I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday season! I just wanted to share some tidbits from Christmas! This year, I decided to get a little creative with wrapping gifts.

Since I was still on my "use what you have" kick, I ending up using brown kraft paper, yarn, and ribbon. Here they are all nestled under the tree.

Christmas was an intimate setting. My mommy and I cooked for Brandon. Nothing special. Just candlelight, family, and food. Everything was pretty low-key, but lovely.

Hope you guys enjoyed yourselves as well, and Happy New Year!
Let's do it EVEN BIGGER this year!

Just recently I decided to give the inset in our dining area a little makeover.  I'm sure that you remember the dining situation from our previous apartment.  Well, to say the least, the PS cabinet was a little small for our current living dining area (and we no longer needed the storage because our kitchen is much bigger). So I decided to put the cabinet in the office, and switch it out with something a little more daring and proportional to the space. I measured the space at a whopping 79", so I thought, why not a Malm occasional table... in orange of course.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a pop of color! 
When my hubby took it out of the box, he asked with a puzzle face, "Baby, is this the right color?"
"Yes!" I said confidently. "It's actually supposed to be orange". 
"Okay..." he replied.
I must admit, it was a tad bit hilarious. (You had to be there.) But he definitely trusts my pure awesomeness.

It was after 6pm when he put it together, so please excuse the dark pictures. I was determined to get a before and after photo. But don't worry, they get better below. As you can see, the table almost fills the space completely. It's also on tiny, little wheels, so it's easy to move around within a moment's notice.

Here's it all lit up. Pretty awesome, right?

I think as time goes on I'll switch up the art and accessories. I also finally found a home for our PS Karljohan stool, which has the coveted job of holding some of my favorite books.

The orange really gives a burst of energy to the space, and wouldn't you know it, Tangerine Tango is Pantone's Color of 2012. Just call me a little color forecaster!
When I was 22, three months after I graduated from college, I became a kitchen planner for IKEA. Over the last two years I have wanted nothing more than to graduate from the kitchens department, and become an interior designer for the store. On December 5th, my dream finally became reality when I was offered the position. Words simply can not express how grateful I am for this opportunity!

My experience as a kitchen seller (the title and responsibilities changed over time to accommodate volume selling) has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, as well as the most challenging. I've sold literally hundreds of kitchens, helped thousands of people, and somehow managed to stay sane the entire time. Working retail in and of itself is a hard job, but working retail at IKEA is a whole different ball game, one I played for 28 months. It did however have its wonderful moments. Selling kitchens gave me platform to help people change their lives, and frankly, what designer could ask for more? 

Though I've gone through more than I could ever explain, all of the craziness has been totally worth it. God has blessed me with the most amazing group of individuals (our kitchen's team is the best, and we know it) and I've grown so much spiritually and emotionally. Brandeis, Michelle, Tavis, Ronney, Aisha, Octavia, Charlotte, Nadine, Conan, Kim, Kareemah, Shay, Cammy -you guys are the reason I can call this experience the best one I've ever had. Thank you for accepting me, teaching me, laughing with me, and being the best people I have ever had the pleasure of working with! Now it's time for a new challenge: collaborate with a new group of people, and  create the solutions that inspire people to change their lives.

Below is the room revitalization plan that I put together for my second interview. Room 82 was a sad, but rather large room that featured one of our top-selling door styles, Adel White. It was totally in need of uplifting, so the interior design manager proposed the challenge of revitalizing the room to the last 3 potential candidates. I was told that my project plus my passion sealed the deal. :)

The first two pages shed light on my design intent

I then broke down each area of the room and recommended changes in products. Everything on the walls lacked balance, and over time this room had become a catch-all space for discontinued products and orphan pieces of furniture. "We can't put this anywhere else, how about Room 82?"

The buffet area looked so sad and the artwork felt totally disconnected from the piece below it. Also, the drawer unit was completely un-propped. Trust, customers will not spend $499 on a unit like this and leave it empty. It needed function.

The kids area was the worst of all. Again, I wanted to incorporate more balance and even a little bit of sophistication and flexibility. If children in this family are constantly creating artwork, then their masterpieces will accumulate rather quickly. I like the idea of being able to leisurely change them out. 

The office area was something completely new to the space. This area was indicated in the work brief, but never implemented in the kitchen's design. I did sales research on the black sideboard to justify moving it out of the room altogether. It's actually our #2 best seller, so it wasn't going to be detrimental to take it out and make room for an office space. I wanted to incorporate a little nook where the parents could slide a chair over from the table and start working. A desk didn't feel right for the space, so I specified a work shelf with drawers.

