Hollywood Date Day

7 Mar

Thursday was date day for Chris and I, the best part of my week. For as long as I can remember, Chris and I have only had one day off together per week, and it’s a day that’s sacred. We usually do a couple of errands, picking out items to go with our new design idea for the house or picking up something for one of our hobbies. Thursday’s errand was picking up some ribbon to finish a wreath and then we went down to Hollywood.

Trips to Hollywood are always a little nostalgic for me now after we lived there for 4 years. It was where we found our first apartment after moving back to Florida from Michigan, which was really just a tiny studio that had just a sliver of a kitchen. It was where Chris surprised me when I came one day to find out we were moving to an actual one-bedroom with a separate room big enough for each of us to have a desk and a kitchen we could actually cook in. We had success in our new careers with multiple promotions, we got engaged, and I finished my Bachelor’s degree, all while living in Hollywood.

Now, we just go down to the Broadwalk to visit a few shops, go for a bike ride, or grab a bite to eat on occasion. While the food was severely underwhelming this time, we had a wonderful time re-visiting the Anne Kolb Nature Center which expanded greatly since we first visited 8 years ago now.

They now have 2 main trails with lookout points along the way. When we were there 8 years ago, the only thing I remembered was the observation tower. Views up there are amazing, with Sunny Isles Beach to the south, downtown Fort Lauderdale to the north and seeing as far west as the Hard Rock’s Guitar Hotel. The only wildlife we got to see this time were a few fish and an iguana that scared me half to death! They’re currently in the process of doing several renovations but it’s probably one of the nicest Broward parks we’ve been to.

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

5 Mar

If “one picture is worth a thousand words” as expressed by the Advertising Executive, Fred R. Barnard, then you could write a book on the difference that one Ring Light from Amazon has made in the photos for my website!

Just a little background… when I first started my website, BrittanyBowerDesigns.com 2 years ago, my friend Kat’s biggest critique was about the photos. I need more – something to be able to judge the size of the wreath against, more details, and better lighting. Well, at the time, I had done the best I could with had – settings and tools. I used our more professional camera, a Sony A6000 which Chris always was able to take amazing pictures with! Since they weren’t working out as well for me, I figured lighting was probably my biggest challenge since I was shooting inside and he always shoots outside. When I renovated the Craft Room, I installed the brightest lighting I could thinking it would give me the best advantage, and it has in many other ways, but it still wasn’t enough.

Fast-forward some time with Kat learning different marketing strategies and playing with her own business ventures, she discovered the ring light and insisted I buy one. Fast-forward another year and a half after taking time away from my site to focus on planning and executing a wedding, the recovery from it (which is no joke if you do it mostly by yourself and with a bunch of DIY) and other work-related changes and adventures, and I am back at it with the suggested light! And while I usually leave product reviews to my husband, JCBower, the difference is so significant, I had to do my own 😜.

Below are some of the before and after’s. The new pictures are lighter and brighter, and the glitter on the Jesus is the Reason for the Season wreath finally POPS like it should!

But I have to say the wreath I had the most frustrating time photographing was the Merry Christmas Deco Mesh Wreath. No matter what I tried, and how much color correction I did afterwards, it either came out super dark or it looked washed out and was clearly given away by the sign in the middle (bottom right).

Now, the greens look green, the reds look red and the sign can stay its true colors, and it’s not even the main focus of this picture!

While the ring light does have 5 color temperatures and is dimmable, so far the whitest and brightest setting has worked the best for me…but I do like the other options in case I end up needing them later. With the new pictures, all I have to do now is simply straighten and crop. Definitely worth the investment, and while I already knew Kat was brilliant, this is just further proof that I should take any and all advice she is willing to share when it comes to marketing!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

22 Feb

One of the best things about living in South Florida near the big cities is all of the amazing opportunities that arise! When Tiffany’s in New York announced it was opening an actual café where you could have “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” it ranked close to the very top of my bucket list! And while I have not yet made it to New York to experience the Blue Box Cafe, they did have a pop-up in Miami’s Design District for the months of December and January that Alia and I decided we had to see, with some Holly Golightly inspiration, so LBDs, pearls and gloves were a must!

Although I was expecting a perfectly curated Tiffany blue palette for everything, from the tables and chairs to the plates and napkins, Miami had to put its touch on it which included perfect pops of blush, and I was in heaven 👼.

