Designing Diva
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2012 Is going to be an Organized Year!

shelley's organizer

I am jump-starting 2012 with a new on the go Home Management System for myself! Can I get a woot woot to kicking off 2012 in an organized way? I have always been pretty good about keeping things on the up and up as far as organization of our bills however with everything that has been going on with me personally and with building a new business I feel I need something to keep “everything” together and I am so excited to introduce you to my new best friend and day planner! I just love it!

I looked high and low and when I came across this I not only fell in love with it for myself I quickly bought one for my husband and daughter for the holidays, nothing like organization for the family right?

I just love this organizer so much I was even able to personalize the cover to bring a piece of my family with me everywhere I go, so you know I have to love that!


erin codren organizerphoto credit: erin condren

Inside you will find:


  • Special Dates: 6 Pages January –December
  • 2 Pages of small calendar July 2011- December 2012
  • Since I was getting my “jumpstart” on the New Year and purchased this in November my organizer started with a full page November 2011 calendar.
  • 2 Lined Pages for Notes
  • November 2011 Daily Calendar with spaces for Morning, Afternoon, Night Notes as well as Goals and To Do on the side bars.
  • Plan at a Glance then follows monthly through December 2012
  • Stick to It! Each planner comes with sheets of colorful stickers to help you highlight special occasions and upcoming events some are already labeled and some are blank for you to fill in.
  • A zip pouch includes “let’s get together” date cards and gift labels for giving on the go.
  • Keep It Together Wrangle all of your recipes, lists, prescriptions and other important paperwork together in a stylish two-sided folder.


If I haven’t “sold” you on it yet… This video sure will…

Also, for all of my “friends” I have a discount code from tinyprints for you to use, so if you haven’t gotten those holiday cards yet, or need some adorable gifts or want to make a planner I pass on the gift of organization to you! So what are you waiting for, come back and let me know what you got!!!


Decorating Fall Style

Autumn is most definitely here, Halloween has come and gone, daylight savings time has passed. Before the leaves all fall down to the ground take a few moments to enjoy the colors of fall around your home.

I enjoy decorating for the fall with pumpkins, gourds, apples, candles, and flowers. These are a few decorating ideas that I love.

fall decorating ideas

Images from: BHG, Pottery Barn, Southern Living, Country Living

What have you done to decorate this fall?

Whimsical Halloween

I have to say the older I get the more I like decorating for every “holiday” and somehow Halloween has gone from a night of gathering candy to a night of whimsical decorating for me.

There are so many nifty places to pick up Halloween decorations like Pottery Barn which is always a “go to” place for fun things but I have to say I think the crafters from ETSY take the “cake” or should I say “candy” this year? Check out these adorable finds….

etsy halloweenphoto credit: 4 Colorful Seasons, Rags to Stitches, Vinyl Chatter, Cow Country Creations

From the wise words of Buddy the Elf “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup“…

PS, This would be the “only time” I think spiders and bats are cute lol…

What are you favorite Halloween decorations?

Fall = Orange

I have been so busy writing about my families journey with a special needs child and my wellness makeover that I have neglected to write about things that inspire me on a daily basis however as part of my “new do” I am going to be writing about the well rounded person that I am and all that incorporates into the making of “me.”

As a small child I was always redecorating my dollhouses interiors. Other girls would love to change their doll’s outfits and accessories however, I was just thrilled to make “wallpaper” and move all of the furniture around in their houses, and not care so much about the dolls themselves. I also spent a great deal of time “rearranging” my stuff in my room because I was not allowed to even “think” about moving the furniture so from time to time, I would take allll of my books off the shelves, and other nick-knacks I had and rearrange it all. This should have been my first indication that I had a love for all things “interiors,” however it wasn’t until my second year in college that I took the leap and chose it as my major.

There are so many elements of design that I love, but my gift from god, well, one of them, I am grateful for is my gift of color. I can visualize what just about anything will look like. And i LOVE color!!

As part of my Designing Diva column I’d like to share with you some of my favorite elements of design, and in honor of “fall” i’d like to introduce you to the color, “orange.”

orangeWhat do you think of when you hear “orange?”


