Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to Basics

I love color. I fill my wardrobe with it, my art with it, my home with it. I've definitely had to tone it down in my decor choices at times so things don't get too chaotic or bright.

That said, there is a slightly calmer yet more graphic beauty to be found in a black and white palette. Rooms composed primarily of these hues seem more straightforward somehow ... more "black and white" I guess you could say.

Aren't these rooms from Canadian House & Home -- I can't get enough of this site! -- sophisticated? I like how the forms and patterns stand out more when the color scheme is limited.

Photos from here.

Not-So-Mellow Yellow

I used to not care for the color yellow too much. But over the past year or so I've noticed it creeping into my life, showing up in my wardrobe and home accents. I love it! Not to sound completely cliche, but it really is a cheerful hue. And who can't use a dose of that every now and then?

Recently on Canadian House & Home, I spotted several very cool rooms with one thing in common -- great use of yellow.

Enjoy this mini mood boost:

Photos from here.

Green Scenes

Isn't green a wonderfully refreshing color? It makes me feel simultaneously relaxed and energized.

It can be hard to decorate with, though, hard to get just right. But these rooms -- all found on the excellent Canadian House & Home website -- have done it.

Take a look:

Photos from here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Simple Happy

I am totally digging this giclee print by Blanca Gomez on Poster Cabaret. I love the simplicity, the bold colors and the overall mood of it.

Image from here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Right On

I can be quite a sucker for quizzes. It's always interesting to learn more about oneself, and the notion that a quiz could reveal something previously unknown appeals to me.

So I recently took a StyleScope quiz on HomeGoods that promised to tell me what my personal home decorating style is.

Here is my prognosis:

You are an EARTHY MODERN. You keep up with culture, style, and trends, but have an appreciation for timeless forms and simple lines. You value good design, quality craftsmanship, and prefer the streamlined to the overly embellished or cluttered. You also appreciate the warmth and individuality of natural materials and handcrafted things and are inspired by colors and forms from nature. This contrast is what makes your home intriguing and comfortable. You love mixing up different textures and are sensitive to the tactile qualities of objects. Your style is grounded and solid, not flighty or frilly.You value creativity. You are stylish and fun loving, and can be an inspiration to others. You have a natural sense of drama, and you know you have to be willing to take risks—whether with colors, finishes, furniture choices, or ideas—for your home to stand out. Your home can be happy and lively and the place all of your friends want to be.

Now, maybe this applies to everyone and I'm just one of many people seeing myself in this ... but I have to say it seems pretty accurate. I love clean lines, simple shapes and bold colors mixed with textures, natural elements and fun.

Kinda like this fantastic bathroom from Metropolitan Home.

Photo from Metropolitan Home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

So Toasty

Dang it! I am trying so hard to enjoy the last legs of summer. But all the adorable, lush and utterly wonderful fall fashion is making that hard. 

I mean, take a look at Toast's early fall line. How can you not start to crave crispy air and crunchy leaves underfoot? 

Photos from here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Runway" Ready

I'm so excited that "Project Runway" is back on television. I so much enjoy watching the designers' creative processes and seeing the amazingly diverse clothing they come up with each week.

Last night's season debut was fun, and found the designers creating red-carpet looks. I immediately fell for Irina's dress. While subdued in tone, I loved the combination of lace on top and satin on the bottom. I liked how the sexy the top's plunging neckline was, and the bottom looked like it would feel so good on the legs.

These photos from Lifetime don't even do the dress justice. So pretty!

Photos from here.

Along for the Ride

Sometimes I love not driving. What I mean is, I love being the passenger while someone else drives. It's so fun to look out the window and really pay attention to what you're passing. And there's such beauty in motion and seeing things from that vantage point.

Here are a few photos I took recently while my husband was driving and I was getting lost in all the gorgeous green around us.

Photos by me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snack Time

I just discovered the perfect afternoon work snack: Green tea with lemon and a little bag of old-school animal crackers. Yum!

Photo by me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not So Fast, Fall

As part of my resistance to summer soon ebbing away into autumn, I took a look at Cynthia Steffe’s spring 2009 line.

The luscious blue hues, the girly florals, the frothy frocks … oooh, I am just not ready to let these go.

Let’s all have a look, shall we?

Photos from here.

A Very Pleasant Surprise

I'm happy to report I survived my high school class reunion. Not only did I survive -- I had a great time! It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to catch up with so many people. And everyone was so down-to-earth and friendly. The lesson I'm taking away from this experience is that when you put yourself out there and try to connect with someone, it usually works out and people usually respond. Now why didn't I know this when I was actually in high school?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something to Look Forward To

Let me be clear, I am in no way ready for summer to be over. I feel like it's only just started and I don't want to let it go. 

However ... I have had fun drooling over fall fashion in magazines and online. I'm not ready for it yet, but it will be fun later. 

My excitement bumped up a notch when I saw some items from Tucker's fall line on the wonderful blog Bliss. The silhouettes are simple and pretty, and the fabrics are fantastically diverse. 

Even if you're a stickler for summer like me, you have to admit these clothes are pretty great. 

Photos from here

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am feeling grateful for the past ten years. You see, my high-school class reunion is this weekend and I can't help but draw comparisons between then and now.

