Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make The Most of Your Day at the Mall

It's that time of year again! And though I am typically successful at blocking out the fact that Christmas arrives in stores earlier each year, the town I live in completed it's lighting display yesterday, and the "Countdown To Christmas" programming has begun on TV.  So, it is indeed time for "Make the Most of Your Day at the Mall." (Regardless that I've not yet had a bite of Thanksgiving Day turkey...)

Even though, I am one who purchases gifts throughout the year for my family and friends, and prefer to purchase unique, often hand-crafted or antique items, regardless of my best efforts, I always have at least one trip to the shopping center during the Holiday rush.  And, unless it is an event (concert, football game, homeshow, etc.) I am not a fan of overcrowded spaces. A little planning helps me to utilize my shopping time in the best way possible, and get back to where I prefer to be - at home decorating, baking, wrapping, and spending time with my loved ones.

Here are some tips for making the most of your shopping trip(s) to the local Mall:

1.  If you've not yet, start an inspiration folder.  Save any gift ideas, discount offers or store ads and keep them organized in one place. Take the folder with you when you venture out on your shopping excursion.

2.  Visit your local shopping center's website to find out more about holiday hours, promotions and events. (And note: these may be events or event days that you wish to avoid depending upon your time constraints and goals.)

3.  If "Black Friday" is up your alley, find out which stores have "early-bird" incentives. Pick one which is most in line with your "inspiration folder" and begin there.
Macy's Herold Square

4. Shopping is habitual. We usually don't go outside our comfort zone and venture into stores where we don't often make purchases.  If time allots, visit three "new to you" mall stores and you may surprise yourself (and your family/friends) with something different!

Pottery Barn Stockings
 5. While in the line (that you are wishing was shorter) make the most of your time. Stocking Stuffers are often placed near registers, and being aware of what is around you may save you time later searching for an item that was right under your nose!

6. Take the time for specialty shops. Because of their limited real estate, their inventory is selected with more care.  There you may find an item that is on point with this season's trends, yet with a  unique spin on what would otherwise be a "cookie cutter" item.

7.  Take advantage of the sales racks which are most likely at the back of the store. Locate the perfect gift there and save big dollars!

Hope this helps to make your gift shopping this season a little more organized and a little less stressful!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Weekend!

...and War Eagle! Hope you enjoy yours and I promise to be back next week with new posts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"All About Me"

Did anyone else have the "All About Me" book by Dr. Seusse growing up?  I got mine when I was seven.  When I starting thinking about what I'd write to introduce myself to you, it came to mind. Lucky for you, I am not going to use "All About Me" as a format because then you would only learn such things as how tall I am, whether I have brown or blonde hair, my shoe size and if I am right or left handed...
(Real valuable stuff, huh?)

So, here is my adult version of "All About Me." 
General: By now you've likely figured out that my name is Leslie. I am a 30-something, loving wife, mother of two "cat-kids", oldest of three sisters, daughter of wonderful parents, Aunt of one awesome little-boy and one gorgeous baby girl, a loyal friend, and take pride in striving to be a "generous and helpful" person at all times. 
Career: Having enjoyed a 12-year career in special event sales, planning and management, and realizing that I was ready for a new challenge, I recently made an industry change into a field that I have always been passionate about, Home Organizational Design.  I now greatly enjoy working with my clients on designing home storage solutions for everything from master closets, home offices, pantries and play rooms to garages, wine cellars and entertainment centers.
Hobbies:  Having always had a creative, artistic side, I have a great passion for my home and enjoy putting the time and energy into making it the best it can be with the resources I have at my disposal.  I enjoy many DIY home improvement and decor projects, dabbling in photography (and thank goodness for digital photography because it sometimes takes a lot of shots for me to get it just right),  playing guitar (poorly) and singing along with myself (better) and I am working on teaching myself to sew.  I also enjoy working out, reading, cooking, antiquing, entertaining, stationery and Holidays - all of them, but Christmas most.

