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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rustic Glamour

I recently came across an ad for Hudson Furniture, a company that custom makes all types of furniture and accessories, but is best known for its beautiful, rustic tables which come in many shapes and sizes. I'm not typically drawn to a rustic look, but I can certainly appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of this type of design.

Upon browsing Hudson's website, I learned that they choose only to use trees that have lived 250-300 years and are located in places where they would have to be cut down anyway (like ruining a home's foundation). I also realized that they have some seriously gorgeous pieces. My favorite is the gargantuan English Windsor table shown below. Almost immediately, I thought that it would be perfect for glamorous dinner parties. The juxtaposition of tons of candles, flowers, and beautiful china would be incredibly striking against the rustic wood. The Hudson table reminds me so much of Aleksandr Petrovsky's dining table from Season Six of Sex and the City, though it is about half the size.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Tricia, of I am Trish Marie. So, prepare to learn things about me you never wanted to know.

Here are the rules:

-Link to the person who tagged you.

-Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.

-Post the rules on your blog.

-Share the seven (7) most famous or infamous people you have met. Or go with the original 7 weird things about yourself.

-Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.

-Include links to their blogs.

-Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, seeing as how I live in suburban Houston, I haven't had many celebrity sightings, so we'll go with 7 weird things about me. There are some things that I thought of immediately, but I had to really rack my brain to come up with seven whole things. I really don't think I'm that weird, but those who know may may think otherwise!

1. I am a bona fide germophobe. I can't tell you how much Purell I go through every day at work. My students are so amused by the fact that I refuse to touch the hall pass (God only knows what they do with it when they take it to the bathroom.) and that I sanitize my hands after touching almost anything! Some of them genuinely worry about me and ask if maybe I should switch brands so that I don't build up an immunity, but I tell them I'd rather take my chances than know that all of that awful bacteria is on my hands.

2. I have what I like to call "placement issues". Everything in my house, car, or classroom has a designated place and it should be there at all times. If you move something from its place, you are expected to return it to its designated spot once you've finished using it. No one in my life seems to understand how important this is. Instead, they just leave stuff wherever they feel like it and I am constantly having to put stuff where it belongs. I know things like this shouldn't matter and that I should let it go, but I can't. I'm sick, I know.

3. I am also very particular about my bedding. I can only sleep on a down pillow, otherwise my neck and head hurt. Also, the sheets need to be straight at all times. This has been kind of an issue since my husband is the type that likes to wrap himself up in a ball made of the sheets and comforter. First, we did away with a top sheet to alleviate the situation. He has gotten much better, though and no longer pulls the covers up so much that my feet are uncovered and my head is drowning. Now, if I could only get him to stop snoring...

4. I don't eat pork. Sort of. You see, I can eat ham or bacon, but I don' eat either very often. Ham is fine and bacon tastes great, but I always ask for things like sandwiches without bacon since it is so fattening. However, I can't eat things like pork chops or pork tenderloin. I know Anthony Bourdain would surely crucify me for this, but I just don't like the way it tastes. Oh, and I don't do sausage.

5. I pee a lot. I get up several times throughout the night to pee and have been known to go 2 or 3 times during a movie.

6. I consider myself a "lyrical genius" (jokingly, of course) because I sing around the house all the time. I like to take well-known songs and give them new lyrics about anything and everything. Call me a modern-day Weird Al Yankovic.

7. I know all kinds of useless trivia, mostly of the celebrity variety. I attribute this to the fact that I am addicted to Us Weekly, the Internet, and certain TV shows. However, my knowledge isn't limited to celebrities, so be prepared to lose if you ever dare to play something like Trivial Pursuit with me.

Now, on to the fun part. I am tagging:

Cote de Texas


Me, Myself, and I

Mrs. PlainJane


Scented Glossy Magazines

Things That Inspire

Thanks for the Mention

Thanks to the girls at Desire to Inspire for featuring La Dolce Vita in their latest list of blogs to check out.

Urban Travel Legends

Have you ever wondered if you can really get bumped up to first class just by wearing great clothes? If this has worked for you, I'd love to hear all about it! Have you wondered what it takes to get an upgrade at your hotel or just how clean said hotel really is? MSN posted a great article this week detailing common Urban Travel Myths. If any of you savvy travelers have any good stories or tips, please do share!

This Week's Quote

Lovely, honest quote from a piece by artist Andre Jordan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More from the Sex and the City Movie

It's been a while since I've heard any news about the Sex and the City movie, but I stumbled across a couple of things today. First, the official movie poster (pictured at left) was recently released. Secondly, I happened upon Ain't It Cool News, a blog written by MiraJeff, a columnist with Hollywood's Variety Newspaper. FYI, I cringe at the use of the word "ain't", but I digress.

