Friday, November 30, 2012

It's the Little Things...

Still in the spirit of Thanksgiving, one of my non-new years resolutions is to be thankful every day, and find joy in the little things in life... after all, sometimes the little things, are the best things....

This week I've been thankful for...

1. A brisk walk with this little pup.
He is my wing man at work, and I like to take him out for walks during lunch.  Can you imagine a better mid-day pick me up than this little guy??

2. The night lights in my pretty city

3. Red lipstick
There is nothing easier to make you feel pulled together when heading out to an impromptu after work dinner...

4. My new booties with a pretty lace skirt 
Do I even need to explain why this makes me happy??

5. The fall colors of the trees near my parents house
This is one of the things I miss the most about autumn.

Tory Burch Resort 2013 is Here!!!

Was anyone else as excited as I was this morning to flip through the Tory Burch 2013 Resort Lookbook???

The looks are preppy... bohemian... retro... classic.  It's all this and more!!

I am absolutely dying over these patterned peddle pushers above with the white crochet sweater.  And that full skirted sun-dress??  The studded belt gives it a modern edge, but the cut is lady-like all the way.  Doesn't it look really similar to the Louis Vuitton dress Miranda Kerr wore here??  So pretty!

The shifts and caftans are flattering on most shapes, and I love the simple color pallette Tory went with.  It's fresh and pretty, but easy to wear.  Everyone looks good in navy!

I am LOVING the super low v-neck dress.  It's actually a wrap which is incredibly flattering for cinching in the waist, and the striped pants would really elongate the legs.  I am so excited to try some things on!

So what do you think??  Incredible right?  All these pretty summertime clothes to tempt me just as temperatures are dropping!

The injustice of it all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Frugal Finds - Live Boxwood Wreath

On the note of Christmas decor, look what I found today at Trader Joes...

A beautiful live boxwood wreath!!

And guess how much this cost??  Ten bucks!  Can you believe it??  They were selling live boxwood wreaths at the Christmas Tree lot near my house, and they were going for $50.  I think I'll go back tomorrow and grab a few more before they are all gone!

The photo above is the inspiration for how I plan to hang the wreath... perhaps it will hang inside our dining room window, or against the large mirror in the living room.... I am so excited to find some pretty velvet ribbon and hang this bad boy up!!

Hurry, go snatch up all the $10 boxwood wreaths you can find!

Christmas Decor

It's going to be pouring buckets of rain for the next few days, so my grand plan this weekend is to decorate for the holidays.  Aside from getting a tree, I want to swap out all the fall decor for wintery accessories that look like the holidays while keeping an organic feel.

Where else did I turn for inspiration than Pinterest, that is brimming with crafty, creative ideas.  Some of my favorites??

Well, for starters, I just LOVE these burlap pillows.  I would imagine that these would be fairly easy to replicate with a few letter stencils, fabric paint, and a sponge brush... and Ikea has fabulous linen pillow covers (20"x20") for just $6!

I also love the look of these gifts, wrapped up in plain brown butcher paper, and decked out with red ribben, buttons, bows, and berries.  Unique, and pretty.

These paper wrapped ornaments are another simple project, and could also double as gift tags on a present!  Tear up yesterday's newspaper, bust out the modge podge, and finish with glitter!  Easy!

I imagine that this pretty boxwood wreath would be much easier to buy than to make, and I love the simplicity of it.  I envision a few of these hanging in our windows this year.

And finally, how pretty and simple is this winter white vignette.  I may head out to the store right now for a pair of mini Christmas trees, and fake snow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Smells of Christmas

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I can really focus on getting excited for the holidays!

We don't have a tree yet, and all our Christmas decor is still packed away in boxes, but it already smells like Christmas at our house!  You know what smell I am talking about... cinnamon, and spice (and everything nice).

Williams Sonoma has mastered this smell - walk into any of their stores and you'll know what I'm talking about.  Luckily, the recipe could not be easier!

Boil a pot of water, add two sliced lemons, three tablespoons of vanilla, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and half a teaspoon of all spice.  Bring this concoction down to a simmer, and let it go all day (or night) long, adding water as needed!

