So long.

Well. I'm doing it. I am taking the next few weeks off of this blog. I need a break from it. I was completely inspired by this post from Erin Loechner about slowing down, stepping away and reevaluating. It is a topic that has been weighing on my mind the past few months and reading her post had me nodding my head frantically "YES." 

I often wonder what would happen to me, as a person, if I just up and stopped reading blogs. Stopped Facebooking. Stopped tweeting. Stopped Instagraming (which is all the more tempting after that recent debacle). Just stopped. I've been feeling this massive weight, for lack of a better word, lately and I do believe that "weight" is the iPhone in my pocket, and the laptop in my bed. It's not just about the compare::contrast aspect anymore. I've grown used to that (being newly married doesn't hurt in the "my life is just as good and full as yours" competition). It's my growing lack of ability to sit still, in silence. I'll admit it right here, right now that I check my email at stop lights, update my Facebook feed waiting in line at the grocery store, tweet while cooking a date night dinner. If I'm bored at work I pull my phone out searching, looking for anything to stimulate my ever growing need for information. Sometimes I've checked it all, all of my social media, and I put my phone away and think, "Now what?" That bothers me. It is starting to bother me more and more. The amount of stuff we have coming at us on a constant basis these days is startling. It's like there is just too much information.
I find myself justifying my constant use of technology by saying that it's for my business, and my blog. But it's wearing on me, all of this never ending babble. Who can keep up? 

We are leaving for Washington, fingers crossed that the weather is on our side, tomorrow. I'm leaving the computer here. If the weather isn't our side and we stay in the city I'm locking myself out of this blog until January 2nd, 3rd, 4th or maybe even 5th. I'm scheduling some pretty pics to appear on random days on my break just because, well, we all want a peek at some lovely images in the midst of family and eggnog and Christmas sweaters. A picture and that's it.

I'd like to wish you all the most magical of holidays. I hope your homes are filled with twinkling lights, the scent of evergreen and, most importantly, all of the people you love. It has certainly been one of the best years yet and I will be forever grateful for all that 2012 brought to my life. 

*My boys struggled. And they still struggle.
*My living room got a huge makeover.
*And we painted. Again. 
*Oh Pony.
*I thought a lot about my path in life, and came to some conclusions.
*I got this blog professionally beautified.
*I got a design job that I loved and also hated, that ended up not working out, because I just cannot live on water and stress.
*The consequences of blogging, reading lots of blogs and being immersed in social media.
*I ended one of my least favorite years in my life thus far. And started one of my most favorites.
*I fought an all out battle.
*We took a much needed getaway.
*I realized that all you really do need is love. And good design, natch.
*The year of the quotes made me quite crazy.
*I mused about tradition and family and what it all means to me.
*We got engaged.
*And married. All in a month. It was truly the best day of my life thus far.
*Picked up books to feed my soul.
*Pondered some new Christmas traditions.
*And felt very, terribly grateful for all that I have, all that I don't have and all of that space I just don't know about yet.

Despite the ups and downs, the heavy sadness of this world sometimes, the bad design, the darkness of humanity...I really do believe that there is so much beauty here.
Merry Merry.
See you in 2013.



How To: Display Shelf.

Trudging through this week. Trudging. I'm on the verge of fully embracing doing nothing but getting through this week. On the verge. I was thinking last night that I would make this my last post until we get back but then I woke up and it is currently 37 degrees in our house and I thought that I might as well capitalize on staying under the covers with my coffee for a bit longer. Plus, it feels really weird to do my end of year post on the 19th. The end of the year is still decades away. 

I'm going to lunch with a friend today and heading over to West Elm to return some stuff I bought including this duvet. I have to say that the quality sucks, it is super thin and the pattern looks cheap. Totally disappointing. I might splurge and get something from John Robshaw for the bed. They are having a sweet 20% off sale through the holidays if you spend 250$ or more (I'm pretty sure you can't spend under 250$ and walk out the door at John Robshaw). I'm thinking this or this. Thoughts? 