Southern barbecue for a Northern gal


shelley and the foodSarah thought it be fitting to have a “southern style” barbecue for her graduation party since she graduated from the University of Alabama (roll tide!). She specifically said “mom, no healthy food here!” Ha, what do you mean, you’d think I was killing my family with my “wellness makeover” and having them eat fruits and veggies all day long, but I know what she was saying, there will be butter, and yes the f-word… “Fat” in the food. And come on that’s life, learning to eat and balance all of your meals… So as I usually do I made a list and she made a list of her favorites and this is how the menu went:

Spinach dip
Hot and Spicy Nuts

Main Course:
Barbecue chicken “Nelly style”/Hot dogs/Mini Hamburgers and Turkey Burgers
Sweet and Spicy Slaw
Old fashion Potato Salad
Five Bean Salad
Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Mayonnaise
Molasses-Baked Beans
Caribbean Cornbread
Green Salad with Gorgonzola and Green Apples
Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella

2 flavored cupcakes
Fresh Fruit salad
Chocolate Chip Cookies
White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

photo credit: Pottery Barn

Peach Sangria
Raspberry ice tea
*plus the usual beer and sodas lol

And I will tell you I made ALL of the above from scratch! I know I’m a little bit like “Martha” when it comes to events! I go all out and nuts. My husband stays as far away from me in the kitchen as possible.

Yup, I made enough food to feed an army, but I had NO idea how many people were actually coming because it seems that no one rsvp’s to events anymore which I find a bit annoying, so just remember that the next time you are invited to a party, rsvp so the host having the party doesn’t have to “quess-timate” on how much food to prepare. (Ok, I’m hoping off of my soapbox lol). But I’m happy to report we only had enough leftovers for the next 2 meals… You know the thanksgiving feeling of, uhhh do I have to eat this again… But a great time was had by all and everyone loved the food!

Everyone knows I’m a “food network” kind of gal, I love the variety… Just wished they’d come knocking on my door already! LOL

I thought the Peach Sangria would make a good recipe to share with “ya’ll” today, it was so refreshing and everyone loved it! So make lots. I made 5 times the amount and put it in a huge glass canister, which got a little clogged with the fruit; I’ll have to think of another way to serve it next time or maybe take out some of the fruit and put it on the side…

Fresh Peach Sangria via Down Home with the Neelys

2 bottle of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc chilled
½ c Brandy
1c pineapple juice
½ c sugar
4 peaches pitted and sliced
2 red plums, pitted and sliced
2 c of green grapes, halved
1 lemon sliced into rounds.

Combine the wine, brandy, pineapple juice, sugar, peaches, plums, grapes, and lemon in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice cubes to fill and serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 day in advance and add ice cubes before serving. Delicious!

What are your favorite barbecue recipes? Happy summer grilling!

It’s going to be a cherry red merry holiday

Many of you know I have “hopped” on the Etsy bandwagon! I guess being a designer I love to find new and creative things for my home. I also spend lots of time scrapping and crafting and giving away my crafts as gift to friends and family. A few years ago I started making topiaries and my friends and family who I gave them to loved them so much I decided hmmm maybe I should try and “set up shop.” So that is what I have done.

I’m proud to announce the “grand opening” of my etsy shop. I have showcased several topiaries which are examples of some of the type of themes I can create; I can make topiaries for the holidays, trees as well as ornaments, to show school spirit, team spirit, or to go with your home décor. I would be happy to work with you to create your perfect “untraditional topiary.”

In honor of opening my new shop, I’m holding a giveaway of this “Cherry Red Christmas” ornament. I just love this one, so red and cheery!

To enter you must be a follower of this blog and “the untraditional topiary” blog and leave a comment. You must be a follower of the untraditional topiary to enter!
For extra entries:

• Follow the untraditional topiary on twitter
• Tweet about the giveaway up to once a day! and leave a separate comment with the twitter link.
• Follow me on twitter
• Visit the untraditional topiary and post your favorite item
• Post about this giveaway on your blog
• Add the untraditional topiary’s button to your blog

Contest Rules:
• You must reside in the United States and have a United States address.
• Contest ends Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 11pm Eastern Standard Time.
• Winner MUST either have their e-mail address on their profile, or leave their e- mail address with their comment.
• I will announce the winner of the giveaway on November 23, 2009 on this blog as well as through e-mail to the winner. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours, I will randomly choose a new winner.

