Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bedroom Design Board - an Emily Henderson Knock-off

Emily Henderson is a design goddess.  

She just posted this bedroom yesterday morning, and of the people I follow on Pinterest, I saw this room pinned, and re-pinned by about 10 different friends (and when I say friends, I mean for the most part random Pinterest "friends").

Anyway, this room is SO SIMPLE, but so lovely, so I just had to come up with an affordable version for the rest of us to mercilessly copy.

I love that everything in the room is light and bright, letting the headboard take center stage.  SO GOOD.

The chandelier MAKES this room, and so I kept the original chandelier in my inspiration.  It's actually quite affordable from Shades of Light - if you're ever in the market for a chandelier you'll see that they can run up the cost quickly.

With the bedding, the headboard, the lamps, the nightstands, and decorative pillow, we're talking about an entire room makeover for well under $1000.

Here's my own version...

Where to Buy:
   1. Navy Tufted Headboard
   2. Washed Linen Bedding
   3. Rast Nightstand (for Campaign Makeover)
   4. Geometric Lamp
   5. Jonathan Adler Chandelier (minus the shades)
   6. Yellow Woven Throw Pillow

Pretty close to the original, rigghhhtttt???

You can actually get the headboard she used from Target, which is also REALLY affordable, but this option from Wayfair, was ~$300.  Even less costly than the Target version!

You'll notice that the nightstands will require a little DIY, but it's really minimal.

To make these into a pair of cute, and SUPER affordable nightstands, go pick up two Rast 3-drawer chests from Ikea ($30 each).  Pick up some brass hardware - 6 pulls per dresser, and a few brass brackets from the hardware store - and paint these dressers in a nice medium grey.  I like Benjamin Moore's Stonington Grey.

I'm so in love with this space - makes me want to recreate it in real life!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gold Leaf Placecard

It's almost November, which means it's almost my FAVORITE holiday...  Thanksgiving!!

With fall, and Thanksgiving on the brain, I saw this image, and had to share.  Isn't this the best idea for simple DIY place cards at the table??  
*Source Unknown

Just go out in the yard and collect the biggest sycamore leaves you can find, spray them gold, and write everyone's name on each one.

I thought that was the most clever idea - can't wait to copy it...

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Butternut Squash + Sage Soup

I guess our "Indian Summer" is officially over. The last week has been cool and crisp - you can see your breath in the mornings, the wind was howling all last night, and it was the first time in a while where we had to put an extra blanket on our bed... 

Just like that, it's fall!  

With the cool weather finally upon us, I decided to make soup.  Butternut squash soup to be exact, and it could not have been easier!

I didn't use a specific recipe, and eyeballed pretty much everything, but it turned out amazing, and I pretty much guarentee that this is going to become one of our fall staples for supper this year.

Here's how to make it...

  - One large butternut squash
  - Half of a yellow onion
  - Three large cloves of garlic
  - One low sodium carton of chicken stock
  - Sprig of Sage
  - Olive Oil
  - Butter
  - Half and Half
  - Salt
  - Pepper
  - Cinnamon
  - All Spice
  - Chili Powder

Recipe Instructions:
Use a regular potato peeler to peel the thick skin off the butternut squash.  It's pretty tough so I don't recommend a paring knife unless you really know what you're doing.

Once the skin is off, cut the butternut squash into cubes.  Near the "bulb" of the squash, there is seeds and fiber that you'll want to scoop out with a spoon.

Once it's peeled, toss the cubes in a large pot with the chopped up onion and garlic (you can also use shallots, but I didn't have any on hand).

Coat everything generously with extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt, and get things sauteing. As everything starts to cook, add in a bit of butter - I used around 3 tablespoons, or roughly 1/4 of a cube of butter.  At this point I also added in a dash of cinnamon, a dash of all spice, a dash of chili powder, and a large sprig of torn up sage (about 5 large leaves).

Cook things on medium to high heat until everything has softened a bit - just before the butter starts to get brown, add in the chicken stock.  I didn't measure at all - just poured until the stock covered most of the butternut squash, about 3/4 of the way - I used about half to 3/4 of a 1-quart carton.

Put the lid of the pot on, and let things cook.  You want to make sure the butternut squash is really soft - let it go for 15 - 20 minutes or so.

