Saturday, December 13, 2014

gift guide: great gifts under $50

Hey guys, does anyone know where the first half of December went? I can't be the only one that's feeling a little behind this year, right?!? If you still have a few (or a lot of) gifts to buy, allow me to help with this handy gift guide. Consider it a gift from me to you:

1. Animal Magnets & Cardholders: each of these animals is made of two magnets that stick together, so you can stand them up as card holders, or pull the two halves apart and stick them on the fridge!
2. Cashmere Beanie: no one will ever complain about getting cashmere
3. Bottoms-up Cups: you could gift these little travel cups with a bottle of something to sip in the woods and still come in under $50
4. Balsam & Cedar Candle: not only does this candle make your house smell like a wonderful Christmas tree, the sparkly mercury glass container looks magical when its lit!
5. Gold Leaf Eyeshadow: give her the perfect accessory for New Years: gold eyelids!
6. Strawberry Socks: I love giving and getting fun socks, and Hansel from Basel has some of the cutest socks and tights around. I just wish these strawberry socks came in adult sizes!
7. Make it Ahead Cookbook: The Barefoot Contessa's latest is a no-brainer. Her recipes are always great and everyone loves her. Go to your local bookstore- they will have it. Want more cookbook suggestions? Check out my favorites here and here
8. It's Too Early Mug: Is it too dramatic to call Emily McDowell the voice of her generation? Everything she makes is genius, and her new mugs are no exception.
9. Orla Kiely Water Bottle: Yes, there's another Orla Kiely collection at Target! Water Bottles, yoga mats, suitcases and travel bags! I love it all. 
10. Ceramic Coffee Dripper: If this thing got any more hip, it might spontaneously combust. Gift it with a pound of whatever the latest Blue Bottle replica is for extra cool points. 
11. Spice Gift Sets: Oaktown Spice Shop has an amazing selection of gift sets for all the cooks and foodies on your list, and their quality is top notch. They have hard-to-find spices, interesting salts, and even a kit for making your own tonic water!
12. I Hate Running Shirt: I'm pretty sure everyone hates running, right? Find this and other clever shirts at Thug Life.
13. Forest Critter Garden Pot: plant a little succulent in one of these adorable pots and you've got a sweet gift almost anyone would love
14. 1:Face Charity Watch: they've taken the Tom's Shoes model and applied it to watches. Buy one of these sleek, modern watches and you'll fund one of their selected charities. 
15. Klizia Stapler: who would have thought a stapler could be so cute?

Still can't find something for the person who has everything? I've got more ideas over on my Pinterest board. Or you can always just give everyone a goat

Sunday, December 7, 2014

diy wreath

Inspired by trips to the flower mart, I decided to try to make my own wreath this year. I didn't really know what I was doing, but after looking at some Pinterest inspiration and reading a few tutorials, I gave it a shot - and was pretty pleased with the results. It's a little time consuming, and will make a big mess of your living room, but it's not difficult and makes for a nice afternoon project. I highly recommend inviting a friend over and enjoying a little spiked apple cider (it really helps with the hours of wire twisting). I bought my foliage at the SF Flower Mart, but local florists or even well-stocked grocery stores usually carry a good selection at this time of year. Or you can always go foraging for branches in your neighborhood or backyard!

See below for the how-to:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

palette picks: forest green

Lately, I've really been coming around to Forest Green. For a long time I didn't have great associations with the color: my childhood school uniform, the Ford Explorer everyone seemed to drive in the 90s (why must car colors always have that gross metallic sheen?). It's also really easy for it to look too Christmasy. Forest Green is undoubtably a very pretty color, but it can really change depending on what its paired with. I like it to brighten it up by combining it with bright, warm colors rather than the predictable navy or brown. This fall, I'm loving the fresh combination of Forest Green with peachy pink, goldenrod and rust:

[Top Palette photo by Susanna Vento. Collage photos Clockwise from Top Left:  Moroccan house via Through the French eye of Design, Peach Green Wallpaper by Lindsay Cowles,  Palm print via Alexandra Heide, Nail polish by Pointless Cafe, Tilda Swinton via fanpop, girl with bun via milk + honey, table and chairs via Architectural Digest, green skirt from Larmoni]

Monday, October 20, 2014

kinda inspired: block shop textiles

Block Shop is a textile company founded by sisters Hopie and Lily Stockman. They create colorful, modern scarves that are entirely handmade in Bagru, India. The sisters work with a cooperative of artists to dye and print their scarves using the traditional block printing methods that have been used for 350 years. The sisters strive to keep alive these textile traditions while ensuring they are environmentally sustainable as well. They use only natural and non-toxic dyes, and fund clean water and healthcare initiatives for the local community in Bagru.

