2014 Holiday Wrap-Up

Can you believe that Christmas has come and gone... and we are about to ring in the new year?!  I say it constantly, but time is really flying by.

Like Christmas pasts, our holiday season was filled with heartwarming moments and cherished family traditions.  The magic and excitement of the season really fills the hearts of my 6 and 10 year old boys.  They wake up excited to see what each new day will bring.  Children truly have a way of making the holidays (and each day in general) more cheerful, magical, and bright!

This is a "non-gingerbread" gingerbread house that the boys put together.  My oldest finished up the decorating while his little brother escaped went to a cub scout event.  This was surprisingly difficult to assemble as it didn't come with instructions!  The boys also put a small (real) gingerbread village together.

We also baked and decorated lots of sugar cookies together...

Sorry for the grainy cell phone photo... This was pure unedited excitement for rolling cookie dough.

This year, we set up the Christmas tree in our unfurnished living room.  We filled the room with US!  We found ourselves setting up family game night in there...  To see more of our holiday decor, click herehere, and here.

Our Family Christmas Celebration

Each year, my husband and I host an annual overnight Christmas celebration for our immediate families.  We started this tradition soon after we were married thirteen years ago.

We begin the festivities by attending Christmas Eve service (the children's mass).  The kids, along with my parents and aunt, visited the nativity scene that was set-up right outside the church.  It was beautiful.

Our potluck dinner soon follows back at our home.  We got the kids to stop running amok for a brief second so we could snap their obligatory group photo.  My little one (in the Santa hat) had already done a wardrobe change since he spilled a drink on his dress shirt - before dinner! :)

Here are my sisters and I, with our spouses, at dinner.  Always a blast with my peeps!

After dinner, we all got in our pajamas and (they) sang the night away.  My sisters (especially) and the kids battled on the karaoke machine. :)  It was a fun-filled night of laughter and bonding with the family.  Christmas day was much the same.  We woke up bright and early on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought the kids.  He did not disappoint...  The kids enjoyed playing together all day long, while we watched movies and ate...and ate...and ate!

This is Blazer, my parents' beloved (old) dog, soaking it all in...

The kids playing games together on Christmas day...

The lights, the decorations, the sweet treats are all festive and wonderful.  But it is the quality time spent together that makes the holiday season so memorable!  I hope that you were also able to experience the warmth, love, and presence of family and friends this holiday season.

Be safe out there ringing in the new year.  WISHING YOU THE HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!!!

Family Room Inspiration

Inspired Home

I'm dreaming of a light, bright, and airy casual living space.

HGTV Dream Home 2015

I love the architectural ceiling beams and wood floors in both rooms above.

Hoping to turn the "dream" into a reality as our family room renovation is (finally) scheduled to begin in January!  I can't wait for the transformation...


A few months ago, I started this little blog as a place for me to share design inspiration, creative ideas, and simple (yet hopefully insightful) design and decorating tips.  It is also my outlet to document and share our renovation journey with all of you.  I did all this not knowing if anyone would even read my posts!  Nonetheless, I continued to forge ahead because I truly enjoy sharing and inspiring...

To my humble surprise, it's been so touching to know that I have reached many of you from all over the world.  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for taking the time to read and support this blog.  I have truly enjoyed the e-mails and feedback.  I hope to continue inspiring each of you for many years to come!

With a grateful and appreciative heart,

'Tis the season in our home!

Merry Christmas!

All season long, we have been blessed with the glow of lights, the scent of fresh evergreen, "decked halls", and the cozy comforts of hot cocoa, snuggly blankets, and sweet yummy treats - all in the warmth of our home.  Come inside for a glimpse of our holiday home!

Click here to read about my favorite holiday decorations.

I love the smell and appearance of fresh evergreen during the holidays.

Peek inside the kids' holiday bedroom here.

I hope this holiday season has filled your hearts and homes with "Peace Hope Joy"!

Holiday Favorites for the Home: Shine & Sparkle

What better season than the holidays to add a little shine and sparkle to your home decor?!  Decorative accessories with metallic, shimmery, or sparkling finishes are another holiday favorite of mine for the home!  Like faux fur accessories, these decorative elements can adorn your homes all year long!



Mercury vases make beautiful decorative and functional accents - during the holidays and year-round!  They can be filled with greenery, sticks/branches, flowers, etc.  A grouping of various-sized vases look beautiful as-is when arranged together.

Candle holders are an effective way to add some shine and sparkle to your holiday decor.  I love this set of antique mercury glass candle holders that our neighbors gifted us last Christmas.  They are functional and beautiful, which is right up my alley!  Tip: Silver or gold candles are another great way to bring in the shimmer.


