Everyday Life

A Peek at Recent Projects - Part 2

Monday we shared a recent dining room project with you. And today we are sharing a second project, a family room, that was completed earlier this year for some other lovely clients of ours. This project was a fairly large sized family room, but the design challenge here was that the space needed to accommodate several zones, or areas of different function - a tv watching area, a work space, and a children's play space. But, challenge accepted.. we were able to create and delineate these specific zones and still make the space feel open and cohesive. With a beautifully functional layout of space and a clean bold color palette, this space is one of my favorites this year! Take a look!


Family room view of ottomans


This family room got a pretty significant over-haul from top to bottom. The design included new bamboo flooring, freshly painted walls, and all new furnishings.. and I mean all! I don't believe any single piece of furniture, window treatment, etc. remained from the original space. These truly are the best kinds of projects - when we get to start from a blank canvas, so to speak. And, the transformation is always so much more rewarding for the client! Check out the snapshot below of the space before with seafoam blue carpeting, a slightly lighter seafoam blue wall color, and an assortment of tired old furnishings. What a difference, right?


Before image


Anyway, here's a few more sneak peek photos of the project, but definitely check out the portfolio page in the near future for more shots of this bright and fresh space. The clean lines of this large transitional sectional paired with pops of vibrant color in the pillows and bold pattern in the rug really create a dynamic space.


Family room side table view


This project actually lasted quite a long time.. with client decisions, contractor schedules, oh and me having a baby, I think this project stretched over almost 9 months. But, we had a ton of fun working on this project and, at the completion of the project, I even joked with the clients about how we are going to miss our Friday night date night.. uhem, I mean Friday night design meetings. =) They became such a staple in my week. Anyway, in pulling these photos together for the portfolio, I realized I miss something else from the days of this project...


Logan wearing Hayes


I miss my tiny little baby! This photo of Logan wearing Hayes was taken during installation of this project. Yep, this was Hayes' first time on the job! But I just couldn't believe how tiny and cute he looks here! Now he's a chunky monkey 9 month old. Wow, time flies!

Anyway, back to the project! In the photos below you'll see the three zones I mentioned earlier in the post. The first one shows the small and simple work space that is nestled into a small nook out of the way of the main living area and disguised from view just enough in case the desk ever gets a little messy!


Family room desk view


This next photo shows the children's play area situated perfectly in an alcove at the far end of the space. The clients have two adorable little kiddos and they needed a place to hang out on the floor, sprawl out their toys and just play! The comfy rug and floor pillows give them a soft place to play, and with the simple storage cubbies for all their toys and a cork board to display their artwork, this is the perfect little play space.. and it's stylish too!


Family room view of play area


And this last photo shows the tv watching zone, which from this angle you can also see doubles as a casual sitting area around the fireplace and the built-in bookshelves. With dual focal points, this area gets a ton of use from this family!


Family room view of built-in


Well, there's your sneak peak! Thanks for letting us share. Hope you love this space as much as we, and the clients, do! Check back later this week for one more tiny client project that we'll be sharing with you. And, as always, if you have a space that needs a total transformation, you know where to reach us!

Four(teen) Years Later

Today, September 19, 2013, marks our 4th wedding anniversary! And, as the title of this post suggests, four years of marriage also means that we've been together for fourteen years, and that's something we're very proud of. So, to reflect and reminisce, I thought I'd share this little gem. Aren't we cute? Logan and Valerie on their wedding day.

If you read my previous Thankful Thursday post, it'll come as no surprise to you that I feel that the life Valerie and I share is pretty awesome. We have a lot to be thankful for, and our love is definitely at the top of the list, which is why we tend to make a big-ish deal out of our anniversaries.. though plans for celebrating this year haven't been completely hashed out just yet. I guess that's what happens when a certain baby is keeping us both pretty busy :)

Anyway, as you can imagine, planning our wedding (and all details involved) provided the perfect opportunity for Valerie and I to use our creativity to make our special day.. well, special. It was designed to be down-to-earth, yet sophisticated, with a mix of rustic, vintage, and do-it-yourself elements, and to us, it was perfect!

From the weather to the beautiful outdoor ceremony location, from the self-made bride's dress to the DIY bouquets and boutonnieres, from the guest photo shoot area to the bride and groom choreographed first dance, every detail helped to pull together and create our wedding - the day we chose to honor and celebrate our love. So, with that said, we invite you to celebrate with us and check out more pictures from our DIY Wedding!

Skeleton keys around the floral centerpiece.

Happy 4th Anniversary to my one.. and here's to many more!

Basement to Back Yard

We recently decided that it was time to get organized and clear out some of our belongings in the basement. And, since a good chunk of the items stored in the basement are for the yard or garden, we thought, "Why not start there?" Add this to the fact that if I can find an excuse to purchase a new home improvement toy of some kind, I will, and... voila! Next thing you know, we're installing a new little shed in our little back yard. So, we thought we'd share with you our newest addition and show you a few snapshots along the way of the (relatively) easy installation.

The small brick patio for the shed to sit on.

A close up of the brick patio.

The black base of the shed.

The assembly of the shed.

Hayes enjoying the back yard!

The finished shed.

