Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pillow Talk

Let's talk pillows. I'm obsessed.

They're easy to change, easy to wash, easy to move around and if you know where to look, fairly priced. So here's some things to consider...

Space and Needs

Think about whatcha got. Think aboutcha focal point too!

I have one full size couch, one love seat and two chairs in my living room. My full couch is a focal point when you walk in my front door, so I decided I wanted it to be pretty full of pillows. It also isn't my favorite looking couch, so just another reason to load it up. For the love seat, I just decided on two pillows, but also did one pillow for each of the chairs so I could then move those over to the love seat if I wanted.

Southern Living even has a guide on how to arrange sofa pillows, check it out here.

(ok here's the big reveal, aren't these great, eek!)

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Sources: (sprinkled throughout blog post)


Get an idea of size in your head. For example, 22"or 24" IS big, but its a great outter pillow size (see pink moroccan pillows above, these are 22"). If  you have the time, I would suggest unfolding a cardboard box and measuring it out and placing it beside the other size pillows you want. I like variety in size to add interest. I also like unique sizes, but beware, its hard to find inserts for  items like this.

Buy Covers, Invest in Inserts

If you invest in a set of 22", 20", 18", 16" and a lumbar insert then I guarantee you'll use them for an eternity. I bought a few of mine from Pottery Barn and then some from this site (found on ebay) and I love them. And really, when people say "invest" that usually is code for "spend a lot of money". But these range from $12-$30 each. Done!

After that, just buy pillow covers. Seriously, the best ones are on Etsy.

Search terms like "trellis", "bamboo", "moroccan", "chevron", "watercolor", "graphic", "chinoiserieand "greek key".


Sources: Chinoiserie, Graphic Hustling, Trellis (bonus: comes with insert!),

Chevron, Bamboo, Watercolor, Moroccan, Greek Key


My color story starts with Jonathan Adler. I wish I could just say that I totally outfitted my entire home from his nearby Georgetown store. But that unfortunately is not the case for me (or any other bargainista). So how psyched was I when he came out with his "Happy Chic" collection for JC Penny. Yes, that JC Penny.

I purchased this beauty 1. because of my love for all things with this greek-inspired ribbon and 2. its purple and orange. Duh. Go Tigers! Oh and put your own down insert into it and I promise it will look like a million bucks.

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So that's where the madness began. After that, these bright purples, oranges and pinks were my obsession. Make sure to not go overboard and mix in some neutrals (black, white, natural fibers, etc.). And find a piece of art that helps balance and draw out your colors. (See Kentucky photo below).

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Bottom line, find your inspiration piece and Go!

Pattern and Texture

My friends will tell you, if everything could be a color, pattern and texture all at the same time, all day every day, and not be gaudy, I would do it all day every day. But, there just has to be balance. And I do love balance (even though I may not have any).

So see above on pattern ideas (under covers). As for texture, I love ribbon, embroidery (although, beware of grandma style pillows here), canvas, linen, burlap and piping. Oh and did I mention Mongolian goat hair? Yes, goat hair, its just fabulous!


Sources: Chevron Burlap, Piped Green & Pink, Embroidered Moroccan, Mongolian Goat Hair

PHEW! Ok, had enough pillow talk yet?

Ok no, not me either... so don't worry my favorite pillow set I ordered is due to arrive any day now and I will debut it here on this blog and my Instagram feed, stayyyy tuuuunnnedd!

And if you want to continue the pillow talk, comment below, send me a tweet or email me at

Friday, April 19, 2013

#run #runforboston #runforyou

Ok so I'm definitely not a runner. Nothing about me has ever even hinted that I am a runner. I'm more of a zumba/group class sort of gal. I've always admired runners though. I've always wished that I could just "go for a run".

But you know what, here's the thing. Most people I know have two legs, lungs that breathe and a heart that beats. They can run, I can run. In fact, if you are blessed enough to have these things, why not run?

Three weeks ago, on a long drive with a best friend, she noted how she was training to run her first marathon. But this was not any marathon that she was going to run, it was the Boston marathon. She being a native Bostonian and long time runner, you could hear the excitement, nervousness and determination in her voice.

It was just so inspiring to hear her talk about her training and journey to running this marathon. So that was it, I put all my pre-conceived notions aside, threw on my favorite lulu and decided to run!


I found a little more intense Couch to 5K program, saved that plan, found a local 5K and immediately signed up. May 4th, here we come!

No-Ordinary-Beginner-to-5k-Training-ScheduleI then spoke to my husband and we decided to take it to the next level. I found a plan that takes you from 5K to half marathon. So we signed up for the Hamptons Half Marathon in NY. I love to travel, so for me, that was just another great motivator. So we got running!

Half-Marathon-16-Week-Training-Plan-Level-2-BeginnerHalf-Marathon-16-Week-Training-Plan-Level-2-Beginner (2)As this Monday approached, we started tracking our friend online throughout the day, amazed at her time and how awesome she was doing, giving us even more inspiration for our run later that day we had planned. Then the bomb went off. Panic, worry, tears. Prayers.

