Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Recap

Whelp... fall is officially here...

I quickly snapped this picture as I was walking down the hill from our house to the Marina over the weekend... how gorgeous are the yellow leaves against the blue-blue-blue sky.  I absolutely LOVE this time of year...

It was warm and perfect.  Here's a quick peek into my weekend - through the eyes of my feet...

Cooling off the tootsies after a hot run...

 Admiring my wrist bling against an all white outfit...

 How can you not be excited for little workout when your footwear is day-glo.  Loving my new Nikes!

 Feeling a little fancy, and trying on white dresses for the fabulous Dinner en Blanc on Friday night... SUCH an amazing event...

And of course my new obsession - my moccasins from Target.  They are SO COMFORTABLE... like slippers, but totally appropriate to wear out in public...

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bargain Find Bar Cart


STOP THE PRESSES.  Have you guys seen one of the newest additions to Target's Threshold Fall collection???

That's right... that's a brushed brass bar cart (with wood shelves)!

Look at it styled up all pretty on their site...

I looked for pictures of it styled in someone's actual home, but it's still so new, there were none to be found.  I was a little curious about what the quality would be like... I mean it's Target right?  Well it's got glowing reviews online, and everyone says the "wood" is real wood!  Holla!!

Let's talk about price... $129 is AN UNREAL PRICE for a bar cart.

Don't believe me??  Check out the competition I've rounded up...

The CHEAPEST brass bar cart I could find was still going to be well over $600 from Crate and Barrel once you factor in tax and delivery.  I don't know what made these become popular... perhaps all the great mid-century furniture on Mad Men?? but regardless, current prices definitely reflect their current popularity.  My point, this little Target bar cart is a bargain and a half - run, don't walk if you want one.

My friend Lindsay recently scored a bar cart from her new husbands old boss for a STEAL, but that is so rare to find one of these at a good cost.

Do you remember the bar cart I found last year at the antique shop near my house??  I am still kicking myself for passing that up... the one that got away!  It was perfect.  Ah, live and learn.

We don't really have a spot in our apartment that is crying out for a bar cart, I feel like I need it since I've wanted one for so long... perhaps I'll head over to Target to snag it this weekend, and if it doesn't work, I can always take it back... right??

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Revamped Gallery Wall

It's a subtle change to those that don't spend a lot of time in our house, but our gallery wall got some revamping a few weekends ago...

I had been thinking of changing out the layout of our gallery wall recently, and then began toying with the idea of swapping out the art we had framed.

I know... the gallery wall had only been up a few months, but there was something about it that never felt 100% right to me. I LOVED the La Baule print that had been there before, and the punches of yellow and blue brightened things up in here over the summer months, but it seemed too bright for fall.

Here's how it stood a few weeks ago...

The bright yellow and blue demanded other bold bright prints to help balance it, but the abstract prints to the left always felt too matchy-matchy.  I also felt that there were too few frames, and the frames were too homogeneous.  We needed more variety - in both the art and frames, and with fall on it's way, I wanted more muted colors.

Originally, I'd been imagining a clean white gallery wall.  Here were a few inspirations I was looking at...

Gorgeous, right??

Well once I started collecting new pieces to frame, I kind of fell in love with the gold all over again.

Also, after thinking about it more, I realized that since the walls and curtains are so light, and a lot of our accessories and furniture are dark (dark rug, dark love seat - STILL NO NEW SOFA, UGH - dark coffee table, etc.) the room would end up feeling bottom heavy if the frames went white... too many dark colors near the floor, and too many light colors near the ceiling would make the ceilings feel shorter.  Not a good thing.

Long story short, we stuck with the gold.

This wall started with the Martini & Rossi Vintage poster... 

I actually had this hanging in my last apartment, and it's one that I never tire of. The minimal color palate of black and white is simple, and the blocks of color keep it from feeling too busy.  Plus she is so pretty, and we DO love our cocktails around here... it was an easy decision to bring her back.

I then found an Etsy artist that I kind of fell head over heels for...

I admittedly went to town with her pieces, and it was a challenge to choose a few instead of adding all of them to my cart.  I am not kidding, limiting myself to just three was the hard part - there were so many that I absolutely LOVED.

One of my favorites is the framed print at the top of this group (pictured below) - the colors aren't accurately captured in this photograph, but her paintings have such saturated color.

The peachy color of the girls skin against the deep navy and dark peacock blue is so pretty in person... I also think that the dark background helps balance out the black background on the Martini & Rossi poster.

This is perhaps my favorite piece - she's also from the Clare Elsaesser collection and the colors are so pretty...

It is actually called, Married to the Sea.  Isn't that just the best name??

Check our her Etsy Shop... there are SO many gems in there, and totally affordable!

