Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

Are you dreading it? I hear you. Well, here is some good motivational advice from my favourite domestic goddess, the lifestyle columnist and author Rita Konig 

- Play good music for dusting, vacuuming, or laundry. Listen to any talk radio station for the ironing.

- Plan a lunch date at the end of it; you don't really need to do more than a few hours and a deadline really gets you going.

- Make sure you have coffee and a cookie. This is a treat in itself and one you can only really have when you are at home in the daytime. So break from the cleaning for a cappuccino and a biscuit or two.

- Hide some treats in the laundry closet, something you will forget about until you are doing the wash. It is good to reward yourself for such boring tasks.

- Run yourself a spoilingly hot and heavily scented bath at the end of your hours of cleaning. It serves a double purpose: it gives you a well-deserved soak and it will eradicate the horrid smells of those cleaning products from your bathroom.

- Scented candles are definitely a good thing to light at the end of a cleaning session so you can sit back and enjoy your clean and delicious smelling home.

- Remember to buy the papers or the new issues of your favorite magazines so you can look forward to an afternoon lazing around the house going through them.


Rita Konig has written three wonderfully witty books on home making and entertaining. I own the red one (in the middle, above) and find myself going back to it often for helpful hints and tips.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quote of Note

~ Phyton Gladiator Sandal at Saks Fifth Avenue ~

"I did not have three thousand pars of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty." Imelda Marcos

I wanted to do this quote today partly to have an excuse to post the picture above, (Exquisite, no? Not surprisingly there's a waiting list for these beauties by Sergio Rossi.) and partly because the lady in question is 'hot' again; Running for congress in the Philippines and collaborating musically with Fatboy Slim. Yes, really. Have a look/listen here if you're curious...

In other (totally unrelated) news, Dreamy Whites  is a lovely source of inspiration that I just recently discovered. It's a blog written by a California mom of five (!) with lots of images from her gorgeous home. Right now she's doing a really fab giveaway where you can win a beautiful duvet cover designed by Annette Tatum. Interested? Check it out here!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Style File: Alice in Wonderland

~ Bunny: Laura Ashley, Teacup: Wedgwood, Headband: JCrew, Perfume:  Sephora. ~

   ~ Outdoor Table Setting via Country Living ~

Pretty, delightful and charming things are what I'm in the mood for at this time of year; Current box office super hit Alice in Wonderland seem the perfect inspirational source for spring decorating and dressing...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Retail Therapy: Art

"Pigeon and Owl Party"
"Rupert and Leonard waits for the tram on their Swedish holiday"

~ All images by Matte Stephens via Etsy ~

Whimsical, adorable, wonderful, ingenious  are only some of the adjectives popping into my head looking at these prints by Oregon based artist Matte Stephens...  These and many more lovely, lovely prints are available for purchase on Etsy, and there is also the Matt Stephens blog. Go on, check it out - I promise it will make you smile. :)

Parks & Recreation

 Sean and I spent our afternoon here today - it seemed the perfect place to celebrate the official start of spring. 

The following is at the risk of sounding like a senior citizen who enjoys garden tours and is fussy about teatime. But, since turning 30 last summer, I've noticed that I care less about perception and have by now given up most hope of appearing at all cool.  (Actually, I read in Wallpaper recently that using the word "cool" these days is a definite indicator that you're not. So you see, I'm a lost cause already and figure I might as well embrace it...)

It was thanks to a post on Drollgirl's genuinely funny and cool (nope, won't stop using the word) blog last week, that I found out about the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. Ever since leaving England, I have longed for access to a proper large park with grand lawns, flowerbeds, benches and perhaps the odd pond. The Huntington didn't disappoint; both buildings and grounds were truly spectacular, with different areas representing various cultures and continents. There are subtropical gardens and waterfalls, a mini rain-forest, Japanese gardens with a bonsai court, a dessert garden, rose gardens, classic European style gardens with fountains, sculptures and lily-ponds, camellia gardens and old-fashioned hot houses... All incredibly beautiful. You can even take your tea in a special tea room, which was quaint enough, but at $25 a pop (gasp), and the "high tea" served buffet style (double gasp), we opted to sit out in the courtyard cafe instead...(Even if that meant plastic cups and pre-packaged sandwiches.)