I love the handmade look of block printing, and Block Shop has done a beautiful job of modernizing the art with their fresh color palettes and interesting geometric patterns. They just released their Fall collection and it is gorgeous! Here are my favorites:

Clockwise from top left: Zipper Peony, Mosiac Marigold, Sadleblanket Red Rock, and Temple Coffee 

You can read more about Block Shop in T Magazine and Remodelista. Shop their scarves on their website and follow along on their travel adventures on their Instagram feed.

[Top photo from T Magazine, Center photo and scarf photos from Block Shop]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

metallic shoes: yea or nay?

Have you noticed metallic shoes everywhere this season? Shiny leathers that were once reserved for special occasion heels are now showing up in everyday oxfords, flats, boots and sneakers. I must say I'm on the fence about the trend. The part of me that is attracted to all things shiny is saying "yes! gold! gold everywhere!", but the more practical part of me is questioning how easy they are to wear. Plus, as someone with, ahem, not the *smallest* feet in the world, I'm wondering if I really want to draw so much attention to my feet. What about you? Will you be sporting any gold, silver, or bronze shoes this fall?
Clockwise from top right: Silver Anouck Loafer,  Tonk Booties with Gold Accents, Supra Gold/Black Skytops,
Pewter Mary Janes, Rose Gold Keds,  Bass Gold Loafer, DV Silver Slip-ons, and Pewter Ankle Boot

For even more metallic shoes, check out my Pinterest page.

[Top photo via The Shiny Squirrel]

Monday, September 29, 2014

tiny houses

Would you ever consider living in a tiny house? There's a whole tiny house movement happening in response to the trend of houses in the US getting bigger and more expensive (even though families are getting smaller). People live in tiny houses for a variety of reasons, but many people do it to reduce their environmental footprint, eliminating clutter, save money, live debt free, and re-connect with the world outside their front door. You can read about one family's reasons for going tiny here.

I've lived in some pretty small apartments, but I don't know if I'd actually be able to commit to a truly tiny house (we're talking 200 sq ft here). As you may know, I'm not so good with minimalism. I can certainly get behind the idea of scaling down though, especially with rent and housing prices in the Bay Area these days. Being able to build your own home for $30K and not having to worry about a rent or mortgage payment sounds pretty amazing!

Even if you're not ready for a tiny home, I think many houses could benefit from some of the creative storage solutions that people have come up with in their tiny homes. I wish more apartments had as much built-in storage as some of these. Check out those drawers built into the stairs!

This couple built a table with hydraulic legs, so it can be raised to use as a kitchen counter, or lowered for a dining table. Oh, and the sides have hidden drawers! Why doesn't IKEA sell this?

And don't forget the most fun use of lofted space: ceiling hammocks! 

Want to learn more? Watch the documentary Tiny: A Story about Living Small (its available on Netflix) and  check out more of my favorite tiny houses on my Pinterest page. Then buy your own tiny house from Tumbleweed!

[Photos from top to bottom: tiny cabin via Country Living, built-in bookcases via Jessica Helgerson, cabinet drawers via Kokopelia, adjustable table via Dwell, ceiling hammock via Tiny House Pins]

Monday, September 22, 2014

diy inspiration garland

I've been adding some bright and fun decorations to our office so my desk will seem like a more pleasant place to work (it's totally worked and I'm definitely not typing this post from our living room couch, btw). Hanging this colorful inspiration garland added a big splash of color and pattern to the wall with a minimal amount of money and effort.

After making my ribbon hanger, I thought I might be able to use twine to hang even more things above my desk. I wanted something akin to a bulletin board (remember those?) for hanging up photos, magazine clippings, and cards I find inspiring. Even though I love Pinterest, it's still nice to physically pin things up now and then. Rather than buying and having to hang a bulletin board, I just used mini clothespins (which I'd been wanting to buy for ages, they're so adorable!). 

If you want to make your own, all you need is twine, mini clothespins, and tacks. I used mini clips from Cavallini, but Knot & Bow also has some that are even smaller. Just measure out one or two lengths of twine, hang it between two tacks, and then start pinning up your favorite images!

The best part is, it's easy to change what's hanging up without putting more holes in the wall. If I get tired of looking at one image, I just unclip it and and replace it with another. So easy!
Or if I get tired of the whole thing, I'll just pull it down and there will only be 4 tiny tack holes in the wall. No commitment!