Oh, hi there! I'm sorry I disappeared. It seems I took the summer off. Life got surprisingly busy for a while there, but I'm working on getting back into the blogging groove.
I spend a great deal of time thinking about kitchens. Oh, do I love to cook, you ask? No. Not really. I want to love to cook, but usually I'm so hungry and exhausted when I get home at night that I can't even contemplate the idea of cooking. Because cooking isn't just cooking - it's a time-sucking and energy intensive event. It's going to the store, acquiring ingredients, hauling them home, chopping/sautéing/simmering/baking them, serving them, then eating them, and, when it's all over, cleaning them and all of the dishes up. Seriously? No, thank you. Eating falls far too late in that chain of events. And I love to eat.
And so, to Seamless.com I go.
The thing is, while I don't necessarily cook on a daily basis, Matt and I do like to entertain when we can, and I also -- despite the not cooking -- seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen every day... making coffee, dealing with mail, assembling whatever Seamless.com has delivered, doing the dishes, wiping off the counters, replacing the sponge.... etc. etc. etc. I also find that, for whatever reason, when gathering, people tend to gravitate towards the kitchen regardless of how messy or tiny it is.
And so my thoughts are: Cooking? Eh. But kitchens? YES!
I love kitchens. Adore them. Dream about them. Want to live in them. Etc.
Which brings me to our kitchen. It's in desperate need of a renovation. It's super charming in that old, New York apartment galley kitchen kind of way, but it's not the kind of kitchen that inspires kitchen envy and causes hyperventilation. There is pealing wallpaper, track lighting that burns out weekly, ancient appliances and a sink that reminds me of camp kitchens.
We will, at some point, renovate, but I find decisions of this sort extremely difficult. There are so many fabulous options out there, how could you possibly decide on just one? It's much more fun to dream than to actually execute. In the dreaming phase, there are no price tags or finding contractors or measuring space... there's only big ideas and space for kitchen islands and the possibility of floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening onto terraces.
Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some photos of kitchens that I find inspiring for one reason or another. Today's focus will be on subway tiles. Economical, clean, modern. There's something very delightful about them. A beauty in the utility. They're meant to be juxtaposed against windows and light - not underground. You can be playful with them, through pattern or grout, use them to create a wash of color or to create contrast. You can dress them up or dress them down. They're useful and above all, quite beautiful in their simplicity.
Scroll down to see 10 of my current subway tile crushes. Which images do you like best?
Happy Monday and have a happy week!
Let's talk about inspiring interiors for a moment. Specifically, other people's interiors. More specifically, interiors of people who do not live in the United States.
Interiors, like fashion and art, are a universal language, and voyeurism is a rather universal human trait (see: Marcel Proust; Rear Window; tabloids; and all forms of social media to name but a few examples of our voyeuristic tendencies). You give me photos of someone's beautiful home, you feed my voyeuristic craving to see that which is not mine. I will devour those photos with gusto, dream about what it must be like to live in such a space, and then go on a search for more interior heroine to feed my addiction.
Recently, a photo of a living room on Pinterest caught my eye (it was on Born and Bred Studio's board - Born and Bred is a great company to follow on Pinterest). As you may have noticed in my posts of late, I've been really into emerald green recently -- and as I've learned, more specifically emerald green as part of a semi-complex, preferably tetrad, color scheme), and the green velvet pillows (more specifically, the elongated pillows, especially the elongated pillows layered atop bold, almost rugby striped pillows.... contrasted with that stark white.... and that angular antique armoire....) in this image drew me in (see how this stuff gets me going?). The rest of the space seemed so different than many spaces I've seen lately, and that was both refreshing and captivating. I repined the image and planned to move on. But as I do, I thought about that living room and then began to wonder what the rest of the space looked like. Was it an apartment? A townhouse? Who lived there? Who decorated it? And why? What was the inspiration?
The caption describing the photo had been written in Spanish, so I was extra intrigued. (I love finding interiors from publications in foreign languages - it makes them feel mysterious and like I've stumbled upon something exotic and other-worldly; like my pinning is just so good that I've been rewarded with the fabulous European find.)
The space is featured in a story called "Un piso con carácter" in the magazine Nuevo Estilo. The interior, designed by interior designer Pepe Leal, with art curated by gallerists Damián Casado and Concha Santapau, is a lovely mix of lots of things. It is a home in Madrid, designed with a lot of influence from the 40s (but also the 30s and 50s... and today), which draws upon design from cultures like Morrocco and India for inspiration and mixes in local finds from artisans and artists.
