Layering Home Accessories

Layering accessories in your living room


I’m doing it.  I am legitimately sort of making over my living room.  I am not buying all new furniture or anything like that but I am trying to make it more homey and also fit my husband’s and my style better.  I was over at Lauren’s house last week and it is so easy to shoot blog photos there.  The reason is because there are little styled vignettes all around her house.  I am certain that such styled areas would not work in my house thanks to 4 very busy little boy hands, but I think that is key to having a house feel more lived in. It is also a way to showcase your style.  The items above would totally make my living room feel like “me”.  Trust me, my husband will be represented too.  He likes all this stuff.  He just doesn’t know it yet.  Wink.

The thing I noticed about Lauren’s house is that she layers different textures and colors and it appears effortless.  A stack of books is the perfect vase for a tray topped with a picture frame and candle.  A mix of throw blankets make the couch seem super inviting.  And plants.  She usually has fresh flowers or succulents in and around her living room.  I love how it feels (although all of my stuff is going to be fake since I have a black thumb and flower allergies.)

Tiered stand with succulents  .  Voluspa Candle  .  Michelle Armas art canvas  .  Abe Lincoln bust  .  Bleached picture frame  . Fashionable Selby  .   Fleur Wood – Food Fashion and Friends  .  Ikat fleece throw  .  Gold splatter acrylic box  .  Black faceted tray

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

Fashionable Kids in Orange Coast Magazine


orange-coast-1It’s not everyday that your kids get asked to be in a photo shoot for a magazine.  So when Orange Coast Magazine asked if our boys could be in their “cool kids” article we were pretty excited.  They shot it a few months ago at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.  My boys and I got there a bit early so we hung out in the lobby until it was time to get started.

orange coast mag shoot st. regisThe boys were all kinds of interested with the huge fireplace.  The St. Regis is a REALLY nice place and I was so grateful that my littles didn’t run amok.

st. regis hotelThe staff at Orange Coast Magazine provided snacks for the kids and made sure that everything ran really smoothly.  There were something like 30 kids so you can imagine that that could have gone sideways pretty dang easily.

orange coast magazineThe kids made a new friend.  They instantly bonded over her cool shades and rad shoes.

What the boys wore (none of these items are sponsored):

On my youngest (in the middle) : T-shirt by Mini and Maximus (old collection, sold out I think), DC Shoes Jeans, Nike SB P Rod Black and Gold Sneakers, Neon Orange Schwings!

On my oldest (on the right) : Sunglasses from The Children’s Place (similar on sale for $1.99!), Lego Black Flag T-shirt by Hatch For Kids, blue pants from H & M, Vans (similar here).

photographer for orange coast magazineThis is the photographer that was able to get all of the kids to cooperate and get a GREAT picture out of it.  Color me impressed.

orange coast magazine shootI mean…

stylish kidsThe parents also worked really hard to get all the kids to smile, look in one direction and not run away (the littlest kids…and my youngest son.  I’m pretty sure he knew I had Skittles as a bribe in my bag and he was intent on getting them).

magazine photo shootSee that fake sad face on him?  He never once shed a tear but “cried” almost the whole time. Exhausting.

stylish boys And then we grabbed a quick family photo before heading home.  Look who is happy now?  Ain’t no future in yo frontin’, M.

Cover-of-Orange-Coast-MagazineSo if you see this cover, in a store near you, go ahead and thumb through it.

Thank you for having us Orange Coast Magazine!!  It was a really fun experience!


Personal Style – Coming in to Focus

personal styleYes.  This picture is blurry.  But there is a reason I decided to use it anyway.  I think it perfectly sums up where I’m at with finding my personal style.  You remember I did a style coaching session right?  And while I came away with an end goal of how I want to dress, there is a definite transitional phase as you really get the hang of what fits in your style profile.  This photo was taken when I went to a blog networking event.  This was a real risk for me.  Although I LOVE the dress (my friend Carole gave it to me and it fit me like a glove) I haven’t worn a dress that short in years.  I know, it’s not even that short.  But it was out of my comfort zone.  But I paired it with my favorite pair of black booties and felt like I looked pretty cute.  I paired it with a black leather jacket of my husbands that has a black sweat material hood.  I felt like it perfectly fit the look that I love:  a little rock, a little tough, casual, put together.  So while this outfit worked it is still not super easy for me to put outfits together.

I still find things in my closet that do not belong.  I really need to do another round of cleaning out.  Every time I walk in, I see things, that while they are cute, they don’t belong in my closet.  This will continue to be an ongoing process.  And I find it really exciting!  It is such a great way to learn more about myself.  And while before I assessed my style, I loved fashion, it is almost more fun now when I see something that I just KNOW is my style.  So I’ll keep plugging away.  Do you have a clearly defined sense of style for yourself?

