SIX TO BLISS: the dallas shaw edition

While I am in Spain enjoying incredible doors, I'm so excited to be bringing back one of my favorite guest post series, Six to Bliss. Celebrating my favorite creative ladies and letting them share with all of you their 6 secrets to achieving domestic bliss
Where: Wilmington, DE 
What:  a very, very talented fashion illustrator
Dallas is one of my favorite girlfriends in our industry, sweet, totally driven and always glam...

ONE-I make a really beautiful mess of my desk, every day.
TWO-layer of bling 
( One more bracelet never hurt anyone )
THREE-coffee w friends
( I try to schedule my lunch meetings over good coffee )
FOUR- magazine inspiration
(Always seeking inspiration so I can never have too many magazines )
FIVE- office monograms
( An office filled with Monograms and personalization. Heaven )
SIX- shopping
( A quick stop off at Terrain for some lunchtime shopping )

headshot photo by laura novak, images via dallas shaw

SIX TO BLISS: the leah ashley edition

Who: Leah Ashley
Where: Venice Beach, CA.
What: Decorista + Fashionista extraordinaire and blogger at Fabulous On A Budget  
{This girl has quickly become one of my best friends...and trust me you will love her too.}

Its such a Fabulous honor to be featured in this week's Six to Bliss! One of my favorite quotes is "Follow Your Bliss".  Whatever it may be, I believe you should be true to your dreams and yourself. That goes for your design aesthetic as well! Don't be afraid to let YOU shine through when it comes to making your house a home. Here are a few things that make me smile at the end of each day. 

1) Un-made beds on Saturday mornings
2)  Beach inspired photography
3) Brightly colored incense instead of candles
4) Homemade Cocktails on Friday nights.. and sometimes on Manic Mondays. Here's how to make the Rosemary Simple Syrup
5) Dream Boards because dreams are what get me out of bed every morning
6) Candy colored closets

SIX TO BLISS: the linds B edition

 Who: Linds B
Where: Boston, Mass
What: an adorable lifestyle blogger who blogs at everything LEB

This girl is so adorable + cute, you will hardly be able to resist her blogging and her six secrets of domestic bliss... 

#1 Loved ones artwork- I was blessed to be born into a family with a very talented Grandma. She was an artist and always creating beautiful works of art inspired by her world travels. There are hundreds of them spread throughout the family and I am the proud owner of the ones you see here.

#2 Throw pillows and blankets- there is nothing better then curling up on my sofa with some pretty throw pillows and a blanket after a long day of work or on the weekend. It might just be my favorite place to relax in the world.

#3- Fresh Flowers- I know a lot of people have said flowers, but its so true. There is no better secret to domestic bliss then having fresh flowers grace your home.

#4 Organization- I have a thing with organization. Having labeled boxes and places for everything is my complete domestic bliss.

#5 Things old and new- To me an interesting home is one that has a collected, worn and personal look. Nothing was purchased at the same store or in the same time period but is a mishmash of treasured and loved items.

When my Grandparents moved back to the States from Jamaica (right before the Cuban Missile Crisis) this Sterling Silver ashtray made the trip. It’s engraved with Liguiana Club, which was a club they used to frequent. While the club no longer exists- the memory of it does in my living room. It makes a good spot for this new candle.

Next to the ashtray is a old black and white photo in a new Lucite frame. The photo is of my Great Grandparents in 1939 relaxing in the Hamptons that summer. This mix of old and new is domestic bliss to me.

#6 Color- I am a color person and complete domestic bliss to me means lots of color. I painted my walls this peacock blue color and I love it more now then the day it went up.

SIX TO BLISS: the marianne strong edition

Today's SIX TO BLISS is from one of my most favorite faith filled sweethearts in the blog-o-sphere. Marianne is such a big inspiration to me...I adore her.
Who: Marianne Strong
Where: Birmingham, Alabama
What: A super fun interior decorator and writer of the blog, Haven & Home.

