Life Lately 9.21

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Phew! Another Sunday is here and it will soon be gone. I am nursing a somewhat terrible hangover from a fun night out with some friends. I am going to a blogger dinner tonight at Fab’rik in the Hill Country Galleria. We’re going to be talking about Fall Denim Trends and trying on some new styles, so I’ll definitely be sharing that on the blog later this week.

Our apartment is really coming together and I’m so happy to finally have some order restored! J got the curtains hung up for me and I spent my Friday night assembling IKEA furniture. Which I actually enjoy because I love tinkering and building things. We got this glass table and clear chairs and I got a dress to get my closet together.

IMG_0305Once we have the funds I’ll be getting a faux cowhide rug to finish off this little nook. And speaking of building things, we got crafty and DIY-ed our old headboard. It turned out great so I’ll be doing a full post on that sometime this week. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I still just love my IKEA-hacked Vittsjo bookcase although I do miss the dalmatian wall though.

In other exciting news from life lately would be upgrading to the iphone6! The nature of my job essentially requires me to work from my phone all day. I was due for an upgrade so I figured I’d treat myself.

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I got the gold and white, obviously. Apple did a good job on this one. My favorite thing is the camera. SUCH a big improvement from the 5. Already loving the photo quality it is producing and makes me feel like I don’t even need to carry my point and shoot around anymore. Mashable did a bit of the leg work on this topic here. Anyone else make the switch already?

Well, time to pull myself together and get out the door to talk about some denim!

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What Nobody Told Me About Starting a Business

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I could start with the obvious: It’s hard. But that would be no fun would it? That is somewhat of a given, but there are so many things I have discovered after starting a business that I would have never thought about. I have found Facebook to be pretty useless lately, but I stumbled upon this blog post that seemed like a must-read. And it did NOT disappoint. He hit the nail on the head. “How Quitting my Corporate Job For My Start-Up Dream F*cked My Life Up” by Ali Mese. it’s a long post but if you are an entrepreneur or are just venturing out on your own, or still thinking about ditching the 9-5 for ‘entrepreneurial freedom’, READ THIS POST.

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1. Listen to everyone, but trust no one.

This sounds super pessimistic of me, but I swear this is the number one thing I wish someone had told me before we started working on Phox. When you have a good idea and everyone around you is offering up advice, insight, guidance etc. LISTEN. Everyone I surrounded myself with had years and years of experience on me. (Obviously, I was a 21 yr old bartender) So I listened, but what I should have never done was then blindly trust these people who: A) I barely knew B) At the end of the day, were still investors (read: own interests not yours) C) Might not be as credible as their paper resumes.

2. Since we’re talking about listening, listen to your gut.

As they say, ‘You can’t bullshit a bullshiter.’ When we were working on our original prototypes I had an off feeling about the man who told us he would essentially be our ‘project lead’ and help us get our units designed, prototyped and manufactured. Again, trust no one. He was a family member of one of our lead investors, so why shouldn’t we trust him? But from the beginning I just had that feeling in the pit of my stomach. We spent almost a year with this guy and WAY too much money.I remember one meeting J and I got in a huge fight because I wanted to drop him then and there because I knew he was lying (refer to my first statement), but we decided to take his word. I wish I had stuck to my guns and listened to my gut because 6 months later we were no further along and still bleeding money. Finally, I put my foot down, dropped him and cut our loses.

3. Be ok with missing out and not having a social life

In the beginning I loved sharing updates on our ‘little side venture’. It was exciting, it was my idea and it was going to ‘be huge!’ (like every startup right?) But as we started to take bad advice and break cardinal rules of starting a business (quitting our jobs before saving anything, not taking enough investment money blah blah) I began to dread talking to my friends, acquaintances and even family. Especially after our first failed launch that sent us back to the drawing board, I became a recluse. I’ve also spent years dealing with undiagnosed anxiety, so once I began treating that I no longer put pressure on myself to constantly be out and about. Once I was able to see the bigger picture and put into perspective how much more important my startup was to my future than a few drinks on the weekend. I was ok with missing out and severely reducing the size of my friend circle.

