mother’s day: diy breakfast in bed tray

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My poor mother. She has received a boat-load of Mother’s Day gifts that were handcrafted with love and personality: hand-cut heart-shaped cards, finger-painted murals, and discombobulated pottery to say the least. And hey – I grew up to earn a fine art degree so I had some skill as a child, right?

Let’s face it, when it comes to DIY, we can’t all be Martha Stewart. But that doesn’t give us the right to give up! Ladies and gents, you have a week to get your act together and serve your mum breakfast in bed in style. Introducing, the do-it-yourself serving tray: durable wood, clean-safe stained glass, and stylish copper handles. Trust me – you can do this!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 x 14 inch cut smooth wood  (this is your base)
  • 12 x 12 inch stained glass (find tons of pre-cut color/pattern choices at Hobby Lobby)
  • 1/4-inch copper pipe, 2 pieces at 12-inches long
  • 1/4-inch copper elbows, 4 total
  • permanent adhesive glue
  • paint and primer
  • power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit

BLANC_DIYSupplies

Step No. 1: Prep your base

Start by sanding your wood base, if needed. Apply a primer, then the paint color of your choice. I chose to paint my base an off-white to allow the copper and marble green to really pop.

Step No. 2: Adhere the glass

Using a strong adhesive glue, coat the back of your stained glass. Place in the center of the painted wood base. Let dry.

Step No. 3: Attaching your handles

Start by applying permanent glue onto each end of your copper pipe and then attach the copper elbow. Do this for both sides of your pipe and let dry. This will be your handle. Position the handle on your tray and measure the length from each elbow’s center point. Mark the center points on the tray with a pencil.

Next, use your power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit to drill partially into the wooden base (roughly 1/8-inch). You may want to seek assistance with for part if you have never used a power drill.

Finally, fill your newly created intention with permanent adhesive. Insert the handle elbows into the intentions so they fit snug. Let dry.

Step No. 4: Mimosa’s and Mom

Surprise your favorite lady with fresh blooms from the garden and a bubbly mimosa to start her day. Happy Mother’s Day!


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Don’t forget to share your creations online! Tag @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc

xoxo

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meet the blush label

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BLANC_TheBlushLabelHow do you define style? Google defines the noun as “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.” But come on, isn’t style way more than that?

Some of us dream of Clueless Cher’s revolving closet of the 90’s – bound forever to fashion forward magazines and the styles found in local boutiques. Others focus on style at home – form, function, and originality. There is an entire multi-million dollar industry focusing on this word. Style. It’s quite overused, wouldn’t you say?

Let’s remix this baby. Redefine style and what do you get? Confidence, originality, trend-setting, unexpected combinations, courage, poise, unique details, and ultimately, a defined design.

As a designer, a pet peeve of mine is to see inspired works overused in the industry (chevron, you poor thing…). Skilled designers are emerging daily, but who’s to decide if they have this newly-defined style or not? I’ll tell you one thing, The Blush Label nailed it.

Meet sisters Christie and Mary, the design duo and creative directors of happy hour and home. The two may not have revolving closets, but they dream of a day when the linens in their homes would be as colorful and lively as the clothes in their closets. Posh patterns and layered color combinations rule the scene in their works. There is a sophisticated chicness that overtakes you into a sea of tropical color combinations.

They have formed a brand that truly embodies style. I spoke with Mary to get the label’s full story: where they started, who they’ve become, and what advice they have for women entrepreneurs.

Try not to drool, okay?

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Tell me about the Blush Label. Who are you as a company? What do you stand for?

“The Blush Label is a home decor and entertaining accessories company based in North and South Carolina. We’ve designed our line to be functional and affordable with a bright color palette. Since we launched our line, it’s been important for us to stay true to our design aesthetic and to our affordable prices.”

How did you start? Who had the “big idea” and when did you know it was time to say “let’s do it.”?

“We were on a trip to Puerto Rico in 2012 when we decided to start the business, but it took us two years of prep work before we even launched. Starting a business doesn’t happen overnight! We launched a blog first (Things That Make Us Blush) to make sure there was a market for what we wanted to do, after that we decided to go for it.”

