gallery walls

I hope you all had a great weekend. We did, for sure. It started with my daughter’s first ever dance recital on Saturday. It was easliy one of the longest days I can remember, as my daughter and I were backstage for at least 4 hours before her 2 minute routine went on, which was followed by about another hour of routines/award ceremonies. But as much as I complained about how long the day was, it was so worth it. Watching my daughter get up on stage (she refused to during her dress rehearsal the day before), made me so happy. I found myself getting emotional. Emotional because I was so proud of her, because she was having so much fun and it was so cute to see, and because I realized just how fast she’s growing up. It feels like just yesterday she was learning how to walk. Sigh. Then on Sunday, we spent the whole day pool side, and as a result I look like I’m covered in a nasty red rash. I am horrible at applying sunscreen evenly (same goes for self-tanner), so my sunburn is in bits and pieces. I look awesome and feel even better.

The other thing we did this weekend was to create a gallery wall of sorts in our living room. I have long been an admirer of cool, funky art. And an even bigger admirer of grouping cool, funky art together. I’ve been collecting pieces here and there, but didn’t have enough to put together the look I wanted. Until this weekend. I had ordered three pieces from Made by Girl (http://www.madebygirl.com), a site that has great art and accessories. With those last few pieces, I had enough to make a cool grouping. After getting frames, I was ready to hang everything up. I already had some art on the wall I wanted to use, so I took everything down to start on a clean slate. I laid out all the art on the floor to get an idea of how they should hang. I played around with it a bit, and then put the hubby to work. Here’s how we roll on a Friday night:

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And here is the finished product:

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I’m so happy with the way it turned out. The photographs on the end (with the gray frames) were an afterthought-I wanted the art to take up a bigger space, so I took the photographs off of another wall and included them in the grouping. I actually rather like the variation that the gray wood frames add. I had been wanting to do something like this for awhile and have been collecting Pinterest images of different art groupings. It’s interesting to see how other people achieve a similar look. Some people use frames that are all the same color to give the art a very cohesive look. Some use art all in the same color palette. And some groupings have no rhyme or reason to be together other than they all just look great together. Whichever method you use, it has to appeal to you. If you like the way it looks, then you’re doing it right.

Here’s just a few of the looks that I have been using as inspiration:

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Aren’t these great? That last image is actually kids’ art. What an amazing way to make the (tons of) stuff your kids bring home look cute and sophisticated! I may have to steal that idea at some point. My refrigerator is running out of available art space.

Try grouping your art together in a fun way. It doesn’t have to “match” or be art from the same period or style. It just has to make you happy.

Above images from my Pinterest.

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Favorite things

I thought I’d give my favorite things post another go. The list just keeps getting longer and longer and quite honestly I think I could do this post every day and not repeat an item. (Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing?) Not to mention I find this one really fun to do. Today’s favorite things are all over the map, but I had to start with shoes:

These lovely numbers from Zara combine two of my favorite things: sneakers and leopard. I’ve put together so many outfits around them-in my head. The only problem with them? I don’t own them yet.

Mast Brothers Chocolate has quickly become one of my very favorite things of all. The company was founded by two brothers who have a deep passion for chocolate-and it truly shows. They have a factory/tasting room in Brooklyn, but you can also buy the bars online from them or a number of other retailers. I was lucky enough to find them at my local Whole Foods. With flavors like Vanilla and Smoke, Serrano Chili, Black Truffle, Sea Salt and their special Brooklyn Blend, their bars are like no other. My personal flavor is the Coffee. It’s crazy good. The texture is a bit different, however-a bit grainy-which I actually like, but my husband doesn’t. More for me. And the packaging it comes in is the prettiest I’ve ever seen-it’s almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Meet my jewelry staple. It’s the Three Spikes necklace from Alimonada. Alimonada is another Brooklyn-based business that has become my favorite go-to source for really cool and really inexpensive jewelry. I love every piece they make, but this necklace is my fav. It really goes with everything and makes everything just a little bit cooler. Oh and did I mention it’s only $26.90?

I’ve been wanting some major art over my bedside table but couldn’t find the right piece-until I came across this. It’s a fashion illustration called “Cricket” by Leigh Viner. (I’ve mentioned her before. She’s incredible.) I want to super-size this for a major effect and I’m really excited to get on it. I’ll share when it’s purchased and hanging.

One of my favorite times of day is after the kids have gone to bed and my husband and I get to cuddle up on the couch and watch all the DVR’d shows that we haven’t been able to watch because all we’ve been watching is Dinosaur Train and Peppa Pig. (Who I’m not opposed to-she’s actually quite polite unlike that ahole Sponge Bob.) And we always cuddle under a blanket. In the colder months, that blanket is a heavy faux fur one-it’s so soft and divine. In the warmer months, I switch it out for a lighter one that I got at West Elm. I had it monogrammed, which really made it ours. West Elm has such great pillows and throws, and they go on sale all the time. Go get your cuddle on.

I love me some Kiehl’s. Do they make anything that isn’t awesome? My daughter’s skin is super sensitive and she gets these really dry and itchy patches on her butt and face (yes, butt and face) and though it’s not quite eczema, it’s not pretty. I’ve tried a bunch of different lotions, but this is my favorite. It’s rich but also light and just perfect.