We chose a table outside, because why would you sit inside when you can people watch? For as picky as I am about my coffee, the Tiffany Latte was on point and set the bar for the Egg and Cheese Sandwich. While a healthier option that the Butter Croissant I wanted in Holly Golightly fashion, it tasted as it. It started off well with tons of cheddar cheese wrapped inside fluffy eggs, topped with tomato and arugula inside a brioche bun, but it lacked flavor. Found out later, I should have asked for the garlic aioli sauce (tip for anyone else interested in trying at the next pop-up, hint hint Miami😉).

We couldn’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s without actually visiting Tiffany’s, now could we! So we took a stroll upstairs and found so much fun stuff! The hot pink stairs led to the 2nd floor with a mirrored hallway and a Neon Tiffany blue and pink sign that flowed into the bright jewelry store where we met Cici, who made us the once-in-a-lifetime offer to try on any Tiffany piece we liked. After perusing the store, I tried the classic Tiffany Heart Tag Necklace while Alia, with an eye for all things sparkly tried a gold and 12ct. diamond necklace worth $12K and a picture really is worth a 1,000 words!

Get Ready for Spring!

3 Mar

Spring is right around the corner, and I am so excited for it!

Lately, Chris has been challenging me to try different wreath styles and I have just completed one that is perfect for the change to come. Just as Winter fades into Spring, pink fades into white in this ombré flower. It gave me the chance to branch out from the deco mesh and tried my hand with poly burlap and, as an added bonus, I got to try out the wood burner I got for Christmas.

Pink Ombre Spring Flower in Poly Burlap

If you like it, go check it out in more detail at BrittanyBowerDesigns.com. And if there a color combination that you’d like to see, send me a message at brittany@brittanybowerdesigns.com

Home Renovations: Craft Room, Part 2

13 Jan

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no cost to you! When you purchase through the links provided, you will be supporting Brittany Bower and helping to bring new content to the site!

So, as happens with most renovations (using my own experience along with the stories from just about every home renovation show on HGTV as evidence), mine did not gone quite as planned either. As mentioned before, and was the most important point for me to keep in mind, is that the carpet was staying – I would have loved to replace it, I hate brown! – but as this is not the Dream House, it just didn’t make sense financially considering the excellent condition of the current carpet. I know, we checked! So Chris recommended some sticky stuff that most contractors use – a self-adhesive protective plastic film – that we were able to get from Amazon. However, due to something (not sure exactly what) it would not stay stuck to the carpet, though it obviously works well usually since it has no problem sticking to itself.

Self-adhesive protective plastic film from Amazon

Since this didn’t work out, Chris suggested a tarp instead and that worked much better. With that settled, the next step was to take off the baseboards – these are being replaced (still on the to do list), thank goodness! It wasn’t too difficult, but since I did it myself while Chris was at work, I had to resort to YouTube for how to do it.

The tarp is down, the baseboards are off, and most of the loose paint has been removed.

So while it may have not been necessary, and I was told by more multiple people that I created a lot of unnecessary work for myself, I did skim coat and then sand all of the walls. The previous owners simply painted over a lot of rough areas without cleaning first and it was driving me crazy, some of which was previous wallpaper.

About 3/4 of the way through skim coating

Had I not paid such close attention to the walls, I may have missed this detail. Now, I have piece of mind and know a little more of the house’s history.

The previous wallpaper

Now the fun began – color could finally start being put on the walls!!!  And I gave Chris the sad news (only for him) that the project can’t be purely mine.  I still needed him for a few items….

Once the ceiling was painted, he installed the new fan I picked out.  Next to the wall color, this was the part I was most excited about. The fan portion of the last one had stopped working and the Craft Room gets pretty warm during the day. It also didn’t provide much light so I had to supplement. With new LED light bulbs equivalent to 100 watts each and 5000k for a more natural daylight look, I now have plenty of light without stray cords running down the walls.

A new fan and ceiling light

But, since it is ultimately MY projects and is MY room, I finally fulfilled a life long dream of having a PINK room and could not be happier.  (Inside story to this…at the store I thought it was too light.  Then, I started cutting it in and thought it might be too bright.  Although I was giddy about the prospect of my pink room, this thought still  continued as I covered the walls in the color and when I was finally finished.)

