House of Fifty Summer 2012

Page 1

Happy Anniversary!

issue FIVE summer

2012 1

ON THE COVER: Every celebration is better with the presence of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Lulie Wallace painted this one to mark the occasion of House of Fifty’s first year anniversary. We are simply honored, thank you Lulie!



What is Summer… Page 12


From enjoying the best of summer, delicious cool treats on a warm day, to feminine jewelry and perhaps answers to the question ‘Does Your Décor Tell Your Age?’ - enjoy this issue of House of Fifty!

Eat in Good Health Page 24

House of Fifty Adores Jewelry! Page 132



ere we are, celebrating the first year anniversary of House of Fifty and I’m thrilled to be sharing this issue with you! What an exciting and rewarding experience to see what began as a reaction to disappointment become a thriving publication. As I look back over this year and recall some of my favorite stories, two immediately come to mind. In the first, ‘Making it Work,’ Fashion Designer Kayce Hughes shared her unique perspective on balancing running a business while raising a family of seven children. I paid close attention to her observations as I am constantly striving to maintain a similar balance in my own life. ‘Can’t We All Just Get Along?’ is the other; a story which explored the importance of being okay that not everyone shares your perspective, beliefs or choices. I’ve thought back to that story on the occasions when criticism has been voiced on an article or other aspect of House of Fifty. While such communications stand in the minority, these

moments have presented the opportunity to practice this concept. I’ve learned that if I hold back my gut reaction to defend a position, instead stopping to really listen to what is being said from the other’s point of view, there is much to be learned. Whether in the end I choose to agree or disagree is another story, but valuable information is always gained. In this issue the focus is once again on living one’s best life. Arriving with the warmer season, we are celebrating the best of the longer summer days. This is indeed the time of year to slow down and savor the little moments. From the quintessential summer tradition of going on a picnic, to enjoying the healthiest seasonal produce and the importance of creating sanctuaries to retreat to in our homes, may we all find much to be inspired by in our everyday lives. A big thank you goes out to everyone who has contributed to these pages over the past year. And to you as well, the reader, for making this venture possible by reading and passing it on to others!


Janell Beals, Founding Editor


HOUSE OF18 FIFTY Anniversary 2012




Read on the go! 03 Editor’s Letter Welcome to our first year anniversary issue!

08 Contributors Lucky us, we have the best team!



18 Summer is the Time for Picnics!

22 Music Mix

For two or a crowd, tips for making the most of this favorite warm weather pastime.

23 Read HOF on the Go! 24 Eat in Good Health Enjoy the benefits of fresh seasonal produce.

12 What Is Summer‌

20 Picnics Essentials Checklist

30 Fresh Summer Dining

Enjoy the best of this fleeting season.

Head out prepared to have a great time!

Delicious recipes for your next outdoor affair.


50 38


96 94 61



38 Talent We Are Taken With: 64 Finding Sanctuary Lulie Wallace Consider the importance of

96 Does Your DĂŠcor Tell Your Age?

Delightful interpretations of the traditional floral still life.

this most used room, the bedroom.

The Visual Vamp Valorie Hart explores this most intriguing question.

50 The Art of Design

90 Happy Anniversary House of Fifty

Rooms come alive with the addition of art, which can also serve as a tool to address an array of design dilemmas.

Proof that good things can come from disappointment.

94 The Best Carrot Cake Let’s celebrate!

106 The Heart of Design In the latest edition of her column, Kim Myles questions the American dream of homeownership.



110 118 132

142 144

110 Salvaging Beauty Andrea Mihalik brings upholstery to a new level of creativity through her refurbished chairs.

118 The Lady is in Town: Summer Fashion Forecast Feminine and ladylike fashion steps to the forefront this season.



120 Blogs We Love: Fashion Edition

132 At House of Fifty We Adore Jewelry

Ever wondered what it takes to post daily outfit photos of yourself? We’ve asked three fashion bloggers this and more.

From edgy to feminine with a vintage flair, we are featuring two exciting lines.

142 What’s In My Bag? On the go essentials!

130 Rethinking the Watch: Oversized Options A big trend in timekeeping.

144 Loving My Tieks Tuck into your purse for comfort on the go!


148 146 162


176 146 Travel Essentials Ensure your travels are comfortable by packing along these favorite finds.

162 The Books On our Shelves: HOF’s Summer Reading List

172 Why Didn’t Anyone Ever Tell Me That?

It’s the perfect season to catch up on a bit of reading!

Helpful and sometimes surprising tips for everyday living.

166 Mothers Raising Daughters

176 The Gracious Girl’s Guide to Netiquette

In celebration of Mothers Day, five women’s stories that encourage and inspire.

Guidelines for today’s forms of communication.

148 Postcard from Delhi “The symphony of sights, smells, tastes and textures enveloped me from the moment I stepped foot in India…”

178 Stay In Touch!




Janell Beals Founding Editor

Lakeitha Duncan New Features Editor

Mimi Inman Beauty Editor

Shari Miller Art Director

Courtney Fernan A Thoughtful Place

Kim Myles Kim Myles


Kim Biggs Kim Biggs Designs

Emily A. Clark Emily A. Clark

Mindy Lockard The Gracious Girl

Barbara Matson hodge:podge

Estelle Hayes Under a Pink Moon

Valorie Hart The Visual Vamp

Laurie Moulton house of lolo

Sukaina Rajabali Sips and Spoonfuls


House of Fifty Sylvie Shirazi Gourmande in the Kitchen

Stefanie Schiada Brooklyn Limestone

Debby Steele Inspired Design




we love our sponsors!

Want fabulous curtains? It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Start designing now at




What is summer‌

‌if not the season to embrace warm lazy days with childlike joy. 12

Floating slowly down the winding creek,

casting a line and setting up camp.


Tending to a garden, 14

dining on a late afternoon,

and enjoying a movie under the stars.


And of course, a round or two of the simplest of games.


Be certain to make the most of this fleeting season.


Summer is the Time for Picnics!


Photograph by Gia Canali

The quintessential summer pastime just has to be a simple old fashioned picnic! So pick a day, a favorite location, pack a picnic basket full of tasty food along with a few key essentials and get ready to enjoy the best of summer.

The Location: A picnic can be set up just about anywhere, in your backyard or at a neighborhood or city park. For a bit more adventure, however, select a location you’ve wanted to visit but simply haven’t made the time. For a festive affair, check your local paper for outdoor concerts and movies and then invite friends to tag along for a picnic with entertainment.


Have a picnic basket on hand and ready to go! A picnic basket that’s packed with essentials will make those impromptu picnics easier while decreasing the chance you’ll forget something. Also make sure to plan for clean up by bringing along trash bags, extra paper towels, wet wipes and zip-lock bags to keep the focus on fun.

The Essentials:

A cooler stocked with ice, a picnic blanket or tablecloth, plates, utensils, paper towels and plenty of beverages will keep everyone happy. Also pack sunscreen, hand sanitizer, insect repellent and a first aid kit. If you plan to grill, know what equipment is available at the location and bring a flashlight if you’ll be out after dusk.

The Extras:

Once you’ve gathered the basics, make the picnic memorable by upping the ambiance and comfort factor. Lanterns, folding chairs, pillows, a playlist of favorite tunes and flowers are a good place to start. Pack some fun activities into the day as well by bringing along a baseball and gloves, frisbees, a kite or even a croquet set for some friendly competition.

Food & Drinks:

From simple to elaborate, each family has their picnic fare traditions. But don’t let extensive planning get in the way. For a quick alternative simply fill a picnic basket with hearty breads, cheeses, olives, sliced fruits and vegetables and a sweet treat that won’t melt in the heat. Finally, pack plenty of your favorite beverages which could include a fun selection of specialty waters, juices, wine for celebrating and the all-time classic summer drink, lemonade.

Enjoy the best that summer has to offer!


Picnic Essentials Checklist 1. The Basket

A Practical Alternative to Wicker, the Picnic Time Metro Insulated & Collapsible Basket

3. The Atmosphere

Play Your Favorite Music Mix on the Logitech Mini Boombox

5. Fun and Games

2. The Napkins

Washable MYdrap Tear-Off Eco Napkins in Picnic Perfect Red Gingham

4. Pest Control

Citronella Wind Proof Votives Will Provide Protection into the Late Hours

6. The Pretty

Bring Along the Halex Croquet Set to Enjoy Some Friendly Competition Dress Up the Picnic Table with a Tablecloth from Retro Redheads


7. Plates

A Whimsical Take on the Classic Paper Plate Recast in Melamine, from Crate & Barrel

8. Utensils

Leave the Sporks Behind, Pack Along “Jelli� Flatware Instead

9. Stemware

Acrylic Wine Glasses, Durable Enough For Outdoor Use

10. The Cooler

Keep Essentials Chilled with Retro Charm from Crate & Barrel

Now head out and have a great time!



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Music Mix

This is The Day – The The: Soul Mining (1983) Candy - Iggy Pop: Brick By Brick (1990) Video - India Arie: Acoustic Soul (2001) Nowheresville – E: A Man Called (E) (1992) Easy Come Easy Go - Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere (2012) My Ever Changing Moods - The Style Council: Single (1984) Heaven - The Psychedelic Furs: Mirror Moves (1984) What I Am - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians: Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars (1988) Airport - Tom Petty: She’s The One (1996) Walking On The Moon - The Police: Reggatta De Blanc (1979) Always the Sun - The Stranglers: Dreamtime (1986) Forever Young - Bob Dylan: Planet Waves (1974) Ruby Baby - Donald Fagen: The Nightfly (1982) If I Had You - Dire Straits: ExtendedancEPlay (1983) Marathon – Tennis: Cape Dory (2012) You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon: Graceland (1986) Suddenly Last Summer - The Motels: Little Robbers (1983) Lowdown - Boz Scaggs: Silk Degrees (1976) Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra: Strangers In the Night (1966) Beautiful Day - U2: All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)



Read House of Fifty on the go

The House of Fifty iPad and iPhone app is now available at the iTunes Store!

Click here and here, to download & take with you.


eat in good health

by Sylvie Shirazi

blueberries: plump blueberries pack a nutritious punch, filled with antioxidants and vitamin C, this tiny fruit is a health and anti-aging superstar. strawberries: everyone knows that strawberries are delicious but they are also a nutritional powerhouse that provide an excellent source of dietary fiber.


watermelon: not just tasty, this fruit is extremely healthy with its abundance of potassium, vitamin C and a high concentration of lycopene. mint: enhancing the taste of a wide variety of drinks and recipes, fresh mint also promotes digestion, soothes the stomach in cases of indigestion and is a natural breath freshener.


avocado: once shunned for being high in fat, the avocado is making a healthy comeback providing nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid while facilitating the absorption of other fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins. spinach: this vegetable and other dark leafy greens are among the superfoods which provide a huge dose of nutrients - low in calories yet high in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.


papaya: an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, C and E, papayas are also rich in enzymes which help digestion by breaking down the proteins from the food we eat into amino acids. cucumbers: even though fresh cucumbers are composed mainly of water, the flesh is a good source of vitamins A, C and folic acid and, due to their high concentration of water, keep the body hydrated and help to flush out toxins.


now get refreshed!

delicious recipes using the freshest produce of the season For a refreshing and nutritious drink, try this juice made of watermelon, cucumber and mint. Watermelon and cucumber provide internal cleansing benefits and are rich in electrolytes, making this a healthy alternative to sports drinks to keep cool and hydrated on hot days. The mild flavor of cucumber blends well with the watermelon, with mint adding a light freshness and the lime juice providing a balance of tartness to the subtly sweet drink. This juice is refreshing, cleansing and hydrating. What an excellent way to drink to your health!

watermelon cucumber mint juice Ingredients: ½ small seedless watermelon, rind removed ½ seedless cucumber 1 handful fresh mint leaves juice of two small limes Directions: Put the watermelon, cucumber and mint leaves through a juicer. Add in the lime juice and serve immediately. Serve over ice for an extra refreshing drink. Makes 2 to 3 cups, depending on the size of the watermelon.

Sylvie Shirazi is a food photographer and writer who shares simple, wholesome everyday recipes that celebrate the joy real food brings to our lives. She hopes to inspire others to follow their instincts, trust their taste buds and find a sense of confidence in the kitchen.



fresh summer dining

by Sukaina Rajabali


watermelon & feta salad What a refreshing salad for a hot summer day, the sweet and savory combination is mouthwatering! The sweetness of the watermelon is balanced by the salty feta and crunchy cucumbers when paired with mint and tossed in a simple dressing. Ingredients: 2 cups cubed watermelon 1/4 cup cubed cucumbers (peeled) 1/4 cup cubed feta cheese 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced 1 tbs lime juice 1 cup baby spinach 2 tbs olive oil salt and pepper to taste 2 tbs chopped mint Directions: Sprinkle the sliced red onions with lime juice while preparing the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl mix together the cubed watermelon, cucumbers, feta cheese and spinach. Add the softened red onion slices together with its juice. Drizzle the olive oil over the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss the ingredients together and garnish with mint. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.




mixed berry and coconut yogurt popsicles We all love a delicious cool treat on a hot day, and what’s better than one that is also healthy? Stay cool with this mixed berry and coconut yogurt popsicle while enjoying the sweet tang from the berries, crunch from the coconut and velvety smoothness from the yogurt.

Ingredients: 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen) 5 tbs honey 1 1/2 cups full fat Greek style yogurt 1/2 cup coconut milk 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1 vanilla pod deseeded pinch of salt Directions: Put your popsicle molds in the freezer before starting. To make the berry sauce, blend the berries with 1 tbs honey. Strain through a fine sieve and drizzle the sauce equally into 7 molds, coating the sides. Place the molds back into the freezer until the sauce has set. Add the rest of the ingredients together and mix until combined. Pour equally into the molds. Place into the freezer until set. To help release the pops when serving, run warm water around the sides. Makes 7 popsicles.




enjoy every bite! Sukaina Rajabali is a freelance food photographer, stylist and writer behind the blog Sips and Spoonfuls. When she isn’t cooking up a storm, you’ll catch her photographing everything she eats.



by Janell Beals


‘ Flowers for Jenny’

‘Flowers for Avery’


‘Flowers for Tracy’


house is simply not a home without art, and any home would be brightened by the presence of a Lulie Wallace painting. A riot of color and pattern is on display through her flowers, bringing a breath of fresh air to this somewhat antiquated genre of art - the still life. Interestingly Lulie did not discover her love of painting flowers until her last year at the College of Charleston, experiencing an excitement about her work she hadn’t felt before. Flowers as the subject matter allowed Lulie to apply whatever colors she was inspired to use, presenting an opportunity to explore various compositions, color palettes and shapes in a way she hadn’t previously. Flowers proved to be the perfect vehicle for Lulie finding her artistic voice and, as a result,


these works are quickly finding a following. This isn’t surprising when considering all the exuberant and confident color on display. They are simply happy images to look at and enjoy! When asked to describe her work, Lulie shares how she is drawn to objects that contain a beauty that is not immediately appreciated or noticed upon first glance. “Whether it is clothing, jewelry or an item for my home, I look for pieces that are distinguished by a uniqueness and character. I gravitate towards objects that have an ‘alien’ quality.” She strives to achieve this unique spirit in her paintings. They must contain a quirky quality; not exactly what one would expect when envisioning what a floral still life should look like.

‘Flowers for Emily’


‘Flowers for Alanna’


‘Flowers for Sally’

‘Flowers for Nev’



‘Flowers for Cora’

‘Nicky’s Wedding Bouquet’ Initially Lulie would bring fresh flowers into her studio to work from, but offerings from the shop around the corner would be limited and repetitive during a season. So she began to look online for flower inspiration. Intrigued by the contemporary floral designs she found, Lulie now researches the work of various florists from around the country for inspiration. When she finds an image that appeals to her, which more often than not is a bridal arrangement, she begins with a loose interpretation of the flowers. From there the composition takes on a life of its own, a progression that is illustrated in one of her bridal bouquet commissions seen here. Lulie enjoys working with individual brides on commissions, where the client sends photos of her bouquet and a selection of Lulie’s paintings she is drawn to. This information helps to define the bride’s expectations and wishes for their own painting. From there the arrangement is interpreted through Lulie’s vision, creating the composition and adding in

shapes and colors. To arrive at the final result Lulie shares the progress of the work through email, requesting feedback until the painting arrives at a happy conclusion. Determined to find success as a full-time painter upon leaving college, Lulie felt she needed to create a daily routine to help her stay focused. Finding a studio at Redux Contemporary Art Center, a non-profit community organization located in Charleston, has been crucial to her growth and success as an artist. She appreciates this working environment, knowing she has to show up as there are always several other artists working in their studio at any given time.


‘Flowers for Sue’ Her medium of choice is acrylics and Lulie now only paints on wooden panels, which she believes lends a richer quality to her paintings than working on a traditional canvas. After painting on a wooden panel for the first time, she knew this would be the only surface she’d paint on going forward. While paint tends to absorb into a canvas, Lulie finds the paint stays on top of the panel. Stronger character,


texture and a vividness are seen on the surface, all enriching the image. Lulie has recently gained a lot of confidence in her colors and compositions, simply through practice and experimentation, and has become quite the prolific painter as a result. “I really do paint up a storm; I’m in the studio nearly every day.”

‘Flowers for Janie’


‘Flowers for Becca’ Lulie has been a working artist for just a few years since graduating and shares she is incredibly grateful her painting career has begun to flourish. She acknowledges the benefit of the attention her work has received


from blogs and other sites. Capturing the eye of these writers has been the biggest factor in word getting out to the public about her work. She has been surprised to learn how powerful a blog can be - and very appreciative.

‘Spring’ What does Lulie see for her future? “I dream of one day attending some kind of seminar in floral design in some beautiful little town in Europe! I have also recently been thinking about how I can have a positive impact. I

realize how easy it is to get caught up in one’s work, to look up and see that weeks and months have gone by. You stop and think, wow, what else can I do, to possibly make a positive difference in some way?”

We think Lulie already is, by sharing a unique beauty through her work.






Interior design by Shirley Meisels Photography by Scott Norsworthy Story by Janell Beals

The path to Shirley Meisels’ role as Principle of MHouse Inc., an interior design firm based in Toronto, has not been a predictable one. She began her career as a wardrobe stylist, working on photo shoots for a range of clients including Avon. At one job she was asked to locate a sofa for the model to sit on during the shooting of a lipstick ad. Shirley says she didn’t know where to begin looking, but decided to just jump in and soon found herself being hired to style rooms for similar shoots. One job led to another, with referrals for interior design work quickly following. From this a new career in interior design emerged, a direction that has proven to be a perfect fit for Shirley’s talents. A constant element seen in Shirley’s work is how art is employed as a major design element, often helping to solve a range

of design challenges. When asked about her perspective on the role art plays in design, she shares, “In general as soon as you start to dress the walls a room begins to feel cozy, warmer, more finished and complete. It’s an easy way in which to bring in color if a client is so inclined and the perfect way to introduce personality into a space.” Art is one of the most personal choices to be made while decorating a home, with spaces coming alive with the presence of art. The best of all scenarios is when a piece of art is chosen because it resonates strongly with the homeowner and also just happens to transform the space in which it is subsequently displayed. Following are examples showing the power art has to enhance a space while addressing various design dilemmas.

In one project a client had collected a series of unique rock and roll posters prior to beginning a house renovation and it was important they find a prominent place to be hung. Featuring interesting color and strong graphics, it was decided they would be placed in the dining room. This room is one of the largest in the house and the art needed a big expanse on which to be hung. The rest of the design decisions were made to work with and enhance the collage of posters. Shirley chose neutral color for the walls and understated clean lined furniture so that the art would remain the star of the room. This approach extended even to the selection of the light fixture; being transparent it does not obscure the art.


Art can serve many purposes and Shirley has found that art can be a fantastic tool to help ground a piece of furniture. Often dressers, or other pieces such as the console in this family room, can look or feel as if they are floating in

an area. Art hung above furniture, and in this case also to the sides, can effectively anchor a piece in a room, creating a sense of belonging.

To solve the challenge of how to dress a long wall in a family room, Shirley hung a mirror and an eclectic collection of art around the console. She didn’t want to overwhelm the space with furniture, so she filled it with art instead. Another solution would have been to install built-ins, but this alternative approach was chosen as there is already cabinetry throughout the home. Shirley doesn’t like to “overfill” a home with built-ins and for this

corner she envisioned something a bit unpredictable and less heavy. In another design, this time a girl’s bedroom, a grouping of art collected over time grounds a pair of dressers while creating a focal point in the room. Fashion illustrations, paint by numbers and photos of the girl as a baby all evoke a feeling of nostalgia, expressing an affinity for a time gone by.




Before Shirley began work on a small third floor guest room, it was an “odd dark room.” To lighten it up, everything was painted white, including the floorboards, with a light and airy look the result. “The clients had all this great art in the house, literally trying to find places to put it all,” says Shirley. Hanging large framed works of art

alongside the one “pokey” window in the room addressed two issues; it gave the insignificant window a stronger presence while finding space to place art in a room with limited options due to the angled ceilings. The wall is now the focal point of the room with its unexpected arrangement.



A boy’s bedroom across the hall from the guest room seen on the previous pages is another space with angled ceilings that presented a few design challenges. Function was key, with requirements including the need for a bed, dresser and desk along with seating and a trundle bed. To help accomplish this, Shirley had a long custom dresser built with a

desk at one end. To balance the long piece of furniture and help it look in proportion to the room, a lithograph was hung above the dresser with a functional cork board placed above the desk. To add weight to yet another small window, a motorcycle drawing was hung alongside it.


