Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect celebration. It was nice to see my family and visit over bottles of lambrusco & yummy Italian food. My mom picked out some super cute gifts for me, one of them being a new romper. You might see me romping around in it in a future Style Parade.
So this is what I wore to dinner. I actually had to work on my birthday and the workday was particularly crummy, so I knew wearing a cute dress would cheer me up. And it did! I've had this dress for a while now. Technically it's polyester, but it wears like real silk. I just love the print - it reminds me of art deco design. I paired with some pretty peeptoes, further reminding me that I'm in desperate need of a pedicure.
Yep. Today is my birthday. I'm keeping things simple. Tonight I'm dining with Gary & my family at my most favorite restaurant, then this weekend I'll be spending some time with my lovely ladies at Spring Tea!
Some thoughts on being older...
-I am the most comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been. I think with age comes the confidence of knowing who you are and what you want.
-I am suddenly aware of my biological clock. Family planning is definitely a reality (which literally scares the crap out of me).
My closet is in a seasonal limbo. I've been waiting for some consistent warmer weather, but it doesn't seem to be happening. Today I really wanted to wear something springy, even though it was like 58 degrees this morning. So I did.
I've recently got into pattern mixing. Today's ensemble was inspired by a magazine spread I saw a couple years back, it was either in Glamor or Lucky. I think it was called The Happiest Clothes on the Planet, and featured these cutie girls romping around a tropical setting in floral pattern skirts, stripes and woven fedora. Gosh, I wish I could find it so I could show you all. I remember loving this spread, but couldn't find affordable versions of the floral skirts at the time. Fast-forward to 2010 and Old Navy delivers.
Stripe top: Target. Cropped belted trench: Isaac for Target. Skirt: Old Navy; $20. Sandals: Payless. Fedora: TJ Maxx. Bangles & Earrings: Forever 21.
So I suppose I'm not like most girls...because when my husband got me this for my birthday (which isn't technically until Wednesday), I was more that overjoyed.
Samsung SyncMaster XL2370
Isn't it sexy? I mean as much as an electronic item can be. I've had my old monitor for years and he felt it was definitely time for an upgrade. My husband is awesome!
In other news, I haven't been making much progress on anything because I've been playing a lot of this and this. Anyone else a total video game nerd like me? I'll admit, the Ghostbusters game is pretty novelty, but I was pretty excited that I found this game for $20.
I browsed the lovely vintage shop of Fabulous Mess. The pieces are rather pricey for vintage. As my mom always says..."Champagne taste on a beer budget." A couple that I loved...
a giant jack. How fun!
This is a bedspread from the 20s/30s era. Gorgeous! Although I think it would look lovely re-purposed as a canopy or wall divider curtain.
My absolute favorite are these bar bottles. I would totally snag them for myself, but 2 problems...I don't drink anything with gin, bourbon (unless it's a mint julep) or scotch for that matter AND the set is $144 if you factor in the shipping. Yikes! Although, I think these vintage lovelies could easily be recreated with waterslide decal paper and plain bottles. Then I could label with the alcohols I do enjoy.
P.S. - On a side note, I received my order from cb2, containing some of these. Let me just say that I'm a little annoyed with cb2. I'm not a green freak per say, but I don't believe in ridiculous displays of wastefulness. My order could easily have fit in 2 shoe boxes, but instead, they arrived in 2 of these...
...loaded with bubble wrap and each item was individually boxed with even more bubble wrap. Don't get me wrong, I am glad my purchase of hand-blown glass items arrive safe and sound, but this was overkill. It filled 2/3s of our recycle trash bin. Seriously. And that was with all the boxes broken down. Happy earth day week!
I think this would be a lovely way to personalize a gift or a journaling book for yourself. Start with a basic notebook or planner, cover it in a leather or fabric book jacket & sew an antique key to the front.
Like so many bloggers right now, I have garden fever. I guess because it's spring. I potted a little herb garden. I took rose pots and painted them with chalkboard paint. The fresh herbs make my kitchen smell so good.
with hope, this won't be the site of a plant graveyard in 2 weeks
I also made a couple of terrariums...
This was a great resource for instructions on how to build one. For now mine just has moss (I actually like plain moss), but you can add several flower varieties. I added a couple of dried flowers though.
I love bottles in the window. I couldn't resist adding a small grouping next to the plants. The tall one is actually an old canister that I painted from the inside using this tutorial. Let me tell you, this was messy! And to my surprise, this one piece used 2/3 of a small craft paint bottle. There's one part that didn't quite get the coverage I desired, but it's near the bottom. I've read conflicting opinions on which type of paint to use. Martha suggests using enamel paint, while another source said latex. The acrylic paint I used was a bit thick for the "swirling" technique mentioned in the tutorial. Perhaps that was the problem.
