Friday, August 24, 2012

Last Minute Splurge

In less than 24 hours, we will be on a plane, bound for Cabo, and of course I couldn't help one last beach bunny splurge.

After work last night, I headed to Union Street in the Marina, to meet my soulmate... my bikini soulmate that is.  She is the color of orange sherbet, and has an amazing fringed top.  I am 99% sure I "pinned" this bikini on Pinterest at the start of summer, and now it's mine... all mine!!

I am OFFICIALLY ready for vacation now!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Decor Trends from Blogland: Casters

Is anyone else as fascinated as I am about the concept of casters in the home?  They have become big-time trendy on nearly all the home decor blogs I follow.  To be honest, I was not a fan at first.  They are industrial, so can come off looking clunky and out of place on some pieces, this is a look that has grown on me over time, and at the risk of being a total follower here, I think I'm jumping on the caster bandwagon!!  Here are some of my favorite looks, where castors are cool, unique additions to the furniture.

This table is rustic and industrial - a huge look in the 2012 - 2013 Restoration Hardware catalog.  Obviously, in this lofted space, this farmhouse meets factory table is perfection - it would be all wrong (not to mention way too large) for our apartment, but I love it!
Marshall Matlock

One of my favorite DIY bloggers featured casters a while back, and this is another look I love.  Wouldn't this rolling shelf be awesome in a kitchen?  It would look awesome as an open pantry (an organized pantry that is) or even as a bookshelf in a casual living room.
Centsational Girl

Not a lot of homes could pull this off, but the rolling doors remind me of a barn - in the best way possible of course.  Country living featured these in a North Carolina home, and I think it fits perfectly with the laid back vibe (guitar casually leaned against the wall???).
casters and pipe
Country Living

A traditional looking Toile armchair gets an update with these casters - I think the look works mainly because they used small casters - anything larger would like mismatched - and who doesn't love a chair that easily rolls around?!
toile and casters
Inspired Design

Could I really feature casters and leave out Restoration Hardware??  Obviously not!  This bookshelf is so cool with it's reclaimed wood (probably not really reclaimed) and pipe framework.  This masculine piece would be great in an office, a man cave, or even a bathroom.  Can't you just picture some fluffy white towels and clear jars of cotton balls on there??
bookcase on casters
Restoration Hardware

I imagine this slatted coffee table in a bright sun room - perfect for the herbs growing there.  In this case, the large casters don't bother me because they blend in with the dark rug - with a lighter floor, I'm not sure I'd love this table, but since it looks like it was wheeled in from the garden, I think it works.
My Ideal Home

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Handbag Addiction

Hello my name is Becky, and I am addicted to handbags.  It's true.  That is why it's especially dangerous that I get early notifications from Kate Spade about their sample sales! Dah!

I knew last week that the summer sample sale was coming, and though I tried to resist... I couldn't.  And didn't.  Thank you to Britney for coining the phrase "Oops I did it again".  Maybe I'll sing a bit of that to soften Kris up before I break the news to him tonight... good or bad idea?

Anyway, I fell in love, and my new amore will arrive in 8-10 business days.  Isn't she pretty??

Practically speaking, this bag is a "forever" bag.  It is functional - large enough to carry my laptop if needed.  Fancy enough to bring to a nice dinner.  Casual enough to wear with jeans.  The orange red will wake up drab winter days, and compliment my tan in the summer.

The soft leather is so yummy, and the quality of Kate's bags cannot be compared.  I swear I should be a Kate Spade Spokeswoman... I own a few too many bags for comfort.

The bonus??  This bag has adorable lining which just makes me smile.  I can't wait to meet her!

Sample sale ends today - hurry up before it ends!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sweetest Book-end

Is this book-end just the cutest thing in the world??  I'd been looking for a pair of white bookends, after recently painting the backs of my bookshelf a dark blue-grey, and today, I stumbled across this on one of Joss & Main's sales.  Unfortunately, this cutie is sold out (are you surprised?) but I'm not giving up the hunt just yet.

What I love best about the pup is that he'd be such an adorable accent on each side of a short stack of books.

I'd also love a cool owl, or even something more whimsical like a toucan, pineapple, or serpent.  Is it odd that I've spent so much time thinking about book-ends?

Wedding Weekend

Such a fun weekend - it's Tuesday, and it's still hard to come back to reality...

On Saturday, Kris and I got gussied up for a wedding in Napa - my friends got married at V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, and I was extra stoked to go, because this place holds a special place in my heart.  Growing up, we'd head to Clear Lake evry summer with our family friends, and Napa was the half-way point where we'd stop for a picnic lunch on the lawns of V. Sattui.  We'd shop the amazing market for cheeses, bread, and assorted charcuterie, and then run around on the lawn while our parents drank wine and did boring adult stuff.

Back then, this place was quiet and charming, but with the popularity of Napa, it has become an absolute zoo on the weekends!  It was amazing to be there when the winery closed to the public.  During the reception, Kris and I snuck out to take a quiet walk around the grounds where my family and I had picnicked for so many summers.

