1 Cakes & Louie: April 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

NEW: Brilliant Earth Windsor Collection!

To say that I'm a bit obsessed with everything wedding would be a dramatic understatement, and truth be told, I get sad when I don't have some sort of wedding project to be working on - whether it's helping to plan and craft my best friend's wedding, doing freelance invitation design or simply chatting at the lunch table with engaged coworkers.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Brilliant Earth reached out to me to write a post today to help celebrate the launch of their new retro-inspired Windsor Collection. That's right friends - a really incredible company reached out to little old me to write a post for them! Happy Friday to me!

I didn't know a whole lot about Brilliant Earth prior to learning about this collection, but holy moly, I'm in love. The company's mission statement calls out their dedication to socially and environmentally responsible sourcing for their jewelry, and all of their products are handcrafted in America. I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that I spent a good deal of time this week ooohing and ahhing over nearly everything on their website! Can we say "anniversary gift" anyone? (hint hint hubs). I joke, I kid. Kind of.

Brilliant Earth gave me the creative freedom to help launch the beautiful Windsor Collection however I wanted, so I of course took the opportunity to put together a wedding mood board and do a little daydreaming about what my perfect wedding might look like today. Don't get me wrong - I loved every minute of our big day, but isn't it incredible how much your tastes change year after year? If I were planning a wedding right now it would look nothing like ours did two and a half years ago, which makes the daydreaming all the more fun!

all images from Pinterest

I chose Brilliant Earth's Posie diamond ring as my inspiration for this board because I love how it's classic but still has that little something extra special to it. Lots of gold and sparkle and a bit of a vintage feel made up my board for an overall softer palette that's still incredibly fresh and bold in that perfectly understated way. 

Happy weekend all - hope it's a good one.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dining Room Planning

Chatting with a work friend over email today, I realized that my daily shifting of how I feel about this new house adventure in pretty in line with when we bought our first house. One day I'm so excited about how I'm going to decorate a specific room that I can't think about anything else... and the very next I am convinced we should walk away and find a house that doesn't have any issues or setbacks. I suppose if that's the way I feel, we should stop buying foreclosures, huh? Regardless, right this very minute I am excited about the potential this house has, so I'm using the positive attitude to my advantage and dreaming about the dining room.

At our old house, the dining room was used more than any other space. It's where we gathered when we had friends over, it's where we ate dinner when we actually managed to both be home in time to cook, it's where we planned and crafted nearly our entire wedding (we dubbed it Wedding Central at the time). It's where we found out some of our best friends were engaged, it's where we played left-right-center year after year on New Years Eve. And, it's where we signed the paperwork to officially sell that house. Our dining room table has seen a lot of love, and while I'm planning to replace the current set with something new, the memories that come from gathering around the table meal after meal will remain. 

Here's some basic thoughts for the dining room - 

I'm 110% planning on getting (or making?!?) a big reclaimed wood farmhouse-style table for the new house. I absolutely love the idea of something that will look better over time as it inevitably gets dings and scratches (and crayon and crumbs from kiddos down the road) all over it, and I get all warm and fuzzy thinking about friends and their kids squeezing in on a long bench on one side of the table for a birthday party or a holiday. Pinterest is bursting with tutorials to make these tables, so this is a project I can't wait to tackle. 

I'm also more and more drawn to oriental rugs lately, which is a shift from my usual style. I appreciate that something like this is a bit more traditional, and like the idea of something that like the table, will look better over time as it fades and flattens from foot traffic. 

I've loved the West Elm capiz orb pendants since they were introduced, and think two in different sizes clustered together over the table would be a little different and look perfect. 

And oh, the wallpaper. Talk about obsessed. Honestly, I can't even believe I'm allowing myself to think about using this, since it's uber-expensive at $125 a roll, but hear me out!... 

We're fairly certain the dining room was actually a bedroom at some point, as there's a big wide closet with sliding doors on one wall. Knowing that we won't have our beautiful built-in hutch from our previous house that we used for EVERYTHING, I'm planning to remove the doors from the closet and turn it into somewhat of a built-in myself. The bottom half will have cabinets and a countertop of some sort which will automatically gain us a flat surface for a couple of decorative items and a place to set out appetizers or drinks during a party. Above will be simple wall-to-wall white shelves for glassware and the like. And behind those shelves... this gorgeous wallpaper, designed by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Oh Joy! for Hygge & West. SO, since I essentially only need to actually wallpaper half of a closet, and it will be there as long as we own this house... I'm thinking I can justify this purchase as a birthday present for myself this summer (hint hint, hubs)... right?! I have no doubts it would be stunning.

