Friday, November 30, 2012

TGIF - Whatcha Up To?

TGIF!!  Boy, this week was cold~ We even had snow that actually accumulated enough to cover the ground and trees a bit.  It was really cute to see my puppies walking all funny on their pawsies. I could tell they were really enjoying the snow.  

This chilly weather's got me craving sweet and comforting foods.(why?  I dunno...)  I can't wait to try these two...

Early Grey Chocolate Mix, from Whimsy And Spice 
(photo via Whimsy And Spice)

Apple Yogurt Pie as made by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere

And I really need to get me a pair of gloves.  I'm thinking of these..Something simple and sweet like this pair from J.Crew... 

I've got another busy weekend.  I'll be decorating my tree, doing some holiday gift shopping, and of course, some work~  
Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gift Idea no. 1: Hitting Up on Amazon

I have 12 Gift Ideas of Christmas a la the "12 Days of Christmas" song.  I'm going to pepper the following couple of weeks leading up to Christmas with 12 gift ideas/sources.  It's really more of my own gift shopping planning but if it's of any help to anyone, then all the better!

Gift Idea No. 1:  Leisurely Books and Magazines.  With online shopping, it's now become so easy to find gifts for friends.  One place I'm hitting up for sure, as with millions of others, is Amazon.  Here's what I'm thinking of so far...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gold & Pretty

I am not much of an arts & crafts person but all the pinnings on the Pinterest and amazing DIY blogs out there are definitely tempting me to make something creative myself.  

So, this year, I'm going to decorate my tree with this DIY gold polka dot ornament. 

The theme will be "Gold & Pretty" - yeah, a real creative title, right?! (Sorry~)  ANYways, I can't wait to start decorating.  I'm going to do it this weekend.  I'll keep ya'll posted... :) 

Wednesday Art - Andrew Wyeth

Yesterday, I came across Andrew Wyeth's 'Christina World' - I haven't seen his work in some time and was happy to come across it again. Here are some of my favorites.  

'Christina's World' 1948 

'Wind From the Sea' 1947 
'Master Bedroom' 1965

'First Snow', Study for Groundhog Day, 1959

[in search of title of this lovely watercolor piece]

I can't find the title for one of the paintings (immediately above).  If anyone out there knows, I'd love to hear from you.  I love that painting because if you are from Pennsylvania, you've seen that desolate, farmer's house somewhere.  It may even be your grandparents' house.  A lot of Wyeth's paintings capture the mundane, quiet, and peaceful scenes you come across once you get out of the suburbs of Philadelphia. Well, won't you know it?  Wyeth is from Chads Ford, PA (I've never been there) and had a summer home in Cushing Maine. 

Here's the artist himself.  He looks like such a cool beatnik! 

 Wyeth on top of his Wyllis Jeepster Convertible, 1977  (see here)

For more on his life and work, check my main source for this post here (Wiki page on Wyeth).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pretty Woman Over the Knee Boots

Here's my latest obsession: over-the-knee-boots. I saw this really pretty girl in center city in this pair of over-the-knee-boots over a pair of dark black leggings paired with a slouchy soft grey sweater on top. She kept her hair simple in a sleek mid-high ponytail.  (Yup, I observed all this in that one fleeting second I saw and passed by her - a total fashion observation moment!)  It was a perfect combo of casual meets SEXY that was non-threatening to both guys and girls.  I realized that the boots worn by Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman' need not be hoochie mama when paired with the right outfit. So, now I really really want a pair.  Here are the four I'm eyeing with 'a' being my most favorite (and of course, most pricey!). 

 a. Stuart Weitzman 5050;  b. Vince Camuto Tall Flat Boots;  c.  Frye Over the Knee Slouch Boots Lucinda; and d. Donald J. Pliner Nova Over the Knee Boot

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Wake-Up Call

image via here 

image via here

Hi friends, hope you had a nice post-holiday weekend~ 

So,I felt a tinge of cold creeping into my body starting Wednesday when I was running around non-stop getting ready for the big T-giving dinner.  And by the time the guests had gone back home on Thursday night, I had that stuffy head and runny nose combo happening. Last night, I went to sleep around 6:30 p.m. and never woke up until this morning, 6:00 a.m.  Yeah, I'm a bit under the weather... hopefully, I'll get better soon.  I just got my little christmas tree and am so excited about getting the materials for some DIY ornaments!!  

Have a great Monday, folks~  Countin' down to Christmas! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Last Minute & Decisive Moments

I hope you guys all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  I had an amazing time with my parents, brother, sis-in-law, nephew, cousin and her two kids, and my father-in-law.  I really do treasure the times when both sides of the family get together.  

