Sorry to double up on the decorating posts this week, but I have been putting off showing you guys our dining room for so long now, and I finally decided that there's no time like the present!

The reason I kept putting it off is because I have been wanting to do a photo grid on the back wall above the buffet (for literally months now), but I cannot, for the life of me, find white square frames that are affordable. If anyone has a good resource for that, please let me know in the comments! I'm picturing a photo grid on that wall with black and white photos. I think it looks a little bare without it, but I just wanted to show you what I have so far anyway.

All of the links / sources can be found at the bottom of the post.

I'll start by showing you the buffet area.

Hi, Chester. Yes, I see you.

The buffet is a really cool mid-century modern design, in a pretty wood tone. It came with black doorknobs but I spray painted them gold. We actually have the night stands from this furniture suite in our master bedroom as well. It has a ton of storage inside, and it is great for keeping all of our serve ware and wine glasses organized (with room to spare!). I really like white kitchen stuff, can you tell? :) 

On top of the buffet, I just have a few little displays, including a bar tray (next best thing to having an actual bar cart).

fresh tomatoes from our tiny little flower bed garden! :)

We already had the black table.We leave one of the leaves out, which fits best in the room, but you can also make it into just a square table or expand it even more. I would really like to eventually have a bigger, farmhouse-style table, but you know...budgets. :)

I was really happy to find these chairs because I really wanted upholstered chairs, but finding something that matched our table was tricky. These have black legs which works perfectly!

The two main things that we did in this room (excluding buying furniture) were painting the stencil on the accent wall and replacing the light fixture, both of which, Wes and I had no experience.

This wall stencil, you guys...

I wish I could recommend it to you completely because it turned out pretty cute overall, but I think it's something that I need to give positives and negatives for.

+ It's easier to replace than wallpaper if you are afraid of commitment, and it looks nice overall. The middle part is really easy and I did it myself.

- The edges are really, really hard to do. If you're by yourself, I'd say it's nearly impossible. The edges of our wall look pretty rough (you can see what I mean in the video).

I have never wallpapered so I can't compare it to that and say that it's easier or more difficult, but the edges were such a pain that I think I will just spring for the wallpaper next time. I think these stencils would probably be much easier on something like furniture. Just my opinion though!

The mini-chandelier that we bought really made a big impact on the room. I could not stand the old brown one with the dirty looking glass (see below), so this was something that we changed out pretty quickly. Wes installed it by himself and did a great job!

Here is our dining room before (from the listing photos), if you'd like to compare!

shopping sources: 

paint colors: 
Behr White Truffle on all walls
stencil was done with Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter in half strength overtop of the white color

table: Ikea
chairs: Joss & Main
buffet: Overstock

on the buffet:
bar tray: Target
bar accessories: Target
recipe book: Anthropologie
ceramic berry container: Anthropologie
orange bowl and tray below: thrifted

light: Wayfair
curtains: Target



Today, I thought I would share five new designs in the shop. I hope you find them motivational, inspiring, and maybe even a little bit funny (thanks, LC for the inspiration for this print!). 

I will also be adding matching coffee mugs probably early next week, so be on the lookout for that. :)

Shop all of the new arrivals here!



A few days ago, I got in one of those moods where something that had been bothering me every single day finally made me hit my breaking point, and that thing was our master bathroom. It was unorganized and completely undecorated, so I went to Target (of course) and just got a few things to freshen it up in there.

I picked up mostly white and aqua colored items (tip: check the dining / entertaining section for pretty bowls and plates you can use as trays for cheap!), and I used some other containers I had around the house to organize things nicely. That container that you see holding the q-tips used to be a candle. I also saw something on Pinterest once where someone got a pretty glass container to put their mouthwash in, so I copied that idea. It looks so much nicer than the regular mouthwash container, right? It's the little things!

The ceramic containers that you see holding my makeup brushes and lip pencils are from Paper & Clay.