Hello!  I am so excited to be here!  Not only is Ashlina's blog beautiful but she is wonderful person as well and I was flattered to be part of this series.  Some of these may be repeats but here is my list for Six To Bliss:

1. Unexpected Jolts of Color On Unexpected Objects...
2. Well Styled Bookshelves (I am still working on this, yikes!)...

3. Eyecatching Wallpaper...
 4. An Upholstered Headboard...
5. And Staying With Beds...Legna Sheets...
worth every penny, I wouldn't steer you wrong!
6. A Beautiful Closet 
(still working on this one too, a girl can dream can't she?)...
 Ashlina, Thanks again for having me!!!!

SIX TO BLISS: the maureen toribio edition

 Who: Maureen Toribio
Where: Austin, Texas (my hometown!)
What: owner and founder of Inglenook Decor online shop and blogger to boot!

I just think Maureen is a doll I am sure you all will love her style as much as I do.
Here are her SIX TO BLISS...

1. Cafe au Lait. I never start the day without's so good, especially with beignets!

 {via Food Network}

2. Beautiful living things. I think every table or countertop just looks so refreshing with fresh cut flowers, herbs, succulents and my new faves, air plants! They're at my home office, side table and the patio.
 3. Stacked books. I love reading! Doesn't everybody? Books are decorative things as well especially if there's something adorable on top of them!

 {via Restyling Home by Kelly}

4. Inspiration Boards. Getting inspired is way easier when you can see it. They seem almost real when you see pictures of them.
 {via Carolyn Peeler Typepad}

5. Anything white.  White plates, white candle holders, white sheets....I'm such a sucker for whites. It's so elegant and serene. Too bad my fiance's not too much into white. The next house should have an extra room I can make my "pure" room. Don't you think it just looks so adorable with lime green hydrangeas? My fave flower by the way!

{via Country Living}

6. Courtyards. They're so romantic. I wouldn't mind it if it has cobblestones, ivy creeping on walls, a fountain. When in restaurants, I always choose the outside if they have a fresco dining is the best!

{Ty Larkins' courtyard via House Beautiful}

SIX TO BLISS: the nancy marcus edition

 Who: Nancy Marcus
Where: Vancouver BC (but i wish she lived in LA with me)
What: Aspiring decorator and supremely stylish writer of Marcus Design blog.

(I totally love this girl. We are definitely speaking the same language)

Hello lovely Decorista readers! I'm thrilled and honored that Ashlina has asked me to be part of her fabulous Six to Bliss series, her blog is a daily must-read for me and I adore her sense of style. Thank you Ashlina for allowing me to share my Six to Bliss!

1. Fabulous readings materials
I gain so much inspiration daily from books, magazines and who can forget, lovely blogs! There is something so magical about sitting down with a glossy new book or magazine; not to mention, stacks of books add personality and interest to any design scheme!

1- image via Lonny mag

2. Shades of grey + anything tufted
I swoon for soft and soothing grey walls. Every wall in my house is a shade of grey. Add to the mix a beautiful tufted piece {or two} and I am in heaven. I always say every room could use a little bit of tufted goodness!

1, 2 - images via Windsor Smith

3. Family & friends
My house would not be a home without my wonderful hubby and my sweet little Pomeranian. My family and friends give me so much support and love I feel like I can do anything! The people in my life are what make it rich and meaningful.

4. Accessories galore
Whether it's a colorful pillow or a fabulous pair of earrings, accessories in my home and in my wardrobe add that special touch of blissful glam. I'll always remember these words of wisdom from Ms. Dorothy Draper: “It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.” Rule of thumb: when in doubt, put on a long necklace and you'll instantly take your outfit up a notch!

1 - image via Anna Spiro, 2 - via Lonny mag

5. Artwork
Creativity is so important to me. I love art, and my favorite hobby is to paint. Bold pieces really make a room sing. Being surrounded by images and paintings that I love is the epitome of domestic bliss!

2 - image via Samantha Pynn, 3 - Marcus Design artwork

6. A little indulgence
Who doesn't have their own form of comfort food?? For me it's sushi, a delightful cup of tea, and some chocolate chip cookies to seal the deal. My sweet tooth is my weakness, I am a sucker for baked goods!

