Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Years Eve!!

Are you ready for NYE??  Staying in or going out??  

We are headed out for a big night on the town - drinks and dinner with a big group of friends at this fabulous restaurant called Marlowe.  The SF 7x7 Magazine has their burger on their 2012 list of "Things to Eat Before you Die" and it looks like I'll be able to cross it off just in time before they come out with their 2013 list!  Ha!  

Post dinner, we'll be dancing 2012 away to a fun 80's cover band, Tainted Love.  If you live in the Bay Area, chances are you've heard of them. It's going to be an absolute blast, and of course I'm going all out with big blown out hair, fake lashes, and a sparkly dress.

Goodbye 2012, and cheers to a FABULOUS 2013!  Get those New Years resolutions ready!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas House

I cleaned our house today, finally putting away all the Christmas gifts, recycling all the boxes we don't have storage for, and dusting off all the crumbs that have accumulated over the last few days.  We've got cookies, candies, and sweets up the wazoo, and it seems we've made it a personal mission to finish every last treat... thus the crumbs!

Anyway, the light was so pretty, I decided to get out the good camera, and snap some shots of our Christmas house this year...

This photo was taken from the archway between the living room and the dining room.  As much as these two love seats have bugged me since we moved in, they don't grate on my nerves nearly so much with a few pretty throw pillows.  For winter, we've got some white faux fur in the mix, along with the navy and gold floral pattern, and some neutral linen.

Taking these pictures, I realized that I haven't documented our house much since we got this rug.  One of my new years resolutions will to be better about that, and this is the start.

Notice how the faux fur throw I got from Cost Plus has made a home for itself on the wicker chair?  This chair bugs me to no end, so I guess I figured covering it up with cozy blankets would solve that?  No idea, but we now refer to this chair as the abominable snowman, since it looms in that corner fairly ominously...

For all it's modern lines, Kris' black love seat somehow blends in more to me with that snazzy striped throw blanket - $30 from Ikea - heck yeah!!

And here is our pretty tree.  Kris keeps saying it's the prettiest tree in the world.  He's a keeper.

It really does look nice with a mix of new and old.  I have my favorite old ornamants I've collected over the years, with some bright colorful  balls from Target (I am loving those hot pink and lime green ones), along with our new tree topper (which is crooked in this picture... dang it!)

So, it's clear to me that I need to figure how to work our camera in manual, since this shot above is way overexposed.  I could not figure out how to capture the tree, and the room, at the same time since the sunlight was streaming through the windows.

Ohh well - possibly another resolution for 2013... figure out how to take better pictures.

Now don't make fun of me, those presents are not actually presents...  I wrapped the boxes our ornaments get stored in.  Yup - we have ZERO storage for these, so since they were in plain sight, I wrapped them to camouflage their function.  I don't know about you, but I thought I was pretty clever!

And I couldn't resist a close shot of my pretty white roses.  We had some deep red roses here a few weeks back, but I am loving the white just as much.  Also, I am loving how I was able to get a little bokeh effect going on with the lights on the tree.  Holla!

Target is seriously my favorite place on earth.  The faux amaryllis bulb AND that feather tray were both huge scores from Target - the feather tray was on sale for $9.99 last week, and a quick note on the fake flowers... they look so real in person, I've had several people ask how I was able to grow them.  Kind of amazing...

Finally, our desk got a few small additions - these birch wrapped bark candles are pretty and wintery, and I plan on keeping them around through February.

Pottery barn sells them for an arm and a leg, but Cost Plus has them for cheap!  Run and get them before they are gone!



Also, this candle got a little greenery from a tree that blew down during a storm earlier this month.  Luckily, the branches and leaves dried out perfectly, and retained their green color.

This tray had lived on the coffee table for a long time, but moved over to the side table next to the TV - it got a little snowflake wrapping paper on the bottom to Christmasify it (new word?), and the vase on it was stuffed with faux berry branches.

