Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What do you NEED MOST right now?
Today I got an e-mail from Horchow with this title - and I asked myself, what do I need the most right now? After writing this little post I also think I could name it "what my mother thinks I need" - lol - that's what mother's do best, right? -Look after their daughters, so. . .
  • Horchow thinks I need new towels - surprisingly enough, my mother thinks that as well. Apparently my large, plain, fluffy, white, hotel-styled bath accoutrements are not enough, so I'm thinking of adding something along these lines:
Image: Horchow - Monogrammed embroidered guest towels
OR perhaps THESE from Potterybarn: OR these?:
Image: West Elm - Organic Animal Print guest towels

Truly, Cath Kidston is a bit more up my girly alley - I mean, with my polka dot shower curtain and all, I think these would look amazing!!!:
But don't you think beach towels are ever so much more fun to purchase and use? I bought a confederate flag one a few weeks ago but I think something like these from Lacoste at Horchow are most likely a bit more apropos:
Image: Horchow - Lacoste Crocodile beach towels
I've always loved Lacoste, since it coincides with memories of my father and one of my first words as a baby: Alligator (because he always pointed to the one on his shirt)
  • I also NEED ribbons for the new tester-like fabric treatment above my bed (since my mother won't stop insisting that I need some sort of headboard). I'm thinking maybe something like this:

However, I could always go with something a bit more risque' like either of these:

Sadly, even though it is my bedroom and cheeky though they may be - I think I'll play this one on the safe side; Therefore, I need this:

All devastatingly fabulous Ribbon Images: Nicholas Kniel
  • I need several frames for artwork that my precious mom bought for me at an Estate sale last month - maybe one of these will do:

    Image: Larson-Juhl style notebook, "Golden Grandeur"
Image: Horchow - Floral Silhouette Prints
I also like the mirrored frames like this: (too bad I don't have the bird botanicals)
Image: Horchow - Bird Prints
While on Horchow's spectacularly dazzling website I also found this and decided I need to add it to my list of needs:

Image: Horchow - Hydrangea Canvas

  • And while we're on the subject of my needs, I desperately need a man that looks like this:
Image: Daniel Craig/Bond, James Bond - the sexiest one thus far, image found on this fabulous little blog
  • I need a new book to sink my teeth into - I'm thinking of maybe:

Image: The Boss of You by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon at AMAZON
  • I need new black pumps - because my favourites are starting to look a little haggard and I'm jealous that when I called my girl Kaitlan today, she was too busy trying on shoes at Nordstrom's to talk! Therefore, I've been looking at these: Image: Payless (who knew?) - kitten heels
I always have a hard time buying necessity shoes like black heels because really I'd rather purchase something like a pair of one of these (all at anthropologie of course)

  • But 1st things 1st: to begin with, I really seriously need new batteries so that I can load my pictures from the DC trip last weekend. Once I get those, I can share my goodies! Until then you'll just have to be satisfied with a taste and know that there are more things to come - sort of like this:
Image: National Gallery of Art, Still Life with Peonies by Paul Gauguin
All this talk of needs really sort of makes me sad though. When it comes to the "flossy flossy" blogs I read daily, I always feel terribly guilty when I jump on over to news stories like the heartbreak in China where people's former livelihoods now look like this:
image: Solders resting after looking for survivors in on the outskirts of Shifang, China Photos/Getty Images

So I think I'll spend a bit of my money 1st and foremost on a humble donation and I think you should consider it as well.
above image: Beijing drivers stepping out of their cars to take part in a moment of silence, by Robert F. Bukaty-Associated Press

Oh and while we're on the topic of doing something fabulous for other people, I have to share with you that I got the most amazingly delightful comment from Mackin Ink this morning and I am still smiling ear to ear from her generosity. Please check out her blog, its one of the best around and I think she is too!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

image: Jasper Johns
Because I am amazingly proud to be an American and because I have a group of amazing friends and family that have served and are serving overseas in military positions, and because my Dad was a highly decorated solider in Vietnam who paid the price of freedom on a daily basis after his return with incessant PTSD, and because (despite the political and economical turbulence currently in our country) we still all have to look around and be proud to be Americans today and to pledge our allegiance to making our country and our world a better place in whatever way we feel we can: HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

