it’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween

It occurred to me that I haven’t posted since my race, which was 3 weeks ago. I’ve wanted to, but quite honestly, I have just been tired. Like down to the bones tired. By the time I’m finished with everything I need to do during the day, the couch has been calling me….and I’ve been answering. Things have been busy around here, and nothing has been making me happier in the evenings than cracking open a window so the fall night air comes in, burning a pumpkin spice candle (has a more heavenly scent ever existed?), cozying up under a blanket with my honey, and the occasional beer. (pumpkin ale, duh.) So that’s what I’ve been doing. But now that all our new routines are firmly set in place, the kids are happy with their new schools (a process that took a little bit of time and a lot of wine) and all seems right in the world, I thought I’d start up this little thing again. So here I am. I think that there’s something about fall that kind of rejuvenates me. While most people are complaining about the end of summer and the start of colder weather, I’m doing a little happy dance. Fall is and always has been my favorite time of year; I love everything about it. I love that the weather is cool enough that it’s refreshing, yet warm enough that you can spend hours outside. I love that everything under the sun comes in a yummy pumpkin flavor. (seriously, everything) I love putting on a sweater for the first time in what seems like forever; it always feels like the most cozy sweater ever. I love going on hayrides and going apple/pumpkin/pretty much anything-picking. And one of the best things about fall: apple cider donuts. Droooooool………. At the beginning of September, I started doing inventory of all our Halloween decorations, and every day would ask my husband “Is it too early to put this stuff out?” Well, this weekend I stopped asking and started decorating. In my opinion, we need a TON more stuff, but my husband thinks it’s enough. (shocker.) Well, I think we all know who will win that battle. Here’s just a few little snapshots of what I’ve been doing around the house:

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And that’s just the beginning. That creepy guy bust on my entryway table is my favorite Halloween thing ever. It was a Home Goods find and I’m slightly obsessed with him. Last year, he stayed out until almost December; it breaks my heart when it’s time for him to be stored away. One of my new finds this year was the caged crow-he’s motion-sensitive and makes noise/flaps his wings/eyes light up when you walk by him. I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll be quite sick of that thing pretty soon. In the meantime, I’m pretty sure I need to pick up some more (faux) bloody gauze and skulls, and I’m in the process of spider-webbing a few things. Ahh, I just love this time of year. Now please excuse me while I go have something pumpkin-flavored.

I got this.

Ok, so anyone who knows me personally-even a little bit, or is friends with me on facebook knows that I recently competed in a very big race this past weekend. It was something that I have been working towards for a long time. Almost immediately after I competed in my first triathlon 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to do more. Bigger races. Longer ones. And my ultimate goal was to be where I was on Sunday. At a half-iron distance triathlon, called the Toughman, which included a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. I thought about doing one last year, and a friend of mine tried hard to convince me, but I just didn’t feel ready. Not physically (I could have gotten through it-it might not have been pretty, but I think I would have been able to finish)-but mentally. My mind wasn’t there. And I truly think that your mental preparedness is almost as important as your physical. However, this year, I felt ready. I put in the work. I had gone over it in my head. And over.  And over. And over. And then again. I imagined myself swimming-and getting kicked and elbowed in the face but not freaking out. And then again on the bike-where I was comfortable and in my groove. And then on the run, which is my least favorite, but I knew I could do it. I was ready. And I trained. And trained hard. I swam so hard I almost fell over getting out of the pool. I biked so hard that I was chafed in places that make life difficult for days. And I ran. And ran. And ran. I was ready. However, even after all that, when it came to the days leading up to my race, I was a nervous wreck. I could barely eat. Sleep was impossible. I had to take a Valium the day before because I was such a basketcase. I relied on one friend in particular to talk (text) me through my nerves, as she’s a triathlete herself and knew what I was experiencing. The thing she kept saying over and over again was “YOU GOT THIS.” It took me until the morning of the race to realize, but when it hit me, it really hit me. I DID have it. And it went something like this:

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My sweet husband got up with me at 4am, took the hour drive to the race site, and stayed all day. He tracked where I was so he knew when to be ready with the camera. Unfortunately, his memory card was full by the time I crossed the finish line. So no money shot. I also had two friends come up to support me-they left their houses at 5am and were there to see me exit the water, and also stayed all day long. Those two are old pros at these things and brought chairs to nap in. But when I finished, they were front and center cheering me on. My parents brought my kids to see me finish-and I couldn’t help but hear “go mommy!!!!”, which completely made my day. However, all of it didn’t come without consequences. I have some major back issues, and being on my bike hunched over for 3 1/2 hours put me in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully, there were massage therapists on hand post-race.