Before the guests arrived, I was doing that whole multi-tasking thing of cooking and cleaning.  One thing that really bothered me was having this huge bare wall where my piano, Ms. Everette sits (or stands?  but that sounds really uncomfortable).  See - doesn't see look kinda lonesome? 

So, last week, I got 4 different sized frames from Pottery Barn on sale (20% off).  Although they were on sale, the purchase was a splurge for me as I usually get frames from IKEA.  But I really wanted to get some nice wood frames to warm up the white wall where Ms. Everette sits. I had some other frames around the house that I put to work as well.  Below is the wall gallery design I came up with. 

I took a picture of the design but nothing went up on the wall until the late morning of Thanksgiving Day.  At first, Randy and I were very hesitant with the design we had in mind.  I also had to scramble to find something to put in these new frames! Thank goodness I saved a couple of cute cards and a tattered page from an old music book.  Below is a picture of Randy wiping the dust off the piano after we put up the frames. 

Once we put up the frames, we were super happy with how the whole thing turned out.  I did however feel that there was something missing, but I didn't want to put up more frames for the fear of cluttering up the wall too much... Then while we were eating our various pies (apple, pumpkin and shoe fly pie!)and due to lack of space on our dining table, I removed the apothecary jars from the table to the top of the piano.  And the rest is history. 

I love how the apothecary jars fill up the space between the piano and the frames! And the faux lemons match the Rothko on the wall!  

So, there it is - our once empty white wall filled with cute little photos, cards, and an old music sheet (Chopin of course!).  All done last minute in our most decisive (or desperate?!) moments in our history of decorating.  

I'll post closer up pics of the frames later :) 

Have you ever had such serendipitous and decisive moments in decorating your home?  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Busy Pre-Thanksgiving Day

I have today off from work.  But I will be working my tush off for tomorrow's big Thanksgiving dinner, which I'm cooking.  I will be cooking turkey for the first time!  Wish me luck!!

I don't know about you but I don't do the black Friday shopping thing.  It's just too hectic out there.  But I may be looking out for online sales~  Look what I got in the mail yesterday from Bloomies.  These little booklets with gift ideas.  Forget the gifts - aren't these booklets so cute?  I don't want to throw them away!  

I've got a super busy day - first up, the puppies to the groomer.  They need to look good for our guests! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cozy Me Up

I love wearing soft knits and sweaters.  I saw this peplum top on Naomi from 'Rockstar Diaries' (aka taza-and-husband) and am now obsessed with it :)  I haven't purchased it though in hopes that it may go on sale.  It's from Reiss,a UK brand made very famous by the Middleton sisters.  My friend Nance has a dress or two from Reiss and boy, they fit so well!  Anyways, this top would be perfect with a really soft scarf and other cozy winter accessories like the ones I found below.  And match everything up with a casual leather bag and riding boots - you've got yourself one cute and cozy look!

a.J.Crew Stripe Merino Scarf;  b.J.Crew Polka Dot Hat; c.J. Crew Toscana Shearling Earmuffs;  d.Frye Melissa Button Boot;  
e.Reiss Melanie Peplum Sweater;  f. Marc by Marc Jacobs Satchel

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Wake-Up Call

Good Monday! Can you believe we are only 3 days away from Thanksgiving?!  I'm so excited, especially because I'm taking Wednesday off.     

Today's Monday Wake-Up Call bedroom design is a bit bucolic and traditional.  I was inspired to come up with the design when I saw the bed.  Isn't it beautiful? Doesn't it look like something that gets handed down generation after generation? The mirror and chest also share the same kind of quality. And how about the chemist vases?  With delicate flowers, they will really add a nice softening touch to the room, along with the lovely bench and the rug.  

Hope you like it~ Happy Monday! 
a.  mirror;  b. Bed;  c. Sconce; d. Chemist Vase; e. Chest;  f. Rug;  g. Bench  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

13.1 Sunday

My husband and I've been looking for ways to motivate ourselves to workout and stay healthy.  Thus, awhile ago, we signed up to run the Philadelphia Half Marathon, which took place today, November 18, 2012.  To my disappointment, I did not train at all and worse, I was running less than my usual workout routine.  Unfortunately, My husband injured his calf while running a couple of weeks ago, so he really had a legitimate excuse not to run.  I had no excuse other than my sorry self who didn't train :( 
So I woke up super early, ate half of a gooey thingie in my runner's packet, and ran.  Official chip time:  2:00:22.  I wish I had pushed myself a bit more and come under 2 hours like I used to when I was a young'un but I know that I should be proud of myself for finishing the race.  It was a beautiful day and unlike my other Sundays, I actually ran outside, and that I did for 13.1 miles for 2 hours.  Here's a picture of me taken after the race once I got home (it didn't occur to me to take it in Philly while we we there).   YAY - me!! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

TGIF - Whatcha Up To?