Anybody else have a recent update to their outdoor space? We'd love to hear about your projects too, so feel free to share in the comments!

Thankful Thursday - My Wife, My Life

So, it's Thursday. No, scratch that, it's Thankful Thursday! Today, I am taking some time to reflect on how thankful I am for my wife and for the life we share. Warning: I'm about to get mushy. Not only am I fortunate enough to be married to my best friend, the love of my life, and now the mother of our beautiful son, I am also lucky enough to own and operate a business with her. We get to spend most days together doing what we love, and for that I am thankful.

I've heard some people say that they could never work with their spouse, but Valerie and I feel the complete opposite. I guess that's what happens when you meet and fall in love at (where else?) work. That's right, we met in 1999 while working together at Perkins and the rest, as they say, is history : )

Anyway, I am truly blessed, and a ton (if not most) of it has a lot to do with her. So, thank you, Valerie, for not only marrying me, but also for pursuing your dream and allowing me to be a part of it!

He's (been) here!

As most of you know, Logan and I were expecting our first child in early February. Well, as I'm sure you can imagine - with it being almost mid April - he's here! In fact, he's been here.. for a little over 2 months already (which is crazy). Anyway, our little baby boy was born on February 5th, weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and measuring 19.75" long, and time has already flown by so quick! I have been wanting to post a little announcement on our blog to share with you the arrival of our baby boy, but clearly I've been a bit busy adjusting to life as a new mommy. But, today, I finally grabbed a few minutes to write this post.. so, here he is.. Welcome Baby Hayes!

First photo.

I've obviously got a couple months to catch you up on, so here are just a few more of the many photos we've snapped of him over the past two months! We, of course, think he is the cutest thing.. but we'll let you decide!

Cute bug.

While he was still only a couple weeks old, a good friend of ours (who is a professional photographer) offered to come shoot a few newborn photos of Hayes. While we haven't gotten those photos back just yet, this next photo is a quick snapshot of him in his hat and bowtie that we used for the shoot!

Hat and bowtie.

Since he was born in early February, it was pretty much too cold to head outside while he was still a newborn. But, when we had one of our first warmer days, Logan and I jumped at the chance to take our little guy for his first walk around the city! In the photo below, Daddy is babywearing Hayes in his Baby K'tan wrap - he loves that thing!

Walk photo.

Here he is all snuggled in his car seat with his adorable little knot hat! In this photo, you can really start to see his little cheeks filling out! He is definitely a good eater. =)

In car seat.

As I'm sure you know, newborns don't do too much besides sleep, eat and, well, poop. But in this next photo we caught one of his first little smiles. These are the moments we now live for!

Smile photo

And, in this one last photo, we'll leave you with a sneak peek at little Hayes' nursery! I will definitely be posting more photos and details on the design of his stylish nursery, but for now, this is all you get. =)

Crib photo.

Well, thanks for letting us share the arrival of our precious little boy!

Thankful Thursday - Babies and Clients

For a little something new.. today I'm writing my first post in a new series/category - Thankful Thursdays! I'm sure you've seen this type of series from other bloggers out there, but while I have wanted to include posts of this nature on my blog for a long time, this is my first! As you can imagine, by the name of it, it's a opportunity for me to take just one day out of any given busy week to write about something in my life, and in my work, that I am thankful for.. and today I am feeling particularly blessed and thankful, so what better time to break in this blog category for the first time, right? As the title of the post states, today I'm thankful for both the baby that's growing inside me, and the amazing design clients that I am truly lucky to have! I know, I know, these two things seem pretty unrelated, but you'll soon see why I combined them in today's post - let me further explain.

First of all, I am less than two weeks from my due date! Ahhh, that's crazy! I can't believe this pregnancy is almost over and that, in just a few short weeks, I'll be a first time mom to a little baby boy. This pregnancy has flown by and, I must say, it has treated me quite well - no major pregnancy complaints here - so, I've gotta be thankful for that!

Pregnant me!

But in addition to a happy healthy pregnancy, I'm more importantly thankful for this little life that is being entrusted to me! As it gets closer and closer, I'm really getting super excited for the day we finally get to meet our son, and I'm looking forward to each and every day after that.. when we get to hold him, nurture him and love him endlessly. I am already so thankful that I get to call myself his mommy! Oh, and I can't mention our little boy without, of course, mentioning my thankfulness for my amazing husband! I am so looking forward to the little family of three that we are about to become - how cute?

Ultrasound

So, how does all this baby talk play into my thankfulness for my clients? Well, here's how. So, we've been really busy working away on several client projects over the past many months (which is probably why the pregnancy flew by), and as we are getting down to the wire with the pregnancy, we are also getting down to the wire with wrapping up those client projects before I will be taking some maternity leave to enjoy time with our new baby and get into the swing of new parenthood! Well, I'm realizing that it's a difficult thing to plan for time off when you own your own design studio - there is no one to pick up the slack, or take over your duties while you're out! Ahh..

