Project Renovate | Whipped Cream


My house has the coolest barrel ceilings. Living and dining rooms! These ceilings make the place seem soooo huge, and really put the focus on my {even more awesome} windows. 
What's not awesome is the texture someone decided to plaster all over them. The walls, the ceiling, the fireplace, down the hallway. *groan* 
This is much worse than popcorn/cottage cheese ceiling. For lack of a better description and without a trace of affection, I have come to call this texture pattern, "whipped cream". {apparently texture nicknames go with food items}

I called in a couple of painters to see how they would get rid of the stuff. With eyes the size of saucers, they surveyed the rooms in silence. Solutions were suggested: 
Sanding. Skim coating. 
Sanding some more. Skim coating some more. 
Build it up slowly, away from the window frames. Sand some more. 
Paint. Sand some more. Paint again.
In essence, a heckuva lot of work.

After the painters had gone, my contractor took one look at it, and said: "No problem. We'll figure it out." Next time I went over to the house, there he was with a giant spatula on a broomstick carving away the whipped cream. shuck, shuck, shuck. The stuff was, thankfully, coming off in chunks.
It took one guy, two hand a half days to clean it all off. I was seriously impressed.


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Lorem Ipsum | Bombshell Pro, Jacques & Gilles

Recently acquired & totally crushing on: Jacques & Gilles {top} and Bombshell Pro {bottom}. A great handwritten quality to them. They look fairly similar, one is a bit more formal than the other, but I think they are super cute. Jacque & Gilles even comes with cute ornaments too. Can't wait to use them for print projects. Yay!

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This episode is brought to you by: Jacques & Gilles and Bombshell Pro!
Designer: Emily Conners, founder Emily Lime foundry
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Project Renovation | The Before


Getting started with a renovation is a little daunting. Exciting, but daunting. Provided you are prepared for the emotional and financial stress, it takes a little simmering time to get a good idea of what you'd like to do. I guess you could say I'm lucky because the minute I set foot inside the house {a spontaneous Open House visit with Mom}, before I even decided to put an offer on it, I knew what I'd do to fix it up. It's like there was a thin film of tracing paper over my vision with the project completed. I had the Big Idea down already, it's the details that still need discovering. 


Now, before you look at these photos and think; "Awww. What a cute kitchen!" Don't get too attached. This kitchen was cute, but pretty tired. Yes, I just used past tense. This kitchen was cute. Because, it's gone. Have no mercy, ripped out, gone. All in a day's work. Renovation is not for the faint of heart.

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New Home


So, I've been a total slacker in posting intervals. Things have been super crazy for me and my family recently. As I'm sure you all experienced at least a few times in your life, life has a way of getting in the way. I'm hoping that I'll be able to post with wanton abandon given recent developments: I am now a Homeowner. yes, with a capital "H". Home. Mine. All mine.
It is this great little Spanish-style place built in 1924 with amazingly awesome windows and a great little fireplace. Most especially, it has great bones. The previous owners have loved it gently, thank goodness, so it still has a lot of old charm but not so much that I would be afraid to add my own touches. And there is quite a bit to do with this old beauty as the kitchen is living in 1954 and one of the bathrooms, 1984. In fact, it's already started. I'm seeing lath & plaster as I type. So, I will hopefully be sharing it all with you: the progress, the setbacks {knock on wood} and the triumphs. 
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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

Looking Up


Talk about your silver lining! I took this outside my office the other day. 
I love Fall weather... le sigh
I think I need to paint this... or commission someone... like my friend James Willis. Maybe he'd do it for me. *hint hint*

Project Adventure: Google's Field Trip


Today marks, officially, the first time I've been jealous of Android phones. I just learned of something called Field Trip. Developed by the folks at Google, it's exactly what I was trying to express in my first ever post in Project Adventure; go out and explore all the cool things around you. Field Trip is an app that runs in the background of your phone and pops up nifty insights about where you are at that moment.

All you Android people out there, install this and let me know how it is! They say they are working on an iOS version - lets hope it comes out sooner rather than later!
Check out the promo video below - makes me not want to go back to work, like, ever.



