Happy New Year's Eve!

Sofie Lawett via {frolic!}

Happy New Year's Eve, all! I am so looking forward to tonight and to ushering in 2010. I'm always surprised when NYE slyly sneaks up on me - "What, it's New Year's Eve already? Wasn't it just Thanksgiving?" - but always thankful to greet a fresh year. I don't usually do resolutions (I'd probably keep them for about 2.2 seconds), but I like the chance to start anew on 1/1. Also, the celebrating on 12/31 is pretty fun too. :)

So what are you up to tonight? Big parties out on the town? Intimate gatherings with friends at home? We're still up in the air (poor B is still a bit sick), so we're not sure if we're willing to brave the freezing cold to party it up in either Phila or downtown Annapolis, or if we'll just keep it mellow with friends closeby. I'm sure it'll be fun no matter what.

If you are celebrating in, here are some fun decorating ideas from La Diva herself, Martha. How easy would it be to throw all the clocks in your house on a mantel, or add stick-on letters (from an office supply store) onto glasses? Party decor, done.

From Martha Stewart

Well kiddos, here's wishing you an amazing New Year's Eve celebration! See you in 2010!

At home above the New York City skyline

All photos found on Apartment Therapy, via A Cup of Jo

Aren't these rooftop houses in NYC cool? Since real estate is at such a premium in the city that never sleeps (and has very little free space left), these people made the best of it and found their own spaces atop buildings. The view must be amazing and you have your very own standalone in a place where four walls of your own is rare. Genius!

*Does anyone remember Admiral Boom from Mary Poppins? These little rooftop houses kind of remind me of the Admiral on his rooftop ship...

Picturing the past 10 years

As the decade draws to a close (gulp), this chart is a funny way to take a look back at some of the fascinators from the past 10 years. Can you believe "I.M." was a new verb in 2000 and "download" was in 2002? Wow. I suddenly feel really old.

Click on the link below to the NYT to see the chart in greater detail. I can't believe a new decade is almost here!

Chart by Phillip Niemeyer for the NYT, originally found on Swiss Miss.


Off to play nurse

Photo by Leo Pantone, via Mary Ruffle

Good morning! I hope you all had wonderful holiday weekends. Anything fun to report?

We had a nice holiday break full of family, food (so much food!), great gifts and catching up with friends and family from all over the country, but unfortunately my dear B came down with the flu last night after we got home from PA. The poor guy never gets sick so it's weird to see him so knocked out. So, I hate to do this to you all, but I need to take a day to take care of my sick muffin. I'll be back before 2010 I promise! Hope to see you back here in a day or so?


Happy holidays (and have a great long weekend)!

We're officially heading out for the rest of the week/weekend so I'll be gone until at least Monday, but I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

And of course I couldn't resist throwing in one more gorgeous thing before I go. Isn't this vintage-y holiday wreath (shown above and below) so cheery and pretty? Whitney made it herself using antique ornaments. Love it!

Wreath and photos from The Smith Family blog

Happy holidays everyone! Hope to see you back here again next week - when we'll almost be in to 2010!

xoxo, R

DIY wintery holiday decor: chandelier of ornaments

This wintery tabletop is so etheral and cozy. Love it! The hanging centerpiece is absolutely genius - and seems like it could actually be pretty easy to make yourself, if you're feeling ambitious - and the gem-tone colors paired with an abundance of white make everything pretty. This photo was from a wedding, but could work for any holiday fete or even New Year's Eve. So bring on the parties!

Photo by Steve DePino, via Style Me Pretty.

Cake boxes: Pretty. Smart.

With all the holiday parties and plethora of get-togethers this time of year, leftovers are inevitable, as is the need to decorate a table. I love this idea, which I found today on Amy Atlas' blog, Sweet Designs.

Aren't these Party Starters cake boxes super cute? Now if you have friends over to your house and want to share the leftover dessert, you have an easy way to sent them home with some cake.

I also love that each of these boxes can be put together to make a cute cake centerpiece:

For a child's birthday party, you could fill each single box with little favors (bouncy balls, gum, whatever) and let each child take one home as a party favor. Decor and favors all in one!

