You Need to Check Out This Etsy Shop!!

The best thing about blogging and working in the design business is building relationships. Relationships that last and grow and can support one another. One of my past e-design clients, Sandra, has opened up her own etsy shop and I couldn’t be happier for her! I have worked with Sandra on a few of her spaces in her home and even worked with her daughter in creating a fun room to call her own. Sandra’s new shop, Swanson Lane Home is a true reflection of her eclectic, vintage style. From collectible French pieces to Hollywood Regency style, this shop has it all. I love putting a space together that looks collected… a room that doesn’t feel too matchy matchy, but rather looks like it has been put together over time. By adding some pieces from Sandra’s shop, you will get that style. Here are a few of my favorite accents from Swanson Lane Home

If you know Sandra, then you know she has poured her heart into this shop. Every piece has been picked with love, because they truly reflect her style and personality. Head on over to her shop and get inspired! Act quickly, because some of these accessories might just have to find a way into my home!!

Using Bar Carts in Different Ways

I have been working with a local client {#projectcoastalchic} to add some warmth and texture to her family room. When you first enter the family room off of the kitchen, there is one large wall that also sits next to a door to the garage entrance. I thought it would be pretty and fun to add a little entry spot/organization station for resting your keys, mail and anything else they may need. There are fun ways to make a station like this both functional and beautiful. I instantly thought of using the Threshold bar cart from Target!

Not only can this be pulled out and used for entertaining guests, it will also be amazing to make this an organization station! We will be hanging a framed chalkboard above the cart, so the family can write down grocery lists, practice/game schedules and anything they need to know before heading out the door. When they have a large dinner party, this amazing cart on casters can be easily rolled into the kitchen/dining area for drinks and appetizers. It is without a doubt that bar carts are no longer a trend, but here to stay! Here are some creative ways to use this versatile furniture accent piece:

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Here are fun ways to use them when not entertaining:

I think I may need to pick one up for myself! I love any and all carts, especially when they are brass!
What about you… do you think this trend is here to stay???

New Changes in Our Family Room {or Basement??}

You may have seen some of my previous posts about renovating and adding livable square footage to our basement. We are making it an additional space to relax, play and spend family time. On Instagram, I mentioned an ottoman that I loved from Target. I knew it would be a great piece to use as a coffee table and rest our feet in the basement. Mike, my husband, checks in on my blog and instagram for gift ideas {what a guy} and surprised me with that ottoman for Christmas!! I love it so much and it is so versatile, that I haven’t even put it in the basement yet! I have been enjoying it on our first floor family room and also wanted to keep it out when I do some entertaining next month. Eventually, it will make its way in the basement, which will be a much needed accessory down there, too.

{love the casters!!} 

Ottomans this size can work in almost any space! They are great for the foot of the bed, coffee table {with tray}, in front of the fireplace, etc. The possibilities are endless! I am sure this furniture piece will have a home all over the house, throughout the years.

How about you… do you have a furniture piece in your home that would work anywhere??

Living Like an Italian {La Dolce Vita}

Excuse my long absence from the blog! If you are still out there, I have amazing photos to share from our holiday trip to Italy. The family packed up and spent two weeks near Venice, Italy to see Mike’s parents and extended family. We are so fortunate to be able to take the kids to Europe and show them such rich history. We do miss being closer to his family, but definitely appreciate visiting such a beautiful country!

The Amazing Sites of Venice

Can this be more beautiful and magical?? Venice is a city I will never tire of and was decorated so wonderfully for Christmas. The more and more I visit Italy, the more I am in awe of their laid back, focus on family lifestyle. To this day, small restaurants and businesses close for a few hours each day, so the staff and owners can come home to their families, eat together, rest and just spend time. It was a constant reminder over the break, that I should also learn to slow down a bit and appreciate the small, important moments of the day that I probably take for granted. Italy was a great vacation spot to relax and just enjoy time with family, since it is always a daily occurrence there to do just that. You can’t visit Venice without bringing home some treasures, so we have continued to add to our mask collection and I even bought another city sketch to add to my art collection! This new one is pretty large and is just waiting to get framed and hung somewhere special! (That reveal will come soon!)

Our stop in Verona



Verona was quite an amazing site at night. It was also beautifully decorated for Christmas, with lights everywhere, a magical carousel and nativity scenes shown throughout the coliseum. The window shopping in Verona is pretty amazing, too!

