Fresh Start

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I am finally coming out of hibernation (curse you winter 2014!) and have some new and exciting news to share! As I have mentioned before, I have always dreamed about going into interior design and/or getting into a creative field, but have never acted on it for a number of reasons.  While it always sounded fun, I feared the paycheck (or lack there of) and risky nature of changing careers. After much internal debate, self-assessment, and discussions (sorry friends and family), I finally decided to go for it!  A few classes and a couple of interviews later and I am starting to work part-time at one of my favorite design firms.  I am beyond grateful and excited and ready(!) for this next phase, as terrifying as it is.  Thank you all for your patience over the last few months and I plan to kick back into gear here at South of Main and also share all of the new things I am learning at the new gig!

While we’re on the topic of fresh starts… my spring/summer wardrobe needs a serious revamp.  I can’t remember the last time I bought a new bathingsuit (2010?) and I think I have outgrown the jean mini skirt…  check out these steals I found to ring in the season of sun!

A Marysia imposter… from Nasty Gal

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Chambray and neon (best combo evah?) J.Crew beach cover up – it’s on sale ladies!

jcrewWhat’s a summer without Havaianas?

havaiianasA pretty DVF dress for the many weddings ahead (note: this is an old DVF dress I have been eying since forever and found on ebay – my new favorite site!)…

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Anddd a cute new tee

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What are your latest warm weather finds?  I’d love to know!  This year I went for a lot of solids that I can mix and match with different accessories.  I am trying to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle (something I am not good at…) and my first step was tackling the closet!

Have a fabulous day!

XO

Meg

PS – If you’re thinking about changing careers, here are a few helpful articles (and feel free to email me!)…design spongeLearnVest, The Every Girl, Huffington Post… and a food blogger with an inspiring story on making a passion into a profession.  I know I have read so many other good ones, but am totally blanking!  All I have to say is – do what you love!  Life is too short :)

(photo via Pinterest)

Design Project: UES Apartment

Hi friends!  As you know, I have always loved interior design and often fantasize about what it would be like to actually do it as a career.  Recently, I got an amazing opportunity to design a one bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side as a little side project.  The requirements are: low budget (it’s a “guest” apartment), modern, with neutrals and clean colors.  I started off by checking out the apartment and putting together a presentation with room ideas.  Take a peek below at my initial thoughts…

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My “client” liked what I had put together but asked that we make it a little more modern and had a few Ikea pieces in mind that she wanted me to incorporate.  So here is phase two of the look book (that lovely free standing TV has an Ikea custom cabinet that couldn’t be copied into the presentation).

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Most of the pieces above were found on Ikea, Target, One Kings Lane (one of my all time favorites), and West Elm.  You can totally decorate an apartment and make it look nice without breaking the bank!

As you can tell, we are still early on in the design process but have established the basics, which I can’t wait to share with you.  It has been so fun to try to incorporate my own taste but also challenge myself to work with a different style than my own.  If you’re interested, check out my “Project” Pinterest board to see more inspiration for the apartment!

XO

Meg

PS – Unfortunately, the boys didn’t take a liking to my track-what-you-eat project, so we will have to revisit that post at a later date (Maybe after I bribe them with food.).

DIY – Calendar Wall Art

As I mentioned, putting things on the wall has been a bit intimidating this early on in the process.  But!  I did make one minor (huge) change in our kitchen.  What was once a blank wall with a random map thrown on it, is now a wall of… well, two of our favorite things: food and beer.  Remember this little gift guide?  I ended up using it for my own boyf last year and purchased this Red Cruiser calendar, which ended up being quite a hit.  However, once a year is over, what’s the use?  Basically calendars are good for nothing upon expiration.  Except… a gallery wall!  Watch and learn my friends…

Here is what the calendar looked like before…

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Too cute to get rid of right?

So trim the numbers and days off (I actually kept the month and descriptions)…

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throw those babies in a frame and…

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ta dah!  All you need is an old calendar, scissors, tape, and some Ikea frames.  Cheap and easy!

XO

Meg

(photo cred: Red Cruiser)

Apartment Progress

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We did it!  We’re officially unpacked and finally able to enjoy our new little abode.  One thing I have learned to love about our apartment is the amount of space and storage we have.  Especially after our larger than life Costco trip (both jaws dropped at check out), I was a bit concerned about whether we were going to have enough space to fit the lifetime supply of toilet paper, but luckily there was a miniature linen closet that I had never noticed before, which fit those extras in perfectly!  It’s the little things in life!  So now that everything is put away, we have been able to sit down, breathe and bask in the joys of cohabitation!  And also drive myself crazy looking at our bare walls.  Like most everyone has told me, “you have to live in a place” to figure out what you need.  Which is definitely true, but also a challenge for someone like me who wants everything to be done and perfect immediately.  That’s where Bry comes in.  Luckily I have him to tell me to “relax” (quite often) and that we will figure it all out.  But in the meantime, bare walls and all, here are some before and after shots for your viewing “pleasure” (use your imagination here people)…