Add in a couple of big prints or a gallery wall opposite the closet, my fabulous bar cart that I cannot wait to get back out of storage and a bunch of friends, and I'm certain our new dining room will be as loved as the last!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Buddy Louie

One of my favorite things ever is when you meet a friend of a friend, and you hit it off so well that eventually, that person just becomes your friend and you can hang out whether or not the mutual connection is there. The one and only Shannon Wyatt has turned into one of those people for me. We met through our friend Rachel, and for awhile, we didn't hang out a whole lot. But lately? We're texting about what knobs she should add to her new dresser, going to Christian music concerts with my kid sister, making plans with the hubs to build a prop for her photography business, grocery shopping together and sharing pizzas (and cheese curds, of course). For someone like me that's never really had a ton of girlfriends, I really treasure the ones I have. Shannon has turned into a really great friend over the last few months, and I'm really grateful for her friendship!

Now on top of being a great friend, Shannon is also BANANAS talented in the photography department. She runs her business out of her studio and mainly focuses on newborn and children as her subjects. I told Dan we need to start saving up now because when we have kids Shannon will obviously be taking their photos on a regular basis. But a few weeks ago, Shannon said she was planning to start offering dog photography and asked if she could use the Buddy Louie as a test subject for her portfolio! I of course freaked out with excitement and insisted that Dan and I take him for a bath the morning of his photo shoot, and I'm so glad we did cause he looks all perfect and fluffy and bright white in his pictures. Shannon loaded Louie up with treats and got some really incredible shots, and I absolutely love how his little personality comes through in them!

Shannon posted a few favorites yesterday to announce the new part of her business for her 3rd anniversary, and thankfully, she said I can share them here as well! 

First up is my absolute number one new favorite photo of all time. I LOVE this picture and have already told Shannon that I HAVE to order a giant print of this for the new house -

Look at his little front teeth! I love that the buddy is totally smiling in this picture. And I adore when his ears perk up like this -

We brought one of the hubby's ties for a few photos, which I got a huge kick out of. Doesn't Louie look so dapper? -

If you have a dog and want to capture little moments like this, I couldn't recommend Shannon enough. You can reach out to her here on her website! And be sure to like her page on facebook and check out her blog and for some absolutely adorable family and newborn shots as well.

Happy Good Friday, friends! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Well friends, a lot has happened since I posted my little daydream about our new kitchen. Most importantly, we had our inspections done on the house and they were terrifying, to say the least. There were some pretty major issues that came up that we weren't prepared for, and it was enough to really stop all of us - the hubs and I, our parents, our realtors and the inspectors - and make us rethink if this house is really the best move for us right now. We are working on getting further information, but we have some pretty big decisions to make in the next few days. 

A big part of me wants to say "Psh. No big deal! It's going to take more than a scary inspection report to scare me away!" After all, the report on our first home was 26 pages long and we still went with it and loved our little house dearly for almost 6 years. What's the fun of homeownership without a few unexpected hiccups, right? But, I also know there's a whole lot more to it than that - namely finding the funds to deal with said hiccups. I am so incredibly in love with this house, but definitely do not want us to get in over our heads.

The good news? Our realtors are fantastic and 110% looking out for our best interest. We're settled in at my gramma's for the time being. I get to go to New York for work next month. And, I've been working on some really exciting freelance projects in the midst of all the madness. I finished up a reception invitation last week and am working on another invitation suite, and am about to start on some wedding vows art that I think is going to be a really fun project! 

Keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for us this week if you think of it. We need all the good vibes we can get while we figure all of this out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kitchen Planning

Alright, I can't help it. I wasn't going to post pictures of the new house yet but I just. Can't. Help. It. I am SO insanely excited about it and I want to start organizing all of the plans I have in my head... so blogging it is!

First up is the kitchen, which I am obsessed with, to say the least. The number of cabinets alone makes me giddy. Then you add in the perfect spot for a breakfast nook, a wall just begging for open shelves, a center island WITH A BUILT IN SHELF FOR A KITCHENAID MIXER, and drawers and slide-out shelves galore... and I am pretty much in kitchen planning heaven.


The lovely hubs has agreed to tackle painting the cabinets white before we even unpack our kitchen things, and with a fresh coat of barely-gray on the walls as well, the space will already look a million times better. I, of course, have more plans than just paint though.

Love the idea of granite counters with butcher block on the island to mix up the finishes a bit...

...and also love the idea of painting the island a dark color to contrast with white cabinets.

I will have to measure, but if there's space to have an overhang on the island, I would love to have stools on one side. At first glance though, I don't think this would work.

I'm ok with the lack of stools... since I have BIG plans to build in a little breakfast nook on the far wall (seen in the last photo of the kitchen above). We left the wood from our pallet couch on the front porch for the new owners, but took the practically-brand-new cushions with us, so I'm planning to repurpose those for the nook! Target has Carlisle dining chairs that would work great here and bring in a nice pop of color. 

The open wall seen in photo 2 above is begging for big long shelves. Part of me likes the idea of wood to compliment the butcher block island, but I'm obviously also drawn to white.

As far as accessories, I'd love to get a big huge print of our rice krispie treats wedding cake to hang on the wall over the breakfast nook, and am also entertaining the idea of a bold wallpaper or stencil on the wall behind the open shelves. I cannot wait to see how this space evolves over time!