October 29, 2010

over the knee boots

Over the knee boots have become very trendy and mainstream- and I'm not talking just for strippers and hookers. As long as you wear them appropriately (that means no super short, super tight skirts...), you can avoid looking cheap. I bought a pair last year that I love but are SO high that I can't wear them very often...or for very long. So, I've been on the lookout for flat(ter) over the knee boots that I would be comfortable wearing everyday if I wanted to.

If I didn't have to worry about money, these Loeffler Randall boots would be on my feet right now!! I love the slight wedge and the brown trim - so cute!

I can see these DVF boots with jeans tucked in and a crisp white button down ...and maybe a horse somewhere in the background. Don't they look very equestrian? They also look very well made and expensive - they're more affordable than the Loeffler Randall boots but still not in my price range...


Sam Edelman makes great shoes and this pair is fantastic. They're closer to my price range, but I'm not sure if its worth it to spend over $200 for a pair of synthetic boots.


This Via Spiga pair is very similar to the Sam Edelman ones and they're made of real leather. Still a little pricey though...close to $300...


...which is why I bought this pair from Dolce Vita! They're the same brand as my other over the knee boots, so I knew the quality would be good. They are suede which means that I can't wear them in the rain or snow, but I think the suede adds a nice texture. And the heel is perfect - comfortable enough to wear all day long but adds a bit of (much needed) height. And the best part - they were less than $100! I wore them yesterday and I love them!!


October 28, 2010

ombre love...

No, this post is not about men or a popular 17th century cardgame...instead I'm talking about a technique most often given to fabric where a color is graduated from light to dark. Ombre has been popular the past few years in fashion, but I've never seen it interpreted this way:


So pretty right? Makes me want ombre center pieces for my future wedding (when/if that ever happens!). (I'm not sure where this image originated...if anyone knows, please let me know and I will be happy to give credit)

The idea of doing an ombre wall with paint sounds like a good one, but I think it would be pretty difficult to pull off well. I found some some nice examples - each a little different in their technique:

pink wall
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I think I like the bottom two photos the most. I wish the middle photo was not so subtle, but I like that it's a more seamless gradient. This would definitley be hard to do, which is why if I were ever to try this, I'd probably do something similar to the third photo. Or do it in tile:

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October 27, 2010

pretty plates please!

Our friendsgiving dinner party is coming up soon and I've been trying to think of ideas for how I want to set the table this year. One thing I know for sure is that I want to do something different with the plates - I use the same ones year after year and although I absolutely them, I think I need to switch it up a bit. I found some good options:

These mushroom plates from West Elm are adorable!


These plates are also from West Elm - I love the woodgrain pattern combined with the gold finish...very rustic glam:)


Black and white is probably my favorite color combination. So classic and graphic...and how cute are these Rosanna cameo plates?


But who am I kidding? I can't afford to buy fifiteen new plates! Plus I have nowhere to store them...have you seen my kitchen? I think my best bet are disposable plates. Fortunately, there are disposable, sustainable AND good looking options out there. These are my favorites:

My friend Michelle used bamboo plates for her wedding and they were really nice. They're rustic yet elegant...


I think these plates from Wasara are the front runner though. Aren't they gorgeous? I sort of wish they weren't disposable!


October 26, 2010

the "cake boss" of philly...

It seems like all my architect friends are multi-talented - do you remember Tina who owns this amazing home? When she's not working as a fulltime architect or fixing up her home (by the way, she completed renovations on her third floor and I hope to photograph it soon!), she's baking! She bakes at least every other week because not only is it creative and makes her house smell amazing - she says it relaxes her. She make delicious desserts, but she also makes incredibly detailed and elaborate cakes that continue to blow me away. Her passion for cake-making started early:

I’ve always liked to bake- I remember treating my family to Easy Bake Oven cakes when I was in first or second grade. I loved that pink oven! But my mom was the real inspiration for the specialty cakes. She made a unique cake for each of our birthdays and for some holidays too. I remember cakes that were shaped like big hats with ribbons and flowers, swimming pools with diving boards, ice cream cone cupcakes and easter bunnies. I think she got a lot of her ideas from magazines. When I got older, I eventually took over the helm and starting making cakes for my sister’s birthday parties. Slowly, it just became my ‘thing’. I introduced the shaped cake phenomenon to my college friends with a turtle cake that I made for Suzie (my roommate) for her 21st birthday. It was a huge hit and Suzie became my cake baking partner in crime. She’s really the creative genius behind most of the cakes we’ve done together. Her ideas are insane but somehow she always convinces me that we can make it happen. And we usually do.

