Southwest Style Inspirations For Our Move to Arizona and Pinterest have become some great sources for organizing new design concepts, thoughts, and style approaches for our new location. By collecting these style thoughts now, it can help me make some more decisions on what to give away or donate before we pack up to leave. I think I'd give my mom most of my more beachy - nautical blues, so she would have things to do her guest room. I 'may" hold on to some of my greens I love to use in the Spring - especially since I won't be seeing so much green out in the desert. And I'm glad I've been re-united with my reds lately, because I can see them being used more frequently with our new lifestyle & surroundings.


Already do love stones and rocks. Really like this look with long feathery grass....

Some of the new pieces & details I'm looking forward to collecting or adding to our decor is Navajo prints (blankets, rugs - even as a wall hanging - or pillows, geodes (gorgeous mineral rocks & stones), more silver & turquoise to grow my existing collection (I'm fascinated with the Navajo needlepoint design for a cuff), weather & reclaimed woods, pottery and some yummy brown worn leather. To help get us started, I'm REALLY tempted to take some sandpaper to Jeff's brown leather (recliner) chair in the living room... It needs a little more character and texture - don'tcha think? :)

LOVE the look of this muted turquoise adding life to
the rustic elements, furs, and skins...

Navajo Needlepoint Cuff
Would like to find a vintage map of Arizona to mix in with existing galleries...

Sandy, earthy mix of stone, wood, and metal.

Something I started collecting and taking photos of last year was of horses. Maybe I can capture a few more images of wild horses to put up in our new place. I know cactus is going to be a new subject (vs. images of skyscrapers). And something I was more into here, but I think I'm going to do less of out there are the more intense seasonal changes. I don't think I'll only have our shells & coral on display only in the summer. I think those are going to become more mixed in to our decor, along with more of our travel photos - AND MAPS - to tell the story of where we've been (New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Georgia, and Florida's beaches / coastlines).

New obsession: Tobacco / brown leather...

LOVE these colors & these horses...

Mixing textures, rustic elements, and industrial finds.

A new room I'm excited to get set will be a guest room, because I can't tell you, how many people are ready to book a flight out to AZ to come visit us. My mom's friends up in New Jersey are even wanting to meet her in an AZ airport and come visit all together :) and that would be REALLY nice! Something else that will be nice is getting to explore a different part of the United States, and learn more about its history. Might have to also venture out and do some American Picking out here, especially since some of AP's travels have been to AZ. And one of my favorite American architects - Frank Lloyd Wright has a place to go explore, Taliesin West, which I believe also holds most of his drawings.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

LOVE this color pallet!

Navajo textile called Two Gray Hills

Great idea: Display some southwest (Navajo) textiles on wall to welcome guests to AZ.
A few people from here on the blog and on Facebook have even contacted me (thank you) to ask me to come help them with their home after we're unpacked (that will be fun!!) And even just to meet for coffee... Who knew when I first started blogging coming up on two years ago, this would be a tool to help bridge and connect us to new people and lives in the new place we'll live :)

I already love & admire Ansel Adams photography...

So I'm sure you'll see a few more, other than the two winter ones I have.

Desert Tracks Ansel Adams

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona 1942

Although I still have a few projects to share that I've done around here (like refinishing the buffet and decorating for Fall - while selling our place) I did want to take a few posts to share all the new information and inspiration I've been coming across lately... I thought it would have been sooner, but the house will finally be listed by this weekend. The other day, they hauled away Jeff's truck, which kind of finalized that this is "really"" happening... Right now, I'm processing all the new info and getting ready to "embrace the (new) place where I'm at." I read Ralph Marston daily, and recently came across this line, I thought was appropriate for now...

"Don't be too quick to place judgments on events as they unfold. What initially seems like it might hurt you, may very well end up helping you." ~ Ralph Marston


Rental ReStyle: Top Home Decor Tips For Renters

WOW... So much has been happening and so much new information to take in for us moving to another state. Besides learning about short sales (especially about them being anything but short!) I've also been learning about some hope for decor in renting. Although yes, I have rented before, it was nice living here the past five years and know I didn't need to ask for permission to do a home improvement project. Since we will become renters, here's a few tips I've learned which have given this DIY Designer some hope in looking for our new space:

Carpeted stairs need an overhaul?
Refinish with salvaged wood - or palettes.

RENTING TIP 1: Point Out Flaws
When viewing a rental property, do not be afraid to point out any flaws that you find. Take a good luck at the carpets, paint, appliances and make the property owner aware of the problems that you find. It might not save you a bundle, but the property owner may be willing to knock a few dollars off of the monthly rent if you make it known that you aren’t going to pay the asking price if things aren’t in excellent condition.

