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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Hills- Who knew?

I know that a lot of us are addicted to The Hills, regardless of how vapid the show really is. Entertainment Weekly is running a feature entitled "They Shoot- Lauren Conrad Scores" which includes behind the scenes scoop, calls her "a West Coast reincarnation of Carrie Bradshaw (if Carrie were a millionaire)" and explains that the show is MTV's biggest success ever. Season 4 premieres August 18th at 10pm.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Which is dreamier?

I'm not sure which is dreamier...Patrick Demspsey a.k.a McDreamy or his gorgeous vintage Mercedes.

Hi Fabian! Love you, honey. :)

Images via Popsugar

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun Weekend in Dallas

We spent a fun and indulgent weekend catching up with our friends, Meredith and Allen in Dallas this weekend. Meredith and I have been friends since the seventh grade and have remained close ever since despite the fact that we haven't lived in the same city since our senior year of high school. Whenever we're together, it's as if no time has passed at all. Though our stay was short and sweet, we fit quite a few things into our weekend: lots of eating, shopping, some sightseeing, going out for drinks, and playing Rock Band for the first time (I like to sing, while Fabian prefers the drums).

We started Saturday off by having brunch at Bread Winner's, a Dallas institution. It was delicious!

I was super excited to visit the Williams Sonoma Home store for the first time. We don't have one in Houston, but I'm always drooling over their catalogs.

Here's where the indulgent part comes in. Meredith and Allen always take us to some great restaurants, but I always end up feeling like I've eaten enough for an entire month after I leave. We stood in line for a while to get cupcakes at Sprinkles.

Yummy cupcakes: Milk Chocolate (very rich), Strawberry, Vanilla, Coconut

We had such a fun weekend and hope to do it again soon!

New image via Design*Sponge. My husband requested that I get his approval before posting pictures of him. LOL!

Sad News: Oak Trees in Houston's Upper Kirby District are chopped down

My favorite trees in the city (North Blvd. in the Museum District) Fortunately, these were not torn down.

I think I've made my love of oak trees pretty clear through some of my previous posts. They are so majestic and beautiful. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and do they add character, they are important for the environment. You can imagine my sadness and disappointment when I read this morning's news.

Image via Flickr member J-A-X

New Cookbooks by Old Favorites

Ina's Summer Fruit Crostata

Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten have long been my favorite Food Network personalities. Not only do I enjoy watching them (unlike Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee), but their food is delicious. Both Giada and Ina choose to make simple, healthful (mostly), elegant, delicious food. I have made many, many of their recipes and they have all been wonderful.

My mother is an amazing cook, but truth be told, I didn't really learn to cook too much from her. Mostly, I didn't care to learn while I was living with my parents since I knew my mom would do all the cooking and I loved her food. She tried teaching me how to make some things, but I would get impatient since she doesn't measure anything and would always take over. It wasn't until after I left my parents' house that I really started to cook. I would watch Ina (whose cooking reminds me SO much of my mom's) and Giada and learned a lot about techniques and flavor profiles. I turned out to be a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself. I recently learned that both ladies are releasing new cookboks this fall and can't wait to order them!

Giada's new cookbook, Giada's Kitchen will be released on September 30th and features "updated twists on classic trattoria favorites, California-inflected, hearty but not overwhelming, and with the perfect balance of healthfulness and terrific flavor".

Ina's new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics debuts on October 28th. It "is the essential Ina Garten cookbook, focusing on the techniques behind her elegant food and easy entertaining style, and offering nearly a hundred brand-new recipes that will become trusted favorites.Ina Garten’s bestselling cookbooks have consistently provided accessible, subtly sophisticated recipes ranging from French classics made easy to delicious, simple home cooking. In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina truly breaks down her ideas on flavor, examining the ingredients and techniques that are the foundation of her easy, refined style."

Images via Amazon and Barefoot Contessa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bravo: One Big, Happy Family

So, I was going through the Flipping Out Photo Diaries over on Bravo TV's website when I came across something shocking. First, the readers at Scented Glossy Magazines unearthed the truth about Jenni and Chris Elwood and now this! It turns out that the fabulous New Chris, whose style statements, work ethic, and quick wit are universally adored is the brother of Angela from season 3 of Project Runway! Angela, whose rumpled garments and overuse of rosettes made me cringe. Angela, whose mother cried over the awful mumu Jeffrey designed for her. Weird! And evidently, Jenni is a Senior Consultant on the show. Whatever that means. Please enlighten me, if you happen to know. Next, we're going to find out that Zoila is actually Tim Gunn's adopted sister.

