Farm to Table Soiree

There are few things more fun than a well put together soiree! A quick search on Pinterest or Google will yield 100 ideas on how to throw the perfect soiree - from cherry blossom themed soirees to a French country themed brunch. After touring the markets in Paris and a few country markets as well, I knew the perfect soiree theme to share in honor of the March Photo Challenge was - Farm to Table! I have gathered a few ideas here on helping you put together the perfect Farm to Table themed soiree - I hope you enjoy them! 

There are few things more fun than a well put together soiree! A quick search on Pinterest or Google will yield 100 ideas on how to throw the perfect soiree - from cherry blossom themed soirees to a French country themed brunch. After touring the markets in Paris and a few country markets as well, I knew the perfect soiree theme to share in honor of the March Photo Challenge was - Farm to Table! I have gathered a few ideas here on helping you put together the perfect Farm to Table themed soiree - I hope you enjoy them! 

Photo: Style Me Pretty One of my favorite steps in preparing for a soiree is designing my tablescape. I love this particular one - with the rough hewn farm table, the wooden plates and they way the bread is wrapped in brown butcher paper! Everything about this set up is perfect in my eyes! 

Photo: Style Me Pretty

One of my favorite steps in preparing for a soiree is designing my tablescape. I love this particular one - with the rough hewn farm table, the wooden plates and they way the bread is wrapped in brown butcher paper! Everything about this set up is perfect in my eyes! 

Photo: Inspired by This  Here is another beautiful example of a Farm to Table themed tablescape - this one with perfect sized wooden cutting boards as the plates and a multitude of copper vases to hold brightly colored flowers and greenery is absolutely beautiful! 

Photo: Inspired by This 

Here is another beautiful example of a Farm to Table themed tablescape - this one with perfect sized wooden cutting boards as the plates and a multitude of copper vases to hold brightly colored flowers and greenery is absolutely beautiful! 

Photo: Something Turquoise Place settings are not a requirement - but they can be so much fun to make and get creative with! I love this simple place setting using a fresh lemon, rubber band and a small tag. Simple, colorful, and it can be used to flavor your tea (or cocktail) later! You could also write on a small tile (such as subway tiles from the hardware store) or a simple white card is always classic. 

Photo: Something Turquoise

Place settings are not a requirement - but they can be so much fun to make and get creative with! I love this simple place setting using a fresh lemon, rubber band and a small tag. Simple, colorful, and it can be used to flavor your tea (or cocktail) later! You could also write on a small tile (such as subway tiles from the hardware store) or a simple white card is always classic. 

Photo: Apartment Therapy  After planning your tablescape and decor, comes the most important part - the food! Local farmer's markets are amazing places filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and baked goods, among so much more. Take your time and browse the various stands, ask questions and try new things! When it comes to preparing the food and setting it out - I love this creative idea for serving a salad! The event coordinator made a huge salad for 100 guests and served it in a galvanized steel tub (I would recommend serving it in a plastic tub inside the galvanized for food safety).

Photo: Apartment Therapy 

After planning your tablescape and decor, comes the most important part - the food! Local farmer's markets are amazing places filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and baked goods, among so much more. Take your time and browse the various stands, ask questions and try new things! When it comes to preparing the food and setting it out - I love this creative idea for serving a salad! The event coordinator made a huge salad for 100 guests and served it in a galvanized steel tub (I would recommend serving it in a plastic tub inside the galvanized for food safety).

Photo: Inspired by This Charcuterie boards are always a hit - and are so fun to make! Fix has a fantastic article and graphic to guide you through crafting the perfect Charcuterie board for your next soiree. Farmer's Markets are excellent sources for lots of great meats, cheeses, and home made jams and sauces for creating one of a kind boards that are sure to amaze your guests.  I hope you've enjoyed the tips and I would love to hear from all of you over on my Facebook page about any soirees or creative tips for throwing the perfect one! 

Photo: Inspired by This

Charcuterie boards are always a hit - and are so fun to make! Fix has a fantastic article and graphic to guide you through crafting the perfect Charcuterie board for your next soiree. Farmer's Markets are excellent sources for lots of great meats, cheeses, and home made jams and sauces for creating one of a kind boards that are sure to amaze your guests. 

I hope you've enjoyed the tips and I would love to hear from all of you over on my Facebook page about any soirees or creative tips for throwing the perfect one! 

