Feb 19, 2015

Pagoda Craze

Lately I've been noticing pagodas everywhere.   I guess it's the whole trend for chinoiserie (though how do we really call something so classic a trend?), but pretty pagodas are turning up on fabrics, wallpapers, lighting - even in the Pottery Barn catalog.

While I love the look, I didn't know much about the origin of pagodas, other than that I generally associate them with pretty gardens in Asia.  So I did a little googling and learned that the real definition of a pagoda is simply a tiered tower built with multiple eaves. Historically, they were usually built for religious purposes and are often associated with the Buddhists.  They are most commonly found in Nepal, China, Japan, India, Korea, and Vietnam.  Aren't these stunning?

photos:  daigoji temple in kyoto, japan / yuyuan gardens in shanghai, china / chinatown in vancouver, british colombia / temple in kunming, china / pagoda on the lake - all images from 123rf.com

It's no wonder this striking silhouette has been applied to everything from lighting fixtures to wallpaper patterns to furniture - don't these pieces just have so much character and drama?They all kindof "make" the room.

pagoda sconces in liza pulitzer calhoun's home,  House Beautiful

pagoda lantern, New England Home

chinoiserie wallpaper, Robin Pelissier Interior Design

pagoda birdcage, Ashley Whittaker Design

pagoda wardrobe, Lonny Magazine

 babe paley's pagoda-inspired pool house in jamaica

 I love all of these pagoda-inspired pieces ~  


I think I need that lantern for our hallway - quirky, chic, fun!  I wouldn't turn down the pool house in Jamaica either : ) 

Feb 13, 2015

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes for Valentines Day

On Valentines Day Matt and I prefer to stay in and avoid the crowds and overpriced pre-fix menus, but we do like to celebrate with a special dinner and dessert at home.  Since Lulu loves to bake and all three of us are total chocoholics, I thought we could make some really gooey, decadent cupcakes this year.

My Mom passed this recipe on to me, and it's one of my favorites.  You really just add a few extras to a cake-mix, so it's super easy to make.  My kind of cooking : )

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix & the ingredients it requires
12 oz.  Caramel Topping (like for ice cream)
8 oz. Cool Whip
3 Heath Bars, Crunched

Bake the chocolate cupcakes according to box directions.  I used a Devil's Food mix that you just mix with some oil, water, and eggs.  I let my sous chef do the heavy lifting on this one.

While they're still warm, punch a hole in the top of each cupcake with a wooden spoon handle.  Spoon a little caramel topping over each cupcake, so it oozes down into the hole and covers the top in a very thin layer.  Then let cool.  When completely cool, spread Cool Whip over top like frosting and sprinkle with the crunched up Heath Bars.  That's it!  People will never guess that these basically came from a box - they are SO delicious!

Now try to eat just one : )

Happy Valentines Day!!  

Feb 11, 2015

Stylish Fabrics on Minted.com

I've really struggled to find stylish fabrics since leaving my firm and its To The Trade Account.  I used to come home from the D&D with shopping bags loaded down with fabric samples, and now I can barely find one or two to get excited about at most of the chain fabric stores.  Enter Minted.com.

Minted considers itself "a marketplace of independent artists," so I always thought of them as as a great source for artwork - I even wrote about it in the River Journal last Feb.  And they've become a total favorite for stationary and announcements (you've definitely rec'd a christmas card or baby announcement from minted whether you know it or not). But somehow I missed the whole fabric thing!

Minted is able to offer unique, truly original patterns because it offers product from a variety of independent textile designers.  The company hosts ongoing design challenges in which artists (maybe you?) submit their work,  and shoppers vote for their favorites.  The winning designs are picked up and sold through the website.  So Minted gets product its customers have literally asked to buy, artists gain exposure and a sales platform, and we get chic, stylish patterns at super-affordable prices.  Win Win Win!

A few of my faves~


vine & berry

painterly splash

water pines

chalkboard floral

seville mosaic

print block

They also carry some fun prints for kids' spaces ~

animal mix

elephant hearts

into the woods

hashmark clouds

These all come in several colorways and are only $32/yd.  Yum!

Feb 9, 2015

Valentines Day Decorations & Traditions

Before I had a child I never decorated for holidays like Valentines Day or Easter - let's face it, Matt and I barely got a Christmas tree up pre-Lulu.  But I have such fond memories of my Mom decorating for all of the holidays when I was a kid, of course I'm now trying to share this tradition with my little girl.  I really want to be the kind of person who relishes an excuse for a little celebration, instead of thinking of these smaller holidays as another thing for the to-do list. (ugh, what a dreadful thing to admit to about myself, but true.)

