The Most Incredibly Affordable Outdoor Barn Lights!

I really wanted some chalky black outdoor barn lights for the back porch and around the rest of the house. I was going to have to order about ten lights, so paying $200 each or whatever was not going to happen!

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It looks like the price moves around a bit (I think shipping is free now), but I found these American Fluor Barn Lights on Amazon last month for only $35 each!! I was a little nervous they would look and feel cheap, but they are the real deal barn lights! Nothing fancy and built to last! Apparently you can get them at feed and tack stores for something like $25! I've heard Menard's has them for a similar price too.

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The parts are incredibly well-made and beautiful. The inside of the shade is white porcelain and the outside is galvanized metal, so you'll probably want to paint the outside like I did, but it's super easy. I just put the shades face down on a drop cloth and sprayed the outsides with Rustoleum's flat black enamel. No tape necessary! I actually like that I wasn't paying for an exterior finish that I would have wanted to change anyway. The perfect base for a DIYer!

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Do you have any favorite barn light sources? These were far and away the best deal I found, especially with such a large shade (14"!!).

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Summer Reading List

I have two big trips coming up and I always like to have a couple of new books on hand before heading to the airport (which is exactly how you get an unruly book collection that looks like this). I will always end up buying my favorites, but I've started e-reading lately and I'm so happy with how convenient it is!

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Have you heard of Oyster? It's like Netflix for eBooks! For $9.95 a month you have access to unlimited books from their library of over 500,000 titles! Which means you can give up or put aside a book that's not quite right for you or for your mood and easily move on to another book. You can read on your iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD and computer.

They are offering a free 30-day trial subscription here and I started mine last week. I LOVE it. I'm totally hooked!

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Also, it's so silly how much I care about this sort of thing, but I really love that they give you a ton of different page and font options. I like the Penguin-style page above for day reading and the black background for easy-on-the-eyes night reading.

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One of my upcoming trips is to New York for work. I'll be staying in Brooklyn for most of the trip, which means some long subway rides. The great thing about Oyster is they let me keep TEN FULL BOOKS in my reader library at once - so no wifi, no problem! Can you tell I'm geeking out? 

We're all a bunch of book nerds over here, so I asked Kate and Heather to give me their summer reading lists to share too. Most of these are books we haven't read yet and we'd love your feedback if you have! 

Here's my list:

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Beautiful Ruins - This one looks like a fun, light read. One complaint I've heard is there are too many characters and setting shifts, but I think that might make it an easy book to pop in and out of, in between sessions with my historical floor plans and Eggers (see below).

The Alchemist - Supposedly a very quick, sweet and simple read that leaves you thinking and inspired. I can get behind a book like that.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - I read, and loved, Dave Eggers' What is the What, but held off on this one because I've heard mixed reviews from friends - they either loved it or hated it. I think I'm ready to tackle it now though. Have you read this book?

Paris Mansions and Apartments, 1893 - I had heard this book was a good one and I flipped through it once in a book store and it looked amazing. Seems like a must for any one who gets a kick out of architecture, history and Paris. 

The Midwife of Venice - I was sick last winter and watched an episode of Call the Midwife on Netflix, desperate for distraction. I ended up watching two season's worth of episodes! Ha! I have no idea what this book is about, but it has good reviews and it's a period piece about a midwife, so I think my chances are good.

Once A Runner - I've heard this one described as the Bible of serious running. I am not a hardcore runner now, but I once was, and I truly loved it. Sometimes I read Marathon training books just for fun, so I think this one could be a winner for me.

Heather's List:

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The Cost of Lunch, Etc.I have a weakness for short stories, and I find myself being pulled to stories about women who are trying to wrestle with their inner demons. These stories look like they're going to deliver.

The Sisters BrothersConfession, while I have been seeing this book in several bookstores and the reviews seem very positive, the thing that makes me most curious to read it is that the author's last name is DeWitt. We're almost certainly not related, but I'm excited to see if it lives up to the family name ;) 

Telegraph AvenueMichael Chabon is, without a doubt, in the top tier of my favorite authors. I've read a few of his other books, so I've excited to read this one. I'm pretty confident that I'll like it. 

It Chooses YouMiranda July is one of the most brilliant artists of today! I love her movies, and I've read one or two of her short stories before, so I'm very excited to get more of her.

The Girl with the Golden EyesI've heard many great things about Balzac. I'm really looking forward to reading this book! 

Kate's List:

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Little BeeA few years ago it seemed like every book club was reading this, yet somehow I missed it. I started to read reviews and they are surprisingly vague because of a supposed pivotal plot twist and the reviewers "don't want to give too much away". I'm interested!

The Light Between OceansI cannot wait to read this book (it's next on my list!) I read a quick excerpt before putting it on my read list and it was so beautifully written that I'm finding myself rushing through my current book so I can start this one! 

The Collected Stories of Heinrich Boll"These diverse, psychologically rich, and morally profound stories explore the consequences of war on individuals and on an entire culture." This book jumped out at me and immediately went to my reading list, I'm a sucker for powerful short stories. 

The Geography of ThoughtI read this book back in a college psych class and it's interesting revelations have stayed with me for years so when I saw it on the list I knew I wanted to read it again. It's essentially a look into the differences between eastern and western culture- perception of time, healing, social interactions, medicine, and relationships.

The House of MirthMy sister has been telling me to read this book for years, turn of the century in New York and high society life, I'm wondering what took me so long. 

My AntoniaThis is the first book I recommend to people. It will forever remain a favorite of mine. Willa Cather writes so beautifully about the simplicity of friendship, and so strikingly about the potential of life. 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseI read this book a few years ago and it's still one I think about often. Set around the heartbreak of 9/11, the narrator, a 9 year old, self-proclaimed pacifist, is a quirky, tambourine playing wise guy. This book is powerful, poignant, and emotional. 

The Man Who Would Be KingA collection on my reading list, short stories written by the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. So I mean, it's gotta be good. 


Alright friends, dish! What's on your summer reading list? Also, have you tried Oyster? Here's a list of their most popular titles.

This post was brought to you by Oyster Books. Don't forget to sign up for your free 30-day trial!! Thank you for supporting LGN sponsors!

Wallpaper on the Playroom Ceiling

The ceiling in the playroom is really low - just under eight feet. It actually feels nice and cozy, especially for the kids, but I wanted to try and trick the eye a little. I hung the yellow curtains almost up to the ceiling and that helped, but it felt like we needed something a little more exciting up on or by the ceiling.

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I've always loved Julia Rothman's Daydream wallpaper from Hygge & West. In a middle-of-the-night design session I remembered the pattern and reached out the company to see if they had enough rolls in stock to send me a rush shipment. We were only a few days out from the Domino shoot at this point and I needed that paper ASAP!! Hygge & West was wonderful to work with and they rushed those couple of rolls out right away.

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DIY Geometric Cube Painted Floor

For the longest time, I've had plans to paint a geometric cube pattern on an exterior floor. I really hoped to get to do it on our balcony porch in Brooklyn, but we moved before the weather gave me a good chance to patch the cracked concrete. When we moved to the Valley house I thought this little back porch area we have just off the kitchen and living room would be the perfect chance to scratch that itch!

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I ended up going with a tumbling block tile in the bathroom, so I wanted this pattern to feel different. I saved this image a while back and it felt like the perfect inspiration - the proportions seemed easy enough to recreate (which, WRONG. Triangles, you kill me!) and it seemed like it wouldn't be too crazy on the eyes when painted on a large surface.

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