Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

Low key, rainy weekend. Details incude:

mini-cupcakes Friday PM
spotted @ Target neons + neutrals
Does working on a Sunday look better through the filter of instagram?
Sunday night run on the Hyde Park Graeters. And yes, we waited. Very worth it.

Happy Monday, reader-friends!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Casual Friday

Welcome to Casual Friday: Summer Sandal edition! Who doesn't love a fun, summer sandal!? No one, that's who. Who loves expensive summer sandals? Who loves paying for expensive summer sandals? I'll go ahead a guess "no one" again. That's why ALL the Casual Friday picks this week are under $70!

T-Strap Gladiator Sandal,  Target $24.99
Strappy Espadrille Wedge, Target $27.89
Gabriella Rocha Mosie, Zappos $39.00
Viv Sandal, DSW $59.95

OK kids. It's Friday and these shoes are too cute, too chic and too affordable NOT to indulgein a pair (or 3)! 

Now go & love yourself some weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fab Freebie

I found these adorable, colorful (and best of all, FREE) state and country prints through the blog Effortless Style. The prints were designed by Jenna at Q&A Design and you can download each and every one fo' free! I am loving all the options for these prints, and I can't wait to put the Ohio print in an pre-matted frame and hang it in my apartment. It will be such a fun addition to my walls! 

Which prints will you download? How do you plan to use?  

Don't forget to "like" Middle Maintenance on Facebook! 


Everyone (at least everyone who's anyone) loves a good monogram. I've been seeing the cutest monogrammed items as of late, so I thought I'd round up a few of my faves for my lovely reader-friends!

1. Moon & Lola Acrylic Block Monogram Necklace (got this for my sister, S, for her bday...darling!)
2. Rosewood Monogrammed Stationary, Papersource (I love how each initial is a different color)
3. Monogramed Market Tote (I need this for the farmer's market this summer! Pick your fabric and embroidery color for total personalization.)
4. Personalized Chevron iPhone Case (love me some blue + yellow)
5. Monogrammed Stemware (because bubbly tastes better in personalized glassware)
6. Moon & Lola Metal Script Monogram Necklace (classic. statement.)
7. Monogrammed Bamboo Tray (available on One King's Lane for a limited time. There are more color combos and patterns are available for limited time!) 
8. Monogram Applique Pillow Cover (the perfect addition to your bed, sofa or side chair!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MM on Facebook

Hey reader-friends! Up until yesterday, I've been sharing all the latest Middle Maintenance updates via my personal Facebook page. However, interactions with brands and other bloggers on Facebook were getting difficult due to the privacy restrictions on my personal account. SO, I jumped right in and started a "Middle Maintenance" Facebook page. 

I would SO appreciate it if you all would head on over here and "like" the page.

Don't forget, you can also connect with Middle Maintenance:
on Twitter
 on Pinterest
 on Instagram 

As always, thanks for following along! 
I so love sharing design, style and other fun tidbits with you on MM! 

pops of pink

I stumbled across this image on Skonahem (thanks to VMac+Cheese for the intro) and loved the bright pops of color in the largely neutral space. Naturally, I pinned the pic and after getting a lot of re-pinnng action (doesn't that make you feel popular!?) I thought I'd pull together some similar/pink accent pieces so y'all can get the look.

Pops of pink! Check out sources to all items here
What do you think of a neutral space with bright POPS! of color?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Farmhouse Tables

I've always had a weakness for wooden farmhouse tables. There is something so classic and simple about them that really appeals to me, and I love the idea sharing meals around a sturdy, weathered table. Farmhouse tables also offer all kinds of versatility when it comes to styling them within a space. If you follow my Pinterest "Interior Design" board (which you should, because I obviously have excellent taste) you'll see that I have particular weakness for a farmhouse table with eclectically selected seating. However it may be styled, I think a farmhouse table is in my future! Aren't they  beautiful?

(I kind of die over this one in particular)
Naturally, I started scouring the internet for a hypothetical future farmhouse table for my imaginary dining room/large eat-in kitchen. Here are a few picks I'm loving. 

