Saturday, October 22, 2016

Peeking Out from Under the Blanket

We've all been through rough times. My family is no different than anyone else's in terms of dealing with challenges. We all have them. This past year has been ROUGH. After struggling to even become pregnant, we finally had our precious Heno in 2014. This time last year the pediatrician ordered Henry to pediatric neurology. Something was very wrong developmentally. That something turned out to be hypotonia, or low muscle tone. Heno's case is moderate. I won't go into the medical details. It suffices to say that hypotonia is symptomatic of potentially dozens of underlying issues. From muscular dystrophy to autism to the unexplained. We fall into the latter category. After a year of genetic testing, MRIs, Cat Scans, and therapy we have never found out why our son has hypotonia. He walked at 22 months (hurrah!) and is just now starting to speak at 27 months (Daddy, Hi, Nigh-nigh). We are over the moon to hear his sweet voice. We are currently confident he will catch up to his peers. We have been lucky. Many are not. We've seen some tragic and heartbreaking situations in waiting rooms. I empathize with the pain and suffering of these parents in ways I never thought I would. I celebrate the small victories with them in my heart. We continue to attack Heno's issues with therapy everyday. We are humbled and grateful. Our cup runneth over with love and fear. But then again, don't we all at the end of the day, have our challenges? We are parents. Andy and I are stronger now. We are settling into our life again. It's been a tough ride. I have buried myself in my own thoughts and anxieties. So has Andy. But we are bouncing back. We are coming out of this season of our lives with renewed affirmation about how precious our life together is. We are peeking out from under the blanket. It's all going to be okay. And we are so grateful.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Living Room Challenge

I am so excited about our move. Just two more weeks...less than two weeks, actually! Today I am focusing on the living room. As I have mentioned, it is small and runs the length of the house, thus, making it the proverbial bowling alley space. 
-I have a secretary that will be placed lovingly by the door to the sunroom, which is visible on the left. It's a beautiful piece that I bringing down from Charleston. Styling the shelves will be fun. I collect blue and white china, so that will look beautiful mixed into the shelving. 

-I am seriously considering the Carlisle Grand Sofa with a bench cushion by Pottery Barn. It is squishy and deep and since we are limited to the amount of seating in this space, I really need this piece to be comfortable and inviting while still making a visually pleasing impact. I love the lines of the sofa as well!
  I have been told, though, that Rowe makes PB furniture, and you can get a better deal buying a similar Rowe piece from our local furniture warehouse. Whatever I decide to do, the sofa will be covered in Sunbrella Performance Fabric in a light shade. This product is supposed to be wonderful for a home featuring one Henry and two dogs :) Who knew you could have a white sofa without the inconvenience of washing slip covers twice a month! 

-I am having a master carpenter design bookshelves on either side of the fireplace. The furthest shelves closest to the kitchen (on the hidden side of the fireplace in the picture above) will be wide enough to place a tv. Those shelves will also be fun to style. Goodness knows we have enough books that need a good home! (we are big readers).

-The ceiling will be smoothed out. 

-A pendant will replace the fan. Thinking a drum shade in ivory.

-The walls will be ship lapped in order to visually widen the narrow space. I am painting them White Dove by Benjamin Moore. One of the best whites out there. It's clean but not cold. 

A custom rug will be created to fit the space. Thinking about a warm neutral in a diamond pattern.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hello again! Been a while, but guess what....?

