Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Sometimes -- not often enough, but I’m hoping to change that -- I make a conscious effort to be more aware of the beauty and blessings around me. I sometimes say a prayer to be open to seeing these things. I know they’re there. I'm just too preoccupied sometimes to notice them.

I’d also like to give thanks for the wonderful things in my life. It’s a strange time, to be sure. Things are uncertain, people are struggling and worried. I’m not immune to this. But I want to remove myself from dwelling on the things that don’t matter and I want to focus on what I’ve been given and what’s good. Because I’ve been given a lot and so much is so good.

These feelings have been building in me for a while now. But I also feel a push from this quote. A reporter friend of mine just interviewed a father whose daughter had been killed by a drunk driver. Here’s what the father told her:

“Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”

This brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. These are ideas I’d like to live by. Wouldn’t you too?

Photo by me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sure Sign

I saw my first tulips of the year yesterday! I can't tell you how exciting this discovery was.

And I can't help but get a little philosophical about it. Yesterday afternoon I found myself downtown, a good twenty minutes early for an appointment. Instead of patiently waiting for my appointment, I decided to take a little walk. The sun was shining and the air was a bit chilly but it felt so wonderful to be outside and in the midst of things. And then I saw this beautiful row of tulips and was especially glad for my unexpected jaunt. 

I am learning to be more mindful of how I spend my minutes. I don't want to waste or just fill up my time. I want to find experiences and discoveries and joys in the rare minutes that aren't devoted to this or intended for that. I want to be happy and grateful for where I'm at and take time to notice the blessings that are there all around me. 

So when I saw those tulips yesterday, they were a lovely sign of spring. But they were much more than that, too. 

Photo by me. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weathering the Storms

The weather today is absolutely gorgeous. Even though I complain at times about how the weather here can't be trusted, it's unexpected days like this that make the unpredictability so worth it. 

Speaking of unpredictable weather, we're supposed to get major storms this weekend. I can't wait! 

As long as no one gets hurt, I really dig the drama and excitement that storms bring. The skies get dark during the day, setting a moody, uncertain tone. There's a heavy stillness that all of a sudden erupts into rain, wind, thunder and lightning. And then things get really wild. 

This is the weather my husband and I were desperate for during our years living in a Mediterranean (a.k.a. gorgeous every single day) climate. 

I'm looking forward to curling up in front of a window this weekend and watching the weather put on a show. 

Photo by me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Heat Wave

So I know it's way too early to think about summer and swimsuits. But this red Carmen Marc Valvo number at Victoria's Secret has me yearning for the hot months ahead. How can something so retro and really quite conservative be so smokin'? I'm definitely going to try to work some '50s style this spring and summer. Who's with me?

Photo from Victoria's Secret.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

California Dreaming

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles showcases an amazing house in San Diego in a feature called Jora and Bryan's Midcentury Organic Remodel. The home, which is built into a hillside, is utterly gorgeous with clean lines, natural elements, doses of vibrant color and fantastic views. I just love knowing dream-worthy houses like this exist. Have a peek:

All photos from Apartment Therapy Los Angeles.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To a T

A few weeks ago, I subscribed to the online letters actress Gwyneth Paltrow sends out weekly through her website Goop. Last week she discussed spring fashion, and amid a lovely white crochet dress and a chic trench was a striped shirt from St. James

You see, I love a good stripe, and this particularly shirt looked cozy, comfy, a bit roomy and absolutely effortless. You can't beat that. And the slightly oversize shape works because of the crispness and classic-ness of the stripes. A pair of dark skinny jeans (although I don't like ripped denim very  much) and ballet flats are the ideal finishing touches. 

I must have had this shirt in the back of my mind this past weekend, because as my husband and I took a short, impromptu shopping trip, I spotted a navy and white stripe sweater at a Banana Republic outlet shop. It was a tad loose and so, so, so soft and it made me very happy to buy. It's just the thing to ease me in to spring when the weather hasn't quite caught up to my cravings for warmth, travel and the outdoors. 

Photo from

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Sporting

On my way home from work today, I looked out my window as I normally do at a pretty park. But today instead of seeing a flat expanse of grass lined on one side by trees, I glimpsed a pickup baseball game in progress. It looked like a handful of boys got home from school, grabbed their gear and headed out to the park to play.

The scene reminded me so much of being in middle school this time of year when it just finally starts to feel like winter is over, when you're filled with excitement and the need to be outside, even though it really isn't warm out yet.

I love seeing kids play sports like this, so purely and just for fun, without the pressure of making a team, impressing friends and parents, needing to win.

I imagined these boys playing until they were exhausted and cold. That's what we used to do growing up. Kids in neighborhood would gather to play basketball or baseball until the sun started to set and the streets began to get busier with cars bringing parents home from work -- both signs that it was time to get home for dinner.

I hope these boys had a great time. And I hope afternoons like these are something they always remember.

Photo from here.