You can also vary the recipe, and include rosemary (as I do sometimes) for a really fresh, clean scent.

Weekend Getaway

I'm back after a much needed break!  To celebrate Kris' 30th, we escaped to Malibu, to soak up some sun, surf, and unplug - literally - Malibu gets absolutely no cell reception!

We left really early the morning after Thanksgiving, and Kris drove while I slept.  I woke up to perhaps one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen.  You should also know that this photo is non-edited.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

We got to the beach by 10am, and it looked like this.  So much for 80 degrees and sunny, right??

Kris headed out into the water, while I bundled up.  I was less than amused here, but this trip was all about him, so I pulled up the hood, and sucked it up.

A few freezing cold hours later, we dusted off the sand, and made our way up the road, to the house we rented in the Malibu mountains.  After a few minutes of driving, the fog disappeared and I realized that the sun was hiding maybe a quarter of a mile away from the beach!  The injustice of it all!!

After showering off, we enjoyed the sunset from the backyard, sipping wine, and nibbling on cheese until it was dark out.  I was happy to be able to wear my cute sundress after the sun went down, and as you can see, the view of the ocean from the backyard was stunning.

The next morning was sunny and hot, and after a solid 12 hours of sleep, we were all very happy campers.  After a quick hike on the trails surrounding the house, we headed back to the beach where I was bound and determined to get a tan.

Mission accomplished.  By the time Kris and his buddy got out of the water, I was quite warm and very hungry, so we headed into town.  We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shops, and discovered a brewery where several hours slipped by more quickly than I'd like to admit.

Another pretty sunset later and I was hooked - we must find a way to move down there.

The next morning, we were sad to leave, but the trip wasn't over.  We drove up the coast to Santa Barbara - my old stomping grounds.  It is (in my opinion) one of the best kept secrets in California.  The town is old and beautiful, located right on the beach, and set against a dramatic lush mountain back-drop.

We stayed in an adorable hotel, that was covered in vines and pretty flowers.  Our room had a big deck overlooking the beach, and it was absolutely perfect.

That night we got all gussied up, and headed to a fancy dinner to celebrate Kris' birthday.  In my opinion, it isn't a birthday until you blow out a few candles!

The first day back at work was a bit rough, but that's the sign of a fabulous long weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give Thanks

I know I've been a bit MIA this last week, but I've been busy doing things like getting my hair highlighted, lunching with old friends from highschool, and making cookies.  With a week off from work, I've become quite accustomed to the life of a stay-at-home-fill-in-the-blank.

It's awesome.

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving - AND my sweethearts 30th birthday - I suspect I'll be MIA for the remainder of this week, but couldn't let Thanksgiving pass without counting my blessings for all the things in my life that I'm thankful for...

I am thankful for my parents - it's rare to have a mom and dad that are as good parents as they are friends.  Best friends.  I am truly blessed.

I am thankful to have a big sister who is as mothering and grounded as she is.  She is a sounding board for all my ridiculous thoughts and ideas, and is the first person I call when I am frustrated, or excited, and she always makes me feel good about buying that pair of booties, or that cute cocktail dress... or... well... yes, she is as addicted to shopping as me.  An enabler perhaps, but an amazing one :-)

I am thankful for my health - despite the minor aches and pains (and the GREY HAIRS that I was recently introduced to), I am so lucky to be healthy and happy, with good eyesight, strong muscles, and a sharp mind.  Sometimes too sharp, but in a good way.

I am thankful to have a warm and lovely home - it's small, and as much as I hate the kitchen, it's our home, and I love it.

I am thankful for a good job.  Not just a job, but one that I love - I get frustrated sometimes, but my team is amazing, and I am lucky to be able to complain about the minor annoyances when so many other people would give their left arm for that luxury.  I mean look at these co-workers of mine... so amazing.

