Multiple chandeliers

I was randomly watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (random because I never watch this show) a couple of weeks ago and they had this amazing chandelier idea that I have to share.

 Although I am not thrilled about the plastic knifes/spoons/forks they used for the shiny things hanging off the chandeliers (it was for a person who provides food for many kids...makes sense for her, I guess), I am absolutely in love with the affect of hanging multiple sparkling chandeliers in an open space. Looks gorgeous!


Perfect 2010 calendar

So, I think I finally found the perfect 2010 wall calendar.  It's from Linda & Harriett.  The cost is only $30 (for a whole year!), for which you get 12 fully letterpressed months (each 9"X5.25") with gorgeous prints.

But the best part is that on the back of each month is a postcard image.  So, once your are finished with a month, you can cut the bottom portion off and send it off, as a postcard, to a friend.  How cool!


Adorable ornaments

If I had a Christmas tree, I would definitely add these adorable ornaments to it!

Row 1: (1) Menagerie Ornaments, $23.50, Jonathan Adler (2) Coil Jingle Bell Tree Ornament, $2.95, Crate and Barrel
Row 2: (3) Cow ornament, $7.95, cb2
I guess I can always get one of these to display a few cute ornaments.

Ornament Centerpiece, $49.95, Crate and Barrel


Holiday décor without the "cheese"

'Tis the season...for decking out the house!

I enjoy adding little touches of the holiday season to the house.  It's like enjoying the beauty of the white snow, glittering magic and natural winter forest...right in your living room!  What I don't enjoy is the over-the-top, cheesy decor that completely takes over your house and creates an over-stimulating affect for all guests. 

Take it easy; you don't need to decorate every single inch of space with holiday cheer.  Instead, select a few of your favorite decorations to use this year or a specific space within the house.  Another way to keep the clutter to a minimum is by sticking to one main holiday color, like silver or white.  This creates a holiday scene that is visually appealing and easy to digest.  So keep the chic-ness of your living space and add a little bit of holiday, in a tasteful manner to get the best of both worlds.

Here are some rooms that I absolutely love.  They have subtle holiday additions: a red pillow, an ornament hanging on a year-long indoor tree, a vintage sled in the corner, lit up cone trees, multiple white miniature evergreen trees, reindeer chair with lights, and so on.

Here are some specific decoration/accents you display during the holidays.  They are not over-powering, but still have lots of holiday cheer.


Comfy Friday

I recently stumbled into Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT's lounge section (why hasn't this happened earlier?!?!).  All of the pieces (at both stores) are super soft and comfy, but still maintain a presentable look.  So, if you are relaxing at home and the UPS guy comes by with a delivery, there is no shame in meeting him in your comfy lounge wear.  And, I honestly believe that I could pull some of these pieces IN PUBLIC, running around during the weekend!  I dare say.

Here are some pieces I plan to attain within the next few weeks (come on post-Christmas sales!).

Row 1: (1) Open Front Cocoon Cardigan, $79.50, Ann Taylor LOFT (2) French Terry V-Neck Pullover Hoodie, $49.50, Ann Taylor LOFT (3) Flat Front Yoga Pant, $34.50, Ann Taylor LOFT
Row 2: (4) Hooded Jacket, $85, Ann Taylor (5) Mesh Trim Camisole, $28, Ann Taylor (6) Ribbed Draped Neck Jacket, $89.50, Ann Taylor LOFT


Holiday favor

I came across this simple and adorable favor idea for guests at your upcoming holiday party.  It's a Ornament Favor Wrap, found at Etsy.  For $4, you can download the template, print it out and wrap it around any ornament you want.  Simple and gorgeous!


For the end of the bed

So you have your cute bedroom with your chic furniture and your adorable bedding.  But do you have an end of bed "attachment"?

If you answered "yes": great work!
If you answered "no": keep reading :)

Of course, not all bedrooms are big enough to accommodate a comfy (by that I mean "big") bed, end tables, dressers AND a bench or stools for the end of the bed.  But if you do have the space, take advantage!  Not only does a bench provide seating (when you need to put your socks on) and surface space (for placing blankets and books), but it also creates a grand look for the rest of the room.  An extra bench or stools creates additional space that can be chic and useful.

I love the look of one simple long bench.  Your bench options are unlimited: cushioned and comfy, wood and sleek, matches the headboard, includes a storage compartment, is a chaise that can later be used in a different part of the house, etc.  Check out some of my favorite photos of adding a bench to your bed.