I am drawn to this space for a number of reasons.
1) the "shell" (the ceilings, ceiling height, floors, molding - all of it);
2) the space-framing window treatments - they are masculine and weighty in velvet, which pairs well with the high ceilings and large windows, helping to "ground" the space;
3) the neutral base of whites, creams and tans layered with bold color and texture;
4) the use of warm colors (and a more complex color palette) in the "social" spaces and cool colors (and a less complex, calming color palette) in "private" spaces;
5) the mix of antique/traditional and contemporary pieces and shapes. It is serious and studied, but airy and lighthearted at the same time.
Let's take a look!
SOCIAL SPACE - Warmer color palette; tetrad color scheme.
PRIVATE SPACE - Cooler color palette; square tetrad color scheme.
As with most homes that have been photographed for magazines, some parts of this space appear to be a little too... staged. But there is still a rawness and authenticity to it that is also very hard to deny. Something about this space just works for me. Perhaps it's the tight color scheme's repetition (in variations, some subtle, some bold) throughout the home so that, from one room to the next, the flow is natural, effortless, but also purposeful. Maybe it's the mix of old and new, eclectic and traditional (I am particularly taken by that dining room). Maybe it's the foreignness of it all, but perhaps more likely, it's really the familiarity of it all. That sensation of "I've seen this before" when, really, you've never seen anything like it.
In any case, it's some tasty eye candy for the interior lover. Especially on a Friday after a long week. Hope it brought a bit of inspiration your way and hope you have a fabulous weekend!
You know that sensation where, once you notice something, you start to see it everywhere? That has happened to me, and now I need to share that something with you.
One of my favorite blogs, The Pink Pagoda, recently featured plates from the Bahia Collection by Alberto Pinto. I just died over the gorgeous emerald and blue colors and the beautiful brushwork (the paintings sort of have a peacock feather sense) against the clean white background. Just. To die. I looked the plates up, saw how expensive they were (they're a lot - like, a lot a lot), and so I decided just to pin the beauty on my "For the Home" board and moved on with my life. But then while having my foot zapped with electrical pulses at physical therapy earlier this week (a strangely relaxing 15 minutes), I browsed through a recent Architectural Digest issue (March 2014 I believe) and happened upon the plates again. (Architectural Digest says the plates capture the spirited beauty of the ceremonial feather headdresses of Northern Brazil.)
I think of beautiful china more as art than as something upon which to eat a meal. 1) Fine china is usually ridiculously expensive, so we are unable to purchase enough of it for more than one person to actually dine upon; and 2) in most homes (or at least mine), fine china is rarely used except on truly special occasions, which is a pity because it's gorgeous. My solution for this is to purchase small pieces of china -- bread and butter plates, even dessert plates or salad plates or rim soup bowls -- and put them out decoratively. One will do. More than one -- a flock, if you will -- is even better. They can hold small bits of jewelry on a vanity or be placed artfully on a coffee table or side table as an accent piece.
Here are some of my favorites from the Bahia Collection:
Bahia Dessert Plate, $238, at William Wayne
Bahia Bread & Butter Plate, $170, at William Wayne
Bahia Rim Soup Plate, $228, at William Wayne
And if you want to go big....
Bahia Charger, $315, at William Wayne
As the saying (sort of) goes, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern. Seeing these plates featured twice is enough for me to see a pattern -- of fabulousness!! -- and so I have settled into a quiet obsession with the collection's gorgeousness and wish that one -- just one! the really, really tiny one, really! -- could make its way into my welcoming arms and onto an end table or coffee table that's yearning for some colorful, feathery companionship. It would add a little Brazilian flare to the space, elevate the overall look, and bring a smile to my face whenever I happened to glance its way. And perhaps over time, I could collect a few and place them artfully throughout the home. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. I'd love a whole flock of these puppies, but one would be just fine. In the meantime, I'll just ogle at images online.
What must-haves are you seeing more than once out there?
I know I said I would write about entryways all week, but my week suddenly became consumed with a Craigslist purchase and now I can think of nothing else. Entryways will have to wait.
Here's the deal: At night, when I should be starting my bedtime routine, I like to canvas the Craigslist furniture ads. It's a little obsessive. Definitely compulsive. And I'm sure it's pretty creepy. Let's just call it meditative.
