eclectic design inspiration

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Round Top, Texas

It's that time of year...
Bluebonnets at the family farm in Texas, taken by my cousin Jennifer just a couple of days ago

Today marks the official kick-off of the biggest antiques fair in the United States, and I am SO wishing I was there (with a zero-balance credit card, of course). Twice a year, the open fields around tiny Round Top, Texas (pop. 77) turn into the mecca of antiquing as thousands of dealers and shoppers from all over the United States congregate along country Highway 237 between Austin and Houston to literally shop bargain till they drop.

You know how a lot of families look forward all year to ski vacations, week-long trips to the coast, or cruises in the Caribbean? Well, this is the big event my family has looked forward to every year since I was in middle school. My poor brother! ;) With my mom, sister, grandmother, aunt and cousin alongside me repeating the mantra, "If you love it, get it!" we've come away with quite the collection of interesting things over the years. My personal favorites that I have in my apartment? A 1920s chenille bedspread, a giant gastropod fossil, a vintage Mexican beer tray and a pair of wooden school chairs I have pulled up to my kitchen table.

Two years ago I invited three of my Portland friends to make the trip with me, and before they booked their flights, I warned them: the purpose of this trip is to go antiquing - meaning 8 hour days of roaming fields of what-can-appear-to-be junk, looking for that perfect set of vintage dessert plates or antique coffee grinder. But the tradeoff would be some damn good country barbecue! And to my excitement, they were into it. Troopers!

So, a little reminiscing from Round Top, Spring 2010...

My friends and I in the middle of the shopping day. 

My favorite booth (below) - I couldn't stop drooling over the styling.

A family shot!

A little humor

More humor! Obsessed with the vultures.

My sister, aunt and mom trying some candied jalapenos ...  amazing stuff. Seriously.

Those suitcases came back to Portland with me and served as a nightstand for a couple of years. 

See, they have guy stuff too! ;)

And I leave you with the best pic of all.... my friend Michelle and I with beloved Blue Bell ice cream cones, and I look like I belong on King of the Hill. Love this photo for that reason.

If you live in Texas, try try try to make it out there this coming weekend or next (it lasts for 10 whole days) and if you don't live in Texas but love flea markets and antiques - put it on your bucket list. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Obsessed: Nikki and Kari's Seattle Apartment

My college friend Nikki and her sister Kari are two women who really do live "the good life" up in Seattle, Washington. Not only do they live stylishly (chocolate croissants for breakfast anyone?), but they work hard and play hard, and by play hard I mean they are always go, go, go, when it comes to doing one fun thing after another. What they're into is usually all over the place and that's what I love about them; during a December visit we went to the Kanye / Jay-Z show one night and drag queen superstar Dina Martina's Christmas show the next. Hello, perfect weekend!

They share an apartment in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, and I'm always so impressed by the way their unique style comes through in their home. Whether it's an assortment of Mexican beer in the fridge, a colorful bouquet picked up from the Fremont Farmers' Market or a newly curated bedroom vignette that shows off one-of-a-kind art and sentimental treasures, they always stay true to themselves and it definitely shows.

Nikki gave me permission to snap these pictures below of their place while I was up there this past weekend. Sorry about the gloomy lighting in the photos, but that's true Seattle for you!

 I love their entry / desk area right when you walk inside. It's so functional but still so cute.

I'm totally obsessed with the "cucina" sign above the doorway.

The gold and white deer container is actually a set of super-stylish measuring cups!

A friend decorated their apartment with the papel picado banner as a cheerful reminder of their travels.

Turquoise and white ikat pillows add some "pop" to the neutral couch, and aren't those windows fantastic? 

Wall art made by Nikki!

 A treasure brought back from Rio de Janeiro

Can't get enough of this colorful vignette in Nikki's bedroom 

Loving how personal this space is...

And that's "el final!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

design trend 2012: nautical rope accessories

Have you noticed how rope accessories are really "in" right now? I'm not totally sold one the idea, probably because the first example I saw was this $700 mirror from Anthropologie and my initial thought was Regretsy. Oops. Doesn't something just look a little off? Like you're going to have a huge rope unibrow when you're trying to do your makeup? Emperor's New Clothes status, IMHO.

That introduction to the nautical rope craze was a little disappointing, and the feeling has been reinforced by other rope accessories that I feel were only designed for the sake of being on-trend. If rope wasn't in style, would you actually buy this doorstop for $45? My guess is no.

Overall, I think most of the rope accessories that have popped up are a little silly or kind of tacky (hey, just bein' honest!), but there are a few I can get behind. They've managed to make me less of a skeptic.