I also love the versatility of stools.  This option may be more economical and offers many different arrangements: 2-3 stools lined up together to create the appearance of a bench, fun shapes or colors to add spice to the room, or use one at the foot of the bed and the other one for a night stand.  But don't be afraid to splurge on really pretty stools, as you can always find other uses for them as long as you own them (think: living room side table, entry way seating area, bathroom cabinet).  Here are some of my favorite finds to inspire you.


Rainboot vase

Here is a cute idea for those old rainboots that you will never wear again (because you have already replaced them with a cuter and better pair).  Use them as a floor vase!  All you need are some tall pretty tree branches (think: flower tree or pine tree).  Stick them in the boots and place the arrangement near an entrance door or console table.  Way to recycle!


Eight crazy nights!

Hanukkah begins tonight (yay!) and will continue for eight crazy nights.  This reminded me that it's time to get my menorah out and get ready to light some candles!  And that made me want to look up what new modern menorah designs have surfaced this year.

I absolutely L.O.V.E. this menorah (and it's the cheapest out of all of my favs):

Modern, $49.99, Target

These would also look fantastic in my house:

Row 1: (1) Relief, $98, Jonathan Adler (available at Nordstrom) (2) Skyline, $125, Jonathan Adler (available at Nordstrom)
Row 2: (3) Aluminum Bar, $450, thejewishmuseum.org
Row 3: (4) Illume, $175, Nambe (available at Neiman Marcus) (5) Scooter, $50, thejewishmuseum.org


Fashion trend: suede pumps

For some reason, suede and winter/cold just go together.  I guess the cold makes me want to wrap anything soft and fuzzy around my body (that includes my feet).  So I am excited at the popularity of suede shoes because that just means many more affordable options to spruce up any outfit.  My favorite color is grey, but I also love the looks of a blue suede pump.

Row 1: (1) Comodo pump, $79.95, Steve Madden (2) Demode, $88.95, Nine West (3) Bromei, $99, Enzo Angiolini
Row 2: (4) Pompadour, $134.95, Charles by Charles David (5) Davanna, $69.99, Bandolino (6) Calliee, $109.95, Steve Madden


Brooch on necklace

I ♥ brooches!  But I can't get enough of just wearing them on a cardigan or coat.  I want to wear them on my necklace!  I love this idea and have been implementing it for a few months. 

The trick is to find the right necklace that can handle the extra glam of a pretty brooch.  Long pearl necklaces work best, since they are monotone and neutral.  Other long necklaces can work too, but be careful when selecting the brooch - make sure you don't create an accessory blunder (i.e. too many contradicting colors or metals).

Bonus, you can also use your adorable hair pins (think flowers or feather pins) to clip onto your necklace instead of a brooch.


Color combos

I have noticed that I compile outfits and decorate my house in certain color combinations.  I've gone through several favorite combos in the past, such as brown and bright (no pale!) pink, navy and yellow, black and silver, grey and pink, brown and green...to name a few.

Well I wanted to share my two latest color combo obsessions...




New finds for the house

Although I avoided Black Friday like the plague, I got a bit bored by Saturday...so I ventured out into the crowds.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find some adorable house decor! 

Some finds from Potterybarn:

Row 1: (1) Faux-Shearling Throw, $99 (2) Cloisonne Bottle Stoppers, Set of 2, $19
Row 2: (3) Wine Chokers, $5 (4) Barona Square Condiment Set, $49

And some from Crate and Barrel:

Row 1: (1) Ornament Centerpiece, $49.95 (2) Four-Part Server, $19.95
Row 2: (3) Crimson Vases, $8.96-16.95 (4) Acacia Salad-Serve Set, $39.95


I spy jade nail polish

Chanel is guilty-as-charged for starting the "jade nail polish" trend by featuring it in their Fall 2009 fashion shows.  Now it's everywhere!  (trust me, once I bring this up to your attention, you will start noticing it on your co-workers, neighbors and friends).  It's already on the "celebrity/model scene."

Although the actual "Jade" polish by Chanel is out of stock mostly everywhere (and being sold for over $100 on eBay), there are many alternatives.  MAC has a "Peppermint Patti" shade and Illamasqua, which is available at Sephora, has a "Milf" shade.  I decided to go with Essie's "Mint Candy Apple" color - and L.O.V.E. it!

