8.26.2016

Bar Cart Series ... No. 12 Tiffany Erickson

Its Fri-Yay!!!  I was beyond waking up this morning and realizing that relaxing with those I love was merely hours away!!  I have a treat for you today.  My darling stylist Tiffany is posting today about a recent event she hosted with a designer.  Tiffany styled all of the baubles and Rosemary styled an amazing barcart.  I absolutely love seeing how so many tastemakers style their barcarts and how many of you believe they literally work every single place you put them!!


It's Bar Cart day with Tiffany ... 


This summer TE Style and Ash Street Interiors teamed up to host “Baubles and Bar Carts”, an event held in the North Shore of Chicago. The party, held at a wine bar, provided a forum on accessorizing bar carts – and yourself – for summer soirees.


Here are some highlights from the items featured at our event and, of course, why we chose to showcase these finds and these amazing companies.


Moon and Lola was also front and center at the event. Known for their acrylic monogram pieces, they also have fun and flirty styles that are a great way to add a pop of color for the season.


Luxe Wearhouse is one of my go-to spots for reasonably priced, on-trend jewelry. With this Summer being all about finding global inspiration, Luxe has tons of great eclectic and expressive pieces – tassels, fringe or woven metals…all at great price points!


No one does affordable statement pieces like Bauble Bar! From statement earrings to of-the-moment chokers, BB is the king of fashion jewelry that celebrates your personal style.


Run do not walk to get “bowtied” with stacks of these Bourbon and Bowties bangles. Each piece is handcrafted and adorned with beautiful stones from all over the world. Can you say arm party?

A Styled Bar Cart


A great bar cart is like a party on wheels, and this Madison Mixer Barcart by Society Social is no exception. In the summer I love moving my parties outdoors to lawns, patios and porches, or in this case, to a fabulous wine shop for a stylish summer event. The Madison holds all my must-haves and more and the removable cane tray is the perfect backdrop for styling.

I always include a customized element whether it's a unique, monogrammed bar towel draped over the front for the occasional over pour or pressed foil cocktail napkins. I love The Blush Label and Emily McCarthy Shoppe for their custom trays, tumblers and cocktail napkins in fresh summer colors and patterns. Emily McCarthy's new shop not only offers all that you'll need to stock a gorgeous custom bar, like this gold and white striped ice bucket, but she'll create a couture monogram just for your event!



I like to offer guests a "cocktail buffet", skipping the everyday mixers and offering craft tonic, soda, ginger and pink lemonade from Boylan Heritage. I add fresh mint, basil and rosemary from my garden and grapefruit slices alongside the expected lemons and limes. And small, portable bottles of refreshing infused water to keep everyone hydrated is a must!


Flowers, like cocktails, make people happy, so I always have a fresh, seasonal display on my barcart. Adding a fun cake topper or laser cutout, like this gold beauty from Moon & Lola, can take a simple hydrangea arrangement up a notch.


These clever cocktail napkins from August Morgan are not only a great hostess gifts if you are the party-goer, but they are always a huge hit at the bar if you're the party thrower. Everyone leaves the party wanting some of their own!



Just a splash, or two or three ...


If you've ever mixed a drink from one of my barcarts, you know I always have a sweet gourmet treat out for sampling. Colorful macaroons are always a good idea and, in my opinion, taste delicious with a refreshing G&T!

I love seeing so many amazing ways to use a barcart ... and of course anything Tiffany works on makes my heart skip a beat!  She is back next month with a post giving us the preview on what we should be wearing this fall!

Happy Friday lovies!!

8.25.2016

Summer Coffee Table with Chairish

Summer is quickly coming to an end ... with only two weeks left to enjoy the long days and lazy evenings.  I know I am not happy about the close of another summer season where evenings can linger in the den for hours around the coffee table with family and friends.  I am doing all I can to soak up every single minute available to us.


Since the transformation of our den we have spent more and more time in the space enjoying the light.  With the long summer evenings sitting in the den has been such a treasure.  The Hubs and I will sit on the couch enjoy a drink (or two) a little snack and then he will head out to the deck to grill dinner.  In the busy world we all live in it is so essential for us to stop and connect for a few minutes. 