I fell in love with this French Country Dining table from Wisteria after I saw it as the backdrop for Modern Eve's beautiful Easter Brunch. She was nice enough to let me know its origin and I've been coveting it ever since. It's kind of a perfect balance of casual and elegant, don't you think? (It is pictured with all its leaves, so it looks a little long here, but it's easily shortened.)

This English Pine farmhouse table from Cottage Home Maine is another fave. From poking around this website, you can tell these tables are hand-carved and high quality. The site also lets you select your table base style, wood stain and/or paint color for a highly customized table. 
Finally, this Casual Country Dining Table from Home Decorator's Collection makes my day with its beautiful lines and modest price tag. Built from solid oak with a gray finish (it almost has a white-washed effect) this is another top contender.

So, what are your thoughts on the farmhouse table reader-friends? Yay? Nay? 
(All images via my Pinterest account, but sources back to original sources or origin.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

minty fresh pants! 
saturday salad!
sporty spice!
parisian prints (at the thrift store)!
gardening (chives and basil)!
strawberry chocolate chip (a sweet end to the weekend)!

Not pictured: chocolate chip pancakes, laundry, saturday night dance party, sunday burgers with my fam

Here's to a great week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Casual Friday

TGIF reader-friends! Welcome to Casual Friday: patterned shorts edition. Patterns are everywhere this season and that makes for some seriously cute short selections.  Classic stripes, whimsical prints, bold graphics? Yes, please! 

1. Sea Nettle Shorts, Anthropologie 
3. Ikat Dots, LOFT
4. Sunlit Paisley, j.crew
5. Madison Shorts, Anthropologie
6. Gingham, j.crew
7. Smart Paisley, ASOS
8. Floral Shorts, ASOS
9. jagged stripe, LOFT

Phew! TGIF! Am I right!? This week was looonngg. And this girl is actually a little excited for a cooler, rainy forecast. A great excuse to lay low and get stuff done at home (hello, overflowing laundry basket). Here's to a relaxing and refreshing weekend! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Return of the Tartans

I like to think that I'm open to and appreciative of many different design styles. Just because it's not going in my house doesn't mean I can't appreciate it. Heck, I swoon over some designs that are "too bold" or "too modern" or "too (insert adjective)" for myself, personally, all the time. BUT when I saw this image scattered across the design interwebs yesterday, I stopped short. I design discriminated. Dare I say I was visually offended by this image and the subsequent "genius" or "in love" comments that followed!? 

Now before you go and decapitate me (much in the manner that some twisted individual has done to Hello Kitty), allow me to elaborate. A little Vivienne Westwood tartan wallpaper? Don't mind if I do! (Though I like others in the collection more.) That farmhouse table!? Gorgeous. Stunning. Ship-one-to-my-house-pronto-por-favor. But when you combine the wallpaper, "ancestral portraits" (Oh is that what they're called?),  gold/blue/white paint debacle and haphazardly accessorized mantel, it's pretty much not working for me. At all. But perhaps if you're really into that whole tongue-in-cheek, collected-in-a-seemingly-effortless-but-actually-very-calculated look, this could be a dreamy room? (Maybe?)

Francois Halard via The New York Times
Mmk. After you have taken a moment to mentally assess this image, please don't think that navy, gold, tartan and natural elements cannot live in harmony. Please observe this little mood board I whipped up. (Like really quick whipped up.)

Here we go: Vivienne Westwood tartan wallpaper? Check. Moody blue hues? See dresser, and linens. Natural elements? See Wood frames, hardwood flooring, linen headboard. Gold/gilded accents? Sconces, side tables. Traditional/formal elements? See nailhead trim, English fox hunt prints, vintage glass knobs for dresser. Please ignore nuances (like the different finishes on the sconces and side tables or the fact the dresser could have some sexier lines) and observe the bigger picture, i.e. that navy/gold/tartan/natural elements are all residing together in a good looking room. 