Anyhow, there is a flashback scene in the upcoming SATC movie which features the girls in what I presume to be their early twenties. MiraJeff happened to study at NYU with the beautiful girl who plays the young Carrie. Aside from the way they are styled, I don't think any of the girls look much like their characters, though they are super cute. What do you think? Mini-Samantha is cracking me up! Personally, I would have loved to have seen a young Stanford Blatch and Anthony Marantino.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Sartorialist

It seems that at some point, most bloggers end up doing a post on The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman's fabulous blog which mixes fashion photography with a bit of voyeurism. It has been featured in publications such as Vogue and GQ and is a favorite of many a blogger. Most of the photographs are shot in New York City, Paris, Milan, and London, as well as a few other fashion meccas and feature peopling wearing things I would never have the guts to wear here in the 'burbs. It is quite inspiring and refreshing to see beautiful clothes worn with such distinct individuality when you live in a place where most people look exactly the same.

Hot child in the city - Greenwich Village, NYC

Dapper Dandy - East Village, NYC

S/S '08 Fashion Week - NYC

"Antique DJ" - Chelsea, NYC

Lovely outfit - location unknown, though it looks like San Francisco to me

Camel and grey in Milan

Chic black coat at The Tuileries in Paris

Elegant biker in Paris
Channeling the 1920's at the Tuileries

This cute little old man was photographed outside of the Louvre in Paris. His look is far from what people would consider chic or Parisian, but it is very much his look. He has probably dressed this way for ages and the fact that he sticks to his guns and dares to wear a cowboy hat in Paris is exactly what makes him a model for personal style.

This Week's Quote

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - Audrey Hepburn

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Literary Lust

I am currently lusting after the following books:

I Will Never Forget You

This gorgeous coffee table book features the most amazing color photographs of Frida Kahlo taken by one of her lovers, Nickolas Murray. It also includes many love letters written by the pair. Frida is one of my favorite artists of all time. When I saw some of her pieces at the MoMa in New York back in August, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. My favorite unit to teach in Spanish 3 is art because I get to show my students that she was actually quite a beautiful person who endured an incredible amount of pain without losing her sense of self.

My Last Supper

I've actually browsed through this book and it is incredible. I would say it is a must have for anyone who enjoys cooking or has a penchant for the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripért, Gordon Ramsay, Michael Richard, Daniel Boloud, and 45 other spectacular chefs. Each chef tells what they would ideally eat for their last supper. They also include their ideal setting, who they would be dining with, and what music they would be listening to. The book also features recipes for many of the chefs' last suppers.

Barefoot in Paris

Ina Garten is easily my favorite person cooking on The Food Network. I have made several of her recipes and they have all turned out brilliantly. She makes cooking elegant food simple and enjoyable. I already have two of her cookbooks, but would like to add the Paris book to my collection if only for her recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon and Plum Cake Tatin.

Vogue Living- Houses, Gardens, People
Joining the blogging world has really turned me on to interior design. I've always loved beautiful houses, but never knew anything about design aside from what I considered beautiful. I still don't know much, but I thoroughly enjoy reading what my talented designer friends in the blog world write about; the latest trends, old standbys, and personal style. Naturally, I thought this book should become a part of my collection.

Elle Decor So Chic

I want this book for mostly the same reasons that I want the Vogue Living book. Plus, I am an avid reader of Elle Decor. This book also features the homes of many celebrities and it is always fun to gather inspiration from how the other half lives.

I'm also interested in seeing Inspired Styles, the Assouline book which is supposed to be a scrapbook of sorts including the favorite things and personal items of designers such as Kelly Wearstler and Thomas O'Brien. Has anyone seen this yet? Is it any good?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lauren Conrad's New Hollywood Home

Lauren Conrad, of MTV's The Hills has just purchased a gorgeous, remodeled 1920's Mediterranean house in Hollywood. The 3,009 square foot house features 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a courtyard entry, refinished hardwood floors, antique lighting, carrara marble, pool with guest house, and a custom kitchen. The house was listed at $2.495 million. If I had seen this sooner, I would have included her kitchen in my "Let there be white" post. Isn't the silver subway tile back splash cool? It is such a warm, beautiful house and is very "Lauren".

Take a tour of the house:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Let There Be White

It seems that most people in my suburb are into a very standard look for their kitchens and I suspect that this is the case in most other places as well. People seem to be leaning towards ornate cabinetry in darker stains with fake greenery resting on top, busy lighting with the requisite wrought iron scrolls, and a rooster, bistro, or wine theme. Now, I don't mean to offend and I can't really judge as I have a kitchen with traditional, walnut cabinetry. This was not my choice, but I probably won't change it as this is apparently what sells in this market, though I don't have any of the aforementioned lighting or themes. I digress. We'll get to my plans for the future in a minute. It doesn't matter to me that the kitchens I speak of are located in very nice homes. The look just seems so common and literal. Sure, most of these kitchens are equipped with nice appliances and upgrades, but I can't help but think about the fact that builders and homeowners are settling for what seems to have become a rather standard look. Surely, we don't all have the same taste, right? Then, perhaps builders should offer other options so that we don't all end up with what I have started calling "The Stepford Kitchen".

In my next home, I would love to have a beautiful white kitchen. I'd like fairly plain white cabinetry (some cabinets would have glass doors), a white subway tile back splash, dark counter tops made of stained concrete or honed black granite, a large island made of honed carrara marble with Circa's Yoke Pendants in Polished Nickel hanging over it, industrial looking hardware, and stainless Viking appliances including a professional range. In my opinion, white kitchens are both classic and contemporary. I feel like it is a timeless look with a very East Coast feel, which I can't help but love. Plus, they look professional to me, which makes me want to cook, and cook well. I know I am not the only one who loves a classic white kitchen, but it sure seems that way where I live.