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Sliding Doors

In my alternate reality where I have endless time, and endless storage space to create an
Amazingly Crafty Wonderland
Here's some of what would be in my bottomless toolbox:

1. Lots and lots of washi tape {you know I love washi tape}
2. Xyron Wishblade custom die-cutter
3. Every color of baker's twine ever created
6. bonsai shears (they're great for trimming plants)
8. X-Acto knives that never go dull and a really great ruler
7. Glitter in every color imaginable 
4. Endless supply of Glue Dots & spray adhesive
5. Prismacolor markers & pastels in every color they make
9. Really, really pretty paper {that never costs any money}

And really pretty furoshiki cloth to wrap up all my crafty gifts.
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Mom's Garden | Monarch & Milkweed


This episode of Mom's Garden is brought to you by monarch butterflies and the milkweed plant! {hooray!}
When it comes to monarchs and milkweed, think: "If you plant it, they will come". 
{cue Kevin Costner, hee hee}
No, seriously tho. Plant some milkweed in your garden {if you're in the zone for it} and you'll have cool stripe-y caterpillars & orange butterflies in your yard almost instantly. Those little guys have a radar for milkweed like pregnant ladies to peanut butter & pickles. There's been a population explosion around Mom's Garden, so I thought I'd snap some pics and share with you the magical wonderland that is monarchs and milkweed... {cue sprinkley, fairy music}


The milkweed plant {genus: Asclepias} is aptly named because of the milky juice that comes out of stems when cut {which has many uses, one being a quick remedy for poison ivy! Learning new things here, people}. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed which contain chemicals {cardiac glycosides} that, in turn, make the caterpillar super nasty-tasting and potentially poisonous to predators. One thing to note, because the caterpillars love this plant soooo much, they eat the heck out of them and leave them as leaf-less sticks. If they run out of leaves, they'll even eat the stems. So, don't get all angry if the plant isn't perfect and beautiful. Remember, it's there to make the monarchs big, fat and happy.

Look at this squee leeetle tiny guy! Inne cuteh?! {size comparison: check out the orange aphids next to him or the ant in the upper right}

{the photo at the start of this post is no trick of photoshop. Ain't it ΓΌber cool? Sometimes the best stuff comes from lame accidents}
oh, and PS, while I was snapping away, I found lacewing eggs! Aren't they neat-o?! If you ever find a lacewing, don't kill it! They are probably one of the best bugs around your garden and eat lots of bad bugs, like aphid. We heart lacewings. {maybe I'll do a post on those soon too... cuz they're pretty}
UPDATE: Apparently, monarchs will hook themselves just about anywhere to make the transition from crawly critter to flutterby. From garden hoses to metal ladders. Keep your eyes peeled!
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Lorem Ipsum | Piel Script


Get excited! New section! I give you... drum roll.... Lorem Ipsum! **wimpy ta-da sound** 
It's basically an outlet for me to do a bit of simple design and show off typefaces that I'm obsessing over. So, obviously, it'll be a type-treatment of the phrase "Lorem Ipsum". {to spare you from me going all design-geek on you about the phrase and/or if you don't know what lorem ipsum is, read about it here}

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This episode is brought to you by: Piel Script!
Designer: Ale Paul, founder Sudtipos 
Inspiration: Tattoos
{he also designed a couple more of my favorites, Burgues & Adios Script}
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Project Adventure: Outstanding in the Field


This Sunday was an amazingly beautiful day. My family and I were lucky enough to enjoy it up in Los Olivos/Solvang area with Jim Denevan & the folks of Outstanding in the Field. If you've never heard of Outstanding and are into good food and unique experiences, you'd better check them out, pronto. And, if you've been dying to go for years, you should bite the bullet and go already.
This is our third event, and by far the best one. Our table was nestled in the hills and amongst the vines of Stolpman Vineyard near Los Olivos. Most of the produce was harvested or caught within 24 hours of being on our plates, so naturally it was super fresh and all the flavors were completely amazing. The menu was dreamt up by Rich Mead, head chef of Sage Restaurant, Paddy Glennon and some of the crew from the Culinary Liberation Front {super cool name, btw}. We also were treated to hearing from a couple of farms where our food originated.


Such an awesome experience, I encourage all of you to save up your money and try to attend one of these events at least once in your life.



We even got to see the uber spectacular eclipse!

