Thursday, April 30, 2009

silly wet

For our wedding Jesse and I had silhouettes of ourselves facing each other for our save the dates, our gift bags, programs etc. I think it was so personal but it also kept everything very clean. It became our logo and i just love it. They were done on the computer we just took profile shots of ourselves and had a friend photoshop them for us. I have been thinking that I would like to put some sort of reminder of it in our home somewhere but I didn't really want it to be digital so I have sort of held off. Last month O magazine featured a company called Cut Arts. Karl Johnson is a master scissor artist who will create silhouettes like the ones I have posted, he will cut any photo you send him. I can't wait to use these for a kids room or a fun room!  Check out his site for more info.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

custom doggy linens on sale!

When I first got Beans I bought him a temper-pedic dog bed from Pottery Barn which he loves, and I got the cover custom made with a fabric that coordinated with my living room. The cover is looking pretty beat up after numerous washings and after Beans decided to eat holes in it. Not wanting to spend the money to get another cover made I went on the Pottery Barn website to see what they have, and I found a doggy bed cover sale! So I ordered the navy for $12.99, spent the extra $4.99 for monogramming, the whole thing with shipping was under $20 and voila! Beans has never felt more at home. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

foto wall

So there is a wall in Jesse's office that I want to put all black and white photographs on. I want to include fine art photos, baby photos, wedding photos as well as photos we that we have taken together. I have done them a bunch for clients and they have turned out great, but before I get started I want to do some research, and also share with you some tips I use for making a successful photo wall. 

Consistency: I like to have some consistency, whether its all the same color frame, all color photos, the same size white mat around each picture, or all black and white, I think that there should be one consistent element in the photo wall, and the rest you can be creative. If you are mixing black and white with color photography and art I would use all the same color frame. If you are using all black and white you can mix it up. 

Be accurate: Measure the area on the wall that you are planning to hang the photos, and then measure out the same size and area on your floor. Start laying out your photos on the floor within that area. Leave about 2 inches between each photo.

Keep photos secure: Use a level and hang frames on two hooks or you will constantly be straightening them on the wall. Using mounting tape on the back of the frames will keep your photos in place.

Staircase rulesWhen making a collage going up a staircase keep in mind to mimic the staircase lines in your collage. Also make sure to measure on every second or third step the distance from the collage to the stair to make sure it has the same distance consistently. 
Get creative: Pick interesting photos from different times in your life and your family's life. Do not use only from one photoshoot. Its so much more interesting to mix an old pictures of your family (i.e. mom at the beach as a teenager) with more recent ones. Get creative, tell a story. 

When all else fails: If you are still intimidated by the thought of creating a photo wall that works check out The Picture Wall Company. You can buy a template for a perfect photo wall all without measuring! I haven't tried it but I would love to hear from anyone who has. 

It was hard finding photos of photo walls I really liked, but stay tuned I will post mine hopefully sooner than later. 

Please send me any successful photo walls you have done or any that you love and I will post them. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

spring clean

Its the time of year when we all decide its time for a little spring cleaning. We try and reflect on what we have, and have not used in the past year and decide what stays and what should go. Its hard to stay focused and very easy to get sidetracked. I found a very helpful article to support us in that process. I especially like #5 .. The Obstacles (which I posted). Please comment with any organizing and de-cluttering tips you may have. Check out Aby Garvey for full article.

#5: Anticipate and remove your obstacles.

Before entering your space of excess, the place you want to whittle down a bit, think about which items will be easy to let go of and which will be a challenge. Add the challenging items to your worksheet along with the reason they’ll be difficult to let go of. The reasons are your obstacles. Now, let’s figure out some simple strategies for removing common obstacles.

Obstacle 1: The “I might need it someday syndrome.”
Strategy: Decide when someday is.
Here’s how it works. You come across something and think “I might need this someday.” Ask yourself, “realistically, *when* will I need this?” If you can’t come up with a definite answer then assign an arbitrary date up to six months out in the future. Put the item in a box, write the date on the outside of the box, and move on. If the “someday” (the date on the box) comes and goes and you haven’t needed the item … you are now free to send it off to a happier place. Ah, doesn’t that feel good?

Obstacle 2: The “I paid good money for this syndrome.”
Strategy: Accept that the money is spent.

No amount of hanging-onto an item can bring your money back. Whether you keep it or not, the money is gone. Forever. Cut your losses and move on. If you look at something and feel guilty about what you paid for it, yet you’re not using it, the guilt won’t entice you to use the item. You’ll continue to not use the item and continue to feel guilty about it. Why linger in the yuckiness? Let it go.

Obstacle 3: The “garage sale syndrome.”
Strategy: Find an alternative happy home for your previously enjoyed items.

