Monthly Obsession: Eau de Summer

September is almost over and summer is winding down. Here in LA we're still getting steamy 100 degree days, so it doesn't really feel like fall. At all. As a result, I still have summer on the brain and one of my favorite things is the smell of summer. I love the smell of sandy salt air, jasmine and plumeria hot from the afternoon sun, and the tinge of fresh coconut. Surfers' Sex Wax and Sticky Bumps, and getting slathered up with Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat. It's that smell when you've just come out of the ocean and you're laying face-down on a towel, the wind brushes over your shoulder while you examine the microscopic kernels of sand inches from your face. You smell all of that, minutes before you fall asleep with the sun on your back.

When I was living in New York, I kind of made it my mission to find this smell... if only to remember the California summers of my childhood. I was extremely picky because, like my mother, I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. I'm the type of person who sneezes in the detergent aisle or the perfume department because of the general onslaught of odors, good or bad. I have an aversion to any sort of artificial smell, like fake coconut or scratch-n-sniff stickers.  To replicate my summer smell, I wanted the "real" thing, or as close to it as I could get.

From my searchings, here are a few of my favorite items that, to this day, I am totally obsessed with:

clockwise from top left:

Kai perfume OilWhite Sand body lotion, Finn & Co; MonoΓ― Body Glow, NARS; At The Beach 1966, CB I Hate Perfume; Aloha Orchid, Capri Blue.

Monthly Obsession: Navajo rugs/blankets

This issue of Monthly Obsession is brought to you by Navajo rugs in all their fabulous geometric glory.

As I continue to furnish & decorate my home, I've become increasingly obsessed with Navajo textiles. I mean, come on. They're just incredible. Geometric, colorful (usually) so bold and graphic. I'm just sad that my pocketbook can't afford most of the really unique vintage ones! Sigh.

Traditionally, they are hand loomed by women and take a really long time to create, hence the hefty price tag. Mostly the readily available vintage ones were made around the 1930-1960's. You can find ones from as far back as the mid 1800's! If you're into this style, there are also really amazing Navajo Chief's blankets with really bold stripes and patterns. Horse/Saddle blankets are another, smaller size option. Luckily for those of us who can't spend a bundle on the vintage originals, there are more affordable rug makers that are jumping onto the geometric bandwagon. Here's a few of my recent new and vintage favorites:

Above rug: 1930's Eye Dazzler

Monthly Obsession: Moravian Star

This edition of

Monthly Obsession

is brought to you by the fabulously versatile

moravian star

pendant light. After ripping apart my little Spanish Revival house, I wanted to keep the interior looking relatively close to what you may have found in it when it was built in 1924... with a few classic updates, of course. When I looked up at my living room ceiling after all the

whipped cream

had been removed, I pictured awesome

moravian star

pendant lights. Those things have been around for so long, they're a classic. They can be found is so many variations, the star lights can be applied to pretty much any european-style house {spanish, moorish, german, english cottage, etc}. In true obsessive style, I scoured lighting stores and the interwebs for the perfect ones. Originally, I found really great ones from Rejuvenation that were the right size and in my budget. Unfortunately, by the time I went to buy them, they were discontinued. Sadness.

{something about the shade randomly falling off the light. Not good}

Just as I was getting disheartened, I somehow found lights from Ballard Designs. That catalog store isn't at all on my radar, like

ever

... but they had some nice ones that were also on super sale! Yessss! Done!

{see my bro & sis-in-law helping with the install below. I have amazingly 

awesome family

}

I pulled together a small collection of Moravian Stars for you to peruse below. {links below image} Enjoy!

Monthly Obsession: Arrows


I'm calling it out {and since I'm obv already obsessed with them}. Arrows are taking over. Just as whales & owls took over mustaches & birds, arrows are all over the place. Bloggers  have been predicting it for years now, I guess I'm just slow on the uptake.
It may be a strange thing to want, but I've been lusting after an arrow from Fredericks & Mae for a while. Those things are like folk art.
I've put together some images and items with arrows to get your blood pumping. Enjoy!
1. DIY feather arrow necklace; 2. Madewell archer necklace; 3. Coral & Tusk pillows; 4. Erica Weiner Archery Earring; 5. Nasty Gal Cuff; 6. Satelluxe's The Bristow; 7. Fredericks & Mae arrows.