4. There is no definition of ‘success’ you must define it for yourself

I love the saying, ‘to each their own.’ I’m a pretty open-minded soul. Everyone’s definition of success and how they will achieve it is different, so ‘to each their own.’ I love how Ali explained it in his post which you can read here. I still haven’t achieved what I put in place for myself as ‘ultimate success’. But that is ok, because everything I’ve experienced so far is building up towards that. hemingway-quote

4. Be a good communicator

I thought I was an ok communicator until I started a business. I am (was) a fucking terrible communicator. I attribute half of it to undiagnosed anxiety/ADHD but the other half to just never taking the time to learn or practice proper communication skills. I have become a much better communicator than I was 3 years ago, but I still have lots of practicing to do. The thing I need to most work on is effectively explaining my thoughts and ideas. Being in a relationship with my startup partner also gave me a LOT of communicating skills. But I’ll save that for another post. I just wish someone had told me earlier how important it would be to be an effective communicator.

There are so many things I’ve learned from starting a business. Maybe there is a reason nobody tells you things before starting a business. They are just lessons you HAVE to learn as you go. But hopefully this post helps even just one person avoid some of the things that lose me a lot of time, money and sanity.

Are you thinking about starting a business? Have you already, and experienced something (good or bad) that nobody bothered to tell you about? I want to know!

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Champagne and Fall Fashion for Lunch

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Sometimes I just love my job. On Wednesday I had the pleasure of taking a long lunch to pop into Neiman Marcus for a Fall fashion presentation hosted by Dallas fashion blogger Merritt Beck of The Style Scribe.

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Our client, Fashion X Dallas, is the newest event from the Austin Fashion Week brand. It will be a fun, fashion-filled 3 day event in Dallas this November. If you live in Texas and love fashion, it will be a must attend sort of affair, you can view all the designers and buy tickets here. We were treated to champagne sips and little nibbles while we mixed and mingled before the preview started.

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I love events like this because Austin is still such a small city. I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Austin blogger, Liz of Liz The Austinite. And Miró of Dose of Dash, who does marketing for Consuela, a brand who will be showing at FXD as well. We ended up realizing we already knew each other via previous blogging events and of course, Instagram. Love it. We then spent 20 minutes viewing fall trends and oo-ing & ahh-ing over the cozy/chic looks. Can it just get cold already?!

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What We Saw For Fall

-Unexpected pairings: Pastels for fall (LOVE this!) and crop tops over delicate blouses

-Strappy heels and caged booties

-Tassels are trending

-Leggings and lots of leather

-Electric blues, hunter greens and shades of grey

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SHOP THE FALL FASHION TRENDS


We’re making an IKEA run today for some closet organizing essentials. Once I get my closet in order, I’ll be doing some ‘Fall cleaning’ and stocking up on these essentials for sure. I definitely see myself working some crop tops and pastels into my winter wardrobe!

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VinEdge Saves Your Wine For Another Time

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Fact: I love wine. Is there anything I don’t like about wine? No…not really, except as soon as you pop that sweet cork (oh, that sounds dirty) it starts to go bad. Which explains why I often feel compelled to finish the whole bottle in one evening. While enjoyable as that may be, it isn’t great for my wallet or waistline. So when I discovered VinEdge, my heart skipped a beat.

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VinEdge is just like any other wine preserver tool…but ten times better.

It’s super easy to use and the concept is pretty simple. It is a No Pump Wine Preserver. There are two main components, the pour spout and the disposable ‘air bags’. You simply attach an air bag to the pour spout and insert the folded bag into the bottle of wine. Attach the spout to the bottle…and pour.

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The spout is engineered to let air into the bag, inflating it as wine leaves the bottle. This creates a vacuum effect and seals the wine so your wine stays oh so fresh! Genius right?!