Yep, I'm the sweet little (bald) baby in my mom's arms :-)  The crazy thing is, she isn't much older here than I am now!  Eeps!

A Few Years Ago:

For my mama's birthday several years ago...


Doesn't Kris look so handsome in his suit??  He cleans up well I tell you...  Please ignore my hair that had begun to frizz at this point.  I was expecting weather in the 80 degree range, but arrived at 5pm to 95 degrees.  It was sweltering during the ceremony where we sat in the sun...  my hair did not survive!

Unfortunately I didn't get any full length pics of us at the wedding, but snapped this one before we went out the door!  I LOOOOVEEEEE the full skirt, which involved plenty of itchy tulle to give it the perfect pouf.  Next to it, you can see my hair while it was still intact... such high hopes for frizz free waves!!


And the happy couple saying "I Do"

And the show stopping florals...

Anyway, the wedding was absolutely beautiful - the bride and groom were both so happy, the food was amazing, and dance floor was fairly epic.

So much fun!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cute Custom Notebooks from May Books


I am by nature a very organized person - so obviously I love the idea of keeping a day planner.  For work, I am constantly juggling schedules for meetings, client dinners, and after work events, so instead of using a very utilitarian desk calendar from Office Depot (NOT CUTE), I've discovered May Books - an awesome online retailer who sells customizable notebooks, day planners, calendars, and journals. Obviously tailored toward women, it's super easy to use, and MUCH more affordable than the ones Kate Spade, Tory Burch, and Jonathan Adler offer.  Double Bonus!!

The site is so easy to navigate - just pick your pattern (they have really cute chevron prints, along with florals, ikat prints, greek key prints, and polka dots!)

After you've picked your pattern out, you can customize your notebook with a monogram (obsessed)!  Done and done! 

Not only are they adorable, but the bright colors make work just a little more fun, and it will be easy to find in your purse!!

How Pinteresting - Week VII

I've taken a brief hiatus from the How Pinteresting Series, but it's about time to ressurect it!  There are so many crafty, creative, and pretty things out there, I love that there is one place to discover and share them!!

Here are a few of my favorites from the last several weeks!

1. A cozy sweater to take you from cool summer nights to crisp fall daysNeon accents.

2. Carnations - my least favorite flower - go from being a cheap filler flower , to a statement centerpiece

3. The advent calendar has gotten an adult update - this is my kind of countdown until Christmas :-)
advent calendar haha
4. A floaty full skirt paired with a casual knit sweater... oh if only I had that skirt....
High waist skirt

5. Smores Bar - what a FUN idea for a party or wedding, and so easy!  Here all they did was place a few can's of sterno in some riverbed rock.
S'mores bar. It's just cans of sterno in pebbles.

6. The All Saints Aztec dress is my new obsession.  It is so fun, and is functional from spring through fall... now if only I had a spare $500 laying around...
AllSaints Aztec Dress
7. A healthy recipe for Crock Pot Beef Carnitas... easy and delicious sounds right up my alley!!
Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos

8. A re-purposed console table that I absolutely adore.  It's used here next to a bed as a nightstand, and has ample space for your bedtime reading material, a pretty lamp, and a huge vase of peonies!
I love when furniture is actually used and layered with items from everyday living

9. Dark walls... there is just something so rich and cozy about them - after painting the interior of the bookshelf in our dining room, I am craving more dark walls...
Dark wall

10. Glitter gradient manicure - fancy nails are so "of the moment" right now, but this more subtle take on nail art is right up my alley!
glitter gradient manicure

For other Pinterest-ing inspirations, click here for posts 1, 2, 345, and 6 of this series.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Palos Verdes Wedding (Envy)

What a gorgeous dress!!

I saw this bride today on Style Me Pretty and immediately fell in love with her wedding.  Obviously there isn't much to hate about a wedding on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific ocean in Palos Verdes, and Vera Wang can do no wrong, but as envious as I am, it's hard to hate a bride this stunning.

Enjoy the full gallery here!


Vacation Countdown

My honey and I booked a last minute trip to Cabo, and the countdown is on!  We leave next weekend, and I could not be more excited for the sand in my toes, and margarita in my hand.  Now that Virgin America offers direct flights to Cabo, we will leave in the morning, and be there three hours later! What could be easier!

I'm starting to put together a packing list, and pretty much everything I want to bring has the colors of the sunset, the colors of the sea, or a hip bohemian vibe to it.

Cabo I

Willow dress, $520 / Melissa Odabash gold dress / Wallis cream shift dress / Beach maxi dress / Mango tie dye dress, $31 / Dolce&Gabbana triangle bikini / Melissa Odabash bandeau swimwear / Mikoh Swimwear string swimwear / Giuseppe Zanotti toe loop sandals / Sam Edelman ankle wrap sandals / BP. summer flat sandals / Irene Neuwirth tear drop earrings / Long chain necklace / DANNIJO brass jewelry / Danielle Stevens Jewelry star jewelry / Panacea teardrop earrings / Into the Sun - Coastal Beach Cottage- Seagull Over Aqua, Turquoise...