The thing is. Sometimes after digging through that giant haystack of mundane Ikea crappola, you actually, out of nowhere, manage to find the needle. And then you're faced with the question -- always the late night one, the one where you should be turning off the light and going to bed, but instead, you're thinking about that needle you just found: If you had one shot, one opportunity... would you capture it or let it slip away?
One such opportunity presented itself to me earlier this week, during my ritualistic evening perusal of search term: "chair." I can't even recall why I was looking, but then out of nowhere, I saw it: "Linen Sofa & 2 Club Chairs by Cisco Furniture - $600 (Upper West Side)."
CISCO FURNITURE? As in CISCO BROTHERS? This does not happen on Craigslist. It never happens on Craigslist!
You likely have not heard of Cisco Brothers. Before last June, I hadn't either. But then, as I do with things, I became obsessed. Matt's parents super kindly offered to buy us a new sofa as a dual graduation gift when we graduated from our respective institutions last spring, and when we started looking, we found a cool sofa we liked out at a home décor store in the Hamptons. It was the Cisco Brothers Cordova sofa (which I did not know at the time, but after much obsessive googling, I figured this out). We never ended up pulling the trigger, partially because there's the fear that everything is marked up in the Hamptons, but we never stopped thinking about it. I researched the company more and fell more in love with it - L.A. based, everything's made in the USA, everything's organic. It's just all around awesomeness. It's also horrifically expensive (as truly great upholstery is).
When we were on vacation in California, we made sure to stop at the flagship store in L.A. and once again committed to the idea of buying a Cisco Brothers sofa. This time, we fell in love with the Hayden Deluxe Sofa (and if all goes well, maybe one day we'll have it, shrunk down to 90"), but still, we never forgot the Cordova.
So imagine how I felt when I saw the CORDOVA on CRAIGSLIST. A SOFA. And TWO CHAIRS. All for $600??? HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS FABULOUS. I emailed the seller faster than you can say Cisco (and she emailed back faster than I could have imagined) and found out that the sofa had already been sold, but the chairs were available. So this is where the opportunity thing comes into play: we don't need two new club chairs. We need a new sofa. And we would like a new club chair and perhaps a smaller chair to complement it. Two club chairs is possibly too big for our living room (it's only 12 feet wide), but when presented with two chairs that you love, that retail for, like, $2,500 each, that are being given to you for $150 each (by my calculations that's a 94% discount), it's the difference between an extremely bad case of buyer's remorse and an extremely bad case of saver's remorse. And who wants to suffer from saver's remorse? Not I, said the fly. And so I took the leap of faith and bought the chairs (the seller and her husband, by the way, were just the loveliest people ever).
Below is a mock up of what our living room might eventually look like with the chairs and if we get the Hayden sofa. The painting and lamps, and some of the pillows, are things we already own, so I often play around with different furniture looks and colors using what we already have to get a sense for what works and what doesn't. I think this works! Though the pillows may need to change.
The chairs are going to be delivered at some point next week. I am totally excited and totally stressed. The chairs are quite large: 37"w x 32"h x 42"d, and our current elevator (our regular one is being serviced) is quite tiny. The door opening is 29" and then the interior space is 40"w x 34"d. Then you get to our tiny door, which is only 28" (and that's stretching it). So I'm moderately aware of how poorly this could all go down. But when you have an opportunity, you have to seize it, right? I'm hopeful. And trying to think positive! Thinking positive is a good thing! And I am just hours away (hopefully) from sitting on two down filled Cisco Brothers Cordova chairs!
Happy anticipating! Happy Craigslist scouring!
Happy Monday, everyone!
I am obsessed with entryways. They're the home equivalent of a first impression, greeting you and guests with an intriguing "Oh, hello! Welcome to this fabulous home!" Entryways serve as an immediate focal point when you enter a home and get you excited to see what else is inside. They're high impact and can often be achieved in a small space.
I am going to do a few posts on entryways, but thought I'd start with an overview of how our entryway came to be.
Our entryway has evolved over time, and I am really pleased with the results. It certainly came from humble beginnings (I would show you the before photos, but they're trapped on an old computer), and we've been working on "boosting its self-confidence" so now it can shine with the glamour and grace that a good entryway should have (it either has it, or it doesn't, right?).
