Developing Your Own Home Style

Developing Your Own Home Style

This post was sponsored by Samsung as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I once read a book by one of my favorite designers, Nate Berkus. The book was aptly titled, “The Things That Matter”. It struck a chord with me, and since then I’ve been on a personal quest to create a home environment that greets me each time I come home. I’ve always love decorating, and never had much trouble pulling together a cozy home. However, before reading this book I realized I wasn’t “in love” with my living space.

Sure it was stylish, and on a clean day could hold its own against other homes. But it didn’t scream “me”. I wasn’t sure why not, after all I had selected everything with my husband hadn’t I? Yes, in theory we made these selections, but it seemed as though they were selected for us by the folks at Target or Home Goods. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t calling my name so to speak.

Right about this time I started rediscovering an old passion of mine, thrifting. Growing up during the grunge era in New York City, I was no stranger to thrift stores. I have a keen eye for seeing the beauty in something and recognizing its potential. So I started following my own advice and stuck with the three major components of my blog, in fact, it’s in my tag line on this very site.

Home Style

Keep It Simple

A cluttered and busy home does not feel warm or inviting. I started going through my home and eliminating any clutter. If I didn’t use/wear it in a year, it’s gone. Vintage can mean many things to many people, but it’s all in how you blend them together. A bunch of different patterns and colors in a room can come across tacky, just because it’s dated doesn’t mean it’s vintage. There are some styles best left to extinction (let’s all pray black lacquer never makes a comeback). Another way I kept it simple was by streamlining all of my electronics. For years we’ve mostly purchased Samsung products because, well they’re the best. By pairing our Samsung UHD TV with the sleek Samsung DAV Soundbar we purchased at Walmart, we were able to maintain a cohesive design pattern. Plus, all of the electronics work easily together, making it a great buy all around.

The affordable pricing and excellent selection of Samsung Electronics at Walmart is the perfect way to get all of your electronic needs met. Especially now that tax season has rolled around, it’s an excellent way to makeover any room in your home, while getting the most for your money.

You can find other awesome Samsung deals at Walmart including:

Travel
I adorned the powder bath walls with items we’ve collected from our travels; a leather tooled hat from Mexico, I framed the top of a cigar box from the Dominican Republic.
Home
A hanging Florida license plate, and vintage post cards from different boroughs of NY.

Get Back To Basics

I learned to stick with some core basics, keep the color base clean, so that it would be easy to have fun with accents later on. Rooting the room with some solid colors /fabrics gave me the freedom to explore my creativity in other ways. I kept my furniture and drapes a standard color, which meant I could play with vibrant throw pillows or rugs as eye candy. Another one of my favorite ways to incorporate my personal style is through art work, and potted plants. Strategically placing air purifying plants in certain points of each room to keep the flow going. Since art is subjective, I often change the pieces I have in any room depending on the mood I’m in. Keeping the base simple allows me access to move any of my fun pieces without disturbing the overall look of my home.

Home Style

Discovering The Essentials

If it doesn’t serve a function, get rid of it. That ottoman sure is pretty, but if it doesn’t have storage, it’s only taking up space being pretty. Having to balance a house full of stuff (no matter how hard I try to become a minimalist), with two kids juggling their own stuff, storage is key. My apothecary tv stand serves as storage to books, cd’s, movies, and even a small liquor cabinet. My living room lamp provides lighting and serves as a book-case. My vinyl records have a case that is also home to one of my favorite lamps and record player. Everything I purchase with intention to serve more than one purpose, it keeps the clutter to a minimum, and makes this organizing freak a happy gal.

After all was said and done, it turns out I’m definitely a bit of a mid-century enthusiast, with a boho vibe, and a classic New York artsy feel. Each day when I come home, I am welcomed by the things that I love and hold deep meaning to me (artwork my father purchased, camera’s that have been handed down to me, and picture frames from my great grandmother). By intentionally selecting and eliminating any items that didn’t meet any of the criteria listed above, I gave myself the room to enjoy the things that truly matter.

Home Style

Essentially yours,

Erika


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Teaching Kids About Animal Safety

Teaching Kids About Animal Safety

When deciding to adopt a rescue animal, we took our kids into consideration first. Was this something they were ready for? Would we have to time available to teach them how to practice safe pet behaviors? This contribution from Jenny Holt touches on every aspect of teaching kids how to practice safe guidelines when in the presence of animals, especially when they aren’t your own.

Children can learn many wonderful life lessons from caring for animals. When they help to look after, and play with their pets, it teaches them about responsibility and empathy. It can also lead to a strong and powerful bond between child and pet.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50% of children under 12 have been bitten by a dog and most dog attacks happen at home. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children the right way to behave around animals. And not just your own pets. Children need to grow up understanding how to behave around all animals.

Children should never

  • Stare at an animal in the eye
  • Grab an animal’s feet, ears, or tail
  • Try to stop animals fighting
  • Jump around or shout near sleeping animals
  • Tease or chase an animal who wants to get away
  • Play games that encourage aggression
  • Disturb animals that are sleeping, eating, guarding something or caring for their young

Always Supervise Children and Animals

One of the most important rules for parents with dogs and children is never leave them alone together. There should always be an adult there to supervise. Your child has no boundaries, and neither does the dog. Parents should give constant feedback and encouragement. Children may know the rules, but it’s hard for them to be consistent and empathetic at their age.