I am thankful for my friends.  I have always been the type to have a tight group of close friends, and without them, I don't know what I'd do.  They show up on my doorstep with a bottle of wine after a rough day at work, and make me laugh until my stomach hurts on a regular basis.  Oh yeah... and they have sworn to show up with a shovel (and no questions) if it was just me and a body.  I kid... kind of.

And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my utterly handsome, unbelievably patient, funny, mellow, wonderful boyfriend, who puts up with me when I decide to paint the entry in stripes (and again when I decide to paint over those stripes a week later).  He eats and loves my cooking (sweet man), and tells me every day how beautiful I am (even in sweats with the prior day's makeup still on) and how much he loves me (even with morning breath).

To another wonderful year of blessings, and to a day bursting with love, family, food, and thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Small Space Living

You all know that I've been struggling with the tiny entry way in our apartment.  I've made the executive decision - those black stripes are going - but now I'm left with the question... what do I do now?!

Houzz is such a source of inspiration for me, and I've been scouring their archives for helpful decor hints. Luckily for me, their archives are FILLED with amazing tidbits to help me solve this problem...

First up: decorating with intention, to maximize a small space.  If this article wasn't written for me, I don't know what is!!

Another super helpful article I found was this tutorial around decorating tricky spaces.  Unfortunately, I WISH one of my problems was having too high ceilings, but there were a few tips in there that got me thinking...

And another... tricks for stashing your stuff in an apartment.  How convenient! Kris and I were JUST talking about looking into an external storage facility... maybe all I need to do is clean out our linen closet, and get some hollow ottomans with lids...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Warm AND Sexy - What to Wear Out, despite the Rain!

The weather has officially cooled off here in San Francisco, and we are expecting some heavy rain this weekend!  Not that it's going to stop us from going out on Friday night!

While we certainly aren't going to let the cold wet weather stop us from getting gussied up, my outfit (while not exactly practical) will have to be tweaked slightly, so I'm not completely freezing.  I'm loving this look - unfortunately Pinterest didn't have a source, so if anyone knows where it came from, I'd LOVE to know!!
Sparkle on!

Having long sleeves will help me keep warm in the cold weather, but the short skirt and sequins says, I'm here for the party!  I put together a similar look for anyone interested in replicating this!  Now all I need is a spray tan, and her hair!  Jealous!

sequins on sequins

MICHAEL Michael Kors sequin top, $59 / Sequin skirt / Giuseppe Zanotti open toe booties, $555 / Tory Burch / shu uemura / NARS Cosmetics lip makeup / Butter London nail polish

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stripes on Stripes on Stripes

So I started a project last night...


Lots of them.  In our entryway... what do you think?

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure about them.  I did about 75% of the walls before deciding to think about it some more.  Imagine Kris' surprise when he came home to lots and LOTS of stripes.

He said he felt like he was in jail.

HA!  Little does he know...

Can you guess how I got these stripes up??  Tape!!  I used 3" black painters tape (easily ordered from Amazon), and it took me only an hour or so to get all of these stripes up.  Measure... tape... measure... tape.  Tedious, but simple, and best of all, very temporary, so if I change my mind, it won't be a huge task.  I'm going to live with it for a few days before making up my mind.

The pros:
  - These stripes make the space feel larger
  - The visual impact is really stunning, and the lines are perfectly crisp
  - It doesn't look like tape in person... it actually looks like paint or wallpaper

The cons:
  - The HUGE contrast between the entry and the living room feels disjointed
  - The narrow stripes make it a very busy pattern... too busy perhaps?

Here the view from the living room... even with the unfinished wall, you still get an idea of how it will look. Sorry for the low light, and crappy iPhone pic.  It was late, and I was very into Real Housewives...

So... what do I do??

The entry is connected to our kitchen, and living room, and without any windows it's dark, and without the stripes, it is VERY blah.

See this before:

Blah.  So... what to do?  Keep the stripes or ditch them for something else??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Design Icon: Stacy Curran

Another pretty room - Pinterest is full of those isn't it??

This room belongs to Stacy of South Shore Decorating - previously named as Conspicuous Style.