5 Tips on Updating Your Entryway the French Way

Sprucing up your entry way is a wonderful way to add curb appeal, increase your personal enjoyment of your home, and it doesn't have to cost a lot! While enjoying my vacation in France, I have come across so many beautiful examples of how the French make an impact on their entryway by making some simple design changes that pay off big time! 

Sprucing up your entry way is a wonderful way to add curb appeal, increase your personal enjoyment of your home, and it doesn't have to cost a lot! While enjoying my vacation in France, I have come across so many beautiful examples of how the French make an impact on their entryway by making some simple design changes that pay off big time! 

The first thing you can do - is paint your front door a beautiful stand out color that accentuates your home and draws attention to your entry way. Every where I look, the doors are either highly decorative or painted a beautiful color - and I absolutely love how it draws your eye! 

The first thing you can do - is paint your front door a beautiful stand out color that accentuates your home and draws attention to your entry way. Every where I look, the doors are either highly decorative or painted a beautiful color - and I absolutely love how it draws your eye! 

This is one of my favorite entry ways! Painted a beautiful white, this door's gorgeous design speaks for itself, while the lanterns and handrails finish off the entryway beautifully! I noticed this is a huge trend here - and the grate in front of the steps even adds to the decor! I think when the season calls for it, some beautiful bright flowers or lush greenery in those planters would make this entryway perfect! 

I love the idea of a statue or planter in a prominent place near your entryway - it creates a lovely focal point and can be a wonderful conversation starter! There are so many options out there to fit every taste, style of home, and budget. I also love the ivy and boxwoods that decorate this home - especially against the stone work. Trimming your boxwoods into unique shapes or even tame ones goes along way toward making your entry way appealing. 

 

Another easy change is your door hardware! There are so many different styles and options available that the choices are nearly limitless. Find a unique option that matches your style of home and get ready for the constant compliments!   

Another easy change is your door hardware! There are so many different styles and options available that the choices are nearly limitless. Find a unique option that matches your style of home and get ready for the constant compliments! 

 

Another fun option is to swap out your shutters for something new and different! I love all the different styles I have seen during this trip and how welcoming the entry ways are! I highly recommend exploring your options and updating your entryway for Spring! I hope you've enjoyed learning how to update your entryway by adding some beautiful French influence! 

Another fun option is to swap out your shutters for something new and different! I love all the different styles I have seen during this trip and how welcoming the entry ways are! I highly recommend exploring your options and updating your entryway for Spring! I hope you've enjoyed learning how to update your entryway by adding some beautiful French influence! 

Celebrating Earthy with Fireclay Sinks

In celebration of our #marchphotochallenge word of the day, Earthy, I wanted to celebrate how beautiful fireclay sinks are and give a quick introduction to them (if you aren't familiar). Fireclay sinks are renowned for being environmentally friendly, beautiful, and can make a dramatic statement in a variety of kitchen styles. They evoke feelings of warmth and family and are commonly associated with farmhouse style kitchens. 

In celebration of our #marchphotochallenge word of the day, Earthy, I wanted to celebrate how beautiful fireclay sinks are and give a quick introduction to them (if you aren't familiar). Fireclay sinks are renowned for being environmentally friendly, beautiful, and can make a dramatic statement in a variety of kitchen styles. They evoke feelings of warmth and family and are commonly associated with farmhouse style kitchens. 

This beautiful cream fireclay sink (courtesy of Blanco) is perfect against the colors in the stone countertops! 

And I love the look of this white sink against the natural beauty of the wood cutting board and countertops. This image (courtesy of Blanco) makes me want to go cook dinner with fresh vegetables from the Farmers Market! 

I made the graphic below, to provide an easy to read summary about fireclay sinks. I think they are so beautiful and utilitarian at the same time - making them a favorite in several designs! Feel free to save the graphic and peruse it at your leisure! I would love to hear your thoughts over on my Facebook page

 

Tips for Starting a New Routine

Tips for Starting a New Routine.png

In honor of today's key phrase for the March Photo a Day Challenge, I interviewed my good friends Katie and Lacey from Fit KC about their tips on starting a new routine and keeping with it! Fit KC offers positive lifestyle training for individuals ready to get in control of their health and fitness. They offer personalized meal and training plans and cheer you on the entire way - I can't say enough good things about them! 