{After seeing all the awesome pillows from Coral & Tusk, my future project is to learn embroidery}
1. via Apartment Therapy; 2. Vinyl arrow decals; 3. via Pinterest; 4. via Etsy; 5. via Making It Lovely.
Illustration at top: Julia Kostreva

Monthly Obsession: Washi Tape


Budding obsession here -- Washi tape. If you haven't discovered the wondrous wonderful that is washi tape, you are seriously missing out. Once you have seen this stuff, you are going to want to fill your cupboards & drawers with it and start using lame excuses on why every surface needs to be affixed with cute, colorful masking tape. 
Washi tape is a tissuey, translucent, delicate but sturdy masking tape traditionally made from Japanese washi paper {hence, the name, duh}. Washi, literally means "Japanese paper", is made from various sources like paper mulberry, gampi tree, bamboo, hemp and rice. Did you know, {because 5 minutes ago, I didn't} the process of making washi uses less chemicals and is generally a tougher material than traditional wood pulp paper! Learning new things everyday here, people.
And let me tell you - there is a contingent of folks out there, screaming from the rooftops, who are mad for washi. Mad, I tell you! {and, wouldn't you know, there's even an app for that}
{aaand, apparently, if you have an awesome xyron machine, you can make it yourself with tissue paper}

title photo PrettyTape;  1) Paper Source; 2) Traditional Dots; 3) set of three; 4) dots & laceTape tower photo from sfgirlbybay

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Monthly Obsession: Online Mags


Print magazines may be declining in readership {noo!!} in recent years, but there has been a recent uptick in online-only magazines. There are a few that I am completely obsessed with {I'm sure loads more people as well}. Topics range from gardening & cooking to fashion, design & DIY crafts. These mags are just so great, so visually inspiring... it's like... like... aaaahh! completely addicting, can't get enough of it...  crack eye-candy. There are so many that it seems a bit daunting to keep up with them all - but, I don't care! I will stay up reading until the wee hours and forge ahead in my dedication to all forms of visual & literary awesomeness!
Check them out, as I'm sure you will become smitten with them as well.


In-print magazines that I should in all honestly, because they are also so totally wonderful, get a lifelong subscription to: Anthology and Uppercase

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Monthly Obsession: Bone China


I realized that I haven't done a Monthly Obsession post in a while... so, I'm remedying that now.
This post is dedicated to a seriously crazy {borderline hospitalization} obsession I have with bone china. I'm not talking about your plain 'ol boring shiny china dishes that you would get for a wedding present or little girl sculpture you'd see on your grandmother's bookcase. I'm talking about unglazed, matte, translucent, creamy white, rough and completely dreamy porcelian. Good thing I am a slightly more than picky when it comes to whipping out the wallet - otherwise my apartment would be floor-to-rafters with the stuff.

basket, octopus, bracelet 
My first foray into slip-cast-ware was a few years ago via Brooklyn Flea when I found Alyssa Ettinger's ceramics. After seeing them once, they haunted me for months, so I headed back out and snapped up her New York set of slip-cast milk bottles. So cute and teeny, they look great with just one or two tulips or daffodils.
A few months later, sometime just before Christmas, walking through a totally idillic evening snowfall in NoLita, I swung by Haus Interiors and found Jennifer Jones's awesome feather ornaments.
Needless to say, my collection has grown a bit over time, so here's some nice stuff I've seen lately - please let me know if there are other good ones out there!

Monthly Obsession: Cruisers


There's something about late summer that gets me every year. When the air cools down, but the earth is still warm. Think, 6pm late August, Friday afternoon, ambient breeze, sun mid-horizon still warm on your face. It's like that time of day is meant for lounging, starting up the barbeque and having a beer.
Close your eyes, lift your face to the sun & take a deep slow breath. That's what summer is all about.

