Written by: Tami and Phil

In our previous post, Traveling T Side: Honeymoon in Italy Part 1, we explained that we would be breaking this fantastic trip into two parts as there is just so much to tell, and we shared the best things that we did, saw, and ate in our first stop … Rome. Today we will highlight the rest. Enjoy!

Positano: Best Things We Did / Saw

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Upon leaving Rome, we hired a driver from Rainbow Limos to take us from the train station in Naples to our hotel in Positano with one stop along the way. We were just dying to see the “buried city” of Pompeii.

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Can you believe this porter carried both of our heavy suitcases over his shoulder down about a hundred steps to where we would stay? What’s more unbelievable though was the view from our room at the Hotel Miramare. We don’t think we will ever really get over how beautiful Positano is!

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The concierge recommended that we check out the Seafood Festival our first night, and we are so glad that we did. The atmosphere was amazing, it was right on the beach, and we got to try a wide variety of seafood.

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Our favorite day was spent on a private boat on our way to the island of Capri. We loved getting some sun, relaxing, and hanging out with all the new friends we made. We got the chance to check out some different grottos, the beautiful coastline, and restaurants and shopping on the island itself.

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Although Positano is built into a hillside and has many stairs to walk up and down, we truly enjoyed just strolling through town.

Positano: Best Things We Ate

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One of the best things about our hotel was the beautiful breakfast room overlooking the ocean. They put out an amazing spread and we got up early each day to take advantage of the food and the view.

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Our favorite dinner in Positano was at Chez Black. It was right at the beach, had a great vibe, and exactly the food we were craving … a pasta full of shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari.

Florence: Best Things We Did / Saw

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Another bottle of champagne for this lucky couple … Can’t complain! We stayed at The Westin Excelsior in Florence which was conveniently located near the Ponte Vecchio and Il Duomo.

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We loved sightseeing in Florence! Our favorite experiences were taking selfies in front of the Ponte Vecchio, gazing up at the beautifully painted dome of the Duomo, visiting David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, and Phil imitating him …. Isn’t that fun?

Florence: Best Things We Ate

 

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By far the best meal of our trip and one that we will never forget was at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. We polished off all of these dishes; a fresh porcini mushroom fettucini, a boar ragu, an arugula and parmesan salad, and a 1.3 kilogram Florentine steak, plus a bottle of their house Cianti. It was insane!

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We highly recommend signing up for a walking culinary tour on your next Florence trip. This opportunity opened our eyes to the many flavors of Florence; meat, wine, olive oil, baked goods, and gelato (just to name a few).

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Bonus tip: The best place to see a panoramic view of the city is from Michaelangelo Square.  At the base of the trail is a delicious gelato spot.

Bonus Location (Amsterdam): Best Things We Did / Saw

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A Tesla cab? Yes, please!

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The Hilton Amsterdam pulled out all the stops with their honeymoon decor and treats … No wonder Yoko Ono and John Lennon loved this hotel so much!

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During our day and a half visit in Amsterdam, we made sure to check out the flower mart, the Red Light District, Anne Frank house …

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… and the I AMsterdam sign!

Bonus Location (Amsterdam): Best Things We Ate

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Our favorite meal consisted of a large bowl of mussels, fish and chips (with mayo) and a couple Heinekens at The Seafood Bar! So good!

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Although we were sad to leave Europe behind, business class was calling our names! We flew in style home and will never forget the memories we made on our special trip together!

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Written by: Tami

Phil and I have pretty much been talking about moving to a new place since he moved in about a year and a half ago. An apartment can get crowded fast when you add in another person’s belongings (especially when you only have one bedroom and a single bathroom). After going to see a few options with more room for our stuff, we quickly gave up hope of ever moving to a bigger place in Los Angeles. It is just so damn expensive! Well, about a month ago a miracle happened … a townhouse in the perfect location literally fell into our laps, and we scooped it up faster than you can snap your fingers. We are now the proud renters of a two bedroom two and a half bathroom home (with washer and dryer … anyone who has ever lived in this city will truly understand how HUGE that is) and couldn’t be happier.

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What is the first thing I do when I move? I turn to my most trusted advisor (Queen of Interior Design herself), my sister Lauren, for help with pulling the overall look together. Phil and I shared with Lauren that we felt very strongly about using our existing furniture in a new way, getting a few new pieces to add into the mix, and creating a space that is warm and inviting while clean, crisp, and modern. She then went to work creating this perfect inspiration board for us.

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Living Room – I have never lived anywhere with the need for a rug, but have loved this one for a very long time! It was Phil and my first purchase before moving into our new place. A new coffee table and some fun accessories will compliment our existing charcoal gray sectional well and make it feel like new.

