Friday, April 30, 2010

A grown up house... one day

Slowly but surely, I want the house that N and I will share to be one that people admire when they come over.  I don't expect to be in a magazine, but I will admit that it's really important to me to not be embarrassed of my living room.

However, getting to that point is going to be hard.  In case you haven't noticed, home decor is pretty darn expensive.  Yes, I know there are the Crafty McHandy people who turn a garage sale dresser into a showpiece for $30 but I lack that skill set (and desire).  I'm a shopper.  I like to pick things out, compare them to other things, and make the right choice in the end.

Even though I don't move in until August, and we don't even have a couch picked out yet (neutral L-shaped sectionals are tough to find, it turns out), I've started scoping out items that I think I could happily display for years.  I will buy them one by one, and hopefully have a lovely room to share one day.

Things I have
When I moved into this house with wood floors (which I don't see why everyone flips out over, they're lots of work) I saved to buy a chocolate brown and ivory damask rug from Pier 1.  It sheds like none other, but I still love it.  And I can't believe I found a picture of it online 18 months later.
When I graduated college in 2005, I moved into my first Dallas apartment and bought a brown (faux) leather armchair for $300.  It is really comfortable, and looks pretty nice for pvc.  Plus, puppy dog nails don't scratch it. (The chair below isn't identical to mine, but it's close)

Things I want
The first item on our list of things to buy for the house is a good couch - one you can fall asleep on.  My sofa is not very comfortable and is starting to show its age after only 5 years, and N's couches were hand me downs from his parents and are coming apart.  I think something like the sectional below would last us a long time and help fill up the big, long living area.  I will swap out the bonanza of beige pillows with color, of course.

Next, I want to find a classic espresso stained media cabinet and shelving unit for N's giant tv, living room computer, game consoles, speakers, and various plastic cases. (That's before I move in any of my prized Sex and the City dvds!) The unit below (3 pcs) is $700 at JCPenney, but I think I'd break it up instead of making a valley for the television.

We'd also need to find some coordinating coffe table/end table collections, which will be a challenge because I agreed that as long as it is not hideous, N can get one of those coffee tables that pops up.  Ugh.

Finally, I want a mix of colors and textures to make the sensible furniture more interesting.  I want the kind of room where things don't match, but share a common color family so they work.  (Yes, I am an Anglophile.  I know.)  Everything below is from Z Gallerie or West Elm, my two favorite stores for decor.

And now I want to go shopping really bad.  What are your room goals?  Do you think I could do better by making some substitutions?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gifts for Mom - Part 2

Living in Dallas, I get to see lots of very fabulous mothers around town in their Land Cruisers and Vuitton handbags.  They rock chic outfits and, most importantly, statement jewelry - which happens to be a very easy gift to buy.  Size doesn't matter, and you can get a quality piece for under $75.

I think the pieces below would look nice on mothers of all ages:

Ann Taylor LOFT Aqua Stone Dangle Bib Necklace - $45
I think this would look great with a white cotton or linen top this summer.

Martin & Osa Wide Mesh Bracelet - $49.50

Kenneth Cole New York Mixed Metal Earrings - $35
I've posted these before, but I still love how classic and unique they are

White House Black Market Chunky Chain Necklace - $48

White House Black Market Silvertone Hammered Drop Hoop Earrings and Cuff - $28 and $44

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Surely this is a joke...

I find it hard to believe that the buyers at The Limited think we will buy these pants and aren't just having some fun.  They look like something Fran would wear before she started married Mr. Scheffield.

Gifts for Mom - Part 1

In case you've forgotten, Mother's Day is May 9th and that means we daughters (and sons?) have two weeks to find the right gift before resorting to flowers. As I come across them, I'll post items that you could order this week and have in hand (hopefully) before Mother's Day.

Stationary (the nice stuff)
I think having personalized note cards is very ladylike and once I get my new last name, I'm going to find the right pattern and order some. If you mom would appreciate the gesture, consider placing an order for some personalized note cards from Wedding Paper Divas (not just invitations) or one of the many Etsy sellers offering custom stationary. My favorite shop (so far) is Dots and Dahlias

However, order NOW if you're going to actually see your mother on May 9th and need to hand her a present.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things every girl needs: A hands free purse

I've decided to start a "things every girl needs" series for the days when I don't have anything better to write about.  My first item is something I use fairly often: my cross-body purses.

I hate carrying a heavy purse when going to a concert or shopping all day, but am not quite low maintenance enough to put my ID and credit card in my pocket and call it a day.  I purchased my first Coach swingpack (on eBay) before a trip to London and have found it really useful ever since.

Here are a few options that I think would get a lot of use:

Coach Signature Swingpack - $128
This is quite an investment, but you can find several of these on eBay and carry it for years.  I have the black fabric version with silver hardware.

Fossil Castille Crossbody - $79.99
I like this bag because it is all leather and will likely age well (I assume it will since my other Fossil purse has)
Etsy - Bags by Colette
For those who prefer modern, fabric options, this Etsy shop offers large and small bags in the $45 range.
Etsy - Carryacutebag
A smaller, cheaper option to the shop above...

