My father is an exceptional man. I didn’t always appreciate or even comprehend this in my over-dramatic teenage years when the world was my plaything and parents were a bit of a ball-in-chain. But as I slowly matured, I came to understand and greatly respect this man I call Dad. And now, at my ripe old age of 31, I can say whole-heartedly that this man is more than just a father-figure to me, he is my foundation.

No, he isn’t the most emotional man, but he is steadfast, sturdy, and has always been there for me – whether I knew it or not. His logic has kept me grounded, his patient generosity has helped me over those many, many bumps in the road, his quiet concessions have kept me confident, and his clever ability to stay out of mother-daughter fights has kept me sane!

Yes, my father is an exceptional man indeed and this is something that I not only acknowledge once a year, but something I appreciate every. single. day. Pops, you are my hero and my rock; I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for me.

Ceremony 070

Ceremony 076BW

Reception 084

Mom & Dad Copy

(Mom, you should always smile in your pictures because you never know where they are going to end up!!)



This year, Father’s Day also brings with it a new meaning for me. For 31 years I have been a daughter, for two years I have been a wife, but this year I have become a mama-in-the-making, and in 4 months my husband will become the father-figure, the hero, the rock. And I know he will be amazing.

I may be jumping the gun a little since my hubby reads this blog, but happy Father’s Day honey! I couldn’t imagine a better role-model for our little sweetpea and I can’t wait to see you in action. I love you.

Tom & Griffin

Fist bump with the nephew!

T, G & K

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and remember to call your dad, give him a hug, a handshake – whatever you can to let him know that he is appreciated! And awesome.

Here’s a little inspiration to get you started:


I’ve seen numerous awards floating around in the Blogosphere, but never really expected this little blog o’ mine to get much notice. Well, over a week ago, Patricia Krank over at Old Things New did take notice and nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you for thinking of me Patricia – I’m so incredibly flattered!

Now, this lovely little award is given by more seasoned bloggers to blogs with 200 followers or less to show them a little bit of love. Of course, I have to giggle at this a bit because I don’t quite consider myself a “seasoned” blogger by any means – I can still use A LOT of love! With that said, I plan on passing on the torch to smaller blogs that I love, but are no less “seasoned” than me (and many are actually far more seasoned! Sorry to break the rules here…but that’s what I do best!).

Speaking of rules, here are more rules attached to the nomination:

  1. Post 11 random things about yourself
  2. Answer the questions that the nominator sets for you
  3. Create 11 questions for the poeple that you nominate
  4. Choose 11 blogs that you love (also with 200 or less followers). Link them to your post and let them know they’ve been nominated.
  5. No tag backs!

So, in an attempt not to break any more rules, let’s get started…

11 Random Things About Me:

  1. I’m a little bit addicted to Rock Band. I don’t play often, but when I do…I’m hooked for no less than three hours (I’m pretty sure I was a rockstar in my previous life).
  2. I love fresh pineapple but hate pineapple juice. I love raw broccoli but I hate cooked broccoli – unless it’s in cream of broccoli soup. I like ice cream with my pie, but only on the side. Ever seen When Harry Met Sally? Yeah, I’m Sally.
  3. I’m pretty sure I could eat Rolos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week.
  4. I was the events planner for two previous companies I worked for – I LOVE planning events, but I only realize just how much until AFTER the event. During the planning, I’m a bit of a nightmare.
  5. I’m the second worst procrastinator I know. My husband is the first!
  6. I hate wearing socks and only wear them when the forces of nature force me to. Even in the winter – as long as there isn’t snow on the ground – I’m sockless in my cute little ballet flats. Style over comfort, I suppose!
  7. I have naturally curly hair but have NO IDEA how to wear it naturally curly. I either wear it up or I straighten it with a flat iron (which happens maybe three times a year).
  8. I’m not very mathematically inclined, I hate instructions, am terrible with directions, and am pretty sure the left side of my brain is the size of a pea. Maybe a walnut, just to give myself a little extra credit.
  9. I’ve lived in two countries, approximately nine different states and too many cities to count!
  10. I’ve had dreams that I should turn into books. Most of them are science fiction based. I have no idea how my mind conjures these things.
  11. I’m pretty certain my animals (a dog and a cat) are furry little people. And I treat them as such. They are my little loves that I couldn’t do without.