A Stylish and Practical Family Home

FTC DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT:  Cupcakes and Cutlery aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.pretty wicked momsYou guys!  This is why I am a blogger.  So this new reality show, Pretty Wicked Moms, is premiering June 4th on Lifetime.  And I got to see it already.  That may not sound like a big deal to you but I LOVE reality shows.  Like a lot.  And I always have to watch at least the first episode to see if I need to set it up to record every week (well, except all the dumb men’s shows like Ice Road Truckers or Swamp Loggers).  I will definitely be recording Pretty Wicked Moms.  I can’t give any details away or share a recap of the episode I saw.  Let’s just say these ladies are best frenemies.  And I’m captivated.  One thing is for sure, these ladies make being super stylish a goal.  So stylish, they wear heels at all times.  And totter after their kids in them.  To me that doesn’t seem very practical but hey, whatever works.

In that vein, Lifetime asked me to share my tips for keeping a stylish, practical home while raising a family.  This post comes at a great time as we have only been in our new home 2 weeks.  So while my home is not in the finishing stages of decorating, I have been spending a lot of my time thinking about how to show my style in my home when there are two little boys running amok.

chevron bedspreadTip 1:  LOVE everything in your home.  Or at least REALLY like it.

My new-found interest in home design started when I went through a personal style camp earlier this year.  It became clear to me that while my wardrobe should represent my design aesthetic, so should my home.  This move was the catalyst to actually make some changes.  And while nothing that I have purchased is expensive (a far cry from the homes these PWM’s – Pretty Wicked Mom’s, duh – live in…) it is the first time my style is showing through in my home.  A huge thing that just clicked for me is that you should love everything you surround yourself with.  Don’t settle.  While most of our budgets won’t allow a complete make-over, if there are things that you want, make a list and save up for them.  Change out items as you can until you love your space.

We got rid of a ton of items before we moved.  Things we had been hanging on to, just to hang on to.  But when we stripped ourselves of those things it really opened my mind to what I did want to surround myself with.  It is becoming clear that I’m a black and white stripe-aholic.  LOVE it.

bathroom towels and rugTip 2:  Take risks in the least risky places in your home.

Oh hey, more black and white stripes!  This is our master bathroom.  Pretend you don’t see the stacked moving boxes in the mirror there.  And I’d like to note that I didn’t set out to match the towels to my quilt but after much searching, I realized that nobody makes a great patterned towel except for Missoni, which are just a bit out of my price range.  While I would never have put any sort of light-colored rug in my house before with all the foot traffic and food spilling, I decided that this room was the most logical home for it.  It is probably the least used area of the house.  With my youngest child being 4 1/2, I felt like it was ok to start decorating less for the kids and more for myself.  BUT!  I’m not crazy.  This rug wouldn’t last two minutes in the front of the house.  Here I can still enjoy the rug and it’s lifespan will be significantly longer.

closet areaTip 3:  Create kid-free zones

It is ok to create areas that are off-limits to the kids.  My walk in closet is one such area.  I am looking forward to adding some art to the wall behind my dresser and love that I can leave things out on a tray and they don’t go missing.  This is a space I can go when I need to take a breath, when I don’t want to see a toy and when I want to feel like a grown up.  The kids know they are not to be in here.  Except for sometimes when I am getting ready and my youngest puts on all my cocktail rings, calls them “finger shields”, and acts like a super hero with the world’s strongest fingers.  THAT is funny stuff.  Similarly, the kids aren’t free to roam around the kitchen.  I know that is an area that I can display “nicer” items without fear of them breaking in a flying Angry Bird deluge.

kitchen matTip 4:  Shop in all departments for the best selection

Previously, I had a black kitchen mat from the kitchen mat section of our local home goods store.  Boring.  Sure I was being practical but it didn’t add anything special to the decor.  For this house I spent some time online and checked out rugs from several stores.  I came across this one from Urban Outfitters (no longer on the site but this one is similar) and decided it was just what I was looking for.  It is super bright and busy so it should hide spills well and it makes being in the kitchen more fun.  It really does.  And since we are in a rental, there are certain things we just have to deal with, like the worn cupboards and old faucet.  The rug really makes a big statement and hopefully detracts a bit from the things that could use some improvement.  May I also suggest having your grout professionally cleaned once a year?  I just had someone out to do the house and it completely changed the look of the kitchen.  It cost about $100 for the square footage of tile we have and it was TOTALLY worth it!