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This is a great tool if you have a really nice bottle of wine that you are enjoying slowly and don’t want it to spoil. I was so pleasantly surprised by this nifty tool and can’t believe I had never heard of it before. The only thing I didn’t love about it is the wine pours a bit slower than normal (this obviously isn’t the end of the world) 

Another thing that sold me on VinEdge is the fact the founders are from Austin. You know I love a good entrepreneurial venture! The idea for VinEdge came from watching fellow wine drinkers repeatedly receive a glass of wine that was past its prime. (this has happened to me both as a customer and bartender. Nothing more annoying that receiving or serving wine that has gone bad) It took the founders over 3 years to develop this product and finally bring it to market, something I can COMPLETELY relate to!

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You can see as the bag inflates it seals against the sides of the bottle to keep any air from coming into contact with the wine. I tested it with 3 different bottles of wine over the last month and half to make sure their claims weren’t full of air. (pun very intended) And they’re solid. It kicked my traditional pump preserver’s BUTT! I even left one bottle for two weeks and it still tasted the same from when I first opened it. We call that a Wine Win!

As we move into the gift-giving holiday season, this would make a GREAT gift for any wine lover!

Be sure to connect with VinEdge on Facebook. Click through to learn more about this awesome product and the accidental ‘winepreneurs’ behind it!

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This post was supported by VinEdge and I was provided the product for free. All words, images and opinions are 100% my own and do not reflect the views of VinEdge. 

Hitting The Ground Running: 5 Ways to Have a Productive Monday

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Today mark’s another busy work week and I’m hitting the ground running. After years of late nights and lazy days being a bartender, I’ve had to train my body clock to accept ‘normal people’ hours. Now, I can spring out of bed at 6:30am and get through the work day (most days) like a seasoned pro and still have energy to get a workout in (sometimes). I always like to start Monday’s off on a good note. Here are some things I’ve found to help me have a very productive Monday:

1. Have a relaxing Sunday

I used to want to maximize my Sundays and get as much done as possible. Now I embrace the art of doing less and it leaves me excited for Monday. I’ll pick 1 or 2 things on my to-do list to get done and then leave the rest of the day unplanned. Brunching is also a nice activity for Sundays.

2. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes

I set my alarm earlier than normal to enjoy a cup of coffee and embrace the calm of the early morning. My routine is feeding the dogs, making a good cup of coffee and reading a few of my favorite blogs to get inspired before I ever leave the house. Sometimes I’ll even use the time for quick run or workout if I’m feeling really frisky.

3. Eat a good Breakfast

This is one thing that I never skip on. Food is fuel people. My go-to ‘power breakfast’ is hummus toast with an egg on top. Get fancy with your bread and be ok with paying more for it, it’s worth it nutritionally. I love the sprouted wheat berry bread from Sprouts. (If you want to know why I would ALWAYS choose sprouted wheat bread over anything else…) If you don’t like hummus (shame on you), try avocado toast instead or a delicious green smoothie.

4. Wear a ‘power outfit’

I recently began a new experiment of only wearing black or white to work to simplify and streamline my work days. But I’ve also been trending more to throwing a few wedges/heels into my week. It just jogs my brain into thinking, ‘Oh, it’s time to get shit done.’ Maybe it’s because a bit of height forces you to walk like a fucking boss. Whatever makes you feel like that…wear that. Except sweats, don’t ever where sweats if you plan on trying to be productive. That shit will never work.

5. Plan out your day the night before

I always seem to think of the 100 things I have to do the next day right before my head hits the pillow. So I’ll keep my weekly planner bedside so I can quickly jot down my schedule of to do’s for the next day. I also like to review my day ahead so I can wake up with a clear plan of action. I suffer with anxiety so this is one thing I do that definitely helps reduce my stress surrounding future plans and time management. (Now, do I always stick to the plan? Hell No, but I take comfort in knowing it’s there if I need it!) 

Tweet this awesomeness!

