Casa Candles: Easy on the Environment, Easy on the Sniffer

My girlfriends treated me to a day trip over to Bainbridge Island on Sunday for my birthday. We always try and pick something different to do for each of our birthdays and this year for mine, a ferry ride and poking around Bainbridge was a lovely treat. We didn't do much in the way of being active because of the heat so we stuck to what we know and do best: shopping and eating. Dangerous combination!

Bainbridge has a few cute shops worth visiting and one in particular, Grace & Co. Paperie had a wonderful selection cards and gifts. They also carry Casa soy candles made by Pure Living. Normally scented candles are either to sweet, too musky or too something for me. So I was surprised when sample sniffing the Casa line, that almost every scent I smelled I liked. And an added bonus is that they are made from soy, which burns cleaner for the environment and for you than the normal paraffin candles. I purchased the Yellow Jasmine Tea candle, but really had a hard time deciding. So if you can't have fresh cut flowers from the garden in your home, this might be the next best thing!


Williams Sonoma Home: My Very Own Ginger Jar!

I received this white porcelain jar for my birthday from my in-laws and thought for sure I must have gone on and on at some point at how much I loved it when I opened it up. Apparently my mother-in-law saw and thought it looked like me so I must be pretty easy to read :) I just LOVE it though! I have been wanting one for some time now and felt like it was one of those things that I shouldn't splurge on for myself...same way I feel about expensive purses I guess. At any rate, I am tickled pink to have one of my own. It's such a beautiful and timeless piece that will always find a home.

I have seen these at many boutiques, but for those searching online, you can find it at Williams Sonoma Home.


Rose and Radish: Casting Light

A friend of mine asked me my opinion on adding a different style chandelier in her bathroom and would it be too weird that all the styles didn't match. My response was, "go for it!". Lighting should never be ignored or not have a say in the overall ambiance of the room. Quite frankly, isn't it the lighting we adjust to create a mood? So why shouldn't it's design add to the ambiance and not just the light it casts? Heck, I put a small crystal chandelier in our master bath. I am not usually the crystal kinda girl, but it just fits since the rest of the room is more masculine. Yin and Yang as they say.

It is getting easier these days to find some fun and interesting lighting sources...even IKEA has some great knock-offs for that matter. The pendants/chandeliers you see here are from Rose and Radish, a San Francisco based store that has some great earthy, yet urban goods. I am not saying that your chandelier should be a circus act, but something just a little different than the average Home Depot find. The ones above are beautifully crafted, interesting and yet not off the wall wacky. Worthy of a second look.


Whirley Pop: For the Popcorn Lover

This is another random post and bit dorky I admit, but I am a popcorn fanatic and have to share how to get the best popcorn for those who may share the same love of popcorn. The Whirley Pop popcorn popper hands down makes the best popcorn there is for the home connoisseur. Movie popcorn will even be mediocre after having this.

The Whirley Pop is used on top of the stove which gives that old fashioned flavor. I use a little canola oil, whirl the kernals around for a few minutes , add some kosher salt while still hot and voila! Instant gourmet popcorn. You can also experiment with your inner popcorn diva and use different oils (a touch of truffle oil is out of this world!) or herbs. I am a fan of olive oil with dried oregano, dried parmesan cheese or even kettle corn is a nice treat. As I sit here typing I can smell my husband make some right now...he's making up for locking me out of the house.

You can purchase this simple, but oh so wonderful product at Amazon.com:Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper

Oh and did I mention that the lid has a lifetime warranty? I have already burned through one and had a replacement sent...like I said...I really like popcorn!!


Sundance: Shelving Worth Noticing

I get many catalogues in the mail as I am sure most of us do. I'd say 60% of them are not worth looking through, but occasionally I will open one on a whim that doesn't particularly look like my taste. The Sundance catalogue is one of those that carries clothing that is a little more rugged for my taste, but I have looked through it several times and have been pleasantly surprised by some of their furniture selections.

They have some great vintage shelving that would look great in a loft type area or in a reading nook somewhere. These wire shelves (above) are a cool urban way to display your goods or the rustic vintage shelves will add a warm cozy throwback vibe to any room. So don't ignore your shelving and go for a standard blah bookshelf - they can have just as much personality as the next piece of furniture!


Juliska: Elegant Glassware

I have been an admirer of Juliska glassware for a while now. I can spot it a mile away and am always drawn to it. It's defined by delicate details that almost look like water glistening on the outside of the glass. They have all sorts of products, from vases and votive holders to tumblers. Each one holds it's own beauty and could be left out as decoration no matter what it's intended purpose.

