Friday Finds: Dresses under $100

Happy Friday! I'm not sure about you, but I'm totally a dress-girl, meaning I would always rather wear a dress than anything else. Anyone else?! Spring is exciting to me for many reasons, one of which is definitely the fact that I can start wearing dresses again! So today I'm sharing all my favorite dresses from around the web...all of which are under $100.

1. Nordstrom:

I've always been a HUGE fan of white dresses-- they're just so gorgeous and seem to work for everything (except weddings, of course!) Here are some of my faves...

Lace fit & flare: the reviews are amazing on this one, which makes me reallyyyy want to try it!

Lace Skater Dress: the lace detail on this one has me swooning!

2. J.Crew Factory:

3. LOFT:

I just found out the outlets in our area have a LOFT outlet. I can't wait to go there in a few weeks to check out their new spring and summer looks! Have you been to a Loft outlet?

4. Anthropologie: This weekend only, for every $100 spent, you get $20 OFF! What a deal!
Love this dress:

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Recipe: 10 minute Chinese Chicken Salad

I'm excited to share one of my favorite spring and summer recipes with you today! It's a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe that my mom taught me and it literally takes 10 minutes to put together. #winning


Chicken (can be a rotisserie chicken, chicken breasts that you grill up or Trader Joe's precooked chicken, like I used this time)
3-4 green onions
A bunch of grapes
1 can mandarin oranges
Butter lettuce
Romaine lettuce
Crispy noodles
Slivered almonds
Sesame oil
Sesame vinaigrette
Champagne dressing (my fave! we use it on everything!)

Here's the chicken I used this time, but I do prefer using rotisserie:

The only prep you have to do is slice your grapes into smaller pieces, cut your mandarin oranges in half, chop your green onions, and toast your almonds. I put them in this baking dish for 5 minutes in 350 degree oven. (This worked great, because I also baked some rolls to go with dinner :))

Once everything, except your crunchy noodles, are in the salad bowl, I do 1 tablespoon of each of the following to make my dressing. If you really want to go for the authentic Chinese Chicken Salad taste, then skip the champagne dressing, but I think it brings a lightness to it. I love the taste of the mix.

Healthy and delicious! I love the crunch this salad has. Give it a try and let me know what you think! We really enjoyed it this past week :)

Happy Wednesday!


How To: Our Wedding Gallery Wall

I hope you all had a great weekend! I decided to take the entire weekend off my computer, which meant I couldn't prep for a Monday blog post. It was much needed! But here I am today with a peek into our place. If you follow along on Instagram, then you may have seen the sneak peek of my new gallery wall in our apartment. I've had the frames for months and just got our wedding pictures in the mail about 2 weeks ago, about an HOUR before guests were arriving for a party at our house. I decided "why the heck not hang an entire gallery wall before everyone arrives?!" Ha ;) Thankfully I've done this a time or two, so it worked out. Here's what I did:

1. Before I ordered the wedding pictures, I put together this mock up to play around with which pictures I wanted printed, the gallery wall placement and which picture would go in each frame. I tried to choose one or two that showed the venue and the trees, one close up of our faces, and one showing the back of my dress. Another requirement was my beautiful flowers being the star of the show ;) That top right picture frame will actually have a watercolor painting of my bouquet in it by my super talented friend Chelsea. She is AMAZING and I can't wait to have my flowers, by Michelle Lywood, preserved in that way!

In thinking about the placement of the frames, I wanted to create balance, but not have it be symmetrical (which you couldn't do with 5 frames of different sizes anyways!) You can see I put both the heaviest frames on opposite sides from one another to spread out the visual weight.

2. I traced the gallery wall frames then cut them out of kraft paper so I could tape them to the wall. I made sure to draw an arrow and write "up" so I knew which way that particular frame would hang (due to what picture was going in which frame).

3. Next I started the hanging process.

To get the picture frames hung in the spot you want them, without putting multiple holes in the wall (ha!), you want to measure from the top of the frame to the bottom of the little picture hanging hook.

It's so hard to get non-glaring pictures of this wall because all of our windows are pouring light right onto the frames and the glass is apparently very reflective. Sorry!

gather sign 

frames  / wedding photography: danielle poff photography 

I can't wait to get that watercolor painting of my flowers to finish off the gallery wall. I should mention, I love these frames. They are great if you have both silver and gold decor, because they are more of a champagne finish, which goes with anything. I'm so happy with how it turned out! We don't have a ton of wall space in our apartment, so I'm happy this collection of special memories could fit. 

