The 20 Minutes a Day Project

This month, my husband and I are overhauling our apartment so we can kick off September in a more streamlined, clutter-free space. Between recent work trips and other distractions, our place is showing some definite signs of neglect. It happens before you know it; piles of papers start to form, closets take on a life of their own, and no matter how much you clean, the place never feels sparkling and fresh. It’s time to create some space to breathe and bring some serenity back to this little apartment of ours.

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This can be an overwhelming undertaking, whether you dedicate whole Sundays to the project or try to tackle it in evenings after work. I knew we weren’t going to get anywhere if we got burnt out after day one, so I came up with a plan to spend just twenty minutes each day addressing a specific category of clutter. Continue reading


Gallery Walls in 2016

Gallery walls have been around for a few years. In fact, I featured Young House Love’s fantastic gallery hallway here in 2013. John and Sherry created the comprehensive guide to the how-tos of building a fun, dynamic and meaningful gallery space. That was back in 2011, but gallery walls don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

In my 2013 post, Living with Photos, I discussed the role photos play in creating a beautiful space that reflects who you are and the things that are most important to you. Today, I’m excited to share my top tips for gallery walls and how to keep them timeless and fresh, even six years into the trend.

  1. Combine black and white images with color photographs for a classic look. The best gallery walls look like the pieces were collected over time, with an organic, personal feel.

  2. Or choose all back and white photos for a dramatic effect that won’t compete with other textures and colors in the room. This modern collection of crisp black and white prints is a gorgeous contrast to the raw wood, straw, and stone in this space.

  3. Incorporate the unexpected into your layout. Perfectly symmetrical arrangements tend to look like a set of frames you picked up at Target. You’re really not looking for a “gallery wall in a box” look. Asymmetry takes care of that right away, even when you choose the clean look of identical frames, below.

  4. Keep it personal with items you might not have thought to frame. Incorporate a page from your favorite book, a map of your hometown, your scribbled wedding vows. Make it meaningful and unique, not something that just anyone could have in their home.

  5. Choose a gorgeous color scheme. This brings cohesiveness and happy energy to a space you walk through every day.


  6. Bring in some dimension. Add a textured weaving, three dimensional word art, even a string of bright pom poms for an interactive feel. Please just avoid the “Live Laugh Love” canvas prints. In twenty years, those are going to be what shag carpets were to the 70s.

  7. Use washi tape instead for a spontaneous rotating gallery anywhere. This is great for a dorm room, the inside of a closet door for daily fashion inspiration, or above a desk. Such a great way to show off favorite instagram photos.

  8. Continue your gallery all the way down the wall. This works especially well in a corner for a cozy, casual feel.


    What are your favorite gallery wall tips? Do you like to create a wall all at once, or let it grow over time?

I’d love to share photos of YOUR gallery wall! Tag me on Instagram (@sara.bellin) to have your photo featured in my next post!

Mothers Day: All the Moms

Once a year, we take a day to celebrate the moms in our lives. We honor mothers in all their forms: the women who gave birth to us, the women who are our role models and guides, the young moms who we watch grow wiser and kinder every day. Here is a little roundup of tokens of love and admiration for those selfless #girlbosses without whom we just couldn’t be ourselves.

99 Things that Bring Me Joy
– A beautifully illustrated guided journal to help her record the joys that make her unique. ($10.75)

Ashley Mary Daydreamer Pencil Case– For all the little things that moms carry with them to save the day. ($10)

Global Greetings Stationary– Charming illustrations on gorgeous, cover-weight flat cards. ($22)

Bearing Flowers Dishtowel– To and fill the kitchen with Spring, even on a Monday night. ($20)

Yarn Bowl with Leaf Handle–  For holding onto her yarn or just the keys by the front door. ($42)

Dual Birthstone Ring– each tiny stone represents one of her children, no matter how big they’ve gotten. ($250)

Savannah Bee Body Butter– This five star concoction, made from royal jelly and delicious essential oils, will remind her to relax and take some time to herself every now and then. ($26.50)

Lilly Pulitzer Hartley Sunglasses– The gift of a little glamour, these sunglasses look beautiful on every face shape and lend a rosy glow after even the longest winter. ($98)

I’m Outta Here Luggage Tag– For all your upcoming adventures together. Especially good when paired with your guide book of choice. (12.95)

Liberty Print Compact Umbrella– To brighten rainy days with a little luxury she would never buy herself. (£48.00)

The Best is Yet to Come– a printable to frame as you like. ($5.40)

5 Lovely Things to Try at Home This Weekend

  1. Make a beautiful piece of art

    Make this simple floral monogram painting, or try your hand at illustrating a favorite recipe to frame in the kitchen. You’ll be surprised how meaningful and great it turns out.