You can buy plain boxes to decorate yourself, or pick from holiday and themed boxes, or even custom orders; all are available on the Party Starters site or via their Etsy shop.

Countdown to the holiday!

Photo originally found on Walking Around

It's almost here! If you're working today, here's wishing that you get out early so you can start enjoying your looong holiday week and weekend (or feverishly wrapping gifts and packing, as I'm doing). I have a few more quick posts today before we head out until next week, so stop by a tiny bit later!

Have a cup of tea or wear it

Isn't this dress, which was made from blue and white porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, so cool? Li Xiaofeng, the artist, also made jackets, headpieces and a fire hydrant from this ancient china.

Originally found on quite cheeky.


2010 to-do list: item #1

Found on yes and yes

This is a good one to add to the New Year's resolutions...

The blue door

This living room (by design legend Windsor Smith) looks comfy and chic as is, but doesn't that amazing turquoise door just make the whole scene? I love the pops of red (love the chairs in the back) and blue against the crisp white couch and the overall palette of neutrals, but that door has got to be my favorite part of the room. It's a good reminder to consider each part of a room - even the little things, such as the insides of doors, trim and mouldings - when designing your space. This room seems like it would be the perfect place for a Malibu Christmas. :)

Photo found on House of Turquoise, originally from C Magazine.

Joe Brooks - Superman (acoustic video)

Sorry if you're at work and can't watch video, but maybe you can check it out later from home, if you're interested. It's kind of weird to see a young guy doing jazz-type stuff (he doesn't strike me as a throw-back Michael Buble type, his other stuff is actually kind of pop-y), but he's English and cute-ish, so it was enough to pique my interest. :) Sam, check out the really good pianist:

Originally found on Lovely Happenings.

What do you all think? Like him? Here's his site if you want to hear more. Do you guys want me to stop posting videos? Do you watch them? Let me know...

Sunny morning?

This quote from pretty pieces seemed appropriate after last night. I'm hoping for a sunny morning and smooth sailing while I try to get my car fixed. Wish me luck! (And see you back here in a bit!)


Rough night.

This evening was not the best. The driver's side window (the one right next to my face) on my car decided to take a little vacation to deep within the depths of the door chasm, so I had to drive home in freezing-cold weather with no window - did I mention this happened while out doing some holiday shopping/errands? Now it's got the ever-so-classy trash-bag-over-the-window-hole look going on until I can get to the dealership tomorrow morning to get it fixed.

Then, while B and I were standing in said freezing-cold air trying to coax the window out (unsuccessfully, despite B removing the entire door panel), our landlord called to say he's raising out rent in 2010. Awesome.

But, hopefully I'll get the window fixed tomorrow without too much of an issue (and too many greenbacks!) and we'll deal with the rent thing...or move. Ugh.

Anyway, if the world wants to be a jerk to me right now, here's what I have to say:
Haters gonna hate
As in, leave me alone, don't hate - love that jolly fat guy above! :) - and let's hope the holiday gets here soon (and without further incident)!

Animation originally found on quite cheeky.

Three more days...

Photo by John Dolan

The holiday weekend will be upon us before we even know it! So much to do: wrapping, packing, re-upping the EZPass. I can't wait for B to be done work on Wednesday afternoon and for us to head out for a looong, fun weekend!

(Side note: I'll still be blogging up to Wednesday, so keep checking back throughout the week!)

Persimmon predicament

Photo from here

I have been talking about persimmons for, like, a week now. In case you haven't heard of one, what you see above is a persimmon.

I don't know what happened, but about a week ago, somewhere from the murky depths of my mind, something triggered a memory from the trip my friend Covi and I took to New Zealand a while back. Every day on that month-long trip I snacked on a beautiful reddish/orange fruit that looked like a large tomato but had the consistency of an apple, and tasted like nothing I've ever eaten before. It was amazing. I tried to remember what this thing I had eaten back then was: Was it a pomegranate? No, it didn't have a plethora of seeds. Was it some weird hybrid apple-mango that we don't have in the states? Then it came to me - persimmon.

