How to Fill {But NOT Clutter} a Large, Blank Wall

When we completed our renovations last summer, I turned our front “formal living” room into my girly “sitting room”. I replaced the leather sofa and chairs with 4 identical oversized, modern armchairs (which are the one of the best deals I’ve ever found, btw!) and a circular coffee table. Mine has since been discontinued but it was replaced with this one and this one. I added a soft rug and minimal decor, and I’ve been LUV’ing it ever since. I hung my beloved juju hat on the wall and have really enjoyed the fact that the room has felt very minimal and clutter free.

However, the designer in me really felt like the room needed some varying heights, so I’d been itching to test out some height on one of the walls. I decided I would wait until after the holidays, as I was looking forward to my Christmas tree being on that wall, and readdress the desire after I took the tree down. The thought resonated, and soon after taking down my holiday decorations, I bought some shelves.

Needless to say, I’m EXTREMELY happy with the result! I honestly don’t know why I waited as long as I did, because I think the shelves are the perfect completion to the room.

Here are some options of different styles and for all different budgets to get you started:

My main goal of the shelves was to ensure that I didn’t fill them with clutter and create a bunch of noise in a space that felt really serene to me. So, I filled the shelves with touches of nature and neutral designs, like wood decor, white ceramic vases, clear candle vases, my favorite books and of course… greenery.

When styling shelves, the goal is to use objects of varying height, style and texture, but do NOT overdo it. Use pieces that make sense with the space. Don’t just throw a bunch of stuff you have lying around on the shelves and expect a desirable result. It will most likely just feel cluttered. Add simple pieces and try to stick with a color theme. And my suggestion… when you use color, try to be harmonious with it. Stick with a certain color theme and ground that/those colors with lots of neutral pieces. Add framed photos or art of height to break up all of the lower pieces. And always, always, ALWAYS add in some greenery (IMO). My final suggestion is an easy one because it’s something almost everyone has laying around. Find some hardcover books not being used and remove the covers. Face them backward if the color doesn’t work with your design. Books are the best, most accessible form of decor in shelf styling by almost all of your favorite designers.

And here are some of my favorite design books I LUV to read AND style with:

Here are some of my favorite decor items to inspire you in styling your shelves:

Shop the items in my room (or very similar):

I hope this post has inspired you in any way to decorate in your own home! I’d LUV to hear what you took away from this. What did you LUV about this post? What do you want to see more of? Let me know in the comments, and as always, thanks for stopping by.

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Easy, Guilt-Free Mini Banana Muffins {You Can Make with Ingredients Usually in Your Home}

Yesterday, I posted on my Instagram stories my easy, guilt-free peanut butter, banana mini muffins, and got TONS of questions about them! So, I’m sharing the complete recipe with you here! Feel free to Pin it for easy reference, by clicking on the “Pin it” icon at the very bottom of the post. If you LUV it as much as we do, you’ll probably make these a staple in your home. The substance of these muffins is the bananas (You want really ripe bananas, so I usually make this recipe when I have overly ripe bananas laying around that haven’t been eaten.) and peanut butter. (You can probably make these with any nut butter of your preference, if you have allergies or want to go with a healthier option.) I also stated in my stories that there are several options for using your overly ripe bananas, so don’t throw them away! Peel them and freeze them for use in your smoothies or make 2-step banana pancakes.  Anywho… these muffins are delicious and perfect for snacking and satisfying your sweet tooth! They’re flour-free and oh so yummy!

As I said in my stories, if I have enough to, I always double or triple this recipe, because my family pops them like candy and we tend to go through them quickly. If you triple the recipe and use a mini muffin tray, you can stretch this recipe to make around 60 mini-muffins, give or take a little.

Recipe (again, you can double or triple this, but this is the single recipe):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix…

1 banana

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

3 tbsp. honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix all ingredients, and when the mixture is nice and smooth, add dairy, nut & soy-free mini chocolate chips. Mix again until they’re evenly distributed.

