love

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!

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!

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!

A Valentine Home

With only one week until Valentine's Day, I'm getting in the mood for some love! And, while I was managing our Etsy shop this week (which, I know, is terribly low on inventory, since we've been selling like crazy) I was inspired to create an Etsy Treasury featuring little touches to a sweet and LOVELY valentine feel at home. And, now I'm sharing it here on our blog with you!

Oh and don't you worry, we've got some great new Etsy items to list.. so check back soon!

Anyway, if you're not familiar with Etsy Treasuries, they are member-curated shopping galleries. As you browse Etsy, you can compile a group of items (usually related in some way) into a Treasury List and share them with other Etsy visitors. Mine is entitled A Valentine Home, and here's a snapshot of it on Etsy.

Treasury from Etsy.

Pin It

I've also included images of each of the items below. Check it out!

You know, Logan and I like to say we celebrate our love every day - versus just one day a year - so we don't usually make huge Valentine's Day plans. Instead, we'll usually just do a little something sweet together that day! We also don't usually decorate the house much for Valentine's Day, but right now I'm wishing we had some of these cute Etsy finds to help fill the house with love!

Heart framed art.

Be mine mug!

Striped party straws!

Luv ya wall words!

Burlap hearth wreat.

Coasters.

Framed LOVE print.

A heart mobile.

Heart coasters

Painted pink chair.

Nesting bowls

Berry wreath.

Love is kind banner.

Ikat pillow.

Teether.

Heart art.

If you love these items, like I do, they can be found on my Etsy Treasury! And, if you liked my Treasury, feel free to share it!

Oh and now you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!

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.

Pinterest Please

If you haven't heard of Pinterest, you might be living under a rock, hehe. I'm just kidding. But if you really haven't, I'd love to be the one to introduce you to it. Pinterest Logo

So, meet Pinterest.com. It's essentially a virtual pin board, where you can "pin" images, products, websites, and whatever you like, to serve as a collection of inspiration. Not only that, but you can browse other peoples pin boards to gain further inspiration - I love that part!

Here is a look at some of my pin boards..

My Pinterest pin boards.

Anyway, for those of you who have known about Pinterest - two things: 1) Yay! Follow me and I'll follow you. 2) I know, I know, for you Pinterest is old news! Well, it's pretty old news for me too. I have been surfing Pinterest for a little under a year now, and actually pinning for about 6 months. So, why am I blogging about it today? Because I haven't yet.

While I had been pinning like crazy, and loving every minute of it, I have kept it as my personal inspiration space for quite some time. But as of this week, I have decided to share, hehe. So, as you'll notice on the right side bar, I've added Pinterest to my check-us-out-elsewhere buttons (it's red, you can't miss it)! I should mention too that while I do pin under the username StudioVB, the pins are actually specific to just me, not necessarily our design studio. So anyway, if you wanna know what I'm all about (if you haven't figured it out yet), check out my pin boards and you'll likely get an overall snapshot of me.

Here are just a little sampling of some of my pins and some of the things that inspired me to "Pin It"!

Recylced bottle chandelier.

Paint can colors.

Corrugated metal headboard.

Inspiration wires.

urban vintage interior

You know, I am confident in my design point of view and can easily describe my personal style. But, because I actually really like a lot of styles, colors, ideas, etc. and because I work in a variety of design styles depending on my clients, it's sometimes nice to come back to Pinterest, browse my own pins and really come back to a great sense of 'me' and what I'm most drawn to. I love that part of Pinterest too! And, guess what, it can help you do the same.

If you aren't quite sure of your design style. Pinterest can help! After you've pinned images you are drawn to, browse your own pin board and you'll start to see the common threads. I may start asking my clients to create virtual pin boards. I already ask them to gather imagery, ideas, etc. Hmm.. Pinterest as a tool for my studio.. I like it!

With Pinterest you can go from this..

A physical inspiration board.

To this..

My pins on Pinterest

So, as you can see, Pinterest is a great tool for gathering ideas and cataloging things that inspire you, whether you are designing your home, adding to your wardrobe, experimenting in the kitchen, having a baby, planning a trip, or planning an event or wedding (side note: oh how I wish I would have had Pinterest when I was planning my wedding.. instead I had, dare I say, hundreds of files, folders and even physical magazine cuttings of all the inspiring ideas I came across).

Oh, and just so you know, this post is not sponsored by Pinterest - I just love it that much! If someone would like a personal invite to Pinterest (yep, it's by invitation only, like some exclusive party, hehe), leave a comment below, I've still got a few invites!

Well, I'm off to pin..

New Blog Features!

I guess we need to work on our readership.. which we are - it just takes time! Anyway, we played a little game.. sorta like where's waldo? or what's different about this picture? We asked if you had noticed what updates we made to our blog design and layout? Well, if you hadn't figured it out, here's a list of what's new:

  1. We added a new title and header design to our blog. If you remember from this previous post, we love to use the be.love.create mantra.. and it sorta became the essence of our blog! So, check it out above, it looks like this!

Screen shot of the new header.

  1. We moved the business logo into the shaded upper right quadrant of our blog layout - essentially we swapped the mantra with the logo, to shift the focus of the blog!

Screen shot of the new logo location

  1. We added a link to our facebook and twitter accounts! Sometimes when we get busy and haven't blogged for a number of days, we may have posted a status update on facebook or tweeted a quick design tip, so now our readers can get a little dose of us elsewhere. Yay!

Screen shot of the social networking buttons.