Have a great Tuesday!


Friday Finds: Spring Clothing & Shoe Faves

Hey there! After another busy week, it's Friday again so I'm sharing my favorite finds with you!

1. Lots of great sale items-- a bunch of fun picks for spring!

2. Other fun favorites for spring, including some adorable rompers:

3. The new shoe trend are these espadrilles. I remember I had a pair in high school and loved them. I can't wait to get a pair this year and relive those days ;)

4. I'm obsessed with these flats:

5. LOFT: up to 30% off everything with code SPRING17. A few of the things that caught my eye:

6. I shared a few styling and photography tips over on the Bloom Workshop's blog this week! Check it out if you're in need of some tricks :)

Hope you have a lovely weekend, friends! We're spending it at a friend's birthday party, then doing some relaxing on Saturday (excited for this as last weekend was really busy!) and church on Sunday. Weekends = time with my husband, so I'm excited about that!



Day in the Life

One of the blog post topics I got asked to do multiple times in my reader survey at the beginning of the year was a Day in the Life post, showing a typical day in my week. I thought it'd be a fun one, since I haven't done this type of post in a while! You can check out this one from when I was in college to see how things have changed ;) The day I documented was a Monday (I think from last week) and I just did normal activities and errands. Wednesday I have work days with my business partner for The Bloom Workshop, so the day looks a lot different. At least once a week I have design client meetings to pick tile, fabrics, or accessories, so those also change up my routine. This is a rough idea of what my days look like when I work from home:

6:30-7am: I wake up to my husband's alarm, but thankfully I fall back asleep pretty easily while he gets ready for work. He always comes back in to give me a kiss before he leaves, which is when I usually start waking up for real...around 8. Then I stay in bed for a bit to really wake up ;)

8:30am- Get out of bed and make my english muffin (with peanut butter!) and tea. I usually have some fresh fruit as well. I've mentioned before that my favorite kind of tea is Cream Caramel Decaf from the TeaHaus, but I also recently tried Vanilla Decaf and Vanilla Rooibos (naturally decaffeinated) and they are great, too!

This is when I do my devotional, read a chapter in my current book (Nothing to Prove, if you're wondering!) and check my email on the couch. I reply to anything pressing, then schedule my Facebook post(s) for the day.

10am: It's usually around then that I grab my planner and write out everything I need to get done for the day. If it's a Monday, which it was when I did these pictures, I also write out any events in my planner that are going on during the week. For the day tasks, I write out any appointments and then any interior design client names that need my attention that day. I also write my tasks for Bloom.

Since this day was a Monday, I also meal planned. Ideally this would be done with my husband on a Sunday, but sometimes we run out of time and then the meals are up to me ;) I got this one from Rifle Paper Co. but it's gone now. Such a shame!!

I also rotated the laundry in this time and folded some. Not my favorite thing, but it's got to get done! ;)

10:30am- I get ready for the day!

11:30am- Head to the grocery store, which in this case was the normal market and Trader Joe's.

Two of my TJ's favorites: chocolate chip cookie dough and cranberry apple juice:

1pm- After putting away my groceries and having lunch myself, I start working for the rest of the afternoon. I've already answered emails in the morning, so by now I'll usually have a few more to respond to, then it's client design time!

I also ALWAYS have my water bottle by me, because I try to drink a ton of water throughout the day. Always with a lemon in it, too! PS. You may notice the G chat screen on my email...that'd be a chat with my husband-- just checking in on each other's days. Love doing this, so we feel connected throughout the day even when we're not together.

Space planning for a client's office rug and furniture in Auto CAD.

Sometimes I do freelance floor planning for event planners who need my assistance in space planning a wedding reception. This one was for a 180 guest count at my wedding venue, so it was a fun one!

On this day I also had a an e-design Skype consultation.

5-5:30pm- This is when I usually start dinner if I'm cooking that night.

6:30pm- Husband gets home! We eat dinner together and share about the day. I'm a lucky wife, as he usually does the dishes for me while I finish up tomorrow's blog post if it's not done yet!

7:30pm- We'll either read, go for a walk (in the summer!) or sit down to watch a show together. Lately, we've seemed to have a show on every night of the week. Between The Voice, This Is Us (which isn't going to be on until Fall now...SAD!), Designated Survivor, and The Catch we are pretty busy. Ha!