I spray my muffin tin(s) with coconut oil spray so they don’t stick and then scoop the mixture into the muffin cavity about 3/4 full.

(I try to use organic options whenever possible.)

Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on your oven.

And voila…

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Make these before a playdate, get-together or just to have for the week so you can snack on them or give them to your family for breakfast. You can also alter the recipe by skipping the chocolate chips and adding blueberries if you use a regular-sized muffin tray. Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy and LUV them as much as we do!

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How I’m Getting Organized in the New Year and Why I Don’t Like to Use My Phone for My Calendar

My organization struggles usually do not lie in the organization of my home, but more the organization of my brain. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? I blame it on “pregnancy brain” that never really went away, though my husband said it existed long before children. (How dare he?!) Anyone who knows me knows I’m notoriously forgetful and have done the occasional double-booking of events. (I don’t know what they’re talking about. I think it’s a conspiracy.) But nonetheless, I’m going to take a step this year to try to work on this personal challenge, and it’s starting with my new Simplified Planner.

 

First of all, I don’t do virtual calendars (any of my brands that collaborate with me, just close your ears/eyes now). I know this confession sets me back to the last decade, but it’s true. I’ve tried. It’s just not me. I like to write my events/tasks/lists in a tangible form that I can open and see without having to click through. As a blogger, I stare at my phone too often through the day. It’s my communication source for business and personal use, and I can operate almost every aspect of my life through this little device. When I put my kids to bed and make their lunches and try to regroup for the following day, I just don’t want to open my phone back up and stare at it some more. I like to grab my planner, open it and make my plan for the following day(s). It’s just my personal preference, and I happen to know I’m not the only one. Not even in 2017. So, stop judging.

So I bought myself a fancy new planner. (I even had it monogrammed, because monogramming makes EVERYTHING better.) I’m spending these first couple weeks plugging in any important info, and I plan to use this to help me with my business AND personal calendar, and it’s even great for goal setting.

There are sections for weekly prep, including reminders to plan your meals ahead, organize your tasks for the week and inspiration for personal time. There’s enough daily space to write out as much as you need AND monthly calendars, if you’re like me, and you like to look at your whole month in a glance. AND… there are tons of additional products to help you with specific areas you want to tidy and organize. Here are some of my favorites…

Because I LUV words of affirmation wherever visible, I also really LUV her gold foil-pressed prints for framing on your wall. Hang over your desk or in a high-traffic location for daily reminders of what’s important to you.

Check out her entire website to see all of the amazing items Emily Ley has to offer. Emily happens to live locally to me, and she’s really a great person. She started this company from her home office and inspires women everywhere to not only follow their dreams, but to remember what’s really important in life. I’m excited to implement my planner in my daily routine, and I’ll try to check in with you occasionally on my Instagram stories with how my planner has been helping me with my organizational goals in the new year.

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Ruffles & Studded Boots (My Favorite Designer Dupe}

I’ve long (and I mean LONG) coveted the amazing Chloe Susanna Stud Boots. But with an almost $1,400 price tag, I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on these amazing booties. This fall, while perusing some of my favorite discount sites, I found these awesome designer dupes and HAD to try them! At about a 10th of the price, I figured it was worth a try… Full disclosure, the packaging arrived less than glamorous (it traveled all the way from China). So I was fairly nervous when I saw the package. But I opened it and the style is glorious! I’ve now worn them about a dozen times and I never had to go through an awful “breaking-in your boots” phase. Zero blisters, and they’re extremely comfortable! I’ve worn them for several hours at a time with no complaints. And I’ve never worn them without getting at least a handful of compliments. They are the shining star to almost any outfit. (In the warmer months, I think they pair perfectly with a cute dress or skirt, or even jean shorts and a tank or tee.)