All in all, it was an amazing and life-changing experience. As soon as I was finished, I couldn’t wait to sign up for the next one. I feel so fortunate to have found something that I love doing so much. Triathlons are challenging, exhilarating and completely addictive. And I am proud to call myself a triathlete.

And now I promise I’ll shut up about it.

favorite things

I haven’t posted in what seems a really long time. Sometimes I find that life moves so quickly that before I know it, a couple weeks have passed and I can’t remember what kept me so busy. It’s been like that. We’ve been running this way and that and haven’t had much of a chance to slow down. Most memorably over the last week or so, I got my 40th birthday present (albeit a little early)- a new bike. I have a major race in a few weeks, and my husband was sweet enough to not only buy me my dream bike, but also to get it for me early enough so I could race on it. I also had a beyond fun road trip with some dear college friends to Baltimore, where we met up with a group of our friends from college. It was incredibly fun. So fun, in fact, that I’m still tired from it. This girl is getting old. Another great thing that happened is that my last post was featured on West Elm’s design blog, Front and Main! I was so incredibly honored and excited to see that. It really and truly made my day when I saw that yesterday. It was (and still is) a fantastic feeling to have someone share your work. You can see the post here: http://blog.westelm.com/2013/08/18/lets-get-moving-brooklyn-plates-more/

Today, I felt like sharing a few more favorite things of mine. Most of these things are newly placed on my radar, and for good reason. Here they are:

Could this possibly be the coolest candle ever? I think so. It’s the Muse D’Or by Jonathan Adler- a floral candle in a beautiful porcelain gold vessel. At $78, it might be more than you would normally spend on a candle, but personally, I think the best part is using the vessel after the candle is gone. It wold look great with flowers, pencils, keys…just about anything. I love it. It’s from Waiting on Martha, which has become one of my favorite shops and blogs. Great place for all things home/entertaining related. http://www.shopwaitingonmartha.com/

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This is Anastasia brow gel, and I don’t leave home without it. Brows can really change a face. They can make you look like a mess-or they can make you look amazing. One little swipe of this stuff will tame and shape you brows, and it will stay all day. I’ve tried a few different gels, and this one is by far my favorite. It’s $30 and you can buy it here: http://www.sephora.com/

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I literally ordered these candle holders today; I got the CB2 catalog in the mail and as soon as I saw them, I knew they had to be mine. CB2 is a place that I love to go to for really affordable home decor. The prices are definitely husband-approved;  the set of three is $19.99. (whaaaaaat?) I bought gray taper candles to go in them, which gave them a kind of moody feel. Great for fall. I found them here: http://www.cb2.com/

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Today, I was turned onto a site called Wunway, and I found the sweetest little hair clips and accessories for little girls that I have ever seen. When my daughter saw this one, her face lit up. If you have a little girl, you really must take a look; everything is so charming and whimsical. This particular one is their crown clip and it’s $22. http://www.wunway.com/

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Ok, so I’m not a fan of taxidermy. It freaks the hell out of me. (Dead animals as decor? I don’t get it.)  But this (faux) deer head, for some reason, I’m obsessed with. I’ve had it as one of my “favorite items” on Etsy for the longest time, and if I had enough wall space for it, I would order it. I visit the shop from time to time to make sure they’re still being made, because when we move to a bigger place, this will be one of the first things I buy. It’s so cool, and it’s a great conversation piece.  And don’t get me stared on the glitter antlers. It’s $119.99 and can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/107367343/gift-ideas-for-him-her-couples-white?ref=col_view

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I definitely have a thing for skulls. Especially when they’re on a pretty little box like this. You can never have enough little trinket boxes. I want this one for my coffee table. For $29.99 it can be on yours, too. Find here: http://www.zgallerie.com/

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This beauty is from Zara’s fall line. I’m head over heels for the gold hardware on this bag. This would be such a great everyday bag, and it’s big enough for juice boxes and extra Spiderman underwear. Bonus. Available at http://www.zara.com/us/

