Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Little Birds

I have been seeing little birds on everything, and I am loving it!

From little lovebird necklaces, to birds on pillows, wallpaper, art, and clothing - I can't escape these little guys, and I don't want to!  I want to find some little birds to bring into my life now too!

This print from made me laugh out loud

This mini bird from shoptalkbuzz is made of repurposed old maps!

Owl photograph - Intelligent Design - Fine art bird photograph - Nature photography - Bird in pale winter ivory white
Still so in love with this crazy owl off Etsy
Decorative Designer Pillow Cover-Thomas Paul Aviary in Tangerine-16"x16"
Cool graphic throw pillow from Etsy
vintage bird pillow
Etsy scores again - this would look fabulous on our bed!

birds on a wire ... just bought these!
Etsy Newspaper Prints - hang these in a series for a dramatic effect

Bird necklace, $24
Etsy wins again with this adorable (and affordable) charm necklace

bird necklace
Etsy birthstone charm necklace

love bird
I love this design for notecards and invitations via ohthelovelythings
Bird love!
Cool brushed bronze mirror
bird lamp

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be Brave with Prints

Wild but Classy
Photo courtesy of
In the past, I have definitely taken some decorating risks.

Proof? Growing up I was very into purple... my room reflected that.  Purple curtains, bedding, sheets.  My mom and I went to town at Laura Ashley, and not only did I go purple, I mixed prints.  Purple pansy comforter, with purple gingham sheets, with a light lavender crocheted throw.  I loved that bedding, and lived with it until I was in college.  Yeahhhh...

Flash forward several more years, after moving to San Francisco after graduation from UCSB, my roommate and I decided it would be a grand idea to paint our living room orange.  After choosing a color, we decided a faux-finish would be fun.  And so we faux-finished the living room "burnt pumpkin" - OH YES WE DID!  It was glorious... my friend still lives there with her boyfriend, and our "living room" is now their dining room, and it's still orange.  Turns out, Home Depot brand paint does not fade quickly.

This brings me to present day - I've been making some "safer" choices (aka thinking my choices through a bit more), but my biggest fear is that our home will be boring.  I've seen so many overly tasteful homes where there is no flair... just beige everywhere... woof!  This is why I've decided to practice being brave with prints. A room does not have to be faux-finished a vibrant shade of orange to make a statement.  you can easily make a statement with a muted color palette, but you have to make a conscious effort to use patterns.

While an Ikat patterned chair does not seem especially practical... it is!  And why not?!  Take out the chevron love seat, and substitute in a gorgeous creme colored velvet sofa.  It still works!  As long as you love the pattern long enough to live with it for a few years, I say seize the day!  Go for it!

So here we go - I've exercised my mind, and put together an inspiration board based on patterns - lots of them.  I've chosen a muted palate of dove grey, taupe, yellow and gold (sounds strange, but I think it works).  Mixing in earthy touches balances the patterns, and somehow comes together for a eclectic yet classic look (I'm pretty sure that "classic eclectic" was not a category, but it is now).

Take a look:

The best part?  About 90% of everything on this board was from Target... oh yeah... design on a dime!  Here's the where to buy guide:

Miles of Light Photography - via Etsy 
Assorted ceramic vases - Target online

 *Each sold separately

Arched Floor Lamp 
Ikat Slipper Chair 
Unavailable Online 
Owl Lamp 
Trellis Rug 

Winter Showers bring Spring Flowers

Cherry Blossom Walk, Sakura, Japan
The forecast here is dark and gloomy... rain and more rain for the next several days.  So sad after the amazing warm weather last week!

I am a very sad girl over this...

The Tale of the Quatrefoil Mirror

Photo courtesy of jpmdesign
This is a long story so grab a cup of coffee... it will may be a while.

It starts with my love of this room, that mirror, and Target (pronounced Tar-shay... it's french). This store continues to amaze me... its huge - the frozen food is a few aisles over from shoes which is a few aisles over from makeup which is a few aisles over from toilet cleaner which is a few aisles over from home home decor... it's awesome.  Each time I come out with a new bikini, a plunger, candle sticks, and a bag of Doritos (for the ride home, obviously), or some combination eerily similar to that.

And can we give props to their inventory department? Everything is continually updated, which on one hand is great because there is always something new, exciting, and fun.  Unfortunately, things sell fast, so if you don't snap something up while you are there, someone else will.  This is where my story of the quatrefoil mirror starts...