What challenges did you have in your first year? How much did self doubt play into things, if any?

“There were a lot of challenges and of course, there still are! But the important thing is to always stay true to yourselves and true to your customers. We’ve had glitches in the system and orders take longer than expected, but those issues happen when you’re a small business. The important thing is how you deal with those issues that will set you apart. It’s important to believe in yourself – always. We can’t stress that enough. There are times when we’ve doubted projects or product lines and they’ve ended up being huge for us. The important thing is to try and to not take it personally if a particular product doesn’t do well.”

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You started with cocktail napkins. Why is that?

“We launched our business in phases to ensure that we weren’t overwhelmed when we first started. It was a decision that worked very well for us. If you’re starting a business, test the waters with what you can handle first and then expand from there. Doing that will help you refine your processes in small increments along the way.”

What other product have you designed since the cocktail napkin?

“It wasn’t until High Point Market that we realized how many products we now offer! Decorative pillows, coasters, place-mats, glassware, serving trays and silk scarves.”

What makes you different from the other entertaining retailers?

“What makes us different is our design aesthetic and pricing. We offer quality products at an affordable price in bold color schemes, and we also design everything in-house – you can’t find it anywhere else!

BLANC_TheBlushLabelTell me about your individual styles. How did you merge those? How do each of your strengths play into The Blush Label?

“Christie’s style is more bold like Kelly Wearstler, but mine is a little more classic. I love the classic blue and white scheme with pops of color. One thing we do agree on is our love for gold – we aren’t big on silver finishes. Everything in our line was originally inspired by our father’s native Puerto Rico. The island is oozing beautiful, bright colors and we’ve incorporated those in our products. We also love to travel so while we were in the Amalfi Coast last year, we decided to bring in some of the colors we saw during that trip as well.

We each have different strengths, and we’ve divided those up to help our brand. Christie is the Creative Director so she designs everything and builds our product portfolio. I head up the business side of the company and handle our accounts, finances and PR. We both take on a lot, but we’re very supportive of each other in our areas of the business. We are constantly communicating, which is key for us! We hold FaceTime meetings three times a week to keep us on task.”

What goals have you accomplished as a company or personally at this point. What goals do you have for the future?

“It was our goal originally to make this into a full-time career for both of us and we’ve accomplished that, which is huge for us. Starting a business and working on it while having a full-time job is incredibly hard. There are a lot of late nights and early mornings, but as long as you have the drive and desire to make it happen, you can.

As a company, we’ve grown leaps and bounds within a year of launching. Our product portfolio has grown and we continue to open new accounts with great customers, stores and designers from around the world. We plan to continue growing from here by increasing our presence in the marketplace.”

What advice do you have for young women looking to start their own brand?

“1. Stop doubting yourself and go for it! We’re lucky to have each other to lean on when we hit a rough patch. Some entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a business partner (especially one from your family) so it’s important to always stay motivated.

2. Listen to the women who have done it before you. We met the founder of a well-established and fast-growing company the other day and her advice was on point for where we are in this stage of business. They’ve been there before and know what it’s like to be where you are in your stage of business.

3. Use the feedback you receive to improve your product. We did this after our first market and it helped us immensely with one of our product lines. Don’t take the feedback as someone being negative – use the feedback to your advantage to improve your line. This can be difficult since there are some products we’re attached to, but take a step back and really listen to your market.

4. Read! There is so much amazing material out there. Newspapers, blogs, magazines, editorials, etc. – stay informed about what is going on in your community and the marketplace.”

What’s your best seller?

“Coasters and glassware – we can hardly keep them in stock!

What’s your favorite piece?

“We both love the pineapple rocks glasses! The Bombay Scarf is another one of our favorites.”

 


Shop my favorites:


See more of The Blush Label online and on social media:

www.theblushlabel.com

@the_blush_label

lunch box goodies

Blanc Lunch BoxAs we transition from winter to spring, many of our surroundings start to hold a new perspective: flowers start to bud, fire pits start to burn, shorts and sandals are dug out of the closet, and the sun sets a little sweeter. It’s easy to get in the mood for spring fashion trends and waterside cocktail hours that can last until dusk.