In a long and narrow family room, situated in the same home as the guest room and boy’s bedroom, the challenge was to find a way to showcase as many pieces of art as possible. With “a ton of art all over the place,” the clients didn’t know how to put it all together in a cozy and effective way. The practical solution was to build a ledge around


the room, allowing multiples pieces to be displayed on several walls. Stacked and layered along the rail, the collection can be changed out and moved around as desired. This approach not only warmed up the room but got a lot of the client’s artwork out on display.

In the dining room of Shirley’s home, a very large painting measuring over eight feet long sets the tone for the entire house. Hung on the first wall seen upon coming through the front door, this work of art becomes a statement

piece that not only grounds the room but defines the home. You know exactly what kind of place you’re entering when stepping through the entrance.


Creating a sense of belonging in a boy’s nursery, several paint by number paintings found at a vintage store pop when hung against a brilliant green wall. Inexpensive at 10 to15 dollars apiece, they finish the design while avoiding the need to invest more than necessary in a room that tends to change as a child gets older. Shirley was drawn to the nostalgic quality of the paint by numbers, which are reminiscent of childhood and go a long way towards creating a great feeling in the space. In another room which serves as both a home office and guest suite (the green chaise lounge opens up to become a bed), the design started off with a fantastically bold wallpaper. Shirley was not certain if art was even needed, the wallpaper was just so strong on its own. But while looking for artwork with the clients for other rooms, this oil painting of a perfume bottle featuring a smaller scale pattern similar to the wallpaper was discovered. Deciding to test the painting in the space, there was no question about it staying once it was hung. Despite all the pattern, Shirley now looks at the room and claims it would look naked without the painting.




The challenge in another client’s home was the fact that they possessed a large collection of amazingly vibrant paintings, as well as a large collection of furniture. But each looked like they belonged to a different person and house. Because the art was outstanding while the furniture was a “drab mishmash,” it was decided the art would stay while the furniture was cleared out. When refurnishing the home Shirley looked for pieces that highlighted and complimented the art, items with a vintage feel that would bring out the color of the works. This approach is on display in a corner of the dining room; a colorful painting perched on a buffet is paired with a bright sculptural lamp and pale yellow chair. And lastly, in a small breakfast nook that has a den feeling, plates are hung above a sofa. These plates feel right at home in this space adjacent to a kitchen and are more interesting than typical pieces of art would have been. Shirley makes sure to introduce round shapes or something sculptural somewhere in a home. “It can become dull and predictable when art is always square and rectangular.”

SHIRLEY’S TIPS FOR UTILIZING ART IN DESIGN “I find people in general can be timid when it comes to art. Typical missteps include hanging art too high and selecting art that is too small for a space, both of which are not effective. People also tend to want to put something on every wall, but it’s important for balance within a home to leave some empty space on walls. Mixing in round and sculptural items, such as plates and starbursts, alongside squares and

rectangles results in displays and walls that are less predictable and avoid becoming static. A great approach when looking for and installing art is to mix less expensive, perhaps even vintage finds, with the investment pieces. If later you’d like to shift things around, being less committed to all the pieces it’s not such a big deal!”



Interiors by Maison Inc. Photography by David Papazian Story by Janelll Beals





n our often frenetic lives the importance of retreating to a restful bedroom at the end of a day cannot be underestimated. Interior Designer Joelle Nesen, of Maison Inc., shares her perspective, “People tend to be too hard on themselves, thinking they don’t deserve this. Priority is given to the kid’s rooms, the family room, the kitchen. Yes, these rooms are important but people need to treat themselves well. There is something restorative about entering a room that is complete and done to your preferences, to slip into a comfortable bed with the softest of sheets. It’s a vital space in which to feel a sense of relief and get rejuvenated.” The team of designers at Maison Inc. know this well, having created a beautiful collection of bedrooms for a long roster of clients. These rooms speak of comfort and quality, with touches of luxury that are welcoming after a long day. In one bedroom, small in space yet big in style (seen on the previous pages), a thin three-piece custom headboard extends


beyond the edges of the bed to run behind the nightstands. This substantial focal point brings in warmth and color without taking up extra space. Acting on the firm’s philosophy of mixing custom pieces with bargain finds, which are often given a slight tweak, a pair of handsome nailhead trimmed nightstands were brought in. For interest, their standard pull was replaced with a pin knob that has a fun sense of scale. With adjustable arm lighting and plush pillows made from a large scale Kelly Wearstler fabric, this is a room that simply invites relaxation.

In another bedroom, this one spacious in contrast, an elegant yet sexy vibe resides where rich off-white wool drapes lay against mink brown grasscloth lining the walls. A white leather custom bedframe and Baker nightstands create a sense of over-the-top luxury. Always striving to create an effective mix of high with the low through ingenuity, a pair of lamps were made from found jars, mimicking the look of costly vintage Italian lamps spied on 1stdibs.


For a large bedroom situated in a 1960’s home, the goal was to create a room that felt airy and sheer, with earthy texture on the fireplace wall grounding the design.


Mid-century finds, such as vintage sculptural art found for a steal, mix well with the modern and an “odd orange on the chaise and bolster pillow,� Joelle adds.


A tranquil sanctuary was created within this spacious bedroom that lacked any significant architecture, largely through the application of a striking stone to the fireplace wall. St. Petersburg chiseled limestone from Ann Sacks extends up the height of the wall, nearly to the ceiling. When lit from above, this feature introduces a quietly dramatic presence. The stone is a core material used throughout the house, on another fireplace and in the master bath, creating an appreciated consistency. The funky Multi-V adjustable floor lamp and elegant table lamp from Circa Lighting are at home with a vintage clock. tranquil



A spacious bedroom in a restored craftsman appears smaller due to a dormer which restricted placement of the bed to one wall under a bank of windows. To work around this limitation, a headboard was designed to extend the length of the wall, fitting precisely under the window sill. Simple linen shades defuse light streaming through the windows while Chiang Ming Dragon pillows, citron leather benches at the foot of the bed and lamps made from a pair of vases introduce subtle touches of color and pattern. This classic design will stand the test of time, a goal of all Maison Inc.’s projects. Simple changes such as new bedding or a change of pillows is all that will be needed for a little “freshen up” down the road.

...freshen up



A sweetest headboard made of Jane Shelton raspberry raw silk speaks to the attention to the smallest of details by Joelle and her team. After the custom headboard was delivered to the studio, little bows of grosgrain ribbon were hand tied at the tufts when it was determined something was missing. This little flourish was just the right touch, adding significant charm to this bedroom. Completing the feminine and inviting design are the vibrant drapery panels made from an Osborne & Little fabric.



Warmth is introduced into a chic bedroom of sleek lines through textured grasscloth featuring brown nubby accents. The simplicity of the ivory headboard is offset by a bench in bold spice, made from leather so luxuriously soft that it reads like a fabric.


Elegant nightstands are paired with lamps made from rough hewn stone. These sculptural light fixtures introduce an earthy element that satisfies the preferences of the clients, who are drawn to a mix of modern and classic with a dash of rustic.



An expansive bedroom in a large traditional home becomes welcoming through heated slate flooring and the addition of painted white beams, which were installed to bring down the height of the ceiling to a comfortable scale. The clients, originally from Idaho, had a wonderful collection of Sun Valley RoundUp pictures, which directed the design aesthetic. A masculine color palette, hide chair and custom bedframe with strong lines are softened by patterned drapery panels framing access to the backyard and the colorful rug which adds a sense of warmth when layered over the cool toned floors.



The owners of this elegantly modern bedroom requested a dash of manly “Old Hollywood.” Custom nightstands made from burl wood and a shelter bedframe embracing strong lines accomplish this desire. A quirky midcentury chair of the clients was recovered, with a standout element of the room being the striking hardware, designed by Maison Inc., which graces the expanse of walnut cabinetry. Whether your bedroom is large or small, simple or extravagant, take the time to make it into the room you’ll welcome retreating to each night.

Allow your bedroom to welcome you home at the end of the day.








m o d e r n . l i v a b l e . d e c o r.







Shop Kassapanola for the Prettiest Pillow Covers! Enter promo code “PILLOWLOVE” for a 25% discount through May 31st 87



Happy Anniversary House of Fifty! Proof that Good Things Can Come from Disappointment By John D.

On this first year anniversary of House of Fifty, I wanted to share the story of how this publication came to be, for those of you who may not be familiar with it. I know the story well - I’m Janell’s husband. She came up with the idea for House of Fifty while we were spending time at a friend’s beach house on the Oregon coast the week of Thanksgiving in 2010. The coast is a place we often go to get away, to spend quality family time together and it’s become a place where some of our best clearheaded thinking and talking gets done. Janell had been enjoying success as a freelance writer for HGTV and Houzz, built a strong following on her blog and had just returned from an appearance on The Nate Berkus Show in New York City. It was fun to see her feeling so positive about the direction of

her work and career, and then the phone call came. A well known casting agency was calling about a new show being developed and they were interested in talking about it with her. The conversation seemed to be going well, with talk of paperwork and next steps mentioned when she was asked her age. Janell hesitated, surprised, and then replied, “I’m 49.” Later Janell relayed how there had been an awkward pause on the other end of the line and then the response, “You look younger in your photo.” The call ended soon afterwards with a promise that the paperwork to proceed would be emailed over immediately. Well, as you might have guessed, it never did arrive. It didn’t matter that the likelihood of actually landing the opportunity was a long shot and that such work would be a stretch to fit into a lifestyle where Janell strives to maintain a balance between work and family. This run-in with ageism threw Janell completely off balance. She had been feeling very optimistic about the opportunities available to her, but now wondered if she had been mistaken. Perhaps her best days were indeed behind her. “I am not 25, not 30, not 45 – I’m going to be passed over because of my age.” For several weeks Janell was very discouraged, even depressed. But eventually she began to get tired of feeling down about it all and decided she should start thinking about how to make her own opportunities

“The coast is a place we often go to get away...” 90


rather than waiting around for someone else to hand them to her. With Janell’s 50th birthday fast approaching, I saw that she really needed to enter this new decade excited about things, her career, with a belief that there was still a strong future for her. So after some brainstorming, along came the idea for House of Fifty. It seemed like the right thing – the only thing - to do. She started with the concept of expanding beyond the topic of interior design and DIY projects covered on her blog to include all the aspects of a full life. Work began on creating a publication that would focus on finding inspiration in the everyday. Janell contacted friends and fellow bloggers, putting together a team of contributors. Five months later the premier issue of House of Fifty was released. Now one year later, Janell is thrilled to be celebrating House of Fifty’s first anniversary with this fifth issue! From my observation, working with the contributors and all the people featured in the issues to date, creating


something that has made a connection with its readers has been one of the most rewarding pieces of the House of Fifty story for Janell. On this first anniversary the story remains the same. She and her team want to continue improving House of Fifty, focusing on the content and making it the best that it can be. Janell shares, “It’s important to me that people get a lot out of it; this keeps me knowing that this is what I want to do. My work before was quite solitary, writing for the blog and other publications. Now work involves a team and it’s an aspect I just really enjoy! It’s exciting to work with all the people we feature and the contributors - identifying stories, talent and putting all the pieces of the stories and issues together. I feel like I have found the vehicle which draws on all my work experience and education to date and that is very satisfying. Prior to launching House of Fifty I was searching, but now I am not looking for what is next. I think I’m where I am supposed to be.”