Do you have any inexpensive or DIY ideas for organizing? Let me know in the comments! 

shop the post:


LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, summertime

I hope you guys had a great week! Here's what I've been up to lately, according to my iPhone pictures.

Last month, we planted a tiny little garden in our flower bed, and it has been so exciting to see everything start to grow. There's just something so simple and wonderful about growing and eating your own food. I've especially been enjoying homemade caprese salads!

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

For Christmas, my parents got us a grill and we have definitely been putting it to good use lately, with watermelon for dessert, obviously! Mmm I love summertime...

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

I've been finding lots of 4 leaf clovers...

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun
top is from j.crew factory
LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

& these two have been cracking me up, as usual. :)

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

LIFE LATELY | gardening, grilling, and summertime fun

Have a great weekend! xo




This past Sunday at my church, the message was about limitations. Being a perfectionist, this is not my favorite topic, but we all have limitations and things that are just not meant for us, for whatever reason.

But this is hard, right? Us twenty-somethings were raised with a "you can do anything you want to do, and be anyone you want to be!" philosophy. And while that was meant to be a great thing, the implication is that literally every choice is available...and if we're being honest, that's just not true! 

In high school, I went to gymnastics lessons for two years straight and I was still never able to do a simple back handspring. My chances of being an Olympic gymnast...pretty much zero. Some things just aren't meant to be. And actually, knowing that and coming to terms with it takes a lot of the pressure off!

But to me, the main problem with this "you can do anything!" mindset, combined with social media, is that it makes everyone feel like they're supposed to do something EPIC. Because if you can do literally anything that you want to do, why wouldn't you choose the super rich and famous route?

I think that this way of thinking can lead otherwise happy people into thinking that they're not good enough. Or rich enough. Or famous enough. Or..."epic" enough.

I think that if you find something difficult that you love to do, and that also fits in with your real passions and values, then by all means work your butt off and go get it! You really might "make it big" - the sky is the limit! But if what you love is organic farming, raising a family, nursing, teaching, doing people's accounting (hard for me to imagine but I'm sure that these people exist!), or something that doesn't include a lot of recognition or money, that's okay too! Don't let society's way of thinking interfere with the real things in your life that you love.

I've written recently about my career and how I dabbled in acting a bit. It might be hard to understand how anyone would stop focusing on a career as exciting as acting (even though lots of people who were much, much more successful at it than me have quit!), for something boring like writing and running a shop in my house all day by myself. But if I'm being honest, I am so much happier and at peace with my life. I am a homebody and a control freak. Running an at-home business is the perfect route for me. :)

The take-away? Be true to yourself, and know that 
it's okay to be happy with a simple life.

{a print inspired by this post is now available in the shop, if you would like to add this reminder to your home!} http://charmandgumption.com/products/simple-life-print-choose-your-color



HOW NOT TO START A BUSINESS, IN 10 EASY STEPS | charmandgumption.com

1. Compare yourself to a designer / stylist / professional blogger / (insert your own type of business owner) that you see on the Internet / Instagram / etc. ("her life looks so glamorous!") while eating ice cream on your couch.

2. Decide that you want what they have, and you think that you could replicate what they do pretty easily.

3. Spend weeks on Pinterest, analyzing the important stuff, like what your brand should look like and who should design your logo.

4. Start a blog, and write posts that replicate your favorite blogs.

5. Hastily announce on all of your social media that your shop / site / services will be coming soon and that it's going to be amaaaaazing.

6. Get lots of excitement and encouragement from friends and family, which feels awesome. Realize that this whole entrepreneurship thing is going to be a breeze.

7. Waste all day at your real job, dreaming about and Pinterest-ing the glamorous life that you're about to have ("maybe I'll just quit...").

8. Finally start doing the work / planning your product offerings / designing your products ("shoot, this is harder than I thought it would be"). Realize that coming up with something original is tricky. Consider making something verrrry similar to what your glamorous idol sells, using it as...inspiration.