Questions From Patricia:

  1. Do you hit the ground running when you first wake up or are you slow to warm up? Is this a joke? There are people in this world that AREN’T slow to wake up? If only I was one of them… I’m a slug in the morning. Coffee is a must.
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time? Such hard questions! Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones, Zoolander. I like the clever and romantic comedies, not the stupid comedies. Except Zoolander – it’s stupid funny, but so fun to quote!
  3. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken, and why? Napa, because it was the first vacation I ever took with my now husband, and Croatia, because who doesn’t enjoy their honeymoon?!
  4. Do you have a hero in your life? Who and why? Well, to get a little serious here, I come from a long line of military men. They and all the soldiers out there, separated from their families, risking their lives for our country…they are all my heroes.
  5. Cat person, dog person, or other? Both are hard to resist. And I have both. Remember…furry little people!
  6. Favorite subject in elementary school? Definitely science. I was obsessed with chimpanzees. Still am!
  7. What is your favorite kind of food? Thai is delicious!
  8. If you could ask God for ANYTHING what would it be? Health and happiness for myself and all my loved ones.
  9. What do you like to do in your spare time? Don’t have any? Pretend 🙂 A glass of red wine, a good book, and a comfy blanket = PERFECTION.
  10. What helps you get your creative juices flowing? Magazines are my muse. I’ve got two “mood boards” full of pages ripped out from magazines. A quick browse through Country Living, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, or Southern Living and I’m golden.
  11. What genre of book do you tend to read the most?Historical novels. Right now I’m reading one about Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Yet another one of my obsessions – anything about Henry the VIII!

11 Blogs That Are Far More Fabulous Than Mine. (Some with more than 200 followers…)  Please go check them out and give them some blog love!

My Questions to These Wonderful Bloggers:

  1. What enticed you to start blogging?
  2. How would you describe the style of your home?
  3. If you could have any career in the world, what would it be?
  4. Red wine, white wine, or no wine?
  5. What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
  6. If you had your own reality show, what would it be called?
  7. Chocolate or vanilla?
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  9. Introvert or extrovert?
  10. Where is your favorite place to go to relax? (Could be as simple as a room in your home, or a travel destination)
  11. If you could only watch one show on television for the next month, what would it be?


Thanks a bunch and thanks again to Patricia!


Well, I’ve been avoiding it for the last week, but I think now is the time to give you an update on my 30 Things to do Before I Turn 31 post:

  • Take an introductory photography class.well, I haven’t yet taken it, but I’ve signed up for one, does that count…??
  • Take a basic Photoshop class.just finishing up!

Shoot Fly Shoot

  • Recruit 15 more followers to my blog…I love you, I love you, I love you!
  • Transform my hideous entertainment unit into something I can stand a little more! – The knobs have been ordered at least! Hope to start next week after husband disconnects and moves the TV for me (hint, hint honey…).
  • (Finally) Make a stagecoach curtain for the guest room window (which I will definitely blog about later). – yeah, epic fail. For some reason, I’m scared to death of sewing! But I’ll get there….one day.
  • Start a daily journal.Woo hoo!
  • Establish a consistent gym routine – and stick to it! – another epic fail, no excuses.
  • Regularly wake up earlier in order to make and enjoy a healthy breakfast with my husband. – well, it doesn’t help that the husband seems to have stopped eating breakfast (tsk, tsk Man!).
  • Sell 2 more furniture pieces. – now that my shop is up and running…SOON (I hope – any takers?)!.

  • Reopen my Etsy shop.can I get a woo woo?!! I still have dozens of items to add though. Coming soon!
  • Find and purchase a new rug for my office!Done! But not the one I originally had in mind. Instead, I purchased this one from West Elm. My office is currently a horrific mess, but once I have things cleaned up and organized, pictures will ensue!
  • Find an unwavering confidence in myself… hmm, perhaps a resolution for the New Year?
  • Refinished the recent flea market bread boards I recently purchased. – such a simple thing to do and I haven’t finished! I have sanded them down, I just have to stain them appropriately. Coming soon!
  • Host an end of summer soiree. – how about a Welcome to Fall soiree? I managed to book myself every single weekend in September, but October will be the month!
  • Go golfing with my new golf clubs!I can’t say I golfed well, but I did it!
  • Finish the wall galleries in my living and dining rooms. – 3 more frames to fill…(and I know, I also need to straighten all the frames!)

Living Room Wall Gallery 2

  • Clean out my closet.perhaps my soiree should also consist of a clothing swap??
  • Host a book club.I haven’t hosted yet, but it’s booked for October 16th! We are reading The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton:

The Forgotten Garden

  • Read at least one of the dozen books I have on raising chickens (next Spring, fingers crossed!).yep, and I still want them. Four of them. Badly.
  • Tell my husband that I love him at least once a day.ok, he may disagree, and perhaps I forgot a day or two, but it’s the thought that counts! I managed pretty darn well, thankyouverymuch.
  • Begin drafting a business plan for my non-profit idea… epic fail. I very badly want to start a non-profit, and I think I have a pretty darn good idea, but I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew with this one. Frankly, I need to get the rest of my shit straight before delving into extracurricular activities!
  • Register for a race (running).as of today, actually. Running a 5k. Not a long or hard run, but for an excellent cause: Shelter for Help in Emergency (www.shelterforhelpinemergency.org). And honey, if you’re reading this…I registered you as well Smile


