Birthday on a Budget

Birthday on a Budget

It’s Day 414 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m pleased to have pulled off my daughter’s 15th birthday on a budget. I’ve not made it a secret that I’m dealing with some Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– and that means I’m keeping a close watch on my pocket book. The great thing is, what started out as a barrier –– limited resources –– turned into an opportunity for me to minimize the barrier and maximize beauty and my best life. Given the fact that she had a party and sleepover at her dad’s on the actual day and that I would be taking her and her brother to something she’d requested a while back –– an Escape Room –– I felt she’d be happy with a few little treats. That being the case, when a dear friend  gifted me with a Walgreen’s gift card and two Larosa’s (our hometown  pizzeria) gift cards at the end of our lunch date last week, I knew how I’d use them. The former purchased some girly gifts –– Maybelline’s Baby Lips (she loves them), pink nail polish (she’d been eyeing mine), and her favorite candy bars. The latter were used for yummy pizza, salad and sodas. And because I love themed gifts ala Rachel Ashwell, I also purchased a cupcake themed bag and card from the drug store. Then I shredded a coordinating color of copy paper to make “confetti” filler. Next, a trip to Barnes and Noble, where we’re members of the Kids Birthday Club yielded a huge complimentary confetti cupcake. Finally, though there were no Groupons available, I scored a $12 a person deal for “Escape from Alpha Station” at our local entertainment spot. With that and our waitresses’ tip, I was all in $40 –– talk about a birthday on a budget!

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A birthday bag filled with favorites. My total cost – $0!
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Me, Pink Collar Coach, as  part of The Three Musketeers.                                                                               Cotton cold should top and denim shorts – Calvin Klein – TJ Maxx.                                                                                                                                                 Can’t believe my baby girl’s 15! Her 13 year-old brother is taller than both of us!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic  on Purpose shopper, I’m thrilled about being able to make the most of what I had. More than that, though, making the most of the time with my children was the best part of the day. Liv truly enjoyed her gifts and promptly applied not one but both lip shades. And as all three of us shared the cupcake she poured over her card and gave me a hug far sweeter than the pastry. The Escape Room (www.funattheweb.com) was a blast. Levi displayed his high level of intelligence by deciphering one of the main clues, but alas, because we were in the room with lots of other people resulting in a bit of chaos, we didn’t escape. Still, seeing him and Liv work together so well did my mommy heart good. We shared pizza, so much laughter, and explored some ideas about the future while taking a walk. By the time the night ended, I knew though the birthday was on a budget, it was one of the best.

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about planning birthdays or other special events on a budget. At home? The office? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a large return on investment.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

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Shabby Chic Goes Granny – Part 1

Shabby Chic Goes Granny – Part 1

It’s Day 404 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve been working on a decorating project where my beloved Shabby Chic style is going Granny. Many people confuse the two styles, and while they have elements in common, there are others that distinguish them. More often than not, Shabby Chic decorating uses white or pastel walls as a neutral backdrop for paintings featuring flowers, white or neutral furnishings with soft, muted, feminine florals –– on fabrics such as window coverings, toss pillows, area rugs and bedding. Vintage wood pieces with their original distressed paint, chippy china, lace and crystal chandeliers are all featured in the rooms inspired by Rachel Ashwell, who originated the decorating style in the late 80s. Granny Chic style on the other hand hearkens back to much earlier when larger floral patterns were prevalent and handmade knit blankets and throws as well as croqueted doilies lent a homey feel to Grandma’s house. Today, these are paired with vintage furniture, accessories and artwork to create a look many elderly women would love –– but with a modern twist that makes it fashionable. Though I just had my 49th birthday, I don’t consider myself old but love this old-fashioned look. So when the need to freshen up a space that already had some grandma inspired decor arose, I embraced the chance for Shabby Chic to go Granny.

