Guest Post

Summer Is… by Just A Girl

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Today my blog buddy Chris from Just A Girl is my teammate today in the Paint & Stain class we’re teaching at Haven, and so I invited her to share a few of her favorite things about summer too. 

just a girl

“Hello, everyone! I’m Chris from Just a Girl, and Kate couldn’t have chosen a better topic to guest post on. Who doesn’t love summer? My only problem, of course, is narrowing it down to a handful of favorites when it comes to summertime! Where do I begin?

Sleeping in. The rest of these are in no particular order, but this one?  It’s first. Throughout the school year, I get up around 6:00, so the opportunity to sleep in until it’s actually light out is life-changing for me!

sleeping in


The beach.  No matter what time of day (and believe me, we’ve been there during all of them) or what time of year, this place is always beautiful. It’s the one time when we can guarantee no cell phones, no arguments, and no whining. The whole family loves it, and we’re thankful it’s part of our summer schedule.

beach sunset


The ol’ red, white, and blue.  I don’t know what it is about summer that heightens my appreciation for America and its flag, but I find myself more aware of its beauty during the summer months. It’s not uncommon for me to ask my husband to pull off the road so I can snap “just one more picture” of another flag.

american flag


Lawnmowers.  No joke. Our harsh winter months can put us into hibernation mode, and I love the summer sound of people mowing their yards. It encourages me to be outside more, and it certainly facilitates neighborly conversation.

cut lawn


Food on a stick. I’m not really sure how else to describe my favorite flavors of summer. Marshmallows, hotdogs, waffles…for some reason, they taste better when placed on a stick and torched in a backyard fire. Can I get an Amen?

marshmallows on stick


And last but not least? TIME. My husband and I make a conscious decision not to stack our kids’ schedules with sports, camps, tournaments, etc. We want  them to be home. We want them to ride their bikes in the neighborhood and chase frogs in the backyard. Time is what summer’s all about, isn’t it?

kids on beach

A special thanks to Kate for letting me share some summer highlights with her readers! I hope you all have a wonderful summer and are able to enjoy all of your favorites of the season.”

Thank you Chris!  I love seeing summer through others eyes, don’t you?  Everyone has their unique favorites, but it seems we all share the need to slow down, relax and spend time with family, wouldn’t you agree?



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Summer Is… by My Blessed Life

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

While I’m talking all about paint and stain in Atlanta for the next two days, I have a few special guests coming up, and my first is my friend Myra from My Blessed Life.  I met Myra at the Blissdom conference over a year ago, and we’ve been friends ever since!  Since I’m touring the south this week, I’m excited to begin this “Summer Is…” series with this sweet southern gal, please give Myra a warm welcome! 

Hello, hello fabulous Centsational Girl readers!  I’m thrilled and honored to be visiting with you today.  Summer is such a beautiful time of year, although in Alabama it is very hot and humid.  But I embrace the beauty and stay as cool as possible.  Here are a few of my favorite things about Summer in the South…

Porch Living:  My family and I live in the oldest house on main street in our tiny town. We enjoy spending our mornings and evenings on the front porch reading, watching the cars go by, waving to neighbors and sipping on a glass of cold {sweet} iced tea.

 myra front porch


Farmer’s Market Produce:  Each weekend, I stop by the farmer’s market to get fresh produce for the coming week.  My favorites are cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, strawberries, peaches and blackberries.  I’ve made delicious cobblers with fresh strawberries, peaches and blackberries in the last few weeks.

farmers market produce


Backyard Hydrangeas: The huge bush of blue hydrangeas growing on the side of our house just takes my breath away. I love cutting blooms and adding them to a vase on the table. They cheer a room up so quickly.

tj maxx vase


Seabrook Island, South Carolina:  My very favorite destination to visit during the Summer months is Seabrook Island. It is a private, quiet community with beautiful white sandy beaches, gorgeous trees and marshes.  Bike riding is peaceful and a multitude of deer come out to play at dusk.  Seabrook Island isn’t far from Charleston which is definitely another perk!

seabrook island

Thanks so much Kate for having me today! I hope you and your wonderful readers have enjoyed reading about my Summer favorites.  I would love if y’all stopped by for a visit anytime.

Thank you Myra for sharing your definition of summer, I’m putting Seabrook Island on my list of places to visit!  

What’s your definition of summer?


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Five Tips for Styling Better Photos

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Greetings everyone!  Today I’m on a flight to the SNAP Conference in Utah where I’ll be mixing with other bloggers and also speaking on Saturday on a panel with Ana, Shelley, and Emily on ‘Discovering and Defining your Personal Style’.  Can’t wait to meet all of you that are attending! 

While I’m away, I have a very special guest for you.  I’ve long admired Heather Bullard, a talented stylist with impeccable taste.  Heather is a Contributing Editor to Country Living magazine, and she also produces and styles editorial stories all over the country.   Heather recently launched her publication Souvenir Magazine, filled with inspiration on all things home and garden.  I admire her talents so much I asked her to share a few styling secrets with you. 

Here are Heather’s Five Tips for Styling Better Photos!

“Hi Centsational Girl readers! So happy to be visiting you here today. I thought I’d share a few of my styling tricks and tips with you. Whether you’re working on an entire room, a small vignette in your home or want to style better blog photos here’s five tips to help make things easier!

1. Contrast.  When styling, think in terms of adding items that counter balance one another. The bright whites and warm woods in this photo of my kitchen corner, are a great example. Also notice there is additional contrast in the breadboards and the texture of the basket tray. And even hints of subtle contrast in the various colors and textures of the ironstone.

low shelf heather bullard


2.  Use a Statement Piece.  The bold graphic artwork in this mainly white home makes this room stand out.  Because the artwork was the focal point, I kept the other styling elements minimal and neutral. In this case, less is more.

statement piece heather bullard


3.  Real Life Styling.  Keeping props and styling realistic is what makes a space or image feel lived in and gives it a warm, inviting atmosphere. For this kitchen, I added what the homeowner might naturally have, such as a small collection of cookbooks, vegetables at the ready and the cooks favorite utensils. Even with all the added props, the styling remains simple and comfortable.

Carla Malloy, Counter, Kitchen, Lompoc, Malloy

4.  Group Like Items.  A collection of like objects can be a stylists best friend. For this vignette, the only additional props added were a few vintage books in similar colors to accent but not overpower the clock collection. Letting the collection remain the true focus.

group like items heather bullard

5.  A Touch of Nature.   Adding just a few sprigs of greenery or simple bouquet can give such life to any styling project. Beautiful florals and natural elements bring fresh perspective and help to add color and life a setting. These are a stylists mainstay and I can’t imagine working on a project without fresh flowers!

table styling heather bullard

Thanks for inviting me to guest post today, Kate! I hope you and your wonderful readers learned a few Tricks of a Stylists Trade! Feel free to stop by and say hello anytime!”

Thank you so much Heather, you’re so inspiring!  I love all of these tips and she’s so right.  Incorporating at least one of these suggestions into your next photo shoot is sure to make for a simple yet well composed image. 

Be back tomorrow with one more post to finish out the week! 



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