  • Get a haircut – and learn how to wear my hair more naturally. – ummm, epic fail. For both. Last time I got my haircut at a well-loved Charlottesville salon, my poor hair was mutilated. I’m scared.
  • Clean my car. – yep. still dirty.
  • Recruit 1 guest blogger for blog…it will be posted soon, my friends, soon!
  • (With help of husband) Build a console table for behind sofa. – we’re actually not quite sure how we want to build it just yet…it’s all about compromise, right?
  • Call dentist to schedule removal of wisdom teeth. – Definitely a fail. I mean, all I have to do is pick up the phone! But the thought is terrifying. I’m fine getting my teeth cleaned, but when they are removed…hell to the no!
  • Learn how to cook 2 more go-to, quick and delicious meals.All I can say is….YUM!
  • Find and paint 3 sample paint colors in kitchen (orange!).samples have been painted, but not a single one is orange (all samples are Benjamin Moore: Silver Sage, Soft Fern, and Nimbus). Which one do you like? It’s really quite amazing how different each one looks depending on the lighting and time of day.


  • Take pictures of my home (after my photography & Photoshop classes…) and (finally…) upload them onto “My Home” blog page. – to procrastinate just a little more….I do need to finish my photography class first!

Of course, I’m well aware and quite self-conscience of the fact that I did not complete my list, but it did offer me the motivation to DO and to move closer toward a creativity that I feel swimming just beneath my skin…and sometimes, that’s all you really need. I am still determined to complete every single item on this list, of course. What’s leftover is all the simple stuff anyhow (other than that darn stagecoach curtain. Argh!) – update #2 coming soon!


For those of you that do not know me, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it is not unknown for me to stress over the smallest of details. I consistently live up to this little quirk of mine every time we have visitors, particularly when it is someone seeing the home for the first time. Since I’m a decorator at heart, I expect far more out of myself and my home than I should, and when my home isn’t fully up to par (which it currently isn’t per my previous post!) I feel a terrible sense of guilt.

This weekend, for example, we had a couple of guests over, one who had not yet seen the house. While giving her the brief house tour, I kept apologizing for the “mess” and would give a detailed description of my grandiose plans for the space. Finally, she looked at me and said, “the house looks great! It’s comfortable. You’ve obviously done a ton of work in the year you’ve been here.” This quieted me down a little and made me realize that perhaps I’m not as far behind as I think. In a little over a year, we bought a house, we moved to a new city, we got married, we traveled, and we transformed this house into a comfortable home. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. And frankly, it shouldn’t be.

This reminds me of a book that I purchased a few years ago called A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life.

A Perfectly Kept House...

Do I want my home to be perfect and picturesque? Absolutely. I want to open the door to my house and feel as though I am actually walking into a scene from Elle Decor or House Beautiful. I want it to ooze with style, comfort, sweet smells (unfortunately, I live with a dog, a cat, and a husband that have not yet grasped this concept), and perhaps already made cucumber sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies . And I want my guests to have the very same feelings of delight. I want WOW them with my decorating skills and hostessing abilities. However, I do have passions other than cleaning and cooking, and only so much time in the day…

So what is a girl to do? This is my new epiphany: a girl is is to do nothing! Sometimes, life gets messy, and this is the time when I should revel in it. I am too busy to constantly clean, I have a life to live! My home should not be perfection, it should be comfortable and look comfortably lived in. The pictures in magazines are not real life, it is a make believe world that takes a photographer, creative director, stylists, and staff to create. Were I to have an entourage of all of the above, I would be happy in my own make believe world, but alas, I do not so I must make due with what I have – it will definitely not be perfection, but more importantly, it will not be a misspent life.


I luuuve me some blogs, but in my humble opinion, there are a few in particular that have stood out over the test of time. Elements of Style (EOS) is one of the first lifestyle and design blogs that I stumbled upon in my quest for a good read, and even years later, it never fails to inspire and encourage. Erin Gates, the creator and author of the blog, has such an honest, open, and witty voice that upon reading it, you immediately feel as though she’s your new BFF. Seriously, I bet I could share a few cocktails and laughs with that chic and learn a thing or five about the design and art world in the process.

LOVE her office, her chic style, and amazing interiors…



This is another amazing blog that I’m quite sure I could not live without. Marion, the voice behind Miss Mustard Seed (MMS), has such a strong and inspiring personality that it’s hard not to think of her as Superwoman. Seriously, how does she do it all? Read a couple of her posts and you’ll be inspired to clean your house, paint your living room, organize your closets, refinish a few furniture pieces, and restyle your guest room – all in one day.