Image via Bravo TV

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tiny Apartment, Loads of Style

I recently came across the Copy Cat Chic blog thanks to one of my reformed lurkers. Her fantastic blog which sets out to recreate expensive looks at a fraction of the price is completely new to me. Unfortunately, she hasn't updated her blog since May 8th, but I'm crossing my fingers that she'll start up again since she really knows how to get the most bang for the buck.

I literally read every single one of her posts and was so impressed when I saw how this teeny, tiny New York apartment had been drastically transformed. Can you believe it's the same place?! Sure, I would do some things differently. I'd probably go with a different rug in the living area, maybe zebra skin, and I would have chosen a different mirror to hang above the couch. I'd most likely go with a bolder choice for the throw pillows, but the transformation from the way the apartment started out is incredible. Read all about it here.



Images via Copy Cat Chic

The Hills: Season 4 Sneak Peek

The teaser trailer for Season 4 of The Hills has just been released. From the looks of it, there will be drama, drama, drama. I can't wait! It's kind of ridiculous how much I love this show considering the fact that nothing really ever happens and MTV has whittled the episodes down to about 8 minutes with their ridiculous commercial breaks. Whatever. I, for one, can't wait until the premiere on August 18th!

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Update: Photos of the Atlanta Housewives have been released. You can see more images here.

I knew that Bravo had ordered new seasons of both The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Real Housewives of New York. I also knew that they had a New Jersey version in the works. How awesome will that be? However, I had no idea they were planning a Real Housewives of Atlanta. It premieres on September 16th. Read all about it here. A special preview of the show airs Wednesday, July 30th at 11 pm central time.

This Week's Quote

Friday, July 18, 2008

Iconic Shoes: 19 Designers Set to Create Original Versions of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

Women's Wear Daily is reporting that nineteen designers will collaborate with Swarovski to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by creating their own versions of Dorothy's iconic ruby red slippers.

The group of nineteen designers is composed of: A. Testoni, Abaeté, Alberta Ferretti, Betsey Johnson, Botkier, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani, Lisa Pliner, Manolo Blahnik, Moschino, Oscar de la Renta, Roger Vivier, Sergio Rossi, Stuart Weitzman, Tibi and Tuleh.

It should be fun to see what they come up with!

Image via WWD.

Roll Call: Calling All Lurkers!

Last night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Courtney of In(side) the Loop, Carolina of Carolina Eclectic, Paige of I*heart*you and Lauren of Material Girls. I always have so much fun when I get to spend time with the Houston bloggers and was so excited to meet Paige and Lauren for the first time. They were both so sweet and funny.

We enjoyed each other's company so much, that we talked for hours. The restaurant turned the lights out and the waitstaff started to leave with their belongings in tow, signaling to us that they wanted to close up shop. We talked about lots of things... blogs, fashion, interiors, trips, remodeling historic homes, our life stories, and LURKERS. Paige called hers out a while ago and got a big response.

I know you're out there! You know who you read my blog, but have never left a comment. So now, I ask of you, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you have to say, really, I would. I think one of the most exciting things about the blogging community is the ability to have exchanges with all sorts of cool people. Like any good blogger, I love to hear what my readers have to say and I love a little positive affirmation, but then again, who doesn't? So, I am asking you to leave a comment. It doesn't even have to be on this particular post. I'm just curious about who you are and would love to hear about your perspective. Pretty please...with a cherry on top?

Image via Martha Stewart

My Name is Paloma and I am a Flairoholic.

I love the Pieces of Flair application on Facebook, maybe even a little too much. This is why I shouldn't let myself get bored in the summers. I end up spending way too much time on mundane, yet highly addictive things like Flair. I could honestly spend hours browsing through the flair catalog or creating my own. I'm not the first person to blog about this, so I know I'm not alone in my addiction. My only concern is what will happen when I run out of room. Do they make larger bulletin boards? I mean, let's face it, this addiction will be hard to break and my board is nearly full!

Here are a few of my Flair creations:

The La Dolce Vita header (search for "La Dolce Vita" in the catalog)

I also made a David Jimenez button since the flair for interiors is kind of lacking. (Search "David Jimenez")

I thought this adorable illustration from Une Fille Comme Moi was too cute not to share. (Search "Une Fille Comme Moi")

Thursday, July 17, 2008

House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year 2008

Yesterday morning, House Beautiful revealed it's 2008 Kitchen of the Year on The Today Show. The kitchen was designed by the magazine in collaboration with kitchen designer extraordinaire, Christopher Peacock and is currently on display in Rockefeller Center. It is large, very functional, and has a very strong Hamptons vibe going on.
Wooden ceiling beams and an abundance of natural light contribute to the Hamptons feeling of the kitchen. Peacock chose a combination of white painted cabinets and stained wooden cabinets with vintage-style hardware to add character to the space.