Now, I can virtually hear the moaning and see the eye-rolling that is happening while you look at these photos. Don't worry, I'm not going all Hipster and wax-poetic about how awesome fixed-gear bikes are and how bicycles should take back the roads, while wearing my plaid shirt, slip-on Keds and skinny jeans. No. This Monthly Obsession is about going slow and taking your time.
This is about cruisers. I'm not even going to bother teling you about the history, just imagine taking one out for a few hours. Don't forget about the bell!
Top photo from here
Delivery and Super Deluxe from Electra Bikes, Dutch Gazelle from The Dutch Bike Co., Chopper Cruiser from Chubby, Epitath bike by Autum, Heritage by Felt
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Monthly Obsession | Dog Toys


Leading up to and since the arrival of little Oberon {who, at 60 pounds, isn't so little anymore}, I've been keeping an eye out for fun/cool dog stuff and pinning it on Pinterest. It's so nutty how crazed people are about their dogs these days. I really don't understand the whole doggy outfit thing (except maybe a sweater when it's 10ΒΊ outside). But, I do understand the buying-of-dog-stuff frenzy that happens when you first bring home a little puppy. So, here's a small collection of the fun & useful doggy items that I've found recently. If you want to see more, check them out on my Gifts for the Pet Parent board.

Bone-shaped biscuit cutters, $8.99; Doggy play pool, $9.99; Seed Bombs: Pet Friendly Plants, $6; Silly Buddy bow tie, $40; Biodegradable Poop Bags, $9.95 for 100 bags;  Humunga Stache chew toy, $14.99; Braided Fisherman Collar, $22.
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Monthly Obsession | Eden Rose Update


Just thought I'd share a couple more pics of the awesomely beautiful Eden Roses
that I *ahem* acquired *ahem*.
Obviously, these little suckers last a long time if you change the water every day and clip the stems a bit.
Happy Friday the 13th! Ooooohhhhhh, spooky! hee hee

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Monthly Obsession | Eden Rose Climber (Pierre de Ronsard)


Oh, Eden Rose. How I love thee. Let me count the ways....
I have had an obsession with this rose for years now. I mean, I love this rose. You'd be seriously hard pressed to find me wearing any shade of pink, but when it comes to flowers, all bets are off. 
Mom and I first spotted this beauty, years ago, climbing up an amazing home overlooking the Pacific in Corona Del Mar, California. At the time, we didn't know what rose it was.


It is a beautiful, prolific climbing (but can also be trained as a shrub) rose that begins with creamy white buds, and as it opens, it changes color. The tips of the petals are a rich, saturated pink that look like they've been dipped in watercolor. As the flower opens, the petals become lighter and lighter and fade to the lightest blush pastel pink. They are super heavy and have tons of densely-packed petals.
We happened upon it again a few months later on a weekend visit to Filoli (pronounced fee-low-lee) near San Francisco. The tag deemed it an Eden Rose Climber (the French call it Pierre De Ronsard).
Developed by French flower grower Meilland in 1987 and is apparently, very resistant to fungus and bugs. The only drawbacks are it doesn't have much smell, needs a bit of shade and doesn't like to get wet. Other than that, in the right zone, these roses are supposed to be very easy to care for! It was also voted into the World Federation of Rose Society Roses Hall of Fame in 2006.
(Another completely amazing rose that I found this week is the Yves Piaget - it looks like the most amazing peony! You have to look it up)

 
Neither Mom nor I own this rose, so how I obtained the flowers in these photos will remain a secret. 
Suffice to say, it involved a bit of covert operations and a mostly absent neighbor who will never know what they're missing.