I hope you enjoyed my six to bliss, it was so much fun creating it. A huge thank you to the beautiful Ashlina for having me!

SIX TO BLISS: the sarah swanson edition

 Who: Sarah Swanson
Where: Calgary, Canada
What: A beautiful mommy of two and a lifestyle blogger for Flourish.

Miss Sarah is one of my favorite stylish gals.
With camera in hand, she captures her tailored style perfectly...always.
Here are her SIX TO BLISS:

My six to bliss is focusing on what I need to have in a space to feel bliss..

1. Hint of black. I adore how it can ground a space. This feature wall with its trim work ( a must for me! ) creates quite a statement. The other thing I adore about this.. the teddy. With two kids running around, in my house there is bound to be a toy in unexpected places. Go with it!

2. Great Storage. My mom has two great armoires that are gorgeous antique pieces. One day one of them will make its way to me, and although I love original wood, I equally love a creamy white finish!

3. Green Botanicals. They add a crispness, and freshness to a space.

4. White kitchen. I am a classic girl at heart. It is SO versatile! Add in the island in natural wood, and I’m sold!

5. J Crew cardigans and ballet flats. My go to fall attire!

6. Family.. this is mine, without them, my home would have no bliss!

Thank you Ashlina.. what a treat for me to share with you, xo

SIX TO BLISS: the dagny thurmann edition

Who: Dagny Thurmann-Hoelseth
Where: Chilly Norway!
What: A beautiful and very savvy decorista + founder of Design Refuge!

Am super excited to be sharing my list with you! Ashlina is my LA BFF, and
I've been a huge fan of this Decorista since the early beginning :)

The love between my hubby and I is what true bliss is about. The picture
above is from a very intimate moment, where he held his speech to me at our
wedding in Barcelona in August.

<Everyday Glamour>
My Laundry Room definitely makes me feel blissful. It's amazing to do all
the laundry, ironing and folding of clothes here. Love it!!

<Fabulous Art>

Art is in my opinion what can take a room to a whole new level. I've had
many super sweet chats with Ashlina about the  subject, and she's
amazingly resourceful. Her column at Design Refuge is a treat!!

I LOVE my books. And why not make a pretty little vignette with the ones you
already have?

Can't live without them! I usually don't eat sugar or wheat, but these are
my guilty pleasure. I even have a series dedicated to them on Scandinavian Chic, where
the cupcake bakeries if Oslo are challenged to make cupcakes that match my
decor. LOTS of fun! Season 2 is about to start, and you can check out
season 1 here.
<Fine Bone China>

I LOVE fine bone china! My absolute favorite is Elinno Design (above). You never tire of their stunning
patterns where Chinoiserie meets Scandinavian design. The fact that you can
mix and match is also a huge plus. You never run out of creative options.

Thank you for having me!!


SIX TO BLISS: the hammocks and high tea edition

Who: Karen Young
Where: Brooklyn, NY
What: the fabulous + creative woman behind Hammocks + High Tea

I just think this girl has the juiciest, most creative eye and her products are adorable! Enjoy her secrets to domestic bliss...

1. I love the warmth and density of wood pieces. Anything that is a little unfinished and reminiscent of it's origin is one of my favorite ways to bring nature inside.

2. Scarves and lightweight throws go with me from room to room. Even on summer nights I will find a reason to drape one across my feet, my newest love of hammam towels.

3. I often treat myself to farmers market flowers on the weekends. I have a major case of "black thumb", but I've gotten pretty good at keeping flowers alive. I buy two or three bunches, display them throughout the house in a few large groups and put the rest in bud vases.

4. As a renter, I rely on textiles to make my home warm and inviting. There is nothing like falling into some soft pillows, or tucking my chin under a warm blanket. And bright, bold colors and patterns make all the difference.

5. Unexpected decor always gives me something to smile at. I love the surprise of feathers, unique shapes, and bright colors.

