Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to 2009!

"May the best of the past be the worst of the future." - Irish Blessing

I wish each and every one of you the brightest, best possible year in 2009. 2008 has been somewhat of a challenging year for so many of us and I must say, I am ready to put it to bed. Here's hoping that 2009 is a wonderful year!

I'm never very good about resolutions. I always make them, but I hardly keep them. Last year it dawned on me that perhaps, I should take a different approach. I have mentioned on a few occasions that I am obsessive about making to-do lists. I make at least one every day and get so much satisfaction out of checking things off my list as I have accomplished them. So, for 2008, instead of writing resolutions, I created a to-do list for the year. I must say, I was much more successful and accomplished about 90% of it! So, without further ado, I present to you my to do list for 2009.

To-DO List for 2009

1. Find a fulfilling, PAYING job (the crux of 2008)
2. Surround myself with positive people and try not to sweat the small stuff
3. Go back to Spain with my husband
4. Visit New York in the fall
5. Get my side projects up and running and work hard to make them successful (more on this soon!)
6. Work out regularly. Better yet, sign up and complete a boot camp.
7. Try to be a better wife, daughter, sister, friend and show the people I love how much they mean to me.
8. Read more
9. Take a French refresher course
10. Hopefully add to our family

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hello Dolly!

I absolutely love Zac Posen's Pre-Fall 2009 collection. From what I can see, it is going to be a very good year. The vintage, 1940's inspired silhouettes are flirty and feminine, an aesthetic that is quintessentially Zac Posen. The looks are so gorgeous and glamorous, that they remind me of playing dress up!

The designer is seeking to inspire fashion aficionadas during trying times. "Saying that he hoped his show would inspire during challenging times, Zac Posen returned to the flirty, forties-inflected clothes that are his signature—and, as it happens, recall the look that was popular at the end of the Great Depression. For day, there were trumpet-skirted suits in sober wools, though Posen might prefer his customer play it carefree in a groovy eel-skin trench and leopard dress."

Posen's Ultra-Chic 1940's inspired "dolls"

While you wait to get your hands on some of the fabulous pieces from Posen's vintage-inspired collection, try your hand at these awesome "Retro Dress Me Up Dolls". They're the paper dolls of the digital era. I wasted an obscene amount of time dressing these dolls up yesterday. Check out my 1950's, 60's, 70's, and 80's dolls below. I personally think the 80's doll is a dead-ringer for Heidi Montag in her last "music" video.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mecox Gardens: A Stylish Addition to Houston

Mecox Gardens recently opened its eighth location in Houston. Located in Highland Village, the 8,000 square foot emporium of chic wares is a welcome addition to our city. The store carries many styles of furnishings, art, accessories, lighting, and antiques. There is literally something for everyone's aesthetic. I love Mecox because it is evident that every single piece in the store is thoughtfully selected. Despite the fact that so many styles are present (Swedish, Mid-Century, Hollywood Regency, Industrial, Traditional, Asian), they all work beautifully together. If I had my way, along with unlimited funds I would purchase every last item for my home at Mecox!

A section of the massive store... It is a design enthusiast's dream!

I thought this vignette was beautiful. The desk, chair, and lamps are fantastic!

A serene palette with hints of turquoise

An incredible horse triptych, rustic table, and Eiffel towers

Antique Asian Buffet, Christopher Spitzmiller Lamps, and Zebra Mirrors...need I say more?
There are so many incredible pieces in this photograph. I especially love the framed roman sketches on the wall.

This buffet is one of my favorite pieces in the store. The velvet and nailhead mirrors are so lovely in person.

The store is filled with unique chandeliers, both antique and reedition.

I love the color palette here. The brown from the zebra ottomans and owl painting and the orange from the gorgeous lamps. Such a rich combination!

The "cash wrap" as it's called in retail speak is rather stylish, naturally.

Mecox is home to a variety of great accessories, a plethora of must-have design books, and tables that are custom-made from reclaimed wood or concrete.

