Archives for category: Design

I was just scrolling through the blog and correct me if I am wrong but I haven’t shared any photos from my trip to Minneapolis!! I can not believe this to be honest because we had a fantastic tine and by the way it was a freezing (weather was -5). Spring is fast approaching and I think this is my last chance to show pictures of us frolicking in the snow.

I am so excited for the weekend on another note. I have a few shots to share of Mexico still! I guess tho can wait till next week. Enjoy your days off!


It is my favorite day of the week – Little Luxuries and today we get to hear from Mariah of Quite Continental – a blogger after my own heart. She has style and inspiration for miles and as always on today, she will be presenting you with her most valued Little Luxuries!

When I hear the term “little luxuries,” I immediately think of darling things that add luxury to my daily life without breaking my precious piggy bank.  Living in Manhattan is expensive, chèrie, everyone knows that, but the nice thing about luxury is that it is truly a state of mind.  Luxury is that delicious feeling that washes over you when you take time to indulge your senses and your spirit.  Luxury is an essential!

1) Fancy it up: When moving through my day-to-day routine, I can’t always take extra time for luxury — having to make a mad dash for the subway to get to work on time, will get in the way of any girl’s leisurely morning stroll.  That said, there are millions of ways to add a bit of indulgence about the edges.  In other words, fancy it up.

At home, I always make a point to drink sparkling water out of a wine glass.  Ma chère, I will admit that this came about because for a very brief time at one point in my life, the only glasses   owned were wine glasses.  How very Holly Golightly of me, non? The way you hold a wine glass is just — different — it feels more special than any old glass.  That feeling of “special” is luxury, hiding in your water glass.

I also want to point out that I did this almost subconsciously, for when a gentleman asked me once why I served myself in this manner, the first thing I blurted out was “…because it feels fancy!” and that was completely true.

If you’d like to start fancying up your water glass, I would recommend the Carson Wine Glass by CB2.  The Carson is sturdy, classic in shape and only $3.95.

2) Sweets for the sweet:  I am a bit of an odd bird when it comes to sweets.  I’ve never been one to go completely crazy for chocolate and I could really care less when Girl Scout cookie time arrives.  But there are still times when I find myself wanting a little sugar in my bowl, just like Nina said.  At those times, the perfect sweet is the ultimate indulgence.

I have strong connections to specific sweets from specific places, and so my perfect sweet hails from my hometown.  Born and raised in California, I grew up with See’s Candies, wonderful fruit for pies and cobblers, and the lovely flavors of Mexican desserts such as flan and the churro.  But what has emerged as the ultimate sweet of sweets for me, ma chère, is the Sprinkles Cupcake.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, the first cupcake-only bakery before there was a craze, was opened in 2005 in Beverly Hills.  At the time, I worked just down the street from the tiny sliver of a bakery with the extra-long line that always snaked out of the door and down the street.  I regularly stood in that blessed line — even when doing Atkins with the best of them.  Since moving to New York, I’ve tried to make do with what’s available here, but found it truly lacking.  Imagine my delight when I found out that New York will be receiving their own Sprinkles this May, on Lexington between 60th and 61st!

Of course, my favorite is the classic Red Velvet.  You can tell it’s also everyone else’s favorite because the Red Velvet is the only flavor to also be offered in gluten free and vegan form.  A cupcake from Sprinkles will only set you back $3.50, but that $3.50 transports you to a land of confectionary delights!

3.  Bossa nova bliss:  There is one kind of music that immediately puts me sumptuous state of mind.  Bossa nova, closely related to samba music, but much more languorous and without the accompanying dance steps of samba, is the kind of music that will make you feel like you have somehow slipped down a rabbit hole and ended up on a secret location.

The best place to start when exploring bossa nova music is with the first family of the genre – the Gilbertos: João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, and Bebel Gilberto.  Astrud’s voice is quite possibly my most favorite sound in the entire world.  Her voice is breathy, light and sensuous as it floats over João’s music – it sounds almost like a lazy, tropical river.  She is the most famous for “The Girl From Ipanema,” but you must explore her catalog a bit deeper than that, d’accord! The bossa nova sound is all class, sometimes sung in English and sometimes in Portuguese.  I completely prefer the older recordings, but Bebel, Astrud’s stepdaughter and João’s daughter, a contemporary artist whose trademark is electronic bossa nova, is also worth a listen.

