10 Year #Bloganniversary

Hello - Yes, it's been a while. I've been wanting to jump back into blogging after my much needed hiatus, and this rainy fall day seemed like just the right time - especially since it was ten years ago today I wrote and posted my first blog post. It's hard to believe ten years have passed. So much has happened along the way - from exploring new industries (blogging/social media to thrift and luxury furnishings) plus applying my past experiences of retail visual merchandising to now showroom (and even a showhouse!) styling, attending industry events (bloggers conferences to furniture market weeks), redesigning client spaces, and criss-cross-country moves (from Florida to Arizona to North Carolina) and I'm grateful for it all -- especially all of the people I have met along the way. Some people have changed my life, some have passed away, and for some, I helped to changed their life. And to think, all of the connections started from stepping out of the retail box into a whole new world... and that world started with blogging.

Junior League of High Point Showhouse set & styling with Ray Langhammer for designer Libby Langdon, plus Scot M. Wood - adjacent Dining Room designer.


But that new world also came with a price - health decline from sitting too much, weight gain, eyesight loss, pinched nerves, neck, back, hand muscle aches (even tearing my meniscus while cleaning) and an uncomfortable lingering stress of keeping up with the Jones'. Health & wellness was furthest from my mind, until cancer struck a close friend (killed another), Parkinson's took another close family friend, my husbands sister was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's (now stage 5-6), and my moms diabetes landed her in the hospital - now she's on dialysis treatments three days a week in Miami. Turning fifty had me heading into a downward spiral I didn't like, so I made changes to my lifestyle. 


 Salem Lake Trail - Winston Salem

Compound all of the above with my husband being let go at his job (after twenty years with the company - and the reasons for our moves, now feeling trapped). At this point, I was mentally drained. All strong reasons why I just had to STOP - stop everything, and reevaluate the purpose of it all (blogging and social media). Downing Cokes and sugary foods & Advil to power through sitting at a computer for hours on end, researching, resourcing, comparing, and striving for new daily content is not living. Taking NyQuil shots to knock me out so I could sleep. FOMO of events and worrying all the time if someone is going to copy or steal my content / photos (even after taking more time to watermark) -- plus documenting all the correct lingo + link-backs for copyrights of others, truly just drained all of the joy out of blogging - So yes, I stopped blogging for a while, and refocused myself to living with intent. 


 Reynolda Park - Winston Salem

My intent now is ensuring a work / life balance - practiced, not just preached. What started as stop drinking soda, a major cut back on sugary foods (alcohol too), and making sure I move my ass daily (counting steps + using tracking apps) lead to a major pantry purge and shift in the foods, not only I eat, but my husband and pets too. Together we also have incorporated a weekly nature trail walk in nearby parks, a great means of breathing in fresh air plus clearing a cluttered mind - and this past year, speaking of decluttering, I've been focused on 'letting go of stuff'. We've lived here now for five years - no moves in sight to prompt a purge, and things do accumulate. 

It's all still a work in progress, but I feel so much better than before - so much so that the second I slip up (over indulge in sugar, not eating enough leafy greens or getting enough sleep) I feel it right away - sluggish, nauseous, out of balance - and that's no way to live.


 SBC Innovation Quarter - Winston Salem

Pivot back to blogging, a task I have struggled with continuing during my hiatus, (is blogging dead?), and I believe, similar to sweets or anything in life for that matter, in moderation and with intent, it can still add value to the reader, as well as my life - or now brand - Focal Point Styling... especially since my husband and I are planting more permanent roots here in The Triad. Recently, I have even been taking some refresher classes on blogging, social media and business at Wake Forest's Innovation Quarter, Small Business Center here in Winston Salem.

Blogging daily as I was when I first began ten years ago I cannot do - but blogging a few times a month going forward is feasible. In 2020 though, I may need to step it up and make the shift to Squarespace or Wordpress. As for the content, I'll continue to focus on interior styling, layering in more home organizing tips & tricks, along with continued sharing local love for small businesses and industry events.

My sweetie & I at Greensboro Fashion Week


How have YOU been? What's new with you?
You can still find me on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram @nyclqinteriors.

Happy 10 Year Blog Anniversary to Focal Point Styling!
 Thanks for stopping by!










Catching Up & Spring Home Updates

Once again, the (new) year seems to be flying by! It feels like just yesterday I peeked out the windows to see winter grey, and today, the view is filled with blue skies, green buds, birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers! I truly love this time of year, and especially now living in a place where you can really see, feel, and appreciate the change of seasons. And with the change of seasons, comes a few in home changes over the past three months, including:
  
January - Winter Paint Projects (objects)
- Mirror Makeovers
- Trunk Revamp to Stripes
- Ebonized Dining Table
- Chandelier Update
- Emerald Buffet Makeover


I'd like to add ribbon trim to the shade, but in the meantime, the white candlesticks are painted antique gold.





