Friday, November 29, 2013

Living Room Envy and Tartan

I am crazy in love with Erin Gates of Elements of Style.  She has great style - what I wouldn't do for 5 minutes to paw through her closet - but her home is what I'm most obsessed with.  They bought this home roughly a year ago, and have been renovating pretty much ever since.

While we've had a few small glimpses into the new spaces (the kitchen for instance, and her fabulous stairs), she just posted a few first images into her newly remodeled (and styled) living room - it's A-MA-ZING.  It's been all done up for the holidays and it's TOO GOOD not to re-post!!


The neutrals, those custom draperies (with the taupe greek key trim)... and that brass rod??  So SOOO good.  The layered rugs (if you look closely you can see a sneak peek of a zebra print cow hide), the hammered brass and glass coffee table, the pops of green... oh my gosh, the antique buffet is so beautiful, and of course, that chair.  That chair is (in the words of Rachel Zoe) "everything".  It is absolutely the crown jewel of this room (aside from her sweet little puppy).

Let's have a closer look at it, shall we??

I mean.... stop it.  That chair is SOOOO GOOD.

But you know what subtle little accent I loved??  The tartan throw, draped over the arm of this awesome chair.

My sister and I had these adorable tartan holiday dresses when we were little girls, and I've always loved the classic look of this pattern.  

While it might be a little much to dress up in an adult sized tartan dress for the holidays, I love the idea of cozying up a formal feeling living room with a tartan throw.  You still get to wrap yourself up in the classic pattern, and its 100% acceptable...

I've gone ahead and rounded up a few of my favorites - some more affordable than others *cough* Williams Sonoma *cough* and all have distinctly different patterns.


Doesn't the camel version kind of look a bit "Burberry"??  There were a few other color-ways, but these were my favorites from Sierra Trading Post.

Williams Sonoma is WAY overpriced for their throw - double the price of any other option here, but it is an easy one-stop-shop, so if you're running around for a last minute gift, it might be worth the premium...

Always a classic - and they come with a cute leather strap for toting this around on picnics... so cute.  Do I even need to say more??

This is actually a kid's blanket, but who cares????!  You could totally make it work for a grown up's living room, and it's the least expensive version on this list.  It's a win-win!

What is your take on Tartan??

Love it?  Hate it??  Is it something you're planning to incorporate for the holidays??

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

With all the planning that goes into the production of today, it's so easy to forget what Thanksgiving is all about - it's about giving thanks.


There are so many blessings in my life to be thankful for, but at the top of that list is family, friends, and our good health.  To another healthful, happy year.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY Art: Gold Leaf Arrows

Happy Wednesday!!  It's the day before Thanksgiving, and I thought I'd continue the DIY Art posts again this week...

We're sticking with a simple concept (simple is best for us budding artists) - this week, gold arrows on a dark background...

Gorgeous, right??

And the DIY could not be more simple!!

What you'll need:
  - Black Cardstock
  - Gold Leaf
  - Adhesive Pen
  - Ikea Ribba Frames (with mattes)

Next steps... just free-hand multiple arrows with the adhesive pen, and then apply the gold leaf (according to package instructions).

Easy, right??

Take it another step MORE easy, and instead of using gold leaf, use a gold paint pen.  Takes out the messy part, so you could whip these up fairly quickly.

Could be a great project to tackle over the long weekend...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Splurge or Save: Louis XIV Side Chair

Louis XIV... the other week we were talking all about his taste in mirrors... this week it's the chairs.  I swear I'm not obsessed with Marie Antoinette or anything... it just worked out this way!

I happen to be a huge fan of Louis XIV Chairs.  They have classic clean lines, feminine curves, but when done simply like the above, they don't look fussy or girly AT ALL.

I love them when they are upholstered...

I love them with their caned backs...

I love them painted...

But I also love them with their natural wood...

And one day, I would REALLY love to see a set of them in my house!  If you're looking to make that happen sooner than later, I rounded up a few for comparison sake... the "splurge" and the "save".

Were you able to guess which was which??

I'm not going to lie... Kathy Kuo knows her stuff... check out her site if you're looking for some (pricey) inspiration.  She has AMAZING things, but for those of you looking to save a few (thousand) dollars, check out World Market.

