Everett’s New Room Design

After discussing the logistics of Everett’s bedroom, or bed rather, Nick and I decided to keep the queen bed from the guest room and make it his new bed. It saved us about $700 and we figured, that way when my mom comes to visit (or any quest), they can still have a bed to sleep in. Anyway, did you know its really difficult to find kids sheets in a queen size? Pretty much the only store that carries them is Pottery Barn Kids. I took Everett with me on a special trip to the mall so he could pick out his sheets. I told him he got to pick out one set, and I picked out the other set. Can you tell which set he picked?

 

Marvel Sheet Set        |         Emily & Meritt Bandit Sheet Set

With a little tweaking to the original design and incorporating the mountains I painted… TA-DA! Reveal photos to come soon.

 

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For the Love of Painting

I have been painting, drawing, doodling, etc for most of my life. Pretty much since I discovered finger painting in Kindergarten, I was in love. My undergrad degree was in Studio Art from Concordia University, Irvine and going to school for the arts was the best. I’d stay up late, turn on Norah Jones and go to town with the paint brush. My college roommate, Stephanie just Facebook messaged me, reminiscing about those college days in the dorm when she was studying biology and would watch me paint. It was such a great time in my life, I miss it. I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since Graduation. WOW!

Anywho, I pretty much stopped painting when I moved to Denver to study Interior Design, and that took over. Between a new city, a new school, planning a wedding and the craziness in between, the paint brush was put down. Over the years, I moved all of my art supplies from house to house but they were still never used. At a garage sale before Everett was born, I was cleaning out and decided to sell some of my old stuff. I only kept my favorite supplies and thought, “hopefully one day I will be able to use these again”.

Finally, the opportunity presented itself when I was installing a job for work and the art arrived, not being the exact colors we were expecting. I went to the store, bought some paint and a paint brush and made it look the way we wanted. This reminded me of how much I missed painting. Any chance I got for “fixing” a painting at work, I took it.

For the past few months, I’ve been designing a clubhouse for an apartment complex here in Denver. The space has extremely high vaulted ceilings and requires a piece of artwork over the sofa that needs to be large and in-charge. Bold, graphic lines came to mind and since the current trend is geometric shapes and contrasting colors, I decided to paint something structured and in my favorite shades of black, white and gray. I picked up the paint brush and got to work.

 

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Everett’s Room Design

I’ve been working on Everett’s room design and I’m excited to get started this weekend! This is the overall look, although I’m going to be painting mountains on the wall instead of the wood. I decided to carry the woodland theme from his nursery, I just love it and know he will too. We’ve been really pumping him up for a “big boy bed” and a “big boy room”. Since we are moving him into a different room, we don’t want him to feel like the baby is taking over his things. It’s been taking a lot of strategizing, so fingers crossed that the next month or so go well with this transition.

pendant | wood wall | wood art | marquee letters | lit tree | bed | side table | curtains | floor lamp

shelves | bean bag | dresser | round wood art | table lamp | lamp shade | deer faux taxidermy | rug

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We’re Having Another Baby!

Thats right! Baby Stewart No. 2 is on their way and we couldn’t be more excited. We knew we wanted to have another baby and somewhat close in age to Everett, who is now 2.5, so I feel 3 years apart will be just right for our little ones. Anyway, we are due September 19th and YES OF COURSE we are going to find out the sex of the baby. My next ultrasound is April 25th and should know then, fingers crossed! What do we want? Well, Nick wants a girl (for my sake) and I think its going to be a boy, just because of the Stewart family history with this generation of babies (there are 5 kids whom are all boys). We just want a healthy, beautiful baby and since it’s not our decision, we can’t really stress about it. I’m just ready to find out so I can start on the baby’s room! Details to come!

Everett was my model for our announcement and let me tell you, for as cute as he is in these photos, it sure was a fight to get them done. Haha!

 

Here’s the rest of the shoot, once he got into it he was really having fun!

 

 

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Tips & Tricks: Getting Dressed For Work

After having Everett, I had mom-brain so bad that I couldn’t remember anything. I was starting a new job and felt every morning was a disaster getting dressed. Not only did I have to be creative about what I wore (because I worked with the worlds most creative group of women) but I also just didn’t want to have to think about it. I spent so much time in the morning trying to create outfits, I knew there had to be another way. Here’s what I did:

  1. Check the weather forecast for the week to plan accordingly (the weather in Denver is CrAzY and so unpredictable!)
  2. Every Sunday, pick out 6 complete outfits for that week. Everything down to the shoes, socks and jewelry. If there might be snow in the forecast, know which coat, hat, gloves, boots, etc, you are going to wear with each outfit.
  3. Every morning, I get completely dressed and before I go downstairs, I take a photo of myself in front of a full-length mirror. I will take 2-3 photos, at least one without winter accessories and coat and then one with them so you can see both. This helps so much for on Sundays when I’m choosing outfits for the week, I can look back and remember which ones I loved and which were just “ok”, which ones I felt comfortable in and which ones made me feel on top of the world.