  2.  Review your spending from the past month

    I know this doesn’t sound like the relaxing weekend you had in mind, but as Lauren Ver Hage writes,

    “Regardless of what your goals are, doing a “post-mortem” at the end of each month is a super useful way to stay on top of your spending habits. It’s a good way to learn from your mistakes, and it reinforces the way you feel — good or bad. It’s much more difficult to brush off problems and ignore them if you’re forcing yourself to sit down and confront them repeatedly.”

    Look at each of your expenses, and then ask yourself these ten questions that will help you gain insight from your spending that you can use in coming months. The Financial Diet has even made us a Google Sheet to make this task easier.


  3. Switch out your old photos for fresh new ones

    You know how I feel about living with photos. After a while of looking at the same photos on the walls, things get a little stale and we don’t get that same shot of happy energy when we walk in the door. Surround yourself with the places and people that make you happiest right now. Swap out the photos in your frames, or try an Instagram display or ombre gallery wall!

  4. Start telling your story

    We all have a story, lessons we have learned and a precious legacy we feel called to uphold. This could be the history of our own struggles, of the family that came before us, or the treasured traditions of our religion or culture. Your point of view matters, and now is the time to raise your voice. Spend a few hours recording your story in a book, Google Doc, or blog post.


  5. Laugh really hard

    I love Aziz Ansari. He seems like such a good guy and his humor is super relatable. Start with Netflix’s Master of None and then go check out his stand up on YouTube. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


                                     That’s it for today, friends. Have a wonderful weekend!

Straight Out Of: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin is one of my top Hulu addictions right now, so I thought it might be fun to do a little roundup inspired by the show.

The Villa Nueva house is warm and charming, with homey touches that never look too new or stark. Mismatched frames and paintings cover the walls, and little details remind you that this is where three generations of women have grown and loved together. The colors are saturated and fun, and you can’t forget a wooden bench for late night conversations on the front porch.

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  1. Embroidered waffle weave kitchen towels
  2. Small Greenport bench
  3. Kari quilt set
  4. Behr Victorian Mauve paint color
  5. Golden arrow personalized necklace
  6. Jean jacket
  7. Fit and flare floral dress
  8. Nicola black patent wedges

Jane herself loves patterned dresses that define her waist and flare into a feminine skirt. She pairs them with everything from jean jackets to soft blazers, with delicate jewelry and fantastic wedges.Her look is attainable and fun, perfect for a regular girl who has gotten swept up in a drama far bigger than she is.

Jane’s style contrasts beautifully with costar Petra’s look: structured, modern pieces with incredible tailoring and sharp silhouettes.  Petra and the Marbella Hotel are all white and blue Miami glam.

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  1. Embroidered medallion pillow
  2. Tiffany Infinity Cuff
  3. Princess Cut Faceted Mirror
  4. Maggy London Midi Dress
  5. Metallic Silver Pouf
  6. Kathin Lace Up Sandals
  7. Coach Nomad Hobo in Cornflower/Gunmetal

Get this look with a few well chosen pieces in fresh, modern colors and touches of silver. Petra is always luxe, but still simple and minimalist.

Are you a Jane or a Petra?

Making Pinterest Work For You


Are you on Pinterest? Chances are good you are. 42% of American adult women use Pinterest for everything from just browsing existing “pins” to promoting their original blog content.

Lately I’ve noticed that my friends are using Pinterest less, now that they do their aspirational browsing on Instagram. It’s where they find their bridal bouquet inspiration, their new favorite make up products, where they follow top designers, and get ideas for home decor and craft projects. Does Pinterest have a future in our Instagram world?



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Craft Desk DIY | Creating a Sacred Place

Our second bedroom has been calling to me. It’s been a workhorse of a guest room since we moved in, but in between weekends hosting family and friends, it sits empty. Finally, after my post about making room for the things you love this winter, I decided to claim a corner of that room for my own. A place to craft, to put the things that make me happiest, to experiment and make a mess.

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