Sweet Saratoga Springs

It’s wedding season! Time for fun dresses, shoes, gifts and travel. This past weekend, we attended our first wedding of the season.

The wedding was in the beautiful town of Saratoga Springs, New York. It’s an arts, culture and equestrian-centered community nestled about 30 minutes north of Albany. We loved it so much that we wanted to stay!

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Everything about Saratoga Springs is charming. There is a fun downtown area with lovely boutiques, a few mainstream stores and plenty of restaurants and bistros to suit every palette.

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While we were in town for the wedding, we ventured downtown and had coffee at Uncommon Grounds. We were even served by Capt. Dangerous!

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We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast that was close to downtown and we were able to walk back and forth between the B&B and the downtown area.

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On our way to downtown, we crossed through Congress Park. Several of the springs that give Saratoga Springs its name, are located in this park. It’s also home to a number of ducks and their ducklings.

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Friday night, the rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant called Chianti. We enjoyed an amazing meal and relaxed and laughed with family and friends before joining the rest of the group at the local watering hole: City Tavern.

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BJ was a groomsman in the wedding, so Saturday we arrived at the ceremony and reception venue a few hours early for pictures. Then we hopped a trolley and rode around town for more pictures with the wedding party. I tagged along and took some candid photos and also captured a few shots of the scenery.

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After we got back from pictures, it was time for the ceremony. The wedding and reception were beautiful. It was an amazing weekend!

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Congrats to Angelo and Ashley!

Another busy, yet accomplished weekend

These days it seems like every weekend is a busy one. However, this weekend was successful despite our busy schedule. So to catch you up on the past few days, I’ve spent most of the week calling home and working on projects around the house. Here are the highlights of this past week’s happenings:

1. The earthquake on the East Coast.

Since all of my family lives on the East Coast, I spent Tuesday evening sending text messages and calling home to my mom and dad to hear the stories of their experiences during the quake.

2. Hurricane Irene.

It’s been a crazy week for my friends and family on the East Coast. More phone calls home and watching the weather to see the path of the storm.

3. Despite the bad weather on the East Coast, it’s been a beautiful week here in the Midwest.

Although I hoped to get more work done outside in the beautiful weather, I’ve been spending some time indoors trying to get projects done and catch up on some cleaning, etc. Tonight is the first night we’ve opened up the windows since sometime in April or May. Zoey is so excited to see the windows open that she’s been running from room to room.


Yesterday, we got up in the morning, went to breakfast and then headed over to Borders’ going out of business sale. It’s sad to see places like Borders close. I’ve been frequenting the sale over the past few weeks buying up photography, decor and comic books.

In the realm of home decor, I found a couple of great buys for my mom on organizing and a few on home decor and Real Simple’s book on simple solutions:


After our trip to Borders, my husband and I hopped back in the car and headed to Ikea for the afternoon.

Earlier this week I signed up for Ikea Family and wanted to go pick up my new card and check out a few items that are on our project list. Our visit to Ikea was a successful one and we came home with a few new items for our home and even got to enjoy a few frozen yogurt for signing up for Ikea Family!

Our trips to Ikea not only end up with new stuff for our home, but we always leave with a better idea of what we might pick up on our next visit. This time we shopped for couches. Previously, we were set on the idea that we would be buying a different couch then the one we picked out this time. When we walked into the showroom on Saturday, this particular couch caught our eye:

We are looking for something that sits low to the floor (because our entertainment center, which is also from Ikea, has our TV sitting pretty low to the floor) and is large enough that when we have a guests over, everyone can find a place to sit to watch a football game, movie or play video games. Right now with one couch, most of our guest have to curl up on the floor with a pillow.
We really like the charcoal color they had in the showroom and since we have a palette of neutral colors in our home, my plan is to brighten up the couch with brightly colored throw pillows and blankets. I especially love this couch because it is so large and both BJ and I can curl up and watch a movie and be completely comfortable! Now we just need to do some measurements to see if it will fit in our living room. If not, there are plenty of configurations for this couch, so we can go with a smaller option.
And of course, a trip to Ikea isn’t complete without the adventure of figuring out how all of your purchases will fit in the trunk! This time, I thought for sure we would get everything in without a problem. Especially since we didn’t buy as much as we normally do. But, in perfect Ikea trip fashion, there we were standing at the car sweating it out because the shelves I picked out for my office didn’t fit even with the seats folded down. But no worries. We got it all in! And this is how we drove home:
Now that everything we bought is safely at home, here are the finished results of another successful trip to Ikea.
Hallway to garage and utility room before:
Hallway to garage and utility room after:
We also purchased a bench for shoes that we put in the kitchen which allows us to come in the garage door and have a place to sit down and take off our shoes. And it also serves as storage for our shoes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tripped over my own shoes in that back hallway. I’m glad we now have a place to put them that is out of the path to the laundry room.
And lastly, coming soon will be a post on the finished project of adding shelves to the wall in my office! Look for that post in the future!

Coming soon! Shelves for the home office…

In my office, there is a large purple wall that is currently undecorated.

We painted the wall last fall and since then I’ve been trying to decide exactly how i want the wall to look. Currently, my desk is positioned so that the wall is directly behind it. I’ve had several ideas for how I want to decorate the wall. I’ve thought about a photo collage with large photos (11x17s or bigger) or a giant wall quote with photos around the quote. However, my latest and favorite idea yet is to install floating shelves on the wall so that I can not only gain more storage, but to use the shelves to set my large photos on.

I’ve been browsing around the Internet looking for some ideas for shelves and found a few that i like…

bedroom wall shelves design ideas

Even though I found a few ideas that I like, I think I want the shelves to go all the way across the wall with just a little bit of space on each side. Maybe one foot or so. I also want the shelves to be far enough apart that I can set large frame photos on them without touching the shelf above. I’m thinking a trip to Home Depot or Lowes is in our future. I’ll keep you posted on my progress! Hopefully I will have a beautifully decorated wall to show you soon!

Below is a simple rendering of how I think the finished product might look!

Wall Art

“No, Watson, this was not done by accident, but by design.”
— Sherlock Holmes

Foyer photo collage

I love photo collages. I love designing them, hanging them and most of all, I love taking the photos that make up our many photo collages. To me, photo collages are a simple, yet elegant way to hang photos like art and showcase my hobby to those who visit our home.

Photo collages are a great DIY project for someone who is looking to dress up a wall with their own personal touch. You can use family photos, scenic photos, nature photos or mix and match. The sky is the limit.  If you are not photographer by any means, or just aren’t sure you want to hang photos all over your wall, you can instead use framed fabric or beautiful wrapping paper. You can even dress up a wall with several different styles of frames. It’s up to you. Below are a few of the many photos collages around our home. Almost all of the photos (which the exception of one or two) were taken by me or my husband BJ.

My favorite collage is the one that hangs above the dining room entryway. It’s located in the front foyer and catches your eye as soon as you walk in our front door. In order to get the photos up that high, I really had to plan out exactly how I wanted to execute the finished product.

Supplies needed: frames, photos, computer paper folded to the size of the frame, painter’s tape, nails, hammer, level, one really tall ladder and courage (to climb the really tall ladder).

In order to get the photos on the wall in the arrangement  I wanted, I needed a way to transfer the arrangement from floor to the wall so I could see to move things around if needed. This also help prevent multiple nail holes. Below is the collage arranged on the floor so I could use something to reference when I transferred the design to the wall.

Next, I took the computer paper that I folded to match the size of each frame, and taped it to the wall.

Once I finished arranging and making adjustments to the paper on the wall, BJ used the paper as a reference to place each nail hole. Below is the finished product:


Here are a few more photo collages I designed.

This arrangement is located in the guest bath. The quote in the black square frame was done using a graphic I found online and then overlaying text on top of graphic. I used Pixelmator to design the finished product and then printed the design and cut it to fit the frame.

The collage below is part of an arrangement in our living room.