A few more that I love... this one is similar to the one I have framed, but with more of the grey blue tones... And this one is so fun - perfect for warmer months, but with the weather cooling down, the more moody colors and intense images were speaking to me. SO GOOD!

Speaking of moody... check out that owl!

I've been hoarding that print for over a year now, and he is so creepy and weird... he actually looks kind of evil, but I'm obsessed with him.  He's so beautiful.  How could you not love him?!

And then there's the vintage surf print... front and center, just for my honey. I found this at the antique shop near our house before it moved locations, and knew that Kris would not only love it, but really appreciate that I was incorporating one of his passions into our decor.

Love you babe!

In the spirit of muted colors, I also swapped out the pillows and accessories from the bright blues to a black and white palate.

The faux fur pillows are still alive and well, and down below are two new additions from West Elm...

I am trying to be more careful with my patterns, especially when our rug makes SUCH a statement, but with all the blacks and grays and whites, it's not nearly so busy...

And here's a peek at the entire room from the entryway.

The light is definitely changing with fall - the mornings in here are flooded with that sunshine-y yellow light, and it is the best way to start the day.

While we're on the subject of our living room, don't you think a natural wood coffee table will really look great in here??  I do... maybe I'll add that to my Christmas wishlist :-)

Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Full Dresser Reveal - Ikea Tarva Hack

So last week I'd jumped the gun with excitement and posted a few blurry pictures of the newly painted dresser that is in our room functioning for storage and as a TV stand...

This has been a long time in the making... remember LAST FEBRUARY when I first started talking about this???  Well, it's only taken me eight months to finish this project ;-)  With the hardware attached, I can OFFICIALLY check this project off the list!

Yep, that's my reflection in the TV!!

I can't even begin to explain how good that feels to be able to say it's DONE.  Phew!

I am so pleased with how it turned out - the ultra-marine blue paint color brings such LIFE to our bedroom without being overwhelming, or too in your face.

I am in love with how it all turned out, but it was a LONG road to get here... let's start at the beginning...

Ikea... on a Saturday... NIGHTMARE.  I got in, I got out, and a glass of wine later, I was ready to get the party started get this dresser built.

Step one: organize nuts, bolts, and assorted other random pieces Ikea packages up.

All I'll say is... be VERY CAREFUL to be sure that you are using the right little screw thingy for each step of the process... you do not want to have to go back and take apart the dresser halfway through because you used the short screw and not the long one - TRUST ME on that one.

You may also want to enlist a buddy to help read the instructions... they use pictures, not words, and some of the little drawings I STILL can't figure out.... bottom left picture... what do you think that says?? "Don't break the furniture you're building?"  Is that what it means?  Thanks Ikea... wise words...

I'll spare you the boring details, but our living room was a disaster zone for two nights, as it went from this...

To this... an almost completed dresser! 



Look at those drawers... that open and close smoothly.  A work of art I tell you!  I've never experienced a more satisfying moment.  

Well, except for that time when I was home from college, and went to Costco with my mom, and saw that the girl that bullied me all through high-school was working the front door...  that was also an EXTREMELY satisfying moment... Deanna!  Is that you??  Going places in life I see... 

Another story for another day... 

Anyway, it felt REAL good to get the drawers working...

Moving on... the wood is pine, which means that it secretes oil from the knots in the wood for years... YEARS PEOPLE... so to be sure that the knots stayed hidden, and that my lovely paint job stayed intact without any bleeding from the wood, I used a super-duper primer.

Kilz primer got the best reviews online for sealing in wood oils on pine furniture, and so far so good.

I read that having the primer tinted made things MUCH easier to paint over when using a dark paint color.  I am SO THANKFUL I did this - I probably saved myself an extra coat of paint (or seven), and many frustrating hours in the long run.

The tinted primer won't be as dark as your paint color, but it helps SO much.  It went on a light blue (pictured above) - I did 4 thin coats with a roller (to be sure none of that oil from the wood came through over time), let it dry, sanded it, wiped it down really well.

Then it was time to paint.

I just did regular water based paint (for easy clean up) in a semi-gloss - three coats with a roller later, and these bad boys were drying in the living room...

The most interesting thing to me about this paint color is that it photographs so differently in different lights, and that's actually how it is in real life.  In bright direct sunlight, it's a rich peacock blue, but in the afternoon it's definitely a darker moodier version of itself... sometimes it almost looks like a dark green.

Like a mood ring - it's totally fascinating to see!

Remember my inspiration for this color?? It was this Peacock Blue Dresser from Dimples and Tangles that got the creative juices flowing - I still love how her's has the lacquered look.  


Anyway, you all know about my love of the brass hardware - it was quite a hunt to find!  My first order was cancelled because they ran out of lion head pulls!  WTF... I had to hunt it down elsewhere, which added a few extra weeks onto this project.