Now Let’s Celebrate with Carrot Cake, Baked for theOccasion! Janell, by her own admission (not mine), claims she is not a great cook. But she never disappoints with this desert - it is absolutely the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten and perfect for this special occasion.

Bake it yourself, the easy to follow recipe is next!


The Best Carrot Cake ‌Ever! Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 cups finely shredded carrot 1 cup oil 4 eggs 1/2 cup chopped walnuts - optional


Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch or three 6-inch round baking pans. In a bowl combine the first 6 ingredients. Add the next 4 ingredients, beating with a mixer on medium speed until combined, for approximately 2 minutes. Pour into pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Remove from pans after cooling 10 minutes and set on a wire rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Serves approximately 12.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 6 ounces cream cheese ½ cup butter (1stick) 2 teaspoons vanilla 4 cups sifted powdered sugar


Directions: In a bowl beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating untill smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Serve & Enjoy!


Does Your DĂŠcor Tell Your Age? By Valorie Hart

Interior by Diane von Furstenberg, Photograph courtesy of Architectural Digest

“When I was young, I lived like an old woman, and when I got old, I had to live like a young person.� So says 65-year-old Diane von Furstenberg, upon having her glamorous and modern apartment featured in a recent issue of Architectural Digest. This quote brings up an interesting question about age and design. Early on in my blogging career I posted a picture of my living room. Months later, after becoming friends with another blogger, she shared that


when she first saw the room her impression was that I was a young 30-something chick. I am more than twice that age. I wondered what she meant. Was it a compliment? Did it look fresh and hip and on trend? Or did the room look immature and decorated by a novice who knew nothing? When looking at photos of rooms do we mentally put an age on the person who either lives there or designed or decorated it?

Interior by Valorie Hart as seen in Undecorate, Photograph courtesy of Random House

“Cow hide rug, check. Kartell chair, check. Ikat pillows and mid-century tables, check. Granny or groovy? Both!�


In response to my inquiry, the friend shared that she saw the room as both young and sophisticated. It looked like someone talented had pulled it together. I was flattered

of course, and then wondered, since I am in my 60’s is the expectation that my house will look “granny” and perhaps faded and outdated?

Interior by Valorie Hart


“Mid-century credenza, antlers, modern art, Suzani print, white hide rug, furry pillow, Foo dog and gold gnomes - can it get any more trendy?�


“A traditional and very pretty bedroom with things any granny would love! It’s the home of 20-something Interior Designer Lauren Liess.”


As young homemakers we often have limited budgets and resources. Putting together those first homes are the beginning of a lifelong learning curve. Who influences us also plays a part. Do we follow our mother’s tastes, or do we try to replicate the latest trends seen in magazines. When I was young, my first homes reflected my grandmother’s style. I had many pleasant times in her home and her furnishings were so different than what we had in our house that they seemed exotic. I never thought her home looked old. I was a young 20-something decorating like a granny! As we get beyond dorm rooms and roommates and become more successful and savvy, we start to upgrade. Hand-me-down furniture is replaced by new pieces we can afford. Budding confidence allows us to make

decisions based on the bit of life experience we have garnered. Those dorm room styles are replaced with more permanent and grown-up options. Getting married is another rite of passage as a decorator. There is another person to consider and possessions to merge. Nesting takes on a deeper meaning and compromise is learned. Does the house of the newly married look different than a couple together for years and years? Having a family dictates yet another phase. Money spent on decorating gets waylaid for the expenses children bring. Energy and time become a factor too. Getting laundry done is often all the home improvement that can be accomplished.

“A pink couch sits in a pretty cottage setting in the home of Nita Stacy, author of the young fresh blog Mod Vintage Life. She owns her age, which is 50.”


“In a chic bedroom by Barbara Matson, all the trends are there: white tufted headboard, black and white accent wall, geometric print on pillow and modern art. The room is ageless, and so is Barbara at 41.�


“This sophisticated dining room gets high marks for the brass chandelier and French style chairs, all classic elements that Janell Beals mixes into a fresh and current design. Any twenty-something would love this room. As we know, Janell rocks her house of 50!�


As our children get older, and hopefully learn to appreciate and take care of nicer things, another phase of decorating happens. Maybe there is more money for replacing worn out things. Dreams put on the back burner are realized. Becoming empty nesters is yet another phase during which décor can become young again, but this time with the addition of a lifetime of experiences and possessions collected. Editing becomes a pleasure and little luxuries are possible. Older decorators know the score. They’ve seen the world, they’ve made mistakes and had successes. They know what they love and what they do not love. And what about the couples that don’t have

children? Do their homes reflect age differently? Instead of saving for college funds, couples without children, or singles, can spend more money on their homes. Perhaps this keeps things updated. In recent years fashion and décor have crossed over, so much so that we now decorate much like we choose a wardrobe, making adjustments to stay current. Yet we know that in fashion there is a fine line between dressing like a teenager and someone who works a trend into a classic wardrobe. Older women can look ridiculous wearing things that scream too young. On the flip side, younger girls can also dress too old, losing their freshness and charm.

“Haute tradition! Windsor chairs, brass candlesticks, transferware, ironstone and a plant stand all add up to dining at grandmothers. But guess who? It’s Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar’s home, two handsome young guys who entertain with timeless classic style.”


Interior by Diane von Furstenberg, Photograph Courtesy of Architectural Digest

If we look at a room filled with serious antiques, is it old? Or conversely, is a room that is brightly painted with mixes of vintage and modern young? There are plenty of grannies out there decorating young, and plenty of young people out there decorating granny. I like to think that there is no ageism in decorating. A room that is pretty, a room

that has style and personality, a room that shows a certain level of taste has no age. True, most rooms need refreshing over time. Paint, new fabrics, accessories and furnishings are a home’s Botox and cosmetic surgery. And then there are the rooms that age gracefully and naturally, so well cared for, so classic that they defy time.

“ I like to think there is no ageism in decorating!� 105

The Heart of Design Questioning the American Dream of Homeownership by Kim Myles


moved once a year from age 7 to 14, my family always living in rentals. I thought about having my own house one day, but only in the abstract, like “maybe I’ll have a house, and kids and travel to my job via jetpack.” Thanks to my nomadic childhood I’m fairly immune to physical attachments (accidental Zen) and the “American Dream of Homeownership” has never been a big goal of mine. I spent my early adulthood moving from rental to rental and loved being a free agent. Then in 2009 my husband and I had the chance to purchase a little fixer-upper in our favorite L.A. neighborhood. We jumped at the opportunity to live a different kind of life, to experience the adventure of homeownership! I thought, “Okay. Now I’m


going to live ‘The Dream’ I’ve heard so much about.” Though owning a home was never my biggest dream, it turns out that I still had huge emotional expectations about the experience. I thought I would be holding the key to not just a property, but to financial and physical stability. And when I dreamed of the décor, I expected my creativity to be as unfettered as my freedom to change anything I wanted. I thought I’d create a living room like Naomi over at Design Manifest: funky, eclectic and chill. I figured I’d rock a dining room like Louise at Table Tonic: modern and cool with ethnic twists. Basically, I thought we’d move in, put down roots and thrive.

Interior by Table Tonic

Interior by Design Manifest Well so much for ‘The Dream.’ The reality of owning this house has been very, very different than the fantasy. For one, and this is huge, the décor absolutely confounded me. The ease with which I choose every little detail for my clients completely eluded me when it came to my own space. Every decision had me sweating bullets due to the sense of permanence. And that stability I thought I’d be enjoying? Instead I felt trapped. Trapped in one place, trapped into mortgage payments, trapped in a suburban lifestyle that just didn’t feel like me. I’ve had a few years to contemplate what went wrong and I think the answer is simple: the “American Dream of Homeownership” just

doesn’t belong to me. As it turns out my version of “The Dream” is all about independence. It’s about owning my life and having the flexibility to pursue my passions. My husband agrees, so we’re selling the house and moving on to our next great adventure. But wouldn’t you know it, since making that decision I’ve had huge epiphanies about the décor! Maybe we’ll own again one day and maybe we won’t. Regardless, my best investment has nothing to do with property. It is about my family, enjoying my friends and having the freedom to create my own best life at any given moment. That’s an “American Dream” that I can get with.

...having the freedom to create my own best life at any given moment.



With just a little squeeze, Rub ‘n Buff® transforms your tired and old décor and furniture to a wow finish that no paint can duplicate. Simply rub the paste on with your finger or a cloth, and buff. It’s that easy!

The befores

...and afters!

Available in 16 colors at craft stores, art supply stores and

Visit our Facebook page for more project inspiration. Phone: 800-374-1600 ©2012 AMACO®

Photos courtesy of Sarah at 109

Salvaging Beauty by Janell Beals


ndrea Mihalik began her career in photojournalism, spending twelve years as a staff photographer for the Philadelphia Daily News. She loved the work, traveling the globe covering a wide range of stories from Presidents to Popes. Then came the “digital age” and Andrea found she missed working with her hands in the darkroom, “creating” images. This shift coincided with the arrival of her third child, events which led Andrea to the decision that it was a smart time to take a break. Though she did pause to wonder what would be next. Fast forward a few years, after expressing an interest in learning more about the art of upholstery, Andrea’s husband gave her a book on the topic. While reading ‘Matthew Haly’s Book of Upholstery’ she noticed the


author offered upholstery classes at his studio, the Furniture Joint in NYC. She quickly signed up and found herself traveling from Philadelphia to New York to attend classes and was immediately hooked! Through upholstery Andrea could again work with her hands creating something, while utilizing her knowledge of color and composition when determining fabric choices and combinations. After completing her studies she honed her skills by becoming an intern, working for free in her mid-forties at BDDW, a furniture company in Philadelphia. After these experiences Andrea knew what her next career would be, and started the business named Wild Chairy. She has been busy finding, stripping, painting, gluing and re-upholstering chairs and stools ever since!

Andrea uncovers her vintage and antique pieces at garage sales, auctions and even on the curb. “Giving these forgotten treasures a new life is fun and rewarding. But sometimes it is hard to part with them, selling and shipping them off to a new home!” When asked about the process of bringing a piece back to life and how long a chair can take to refurbish, Andrea shares, “It’s funny that you asked me how long a typical chair takes. I’m always trying to shorten the time but on average a chair requires about four to six weeks from start to finish; it’s a multi-step process.” After finding a piece to salvage it is sent out to be stripped down to the bare frame, which takes a week. In addition the frame can sometimes require repair work, to be “sturdied

up.” This step can take up to two weeks to get back from the repair shop. Then add in another week if the chair is to be painted, the time required for sanding, priming and painting. Once these steps are complete, the chair is ready to be reupholstered. If the fabric has been selected and has arrived, creating no further delays, this final step also takes about a week. Initially Andrea worked on all these tasks herself, but in an effort to produce more chairs in a shorter period of time she now sends pieces out for everything but the actual reupholstery job. “I always do this part; I’m kind of a quality control freak. I typically have about four to five chairs being worked on at once, all in various stages of the process.”