On the day I took these pictures, it was actually the Bachelor finale, so I went to a friend's house for a viewing party. #dontjudgeme

10:30-11pm- Bedtime! Not going to lie, I love bedtime :)

And because it wouldn't be a blog post of mine without a flower picture, here's a picture of the ranunculus I picked up at the grocery store on the day I took these pictures. Isn't she lovely?! Still alive and thriving as I type this, too!

What's YOUR day look like?!

Have a wonderful day!

interior design website / services / portfolio

PS! Lulu & Georgia is having their friends and family 25% off sale that only happens once a year! They have some of the best home decor! Just use the code BESTIES


Entertaining & Hosting Tips for Your Next Gathering

Last Thursday I had a bunch of my sweet girlfriends over for a Noonday Collection Jewelry party. I shared about this company's mission in this blog post and showed you how gorgeous all their pieces are! Since I absolutely love hosting gatherings, I thought I'd share a few tips I have to make hosting stress-free.

First, I think about my week and plan when I'm going to clean what. I don't want to do it all in one day, or else I often feel really overwhelmed. A few days before, I have my husband pick up his things and put away any clothes or mail that needs to be be stowed. Usually I'll clean the bathroom a few days before a party, then just wipe the counters down again on the day of.  I always vacuum and sweep quickly the day before or day of the party. I also usually turn my sofa cushions around and give them a good whack back into shape ;) Just me??

Another thing I do to decrease day-of stress is plan what I'm serving and make my grocery shopping list a week or so ahead of time.

Food and Drink Party Tips:

- Finger food works great! I still set out little appetizer plates. These are the ones I have. They were one of the best things I registered for!
- I usually stick with cheese and crackers and a bit of fruit (grapes are perfect because you can cut them into small bunches for people to take!)
- I find a mixture of salty & sweet foods are the perfect mix. For this, I did Trader Joe's caramel & cheddar popcorn, pretzels, cheese and assorted crackers, french bread (this always goes first!), grapes and my all-time favorite cream cheese with Trader Joe's pepper jelly on top. It's a crowd favorite! Then simple cookies and mini cupcakes for dessert.
- I try to vary the heights and container shapes that hold the food items. You can see I used a cake stand for desserts, a wide platter for the crackers, a taller bowl for the popcorn, and smaller platters for the other items.
- Always have a separate drink station for water and non-alcoholic drinks. I put this on the kitchen counter. See below with pink cups and sparkling pink lemonade.
- A mix of red and white wine is my go-to. Something for everyone!
- Before the party, I set out all my platters and think about what is going to go on each platter. That way, when it's time to set food out, I'm all organized and ready to go.

Before a party, I always run my diffuser with some nice smelling oils! It's a great way to refresh the smell of the place. I love mixing Fir Tree, Citrus Bliss and Grapefruit. It smells like Anthropologie-- yum! I also make sure not to light any candles near the food. Sometimes that competes with the smell of the dessert or makes it hard for people to reach across the candle to get their food ;)

In the bathroom, I do a few things:

- A fresh towel is always a must! These are the hand towels we have and I love them.
- Make sure the soap is filled
- A vase with a flower or two (I stuck three ranunculus that had broken stems in a small vase and filled the water all the way up. Viola!)
- I leave a candle lit in the bathroom during any get togethers. This is one of my favorites (love the panjore lychee, and huckleberry). I also leave out a lotion and make sure my jar with q-tips is filled. As far as I'm concerned, anything out on my counter is fair game to my guests!
- Refill the toilet paper in the rack that hangs on the bathroom wall.

Fresh blooms for a party are a no-brainer! I usually put a few stems in a bunch of different cups and vases to put around the house. I love putting the vases where our eyes rest often. For example, one by the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, the coffee table or the drink bar. These ranunculus were incredible, I just couldn't pass them up! Only $5.99 :)

Since this was a jewelry party, I cleared out the second shelf of my bookcase to use as a space for the jewelry display. Instead of bringing in an additional table and taking away valuable floor space, I made what I had work. Don't mind our thermostat on the wall ;)

long necklace -- LOVE this one :) 

earrings  1 / earrings 2 / earrings 3 

Hopefully these hosting tips help you the next time you entertain! If you see something you like on Noonday's website and want to purchase it, you are joining together with me and a bunch of other women in helping give jobs to women in vulnerable countries-- so thank you! At check out, just put my name (Michaela Beel) in the hostess section so they know I sent you over :)

Happy Monday!


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