Monday, March 29, 2010

Oreilles de lapin

I know I have introduced the idea of wearing bunny ears as accessories already on this blog, but in honor of this coming weekend's Easter holiday, I had to share a few more interesting head pieces, so bare with me. I came across the headwear designs of Benoit Missolin while searching through fashion sites on a lazy day. The site is so playful and whimsical, but the collection of headbands is truly inspiring. Oversized lips, stars, and bows are showcased alongside a pair of mickey ears that show no signs of the creative hands of Disney as well as wire bunny ears that leave no room for white fluff. I think any accessory that can remind you of those days as a little girl, wearing tiaras and plastic crowns...and maybe hunting for a colored egg or two...should be a welcome addition to any wardrobe. (Also check out the pom pom headbands on the site...perhaps a toned down way to wear the larger than life puffs from the Sonia Rykiel Fall 2010 collection?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inspiration board: Leather, wood, and silver

Last night I attended a dinner in the most incredible setting. A private room fit for an eclectic and worldly professor, set high above the Los Angeles skyline. Velvet couches set around wood coffee tables, silver dishes of treats, and in the center, two long solid wood slabs for dinner tables, set with sterling candelabras and leather placemats. It was the perfect blend of medieval and stark modernism. I was tempted all night to snap photos of the decor...unfortunately a giant flash during a speech isn't really the best way to get attention. So, to remember the great blend of metals and natural finishes, an inspiration board was the best way to incorporate a little bit of the style into my life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fruit filling's second chance

In honor of Paul's birthday this past weekend, I tried to give him a little taste of home by recreating his favorite birthday treat, a cherry cheesecake. Since I haven't mastered the art of the philly cake...or even attempted one...I decided to turn the laborious sweet into a cupcake, complete with cherry filling. I have a vivid memory of watching a delicious cake being baked, layers of creamy frosting spread on top, then witnessing its destruction with a can of cherry pie filling...I think a tear actually rolled down my cheek. Needless to say I haven't always warmed up to the canned gel, but it wasn't my birthday and the baked good was made out of love.

The recipe was so simple and I am happy to say that I may have found a new appreciation for cherries. All you need is a boxed vanilla cake mix. Follow instructions on the box, then fill your cupcake tins 3/4 full. Add a tablespoon (2-3 cherries) in the middle of each cupcake. Bake a few minutes longer than the box recommends. Use a pastry bag, or a ziplock back with the corner cut, to swirl cheesecake frosting on top. In a separate bag, smash a few graham crackers with a pinch of nutmeg. Sprinkle cracker mix on top of each cupcake. They taste amazing slightly warm, but honestly a cupcake tastes good at any temperature...especially with a surprise center.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Find the middle ground

While I am always a fan of 4 inch heels, they don't always work for casual days...or for the days that I prefer to walk comfortably. This Spring, designers like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Chloe have revived the shoe known as the kitten heel. Falling around the 2 inch mark, this height gives you a bit of a boost, but is perfect for work or running errands, not to mention it's a ladylike touch to modern dressing. These heels have been around forever and the style can easily fall into the bridesmaid/ ugly wedding shoe/ church shoe...not, look for a style that also works as a high heel. A lot of designers are recreating their stiletto styles as kitten heels, making it easy to downgrade in height without giving up a fashionable feel. Also, stick with a heel that is separate from the shoe sole, branching into a mid wedge height is almost always unflattering (remember platform flip flops!).

Clockwise from top left:
1. Michael Kors
2. Marni
3. Givenchy
4. Chloe (39% off at Bluefly)
5. Boutique 9
6. Burberry (60% off at The Outnet)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pancake morning: tips and tricks

The weekend calls for a breakfast that goes beyond the normal bowl of cereal and because this morning in particular involved a birthday celebration and a weekend getaway, blueberry pancakes seemed fitting. While I would like to say I mixed the batter from scratch, it is really hard to turn down a box of pancake mix...they just make it so simple! So, to doctor up the packaged flavor a bit, I've crafted some home cooking touches to make the fluffy cakes less generic.

1. Add a few spices to the batter like nutmeg or cinnamon
2. When adding fruit, don't mix it into the bowl. Pour the batter into the pan then sprinkle with your fruit (I chose blueberries), cook, and flip.
3. Flavored extracts add nice flavor as well. Try a few drops of lemon if you're making blueberry pancakes, or some vanilla if you're mixing in nutmeg and other warm spices.
4. Ricotta cheese also adds a creaminess, so add a few large scoops to the batter, then throw in some orange or lemon zest.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The highs and the lows