So, with my clients as a priority (as they always are), I've been trying to make miracles happen and neatly tie up loose ends and complete projects before our baby makes his arrival. But, to no avail! This week, I have realized that time is no longer on my side, and our baby boy could make his entrance any day now. Wow! If that's not nerve wracking enough, I've concluded that it is simply not feasible to think I can perfectly wrap up all client projects, then "clock out" for maternity leave, hehe. Instead, I'm sure I'll be working intermittently on design concepts, product purchasing, project management and scheduling installations simultaneously while I'm also nursing, changing diapers, napping and cooing over our new baby boy! But, here is where the thankfulness comes in.

Every conversation I've had with any of my clients regarding my pregnancy, my impending labor/delivery and my maternity leave has proven that I truly have the best clients! Their kinds words and overwhelming understanding about any delays to their projects, extensions of their design process, or how my work flow may change a little once I have the baby, have made me feel so thankful! Their understanding has allowed me to feel confident that I will be able to take on this new role as a mom, while still operating a successful design studio. I really couldn't be luckier to have such amazing clients who have all been super supportive during this new journey of my life. I like to believe it speaks to the great relationships and great service that they have come to expect from me and StudioVB. =)

Speaking of clients and client projects.. I thought I'd share a sneak peak of a recent client project that we completed just a few weeks ago - just in the knick of time!

Shea Project - Fireplace

Shea Project - Sofa wall

Shea Project - Window wall

Anyway, from the baby gifts our clients have gotten us, to the sweet words about how great I look during pregnancy (thanks by the way), to the advice on what to expect with a newborn, to the offers of bringing our little guy along to client meetings.. I appreciate our clients more than they know. Oh, and I also have to send a little shout out to all our trades and vendors as well, who have been equally as accommodating and understanding!

I'm thankful each day that I get to do what I love for a living and come into the homes of great people who I not only get to share in their lives, but who also invest on a personal level in mine! So, there you have it. Today, I'm thankful for clients and babies - one specific baby especially, hehe!

Our Exciting Apology

Ok, before you read any further, let me apologize! I know we've been pretty absent from the blog for quite a while now - you know, only posting every so often! And, I'm sure we may have let some of you down. Whomp whomp. So, we would like to say "we're sorry". But, there has been good reason for this and unfortunately we haven't been able to share that with our readers... until today! So, in lieu of a long drawn out teaser and long paragraph hyping it up, I'll just share with you a sweet little image that we've recently shared with our family and friends!

Pregnancy Announcement

Yep, after trying for many months, Logan and I are expecting our first child! Yay! And, as of today, I'm actually 19 weeks along (that's a little over 4 months), so the past several months have been full of excitement, joy, nervousness, morning sickness, and of course all kinds of initial baby planning! So, I hope you'll understand our little hiatus from blog posting! But, with settling into the swing of pregnancy and tackling some of the huge to-dos that come along with planning for a new baby, we hope to resume more regular blog posts.

You're probably thinking that, like many first time parents, we'll be consumed by all things baby, and that we will end up posting about baby stuff more often than not. Well, you are only slightly right! We may post details on the progress of our pregnancy, the design of our nursery, and stylish baby items, but don't worry, our main focus for our blog has always been "all things design" with a little bit of our everyday life mixed in - and that's what it will continue to be!

So, just for fun - here are a few close-ups of the photos from our pregnancy announcement shown above.

Logan with funny face!

13 week baby bump photo

Due date photo

Oh, and congrats to those of you who have good instincts - yes, last weeks Wordless Wednesday was a tiny little hint and precursor to today's news! We've been in the early stages of planning to convert our never-really-used spare bedroom into a nursery, so I've of course been browsing the web for lots of design inspiration!

Anyway, I'll leave you today with a more recent photo of me with my baby bump! Only in the past couple weeks has it made its first real appearance - which totally makes things more real! I'm enjoying watching it grow, and knowing that our baby is developing and growing healthy and strong. This photo is from a collection of weekly photos that I have been taking to chronicle this incredible journey.

18 week baby bump photo

Well, there you have it - that is our exciting news and that's the reason we haven't been blogging much! We are finally happy to be able to share it with you! We've already gotten so many sweet and kind words of congratulations and well wishes, and we want to thank everyone for that! We feel so loved!

Operation Renovation... It's Time for a Change!

As Valerie shared in a post a few weeks ago, multiple rooms and floors of our home were damaged due to a drain/roof leak. Since that fateful day, we’ve had men in our house working on the renovation and restoration of our damaged home, and just about two weeks ago, they finally finished up! They did a fine job, but living in a house during renovation definitely proved to be a challenge. There was furniture in our kitchen (in fact, a few randoms times I ate my cereal while sitting on our sofa in the kitchen), a mattress and a shoe rack among other things in our office (which we claimed as our temporary bedroom as well, hence the mattress), clothes in random rooms and places, and one could not keep up with all of the dust that comes along with drywall work. I truly now know why it is called drywall. Living in disarray for two people who usually pride themselves on at least trying to be organized proved to be interesting to say the least. While I’m not necessarily looking forward to this ever happening again, realizing that you have no control over a situation that you might otherwise have, and giving into that, can actually be a bit therapeutic.

