Tag Archives: decorating

They Coulda’ Been Great: November 2015

November was a blur – thank goodness I can look to Facebook for confirmation that it actually happened. Here are our recorded happenings… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


November 3

10:58 a.m.

The other day, I tried to buy this lamp at Target. I need two but couldn’t find another. Figured I could pick #2 up at another Target or online – so I put it in my cart. At check out I was informed that I couldn’t purchase it because it was the floor model. They checked other stores and found one in Sterling, but nope – that’s also a floor model. None online either. So now there are two lamps I want within driving distance of my home, but I’m not allowed to buy either of them. And the Reston Target floor model continues to mock me every time I am there (pretty much every day). #‎ConsumerWorldProblems‬


7:47 p.m.

“No – you may not use a knife on an M&M.” And other bizarre things I hear myself saying to Oliver. It is time for the Halloween candy to BEGONE!


November 5

8:20 p.m.

The candy entitlement in this house is OUTOFCONTROL. At any moment, I expect to walk into a room and find them freebasing Kit Kats. Mass quantities are going to be disappeared tomorrow when the junkies are at school…and work (I’m looking at you Chris Hood). #‎HalloweenIsOvah‬


November 6

4:36 p.m.

When you drop your child off at an after school activity, and just as you slip into your car and open the windows to enjoy the early evening autumn air, every light in the parking lot illuminates as The Heat of the Moment starts on the radio.

Rock on suburbia.


November 7

5:41 p.m.

One week after Halloween and my dog is still pooping candy wrappers. #‎FunWithKidsAndDogs‬


November 12

4:40 p.m.

I both love and fear George’s self portrait.


November 13

8:29 p.m.

Just caught Oliver trying to put this in his backpack. Guess you never know when you’ll need a homemade water balloon…

11041578_10206839475960272_6976035370060497177_n10:16 p.m.

Feeling grateful for a boring night at home with children safe in their beds…wearing stuffed animal night caps.


November 14

3:31 p.m.

At George’s soccer game and only registered the sound of a car alarm when he yelled, “Mom! That’s OUR car!” from the field.

Worst sports mom ever.


November 16

9:09 p.m.

We were killing time at Party City earlier and the twins found those antlers people out on their cars. While we don’t have a minivan, I’ve called them “vantlers” since Stephanie Stearns Dulli’s hilarious Listen to Your Mother 2015 performance. And of course the “PLEASEMOMPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE” was deafening. Luckily, we had no time, as we had to dash off to pick up Oliver at his swim lesson. But sure enough – as soon as we all got back into our car…

George: Mom – can we PLEASE get the vantlers?

Me: Oh…you REALLY want the vantlers for Christmas?

Eleanor: YES! Wait..FOR Christmas?

Me: I mean for the Christmas season.

Oliver: We’re having FOUR Christmases??

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but we already have the holiday spirit…times four.



November 19

3:18 p.m.

Just found this little package wrapped with homemade holiday paper. Eleanor is getting an early start on her gifts this year… ‪#‎girls‬


November 20

8:25 a.m.

Just reminded Eleanor that it will be time to head out to the a school bus in 10 minutes and she still needs to get dressed and brush her hair.

So obviously, it’s time to practice the recorder.


5:23 p.m.

Me: I have to take Eleanor to acting.

Oliver: I can’t go to acting.

Me: No?

Oliver: Nah. I have a magic appointment.

Of course.


November 21

8:08 a.m.

Just another Saturday morning at Safeway.


November 23

9:03 a.m.

I know that book fairs are school fundraisers (so no regrets) but sometimes I wonder how I got suckered into spending $500 on Diary of a Wimpy Kid Mad Libs.


November 23

11:53 a.m.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the have to’s and didn’t have time to’s today… I’m going to take a moment to just feel thankful for…

My husband, who actually likes cooking and doesn’t expect me to produce an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself while he drinks beer and watches football. He even bakes bread!

