He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Courtney Out Loud

No, that was not a typo! Today is going to be fabulous because I have invited one of my favorite HE's in the design blog world to share what he's loving and not! Enter Courtney, from Courtney Out Loud.  I met Courtney at the SF design blogger meet up in July and he was one of my very favorite people there. We share a true passion for design and totally hit it off. He is talented, spunky and has mad style.
Alright, take it away!

Hi, this is Courtney from Courtney Out Loud and I was super honored that Michaela asked me to participate in the "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" series for multiple reasons, most of all being that I will be the first MALE she has had do the series. Yup, ladies, I am crashing your party - I am the proverbial "rooster in the hen-house" and I could not be happier. So let's get this party started......

He Loves Me:


Black Fleece is a joint venture between Thom Browne and Brooks Brothers. It infuses modern takes on traditional pieces, like cropped wool trousers, shrunken jackets and my personal favorites the fitted cardigans. While not cheap, their pieces are flawlessly made and go on sale every season...hence why I stock up!


The former head of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman's men's divisions, this man can do no wrong in my book. I aspire to have his rugged style and effortless looks. He is always hip, cool and under-the-radar sexy. I would gladly worship at his closet and listen as he waxed on about pretty much anything.....

In-and-Out Burger

Unlike a certain fellow blogger (yeah I mean you Hi Sugarplum!) who does not see the wonder and delight of these delicious burgers, I am an addict. I love these burgers more than I love my stash of cashmere scarves -- and that says alot from a dude who lives in the Bay Area. I will readily admit In-and-Out fries suck, their burgers have never failed to make me happy.


This blue glass hails from France and is sometimes referred to as "blue milk glass". However, aside from the nickname, the similarities between Vallerysthal and milk glass are few and far between. I became addicted to collecting the glass thanks to Eddie Ross's fantastic tablescape above. You can find me trolling eBay almost daily looking for new glasses to add to my small but growing collection.


Sometimes as I am drafting, I daydream that Tommy and Sarah will find and anoint me as one of their "chosen". They will whisk me away to Canada where I will be part of the team transforming ho-hum rooms in brilliant masterpieces. Of if they just sent me a shout out on Twitter, I would be down with that too. Either way, I can't get enough of this duo!

He Loves Me Not:


Champagne is about celebration and joy! And folks, there is nothing joyful about drinking the bubbly from a plastic cup. I know that not all situations lend themselves well to glassware, but with the wealth of Dollar Stores, Ikeas and whatnot selling stem ware for about a $1 a glass, it may be time to invest in a few "disposable" pieces so you can truly enjoy the best of all beverages!


Pleats make most people look larger......honestly they flatter about .001% of the world's population. I don't understand why designers keep trying to sneak them back into the wardrobe vernacular. Make it stop.

Two Buck Chuck aka Charles Shaw

Okay it was funny when we were in college and grad school. I was acceptable during our bachelor years. But now.....really..... Charles Shaw? It's time to upgrade your wine collection. For a few dollars more, you can get some awesome wines that will impress your friends and not leave them wondering if you have are having a cash flow problem since you are serving up the cheap booze.


I just don't understand it. Muscle heads, midgets and promiscuous people with bad fashion sense all gather in a house, display bad behavior and are rewarded for it? Honestly, I am baffled and a tad jealous that this much attention is being spent on these peeps rather than folks with actual talent and motivation.

I could go on, but I figured I should leave some other rants and raves for the others that will follow me! Thank you Michaela for allowing me to represent the men folks and hopefully I have not scared you off from inviting others!

Thanks, C! I, too, adore Sarah and Tommy. There's no better duo! And I'm pretty sure most of us will agree that Jersey Shore is a zero on a scale from one to Snooki (;

To check out Courtney's crazy awesome house tour go here! His living room is AMAZING, so don't miss it!

What are you loving this week? Happy mid-week!

PS. Want a discount on my design services? Head over to Adventures of Newlyweds to see what Ashley and I have cooked up for ya! 