A girl’s dream of a pink room realized!

I have slowly been moving back in and arranging it to work better for me. It may have been extra work, but with smooth walls and fresh paint, I feel much calmer in the room and better prepared to work on my projects.

I’ve moved back in, but not everything moved back in with me 🙂

Note: Although this is a very late post, I did make the deadline of November 2nd to beat the couch delivery! And as happens with many projects, there are a couple of things still left to do. Curtains have finally been hung 🙂 but we still need to cut and install the base molding and replace the outlets and covers.

BrittanyBowerDesigns.com is now live!

3 Dec

Hey everyone! I have some exciting news. As you know, I started a new crafting project making wreaths back during the summer as a way of mentally escaping the craziness of the world around us. This has been amazing therapy for me and (according to my amazingly supportive friends and family) I have finally achieved the “WOW” factor that I always craved with my crafts, and have decided to make them public for y’all to see and share in. The wreaths I have shared throughout the year are there with a few others. Go check them out at BrittanyBowerDesigns.com.

While the Let It Snow Wreath was the first one to get me really excited and think that I might be onto something, this candy cane wreath is my favorite! You could clearly see the theme even before I added the additional decorations and it seemed to build itself. It is the fullest and largest of the wreaths I have made to date.

Merry Christmas Candy Cane Deco Mesh Wreath – buy now at BrittanyBowerDesigns.com

Now that Christmas is almost upon us, I will be shifting gears shortly. If there is a specific theme you would like to see (holiday related or not) please let me know, either on here with a comment or at brittany@brittanybowerdesigns.com.

Happy holidays!

Home Renovations: Craft Room, Part 1

24 Oct

Hey ya’ll! So I mentioned before that Chris and I have done a few renovations since we bought our house, some of which have worked out and others…not so much. This past week, I embarked on a new one, my craft room.

I had been doing fine with it in its current state for the past few months, but recently it had gotten out of control. Between using the items in storage – scuba, for starters – and acquiring more tools and products for making the wreaths (my brain has been on overload lately with LOTS of ideas, and I have bought more than I’ve had time to put together), I got run out of the room.

I’ve been run out of my own room

So, now it is time to do what I have wanted to do since we moved into this house – redo the room. But, as Chris has told me that this is MY project, it had not been going very quickly – it took me a week just to move everything out.

I’m about half way there

However, I do have a strict deadline of November 2nd to have it completed (our new couch arrives that day, so I will no longer have free reign of the living room). This week, all I have gotten accomplished is the moving of all of the things out of the room.

Now we’re getting somewhere

This week, I will start laying down the carpet protector, because the current carpet is staying, and will begin the actual renovation process. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Room with a Purpose: The Craft Room

1 Oct

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no cost to you! When you purchase through the links provided, you will be supporting Brittany Bower and helping to bring new content to the site!

When we first found our house, it looked like it had 3 bedrooms.  This was one of my wish list items, along with 2 bathrooms and at least 1200 square feet.  Upon further research and learning about real estate, we learned that that the third room can’t be classified as a such since you have to go through the second to get to it – it doesn’t have its own access to the rest of the house – so it would instead be considered a bonus room.  This was okay, it just removed the question of which room would be the guest room and which would be the office, no big deal.

The previous owner’s Second Room – now our Office
The previous owner’s Third or Bonus Room – now my Craft Room

When we moved in, we started by focusing all of our efforts on the master bedroom and getting it ready which ended up taking 3 months to finish.  In the meantime, we lived in the bonus room.  Once we officially moved into the master bedroom and essentially into the rest of the house, we found homes for the majority of our things and started to realize our own needs.  The master bedroom was the master and the second room became the office as planned, and we stored our items without a designated home, although very disorganized, in the bonus room.  Realizing the cost of setting up a guest room for as much as it would be used (we’ve now been in the house for 2 years and have yet to have overnight company), we realized that dedicating an entire room to this purpose might not be the most practical or financially efficient, so it was now a room without any real purpose.

But, towards the end of last year, it finally started to find one when Chris suggested and highly encouraged me to finally buy a sewing machine (I’d been wanting to learn how to sew my whole life). Once we got it, I obviously needed a place to put it along with everything that goes with it, so Chris and I compromised.  The Florida room would be his room and used for his gym and I would take the old “storage room” to be used for my own purposes, whatever they may end up being. 

