Thank You! (and a bunch of deep thoughts)

Just wanted to take a day to thank you all so much for your recent feedback on our survey. I’ve been reading through all of your comments and really thinking…

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Just wanted to take a day to thank you all so much for your recent feedback on our survey. I’ve been reading through all of your comments and really thinking about how to implement the things that you want to see here. I’m just so grateful and lucky that so many folks took the time to respond, and were so eloquent in sharing thoughts about the blog. Thank you. (Giveaway winners will be announced later this week!)

I’ve been thinking and talking so much lately about getting down to the nitty gritty of what Lovely Indeed is and what I want it to be. And I have to be kind of honest with you guys — in the last couple of months, I have been a blogging machine. I mean, I truly always try to turn out quality content and make things beautiful, but it’s felt like it’s missing a little heart for me. I went back and read some of my very first posts recently, and I was surprised. There was a freshness and energy there that might be hiding these days.

Mostly, I realized that I have been blogging on autopilot out of fear. It’s scary to be out here, where it kind of feels like you’re all alone, just saying words and hoping someone will respond. The blog has gotten into a routine that feels familiar and has stayed there, partially out of fear that if I change things, I’ll lose you, my treasured readers and friends. And fear that if I do things in a different way than the huge, popular bloggers, I’ll be on the wrong track. And fear that I won’t be able to financially support myself and my husband if I lose sponsors or partners. That’s real, yo. This is my job. I’ve worked hard to build it, and I work hard daily to maintain it. And I want to do it really well (and fearlessly).

Going forward, I want to speak more honestly. If something’s not “amazing,” I don’t want to call it amazing. I want to be more specific for you all, and strive to find language that’s honest and descriptive. It’s so easy to just call everything awesome! and use a zillion exclamation marks and try to get everyone excited. But for me, it’s harder to get to the root of why I love something, so sometimes I avoid it. I want to stop doing that.

I don’t want to be part of so much noise that fills the internet. There’s a gluttony of information that you get to choose from, so I want to give you a reason to choose what I’m putting out there. I want to be more than noise. I want my DIYs to have a reason behind them, and be pertinent to my life. I want to give you quality ideas and content that will fill your heart, enrich your lives, inspire conversation, and ultimately bring us all to a better understanding of each other.

Sometimes I’m so concerned about keeping up and looking like all the other blogs with highly stylized shoots and pristine, Pinterest-worthy images that I put all of my effort there and don’t even know what to say about the images. Sometimes I have a fear that just capturing the ordinary, every-day isn’t good enough. And a fear of being judged for sharing our ordinary, every-day life. How crazy is that? This whole blog is about how the ordinary, every-day is lovely. How ordinary things are inspiring and beautiful and enough. Because I really, deeply believe that loveliness hides in every corner and crevice of life, and is just waiting there to be found and celebrated. Life is what you make it and how you see it. Life is lovely if you want it to be.

So. Thank you again for helping me think through all of these things, and for being part of the action here. I’m so excited to move forward with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit, and to bring you all of the lovely that I possibly can. You guys rock. xoxo

Ten Things: Fall

I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Fall is juicy and delicious. It’s this little snippet of a magical season, and for me it’s never long enough. Wherever…

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I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Fall is juicy and delicious. It’s this little snippet of a magical season, and for me it’s never long enough. Wherever I am, it usually seems to last all of two weeks and then BAM it’s winter. Or summer hangs on forever and there’s almost no fall at all. But when it’s there, there are just a few things that I love so much about fall they make me wiggle my toes and feel like I’m in a movie or something equally awesome. Here they are.

1. The way the air smells. Like dry leaves and a few people using their fireplaces for the first time.
2. Those random cobwebs that float through the air. Am I the only one that notices those?
3. Long-sleeved shirts but no jacket.
4. Warm drinks, be they pumpkin-flavored or not.
5. Dark nail polish.
6. Holiday planning.
7. High school football games.
8. Something a little more glowy and warm about the light at sunset.
9. Making stew.
10. A gust of a breeze that shakes leaves from the trees and makes them rain on you.

