Archive | Personal Musings RSS feed for this section


22 Nov

This is my third year writing a Thanksgiving post, and though I remain thankful about all of the same things as in years past, I still have a few things that I’d like to add or reiterate.


My family is without question the source of most of my smiles and my sanity. My husband is a rock and a perfect partner, and I’m always excited to share my days with him. My little boy is the best thing we’ve ever done together, and he continues to teach me new things all the time: like how big my heart can get, and that I can get pomegranate juice out of the carpet. (I am optimistic that in this post next year I can manage to get a single good photo of the three of us together.) My parents are so giving and so wonderful and such great grandparents, and my in-laws are the best a girl could ask for. My friends are fantastic, and though parenthood has changed how I make new ones and how often I see old ones, they are all relationships I value tremendously.

Everyone is healthy this year. And that’s a big deal.

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to be all “yay! community!” but every year when I sit down to write this I feel incredibly grateful to have such helpful, kind, and fun neighbors. I’ve said it before and I really mean it: this is the best place I’ve ever lived. On that note, we wrestled with the decision about where to send our son to preschool all last spring, and we ultimately chose our neighborhood public school. It has turned out to be a warm, nurturing, and energizing place, and I am thankful for my son’s wonderful teachers every day (but especially Mondays).

Though I have been blogging sporadically and fairly infrequently since the spring, I realize that’s because my business has grown to a point where I can’t justify blogging daily. It’s bittersweet, because I love to do this, but it’s been a great year for JGB Interiors and I look forward to the next. I am just a little bit surprised that I’ve been able to grow my little job into a real job in just a few short years, and I feel very proud and really fulfilled. My clients are bright spots in my day, and I have been lucky to meet a few this year that I feel like I would have chosen as friends had I met them on the street instead of them calling me about their kitchens first.

Superficially, I am thankful for the tangible things that make my life fun and easier: J. Crew rubber shoes, vanilla coffee, and…well..Game of Thrones, which I have recently discovered. I’ve been cooking more and trying new things, and that’s been a joy. I’m thankful for time spent outside and strive to do more of that. I am also quite thankful for the Swiffer that my in-laws got us on their last visit here, and so are my floors.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope you have many things to be thankful for as well, and can spend the day with people you care about.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


A Masterpiece!

18 Nov

Well, not literally. But bear with me…

My son is sweet and a little wild and can be incredibly focused. I had always imagined myself as the mom of a little boy, and then I got him, and he is a wonderful one. But sometimes…just sometimes…I look at his pint-sized lady friends and am envious of one thing: they color. A lot. And well. And for sustained periods of time. They just sit there, quietly, and they color. We don’t do that in my house.

Instead we play trucks. And shoe repair shop. And we dance. And then we get in our “truck” and go to the “shoe repair shop.” Which leads to photos like this, in which I am wearing running shorts but you can’t tell…


At least this was the case UNTIL TODAY, when I asked him to draw me a picture of our family. And then he produced this out of nowhere:


It’s called “Daddy, Mommy, Me, and Neuman in a swimming pool.” Neuman is our cat. I can safely say that all four of us have never been in a pool together.

I am so proud!

Save this stuff, guys. Not all of it, but some of it. And frame a few of your kids’ art pieces…they’ll be the least expensive thing on your walls, and they’ll make you smile.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Don’t Forget to Vote!

6 Nov

V  O  T  E

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Too Cool For School!

30 Aug

It’s my little guy’s first whole day at “big school” by himself. I’m so proud of him! Here he is looking serious(ly dapper). I have several smiling shots, but they’re fairly blurry.



Ahh! My heart is bursting!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


26 Aug

What a couple of weeks! Here’s a more enjoyable snapshot of how I’ve been spending the easier days.

After a crazy summer, it’s now just a short 8 days until my little one starts real full-time preschool…and I get a longer work week than I’ve had in three years – 30 hours! Believe me, I need it. I’ve been pretty busy with clients these last couple of weeks, which is why I haven’t been blogging much (or at all). But somehow I’ve managed to pin a few things here and there to Pinterest. So here is a quick update of things that have been catching my eye…hope you like them, too!

A beautiful San Fran kitchen, complete with two-toned cabinets and the ever-popular but unexpected combo of white tiles + black grout.



Lovely rainbow string art.


Mocha Coconut Fudge.



Pretty Pink Doors. But not the same pink.



Lovely Floors  (that I’m thrilled to be using in a new project!)



And at the forefront of my brain right now: what to pack for lunch on the first day of school.


I hope to be back in the swing of blogging (5x a week!) after Labor Day! See you soon!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Today I am 30.