“A neglected chair becomes a work of art a t Wild Chairy.”








One characteristic of Andrea’s work she is most proud of is its focus on sustainability and quality. Wild Chairy never uses foam and applies old world techniques such as hand sewing coil springs into every chair and hand tying the springs with natural Italian twine. The chairs are then stuffed with horse hair, coconut hair and cotton, and covered with 100% wool batting prior to being dressed with selected fabrics. This technique will last many years longer than a product constructed with foam, with the added benefit of incorporating materials that are all natural and earth friendly. “At Wild Chairy, it’s all about recycling and re-loving. I even recycle vintage fur coats from the 1940’s and 50’s, putting them on footstools to make lush heirlooms.” Having attempted a few reupholstery jobs myself, with varying results, I wanted to know what Andrea believes is the most challenging aspect of this type of work. “The most difficult


part of an upholstery redo is probably the eight-way hand tying of the springs. It is very physical work; you have to pull the twine really hard to get a tight seat. The twine also rips your hands up and causes calluses, but I enjoy the physical aspect of the job.” Andrea says another challenge is to trust her fabric decisions and not second guess them once an order is placed, which can end up costing a bundle. To encourage herself to take risks, moving outside her comfort zone, she often repeats a favorite quote.

“We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.”

Aneurin Bevan



Summer Fashion Forecast by Laurie Moulton of house of lolo

Contrarian Byrdie Bow Dress Ladylike pleats, pastels and pretty bows: Welcome to a very pretty summer! Reeling from a spring highlighted with hypercolor, summer arrives with a more subdued palette. We find ourselves amid trends more nostalgic than nailed down. Styles touch on everything from ethereal and elegant to rousing and retro. It’s all in

the details as we bow down to bows, pleats and structural superiority. Colors this season are sugary shades of sorbet; think lemon drop yellow, berry pink and more than a twist of tangerine. The time has come to celebrate girls being girls. Have fun with your hemline and don flirty and flared 60’s inspired pleated dresses. If you’re in a more conservative mood, stick with a structured sheath in a beautiful color. Translating on trend color through accessories sings summer, be it a Birkin inspired handbag in a happy hue or custard yellow kitten heels! To try the trend at your own pace, slip on an airy and soft chiffon pleated dress. Whether short or long, a white baby doll or sherbet maxi dress, pleats stay subtle yet sensible. Pair these looks with ladylike heels or strappy sandals along with a black and white color-blocked bag. The look is refreshing yet timeless from head to toe. This summer it’s all about fabulous ladylike silhouettes accented by smart accessories and heralding hues. The best part is that every body type will look and feel amazing in these adorable silhouettes. The style rules for this summer season are simple: feminine silhouettes with classic accessories in pretty pastels or an animal print to mix it up. Wear, wash and repeat!

“ Style rules for this summer season are simple! Pair feminine silhouettes with classic accessories in pretty pastels and add in an animal print to mix it up.”



Heidi Merrick Acoustic Dress


Ivanka Trump Indico Pump

Erin Fetherston Flutter Dress

CC Skye Brit Satchel

Black Halo Jackie O Dress

Ivanka Trump Victoria Handbag


J.Crew Valentina Slipbacks

Margaret Elizabeth Necklace


BLOGS WE LOVE Fashion Edition by Lakeitha Duncan


Rachel of Pink Peonies

Far from the catwalks of Paris and Milan, these stylish fashionistas have turned their blogs into fashion runways, sharing their unique take on style while offering up smart fashion tips. In this special edition of The Blogs We Love, we’ve caught up with three of our favorites. Caitlin of Style Within Reach, Rachel of Pink Peonies and Tanesha of Girl With Curves have provided a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, answering the questions you’ve wanted to ask!

Caitlin of Style Within Reach

Tanesha of Girl With Curves

Most people could not imagine posting weekly photos of themselves for the world to see. Who takes your pictures and is it harder on some days than others to get good shots you’re happy to post? Do you ever have “bad hair” days?


My boyfriend takes my photos and I definitely have days I don’t feel like having my picture taken. I often end up with photos I don’t post because I’m not satisfied with how I look! I think we all have days like that.

Rachel: My mom and husband take all my photos and yes, some days it’s harder than others

to get the right shot. I’m not camera ready every moment of my life! When I am literally having a bad hair day I either throw it into a messy ponytail or bun. There are plenty of outfit pictures that have never made it onto the blog, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps I just don’t like the lighting or in photos the outfit isn’t as cute as I was hoping it would be.


My husband takes my pictures. I have my share of “bad hair days,” and on those days I know it’s not a good idea to get in front of the camera. If I don’t feel confident you’ll see it all over my face and in my body language. I wear my emotions on my sleeve! 121


Tanesha of Girl with Curves

Are you ever concerned about sharing where you’ve purchased something, with the thought of possibly being criticized for the amount spent? Have you ever been criticized or gotten negative comments about a purchase?


My blog focuses on affordable style, so I really don’t run into this issue that much. I strive to showcase how you can look on trend and fashion forward on a realistic budget. I think most of my readers enjoy finding inspiration they can actually afford! I emphasize saving up for classic pieces that will last for years and to shop smart with trends.


I have never been afraid to post anything on my blog because everything I post is simply who I am, though I have had a couple of comments about where I shop and how much I spend. The purpose of my blog is to inspire and help women in choosing their outfits at the price point they can afford. Each of us has a certain amount we can spend on clothing; the idea is to look fabulous within that budget.


No, I’ve never gotten negative comments about how much I may spend. I tend to invest more in bags and accessories. I know they’ll always fit and they will be in my closet longer than clothing that I may get tired of or that may go out of style. I’m honest about this with my readers. What have you learned about yourself since starting a fashion blog?


I’ve learned how dedicated I can be when I put my mind to something. I started my blog over three years ago and it took me a long time to build up traffic and followers. Because I was passionate about blogging I kept at it. I am so glad that I did because of the wonderful opportunities that have come my way as a result and the people I have met.


I have learned that when you put yourself out there, you are going to receive a certain amount of criticism. But I have learned not to let the negative comments effect what I post.


I knew I had a passion for helping others, but the blog has made me realize just how much of a passion I have for helping others through fashion. For me, fashion is so much more than the outside, the materialistic aspect of it. It’s the beginning of self-esteem, which I think starts with how we feel about ourselves. I truly believe that if you think you look good, you feel good.

For me, fashion is so much more than the outside…it’s the beginning of self-esteem.” “



Tell us about your daily outfits, are these outfits you then proceed to wear for the day after the photos are taken? How often is an outfit pulled together simply for a post?


It varies. I work in an office that is pretty corporate. Sometimes I’ll post work attire but most of my outfit photos are ensembles from the weekend, after work or simply just outfits I’ve styled for a post.

Rachel: I make sure to never post any outfit or look that I wouldn’t wear on a normal day-to-

day basis or to an event. Being a full-time student I’m limited on the time I have to shoot outfit photos, so occasionally I will shoot multiple looks in one day and then proceed to wear those looks throughout the week.


My daily outfit pictures typically consist of things I wore the day before, over the weekend or during time away from the office.

Caitlin from Style Within Reach

“I don’t think anyone should be intimidated by another person’s style, blogger or not, because style is very personal. We all have a personal style which is uniquely our own… embrace it!” Tanesha


Rachel of Pink Peonies

Has blogging about your wardrobe and daily outfits altered your style? If so, how has blogging helped to evolve your style?

Caitlin: It has absolutely helped me to evolve my own sense of style! In the digital world of

blogs, Pinterest and Tumblr, it’s so easy to get lost in the inspiration. I know having my own place to showcase my personal style has helped me define exactly what that is. I’m feminine and fun, but don’t go overboard with trends.

Rachel: When I decided to start a fashion blog, I felt it was absolutely necessary to stay true

to myself and to my own style. I don’t just want to recreate what someone else is wearing. I do feel that blogging has had an effect on my style. If I look at earlier blog posts I can see a maturity that seems to be evolving. I won’t just buy anything; I like timeless pieces I can keep in my closet for years. I’m also always on the lookout for new trends before they go big.


Yes, it definitely has. I think I used to throw things together and walk out the door, but now I tend to take longer getting dressed!


How often do you shop and where? What do you do with the items of clothing and accessories that you no longer wear?


I probably shop a little too frequently! I try to stock up on a few pieces each season that are on trend. I just bought a peplum top, mint dress, neon tweed jacket and white jeans to mix and match into my existing wardrobe. This is always my goal, but I do have a hard time sticking to it. I shop most frequently at H&M, Target, Old Navy and ZARA. I also love thrifting and vintage. As for the items I am no longer wearing, I save most of my wardrobe hoping it will come back around in style again. I also donate or consign items, but usually hold on to stuff for a few years.

Rachel: I try not to be too much of a shopaholic. I don’t shop everyday or even every week,

though I wish that were the case. I actually do most of my shopping online and I only buy when I absolutely love the item. Some of my favorite places to shop are ZARA, Nordstrom, ASOS and J.Crew. I usually store the clothes I no longer wear at my mom’s house. Trends have a way of repeating themselves.


I don’t have a set shopping schedule, but I do shop at least once a week, online or in-store. I started a shopping site as part of my blog a few months ago to offer items I’m transitioning out of my closet for sale.

Caitlin of Style Within Reach


Tanesha of Girl With Curves


Do you look to other fashion bloggers for inspiration? If so, how do they influence you and your blog? Are you ever intimidated by other fashion bloggers and their style?


I love to find inspiration from other bloggers! There are a few bloggers I look up to in terms of their photography, style and success with blogging. Some of my favorites are Atlantic Pacific, Cheetah is the New Black, 9 to 5 Chic, This Time Tomorrow and Sterling Style.


Yes, yes and yes! I love to look at other fashion bloggers and be inspired by their style. However, I always try to be original and true to myself and my style. It’s really important to be you and not someone else.

Tanesha: There are a few bloggers that I follow and when I see some of the things they’re

wearing I immediately want to rush out and buy that item. But I stop myself and ask does this suit my personal style and how often will I wear it? Most of the time, I end up not purchasing it. I realize that it looks good on them but it’s just not me. I don’t think anyone should be intimidated by another person’s style, blogger or not, because style is very personal. We all have a personal style which is uniquely our own…embrace it! What are your goals for your blog and do they tie in with your career goals?

Caitlin: I plan to blog as long as it makes me happy. It’s a fun creative outlet to have and I

love being able to share my take on affordable style. I’ve been fortunate enough to begin to turn this “hobby” into a career. Though I still work 9 to 5, hopefully that will change soon. I co-founded Bloggers Night Out last year which creates events exclusive to the fashion blogging community, I do freelance social media consulting, am an editor at the Glitter Guide and regularly contribute to The Today Show blog. All of these opportunities exist because of my blog!


My blog has opened many doors so far. I am hopeful that my blog will continue to present many more opportunities to work in the fashion industry and to make a career doing something I love.