Instead of focusing on all that seems “wrong” or out of the ordinary, we chose to take advantage of the fact that everything was out of place and, therefore, had to be put back into place. This provided an opportunity for us to re-evaluate each item in our home and whether we really need it or not. Now that the renovation is complete and we are starting to put our home back together, it is literally like moving back in again. And, that means that we can, in an essence, start fresh. Clean slate.

Speaking of starting fresh, this doesn’t only apply to our home. Valerie and I decided to use the last two months to examine all facets of our lives and how we can improve them. For example, the workers showed up by at least 7:30 every morning, which, in turn, forced us to be up and ready just as early. And while this may not seem early to those of you who start work at that time or earlier, that’s early for us. But getting up earlier and having the opportunity to actually sit down and eat breakfast, do a little cleaning, or run an errand before our crazy work days start, has been a breath of fresh air (luckily our air is much cleaner now without all of the drywall dust!).

The point is, even a seemingly bad situation may have its perks. Don't be afraid to embrace these experiences and make a change! Anyone have a similar story or anecdote to share?

An Unexpected Renovation.. Ahhh!

If you've noticed that we haven't posted too much about our home and our projects around the house lately, you might be wondering why! Well, today, we are finally letting you all in on the craziness of what has been going on around here for the past month or so! Here's the story! It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I was just getting dressed and ready for a baby shower for a friend of mine, when "whoooossshhhh", an unmistakeable sound of rushing water gave us very little warning of the cascade of water that would come pouring into our bedroom moments later. Ahhhhh! Luckily we were still home and began grabbing towels, buckets, etc. to defend our home from whatever was happening!

Check out the picture below to see exactly what was happening!

SIDENOTE: We often have really lovely interior images on our blog, but the images you're about to see are not so lovely! But hey, it documents the experience, right?

The water leak.

More of the water leak.

Well, I could give you the play by play of the next several days and weeks, but I'll spare you all the details and try to make a long story short. Apparently, a drain on our neighbors roof (we live in semi-attached city row homes) had clogged, and standing water was backing up on their roof. Upon their attempt to unclog the drain, the concealed drain pipe must have broke, because all of the standing water, as it flushed down the now unclogged drain, didn't make its way down the down spout as it should, but instead came pouring into our house! The water entered on the ceiling of the second floor and, because of the volume of water, made its way all the way down to our first floor and even into our basement! Ahhhhh! We are thankful, however, that we were able to move most of our personal belongings out of harms way (only a few things were damaged/ruined), but the walls and ceiling didn't fair so well!

The resulting damage!

More resulting damage!

Ceiling damage on the fist floor.

So, with extensive amounts of water damage, we called our insurance company and a restoration company, both of who acted very quickly to remedy the situation. Roofers came to repair the damaged drain pipe, and restoration workers came to tear out our damaged walls and ceilings and take the necessary measures to dry out and sanitize surfaces from potential mold, etc.

The demolition.

More demolition!

Fans drying out the space.

Gutted room with anti-microbial spray.

Obviously, we were very upset at the situation and maybe a bit angry that it had affected us, but the damage was already done! Unfortunately, all we could do is fix the problem and chalk it up to "sometimes in life, things happen beyond your control". But, it didn't help that we were just starting to feel like we had made some progress on the design of our living room. We had just, a week earlier, installed a wall to wall custom built-in unit (that luckily didn't get any water damage) that we hadn't even gotten to share with you yet - more to come on that in the future. Anyway, we were ready to pull together the next layer of the space, when this little set back happened!

So, forgive us if we've been a bit busy with an unexpected renovation!

Drywall in the room.

Well, thanks to everyone who has helped us during this crazy time. We appreciate it!

The painters are here today, so we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully, our home will be back to normal soon. Did I mention that we are basically living in one room of our house during this process. I'm ready for this to be over, hehe!

Wish us luck as this process wraps up. Have any of you ever experienced a similar situation?

Made or Unmade?

Not too long ago, I had a discussion with some family members about something pretty controversial, and I'm actually not sure I know where I stand on the issue. Okay, okay, so I'm making it sound way more exciting than it may be, but it's still interesting - I think! The issue at hand is.. Should you make your bed every morning after you get out of it. Or, can you simply leave it unmade?

Made bed.

Unmade bed.

Even as a designer, I must say, I do not make my bed every morning! I suppose it's true, that I do feel better walking into a room that has a freshly made bed vs. one pillow here, one pillow who-knows-where and a duvet hanging on the floor, but the reality in our house is that Logan and I do not have the same schedule every morning - sometimes I am up before him, and sometimes visa versa - so I suppose neither of us have gotten into the habit of making the bed when we are the last to get up!

Unfortunately, I usually just crawl out and leave it for later. Not to mention, I often wake up with an idea or a task (from the ever-present to-do list) on my mind that I must go do/write down/tackle at that very moment, leaving no time to perfectly place the arsenal of shams and toss pillows on the bed. Occasionally, I'll actually make the bed later in the day, but sometimes I climb into it at night just as I left it in the morning.

I'm not convinced there is anything wrong with an unmade bed. When I come to bed at night and my bed is all disheveled from last night's sleep, it serves as a lovely invitation to lay down, get comfy and snuggle right in! That's a feeling that I never feel with a perfectly made bed. In fact, I often feel quite bad for disturbing a well-dressed bed. =)

Made bed.

