home tour: living room!

Please note, the artwork in this post was provided free of charge to me by Minted
All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

I am SO SO excited to kick off a home tour series here on the blog today! As many of you know, about a year ago (August, 2017) we purchased a new-to-us home and promptly got to work on renovating it.  This 'project' had been in the works for quite a few years when we knew we had outgrown our previous home as a family.  We searched high and low for a home that would work for our family as we moved out of the baby and toddler stage and into the teenager stage.  As it stands now, we plan for this house to be our home until we empty nest.  I absolutely LOVE looking at houses and planning and renovating them.  Yes, even through the tears, the frustration and the busted budgets.  I truly love the process... so I'm sure there will be some more amazing renovations in our future... heck, even this house isn't technically "done" yet. Are they ever?  And to keep things super interesting, I will even include some "before" photos at the very end... because who doesn't love a good before and after!?!?  Then stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for the rest of the main floor... the dramatic kitchen renovation, the super cozy dining room we pulled together, the family room that makes my heart pitter patter and the interesting thing we did with our "eat-in" kitchen!  Also, feel free to let me know if you have any questions about anything in the room!

So, the living room!  This room was the most difficult to decorate and it's so ironic because a "living room" was the number one wishlist item on our 'new house' list. I wanted both a living room and a family room on the main floor of our home - so that with growing kids we could all 'be together' but not "BE together" - if you know what I mean. I also wanted a room with no tv (again, teenagers) where we could all hang out but where it would *maybe* be more quiet.  The biggest hurtle of this room was that it also had to serve as my office.  Which isn't ideal, but is how it ended up.  SO, how do you pull together a room that is cozy and inviting (for the whole family), but also sophisticated and inspiring (as an office). This is the number one place I spend my days so I wanted it calming, pulled together and comfortable but it also had to be a place where the creative juices could really flow.  Let's just say I don't really know HOW I ended up pulling it off... but I did.  This room is all that and more.

The first inspiration was the artwork... I mean, seriously this huge dot artwork that Minted graciously gifted me for the room was our first inspiration.  If you are looking to add any artwork to your home, Minted is the place to go. They offer limited edition prints, original art work, quality prints - whatever your heart and budget desires.  I love their affordable framing service (because really, why buy the art if it's going to sit in it's package until you get around to framing it?) and of course their super quick shipping.  And if you are feeling stuck, they have personalized styling services to help you out for only $79.

After we had the artwork picked out we literally worked around it to create this room. And I say "we" because my husband is an amazing side-kick when it comes to decorating. He doesn't always have an opinion, and I don't always ask either... but about 99% of the time his taste is spot on and super helpful. Especially when I am feeling stuck.   So this room was definitely a group effort.  He wanted a super comfortable leather chair and I knew I wanted a white sofa.  So that is where we went next. I love IKEA sofas, they are perfect with kids as I never worry if they are too precious or not, the covers are always removable for spills and stains and of course, the price is always right.  Finding an affordable sofa opened up the budget for a splurge on the leather chair. So it's all about balance.

As I mentioned, this room also doubles as my office, which isn't ideal, but I will say we have made it work.  I love this little corner of the house in that it is still central to what is going on like kids coming and going or dining going in the kitchen, but that also still feels separate too.  My work space RARELY looks this tidy, but since this isn't the "tv room" (that room is coming soon to the blog!) it's fine if it's a little messy from time to time.  I desperately need some more decorative details in this part of the room, but inspiration hasn't struck yet, and I am okay with that.  That is one of the biggest challenges in renovating and decorating a home. You just don't have all the inspiration at once. It often comes in fits and starts. So when the inspiration strikes - this little corner will end up more finished, I am sure.

The wood floors and all white walls (as you will soon see!) go through out the entire main floor. So those were two big decisions we had already made for the room. The floors are solid hand scraped oak and we absolutely love them. We went for super dark floors in our previous house, so this was a big change up for us.  With the all white wall and lighter floors AND tons of natural light in the house - it makes for a super bright feel for the entire house.  I feel like the bright and white surroundings help wake up this non-morning person in the morning when I sit down to my desk.

These incredible hanging pendant lights were probably the most fun piece we've ever purchased for our home.  We tend to go traditional or modern traditional and these lights are definitely more boho chic.  They also happen to be the one thing we love most in this room.  They add a cozy yet sophisticated vibe that is TOTALLY out of our comfort zone, but so perfect for the space and our taste too. 