As always, the vacation came to an end so fast. It’s now back to the hustle and bustle of work and school. I will, however, try to bring that sense of calm and togetherness back to our own home. I know it’s easier said than done to not get caught up in rushing around, trying to get to sports practice and the bus on time. But, if Italians can do it for centuries and still make it work, I am determined to bring some of that back here, too!

Displaying Photos Around the Holidays

I am very fortunate to have family pictures handed down to me, spanning many generations from my mom’s side of the family. In the future, I have big plans to frame them all, place them under glass trays and preserve their legacies. But for the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be great to have them out on display, where everyone can see and appreciate them. At this busy time of year, when we are starting the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s nice to sit back, remember family members both past and present and appreciate all the love that surrounds us. I would love to take you down memory lane today and show you some beautiful pictures that will be out on display at our house, this Thanksgiving…

When my kids were toddlers, I definitely wouldn’t have put out this display. The pictures would have ended up all over the house and in someone’s mouth. But now that the kids are bigger, they can understand when to be more gentle with fragile things. Before this arrangement, the pictures were tucked away inside my drawer. We can now look through and enjoy these wonderful memories, while they await their proper location in the house. Looking through these photos definitely reminds me how much I have to be thankful for!

What I Took Away from Blog Podium

It’s almost a week since I was at blog podium and I am still brimming with inspiration and ideas! I was so happy I decided to attend my first blogging conference. The friendships made and the connections from the event will last a long time. Whoever says you cannot make solid, lasting connections on line is wrong! I was so happy to find out that the blog friends I only chatted with on line, were just as sweet and wonderful in person! Saturday was a day packed with information on how to grow your blog and business, the ins and outs of social media, how to create balance and so much more! Going to Sarah’s Design Studio the day before allowed me the opportunity to meet bloggers before the event. So a bunch of us decided to have dinner Friday night and break the ice before blog podium…

Top row, left: Amy, Laura, Jill, Julie  Bottom row, left: Melissa, Emma and me

They were such a fun group of ladies! Definitely check out their blogs! Once I arrived at the event the next day, I knew I was in for a lot of pretty. Jennifer Flores and her team pulled out all the stops and made this a truly memorable event. Every last detail was so beautiful and well thought out. It was a very inspiring day!

(The following bunch of photos were taken by Anna With Love Photography)…

The amazing and talented Jennifer Flores
This was such a creative way to display our business cards! 

All of the decorations were done by the amazing Minted. I loved every single detail!

Lunch was delicious! I love the gold glittery accent at the bottom of the menu!
Sarah Richardson was the keynote speaker and delivered a wonderful speech that was inspiring and fun to listen to!

The sponsors had beautifully decorated vignettes. I could move right in!
Hearing Stephanie Sterjovski speak on Blog to Business was great! Just reading the quote on the screen alone, was inspiring.

Photos from the amazing and talented Anna With Love

I even won a table saw with stand, which then got traded to a saw, which then got traded to a mirror! Quite an adventure. We knew the mirror would fit in the trunk on the way home and clear customs without a problem!  :) Looking forward to showing you the mirror in our home. Thanks, Home Depot!

And of course, I met amazing people and had a blast with them!
Christine was so wonderful and sweet! A big congrats to her and her sweet little one for their nursery feature in Style at Home magazine!!
Brittany was amazing to meet and is such a talent!

Photobooth images by Snapshot Photo Booth

Friends in the photo booth I didn’t already mentioned and loved meeting include: Annika, Lindsey, Allison, Thalita and Tiffany. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures with so many other amazing bloggers, like Elyse, Lynsey, Kathleen, Christine, Victoria and Alexandra but soo loved meeting them, too! To wrap up this very long post, I just want to mention that if you’re ever thinking of attending a blog conference, go for it! You will be so inspired, meet so many creative, fun people and walk away feeling ready to take your blog and business further! I was so nervous going, but more than happy that I went for it.  :)

Watch Sarah Tonight!

The weather is beautiful here! We are soaking up those beautiful summer/fall days before we get hit with the cold weather!  :) I wanted to check in and remind you to watch Sarah Richardson’s show, Real Potential, tonight! It makes its debut on HGTV Canada at 9pm EST with back to back shows. For those of us who don’t live in Canada, you can watch it HERE!

