PR5 Report: Episode Three: Now With More Leatha!

So Stella finally got her hands on her beloved leatha! Hooray!

Last night's episode was (I thought) more interesting than previous episodes in terms of fashion. We really got more of an idea of what everyone's style is than before. I mean, really, how much can you show off when you're working with groceries? This episode has done well to confirm my choices for the top three. I'm still banking on Kenley (so obviously a judge's favorite and a producer's favorite judging by the amount of airtime she gets), Joe (still the underestimated competitor, he solidly delivers quality albeit not eye-catching work), and Terri (who finally got her chance to shine with the backless number last night).

From left: Kenley's winner, Joe's, and Terri's.

The dismissal of Emily was quite surprising. I thought the judges would favor her tacky-but-well-made design over Jennifer's boring-and-badly-executed dress any day, but apparently I was wrong.

More third persona from Suede. At this point it's wearing extremely thin. I don't care if he designs better than Karl Lagerfeld at this point. The way he talks is so distracting I can't concentrate on what he makes! So stop it already!

Leanne's design and Korto's.

But there were plenty of great designs shown in this episode. Leeanne produced a fantastic little skirt and blouse combo to make up for the disaster that almost got her auf'd last week. Way to bounce back! There was much mention of Korto's sexy black jumpsuit, but I loved it. The jumpsuit is dangerous territory but she pulled it off fabulously. Of course, it helps when a 5'10" glamazon is wearing it.

Once again, see all the pictures at the official Project Runway site, and check out Entertainment Weekly's spot on commentary.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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We *Heart* The USPS

posted by D*sign addict at 1 Comments
Hey you design-a-holic... were you aware of how cool the new postage stamp is? Because I am totally crushing on the Charles and Ray Eames commmorative sheet. I am definitely getting a few, one for framing on my wall like the big design dork I am, and one for upping the coolness factor on the bills I still have to pay with a check. ( Why can't everyone just go paperless already?!!!... ok, not complaining. I can now use my Eames stamps as... gasp... postage!)

Charles and Raye Eames commemorative stamp sheet (panel of 16 $6.72)

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Don't Forget to Say "Thank You!"

When someone is kind enough to let you stay in their home, whether for one night or one month, it's common knowledge that you should thank them. When the trip is an extended one, it's generally expected that you thank your host or hostess (or both) with a gift. The longer the stay, the more the gift. Here are some ideas for the next time you find yourself on someone's couch (or, if you're lucky, in their guest room).

A Weekend Stay:
We always had a lot of weekend visitors at my house growing up. Usually aunts and uncles passing through town on their way to another destination. Occasionally, an old friend of my parents coming for a short visit. When you find yourself on a visit like this, bring a little something to say, "I know you're going to tidy up like a madman before and after I leave, so thanks for the extra effort."

A Weeklong Vacation:
Once you are staying with somone for an entire week, you're probably disrupting their schedule at least a bit. There are meals to be made, sheets to wash, and daily entertainment to be prepared. When you are staying with someone for that amount of time, put more thought into a thank you gift. They've worked hard!

For the host that likes to get outside an grill, put together a gift basket with a few of these gourmet barbeque sauces from Williams-Sonoma. Get a small piece of jewelry for a fashion-loving hostess (or host). A coffee table book on a favorite subject is usually something people want, but may not get for themselves. That's your chance!

The Month Long Move-in:
If you're staying for a couple weeks to a month, some big time kissing up is required. Your host may love to spend time with you, but they've still have to change around their schedule for you more than just a couple of times. Get something you know they'll love- something they may not just get for themselves. Your gift to them should be a splurge!

I love these Orimono Pillows from Anthropologie. The bright colors will add a lot to a room and certainly brighten your host's day after the extra cooking and cleaning they've done! To give your hosts a break after your visit, get them a giftcard to a nice restaurant- enough for some good wine, a delicious dinner, and dessert. You could also snag a couple tickets to an event they would love- a concert, a play, the ballet, etc.