One of my favorite color palettes for decorating is black and white.  Our previous home was A LOT of black and white. So when we moved into this house, it was my intention to move away from the black and white all over look and try more neutrals. Which you will see in other parts of the house, but in this room, black and white just felt right. And since it was the LAST room we pulled together, I just had zero desire to make it more complicated than it needed to be - so I went with black and white because I know it and love it.

(all photos above by Jennifer Ketchum)

Of course, every home and every room is a work in progress.  I'm sure over the coming months and years this room will continue to evolve.

Source list:
Artwork, courtesy of Minted
Walls, "Super White" by Benjamin Moore
Floors, "Sable" by Viking
Sofa, "Farlov" IKEA
Rug, World Market
Cocktail Table/Bench, CB2 (no longer available, similar)
Pendant Lights, World Market (jute rope swag kits)
Marble Side Tables, World Market
Throw Pillows, various from Target (similar, this exact one, similar)
Pom pom throw blanket, Urban Outfitters (no longer available, similar)
Leather Chair, West Elm
Pouf, Home Goods (similar or similar)
Gold Lamp (by chair), Target
Desk, IKEA (technically it's a dining room table)
Desk Chair, Home Goods (similar)
Curtains, IKEA (these are the cheapest and BEST curtains EVER!)

As promised... here are the before photos!
(please note, these were taken from the real estate listing for the home)

10 shoes you’ll want for fall!

Ahhhh.... fall shoes, my favorite! It's the last couple months of fair weather here in the midwest where all shoes are fair game - before we move into the all-boots-only-boots of the later winter months.  So it's a veritable shoe free for all right now... you can wear boots if you like, but sneakers, flats, mules, you name it... are all still fair game.

Today I've rounded up the trends and the classics that you will love to have in your wardrobe this fall.    You can pair flats and ankle boots with jeans or fall dresses or prep your wardrobe for the cooler temps with all-weather wedge bootie or riding boots   There is something here for every style and every budget. My personal favorite is to pair distressed jeans with ankle boots and a sweater.  Or black jeans, a t-shirt, leather jacket and leopard flats are always a win.  I haven't gotten out my over the knee boots yet this season, but they are always a definite winner. And one style that I've been surprised how much I love is platform sneakers - have you tried them yet? Velvet is going to be a huge trend for late fall and early winter - I love this pair of velvet flats  Is there a pair you have your eye on this season? Or a pair you are wearing and really loving this season? I would love to know!

top row from left:

bottom row from left: 

finding your Perfect Fit beauty products this fall!

This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and Shopstyle.  All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Fall is finally here and with the chilly mornings and evenings I have already started noticing that my skin and my hair is significantly drier lately.  Here in the Midwest, we are settling in for the long haul of winter and with that comes the need for so serious beauty products to add to my arsenal.  Frizzy hair and dry and cracked hands are the two problems I deal with the most during the cooler months.  So when Rite Aid challenged me to find my "perfect fit" for all over beauty with Aveeno skin care and OGX hair care products I knew just what I needed to stock up on for the next few months.

Like I mentioned, I get the worst dry skin on my hands and cuticles and I find that I am constantly putting lotion on during the day.  I recently picked up the Aveeno Skin Relief and was amazed that I can put it on one time in the morning and my hands stay soft and moisturized all day. Seriously! All day! I've been keeping this product right on my desk to apply as soon as I sit down to my computer to work for the day. I felt like I had truly tried all the hand creams without really finding one I loved - until this one. I can't say how impressed I am with this product.  I also keep the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion on hand for after I shower or before bed to make sure my skin is staying as fresh as possible. And I can already tell I will be using both these products with my kids this winter too!

I'm also pretty over the moon about the OGX Argan Oil Healing Dry Oil for my hair right now.  I try not to treat my hair with heat everyday, but the days that I don't I end up with some pretty serious frizz action. You can put a few pumps of this treatment on dry or wet hair (I prefer dry) and it mimics the smooth feeling that I can usually only get from a flat iron or a curling iron.  I'm hooked! The coconut version smells like vacation (uh, yes please!) and is a little lighter weight which is perfect for using when your hair is wet.

Right now you can buy one and get one at 50% off for all Aveeno products with your Plenti card, which makes it the perfect time to stock up before winter. And for the OGX products if you spend $20 on OGX products with your Plenti card you can earn 800 bonus Plenti points which really adds up for future saving! If you haven't signed up for a Plenti card yet, you really should - it's easy and free! You can earn points at several participating retailers like Rite Aid, Macy's, Hulu, Exxon and Expedia to earn points on items you already buy.  Then you can "spend" those points on great beauty purchases like these in the future!