The hardest part of this project was sifting through the thousands of products that we sell and finding the best ones that fit within the assigned style group and color scheme. Primary colors with a cream door style is a challenge.This collage gives the overall impression for revitalization.

And here's a bigger rendering.

I start my new job in January, and could not be more excited! Best of all, Monday-Friday 7am-3pm, so you should be seeing a lot more of me. I can't wait to be more creative at work, and have more awesome things to blog about. Moral of the story: God is so good, and ALWAYS works things out in his own time! New year, new job! Holla!
I was so proud of myself this year. For the first time, I put the Christmas tree up right after Thanksgiving. Check it out!

This year we decided to place it right next to the tv. You know, for maximum exposure. Bedsides, that blank corner was definitely begging for more. Last year the tree was in the sunroom and we barely got to enjoy it.

Because the tree is black it has a pretty modern vibe, it coordinates nicely with our living room decor. I'm not really a fan of the traditional red and green Christmas, so colors like turquoise, lime green, hot pink, and purple are more of my style. Can't wait to finally start putting some gifts underneath it.

I also decided to hang our wreaths this year on either side of the sofa.

And our apartment complex had a holiday door decorating contest. Of course our door was our favorite.

I used green painter's tape and a bow that I purchased last year. It took me about an hour-and-a-half. Cheap chic, or what? Brandon and I decided not to spend any money on the contest because the prize was a $50 Target gift card, and if we spent any money it would just defeat the purpose of winning money. Ya know? The winner of the door decorating contest was a couple who wrapped their door, created a Christmas tree and presents with construction paper and a "Merry Christmas" header. Am I hating? Maybe just a little. (Shrugs) But shout out to the winners! Those are some pretty nice diamonds though... What about you guys? Any awesome holiday decor you wanna share? I love sharing! Send me some links!

When we moved into our place, I kept thinking about how tall and open everything was (which I love).  But knew that I needed to work a little harder to make this apartment feel warm, welcoming, and fun. This wall in our kitchen is such a huge focal point, so I wanted to do it up right. Truth be told, I wanted to forgo hanging photos or ordinary kitchen art, and go with something that was a show stopper. Enter Slatthult wall stickers.



A couple of my co-workers asked me how I was able to get the stems so long. I actually used a combination of  about two packs. My lovely friend Brandeis did poppies in her half bathroom and had two flowers and an abundance of stems left over. I love that I was able to take advantage of the height. The flower coming out of the tile was Brandon's idea, and I must say that he always has this way of tweaking my ideas to make them even better. Oh, and because putting together something like this is always a trial and error sort of thing, I invite you to poke fun at me in the time lapse video. What? Rae does time lapse videos for her blog now? Yeah she does. Gotta step my game up.

Let me preface the video with this:
I had just gotten home from work.
Brandon was cooking me dinner (cue the awww...)
Next time I'll figure out how to add music.   :)

And in case you were wondering about what else is going on in our kitchen, here's some more action.

The tile and countertop are awesome, but they too felt a little blah. The outlet plates were just screaming, so I softened the look with some art and photos. Did I mention that we have way more kitchen than we are accustomed to using?

It's coming along, guys. I'll be sharing more soon!

Sorry that I've been a little MIA! I've been grinding so hard that I've neglected my little blog, but I'm back in the saddle and ready to share some more cool stuff with you guys! Brandon and I hosted our first Thanksgiving with the help of my fabulous mommy, and it turned out pretty awesome! We cooked up a feast, and I decorated like a fiend. Call me crazy, but I HAD to buy some fresh flowers for our place. It all started with a bouquet of sunflowers and an assorted fall bunch from Kroger.

 I bought little Ovantad vases to hold them, which actually turned out to be ultra cute.

Here is the the table (fully extended) before it was dressed for company.

Since I'm still on that "work with what you have" kick, I decided to use a runner that I bought in Target's 1 spot a long time ago. I also incorporated some bamboo place mats that were once used as Brandon's headboard that I designed in college (yeah, I was thrifty). Check out the texture through the acrylic chairs!

The disk tea light holders were also Brandon's from college. He was quite a mood-setter!

Here's the fam getting their grub on. It actually worked out great because all six of them were able to eat at the table, and Brandon, my mom, and I ate in the living room. Some might think that this was bad for conversation. But it's good to note that dinner was almost a completely silent affair. It's an old Southern belief that when it's quiet at the dinner table, the food is doing all the talking! Everything was delicious, if I do say so myself!

I also bought a set of PS candle holders. They're little ceramic links for an added touch of "decor swag".
The small vases with carnations are actually clear double shot glasses. Keepin' it classy!

I used my acrylic vase to make a little statement in our coffee table's nook.