Okay, before I get started today I just wanted to congratulate fellow OC bride, Laura on becoming a Mrs. this past weekend! Yay. Enjoy your honeymoon my dear.
Now onto the usual business...I saw this bowl trio at Pottery Barn. Beautiful, right? One thing I didn't like about it though is that the bowls are cast together, and it's a final sale item (I'm always leery about online-only final sale items). Anyway, I wasn't about to shell out $40 for 3 tiny bowls so I began scouring Home Goods for some pretty alternatives that could use a little DIY goodness...
These are nice. They kind of have an organic feel.
This flower bowl is the most similar to the Pottery Barn one. It's delicate. The cutouts on the other one gives it an interesting appeal.
Ultimately I chose the one on the right in the first group to transform. Now how to get it that super shiny gold tone? I tried applying tiny bit of metallic gold craft paint to the bottom. Too brassy. Next I considered spray paint, but that would be too shiny and synthetic, not that raw gold tone that I was looking for. Then it came to me...Gold leaf. And guess what? It comes in liquid form. Much easier than the gold leaf sheets. This project was super simple and inexpensive. You will need...
A small foam brush (had on-hand), liquid gold leaf $5 and a sealer. I used this clear finish gloss, $7. Also an object to gold leaf! The bowl from Home Goods cost $6.
I also recommend latex gloves and a face mask. The gold leaf smells like a paint marker & it could irritate your skin if it gets on you. Also, do this project outside, making sure your surface is protected with taped butcher paper or something like that. There's not much to the technique, really all you have to do is dip the tip of your foam brush in the gold leaf and apply long even strokes along the object. My bowl had lots of detail, so after I applied one coat I went back and pushed the sponge into the little crevices I missed. Let dry for about 12 hours. Then spray 2 coats of the sealer and YOU'RE DONE! And just look at the results...
It's so shiny when the light hits it. So luxurious.
Good gravy! I am seriously in awe of this woman's talent and her gorgeous home.
A lot of her art revolves around illustrated botanicals and birds (you know I love this). Some of my favorites include her hand-carved stamps (check out this doily one!) and these hand-painted river rocks. So simple, yet so beautiful.
These fabulous hanging glass orbs from cb2 and these glass canisters from Ikea are the perfect contemporary receptacles for housing some low maintenance greenery. I'm thinking these will look gorgeous in my kitchen window.
I never noticed before, but decorating is a lot like getting dressed. Anyone can wear a shirt and pants, but if you want to create depth, you gotta layer. I love the idea of collages of empty white frames. Very minimalist. But what does that say about me and my husband? That our lives are empty? I think a lot of our friends/familly might not get it. I also like the idea of using wire and hanging small prints from clips. Perhaps this would work best in a small area, like a hallway.
Being that I do a lot of graphic design at my job, I love all things print. I picked up this framed alphabet print from Ikea. I really like it, but it sort of sticks out like a sore thumb right now. I think it's because our stupid beech wood colored banisters. Some day, when I have a large block of time I will stain or paint them darker. I digress. So anyway I've noticed that all the art I have bookmarked/favorited right now is shaping up to a possible wall collage all on its own. Perhaps these additions will make the alphabet print feel more at home...
Four things going on here: Typography, black & white with pops of red, love theme and geography theme. Random, right? But look at the cohesion. And the details...the heart print is actually the words "I love you" repeated. The city coordinate print can be customized to any city in any combination of colors and the trace prints are actually maps that the artist hand-traced using only lines. Sort of like pointillism.
How do you like to decorate your walls? Do you have a technique when deciding how to group pictures or artwork?
With the summer season just around the corner, Gary & I (well mostly Gary) have been working to get our backyard warm weather ready. The first step will be removing four of the palm trees and possibly replacing with some smaller trees. Why? Well some genius prior resident decided to plant huge palm trees right next to the spa. Not sure which came first, but it will only be a matter of time before the roots cause some serious damage.
My husband has pretty much taken ownership of that task, so in the meantime, I've been pondering ways to make our little covered seating area a little more luxurious and relaxing.
The Ikea 2010 outdoor furniture collection is looking rather promising. The look of wicker, but without the maintenance. Just wipe them down. This lounge is much more budget friendly than similar designs I've seen at Pottery Barn & Crate and Barrel.
