Bonjour: Paris Surrounds

We just got back from a weeklong trip outside of Paris. That's right - I said outside.  As you can probably guess, we absolutely adore the city of Paris (which is why we visited in 2007, 2012, 2014, and 2015) but opted for a different trip this time.  Partially because I felt dealing with a baby, stroller and 4 year old on the Paris metro would be less than relaxing and partially because I had always wanted to see some more of what lay outside one of my favorite cities.

We stayed in a villa near Disneyland Paris splitting our time between the park and some other more grown up friendly pursuits in the surrounding areas.  We could have taken a train into Paris at any time but we managed to kill all of our time without even thinking of going into the city.  We spent one day just relaxing and taking in the local town and then the rest of our time out and about.

Our primary target was Disneyland Paris. I've always been curious about it and having a princess obsessed 4 year old seemed like the best excuse to go.  Agatha loved it, of course. As an adult, I feel like it was a pretty poor excuse for a Disney park. All of the expense and the crowds without the great execution I've seen at Disneyworld.  The lines for everything - including buying a snack or souvenir no less the rides - were incredibly long.  Based on the fact that many rides and stalls seemed to have unmanned areas that could have accommodated double or triple the guests, it seemed the park was operating on half staff with a full crowd which was very frustrating with small children. I could go on but I won't except to say it was disappointing.  That said, it was in France so it's got that going for it!

Now on to some great highlights. We visited Vaux Le Vicomte - which was wonderful.  Shades of Versailles without the crowds - we practically had the whole castle to ourselves.  Sadly they didn't allow strollers in which mean only Agatha and I visited but it was still a lovely afternoon.  They even had princess dresses for kids to play for a small fee.  Naturally I found the servant's quarters far more interesting than the grand halls. I wonder what that says about me?

Another highlight was a day spent in Reims which was about an hour away from where we were staying.  We had a lingering lunch in a local cafe and then took a champagne cave tour with Veuve Cliquot.  The brand and it's found has such an interesting history and of course there was tasting at the end.  Thankfully they were no phased in the least to have children there (I was a bit worried it might not be practical to bring them) and it was my favorite part of the trip.

All in all, it was a wonderful week.

Trends I Defend: Coffee Bar

You might notice I don't often talk about what is on or off trend here.  That's mostly because I feel like almost anything - whether super new or seen everywhere - can be done well, when done right.   So rather than bashing what's out, I thought it would be fun to discuss some great trends (despite being oft seen) we can defend.

jen woodhouse / martha stewart / funky junk interiors

As someone with a small kitchen this is a favorite. Kitchen coffee bars - little stations where a homeowner's coffee maker, cups and fixings are all out and at the ready.  A luxury I so wish I had the room for since my coffee consumption has skyrocketed since having kids.  I like to think of it as the modern bar cabinet.  Who needs booze when you can have caffeine?

apartment therapy / the happy housie / driven by decor 

While an elaborate station is pretty swoon worthy, I've seen some lovely takes on it using rolling carts, 3 tiered trays and simple baskets like the examples above.

I don't have a full on coffee bar but I do have my coffee corner but it's just not the same as having everything out and ready to go any time you need a boost.  My next kitchen will definitely have one.

What do you think about this trend?  Is it here to stay?  Do you have a coffee corner?  Is it as functional as you imagined it?

If I Were A Hoarder: The Under $100 edition

I've been on the hunt for something very specific on craigslists, yard sales, ebay, etc lately.  Of course I haven't found what I'm looking for but I keep finding other great pieces I just don't have the room for. But oh so tempting!  So I present to you If I Were A Hoarder: The Under $100 edition.  Someone buy these before I do.

The chest looks pretty lovely as is - would make a great nighstand.  The flip top table would be perfect painted with a giant vase of cherry blossoms in it gracing a hallway.  

The chest would make a great coffee table or end of bed storage piece.  Those feet!  And I'm loving this little cafe set for a playroom or kid's space repainted in another color.

The sideboard listing doesn't give dimensions but by the looks of it would be perfect behind a sofa or used as a tv stand.  And what can I say about old school desks?  I'm kind of enamored with them. 

What do you think?  Anyone in the mood for bargain hunting?

10 Easy DIY Spring Wreaths to Suit Your Decor Style

I generally don't decorate for seasons.  Not because I don't appreciate seasonal decor but I tend to put all my energies into Halloween and Christmas and I'm just all decorated out after that.  But I've seen some great spring wreath projects lately that I wanted to share.  I pinned this giant hoop wreath ages ago and it's been lingering the back of my mind every since.  It got me to thinking that the wreath on a homeowner's front door can say a lot about who lives inside.  Am I right?   So with that in mind, here are a few inspired ideas that might suit your personal style (and won't take more than a lazy spring afternoon to make!).

Clean lines? Mid century?  Try a naked wreath.
artzy creations | made from scratch | gardenaholic 

The whole "naked" wreath trend is amazing.  All of the graphic punch with 1/10 of the work!  Glue pretty much anything pretty to a metal craft ring or embroidery hoop and you have an easy modern focal point for your door.

Farmhouse vintage more your style?  Go with old charm.

create craft love | random thoughts | create craft love |  midwest living

Ditch the wreath altogether and drag something with a bit of rusty charm out of your garage and fill with flowers or greenery.  Voila!  Instant classics.

Traditional with style?  Go for a updated classics.

sugar and cloth | your cozy home | alison michel

Just a slight twist on your standard wreath but something a little different than the everyday.

Now to only pick one style and actually make one. Or in my case 2 since I have double doors.  Anyone else getting a hankering to add a little spring decor to your house?

A modern surprise in old Brooklyn

Ever walk past a home and be totally stopped dead in  your tracks?  That's what happened just a few blocks away when I saw the result of this renovation.  It was obviously a renovation because the style of the home is so outside what you normally see (as you can tell from the surrounding homes).  A little google search revealed the gorgeous interiors as well. 

via Barker Freedman Design

Despite being a hard and fast old home lover, I adore what they did here. I wonder how the neighbors feel about it being out of context though. 

Perhaps because I live in an old home, some part of me is drawn to clean modern spaces.  Lots of white and light without all the fuss.

What do you think?  Are you a slave to sameness or do you appreciate the stark difference in style? Do you crave a different style than you are generally drawn to?

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