Fireplace Takin' Center Stage

A few weeks ago I did a family room e-design for a client who told me she had a fireplace with the stone running all the way up to the ceiling.  I was blown away by how beautiful this fireplace was when I saw the pictures Brenda sent! The dilemma? How to position the seating around the fireplace and media center.  This is a common problem folks tend to have when trying to configure their family rooms. They want to highlight the focal point of the space, while making it a functional room at the same time!

Family Room Stats:
Center Stage: Fireplace
Function: TV and relaxing room

Here's the stunner:

Here's the layout (sofa is to the right of the fireplace against the wall)

The main thing I tried to fix was the flow of the space.  Sometimes the best way to create a better flow is to bring furniture to the middle of the room, instead of pushing it all up against the walls.  Also, by turning the couch (the pretty new one you'll see in the inspiration board!) perpendicular to the fireplace, we still incorporated the focal point without making it feel like it was out of place or just floating on the wall. I also moved the entertainment center to the opposite wall, since it was the only wall without windows, an archway, or fireplace.  To balance that side of the room, I sourced some bookshelves to give it height.  A fun garden stool, end table with a mirrored top, and introducing some blues and greens really helped to freshen the space.

Here's the new layout I came up with:

The inspiration board for the family room is clean, traditional, soothing and has a touch of modern elements seen in the occasional chair, cube ottomans, mirrors and pillow fabrics.

And finally, here is the media wall that I designed:

I think the flow will be wonderful and the greens and blue will be perfect with the colors in the fireplace materials. Can't wait to see the room's progress! What do you think? Have you ever had a space planning issue like these when trying to draw attention to a focal point?

If you need help in designing a room in your home, please visit my e-design page or email me at michaelawarner90@gmail.com
I'd love to help you create a space you love by coming up with an inspiration board, layout, or help you solve a quick design dilemma.

Hope you have a glorious Tuesday!

Field Trip + Decorate!

Last Thursday, Cristin {from Simplified Bee}, took me to the San Francisco Design Center on a little field trip before we met up at Anthropologie for Holly's Decorate book tour signing.  

Touring the design center was a great opportunity. I feel like I was able to grasp how to make my way around, how to interact with showroom associates, and learned what an important asset living near a design center really is. By knowing how to utilize a design center near me, I'll be able to offer my clients many more options, looks and more beautiful interiors.

First stop, Duralee...

Martyn Lawrence Bullard's new line was out and we were loving it! Check out this fun ikat print...I was so smitten that I ordered a sample. Maybe I can make a bulletin board with it (:

After we explored there, we headed to dinner at Straits, which was FAB! See...we scarfed it down (:

 Then we walked to Anthropologie. Clearly I'm always a happy camper in that store, but Thursday night was even better than usual, as Holly Becker of Decor8 blog and the author of Decorate, was there doing a book signing!

Holly is darling and just so sweet. I loved how excited she was that I was going to school for design. Great encouragement (:
Me, Cristin, Holly

Also a highlight was seeing some familiar faces.  Crystal and Anne from Rue Magazine were there, as well as Caitlin from Sacramento Street. Love all those talented girls!
Cristin, Crystal, Me

What a fun night. And what a wonderful design book. Thanks to Holly for writing, sharing, inspiring and visiting us all the way out in California.
In case you haven't picked up your copy yet, here's what you're missing!

Love this quote from the one and only, Nate Berkus...

Agreed! It's important to remember that everyone has a different design recipe to create a home they want to eat all up.  If you fill it with things you adore, you're well on your way!

Huge thanks to Anna from In Honor of Design for hosting a giveaway of Holly's book. I won the book a month ago and went through it the day I got it (:

Revisiting this little trip to the city certainly made my Monday sweeter. Have a wonderful start to your week and know I'm praying for all you East Coasters!

