Friday, October 31, 2014

ralph lauren paint // faux techniques

Now that the gallery wall is done, I'm finished decorating. 


Just kidding. 

Now that the gallery wall is done, the biggest dilemma is what to do with the walls. In a perfect, budget free/rental free world I would slather them in Phillip Jeffries gorgeous grasscloth. However, putting expensive wallpaper in a rental apartment seems like a bad decision. Somewhat akin to lighting a big pile of money on fire. If it was a two-bedroom apartment, I might even consider it, but eventually we might procreate (Mike does love a baby) and I know we won't be here forever.

So, option number two. 

Faux grasscloth. 

I know this sounds questionable, but stick with me. One of my girlfriends turned me onto this when she painted the inside of her bookshelves with Ralph Lauren's Indigo Denim paint. The paint, which is designed to look like denim, also happens to look a lot like grasscloth. 

Now, perhaps this is obvious, but the Indigo Denim is only available in shades of blue (with a few whites thrown in). However, Ralph Lauren also has another line called Bright Canvas that has a variety of colors. 

As you would expect, the paint does give the wall some texture. When I first looked into it, I was concerned that it wouldn't be rental friendly. However, I did a bit more research and it sounds like you can easily paint over it with the correct primer.

So, I'm think I might pull the trigger.

I've watched the how to video, and I'm fairly sure after painting stripes I can handle it. It would definitely take several days, and would require disassembling the entire room. However, I'm convinced that, with the right color, it would make the room. 

Speaking of, I would have to select the right color. 

Right now, my mind is all over the place. Our rug is light blue, and the rest of the room has accents of orange and brown. I would love to paint the walls blue, but it would have to be the correct shade. I don't want it to be a complete blue overload. 

My only complaint about these paints is that you can't buy a swatch. Ralph Lauren has brochures, but no actual swatches. If I decide to do it, I will definitely try and buy a sample to try it on a tester board. After testing out a couple of different blues for our hallway, I know how important it is to try your paint in the actual environment. I was surprised by how purple some of the blues looked in our hall.

So, what do you think? Do you want to come over and help me do it? 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

how to store hot sauce

Did you know you that hot sauce should be stored in the cupboard (not the fridge) so it doesn't lose any of its heat? My mom told me. So it must be true. Actually, she heard it on The Chew. I count hot sauce among my four main food groups* so this was life changing information.

Hopefully you feel the same. 

Hot sauce from Kaufmann Mercantile


*Others include coffee, wine and chocolate. Fabulous for stomach problems.

easy as pecan pie

For Jess and Will's engagement party, we served desserts that honored both of their home states. For Jess, the New Yorker, it was cheesecake and black and white cookies. For Will, the southerner, it was pecan pie and banana pudding. I outsourced almost everything, but my mom insisted that pecan pie was easy to make, so I decided to go for it. 

Of course, mom was right. Lucky for me she was also in town, so we made it together. We used the basic recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook

Disclaimer. This is not on any diet plan.

Pecan Pie

1 frozen pie crust
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecan halves or chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
2. Combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix well. 
3. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Arrange the pecans on top of the filling. 
4. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

to lob or not to lob

Over the last five years or so, I have taken a picture of Tory Burch to two different hairdressers. 

"I want this," I say. 

They have both refused. 

My favorite hairdresser (my childhood friend) didn't want to be responsible if I hated it (totally fair). The random girl at Bumble and Bumble, who filled in for me between trips home, felt the same. 

"If you still want it next week come back," she said.

Obviously I didn't go back. So maybe she had a point. 

But, the lob haircut (long + bob) has been on my mind lately. In fact, over the weekend I pulled several pictures to post this week. Then Monday night I saw this.

Lauren Conrad, who I don't particularly follow, chopped off all of her locks. 

And she looks amazing. 

So of course, now I'm really craving a change. If you're curious, here are the original photos I had pulled. 

Mike, of course, strongly opposes this possibility. 

In some ways, I think lopping it all off (get it?) is asking for trouble. I love my hair now, and it's really easy to care for and style. Ironically, a shorter cut seems to demand more styling attention. I have done the dramatic cut a few times in my life. Each time it has been pretty impulsive and I regretted it after. On the other hand, the lob is super chic. I haven't had short hair since my sophomore year of college and I'm craving a change. Plus, I might be able to donate it if I find a color friendly program. On the other, other the lob just a trend? Bound to be The Rachel of 2014? I wouldn't want to chop it all off for that…

Not to be queen obvious, but I wish there was a way to try it out before committing.

What do you think? 

Have you done a dramatic cut before? 

Did you regret it? 

Tell me everything.


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images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

the beauty of the bachelor pad

bachelor pad, Home designed by Nathan Turner for the Modern Family Star, Eric Stonestreet

Have you guys seen this month's House Beautiful

It is so, so good. So good in fact that I have every intention of reposting two of the homes featured this month. 

First up? This bachelor pad designed by Nathan Turner for the Modern Family Star, Eric Stonestreet.