Can someone please explain to me how little boys can have such stinky feet? I mean, seriously? After a long day, my 2 1/2 year old son’s feet smell like a steak that’s been sitting out in the sun for a week. I don’t get it! So in the summer months, I try to air out his feet as much as possible. Last summer I discovered Natives. If a Croc and a Chuck Taylor had a baby, it would be this. It has the anti-stink holes of the Crocs and the cuteness of a Converse sneaker. Adorable. Now my little guy’s feet can be dealt with without a gas mask. Best. Shoe. Ever.

If I didn’t have regular trips to the salon, I would start to look a bit like Helen Mirren. I’ve had a few gray hairs since my late 20s, but after 2 kids, it’s not just a few-it’s a shit load. I find that my blonde highlights mask them a bit and buy me a bit more time in between visits. But I swim quite a bit, and chlorine is deadly for highlights, so I need to protect them. I use Kerastasse Aqua Seal every time before I get in the pool (or beach or anywhere I’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun). It protects from UV and chlorine and it has kept my hair from going full-on green ‘fro. At $40 a bottle, it’s pricey, but you know what’s more pricey? Having to go back to the salon for all new highlights.

Ah, springtime. When your nasty toes that have been cooped up in thick socks and boots all winter long are finally let out. When you can get out your sandals, peep-toes and flip flops…but you better not until you’ve had those things properly cleaned up. (In the winter months I’m more a DIY pedicure kinda gal-I refuse to get a professional pedi and either a: put my shoes back on and wreck it or b: wear flip flops in 20 degree weather. No thanks.) Essie’s Watermelon has been one of my favorite spring/summer colors for awhile now. It’s not too much of a departure my my beloved red and it’s just the right amount of pink. I just put in on my toes last night and I promise to get it professionally done before I break out my sandals.

This is Parisian Chic: A Style Guide. You know how French women have that certain something, that ‘je ne sais quoi”? (Also known as how the hell do you eat nothing but cheese and bread and not weigh a thousand pounds?) Well, this book tells you to how to get it too. It gives the style tips of the oh-so-chic French women and is such an enjoyable read. It also tells  you all the great must visit spots in Paris-shops, restaurants, museums, nail salons…everything. This sits on my night stand and I never tire of it. Because I’m prepping for my trip to Paris. (ok not really….)

That’s a wrap. I hope you liked a thing or two (or ten), and I hope you all have really wonderful weekends.

Home sweet home

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A house is defined as “A building for human habitation, esp. one that is lived in by a family or small group of people.” But a house is just a house. It’s made of bricks, wood, and cement. What transforms that house into a home is what’s inside. What the people who live there bring to it. The things that show who they are, where they’ve been, what makes them happy, and what they love. Those are the things that make a house a home. I like to walk into someone’s home and immediately get a feel for who they are. By the pictures of their family and friends on display. By the objects collected from the wonderful places they’ve been. By the art that inspires them on the walls. Those are the homes that truly inspire me. But I think the home that should inspire you the most is your own. Do you look around your home at the things you’ve placed there and feel content? Like it represents you? I most definitely do. Our home is rather modest; we’re not winning the most square footage award anytime soon, but I love where we live. It is our home. When I walk in the front door, I am comforted by all that I see. It represents who my family is and it is filled with things that we love. Whether it’s art that my daughter brought home from preschool or a chair that I covet or my favorite flowers, I love everything that’s here.

Over the last few days, I took a bunch of pictures of my favorite things in my home. These are the things that I love to look at. They make me happy. They are the things that make my house a home. Come on in…..DSC_0513

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And while I love all these things-particularly my kids’ room and my black bathroom, it would all mean nothing without:

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Family. Because that’s what really makes a house a home.

Bedside manner

I hope you all had a great weekend! I know my family and I did. The weather was beautiful and we took full advantage of it. We spent most of the time walking around the streets of NYC and did one of our favorite things-got some food truck goodies and popped a squat on a cozy stoop and chowed down.  It was glorious. The little ones loved it too; they got plenty of yummy treats. They love the people (and my son the car, bus, motorcycle and anything that moves fast on wheels) watching and basically act as a traveling variety show. They sing, dance, bark, moo, nose pick, pantomime….you name it. Next time I really should put out a tip jar-I really think we could make some serious bank off those two.

But what I’m thinking about now is (wait for it………..) bedside tables. (Earth-shattering, isn’t it?) They are one of the first things you see when you wake up (as you are shutting off and cursing at your alarm clock), and one of the last things you see when you go to sleep (to set said hated alarm clock.) So shouldn’t those images be lovely ones?