 In fact, bearing a striking resemblance in look, size and atmosphere to Kew Gardens; for the remainder of my stay in L.A, The Huntington Gardens will serve as a pretty spectacular substitute to the London parks I miss so much. I loved it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quote of Note

~ By Marc Macko, available at Fine Art America. ~

"When in doubt, wear red." Bill Blass

I must say I like the idea of this. However,  in those moments of pre-party wardrobe panic - I always reach for black. Upon reflection, I realize that I only own one red item of clothing, a coat. Granted, it's a pretty good coat; poppy red, nicely tailored and with over-sized black buttons. I like the coat and wear it often, but still, that's it. No red shoes, red shirt or red dress in my closet. This might have to change...

~ Tote; Lanvin, Dress; Alice Temperley, Shoes; Fendi. All at Net-a-Porter.com ~

 ~ Shoes; Giuseppe Zanotti,  Dress; Moschino Cheap and Chic, Clutch; Stella McCartneyAll at Net-a-Porter.com ~

I found these two beauties on Net-A-Porter and couldn't resist the urge to put together a couple of If-money-was-no-object outfits. Lots of  fun; a little like playing with clip art dolls.  (Totally loved those as a kid!)  Could this be the emergence of another C'est LA vie category...?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Clever Colour Combo: Camel & Blue

~ Camel in the dessert, Sephora eyeshadow palette, A look by Chloe fall 2010,  A Long Island living room designed by Steven Gambrel. Images via Sephora, Style.com, House Beautiful ~

So I hear camel is going to be the shade this coming fall. Good fashion news indeed. My love for this universally flattering and classy colour knows no bounds. During Paris fashion week, I especially adored the mixing of camel with unexpected pops of blue shown at Chloe; Refreshing yet soothing.
...Come to think of it, this is a shade that goes with practically everything: Camel and grey, camel and black, camel and white, camel and red, camel and pink... Ooo the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Style File: Sheer & Stripped

~The Crown Inn, London and the recently opened  Rough luxe hotel, London.
Images via Skona Hem ~

Layers of peeling wallpaper - juxtaposed with high quality materials - tap into the new trend of pared down luxury.

~Via Style.com ~

And the clothing equivalent? (Minus the tears) Sheer organza overlays in muted tones at Stella McCartney.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quote of Note

"A girl should be two things; classy and fabulous."
 Coco Chanel

Note to self: Lounging like Coco here, on an antique chaise, bejewelled and cigarette in hand - whilst gazing elegantly off into the yonder - seems a most agreeable way to spend an afternoon... "Classy and fabulous"! Must do very soon. Possibly this weekend.

 ~ Smoking is bad and not cool.  I know that. ~

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lagerfeld on Ice (Paris Fashion Week)

 ~ Images via Wallpaper and Style.com ~

Apparently, the giant blocks of ice on the Chanel runway were specially brought in from Scandinavia. Reports The New York Times; the concept for the show was inspired by the  Ice Hotel in Sweden. All very cool (!) ...However, when asked if he'd ever been there, Herr Karl reportedly shivered and responded; "No".

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wabi Sabi

Definition: "Representing a Japanese worldview, it's a style of perceiving art and beauty that pervade all things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete." Furniture Quest

 ~ Image via Skona hem ~

Serenity with a twist. Love it.

Everyday Matters

Nothing says early spring like tulips on the kitchen table; This little arrangement brightened what was otherwise a fairly average Monday over here...

A quick note on the Oscars; Wasn't it great that Sandra Bullock won (even though it was expected)!? I just loved her dress, side swept hair and red lipstick - all so retro yet classy, and I also thought her short and sweet (and blubber free) acceptance speak was great. Jeff Bridges is obviously beyond cool. And I liked that the Hurt Locker won for best picture and not Avatar. (I say it again; blue people! With tails?? Eh.)

So, all and all a good show, I thought. :)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Style file: Birds

Above from top left - Bird cage print; Etsy, Wallpaper; House Beautiful,
Pillow; Pottery Barn, Earrings; House of Waris at Barneys.

I have always liked to collect images from magazines that I find visually beautiful, or that represent trends I favour. It used to be that I would tear whole pages out and put them in actual files that then went in my bookshelf. Though I still buy and love 'real' magazines, these days I prefer to search the web for images to file; slowly developing a catalogue of pictures on the computer to serve as my personal source of inspiration. Thought I'd share... :)

Friday, March 05, 2010

(Oscar) Quote of Note

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Oscar Wilde

...Well, that's certainly one way of looking at it.  He was very dapper though, that Mr. Wilde, for somebody who professed such dislike for fashion!

