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Friday, September 30, 2011

What To Do, What To Do?

I have had way too much coffee today and it has given me lots of energy. What would I be doing today if I could be doing it? Glad you asked because I found a list of 365 things to do in Nashville. There are some I really don't want to do and some that sound kinda fun. Fun new places to discover! Here is a little DIY project for you that I have been doing with the boyfriend. Every month, I give him a card for a pre-paid date night. This past month we went to Cave City, Kentucky and did a zip line course. I make a point to purchase little deals on Groupon or Living Social to restaurants we have never been to or places that would be fun to go to, like a dinner theater or vineyard. I made some little tiny cards and put them in envelopes:

Or you could go ahead and line them up in a basket, like so:

Here is a list of a gajillion things to do in Nashville. Or also, here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Books & How To Use Them

Books are little places to escape to inside our crazy minds. When we are done with them, they are great to stack to elevate a lamp. As bookstores are closing and very sadly dying out, I am fearful that the lovely feeling of turning a page of paper is going to go all digital soon. My work involves me in front of a computer all the time so I don't want to unwind by reading a screen. I want a book with a cover and pages between that I can touch and smell the ink. However, having many books results in having stacks of them, which is great when you have the space for a library. Since some book covers just aren't pretty, I have resolved to covering my ugly paperbacks with brown paper and filling my small bookcase with. Other art books and bigger books I've stacked on and under tables with something decorative on top. I love the look of beautiful hard cover books and little objects on top of them. I have three design books all in different shades of minty green on my bedside table with a little white clock and hand lotion on top, next to my lamp.
So here are a few ideas of what to do with your piles of books, or how to repurpose them into decorative pieces or even some decoupage something or other...get creative.

With a little organization and a lot of books, you can color code the books if you're not obsessive about getting series of books out of order.

For a monochromatic look, flip the books pages out or cover with a colored paper.

For a funkier take on covering books, try using old scraps of fabric or patterned paper.

I love the designs of the Barnes and Nobel classic hardbacks they have now. There are different collections but all of them have the most beautiful covers.

When you're done reading those beautiful Barnes and Nobel books, make them into shelves with 2 L brackets and lightweight objects placed on top.

This table cracks me up but it's really cool, especially if it spins. I imagine it does.

This chair is THE spot to read a book, clearly.

Pretty medallions with table numbers made out of book pages are cute for weddings or parties.

Please don't make a bouquet out of book page flowers, but find other things to do with them, like attached to a wreath or...this below... a package enhancement!

Check out the full post on the link to see Ceci New York's beautiful invitation design inspired by the New York Public Library for The Knot Industry Gala. Swoon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Couscous Marrakech

Ah, Morocco. Land of beautiful details and yummy spiced food.
I wanted to share with you a mild Moroccan recipe that I made last night. What does a recipe have to do with design you ask? It doesn't really but you have to eat and you might as well fill your body with good ingredients to fuel yourself for a well-designed life. And, the colors are very lovely and fall-like in the finished product.
I got this recipe from my Whole Foods recipe app on my iPhone. It's an easy recipe and has great flavor, especially if you're just now venturing into Moroccan food. This is a good jumping off point. The recipe entails what I'm about to share with you along with a dressing that is supposed to go on it which I completely forgot to do. The couscous was good nonetheless. I still have leftovers so I might whip up the dressing and add it to it so that it's moist and has a different taste. I'll include the dressing at the bottom but just note that I didn't do it. Here goes:

2 cups water
5 dried figs, diced (*I used fresh figs I found at Publix)
5 dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup raisins (golden if you're being authentic, I used regular ole raisins)
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced (it's about half of the pepper if you cut it horizontally in the middle)
1/4 cup onion, diced (I used onion powder and used my judgement, it worked well)
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (I used parsley because I didn't have cilantro...oops)

Place 2 cups of water in pot along with figs, apricots and raisins and heat to a boil. Place couscous in a bowl with turmeric, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until it is well coated to an overall dark yellow color. Remove the fruit from the water after it boils and poor the water into the bowl with the couscous. Cover with plastic wrap or a saucepan lid and let it steam for 15 minutes. When it is done, fluff with a fork until all the grains are separated. Add dried fruits, peppers, onion, nuts and herbs. Combine well and serve.

To add the dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon honey
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pour in dressing after all the couscous ingredients are combined and mix gently.

I served my couscous with chicken but it was nothing to brag about. When I make this again, I'll chop up chicken and add it into the mixture. Lamb is also good with couscous but usually tastes better with heavier herbs in the recipe.
I also made Moroccan mint tea, found here. Very tasty!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Please pardon my absence on Friday, I was busy trying to breathe through all the sinus irritations I had. I hate that I didn't post since it was a momentous occasion...that's right, it was the FIRST DAY OF FALL! cheers and merriment all around!
So now is the time to gather up your pumpkins and start decorating. If I had a front porch rather than simply a front door and a door mat, I would go all out with my fall decor, like the picks below. However, considering I have half a foot of space to decorate, I have to get creative. I'll post my fall door decor as soon as I get my pumpkins and get to work. My goal is the end of the week so my mom will be impressed that I went out and bought a mum when she visits this weekend.
Here are some great ideas to get your fall creativeness in gear if you do, in fact, have a porch:

I love love love grey and white anything, especially when in pumpkin form. I also like the unconventional detail of the antlers. So this isn't exactly on a porch, but it could be.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

For small spaces, stacking pumpkins is really cute. Paint or carve your house number into each pumpkin.