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Twin beds covered in floral comforters that don’t match but coordinate. The key to Granny Chic is mixing as many florals as possible, however, my self-diagnosed OCD only allows me to mix a few in the bedding, area rug and vase of silk roses. The knitted throw inspired the space.            
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Years ago, my daughter was determined to purchase this knitted doily from a street vendor in Indianapolis. Though I wasn’t a fan at the time, I knew it would be perfect for this room.                                     Now I’m glad she insisted on having it. Love it against the pinky purple paint from Valspar. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Shabbychicophile, it’s hard for me to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to decor. Even so, there are times when I see other looks and am drawn to them. Rather than changing my style completely, I look for ways to incorporate them into my Shabby Chic aesthetic. That was the case when I became enamored with Prairie Style and redecorated my son’s room with prairie inspired accessories like a cowboy boot lamp, a large horse painting, horseshoes, a Native American look rug, etc. all with Shabby Chic blue and white bedding. Likewise when I put a Boho Chic twist on my daughter’s quintessentially Shabby Chic room with a Rachel Ashwell dream catcher, raspberry pillows and a Moroccan side table. In both instances, I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. This time, I’m not working with as many authentic Shabby Chic purchased items, but I feel I’m getting back to the heart of what the style was about at the beginning –– using timeworn treasures to create beautiful, comfortable, functional spaces. That being the case, I’m looking forward to posting the second part of Shabby Chic Goes Granny.

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about trying new decorating styles? Have any pieces that you could incorporate to infuse a little Granny Chic in your home or office? If you’re anything like me, you’ll be warmed by the nostalgic look and feel they bring.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Go Big Boho And Stay Home

Go Big Boho And Stay Home

It’s Day 376 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve been trying some new outdoor floor mats that have my sweet hubby questioning my tastes (Those are a little much for me) but since I’m the only one who sits on the porch and deck all the time –– for work and pleasure –– I figure I should go big boho and stay home! It’s no surprise I fell in love with the look of bohemian inspired floor mates while pursuing Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic website http://www.shabbychic.com, but it wasn’t the design maven who introduced me to them. It was actually her designer daughter, Lily Ashwell, whose company, of the same name, is one of the brands in the  Shabby Chic family ––www.lilyashwell.com. Last summer, I reimagined my utilitarian laundry room using similar foam mats, and adore not only the look but functionality of the pieces. When my hubby questioned covering the floor drain back then, I simply cut around it. The foam feels great under your feet and is impervious to water, laundry detergent spills, etc. That being the case, when the mat outside the sliders on the deck deteriorated, the search began for something that would hold up to the heat and rain. The search ended once I found large scale bohemian inspired floor mats in colors that complement our decor. So despite some questioning looks from my better half, I’ve decided it’s my office space, so I should just go big boho and stay home.

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Front porch with gray, brown, red, and white boho foam mat by Nicole Miller – TJ Maxx. The red is a little bold, but in the same color family as pink, and the grays and browns pick up the Simply Shabby Chic pillow colors (from Target) the flower pot hues and deck stain.                                                                  All of the other decor is TJ Maxx as well. Resin wicker – Home Depot.
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The back deck patio dining set is about 25 years old & the cushions are original. Love the white, but the dark green cabana stripe is not my fave. The bohemian floor mat by Nicole Miller from TJ Maxx has the same saturated color & finally ties the two sides of the deck together. The Simply Shabby Chic pillow on the resin wicker has the same blue and medallion as the floor mat.
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Simply Shabby Chic pillow inspired blue and purple outdoor color scheme. Target.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Shabbychicophile, one of the things I enjoy most about this style of decorating is the curated feel. Pieces influenced by different countries –– England, France, Morocco –– and different design aesthetics –– English Country, French Country, bohemian, etc. blend together beautifully. The look is not for everyone and I’m OK with that. Personal style and taste are just that. Personal. I live fully in our home and work inside –– and outside –– it, too. Considering that I’m thankful even though my sweet husband may not appreciate my design choices, he gets me and knows they are an expression of my creative, nest-feathering side. Besides, he usually closes the window coverings to conserve energy and keep the house cool, so he doesn’t really have to look at the floor mats. Good thing since I’m committed to going big boho and staying home!

Like the look of big, bold bohemian inspired designs? Why not be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about incorporating them into your home or office?