Thanking your host will not only make you feel better about imposing on them, it will also guarantee another stay at their home if you need it! And don't forget, it's always necessary to send a little note after you've left to say one final "Thank you!"

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PR5 Report: Episode 2

Well, last night's episode of Project Runway was a wild ride. It seems the theme for last night was too short, badly fitted, and talking in the third person. The old routine of creating a schtick just to get a clip reel dedicated to you during the reunion show is getting really old. Last season it was Christian and his declaring everything "fierce". I can already see it for this season: "Suede rocked it!", "Suede is a bisexual Sagittarius!", blah, blah, blah. We get it, Suede.
Now, focusing on clothing, I'm starting to get a little scared about this bunch. The people getting the most camera time aren't the most talented. The best designs of the evening came from Kenley, Joe (the most underestimated designer of this season), and Terri.
Terri's dress, Joe's dress, and Kenley's (should've been the winner) dress.
And as for the rest of them, I understand that the models didn't give them the most ideal fabrics to work with, but you work with the cards you are dealt. The dresses were either too tight, too short, too 80's, or too badly constructed (auf'd Wesley commited three out of the four sins)! If these designers want to be on par with the designers in seasons past, they are going to have to learn how to "make it work"!
For more, check out the photos from last night, and read Entertainment Weekly's take on the affair.
Auf Wiedersehen!

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Everything But The Kitchen Table...

A preppy kitchen booth with extra storage below is always handy.
Lately, I've been hunting for the perfect kitchen table and chairs. Something small enough for my little apartment's dining room, but still enough to fill the breakfast nook of a house in the future. I really want a clean and modern round table to surround with industrial metal or mix-and-match antique dining chairs. Luckily, I have lots of pictures to serve as inspiration in my search!

A relaxed and airy breakfast nook at Amanda Peet's home.

A simple and rustic booth in a breakfast nook.

Tres minimal... Straight pieces of wood and chairs with just a little curve.

A nook with a view at the home of Billy & Katie Joel.

Granted, this takes a little more effort to build a bar out from the counter, but the combination of marble and colorful barstools is fantastic.

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The HF List: Oh What a Tangled Web...

I remember those days, maybe 10 years ago, when the internet was not the behemoth that it is today. The web was there, but it wasn't so world wide. Today, most people spend a good portion of their workday on the internet, not to mention their downtime. Why buy an encyclopedia when you can Google? Why go to the store when you can have it shipping for free? Words like "google" and "netflix" have become verbs, as in, "He seems nice, but did you google him yet?" or "I'm not going to spend 10 bucks to see that movie. I'll probably just Netflix it." Women's Health ran an article in its June 2008 issue about the 100 Most Useful Sites on the Web. Click here for the full article, but I included my favorites here:

1. Working out is tough, but it gets a bit easier if you've got a good soundtrack to jam to. The best songs for major cardio are in the 120-150 bpm (beats per minute) range. To find out if your songs make the cut, bring up Convert-a-lot and you'll have the perfect mix in no time!

Don't ask him to do anything naughty. He won't like it!
2. Don't waste time on just any website. Waste time with Subservient Chicken. It's a guy in a chicken suit that will do your bidding. Just don't ask him to get naked. He is not cool with that!
3. Next time you're invited to a dinner party, don't bring just any ol' bottle of booze. Check out the recommendations at Cork'd and you'll be on the guest list for every dinner party to come!
4. Ever spent way to much time searching for an 800 number only to give up? I have and it is frustrating to no end. Go to Hard To Find 800 Numbers. They'll find it for you.

One of the Rooms We Love at HFH's Flickr page.