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Weekend Reading

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The weather is finally cooling down and we’re getting some much needed rain. Texas plays UCLA today…and this is me not caring. Instead, I’m making the most of this cozy Saturday by catching up on some blogging and taking some much needed me time. Last night we attended MOD at the LBJ Museum and it was so fun playing a little dress up. You can find my dress here.

Jason and I at LBJ Musuem for ATXfashion week MOD event

If you’re like me and haven’t made any plans to get out of your pajamas this weekend, you might enjoy a few of these links from around the inter-webs

This cooler weather has me thinking about Fall Denim Trends.

Check out the anatomy of  a great blog post.

These frat guys are shakin’ it off. T-swift would be proud.

If these 50/50 Stuart Weitzman boots don’t fit your budget, these $40 Target ones are a FAB alternative!

If you use Pinterest and Instagram for business you’ll want to watch this Webinar by Piqora.

16 dogs that are better at photobombing than you. (Number 9 and 13…I.Cant.Stop.Laughing)

This Snake Chain strand necklace from Baublebar will be mine.

And then there is this baby bear on a golf course

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top image via Jelaine Shop

Can I Have That? 9.12

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Side Note: Tonight I’m attending an event for our new client, Austin Fashion Week. It’s called MOD: A Modern Take on 60’s Fashion. Several local designers were asked to create a look inspired by pieces from Lady Bird Johnson’s closet. Her fashion from her husband’s time in office has been archived and stored in the vaults at the LBJ Library. This is the first time the public will be seeing them so it will be a really fun event! I’ll be Instagramming from their account and mine so be sure to follow, or say hi if you are attending!

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This week has been incredibly productive for me. I got a ton of work accomplished and the decorating of our new place is definitely coming along. Our new rug gets delivered soon, inspired by this one. I’ve been largely inspired by heavily neutrals, mixing metallics and black lately. I’m also experimenting with only wearing black and white to work to simplify my mornings and so far it’s working well. (More to come on that later) I’m finally feeling inspired again, I was experiencing a bit of a creative rut for a bit. But I’m out of it and I feel fantastic!

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FEELING INSPIRED BY:

Cozy Romantic Bedroom

Single Flower Vases

Grey Contrast Living Room

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Surviving as an Entrepreneur

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The last three years of trying to “make it” have been difficult, exhausting and at many times, down right miserable. Like, fucking terrible. I won’t sugar coat it. When we first started, Jason and I were just bartenders with a crazy (good) idea. I’ve had such a unique journey in comparison to so many of my peers. While there were times it was difficult to see the silver lining; having someone by my side to weather the storm made all the difference for me.

no glory without struggle, entrepreneurship advice from Make it a DoubleI absolutely love this post on WeWork, “Life or Death Survival Lessons For Entrepreneurs“. It’s well written, insight and just so honest. I couldn’t have said it better myself. So I’m not going to. Instead, read it and see for yourself. If you don’t have time (though, you should really make some, it’s a really good post) here are the main points:

1. Keep the big goal in perspective, no matter how unattainable

2. Plan for adversity

3. Fixate on incremental progress

What struggles or obstacles have you had to overcome? How did you do it?

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Fashion Inspired Nail Art with Modcloth

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Question: What’s better than fashion, beauty and art?

Answer: Trick question. Nothing. Nothing is better than those three things. At least in my world and especially when it’s all three things together! When ModCloth reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in coming up with some fashion-inspired nail art, I would have been a fool to say no.

So my task was to find a dress from their massive collection of gorgeous frocks and find one that I could translate into some fun and stylish nail art. This was definitely the hard part! Deciding which dress to choose was near impossible, but I had just picked up this dark navy polish a few days earlier so I focused on that as my inspiration.

