:: it came, it came


Our new faux tree was delivered last night. I couldn't wait to get it up & in it's place, so on went the Christmas music & out came the decorations. I generally like to make more of an event out of decorating the tree, but this year it felt just fine to let it happen organically, no fuss & it's done.

Whew, checking that off my list feels good.

I have to say I'm really impressed with this tree, it went together easily, it has a great shape & is so full. I especially like that it has two types of branches, including lovely pinecones. As far as decorating goes, we're sticking with our traditional ornaments we've collected over the years....you know...the special ones. Do you have a special ornament tradition?

It's our families tradition that every year we each pick a new ornament for the tree. It's lots of fun to pull them out, remember why we picked them, and place them on the tree once more.

This years picks

Papa : A wise owl ( they didn't have anything Carolina Panther's  )

Mama : A little house ( in honor of our new nest )

Phoebe : A little knit fox (our animal lover)

Noah : A video game controller (our gamer)

Ashley : A little bird ( leaving the nest & flying across country today )

I still have more holiday decorating to do, bows to make, presents to wrap...how about you? 

Are you all set & ready for Santa?

{peace, love & hugs}

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:: orb - it

Lately I have orbs on my mind. Orb Chandeliers to be exact. I'm trying to decide on one to replace a less than lovely ceiling fan in my new living room. I've known since I moved in that an orb was what I wanted for the space. I'm not one to make quick decisions, so I've been doing my due diligence researching orb chandeliers that I could love in my home. Below are a few options I've come up with. If you know of others, do share. I figure now might be a good time to buy since so many stores are having christmas sales & I'm looking for a good deal.


This jute orb is actually one of my favorites, unfortunately it's no longer available
(kicking myself for waiting). I like the texture of the jute twine ( one of my favorite things ), and also the realistic look of the candles with drippy wax and silicone bulbs.


I like the Ballard Orbs, they have several finishes to choose from and they have good reviews. I personally would lose the crystal ball at the bottom...... & luckily it's removable. So this is a contender for sure.


This strap orb is quite interesting, although maybe a little too heavy & masculine for my space. I do like it a lot though for the right room.


I adore all things TWIG, so of course this caught my eye immediately. Still not sure if it's quite the right look for my space. I could so see this on a screened porch ( hmm, maybe I can find a place for this one after all. )


I really like the simplistic style of this light with it's bare Edison bulb, very cool...though possibly to spare for my taste with it's single bulb. This one though is a contender & the price point is perfect.


Last, but certainly not least Foucault's Iron orb by Restoration Hardware. This is truly where my obsession with orbs began, this one has had my heart from the beginning, I just haven't decided to let it have my purse strings yet. I sometimes believe however that it's best to go with your gut and in the end it's important to have what you love even if it costs a little bit more.

So, which one is your favorite?

Here are a few photos of my new living room... I just took these shot sans tripod and it's late afternoon with little natural light so it looks a bit drab. I almost hate to share because it's still a work in progress & looks a bit unfinished & plain. I would love to hear your opinion on the light choices. Maybe you would even suggest something totally different.

Would love to hear your thoughts on overhead lighting for my room.

{peace, love & hugs}

lighting can be found here
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:: million dollar baby

It's all about the kitchen

a dining room with water views

a huge room for lounging with guests after a day on your yacht

a lovely room for the ladies

and one for the gents

a lovely sauna

grab a vintage from here

or maybe you prefer a more intimate space to unwind 

you can live the dream here

Your cost....a mere $49,500,000

for a lovely little 11 bed / 18 bath / 22,000 sq ft home

and I thought I dreamt big... 

{peace, love & hugs}

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:: do you keep it real?

So tell me.....do you keep it real?

Or do you Fake it?

This is the question I'm asking myself this year. We've always had a large real tree, don't you just love the smell of a live tree....I sure do.

What I don't like is having to water it every day, ruined floors from a leaky stand, and crazy little black bugs for the whole month of December.

Yes, all of these things have happened to us over our years of real Christmas tree use.

So, call me crazy but I'm really entertaining the thought of a fake tree this year. I want the most realistic pre-lit tree, and I think it would make me happy to put up my tree Thanksgiving weekend and leave it up until after New Years with no worries of a fire hazard.

The tree above looks pretty amazing to me, can you tell it isn't real?

Yep, I think it's decided....

I'm gonna FAKE IT this year, 
and many more to come.