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Here’s a shot of my night stand. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it, but I’m always tweaking things and the nightstand is no exception. But everything there is visually pleasing to me. I’m the furthest thing from a minimalist (I tend to live by the mantra ‘more is more’) so there’s usually no free space on that puppy. The lamp was a $20 find from Home Goods; that place is a gold mine and the subject of a future post. Books are always present, both ones I glance at from time to time for inspiration, and books I’m actually trying to read. But since that doesn’t happen very much these days, I mostly rearrange and dust them. Until very recently, Life of Pi was on there and had been sitting there so long, it was turned into a movie. (I bought the book when it first came out.) The book has since been moved to another location. Still haven’t read it. Damn. Maybe I’ll see the movie and say things like “the book was sooooo much better!!” afterwards and hope people believe that I read the book. Photographs are a must to me, and the most personal ones, I feel, should be in your bedroom. The above picture is my favorite from my wedding. A candle and some Burt’s Bees lip balm and that’s it.

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Flowers and jewelry always find their way to my table. I always keep the pieces I’m wearing the most on a sweet little tray so that they are visible and easily reached. I keep all of my jewelry out on display in different ways. I love the sparkle and color that it can add. Lastly, what’s better than flowers? They make me so, so happy. I buy them almost every time I go to the supermarket (Whole Foods has a great floral selection) and they add an instant touch to any room. There were a ton of spider mums the last time I went shopping. So naturally, some came home with me. They’re sitting in a coffee creamer cup as my bud vases are M.I.A.

I’m always interested in how other people style their own bedside tables. I love these images and love to pull inspiration from them. I hope you find them inspiring, too.

I love that the simple styling of this night stand doesn’t take away from the beauty of the table itself. A lamp, some books and a pop of color with the pink flowers. Perfection.

Oh, oversized art, how I love thee. I have been trying to incorporate this look into my own room, but have yet to find the right piece. Not to mention how much I would love to have that amazing industrial table in my room.

A leaning ladder as a night stand; how creative is that? I love when designers think outside the box and bring something fresh and new to a room. I’d say this idea definitely does that.

Simple and sweet. I wonder if this person has Life of Pi in that pile, too?

I’m in love with the DIY art on this bedside table.

A tree log as a night stand? Yeah, that just happened.

I love using a desk or vanity as a bedside table. It’s especially a great idea if you need to save space and have the table serve more than one function. I’m also a sucker for any room that has the “For Like Ever” print. I have it in my living room. Some say it’s overexposed. I say those people suck. I also happen to think that gray and gold go together like peanut butter and jelly.

My personal favorite. Flowers, art, candles and Chanel. Boom.

Hoping this brought your Monday a little inspiration.

Art is my homeboy.

Wild Herringbone – Colorful Abstract Geometric Art.

I truly love art.  Being around it makes me happy. I’ve started a collection in my home and every time I look at the pieces I smile. Isn’t that what art should do, after all? And I didn’t spend a lot of money on the pieces, either. It’s not like I was bidding on Picassos at Christie’s. I have found some great sites that offer amazing pieces and are totally affordable. Here are my favorites:

1. Cozamia. This site contains the works of artist Nancy Ramirez, who combines abstract art with manipulated digital photography. Her art is bright, colorful with just the right amount of edge. And with pieces that start around $45, it’s reasonable.  I have 2 of Nancy’s pieces and they literally make me smile when I look at them. The above ‘Wild Herringbone’ is in my dining room. http://cozamia.com/

2. 20×200. This site is like a huge art warehouse; there is something for everyone.  It’s mostly comprised of new up and coming artists. And with prints starting at $20, there’s no excuse to not start your collection Like now. Go.  http://www.20×200.com (At the time of this post this site was under construction.)

3. Etsy. What doesn’t Etsy have? The answer is nothing. (Looking for a troll doll from the 70s? Some weirdo on etsy probably has one.) This site is made up of vendors who sell all handmade or vintage wares. And it’s an amazing source for art. But it you’re new to it, it can seem overwhelming. It can also seem like walking into T.J. Maxx;  you gotta wade through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff. But it’s there. Here are my favorite pieces from my favorite etsy artists: (prices range from $25-$200) http://www.etsy.com/

Paris photography Hot air balloons over by EyePoetryPhotography.

Print of Watercolor Painting fashion by silverridgestudio on Etsy.

Draw the Line Fashion Illustration Art Print by LeighViner.

4. Alyson Fox. I came across this artist in Domino magazine (when it was regularly published). In it I saw one of her pieces that I fell so instantly in love with, I immediately contacted the artist and requested it. Thankfully, back then she was relatively new on the scene, so it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I’ve since purchased more art from her for both for myself and as a gift for a family member.  She remains one of my favorites. Starting at around $40, you can buy her work here: http://alysonfox.com/site/category/keep-calm-gallery/

Ill Seen, Ill Said: February 2009.

5. Yellow Korner. With a location in NJ and NYC and an online store, Yellow Korner is very accessible. It’s like a photography superstore. The photographs are beautiful and of high quality and prices start around $100.  http://www.yellowkorner.com/

Yellow Korner : Photograph : No Refunds – Formento – Formento.

See? Even if you’re a broke student living on ramen noodles and Tang (that totally dated me), or living at home, there’s no reason you can’t pretty up those walls. But you don’t have to buy art-you can always make it. Take your favorite piece of fabric and frame it. Bam. Art. You could also frame a pretty piece of wallpaper, a napkin with a great print. Quite literally anything can be art. Whatever makes you happy. Because isn’t that what art should do, after all?