Monday, August 19, 2013

Retro Cool Barware // Crate & Barrel 'Orb' Collection

Here's one I'm putting on my wish list. I swung by Crate and Barrel this weekend to see if I could not find a few new pieces to add to our house bar for the coming season. Fall always feels like the perfect time to refresh and assemble some new entertaining pieces. Lo and behold if I was not immediately taken with a smartly lit display of their new 'Orb' barware, a slick collection of mixed metals and minimalist designs (btw, props to the Visual Merchandiser who recognized the effect the overhead lighting would have as it bounced off of these shiny objects - you definitely hooked me!). 

The short drink glass is perfect for my favorite '7 and 7' and I'm certainly feeling the mixed metal vibe of both the jiggers and cocktail pics. But it's the retro-meets-modern utensils I really flipped for - I mean, just have a look at that whisk below!

Très cool no? All pieces available from Crate and Barrel.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Study In Pattern, Shape + Textures // Capo La Gala Hotel

I'm a big believer that vacations should feel transportive and break from the mundane so that our bodies and minds can rest, refresh and find renewed strength and vigor before we go hurling ourselves back into the chaos of our everyday once again. At least once in this life - if we're lucky enough, I also believe we should travel to the edge of the world to take that vacation.

Here's one to put on your bucket list.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Home Style // Decorating With Wood Cutting Boards

Sometimes even common, everyday details can suddenly become something fresh and extraordinary. Recently, we had a busy day in the kitchen and in the process, used up all of our cutting boards. By evening, I had them all washed and assembled and leaned them up against our tile backsplash so they could dry out before I stored them away. It wasn't long before I was making a more polished arrangement, adding to it our marble pastry slab, and pizza peel. It may sound funny, but the truth is, I liked the way this little display of kitchen tools made me feel when I stood in my kitchen. With a cook's tools close at hand, it made me well... want to cook. 

I also liked the texture and life my newfound collection brought to our tile backsplash. Much like houseplants infuse a natural element to a space, the grainy woods and stone added a little earthiness to our otherwise contemporary kitchen. It's a good mix- these rustic tools set against a more modern backdrop and it seems others have taken notice as well.

Styled by Tina Hellberg / Photo by  Magnus Anesund for Skanska Nya Hem.
Styled by Allison Bloom and Tinsley Hutson-Wiley for 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase
Photo by John Merkl spotted on 
Styled by Leesa O'Reilly / Spotted on Desire to Inspire
Style at Home / Photograph by Michael Nangreaves
Photo and Styling by Lu Tapp of DustyLu Interiors
Styled by Kara Rosenlund / Spotted on 79 Ideas
House Doctor Spring 2013 Catalogue / Spotted on Find the Details
Shine Design
Canvas Home Store

*Intro Image // Photographed by Jodi Pudge for Covet Garden as seen on Design Crush

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lately // August


Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Products I Want In My Beauty Arsenal

These days, I've been making more of an effort to take better care of myself and that includes my skin and hair. All the pool time, complete with its requisite share of chlorine, tanning oil and scorching Summer sun has done wonders for my mind and spirit, but has wreaked havoc on the ol' bod. To counter the damage, I've been sticking to a grooming routine that's a little more intense than usual (well, at least during the week) and slowly building up a repertoire of products that will help whip myself back into shape before Fall.  

Here are ten products I still plan to put in my beauty arsenal.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fresh Ideas // For the Kitchen

Mirrors are more than just decorative pieces. They can create an optical illusion and make a small space feel much bigger than it is. Rarely are they used in a kitchen, but why not? This decorating workhorse can add both style and spaciousness to one of the most heavily trafficked rooms in the house.

*original source unknown // found via 

All too often we reach for a bowl of apples or citrus to display on the counter or table. But the way I see it, we're missing a big opportunity to pack a bigger, graphical punch by leveraging some of our favorite melons on the tabletop. Why not display the verdant, stripy skins of a watermelon or canary-hued ridges of a Casaba instead (I have both on my dining table right now!)? I like the laid back, seasonal vibe these seasonal fruits impart. Kind of a reminder to take it easy and enjoy the spoils of summer.

I collect a lot of inspiration while dining out at some of my favorite restaurants. One of the first things I notice are the many genius ways my favorite eateries display their take-out menus or specials of the day. Why not take a queue and create a menu board in your house kitchen? I think this would work particularly good for a family or for meal planning in general and take all the guesswork out of what are we having for dinner tonight? Better still, use it to create a little anticipation for a favorite meal to come.