(These photos are from the last month. If I’m missing shoes in the photos, thats because I was planning to wear snow boots that were too dirty to bring upstairs)

 

Other tips:

(image via Stylebook.com)
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New Year, New Blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog and what I want it to represent. Simply Stewarts was a great starting point for me as it was a blog focused on journaling the events in my life. When I found out I was pregnant with Everett, I knew I had to document everything and what better way than a blog? As I have grown, I have realized I don’t want my blog just for me anymore. I would like to use my experiences to help and influence others.

I have decided to change the name of my blog to Stewart Designs – Designing A Life I Love. I found this amazing brand kit over at Dear Miss Modern because I LOVE her designs and she’s having a great sale right now! [YIPEE!] My new blog is a work in progress so sit back, relax and lets enjoy this journey together!

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Happy 2017!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this New Year… a chance to start new, start fresh, start over and my New Year Resolutions. Typically every year, I will put a quick list together in my head of the usual: 1. lose weight 2. get in charge of my finances… etc… and those are great resolutions, but this year I’ve been concentrating on a few other things.

Looking back at this past year, OH BOY what a year its been! In a nutshell: We sold our house, bought a new house. Paid off all of our debt and finally went on our honeymoon (8 years later). Everett turned 2 and we had a great summer in the pool. I left my job for a new job, then the new job didn’t exactly work out well. Then I went unemployed for a few weeks (or as I like to call it, a staycation) waiting for the perfect job to come along. After a ton of patience and trusting God had a plan for me, I was hired at Studio R Design in Denver doing Commercial and Residential design. Nick got promoted and celebrated 10 years with his company. We both turned 33 (yikes!) and the Holidays were festive and fun. We hosted Christmas dinner for the first time, in our new house and it was one of my dreams, come true.

I feel like there were a lot of highs, a lot of lows and a TON of events that have set us up for success. Never in my life have I felt more in the exact place I’m meant to be, than right now. Our hard work all of these years has paid off and we are living a dream. This year has been great, but I’m looking forward to whats in store for us in 2017.

Here is a list of my resolutions for 2017. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory but here are my thoughts:

  1. “Enjoy each moment with my family” – I know I take each day for granted. Not only the day itself, but each day with my family. I am more than blessed to have two wonderful men in my life and need to put more effort into capturing moments and creating memories with them. When I start to think something is more important than the time spent with them, I hope to realize in that moment to stop and drop what I’m doing, focus and be present.
  2. “Reduce stress and focus on health” – My stress over the past couple of years has accumulated and gotten out of control. I realized very quickly how stress overcame me and has messed up my body and head. Earlier in the year, I was going to therapy which has helped tremendously. I feel that was the first step. Now I’m on anti-anxiety pills and am slowly working towards recovery. I was at a point where I was remembering a time before the stress took over my body, how wonderful it was, and I am praying for that day to come again. I am serious about getting better and creating a stress-free life.
  3. “Read (or listen) to more books” – I’ve never been much of a reader, but I’ve found it relaxes me and since I do about an hour of driving every day, books on tape are convenient. My best friend Laura recommended a book for me to read “Uninvited” by Lysa Terkeurst after I went through one of my life’s worst experiences. I thought “I don’t have time to read, but I have time to listen”. I downloaded the book and started listening right away. Now I’m hooked. I started a membership with Audible and I’m on another book that was recommended by with the first one called “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist (I’ll let you know how it goes, but so far so great!). I feel as if these books are speaking to my soul!
  4. “Less social media” – You know that quote “if it doesn’t help you, get rid of it?” Well, this kind of applies. I’m at a point in my life right now where I would completely ignore all social media because I have felt lately that it has done more harm than good. I’ve been noticing the feelings I get when I check my Facebook feed: I get jealous of friends who post a photo of them traveling across the globe and I start to compare when I watch a video post of a friend’s kid’s achievement. Don’t worry, I think its just a phase and I won’t completely get rid of social media because of Everett. I have loved ones across the country that love to see Everett and I couldn’t get rid of it completely. You just might notice I won’t be like-ing your posts as much or in the “know” on the latest gossip.
  5. “Post on my blog” – If you couldn’t tell by the first 4 resolutions, I’m tuning into my inner self and am listening to my inner calling. For a few months now I have been on myself to get back to blog posting again. But then I think “when do I have the time”? I NEED TO MAKE TIME! <— thats my answer. I brought up a fear to a co-worker/friend of mine, Jenny, about how I want to write about my life experiences but I don’t want to offend anyone or be as specific as to get me into trouble. She said something that has been in my head “you should do it, there’s ways to write generally about events that could really help others” (or something similar to that). She is right. I just need to start and the rest will follow.
  6. “Let go of the unnecessary” – This one is simple (or so I think). Anything that I am holding on to that is unnecessary, I need to LET GO!
  7. “Make our house a home” – This will probably be a forever-long process, because the “Interior Designer” in me wants our house to be perfect and picture-ready all the time. I’m realizing I need to (#6) let it go and have that live-in look because, well, we do live here. My focus is shifting from a perfectly designed house, to be a place of gathering, of creating memories, of connection, of fellowship, of beauty, of warmth, of a home, our home! Don’t worry, it will still be beautiful, just not “perfect”!
  8. “Purge and simplify ‘stuff’ ” – Goes hand-in-hand with #7. I definitely have too much “stuff”. I know that, my husband hates it and I’d really like to focus on cleansing this part of my life. Keeping whats necessary, purge items that are not needed, and get rid of things that don’t have a place, meaning or simply make me happy.
  9. “Start painting again” – Its been heavy on my heart to start painting again. Every time I’m searching for artwork at work, I think to myself “I could paint that…” There are so many things I want to paint and its so relaxing for me, I just need to start. My mom gave me acrylics for Christmas, so now its time… get ready for some paintings and if anyone has requests, let me know!
  10. “Find places of serenity” – I absolutely love to travel and lately, I’ve been dreaming of a cabin vacation where I imagine a home deep in the woods with a wood burning fireplace, no cell reception and quality family time playing games and sledding in the snow. Its going to happen… oh, its going to happen real soon. I want to find places where I can marvel at the architecture and design, find peace in my surroundings, experience new wonders with my family and create traditions of experiencing life outside our bubble. New places… here we come!