Here are just a few of the cakes she's created:








**WARNING** the following cake may not be appropriate for young children...



Aren't they awesome? The photos really don't show how much detail actually goes into each cake - it's ridiculous. And the best part is that they are tasty as well! Tina has a lot of natural talent, but did take a class a few years ago:

I took a 4 or 6 week Beginner class at Fantes a few years ago with Jackie where we learned a lot of the basics like frosting a cake and using a piping bag. It was at that class that I realized I wasn’t destined for a life of buttercream roses. I sucked at them! Which is fine since I much prefer ski slopes and Dolphin tavern stripper cakes.

Pretty cakes with buttercream roses are a dime a dozen - how many people can make a cake that looks like a pool table? Tina mostly bakes for fun, but she has been commissioned to do a few cakes for parties - if you are interested in having a custom cake made for you, please email me and I will be happy to send you her information.

October 25, 2010

his and hers sofas...

I was at West Elm this weekend and saw a display that made me want to redo my living room! Don't get me wrong, I love my living room, but it really only allows one person - maybe two - to be super comfortable. When I'm watching movies at home, I like to lounge with my feet up. Unfortunately, if I lay on my sofa with my feet up it practically takes up the entire sofa. And two people laying side by side is not the most comfortable (my sofa isn't that deep).I do have ottomans that I can move over to the sofa to prop my feet on, but ideally I'd like a sectional...or two sofas! I'm not sure a sectional would work well with the way my living rom is laid out, but two sofas could definitley work. I wish I had taken a picture of the West Elm display. It was beautiful and looked so cozy! The display had two of their daybeds facing each other and they were piled with a million pillows and blankets. It was similar to the image below but even more plush and luxurious:


Here are a few living rooms with two sofas:

This room is nice, but maybe a little too symmetrical for my taste...

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I pretty much love everything about this room, from the wallpaper to the fireplace to the ottoman/coffee table. And I also like how the sofas aren't the same.

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I really like this room - especially the pops of fuschia. I like the lines of the sofas, but I'd want mine to have higher arms...

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What do you think? How do you guys feel about living rooms with two sofas?

October 22, 2010

"where was the fur?"

After hearing that question from a number of people in response to my post on my top 5 winter coats, I've decided to devote an entire post on fur pieces that I want! Here are my top 5:

1. I have a faux fur vest that I love and wear pretty often in the winter. The only problem is that it's not a solid color fur, so it doesn't go with everything. That means I need a white fur vest of course! I love this mongolian lamb fur vest from J.Crew :


I love the curly texture of the fur and the color is perfect. Apparently a lot of other people think its pretty perfect too - its now sold out - even with its $640 pricetag

I did find a more affordable option on Ebay. Its a bit different - the fur is only around the collar of the back of the vest. I prefer the J.Crew version, but I prefer the price tag on this - $279:


2. I've been wanting a vintage fur capelet for a while now but still haven't gotten one. And I'm not really sure why. They're not that difficult to find - you can usually find one at a good vintage store, there are a ton of them on Ebay and they're typically pretty affordable. The one below is an Ebay find and doesn't it look adorable with the dress? I think it would also look great with just a pair of jeans and a long sleeved tee:


3. As soon as I saw this purse in the J.Crew catalog, I knew I had to have it...until I saw the pricetag of course (why does it seem that everything I want from J.Crew is too expensive?!!). But isn't it so pretty? Sigh.

jcrewfurpurse copy

No worries though! I've come up with an option that even I can afford! All you need to do is go into your closet and get that fur muff that's been collecting dust and - what? You don't have a fur muff in your closet? Hmm...I have a couple of them - doesn't everybody? Well if you don't, you can buy one off of Ebay or at a vintage store. The one below is from Ebay and so far the bid is only at $10.95. To turn it into a purse, take it to a tailor and have them sew one end closed and put a zipper along the other. Easy right? And they usually come with a cord wristlet, but if you want to be able to wear it on your shoulder, just sew on some chains (like the J.Crew one) or a leather strap.


4. I love hats but I usually don't look very good in them. I still have yet to find a winter hat that will keep my ears warm and look good on me. My solution: ear muffs! When I was in elementary school I had a pink faux fur coat with a matching muff and earmuffs (yes, the obsession with fur started early). That was the last time I wore fur earmuffs, but I'm ready to give it a try again. These are from Top Shop and are only $24:

5. I love this jacket and what makes it stand out among the other million black coats out there is the fur collar. And the best part (besides it being vintage) is that its only $24.99...but there are still a couple days left so the price will surely go up. You can place your bid here.


October 21, 2010

some style from fashion week

I finally downloaded the pictures I took during the last couple of days of fashion week here in Philly. There were some interesting shows, but what I loved most was the people watching!

I love this guy. He looks very New England beachy preppy....with a twist. I want his sunglasses.