More orange and brown, as well as Asian influences

There are so many pieces in this room that I just love! The bed, the convex mirrors, the mirrored bedside tables, the gorgeous turquoise lamps...

One of the many beautifully made tables at Mecox Gardens

A more contemporary look featuring bright red Spitzmiller lamps and printed hyde faux zebra pillows

A series of fabulous mirrors and a pair of very unique lamps

This vignette looks so cozy and inviting to me. It's ultra-stylish without being pretentious.

I thought these busts were so cool! I saw something very similar, but made of leather at the San Francisco Decorator's Showcase House this year.

The mercury glass lamps seen here were among my favorite in the store.

Thank you to Bernadette and everyone else at Mecox for being such gracious hosts!

This Week's Quote

"Live not in dreams, but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, December 26, 2008

Put Your Lovin' Hands Out

I am head over heels in love with this song! I first heard it here. Check out all of the celebrity cameos.

The song is Pilooski's re-edit of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons' "Beggin'".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a holiday filled with joy, love, and laughter. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Image via Canadian House and Home

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Double Take: David Jimenez's Carriage House

David Jimenez's Kansas City Carriage House

David Jimenez is by far, one of my favorite interior designers. His exquisite style feels current, yet classic. Perhaps because his work is never overtly trendy and is always sublimely tasteful. He excels at accessorizing and layering rooms perfectly. Each room seems to tell a story.

Jimenez, splits his time between his homes in San Francisco, Palm Springs, and his main residence in Kansas City, one of my favorite spaces ever. David's carriage house alone is enough to send my heart aflutter. Most of you will probably recognize the modern take on the carriage house, but this year, David updated it in a more classic style. Take a look at both takes below. Which do you like best?

Take One: Modern Styling

Modern Living Room

Modern Bedroom

Modern Dining Room

Modern Kitchen

Modern Office

Take Two: Classic Styling

Classic Living Room

The Classic Living Room from a Different Angle

Modern Bedroom

Classic Dining Room

Classic Kitchen

Classic Office

All Images via David Jimenez

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Pigs Fly

I guess Miss Piggy and her friends will be taking flight today. I am normally not a fan of Jessica Simpson or her style, but I have to admit that I absolutely love her entire outfit here. Great job, Jess!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Raining Locusts...Hallelujah?

Most nights, my dreams are pretty ordinary. However, last night's dream was so strange that I had to look it up in one of those dream dictionaries. Our power actually went out at around 2:30 in the morning which ended up playing over in my dream. I dreamed that my husband and I were laying in bed asleep and the power had gone out. Then a little further into the dream, locusts started falling down onto us. I don't know where they came from as our ceiling was intact. In the dream, I got out of bed and started walking through the house and there were locusts everywhere. It literally was one of the strangest dreams I've ever had, which prompted me to look up its meaning.

According to, dreaming of locusts signifies: "a lack of psychological nourishment. You may feel that your are lacking in creativity or that your creativity is being destroyed. Alternatively, it may represent cycles and transformation. " Considering the fact that I decided to cut my losses and move on from my real estate endeavor on Tuesday (I was dumping so much into something that just couldn't yield a return right now), I think the locusts may be on to something. It's a nerve wracking time. I willingly left teaching to pursue real estate and it didn't work out and now here I am, with no job to speak of. I have no regrets about trying a new endeavor, but my timing could have been better given the current economic climate.

The plan is to go back to teaching in August. Once I allowed myself to, I realized how much I miss it. I miss my students, teaching a foreign language, and being good at something, feeling like an authority. I still don't think I'll teach for the rest of my life, but it makes the most sense for now. The tricky part is finding something that I can do from January to July besides substitute teaching.

I feel like this year has been one of colossal change and personal growth for me. I've taken risks and tried new things, but I'm still not sure what God's plans are, which is hard for a control freak like myself. How long should I teach? When will I have a baby? Will I ever be able to pursue a more creative field? Blah, blah, blah. I wish I had the answers, but that would be too easy, wouldn't it?

