Back-to-school means Back to ME!

Yesterday my daughters had their first day of school which, as any mom can tell you, means that I spent the last week or so shopping for sweaters, glue sticks, and backpacks.

With those purchases complete, my friends at Wayfair posed an interesting question:  now that the kids were back to school, what was I going to do to get back to me?


What a novel concept!

It's been a long time since I've given any thought to me.  

(Sixty-nine days, actually.  Summer vacation was 69 days this year.  Not that I counted or anything.)

And although it had been awhile, I knew exactly how to get "back to me." 


I started dabbling in yoga last September and I loved it!  I kept at it pretty faithfully until June when—surprise, surprise—the kids got out of school.  

Now that they're back, though, I'm ready to get my downward dog on—and you can too! 

Check out these great products from Wayfair to help you get back to you!  



Spray Paint Obsessed: 5 Ways Spray Paint Can Save You Money

The following is a guest post from my friends at Modernizea digital space where one can gather ideas for updating and beautifying a home.  This post is not sponsored, but given my well-documented love of spray paint (found here and here and here), I thought it would fit right in on `a casarella.  Enjoy!

At Modernize, we know that living in an outdated home can crush your spirit and halt your creativity. Varying your decor and accent colors as your tastes change can seem overwhelming and expensive, but there is one household helper that will do the trick at an incredibly low cost. Spray paint is easy to use and can transform your home. Check out these 5 ways to update your home using spray paint and save yourself tons of money!
Before you begin, remember a few important tips about spray painting. First set up a large drop cloth or piece of waste plywood under your piece to be painted. Spray paint has a wide reach and can float outward with any breeze, so at least double your shielding surface beneath your project. Instead of painting on the floor, set your workstation at hip level, on a table or workhorse. Be sure your space has proper ventilation so that you are not affected by paint fumes. Always first try a test shot from your can on a piece of plywood before you begin on your first piece, which will help you determine how far from your object you need to be. Your spray can doesn’t need to be directly pointed at your item. Instead, try a sweeping motion to cover the object more evenly and without drips. Using a spray can handle can help you get even better results by controlling the flow of paint from the nozzle.

1. Spray paint handles in a vibrant metallic shade.
Your cabinet handles get a lot of wear and tear. It’s possible you’re even missing a few cabinet knobs after years of tugging and slamming. Most finishers don’t give much thought to the kitchen handles and view them as a utilitarian necessity, however, dressing up your kitchen or bathroom knobs and handles with spray paint can make a huge improvement. Try a metallic color of your choice to really make them pop. Rustoleum spray paint carries several different high-quality metallic shades that are water and rust resistant.

2. Spray paint a lamp with a bright accent color.
If you’re bored of your lamps and yearn for some exciting accent colors like you’ve seen in all the decor magazines, spray painting them a new shade is a perfect solution. First, clean the lamps and remove the shade, bulb, and metal harp. Cover the remaining top hardware that is not removeable with painter’s tape. Tie a plastic bag around the cord and cover any remaining exposed cord with painter’s tape. Then spray away in your work area. Choose to paint all of your lamp stands one bright color to tie your home together, or mix up the colors for an eclectic feel.

3. Spray paint your bedframe.
Another often overlooked and commonly mismatched decor item is the bedframe. It’s easy to update your side tables, but the bedframe is expensive and hard to replace. You may find yourself with a mismatched bedroom that throws off the whole decor. Instead of buying a whole new set, spray paint your existing frame to update the room. Yard sales are a good bet for finding vintage metal frames for just a few bucks, and with a fresh coat of paint they will have the shabby-chic look of your dreams. First paint the frame with primer, which can also be found in spray paint form, and then spray on your desired color. Don’t forget to allow the first side to dry before turning the frame over to do the next side. Allow a full day between sides to be sure.

4. Spray paint frames for a gallery wall.
Gallery walls are a unique way to show your individuality and display your treasures. The key to a gallery wall is the collage look that feels mismatched in the most perfect way. One way to create this look is by incorporating vintage-style frames. You can paint these frames white to create a clean palette, or spray paint them different colors to take the look even further.

5. Spray paint your door knobs.
This may seem trivial, but you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your home when your knobs are painted. Chances are your door knobs are tarnished and faded, likely a dull tan color, but spray paint them with a bold, dark color and your home will be instantly modern. Remove the knobs using a screwdriver and spray the knobs and screws at your workstation, but be sure to clean them first. To go the extra mile, add your door hinges to the mix. You’ll be shocked with the results when you put them back on. Suddenly the room looks put together and chic.