When we first moved into our apartment three years ago, the entryway was a disaster zone. The previous owners had had huge ugly semi-built-in bookcases flanking the wall, and before considering the outcome, our first move was to ask the super to remove them.... which left gaping holes in both the wall and along where the baseboard should have been. Instead of actually fixing the offending wall, we dealt with the problem by covering it with whatever we could find. That red armoire (in the right of the photo - a $250 2007 Craigslist purchase that I recall required doorman bribery so the seller and I could haul it ourselves into my tiny apartment at 11pm on a week night... smarts and safety all in the name of décor, right?) flanked the wall around where the mirror now hangs (in part because the armoire won't fit through any other of our slim doorways to get into another room of the apartment - it is so fat that it is permanently stuck in our entryway). For several years, the armoire covered up the most egregious holes in the floorboard and walls, and we put up a room divider along the rest of the exposed wall, which served both to hide our suitcases and the wall. The room looked really strange and was not the first impression I wanted it to give. Every time I walked through it, I thought about how much I hated it and dreamed of one day changing it.
We lived with our bizarro room for the better part of two years, always apologizing to guests for the state of the entryway. But eventually "Oh, you know, we just moved in and..." wasn't really an excuse anymore. To me, there are three components to a great entryway: a great lamp (or pair of lamps), a great mirror (or art, though I prefer mirror for its functionality), and a great table. The additional requirement is that one of those items needs to be an antique of some sort. Below is the story of how our components came together.
In late 2012, when I was in Kansas City visiting my parents, my mom took me to the antiques district on 45th & State Line Road (if you live in/near KC, go here - it's awesome!). My mom's friend Barbara Farmer owns a ridiculously awesome antique shop called Perrin & Co. (1717 W 45th St, Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 753-7959) that carries just about anything fabulous and European. I walked in with the "I have no money, I'm just browsing" mindset, but when I saw a pair of green antique Parisian opalescent lamps, I practically passed out. After coming to terms with just how little money I actually had in my bank account, I finagled a deal with my mom to split the cost with me because, now that I'd seen these lamps, I couldn't imagine life without them. Even splitting the cost stretched Matt and me pretty thin, but when it's love at first sight, there's really nothing you can do to change destiny. I knew I needed the lamps in my life, and it's one of the few home purchases that I didn't even bother to run by Matt -- I knew he'd love them (and honestly, I didn't really care if he didn't love them -- that's how into them I was), and I also knew they were the key to transforming our pathetic entryway. Also upon further research, I've realized that we got a seriously good deal on them. Truly great opalescent lamps do not come cheap.
When the lamps were delivered to our apartment, that was the impetus to get the entryway renovation going. As you know, once I get a home décor idea in my head, it becomes a mild obsession and I need to act on it as quickly as possible. We put the lamps in a "temporary home" as bedside lamps (they were huge but they looked sort of great) as we set out to finalize our mission of entryway awesomeness. I finally got around to asking our super to install a baseboard (learning later that you need to ask for it to be painted white or else it's just raw wood), and then I got my DIY groove on. Against Matt' wishes, I moved the armoire over to be where it is now (he refused to believe it would fit!) and caulked up and papered over the gaping holes in the wall (I wouldn't say it was a professional job, but it did the trick). I was totally pleased with myself.
Next we needed a table and a mirror. Mirrors can be very expensive. The one that was featured at Perrin & Co. with the lamps was an incredible Louis Philippe mirror (that I still, two years later, dream about) that was at least $2,000, which was about $1,900 more than we could spend. I searched high and low for a cheaper equivalent and couldn't find anything in the price range we could handle (it turns out that real Louis Philippe mirrors -- or even reproductions -- are a $2k+ investment). I gave up on Louis Philippe and finally just decided I wanted a gilded mirror of any kind and started scouring Craigslist for "gilded mirrors" (you get better results that way than saying "gold mirror").
When I finally found the one we purchased, I practically tackled the seller via email and dragged Matt immediately to the gal's apartment on 97th & 3rd to procure the majestically discounted piece. It was listed at $120, we offered $100, and I still fell like we stole from her... though she lived in a ginormous apartment, so I didn't feel all that bad about it. Though the mirror is clearly a reproduction, I have no doubt it would cost at least $1,000 in stores and I am very pleased with the quality. It's very heavy and really beautifully ornate without being too much (though if put with the wrong things, it could be too much). When we got home, I immediately ran to the bedroom to see the mirror next to the lamps (total excitement despite all the messiness) and did a little dance to celebrate our major score.
Then I became obsessed with finding a table.