Kohls - Simply Vera Wang Cross-Body Handbag
A cheaper alternative to the Coach and Fossil bags, but still with the same classic lines

Monday, April 26, 2010


Sunday night I was trolling Etsy as I recovered from watching The Pacific on HBO. (It's so violent and makes me upset to imagine how many wives and fiances and families never got to live the lives they planned for themselves)  I started playing with the Pounce application, which randomly selects groups of three sellers in hopes of introducing you to something new, and I think I will do it more often because I found so many wonderful shops I didn't know about!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Bertie's Closet
This shop sells sleeves for your Macbook or iPad in an array of fabrics.  I'm really liking the Nature-ology Macbook cover

This shop sells adorable knitted hats for little kids.  And since I have many pregnant friends, some of the babies may be getting monkey hats from Auntie Haley because I think they're funny.  Really, isn't that what buying gifts is about?  What I find amusing for your children... ;-)

For my nerdz...

Yet another seller of Macbook and laptop sleeves, but this shop offers a big selection of cases for the iPad and Kindle as well as more unisex fabric options.

This shop is based in Austin (yay Texas!) and sells clutches, makeup bags, jewelry and really cute sunglasses cases like the one pictured below in graphic prints.
This shop offers cute printed tote bags, messenger bags and purses.  I like the large totes for car trips and plane rides, since I carry around large stacks of magazines like a crazy person, then complain that my bag is heavy.

Ok, so this is a shop I knew about, and one of the few Etsy sellers still making bubble necklaces. I want the turquoise one so bad. I wear my gray necklace all the time and just might give in and click 'buy' one day soon...

Do any of you ladies have a favorite Etsy shop the rest of us should know about?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Metallic Schmetallic

If you read magazines at all, you know very well that metallics are now considered a neutral and are here to stay.  Since we all need a little metal in our wardrobe, I decided to look for some pieces that are under $15 so you can buy more of them. 

The Limited Stone Window Cuff Bracelet - $14.99
I love this bracelet.  It looks like something you would find in a little boutique selling handmade jewelry.  I want it.
The Limited Studded Shoulder Tee - $14.99
This may be cute, or it may look like you're sporting football pads.  But it's worth a shot...

JCPenney Beaded Thong Sandal - $10.99
These are dead wringers for some $49.99 flip flops I saw at Macy's. 

Forever 21 Lindsey Rhinestone Flats - $14.80
These would be a nice pop of color/shimmer with an black or neutral outfit.

And now I'm tired of looking at cheap things, so here are a few more pieces that I like:

The Limited Romantic Ruffle Top - $44.50

Express Twist Handle Wristlet - $19.50

Guilt Free Outfits

Now that summer items are starting to go on sale, I thought I'd put together a few outfits where every piece is under $35 in case you're looking for something new without feeling guilty about it.  Enjoy!

Outfit #1: Weekend Errands
I think the embellished tee and statement cuff send an "I meant to wear this out today" message rather than a "I just threw this on, and was hoping not to see anyone I know"

Fossil Corey Embellished Tee - $19.99
Old Navy Perfect Khaki Shorts - $15
Target Merona Yetta Sandals - $24.99
Forever 21 Beaded Wraparound Bracelet - $6.80

Outfit #2: Casual Friday at Work
Last year I got brave and wore white wide leg pants.  This year I'm going to graduate to white jeans with colorful tops.  I think it's a great casual look that's still put together enough for a meeting with clients.

Fossil Hope Top - $29.99
The Limited 917 Starlet Bootcut Jean - $34.99
Gap Suede Fringe T-strap Sandals - $24.99
Forever 21 Endlessness Cuff - $7.80

Outfit #3 - Date Night
I vaguely remember the days when I used to get dressed up to go out on a real date.  I think I shall start doing it again so I have an excuse to wear dresses and jewelry outside of work.  I like casual jersey knit dresses that can be dressed up with jewelry

Down East Basics Butterfly Kiss Dress - $19.99
Urban Outfitters Dual Tone Macrame Sandal - $28
JCPenney Pearl Casted Starburst Necklace - $19.50

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Custom address stamps... with style

Now that I'll soon be married and living in a non-rented house, I feel like I can finally justify the cost of a custom return address stamp. has tons of options, but I found the Note Trunk shop to offer the most options for under $30. 

Take a look, you know you need one too ;-)

I got this one:
But I also liked these...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sneak peek

Although I'm waaay in the background and sitting awkwardly, I think the coral colored top was a good choice for the engagement photo shoot. And also, these are my doggies.  Charlie is on the left, and Maggie is on the right.

I wish I needed this...

Ann Taylor LOFT Leather Flap Hobo - $99
This bag is classic and can be carried for ages.  Plus, it's gorgeous in person and made from super soft leather.  If you're needing a brown purse, this would be a great option

Update: Sold out!  Now only available in black... you'll need to look in store if you still want one

Monday, April 19, 2010

Under $15 gifts - Part 2

It's been a while since I posted a cheap gift, so I started perusing Z Gallerie's sale section and found some great pieces that you can buy and store for when you friend has a birthday dinner at 7:30 and you'll be stuck at work until 6. Plus, all of them look like you spent more... ;)

Pivot Tealight Candle Holder - $7.99
This would look so elegant on a coffee table, or even on each table at my wedding reception... hmmmm
Caprise Pillar Candle Holders - $9.99
I love the modern, lucite look of these on an end table.  Too bad N thinks they're weird.
Positivo Mirror Vase - $5.99 (Seriously!)
These would look gorgeous with an orchid or some other very delicate flower
Barkley Tealight Triple - $14.99
This would be great for a teenage girl (or adult) with a flair for the dramatic.  The picture isn't very good, but you put tea lights between the two panels and it looks like the chandelier is lit.
Veneto Mirrored Wave Frames - $12.99
When in doubt, always assume your mom and grandma will like a nice framed photo of you (and your boyfriend, family, dog, whatever) for Mother's Day.


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