Ugh, it’s all so good! Please please tell me I’m not bizarre and the fall makes you feel warm inside, too. What are your faves? Have a great weekend! xoxo

London Travel Tips

Oh, London. The whole time we were there, Mr. Lovely and I felt like we were in an alternate universe of NYC (but with more tea and fewer bums). I…

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Oh, London. The whole time we were there, Mr. Lovely and I felt like we were in an alternate universe of NYC (but with more tea and fewer bums). I really loved it. In London, we kind of stayed off the beaten path (surprise, surprise) and tried to experience the city in a really relaxed way. I’m so glad we did; it led us to so many cool spots and people. Obviously, London has some major historical sights that are must-sees if you’re headed there, but the lesser-known neighborhoods were just as exciting to me. We met and chatted with so many kind, happy locals, and it felt like a place that people truly love to live. xoxo

Click here for all of our recommendations and more photos!

Lately around The Neighborhood

In case you’ve missed my last few posts on The Neighborhood, you should chiggity check ’em out. Also, did you take my survey? xoxo What I love about my neighborhood…

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In case you’ve missed my last few posts on The Neighborhood, you should chiggity check ’em out. Also, did you take my survey? xoxo

What I love about my neighborhood (and the apartment lifestyle).

I’ve told you I used to be in 4-H, right?

Ever dropped your phone off of a Stairmaster?

I still love this freebie, even if school has already started.

DIY Giant Geometric Confetti

What the heck is it about tossing confetti? It’s literally just throwing pieces of teeny tiny paper in the air, but it’s so good. I think it’s the way it flutters down…

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What the heck is it about tossing confetti? It’s literally just throwing pieces of teeny tiny paper in the air, but it’s so good. I think it’s the way it flutters down — like it’s kind of weightless for a couple of seconds. I love confetti, but I’m not in a tiny mood these days. I’m in a big mood. So we’re making giant geometric confetti. Let’s party.

Materials

  • tissue paper
  • scissors

Make Time: 10 Minutes

This one is so simple I’m almost ashamed to tell you how to do it. But I’m gonna anyway. Pick a bunch of pretty colors of tissue paper that go together well. Line them up so that the edges are square, and cut them into strips that are about two inches wide.

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Once you have your strips, make sure again that the edges are square and start cutting them into triangles. Don’t worry about getting it perfect!

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There. Done. Now gather up all of your confetti and throw it as high as you can! Mr. Lovely and I had an absolute ball in the warehouse at CRAFTED, tossing this stuff around. (Isn’t the space amazing? See more of it here. If you haven’t been, you definitely need to go some weekend and check it out!)

So. That’s pretty much all you need for a party. A cute guy and a handful of giant confetti. xoxo

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Reader Survey & Giveaway

UPDATE: Survey now closed. Thanks so much for the time you took to respond! Giveaway winners will be announced next week. It’s been a while since we’ve done a reader…

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UPDATE: Survey now closed. Thanks so much for the time you took to respond! Giveaway winners will be announced next week.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a reader survey, and I’d be so grateful if you’d take part in this one. Mr. Lovely and I did a whole bunch of brainstorming while we were traveling about where I’d like to take the blog, and your feedback can help set us on the right track to do some really amazing things around here.

Also, as a bonus I have prize giveaways if you complete the survey! I have a little stockpile of some of my favorite Lovely Indeed DIY projects and you’ll be entered to win if you complete the survey and leave a comment here letting me know. Just a sample of what’s up for grabs includes the leather keychains, gilded notebook, gold iPad sleeve, and more!

So head over to take the survey, then just comment back here letting me know that you did. It would sure be swell of you. Thanks guys! xoxo

CLICK HERE TO TAKE SURVEY

One Day // Brussels and Amsterdam

We just scratched the surface in both of these cities, but there’s kind of an art to spending just one day in a new place. We really had to decide…

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We just scratched the surface in both of these cities, but there’s kind of an art to spending just one day in a new place. We really had to decide about which things were important to us to experience, and which we could set aside. So if you’re ever spending one day in Brussels or Amsterdam, these itineraries might work well for you, too! Both of these itineraries have quite a bit of walking, which is how we like to roll. But you can definitely incorporate more public transportation if you need to. Happy travels! xoxo

Brussels

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Spend the morning at the flea market in the Marolles. You’ll have to dig, but you’ll find some treasures for sure! After you’ve had your fill, stop at one of the cafes facing the market and people watch while you have a bite. Wander over to Mannekin Pis statue and admire its weirdness. The Grand Place is just down the block from the statue — wander around and gawk for a while. It’s such a spectacular place. Be sure to check out the small side streets and alleys off of the Grand Place as well. We found a couple of really amazing kids’ toy stores! When you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a waffle from a stand on a side street. I liked mine just with some good old powdered sugar, but you can get crazy with the toppings!