Q:  How do I get into a routine?

A: A healthy routine can be an intimidating thing for some - but it can definitely help jumpstart and sustain healthy lifestyle! To start, we recommend brainstorming your goals.  What do I want to focus on today, this week and this month? How can I strive for constant improvement both physically and mentally? WRITE THEM DOWN! Every goal needs a plan of action... what steps are you going to take to achieve these goals! Next, we recommend to plan out your days according to your goals.  For example, if your goal is to lose weight - plan out your nutrition plan and your workout days! Setting yourself up for future success.  Some jump into a routine too quick and do "too-much" at once which makes them overwhelmed & go back to old habits, so taking baby steps to get into a routine can be extremely beneficial to some.  This could be making one change daily or weekly to better your healthy lifestyle!

Q: How do I keep motivated in my new routine?

A: Staying motivated is a hard task but an important task! We all have some "bad" days (we are human) but when we dig deep and stay focused on our goals - we take forward steps closer to reaching our goals.  Always have your goals written down somewhere where you can read them in times of needed motivation!  Reward yourself when you reach a big goal to keep your motivation high (don't reward yourself with food but with a new pair of shoes or new workout clothes!) Celebrating small victories along the way can help to keep a constant flow of motivation on your journey! Another beneficial way to keep motivated are to include your friends and family in on your goals - they can help to hold you accountable!

Q: What diet tips do you have for someone just starting out on a healthy lifestyle journey?

A: Nutrition is 80% of weight loss success - so your food choices are key to success!! It all starts with the foods you put in your body.  We recommend making small, positive changes each day or each week. For example, staying away from breads for the first week, then the second week adding in more vegetables, then the third week making an awareness of your portion sizes and eating until you are content not FULL (listening to your body).  We always recommend carrying a water bottle with you everywhere so you can keep your body hydrated!

Q: What does our routine look like?

A: Our schedule changes day to day so we always PLAN AHEAD! That is key to our sanity and our healthy lifestyle. We map out our meals at the beginning of the week and prep all of our food for the week so we are always prepared (and never stuck in a bind without food)!  The night before a busy day, we will plan out when we will get our workout in! Even writing down our days ahead helps us mentally stick to our routine! (Think of it like scheduling a meeting with yourself!)

Meet the Designers

Ready to learn a little about who's behind the scenes and the stunning end results here at Shaping Your Space? Julie and Carly took some time to answer a few questions that let us peek into their world while giving insight into design philosophy, where inspiration is drawn from, and even some bonus tips on updating your home!

Meet Julie Baker

Julie Ransopher Baker, Interior Designer

Q. Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you discover what it was and how you knew it was what you wanted to do?

A. Yes, although I didnt realize it until I was in my late 20s.  When I was a kid I was constantly re-arranging my bedroom.  I loved trying my furniture in different configurations and would even flip my bedspreads, take down window treatments whatever I could get away without driving my mother crazy.  In college (desperately struggling studying communications) during my first finals week I stayed up all night re-arranging my dorm room instead of studying.  For some reason it just calmed me down.  Even then I didnt realize what I should have been studying.  It wasnt until years later into my first career that I sat down and really thought about what I would love to do if I could do anything.  Interior design was always in my heart but I didnt have the confidence to go for it then. Finally, at age 30, I went back to school, got the degree and started in my field.  Ive never been happier! 

Drawings of a kitchen remodel (left) and before pic (right)

Drawings of a kitchen remodel (left) and before pic (right)

Q. What is your Design philosophy?

A.  Form follows function.  No matter how beautiful a space is, if it doesn’t function well it’s never going to feel like home.  We can make any space interesting or beautiful but the major elements have to work well for my client to be included in the design.   

 

Q.  Do you have a signature style?

A.  Short answer: Absolutely not.  I design every space specifically for my clients needs, wants and taste.  I always laugh because many clients try to tell me “they have no taste” but it’s just never true.  Everyone has likes, dislikes, needs and wants.  I start there and during the design process I’m always thinking “Give em what they never knew they wanted”.  