For your first album, I recommend Astrud Gilberto’s Finest Hour.  Only $10.76 on Amazon, and that “Hour” can be played whenever you need to be transported to a sun-drenched, sumptuous place.

4.  Spoil your skin:  One thing my mother instilled in me at a very young age was that it was essential to take care of your skin – leaving aside her love of sun-tanning, of course.  (We’ve since smartened up and we all slather on the SPF, don’t you worry your pretty little head!)  A quick way to feel (and look) lackluster is to under-nourish your skin.  Truly, when was the last time you looked at a raisin and thought of opulence?

As I’ve gotten older, my skin has changed, and it has been necessary to change my skin care regimen accordingly.  Recently, I discovered a fabulous face moisturizer at Kiehl’s: Rosa Arctica.  While Rosa Arctica is an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cream – which I definitely do not require just yet, d’accord! – it simply is one of the best moisturizer I have ever used.  Rich without being heavy and deeply moisturizing, I felt a difference in my skin in less than a week’s use.

I definitely recommend Rosa Arctica if you are in search of skin as soft as the finest velvet.  While priced at $60, this is the most expensive item on this little list.  If you feel the initial investment is a bit too steep for a product you’ve never tried before, remember that Kiehl’s is wonderful about giving free samples.  I’ll bet you $60 that you go back after giving it a go.  Small price to pay for a lovely bit of luxe!

Isn’t she so wonderful? Be sure to check out QC here!

Here are a few photographs from my latest discovery – W. Scott Chester photography! These photos are so beautiful, they capture the intimacy of the wedding and every detail. I must say I am very pleased that i have this bit of inspiration!

The weather in San Francisco is perfect right now. It is an easy 70 degrees! After all of the rain we have had, I am seriously ready to wear summer dress and sandals. Ok..enough gushing about the weather – Today we have Kim from Desire to Inspire to share her wonder list of Little Luxuries!

Kim from Desire to Inspire:

Having time most evenings to be able to cook a decent meal (and in a decent kitchen now that it’s been gutted and redone).

Spending time with my cats (any or all 7 of them).

Being able to buy a funky pair of boots online, just because I felt like it.

Hanging out with my nieces and nephew (this is Gianna, my younger sister’s daughter).

njoying some goodies from a bakery in my ‘hood (Art Is In Bakery)

Receiving a parcel all the way from Australia, from my blog partner Jo, typically filled with fun thrifted finds.

Finally having a cottage in the family (thanks to my younger sister and her husband) that we can hang out at on weekends.

I love this video of Hamish Bowles, Vogue Editor at Large for Europe, and New York Knick’s Amar’e Stoudemire. This unlikely duo is just adorable.

Woo hoo it is Thursday which means Little Luxuries is back and one of my daily reads is up today to share her finds with us. Not Your Average Ordinary is written by Brandi who I would categorize as a Renaissance woman! She can blog about anything (fashion, love, life, design, etc) and she is currently studying philosophy of science and science studies. Brandi’s blog has this unique ability to always makes me smile.

As a graduate student, I have to be very careful about my money. Or so I tell myself. But in reality, when it comes to weekends at the farmer’s market, I splurge. I can’t help myself. Somehow eating delicious food keeps me happy and sane when the schoolwork piles up. My favorite splurges at the market? Pastured eggs and flowers.

Of course, I had to also buy the farmer’s egg crate from Anthropologie to go with my farm fresh eggs. And the difficulty with Anthropologie is that one little splurge leads to another for the kitchen (like a butter dish) which leads to an apron which leads to a dress (because the dress looks darling with the apron). It’s strange but sometimes it’s these splurges that help us to lead the life we want to. You have to start sometime, I think, and now is always the perfect time.

{all photographs by Brandi Bernoskie}

Tibi has taken my heart this year with their Spring 2011 fashion. It is chock full of clean lines, dreamy silhouettes and sex appeal. It definitely has a minimal feel with very few patterns and brilliant colors. I need and I want for 2011.

And I just love what Olivia Palermo has done with their collection. She was asked to choose the Tibi clothing that she’d like to be photographed in during the NYC, London, Paris & Milan shows – and to style them in her own personal way.