I was never fully happy with this little area, but it does the trick.  I still want a taller table to go here - perhaps that's why I think it looks odd...

I took this photo standing in front of the tree looking back at the gallery wall that never happened (remember this ambitious post??).  I was gung ho about the gallery wall for about a week, and then I chickened out! We still have all the art and frames I'd assembled sitting in a little stack, but I just can't pull the trigger.

I've been toying with the idea of hanging two larger frames here, so it's less manic and crowded.  First I'll need to find some frames, and then some art that I love...

For now, these three black and white (and crooked) frames will have to stay.  It's not THAT bad... right?

This little guy is one of my favorite holiday additions to our space - he is jaunty, and so cute, just chilling below some mistletoe that hangs from the inside of a lamp.

God that crackle finish kills me on the lamp... the faux finish is just gross, but it stays for now.  Perhaps some rubbed bronze spray paint is in that lamp base's future?  Or should we get crazy and throw some navy in the mix there??

And finally the Christmas card display... I really debated not adding this picture since it's not the best execution of an idea.  I was trying to make a tree shape out of the cards we received... a glorious idea I saw on Pinterest.  Whelp... I'd pretty much call this a Pinterest fail.

I'll still give myself an A for effort, but we'll have to find a different way to display the cards next year...

So that's it - a quick recap of all the simple Christmas Decorations we had this year in the living room - and don't forget the pretty boxwood wreath we have hanging in the dining room, or the Christmas ornament garland I made for our hallway.

Cheers to the last few days of Christmas decorations!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Faux Fur - Three Ways


Everyone has an opinion on faux fur, and I for one happen to love it.  I don't have the heart (or the money) to invest in real fur, and there is something so cozy AND chic about it in the winter.

If I were to try and describe my style in a nutshell, it would say that I go for feminine tailored pieces with classic lines, pops of color, and a few "fashion-y" statement pieces mixed in.  My style icons are Jackie O, Miranda Kerr, Kate Spade, and Victoria Beckham.  I rarely go for the overly blousy, off the shoulder tops, or the boho-chic look - regardless of how much I admire it on others - but this new year, I am going to step out of my comfort zone, and take on faux fur.  A faux fur vest to be precise.

I think if styled correctly, it can work for many occasions, and while definitely on the edgy side of style, I think I can work it into my wardrobe, with the staples I already love to wear.

For Work:
Faux Fur I

Carven sheer long sleeve blouse, $710 / MNG by Mango fake fur vest / True Religion slim fit jeans / KORS Michael Kors high heels / Mulberry zippered tote bag / Juicy Couture swarovski crystal jewelry / Dorothy Perkins two tone earrings / NARS Cosmetics , $31

Grabbing a pair of black skinny jeans, and a soft brown silk blouse will make this dressy enough for work, but comfy enough to run around the office and meet clients for lunch.  The booties will keep my toes warm, and a big bowler or tote will hold all my stuff.  I'm all about simple accessories for daytime, and light pink lips will be flattering on pale winter skin.

For Weekends:
Faux Fur Vest II

Abercrombie & Fitch embroidered shirt / MNG by Mango faux fur vest / Topshop tall jeans / Minnetonka moccasin / Steve Madden / Rebecca Minkoff collar jewelry / Marie Chavez / MICHAEL Michael Kors leather jewelry

Flannel is bigger now than it was in the 90's, and since it's tailored - not grunge - it would be perfect with jeans, and flat moccasins to look pulled together while running errands or hanging out with friends.  I love that a few layered chains dress things up, and a studded bag keeps it from looking too "back-woods".