Our friend and her family and friends that went to watch her cross that finish line are all okay. And she crossed only minutes before the bomb. We're so proud of her and so relieved everyone is fine.

My new found love of running, and the runs hereafter of many others may never be the same. Yesterday, I woke up dreading the dinky run plan for that day. Then I thought, how dare I even think that for a second? I'm so lucky to have the ability to do this and to have such amazing friends and family to encourage me along the way.

So I then took my #run and made it a 5K #runforboston, I made it a #runforyou.


Life is too short to live in a bubble. Get out there, get moving, see something, discover something, meet someone new. You don't have to literally run, but find what gives you this motivation and meaning. Find your #run. Run it for Boston. Run it for you.


Follow me on instagram (erinnicolep) and twitter (@erinnphillips) where I post photos and info on this journey as I find my #run. Comment below and let me know if you want to #run with us or how you find your #run.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 Tips for Home Staging

"You got the job. Can you start at our Richmond office in four weeks?"

These were the words that energized, scared and excited us all at the same time. When we realized that the big move from South Carolina to Richmond was actually happening, the second biggest thing we realized is that we have to sell our home.


I spent one and a half years making this house a home. And while that's not long, it was sure hard to undo and let go. But I coped by making my job to sell the house. I posted a brief photo and description on social media one morning, had four showings that night and then had an offer by Wednesday morning. We've since accepted that offer, closed on the house and are happily living in Virginia.

So here's my "not so professional" tips on how to do this yourself. I owe it all to styling and staging.


Young professionals were our audience. And in the South there is a rustic/chic vibe that's goin' strong. Colorful, natural elements and a touch of shine all are essential to this design. Luckily, I share this design aesthetic with my age group. Tweed, bulky pieces, or even the mod '60s look that's in right now would not have made the cut.



There's a lot that accumulates into a home whether you've been there one year or ten. Declutter. Pull out the trash bags, get ready to visit Goodwill and find a place like Plato's Closet. We also packed about 20 boxes of extra linens, papers, sheets, seasonal clothes, dog toys, kitchen gadgets, crafts, tools, etc. and stored them far, far away (thanks Nana and Papa). Essentially, open every closet and drawer in your home, even on furniture you own and make it look like Martha Stewart organized it that morning.



You look beautiful in your wedding picture and that college bikini bod is great, but take it down and also put it far, far away. When people see you in your home they don't see themselves, they feel like guests. Go to Homegoods or Ikea, buy a picture of a city scape or animal and hang it on your wall.



That extra guest bed that is a man room/office or anything in between, make it more universal. Make sure that your potential buyers can see it as a bedroom. Show off the closet, bathroom and even put an Ikea futon in there so they can see someone can lounge or sleep there. Then sell the futon on Craigslist for the price you bought it for (true story).



Take at least $500 and put it toward landscaping. It changes everything. You want your buyers to pull up and say OMG, WBL (oh my gosh, what a beautiful lawn).



Duh. Makes sense, right? But first, hire a professional and have them do the deepest clean your house has ever received. I'm talking baseboards, oven and all. It's worth the money, trust me. Then just maintain after that.



Yes seriously, sweat it. Dial soap is not okay. Towels handed down from Mom or brought from college are also not okay. Go to TJ Maxx, spend $50 on soap, lemon scented candles, new hand towels and fresh 2x3' rugs.



Set the mood. Ceiling lights aren't flattering. Turn on floor and table lamps or invest in dimmers to turn it down a notch. Light a candle or two (don't put one in every room, looks like you're hiding a stinky). Open every blind or curtain to open up the house to light and your beautiful neighborhood. Put on jazz or bluegrass, but play it very very softly. Essentially, act like you're having a dinner party.



If you're selling the home by owner, open the door, say welcome, then leave the premises immediately. If they hate the color blue, they don't want to say that in front of you when your living room walls are painted that color. Let them talk it out without you there. Less awkward for everyone, trust me.



I'm not saying you have to have one, but make sure your buyers do if you don't. It's worth the 3%. When paperwork, inspections, etc. start flinging your way you're going to want some kind of guidance. Not so much a staging tip, but it helps!

Phew, okay, long post I know, but I hope this helps! I wish I could stage homes for a career, so if you have any questions or want advice, please let me know in the comments, it's so much fun to me!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Long Intermission

We're back! After a quite long intermission (its almost been a year y'all!) I'm knockin' on these key pads once again. So in a nut shell, in the past 10 months Ryan and I have managed to travel to Boston, celebrate many a Clemson game, celebrate life in general with our great friends, enjoy the holidays with our family and get a new job and move to Richmond, VA. Phew!

Here's some photo favorites...

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I've been having so much fun with this fresh start in Richmond! We're living it up in "The Fan" district of the city and getting accustomed to apartment living, especially with our two active pups. So what a better time to get back on the blog wagon! I've got so much to share and feel like I've learned and discovered more in the past three weeks than I ever did in a year or more.

So here's what to come...

  • Ryan and Erin Move to Richmond

  • The Bargainista Home Series

  • Ombre Hair: The Light and Dark of It

  • Couch to Half Marathon Journey

Stay tuned!

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