I give you my favorite nautical rope trends so far (so you don't get lost in the "Mom, look what I made at camp!" chaos):

Just a handful. Ha!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Comeback Kid: fondue parties

Last week, before my flight home from California, I stocked up on girlie magazines at the airport instead of splurging on an onboard cocktail, and while flipping through a classier of the collection, Elle, I came across an article about an Indian-themed dinner party thrown by designer Rebecca Minkoff to celebrate the launch of her new eyewear collection. And the girl knows how to throw a good dinner party! I want to copy her. I am inspired, so I decided to cut up my magazine, dig through my closet for the computer cord to my scanner, and blog about it.

Elle Magazine, March 2012

Her party left me wanting to have one of my own because a) it looked hella fun, b) the decor was very pretty and unique, and c) there was fondue.

Who has fondue parties? My parents in the 70's.

Such a great idea. 

But before I get to my favorite attraction (cheese! cheese! cheese! chocolate! chocolate! chocolate!), I want to share the details of the party as a whole.

Clockwise: Party guests sporting the new eyewear collection, including one of my fave people, Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller; model Coco Rocha eating a meatball; and white chocolate fondue!!


Obsessed with those blue ikat plates, the napkin placement, and the floral arrangements. Oh and are those yellow cup things candles? Those too.

As much as I love everything about this dinner party, I know trying to accomplish something similar would be totally out of my budget. Taxes are due scarily soon and I've never been one of those lucky people who actually gets money back - quite the opposite. So, what I'm going to take away from this is my favorite part from the very beginning... I'm going to have some friends over for a little fondue party. Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! And a very simple fondue party, with focus on good food, good wine, good friends and good times. Yes, this is a very cheesy conclusion, pun intended.

And, if, like me, you can't handle reading about fondue and then not having some, here are some recipes off the web and a little fondue shopping guide:

The Recipes
Classic cheese fondue                                          

Beer cheese fondue                                              

Hot oil fondue (seafood)                                       

Hot oil fondue (tempura)                                       


The Shopping Guide

And I'm sorry to say, but by the time you've read this post it's very possible I have already bought that adorable fondue set from Etsy. But don't worry, there are many others almost as cool as that one. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

back, back to cali, cali

I finally made my trip to California.

Palm trees. Sandals. Sunny skies. Fresh Seafood. Pacific Ocean. Cold beer. Rollerbladers. Skateboarders. Fish tacos. Reggae. Beach bars. Sunglasses. Neon. I will happily go on and on because I'm still on Cloud 9 from the trip.

Oh and this guy I'm with in all the pictures? He's my brother, NOT my boyfriend. Ew.

Because my younger brother was my driver and he definitely doesn't like wasting his precious gas money driving around town aimlessly looking for places to go shopping, I wasn't able to check out a ton of places for home decor, but I did manage to find a few I'd like to share.

Maison En Provence in Mission Hills
820 Fort Stockton Drive, San Diego, CA 92103

This charming little store left me wanting to take a trip to the south of France more than ever. The shop is filled to the brim with precious linens, fragrant lavender, beautiful pottery, colorful florals, unique French decor and an owner with an enviable accent. It's the right place to look for something that will add a feminine touch to your home or make you feel like you're living the finer (French) life. Crepes anyone?

Nest Vintage in Golden Hill
830 25th Street, San Diego, CA 92102

This was the very first decor store I went into, and I was really impressed by its minimalist, magazine-worthy look. In other words, if you appreciate retro furniture and decor but aren't the type who enjoys rummaging through junk for that perfect wall clock, this is the place for you. All of their stuff, mostly furniture, was nice condition and good quality. And if you go in looking for a sofa, don't be surprised if you come out with a coffee table too; their products are oozing with so much style they are hard to resist! 

Bad Madge & Co. in South Park
2205 Fern St., San Diego, CA 92104

When I walked into Bad Madge, I felt like I was walking into Christmas morning. I got butterflies (as you know, this happens to me when it comes to home decor and design) and wished I didn't have to worry about taking anything I bought back on an airplane. After perusing the store and trying on silver Prada sandals, admiring the Mad Men-era barware, and checking out every lamp in sight, I chose to purchase a gold-colored, ornate metal trash can and a lucite vanity mirror. I was in a very girlie mood apparently. This place rocked, and was one of my favorite moments during the trip.

Overall, my much anticipated vacation in San Diego was fantastic. And I'm really glad my brother is graduating from college in May because it gives me a legit excuse to go back really really soon. :)