  1. And, probably the biggest change, although maybe least noticeable to our readers, was the complete overhaul of our categories! Like I mentioned in our last post. We realized our content was more varied than we thought it might be. So, we created new categories to fit the topics we blog about most.

Screen shot of the list of new catrgories.

And, I'm hoping to make a 5th change - and updated photo of me - so I'll let you know when I do so.

Well, feel free to let us know your thoughts on the changes!

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!

Thrifting

I’ve been out and about stopping by flea markets, yard sales (now that the weather is warmer) and of course good old thrift stores looking for anything that catches my eye! I always keep a running list of things I’m looking for (and need), both personally for our own home and professionally for the design studio, clients or staging inventory. Of course, it’s not the easiest hunt to find exactly what I’m looking for, but instead somehow I end up finding something I really don’t need at all, but that I fall in love with and just have to have. And, this was the case last week.. while perusing a local thrift store, I spotted this!

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in thrift store.

Marked at just a mere $45, I couldn’t resist! So, first things first – I text the hubby with a quick photo and the words “do we need this?” of which I normally get one of the following responses.. “what for and where will it go?” or “well, how much is it?” or the disheartening “nahh, I don’t think we do”. But to my surprise and affirmation, his text response read “Yes”.

So, after a quick follow-up conversation via phone, we agreed and I snatched it right up! Now began the issue of how are we getting this home and, once we do, where is it going? Unfortunately, even with our new ride, it wasn’t going to be easy getting this vintage sofa home. 24 hours, a u-haul rental truck and another $20 later, we carried this gem over the threshold, literally.

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in pick-up truck.

But like I mentioned, this isn’t a piece we needed and we may not even have a space for it. Not to mention, it is lovely in it's brilliant mid-century color, but it will definitely dictate the color scheme in whatever space it ends up! So, while we stew over the plan for this piece (perhaps working it into our office, creating a sitting area in our current unused 2nd bedroom, etc.), for now it sits in the middle of our living room and has been serving as our cats' very own sofa! I suppose they approve.

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in living room.

Cat on blue-green mid-century modern sofa.

And, I should note - Although the thrift shop claims to have cleaned and disinfected any upholstery pieces they sell, we, of course, intend to give the sofa a good cleaning ourselves because, well, you just never know. So, stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll post our tips on how to clean second-hand upholstery.

Oh and just as a bonus! I also snagged this cute little woven stool for under $10 on the same trip.

Woven stool.

I might leave it natural or maybe give it new life with a bold new color. We'll see!

Happy 2011!

Sending out Happy New Year wishes to all! Logan and I at the New Year's Eve strawberry drop

Happy New Year sign all lit up at 12:01 am

So, it’s that time of year again, to reflect on the last year of your life, to look forward to the coming year and to make resolutions about how this year will be different – and better! Well, neither Logan or I have made specific New Year’s resolutions. I think there is some part of me that knows if I claim a specific resolution, that will inevitably set me up for failure. Haha. But, that’s the pessimist in me. So instead, we are simply aiming to take on this coming year with our always trusty motto in mind – be.love.create. We mentioned these three words in an earlier post, but today (New Year’s Day) seemed like a great time to post more about it and hopefully inspire a more positive year for you too!

Each of these words provide (at least for us) inspiration, motivation and basically all the guidance needed to shape a happy healthy life. Each word is the start of an axiom that can end any way you choose; therefore, it can change with whatever is happening in your life at the time, yet always remain consistent. For example, the first word, be, might inspire you to “be yourself”, “be happy”, “be in the moment”, “be confident”, etc. Then, the second word, love, might direct you to “love one another”, “love life”, “love what you do”, “love a challenge”, etc. And finally, given our artsy crafty nature, we throw in the last word, create, which may not only inspire you to “create art” or “create beauty”, but can always encourage you to “create goals”, “create your dreams”, “create relationships”, “create memories”, etc.

So, as you can see, these three words have a huge story to tell and as this year goes by, we’ll be sure to post any be.love.create phrases that inspire us – both in our personal lives and, of course, with our design studio! Feel free to share any of your mottos with us as well – we’d love to hear ‘em.

First Official Post!

Well hello there, welcome to our blog! This is the first post of our long-time-coming blog. Unfortunately, like lots of things in life, blogging got pushed aside as other things took priority. Nonetheless, it was our goal to get this thing launched before (or more realistically, at) the start of the New Year. With only a few days left of 2010, I thought I’d post a short introduction to get things rolling. So, who are we and what is this blog all about? Well, I’m Valerie and my husband and business partner, Logan, and I both plan to be authors of this blog (though I have a sneaky little feeling that I’ll be the one writing most often). Nonetheless, we are both creative, down-to-earth, driven and hopefully intriguing =). Discover more about us in the sidebar or in the ‘about’ section of the website!

Now, to answer the second part of the question, this blog is sprung from StudioVB (our interior design studio), so of course we’ll post often about topics related to interior design, our client projects, interesting finds, and quite frankly, anything artsy and creative. However, let’s face it, while we love what we do for a living, life is about a lot more than work. So, we’ll also write about the interesting, fun, strange and perhaps sometimes mundane happenings of our everyday life. This will, for sure, include our design and do-it-yourself adventures in our own home, which after purchasing last year, is still a work in progress.

You’ll see that we’ve given our blog the title be . love . create, not only summarizing the content of the blog, but named for the simple three word motto that directs our lives. Each word holds so much meaning, inspiration and possibility that we hope as we continue blogging might also inspire others. Stay tuned…