The Lost Art of Writing

Nobody ever sends me letters anymore. I get the occasional thank you note (mostly from my family) but that's it. I'm really setting this up for you. Pick a card from the choices below. Buy it. Write on it. Mail it to someone. Repeat as necessary. Stop the texting and start writing!
For your word nerd boyfriend:

The Scrabble letters in combination with the random phrases is indie-fab. Scrabble Notes from Bearpaw Paper.

For your mom, who always reminds you to mail your checks in safety envelopes:

Who's safe now, Mom? Safe and chic! Who knew you could do both? Because that bike helmet you made me wear around the neighborhood? Not chic. Letter envelopes from Henrietta Swift.

For that couple you hang out with that treats their dog like a real baby:

This card says, "See? I love dogs just as much because I bought notecards with dogs on them. But that still doesn't mean mine will be sleeping in my bed." Underdog Notecards from Hooray for the Underdog!
For your sarcastic friend with the really good sense of humor:

I spent a good 20 minutes reading all of the cards from this company because they are hil-ar-i-ous. Just don't send them to somebody that gets offended easily. No, that would be bad. Sentimental Journeys Card from Pretty Bitter.

For your honey on your anniversary- or any other random day:

These are so sweet and pretty and perfect for Valentine's Day (even though that's a loooooong way off). L-O-V-E Pack of 2 from MadeByGirl.

For someone snobby that would be impressed by something like expensive notecards:

If you need to get serious about note-sending, you need serious tools. Wardrobe Stationery makes custom stationery that will take your breath away. And the breath of that snobby witch up the street.

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Wallpaper: The Next Generation

Better Wallpaper will turn any picture of your choosing into a wall mounted masterpiece.

Your mama's wallpaper just got blown out of the water. It's not enough anymore for wallpaper to just be pretty. It's must be the quintessential double-threat. Form and function. Beauty and brains- sometimes literally. These wallpapers are made for the new generation of consumers that want it beautiful, want it now, and want it to impress. My question... how do we top this? I'm sure someone will find a way...

I wish I had a closet a la Carrie Bradshaw in SATC: The Movie, because I would line the walls with this wallpaper by Deborah Bowness. It's wallpaper for the ultimate fashionista.

If just looking at the outline of flowers bores you, start peeling. Peel away the top layer of flowers to reveal a colorful design underneath. By Hanna Nyman.

If you want some light to read by- get a lamp. If you want light to set a mood- get light emitting wallpaper from Jonas Samson. Yeah, you heard me. It emits light.

So the kids are back in school, but if you need to keep them (or yourself) entertained until dinner, check out Tick-Tock wallpaper from Mini Moderns. Once the paper is wallmounted and dry, you can color to your hearts content. I'd put this in a guest room. Then I would invite people over all the time and insist that they color for their supper and autograph their work. How cool would that be?!

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Higher (Design) Education

Soon the kiddies will be back in school and that time always bring up fond memories for me. Wearing the perfect outfit (complete with tights even though its 90 degrees outside) on the first day, a new Trapper Keeper (oh yeah!), putting together my Lunchables before chowing down. Those were the days! This working stuff with no summers off... I just don't know (kidding, boss!). I want to relive those glory day without resorting to enrolling in high school again. So I turned to a few of my favorite shops and design magazines to help me bring back my ABC's and 123's.

1, 7. Review your primary colors courtesy of CB2: 1. Hotline Dining Table, $399 7. Sol Pendant Lamp, $100
2. Reminisce about evenings in the stacks with a classic tufted library sofa: Chester Sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams at High Fashion Home, $1949
3. Get the lofted bed minus the annoying dorm roommate: photo from Apartment Therapy New York.
4. Don't let things slip through the cracks- paint a small wall with blackboard paint (we got our from Benjamin Moore) and remember to keep the chalk nearby!
5. You always did get gold stars on your work. You've earned this gold star, too: Mini Sunburst Mirror at High Fashion Home, $130
6. Tartan plaid conjures images of school uniforms- before Britney went and ruined them. A warm tartan throw on the end of your bed is perfect for chilly fall nights. Muted Blue Stewart throw from The Scottish Weaver, $70
8. Hit the books, or at least keep yours organized. I love the recessed, arched bookshelves with the books organized by color. Photo from Elle Decor.
9. This has to be my absolute favorite desk from our store. I can picture it perfectly: Sitting on a Ghost chair, typing blogs on my laptop with a pretty bud vase of peonies sitting closeby. Someday... Shelby Desk by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams at High Fashion Home, $1595

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We *Heart* Chair Silhouettes!

posted by D*sign addict at 0 Comments
I'm a sucker for graphic and industrial design. When my two loves are combined in images of classic furniture or architecture in simple and lovely 2d renderings, I am giddy happy. Here's a roundup of some cool and simple chair images perfectly suitable for framing and dressing up your walls... or your coffee tables or letters or decoupaged furniture.

