Happy Valentine’s Day!
Celebrating love and family with these guys is THE BEST!

Celebrating love and family with these guys is THE BEST!

I wanted to share this post for months, but it seemed like there was always something else that came up, so I kept putting it aside. Until now – Valentine’s Day! Let me be clear. I am not a big Valentine’s Day gal but, I am ALL for celebrating love.

My sweetheart David and I met through friends and connected instantly. And after several years of dating, we decided to make it official! David was excited to get married but wasn’t so sure that he wanted a traditional wedding. We could have gone to a beautiful tropical destination with our kids to tie the knot. 

Finally! We made it official!

Finally! We made it official!

But for me, it was more about celebrating it all – life, love, family, and friends. Both of our parents were healthy and ready to celebrate with us. Our brothers and sisters had always been a big part of our lives. Our kids would only make it more fun. And, I always loved to celebrate. So, we did it! And what a celebration it was. 

The wedding was beautiful! It was unpredictable, sweet, wild, and fun! And because I just couldn’t decide between 2 gorgeous dresses, I wore a fun little flirty dress for the cocktail hour and then changed again into a slinkier number for the ceremony. Great food and fun cocktails, lots of dancing and carrying on… David and I loved every minute of being together with the people we love the most surrounding us.

It was a bit unconventional as far as weddings go. Cocktails and appetizers were served first, then dinner was laid out, and it wasn't until the second round of cocktails that the ceremony started! My brother performed the ceremony, and our six kids stood beside us as we laughed and cried through our vows. I wouldn't have changed a thing!

So, cheers to an imperfect life full of perfect moments! Cheers to everyone who is willing to take a chance! And, cheers to creating your own love story – whatever that may be! And, last, but not least, here’s to my amazing husband who reminds me every day that our life together was meant to be!

All photos in this post taken by Katie Parra Photo

My 6 favorite things from my latest project completed & sold!
The new owners will truly have a one-of-a-kind Tudor with the addition of our custom-made fence.

The new owners will truly have a one-of-a-kind Tudor with the addition of our custom-made fence.

I am thrilled to report that we have finally sold our sweet, remodeled project in Laurelhurst. We reconfigured the house and brought it up to date with lots of new spaces and style. It's definitely turned into one of my favorites! Unfortunately, our timing coming onto the market wasn’t great and our window to negotiate with many interested buyers was small. But we stayed the course! Worth every penny for the new owners, my take away, keep the faith!

Take a look at these images of the house before we incorporated our amazing fixes.

Here are my six favorite things I did on this project that made this home more beautiful and functional!

1 – Brand New Outdoor Space

One of the most useful aspects of any home is when it flows easily to the outdoors, even in our rainy city of Seattle! A big shortcoming of this home was no deck or access off the main floor to the back of the house. So, the first thing we did was created a large outdoor entertaining size deck with beautiful French doors from the living room and dining room.

The views are stunning from this new deck

The views are stunning from this new deck

There’s even enough space to add a dining and lounging area.

There’s even enough space to add a dining and lounging area.

We made sure to add stairs to the yard below.

We made sure to add stairs to the yard below.

French doors to the deck provide beautiful light in the living area.

French doors to the deck provide beautiful light in the living area.

These doors are great for outdoor dining access.

These doors are great for outdoor dining access.

2 – Kitchen Backsplash & Open Shelving

Everyone knows I absolutely love white! I’ll do anything to make using this fresh, versatile color interesting. Setting the kitchen backsplash tiles in a hexagon pattern was just the ticket. And adding open shelving made it clean, classic, and perfect!

The backsplash is classic and clean.

The backsplash is classic and clean.

Open shelving for your favorite things.

Open shelving for your favorite things.

3 – Adding a Master Bathroom in Place of a Small, Limiting Bedroom

Adding a bathroom adds value to almost any home and getting creative is the key. This is always a good idea. For instance, in this home, I turned the closet into the coolest shower ever!

From tiny room to ensuite!

From tiny room to ensuite!

Can’t believe this used to be a closet!

Can’t believe this used to be a closet!

4 – Vaulted Ceilings

Remember that every room has five walls – definitely count the ceiling. A current trend is to incorporate interesting ceiling details. Take a peek at Pinterest. I am in the process of trying many of them in my home and on current projects. Because this homes ceilings felt low and limiting, we vaulted them to give each room more volume. It worked! They are so lovely and airy now.

This bedroom feels twice the size with the addition of vaulted ceilings.

This bedroom feels twice the size with the addition of vaulted ceilings.

The water views are even better with the added height.

The water views are even better with the added height.

Can you imagine how tiny this must have felt before we expanded?

Can you imagine how tiny this must have felt before we expanded?

5 – New Laundry Room with a Fabulous Floor

I always recommend adding personality to your home through your finish choices. I prefer adding them in little areas, so they don’t overwhelm a room.  Adding a small laundry room in the basement was the perfect way to add some pizazz. Although it may be small, it packs a big punch with its fun plaid cement floor tile!

Personality abounds in this sweet little space.

Personality abounds in this sweet little space.