While listening to the radio today, most morning talk shows were broadcasting from local Irish bars, drunken patrons yelling in the background, slurred speech beginning around 8 a.m. As I sipped my coffee (sans liqueur), I realized that St. Patrick's day sort of jumbled into the mix of lesser appreciated holidays. I don't worry so much about wearing green anymore (those days faded with my graduation from elementary school), but I do think that the nature inspired hue deserves the respect it receives today. Since I can't partake in the all day bar crawl that is St. Patricks Day, I thought I would give a little gift to those planning on some late night internet shopping...after all, don't all purchases make sense with a little alcohol behind the motivation? And because some choose to go the spare-no-expense route when it comes to beverage induced online purchasing, I thought a high and low price point would be appreciated. So, enjoy green and it's many reincarnations and get ready for the lovely warm days ahead with these Spring-time shoes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sugar clouds

It's pink, full of sugar, and topped with rainbow sprinkles...sound like a five year old's dream? Yes, but these little puffs of dessert are meringues, and surprisingly acceptable for adults to eat. The crisp candy has a slightly chalky texture that instantly melts on the tongue and because of the fluffy egg white mixture, the batter can be piped into any shape. I found this recipe for meringue ice cream sandwiches while searching for a slightly The mixture of smooth ice cream and crunchy cookie should be that perfect contrast I'm looking for. Because meringue is just a mixture of sugar and egg whites, the recipe is almost all bake time and little prep does bake for 1 1/2 hours though, so plan ahead. Now that Spring is finally on it's way, bring a bag full of these little clouds on your next picnic or set them up on a colorful tray for an outdoor lunch. To display the sweet treats, I've become obsessed with finding unique dessert displays and recently came across this surreal version from Blaue Blume. The company has created an entire line of whimsical girls transformed into feminine teacup handles and petit four stands. The little feet also come adorned with gold shoes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vintage lace

There's something about a vintage dress that feels much more special than a department store version. The thick metal zipper, hand-stitched embellishments, even the scratchy tulle lining make wearing one an event, but the fabric is usually the best part. Today, while browsing the racks at a flea market, I came across a blue lace treasure of a dress, complete with a ribbon-ed and bowed waist. Lace instantly feels vintage and the delicate eyelets can be both dressy or casual, but always girly.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Touch of yellow

The sun is bright this weekend, temperatures are rising, and to console myself about loosing an hour of sleep tonight, I've decided to brighten up my apartment with touches of something Spring-y...yellow. Whether it's blooming daffodils or lace skirts, the golden hue is a great way to add color, without overdoing it. While picking the colors for my home, I knew I wanted one color to be vibrant, so to mix with the blues and browns that take over the larger pieces of my place, I added yellow as the compliment. Now instead of watching everything blend together, the pops of the sunny hue make my tables, kitchen, and even bathroom a little more unexpected. Go for the saturated colors, like fuchsia, teal, and of course yellow. By choosing one color as an accent and using it sparingly, even the most budget friendly decorating turns designer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So sweet

By now you know I'm a big fan of the little touches in a home. The other day, while making some coffee at work, I opened the sugar jar to find a tiny metal spoon hidden among the white crystals. Like the little vases in Alice in Wonderland that read "drink me", this spoon was whispering "scoop me" (or at least in my fantasy it was). Not only was the silver spoon the perfect rustic touch, but the container itself gave me a great idea for storing my own sugar...jam jars (thanks to my boss for that home tip). The hand-held spoons were crafted by sculptor Jon Krawczyk and thanks to my love for anything miniature, I now seem to visit the coffee make a few more times during the work day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The little things

It's hard to completely overhaul a house or apartment design wise, so I've started to focus on the little spaces of my place with a cheap chic mentality. The nooks in my wall, corners of my sink counter, and tops of my dressers have all benefited from a little home styling. For the bathroom, try putting cotton pads and q-tips in vintage jars, it makes you feel like you're at a hotel every time you go through your morning routine. Cute boxes from restaurants and stores can double as table accents, try stacking a few small ones in different colors on small side tables. Instead of putting jewelry away, arrange it on the top of a dresser to show off the sparkle. To organize it a bit, a small plate can double as a bauble collector, try a vintage teacup saucer. Instead of throwing away glass water and milk bottles, collect a few and put them in shallow wall cutouts, the spaces are normally not deep enough to hold much, but the slim bottle shape works perfectly. Now, even though I may not have the perfect bed frame or designer couch, my apartment feels a little more luxurious. Anyone who has other cute ideas or wants to hear more from me, I'd love to swap some design tips.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Everyday royalty

I think family crests are one of those traditions that outsiders look upon with envy. Your last name immortalized on a shield, signifying that the family tree was important enough to have an image carry them through history. While it may not be emblazoned on a metal shield anymore, a family crest can be created and used for any modern day item, think letterhead, invitations, a print among your family portraits. I recently made a few crests for a family and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. No need for a formal introduction into society, these emblems combine royalty with low key. Feel free to email me to create your own crest... commoners welcome.