5. Flickr is the best place to find amazing photos for free (noncommercial use only). I've found some truly inspiring pictures there! And, HFH has a photostream there of inspiring interiors for your time-wasting pleasure.
6. It's no fun to buy a ticket to fly across the country only to find the fare has dropped a week later. Sign up with Yapta. They will moniter your flight information and if the fare drops, they'll let you know and help you get a refund. That'll get you some new vacation shoes!
7. Being an adult means being responsible and being responsible means prepping yourself for the worst. As much as we don't want our houses to be broken into, it happens. It happened to my parents and it was a nightmare. But fortunately for them, they were insured and had an inventory of all of the bigger items they owned. When it came time to replace them, they knew exactly where to start. If you need a place to start, go to Stuff Safe. They make it easy to upload pictures of your stuff with descriptions and values. And hopefully, you'll never need to use it!

Have a lovely day with the little bit of random from See Jane Work.

8. Work can be boring. Make it better with cute office supplies. Okay, so they won't make your job suddenly exciting, but they're nicer to look at than your basic black Swingline. See Jane Work has some of the most fun supplies around.
9. Hate your boss? (Even if I did, I couldn't tell you here!) Let 'em have it without getting fired by posting an anonymous rant on Work Rant.
10. For all of you book fiends out there (Eclectorator, I'm looking at you!) check out What Should I Read Next? Just enter the title or author of a book you loved and it will give you 10 suggestions that you will also love. I tried it, and it was dead-on.
11. Why would you want to pay for shipping when you could not pay for shipping. Go to Free Shipping On for the inside scoop on free shipping from over 500 stores.
They have a ton of fantastic, time saving, just-plain-cool sites on their list. Enjoy perusing the internet!

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HF Weekly Obsession:

I put this little vignette together just for this photo. Something classic (the tufted 1430 Loveseat from Lee Industries in Tampa Slate), a couple things organic (the Organic Cocktail Table and the Twig Table in Brass Lamp; Black Granite), and something geometric (the Tommorrowland Rug). Mix these pieces for an adult and striking living room combination. Then tell the kids to stay in the playroom.

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PR5 Report: Episode 1

As a lot of you may know, Project Runway 5 started last night. I can tell this is going to be a bumpy ride. The challenge (taken from season one) was to create a garment out of supplies from the grocery store. Right away, Tim jumped on several of the contestants for choosing tablecloths, which are basically fabric. That defeats the whole purpose of the challenge! However, a few of the contestants took this challenge as a chance to shine and produced some unique creations:

From left: Daniel's plastic cup dress had to be molded to the dress form; Joe's pasta dress made from oven mitts and dry pasta; Kelli's winning design made from bleached and dyed vaccuum cleaner bags and burned coffee filters.

I know I'm not the only one out there watching this show, so what did everyone else think? Let me know!
Auf Wiedersehen!

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Project Runway Season 5: Here We Go Again!

The bios of the contestants for Season 5 have just been released (2 days before the premiere which airs Wednesday night at 9pm/8pm Central). 16 designers will duke it out for the chance to show at Fashion Week and, of course, the grand prize. I'll reserve my official judgements on the cast until I see what they do in the first episode, but after reading up on their bios, I can tell that it'll be the usual eclectic mix of people that will create sewing room drama (making me unable to look away). But don't take my word for it... have a look for yourself. I'll update after the episode on Wednesday, so until then... Auf Wiedersehen!

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The HF List: Fall Trends Report 2008

A couple days ago, D*sign Addict and I hit up a Fashion Group International: Fall Trends 2008 seminar. We got to see what will be hot for Fall 2008 (besides the Houston weather), so that we could bring it to you. While their report was quite extensive, I've condensed it for you to the top ten most wearable trends for the season. Take a look, feel free to give me some feedback, and remember- despite what you see on the runway, looking like yourself is your best bet! Now, on with the show!

Blooms on a light background are too Spring- to bring florals into Fall make sure they are on a dark background. From Left: Matthew Williamson, Dries Van Noten, Vera Wang.

The sheath dress is THE silhouette for Fall. Prim and ladylike- perfect for work and uptown parties. Lanvin, Chado Ralph Rucci, and Collette Dinnigan.

Make your knits extra chunky this year with variations in color. It will add punch to more simple pieces. Rodarte, Dries Van Noten,and more Rodarte.

