Entertaining Made Easy
My friend recently introduced me to Nora Fleming, and now I think I have discovered my new favorite gift to give.  Nora Fleming offers customizable platters that you can use from season to season. You simply pick your platter and a mini and then rotate the minis each holiday  My personal favorites for summer are the margarita mini and garish dish – perfect for salsa, sour cream and guacamole {all of my favorites for a perfect taco night}.
You can shop the collection online or find more information about what local stores sell the items here.
may just give these as hostess gifts for our upcoming couples shower later this summer.


Personalized Wedding Gifts

​I​ don’t know about you but we have 8 weddings this summer {not including our own!}. With wedding season comes fun engagement parties and bridal or couples showers. Bill and I typically stick to our friends’ registries when purchasing our gifts but then like to add a personal item that the couple wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.

Fun cutting boards – These are perfect to display in their kitchen and will be a go-to item for the first parties they host as newlyweds
*Bar cart glasses – There’s no better way to help the couple celebrate than providing some fresh new barware that they can cheers as they countdown to the wedding and use to celebrate anniversaries in years to come.
*Monogrammed items – These are my favorite gifts to give! The luggage tags are a perfect gift for the new Mr. and Mrs. as they jet off on their honeymoon, and I love a cozy throw blanket for them to curl up with while they wind down after a whirlwind few months of planning. I also love personalized address stamps to celebrate a new name or new home.
What are some of your favorite gifts to give?
A Splash of Blue


Blue is most certainly having a moment, and I am more than happy about it. As someone who typically gravitates towards neutrals, I am working to step out of my comfort zone and welcome more color into our home {and my closet!}. I’m going to start small with some printed pillows and throw blankets for our bedroom, but this rug may be next on my list. I would also love to add two of the navy x-benches under an entryway table and this lamp to a future office.
Happy decorating!
The Organized Closet
With the first day of spring quickly approaching, I’ve got spring cleaning projects on my mind. With the closet, I find it best to decide if you want to keep, donate or alter each item. Often, we keep pieces in our closet that don’t fit correctly, and they end up going unworn for months or maybe years {guilty}. Do yourself the favor of either going to the tailor or donating the item this spring. You will have a new, refreshed feeling when putting together outfits each morning when your clothes fit correctly or when you’re not feeling guilty about that jacket that still has the tag on it from two years ago.
In addition to my tips above, here a few of my favorite space savers:
+These baskets from Target house my scarves on the top shelves of my closet
+ These drawer dividers from Ikea help keep my undergarments nice and neat
+ This hanging shelf stores all of my workout clothes

Happy organizing!
2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

2015 Gift Guide- stocking stuffers

Shop the Guide: 1 Jersey Knit Stripe Stocking/Pom-Pom Charm 2 Cocktail Muddler 3 Mast Brothers Chocolate 4 Loren Hope Earrings 5 Kate Spade Wine Tote 6 Beauty Counter Lip Sheer 7 Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunnies 8 Sugar Paper Gift Tags 9 Swedish Dream Sea Salt Candle 10 Nautical Wine Opener 11 Holiday Fabric Fresh 12 Double Pearl Studs 13 Ashley Brooke Designs Mug 14 Scotch Naturals Nail Polish 15 Jcrew Trouser Socks

Let’s be honest…stockings are the best. There is something so special about this old Christmas tradition, no matter what fills your stocking. The mere act of unpacking my stocking from storage each year brings back the warmest childhood memories. As adults, my husband and I have started a new tradition by only giving each other gifts that fit within our stockings. This leaves me in a “stocking state of mind” for much of the year. In my opinion, the perfect mix of stocking stuffers includes some tasty treats, a touch of whimsy, a bit of practicality and at least one wow-factor surprise. Let’s start with a fabulous pom-pom adorned stocking and a Mast Brothers bar of chocolate followed by a nautical wine stopper and a cheeky bag for a bottle of bubbly. Continue onto the practical with a holiday fabric freshener, warm winter socks and a handmade muddler for those ever so necessary winter beverages. Practical never looked so good. Onto the wow-factor surprises with a pair of beautiful baubles or a new pair of shades. The options are endless which is why this game is so fun! While we all love an overflowing stocking, the most important thing is who you spend these precious holiday moments with. Wishing you all a warm and happy holiday season as we kick things off with a day of thanks this Thursday! xo