I found some woven tumblers just like these at Home Goods yesterday for $3 each. I they would look nice as candle holders. I really like the metal cylinder lanterns from West Elm, but they are a bit pricey, $30-$60 for one. Yikes! Hopefully they'll go on sale before the summers end. And how pretty would all this look surrounded by white netting? I figure I could easily rig something up between the wood posts of our patio cover.
I saw this wedding over at Once Wed and the pennant banner got me thinking of things I could make with my unused Amy Butler print table squares from my wedding. Perhaps I could make a couple of new pillows out of them for my current wicker bistro set, then mix in another black & white stripe cushion set. I kind of like the idea of mixing stripes with floral print.
I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I used to hate cooking. Gary actually did most the cooking when we first moved in together. But after deciding to eat better, I made myself learn. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed cooking after a while. So with a couple of years of experience under my belt, I'm starting to get a little more adventurous and straying from my cookbooks. I totally made this dish up on the fly and it was pretty tasty.
Red Curry Shrimp with Bok Choy
2 main dish servings
time: 20 minutes
(1) baby bok choy, bottom trimmed
(2) green onions, sliced
15 jumbo shrimp (cleaned, tails removed)
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
3 cups prepared jasmine rice
bottled red curry sauce (available at Trader Joe's)
(1) teaspoon crushed garlic
(1) tablespoon olive oil
(1) tablespoon sweet white wine
(1/2) teaspoon herb-garlic seasoning
1. Place shrimp in dish. Mix marinade and coat the shrimp. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
2. Cook rice according to instructions
3. Pour marinaded shrimp and remaining marinade into a large skillet. Cook at medium until shrimp are pink. Add green onions, red pepper and bok choy. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
4. Add entire bottle of curry sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
I'll admit that I purchased this chocolate because of its fun packaging. I love the kitchy bright colors and graphics. This chocolate truffle variety would make the most decadent smores. Hmm... summer night smore party?
I believe that I have become A lady who brunches. Yep, we did bottomless mimosas again. This time I met up with my friends Melinda, Britni & Lisa at Hamburger Mary's in Long Beach. It's a drag bar & grill that has costumed performers who lip sync to revue songs. We mainly chilled out on the patio so we could actually hear each other (very loud inside). But their brunch buffet was pretty tasty and you can't beat the company.
Topics of conversation included fun summer trips we should take: 1) Chicago! 2) Road trip up to northern California for the Kendall Jackson tomato festival. Also the fact that we all love visiting haunted locations and that we should form our own all-girl ghost hunting group. I think we came up with a silly name too, like GHD or Ghost Hunter Divas. Haha.
This is what I wore yesterday while out running errands. So glamorous, right? One of those errands was running down to the social security office to officially change my last name. So I'm now legally Mrs. Poli. Gosh, I've been parading around as an impostor all these months. haha.
The weather was super nice today. Sunny, slightly cool. I stopped at Corner Bakery and enjoyed a tasty bite on the patio. It's really the only place I don't mind eating alone...I picked up this stripe top at Old Navy recently. They have some really nice pieces right now. I used to shop there all the time, but the last couple of seasons have been really weak. It seems like hard recession times are really bad for fashion. Anyway, they are back in my good graces.
These are the best sandals! Like Seychelles, they are super comfy and the color is fabulous. I got them on sale at Anthropologie last year. I just love the name too - "Prepster Peep toe".
Stripe top: Old Navy; $14. Boyfriend cardigan: Old Navy; $30. Cuffed capri: Target; $20. Peep toe sandals: Anthropologie; $70. Fedora: TJ Maxx; $9. Floral cuff: Forever 21; $10. Bicycled messenger bag: etsy seller.
I'm very much enjoying my breakfast of waffles & fresh strawberries, which made me feel one-hundred times better. I feel as though I'm coming down with a slight sniffle, but it could be all this crazy weather we've been having. Anyway, this weekend is good. Gary & I are making a trip to see some old friends of ours who just had their 2nd baby. I guess I'm finally at that age where a lot of my friends have/are having children. Wow, how did that happen? haha. Well, my 29th birthday is in a couple of weeks...
Are you tired of cords everywhere? I am! Make your own organizer, on the cheap.
Hello there. I hope all of you are enjoying your day so far. A quick little announcement if you please. I've added some new pages/tabs in the upper right corner of the main page. If you have a minute to explore, I've added a House Tour page and Our Wedding page for those of you who are finding me late in the game.
Now for some inspiration... Lavender was my favorite color around age 15 or 16. I recall having a lavender faux fur purse and even lavender flared jeans. Oh my. Here are some more acceptable uses of this lovely shade...