6. Family pictures make every house a home to me.

SIX TO BLISS: the dallas shaw edition


Who: Dallas Shaw
Where: Wilmington, DE
What: an extremely chic fashionista + amazing artist who moonlights as a blogger!

I am so happy to bring back SIX TO BLISS with this fabulous gal and her favorites...enjoy!

1. Anything woven (here anya hindmarch)
2. Piled on jewelry
3. Jo Malone
4. Chevron
5. Mixed Patterns (Matthew Williamson dress)
6. Manicures with friends (Vermillion by Essie is my fave)

SIX TO BLISS: the keely overbye edition

Who: Keely Overbye
Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota
What: an incredibly adorable + stylish blogger of Luxe + Lillies 

I am so excited to be here today sharing my Six to Bliss with all of Ashlina's lovely readers! 

One:  2 Daily Routines
I am really a "fly by the seat of your pants" kinda girl, but these two things I always look forward to, no matter how busy my day it, and I feel that, though I don't like the word "routine", they are major attributes of my daily bliss. 
Coffee and Blogs is something I start my day with. period. It does not matter where I am, but you can bet the first thing I am doing in the morning with cup of coffee in hand is looking at blogs. Maybe Cliche for a blogger to say, but each and every day I find so much inspiration here, and enjoy putting so much love into my own blog. 
There are few things I love more than a great cheese paired with champagne. I am absolutely head over heels for Purple Haze Goat Cheese (available at Whole Foods too!). It's heavenly! And.. I just feel you can't go wrong with champagne!
Two: Stripes
I'm enamored with them in any capacity. They are classic, and will always be in style. You can change them up with fun color combinations, or downplay them with different widths.  Right now I'm really into black and white stripes, as well as striped silk fabric (like the setee below!)
Three: Slipcovers
I have to be honest. I grew up in a house where the thought of slipcovers really never crossed my mind. When I met the boy, his family introduced me to the easy coastal feeling of slipcovers (particularly white). I think they are an absolute must if you have pets or kids. 
People think I am crazy to have white. But actually, it's the easiest to clean and keep looking nice because you can bleach it! The best part is, there are so many styles of slipcovers that it is easy to find a style that suits you best, and when you are sick of it, just pull it off, bring your furniture piece and some new fabric to a seamstress, and voila! New look!
Four:  Piping
Piping I feel is something  a lot of people forget to consider, and I think it can often times be the answer to that "something" that is missing. There are so many fun colors that you can pair with even the most basic of colors to make a room subtly stand out!
Thom Filicia's choice of orange creamsicle colored piping on this gorgeous gray fabric has me swooning for more!
Five: A Candlelit Dinner Al Fresco
Being able to eat outside is truly one of the warmer months greatest pleasures for me. In a dorky confession, I dream of the dinner garden party scene from Marie Antoinette and hope to someday have a dinner that chic. But seriously.. there is a certain whimsy that a candlelit dinner party brings to someone. And what is better than enjoying wonderful food and drink with great family and friends late into the evening!
Six: A Little Bliss Each Day!
I once heard Christie Brinkley say that she eats a piece of chocolate everyday because no matter how bad the day gets, or how hectic her schedule is... its a few moments to savor something she absolutely loves.This stuck with me, and I have been careful in applying it to my own home. I really believe in the power of happiness, and I think if you have an element of your home that you can look at every single day and it makes you feel proud or happy, mission accomplished. 
Maybe its a beautiful set of serveware to host a leisurely and elegant breakfast for yourself every saturday morning or a totally girly (or masculine) bathroom that is only for you to indulge and retreat in.
Maybe it is a perfectly organized space that gives you peace of mind and order, or a closet that is everything you dreamed of.
And maybe its that perfect piece of furniture that you just couldn't walk away from! (for me, thats anything tufted) Or possibly, its simply splurging on a gorgeous flower arrangement each week.
Whatever your bliss is... I hope each and everyone of you has an element of it to indulge in in your home! I hope you enjoyed my Six to Bliss and a big thanks to the beautiful Ashlina for having me over today!