With the lamps and mirror in our possession, things came together rather quickly. We were due to host a "Jack and Jill" bridal shower the next weekend, and it became suddenly clear that we needed to get an entryway table -- fast. I had for some time been eying the mirrored Parsons console table from West Elm (now $599) amongst other table options (I also would have loved an antique chest, but again, that price range is another ballpark), and as luck would have it I noticed that it was on sale at West Elm the same weekend that we had procured the mirror. I showed it to Matt thinking there was no chance he'd go for it, but he did! He loved it! "That's really cool, let's get it." Matt's home purchases are made exclusively on whether the item "looks cool" or "is comfortable" and this one looked cool (yes!).
We called West Elm with the idea that we could put it on hold and pick it up, like, immediately, but it turns out that's not how West Elm works. So we ordered the table online (first signing up to receive email, which gives you an additional 10% off) and crossed our fingers that it would arrive on time, and because we knew the table dimensions, we were able to hang the mirror without having the table in our possession. Sure enough, the next day, West Elm called to schedule delivery for that Friday. Matt's mom very kindly offered to wait at our apartment for the delivery and make sure the table was put in the correct place, and when we got home that night, we moved the green lamps into place.
When everything was in place, it felt downright magical. Nearly two years after we'd moved into our apartment, and we finally had an entryway that garnered a "wow" out of guests. I love the juxtaposition of antique and modern, high and low. I switch out the centerpiece relatively frequently depending on what we have around. Our Aunt Helen recently sent us that fabulous orchid as a "get well" gift after my surgery, and I'm horribly obsessed with it.
What's Next? A Bench!
I desperately want a bench or two to put underneath the table. I have two woven baskets (Neu Home Water Hyacinth Large Tapered Basket with Cut-Out Handles, $30.99 each from Casa.com) that we keep there to hold shoes and such (all of that stuff that gets removed when you walk in the door and that you need when you walk out of it), but I'd love to have a bench as well. I am currently eying this grey one with white piping from Lamps Plus, $179.99, and this Safevieh taupe grey Dante bench from Overstock.com. Thoughts?? Why are benches so darn expensive?
And that is my very long story about how our entryway came to be! I will post some more entryway ideas later this week. Is your entryway in need of transformation? Or is it already there? Tell me all about it!
Sorry for the silence - things have been busy recently!
So, the East Coast is pretty snowy right now, eh? This Polar Vortex 2.0 has me thinking of nothing but cozy, clean winter white. Thankfully, January is also the season of white sales, so I am in fluffy white bedding and bath heaven.
I found myself on the Pottery Barn website the other night -- first as research for a client, but ultimately as research for myself -- and saw a couple of pretty exciting soft white things that were begging to be ordered and shipped to my home pronto (I had a very old merchandise credit that needed to be used, which helped promote this purchase). What did I get? Read on to find out! The items might seem a bit random, but I always wait until the January sales to pounce on items like these, and I've been thinking about these things for some time. So for me it was a no brainer - especially with that merchandise credit!
My Exciting Winter White White Sale Purchases
1) A New White Quilt!
I love Pottery Barn's pickstitch quilt. It is soft and luxurious, and it's also a pretty tolerable price point. We've had it in porcelain blue for years -- and the color has never felt quite right to me (Matt says it's a little like the color of hospital bedding, though it really has grown on both of us over time), so I have always secretly really wanted the white version. The thing is, even though it's a somewhat tolerable price point, at $179 it never feels right to just buy a quilt for the sake of buying a quilt. It feels like an unnecessary splurge. Discounted to its current price of $159 feels a little more tolerable, and with my store credit, I felt even better about the purchase. The quilt is linen-cotton and super soft, and it's a really nice weight for bedding. I layer mine either under a duvet in the winter or folded as a throw at the bottom of the bed over the duvet in the summer.
You may recall my post on our on-going bedroom makeover. This quilt is one of the steps to serenity!
2) New White Bath Mats!
I know, I know. How could I be excited about bath mats? Let me tell you, it's possible. We've had our current bath mats for maybe five years, and that's like 95 years old in bath mat years. They are very old and tired and ready to retire. I have been eying bright white looped bath mats for a while, which should complement our charmingly old white tiled floor. Our current mats are a sage green, which worked great in the modern sienna colored bathroom we used to have in our old rental and do not work so great in the purple and white bathroom we currently have (yes, it's purple, the wallpaper, counters and curtains are from the '60s -- we're talking flower power, sad plaid, formica counters, fluorescent lights, the works -- and until we are able to renovate, I'm doing everything in my power to make the room feel modern and light despite what's really going on). When we moved in, we got the Pottery Barn white waffle weave shower curtain, $59, which helped the room enormously, and I've been eying these Cotton Twist Bath Rugs, ($24 for the medium, down from $29) for a while to complement the clean white look. It's like a fresh start for the new year! I bought two - one for next to the tub and one for in front of the sink. It's going to be gloriously fresh!