Last week I talked about gallery walls and, really, who isn't talking about gallery walls? I like them and I am fully in the midst of creating one but let's all agree that they are a little {a lot} played out right now. Agreed? So instead of filling up all of your walls with a layout of frames another great option that I personally love is a single shelf. The great part about a shelf is that you can display all sorts of things you love, not just framed art. It also adds a nice dimensional element. Instead of everything laying flat on the wall you get some depth.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Um. Number 6? Yep, the crosses. I want those. Don't dare buy them unless you are buying them for me. K, thanks.

More inspiration after the jump!


Currently Coveting: Glassy Baby.

I love having candlelight around the house. It makes everything feel very cozy. As with all other light sources the quality of light coming out is what is ultimately important. This is why I am so smitten with Glassy Baby. I was gifted one by Justin's mother last year for Christmas, a red one. They are made in Seattle and her and her friends all love them. I wasn't so sure, I must admit. It just looked like a red glass jar. But then I brought it home, put a tealight in it, struck a match and it has been kismet ever since. I bought two for my bathroom last year and I am currently wanting another one. They just give off the most beautiful, subtle, soft glow. The company gives a portion of their profits to help cancer patients with the cost of chemotherapy. I can definitely get behind that. Which colors are your favorites? 


A Little Bit of Everything.

Well hello, you dolls. It has been a festivity-filled weekend around these parts, all sorts of fun holiday dinners and drinks and general celebrating with friends. We made the trek out to the hinterlands of Danville last night ("Where???" you ask. "Danville. You have to take a HIGHWAY to get there. It's maaaagical.") to visit some dear friends who gifted us the sweetest wedding album and framed photos of our day. Yeah, sometimes your friends? They bring you to tears with their thoughtfulness. This was one of those times. But back to Danville. Boy. It is quiet out there let me tell you. And oh so spacious with all those extra bedrooms and a *gasp* basement. It certainly got me all jazzed up to get the hells bells outta this teensy closet we live in and into something with some space to move around and, ahem, decorate. It really does give me some anxiety, this whole thinking-about-eventually-leaving-the-city- thing. You get so used to having the world at your fingertips. But, at the end of the day, our life has quieted down so much the past year and, when we really look at it, we spend most of our time at home. So it'd be nice to have a home where I didn't have to wrestle with 16 Le Crueset pots just to get to my mixer. It'll be awhile still, this whole moving thing. But it'll happen, yes, it will. 

Anyhoo. Today we are doing some Christmas shopping and plenty of errands. The next few days before we leave for Washington are jam packed. Wrapping up the hotel project, on our end anyway, this week which I'm excited about. Come January we will be having a big, fancy website with actual photos of work and maybe some things for you to BUY. Lots of things need to happen leading up to that moment. T'will be hectic. So today you get the pleasure of seeing what's on my desktop. Don't worry, it'll be fun. 

 Design faux pas #1924. Just barf on this. It is so beyond ugly. Runners cut to match each room perfectly. I can't really imagine much worse. And please stop it with that gross blue with tan trim. Yuck.

 This, on the other hand, is pure heaven. Kiddo bliss. I am totally, completely in love with this.

And this. Geez. What a place to bathe. Just soaking it up, watching the snow come down, reading the new Elle Decor and drinking a glass of wine.

 In case you missed the news flash on all of the other blogs...J. Crew is having a 30% off everything sale. That's a lot you guys. Merry Christmas to me and you! I want these three things in a relatively bad way. So cute. 

 Cozy, grey goodness. My oh my. 

 Amber Valletta's room makeover a la Million Dollar Decorators. As far as I'm concerned that hot pink grasscloth is glorious and that bedding is, well, PERFECT. I want this to be my bed. I really want that throw on the end. And those wee pillows. 


 Simple, uncluttered. That oval portrait with the lamp up top is something I will be copying.

 Totally and completely mystified by this photo. Like really, utterly confused. I've been staring at it for days. How does one presume to wash dishes in this sink? With a three foot counter in front of it. Unless you've got your gadget arms out I really don't see how this would work. Am I missing something? You guys? 


Fine lines and leather. Oh, and herringbone floors. 

