Thursday, June 30, 2011

Matchbook's July Issue

The July issue of Matchbook has arrived. It's my favorite online magazine, and I can't wait to read it virtual cover to virtual cover!

Source: None via Matchbook on Pinterest

Features this month include a story on husband-and-wife ceramicists and an interview with cover girl and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with Matchbook. (Although I'd love to—are you listening, Katie and Jane? Yeah, I didn't think so.) I'm just a big, huge fan.

Grace and Style

As Monaco gears up for the royal wedding that aims to put the Wills and Kate shindig to shame, I thought I'd take a moment to share some favorite photos of the lovely mother of the groom, Grace Kelly.

Grace at her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier:

Looking coy on the beach:

Simply stunning:
Source: via Grace on Pinterest

Always regal:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Supper Squash

In case you're wondering about the first zucchini of the season, I harvested it last week. It was big enough for two meals.
Photo by The Blue Room
The first night I grilled it on the stove top with some salt and pepper—simple and tasty. The second night I sliced and steamed it and served it with butter and lemon pepper.
Photo by The Blue Room
The rest of the zucchinis succumbed to the heat, I think, and shriveled up, as did the fledgling crook necks. But temps have dropped a bit, so I hope that will give the squash time to get a good start.

How do you prepare zucchini?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

Before June comes to an end, I want to remind everyone that this is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. If you're thinking of adding a special feline friend to your family, consider adopting a cat from a shelter.

This time of year, shelters are usually brimming with kittens. Who doesn't love kittens? Just look at this little guy waiting for his forever home at the shops on Fourth Street in Berekley, Calif., on Saturday.
Photo by The Blue Room
But don't overlook older cats. They're generally already litter box trained, they're calmer and less likely to claw furniture than kittens, and they're full of love!

To find a shelter near you, visit the ASPCA's website.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ahead of His Time

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." —William Morris (1834-1896)

Portrait of William Morris
by George Frederic Watts,
via Wikimedia Commons
I've been aware of influential 19th century English designer William Morris for years, but only came across the quote above sometime last year. It perfectly describes what I've been actively trying to live.

Then the other day, while browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble, I came across this beautiful book. The store was about to close, so I only had time to flip through it briefly, but I knew had to know more about this fascinating man.

A true renaissance man, Morris was also a trained architect, a writer of poetry and prose, and an early socialist. But what he's remembered for most are the textiles and more than 50 wallpapers he designed. His nature-inspired creations still look fresh and modern today.

This vivid large-scale wallpaper was created for St. James's Palace:
William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons
His Acanthus design dates from 1875:
William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All Dressed Up

I don't have any fancy parties to go to any time soon (or ever!), but if I did, this is what I would wear:
Via Pinterest
I love the soft ease of the Grecian Grey dress, the sparkle and sheen in the crystal earrings and open-toe heels, and the light, tone-on-tone color scheme, with the slightest hint of blue in the Ondine clutch. Really, the clutch makes the outfit.

What would you wear this time of year for a night on the town? And what about the mini style board? How the heck did that happen? Still learning...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Give a Hoot

I've been slightly obsessed with owls for more than a year now. It started with birds, then graduated to their nocturnal cousins. I have a number of owl-inspired items around the house, including a couple of necklaces, salt and pepper shakers and ceramic owls (as well as other animal-themed decor).

I'd have thought I'd be over it by now and moving on to the next thing (peacocks?), but no. For some reason, owls are still calling me. Perhaps it's because we have owls in our neighborhood and I occasionally hear them (or, less frequently, see them). Or maybe it's just that they're so darn cute. Really, who could resist these?
Clockwise from upper left: Modcloth ring and wallet, Anthropologie door stop, Nood vases, Urban Outfitters bank, Anthropologie cookie jar
I seriously must get those owl vases.

I like owls so much, I want to eat them up!
Source: via Beth on Pinterest

Do you have an owl obsession? Or are there other animals you can't get enough of? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lit Up

I've been looking for years for a sparkly chandelier to replace the "boob light" (as the fabulous Tommy Smythe once said) in the nook in our bedroom.

I considered a number of options, but for one reason or another I never pulled the trigger. Probably because most of the ones I liked I had seen online, and I was hesitant about buying something I hadn't seen in person. I'm weird like that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Looks like I'll be eating homegrown zucchini very soon. I just checked on the veggie garden and found this:

It looks good enough to eat, which is perfect since that's the plan. The other zucchini (or would that be zucchinis?) are taking their time (you can see one of them to the left of the big guy). But this one has grown practically overnight.

The crook-neck squash is coming along, too, but still has a ways to go before it hits the dinner table:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pet Profiles: Smooch

We were walking our dog, the fabulous Daphne Dog, and saw a puppy in the middle of the street. My husband went to investigate and found out that some neighborhood kids had found him, but their dad wouldn't let them keep him. To save him from the pound, we took him home.