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This exact top is no longer available in this color, but I found an almost exact option (same designer) on clearance for $20! (From what I can tell, the ruffles are just placed a little differently.) I also found a navy blue option that is 50% off right now for less than $30! (I paid full price for this top, so these are a total score!) And navy will transition perfectly into the spring and summer months with white jeans, shorts or a cute pencil skirt! My bag is no longer available in this color, but I’ve linked a black option. It is the BEST bag. The softest leather, several compartments and I LUV the unique style. Also, paired with my FAVORITE black denim. This outfit was an overall fav of mine. All items linked below…

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Last-Minute Gifts that Can Arrive Before Christmas with Amazon Prime

Are you “one of those” who still hasn’t gotten your Christmas shopping done? 😉 Don’t worry- I’d guess the majority of us still have some sort of shopping and/or wrapping to get done. (I haven’t wrapped one present yet, so I’m “one of those”, too!) Don’t want to leave your couch? I’ve got you covered. Here are some creative gift ideas (that I know I would LUV to receive) that you can order from the comfort of your home (or office) and have arrive before Christmas with Amazon Prime. Because let’s be honest… we all have a “Priming” problem. Happy Shopping and Merry {almost} Christmas!

Click on the links below to take you straight to the products…

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Rent Designer Sunglasses with Ditto & I’m Giving You ONE MONTH FREE

I LUV a good subscription service, but I also realize not all created equal… and this one, well this one is one of my favs. I have quite the sunglasses addiction, but when you’re sporting designer shades, it can get quite pricey to have a large assortment. While I’m pretty good at scoping out a sale, this idea is even more brilliant…

Rent designer sunglasses for as little as $24 a month (including shipping and insurance) and change out your designer shades as frequently as you’d like! And with their virtual try-on technology plus their personal style quizes, finding the right shades for your face has never been easier. And if you LUV your glasses SO much that you just can’t get yourself to send them back, members save 15% off the purchase of their glasses!

Because I LUV you, I’m giving you ONE MONTH FREE! Simply use code LUVBEC at checkout and wear designer shades for free for an entire month! Gift them to yourself OR someone you LUV this holiday season… (Gift hack: Create a membership for a loved one and print and wrap the confirmation for easy, thoughtful, unique gift giving. Who doesn’t want free designer sunglasses?) You’re welcome. 😉

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My Favorite Dress this Holiday Season

Hey y’all! I recently wore this outfit to my husband’s company holiday party, and I LUV’d it so much that I had to share! Bonus… the entire site is 40% off right now, so you can save majorly on this dress and get it for under $60!!

This dress fit like a glove and was the perfect mix of classy and sexy. The peekaboo places were balanced by the sleeve and the longer length, so I think this dress is suitable for both professional/family parties and for the more adventurous occasions. It comes in several different colors, but I chose the green, because it’s my favorite color. And frankly, I think it’s gorgeous.

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I bought this bag at the sample sale that I shared with you on Instagram a month or two ago, and it’s no longer available in this color, but I shared some similar options in the “Shop the Post” link at the end of this post. (Some are on sale.)

I found these earrings (at a totally different store) but you guys… they are literally the PERFECT match. SO… if you’re getting this dress in this color, you MUST get the earrings too! 😉

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Here are the items I’m wearing in this outfit and some that are similar…

Thanks for stopping by!

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An Easy, Super Inexpensive {Possibly Even Free} Holiday Tablescape

I’m all about saving a little here and there, so I’m bringing you this tablescape in hopes that it will inspire you to think outside the box, work with what you have when decorating this holiday season & be creative with natural elements wherever you are…

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I started by visiting my local Lowes Home Improvement. I went to the natural tree area and asked if they mind if I take some of the extra clippings that were laying around. The staff was extremely kind and even helped me and my daughter round up some scraps. Then I found wooden plate chargers in the $3 section at Target and added my everyday white dishes on top. You can also use your china that probably sits around and collects dust! (You’ll notice I used my wedding china in some of these photos to show you that look as well.) I found the wooden chips at Hobby Lobby, but here are a similar option, and wrote names on them to use them as place markers. You’ll notice I tried using a white paint marker but that didn’t show well, so I suggest black or something metallic. In the end, I just used a Sharpie. I found white napkins (here is another option) and some candles at Homegoods. The silver strand of globe lights I also found at Target for $5 in the Dollar Spot.