Since then, this little fruit (well, actually it's a berry - weird, huh?) has been haunting me. I went to Whole Foods to try to hunt one down, but they said I missed their once-a-year, only-for-a-few-weeks, Thanksgiving-time shipment. I Googled "persimmon" and "Maryland" endlessly, but evidently you need to live in California to buy them in the store or you have to grow them in your own backyard if you want one in the US.

I don't think about this fruit/berry for years upon years, then all of a sudden it's everywhere. Persimmon pudding for Christmas. Persimmon-scented candles in the store. Then, today, up popped this persimmon salad recipe from Domestic Reflections in my blog roll. Where is this all coming from?! But doesn't it look delicious?:

Image from Domestic Reflections

I'm telling you, these buggers are haunting me. I want one so badly now that I've even harassed my (un)sister-in-law to see if she'd smuggle one for me in her suitcase on her flight from San Diego to Philadelphia this week for Christmas. Somehow I don't think that's a good idea (persimmon-covered sweaters don't sound ideal).

So what's a girl to do? I don't see a trip to NZ or Asia (where they're from) in the foreseeable future, and we don't have a yard in which to grow a tree right now. Have any of you ever tried a persimmon? If you live on the East Coast, where did you get it?

In the meantime, I'll be dreaming about these little orange gems. It's funny - I don't even remember what they taste like fully, and yet I'm totally craving one. Mmm.

I smell like a cupcake...

...and I like it.

B bought me Pink Sugar perfume as a gift and I've been walking around smelling like a cookie ever since then. I don't care if that officially makes me a 13-year-old; it smells so good!

Besides, the only other scent I've ever worn - Bobbi Brown beach - kept making people ask if I just put on tanning lotion. Does cupcake beat sunblock in your book?

Snowy weekend in Annapolis

Good morning! Did you have a good weekend? What's that? You got some snow? A blizzard you say?

Oh riiiight, it snowed in DC and Maryland this weekend.

A ton. Truckloads. As high as the rear bumper of my car. More than we've had since 2003. And really, really fun.

Saturday we bundled up in about 219 layers of gear and headed over to our friends' place where we all played in the snow like seven-year-olds. There may have been some "bumper skiing" going on too:

(This involves either holding on to the bumper of a Jeep or the rope that is tied to the back and then coasting over the snow on your shoes, no actual skis required. It results in slipping, sliding and generally debauchery. And fun. This photo was taken from inside the back of the Jeep.)

Today B and I spent all day by the fireplace, reading, watching football and warming up again. I've since come down with a lame cold ("skiing" in the snow anyone?) that I'm trying to banish as quickly as possible and before Christmas, but otherwise it was a fun weekend and made me even more excited for the upcoming holiday week. Only three days to go (if you even have work at all due to the snow).

Top photo from The Rockstar Diaries. See more of Naomi's beautiful snow day pictures here.
Bottom photo from a bunch of idiots I went to college with (whom we call good friends). :)


Have a great weekend!

Photo from from me to you

We're supposed to be getting a big snow storm here this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. Usually I hate when it snows in Maryland - mostly because people here freak out about it and the state is generally ill-equipped for it, and also because it generally melts so fast that we're just left with a brown slush for the next week - but for some reason I'm excited for it this time. I'm hoping we can just hole up, sit by the fire and spend time wrapping gifts and hanging out.

What about you all? Any good weekend plans? What will you do in the snow?

I'll be back bright and early on Monday, and will have fresh posts before we head out for the holidays. See you then?

Light it up

Who is the genius who thought of this? It's a lampshade with a hidden message inside that shows when the lamp is turned on. Since it's handmade, you can choose any message you want or even a logo. How cute would this be to buy for your loved one or maybe a child? Or better yet, for a wedding proposal? So sweet!

Originally found on Lovely Happenings.

Measuring type

I'm even more green than I thought. It turns out that my default font choice - Garamond - uses the least ink out of these six commonly used typefaces:

Matt Robinson drew out large-scale renditions of these typefaces with ballpoint pens (see top photo) and then compared the remaining ink (above) to determine the "ink efficiency" of each font. Garamond wins! (And it's pretty.) Who knew Times New Roman was so wasteful?