At this point, turn the heat off, and let it cool for a few minutes.  Spoon the cooked ingredients into the blender (in batches) and blend until smooth.  I ended up adding a bit more chicken stock as each batch blended to get it really super smooth.  An immersion blender would have been amazing at this point, but the regular blender worked just fine.

Once everything was all blended, I added everything back into the big pot, turned the heat back on and tasted the soup.  It will probably be pretty bland still - I went with low sodium chicken stock so I could control the salt, so I added in more salt (I'm guessing around two teaspoons or so), along with two more dashes of cinnamon, two dashes of all spice, two dashes of chili powder, and pepper.

Keep tasting as you season - you might like more salt, or pepper, or less cinnamon, etc.  It's all personal preference at this point. I also added a splash of half and half (only about 1/4 cup).

The soup was already really creamy without it, so you could absolutely skip this step if you wanted to keep this healthier.  Mix it all together, let the ingredients cook a bit more, and you're ready to eat!

That's it!  It sounds like a lot of steps, but it was SO EASY, and it only took me about 30-40 minutes total.  Also, it ended up being super cheap!  I think it cost about $8 total for the squash, stock, and sage.

I'm guessing it made about 2 large servings, so if you're making this for more, double everything.

I ended up garnishing it with a few more sprigs of sage, but if you don't like sage, feel free to skip it entirely.  I happen to love it, and I find that it really tempers the sweet flavors of the squash.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Herringbone Wood Floors - it's Love

So I've decided... in my future house, I want at least one room to have a herringbone wood inlay floor... just look at these images!  

So. Freaking. Awesome.

I love it with wide planks in a warm, traditional wood...

And as it looks equally as amazing with wood in a more greyed out coloring...

The muted wood finish actually emphasizes the pattern, while also keeping it from being too busy...

What I love about it, is that it keeps a space feeling traditional with wood floors, but it's more spunky and original than the classic straight planks.  I don't think I could have a WHOLE house of herringbone wood floors, but it would make a single room so special.  Don't you think?

How dramatic is this room with the planked ceilings, and the wood in varying colors of grey stain - it's a bit busier than I'd likely commit to in my own house, but it's just SO COOL.

This is a much more traditional take, and i love how warm it looks - the pattern is more subtle because of the coloring in the wood, but it almost has an ombre effect.

Shorter planks are also pretty awesome, and I love how the pattern is edged in before switching to flat rows of wood in the hallway and adjacent rooms.

And the final room has the herringbone wood set at a steeper angle in the below room, using darker wood with a more pronounced grain - it gives it kind of a woodsy look, don't you think?

While we're talking about fancy floors... how amazing is this pattern??  The below is a total pipe dream, while I feel the herringbone pattern is more doable, but I'd LOVE to have something like the below in a bedroom, smaller personal space.

What do you think about the herringbone wood floors?  Kind of a cool interpretation of the very popular chevron pattern, right??

Would you ever install them in your home??

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Black and White and Grey All Over

I just cannot get enough of this image...

I am absolutely loving the greyed out wood floors, and the perfectly imperfect dining room table, and all the lovely muted colors.... but what I really love the most is the awesome bookshelf in the background.  Totally unassuming, but so cool - a little industrial, a little classic, a little natural. It's amazing.

I've seen lots of bookshelves with patterned backs - using wallpaper, fabric, wrapping paper... but I really love how the back of this bookcase has simple planks of wood.  The greyed out, light wood allows all the accessories on the shelves to take center stage, but while they are a "quiet" muted slate for displaying the contents of the shelves, I think that they bring something really special to this bookshelf...

I also love that the shelves of this bookshelf are made out of the same cool muted wood (or is it "wood"... so hard to tell!).

After admiring this bookshelf for a while, I started brainstorming how to recreate this awesome bookshelf, and came up with a game plan.

The bookshelf in this picture looks A LOT like the Vittsjo Shelving unit from Ikea...
The problem, is that since the Vittsjo is made of a lightweight metal, it's would require some serious skillz to securely hang rustic wooden planks from the back.  I'm actually not convinced that it would really work out... it seems like a terrible idea to mount heavy wood planks on one side of a light weight frame.  I can just picture that thing toppling over.

So, to avoid DIY catastrophe, I say that using actual wood is out... going to plan b, I'm thinking something sturdy but lightweight like particle board would be a MUCH better bet. It's cheap, so all you would need are a few long sheets at Home Depot (they can measure and cut to size for you)!

Once you have a long piece of particle board cut to size, it's time to get creative.