Easy Teacher's Gift (And a Plea for Help)

So it's that time of year again.  Time to say goodbye to teachers and hello to summer vacation.

I always like to say goodbye with a token parting gift.  As some of you might remember, teacher gifts are kind of a "thing" for me.  Read more about that HERE.

This year's gift is a simple one, but I think it will be appreciated nonetheless.  Here's how I did it:

I went out and bought a pack of $10 Starbucks gift cards and several reusable Starbuck's cups (sold in Starbuck's for $2—love them).  Then I put the gift cards inside the cups.

Now here's the part I'm not so sure about.  After I was done I wrapped the whole thing up in cellophane and attached a tag.

This is my tag.

It's supposed to be a joke—not a joke about the teacher, but rather a joke about Starbuck's Baristas.

Do you get the joke?

(Please say you do...)

I was originally going to write directly on the cup but my handwriting is awful and I thought they might appreciate a pristine cup instead of one that had been scribbled on.

Seriously, I'd love your feedback on this, internet.  (Because I have 48 hours before I have to give these bad boys out and I want to know if I should change the tag.)  



Retro Inspired Patio Space

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that I am into my fourth year of blogging.  Where did the time go?  Looking back at the archives it is interesting to see the evolution of the spaces that I've featured since January of 2012.

One example is my backyard which I've written about on several occasions.  (You can find those posts HERE and HERE.)

It's pretty obvious that I love my backyard—always have—so when Wayfair asked me to write about my dream patio, I almost passed.  I mean, I kind of already have my dream patio, and, as evidenced above, I've already written about it.

But then I began to wonder... what if I could start over?  What if I could create an entirely different space?  What if I had a blank canvas and cost wasn't an issue?  What would I do under those circumstances?

It was then that I realized I should absolutely write this post.

You see, my current outdoor spaces are very homey/comfortable: big cushiony chairs, lots of faux wicker, warm tones, etc.  Clearly that's a look that I love but it's not the only look to which I am attracted.

More and more I find myself being drawn to fun, colorful spaces, both indoors and out.   In addition, I love furniture and accessories that have a funky retro vibe.

With this in mind I created the mood board you see below:

7.   Crosley Griffith 4 Piece Seating Group

Doesn't this just make you want to throw a pool party so you can invite Gidget and all of her friends to hang out, drink root beer floats, and play lawn games in the backyard??  

(No?  Just me?  Okay then...)

I'm not going to go through each item since the links above contain all of the important details.   I do want to say that the entire look started with the blue seating group in the center (#7).  Once I found that I just kept building around it.  Some of my other favorite pieces include the cheerful Crosley Radios (which I loved so much that I couldn't choose between them) and the Carmel Stripe Beach Towel (which I am going to purchase as soon as I hit publish on this post).    

And then of course there are the pink flamingos—because you can't have a colorful, retro backyard without pink flamingos...

If this has whet your appetite for more colorful backyard wares, check out my newest Wayfair Idea Board entitled, "Dreamy Retro Patio" for additional items not pictured above. 


Mid Century Modern Mash-Up (Compliments of Chairish)

A few weeks ago while my sister-in-law and I were sitting around discussing decorating (as we are wont to do), she turned and asked me, "Have you ever heard of Chairish?!"  When I told her that hadn't she quickly exclaimed, "Oh, you have to check it out!  It's like some great little antique shop met Craig's List and had a really cute baby!"  Needless to say, with an endorsement like that—not to mention the clever name—I had to log on right away.  I quickly agreed with her assessment, and in addition to bookmarking their site, I also began following them on Instagram.

You know that thing that happens when you hear about something for the first time, and then suddenly you begin seeing (or hearing about) it elsewhere?  Well, about two weeks after that conversation, I received an email from the good people at Chairish.  They asked if I would like to curate a mood board highlighting some of the Mid Century Modern pieces from their site.  (You can find those HERE.)

Little did they know that I am currently in the middle of transitioning my daughters' playroom into a den and that I've been envisioning a sort of Mid-Century-Modern-mash-up for the space.

The whole thing was so serendipitous that I just had to say yes.  (And for the record, there is no compensation involved; I just felt compelled to do it given the circumstances.)

What you see below is one of many mood boards that I could have created.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless and I just know I will going back for more.

