Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcome, 2012!

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy new year. New Year's Eve is our anniversary (11 years!), so I'll be out celebrating! Whatever your plans have fun and be safe!

                                                            Source: via melancia on Pinterest

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, with family and friends and all the things that make this time of year special.

I'll leave you with this lovely display, from the Holiday Lights at CALM show at the zoo here in town (it's pretty spectacular and an annual tradition for Erik and me):

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inspired by: Bar Carts

While looking around for inspiration for my dining room redo, I keep coming across beautiful bar carts. They're so versatile, beautiful and retro-mod, and metallic finishes add a bit of sparkle. With the holiday season in full swing, they're perfect for entertaining.

Here are some of my favorites:
Society Social
Apartment Therapy
Bo Bedre
Society Social
Ivy & Piper via Northern Light
Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles via Aesthetic Oiseau
Clayton Gray Home
And here's an insanely adorable mini one from Nicole for the I'm a Giant dollhouse challenge:
Making It Lovely
But it doesn't have to be a cart. A tray can make a pretty presentation:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Hanukkah

I'm not at all religious, but we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in my home, and this year the two overlap. Hanukkah begins tomorrow at sunset and lasts for eight days.

Happy Hanukkah Menorah print, Etsy
Our celebration is intimate and low key, following some traditions of my childhood and some that we've adopted more recently. I pull out my dreidel plates and salt and pepper shaker set and fry up apple fritters and latkes, which are served with apple sauce and sour cream. They're easy but time-consuming to make, and well worth the effort. (We eat that just one night—my jeans wouldn't fit if we ate like that all eight nights!)

And, of course, we light the menorah. I have lovely modern one that I bought for myself, as well as a more traditional one that I bought for (and inherited from) my father. We usually attend the annual community menorah lighting—this year it's on Christmas Day.

It all makes me nostalgic for my childhood. It's nice to be able to relive those times and share them with my new family.

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all the best.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Mad About...

Los Angeles Times
  • Gingerbread houses have never looked so good!
  • Love the idea of a holiday shopping list. You can't be too organized this time of year.
  • This one's for all you dog lovers. The video is great, and the song's pretty catchy, too.
  • I'm so excited about the Young House Love book! I just hope John and Sherry (and Burger!) do a book tour—and head out West.
  • Send a handwritten email. It would be great for holiday thank-yous when a written card is too formal, but you want something special.
  • It's a party in a PDF
  • More beautiful and unique book-themed art.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Wish List

I'm not proud to admit it, but this time of year brings out my greedy side. Not only is everything I've been putting off buying all year on sale, my favorite stores keep throwing gift cards at me. When I should be shopping for friends and family, I'm looking for things to get for myself.

Now that I've admitted that, here are few things I'm hoping I'll get this year (and one that I already bought—see what I mean?).
Undecorate by Christine Lemieux; Sketch Cover Duvet, West Elm; Kate Spade Camelia Avenue Posy Vase, Lenox;
Owl Sugar Shaker, West Elm; and Lollia Eau de Parfum in Wish, Anthropologie

I want plenty more, but I wouldn't want to look too greedy ;-)

What's on your holiday wish list?

P.S.: While you're out shopping for friends and family, don't forget to pick up a little something extra for those who aren't as fortunate.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Under Wraps

While I enjoy wrapping gifts, I hate having to track down everything I need from all over the house. I have a cardboard gift wrap organizer that's held up quite well over the years, but I've long since outgrown it. Wrapping paper, ribbons and gift boxes have taken over one closet. It's time to pare down and reorganize.

Wouldn't you love to have this setup?
Better Homes and Gardens
If you don't have room for that beauty, how about this:
                                                          Source: via Pam on Pinterest

It's more compact and looks easy enough to create. I also love the picture frame treatment—so polished!

Using the back of a closet door to store supplies is a great idea. It's easy to reach and, with some creativity, you can keep everything in one compact space.
                                                       Source: via Melinda on Pinterest

                                                                    Source: via Sharon on Pinterest

Or a small cabinet and pizza boxes—yes, pizza boxes!
                                                              Source: via Heather on Pinterest

How do you store wrapping supplies?

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's a Wrap

Now that you're done with your shopping (you are done, right? ;-), it's time to wrap the gifts. For me this is the fun part because it lets me be creative.