I am in a full-on macaron obsessed mode. It’s funny, because there’s so much hype about these tiny little pastries, and for the longest time, I didn’t get it. The first time I had one, I was baffled. It was fine, but didn’t blow my hair back. I thought they were just for snobby rich people. (Think Blair Waldorf.)  Then I tried another one a little while back. And then I got it. It was heavenly. Since then, I pick them up whenever I can. They haven’t all been divine, as like everything, some places make better ones, but they haven’t exactly sucked, either. And I can always count on Trader Joe’s for a fix. They are cheap and surprisingly good. But there is one place that I have yet to go to-and that’s Laduree. These dessert shops are all over the world, mostly in France, and I am lucky enough to have one close by on the upper east side of NYC. They are a bit pricey here, but I am hoping to receive one of these lovely little pink boxes for my birthday in a couple months. (Ok, honey? PINK box, please. Love you.) http://www.laduree.com

Now that the season is winding down and my husband and I are caught up on Breaking Bad, I plan on writing more. Not just here, but I’ve had some things swirling in my head for years that I’ve got to get on paper. (Or computer.) I’ll share if it becomes anything.

Enjoy the week.

lusting for fall…for less

So I know that we still have planty of summer left. Weeks, in fact.  I can’t stand when I see Halloween merchandise in stores when I’m still hanging at the beach. And don’t get me started on how ridiculously early Christmas stuff comes out. But I will say, that right about now, I start to get excited for fall. I’m not trying to rush things; I’m hanging onto every last summer minute, but I can’t help it. Fall lines have started to show up, and it’s hard not to get excited about all the wonderful things to come. There are always a few things that I’m coveting for a new season, and this upcoming one is no different. As usual, many of the things I lust after are unobtainable for me. Boo. So I included more reasonable options that are totally do-able. Here are a few things I’m loving.

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This leather jacket by Annie Bing has had me drooling for quite some time. But at $999, I’m more likely to grow a third arm than be able to buy it. It’s just not happening. What I love about it is that it’s a little rock and roll, and a little lady like. The shoulder quilting is the perfect detail. And I can only imagine how buttery soft it is. Le sigh. Head over here to check it out: (and check out the rest of her line-it’s amazing) http://www.aninebing.com/

However, there are some reasonable options out there. Here’s my favorite:

Oh hey, awesome Topshop jacket that looks just like the awesome Annie Bing. Ok, so it’s faux, but the design is fantastic. Buckles? Check. Zippers? Check. Quilting? Check. And for $85, it’s within reach for average gals like me. Available here: http://us.topshop.com

Awhile back, I was seeing these great d’orsay flats everywhere. Every fashion blogger I follow had them, and I instantly wanted them. Here’s what they were wearing:

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These flats are from Jenni Kayne. I’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time, and I would love to get my hands on these. They come in many different colors and materials, and each one is beautiful. However…..this particular pair is $595. Not gonna happen. My husband would lose it. But if you’re a lucky gal, you can find them here:http://www.shopbop.com/

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Zara to the rescue! Whenever I want a trendy item but don’t want to shell out the cash, I go to Zara. And they never disappoint. These d’orsay flats are PERFECT. And they’re $35.90. !! I tried them on in the store, and they’re just what I’ve been looking for. These will be my go-to shoe for fall. I think this shoe will be huge for fall. You heard it here first. (ok, not really….) Find them at: http://www.zara.com/us/

This last lust/less duo may be the biggest one. Like ever. I am big fan of bags. I am, after all, a female. And when the Pashli came out, I joined millions of women around the world who shed some tears because we knew we’d never have it. (you think I’d be use to that feeling by now…) Here’s the 3.1 Philip Lim beauty:

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Isn’t she a beauty? At $895, however, well, just, no. I have one “it” bag that I carry as much as humanly possible (it’s a DVF) and I’m pretty sure that’s my allotment. And I’ll probably be buried with it. But what I love about this bag is that it’s beautifully made, is versatile, and is a classic. I’ve picked it up a few times in the store and checked myself out in the mirror carrying it. And I might or might not have uttered “Daaaaamn I look good with this…” Find here: http://www.shopbop.com/

Now hold onto your hats, here, because it’s Pashlis for everyone!!!!!