1. Jensen Modernist Art California Artist Yellow
2. Original Contemporary Abstract Green Painting 
3. Framed Haha Ink Drawing
4. Truncated Isocahedron Pendant Light
5. Navy Velvet Mid-Century Sofa
6. Tony Paul Attributed XO Wire Frame Table
7. 1950s Allan Gould String Chairs - A Pair
8. Premium Flokati Rug in White
9. Worlds Away Hudson White Lacquer Gold Leaf Chest
10. Suzani Gulkurpa Accent Pillow

Let me tell you about what I did choose.  I designed this room around the couch.  I'm sure you've noticed that blue tufted velvet sofas are all the rage right now.  While I love blue velvet, I'm not so fond of the tufting.  So when I saw the gorgeous Navy Velvet Mid-Century Sofa pictured above—with its beautiful blue velvet, but without the formal tufting—I knew it had to be my focal point.  

I thought the Suzani Gulkurpa Accent Pillow would add a fun and unexpected pop of green, which is my favorite color.  There were so many neat pillows to choose from that I'm sure I could go back and pick ten more if I were so inclined.  

There was also a fantastic selection of art.  Pictured above are three pieces that I thought would go well in the room, though, much like with the pillows, the choices were endless.  I especially love the Original Contemporary Abstract Green Painting which I thought went nicely with the couch and pillows.  The Framed Haha Ink Drawing was just funny and I thought my kids and their friends would enjoy that touch of whimsy while hanging out in the room.  

I went back and forth about whether or not to add a coffee table to the design.  Again, there were some great ones to choose from.  In the end, however, I decided to leave the space in front of the couch clear so the kids could sit on the  Premium Flokati Rug (not from Chairish, though I found out later that they do have one).  Across from the couch there will be a televsion on the wall.  I wanted a piece to put underneath it which could serve as storage for remotes, video games, etc. and I thought the Worlds Away Hudson White Lacquer Gold Leaf Chest would do that nicely.  I also thought the gold leaf went well with the pair of 1950s Allan Gould String Chairs.  (To say I am obsessed with them would be an understatement; I don't know how comfortable they would be but they sure look cool.)  

When I saw the  Truncated Isocahedron Pendant Light I just had to add it to the design.  I love the shape and I thought it paired nicely with the Tony Paul Attributed XO Wire Frame Side Table.  

Though I am by no means a professional decorator, I sure had fun playing one on the internet! If you happen to check out Chairish after reading this post, let me know.  I would love to see some of your favorite pieces.  


DIY Color Block Art

Today I want to share my solution to a common decorating problem.  I call it, "large wall, small budget" syndrome.  

You see, here in San Diego (and in many other places too, I imagine) builders have a penchant for building homes with vaulted ceilings.  Along with those vaulted ceilings come some pretty impressive walls and up until today the one in my dining room was looking mighty empty.  

I took this problem to my decorating guru (the sister-in-law whose house was highlighted in this post) and she recommended a series of color block prints.  She even gave me this inspiration picture:

Given that the inspiration shot originally came from Elle Decor, I suspected that those color blocks cost a pretty penny.  In fact, that was the case with most of the ideas I had for this space:  big walls require big art (which tends to cost big money).  

So what's a girl to do?

Make an inexpensive knock-off, of course!  (Those are my specialty, you know)

All it took was one trip to Michael's and I had everything necessary to cover my wall.  And the best part? It only cost about $130. 

I started by getting eight of the frames pictured below.  They were only $13.00 a pop (and of course I used my 50% off coupon for one of them).

Then I picked up a bunch of card stock in colors that I thought complemented my room.  

After that it was just a matter of arranging the card stock in the frames and hanging them on the formerly empty wall.  

What a difference!

I love the fact that I can switch them around, change out the paper, add or subtract more, etc.  I especially love the price tag and the fact that I don't need to feel guilty if I want to upgrade to some of that pricey art sometime down the road.  

If you have any creative ideas for filling a large blank wall I would love to hear about them in the comments.  Please feel free to link to any relevant blog posts as well.  

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Tattoo Your Easter Eggs

So I know that this is a post about decorating Easter eggs...

(And I'm writing it at 8:30 (PM) on Easter Sunday.)

But it's such a cute idea that I just have to publish it anyway.

Did you know that you can tattoo your Easter eggs?

Well you can! 

Just follow the directions on the package of tattoos. (Buy some HERE.)

And you can even dye them afterwards!

So go ahead and pin this for next year.  (Because there are only 365 days until Easter 2016.)

(And in the event that you don't want to wait until next year, you can always tattoo your bananas!)

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