Today I am pleased to share with you Sunday Morning Coffee. This is a place to share, learn, explain, dream, and have fun.
Thanks for joining me for Sunday morning coffee. Today I am sharing my weekly thoughts about entertaining, decor, crafts, recipes, and my theme for February … Living Beautifully.
A Little Bit About Me
February is All About Living Beautifully
You may not know this, but every month I have a theme for my blog.
I choose a theme because it gives me a chance to organize my blog and what I want to share each month. It also keeps me focused, which is a good thing (when you have as many ideas as I do!).
The theme for January was “Living with Change”. I talked a lot about change and made a lot of changes in my life and home. I am excited for February as I love thinking of ways to create a comfortable and pretty home for my family.
I love that our family and friends are comfortable in our home. I want our home to be the place where people want to be. When our kids were younger, I wanted our house to be where all of the kids hung out, parents too. This worked so well as it helped us get to know our kids’ friends and be more a part of their lives.
As far as I know, this plan was ok with our boys too. Haha.
Actually, even now that they are in their late twenties, I still hope they want to hang out at our house.
My theme for February is Living Beautifully. To me, the term “living beautifully” doesn’t mean perfect, it means simple and comfortable. When I walk into a room and see my family sitting around a table and laughing or playing a game, that is my definition of beautiful. Our home is at its best when we are all cooking dinner together in our kitchen. Even when it is a complete mess, it is beautiful.
I wanted to live beautifully this winter and add a fun and new color. I love that I added a lot of pink to our home this year and that my family loves how it looks. Even if they are all boys!
Living beautifully also isn’t something that happens overnight. My 100 year old home is our third house and we have lived here for twenty-one years. It has been years of planning and decorating. We took our time because of our budget. We were also very busy raising three boys.
Speaking of budget, I bought our dining room table and chairs at the Pottery Barn outlet. It was 70% off the retail price. I think I love this table and chairs even more because I found such a bargain!
Living beautifully is all about creating a home that my family loves. It has to be comfortable and offer both gathering spaces and private areas too. This summer when everyone was home, our boys were working in the dining room, Dave’s office, the third floor, and the family room. I must say our dining room did not look like this when it was an “office” this summer.
But I love that.
One of the most interesting things about redecorating is how my style and tastes have changed. Some of my previous redecorating choices aren’t anything close to what I like now. But that’s okay!
I have shared a lot of before and after photos. As bad as the before photos are, I have to remember that I decorated those too. Yikes!
Let me show you a few examples.
This is the least dramatic change. But see those gold couches? All I did was have slipcovers made to hide the color. It was a great solution to hide the gold couches I bought many years ago.
Our master bedroom looks very different. And yet all I did was change the soft goods and redo the fireplace.
I was nervous about painting one hundred year old wood in my office but I am so glad I did. I did not like my dark wood office. A little white paint made the most dramatic improvement. I love it now so much, especially since it is officially my craft room.
About three years ago I changed our fireplace from a gold-colored marble to a beautiful white marble. And yes, I did choose that gold marble almost twenty years ago!
It still surprises me how I chose to decorate all of these “before rooms”. But I was younger, less experienced, and my tastes were developing.
Don’t forget that our style preferences change. Our budgets change. And, we are always introduced to new styles online, in magazines, and on social media. It gets a little crazy and hard to make decisions!
Do you see the flowered sectional above that is in our family room before photo?
I loved that fabric. I bought it in downtown Los Angeles and thought about it for months. Did I want curtains, a duvet cover, or a new slipcover? I loved it so much that I wanted to use it in the right way. Eventually, I had a slipcover made. That fabric was in our family room for 17 years! By the time I had it replaced it was faded and looked awful.
How can you strive to follow my theme of living beautifully? Determine what would make your home “beautiful”. For my family, it means comfort, simplicity, and neutral decor. A few years ago I had slipcovers and bedcovers made in a lot of very neutral colors. This allows me to add fun colors (such as pink) every season.
Be patient. Start with one room. Simplify and shop your own home first. Don’t focus on what you want or need to change. Instead, be happy with what you have. And make changes slowly.
Finally, enjoy the journey. To be honest, the end result is a bit sad to me. That’s why decorating our home is a never-ending project. I don’t think I could accept that we were actually “done”!
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Around Our Home
In the Kitchen
Our kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we start and finish our day, every day.
We remodeled our kitchen 21 years ago. At the time, all of my friends had kitchens with dark cabinets and granite countertops.
All I wanted was a white farmhouse kitchen. The cabinets and island were custom built and we used honed marble on our countertops. I get asked all of the time how I take care of them and I am embarassed to say, nothing. We keep them clean and that’s about it.
Our island has a butcher block top. In twenty one years I haven’t really used the island top as a cutting board. I put cutting boards on top of my big cutting board. I know it’s silly but my island looks great because of it.
The backsplash tiles are super cheap tiles white subway tiles.
I love everything about our kitchen,
I love that my island has electricity. The lamp on the island is so awesome for a more “moody” effect at times.
Our counter tops are 2″ taller than the standard height. We are a very tall family (I am 5’10” tall and my boys are 6’4″, 6’5″, and 6’6′ tall.) This is probably the smartest thing I did in our kitchen.
Our island is large, it is 3′ x 6′. I would have a larger one if it would fit, but this works! There are three drawers on the front side and drawers and cabinets on the back side. I get asked all of the time what the back side of our island looks like.
Here is a better photo.
The funniest thing about our kitchen is that it hasn’t changed in twenty-one years. The paint color (Farrow and Ball Cooking Apple Green) is the same. The kitchen cabinets are the same paint color too.
The only thing we have done is replace a dishwasher, garbage disposal, and insta-hot water faucet. I just replaced my fifteen-year-old rugs a few weeks ago.
