a little belated birthday treat…

| via Instagram |

They’re here, they’re here! I finally broke down and splurged on a pair of dreamy custom Zoe Chicco studs. Because…well, sometimes you just need to #treatyoself, amiright?

Check out the rest of my Zoe crushes right here:

That Zoe…she’s awfully hard not to love, isn’t she?

 

Share 'a little belated birthday treat…' on Facebook Share 'a little belated birthday treat…' on Google+ Share 'a little belated birthday treat…' on Pinterest Share 'a little belated birthday treat…' on Twitter Share 'a little belated birthday treat…' on Email

decisions, decisions

house-inspo

| Frank Muytjens home, Elle Decor, Oct 2012 // via my overflowing Pinterest board |

Hi, friends. Remember me? I know, I know. I was such a tease with my “Hey, guess what? Bought a house! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!!”

[…RADIO SILENCE…]

All I can say is this: those joyful people on HGTV, blissfully renovating their homes without a care in the world? They LIE.

I’m trying, really I am, to find the joy in this process, but honestly? The best I can come up with is chanting, “It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be…” over and over to myself in moments of crisis. Which seem to come about three times a day.

I’m thanking my lucky stars for two things right now: the incredible Mr. SMC, who somehow manages to be calm no matter what is happening (it’s freaky, actually). And the fact that I ponied up to hire a designer, despite my cheapskate, “I can totally do this myself” instincts. {*Scrap that…she was a disaster, and has been sacked.} And honestly, I probably could. But then you’d all have to promise to come visit me in the looney bin, where you’ll find me wandering the halls with my tape measure, muttering to myself about needing to find space for extra storage.

My house is still in a wrecking-ball-grade state of disrepair, but here’s what I know so far: Renovating is, basically, decisions. A constant stream of rapid-fire decisions, some of which matter and some of which, frankly, don’t. Alas, decisions have never been my strong suit. I’ve discussed this with a few friends recently, and we all agree that making decisions for others is much easier than making decisions for ourselves. Whether it’s a new pair of jeans or the hardware for your kitchen cabinets, I can browse the www until my eyes cross, but actually biting the bullet and picking the hardware I’ll have to look at every day? It’s paralyzing. And sure, you can ask your friends, but they’ll all have a different opinion and then you’re more confused than you were when you started. So, for now, I’m sticking with my dream team, and occasionally asking friends to just be kind and validate my choice. “So, orange in the master bedroom? I love it!” Trust me, it’s easier.

Though I definitely feel like I’m in the tall grass more often than not these days, the truth is, it’ll be fine. It’ll all get done, one way or another. And rationally, I know I’ll love it in the end – I have a contractor, a designer and a spouse who will make sure of that. But, ditching those annoying hang-ups that petrify and paralyze us isn’t always a rational thing, now is it?

For now, here’s what I’m trying: taking a deep breath. Trying to get a grip on reality and remember that hey, it’s just cabinet hardware. Stepping away from it for a while if I have to. Figuring out what it is I need in order to be sure. More info? Keep researching. Less info? Ask the spouse to help me cull my options. A better visual? I mock things up in Photoshop almost daily now. And then, at some point, I bite the bullet, make the decision and try living with it. If I wake up in the morning hating what I picked? Well, there’s your answer. And when all else fails, you write a 6-page email to your designer, forcing her to tell you that no, you’re not just missing something. Eight-inch Mission-style drawer pulls in natural brass for under $10 each do not, in fact, exist anywhere on this planet.

And now, to make up for the ranting, a few of the inspiration photos I’m using to try to make this uber-generic 1960s townhouse into something really special. (Want more? My Pinterest page for the casa runneth over…)

living-inspo

kitchen-inspo

bath-inspo

|  MY CASA’S WISHLIST  |
Share 'decisions, decisions' on Facebook Share 'decisions, decisions' on Google+ Share 'decisions, decisions' on Pinterest Share 'decisions, decisions' on Twitter Share 'decisions, decisions' on Email

a good night’s sleep

loom & leaf mattress review

| My Loom & Leaf mattress posing with my world-famous ginger scones. How much do I love those glasses? Quite a lot. |

As most of you know by now, I have a few little health glitches to deal with from time to time. (Said the girl currently rocking a case of hives that would make the Elephant Man hightail it to the nearest exit.) Anyway, the latest in this Lifetime miniseries is a star-studded cast of inflammatory hijinks which generally add up to a pretty uncomfortable life more often than not. Joints spontaneously swell, muscles ache despite my total aversion to physical activity, and pain pops up in the most random of places (who in the world gets sore toes, for Pete’s sake?).

A few months ago, I started noticing that things were remarkably, undeniably worse when I first woke up in the morning. Initially, I blamed it on my pain meds…how dare they wear off! But slowly, I came to terms with the fact that it might be my mattress. Read on

Share 'a good night’s sleep' on Facebook Share 'a good night’s sleep' on Google+ Share 'a good night’s sleep' on Pinterest Share 'a good night’s sleep' on Twitter Share 'a good night’s sleep' on Email

it’s the little things

topshop bag

| Mini V Panel Holdall, Topshop |

Some days, you just need a pick-me up. A little impulse buy with a big “joy factor” that will make you excited to check your mailbox for a few days.

Doesn’t this wee blue bag just make you smile? It’s $65, if you can believe it. God bless Topshop. Sure, it’s PVC and it will probably only last a few months, and we’re all supposed to be consuming less and making more mindful purchases, blah blah blah. But sometimes, some days, you just need a little something.

Since I just got a pretty adorable pink bag (I’ll show it to you on Instagram, I promise), I probably can’t justify one in baby blue too. But you certainly can!

Whether it’s this, the Greek-inspired necklace I treated myself to this morning or something else you’ve had open in a browser tab all week, I hope you’ll treat yourself to a little something today, friends. You’ve earned it.

 

Share 'it’s the little things' on Facebook Share 'it’s the little things' on Google+ Share 'it’s the little things' on Pinterest Share 'it’s the little things' on Twitter Share 'it’s the little things' on Email

the expectations game

blairbee

| Yep, I always ride my bike in a silk skirt. With my $5,000 Chanel bag in the front basket, obvi. |

Friends, I don’t know about you, but lately the internet has been getting me down. One of the biggest problems about having access to so.much.information is that it’s become all but impossible to tune out the things that make you feel inferior. Reading about how blissful everyone else makes their life sound on Facebook while you’re curled up in a ball on your sofa with a juice glass full of rosé. Scrolling through painfully perfect images on Instagram, wondering how everyone else’s houses are so full of pristine white backgrounds and custom furniture while you can barely keep the piles of discarded shoes from eating your living room. The million-dollar listings, the runway shows, the bloggers with horrible grammar getting free Gucci bags…it’s all a lot to take.

Of course, we can tell ourselves it’s fake. And we do, sometimes. We remind ourselves, in our saner moments, that these photos are posed. They are staged, lit and airbrushed and styled, sometimes by actual professional photographers. The clothes are on loan, the furniture is from a showroom, it’s all an act. “This is not real life,” we repeat to ourselves over and over. But still. That green-eyed Internet monster…she’s more powerful than you’d think.

It’s even worse when you’re in the line of work I’m in. Being a person who’s been in the style/design/writing biz for approximately 87 years, the problem is that I know. I know that these girls posting about their fabulous new dress from Brand X aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their heart. I know that when a blogger I read starts writing a little too gushingly about her newly renovated sunroom or her “preview tour” of the Nordstrom flagship store in Seattle, she got it for free. And my jealousy…lord, but it runs deep. Sure, I want the room or the trip, just like you do. But I also want the gig she got, wherein a sponsor not only designed the room for her or flew her out first class, but paid her quite a lot of money to talk about it. I want to know how she got there and I didn’t. Why she has 120,000 Instagram followers and I don’t. Instead of taking the high road and being happy for her, I’m bitter and jealous. I start to feel horrible about myself and what I’ve accomplished – or, more specifically, what I haven’t accomplished. Shame spiral for one, please.

But. Much like life in general, there’s no fairness in blogging. Longevity doesn’t equal success…nor, frankly, does quality. (As evidenced by the fact that there are bloggers making serious, serious money who can’t even be bothered to use spellcheck. But I digress.) And so we all, bloggers or lawyers or baristas, have to find a way to check our Instagram feeds or “like” our friend’s photos of her $100,000 destination wedding without feeling bad about ourselves.

We have to find a way to remind ourselves that a perfectly-staged photo of a bowl of cherries doesn’t mean a person’s life is any better than ours. It just means that they’ve spent the last 3 hours piling those cherries just so, and another hour testing different filters and strengths and saturation levels. (Or that they’ve somehow mastered VSCOcam, even though you find it utterly incomprehensible.)

My photo of that bowl of cherries, on the other hand? It was probably just okay. I almost certainly got the filter wrong or there was a smudge on the bowl or my background wasn’t perfectly, pristinely white.

Why? Because I was busy eating the cherries. And you know something? They were delicious.

If there’s a lesson somewhere in this random ramble I’ve just dropped on you (and believe me, it’s one I have to repeat to myself at least once a day), it’s this:

Eat the cherries.

Just live your life, my friend. Your hilarious, messy, imperfect, dishes in the sink, dirty laundry, occasionally beautiful life. And sure, go ahead and take a picture. Or don’t. Maybe it’ll turn out perfectly – after all, occasional moments of beauty are everywhere, even in the midst of disaster. But friends, the thing to remember is this: the photo isn’t the experience. The cherries are the experience.

So, eat the cherries. Post the photo or don’t, but eat the cherries. And enjoy every last bite.

 

Share 'the expectations game' on Facebook Share 'the expectations game' on Google+ Share 'the expectations game' on Pinterest Share 'the expectations game' on Twitter Share 'the expectations game' on Email

this or that: styling a cozy reading nook

cozy-reading-nook

1: Embroidered Paris pillow, catstudio (I’m obsessed!) | Sheepskin | Throw | Lamp | Mug
2: Pillow | Vintage kantha throw | Art | Book

There’s nothing I love so much as a cozy reading nook. Something welcoming, comforting and stylish, but a little bit fun too. Besides being a perfect excuse to curl up with a book (or the latest Vogue), a well-styled reading nook just instantly makes me feel calmer and more relaxed somehow, even when the rest of my house is a shambles.

I happen to love my current nook quite a bit. It has a picture-perfect view of the pond out back, and in the morning, I get just the right mix of sunlight and crisp breezes when I settle in with my cup of tea. 

But even spaces you love can use a little update now and then. Luckily, there’s nothing easier in the world of interiors than creating (or updating) a reading nook. All you really need is a chair, a lamp and maybe a side table (you’ll need a spot to set your tea, after all), and the possibilities become infinite. It’s like the little black dress of design – classic and always ripe for reinvention.

So, I decided to have a little fun with the options, and loved the results so much, I thought I’d share. The one on the left is so relaxing, simple and elegant – I feel calmer just looking at it! But the other is so cozy and inviting. What’s your pick, friends? (As you may have noticed, someone in my house has already cast her vote…)

 

Share 'this or that: styling a cozy reading nook' on Facebook Share 'this or that: styling a cozy reading nook' on Google+ Share 'this or that: styling a cozy reading nook' on Pinterest Share 'this or that: styling a cozy reading nook' on Twitter Share 'this or that: styling a cozy reading nook' on Email