The tv stand wasn't safe either! I topped it off with another shot glass, another Ovantad, and a glass gummy bear jar that Brandon got from the W Hotel. Recognize the mirror, Kelley? :)

All in all, it was so fun to sweeten up our little place, and I made a mental note that I MUST buy more vases. You can never have too many fresh flowers in your place. It makes your home feel special, and believe it or not, all of the assorted ones are still alive (rest in piece, sunflowers). They were all definitely worth the $14 trip to Kroger. Me thinks this will be an entertaining staple from now on. Oh, and thanks for stopping by! Hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as mine! :)

So my hubby was such a busy bee yesterday! I came home to a living room that's really shaping up! 

Not only did he hang our tv, he also installed our hybrid light fixture!

Pretty awesome, huh? I loved the way it turned out.
Especially how you can see just a little sliver of the Knappa pendant from the side. Here's a close-up.

Yep, I'm the brainchild behind this masterpiece!

Some might wonder where I got the idea to stack our "Kartell" units. Enter inspiration photo.

How cute is that? Anyhoo, back to the living room.

Oh, and the awesome red lounge chair? Her name is Luna, I got her out of As-is.

She's corduroy, fabulous, and in pristine condition. Luna is now Brandon's favorite chair, which was a relief because she was totally another impulse buy (At $95, she was a steal). Wait, I think everything found in As-is is an impulse buy, but I digress...P.S. Luna's a much better alternative than the typical "Man chair", so we're both beyond happy. Hope our living room brought a smile your face. It totally made by Wednesday! :)

One of the challenges I faced since moving to our new place is finding a perfect spot for all the miscellaneous things we had in our old place. While frantically unpacking and putting things away, I came up with what I consider a pretty awesome space-saving idea. Check out these side tables.

I bought these green side tables during the '09 college sale at Target, and I must say - they've been nomads from the very beginning. We used them in our sun room, living room, and in the office at one time to hold our printer.  Because we no longer have room for them in our new place (we have a coffee table and end tables in our living room) I had to get creative about finding a space for them. Check out what I came up with.

Above are the night stands in our bedroom (Lack tables that I swore myself I'd get rid of). But how freakin' awesome is it that these little side tables are just small enough slide underneath? 

The best part is that my hubby (who is notorious for bringing all sorts of electronics to bed) can slide the little side table out, giving him an extra surface in which to work. After realizing how incredibly easy it is to jazz up a Lack table, I have been thinking about keeping ours for a little while longer. Initially I thought they were a pretty inexpensive and temporary route to go as far as night stands were concerned, but I'm starting to realize the value of re-working what you have. Call it my attempt at up-cycling. So, we'll see that kind of magic I can conjure up with our little Lacks. I'm thinking of possibly skirting them, or even using little decorative corners like this (possibly in a nickel finish) to dress them up. The possibilities are literally endless, and I'm well overdue for a new diy adventure!
As a blogger, I am constantly keeping up with other design blogs. Because after all, to be the best, it doesn't hurt to study the best. That's why I was soooo thrilled when I saw this sign while visiting West Elm two weeks ago.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Design*Sponge, let's just call it one of the most popular design blogs on Mother Earth. Seriously. The blog covers everything from interior and furniture design to awesome recipes and diy adventures. Anyhoo, I was totally excited to see that Grace Bonney was going to be here in Atlanta for a book signing. Her book, Design*Sponge at Home, has proved to be somewhat of a design bible for eager designers and bloggers like myself. 

For those of you who want fresh ideas for your home, I would definitely pick up a copy. I got mine at Barnes and Noble, but if you can wait a few days, I would say order it on Amazon and it'll save you at least 10 bucks.  But hey, I get "exclusive content" with my book, so who's complaining?

 Here I am with Design*Sponge creator Grace Bonney for a quick pic.

Of course I had to invite my friend Jessica along for the ride. Here we are having a little too much fun at the smile booth for the event. Anyone who frequents West Elm also knows that it's nearly impossible to visit the store without being inspired by something! Here's my latest obsession - table settings.



The reason for the season

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I really want to spice things up a bit and dress the table. You know, try something a little different from the huge family get-together involving paper plates, disposable cutlery, and eating dinner in your lap (although that route does tend to be less fussy, more convenient, and filled with lots of loving family and friends).  Maybe this year we might try something a little more intimate. I'm hoping that a combination of dinner, drinks, and decor swag will prove to be completely awesome in our "city chic" apartment (Shout out to Jess for the naming our place). Besides, we still have wedding place settings that we haven't even opened yet. How exciting is that? Okay, maybe I'm the only one excited about it, but still...