The cutaway jacket will slim your middle this season and beyond. Hang on to this piece as it will always be a good one. Threeasfour, Chanel, Proenza Schouler.

Add some plaid in the form of miniskirts or coats. Make the plaid abstract to keep it from looking too "Catholic Schoolgirl". Matthew Williamson, Dries Van Noten, Marc by Marc Jacobs.

A monochromatic look makes a bigger statement than one bold color. To make it more wearable, just match your shoes to your dress a la Marchesa on the left. Marchesa, Celine, and Celine again.

If you do one thing for Fall, add black opaque tights to any outfit. For added impact, pair them with bright pumps. Alexander McQueen, Alberta Ferretti, and Burberry.

At night, pair your cocktail dress with a sweet cardigan and keep other accessories sparce. Alberta Ferretti, Bill Blass, Just Cavalli.

Ruffles are seen everywhere right now and will explode for the Fall. They're on everything-skirts, tops, coats, dresses. Pick one and go with it. Marni, Bill Blass, and Celine.

For accessories, chunky necklaces will be the focus. Keep it costumey and don't be afraid to go for the gusto. Dries Van Noten's example is a necklace made of bracelets! Zac Posen, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten.

All photos are courtesy of

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The HF List: Summer Vacation for Grown-Ups

If you're a parent, more than likely your summer vacations will be limited to kid-friendly locales like beaches, theme parks, and the occasional zoo. If you are not a parent, more than likely you don't want to spend your summer vacation with other people's kids. Maybe you're looking for a romantic spot in which to cozy up with your love, or a relaxing vineyard to enliven your wine palette, or you could just need some peace and quiet. Italy and France are both fine and good for those purposes, but it's not always feasible to jump across the pond. Money, family, and vacation time all prohibit big trips. So when you need to get away, just for a weekend, it's easy to do so by just jumping in your car. Better yet, rent a Prius and save on gas (even more relaxing!). There are great spots all over Texas where one can wine, dine, and chill.

The Hill Country: Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast
Nestled in Fredericksburg, the Magnolia House is in close proximity to tons of shopping- antiques are a big part of the city. The Hill Country is also a great place to visit if you enjoy wine- there are several vineyards to visit and taste at. The B&B itself is charming and quiet and serves a MEAN breakfast. I promise you won't be disappointed!

West Texas: Thunderbird Motel
You may or may not be familiar with Marfa, TX, it's great art scene, or the Mystery Lights. When driving up to El Paso, you won't find a lot on the way. I know this as I've made countless road trips there to visit grandparents. If only, as a kid, I had enough sway with my parents to make a quick detour off of I-10 to explore Marfa. We could have stayed at the design lovers paradise, Thunderbird Motel. The minimalist space is nonetheless luxurious and perfect for a desert getaway.

The Gulf Coast: Hoopes House
If water and sun is what you crave, drive down to Rockport. You can lay on the beach, catch up on your reading, and sip on something fruity. Then, when the sun has wreaked havoc on your energy level and skin, head back to Hoopes House for some much deserved R&R indoors. The restored 1890's home offers casual, spacious rooms that don't evoke feeling of staying in a museum, but a beachy summer villa.

South Texas Plains: Inn on the Riverwalk
Enjoying a nightlife somewhere doesn't require you to stay at a Holiday Inn. You can enjoy a quiet stay in the middle of downtown if you know where to look. If exploring the Riverwalk in San Antonio is your thing, try Inn on the Riverwalk. You'll be close to all of the action of the Riverwalk- the clubs, shopping, dining, etc- but instead of coming back to a generic hotel room, you get a sweeter place to rest your head.

The Big City: Modern B&B
For an anniversary or birthday, it's nice to get out of the house and try someplace new without even leaving town. I know where I'm heading: Modern B&B. Just to be clear, this isn't your mama's B&B. This place is sleek, modern, cool. You'll still be close to all of the hip things going on in the city. You'll come back to an amazingly designed room, a view of the city, and a good night's sleep.

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A Starck Reality Show!