Fitting a Florentine Frame with a Favorite Family Photo

Fitting a Florentine Frame with a Favorite Family Photo

It’s Day 311 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and when I received a sweet surprise package from my sister in law, Sue, it provided the perfect opportunity to fit a Florentine frame with a favorite family photo. Sue’s son got married last August and regular readers may recall how I excited I was about the wedding in Alpharetta, Georgia. With a gorgeous outdoor ceremony and a barn reception, it was country chic at its best. When Sue texted today to ask if I’d received the package I realized it had been sitting in the foyer with the label turned face down for over a week because I thought it was my hubby’s! I hadn’t been expecting anything, so receiving a box filled with photos, magazines, some sweet home decor, and a note absolutely Made. My. Day. And opening it wasn’t the only thing I finally got to do. Sometime last year I found a black 8×7 Florentine frame – not the standard size for family pictures – and have been waiting for the right one for it. With many of family members wearing black or navy in this photograph, the frame complemented the colors and was just the right fit!

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Favorite Family Photo in a Florentine frame by Sicura. Purchased at Home Goods for $7.99.           Me, Pink Collar Coach, front row, peach floral dress & strappy heels. Calvin Klein- TJ Maxx. 

I fell in love with Florentine frames about ten years ago when I first saw them on Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic website. As with so many other things, she informed my design style and taught me to keep an eye out for these Italian beauties. Over the years I’ve found frames in an assortment of colors, shapes and sizes, as well as three Florentine vanity trays at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods. People always comment on them and they’ve become a consistent theme that runs throughout my home. Any time I pop a picture into one, it elevates the visual impact and makes what was already valued for its sentiment a treasure aesthetically, too.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose nest featherer, I’m delighted whenever I can add a small thing of beauty to enhance my home. Florentine frames add it in spades and are featured in practically every room. Sometime in the future I’ll do a post featuring my collection, but for now, I I hope you’ll enjoy this one piece as much as I do. It’s been a good day for me simply because I finally got to open a thoughtful package from my sister-in-law and was inspired to fit a favorite family photo that she sent into a Florentine frame (and to blog about it!).

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about fitting your favorite photos into frames that elevate them and display how much you value the picture? Try doing this in your home or work space and you’ll find yourself surrounded by special memories – framed to last.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

My Floral Affair – Review of Rachel Ashwell’s Newest Decor Book

My Floral Affair – Review of Rachel Ashwell’s Newest Decor Book

It’s Day 298 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and because I’m in love with My Floral Affair, Shabby Chic founder Rachel Ashwell’s newest decor book, I’m excited to write a review about it. My own romance with Shabby Chic began in the 90s and will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary. Sometime in my youth I became an Anglophile (probably due to devouring all that Jane Austen). In college, where I majored in English Lit of course, I pledged a sorority whose colors are pastel pink and green which only fed my preference for the colors. Then in my early 20s I became a bit obsessed with design and developed a a deep, abiding love of flowers and pink roses in particular. The combination of the above is what initially drew me to English Country decor with its prevalence of large scale cabbage roses on chintz fabrics. When I opened a copy of Victoria magazine and saw a spread of Rachel Ashwell’s Malibu home and her Shabby Chic style – a mix of English cottage, California beach cottage and romantic French influences, with white and pastel painted furnishings set against white walls – all with a profusion of pink flowers – I fell SO hard and have been devoted ever since. I own all the Shabby Chic books, and couldn’t wait for the eleventh, knowing My Floral Affair wouldn’t disappoint.

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A quintessentially Shabby Chic corner of my dining room/office. This buffet with a restored Simply Shabby Chic mirror, clock, lamps & crochet edge table runner. Decor -Target. Book – B&N.                                                   The addition of Easter flowers from my sweet hubby & My Floral Affair make it even more lovely. Stoneware water pitcher used as vase – TJ Maxx. 