Her furniture and interiors are simple, farmhouse elegance…


Finally, a little outside of the design and decorating realm, but nevertheless a must read, is The Happiness Project. If you’re anything like me, you may be a “glass half empty” kind of gal (or guy!). I tend to dwell on the negative rather than the positive, and this really takes me on a downward spiral that is often hard to escape. The Happiness Project (also now a book!) is the author Gretchen Rubin’s account of her dedicated year of happy living – focusing on the things that really matter (love, family, healthy living, etc.) by setting monthly resolutions for herself. It’s fun, funny, and incredibly motivating to live life to the fullest, dammit!

Now, I have started my own blog or two in the past with the vein attempt to emulate these other amazing blogs. The first was a lifestyle and design blog, and the other was a blog about my own pursuit of happiness. But after a month or two, I always felt myself lacking the motivation to continue. Why, you may ask? Because I was trying to create something that already existed in the world! It was like trying to remake Gone with the Wind – why would anyone ever do this when the original was, and still is, so damn good?!

So I have decided to create a blog that is wholly my own, in voice and personality. It’s a little lifestyle with a pinch of business, a lot of design and DIY projects, hopefully a heck of a lot of happiness, and sometimes, my struggles to find happiness. Welcome to The Modage Cottage! Why don’t you come in and stay a while?

(Ps….did that last line sound a little Mr. Rogers to you?)


A long rant may not be the best way to begin a blog, but if you stick with me, I promise that there will be many fun-filled (and much shorter…) posts in the very near future! But to be as authentic and real as possible, I felt it necessary to be honest and open – not only with my readers, but with myself – about my very real fears and frustrations; about life, about business, and about living – or better yet, NOT living – life to its fullest.

I love my life – I really do – but at times, many times, I simply….forget. Instead, I begin honing in on all the negatives, all the terrible wrongs in my life: the bad skin days, the bad hair days, the bad hair months, the gray and rainy start to the week (despite the clear, blue sky and warmth of the sun beating down on me at this very moment), the laundry piling up, the clean laundry piling up, the chaos that is my husband’s desk, the chaos that is my entire office, the food-caked dishes piled on the kitchen counter (don’t even get me started on the rest of the kitchen…), the lack of storage space in this house, the limbo that is my “business” (quotations = stretch to call it a business), the judgments of friends and family about my business, and the list goes on and on.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I so often have “the glass is half empty” kind of mentality? It’s overwhelming, fear-inducing, and frankly, just plain stupid! These thoughts hold no real value. Instead, they keep me terrified of taking a single step forward – that one, single step that will put me into motion (as the saying goes, “a body in motion stays in motion,” right?).

So, instead of putting one foot in front of the other, I tend to plop my butt in front of the computer, troll the web for ideas and inspiration (which in itself is not a bad thing!), and dream of the day when I will actually have the guts to move.

*On a side note, most of my inspiration comes from pictures – beautiful landscapes, picture-perfect homes, picture-perfect people in their picture-perfect homes…probably not the best thing for my sensitive and perfection-craving ego. In fact, it either puts this ego into a bit of a tivy – into super overdrive – or it simply makes me want to drive off of a cliff. I’m confident in saying that neither is healthy.

This morning, however, I found a few inspiring words (courtesy of Elements of Style) that made me question my negative perspective, and actually put a little bit of force behind my butt and into my feet:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar.

This was followed by a blurb by Andrew Gates (husband of blog author, Erin Gates):

“…just start and things will happen. Far too often we over think something so much that it never even gets off the ground. Better known as paralysis by analysis.”

Paralysis by analysis. Holy shitballs, that is good. And that is exactly where I stand. I analyze any potential risk to the point of exhaustion. Ever hear “making a mountain out of a mole hill?” Well, I make the Grand f’ing Canyon out of a crack in the sidewalk. And then I turn my eyes onto all my faults and weaknesses, analyze those to the point of exhaustion, until I feel so much like one huge stinking pile of poo that I actually want to jump into the canyon that I just created. But since I do love life (literally!), I just stand there instead, too afraid to jump over to the other side.

I realize that I do expect to be great to start. I want to step over that canyon (or crack in the sidewalk) and materialize into Kelly Wearstler, or at least a beautiful, intelligent, and all around amazing entrepreneur that has all of her t’s crossed, i’s dotted, ducks in a row, or whatever. I want perfection. But I hate to break it to you Sista (yeah, that would be me, speaking in 3rd person…), that’s just not how life works. Life is messy, life is hard, but it can also be fun and fulfilling when you actually choose to live it. You just gotta get moving, put one foot in front of the other, one little baby step at a time, and things will start to happen, life will start to happen, instead of it just passing you by.