I love the size of our vintage bamboo coffee table.  It is quite large and holds all of my favorite books, some amazing small items and of course my favorite candle and custom matches.  It also allows us to have a space for our drinks and appetizer.  When we have more than the two of us to serve I can even add it a tray for more drinks.  


My favorite online source for pieces like our table is Chairish.  Hands down the best selection of vintage and antique pieces, easy shipping and incredible customer service.  If only I had come up with this idea on my own.  #right?


Recently when I needed some extra blue and white pieces for our bookcases I immediately searched the site and found more than I could hope for, even struggling to make a final decision.  The prices and the selection was perfect.  I can't wait to receive my new beauties which will be perfect for the top of the bookcases.



I am squeezing in all I can of the last of the summer hydrangeas, adding more of them to the house the minute they begin to fade.  I told you I am not ready to say goodbye to my favorite season.  I also added a few large roses paired with mint just in case we decided our Gin + Tonics needed a little something extra.


Since our lives began together in Florida I refuse to let little tidbit go.  We may live in Georgia but our home is full of Palm Beach chic style.  Since my husband grew up in Palm Beach county we have so many amazing Palm Beach books which feel like home to him.  These Palm Beach frosted glasses from Cat Studio fit in perfectly and I love using them for our cocktail hours.  The colors couldn't be more perfect for our home!

 

You will find me here every single evening for the next two weeks while it is still too warm outside to truly enjoy the porch.  And I am happy as a clam to soak up the sunset indoors in our den with my better half enjoying our den.

You can shop my favorite items from Chairish below ... 


Fall can you please reschedule your entrance?  #prettyplease


8.24.2016

Our Special Ed Journey ...

As my brand has grown many people have asked how it all began.  I can't share this story without talking about our middle child and my journey.  I say my journey because I can only speak for myself in this process. I can only share my feelings, my fears and my worries along with the lessons I learned.  I have made it a priority to make sure anything I share is from my view since protecting his privacy in this is the most important piece.  I do however feel led to share and to share from a place of hoping I can help someone else on the same or similar journey.  There is a reason I was chosen to walk this path and I am hoping this post blesses someone along the way.


I started the blog in 2007 after a diagnosis for one of our children that required a lot of therapy for him in a short period of time, none of which was covered by insurance.  I owned a monogram business at the time and I started blogging for two reasons.  First I needed a place to showcase what I could do and second I needed a creative outlet for the crazy dark path we were walking.  But I am truly getting ahead of myself.

In late 2000 I found myself in an infertility journey.  Our first pregnancy had been quite easy and we wanted a second baby and after many many months of trying with no success I turned to my obstetrician for help.  He informed me of my incredibly low hormones issues and told me we could start medication to help the process along.  I was to begin medication the next month when my cycle came, but it never did.  Days passed and nothing. The doctor ordered some medication I could take to start the process but I was completely uneasy about taking it without first verifying I was not already pregnant.  The nurses chuckled saying there was no way someone with my levels could conceive but my heart needed to make sure.  I took the first test and almost passed out.  After five pregnancy tests I returned to the doctor's office jumping up and down and holding all five of my positive tests.  They immediately started me on hormones and other medicines so that I would be able to keep the pregnancy and give us the best chance for a healthy baby.  The nurses keep shaking their heads looking at my paperwork and my positive tests.  My doctor walked by, took it all in and simply said to me, "That my love was completely God".

I knew from an early moment that this pregnancy and this baby would be very different.  He was very hard to get and harder to keep.  At 13 weeks I became very ill and after a week I was hospitalized with an unknown infection.  Was the infection in the uterus or outside?  No one truly knew the answer.  To make sure they recommended an amnio.  If the infection was inside the uterus the baby would not make it and my chances for conception again would be gone.  If it was outside we took the risk of it spreading to the inside and then once again putting the baby at risk.   We decided to sleep on our decision.  We learned the sex of the baby and my husband chose his precious name.  In the morning we decided against the amnio and I spent the next two weeks trying to recover as they tried medication after medication until they finally found one to beat the infection. If we had chosen the amnio my baby most likely wouldn't be with us.  It was an incredibly hard decision but the best decision I may have ever made.