I'm not going to make this a political platform, but I am going to say that it is our responsibility to back up our military troops wherever they may be, even if we don't agree with them being there. I watched an incredibly touching story on the news this morning about the group "Operation Gratitude" - they have now sent over 350,000 care packages overseas and so I would like to pass on this link to those of you that may be interested in doing what you can to help. Not just today, but everyday, we should support our troops and learn to say "thank you" more often.

image: operation gratitude

The national moment of remembrance is at 3 pm tomorrow - please pause to say thank you for the 1,000,000+ men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the United States of America.
image: new acquisitions in the National Gallery - Study of Flesh Colour of Gold by William Merritt Chase


I'm in DC until Tuesday but when I get back I'll have loads of new posts with spectacular linkage so come back soon and until then, enjoy the long weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


So on most days, I really enjoy my job - I get to travel over half of the beautiful state of North Carolina, I get to meet amazing people and make loads of builder, designer and architectural contacts, I consistently know what is going on in this area of the country before anyone else does and I get to have all of the insights into design projects without having the headache of dealing directly with clients, but some days I just seriously wonder how it is that people make it in this field when they're so damn RUDE!

I just don't get all the toffee-nosed pretentiousness that comes with being a designer or architect. I feel like screaming: I UNDERSTAND! I GET IT! I totally sympathize with their plight: thinking their job is the most important on earth and being under appreciated for it daily seriously sucks, however, do not PLEASE do not think that by being an annoying ass you're going to make the world appreciate our efforts more. Seriously people, get a new personality. Grow some kahunas and decide to set a path for nice - I hear its lovely there this time of the year (and no I don't mean the town in Southern France).

Plus, its raining outside. I know we need it but I absolutely abhor driving in the rain, that and mean people are the things I dislike about my job.

Ok, so instead of reading my desperately horrid post today, I recommend that you visit some of my new blog loves-links below corresponding with their fabulous blogs that I sincerely believe you'll relish!

image: Courtesy of Domino - garden room by Miles Redd (I LOVE HIM) and found on Garden Rooms

This is what I need - a cup of coffee sitting in this garden in beautiful weather, not sitting in my damp apartment in the midst of a hailstorm.

image: Courtesy of Marie Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles and found on Style Court

I changed my mind this is actually what I need - a long walk in a large and breathtaking garden like this one at Versailles.

image: lovely bedroom courtesy of Style and Grace

Lastly but certainly not least - my final answer is to just go to bed and call it a day - tomorrow will be here faster than I know it. I'm off to Wilmington bright and early for work so hopefully I'll have some beautiful images upon my return to the computer Wednesday evening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm so excited I could just kiss my computer - oh and wait, it gets better: its for charity!
You can buy one just like it on just look for relishdress or click on the title link above.

Oh Lordy, I haven't a clue what to write about today-it is Monday afterall and I'm fealing uninspired.

So I'll leave you with an amazing picture courtesy of Anthropologie:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

(image: Tracy Porter)
image: pigs with wings planter feet on the old garden pail

image: coley on her wedding day

i heart

image: cotton behind the house
image: my mom, me, blaya's mom and beautiful blaya at kaitlan's wedding

image: buster brown
image: kate and elijah owen

Inspired by a few other bloggers (and the beautiful day outside and inside my city apartment) I thought I'd write a list of things that make me happy. Alot of these items are links to fun sites so check them out when you get a chance.
image: lizzie
image: a dream sparkling in the background