...And whilst on the subject of Oscar;  Are you getting excited about Sunday's big bonanza yet? Here in L.A. the Oscars are pretty hard to ignore, what with endless "Oscar buzz" in the media, traffic re-directions in Hollywood about a week in advance, and advertising, advertising, advertising galore. Not that I mind, mind you - I've loved this event ever since I was a bonnie wee lass in Sweden, staying up into the early hours of morning on a school night (they used to show the Oscars live, and the time difference meant it would finish at like 5am) in order to soak up every single second of all that far flung, out of reach glamour. So perhaps you can imagine how thrilling the Oscars are for me now, 20 years or so later, that I am actually here! No, not here as in "I have arrived" and am attending or anything... But in the sense that I reside just a few minutes away from the Kodak theatre, (!) and can watch the Oscar gala as it is happening, at the time it is meant to be watched, and the traffic-jams and other inconveniences like buzzing helicopters, booked up beauty salons etc. might actually effect me! :) (I know, I know, but it simply has to be good enough... For now.)

Happy Oscar Weekend Friday!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

At The Grove

Today I went for a little stroll at The Grove. (For those of you unfamiliar with these parts, The Grove is a fairly recent Los Angeles initiative to create a car free shopping environment.) Yes. It's a mall. But more than that; The Grove  is "your ultimate entertainment destination for shopping, dining and simply loving life" as it so promisingly states on the info site... Though this might be a slight overstatement.

The whole place looks as if it's meant to resemble a really quaint old European town centre, complete with a village green, cobbled streets, (choreographed!) fountains, picturesque buildings (to house the shops and restaurants), clock towers and street performers. There's even a vintage-looking tram to cart you around should your feet, so unused to the activity of walking, suddenly fail to carry you. This is really and truly overkill though, considering it takes about 10 min to walk at a very leisurely tempo from one end of the mall (sorry, village) to the other.  BUT all cynicism aside, in a city where you literally have to drive from A to B at all times (even when A is, say the post office and B is Starbucks, nothing is ever within walking distance in L.A), The Grove does offer something unusual; the opportunity to saunter from one shop to another, outdoors, for a consecutive period of time. It is also quite cozy in that shiny and too perfect Disney-world sort of way. Somehow it works, and in spite of all my (tough?) talk about it lacking authenticity, naffness overload etc. I keep coming back for more.
Like today, I went there for the aforementioned stroll, some general cheer (one can always find cheer at The Grove!) and to do a spot of browsing at my usual haunts; Banana, Anthro, J Crew, Barneys Co-op, Nordstrom and ZARA. The latter offered up some really nice surprises and totally whetted my appetite for some serious spring shopping. "Loving life" indeed! :) 

Unfortunately, I am proving to still be quite an amateur at this blogging business - I forgot my camera and therefore couldn't document my "experience". So here instead, to hopefully inspire and enthuse you, are four professional images of some of the cute looks from ZARA's current collection:

Oh, how I love a good braid!
I need really long hair that I can wear just like this, NOW!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Pillow Talk

Favourite cushion-cover-hunting-grounds:
Partly because sombre interiors suit my taste, and partly because Sean and I are somewhat nomadic - our furniture follows a fairly strict theme of white, grey and wood. (I figure that way, they are also always likely to work in whatever home we end up inhabiting next.) As a result, I tend to rely on textiles to add colour and texture to our decor, finding the versatility of throw cushions especially useful for this purpose. I mean, changing one's cushion covers has to be the fastest, cheapest and therefore funnest way to update a room.
(I might also swap a few other objects around the space - a vase here, bowl there - just to make sure it's all a match.) Still, easy peasy. And such a great quick fix for those moments when you just know you need a change, but can't afford/be bothered/convince your man to do a major overhaul.

My love affair with pillows has been going on for some time, and I am at a point now where I have several sets of covers in varying colour schemes that I rotate depending on the season and my mood. Lately though, I keep coming back to this particular combination of  pale blue and green - I guess it's because I feel it is so soothing and easy on the eye... And come to think of it, these are also colours that to my mind are very evocative of Los Angeles:  Imagining rows of palm trees set against a backdrop of endless blue skies and a vast, glittering ocean ...

Ah, it all makes sense now.

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