Tanesha: I’ve always had the career goal of being a fashion journalist and fashion designer.

The blog has allowed me to start to fulfill those goals, which I’m so grateful for. Not having an education in a fashion related field I thought I’d never have the chance to pursue my dreams. My major goal with the blog is to keep promoting body acceptance, self-esteem and confidence and eventually have my own clothing line.

“If you think you look good, you feel good.” Tanesha


Caitlin of Style Within Reach





The oversized watch look has been going strong for some time now, getting its start when trendsetting women began borrowing watches from the men in their lives! Designers took note, with a wide selection of stylishly large women’s watches on the market today – we’re betting it’s a trend that will stand the test of time.


wrist? Rachel of Pink Peonies layers her oversized watch with multiple bracelets and bangles.

Juicy Couture ‘Rich Girl’ Jelly Strap Watch


Adidas ‘Resin Cambridge’ Chronograph Watch

DKNY Ceramic Bracelet Watch

Betsey Johnson ‘Bling Bling Time’ Leopard Watch

Michael Kors ‘Layton’ Chronograph Watch

Glam Rock Ceramic & Woven Leather Strap Watch in Pink

Glam Rock Ceramic & Woven Leather Strap Watch in Yellow

Burberry Large Ceramic Chronograph Watch

Michael Kors ‘Large Runway’ Rose Gold Watch

Marc Jacobs ‘Large Rock’ Chronograph Silicone Bracelet Watch

Michael Kors Oversized ‘Madison’ Chronograph Watch

Burberry Check Stamped Round Dial Watch

Michael Kors ‘Cameron’ Crystal Chronograph Watch



From bold & edgy… 132

‌to Feminine With a Vintage Flair. by Janell Beals



t should come as no surprise upon discovering White Moth, an edgy line of jewelry designed by Tracey Heinemann, that much of its influence is derived from architecture and industrial design. For Tracey, even a simple visit to the hardware store can yield ideas that find their way into the line. Finding beauty in the unexpected is at the core of the design philosophy of White Moth. A distinct element that White Moth has quickly become known for is its chain, some of which is actually twenty-year-old chain Tracey stumbled across while sourcing materials. She is drawn to its raw brass and steel, metals that gain a patina over time. The character of the chain has helped define the design aesthetic of White Moth, which is to pair “the raw” with more refined stones and other designed elements. Combined this is a versatile look that’s easy to wear. Pieces from Tracey’s line appeals to a


wide range of women, from teens to women in their 60’s. Wearing the jewelry, a confidence is gained. As Tracey puts it, “Pairing the chains and necklaces with any outfit gives it an edge, and every woman needs to get a bit of their badass back!” While White Moth has been on the market for just two years, Tracey’s strong background in marketing and advertising has been invaluable in its success. She also credits the influence of her father, and has many of his mementos in her studio. “He was an incredibly creative man who traveled the world. I surround my studio with his trophies, the vintage cameras he collected and his paintings. He pushed me to tap into my creative side every day, from the time I was little until he passed away several years ago. Having his collections and art nearby not only inspire me but remind me that doing what you love is key!”


The necklaces of chain look amazing worn alone or when combined with ones featuring colorful stones or various metal elements such as the military stamps, horns or Swiss Cross. Tracey definitely stands behind her belief that a little bit of metal goes a long way!


From found elements, unique stones to cast elements designed by Tracey, White Moth has six lines each with its own distinct style:

LINKS: Two to three chain styles are

combined into a single necklace for this line, to wear alone or to layer with other pieces.

FOUND: Here unique items that

Tracey has found are cast and strung on chain, such as the military stamps.

ELEMENT: Earthy, one of a kind

stones including agates & drewsey quartz are combined with brass and silver chain.

RESORT: One of the many designs in this line was inspired by an equestrian stirrup. Cast in brass the piece hangs from a black or camel leather strap.

DRIVE: Inspired by the road, the do not

enter, yield sign and directional arrows have been turned into simple, classic brass pieces with 14k gold plating.

SIGNATURE: In this line a

metalsmith turns Tracey’s sketches into molds which are then used to cast the production in brass and white brass. These designs include the iconic Swiss Cross and the bold two-tone horns among others.

Tracey gets a great deal of satisfaction when a design from White Moth gives its wearer a certain sense of style and confidence. She encourages all women to hold on to their strong sense of self. “Women need to embrace their Rock and Roll spirit!” When she sees her jewelry bring that attitude out in a woman, she knows she is doing exactly what she is meant to do!



mily Wheat Maynard has always loved creating and crafting. Her mother is an artist who filled their home with paintings, sculptures, antiques and found objects, with fun projects being the norm. Emily’s husband jokes that they are a family of hoarders, but she prefers to think they see the beauty, intrigue and significance in everyday items. With such an upbringing, and studies that included exploring the history of jewelry, it’s not suprising Emily eventually launched a business where an appreciation of found objects and artistry are at the heart of the venture. Emily’s jewelry line Elva Fields, named after her grandmother, was launched with a handful of beads and high hopes just weeks after her wedding – an event for which she designed the jewelry worn by many of the women in attendance. Initially, the designs were sold through trunk shows with all the family pitching in, inviting friends, providing delicious fare and her husband even sewing the felt pouches in which the jewelry was stored. It didn’t take long, however, before the colorful designs featuring one-of-a-kind vintage elements began to catch the attention of others, with a local boutique the first to pick up the line. Business has grown slowly and steadily since. From a desk in the guest bedoom to their own little downtown studio workshop, from sales to friends and family to international clients, Emily shares it has been infinitely rewarding and exciting to grow their business.


All the jewelry is created and produced in their tiny Taylorsville, KY studio. A team of three women, Emily, Amy and Jessica, make the venture a success. The women are passionate about the work they do and equally passionate about the big dreams they have for Elva Fields. Amy handles much of the business side, while Jessica helps with constructing the jewelry. Sharing a love of family, food and jewels, the women focus on creating a good environment in which to spend their days and this includes taking turns at bringing in homemade lunches each week. It’s a happy, fairly serene environment with a good mix of music, including Bluegrass, playing in the background.



Emily loves her work and finds the hunt for vintage elements to be used in the line endlessly exciting! It is what drives her creativity and keeps the design dreams flowing. When asked how she knows a certain vintage piece will work in the line she shares, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe why certain vintage materials work in a design and others don’t. There is just a certain quality of uniqueness, color or whimsy perhaps that appeals to my eye. I just know when I see it that it’s meant for Elva Fields.” Emily also finds working with brides creating a unique design for their wedding day to be rewarding. “It is an honor to be part of the celebration and such fun to see how each gal expresses her own style or incorporates an heirloom into her bridal look. Based on our conversations we source materials especially for each bride, working back and forth via digital images until we find the look they have in mind.” Emily recently worked with one bride who had a vintage brooch of her mother’s she wanted to feature, along with incorporating her wedding colors. “It was

such a special and meaningful homage, and she was radiant!” Along the way Elva Fields has also found a way to give back to the community that was supportive of the venture at its start. A portion of each online sale goes to Backpack Buddies of Spencer County, a program that provides a bag full of snacks, soups and drinks each Friday for students in need. This food is much needed over the weekend when school sponsored meals are not available. Elva Fields also features a special product each Holiday season and Mother’s Day that gives a more significant donation from each sale to the program, so look for those this season!

To adorn ourselves with jewelry that reflects our individual style and spirit is one of the many pleasures of being a woman, and I see designs from both Tracey’s and Emily’s line that I’d feel fantastic wearing! Janell 141


What’s in my

by Mimi Inman

Forever 21Colorblock Trim Floppy Hat

Anthropologie Dipped Dots Tote

My Tieks

So Fun! The Kate Spade Graceann Sunglasses in White


“Where would I be without these favorite must-have essentials in my bag?” 1.






My apps

My Absolute Must-Have: the iPhone

1.“Square Up” to Get Paid 2. Taxi Magic to Catch a Cab 3.Pinterest for On the Spot Inspiration 4.Snap Guide for Viewing & Sharing How-to Guides 5.Hipstamatic Provides Endless Photo Taking Options 6.House of Fifty for Reading on the Go L. Erickson Pebble Pony Hair Elastic in Orange

My Beauty Supplies






1. Fake Bake Bronzy Babe Pressed Powder 2. Qtica Intense Lip Repair Balm 3. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF 30 4. Peter Thomas Roth Uber-Dry Sunscreen SPF 30 5. Davines Authentic Mositerizing Balm for Hair and Skin 6. Issey Miyake Parfume Purse Spray


loving my tieks “Receiving my order from tieks, what a delight it was to open the package and discover the bright turquoise box, pretty pink flower and a handwritten thank you note tucked inside! Folding back the tissue to pull out my new flats, I also found a little pouch making it easy to carry the shoes along in a purse. And there was even a set of clips to shorten my jeans when switching from heels. Yes…I’m smitten with my tieks.”

Mimi Inman



Travel Essentials:

Where Are You Off to this Summer?

Bon Voyage! Whether you are traveling by car, train or plane, these must-haves will help make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable!

Tuck away a pair of tieks for instant comfort anywhere.


Identify yourself in style with a Leather Passport Holder from Graphic Image.

Spot your bag in a crowd with the Brights Luggage Tag.

Catch a cat nap in comfort with the Luxury Travel Pillow.

Block out distractions with Mack’s Dreamgirl Earplugs.

The “Anti-Bottle” from Vapur is reusable and rolls up, making it perfect for travel!

Tenga Earphones offer high end sound and comfort at a bargain.

Wherever you are, get your beauty rest with Dreamgirls Luxury Escape Eye Mask.

Avoid “sick days” during your vacation with Airborne.

Stash seveal away for a healthy snack whenever hunger hits.

Beauty on the go with First Aid Beauty.

Pack an iPad to enjoy music, books, movies and more! Add style with a case from Marc Jacobs.

The perfect travel companion with a convenient laptop compartment, from 147 Victorinox.

Postcard from Delhi I



Photography and Story by Stefanie Schiada

Few other places on earth seem to illicit such a range of reactions as India. As I headed off on my trip I received every kind of response from dire warnings to enthusiastic encouragement. So, as you can imagine, I was very confused about what might await me on arrival. Well, I can let you in on the not so secret truth about India: it’s both overwhelming and amazing. Everything I had heard, both negative and positive, was absolutely true.

The symphony of sights, smells, tastes and textures enveloped me from the moment I stepped foot in India. Of all the places I visited, the city of Delhi was the destination that most captivated me.


India’s capital city is sprawling and duplicitous. Stark comparisons exist between the “new” side, with its elaborate official buildings and spacious parks, versus the cramped and chaotic lanes on its “old” side.


Spending a few days here at both the start and end of my India adventure allowed me to explore some of the nooks and crannies of this fascinating place. I experienced a lot and here is what I saw one day.


Goats are just one of those things you run into randomly all over Delhi. They just hang around as if nothing could be more normal...‌


‌...than having a goat at eye level as you walk down the street.


Touring the Sikh temple and kitchen, I was taken with the fact that thousands of free meals are cooked and served each and every day to the masses.