From the second he was born we instantly knew something was different.  The nurses whispered amongst themselves and immediately the doctor started making notes.  His whole body was swollen and he failed the hearing test and his Apgar test was very low.  Other than that he was happy and healthy and as sweet as he could be.  Not to mention beyond beautiful.  I could not have loved him more.  At two months old one of our doctors ordered genetic testing and we sat for weeks waiting to found out if our newborn had Downs Syndrome.  He had quite a few markers and the signs were there. I remember researching all I could to best prepare myself for whatever the outcome would be. I would be on top of it and he would be fine.  The test came back normal and we all relaxed and moved on.

As he grew he remained quiet, crying very little and was to me the most content baby on the planet. After a strong willed baby with colic I was pleased as punch to be given a calm and easy baby.  But after his first year the doctor noticed he was missing milestones and we were called in to discuss more genetic testing.  Test after test after test and we still had no answers.  They recommended we take him to Emory for a more extensive genetic workup and to the Marcus Institute.  I added our names to the wait lists, four years for one and more than three years for the other.  We started preschool when he was two and that failed miserably.  I thought it was the teacher and enrolled him a second year but after a few weeks it all came crumbling down.  It wasn't a teacher, my sweet and quiet child was silently struggling as he just didn't match up to the other children's abilities. He could not sit in a circle, could not scribble like his classmates and the loud noises in the indoor play area sent him completely over the edge.

My husband asked around and did his homework and found we could take him for testing in the public school system since he had just aged out of the Babies Can't Wait program in Georgia.  We made the appointment and took our very small child in for a head to toe evaluation.  Their findings blew us away and confirmed many things we suspected, our little fella was quite off.  With an Occupational Therapy delay of 18 months and a Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis he was eligible to start public school immediately in the Special Needs Preschool (SNP) program. They would be able to give him all the assistance he needed to "catch up" and be close for "mainstreaming" (regular classroom with little or no assistance) as a kindergartner.  We were all in, although my mama heart struggled as I put him on the little bus strapped in a car seat with a book bag that drug the ground. I remember the first day he rode the bus.  I followed it all the way to school with my two month old baby strapped in the back.  I watched him climb down those big stairs and the tears fell down my cheeks a lot like they are streaming now as I recall those moments.  I went to Starbucks got the biggest Latte they sold and tried my darnedest to put on my big girl panties.  It wasn't about me, it was about what was best for my baby.  It was the best option for him and doing what was best made my fears and sadness seem insignificant.

Fast forward with two years of SNP behind him we were ready for kindergarten or we thought we were.  He wasn't quite ready for mainstream and so he started Special Needs Kindergarten in his new home school.  New school, new teacher and new larger bus.  He was used to school and loved the structure and so off he went without any question.  He learned to draw shapes and learned to write his name and seemed to progress well, but he was still missing many milestones.  He could not read and his handwriting was a mess and a half. At the end of the school year his teacher recommended we mainstream him part time in first grade.  I remember thinking how can he progress when they are so many things he can't do.  She looked me square in the eye and said something I will never forget.  "At some point you will need to come to grips with the fact that there are some things he simply can't do. He simply isn't like the other children"  She was willing to push him through without all of the skills he needed.  She was also trying to box him in and that would never happen to any child of mine.

I immediately made an appointment with an outside Occupational Therapist for testing.  I remember asking for the Star Trek test.  You know, the wand they wave and they immediately know all of what is going on, that is what I wanted for him.  After less than 50 minutes with him she told me many things.  Yes, he still had a major OT delay, he also had a PT delay, a speech delay, low muscle tone and he could not see or hear well out of either ear. I made a battery of appointments and we chose to repeat kindergarten in a modified mainstream plan.  One of the things she said to me truly made all the difference in the success he has today.  We had to intervene quickly as most of his learning issues would be set in "stone" by age 8.  He was not quite six and we had basically two years to make a lot of magic happen.  He would go to school and then leave early to make his afternoon therapy appointments three days a week for 24 months.  It was expensive and none of it was covered by insurance.  It was a huge investment for our family and his life but we weren't willing to not make it happen.  It was 2007 and the blog began.