I really like the idea of wrapping presents in something unexpected. Sure, lots of people use newspaper, but how many of them make it look this festive:
Country Living
Kraft paper and a rubber stamp has never looked this chic:
The Haystack Needle
I love this idea (and I have lots of Trader Joe's bags lying around):
A Creative Mint

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Guide: Book Worm

Indulge your friend's reading habit with these helpful and stylish accessories:

Clockwise from upper left: Wicked Witch bookmarks, Etsy; Little Red Riding Hood poster, Square Inch Design; Literary Art iPhone 4 covers, Uncommon Goods; Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light, Amazon; Penguin Classics Passport Case, The Lost Girl, Barnes & Noble; Esme readers, Kate Spade; Jonathan Adler Surfing Style iPad case; ModCloth

Check out gift guides for foodies, Francophiles, Anglophiles and animal lovers.
Also be sure to visit the fabulous and comprehensive gift guides by Gifted magazine and Emily Henderson.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gift Guide: Animal Lover

You knew I wouldn't forget the pets (or your animal-loving friends). Toys for dogs and cats, a fashionable (and eco-friendly) bed and dog cake—it's all here:

Clockwise from upper left:
Coming Wednesday: gifts for the reader.
And check out gift guides for foodies, Francophiles and Anglophiles.
Also be sure to visit the fabulous and comprehensive gift guides by Gifted magazine and Emily Henderson.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gift Guide: Anglophile

For the friend who can't get enough of The Office (Ricky Gervais edition), Sacha Baron Cohen and beans with breakfast:

From top right: Union Jack wallet, John Lewis; London Weekend Destinations print, Bodie and Fou; London canvas tote, Bodie and Fou; Underground map of London, London Transport Museum; Bigelow tea chest, Amazon

Coming Monday: gifts for the animal lover.
And check out gift guides for foodies and Francophiles.
Also be sure to visit the fabulous and comprehensive gift guides by Gifted magazine and Emily Henderson.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gift Guide: Francophile

For the friend who dreams about Paris in the spring (or summer or winter or fall):

Form upper left: Chanel No. 19, Chanel; Parisian Winery appetizer plates, Pottery Barn; Silver-Plated Beaker, Bodie and Fou; Paris Metro map, Etsy; Paris canvas tote, Famille Summer Belle; Cote Bastide fig bath and shower gel, Bodie and Fou; Le Chat print, Bodie and Fou

Coming Friday: gifts for the lover all things British!
And check out gifts for foodies.
Also be sure to visit the fabulous and comprehensive gift guides by Gifted magazine and Emily Henderson.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gift Guide: Foodie

Who doesn't like food? Whether your friend likes to cook or just consume, there's something for everyone.

Clockwise from upper left:
  • Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit, Art Fire
  • Farm to Table apron, Anthropologie
  • Blend and Cook Soup Maker; Cuisinart
  • Chinese 5 Spice dark chocolate truffle, Saratoga Chocolates
  • iPad Chef Stand and Stylus, Belkin
  • Seasonal striped kitchen towels, Williams-Sonoma (I love Williams-Somona kitchen towels and washcloths—sturdy and absorbent, not to mention cute!)
  • Terracotta slow cooker, Reform School
  • 3-Pack Coffee Sampler, Grounds for Change (This is a wonderful company. I've been buying coffee there for years, and it's fresh and delicious. Plus it's fair trade and organic. My favorite is the Cafe Femenino, which is grown by women in Mexico and Peru. And it sells tea and chocolate!)
  • Le Creuset Two-in-One Pan, Sur La Table
Coming Wednesday: gifts for the Francophile!
Also be sure to visit the fabulous and comprehensive gift guides by Gifted magazine and Emily Henderson.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So Many Things to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What could be better than a day of delicious food and people to share it with?
Plus, it gives me a chance to focus on the wonderful things in my life. I tend to spend more time fretting over the things I don't have than being grateful for what I do have. So in the spirit of the holiday, here's a (partial) list of the things I'm thankful for:
  • My work. Journalism has taken a real beating in the last few years, and my career has been no exception. But I'm so grateful that I still get paid to do something that I love and that I'm very good at.
  • My home. It's not perfect, and there are still things I want to changes after (gulp!) eight years here, but my home is where I feel safe and comfortable, and where I can get my decorating fix.
  • This blog. Even if no one ever reads it, it's been a fantastic creative outlet for me. (And I can't tell you how thrilled I am when someone visits and leaves a lovely comment. Thank you all!)
  • My four-legged family. They bark too often, scratch, cost us way too much money—but I can't imagine life with my dogs and cat. Every animal that's come into our home—even the ones that were here for just a short time—has brought us such joy and taught us something about life and ourselves.
  • My husband. He's the best. Happy birthday, sweetie.
I wish you all a wonderful day! I'm taking the rest of the week off, but I'll be back Monday with the first in a series of gift guides.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel Plans

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes the beginning of the holiday travel season. I'll be sticking close to home this year, but I'm sure many of you out there will be visiting family and friends in far-flung places.

For those as obsessed with organizing as I am (and particularly for those who aren't!), I thought I'd share a packing and travel checklist that I created for our trip to Vegas. Although I love my online calendar, when it comes to lists, I prefer paper and pen.

Pretty cute, I think. And useful.

Here's a comprehensive packing list for those planing a trip abroad. This blog post has great tips on packing for vacation. And for those who'd rather plan electronically, there's an app (or two) for that. Happy packing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Mad About...

