It seems crazy to already be thinking about the holidays when we just wrapped Halloween this past weekend. However, how many times have you felt like you had nothing but time to buy gifts and within a second, it’s December 22nd? Every time? We can avoid that this year by getting a head start on gifts well before Thanksgiving. I’m starting this year’s holiday gift guide series with one for the hosts in our lives. We all have holiday dinners and events that we don’t want to show up empty handed for, and I’m sure we all have a friend or family member who love throwing soirees and would appreciate little luxuries to amp up their party game. These gifts are ones that keep the hosts duties in mind, like a treat for their bar or a new touch of home decor. Just a little something sweet to show appreciation for being invited and will certainly ensure that you’ll be invited back.
There were few things one could do to get me to decorate pumpkins again after a glitter extravaganza a few years ago left me feeling exhausted by the idea. While they were so lovely to have on my table through Thanksgiving, the remnants of glitter and glue I kept finding around the apartemnt weren’t as cute. Last year I just rounded up some white pumpkins and kept them as is which was nice, but felt a little lackluster after awhile. I love fall, especially the time surrounding Halloween, and this year it was time to resurface my pumpkin decorating side.
The 2014 pumpkin decorating Catherine is no longer into glitter, so this time they needed to be a little bit sleeker and edgier. A color palette of black, white, and gold seemed perfectly appropriate to match my home decor and it kept the costs from getting too out of control (I guess I keep a can of gold spray paint around at all times now). All it took for these guys was the spray paint (I went with a matte finish for the white and black), acrylic paint to use with a brush for any of the touch-ups or designs, and painters tape to section off areas for the color blocking. Studs and push pins make the easiest embellishments on pumpkins because they just slide right in and stay put. I already have a craft drawer full of studs and just got these push pins (and everything else) at Blick. Any art supply store would probably have you covered for this stuff. The studs are a little harder to find but try JoAnn Fabrics or ordering them online. I got mine in the garment district downtown LA at a store called Bead Factory Inc. This was a fun DIY and much easier to clean up than the glitter. The best part is that they will last well beyond Halloween – no carving, no spiderweb designs. How are you decorating for fall this year?
One of my favorite parts of September is the back-to-school excitement in the air – something that never goes away even when we’re long past our student years. Shopping for school supplies used to be something I looked forward to for months. I loved nothing more than to pick up fresh pencils, pristine new folders and notebooks. Thrill of the year. Even if you’re not headed back to school this month, it’s fun to give your desk a little update with some fun new office supplies. No Jansport backpacks or Five Star binders here!
Choosing the perfect wedding gift can sometimes be equally as tricky as finding the perfect outfit. Sure the registry is there to make things easy for us, but sometimes you run into roadblocks. The item you have your eye on has already been purchased, or maybe you just feel that couple would appreciate something with a little thought and creativity behind it. I’m actually a fan of registries because when people get married, they want to build their own perfect home rather than a hodgepodge of random people’s tastes. It’s a way to make it very easy on their guests to pick out something you know for sure they want. But sometimes – and you’ll probably know when it’s one of those times – it’s just nice to go off the beaten path. I recommend only doing this if you feel you really know the couple’s style and are comfortable choosing something that suits them and their home. These are a few items that you likely won’t find on a wedding registry but are sure to make memorable and stylish gifts for the wedding, or even the shower or engagement party.