Unmade Bed.

Oh, and here is the controversy I mentioned at the beginning of the post. My sister-in-law makes her bed every morning, whereas my brother-in-law refuses to do it ever! She says, "It just makes me feel better and it looks nice!" While he says, "Why do it? No one sees it! Besides, you're just gonna get back in it in a few hours anyway." Both of their arguments are true! However, I suppose I'm somewhere in between.

Made bed.

Unmade bed.

So, I'm curious to know what you do. What's your preference? Is your bed made or unmade?

Images found here!

Celebrating a New Addition!

I've got some exciting news with today's post (perhaps only exciting to me and my immediate family, but I thought I'd share anyway). My sister-in-law welcomed a new bundle of joy to the family last week - a beautiful baby girl, Sophia. She's super cute, happy and healthy! But, before I show you a photo of the beautiful newborn, let's go back a week or so. Today's blog topic was actually planned to be posted last week, before the baby arrived, but, as you can see, it didn't! So, even though the baby is already here, I wanted to share some of the fun that occurred before she arrived!

Logan and I had decided to throw his sister (and her husband and daughter) a little surprise baby party. Ok, so it was pretty much a baby shower, but since it is their second child (and showers aren't customary for a second child) we had been calling it a baby party! And, since they already have a lot of what they need for the newborn, we didn't intend to shower them with gifts, but instead just celebrate the new life that we would all be welcoming into the family very soon. And, because they had been trying for a second child for quite sometime, this new baby is such a blessing and worth celebrating!

So, a couple Saturdays ago, we hosted the little get together, and I thought I'd share some of the details from the event. As usual, we planned out everything from the menu, to the DIY decorations, to the games that we would play. Nonetheless, we kept it simple and inexpensive. Luckily, we have connections with the Country Club of Harrisburg, so we got to use the venue and furnishings for free - good deal! And no, the slip-covered chairs are not necessarily my style, but the atmosphere in person was quite nice - light and airy with a sense of formality! But, to bring in a little fun, we decided to DIY some cute tissue paper pom pom flowers for the centerpieces in gender neutral colors (since they didn't want to know the gender of the baby)!

Centerpieces

Other than the centerpieces, we didn't do too much in the way of decorations. The only other decoration was the sweet little DIY bunting flags hung on the fireplace.

Bunting on the fireplace.

A close-up on the bunting.

What's a baby party without games? Boring, haha. So, we, of course, planned a few fun little games for the guests to enjoy! Here's a peak at some of them.

What's your Prediction game.

Guess the Gerber game.

Measure of Love game.

Guess Who game.

An even more important part of any party is the food, right? We decided on a theme of small, or baby-sized, sweets and eats with cute baby names, of course. So, here are just a few of the goodies we had!

Baby sandwiches.

Deviled Eggs

She's ready to pop-corn.

Baby Muffins.

Sugar Cookies

Mini Whoopie Pies.

And, a party isn't a party without the guests! So, here are few snapshots of guests enjoying their time.

Guests playing games.

Guests mingling.

In lieu of gifts, we asked each guest to provide an anecdote, story, memory, advice, etc. regarding parenting or siblings. Then, we compiled each sentiment into a scrapbook for the parents-to-be.

[caption id="attachment_3698" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Here's a guest perusing the scrapbook.. and you can also see that, despite our request, lots of guests also brought gifts. How sweet!"]

Overall shot of the party.

And, here's a pic of the glowing mom-to-be with her mom, Grammy.

Mom-to-be and her mom, Grammy.

Maternity Photo.

It seemed that everyone had a great time! Congrats again to the family of little Sophia! And, here's the cute newborn photo I promised you.

Baby Sophia

I'm Dreaming of a..

decorated Christmas! With being so busy, I'm embarrassed to admit that we've been slacking on spreading the Christmas cheer around our house. We haven't even decorated our Christmas tree yet! It's horrible, I know. But, the good news is that we finally have it, in the stand, watered and ready to go - that, in and of itself, was a big step. We have been saying, "Let's go get our Christmas tree tonight" everyday for the past few weeks, and we finally did so last night! So, now, the plan for tonight is to get out the ornaments, decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music and baking yummy cookies, since we only have 10 short days to go!

So, without any photos to show you of our holiday decorations, I thought I'd post some creative, unique Christmas decor ideas from our Pinterest pin boards not only to inspire others, but to get inspired myself. Let's face it, everybody needs a little inspiration sometimes. Hope it works!

Enjoy!

Green and silver decor.

Hot chocolate.

Simple, neutral decor.

Scrap wood christmas tree.

Simple wrapping!

White christmas decor.

Burlap stockings!

Bold graphic gift wrapping!

Simple vintage wood deer!

Reindeer cookies

Christmas tree decal!

Well, I'm inspired! Happy Holidays to everyone!

Two Years Ago Today..