It's a great alternative to all the usual hues of pink.  Spice up the holidays!


Favorite celebrity styles

I get some style inspiration from seeing the current trends on my favorite celebrities.  Whether  they are on the red carpet or being bombarded by paparazzi, they know how to best dress their body (or better yet, their stylish knows best).  Here are my favorites.

I love Lauren Conrad's style for the glamour.

I love Jennifer Aniston's style for the simplicity.

I love Eva Longoria's style for its everyday chicness.

Who are your favorites?


Fashion trend: t-shirts

The plain old t-shirt just got a boost.  No longer is a t-shirt reserved for those lazy weekends, to be worn with slouchy jeans and flip flops.  The new t-shirt is still just as comfy, but now also carries an air of chic.

Now when selecting a t-shirt to mix into your wardrobe, do not go with the two-sizes-too-big promotional tee you got at the Taste of Chicago last summer.  Instead, pick a more fitted tee with a splash of color or a fun print/embroidery.

Here are some ideas on how to pair your t-shirt with skirts, jeans and even suits.

(1) Ruffled Celosia cardigan, $98, J. Crew (2) Midnight tweed mini, $98, J. Crew (3) Textured jersey bouquet tee, $36.50, J. Crew (4) Bertek Zipper & Buckle Short Boots, $139, Enzo Angiolini (5) Pearl Cluster Bracelet, $40, Ann Taylor

(1) Slub cotton beaded Florence tee, $52, J. Crew (2) Dream varsity stripe cardigan, $88, J. Crew (3) Amaya pump, $97.95, LAUREN Ralph Lauren (4) Clean Cut Mini Skirt, $59.50, The Limited (5) Mia north-south tote, $275, Hype

(1) Tissue boyfriend V-neck tee, $29.50, J. Crew (2) Classic wool cardigan, $49.50, Gap (3) Pave Ball Necklace, $55, Ann Taylor (4) Waxed Tote Bag, $260, Martin+Osa (5) Wool twill studio trouser, $138, J. Crew

(1) Pure body V-neck T, $16.50, Gap (2) Colorblock cardigan, $78, J. Crew (3) Belle fleur mirror ballet flats, $258, J. Crew (4) Felted-wool bistro mini, $88, J. Crew (5) Pearl and Pave Cluster Necklace, $80, Ann Taylor

(1) Super 120s two-button jacket, $230, J. Crew (2) Textured jersey ribboned collier tee, $49.50, J. Crew (3) Brenda 2 Pump, $69.99, Jessica Simpson (4) Favorite-fit Super 120s Durham pant, $135, J. Crew (5) Mixed Media Dome Satchel, $450, L.A.M.B.

(1) Cropped-sleeve long cardigan, $69.50, Gap (2) Tissue stone necklace tee, $125, J. Crew (3) Celine Pump, $167.99, Report Signature (4) Hip-slung flare leg denim trousers, $59.50, Gap (5) Kirra Dakota Basketweave Bag, $29.50, PacSun


Surprising and serene jewelry from Fossil

I must admit that I don't think of Fossil when I think jewelry and accessories.  However, having received their latest magazine in the mail, I was "forced" to flip through it!  And, dare I say, I found some super adorable necklaces and bracelets.  Check these out.

Row 1: (1) Peace Dove, $25 (2) Vintage Glam 3, $48 (3) Feather Pendant, $42
Row 2: (4) Plated Metal Nugget, $42 (5) Glitz Bee, $28 (6) Glitz Collar, $48 (7) Leather Twist Bracelet, $48


I spy a magazine tray

I saw an adorable way to store magazines on your coffee table. I have a coffee table that has a bottom shelf, which is perfect for storing magazines and such, but they often get messy and look chaotic. By using a serving tray as a magazine “rack”, I can throw all my magazines right in and they will always look like neat and organized. How fabulous! 

I found some trays that could do the task, but am still searching for the perfect one.

Row 1: (1) Wood Trays, $59, West Elm (2) Kali Rectangular Tray, $74.95, Crate and Barrel
Row 2: (3) Serving Tray, silver, $14.99, Target
Row 3: (4) Kali Square Tray, $64.95, Crate and Barrel (5) Bradford Tray, $69, Potterybarn
Row 4: (6) Format tray, $34.95, cb2


Legwarmers forever

With the fall weather being so unpredictable in Chicago, I don't want to rush into winter gear if I don't have to.  For that reason, I still wear some pumps without any leggings or trouser socks.  But if the weather turns chilly, my legs feel the breeze immediately.  Solution: whip out your trusty old (or new) legwarmers!