Where To Buy:
Pottery Barn is my go-to for white bedding and bath staples - it's easy, good quality and the price is right. I particularly like their pearl-embroidered bedding, $17.99-$109, down from $29-129. An embroidered boudoir pillow is particularly fun. Monograms are $7, but worth it. I love a good monogram in a bedroom.
You can also try Restoration Hardware for some slightly more expensive options. I can't dig too far into this sale because it involves actual furniture items and makes me want things I can't afford. Like this dresser. In "antiqued natural." Which is sooo totally off topic!
Back to bedding and bath, Neiman Marcus is an excellent place to purchase Lauren Ralph Lauren towels at a discount in January. Things are more or less half price ($5-$25 instead of $8-43), which is exactly what I'm looking for in a sale. Go ahead and get them monogrammed. It's free, and everything is better with a monogram. It feels so grown up and sophisticated.
Stay safe and and warm... happy fluffy shopping!
Hello, hello! Let's talk comfort. After a particularly rough surgery check up this morning (word to the wise: "breaking up scar tissue" = more excruciating pain than I could have ever fathomed), I was in some need of some major TLC and coziness to nurse my wounds and get myself back to "normal" (a relative term). And with the "polar vortex" upon us, I have a feeling you're looking for some coziness and comfort of your own as well. I suggest a two-pronged attack:
1) stay home and swathe yourself in a faux fur throw, and;
2) look at some photos of super cute, fuzzy animals.
Prong 1: The Faux Fur Throw
Before my surgery, I purchased an ivory faux fur throw from One Kings Lane that turned out to be the greatest $55 I have ever spent. I have since realized that it is like the grown up version of a stuffed animal. Admittedly, I am a little bit embarrassed about it, but the thing is so darn cozy and comforting that I just don't care. Juge away, my friends, but I suggest you skip the juging and instead buy one of these bad boys for yourself. My intention when buying the item was for it to be a nice little throw at the bottom of our bed (and I liked that it's machine washable!), but since I haven't been able to sleep under the regular covers for the past 3.5 weeks, I've relied on our faux fur throw as my "comforter" (in all senses of the word!) to keep me super warm at night and feeling truly ensconced in softness and comfort.
Where to Buy
OKL doesn't have the exact throw in stock that I bought (they may in the future), but they have another slightly more expensive (but bigger!) option in light camel, $115. Below are a few others to try (most of these are in white, which is what I prefer, but, really, just go with what you love!):
Restoration Hardware Luxe Faux Fur Throw, $99
I like it in Arctic Fox, but really, any color is nice.
Pottery Barn Faux Fur Oversized Throw - Ivory, $139
And why not throw in that pillow while you're at it.
West Elm Faux Fur Throw in Frosted Mocha or Mocha, both $119
West Elm doesn't carry a faux fur throw in white, but all of the colors are pretty darn cuddly.
Prong 2: Fuzzy Cuteness
Now that you've swaddled yourself in the faux stuff, let's take a look at some photos of the real deal in all their cute glory. A couple of these images should do the trick:
Did that help? I thought so. I certainly feel better.
Happy warming, happy healing!
Happy New Year! Wishing you all peace, love, happiness and a dash of whimsy this year!
I recently happened upon a super fun peace sign hand sculpture that I hope will find its way to my home in the coming weeks. It just perfectly captures what I hope 2014 will bring: peace, whimsy, and strength... and happiness.
Matt and I were discussing New Year's resolutions yesterday, and I said that one of mine was simply to be happy. "Happy? Is that a resolution?" he asked. "Absolutely!" I said. Happiness, at least to some extent, is a choice and can at times require a great deal of resolve to obtain/maintain. The old adage "fake it 'til you make it" comes to mind here, and the payoff once you "make it" is enormous and enormously worth it. If that's not a resolution, I don't know what is. The universe can have a pretty sick sense of humor at times (and at others, a delightful one), and it's up to us to decide how to handle it. 2013 was a year of some pretty phenomenal ups and some pretty brutal downs, but even now, as I close in on month ten of a debilitating foot injury and finish up week three of a painful surgery recovery, I feel an extreme sense of gratitude for the hand that was dealt to me this year. I'll never know how it happened, or why, but I like to think there was a reason and that the experience will make me a stronger and more compassionate person (even though it is easy to feel pretty worthless and woe-is-me in my current state). Who knows? A girl can dream.