How beautiful would this set of gold flatware look on your holiday dinner table?!

These serving trays are so practical.

Need a last minute gift?!  This set of gold cheese knives are beautiful.

Mix in some gold with natural greenery!

Add some gold ornaments to your tree.  They add a dash of sparkle and luxe!

Tip: Don't have anything with a gold finish?!  Use spray paint to give something you already own a new gold finish (except on items that make contact with food)!  It is such a quick and inexpensive way to change the appearance of something.



All that glitters is the epitome of shine and sparkle, don't you think?!  During the holiday season, I typically incorporate glittery elements through our tree ornaments.

Tip: Glitter spray paint is a simple and cost-effective way to add a glittery element to your holiday decor.  You could also use glitter glue or glitter markers on simple gift wrap to dress it up a bit!

Brittany Makes

String some "glittery" letters together to make a garland!

Have a great weekend!
We are kicking it off by celebrating my son's birthday, who turns TEN today!!!

What's in "design wise" for 2015?

I recently read an article that detailed the top 5 home design trends that are forecasted for 2015.  It was interesting to see how my "Top 3 Favorite Things" (here and here) coincided with what's expected to be "hot" in interior design in the new year.  A few of what I considered to be "Design Trends" were bang on.  Here are two of the design trends that will be really big in the year ahead.

Photo Credit: 24 Design Construction via Zillow

Expect to see the popularity of gold fixtures with modern sleek finishes to rise in the new year.  No surprise there.  It's been trending that way for the last half of 2014.

Here's my take:  Gold and brass finishes seem to be "cyclical" for consumer taste.  It was huge in the 1970's.  The gold/brass finishes as of late, however, have been updated in a fresh modern way to make a huge recent comeback.  I expect gold to remain more of a cyclical "trend" rather than be categorized as a classic design element.  I'm curious - do you agree or disagree with me?

Lukas Machnik

On the contrary, I believe modern or mid-century modern elements are not only going to be big in 2015, but will remain a constant staple in interior design.  This aesthetic has been huge in design in recent years, and could be found anywhere from furniture to lighting to accessories.  Several of my designs incorporate lots of mid-century elements.  I have even noticed that those with completely opposing design styles, such as traditional or vintage style, actually like to incorporate the clean lines and uncluttered aesthetic of modern/mid-century modern design in their homes.

You can read the entire article here, which includes both the top 5 design trends for 2015 and a recap of the 2014 design trends that is on its way out.  Does it surprise you that chevron prints and bright colors are passe?

The Kids' Tree

I have been enjoying the glow of all our trees.  Yes, trees.  In addition to our main (real) Christmas tree, we have a couple other (artificial) trees scattered throughout the house.  Our kids' tree is small, sweet, and oh so happy!


We set-up the kids' tree on the nightstand dresser right between their beds.  I strung colored lights for a more light-hearted, fun, and whimsical effect - which is perfect for kids.  The "ornaments" were all handmade by my boys throughout the years, and mostly come from school projects (yes, I saved and stored them!).  Giving kids their own tree is a great way to showcase their holiday crafts.  Not to mention that you won't have to "blend" them in with other tree trimmings... :)

Love those precious faces.

We all love the glow it gives at night.

Hope you are having a merry holiday season!

Quick Update: Front Exterior

Not only are we counting down the days to Christmas around here, but we are also counting down the days to when our front exterior makeover is done!  The hardscaping was the first phase of the makeover.  The landscaping will go in next.

Remember this?!

Well, now it looks like this...


This photo angle is from our front door looking out towards the street.  The crumbling brick is all gone, and pavers went in its place.  I'll give you more details on the pavers we chose, the design layout, etc. in a future post.

Just as the crew was wrapping up demolition and installation of the new pavers, we got rain in drought-plagued Southern California!  It is just our luck that we finally get much-needed rain as we're working on an outdoor project.

Pathway that leads from the front porch towards the garage.

A second round of rain hit California last week, but fortunately, the crew installed the step lights and sealed the pavers just in time.

It's hard to see in the photo above, but there are four LED lights installed where the steps "hang".  We opted to install LED lights since it has a longer life span and it is more utility efficient.  We figured that the "heftier" initial investment would pay off over time.

Next up is the landscaping.  Oh the landscaping...  Although we are hoping to have it in before Christmas, it's looking pretty bleak.  More rain is in the forecast this week.  If Santa would only bring me a fully landscaped front yard overnight?!  But I am thankful for the new mailbox that just arrived.  I never thought mailboxes could be so beautiful and exciting!  Can't wait until it is installed...