I found so much good stuff this week, I don't know where to begin. Enjoy!
Tower Bridge of London pillow, Naked Decor
  • I want just about everything at Naked Decor! And the man behind the shop has a stunning home.
  • These Children's Story Posters make me feel like a kid again, but in a grown-up sort of way.
  • '80s alert: This Duran Duran video has me wondering whatever happened to my John Taylor poster.
  • Marcel the Shell is back, charming as ever.
  • Speaking of charming, have you met Dexter?
  • I don't know about this...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Inspired by: Chevrons

I don't know if it was started by Target-Missoni frenzy, but it seems zigzags are everywhere these days. A classic pattern—it dates back as far as ancient Crete and is used as a military rank insignia in the United States and Commonwealth nations—the bold, graphic chevron looks modern and fresh when used in expected and unexpected places.

On the window:
Joy Cho's bedroom
On the floor:
                                                    Source: via Bonnie on Pinterest

Chevron-painted floor in a New Jersey Beach House,
House Beautiful

                                                Jonathan Adler design.
                                                 Source: via Tisha on Pinterest

On the wall:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Color Me: Outrageously Orange

It took some time for my love of orange to develop. I used to think it was too bold, too garish. Then I discovered how good it looks on me, and a love affair began.

There's a lot to love about orange, whether you prefer a soft peach or a bright neon shade. And it pairs exquisitely with my favorite color, blue.
Clockwise from upper left: Climbing Vines curtain, Anthropologie; bedroom, via Pinterest; ceramic garden stool, Inside Avenue;
Hermes Jypsiere bag, via Polyvore; Heritage ballet flat, Lands' End Canvas; sunroom, New England Home; Townie,
Electra Bicycle Co.; flowers, Style Me Pretty; Essie nail polish, Fables in Fashion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Mad About...

I've always been a big James Garner fan, and when I heard he'd written a memoir, I ordered a copy right away. He has quite a story to tell, and I can't wait to read all about it.

Some other things I'm excited about:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Off the Wall

I've mentioned before that I want to make some changes in my dining room. Never one to jump into anything too fast, I still haven't chosen fabric for curtains. But the ideas are always flowing, and I have something in mind for the back wall:

We're considering adding clerestory windows along the top of that wall to bring in more light (we don't want anything too big as there's just a view of the fence on that side of the house).

But I want to give it some punch, some wow. I considered wallpaper. Some really beautiful papers are available these days:

Hygge & West

                                  Source: via Beth on Pinterest

But I'm not keen on putting up something permanent, in case I change my mind or we ever sell the house. So I considered removable wallpaper:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

We celebrated Halloween in Las Vegas. We were invited to a pirate-themed wedding that afternoon, and we got to spend a couple of days in Sin City.

New York New York
The weather was gorgeous, and the Halloween scene was pretty crazy (we saw one topless woman crossing the main drag), but it's probably even more insane when the holiday falls on a weekend.

The Vegas Strip
The wedding was definitely the most unusual I've been to, and the bride and groom really seemed to enjoy themselves. (We didn't dress up, but they did. And so did our 6-year-old niece—so cute!)

We'd never stayed on the Strip before (we usually bunk with family), but this time I booked a room at the MGM Grand, in the modern West Wing. The room was very cool, with a TV in the bathroom mirror, a large tiled shower and remote-controlled window blinds, but not terribly practical, with dim lighting, limited counter space and that TV taking up a big chunk of the mirror in the bathroom!

Leo the MGM lion
The large tiled shower is reflected in the bathroom mirror, which conceals at TV.
Service was disappointing. The hotel check-in was pleasant and efficient, but the service at restaurants and stores was slow and rude.

Still, it was fun little trip, and we stopped at the outlet mall in Primm on the way home, where I scored a gorgeous Kate Spade bag! I'm so thrilled—I've been wanting one for years!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Mad About...
  • The Aestate is giving away a copy of "The Perfectly Imperfect Home" by Domino's Deborah Needleman!
  • I can't decide which of these holiday cards is my favorite. (OK, it's the owl!)
  • The proliferation of online magazines continues. This new one looks very sweet!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inspired by: Libraries

My father had a fairly extensive book collection—mostly classics, history, biographies, philosophy, all hardcover—and now it's mine. While I've only read a handful of those books, I would never dream of parting with them.

We're fortunate enough to have a room to house all those books, complete with my dad's bookcases, chairs, and artwork. Whenever I walk in, I can just feel his presence. I want to keep that feeling while changing things up a bit. Here are some library spaces that caught my eye:

Floor to ceiling books(!):
Matchbook magazine
I'm not sold on color-coordinating books, but this is a bright, cheery space:
Apartment Therapy
Love the styling on these shelves:
Amie Weitzman's New York townhouse, Design*Sponge
This is very sophisticated, and I like the contrast between black and white:
Neuvo Estilo, via Little Green Notebook
I love the idea of a library/dining room combo:
Elle Decor Spain, via Because It's Awesome

I can't say enough about how much in love I am in love with this space:
Via Elements of Style