9. Work really hard on the project for a few days, realize that this SUCKS and it's going to be way more work than you originally thought. The excitement and inspiration that you had before is quickly slipping away.

10. Decide that your glamorous idol must have super powers or a team of people or something. Eat ice cream on your couch.

I bet you know someone who has been guilty of this spur-of-the-moment "business planning" method...maybe that person is you? 

We live in an age where everyone feels like they need to do something MAJOR. That, combined with the power of social media, can leave us feeling jealous and desperate to do what we see other people doing.

I'm all about taking chances, believing in yourself, and being brave, but there's a difference between a calculated risk and just jumping off of the cliff with no plan.

Starting a business is a serious decision that requires major financial planning and organizing. It takes a lot of hard work. Like, years of hard work. The super fabulous people that you see wearing super fabulous clothes and living in super fabulous homes have worked really hard for many years before getting there. 

More importantly, trying to replicate something that someone else is already doing is just not the way to go. Ever. Inauthenticity is so obvious.

So before you go starting another fashion blog or opening another Etsy shop, come up with a plan to make yours different from what is already out there, and don't be afraid to grow your project slowly. If you really love what you're doing, you won't be in a rush to "make it big" right away.




I am, by no means, a photographer. 

When I was first opening my online shop, one of the things that I struggled with the most was getting quality photos of my products. I felt like I needed to buy an expensive camera right away and invest in some fancy lighting equipment, but who has the money for that in the beginning, when you're just trying to get your shop up and running? 

This video will show you some very basic product photography tips for those of you with no experience or idea how to get nice photos for your shop. All of the photos shown here were taken with my iPhone using the method that I show in the video.

Once you get more comfortable with it, you can start experimenting with styling, but in the beginning, just a simple, quality photo is all you really need.

I hope this will be helpful for you! xo



I'LL BE HAPPY WHEN... | charmandgumption blog

Do you ever find yourself "some-day-ing" your life away?

When you're in high school, you're looking forward to college. When you're in college, you're looking forward to starting your career. Once you start your career, you look forward to buying a house, then getting a promotion, then having a baby, then having a second baby, then renovating your kitchen, it goes on and on and on...

I know I have been guilty of this so many times. It's human nature to look ahead, and planning is a great skill to have, but it becomes a problem when you realize that you're wishing your life away, never living in the moment.

I think that one of the most important things we can do in life is to find joy in the everyday. Right here. Right now. Today.

I say "joy" rather than "happiness" because I think that it represents more of a way of looking at life, rather than a fleeting emotion. Living a joyful life is a choice.

That means whatever situation you're in, take a look at it, and find joy in it. I know that it can be really hard. Maybe you're working at a job you hate, or you're not happy with your body at the moment, or you're living in a less-than-ideal apartment. It's really tempting to just ignore the present, and focus on the dream-land fantasy of how amazing life will be when you finally have that "thing", whatever that thing is for you. But I promise you, once you have it, you will set your sights on something else. That's the way it works.

My personal trick to be at peace with the way my life is right now? I practice having an attitude of gratitude. Being  a Christian, all it takes is a simple prayer thanking God for everything that I have to make me realize how blessed I am and how amazing and beautiful this imperfect life of mine is.

Try it - pray, or make a list in your head (or on paper) of what you're thankful for every day. Or at least when you're feeling anxious about your current situation. I promise, it works. xo!



DESIGN A LIFE YOU LOVE | Charm & Gumption

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I want to take Charm & Gumption, and how I want my career to look, long-term.

I started thinking about this word "passion". It's something that we're told we're supposed to seek and find and do in order to be happy, and the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that we maybe have been misled about its meaning.

Is your "passion" just another word for something that you love to do? By those standards, I discovered early on that I had a passion for performing. I also have a passion for good design. I am pretty darn passionate about the truffle fries at Burger Up. I am passionate about my dog and my husband. I really love shopping - does that make it my passion?