I doubt we will change anything for a very long time.
A Tip for Your Home
Keep a Home Project List
Do you have a list of projects for your home?
You should. We all need a list of all of the little and big things in our house that need attention.
Let’s face it, every home has items in it that need to be fixed. Maybe there is a broken handle, a squeaky door, or a leaky faucet. In our one hundred and six-year-old home, we have those kind of issues come up all of the time.
Of courset I also have a list of things that I want to change.
Here is my list for the electrician:
- Add recessed lighting in the family room
- Add outlet in the butler’s pantry
- Add an outlet (or two) in the dining room (we only have one in the dining room … in the center of the floor, under the rug.)
- Fix the recessed lights in our master closet – every day a different light is working, but never all four. Hmmm.
Let me share a few more items with you.
These lockers are in our family room, adjacent to our family room table. I do get comments that they aren’t that nice looking. And I kind of agree. I will be painting these soon. And I cannot wait.
This “dresser” is in our dining room. I know, I don’t think you have ever seen it. As you can see, I would love to take off the dark stain. In fact, I started on the right side.
I kind of need to finish this project.
If you keep a House To Do list then you can prioritize the tasks and tackle them bit by bit. Be prepared that the priorities will change as all urgent projects will undoubtedly move to the top of the list.
But that’s ok. If you are like me, then you know how much fun it is to cross anything off of a list.
Reflections on the Week
Last week was a lot of fun. It was very Valentine’s Day focused because I wanted to share my ideas early so you had time to try them!
I shared six blog posts. All of them involved pink for Valentine’s Day. Good thing I chose pink as my winter accent color!
Here are my blog posts from last week.
My Favorite Things
In the Craft Room – Sunday Morning Coffee
Janine at Happy Happy Nester made the cutest Valentine’s Day cookies and then turned them into Valentine’s Day cards.
Create this fun Valentine’s Day Card cookie.
It’s a cute card and a treat all in one.
My friend Karianne at Thistlewood Farms shared some wonderful ideas on her blog! Here are some easy last-minute Valentine gift ideas for you to enjoy this weekend.
Leanna at Life By Leanna made 4-Minute Easy Air Fryer Heart Donuts for Valentines Day.
I am so going to make these!
Accounts I Love to Follow on Instagram
- Diane at PineyCreekFarmhouse
- Jennifer – TheRamblingRedhead
- Holli at BeesnBurlap
- Gaby at MissGHandmade
Things I Love for Under $25
Good Things From Martha
Do you hate trying to get labels and stickers off of your household items?
Martha Stewart has a solution, using a household item you probably have at home right now. Her method also doesn’t require harsh chemicals or other costly cleaners.
My Favorite Comments on the Blog
Mary: My father is going through some serious health issues and our family has been very worried and feeling very down lately. I needed a little something to cheer up my day a bit and decided to come here on your blog. Just looking at these lovely cards and your Valentine cookies just lifted my spirits so much. Leslie you have no idea how your beautiful stories and pages on here mean so much to so many of us. They’re a little respite from some difficult times.
Leslie: Mary! I am so sorry you are going through this with your father as it is such a difficult time. I am so thankful that my blog has given you comfort and creative ideas. This means the world to me.
Kathy: Your blog brings such a breath of fresh air to my daily reading. I have loved seeing your dinner parties photos on the beach for a long time now and wondered about your beach house so this remodeling journey will be delightful to follow with you. It’s refreshing you believe in why you own the beach house – keeping family together. That speaks volumes for the relationship you wish to sustain and keeping the coffee table in your home just the way your boys want to remember it.
Kathy: Thank you! We are excited about the beach house remodel but it’s going to be a lot of work. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words.
Sandi: I am so excited I found you, it is the sun in my day to read your blog daily. You are truly a talented, sharing, person! Your homes are beautiful and when covid is over you are on my bucket list to go to Texas. Amazing blog, I love it!!!
Leslie: Thank you Sandi. I am so grateful that you like my blog. I do hope you can enjoy our Waco home someday. It really is wonderful.
One Healthy Tip
Ok, maybe I have three healthy tips. I just can’t help myself.
Ever since I mentioned that we are eating healthier I have had a lot of questions about our diet. Today I wanted to share three small changes you can make to your diet that will make a huge difference!
The easiest change is to replace your butter with Country Crock Plant Based Butter. I cannot tell the difference between this plant based butter and real butter. It comes in a tub or sticks. Just try it. And let me know what you think.
Another item we love is Impossible burgers. Everyone in our family agrees they are by far the best plant-based burgers available. Last night I made two burgers, by adding fresh cut onion, garlic, and pink salt. I cooked them for ten minutes in our air fryer and they tasted amazing!
Himalayan Sea Salt not only looks pretty (and matches my decor), but it is also more healthy for you. I do have to say that salt, in general, should be minimally used. But if you are going to use it, consider this.
Pink Himalayan salt has more beneficial minerals than sea salt. While sea salt contains bits of 72 particles, pink Himalayan salt has “all 84 essential trace elements required by your body,”.
Next week I am sharing Valentine’s Day breakfast ideas, a Valentine’s Day tart (that looks way too pretty for an easy recipe), Mercury glass hearts, a Valentine’s Day Table for the family, a beautiful berry pie, and a 30-minute craft.
Catch up on Sunday Morning Coffee
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 5 – Our Beach House in Ventura, CA
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 4 – The Story of My 100 Year Old Home
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 3 – I Think I Might Be Martha’s Biggest Fan
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 2 – A Tribute to My Mom
- Sunday Morning Coffee Volume 1 – How Chip and Joanna Influenced My Life
Links to Items in This Post
For those of you asking about the FAMILY coffee cup, click here to learn where to find more.
Pin the Sunday Morning Coffee image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!