Illustration by Patricia Von Esche via Katiedid

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leave it to Domino...

to create a beautiful display for Christmas cards. I love that this one looks like an inspiration board, especially since most of us could use a little inspiration at the end of what has been a difficult year for so many people. My friend and I were just discussing the fact that we have received far fewer Christmas cards this year. Perhaps people are trying to "go green" or maybe they just want to save on postage. Did you send out cards this year?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Putting It All on the Table

A fabulous table arrangement by David Jimenez

Despite the fact that console tables often reside in hallways and living rooms, they are most commonly found in entryways and foyers. They always seem to catch my eye because I feel that they offer a glimpse of what is to come in the rest of the house. So often, you can tell a great deal about the homeowner's taste and interests by the objects found on his or her console table.

It seems that composing the perfect arrangement (I loathe the word tablescape. It is so Sandra Lee.) is more of an art than a science. Everyone has a different approach. Most of the time, you will find a pair of lamps on the table, though some people prefer a single lamp. What if you have sconces flanking the table? I have sconces and a mirror above mine and think that adding lamps would be overkill, but I am not a designer so I digress. Quite often, designers will add a variety of heights and textures to make for an interesting composition. Some will add framed prints or photographs, while others choose stacks of books, found objects, artifacts, and beautiful flower arrangements which extend a warm welcome to visitors.

I'm not sure that there is a set formula for creating the perfect table for your entryway. In my opinion, it's about not having everything match (think variety in terms of picture frames, candlesticks, etc) and including interesting objects and a personal touch. If you don't have a ton of money to spend, it may seem daunting to try to emulate any of the tables below, but one can always substitute creativity for cash. Adding books, framed prints, unique objects found on vacation, items from antique markets and fresh flowers are generally inexpensive and add a lot of character.

Todd Romano's ultra chic table is one of my absolute favorites. There are so many great details. The gorgeous table, the beautiful patina on the chair, interesting objects like a large egg and a bird, and a burst of color from the fuchsia peony.

Ron Marvin's stylish table features color, items in varying heights, and a pair of Hollywood Regency style lamps that he picked up in a flea market. Ron is a self-proclaimed lamp-tramp. His 250 square foot apartment is home to 11 chic lamps.

The colors and the wrought iron in this image are all very romantic. It makes me think of a stylish villa near the Mediterranean.

A simple table by Anne Coyle
I love the mirror and the wallpaper.

A colorful arrangement by Anne Coyle, piled high with books

Anne Coyle incorporates a suzani into this arrangement, while keeping the number of objects on the table to a minimum so as not to detract from the beauty of the suzani or the venetian mirror. I am so in love with the wallpaper and mouldings in this room. Just look at the arches and the door frame!

A subversive approach by Kara Mann
I love the contrast of the dark paneling in the hallway and the stark white living room.

This striped foyer was a favorite in my post on Amanda Nisbet.
This belongs to Jennifer Dyer, Preston Lee's partner.
She plays with scale so masterfully.

This gorgeous arrangement belongs to the incredibly talented, Katie of the blog Katiedid.
I love her use of symmetry, the soothing monochromatic palette, and her beautiful Empire State Building Lamp.

Katie frequently changes her tablescapes. This one is from the summer. Aren't the branches lovely?

I am so in love with Sally Wheat's home. It is even more beautiful in person, if you can believe it. She has such a great eye!

Kelly Wearstler used a bombay chest and minimal accessories in this foyer. If the tablescape were too busy it would compete with the intricate detail of the wall.

A more formal approach by Kelly Wearstler

An elegant arrangement by David Jimenez, one of my absolute favorite designers.

Jimenez's posh take on Palm Springs
All of the elements work together so beautifully. Plus, it looks like such a fun home! Cocktail, anyone?

I love all of the patterns along with the bursts of yellow and gorgeous flower arrangements implemented by Ryan Brown in this home. I know that some people think it is a no-no to hang a mirror horizontally over a table, but I think this looks fantastic. As a matter of fact, the mirror over my console table is also hung horizontally. I think it works better that way with my sconces.