February - Spring Cleaning Began
- Window Cleaning
- Window panel updates (DR, MBR, LR)
 - Wall Decor updates - Created an Abstract Painting
- Changed air filters
 - Kitchen & Bathrooms deep cleaning
- Closet purge = donations + consignment
- Closet organizing
 - Home Office purge & cleaning














March - Pre-Spring Projects
- Outdoor wicker cleaned & painted
 - Phase 1 outdoor living spaces - after winter clean-up
- Front Door Re-Painted (black gloss)
- Interior black door & white moldings (+fireplace) repainted 
 - Finished basement primed & painted
- Layering of Spring florals + greens (both faux and real)
- Guest Den Refresh - New daybed refinished
- Sheets & Towels renewed
- Brass & Silver polished
- Created New Spring Tablescapes




The satin black door was already fading - refreshed with two coats of (Glidden)  high gloss. 


The key to a crisp edge paint job is an angled brush.


The finished basement & bathroom were blah-builder-beige (since 2005!!) Easily  updated with Behr Gentle Rain - same color we used in our Master Bed / Bath and Guest bathrooms - keeps house cohesive, updated neutral, and still light enough for a basically windowless space. 


The metal Daybed I ordered was Oil Rubbed Brown - it wasn't available in black (but I really liked its style being vintage-like) - I built some sections, painted them, and I finished building bed inside, in the upstairs guest space. 


HomeGoods gift cards came in handy to replenish guest towels, along with create a welcoming Spa Tray in the Guest Room.


The daybed is actually a trundle bed, but rather than build the low trundle, the space came in handy for guest luggage storage. The arm-less sofa bed is being consigned.


Fresh flowers last so much longer here in NC than they did in AZ - and houseplants have been a great means of fresh greens all year long...



Good 'ol toothpaste works like a charm to polish silver I've collected over time (mostly from thrifting!)


 I'll post a few other tablescapes next - this was just a quick Spring - Easter brunch alfresco set outside on the deck - The table I refinished last year.The black wicker chairs I thrifted in AZ.

Hope you enjoyed a happy Easter weekend!

Along with these projects, all done within a small budget - reusing & refinishing existing items paired with a few new additions, we've also had guests over for a get-together in February, my family visited (just last week), taking in Spring around town, Jeff's family too will be coming this Summer - and we're going to have neighbors over for grilling season - plus also get the neighborhood together to have a Summer block party. Although I don't go out thrifting as much here as I did when I lived in Florida or Arizona, I've still managed to keep turning Harmon House into a home with a few shifts plus reselling items no longer in use via two local consignment shops.

My mom & aunt visiting for the week.


Chef Jeff preparing our good Friday fish meal...

Since I've taken a little break from blogging, most of my sharing has been with project updates via Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr (just quicker to still keep in touch). I need to share more details about some of the makeovers & paint projects here on the blog - but I really just needed a break from blogging. Of all the social media channels I share on (FB, TW, IG, G+, Houzz, Flickr, Pinterest), blogging by far takes the most time, has changed so much since Pinterest, and I was seeing the least return for the time invested. After spending so much time online, I started to get, RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury (hand, forearm, neck), and weight gain from not moving around as much as I used to. After being 115lbs. for most of my life, I shot up to 144lbs. Thankfully, now I've dropped down to 133, but being only 5'2", for me - that's still too high - not to mention, my blood pressure was some ridiculous sky-high numbers). I'm sure moving (to AZ and now to NC) has also placed on strain on motivation (major life change), but after now living back east for a little over a year, I'm starting to feel more settled &  grounded again.

Sitting IS the new smoking - GET UP and move around.

With Spring in full swing and April just around the corner, I'm so looking forward to getting back to being and living outdoors - especially gardening (hubs is too!) and taking walks after dinner. There are also several flea, antique and the furniture markets coming up to get out and explore - plus I made a list of local parks to experience on the weekends. Regardless of my back not being quite the same as it used to be, and as fun as blogging was when I started (back in late '09) - I can't stand sitting still anymore.

Old Winston in Spring Bloom!

Jeff's Raised Box - Vegetable Garden

I'm so ready to get back outdoors!! How about you?

Happy Spring!
Thanks for stopping by!






INDOOR WINTER PAINT PROJECTS

With the colder winter days now in full swing, including our first snowfall of the season Sunday morning -- it's time to focus on indoor projects. Before diving into several projects running through your mind, it's good to start a project list, especially room by room, and tackle each space / project over time. Along with giving the kitchen & bathrooms a deep after holiday cleaning, plus reorganizing closets that became disarray during the holidays, I started some small painting projects - one of which is a simple mirror makeover...