I’m in love with this unique tile!

I’m in love with this unique tile!

6 – Pretty Front Decorative Fence

Curb appeal is always important to me! When flipping homes, once I’ve made sure the house has transitioned into a functional and pretty space, I always look into adding some decorative details that make it even better. This house sits on a lovely street in a wonderful neighborhood so, it deserved a beautiful front yard. I dreamed up this fence in an effort to make the front yard feel larger and more upscale. I think we hit a home run!

You couldn’t even see the house before we added this adorable white fence.

You couldn’t even see the house before we added this adorable white fence.

Happy to have another project done and happy to share more tips with you!

Happy to have another project done and happy to share more tips with you!

So, there you have it! There are so many things that I love about this property but, maybe the fact that it is SOLD is a good place to end! My real estate agent and business partners never lost hope when we were on the market longer than we expected and together we made it all happen. Cheers to them and to everyone who made this project so great! Modern Tudor – we are coming for you next!

Decking the Halls in Our Master Bedroom
Holiday decor in the bedroom is a welcome surprise!

Holiday decor in the bedroom is a welcome surprise!

A hint of green in every corner.

A hint of green in every corner.

This was the first year that I have decorated our master bedroom. In the past, I always found some cute trees for the kids and made sure their rooms were festive and fun but never the master bedroom. This year I decided it was a perfect time to start with ours!

A sweet little corner with views and twinkling lights.

A sweet little corner with views and twinkling lights.

I added a little shine to our headboard with the addition of a simple garland with lights.

I added a little shine to our headboard with the addition of a simple garland with lights.

I always recommend finding spaces in your home that might be unique to decorate! It's fun to come around a corner or through a doorway and see the holiday spirit by surprise. It doesn’t have to be grand or over the top. Maybe just a sign that celebrates the season. Our bedroom was actually the perfect place for Christmas cheer because of its a reprieve from the hustle and bustle.

It wouldn’t be a tree without the star.

It wouldn’t be a tree without the star.

Cozy blankets and wrapped gifts draped on a comfy chair.

Cozy blankets and wrapped gifts draped on a comfy chair.

It is a magical space in the evening with the view of the mountains and lake. And we have the perfect corner for a tree that shows off its twinkling lights both from the inside and outside of our home.

Star ornaments are timeless and festive.

Star ornaments are timeless and festive.

Happy holiday decorating everyone.

Happy holiday decorating everyone.

Let me know if you decorated an unusual space in your home this year or tell me your favorite room to deck the halls with and bring on the holidays! Here’s to a very Merry Christmas in every room!

Welcome Home for the Holidays
Can’t wait to welcome guests to our new home for the holidays!

Can’t wait to welcome guests to our new home for the holidays!

This is our first Christmas in our new home! Decking the halls brings on a fresh meaning when you are decorating a new space for the first time. It is great fun placing the decorations you have had for years. Unlike the past, I keep adding more pieces as I find them. While I have so many ideas for the future, I am trying to stay present in this year. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just festive and bright.

Look up for more ways to decorate!

Look up for more ways to decorate!

Fresh pine and eucalyptus add fragrance while white tulips break up the darkness.

Fresh pine and eucalyptus add fragrance while white tulips break up the darkness.

Don’t have time to string more lights? Add votives for a cozy atmosphere.

Don’t have time to string more lights? Add votives for a cozy atmosphere.

I'm not so much a red and green holiday girl. Instead, I love to focus on gold, silver, white, and typically, an icy blue. To set the tone, I love matching my holiday décor with existing colors in the room.

My favorite colors all come together.

My favorite colors all come together.

This year we tucked our tree in the corner, behind the seating in our great room. It’s much easier than rearranging all the furniture like we have in the past. The tree adds a little magic to the room with its beautiful light, especially at night.

A beautiful, full tree brings the outside in.

A beautiful, full tree brings the outside in.

Wrapping presents is a favorite pastime.

Wrapping presents is a favorite pastime.

Our kitchen was fun this year too. The first thing we placed was a lovely wreath over our cooktop! Adding décor all around makes every room warmer and more inviting. Like many of you, we gather here often, and it’s nice that it’s as festive as the rest of our home.

Just a touch of greenery over the cooktop.

Just a touch of greenery over the cooktop.

A white kitchen is the perfect base for seasonal decor.

A white kitchen is the perfect base for seasonal decor.

Keep it Merry and Bright!

Keep it Merry and Bright!

Our old nutcrackers found a new home.

Our old nutcrackers found a new home.

Lanterns, used year round, take on a new flavor with Christmas touches.

Lanterns, used year round, take on a new flavor with Christmas touches.

It is such a special Christmas for us with a new home and being recently married. It will be so nice to welcome all of our families home here for the holidays. I’ll have even more to share for the holidays, so stay tuned!

Cheers to you and your family!

Cheers to you and your family!

My Holiday Visit to Waco: Tips on How to Shop the Magnolia Market and More
I went all out with my Magnolia experience!

I went all out with my Magnolia experience!

