Friday, August 31

Bad blogger. Good long weekend.

I didn't put anything together for today. Bad blogger! Life has been super hectic (sorry mom, call ya tonight!) so posting isn't going to happen today. We should all focus on enjoying this last weekend of summer anyway. Doing anything fun??

If you still need some weekend prep, you can click the image below to view "the 25 douchiest bars in DC". Is that even a word? Anyway, now that I've been adequately informed, you won't be seeing ME at any of these locales this weekend...probably.

Thursday, August 30

Rustic Home Accents

We've all seen it a million times. The reclaimed or unfinished wood, the casually exposed metal, the too-cool-chalkboard, the tarnished brass and irregularly chipped paint. The string of exposed light bulbs, the non-functional wooden ladder, the wire baskets, the up-cycled pallets and crates.

Seen it a million times, LOVED IT a million times.

Here are just a few images from the world of unfinished wood that caught my eye this week. Come back tomorrow for some inexpensive ways to work this look into your own home.

Little Green Notebook
Scandinavian Retreat

Jeanie R Hoades


Wednesday, August 29

Bibliophile [song of solomon]

It's reportedly Michelle Obama's favorite book, so I took it for a spin.

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison


Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.

I like Toni Morrison, and I've read more than a few of her novels, starting with Beloved. She has a distinct style and feel, which I appreciate in an author; every time I read one of her works, it's like revisiting an old friend, or a story-telling grandma. Same voice, different tale. I didn't like this as much as Beloved, personally, but I tend to like female protagonists (as Morrison often portrays), and this one focuses on a dude. As usual though, she has some powerhouse feminine characters. Her writing is just so sensual- she's been known to break into free-form poetry mid-chapter and just rock your world. I suppose my appreciation of this has more to do with her writing style and artistic license than the story itself, which I found engaging but secondary, but remains a valid reason to pick this one up. Or any of hers, really.

Tuesday, August 28

DIY [paint chip project]

Though it's a few days (months?) after the inspiration images, I have a paint chip DIY that I wanted to share. It's been difficult to photograph, as it's a weird medium and the frame is very reflective, so bear with me- I have a few with and without flash.

I cut a bunch of paint chips into triangles and glued them to a piece of craft paper for a color gradient, ombre effect. It was easy to do, especially as I didn't measure the triangles- this was due to laziness, but I like the wonky look it gave the art. If it's going to be this colorful and obnoxious, I don't mind if it's playful in sizing as well. It would certainly look more uniform and mature to have the shapes aligned, like this:

Young House Love
 The first photo, with flash, makes it appear more vibrant than it reads in person- here's a shot without flash to give you a better idea.

A litttttle softer, and more true to the art in person. If you have some paint chips laying around, recycle them into art. I promise that cutting out little shapes is actually quite therapeutic...I think they're onto something in pre-school.

Monday, August 27

Top 10 Celeb Homes

Love love loved this post from Emily Henderson about the top 10 celebrity homes. The best part is that I really don't hate anyone that made the list- it's Ellen Degeneres, Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Adam Levine. Lovely people, really. Here's a taste below, but head over to see the whole thing.

Friday, August 24


Here are some beautiful things or creative ideas I've been admiring this week.

First of all, this is the image I'm bringing to the makeup artist for J&R's wedding this fall. Classic beauty, punchy lip color (it's Tom Ford in Wild Ginger, fyi). Fun fact: Kate and I BOTH have different colored eyes AND she grew up like, 15 minutes from where I did. Something in the water, no?

Tom Ford clothing, lip make up
This room, recently featured in Vogue, is a great representation of white walls but plenty of color. I love all the mid-century chairs, the over-dyed rug, the massive wall art, the tulip tables, the navy and magenta color scheme...all of it delicious.
I'm going to be the coolest mom (or roommate) ever by doing this someday! Picture them all tumbling into your room on your fun. Then you have to claw your way out, also fun.

Balloon Surprise
Lovely quote from Galileo. Some people get all the talent.

And finally, isn't this a helpful little graphic? Bring it with you the next time you hit the store for a wine and cheese party. Maybe you should host one this weekend. And invite me.
Wine Inquirer

Thursday, August 23

Discover: Roadtrippers

Who's down for a road trip? Only if I have good music, good books, and the opportunity to find giant paperclips and creepy museums!