The garage sale syndrome sets in when you have decided to let go of some things and yet they continue to linger in your presence, waiting for the big garage sale. It’s true; garage sales can be a way to turn some of your no longer needed items into cash. But not without a cost. If letting go of things is difficult for you, a garage sale simply extends the process. Instead, find a charity you’ll feel good about donating your items to. Schedule a pick-up for the day after your letting go session. Or check out In no time, you’ll have treasure hunters lining up to relieve you of your things!

Obstacle 4: The “gift syndrome.”
Strategy: Take the fact that the item was a gift out of the equation.

When you come across a gift, ask yourself “Do I need, use or love the item?” It the answer is no, you aren’t obligated to keep the item. A gift doesn’t come with strings attached. I know this one can be hard to swallow… but it’s true.

There are ways you can honor the memory of the gift, without actually holding onto the actual item. For example, if you’re a scrapbooker, you could take a photo of the gift and create a mini scrapbook or scrapbook page called “gifts of love.” Record who gave you the gift and for what occasion, and then, why that person is special to you. This will allow you to focus on the person who gave you the gift, and their meaning to you, instead of feeling tied to the gift itself.

Let me know how your spring cleaning is going.. I am setting 30 every night to organizing and de-cluttering. Keep me posted on any strategies you have found that work.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

sabastiao selgado


images: Sabasiao Selgado
I attended an antique  show at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica last night, I also sat in on a panel discussion panel including Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Thomas Lavin, Windsor Smith, Joe Nye, and Madeline Stuart, They were talking about the future of the Interior Design as well as the current economic crisis effect on the industry. It was a great evening and I am happy that I was able to attend. I got to see an old friend Peter Fetterman who I met years ago when I bought a birthday present for my boyfriend (who is now my husband) at his famous LA gallery which specializes in black and white photography. If you live in LA or are visiting, and you have never visited his place on Michigan Ave in Bergamont Station, you should definitely make the trip. The images posted are from the Sabastiao Selgado AFRICA exhibit that will be at Peter Fetterman from 5/13-9/9. I caught a sneak peak of some of the photos at the show last night and they are amazing. Check out the images I have posted and go on Peters website to see the schedule of Sabastiao's lecture and other events. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

straight knock off

I feel a little hesitant to do this but this is a far too good of a steal from none other thank IKEA. I am going to get shunned at Madeline Weinrib the next time I call but I can't resist, so I have posted a photo from Nate Berkus's Chicago apartment, the same photo that graced the cover of last Septembers Elle Decor with the Madeline Weinrib rug that made her famous. Her rugs are all so unique and beautiful, I am a loyal customer as she makes my favorite rugs on the market. Please check out her collection it is absolutly gorgeous. 

So enjoy, quantities are limited to get in there quick. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

former furniture

I mentioned this site briefly yesterday its called Former Furniture. Former Furniture is an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of previously owned furniture as well as showroom pieces. The site was created by interior designer Lindsay Dann who saw the opportunity while assisting clients to sell some of their furniture while they were renovating their homes or moving. Former Furniture acts as a conduit between buyers and sellers to insure that both are satisfied with the process. Check out the website and tell me what you think, I have some posted some great pieces I have seen while browsing the site. There are really some great deals available. 


My favorite pedicure in Los Angeles is the Dharma pedicure from The Paint Shop in Beverly hills. The Paint Shop is a hidden gem on south Robertson where they play great music and offer you herbal tea all while you relax in their comfy oversized chairs. The Dharma Pedicure is the one to get, its based on four thousand years of body wisdom from India. Darma means path in Sanskrit and is designed to energize the chakras through an intense foot massage. A chakra signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body, and at the beginning of the massage.. I mean pedicure :), you are asked to choose which chakra you would like to focus on and they will hit pressure points and use coordinating colors to achieve this. I chose LOVE (which is the heart chakra) for my last pedicure.. Which one will you choose? Make sure you ask for Kevin he is the best! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

do you know what today is?

                                                                                              David Doubilet
It is Earth Day! I am not doing anything special today for earth day other than writing this blog, rather I am changing my lifestyle and have been, so that "Earth Day" is every day.  Here are some things you can do in honor of  "Earth Day."

1. Pledge not to trash the oceans! Help reduce your mark by limiting your plastic consumption. As I said yesterday, the majority of the trash on the beach is plastic and since its not biodegradable.. Its not going anywhere. Ditch the plastic water bottle its unhealthy for you anyway. Click on the link to find out other ways. 

2. Shop at Stella McCartney not only does she not use leather or fur in any of her collections she also incorporates organic, and eco friendly materials. From now until April 29th 5% of all proceeds go to Oceana which is a nonprofit dedicated to keeping our oceans alive.