Once Covid hit South Florida, Chris was staying at work due to needing to maintain the buildings 24/7 for his entire work week, leaving me without much to do. I am not good with entertaining myself and TV only goes so far, so I started doing jigsaw puzzles again. Thomas Kinkade is my favorite artists, so I did several of his, starting with The Nativity, which I had bought on Amazon around Christmas and never got to, and continued with as many as I could find.

Fast forward a few more months, add an obsession with a podcast and Chris mentioning the idea of making the wreaths and the purpose of the room was clearly defined – it was now the craft room and the storage room…the stuff still has to be stored somewhere. But more changes will be coming, so stay tuned!

Playing in the Snow

23 Sep

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no cost to you! When you purchase through the links provided, you will be supporting Brittany Bower and helping to bring new content to the site!

Okay, okay, so it’s not real snow. But a girl can wish, although the only time I miss the snow is on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Finished Merry Christmas Wood Letter Sign

I wrote before about using the acrylic paint with a thinner consistency on the wooden Merry Christmas sign and how happy I was about it. Now, I have taken it a step further. For an ever Christmas-ier feel, I have added a snow effect using Aleene’s Glitter Snow from Amazon.

Chris had suggested the spray type, like the Santa Snow Spray that you can also find on Amazon or in the craft stores. However, after reading more about it, I found out that it is not suitable for the outdoors and comes off surfaces fairly easy. It’s better suited for inside windows and trees. If my tree wasn’t already white, I’d get it to add the snow effect. Since the sign is intended for a wreath, I needed more versatility and durability.

Using the same paint brushes I had already bought for the acrylic paint, I was easily able to build up the Glitter Snow to the thickness I was looking for by allowing it to dry overnight in between session. And for a first try, I’m pretty happy with how it came out and cannot wait for the holiday season to officially begin!

Crafting Away, Part 2

19 Sep

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no cost to you! When you purchase through the links provided, you will be supporting Brittany Bower and helping to bring new content to the site!

So I’ve been learning about how to paint wood signs for the wreaths, and it’s been quite the learning curve. I’d like to be able to hang my wreaths outside and needed a good, safe paint for it. Doing some reading at the craft store, it looked like acrylic satisfied these needs while providing a good variety of colors to choose from.

As you can see from the picture from Part 1, there are also different consistencies for the paint. The green I chose for Merry Christmas was thinner which allows the wood grain to show even after multiple coats. Blessed and Family were done in a paint with a thicker consistency and should provide a smoother looking finish. I like both, but it depends on the project.

The one challenge I didn’t anticipate, however, is trying to get to the space in all of the nooks and crannies. Merry Christmas is laser cut, which provides the darker edges and a more finished look, and I seemed to be able to control the paint enough to avoid any overlap on the sides with it, and Family isn’t too bad in this area. But when I tried to do the inside of Blessed, I felt it starting to look messy, even with the new paint brushes I bought for it. So an alternative method was needed.

Merry Christmas in thin consistency acrylic paint
Blessed and Family in thick consistency acrylic paint

While spending way too much time in the craft store and loving every minute of it, I found pour over paint and spray paint. Chris had mentioned spray paint before, but I didn’t know what I thought of it. It always seemed kinda messy and smells when it’s sprayed. The pour over paint looked interesting, but messy and possibly wasteful. Knowing an alternative was needed regardless, I went with my fiance’s idea of spray paint.

It ended up being easier than I thought and the acrylic doesn’t have any noticeable smell – I also leave it outside for about an hour after to dry, so maybe that has something to do with it. Trying it out, I sprayed the wood letters outside on wrapping paper – like this from Amazon. We used it to protect the tile floors when we painted other rooms in the house and had some left over. Choosing a flat surface protected from the wind, I sprayed it from various angles to ensure all of those pesky nooks and crannies were gotten as well as across the top.

Thankful in Punk Lak Gloss Acrylic Spray Paint’s Dark Wine

Although the Dark Wine color didn’t work out so well for what I intended it for, I do like the end result and even with the dry time, it only took an hour at most. I spent at least that just fighting with the insides of Blessed alone, and only got halfway. I think Chris was onto something 😉.

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