The Gratitude Files: August 2014

The Gratitude Files from The Big Reveal

We have a little tradition in my family: each night at dinner we each take turns sharing what the best part of our day was, what the worst part of our day was, what we are most grateful for and what we are most hopeful for in the coming days.  I started the tradition many years ago when Jayce was a little one not truly with the goal of gratitude, but mostly just to get a little boy talking about his day.  

The tradition has grown throughout the years and at some point, Jayce asked if he could share a 2nd best part of his day instead of a worst part.  It was the first time I noticed the gratitude part of the tradition taking hold.  Some days it is easy to come up with all of the things that make us feel so thankful and some days it is a mighty struggle.  When we first moved to Minneapolis, there were some very dark days where I had to dig deep to find the simplest thing to feel grateful for.  But, dig I did and at the end I always felt a little lighter.

I started to notice things through a different lens…instead of being frustrated by how little sleep I’ve gotten this month, I feel so grateful I have this cup of coffee this morning to wake my brain up and keep me from feeling like a hostile zombie. Instead of letting my blood boil over the constant traffic on the way to work, I feel grateful I have a little more time to sing show tunes at the top of my lungs with no one to judge me.

Gratitude has a funny way of sneaking in and making life feel…better, brighter, fuller.  And, I decided I wanted to share my gratitude here each month as not only a way to recap the month’s highlights, but also to encourage you to think about ways gratitude could work its way into your daily life. (It really is a game changer, I promise.)

Let’s kick this off with…

Continue reading

Lakeside Remix: A Modern Bedroom Retreat

If you’ve been following along on Avery Street Design, I have been redesigning a woefully outdated lake house with Laura, Kyla from House of Hipsters and Summer from Simple Stylings.  Today I’m tackling this bedroom…

Outdated Lake House Bedroom Before

Holy outdated wallpaper, Batman!

I’ve clearly got my work cut out for me, but I think you are gonna love the results.  I happen to heart them. Big time. 

If you haven’t checked out the rest of the series, you have to see Laura’s screened front porch, Kyla’s Family and Dining Room, my kitchen (it still makes me beam), and Summer’s coastal chic bathroom.

Let me know what you think here or over on Laura’s blog.  Hope you have a magnificent weekend.  I will be back to regular programming here on Monday!

Till then,


Lakeside Retreat: A Kitchen Do Over

When my home slice Laura Irion from Avery Street Design waxed poetic about needing a lake house, I have to admit, I wanted in on the action.  My family had a lake house back in Virginia and I have many a fond memory of it.  While Laura was searching the world wide web, she happened upon the lake house her family rented when she was a child.  The memories came flooding back probably aided by the fact nothing had changed.  The house was in need of a major makeover from top to bottom. 

Laura couldn’t help herself but start dreaming of all the ways she would remodel and she decided to invite a couple of other bloggers in on the action. When she invited me, I felt like I had finally gotten invited to go sit at the cool kids table and I happy danced all over my living room (which luckily no one actually saw, because my newbie cool kid status would have been totally revoked).  

Other ladies taking a seat at the table are the infinitely cool Kyla from House of Hipsters and the super sweet Summer from Simple Stylings (I’m gonna be honest, that may have been just for the alliteration…)  Anywho, as we devised a plan on how to divide up the space, I tackled (virtually via a Google + hangout) everyone else to get my hands on the kitchen. 

Here’s why…

Outdated Kitchen Before

Ain’t nobody wanna Pin that…

The finished result is amazing (like really, really amazing). I don’t know if it was being in the presence of other cool bloggers that made me bring my A game or if it was the freedom of a complete gut job, but it is truly beautiful. I so wanna give you a sneak peak, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.  Go unwrap that beautiful package over on Avery Street Design and let me know what you think!

And, if you aren’t already following Laura, Kyla, or Summer, get on that stat! Such talented ladies, such cool blogs.  

Have a great day!

Till Friday,



5 Ways to Decorate an Office on a Budget

5 Ways to Decorate an Office on a Budget from The Big Reveal

When you work out of the home, often it is a challenge to infuse your work space with a little of your own personality.  Between decorating around existing furniture and color schemes or corporate rules and our own limited budgets, it sometimes seems silly to even try.  So often I see people stuck with a hodgepodge of what the former occupant of their office left and a few slapped together pictures of their family in mismatched frames or stuck to the wall with thumb tacks.  It’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?  We often spend 40+ hours a week in a place that is so uninspiring, that it is a wonder any work gets done.

Before I left my job in a non-profit, I had developed a plan to makeover my office on a wee little budget, but then my plans changed and it seemed misguided to invest in an office I wasn’t planning on occupying much longer.  So, now I have all these creative, budget friendly ideas and nowhere to use them, so I thought I would spread the wealth. 