Adding ledges will help prevent more holes in walls for gallery groupings.

RENTING TIP 2: Cosmetic Changes

If you are looking at a rental property that could use some TLC, you can always inquire about fixing the place up yourself for a reduction in rent. Property owners will sometimes reduce rent if the tenant is willing to paint, landscape or make minor cosmetic changes.


Shift out "matching" island for a counter height work table in kitchen.
(Stash it out in garage)

RENTING TIP 3: Do the leg work for your landlord.
Landlords often don’t want to spend the time finding a contractor, getting estimates, and comparing prices, even if they’re willing to pay for renovations. To prompt your landlord to take action, offer to find a contractor & get some quotes on your own. This way, the only thing the renovation will cost your landlord is money with none of his time wasted. And don’t forget to throw it out there that it’s a tax deduction for them and it is improving the value of the property.

Here's an article with a few more renting tips:

Use a cart to add character in the kitchen.
If landlord goes for you doing updates, ask if a few upper cabinets could be replaced with open shelving - He'll be so on trend!

In all the places I've been looking at (on line), the HUGE pitfall are kitchens & bathrooms needing updates. A large portion of the homes for rent out in AZ (Chandler & Gilbert areas) have oak cabinets and mica counter tops. Since I know from our own experience, these areas can be instantly updated - within a day - and without any demo I'd suggest using Granite Transformations. Fortunately, Arizona does have two Granite Transformation locations, so this would be one of my suggestions for an update. I'd even suggest an Ikea butcher block top I could stain darker. The cabinets could be stained - or even better - painted - oyster, espresso, or even a dark gray - and I'd GLADLY take on this task - if the landlord would pay for the supplies. 

Accent fireplace with a salvaged one, and paint existing (dirty) bricks
white, black or gray.

Oddly, many of the cabinets do not have any hardware, so I'd add some hardware in either nickle or oil rubbed bronze. And many of the kitchen layouts are crammed into corners, without the peninsula bar coming out. They'll have a small "matching" island floating in the space, which isn't holding any plumbing or appliance. I'd like to shift it to the garage, and replace it with a more functional cart or find a great counter height table and some industrial stools.

Peel & Stick wall paper adds character & texture to a renters space.

From what I've been reading, they don't want to spend the time or the money on the rental. But these solutions would save them time (because I'd do the sourcing) and gain them money because they could charge more - TO THE NEXT TENANT - because the space would be updated. I've also read it's a tax write off for them. I also found a source for some peel & stick wall paper, which won't add value to their life - but it sure could to ours!! lol The site is called EAZY WALLZ. I found it while visiting over at Canadian House & Home - a fantastic site & source for home decor inspiration.

Some examples of Peel & Stick wall paper which could look awesome in Arizona!

As for around here, I finally got a chance to upload all the pics I shot in NYC (I'll post next week).  The Fall changes I was doing and had completed prior to our NYC trip, I've had to edit down some. Thankfully, I didn't get all into Halloween or Fall like I did last year - it was already a small dose. Last Monday I removed some Fall decor and also removed about 32 personal photos of Jeff and I from around our home. Some friends have stopped by to visit this week and that was nice :) This past Saturday, I volunteered (painting) at Habitat For Humanity. I also met with two Realtors last week who loved the place and think IT WILL sell fast... Let's just hope it does, and the transition is smooth. I'll post pics shortly, so stay tuned...

AZ home office idea

All of these inspirational pics and more I've been pinning over at Pinterest. Come see what else I've pinned for Arizona inspiration over there as well... You can view this, Southwest Style and more inspiration on my nboards at Pinterest...

Thanks for stopping by!

Prepping to move to Arizona!

Been a little MIA the past few days... I do want to share the New York experience we had this weekend along with finish up posting about some of the changes I recently made around here... but the hubs and I are on a little detour for our focus: We're moving to Arizona! I am experiencing mixed emotions about it. Although I am proud and happy for my hubs (getting a promotion - Lord knows he's put in the TIME!) but... I am an East Coast girl. I've only lived in Jeresy and Florida. I've only traveled several times to New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Georgia - once to Europe (for our honeymoon) and when I came to Florida, we drove from Jeresy to Miami. I know it's going to be different - but with the way I embrace change, I'm SURE this is all good!