A few weeks back, while browsing the home goods department for fun, I spotted a fabulous quatrefoil mirror hanging among the picture frames.  "Twenty bucks?" I thought... "Great deal!"  But alas, Kris has me on a "budget" and so, in an attempt to be good, I thought, "This will still be here a few weeks from now.  I'll sleep on it, and I'm still wanting it, I'll go back for it."  TERRIBLE IDEA!  Damn budget!

Who knew this mirror was in such high demand?!  Over the weekend, I headed back to Target to pick up three of the quatrefoil mirrors to hang above our bed.  What did I find? Empty shelves.  Some sneaky bargain hunters had beat me out!  "Deep Breaths" I thought... "I'll find it online."  And what did I find?  A whole lot of nothing.  I turned to eBay, Amazon, random Google searches and what did I find??  Super expensive mirrors identical to the one I passed up at Target!  Dah!

$150 on Ebay
$60 from Lowes
$229 Ballard Designs
$385 Amazon
$329 Shades of Light


I am a resilient girl... I picked myself off the floor after 2 good hours of crying, and picked up the phone.  I called Target headquarters.  A very pleasant woman with a southern accent picked up, and I calmly described the mirror.  She said "Oh honey, we have a lot of mirrors that look like that across our stores... can you be more specific?"  Um... it was around twenty dollars?

Apparently that tidbit of detail helped, because 30 seconds later, we had a sku number, and she was listing off stores that showed availability.  Each store showed that they had one left.  Oh man, my work was cut out for me.  Sneaking out of work a bit early last night, I headed to the first Target.  None.  Next Target... they had one - SCORE!  Next target SCORE - they had one too!  Next Target?  Bust. It was 9:00 at night, I had already been to four Target stores, I was hungry and annoyed, but I just needed one more and I was home-free. I think someone in the heavens was rooting for me, because at my fifth store, I won.

Game over, mirrors acquired.

Along with the mirror I left with two blue and white chevron pillows, a sweet little scroll pattern breakfast tray, a new bikini, the DVD box set of Mad Men, and some girl scout cookies... just to show Kris what he can do with his "budget".

Rent the Runway

This site has blown up in the past year, and while I have yet to use it, all my friends have been saying FABULOUS things about it forever.  With my twenty-eighth birthday just around the corner, I think this might be the time to test it out.  In short the concept is: pick an occasion where you want to look jaw-droppingly stunning, rent a dress, pay 10% of the full price, no penalty for damages, cleaning, etc.

Not too shabby when they are offering up Zac Posen, Herve Leger, Halston Heratage, Badgley Mischka... you get the idea.  My birthday is just about two weeks away, and so I have some serious decisions to make... I've narrowed it down from about 40 options to about 7... not bad.

Variations of Sweet and Flirty:

Sassy Versions of the Carrie Dress

Something a Little Sexier

So each category is pretty different, right?  One is more demure, one screams I'm going to party my way from 27 to 28, and the third is somewhere in the middle.  All the dresses have great reviews, so I am really torn.  Perhaps I should do two?  Oh the woe's of trying to stick to my "budget".

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Redesign: New Blog Header

So, I've been logging some serious hours re-designing my blog header.  While I loved the greek key's, I realized that it was so similar to several other blogs that I had seen, and as frustrating as it was to head back to the drawing board... it was a must.

Take a look at the finalized iterations that have gone live on the blog - oh how they have evolved!

Aside from fully overhauling the header, I also went to work on the fonts, colors, and blog backgrounds.  I still loved the burnt coral I had before for the links and titles so that stayed.  I've also been harboring an unhealthy obsession for navy, so I've decided to keep those bold accents within the right hand navigation menu.  Outside of that, everything changed from the font, to the font sizes, to the template, to the shading, to the width... oye vey!  I picked a dark grey/blue color for the gutters (is that the word for it?) because it reminded me of dusk.  An easy decision, but I needed to find a complimentary color for the header that didn't clash with all the other colors.  A Grey header felt drab and too matchy-matchy, and burnt umber was overkill... WAY too much orange.  After many MANY versions, I settled on the lovely aqua trellis pattern with a muted navy stripe.

I am happy with it for now.  I think the aqua compliments the coral (aqua and coral... after so much talk about it, I couldn't resist), and it brightens up the whole page.  A little fading here, a little shadow there, and a little reflection to give it some personality...  Give it another few weeks, and I'm sure that I will have tweaked it some more.  As in life, nothing is ever "perfect" or "finished"... it's always a work in progress!