Originally seen on Swiss Miss (she finds the best stuff!) :)

Living Christmas tree rental (alternately titled "hug a tree, don't cut it down!")

Photo by Michael Czerwonka for the NYT

Since I celebrate Hanukkah and B is a tree-hugger, we don't have a real Christmas tree come the holiday season. Trust me, I'd be all for it - a reason to buy things and decorate with them! - but we don't feel it necessary to cut down a tree just for our short-term merriment. I'd rather have fresh, clean air than a shedding tree, no? Instead, we string white lights onto our kayak (yes, we have it in our house - it's a long story) and put a sparkly bird on top. It's festive but subtle and twinkles nicely next to our fireplace.

But, if I lived in California (which I gladly would), I would seriously consider renting a tree from livingchristmas.com. Scott Martin, a landscape architect and the guy behind the awesome concept, rents out living trees - which are potted in soil, don't shed and remain alive while giving off that amazing Christmas tree smell - to families for the holidays. You can even get the same tree year after year. Some of the families who do this have even named their trees.

Even better than the brilliant concept is that the company is green in more ways than reusing trees. The trees are cared for throughout the year by adults with disabilities, the delivery trucks run on biodiesel, and the drivers are willing to take your used wrapping paper for recycling.

The article in the New York Times is really interesting; check it out here. Think B and I should start a similar service in Annapolis? Somehow it seems like it would be more fun in year-round sunny California...

Found via beachbungalow8 on twitter.


Gift idea: for the man (or granny) in your life

Now I know what to get B for Christmas!

No, it's not a "head backhoe" (that's what she said! ha.), it's an "acoustic listening device." These were developed as part of air defense systems research for the Dutch army between World Wars 1 and 2.

Doesn't this one look comfy?

Kinda cool though. I've always wanted to be able to hear everything going on around me. Also perhaps my grandmother would like one of these...you know, because her current hearing aid is just too darn streamlined.

Originally found on Swiss Miss.

DIY holiday decor: origami box ornaments

Adding on to my post from yesterday about holiday decorations made from paper, here's another great DIY idea for holiday decorations on the cheap and trying to be green (this is reusing at its best!). Samantha Miller of PAPER RED SHOES created this awesome work of origami that can be made from book pages, newspaper, sheet music or the like.

Full instructions on how to do this, along with step-by-step photos, can be found at Creature Comforts.

I consider this one to be attempted by super-crafters only. (I think I'm pretty crafty, but I don't know if my fingers are up for this.) I don't think I'd have the patience to intricately fold several (or even one) of these, but don't they look pretty hanging in a window?

They'd obviously be great on a tree, too, or adorning a mantel or ledge. So pretty and cool!

Balloons, bell and belle

I don't know what it is about this image, but something about it caught my eye. I found it nestled in with several other images on dress, design & decor, and quickly scanned by it, but then I came back to it. Twice. I think it's the interesting scale of things - that huge paper bell, the goes-on-forever dress on that little woman, and the colorful balloons. Great image from Chris Everard (whose stuff is beautiful - go check it out here).

On a snarky note, is it just me or is that chick's forehead enormous? Oops, did I type that out loud?

Summer on canvas: Samantha French paintings

I remember when my brother and I were younger and spent our summers on Cape Cod, we would spend literally all day in the pool in our backyard, swimming and diving. We wouldn't get out until our mom dragged us out for dinnertime, and by then our fingers were prune-y and numb.

At summer camp on the Cape, we had morning swim lessons in the freezing cold pool or in the murky pond (depending on how old you were), and then I'd spend all afternoon sailing on little Sunfish boats or FJs and 420s as I got older.

To me, the water symbolizes everything fun and full of life I remember from those summers.

Now I live in Annapolis close to the water, and fill my house with things reminiscent of the sea and the color of pool blue. As I get older, I hope to one day have a real painting (or at least a high-quality print!) to put on my wall to remind me of the summer.

I spotted these Samantha French paintings on Mint a few weeks ago and fell in love. The colors, texture and movement of them feel so connected to me.

