Small Space Style Solution: Creating A Summer Entry

After living in one space for five years, and then moving to another, it can take some time to learn the new space. Seeing what familiar piece can fit into a new space in a refreshed way, but still have that familiarity can be a challenge. Something else that can also be a challenge is dealing with smaller space, especially an entry. For our entry in our previous Florida town-home I was able to create seasonal vignettes to welcome guests, set the tone for our home, and flow the dining room space into our great room off the kitchen. But I can't do that here because our layout is different. I had to come up with another way to create an entrance - but in a small space.

One element we did have that I am able to reuse in a similar way were the floating shelves stacked in the stairway. One the Florida floating shelves I was able to create a rotating display of photos, decor, wall art - even a Hitchcock inspired "Vertigo" Halloween hallway. Since we don't have an open entry, but a narrow stairway, I utilized the floating shelves concept for our entry. As we come down the stairs from the living area, it's still open, with only two stacked mirrors reflecting the shelving. The shelving was slim enough (same width as the handrail) that it was able to work with the railing wall. I would have liked to have had a table, but it would have interfered with our walking pattern, especially bringing up groceries.

Using mirror helps open up a small space.

Shelf bracket repuposed for hanging.
Rope was I used to hang the lanterns was from Home Depot, 
but you can also get it at Big Lots.

No space for a table in this narrow area.

Narrow shelves work great in a small space.

The shelves, I set in May with a few summertime memories from Florida: Photos I've captured in Key Largo, photos Jeff has snapped of us going to Key West, a beach shot I captured in St. Augustine, and a few starfish I also picked up on one of our travels. The newness in blending what we had came from adding in a few rustic elements, like the squared & galvanize lanterns (I got here at Homegoods for $16 ea.) I hung from rope. The brackets are actually shelving brackets I spotted in Home Depot (for only $6 each.) I love the look of a woven grass rug, but since that is out of the budget right now (to do in the living room),  I opted for this oval grass rug in the entryway. It's texture not only relates to the rope, but it picks up on the rope detail on the frames (Habitat for Humanity ReStore - FL) and an oval mirror I scored here at the Goodwill ReDesign Store up in Scottsdale (only $5). Since I collected a few baskets here to work into my summer decor elsewhere in the house, I also added one here to keep the flow (another Goodwill score for only $1.99!)

Photos I shot in Key Largo - edited to B&W - printed & framed.

Merging East Coast memories into the Southwest.

The rustic lanterns & rope details will transition nicely into Fall, as well as holiday - since I had added that type of detail to our holiday decor. On the shelves, I'll be able to switch beach photos for Ansel Adams cacti photos, or other AZ details I've shot on my travels. Do you have a small entrance in your home, apartment, or rental? And you're at a loss of what to do with it to create a welcoming entrance? Try stacked floating shelves. I think I had gotten these online at West Elm back in 2006, but I'm sure other sources are available. These shelves are 48" length x 4 1/2" width from the wall x 1 1/2" thick. Just enough to lean frames or fit a few collectibles or even bottles.

Thank you to those who responded with feedback to my 10 questions I posted (just before this post). I greatly appreciate your input as well as enjoyed reading the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!


Making Lifestyle Changes + Questions for YOU

Making changes takes discipline. It also takes recognizing you can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. But not all change is good - some change is even unwelcome. But then again, some change can be for your own good. One change in life that for sure takes some time to adjusting to is moving. Moving to a different company or moving to another state, it takes time to learn your way around and get acclimated with a new environment. It also takes time to "embrace the place where your at."

Around Town:
The Historic District (street) of Old Town Gilbert
 HUGE change from living in Miami.

Some environmental changes bring on a change in lifestyle. For me, our move from another city has brought on a change in lifestyle. I believe it's for the good though. One of the things I use to do when I was younger was pay more attention to health & fitness. But for whatever reason (work, school, relationship, time, or attention span) my lifestyle changed to making compromises. And those compromises had lead to unwanted change over time: muscle aches, back aches, and feeling tired. There comes a point in time (at least for me anyways) when you say "enough is enough" and start making changes. Here are four changes I've made in the past four (+) weeks for a healthier lifestyle:


CHANGE #1. Removing Coke from my diet.
Cold turkey - Just up and stopped. I've tried before, but would get headaches when I consciously would try to stop. This time, I just, without thinking about it, and a week past w/o headaches. Now it's been about six weeks without, and I don't miss it at all. I thought drinking Coke gave me energy - but it doesn't. Exercise + eating better + just being me is what fuels my energy.