It’s the little things that make a house a “home.”

I’m not sure that you may know this but I went to college, “o so many years ago,” to study Interior Design and Landscape Architecture. I have always had a love for “rearranging” things in my habitat. This love started at an early age when I used to take everything off of my bookshelves and move it around. My mother would not let me move around the furniture because a designer had laid out the yellow Ethan Allen furniture to perfectly fit into my room, so it was all my books and knick knacks that got changed “seasonally.” I also had a little doll house that I would do the same thing with and I actually “made” wall paper and put it up on those wall. So you can see I have always had a love of color and for “changing things around.”

Over the last few weeks I met a new creative friend Melissa who was happy to “share” some wonderful things she purchased on Etsy. If you don’t know Melissa you should stop by and check out her blog and let her know I said “hi!” I never knew what Etsy was and one day followed the link from Melissa’s blog to see what other things this particular crafter made. And that is all it took! I am an Etsy addict now. My husband comes home every day and “hunts” to see what the “new purchase” of the day is. But I love it because the stuff is so unusual, you could never find personalized homemade things like this in one store. And I also feel that in this economy, where money is not so loose, it is nice to support people who craft things themselves because I know even though it’s a little bit I’m helping someone.

I’d like to take you on a little tour and show you some of my wonderful new things and introduce you to some very talented people. Enjoy and if you stop by let them know that I sent you, they are all extremely nice woman who love their crafts. I look forward to having a long relationship with them all, although not so sure about my husband. LOL

My grandmother was also an Interior Designer and had a wonderful flair for color, (I suppose that is where I inherited my love of color and design) and she had a beautiful Chinese Rug with plums and greens and for years I had this in my living room and when we recently renovated I moved it upstairs into my bedroom. I am always looking for plum or violet accessories for my bedroom and that is how I met Peggy of ‘Letter Perfect Designs.’ Peggy creates the most wonderful pillows with unique buttons! Peggy is a 40-something married mom to two kids; a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She is a life-long resident of Washington, and she grew up north of Seattle and lived all over the state before settling in Seattle with her husband. After nearly 20 years working as a T.V. news producer and writer, she retired two years ago to be a full-time mom. The schedule demands were finally too much! As a longtime collector of fabrics and buttons — both vintage and new — she started ‘Letter Perfect Designs’ in August of 2007. Peggy told me, “It’s been wonderful and I’ve met so many lovely people! I love making pretty things for the home and hope each and every design will become a treasured part of someone’s life.” Peggy has generously agreed to offer a 10% discount to my followers if folks mention my blog in the buyer’s notes at the time of purchase. She has graciously offered the same discount for a custom order as well.

A few months ago I saw what I thought was a very cool new type of “wall art.” I naturally looked it up and found out that it is a type of vinyl that when applied looks like someone hand calligraphied on the wall, or drew a cool picture. Naturally it peaked my curiosity and I found myself thinking of zillions of things I could do with this. That is when I met Jen from ‘Tree-House treasures’not only does Jen have the coolest selection of wall art in phrases but she also has them that she makes on wall hangings. I was a little nervous about applying the lettering but Jen had wonderful directions included and I was done in no time at all.

I’m always interested in how people became interested in starting their shops and Jen told me that as a child Jen she always trying to find a way to make people happy through a business opportunity. This desire never did go away and today she is thrilled that she has the opportunity to brighten homes everyday through her’ Tree-House Treasures’ vinyl lettering designs. And if you get a chance to stop by ‘Tree-House Treasures’ before the month is up, Jen has generously offered a 10% discount if you mention that you are a follower of “I’m still standing.” She has so many wonderful choices be prepared to ponder!!