If you live in LA and you know what’s good for you, chances are you’re already obsessed with a little patisserie on Melrose called Bo Nuage. This little nook of heaven specializes in the most unfathomably delicious (yet somehow healthier than cupcakes or ice cream) nuage, aka cloud cakes. Extra points for gluten free and kosher as well. If you haven’t had one yet, promptly abandon your day’s plans and make your way there immediately. We’re talking various flavors of meringue layered with non-dairy cream (not to make them healthier but simply because soy cream made for a better tasting treat than dairy cream in this case) and rolled in chocolate shavings. Passion fruit and peanut butter are my favorites, but let’s forget about the cakes for just a second. Can we take a moment… how wonderfully perfect is the design of this place? Black and white graphic contrast from floor to ceiling, accented with shiny rose gold in every unexpected corner. It has the unwavering talent of my dear friend Jessica of J. Marx Atelier all over it. It was so fun getting to see sneak peaks of her inspiration while it was in process and when I first saw the finished product the day it opened, my mind was blown. In fact, she designed this place with such perfection that she has been selected by AIA Los Angeles as a finalist for the 2014 AIA Restaurant Design Awards under the cafe/bar category, right up next to other new gorgeous hot spots around the world (eh hem, but not as gorgeous). Let’s ALL make sure she wins in the people’s choice category, OK? All you have to do is vote here. It takes 2 seconds, and there’s only 10 days left until the awards. I mean, nothing tops her work on Bo Nuage – she really deserves this. See it for yourself, there’s eye candy and heavenly cloud cakes abound. Do I even have to mention that they’re served in little hat boxes? Come on!
Zara jacket / Topshop top / T by Alexander Wang skirt / Joe’s shoes / Chanel bag (borrowed from Jessica) / Forever21 necklace / Nixon watch / Luv AJ rings (all but middle)
There are some people who you don’t want to meet in the morning before they’ve had their cup of coffee. They go from red eyed monsters into functioning human beings. I’ve never been one of those people, but I crave the ritual of having a cup of coffee in the morning. As someone who loves to stay organized and keep to do lists (or Teux Deux lists in my case – you gotta try it if you haven’t already), the best part of waking up is sitting down with my coffee and getting my ducks in a row for what’s to come. We’ve seen all those Folgers commercials, but in our home the smell of coffee doesn’t gently wake us from our serene slumber…it’s usually our dogs pawing at our faces. Once upon a time the first order of the day was walking straight to Starbucks for my coffee which was both expensive and a hassle. The day I stopped relying on coffee runs for my morning fix in favor of our first Nespresso machine was the start of something new and great. Not only am I not spending $4 on a latte every day, Nespresso also never misspells my name. No matter how many times I have thrown boiling hot coffee at the baristas while screaming “It’s Catherine with a C” they never seemed to get it right. Rude. ;) But now I’m into a double Ristretto, Indriya, or Dulsao blend latte with steamed almond milk, a little maple syrup or honey, and cinnamon on top. SO good. Even better, recently Nespresso was kind enough to send me their new VertuoLine machine to try out which also makes coffee. Huge! I love having the option to change it up according to my mood and offer our overnight guests whatever their morning happy drink is , even if they’re a red eyed monster craving their regular full cup of coffee to return to normal and start their day….
Another game changer for the morning routine: our patio, which up until this week was strictly used as storage. We had this great private outdoor space attached to our apartment and it was filled with dirty bikes, stray tools, empty Amazon boxes and a six pack of Red Bull cans. We don’t even drink Red Bull! It was a disaster. We finally got rid of a lot of extra junk, put some fig trees, lanterns, potted plants, and garden lights out there, and now it’s my new favorite place to do work in the morning. Amazing what a difference a little refresher can make on your daily life!
In this blog and Pinterest driven world of style inspiration gone wild, sometimes we need a little one-of-a-kind relief. That’s why I’m excited to launch a new series called The Etsy Elite, which will highlight the very best of all those unique, quirky finds we love hunting for on Etsy. Today we start with this fresh spring collection of items that are going to have you craving a little snail mail treat from one (or all) of these shops to add a little zest to your home or wardrobe. Not only is it fun to have everyone asking “where did you get that awesome thing?” but it’s extra cool to support artists and small businesses. A win-win all around!
After living in so many different places, I love having a little reminder of all the states I call home – especially when it’s stylish rather than touristy. Not only are each of these state products adorable, they tell a story and remind us of great memories from home. I adore the simplicity of a delicate Minnesota necklace or a gold leaf print of New York for the gallery wall, while a cutting/serving board in the shape of California is sure to be a great conversation piece when entertaining. What’s your favorite way to show your home state pride?