...because home doesn't happen overnight.

bedside book

My kids are out of school next week. Spring break always sneaks up on me! Initally, we hadn’t planned on going anywhere, but at the last minute I booked an Airbnb rental. We’re excited to explore a new area and spend time together, but it looks like the weather is going to feel more like winter than spring. We’ll take what we can get! If nothing else, it will be a great excuse to cozy up with a pile of books.

I just finished When Breath Becomes Air and it was beautiful. I can’t stop thinking about it. Steve is reading it now, and I can’t wait for him to finish so we can discuss it.

If you’re interested, here are a few books I’ve read and/or reread over the past year and would highly recommend…

book recs

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating


Simple Matters

Cabin Porn

Big Magic

The Big Tiny


The Inner Game of Tennis

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Not shown, I borrowed it from a local library after my favorite librarian told me it changed her life.)

As you can see, my personal library tends to be heavy on the non-fiction. While I enjoy it, I think I need to spice things up with more fiction. We’re loading up on books before we leave, so here’s my question for you: Do you have any book recommendations? Have you read any books recently that have stuck with you? Feel free to share fiction and non-fiction suggestions. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

P.S. – Good reads for home lovers.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

If you’ve been following along over the years, you’ve heard me tout professional designers like Jessica Helgerson, Emma Reddington and Amber Lewis. They are some of my favorite women to turn to when I’m looking for decorating inspiration or in need of interior eye candy. I study their work and take mental notes on everything from paint colors and furniture placement to artwork and textile mixes. Even though they’re usually working with a bigger budget, their designs can be a sounding board when I’m making selections for my home or a client’s.

I’m always looking for other designers to follow and in 2015 (I wrote 2016 when signing off on the kids’ homework yesterday and it felt so strange!), I fell in love with Samantha Sacks.

sam sacks design 2

This modern-meets-vintage kitchen is what did me in but, really, I’ve been admiring Sacks’s work for years and just now put two and two together that the same person is behind many of my favorite spaces.

sam sacks design 1

When I think of Sacks’s designs, the words modern, mixed, natural, global, unique and livable come to mind – with emphasis on livable. Being a mom of three with a fourth furry “kid” underfoot, Sacks has a knack for creating family-friendly interiors. Busy kids, big dogs, muddy boots, backpacks, homework, toys and even snack time are all taken into consideration.

Hard-wearing materials like oiled wood, natural stone and durable upholstery are utilized often. IKEA products reside amongst splurges like statement lighting. Architectural elements are balanced yet rarely exactly symmetrical to keep things from feeling too perfect. Accessories and artwork are brought in in carefully considered quantities to achieve a personal yet uncluttered vibe. Mixing new and modern with vintage and global keeps everything feeling warm and interesting. (Sacks is particularly fond of upcycling old doors.) All these elements work together to create interiors that really speak to me and my love for all things casual and cozy.

Sacks’s work has been featured in past issues of House & Home and Style at Home but I especially love touring her rooms in video form. The video tours give a better sense of floor plans and scale, and I almost always notice a thing or two not evident in still photos. Here are some virtual room tours from Samantha Sacks for more inspiration. They include client spaces along with Sacks’s current and previous homes. It’s fun to see the pieces that made the move from her previous home to her current one. Proof that truly great pieces are extremely versatile!

A Modern-Meets-Vintage Kitchen

An Elegant Midcentury Modern Mix

Sacks’s Current Tudor Home

Sacks’s Previous Rowhouse Home

Sacks’s Previous Family Kitchen

Is there a designer you find yourself turning to time and again for ideas and inspiration? I’d love to hear your favorites.

P.S. – See my roundup of favorite real home tours from last year. I still ogle them.

images: 1) Donna Griffith 2) Michael Graydon, Samantha Sacks


The winner is Katie who would choose the Vibrance bouquet in remembrance of her mother.


What are your guilty pleasures? I have a few.

*Slipping into freshly laundered bed linens.

*Buying any and all shelter-related glossies and / or books.

*Staying up way too late reading said glossies and / or books.

*Letting the boys play Minecraft for the 30 minutes of peace and quiet.

*Making spontaneous trips to Trader Joe’s.

*Taking advantage of Ikea’s kids-eat-free Tuesdays to “just look.”

*Driving alone.

*Eating alone in my car.

*Eating anything slathered in cookie butter.

*Eating anything covered in dark chocolate and considering it healthy. Because, antioxidants!

*Binge-watching “Breaking Bad” via my sister’s Netflix account.

*Searching “Danish” and “midcentury” on eBay.

*Allowing Mabrey to skip her nap in anticipation of an extra early bedtime.

*Locking the bathroom door.

*Subscribing to Amazon Prime.

*Pretend-searching for houses on realtor.

*Pretend-searching for vacation rentals on airbnb.

*Hiding Mabrey’s favorite book for a week because I can’t bear to read it one. more. time.

*Getting dressed, curling my hair, putting on makeup then staying home and thinking I clean up nice.

*Blasting pop music in the car and singing along at the top of my lungs while my kids look on in horror.

*Making a weekly batch of chocolate oatmeal no-bakes “for the kids.”

*Texting Steve to pick up takeout on his way home from work.

*Daydreaming about all the things I will do when I’m an empty nester.

*Rationalizing this: cleaning house = exercising.

*Sneaking a drink of water during my least favorite parts of Tracy Anderson DVDs.

*Stalking vintage rugs on etsy.

*Stalking houses in real life.

*Showing up to my tennis drill early for the extra 15 minutes of childcare.

*Swearing by fancy pens because they make my horrible handwriting look better. (In reality, my handwriting is a lost cause.)

*Keeping fresh flowers in the main bathroom and on my nightstand.

(I could go on and on…)


Sometimes those fresh flowers come all the way from a mineral rich volcano in Ecuador BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT. Ha! In all seriousness, The Bouqs is a new and easy flower delivery service that delivers fresh bouquets directly to your door from the farm. The farm practices sustainable, responsible farming as certified by The Rainforest Alliance. Flowers are cut the day before they’re shipped so they arrive fresh and last longer. (The bouquets are so fresh that it sometimes takes a few days for the flowers to fully open.) Prices are competitive because there are no middle men and no tacky add-ons like stuffed animals and candy. All you get is a lush bouquet wrapped in simple kraft paper.


bouqs 8


Order a bouquet for yourself or send one to someone special. I divvied up a larger bouquet into three smaller ones: one for the main bathroom and two for Mabrey’s caregivers at tennis. I am so grateful for their help. (And those extra 15 minutes of me time!)

Are fresh flowers one of your guilty pleasures, too? The Bouqs is offering up a six-month delivery service to one lucky reader. See entry details below.

PRIZE: one six-month flower delivery service, courtesy of The Bouqs.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Visit The Bouqs here, register for an account and browse the selection. Then leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite bouquet.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 6th, 2015. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, April 7th.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: I’d love to hear your guilty pleasures! No judgments ;)

*This post sponsored in part by The Bouqs. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog! Please use the discount code MARCHBLOOM to score 15% off your order.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking