April 16, 2014

To All Mah Peeps

What is it with Peeps that are so. dang. adorable?  I mean, are you kidding me with this cuteness?

For her friends, Chloe picked out a pack of the ever-adorable Bunny Peeps.  We're just packing them up cellophane-style and adding this little tag:

"There's no bunny nicer than you! Happy Easter to all my peeps!"

Just for fun, here's a few other creative Peep-inspired ideas:


 S'more Peeps, Please
(yes, I think I'm hilarious)

Eat My Nest, Peeps

Sugar Cookie Peeps

So how are you getting creative this Easter?  Are your kids begging for personalized Peep gifts?  Are you grabbing some $4.99 cupcakes at the grocery store and calling it good?

Images found here

Site Updates and Lunch

You may notice a few changes to the ol' blog-a-roo today.  New banner, new Favicon, larger content space...

...aaaaaand here's what I had for breakfast...

Old fashioned oats with unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, Oghee (purified butter), fresh kiwi, strawberries, and blackberries with a drizzle of maple syrup.  Nom nom!


I share this with you because it's a season of change!  Blog updates and body updates!  Time to move forward, look better, and feel better!  Blog changes and a healthier body are just two of the ways I look forward to enhancing my life this year (business changes, house improvements, and new schools are on the list, too!).

There will be a few more Bella Storia changes over the next little while - nothing drastic, but hopefully it will be more functional, (fancier), and more informative for all my fabulous readers!  I'm hoping to really get a grip on my branding this year and be able to move forward in a direction that I am truly proud of!

Next up:  Body (and what I had for lunch...)

Whole scrambled eggs with unsweetened almond milk, cilantro, onion powder, and pepper.  Half an avocado with pepper and a dash of salt.  Vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh blackberries.  16 oz. of filtered water in my cute Mason jar sipper.

Believe me, I know that I am very fortunate to be tall and able to eat whatever seems tasty at the time (thankfully I don't have a major sweet tooth...but give me some bread and whoa, boy!).  By no means am I "skinny", but even after two kids I'd like to think I'm doing fairly well.  What's not so good is that although I only weigh about 12 pounds more than I did before both children, I've lost buckets of muscle mass.  I'm definitely feeling what's referred to as "skinny fat".

Not looking my best is a major bummer, but what's even worse is not feeling my best.  You guys, I'm so, so tired.  All. The. Time.  Like, tired in a not normal way.  I know I have some health issues and medications that contribute to that (more on that another day), but it's gotten so bad that I know I need to make some changes:

No. 1 - Daily exercise (does laundry count?)
No. 2 - Drink more water...lots more
No. 3 - Eat whole foods (i.e. not more Fruity Pebbles...ok, eww.)
No. 4 - Take time for me (i.e. de-stress, wind down)

Ground breaking, I know.

Eat all the things!

I'm not out to find the newest celebrity diet plan, go on a crazy juice fast, become a bikini body builder, or even lose weight (cause we all know it's not about weight, but muscle vs. fat, right ladies?  Right?!), but I absolutely want to be healthier.  I absolutely want to be able to run a mile without feeling like I just met Damon Salvatore (gorgeous = out of breath - ha!).  I absolutely want to make sure my children are learning good eating habits.  I absolutely want to rid my body and home of as many preservatives and chemicals as possible.  Yuck!  And I absolutely want to start taking time out for myself to rejuvenate and de-stress.  Every gal needs a little girl time now and then!

Who's with me?!

Operation Eat (aka. Operation Get In Mah Belly; Operation Bikini Body; Operation Live Long and Prosper) starts...now!

April 11, 2014

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

Where the heck have I been, you ask?

What in the world have I been working on, you wonder?

Have I fallen off the edge of the planet, you ponder?

Behold, my awesomeness is before you!

Okay, that might be exaggerating just a touch, but believe me, I am super DUPER excited about this mood board!

Chloe's Room

I know, I know.  You want a full source list, and in about three days similar versions of this girl's room will be scattered across the DIY decor pages of Pinterest.  Ha!  ;)

It's no mystery that Disney's "Frozen" is a major hit and probably at the top of ever girl's wish list...

(How many of you wake up in the morning with Elsa's song playing in your head?  You know the one:

Let it go
Let it go
Can't hold it back any more

Let it go
Let it go
Turn away and slam the door

Stuck in your head again now isn't it?  You're welcome.)

...and my daughter is no exception.  We were going an entirely different direction with her original Big Girl room plan (think pink and gold and orchids), but alas, Disney has done it again and Miss Chloe won't have anything other than "Frozen blue" and snowflakes and Elsa.

Which is fine with me.

This change in design, however, did set me back a bit in the decor planning and purchasing department.  A few returns had to be made, and a new mood board had to be created!

Ta da!


A full reveal and source list is coming soon, I promise!  First up, the source and installation of Miss Chloe's fancy schmancy new chandelier (yes, my 5 year old wanted a chandelier, even pre-Frozen - love that kid)!

April 2, 2014

Spring Fever


Yes, I'm saying that with a southern accent.
Don't you randomly whip out alternate accents in everyday conversation?  Queen's English, Louisiana southern, and Valley Girl are in my current rotation.

Fresh flowers are the BEST.  I need a garden, or a charitable neighbor, or a local field of wildflowers, so that I can have them all over my house all. the. time.

These particular beauties are from a local wedding that I was fortunate enough to shoot.  Aren't they lovely?  Those roses are the size of my entire palm!

Spring fever has definitely hit the Cole house. 

February 13, 2014

Get Over It, Toss Those Clothes!

Happy New Year!  Que the obligatory organizing post!

*** Update:  This post should have gone live on January 7th...whoops! ***

No doubt you're already inundated with tips, tricks, and totally nuclear ways to declutter and organize your home.  Well, here's another that you'll definitely want to check out!

Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie is one of the queen's of a streamlined home, and there's no beating around the bush with her!  Now that the holidays are over, and I no longer have the excuse that I just moved into our new house, I officially have begun Project Decluttify.

Project Decluttify's first step to streamlined sanity is dealing with our mounds, and I mean MOUNDS, of clothing.  Each member of our family somehow has ridiculous amounts of clothing that we do not wear, yet remain to make our morning dressing routine less like The Devil Wears Prada and a bit more like Hoarders: Buried Alive.


When you move, you suddenly realize you don't want to unpack half the stuff you brought with you.  Also, you grit your teeth and maybe shed a tear when you think of cluttering up your lovely empty new house.

Clothes are my bane.

I looooove dressing and looking cute, but I have a hard time getting rid of things I no longer wear, especially when they're practically new.  But, in the effort to love my home and keep it functional, I have devised a few systems to help maintain the clutter, including my mantra of,

"A place for everything, and everything in it's' place."

Whether you're living in a 400 sq ft studio, or a 7000 sq ft estate, if you don't have a place for the things you own, it's going to feel messy and stress-inducing.


To start us off, I'm sharing some of Laura's awesome, straight-forward tips for ridding yourself of unnecessary clothing. (Many of these tips apply to other items, so read on!)

  • If you haven’t worn something in a year then out it goes regardless of condition, price or size.  Why a year?  Because you cover every season in that period of time.  If you haven’t worn it during the year, you probably never will.
  • If you have a piece of clothing that you wear but are annoyed with it every time you do, seriously stop it.
  • I’m not opposed to keeping your “skinny” clothes (and I know we all do it) but for goodness sakes you don’t need to keep all of it.  Styles change, your tastes change, your body shape changes so chances are good that when you get back to that size you’re going to want new stuff anyway.
  • Sentimental clothes that you aren’t wearing shouldn’t reside in your closet.   Either take a picture of it and preserve the memory or limit yourself to one tote of “clothes to show my kids so they can laugh their heads off at me someday”.
  • Don’t hang onto something that is “just alright” because you don’t have something better yet to replace it.  Let it go now unless it means you go naked, that wouldn’t be right.
  • Try everything on.  This one I can’t stress enough.  Do not hold something up and say oh this is so beautiful I’m going to keep it.  That’s too easy and what you might not remember is that, although it’s beautiful, the buttons gape at the front showing off your woman parts.  Nope we don’t want that now do we.  Get rid of it.
  • You only have the space that you do.  Jamming your clothes into the closet and fighting with them every single day to find what you need won’t make your closet grow in the night.  It will only make you grumpy…every single day.  It’s not worth it.

For the full list, be sure to check out I'm An Organizing Junkie!

February 11, 2014

Hey Rug Man, Gimme Some Tassel

A new house means there's buckets of decorating and DIY projects swimming around our brains!  

First up, adding color and creating function within each space.  But, as Brady and I are working together on the functionality (revamping furniture from our last home, designing built-ins, etc.), I'm busting out the ol' mood boards to help visualize each room's decor.

Chloë and Ryker's bedrooms are first up on the list since Brady and I both want the kiddos to feel at home and enjoying their spaces ASAP.  Let "Operation: Big Girl Room" commence!

Gettin' my late night paint on!

While Chloë's bed gets a makeover this week, I thought I'd share the rugs we've been eying for our home.  Most people have heard that paint is numero uno when it comes to updating a space.  I totally agree, but I'd argue that second place easily goes to rugs.  A fab rug can be major when it comes to adding personality, color, and design to your space.

Let's do a little rug round-up!

Ryker's Nursery


Going with grey, teal/aqua/navy, and touches of neon/lemon yellow for this cutie's nursery.  It's been sweet with white, grey, and aqua, but now that Ryker is a big one year old I'm thinking it's time to add some fun boyish charm!

Chloë's Big Girl Room

Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing.

I have looked all over the web for something that Chloë and I both like but nothing seams to fit right.  Now, I have to admit that she's not particularly particular when it comes to her rug, but she has stated that she wants a colored rug with an Ikea Tejn rug to snuggle with. 

I originally really liked this rug, however we've since decided that her room isn't going to have much lavender in it (Chloë wants pink, mint, and a bit of red).  I would love to get a gorgeous pink patterned rug for her, but it's harder than you'd think...unless you feel like dropping about a dozen Benjamins. (Yo.)

Master Bedroom

Definitely going for soft and luxe here!  Master bedroom always seem to be last on the list to decorate, but I'm really hoping we can tackle a little here and there to make a nice retreat after a day of work and kiddos.

Dressing Room

Yes, we have a dressing room.  Seems spoiled, I know.  I can't tell you how excited I am to have this great little room to change and dress in after spending a decade with almost no closet at all (insert huge sign of relief here).  This space is where I'm going all out glam and a bit girly.  Think of it as a little jewel box outside our bathroom.  Ha!


We won't have a dedicated space for Brady and I until we finish the basement, but I imagine we'll design a classy neutral space with His and Hers desks and a wall of built-in bookcases.  I almost want to create a secret door in the room.  Something like this...

Hopefully I can get Brady on board with this, cause seriously, who doesn't want a secret room?

Great Room

I'd really like to see something geometric or trellis-y in this room for a chic vibe and in a neutral color so I can easily change the decor and color scheme for each season, 'cause that's how I roll.



Definitely going for fun and a little beachy in this room.  It's upstairs between the kiddo's rooms, and it makes the perfect crafting/reading/playing space.  As the kids get older I'm sure it will make a great study area, too.  Oh, the plans we have for this room!

Eat-In Dining Room

One thing this wonderful home doesn't have is a formal dining room.  I know it's trendy to have an eat-in kitchen, but I'll always love a gorgeous, well appointed dining space where the family can join for dinner.  Oh well.  I really can't complain.  But since I don't have a dedicated room for dining, my goal is to ground the space and give it it's own identity.  Adding an easy-to-clean rug can be a great way to do that!


Q:  Anyone bought a super fab rug lately that they just have to share?  Anyone know of where I can find a fun yet sophisticated pink rug?  Anyone else want a secret room?

P.S.  Happy Birthday to Me-eeee!

All rugs are from RugsUSA.com