Tuesday, April 29, 2008

inspiration from House Beautiful

I love House Beautiful magazine. I tear out tons of pages from each issue. They have such great resources. In the May 2008 issue's "The Best" segment on page 30, they featured the lantern (pictured at top) from Jamali Garden Supplies for $22!! What a deal! And when I visited Jamali's site, I found all the other beauties pictured above. There's so much for entertaining and decorating.

Thank you, House Beautiful!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


As always, I'm fascinated by the intersection of design and fashion. J. Crew always seems to keep it current and their new look is "fresh from Hawaii" according to their e- mail. As a child of the 80's, I tend to equate "Hawaiian" with Jams shorts. Remember those? All primary colors and hideous (I had tons of them ca. 1984, though).

These two sweaters from J. Crew really channel the Hawaiian thing without being heavy-handed. I also love the china from Kate Spade. The completely solid plates are so cool and the leafy pieces are organic and tropical... but not heavy-handed either.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

technical issues

Well... it's been a while. Some of my delay in posting is due to it being finals week. No, I'm not 19. I'm 35 and I'm in grad school. It's actually not that hard... I just have to dedicate a little time to my work.

The rest of my lateness is due to computer problems. I think it's time to stimulate the economy and spend my rebate check on one of these. In fact, we here in Tennessee are having a sales tax holiday coming up and computers are included. Everyone I know loves their Mac and I think it might be time for me to defect. Besides, Windows XP is going away now. I'm a creature of habit. Rituals and traditions make me feel good. All these new software changes throw me off kilter.

So what are your thoughts?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

you are what you eat

A little over a year ago, I completely overhauled what I was preparing for my family. I wasn't exactly grabbing fast food all the time, but I just realized that I needed to pay closer attention. No processed foods. Few foods from a box or can. I started reading labels, looking for high fructose corn syrup and MSG (which is sneakily listed under many different names, like "autolyzed yeast extract").

So, I buy some foods from a box, like bran flakes, crackers and whole wheat pasta. And I buy some from a can, like tomatoes and pasta sauce (but only pasta sauce whose first ingredient is "tomatoes" - it's a lot more expensive than Ragu, but why don't you take a look at their ingredient list). Just no cream of chicken soup casseroles.

Mostly, however, I buy seasonal and local. We have a wonderful local farmers market here in Franklin. I sometimes buy a box of pre-packed fruits and veggies from one of the stands, but mostly I just go every Saturday and buy what interests me. In addition to fruits and vegetables, there is milk from a local dairy (the boys love the chocolate milk), grass fed beef, real smoked bacon (almost all commercially produced bacon contains MSG), local eggs... on and on. In fact, I'm doing one better this summer... I'm growing (a few of) my own veggies and (lots of) my own herbs.

So when I heard about a book called In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, I was intrigued. He has a list of 12 rules for eating and I just reading the list makes me totally want to read the book. His 12 rules basically match up completely with my own rules... I just never articulated them, and he seems to do it so well. Here's his list:

1. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

2. Avoid foods containing ingredients you can’t pronounce.

3. Don’t eat anything that wouldn’t eventually rot.

4. Avoid food products that carry health claims.

5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle.

6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmer’s market or CSA.

7. Pay more, eat less.

8. Eat a wide diversity of species.

9. Eat food from animals that eat grass.

10. Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food.

11. Eat meals and eat them only at tables.

12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This has absolutely nothing to do with my blog, but I ran across this video and I just had to link it. Everyone could use a little laugh every now and then.

(I fear that I have said many, if not all, of these mom phrases at some point in time. My mommy readers might see some of themselves in the clip!)

more of the same (see below)

I was so taken with the lattice/chain wallpaper below, I found tons more of the preppy/nautical/fresh look.

The dress and top below are from Banana Republic. I can always go into the Banana and find something I love. It's a really dependable place to shop for the bones of a wardrobe.

And isn't Hermes the gold standard for the horsey chain print tie? I even found a lattice Hermes tie online. I've started a tradition of giving my husband one Hermes tie a year on Easter morning. I figure if the children get filled baskets and I get a new dress, it's the least I can do for my sweetie.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

where fashions meets home decor

I guess all trends are pretty universal. Here are two of my favorites.

The lattice is so fresh and traditional. Very preppy chic. I was just in my local J. Crew and picked up a few pieces. This is a good season for J. Crew. I could have bought a lot more. I didn't see the lattice pants, but they would go with anything. I like the pairing of the green with the shoes. It reflects the style of the Schumacher wallpaper nicely featured on the Maison Luxe blog. (I love this blog!)

Ikat is another classic, classic print that is just eternal and looks fresh in home design and fashion. The Tory Burch ikat mini dress isn't the "traditional ikat", but it definitely channels that boho/classic look that ikat fabrics are known for. It's a great foil for the Madeline Weinrib pillow on eBay.

Friday, April 4, 2008

eBay today - Georgian glassware

I know I've posted about Georgian glassware before, but I really love searching for these gems on eBay. I personally think Georgian glasses will work better mismatched as opposed to a matchy-matchy set. The key to making mix and match work when entertaining is to only have one element mismatched. For instance, if you collect Georgian glassware, keep your china and silver the same. Ditto for mixing coin silver, which I also love to collect.

So go ahead and get started. Check out the auction for the amber glass above. The color reminds me of that shade of chartreuse that Herend uses a lot. It really lets you know where William Yeoward found inspiration for stems like the beautiful one above. The English ale glass pictured above is pricey, but how incredible is that stem?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

eBay today - antique frames

I love antique frames. They have so much character. I have a wonderful old family portrait from the mid-1800's hanging in my home. It's of a distant aunt, Maggie Watt. Her painting is nice, but half of why I love it so much is the frame. Pieces of the gesso have chipped off. The frame is clearly original. Maggie just wouldn't look the same if I put her in a modern frame... even a pricey one that was really beautiful.

You can find tons of great old frames on eBay like the ones here, here and here.

I am currently looking for a frame to serve as a message board in my kitchen. I want to paint the back with chalkboard paint. I have a great spot for it. I check every booth in every antique mall I go into.

Another great use for antique frames is to reframe modern art in them. You have to be careful with measurements and you don't want to cut some pieces of art, but with a French mat, one of these beauties could really live again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lily of the Valley

I have always loved lily of the valley. Bleeding hearts, too. As a little girl, the hanging blossoms appealed to me. I chose lily of the valley for my wedding bouquet and I would do the same thing again today. Of course, I married a long 11 years ago this May, so I have no digital photos of my flowers, but they looked something like this one found at the Bloomery.

Also, check out the lily of the valley stationery at Martha's.

The last photos are from ParisianEvents.com. They have a whole lily of the valley page!