5/08/2015

FRIDAY FAVES : FAUX GLOW

Hey mama friends! In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I thought I'd talk to all you expecting ladies who may feel a little like this...


This made me laugh so hard. Mostly because it's so stinkin' true. Somewhere in between hugging the toilet and spending ten extra minutes in the shower dealing with all the rapidly shedding hair, it dawned on me that someone, somewhere had mentioned something about an illusive, perhaps imaginary "pregnancy glow."

Well I'm here to tell you that I don't really believe in that crap, but there are lots of things you can do to achieve what I call a faux glow during this magical/maybe a little miserable time in your life. 

Disclaimer: I may seem totally high maintenance for admitting to using all of these things on an almost daily basis, but because I can't stay holed up in the house all the time, I gotta do something. 


* Sidenote: As with all our compilations of faves, none of these are paid endorsements, but if anyone mentioned wants to make that happen...lauren@ameninspireddesign.com! Haha. All are tried and true. Just look at the mess on my bathroom countertop.


Like I said, I tend to shed a ton of hair in the shower when preggo, so I actually hate washing my hair. Dry shampoo to the rescue! And here's a little tip: dry shampoo isn't just for dirty hair, ladies! I like to use a little on freshly washed and dried hair too because my fine hair tends to get a little limp when it's squeaky clean and this helps add a little volume. 

Because we usually end up with a two-yea-old in our bed at some point, one of those crazy-big curly Q body pillows isn't an option. But a simple one like the ones from Target (with a pretty cover) do the trick and add an extra layer of pillow goodness on our bed. Mostly what I'm trying to say here is sleep as well as possible. Even if it's not super attainable, good rest is as valuable as a billion million dollars. 

This is such a cool little thing! It looks like a bar of soap, but is actually compounded body oils that go on nice and smooth with a little body heat. Just rub right on that growing bump and keep stretchmarks/itchiness at bay. 

I'm pretty picky about body wash, and when I was super nauseous, something too fragrant killed me. So I love this wash by Puracy for it's light citrus + sea salt fragrance and easiness on my crazy skin. 

I blame my obsession with skincare products on my days in college working at a spa. And I have to say for the price and availability, this serum is absolutely the way to go. I have combination skin, and being chalk-full of wild hormones and closing in on the big 3-0, this stuff really does it for me. I've seen a complete improvement in my skintone evenness and texture since starting this stuff a few months ago. 

I really like to keep my nails painted on the regular, but my nails tend to grow really fast and then get chippy/brittle during pregnancy. So a simple clear coat keeps things kosher without being high maintenance.

7. Swedish Dream Sea Salt Hand Creme
Not just for hands. Smells amazing. Enough said.

8. BeBand
Sort of like a Bella Band but less expensive and just as good. Sometimes you just need a little extra support + smoothing and this little band does just the trick! I love it under more fitted pieces so as to hide my gaping preggo belly button.

9. CaudalĂ­e Lip Conditioner
Dry lips don't stand a chance and natural glow is a go with with this tried and true fave. I don't leave home without it!

10. eos Shave Creme
If you have sensitive or dry skin in general or during pregnancy, this stuff rocks so hard. Ashy skin and bumps stay at bay and even though it basically feels like lotion, doesn't leave a nasty film in the shower like similar products.

Happy Mother's Day + Happy Glowing, Mamas!!



5/07/2015

EXTERIOR INSPIRATION

In the south, front porches are a big deal. Yes, there's a point when sitting out too long can become pretty intolerable (or maybe just for a northern transplant like me). But there's this magic window of time when the thick humidity and pesky mosquitos are still at bay and sitting on the front porch with a glass of chardonnay or sweet tea is the absolute dreamiest. 

I'm so excited to be working on a few front porch styling projects this spring, especially since truth be told, I really don't love the exterior of our house. There's not much we can do to change it/it's not worth it for the amount of time we plan to be in this house, so being able to channel a little bit of exterior energy for our clients is a welcome task. 

We always start our creative process with a little bit of design research, and I thought I'd share some of my very favorite front porches/stoops/exteriors. 



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Of course I love these two pastel pretties. The top image is actually from here in Charleston, and I'm pretty sure I could do a whole series of posts on Charleston's amazing front doors. No detail is left to chance with these two. From the tile work to the lion head knockers and brass hardware, to the transom windows and marble steps, I just love! 

Sometimes you have to look beyond your city for inspiration. These European beauties simultaneous make me drool and give me a serious case of wanderlust. 


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Hello gorgeous! There is so much prettiness in this Sardinian facade, but when you dissect it, the formula's really pretty simple. White facade + contrasting inky door with soft arched shape and nice beadboardish texture, + vibrant vines. No crazy architecture (at least that this picture shows) or clutter. Done and done! 




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London may be known for it's fog, but this super posh stoop is anything but gloomy. The crisp, classic contrast of deep hunter green and cream, punctuated by framing topiaries, a gorgeous light fixture and that knocker + center-set doorknob is absolutely timeless perfection. 