Do Samantha's gorgeous paintings and prints speak to you too?

Read this: "irony creepers"

Photo from unknown source. Anyone?

This post is brills.

(And please note that the use of "brills" was ironic because the post in question is all about "irony creepers" - or annoying phrases that you used to say jokingly but then creep in to your actual vocabulary at some point. Like "fo sho" and "totes magotes." Maybe even "fo shizzy" if you're a real douchebag. "Fro-yo" is a certainty, as are "outie 3000" and "later skater" (ugh, what am I, 12??).

It's so true though! And the genius Daddy Likey has translated this phenomenon to fashion irony creepers. Love.

Got any irony creeper phrases you'd like to share? I'm always in need of more inappropriately juvenile slang terms and/or obnoxious shortening of words to add to my everyday cacophony of verbiage.


Up and running...and eating

I'm baaa-aaack! My once-state-of-the-art laptop is still on shaky legs, but at least at this point it's functioning. A big thanks to B, the lovely boyf, for his technical advising, and to Google Chrome for not making the internets crash 12 times in a row like Firefox does to me. Whew.

So let's get back to it, shall we?


I've posted this print before, but I love it and it works for this post (bear with me):

Poster by Erin Jang, as seen on happy lady eats

Last night we celebrated Hanukkah with my family. It was great - the gifts, the latkes, all fab. But the best part (Mom, don't kill me, I loved the gifts and food and company...) was that my mom surprised us with the best dessert ever. Let me say that again because it's a huge utterance coming from me (oh queen of the sweet tooth): Best. Dessert. Ever.

Also let me preface this by saying the B wasn't really into it. But he is a salty/savory guy and not really into dessert.

Last (I promise the punchline is coming soon - stay with me!), even though I'm a huge sweets/dessert person, I'm not really into cake or baked goods that much and I do not like pie at all. (Insert shocked sounds of betrayal here.)

My mom knows how I feel about cake and pie, so for dessert she bought these:

(I did the all-caps type on purpose. Like I was screaming. Because I screamed when I saw them. For real.)

These ice cream cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery were ridiculous. They're rich, so I'd recommend splitting them as we did, and they're best eaten with a fork instead of trying to pick them up. They have just enough cake at the bottom so that you baked-goods loving folks get your taste of cake, plus the ice cream flavors (sweet cream, cake batter, chocolate) are amazing.


And just for the record, if I ever get married, I'm skipping the wedding cake and doing individual ice cream cakes (or cupcakes like this, now that I know they exist!) for each guest. B, stop fainting.

Thanks for the great treat, Mom!

Hump day technical difficulties

I'm having some oh-so-fun, not-working-at-all-so-I-guess-I'll-just-use-it-as-a-very-expensive-coaster-instead issues with my laptop, so I need to sign off the interwebs for a few hours to try and get this worked out. Sorry for the delay in posts - I had some good ones that just needed to be finished up a bit, too! I promise once I get the computer issues worked out I'll be back with tons of fresh stuff. Thanks for your patience! Please come back later today (very optimistic...maybe come back tomorrow morning?).

Image found on Snippet & Ink.


Be green and save your green: paper the holidays

Photo from Sweet Paul

Thanks to the "great recession of '09" I think we're all looking for ways to be a bit more thrifty this holiday season. B and I are also always looking for ways to be more green. But, even though we love the green (both the earth and some moolah!), I would never want to sacrifice a gift looking beautiful.

Luckily, paper - from newspaper to old books to sheet music - is a great way to dress up your gifts and home for the holidays without having to spend a dime. Here are some pretty gifts, ornaments and even wreaths made from reused paper:

Newspaper gets cute, from Country Living

Adorable little paper star ornament from Scrap Log

Jingle bells and sheet music make a lovely gift wrapper, from Country Living

Awesome book-page wreath from Living with Lindsay

Newspaper is dressed up with cardboard on Just Something I Made

And finally, even a simple gift tag (which could also be made from reused cardboard or cardstock) dresses up newspaper nicely, from The White Balloon.

See? Pretty, cheap and green!