I always liked school and I was good at it. But when I was a teenager I was so afraid of so many things … people, experiences, expectations. I think I downplayed myself somewhat to make things easier for other people or to be liked by other people.

I was considered the "nice girl." But I'm gad for that. That's who I was and it's a huge part of who I am today. I'm still considered the "nice girl." 

However, a wonderful part of the past ten years is that I've allowed myself to be more and to be myself more, if that makes any sense. I'm less afraid of what people will think or me or expect from me. I like to think I'm stronger, wiser, braver and bolder than I used to let myself be. And I am so grateful for this.

I have absolutely no idea what Saturday will be like. Will people be nice? Will they have changed? Or will it be a flashback of our school days? However it goes, I think I'm ready for it and open to it. And for that, I am grateful, too.

Photo from here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book It

I've noticed this quiz making its way through Facebook. It's pretty neat.

The quiz says, "The BBC believes most people will have read only six of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?"

Here's the list -- and how well I'm doing.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -- I love Jane Austin and I love this book.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien -- I know it doesn’t count but I’ve seen all the movies because of my husband.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte -- I would like to read it.
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling -- Ditto #2.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -- I read this freshman year of high school and liked it.
6 The Bible – I’ve read a lot of it, but want to know all of it more thoroughly.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte -- I have this book but haven’t made it all the way through yet.
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell -- I read this in honors English in high school and it blew me away. I still think about it.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -- Great book.
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott -- Lovely book (and there’s also a lovely movie version with Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes and Winona Ryder).
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy -- I adored this book in high school.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare -- I haven’t read all of it but I’d like to read more.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger -- This is our latest book club pick. I’m excited to dig in!
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -- Not yet but I hope to read the book and see the movie.
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald -- Another fave from my high school years.
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -- I hope to read this someday.
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -- Another I hope to read someday.
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck -- And another.
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll -- Hmm, I don’t think I ever read this.
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -- Yet another on the list.
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis -- I loved these books as a kid and re-read them as a teenager. I think another reading may be due.
34 Emma - Jane Austen -- Such a good story.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen -- This is an Austen work I haven’t read yet.
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis -- Loved it.
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein – Great story.
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -- I enjoyed reading this one.
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne -- Oh, such a wonderful book. My aunt brought me a copy from London when I was young.
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown -- A fun read.
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- I really enjoy his voice and way of writing.
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -- I liked this book when I was young.
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen -- This is one of my all-time favorite books. Love it, love it!
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -- I hope to read this.
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -- Another memorable read.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- I just read this book and I got swept up in the story.
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck -- I liked this book in high school but found it so sad.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -- After loving “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” I am especially intrigued to read this.
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas -- Another I hope to read.
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding -- I adored the movie and really should read the book. I’m sure it’s great.
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -- I’m not one for horror but this is a classic.
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -- My aunt raved about this one. I'll have to check it out.
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -- Wow, another one I need to read.
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -- Want to read this one, too.
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -- I like how this story's become such a holiday tradition.
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -- I’d like to read this one.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White -- I should read this again because I didn’t care for it as a child but people rave about it.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- It could be fun to read some Sherlock Holmes tales.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -- I read this in grad school and was glad I did.
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adam
95 A Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers -- Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare -- Great, obviously.
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl -- Maybe I should read this again too; it kind of creeped me out as a child.
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo -- Yet another I really need to make time for.

Looks like I’ve got some readin’ to do. That’s a great problem to have!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wine Times

Yesterday was a perfect day! My husband and I took a day trip winery-hopping in southwestern Wisconsin. The sun was shining, good tunes were playing in the car and we passed gorgeous green scenery along the way. And the wineries we visited had relaxed atmospheres and great wines to sample. We picked up a bottle every place we stopped.

Photos by us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Only Natural

There's limitless beauty in the world. But it's pretty hard -- if not impossible -- to find something more beautiful than nature.

Perhaps that's why I keep returning to these two utterly gorgeous photos taken by Irene, a Montreal photographer and creator of the pretty, quirky, thoughtful and inspiring blog Eye Poetry. I find these photos breathtaking. Simplicity at its best.

Photos from

Rooms, Rooms, Rooms

While perusing PointClickHome (the online home of Elle D├ęcor and Metropolitan Home), I found plenty to love.

Here's what caught my fancy -- and why:

Love: This elegant white entryway offset with crisp black and shiny gold.

Love: The organic feel of this space, from the wood to natural hues to the shapes of the pieces.

Love: The stripe on this dining room wall. It's calming like a landscape.

Love: The palette of this black and white bedroom -- and how the yellow flowers pop.

Love: The shiny floors of this hallway, plus the pretty, pastel-y shades.

Love: The round sofa, shaggy carpet and sunken floor -- retro in a good way!

Love: The orange color, square shapes of the furniture and the screen of trees.

Photos from here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Four Seasons

The talent found on Flickr never ceases to amaze me. Then again, the amount and breadth of talent found in world never ceases to amaze me either.

On a recent browsing through the photo-sharing website, I came across Romanian artist Alex Beltechi. I find his series of rooms -- which are variations of one another based on spring, summer, fall and winter -- fascinating. Their surrealistic nature reminds me of paintings by Rene Magritte from the early twentieth century.

It's fun to let your eyes and mind wander through his room-scapes.