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Turning to Aerin Lauder for timeless style inspiration in any facet is never a let down. And love her front porches' take on the more traditional look of the previous London stoop. Of course, it's still trad, but the super cool striped door and patina planters bring it down a notch, in the very best way. 


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Last is this amazing reclaimed farmhouse front door. Y'all my (sort of) southern soul can't even take it. It's decidedly different than the rest for it's rugged, knotty charm. But the details cut straight to my heart. If I could marry a door, this would be the one. 


This is just a little peak into our design research! For more exterior inspiration, check out our exteriors board on Pinterest


4/30/2015

SPRING FAVES

Here in Charleston, springtime usually comes on fast and is short-lived, quickly giving way to the hot hot heat of summer. But this year has been so nice. It's actually been a bit on the mild side, although there has been occasion to break out the bathing suits. And while I haven't had the time to know for myself, I've heard we've had a few days of beach-worthy weather. 

I couldn't be happier that spring has sprung, and of course, I want to share my seasonal faves!



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For whatever reason, I'm feeling super romantic this spring. I think it's just the so-very-welcome blooms + colors of the season, which inspired our Amen Domestic collection, and subsequently my own personal style. 

I love the idea of switching out pieces in the home seasonally, and while that's easier done with accessories like our Solid Sky leather-bound decorative books by Go Home, I'd like to think that if it work, changing up large pieces like art would be super fun and a great way to breathe new life into a space. 

I promise this post isn't all about self-promotion, but the Gallini Rose Textile by Natural Curiosities available in our Amen Domestics shop this season is possibly the most swoon-worthy piece ever. I have to tell you that pictures really just don't even do it justice. It's a large scale piece and the texutre + color in person are absolutely gorgeous and perfect for a little floral freshness. 

So to follow suit, I think the rest of the vibe I'm feeling this spring is soft, feminine and youthful while still remaining totally chic. 

What about you? What are some your favorites this season?





4/22/2015

COASTAL CONCEPTS

We're working on a project right now that I'm really excited about and have to share! Getting ready for baby number two, taking care of a two-year-old and taking care of business doesn't leave me with a ton of time for commentary, so I just thought I'd drop in and share the very beginning stages of this classic, coastal concept that I can't wait to see come to life!


This is the living room, which my clients already have a lot of great pieces for. The natural light in the space is phenomenal and the ceilings are nice and heigh, so we've already got a great, open vibe going on.

These clients moved to Charleston from DC, so I can relate to some of the pieces they came down with, which are definitely a little richer and more formal looking than the all-white-everything coastal craze down here. But they love their new home,  so our goal is to create a space that honors a more traditional aesthetic of rich tones and classic elements while infusing bits of coastal style that are a little more subdued than your typical coral and cobalt beach house.

The result is a super chic Ralph Lauren-esque space that just feels so timeless and livable to me.

I'd only planned on sharing one part of this project, but while I'm at, I have to share the dining room concept too.


Again, they already have a lot of great inherited pieces, so we're not starting from scratch. We're just breathing some new life into what they're working with and I'm so, so exited about it.

I always like stepping it up a little in the dining room, and I think this strikes just the right chord. We have some pops of red, which carries throughout the house, and we're adding texture and dimension with some really cool multi-tone grasscloth that has flecks of deeper neutrals and rusty red.

I think it's gonna be fabulous and I can't wait to share our progress!



4/13/2015

HOSTESS IN A PINCH

Spring's in the air, and we're all thawing out from what's been for some, a very long winter. Everyone's stretching out of hibernation, getting out for some sunshine and fresh air. And with all the mingling and moseying, it's very possible that some of those people, hopefully ones you're already at least somewhat familiar with, could be stopping by for this or that. It might be a planned thing or it might not.

I know some people have a little anxiety about this. Maybe it's because you think your place is lame. Maybe it's because there's a pile of cheerios your toddler spilled three days ago still on your kitchen floor. Maybe it's because you just don't like your friends.

Ok, I hope that last one isn't true.

Whatever the reason, having people over doesn't have to be stressful and require hours, even days of planning, especially if it's just for a little hang out time.

Here are a few tried and true, easily stocked essentials for staying hostess-ready, even in a pinch:




I know most of these items seem pretty self-explanatory, but let's unpack this a bit:

Spruce up your entryway! This doesn't have to be labor intensive or expensive. If your doormat is three years old and looks like it's been through a stampede of wildebeests, get a new one.

Designer Fave: (6) Well Hello There West Elm

And if you don't have a wreath, or you still have up the one from Valentine's Day, it's gotta go. I love a simple boxwood wreath because they work in every season and are a bright, crisp way to greet your guests. Some are a little pricey, but they don't have to be. 

Designer Fave: (9) Boxwood Round Wreath West Elm, Boxwood Wreath DIY HGTV


Candles! Did you make tuna for lunch? Have a particularly smelly pet? Not to worry. Even if you didn't eat a stinky lunch or have a pet, having a soft fragrance in your home is inviting and an added design dimension that can often be overlooked. I always incorporate some kind of candle in my clients' homes because there's just something about a soft flame and consistent fragrance that enriches a space so much.
        
