Monday, October 13, 2014

Not generally a fan of Fine China...

Hello there fellow sparkle lovers...  A quick little post for this evening since I haven't posted in a while.

I got married a year ago last weekend, and when the husband and I did our registries, we knew instantly that we weren't "Fine China" people - I mean, we live in a small apartment, have very little storage, and don't have a place in our lives for plates that we would use at most once per year, and have to store the other 364 days.  So, we opted instead to register for nice every-day plates - a huge upgrade from the old plates my family used when I was a kid that I inherited, and the Corelle plates the husband had in his bachelor pad (unbreakable). 

We really like the plates (dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls) that we got - Noritake Colorwave collection.  So far they seem sturdy, they look nice, and we've mixed in some other dishes that go with these but aren't too matchy-matchy.

We picked up some little bowls "Potter's Workshop Bowls" from
West Elm that are super cute (and were super on sale) that are similar to these but more turquoise in color.

We also added in the "Dapper Animal Plates" from West Elm and as much as the husband doesn't want to admit it, he loves them.  I've written about them and other adorable animal tableware here.

Begrudgingly, the husband told me about the new matching mugs that go with the plates.  I LOVE them, but after seeing them in person, they aren't quite big enough, and I also already have mugs that I love (from Anthropologie - Monogram Mugs).  However, if we had a bigger kitchen, I'd surely get these adorable mugs.  I'm certain of that.

This past weekend, we had a leisurely Saturday afternoon bike ride to a local Farmers' Market, a nice lunch, and a stroll through our local West Elm.  I always like looking at things in that store - the furniture is so lovely, their lighting is so pretty, love their tableware, and I just really like looking around at the pretty stuff I would love to own.

And, on this stroll I became a fan of Fine China.  I am seriously salivating over this China.  Had these been on the market when we made our wedding registry, they most definitely would have been on it.  I covet these.  I want these.  I love these!!!  The Guilded Dapper Animal collection (plates and mugs and gold-rimmed plain plates) is everything I love - animal stuff, gold, cuteness.  I don't do "tablescapes" but I would tablescape the shit out of these!  If I see these on sale, I'm sure I will find a place to store them until I get my dream kitchen with plenty of storage.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Talk about sparkle...

So, the husband and I got back a few days ago from a little jaunt to Paris, Florence, and Rome.  What an experience!  Friends of ours got married in Paris, thus the main reason for our trip.  Neither of us had ever been to France or Italy, and man, did every place blow our minds!

I thought I wouldn't really enjoy Paris, but I was completely wrong.  Completely.  I LOVED Paris!  What a city.  Completely magical - from the Eiffel Tower, to the amazing museums, to the food, or rather the pastries and crepes.  YUM!  There was a little street crepe vendor down the street from our hotel that we visited a few times for ham, egg, and cheese crepes, and banana and nutella crepes.  Heavenly.  We picked up some pain au chocolat at the Saturday flea market, and ate it on the rooftop terrace at the Musee d'Orsay.  It was so good!  The hot chocolate was pretty spectacular there too.

We went on an adventure to get macarons.  One of the husband's friends told us about his two favorite places in Paris for macarons.  One - Ladurée, created in 1862.  Unbeknownst to us, we actually ate dinner there (at the Champs Elysées) the night before we found one of their other outposts for macarons (at 21 Rue Bonaparte in the 7th).  Our dinner was pretty good.  Their macaroons were AMAZING!  We got chocolate, vanilla, lemon, strawberry mint, salted caramel, and pistachio.  

The other place that was recommended was Pierre Herme at 72 Rue Bonaparte in Paris.  Also in the 7th, this place definitely had a different vibe than Ladurée.

Where Ladurée seemed more "ladies who lunch" and antique, Pierre Herme was more modern and streamlined.  They had many other desserts and pastries in addition to their macarons.

We got chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio macarons, and we got one of their specialty desserts: Ispahan - a rose cookie with lychee filling.  It sounded slightly strange, but the person who helped us at Pierre Herme, said it was one of their most popular desserts.  He wasn't wrong.  It was delicious.  We ate it about 2 days after we bought it.  It was our last day in Paris, and we planned to visit the Louvre.  We toted the cookie, in its lovely square box, with us to the Louvre, and shoved it inside my purse while we walked around the museum.  It was with us when we saw the smirk of the Mona Lisa, and when we saw the lovely Venus de Milo.  Then when we were finished looking at amazingly beautiful art, we dug the cookie box out of my purse, and opened it to find a delightfully smooshed and sad looking cookie.  But it tasted amazing!