Now I realize that the "save" price might still seem a bit steep.  These aren't impulse purchase chairs, but for two chairs, $400 is a fair deal when we're talking those turned legs, the aged finish on the solid wood frame, and the linen upholstery.  I've also seen World Market sell them separately, so if you just needed one for a lonely corner, or as a desk chair it's not bad.  Also, considering they are running a special for 25% off furniture right now, it's actually $300 for both chairs.

Even without the 25% off, you could still buy 6 chairs for your dining room, for the price of the Kathy Kuo stunners (although that cane backing is so drool worthy)...  If you're looking to buy, links are below:
Save a few bucksWorld Market Linen Louis XIV Chair
Play Diddy for a dayKathy Kuo Home Louis XIV Chair

What do you think??  Is it worth the splurge or would you rather save??


Neither World Market nor Kathy Kuo has paid me to post their products - all opinions are my own

Monday, November 25, 2013

We're calling it "Pre-Christmas" Decor

Let me preface this post by saying, yes, I am fully aware that we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet... 

But let me also just say, Thanksgiving is the latest it's ever been... EVER... so since Thanksgiving is so excruciatingly late, I figured it couldn't hurt anyone to hang a few harmless wreaths in our living room over the weekend....

I LOVE boxwood wreaths. Possibly more than any other wreath.  They are fresh and simple, and need no adornment, which around the holiday season - when the motto is "the more lights, tinsel, and general bedazzlement, the better" - a simple wreath is subtly festive.

In my case, I went with four subtly festive boxwood wreaths... for $10 each, how could I say no?!

I decided to hang them in each of the windows of our living room...


The best part about boxwoods is that they dry so well.  These windows get direct sunlight all day long - pretty much from about 9am until 4pm, but boxwoods keep the bright green color even after they've dried!  Last year, I kept our wreath from the holidays, and hung it on our front door through the summer.

Now, I never normally take photographs at night in low light like this, but, with the wreaths in the window, I found it nearly impossible to photograph them during the day.  They were completely blacked out with the sun behind them in every shot , but I guess it's nice to document our house with the cozy lamp light too... this is actually how I like our house the best, even though it doesn't turn out in photographs so well.

God... we really need to do something about the coffee table - the bane of my existence.  Its SO scratched up on top, and the storage below is just not attractive.  Functional... yes, but I'm sure we could get rid of half that crap and not miss a thing.

Perhaps that's something tackle next weekend... the decrapification of our coffee table... and then the selling of the coffee table and buying of a new one..........

Anyway... enough talk of my hoarding ways... let's get back to my pretty wreaths.  Don't you just love how they get a little up-lighting from the side lamps?

And notice my new lampshades... $5 on clearance!  Woot woot!!

Gotta love a good deal - ok last glamour shot of the wreath....

Hope you all had a lovely, productive weekend too!!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart - the light of my life, and my best friend.  31 never looked so good


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Foolproof Fall Flower Arrangement

Do you like the alliteration of this blog post??

Me too... but what I like even more was how simple (and inexpensive) it was to pull together this flower arrangement.

I went to the supermarket and picked up three small bundles of flowers:

One bundle of berries, one bundle of mums, and one bundle of astroemerias... not sure what those look like??  It's these:

I spent less than $10 and I think that the arrangement turned out really pretty - WAY better than any of the pre-made bouquets in the store.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I kind of have a knack for flower arranging... one of the things I've learned is that keeping the flowers in the same color family REALLY helps you keep it pretty and elegant.

In this case, I stuck with deep reds, maroons, and raspberry shades.  I absolutely LOVE how the astroemerias have green in them that fades into a deep red... it really brings a lot more dimension into the arrangement.

In general I think that sticking to a single color family works so well, because when you pick different flowers in different colors, there are a lot of different textures going on, so it confuses the eye and can easily look messy..  Having different flowers in the same color family is less "confusing" to the eye, so it ends up looking planned, while still being "interesting".  

In this case, it's autumnal reds. My old faithful is white, but blue's and purples (with hydrangeas and iris) would be really pretty, and orange hues would also be amazing - and especially seasonal right now for Thanksgiving (with roses, tulips, branches, leaves, berries.... the list is pretty broad).

One of my other secrets to more professional looking floral arrangements is to cut the stems short.

It takes .2 seconds to plop your supermarket flowers in a vase with their long stems... and it shows.  It ends up looking cheap, but taking the extra two minutes to cut them down and arrange them in a shorter, wider vase, and it ends up looking like something you picked up from a florist.