Exhibit A: The Stepford Kitchen

I love this kitchen! The lighting is fabulous, I love the wooden ceiling, and all of the natural light spilling in from the abundance of windows.

The Circa Yoke Pendants which I hope to own some day. I just need the perfect kitchen to put them in first. The carrara marble table and coffered ceiling are incredibly beautiful.

Beautiful cabinetry featured in Domino

Amazing carrara marble island. It's just so gorgeous, but I'd be too afraid to do an entire kitchen in it. I'm too OCD and would obsess over every little stain or flaw.

Katiedid's beautiful new kitchen complete with a carrara back splash

Classic subway tile back splash and amazing ebonized floors

I love the hardware in the background. This kitchen is featured in the current issue of Martha Stewart Living and was the inspiration behind my recent post on the color yellow.

Large, classic kitchen with a vintage vibe featured in Architectural Digest

The Train Wreck known as The Real Housewives of Orange County

So by now, most of you know about most of my guilty pleasures of the televised variety. Among Gossip Girl, Gordon Ramsay's BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares, and The Hills, is the veritable train wreck that is The Real Housewives of Orange County. I love the show for the drama, of course. There's Lauri and her moneybags husband du jour, George, Jeana, the highly successful realtor with a less than happy marriage, Vicky, who shrieks at every opportunity at a pitch so high that only dogs can truly decipher it, Tammy and her trashy daughters, Tamra, the self-proclaimed "Hottest Housewife in Orange County", and now Quinn and her 10 inches of cleavage.

Scented Glossy Magazines just did a hilarious post about the show. Check it out along with the rest of her fabulous blog.
P.S. Apparently, a New York version called Manhattan Moms is set to premiere on March 4th. They have been filming on the Upper East Side, in the Meatpacking District, and in The Hamptons. New York Post Article

Image courtesy of : Pretty on the Outside

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Circa Lighting in House Beautiful

Circa Lighting is featured as House Beautiful's favorite store in its February issue. I don't have a copy of the magazine yet and don't know if this was a regional or national thing, but I thought it was pretty neat. The article features an interview with Circa's owner, Gale Singer. Many of you are already familiar with Circa's timeless, classic designs by Eric Cohler, Thomas O'Brien, Barbara Barry, Alexa Hampton and other fantastic designers. Otherwise, you may have seen some of their lamps in my Bedroom Inspiration posts.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

This Week's Quote

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." - Jane Austen

I am dreading going back to work on Monday and have really enjoyed staying home during the past couple of weeks. I was actually quite productive and accomplished a couple of house projects from my 2008 To-Do List.
Image Courtesy of Todd Romano

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gossip Girl Returns!

After a couple of weeks of reruns, Gossip Girl returned with its twelfth episode entitled "School Lies" last night. The gang breaks into the school pool and must face the music when their tryst almost turns tragic. BuzzSugar has a great run-down of the episode and I agree with all of the points they made. Meanwhile, I am still hoping that Lily and Rufus will eventually have a torrid affair and that we haven't seen the last of Blair and Chuck together. Perhaps they'll get back together if he turns out to be Blair's baby-daddy. Next week's episode promises to be a juicy one with Blair's possible pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is supposedly the last episode of the season because of the writer's strike.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 To-Do List

Like many others, I haven't always been successful in keeping my New Year's Resolutions. There's just something about the word "resolution" that makes my goals seem more abstract, less tangible. It's as if you put them out there for the universe to hear and after a while they disappear into La La Land. A few days ago, I decided that I would take a different approach to my resolutions for the new year.

I am a list-maker. Every day at work, I make a to-do list for myself. I love knowing exactly what I expect to accomplish in the day and being able to cross things off my list sends my little heart aflutter. When I say that I make a to-do list everyday, I mean it. As a matter of fact, I make several each day. Once I've accomplished everything on the first Post-It note, I start a new list. Sometimes, my students ask me what's on"my list" or request that I put something on it for them. This, along with the fact that they constantly mock me for my overuse of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes makes me think that I don't hide my O.C.D. tendencies very well. Whatever, back to the list! Anyhow, this year I am taking a more practical approach to accomplishing my goals. I have made a 2008 To-do list and posted it on the fridge. This way, I'll know that I am expected to do these things and will not be satisfied until I can cross them off my list.

Here is my list so far:

1. Exercise 3-4 times per week.

2. Order pictures to frame in our bedroom - Check!

3. Finish re-decorating our bedroom - So far we've painted and bought the linens. I have to wait for my lamps to come in (it may not be until February!) and I'm looking for a large venetian mirror.

4. Clean out and organize second guest room and transform it into a livable space- currently in the process of doing this

5. Re-decorate office

6. Take at least two trips!

7. Get my real estate license; try to find a summer internship in the business

8. Take a French refresher course

9. Start trying for a baby in the second half of the year.