Living Room

before…

living rm - before

after…

living rm - after

Kitchen

before…

kitchen - before

after…

kitchen - after

Patio

before (with old tenants…)

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after…

patio - after

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Bathroom

before (that blue tub…)

bathroom - before

after (attempting to hide the blue tub…)

bathroom - after

Hallway

before…

hallway - before

after (opposite angle)…

hallway - after

Bedroom

before…

bedroom - before

after…

bedroom - after

Guest Room

(I realize how obnoxious that sounds but then again we’re in Brooklyn…)

before…

guest room - before

after…

guest room - after

So as you can see there is still a lot of work to be done, but I am trying to approach it in stages.  Right now, is “living with it” stage and pretty soon I will begin the long process of tackling one room at a time… here’s what I am thinking in terms of some upcoming purchases: living room rug, mirrors!, coffee table, patio inspiration, plants, bedroom pillows (or a girl can dream…), art, book shelves, bar cart (Is it necessary? Yes, it is.) and the list goes on…

Like I said… stages…and I am sure my ideas will constantly be evolving, so might as well not jump into anything, right?  One designer who has really caught my eye lately for inspiration is Amber Interiors.  Feast your eyes interior design lovers!

XO
Meg

New Chapter

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I am so sorry for my radio silence for the past few months, but I have been going through an extremely transitional time so haven’t had time to slow down for a minute, but… all for great and exciting things!  I will spare you the details of the time spent in between – finding an apartment, losing an apartment (The rental market in NYC is as insane as it’s rumored to be!), moving Bry out, moving me out, moving to the suburbs – and tell you, Bry and I are officially ROOMIES and Brooklyn residents!  As you’ve seen here, here and here, I took a bit of a liking to the “other borough” and as Bry and I started looking at apartments, we realized we were both drawn to Brooklyn more than anywhere else.  Specifically, Brooklyn Heights.  There is something very old world charm about Brooklyn Heights and it reminds me a bit of my home city, Boston.  Tree lined streets and brownstones, SPACE, cute little cafes, quiet neighborhoods (Can you imagine!?) and an overall sense of community.  I was sold!  While it took a while for us to get there, we’re officially in and couldn’t be happier exploring our new ‘hood!

Plenty of quality time spent in the Uhaul this month...on our new street!

Plenty of quality time spent in the Uhaul this month…on our new street!

Being one of the biggest life changes I have experienced thus far, moving to a new part of the city with Bry, felt all the more overwhelming and exciting.  Change is such a difficult and amazing thing.  I think of myself as someone who needs change about every 2 years.  Whether it’s a job, haircut, apartment or new part of town, I start to get the “itch” after doing the same thing for too long.  With that said, I am terrible with change, which my mom so kindly pointed out to me last year (yeah, yeah, mom’s know everything).  But I think there is something SO refreshing about starting a new chapter, as hard as it may be.  It’s a way to start over and learn from your experiences.  Bry will certainly attest to learning a lot about me already throughout this marathon of a move (sorry Bry), but like I said, change is tough!  With that said, whether it’s moving in with a significant other or starting a new job, I think change strengthens you and gives you confidence!  If you’re considering a change, challenge yourself to just go for it.  What’s the worst that could happen?

Anyhow, moving on from deep thoughts and on to… decorating!  Can’t wait to get organized and update you on our progress!  If you want to see some of my decorating inspiration photos, check out my Pinterest board here.

Is it Friday yet?

XO

Meg

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Livin’ Laguna Vida

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Happy New Year ladies & gents!  Boy do I have a lot to tell you all from my week long Cali hiatus.   Hmm… how do I begin?

Twas’ the night before Christmas…when I found myself sitting on the floor of the Lincoln, Nebraska airport eating pizza by myself.  Yes, I know you’re all jealous and wish that’s how your Christmas eve was spent, but let me tell you, not everyone can be so lucky.  Long story short, my 8:30am direct flight to LAX ended up being a 24 hour journey from hell, most of which was spent in a tiny one gate airport in Lincoln, Nebraska, after our plane made an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit.  Thank goodness we were all safe, but I must say, I don’t see myself flying on United anytime soon.  Myself and 219 others all trapped in a tiny airport with zero explanation as to what was going on or if/when we would ever get out of Lincoln, Nebraska in time for Christmas, didn’t leave the most lasting impression.  One positive I did get out of it was how amazing the group as a whole was.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been entertaining a 5 year old in an airport for 9 hours or how frustrating it must have been to those who missed connections.  But in general, everyone remained calm and tried to laugh at the situation as best they could.  One of the most memorable experiences of the day was when a local Nebraska native departed one of the two planes flying into the airport that day and saw all 220 of us sitting at the gate and out of the goodness of her heart, had about 40 pizzas sent for all of us.  I mean talk about a stand up citizen!  I guarantee she made headline news in Lincoln on Christmas day.  And I also guarantee she is going straight to heaven.  While I am not looking for a pity party, spending Christmas eve by yourself sitting on the floor in an airport surrounded by strangers eating (much appreciated) donated cardboard pizza was one of the most surreal experiences I have had to date.  And I managed to only have one breakdown… (thank you to those who had to deal with me during that breakdown).

