Black Tie Affair

It goes to show how lucky I am that within the past few days that not one, but two different lovely ladies kindly pointed out a fashion piece in The Telegraph featuring Gary Oldman. Thank you Sam & Chi for thinking of me, and for remembering my enormous crush on him! While I like to think of myself as something of a talented internet-squirrel, I have to admit I never would have come across that article and the amazing accompanying photographs had it not been for you girls. Can we just take a moment to admire the eye-candy provided in that profile? Look but don’t touch or I’ll have to kill you.

images c/o

I mean, come on. It is so unfair how gracefully men age. He looks better now at 51 than he did at 31. And I have to say, he cleans up rather well (but I guess that’s easy when you’re wearing a £2,500 Paul Smith suit). I want to go to whatever party he’s going to, and it looks like he’s heading to a black tie event. The pocket square, the piping down the side of his pants, the jaunty bow-tie. Be still my heart!

While we’re on the subject of Black Tie Affairs, I couldn’t resist gathering a little round-up of party-perfect accessories for a chic event. A little black dress, a bright red lip, Mr. Oldman on your arm and you’re good to go.

1. Monogrammed Napkins / 2. Cheese Knives / 3. Champagne Flutes / 4. Topiary / 5. 3-Tier Stand / 6. Coasters / 7. Candle

Nothing says “Black Tie” like a topiary! Or monogrammed napkins. Or cheese knives with French on them. If you guessed that I’m itching to buy those coasters, you’d be 100% correct. They’re on sale! Let me know if you need an invitation to Gilt Group, I can send out at least 2.


Yesterday marked 5 weeks until I officially depart for Belgium and Paris. And you guys, I’m like…90% packed. Ninety! I’m waiting on my trench coat and ballet flats to get here (more presents in the mail!), and I obviously haven’t packed all of my toiletries since I, you know, need them in the interim, but every outfit I’ve planned and bought for the entire trip is folded and ready to go. It’s a sickness, this anxiety of mine. But hey! Better over-prepared then scrambling at the last minute, right? Right.

Anyway, you know how sometimes you’ll come across something and think it is so perfect that you just know it was made for you and you alone? Perhaps you are not so solipsistic. But this happened to me over the weekend when I stumbled across the following kitchen and my jaw hit the floor. It is the first kitchen I have seen that is almost an exact replica of the kitchen I’ve been designing in my head for years, and my immediate thought was that someone out there knew my deepest desires and brought them to life. Why? Because I’m destined to have this kitchen, that’s why. Let’s take a look:

from here

As far as kitchens go, this room is pretty dreamy. Come on. Don’t stare too hard, you can’t have it. It checks off all my major requirements, with the exception of a white floor (but that’s easily remedied), and I know this might sound wildly optimistic, but this is a kitchen that would actually make me want to cook. A feat that is as of yet unconquered in my life. Ahem.

I spent a fair amount of time checking out inspiring interiors online yesterday, and since we’re long overdue since my last batch, here are some of my other favorites.

from here

This is a stairwell in Paris, surprise surprise. Wouldn’t this make a great venue for a wedding, especially with those lanterns?

from here

If that isn’t the comfiest bed you’ve ever seen. And that painted white brick wall!

 from here

I don’t even have words right now. You know that mirror is divine, right? I don’t need to tell you that?

from here

You know that scene in “Closer” when Clive Owen comes home from his business trip and heads to the bathroom and says, “Every time I wash in it I feel dirty. It’s cleaner than me. It’s got attitude. The mirror says, ‘Who the eff are you?'” Yeah, that’s what I’m getting from this gorgeous room.

from here

Like I needed one more reason to go buy a sheepskin throw.

Alright, lovelies. Which of these is your favorite if yo had to pick on? How was everyone’s weekend? I’m dragging today; I slept horribly last night and woke up a million times all sweaty. Fingers crossed I’m not coming down with something!

Friday Five

Happy Passover to all those celebrating! I don’t have much connection to my Jewish heritage, unless you count eating matzoh on the regular; I never went to Hebrew school, never got a Bat Mitzvah. I took ballet classes for 11 years instead (though you couldn’t tell from my posture these days). Sure, we celebrated Hanukkah (along with Christmas) and lit a menorah every night and I know the whole prayer, but I was really just in it for the presents. Funny and unrelated Hanukkah story: one year my mom bought me this awesome pair of black velvet overalls (I’ll let you soak that all in. I was 10, so this is some time ago, and yes they were fashionable) and as she was heading downstairs she tossed them over the railing aiming for the pile of laundry she was collecting to take to the basement, only her aim is a lot like mine in that she doesn’t have any. She missed the pile of laundry by about 4 feet, and the overalls landed on the dining room table on top of the lit menorah. All we saw were bright blue flames. Thankfully no one was injured and we put it out rather quickly, but being that the overalls were made of velvet, there was a sizable and smelly hole in them. Because my mother is the original Bargain Shopper Extraordinaire, she returned them for a full refund to the Gap the next day and got me a new pair. L’chaim!

