The Short List 2

Welcome to February's edition of The Short List! This is where I give you the scoop on what we've been up to lately-- what we're reading, watching, eating, etc.

What We're Watching: Still loving This is Us! We are also on the last season of FRIENDS on Netflix. This is my second or third time watching it all the way through and it's honestly still just as funny as the first time through! We're really excited for Designated Survivor to come back in March as well as The Catch. Have you seen either?

What I'm Loving: February was a fun month! From a little getaway to California to visit with my fam, to our first married Valentine's Day and LOTS of sunny warm days here in Michigan, it was a month to remember :) Here are a few other things I'm loving:

1. My client's home tour was featured on Rue Daily this month!

2. This is my all time favorite tea: Cream Caramel Decaf. I order it from the Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, MI. It's SO good! A black tea, but decaf! Perfect for me. Try it, you won't regret it!

3. Goldendoodles. I've mentioned this on Instagram recently, but if you didn't see...we really want one. I guess you could say I've got puppy fever ;) SOMEONE STOP ME.

4. All the gorgeous Oscar dresses! Did you watch? Here are some of my favorite

And my favorite for the night, the gorgeous Nicole Kidman:

Which was your favorite?!

What We're Eating: THANK YOU for the suggestions from my last post! I'm making a pulled pork recipe that a reader suggested last month this week and I'm so excited. So is my hubby, because that's one of his favorite meals.

This month I have a few recipes to share with you! I made the Pioneer Woman's Cranberry Pork Tenderloin recipe here a few nights ago and it was delicious! I watched my mom make it at home a few weeks ago and since it was so easy, I knew I could do it with no problems :) Just a note, the pictures are nice in her blog post, but she doesn't list the ingredients all in one place, so I found this blog post that does here. It's a little easier to follow!

I also made her dinner rolls recipe at the bottom of the page, which were INSANELY good. I substituted the dinner rolls with store-bought biscuits (Trader Joes brand) and we both agreed they were amazing.

What's on My Desk: This month I've had a few new clients, which has been fun! I'm currently working on one of my long-time clients' basement renovation (turning out beautifully!), a few e-designs (including a really fun contemporary bedroom design for a sweet young lady, who is about to head to college), a couple of 1 hour design consults, and finishing up another long-time clients' new build.

Looking Forward To: The workshop I teach is heading to Northern California in April and it's being held at our gorgeous wedding venue, Holman Ranch!! I'm so excited to be back. If you want to learn more about blogging, social media, photography, design, styling, floral arranging, calligraphy and styled shoots, there are a few seats left still! Get all the details here.

What I'm Reading: I'm really excited to tell you about this one. I'm currently reading one of my favorite authors' newest books, Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen. I'm loving the simple, yet profound truths I've been finding in her words. That lie that we have to be enough and do enough and maintain the perfect image to everyone around us (and ourselves!) is such a weight on our shoulders. We can't be enough on our own, but through Jesus we are. What a relief and a blessing!
image via

Okay, your turn! Answer a few of the questions + give me recipes and books you love!
Have a wonderful week!


Friday Finds: Winter Sales

Happy Friday! Things were sort of sparse on the blog this week, because it's been busy!! Between client design work and The Bloom Workshop's prep for our first workshop in April, things are crazy ;) My husband and I are also taking off for Northern Michigan this weekend. But I did manage to locate a few great finds this week!

- Nordstrom's Winter Sale is here, so a bunch of great items are up to 40% off! Here are some of my favorite items.


Shoes and accessories:


* Don't forget to check out the men's and kids' sale section, too.

- The LOFT is having 30% off of a bunch of adorable tops, pants, jackets and more! Here are some of my faves, including that adorable plaid peplum blouse!!

- The temps have been warm here in Michigan, but sadly are plummeting back down this next week. These warmer days have had me dreaming of spring and all the yummy cold desserts that come with it! Check out this ombre berry pops recipe I found. YUM!

- When running a business, having a clear brand and visual strategy is key to your success! Check out this post about defining your visual strategy.

 Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Q&A: Marriage and Relationships

In January I opened the floor to my readers and let you guys ask me anything via a survey I did here on the blog. The questions POURED in and I was blown away by all of them! I'm really excited to answer a select few of them today, all having to do with marriage. There are tons more, but I just picked a couple out for the day. I hope you enjoy my answers, but I do want to remind you, this is only my opinion, not the right way to do things for everyone! So just keep that in mind while reading and of course, give me your feedback in the comments so we can have an open ended conversation!

danielle poff photography

What suggestions do you have for long distance relationships?

