Monday, April 30

Interiors [kilim stylin]

((Happy Monday friends. Sleepy and cloudy here in D.C. Post tomorrow about my lovely weekend with M! Hope you all managed to enjoy yourselves.))

I keep a few recurrent searches on Craigslist.

You know, for the important stuff.

Rugs, chairs, antiques, mid-century modern, Anthropologie, brass, lamps, souzanis (you can see here how that paid off), lucite, benches, queen-size bed frames, paintings, bar carts. Just a few special things.

One of these such searches is for kilim rugs. I LOVE them. Kilim rugs are flat tapestry-woven textiles, often in gorgeous colors and geometric patterns, which are two of my favorite descriptive words EVER (similar to these, no?)

The rug I got this month reminds me of a kilim- it's got the bright colors, the angular pattern, and is even flat woven. Here are some other inspiration images to get you in the mood for your own search...just remember that DC is my territory :)

Amber Interior Designs
Commune Home
La Dolce Vita
Apartment Therapy
One King's Lane

Friday, April 27

words are free [make life beautiful]

Friday at last. That means my sister M is coming for a visit TONIGHT! We have some very serious plans, like learning the dance to this song, cooking or baking or both, dinner at Cava (the BEST greek meze restaurant ever), seeing an improv comedy group, eating and drinking and DIY-ing at CB2, getting cupcakes, and shopping in Georgetown. Check in for a link up post this weekend if you're drowning in rain like we might be...bleh.

Love this quote, and this image (which is why I put them together). It's a little trite, but I do believe everyone is an artist- as long as you're open minded, any craft can be seen as artistic. More creating less consuming, people.

Make it a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, April 26

DIY [drink up]

So, have you gotten a good dose of bar cart lovin? Good.

I was thus smitten myself while visiting one of my best friends and college roommate, L (she was at the lovely Brooklyn reunion earlier this year). After graduation, she moved out to San Francisco, because she's cooler than me. I was lucky enough to have a conference in the bay area last summer, so I had a chance to visit her. I ended up going over a full week early so I would have plenty of time to shop/thrift/eat with her, and boy did it pay off.

I'll show you some of the incredible (and cheappp) things I picked up at some other time, because I need all your attention for the super-cool retro brass bar-tools I found while thrifting in the Mission:

 That's two tiers of awesome my friends, for the bargain price of $10(!!):

Pretty baller, no? The box they came in (some sort of fake leather) is in pretty rough shape, but the peach silk interior is great, and the pieces themselves have very little wear. That's when I KNEW I had to do a bar cart for D for Christmas. Even though it was only July. I'm typically not a planner, but I take present-giving very seriously.

First step was finding a bar cart. Of course, I turned to Craigslist (which has already hooked me up with a campaign dresser and desk, an antique photographer's tripod, a few Uzbekistani souzanis, and the list goes on). I didn't want to spend too much on the cart, as I was planning on doing some work to it, getting more bar tools and glassware, and hopefully purchasing a buncha booze.

I found this lil guy close by for $30. It's nothing special. I thought the shape would work, but the tray tops were Formica (hello 70's kitchen counters), the wheels were sticky, and the frame was stainless steel, when I'd really been hoping for brass. Since I didn't spend much on it, I invested in sprucing it up to get closer to my inspiration images.

First to go was that chrome look. Not my bag. I bought some liquid gold leaf (I used the leftovers for this gold-dipped bowl DIY). I did 3 layers to get full coverage, giving drying time between each coat. I sanded gently, then moved on.

Second to go was the Formica. In my DIY State Art post, I shared my love of Paper Source's hand-made papers. I hit them up again for this project too, and bought two sheets of the World Map Wrapping Paper. They pieces are 20"x28", which was close to the size of my trays. I measured twice and trimmed off the edges to fit my trays, lightly sanded the Formica to get some grip, and mod-podged like a crazy woman. I painted one coat of mod podge down on the tray using a foam brush, laid the map on top, and then mod podged 3 or 4 layers on top, allowing each layer to dry in between. This was stressful- the moisture of the mod podge makes the paper wrinkle and curl a bit, but it always shrank back up once dry.

Once the frame had been gold-leafed and the trays had been mod-podged, I was ready to coat the whole thing in polyurethane. Like seven times. This creates a fully waterproof seal, which is necessary for a bar cart! Again, allow each coat to dry...waiting is a bummer, but worth it.

Now, for bar accessories- I already had the tools, but I used Etsy to find a teak ice bucket and napkin holder, a brass cocktail shaker, a striped-wood cutting board, drink stirrers, decorative toothpicks, a really cool wine decanter with chiller, and cute little glass pots for olives, cherries, or fruit wedges. Many of these came from the same shipper- always ask for a discount on multiple items or to combine shipping. Many sellers are happy to do so for positive feedback!

The best part was probably buying $$$$ worth of liquor from our local ABC. I definitely got some weird looks. I read up on what was necessary, and ended up getting a few basic bottles- a vodka, a gin, a rum (we already have quite a bit of whiskey, don't worry). I got sweet and dry vermouth, grenadine and lime juice, lots of olives, Triple Sec and Kahlua...basically all the ingredients necessary to make my favorite drinks. For the big christmas gift reveal, I'll admit that I added some of our nicer bottles to fill out the collection- D loves Glenfiddich 12, and I have a soft spot for St. Germain.

