3 shades of gray

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Looking for a quick and relatively inexpensive way to refresh a space? Get the biggest bang for your buck with paint! We wanted to share our three all-time favorite paint colors that we find ourselves using over and over again—for listings and for our own homes. These colors are amazing in every room of the house. These are all Benjamin Moore colors, but most any paint store has the codes and can mix for you.

Revere Pewter
Benjamin Moore
We love this shade paired with off-white or almond trim to help the trim pop instead of looking bland. 

Edgecomb Grey
Benjamin Moore
Bring on the greige! This color is much lighter and brighter on walls than you would think, one of the best chameleon colors for throughout the house.

Grey Owl
We usually do a 50% strength for this paint color, which brightens up the nice blue-green undertones. It’s perfect for houses that have aged hardwoods that are a little on the orange side.

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for more room inspiration.

foodie smoothies


I love that smoothies are a quick way to get a fruit and veggie boost in the morning, but often get bored of the typical fruit plus ice and milk combo. These three recipes have some unexpected ingredients that really take your everyday smoothie to a new level. Hope you like them as much as I do!  ~ Martha

Peach ginger smoothie
Frozen peaches
Handful spinach
1/4 tsp bottled grated ginger
Your favorite milk
1 scoop protein powder or 1/2 cup greek yogurt

Strawberry basil smoothie
Frozen strawberries
4-5 fresh basil leaves
2 TBSP bottled key lime juice 
Your favorite milk
1 scoop protein powder or 1/2 cup greek yogurt

Blueberry muffin smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
Frozen blueberries
Lemon zest
1/4 cup raw oats
Your favorite milk
1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for more smoothie inspiration.

holiday card displays


This time of year our mailboxes tend to be full of wonderful holiday cards, and by next week we are always struggling on how and where to display them all. We hope the DIY article on card displays is fun and helps you enjoy all of the faces of those you love

Pick your space 
Whether you have a whole wall, the side of your refrigerator, the back of a door or a cabinet to hang your cards, you will need some space to display your array (hehe).

Pick your craft tolerance
Although making a display can be done by any novice crafter, it is good to know your tolerance when choosing what style to go with. Glitter a no go? Make sure to pick up washi tape instead of glittery ribbon. Don't have a hot glue gun? Thats ok, create something that Scotch tape can hold up. 

Pick up some supplies and get to it!
Some of you might have these supplies lying around the house. Holiday ribbon and a few clothespins is all you need to create a simple display. But if you want to get more creative, here are some alternative options:
-Washi tape
-Small ornaments 
-Craft paper
-Battery powered fairy lights

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for some fun and easy display inspiration.

thanksgiving centerpieces

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Want to avoid a #pinterestfail on your Thanksgiving table this year? A fun fresh centerpiece doesn't have to be hard or over-the-top, promise! Follow these three simple steps to put something together before the big day:

Pick your vessel(s) 
Vases, mason jars, pumpkins, oh my! Decide on the base for your decor and don't forget to think about scale. If your containers are smaller, you may need several to pull the table together. Remember that odd numbers look best, so go with 1, 3 or 5 to please all the eyes at the table.

Pick your “filling”
Candles or flowers are always a hit, but you can also add other fun seasonal touches to create something extra special. My mom loves to do cranberries and some other cute ideas include nuts, corn, leaves, pinecones, and even small gourds. When it doubt, head outside and see what is lying in your yard :-)

Pick your accent
This step is optional, but if you are feeling adventurous, pick up some twine or burlap to add a fun rustic touch to your centerpiece. Ribbon can be fun too!

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for some fun and easy centerpiece inspiration.

no-carve pumpkins

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Ever found yourself on Halloween night with the sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten something and come to realize it was to actually carve your pumpkins for the big night? Or maybe you managed to carve them a week or two in advance only to find that on the big night you have a pile of decomposing mush on your doorstep. Oh, must just be me :-) Of course, perfectly carving the night before would be ideal but real life takes over sometimes! Enter no-carve pumpkin decorating. They are super cute and there are so many options that can be done as early (or late) as you want with way less clean up. Here’s your essential no-carve roundup:

Think Mr. Potato Head
Channel your inner child and just stick things from around the house on your pumpkin! A pacifier with some sharpie eyes makes an adorable baby or use candy corn, buttons, or even felt cutouts to make fun patterns. Grab the hot glue gun and let your imagination run wild - the funnier the better.