Being a lover of nature I love bringing the outdoors in and found a new way to do this with “tassels.” The first cutie I ordered was for Ainsley’s room and it was from Angela at the ‘tassel house‘. Angela called it a Whimsical tassel, Ainsley and I think it looks like a whimsical ladybug and it is so cute! Each tassel that Angela creates is handmade with love and has wonderful attention to detail, this way they are each unique and each have their own personality.

A ‘home’ is created in the details. Tassels are wonderful details that help to create a home, not just a house! Tassels look beautiful anywhere: on lamps, doorknobs, armoires, cabinets, and can be used to pull back curtains and drapes. Tassels also make wonderful gifts for the woman who already has everything! Don’t know what to give as a gift, why not give a tassel! Wonderful, unique, special! As a thank you to “I’m Still Standing” followers Angela has generously offered to give a 25% discount off any regular priced item. (discount does not apply to sale items) All you need to do is leave a message when purchasing that they came to the shop from Shelley at “I’m Still Standing” and she will refund you the 25%.

My next tassel purchase was the sweetest little yellow bird which hangs proudly on a floor lamp in my living room. It comes from Miss C Alexandria’s shop. Miss Alexandria’s shop is made up of romantic and creative jewelry and vintage treasures. She has a lot of lovely items for sale and she will give my followers a discount on more than one item, all you have to do is convo her first and let her know that Shelley from “I’m Still Standing” sent you.

Not only do I love things for my house but I just love bags, I cannot have enough bags, it is like a joke in our house, I have bags for needlepoint, bags for the gym, bags for my kids stuff I carry, and of course I need my monogrammed bags for everyday running around. So naturally I went on Etsy and met Karen of ‘go threads.’ Karen is a wife, mother to 2 young men, and grandmother to 1 beautiful 1 year old granddaughter and resides in Lakeland Tennessee. She became a WAHW (Work at home women) in 2005 when she started a monogram and embroidery business. In addition to her Etsy shop she also sews for two local boutiques; a children’s boutique and a gift shop. Karen has a beautiful selection of Damask print bags, which I love, and you name it, she has a bag for just about every occasion from Diaper Bags to Quilted Duffle Bags.

Those a just a few of my fabulous new creative friends, I will be spotlighting new crafters as I meet them and hopefully introduce you to a few you might like as well so your husbands can form a, “what did my wife purchase today? Club” with mine! LOL enjoy!

So what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? Really… Top 10 must sees and must not see’s

1. Jersey Boys: What great music and I am sure that not too many people know the story of Frankie Vall“i” and the Four Seasons, “oh what a night!”

2. Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. If you are a fish lover this is a great exhibit, so much to see you could spend hours watching the fish in their habitat. We even saw a little shark devouring another for “lunch.”

3. LOVE:Great music, great show. If you have never seen a Cirque de Soleil show they are unbelievable to watch these people, truly amazing.

4. Titanic: the exhibit is at the Luxor and will be there I believe for 10 years. It is the story of the great ship that went down showing everything from the creation of the ship through the sinking. It has a lot of artifacts which were found on the sunken ship. They have displays to show the look/sound of each class first, second and third. Part of the display was an outside deck which was so cold to make you “feel” as if you were there as the iceberg hit. History lovers will appreciate this exhibit.

5. If you have a good day at the “tables” the Delmonico Steakhouse which is one of Emeril’s restaurants is fabulous!

6. Sticking with food, if you like buffet’s the Bellagio has a wonderful buffet with just about anything and everything on the menu.

7. TAO nightclub is the place to see and be seen!

8. At Paris you can get a huge drink the size of the Eiffel tower.

9. Shopping shopping and more shopping if you have the dime, Casers Palace and the Palazzo/Bellagio have some wonderful stores. Everything and anything you want, need and don’t need! LoL

10. The people. Just sit down, hopefully not in July like we did when it’s 108 degrees outside but pull up a chair and just watch the people of all ages and stages, clothes, this is the only town where I can say it seems “optional” and wow all I’m going to say is people just really amazed me!

Now for my top 10 disappointments

1. Terry Fator-Both my daughter and I voted for this guy on America’s Got Talent. I even made my husband (he isn’t a reality show guy) watch it. Terry seemed like the most humble guy in the world but when we met him he was such a disappointment, fame has definitely gone to his head and it just ruined his show for us.