First, I placed the tree clippings in a thin layer down the center of the dining table. I also added some white candlesticks that I have from IKEA and placed the strand of lights on top of the greenery. I found bakers twine I had laying around the house. (You’ll see half of it was stained with green marker, so I obviously didn’t use that part.) Then I tied little pieces of twine around the white napkins and added a little scrapping of tree greenery to each napkin.

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The wood & marble stands I had in my collection at home. If you don’t have ones just like this, you can also use clear glass or white cake stands you may have laying around in your home. I also have seen little white ones in the Dollar Spot at Target. Finally I added some fur pillows that I already had in my home, and the plaid throw you see on the chair is actually a blanket scarf I had in my closet that I purchased at Target last year.

Listen… The point is- take an inventory of the items you have in your home. What do YOU luv? Incorporate those items. I especially encourage you to use neutral items like white, wood and/or glass. Neutral items can be incorporated easily with almost anything. If you don’t have a set of white dishes already, check out the link I listed in this post. About a year ago, I got rid of all of our colored dishes, and we use the same set of white dishes every day now. They’re appropriate for almost any occasion, affordable, and IMO, there’s no reason to have an over-abundance of dishes laying around taking up cabinet space.

When I used to take clients, I always told them to take an inventory of their items before we started. I told them to go through their items and ask themselves 2 questions with each piece… 1) Does it have a purpose? 2) Do you LUV it? If the answer to both of these questions is “no”, get rid of it. When you do this, it makes decorating SO MUCH easier. And creating a tablescape is no exception. This table setting includes items I use every day, items that I LUV and items from nature. Which made this tablescape cost next to nothing.

I hope you find some kind of inspiration from this post! Let me know what you think! Happy holidays and happy decorating!

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Our 2016 Family Photos with Lydia L Photography

Every year, we get all spruced up and take our holiday photos. My husband and kids are not huge fans of having family photos taken, but they put on a happy face and aren’t allowed to complain ONCE since they know I only ask them to do “official” family photos once a year! (Though as my blogging career expands, that’s changing a little. Sorry guys!) Lydia of Lydia L Photography found me through Instagram and reached out about a collaboration, and I was immediately excited when I saw her work. I LUV that her photo style is both classic and whimsical and was excited to work with her this year.

But when I actually got to the shoot and saw her in action… Well, I knew this was going to be a good relationship. 🙂 Even my husband commented about how great she was at posing us and getting our children to participate! She was completely professional, and she was extremely knowledgable at working with lighting and posing all of us in ways that she knew would look both organic and endearing. Of all of the photos that she sent, here are the ones I selected as my favorites… You’re getting a sneak peak before I’ve even sent out my Christmas cards (which NEVER happens), so I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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As my kids get bigger (at a pace that makes my stomach hurt), it’s so extremely important to me that I document these years. I LUV having photos taken around the same time each year so I can truly see how much they’ve changed from the photos the year before. It’s amazing to me how much bigger they seem with each passing year, and I know I’ll cherish these photos all the days of my life.

LUV what you see? Here’s some even more exciting news… Lydia will be giving away a FREE MINI SESSION to one of my lucky followers in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota/Bradenton/St. Petersburg, Florida area. Stay tuned to my Instagram and to Lydia’s Instagram in the coming days for details to enter SOON!

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Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide {What’s On My List}

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I’ve sent my list to the Big Guy, and here are some of the items I’m hoping he is stuffing in my Christmas stocking!  Here are the links to what you see above and some of the other items I’m LUVing… Go ahead and forward this to “your” Santa. 😉

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