Read, Watch, Love

I enjoy reading novels and then watching the films based on them. But I'm often left feeling that one doesn't measure up to the other.

A wonderful exception is The English Patient. I absolutely loved Michael Ondaatje's book -- its layered story lines, compelling love affairs, flawed characters, beautiful but dangerous settings and situations. I even liked the endings that weren't tied up perfectly -- and I'm a girl who likes a happy ending.

So I was excited but a bit hesitant to watch the film version starring Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas. The movie was different than the book, but equally stunning and moving.

Neither the novel nor the film is brand new -- they came out in 1992 and 1996, respectively. But if you haven't read and watched them yet, I'd definitely recommend checking out both.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Up in the Air

One thing I especially love about our house is the park that sits behind it. It comes alive in the spring with people walking their dogs, hanging with their kids or playing sports. I was mesmerized earlier this week by a parent and child that took advantage of a sunny, windy afternoon to fly a kite there. What a neat -- and quite beautiful, from my vantage point -- thing to do together.

It must also be quite fantastic to witness a kite festival. I know this great Flickr photo of the Austin Kite Festival has my interest piqued.

Photo from here.

Fresh Starts

I have the day off today and it has been glorious. I love my job but it has been so nice to do some spring cleaning at home.

It's so nice to simplify and eliminate what we don't need -- especially when it's something we no longer want but someone else might be able to use -- and then organize and spruce everything up. And it's fun to get our house the way we want it. I love working with what we have and bringing each space to its potential and our style. Even little changes make a difference.

Recently, I had the urge to make our bathroom more of a calming space. After all, it's where we spend a good portion of our mornings getting ready for the day ahead.

I drew inspiration from spa-like bathrooms outfitted with white towels, earth tones and natural elements. By taking out our old blue towels and rug and simply adding in fluffy white towels, shaggy cream rugs, wood baskets to hold our toiletries and a plant, I got the look I was after.

Here are some inspiration rooms from HGTV.

So simple but really luxurious feeling.

Very clean and geometric.

The open space and natural light of this bathroom are fantastic.

This one has a touch of color thanks to the tiles, stool and flowers.

Photos from

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Lately, my husband and I have become mildly obsessed with boats, particularly yachts. It's fun to dream about what it would be like to spend time on one. Hey, it could happen someday. You never know.

So I was quite excited to find the "Iconic Style at Sea" story and photos on the Architectural Digest website. Take a look at this amazing yacht:

Just look at this boat!

This could be the gorgeous interior of a house. That it's on a boat boggles my mind.

I like the clean lines and dark wood.

This is exactly where I would spend my time.

Photos from here.

Hitting the Book

It's official, Domino is gone. The March issue was the last and the magazine's website is officially shut down. 

Anticipating this loss, I hurried out to the bookstore and nabbed a copy of Domino: The Book of Decorating. And I'm so glad I did. The book is positively chock full of inspiring ideas and photos. I read it cover to cover within the first days of buying it, and yet I keep reopening it and finding new ideas. 

The book is a resource I definitely plan to hang on to and use. Having bought our first home a year and a half ago, I'm pretty much constantly tweaking rooms and making both big and little changes to various spaces. It's an ongoing -- and usually fun -- process, and it looks like this book might be able to keep up with me!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Style

It may sound silly, but for some reason, I cannot get the images from J.Crew's March catalog out of my head. The pale, pretty colors ... the soft and silky fabrics ... the ruffled edges ... the floral and bauble necklaces ... I am loving it all! And the lovely San Francisco settings are the perfect complement.

Photos from here.

Pretty Bird

My newfound penchant for birds has found a new outlet: the whimsical, fanciful, charming and utterly beautiful illustrations of Jen Skelley at her Etsy shop.

While she draws hot air balloons, houses, letters and more, my favorites are her colorful and pattern-filled peacocks.

Photos from here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If Only ...

There's something about early spring that makes me feel wistful and romantic. I'd love to get away, even just for a few days.

Travel is one of my biggest passions, but unfortunatley I don't have any trips coming up. But if I had my choice today I'd steal away to Paris with my husband. I know it's a cliche, but I've never seen the city in the springtime and I'll bet it's wonderful. Sigh ...

So here's my mental springtime in Paris vacation, illustrated by talented Flickr photographers.

The iconic Eiffel Tower, but shown in a fresh and lush way.

This couple is adorable and I keep thinking up scenarios about them: Are they traveling together? Are they long-distance lovers meeting up in the city? Are they meeting for the first time at this moment?

Gorgeous and eclectic architecture in spring-perfect pastels.

Photos from

So Pretty

Have you seen Tiffany & Co.'s new key necklaces? They are lovely.

What a neat idea for a piece of jewelry. As an icon or symbol, a key seems so inherently mysterious. What does the key unlock? What's hidden behind or inside of what it unlocks?

Whether gold or silver, gleamingly metalic or sparkling with jewels, I think one of these necklaces would make such a beautiful accessory.

Photo from Tiffany & Co.