We are moving! I can't believe it, to be honest. But we are thrilled. So I was driving down Ribaut Road recently (one of the main roads in Beaufort that runs from downtown to Port Royal) and I noticed a "For Sale" sign on a darling, little white colonial house that I had never given much thought to before, even though I had been driving by it almost everyday for six years! It didn't occur to me at first, but upon tripping over Henry's blocks that evening in our tiny living area (where I swear to you the walls are actually closing in an inch everyday!) I thought how nice it would be to buy that cute little colonial and have some more a third bedroom and a yard for Pete's sake! But we had a plan and it was based around living here in Port Royal for three more years. Plus, we truly love our townhouse. It's a very hip space designed by a fabulous architect. However, I had sadly begun to recognize that Andy and I were fast reaching the end of our hip, young couple days. Honestly, they are behind us. I've learned babies steal them :) For example, the stained concrete floors are fabulous and I wish I had a dollar for every compliment I've received about them, but now I hover over Henry like a Black Hawk as he attempts his first steps and curse the once-loved floors. In addition, the large herringbone brick patio is everything I adore about a yard (no grass=Zero upkeep), but this summer we couldn't even get the baby a paddle pool bc the surface would have been unforgiving to the inevitable slips and spills. My husband and I both knew deep down that it was time to move, but we had been resisting it. So, that night I made up my mind. I put Baby Henry to bed, prepared my arguments, and cautiously broached the subject with Andy over a bottle of wine. To my surprise, he thought it was an inspired idea. The man I married who is so very resistant to change and who wanted to be buried in the back yard (pardon, brick patio) immediately was on board. So the long and short is we sold our house and bought the darling colonial! We close on both properties at the end of this month. Exciting!!!
Take a look!
Isn't it adorable!? I can't wait to add a second story porch. Perfect, right? Loving the louvred shutters. Landscaping should be fun ( a few crepe myrtles and boxed hedge?) and I already have a brass knocker and kick plate picked out for the front door. Eventually we are going to build a garage and put in a tabby driveway. The future exterior is set in my mind and I love it. 
But, to be honest, I'm a little afraid of it interior design-wise bc it's a total blank slate. Total. The great news is that it has hardwood floors upstairs and down. The bad news is that they need refinishing. 
There is a great sunroom for a small, child-friendly den and play area, but the living room is small and a bowling alley. The kitchen has been updated, but it still needs a redo to get it where I want it. The upstairs bath needs a face-lift as well. Then there is choosing a color scheme. I literally change my mind everyday! But I still have some time. I never recognized how vacillating I can be when presented with too many choices. Sometimes I want to do a happy color scheme in the mode of striped Dash and Albert rugs and other times I lean toward a muted and sophisticated feel that better matches my many inherited antiques. (My parents downsized. I benefitted). I did decide to ship lap the downstairs walls. That's at least something! In any event, it will be fun to document. I don't like to think of problem spaces as problems but rather challenges that can always be beautifully overcome with hard work and a splash of ingenuity. And I'm sticking to that theory come hell or high water, even if I end up crying over my paint brush one day. 
At least I have something fun to post about for a long time to come, right? Good things.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paleo Chicken Asparagus in Savory Butternut Cream Sauce

This recipe is my husbands favorite! Savory and clean, this one is bound to become a hit in your house, too! Serve with a light salad. 

Two Large Chicken Breasts
One Pound Asparagus
One Half Large Butternut Squash or 12 oz Bag of Cubed Butternut Squash
1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinager
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Coconut Milk Refrigerated Can (placing can in fridge for a few hours will yield cream on top seperates from milk. This is what you use. Makes a marvelous dairy substitute FYI)
1 TBSP Coconut Oil
-Bake chicken breasts at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cut into bite sized peices. Set aside.
-Roast half of vertically sliced butternut squash face up with drizzled with EVOO and sprinkled with 1tsp Italuan Seasoning at 400 for 45 minutes or until tender.  If using cubed squash drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. Bake at 400 for 20 min.

-In Blender gently pulse cooked squash, coconut milk, apple cider Vinager, oregano,thyme, onion powder, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. A thick sauce is what you are after. Not to liquid.
-Add Coconut Oil to large wok or saucepan and sauté tips of asparagus until tender.
-Add chicken and butternut squash sauce. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir Frequently. 
-Enjoy! Serves Four. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Weekend is Upon Us...

