. Score one for getting there at 10:30! My sister also has some great shots of the mostly-empty museum (plus other New York-y things) on her Instagram if you want to take a peek.

I forget who the artist was for this, but I can tell you that those are psychologists analyzing the cow’s reaction to a painting of itself. I love modern art.


Hey, do you know Betsy?

We took a stroll through Central Park but everything was still dead and scary like the villain’s part of the woods in a fairy tale, so let me show you this gorgeous building from the upper east side instead:

ny architecture

Summary: New York is still excellent and everyone should go.

Now, on to the South! I flew back on Tuesday and was home for about 14 hours before we hit the road for Louisville. The “main” reason for the trip was the second round of March Madness, something Hubsey and his dad go to every year. Recently his mom and I have started tagging along to explore that year’s city while they hang out at the stadium. I haven’t spent much time in the South aside from last year’s jaunt to Savannah, so a lot of things were still novel to me. Everybody’s impeccable manners, for example. Not that we’re barbarians up here, but there’s much less small talk and we tend to be a little road rage-ier.

Anyhoodle, Louisville has a part of town called Museum Row. We didn’t have time to see them all, but among the places we did visit 21C was my favorite. It’s combination hotel and contemporary art museum (plus a bar!) that you can explore for free. Parked outside was this sweet ride:

red car

It had license plates, so I guess it’s street legal?! You’d think all of that penny tile would be awesome to the point of distraction for other drivers. And kind of heavy.

On the day there wasn’t any basketball, all of us went on a couple of distillery tours. If any of you have worked your way through the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we stopped at Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace.

distillery storage

I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but I DO want to give you a heads up if you plan to get educational when you’re down there: the tour at Buffalo Trace was not great, Bob. They skipped the entire brewing process and showed us a video. We did get to see the bottling room and one of the storage buildings, which were interesting, but for all of the cool stuff they allegedly have there (93,000 gallon tanks?!) we didn’t get to see them.

Woodford Reserve was wonderful, though. Here’s where they fill the barrels and stamp them before they get rolled to storage for several years.


Building from 1840, holler!

On our last day, the sun finally came out and we skipped over to Churchill Downs, venue for the Kentucky Derby. My mother-in-law and I bought some fascinators on a whim and wore them on the tour, because when do we get to bust out cool headgear in Chicago? That answer is never.

churchill downs

The tour and museum were so well-done that I want to come back for the Derby. I’m sold. Sunshine, mint juleps, and a reason to wear my hat again? YES. I’ve already decided I’m going to work the hat into whatever I am for Halloween, but I still want to wear it for real.

Have you done any traveling lately? Who else has been to Louisville? Let’s all start wearing hats again. Do you have any trips planned this summer?

How to Mix Patterns

By Wednesday, March 25, 2015 8 No tags Permalink 0

There are a handful of decorating needs that frequently end up being the ol’ thorn in the side. Sometimes it can be rough choosing a paint color. Other times it’s hard getting a design plan figured out, if you decide to make one at all (YOU SHOULD). But the thing I’ve worked on with two local clients already is patterns and how to burn them with fire make them your friend.

mixing patterns

For real: it’s easy. There’s a formula. It’s like math but 600% more fun.

1. Scale. The first thing you want to consider is the size of the pattern. Having some variety will make certain motifs the stars and let the others be the supporting cast. If everything is competing for the spotlight, the room will look too busy and your poor eyeballs won’t know where to focus. The easiest way to get a nice mix is to have one large pattern, one that’s medium/small, and at least one solid color. This bedroom is a great example of big + small + solid(s). See how balanced?

how to mix patterns


2. Color. This is where most people get annoyed. The patterns will need to match everything else in the room, PLUS the colors in said patterns need to coordinate with each other. That might sound like an irritation on par with doing your taxes, but I promise it’s not so terrible. If you’re brand new to pattern mixing, there’s nothing wrong with doing a monochromatic look until you get your sea legs. You could also pick a main fabric that has several colors and pull all of your accents from there. Boom! Instant matching. Just like this cute living room:

how to mix patterns


3. Shape. It might be tempting, but don’t use the same motif all over the room. And this isn’t just my personal bias against samesies coming through; if you cover every surface with a floral, for example, everything will blend together. Have some other shapes in there to break things up, and don’t be afraid to add solids. Here’s our family room (I know, I know, super late on the updates–my bad). We have stripes, florals, and geometric/ikat all playing nicely together:

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

4. Balance. This is kind of abstract and it relies a ton on personal preference, but I want to bring it up because it’s usually why something feels “off” about a space. When you start mixing patterns, you have to juggle the colors and the shapes. Too much of any one thing will throw off the balance of the room and you’ll be in there like, “Whaaaat…?” The easiest way to explain this is with a picture, so here we go:

how to mix patterns


Let’s look at the patterns themselves first. We have balance with the scale: I see large, medium, and small. The colors coordinate. The shapes are varied and interesting, and they all flow because the homeowner used that mix of scales and nothing competes. Thumbs up all around! Where personal preference comes into play is with the amount of pattern and color. I don’t like too much of either one, and this room has a lot of solids and neutrals to settle things down. It would be totally bonkers for me if there wasn’t all of that grey and white. But maybe you look at this and think it needs more cowbell. A zippier curtain choice, for example. There’s no WRONG answer when it comes to how bold you want a room to be, just make sure your patterns get along. There needs to be that harmony between them and the rest of the space.

How do you feel about mixing patterns? Love it? Does it give you stress hives? What’s your favorite pattern combo? I’m a fan of florals with geometrics myself. Do you have any other tricks you use while mixing?

Spring Break

By Monday, March 16, 2015 5 No tags Permalink 0

If you’re reading this, that means it’s Monday and I’m on vacation! I’m doing another one of my famous Back-to-Back Traveling Extravaganzas, this time heading first to NYC with my sister for our annual girl’s trip, and then bopping down to Louisville with Hubsey and his parents for March Madness and distillery tours.

We’re heading to the Upper East Side today for assorted shenanigans and it would be super if Central Park had some flowers ready for our dreary Midwestern eyes. Please, universe?

central park


Anyhoodle, I’m taking a blogging break until next Monday, but will still be posting on Instagram and Twitter if you want to follow along. Have a great week and enjoy the warmer weather!