But anyway. Passover is technically less fun because you don’t get 8 nights of presents and there aren’t impromptu pyrotechnics, but this is the one holiday a year I look forward to with an overzealous fervor. THE FOOD, oh my god. Passover dinner is what I would ask for if I had to pick a last meal. It will be Boyfriend’s first official full seder, complete with reading the Haggadah and wearing a yarmulke. He is stoked, let me tell you.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m having brunch and probably one too many cocktails with one of my favorite people in the whole world, and since Boyfriend is going to be stationed in front of the tv all weekend following The Masters (snooze), I was trying to organize an outing to see Titanic in 3D. Somehow, all of my girlfriends were “busy.” I’m suspicious to say the least. But let’s get right into this week’s Friday Five, shall we?

1. Salted Caramel Ice Cream bars / 2. Booties / 3. Clutch / 4. Adele “21” / 5. Chair

In a moment at the grocery store on Wednesday when I felt like I possessed magical powers, I made a rare turn down the ice cream aisle (being lactose intolerant does not lend itself to frequently eating ice cream) thinking, “I wonder if they make salted caramel ice cream bars,” and then they appeared on the shelf. Never one to turn down salted caramel anything, I picked up a box and you know what? The crazy stomach pain is totally worth it. These are delicious.

Speaking of delicious, can we just pause to drool over those Sam Edelman suede booties? I wish they weren’t $160 and I also wish I wasn’t on a spending-freeze for all non-Europe related items. My friend Aisling asked me if I would keep my eye out for a nice pair of blank ankle boots for her, and in my search I found these. Lucky for me, she wasn’t as instantly smitten with them as I was, so I can eventually buy these without worrying I stole her dream shoes out from under her. They just look heavenly. Maybe they’ll go on sale over the summer since they’ll be out of season? Fingers crossed!

I wish that clutch would go on sale, because while I’d happily spend a lot of money on a purse that looks like my favorite book of all time, I think $1500 is just a wee bit expensive for something that could barely hold a cell phone and a chapstick, but hey. What do I know. This clutch reminds me that I should re-read “The Great Gatsby” for the 30th time (I tuck into it once a year, and still find new things I love about it each time).

I know I’m like a million years late to the party with this, but oh my god Adele’s album is so good. And because I am way less cool than my mom, she’s the one who lent me her copy of it. Everything that could be said about Adele’s amazing voice has already been said (and reaffirmed with the 400 Grammy’s she won this year) but wow. If you don’t already have this CD because you live under the same rock I do, go get a copy.

We made some living room changes last weekend, most notably swapping out the leather sofa for my IKEA sofa that’s been hanging in the den downstairs. Neither of us had the forethought to understand how much dog hair a fabric sofa would attract, but it’s been well worth the multiple lint-roller sheets I have to use daily: that thing is comfy. But now we’re left with a leather chair and ottoman that matched the other sofa, and that will likely be moving to the den, too. So now I’m on the hunt for an arm chair for the living room, and while this one doesn’t look like the kind of chair you can curl up in, it is really, really pretty. I’m trying to find an excuse to buy it.

Alright, kiddos! How was everyone’s week now that we’re at the end? Any Passover or Easter plans this weekend? Take care and a lot of naps!

Like a Picture

This is the second installment in the “Like a Picture” series I launched last week, after a warm reception (thanks, you guys!). If you look on my sidebar, you’ll notice I’ve added a new section of “Weekly Features.” Down the road, either when I run out of blankets or when there’s something else that better fits the image, I might change it up. But for now I’m happy sticking to a striking photograph, and pairing it with a blanket and candle. Because seriously, “blanket and candle” could be my middle name.


1. Blanket / 2. Candle / 3. Picture

What is the next holiday or gift-giving occasion coming up? Is there some culture where “Saturday” means “Buy someone a gorgeous photograph”? I need to investigate. In the meantime, my wish-list has a 16×20 print of that Daeja Fallas photograph at the very top. Potential gift-givers, take heed! Imagine how dreamy that would look framed and hanging on a dark wall. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

And before anyone asks, yes I know that’s the third blanket I’ve used from the same company. No, I’m not getting any sort of commission for it, I just seriously love their blankets that much.

Son of a Sailor

I’m single-handedly keeping the Post Office in business, I just know it. I take this responsibility very seriously, though it’s almost become a running joke at work about how many things I have delivered here. To be fair, living in the city means there is no place for a delivery truck to leave a package without it getting stolen. But let’s be honest, even if there was a secure area to leave packages at my house, I’m much too enamored with getting presents in the mail in the middle of the work day. Aside from my adorable coworkers (you know who you are ladies…and Hunter), it gives me a reason to feel excited about sitting at a desk all day. Oh, what’s that you say, USPS email? My package is scheduled for delivery today? How exciting! 