 Can't even deal with this it is so lovely. I would gladly sleep in a twin bed for this room.


Saturday Stunner.

Honestly, my heart is nowhere but with those people in that small town in Connecticut. This week has been a doozie with me finding myself in tears on a near daily basis, today being no different. So many debates and political agendas humming around on social media about gun control and God in schools and so much ridiculous crap I can barely contain myself. And we could really all go on and on forever about how Obama needs to take a stand (even though as long as this country continues to be a two-party politic, nothing will ever truly change) and how we need to take better care of our mentally ill and on and on and on and on. But I don't want to. I just want to send out as much love as I can from my one itty bitty human heart to that small town. 


How To: Create a Gallery Wall.

Oh you know, just sittin in bed catchin up on my E News, learnin bout the plot to castrate and kill the Biebs. sheesh. Heavy mornin. 

Let's talk gallery walls. I'm plotting and scheming one for my entry hall. It is a very plain and boring entry hall right now. I've been busy collecting photos that I love of our family and friends, various artwork, prints, textiles that are close to my heart. I have a piece being commissioned from my very talented favorite one-year old. And I'll add tidbits as they come. That's the joy of a gallery wall. It changes, it grows. Just like life. As the years go by you add and take away. 

There are just under one billion ways you can go with a gallery wall. I am going to go the classic, tad sentimental way on ours. I want it to feel personal. I love going to people's houses and picking up all of their picture frames and seeing little pieces of their lives. We have barely any photos of us around this joint. Not enough table surface and you all know how I feel about clutter {not good, not good at all}. So I am definitely making photos the centerpiece of the wall, and incorporating other elements to keep it fun and interesting. I prefer a more random, haphazard look rather than one that looks super organized or matchy-matchy. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

*This is a work in progress that won't even begin until after the holidays so I will be posting photos as it wraps up.* 



I went to bed sad last night, and woke up feeling heavy and sad this morning, for reasons I am not even close to wanting to talk about on this blog. I grabbed my coffee and got back into bed, snuggled up against my dog, thinking that I might not even get out of bed today. I'm sore, no work out. I'm tired of my unresponsive clients, no work. I'm sick of this never ending summer, no holiday spirit. My blog sucks, no blogging. Pity party for one please. And then I clicked over to Facebook and it gave me the offer to see my last year in review. So I hit the button.

And all of a sudden my screen was filled with pictures of our wedding, and all of the lovely comments that people left. And pictures of me and my godson, when he was still so wee, just a few months ago. Pictures of my girlfriends and little maps of days spent at various spots drinking wine with people I love and bookmarkers of places we've been this year and trips we've taken. An epic birthday cake that J had made for me somewhere back in the middle of July. My ridiculous dog doing ridiculous things and looking ridiculously cute doing them. 

And all of a sudden, I felt grateful. My life is filled with so.much.goodness. No, I may not always get what I want exactly when I want it. But looking at all of those little notes reminded me that it all works out, just the way it's supposed to in the end. And when it doesn't, in that waiting period when you feel like it never will, I've got all of these creatures on earth who will hug me and cheer me on and, if necessary, drink heavily with me. Today, that's enough.


Spotlight: Katherine Wolkoff.

My scattered brain is seeking some simplicity this sunny-morning-that's-supposed-to-be-rainy. I hadn't realized until late last night how much I'm craving a getaway. It's been a few since we've left the city and, as I know too well about myself, it is a necessary part of holding onto little scraps of your sanity, the getting out of here. We leave for Washington next Saturday and, almost as if on cue, it cannot come soon enough. Looking forward to some long hours in the car with my family, listening to books and drinking coffee. 

These stunning photos from Katherine Wolkoff caught my eye awhile back and, as I thumbed through my inspiration book this morning, they seemed just so apropos of how I'm feeling today-quiet.

Her deer beds have been featured all over but I originally saw them on A Cup of Jo. They are so peaceful.

Her series on New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck a chord with me, of course. She does an amazing job of capturing not only the desolation that the city radiated following the storm but also the southern light that you only truly see in the deep south.