3. Shop locally and with a reusable bag.  I am sure you have dozens of them from the recent campaigns going on promoting them.. Use them!! Click on the link and type in your zip code to find restaurants and farmers markets that use local produce. 

4. Recycle... Obviously

5. Opt for riding a bike. See blog entry "the new status symbol" or carpool. 

6. Educate your friends, kids, and anyone else who will listen. 

7. When decorating your house.. Check out antique furniture, the usual 1stdibs also a new site I discovered former furniture.  

8. Before ditching that old sofa, save some dough and help the earth by recovering it in a great new organic linen. Your family will thank you, older furniture has had time to off gas so the chemicals in the glue and the foam are less toxic than any new furniture you can buy. 

9. Check out Benjamin Moore Aura line as well as the Natura line for every wonderful color Benjamin Moore has to offer. Minus harmful VOC's.

1o. Stay updated on new ways to help neutralize your carbon imprint, and most of all enjoy what nature has to offer!

Happy Earth Day!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

clean the beach

When I think of summer I think of spending long days at the beach. What is better than spending the day at the beach with friends, or reading a great book under an umbrella, listening to the soothing ocean sounds, breathing in the fresh salty air. Being at the beach always gets me a little nostalgic watching children run around, burying each other in the sand, collecting sea shells, and having the time of their lives makes me think of summers as a kid visiting the beach with my family. The beach has given me so much joy in my life, my husband Jesse and I actually met each other for the first time at the beach four years ago this July. Since then we have visited the beach together at least a hundred times. Jesse grew up in Malibu, so the beach has always been a major part of his life and always will be, we talk about raising our kids at the beach and how we want the beach to be as much a part of their life as it is a part of ours. 

 Jesse and I talk a lot about getting more involved in beach cleanups. In fact I got a reminder email last week that Heal the Bay, a local non profit environmental group  was doing its monthly Nothing but Sand Beach Cleanup this past Saturday morning. Jesse and I spoke about going to the clean up as we do every month after I get one of these reminders, but somehow Saturday afternoon comes around and we forgot, or a friend was in town visiting. There are always things that come up. Well something different happened this past Saturday afternoon. Jesse and I were spending our first (presummer) day of the year at the beach, the weather was gorgeous, we were so excited to be at the beach! Then we realized that there was so much trash and junk all over the beach, this gradual change in the beach is not so gradual. It is happening and we need to do something about it. Sunday morning Jesse and I came out early to the beach with two giant trash bags within a half an hour they were both busting at the seams. Together we disposed of about  100 straws, 75 bottle caps, 15 cans of soda, 25 plastic bags, 15 plastic bottles, a pizza box and many more disgusting mostly plastic items. After we were done we put up our umbrella and enjoyed an exceptionally beautiful day at the beach. We decided that every time we go to the beach we are going to bring two trash bags and do our own little beach cleanup, we owe it to the beach after all of the years its taken care of us, relieved us from stresses, and nurtured us, its the least we can do, and we are encouraging all of our friends to do the same. I am always looking for ways to get involved and give back to the world but its hard to find the time, this is such a direct way to really make a difference and it will make you feel so good, bring your kids! What a great way to get them involved. If you would like to find out more ways to get involved in saving the oceans visit Heal the Bay and Conservation International let me know if you have any other ideas or questions I look forward to hearing your comments on this one.    mario vitali, photo

Friday, April 17, 2009

the new status symbol

According to the New York Times last Friday, the new status symbol in transportation is not  a Range Rover or another gas guzzling luxury ride...  Rather it is the classic "glossy black Dutch bicycle," which has not changed design since WWII it has been showing up in the windows of clothing stores such as Club Monaco this season, it comes with fenders, a chain guard, a generator and a rack so you don't have to worry about getting grimy on your way to work in a suit. They even posted a slide show for men on what to wear while riding one of these bicycles. I decided I would find some pictures to inspire us girls to get on a bike and ride to work while wearing high heels, carrying a purse and talking on a cell phone. After doing some research on Dutch bicycles and others that I think are Beans and Mango worthy, I came across a company called Velorbis. They have the coolest bikes I have ever seen so I decided to dedicate this entry  to them and I think you will agree with me. Velorbis ladies bikes feature skirts guards, wicker baskets to hold your pocketbook, you can purchase a strap on leather carrying case to hold any extra baggage, some of the models come standard with balloon tires which makes your bike feel more like a Bentley, also standard is the Brooks Saddle a classic leather handmade seat which is a must have accessory for any fashion forward bicycle. I am not able to find pricing as of now.. I am not sure if you can even buy them in the US but I am getting to the bottom of it and I will keep you posted. Please comment if you have any questions on these bikes. Let me know if you want more info on other bikes such as the Electra townie, or the Electra Amsterdam. 

one kings lane

I am so excited about this new website my good friend Joseph Varet introduced me to. Its called One Kings Lane  and its an invitation required online shopping destination featuring brands such as John Robshaw, Matteo, D.L. and Co. and many more amazing brands up to 70% off retail for a limited 72 hour brand specific sales event. Each event includes a limited quantity of hand selected products from the specified brand.
Members also receive tips and inspiration from celebrated designers, chefs, planners and other industry experts.