Many local boutique stores carry Juliska products, including other tableware goods. You can also purchase Juliska online at Sallie Home.



Coconut For Your Walls?

I was at the restaurant Parilla in NY (for all of those Top Chef fans out there, it's the restaurant from the season 1 winner Herold) for brunch last weekend and used the loo just before we were about to leave. The bathroom was an unexpected discovery! I had to do a double take at the walls. At first glance it looked like dark brown mosaic tile just like we have in our powder room I posted about earlier. Upon second glance and looking closer, it was actually coconut tiles! What a cool application to your walls and such a conversation piece! The shells take on a whole new texture and dimension when they are polished and formed in to small tiles. Very chic yet bohemian.

Oh, and please excuse my horrible pictures! All I had to take them with was my phone :( Plus I felt a little silly going back in to the bathroom taking photos.


Mecox Gardens: Oasis in the Heat

This last weekend I was able to visit one of my favorite retail stores I have found online. Located on the Upper East Side of NYC on Lexington, Mecox Gardens was an oasis (literally given the 97 degree weather blistering outside) of beautiful home objects and furniture. I was expecting the store to be much larger, but I should have known since everything in NY seems to be on the miniature side...with the exception of their sense of fashion!

The store carries a lovely mix of old and new objects, all deserving of drooling over. I didn't pick anything up since I just blew a nice chuck of change on a new trench, but it was fun to see the store in person all the same. The woman working was also nice enough to lead us up to their hidden little hide away upstairs to a loft like room that displays even more of their beautiful goods and also holds their outdoor furniture and planters on a picturesque little terrace. I could have stayed there all day...and seriously wanted to with the air conditioning!!

If you are not fortunate enough to live in a city with one of their seven stores, their online selection is extensive and worth a browse. Their items are not on cheap side, but they are worth a special little treasure or even just a good window shop. Just look at that sweet settee upholstered in a soothing blue fabric. This particular one was in the NYC store and was absolutely adorable!


Spoon Sisters: Party in a snap!

Here’s a fun idea for your next summer party! I was away in NYC for most of last week and weekend and was unfortunate to be there when they had record temperatures - Yikes was it hot, hot, hot!!! So if you are having a party in that kind of heat, the littlest effort possible is key. Available at Spoon Sisters, these “Everything You Need” place settings include the fork, knife plate, etc…even the name card and napkin ring! Just place these around the table and people can unsnap their utensils. What neat way to get your guests engaged and add a little quirk to the usual BBQ.


New York, New York: Itinerary

So just a few more days before I am off to NY for my good friend's bachelorette/girl's trip get away. Another friend of mine and I put together some short little itineraries along with another list of potential places to go eat and see as well as a cd for everyone to listen to on the flight. We mailed these out to all the girls last week to get them excited for the trip and to give them a little preview of what adventures are in store.

It's a fun thing to do for a girls trip of any kind and relatively easy to put together. And the theme was so easy with the Sex and the City movie coming out just days ago - what luck! My friend Kelsey is the ultimate researcher and planner, so she was the master mind behind putting the list together as well as the cd (well done!). Then I took all the info and made it look pretty and put a design to it. Paper Source was my go to place for all the papers: the slate grey petal envelopes from Waste Not Paper and the cream textured paper that I printed two to a page and then cropped down. Paper Source didn't have the exact stickers I wanted to enclose them so I had to use a little creativity and print out a solid colored sticky sheet of matching green and then use a circle puncher I thankfully already had to make them. I used the grey and green for the colors since those are Stacey's wedding colors so it's unique to her special day.

Doing these extra little touches for good friends and family are always a nice way to share in their excitement.


Design Dilemma Solved

We have a built in cabinet in a niche at the top of the stairs that I have been struggling with what to put there. There is a large modern pear painting on the wall above that I love, but the cabinet top has been eluding me. I have replaced and rearranged that space probably 10-15 times in the last 8 months and nothing has quite fit or looked right.

Finally a week or so ago, I got the idea of putting tall dried wheat of some sort in a vase, but the catch was that I wanted it to be white. Why not paint it I thought? Well, this is one time I can thank my procrastination because I was out at the mall last weekend and was passing by Crate and Barrel. My husband had been pushing me along praying he could just get me to the car with minimal stops. But to my delight, right there in the window was white wheat stalks! Just as I had imagined in my head!

It's just what that corner needed. Something to add some height and create interesting shadows when the light is cast on it. It also goes well with the texture of the low vase. On the right I kept it simple with a pictorial book (not in the photo) laid open to some beautiful photography. Such a relief to have figured out that space! I can sleep easier now!