SIX TO BLISS: the Mariska Meijers edition + giveaway

Who: Mariska Meijers
Where: Amsterdam (so fun)
What: a devistatingly chic artist and blogger of IUTBSWBID 

here are her SIX TO BLISS...
They bring inspiration and food for thought and make me travel and explore between my own four walls.

Bold mixes
I am rather fearless when it comes to combining styles, patterns and colours. I play around with my interior all the time, blending my own designs with names from Eames to Ikea. 

Although I just moved into a new studio which is a 10 minute bicycle ride from my house I will always have art materials at hand. Inspiration and the urge to create can come at unexpected times!

My kids
Annemarth (14) and Mauk (12). Without them there would not be a home.

The home office
The most important corner of the house. My “office” is actually in the kitchen/diningroom/livingroom. An open plan space with my Mac perched on the corner of the dining table. My kids often join with their laptops and for breakfast, dinner etc we just clear the table. 

Nick nacks
Heirlooms, fleamarket finds, pictures. I am just not that into minimalism. Everything in my house has a (his)story. I am a globetrotter and my home with all its contents is a reflection of that..
Your browser may not support display of this image. 

Isn't she fabulous?
Not only has she become my friend and idol...she was my very first sponsor.
We have been dying to do a giveaway for you guys and thought that now,
with the launch of her new pillow line, 
we would do a  giveaway! 

We will be giving away a new pillow from her fab pillow line, and 2 sets of gorgeous note cards!

You know the drill...
1. become a follower (if not already)
2. visit Mariska's store + let us know your favorite pillow
3. for extra entries tweet, facebook or post (and add an extra comment for each extra entry with link)

Good luck!!!!!

SIX TO BLISS: the Odi et Amo edition

Who: Averill Harrington Conn
Where: Houston, Texas 
What: a gorgeous lawyer by day and extremely stylish design blogger of Odi et Amo.

This stylin Texas girl has such a fab blog + home, I'm dying for her to share with us her 
secrets of domestic bliss...

Thom Filicia
1. A great bed. I know it's been said a thousand times before, but it bears repeating here: a great bed is a luxury not worth going without. Buy the best mattress you can afford and top it with the best sheets you can afford (stick with white -- it's a classic, clean look that will go with any style and a little bleach will keep them gorgeous for years).
2. Orchids. As much as I love flowers, I'm sadly allergic to most of them. Fortunately though, I've been spared any allergy to my absolute favorite flower -- the orchid. I love the architectural shape of an orchid's flower. The deep waxy green of its leaves. And the fact that so long as I give them some partial sunlight and a bit of water once a week, I can keep an orchid looking happy and beautiful for weeks.
Tobi Fairley
3. Blue. After painting the master bedroom in our town home blue in 2006, I realized how calming a deep, soothing blue can really be. When we moved into our new home last August, I decided to carry blue throughout the entire downstairs. Between my navy and white dining room, blue-green breakfast nook, blue wallpapered powder room, and dark and light blue living room, I'll admit it's a whole lot of blue. But it makes me happy every time I walk through the front door after a long day at the office.

4. My favorite candle. I'm a huge fan of fancy candles, and I admittedly indulge myself way too often and purchase another one, but after several years of hunting I still haven't found one I love as much as the Salem candle by Modern Alchemy. The bonfire scent is wholly intoxicating, and goes a long way to making up for the fact that we don't have a wood-burning fireplace.
5. Cute (and comfy) lounge wear. I'm one of those people who changes into lounge wear as soon as I get home from work. After a long day at the office and a long commute home, I can't bear to wear my office clothes a moment longer than absolutely necessary. That said though, I try not to look like a total schlep around the house (for my own sake as well as for my husband's), so I've invested in some lounge wear that also happens to be cute. Favorites include Nordstrom (for Make+Model, Natori, Alo and DKNY), Lululemon Athletica (and yes, I know it's yoga gear but it works equally well for those of us who are, regrettably, less active) and Gap Body.
6. A luxurious throw. I'm a huge fan of snuggling up on the couch at night, either to read, watch TV or surf the internet. And when I'm lounging, I love to have a cozy throw across my lap (admittedly Olivia, my two-year old dachshund is rather fond of throws, too). I'm a big fan of Restoration Hardware's luxury plush collection throw -- it's incredibly, seductively soft. But I'd kill for one of Missoni Home's Hector throws, preferably in a bright, candy-color. For a less expensive alternative to the Missoni, try Nate Berkus for HSN's woven knit throw, which comes in black or gold.
Thank you, Ashlina, for inviting me to share my "Six Secrets for Domestic Bliss"! For me, at least, domestic bliss = domestic tranquility. And so my big focus at home is on comfort (with style, of course!). The goal is to soothe all the senses, relax away the worries of the day...all so I can enjoy my evenings and weekends with my husband and darling pets.