For Evenings:
Fur Vest III

T By Alexander Wang long sleeve blouse, $325 / MNG by Mango faux fur vest / Topshop faux leather pants / Kate Spade high heel shoes / Coast gold handbag, $65 / Amrita Singh / Teardrop earrings / Warehouse leopard print belt, $29

Keep the underpinnings simple and black.  Faux leather (stretch) leggings dress things up, and simple black silk blouse (with a few buttons left undone) sex it up a little.  Belt the vest with a little leopard belt, and break out some killer pumps and accessories.  This is perfect for date night and bar hopping in the frigid weather.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Dish

Have you ever had Cacio e Pepe??  It's a super traditional Italian pasta dish, and incredibly easy to make.  It also happens to be one of my favorite go-to's because it requires so few ingredients - chances are you have all these ingredients waiting to go in your pantry right now.  

Cacio e Pepe literally means cheese and pepper, so if you plan on making this, splurge for the best ingredients you can, since all the flavors will stand out.

This dish is from Bon Appetit, and will not disappoint!  Enjoy!!

  Kosher salt
  6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cleaning out the Christmas Clutter

Well... ALMOST...  I can't bear to take down our tree just yet!!

Growing up, I'd get so sad every year after Christmas.  After all the excitement, the holiday was over, and all our pretty Christmas decorations would get put away.  My mom would opt for really simple, clean, white decor, and I thought it looked stark and bare in contrast to all the garlands, ornaments, and lights.

As an adult, I get it now.  Out with the clutter, and in with the clean slate.  I think white is perfect for this purpose, and these rooms are fabulous, post-Christmas, "clean out the clutter and simplify" inspiration... Don't you think??

What could be better than a few graphic black and white throw pillows mixed in with a fuzzy blanket, cow hide, and lots and lots of white.  Nothing.  Nothing is better.

Look at those windows - amazing for letting in what winter light there is.  January still has short days, and the light is harsh, but all white really brightens up a space - even on a dreary day!

Ahh, the one random warm day we always get in January - after all this rain, I am looking forward to it, and a light white throw, and a beautiful white settee look both wintery and summery at the same time - all white perfection for any season!

Simple styling at it's best - I am (obviously) still very much into faux fur, so gotta get that in there... and some bare branches placed in a simple glass vase are pretty in this wintery room.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tracy Reese Dessert Plates

As I was running errands over the weekend, I stumbled into the Niemen Marcus for Target collection.  Um... AMAZING finds!  I pretty much had to pull myself away immediately before diving head first into the display!  The Marc Jacobs clutch??  Amazing!  The Rodarte ornament??  So lovely!  The Judith Leiber compact mirror?? Glitzy perfection! I wanted the Oscar de la Renta dog bowl (even though I don't have a dog), the Alice and Olivia striped luggage (so cute), and everything Altuzarra (cocktail shakers, tumblers, and tray).  I actually may go back for those!

I had to get out of there, but not before picking up a pack of the Tracy Reese dessert plates!  There are four in the set - each with a different pattern.

They are really so beautiful in person, and I feel extra fancy knowing that the gold rim is actually real gold!

The teal and navy is my favorite, but the gold and navy is a REALLY close second!

I went out and got the fixings for apple crisp to make as a surprise tonight for Kris, so we can put these plates to use!  I think I might run back and get another few sets as last minute gifts!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why is it so hard to find bedding?!

Our new bed is here!!! I swear I've never slept so well!  With the new (giant) bed in, and our old queen size mattress out it's time to decorate.  A few updates since my last bedroom post... remember these two bedding options?

OPTION I                                                                                    OPTION II

Well both of these are off the table!  Yes, OFF THE TABLE.

I thought I was ahead of the curve when I ordered a few options before the bed arrived.  Well life is never THAT easy.  Dah!! Damn online shopping!  Apparently bedding is one of those things you have to see and feel in real life.

Option I ended up being very "shiny".  There was metallic threads woven into the comforter, which ended up making it look (and feel) really cheap.  The pattern was pretty, and the colors were exactly as pictured, but it felt like some awful polyester blend.  Woof. Option II was pretty, but it didn't have the loft we were looking for.  Kris also felt the embroidered quilt was way too feminine.  Can't argue with him there!