So how did I find that fun little hand? On a whim of course, which is my favorite way to find things. I'll take you on a little tour of my search (a window into my meandering, "creative" (i.e. mildly ADD) mind), because I stumbled upon some great blogs along the way! During a delightfully aimless Google search for gold side tables yesterday (I am planning out a reno of our living room - inspiration board coming soon!), I happened upon a fun blog entry on gold/brass and marble color combos (one of my favorite combos) on a fabulous blog called The Covetable. This led me to The Covetable's "Apartment Envy" section (OMG, what fun!), which featured the apartment of Amelia Canham Eaton, who co-founded the blog The CHICago Life (also a fab blog). In Amelia's apartment tour, I saw this image and thought the peace hand was just super fun:
Then I saw this image and knew I'd found a kindred spirit - she has my pig bookends!!
I separately had been looking at the Jayson Home website (a Lincoln Park based home décor store that I wish existed in New York) where a brass peace sign captured my attention. Could it be the same thing? I thought when I saw the hand in Amelia's Chicago home. I do believe it is! At $168 plus shipping though, it's not the steal of a deal that my $29 pig bookends were and thus not something I can just purchase on a whim. I did a bit more digging to see if this happy hand was sold elsewhere, and I think I've found the same one (or an excellent replica) at Zinc Door for $137 plus free shipping. Same dimensions and similar coloring (unclear whether the coloring is in fact different or the photography is causing the difference):
So, what can this funny little hand represent? Many things! For me, it will be my adaptation (plus an addition) of the "10 to Zen" that has been cheesily circling about Pinterest recently. In other words, the pursuit of happiness.
What are your New Year's resolutions??
Happy New Year! And peace, man!
Apologies for the radio silence, everyone! Recovering from surgery is a bit more intense than I'd anticipated, and I just haven't been up to writing. Basically all I am capable of doing right now is watching TV and pinning on Pinterest (apologies to anyone who follows me for overcrowding your feed!). I am going to take another week or so off from blogging while I continue to recoup, but I wanted to take a minute and share our holiday decor photos before they're completely outdated!
Matt and I put up our holiday decor the weekend before I went under the knife. The transformation was very quick and easy (and something I was somewhat capable of doing in a walking boot). We bought a ginormous tree from the nice tree sellers that come down from Quebec every year, and we also grabbed a bunch of loose greenery from them (free when you buy a tree or probably if you ask nicely) to use on the mantle and dining table.
On the tree we used white lights and ornaments that our families have given us over time. I love the feeling of history that a tree can have when you hang ornaments that members of your family grew up with and that tell a little story of who you are.
The tree is actually so large that I couldn't get a photo of it head on. This angle is from our foyer looking into the living room (the fireplace is to the left - you can see the rug in the bottom left corner).
For the mantle, we used oldies but goodies that we have "on file." A few years ago, my mom gave us a nutcracker (she used to take me to the Nutcracker when I was a kid) and my mother-in-law gave us some cute Noel and snowman clown figurines from the Taft Museum in Cincinnati. The colors all go great with our decor and make decorating each year super easy! We just added the greenery around the figurines to give everything a bit more life and to tie in the tree (I also used some to cover up the ugly wall hanging nail that shows on the top of the mirror - worked like a charm!)
For the wreath, I wanted something that was just really green and fresh - and easy. I bought a $20 wreath that our Quebec friends were selling and then I got about $10 worth of other boxwood-style greenery from the corner bodega. I hung the wreath over our door knocker and stuck the bodega greens into various parts of the wreath. I then curled the greens around the circle of the wreath and held it all down with a little wire that my Quebec friends gave me. I added a burlap bow (parts of it are braided but you can't see from here) for some rustic charm.
And that's a wrap, folks! What did you do for your decor? I'd love to know!
Hope you all are celebrating your various holidays and can hopefully enjoy a little time off from work. Happiest of holidays and I'll be back in the new year!
Merry merry and happy happy!
Well, I'm in love. I just welcomed a new member into the family last night, and he's so darn cute, I just want to stare at him all the time and coo at his cheeky, gilded cuteness.
