HomeGoods finds

Love finding super chic items on super discount at HomeGoods.  I came across a clear glass bubble vase and a white porcelain vase - both can match any decor and be easily moved around the house and re-purposed.  I tried to find matching ones at other stores, for comparison. 

HomeGoods: $16.99 / Z Gallerie: $69.95

HomeGoods: $16.99 (must be the magic price point) / Target: $75.99 (and doesn't even have the top portion)

What have been your best bargain finds (and, most importantly, at which stores)?


Surprising fashions

Some brands can pleasantly surprise you with their renewed sense of fashion (or a new hire in the buying department!). Two recent companies that have made me want to film a cliché fashion montage while trying out their latest lines are Land's End and Talbots. Suprising, right?

Land's End came out with a Canvas line, which includes simple pieces with a preppy slant. The collection includes everything you need to create a complete look – from skirts to printed tanks to swimsuits to fun accessories (scarves, belts, etc.). Oh, and the prices are fabulous too – most items are $19.50 or $39.50.

I was browsing the latest Talbots magazine and thought "how very J. Crew of them" – what a complete transformation for what used to be an overly-outdated-and-quiet-unattractive store. This season, Talbots is featuring super chic looks, complete with tailored coats, attractive skinny jeans, luxurious-looking tops and overall very well put-together outfits. Nice work, Talbots!

Think you'll go check these places out, now that they've had a facelift?


Room inspired by pillows

West Elm has partnered with the designers behind PATCH NYC to provide a collection of pillows, wall art and ceramic plates.  The designers, John Ross and Don Carney, founded PATCH NYC in 1997 and specialize in scarves, jewelry and some house items (such as pillows and throws).  While reviewing their West Elm PATCH NYC collection, I really loved the assortment of pillows - they all blend together but are definitely not "matchy-matchy."  See the image below of the pillows - I added a bar of what colors were used...

After seeing the "cool, calm and collected" color scheme, I decided to design a room, using the pillows are my inspiration.  Here is what I came up with (click on the image to enlarge it):

(1) Chunky Wood Floor Mirror, $399, West Elm (2) Ripple Fold Drapery, Willow, $421, The Shade Store (3) Gallery 8x10 Frame, $39.95, cb2 (4) Adjustable Metal Floor Lamp, $149, West Elm (5) Keller Vase, $89.95, Crate and Barrel (6) Baxter Sectional, $1,298, West Elm (7) PATCH NYC Pillow Covers, $34 (each), West Elm (8) Tusk Vases, $94.90, cb2 (9) Leather Slipper Chair and Ottoman, $598, West Elm (10) Whistle Organic Cotton Blanket, $49.95, cb2 (11) Peekaboo Clear Coffee Table, $249, cb2 (12) Black Patent Tray, $29.99, Target (13) Shell Ball, $10, Etsy (14) Safari 8X10 Rug, $549, West Elm

Lovely!  I could see myself chillaxing in a living room like this. 

And I think I'm also going to enter this into my first Mood Board Monday (go there to see other rooms using the West Elm PATCH NYC collection). 


Personalized hangers

Yes!  A personalized hanger.  "What for?" you say... well, you can use it to hang a dress you're going to wear for an out-of-town wedding (applies if you are driving to the out-of-town wedding, therefore, can hand the dress in the car), you can use it to display a special outfit you are saving for a hot date this weekend, or you can use it to dress up your closet and generate envy from all the regular plastic hangers.

Either way, it's cute and (did I mention) personalized.  You can get is at LilaFrances's store at Etsy.  Prices range from $12 to $25.


Style quiz

I super enjoy taking style quizzes.  Since no one really ever falls into one specific style/category, I like to see where I "fit" and how they have defined "my category."  I came across the Homegoods StyleScope quiz, which I found fun and easy.  Ten simple questions, such as "Choose the room that would make you happiest!" and voila!

My result was "Earthy Casual" - not something I would have labeled myself, however, while reading the description, I found myself nodding in agreement.  What was your outcome?


One dress, three looks

As I scramble to find the "perfect" dress to wear as a guest for an upcoming wedding, I once again find myself in the "will I ever really wear this expensive dress again?" situation.  For that reason, I am leaning towards a simpler black dress because, with the correct accessories, I am almost 90% sure I could re-purpose and re-wear it! 

To prove my point, I found a simple and cute black dress at Ann Taylor LOFT and styled it up in three different ways for three different occasions. 

This first look is for a wedding.  It's dressy but not over-the-top AND works for spring, summer and fall weddings (awesome!).

(1) Crystal lattice necklace, $325, J. Crew (2) Linen/Cotton Dress with Ribbon Waist Tie, $79, Ann Taylor LOFT (3) Enzo Angiolini Beehive, $99, Piperlime.com (4) Lightweight cashmere scarf, $70, Banana Republic (5) Flutter-flower clutch, $128, J. Crew

The second look works for a day at work.  Clean, classy and professional.  Think of all the different possibilities by simply switching out the cardi.  Or by adding a belt!

(1) Seedbead Bib Necklace, $49.50, Martin + Osa (2) Linen/Cotton Dress with Ribbon Waist Tie, $79, Ann Taylor LOFT (3) Striped Deep V-Neck Cardigan, $69.50, Martin + Osa (4) Lynn peep-toe pump, $98, Banana Republic (5) Slouchy Hobo Bag, $64.50, The Limited

The third look is the one I struggle with most: making a dressy dress work for casual weekend.  But it looks good!  Casual shoes instantly dress-down the look and the worn-looking denim jacket completes the feel of casualness.

(1) Tano Electrorocker, $199, Piperlime.com (2) Linen/Cotton Dress with Ribbon Waist Tie, $79, Ann Taylor LOFT (3) Feather Pendant Necklace, $34.50, Martin + Osa (4) Steve Madden Bride, $79, Piperlime.com (5) Nolita denim jacket, $98, J. Crew 


Customized name posters

People love to personalize their house, beyond the furniture and décor.  How often do you see a last name initial or the full first name posted on a wall?  Probably enough. 

Here is a cute idea that is not only personalized, but also is a full-size creative poster that adds color and interest to any room.  This can work for a newlywed couple, a baby's name or even a simple word that holds significance (like "LOVE").  These customized name posters are from MadebyGirl and range in price from $45 to $70.  Great idea for a wedding or baby shower!


House finds

I recenty came across two great online stores with fabulous pieces.  The first one is Nicole Jane Home and here are my favorites:

Row 1: (1) Silver simple 6” starfish, $4.99 (2) Barnacle pot, 5.5"h small, $16.99/ 7”h large, $25.99
Row 2: (3) Nickel plated leaf candle Plate, $63.99 (4) Large Apothecary Jar with nickel lid, $84.99

The other finds are from Jayson Home & Garden.  This store actually has a location downtown Chicago.  Here are my favorites:

Row 1: (1) Knot door stop, $35.00 (2) ? Box, $15.00
Row 2: (3) Carthage lanterns, $98 - $225 (4) French envelope tray, $16.00


Grown-up pinwheels

Pinwheels are not just for kids. In fact, there are several "grown-up" and modern options.

(1) Breeze pin wheels, $14-22, Chiasso (2) Stainless Steel Pinwheel, $12.75-24.75, moderngiftstore.com (3) Viento Stainless Steel Windmill Style Pinwheel, $24.99-29.99, gardenstatueshop.com

If you don't want to splurge on the larger sizes, consider buying a big metal pinwheel at Hobby Lobby (please try to look past whatever hideous color it may be) for $6 and spray painting it! Here is my pinwheel that was originally an orange and green stripe (uh huh), but lived as a silver decoration last summer and just got a new coat of black paint. I love how the dark and sophisticated black color looks on this playful and childish decoration.


Spring showers

If there is one good thing about the rainy weather, it's probably the excuse to get some cute rainy gear! There are three must-haves: a rain coat, an umbrella and some rain boots. And no, they don't have to look all bulky and un-pretty. In fact, let's thank the fashion world for getting to a place where practicality blends easily and beautifully with style and playfulness. Here are some rainy finds I would wear even on a "partially cloudy" day.

Row 1: (1) Vintage zebra-stripe trench coat, $188, J. Crew (2) Steve Madden Coat, Hooded Raincoat With Metal Buttons, $140, Macy’s
Row 2: (3) Watercolor potpourri swing coat, $450, J. Crew (4) Osa Trench, $170, Martin + Osa
Row 3: (5) Double Breasted Rainyday, $138.00 , BodenUSA.com (6) Cropped Trench with Ruffle Collar, $98, Ann Taylor LOFT

Row 1: (1) COLOR SPECTRUM TRAVEL UMBRELLA, $25, UncommonGoods.com (2) Bubble Umbrella - Silver Ombre, $14.44, Target
Row 2: (3) Miss Marc Glow in the Dark Umbrella, $68, Saks Fifth Avenue (4) Coby Eco Umbrella, $26.95, Crate & Barrel
Row 3: (5) Juicy Couture Heart Umbrella, $38, Saks Fifth Avenue

Row 1: (1) Kamik 'Zoey' Rain Boot, $79.95, Nordstrom (2) Rain Boot in in Green, $196, otteny.com
Row 2: (3) Malouine Rain Boot, $89.50, Martin + Osa (4) Tretorn Shoes, Kelly Rain Boots, $70, Macy’s
Row 3: (5) Hunter 'Original Tall' Rain Boot, $115, Nordstrom (6) Striped lace-up wellies, $65, J. Crew


Little tree for the living room

When I browse home furniture and house wares magazines, I tend to pay special attention to the details in the environmental shots.  For example, when looking through the Potterybarn magazine, I go straight to the shots of the entire room all pulled together and then focus in on the little details, such as what is displayed on the bookshelf or how the fireplace is decorated in the background.  I appreciate the work of the stylists on set (and wish I could have their job) and I love all the ideas they inspire.

I was perusing the latest cb2 "Summer Rock" catalog, when I came across this beautiful creation (it's on page 41, if you're looking):

I found all the elements to create a version for my house:
(1) Natural Spring Reindeer Moss 11 oz. bag $9.99, SaveOnCrafts.com (2) Brussel's Bonsai Trident Maple , $44.95, Home Depot (3) River Rock Vase Filler, $12, Potterybarn (4) Freeform centerpiece bowl (actual bowl from cb2 photo), $49.95, cb2
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