There is, however, one thing in particular that I have trouble transitioning: my lunch. I go from soup to sandwich to salad and back again in the winter. It’s about time somebody (anybody!) came up with some new lunch box ideas! So here I go: my recap of one week of lunch box goodies.

Day 1: the blt lettuce wrap

Ingredients

  • romaine lettuce (whole leaves)
  • cherry tomatoes (diced into quarters)
  • bacon (precooked or homemade)
  • mayo (or substitute low-fat sour cream)

Spread mayo on a full lettuce leave. Add tomatoes and bacon, wrap, and enjoy!

Day 2: broccoli salad

Ingredients

  • raw broccoli (chopped into small trees)
  • red grapes, sliced in half
  • sliced almonds
  • dried cranberries (you can also substitute dried cherries or raisins)
  • cooked bacon (I used my leftovers from day 1!)
  • mayo
  • white wine vinegar
  • a pinch of sugar

Combine chopped broccoli, red grapes, almonds, dried cranberries, and bacon into a bowl. Add just enough mayo to lightly coat the ingredients. Top with a pinch of sugar and a drop of white wine vinegar. Chill in refrigerator before serving.

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Day 3: the hummus pita delight

Ingredients

  • pita bread or sandwich thins
  • hummus (original or try a flavored hummus)
  • cucumber
  • feta cheese crumbles

Spread hummus on pita bread, top with cucumber and feta cheese crumbles. Serve as an open-face sandwich.

Day 4: tomato basil sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread (Italian bread preferred, or a toasted version of what you have on hand will work!)
  • mozzarella cheese (I buy mozzarella as a block and cut fine slices)
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • basil and spinach leaves
  • garlic-pepper seasoning
  • olive oil

Toast your bread until crisp and then brush lightly with olive oil. Create your sandwich by stacking the basil and spinach leaves (1:2 ratio), mozzarella, and tomato slices. Season with a pinch of garlic-pepper before closing with the top slice of toasted bread. Prepare ingredients the night before work for easy assembly at the office.

Day 5: pb & banana sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 banana (sliced)
  • crunchy peanut butter

What’s that saying…an oldie but a goodie? This was definitely a Friday treat for me! I paired this savory sandwich with a fresh apple and skim milk. It’s like I’m a kid again!

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I hope these meals make your lunch box happy!

xoxo

 

liebster award

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In the ever-increasing world of blogging, there are new personalities emerging daily. Whether writing about style, food, movie critiques, fresh-faced writers and photographers are finding ways to share their thoughts in the blogosphere. To welcome these emerging bloggers, senior writers have created the Liebster Award. This honor recognizes new blogs for their great content.

I am thrilled to announce my recent Liebster Award nomination! I have been nominated by Style Nacho, a fellow new blogger who writes effortlessly about fashion, beauty, and personal style. The fashion-finder introduces a new perspective on upcoming trends such as winter-to-spring wardrobe transitions, three ways to chambray, and (wait for it!) how to rock a denim pencil skirt.

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The Liebster Award Rules

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 250 followers.

4. Create 11 new questions for the nominees.

5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

 

Liebster Award Q&A, courtesy of Style Nacho:

Q: What is one of your favorite daily rituals?

 A: Talking to my very best friend before I go to bed at night.

Q: What’s your favorite food?

 A: Any form of chocolate and peanut butter… Yum!

Q:  You’re gifted $150. How do you treat yourself?

 A: Spring shopping… duh! Unless of course the boyfriend is in town. Then maybe a boat rental or a fun night out! It’s all about what makes you smile.

Q:  Name a place you’d love to visit (and tell us why!).

 A: I have wanted to go to Italy since I was little. My parents toured the country last year and I was entirely envious! The food, the sites, the history – there are a million reasons. Plus, my family originates from Sicily.

Q:  What’s your favorite spring trend?

 A: I’m loving all the bright colored heels right now. I’m still searching for the perfect pair.

Q:  What was your last random act of kindness?

Surprise by mail! Sending a random “thinking of you” card to a friend always makes for a sweet and sentimental treat.

Q: What’s a favorite quote?

 A: “You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.” This quote inspired my #talkprettytome challenge inspiring those to seek the positives in the creative world rather than the comparisons.