To further illustrate my point, Peppermint Bliss (love this saucy lady & her minty fresh designs) recently shared this gorgeous room by Alessandra Branca (hello! This is perfect!) and she also designed a smashing room with some of these elements. Thankfully, it appears that no decapitating of Hello Kitty was involved in either design. 

Hardwood? Good. Moody navy walls? Good. Traditional wall art. Good. Gold accents? Good. Tartan nailhead trim sofa? Very, very good. 
And lest you think that we all can't get along, here is another room from the same owner's home, which I rather enjoy in all it's eclectic and bohemian glory. Now go in peace.

Francois Halard for The New York Times

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hump Day Hello!

Just popping in to say "bonjour!" I'm dreaming of upcoming travels while I'm buried under work this week. A big client presentation tomorrow. Back to our regularly scheduled programming once the dust settles. Hope your Hump Day is happy! Where are you dreaming of today? 

Images via my "European Tour 2012" Pin Board

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

1. lots of crunchy ice for my sore throat
2. pink piggies post-pedi
3. "minty fresh" mani
4. sunday outing to the outlet mall 
5. sunday night sushi
6. my target has fresh groceries!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! It's going to be a busy week for this blogger. Ready, set, GO!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Casual Friday

Welcome to Casual Friday: 'Minty Fresh' Edition! I've been curled up on my deathbed couch for two days , drinking smoothies and eating soup and oatmeal. Now that I'm finally feeling better (yay for pre-weekend recovery!) I want to feel fresh and springy! (As opposed to achey and exhausted.) What is more FRESH this season that the mint trend we're seeing!? Here are my Casual Friday picks for Minty-fresh-goodness!

5. Le Bunny Bleu Maria Volume Ballet Flats (Buy of the day at $55!)

TGIF reader-friends! What do you have planned this weekend!? I'm having a glass of wine tonight with my fabulous cousin from out of town, crafting on Saturday and lounging on Sunday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tea Time

Maybe it's because I'm watching Pride & Prejudice (Keira Knightley edition). Or maybe it's because I'm drinking tea right now. Or maybe it's because Kate Middleton was on the cover of People last week, and there's nothing I want more in life than to be Kate Middleton's sister-in-law (team Harry!). Or it could just be that I think the British, with their accents and refinement and pip-pip-cheerio-jolliness, have a damn good thing going with that whole afternoon tea gig. Whatever the reason*, I've decided to do a little tea-time round up. Pinkies up loves!

Stacked Tea Cup Lamp, originally sold by Pottery Barn (Similar here)
White Pearl Teapot, Crate & Barrel
Butterfly Bloom Set, Wedgewood (this entire set is stunning)

Just decided I need to own a classic white teapot and a fun assortment of random cups & saucers! Also, I need to snag an invite to the Buckingham Garden Party Tea (to meet Harry, obv), or a tea party in the settings below ASAP.

Dream Garden Party settings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The real reason: I'm curled on my deathbed couch dreaming of Coffee Emporium's tea selection, which I have rationalized is the only thing that will make my throat feel less like it is swelling shut. The plus side? I imagine the aches I am experiencing all over body are similar to what one would feel after having run a marathon, so I guess I can go ahead and cross that off my bucket list. Think it's still OK to put a "26.2" sticker on the back of my car?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Covered Up

I've written before about using an area rug to anchor a space - and one space in my own home that doesn't have a rug is my bedroom. Since it's modestly sized, it doesn't need a rug, but it would be awesome to have one that tied the room together and provided something soft to put my feet on when I wake up in the morning. Since I recently got a little influx in my disposable income, (!) I've decided to purchase a rug for my bedroom. 

A few considerations:
1. Ideally, this rug is under $500 (including shipping and tax). I'd like to save all my other pennies for my big trip this fall.
2. I'd like the rug to look great in my bedroom now, but be versatile for future locations. (Right now my roomie's beautiful rug is in our living room, so we don't need one for our living room. However, in the future I'd like to be able to use this rug in a living or dining space.)
3. I'd like to stick to neutrals, green and blue hues. 