Averill, you are a rockstar my dear! Thank you so much for sharing and enjoy your vacay!

SIX TO BLISS: the crystal edition

Who: Crystal 
Where: Chicago, IL
What: a supremely hip and stylish blogger of Plush Palate 

I am super pleased to have the lovely Crystal here to share her very chic secrets of domestic bliss!

1. Scented Candles: I always have candles lit when I'm at home. They're the perfect way to create ambiance and romance at home. I use Jo Malone's Vanilla & Anise candles for the most luxurious and sophisticated scent.

2. Natural Light: A room flooded with sunbeams on a bright day is my idea of a very happy home!
3. Fresh Flowers: Somehow they always lift my spirits and make me smile. They're weekly splurges well worth the money in my opinion.
4. White Linens: I only use white sheets, coverlets, and duvets in my home. They remind me of being at an expensive spa or in luxurious hotel. Exactly the feeling I want when I'm in bed!
5. Clean & Airy: To feel at peace at home, I need a clean and airy space with no clutter. One of my favorite quotes from Coco Chanel, "Elegance is refusal," reminds me that less truly is more when it comes to stuff.
6. Cozy: Home is where you can kick up your feet, spread out on the sofa, and be yourself. Creating that cozy feeling is my true bliss at home!

We all know and love this girl. With this style, how could you not?
Happy Friday everyone!

image sources: 1. Jo Malone 2. Domino 3. It's Mary Ruffle 4. Dress Design Decor 5.,6. Domino 

SIX TO BLISS: the alison + gail edition

Who: Gail + Alison
Where: Studio City, CA
What: the gorgeous mother/daughter duo of the incredibly gorgeous blog Frou Frou Fashionista and owners of the adorable + extremely well decorated lingere boutique Faire Frou Frou 

In honor of Mothers Day, today I wanted to showcase this amazing mother/daughter team who are as delightful as their blog and their endless lingerie inspiration just radiates all things femme. I am kind of obsessed!
And how could I not support my local LA ladies?

It is such an honor to be part of Ashlina's Six to Bliss series...we just love her blog and it's almost as though she is channeling our taste in every post she does. The following are 6 things that make my life filled with bliss (in no particular order):

1. A sunny, light-filled room is so important to me...I even make sure my boutique is cheerful and bright at all times. Perhaps I'm solar-powered, but I love natural light and light surfaces & mirrors to enhance the effect.

the white painted floors in my bedroom (& my feet!)

I painted the floors in my house white, and also recently had the floors in my store painted a high-gloss white just like this. The shine on the floor makes the room that much brighter!

2. A lovely fragrance goes a long way. I have a slight obsession with Diptyque products, especially the 'Roses' room spray. I use it almost daily in my home, and also have my Diptyque candles that are perfection.

3. Fresh-cut flowers elevate the mood of the room and make a space complete. I really make an effort to have fresh flowers in the house throughout the year, and of course peonies are my favorite. Here's a display I photographed in an antique urn that I absolutely love.

peonies & roses on my dining room table...

roses on my living room table...

white tea roses on my bedroom dresser...

Fresh-cut roses in my bathroom...yes, I need my flowers in most of the rooms!

