Monday, December 3, 2012

A Royal Baby

In case you live somewhere without access to major news outlets (or worse, celebrity gossip sites), I'm thrilled to let you know that their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a royal baby!!! Afternoon tea & champagne for everyone! 

While I am very happy for the royal couple, I can't help but think, "it should have been me." 

But never mind - I've always liked Harry better anyways.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


In the coming months, I'm going to be making some changes to my living room. 
Here is a tentative plan for the space.

  • I already have a similar coffee table and a small arm chair upholstered in this green imperial trellis fabric. 
  • My current mantle. (Here's a close-up of the amazing artwork.)
  • I recently purchased a 9x6 Dash & Albert Diamond Rug from Zinc Door in light blue/ivory. 
  • When my hutch is refinished (soon!), it will have a similar look to this Layla Grayce hutch.
  • I'm saving to purchase this sofa in January. It's like a bed and the slipcover is easily removable/washable. 
  • I am hoping to purchase four pillows from this etsy seller Turquoise Tumbleweed.
For now my existing end tables and lamps will stay, so I didn't include those in my plan. 

My dining room, which opens into the living room via a large archway, is also in the planning stages. My existing furniture is a little darker, so the plan is to lighten up the space and have it tie-in nicely with the living room. 

What do you think?

Target Style

First of all, Target has a Tumblr. And it's good. Like, really good. I love it because - as if you had any trouble identifying fab things to purchase on your Target visits - it highlights the creme de la creme of Tar-get's goodies. 

So when I stumbled upon this gem last week (via my fab reader-friend, Em!), I was "oohing" and "ahhing" over several of the posts.

Then I saw this one and an "emergency" post-work run to Target became 100% necessary.

 I'm sure you can see why. It's the sparkle jacket number. It's saying "j.crew" but it's priced "Mossimo." You can't hate that.

FYI, he is real cute and sparkly and soft. And no less than three people gasped when I said it was from Target. I've been wearing him much like the above - black booties, dark skinnies. But rest assured, he is versatile. Over a pencil skirt for work? With cropped minnie pants, high heels and gold baubles for a holiday party? Yes, yes. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

It's Black Friday. I assume it's "black" because its akin to death for anyone in retail. I know for some people this day brings much excitement and great savings. For me, a normal-retail-loving-good-deal-seeking-working-girl, it's too much. I mean, I've just gorged myself on turkey, various starches, sugary carbs and red wine, so standing in the cold for hours and preparing to fight mobs of people is pretty unappealing. (By the way, can we talk about how this mayhem starts ON Thanksgiving this year!? Is nothing sacred!?!) That said, I can appreciate that some people have Black Friday traditions and some people are working to maximize their holiday budgets, purchase a new appliance, etc. To you, I say, "go get 'em. Don't get trampled! Don't be a trampler!"

So I am curious. Black Friday? No Black Friday? What are you up to today?

I'm at my parents house and will likely be in my pajamas for an unacceptable portion of the day. My morning will be spent reading the paper and sipping coffee and if I'm lucky my Dad will make me pancakes. 

This photo is from an interesting NYT op-ed, "Skipping the Stores on Black Friday," from 2010

Thursday, November 22, 2012


May your stomach be as big as your eyes!
Happy, happy thanksgiving reader-friends. 

I am so humbled on this day (and many days) by my countless blessings.
In case you're wondering, these five people top the list! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

America's Best Flea Markets

CNN did a little slideshow on America's Best Flea Markets a few weeks ago. Getting to the Brimfield Antiques Shows in Massachusetts has been a bucket list line item of mine for a while - many of my fave design bloggers have visit/rave about Brimfield annually. I also learned about the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market through this feature. I will definitely be going there.

Have you ever been to one of "America's Best Flea Markets?" 
Are there any local gems near you that should have made the list (or hey, at least the top 20)?

Rose Bowl Flea Market
Pasadena, California
Brimfield Antique Markets

Canton First Monday Trade Days
Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market
Springfield, Ohio

CNN says of Springfield, "Shoppers from as far as Japan descend on Springfield, Ohio, for its twice-yearly market of 19th-century antiques. But the event isn't stuck in the past. In 2012, it introduced live music, beer and wine stands, and trend-driven clothing and housewares.The effort is paying off in Springfield, where the May 2012 market drew a record-breaking weekend crowd of 21,000 shoppers, and flea markets across America are seeing a similar surge of interest." 

What. the. freak!? I am obviously living under a rock. People in JAPAN know about this, but little old me in Cincinnati doesn't!? Fail.

Scott Antique Markets
Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago Antique Market
Chicago, Illinois 
 Almeda Point Antiques Faire
 Brooklyn Flea
Brooklyn, New York
Raleigh Flea Market
Raleigh, North Carolina
Portland Expo Antique and Collectible Show
Portland, Oregon

Monday, November 19, 2012


Santa's little helper found this industrial and rather fab bookcase at the Ballard Design Outlet last week for a steal. A few phone calls/texts/online research later, I told Santa to load that baby on his sleigh! Sometimes knowing what your Christmas gifts are ahead of time can be a little anti-climatic, but I firmly believe in getting stuff you love (and hey, sometimes that means you picked it out yourself). In this case, it also gives you plenty of time to plan how you're going to style it up. :)

Shall I use it as a buffet? (this is very Anthro-esque, no?)

Or as a bookcase?

It is obviously imperative that I keep this piece from making my space look like I bought a page out of a Pottery Barn (or in this case, Ballard) catalog. This is where the styling (read: the magic) comes in. Here are some real-nice (say like this) examples on somewhat similar bookcases:

Yes, I want to be your twin and will copy you ASAP.

Pretty. Bonus points for elephants.

I like it. I like it a lot. Also, velvet sofa + grasscloth walls for the win.

One and three are totes my faves. I will copy cat those ASAP. Then I will show you.

Also, remember my hutch? It would be real pretty looking like this too. Am I right or am I right?

What are you go-to sources for styling a bookcase!? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Call the Midwife

Have you been watching PBS' Call the Midwife? It's been called a "Downton placeholder" (for those of you also addicted to Downton) and it's British. Do I need to say anything else? 

I've only seen one ep so far but I'm already loving it, so I natch had to share with you all. 

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hutches 'n such

Happy Election Day! I hope you exercised your very important right to vote today. If you live in the state of Ohio and you have endured the endless (no really, ENDLESS) political ads for weeks on end, you are even MORE obligated to vote, if only to make up for your suffering. But on to happier and less controversial topics, such as my new hutch.

secret's out. she's in the garage.

When I saw this post for a china cabinet in my area that simply said, "china cabinet good condition make offer," I was a little weary. A blurry picture with no dimensions and no details didn't seem like a great sign. Nonetheless, I'd been semi-consciously hunting for a china cabinet after a refurbished one from Burlington earlier in the year had escaped me, so I was not be deterred. I few emails later (solid wood! would accept $70! perfect dimensions!) I had wrangled my boyfriend* and his SUV into a Saturday AM trip to check this piece out. 

The piece is a little dirty and has a few little blemishes (easily sanded out and painted over), so I talked the seller down to $60 and watched as my boyfriend and the seller carried it to the car. (I'm strong and helpful like that.) 

just barely fitting in the Jeep!

From there, we took it to my parent's house where I will store it until I can arrange to have it refinished. I am especially in love with the straight lines and the size of the piece. I'm still in the apartment phase of my life, so I wanted something that wasn't huge and could easily transition to a new space. I still have to get an  estimate, but based on past work I think it will be between $200-$300 to have it refinished. (I know I could refinish it myself for less, but I want it to look perfect. Less than $400 for a gorgeous hutch is still a deal at the end of the day!)

Here are my two inspiration images.

I mean, if my hutch ends up looking anything like that guy right here, I can die a happy lady. That is EXACTLY the look I am aiming for. And the color. I know I could go all bold (I feel like a sexy high-gloss navy hutch would be amaze), but again with my apartment-living phase going on, I want it to be uber versatile in the future.  

Along those lines, are you seeing that stenciling detail on the back of that hutch? Doesn't it make you just want to turn to the person next to you and say, "get. out!" ?  Since again, I'm aiming for versatility, I plan to achieve a similar look, but without the stencil. Enter inspiration number two.

This outrageously fab hutch very cleverly got a facelift with foam board and paper. This is my plan for my hutch. On the hunt for the perfect paper. Taking suggestions.

I can't wait to get her (the hutch) all gussied up and ready for her new home in my dining room! 

Of note, this is my first ever Craigslist purchase. I've been a little nervous to actually make inquiries/go check out pieces in the past. It was much easier/less of a hassle than I imagined. There are some great things (and a lot of junk too) on Craigslist, so don't count it out!

*useful not just for heavy lifting, but also for safety. Never agree to meet anyone from Craigslist without a buddy. You should also provide the address/email/phone number of the person you are meeting to a third party, just in case!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fine & Dandy, Indeed

Anyone who claims to know me should know I freak out over the finer things from days gone by.  Insert this kitchen. Victorian with a twist, you're my new best friend. I mean, it's a kitchen that looks Victorian and current all at once. That is a special talent. It kind of looks British too, doesn't it? 

How do I love this kitchen? Let me count thy ways:
1. Hood (I mean, could you die?)
2. Multi-colored cabinetry (hello, sexy navy island)
3. subway tile (it never gets old)
4. red lantern pendant
5. Did I mention it looks British?

To be honest, I would probably pick a different floor (I like this floor a lot, lot, but it's just not what I would choose) and then I wouldn't change a single thing. And then, I would spend the rest of my days bustling around this kitchen making roasts and soups and pies and generally being a fabulous lady of the house.

Now if I could just secure a matching master bath. I'm thinking devastatingly fabulous hardware (much like the hood over that range) and an over sized claw-foot tub.

Photo originally seen on Shelter

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


In case you've missed some of my posts on "picking" (otherwise known as antiquing, thrifting or purchasing old stuff), allow me to introduce my girl crush, Emily Henderson. I've probs introduced her before, but she's so crushable that I'll introduce her again. 

Emily is the goddess of thrifting and re-purposing and styling and making things beyond gorgeous. In other words, she's a professional. When I saw her post "15 Flea Market Secrets: How I find the best vintage pieces" I knew I was going to copy-cat that business over here as fast as I could.  For all the pictures I post and posts I write about visiting antique markets/flea markets/thrift store/etc., I thought the least I could do was share these hard-earned, insider tips with you all.

The timing is rather ironic because the last Burlington of the season was on Sunday, and Burlington is the best place for me personally to execute these flea market warrior tips in the future. Nevertheless, I will post them and then go all professional next April. 

These are officially the 15 commandments of picking. If having 15 rules is too much for you newbies, here are my top 4.

#1 Arrive Early: I don't usually get to markets uber early because I go more for fun than to find large pieces of furniture. If I was looking for specific larger pieces, you bet I would be there with the pros in the early hours of the AM. It's science. People buy the great stuff first. 

#3 Big First, Small Second: If you are looking for larger pieces or something specific, it is imperative that you employ this method. Lap one is for scoping out the big ticket items and/or your specific desire. At Burlington, this has been a bar cart for me (so far, no dice). Once lap one is completed you either have your big item(s) or you can rule them out and begin lap two to secure accessories, etc. 

#4 Shape over color: Bottom line, you have to look past what the piece IS and see what it COULD be. You can transform a lot about a piece, but you can't change ugly the shape! 

#7 Calculate all costs: It might seem obvious, but make sure you consider what you'll have to put invest in a piece to bring your vision to life. With the cost of materials, labor, time is it still worth it? If so, you have a winner!

What is your favorite tip from Emily?

*this content was written by Emily Henderson and originally appeared on*


How to shop at a flea market:  Scoring those killer pieces can be challenging, so here are some tips to help your flea market trips get less, well, trippy.
I like the flea market.  
Also, the sky is blue. 
It's ma thang, those flea markets.  Part of why i'm good at it is because i've been dumpster diving and thrift store shopping since i was old enough to spot my first brass animal. it's in ma blood. But it doesn't have to be in your blood to be good at it.  It can be learned, grasshopper.  
Here are 15 tips that can help anyone shop and buy the best pieces at the flea market whether they are a flea market virgin or a  pro.
1. Get there early.  I know, i boring, everybody says 'Go early! Go early!', but the truth is you can find average, good pieces all day long, and sometimes you can absolutely find great pieces at 2pm.  But those great pieces aren't normally the no-brainers, those are the risk-takers, the ones that you need to have a huge imagination for and a lot of guts.  
But if you don't want to have to turn on that part of your brain, then know that all the obviously amazing stuff will get eaten up by designers, store-owners and collectors by 10am.  All the Milos' or Mccobbs' are gone before the sun is up.  Go early if you want incredible pieces. Go later if you want just good stuff.  I shoot for 7am at the Rose Bowl and 8:30 at the others.  
That's Orlando and I at 6am, FREEZING.  Lord, i miss winter flea markets. Its been 90-100 degrees every sunday the last few months. I long to wear scarves. 
2. Bring a list.  Its easy to get distracted at the flea market because its total sensory overload - the loud people, the hot dog breath (hot-dog-o'clock - 9am -is the much hot dog air in your face at such an inappropriately early time), people are bumping into you, and so many colors and shapes to see........its just a lot.  So if you write a list beforehand it helps curate things in your head, and then if and when you get distracted you can reference it constantly to remind you of what you are there to do.   You'll be shocked how often you forget that you are looking for vintage castors for your stools. Write it down. You'll forget about the stuff you need and just end up seeing the stuff that distracts you. 

3. Go big first, small second.  'Bigs' are furniture, 'smalls' are accessories.  So if you are looking for furniture then go around the market fast the first time, soley looking for furniture because that is what goes the fastest.  Cruise around quickly and then as your eye catching something amazing slow down and check it out.  AS you spot things take photos, get prices, right down booth numbers and then pull the trigger or decide to wait. The second time cruise for accessories, artwork, lighting, jewelry and clothes.  If the 'bigs' are still there then offer a price, but think big first, smalls second.  Don't dilly dally looking at earrings at 7am when you are there for a new coffee table. Race around. Fast. Then go slow for the smalls. 
4. Love the shape more than the color.  If you are wondering if something is good, picture it in a different color.  If you still like it then its probably worth the splurge.  Remember, the finish, color or fabric can always change but the shape really can't. So if the shape is amazing but the color is bad, then calm down, it can all be changed, but if the shape is just 'ok' but the color is good then don't spend a ton. Make sure you are in love with the shape if it you are spending actual money.  
Like this piece. I just got two of them for $80.  Amazing shape. Terrible color, obviously.  But worth the splurge....which brings me to my next tip. 

5. Splurge on the unique.  The is one of the most frequent questions i get - Dear Emily, what do you splurge on? It took me a while to realize what i splurge on and that's items that will start a conversation.  If you see something that sparks something inside your insides, that sings a song inside your brain, that draw you to it - then that is what you splurge on.   I am confident that i could design a room with ikea furniture, and then use a few great weird and inspired statement pieces to turn it into a room that people will talk about.  Sure, your sofa needs to be comfortable, but if you are about to spend a ton of dough on it, try to make it really unique as well. Otherwise go crazy with art, sculptures, weird furniture - that is what will turn your house into something truly conversation worthy.  
These guys are now in beautiful gray begium linen and totally amazing. And still for sale for $3400.  email me at emilyhenderson - at-

6. Don't hoard unneccessarily.  I have this rule for myself - if i wouldn't spend $100 then don't spend $30. But I have a SH*T-TON of stuff.  Accessories are not what i'm lacking.  If you feel like you don't have enough 'smalls' in your house then yes, buy cute, great, personality-filled accessories, but if you are worried about bringing more into your house that you don't need then ask yourself that question: 'If this were $100 would i still buy it?'.  Then listen to your answer. 
7. Calculate in all costs.  Furniture costs normally don't stop at the purchase.  When i see a $100 sofa that needs to be reupholstered i automatically add $6-$800 for the labor of the upholstery plus $300 for the fabric, plus delivery to and from the upholsterer, maybe $60 each way.  That obviously changes the price of the sofa and therefore i have to LOVE it in order to put in all the time and money.  Just be prepared for the added costs before you get hosed.  

8. Stay away from the new stuff.  I know that flea markets are expanding and they are starting to include many a cell-phone cover and imported tablecloths, but in general avoid these.  I'm pro small business, LORD KNOWS, but the flea market is not the place to be marketed to for your jewelry.  What is acceptable are things that are made from vintage things - like pillows from vintage fabric, furniture from reclaimed stuff (although, come on, lets get some innovative design out there, if i have to see one more 'reclaimed wood and iron industrial bench' i'm going to get all Russell Crowe on it).  For sake of time, just stick to the old stuff. The new stuff will just distract you while Mr and Mrs fast-paced-johnson are buying all the amazing regency pieces. 
9. Look high and look low. People often wonder how i find things that they don't and one of the biggest reasons is that i have CRAZY EYES that have the patience of hungry two year old t-rexes - they are constantly wondering, darting, not making eye contact during the most serious of conversations. But also because i look really high and really low. Don't forget what people are hanging on the walls or above their tents and don't forget what is under the tables.  You have to dig to be properly rewarded so make sure you cover all the highs and lows of most booths. 

10. Bring cash, but know they take checks.  EVERYONE enjoys cash most and they will give you a better deal with cash. But if you need to most will take checks.  If you promise someone cash but you don't have enough simply offer them a deposit then go to the ATM and bring the rest later.  Give them your phone number and take theirs just in case.  But if you are on the fence about whether you should bring your chekbook or not, the answer is YES, many take checks. 
11. Haggle respectively.  I could write a whole book on this. Here's how the dialogue goes every weekend:
me: "Sir, how much is this?"
him: $120
me: its amazing, i love it.  
Him:  right? look how great the lines are. 
me:  I don't need it but i love it...what would your bottom price be?
Him:  $110
me:  That's a great deal and totally worth it. I'm not sure if its in my budget but you'll definitely get it for that.
Him: well what i your top price?
me:  probably $90,  
him: alright give me cash and its yours, but only because you love it so much.  
It's EXTREMELY simple.  Ask them what they are charging, counter with WHAT IS FAIR and then if you love it then tell them that you love it.  I have friends that have huge manipulative strategies, but i don't (also people know me so i can't) - these vendors have spent hours, days and tears finding the perfect pieces.  Please don't try to insult them by low-balling them unless you truly believe that they are overcharging.  If you can't even come close to affording it then tell them that - say how much you love it and how you'd use it but that its not in your budget.  Then they might budge.  As much as they are in it for the money they are also emotionally involved with these pieces and they really want them to go to a good home. So if you make a case for how much you love it and how well you'd take care of it then you can get the best discount.  This isn't meant to be manipulative - its common sense.  
In short: be nice, be grateful, be respectful.  We are not in the mid-evil ages where people are tring to 'getcha' all the time. These are real people, collecting things they love and trying to make a living.  Be respectful and you'll get the best deal. It's that simple. 
....Although yes, there are times when people overcharge and i have got into skirmishes, although unfortunately because people know me i have way less leverage than i used to.  
OH, wait....the more you buy the better deal you get.  I'm sure thats obvious but just in case it wasn't  - know that if you combine items at the same vendor you'll get a better deal. 
12.  Furniture needs to be special in order to be expensive.  I'll buy a standard but pretty mid-century chair for $250 from the flea market, but once it gets to $400 it better be VERY special.  If i can get two chairs for $600 then that changes the story - because a pair is more unique. But in general make sure that if you are spending real money that you are getting something unique. Mid-century can be average, uncomfortable and boring so get it at a good price or make sure its unique.  
13. if you love something pull the trigger.  It's like finding the perfectly nice, hot, talented, edgy dude when you are 28 - if you don't pull the trigger SOMEONE ELSE IS ABOUT TO.  I can't tell you  how many times i've bought something and then later when i go back to pick it up the vendor tells me that so many people came back for it, but they didn't have the balls to pull the trigger fast enough.  Don't be hasty, but if you love it, if your friends love it, if your partner loves it and its not a bad price then BUY IT before it sells. Because it will sell and you will be sad.
Like this round chair for $100. I shoulda pulled the trigger but i didn't and now i will regret my life.  
14. Buy quality, not knock offs. How to find quality pieces:  I get this question all the time and its a hard one to answer.  In general you don't have to worry about it as much at the flea market as you do at thrift stores.  Normally the vendor isn't selling total crap. But otherwise ask the vendor if he knows who made it.  Look for signage - on dressers its inside the drawers, on chairs its under the seat, on tables its underneath - that will help you know if its worth a splurge or just a few bucks.  Feel the weight of it; pick it up. If its super lightweight then it might not be too high of quality.  Check to see if the wood is solid or if it is just a veneer (which is just thin wood on top of cheap wood).  
Like this dining table for $350. I love the shape of it so very much. But the wood was cheap, it looked and felt like pine. I could paint it and it could be fine, but that would be like $300-$500 to do it right and since its a dining table that will get a lot of surface wear that isn't something i could do myself.  So i passed on it, but vowed to have it made by a furniture builder, in quality wood.  I actually normally love tables that can fold down for practicality sake, but i hated the seams on top so i'll make it to not fold down.  
15. What to bring:
Cash money
Phone camera
Notebook to write down what booth pieces were in - you won't remember, trust me. 
Food - the food normally sucks, you are a captive audience so at least in LA they feed you absolute garbage.
Bottled water
A canvas bag.  I love the huge canvas bags from Lands' End because they are super lightweight so you aren't weighed down at the beginning.  
And that's how you do it, folks.  Go forth, and shop.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

october in reverse

Well, here I am. Did you miss me? Over the past month I've been rather busy. I hope you understand. It's not that I didn't want to blog or that I didn't think about blogging, I just was so busy living that I couldn't possibly miss one second by sitting down to talk about it. I  jetted over and sailed across oceans (it was every bit as fabulous as it sounds). I left a job (and the most wonderful friends) to start a new one. I visited my dearest Mimi twice, sipped lots of champagne, bought my first peplum top and admitted I have a scarf addiction (that's the first step ya know). I walked across a natural bridge, organized my closet (all my hangers match people!), cleaned out my desk and savored fall. Oh and I fell in love with France.  

In case you missed the instagram party (you can follow me @julielech) here's a little visual recap. I'll be back this week with trip updates (seriously, I can't believe I lived that trip) and my regular programming. It feels good to be back! 

birthday brulee!
happy birthday + londontown bound!

champagne + tea time @ county hall

did I mention I adore champagne teas?

two, chic Parisian girls lunching at the Eiffel Tower

Laduree's famous french macaroons...worth the hype! 

locks of love along the Seine 

toasting to the final night of a fabulous trip

natural bridge

an amazing book (Downton fans, you will die!)

red river gorge sky lift 


sister chaiders (chi tea + cider = heaven) on a cool fall afternoon

swinging is significantly underrated

entertaining inspiration

latest round of mantle styling

feel free to tell me how much you missed me in the comments! It's mutual ;)