Good Morning friends! I have a feeling today is going to be a good day, don’t you?  And today is the first day of our Little Luxuries feature! Somehow, I can not recall, I stumbled upon the most glorious blog called A Piece of Toast and they have been kind enough to share.  Ok, enough from me – meet Molly and Sally!

(Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)


First and foremost, we would like to thank Maya for inviting us to do this guest post.  We have truly loved guest posting and getting to know other bloggers.  The blog world has been an incredible creative outlet for us and we love that.
When Maya gave us the topic of “Little Luxuries” we really had to think about this one.  Both Molly and I agreed that our little luxuries week in and week out is GOOD food.  (Does that qualify as a little luxury?!) A ridiculously good meal is something we both constantly love to indulge in, but at the same time we know that it is a luxury.  Growing up our mom made a point to have home cooked meals around the dinner table five nights a week.  Which, in this day in age is a total rarity.  Still to this day when we make the trip home to Kansas City we most look forward to our moms home cooked meals.  She is an AMAZING cook (think Ina Garten reincarnated).  Our family shows their love for each other by making a yummy meal – we always got to pick our favorite meal of our moms on our birthdays.  Or baking a birthday cake for each other – our mom makes a famous chocolate birthday cake and has been making it since 1987 for each of our birthdays.  Molly even made Sally a red velvet cake from scratch on her birthday this past summer!  Meals are a time to unwind, eat food that wants to make you scream it’s so good, and spend much needed time with good friends and family.  What is more luxurious than that!?
With our blog being called “A Piece of Toast” and our little luxury being “food” can you tell that we’re sort of obsessed with yummy food!?

Isn’t this wall fantastic! My dear friend, Christina, has just moved into a brand new home and has created the most spectacular wall. It adds so much to the room and creates so much movement through the house. And another plus, it is do it yourself.

Christina has created a short tutorial for us – be sure to check it out below!

Step 1: Draw the general shape that you want onto the walls — in the apt shown above — it’s a giant amorphous shape that covers two walls in my apt and also continues partly into my bathroom.

Step 2: Measure 3/4″, 1″, 2″ and 4″ vertical lines throughout the entire shape. “I was haphazard — there was no pattern. Sometimes I would do a thick line, sometimes I would do thinner lines, but I measured each line and used a ruler to make sure the lines were straight vertically.”

Step 3: Take blue tape and cover up every other line, and paint two coats of paint in the spaces in between the taped lines.

Note — “I used 10 different colors of paint. I found a paint store that sold me paint in pint-sized buckets as opposed to huge gallon-sized buckets, so all of the paint cost less than $100. There was no pattern to which colors I used on which stripes; I just used whatever colors I felt like, but tried to be sure not to paint too many of the same colors in one area.”

Step 4: Once Round 1 was done and dry, remove the blue tape, and then add new blue tape on top of the just-dried painted stripes. Paint two coats of paint on remaining blank stripes.

Sounds easy enough? I am not sure I would be able to complete but somehow Christina ended up finishing the project in just a week!

Friends, guess what?! I have rounded up some blogger friends to participate in a blogger series called “Little Luxuries” and I am so excited to see their answers. In this feature, we will be discussing the splurges in life whether it be tasty treats, expensive shoes, lavish vacations, movie night,…get the idea? I thought it would be fun to start the series with what I consider my little luxuries…so now onto the good stuff!

{Number 1} and most favorite purchase usually is a Swatch watch. They are so cute + unique. Just perfect for me and any outfit.

{Number two} on list is my surroundings. My home is my sanctuary and I must surround myself with inspiration and a comfortable environment.

{Number 3} Ahhh, my latest luxury purchase which is not yet purchased but I am saving up for a Mac Book Air!! So excited to have a new gadget.

{Number 4} Zuni Cafe!!! Have you been? It is in my top 5 favorite restaurants in SF. They have the best burger, caesar salad, fries and Bloody Mary!

{Number 5} My major weakness aside from ice cream is shopping. I can’t help myself from buying new clothes is a bad habit that I am trying to work on..But now I shop with a new attitude – “If she can’t afford it, she won’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she’s got), she won’t wear it. If she can’t find it, she won’t compromise. If she loves it, she won’t toss it. She reuses it, rethinks it, lets it age.

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