I'm not sure if you know this, but I have a secret obsession with designing homes for men. I took an interior design class last fall and for our final project we designed a one-bedroom apartment for a pretend client. Of course, I chose a bachelor. (Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can see that entire project here). I just loved working with the leathers, suiting fabric and industrial materials that tend to feel more at home in a man's space. Don't get me wrong, I love a feminine room. But as someone whose apartment can also function as a sports bar, I appreciate the fact that a room designed for football watching can also be beautiful. 

bachelor pad

pendelton blankets, bachelor pad

The crisp white of the fireplace pops against the dark wood and bricks. The oversize lanterns are super chic. I have some from Target that I love. The Pendelton blankets remind me of my grandparents.

bachelor pad, football viewing room

A room designed for sports viewing. Proof that pretty handsome can also be practical. 

outdoor grill, bachelor pad
bachelor pad, guest room,

This is one of those outdoor grills that makes me sad we live in a city, and a gorgeous bedroom with a custom headboard and Serena and Lily bedding


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

currently coveting

I have no idea who would spend $1,200 on a feather clutch, but I would like to be on their Christmas list.

No judgement.


Monday, October 27, 2014

apartment update // the gallery wall

Just like that, it's Monday again. 

But! I may have some good news for you. If you read here regularly, you know that we moved this May and are currently redecorating our new apartment. You also may know that I have been doing some interior design work on the side. When I wrote about painting our front hallway, I said I wasn't going to show final pictures because I was hoping to have the apartment published eventually (even if only on a website).

Well, I changed my mind. 

You see, without sounding like "OMG blogging is SO hard," writing this blog does take a lot of time. Most posts take me at least an hour, (if not more like two or three) and since blogging is not my full-time job, that can really add up. I started this blog as a creative outlet and it seems silly to hide one of the biggest creative projects in my current life. Plus, coming up with unique and meaningful content five days a week can be a challenge. I have a plethora of original content right here (after all, no other blogger lives in my house) so why not share it?

Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking before. 

So, after all of that, I offer you the gallery wall...

No, that's not it. That's the apartment when we moved in.

When we moved in, we were excited because this apartment has tall ceilings (10ft) and really good natural light. The challenge to tall ceilings of course, is that they require either a large piece of art, or a gallery wall so they don't look so sad and lonely. Since all of the large pieces of art I wanted could have also paid for a semester of college, we decided to go to for the gallery wall. And by we, I mean I. Mike just nodded and asked when it would be finished.

Gallery wall at Serena & Lily

Originally, I had looked at this image for inspiration (you can see my full inspiration post here). I loved how it brought so much color into the room. We had already hung some of our favorite art pieces in other parts of the apartment, but I decided we would move them over the couch. Here was what I was thinking…

This is what I texted to my mom and BFF. Hence the use of the term "nudie." Moms and BFFs accept this kind of shorthand. 

We hung them up one night and honestly, I just hated it. I didn't like the way the frames looked together. The pieces look amazing alone, but together I thought they were lost. Plus, I had liked where they were before. I was so annoyed (mostly because then I had to go re-hang them). So, back to the drawing board.

By now, I knew wanted something a bit more toned-down and monochromatic. I looked to these pictures that I snapped at different J.Crew's around the city for inspiration. I collected some art we already had, and ordered a few things I had always admired like the Diana Vreeland quote from Furbish and these animal prints. I also got two of these dog prints from Graham Yelton. It turned out that as we collected things, the gallery developed a bit of an animal theme. Unintentional, but now I'm embracing it.

The gallery in progress.

When my parents came to visit in August, I recruited them to help me hang. It really takes more than
one person to do it well, and nobody loves you quite like your parents. They were of course happy to help and my dad, who has a fantastic eye, was the brains behind the grid-like layout. While I liked the curated look of the J.Crew galleries, we thought it made things look busy and messy in our space.

Overall, I'm thrilled with how it turned out…

I got the frames from IkeaTarget and T.J. Maxx (even the big one with the dog). Here's a good tip, I had paid a small fortune to have our Gray Malin framed only to discover that you could get an almost identical frame (and mat) at Ikea. While art is something you should absolutely take care of, if you're on a budget or need a short term solution, I highly recommend this Ikea frame. I'll probably upgrade it eventually, but it does the job for now.

I loved all of the frames at Target this summer, so I bought any that caught my eye. Right now, we're filling a few with black and white pictures from our wedding (and wedding photo booth). We may swap them out down the road (the beauty of the gallery wall).

The Detroit quote is from a Shinola ad that I had saved.

The donkey piece is actually a greeting card and so is the XO (also a gift from a dear friend). You have to get creative when decorating a big wall on a budget.

As I said, there are a few things I will probably change. I'd like to swap out the Stop & Drink the Rosé print because it's pink (plus it will look good over by the bar) and the Diana Vreeland quote could be in darker neuroses go on and on. But sometimes in life, good enough is good enough and decorating is never done, right? 

Please let me know if you have any questions! 


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