Well, I feel like I have a lot of suggestions on this since my husband and I were long distance for 8 months! I wrote a piece for a publication about long distance relationships, so I thought I'd share our tips here:

1. Be sure you have the big, important conversations (about faith, family, location, etc.) early on, so you can really decide if you two are a good fit for one another past all the emotional “butterflies” of a new relationship.
2. If you decide to pursue the relationship, communicate throughout the day! Text, talk on the phone, or Skype, because this will help you not feel so far away.  Thank you technology!
3. As I wrote that last one, McCann wanted the third point to be “but don’t over do it!” :) While talking and Skyping is great and so helpful to making you feel closer than you are, don’t over do the communication. We learned that because talking is all we could do (we didn’t have the luxury of seeing a movie or going to dinner together), it would get frustrating if we didn’t have anything to talk about. Sometimes there’s just nothing left to say other than “I miss you”, and that is OK.  Sometimes we would just Skype while doing things around our house, so it was like we were with each other, but didn’t feel the need to talk or have a full on, deep conversation. Don’t put any pressure on yourselves.
4. Come up with things to do together. We would watch HGTV together at night and discuss what house the couple should choose on House Hunters. I got a good guy! :) McCann also found this app called Quiz Up where we’d play quizzes against each other about different topics we were both interested in. We both thought that was fun! Sometimes we’d both cook while Skyping and then eat “together”.  On Sunday’s after church, we’d come home and watch a sermon from our favorite pastor together on Skype, then talk about what we learned. All of these things made the distance a little more bearable.
5. This is an obvious one, but try to see each other as much as possible and try to include your families. It’s important to get to know the family of the person you are dating as well!

After being with him and married for a few months, I'd like to add that I thought I knew him really well while we were long distance because we did a lot of talking, but GOSH...there's nothing like being in person to learn even more about a person. We may have known our morals, beliefs, and family situations, but we missed out big time on those quirks, personality bits, and habits that you can only get to know in the flesh. So I would advise you to spend time with one another, in the same city, for a period of time before getting engaged or married. So much changes when you see each other every day!

Do you recommend getting married if still in school, for example, doing a graduate masters degree?

I think the answer to this one will be different for everyone! From my experience, I couldn't imagine planning a wedding while in school. I poured my heart and soul into our wedding, so maybe that was why ;) But after being married for a few months, I also think it would be hard to be married and be in school. I just feel like the first year of marriage is so crucial to developing habits and patterns together, that will then set the stage for the years to come. I don't want to say it couldn't be done, because I think it definitely could be! It would just take a lot more intentionality on both of the spouses parts. And a lot of recognizing that it's going to be hard and stretching for both of you. My brother got married last summer (just a few months before us! Sorry mom & dad!) and his wife is still in nursing school. I think they've seen their share of challenges, but they are still really glad they got married.

That's one of the biggest keys to marriage: being intentional. About our time, our words (this is a big one!), our money, our time with friends, what we do when we have free time together (we're trying to watch our ratio of being glued to the TV or doing something more life-giving), etc.

What is a good age to get married in your opinion?

I don't think there's a specific age that is best, but I do think that you should have a certain maturity before saying "I do"! To answer this question, I'm just going to tell you that when I think back on my life and the person I was before college, I was a totally different girl. A lot of things change you in your college years. For me, I went away to a different state, so I learned how to be independent, how to live with roommates (some of which were good situations, others not so much!), and I grew deeper in my faith, and I think my overall maturity as a person. I saw a lot more life in those 4 years than I had in almost the entire 18 years previous. You meet people and learn their stories, causing you to see the world differently. And obviously, your mind is expanding-- it is college! I had my first really serious relationship in college, too. So I learned what I wanted in a future husband. Then through that, I experienced my first heartbreak. I just felt like a lot of things in me grew and changed over those years.

I can't imagine being married before I went through those pivotal years. When we were married last September I was 25 (now 26) and my husband was 27. My husband was also doing his own growing in his college years, but for him, most of his growth as a person happened after college, once we were plugged into our church. He lived with a great group of guys before we were married and we both would say that was one of the best things he's ever done!

So I'm not really sure if you can put an age on it, I think it's more about life experience and maturity level and how well you know yourself and your significant other!

What are some suggestions you have for newlyweds to get to know each other deeper? 

For us this started even before we were married through a mentorship program we went through at our church. We were paired with another couple during our engagement and we walked through a book together about marriage. Then we went to a marriage retreat and learned a lot about ourselves, each other and what God wanted for our marriage. It was great! I highly recommend pre-marriage counseling.

I love this question, because it's such a great reminder to always continue pursuing your spouses heart! You never know it completely. There's always more, because we're always changing and as a husband or wife, we should yearn to deeply know our spouse. A few ways that we do this is by reading a book together (not actually together, but both read the same book, then share our thoughts). I also LOVE finding fun questions to ask each other on car trips, or even over dinner. Some questions are serious and some are silly. Another thing we try to do often is ask the other person how we can be praying for them this week. That usually brings up any fears or challenges the other spouse is facing. There is truly nothing more sweet than praying for your spouse. Finally, I think it's so important to get out and have fun together! Everything doesn't always have to be serious and deep. We like to go on walks, play basketball at the park, go on the swings, go bowling or mini golfing. Doing things the other person likes to do is also a way of getting to know each other deeper.