Well there you have it. My top 10. I feel like there could have been a lot more, but I was afraid then this post would have never been posted. Cheers to you and yours and Happy New Year!

 

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Fall Family Photos

Last week when the trees were at their peak, we scheduled a photo session with our friend Daniel Balboa who is an AMAZING photographer. We are so blessed to know him and be able to use his talent for our family photos. No need to say anymore, the photos pretty much do the talking…

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Nick and I were even able to squeeze in a few head shots:

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Managing our Finances: Part 1

For years Nick and I have been struggling with managing our finances. We didn’t think it was that bad until it got to a point where we both had enough. I started Pinterst-ing a few ideas on what to do and came across this awesome post:

http://funcheaporfree.com/2012/10/the-7-bank-accounts-every-family-should/

It’s a must-read, but basically it talks about how most people have two bank accounts, one for savings and one for checking (that was us). In this post, it recommends having 7 bank accounts (YES 7!) to help you organize where your money is going. Nick and I sat down and discussed this and decided to start first with opening a new bank account at a different bank that was going to be our “every day expense” account. So at one bank we have our savings and a checking, but our checking we wouldn’t use other than for auto bills and all expected expenses spent every month (mortgage payment, utilities, phone bill, etc.) Most of our paychecks go into this account as well. For the new account, we figured out how much we spend a month on food and extras for ourselves and direct deposit from each paycheck into this account. We set a goal for ourselves that this is only what we get for each month and when its gone, its gone and we cannot dabble from the other account.

So far we only have 3 accounts (technically 4 accounts with the HSA account). We are currently working towards setting up the Husband’s Checking and Wife’s Checking as well as the Emergency Savings. I think its so important to keep these organized so you know exactly how much is going into each and there are no more guessing games as to where your money is going.

Please keep in mind, this is a learning process and it wont be perfect right away. Try it out at first and make adjustments as needed. We have now been doing this for 6 months straight and its constantly changing, but we are much better at recognizing where exactly we want our money to go. We talk about it and think it through. We also set up monthly money meetings to get together and talk about it, so we are always on the same page.

Along with the advice of organizing our bank accounts, Nick started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts and this really jump-started our focus on money management. Along with his book “The Total Money Makeover“, Dave Ramsey has shaped our image of money and the step-by-step process to becoming debt-free. Nick and I never realized how much debt was a burden until now and we are doing everything possible to get rid of it.

I know money can be a sore subject, or something most people don’t like to talk about (just like me). But rather than ignoring the money issue, take action and learn how to manage your finances!

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