Haul Couture Cargo Bag
Haul Couture “Hedges” Cargo Bag

Well I am excited to be headed to my next adventure.  This involves a trip to Atlanta to the Design Blog Conference. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with these things before I even get to them.  I am so excited about all the things I hope to learn, the people I will meet, the exceptional presenters(Oh my gosh, I love Candice Olson and EVERYTHING she does, can’t wait, what if I met her, oh my), the sponsors, and blogging about it all.  Then my less confident side stresses me out.  Like questioning whether me and my tiny little blog should be making a presence there, deciding what I should take with me(cameras yes, laptop..not sure), what should I wear(I am an over packer), driving in Atlanta, check in isn’t until 3:00 and activities start at 12:00.  I guess you get the picture of the emotional highs and lows. 

My favorite travel companion and biggest supporter can’t make it with me this trip.  He will be greatly missed.  In his absence my new Haul Couture cargo bag will be my companion along for the ride.  I might even sit it in the passenger seat and talk to it and let it sing along with me to the radio to pass the time.

Haul Couture Red and Black Greek Key Pattern
Haul Couture Cargo Bag Folded Triangle Shape

I found out about these amazing bags from my big sister Rebecca, can’t wait to see which one she got, and a great shop in town Picket Fence.  Now that I have bought one and have done a little research on the company I realize that many of you may already know about these because they were included in Oprah’s March 2013 O list.  I was drawn to this particular bag because of it’s bold greek key pattern in bright red which is stylishly offset with black trim.  The real beauty of this product is the exceptional fabrics they are made of.  Offerings include a wide variety of styles.

Haul Coutre Hedges cargo bag square fold
Haul Couture Cargo Bag Square Fold

Versatility is a key element of the cargo bag.  It will fold flat for storage.  You can fold it in a triangle shape to make it smaller if you will not be filling it up.  With maximum capacity the shape is square and the top folds flat.  The bag is fully insulated which is how it got it’s start as a food transportation bag.  As interest in the bag grew consumers like me have bought them for travel and other things.  Actually I did not even realize that it was insulated when I bought it so I’m excited to have lots of uses for it.

Haul Couture Cargo bag with stacker trays
Cargo Bag and Stacker boards

It comes with two stacker boards that I will use to separate shoes, bathroom products, and clothes but could be used to separate drinks from snacks and paper goods.  The Spring 2014 collection includes the “Le Jardin” collection with beautiful fabrics inspired by some of the world’s most famous gardens.

Haul Courture Cargo Bag
Red Greek Key Haul Couture Cargo Bag

So here sits my travel companion.  Ready to be filled and join me on this trip to meet the “big dogs” in Atlanta.  Wish us well.  Don’t worry.  All my feelings of being overwhelmed will be gone in the morning when the car is packed, the cd player is full of good tunes, and my loved one gives me a kiss to send me on my way.   Those feelings will all be replaced with excitement about where the road leads.   –  Marianne

All photographs and content are property of Living With Color Designs

Bobby’s Bike Hike Little Rock 
After three days of seminars my husband thought it would be a nice treat to take me for an afternoon bike ride.  I was all up for a little exercise, fresh air, and soaking up some sunshine.
Our adventure started at Bobby’s Bike Hike where their friendly staff helped us chart a course with a map of the route, determine how long we thought we wanted to ride and fit us for a bike.

Map of the Arkansas River Trail
We were then introduced to Bruce (a girl’s bike) and Daisy (a guy’s bike). Water was purchased. I took five minutes going back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to use a helmet.  My husband was good with his baseball cap. I decided on having the wind in my hair since we would mostly be on the trail. Then we were off on our ride along the Arkansas River Trail.
Shortly after starting our ride we crossed this really cool bridge with sweeping views.  My picture is a little off tilt because I was adjusting to taking pictures while straddling a bike.
Views from the bridge on a beautiful blue sky day.

Along the way we enjoyed beautiful views of the river and encountered all types of wild life including cranes, squirrels and a beaver who was trying to cross the path and was very busy at his work.  He was crossing again on the way back.  We laughed that it was going to be a really big job for him to dam up that river.  I did notice a difference in the color of things we would encounter in Arkansas vs North Carolina.  The squirrels and the rocks tended to have more of a red shade here and at home they are more of a grey shade..