Do you want a baby? If so when?

I knew I'd get this question at least once in the mix! ;)

Ever since I was a child, I've LOVED babies. Like, so so so much. I played with dolls all the time (fun fact: I even printed out birth certificates for them. What a weird kid I was.) When there was a real baby around, you could bet I'd be right next to him / her, begging to hold it. I vividly remember putting my baby blanket under my shirt to see what I'd look like pregnant...ha!! I started babysitting when I was probably 12 and loved every minute of it. Sometimes when asked what I'd want to be when I grew up, I'd say "a mom". I've always had a running list of baby names in my phone notes, too (we have our girl name nailed down...ha!) The desire to be a mom has always been in my heart.

So the answer is yes, we definitely want to have kids! But we also want to cherish the first few years of marriage with just the two of us. But I do pray daily for our future babies and family. And for me during pregnancy, as I'm sort of a hypochondriac, so it does make me a weee bit nervous! ;)


If you have any thoughts on these questions, please chime in! And if you have any more questions for me, feel free to comment or email me hello (at)



Fixer Upper Style: Get the Look

Hey friends! I hope you enjoyed the weekend (a long weekend for some of you!) Our weekend was sunshine galore, so we took a few walks which was glorious!

Chances are you have heard of Fixer Upper and I'm also betting, especially if you read my blog, you love Joanna's style! Today I'm showing you how to get the Fixer Upper look of a few rooms they've done. This living / dining space really caught my eye, and I'm usually not drawn to dark leather sofas. This space feels warm, inviting, cool and still bright, despite the darker furniture (thanks to white paint!)


1. Natural wood finish around the french doors calls attention to the doors and draws your eye outside. The warm wood tone helps make the room feel cozier.

2. By adding wood beams, they made the ceiling appear taller, but also feel more intimate. Chip & Jo always add architectural details that bring back character and texture to the home, while also keeping our eyes interested.

3. Light, neutral walls contrast against the darker furniture and still makes the space feel bright and open.

4. They mixed black and brown, which I really love in this space. To bring the black hue from the dining room over into the living room, they placed a black coffee table in the seating vignette. This helps disperse the color and make it feel cohesive.

5. Wide planked hardwood floors running through the entire room makes it feel more expansive.

6. As with most of their designs, a lot of the decor is actually just (fake) plants, flowers, branches, vases, trays, books, candles. Simple and sleek.

7. They have a few recessed can lights. Always a smart idea to have a few different types of lighting in each room. Recessed lighting is considered "general lighting", which fills more of the space as a whole. A dining chandelier is considered "task lighting" because you need it on in order to complete a task-- eating! And a table lamp, wall sconce or something like that could be considered more "ambient lighting" that sets a mood. It's always a great idea to put can lighting on a dimmer, so you have more control over how the room looks.


Trays & Vases:


Leather Couch & Chair:



Dining Chairs:

* Something fun to note: these dining chairs are replicas of the Windsor Chair, a chair made around the 18th century in England. It's a very iconic piece!

I also found this image on their site and thought I'd show you my favorite sources for botanical prints. This series of prints is great for over a mantel as shown, in an entry way, on a dining room wall, over a couch, down a hallway, etc. It's nice to bring some symmetry to a space by hanging them 2x3 like this, too.


Of course you can also get some pretty botanical prints from Magnolia Market here. I also love Ballard's selection. 

I hope this was helpful to you! Let me know if you like this series and I can do it more often :) I am so excited to go back to the Magnolia Silos this May!!

Happy Tuesday


Friday Finds: Date Idea & Bell Sleeve Tops

It's FRIDAY! I hope you've all enjoyed your week. I'm here with some fun finds this week!

1. My first "find" is a super fun date night idea! A few weeks ago my husband and I went to a Murder Mystery dinner with my friend Ashley and her husband. It was such a fun double date! Not only did we enjoy a yummy dinner, but we also had fun trying to figure out which character at the party was the "murderer". Between each dinner course, the actors from the improv company would come out and act out a scene from the murder. Then the guests would get to go around to the characters and ask questions, trying to get their alibi and gain any information we could, so that at the end of the meal, we could place our guess as to who the murder was. It was so, so fun! We'd definitely do this again for a fun date night. 

This company does regular public shows all across the country, along with being available for all types of themed private events, so you should check out the website and see if they're doing one near you!

One of the most fun parts of the evening was getting dressed was a masquerade theme, so we got masks and I put on a party dress :)

2. Nordstrom's sale section has so many good finds. Here are a few clothes that caught my eye:

Some other cute sale items:

3. Anthropologie is having a 40% off sale SALE!

4. Speaking of Anthro, while I was home in California, my mom treated me to this adorable chambray top with bell sleeves. I'm dying over this bell sleeve style right now!!