I wandered into a Hindu temple where many come to celebrate and worship countless gods.

Following was a trip to the Jain bird hospital, where injured birds are treated by the faithful before they are re-released into the wild.

And a must is climbing the steps of The Jama Masjid, the largest Muslim mosque in India.


Shopping in Old Delhi was like no other experience, walking past tiny shop after tiny shop selling all kinds of treasures. wandering along Kinari Bazaar, a seemingly endless selection of trims and fabric embellishments were found.


Turning down a random street revealed a different section of the old market specializing in other items including fabrics, bangles, electronics, and holiday decorations.


All this walking worked up quite an appetite and there is no shortage of food here. A stop into the ever famous Karim’s offered delicious kebabs and then off to Haldirams for the most colorful and tasty raj kachori to be had.


And for something sweet, I joined the line at the famous Jalebi Wala for a taste of freshly made sweet golden rings of deep fried batter.


With appetite satisfied and arms tired from carrying found treasures, I found one of the many colorful women who offer henna for just a few dollars. They work their magic in minutes and the beautifully intricate design is said to last two weeks.

As the afternoon wore on and the sun started making its way down, all over Delhi locals on rooftops were playing with multicolored kites - each trying to cut down their neighbors in friendly competition. Set against the sunset and the pigeons in mid-flight, the beauty and complexity of this city is something to behold.


Delhi offers so much more than I’ve shared here, but you’ll just have to visit for yourself to unlock more of her secrets. -Stefanie Travel Resources: Delhi Magic


the books on our shelves house of fifty’s summer reading list


by janell beals

Twenties Girl By Sophie Kinsella A fun lighthearted read in which the main character Lara Lington is visited by the ghost of her recently departed great-aunt Sadie, who insistently demands Lara’s assistance in locating a favorite necklace. Along the story Lara experiences one misstep after another in her personal and professional life, leaving the reader wishing this young woman would simply catch a break! (Her character reminded me of Bridget from the Bridget Jones Diary.) The adventures that ensue are rather improbable but make for an enjoyable tale that ends, of course, with a happy ending. This is just the kind of book to enjoy while on a summer vacation.

Writer with a Day Job By Áine Greaney From smart strategies on finding time to write to tips for developing good writing habits and editing practices, I was surprised at how practical the information proved to be. It avoided the pitfall of many how-to books which leave the reader discouraged, sensing a goal is too large to tackle so why even bother starting. Instead the writing process is broken down into manageable steps, taking into account that every individual’s situation is unique. Whether an aspiring author or a blogger wanting to improve your writing skills, much can be gained from these pages. I particularly enjoyed the various interviews with authors at the end of the book; their answers provided a peek into the working lives of successful writers.

101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home By David Bordon and Tom Winters After seeing this book pop up on many must read lists and with my own children growing up quicker than I could have imaged, I ordered a copy for myself. The opening line made a big impression, “The first time you hold your newborn baby in your arms, the road ahead looks endless. But the reality is that life passes quickly, and that sweet-faced infant will be in your care only a fraction of time…spend your moments with your children well!” An inspiring go-to reference filled with ideas for incorporating fun and meaningful activities into these limited days we have to raise and teach our children.


Same Kind of Different As Me By Ron Hall and Denver Moore I found this book difficult book to read from an emotional standpoint. The pages walk a reader through heartbreaking experiences endured by the characters in this true story, painfully highlighting some of the darkest moments in American history and the ability that mankind has to inflict hurt upon one another. Arrving at the end of the book, however, to witness the power that faith, love and an honest desire to help others has, makes this book a must read. Here are powerful reminders of the importance of reserving judgement, having compassion and the ability each person has to truly effect change.

The Art of Racing in the Rain By Garth Stein This book was recommended to me by a friend during a walk on which we had both brought along our dogs. Our conversation moved from the dogs to this book, one she had enjoyed reading due to the story being told through the narrative of a dog, giving it a unique and distinct voice and perspective. Throughout the dog’s life spanning a decade the story of his owner’s family unfolds, beginning with the first steps of a young family through a heartbreaking series of events that challenges the dog’s master. It is a story of perseverance and the importance of not giving up on what is believed to be true, about finding strength and faith, made more human through the voice of an unlikely storyteller.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


By Donald Miller This book is one of the few I’ve ever read that has actually caused me to view my life differently than I had prior to reading. The message? If you want a better story, i.e. a better life, it requires getting up off the chair to truly participate in something that matters to you. It’s the only path to creating an interesting life worth living, it is impossible to live one while on the side lines. As the author explains, “If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. The same can be said of our lives. But we spend years actually living those stories and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.”

Just Being Audrey By Margaret Cardillo A charming short story about the life of Audrey Hepburn, this book would make a wonderful gift for girls, introducing a new generation of young women to this beautiful woman. Audrey’s life was not always the fairy tale we may think of when we recall her and her movies, but she always chose hope over sorrow. Her legacy endures because of the many wonderful characteristics she possessed, ones we can strive for in our own lives. She showed kindness to others through her interactions and later in her life helped countless children around the world through her work with Unicef.

U Chic The College Girl’s Guide to Everything By Christie Garton Some of the reviews I read prior to ordering this book stated that it only skimmed the obvious, but sometimes it is the simple and practical advice that is needed the most! I certainly know I could have benefited from reading such a guide prior to heading off to college myself, a period when every day presented choices and challenges I had yet to face on my own as a young adult. As a book to read through once or return to as a practical guide, it is full of helpful tips and insight for young women approaching this exciting and sometimes overwhelming next step in their lives.

Instant Karma By Barbara Ann Kipfer An uplifting and inspiring little book, turn to any page to learn or be reminded of simple ways to create the best life for yourself and others through thoughts and actions. From “Learn how other people see things,” to “Be devoted to something outside yourself,” here is a collection of thoughts and ideas encouraging the reader to lead by example while creating “good karma” for themselves and others.

“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions nor regret the loss of expensive diversions or variety of company if she can be amused with an author in her closet.” Lady Montagu 165

Mothers Raising Daughters

Five Women’s Stories


Photograph from Whitney Phippen

Barbara Matson of hodge:podge As my oldest daughter graduates to head off on her own, with another right behind her, I find myself reflecting back on what my husband and I have done to raise such strong, smart and confident girls that we are incredibly proud of. There is no right or wrong answer in raising girls. Parenting books helped somewhat but the advice was often conflicting. Instead I followed my gut while listening and observing others whose parenting I admired. I made sure my girls had strong female role models and relied on my own past experiences to guide us in raising our two beautiful girls. With all the negative influences society can place upon women, I determined to raise confident daughters. With pressure to look and act a certain way, I did not want them to feel inadequate if they didn’t fit a certain ideal. We tried to find a balance by ensuring they always looked presentable, providing nice clothes and good haircuts along with reminders of how beautiful they were - even when waking up with bed head in crumpled pj’s! But our focus was that beauty came from within, that their worth was not based on looks but who they were. Involving them in sports from a young age has been a great way to give them the confidence they would need, which rings true now that they are teenagers. Participating in sports has brought successes and failures that have given them strength both physically and mentally. I made a conscience effort to encourage them to take risks, to push themselves physically, morally and intellectually, to not give up when things didn’t go as hoped for. These experiences provided opportunities to learn the lessons which make a person stronger.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching your daughters grow up confident in their capabilities, to be proud of who they are. They are intelligent, beautiful and strong girls. As they forge ahead into an uncertain world, I hope that they will take that confidence with them along a path that brings them success and happiness. My oldest says, “I appreciate how my mom modeled respectful behavior towards herself, how she demonstrated eating well, staying healthy, exercising and not obsessing over her looks.” My sixteen year old adds, “I love how she encouraged and stressed the importance of trying various activities such as music, arts, academics and sports, no matter if we were good at them or not. We took the chance to try, which helped us find what we were good at.”


Debby Steele of Inspired Design Having the privilege of raising a daughter has been one of life’s greatest gifts. When she was a newborn I bundled her in pink blankets, dresses and adorable little booties. In grade school I got to reunite with my old friend Barbie and relive my childhood through trips to the American Girl store. My daughter Logan is now sixteen, a young lady about to embark on womanhood. Sometimes when I see her from a distance I do a double take, surprised to see my little girl in a woman’s body. I believe the mother-daughter bond is so strong because we relate to our daughters on a female level. There are manis and pedis, lunches and laughs, countless braiding and tears wiped away throughout the years. Is it always smooth sailing? No. Any relationship is going to have its growing pains and challenges. A daughter needs to become her own person, which requires Mom to let go and respect her individuality. That is easier said than done. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I am happy to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way. Let’s face it, none of us are perfect. We can all strive to be June Cleaver, but the idea of a

perfect mother is an illusion. We are going to make mistakes and I have made it a habit to apologize when I know I could have handled a situation differently. She deserves this courtesy. It also shows her that I’m human, not too proud to admit my flaws and that our relationship is one I cherish. I have been fortunate that Logan continues to open up and share her life with me. She has trusted me with crushes, friendship dilemmas and confided about high school life: the drugs in the school, the amount of kids who drink. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve bitten my tongue. I have found that if I overreact she shuts down, but if I’m quiet and let her talk she’s comfortable. This approach allows me the opportunity to sneak in the motherly advice without sounding like a nag. “Call me if you or a friend ever makes the mistake of drinking. Don’t get in the car.” Or I can simply reiterate, “I will always be here to listen no matter what. You can always come to me. There is not a thing that you could do that would ever make me stop loving you.” As daughters turn into teenagers they

“ Having the privilege of raising a daughter has been one of life’s greatest gifts!”


are off with their friends more often, so making an effort to spend time together remains important. Most teens won’t turn down a shopping trip or lunch date! Doing something fun together allows you to appreciate one another without the pressure of getting dinner on the table, finishing the six loads of laundry, or making sure she gets her homework done. My dream for Logan would be that she remains true to herself. If she follows that one simple rule, happiness will follow her into womanhood.

Emily Clark of Emily A. Clark I like to say that God broke me in gently by giving me an easy-going boy first. My girls, ages three and six, are strong-willed, highly opinionated and well, lots of fun. I often see flashbacks of myself when I was younger and my mother agrees! So when I get frustrated with the “drama,” I can also relate. While it’s hard to put myself in their shoes when they’re having a full-on fit, I do remember the feeling of sheer determination to get my opinion heard when I was little. While my girls are far from being all grown up, my goal is to live the example I want them to follow as a mother, wife, friend and woman. There are certainly days when I fail, but I want them to learn through my actions. By respecting myself and others in the way I talk, dress and handle tough situations, I hope to teach them the importance of being a kind and respectful person. I think it is also important for a mother to set herself apart from her children as they get older, instead of striving to be a best friend. My hope for my daughters is that they grow into happy women who know that their worth

comes from the inside. I pray that I’m able to raise them to be sure of themselves in a world that often values the superficial. I also hope they find good husbands from strong families and are able to experience the joy of motherhood. It’s amazing how much more you appreciate your mom once you become one yourself.