This was such a nice little adventure.  I was surprised how quickly I adapted to a bike after all these years.  Changing gears seems to go smoother on newer bikes.  I think two hours was a good start for us. The hardest part of the whole ride was getting back over that first bridge but I built up some speed, geared down a little, and kept peddling.  Ok, I almost made it to the top before I had to stop. All in all it was a lot of fun. I think this experience will have me checking out bike riding locations on future trips. 

Traveling and planning out ever moment sometimes leaves you tired and overwhelmed so on your next trip think about doing something a little unexpected or just something that has you slow down, breath deep,and just enjoy the beauty of the day.   –  Marianne

This quaint little hotel sets itself apart and begins to speak to you the moment you drive up and see the red awninged windows and colonnade facade.  My recent stay was a delight.  I have never said that I was in love with a hotel until now and I am in love with this one. They provide the ultimate in service all wrapped in a beautifully designed environment.

A colonnade and flower boxes adorn the facade of The Capital Hotel in Little Rock.

Step inside the door to begin enjoying it’s Southern style and comfort.  The interior has been updated through the years to accommodate our modern day sensibilities but remains true to it’s Southern heritage and it’s original traditional design.

The lobby has changed little through the years and is covered by a beautiful stained glass ceiling that creates a warmth in the space and highlights its grandness.

The tile floors are also original to the hotel and the pattern was actually replicated in different colors in each of the downstairs rooms.  Some rooms have now been covered by carpet.
A key element of the design of the hotel are the “marble” columns and capitals which are actually hand crafted faux marble crafted to replicate the original columns.
A wide staircase leads to the Mezzanine which includes a sitting parlor and connecting balcony. An elevator is also available which also boast a unique history.
Fresh flowers great you daily on the stair landing.
The sitting parlor at the capital hotel provides a great place to relax and socialize.
The balcony is a delight and a great place to hang out day or night.  We took full advantage of this outdoor offering.

 Rooms at the Capital Hotel offer floor to ceiling windows, 14′ ceilings, fresh flowers, and a ‘subway tiled’ shower and bathtub.  The nightly turn down service was something to look forward to and usually included a nice sweet treat.  Be sure to eat at the two restaurants located in the hotel.  I ordered the fried catfish and cornbread at The Capital Bar and Grill more than once during our stay.  As I stated we fell in love with this hotel so don’t hesitate to stay here on your next visit to Little Rock.

Happy Travels   –  Marianne

All content and photographs are property of Living With Color Designs

Today I thought I would share pictures of some of the beautiful iron work I saw in Charleston.  It is everywhere you look.  Styles vary widely  from simple geometric shapes to intricate detailed designs.  Iron work lends interest and beauty to what ever space it frames.

Love everything about this, the iron on the windows, the ivy and brick, and the beautiful iron gate.  Perfect.

Learn about the renowned Charleston blacksmith Philip Simmons.  He fashioned more than 500 decorative pieces of ornamental wrought iron.

Are you envisioning where you can add some wrought iron?  I know I am.     –  Marianne

All pictures re property of Living With Color Designs

Charleston is an amazing city. Rich with history and culture, vibrant and stimulating, offering an endless supply of things to see and do. This trip reminded me of where my love of wrought iron, architectural detail, shutters, and neatly manicured courtyards came from. I first visited Charleston when I was in college and my interior design class traveled from the mountains of NC to experience the design influences offered by Charleston SC.

Today I thought I would share some of the beautiful pictures I took in Historic Downtown Charleston.

Beautiful dentil molding softened with a curving arch combined with a lions head door knocker creates an inviting entrance.

Love the color of these carriage house doors and the contrast of the wrought iron hinges.
Verandas or “piazzas” on every floor who would not love that?
Colorful row of Charleston Single Houses. An architectural style only one room wide with the narrow end facing the street. Designed to help cross ventilation before there was air conditioning.
Two Meeting Street Inn according to our tour guide the land was a gift from a father to a daughter and her new husband. She was instructed to build what ever she wanted and this is what she built. His home is down the street, the Calhoun Mansion.

The Calhoun Mansion is open for tours and truly a masterpiece. The entrance is breathtaking.


Intricate iron work is one of my favorite things to see in Charleston.
One of the many steeples you can see in the “holy city” of Charleston.
It was difficult choosing from the many pictures that I took. I hope you liked what I picked. I get so inspired by great architecture. If you have never been to Charleston I hope you will plan a trip and get there someday. You will not regret it. As I said it is an amazing city. – Marianne