4/17/17

8 Grownup Ways to Style The Little Artist Shelf from Minted


You guys, I'm so excited to share this post today because this shelf is aaahhhh-mazing. I've been eyeing picture ledge shelves for a while now, but I couldn't find something "just right." Until Minted debuted their new collection of art shelves and photo ledges.

Yes, that Minted. The online marketplace that sells oh-so-lovely stationary, wedding invitations, and artwork—all created by independent artists and designers. Lately, they've expanded into home products, too. Pillows, curtains, table linens, holiday decor—you can shop it all. But these shelves are exactly what I was looking for.

The good folks at Minted sent me over the shelves of my choice to style, review, and share here on the blog. It was a tough decision. I kept bouncing back and forth between the shiny metal shelf in copper and the French farmhouse shelf. But ultimately, I kept going back to The Little Artist shelf. I loved that it not only offered a ledge for pictures, photos, and artwork, but also a wire with clips for hanging even more art. (In my humble opinion, the more art to look at the better!)

The Little Artist shelf is designed with kids in mind. It's a perfect way to stylishly put children's artwork on display. You could frame their favorite "masterpieces" to place on the ledge along with some cute decor items, then have a revolving gallery of artwork clipped onto the wire.

But because of its sleek design and range of neutral colors (white, natural wood, soft gray, and whitewashed), this shelf is versatile and stylish enough for grownups, too. In fact, I put it to the test styling it eight different ways—and I had so much fun!


1. Bar Cart Companion

What's more grownup than adult beverages? If you have tiny bar cart and need a bit more space for the accessories, this shelf has you covered. I outfitted it with a jar of colorful swizzle sticks, my favorite gold deer bottle opener, a bottle of bitters, a cute beer sign, and a couple tasting glasses from craft beer festivals. On the clips, I hung a biz card for a brewery we want visit along with some coasters. But the clips are a perfect place to hang some cocktail recipes, too.



2. Extra Bathroom Counter Space

Am I the only one who scatters her makeup across the bathroom counter? If you're short on vanity space but want to keep certain items from your beauty arsenal handy, look to this shelf. It's just the right size to corral favorite skincare products, a pretty glass of brushes and eyeliner, and some decor. My bathroom's mermaid-themed, so I incorporated a few of those accessories. On the clips, I hung this mermaid towel that's just too adorable to use. 



3. Girly Bedroom Storage

My dresser is completely overrun with girly things—perfume bottles, jewelry, lovely little knick-knacks. I love the idea of using one of these shelves to store those items in a less cluttered way. Plus, the clips and wire are kinda perfect for hanging favorite necklaces and earrings. 



4. Coffee and Tea Shelf

Even though our kitchen isn't super spacious, I'm lucky enough to use a bit of our butler's pantry as my "tea and coffee nook." As a lover of caffeinated beverages, I love having certain things out on display—like coffee-inspired prints, tea infuser spoons, pretty mugs, and my colorful French presses. If I didn't have a designated butler's pantry nook for these items, I'd totally put them on display in the kitchen with this shelf. The clips would be ideal for "be your own barista" coffee recipes, too.



5. Foyer / Entryway Decor

I might have to purchase another one of these shelves for my foyer just because I love-love-love how it's styled here. This option is less about storage, more about decor. I accessorized the ledge with a few wood signs I'd picked up from flea markets and other shops. And aren't the clips so cute with my painted skeleton keys dangling along the wire? It makes me super happy.



6. Off-the-counter Kitchen Storage

Back to the kitchen because this shelf is just such a handy multi-tasker. For someone with scant counter space but wall space to spare, this shelf is a great spot to display a favorite cookbook, items like honey or spices, and adorable kitchen decor like my little creamer cow. And the clips? I'd use them for hanging favorite recipes (like my grandma's vegetable soup) and grocery shopping lists.



7. Sentimental or Seasonal Decor

Even though it could step in to help you out in a variety of ways, sometimes a shelf just wants to be decorated. If you're short on tables or other furniture for decor purposes, a few of these shelves on the wall are perfect for seasonal or sentimental decor that you can swap out depending on your mood, the holiday, or whatever. Here, I decorated it with a favorite photo of me and G, books cut into the shape of our initials, and a couple lovey-dovey items.


So... are you wondering where the shelf ultimately ended up in my house? Well, I actually have three shelves. And they were the perfect size, color, and style for a certain corner of my home office. :)



8. Pretty Home Office Shelving

Since I work from home (and blog/write in my spare time), I spend a lot of time in my home office. We recently took down wallpaper, repaired the walls, and painted it a gorgeous shade of dark gray. These shelves came along right as I was getting to the fun stuff: decorating. The 2-foot size was a perfect fit for this little sliver of wall next to my desk and perpendicular to my big bulletin board. And the soft gray just happened to be the exact color of gray that I'd be painting my file cabinets, which also matches the gray in my rug and my office chair. It's a win-win-win.

