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Let the Sunshine In…

We’ve been married almost 14 years, and we’ve lived in 4 states, 3 apartments, and 5 houses. Do you ever look back and realize just how much your style has changed over the years?

I’m not the same girl that I was when I got married at 23. I’ve changed from the inside out. When I was young, I was very unsure of what I liked. Honestly, it seemed like I spent most of my 20’s second guessing myself. how exhausting.

In the most recent years, I’ve become so much more sure of what I like and what I don’t like in my home, which I suppose means I’m finally growing up.

I love natural, bright light so much that when I get up each morning, I start my coffee and then open up all the blinds throughout the whole house. I’ve even convinced my kids over the years that after making their beds, the next thing on the list is opening up their drapes!

The only thing equally as beautiful as bright sunshine in every room of a home would be live plants and fresh flowers.

This new blogging friend is so faithful to pick fresh flowers from her garden and display them in so many of her beautiful rooms!

Sunshine, green plants and fresh flowers bring life to a room.

So, open up your drapes…put a plant where ever you can put one, and always add fresh flowers!
Keep your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.

image 1 from the New Old House.
images 2,3,6,7 from here
image 4 from here
image 5 from here
images 8,9 from here

Anne in Oxfordshire - Hello Tara, welcome to the world of blogging. I found your link over on Melissa’s blog The Inspired Room, I love her blog, with so many inspirational ideas..and great photos.

Happy Blogging.

slip4 - Tara, I found you from The Inspired Room. Looks like you are off to a great start!

Kellie - Just discovered your sweet blog – and sweet family!!!! I am the mother of 2 boys and a girl also- but my girl is the oldest!!! what fun it is!!!! Enjoyed reading and looking at your fabulous pictures!!!! Thanks for sharing a piece of your life!!!

Sarah Parker - Tara, I completely agree! Thanks for the positive words this morning!

Erin - Absolutely beautiful photos! I couldnt agree with you more about natural light and opening the curtains first thing in the morning!

Your blog is lovely! Very honored to be included in your blogroll!

{The Classy Woman} - Stunning photos! I actually have that last photo saved in a folder on my laptop. It’s so beachy which is what I love about it. It looks like it could be the perfect intimate wedding reception table for a casual, beachy couple.

I love ALL of the other crisp, clean images too. I definitely have to agree about a more grown-up style. My decor style 10 yrs ago vs. today are night and day!

I wanted to let you know that I loved your post on the Winter Park homes and I’ve now shared it via my latest blog post with my readers. I have linked everything to your blog so you may have some new readers soon. :) I’m following you now too.

Here it is if you want to check it out:

Pine Tree Home - I love your photos. You capture some really nice inspiration pieces. I too have found my style has changed over the year. Now I am into neutrals and down home classic style.

{ang} - Hi there! Found you via The Inspired Room! My husband and I also met at UGA and I’m from North Georgia :). We have lived in three states in three years and three different places. I totally understand what you are saying in your post, I was thinking about when I registered how I was second guessing and wondering if people would like it. Now at 29 I go with what I like, am confident about it, and love my home more than ever!

SoBella Creations - Great inspiration pictures.

Found you via The Inspired Room. I also live in the Orlando Area (Maitland)

A Country Farmhouse - Hi Tara, Thank you so much for including me in your lovely post! It is so true, ones style certainly does evolve over time. It’s really quite fascinating…having a blog has made me realize that about my own style! And sunshine and fresh flowers in a house sounds like the perfect recipe for ultimate coziness! xoTrina


Look what came in the mail…

Have you seen this line of jewelry? 
Can you imagine my surprise when I went to the mailbox in the middle of the day 
and saw a box with HER name on it?
For no reason at all, my husband had one of those family tree necklaces sent to me. 
First, let me say that I only dropped one hint to my husband a few months back 
so for him to get the hint and move it into action is…well, it’s just awesome.
Okay, so back to Lisa Leonard.
Let me just tell you why I love this woman.
She designs personal jewelry, and she’s super nice and professional. 
I had a question about the necklace that I received so I emailed her and she wrote me back. 
And, that’s not all.
I responded to her email just saying thanks and she responded again. 
It’s like we’re friends. 
You’ll love every single piece of jewelry that she designs!

our little family - Look at you! The blog looks great… so proud! I think you’ll be so glad you did this. You know your family will love it. :-)

Woodard Gang - Ahhh!! You got one :) How sweet of your husband to remember and order one for you…you will love and treasure it!!