Some supportive comments I've gotten from friends is "It's time!", "You're ready for the change!", and "God knows - your work here (in FL) is done - It's time to do work in another area"... This morning it dawned on me, "Wow... I won't be here to decorate my mom's home for Christmas", but as my friend Patricia quickly reminded me this afternoon - "What? So you can't hop o a plane and fly in for a weekend to decorate and fly back out?" So I guess that will be an option. Funny though... last year, for some reason, I sensed we wouldn't be here for another Christmas.

This morning, I stood in the dining room, and while looking at the gallery wall, I was thinking about not only wow - all this stuff has to get packed away, but I was thinking about the changes that have happened here since we moved in 5 years ago this October, and the friends, family and memories we've made here - even without having had a child (except our little Sephora!) My eyes watered....

I'm excited to go explore the new terrain - the new landscape, sites, smells, and buildings. I'm looking forward to meeting NEW people, learning some new tasks or ways to do things... and hopefully also have the opportunity to share some of my diverse New York / Miami style over there. I can see where I will have a new subject to photograph: mountains to replace buildings and cactus to replace trees. I can also see where I think my style may change just a little bit - not so much to change for the seasons, but more to embrace the place where we're at (Jeff has only ever lived in Florida - so this is a huge change for him as well).

This morning I remembered seeing some images in my Ralph Lauren book, my old store manager (now friend) gave me as a gift a few years back. It was inspiring to see a New Yorker's interpretation of the West: natural and camel colored suede, fringe, Aztec-like patterned wool rugs & throws, weathered woods, and of course, silver & turquoise thrown into the mix... and surprisingly, even a few shells... and hey! PONCHOS are in this Fall - woo-hoo!! :)

A part of me wants to go to the total opposite end of the spectrum and look for a loft or modern high-rise so we can take in the majestic views. The other part of me is saying I still may need a painting place out in a back-yard or patio so lets find a Mid-Century modern home... And another part of me says lets go for a one level prairie style home - something reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. One thing is for sure - we'll be renting for a bit because we're so darn under water here in Florida. Tuesday we get to speak with Jeff's relocation consultant... so instead of writing posts, I'll be spending time writing questions with Jeff for us to discuss with the consultant, as well as a "Must Haves" list for a Realtor to find us a our new place to call home...

Jeff's promotion is to be Store Manager at the JCPenney in Casa Grande. Although for City and symbolism (Phoenix RISING) I'd prefer to live in Phoenix, it may be too much of a commute. We have looked at a few online places in the Chandler area. Thank goodness we recently had the garage sale... but there is still so much that needs to get packed... I wonder how many boxes it will be (lol). One thing NOT getting packed for sure is all that PAINT in the garage!! :)

What do you think? Have you ever lived in or visited Arizona? What's it like??

Feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment...

Thanks for stopping by!!
If you live in Arizona - when I get out there, we'll have to meet up!

9/11 Reflections, Remembrance, and Renewal

That's one of the names of the exhibits happening in New York for the 10th Anniversary this weekend. And as I said last year, "Even if I have to eat grilled cheese sandwiches all year I WILL be there for the anniversary!" - and I am. My husband and I leave Ft. Lauderdale early Saturday morning, so we'll be in the City by 10am. For the first day, I'd like for use to just "be" in the City and take it all in. I love New York. Something about that place just always seems to bring me back to life. There is just something about the people, the energy, the traffic, the architecture and the history that just give me energy and also seem to calm me.

NYC Window display - One Year Anniversary 09.11.2002

We'll only be there for three days, so I tried planning for us hit a few different shops, like Shareen's Vintage (from Planet Green's Dresscue Me) and Housing Works Thrift, which is having a Fall Event on Saturday. Saturday evening, we're meeting up with some family of mine I haven't seen since 2001 - Gail & Oscar. Gail and I had actually gone to the City in August of 2001... and to end that day, we went to the Twin Towers. You can read more about it from my post last year called  "Where Were You?"


Sunday morning, we're heading over to St. Patrick's Cathedral - not necessarily for a service, but I want to sit on the steps with I'm sure several other New Yorkers and visitors, and stay still for the moments of silence while looking south down 5th Avenue, reflecting back on that morning. Afterwards, we're headed to the NY Historical Society on the Upper West Side to see the 9/11 exhibit: Reflections, Remembrance, and Renewal. I'm sure we'll also walk through Central Park, and maybe even reflect back on not only 9/11 but what moments in life have mattered most to us since taking our vows there in 2007.