My Weekend
Happy Friday! I'm pumped about my weekend. Plans tonight are to cook a marinated flank steak and arugula salad and watch Gone Girl with Andy. I read the book and am so excited to watch Rosemund Pike rock the character of Amy Elliott Dunn. Has anyone out there who's read the book also seen the movie? Obviously the movie version of books are never never never as good, but I'm intersted to see an in-color, breathing version of this twisty and brilliant heroine who is the brain child of the talented Ms. Gillian Flynn. If you haven't read the book, ya'll, it's a must! So tonight it's red wine, flank steak and Gone Girl. I'll let y'all know how my new steak marinade works out. Tomorrow morning I will be donning my boyfriend jeans, knitted sweatshirt, and my teal flats for a full day on the town. To begin with, Andy and I will be bundling up Baby Henry and heading to our neighborhood farmers market. One of our New Years resolutions in the Klosterman household is supporting local growers if and when we can, so I'm trying to get as much produce there as possible. Red and green peppers, squash, onions, etc... Also, you can find great preserves and baked goods in case you need to drop in on a sick friend or need a quick hostess gift for the weekend. They recently banned dogs from the farmers market, and it seems to sort of detract something from the overall experience. Not that I ever took my two beloved monsters there...that would be a total shit show...but it was nice to see the well-behaved canines enjoying a stroll through the park with their owners. It just seems so small town and friendly. Anyone have thoughts on that? I was told they did it because of health code violations. I understand that rules are for everyone's safety, but I truly feel like we are overly regulated sometimes to the point of taking the fun out of the common, everyday things we love to do. But I digress...Following the dogless farmers market, I'm meeting my friends Amanda and Danielle for a serious soy hot chocolate at Common Ground, a sweet little coffee shop on the Beaufort River. We actually are discussing some business, but coffee+friends+amazing view=Happy Relaxed Elizabeth. Lord, how I love living in the Lowcountry!  So after my coffee with a view, Andy, Henry and I will be joining some of our dearest friends for lunch to celebrate a brithday. I LOVE BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!!!  Celebrating the anniversary of a beloved friend's birth is always a special event. And bonus...I especially love celebrating this friend's birthday becasue he is the ONE person, seriously the only person, in my immediate group of bestiies that is older than me (even if it's only by 14 days). I know that it sounds silly goose, but I sometimes don't like being the oldest. I guess I'm just human. It shouldn't really matter, but somehow it bothers me a little. The rest of the weekend is our oyster...Mmmmm....oysters. But seriously, Saturday night and Sunday are wide open to relaxing and doing some home chores. I need to give the bathroom a good scrubbing and its time to clean out my closet and sell my work wardrobe. Anyone out there a size 4-6? Ya'll have a great weekend. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Whoever said that it's the small things in life that make the biggest differences was so very wise. It never ceases to amaze me how little luxuries lift my spirits instantly. I have become thrifty over the years, but I do sometimes treat myself and brush off any guilt associated with these tiny indulgences. We only live once, right?! I wanted to share my special little list with you today. I would also love love love for you to share your favorite things with me! 
Bobbi Brown Beach Gel
It's worth every penny, I swear! I hop in a steamy shower, squeeze a nickel's worth into the palm of my hand, and I'm instantly transported on a beach vacation. I don't know how she did it, but Bobbi managed to bottle the smell of my childhood summers on Seabrook Island. This is at the tippy top of my list for this very reason. Isn't it amazing how smells can bring back the best of memories!? Oh, how I looooove my showers when this fabulousness is in the shower caddy!

Godiva Truffles
MAKE.MY.DAY. I rarely, rarely buy chocolate, but when I do I go for it. And Godiva Truffles are the BEST. Period. Hands Down. Before I gave birth to Henry I went shopping on King Street in Charleston and made it a huge point to duck into Charleston Place and roll into the Godiva shop. I spent ten minutes picking out truffles as a special treat for me and my mom to share while we waited out the last few days before my induction. Creamy, rich, loaded with flavor, and just plain ole sinful, one can't miss with Godiva.
Starbucks Soy Hot Chocolate
Nuff said...

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss in 51 Insouciance
I know you can barely read the above label, but my iPhone wasn't cooperating. So, my sweet mother-in-law gave this to me for Christmas last year. She told me it's one of Kim Kardashian's favorites, which made me immediatly skeptical. Kim Kardashian is a beautiful woman but someone with whom I've nothing NOTHING in common. Least of all her taste in fashion. (And naming children). However, I was very excited to find that this lip gloss is a perfect nude. Perfect. Plus, it's shiny without being sticky. This little miracle is perfect with a smoky eye for dressing up or for applying at the last moment just to look a little more polished when you go to the grocery store and otherwise have no make-up on. It's that versitale. I have replaced twice. I love it that much. Pricey but worth it. Plus, Chanel does make the prettiest containers. Makes me smile when I pull this bad boy out of my bag. 

That's my list. Short and sweet. Please share your favorites with me! Maybe we will all discover new, tiny and unexpected sources of happiness! 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Henry's Nursery Project: Complete!