Location, Location, Location

We relocated to Orlando almost two years ago from North Georgia.
We love North Georgia for a couple of reasons..
I grew up there so my whole family lives there, hubby and I met in Athens, GA while at UGA, and honestly, we’re just mountain, lake, creek kind of people.

But, a wonderful opportunity to move to Orlando and work with college students came our way, 
and we knew it was exactly where we were supposed to be.

It was hard leaving family and friends and venturing into the unknown, 
but as Mary Englebreit says…”Bloom where you are planted!”

It didn’t take us long before we scoped out the most wonderful gold nugget in Orlando..
otherwise known as, Winterpark, FL.
It’s about 10 minutes from our house and it’s pretty amazing. 

Andy and I have deemed it our favorite date night spot so we go there as often as possible.

We love to park our car and stroll through the neighborhoods with our camera in tow.

It doesn’t feel like we’re in the hustle and bustle of Orlando when we’re in Winterpark.
It feels like we’re back in small town USA.

We also love Winterpark because they have a fabulous farmer’s market.
(a whole other post coming soon!)

I love the cobblestone streets…

I was so thrilled when I began my obsession with blogging about 18 months ago to find a lady that shares my same love of finding beautiful homes and taking pictures of them.
I think she refers to it as drive-bys.

This amazing blog gives all of us a chance every single Tuesday to find something in our lives that inspires us. This week, I’m especially reminded of how blessed I am to have a place like Winterpark
where I can park my car, walk with my husband, and take pictures of places that inspire me something fierce.

Breezi - Okay. If I wasn’t a little obsessed with your life already I really am now. Seriously. SO glad you’re blogging. Now I can keep up with you. Reading it makes me feel like it’s virtual couch time. LOVE!!!

Just a lass hiking with Jesus - What beautiful homes. Love photographing architecture.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room - Oh my goodness, I am LOVING that drive by. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! What a gorgeous neighborhood, I would spend every waking moment drooling there :-)

Thanks for inviting me over and CONGRATS on starting your own blog! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!

Your family is lovely, you are blessed!


Kim - Oh how I love warm breezes, spanish moss and cobblestone streets… Beautiful!

emily - woo hoo! You did it! So glad you figured it out :)

KarenSue - Hi Tara! You choose a great place to live. I have lived here for a long time. I have always loved Winter Park and old Orlando. I love to drive thru the old neighborhoods and forget about all the new growth.
Welcome to blogland! I’ll put you on my ever so long blog list. This is why I get nothing done. Maybe I’ll see you sometime walking down the street!

ann marie - What a beautiful neighborhood. The older neighborhoods always have so much charm and character. Thanks for the drive-by!

Misti of Studio M Designs - Hi Tara- Welcome to glorious blogland! I happen to live in North Georgia, and also have family in Winterpark! How cool is that? What beautiful homes. Thanks for sharing them with us. I have been on a little blogging break trying to finish up a class (and new career) but can’t wait to get back to meeting more new people! I saw your post on The Inspired Room and just HAD to check you out. Anyone that Melissa recommends is always worth checking out.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! - Hey….welcome to the blogworld! WinterPark IS gorgeous! The homes, the lakes, the shopping.

Enjoy every moment exploring your new corner of the world!

Cha Cha - Spanish moss makes my heart sing. From one north Georgia to another, Welcome to blogging. I just started myself about two months ago and am loving gatting to know new people with like interest and beliefs. We will be in your area in the near furture visiting thatt mouse and hope the weather is warmer and dryer there, beacause all you have missed here since September is rain, let me tell you there is a drought no more. Can’t wait to get to know you better, will be following you.