2. Do not go and eat at the Noodle Shop in Mandalay Bay the service was awful but the food was worse! One of the worst meals of my life. Refund please!

3. So where were all these Elvis impersonators? We were looking all over and only saw one… and he wasn’t all that great! Was it so hot that “Elvis has left the strip?” hmmm

4. Las Vegas has a monorail system which goes partly up the strip but you better hope you win enough money to cover the steep fee. I’m sorry $56/day for 4 people is just way too much!

5. We had heard about this “chocolate” river at the Bellagio, I don’t know what we were expecting maybe a “chocolate” river running through the gardens but it was more like a small chocolate fountain in a window.

6. Planet Hollywood shops, what a bunch of junk and it still has the Aladdin background, confusing!

7. What is up with restaurants kitchens closing at 10:00pm! You get out of a show at 9:00, you have to “walk” and then you get there and they say “kitchen is closed.” I thought this was the city that doesn’t sleep…

8. I’m going to be brief on this one but PLEASE if you are in a 5 star restaurant with your family I don’t think you expect a side peep show going on at the next table… My daughter lost it when she heard the “gentleman” tell the woman he liked when woman make “animal” noises… REALLY!

9. Although I did enjoy the Titanic exhibit I think it was kind of tacky for them to have photographers to take your pictures on the “Grand Staircase” of your family and charge you… something about that just seemed a bit wrong…

10. They are a “Pepsi” town for the most part and I’m a Diet Coke kind of gal…

All in all it was a wonderful trip, a great way to celebrate our daughter’s 21st birthday. The Venetian is a beautiful property and has great people who work there. I would defiantly recommend the trip to anyone who has never been there, as my husband say’s “It is like Disney on steroids,” but not really for little kids. I can defiantly see why they say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” I know they are hoping to get your money one way or another to stay in Vegas… the shows, clubs, restaurants, shops and of course at their game tables… just hope you can control yourself a lil bit!

Every enchanted box has a story

I would like to introduce you to a talented friend of mine, Jessie. I met Jessie when our children were young and starting school, we have seen each other through children’s birthdays to business ventures, but aside from being a wonderful person and friend she is a very talented artist.

For the last 38 years Jessie has been practicing this lost art designing and painting Limoges Boxes and is known worldwide as “Boxes by Jessie.” I love to go over to her studio to look at the boxes she has completed and what is so unique is each box has an enchanting story. She has a few beautiful albums and books which showcase her past designs and she knows and can tell you each story which is amazing in itself as there are hundreds. And being a “story teller” myself I love looking at each design and listening to the tale of the box.

In the late 1700’s Limoges porcelain boxes were revered by the royal families, aristocrats, and wealthy merchants. The fine Porcelain that comes from Limoges is evident of its high quality Kaolin clay. Jessie imports white blank Limoges porcelain boxes in many different sizes and shapes and then designs and paints them according to what her client would like the box to “say” be it a monogram or “Happy Birthday” or perhaps a house gift with a painting of the house one is visiting, or perhaps a “yacht.” The “enchanted box” is then created.

Jessie has spent the last 30 years perfecting her color palette, gathering colors from all corners of the world. Before each box is painted a detailed blueprint is drawn simulating color, gold work, and inscriptions. After the blueprint is approved by the client, Jessie proceeds to paint the box. Between each coat of paint the box must be fired in a kiln. Jessie fires her boxes sometimes up to 15 times or more to maximize lush colors and fine detail.

So, if you are ever in need of that extra special personalized gift, this is the woman for you, and I am sure with your story she will create a beautiful box. If you do, let her know her friend Shelley introduced you.

Top 20 things you will need for spring cleaning

So what is a “clean house?” For some it is a house that is “neat as a pin” and has a kitchen you could possibly “eat off the floor.” For most of us it is a kitchen with a few fallen crushed cheerios that somehow made their way under the kitchen rug or a dust bunny or two in the corner behind the doors; I believe this shows that people actually “live” here.Last year I followed through with one of my “new year” resolutions; I was going to clean my house when “spring” came. You know “spring cleaning?” I decided this was the year to pick up all of the rugs and clean the wood floors, take off the screens and clean the windows, wash all of the dust ruffles, move the furniture and see what was growing back there and find missing game pieces etc. I think you get the picture.