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Monthly Obsession | BHLDN

So, if I were getting married or even thinking of getting married in the near future, my head would just about explode from today's launch of the bridal/wedding inspiration shop, BHLDN. I think there are a lot of soon-to-be-brides' fainting all over the country right about now. BHLDN is the newest creation from Anthropologie. Given my obsession with Anthropologie, I'm sure I'll be checking in on the site regularly for inspiration, not just bridal junk.
Of course the geniuses at Anthro have thought of everything - gowns, bridesmaid dresses, jewelry, shoes, lingerie, hair accessories and cover-ups. It has a breadth of style options from traditional & sweet to all out funky - but all very elegant. They even have a "flow player" video of the model moving around in the gown to see how it moves. Such a great idea! 
They have also added a section similar to Pinterest where you can "pin" your ideas onto a virtual collage moodboard to keep inspiration flowing with items from the site. 
Of course, there is also the "What Kind Of Bride" section to help you pick out styles. 
(I might have filled in the blanks and may or may not have come out with "Lady With A Twist" category, but of course I'm not getting married any time soon, so why would I bother?) 

I'm also loving their "Nuptials of Yesteryear" section with old wedding photos. Many traditional a few, hilariously, not so traditional.
Go check it out, yes even if you're not getting married, it's fun {and pretty}!
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Monthly Obsession - Succulents & Carnivorous Pants

This edition of Monthly Obsession goes to Succulents & Carnivorous Plants!
It's sad that these plants sometimes get overlooked because they don't usually have big, over the top flowers or are just plain weird/creepy. Both succulents & carnivorous plants are pretty remarkable, evolving out of stressful environments: the need to retain water & moisture or supplementing lack of nutrients in soil. These are seriously determined plants.


Succulent Plants
These guys {I think} have gotten a bit more popular because of the rise in eco-mindedness {is that even a word?} due to their drought-tolerant nature. For those of us apartment dwellers without gardens, they are great windowsill additions and are pretty low maintenance!
Succulents, most native to dry, arid conditions {cacti are also included in the succulent category, the difference is that they have spines}, store water in their leaves and/or stems (resulting in that more "fleshy" appearance and the goo that comes out if broken in half, like the Aloe plant) and have an overall structure that is engineered specifically to absorb and retain water. It's quite brilliant when you think of it... leaf shape & growth pattern to better catch water, some succulents even have tiny hairs that harness moisture to create little sub-climates! Some succulents even look like rocks.
There is an enormous variety available in every shape and size you can imagine. They have amazing texture and color when clustered together in little vignettes.
pics above 1, 2, 3, 4



Carnivorous Plants
Some people may get really creeped out when thinking about carnivorous plants. {insert Rick Moranis joke here} But, in reality they are pretty darn awesome. Not only can they be quite pretty, but when you think about it, they are seriously inventive! Booby traps, disguises, lures, trip wires, you name it. See? Cool. It's like something out of James Bond movie... or, maybe The Goonies. The only problem with these plants is they can be a bit finicky if not taken care of properly, so be sure to read up on them if you're thinking of adopting any of these little dudes.
Check out a seriously extensive gallery of carnivorous plant images here
Watch this totally awesome episode of Discovery Life on Venus Flytraps here
pics above 1, 2, 3

When paired together, succulents and carnivorous plants can be really beautiful, not to mention a conversation starter! Here's some cool products featuring this Monthly Obsession:
 
Top images via here & here

Monthly Obsession - Order Strigiformes (Owl)

I've decided to introduce this new section, Monthly Obsession, to one of my favorites, Owls.
They are just amazing. Pure and simple. Every shape, size and color of them are just cool as can be. And, they've been popping up a lot over the last couple of years. I recently saw a preview to a new CGI movie called Legend of the Guardians that looked so beautiful, I almost fell out of my seat (and has one of my favorite voices ever, Hugo Weaving).
So, here's a few cool-looking items that you can use to spruce up your home or closet... Granted, it takes some patience to weed through the kitch, but there are some really awesome things out there. Enjoy!

1. Great Horned Owl, 2. Powerful Owl, 3. Curiouser Lamp, 4. Hoot Owl Kids Hat, 5. Umbrella Stand6. Wise, 7. Owl Test,  8. Hoot Hoot Hooray earrings
Pics at top via here and here