I've reviewed enough books to get you goin', and we all have Pandora, so let's discuss large-scale kitchen items and museums that have no right to exist, shall we?

Enter Roadtrippers. I am personally planning on this changing my life. Basically, it looks like Google maps. Enter in your starting point, your finish point, and then get ready for the magic. 

See all those little pinpoints along the route? You can select interest categories for relevant stops (fscenic points, tourist attractions, sport venues, fine dining, etc), and they plot them out for you! They'll even project mileage and fuel costs, a helpful tool particularly if you're driving to areas where you are unfamiliar with the cost of gas (pretty much any road trip ever). You can even say, "don't take me more than a few miles off my route please, I'm a tourist on a mission," and voila: Convenient attractions pinned! I'm planning on sprucing up my next DC to Boston drive (J, you with me??)

Thanks to PureWow for continuing to bring some Wow to my inbox. So worthwhile.

Wednesday, August 22

Mixology [the sneaky cucumber]

Who doesn't like a good hump-day cocktail?

This baby is of my own creation (with help from K), which is not to say that no one else has made it. Nothing is original anymore anyway, right? Basically we got excited about Pearl Cucumber Vodka (I'm not a vodka girl, but bear with me here), and couldn't think of anything else to blend it with. I think an infused simple syrup (ginger? lavender?) and seltzer would be a good idea too.

We call it the sneaky cucumber, and it is a great ode to summer in these dog days. First, muddle some limes and cucumbers in the bottom of a glass. Add 2 shots of Pearl Cucumber Vodka, then fill the rest of the glass with half seltzer, half cranberry juice. Don't try to shortcut it and use cranberry-flavored seltzer. Not as good. Don't forget the sugar rim and garnish!

One step closer to Friday my friends...I'm thinking this quote applies to me today.

Tuesday, August 21

Interiors [classy bathrooms]

In a home, every room matters. You may think that the bathroom is a throwaway place, in which case you've probably never been in an amazing bathroom, like some of those below.

Another great thing about bathrooms is that a little goes a long way- in smaller rooms, you can make smaller (and cheaper) changes. A new frame around your mirror might entirely change the look of the room, and a new paint color can have big impact. If you have a favorite wallpaper, now's the time to give it a try- you could do a whole room with one roll. 

Here are some of my favorite bathrooms lately. I favor bold wallpapers, dramatic color schemes, and interesting mirrors and art. Bathrooms are at their best when they are more than just a bathroom- throw in a rug, a comfy chair, a plant, a portrait.

AD Espana
Katie Ridder
Marta Torello
Shawn Henderson
The Decorista
Design Stiles
Jo Kornstein

Monday, August 20

Thrifty Weekend

Finally back from traveling, and excited to be back in DC. D is traveling now for another week or so, meaning I'll have plenty of time to do wedding prep work for my brother and future sister in law! 

Did some aggressive thrifting today with my friends K and J. We set a route of about 15 thrift stores, mainly using The Thrift Shopper and google maps. If you're from the DMV area, feel free to use our route and want to know our route, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll send it along- it made a nice and efficient loop of the nova area.

I was mainly looking for ornate frames, and we did very well. We wanted rococo, baroque, ornate, embellished shapes, which means all the frames we got are antique gold. We'll be painting them either a glossy black or a faux-wrought iron finish to match the lanterns that are part of the centerpieces. We got a huge one for the place cards and seating chart, which I don't have a great picture of, and a few smaller ones shown below. We need frames for various instructions, his and her cocktails, the photo booth, and so on. I can't wait to get started.

We rewarded ourselves with some margs and mexican after, plus another trip to Pie Sisters in starts tomorrow?

Thursday, August 16

Bibliophile [unbroken]

This one is a doozy.

Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
You probably already know all about this, but here's the blurb:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

I'm not going to go too much into this, since we all know the topic and have heard about this a million times. Out of the 18 war novels I can remember reading, I've liked one, The Things They Carried (no I did not like Catch-22, anything by Hemingway, or War and Peace). This may be the second, but bear in mind this is not a novel but a biography. The stuff this guy lived through is amazing- truly, it's hard to get your head around the abuse. But, it's a longgggggg one. By going over his experiences in such detail, a lot of pages were added but I'm not sure what else- I wasn't more impressed with his strength or more disgusted with his captors, because I was already those things to the extreme. I think the full story is fascinating, but I was plowing through it just to be done by the 3/4 mark. It would have helped if the writing was more philosophical or reflective, but it was pretty much just factual. Worth knowing the story? Inspiring? A good conversation starter? Sure.  But you can get those things from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 15

bag it up [July Birchbox]

Everyone should check out Birchbox ASAP. Here's a round up of my July box.
Tea Forté® minteas - 3 pack
Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
Color Club® Summer Pastels Collection
boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++
stila It’s Go Time Lip Glaze Trio
Birchbox Exclusive Earbuds

So, here are my thoughts.

It was nice to get a few extras, like the ear buds (super cute and bright) and mints (though I thought the flavor was a bit...odd).

I'm tired of getting perfume samples, since I usually don't love them and I have my own signature scent. I didn't love this one, as expected. I feel like I get them every other month, and I usually just toss them. I can see how it would be very helpful if you were looking for a new perfume, but then again, you can just head to Sephora and get a sample size of any scent you want.

The nail polish is awesome. It's a minty green, and while it doesn't chip badly, that could just be because I recently started using higher quality top coat (nails inc, from Sephora).

I'm on the fence about the BB cream, mainly because I'm on the fence about BB creams in general. BB stands for Beauty Balm (or Blemish Balm), and it's pretty much an all-in-one facial product: primer, anti-aging serum, moisturizer, and sometimes a foundation-like tint and SPF. I get it, it's convenient, but I find it hard to believe that each of those layers work as well when you smash them into one rather than layering and allowing drying time (which is what I usually do). Also, I tried the Dr. Jart BB Cream, and was pretty shiny by later in the day. I HATE shine.

Stila lip glaze- also didn't love. It was too sticky for me, which reminds me of lip glosses I used in middle school. Ew. Definitely not something I'm dying to return to.

When you're only paying $10 a box and you get a few things you like (ear buds! nail polish!), I consider it a win. I just got the email that my August box has shipped, which is what prompted me to report out on July. Get on board! Don't forget that you get 10 points for each review and 50 points for each friend- then, 100 points is $10 in the Birchbox shop of full-size products. Sweet.

Tuesday, August 14

DIY Wall Art Fix Up [this baby needed TLC like the Titanic needed lifeboats]

My title for this post is fitting, since the subject matter on my massive piece of art is a boat.

Crashing into an iceberg.

Why, what do you have hanging over your bed?

So this is obviously a sailboat, not a steamliner...but whatever.

I found this beauty on Craigslist (check here for all my c.list hunting tips). It was listed for $50, but the woman was happy to let it go for $20. She bought it from an art gallery/coffee shop when she was living in Brooklyn, then brought it to Georgetown a few years ago. She and her husband are now moving to CA, and while it's a nice piece of art, it's apparently not transcontinental worthy.

It looks good from far away, but here's the shape it was in...

Since I only dropped $20, I was willing to take some risks. I whipped out my blue, white and black acrylics, and even used some of our Valspar wall paint. Using brushes and sponges, I painted over what I could and added a little more color to the iceberg area. After letting it dry, I slapped on some polyurethane because I'm a freak about protection.

D and I decided to replace this girly cute vignette currently over our bed:

with our more maculine, neutral, modern boat art:

Now, what do we do with all those cigar boxes?

I'm kindof obsessed with it, and I'm glad I added more color to the iceberg area (if you compare the before and after, they're relatively different). We need to adjust some other areas of the room so it's more cohesive. Can you guess which side of the bed is whose?? First to go, that velour-covered, berry-colored lamp shade. Which was also from Craigslist. I should just marry him.

(Craig, not the lamp shade.)

Monday, August 13

Slow Monday.

Hi all. I'm on a vacation hangover (and traveling for work for the next 5 days, wowza). All I can do for you today is share my instagram-happy weekend. 

Boston water tower, always means I'm heading home
If you haven't had a Marylou's, you haven't lived (also great cold-pressed)
Had lobster twice for dinner (probably my dad's best hobby)
The family dog, Fred, excited about our boating trip
Scituate harbor, storm coming in
Scituate light house, storm IN
Cupcakes at the bridal shower!
Doggie tug of war in the backyard
Kayaking on my last afternoon home