Q:  If you could relive any year, which would you go back to and why?

 A: My first year out of college was one for the books… and it would be under chapter “This is Hard”. I would love to relive my first year in the working world knowing what I know now. I would be more confident and definitely worry a lot less!

Q:  What’s your biggest pet peeve?

 A: Loud chewers! Those close to me know this  well…

Q:  How do you like your coffee?

 A: Nonfat latte, 2 Splendas.  A girl’s gotta through in a mocha-frap everyone once and awhile though!

Q:  What quality or characteristic do you most love about yourself?

 A: I am most proud of my ability to think for myself. Though my stand-up-to-the-big-dogs-attitude may have gotten me in trouble in my younger years, it is a quality that I am glad I have. It is important for a person, especially a young lady, to stand up for herself and what she believes in. No one should tell you what to think except yourself.


I nominate the following up & coming bloggers:

Melanie Craft co.

Le Zoe Musings

DIY Just Cuz

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

A Polished Palate

Right Where I Left Off

Found This Painted That

Harcourt Crescent Interior Desire

20 Something Gal – just launched!

Skyscrapers & Palm Trees

Emily Rudman Photo

Q&A for my nominees:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2. Where do you call home and what do you enjoy most about being there?

3. What is one place everyone should visit and why?

4. What professionals inspire you?

5. What is your ultimate goal for your blog?

6. What is one thing you don’t leave the house without?

7. How do you take your coffee?

8. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

9. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers about how to get new subscribers?

10. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

11. What 11 new bloggers do you nominate for the Liebster Award?

 

Nominees: Once you’ve posted your Liebster Award questions, share the love on social media (@blancblog)! I’d love to read them!

Xo & Cheers!

wedding etiquette

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It’s finally happened. You are old enough to have close friends that are getting married. When did we become so grown up?! 

In your 20’s, you are new to the wedding world. Most brides, grooms, or wedding attendees seek wedding advice, tips, and formalities from their elders: whom to invite, what to say, what to wear, what to give… the list of questions is, in all honesty, endless! If you are a bride or groom that is working with a wedding planner, this inquisitive list can be checked off quite easily. For guests, or those without a planner, we have a woman named Emily Post.

Emily Post was an American author, renowned for her books on proper etiquette. Though the guru of civility has past, she is still the go-to for brides, grooms, and wedding planners across the country. Her manners and spirit are still alive with the help of the authors in her family.

Though she is known for her traditional thinking, Ms. Post has certainly evolved over the years. Her most recent book includes modern day circumstances such as same sex marriage, budgeting for the bridal party, and today’s music selections. Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition, is said to be the end-all, be-all to proper wedding and event formalities.

So don’t worry friends – Ms. Post has you covered. Here are your top questions, answered. Thank you Post family!

As a member of the bridal party:

What are the expectations of being a bridesmaid?
Generally, bridesmaids should purchase their own wedding-day attire (dress/shoes/jewelry, as directed by the bride). Bridesmaids should also give a wedding gift, though many couples consider the attendants’ participation as their gift.
Are the bridesmaids/maid of honor expected to host a shower?
The answer is no. Contrary to popular belief, bridesmaids are not required to host a shower and the bride should not insist that they do. If the bridesmaids would like to plan a shower, it is pertinent that they are all in agreement. The maid of honor or a single bridesmaid should never organize a party an expect others to help pay for it.
More common hosts for showers are close friends of the couple or the couple’s parents. If there are multiple showers thrown, the host should be considerate when inviting guests and should not invite guests to more than one shower (exceptions might be close family members).
Can more than the bridal party be invited to showers/bachelorette?
Of course. There are few rules when it comes to a tasteful bachelorette party. Invited guests usually include the bridal party, close friends or relatives, and possibly the mothers of the bride and groom.
Who pays for the bachelorette party?
Guests should pay their own way, as well has help cover the cost of the bride. Just be sure that it’s clear before the celebration begins. No gifts should be expected but if gifts are given, they are usually inexpensive or humorous.