I went on Polyvore for some inspiration, and have become absolutely fixated on the white Mikoh St. Thomas Bikini.  The strings on the bandeau top are so sexy, but this bathing suit is full coverage (on the top at least).  I love that any of these dresses could take you from the pool to dinner, and that the light fabrics will pack up into a carry-on.

A few months ago, I did a guest post  for my blog buddy, Kendall, of Lillies Lattes and Lace, and went back for more beachy inspiration.  I cannot forget my floppy hat, and an assortment of fun sunglasses!!

Oh can I be there already???

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Photo courtesy of Blog Chef

My friends and I have started this book club, and this month I am hosting it at my house.  It's really more of a "wine" club, or a "gossip" club, or a "amazing food" club than a book club, but we do read, and we do talk about the books... a little!

On the menu for tomorrow: Bacon Mac and Cheese, and mini Wedge Salads!

Since we are meeting on a week night, I'm not going to have the time to whip up a gourmet meal for 10 out of thin air.  That means I'm prepping all the food tonight, so when I get home from work tomorrow, I can throw the mac and cheese into the oven, arrange the salads, and be ready for everyone in no time.

I'm stealing the recipe from Tyler Florence, and it looks absolutely amazing... I'll get back to you with the verdict tomorrow, but after reading all the reviews, I'm pretty sure it will be a hit!

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Mac and Cheese:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.

Roses are Red...

One of my coworkers is getting married this weekend in Napa, and I just picked up my dress from the tailor last night!  It needed a few alterations to cinch it in at the waist, and I am happy to announce that it turned out perfectly!  I am so excited to wear it this weekend!!

I'm sure there will be more pictures to come, but it's very Betty Draper - a full skirt with inverted pleats, and a pretty red floral print...  LOVE!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bedroom Makeover: Painted Trim

So, last week I had been agonizing over paint colors.  Which shade of Beige / Oatmeal / Desert Wind / Sherwood Tan would I choose to saturate our bedroom walls.

Well it turns out, I found a shortcut, and I'm not going to paint our bedroom at all.  Yep - I discovered that our landlord had painted every surface our our apartment such an "off" off-white, that all I needed to do was paint the trim pure white.  Voila!  All it took was a few coats of semi-gloss in Whitest White - a "custom" color the hipster guy at the Benjamin Moore in the Marina mixed for me (side note here: there was nothing custom about it... while you won't find Whitest White on any paint chips, it consists of the base color that comes in the can with a single drop of blue to "brighten it up"... alrightyyyyy then).

The result is shocking.  I have the least observant boyfriend in the world, and even he immediately noticed the difference when he came home from work.  He thought I'd painted all the walls, but really I'd just painted the trim.  After work.  And made us dinner.  I'm THAT good.  And modest.

Anyway, since everyone loves a good before and after, here we go:

Before: Blah "Off" Off-White Everywhere


After: Crisp, Clean, Contrasting Trim

You can still see out in the hallway how the trim is monotone with the walls - the hallway is next... and then the dining room... and then the living room... and then the kitchen.  I'm on a roll!!

Also, look at the first "before" picture - those were the temporary curtains we had up until recently.  WAY too dark for the room, but I still love them... just not in here.  Those will be fabulous in my one-day office.  Anyway, seeing the dark curtains hanging, don't you think the light silk ones are the the winners??  What a huge difference already!

Looking at the progress that I am slowly but surely making on the bedroom, the walls and trim are done, curtains are done... now we have to sort out the bed / bedding situation.

Bedroom Curtains: Silk vs. Linen

I am making a bit of headway on the bedroom, and have hung some new curtains!!  The problem is that I am now having a hard time deciding which ones to keep.  Overall, I want to go for something lighter, that won't make the room feel smaller, darker, etc.

In advance, please excuse the poor iPhone pictures taken at night. 

Option I: Silk Dupioni Panels: 
These are a really pretty creme color, have a nice sheen, and dress things up a bit.  I also love that they are lined (to keep the room extra dark when we are sleeping).  I don't like that they are the exact same curtains we have for the living room - I was hoping to mix it up a bit...

Option II: Linen Panels:
These are definitely more casual, and give the room a more earthy, natural feeling.  These curtains are unlined, which is great on the one hand, becuase they let in quite a bit of light.  Unfortunately, being unlined means that they let in unwanted light at night when I am trying to sleep, and the neighbors have their lights on at 3am.  The other con to the linen is that they are more of a buckwheat color, so they blend in with the walls.

Looking at these pictures side by side, I realize what an unfair comparison it is, becuase truth be told, I really do love the linen drapes.  I just have a feeling that the silk will be more practical... and they are so luscious and pretty.  Well, perhaps my mind is already made up!