Here is a little close-up of my bedding and a fab steal-of-deal throw pillow from the luxurious home retailer, Target. The bedding was a Home Goods find years ago. For a girl who changes her mind a lot, I have yet to get sick of this bedding.
(It's late y'all. I am tired. So I'm taking short cuts with some iPhone photography. Hence the yellow tint going on here. The blue hues are very similar to those in the blue rugs below.)

With those considerations in mind, I selected a few rugs that I have my eye on!
blue hues

neutral hues

Ok. Please discuss. I need some help deciding!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Hey reader-friends! Remember how I wouldn't shut up about how I was a finalist in the Zinc Door Mad Men 'Pin-it-to-Win-it' contest

Well, thanks to your wonderful support last week, (over 250 votes were cast for my entry!) Zinc Door announced today that I am the winner!!! Winning. (Said in the same tone as our fave Bachelor diva Courtney Robertson. Also, in case you were wondering, she's got an official Twitter account now...) I digress...back to the mutli-channel announcement of the winner! Ta da!

Facebook Announcement
Twitter Announcement
Needless to say, I am so excited, and I can't wait to make a new purchase for my apartment! Tomorrow, I'll include some of my favorite items and let my loyal reader-friends weigh-in on my impending purchase!

Again, merci beaucoup for all of your support!!!

Weekend Snapshots

How was your Easter weekend? Mine was lovely, but not well documented. So I bring you my Easter basket (remember when I told you how boss my Easter basket was? My mom made this guy for me a looonng time ago. Love him.) and my weekend (in words).

Loot included: Potted daffodil, gourmet jelly beans, cocktail napkins, fancy new spatula, Starbucks card and a caramel chocolate bar. 

 Friday night cocktails with old friends. Reunited and it feels so good.

Saturday AM pancakes, followed by a few quick visits to local thrift stores, a super shiny car after a visit to the car wash and a long lunch al fresco here.

Easter Vigil Mass followed by late-night donut run to a local favorite.

Sunday AM coffee + crepe buffet + Easter baskets.

Family Luncheon + 80th Birthday celebration for my grandmother. Lots of delicious food, bubbly drinks and Masters viewing. 

Relaxed evening with leftovers and an AMC double feature - The Killing and Mad Men.

Happy Monday, reader-friends.

P.S. Zinc Door Contest winners announced today! Fingers crossed! :) 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Casual Friday

Casual Friday: Easter Edition! With lots of brunches, lunches and family gatherings this weekend, I've rounded up some perfect picks for Easter (bright! fresh! fun!)


Ashton Pebble Beach Textured Skirt, Trina Turk via Piperlime
Monet Pleated Mini Skirt, Jack by BB Dakota via Piperlime

But if you aren't feeling a dress or a skirt this Sunday, this style icon would recommend seersucker pants. One leg green. One leg blue. Natch! 
(This is after I changed out of my giant Laura Ashley dress. Obv, I had to put play clothes to remain competitive in the Easter egg hunt!)
Happy Weekend Reader-Friends!

P.S. Thank you all so much for your votes this week in the Zinc Door Mad Men contest! Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bowled Over

Remember the time you saw a beautiful decorative bowl like this
Large Horn Serving Bowl, One Kings Lane 

OR this
Arteriors Home Grace Hammered Bowl
And you thought to yourself, "That bowl would look gorgeous styled on my coffee table, surrounded by my collection of fine art family photos and rare books my Harry Potter boxed set."

But then you saw the price tag and you were suddenly all, "That is the fugliest bowl I've ever seen" a la Regina George?

But then you went to IKEA and you saw this beaut and you thought, "That bowl would look gorgeous styled on my coffee table, surrounded by my collection of fine art family photos and rare books Harry Potter boxed set."

And when you saw the price tag, you were reminded why visiting Sweden is on your bucket list. Remember?
IKEA Angemam Bowl $24.99
Stylish. Affordable. Buy now. 

Yep, this is a post about a bowl. But I've been seeing these sleek bowls around the design blogosphere and now I've found you one on the cheap! You're welcome!