As a guest:

If you cannot attend a shower, are you obligated to send a gift?
No, though sometimes close friends or relatives do.
How much should you spend on a shower gift?
Shower gifts should be less expensive than the wedding gift and are usually centered around a theme.
How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
There are many theories on how to calculate the perfectly budgeted wedding gift. Emily tells us that the gift should be based on the giver’s affection for and relationship to the couple and their families and on their personal budget.
I’m inviting to the wedding but can’t come. Do I have to give a gift?
Yes, it is proper to mail one to the couple.
I am invited to the reception only. Do I have to give a gift?
Whether it is the same day or a belated reception, you are not required to give a gift, though you may do so if you wish.
I received an “and guest.” How do I handle the gift giving?
The person invited should is responsible for purchasing the gift.
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What questions do you have for the Post family? Comment below and I will do my best to answer! Looking for the entire guide to wedding etiquette? Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition is available on Amazon. You can find daily tips at http://www.emilypost.com.

Happy wedding season! 

 

skinny iced coffee at home

Blanc Iced Coffee

If it were up to me, I’d have a Starbucks barista awaiting my sleepy-eyed self Monday through Friday. Each day I would wake up and decide if I was craving a non-fat latte or a iced passion tea. The choices would be endless! Unfortunately for me, I live in the reality and such fantasies are only saved for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. I guess you could say I’m a diy-er at, well, everything… including my morning caffeine.

Let’s break it down a bit. If one were to order a medium/grande sized coffee four times a week at Starbucks (~$3.00/drink), he or she would spend $12.00/week, $48.00/month, $576.00/year on coffee. WHAT?! My Mint budgeting app is not liking the sound of that… So, rather than spend “the big bucks” on my morning energizer, I make it at home.

1 skinny vanilla iced coffee coming up!

Blanc Iced Coffee

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • cold coffee (non-flavored) – 3/4 cup
  • almond milk or soy milk – 1/4 cup*
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • agave syrup as a sweetener – to taste!
  • ice

*Add more or less to taste

Here’s how:

1. The night before: Make a cup of joe and put it in the refrigerator (it will last about two days)

2. The morning of: In a glass, pour coffee, almond/soy milk and vanilla extract. Add agave syrup to taste. Stir

3. Add ice and enjoy!

Why Skinny?

Substituting almond milk for regular milk or creamer can save loads on your calorie and fat intake. It is also high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, fiber, zinc, and calcium. Agave syrup is a natural sweetener that is low cal (21 calories/tsp!). The natural sweetener is sweeter than your standard sugar, so many feel that they need less in their drink. Bonus: you’re getting more water than hot coffee because of the added ice!

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Happy Tuesday! Enjoy! 

 

color your weekend

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If you’re friends with Kate (Spade, that is), you are familiar with the happy command that has us all under a spell: live colorfully. Well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but color is ‘in’ for spring. Ground breaking? Not really, but let me finish –

Since before our time, artists and designers have been using color to evoke emotions. There is always a reason for color. Marketing strategists have designed entire brands based off the psychology of color and how it influences and signals a response from people. So why is it that every spring we are yearning for pops of pink and bright yellows? Maybe it’s because our chic head-to-toe-in-black look can’t be worn in 80 degree weather. Or could it be that we are just itching for brightness after the cool winter months?

Either way, Kate has it right. Adding a splash of something fun can lift your mood and brighten your spirits, whether that splash is in your wardrobe or on your counter tops. In honor of Good Friday and the festive few days coming up, I’m sharing 5 ways to color your weekend – all for under $50.

Get out your pastel shorts, people – it’s spring!

 live colorfully this weekend:

Blanc _ Natalie Taylor ArtInspire Color

One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day is to go to art galleries. For my Charleston friends, starting today, you can join Gallery Row’s First Fridays on Broad, an art walk featuring over 16 galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. Grab a glass of pinot and get inspired!

For my followers not living in the low country – don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve teamed up with Natalie Taylor Humphrey for an Instagram #LIVECOLORFULLY giveaway. Find me on IG (@blancblog) and follow the instructions for a chance to win Natalie’s gorgeous girl shown above, as well as some gems from Reece Blaire!