Fast forward another two years and we finally got the call that our appointment was available at the Emory genetics center.  I truly felt like I was carrying a load of bricks as I walked in that day with my husband and nearly 8 year old boy.  We knew all he was struggling with and had made major improvements, but we still didn't know why.  The why always left the possibility that health issues would arise and we wouldn't know how to proceed.  We needed answers. Many vials of blood from all three of us along with many questionnaires and we left feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of the future.  I recall stopping at Ikea on the way home and my sweet boy asking for a hot dog and an ice cream cone.  I remember thinking we had just had lunch and it seemed excessive.  He looked at me with his big hazel eyes and said "That was a lot of blood I just gave, I think I earned at least the ice cream cone."  He got both the hot dog and the ice cream!
  
Three weeks later and we finally, after many years, had a diagnosis.  My child has a rare genetic disorder that at the time was only documented in one other case in the world.  His 22nd chromosome is duplicated in the middle upper section.  Had it been further up or further down he would not have been a viable pregnancy.  Neither my husband nor I am a carrier so it is unclear whether he will pass it on to a child of his own.  Further more, the gamma ray they use to view the DNA had recently been expanded to view this type of duplication.  The timing of the visit and the test was crucial.  Had we visited even six months before we wouldn't have had the answer we had long awaited.  Timing is truly everything and this timing was perfect.  We then scheduled scan after scan with many specialists checking out his heart, kidneys, eyes and brain and now have a complete picture of all the health issues that may arise as he ages.

What they were able to tell us what extremely helpful.  They confirmed his learning issues and the Sensory Processing Disorder.  They identified a number of physical characteristics that truly felt like they were describing my baby to a T.  They confirmed his low muscle tone and some issues that may arise as he ages.  They gave us the best pieces of information for us and the school system so that he could finally get all the help he needed to make the path as easy for him as it could be.

My son is now 15 and just started his first year of high school.  He is mainstream with modifications and for the most part is an average teenager.  He struggles in many areas but has learned to control most of them and we have learned to help him navigate most of the rest.  He is the kindest child I have ever met with the largest smile on the planet.  He is charming and engaging and his IQ is higher than any of the rest of us in the family. He is gifted in so many areas and these seem to smooth over the areas of struggle.  He is funny and kind and has a gift for creative writing and music.  He is one of the best gifts I have ever been given and one I thank God for daily.

The truly life changing moments happened each time a teacher fell in love with him and devoted herself to his care.  We had an amazing team at the first school who loved him and worked with him beyond their job descriptions.  In the second school we truly had so many people who were committed to his success.  Many special ed teachers and the administration who were committed to him being the best he could be and doing any and everything they could to make sure he had every opportunity for success. Each of them had a piece in truly changing his life and mine.  Many times I would show up in tears and it would be my neck they would hug.  I would have driven carpool in my pajamas and then had to carry him into school wearing them.  No one said anything other than "those are cuter than last weeks" and we all had a laugh.  Many of them taught me how to be his parent and taught me patience and kindness and unending love when all I wanted to do was label myself as a failure and hide in a hole with my very small and precious child protected.  Not only did they change his life but they changed mine.

I am not writing this post for anything other than to be an inspiration and a hope to anyone dealing with special needs issues.  It can be an incredibly hard path with many ups and downs.  When I first started my path there was no manual, no guide book and no one I knew who could help me. At times I found myself very scared and unsure of the life he would have or what I would do to help him reach his full potential.  You have these tiny pieces of your heart walking around and all you wish to do is protect them for anything coming their way.  Any issues that arise that they struggle with only makes those wishes, dreams and fears so much deeper.

I am very open with my journey in hopes it will help anyone who hears it and that others will reach out for any advice I may have.  I hope I can one day lift someone up and change their life as many have done for me.  That will be the greatest gift of this journey.

Well, that and watching my sweet boy graduate from college to become the history teacher he dreams to be.  

