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.

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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?