guest room/office: styled hydrangeas {sponsored}

Every New Year I find myself wanting a fresh start and get into cleaning/decluttering mode as well as “buy all the new things” mode. Great for post-holiday sales but bad for my wallet since it was just Christmas, right?

So this year, I have been in purge and decluttering mode (you should see the stacks and bags full of things in our office ready to go OUT) but have also been trying to re-style and refresh some of the spaces in our home.

In an effort to save on the amount of things we have (as well as saving money) I have been extremely selective about what has been coming into our home. It is easy to just buy all of the things, especially home decor, in order to fit the empty space, but I have taken a new approach and have really enjoyed it much more. Instead of the constant buying, styling, and getting rid of (and then rinse and repeat) I have been editing pieces out of our decor that I don’t really LOVE and then shopping around the house to see if there is something we already have that would fit what I am looking for. Sometimes I can restyle a piece in a new space and it’s perfect and sometimes I do need/want something new and then it goes on my to-buy list for when I am shopping.

One newish thing that I have been really liking in some of our spaces is faux flowers. In the past I wasn’t a huge fan, but some of the faux flowers are really good! So when Silk Plants Direct reached out late last year to see if I wanted to style and blog about silk flowers, I had to say yes!

There are tons (and tons) of options on Silk Plants Direct, so if you are shopping, I would highly recommend setting some filter criteria. I sorted by flower type (hydrangeas and peonies are right at the top for me) as well as by arrangement (I wanted something already in a vase or container). And then it was onto shopping! Faux flowers (good ones at least) tend to be a little pricey, but I think it’s worth the cost. If you buy real flowers, you know how expensive of a habit that can be, and you don’t have to replace faux flowers every week (or change out the water).


I loved this purple and green hydrangea arrangement and I knew I could style it in a couple of places in our home (office, bedroom, living room). At least for me, I like a simple arrangement (flowers and color) in a simple container (no big designs or graphics) because it is easiest for me to style it with other things. For the time-being, this arrangement will live in our office/guest room on one side of the dressers, though I am sure it will move around the house once I start to get the itch to re-style!



And after having this arrangement in the house for a bit, I have been really happy with them. The flowers were a little smashed from shipping in a box, but I gently fluffed them up which worked well. From a distance, I think these are pretty good faux hydrangeas, and even the “water” looks pretty real. I will definitely peruse Silk Plants Direct if I find I need more faux arrangements for some of our other spaces and also really love the idea of a faux flower plant for outside during the spring and summer.

Be sure to check out Silk Plants Direct on social media (depending on what your preference is): Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest.

AND Silk Plants Direct is offering 10% off for blog readers for any order (except custom orders) if you use the code BLOGGER10 at check-out.

Do you have any faux flowers in your home decor?


This is a sponsored post brought to you in collaboration with Silk Plants Direct. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!


a safer staircase.

as many of you know, when we finished out our basement last year during the renovation, we had to add a staircase inside the house (since the existing staircase was outside). after a few different versions of a new floor plan, our architects came up with a genius way to incorporate an internal staircase that would feel like it was original. the only bummer was that it would take up nearly the entire second bedroom (used as our office). but, since we were adding three additional bedrooms, the sacrifice didn’t seem too extreme.

opting to keep the entire house in wood floors, this included having wooden stairs as well. & let me tell you, they are gorgeous (look here for the professional photo!). our contractor & floor guy used new growth fir that was stained to match the existing floor upstairs. the stairs also houses sadie’s dog door on the second landing since that is at ground level (& the rest of the basement is below ground).

as much as I LOVE these stairs, they aren’t perfect. for one thing sadie drags in so much dirt (so much!) & debris on her feet & legs, & despite our best efforts the stairs really should be cleaned once a day. the other thing is that wooden stairs are super slippery! aaron & I have both taken a tumble down the stairs (don’t worry, both of us are fine!) but it is scary since we are often toting eloise up & down the stairs. plus, if sadie’s nails aren’t really well trimmed, she slips around too if she takes a turn too quickly!

aaron & I talked a few months ago about possibly adding a runner, but then decided to table the discussion for a while. & we would have to be pretty creative about the installation of a runner since there are two big turns & two landings… enter: Puppy Treads. a lightweight, non-slip walking surface that easily installs on hardwood (or tile) stairs to protect from falls.

installation was super easy & took just a few minutes. I chose the bottom two stairs before the first landing since that is where most of the tumbles have occurred. slippery little suckers! first I started by really cleaning the stairs. I swept the entire staircase but only deep cleaned the two stair treads I was going to install on. (I have been loving the Honest Co floor cleaner!)


then I set the Puppy Treads on the stairs to see about placement. I put them on the right-hand side of the stairs since we tend to walk towards the inside of the staircase. they are pretty long though, so in hindsight I probably could have put them in the middle of the stair tread & been just fine.


next, peeling off the paper backing. the nice thing was that the Puppy Treads were substantial enough that they didn’t curl in on themselves as I peeled off the backing (that’s the worst!).



then onto adhering to the stairs. it was suggested that we use a rolling pin or wallpaper roller to help get the air bubbles out. honestly, the rolling pin didn’t seem to do much.


lastly, was admiring my handi-work! I managed to get them on pretty straight & get most of the air bubbles out!



so far we have been really happy with our new Puppy Treads. they give good gription (that is a family term!) on your feet as you walk down the stairs (down is really the problem in our house). I don’t love the look of them (although the transparency helps!) but I feel a lot more comfortable when I am carrying eloise down the stairs for naptime when I hit these two stairs which makes them totally worth it! cleaning is also great too – the material isn’t sticky on the top side, so no dirt or dog hair gets stuck & sweeps right off. & they also don’t seem to attract dirt or dog hair either, also a plus! all in all we are happy with the Puppy Treads & probably wouldn’t put them on all of the stair treads, but may want to add a few more to the problem areas (likely the bottom two stairs of the next two sections!).

bonus for all readers: get 10% off Puppy Treads with the code BLOG2015.

thank you Handi-Ramp!


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{this post is sponsored by Handi-Ramp & the Puppy Treads shown were provided for my review & all opinions are my own. thank you for supporting the brands that support Emerald City Diaries.}