*photo by M Franke of UK eatery Bistro Union as seen on We Heart

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Real Thing // Wood Tile

A couple of weeks back, I walked into a Starbucks and immediately started snapping photos. At first it looked like a mirage. I actually had to run my fingers over the pattern to believe it. But sure enough, right before my eyes stood a wall and backsplash constructed entirely of wood subway tiles. The metal cases were inset, sleek and black, which when paired with that warm wood, brought to life one of my favorite material and color combinations. The pattern continued across the front counter and around the pick up bar and I sort of stood there, marveling at it, imagining some contractor spending hours cutting down the tiles that would eventually be placed on the wall. Perhaps that really was the case, but little did I know there were some options out there that could give a regular ol' DIY homeowner like me the chance to outfit a kitchen or a bathroom with the real thing as well.

In researching this post, I actually came across more "faux" wood tile than the honest to goodness stuff. I also realized that this look could go a little more rustic than I personally would ever intend. But there were some high, mid and lower price range options to be found out there that would offer a more contemporary look. Home Depot carries an affordable line called Rustix Wood Bricks for example. Looking for some unique patterns and washes? Check out Mission Stone and Tile. Ann Sacks has a limited line of higher end designs, like that petrified wood sample above which was a clear favorite. For my money, I'd lean toward some of the sleeker, modern cuts offered by Everitt + Schilling

Though these are laid into thin-set like traditional ceramic tile, they won't require grout in between. You're merely locking them into one another, similar to hardwood flooring. They typically come with a fire retardant already applied or in some cases, you can have this done prior to delivery. Though not recommended for showers or areas where they will likely come in direct contact with water, I can think of so many in-home applications for these beyond just restaurants and hospitality. While I certainly like the warmth, pattern and texture they would undoubtedly contribute to a space, it's the unexpected element of surprise that appeals to me most.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hip Hotels for Last Minute SoCal Getaways

I had a feeling that summer would fly by.  Just looking at the calendar this morning, I realized that we have finally broken the seal on August and unofficially entered our last days of the season. But fear not! There are still a handful of weekends to take advantage of. If you're in SoCal, why not just get in your car {now!} for a quick road trip and steal away to one of these four hip hotels.

My latest travel obsession: finding a cool little hotel that is going to cater to my belly as well. Alcazar is just that kind of place. You're probably already familiar with desert restaurant staple Cheeky's and if you haven't heard of sister restaurant/lounge Birba, you're probably about to. Tara Lazar took it to the next level though when she renovated another beloved desert staple- The Peppertree Inn and converted it into a sleek, modern hotel playground, complete with fireplaces, Italian Linens and complimentary Townie Bicycles. 

The kicker: this place stays close to its restauranteur's roots and serves up freshly baked pastries and Intelligentsia Coffee each morning. Only steps from Cheeky's and with Birba right on the hotel grounds, this one's set to be the place to stay in Palm Springs (though selfishly I'm hoping it stays boutique enough to keep the crowds at bay).

LA is not without it's swank hotels. It's one of the things I love most about living here. I can easily get in my car and hit up a hotel bar and feel like I'm on a little vacation.  The recently debuted Mr. C hotel, brought to us by the famed Cipriani restaurant family, is one that is trending high on my hotel radar, if only for the restaurant and bar alone. But as delectable as they are, its also easy to see that those are merely appetizers. The room design and pool cabanas have me itching to book a room and live out the full course experience-  hopefully before pool days come to their inevitable conclusion.

Shelter Social Club has got it goin on. The family run hotel-restaurant group, with its three elevated Ventura County motels, along with restaurant, Sama Sama Test Kitchen, have all your bases covered for great food and hospitality. Mosey on up to State Street in Santa Barbara and stay at The Agave Inn, a bright and colorful renovation offering up a convenient base for beach days and sidewalk surfing. You may not get all of the amenities of a large scale hotel resort, but the rooms are a happy mix of comfort and necessity at a good value. The most highly rated amenity though is the warm and friendly service you'll encounter at the front of the house, something that even four stars and a valet won't necessarily buy you.

The Hamlet Inn, located in downtown Solvang, is yet another reinvention by Shelter Social Club. This boutique motel right in the heart of all that is quaint and lovely about this beloved little town, offers a surprising spin on contemporary danish design. While Solvang is well known for it's sleepy strolls (and pastries!), I love the cool little amenities that help make a stay here a little more active, like the Townie bicycles and bocce court. 

* All images from hotel websites: Alcazar, Mr. C, The Agave Inn, The Hamlet Inn
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