Teach Children the Importance of a Gentle Touch

From a very young age, children should understand that animals can feel pain, fear, joy, and sadness. Teach your children to be gentle when touching animals. They can practice by gently petting a toy animal or a friend’s dog that you know is gentle. Make sure they understand that poking or squeezing can hurt animals.

Understanding Body Language

Animals may not be able to speak, but they do show what they like and don’t like. Teach children how to understand an animal’s body language. Do some research and show your child pictures of animals, in particular dogs, displaying different types of aggressive body language.

How to Cope with Unfamiliar Dogs

Teach children that if a dog approaches them they should stand ‘statue still’. They should also never approach an unfamiliar animal or touch any pet without asking the owner’s permission first.

When animals feel threatened, it’s their natural instinct to protect themselves. But this could result in displays of very sudden, aggressive behavior. It is parents’ responsibility to make sure all contact between small children and animals is supervised at all times. Much of the time nothing will happen. But is it ever worth taking that risk?

Essentially yours,

Erika

The Ace Hotel NOLA – A Hipster’s Haven

The Ace Hotel NOLA – A Hipster’s Haven

A little over a month ago I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans, Louisiana for the very first time. I was attending the ShiftCon conference, and needed a place to lay my head for a few nights. I’d recently experienced great success with AirBnB over the summer, but I was traveling alone and I didn’t feel confident enough with the service to try alone.

Whenever I visit a new city, I like to really get a feel for it. Attend local rugby games in the Bahamas, rent a car and explore Maui, or sun at the locals’ beach in Puerto Rico. There isn’t a dive bar I don’t like, or a hole in the wall I won’t give a shot. When you think of New Orleans, you think of jazz and jambalaya. However I knew there had to be more. I wasn’t interested in Mardi Gras-like festivals, or staying on Bourbon Street. I’ve learned enough over the years to know that the good stuff is usually just beyond the chaos.

The good folks at the Visitor’s Bureau were kind enough to point me in the right direction. I ended up scoring a room at The Ace  Hotel, a boutique hotel that is located throughout the United States. Famed for their vinyl record players (hello, do they know me?) and instruments located in the room.

Ace Hotel

As soon as I arrived, I was in love. This was a hipster’s dream! The way that old meets new, and the decor had just the right amount of “lived in” feeling. The lobby was dim and inviting, good thing they have free wi-fi because my room wasn’t ready and I had work to do. I stopped for some coffee at the adjoining cafe, Stumptown Coffee. A quaint little shop with excellent croissants and a killer chai latte. The manager was equally as cool and really lent to the atmosphere.

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

The lobby was so intriguing I had to walk and check out the rest of the hotel. I wandered through hallways, and stairwells, admiring the beauty in a hotel that didn’t feel the need to be overly bright and cheery. There’s a warmth and comfort to the dark hues and laid back vibes. Every detail, from the furniture to the paint, signs, and even chair stools were all timeless.

Am I the only person who admires good bathroom tile?

It’s reminiscent of a different time, all while holding true to a classic modern feel. The staff was incredible, everyone friendly and very helpful. They pointed me in the right direction quite a few times, and I have them to thank for some great dining and fun times at The Frenchmen’s.

The architecture stood out on so many levels. The detail, the lighting, all provided an experience.

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

 

I hadn’t even visited my room yet and I was drawn in to the culture of this hipster fantasy.

Ace Hotel

Amenities

Ace Hotel

I was lucky enough to score a room with a view or two! I had my own private exit to a courtyard, a mid-century style SMEG fridge, and my very own vinyl record player in my room.

Sidenote: There are some really awesome radio stations in NOLA that you must listen to, like WWOZ!

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Fully equipped with a full bar and even some goodies. Not to mention the complimentary condom that is placed in the room with a stamped envelope saying “Have a Good Time”.

The bathroom had some of the best lighting I have ever encountered in a hotel. We’re talking three straight perfect make-up days here, I may have participated in a selfie or two.

The old-fashioned photo booth in the lobby was a ton of fun (sort of, I never have been able to figure out the timing on those things), and there was entertainment almost nightly. I heard rumors of a wonderful rooftop atmosphere, but unfortunately missed it due to some rain.

Ace Hotel

Perks

Along with the free wi-fi (awesome), the Ace Hotel is also pet-friendly!

Ace Hotel

Umbrella’s are available at the front desk at your request. This came in handy on my final day as I was sightseeing in the rain.

Ace Hotel

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Ace Hotel. It introduced me to a different view of New Orleans; a low-key, laid back sultry city with it’s hand on the pulse of a generation who knows where its going, and can appreciate where it all started.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to find this boutique hotel chain, and I’ll always look to them as my ace in the hole.

Essentially yours,

Erika


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated in order to facilitate my honest review. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own.

 

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