I lost my best friend.. my mom. My mother passed away unexpectedly on this day two short years ago, and let me just say, it doesn't get any easier as the years pass by. Whether it's a song, a smell, a photo or a place, I am reminded oh so often of her and the memories we'd made. Though I started this post by saying I 'lost' her, I don't feel that way entirely. She is still very much a part of me and with me everyday; and I believe she always will be. Nonetheless, I miss her incredibly! I can't help but long for just one more moment where I can see her face again, hear her voice again and hug her tight again. My wish that she (and we) would have had more time will never fade. My mom was such an amazing person, and of her many gifts, the greatest was her love! In the relatively short time we got to spend together on this earth, she gave me enough love to last a lifetime, and for that I am so thankful.

While this is not the type of content I normally post on this blog, I hope you'll understand that I felt that this post could be cathartic for me; and maybe, in turn, serve as a sense of peace and comfort for those who also have a broken heart from a similar loss. I suppose I'm also using this platform as just a little way that I can say 'I love you' to my mom today.

In honor of her, here are a few snapshots of my mom throughout her life.

Mom at age 6ish

Mom at age 10ish

Mom with cute face.

Mom graduation photo, I think.

Mom with wind in her hair.

Mom with us two kids

Mom smiling at the beach

Mom and I together

Mom in front of the coastline.

Mom, I love you and miss you!

Anniversary Escape

Back on September 19th, Logan and I reached our two year wedding anniversary, yay! Wedding Photo

See more photos from our big day here!

Wedding Photo 2

But, with a lot going on (as usual), that day came and went with just a few sweet anniversary-ish moments and a simple "happy anniversary hunny" exchanged between the both of us. Otherwise, actually celebrating our anniversary was placed on the back burner - which isn't a huge deal, since we're usually pretty low key anyway! But this sort of happened with our first year anniversary too, when friends of ours got married. So, last year, we spent our anniversary weekend at their wedding activities.. Fun? Yes. Celebrating us? Not so much.

So, before we let another year slide, we decided (on a whim) to actually get away for a few days and celebrate! It really is worth celebrating when you have someone so amazing, like I do, and you were able to keep him around another year. Haha. So, that's what we did. We took advantage of the holiday weekend and decided to travel upstate to a charming little town in the Pocono Mountains and stay a couple nights at a cute little bed and breakfast!

We chose the small town of Milford, PA - which, by the way, apparently made the list of the 10 coolest small towns by BudgetTravel. Anyway, it was a very cute place and it was a great place to relax and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Oh, and we had the best unseasonably warm and sunny weather you could ask for!

Milford sign.

We stayed at this beautiful little bed and breakfast, the Harrington House.

Harrington House sign.

View of Harrington House.

=Us in front of Harrington House

When we booked this bed and breakfast, like I mentioned, it was pretty last minute, so they only had one room available. It wasn't our first choice of their charming little rooms, but since we liked this B&B, we booked anyway. Well, when we arrived, a cancellation had occurred and (without our asking) the innkeeper had already moved our reservation to the room that had been our first choice! Now, on any other circumstance, I would have been disappointed that what we booked, and what we expected, was not what we were getting. I mean, can they just do that? But anyway, in this case, it was a good surprise and it was like an everything-works-out-for-a-reason moment. We ended up getting to stay in the room that we kept referring to when saying "well, it would have been nice if we could have booked that room, but we'll have a good time anyway." Haha.

So, anyway, here is our cute little room.

Thistle Room sign.

View of our room.

Second view of our room.

Typically on vacations, or mini-vacations as this one was, we like to just explore the local area and take it as it comes. As I'm sure you know, I definitely have an "itinerary" type personality. I mean, as a designer, it's all about planning, right? And, before we leave for any trip, you'll definitely find me researching the locale, googling cool things to see and do there, reading reviews on where to stay and eat and, of course, taking notes, making lists, and creating itineraries, oh my! But, surprisingly, once we arrive, I play it pretty cool. We usually like to just go with the flow, and use all my planning just as a loose guide. If we see someplace cool, we stop. If we're hungry, we eat. If we're tired, we nap!

Logan asleep on the bed.

Anyway, most of our time spent in Milford was walking the town, casually browsing local shops and eating yummy food!

Photo of Jorgenson's Deli.

Man and monkey sitting outside the deli.

Logan and I at our picnic.

Lots of the shops in this town were antique shops - be still my heart. This was one of our favorites. And, we have two new pieces to prove it. One you'll see below, the other we'll post about in the future.

Old Lumbaryard Antiques

Vintage printing press letters.

Me walking down the stairs with our new purchase.

Another favorite shop was this really fresh and stylish shop called Upriver Home. And, bonus, they have an online shop, so I now have a new resource, yay!

Upriver Home sign.

Logan reflected in wood mirror.

Glass bottles.

Industrial light fixture.

Stools and other stuff at Upriver Home.

Lastly, we heard if you visit Milford, you must visit Grey Towers. So we did.

Grey Towers sign.

As the sign reads, it's a national historic site, and was once the home of Gifford Pinchot, a Pennsylvania governor and America's first forester and noted conservationist. It's a beautiful stone building with gorgeous landscaping and exterior spaces. We did not take the interior tour. I know, I know, as an interior designer you'd think I would, but I have been on many period home tours, and this day, we chose to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery instead.

Grey Towers.

Stone column walkway.

Circular trellis covering.