So I'm slowly building a collection of Valentines Day, Easter, and Halloween decorations, and I like the sweet, slightly more subtle, not bang-you-over-the-head-it's-Valentine's-Day decorations.  Aren't these pretty?

Valentines Day Decorations

How great is that Flamingo tea towel?!  

This Minted.com custom collage of your own photos is pretty much the perfect Valentine's gift for anyone - your best friend, your Mom, your husband.... well, ok, a man probably wouldn't get all that excited about it, but it would look great hanging in your bedroom and it's personal and romantic and all that.

I love the way this photograph of Aerin & Estee Lauder is matted in a heart and then simply framed - another way to turn a sentimental photo into a great gift.   (I snapped this pic from Aerin Lauder's book, Beauty at Home, so pretty.)

This year, I'm taking a tip from Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project fame- a book that I love love love and totally recommend if you haven't already read it - 

On smaller holidays like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc. she gives her girls a little breakfast party before they head off to school, rather than waiting to do some big over-the-top dinner when everyone's tired after a long day.  I like the idea of starting the day with something special - like serving up heart shaped pancakes, toast & eggs, or even just pink strawberry yogurt with Valentines plates and napkins.  It seems like such an easy way to start the day on a fun note!

Found these napkins for our Valentines Day breakfast at Home Goods ~ aren't they sweet?

It's only a few days away ~ do you have any Valentines Day traditions or decorations you look forward to enjoying this year?

Feb 6, 2015

Sneakers Worth Wearing

Though I no longer live in NY, the 10 years I spent there mean that I will never, ever wear gym shoes as though they are regular walk-around-town shoes.  I have never worn sneakers out to lunch or even running errands (unless I paired them with cropped trousers and a slubby tee in an attempt to look like Jenna Lyons.  and i'm probably the only one who thought I in any way resembled jenna lyons).
Comfy flats, yes. Scuffed boots, yes.  Even flip flops, but never sneakers.

Enter Lulu.  I now have to wear sneakers whenever we go to play in the park, so I can keep up with my little daredevil - and that's almost every day when the weather is warm.  So I am now forever on the hunt for a pair I can actually get excited about wearing.  LIKE THESE!!

I love the neutral with pops of neon - fresh, modern, and perfect for spring.  I would definitely wear these to the park... and maybe even to the grocery :)

Park Playdate

 I am SO ready to be able to trade my snow boots for sneakers!

Feb 4, 2015

Pink Accents for the Home

Since my obsession with pink is in full swing, I'm on the lookout for pink accessories I
can add around the house.  I want to swap out my orange accents and replace them with all things blush, rose, apricot, burgundy.... I feel all Shelby-like in Steel Magnolias - you know, "pink is mah signature culah."

Pink Home Accents

And since I practically live at Target, these are some of the super affordable accessories I've spotted there lately - all easy ways to bring home a little pink on your next grocery/ diapers/ paper towel run.

I think the dustier, apricot shades of pink will work best in my house, but I love them all!

Feb 2, 2015

Loving Pink

Ever since Lulu was born, I've been really into pink.  As a New Yorker, I spent 10 years rocking head-to-toe black, gray, navy, or some combination thereof. But since moving to Ohio and having a baby girl, I find myself wearing a lot more color.   Even pink - a color I never would have worn a few years ago.

At first it was just a scarf here or there.  Then a few pink tops found their way into my dresser, and then last spring I found myself buying a pink handbag.  And carrying it.  Every. Single. Day.  This fall, I fell in love with a cozy, bordeaux colored toggle coat, paired it with my blush colored bag, and accepted the fact that I'm now sporting all kinds of pink on a regular basis.
Scarf (old) / Toggle Coat  / Bag (old)

Now that my closet is full of pink, I'm feeling the itch to bring some into our decor.   And seeing as Marsala is the Pantone Color of the Year, I'm clearly not alone on this : )

I will probably just start by adding a few pink accents, like in these rooms.

source unknown, found on pinterest

keila marino's home as seen on design*sponge

keila marino's home as seen on design*sponge 

from miu miou tumblr

I love that these homeowners went bolder with their pink choices, but these pieces are a bit more of an investment.  Not sure that I can indulge my color crush with anything this big right now.

Source Unknown

And these rooms are just all out pink.  Really pretty, but I don't think Matt would go for this much.

House Beautiful

John Robshaw's living room, I think? sofa is different...

Are you feeling the pink too?