The counters are made of Caesarstone, a quartz surface which stands up to virtually anything.

The dark wood floors are a source of visual impact.

Although the Delta Touch2O faucets used in the kitchen are not the most attractive option, they have a very cool feature. You can turn the faucet on or off by simply tapping it. So, when your hands are dirty from handling food, you don't have to worry about spreading bacteria onto the faucet.

These polished nickel industrial pendants are very similar to Circa Lighting's Houston pendants.

Another view of the kitchen

Look for more details in the September issue of House Beautiful. In the meantime, find out more about the kitchen in this video of the big reveal on the Today Show.

Images via House Beautiful.

Top Design: Season 2...Are you Ready?

I'm so excited for the new season of Top Design! Bravo just revealed the cast and they sound very promising. Among the new contestants, there is a designer who has worked as an editor at House Beautiful, another who was a set designer on Sex and the City, and a third who is a senior designer at Nathan Egan Interiors. This season will be hosted by India Hicks and Todd Oldham will reprise his role as cast mentor. There is no official word on the judges, but I assume (and hope) that the panel will still be comprised of Margaret Russell, Jonathan Adler, and Kelly Wearstler.

Kudos to Bravo for finding serious, top notch talent for their reality shows. I feel like the level of talent on Top Chef, Top Design, and Make Me a Supermodel is just leaps and bounds above Food Network's Next Food Network Star, HGTV'S Design Star and The CW'S America's Next Top Model.

The new season of Top Design premieres Wednesday, September 3rd at 9:00 pm.

Image via BravoTV.

Isn't She Lovely?

Sarah Jessica Parker made an appearance at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Yankee stadium. Though dressed down in an ombré tee and dark denim, I think she looks amazing! Love her!

Image via Popsugar

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Saturday marked one year since the day I first started my blog. It began as the product of a summer of boredom and I feel like it has evolved into so much more. Through this blog, I have had the opportunity to learn so much, explore new interests, and meet some incredible people. It has become my favorite hobby, a creative outlet for me. It is a way to make my voice heard, even if it is about kitchens or reality television. Thank you for your friendship, support, and for being a constant source of inspiration.

Image via David Jiménez - What can I say? I'm currently obsessed. I only wish my work space was as chic as his!

This Week's Quote

"The best rooms have something to say about the people who live in them." - David Hicks

I just have to say that I absolutely love this room. It has the perfect balance of femininity and masculinity for me.

Image via David Jiménez

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dream Kitchens

Of all the rooms in a house, I tend to be drawn to kitchens the most. A beautiful kitchen sings to me. I love to daydream about the type of kitchen I hope to have in my dream home someday.

Overall, I tend to like what could be described as a modern vintage look. A new kitchen with classic features which make it seem like it could easily fit in another place and time. I want a kitchen that is elegant and modern all at once. For me, this means somewhat plain cabinetry (I'm mostly drawn to white), honed surfaces like carrara marble, subway tile, and beautiful wide-planked, dark wood floors.

You're probably wondering why I haven't made these types of changes to my own kitchen. I liked my kitchen when we bought our house in March of 2006. It had pretty 42" maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances, neutral tile, and salmon colored laminate counters. What was that, you ask? Yes, you read that correctly! Salmon colored laminate. The very bane of my existence. The very reason I haven't invited certain people (Kym, I might be referring to you) over for dinner after they so graciously fed us a beautiful meal in their stunning home. These damn counters are like a horrible blemish on the face of my home.

We tried to get the builder to upgrade them to granite, but they wouldn't. The house was already built when we found it, and they wouldn't take out the counters they had already installed. Alas, I was only 24 and Fabian was 25 when we bought the house. We didn't know any better. If I knew then what I know now, I would have played hard ball and I wouldn't have had to live with those nasty counters. Upgrading our counters is number one on my home improvement to-do list, though I won't give the kitchen a complete over-haul since we don't plan to be in this house forever. He'll kill me for writing this, but my husband is a bit, umm, frugal. I don't think he cares about the counters, so changing them isn't a priority to him which is why we still have them. Mark my words: Those ugly counters will be gone by the end of 2008!