TGIF!! The cold weather has really kicked in this week, confirming that the winter holidays are indeed getting closer and closer.  It feels like yesterday when I was in my little summer skirts and flip flops though... 

Remember last Friday I mentioned we have another surprise in addition to our new sofa?  Here it is - Meet Ms. Everette!

Where she sits is where we used to have our bookshelves. This piano is named Ms. Everette after its maker.  Isn't she a beauty?
I found her via Craigslist for $100 and found a mover for $150, which is a lot better than the going rate of $250 or more.  All keys play but I can tell Ms. Everette needs a lot of tuning and a bit of some repair as some keys are a bit loose.  

So I now have 2 new projects:  1) finding a piano tuner + repairer;  2) decorating the bare wall above Ms. Everette.  I can put up framed photos/paintings/prints or I can put up shelves and accessorize.  The dilemma... It's fun to decorate but I always get nervous as to what the outcome may look like.  I welcome any and all suggestions!!

Have a great weekend, friends~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ride Away...

Are you a bike person?  I've never been a good rider.  But a cute bike like this Brooklyn Cruiser makes me want to give it another try.  I'd love to just ride and ride away...
How about this cute preppy look for the ride?  
a. Warm Hat;  b. Herringbone Vest;  c. Knit & Leather Gloves;  
d. Plaid Flats;  e. Leather Messenger Bag

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Need of Some Zzzzzz's

Hello there!  Sorry about the radio silence.  I've been incredibly swamped at work, which is a total bummer.  But I'm starting to come up for air. And when I do, I want to catch up on some a room like thizzzz... 


Have a great Wednesday~

Friday, November 9, 2012

TGIF - Whatcha Up To?

TGIF!!  Are we glad the weekend is here or what?!  I am. It's been a very busy week at work and at home as well.  And the busy-ness will continue this weekend as I have a lot of errands to run and work to do.  I am however going to relax tonight by staying in, cuddling with my puppies, and watching some t.v. or reading a book, which is something I haven't done in awhile.  And guess where I'll be comfortably doing all of this?  On our NEW SOFA!!!!  Remember on Monday I said I purchased something?  Well, this is one of them - I KNOW, there's one more and that's for a later reveal :) Check out the new sectional (sorry about the less than perfect photos.  I really need to work on my photography skills). 

A view from the stairs to the loft - left is where you start seeing the sofa...

Here's the view of our little nook, where we watch t.v. and hang out w/ our puppies. 

So, there you have it. My reveal of our new sectional :) Oh - where's it from?  Macy's. The price was obviously a huge factor.  But we didn't want to spend less and get something that may not last long.  But this sectional came at a reduced price (still more than I wanted to pay) with a quality that both Randy and I felt warranted the price.  The fabric is akin to a very soft chenille like material, in dark grey. This "upgraded" version of microfiber leaves no hand or body prints, and is also very easily washable, which is a total must when you have two white furry dogs and two heavy coffee drinkers. And the seats are very firm, which we really like. Getting a new sofa has been on our agenda for some time and it felt really really good to treat ourselves to this new sectional. I feel like a kid who got her gift on her Christmas list :) 

Hope you have a great weekend~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Accessorize Your Space

I have a friend who is looking to spruce up her place a bit.  She has the basics - a neutral color sofa, dark brown coffee table and media storage console, hardwood floor, etc.  But she needs to accessorize her place to make it look a bit lighter, modern, young, and more personalized.  Here are some things I came up with.   I kinda want all of these in my living room instead of hers now! 

a. (I have this and it's really cute.)  b. c. d. e. (I love this rug!!)  f. g

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Art

So how 'bout it?! Another presidential election behind us.  I could not take my eyes off the tv screen last night until the final result was announced. If you are wondering, I am a VERY happy citizen this morning 

In honor and celebration of our right to vote, I want to share the following designs I found on the American Institute of Graphic Arts ("AIGA"). It looks like AIGA held an election art/design contest!  Aren't these so cool?

a. b. c. d. e. f.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cute & Posh

I am now in a full countdown mode to my favorite holidays of the year:  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I always have a couple of work parties to go to, so I'm already thinking about what to wear.  Here are some cute & posh accessories that can easily match any of your LBD or LRD. 

a. b. c. d. e. f. 

p.s. Excuse the prices on some of these - I took another online "window shopping" to Barneys.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Stuff

Good Monday friends! Hope you had a wonderful weekend~

I had a really fun weekend visiting my friends, N & G at their lovely home in West Chester.  I baked the squash, potato and goat cheese gratin I mentioned here last Friday for dinner.  It was truly one of the easiest dishes I've ever made and luckily, everyone really liked it.  I did have one issue with the dish - I don't have a mandolin - I'm scared of using one because I've heard so much about people slicing their fingers. So, I ended up cutting every single slice of the squash and potato in this dish. Yeah, that took some patience and time.  This is how the dish came out. If I may say so myself, I was very pleased with the presentation and taste.  