Us sitting on a bench.

Well, I'm so glad we took time out of our often busy schedules to get away and celebrate us. I hope 50 years from now it will be no different. I am such a lucky girl to have found my one!

But, enough with the mushy stuff.. it's back to reality. When we returned home after our trip, we wasted no time starting on some new projects that we'll fill you in on soon.

Eating Local!

DISCLAIMER: Today's post has pretty much nothing to do with design, but I wanted to share it anyway =) View of the farm fields.

So, although we have known about the idea for quite awhile, this is our first year as a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) thanks to my sister-in-law who asked us to become members and split a full share with their family. We are already about half way through the harvest season, but every time we get a new delivery (which is every week) it just makes me happy and that's why I wanted to blog about it today!

View of the Spiral Path Farm sign

So, first, I guess I should mention (specifically for any local readers) that the CSA we chose is Spiral Path Farm, a 255 acre family farm located in central PA. Spiral Path offers a "wide variety of certified organic vegetables, herbs and annual fruits", as they say on their website. And it's true, already this season we've gotten strawberries, sugar snap peas, radishes, spinach, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, yellow squash, and tons of lettuce and greens!

The neat thing about it is that you don't know exactly what you'll be getting that week, so it's always a fun surprise! And, even more awesome is that you get foods you may not typically eat or, if you are like us, possibly something you've never had. Which does present the issues of "well, how do I cook this?" or "what am I gonna make with this?" - but I think that's really the joy of it! One example of that for us was getting swiss chard. While I have seen and heard of swiss chard, I had never tried it or attempted to cook it. But Logan gave cooking it a whirl, and it was really pretty yummy!

Oh, and Spiral Path also includes several recipes for the specific food we get each week. Bonus!

Overall it's really a great opportunity to support a local family farm while getting extremely fresh organic produce delivered to you each week, and for a reasonable cost. How can you beat that? Plus, it shortens my time at the grocery store, which if you know me at all, is a huge plus!

A hand written strawberries sign.

The awesome thing about it too, is that they have Open Farm Days, which are, just as they sound, days when they open the farm up to their CSA members to come and have fun - you can pick your own fresh fruit, veggies and herbs straight from the plant, have the opportunity to see the fields where your organic produce is grown, buy other goodies from other local vendors (like meats, cheeses and breads), and of course experience a little taste of farm life. Not to mention, they also make it fun for the kids!

We, of course, went to an Open Farm day several weeks back with my sister and brother-in-law and our niece. Here's a bunch of photos from our day at the farm!

Isabella planting herbs.

Valerie and Isabella picking strawberries.

Ann Marie and Isabella with a full basket of strawberries!

Logan and Valerie with our basket of strawberries.

View of us walking by the sugar snap pea plants.

Close-up of the sugar snap peas.

Shot of the bread vendor.

Well, thanks for letting me share! And, if you aren't already, I would totally suggest becoming a CSA member! For a local CSA in your area check out www.localharvest.org!

Flea Market Season

Between StudioVB work and projects around the house, I have been trying to get time to get out and enjoy the summer. I know I've said it many times before, but I am definitely a warm weather kinda girl. And, along with warm weather comes a ton of things that I just can't get enough of - the breeze through open windows (both in the car and at home), ice cream (yep, i'm a total sweet tooth), being outdoors (the park, the lake, the backyard, wherever), and one of my faves.. flea markets! Luckily, we have a few pretty good ones here in the Harrisburg area. Two of which are the Annual Shipoke Flea Market, where we went this past weekend, and the Williams Grove Flea Market that I am planning to pop by this coming weekend. The Williams Grove Flea Market is probably the largest and maybe one of the coolest. It's held at the old Williams Grove Amusement Park grounds, and the setting is totally cute and really quite cool. It has these great little shaded walkways strolling past some of the park's old buildings and old rides and attractions that remain, dilapidated but wonderfully aesthetic. It definitely shows the history of the place. Anyway, I will hopefully take some photos while I'm there to post in the near future.

But as for the Annual Shipoke Flea Market - it is very cute and nice as well. This flea market is set along the Susquehanna River in the quaint Shipoke neighborhood of Harrisburg and is only held once a year (hence the "annual" part). So, I always make sure to go because the people are nice, the setting is beautiful and the finds are often pretty good! This time, we went a little later in the day than I hoped, so you know some of the good stuff was already gone. Lots of stands had mostly glassware and ceramic chotchkies/tchotchke/chachka (I'm not sure I know how to spell that - I don't think I've ever written it out), and you know that stuff rarely sells! Anyway, here are a few photos from our day!

Shot of the flea market.

Another shot of the flea market.

Here are a few items we thought could be good finds!

A shot of a folding luggage rack and cute magazine holder.

A photo of a cool antique trunk.

A photo of Logan with an owl art print.