I think that you can be passionate about a lot of things, and the commonly-given advice to "find your passion" is misleading. I think we need to start thinking less about our action-based passions and more about our life's passion, which is typically more of a strong value in our lives.

For most of my life, I thought that I was meant to be an actress (as embarrassing as that is to type in this blog post) because acting scared and excited me in a strange way that nothing else did. It gave me butterflies and I loved it. I have sort of been pursuing it "on the side" for quite a few years now.

But I realized over time that in order to really pursue it, I would have to either move or be willing to travel constantly, work 12 hour days on set, hundreds of miles away from my husband and family, postpone having children until I got to a certain "level" where I felt I could take some time off (what / when would this be exactly?), and most likely have to partake in romantic scenes with dudes who are not my husband. The life of a working actor is not glamourous, by any means, and only about .000001% of actors are "famous" or "invited-to-the-Oscars" actors. Most are just normal people who work regularly on TV shows, commercials, etc.

It didn't feel right, but it was my "passion"....wasn't it?

See how following an action-based passion can sometimes lead you astray? If your action-based passion doesn't match up with your life's values, then it's not your real passion. Let me give you an example...

If you have the action-based passion: of "cooking", your real passion may be for
"sharing the knowledge of the health benefits of organic, locally sourced food with others"
or it might be
"teaching people the simplicity and power of a home-cooked meal and eating at the table with your family"
or maybe
"creating a delicious masterpiece out of everyday foods with simple tools".

See how the cores of those three passions are different? Just pursuing cooking rather than the core of why you are drawn to cooking may lead you into a life that you aren't happy with.

So what the heck is the point?

I finally narrowed down that my passion isn't "acting" or "freelance graphic design" or even "entrepreneurship". My passion, and the core of what connected those actions, was the fact that they were all career paths that required taking chances, not settling for the status quo, choosing your own path.

That's what I love. I love people who don't do what other people want them to do, just because of social pressure. I love people who choose a scarier path in order to be true to themselves.

That might be the musician living in a studio apartment whose parents wanted him to be a doctor, the CEO who quit her stressful job to pursue teaching yoga full-time, or the 28 year old who was climbing up the corporate ladder when she realized that she wanted to devote her time to being a stay-at-home mom and raising a family. It isn't limited to one specific career or life path.

It's about designing a life you love.

All this to say: that's the direction that you will see Charm & Gumption going. I have a lot of new things planned for this blog and the site, including a new design and some new product offerings (more on that later). You can expect more posts dedicated to helping you design a life you love, and less beauty and fashion related topics...because I love beauty and fashion, but they're not my real passion.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thanks for reading this super long post! Also, my goal for those of you reading is to start thinking about your real passion vs things that you enjoy doing. Is there an overlap that you could take advantage of in your career? xo!



This past month, I was really in the mood to get healthy and fit for summertime. It always helps when the weather gets warmer and more fruits and vegetables are in season. Plus, when the sun is shining, it gives me a boost of energy and makes me want to work out way more than cloudy, cold wintertime. 

Check out all of my favorite things from this month in the video below, and let me know what you think, and what you've been loving lately, in the comments! xo

Products Mentioned:
2. Juicing - We have this juicer (it's great!)
3. Forever 21 sun hat (sold out but there are a lot of similar ones here!)
4. Dry Shampoo - This brand is actually my favorite, but they didn't have it at my Walgreen's



I added a couple of new prints to the shop yesterday, and I'm really excited about them! I think that these two designs have multiple uses: my prints are usually created with workspaces in mind, but  "dream" could also be used in a nursery, and "work it out" would look awesome in a home gym next to the treadmill, don't you think? 

I'm really into scripty fonts right now, and I love that the letters in "Dream" are so big that they run right off the page, just as your own dreams should! 

I love the black, shadow detail in "Work it out", which adds just a touch of something different to the plain gold foil.

I will also be adding the corresponding mugs, customizable prints and notepads as usual in the next couple of days, but I just couldn't wait to share the finished prints with you guys.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite?


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