My daughter, who wants to help me clean when everyone else disappears. She is everything I wished I was when I was her age, and she doesn’t (usually) sweat the small stuff. On Saturday, Eleanor was in a play and told me later that she forgot one of her lines, “but it was okay” – and it was. No one noticed. At her age – hell, at MY age – this would have plagued me for years (“why, why, WHY did I forget that line???”). She hasn’t mentioned it since. I’m taking note and trying to let the disappointments and failures (big and small) go.

My oldest son, who also likes to help sometimes. Particularly when it comes to cooking. He got up at the crack of dawn (which admittedly, he would have done anyway) and helped Chris bake bread. Then, while I was making an onion and cheese casserole, he stood next to me making screaming noises as I sliced the onions. Then he helped me grate the cheese. And made more screaming noises. His imagination is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. After Eleanor’s play about fairy tale characters, I asked if he thought she was a good “Dopey.” He said, “yes! And I was the evil king in the audience.” Yes you were, Oliver. I need to leave the sidelines and put myself in the story more often – thank you for the reminder.

My youngest son, who throws himself wholeheartedly into EVERYTHING. The other weekend, he was in a soccer tournament, and the coach gave them a pep talk before the first game. He said, “I want you all to remember that you are the best – it doesn’t matter if you start or not – I’m not putting the best players in first, because you are ALL the best. Now do you understand what I just said to you?” George answered, “yes – you said I’m the best.” This is hilarious – but that attitude takes him so far… When he started soccer last spring, he and Chris (who is an assistant coach) were talking about who their best players were. George listed the four he thought were at the top of the list – himself included of course. I looked at Chris and he discreetly shook his head, no. But two seasons in, he worked hard and made it to the all stars tournament. He reminds me that I need to just think I’m the best more often – because that’s the only way it’s ever going to happen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


November 27

4:06 p.m.

At Target with Oliver getting supplies for gingerbread houses…

Me: I think that’s everything. Let’s go check out.

Oliver: Wait! What about my Santa hat?

Duh! I always forget something…

12301468_10206916341241856_5760499588060043876_n10:07 p.m.

Nightcap. #‎ChristmasIsComing‬



Holiday Shopping Guide!

UPDATED: 12/5/13!

I recently sent some friends an e-mail with things I bought (or will be buying) for my holiday gift list. Then Monica from Wired Momma asked if she could feature it on her blog. THEN I thought, “wait a minute…I have a blog, and back when I was actually writing stuff on it, I would have TOTALLY posted this list.”

Duh. So here we go. My personal list of suggestions for holiday shopping this year! I’ve also added some suggestions from friends (since of course, I asked for THEIR favorite resources too).

FIRST – a few bargains. While I don’t typically work on non-special needs deals for CertifiKid, I offered to help bring in a few for the holiday gift guide this year. I only approached a handful of designers/companies who made “pretty stuff” that I like – so I could get a good discount on something I already planned to buy. Here are the FOUR “personalized” gift options that I hand picked:


2-Month Subscription for Appleseed Lane STEM (science/math) experiments and projects – this is currently running as a CertifiKid holiday gift guide deal: $28 (40% off). My kids LOVE this kind of thing and I was a terrible math and science student. With STEM jobs on the rise, those poor Hood children need all the help they can get. Thank you Appleseed Lane!

appleseelane photo

1. Monogrammed clutches from Social Monograms – $26 (40% off). Lots of color and monogram style options (if I was getting married this would totally be on the list for possible bridesmaid gifts). THIS DEAL HAS ENDED – but you can still order directly from Social Monograms at www.socialmonograms.com.


I’m getting a few – including one for myself in either green or orange with a white block monogram:


2. Matching monogrammed t-shirts for a girl and her 18″ doll – $28 (32% off). Eleanor is really into her American Girl Doll and I bought this for her birthday. THIS DEAL HAS ENDED – but you can find another American Girl (18″) doll deal HERE.


Sadly – this was before I brought in the deal, so no discount for me. There are only 100 available at this price and half of that has sold just today.