But what I really love about the shelves is the versatility. I need creative inspiration overload in my office. So I'm always filling up my bulletin board and scattering pretty objects all over my desk. The shelves help take some of the decor off my desk, but still within sight. And the clips are oh-so-perfect for keeping things handy that I don't want getting lost on the bulletin board—business cards, coupons, thank you notes, paint chips, and notes for my blog or novel.


Here's a view of the desk space overall. I'm really happy with how it's turned out. The dark and light grays feel neutral and modern alongside the dark wood tones of the room's original trim and my desk. And the grays are an ideal backdrop for the pops of white, mint, turquoise, and hot pink. When I sit here, I feel happy and inspired. It's functional with every thing I need within reach. It's also visually stimulating—I can look at my bulletin board and shelves when I just need to look away from the screen.



I adore these shelves. It's like they were made for the space. Also, I should mention just how impressed I am with the quality. They arrived from Minted very well packaged. They've got a nice weight to them and feel very high end. The wires are secure and the clips are hardy, too—no cheap hardware here. Also, the shelves came with all the hanging hardware and were a breeze to hang. 


Here's a photo I borrowed from Minted's site. It shows the back of the shelf. The shelf comes with a metal hanging strip that you attach to your wall. Then, the shelf slides right onto the metal strip. The genius part is that because it hangs on the metal strip, you can slide the shelf left or right to adjust it—perfect for hanging more than two above/below each other without having to get the nail in just the right place so that they're even.


Also borrowed from Minted's site, here's a side view of the shelf.


I'm so pleased with these shelves and I'll already planning to purchase some more for other areas of my house. The best part? The price is on point, too. The Little Artist shelf starts at just $62 for a 2' length. Not a bad price tag to pay considering how well these are made. I know that mine will last for years and I'll get tons of use out of them—and I'll probably move them around my home over the years, too. 


Which one most matches your style? 
What would you use the shelf for?

4/10/17

'A Colorful Way of Living' Book Giveaway


It's 1982. Barbara Bradley Baekgaard (daughter of Vera Bradley—yes, that Vera Bradley) and her friend Patricia Miller are sitting in the airport during a layover. A parade of suitcases pass them by—each one as dull, drab, and bulky as the next. "This place could use some color!" Barbara remarked.

Those words set a colorful, creative idea into motion. 

The women returned home to Indiana, got out a few Simplicity patterns and a Singer sewing machine, and set to work. The Vera Bradley Company was born.

This past week on April 4th, Barbara released A Colorful Way of Living—a lovely and inspiring guide to being more, creating more, and doing more—the Vera Bradley Way.

4/8/17

Bookish Decor Board: Three Dark Crowns


Three dark sisters, all fair to be seen, 
two to devour, and one to be queen. 

I bought Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns way back at my birthday in February (boyfriends who gift B&N gift cards are the best—I may be biased), but didn't get around to reading it until this week. Thanks to a few days of being sick, I spent my evenings curled up with tea, tissues, and this book. I devoured it. It's so, so good and I can't wait for the sequel this September. (And—rumor has it—a movie!) 

About the book: In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown. (via Amazon)

I love Kendare Blake's voice as chapter by chapter, she unfurls the lives, motivations, insecurities, and secrets of the three queens and the characters around them. While I can't say that I was rooting for a favorite (each character is so captivating), I can say that I looked forward to Katherine's chapters the most. There's just something about her dark, gothic world of poison—and stolen, steamy moments with a poisoner dude—that is so intriguing. There's danger, adventure, and romance around every corner in each of Blake's incredibly different and detailed worlds. 

Those three dark queens—and the three parts of the island they call home—inspired three dark decor boards. 
Arsinoe, the naturalist queen, lives in a quaint village nestled between forests and sea. The people there are hardy hunters and fisherman. Many of them have the naturalist gift. They have animal "familiars," special bonds with a rooster, dog, bird (or whatever) that's more than a pet, but an extension of themselves. Many of them can ripen tomatoes and bloom flowers with their magical powers. Arsinoe herself is a tomboy queen—a fearless huntress and lover of adventure. 

I imagine a room inspired by Arsinoe to be equal parts flora and fauna. A bed that grows upward into tree branches. A chandelier covered in flowery vines. Furniture with rustic simplicity and cottagey charm. A rug that's warm and cozy, encompassing the hues of hearth and woods. A comfy leather chair. Pillows, paintings, and knick-knacks featuring woodland critters and foggy views of the woods. Owls, birds, acorns, foxes, bears, and deer. A furry throw blanket. Candles flickering in amber glass. A bunch of wildflowers. 

Katherine, the poisoner queen, lives in a Gothic manor house surrounded by people who have a gift for poison—both in mixing it and in consuming it. Deadly berries, roots, powders, and elixirs are blended into their roast meats, sweet cakes, and wines. They eat and wear scorpions. Katherine herself keeps a lethal, brightly colored coral snake as a pet.

