Please Welcome Mandy Olsen, Office Manager
We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to Decorating With Grace. Please welcome Mandy Olsen our new Office Manager. Mandy is going to greatly help us get organized and also help with the flurry of email communication coming in on a daily basis.
This business has been a huge blessing to my mom, Deb, and I and we are just shocked by the growth and interest from all of you!! But, with the growth comes growing pains that we were not prepared for. To say life has been a bit crazy is an understatement.
Mandy's background is a PERFECT fit for this position and we couldn't be happier to have her. Mandy and her husband reside in Mound, MN with their two beautiful children and a fun, furry Wheaten Terrier. Mandy has been in Property Management and Office Administration for over 15 years. She is very organized and proactive in all areas of her life. She excels in client relations and behind the scenes admin work.
Here's to getting organized and growing!!!
I’m so excited to be teaming up with Jen at Decorating with Grace!
When Jen first invited me to join her new home decor business, of course, I was flattered and honored that she would have confidence in my design skills… and that she would even WANT to spend that much time with her mother!
My initial hesitation came with an attitude of, “Oh, I’ve been there and done that before… I’m in a different season of life”… “Things” seem less important to me now, but, people in need around the world tugs at my heartstrings the most. I try to do what I can wherever I am. I dream of a higher calling!
But, Jen’s enthusiasm is contagious! I said yes.
“Yes,” to helping people transition from house to home. And, yes to the sweet opportunity of working alongside my lovely daughter doing what comes so naturally to us both. I'd say that sounds like a higher calling!
Now, looking back at my past experiences, I see how it all ties together beautifully.
In my early days, I found fashion and furnishings to be my passion. I put it to work in both retail and commercial settings. Beginning in the world of boutique clothing and high end cosmetics, transitioning to home furnishings in sales and design consultations. Later, I formed a hospitality procurement company, administering the purchasing of furnishings and equipment for new build hotel projects including Marriott and Holiday Inn Hotels.
Fast forward to today…
Just call me, “Debbie Downsizer”!
A few years ago, my husband and I sold our home of twenty years, located on a lovely cul-de-sac in the suburbs of Central Minnesota. Our kids had flown the nest and our beloved yellow Lab had passed away of old age. My husband retired. Change was in the air. We were moving to a small 1,000 square foot condo in downtown Minneapolis. I cried. How could we possibly live in such a small space?
Moving from the “big” house was a huge undertaking. But, selling, donating and even disposing of personal possessions became easier once we got into the swing of it. Keeping only the “best of the best” to fit into that small space.
Our 1,000 ft. condo became the coziest, most tasteful urban condo in all of Minneapolis! We stayed three years and yes, tears flowed again when we said good-bye. But, this time we were off for a new adventure.
We placed our belongings in storage and purchased a tiny 20 ft. travel trailer to pull behind our Jeep. We were off to see America!
After our six month American road trip, we sold the camper and flew… to Thailand!
We lived internationally for three years. Living among the locals in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Colombia, South America. A truly life changing event was becoming involved in prison ministry. Meeting people that were far different from me, yet so much the same. I loved it.
Living Internationally is fantastic, but my heart was longing for my three grandchildren back in our home state of Minnesota. We are now back in familiar territory. We chose the urban lifestyle once again. We currently live on the beautiful and historical street of St. Anthony Main in downtown Minneapolis.
Changes in life can be scary… but it’s also revitalizing and rejuvenating.
Each and every place that we laid our head, whether rented or owned, was aesthetically comforting to us. This was important to both, my husband and myself. Home is where you live, surrounded by comfortable “things” that surround you in times of fear, times of missing those you love, even in times of illness. Sure, possessions are only tangibles… merely “stuff”… but a few simple belongings can improve your living experience and add pleasure to your life.
“LIfe beyond the cul-de-sac”, has been a theme for me in this past decade. Learning to embrace changes in life rather than fear them. Each new scary leap of faith has brought me to places that I never thought I’d be… meeting wonderful people and experiencing new adventures in life that I never would have, had I stayed on that suburban cul-de sac!