These recall memories of our time on the San Juan Islands. Lots of dusty dirt roads and open sky. I particularly love these.

Dark and light.

I want these very badly, the water photos.


A well-worn rug.

Well then. We indulged some of our very dominant homebody tendencies these past few days and it was awesome. After date night on Saturday at A16 we cozied up in the house for the rest of the weekend. We cooked three amazing meals together, although I will admit that last night was solely Justin's masterpiece (shrimp with tomatillo sauce and rice, fresh-shucked oysters with lime mignonette, brussels sprouts, and lemon buttermilk pie that was out of this world).  We drank wine and watched movies. We did laundry and gave the dog a bath. We sat around the fire and sang Christmas carols. Oh, wait, no we didn't. But the rest is true and it sure was nice. I wish that I could say I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to jump into the work week. Not the case, my friends. Not the case. Two weeks until Christmas Day and I honestly just want to hang out and be in a festive mood, no work included. Not going to happen unfortunately. Remember how I was singing of the praises of working with a purchasing agent for the hotel? Yeah. So, that's not happening anymore. I've been up to  my ears in client "relations" this past week and I am more than mildly frustrated. Lots of back and forth and changing of plans and disappearing of deadlines (I mean, where the hell did those deadlines go? Nowhere to be found.). I'm rolling with it but it is not fun. Just in case you guys wanted to know. You probably don't. 

So let's look at some pretty rug scenarios instead. I KNOW you guys want to know about this. Prompted by my recent Jayson Home shopping spree where this gorgeous little number got innocently placed into my online shopping cart, and then not-so-innocently bought. 

It's either going in my kitchen or layered over the rug in my entryway. I've also got another jute rug  coming for the living room this week. Rugs are on the mind, people. Here are some of my favorites.


Bringing Home The Tree.

I stumbled across this photo sometime yesterday, while I was lounging on the sofa watching football and eating the most amazing polenta and pork bolognese that J made for dinner, and it brought back so many memories that I actually stopped eating for awhile (shocking, it was so good). 

On a quick little side note: Make sure, when you are out there looking for a man to hang out with for the rest of your life, that he can cook, and that he loves to do it. It will make you endlessly happy. It's an added bonus if he also happens to help with the dishes when you are done eating the meal he just cooked. That's all just lagniappe though. The cooking is the real gift. 

Ok, anyway, the photo:

It's a sweet hipster-lumberjack-carrying-the-tree shot. No biggie. But it flashed me right back to being a wee little girl on the prairie (literally "on the prairie," I lived many of my young, formative years in South Dakota and Wisconsin), stomping around in snow boots on ground that was frozen solid for months at a time. November and December? So cold. Cold beyond what my senses remember after living between San Francisco and New Orleans for so many years. Crazy cold. Regardless, my father, who was, and maybe still is, the ultimate perfectionist, would drag us all out of the house to go drive into the country, to hike as far as we had to, to find and cut down the perfect Christmas tree. 

I am sure it is one of those many memories that has gotten so deeply convoluted over the years that you can't tell anymore what is real and what is imagined but as my brain sees it now, it was both amazing and torturous at the same time. Probably more amazing in hindsight. We'd pack up thermoses of hot chocolate and my mom would bundle us up to the hilt in long underwear, mittens and hats. And then off we would go, my father with his saw and tools leading the way. We'd be at it forever. The perfectionist always debating merits of the trees, which would be the best in our house that particular year. He didn't really have "a type." Some years we'd get a big, old fat tree. Others, a tall, elegant and skinny noble. But whatever his fancy that year, it had to be just so. 

After tree hunting for hours we'd end up in front of one tree, hemming and hawing, until we agreed that this was IT. And my dad would then proceed to cut down the tree. Cut down the tree! This makes my city girl heart squeal with glee. I can no longer imagine actually cutting down a tree, like, with a saw. How odd. And so exciting. We'd drag it back to the car which, in my mind, was a long hike away but in reality was probably just right down the snowy path, tie it to the top and off we'd go to bring it home to decorate. 