I just love a sweet baby nursery, don't you? When I found out I was finally pregnant my mind wandered immediately to decorating this special room. This would be where I would nurse my little one, rock and soothe him, and snuggle up with books, etc... I knew I wanted pops of bright color, but I didn't want it to look like a preschool classroom either. I wanted an airy, happy, bright look that would be unisex (unisex mostly because I couldn't resist planning while waiting for my 20 week scan!) to achieve?
Walls and Floors:
 I actually started first with the paint color, which is a little backwards, I know. I was obsessed with Pinterest and paint swatches for a while, because I just had to find the perfect calm, peaceful yet cheerful color. After MUCH deliberation I landed on Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.

It's a great camillion paint color. It can look blue, grey or green depending on the light and what colors you pair with it. I was pairing aqua and grass green. * Note: Coral pink accents are LOVELY with Sea Salt as well. So the walls were done at the same time as we ripped out the Berber carpet. My dogs had just ruined it, though I do like Berber.  We put in wide plank hardwoods and painted them white. I love them, though we clean them a little more often then you would stained hardwood. But so worth it! 
I fell in love with a Serena and Lily crib that was spindled. It had great lines and a timeless and tasteful feel that I find appealing in a nursery. The rub was that I wasn't in the mood to spend a huge chunk of my budget on the crib, so the search began for something comparable at a lower price point. I soon discover the Davinci Jenny Lind 3 in 1 Convertible Crib was perfect. All the charm of its Serena and Lily counterpart and less than $200. Score. Now for the bedding. After a great deal of deliberation I settled on the Harper line from Pottery Barn. I bought an aqua, grosgrain ribboned crib skirt, bumber and matching changing pad cover. For sheets I poured over EUC options on ebay. I was searching for different patterns to go with my color scheme. A change in sheeting can change up the look of your baby's crib quickly, and if you stick within a color scheme it works perfectly with everything in your space. It excites my eye to make little changes like this. I bought four different patterns. Two fish patterns (one shown in picture above) that are Pottery Barn. Then green mini polka dots on sale at Pottery a Barn, and I splurged on Serena and Lily's Crab Sheet in Carrot shown here:

Pops of Color: A Baby Library

Now for some color. It occurred to me that mounted bookshelves with Classic children's books like Madeline, The Country Bunny, Little Black Sambo, etc...would be a perfect way to introduce color to this space. I splurged on shelving from Pottery Barn but you could easily find less expensive shelving and paint it white. The effect was great. It lends interest to the nursery, a bright a cheery feel, and is 100% functional.

Rock-a-By Baby:
I was terribly fortunate to find a glider on super sale at Pottery Barn. It is white with light green piping. I find that the slipcover is the way to go with the glider. Between nursing and Henry spitting up I was bound to have ruined this chair in the first month had it been upholstered. Plus the gliding function can be removed and the chair converted into a club chair at a later date. I accented with a geometric pillow in my color scheme along with a grass green Kilim tuft, both from GDC in Charleston. If you haven't been there I strongly suggest a visit! BTW... I love this Alligator atop the glider that my mom bought Henry at Kiawah.

Changing Table:
 I found a large mirror at a consignment store that was painted a robins egg blue and stenciled with white bluebirds. I was soooo lucky to find this. Perfect for a baby boy or girl! I hung it above a white dresser we bought the same day at the same store. We painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint and the results were fabulous. It's a large dresser that doubles as Henry's changing table, and the storage it affords is a huge benefit! The top right drawer is used for easy access to diapers. The top left is for bibs and socks. I can fit all his pjs and more casual outfits that don't need a hanger in the second drawer. The bottom drawer is used for crib sheets and blankets. There is a little basket for diaper cream, nail clippers, baby lotion, etc... Finally, I purchased a candlestick lamp stand in white and a little grass green polka dot shade! I loved the results. 

Finishing Touches:
I bought unlined white window panels with ties, and had Andy saw off some white rods from Lowes. I don't often close them but that the option is there for privacy since Henry's nursery is on the street side of our house. A string of sailing flags hangs over the crib, adding more color. And a little natural colored chenille jute rug offers a place for the baby to one day sit and play with toys or read books. But my favorite is this knitted blah blah mobile featuring bluebirds. Bluebirds of Happiness, I always think! Nothing makes me happier than my sweet baby boy! If you haven't checked out the brand blah blah I strongly recommend it. Like the spindled crib, their mobiles and dolls have a timeless appeal. 

Well... That's how Henry's nursery went from a nothing to a sweet space both he and Mommy can enjoy. Andy thinks it's pretty swell, too. I am always happy to help anyone with nursery design. Just let me know! I hope you like the results in this little piece of heaven as much as I do!