image: the best purchase EVER

sketchbooks, coley, death cab for cutie, audrey hepburn, zebra prints, my apartement, trunk-up elephants, willow-ware, alexandra stoddard, daffodils, pink champagne, pop art, leah, Italy, damask, aluminum garden pails, fascinating men, kate, museums, pretty studs, jane austen, the city, topiaries, the song "dixie", shagging, mercury glass, castle howard, cary grant, primroses, bellinis, sophie, top chef Ilan, my nude stilettos with pearl and rhinstone buckle, an affair to remember, ghery jewelery, the satorialist, white walls, repousse flatware, shells, peonies, birds, religious candles, England, buster brown, white sofas, the black crowes, my momma, the whole hicks family, billie holliday, antique/vintage linens, lizzie, the way the eiffel tower sparkles, anais nin, the american flag, carrera marble, black and white checkerboard floors, the country, old houses, painted furniture, polka dots, tracy porter, gone with the wind, buttons, coffee, orchids, ruffles, hazelnut creamers, odd numbers, Gwen Stefani, anthropologie, the beatles, blaya, albrecht durer, libraries, anthony bourdain, chatsworth, kelley, big rings, lavender, adirondack chairs, Nice, bangle bracelets, tassels, maya angelou, succulents, domino, ribbons, bill bryson, white turquoise, stewart, the fred and ginger building, project runway, and netflix

image: gorgeous ginger by the satorialist

image: York, England-Clifford's Tower, google images

Saturday, May 17, 2008

If they're still available when I get my tax return. . .they WILL be mine!

available from 1 of my kind
available from thosmhicks

available from DJpettitte

shameless plug, part un: KITCHEN COUNTER TOPSOk, so I am not a salesperson - I've never been a salesperson. I'm not gonna lie, people might have called me that at one point or another, however, I could not ever be one of those scary guys trying to sell you a car (although I have been offered that position). And however much I love retail, I could also never be the person on the sales floor of a retail store trying to "make you a deal" on a sofa or lamp or something. I can't stand those people.

I do LOVE helping people create beautiful rooms though and that's the way I look at my new job - since I'm an architect and designer's specification rep. I basically just try and get them to specify my products. If I had horrid products this would be difficult - but thank God I don't!

So for the first shameless plug, let's start with counter tops. Here goes!
Keep in mind that I am not expert by any means, but if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to e-mail them to me and I'll do my best to come up with an answer.
This is a major debate of course: what should I, as a home owner put on my counter tops? In the midst of a housing crisis most homeowners realize that in order to sell their home, there has to be something unique and different about it in comparison to the same house for the same money down the block, but at the same time their home has to coincide with certain particular norms that society says you just HAVE TO HAVE in a house nowadays. In my particular area, that one MUST HAVE is granite - I HATE GRANITE!
Let's get this straight, I think it is beautiful, however, I was trained as an interior designer and one of my professors (Dr. Burpitt to be specific) drilled in my head that under no circumstances whatsoever were we allowed to specify a product that to our knowledge was not capable of performing for our client's needs. After all, that's what "desecrators" do, NOT designers! So my thing against granite is purely for performance sake, forgive me for my hatred.

To begin with, natural stones are porous - which of course is ok, assuming you have it sealed and re-sealed. But in this age of "quick fixes" and "instant gratification" I find it hard to believe that the massive array of consumers who buy granite counter tops do this as they are supposed to.
My other major problem is that it isn't environmentally friendly at all, because it is a natural resource that is continually and daily depleted. There have even been studies to show that it is harmful to your health and emits chemicals such as cancer causing radon. Enough said, right?

My major conundrum with this whole "natural stone" thing is that I have this amazingly passionate love affair with carerra marble. There just isn't anything like it - but it has the same drawbacks as granite AND it costs significantly more. Just what is a stylish girl to do??? Thankfully, I have several solutions to my dilemma:

Option #1) There's always stainless steel - a stunning, but cold counter top, in addition to the fact that it scratches and smudges quite easily and is certainly not the most affordable of solutions.