That's all that went into the Christmas present, as the budget was blown. For his birthday just a few weeks ago, though, I continued the theme with a beautiful decanter. D's brother had the same thought, and got him one with matching glasses (rad). Here's the new set looking chummy:

So that's it folks- my bar cart DIY. It came out to be pretty affordable, all things considered- I was so excited to have funds leftover for the fun stuff, like cocktail napkins and a candy cane full of baileys. Overall I'm pleased with it- I actually finished all the work in one whirlwind weekend while D was in Vegas, then hid it in my roommate's closet for a few months. He was very surprised, so it was all worth it :)

Wednesday, April 25

bar cart inspiration

Bar carts are so phenomenal- I don't even know where to begin.

The ones I like best are made of awesome stuff- we're talking brass, lucite, bamboo, teak, steel, mahogany, all set up in artsy shapes on snazzy casters. They are angular, mid-century modern, classy, antiqued, retro, modern, romantic. I love how self-contained they are- using trays to group liquors keeps things from getting cluttered, plants add a new shape or dimension, and flashy art in the background is a must. They make me feel like the party has arrived, and it's mobile.

These beverage trolleys below really hit the spot in my book. Tomorrow I'll show you my own version, made especially for D last Christmas.

Design Manifest
A Cup of Jo
The New Traditionalists
Idle Fascination
SF Girl by Bay

Tuesday, April 24


As much as I love Pinterest (follow for a song here!), sometimes I lament the expediency (and therefore inattention) of pinning. Know what I mean?

It's hard to find pinners out there who truly curate their boards- for example, who hasn't realized belatedly that they've re-pinned the same image multiple times? If it's truly an image that speaks to you, it should be prominent in your mind, making it impossible to forget that you've already added it, even in a flurry of pinning. The problem is, with such great and abundant inspiration, even your most favoritest pins become one of many, lost in a sea of DIY's and 5-ingredient-recipes and Ryan-Gosling-memes. In terms of curating, how often to you go through your images, decide if they fit the direction of your board, and delete or move those that do not? Deleting pins doesn't sound as much fun as adding them, certainly, so I tend not to bother, and I expect many of you don't either.

So, in an effort to combat the senseless, mind-numbing obsession of pin-pin-repin-breathe-pin-like-repin, I'm going to share a few favorite pins each week with you fine people. Taking a little more time to contemplate my inspiration images is going to give them more value, no? I'll prob fall into 5 catagories: edible, wearable, interiors, weddings, and a quirky/wonderful product. Welcome to my worldddd!

1. Who wouldn't love this for a summer treat? There are so many flavor combination to try! This may be the best way ever to cool off this summer.

Champagne and popsicles...genius
2. I've loved this image since I first saw it. I thought it would be adorable on the back of wedding invitations, like a little stamp representing the couple. A brave follower suggested it as a tatoo of your kids fingerprints...ouch but cool?

Heart from Thumbprints...awwww
3. Bailey at Peppermint Bliss really knows how to put Osborne & Little's "Best in Show" wallpaper to good use in her powder room, first featured in Rue magazine.

sassy powder room
4. Doesn't Elie Saab do gowns right? This minty green is so fresh, I would even wear a number like this for my wedding...scandalous.

Elie Saab
5. My sister bought this present for me this year for Christmas- is it not the coolest pie plate ever?? It's by Spoon Sisters, which I've renamed Genius Sisters. Even though I already own this, I wanted to share it with you all. Now I can make a savory chicken pot pie with a classic apple's called the split-decision pie plate- the best.

Split Decision Pie Plate

Calling it in

Get your Lysol handy- I am SICK. Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday (and today...this is like a 1/4 post, like a thanks-for-showing-up kinda thing). Maybe you'll get a little somethin somethin later, but for now I'm out.

Saturday, April 21

Link it up.

For your pleasure:

One of the best Ikea hacks I've seen in awhile.

The absolute worst things ever. NAILED it.

Speaking of a lot...I like this ALOT. (too funny for words)

Graduation season is upon us- what a beautiful commencement address.

Best reference to The Hunger Games I've seen.

This Jen Bekman photograph is currently my desktop background. Have a kite-flying weekend!

Friday, April 20

Color Collective [orange]

To be safe, I say red is my favorite color (specifically, persimmon, an orangey-red). Sure, other hues have had brief affairs with my heart, but red is my tried and true, my high school sweetheart, my lover. If red's a bird, I'm a bird, and all that jazz.

Today I want to talk about red's hip younger sister, orange. So hot right now! Orange has been making a splash in interiors, fashion, and design this year. Tangerine Tango was named Pantone's color of the year don't you know.
I love seeing it juxtaposed with cool tones- turquoise, lavender, navy. There's something very fresh and unexpected about it. Keep in mind, you can't go uber-vibrant with both shades (unless you're a professional). A bright orange with a royal violet is going to look like a kids room- for more balance, pair that bright orange with a dusty lilac or a muted navy.