Again with the grey pumpkins! I like the splash of metallic bronze on the little pumpkins and also using the pumpkin itself as a pot for the plant, which is what I plan on doing.

Filling containers of any size with small pumpkins, berries, sticks, cinnamon, leaves, antlers...the list goes on... would be great indoors or out.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

The golden orange and pops of white are so crisp and pretty when stacked up the stairs and illuminated by a beautiful red cylinder candle (if it's outside, get a plastic one!)

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Add in some hay bales and apple crates with flowers and pumpkins.

If you're on a budget, fill some lanterns with smaller pumpkins and others with pillar candles, all of which can be found cheap at Wal-Mart, even though I despise Wal-Mart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wearing the Woodlands

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Woodland creatures are so cute and cuddly even if the great majority of them are extremely pesky (raccoons, I'm looking at you). I think fall and winter are such great times to embrace more earthy things like raw wood, pinecones, evergreens, fall leaves, and the furry critters that are common in most backyards. Making these little guys a part of your fashion can be slightly quirky and edgy if it's done correctly, especially when vintage pieces come into play. I love old sketches of animals. I have an owl necklace that is a tiny painting that I adore as well as some other owl pieces. Owls are easy to come by nowadays, so branch out (pun intended) to some deer, rabbits, squirrels or foxes. Speaking of foxes, the coat above is adorable. If I had a little boy to dress, I'm pretty sure he would be a fox when the weather got colder.
Now, please note that when I say "wearing woodland creatures," this does not mean camouflage, Browning symbols, duck hunting t-shirts, Mossy Oak, or whatever else that is worn when hunting. Wearing those things on a regular basis is a whole different story. That story begins with "once upon a time there was a redneck..."
Here are some woodland creature cuties:

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

The auburn fur, cute little faces and beautiful flouncy tails make foxes the prettiest creatures in the woods.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Plaid, a squirrel and a scarf? Yes, please.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

I think this vintage bracelet is very chic and beautiful despite the fact that it has an evil creature on it. Raccoons are cute, yes, but they are trouble. I got chased by one in college, and let's just say I'm lucky to be alive right now.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

This deer sketch is the perfect statement ring to go with a casual large cable-knit sweater and boots.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Owls are my favorite of course...and this vintage clutch has such a pretty silhouette.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Another great sketch of bunnies to go along with the deer ring! Of course, these are great for Easter too.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

This burned acorn engraving is earthy and subtle with such lovely brown tones.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Fall

I just realized the autumnal equinox is September 23, so my anticipation of today being the first day of fall is slightly disappointing. Oh well, I have two days to look forward to the richness of fall. Sweet Paul magazine, a visual beauty of a magazine, is out in its fall glory, with tons of mouth watering recipes and ideas for decorating for harvest time as well as a dark and spooky all-black Halloween ideas. Check out the glorious digital magazine and get ready for the upcoming season.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pretty Maids All In A Row

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Ladies and gentlemen who love to laugh, the day is here. Bridesmaids is now available to buy and watch over and over again. I cannot wait to laugh at the scene on the plane and the scene in the bridal boutique again. I'm laughing thinking about it. Remember my poster?
So in honor of this momentous day, I've rounded up some fun gifts for your bridesmaids or just your group of gals that are always your "bridesmaids", ever by your side as you do silly things throughout life.

Who doesn't love to open up a cute little case full of amazing goodies? I know I do. Fill a sweet container with everything your besties need for the big day and after. Try some jewelry for the wedding, nail polish, beauty products or little perfume samples (no one wants stinky friends).

I think it's sweet to ask your bridesmaids in a fun way, again with a little box filled with information she needs or just some momentos of the two of you like photos through the years, tickets you've saved or something that will remind her of an inside joke. I've made cards to send to my best friend Julie's bridesmaids with a cute poem (and then received it in the mail), and have heard of girls getting wedding cake flavored cupcakes as a treat when they were asked. Get creative!

These hangers are adorable, would make for a great photo with dresses in a line and is a keepsake that otherwise they probably wouldn't think of getting themselves.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

You have to have something to put phones, cameras and lip gloss in, right? Your bra can only hold so much. Etsy has a plethora of cute clutches that can be personalized completely with colors, fabric, names, whatever! PS-I DESIGN FABRIC!

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Fellow former art major at Union, Rose Rogers, has the most precious jewelry for sale and she can custom make it as well.

I think these tiny bottles of champagne with a cute card on them are a great way to have a little toast before walking down the aisle, just don't overdo it and stagger down the aisle. A few sips, save it for later! Cheers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Combinations of Camel

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

I love everything about fall and in two days it's officially the new season! I think a lovely camel color is fresh paired with pastels and white in the spring and summer, but when fall rolls around we tend to want to feel cozier and are drawn more to jewel-tones and earthy tones and shades. Here are some classy and funky ways to spruce up this warm brown tone. This doesn't just apply to clothing either, throw in some colorful punches in your home too if you have browns or a nice color that would be complemented by one of these pairings:


Source: via Laurie on Pinterest


Source: via Laurie on Pinterest


Source: via Laurie on Pinterest



Source: via Laurie on Pinterest


Source: None via Laurie on Pinterest


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