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Dining Room – We love how our furniture is a bit glam (for me) and a bit rustic (for my hubby). An eclectic mix of lacquer, leather, and wood will look great in our new dining room.

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Master Bedroom – I absolutely love our new master bedroom with its vaulted ceilings, crisp white walls, and cozy fireplace. Our plan is to create a space where we feel more than comfortable by adding in a soft plush rug, a set of matching nightstands (Can you believe we do not already have this?), and some gorgeous framed photos from our recent wedding.

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Powder Bath – One of the most exciting things about this move was getting the opportunity to paint the entire place any colors we want (or lack of color … we like to say). We went unexpected and edgy in our downstairs powder bathroom and painted it jet black but plan to glam up this space as well.

We have moved in and are still getting situated, but this past weekend was a very productive one. In fact, we bought all of the pieces of furniture we were still in need of. So exciting! We can’t wait to see all of these rooms come together and share the finished photos with all of you … Stay tuned!

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As it is the New Year, we are so excited to share this month’s inspiration with you! In the following months we look forward to getting the chance to sit down and really think about what’s inspiring us, make predictions for the month ahead, and reflect on the past month. As usual, we have each selected a photo that represents our overall inspiration and have paired it with two interior shots and two events that coordinate with its color scheme and overall concept. In addition, we have provided you with our designer tips to keep you on trend for the month ahead.

Tami’s inspired: This month, I feel like a Very Important Person! Or at least one of two very important people … Lauren and I will be celebrating our 35th birthday. When you’re halfway between milestones, it’s always a good idea to throw yourself a little party, and that’s just what we will do! Bring on the night! What’s the plan? A fancy dinner out with our husbands, drinks with our friends, and some bumping club music to end the night off right!

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What’s my designer tip this month? Use nighttime shades (like midnight blue) in your home and event decor! Day or night, a dark navy wall creates a dramatic vibe in your space. Add touches of this color as well in your upholstery, your attire, and your bar set up as well. You will be happy you did!

Lauren’s inspired: We may be getting older, but we still like to have fun! This month, Tami and I celebrate our 35th birthday and will be celebrating in style. A drink or two, a night out, and some sister time make for the perfect birthday plans. The rest of the month I will be filling my time designing a truly special home. A huge remodel, a couple who loves to push the boundaries of design, and details, details, details! So much fun!

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What’s my designer tip this month? Last month I spoke of a crisp, cold design. I am still moving in that direction this January, but I feel there are ways to warm it up just a bit. Add lots of candles to your space (35 to be exact) or two cozy lamps will do, a fur throw, a plush rug, and even some soft hued flowers will do the trick. I am also inspired by the silver leaf walls in this bathroom, and you may even see this used in an unexpected way in my current project.

Here at Side by Side Design, we look forward to an exciting month full of birthday celebration, the unveiling of some gorgeous interiors that Lauren has been working hard on, some healthier recipes for the New Year, and so much more! Don’t forget to check out our next Get Inspired post on February 3rd for all new looks and inspiration!

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Every new year we take the time to reflect on the past year, re-evaluate our business model, and come up with goals and ways to take our business and blog to the next level. Thank you for being patient with us this past few weeks as we took time off to spend with our family and friends for the holidays, Lauren hosted many events in her home, and Tami moved into a new home of her own (More on this coming soon!). We are back, this is officially the first post of 2017, and we thought what better way to start the new year than to re-cap the past year’s worth of Interior Design (Lauren’s side) and DIY projects, Event Planning (Tami’s side), guest bloggers / collaborations, “Food Fridays”, and monthly inspiration. We have set a goal for ourselves to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and have fulfilled our goal. We have introduced our readers into our lives as well as our creative passions, and we have shown you our own personal styles through our “T Side / L Side” posts. Every year at this time, we update our readers on our ever-evolving business model, and we are overjoyed to say that we have once again spent the past year continuing to build a business we are truly proud of. Here’s a look at what we have accomplished, the different types of posts that frequent our blog, and our favorite of each type of post from this past year with insight as to how this all works Side by Side:

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Interior Design – This has been another incredible year for the Interiors “side” of our business. Lauren has been very lucky to have worked on lots of different types of projects including everything from design consultation to full construction and remodel as well as Interior Design both in residential and commercial spaces. We have loved every minute of seeing the finished results and enjoy having this platform to showcase our work. We have continued to include blog posts introducing our readers to the “Before and Afters” of completed projects, the entire process of her many construction projects, and various furniture and room designs. She has had many incredible projects this year (including bathroom renovations, a few gorgeous kitchens, living rooms with unique features, a commercial office / studio space, and loads of inspiration for her many high end projects in the works). Unfortunately not all of our favorite interiors from this year have been showcased on the blog quite yet, but we did get an astounding amount of support for the photos we shared on our various social media platforms of this project (as seen on our post, American Whimsy Living Room). Lauren feels very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on such a fun project and is very pleased with the outcome. In the coming months and year, we plan to show the many other completed projects she has been working on and continue to take on interior challenges and new opportunities as they present themselves to us.