I have a busy work week ahead and several client meetings ahead of me. So I wanted something fun and chic, but nothing over the top crazy. After lots of browsing and indecisiveness, I settled on a sweet lacy navy and gold number aptly named, Marvelous is More. (I love when brands take the time to come up with creative names for their products!)marvelous is more modcloth dress

I started with a solid coat of Sinful Colors in RainStorm. then I used a toothpick with ORLY in Luxe to paint a thin gold stripe 3/4 of the way down. I finished it with a coat of Essie Good to Go. I love how it turned out and think it will be perfect for a busy work week!

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modcloth-nail-art-16The navy is a lot darker in person and the eye-catching gold contrast stripe is simple, yet statement-making. I didn’t use tape or a guide to paint the stripes…because well we just moved and I couldn’t find any, but that definitely would have helped!

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I’m feeling so inspired with Fashion Week flooding my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I feel a lot of illustrations coming soon and later this week I’ll be posting about entrepreneurship dreams, must-have fall essentials and my new favorite wine tools!

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Fashion #FOMO, Fall Sketches and Decorating Dilemmas…

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#Falliscoming sketch by Lauren Jade | Style PaletteI’m so thankful for this weekend. I’m slowly but surely making my way through the unpacking and re-decorating process. I have yet to even begin my closet or bathroom so it’s pure madness.

This time of year always ignites a fair bit of excitement, anticipation and general state of happiness for me. It marks the beginnings of New York Fashion Week; which calls for some major Instagram stalking and a habitual state of Fashion #FOMO for the next week or so. (But is is really ‘FOMO’ if I wasn’t invited? It’s probably more of a case of ‘You Can’t Sit With Us’…sad.) Anyway, luckily they hooked it up with a live feed of the shows and WhoWhatWear tells us 7 reasons why we don’t have to feel Fashion #FOMO. It’s a super inspired and creative time for me, so I totally dig it and love the energy that surrounds this time of year.

Fall Fashion by Lauren Jade |Style Palette

An inked sketched look inspired by Harper’s Bazaar September Issue. See more of my work here.

The new apartment is fab. I love having two rooms and bathrooms again. The yard is next level, but the dogs don’t quite get the drill yet. They are definitely spoiled apartment dogs at this point. So we bought a pallet of grass and going to glam it up back there so they’re more comfortable. (the things we do for our dogs/kids/significants).Moving is the worst

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As you might recall, I had my dalmatian wall in my old apartment which I was just obsessed with. I don’t think I’ll be carrying it over to the dining room in the new place, but the second bedroom might get a little dalmatian wall love soon.

There are a few wish list items we’re trying to get ordered to really pull this new place together. I have been drooling over this West Elm Rug, but I was able to find this gem at Rugs USA for a steal. And since I have a dog that insists on throwing up (Weimaraner’s are notorious for stomach issues) every other morning, we can’t have nice things. This coffee table is on the queue to be scooped up, as well as this dining table set from Ikea.

I’m hoping to get everything put away so I can have some space to knock out some new illustrations as well. I’ve been experiencing a bit of a creative block in both art and blogging. But I feel this move to a new space was just the change I needed to get my creativity back. It feels so good to have that sense of inspiration, clarity and motivation to create. I want to give this blog a little (big) makeover, possibility even a name change but the jury is still out on that one. I have a ton of DIY projects I want to complete for this new apartment. and I’m probably going to start with upholstering the headboard and some new art for the walls.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Well…here’s to new apartments and creative beginnings! Hope everyone has a relaxing and inspired weekend.

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Learning to Say No As a Freelancer

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Recently, I’ve fallen in love with producing fashion illustrations and stylish sketches. I put some of my work up on the blog just because I enjoy sharing it. I never thought people would want to pay me for the work I produce, but they do! I’ve been so flattered by the overwhelmingly positive responses my illustrations get, it brings me true joy and is something I’ve always wanted to do. But it also fills me with an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Sounds funny right? But it does and I’ll explain why;

It’s a part time gig, but sometimes I take on jobs/requests that makes it feel more full time. I recently had to turn down a great sponsorship opportunity. I was bummed and stressed hard-core over making the decision, but I knew it was the right one. As soon as I sent the e-mail, I felt an immediate weight off my shoulders and knew I had made the RIGHT decision by saying

NO.