{peace, love & hugs}

TREE VIA: Ballard Designs 10% off & Free Shipping
If you are so inclined to join me in the fakery this year ;)

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:: screened porches & fireplaces

So, Thanksgiving is a week away, and all I can think about are screened porches & fireplaces.

Our new house has a lovely little screened porch which is one of the things that attracted me to my home in the first place. However, after spending some time on it this summer we realized we would like it to be a bit larger to accommodate more friends & family at one time. Currently it's about 11' x 12', and our plan is to rebuild it to 18' x 20' and some odd inches. Needless to say, I've been doing lots of research trying to figure out how I want it to look ultimately. One thing is for certain though & that is a fireplace. I love the look & I'm looking forward to being able to use the porch well beyond summer.

The photo above is pretty much what I'm going for, isn't it gorgeous. It's really amazing how expensive all the little details are. Right now I'm trying to decide just how worth it the details are to me. Currently I'm trying to pick out the stone or brick for the fireplace and some sort of flooring either cypress like the image above or a herringbone brick.

So, what are your thoughts? Pull out all the detail stops, or keep it simple & cost effective?

This is my first time with any kind of construction or home additions so any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Below are a few more of my inspiration images, they can all be found on my pinterest board here

loving the look of this painted brick fireplace.

The stone and the arched opening are quite nice though I do want a mantle.

Which look do you prefer.... Stone or Brick?

Goodness, it may be next year before we get this done if I have to decide.

{peace, love & hugs}

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:: fall is coming

Though today's temps don't feel too much like fall....
this little crepe myrtle is shouting LOUD & PROUD that fall is on it's way.

Are you ready?

I sure am...

In fact, I met yesterday with my landscaper to discuss changing out some of the trees & shrubs around our new home, fall is the perfect time for planting trees & shrubs after all.  I spent more time today researching & gathering ideas for trees & shrubs, some are old favorites that I'll plant anywhere I ever go & others are new suggestions & plants I would love to add to my gardens.

 Wanna have a peek at some of my {old favorites}?


Lagerstoemia indica x fauriei 'Natchez'

WHY I LOVE THEM: white blooms all summer long, & beautiful mottled bark.

Loropetalum chinense 'Suzanne'

WHY I LOVE THEM: pink fringe blooms in spring & year round color. I prefer them in their natural shape like above, so it's important to choose the right variety for your space.


WHY I LOVE THEM: { THE DOG OF COURSE ;D } the best butterfly bush for smaller spaces, the lovely lilac color, and a fragrance like honey { no wonder the butterflies love em' } 

I planted 16 of these lovelies last fall at my old house,  I hated leaving them : (  but at least they were blooming when I planted them so I could enjoy them. Now I'm going to plant more : ).

Leaving my gardens was really one of the hardest parts of moving besides leaving friends. Who am I kidding, it was like leaving my babies behind. I picked and planted most of what was in my landscape, & I loved every plant. I watched them grow each year for 10 years & I handed them over to someone else when they were finally old enough to really enjoy....kinda like marrying off your children I suppose {ha ha just kidding...sort of I do have teenagers right now}. Though it's a little sad to have to start over, it's also very exciting to create new gardens again. I don't know if I'll be here to enjoy them long term, but I sure have fun planting & watching them grow.

peace, love & hugs
Carrie Ann
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:: moving in & moving on

Okay, let me just start my saying what the heck was I thinking when I agreed to move. Oh my, I think I never really thought through all the work and stress that would be involved. All I can say is that never never will I bring everything with me ever again when I move....
can we just say "too much stuff".

Well anyway, I wanted to share a pretty picture with you so above is the kitchen before we officially moved in. So lovely, clean & serene....this photo makes me want to simplify even more.

Here's what it looked like during the moving in process.  STUFF EXPOLOSION. I'm pretty sure it was multiplying in the truck. I seriously thought we'd never get out from under the piles.

By the way, there are two ways to have a professional mover move you. 

OPTION 1, they pack you up, unload the boxes stack them into mountains & leave you to it.
End Result....lots & lots of boxes & packing paper to deal with. 

OPTION 2, they pack & they unpack...putting things on any available surface {they DO NOT put things away for you}. End Result....piles of stuff, & they take all the packing mess : ).

Can you guess which option we chose?

Ha Ha...yep Option 2.

Crazy Huh.