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Event Planning  As we have mentioned, here at Side by Side Design we have two “sides” to our business, Interior Design and At-Home Events. Our mission is to work with a family to design their home making it fit their lifestyle and personal taste. When assisting these clients with their home event planning, we not only get to continue to work with them Side by Side but get to pull from the look of their home for inspiration. A little over a year ago, Tami went full time on this side of the business which brought about huge change for us, as she truly had more time on her hands to focus on events (including a big one of her own this past year). Each event we have taken on has been amazing and the type of clients we have been exposed to are incredible, but we only get to pick one … It is extremely rare that an Event Planner gets to create something that perfectly fits their own personal aesthetic. We find that each client brings their own likes and dislikes, favorite colors, and decor details and/ or themes that they want to incorporate into their event. Some give more creative freedom than others and some are all about the true essence of working Side by Side. This is what we love so much about these projects … Every time it is something different, new, and exciting! This year, however, Tami was able to plan the wedding of her dreams as it was her own … Event Planner meets Bride, what a great combination! For this reason, Tami and Phil’s wedding (as seen in our post, Garden Glam Wedding Reception) is our favorite event of the year. It was classy, unique, and garden chic … If we do say so ourselves! Tami looks forward to further growing the events “side” of our business this coming year and working to fine tune her focus as an Event Planner as well as to continue to build relationships with other creative individuals (our vendors) to keep creating new and exciting ways for our clients and their guests to enjoy their most special days.

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Holidays – We not only got the opportunity to work on our annual Halloween decor project this year, but once again created an equally awesome event for this client (as seen on our post, Haunted Toga Party). We love the challenge our clients presented us this year with this Greek Mythology theme and are already planning something new and exciting for next year. We hope to continue growing in this area through collaboration with other vendors to create memorable experiences for our clients at holiday times (including table centerpieces, home decor, festive food and treats, and gift wrap).

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DIY Projects – Although we have lots of amazing vendors we work Side by Side with, we have been known to create many things ourselves. Everything from flower arrangements, to gift wrap, to handmade invitations have been showcased on our blog. We enjoy putting a personal touch on each project and love doing so through handmade details. Our favorite of the past year was one particular DIY project we worked on for Tami and Phil’s wedding (as seen on our post, Garden Glam Hotel Boxes). There’s definitely something so rewarding about putting personal touches on an event for a loved one (or yourself), and our guests loved arriving at the hotel and being greeted with a fresh bouquet of flowers and an assortment of carefully selected items in a hand-painted golden box. We love to create for our client’s events as well! This year, we plan to continue to leave our own creative stamp on each event while keeping our client’s styles in mind.

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Guest Bloggers / Collaborations – About once a month or so, vendors, friends, and other creative individuals are given the opportunity to showcase their work or projects on our blog. This year, we have also had the opportunity to collaborate with some fabulous small business owners (like ourselves) as well as some well-known companies on projects that we have had in the works. Huge thanks go out to our girls Erin, Taryn of Face You Beauty, and Cassandra from AFK for the amazing posts they wrote for our blog this year. We have loved every minute of collaborating with the following creatives as well: Kayla of House of Magnolias, Sweet and Saucy Shop, Minted, Douglas Elliman, Chairish, Paige of The Love Designed Life, and our faux painter Angel. The time and dedication each of these guest bloggers / collaborators have put in is truly inspiring. Once again, we only get to choose one to showcase and we are particularly proud of the work we did with Melody of Sweet and Saucy Shop (as seen on our post, Garden Glam Dessert Lounge). She owns a beautiful bakery in Newport Beach and creates stunning desserts on the regular … Just check out their Instagram! This cake featured above as well as many other fun desserts were enjoyed by all of Tami and Phil’s wedding guests and we were especially proud to be featured on their social media as the designers of the space around these fabulous desserts. What an honor! Our goal this year is to reach out to more creative individuals and post one Guest Blogger’s point of view each month to provide variety on our blog and inspire our readers along the way as well as to collaborate, collaborate, COLLABORATE! Let us know if you would like to be our next guest blogger or would like to join forces with Side by Side Design to create something special. We would love to work with you!