Anyhow… once I finally woke up in Laguna on Christmas morning, I instantly forced myself to erase all memory of the prior 24 hours and here are some of the highlights from my week…

The Montage Hotel

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This is actually what I envision heaven to be like… we spent a few days at the Spa Montage and I kid you not arrived at 8am and left at 8pm.  If anyone plans to go to Laguna, this is a MUST see.  It is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever been in.  Not only are the views spectacular, but the staff and service are unmatched.   If you want to be treated like a king and feel the best you can possibly ever feel…this is your jam.  On our last day, New Years Eve, I started the day with a total body conditioning class, ran a couple of miles, swam 30 laps, ordered a smoothie at the pool, ventured to the hot tub, went back to my chair and read, got back in the pool, ordered lunch, drank a beer, went for a walk on the beach, biked for 20 minutes, hung out in the sauna and steam room for a while, got a facial, read a magazine by the fire, went to 5pm sunset yoga, showered, had a glass of wine at the lobby bar and then went to dinner with my family.  I mean, I honestly can’t think of a better day, can you?

Balboa Island

We stumbled upon this little gem haphazardly and boy were we pleasantly surprised!  I have never heard one word, “Balboa”, used more times in one day, and my dad even ended the day wearing a Balboa t-shirt, just to prove his love.  We were heading on a Griswold-esque road trip to see Newport Beach and decided to take the car ferry to make the trip all the more exciting.  As we crossed the bridge into the town where the ferry departed, Balboa Island, it was as if we had crossed the Sagamore bridge into Cape Cod with palm trees.  The quaint little streets and amazing but unpretentious houses had so much character, it was if they were pulled right out of a story book.  While we still hesitantly managed to get on the ferry across to Newport, it didn’t take us long until we turned right back around and came back to Balboa Island.  While the tiny town could use a few more restaurants and bars, it is definitely worth a pit stop if you’re in the area.  Sidenote: the “famous frozen banana” is not all it’s cracked up to be…and I have intentionally excluded the photos from that experience.

YogaWorks Laguna

As I have mentioned before, I am a total yogi convert and when I heard they had my beloved YogaWorks in Laguna I HAD to try it!  It was the exact same feel as the NYC locations and it made me feel instantly right at home and relaxed.

The Deck Bar

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Coolest bar in Laguna!  Hands down!  This chic little surf bar is literally right on the beach and we stumbled upon it when we were walking the beach one sunny afternoon… go figure.  The decor is more South Beach than rustic, but has that laid back SoCal surfer vibe that you can’t help but love.  The drinks are made with fresh fruit and absolutely delicious.  There are fire heat lamps and cute white lights strung throughout the outdoor space, with surfboard tables and fun music.  I felt like I was in Hawaii for a hot minute!

Sapphire Grill

We spent New Years eve dinner here and the food was absolutely delish!  There was an amazing outdoor seating area with a big firepit and heat lamps that kept us warm on the chilly night.  The food was not Mexican for a change, but more of an upscale American menu.  It was definitely the best meal we had in Laguna and the atmosphere was perfect for a nicer dinner out with the fam!  I would highly recommend this place if you’re in Laguna and want something different!

Zinc Cafe

Zinc Cafe is how I picture a SoCal cafe.  Healthy, al-fresco dining, with beautiful people and a relaxed atmosphere.  I made several coffee pit stops at this place and am dying to go back for lunch next time I’m in the ‘hood.

Shopping

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My mom and I spent a full day checking out the stores in Laguna while the guys golfed.  We walked up and down the main strip and although there were plenty of touristy stores, what stuck out to me most were the home stores.  While I didn’t take pictures of all of my faves, Seaside Interiors was definitely a highlight.  It was totally my aesthetic and I wanted to just pick up and live inside of the store.  The owner explained to me that the shop was started by her and her daughter who have an interior design business and have expanded to do custom furniture as well.  Sounds like a dream to me!  Definitely worth checking out if you’re into that sort of thing.  In terms of clothing stores, I was particularly impressed with Isla, they had the cutest stuff at really good prices.  I managed to pickup a few great finds – a pair of black shorts with “leather” detail and an olive green sheer button down with black “leather” shoulders and collar – obsessed!