The dresser was in our room, just waiting for those pulls, and when they came, I was even more excited with how cute these guys were!  Quite sassy if you ask me.


And so, that's the story my friends...  are you ready for the massive photo dump??  Here we go!

The view from my side of the bed... that's a pretty realistic image of how the paint color reads in person - like the color of the ocean 40 feet down... gorgeous!

And a few close up images of the hardware against the paint...

Our old problem was that the TV stand that had been in here was too low to the ground so we couldn't see the TV from the bed... especially once we bought our giant California King, with the extra high box spring.

Now, as you can clearly see, the TV is at optimal viewing height...

This room is SO TRICKY to photograph - it's not big, and so this was the only angle where I could really get the whole dresser in.  Awesome photography skills - clearly.

And as I'm posting these, I'm realizing that there are a few unintentional selfies where I'm reflected back in the TV.  In my pajamas.  Awesome.

On another topic, how awesome do those navy and white curtains look with the dresser???  Totally baller.

Next up on the list... what do we do with this wall above the TV??

It's a HUGE improvement to have the TV higher on the wall, but it's still very empty feeling.  I know I have a bit of a problem and want to put something on every wall, but I swear to god, this wall NEEDS something.  I was thinking sconces, but the lazy part of me is like... ehhhhh.

If we didn't have so many freaking mirrors in this room already, I'd consider a trio of round convex mirrors, and I haven't completely ruled that out, but I'm trying to think of something other than another mirror...

Here's a photo of our lovely dresser from the bathroom door looking back towards the hallway and our dining room / office area.  I love that the spaces have a really cohesive feel...

Oh, and don't forget to notice our dust ruffle on the bottom of the bed.  It's a subtle change, but a HUGE improvement since you could see all the crap stuff we were storing under there and it just looked so unfinished, and ugly, and messy, and terrible.  UGH.

Now it's hidden and I'm SO much happier.

This next photograph was taken from an angle I don't often capture since the salmon tile in our "art deco" (aka old as hell) bathroom is all up in your face.

What you can't see (thank god) is that the shower was re-done at some point since the 1930's, and in an attempt to match the coral tile, they went with pink.  Pepto bismol pink.  That doesn't match.  Not even close. Oh well...

And just for good measure (and since i was already in there with the camera) I got a few photographs of the headboard and new bedding together.

I'm liking this combination for fall, and I love that the Duralee fabric on the bolster ties in with the other colors in the room, and brings a punch of color to wake things up a bit - as you can see, I'm still on the hunt for euro shams.

Standing a bit further back, you can see yet another empty wall that kills me a little every time I see it. The wall above our bed and headboard just needs SOMETHING.

I think I nice oversize clock would be nice here - again, trying to stay away from more mirrors in here... plus it will help keep me on time as I get ready in the morning...

So that's it!  The new dresser / TV Stand / Ikea hack is complete!  If you need to find me, I'll be in bed watching TV from now until forever.

Just kidding.  Kind of.

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Capes

Happy first week of fall!!

What better way to welcome my favorite season - full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and crisp sunny weather - than with a little fashion inspiration around one of my favorite fall trends...

The Cape!
I LOVE the classic east coast feel of the cape... so essentially "Ralph Lauren".  Totally fabulous and equestrian, right?? It looks like you just hopped off your horse, and are running inside for a steaming cup of apple cider.

Aside from being a chic little layer, they are possibly the easiest way to look pulled together on a cool day. Pull on a pair of jeans and riding boots and you're ready to go!

I love the hooded version to keep the hair dry and frizz free on foggy mornings, as much as I love the lighter version where your arms are exposed.

How cute does this look with black tights and ankle boots??

And of course, plaid is just a classic... this hunter green is just AMAZING!

The lighter knit versions are also awesome - one of my favorite layering pieces is a dark grey cape I bought 3 years ago.  It's gotten more use than half the things in my closet!

And of course, you can never go wrong with classic black... this heavy wool version is perfect for late fall when it's REALLY chilly.

With capes on the mind, I've pulled together a few favorites...

The first row - the classic neutral cape...

The second row - the slouchier, lighter cape for layering...

The third row - the statement cape...

Fall Capes

Moschino Cheap Chic coat / Duro olowu, $1,795 / Msgm / Ralph Lauren Blue Label alpaca poncho / Cashmere cape / Lauren Ralph Lauren plaid cape coat, $350 / Coast wool cape, $310 / Patrizia pepe, $290 / Coat, $120 / Dorothy Perkins cape coat / Ralph lauren / Ralph Lauren military cape coat

So, what's your take on the fall cape?  Do you love them as much as I do??

Happy Shopping!