I imagine a room inspired by Katherine to be a combination of all things dark and luxurious. Gothic, but pretty. An elaborately carved black bed and matching vanity. Hanging on the walls would be a baroque gold mirror and botanical charts featuring poisonous herbs and plants—and a mural of mythological poisoner Circe. Plush velvet chairs—one in a bright coral, the other donning beautiful floral. Jewel tones like rich teal and juicy plum.

Mirabella, the elemental queen, is the strongest of the three and favored to come out on top. She leaves in a cool, cliff-side palace near the temple surrounded by priestesses who flock to support her. They're all mesmerized by her gift for controlling the elements—sparking lightning, brewing a storm,  blowing wind, bringing rain, and igniting flames—at the flick of her wrist. 

I imagine a room inspired by Mirabella to be a space that contrasts the stark and cold with warmth and elegance. Sleek, sharp-edged furniture in stony gray hues. A large piece of artwork depicting a stormy sky and sea. Bits of marble and gold. Splashes of oceanic colors like cobalt blue and teal green. And among all the blue, green, and gray, a few unexpected pops of fiery red to symbolize her flair for flames.




While I loved Katherine's chapters the most, I think if I had to choose a queen-inspired decor style for my own home... I'd have a hard time choosing between the dark luxury of the poisoners and the rustic charm of the naturalists. While elegant, Mirabella's world would be too cold and stark for me. 

Do you have a favorite queen? What part of the island would you most like to live in? Which decor style most closely aligns with your taste? Let me know in the comments. :)

Have you read Three Dark Crowns yet? You can buy it here.

*The links in this post are affiliate links. I may make a tiny commission if you end up purchasing the book. I only recommend and link to products/books/etc. that I truly love and think you will, too!

3/22/17

Dream Come True: My New, Big, Lush Plant—No Green Thumb or Upkeep Required


What's one thing that your house or decor is missing?  For me, the answer is plants. You see, I lack a green thumb.

Last year, I tried to grow herbs on my kitchen window sill. Apparently, I over-watered. A couple years before that, a co-worker gifted me with her pretty desk plant when she landed a new job but couldn't take the plant home since it was not safe for cats. I had no cats at the time, but the plant didn't live very long in my apartment. There was also that time I had a fuzzy little succulent. I don't remember what happened to it. The only plant I ever managed to keep alive for a good length of time was a lovely orchid, but it succumbed to the cold when I made the move from apartment to our house last spring.

3/15/17

My 5 Favorite Spring Cleaning Essentials + Free Seasonal Set from Grove Collaborative



Spring Cleaning. Two words that are almost as daunting as Daylight Savings. Almost.

Not only am I dragging myself out of bed (thanks to the dark mornings again), but I'm also dragging my feet when it comes to housecleaning. It's hard to keep the rooms spick 'n' span with house projects going on. 

The truth of the matter: Sometimes I have to bribe myself. In the mornings, what motivates me to get out of bed and get my butt to the gym? Well, the promise of coffee and thirty minutes to catch up on my favorite blogs before clocking into work for the day. When it comes to motivation for rolling my sleeves and tidying up? I can be coaxed by the prettiest, smell-goodiest cleaning supplies—and like clothing, decor, and candles, I enjoying switching up my scents for each season.

3/9/17

7 Book Recommendations for International Women's Day


I know, I know—I'm a day late. But Happy International Women's (Yester)Day, lovelies! However you celebrated or took action, I hope you felt empowered and appreciated. Because you are. 

I didn't take the day off from working, cooking, or doing housework. In fact, I worked a little late because I was so wrapped up in what I was doing. And as for cleaning up the kitchen and cooking a nice dinner—that was G-and-me teamwork. But the "Day without Women" did get me thinking about some of the historical and fictional women I admire. In a small scale, how would my bookshelf and love of fiction be different without them? On a grander scale, how would history have looked without them?

It inspired me to round up some of my favorite books featuring my favorite strong female protagonists.

3/8/17

Decor Board: Sassy Spring-Inspired Office


Despite the looming snow this weekend, I've got spring on the mind. (Maybe because of the thunderstorms and 70-degree afternoons we've experienced lately?) I've also got office decorating on the mind since we're about to start painting mine. Yay!

Anyway, I keep seeing this pink and blue (and every other color) rug pop up on Wayfair. It reminds me of my office's gray rug with a lot more pink. It's so bold, lovely, and unapologetically feminine. And it inspired this office decor board that mixes crisp, colorful furniture (like a teal desk chair, daffodil yellow desk, and sunshiny coat tree) with pieces featuring a more whitewashed, farmhouse finish (that lateral file cabinet and adorable little tiered bookcase). A girly armchair pairs with a sassy pillow. A bohemian ceiling pendant light with a sleek, shiny desk lamp. An eclectic mix of art and a quirky black giraffe statue. I could see this tiny office painted stark white or almost-black charcoal. What do you think? 

See something in the room that you just gotta have?