I am giving some thought as to a weekly post that will allow us to get to know a little about each other moving forward. I think maybe a good place to start would be some of those "1000 Conversation Starter" cube questions. I'll keep thinking about it and if anyone has any ideas, I'm all Ears.
(Average Size, Not Pointed, Disconnected Lobed Ears - just in case you were wondering...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What You'll Find Here...

Just thought I'd take a moment to share with you my initial plans for "a Graceful space." Granted, in time the focus may be added to and/or changed, but at least here we have a place to start. So, in no particular order, here is my list of;

"Stuff I'd Like to Include in 'a Graceful space' Blog"
1. Organizing, De-cluttering and Decorating advice, tips, projects and tutorials
2. Musings and Inspirations for said advice, tips, projects and tutorials
3. Entertaining and Hosting thoughts and ideas (recipes, table arrangements, themes etc.)
4. Re-purposed items of inspiration and how-to's
5. A glimpse into my everyday living in hopes that you'll feel comfortable enough to share yours
6. Fun, pretty things and ideas I like that make me happy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is "a Grace-ful space" Anyway?

Good ole' Merriam-Webster defines as: Grace-ful (adj.) 1. characterized by seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion. 2. suggesting taste, ease and wealth. 3. a disposition to be generous or helpful. 4. a sense of fitness or propriety.

That said, is there a formula or standard that makes one space more "graceful" than another? Of course not!  The best part is that whatever style you may gravitate toward, whether it's traditional, minimalist, shabby-chic, modern, contemporary, transitional, cottage, Mediterranean, minimalist, French Provencal (and the list goes on...) or any combination of these, every space has the potential to become a "graceful" space.  It is more about how you, your family and your guests feel and function in your home that is important.

Is it really "effortless" as the definition suggests? Well, no. But, what that is worth it in life is really effortless? However, having an awareness of your personal values, goals and objectives in how you live - and prioritizing them in such a way that you are able to take joy away from the process of creating a graceful space - certainly helps to put the "fun" in functional so to speak, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.  Suddenly,  your home (and you)  feel a sense of effortless order. And then there's that sigh of relief. Ahhhhh....

Is "graceful" just beauty and form? Again, a resounding "No!"  It is a feeling of warmth and welcome, fun and laughter, and comfort and ease which all contribute to a graceful space. And, most importantly, the ability for you to embody "generosity and helpfulness" (definition 3) in the environment you've created, because, in the end, THAT is what you, your family, your friends and your guests will notice the most!  However, many of us lifestyle and decor enthusiasts (myself included) swoon over the beautiful, perfect and yes, "graceful," homes and rooms that are featured (and we are taunted with) in magazines and catalogs.  But, what we fail to remind ourselves as we imagine what it must be like to live in such a pristine home, is that it is a highly contrived environment at which we are longingly gazing.  One which is chock full of fresh floral arrangements, special lighting, pillow fluffers, a highly accomplished photographer, a set-assistant armed with a "Swiffer Duster" just outside the reach of the camera frame, and of course, the most stylishly dressed, beautified and happy homeowners [and/or family] we've ever seen!  Is it attainable in our real day-to-day lives? Yes. By a select few. ("The Stepford Wives" and "Mommy Dearest" come to mind.) But, in truth reality,  being "graceful" and keeping "graceful spaces" allows for imperfections, and as is shown time and again in nature, there is much "effortless beauty" to be found there. Ultimately, the point I am making here is don't be discouraged and disgruntled from making your home it's most "graceful" because of the "threat" of a perfect picture of a home/room which yours will never be directly compared to. (Unless of course you are submitting it to the publishers of "Your Favorite Home Magazine" for consideration.)  Rather, use the ideas you may find there in practical ways that will compliment your lifestyle and, to quote Tim Gunn, "Make It Work!"

As we move forward together through this journey into " a graceful space," I hope to employ the delicate balance between style, organization and function in my home and life, and will always welcome your thoughts and ideas as to what works for you and yours. Together, may our spaces all be "graceful."

Monday, November 1, 2010


Hello and Welcome to a Graceful Space!  I am so glad you're here to join me in my journey mission of creating and maintaining style and order in both my home and in my ever-changing life! For now, know that I am excited for all that is to come and for the chance to share it with you along the way. Until then, Remain Graceful...