Happy New Year!

Year 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, which, according to the Chinese Zodiac, is supposed to be a year to catch our breathe and calm our nerves. It is considered a timid, wise, cautious and lucky sign. So, to all, I wish you happiness and joy in the new year!

Here are some perfect NYE outfits:


Holidays Outfits

Picking out the perfect outfit for a family party can be tricky. On the one side, you want something comfortable that will allow you to eat to your heart’s content, snooze on the couch and play with the little ones. On the other side, you want to look dressy, stylish and current.

A simple solution: LEGGINGS!

Leggings are comfy, stretchy, cozy and stylish. There are thicker ones for more warmth and embellished ones for more style. They come in a variety of colors and some even look like jeans (aka jeggings).

Once you got the leggings, pair them with one of the following:

Then add a pair of tall boots. Heels, flats…doesn’t matter.

Finish the look with some blingy accessories.


Easy peasy!


Lovely Rooms

Sometimes, no explanation is needed. Enjoy the view and have a great weekend!


For the Kitchen

MoMA is always a great place to find unique gifts. This time, I found some perfect accessories for the kitchen. Not that I spend much time in the kitchen... but when I do (you know, to take food out of the carry-out boxes), it’s nice to be surrounded by pretty things.

Row 1: (1) Tea Canisters, $20 each (2) Bread Bowl, $70
Row 2: (3) Living Lounge Bowl, $130 (4) Apple Jars, $30
Row 3: (5) Zucch Sugar Pourer, $52 (6) Wobble Salt and Pepper Shakers, $38
Row 4: (7) Matryoshka Measuring Cups, $12 (8) Apple Slicer, $40


Empty Frames

Have a big empty wall that needs SOMETHING but nothing that will interfere with the rest of the space?

Get out all of your old picture frames that have been living in your attic for years! All of them. It doesn’t matter if they are different shapes or colors or designs.

Remove the glass and backing (leaving just the frame) and spray paint all of the frames in the same color (I LOVE white, especially if you have a colored wall).

And…hang them up on the wall! There really isn’t a “wrong way” to hang these.

Now you have easily (and inexpensively) added dimension and art to your empty wall!


Holiday at Horchow

Found some fabulous pieces at Horchow for the holidays!

Row 1: (1) Metal Dreidel & Stand, $65
Row 2: (2) 12 Assorted Fashion-Inspired Greeting Cards, $30
Row 3: (3) Santa Snowglobe Shakers, $38


Holiday Wine

Bringing a bottle of wine to a holiday party for the host is always the perfect gift.  It’s so perfect, that you’ll probably be one of many to bring the same gift.  Although some (like me) will not mind bottles upon bottles of wine, it would be nice if your bottle stands out from the rest.

One way to do this is by dressing up your bottle.  Yep, dressing it.  I’m not talking about the usual rectangular bottle gift bag in a holiday red/green color scheme.  I’m talking about using wrapping faux fur around the neck of the bottle and pinning it with a cute pin/brooch.  I did this last year – doesn’t it look so cozy all bundled up?

Another way is to gift a wine accessory, along with the bottle.  Items, such as stoppers and collars will be used long after the wine is gone.  I found some practical accessories at True Fabrications that are sleek and shiny.  Perfect for the holidays!

Row 1: (1) Black/White Flexible Wine Stoppers, $15.99 (2) Chrome Wine Drip Rings, $4.49
Row 2: (3) Chrome Wine Foil Cutter, $4.99 (4) Metal Plated Wine Collar, $7.99 


Wipe Your Feet

Simple idea for the entry way (or mud room). Add small pebbles to a plastic or rubber tray for storing winter/rain boots. This way, the boots can dry in a super fashionable way.



Fashion Trend: Big Cozy Cardigans

If you buy into one trend this season, please let it be the big cozy cardigan.  You will wear it ALL winter long!

Although it is very easy to get lost in a giant sweater, it is also very possible to wear it with style.  The key is to pair the over-sized cardigan with form-fitting and monotone pieces, like dark-washed skinny jeans or a body-hugging black long-sleeve tee.

Here is a cardigan I scored at the Gap, paired with simple silhouette pieces.

And here are some other big cozy cardigan favs.
Row 1: (1) Patterson J. Kincaid Chunky Knit Cardigan, $198, Nordstrom (2) Marled Cocoon Cardigan, $79.50, LOFT
Row 2: (3) Beautiful Knit Sweater, $24.80, Forever 21 (4) Stella McCartney Sweater Coat, $1,445, Neiman Marcus
Row 3: (5) Cotton Cable Short-Sleeved Pullover, $58, Victoria's Secret (6) Cashmere Blend Sunday Cardigan, $198, Banana Republic


Nothing TOO Crazy!