Wrap it Up
Wrap a pumpkin? Yep! Try ribbon strips from top to bottom or tulle around the whole thing, twine to make a fun spiderweb, or gauze for an adorable pumpkin mummy. Fast, fabulous, and the best part - no mess!

Paint Perfect
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous get out the white glue and paint! Polk-a-dots, stripes, or just paint the whole thing! We love the idea of chalkboard paint for a spooky option and then using glue to write your family monogram (or cute message) and sprinkling it with glitter. What a fun OUTDOOR activity for October!

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for ideas, inspiration and tips.

penny wise pendants

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Let's face it, you probably have a light fixture (or two, or three...) that you keep meaning to swap out. Maybe you don't love it, but the thought of budgeting for one, picking it out, and getting it installed is more than you can ever find the time (or energy) to do. 

So, how about just starting simple with a new pendant? Pendants are less bulky (and therefore less expensive) than other fixtures, making them a great way to get rolling on those fixture updates. With so many styles to choose from you are sure to find one that fits your style. Here are our tips for choosing a (budget friendly) pendant light:

Take a risk
Especially with a fixture at a lower price point, do something unexpected! Expensive furniture and finishes are best kept classic (in our humble opinion), but a weekend project and trendy light fixture can bring a real wow to your home.

When in doubt, go a bit bigger. 'Nuff said.

Get the height right (again)
The bottom of the fixture should be 30-34 inches from the table top. Most dining tables are 30 inches high, so that will take you to 60-64 inches from the floor. Remember 60 inches is the magic number!

Know when to call in a professional
If you have a really high entry, are going from one to multiple pendants, or if you just know DIY is not your thing, don’t be afraid to call in a handyman or electrician. Safety is always the most important and we are happy to recommend one of our amazing vendors to help.

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for some of our favorite (and relatively inexpensive) pendants.

deck your walls


Nothing screams DIY project like a big empty wall. Or maybe you have a special piece of art or family photo that you keep meaning to find a good place for. Either way, I hope some of these tips help you finally get your wall art project checked off your list.

Get the height right
If you only remember one thing from any newsletter I ever send, make it this: 60 inches. Anything you hang on a wall, big small, wide or tall should be 60 inches from the floor to the center of the piece, or grouping. The only exception is when you are hanging something over a piece of furniture. Start with 60 inches and adjust from there. When in doubt, go lower - most people tend to hang things too high.

Find some common ground
For groups of artwork, unity is key. Funky mismatched thrift store frames? Paint them all one bright fun color. Gallery grouping of different size photos? Print all the photos in black and white. 

Make it personal
When all is said and done, even the most beautiful display on the wall doesn’t make a home a home the way that something personal does. Travel photos, kids artwork, family heirlooms, anything that creates a personal connection and makes you feel good when you walk by. Even if you buy something off the shelf, make it something you love vs. something you just think looks good.

Visit this issue’s Pinterest board for gallery wall ideas, inspiration and tips.

powder room makeover


A few quick updates will bring your powder room from drab to fab

Fall brings with it the holidays and a time when we tend to entertain more. Your powder room is an easy place to update and create a beautiful space for you and your guests. These three quick and relatively inexpensive updates can make a huge difference.

1. Replace that builder-grade light fixture
Builder grade fixtures are rarely the most attractive or stylish. Is yours still brass? If so, time to update! This quick DIY will pay off quickly, but if you are new to electricity, watch some YouTube videos before you get started. Pop in some Cree LED bulbs (made in Durham, NC!) and you are good-to-go.

2. Paint it up
One gallon and a few hours is all it takes. Use a light neutral for a sophisticated look that makes the room feel bigger, or go bold and take a risk with a fun color that's easy to paint over if you get tired of it.

I love Sherwin Williams PROMAR 200 contractor-grade paint. The price and quality are great, and with no VOCs, you are taking care of yourself too! Opt for a satin finish in the powder room.

3. Framed mirror 
Replacing a frameless mirror with a framed one will make a dramatic impact in the small space. Ovals work great over small pedestal sinks, and rectangles provide good balance over sink cabinets. Keep an eye out at places like Home Goods. If you haven't been to the new At Home store off University Drive in Durham, that would be a great place to look too.

Check out my powder room update Pinterest Board for my favorite fixtures, mirrors, and paint colors.