August 2015 iPhone + Desktop Wallpapers

Hello friends! It's almost a new month, which means it's time to refresh those wallpapers on your iPhones or desktops. I've really loved changing up my lock screen wallpaper and I hope you have too! 

Offering these wallpapers to y'all each month gives me an excuse to sit down with a blank page in Illustrator and try to create something fun, pretty and unique. I've found it takes an equal measure of discipline and time/space to be creative. I try to give myself a few days to come up with the design(s) and let them evolve organically. The final version usually ends up being something very different from the original - that's what's so fun about making these! #thoughtsoftheday :)

For you other creatives out there, how does your process work when you sit down to do your craft?

This month I was inspired by this gorgeous bedroom I came across on Emily A. Clark's blog. Those gold circles stopped me in my tracks and I had a BINGO! moment. They were perfect for this month's wallpapers. That goes to show that inspiration can truly come from anywhere!

{gloriajoy via Emily A. Clark}
Now onto the fun stuff - the freebies! "Gold Circles" comes in aqua and rose. Click the link(s) below each wallpaper to download your favorite. It'll take you to Dropbox to grab the image. Note that there are both blank and calendar versions of each, so make sure you select the right one!

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Lovely Links

First off, thanks to everyone for the kind words about our back patio makeover! I couldn't wait to share it with y'all - it's a space we love so much!

I'm back with a set of pretty, informative and just plain fun links for y'all this week. I bookmark things as I come across them and then share the best of the best with y'all every other week. Enjoy!

1 | This manifesto against the tyranny of luxury kitchens had me giggling and nodding my head in agreement this week (although I'll admit I'm still lusting after a white kitchen!). Victoria Elizabeth Barnes has a way of writing with such great humor and sarcasm while saying what we're all thinking about those fancy kitchens.

{At Home Arkansas}

2 | I've been working hard on a project for an e-design client this week and came across this gorgeous charcoal upholstered nailhead headboard  for a great price at Target. My client ended up choosing another bed, but I figured I'd pass along this beauty to y'all. Plus you can get an extra 10% off right now!


3 | Have y'all heard about this Kickstarter campaign for "The World's Best Travel Jacket" that has raised over $1.6 million already? I really, really want one of these. It's brilliant. I've never joined in on the Kickstarter campaigns, but this one might have my money soon.


4 | If you have bookshelves, you need bookends, right? For some reason, I think books look more organized and stylish if they're not stuffed into a bookcase from one side to another (although I totally do that). A little breathing room does a world of good. If you've got some old hardcover books laying around that you don't mind parting with, these DIY book bookends are a super cool idea for your shelves.

{Emily Henderson}

5 | I'm a big fan of Britt Bass's artwork, and although buying an original piece is a bit out of my price range at this point, snagging a notebook or gift wrap with her art on it might be a fun way to bring a little bit of her work into my life!

{Britt Bass}

6 | The idea of vinyl floors usually makes me go ick, but wow, this hex tile look-a-like vinyl looks amazing. I did a double take! I'm curious how they feel underfoot, but they sure do look real nice, are affordable, and are much easier to install than real tile.

{Decor Adventures}

Happy Weekends, y'all!

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Small Space Makeover: Back Patio

There's nothing like having your very own outdoor oasis in the middle of the city. Can I get an amen from fellow city-dwellers? Outdoor space was pretty high on our priority list when we moved to Philadelphia a year ago and I was thrilled that the 1850s row house we settled on had a 10'x12' patio in the back. We decided to spruce up this space this summer so we could enjoy being out here as often as possible while the weather is nice (it practically doubles our living space), and I'm so excited to (finally!) share the before and after today!

Here's what we started with:

Nice, huh?

This hodgepodge of furniture previously lived on our covered balcony in DC and it was perfect for that space, but since it wasn't really meant to be exposed to all the elements, it didn't survive the harsh Philadelphia winter. We knew it was a placeholder when we put it out there last summer, so we weren't terribly sad to see it go. We also created a temporary bike storage area on the right, but as you can see, it has no roof. The former roof blew off at some point in the spring and we never replaced it. Poor bikes.

But enough of the sad before, let's get to the pretty after!

After what seemed like months of research and deliberation, we finally settled on this outdoor wicker seating set from The Wicker House. Some of you may remember this post about the furniture options I was choosing between, and I ended up having to start the search again because the set I wanted was suddenly no longer available, sigh...back to the drawing board. After a bit of searching, I am so glad I found this one because a) it's classic and beautiful and b) it ended up being the best deal cost-wise out of all the options I was considering. Hooray!

The wicker look will never go out of style, and I can see us using this set for many years to come - no matter what house we're in next. The size is great, and I'm very pleased with the quality so far given the very affordable price. I was a little bit concerned about that!