pop of color air plantTip 5:  Add some green and some pops of color

I have never had the inclination to have plants in my home before.  I never wanted to have yet another thing that I had to worry about.  But I’m craving green in the house right now.  I think it will make it feel more finished without setting little knick knacks everywhere that will just collect dust.  And adding little pops of color around the house are a really fun way to add interest without making a huge commitment like you would buying a crazy rug or large piece of artwork.  I will have you note that this adorable little air plant by Bird and Feather is placed up on the window ledge in my front bathroom.  I just know that if it was any lower, my boys would use it as a baseball.  See practical and stylish.

kids collection Tip 6:  Set up your kids toys as a casual display

The kid’s rooms are pretty small.  And while I would prefer all the toys to be put away, it is just not practical.  I selected some toys that “go together” to create a little collection that is set out for display on top of the dresser.  Know that anything “out” will get played with and that it will not always looks this way.  Kid’s toys SHOULD be played with but they can also look styled at the end of the day.  Clean up is easy as you just have to put them back on the dresser.  Kid’s rooms should be playful and have kid’s items but can also be a place to share age appropriate art and collectibles (on high shelves).  You can also keep the room to your style standards by choosing some rad bedding and a great rug.

Ok – now here is the trailer for Pretty Wicked Moms!  You’re welcome.

Tune in to watch parenting like you’ve never seen before with the first episode of Pretty Wicked Moms on Tuesday, June 4, at 10:00 pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

FTC DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT:  Cupcakes and Cutlery aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.






Becoming You: Personal Style Camp by The Wardrobe Code

becoming you image

For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself.  I was very tempted to go dig out my old yearbooks to share with you a little background on my style story.  In 8th grade I was named ‘Best Dressed’.  Yup.  I’m thinking about adding it to my resume.  Fast forward to senior year of high school when I was chosen ‘Hippest Dressed’.  Fashion has always been important to me but even more so, my style was what set me apart.  I thrifted and paired vintage pieces with J. Crew.  I had custom Vans made and wore men’s white tank tops.  I just wore what made me happy and took lots of risks.  But somewhere along the way, I lost my style.  I don’t blame the children but certainly you have less time to focus on yourself.  It became all about ease and comfort.  I pretty much stopped wearing dresses or skirts and stuck to jeans and t-shirts until a wicked muffin top set in.  To remedy that, (I mean who has time to exercise?), I wore flowing shirts to hide my problem areas.  I called it free-spirited but it was really just unflattering and sloppy.

Within the past 6 months I have begun to put a little more effort in to my clothes.  I want ME back.  But who am I now?  I was really struggling with this.  I would buy pieces that I liked but would never wear them because I didn’t know what to wear it with.  And Fall has always been hard for me to dress for.  I don’t wear tennis shoes, own virtually no socks and have one cozy sweater.  So mostly I turned to sweatshirts and jeans and Ugg boots.  Yes, I wear Uggs in California.  I’m a disgrace.  And dressing for “work” functions or blogging conferences was always stress inducing.  I could put a few good looks together but they were sort of all over the map and not cohesive.  So when it was time to start thinking about packing for Alt Summit, I decided to reach out to a local wardrobe consultant, Nicole of The Wardrobe Code and see if she would want to collaborate on a post.

In the beginning, I had hoped that Nicole would just come over and tell me what to wear.  But she wanted me to do her online consulting program, Becoming You.  The program was done via Skype once a week for 4 weeks (or you can do a 2 week option) and I had homework and surveys to take.  She promised that when it was done, I would be able to dress myself confidently.  We dove right in so we could fit in all the sessions before I had to pack for the conference.

Closet before Wardrobe CodeBy the end of the sessions she said that I would feel confident in my personal style, a style that I could be consistent with.  But first the closet needed to get organized to make it as easy as possible to get dressed in the morning.  As you can see, it needed to be done.  She really took a look at my lifestyle and knew that in terms of getting ready, everything needs to be accessible and not require a lot of thinking.  She laid out the plan of how to organize the clothes and then gave me some homework.  Utilizing Pinterest and my own clothes, we were able to start decoding my style.  We didn’t edit pieces at this point as my style was not fully defined.  We talked a lot about what worked and didn’t work in my closet and she determined that I was shopping in the wrong stores.  Hullo – duh.  I’m not 21 anymore.  There are better stores suited for me and my look.  I don’t know why I couldn’t see that, but she was able to point it out.  It was really like fashion therapy.  I learned a lot about myself as a person in our sessions.