Blanc Blog PillowCreate Color

When it comes to DIY, you should never underestimate yourself. Inspired by the talented artist, Maria Kamara, I decided to add a little funk to a boring pillow case. Here’s how you craft it:

1. Start with a durable fabric pillow case (canvas, twill, outdoor fabric)

2. Insert cardboard inside the pillow case so your paint does not bleed through to the other side of your case

3. Mix two parts paint and one part textile medium. Using a textile medium will keep your paint from chipping off or crunching up.

4. Go for it. The more abstract the better!

5. Let your work dry overnight and insert your pillow. How easy was that?

The Color Run in Charlotte, 2012
The Color Run in Charlotte, 2012

Run for Color

The name says it all. The Color Run is said to be the happiest 5k on the planet. Work your butt off and release some endorphins (yes, Elle Woods!) while getting splattered with powder-paint along the way. The most colorful contestant wins in my book. Attention Atlanta girls: they’re coming to you TOMORROW!

Blanc, The Poplin RBWear Color

You know my obsession with Reece Blaire. The girls of sass, wit, and sophistication have done it again with their 2015 spring line. Need I mention that they are a finalist in the Belk Southern Designer Showcase? A favorite of mine, the Poplin earring, is on sale for $30 online, or win it on Instagram (@blancblog) for the Blanc #LIVECOLORFULLY Giveaway. Winner will be announced on Easter!

BlancBlogServe Color

Take the weekend off from salads and quinoa and be a little bad. Tis the season, right? One dozen carrot cake cupcakes coming right up! My favorite recipe is on Pinch of Yum!


Bonus

One lucky follower will get an extra treat from the Easter bunny. Enter the Blanc #LIVECOLORFULLY Giveaway on Instagram to win the Natalie Taylor Humphrey original painting and Poplin earrings from Reece Blaire.

Secretary Desk Facelift

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When you grow up and it’s time to leave the nest, you take many things with you: life lessons, mom’s sugar cookie recipe, and, for most of us, your childhood bedroom set. Nothing says adulthood like a throwback to middle school sleepovers. My lucky inheritance: a 50-year old, Amish secretary desk.

I’ve squirmed at this desk since my 11-year old, tomboy-self noticed the “flowery” carvings at the top of the secretary. Thirteen years later, there I was: still under-joyed by the handcrafted piece of furniture. It was finally time. I had to bite the bullet and paint the sucker.

Rules Worth Breaking – never paint over the natural look of wood, whether it’s furniture, trim/panelling, or an antique trinket. 

The fact of the matter is, sometimes things need a facelift… a fresh perspective… a little light. Take it from the experts at Domino (shown below) who are no strangers to painting a wood panel or two in order to make a statement.

Blanc_DominoExamples

Here’s what you’ll need to know before you dive in:

1. Does the wood furniture need to be sanded?
Yes if the wood is pre-finished. Lightly sand enough to dull the finish so the new paint will stick better. 

2. Do you need to prime the wood?
No if you are using chalk paint. Chalk paint serves as a paint and primer duo and can be sanded down to achieve a distressed finish. Ask your hardware store’s paint specialist what kind of primer is best for your specific furniture.

3. Will I need multiple coats of paint?
Most likely, yes. If the wood has not been finished before, it will soak up the primer and paint, thus needing more layers of paint.

4. How do I know what paint finish to choose?
This is by preference. Most design guru’s are going for a matte finish as seen in the Domino images above. If you want a glossier undertone, move up to a glossy finish. For a distressed look, try coating your piece with chalk paint and then lightly sanding it down.

 How to make it your own:

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 1. New Hardware.
Knobs can make all the difference. They are the accessories of a piece of furniture. Find funky, unique knobs at Anthropologie or Hobby Lobby. I chose to stick with the original (handmade!) ceramic knobs on my secretary desk for an understated look. To add femininity, I spray painted all of the screws/hinges gold. It’s the little things! 

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2. Add a surprise.
Drawers leave room for some fun. I painted the inside and sides of my secretary’s drawers a soft mint color to mimic the pattern of my bedspread. The hidden pop of color adds an extra surprise to the desk. Looking for a bigger impact? Paint the entire backing of the desk a bright color.