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

You had me at coconut + nutella. As soon as I stumbled upon these Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests* on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them! Coconut Macaroons are my jam! Add Nutella and Easter candy on top!? Game over. This simple, easy recipe is the perfect addition to your celebrations this weekend!

You need: 
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1 cup Nutella
M&Ms (or other Easter candy)

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then mix sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt until combined. Add coconut. 

Once mixed, shape the mixture into small balls and pat out with a spoon. Press down with your thumb in the center and then pop them in the oven for about 17 minutes (or until golden). 

Remove the macaroons from the baking sheet and set on a cooling rack immediately. While still warm, once again press down in the center of each macaroon with your thumb. When completely cooled, add a dollop of nutella to the center of each macaroon and the easter candy of your choice. (I used dark chocolate M&Ms).


**Don't forget! Middle Maintenance is a finalist in the Zinc Door Mad Men contest. Please go here and vote for my entry, "Sharp Sophistication" in the bottom right hand corner. Voting ends Thursday, and I so appreciate your support!**

*This recipe was originally found on Pinterest and created by Two Peas and their Pod. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Inspired Decor

Pops of color in spring hues can inject color and bring light into rooms all over your house. And while I appreciate the look of moodier hues, I'm more often a fan of lighter, brighter spaces - they just make me feel happy and relaxed! 
Harriet Anstruther via Elements of Style

But you don't have to paint a wall or spend a bundle to inject some pops of color into your home! Here are a few FUN, springy punches of color to considering making room for!

Colorful pillows are a perfect way to add color and punch on a budget! I'm particularly obsessed with these Caitlin Wilson Textiles' Pillow Covers!

Bright accent tables are an easy way to bring color to a room in the form of an easily moveable piece - just like throw pillows, accent tables are easily moved from room to room or repurposed (from an end table to a night stand in minutes!).
Zinc Door World's Away Coffee Table*
*Update: Zinc Door's Turquoise World's Away coffee table is 15% off for 3 days only! Use code zdfaves1 at checkout!
(Overstock) Cordoba Side Table

Finally, eclectic + colorful accessories (such as frames, vases, trays, lamps and mirrors) will bring new life to your space. The best part is, you can move them from room to room as often as your heart desires!
Camille Lamp with Pink Shade

What colorful element of your home do you love? 

**Don't forget! Middle Maintenance is a finalist in the Zinc Door Mad Men contest. Please go here and vote for my entry, "Sharp Sophistication" in the bottom right hand corner. Voting ends Thursday, and I so appreciate your support!**

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grown Up Easter Basket

I always say that a great gift is is something you would love to receive but wouldn't necessarily purchase for yourself. These fun indulgences are sweet and springy, and I wouldn't mind seeing any of these in a grown-up version of my Easter basket this Sunday!

Gift cards in small amounts are always well received. Who doesn't love treating themselves to a free latte, new music or a new book?  (StarbucksiTunesAmazon)

Sparkly Baubles: simple, fun spring jewelry adds sparkle to any Easter basket! (Wouldn't the earrings be adorable tucked inside an egg or tied up in a fun piece of scrap fabric!?)
Lime Rose Studs, Bauble Bar

Gourmet Treats: I like to indulge in a few special sweets, rather than a basket full of drug store candy. (Ha. Don't worry. I'll still probably binge eat jelly beans too.)
Hammond's Gourmet Chocolate Bars (PB&J Sandwich) (More S'mores
Graeter's Pints (while this technically can't be IN the basket - it would melt - Graeter's ice cream is one of my favorite indulgences!)

Cute Correspondence: I love stationary. Always.

Fresh Polish: New spring hues for at-home manis! Oui! Oui!
Essie School of Hard Rocks nail polish
OPI You Callin Me a Lyre nail polish

Stylish Scarves: An Easter basket is the perfect nesting spot for stylish spring scarves!

**Don't forget! Middle Maintenance is a finalist in the Zinc Door Mad Men contest. Please go here and vote for my entry, "Sharp Sophistication" in the bottom right hand corner. Voting ends Thursday, and I so appreciate your support!**