Alphabet Of Design Classics poster $35.00 Available at Blue Art Studio

Pottery Barn as mentioned in Apartmenttherapy

Designer Chair Cocktail Napkins $26.00 on Etsy

And of course, how can we forget the Eames postage stamps?

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Whet Your Appetite

My soon-to-be husband is turning 30 soon, and that calls for some celebrating. Not the "Uh-oh, somebody's getting close to the top of the hill!" kind of celebration, the "Here's to 30 years of good family, friends, and you birthday boy" kind. First on my list is deciding how to decorate and, more importantly, what to feed our guests! I found some very helpful books on that subject and thought I'd share the wealth...

For a casual, comfortable party, I love Katie Lee Joel's book The Comfort Table. She promises easy home cooking and she delivers. If your goal is to serve familiar dishes to friends and family, this book makes that task easy. It's especially great for sit down dinners because her entrees are mouthwatering!

For a more exotic palette, try the recipes from The Big Book of Appetizers by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder. There is a lot of selection so you can pick several to make from the 250 recipes with no problem at all. Also, they give great instructions for each recipe on making things ahead so that you aren't panicking the day of.

Now this is an idea I can get on board with. Of course, sushi is a more expensive route to go, but it looks impressive laid out on clean white plates, its healthier than a fried mozzerella stick (not that those aren't blissful from time to time), and it's not impossible to make with a little practice. I'm planning on serving a couple of things from The Complete Book of Sushi by Hideo Dekura, Brigid Treloar, and Ryuichi Yoshii. And, hey, if I screw it up, I can still eat the mess- it's a win-win!

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Brilliant Book of the Week:

posted by *The Eclectorator* at 0 Comments
When I'm invited to someone's home for a small dinner party or gathering, I always take a peek at their library if possible. I like to see what people are interested in and what books take up their free time, I think it can tell you alot about them.

Of course, as a good host/hostess, you tell your guests to feel at home in your home so the most important books are the ones you choose for your coffee table--considering these are the most frequently flipped through when waiting for your cocktail. Fret not my friends, I have found yet another fantastic book to add to your coffee table collection!

Check it out!

"The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World" Photography by Alain Le Toquin

What better to have while you are entertaining than a book with GORGEOUS photographs of the most beautiful gardens in the world? From the United States to France, Italy to Japan or Singapore, this book is loaded with potential conversation starters. Cozy villas in Florence, Versailles in the winter, moss covered stairways in Germany, marble windows surrounded by lush, exotic greenery in the Garden of the Surging Waves--just describing them doesn't do the book justice. So it's up to you whether you want to throw Great Expectations, Moby Dick, or Les Miserables on that table...I'd prefer a picture book! ;)

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Color Story

Want to give your place a bit of a visual boost? I love the idea of organizing your books by color. It's almost like it creates a little piece of art in your bookshelves. I've organized my books by color before (but I like to change it up often- seriously, I can entertain myself all weekend by organizing my bookshelves!) and it looked very chic. You can intermix a few non-book items- but keep them the same color as the books they're next to for the best impact!

Apartment Therapy had a post about this today and they've written about it in the past, so pop on over there and maybe the inspiration will hit you, too!

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Domino: Decorating on a Budget

Check out Domino's Budget Decorating: $1 Design Finds! That's right, amazing looking pieces for under $1.

"Snartig" vase $0.79 each,

"Lion's Head" small bowl $.85 each, for locations.

"National Airline" forks and knives, $.99 each,

Various decorative papers, $.75-$.80 a sheet, for information

Teacup, set of two for $1, for locations

Copper scrubbing pads, package of two for a $1, for locations

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We *Heart* Wood Floors

posted by D*sign addict at 5 Comments

I grew up in NYC. This is not a disclaimer, just a little factoid. I guess I have a nostalgic love of old pre-war apartments with all their glorious imperfections and built in bookshelves, decorative moldings and warm, worn, old wood floors. Since I have moved to Houston, I have so rarely come across those treasured floors I spent my formative years taking for granted up north. The flats I have seen here are mainly new and the wood floors are even and flat and usually laminates, or the floors are covered in carpets, or slate tiles. Aesthetically pleasing nonetheless, they don't have that feel under my feet that I didn't even realize I longed for until I started seeing these pictures pop up in my magazines. 
I think I am in love. Swooning, butterflies in the stomach, giddy love... over chevron patterned old wood flooring. *Ahhhhhh, sigh!