Aside from the spectacularly delicious pastries and desserts, one of my favorite things in Paris was the Eiffel Tower.  We have all seen pictures of the tower in movies, magazines, etc.  But nothing really prepares you for seeing it for the first time in person.  It is magnificent.  It is absolutely gigantic.  I loved it!  The top of the tower was one of the first things we saw after ascending from the Metro on our way to the hotel from the airport.  We turned around and saw the top peeking out from amongst other buildings.  Love at first sight!  We dumped our bags off at the hotel, got some food, and walked toward the tower.  When we turned the corner in the Champ de Mars park, and saw the Eiffel just standing there - I couldn't help but smile and stare in awe at the magnificence in front of me.  We stood there for a time just pondering the tower.

A few days later we took a guided tour of the Tower (with Viator tours).  Our guide, Victor, told us all sorts of interesting things about the Tower.  Apparently, it was constructed in such a way that it is extremely light for its size.  If you put a canister around the tower, and sealed it off, the air inside the canister would weigh more than the tower itself.  It was constructed for the World's Fair in 1889.  The French government held a contest for the building of a monument to anchor the World's Fair.  It was open to everyone, and the 2 caveats were that it had to be 320 meters high (double the size of the Washington Monument) and the winner of the contest had to pay 80% of the construction cost.  One of the entries that wasn't picked was a 320 meter guillotine.  Another was a 320 meter tall sprinkler.  Obviously they made the right choice when they picked Gustave Eiffel's design.  Gustave was smart enough to negotiate that his tower would need to stand for 20 years, and that he would get all of the profits from entrance fees for the tower for that time.  He paid himself back for his initial investment in only 6 months, the remaining 19 years and 6 months were pure profit.  Victor also told us that the tower sparkles every hour on the hour for 5 minutes starting at 10pm and ending at 1am.  He told us that the 1am sparkling is the best because they shut off all of the other tower lights and just let the sparkles sparkle.

So, a few days later, we found ourselves at 1am at the Eiffel Tower reveling in the sparkle.

Boy does it sparkle!

I now know why Paris is considered the City of Love!  I can't wait to go back!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eating with animals!

It really is no surprise that I fall in love with cute animal stuff.  For some reason, I'm just attracted to it - I can't really explain why, but I've always loved cute animal stuff.  When I was a kid, I had a gigantic collection of stuffed animals.  My mom devised a way to store them - we hung a hammock from the ceiling in my room over my bed and put my animals in it.  If we hadn't devised this storage solution, there would have been no place for me to sleep on my bed.  I distinctly remember when we had to clean out my stuffed animal collection to get rid of some old ones to make room for new ones.  I remember one time that I agreed to get rid of a few animals, I woke up in the middle of the night and was crying because I didn't want to get rid of any.  I snuck into the closet and took back the ones I thought I could part with.

I saw these plates at West Elm some time ago, and absolutely wanted to buy them, but my Husband, the voice of reason, asked, "Do we really need them?"  Of course we didn't really need them, but they are so cute!  I really wanted them, but refrained from buying them.  Until... they went on sale for $6 each.  And.... we have four of them now to mix in with our regular plates.  Husband actually really likes them too.  There is something so whimsical and cute about these.

When I pulled them up to include here, I see that there are four new versions of them now...  Love the bunny and badger and rooster and blue jay!   Uh oh, I may need a set of these too.

These cute owl mugs, also from West Elm would make a happy addition to the animal collection.  I love the metallic gold one - super cute!

If ceramic plates aren't your thing, West Elm has these darling melamine plates (and serving trays too)!

Anthropologie also has some absolutely adorable animal stuff too!

Love these animal plates - there 10 designs to pick from, including a parrot, butterflies, a monkey, a lion, a cheetah, a little girl, an owl, lady bugs, a bunny (my fave), and a humming bird.

These little dessert plates are absolutely adorable.  There are several designs to pick from too - giraffe (my fave), lady bugs, red birds, owl, bee, chameleon, humming birds,  and a praying mantis.  I love the slightly different shapes of each of these plates, and the varying borders for each.  Imagine getting one of each of these - love love love!