We weren't planning to keep him, but he was so lovable, it wasn't long before he became a full-fledged member of the family! Even Daphne liked him, and she didn't like just any dog.

We think he's a Chihuahua-terrier mix. He's a bit wild and goofy-looking, but he's the happiest, snuggliest dog I've ever known. He loves kittens and curling up next to me on the sofa and in bed. Oh, and barking. He really loves barking.

Friday, June 10, 2011

You Never Know Who You'll See at the Grocery Store

Fashion icon Lilly Pulitzer has been showing up everywhere lately, but the last place I expected to run into her was at the grocery store. Sure enough, though, there she was—on a box of animal crackers!
Before Kate Spade, there was Lilly Pulitzer, whose fun, brightly colored frocks could be found in the closets of high-society ladies, including Jackie Kennedy and daughter Caroline. The brand is still going strong today (as is its namesake, who serves as the company's creative consultant).

So what's the connection with animal crackers? you ask. I wondered that myself. It seems Lilly Pulitzer has teamed up with Nabisco and the Urban Arts Partnership to promote arts education in schools—a noble cause in these days of draconian budget cuts. The result is this fun, special-edition box of animal crackers.

I'm a little late to the party—apparently this has been going on since April. So if you haven't done it yet, run out to the store and get your box before they're all gone. And since eight cookies have just 120 calories, consider picking up a couple of boxes to get you through the weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holy Hydrangea

My tomatoes may not care for the crazy weather we've been having, but the hydrangea bush at the front of the house seems to love it.

I usually get a good crop, but the bush is bigger than ever this year. The heat tends to wilt the flowers, but since we haven't had much in the way of heat that hasn't been a problem yet. And it's large enough that I can see it through the window in my office.

I snipped a couple of blooms and brought them into the house. This one is brightening up my desk:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Planter Plans

In case you're interested in how I built the raised planter seen here, it was super easy. (And I can't actually take credit for building it—the husband did most of the dirty work, but I did hold the drill and the pieces of wood.)

We started with a trip to Lowe's, where we bought two 8-foot 2-by-10 redwood boards (a good choice since redwood isn't treated with chemicals) and 10-inch brass deck screws. We had the friendly guys at Lowe's cut the boards in half (free!) and we were set.

After we got home, we started putting it all together. It wasn't difficult, but as with everything home-related we do, there were some minor missteps and a bit of cursing. We basically butted the edges up against each other (no fancy mitering here!), drilled pilot holes for the screws and screwed everything together. As I said, super easy.

Here's how it looked last year (sorry there are no in-progress pics—it was done pre-blog):

We lined it with biodegradable weed barrier, filled it with five or so large bags of organic potting soil, planted some herbs and vegetables (some plants, some seeds), then covered the whole thing with more weed barrier, with holes cut out for the plants.

The herbs lasted over the winter ('cept the basil), and the box itself held up great. This spring it was just a matter of replanting and recovering with weed barrier (to keep the cat out—no, Giles, this isn't a giant litter box!).

I'd like to build another one, but that just might have to wait for next year.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Friday!

I have some work to do today and tomorrow, but Sunday I think I'll try to attend a free concert in the park (and bring Bitsy along for company!), and maybe I'll try painting my nails like this:

Via Pinterest
I'm also on the hunt for a basket for my bike. Wish me luck—I'm picky!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Take It Online

Just as I was thinking of writing something about the profusion of online shelter magazines, along comes a New York Times article on the subject. Perfect timing!

The print magazine world went into a tailspin a few years ago and a number of great magazines folded. The victims included Met Home, which I had been reading for years; the short-lived but inspiring Blueprint from Martha Stewart; and everyone's favorite, Domino.

Lucky for us readers, a number of entrepreneurial-minded bloggers started their own, based entirely online. While the magazines look like the print pubs, they have advantages that paper can't offer, including video extras and the ability to click on a link and go directly to the website of a featured retailer.

There are some drawbacks. Editing tends to be inconsistent (and since I'm an editor, I can't help but notice!). Because they don't have the financial constraints of traditional books (you know, the high cost of paper and printing), they tend to go on and on. And some of the fonts are difficult to read.

So, without further ado, here's a roundup of some of the best and most innovative online shelter mags:


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Experiment Success!

This started out as a test of my ability to make a photo collage, but the outfit turned out pretty cute, so I decided to go ahead and post it.
All images from Anthropologie. Clockwise from upper left: Grass Macrame Tote; Leaf Filigree Tank; Pebble Splash Drops; Nepal Jacket; Pliant Heels; Citizens of Humanity Hutton Wide-Legs

The collage isn't perfect, of course. You can still see some background around the jacket (light colors are hard to crop!), but all in all, I think it came out pretty well. And I'm sure I'll get better with practice.

What do you think about the outfit? It started with the shirt and went from there. I like the oranges and aquas mixed with neutrals. I would totally wear this.