Show and Tell- Volume 9

Show and Tell vol 9


Clockwise From Top Left: Gold Task Lamp / Artisan Painted Canoe Paddle / Pastiche Orb Chandelier / Wood Tiled Dresser / Pom Pom Basket / Faribault Stripe Pillow / Faribault Plaid Pillow

What better way to return to the blog than with a show and tell of my latest fun finds! Fall is in full effect in Minnesota resulting in gorgeously colorful foliage, hearty cooking and the beginning of cashmere sweater season. My remodel project is also moving full force ahead so I’m spending these lovely brisk weekends scouring markets, shops and sales for special items to decorate our “new” home. Faribault Woolen Mill has long been a favorite local company of mine so I was elated to hear they are partnering with West Elm this season to bring cozy plaids to a wider market. While their throws are a staple, I have my eye on these stripe pillows. To tie in the nautical theme to our lakeside abode I am loving beautifully crafted goods like these artisan painted canoe paddles and statement lighting. Speaking of lighting, that has been my biggest struggle thus far. I’m finally in a place where I adore each and every one of our light selections and now am focused on the slightly easier task of sourcing table lamps. Sometimes the best finds are in the least expected places…like this gem from Target. And while I’m browsing the big retailers I can’t help but fall for these side tables. Part beachy, part modern and part unexpected. Just like my new favorite basket (minus the modern).

What are you lusting after these days?

A Passion for Sleep

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 2.15.51 PM

At Brass Tacks my goal is to bring simplicity to your life. A large part of that mission is helping people slow down. For many of us, slowing down starts with getting the necessary amount of sleep our body desires.

As I navigate the wonderful world of remodels and am faced with daily purchasing decisions, I’ve been reminding myself to slow down as well. The older I’ve gotten, the more conscious I’ve become of my body. What I feed it, what I put on it and how I rest it. I’ve broached this topic here and here and now it is coming full circle as we hunt for a new king mattress. It is no secret that mattresses are often filled with nasty chemicals, regularly off-gassing VOC’s and other toxic fire retardants.  I’ll spare you the scary details but the more you look into it, the more alarmed you’ll be about that cozy memory foam bed you’ve been sleeping on. In my never ending search for the best brands and products, I stumbled upon Hästens beds. The most beautiful all natural bed you could ever dream of (and you’ll definitely be doing a lot of that when you sleep on one of these gems). Scandinavian born and dressed in gingham- I think it’s a relationship that’s meant to be…

For over 150 years, the Swedish based Hästens has been making beds by hand from only the finest ingredients nature has to offer. Horsehair, flax, wool, cotton and slow-growing Swedish pine are just a few of the elements included in these stunning beds built to last a lifetime. I won’t lie, the price is absolutely aspirational. But when you think about the most important purchases in your home, your mattress should without a doubt be one of them. Why? We humans spend one third of our lifetime sleeping. Yes, sleeping. We spend more time sleeping than we do eating or exercising.  And the quality of our sleep not only affects our energy levels but ultimately our health and happiness. When you consider the fact that these beds have a 25 year warranty (and are built to last far longer), it becomes frighteningly easy to consider owning one.

First I need to win the lottery but then I plan on embracing my passion for sleep by aligning myself with a company that feels the same way. In the meantime I’ll gladly become Hästens Minnesota brand ambassador (hint hint)!