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3. Dress it up.
This secretary had some growing up to do. No longer a tomboy’s homework station, it’s now used as my vanity. Since I went with a light cool gray color, I brought in lots of bright color with make up trays and jewelry bowls. 

Blanc_HutchRoomShow me your refinished furniture projects by using the hashtag #boldwithblanc.

Happy DIY-ing!

#nonewfriends

 I am two years into the working world. The summer I graduated from Winthrop University was the same summer I moved to Charleston, South Carolina where I knew all of three people. The first few months in my career were confusing, fast-paced, and loaded with mistakes. There were nights that I didn’t make it home until after 9 pm. When I finally did get home, all I wanted to do was grab a drink (or two, or three) with a bud and vent about the life of a grown up.

The tough luck story of it all has been summed up in a simple hashtag.

Now Trending: #nonewfriends 

New city, new career, and no new friends. Pardon my French, but friend-making can sometimes quite simply suck – especially if you’re living alone. It is hard to put yourself out there and most of us don’t like to do it. In our twenties, we are no longer at an age where a play date makes us soul mates or a scraped knee is grounds to becoming an arch nemesis. Things are more complicated. Let’s set the scene:

College // The glory days. No matter your level of weirdness, stress, or intoxication, you usually have a bud by your side. Whether you’re at a tech school or main stream university, college students have unlimited opportunities for friend-making (roommates, class, cafeterias, clubs, athletics, sororities, fraternities, just to name a few). You graduate with besties and promise that nothing will change once you all go in separate directions.

Post Grad Life, Year One // The stress of a new city and a new job is enough to take some of us overboard. Remember when the idea of a 9-5 sounded like a California dream boat compared to projects, exams and essays? Well, unless you’re working at Jimmy Johns, most of the time that 9 to 5 turns into 5:30…6….6:30….7. Strike one. Now that it’s 8 pm and you’ve managed to make it home without a honk, what do you do? Who do you call? Who in the hell lives in this city?! Strike two. So you open a bottle of wine and turn on How to Get Away with Murder. Strike Three.

Hence, the hashtag #NONEWFRIENDS. Related hashtags include #postgradprobs #imisscollege and my personal favorite, #welcometotherealworld. I’ve seen these tags sarcastically posted on Instagram as a picture of Netflix and a bowl of ice cream or, more enthusiastically, in happy hour pics that include no one but college friends.

So, why is it so hard for our generation to make new friends after graduation?

I’ll admit, I was definitely included in this friendless category when I first moved to Charleston two years ago. Though my hashtags looked more like #amaloser #imakemyboyfriendskypeme and #ijustusedmyneighbornettomakefriends (all true).

So what made the difference? For me, it was putting myself out there and hoping people we’re nice. Yes, I seriously used my apartment complex’s Neighbor Net to message a girl I met at a “Meet Your Neighbors” cocktail hour. It sounds so odd… but hey, it worked!  She and I even managed to get a kickball team together for the Charleston Sports and Social Club. Take it from someone who’s already her wasted time whining & grieving  about the 3-hour drive to the nearest gal pal:

Post Grad Life, Year Two // You will have a life again, I promise.

All you have to do is make a move. My tips for friend making (should I put butterfly stickers in this post…?) – but seriously:

1. Where there’s one, there are more. Everyone feels awkward making new friends right out of college. Relax. Put yourself out there and you’ll usually like what you get in return.

2. Don’t wait for someone to invite you. This will drive you crazy. Be the one to set up drinks with co-workers or brunch with a neighbor.

3. Join something you’re interested in. Larger cities usually have intramural leagues, fashion organizations, book clubs, or charities to get involved in. How easy is that?

4. Back away from the bestie. I love my best friends, but moving to a city where most everyone was a phone call away helped me grow more than I knew at the time. I had to cast myself out there in hopes that someone (anyone!) would reel me in. A lot of the time, I see this “no new friends” hashtag on social media referencing the fact that post-grad happy hours include the same people as post-exam power hours. If that is the case for you, cheers – but proceed with caution. There is something to be valued in being on your own. If you always have a shoulder holding you up what is going to happen when that shoulder leaves?

If you find yourself having happy hours for one, take a page from my book. Step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. You never know what fun or new friends you may find…

#yaynewfriends