The Gift of Thoughtfulness

It doesn't take much to make me smile normally, but this past week was rough.  There's nothing worse than waking up and realizing our puppy wasn't going to be waiting for us while we ate our breakfast. 
Yesterday, though, I went to get the mail and came back from the mailbox beaming. A package came and it was addressed to me! {always fun to get something in the mail, right?!} In the package was a sweet and very thoughtful gift...an angel holding a puppy.  Tears of good memories, happiness, and an overwhelming sense of someone else thinking of me, hit me all at once.  Shasta is our little angel, so it's a perfect little figurine. She's on my desk and to say I adore her would be an understatement. 

I'd give anything to squeeze our doggie like that one more time.

Maggie, the sweet blogger who sent it to me... I cannot thank you enough for this kind gesture. You truly knew how to make me smile. Thank you for the joy you passed on to me. There's nothing like a bloggy friend to cheer you up and gift you with something you'll treasure forever.

I'm going to try to pay it forward and do something out of the ordinary for someone I come in contact with this week. Won't you join me?! Together, we can make someone's day by gifting them with thoughtfulness!

Happy Sunday!

No Heat Hair Tutorial {times 2!}

Since I love doing hair and am always trying to find new lazy easy ways to do mine, I thought I'd take this Friday and next Friday to show you some easy hair tutorials. Bonus? All four styles will require no heat to your hair. {Unless you have to blow it dry...I showered at night then let it dry overnight for one of these!} I'd also like to point out that some people have beauty marks on their face by their nose or mouth...yeah, mine's on my neck perfectly centered...enjoy!

First up is a super simple but stylish pony tail:

1. Tease the crown of your hair
2. Do a side braid close to your forehead.
an inside out braid adds more volume to your hair (:
3. Pin it, then pull back the rest of your hair in a low pony.

TIP: get your pony tail lightly damp and twirl it around your finger a few times so it helps it to dry in a more controlled, ringlet manner.

Next up is the Braid Knot:

1. Braid your hair in pigtail braids. {My BFF Alyssa and I believe that if you're over the age of 13, it's not legal to wear pigtails...but this is our only exception(: }
Try to braid as far down as possible. Tie off with bands {they don't have to match- they're coming out in a minute!}

2. Try to cover your part by pinching the two sections of hair on either side of your part together. Secure with a bobby pin to cover part line.

3. Cross your braids and tie the two braids into a knot {just like you're tying your shoe}

4. With the first knot you make, you want to pull the strands up and down {vertically} as shown below:

5. Tie another knot {double knot this baby!} but this time pull the two braids horizontally like this:

6. Now that you've double knotted, take out the rubber bands and pin the ends of the braids to the sides of the knot bun you've created. To further secure, take bobby pins and pin the braids to the rest of your hair.

7. Finish with hairspray!

TIP: after wearing your hair like this for most of the day, take it out and let it be curly. I did this and loved the look!  Also- I have A TON of super thick hair, and this braid knot stayed all day. If you use the right bobby pins and tie the knot tight, you should be okay!

Hope you'll give these a try...especially the last one. So fun! See:

Love it.  Try it and send me pictures!
Using little to no heat has been such a needed break for my poor curling-ironed-out hair (:  Back next week with two more no heat styles!
Do you have any stylish hair ideas without using a curling iron or straightener?

Happy Friday! What are your plans? I'm off to have lunch with Natasha from Schue Love today.  Can't wait!
Have a relaxing weekend!

Tips and Tricks: Creating Your Favorite Space

It's Thursday and we're due for a design post!
Today I'm going to unpack my top three tips for arriving at your favorite space.  Shall we?

One: Find your Inspiration Piece First
In order to achieve the room you love, my most important tip is starting with a piece you love.  Too often people will paint their walls and THEN start searching for the furniture, textiles, and accessories.  They run into problems when they realize their favorite couch doesn't match their wall color.  For this reason, choose a couch, pillow, bedding, or piece of art you want to be your "inspiration piece" and choose your wall colors and other decor to follow suit.