3.  50% off personalized kids’ stationery from Smilegram Paper (including LINED PAPER – which the little ones love). You can buy $10 vouchers for $5 (50% off) – up to $100 to apply to your order. I haven’t placed MY order yet…but here are some possibilities: THIS DEAL HAS ENDED – but the same one is running on CertifiKid’s Special Needs page since the lined stationery is great for kids who struggle with the fine motor skills required for handwriting. Get your Smilegram at 50% off HERE.

lined paper

note cards

4.  $25 (45% off) in personalized silhouettes from Le Papier Studio Both traditional (you know…heads-only) or unique figures – and lots of different styles. I LOVE the idea of sending in an “action” picture and having it made into an art print silhouette. Here is what I JUST ordered to feature some of our recent beach pictures of the kids (made into silhouettes): THIS DEAL HAS ENDED – You can order directly from Le Papier Studio at www.lepapierstudio.com.


Here are two others that I love:

Le Papier Studio 4


Full disclosure – I will make a small commission on sales for the FOUR items above since I brought in the deals (so  if all goes well, I may be able to cover the cost of my own purchases – ha!) Alternatively, I get zippy for featuring the rest of the list below.

ANYWAY – If you want to see the other CertifiKid holiday gift guide deals you can find them HERE. Moving on – here are a few [more] of my favorite things…

1. Cozy cowels from Elizabeth Keohan of The Knotti Klinic.


2. Gorgeous fair trade jewelry from Kiran Ferrandino of Simply Om. A portion of the proceeds from all Simply Om sales go toward training and empowering women in oppressed areas to develop a sustainable trade and help them overcome poverty. I own several Simply Om pieces including one of these bracelets from Ecuador (turquoise blue) that I wear daily:


And here is Kiran wearing one of her new designs produced by artisans in India.

simply om kiran

3. My favorite new novel (just finished it and I’m buying it for some friends/family members), The Lunatic Parlor by Adrienne Cunninghame-Blank. I describe this book at Royal Tenenbaums meets Running with Scissors – I’m sad it’s over and still thinking about the characters…

Lunatic Parlor

4. My favorite humor book on Motherhood (well…tied with the first one) from Scary Mommy. Buy one for every mother you know!

Scary Mommy

5. Adorable wooden teethers and rattles from Little Alouette. I have a new nephew and this little guitar has his name on it!

Little Alouette

6. Beautiful prints, paper goods, etc. from one of my favorite artists, Anne Harwell of Annechovie. I have this print hanging in my house:

Annechovie 2

This is one of my current favorites:

Annechovie 1

7. Fabric clutch purses in fabulous textiles from Bee Gee Bags. If you have been following The Big Piece of Cake for any length of time, you will know how much I LOVE these bags! I think I first featured them in 2008 when I started the blog. I have several and the compliments flow every time I take one out. Here is one of mine that is currently available on the site:

bee gee

8. Some warmers and wax from my friend Tina O’Flynn who sells Scentsy. The fact that I like this product was a big surprise since I have an extreme aversion to all things Yankee Candle…I’m pretty sensitive to smells and Scentsy has a good selection of subtle scents that don’t make me feel like passing out. Also – the whole “wick-less” thing is huge for me since I’m terrified of matches (true story). Hey – a birdcage!


FINALLY: Suggestions I received from friends include…

Kim loves jewelry from designer Heather Raabe. Her pieces range in price from $20 to over $800 – but I think my favorite was a simple hammered silver necklace for $40. Affordable and goes with everything:

Heather Raabe

Check out her Etsy shop HERE.

Mickie highly recommends Thumb and Pinky for unique handmade kids clothes. My favorite on the site is this African Wax print sun dress:

Thumb and Pinky 1

Not exactly seasonal for the East Coast…but I’d buy a size up for summer 2014! Visit the Etsy shop HERE.