8.23.2016

Design Feature: Kevin O'Gara of Thou Swell


I have been completely blown away by a fellow Atlanta blogger for quite some time. From the moment I met Kevin O'Gara I knew he was a rock star but I truly didn't understand the depth of his accomplishments until I became a daily reader of his blog and began to watch his journey. You see, Kevin is just 19 years old and has been writing the lifestyle blog Thou Swell for a few years. My respect for his juggle of high school and the pressures of AP classes and college prep whilst managing a full time blog truly knows no end.

8.21.2016

Where I Shop For Vintage ...


Five minutes on my blog or my Instagram feed and you know I love antiques. The older the better and if it is chippy and missing pieces ... it may be absolutely the best thing I have ever seen. I have been antiquing basically my whole life. My grandparents used to take me to auctions and I watched them purchase and refinish more pieces than I can count. The hunt is in my blood and there is no better day than a good hunting day that produces amazing results.


I get a lot of questions asking where I shop and what I look for when I am out and about.  I definitely have my favorites and most of which I am open to share.  A girl has to keep some secrets and my tiny hole in the wall joints are the best kind of secrets.  I am drawn to a number of things but I find I buy the same thing over and over again.  Blue and white porcelain, Staffordshire pups, Rose Medallion, silver, amazing lamps, vintage floral oil paintings, antique silhouettes, bar ware and linens.   I find a lot of things I love but I only buy what I know I can either re sell or use in our home.  I might be at capacity at the house and in the basement ... just saying. 



photo by Christina Wedge 


Hands down the best shopping in the Atlanta area is at Scott Antique Market which is the second weekend of every month. I have been shopping at Scotts for more than fifteen years and though I don't go every single month I have my favorite vendors and I know who has the best pieces for each category.  I also know which months to skip and which ones to never miss.  If you are visiting in the area you definitely want to hit the market in July and December.  The best months by far with the best dealers.



If I am shopping around town I definitely have my favorites.  In Buckhead I love to shop at Peachtree Battle Antiques & Interiors, Antiques & Beyond, 14th Street Antiques & Modern Home and Early Street Antique Market. All of these have amazing pieces and although deals aren't always the goal with these amazing places you will always find the best of the best.  If you are in the suburbs of Marietta I highly recommend Dupre's Antique Market on the Marietta Square.  So many pieces from our home were purchased at Dupre's and Roswell Antiques before it closed a few years ago.  Queen of Hearts has a few locations in the area and all of them are fabulous.  The larger location in Alpharetta is the best and has the largest selection of antique dishes in the area. Well worth the trip!



vintage bamboo coffee table in our den
photo by Christina Wedge 


If I am home and need some online shopping I definitely have my go to spots.  Etsy for smalls and silver, Chairish for amazing blue and white and Rose Medallion and a few smaller shops that I absolutely love.  I highly recommend both The Enchanted Home and Matters of Style Marketplace. Tina at The Enchanted Home has the best lamps and is fabulous and you will absolutely love Sarah from Matter of Style is seriously the bomb.  She helped me find just the right thing for my bar cart for the last One Room Challenge.  She sent me photo after photo until we chose just the right piece. That is just the customer service that keeps me coming back again and again.




photo by Christina Wedge 

I also love an estate sale.  While visiting a friend in Memphis in October last year I had the pleasure of hitting up the best estate sale.  Twenty minutes later I walked away with an incredible mirror (now hanging in our dining room) along with silver pieces I immediately sold and some amazing linens I since have had monogrammed and we use quite often. Each item reminds me of the trip and our adventures together. To locate estate sales near you I highly recommend EstateSales.Net.  The app is great and you are able to peruse the photos before heading out to make sure the sale is truly worth your time.


photo by Christina Wedge 

For our home we have so many antiques that have been handed down from both our families.  I find they fit in the best when I mix antiques with vintage and new.  It is the style that works best for us and is a theme you will see in each room of our home. I love our old pieces and the history they hold and mixing them with vintage finds and new pieces keeps them fresh and current.  Sort of timeless with a good edge.

If you are in my area drop me an email and I can map out more of the little spots I truly love the most ... the tiny hole in the wall spots that have the best deals.  If you are looking for me on a random Saturday most likely you will find me with my favorite Tretons on scouting out a fabulous estate sale or an out of the way thrift shop looking for the best next find!

Happy Monday lovies ...
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