And, these canape plates are super cute!  Not every one of these is an animal, but there are several in the collection - dog, horse, love birds, narwhal (one of my faves), octopus, bee, unicorn (one of my faves), and zebra.

I can't possibly use all of these plates, but, hey, a girl can dream, right?

Finally, I saw these foxy juice glasses the other day in the Paper Source catalog.  I love getting this catalog and looking at all of the cute little things they have.  But, these glasses really stood out.  They have tea towels, aprons, and a variety of other adorable fox things to go along with these glasses.

If you are in need of any little animal tchotchkes, Kikkerland, has a TON of amazingly fun, cute, and inexpensive things.  I picked up this little hedgehog toothbrush cover over the weekend.  I could spend lots of time and money ordering from this site.

And, hey - eating with animals is way more fun than eating with a boring white plate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pretty Pretty Polish

So, I've been experimenting with some new pedicure options lately, and am LOVING it!

It started right before Christmas.  I was thinking about that I wanted to get.  I generally bring one or two of my own polishes with me when I get pedicures in case I am not inspired by any of the options at the salon.  I thought it would be interesting to have my toes look like sparkly Christmas tree ornaments.  So, I gathered a bunch of different glitter polishes I have.  I thought about doing a selection of different glitters on my toes, and somehow that evolved into painting each toe with a different glitter.

I used my polishes, coupled with several that the salon had, to find 10 different glitter colors/variations that somehow "go" together.  One glitter for each toe.  It was surprisingly difficult to come up with the "right" order to use them in.  The base coat of all toes was OPI Glitter Land.  Then each toe got its own glitter top-coat.

The nail technician was quite confused when she asked what color I wanted and I handed her 11 bottles.  She laughed, but then ended up loving the result, as did I.

Right foot starting with big toe:  OPI - My Favorite Ornament, OPI Nicole - Wear Something Spar-Kyle, Deborah Lippmann - Fake it Til You Make it, Essie - Beyond Cozy, OPI - Mad as a Hatter.  Left foot starting with big toe:  Essie - Hors d'Oeurves, OPI - Fresh Frog of Bel Air, Essie - On a Silver Platter, OPI - Save Me, Essie - Ignite the Night.

My next three pedicures were variations on this theme.  I thought - why pick just one color when there are so many pretty colors out there to pick from!  Voilá - the Ombre Pedicure!

This was my first one - an experiment with pink.

My next one was an experiment with green.

And, my most recent version is back to pink.  I think the color on my big toe in this version is the same as the first pink version (OPI - Miami Beet).

Not sure what color combination I will pick for my next one - maybe blue, or teal, or purple, dark reds, metallics...  the possibilities are endless!

Until next time!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Black and White and Green All Over

So, I'm slightly obsessed with black & white & green.  For some reason, I have always been attracted to black & white prints - stripes, patterns, chevrons, anything - there is something so classic and simple and interesting about black & white prints.  And, I've always loved green - especially richer greens rather than pastel greens, but they are all gorgeous.  And, I love seeing black & white & green paired together.

I have a black & white striped vintage cotton t-shirt from J.Crew that I picked up a few years ago.  For a while I loved wearing it with a pink cardigan (also love black & white & pink together - see my previous post here).  Several months ago, I paired it with a slouchy hunter green-ish merino wool cardigan (also from J.Crew a few years ago) and my favorite jeans.  I have also paired that same green cardigan with a super cute black & white hedgehog printed shirt I picked up at Anthropologie several months ago.  There is just something about adding a pop of color to black & white - love it.

Here is a little graphical ode to black and white and green all over.

Black and White and Green All Over

Tops (from left to right):
Button-back mixed stripe top - Banana Republic / ZigZag Sequin tank - Banana Republic / Overland Buttondown - Anthropologie / Play Comme des Garçons Stripe Sweater - J.Crew / Shirred Sleeveless Top - Banana Republic

Bottoms (from left to right):
Perfect Form Kelly Pencil Skirt - White House Black Market / Perfect Form Slim Ankle Pant - White House Black Market / Sloan Pencil Skirt - Banana Republic / Brighton Linen Wide Legs - Anthropologie / Stripeswing Skirt - Anthropologie / Beaded Bands Skirt - Anthropologie

High Hopes Wedges - Anthropologie / Krime Peep Toe Pump - Payless (I know - super cute for a GREAT price) / Chelsea flat - Payless / Striped Capri Sandals - Old Navy

Carla Striped Crossbody - Banana Republic / Small Jet Scarf Tote - Michael Kors / Medium Cynthia Staffiano Satchel - Michael Kors / Jess Striped Tote - Banana Repulbic

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

who doesn't love a Giraffe?