In case you are in a SUPER giving mood this holiday season, here are some fabulous (read: outrageous) gift ideas from Neiman Marcus.  I mean, what recession!?!

How about treating your family to a Tory Burch Family Chariot Electric Tricycle.  It's only $4,500,  Or just get your kids an Edible Gingerbread Playhouse by Dylan's Candy Bar.  A small $15,000 check will cover it.

Thinking larger?  How about a Tequila Avion Private Party by Colin Cowie.  For a mere $125,000, you get non-stop tequila AND Colin!  If you are looking for something that lasts past the holiday season, how about a Dale Chihuly Pool Sculpture Installation.  $1,500,000 should cover it.


Keep Calm and Carry On

I have seen these posters in the past (can be found here).

But never seen a huge "Keep Calm and Carry On" door mat! Quite the first impression.


Displaying vintage scarves

Vintage silk scarves are a great idea, until you always forget to wear them. Here is an idea to show off that gorgeous silk scarf!

Get a square photo frame. Iron scarf (if necessary). Frame the scarf. Display in entry way or bedroom.


Pretty Basement Window Wells

Sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But then I saw Freckles Chick’s basement renovation pictures. WOW, who knew that basement window wells could be so chic. And let in so much light! Awesome work!


Salt and Pepper (and Soy) Shakers

One smooth white salt shaker + one rough grey pepper shaker + open base for oil/syrup/sauces = one adorable and stackable table sculpture!


Visual Packing List

Super jealous that Fabulous Doodles can simply sketch her packing list and know exactly what to bring and wear for her entire vacation! Love this.

My version of a visual packing list consists of laying out clothes on my bed in full pre-determined outfits, complete with accessories and shoes. Then I snap a few quick pictures with my phone before packing everything in my suitcase. This is great because you can just browse your photo gallery to remember what you packed and see what options you brought, without having to dig through your entire suitcase.

‘Cause we have all brought extra stuff on vacation that never even left the hotel room. I’m just saying…

What are your packing secrets?


New Lauren Conrad Arrivals

Lauren Conrad came out with a few new pieces, available at Kohl's.  Here are some of my favorites:

Row 1: (1) LC Lauren Conrad Pintuck Tunic, $40 (2) LC Lauren Conrad Bow Dress, $60
Row 2: (3) LC Lauren Conrad Brushstroke Ruffle Tank, $40 (4) LC Lauren Conrad Embellished Sweater , $60


Rectangular Candle Holder

Remember the West Elm candle holder I blogged about this past summer?  Well, for the fall, West Elm came out with a similar one, but in a rectangular shape.  Personally, I love it!  West Elm also sells perfectly square candles and when you place 2-3 of them in this candle holder, you get a stunning result.


Framed Memories

I came across Small Notebook for a Simple Home’s post on how to display memorabilia and paper souvenirs.

Here is the breakdown:
  1. Buy any frame that appeals to you
  2. Tape photos, tickets, paper scraps on any color sheet of paper
  3. Place the sheet of paper into the frame
  4. Hang it up!
I think it would be fun to do a frame for each trip – so as you walk through your hallway, you can reminisce on all of your travels. In a neat and organized fashion!


Fun Finds at Spoon Sisters

Spoon Sisters carries some fun and unique gifts. I initially stumbled upon them because I was searching for cute paperclips. And then I fell in love with the rest of the fun stuff on their website. Here are some of my favorites:

Row 1: (1) Kaboom Candles - With Sparking Wicks, $8.95
Row 2: (2) Numberclips - 0 to 9, $5.95 (3) LOVE Pencils with Swarovski Crystals - Set of 3, $10.98
Row 3: (4) Babushkups - A Trio of Nesting Glasses, $17.95
Row 4: (5) Love Paperweight – SILVER, $69 (6) Message Bean, $18.95


Eco-Friendly and Cute Flats

Any casual fall day calls for an adorable pair of flats! There are so many styles and options avaialble. I recently came across EXTRASEED at Etsy and fell in love with their simple flat in bold colors and patterns.

These custom-made shoes are reasonably priced from $38 to $55. AND these shoes are eco-friendly and vegan! Who knew shoes could be vegan?



Fun Appetizer/ Dessert Plates

West Elm is bringing back fun dinnerware!  For a while there, they only offered the plain white dinner plates (which I love and have).  But check out their site now!  Little plates with big personality.  I love the prints and the shiny graphics.  Unexpected and so pleasing to the eye.  They are too cute to save for a special day.  I love serving post-dinner munchies, such as nuts or dark chocolate, on these fun plates.


Fall Trends

I am starting to see leaves on the ground. That means, there are new trends in the stores!

This fall, designers have been paying lots of attention to fabrics and textures. From smooth and tough motorcycle leather jackets to soft and playful leopard print flats to warm and furry jackets.

I picked out the top four trends and worked them into every day outfits that you probably already wear. Remember, trends come and go and can end up costing a fortune! However, using your existing wardrobe and adding/removing trendy pieces can be very affordable and stylish.

1. Bears, tigers and... LEOPARD PRINT! Nope, it's not leaving. In fact, it's expanding to belts, shoes and purses. Please avoid wearing a huge leopard piece that covers more than 50% of your body (like a dress or a long jacket). Use it sparingly for best results!

(1) Magenta & Black Bangle Set, $8, Wet Seal (2) Always skinny jeans (saturated dark wash), $69.50, Gap (3) Satin Leopard Tunic, $19.80, Forever 21 (4) Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Ukita Hobo, $398, Von Maur (5) Sandra Convertible Boots, $257, Shopbop.com

2. That in-between-weather is perfect for SLEEVELESS SWEATERS. Layer it with a long or short sleeve shirt for best results. It keeps you looking fall-ish without making you sweat!

(1) Calvin Klein Jeans Cowl Neck Vest, $69.50, Nordstrom (2) Short Linked Leaf Necklace, $10.11, Asos.com (3) Perfect-fit ruffled scoopneck tee, $34.50, J. Crew (4) Drew Plainweave Flare Pant, $69.50, The Limited (5) Martinez Valero Blaine, $143, Zappos.com

3. If you invested in FAUX FUR last fall, good call! It's still a big trend and looking more chic than ever. Revamp your faux fur jacket/sweater by adding a belt or wearing it with a dress.

(1) Kenneth Jay Lane Earrings, $67.39, Bluefly.com (2) TECLA L/S DRESS, $159, Miss Sixty (3) Faux Fur Vest, $98, LOFT (4) Argyle Sweater Tights, $18, Bare Necessities (5) Seychelles 'Bismuth' Bootie, $119.95, Nordstrom

4. Always stylish and very practical LEATHER has always been a sound investment. This trend is very versatile and can range from a hardcore motorcycle jacket to a subtle brown pair of boots. Want to try "leather rock"? Look for leather pieces that use hardware and metal finishes, such as the skirt below, which uses metal stud embellishments.

(1) Cotton Cashmere Wrap Sweater, $58, Victoria’s Secret (2) French cuff shirt, $59.50, Banana Republic (3) Tahari Foster, $129, Piperlime (4) Studded Leather Miniskirt, $595, Neiman Marcus(5) Irene Neuwirth Chrysoprase Earrings, $4,580.00, Barney’s New York


Crate and Barrel for Dogs

As most of you know, my fianand I got a new puppy about a month ago - an adorable sweet little boxer girl!  As I started searching for cute things that Izzy is (definitely) going to need, I discovered that Crate and Barrel came out with a new line of dog accessories.  Perfect timing.  Here are some of my favorites.

Row 1: (1) Woof Dog Lead, $19.95
Row 2: (2) Name Charm, $9.95 (3) Set of 4 Dog Bone Toys, $39.80
Row 3: (4) Red Large Dog Bowl, $14.95 (5) Woof Treat Jar, $19.95
Row 4: (6) Houndstooth Dog Bed, $39.95 small/ $69.95 large

I also found the perfect dog tag for Izzy's name and contact info.  So cute and stylish!  It's smooth, shiny and the matches Izzy's red collar/leash.  From pettags.com.


My Kind of Band-Aids

I am a huge fan of using fun Band-Aids.  I mean, if you happen to get a cut, the only good thing about it is getting to use a fun Band-Aid to cover it up!  My current favorite: Disney's Tinker Bell and Friends.

But I just found out that Cynthia Rowley teamed up with Band-Aid to come out with a Limited Edition line that is fun, fashionable and, if that isn't enough, charitable ($1 of every purchase goes to Design Ignites Change).   


Fall Jackets

Along with the fall weather, comes lots of light-weight jackets!  Here are some of my favorites.

Row 1: (1) Herringbone band blazer, $98, Gap (2) 3/4 Sleeve Tweed Jacket, $148, The LOFT
Row 2: (3) Milly Ruffle Jacket, $425, Piperlime.com (4) Baracuta® G10 slim-fit jacket, $325, J. Crew
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