Style Muse board

And then we were finally to the point of figuring out my style muse.  It was hard to do at first, but once you identified one person who exemplified the style you were drawn to on the board, it lead you to others that were a natural fit.  And I have to say that the people I originally put on the board ended up falling off as I really dialed in my inspiration.  And yes, there is a man on my board.  The style aesthetic that I love is classy boho with a little mix of casual glam with a hint of rock and roll.  And it is still evolving.  Your style has to work in your own life not just your head.  I realized the glam can’t be from the shoes.  I walk my son to school everyday.  I’m not wearing gorgeous pumps.  But there are other options and I realized that adding a note of “skateboard” in to the wardrobe made a lot of sense for my family, my routine and my surroundings.  I’m telling you, once this Muse Board was put together, my fashion life began to change for the better.

Editing Shoes

Since I now had a path to follow in terms of how I wanted to dress, I was free to edit out pieces that just didn’t fit with the style profile I wanted to create (or that was always there just trying to come out!).  This was super easy and super hard at the same time.  I was able to quickly get rid of a ton of stuff that I was just plain hoarding (no one needs that many pairs of black leggings or shoes that you haven’t touched in 3 years).  But when it came down to getting rid of perfectly cute pieces that don’t fall in line with my “look,” I got all sweaty.  I must confess that this will be an ongoing process for me.  I have kept more pieces than I probably should.   And I have even seen, since the end of the sessions, why you take the pieces out.  You don’t need old fall backs.  And you see how much easier it is to get dressed in the morning if your wardrobe works altogether.  You can mix and match and you have a cohesive look.  Since finishing the Personal Style Camp I found me!  And it is liberating!  When I went to Alt Summit, I felt so confident in my outfits.  I didn’t second guess them and had an amazing time due in part to the fact that I was just being me.  And while I took note of what others were wearing, I didn’t compare myself to them.  That was such a change from a conference I went to last year where I felt just OK with what I was wearing.  Last week I went to a work function for my husband and wore an outfit that I felt good in and had an enjoyable evening.  Who cares what the other girls are wearing.  This is me.  And I’m super happy with it!

I did my editing in a few rounds and like I said there is still a bunch to go!  Here is what I donated so far:

23 pairs of shoes, 33 shirts, 4 pairs of shorts, 7 dresses, 2 skirts, 10 pairs of pants, most of my jewelry and there is still more to go.  As I get more comfortable with putting the looks together I can see what I don’t need to hold on to anymore.

30 days of outfitsFor the final session the homework was to put 30 outfits together.  The reason being that it will help take the guess work out of dressing in the morning.  Oh and let me mention that she and I had previously spent some time going over what pieces make up an outfit.  Mind blowing!  And totally helpful!  All of that came in to play when putting these looks together.  And while I am not in a position to add a bunch of new items to my wardrobe, I have been able to start making a list of the holes that need to be filled in.  No more will I just go to a store and buy something that might work.  I will have things that will absolutely work with my entire wardrobe.  While I was able to put together some great looks, I see how it will become easier with practice.  And when I have some time I hang out in my closet and try to match things up in new ways to see if I can create even more outfits.

Here is what I still need for my wardrobe.  Good thing my birthday is in April:

Black Converse sneakers, skinny jeans in a dark denim, tie shoe in a neutral color, blouses, knee high flat black boots, jewelry in metal tones with organic stones and some sparkle.

closet after wardrobe codeMy closet is much less crowded.  I can see and get to everything.  And I know that almost all of what is in here fits my personal style.  I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to Nicole for having me try out this program.  No joke, it has been totally life changing and has energized me in all areas of my life.  I found me.  And that is huge and carries over in to so many areas.  That was totally unexpected.  If you are at all interested in participating in this Personal Style Camp yourself I encourage you to do it now!!  Nicole has just launched the program and raised prices but she has provided a coupon code for my readers for the next week.  It will be one of the best things you ever do for yourself.  I feel totally empowered and ready to take on the world.  And it all started with a clothing consultation.

color and patternI do remember in one of our sessions I complained about wearing a lot of neutrals.  Clearly that problem was all me as my closet says otherwise…

Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions about the course.  I tried not to be overly gushy in this post but I am in love with this service.  cupcakesandcutlery at gmail dot com.

Go sign up for it now to take advantage of the coupon codes!  Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

$25 discount on the 2-session package.  Total price is $150.  Use code:  CUPCAKE2

$50 discount on the 4-session package.  Total price is $300.  Use code:  CUPCAKE4

Coupon codes expire February 21, 2013.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Nicole!  You really have changed my life and I am so grateful that you were willing to let me try out your course!

Disclosure: On occasion I receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence my point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect my experience. The opinions are my own.