Here's the front so you can see it:

4. Give me all the bell sleeves. Here are a few fun tops I found:

That's it for this week! Have you found anything good this week?!

Have a great weekend!


The Best Things We Registered For

About a year ago we begun registering for our wedding gifts. I remembering being a little overwhelmed because I wanted to make sure we registered at places people would find convenient AND I wanted to be sure everything we needed was accounted for. So I narrowed down our registry items to Pottery Barn, Macy's and Zola. And then I did register for just a few things from Anthropologie, but not many. Zola was the only untraditional registry, but it ended up working out really well. We loved that we could register for our honeymoon trip and activities on that site, we could choose when to have items shipped and choose where to have them ship as well. It was really great! But I think it's important to register at a few stores, only because some people (like grandparents!) want to actually GO to the store to see what they are buying for you, as opposed to purchasing the gifts online. That's why Macy's and Pottery Barn were good options for us!

Without further adieu, here are our favorite registry items!

Top 10 Best Things We Registered For:

1. Cambria Dishes: I just love the simplicity to our dishes. The finish has that rustic feel I like, but not too shabby chic. They are still very classic! They're also super sturdy! Something else I really like is that the largest plate can be used as a charger under the smaller salad plate (which is a really generous size for a salad plate). You can choose between a coupe bowl or cereal bowl, so we went with the cereal bowl and I'm so glad we did. It's also a great size for a salad.

2. Tidbit Plates: these petite little plates match our Cambria set of dishes. I registered for 16 of these, even though we only got 12 dinner sets, because I knew I would use them often for dessert and appetizers. Turns out they're my FAVORITE thing we own!! The size is perfect for apps, the shape is adorable, and I use one every morning for my toast ;)

3. Good Knifes: there ain't nothin' like good knifes. They just make the cooking that I do do, so much more enjoyable.

4. Serving Platters- rectangular, round: I've loved using these both for serving and entertaining when friends come over! Both are great sizes.

5. Fresh Towels: I think towels is something everyone needs to register for! We went with the very basic light gray and white for wash cloths and bath towels, then did more decorative hand towels. I find that towels fade rather quickly (especially hand towels!) so I get inexpensive ones at World Market, so they're not too $$$ to replace. They are so cute! These are the hand towels we currently have.

6. Coffee Grinder & French Press: these two are from my husband. He uses his coffee grinder and french press nearly every morning and he absolutely LOVES the brands we got!

7. Cute Dish Towels -- on sale now! Necessary? Not at all. Super fun and cute?! Totally ;)

8. Stemless Wine Glasses: I don't trust myself with stemmed wine glasses in the house, so stemless it is! ;)

9. Kitchen Aid Mixer: While cooking isn't my favorite, I do love to bake! I keep our kitchen aid on the shelves in our laundry room for easy access whenever I need it. It makes mixing so easy!

10. 4 Piece Toaster: I've mentioned before that I have toast for breakfast every morning, so a good toaster was a must. We've really liked having the 4 piece toaster so that when we eat breakfast together on weekends, we can both have our english muffins in at the same time!

Things we didn't register for, but LOVE:

1. Herb Scissors : GLORY! These are so amazing. Cutting herbs can be tedious and honestly, kind of hard sometimes. These make it so easy and quick!!

2. Betty Crocker Newlywed Cookbook: we've tried a few recipes out of this book and have loved every one of them!

Registry Tips:

- Register at a few different places
- Register for things in different price points so someone with a lower budget for your gift can still find something you want.
- Register for a wide variety of items so that there are enough things on the list for your guests to get you!
- DON'T put where you're registered on your wedding invitation. That information should go on a separate insert.
- DO put your registry details on your wedding website so people can easily find it, if you have a website.
- Think hard and make a list of items you need to register for before you go shopping. I actually went to Macy's myself first, before bringing my husband, just to make a list of things I thought we might need and take a survey of the area ;) THEN I brought him back and we chose the specifics together.
- Don't register for it if you don't actually want it. If I could go back, I might actually register for less stuff and more honeymoon experiences. Thank goodness we have a garage to store all of our kitchen stuff that we don't use on the daily!
- If you're giving gifts to a bride-to-be or newly married couple, try your hardest to stick to the registry! They registered for those items because they love them and they want them for their home :) Diverting from the registry usually ends up in the couple making returns. Of course there's always exceptions to, if you're a really good friend of the bride and know she'll love what you got her. Just some thoughts to consider!

What did YOU register for and end up loving?!


PS. Head over to Rue Magazine to check out one of my latest client projects. The reveal is on Rue Daily today, along with a list of Winter Refresh ideas for your home!
ashley slater photography 

Happy Thursday!


Back to Top