Shopping Diet: Two-Thirds There!

Posted 30 April 2012 at 2:17 PM | Comments (0)

It seems like only yesterday that the light at the end of the tunnel was so dang far away. And now, here we are at the end of April, and I only have four more months to go. That sounds like no time at all!

This shopping diet has just gotten easier and easier. In those early days I didn’t think I’d survive to the end. Now I think I could add on a whole extra year and be just fine. Crazy, right? Hmm, if I could add on a whole year, should I try?

Well, part of the reason this has gotten easier is that the weather is getting warmer and I’m done with my fall/winter wardrobe for now. So now I don’t have to look at all the tired pieces that were making me gag over the past few months. Now I can focus on the pieces that have had very little air-time: oh, hello cute sundress! Hello, strappy tank! Hello, favorite sandals!

This afternoon I’m going to go through my closet and make a pile of things to give away, starting with two thrashed pairs of boots that I can’t bear to look at any longer. It’s exciting to know that the next time I’ll need a pair of boots I’ll be able to go to the store and buy them myself.

Have I convinced anyone out there to start a shopping diet yet?


Posted 29 April 2012 at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

I’m obsessed with 1976.

My parents’ house was built in 1976, and I’ve had this lifelong fantasy of coming into a lot of money to fully remodel their gloomy, little digs. For years I’ve researched 1970s interiors so that, if ever given the opportunity to mess with my their place, I could preserve its 1970s roots while giving it more contemporary flair.

One of my favorite places of inspiration is this Gramercy penthouse in New York City designed by Andreea Avram Rusu. The colors and materials feel 1970s but without the gloomy darkness of many of the homes built during that period.

Avram Rusu Interiors Gramercy Triplex Penthouse Family Room 1970s Inspired

Avram Rusu Interiors Gramercy Triplex Penthouse Family Room 1970s Inspired

Avram Rusu Interiors Gramercy Triplex Penthouse Kitchen 1970s Inspired

I especially love that almost tiger-eye wall surrounding the fireplace. Does anyone know what material it is, and how costly?

Is Wearing Black Really More Slimming?

Posted 26 April 2012 at 10:14 AM | Comments (3)

Have you ever wondered if the “black is slimming” theory is actually true? I mean, if I feel fat, I feel fat, whether I’m wearing black from head-to-toe or not. So is wearing black actually slimming? If so, how?

The answer, I think, is yes and no.

Black doesn’t actually make us look thinner or hide our true weight; putting on a black dress doesn’t make us look ten pounds lighter. Yet visually, black recedes. Whereas some colors pop, black can diminish into backgrounds.

Second, black “slims” due to light and shadow. Let me explain: my pooches and lumps are visible because they cast shadows across my body. But when I wear black, the shadows are mostly invisible, giving the appearance of flatness.

So black doesn’t actually make me look thinner. What it can do is make my true shape a little less… obvious.

Next time you wonder if you should buy the black dress or the red one and are leaning toward black because you think it might make you look thinner, ask yourself this: “Do I want the black one because I think it’ll make me look thinner, or because it’ll make me less obvious?”

Because I can tell you this—if there’s anything that will make you look thinner, it’s confidence.

Polka-Dots at Home

Posted 25 April 2012 at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

My husband didn’t know I bought polka-dot sheets (well, just a fitted sheet and two pillowcases) until he caught up on my blog yesterday. Oops. Now I need to convince him that polka-dots can be cool.

The rest of you don’t need convincing. If you read my blog (I know you’re out there!), chances are you already think polka-dots are cool.

More cool polka-dot accessories for your home:

Polka-Dot Accessories and Decor for the Home

Roland Mouret’s Greece

Posted 24 April 2012 at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

Next month, we’re taking a short trip to Crete. I KNOW! I’m insanely excited.

I actually feel a bit desperate for this holiday, not because I need relaxation but because I need adventure. As a stay-at-home mom, I take my kids to the park almost daily, so I don’t really need to sit around and watch my kids more. What I need is thrill. The kind of thrill that only a brand-new place can bring.

So every now and then I force these holidays upon my husband and children (not that they mind—pretty much all we talk about these days is all the amazing things we’re going to do in Crete—but I basically ignore anything they say for several days until I’ve picked dates and bought airplane tickets and planned our itinerary). And Crete is so close to us, so why not, right?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about my travel wardrobe (are you surprised? Click here and here). I think I’ve pretty much settled what I’m packing, but it’s all so dang boring.

My dream Crete travel wardrobe? Anything from Roland Mouret’s spring line.