After that, walk back through the Marolles to the glass elevator, and take it (for free) up to the top. Admire the view, and then start walking past the Palais du Justice. Keep walking down Avenue Louise and check out the shops. Be sure to stop at Dille and Kamille — a gorgeous shop full of fun kitchen supplies and home stuff. If you’re up for more walking, keep going to the Place du Chatelain. It’s a lovely, out-of-the-way area, with a very local feel. Stop and have a beer at a cafe to give your feet a break. Finish off the day by wandering back through the Ixelles area and finding a cozy spot for dinner.

Note: We stayed in this airbnb. A perfect location, gorgeously appointed, all the comforts of home. The host was so gracious and even walked us around Brussels for a bit to get us acquainted with the location. Stay here!

Amsterdam

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I. Love. Amsterdam. Start the day wandering around The Nine Streets. It’s a grid of a few unbelievably charming streets packed with plenty of shops to wander in and out of. If you start at the bottom and work your way to the top, you’ll end up near the Anne Frank House. I’d definitely recommend taking the time to do the tour. There may be a bit of a line, but it moves quickly and there is lots to look at while you wait. (The museum even provides free wifi while you wait so you can read up on the house and the Frank family.) After the tour, head back toward The Nine Streets and grab takeaway lunch somewhere. Find a comfortable spot on a canal, and sit down to eat while you watch the boats go by.

If it’s market day, be sure to see them! Waterlooplein is a fun flea market along the canals with all kinds of tchotchkes and “antiques”, and Bloemenmarkt is a flower market chock full of blooms and bulbs. We also wandered upon another market — not sure which it was but there were lots of food stands and local delicacies. That’s the magical place where we discovered stroopwafels. We brought home three packages. (So good!)

If you’re feeling curious, wander through the Red Light District. This is the seedy Amsterdam that everyone knows about — the pot coffeeshops and brothels and everything in between. We just took a quick walk through during the day, but I hear it’s popping at night. Choose your own adventure. But in the middle of all of the seediness is Oude Kerk, one of the most beautiful old churches I’ve ever come across. Don’t miss a peek.

Finally, walk (or take the tram) over to Vondelpark. Take a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine or some beers and watch the locals do their thing. The best thing we could compare it to is Sheeps Meadow in Central Park; lots of young locals, playing music, skateboarding, just living life. Leave when the sun goes down (they say the scene changes after dark) and grab some dinner. We had a delicious meal at Bosco and would totally recommend it.

Note: We stayed in this airbnb. Highly recommended for location, cleanliness, and a beautiful view. But definitely don’t stay here if you have issues with stairs or lots of luggage. It’s up four flights of the steepest stairs ever.

Want more travel goodness?

Say Yes

One of my goals recently has been to say yes more. Not in the way where my schedule gets packed and I get stressed and all of a sudden I’m…

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One of my goals recently has been to say yes more. Not in the way where my schedule gets packed and I get stressed and all of a sudden I’m sorry I said yes to anything at all. But in the way where I’m pushed slightly outside of my comfort zone, forced to try new things, and growing because of it. So far, so good.

If you’re looking for ways to stretch yourself as well, let’s team up. Lovely Indeed is looking for sponsors who’d like to say yes to amazing things — cool collaborations, fun projects, and outside-the-box thinking. I have a few glorious ideas that I’d love to bring to life, and I just need some yes-folks to back me up. So if you’re looking to sponsor something cool, yes it out. Shoot me an email and let’s make things happen.

And as always, Lovely Indeed is accepting yes-folks on the sidebar, now taking sponsors for the month of October! Send a message to hello {at} lovelyindeed {dot} come and we can talk turkey. Have a beautiful weekend, all! xoxo

Paris // Places to Eat

The café culture in Paris is just… cool. Grab two seats on the sidewalk, and don’t face each other – face out. Both of you. Because it’s all about people…

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The café culture in Paris is just… cool. Grab two seats on the sidewalk, and don’t face each other – face out. Both of you. Because it’s all about people watching. And those Parisians are good at taking their time! Slow down and join the pace. A meal is an event. Here were some of our favorite places. xoxo

L’Eclair. Great place for dinner, on the perfect Parisian street.

Gusto Italia. Can’t take credit for this one! Jordan recommended it, and it’s pefect for grabbing takeaway and picnicking by the Eiffel Tower. Grab a bottle of wine from a shop on Rue Cler to take with it. It’s a really lovely (and affordable) evening.