Kristen reminded me of the Haitian Creations party she hosted earlier this year. I purchased a gorgeous long necklace that I prefer to wear in a 1920’s House of Eliott style. This is what the beads look like (in green – thought there are many color variations):

Haitian Creations

And here is the process:

Haitian Creations is a non-profit organization rooted in empowering the women of Haiti through education & design. Check out the site HERE.

FINALLY, for my DC area friends – here are the local shops I’ll be visiting:

Zoe Boutique in Old Town Alexandria


Covet in Arlington


The Nest Egg in Fairfax

Nest Egg

How about you? Have any great finds you’d like to share? Tell me in comments or e-mail me, bigpieceofcake@gmail.com. I’ll add them!

Happy (almost) holidays!

Jacaranda Color

I just discovered a lovely blog, Lilly’s Notebook. One of the first posts I read featured gorgeous pictures of otomi fabrics from an online store: Jacaranda.

Drawing inspiration from the jacaranda tree as “a reminder of nature’s perfect design,” this company champions natural and handmade goods by importing unique, indigenous items from Mexico, Central and South America.

My favorites were the pillows…

…ceramic plates…

…and of course, the textiles:

And wouldn’t it be fun to frame some of these swatches?

Then on the blog (which only has a few entries at the moment), I found this fantastic before and after of a reupholstered chair:

Love it!

They hope that as the jacaranda tree’s falling petals leave “their design imprinted on the world,” their own products will leave their own imprint in our homes.

See more HERE.

Lilly Pulitzer for Garnet Hill

As a self professed lover of all things pretty, I would be a terrible liar to claim disdain for the ubiquitous beach side styles of Lilly Pulitzer. I’ll admit it – PRETTY!! Watch me rub those precious prints against my cheek and giggle with delight. But don’t you dare tell anyone!

Seriously though – it is kind of a preppy soccer mom fashion choice that often makes one think, “mutton dressed as lamb.” At least in my neck of the U.S. woods. But you can’t deny the colorful loveliness of Lilly.

So I must confess my admiration. And if I don’t think I can pull off the punchy print dresses, another option would be to dress up my bed (okay – this is fantasy land right? – since Chris would never go for it).

And Garnet Hill’s bed and bath collection for Lilly Pulitzer has some lovely options:

With Christmas just a few days away, I thought I’d also mention that anyone doing last minute shopping for me might want to consider these pretties:

For more print images and info on what’s new with Lilly, check out their Colorful Blog. It’s adorable and now added to my reader. Don’t be surprised to see more Lilly love here in the future. Hey – if I’m going to come out of the closet on this one, I’m doing it in technicolor.

Stencils Have Come a Long Way Since the ’80s…

Remember how cool stencils were in the ’80s? I had many a room border in my life back then… Just a little Lucite, an exacto knife, up to three paint colors and voila! Who needs wallpaper?

It’s amazing what people are doing with stencils now. There are tons of kits and “how to” sites out there, and the designs are SO much more sophisticated and polished than the old nod to Amish cut outs. Not that those don’t have their charm…but there are so many modern takes on stencil painting in design.

I recently saw a perfect example on Annechovie. The creations below were done with her friend Sunny Goode’s stencils.

More images, products and How To advice can be found on Sunny’s blog and in her shop.

Magic Carpets

One thing that I love about my son Oliver is his preference of fantasy over reality. It’s something to which I very much relate. For example, while playing a picture matching game based on rhyming, he flat out refused to match “bug” with “rug” because the “bug” doesn’t rhyme with “magic carpet.”

I absolutely agree with him on this. Why walk on a plain old rug when you can sink your toes into a magic carpet?

These carpets I found on 1stdibs today would all fit the bill:

That last one isn’t my usual style – but there is something so appealing about it…

Have you seen 1stdibs? It’s pretty vast. The carpets above are from only the first five pages of almost 30! It’s great fantasy (in my reality) resource for fabulous treasures. I highly recommend a perusal.

Do You Sproost?

If not, you should. It’s fun.