The white seat cushions came with the set and they're pretty thin, so I may end up replacing them with something a bit more plush, but they're perfect for now and the fabric has held up beautifully to water and spills. We do bring the pillows and cushions inside when we aren't using them to ensure they stay in great shape for a long time.

I bought the aqua and tan pillows from Target on clearance ($11 each!) about a month ago. Sadly, I don't think they're available anymore, but check your local store just in case if you're interested in getting a few yourself.

Lastly, the rug. I was recently contacted by Mac from DFOhome offering to send an outdoor rug for me to try out. The timing couldn't have been more perfect considering I was in the middle of this outdoor makeover!

After the he said/she said post from a couple of weeks ago about outdoor rugs, I just decided to take a chance and go for it. Having a rug really pulls this space together and gives it a finished look. The Sea Oats Natural rug seems to address the concerns we had about the general yuck factor of a having a rug that lives outside based on the material and how it's made. It hasn't rained since we've had it out there, so I'm planning to give a full report after we've let the weather take its toll for a little while. A big thanks to DFOhome for letting me give this rug a shot!

The pattern is even more beautiful in person than it is in photos. It's super soft to walk on, and Jackson has already decided its his favorite spot to lay on out there!

I'm thrilled with the way this space has turned out. We've already had several gatherings of friends and family out there, and it might rival my office as my favorite spot. At night, it's almost magical out there when we turn on the string lights (*affiliate link), play some music and sip a glass of wine...who wants to come over? ;)

Cheers to outdoor living!

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Lovely Links

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you've had good weeks. Time for another round of lovely links - my every-other-week round up of favorite finds and pretties from the web!

1 | Last week, Shayna revealed the "after" of her fixer-upper and MAN, I love it. All white, bright, and modern, but with plenty of character. Can I move in? See the whole thing here (oh, and sources are here).

{The Wood Grain Cottage}
2 | Speaking of beautiful things, there's nothing I enjoy more than wandering through a beautifully curated paper store. Urbanic is definitely one of those. If only I lived in Venice, CA so I could take a tour through it! I guess for now I'll settle for this post full of photos.

{Emily Henderson}
3 | After reading about Studio McGee's trip to Oregon, that state has zoomed its way up my I want to go to there list. Her photos plus food and shopping recommendations plus the wine country that's out there...hmm. Next vacation? Can we stay in this charming shingled home too?

{Studio McGee}
4 | I'm always on the hunt for ways to maximize our small space, and I'm totally taking notes from Apartment Therapy's recent article on entryways.

{Det Dia via Apartment Therapy}
5 | I happen to be a big fan of wall sconces. In rental apartments, they can be tricky to add to a space since you can't hardwire them, but there are some good plugins available out there now that do the trick. (We used some here in our bedroom.) IHeart Organizing managed to install some that look hardwired, but are actually plugged in - an awesome combination! See how she did that here.

{IHeart Organizing}
6 | And lastly, a bathroom makeover! You'd never know that this beautiful vanity started out as a dated, sad-looking wood-toned piece. See the before and after on Centsational Girl.

{Centsational Girl}
Have a great weekend, y'all!

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He Says/She Says: Outdoor Rugs

We finally bit the bullet on buying new patio furniture a couple of weeks ago and we have LOVED being able to spend time outside in our little space! We ended up not purchasing any of the options I wrote about here because I found another option at a great price that I ended up liking even more. I'll be sure to share all the details once I've finished tweaking the space a little bit and get a chance to take some photos. Sorry for the teaser! 

What I really want to talk about today though is something that's become a hot debate in our house: outdoor rugs. Once I assembled all of our outdoor furniture, I threw down some old carpet squares we used to have in our kitchen in DC. I'm not sure what the fibers are since I bought them from the dollar store, but they are definitely synthetic and should be able to live outside. The size is a tad small for the space, but I really loved the way it pulled everything together and added some color. I decided it would be a placeholder until I found a more permanent outdoor rug solution.

My husband came home to this situation one day and immediately said NO WAY to the rug due to the potential for dirt, grime and sogginess. We've gone back and forth on this issue for a couple of weeks now. Since the patio is totally exposed to the elements (no roof/pergola/etc.), I see his point and agree with his analysis of the potential yuck factor, but aesthetically, I'm pro outdoor rug.

I'm not sure I'm going to win on this one, but in the meantime, as you can see above, I've picked out eight lovely indoor/outdoor rugs that I'd purchase for our space. (All the sources are listed below the graphic.) Heck, a girl can dream right? ;)

So what I want to know is are YOU for or against outdoor rugs? Does it depend on the situation? Do you have favorite materials that can withstand the elements really well?

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