I was excited to tackle the job. I got in my cleaning attire, of old over sized polo t-shirt and leggings, turned up the stereo and started at one end of the house and went on and on until I was done; OK this took a whole week. But when I was finished not only was I exhausted, and hoping I had lost a few pounds from the bending and stretching, but I had a huge sense of accomplishment for getting this job done.

When I was done and cleaned up from cleaning up I sat down and made a list of the top 20 things that helped me get my house spic and span. Me, being the “queen of organization” thought this might help the next time I was ready to jump to tackle the job. Come to think of it, it is spring…

So come on join me, go on get out your sweats and t-shirt, crank up your tunes and hit the dirt!

1. Rubber gloves: You should always use gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals that can cause reactions to or just irritate. You should always try and get hypo-allergenic and lined, not latex which bothers a lot of people. And the gloves should fit you tight enough that you can grip your tools easily.

2. Microfiber Cloth: These are nylon fabric cloths which are easily washable after use. I try and get a few different colors so that I do not use the same colors in the bathrooms as I do for cleaning furniture in the living areas and kitchen.

3. Spray bottle: Sometimes I find it easier to make my own cleaning solution for windows or for cleaning mildew-ridden bathroom tiles and grout. You can find spray bottles anywhere or I have even reused glass cleaner containers which I have washed out when done using.

4. Scrub brush: I use a few different sizes of these but make sure you have a good handle and heavy duty nylon bristles on each so you have good scrubbing control that will not scratch your surfaces.

5. Toothbrush: When I am about ready to toss my soft bristle toothbrush I soak it with bleach and use it for cleaning. This is very helpful in small hard to get areas such as grout cracks, and around the base of the hot and cold water handles and faucets, and to clean the holes of your shower head when they have built up hard water residue.

6. Squeegee: These come in very handy in glass showers and also I have used them on mirrors so I do not have any streaks.

7. Antibacterial Wipes: These are a MUST for cleaning phones, computer keyboards, door knobs, light plates, anywhere your mouth or hands touch.

8. White Vinegar: I use this to clean windows, the acid in this cuts through mineral deposits.

9. Mild Liquid soap: I use Palmolive; it is a mild soap which I use to clean just about all surfaces.

10. Mild Abrasive: This is for cleaning the shower and tub areas; you know where you use your elbow grease. Make sure you use a chlorine-free cleanser which will be fine for fiberglass and acrylic sinks and tubs.

11. Baking soda: If you use a bit of this and water it makes a paste which you can use as an abrasive and it sparkles your chrome fixtures. Also you can put an opened box of this in the back of your first shelf as a neutralizer; to take away any stinky smells you might have.

12. Plastic organizer: I put all of my supplies that I need in here so it is easy to tote up and down the stairs.

13. A good furniture cleaner: to use with the microfiber cloths to clean up all of the dust.

14 . Broom: An angled head nylon broom works best for picking up the dropped cheerios and dirt left everywhere.

15. Sponge Mop: I use a porous sponge mop with liquid soaps to clean the kitchen floor and eliminate small puddles after the rain in my laundry room. After each use soak your sponge mop in a bucket of water and cup of bleach for 10 minutes so mold does not grow and make sure you wring it out well. And change the sponge every other month.

16. Dust Mop: This is the biggie which I use to go under the furniture to keep the hardwood floors clean. This also picks up the mounds of hair left behind in the bathroom. To keep these “alive” clean them in the washer but do not use softener as that will eliminate the static electricity you need to pick things up.

17. Long Duster: These I use for high up places which are hard to reach as well as ceiling fans.

18. Vacuum: Carpets pick up all kinds of dirt and dust on a daily basis.

19. Quick Vacuum: I have a smaller vacuum which I use on a daily basis to clean the kitchen and laundry room floors.

20. Bucket: I like to use an oval big plastic bucket so that I have ample rinsing space for which ever mop I am using.

Happy cleaning!