It’s obviously no surprise that I buy a lot (A LOT) of stuff. Clothes for Europe have been at the top of the list recently, but around Christmas time? Hoooo boy, it’s like I had an Amazon distribution center at my beck and call (thank you, Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping) for all the presents I bought for people online. It’s rare when I post a Friday Five and don’t end up buying something from it, or when an item in the round-up was included because I already bought it. Judge me all you want, I’m still putting away more than 40% of my monthly income in savings. Come on, did you expect anything less from the Master Bargain Hunter Extraordinaire? Psh.

Which brings me to this necklace by Austin-based studio Son of a Sailor (I wrote about it in a Friday Five a few weeks ago). Since it was sold out, I went on one of my many Internet-Squirrel adventures and ended up getting in touch with the designers, who happily agreed to make one for me. Custom. I pounced on the offer. And then, on Monday, it appeared in my mailbox as if delivered my little Christmas elves on special assignment. And you guys, it’s even more beautiful than I expected.

I heartily recommend getting one for yourself; they can customize the color with a few different options. Not only is the craftsmanship impeccable, the packaging, oh my god the packaging. The necklace came on a hand-stamped card with a piece of striped washi tape on the reverse side to hold the rest of the chain in place, tucked in a vellum envelope. I almost didn’t want to open it. Then, because they were really trying to make my head explode, Jessica and William also included a small card with “orner” on one side and the definition (“to decorate”) on the other. It’s like they knew French verbs were my weakness! Also included: a giant playing card with “I love Texas” on the back (I got the 7 of clubs). With packaging that thoughtful and whimsical, I kind of want to buy a million more things from them. Oh! And Jessica said she liked my blog. I swooned. (Hi Jessica!).

So between the scarf from Nina and this necklace and a pair of turquoise jeans from Forever 21, I’ve been on quite the package-opening high. What about you? Buy anything fun recently? Is it just me or is buying things online way more exciting, even without the instant gratification factor?

Orla Kiely & A Gift

I don’t think it’s possible to be a blogger (or anyone mildly interested in home design) and not be familiar with Orla Kiely, the Irish born, London based designer, and her bold, bright prints. Her adorable prints are everywhere, and her collaboration of home and office products with Target in 2009 flew off the shelves faster than I could get my hands on anything, much to my dismay. I’ve always had a soft spot for her ubiquitous stem print, and couldn’t help pulling a few of my favorite pieces together:

Inspiration / 1. Radio / 2. Mug / 3. Notebook / 4. Planners / 5. Scarf / 6. Pillow / 7. Pencils

Can I just say that wallpapered bathroom is the very definition of BANANAS? If Boyfriend would let me, our entire house would be covered in that wallpaper. And I’d squeal like an excited 5 year old if she discovered Christmas was actually twice a year every time I laid eyes on it.

I’ve kind of worshipped Orla Kiely’s stuff from afar, (somewhat incorrectly) convinced that it was out of my price-range, with the exception of her long sold-out line for Target, it is. Or so I thought.

Nina over at Living in 40 posted a round-up of Orla Kiely’s recent collaboration with Uniqlo a few weeks ago, and it was like I’d died and gone to pattern-heaven. I’d only heard a whisper of the line before her post, but hadn’t given it due attention. Turns out, the line is insanely well priced, and includes shirts and dresses and scarves in her signature patterns. Unfortunately for moi, not only are there no Uniqlo stores in Philly, but there is also no online shopping option on the site (also, sidenote: seriously? In 2012 I can buy a genetic testing kit for my dog online but not a t-shirt?) (also, additional sidenote: OMG dog genetic testing!!). When I started drooling over the $12 ($12!!) scarves in the collection and lamenting the fact that I couldn’t buy one, Nina graciously offered to pick one up for me, since she is a magical and generous DIY-fairy sprinkling happiness on the world, and since she works near a Uniqlo in Manhattan. I thought she was kidding at first, because who would do that? That’s too nice! But sometimes, as with Süsk’s personalized map of Paris, the blog-world shines upon me and bestows me with unbelievable presents of which I am totally undeserving. And look what arrived in my mailbox on Saturday:

I mean, come on. I’ve thanked Nina profusely already but I have to give her another well-earned shout out here: Thank you again, so much, Nina. I absolutely love it and already wore it this weekend! Isn’t her handwriting incredible? I was so touched by the entire thing. And it doesn’t hurt that the scarf is gorgeous and literally goes with everything. I’m definitely packing it for Europe, which brings the Scarf Count up to 3. For now!

Like you guys needed anymore reasons to call me spoiled. But seriously, I feel so lucky sometimes. I definitely owe Nina a plate of Swedish meatballs at the IKEA near her house one day.