I love this girl's dress! What I remember: she's an actress, her brother was a model in one of the shows, and she found her dress in a dumpster! All she had to do was cut off the sleeves, shorten it and of course get it cleaned and voila...an adorable lace dress that can be dressed up or down, worn in the summer or with layers and stockings in the winter. Great find.


The skirt is what drew me to this girl and after talking to her, I found out that she had a show earlier in the night (that I missed) and her outift is from her collection! Her name is Alecia Zameska and she is originally from Philadelphia. The print and the colors in her skirt are beautiful and I love the fullness and the length. If you're interested in seeing her other pieces, you can check them out here.


October 20, 2010

house love pt. 4

A few weeks ago I posted about Janisak Designs, a custom furniture company started by my former classmate Josh Janisak. After spending most of the day as a fulltime architect and parttime furniture designer/builder, Josh spends the rest of his time working on his 100 year old trinity in Bella Vista. After renting the house for about four years, Josh fell in love with the space as well as the neighborhood and decided to purchase it in 2009. Most weekends, you can find him at home steadily fixing up his house.

The work that Josh has done on the exterior of the house is what I'm most impressed with. He really lucked out with the brick on the front facade of the house - it may not have been perfect, but after some repointing and patching, it now looks beautiful. In addition to work on the brick, Josh has replaced all the glass and hardware on the windows, installed new steel sidewalk doors, poured a new concrete sidewalk at door opening, installed a new exterior light fixture, installed new house numbers, and the list goes on and on.

image c/o j. janisak

I don't think there would be enough room on this blog to list everything that he's done, but I do have to mention two things: the window grates and the cornice. Josh installed new plasma cut steel window grates that he designed and had custom made by O'Rourke Steel. Isn't it such a difference from the old grates he had on those windows? Such an improvement - shows that beauty doesn't have to be lost to functionality.



And then there's the cornice that I'm totally jealous of. It's also Josh's favorite element of the house:

I replicated about 80% of the existing lines and geometry, but tweaked some of the lines I didn’t like on the existing cornice, like the end finials were very blocky with squared transitions. Plus the bottom half of the existing cornice end finials were rusted away and bastardly patched with aluminum, so I had to guestimate what was there. It gave me a chance to introduce some more graceful elliptical based curves. I also added a series of modillions to support the length of the underside of the cornice which added some nice articulation to the length of the cornice. Between each modillion, I added a panel raise. In the center of the panel raises, and on the face of the end finial, I applied a stamped medallion from the WF Norman Company. This is kind of cheesy, but I picked a shell medallion theme because we live on Schell St. After about a year of the cornice being in place, the lead coated copper has lost it’s shine and is taking on a darker more muted gray patina, and I am happy the way it is aging.

image c/o j. janisak


The interior of his house has the same sort of rustic yet refined aesthetic that his furniture embodies. He was able to keep and refinish a lot of the original details (wood floors, wood beam ceilings, brick fireplaces, wood doors) which really add a lot of character. His personal sense of style/design can be best described in his own words:

I appreciate the feeling of fulfillment after a hard days work, don’t mind getting dirty, and I appreciate the finer details. My childhood dream was to be a steam locomotive operator. I believe my best qualities are determination and persistance. Architecturally, I think design should be respectful, referential, contextual, and often times use tasteful duplication. I like how we have the ability to assemble the kit of parts. I like when things are reinterpreted, and I like when their are glimpses of new architectural insertions that create some contrast.



I love that a lot of the artwork throughout the house are drawings or projects that he did while in architecture school.


He uses the room on his second floor as an office and storage space for all of his tools:


And can you believe he has three fireplaces? He has three and I don't even have one! Sigh. This one is in his bedroom:



The third floor (where the bedroom is) has a cute little deck where they have a container garden and are able to grow some vegetables, herbs and flowers. The ladder leads up to the roof which allows you to have an amazing view of the city.


Before I bought my house, I rented an apartment in Bella Vista and I absolutely loved it. It's such a beautiful area and within walking distance to so many amazing restaurants and bars - and of course the Italian Market! One of my favorite places is right around the corner from Josh - a French bistro called Beau Monde. They have amazing crepes and the bar upstairs (L'etage) is the best place in the city to go dancing in my opinion. I asked Josh what his favorite neighborhood spot was and he said:

Sarcone's Bakery. The hoagie is a treat every once in a while, but a seeded loaf for a $1.80 is a must every weekend, fresh and hot out of the oven right at 7:30 in the morning, chewing on a big chunk of bread while walking home.

Sarcone's has been around for almost 100 years. If they are still going strong after that many years, they must be doing something right!

Thanks to Josh for allowing me (and Eric) into his home and taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his (many) projects. His house may still be a work in progress, but I think it looks pretty incredible already. Can't wait to see what else he does!
images: eric heidel