Navy kind of day

I finally got my hands on a dark navy nail polish, OPI Russian Navy.  Yes, it's been around forever, but it's new to me!  It had the perfect balance of color that creates a super dark, yet not black shade.  Great treat to celebrate the end of a long work week!


Etsy find: jewelry

Doloris Petunia's Etsy shop is filled with beautiful wonders.  This shop specializes in hand-made jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets and hair accessories.  Definitely the statement piece for any simple black dress. 

My absolute favorite piece in the collection is the Crystal Statement Cuff with a ribbon tie - sooo pretty...wish it was a bit less expensive!  But would look lovely at a wedding I get to attend in May :).

Custom Clear Crystal Statement Cuff With Ribbon Tie, $160

(1) Crystal and multi colored butterflies Fancy Betty headband, $50 (2) Handmade brown Hippie flower with elastic band, $75

(1) Floating Statement Necklace (clear), $55 (2) Pearl Strand(s) Statement Necklace, $50


Bamboo charcoal

We all have millions of scented candles, sprays, plug-ins and assortments of aromatic rocks/leaves/chips spread out throughout the house to keep deodorize and add fragrance to every room. Great idea, but this sometimes results is an over-pungent scent or creates a chaotic, multi-colored and, sometimes, mismatched display of wax/rocks/leaves on every shelf.

I introduce to you: bamboo charcoal. Most looks like a short, black bamboo stick, that not only blends in with any surrounding, but also looks serene, chic and decorative.

Bamboo charcoal comes from a rapidly growing moso bamboo plant, which, due to its growth characteristics, develops a porous structures. These millions of holes work as a deodorizer and dehumidifier. It is also recommended, for best performance, to place the bamboo charcoal piece outside in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours once a month to keep it working for up to one year.

There are many shapes and forms of bamboo charcoal: rocks, flat slabs, sticks. Each works for a specific method of display. The granulated rocks can be as household plant mulch or mixed with the soil to absorb excess water and release it back into the plant when it dries up. The flat slabs are ideal for litter boxes. And the sticks (my personal favorite) can be displayed in a cylinder glass vase at home or at the office to add some décor and help freshen and maintain the humidity and quality of the air without screaming “I’m an air freshener.”

Here are some options:
(1) Premium Bamboo Charcoal, $24.95, http://www.c60bamboo.com/category/5582514001/1/Air-Fresheners.htm (2) Bamboo Charcoal Sticks by Ever Bamboo, $7.50, http://compostablegoods.com/product_info.php?products_id=203


Colorful stationery

I found it!  The perfect casual stationery I've been searching for forever!  OK, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but seriously, I've been looking everywhere for stationery I can use to send a note or a thank you or a simple hi!  I was looking for a compatible color, size and style.  And I found it with Crane's Kate Spade idiom notecard set.

It's super simple - just a card and a matching envelope.  But the details and finishes are outstanding!  The cards come in 4 colors with a coordinating envelope.  Each card/color has a special idiom: "the grass is always greener" for the green card, "in the pink" for pink, "out of the blue" for blue and "red letter day" for red.  Adorable.


Chalkboard Frame

I came across this super-simple-even-if-it-looks-difficult idea and had to share. It involves taking an old picture frame and sprucing it up to create an adorable and useful chalkboard. Great to use in the kitchen or at the office to jot down all of your “to dos.”

By using a spray paint can and some chalkboard paint, the results are cheap, fast and gorgeous. Full instructions can be found at b*spoke


Inspiring outfits

As I browse through my favorite stores (online and in magazines), I have found three outfits which I plan to re-create.  Let's call these outfits/looks "inspiration."  I enjoying finding inspiration and tweaking it to make it my own. 

Here are three different "inspiring" outfits (on the left) and my customized and ready-to-wear looks (on the right).

(1) Valentina Clutch Wallet, $148, Hobo International (2) Teeze Me Strapless Tiered Dress, $69, Dillard’s (3) Denim Jacket, $110, Martin + Osa (4) INTYCE boots, $169.95, Steve Madden (5) Leather knotted belt, $39.50, Banana Republic

(1) Cloudy Scarf, $42.50, Martin + Osa (2) Rosette Shell, $49.50, Ann Taylor LOFT (3) Ruffle Pleated Coat, $44, Forever 21 (4) BR Monogram printed full skirt, $79.50, Banana Republic (5) Ambitious pump, $69, Nine West

(1) Denim Western Shirt Dress, $99.50, Martin + Osa (2) Embossed leather belt, $29.50, Gap (3) Foley + Corinna Mid City Tote, $444, Piperlime.com (4) Poetic Licence Women's Sweet As Candy Close Toe Flat, $98.95, Endless.com (5) Silk Frances cami, $88, J. Crew


Decorating in multiples

If you are looking to spruce up your dwelling on a small budget, think about creating a big statement by finding one low-cost element to use multiple times.  In other words, find one appealing inexpensive accessory (could be a mirror, a picture frame, a candle) and then buy 5-10 identical or similar ones.  You save in costs because you are buying smaller elements and the result of combining them is stellar.

As seen in a past post, Multiple Chandeliers, designers have been using this trick for a long time.  Just flip through any of your latest decor catalogs or magazines - they are all guilty of playing up their merchandise in such a manner. 

One thing to note: make sure the multiple elements don't get lost in a space that is too large.  Just throwing them into a room will create chaos.  Instead, find a focal wall (especially if it's small) or an empty shelf and fill that space entirely.  Another way to get the same affect is to visually create boundaries.  This can be achieved by using trays to hold your multiple accessories or installing other wall art to create a visible border.

Some photos to get you rolling... 

I love the affect of having multiple candles on the table, especially when they are poised high on glass bottles.  And the affect of using many super inexpensive glass candle holders is amazing!  Low cost, rich look.

Do you have a magazine rack?  Buy two more!  Fills out the space and creates an almost-library (or at least a corporate lobby) look...in a good way.

Mirror mirror on the wall.  Why not multiply you so I can see 10 reflections at the same time.

Rugs are overpriced, in my mind.  Especially if you need to fill an entire room.  However, you can save lots of money by buying multiple smaller rugs and combining them together - in a way that still looks clean and doesn't fall into the "trashy looking" category.

You can really apply this rule to anything - displaying plates on a wall, arranging white vases on a console, using decorative spheres. 


2010 spring trends

As more and more retailers reveal their Spring lines, there are some definite trends that will stick around (so, go ahead, buy them now!).

Nude shoes.  They look great with ANY outfit (hence they are "nude") and they really add a touch of class and sophistication.
(1) Merryann Pump, $79.95, Enzo Angiolini (2) Lilac Point-Toe Pumps, $495, Jimmy Choo

Nautical.  Whether it's for resort season or the summer time, nautical-themed clothes and outfits will never be out-of-date.
(1) Rayon Jersey Side Cinch Dress with Belt, $128, BCBGMAXAZRIA (2) Nautical Striped Top, $17.80, Forever 21

Feminine ruffles.  Keeping with a more feminine look, spring styles continue to feature lots of ruffles and frills.  Pair it with some boyfriend jeans or a blazer to play down the girly-ness. 
(1) Palmera ruffle cami, $88, J. Crew (2) One Shoulder Ruffle Dress, $78, Arden B

Printed t-shirts.  Easy to wear, versatile and cute.  Done and done.
(1) Painted bouquet tee, $39.50, J. Crew (2) Wings Graphic Tee, $44.50, Martin + Osa


Butterfly wall

How adorable!  Saw this gorgeous idea in a TV commercial (sorry for the poor photo quality!).  How cute would it be to have a wall in the house with 3D appliqués.  Here they have a purple wall and they attached small, medium and large butterflies in all shades of purple to the wall, in a fluttering affect.  Maybe not for the adult living room, but I could see this in a kid's room...or maybe a large bathroom!  L.O.V.E.


Rent the runway

Ever been stuck trying to find THE dress for a perfect birthday party, wedding or date night?  This is usually a difficult task because pretty dress usually costs more money than you want to spend on something that you may only wear once or twice.  Solution: Rent the Runway (RTR).  I came across this site, which lets you "rent" a designer dress/gown for a fraction of the cost!  You have to become a member (a.k.a. enter a username and password and you're in!) to browse the selection or just use my link.  RTR takes care of the dry cleaning and can also send you the dress in multiple sizes to make sure you get the one that fits.  You can search for dresses by designer, occasion or trend.  Here are some examples of the savings:

This flowy and beautiful Badgley Mischka "Floral Getaway" dress retails for $520.  You can wear it for $50!

This stylish and unique Yigal Azrouël "Notice Me Mini" retails for $1,000.  You can enjoy it for $150!

This sexy Catherine Malandrino "Smoking Shoulder" dress retails for $595.  You can rock it for $75!
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