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Accessorize: Teeny Tiny

As is with fashion, styles swing from one end of the spectrum to the next. Mini-skirt in the summer, maxi-skirt in the fall. Skinny jeans in the winter, palazzo pants in the summer. Tunic, crop top. Cascading waves of hair extensions, stick-straight earlobe-grazing bob. It never ends, but it does give you incentive to become a hoarder - because eventually, whatever it is, will come back in style! 
This time around, I'm calling out the inevitability of mini jewelry. As the amazingly gorgeous bib necklaces, statement earrings and cocktail rings are slowly peetering out, I am steering toward accessory simplification more and more.
Don't get me wrong, I love me some statement jewelry, but sometimes you just don't want to think about all that. Besides, who wants to run around 100 degree weather in something that's heavy and super bulky? You want to be wearing something floaty, breezy and begging to be whispered at.
Check out more of my accessory picks on my Pinterest boards

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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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Project Adventure/Mom's Garden: Baby Shower


A couple months ago, my friend Jin and I embarked upon the time-honored tradition of planning and hosting a Baby Shower. It was very lucky that Jin & I have a similar taste in decorating ideas, otherwise, things could have been a total disaster. We planned and plotted our strategy via the perfect vehicle for creative inspiration, Pinterest. We scrambled and sorted until things were just right, picked and positioned the best from Mom's Garden, crafted and created all we had imagined. Saturday was finally the day. 
I have to say, I think it turned out perfectly.
The super cool and effervescent Kara, of Mi & Mo Photography was there and captured the most gorgeous shots anywhere. Man, she made it look so professional, it's hard to believe that it was ours! Those kind of images just make you all dreamy-eyed with endless party decor possibilities. She even did a blog post on it, if you'd like to take a look at the awesome pictures.

One things for sure: hosting parties of any kind are a heck of a lot of work, but man, are they fun.


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Mom's Garden: French Radish

Springtime is in full effect in Southern California and Mom and I have totally re-done the veggie garden.
Too many years Mom has been sitting by watching all of her hard work get eaten by the bunnies, peacocks {yes, peafowl} and other nasty, annoying critters. So, we've constructed a kick-ass no holds barred enclosed area {it even has doors!} to keep most of them out. It doesn't stop the slugs, and of course the rats & squirrels can climb it, but we'll take any victory we can get {fingers crossed}.

Some of our first harvests were luscious bibb lettuce and these awesome little guys, the French Radish. Well, really it's called a French Breakfast Radish, but people seem to get weirded out by associating radishes with breakfast. Anyway, these little guys are not only super duper cute and a pretty red-pink-white ombre color, they have a lighter, less "snappy" flavor than your run-of-the-mill radish. 
A little dash of salt and... crunch! Yummy! 
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Project Adventure: NYC


Ask anyone you know, who has lived in New York for years and then moved away, it leaves a hole in your heart. Provided, of course, you left The City on good terms. The hole is different for everyone, but nonetheless, it is still there. A void, a something missing. I knew that in moving to the West Coast (a whopping year & 7 months ago), NYC would always haunt me. I was prepared to go back east to get my Big-Apple-fix as often as I had to, in order to feel right. And yet, somehow I still feel somewhat disconnected. There is something to be said about being in the city and feeling it's heartbeat, it's everyday ebb and flow. One day: monotony, the next: scandal! One day: pure frustration, the next: unfettered awe. It did that for me in my years of becoming a New Yorker, the love and the hate. And yet, California never left me. Bodega owners would pause, their hand outstretched with my change, and say to me with appreciation, "You're not from here, originally, are you." It wasn't a question. They just knew.


So, what am I getting at? I supposed I'm trying to explain the unique otherness of New York. People either love it, or they hate it. For some, it's hard to find that middle ground. It took me a while to fully appreciate it, and at times, I took it for granted. Not anymore, I tell you. Not ever again.
Like a silly clichΓ© or a junkie in need of a fix, I'll keep coming back for more because I know She will always have something for me, whatever that something is.


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Mom's Garden: Early Spring Mix


It is so hard to believe that I'm talking about a spring mix of flowers in February. February! *shakes head in dismay* But, that's the crazy we get in Southern California. While a lot of people are sitting under feet of snowdrift, I'm outside in flip-flops picking daffodils... go figure.
Today's bunch is a luscious group of daffodils, white and green hellebore, snowflakes  {if you aren't totally obsessed with hellebore & snowflakes, you should be}, maidenhair fern and a few sprigs of blooming rosemary. Looks great on the sill above the kitchen sink.


Can I tell you how obsessed I am with these things?! 
*eye-roll and sigh* Ugh, man are these awesome!



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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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Sliding Doors

Spring Garden Party
In my almost-entirely-possible, not-quite-alternate reality where I have a huge backyard, gather all my fabulous friends on a picture-perfect afternoon and laugh heartily through the evening...

My garden aplenty would be the decor, like this.


I'd throw on this dress & this straw hat and these bangles
No shoes, so I could sqidge my toes in the grass.
while serving thisthis and this.

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