Refuge des Fondues. Everybody’s loving this spot. It’s a steal of a deal – one price for a kir, appetizers, fondue for two, and wine out of baby bottles. Oh, and be prepared to climb over the tables to sit down.

L’as du Fallafel. Down and dirty fallafel joint in Le Marais. Best fallafel I’ve ever had.

Dong Huong. For when you need a break from French food. Local pho spot. This joint was jumping.

Place Verte. Perfect for sitting and working on their free wifi! Good lunch food, good beers.

Cafe Les Anemones. A relaxed spot with a great happy hour.

Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. Two dueling cafes with a bunch of history. They’re usually quite full and they’re a little fussy, but a very fun scene.

Merci Canteen. There are the Merci cafes on the street, but make your way to the back of the shop upstairs for a beautiful lunch spot.

Berthillon. Woah. Some of the best (and richest) ice cream ever. Get a cone and sit on the Seine.

La Drougerie. Sweet little walk-up crepe window in Le Marais.

Laduree. Legendary macarons which stand up to all the hype. I loved the location on Rue Royale.

Don’t forget to stop by a boulangerie for fresh baguettes and croissants! Some of our favorite meals were picnics with bread, cheeses, and fruits. It’s so simple but so perfect.

DIY Dahlia and Amaranthus Bouquet

You may remember that I have a proclivity towards flowers that look like they came from a Dr. Seuss book. So on a recent trip to the flower market, I…

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You may remember that I have a proclivity towards flowers that look like they came from a Dr. Seuss book. So on a recent trip to the flower market, I saw these dahlias and I completely stopped short. These actually reminded me of a Van Gogh painting. They were so gorgeous in a totally crazy, over-the-top way I had to grab them and show you guys. I mean, there’s one that’s as big as my head! I thought they looked weirdly cool with some amaranthus, so they all bunked up together in a vase and made nice on my dining room table.

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Materials

  • 5-6 dahlia blooms
  • bunch of (upright) green amaranthus
  • tall vase
  • scissors

Make Time: 10 Minutes

Choose a bloom and trim the lower greenery off. Cut the stem at an angle, ensuring that it’s the right height for your vase.

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Arrange the stems in your vase bit by bit. These were kind of wild to work with because the stems are so stiff, but just keep working them together until they stay where you want them. Work your way through all of the stems until you’re done! Make sure you take a step back and rearrange if need be. Sometimes I forget to look at the big picture when I’m putting flowers together.

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Isn’t it crazy? In such a beautiful way. What do you think — do you guys like a more classic, refined look in your flowers, or are you up for something that’s a little out-there? xoxo

P.S. Check out some of my other favorite floral posts herehere, and here.

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Paris // Places to Shop

I was actually shocked that I didn’t buy more things in Paris, but it turned out that the window shopping was so delicious I didn’t even have to. The shops…

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I was actually shocked that I didn’t buy more things in Paris, but it turned out that the window shopping was so delicious I didn’t even have to. The shops are so beautifully curated and cared for, and they’re tucked away down every alley. These were the places that I could have stayed for hours. xoxo

Merci.The clothing is gorgeous, but I wanted to buy all of the housewares.

Shakespeare and Co. This legendary bookshop has so much history. Creep upstairs for a perfect view of Notre Dame and to perhaps see a young writer working on one of the many old typewriters scattered around.

Paperdolls. The most charming shop in Montmartre. I walked in and felt like it resembled a physical version of Lovely Indeed. We went back twice!

Le Bonbon au Palais. A gem of a candy shop, and maybe my favorite shopping experience. Owner George is quite the friendly guy – ask him about the history of the shop. He’s been wanting to own a candy store since he was 10, and he’ll tell you the sweetest stories. The shop is as beautiful and well-curated as a candy shop could possibly be.

Fleux. There are actually four spaces that Fleux inhabits, all near one another and each a little different. A mecca of awesome design-y pieces.

Habitat. A little bit Ikea, a little bit Crate and Barrel. So good.

Bensimon. Classic shoes for everyone! We each got a pair and may have brought back a teeny pair for our niece.

Artazart. Some absolutely wonderful design books.

Clignancourt Flea Market. Woah. The craziest maze of a flea market ever. Jordan has great directions to get you there. It’s actually a bunch of individual markets that are situated together. For me, the must-see markets are the Marche Paul Bert and the Marche Vernaison. In the Vernaison, make sure you hit Tombees du Camion. A beautifully organized bunch of totally weird trinkets.

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