My kitchen, ugly counters and all

Let's get back to a nicer topic, shall we? Beautiful, dream kitchens. As I was saying before our detour through ugly-ville, I like a kitchen with modern conveniences and classic design elements. Something that looks like it belongs in a massive penthouse apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, in a building with a notorious co-op board, or better yet, a kitchen suited for a mansion in The Hamptons.

Kitchen #1
This is the kitchen from the 2008 San Francisco Decorators Showcase House. It was designed by Shelley Gordon who described the kitchen as "a reflection of the past and the present." According to Shelley, "the detailing of the cabinets honors the age of the house, but the larger open plan responds to the way we live today". The cabinetry is a creamy color and the countertops and subway tile back splash are both honed carrara marble.

The massive 16,000 square foot home does not have a proper breakfast room (only a formal dining room, grand salon, and outdoor dining terrace) so the owner has to make due with a small table in the kitchen.

The kitchen is truly massive and unfortunately, I think it's impossible to get a sense for how big it really is through photographs alone. I'll take you through a mental tour of the space. If you were taking the picture above, you could take a right at the table and there would be a good fifteen feet of cabinets lining both sides of the room and a door leading to a terrace.If you return to the original place where you started (near the range) and turn around, you'll end up in the next picture.

You can't see it here, but if I recall correctly, there is a large island between this picture and the previous one. You are now looking at the butler's pantry. To the right, you have the kitchen powder room. Stunning, isn't it?

Kitchen #2

This kitchen is from one of my favorite houses ever. It's The Wheat House in Houston, which was featured on Cote de Texas. The kitchen has honed marble counters, a functional island, lovely hardware, antique light fixtures, white subway tile, and beautiful greenish-taupe cabinetry. Joni, please correct me if I'm wrong. Is that what the color looks like in person?

The cabinets do not have doors. This concept seems to be increasing in popularity. I know that Ryan Brown uses it in most of his gorgeous kitchens. So long as one is organized, it shouldn't be an issue. You can see the subway tile and cabinet color a little better here.

Close-up of the beautiful farm sink and faucet

Kitchen #3

Continuing with the Houston theme, this kitchen is from an old real estate listing in the Afton Oaks neighborhood. I really like the color of the cabinetry, tall ceilings, the big drawers in the island, and the abundance of storage space.

Kitchen #4

This kitchen is also from an old real estate listing in Houston. Although it is somewhat small, I like the cabinetry, tiny subway tile back splash, and schoolhouse pendant.

Kitchen #5

Decidedly more modern than the others, I love the contrast of dark wood lower cabinets and white upper cabinets which plays on the flood of light that washes into the room. Again, you have several of my favorite elements: subway tile, and industrial range, farmhouse sink, and dark wood floors. This is also from an expired Houston real estate listing.

The last few kitchens I am featuring are from Christopher Peacock's collection. Peacock's kitchens have become somewhat of a status symbol as they can easily cost well into the six figure range. The New York Times featured an article on Mr.Peacock and his gorgeous, high-end kitchens. In it, he lists 10 items that people think they want, but seldom actually use and 10 items which are very good to have in one's kitchen.


Pot-filling faucet, Pantry dishwasher or refrigerator, Kitchen desk, Trash compactor, Large microwave, Rangetop grill, Two-tier island countertops, Large island, Appliance garage


Refrigerator and freezer drawers, Two dishwashers,Warming drawers, Small microwave, Bookshelves, Tray storage, Roll-out drawers, Message center, Marble countertops, Wood countertops"

My favorite Christopher Peacock Kitchens

Kitchen #6

This kitchen looks cozy and classic. I love the ledge on the hood.

Kitchen #7

I love the simple cabinetry, though the mouldings make the kitchen look more ornate. The marble back splash and wooden island make the kitchen interesting.

Kitchen #8

This is quite possibly my favorite Peacock kitchen. It has white cabinetry, gorgeous hardware, carrara counters, a large island in a different color for contrast, and hardwood floors.

This is another view of the same kitchen. Notice the carrara backsplash and amazing cook's station. I love the industrial range and stainless steel backsplash.

Kitchen #9

Refined and elegant, I love the cabinets on either side of the range. The lighting is beautiful.

Kitchen #10

This kitchen is more modern than the other Peacock kitchens I included in my list. It also has the pretty taupe / grey cabinetry we've seen in some of the other kitchens in this post. I love the industrial pendants hanging over the island. The chalkboard feature adds a bit of charm and functionality.

Well, there you have it. I didn't count the number of kitchens I was going to write about, but I ended up with ten. So, I guess these are my Top 10 Favorite Kitchens (in no particular order). Someday, one of these babies will go from dream to reality. In the meantime, please, do tell. What is your dream kitchen like?