Now I'm on the hunt for a duvet - I'm picking up a fluffy down comforter after Christmas, and with so many duvet options, I'm back to the drawing board!!

We'll definitely be sticking with light colors since our room doesn't get a ton of natural light during the day.

I've always admired the "Poetical" duvet set from Barbara Barry.  In person, the bedding is a true oatmeal color, and it comes with a pretty pale blue coverlet.  Let's be honest - I KNOW we are not going to have the comforter folded all pretty at the foot of the bed every day, so that pretty blue quilt underneath will most likely go unseen most of the time.  With all that oatmeal bedding, I worry that this will just be too much beige in a room of neutrals...

Moving on... I am still into the look of "hotel" bedding - a la Restoration Hardware.

I like how this bed below mixes in print with throw pillows - taking the really clean simple bedding, and adding some personality...


This bedroom uses part Barbara Barry Poetical, and part Restoration Hardware Hotel Bedding, with a headboard eerily similar to the one I'm about to attempt... fate?
click to view full size

Using fabric swatches from Lewis and Sheron, I put together a quick idea of a few prints that could compliment the hotel bedding:
Is black and yellow too much for a bedroom?  This color pallette is pretty far off from what I'd originally dreamed up for our home, but I like it...

Or what if we kept the bedding all white, and swapped in pillows with different patterns and colors... we could do blues

Grey and yellow... a less severe version of the yellow and black...

Or maybe lighter blues and neutrals... much closer to the original inspiration board I had been working on...

Clearly, I am totally lost and have no clue which direction to go with for bedding... so frustrating!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wall Trees

Living in San Francisco, these old apartments don't leave much space for Christmas decor, much less a beautiful, big Christmas tree.

Luckily, Kris and I have a large living room, and there is a perfect spot for the tree in the window, but a lot of my friends simply don't have a tree - which I find SO sad!  I couldn't imagine December without that lovely piney smell, and the soft glow of the fairy lights.  Especially since these are the shortest days of the year, I feel like I'm never even home when it's light outside anymore!

That said, I have seen so many ideas for wall trees that would be perfect for apartment living!  All of these temporary solutions to having a tree without ACTUALLY having a tree!

I love the rustic feel of this tree that uses old branches stacked vertically in a tree shape.  Small ornaments and fairy lights are pretty, and you'll hardly miss the real thing!

Or grab a can of paint, and free hand a Christmas tree right on the wall!  As long as you have the original room's paint color, it will take literally 10 minutes to paint back over it once the holidays are over - less time than packing up all those ornaments, right??

Gallery walls are a huge trend right now, so why not twist that idea, and make a gallery tree.  Use ornaments, magnets, small frames, and whatever else you have.  Keep it lightweight and you'll likely be able to use double sided tape for most of it, and small tacks for the rest!

Washi Tape - hard to find in normal stores, but easy to order online in plenty of patterns and colors.  It doesn't get more temporary (or easy) than this!  And how cute!

A few thin twigs, a few tacks, and some small Christmas ornaments are all you need to make this next wall tree! I love how this one leans over as though the ornaments are weighing it's wispy frame down.  How clever!

Hello there Chalkboard paint!  If you already have a chalkboard wall in your home, then you're pretty much set, but if not, it's kind of the perfect opportunity to jump on this bandwagon!  How sweet is this chalkboard tree?? (now if only I had that kind of artistic talent!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Heart Gloves

This is such a random thought, but aren't these just the sweetest gloves??

Yastikizi's Etsy Shop is full of handmade warm, cozy, nostalgic knit goods, and these gloves would make such a perfect gift!

I could imagine little girls running around with these, as easily as I could imagine myself rocking them on cold days (and nights)!

They also have versions with the finger tips cut off (convenient for texting - of course), and they come wrapped up with yarn, in these adorable bundles!

I heart them!