Dreamy Photography: Paris

Paris Photograph, Laduree Shop Sign, Macarons, Mint, Pistachio, Green, Pastel, Romantic, Feminine - Sugar, Sugar
Photos courtesy of Eye Poetry Photography
While I am still 100% in love with the Paris prints I ordered from Etsy, I am re-thinking these prints for the bedroom.  I truely believe that the bedroom should be a sanctuary that prepares you for sleep - keep TV to a minimal, maintain soft colors etc. While these prints are not "loud" and I am not shrouding the room in red, I worry that these pops of bright color will derail the soothing vibe I want to keep.

I mentioned before that the rest of the house stays within taupes, tans, greys, and blues... and one of my favorite photographers (in fact the very one who snapped the "red" portraits of Paris) has added to her gallery, and there are some dreamy photos with blue's and soft colors, soft focus lenses, and its all dreamy loveliness.  So pretty.  I think they are keepers, and I think my bedroom vision is about to change!
Folie - Paris Photograph, Versailles Detail, Romantic, Feminine, Robins Egg Blue, Gold, Home Decor

Le Petit Zinc - Paris Photograph, St Germain Des Pres, Cafe, Bistro, Chairs, Home Decor, Fine Art Print

Rococo - Versailles Door, Paris Photograph, Pastel, Shabby Chic, Romantic, Feminine, Baroque, Renaissance, Baby Blue, Spring Home Decor

Chandelier photograph, Paris - The Secret History -  Versailles, Hall of Mirrors, France, French Style, Glamour

Speaking of Paris... city of lights... Kris and I watched Midnight in Paris this weekend.  While I enjoyed it, I wasn't in love with the plot, however, it made me want to go to Paris so bad, it hurts!  Kris and I have been talking about planning our vacation this year, and I think Paris just flew to the top of the list.

I've only been there once, and it was in the dead of winter.  I brought my warmest coat, but being from California, I clearly had no idea what to expect.  It was bone chillingly cold - the coldest wind you can imagine!  Dark gray skies... very moody.  At the time, I was backpacking through Europe with my best friend Kira, and despite our strict budget, we ended up ducking into lot's of overpriced cafe's to warm up.

Our trip through Paris is actually pretty laughable, but it's another story for another time.

Now, to start work on a new vision for our bedroom!

Dream Engagement Ring

Dream ring!

Isn't this ring stunning... I mean STUNNING?!  Love!

Clearly I've got rings on the mind.  It's odd - I go through phases where I don't think about it, and then this wave of engagement fever hits! What's a girl to do?!  Clearly, a girl is to indulge in her obsessions a bit.

Over the past year, my tastes in rings have changed, and changed again... and changed again, but I think I've reached a point where I've settled on two engagement ring types that I love:
    - Ideal #1: Classic...
    - Ideal #2: Classic... with a twist

Ideal #1: Classic
What could be more classic than a round solitaire?  A round diamond has several benefits - one, the way the facets are cut, round diamonds outshine all other diamond shapes, proving to be the most sparkly...  awesome... what else?  Round diamonds also offer the largest surface area per carat of all cuts.  Super awesome!  As a girl who loves everything that glitters, would I settle for a plain band?  Of course not - so there it is... round diamond on a micropave diamond band. Simple, elegant, timeless, and yet... it brings a wow factor that is hard to beat!

         Classic Round Solitaire with micropave band:

Ideal #2: Classic with a Twist
Ok, I might need another cup of coffee on this sleepy Monday morning, but I swear this is a category!  I am not talking contemporary settings.  On the contrary, this "classic with a twist" is actually a blend of contemporary diamond cutting and vintage styles (halo settings actually became popular in the 1920's and 30's when glamorous art-deco aesthetic dominated the day).  Becoming popular again, I have sort of fallen in love with the revamped micropave halo setting.  I love them to frame either a very symmetrical cushion cut diamond, or a round stone.  As opposed to the more ornate vintage styles, I am drawn to the cleaner more contemporary halo's, thus the classic... with a twist... ha!

         Round Micropave Halo:
         dream ring.
         My dream engagement ring :)

Cushion Micropave Halo:
         LOVE LOVE LOVE!
         Cushion Cut Micro Pave Engagement Rings Ideas images

So there we have it... a bit of diamond porn to start your week off!  And for any men looking for engagement ring inspiration and / or advice, print out this post, take it to a jeweler and start pricing these babies out!