Go… Do… and Be!
IKEA has always been one of my favorites. I remember taking a spring break trip to Chicago with all of my college roommates just to visit the nearest IKEA and then driving the 7 hour drive back to Minnesota with no room in the car from all of our purchases.
I recently went to IKEA to purchase my normal go-to items and decided to gather all of my favorite IKEA stuff into one spot for you. Most items are under $5.00 and are definite must haves!
One of the best deals you will find is the FJADRAR Inner Cushion. This pillow insert is $5.99 and filled with down feathers to make a perfect throw pillow. IKEA even sells the covers or you can go to your local fabric store and pick out your own! Such an easy way to spruce up a room.
While I'm not typically a fan of fake plants, I DO LOVE these, FEJKA artificial potted plants! They look real and are so easy to spread around your home. IKEA has so many different vase options to match your décor and they fit into the vases perfectly.
Here are three FEJKA potted plants inside this SOCKER Greenhouse. You can also purchase this greenhouse at IKEA for $19.99.
One of my all time favorite things are the SMYCKA Decorative Sticks! I've searched everywhere for decorative sticks/branches that are thick enough to make a statement and these are the only ones I can find and they are $14.99. You can purchase a CYLINDER glass vase for the sticks for $19.99!
Seriously every time I get to IKEA I pick up a pack of GLIMMA Unscented Tealights. For only $3.49 you get 100 and they are a great way to make a cozy atmosphere in your kitchen, dining room or living room. Also love that they are unscented so my husband's sensitive nose can handle them.
Napkins are another essential and they always seem to have new designs and colors each time I visit. I always pick up one or two packs of SOMMER 2016 Paper Napkins to have on hand for dinner parties or outdoor BBQs.
Staying organized is also a passion of mine and IKEA is so good at helping with that. Most people already know about these awesome $1.99 VARIERA Plastic Bag Dispensers, but they are definitely one of my favorites.
Before having kids I used to just whiz through the kids section and never put any thought into it, however after having my babies I have now found so many fun things that we use on a daily basis. Here's a few:
Lastly, I personally have not purchased this yet, but each time I get home from IKEA I realize I should have picked up a KOMPLEMENT Multi-Use Hanger for $7.99. I desperately need something to help me organize my scarves! Next trip.....
Recently I was able to decorate a good friend’s gorgeous new home. We picked out everything from wall décor to large furniture items. It was a blast! However, I came home and looked around my house and realized – MY HOUSE NEEDED AN UPDATE! My husband was thrilled (sense the sarcasm).
So, instead of spending a ton of money on new furniture I decided to make a few changes that were much cheaper and would make the biggest differences. I was also able to sell most of the old stuff on my local facebook online garage sale site which helped with purchasing the new times. Here’s a few things I did to make the updates!
Nothing says happy 1st birthday to my sweet little man than a Little Man Mustache and Bow Tie Birthday party. Here's a look at a few of the party decorations we used to help him ring in his first year on Earth!
I created a onsie banner with neck and bow ties using just colored card stock and string I had around the house. I found the onsie banner template from Bottle Your Brand's blog. It's FREE! I've included this downloadable Onesie Banner Pattern. This pattern makes a fabulous party banner. Each onesie is aproximately 8.5 inches tall by five inches wide.
"I really mustache you to grab a prop & smile for the camera." This was a highlight of the party. We created our own hashtag for friends and family to share their funny pictures and memories of the party that we will have forever! I found these super cheap photobooth props for less than $5.00.
These mustache straws added so much to the theme.
The life size picture of our little Sammy was the focal point of the party when guests arrived. I simply cut out mustaches from black card stock, used scotch tape and had the younger guests play Pin the Stache on the Baby for fun prizes. The print was from Vistaprint.com.
Guests were able to join the bash with their own stache!