So, who doesn't love a giraffe?  Show me someone who doesn't smile a little when they see a lanky-legged little baby giraffe.  Or even a gigantic stable-footed giraffe.  I mean, they are adorable, right?

I seem to be having a newly-ish rekindled love affair with giraffes!

And, it seems that everywhere I look, I am finding a ton of giraffe stuff that I am obsessing over.

Over Christmas, my sister sent me a link to this super cute sweater from LRG, and of course I just had to have it.  It's oversized, comfy, and thankfully not too itchy.  I was concerned with the itch factor because of the mohair content, but it hasn't been an issue.

My sister also gave me this darling little giraffe trinket tray from Anthropologie.  I have it on my night stand, and it is the perfect place for earrings and rings to live.

Something about coming home to this little cutie and putting my hoop earrings around its neck and some of my rings into the tray just makes me happy.

Anthropologie always has a ton of cute stuff, and they have a few other adorable giraffe items right now.

How about this fun little giraffe bust made from layers of cement bags covered with vintage French book pages.  If giraffes aren't your favorite, there are other animal busts to pick from.

This adorable Paul & Joe dress is on sale right now.  Definitely not something you can wear every day, but it is totally cute.  If too short for you as a dress, put on over skinny jeans or leggings and voila! enough coverage, and still super cute!

This cardigan from Anthropologie is also so cute!  You can have a giraffe give you a hug all day long!

Need some giraffe for the guy in your life (or for you, as I wear men's t-shirts frequently, especially for the gym) check this little gem out (from Urban Outfitters).

Need a little giraffe jewelry to adorn yourself with?  

These 2 necklaces might foot the bill.  

I have this one from J.Crew Factory.  I wear it all the time, and love it.  It is pretty small, and is on a long-ish chain.  At only $12.50, it is a steal!

And, this one, from Urban Outfitters, is equally as adorable.  And, is only $16.  This one is on a shorter chain - 16".

Giraffes even made an appearance (along with some other animals) at my wedding.  I wish it was in the form of a petting zoo, but the husband wouldn't let me go that far.  And, on second thought, having a petting zoo at a wedding might be a little messy.

For our escort cards and table numbers, we used a variety of animal ink stamps (we purchased from The Paper Source).  Each table had an animal label and the escort cards had the matching animal.

The animal stamps were small, so we stamped them on paper, cut them out, then scanned them and enlarged them so they would be suitable for table numbers.  We printed them out on card stock, then glued them together so the animal was visible on each side.  Then we glued them to straws (as stakes) to be put into the centerpieces.  The stamps fit onto the escort cards as-is, so no extra  scanning & printing was needed. 

We had multiple mini-desserts in addition to a cake.  We needed some way to label everything, and I thought it would be cute to use animals.  We found these gigantic animals on Amazon, and then made and printed the labels ourselves and tied them to the animals with the same baker's twine that we used on the favors.  There were several animals that didn't have labels on them but that were scattered about the table for added decor and cuteness.  

The cake toppers are Jonathan Adler ceramic giraffes that I bought years ago.  We made a green tie out of felt for the "boy/groom" giraffe, and a little veil out of elastic and tulle for the "girl/bride" giraffe.

And, the animal masks we found at Diddam's party supply store for the photobooth were a HUGE hit!

Animals aren't for everyone, but I LOVE them.  They can be cute, funny, fuzzy, furry, warm, cuddly, and slightly absurd (but in a good way, especially when used in moderation).

Wedding pictures taken by the amazing Ginny (and her husband Mike) of Retrospect Images in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Desserts made by Sweet Tooth Confections in San Jose, CA.  Photobooth by Photo3lements.

This is just plain wrong.  Prevent inbreeding by sending your excess giraffes to another zoo, not killing them.