CHANGE #2. Drinking more water.
Drinking water bores me. I don't like it. But I find living in the desert, it has become increasingly necessary to take in - DAILY. Not just because they say, "Drink 8 glasses a day", but because living in a HOT dry climate that you're not use to can bring on headaches. For me, no matter how many Advil I took, the headaches wouldn't go away. Hubs said it was from the Coke, so drink it (not the encouragement I'm looking for to live a healthier lifestyle - so NO.) I had heard on a local channel that dehydration can cause headaches. I thought, "But I'm not sweating. How can I be dehydrated?" Apparently what adds to sweating is humidity. In Florida, it could be 90 WITH 90% humidity - so yes, you sweat like a beast. Here in AZ, the humidity may be only 9% at 8PM in the evening with temps still at 109 - And if you're not drinking water (like I wasn't) the headaches came. Since I'm drinking more water, my headaches have gone away (except for the occasional times something ticks me off lol). I've also replaced my Coke drinking with Lemonade and Lipton Diet Tea.

Fresh from the local Farmers Market - Fresh basil & tomatoes for grilling pizza.
Fresh berries & bananas for morning smoothies.

Shopping the local Farmers Markets is also another lifestyle change I've been doing here in AZ. They don't always have these items stocked, but when they do, it's also good to help out small businesses and the local economy.

CHANGE #3. Eating more fruits & veggies.
For some reason, eating the veggies took too much time, thought or energy - for whatever reason I don't know - and many times my good intentions would end up in the trash. So I started to make smoothies and drink in that nutrition. And after seeing a tip on Pinterest to freeze fruits for veggies, now I'm not throwing food away because it spoils. I have it in the fridge to snack on, but before they spoil, into the freezer it goes. Adding in yogurt (Activia) has also been a great means of adding calcium to my diet.

LOVE the long straight-aways for the ride!

CHANGE #4. Adding aerobic exercise to my daily routine.
If you're a blogger, you've got it: Bloggers Butt. The inevitable once upon a time thing called secretary spread from sitting on your ass too may hours in front of the computer... Blog hopping, leaving comments, writing posts, and now: PINTERST added into the mix and hips become deadly. I've always been tiny (I got that build from my father) I also use to weight train in my 20's and did yoga in my 30's. Not to mention all the running around I would do 5 days a week visual merchandising in a 150,000 sq. ft. retail establishment (without fail: every morning I'd be CLEAR on the opposite side of the store from a bathroom and literally would RUN through the store to make it lol). Being now in my EARLY 40's  (will be 43 in August!) I've noticed changes happening - Those changes people talk about and we don't want: Weight gain. Hate it. And it's NOT going to stay.

Morning bike ride - In the desert.

I started biking again every morning. At first, it was a struggle to even finish a mile. That's just how "out of it" I was. But I started to increase my stamina. After making the one mile w/o chest pains, I tried a longer distance: 3 miles. than 4, then doubling it to 8. Once again, something I use to do (loved biking to the gym or from Bay Harbor to South Beach) but over time, just stop doing. Much of the water I've now been drinking is coming from quenching my thirst during my ride. I've been freezing my bike bottle with water - and while I'm riding, it melts enough to drink + it's still very cool. These four minor changes have resulted in more energy, clearer skin, and an end to my back pain I was having for the past two years (from a lifting injury in '09). Next phase of change will be to increase mileage PLUS: Get back into yoga again (the room is ready! No excuses!) Sometimes recreating yourself can mean finding who you were and waking it up.

Just a few blocks away from our home: 
The Potato Barn Home Furnishings - (yes - potato, not pottery)

Making changes, a little at a time also leads to wanting to make more changes (especially when you do start to see the changes happening). And speaking of wanting to make more changes: What are some changes you'd like to see here on the blog? If you're a follower from Florida where I began blogging, I'm sure you've noticed a slight change in my regular postings. I was posting regularly: M-F with occasional (but not often) weekend posts. Since our move, (and still getting use to the time change) I've not only seen traffic here die down, but seeing that traffic die (along with the lack of comments and the infamous "Follow - Unfollow" numbers) has me wondering...