Queue up the Faux Bois Rocker...
This one is Martha Stewart, but I'm sure there are others out there...  doesn't look like much, but it creates the COOLEST EFFECTS.  It's to be used much like a paint roller to create the cool look of wood, on flat surfaces... walls, dressers, foors, shelves... you get the idea.

Here are a few good examples of a faux bois finish...

Pretty awesome, right??

The last photo comes from Little Green Notebook, and she has a FABULOUS tutorial on how to create this effect.

OKKK - now that we've gone down the faux bois rabbit hole... I'll continue.

Create this finish (perhaps more subtly) on the MDF / particle board, screw holes in the bookshelf and attache the boards to the back.

So easy, and likely $100 for the entire project (or less if you are able to find a Vittsjo on Craigslist).

I REALLLLYYYYYY want to try this now!

Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Paper Mache Pumpkins

Happy Friday you guys!  Are you as excited for the weekend as I am??

So I saw this fabulous little Esty shop that sells these charming pumpkins, and not to derail her business (at ALL), but I was just thinking of what a fun DIY project these Paper Mache pumpkins would make.

I'm thinking that it could be as easy as this...

  - Small Pumpkins
  - Glue
  - Craft Brush / Foam Brush
  - Small Container
  - Old Books
  - Moss

1. Buy some small irregularly shaped pumpkins from the grocery store (look for ones with long stems)
2. Mix one parts glue (Elmer's white glue) and one parts water in a small container
3. Rip book pages out of an old book you'll never read again (hey, I just gave you a use for the copy of Twilight hiding in the bookcase!)
4. Tear pages into small pieces
5. Adhere pieces of the book pages to the sides of the pumpkin
6. Glue a bit of moss around the stem of the pumpkin
7.  You're done!

You could mix it up like the pumpkin on the far right, and use plain creme colored paper and finish it off with a cool stamp...

You could take things a step further and use a little gold leaf on a few of these...

Like the above pumpkins, you could hang small jewels, brooches, or name tags off of these - how cute would these be as a name card for a place setting at a spooky Halloween dinner??

I might have to give this DIY a go!

Happy weekend :-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wall Stenciling

You know how sometimes you just see something completely inspiring, and you have to tell everyone and their brother??  Well that's what happened to me since stumbling upon Tiffany's fabulous entryway on her blog, Living Savvy.

I mean... it's just draw dropping in all it's dramatic glory.

AAAHHHHHH!  It's SO GOOD!!  That green???  Stop it.

And that mirror??  SOOOO jealous!

Everything about this is SOOOOO good.

She has a really detailed tutorial of how she attacked this entryway (Part I and Part II), and after reading through, I'm dying to try it out on my own.  I love the scale of this print - I've seen some stenciled walls that are quite lovely, but strike me as being too busy when the pattern is on a smaller scale... unless it's a powder bath - then all rules go out the window.

Now that I'm completely obsessed with this idea, I googled the pattern she used - it's the Royal Design Studio Contempo Trellis wall stencil (say that 10 times fast), and good ole Google came up with more inspiring spaces that used the same pattern.

This two toned entry way was quite stunning - and it looks like the paint was actually metallic.  Fancy!!

It's amazing to see that just by changing up the paint colors how different this stencil can look!!

I was also totally loving this black and white version...
So cool right??  

When we end up moving, I really want to test this out - I think it works great in these entry spaces, but would also be so cool in a dining room, or office space.  To read through the tutorial is a little daunting, but I think that it could be a project spread out over several sessions...

I could also totally imagine this done in lighter colors - medium grey on light grey - or in varying paint finishes - glossy navy on matte navy.  Wouldn't that be super cool too??  Something sort of like this...

See the sheen from the paint??  Even though it's the same color, the pattern totally pops.  I feel like this method would really give the look of wallpaper... I wonder though how hard it would be to paint over later...

What do you think of the look??  Would you try it on your own?

Any other professional words of advice from those of you who have tried it out before?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Heart Booty

Not what you were expecting to read about this morning??  Sorry... I just had the urge to write about my love of booty... errr... booties I should say. Get your minds out of the gutter!

I wasn't a believer when girls first started wearing ankle boots several years back - hard to believe, coming from someone who owns several pairs and several styles now, but I love them, and I think it's clear that everyone else loves them too. Yep, booties are here to stay, since they are quite literally everywhere... there are booties for a night out, booties for a casual date, booties appropriate for work, and booties dedicated to play time.