I've followed her for a long time, and really admire her style, and her story.  Her bedroom is one of my all time favorite spaces - all cool soothing tones of icy blues, greens and greys.  All the white in the bedding and bed frame allow the wall color to shine, and it actually gives the room a silvery feel.  Everything about this room says elegance, sophistication, and "no chocolate on your hands please" (a personal mantra of mine)!  It's absolutely, drop dead gorgeous.  

And the zebra??  Everyone I know thinks I've become a bit nutty with this animal print obsession, but I LOVE it!

Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and being a gal on a budget, I created a design board that mimics this room, but won't break the bank.

If you love it, check out the "where to buy" guide below - and if you are interested in having my help creating a design board for a room you are working on - send me a private message!  I'm more than happy to help!

Where To Buy:
Bed Frame,  Zebra Print Rug,  Silver Framed Mirror,  Side tables (these are actually console tables),  Creme Slipcovered Chair,  Upholstered Ottoman with Casters,  White Curtains (you can easily add black trim with iron on adhesive),  Peacock Blue Velvet Pillows Grey Silk Pillows,   Patterned Throw Pillow,    Stacked Ball Acrylic Table Lamp,  Throw blanket

In case her fabulous bedroom didn't impress you enough on it's own - she is INCREDIBLY down to earth!

In an interview last year, she was asked, "What decorating techniques/ideas/projects would you recommend to a homeowner who wants a quick fix to their room?"

Stacy answered, "Paint, curtains, and pillows make a world of difference, and can be done relatively inexpensively. Making curtains out of fabric from JoAnn's or similar stores, when you catch them on sale, can be surprisingly affordable.  I do my own all the time, and don't even sew them.  I use fabric tape or glue to hem and line (well, I don't usually line them, butyou can if you're ambitious).  In my bedroom, I used $10 white panels from Target and glued grosgrain ribbon to trim them, and I think they look as good as really expensive ones.  In my dining room, I hung fabric from JoAnn on rods/rings, and no one would ever know that they are not really "curtains" from a  seamstress or store."

Amen sister - anyone who A) can put that room together, B) loves Target (pronounced Tar-shay) as much as I do, and C) still looks to cut corners without sacrificing style is definitely WORTHY of the title "Design Icon" - and she is certainly one for me!

Read the rest of the interview here, and go check out her blog, plus more pictures of her lovely home here!

Gold Leaf Barware DIY

It all started with this Barclay Butera barware I discovered on A Creative Day.  The decanter and tumblers are absolutely fabulous... no?

Well I looked them up online, and each tumbler is $21, and the decanter is $57.  Holy moly - the set is absolutely beautiful, but it's just not realistic for my "budget" right now.

After falling in love with this lovely barware, and knowing it wasn't going to happen, I started scheming, and decided that my Ikea tumblers were getting a makeover... ASAP.

Here's what we started out with - simple, solid, glass tumblers... $4.99 for a six pack!  Can't beat that price! As a side note, do you like my mani??  It's OPI's Everyday is Oktoberfest if you are interested...

I still had some liquid gold leaf left over from sea fan shadowbox project, and so last night I got to work giving these tumblers a snazzy makeover.

There was nothing planned or precise about it - I didn't want them to be all the same, and since gold leaf has some texture, it was easier to just go with the flow and freehand it... and I think it turned out pretty well!

This paint dries in seconds, so by the time I finished the last glass, the first one was completely dry, and I was able to arrange them back on the chrome platter they live on in the dining room.  Don't you love that instant satisfaction??

And here they are - with the low light night pictures, the candles show how shiny the gold leaf is - all glowy and pretty :-)

Not bad, right??  While my glasses don't have the lovely honeycomb pattern of the Barclay Butera tumblers, they cost me $5, and that sure beats the $120 price tag for six of the Barclay tumblers.

Would they stand up to hard scrubbing or a dishwasher?? I wouldn't count on it, but since they are only used occasionally for cocktails, and I am the "dishwasher" in our house, I think they'll be just fine.  Worst case scenario??  I dab some more gold leaf paint on there when they chip.