This is definitely a site I will be frequenting daily!

Please comment if you would like an exclusive invitation to the site.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

cut the cheese

While shopping yesterday for a wedding gift I came across this amazing George Jensen Forma cheese board and stainless knife designed by the Paris based Danish designer Helle Damkjaer. I love the organic look of the asymmetrical wood board with the modern stainless steel knife. Who couldn't use a cheeseboard?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I was in my backyard the other day and noticed a spider web in the tree branches of my lemon trees. I saw a giant black spider crawling out from the web and thought to myself that spider is far too big to be in my backyard and therefore couldn't possibly be dangerous as well... Then it spun upside down and I saw a perfect red hourglass on his belly.

So I ran!!!!!

When I came to my senses I decided to see what I could do about this problem. I cancelled my bimonthly exterminator a few months back because I thought is was better to have some harmless critters crawling around than to have chemicals sprayed all over my yard. My mind has since changed about the harmless critters but I still don't want the chemicals. After a bit of research I found Green Leaf Organic Pest Control. They use essential tree oils and other organic remedies to control pests, and at last resort they will spray regular bug repellent similar to those you put on your animals to control flees so we know they are at least pet friendly. 

I will let you know how this all works, but for now I am very excited about this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

living in harmony

I cannot help but have a smile on my face when I think about my experiences at the Harmony Hotel in Nosara, I spent my "engagement" week there two years ago and have already been back for a second honeymoon. The resort is inspired by 70's glamour tying that old resort feel with all of the modern amenities you want from a resort minus the ones you don't. 

After a long and bumpy ride I arrived late at night to a place that can only be imagined in my dreams. Simple yet glamorous decor with a ginger tea waiting for me at check in. The next morning I awoke and made my way to the restaurant for breakfast I ordered the gallo pinto traditional Costa Rica breakfast which consists of black beans, rice and eggs along with a tropical smoothie with mango, passion fruit, and pineapple to wash it down, all the food is grown or raised organically on premises. I am officially in heaven. Off to a morning yoga class, Then on to practice my surfing.  After surfing I indulge in the spa before dinner where they use ingredients such as fresh papaya, coconut oil, avocado and banana all grown right on property.

I was drawn to the resort after I read an article a few years ago about hotels such as the 60 Thompson appointing their rooms with Kiehls products and other high end ammenities, the article mentioned that the Harmony Hotel in Nosara supplies Red Flower products in their guest rooms. What is this Harmony Nosara? I was instantly intrigued, so I started my google search.  The hotel uses Red Flower products because they are not harmful to the grey water system that is just one part of this eco friendly oasis.

There is so much at the Harmony Hotel and I encourage you to check out the website. Please feel free to comment with any questions you might have. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

in the sweet bye & bye

This was such an amazing gift. The late Margaret Kilgallen is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists and I can't wait to see her work next time there is an exhibit of hers in NY or LA. 

Her drawings are timeless and it was old time sources that gave Margaret her inspiration. She loved Appalachian music, hand painted signage, letterpress printing, and was inspired by the wandering culture of immigrant, railway workers and dreamers. She was especially interested in seeing evidence of a maker's hand in inspiration as well as in her own work.  Margaret explained that as much as she tried to make the straightest line or a perfect letter it could never be as perfect as a machine. That imperfection is what makes her art so unique. 

Let me know what you think I have posted some of my favorites from the book.

shimmi on down!

Alas the long awaiting Shimmi bikinis are in stores now, just in time for summer. Scarlett and Alison have done an amazing job transforming their inspirations (i.e. Jane Birkin, French Mediterranean, and rock and roll) Into itsy bitsy bikinis that are somehow the most flattering suits I have come across. There attention to detail is really apparent when you try them on, the lines across the bottom are strategically cut to flatter any rump. Off to the gym!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

gliding away

I decided to make note of my favorite gliders for the nursery, since I have been designing so many nursery's lately. 

Among them are:
White matelasse with contrast piping of your choice. Great classic shape. Shown in a blue twill but I personally like the white. 
2) Q Collection Junior
Alberto Winged Glider- Made with all natural materials and formaldehide free glue. This Belgium linen covered rocker is not only great looking its also easy on the environment.
3) Nursery Works
Empire Rocker- by Lawson Fenning for Nursery Works. I love the modern take on this classic tufted wingback chair.