Finally, I like to stick with flowers that all look fairly different from one another - if you have too many ruffly flowers, you can't tell that they are different (which there's nothing wrong with that) but by picking berries in this arrangement, its more unique, and dresses up these otherwise really cheap looking flowers (I mean mums??  Just ask my mom how much she likes mums on their own)

I'm thinking of wrapping the vase in burlap for Thanksgiving week, since it's really the last few days our home will be decorated for fall.  After that, it's going to be a Holiday bonanza around here!!

Happy Thursday :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Glitter Guide: Holiday Decor

Gold is in, in a big way - gold jewelery, watches, brass hardware, and gilded picture frames - it's everywhere!  Gold is the perfect transitional color for the holidays, and can take you from Thanksgiving seamlessly into Christmas (and beyond if you ask me).

I'm a big fan of transitional decor - things that feel like the season... not specifically the holiday, so I've pulled together some of my favorite gold accessories to incorporate into your seasonal decor, for a little glitz and glam that doesn't scream "Santa Claus"


Stag Head: Ok... so he's not gold... but I couldn't resist!!  How cute would he be with a boxwood wreath around his neck... OR... a gold ornament wreath (in keeping with the gold theme here)... post holidays he could transition into a jaunty scarf...  Right?!

Jewelry Box: I need this.  My jewelry has taken over an entire dresser drawer and it's just mayhem.  I can never find anything, so this jewelry box (or a set of several) would be amazing... and simply gorgeous to keep out on a dresser or nightstand to hold the pieces I wear the most.

Honeycomb Ice Bucket: A super stylish way to keep drinks chilled at a holiday party...

Confetti Martini Shaker:  Um... I love this.  It's a party even before the drinks get poured!!

Gold Ikat Coasters: Another favorite of mine on here - to jazz up a coffee table and protect your furniture!  So cute, people will actually WANT to use them!

Gold Swirl Art: This is seasonally agnostic if you ask me!  I mean... this would look equally great in the summer as it would next to the glinting lights of the Christmas tree.

Cheers Bitches Banner: And.... perhaps my favorite item on the list.  How funny and awesome is this little banner??  Hanging over the drink table??  Love.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Glitz and Glam: Holiday Dresses

Christmas commercials started running before Halloween, and everyone wants to get into the holiday spirit already, but I'm still actually in Thanksgiving mode.  It's feeling like fall and I'm absolutely loving it, BUT like it or not... this is the time when you need to start thinking about holiday dresses.

It's like Murphy's law - when you go shopping the day before an event for a party dress, you'll have a hard time finding anything... so by being prepared, and keeping an eye out for pretty dresses when you're out and about in November means that you'll find THE perfect dress, with plenty of time to spare.

What I really want this year is sparkle.  I said it last year and ended up in a black dress... this year, I'm on the hunt for glitz and glam.  Here are a few that I've rounded up online...

New Years Eve Sparkle

Sparkle comes in so many different forms, I had to break these finds into a few separate categories - geometric beading, all over sequins, and Gatsby inspired sparkle.

The geometric beaded dresses were so "cool girl" - they skimmed the body with shift style silhouettes, and in my mind seem a little more transitional... even though they have head to toe sparkle, they seem like something that you could wear even in warmer months...

The all over sequin dresses are so classic for the holiday... the black or deep blue would be amazing for a corporate Christmas party, and the one shoulder and gold sequin dress would be amazing on NYE.

And perhaps my favorite... the Gatsby inspired dresses - so fun!  I LOVE the beaded tassles on the short black strapless number (how fun would that be to dance in??), and the copper beading that has the look of flames is sexy and fun while still being ladylike.

What do you think??  Any favorite dresses in the bunch??

Friday, November 15, 2013

Splurge or Save: Starburst Mirror

Hansel Starburst mirrors... so hot right now.  And sometimes so expensive...

Can you guess which one of these is the "splurge"??

Starburst mirrors have been making a total resurgence in the last few years, although I'm not sure that these bad boys have ever NOT been hot - Louis XIV used them everywhere (fun fact: he was apparently called the "Sun King" because of this... don't you just love random facts??).  Anyway, with a history like that, I'm going to say they are more timeless than trendy.

I mean they are EVERYWHERE, and for good reason.  

A good dose of gold is so glam, and they seem to be the universal answer to the question "what do I put on this random wall?"  They are great in a hallway, great over a mantle, awesome over a bed... they pretty much work in any space where you want something pretty, that seems more functional than it actually is.