4. Coming home to a pet that you love. Here is Chickie, my pomeranian. She's one of my 2 dogs and 4 cats...yes, I have a pet adoption addiction! Sometimes there's nothing better than seeing that sweet little face after a long day.

our Shiba Inu, Nicky (in bed with a fake yellow chick)

our cat Riley, on my sheepskin rug

5. Books. I treasure my books...I'm one of those people who doesn't even loan books to friends because I don't want to lose them! I'm so proud of the collection that I've read, and excited about the collection I will someday read. I love ending my day with a good book, so displaying something that I enjoy only makes sense. Even if you don't enjoy reading, they sure make wonderful home accents!

image above via Douglas Friedman

6. Sweets! Anyone who knows me knows about my sweet tooth, and the running joke in my family is that my house is like a bakery (basically it's a place to avoid if you're on a diet). I don't cook, but I certainly do bake! Pretty much not a week goes by when I'm not making cookies, brownies, a cake, etc. I'm all about comfort food!

images via Martha Stewart

 Thank you so much gorgeous ladies for your awesome support + lovely secrets of domestic bliss. XO

SIX TO BLISS: the aubrey messick edition

Who: Aubrey Messick
Where: Huntington Beach, CA
What: an uber fabulous floral design master + blogger of Design by Aubrey 

Since this is a super festive week (think Cinco de Mayo + Mothers Day) I wanted Aubrey to share her secrets of domestic bliss...flower style. So you can be inspired to whip up some gorgeous floral masterpiece for your mama!

My Top 6 Secrets to Domestic Bliss:

1. Fashion and design are all about what's hot so keep the look in your home current with flowers in season. Right now is the time to show off the fragrant lilac and playful ranunculus.

2. Spring is a time when everything comes back to life.  Use a tall container to display fresh cut cherry branches in the entry of your home to invite the energy of new beginnings.

3. Make use of the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen.  Add a few lemons or a fresh artichoke to an arrangement of hydrangea and roses for a dining room centerpiece that will have your guests talking.

4. Peonies are known for their sensual nature.  Place a vase of these luxurious blooms next to the bed to invite love and romance into your life.

5.  Use a small arrangement of flowers to brighten up your Powder Room, a space usually void of natural light.

6.  Flowers are a natural way to help relieve stress.  Place a bouquet of lavender by your favorite reading chair and relax as your get lost in a good book.

gotta love any girl who can work her magic with i right?

SIX TO BLISS: the julie thigpen edition

Who: Julie Thigpen
Where: Orange County, CA
What: Uber talented Interior Designer and very creative blogger of the gorgeous Belle Maison

Hello everyone. My name is Julie and I’m thrilled that Ashlina asked me to participate in her Six to Bliss Series! There are so many things that contribute to my personal domestic bliss, it was hard to narrow down the list to just six. After some time thinking the list over, I settled on the  six little things that bring me the most joy in my home everyday (besides my husband and two kitties). I hope you enjoy learning a little about me and I thank Ashlina for allowing me to share!

1)      The freshly brewed coffee in the morning! One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a fresh pot of coffee – it smells wonderful and I actually prefer a homemade cup over Starbucks! My secret ingredient is Coffee Mate Creamer in Hazelnut (non fat) topped with a dollop of whipped cream. I seriously makes me happy!

2)      Vases of fresh cut flowers. Any chance I get, I place small arrangements of fresh blooms around my apartment. It’s a wonderful way to add color and bring a little bit of the outdoors inside.   

3)      Clean, crisp bedding. I love clean sheets and wash ours every couple of days…I swear I sleep better in freshly laundered sheets.

4)      Stacks of chunky cocktail table books. Our living room is filled with stacks of design books and magazines. Books are a great way to accessorize as well as provide guests with something to do; they also keep me inspired on a daily basis.

5)      Pretty bath products. I love scented bath and body products, especially when they come in pretty packaging! Displaying a collection of lovely bottles and soaps neatly on tray is a stylish and practical way to accessorize your bathroom countertop.
6)      Lots of accent pillows. Our sofa is filled with accent pillows – all different colors, patterns and textures. Pillows add an element of comfort and are the easiest thing to change when you decide it’s time to update your look.