I wear mine under jeans with simple black pumps.  This way, they are not noticeable, but they keep me warm.  And, honestly, if they peek out when I'm sitting down, they look like a highly-fashioned accessory.

Here are some glamour shots of my trick.

What do you think?


Jimmy Choo for H&M

Starting this Saturday, November 14th, H&M will be launching a new line of Jimmy Choo shoes, bags and clothes (for women AND men) created specifically for H&M (read between the lines: AFFORDABLE!).

There will probably be a huge line and chaos, but $99 for a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals = worth it!

Check the H&M website for store locations, as only a select few will carry the Jimmy Choo products.  In Chicago, the H&M at 840 North Michigan will be your golden ticket.

Some things you can expect to find (notice the prices!):


Cold weather accessories

Burrr, it's getting cold in Chicago! The wind, the sleet, the freezing temperature: it all adds up to a miserable time whenever you have to leave the house.

Something that does always make it easier to get out of the protective indoors: adorable cold weather accessories! The hats, the scarves, the mittens! That's an entire new wardrobe that people in warm places do not get to enjoy. So, if you are a Chicagoan or live in any other freezing cold city, take advantage of the chilliness and coordinate a warm and chic outfit to weather any storm.

Row 1: (1) Marled cable knit beanie, $24.50, Gap (2) Cashmere Wrap , $198, Nordstrom (3) Juicy Couture 'Iconic' Pop Top Mittens, $55
Row 2: (4) Arm warmer, $55, UGG Australia (5) Carminda Boot, $1,200, Ralph Lauren (6) Earmuffs, $195, Tory Burch
Row 3: (7) Buttoned Ribbed Neck Warmer, $78, MICHAEL Michael Kors (8) Merino Rib Tight, $22, Martin + Osa (9) Classic Cable Faux Vest Scarf, $48, Lauren by Ralph Lauren


Vases and fillers

People do not take full advantage of this fun piece of home decoration. It’s simple, fun and so versatile that you can keep it around for years and just change out the filling.

First of all, pick a glass bowl or vase.  Look for something on the larger scale so you can easily fit many different object inside.  It can be an oval bowl or a tall rectangular vase.  Any of the following will work:

Row 1: (1) Water Lily Bowl, $24.95, Crate and Barrel
Row 2: (2) Square Vases, $29, Potterybarn (3) Sid Vase, $10.95, Crate and Barrel
Row 3: (4) Fin bowl vase, $24.95, CB2

Next, the fun begins!  There are so many options when it comes to vase fillers.  Let's start with the most popular: glass gems and stones.  You can usually buy these in just-the-right-size packaging at any local craft or home decor store.  I love the look of tiny clear balls or natural looking rocks.  You can also add some brightly colored gems for a popping effect or add a candle in the middle of the pebbles for a more serene setting.

One of my current favorite vase fillers is moss, real or fake.  It just looks so natural and elegant.  Get a bunch of differently sized moss balls or try having just one large moss ball for a big statement.

If you are a fan of the beach, water and sand, you can capture that scenery in a vase.  Try adding sand, shells, starfish, dried grasses.

For a dinner party, it's fun to play up the vases with food!  Brightly colored foods, such as green apples, yellow lemons or red cranberries always look delicious.  Food such as shelled nuts and cinnamon sticks create a natural, striking centerpiece.  You can also fill those large vases with a mouth-watering amount of colored candy, such as Jelly Bellys.

It's easy to create seasonal creations by simply adding the correct elements: orange oak tree leaves or candy corn for fall, pine cones or faux snow for winter, sliced limes for spring and green grasses or plastic butterflies for summer. 

Vases can also be used as a creative and stylish way to store some basic necessities, such as toilet paper or rubber bands.  Or as an adorable collectors bowl for your favorite knick-knacks, such as matchbooks or wine bottle corks.

This holiday season, use your left-over ornaments or jingle bells in a new way - as a vase filler.  It brings the holiday season into your home without the cheesy holiday music.

Most importantly, don't forget to put a little bit of YOU into your home decor.  So whether it's river rocks or apples, have fun and don't be afraid to experiment.  You never know where you'll find inspiration: a twig, a photo, coffee beans, cinnamon stick....

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