I never knew that my design style was “French Eclectic.” This is described as: “French Country, like its name, somehow manages to both be formal and casual, classy and unassuming at the same time. You like your spaces to feel inviting from the moment you (or your guest) opens the front door and this feeling should continue even after you’ve entered your most formal room. Even though there are French antiques here and gold details there, the rustic elements provide a balance and warmth that seems to say, ‘come in, relax and stay a while.’ Your love of antiques leads you to flea markets, garage sales and hours of eBay hunting.”

Here are some example images from Sproost:

I do love many of these… What is your style? Visit Sproost and find out!


I am in love with this linen fabric from Vervain: Papillon.

Here are a few more colorways:

The designer, Barry Dixon says, “it’s loosely based on a vintage china transferware pattern I inherited from my grandmother.” No wonder I can’t stop looking at it. Have you seen my header? I have a bit of a thing for china patterns, so this fabric combines two of my favorite things, textiles and fine china.

In fact, the first thing I thought when I saw “Papillon” was that I could design an entire room around it. And that is exactly what I did with my wedding china. I found a pattern that I loved and couldn’t live without (what – don’t ALL brides have these same down to earth priorities?) But it was a little ornate and I decided to just use it for dessert service. Then I picked a more simple, but complimentary pattern for dinner plates, etc.

So I guess I start with the details and work my way to the bigger picture from there. In short, I would be a decorator’s nightmare. You could actually ask my blog designers about that. On second thought….don’t.

Guest Post: Averill from Odi et Amo

I’m on vacation this week and asked a few friends to fill in for me. Today’s guest is Averill from Odi et Amo. I found Odi et Amo through my good friend Christy of A Lil’ Welsh Rarebit. She had been telling me for months that I needed to check out her Averill’s design blog, and once I did, I couldn’t believe it took me so long. She has such a great eye and everything she writes is so well thought out and researched. Her blog offers far more than just eye candy, and I’m so happy she agreed to fill in for me today!

Welcome Averill!

{Sea Island, Georgia}

Hi! I’m Averill from Odi et Amo and I’m thrilled to be guest blogging today for Kate here at Wishing True while she’s away on vacation. (Of which I am very envious.) With summer in full swing, I’ve transitioned into full on vacation-mode. Since I already took my summer trip in early June (Note to self: next summer, be sure to schedule trip for later in July or August to avoid the summer blues of having taken your trip far too early), I’m resigned to daydreaming about beautiful beaches, idyllic coastal towns and (of course) beautiful and idyllic coastal cottages. Please join me as I indulge in a little virtual vacation to Sea Island, Georgia, and to a gorgeous family vacation home designed by Jim Howard (husband to one of my favorite designers, Phoebe Howard).

The formal living room is striking and elegant, but not fussy thanks to a bare floor, plenty of texture and that fabulous wall color (Benjamin Moore‘s Shenendoah). The pops of fuchsia flowers and throw effortlessly create visual contrast and a sense of fun.

The custom balustrade (designed by Jim Howard, who is an architect by training) is whimsical, but still elegant. The undulating shape of the wrought iron mimics the waves outside the door.

The casual, two-story den is where I imagine the family spends most of their time (when they aren’t outside enjoying the beaches or golf courses, that is). The color palette from the living room is brought in here as well, but dressed down further with wicker furniture, bamboo blinds and plush upholstery.

The dining room is perfectly suited for large, casual family dinners. The linen-upholstered walls are elegant, but dressed down and look beautiful with the gilt sunburst mirrors and antique oak sawhorse table.

The Vitruvian scroll molding in the dining room is a more overt reference to the ocean. It’s absolutely beautiful, isn’t it? Good design is so often about the small details.

I love the open, airy feel of this kitchen. While I’m a huge fan of color, I can always appreciate a predominately white kitchen. The stained island provides contrast and brings out the golden tones in the marble countertop. The valence adds the sole hit of pattern.

I’m also a fan of white bathrooms, especially with more traditional fittings and tile. And that scalloped pendant by Barbara Barry has been on my wish list for years now.