Show and Tell- Volume 8

Show and Tell- vol 8


Clockwise from top left: Parsons Wall Mirror / Mon Cher Journal / Embroidered Banner / Sailing Ship Kite / Clara Earrings / Charlotte Street Tablecloths / Linen Duvet Cover Set / Juliska Pet Bowl Anchor Wool Baby Blanket / The Laundress Signature Detergent / Marble Fruit Bowl / Gold Cherry Blossom Washi Tape

Summer summer summer…it’s a fleeting season and I can’t get enough. As we being to near Fall I’m scheming strategies to infuse the delicious energy of summer into my home year round. I’ll start with this amazing stripe linen duvet set from Parachute Home. Soft, beachy and beautiful. Winter will without a doubt call for layers of warm blankets so why not keep things nautical with this gem. Add in a whimsical white ship and an adorable hanging banner and my lakeside guest room is complete. Polka dots will add cheer to the dining table year round, particularly when topped with a pretty marble bowl filled with seasonal fruit. Since laundry is unfortunately not seasonal (I wish!) make it fun by throwing on some fancy baubles and washing with these beautiful detergents from The Laundress. To keep the pup happy, spoil him with a fancy new dog dish that will double as decor. When all else fails and you really need a boost of summer energy, look back on your journal to relish the dog days of summer!

Kitchen Inspiration

Cottagewood Kitchen concepts

My husband and I are deep into remodel planning mode which means version upon version of architectural drawings paired with plenty of pretty mood boards. My mind is constantly spinning with ideas (thank you Pinterest)  resulting in numerous design changes as we go. For any of you who’ve gone through an extensive remodel, you understand that the endless options are sometimes hard to sort through. Creating mood boards not only makes me happy but it helps keep us on track with what we really want out of each room of our house. This is a sneak peek of our current kitchen inspiration. Wood ceiling detail, pretty colors and fabulous tile….bring it on!


Show and Tell- Amsterdam Edition

Show and tell- ams

1 Sukha Wall Hanging 2 Dutch House Number 3 Vanilia Blouse 4 Rituals Fragrance Sticks 5 FLINK Pillow 6 de Waldaad Bench 7 By Molle Table Linen

Greetings from the land of tulips, canals and cheese! While I have had the pleasure of stepping foot in Amsterdam once before, ten days here has allowed me to truly soak in all this amazing city has to offer. In typical “girls trip” fashion, my mom and I have been doing nothing but eating, drinking, shopping and walking. And let’s be honest…our suitcases are filling up rather quickly! With multiple stops at fabulous shops, we’re getting to know some people on a first name basis (this is a good thing, trust me)! I could easily decorate my whole house from here (but my husband would have my head) so I’m sharing just a few of my favorite finds while they’re still fresh in my shopping mind.

Step into the dreaminess that is Sukha Amsterdam and you will not be disappointed. Sukha means “joy of life” in Sanskrit and this store is seriously a joy to behold. With charming doodles like this and amazing pillows like that, you could browse for days. The young woman behind that pillow has a beautiful line called FLINK Netherlands. She helps define Dutch Luxury by using the most high-quality wool (knitted in an old Dutch knitting factory) to create the most divine blankets, pillows and scarves. FLINK is not the only line committed to a growing movement that celebrates the beauty of local production. By Molle, uses only natural materials to make all of their products. From the undyed wool of Swedish and Norwegian sheep to the flax for their linen from the Atlantic Coast- By Molle embodies sustainability and true craftsmanship. This gorgeous table cloth is already coming home with me (not surprisingly, it’s striped!). Clothing companies like the Dutch brand Vanilia are also committed to corporate responsibility. With just twelve small collections released a year, their charming stores are beautifully curated with unique pieces you can be pretty sure not many others will own  (like the new favorite oversized blouse I will be living in). If I had more room in my suitcase I’d be adding in some amazing vintage furniture from de Waldaad (like this bench!), a charming custom made house number from Alfons De Letter and yummy scents from Rituals.

I guess another trip is in order come new home decor time!