A POP of Color for Spring + a $100 Wayfair Giveaway

Living in San Diego I was fortunate not to experience the brutal winter from which my Midwest and East Coast friends are still recovering. 

However just because we don't get a real winter doesn't mean we don't appreciate spring when it finally arrives.  

Spring, like nothing else, beckons me to our outdoor spaces--particularly our master balcony.  

Only this year, when I finally got out there, I was kind of underwhelmed.  Don't get me wrong, I love my balcony.  However, several years after purchasing our outdoor furniture, it was starting to look a little sad.  

And brown.  

Very, very brown.

Well, brown and green, but still not very exciting which is why I was so pleased when Wayfair.com invited me to participate in their "Pop of Color Campaign".

The premise?  Add a pop of color to any space in your home using up to $100 worth of Wayfair merchandise.  (Can you guess where I decided to use it?)

Now $100 is a very generous stipend, but it wasn't going to buy me a new patio set.  Therefore I decided to jazz up my existing furniture with decorative accessories in bright colors and fun patterns.

My first stop was in the outdoor pillow "department" where I was immediately drawn to these fun, city-themed pillows.  Having lived in all of the locations represented below, these were very tempting indeed.  I was so glad that Wayfair.com allows you to "favorite" items because it enabled me to "wander" the site without worrying that I would never find them again.

Clockwise from top left:  
DENY Designs Anderson Design Group Dive Florida Indoor/Outdoor Polyester Throw Pillow 
DENY Designs Anderson Design Group Chicago Indoor/Outdoor Polyester Throw Pillow 
DENY Designs Bird Ave San Diego Indoor/Outdoor Polyester Throw Pillow 
DENY Designs Anderson Design Group Coastal California Indoor/Outdoor Polyester Throw Pillow

From pillows I moved on to outdoor rugs where I seriously considered spending the whole budget on this great geometrical piece:

The only thing that stopped me was my decision to move away from the blues and greens.  I figured if I was going to do this thing, I was really going to do it, so I started exploring more vibrant colors such as reds and oranges.

I briefly considered dressing up the side table with a little tray and/or a faux flower arrangement and tossing a throw blanket over the cushions (for chilly evenings on the balcony).

And in the end, I did go with a throw, but a solid one in a sumptuous orange chenille.  Technically it's not an outdoor blanket but I will keep it in a little basket in my room when it's not being put to use outside.   

I paired it with this pillow and I am o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d!  

DENY Designs Valentina Ramos In The Garden Indoor/Outdoor Polyester Throw Pillow

The pattern is so bright and fun; I definitely achieved my goal of livening the place up, don't you agree?

Now I know what you're thinking, "Why does she have all the luck?  Why can't I get $100 to spend at Wayfair?"  Well settle down friend, because now it is your turn.  Wayfair has generously offered to provide one of my lucky readers with a $100 gift card to their amazing site.  Simply follow the directions in the Rafflecopter link below (be sure to link to a Wayfair product in your comment) and you too can add a pop of color to your space!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Wayfair has provided me with product compensation for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.}



You Can Find Me Everywhere (but Here)!

Perhaps you've noticed that I haven't been posting much lately?

(Or maybe you haven't, but now you know.)

Well it's not for a lack of work, that's for sure.

And if you're jonesing for a little `a casarella on this fine Monday, allow me to direct your attention to my current whereabouts:

One place you can find me is on the oh-so-popular wedding website, The Knot.  Last Friday they did a little post on my Wedding Day Emergency Kits.  You can find that HERE.  (Did you see that part where they called my idea, "genius"?  That was pretty cool.)

Another place where you can find me is on Wayfair.com.  That's right, Wayfair, the website for "a zillion things home."  I can hardly think of a better company to collaborate with.  I am particularly excited about this one because it is going to be an ongoing relationship.  Wayfair has assembled a group of bloggers to be a part of their Wayfair.com Homemaker's Program and I am pleased as punch to be included among them.  My first post, featuring the adorable DIY bowls you see below, is currently up on their site.  Click HERE to read more!

See you around the internet, friends!



DIY Flower Crowns & a Photo Shoot

It is probably no surprise to learn that I have a lot of creative friends.  Given my interests (which are well documented within the virtual pages of this blog) it is pretty clear that I am drawn to creativity.  

And the only thing better than having creative friends is collaborating with them.  

So when the talented Alyssa Gorence of Alyssa Brule Photography suggested we team up on a project I was delighted!

Alyssa is one of those people who always has an idea--some picture in her head that she manages to bring to life through her beautiful photography.  

On this occasion she suggested that we make flower crowns and then head to the Carlsbad Flower Fields to take pictures of my kids.   I was all in.

"Do you know how to make a flower crown?" she asked.  

Truth be told I didn't but hey, that's what the internet is for.  After a quick Google search I came across THIS POST.  It's a flower crown tutorial.  If you're interested in doing things properly, I suggest you click on the link and read the instructions.  I used them more as a loose guideline:

After purchasing some fake flowers at DAISO I dug up some floral wire, floral tape, and some clippers (to cut the fake flower stems which are made of wire).  

Beyond that, it was trial and error.  Using my daughter's head as a template, Alyssa and I made rings out of wire.  Then we attached the flowers to the wire using the floral tape.  It was an imperfect process to say the least, but the results were fabulous.  If you look closely, you'll notice some golden butterflies nestled in the flowers.  This was another fabulous Alyssa-idea.  She had some artificial butterflies (made out of feathers; find your own HERE) and suggested that we spray paint them gold.  (And you know I was on board with that!)

Two days later we were off to the flower fields for our informal shoot.  The results were incredible: a series of dreamy pictures which I just can't stop looking at.  (And those crowns turned out pretty great too!)

The first eleven pictures are Alyssa's.  Notice what she did with the butterflies in the image below.  (Did I mention that she's a digital media artist?  The photography is just a fraction of what this girl can do.)

Now I will let the photos speak for themselves.

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

photo credit: Alyssa Brule

The rest of the pictures were taken by me on my iPhone.  Before you look at them, please take a moment to check out Alyssa's site or "like" her Facebook page.  (You can also follow her on Instagram.) She's based here in Southern California (San Diego & Los Angeles) but she is willing to travel.  

UPDATE (4/22/2015):
Since publishing this post, I have run across several great tutorials on making flower crowns, including one from an online florist called Flower Explosion.  

I have included several of their pictures below (with their blessing) but if you'd like to read their post with the full instructions, click HERE.  



`a casarella is now on Instagram

Yesterday I did something I've been meaning to do for quite some time:  

I opened an Instagram account for `a casarella.

And now I am going to beg, er, politely request that you follow me there.  

Just click HERE and press FOLLOW.  

(I will happily follow you back!)


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