I also got to do a lot of cleaning up around the house and took pictures of the goodies I picked up from Marshalls last week (see here).   

A little bird dish on my night table.

I love owls and this one sits on top of a small armoire in our bedroom.

A new shower curtain.  This trellis patterned one is PERFECT for what is otherwise a pretty bare bathroom.

I also purchased something... to be revealed later this week. Hehe. 

There you have it - a little pictorial summary of my weekend! Oh - btw, don't forget to turn your clock backward an hour if you haven't done so already. An extra hour of sleep is something I'd never want to lose!   

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Random Message - Girl Power

I came across this video of Madeleine Albright. I actually met her once in person, of all places, at a spa.  

I have always admired Madeleine Albright and this video makes me like her even more.  This video also confirms that there's still that old traditional sexism remaining in today's society.  Girls, let's stay strong, stay true to our voices, which are unique and diverse, and support each other!  OK - I'm getting of my soapbox!   

Friday, November 2, 2012

TGIF - Whatcha Up To?

TGIF!  This weekend, Randy and I are going to take it easy. Stay local, get a good long run in, and just rest up a bit for another month ahead of us.  We are also going to visit a couple we haven't met up in awhile. They have a lovely home about 25 minutes from our place and we will get to see it for the first time. Sometimes I get tired of choosing a restaurant.  So, it's very refreshing for us to be invited to a home and forego dining out.  I am planning on making this down-home comforting dish for the dinner: 

The recipe is seriously simple.  Check out this short list of ingredients: 

2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound
4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

I cannot wait to see how this turns out!  

After the dinner, I want to go to sleep listening to this: 

(See Elephantine for one of my favorite pieces to play). 

Have a great weekend, friends!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Art - Jeff Koons

Hi friends~sorry for the radio silence yesterday.  I was off from work again due to the storm and ended up spending the day doing things around the house and finally getting my phone working again.  Yeah, my old Droid gave up on me on Saturday night.  Luckily, I inherited my dad's Iphone4, so guess what I was doing for a couple of hours?  Off to Verizon, transferring the data from my old to new phone (I am finally an Iphone owner and man, do I love this phone!  I now see what all the hoopla & hype was about!)  Instead of waiting in the store, I broke my cabin fever by going to the Marshalls around the corner.  And did I walk out of there with some amazing goodies or what!! I haven't been to Marshalls in ages and they had some really amazing bargains. 

So, did you miss my Wednesday Art? Here it is, a day late (sorry!) - I present to you Jeff Koons.  Until I started doing  the research, I did not know that he was a PA native.  Yup, from York, PA. Who is he?  He's the artist who makes those HUGE ballon puppies, flowers, and a giant heart.  

People either LOVE or HATE Koons work.  Actually, that's not true. I don't LOVE or HATE his work, I'm just seriously amused. I find it incredible that Koons' work, in essence stem from a very simple and childlike concept of gigantifying (yup, just made this word up!) easy cutout objects such as hearts, puppies, and flowers.  But these huge installations lead our eyes to wonder aimlessly, and the reflections created by all angles of the objects themselves also capture our eyes and thoughts.  And the colors of Koons work are always bright and brilliant, enhanced by the magnification of the objects.  Who doesn't love a big suspended inflatable heart? Or a building size topiary of a Westie?  I am of course, biased as I have two adorable Westies! As inflatable and weightless as they seem, these objects are made out of chromium stainless steel and rather heavy (see here for more pictures and descriptions). 

Like many artists, Koons has his share of controversies (lawsuits, critics, a disgruntled ex-assistant, etc.).  And his personal life is, um, pretty wild - he was once married to a Hungarian-born naturalized Italian pornography star, Cicciolina (Ilona Staller). Yep. No commment.

Koons remains one of the most marketable living U.S.artists ever.  In 2008, his balloon flower (in magenta) was sold for a cool $25.7 mil. Now, why did our parents discourage us from becoming an artist??!!  Happy Thursday - we are one day closer to TGIF. 

(Sources:  hereherehere)

p.s. A little update on how people are doing here in the Philly area post Storm Sandy - While I went totally unscathed, a lot of my friends and colleagues are still without power and dealing with damages to their homes and cars. So, please keep sending your positive thoughts and prayers to the east coast folks affected by the storm~

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