Julie...thank you so much for sharing with us your SIX TO BLISS. You are a complete inspiration to me, i absolutely just love what you do! 

SIX TO BLISS: the erika ward edition

Who: Erika Ward
Where: Atlanta, GA
What: a SUPER fabulous interior designer and really inspiring blogger of Blu Label Bungalow

Today is Six to Bliss with a twist!

I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of SODB SIX TO BLISS series. Thanks so much Ashlina!  Generally, I’d show you photos of beautiful interiors or the latest design trends but today my secrets to domestic (and marital) bliss are about the people in my home, not the things. What creates “bliss” under my roof?

#1 Support
Having an environment of love and support makes us feel like you can conquer the world…and if we happen to stumble, there’s always someone available to catch us.

#2 Scheduled Date Nights
We make time for one another. If your life is as busy as mine, adding this date to your calendar is essential. I believe it keeps your lines of communication open and lets your mate know that spending quality time with him is a top priority.

#3 Make (Lots of) Love
We make lots of love…Love-making starts long before you reach the bedroom. It’s the sweet notes you leave in his wallet. It’s little (naughty) whispers in his ear and sneaky touches that make your man blush, and believe me, it’s hard to make a Black Man “blush,” but I manage ;-)
Once you hit the sheets (if you make it that far) the fire is raging. Need I say more? The residual benefits last for days. He’ll practically do anything you ask of him with no complaints!

#4 Happy Kids / Family Commitment
Putting in quality time at home with the family yields a return greater than any financial investment. These are the years in which sweet memories are created.  When my priorities get out of wack, this quote by Robert Brault puts everything into perspective for me, “If you haven't time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded.”

#5 Recreational Companionship
We share each other’s interest. When I married my husband I knew I was also marrying American football. Once the season starts I attend so many games that I swear I hear referee whistles in my sleep.
When he married me, he knew that he would eventually become my informal “Design Assistant” (I recently promoted him from Design Intern).  He’s moved furniture, loaded my Craigslist finds, and endured hours at fabric stores and designer showrooms. Neither of us complain about the other’s interest. We embrace them and recognize them as a part of who we are.

#6 Self-Maintenance
I am a “Haute Mama” (yeah, I said it).  I stay well-groomed as well as nurture my mind, body, and spirit. Whenever I do something for myself, I realize I am benefitting the family unit. Have you ever heard the quote, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one is happy.” Don’t make everyone in your home miserable because you haven’t taken time for yourself.  Happiness is infectious and so is sadness. Choose to be happy regardless of the circumstances and learn how to have joy no matter what.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 6 secrets to domestic bliss.  Try them for yourself and share with me your experience. I would love to hear from you!

I think you are so amazing, positive, talented and creative and I hope you know how much I appreciate this post!!!!!! 

SIX TO BLISS: the julie richard edition

Who: Julie Richard
Where: Boston, Mass (in a town a little north of the city)
What: extremely stylish interior designer and blogger of Shelter 

(this girl is so stylish, I have coveted her office space for who knows how long)
Here are her 6 secrets of domestic bliss...

I truly believe that domestic bliss can be found in simple, every day ways! Here are my secrets.

ONE. A beautifully, organized closet with plenty of storage! I can only dream of having a closet like this one day, but when my {much smaller} closet is organized, getting dressed is so much more enjoyable! The colored boxes, painted shelves and light fixture are perfection!

TWO. Fresh Flowers

THREE. You can't go wrong with a cozy, wood burning fire!

FOUR. There's not much better then enjoying a candle lit evening with good food, great drinks and friends + family. {I've included my current favorite wine - Layer Cake - Malbec}

FIVE. A fun mix of color in your small {pillows} or large doses {entire walls}

SIX. A soft, crisp, comfy nest to lay your head at the end of the day!

Thanks Ashlina for asking me to be a part of your Six to Bliss series!