The timing of the book’s release is ideal. March came in like a lion and it’s gone out like one too! Here in the midwest, we had the threat of twelve inches of snow toward the end of the month (it turned out to be much ado about nothing) and got a blanketing of it the day after a frigid Easter/April Fool’s Day. No joke! (I couldn’t resist). Worst case scenario I probably suffer from a bit of Seasonal Effective Disorder, and don’t enjoy winter all that much at the least. Between the cold, rain and snow, Spring Cleaning didn’t hold much appeal until I got ahold of a much anticipated copy of My Floral Affair. Pages of gorgeous, yummy decorating from Rachel Ashwell’s own homes as well as those of others in England, France, and Norway, all with flowers as the focus, make for tantalizing visual eye candy, and have inspired me to freshen up my Shabby Chic space in many ways, including with flowers.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose ShabbyChicophile, I’ve been a one-decorating style kinda woman for a while and I like it that way. My style is not trendy and it’s definitely not modern as my hubby and stepsons like to point out. I’m fine with their ribbing though because I realize they’re not accustomed to homes that don’t look as if the showroom display was shipped to the house and set up. I’d go mad in a space like that. Instead, I’ll take Shabby Chic, timeworn and timeless for life. Oh, and filled with flowers.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to freshen up your home or office this spring, Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose inspiration is abloom in My Floral Affair, available at http://www.shabbychic.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Restoration of Shabby Chic Mirrors and Other Shattered Things (Like Us)

Restoration of Shabby Chic Mirrors and Other Shattered Things (Like Us)

It’s Day 291 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and the restoration of a Shabby Chic mirror made me think about the restoration of other shattered things. The  mirror was purchased for a song back in the happy days when an abundance of Rachel Ashwell’s  Simply Shabby Chic line, made exclusively for Target, crowded the shelves.  In the house I brought my babies – now fourteen and thirteen – home to, it graced my bathroom vanity. I don’t recall where it lived in the townhouse I moved into, thus ending my homelessness. Much of that time is a blur…When I married my sweet hubby and moved into the home we now share almost eight years ago, I lovingly hung my prized mirror in our bedroom. It’s a heavy piece – I just didn’t realize how heavy until it fell from the wall, shattering not only the mirror itself but the beautiful carved wooden frame. Carefully, I wrapped the broken pieces and stored them until the day would come when I’d have it put back together again. More years than I can account for later, that day finally arrived in the form of a Christmas gift from my hubby. We shipped the mirror off with our window cleaners. Today, after some needed spring cleaning, I set up my beautifully restored Shabby Chic mirror. It reminds me so much of other shattered things.

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Beautifully restored Simply Shabby Chic mirror. The clock & everything on the sideboard is SSC. Replacing the brass knobs with acrylic crystal look ones echoes the glass in the lamps & mirror. All from Target. The Shabby Chic inspired floral painting and inspiration board – TJMaxx.

Generous as he is with me, my husband still balked a little at the cost to restore the mirror – $42. He could see the price tag on the frame insert – $9.99 – and wondered why I didn’t just replace it. But that’s not my style. I’ve been drawn to shabby since long before it became chic. I find beauty in broken things and experience joy in their restoration, which aligns to Shabby Chic’s principle of beauty in imperfection. Add to that the fact that the mirror is rare (that mass production of Simply Shabby Chic items for Target was short lived and now they only carry linens for the most part), and it’s not so easily replaced – at least not for me. Having an authentic mirror that is based off the one my design role model and most inspiring entrepreneur has in her home means something to me. Besides, I doubt I could find one that’s more beautiful in my eyes.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose creative, I see my shattered mirror the way I believe God, the Master Creator, sees us – His shattered things. We are intricately carved in His image, with his imprint and design, but our sins are heavy. So heavy that their weight sometimes causes us to fall and shatter. In our broken state, others don’t see our innate value and may feel we aren’t worth the expense of restoring. But God still sees us as beautiful, rare – a treasure. No expense – including crucifixion of His only begotten Son – is too great to bring us back to wholeness. The finished work – done on the cross – restores us. This week, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s not lost on me that like my Shabby Chic mirror, like us, His shattered things, He once was broken and shattered. Praise God He is restored, ensuring the restoration of those of us who trust Him, too.

How Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose are you in the you view shattered things in your personal and professional life? How could they be restored?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach