Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

Sigh! I had the BEST weekend! It's been a while since I stuck around Cincy for an entire I made sure to make the most of it! Drinks and dancing with great friends on Friday, followed by a whole day of lazy river tubing and a delicious BBQ dinner on Saturday AND church, brunch and biking on the Loveland Trail on Sunday. The Chicago/Doobie Brothers concert at Riverbend on Sunday night rounded out the weekend! I am refreshed, sunburnt, happy and ready to take on the week! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Casual Friday

Welcome to Casual Friday: Farmers' Market edition! One of my favvvvorite things to do in summertime is head to the farmers' market on Sunday morning. Couples, singles, families, kids and dogs abound as everyone enjoys the spoils of our local farmers, chefs and artisans. I feel such a sense of community sipping my coffee and strolling the stalls, filling my tote with goods for the week to come. This outfit is a perfect example of a laid back ensemble for all your weekend activities - it can transition from farmers' market to church to errands to brunch to bike rides and everything else in between! Happy Friday reader-friends!

Floppy Hat, Target
Sunglasses, Target

Thursday, July 26, 2012

greater than or equal to

Inquiring minds want to know...which is better?
I'm having trouble deciding myself.

Sorry for the radio silence. A weekend away in MI and a busy week at work leaves little time for blogging. Back tomorrow & next week! 

Photos from here and here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Casual Friday

Welcome to Casual Friday: Summer Nights edition. This week's casual Friday was inspired by Jessica at What I Wore. She was sporting these shorts in her post yesterday, and I loved them! I think fun shorts, wedges and a simple tank makes a cool, comfortable and stylish outfit for almost any summer night! (All picks are under $40 this week, so you can be stylish and savvy!)

I'm off to Michigan, so my ensembles this weekend will look a little more like this. I'm looking forward to sun and sand! Wishing all my reader-friends a weekend filled with just enough wine to make you think you can dance (but so much that you wake up with a headache)! 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get the Look

When I saw this guest room by Design Star winner Emily Henderson (she's super cute, no?) earlier this week, I was really impressed She made some bold choices which I would maybe be afraid to make in my own home, but the end result is a very collected, warm and unique space. And here is the beauty of following designers - you don't always have to come up with something original, especially if you struggle with making decisions for your own home's decor - you can copy them! You find something you love and you know it will work without taking the risks and questioning colors, fabrics, etc.

Here's how to get the look of Emily's guest bedroom for yourself! 

*Pink upholstered headboards aren't too easy to come by. This may need to be a custom piece you invest in. Some options include purchasing this headboard and having it reupholstered, or this option from Costco, which has a great shape.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wined & Dined

Before I left for vacay, I scheduled a little dinner partay with my girlfriends for my return. I thought a hump-day dinner party was just the thing to get me out of my post-vacation blues. I was right! It was perfect to see my friends after being out of town, and we enjoyed wine and good eats.

Of course, having been home for just two days, I kept it simple, simple, simple! A fresh salad and a pasta dish were easily prepared after work. 

Sundried Tomato & Artichoke Pasta

You will need:
1 package whole wheat penne
1 jar sun dried tomatoes (I used Trader Joe's)
2 cans of artichoke hearts, drained
2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
garlic, to taste (I like garlic, so I load it in!)

Cook pasta according to package directions and bring remaining ingredients to a simmer in a saute pan. (The oil from the sun dried tomatoes eliminates the need to add any olive oil to the saute pan.) Once pasta is cooked, mix in veggies and enjoy! 

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home Decorators Crush

I've had a pretty big crush on Home Decorator's Collection (HDC) for a while now. I originally stumbled upon HDC through other design blogs and at once fell in love with the stylish, affordable furniture and decor. So naturally, when I found out they had brick and mortar stores in select states across the U.S., I knew I had to get to one! (And of course, when Jenny of Little Green Notebook visited the New Jersey location and said it was great, and I wanted to go even MORE.) 

So, when I spent a little time in Atlanta, GA with my cousin D at the tail end of my vacation, pretty much my first thought was, "when and how fast can I get to HDC?" (I'm sure the first thing you all of think of when someone says "fun things to do in Atlanta" is "HOME DECORATORS!!!!" right!? Just me?) After making my specific request known weeks in advance of my visit, D graciously escorted me to the Alpharetta location. (And she even agreed to take a picture of me out front of this 'tourist attraction'!)

You can't see my ginormous "design dork" smile, but I was like a kid on Christmas! 

This clock is a beaut! A agree with Jenny - it's a little Kate Spade reminiscent, no? 

Gorgeous fabrics for Home Decorators' custom upholstery items. I was looking at the headboard samples, specifically. Fabric samples are available from HDC upon request!

Love this fabric option! 

I was specifically interested in the headboards, as I've been eying this one for a while. I was impressed with the quality in person. I will probably go with "natural twill" when I do order it for more versatility over time.

I was also very interested in the quality of HDC's sofas, which are so affordable that I thought they were too good to be true. They appeared very well made, and again offer great upholstery options. The sofas that I sat on were all pretty comfortable too. They aren't super large sofas, so in my mind they aren't perfect for lounging or watching TV, but they look awesome. The Rockford Sofa, pictured here, has such a high-end look. The Gordon Tufted Sofa is also beautiful in person (doesn't look cheapo like I thought it might - love the brown!). 

I'm such a sucker for blues and greens. I swooned over the new Martha Stewart craft collection and these gorgeous accessories. 

One thing I didn't take pics of, but which really impressed me in person, were the dining tables, chairs and lighting options. Again, they were all stylish, beautiful and of great quality. 

 To summarize, my Home Decorators visit was a HUGE win. It's so awesome to see, feel and sit on all the stuff you love looking at online. My cousin had never heard of HDC or been there before and she loved it too. If you are lucky enough to be near a HDC location, be sure to check it out. Otherwise, you can browse their amazing selection online! 

(P.S. If you can't make it to a store, but are considering an HDC purchase, the reviews for many products are detailed and helpful.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

I'm back with a REAL post. Posts coming at you every day this week. Pinky promise! 

1. What to do with Friday summer hours? Wine flights and great convo with mah fabulous coworker!
2. Summer salads are perfection.
3. Photo Booth is funny. Also, I am easily amused.
4. Vintage trophy tops turned into wine toppers. Amazing!
5. Well hello amazing linen tunic ($7) and striped boatneck sweatshirt with zipper detail ($25) @ j.crew factory. You should come home with me.
6. New polish picks. 

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scenes from the Beach

My good intentions of blogging between sunning, reading and sipping cocktails oceanside have been sidelined because I've been so busy sunning, reading and sipping cocktails oceanside with my most favorite people. Here's a glimpse of the week so far! 

 Well worn path from the house, over the dunes, to the ocean.

A storm rolls in.

Favorites dine at Santa Fe Cafe. (L to R, my sister K + my cousin Di + moi)

The moon has been orange all week and casts a glow over the ocean each night!

[some of] my fam

Dancing in the moonlight

[some of] the cousins' annual lunch with Mimi

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beach Reads

I love to read and am surprised that I have yet to make reading recommendations on MM. Obviously a week at the beach offers plenty of time for poolside literary pursuits, so what better time to make some suggestions for additions to your summer reading list?

Disclaimer: I'm no literary critic! These are just a few books I've enjoyed reading as of late and thought you might enjoy them too!

Natasha Solomons

When I heard that this book was "3 parts Jane Eyre, 1 part Anne Frank and 8 parts Downton Abbey" I couldn't get my hands on this WWII era novel fast enough. When displaced refugee Elise accepts a job as a servant at an old English estate to escape Nazi persecution, she finds herself struggling to determine her proper place. A fair warning, the story is much more focused on romance than on larger historical events around the war, but lovers of Downton will no doubt love the story as much as I did. (And I promise you will imagine Wrexham as Carson too! They are interchangeable.)

Sophie Kinsella

I originally discovered the laugh-out-loud genius of Sophie Kinsella through the "Confessions of  Shopoholic" series. (If you are judging that statement based on the movie, one of the poorest book-to-film adaptations of all time, go read the book now!) I consider her to be the original author of "chick-lit" and her rom-com style novels get me every time. I almost always read her new books right when they're released, but "Remember Me" fell off my reading list and I just got around to it. As always, the book's heroine is relatable, endearing and funny and Kinsella is good for an easy, enjoyable read. "Remember Me" - or any of Kinsella's novels - is the perfect beach read! (You may also find books by Madeleine Wickham to be of intrest if you like Kinsella's novels.)

Peter Robinson 

The beautiful but lonely English countryside is the perfect backdrop for an this eery, suspenseful, romantic mystery to unfold. (It holds hints of Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca...) When successful film composer Chris Lowndes returns to his native England after the death of his beloved wife and purchases an isolated country home site-unseen, he feels as though Kilnsgate House has been waiting for him. Shortly after moving in, he learns that the previous owner was murdered in the home by his much younger wife, Grace Fox, who was hanged nearly 50 years prior for her crime. Fueled by isolation, curiosity, his own grief and forces unseen, Lowndes begins to look into the murder only to become convinced that Fox was wrongly convicted. Flashbacks to Grace's trial and excerpts from her wartime diaries offer glimpses into the past as Lowndes struggles to piece together missing information in the present. I loved this book because it combines historical fiction and mystery novel perfectly with a bit of romance and the supernatural - and have a weakness for all things English. 

What are your summer reading rec's?

Of note: I recently joined my local library after years of purchasing/borrowing books. I always loved utilizing my local library growing up, but post-college it hardly even occurred to me to join one in my new city. Since becoming an active cardholder in early May, I've read a new book almost weekly and get a nerdy amount of enjoyment out of visits to the library. If you're not using this local and FREE source for books, I highly recommend it! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

Beach week 2012 is off to a most excellent start! I spent the first part of my weekend traveling from the midwest to South Carolina's low country and the second part of my weekend enjoying its beauty. At this very moment I am sipping my coffee, watching sea grass dance in the salty breeze as the Atlantic tide slips out to sea. 
I hope the coming week passes slooowwwlyy! 

Beach reads...more on my summer reading rec's this afternoon!
The sun sets on Saturday night...

Bobbin chairs flank the fireplace in the main living room of the beach house. Love.

Towels dry after a long day of surf and sun.

Have a wonderful week, friends!