On a recent trip to Dallas, I decided to take a road trip to Waco, 1.5 hours of big open freeways and fast Texan drivers! Looking for a fun "Magnolia Home" experience, I arrived in Waco a bit late on a Monday as this was not a breakneck, “see everything” event. But, lucky me, I ended up nailing it on timing anyway and breezed my way through the day without major crowds or challenges.

Tip #1 – Make Your Visit on a Weekday

I started at the Magnolia Table, which is right off the freeway and a mile or two from the famous market, silos, and bakery. Having done little research for my visit, all I had heard was, “go early and be prepared for lines.” Contrary to this advice, I was on the list, through the gift shop, and in my seat in about 15 minutes. The very sweet hostess said there was often a 2-3 hour wait. Phew! That would not have worked for me.

Chip’s always got something to say…

Chip’s always got something to say…

Welcome to the Good Ol’ Days.

Welcome to the Good Ol’ Days.

Just love this decor!

Just love this decor!

Tip #2 – Talk with Staff and Diners, You Never Know Who You Will Meet

I was seated at the counter between two women. One was from St. Louis and was in town for the prior weekend’s festivities at The Silos. The other was an inspiring young gal who was traveling from Austin to Dallas and just decided to stop in on her way home. I was pleasantly surprised that all of our meals were fabulous. It really was the real deal – good food, good prices, and great decor!

The staff with their smiles as big as Texas.

The staff with their smiles as big as Texas.

Happy to be here.

Happy to be here.

My delicious and ample chicken salad.

My delicious and ample chicken salad.

I also had a fun experience in the gift shop meeting a lovely lady while I was waiting for my reservation. I couldn’t help but comment on her adorable hat and she was so happy to stop and chat while visiting with the Take Away staff. I later found out that this petite bundle of energy was, in fact, Joanna’s mom Nan! The Magnolia Table staff talked to me about her big heart and love for her spirituality. They said she even had a beautiful prayer box for the employees. Inside the box, the staff could place their heartfelt needs and concerns for help so that she could pray for them. It was so apparent that they all adored her and were thrilled whenever she stopped in. I can certainly see why!

The prayer box lives on a wall in the employee room.

The prayer box lives on a wall in the employee room.

Tip #3 – Take it All in, Save Your Shopping for the End, and Use the App 

After lunch, it was time for me to head to the main attraction. Driving right through an industrial area I arrived at several cheerful black and white structures that somehow made me feel happy inside. Parking was easy (again the day of the week matters) and once parked, it was a quick walk to The Silos.

The infamous silos. It took a lot of creativity to see what was ahead.

The infamous silos. It took a lot of creativity to see what was ahead.

I started at the market and made my first run through. Not buying a thing, I just feasted my eyes on all of the great little treasures that the market had to offer. Then I walked the grounds, taking it all in.

Black and white delight!

Black and white delight!

Just me and a sweet little cottage.

Just me and a sweet little cottage.

Vast grounds for plenty of fun-filled events.

Vast grounds for plenty of fun-filled events.

It was a beautiful, dreamy Texas day. Overall, I enjoyed the vibe of the combined spaces. The lawn was teaming with people who were playing and just hanging out. The food trucks were somewhat quiet but, oh my gosh, the choices were varied and delish! I loved the adorable garden store. So fun and friendly! And at this time of year, the Christmas decor made it even more lovable.

Photo Dec 10, 2 37 05 PM.jpg
Photo Dec 10, 2 38 10 PM.jpg

After taking in the entire experience, I was ready to shop! So, I marched back into the market and began shopping in earnest. Using their app made it easy to see what was available to ship and what I had to take home with me that day. Because most of what they sell was available online, I filled my bags with easy to transport items and Magnolia Market only merchandise. 

Check out this super cool “chandelier” made out of sugared, wooden spoons and spatulas.

Check out this super cool “chandelier” made out of sugared, wooden spoons and spatulas.

There’s beautiful treat for your eyes on every display.

There’s beautiful treat for your eyes on every display.

Chip’s favorite day, in junk letters.

Chip’s favorite day, in junk letters.

Everything you need for a cozy home.

Everything you need for a cozy home.

Before I called it a day, I headed to The Silo Baking Company for a sweet treat and some coffee for the ride back to Dallas.

Tip#4 – Ask the Staff Which Sweets are the Best and order Several Treats. 

At the bakery, you line up, receive an order card, make your choices, pay the cashier, and wait for your name to be called. During this quick process, I asked the staff what their favorites were. They said seasonal specials and cupcakes were the most popular items. With their guidance, I was in and out in 15-20 minutes and left with the most sweetly boxed goods. I love a company that appreciates the importance of packaging.

Worth the wait!

Worth the wait!

They make it so easy to ask questions!

They make it so easy to ask questions!

A little sweetness “to go”!

A little sweetness “to go”!

What a great experience! I was worried it might be a bit contrived but, I am a believer and I think you might be too. Exploring Chip & Joanna’s world was authentic “Fixer Upper”; Good style and design with heart! Let me know if you are visiting soon or have visited. I would love to hear from you!