Small Shop Studio
Design Sponge
Full House
House Beautiful, by Robin Bell
Add caption
Geoffrey Desousa
Lilly Bunn Interiors
Apartment Therapy
Am I right? Orange + bluepurple = glamorous.

Happy Friday kids! Check back tomorrow for another Link Up with some of my favorite things (this week anyway) from around the interwebs.

Thursday, April 19

DIY [succulents + CB2]

Have any of you heard about CB2's DIY Saturdays?

I've registered myself, my sister, and my boyfriend to go on Saturday April 28th. You can check it out here and RSVP for events in major cities. Here is the description:

Now that the weather is warm and the sun is shining, it's time to make the most of spring and all that it brings. Get your hands dirty and join us for fun, interactive sessions with local experts and our in-store associates.
On April 28th, you will have the opportunity to learn how to create floral chandeliers with Johnson's Florist and Garden Centers, have all your questions answered during a Q&A session with Audrey Weppler as she turns planters into art, and treat yourself to delicious Latin happy hour prepared by Dean & Deluca.

Well I'm sold. DIY projects involving flowers, yummy beverages and bites, and one of my favorite home good stores! Feel free to join me (DC friends?) or check out your own city and let me know how it goes.

I'm so happy this one is plant themed- after seeing this gorgeous succulent table idea at Far out Flora, I've been planning on incorporating succulents into my home.

Far Out Flora
Isn't that gorgeous? They used mainly sempervivum, sedum, and orostachys iwarenge, and I think the mix looks fabulous. They are like cacti (cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti) in that they retain water and don't need too much light. I might mix in some aloe, which is a type of succulent, to help deal with the inevitable sunburns of the summer. 

DavityDave's Flicker
I've always hoped my wedding would involve succulents, maybe as a table-decoration-turned-favor? As far as "flowers" go, these guys are not feminine- they are so hearty looking, which I greatly prefer to delicate looking blooms. A quick search on Pinterest reveals the greatness of these plants, and how versatile they can be. I saw them as a wreath, cake decorations, in terrariums, in bouquets, as garnish, and so on.

Speaking of the great Pinterest (my mom use to call it "pin-interest, how cute is that??), click here to check out my "for a song" board (or my many other awesome boards) and follow along!

Wednesday, April 18

Marylou's News

One of my life goals is to open a Marylou's News franchise in the D.C. area. Maybe in Admo or U st, somewhere funky but still frequented by the yuppies. This is some of the most delicious coffee ever, served up by semi-cute, pink-clad high-schoolers on the South Shore of Massachusetts. They use flavored beans, rather than making an unflavored cup of coffee and then dumping sweeteners and syrups in it. My favorites include the Girl Scout Cookie (tastes like a thin mint), Chocolate Coconut, and Milky Way.
When I was home for Easter, I decided to buy a few bags to make at home. I don't actually have a coffee maker- I have an espresso coffee maker (image below) that I picked up in Italy, but other than that I rely on my Keurig that D got me a few years ago. Neither of these things are made for ground coffee beans, so what did I do?
If you enjoy iced coffee, I think cold brewing is the ONLY way you should be making it. Also known as cold press, this method involves steeping the coarse-ground beans in water for 12+ hours, then straining to make an iced coffee concentrate. This mixture is naturally sweeter, due to lower acidity- since there's no heat, there's an entirely different chemical composition of the end product. Whether you find this super interesting or totally boring, the result is a delicious cup of coffee.
If you've heard of the Toddy brewing system (pictured above), that's what I'm talking about. However, you don't need the Toddy tool (which costs $40 retail) to make this- if you keep in mind the ratio of 1lb coffee to 18 cups water, you can soak beans and strain all by yourself (which doesn't mean I'm not still asking for a Toddy for my birthday...take note readers who are obligated to buy me things).

I think I first heard about this method last year over at The Pioneer Woman, a totally bad ass blog about doing things yourself like a modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her images and writing are perfection for this post, but I prefer the recipe (ratio) over at Bon Appetit. I've heard the ratio is very much a personal preference, and the end product is a concentrate anyway, meaning you're going to be messing with the ratio again when you blend it with water or milk before drinking. Try this! Now now!

One more thing- don't ruin your nice cold coffee beverage by melting plain old watery ice cubes into it. I make coffee ice cubes (I actually use the starbucks double shot drink for this) to keep the coffee flavor undiluted. I even found you this unnecessary-yet-cool ice cube tray to make ice "beans". Yay!

YUM. The Marylou's smells sooo good that D even just asked for some. I guess its tempting enough to make him forget how much he hates coffee (I'm dating an alien. Didn't you know?)

Tuesday, April 17

Happy Tax Day [and some deals]

Hope you all finished your taxes on time and are getting a lovely refund. Well, I suppose it's better to have done your exemptions correctly in the first place, but whatever. If you got it done, I give you this look of approval and confidence. You go glen coco.

Tax day is a great gimmicky-excuse for companies to give us deals...yes please. Click here for some fun freebies and deals...who wants to go to Cinnabon tonight?? (thanks D for the list!)