Continue reading

Friday Fab Five #2

Today is a super fabulous Friday, a. because it is Friday (and seriously, aren’t all Friday’s like a giant, beautifully wrapped present of weekend potential?) and b. because it is my last day of working in my current full time job!  While I have a swirling mix of emotions, I am filled with so much excitement about what the future holds I can hardly contain it.  For realz.

If you were here and asked me about what life in my little corner of the universe looks like post this day in history, I get all starry-eyed and release the floodgates on an infinite list of exhilarating ideas and plans. So. Supa. Dupa. Excited.

As I’ve approached this day, I have been managing what feels like a thousand projects from my work for this blog, a few side projects, including some guest posting on other blogs, and my work with a new awesome group of women that I can’t wait to tell you about.  In the process of working on one of those, I have been scouring the furthest reaches of the Internetz to find sources and ideas and found 5 fabulous new Pins I just had to share.  Enjoy!

Friday Fab Five: Grapefruit Mojito


Continue reading

Rad People, Rad Spaces: The Eclectic Country Retreat of Designers Tess + Tricia

Rad People, Rad Spaces: The Eclectic Country Retreat of Tess + Tricia

{Rad People, Rad Spaces is a new series dedicated to fascinating people and their spaces, whether that be home, work or something in between…}

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to the home and studio of the mother-daughter jewelry design duo Tess + Tricia.  I’ve already expressed my deep and ardent love for their jewelry designs, but now I get to share a different side of the duo. I reached out to Patricia Webber when I was contemplating doing freelance work for another publication and asked her if I could come to shoot her home. (And, by “reach out”, I mean sent her a completely crazy going-compeletely-out-on-a-limb email.)  I never heard back from the other publication (Sadsies!), so I decided to share her awesome space here instead (Hollah!).  

Patricia, or Pat as her family calls her, lives just outside of Minneapolis, but pulling into the long drive of her home instantly gives you the feeling of a secluded country estate that could easily be featured in the likes of Country Living. As I pulled down the winding path, I half expected a cow to saunter by.  The grounds themselves are stunning. The house was part of an original trio of barns, two of which burned down. Pat lives in the one that remained and it has been completely refurbished over the years.

Even with rain clouds rolling in, the sweeping wrap around porch, the vine creeping its way up the stonework, the antique iron bell hidden in the lush greenery, and the secluded bench tucked away under the eaves, all create an image of absolute serenity.

(There are tons of gorgeous images, so it may take a second to load! It is worth it…trust me.)

Continue reading

Make a Statement

Bold & Daring Wallpaper Choices from The Big Reveal


You guys, I’m feeling pretty bold and daring this week as it is my last full time week in my current position.  Starting next week, I am going to be working my little blog, as well as managing several freelance projects.  I can’t wait to tell you about all of what I’ll be up to.  

Before I can even go on, though, I have to say a huge thank you to all the supportive comments you left here and on my other social media accounts.  I truly appreciate the support.  It means the world to me.  This is a big, exhilarating transition and I’m using up all my brave.

In working on one of my super secret side projects, I have gotten a little obsessed with the idea of wallpapering a single wall in a room as a statement piece.  When I moved to Minnesota, I was thrown into the world of accent walls.  Back in Virginia, there were many things that were different, including having 4 distinct seasons and a complete and utter lack of accent walls. 

Continue reading

A Stylish Console: Styling a Long Console Table

A Stylish Console by The Big Reveal

After adding a little flair to our front entry, rounding the corner into the living room has felt like an instant whomp whomp.  It just looks sadsies.  So, I decided to to make a few updates to the long console that sits just off the entry behind the couch.  A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Laura Irion from Avery Street Design restyled the desk of another blogging buddy Kyla Herbes from House of Hipsters.  You can check out her handiwork here.  Reading that post made a voice pop up in my head…Dude, you’ve got to get on that console. It is an embarrassment to bloggers everywhere.  And, so I did (I find it is best to obey the voices in my head…)

I started with this little nugget of tragedy.

Continue reading

Faith Over Fear

Faith Over Fear by The Big Reveal Blog


To be perfectly honest, this hasn’t been easy to write.  I have stared at the screen struggling to put into words what I feel and each minute has ended in a blank screen staring back at me.  But, I have to write it, because I know every time I struggle, there is one of you out there that is struggling alongside of me, too.  And, maybe, just maybe these words will ease your struggle just a little bit.

When I set out on this Year Without Fear, I put together my five goals and knew in some ways they were quite lofty, but in other ways fairly safe, too.  I knew if I didn’t learn how to shoot my camera in manual, the world would not likely end. If I recorded a song for my parents and it was terrible, they would probably still love me.  But, then I decided to go and double down on one of my goals and it got real rather quickly.

Continue reading