After lunch, we'll lighten things up a bit by heading over to the MoMA, Rockefeller Center, and Top Of The Rock to see the City. To really lighten up, we're heading out to Gotham Comedy Club to see Nick Di Paolo. With all that's been going on the past 2 to 10 years, I'm sure we could use a little laughter (and those two drinks for sure!)

Pentagon Memorial - 2008

Monday will be a long day. We'll get up early, check out and put our luggage in storage at the hotel to head out for the day. We're taking the NY Water Taxi from Pier 84 down to Battery Park, and go wander around downtown. I like taking the water taxi or being out on a ferry on the Hudson, and looking back at the island. It will be interesting to capture pictures of the new skyline and see the changes.Although I did contribute some of my photo's to the 9/11 Memorial Museum on September 11 in 2009, I was unaware of the reserved tickets necessary to enter the memorial area, and the tickets are sold out. I'm sure though that we'll get to see some of it, but I'll have to make a trip back to really experience the plaza.

World Trade Center - August 2001

There is also a Ground Zero Museum Workshop we'll attend along with going to a photography exhibit called Here IS New York. I 've already seen it when it first opened, but it will be good to see again - and good for Jeff to see as well. Hopefully before we head back up to the hotel, we'll have time to go walk across the Brooklyn Bridge... one of my favorite things to do while visiting the City.

Pentagon Memorial - 2008

Pentagon Memorial - 2008

Than will be that ride back to the airport and come back here to Ft. Lauderdale... and begin to deal with... moving to Arizona, because Jeff got a promotion and relocation... which I really have mixed emotions about. But for now, it's time to escape TO New York, enjoy this moment, pray for those who lost their life on September 11, and give THANKS to all those who served to help and rebuild, curate, restore, and renew the Memorial and Lower Manhattan...

Sitting on steps at the Federal Building, before going to the roof of the Twins.

The Sphere -Battery Park 2002

What will you do to remember September 11? I think it's important to remember it, to learn from it, and to try to ensure we don't have something like that happen again. I have more photos & experiences I can share with you. Just click on any of these links to read previous posts:

And also stop by to see the several photos people contributed or contribute a few of your own to the

I'll see back on the blog next week... Which ironically is going to be a busy week: I got a call from a previous client - Her and her husband are relocating and they want me to give them a consultation for colors, finishes, and space planning for the new office... Plus I'm meeting with another client next week to plan a "while you were out" surprise bedroom makeover she wants to do for her husband. Both are going to be fun and challenging projects I'm looking forward to...

Blessings to you and your family... and Thanks for stopping by...

Glass Thrift Lamp Revamp - Wood Stain & Why

A few months back while out thrifting, I spotted a lamp. I let it go, but couldn't stop thinking about it. Chancing it, I went back to the thrift place (Faith Farm- Ft. Lauderdale), and it was still there. When I see stuff like that, I take it as a "sign" (it was meant to be!)and get it. What made it even more spectacular though was it was 1/2 off that day - so it was only $5. I had shy-ed away from it because it was blue, but I loved its shape and look. I thought I'd probably find some way to change its color, but keep the look and I did. Paint would have been too opaque - It would have highlighted the texture - but not let the glass peek through the hatching. Using a wood stain in ebony did the trick!

Loved the bamboo detail, and the glass peeking through the hatching...

Using the wood stain - it captured the texture, but not the glass...

The only thing is: I guess because the humidity is high in South Florida, it takes a while for wood stain to dry. Having the ceiling fan on helped...

I also had painted the shade - I did take a few pics, but it was with the other phone that was giving me trouble. I spray painted it, and it looked like a solid black linen shade when the light is off... but when the light is on, it has an amazing textured / worn look....

The little B&W vase in the back corner I picked up thrifting in Ft. Lauderdale, probably back in March; it was only $2. The table it's on I thrifted back in the 90's for my apartment. It originally was all light wood _ironically as light as the Ikea baboo platters I hung behind it!). It was such a good price (only $9) and I needed a table, I bought it and painted it two toned. I painted the bottom black, and just used Old English furniture polish to make the top a little darker. It's been with me for about 12 years. It could probably use a quick coat of stain on the top...

Both stacked books were gifts: The bottom book is actually the box cover to the Ralph Laren book my old boss gave to me when I set the launch for American Living (by RL) for the store. The top book, our previous neighbors gave to me after we had a garage sale about 2 years ago...

The thrill of thrift... mixing old and new for a little afternoon redux...

So that's my "Wood Stain and Why" and so glad I gave it a try!
(I think it's going to be my next "go to" remedy for a redux.)

 Thanks for stopping by!


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