Sarah Richardson does this so well. Her inspiration often comes from an inspiring textile or material, such as this headboard fabric:

Or this kitchen backsplash that dictated the greens, blues and grays for the space:

Lastly, this striped chair made for a sure statement room when she decided to bring stripes up the walls, too! Love her boldness.
*all images via

Two: Space Plan
 A smartly arranged room makes all the difference.  Here are three things to consider:

1. Pushing your furniture against walls to make the space look larger is a total myth (: {unless that really is your only option.} Besides, it gives the room more personality if the furniture is angled or out in the room.
2. To create a sense of unity in the room, create conversation areas with groupings of chairs, the use of an area rug, or things of that nature.
3. Highlight the best features.  Turn the furniture to accentuate a fireplace, beautiful window, or your inspiration piece!

Here are some rooms with pleasing layouts:


Three: Dress it Up with Things You Love
Less is more, friends! Filling your room just to fill your room is the fastest way to end with a cluttered mess.  Once you arrive at your style, only buy things that fit your style and that you are truly in love with.  Then start styling book cases, floating shelves, media cabinets, dressers, gallery walls and the like.


Hopefully these tips will help you in designing your next space!
What things do you consider before starting to decorate or redesign a space? What are some of your recent design dilemmas?

I'm off to San Francisco with Cristin today to meet Holly, the talented blogger of Decor8 and the author of the new design book, Decorate. Can't wait!

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: The Littlest Things

Happy Wednesday! Today we're in for a treat, as sweet Sophie from The Littlest Things shares what she's loving and what she's not!
Sophie is a beautiful Australian girl at heart, living in the UK.  She takes lovely pictures and her outfits always make me smile. Let's hear her love list!

Hey fellow Michaela readers. I am Sophie from The Littlest Things. I'm so happy and excited to be here sharing the things I am loving and the things which I am not loving so much on Michaela's beautiful blog. Lets's start with the happy things :)

She Loves Me:

1. Moving to Cardiff

I just moved here two days ago and I am loving it so much. The Welsh are such lovely people. I'm so excited to be able to explore and go on many adventures around the city. I love having a change of environment here and there.

2. Fresh Fruit

I just love summer so much because it means we get to eat the yummiest fresh fruit ever. I live for peaches, mangoes, strawberries, nectarines, watermelon...the list goes on. They are just so yummy.

3. Getting inspired via Pinterest & Design blogs

Now that George (my boyfriend) and I have our own place, it means...decorating time! In comes Pinterest and incredible design blogs (much like the blog you are reading right at this moment) where you can never become uninspired. I have been collecting so many images of beautiful rooms and I just can't wait to start applying all this inspiration to my little apartment.

4. Farmer's Markets 

Aren't they just the best? It has to be the perfect way to start a Sunday morning. I can't wait to check out the farmers markets in Cardiff.

5. Sydney Beaches.

They are just incredible. Since recently returning back from a holiday in Italy, I made me realise just how much I take my beaches at home for granted. With the white sand, the rolling waves and the space...Italy didn't stand a chance in the beach department.

She Loves Me Not:

1. Not having internet.

I have to wait until next Friday (!!!) until we get our internet installed in our apartment. I don't know how I am going to survive. Luckily we have the Cardiff Library (pictured) just across the road from us which has free Wi-fi access. However, it closes at 6pm so it means no more late night online shopping sessions...for a little while anyway.

2. Being away from my family

I just miss my family way too much. Since they are all the way on the other side of the world in Sydney means I am just way too far away from them.

3. Not having a car in the UK

Everything is just so much easier when you can drive there.

Thank you so much for having me here Michaela, I love reading your blog and this series so I was so happy when you ask me to participate :)

So happy to have you, girlie! I love Farmer's Markets and sure wish I was in Sydney on those beaches! No internet?! What a nightmare!

Head on over the The Littlest Things, where you'll find all the little things that inspire and make up Sophie's world (:


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