Let's be honest, you're not going to apply your makeup using one of these mirrors, but they manage to be decorative without being "decorative"... you know what I mean??  There's still a hint of function.  Am I crazy?

Gorgeous right??

It can end up being difficult to find a nice sized starburst mirror for a good price... but not impossible!!

Given the name of this post, you've probably guessed that I found one that is a total steal.  Could you guess from the original photos above which was the "splurge" and which was the "save"?

If you guessed that the splurge was on the left then you're right!!

While the price tags are dramatically different from one another, the mirrors themselves are quite similar.  The Elementarie mirror has more tines, and while I like how they are staggered at different lengths, I actually really LOVE that the tines on the Martha Stewart mirror are tapered and have more dimension.

I also love the price tag on that Martha Stewart gem.

To put the value in perspective, you could buy 12 of the Martha Stewart Sunburst mirrors for the price of one of the Elementarie mirrors.

Holy cow.

I'm a sucker for a good deal, so I'm team Martha all the way!!

What do you think?  Worth the splurge?

Should I do more of the Splurge vs. Save posts - I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY Art: Inverted Arrows

Hey guys!  Hope you're having an awesome week, and for those in the Bay Area, are you all loving this cold weather that came in as much as I am??  Cozy sweaters at last!

Last week, I'd posted about a DIY art project, and I wanted to continue talking about this topic today.  As I'd mentioned, buying art can be expensive, but making your own art can be really cost effective, fun, and dare I say it... easy.   

No more blank boring walls people - here's another simple DIY art project to try out...

I saw this vignette, and almost died.  That chair (from West Elm)... love it.  The mid-century dresser... so pretty.  And that painting??  The inverted arrows???  A blown up, modern take on my favorite chevron print?????  I'm all over it!

This DIY painting hardly needs explanation, because all you need is some painters tape and the ability to measure the halfway points on the canvas... if you don't have a single "artistic" bone in your body, then this is the DIY paint project for you.

As for the "how to" the progress photos pretty much say it all...

Still wanting instructions? Ok, here we go:

For this art project, you'll need:
  - A canvas
  - Painters tape (I like frog tape because it comes off easier)
  - Two paint colors (here, it's white and gold)
  - A foam brush

  - Tape off the design you want with painters tape...
  - Paint desired areas...
  - Remove tape...
  - Hang on wall.

Ta-da!!  Idiot proof, right??


This is definitely a project that I'm DYING to try. What about you?

I actually think several of these would look really cool hung in a row.

The original project was done with varying colors of gold, but it would also be really cool to mix in a bit of rusty copper for even more variation in the depth.  Or what if you applied a bit of gold leaf to a few specific areas after you were finished for a bit of dimension.  I think the added depth and color variation from gold leaf and mixed metallics would be super important if you were to do a series of a few in a row, but less so if you're just going to have one.

What do you think??

Are you putting on your beret and getting out an easel as we speak??

Monday, November 11, 2013

Living Room Design Board - a House Tweaking Knock-off

That's "House TWEAKING"... not twerking... no matter if that's how it reads in my weird twisted mind...  and it's a blog I've recently become completely obsessed with.  

I forget how I discovered House Tweaking to begin with but it doesn't really matter... it's a new instant favorite for me.  Trust me when I say that her taste is SO GOOD. The kind of good where when you look at the clock you realize that you've spent 2 hours blog-stalking her. I feel that if we met in real life, we'd be the best of friends.  We both share a love of finding a good deal, Sherdog, and restrained color palettes. Oh and interior design.  That too.

This is her living room.

Hello lovely.

Plush rug...  Check.

Pretty light greys...  Check.

Chevron...  Check check!

Tripod lamp.  It's love.

You know who else would approve?  Emily Henderson.

They are like style kindred spirits.  That explains so much about why I'm obsessed with this room.  She has the "effortless" look nailed.

I felt inspired... and so to the drawing board I went to recreate a similar room on a budget.

Obviously, it's a little different, but I think that this inspiration board comes pretty close to achieving the same look and feel.

I've also included links to purchase if you are so inclined to recreate this on your own.

RugBamboo Roman ShadeGrey Curtain PanelsTripod LampSlatted Bench / Coffee TableSofaGrey Arm ChairYellow Chevron Throw Pillow (pair)Woven Native American PillowCream Colored "Lacey" PillowCream Colored Knit Pillow

Happy Monday!!