And there you have it!  A very Cali Christmas.  No sightings of LC, Stephen or Lo, but I will hope for the best next time around…

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HAPPY 2013!  It’s going to be a GREAT year!

XOXO

Dream Apartment

Seven weeks later and my interior design course is complete!  Like all fun things, it went by too quickly and I am so sad it’s over!  As I told you, over the course of the past two months, we have been working on a project to design our own one bedroom.  We were given a floor plan, which we had to stick to, but could play around with the walls and design everything else ourselves.  There was “no budget” so we could include anything and everything we wanted (Fireplace in the bedroom? Walk-in closet?  Yes, please!).  Each week everyone would show their floor plan and explain what they had worked on, then the professor and students would all critique each others work, which was very helpful.  My floor plan went through SEVERAL stages (which I mistakenly didn’t document), going from two couches, a coffee table, ottoman and a chair in the living room, to two couches, two coffee tables and two chairs.  I had my bedroom against one side of the room, then was asked, “Why don’t you want the bed facing the beautiful windows to take in the view?”.  Well that’s a good question…all things you think would be intuitive, but weren’t.  It was so interesting to see everyone’s take on the same floor plan and not one apartment was the same.  In fact, they were all very different.  Here are a few pictures from the process…

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the original plan

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stage one

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beginning the final steps of my project

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little did I know 8 hours later I would still be here…

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finally done!

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final product

While it may not look like a lot of work, I spent HOURS, looking through magazines, going through fabric swatches, picking out paint colors, and the list goes on.  Designing an apartment is no small task!  I can’t imagine what an entire house would entail.  For my one bedroom I chose to make it a TriBeCa loft which included a large living room with a built-in bookcase wall and fireplace which was open to the kitchen.  The kitchen included Viking appliances and a white carerra marble island, with white subway tile and brass fixtures.  The flooring was wide board wood and the round natural wood dining table had two natural wicker chairs with fun navy and white geometric cushions and a built-in banquette in the same pattern.  The bedroom had a large closet along one wall, with a built-in bookcase/shelving and corner fireplace on the other, a king bed and a door through to the vanity/laundry room and then through to the master bath.  The master bath had a double sink, a marble steam shower (why not?), herringbone tile floors and the walls had white subway tile and tan-colored paint.  The apartment also included a powder room for guests and a built-in desk between the kitchen and living room.  My color scheme throughout the house was brass, neutrals (white and tan), navy blue and an orangey red.   I incorporated fun patterns and classic neutrals to keep it interesting without being too over-the-top.  Overall, it had a very beachy/boho vibe, which I love.

It was really interesting to see not only how different everyone’s floor plans were, but also how they presented their projects and designed their rooms.  Each person’s apartment was almost predictable based on their personality and style, it was pretty funny to observe.  The lawyer, who is a quirky-dorky-Anthropologie type, designed her apartment with just that style – it looked as if it was straight out of an Anthropologie storefront with mustard yellow, polka dots and funky light fixtures.  Then, the model-esque fashion chick who has a very simple-boho-earthy style, designed her apartment with large leather sofas, massive dark wood tables, and a large picture of horses hanging as the focal point of the living room.  I loved both designs even though they were extremely different from my style!  It was so interesting to see everyone’s ideas and it made me realize how your personality and fashion sense is just an extension of your taste in design.

A few things I learned from this course that I think are worth sharing are:

#1: Think about practicality and the purpose of a room before designing it.  Don’t put a glass ottoman in a living room as extra seating.  No one is going to sit on it.

#2: Keep rooms as open and inviting as possible; don’t put up a wall for the sake of putting up a wall.

#3: Sofas/chairs and coffee tables should be 18″ apart.  Just enough to sit down and reach your glass of wine.

#4: People by nature like symmetry.

#5: Color schemes are typically made up of 3 or more colors and must be repeated at least 3 times in a room/apartment.

#6: When developing your color scheme stay within the same hue or it will not work well together.

#7: Blue is a very difficult color to work with because it has so many variations and hues.

#8: Pinks are the most flattering color to have on a bathroom wall.

#9: Stay away from bright colors in the bedroom, it will not facilitate a good sleep.

#10: A door should always open to a wall.

#11: Every room should have a focal line; having pictures hung at different heights is not aesthetically pleasing, there has to be a focal line along the wall which is repeated at least twice (whether it be with lighting or pictures).

It’s fascinating to dive into the details that go into designing a space and all of the regulations behind how large a bathroom has to be, how many inches apart furniture needs to be to sit comfortably, etc.   The amount of time that goes into the research on colors, furniture, fabrics and what have you, is much longer than I anticipated, but I had an absolute blast doing it!  If you have any questions about your own living space, feel free to contact me!  I am happy to share my tidbits of knowledge that I accumulated over the past several weeks!  I may even have to sign up for another one…

Happy Thursday!  This week has flown by!

XOXO