So, sidenote - here's the owl story! We had come to the Shipoke Flea Market last year, and had seen a piece of art with a really quirky little owl that we really liked, but we passed it up hoping on the way back through we could offer less than what it was marked! Well, that was a rookie mistake (even for these veteran flea marketers) because obviously someone else thought it was cool and snatched it up before we made it back through. We were so bummed - Logan especially, because of course it was my suggestion to wait it out. I can't help it, I guess I am too thrifty for our own good! But I learned that lesson well - if you are going to be heart broken if it's gone, bite the bullet and buy it when you see it! So anyway, as you can imagine, I haven't heard the end of it about the 'lost' owl print over the past year. So, when we came across this unique little print (I'm slightly convinced it's the same one), we snagged it right away! I hope I've redeemed myself. Now we just need to find a spot for it.

Back to our afternoon at the flea market! Well, of course, you always find some really strange or weird stuff at flea markets too, but that's part of the fun of it. So here are a few of those finds!

A photo of baskets full of barbies.

A shot of a van seat.

A photo of a motorcycle with toliet paper bungeed onto it.

Ahh.. nothing better than an afternoon at the flea market!

Spring Has Sprung!

With spring in the air, Valerie and I decided it was time to spruce up the front of our house with our annual re-planting of our window box and planter and re-mulching around the tree. This year, we decided to plant some perennials instead of all annuals so that we can enjoy watching the new growth (or regrowth) of the plants and flowers next spring.

Side note – while the names can be misleading, if you want plants and flowers that return year after year, make sure you pick up perennials. Annuals, on the other hand, only bloom and last for one season/year. One of our very good friends just made the mistake of thinking that annual meant year after year and purchased a whole carload of annuals for the flowerbeds she and her husband are creating. Once realizing the misunderstanding, she ended up back at the store returning the annuals and picking up the perennials she meant to get. Oops!

Our planting process started with a trip to Lowe’s to pick out this year’s flowers and to grab a few bags of mulch. We made sure to purchase enough flowers to fill our planters as well as show variety in size, height, type and color. Once we had what we needed, we used our CR-V, equipped with the handy-dandy shelf, to haul our finds home.

Flowers in trunk of car.

I actually did most of the planting while Valerie was off at another job, so I failed at taking some in-process photos. So, check out some pictures of our finished products!

Flowers and plants laid out before planting.

Upclose shot of colorful planter.

Flowers in wooden flower box.

Close up of flower box showing the planter in the background.

Close up of purple flowers in flower box.

Planter and flower box at the entrance of our house.

Any of you green thumbs out there have any pictures of your plant or flower creations that you’d like to share? E-mail them to info@studiovbdesign.com and maybe you’ll see them in a future post! Happy Spring!

Refreshing the Blog

We've been blogging for just a few months now, and we are enjoying getting into the swing of this new aspect of our business (and our lives, really). We, like a lot of things in life, are learning what works for us as we go along.. in this case, along our journey through the blogoshere! So, with only a few months under our belt, we saw a way to refresh and make our blog better, so we are already making just a few simple changes. I'll tell you what they are in just a sec, but if you've been reading you may have already noticed! Originally, the idea for our blog was to give StudioVB (our design business) a new means to connect with our clients (both current and future), to offer design ideas and advice to them and anyone who might stumble onto our blog, to simply offer a glimpse into our creative business - you know, to show more clearly and more genuinely who we are and what we do - and, of course, hopefully inspire our readers in some small way!

But, as I knew I would, I sorta fell in love with blogging. To me, this blog can be more than what it began as. Even though I am still finding the balance between work, play and blogging (since blogging is sort of a crossover, hehe), I am inspired to not only use blogging as I described above, but also to use it as a creative release as well - a place to share anything and everything (now, if only I had time). I know lots of people have personal blogs, but that's not really what we're going for here. However, as I look back over our posts, I was finding that a pretty good number of my posts were crossover topics as well.. but, I guess that's the way it goes when you live, work and play by doing what you love - it all blends! And, I feel blessed that I can say that.

So anyway, with the help of our web developer (my big brother), under the direction of our web designer (haha, that's me.. I like to think I can do it all), we made a few updates to fit the direction where the blog was headed! I know I told you I'd tell you what they are, but this could be fun - can you guess? what's changed? what's new?

Comment and tell us what you see that's new!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

For most, weekends are great for “getting things done.” And, that is definitely the case around our place. While we also take time out of our weekends to enjoy ourselves and to see friends and family, we always make an effort to cross something off the list… yes, you know, the list. So, last Saturday, we took some time to work on our list while also helping the environment. For some unknown reason, the city of Harrisburg does not offer residential cardboard recycling pick-up. Therefore, instead of just throwing it away, Valerie and I have been saving our cardboard in the basement until we accumulated a large enough pile to merit a trip to the local recycling center. After collecting for a few months, the time had come!

Image showing car with cardboard in trunk

Side note - For any of our Harrisburg resident readers, the closest recycling center is in the parking lot of the Uptown Plaza.

Close up of cardboard packaging in box

Car at the recycling center

Logan putting cardboard in recycling bin

I should also note that, in addition to simply recycling your cardboard, you can also use your acquired cardboard for crafts and other projects. You might recall from a previous post that we made our Christmas cards this year by reusing the cardboard from our everyday household items. Also, check out the recycled cardboard mosaic Valerie has been working on. Don’t be afraid to get crafty, people!

Regardless of whether or not you decide to use your cardboard for any crafts, just remember to reduce, reuse and recycle!