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Outdoor Living

It’s starting to warm up (and by warm, I mean in the 40s) so I’ve started thinking about drinking an ice cold beverage on our deck this summer. After being super pregnant most of last summer, I have a goal to really enjoy this summer….in fact, I’ve moved it to the top of my to-do list! It’s my first summer that I haven’t been pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant or home with a newborn. So with that being said, I need to make sure our deck is ready for relaxing!

I’ve been searching online for a few items that would add a little style to our deck. While searching, I’ve found that most retailers are offering 20% off all outdoor purchases right now-perfect time to buy while items are on sale and before everything is sold. You know once the weather warms up everything will be gone!

Here’s a shot of our current patio furniture. It’s a small space, but perfect for an afternoon nap in the shade. This was taken last year…

Amy's deck

Amy’s deck

We bought this furniture two years ago at Target-it’s the Rolston set and it has held up so well. I bought the entire set because it was such a steal but now I need to mix things up and add a little color.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Outdoor

 

1. I would love to replace the coffee table with this adorable round one from West Elm.

2. An outdoor rug would make everything feel a little more cozy.

3. These textured stone planters are beautiful and I love the crisp white against the dark furniture.

4. These pillows would complement each other nicely and bring in a nice pop of color.

When you live in a place where the weather is really nice for only a few months a year, you want to enjoy it as best you can! What plans do you have for your outdoor spaces this summer?

Amy Signature

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Holiday Outdoor Planters

We figured this weekend a lot of you would be working on your holiday decor, so to add to your newly decorated mantel, we thought it would be fun to give you some ideas for easy (really, they are easy!) planters. So, I headed over to our favorite local nursery, Chalet, and took some pictures for a little inspiration.

The key to a successful planter is for it to be nice and full with just enough contrast in color and texture.

This is an example of a very traditional mix and look with the different types and heights of evergreen, winter berries and bursts of white. There is only some boxwood branches in here.

Christmas planter-Chalet

Ornaments are an easy addition to create color and their reflective quality is fun and festive

Christmas planter-Chalet

 This one with a cluster of ornaments in the center and evergreen hanging around the edges is perfect for tall thin planters–this was my kids’ favorite one. I’d like to see this with simple gold and silver bulbs.

Christmas ornament planter-Chalet

Martha also likes this look

Martha Stewart

This is a much more neutral look that is so pretty.

Neutral Holiday Planter-Chalet

I like this look for somewhere a little less wintery than Chicago–say, for my friends in NC who can have boxwoods in planters all year!

via Pinterest

Likewise with this one–feels almost beachy to me with the twine balls. Love how different and clean looking these planters are.

BHG

I also get a lot of inspiration from seeing what local retailers have outside their stores. I love how this planter is set up in clusters–pinecones together, a little burst of red and the small gold stars spice things up. The clustering makes the planter feel more modern and is a nice juxtaposition to the very traditional planter.

Traditional Holiday Planter

Red eucalyptus is a great option to add height–it’s a little more affordable than berries too!

Red and Green Holiday Planters

And here’s where I landed on my planters–I have two of these at the bottom of my front stairs. I went for a pretty traditional look, bought what I knew worked and used some of last year’s left over branches and pinecones (on sticks so they’re higher.)

Tessa’s Christmas Planters

I think next year I’m going to try to pull together something a little different–more like the one below because I love the white twigs and the low juniper bushes (minus the bird)–but, this year I couldn’t make any decisions so stuck with what I knew looked good in front of the house!

BHG

Good luck planting! Definitely do it this weekend so you have time to actually enjoy it.

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California Dreaming

Back from a weekend trip to California. Virgin America was having a sale so we took advantage of the super cheap rates to L.A. (89 each way!) and the fact my daughter is under two for another five days and went out to visit my best friend. (As a side note, I highly recommend Virgin America for their rates and the built-in entertainment features at each seat–makes it really convenient for family travel.) Perfect few days spent going to Disneyland, playing on the beach and hanging out with dear friends.

One afternoon we went to check out the beautiful oceanfront resort Terranea. Mediterranean (hence the name) in its styling, this property is perched high up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Like many people, I always get a lot of inspiration from hotels–hotel bathrooms and bedrooms are obvious places to look for design ideas for your own home, but in a location like this, there’s just as much you can take from the grounds.

Landscaping at Terranea

One of the keys to the beauty of the low maintenance landscaping here is in the layering of the different heights, shades and textures. Ok, so not all of us are lucky enough to live in perfect “75 degrees and sunny land” and therefore can’t copy this picture directly, but, take inspiration and translate it to your garden–for example by planting different varieties of hosta in front of higher ferns and throwing in a little ground cover…all super low maintenance, but still interesting.

If you don’t have a yard, bring a little Terranea into your home with an arrangement on your dining or coffee table. I love this arrangement created for a wedding at the resort.

Via Diary of a Designer

This pool was one of my favorite areas with the white and orange popping against the blue of the pool, ocean and sky. Check out Restoration Hardware’s collection of outdoor pillows to get a similar feel in your backyard–try mixing the Cote D’Azur blue and white stripped pillow with the Sunbrella pillow in tangerine.

One of the many pools at Terranea

Note how they have potted grasses and flowers to soften up the pool patio. This could easily be replicated on a concrete patio in your back yard or a small city porch (or those porch pits for all you Chicago duplex down dwellers!) Always a good reminder that you don’t have to have huge expanses of yard and expensive professional landscaping to create a lush feeling. Here’s another example with gorgeous succulents.

Terranea pool via Plaza Travel

There are amazing fire pits throughout the property. This was one of my favorites–it was the perfect hang out spot for our two families and a bottle of wine!

Terrenea via EcoBuzz

You could certainly recreate this little area in your own backyard. It’s really not a difficult project and one that I’m currently trying to convince my husband to undertake! Unilock has some pictures on their site and there are a number of online tutorials.

Or, maybe this much more contemporary version at the adult pool might be more up your alley. Check out the plexiglass fence that allows unobstructed views of the ocean, but blocks the wind and provides safety.

Fire pit at adult pool Terranea via Plaza Travel

If you have less space, check out this cone gas fireplace that’s in some of the suites. Love this for a contemporary city condo patio.

Terranea Cone Fire Table via Concrete Creations

Terranea is also award winning for being eco friendly. I love the fact that their feature restaurant, mar’sel, has an herb garden right outside its kitchen. The basil in your pasta is always fresh! I’m actually just about to plant veggies in the raised beds in my own garden so I’ll be sure to share pics shortly.

Herb garden at mar'sel via South Bay Sparkles

But, in the end, this resort is all about the views (and they really can’t be beat) so there are walking trails along the cliffs, perfect for a sunset stroll with your BFF!

Me (right) and Carrie at Terrenea

 

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