26 Jul

Today’s my birthday. And it’s a big one. I’m 30. I’m in my 30s. Which is to say, I’m no longer in my 20s, and that’s…I don’t know…it’s something I have yet to wrap my head around. Also today, I got these shoes from my husband; I can wrap my head around these pretty easily.

As an adult, I’ve always been kind of cagey about telling people my age. To live in Washington D.C. and be in your 20s makes you feel like you’re a little too young to own a business and be an authority (at least it has made me feel that way at times, especially since many of my clients are a generation ahead of me). To live in this area and be pregnant at 26, you can feel like a teenager at the doctor’s office (I certainly did). Those things aren’t necessarily bad things, because I really am proud of the work I’ve done and continue to do. Likewise, I’m happy to be a fairly young mom and I can’t imagine the alternative (they say you have a lot more energy in your 20s, but honestly, my energetic kid wears me down and I feel like a sloth. Then I peel myself off the sofa and see 40-something moms running half-marathons. So I don’t know if that theory holds much water.)

But I digress. My point is just to say that I’m 30 today. And weird as that may be for me, I feel a little more grown-up now. Just a little bit though; I still stand by my assertion that the single most feeling-grown-up inducing thing in my life in the past 10 years has been moving into a home with stairs in it (no, not having a child, not starting a business, not not knowing any of the names of the actors in US Weekly).

So here are some little things I’ve learned over the past 30 years that have been important and sort of revelatory for me. This list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it design-related, but it’s been interesting to record and I thought I’d share it with my readers. In no particular order:

1.) If you’re nice to people, they’re usually nice to you.

2.) Working hard is good to do and it often pays off; it doesn’t always, though.

3.) IKEA furniture isn’t all that bad. And it’s not just for people in college.

4.) Diet food doesn’t ever really taste good.

5.) Similarly, butter is the only thing that tastes remotely like butter. And the only thing that is or tastes like mayonnaise, is mayonnaise.

6.) Fruit is better at room temperature.

7.) That thing about being married to your best friend being a good thing? That’s a really important thing.

8.) Learning how to swim is also pretty important.

9.) I like big purses. Small purses are no better than a big pocket. …a pocket that you can leave behind in a cab or on a table.

10.) It’s ok to go to bed angry or to not laugh every day. In fact, these things are vastly preferable to pretending you’re not angry when you should be, or laughing at something that isn’t funny.

11.) Sometimes you have to enthusiastically promote yourself; this isn’t anything to be shy or embarrassed about.

12.) Liking the aesthetics of the place you live is important and can impact your day-to-day mood. This is something I really enjoy facilitating for people. (See what I did there?)

13.) Reality TV is the best kind of tv.

14.) It’s mean to tell people what they brought for lunch looks or smells weird.

15.) Try not to worry about something you can’t change until you have to worry about it. 

16.) If you explain something seemingly too complex to a child in simple terms, it’s totally possible that they will understand you.

17.) Speed cameras are the worst when you receive your first speed camera ticket. Then, they actually make me slow down. Which I should anyway.

18.) White grout will always get dirty and you’ll come to loathe it.

19.) Wear a helmet for helmet-y things. Likewise, always wear your seat belt.

20.) I’m probably never going to like bananas. But I’ll probably never stop buying them.

21.) If I have a favorite shirt, I’ll regret not buying a few of them.

22.) Being organized really does make life easier.

23.) Living in a city where I can walk to places like a restaurant, a library, a grocery store, and my kid’s school easily is important to me.

24.) Liking your parents as an adult is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Because lots of people don’t. But I really do.

25.) You don’t have to be friends with people you don’t want to be friends with. But you should be nice to them.

26.) If you have a kid and you get them stickers, make sure they’re not super sticky. Because if they are you will hate having to look at them forever.

27.) Just because you travel extensively doesn’t mean you’re better or smarter than other people. (I have not traveled extensively.)

28.) Driving while texting or emailing or talking on the phone just isn’t very safe. It’s isn’t.

29.) Flossing your teeth is actually necessary.

30.) I don’t really like the beach. Probably never will. Sue me.


…and on that note, I’m exhausted. See you for Color Friday!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

A Quick Trip to Durham…

24 Jul

Last week my husband and I went to North Carolina for a quick trip and we spent a lot of time in Durham. We’ve been there a number of times together, and my husband knows it very well after being there for three years in law school. It’s changed a lot…he tells me (because I didn’t know him in law school, I’ll have to take his word for this). On our first evening after dinner we spent a lot of time driving around both the more vibrant and revitalized area of the city, as well as the, well, not so revitalized part (of course, we were headed to an auto parts store to find some obscure air filter for our a/c). I ended up downloading Instagram for my iPhone that evening, and I got some really fun pictures. In fact, I didn’t take any photos of people on our trip, just a few places. I love the way these turned out. Here are some of the photos I took that I really like.