However, you can always go with a "brushed stainless steel" that is less lustrous (great alliteration, huh?) but doesn't show those fingerprints quite as much. If you go with a restaurant-quality steel, it is of course stain proof, easy to roll dough on, and you can set a hot pan on it any day of the week and twice on Sunday

Option #2) Manufactured stones - such as my particular favourite: Gibraltar.
Seriously, solid surfaces blow my mind - you can't cut on them, you can't set a hot pan directly on them, however - you can't stain them a bit and moreover, have you ever seen a seam in these jokers? No - you just can't see a seam if its done right. Plus, it is much more affordable than most other stones. Just be sure to look for ones that 100% acrylic - if they have any hint of polyester they're gonna scratch more easily. On top of that you can fully integrate your sink with an "under mount" to avoid seams where germs and bacteria love to hide.
Option #3)Of course there is always laminate. This is (because its affordable) the red-headed step child of counter tops. Since this is the main product I sell and since I my hair just happens to be an amazing shade of ginger, I have problems with it's place in consumer's eyes. Most of my clients use it in commercial installations, but most higher-end homeowners want something "better". In my humble opinion, I sort-of think this: splurge for great and expensive floors (they ARE what you walk on after all!), invest in fabulous appliances, buy cabinets that will last a few lifetimes, hire a professional to plan the kitchen so that it works for the way you cook, and blow your budget on all of these things instead of your counter tops, basically because you can do all this, upgrade your laminate and still have beautiful, serviceable tops that enhance your home without destroying the environment, your pocketbook, and your family's health.
Now of course you want the "under-mount sink" just like everyone else does, but you can actually get that with laminates too!
I should also mention that most laminate companies do their part to make sustainable products - Wilsonart laminate (the only AMERICAN manufacturer) was the first to get Greenguard certification. They use recylced kraft backing papers, re-use steam in their facilities, recommend water-based glues instead of chemicals, and sell their by-products to other industries to prevent waste. In addition, you can use backings that have trace amounts of harmful chemicals in it instead of plywood that is laced with VOCs.
I'm planning to install laminate in my home right now - with my white cabinets, vintage hammered black hardware, and black and white checkerboard vinyl floors, its gonna look great! (keep in mind vinyl isn't the same as it used to be but that's a whole other topic - don't judge people don't judge!)

These are not your grandmother's laminates!:

With post-form laminates you can even get rid of those horrible brown seam lines that tend to break and create gorgeous edges like this:
Option #4) Now we come to my personal favourite: WOOD! Seriously guys, never underestimate the power of wood in creating a luscious texture in your home - we already know this because of wood floors. If you're a serious cook you know that wood chopping blocks, no matter how much effort you have to put into them, really are the best things around, so installing wood as a whole counter top in at least part of your kitchen enables a look that should certainly be duplicated more often (even if it is just in the form of a wooden table in the middle of your kitchen). Most experts agree that wood counter tops have the least impact on the environment.
My personal favourite at the moment is the usage of more earth-friendly woods, such as rehabilitated architectural pieces like old floor boards or even antique farm or trestle tables. The newest product to jump on the green bandwagon is bamboo. We all know that bamboo, as a renewable resource is all the rage in floors at the moment. Alot of the bad publicity it has gotten over the past few years is because of cheaper versions on the market at the "big box" stores. Bamboo renews itself approximately every 7 years, but it is the strongest in mid-life so it should be harvested between 3-5 years of age - if cut down before that expectancy it is too soft and cut down after around 5 years, it is too brittle. But this stuff is great, it can be stained any colour, comes in a variety of styles, has no formaldehyde on the surface and is more affordable than solid surface - its basically perfect is what I'm saying.
The point of this article is not to trash any particular product or "sell" another, my goal is just merely to tell you to go out and find something different. Do something explosive! Get a reaction from people other than "oh, I have that same top in my house!" Be original, be creative, and learn to love your counter tops in the process! Whatever your choice (and this goes for all the materials you invest into placing in your home) research your decisions, find a salesperson you can trust, find a company with a good reputation to install the products, and learn what you have to do to maintain your surfaces and save your money in the long run.
I should probably mention that there are new green products on the marketplace daily - check out the Green Home Guide for more details on products using paper, recycled glass, and other fun, but gorgeously green materials.
All photos are from Better Homes and Gardens or Cottage Living Magazines.