I spotted this gold pig bookends set of 2, $29.95, on CB2's website a few days ago. (Okay, fine, I'll admit it: I fell for a "Sponsored Link" on Facebook, and that's how I ended up at CB2's website. I never would have even thought to go to the CB2 website, let alone to buy a set of pig bookends. Those ads work! They work, alright?! Silly targeted marketing. I hate you and I love you all at the same time.)
Soon after seeing this happy little pig online - and for only $29!? - my obsessive nature kicked into overdrive and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I needed to have this pig bookend set in my home immediately. But I hesitated to order online: 1) CB2 can be hit or miss (and is often a miss for me), and I tend to conduct my CB2 purchases in store so I can verify that it is in fact a worthy purchase; and 2) if this fine swine were in fact a worthy purchase -- as I suspected it would be based on my own discerning eye and the 4.6 star rating it had earned from 52 reviewers (excellent sample size!) on CB2.com -- I didn't think I could wait the 3-5 business days that it would take for my little piggy to come all the way home to me. I needed him, and I needed him now. (Full disclosure: I'm getting foot surgery next Thursday, so my sense of urgency isn't totally insane - it's just a little bit insane. The surgery also somewhat helps explain why I want a smiling, gilded, bifurcated pig in my home to cheer me up when I'm laid up in bed. Surgery or not, I enjoy cheeky animal decor.)
And so, despite better judgment (better judgment would tell me to go home and ice my foot), I concocted a plan to hobble over to CB2 on my way home from work last night (it's only a block from the subway!) and see what this golden hog was all about. When I got to the store, I wandered around aimlessly "testing out seating" (when you have a hurt foot in a furniture store, "testing" the seating is a great way to get a little break) and examining price tags until - BAM! - jackpot: There in gilded glory was a whole bookcase full of gold pig bookends; and one smiling, curly tailed set was definitely coming home with me. The pigs were in the back of the store, as if CB2 knew people like me would come in just to see them and would be forced to wander around the entire store first before finally finding them. Well done, CB2. Well done, indeed. (Did this cause me to buy anything else? Of course it did. A gift for our "Yankee Swap" at work next week. You're welcome, CB2, for that extra purchase; and you're welcome, as-yet-unknown-coworker-who-will-be-receiving-my-excellent-$15-to-$30-gift-next-Friday-while-I'm-at-home-on-painkillers.)
The bookends are a little more yellow than they are in the online photo, but when you're in love, you see past small flaws (and the in-you-face gold adds to the kitschy charm). The bookends are made out of polyresin (I mean, whatever that is - ecofriendly, right?) and finished to look like wood, and they are heavy. As the gal who checked me out (who couldn't have been nicer) was wrapping them up for me, she turned to me and remarked, "Man, you could really knock someone out with these!" (True, but let's not go there.) "They'll really hold up your books!" (I would certainly hope so given their express purpose, but yes, also true.) "I mean, they're really heavy! This should be an ox or something instead of a pig." (Yes, that's an interesting interpretation of the concept, but then I wouldn't have bought them. I'm really only buying these because they are pig shaped.)
When I got home after my treacherous commute (no cabs! where's the bus! my brilliant plan is foiled!) and with a very swollen foot, I proudly proclaimed to Matt when he saw the CB2 bag that I'd acquired something really exciting and couldn't wait to show him. "Do you want to see our new baby? It's the cutest thing ever. I don't know which part to open first!" I said, tearing into the bag and vigorous unwrapping one of the two papered-up pieces. "Oh! It's his rump!"
"What is that?"
"Pig bookends!" I opened the other half. "Isn't it adorable? Look at his smiling face! Look at his round butt!"
"Why did you get that? How expensive is that?"
"Because. Did you see the adorable smile? $29. Isn't it a steal?"
"I think you've lost your mind a little bit."
"Yeah. But at least you're getting it out of your system before you go under the knife."
At least, indeed. And now I have a cute little set of piggy bookends to keep me company while I recover. The pig's cut in half like my foot will be... Deep, right? Totally inspirational, don't you think?
As expected, in no time at all (30 minutes tops), Matt came around: "Actually, I do like it." (Of course you do. You can't resist that cute little pig face and upturned nose.) "But it would look a lot better with some books in it." (You think?)
I'm glad this little piggy came home. I can't wait to get some books in his belly! But until then, he's just happy hanging out in his new digs. More to come on where I end up putting him...
Happy shopping! And happy weekend!
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.