A Whole New Magazine Experience

I’m not ashamed to admit it – I am a magazine junkie, especially when I can get a great deal on a subscription (like using Coke Reward Points). And I’m a paper-person, meaning I prefer books over Kindles and paper magazines over online versions. That is, until now.

Don’t get me wrong – I won’t be canceling my subscriptions anytime soon. But these online-based ‘zines offer something ultra cool; they are free! Because these magazines are produced solely for the internet, the overhead is much lower allowing the publishers to give away the products and still make a profit by linking all advertisements and some products to the advertiser’s website. It’s actually a really cool feature because you don’t have to hunt down something that you really like – you just click on the item and you are taken directly to it!

Another interesting feature is the ability to embed video. I witnessed just how cool this was today when I watched an interview with Jonathan Adler and Charlotte Moss. It makes those Q&A sessions so much more fun. Can you imagine having even more interviews with celebrity hotties when this happens to Cosmo? Anyway, check out two of my favorite decor magazines online. And don’t worry, they didn’t skimp – each magazine is huge and gorgeously laid out. Enjoy!

Christmas Photos, Bower Power Style

A few years ago (I want to say early 2009?) my amazing friend and diamond sister, Tammy, introduced me to Young House Love (then This Young House) and I fell in love. I’ve been reading John and Sherry’s blog daily ever since and aspire to their awesomeness in DIYing and remodeling. Through this blog, I found a link to All Bower Power and had to check it out (especially since my maiden name is Bauer, pronounced the same but spelled differently!). Katie Bower is so funny and cute and she’s been on my daily blog list for a long time, too, which is exactly why I have to share her with you.

In addition to being quirky and awesome at decorating, Katie is a balling photog and she is definitely generous with her pics of little Will (which help inspire me to take my own of Clark!) so when she posted a list of must-take Christmas pictures, I totally jumped on the bandwagon. Check out her post and let me know which pictures you’ll be taking this year, even if you don’t have little ones!

(picture courtesy of All Bower Power, please click the image and visit Katie’s site!)

Blessing Bags

We’ve all seen someone who is homeless, especially recently. I don’t know about you, but I become really torn: on the one hand, I really want to help them, but on the other hand, most of the time I’m by myself so I am afraid. I’ve been known to nervously throw a bag of food out my window at a homeless person after a grocery trip (something I’m kind of ashamed for having done, but it was the only way I could conquer my fear of being harmed).  Other times, I don’t have anything to give someone. I’ve always had a strong desire to take care of people.

While on Pinterest, I came across this great blog post about making Blessing Bags to hand out to the homeless. You keep these in your car and if you happen upon someone, you have a kit ready to go. I’d make a few changes/additions, though:

-Add a travel size of dry shampoo. How often does someone who is homeless have access to a shower?

-Instead of a Starbucks gift card, what about a gift card to a local truck stop? They can’t be used on alcohol/tobacco, but more importantly, they CAN be used to rent a shower, buy food/coffee, or even a magazine for some entertainment (because let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to have a distraction from one’s current position in life).

-Add a note of encouragement. I’m not talking about a quick, two-line card. Write something of substance. Remember, you can use this note in each bag, so make it count. You might just provide the thing that gets that person through a tough day.

My challenge? I want everyone to make three of these to start. If you don’t give them out in a month or two, then donate them to your local homeless shelter. It’s important to change someone’s life, even if it’s something small. I promise that doing so will change your life, too.

Obsessive-Compulsive

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to obsess about things just a bit. What can I say, I’m passionate! Haha. So when we were looking at some possible homes, I made some mockups as to decor and paint scheme. I can’t say that these are our faves now, but I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into my compulsions.

I started by taking the only non-computer generated picture and adding blue shutters (although I think we’d want something darker – this is a pretty terrible Photoshop job lol).

Next, I started to think about the colors I’d like for the individual rooms and how they’d work out together. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t think about this. I’m still not sure about the hall color, but I thought that a grayish beige would work best with the gray color of the living area. All rooms will have high gloss white trim and moulding.

You can’t tell from the picture, but the layout of the formal living room would actually be four of those chairs around the round coffee table. It allows movement around the room as well as easy placement if things need to change (you can move chairs and reconfigure them much easier than a sofa).

Since there is no real wall per se between the formal living and dining areas, I needed to make sure that everything flowed between the two rooms. Using the two shades of blue provides continuity while still maintaining separate, distinct spaces.

The kitchen was a really difficult room for me. I want the paint color to be continuous with the living room/morning room, but I wasn’t sure about the surface choice. Enter that beautiful piece of multitonal granite. The hints of coral, teal, black and white are amazing! I also picked a medium color cabinet (to contrast with what will be dark hardwood throughout the first floor). And you have to love the adorable bar stools!

Again, picking the living area color was the hardest. We like lots of browns, so finding a shade of gray to work with them was difficult. Also, we want to use some of our existing pieces, like the DVD cabinet, end table, and lamp.

Okay, I couldn’t find a lot of what I was looking for with the study, but thing masculine and traditional. There would be a large corner desk for Jason and I to share, leather chairs, and huge bookcases. Also note that I replace the standard builder grade door with French pocket doors.

Next comes the upstairs. I continued the hallway color from downstairs to provide continuity. The rest was, well, not set in stone at all.

My first feeling with the loft was, “What the heck would we put up there???” I decided that a kid-friendly tv/bookshelf/desk area would be perfect! All the choices below are from IKEA of course. I especially love the couches which have interchangeable covers (so messes and patterns are okay because they can be changed!).

Okay, so this is definitely not set in stone and is just Mommy’s pipe dream that one day Clark *might* like ships enough for me to do this! Right now, his room is space-themed. It’s completely up in the air.

We are assuming that when we move into a new house, we’ll eventually upgrade to a king-sized bed, which means our lovely upholstered queen size bed would go into a guest bedroom. My goal here was trying to layer different pieces without searching extensively on the internet. This is just something I threw together quickly.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think the Master Suite is actually too big. It was so hard to figure out a layout and I’m still not enthusiastic about it. I think it might even be a better idea to wall off the sitting area and make that into an exercise room or dressing room or something. It’s especially hard because with the huge amount of closet space, we won’t really need any furniture beside a bed and nightstands in the room. The quilt is our current quilt (which we bought in king size since I’m a cover hog) and that’s where we got the paint color. Also, we know we want to continue having an upholstered bed – we lurve our current one because you can lean against the back without tons of pillows, and it wasn’t hard to convince Jason that leather was nice, haha.

So, even though I don’t necessarily love all the design choices (I picked everything out in a hurry and we would be layering the house slowly in real-life), I still love the whole idea of designing a house from top to bottom, starting with paint. Thoughts?