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Pining For Pinterest – Our “Pining for Pinterest” posts allow us an opportunity to dream a little while still staying true to our business model. Four times a year, we share what is “pinspiring” each of us going into the upcoming season (as seen on our post Pining For Pinterest: Summer 2016). Each look showcases an event that works with an interior space as well as all of the details you would find there (signature cocktails, home accessories, delicious catered appetizers, and so much more). This particular post was our favorite this year because our inspiration boards incorporated the two Pantone Colors of the Year, were classy and sophisticated, and the details we used were so much fun. By creating these boards, we are hoping to inspire those of you who are hosting parties in your near future or those looking to do something new with their home. Don’t worry we are just a quick email away if you need our help. Email us at info@sbsdesignla.com.

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Get Inspired – This series features each of our inspiration photos for the month ahead along with two interior photos that follow the same look and two coordinating event photos. It gives us a chance to post what’s inspiring us each month and give a preview of what’s to come as well as really let our readers into our lives. In looking back, a personal favorite is our March inspiration (seen on our post Get Inspired: March) as it reminded us of all that has happened in the past year. It was the month when Tami began her wedding preparation with a really strong engagement photo shoot and Lauren found the words to describe the bond she was already seeing in her two week old twins. Our readers enjoy our monthly “Get Inspired” posts so much that we decided to add a new feature to this series (also monthly, as seen on our post, Get Inspired: The Best Things Come in Pairs). This addition has allowed us an opportunity to fill readers in on where to get some of the fun home and event items they see on our blog. We absolutely love writing this series and look forward to looking back each month on all that has been accomplished. Check back this Friday for all new January looks and inspiration.

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Food Fridays – This year, we continued posting something food related most Fridays as bonuses at the end of the week (We know you all love to get new recipes, and so do we!). We have several different features within our “Food Fridays” posts including “T Side / L Side” (where we show how we each have prepared a different recipe using one common ingredient), “Cooking Side by Side” (our shared attempts at making a meal), and a new one this year was our “Healthier Options” posts (recipes we use to create skinny versions of popular dishes). One post that sticks out is our Healthy Lettuce Wraps for no other reason besides that they were delicious, and this recipe is definitely on our list of things to make again in the near future. In 2017, we plan to continue to invite you into our kitchens from time to time and encourage you to take these recipes home with you. We are however going to be also using these Fridays as an opportunity to share other topics that are more closely related to our brand.

Overall, this truly was a huge year for Side by Side Design! Last year at this time, we made resolutions to give our readers another year of exciting posts, expand upon our business clientele, and to really be selective as to the types of projects that we take on. We are so very proud to say that we have accomplished all of these things and that we are both continuing to work full time for Side by Side Design (as well as we just hired our first part-time employee). If 2016 brought all of this … who knows what 2017 will bring!

We have really spent a lot of time sitting down and coming up with some great goals for our business and thought it made the most sense when divided into two parts. We will start with sharing one last goal for the Side by Side Design Blog. Last year, we made a conscious effort to write more in the first person (either one side or the other) and to therefore be more vulnerable. This, we believe, has changed our blog tremendously and has definitely changed the way that we go about sharing each topic. Lauren has been in the Interior Design field for a long time and she lets her expertise shine when telling about the spaces that she designs. She is much more technical in the way that she discusses her area of expertise but can also come from a soft place when telling about her three girls. We know you working moms can relate! Tami is the voice behind the blog. In fact, she happens to be typing right now! She is a bit more witty in the way that she writes and loves to tell about her life as a newlywed. We look forward to 2017 continuing to be more raw, more open, and lots of fun!

The next set of goals is specifically for our business, SBS Design. We have taken a lot of time in the past year to fine tune a list for the kinds of services we offer on both “sides” of our business. For the Interiors side, we offer Interior Consultation, Full-Service Interior Design, Custom Art, Custom Furniture / Built-Ins, and Weekly Home Floral Installations (but are always looking to expand this list). Our Event services include; Full Event Coordination, Day-Of Event Coordination, Design Consultation, Vendor Selection and Coordination, Dinner Party Table Design and Set Up, Home Floral Installations for Special Occasions, and Holiday Decor and Gift Wrap. Our goal for 2017 is to get many more projects in all of the above areas in the books. The more we share what we do, the more opportunities we have to work with you Side by Side.

Our reader’s feedback truly means so much to us and allows us to continue doing what we love to do. Please take a minute to let us know your thoughts. What kinds of resolutions do you have for us? What are your favorite types of posts? What would you like to see more of in 2017? What can we add to enhance your reading experience? Any constructive criticism is welcome as well. Just push the message icon below … it’s super easy. Or if you just really “like” us a lot, you can click the heart. Your comments are greatly appreciated and will be taken very seriously. Happy New Year from Side by Side Design!
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