I've rounded up my favorites from each category... and there are 9 categories... I should add that I LIMITED myself to 9.  Originally I had 14!

From left to right:

Ladylike Booties: with a streamlined heel, these booties from JCrew are totally office appropriate and would look pulled together and lady like with cropped trousers, or a pencil skirt.
Biker Booties: I've been on the hunt for a great pair of biker-esque booties.  How great would these be with black leggings and a long tunic-y sweater during the winter.  Perfect for rainy weather, and a little tough.
Caged Booties: Sexy thang! Likely not office appropriate, but great for weekend and evening wear. THESE boots were made for walking (figuratively... of course)

"Everywhere" Booties: I call them everywhere booties because you could pretty much wear them anywhere.  To dinner, to work, or to a casual event.  The heel dresses things up a bit, but won't seem fussy in a situation where everyone else is wearing flip flops.
Going out Booties: Too hot to trot... perfect for a night of dancing, and is it me, or are the gold accents what MAKES these??
Playtime Booties: Channel your inner Pocahontas. These are great weekend boots - fun for a night at the movies or casual dinner.  Also great for chasing kiddos and running errands since I bet they're as comfy as a pair of slippers.

Western Booties: My favorite pair of booties have a bit of a western flair to them and I'm on the hunt for a replacement actually.  I find that the dip along the shaft of the boot (is that the correct technical term) is super flattering around the ankle, and these look great with all skirts and dresses.
Flat Booties: Running around for errands, or holiday shopping?  Invest in a cool pair of flat boots.  Easy to take off in the dressing room, and comfy enough to tromp around all day.  These boots actually ARE made for walking... literally.
Wild Booties: Meow.  I mean these are just amazing.  With an all black outfit???  So SOO good.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Simple and Subtle Fall Decor

As you know, I'm a big fan of making small changes to our space for the seasons.  I love the idea that you can keep the core of the room the same, but that by making a few tweaks, you can completely change the feel of the space.

I also hate the gimmicky fall and "Halloween" decor you see in the stores, so I've put together a little list of seven easy changes you can make to take your space from summer to fall, while avoiding the dangling skeletons, and ghost flags.

1. Display the seasons' harvest:
The grocery store is the best place to find super affordable decor in the form of food and produce.  Grab a bag of walnuts in their shell, 8-10 pears, and some cool little pumpkins and gourds for an easy fall mantle or dining room table centerpiece.  I also love the look of a big bowl of apples, and the Cinderella pumpkins and white pumpkins are always a little different.

2. Work in muted colors:
Summer is about bright colors, but as the days get shorter, I like to stick with a more muted palette with lots of white, creme, and earth tones that pick up the colors of the harvest (and candlelight) well. A feather wreath and a bundle of wheat also never hurt anyone :-)

3. Bring the Outdoors In:
Mother Nature knows what's up, so why not clip a few branches from a tree in the yard, and bring some natural fall colors indoors?  Not only are they so much cheaper than a bouquet of flowers, but they last longer, and bring more impact to a space.

4. Do a little Faux Fur:
The nights are a bit more chilly now, and there is nothing cozier than a little faux fur to snuggle up with.  Not only that, but the fur just says "cold weather is here" when it's folded up at the end of the sofa.

5. Replace vases of Flowers with branchy twigs:
Once the leaves have all fallen from the trees outside, bare branches are cool to incorporate into fall decor.  I love how they are displayed in varying jugs and vases below...

6. Let there be (candle) light:
Grouping candles together is a super inexpensive way to make your home feel cozy at night (or at 5:00pm when it's already dark out).  Not only would this make for great ambient lighting while you watched a movie, but it would be a cool tablescape for Thanksgiving dinner. To replicate the below photo just grab a planter from the Home Depot, some faux berry branches, a few gourds and mini pumpkins, and a lot of white candles.

7. Swap out Pillows and Blankets:
Bring in a little fall color through accessories - a burnt orange throw pillow and blanket turn this space from summer to fall in a snap.  Everything else is seasonally neutral, but the punch of orange says "fall" without being completely in your face.

Did I miss any good ones that you love?  What are your favorite little fall decor updates??  I also love a good fall wreath on the front door!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Our new Bar Cart

Happy Monday you guys!

I've been MEANING to post this for several weeks, but let me introduce you to our new bar cart!!