Spring 2012 Runway Greek-Inspired Looks by Roland Mouret

His entire spring collection, as Hamish Bowles put it, is “suffused with the spirit of the Mediterranean and the islands of the Aegean.” The 1950s flavor, vibrant colors, Greek eyes, and even the two-strap sandals feel so movie-star-on-Greek-isle-holiday. And that, my friends, is pretty much the trip I want to take.

Spring 2012 Runway Greek-Inspired Looks by Roland Mouret

Unfortunately, none of these dresses fit the size of my wallet nor my travel itinerary. Could you see any of these on horseback? Or trekking mountain gorges? Or playing in the sand with my kids? No, I didn’t think so. So it’s back to boring for me. Boring wardrobe, adventurous life. What is one to do?

Hanging Mason Jar Lanterns

Posted 23 April 2012 at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

I love these! What a great idea for a wedding, a backyard party, or even for every day.

Hanging Mason Jar Lanterns from The Country Barrel on

Hanging Mason Jar Lanterns available from The Country Barrel on Etsy.


Posted 22 April 2012 at 4:34 PM | Comments (2)

I know you think we’re living glamorous lives abroad, but this is what it’s actually like. We’ve been living with this ripped fitted sheet for two months now, and our mattress size is outdated so I can’t find a replacement, at least not here. Still think we’re living the good life? (Wait, that’s the wrong question—we are living the good life. The fact that this doesn’t bother me much is a pretty good indicator that we are.)

Ripped Target Tan Rayon Bamboo Sateen Fitted Sheet

Anyhow, I finally ordered a new one online, and I can’t wait for it to arrive! Hint: it’s polka-dotted. POLKA-DOTS. Living the good life, indeed!

Garnet Hill Dot to Dot Flannel Bedding in Brownie and Brownie Ground

Dot to Dot bedding available at Garnet Hill.

Our First Overseas Apartment

Posted 21 April 2012 at 3:41 PM | Comments (0)

You’ve already seen pictures of our first apartment in Chicago (2002-2003), and our first condo, also in Chicago (2003-2007), so now I want to show you our first apartment since living abroad.

We moved to the Mediterranean coast as a young couple in 2007 to do volunteer work. The one-bedroom apartment pictured below was provided for us, fully-furnished. After owning a home for four years, where we did things our way, it certainly was an adjustment to go back to apartment-living, especially one that was already furnished and considering we wouldn’t have done it this way ourselves.

But we’ve learned to make the best of what we have here, not just in our living space but in everything. Our life out here is definitely not the same as it was in the U.S., but we continue to adapt to the changes, just as we do in parenthood.

So…! Onto the pictures.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Living Room

The furniture and area rug were there when we arrived, but we added the accessories. Hard to tell, but the walls are off-white.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Living Room Window

I was looking for a color to complement all the navy blue in the room, and the autumnal-orange drapes were the best option I found; they even worked with the rug. So that was our starting point.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Living Room Papasan Chair

The orange drapes led to orange pillows and throws.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Living Room Bookcase

Which further led to orange floor pillows and an African table runner.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Living and Dining

The new color palette inspired the artwork on the far wall. They were simple tree prints that I created in Photoshop and then framed in eight, cheap IKEA RIBBA frames.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Dining Room

It’s obvious that none of these accessories cost us much, but we were still pleased with the way everything came together in that place. It was simple, cozy, and the best we could do on our small budget.

Our First Fully-Furnished Mediterranean Coast Apartment Dining Room

To the far left was the kitchen; the middle was the W.C. and bathroom, and the door on the right was to the bedroom. We hung the (too-short) curtain in the doorway to avoid having to watch our guests walk between the W.C. and the bathroom.

And there you have it. We’ve since moved to a different, but still fully-furnished, apartment to accommodate our now-family-of-four— you’ve seen hints of it here and here. One of these days I’ll get around to taking pictures!

Barcode Villa

Posted 20 April 2012 at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

I post a lot of traditional and eclectic interiors, but the truth is, when it comes to exterior architecture, I love it ultramodern. Big, glass walls, concrete slabs, metal siding—oh, my heart skips a beat!

Like with this Munich house, built by Dutch architecture studio MVRDV and designed to evoke a barcode. Love. It.

Barcode Villa Designed by MVRDV, an Ultramodern House in Munich

Something Fishy

Posted 19 April 2012 at 9:17 AM | Comments (0)

What a quirky little trend. Quirky, but apropos—during hard economic times, fashion needs to be joyful and optimistic, right? Nothing like a cute little fish to help you smile through your day!

I especially love the Mary Katrantzou aquarium dress. It’s particularly literal but the photographic image is so very high-fashion.

Spring 2012 Fashion Trend: Fish Prints and Fish Scales

I wonder what my mom would say if I told her that the enormous pink fish she’s been carrying on her keychain all these years is finally fashionable.