I am signing off until next week, since I am soon headed to blog podium. I will keep you updated with all of the events on instagram (amberbinteriors). You can also follow everyone who’s there under the hashtag #blogpodium
Wish Me Luck !!!

Vacation is Over, Back to Reality!

With this crazy in between time of summer and fall, it is growing more apparent that fall is definitely here. With the kids back in school and our vacation over, it is back to reality time and the beginning of the fall routines. For our summer vacation this year, we went to the beaches in South Carolina. I love the south! I have some family there, everyone’s so polite and I love the food! Staying by the beach, I couldn’t get enough of the seafood and buffets! Eating until you’re stuffed is my idea of a great vacation!  :) So since summer has come to a close around here, I wanted to remind myself of the beach and take a moment to see the gorgeous view…

View from our hotel balcony…

I would love to take one of these pictures and blow it up to a large canvas art piece. I have this as my inspiration…

Inspiration

We also had time to stop in and see a local interior designer’s shop. Knotting Hill Interiors is owned by Principal Designer Kimberly Grigg. The amount of fabrics and accessories to browse through was incredible. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it!
Her Design Studio/Shop
So even though summer is officially here until the end of September, it feels like fall in these parts! Fall happens to be my favorite season, too. Until next time, beach… 

Keeping Family Heirlooms Alive – A True Value Experience

Keeping family traditions and keepsakes alive in your family is a special, personal way to remember family members before you and to honor their lives. It’s also a wonderful way to teach your children to honor traditions and the special memories that remind us of who we are and what your family was all about. When a representative from True Value hardware contacted me about participating in a program that does just that, I knew I wanted to get on board and be a part of something special. In their recent campaign to honor families and their traditions, I was asked to speak about a family heirloom that was given to me and how I have honored it in my home and life. I spoke to my mom about this, because I wanted to make sure I chose something heartfelt and special to our family. One treasure that we both agreed would be perfect is a photograph I have of my grandpa Louis, her father. My grandfather passed away when I was little, so hanging onto personal pictures reminds me of the special man he was. In my childhood photo album, I have pictures of him with myself and my brother. I also remember my mom telling me how much he adored my grandmother and the stories of how they met. The particular photograph I share with you today, is even before they met. My grandfather had a dream of becoming a baseball player. In the mid 1930’s, he lived that dream and was the catcher for a semi professional team in Brooklyn, NY. The picture you see below, is my grandfather in his catcher’s uniform. I decided to frame this very personal keepsake and include it on our shelf in the family room. I wanted it to be on display as a constant reminder of family and following your dreams. I love showing our kids this picture, because it always sparks conversation about relatives that have passed and keeping memories alive in our hearts. When I talk to them about my grandfather’s work ethic and striving to achieve his goals, it becomes another reminder to them that dreams can happen and that they do come true.

This wonderful keepsake sits inside a modern glass frame and is surrounded by some of our favorite accessories and treasures. The tortoise vase is a piece we found when visiting Italy. The framed watercolor painting that sits behind my grandfather’s photograph was a gift from my in laws and is a scene from one of our favorite cities in Italy. The unique irony behind all of that is that my grandfather was Italian, just like my in laws. When I first met my mother and father in law, they loved hearing about my grandfather’s Italian heritage and the city where his family grew up. It turns out that my grandfather’s family lived close to the Italian city where my in laws currently live. The special meaning behind sharing stories of our families is that we can honor their lives and remember them much after they are gone. Their lives go on through our conversations and memories.  They will always be alive in our hearts.

When True Value sent me a link to their video about honoring family heirlooms and traditions, it was very touching. I have watched it several times and I would love for you to see it by clicking HERE. Once you watch the video, leave a comment at the end of this post, telling me about your favorite family heirloom and how you honor it in your home.

True Value is also participating in the pinterest pin it to win it challenge. Show how you keep family heirlooms in the family HERE!

A Lot to Celebrate!

This has been a fun, busy weekend! The post title says it all, as there have been many celebrations going on here these past couple of days. It was our 11th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Mike and I went out to dinner and had a blast. He is my rock and the love of my life! On Sunday, it was my birthday! I am full with delicious dinner and cake. Needless to say, I am very lucky!

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The holiday weekend went by way too fast, but I look forward to showing you some new birthday gifts next week and how I plan to accessorize them!  :)