Here are a few things I took into consideration before I turning down the project:

1. Do I have the time…like ACTUALLY…REALLY have the time?

I’m notoriously guilty for thinking I can do it ALL, all the time. I’ve gotten much better at it though. I think it was a mix of immaturity, ignorance and blind confidence (which isn’t always a bad thing). I’ve come to terms with realizing I simply cannot work 24 hours a day. (although sometimes it still feels like I do) By dialing it back, I’m able to accomplish more in my days.

2. Is this project right for me?

This question can save a ton of time, once you’ve determined you have enough time. Is the project/job right for you? I’ve had people approach me with some really great ideas, but just weren’t great for me. If you do turn down a job for this reason, try your best to navigate them to some people who you think would be great for it.

3. What’s your ROI?

Return on Investment…what a tricky and emotional bitch. Especially with social media and work for trade. I could talk for a week about this. But as a self-employed creative, determining ROI can take on many forms. Sometimes it’s a straight numbers game: You provide Product X, it costs Y to make and produce and you charge (and they pay) Z.

More often than not, it’s unfortunately not nearly that simple and pretty. In my case, it was part emotional, stress-induced and the lack of financial reimbursement for the project definitely swayed me towards no. The Social ROI would have been fantastic, and no doubt I would have received paid follow-up work in the future. I just couldn’t justify my personal up-front investment this time around.

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Currently Craving: Navy and Camel

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Today was a busy day of lease-signing, painting and getting supplies for the move into our new place. Obviously Chloe thought it was all too much…IMG_8056

Tomorrow we are doing some more painting and heading down to the factory outlets. NOT excited about the thought of battling the Labor Day Sale crowds, but there are deals to be had! I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for bedside tables, rugs, a dining table and who knows! We did a black wall in our last bedroom and I love drama in the bedroom. (Decor drama, not relationship drama…ain’t nobody got time for that) HOTR-style-bed

Remember my feature on Home on the Runway?

Black won the paint battle last time, so in the new place we’re going to spring for a really royal navy. It will look so good with the white crown molding and I’m holding to soften the bed up with new whites, creams and super soft textures. All the walls are this light beige/camel color already so it will work really well. navy-camel

I also think this chic combo is going to make a big show in my closet this fall/winter.

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What color combos are you currently loving?

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Labor Day Sale Round Up

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My life is currently in shambles amidst our impending move. We’ve spent the last few days filling boxes and doing a major purge of things we’ve just out grown. We didn’t pick the best weekend to plan a move. With the start of college football and Labor Day weekend, it’s a little chaotic. I’m also still mourning my dalmatian wall. But I think after posing the ‘do I do it again’ yesterday on Instagram, I will be re-creating the look in our new space.

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The next few days will be a bit of a whirlwind. We pick up our keys tomorrow! So were going to get busy painting, and beginning shuffling the first of our things over. The movers are scheduled for Wednesday, so that’s the big day. We’re on the hunt for some new furniture and Labor Day is providing the perfect excuse to stock up on essentials. Topping my list of wants is a new dining table, coffee table, an epic cuddle sectional couch and new bedside tables.

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I want to get into the new place before I place any major orders, but will definitely be taking advantage of all the great Labor Day weekend sales!

Labor Day Weekend Deals For the Home

Furbish Studio- Take 15% off everything using the code ENDOFSUMMER

Pottery Barn- Up to 25% off!  SAVEMORE

World Market- Has up to 50% off all dining room furniture

Lulu & Georgia- Take an extra 25% off using code LABORDAY25

Macys- Tons of great sales until 9/1

Williams Sonoma- Has FREE shipping with no minimum order and extra 20% off clearance with code LABORDAY

West Elm- Has 25% off all sofas and up to 70% off clearance until 9/1

Hayneedle- Get between $30 and $60 off your order until 9/1 with code LABORDAY

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