Thursday, August 28, 2014

Simple decorating

Hello there! I got to thinking after my last post about the trip to Better Homes and Gardens -- how one of the editors made things look so effortless. She threw together a few different centerpiece ideas for us in minutes, just using regular plates and items from the store and nature. Fruit and pinecones showed up a lot. :)

Simple decor really resonates with me – it’s one of the reasons I write this blog. A lot of the DIY projects I do are hard work and take some skill, but most of the decor in our home is simple and quick. It doesn’t need to take a lot of money or time to make pretty little spots around your home! I took a look around the family room and kitchen to share a few of my favorite simple ideas.

I get comments on my corks and candle often: 

simple decorating -- corks around candle

The vase was from HomeGoods (but I’ve also purchased similar containers at Goodwill) and I just plopped a candle inside and filled around it with wine corks. I didn't drink all that wine – just some. ;) I bought a bunch of the corks off Ebay a long time ago and still have some to play with.

If you follow me on Instagram you saw this one recently: 

simple decorating -- plants in pitchers

The vintage pitchers were $15 for the set at a local antique shop – I stuffed some plastic shopping bags down inside the bigger two and then placed the plants in. The small one holds an air plant. I LOVE the combo of the white and green! As I type this I’m noticing that most of these examples have green in them. Interesting. It gives a room life for sure!

I saw this simple idea on a blog and can’t remember which one it is! I’ve had the vintage baguette tray hanging on the wall for years and never really loved it there. The fake apples were sitting in a basket above the cabinets. Together it’s totally cute and EASY: 

simple decorating -- apples on tray

I don’t know where I got those apples but I’ve had them forever. They are SO REAL looking. They’re heaving like real apples too. They fool everybody. And you don’t need a vintage anything – a wood tray lined up with them would look just as pretty.

I love our pantry area – as you can tell I love to put plants in things other than just pots. I think it adds some interest – this one is a old crock:

simple decor -- boxwood wreath

And I hung that boxwood wreath up last spring and it’s never come down! I just wrapped some burlap around it to hang it and then nailed that into the top of the door. Bonus is that it works for Christmas too. ;)

All of these are easy and quick! To me it’s about looking at things in a different way – and taking inspiration from blogs. ;) Do you have any simple decorating tricks? Feel free to link some if you’d like.

**To find more info on the pantry door, go here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens tour

Hello all! Oh my goodness, I have been so excited to tell you about the trip I took a couple weeks ago. I was approached by Better Homes and Gardens recently asking if I wanted to help promote their products at Walmart and then TAKE A TRIP TO THE BHG HEADQUARTERS.

Uh. Yes, I would like to take a trip to the Better Homes and Gardens headquarters, thank you very much. It is an honor and I’m so excited about this partnership:


I took a TON of pictures and this is only half of them – but still a lot of pics! The headquarters are located in Des Moines Iowa – which is really weird because the only two times I’ve stayed in Iowa in my life were this summer.

They truly went all out for us:

BHG bloggers

We got to see so many of their current and future products and in addition got a grand tour of the facilities. It was so fun.

Nancy Hopkins, the food and entertaining editor, gave us a beautiful presentation in one of their test kitchens:

BHG headquarters

Do you see the cutie fall cookie jars? Adorable. They’ll be out in stores soon. :)

Nancy did the easiest, most beautiful entertaining displays using basic dishes and food. It was so simple, seriously. I think we way over think things when it comes to decorating sometimes. The simplest are often the prettiest:

That was a plate, an upside down bowl and then another stacked on top. (She suggested using something like Velcro to make them stay put when entertaining.)

We got a peek at the fall and holiday products that will be in stores soon:

BHG Christmas products

We also got a tour through the test kitchens – it smelled AMAZING:

BHG test kitchen

What’s funny is they were making this shrimp and pesto meal and Christmas cookies – and the combo still worked. ;)

One of the most exciting parts of the tour for us bloggers was seeing where the shoot spreads and advertisements for the magazine. Rooms were built everywhere with fake window and “natural” light. You can’t even tell they weren’t real!:


And we got to tour the prop room. People. We could have spent hours in there poking around – it was crazy!:

BHG headquarters

And really, so well organized too. Everything down to the cutlery was organized by color. So cool.

We got to see some photo shoots in action too. We walked in to one and the space was so dark, I didn’t think there was any way they would get a good shot:

But the images were coming up on the monitor and were stunning. It was fascinating to watch!

One of my favorite areas was the workshop:

Gah. This girl was in heaven! It smelled so good in there too. Pesto and wood – good smells. ;)

They had a room filled with just walls – exterior and interior. My favorite was the board and batten wall:

There’s a planked on there in the back too. ;) The exterior walls even had lights and doors, it was so cool.

The part of the tour I was most looking forward to was the test garden and it did not disappoint!:

BHG test garden

This is another spot I could have walked around in forever. It was beautiful:

lily pads

I think the shade garden was my favorite. I want to create one in our backyard just like this:

shade garden

Easy, right? I love that they use this garden to see what plants work – how well they grow, what kind of light they need. I’ve become a bit of a gardening nut over the past few years so I was all geeked out. :)

We finished up the day with a trip to the Iowa State Fair – we had dinner and then had a couple hours to play:

Iowa state fair

We rode a bunch of rides and had an absolute blast.

I have to tell you, I was SO impressed with the products – I was surprised more than once at what was available and the price. This bedding was one of my favorites:

colorful bedding

I don’t know why but I was obsessed with it. I just think it is so pretty – perfect for a girl’s room. Or an adult girl’s room. ;) I LOVE all the colors. OH and the headboard – (with nail head trim!) starts at $150 and comes in two different colors!

I was so, so impressed with their lighting. I bought a very similar lamp for NOT $60 a couple years ago:

Here is the wood one and I believe the swing arm lamp will be coming out soon.

Their weathered wood pieces had us all excited – they look SO good and this finish is so popular right now:

That console on the left is really for TV components but I loved it as a sofa table – or in a dining room as a buffet.

Their slip covered sofas and chairs were comfy and didn’t have that slipcovered look at all – I didn’t believe them at first. ;)

fish pillow

And I wouldn’t think I would like a fish pillow but those looked pretty adorable.

Their dishes were gorgeous (very Pottery Barn-like) and that little tray in the middle with the candles was so versatile:

It would be so easy to decorate your table for the fall or Christmas with that! I can’t find it online but I’ll do some checking and see if I can find it.

Talk about knocking one off the bucket list! It was an absolute honor to be invited and they treated us so well. I can’t wait to show you more of the products in a couple months! If you want a link for anything you see here just let me know. :)


I received compensation from  BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. All experiences and opinions are my own. :)