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So this little nugget is a preview for the 3.1 Philip Lim for Target line. And do you see what’s front and center? It’s a mini Pashli. Guess how much. Go ahead. It’s $34.99. The problem is, unless you’re prepared to slap/bite/punch a few ladies to get your hands on it, this pic is probably the closest you’ll get. Unless you go to ebay the day after the collection launches and are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars. (That drives me crazy) I think I just might be willing to go to such measures. Don’t judge me, but I think I’m asking my sitter to come over on September 15 for a few hours so I can camp out and hopefully come home with one of these little gems. Did I mention it’s $34.99? Meet me at Target in September. I’ll be the one pulling someone’s hair. Don’t judge. Or get in my way.

3.1 Philip Lim for Target photo courtesy of http://fashionista.com/.

How a navy blue sofa turned into a whole house.

I’m so over my sofa. Like really over it. I want a re-do. It’s a chocolate brown sectional, and while it’s not butt-ugly, I’m just ready to move on. It didn’t wear very nice and the middle cushion has become quite thin-so when you sit on it and you expect to sit down on pillowy softness, you actually sink into this uncomfortable pit. It sucks. We’re not actually in the market for a new one right this minute, but I’ve definitely started thinking about it. And what I want-what I’m a little bit obsessed with-is navy blue. I think I just might trade my dog for the perfect one. (Ok, not really, but he’s still having accidents so I have moments of weakness when I just might…) I’ve been searching the internet/blogs/Pinterest for awhile looking for the right one, and hadn’t quite found it. Then today, I was checking out West Elm, and voila!! There it was. Navy Blue. Velvet. Chesterfield. Have lovelier words ever been put together? It’s perfection. And here it is:

Isn’t it lovely? I’ve been building rooms around it so much that my head is spinning. And the price point, just like everything at West Elm, is great. It’s Chesterfield (which can be very formal), yet it’s casual, and the color just gives it so much character. I gotta have it and I can’t wait to give my lumpy ol’ P.O.S. the heave ho.

While I was online, I found a bunch of other great stuff (as I usually do), and I thought how I could really build an entire room right from the same place. And then it went on like that. I pretty much planned out almost an entire house from West Elm (so much fun), and then collected it all and put it here. And no, my kids were not being neglected while this was going on. They watched a 30 minute show about some bear detective (totally educational, though, I’m sure), and mommy got a little inspirational break. Here’s what I do in my (very sparse) spare time: (Don’t judge.)

West Elm living room

Sloan Upholstered Chair / Souk Wool Rug / West Elm Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover– Pebble (24″ Sq.) / West Elm Stackable Chair / West Elm Diamond Dot Crewel Pillow Cover – Slate / Andalusia Dhurrie Pouf / West Elm Parsons End Table – Natural Grass Cloth / West Elm Origami Coffee Table / West Elm Agate Bookend / Chester Tufted Upholstered Sofa / Abacus Table Lamp Mercury

So here’s where it started. The navy blue sofa was the jumping off point for the room. The rug is something I’ve been lusting after for as long as the sofa, and it must be mine at some point. I love the cool lines of the coffee table and also love that the upholstered chairs bring such a great pattern to the room. I also threw in another wooden chair, because I love having an odd chair in the room. I just do. Throw in a pouf for extra seating, a couple of Parsons side tables and lamps, some textured pillows and some agate (love natural elements in every room) and you’ve got yourself a pretty fine living room.

Moving on…

West Elm dining room

West Elm Mobile Chandelier / West Elm Sculptural Spheres / West Elm Dumont Buffet – White / Cast Metal Table w/ Patched Metal Top / Kasbah Wool Rug Steel / Scoop-Back Chair White

Here’s the dining room. The table top is hard to see, but it’s metal. Love the wood/metal combination. And that chandelier is beyond.

West Elm bar cart/gallery wall

West Elm Woven Wall Art / West Elm Framed Bird Wall Art – Flamingo / West Elm Mirror Trays / West Elm Papier-Mâché Animal Sculptures / Gallery Frames White / West Elm Framed Print – When Crystals Form

To me, a house wouldn’t be a home without art. And booze. So here’s both-the bar cart/gallery wall area. You’re welcome.

West Elm office

Industrial Task Table Lamps / West Elm Zigzag Wool Rug – Iron / Swivel Desk Chair / West Elm Framed Print – Polyglot II / West Elm Parsons Desk with Drawers – White

Step into my office. I didn’t really plan on it being all black and white, but I like it. I have seen that exact Parsons desk in a gazillion spaces, and it looks good in every single one.