I love the crisp canopy of this bedroom: it reminds me so much of an outdoor awning or umbrella. The bench’s double row of nailheads is an elegant spot to put your flip flops on in the morning. The layers of blue in this room are also beautiful, from the softer wallcolor (BM’s pearl gray) to the more vivid, intense teals of the bench seat and gourd lamp.

The distressed-oak ceiling is the real star of the master bedroom, and the tall canopy bed only serves to further bring focus to it. Gauzy white sheers puddle around the canopy, reminiscent of mosquito netting and enhancing the tropical vibe. The steely blue carpet grounds the space and injects a bit of color into the otherwise neutral room. A pair of x-benches are a great way to finish off a bedroom and work in just about any interior.
I hope you enjoyed our all-too-brief virtual vacation to this stunning Sea Island home. Thanks again Kate for inviting me to guest post — it’s been fun!
All images courtesy of House Beautiful.

Guest Post: Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For…

I’m on vacation this week and asked a few friends to fill in for me. Today’s guest is Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For… I’m not sure where I first found her…but I do know that I loved the name of her blog (even if I didn’t immediatly recognize The OC quote). Karen is a “real” interior design professional and she always calls me on my uneducated criticisms of other real designers. Love that – thanks for keepin’ it real, Karen. Plus she’s funny and finds good stuff on YouTube, including clips for great shows I might have missed due to an already full television viewing schedule. I owe my love affair with Modern Family to Karen…don’t know what I’d do without her.

Welcome Karen!

Hello Wishing True readers! My name is Karen and I was thrilled when Kate asked me to fill in on Wishing True while she took a well-deserved break! I racked my brain for what would be a fun topic to discuss with her design-savvy readers — decided to stay away from any discussions of Twilight, the World Cup, or Beiber fever, hope you don’t mind — and really, it comes down to two topics: shopping (especially virtual shopping!) and design.

Have you ever noticed that designers or celebrities will have really great home accessories, like an antique vase or a collection of mercury glass, and they’ll casually mention they got it at a flea market in Paris, or they picked it up during an impromptu trip to Morocco? Who does things like this? I don’t know about you, but the flea markets near my house don’t have 19th century crystal chandeliers for $60. Some of us have to be resourceful in regions with more Costco’s than shops spelled like ‘shoppe’. And while my day job as an Interior Designer gives me access to wonderful high end accessories, my real life attempts to decorate my apartment (plus a friend or two!) has sharpened my shopping skills on a real life budget. So if you’re thinking about freshening up your home on a budget, here’s a list of places to check out first …

1) Home Goods (or Marshall’s or TJ Maxx)
Here’s the thing about Home Goods: you have to be in the mood to sift through alot of junk to find your treasure. But it’s worth it, and many designers and home stagers don’t want the secret to get out. In addition to accessories like vases or bookends, you can also find great linens, mirrors and lamps for less than department stores.

2) 20 x 200
Finding art for an ‘average’ person’s home can be depressing at times … like when that $99 Art Show rolls into your local convention center, shilling oil paintings of fruit baskets. Or those giant black and white posters of a random dock on a lake from Ikea. 20 x 200 is a nice alternative: it features art starting at $20! So whether your thing is kites, big yellow taxis, or a vintage-ish beach scene, they’ve got you covered without dipping into your savings.

3) Etsy
You can find anything under the sun in Etsy’s stores, and support small business, too! Talk about a win-win situation. My favorite Etsy shops include Katie Armour Home – a great place to score milk glass – and littlebrownpen, who’s got adorable photos of Paris.

4) West Elm, CB2 & Z Gallerie
Although it’s a bit of cliched HGTV advice, changing out throw pillows or adding an object to your bookcase really can make a big impact with a small amount of cash. Profiles are both current and classic (although this is also screaming for DIY if you’re crafty!) and this blue vase is the perfect summery accent!

Many thanks to Kate for inviting me to stop by! And if you have a favorite place to shop for inexpensive treasures, share them in the comments!