Mention his name to any architect, and you'll get some very polarizing opinions about this world famous artist-designer. Philippe Starck's ubiquitous brand stretches across innovative toothbrushes, unique furniture, spectactular interior design, and unbelievable architecture. The man best know for the New Design style is now going to have his own reality TV series on the BBC. Philippe Starck's School of Design show will have 25 British contestants that will battle it out and ultimately be judged by Starck himself. The winner gets a prestigious 6-month internship at Starck's studio.

Check out some of Stark's greatest hits:
Victoria Ghost Chairs: An absolute, iconic beauty!

Duravit AG Design Center in Hornberg, Germany

Starck Arcitecture: Icon Vallarta is a 26-story luxury high rise.

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HF Weekly Obsession: Minimalist Impact

The Tahoe Dining Table by Maria Yee

Call it warm minimalism. Warm: Rustic, textural RidgeBamboo in earthy shades of brown sits atop Minimalist: Curved steel legs in a brushed nickel finish. The shape says simple, but the materials say splendor. And this style is about as eco-friendly as you can get with fast-growing bamboo. Luckily, it shouldn't be too hard to fit this piece in with your current decor.

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Independence Day: The Recipe Guide

Independence Day is a great holiday. We can celebrate the birth of our great nation, barbeque some burgers, and set off fireworks all in one night. If you're heading to a party this year, don't show up emptyhanded! Make something easy, festive, and already party approved:

Summer Sangria:

My mom gave me this recipe in college and I have served it at many a festivity since then. Always a hit.

4 cups red wine (any cheap brand will do)
3 cups orange juice (I prefer pulpless)

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 sugar

optional: a couple shots of brandy, cognac, or orange flavored liquor

Mix everything together and stir to dissolve the sugar. To really make a presentation, serve it in a punch bowl with slices of citrus fruit floated on the top. Drink and be merry.

Fruit Topped Cupcakes:

I put a couple of Martha Stewart recipes together to make my favorite kind of cupcake: chocolate with cream cheese icing and fruit. For the Fourth, I'll use lots of blueberries that I picked at Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm. I picked five-and-a-half pounds of them, so I better use them!

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.

3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Cream Cheese Frosting using a table knife or small offset spatula.

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

8 Tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

2. Garnish cupcakes with different festive fruits and topping. I'm using blueberries, sliced strawberries, and white chocolate shavings. You could also try raspberries, coconut, cherries, or just go for the sprinkles!

Creamy Olive Nut Spread:
This one is a recipe from my big sister in Houston. When she moved into her first apartment over a decade ago, she made this for me and I would snack on it for hours!

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. liquid from olives
dash of ground pepper
1/2 cup ground pecans
1 cup ground green olives

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

California Couscous Salad:

This one comes from my healthy-eating sister in San Jose. You wouldn't expect to dig into this, but I eat this salad by the bowlful!
1-1/2 cups uncooked couscous (1-10 oz. box)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 tsp. curry
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup thin-sliced green onions
1/4 cup fresh basil
15-1/2 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

Combine first 4 ingredients and pour boiling water over. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and cool. Stir in rest of ingredients.

Combine in a jar and shake up:
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 Tbsp. water
1-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. thawed orange juice concentrate
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 crushed garlic cloves

Pour over couscous and toss well to combine. Cover and chill 1 hour.


Name You Should Know: Hella Jongerius

There are lots of designers now that blur the line between design and art, but nobody does it like Hella Jongerius. The Dutch designer creates products that are as beautiful and they are functional. Her look is all over the board, from traditional ceramic teacups to contemporary striped glass bottles. Keep an eye out for her work as it's always guaranteed to inspire. Here are a few of my favorites pieces from her past collections.

Nymphenburg Sketches, small porcelain plate, 2004

Groove Bottle, 2000
Fun fact: Since glass and porcelain do not fuse together,
Jongerius used packing tape to hold the two together.

Repeat Big Bowl with Green Embroidery, Commissioned for Moss in May 2002
For more info on Hella Jongerius, check out the websites and

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