I'm questioning whether it is still worth blogging? If you're a blogger, you KNOW how time consuming writing, proof-reading, commenting on other blogs, back-linking for photo credit - and now especially - editing person photos of your work to be "pin- worthy" can be. I've blogged plenty of "How To's" from room redo's, rental redesigns, seasonal decor changes,  holiday decorating, tips & sources, store tours, online board design, home & closet organization, tablescapes done on a dime, thrifting for clothing & furniture finds, refinishing thrift finds, to Pinterest and joining link parties. I was even changing the color schemes or headers more regularly when I first started - but that is not only (crazy) too time consuming, I don't believe it does anything to help brand a person, their talent, their niche, their product or their audience. So here are 10 questions for you:

1. Have your blogging habits changed since Pinterest?
2. Have your blogging posts changed since Facebook Timeline?
3. Do you only follow blogs who do giveaways?
4. What makes you join one blog vs. another?
5. What makes you un-follow one blog from another?
6. What would YOU like to see more of HERE on this blog?
7. What are some topics you would like to see posted?
8. Do you prefer clear images? or the on-trend stylized Instagram photos?
9. What is enough photos for you in a post? 1? 3? 10? 20?
10. Are you reading posts? Or just looking for pictures to catch your attention (like at Pinterest) 

Another change I've noticed is I haven't been receiving the email alerts from blogger when people do kindly (thank you very much) leave a comment. I know I too have had to change my emailing address (twice in past six months) but I have checked the settings here, and comments should be going to I am usually on Facebook and Twitter in the morning here before I head out to ride.  Are you on Twitter? Maybe this can help with future engagement: If you're on Facebook & Twitter, please leave your Name + Facebook link + Twitter name ("@____") here in the comment section. And to ensure I see the responses + get back to you, I'd appreciate it if you could send in your answers to the above 10 questions to my email at: Also include the TIME you do your blog reading. In the meantime, I'll be doing some blog clean-up around here + taking in your feedback.

Speaking of TIME - Thank you again for yours.
For more inspiration, also be sure to join me at Pinterest. 


A different type of gallery wall: Frames Wallpaper

While out touring some local shops last week, I visited a great little recently opened shop called Design Lab (more about them later). While visiting the store, I spoke with a very pleasant associate (Jeanie) who was dressed with a white lab coat. I asked if I could take photos of the shop to blog about it  - and she not only said yes, but she eagerly showed me a hidden gem in the shop: The WC (water closet - aka bathroom). Why would she be showing me the bathroom with such pride? It was to share the decor in the space: Black & White Frames Wallpaper highlighting miniature icon chair designs. (loved it!) I snapped a few pics, but forgot to ask about the brand of wallpaper. While on Olioboard this week, I stumbled across a source for the paper: Layla Grayce. Here is the product name + link: Taylor & Wood Frames Black & White Wallpaper. 

Layla & Grace

As for the miniature chairs, I remembered seeing them at DWR and they are still available: DWR The Miniature Collection. There are also a few other sites who specialize in miniature icon furniture... and even a blog featuring a movement. They also have miniature mid-century dollhouses (This just blew away my Barbie dream house - with its yellow elevator & plastic orange sofa & chairs!

DWr - Design Within Reach

 Bennett dollhouse

White Mid Century Chairs 
(only $14.99 ea)

The wallpaper need not only be to feature a collection of mini mid-century madness - it can be used in a multitude of ways to feature or highlight your own favorite collectibles to create a wall gallery unique to your style & story. Another adorable way to use this wallpaper to create a gallery is to highlight the artwork of your future little Picasso - or let them create their own gallery right on the wall...

See more
using products from Wayfair...

by Kate Sessoms (aka Dabble in Chic) 
"So happy to create a little design inspired by my little girl "Dablet"! Finds from some of my favorite brands, and Etsy stores!" 
by Olivia Millwood (aka SWAYGRL and NicheByDesign)
Inspired by a day at the beach!

(by me NYCLQ)
Surrounded with numbers, architects compass lamp, green and some sustainable pieces, this nursery is set for a future green building architect! Mom & dad can rest comfortably in a pair of printed club chairs + put up their feet on the ottoman. Sconces at the changing table give enough light for the changing task, while baskets & a concealed amoire help organize the rooms necessities.

(by me - NYCLQ)
Sisters (or brothers) can sleep, play, and learn in the fun colors of the Kids Color Zone. Low open storage shelving lines the back wall below the focal point alphabet mural. Bunk beds help utilize the space for one of the three activities: sleep. Moms glider/rocker from the previous nursery has a modern style that transitioned into this growing space. A simple dining table gives plenty of space to spread out activities, play games, or do homework, while a play zone is still available near the window in the room.

Thanks for stopping by!