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PR5 Report: Episode 4

I was a fan of Leanne's design. Stay on this track, Leanne!!!
A challenge worthy of the gods... well almost, actually. The designers were challenged to create a look for our American Olympians for the opening ceremony of the Summer Games, and, oh boy!, was there a variety of designs! We were given sporty to cocktail attire and everywhere in between. I was glad to see that Joe was given more screen time as I think he is one of the greater talents this season. Korto put out another fantastic design which was promptly given the gold medal. If you didn't see her design in episode three (a very flattering black jumpsuit), click here now and enjoy it. Terri also put forth a good ensemble. Perhaps I'll have to revise my choices for the top three?

From left: Terri's suit, Korto's leather and linen winner,
and Joe's literal take on the challenge.

Of course, with the good, there's is always some... slightly off. Daniel nearly missed elimination with his blue (purple?) cocktail dress. Save that for the post-Games parties. Jennifer was in the hot seat again this week and was eliminated for her ultra-prim and girly skirt and jacket combo. Personally, I enjoy her designs, but a designer has to learn to design for the customer, period. The judges made that point clear and she was auf'd. The judges were also critical of Jerell's design, which, while amazing and creative by any standards, was out of place and too costumey.
From left: Jerell's 40's ensemble, Daniel's purple number, and Jennifer's final bow.
My least favorite of the evening came from Keith (who is starting to really grate on my nerves!). He put together a jacket + poufy skirt + floppy tie ensemble that just didn't scream "Olympian!" However, he did play by the rules and kept it red, white, and blue, which probably redeemed him in the judges' eyes. Oh well.
As usual, check out Entertainment Weekly's take, and more pics at
Auf Wiedersehen!

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Going to the Chapel

During my daily blog read-a-thon, I came across a contest at Coco+Kelley and I think it's fantastic. Why? 1. Contests are fun and bring out my extremely suppressed competitive side. 2. Weddings are also fun and bring out my girly side (which is never suppressed). 3. Inspiration boards are my specialty as I have books and books of pictures whose sole purpose is to inspire me. Therefore, this contest has everything I need.

Here are the rules: pick one of the 36 rooms chosen for the contest and design a wedding inspiration board around it. Dress, flowers, location, you name it. She even has cool prizes for the winner!

So, add to your to-do list- Pick a picture (the three here are all good options!), design your dream wedding, and submit it to Coco+Kelley. Of course, check out her blog for more information!

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Going Undercover

I knew a girl in college who refused to wear clothing made of synthetic materials because she didn't like the way it felt on her skin. The very same girl would buy and sleep on the cheapest, scratchiest sheets known to man. That makes no sense to me. We spend about one-third to one-quarter of our days in bed, so shouldn't we all sleep on something that makes us feel like we're sleeping on nothing at all? Of course! I love shopping for bedding and here are my reasons why:

1. Since my bedroom is very neutral, I can go nuts with the bedding- any color, any style, any pattern. That's some major versatility.
2. Bedding is easy to change and it's smart to have an extra set or two lying around for guests or laundry day.
3. There are so many amazing bedding options out there! Just check out the three I discovered through DailyCandy:

For eco-friends there is Plover Organic. They've got five lovely fabrics available for Spring/Summer that combine wonderfully. The materials used in creating the Plover bedding is (of course) organic and healthier for you and your family that the average dyed cotton bedding. That will help you sleep soundly!

The bedding from Lulu DK Matouk sprang from a collaboration between John Matouk & Co., a luxury linens company, and Lulu de Kwaitkowski, founder and designer for Lulu DK Fabrics and Wallpaper. What results is quality and style: fresh, clean patterns on 500 thread count Egyptian cotton.

For the avant garde adventurer, True Love Always will outfit your bed in bold graphics that are truly unique. Think of this as the Ritz Carlton of bedding to red satin sheets' hourly motel. There's nothing cliche about it and it's sexier than anything around. Enjoy.

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