Cha Cha

Between You and Me - Hey friends…new and old! I am so thrilled to be in blogland…I LOVE it!!!

Thanks for all of your encouragement!! And a SHOUT OUT to Melissa over at The Inspired Room for her absolute kindness to share about my humble, new blog on her ..ummmm, lets just say it, FAMOUS blog. :)

My kids think I’ve officially lost my mind this morning….they have no idea what a blog is or why I have one, but they are thrilled to see me jumping for JOY.

Pinky - What a beautiful family you have ! And a big welcome to blogland (even though I don’t have a blog) HA HA!!!! LOVE this drive by, I LOVE Fl. too, wish we had a place there! We are in Pa. waiting right now for a foot or more of SNOW!!!! I hate winters:):) Wishing I was in Fl. but TRYING to bloom where I am planted:):) XO, Pinky

burlap + blue - What lovely, lovely homes with a wealth of character! Thanks for sharing, and welcome to blog-land!!:)

brlracincwgrl - What a lovely neighborhood you live in! :).

Janine Robinson - Those are such beautiful pictures. When my sister and I visited the U.S. we loved spending time walking around the quiet neighborhoods taking pics. It brings back a flood of precious memories. Glad I “bumped into you” today. Janine

Janet - Beautiful drive-by; it inspires me to:

a) do one of my own again as soon as the weather improves (3 months maybe?)

b) make my first trip to Florida sometime soon


{The Classy Woman} - I found your blog via The Inspired Room. When I saw the post’s header photo there, it immediately reminded me of Winter Park. I live in Orlando too, I moved here over 3 years ago and live 10 mins from WP also. My hubby and I also really like spending time there and I always enjoy lunch and a good window shopping session on Park Ave. :)

It’s nice to meet a fellow Orlandonian in the blogosphere! I like your family photo at the top of your blog.

Lisa - As I sit here in Virginia watching the snowfall outside, your blog reminds me to search for beauty in every moment and every place. Thank you for sharing the warmth of your spirit and beautiful sights of Winterpark

DanaMc - Found your blog via The Inspired Room. Very lovely photos. Keep writing.

Betsy - Inspired room mentioned your blog, and so glad because the photos are beautiful. My husband is from West Palm with family there we visit yearly, also Jupiter Fl.
In case you haven’t been to St. Augustine, please go, another pretty area and spanish moss dripping from the trees, also the fort and lots of history.
We are in Va. and I am really kinda wanting to make a move to Fl., different lifestyle, could get used to it real fast.
Take care and I know you are enjoying the weather.

Katie - That’s a beautiful neighborhood…great “drive-by!” ;o) Your family is beautiful, and Mr. Ferocious is positively precious! (I actually live in Georgia, north of Atlanta….found you through The Inspired Room…)

Mrs.Rabe - We used to live in Sanford! I love Winter Park – it was a fun place to go shopping, window and otherwise with my friend and our kids in tow, and a great date place with my husband. It was so fun to see it on your blog.

I came by after seeing the link on Melissa’s blog!

Megan - Found you through Melissa at the inspired room…had to stop and say hello because I grew up in Orlando (Dr. Phillips area), and my husband grew up right there in the Winter Park area. We are now south of Tampa but we love going back there and walking the streets as well! Good luck with your transition!


Tammy @ - I just found your blog via the Inspired Room and just had to stop by. We used to live in downtown Orlando and I recognize quite a few of these homes! Enjoy Winter Park! We are now in Windermere and love it but I do miss all of the great old houses and being close to Park Avenue! Maybe we will take a drive this weekend…

Best wishes and welcome to blogland!


Just me - Awwww….you bring me back memories. I am from Winter Park. We lived there for 18 yrs. Now, we are in Philadelphia, PA. Great city, but, nothing like Winter PArk. Thanks for sharing!

Dianne - Love the neighborhood. Don’t blame you a bit, I would date there too. it doesn’t even look like Florida!!!

Carolyn - Welcome to blogland and thanks for the lovly drive by-I love those homes!