The HEAT is on, and I'm not just talking about the Miami Heat! I'm talking about this new to me desert heat! It has definitely been taking some getting use too. Apparently, you can be dehydrated, and not even realize it. I thought, "I'm not sweating. How can I be dehydrated?" But that's just it. I had started to experience severe headaches, usually later in the day, until someone mentioned, I might be dehydrated. I've started to drink more water, and the headaches seemed to have gone away, or subsided for the moment. The news said with this type of dangerous heat we experience here in the desert, we are to drink two bottles of water every hour - even if we're not thirsty. The heat here in AZ increases as the day goes on vs. living with the Miami Heat, we would peak a heat wave between 12pm - 3pm - with a cool down in the evening. In AZ, the peak heat is usually around 4pm-5pm, and lingers even after the sun goes down (because the heat is retained in the concrete and asphalt. It's all so different than the Miami Heat...


So on this first day of Summer...

But speaking of  MIAMI HEAT...

Keep tearing up the floor!

How do you beat the heat?
Stay cool. Stay hydrated. And pile on the sunblock!
Happy first day of Summer!

Thanks for stopping by!

Outdoor Living Space Designs

Olioboard recently teamed up with Wayfair, a terrific home furnishings source for your online shopping experience (they are LOADED with a diverse assortment of goods!! A Zillion to be exact!). To launch their new partnership with Olioboard, Wayfair will be having 3 weeks of design challenges. This week is The Ultimate Patio Design Challenge. Patios come in all shapes, sizes, climates and locations. Here are a few I put together this week from an urban city patio, to a desert living patio to even poolside or along the beach. You can click any link (links are title + bold) to see details on the board - plus vote for your favorites!

Inspired by the thought of a South Beach Hotel on Ocean Drive - or a patio for a home off Alton Road, Miami Beach.

A more modern loungey feel is what you see in South Beach hotels, Utilizing benches behind the sofa worked great for extra seating or even to hold lamps (various lighting used at night near water adds sexy ambiance). Lanterns tucked in the umbrellas also add to the ambiance at night (it's important to envision a space both day & night) Well manicured topiaries add organic style & structure to the strong architectural lines. 

Inspired by the 80's Miami slogan: MIAMI - SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE. 

Remembering much of the clean line architecture of Miami, much of it built in the 60's and 70's, they also used a lot of stone mixed with wood. Many of the exteriors of the modern wave of 80's & 90's architecture is white. The board was conceptualized by combining this memory, along with an old ad slogan from the 80's, "Miami - See it like a native" plus the graphic punch of both bold & zebra stripes to highlight the Wayfair merchandise. I may have been born in New Jersey, and lived there for 10 years, but I did live in Miami for most of my life (33 yrs) so I am kind of native :)

Lux Beach Outdoor Living Area - Miami Beach Lifestyle board. 

Note: This board I created my making a duplicate of an earlier board (Seaside Chic). The "room" was made from photo images - flipped & cropped. After duplicating the initial board, I removed all the furnishings to clear out the space and use Wayfair merchandise for the challenge. The ceiling fan wasn't n the set to choose from. I found the outdoor fan on Wayfair's site to upload to me library.

 Lux Beach Outdoor Living Area - Miami Beach - Lifestyle & Product board. 

Note: After saving my initial 3D board, I reloaded it to create a new board - and used a linen background, part of the new backgrounds available in Olioboards Pro Tools.  Since the challenge called for at least 5 Wayfair products to be used on the boards, I called them out below. I only wish the test tool enabled a means of also creating a background, to better see the text. I might need to go back and crop my own white boxes to make it easier to read.

Living in the city can mean tight quarters when it comes to an outdoor living space - But these guys have the essentials: A grill, table & chairs, a sofa, TV's and beer + a canvas artwork creates the focal point.  (Think outdoor modern mancave)

Note: The greenery walls were inspire from a photo of the West Elm store in Seattle, where recently the CEO of Olioboard, Sheilah Macsporn, gave a presentation about the site. After I did some cropping and editing to the picture, I was able to start to layer and build the space for Guys Urban Patio (think Brooklyn, between buildings)

  Living in the desert can be pretty brutal on an outdoor space - But come late September, when the evenings cool down - THIS IS the place to be. 
Note: I created this space from cropping and layering a pergola I spotted on Olioboard, but flipped it to work with the cacti image (I found online earlier this year). The layer behind the image is one of the new "Backgrounds" Olioboard added to their Pro Plan Tools. Since we do not have as many shady trees here in AZ, I have seen many of the pergolas used to help defuse the suns light. A pergola gives a great place to hang outdoor lighting or lanterns.

 Don't forget to stop by Olioboard and vote for your favorite boards or create one of your own. Voting for The Ultimate Patio Design challenge ends Monday, June 18. Afterwards, a new challenge will be launched! I wonder what type of space it will be? Stay tuned to find out! If you'd like to inquire about me creating a board for you, contact me at

CONGRATS TO NEETIB for her win on

Thanks for stopping by!



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