Well here's the plus side to Option 2....you HAVE to deal with the stuff, lest you live in an episode of hoarders forever {no offense to any hoarders, love that show...and I'm pretty sure I have some hoarding tendencies}. I went that route the last time I moved and it took me nearly a year to deal with the boxes. In the end I lost a whole box of swimsuits & a pair of rx glasses to Goodwill {that's how hubs deals with boxes of stuff ha ha}. 

It was a pretty mountain of boxes though : ).

Not to say that my house is in complete order yet....far from it, but I have dealt with a lot of the stuff {should have dealt with it more before I moved...holy mess} anyway, hindsight you know.

Oh did I mention that during the move I turned 40 and buried my grandfather the same day.
Needless to say so far 40 hasn't been so great. I've had more than my share of breakdowns, and If you've been with me long you know what I'm talking about.

Moving is stressful business....especially when it happens so fast.

It's been over a month now, and I'm starting to feel a little more settled. Still lots & lots of stuff to deal with/get rid of...ha ha you may even see some of it pop up here on the blog. Oh yeah, we also decided to downsize in this move....hence too much stuff & not enough space.

So if you've seen anything here on the blog that you love just tell me & if it fits it ships. Ha Ha.

Stay tuned for more house updates.

{peace, love & hugs}

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:: help me to know

You gift me with all the good gifts that make me the person you created me to be. Help me to know and find your will and to trust that you will help me to understand the path you call me to journey in life. Where there is doubt give me courage. Give me a heart open to your quiet voice so I can hear your call to me. Help me to know your faithfulness and help me to be faithful to that which you call to me. Amen.

Happy Weekend

{peace, love & hugs}
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:: leaving our nest

The Wren's Nest...a HOME tour...

Well, it's official we are leaving our nest soon....see my little perch hanging under there. I'm excited for the change, but also a little sad to leave my home of 10 years. I can hardly believe it's been that long, my children were just little little's when we moved in, now they are teenagers. We've had so many good times in this home...it's bittersweet leaving it all behind.

Many meals with friends & family have been enjoyed in this kitchen. I can just see my kids propped on the bar building gingerbread houses, making cookies for Santa & dyeing easter eggs.

Cozy fires, Christmas morning, and beautiful sunrises have been the highlight of this living room.

The dining room like most sees action only on special occasions such as holidays & parties.

The kid zone....hodge podge furnishings, cartoons & movies, drums & guitar, games & sleepovers...many many memories.

One of my favorite spaces to create has been my sweet Punky's apartment

I put in the bookcases & gate to create a little playhouse area when she was little & also to hide all the mess/toys from the door , now it's her personal sleeping space & hideaway & she has a little living room instead. Time is marching on, and toys are giving way to boys {uh oh... well not quite yet} clothes is more like it.

My little mister has gone from a giant playroom bedroom to his personal pad including private bath. Gaming system & computer station required.

Our oldest chick is off to college and this has become a landing zone & dumping ground for her more & more infrequent visits as she enjoys her new found freedom.

Movie central, family hangout & guest quarters complete with private bath & workout room.

My fun studio with it's amazing vaulted ceiling, I'll miss you too...at least when you're clean

{ Our Dreamy Master Bed & Bath }

Many talks & cozy sundays have been spent in front of this fireplace in our Master bedroom.
Kids sleeping on the sofa at the foot of the bed, and snuggled in with us too. Those days too are fading away as everyone grows up and into their own...ready for change & a new move.

Proof that things are what you make them, those are simple wire shelves. A little organization makes things much nicer. Though it is a big closet,  it doesn't have to be big to be tidy & pretty.

Just a simple laundry room, but I sure will miss my little window. 

In my personal opinion this could have very well sold our house all on it's own...


Is it crazy that this is probably one of the things I'll miss most about this house....my new pantry.  I just had it custom designed to my specifications not even a year ago now. The best part is that my family finally keeps it neat & clean too. What more can a mother ask for?

Hmmm did I leave anything out? Besides bathrooms? 
A Foyer? A lovely staircase, what, did you say two staircases? Done.

Front Staircase

Back Staircase from keeping room.

Goodbye my lovely home with 2 tons of new rock borders installed just last fall by yours truly. I can't believe we are actually moving. I hope the new owners will enjoy all of the hard work & love that have gone into making this house a home...it's been good to us for 10 years.

Mostly we'll miss all of our friends & wonderful neighbors.


{tears, sniffle sniffle}

{peace, love & hugs}

P.S.  stay tuned for our adventures in moving & our new home.
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