Char - Ohh I grew up around there – Winter Park is awesome, and I used to go to that farmer’s market at the old depot before it got really big. I loved it too. Have you taken the boat tour yet? You’d love that – you get to see the back yards too! It’s a ‘float by’ :)
Also – check out College Park – awesome homes and brick streets too. I love living where I do now, but thank you for the stroll through one of my favorite places in Florida! It brought back memories of shopping & lunching on Park Ave…sweet memories!

Ruth MacC - I am looking forwards to visiting your blog agian and seeing Orlando through ‘Irish Eyes’

A Life In Focus Photography - what beautiful houses!

gina - I love those homes you posted. I’d have never pictured FL with streets/neighborhoods like that.

The Kramer Angle - I love those houses! And I’m so glad I found your blog!

laura - Found your blog via The Inspired Room. GREAT drive by and your family is adorable!

Julie - I’m here from Inspired Room – it’s nice to “meet” you! You have a beautiful family!

Playing Sublimely - Melissa sent me ;)…things are lovely over here and I have a sister who lives near Athens in GA and you are right…its a great place. Nice to meet you!

Tricia - As soon as I saw the pic on The Inspired Room, I thought, that looks like Winter Park! (I live in W.P.) Welcome to blogland!

Kristi - WOW!! Love that you posted this drive-by!!! I have been AGONIZING over exteriors because we are building our new home. And this ROCKS! Thanks so much! Glad to “meet” you and hope you’ll stop by as well :)

Charm and Grace - Hi Tara! I came by after seeing your picture on Melissa’s Inspired Room post. Your drive-by was fabulous!! We visit FL most every year, so will have to see if we can get to Winterpark. It’s lovely. And, I am also a homeschooling mom.


Kathy - Beautiful homes. Thanks for the inspirational pictures. The architecture is lovely, and the landscapes help get me through the midwinter blues.

Hill upon Hill - I think it is wonderful to find a little spot that is more cosy and village like in atmosphere. I have a spot near us here in Sydney that I love!

Mary - I do the same thing! I often wonder what the homeowners think when they seems some girl with a big black camera to her face taking photos all around their neighborhood. I keep waiting for a police car to pull up behind me! ;o) Thanks for sharing…the photos are lovely. I can’t wait to visit Winterpark next time I am in Orlando. ~mary~

The Brick Cottage - I love Winterpark! I lived in Orlando for four years and this time of year I really miss it. Don’t miss the Winterpark Art Festival that’s held every spring–it is amazing! And Rollins campus is so beautiful, too. There’s a really great neighborhood off of E. Kaley Ave, too. I don’t know the name of it but it’s a large neighborhood with cobble stone roads as well–make sure to do a drive by (it’s around Lake Lancaster)!

Jancey Craig - We live close to Winter Park, I love these homes. I was down there last week and saw some “For Sale” signs, I was tempted to look at the price tags, but then again I think I’d just rather not know! We’ve lived here for 5 years and I’m still trying to get used to it. I love the Mary Elgelbreit quote. I need to put that somewhere in my house so I see it everyday.
Hope to see more drive-bys soon.

Deborah - We sound like we have alot in common!
I love doing this too, although Im not in Winter sounds so lovely…

With all my heart…Deborah xo

Mobile Homes - everything in life is temporary. live with the change. great post!Macomb Home Builder

Beth - This so crazy! Me, my mother and my sisters do this ALL the time!!!! Looking at houses is our most favorite thing to do! Loved looking at all your picture pictures:)

Patti Bee - Thanks for the memories…we used to live in Winter Springs and we’d often drive to Winter Park and dream of living there one day in one of those beautiful houses. Oh, well wasn’t meant to be…

melissa - I am just seeing this post (a friend of paige!) .. Living here in Winter Park (for 26 years now) I am very familiar with all of these houses, some are neighbors to me and I even know the families that live in 3 of these homes!
Love you blog!!

emily anderson - okay, winterpark is our absolute favorite as well!
if we didn’t feel the need to live so close to my husbands work, we would move there in a heartbeat.

pensjonat frua - Beautiful houses:)