 

Q. What are some places of inspiration for you?

A. I feel like a big part of my inspiration for projects comes from paying attention to what’s out there that feels fresh and new but also to what my clients tell me they love.  I believe that for most people there are certain colors, patterns or styles that always feel good to them—throughout their lives.  It has something to do with where they’re from, how they were raised or places they’ve traveled to.  When I’m working with a client I start to notice things around me—everywhere—that would be right for their design.  It can be as simple as a moulding on a door, colors I see in fashion magazine or lighting that represents an era that fits their style.  I’m constantly taking photos, clipping fabrics and making notes on magazine pages that I compile for design boards.

 

Q. Any key influences who inspire you?

A. A favorite quote from a design hero of mine, Sister Parish perfectly describes how she’s influenced my design practice.

“"When someone asks me to help create a room my first reaction, if I do not already know the person, is to try to feel out what he or she really wants the room to be and to understand, if possible, what 'memory', old or new, has brought this idea about."

I truly 'get' this concept and think about it at every client meeting.  The idea of bringing from the past what is good, beautiful and lasting into your home creates a cozy feeling into a home that can’t be achieved any other way.

It really influences what I try and create for my clients. 

 

Q. what are ways to quickly update your home for spring and summer?

A.  Bringing in fresh blooms, herbs, branches or cuttings from outside is a great inexpensive way.  They instantly freshen a space and add an earthy vibe.  I also love to bring in natural elements that give a space texture.  Hide rugs, candles, linen pillow covers, driftwood, metal candlesticks, concrete sculptures from your garden—all of these things bring in the 5 elements of Feng Shui which is a concept I love.

Q.  What brings you happiness in your own home?

A.  My husband Jeff and dog, Milo 😃  Aesthetically, I still love re-arranging and having ‘moving parts’ in my decor.  My husband is a very patient man—I know he doesn’t get why I’m constantly re-arranging, accessorizing and changing things around in our home but thank goodness he’s great about it!  

 

 

Meet Carly La Fevers

Q.  When did you know you had an interest in interior design?

A. I knew I had an interest in interior design ever since I was a kiddo. I was constantly rearranging furniture and turning my sister and I's room into something new. Picking out a new bedspread was a highlight of the year and I specifically remember going through a "jungle phase" (think handmade green streamers and house plants everywhere!) I loved how I was able to alter the feel of the space with the small changes I could make.

Q. What colors are hot for spring and summer? 

A. I love learning about and experimenting with color. The right mix of shades from the same color pallet can turn out amazing. House Beautiful has a fun example! It's so interesting how a trend starts and you then see it reflected in fashion, retail, and throughout the media. There's not a bad place to draw inspiration from! 

Q.  What trends do you see that are hot this year?  which do you see standing the test of time?  Or which trends are coming back (such as mid century modern which has been so popular):

A. Painting in the grey color family has been popular lately, along with minimizing what you have. I think a lot of people are wanting a simplicity that is unique to them. All white bedding will always stand the test of time! Check out what Architectural Digest came up with for more 2016 trends.  On a different note, there is a whole amazing world of wallpaper out there I want people to explore, it's so fun and there are so many incredible artists! 

Q.  What’s the most surprising thing about working in interior design to you?  (clients, different materials, etc.)

A. The most surprising thing about working in interior design so far has been learning about what all is even possible, there was a whole world of tile and materials out there that I had no idea about! 

Q. What do you enjoy the most working in this field?

A. There is little I don't enjoy about working in the field of interior design. Each day is different and comes with it's own set of challenges. Being creative and finding the perfect piece for a client is amazing. I want them to be psyched about their space. Julie always says "Give em what they never knew they wanted" and it's definitely something I strive to do. I truly enjoy the people I work with, such a dedicated, creative, and hardworking group! They inspire me. 
 


Fresh Friday: Gifts for the Men in Your Life

Finding the perfect gift for those special men in your life can be daunting but we've done some research and put together some of the season's best gift ideas for your dad, grandfather, brother, and significant other no matter their stage of life or personal style. 

Your Man: Ax, Espresso Machine, Sonos

Dad: Slippers, Apron, Golf Ball Finder

Gramps: Old Spice, Comb, Echo

Brother: Dartboard, Snow Tube, Home Plate Doormat

Needing More Inspiration? 

The Art of Manliness is a site with all things manly- they have some neat stuff to check out! If you're a DIY kinda gal here are 30 Handmade Gift Ideas.  There's even a recipe to make your own bacon salt! No matter what you end up giving the gentlemen in your life, it's really the thought that goes into personalizing the gift for them that counts. Happy holidays!