My mother and father would fuss over every branch, cutting and trimming until it was perfect, and then we would have it at. Lights, ornaments, tinsel. We always had a very traditional tree growing up which is why I insist on having a very traditional tree to this day. No fancy decorative scheme, no expensive embellishments or themes. Just all of the ornaments we both grew up with, white lights and red balls. Some might call it tacky, I do not care. Every year when we trim the tree I take out the ornaments and they each bring back memories of different Christmases growing up. Every one reminds me of happy times with my family, of the years before time and space separated us all, and that is important to me. 

I've talked about tradition before and yesterday, when I spotted that photo above, it brought me a whirlwind of memories but it also made that little white bulb above my head spring on. We have our own tradition of going to Cole Hardware, up the street, and picking the first random tree we see, bringing it home and seeing if chance has been kind to us. I like our tradition in an urban sort of way but I must say that I like the old tradition better. I have always thought of my own family as one that didn't have a lot of tradition. But then sometimes I remember that we did. We really did. It just all got lost in the mess of a bitter divorce. So I think I'd like to keep this particular tradition alive for my own family. I'd like my someday kids to know that their grandfather schlepped us out into the woods when we were little girls, too. That this is a tradition that has been going on in our family for so much longer than they could imagine. 

So long Cole Hardware. It's been lovely. But next year I'm dragging my family to the woods. 


Saturday Stunner.

Wuh. This week was a doozy. I don't know about you guys but I cannot wait for this work day to be o v e r. I've got a mani/pedi booked for this evening (and, yes, I will be asking for an extra ten minute foot massage #withoutadoubt) and then I plan on gettin dolled up for a date with the husband. We don't have any big plans for the weekend. Probably just hanging out by the twinkling tree, cooking and being with friends. House is clean, laundry's done, time to relax. Hope you all have holiday-ful, festive weekends. Drink some champizzle and kiss someone under the mistletoe. Over and out.


In The Pink.

I've got pink on the mind lately. A nice little stack of rosy hues all bunched together on my desktop. I had the most beautiful bridal bouquet made with light pink peonies and my favorite-ranunculus, just a shade darker. It is drying upside down in my closet right now and every time I go in to grab a sweater, it makes me smile. Fact is, I am, literally, tickled pink by marriage or, more specifically, by my marriage. I always wondered if it would feel different after we got married, after being together for three years before. And people ask me that all the time now. Answer: YES. Our day to day interactions haven't changed. But there is definitely something a little sweeter about it all now. Like we have a purpose, together-our family. It's something I have wondered about and wanted for so long in my life and now it's here and I kind of cannot believe how happy it makes me. It has somehow let me release so much anxiety and worry about the future. I find myself not fretting over little things as much. I move through my days feeling just a little lighter and I find myself smiling more. And, still, every morning when I wake up and see a hand lying next me with a ring on it, I can't believe it's the hand of my husband. So please excuse this sappy, blushing bride today as I indulge in a little of the soft pink side of things. 

 1 | 2 | car | 3 | 4 | purse

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 via | via | 1 | coat | art | 2


Let the layering begin!

I would like to say that, due to some careful honing and purchasing over the past year, my house is officially ready to be layered! Wheeeeeee! I know. I can barely handle it either. I have all the furniture I could want {fit} into this current living situation (with the exception of that Restoration Hardware cabinet, which I just can't seem to get approval from J for) and now the fun begins. Accessories! I'm a big fan of keeping things relatively sparse and clean around here. The space is small and I'm an obsessive compulsive neat freak (really, no joke, nary a hair out of place). I've been pondering bedding for, well, a long time. And I finally feel ready to purchase. And that massive rug that I had to return? Yep, ready to replace it. The best part about being at this stage with this house is that, for the most part, buying smaller items is much more within our budget than, say, that very expensive sofa I bought last year. You get to buy several things at once. And they make a dramatic impact. Decorating? SO FUN. This also means there will be lots of boxes waiting by our mailbox when I come into the building everyday, the greatest thing ever. 

Here are the things on my list for this month:


Spotlight: Kathleen Clements Design.

Not much for words this morning. Just loving the clean, rustic style of Kathleen Clements

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