I downloaded Instagram in the parking lot of this store we love visiting while in Durham; it’s called Parker and Otis, and if you know me and have been there, you know that I love it mostly for its selection of candy. This is in that parking lot right at the end of a huge rainstorm; luckily, we were under a covered roof.


The porch at this store has a ton of reclaimed/industrial materials. This is the case with a lot of downtown venues, as the area was once chock-full of tobacco warehouses and southern industry. Now, it’s just mostly southern charm and re-furbished lofts. Here’s the porch: I have to assume this was a fan.


While it was still drizzling, we set off on a drive. Here we are at a stoplight looking toward the stadium area. (In case you’re wondering, yes, there are a lot of railroad tracks downtown.)


I took this at another traffic light. The restaurant isn’t necessarily somewhere I’d want to eat – oxtails, anyone? – but the moment the red Cadillac pulled up I wanted to take a picture. Great color!


I may have made my husband circle back to capture this rundown building. The graffiti! The horizontal graphic black and white stripes! I really like it, purely in terms of gritty aesthetic.


What a cool green door. There were two of them. So neat.


This was actually taken on another day, but it’s a food truck that sells ice cream. On a school bus. My son would be in heaven. My limited understanding of the food truck culture in the Triangle is that they’re fairly new, people like them, and they’re still struggling with how to regulate them. Durham clearly has the most friendly food truck climate of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, and given my numerous encounters with black-framed glasses and waxed mustaches during our time there, it has the biggest hipster culture as well. In fact, lots of food “trucks” are actually bike carts. We went to the Saturday morning farmer’s market and it, too, was a food truck gathering spot.


And finally, this is entirely irrelevant to the vintage/gritty vibe I’ve been harping on here, but DID YOU KNOW THAT IN THE SOUTH THEY HAVE A SNACK WAGON FOR KIDS AT WHOLE FOODS WITH FREE SNACKS? I almost passed out. They also have towers of PBR…in Whole Foods.


Hope you enjoyed my very limited photo tour as much as I enjoyed capturing it all! I wish I’d taken more pictures!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Thai-inspired Peanut Noodles!

5 Jul

Here we go again…another deviation from my specialty – design – into the world of food. But this is worth it. Trust me.

It’s a miracle in my house is all three of us can agree on the same dinner, save for mac-and-cheese/pizza/tacos. But I think we’ve found a new item for the “sure-thing” rotation: Peanut Noodles! These are thai-inspired (which means that I disclaim any actual authenticity) but the flavors are there. Here’s the basic idea:


If you’re interested in trying this dish out in your house I’ll give you my basic instructions; as you probably know if you follow my blog, I’m not big on exacting recipes.

First, make some noodles: we use fettuccine,  but you could use spaghetti, penne, ditalini, soba noodles, or what ever you like. 

While the water boils and the noodles cook, saute bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots in some canola oil; use between 2 and 4 cups of fresh veggies. (I didn’t include canola oil in my collage: forgive me, it just isn’t that sexy). When they’re basically done, throw in some frozen shelled edamame. Turn the heat off.

Mix together your sauce. For half of a box of noodles (4 servings) I use the following proportions: about 1/2 cup of peanut butter, about 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and water, and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. Into that mixture, grate about a “thumb’s worth” of ginger; you’re going to need a microplane. Squeeze in the juice of about 1/2 of a small lime. Whisk it together; you’ll need a whisk because the peanut butter is stronger than your spoon.

At this point your sauce is ready to roll. Your veggies have cooked but are still crunchy. Your noodles should be just about done. When they are done, drain them and put them back in the pot they cooked in. Add the veggie mixture, pour in the sauce, and stir it all up. Throw in about a handful of chopped cilantro, and you’re DONE.

It’s that easy.

If you’re like me and love spiciness, there is one last crucial step:

There. Now you’re done.

You can get the yellow and white bowl pictured above here at CB2 for $30.

I hope you enjoy this easy dinner as much as we do. Have a great rest of the short week!



Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Life is Busy. Check out these radishes.

26 Jun

Life is busy, guys.

I’ll get back to blogging soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this rainbow-esque photo of my radishes (and a few tiny tomatoes). These turned out much better than the puny first ones I harvested!


I’ll be back at it soon…but for now, I have lots of wonderful clients to tend to!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

100 Things for Lunch!

24 May

This was a huge hit the other day.



A counting placemat + a bunch of finger foods + a picky-ish, bored-easily kiddo = lunch!  Laminated school supplies look great on granite, right?

In the spirit of full disclosure, we did swap out the usually-preferred almonds for some bacon. And we added some extra peas.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.