Yes, you heard me... BAR CART.  Hollllaaaaaaaa!!!

I've been wanting one for close to two years, and after much hunting, and much waiting I have one!! Do you remember the one that got away??  If only I'd pulled the trigger on a truly vintage bar cart, but everything happens for a reason, right??  Anyway, remember how I posted about this one from Target's Threshold collection??

Well, I couldn't help myself!  I swear, once I saw it, it was a done deal.

I had a little difficulty tracking it down, but I wasn't ready to pull the trigger without seeing it in person. After locating one about an hour away, it was love at first sight.

I LOVE the brassy bronze finish, and the wood tray tops are a really nice touch.  I mean, it's actually wood people!!  I'd read reviews that people said it looked and felt more expensive than it is.  This is the truth!!  It's heavy, and feels so sturdy.  I could not be more happy with it :-)

I had so much fun styling the top.  Turns out, we like our cocktails, because after gathering up all the bottles of alcohol in one place we had everything we needed!  Vodka galore, tequila (when and why did I buy that??), whiskey, and all the fixings for the perfect Manhattan.

Add to that, the really pretty cocktail glasses my mom gifted me (I actually think they are the old school champagne glasses with the wide bowl) some martini glasses, and all the tools for mixing, stirring, and straining drinks, and we were in business!!  There ALMOST wasn't enough room for it all!

Once all the bar essentials were in place, I needed to add some fun accessories.

It is fall after all, and I couldn't resist this cute little wooden fox.  I mean, what is a bar without a sassy fox??

I also loved the bronze candle holders - at night, they give a really pretty amber glow to the area.

Speaking of foxes... have you heard and / or seen the video for the song, "What Does the Fox Say"?? So hilarious - one of my coworkers introduced me to it, and I still can't decide if it's a joke, or if they're serious.  Listen to it a few times... you'll find yourself humming it at the most random times!


I'm still not loving the lower shelf's styling, but it's fine for now.

I felt it needed some height, which is why the lantern landed there, but I just don't love it.  Still working that out...

The light was really bright from the living room when I was taking these photos, so excuse the washed out pictures...  I was aiming for a shot from further back to get the shelves in there... and the print hanging above the bar cart.

I hung that months before I knew we'd ever have a bar cart!  How perfect is that?!

Here's a little birds eye view...

I know I said I was staying away from faux flowers, but these are seriously the ONLY ONES left in our house, and they had a really nice autumn vibe to them.  I couldn't resist!

So that's it!  Our new little bar cart that encourages the observance of cocktail hour... not that I'm complaining!

What do you think??

Are you running off to the store to get one of your own?

Who wants to play the role of Betty Draper with me?!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Foliage

It's been a crazy CRAZY week, so while I simply don't have the time (or energy) to write something supremely clever, or creative, or even related to design, I'll leave you with a photo I snapped of the most gorgeous tree in the world...

Seriously, those colors?!  It's like I hallucinated it!

This weekend, I'm headed down to Orange County for a wedding - last wedding of the year for us - and so I'll be back next week, refreshed (hopefully) and full of fun, creative content for you all.

Happy early weekend!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Fashion - Portland Edition

Holy cow you guys - it's FALL in Portland.  The air is crisp... nay... cold... and literally everywhere you turn, the trees are lit up in the most amazing colors.

I have never seen anything like it.

I think I'm in love.


It's taken me 24 hours to pretty much forget all about the glorious hot summer weather of the weekend, and now I'm all about fall.  Cold noses, crisp air... and fall fashion...

Portland is a town of hipsters - casual clothes, and a "hipper than thou" vibe.  You will not see a pair of pointy heels for miles.  That said, you can take the girl out of San Francisco, but you can't take her out of her heels, so I put together a little fashion inspiration, -  my version of Portland style - for this chilly fall day...


H M blouse, $24 / Madewell vest / BA&SH green jeans / Rag & Bone wood heel boots / Michael Kors necklace / Lauren Ralph Lauren belt, $125 / Dents glove, $97 / Yves Saint Laurent lipstick

A little faux fur never hurt anyone, and a faux fur vest is definitely something I want to add to my wardrobe for fall.  Olive skinny jeans are both autumnal, and sort of "alternative" (no?) and a good pair of brown leather booties are casual enough for any hipster, but chic enough for me.

Gold accessories galore... yes please... and who doesn't like a red lip??

Happy Wednesday!!