*Bonus Tip: Find a fragrance you like and use only that scent throughout your home. I like to have a candle in the entry way, the kitchen, the living area, and the sometimes the powder room. This may seem like a lot, but it helps to evenly and consistently disperse fragrance throughout the home and creating a pretty solid ambience. 

Designer Fave: (5) Fragrance No. 55 Candlefish (Notes of spearmint, soft floral + moss with a 20 hour burn time for 3.5 oz tin. Smells absolutely divine.)


Clean-Up! Floor getting a little nasty? If you're short on time (or energy), don't worry about busting out the big vacuum. A little hand-held puppy is your BFF. 

Designer Fave: (7) Black & Decker Dustbuster Amazon (The best $46.99 a mom, pet owner, or spill-prone person can spend.)


Green-Up! You don't have to have fresh flowers in the house at all times. But a little something to liven up your space is nice and you don't have to make an extra trip out to get it. Greenery is great because it's often a little more lush than a floral arrangement, which means it's got more volume and makes more of a statement. The best part is, you can usually just go cut a couple branches or sprigs of shrubbery and voila! You've instantly stepped up your game.

*Bonus Tip: Getting the right amount might take a little trial and error, but often less is more and you don't have to give arrangement much thought. Look at the leaves above (2, via Starfish Cottage). Just two. In a simple vase. And they're gorgeous. 


Provisions: There's no need to stress over this. While having something in the way of food + drink to offer guests is important, you don't have to serve a four-course meal. Unless of course, you've invited them over for dinner. But if I have a girlfriend who's stopping by while she's running errands or a playdate, having some little offering isn't hard:

Rule 1: Have coffee (and cream + sugar) on the ready. We all need it. We all want it. 

Rule 2: Always have a bottle of champagne in your fridge. This is some of the best life advice I can give. Have something to celebrate? Pop champagne! Bad news and need some cheer? Pop champagne! 10 am? Add whatever juice you have and pop champagne! Pre-dinner drinks? Add a floater and pop-champagne! 

I don't really have a favorite and spending a ton isn't necessary. Everyone loves the bubbly and plop in some of those frozen berries you meant to make smoothies with, and you're fancy already! 

*Bonus Tip: This may seem obvious, but at almost 30, I can still say that I somehow only have three champagne flutes. So I'm preaching to myself when I say, girl, get the right drinkware!

Designer Fave: (4) Edge Champagne Glass Crate & Barrel

Rule 3: Stock up on seasonal fruit that doesn't need a ton of prep. This is definitely easier in the warmer months. Everyone loves strawberries or blueberries and they're easy to put in a pretty dish, sprinkle some sugar, and snack on at any time. 

So how do  you feel? Confident? 

I hope so! Even if you don't feel like a natural hostess, you can definitely get by with way less effort than you think. In fact, you may find yourself actually wanting hosting way more little get-togethers soon! 


4/04/2015

THE EASY EASTER TABLE

Setting the Easter table is my absolutely favorite. Sure, other holidays are fun, but the beautiful blooms of this springtime holiday take the [bunny]cake for me. 

Fresh off vacation and a week full of catching up, I haven't had much time to really think about it this year, but I finally made my way out to the crazy grocery store today to grab some last minute goodies for our feast, including a few fab florals that couldn't have been easier to pop into vases for a simple, chic Easter table. 

Starting with just three seasonal blooms, I didn't really have any idea where I was going with things...


The lucky thing is, I have lots of little vases and chatzkies sitting around that work perfectly in a spring tablescape (aka a random copper bunny).


And let me just give a little encouragement if this kind of thing is usually intimidating for you. Sometimes the more simple you keep it, the better. You don't need million dollar ornate crystal from Tiffany's to pull off a beautiful table. You know where the majority of my milk glass comes from? Goodwill.

Yep. For like $1. People don't always know what they're throwing out, but luckily, you do! Milk glass a chic, simple staple for tablescapes at any season and works just as well for flowers as it does for votives or even metallic Christmas bulbs.

Same with mix-and match brass candlesticks. You know who does a great job with thrifted brass? House Beautiful Decorating Editor, Eddie Ross. It doesn't look like he keeps up with his blog anymore, but you should definitely follow him on Instagram (@eddieross) for the most chic thrifting inspiration.


I was kinda bummed that these little guys broke off from the rest of the bouquet so easily, but I think it worked out well to have them in this make-shift chinoiserie tea jar turned bud vase.

Especially because I needed something lower to give some height balance to the bun-bun.


My final thought on creating easy tablescapes is not overthinking your flower arrangements if you're using them.

Nothing is easier than trimming some stems and plopping one kind of flower in vase.


Sometimes letting them be a little floppy and take their own shape is really so much prettier than trying to make them all tight and manicured. You also get way more volume this way and end up spending way less money. You also stretch your volume and your buck when you opt for several smaller arrangements vs. one with every kind of flower in one vase.

And in conclusion, this is what the other side of my kitchen looks like:


Because authenticity is something I strive for.

Happy Easter, y'all!