Kim Biggs of Kim Biggs Design My one piece of advice is to stop and remember to be kind. In our world today, it is popular to teach our girls to be aggressive in order to get what they want. We want them to be strong, stand up for what they think they deserve and to go for it, taking no prisoners. We achieve goals in our lives this way and in the process step on toes, burn some bridges and sometimes lose friends. We don’t set out to hurt anyone, but we are so focused on our desired end result that we lose sight of the confidences and friendships that helped us get there. As a mother to three daughters, I too teach my girls to go for what they want and to work hard to achieve it. The only difference is that I am also trying to teach them to be kind in the process. It sounds so simple but always being kind is hard work! When I feel that they, or I, have been wronged, I really try to be kind through my responses and actions in their presence. This sounds like a no-brainer as a parent, but it takes some work on my part.


Why? Because I am much better at coming up with slicing sarcastic remarks than I am at explaining why we should let someone else off the hook. I am beginning to see my hard work pay off. I recently overheard a discussion between a group of girls (two of them being my daughters) dissecting whose fault it was that the timing was off in a special segment of one of their dance competition songs. I heard one of my daughters say, “Well, everyone makes mistakes sometimes.” And while she didn’t come to any specific girl’s defense, her comment did shut down the conversation before it got out of hand. As these three little girls grow up there will no doubt be many times that my efforts to model kindness will be put to the test. Between those moments and the amount of time we spend discussing actions that are kind versus unkind, I pray that they have the tenacity to go for their goals without the casualties many of us have left in our wake.

Estelle Hayes of Under a Pink Moon At just three years old, my daughter already has a team of teachers in her camp. Miss Valerie shares her love of musical instruments, Miss Melissa helps her master a somersault and Miss Lucy guides her through the politics of the playground. I’m thankful for Emerson’s cadre of trusted women; they are teaching her lessons outside my area of expertise. But I’ve also seen that I serve as her most influential teacher in the scope of everyday life. Each morning she watches me get ready for work and asks, “What are you doing with that paint brush?” And when I show my impatience as she fights with me while putting on her jacket, she tries to read my emotions asking in a way only a three-year-old can, “Why does your face look like that?” These questions allow me to see that through her eyes I’m literally painting make-up on my face, toddler style, teaching her that before I leave the house I’m covering my face. I also realize she’s learning how to handle frustration and impatience through my

reactions. It’s these moments when I am grateful for her young perspective. Her attention to life’s little details allows me to become both the teacher and the student. I’m learning through the innocence of a toddler that I don’t have to frown when I am frustrated and perhaps I don’t have to coat myself with paint in the morning. I have choices and so does she. Of course my hope is that Emerson ultimately grows into her best self. A girl who is confident that her world is filled with choices, and not just the big ones of who to love, what to study and where to work, but the little everyday choices we all face. Knowing she can breathe deeply through the frustration, choose how to decorate her body (or not) and where to focus her precious energy and unique gifts. I hope I am teaching her that in every moment and in any situation in life she has the power of choice and that the choices we make define ourselves.


Why Didn’t Anyone Ever Tell Me That?

Simple Tips for Better Living By Courtney Fernan

beauty: 1.Dust roots of hair with baby powder and zap them with a hair dryer to give you an extra day

of clean hair without shampooing. ~ Cassie of Hi Sugarplum

2.Goo-Gone is a quick remedy for removing spray paint from freshly manicured fingernails.

~ Michaela of Michaela Noelle Designs

3. Keep a stash of beauty products such as deodorant, hair spray and lipstick in the glove

compartment of the car, just in case you need a little beauty lift during the day. ~ Michelle of Ten June

4. To draw attention to your face, try tying your scarf in a large bow. It’s a fun and girly way

to accessorize an outfit while drawing attention away from any “problem” areas. ~ Chassity of LookLingerLove

5. Besides using sunscreen each day, the key to beautiful skin is proper exfoliation. A favorite

of mine is Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer. ~ Carmel of Our Fifth House

cleaning: 6. Make your own air freshener with 1/8 cup of your favorite fabric softener combined with

1/8 cup baking soda. Add to 32 ounces of water and you’re ready to spritz sheets, pillows and furniture. ~ Kathysue of Good Life of Design

7. Keep a bottle of baby powder in your car to clean off sand after time at the beach. Sprinkle

sandy legs and feet with powder and sand will easily wipe right off before getting into the car. ~ Beth of Home Stories A 2 Z


8. Revive old paint brushes by soaking them in hot vinegar for 30 minutes and then wash them

in hot, soapy water. ~ Jamie of DIY Home Sweet Home

9. Rub stains left behind by oil, grease and lipstick with chalk prior to washing and watch the

stain float away. ~ Natasha of Schue Love

10. Prevent water scum from building up on your shower walls with a quick wipe down of your

favorite bath oil. ~ Kathysue of Good Life of Design

11. Layer clothes with dryer sheets when packing a suitcase to keep things smelling fresh, as

well as during the trip after clothes have been worn. ~ Cassie of Hi Sugarplum

12. Your silver pieces will be shining again in no time with a paste made from ashes left in your

fireplace. ~ Aubrey of All Things Bright and Beautiful


so nice to know!

13. To achieve high end looking pillows, use an insert one size larger than your pillow cover. It

gives pillows the full, plush look seen in designer’s photos. ~ Jade of Flip Flops & Pearls Design

14. To keep those shifting bedskirts in place, insert thumbtacks through the fabric into the

wood frame of your box spring. ~ Courtney of A Thoughtful Place

15. Peel painter’s tape off immediately after painting stripes or designs. This ensures the clean-

est lines and wet paint is much easier to wipe away in case of any bleed through. ~ Micahela of Micahela Noelle Designs

16. To choose the appropriately scaled overhead light fixture, add the length and width of the

room together in feet. Convert the sum into inches to find the perfect diameter for your new light. ~ Blaise of Blaise Adkison Interior Design

17. Use mounting putty to keep your artwork and frames straight. These hung pieces will never

move again! ~ Bernadette of Chic Spaces for Little Faces

18. Add storage to the inside of closet and cabinet doors with a wide range of hardware. This

will allow you to store items you use often in an easily accessible location. ~ Jamie of DIY Home Sweet Home


kitchen: 19. To eliminate pesky fruit flies, pour apple cider vinegar into a small glass and add several

drops of dish soap! ~ Janell of Isabella & Max Rooms

20. Separate bananas at the stem, leaving them connected make them ripen more quickly.

~ Jamie of DIY Home Sweet Home

21. Keep a few thick rubber bands in a kitchen drawer to slip around the top of stubborn jar

lids, helping you open them more easily. ~Lauren of Simply LKJ

22. Applesauce is a substitute for cooking oil! What a healthy and easy replacement that

won’t alter the taste or consistency of your recipe when baking. ~ Chris of Just a Girl

23. To eliminate those sour smelling dish cloths, soak them in a sink filled with one tablespoon

non-bleach liquid dish soap and three cups white vinegar. After an hour, wring out excess liquid and wash and dry as usual. ~ Kathysue of Good Life of Design

organization: 24. Sort mail over the garbage can or recycle bin so that junk mail never makes it to the

countertop. ~ Aby of Simplify 101

25. Attach an empty tissue box to the one you are using when you or a loved one has a runny

nose. It’s a convenient spot to stash used tissues and eliminates multiple trips to the trash can. ~ Jamie of DIY Home Sweet Home

26. To avoid the impossible task of folding fitted sheets, store bedding in canvas bins. The linen

closet will have a perfectly put together look without any of the hassle. ~ Cristin of Simplified Bee

27. Place shower curtain rings on a hanger for a quick place to slip all of your scarves. ~ Jessie

of Mix And Chic

28. Instead of waiting for a big block of time, which rarely comes along, to tackle an

organizational project, grab twenty minutes here and there to see real progress. ~ Pauline of The English Organizer



The Gracious Girl’s Guide to Netiquette By Mindy Lockard


y children love hearing the stories of my childhood. They stare in disbelief hearing tales of answering machines and chatting with friends on a phone connected to my kitchen wall. Gasp! Today, we live in a different world; the kitchen wall has been replaced with the Facebook wall. People, places and things are available at a touch or swipe of a finger. With so many conversations happening all at once, how do we juggle it all graciously? It’s pretty simple. The world of technology is like one big cocktail party. Although you’re not face-to-face, it’s important to remember there are people on the other end of your computer and smart phone. These people expect to be respected no matter the mode of communication, be it text, tweet or timeline. Here are a few netiquette tips to help you graciously work the Web like you would a cocktail party.

“The world of technology is like one big cocktail party. Although you’re not face-to-face, it’s important to remember there are people on the other end of your computer and smart phone.”


Tick Tock

Timing it Right

Time is of the essence when it comes to communication. But let’s be honest, it’s difficult to keep up with the constant chatter of Facebook, emails, tweets, Foursquare and LinkedIn updates. Evaluate how many sites you’re on. If you’re finding you can’t keep up, take a moment to reflect on the sites that best represent your goals and fit your particular voice. For example, a professional woman is better represented through a LinkedIn profile or a Facebook professional page than being crowned “mayor” of a coffee house on Foursquare. It is also important to respond to communications in a timely manner. Texters will expect you to respond to a question within two to three hours, social media users within 12, and email is still holding tight at 24 hours.

Are you ever tempted to text midconversation or slyly check to see how many people have responded to your hilarious Facebook status? When we break attention with the people in our presence, we put them on hold. This communicates, “Wait one moment, I have something or someone more important than you.” Even if you ask and the person in your presence says, “It’s fine,” chances are they’re being polite. (Thank goodness someone in this situation is.) From family to friends and business associates, give everyone the same level of respect. Even though we tend to be more casual with friends and relatives, they won’t appreciate being put on hold while we take a call, tweet, text or log onto Zappos’ app to buy a pair of shoes. When it comes down to it, people still want and deserve to be treated kindly. If we approach every social media interaction as if it’s a face-to-face meeting, we’ll be sure to treat people with respect even when the connection is virtual. Although we now communicate on a Facebook wall, rather than through a phone connected to our kitchen wall, one aspect of communication is timeless: people still crave respect from others. Even when communicated in just 140 characters or less!

Writing a “Tell-all?” Social media opens the door wide to sharing every moment of every day, from sending a quick text to posting how you like your coffee. Let’s face it, the devil lies in the details and sharing too much can burn your brand. What’s a brand? In a nutshell, it’s what you’re known for and social media is your brand’s logo. Make sure every text, status update, pin and photo represents your real, but polite, brand. The old cocktail party conversation adage is true for social media as well: be mindful when posting about religion, sex, money and politics. And might I add one more: profanity. Followers and friends appreciate positive posts.

“If we approach every social media interaction as if it’s a face-to-face meeting, we’ll be sure to treat people with respect even when the connection is virtual.”


Read House of Fifty on The House of Fifty iPad and iPhone the go… app is now available at the iTunes Store!

Click here and here. Or do you prefer to read the

“Old School” way?

Order a hard copy from MagCloud Look for our next issue in July, until then keep in touch! 178