Since paint is the easiest, least expensive and most effective means of getting the biggest bang for your buck, reusing leftover paint you may already have is a sure way to create a transformation using zero dollars. Another means of stretching your paint makeover dollars is purchasing sample jars of paints - especially when they are on sale. One of the colors I had when I lived in AZ and used to whitewash walls and makeover accessories was Clark & Kensington's Vanilla. Since I couldn't pack and ship liquids when we moved, I've been slowly building back up go-to my paint assortment - again including C&K's vanilla, here I used to transform the look of a basic round mirror I have in the dining room...

Here is what I used:
  • Wide frame round mirror (clearance find at Garden Ridge 2013)
  • 1 drop cloth (folded on table for extra protection)
  • 1 Chip brush
  • 1 small sponge stick
  • 1 small detail painters brush
  • Clark & Kensington Vanilla (sample jar from Ace)
  • Ralph Lauren antique gold (had from last year - qt. from Home Depot)
  • Ebony stain (picked up a qt. for $2 last year at a local builder supply store)
Here's what I did:
  • Covered the well-lit kitchen dining table with the drop cloth.
  • Wiped down the mirror with a damp cloth (to remove dust).
  • No tape needed - I just gave two coats of vanilla to the center wide band.
  • Sponge wiped the edge + inner rim with the RL gold paint.
  • Detailed inner rim with the ebony stain, which allowed some of the existing burnished gold to still come through.
That's it!


old basic round mirror

rough brushed wide rim with vanilla

 after 2 coats of vanilla, painted edge + inner rim with sponge in gold...





Yes - I love my black, but for Spring & Summer, I love to lighten up!

Besides renewing the mirror with white & gold, I'm also refreshing the dining room with a major dose of green, white and gold. If you've followed me over the years, you know I also love are shades of green  and my beloved palm fronds - which even though we're back east, have been hard to come by - especially during the winter months. What to do when you you want to surround yourself with a atmosphere you love? Create it yourself...

Here's a sneak peek of another paint project I'm working on inside, to not only refresh the dining room, but also update a console I scored from thrift & refinished back in FL in 2006... again re-using existing pieces collected over time, injecting color with paint sample jars, and layering in a new palm print pattern with existing textiles...


Color inspiration from Carolina thrift finds - vintage creamer, gravy boat & books...


Sample jars - on sale for $5 at Sherwin Williams - perfect for small projects such as painted furniture makeovers...


Collected inspiration from a design book (surprise! NOT Pinterest!), framed photograph wall art (I created back in FL in 2008), fabric samples old (lattice) and new (palm print - banana leaf) 

Since the room foundation is already neutral (grey walls called Porpoise from Behr paint) with white trim & dark wood floors, it makes creating seasonal changes super easy - and without the cost of a major renovation. Ideally, I'd like to cover the top portion of the walls in grass-cloth and add moldings below the dado (chair rail), but those changes can't quite fit in the budget at this time - and that's just fine.

Here are a few projects from the past where I've also used palms, greens and whites...


What projects are you up to this winter?

Thanks for stopping by!








PANTONE PALETTE ON THE GOLDEN GLOBES RED CARPET

A new year also means a new Red Carpet season! And Sunday evening kicked off red carpet season with the Golden Globes. I've always enjoyed watching the red carpet arrivals, to see all the beautiful gowns, jewels, hair styles - and what colors will make a statement. While jewelry was more minimal, colors featured were predominantly from the Pantone Spring Palette for 2016. These colors, and even styles aren't just for the stars to wear - They will also influence weddings, proms, wardrobes and perhaps, even home decor. My personal favorite was seeing a Pantone past Color of the Year from 2013, Emerald Green, which had also made a strong appearance in home decor during the past Fall's HPMKT. Other strong color statements were Pantone's Snorkel Blue, Fiesta, and Buttercup... along with timeless black...

 Pantone's Emerald Green - COTY 2013, and still going strong!


 Pantone's Snorkel Blue - aka royal, sapphire, navy...

 Pantone's Fiesta - a coral shade of red...

 Pantone's Buttercup - definitely the surprise pop of color for the evening! 




In addition to Pantone's Spring Colors, White also made a strong statement on the red carpet (Simply White - Benjamin Moore's Color Of The Year) along with shimmering metallics and timeless - classic black...


 Most elegant apron dress I've ever seen!

Opaque & Sheer whites...

Mixed Metals - silver & gold metallics

Classic Black - with plunging necklines and capes...

Along with the ladies, the men looked sharp!

For additional details & specifics of who wore what, be sure to visit these sites:


Did you watch the red carpet arrivals? 
Which colors or styles were your favorites? 

Thanks for stopping by...



 

Note: Just as I finished writing this post, while on Just Jared capturing a link back to them, I learned of the passing of a fashion icon and musician legend... RIP David Bowie.

 

 

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