West Elm entryway

West Elm Scribble Wallpaper / West Elm Umbrella Stand – Umbrella / West Elm Sculptural Spheres / West Elm Multi-Panel Foxed Mirror / West Elm Sculpted Geo Console – Parchment / West Elm Martini Side Table – Antique Brass / West Elm Indigo Geo Cotton Dhurrie / Spindle Back Armchair | west elm

Here’s the entryway, which I probably should have started with, but whatevs.  Can we take a moment and discuss the console table? Oh. My. And I would totally wallpaper my next entry-and I would go for something bold and graphic, like the gray one here. A few accessories, a runner and chair and boom. Cool, modern entryway.

Every interior designer alive would probably lose their lunch at the thought of decorating an entire house from a catalog, (gasp!) but I happen to think it can come out great. And if West Elm would like to send me any of the above items, I would graciously accept.

All items be found here: http://www.westelm.com

One last hurrah at the beach

Since I last posted, my family and I have taken two mini-vacations to the beach. My husband has declared that he is officially “beached out.” (For me, there is no such thing. What a weirdo.) Our trips were filled with family, friends, long beach days, swims in the ocean, outdoor dining, and some serious lack of sleep. While that last part I could do without, the trips were really quite wonderful. Our most recent trip was to a place called Stone Harbor, which is about 30 minutes (and a world) away from Atlantic City. It was my first time being there, and I can say that I’m a huge fan. It is such a charming and chic town. We obvoiusly went for the beach, but I really fell in love with the downtown. The flower and tree-lined streets are filled with great boutiques, cafes, bakeries and bookstores, and the people are as friendly as can be. Truly, a quite picturesque and lovely place. Here’s a look at our time there:

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It’s a good thing that that I didn’t have my wallet when I stumbled upon a few of these places. Zoe and I spent some time browsing around a boutique called Skirt (how cute is that?), and it really was a practice in self-restraint. That was followed by finding some delicious mararons (thankfully by then I was reunited with my wallet) and treats for all (my son is covered in his.) I hope to visit this charming town again soon.

Until then, I plan on enjoying the rest of our summer at home. We’ll spend lots of time at the pool and our backyard, go the movies and the park and enjoy NOT packing our suitcases again.  I love going away, but I love coming home just as much. But man, the laundry sucks.

A day fit for a princess

Yesterday, my baby girl turned four. She’s growing up so fast right before my eyes, and it’s both amazing and bittersweet to see. I long for the days when I could cradle her in my arms for hours, yet I marvel at the things she’s learning to do and at her growing independence. We were at the park the other day, and she mastered a piece of playground equipment that in the past, she always needed help with. She turned to me and said “I don’t need you anymore, mommy!!” I told her how wonderful that was, and then turned away and cried a little bit. Watching your children grow up is so amazing, yet at every step you long for them to stop growing.  It’s quite a mixed bag.

This was the first year that my daughter was pretty specific about the kind of birthday she wanted. In the past, I could decorate with whatever I thought was cute and buy her some sweet gifts, and no matter what they were, she would be happy as can be. However, this year, she was clear. She wanted princesses for her birthday. And a tea party. And princess balloons, and princess streamers, and princess cups and plates, and well, you get the idea. It’s really funny just how  much a girly-girl she’s become, and it’s not like these are things I really introduced or pushed onto her. Since my children were newborns, I went about dressing them/decorating their room/buying toys in a rather unisex way. I didn’t go crazy on pink or blue with anything, and bought things that could be enjoyed by either a girl or a boy. Yet despite all of those things, my little girl is crazy about all things girly-princesses, dolls, anything pink/purple/sparkly, ballet, and dresses. And my little boy is all about cars, trucks, dinosaurs, superheroes, and anything that has a motor. It just happened naturally.  So yesterday, along with my parents, we had a lovely tea party at a place called Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC’s upper east side. It is a charming little place with a sort of Alice in Wonderland theme. (my favorite Disney movie) It was absolutely adorable and everyone loved it. It was my first time sampling different types of tea; I’m more of a coffee gal, but this was delicious. There were also yummy little sandwiches and scones, and a little birthday cupcake for Zoe. Tea was followed by dinner, cake and presents at our house with family. It truly was a day fit for a princess.

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The day truly was a success as Zoe told me it was her “most amazing birthday ever!!” I can’t wait to see what this coming year will bring for my amazing little princess.

Check out Alice’s Tea Cup here: http://alicesteacup.com/