Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Weekend Cooking

Food Network is my TV zen. I watch it late at night when I can't sleep and am constantly scribbling down recipes and food combinations on any scraps of paper I can find at 2am. Here's the current menu I'm craving this weekend....cheers!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stalker House Guest

I have always been fascinated by the little trinkets that others have around their homes. If our homes truly do tell a story about who we are, then all of our little bits-o-treasure are the adjectives of our lives. So, it's pretty much guaranteed that if you invite me over, as soon as you turn your back, I might whip out my phone and start snapping pictures (I'm convinced it was the sole reason camera phones were invented) .

Hello, my name is Abby and I'm a Stalker House Guest. It really is the most sincere form of flattery, no?

Case in point, I clicked off these shots of two things that I've been staring at in my good friend Nathalie's house for weeks now. This little alligator nut cracker sits on her coffee table guarding her monthly glossies. Where does one acquire a little brass alligator chomper, I have no idea, but I love it.

And this Voluspa Candle intrigues me with its shiny exterior and smoky gray wax color. I imagine Nathalie surrounded by them in the winter time reading old love stories and drinking wine.

Watch out, I may be coming to your house next...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Must have summer read...

If you're looking for a new summer read to throw in that straw beach bag, or organic-hemp-all-recycled-cotton-"I'm not a plastic bag"-farmers-market-tote, *whatever*, this is the newest release to add to your list.

Slept Away is about a New York City it-girl who gets sent to a rustic sleepaway camp and all things that ensue--a summer of being an outcast, going through Diet Coke withdrawal, and taking more than a few kickballs to the head.

Buy it here on Amazon, or better yet, go to your local Borders and ask incessantly for copies at the front desk.

Author Julie Kraut is a writer and blogger extraordinaire. Read past blog posts for her hilariously funny adventure on a solo trek through Africa.

If you're a DC local check here for a reading in your area. Chances are you'll see me roaming up and down the aisles telling random strangers that I know the author. Does that make me a book groupie?

Grab a bucket, y'all

When it comes to summer entertaining, I'm a simple kind of girl. String a few lanterns, light a few candles...serve simple, delicious, fresh food, and let the wine do the rest. Laid-back entertaining is even more of a snap when you have an ample supply of chic containers on hand. To be used in an endless variety of ways, and cheap enough to stock up on (The options below range from .79 to $40, most in the $5 range), these will last you many summers to come. Where do you find such a stellar deal to stock your entertaining arsenal?......The online bucket outlet of course!

This most basic of options ($3.49) could be used for flower arrangements on tables, hung from tree branches brimming with flowers or lights, or filled on the bottom with cardboard or stones, covered, and used to serve appetizers.
Tall and sleek, the color of this would dance in the candlelight.

Big enough for drinks, or a fun place to stash extra flip flops or blankets for that post dinner chill
Miniature in size ( about 1/2 as tall as a soda can and just .79), chilled soups or small appetizers could be lined up on a picnic table for interesting presentation.

Self-explanatory in purpose, but don't limit these to just beverages and flowers. If your soiree involves children, why not set up a few filled with sand or small rocks and hide some treasures and treats in to keep them occupied.

Sleek and shiny, fill this with mini bottles of champagne and place strategically around your seating area for a party that doesn't end.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not just a quick tyrst

Sometimes I know instantly when I love something. And other times, I dismiss something quickly and then find myself thinking about it for the next 3 days. Such is the case with the Elina Dhurrie Rug from Ballard Designs.

At first glance, I thought it was too tribal looking for me and reminded myself of my love affair with stripes. But something about it just stuck with me, and now I'm in love.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One deserted beach...

...+ one set of beach gear + one big stack of magazines + one (ok, more than one) fruity drink = Heaven

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shake It Up!

Liven things up on your table with Salt and Pepper shakers that are just 'kitch' enough to get people talkin', but won't clash with you dinnerware.

DC Locals can get these at our very own Tabletop DC on 20th St., NW (those not lucky enough to live in our little metropolis can order online).

Wobble Salt and Pepper Shakers. Pair these with a bottle of wine for endless dinner party fun. Available from MoMA.
Bird and Cloud Shakers perfect for your brunch table. Also from the MoMa store available, here.

A little more on the elegant side, but still statement making, the Nambe "Kissing" Shakers are available at Macys.
Salt on the top, pepper on the bottom, one nice little package to place on the table. The Yamazaki "Signature" shakers are also available at Macys.

CB2 always has affordable, offbeat and well designed tableware and the Stone Shaker Set is right on the money for $10.95. Available here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quotable Perfection

Words of wisdom throughout history in a great modern, graphic format. I could paste these around my office walls to remind myself to say things that people are going to remember in 100 years.

Found via Flicrk, and available internationally here, I haven't been able to track down a US outpost for them yet, stay tuned if I find one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Running Away

If I had a country home, I would be running away to it this weekend. No hustle and bustle, no Metro delays, no cell phone (ok, that's a lie, because how else would I be able to hook it to my laptop and get high speed internet. A girl can't give up everything). Just peace and quite for one whole weekend. Plus, it would be a great little design laboratory to try out all those ideas I'm always a little hesitant to do in my full time home.
A galvanized farm sink would be perfect in my country cottage kitchen.
Even this little dogs looks relaxed. I would love a country home just for the pure bliss of spending my weekends scouring flea markets looking for pieces to refurbish. This coffee table looks like a great find that got new life with some glossy white paint.
Every country home needs a big farm table to eat around. I love the contrast of wood and metal with this dining set. Mismatched chairs in all different colors would also give this room some personality. This little cottage's hallway makes it impossible not to be in a good mood.
And off I would go, on my bright yellow bike (with basket!) for weekend adventures.

All Images via Country Living

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Style Dictionary: Undone Doneness

Undone Doneness: Verb--a decorating state of being in which objects and belonging appear to be in transition but are actually meant to be that way.

As in, "no that pile of books by the door is not waiting to go to the Goodwill, but in fact is part of my home's style."

I don't think that Undone Doneness is my personal style, but I admire those that do it well. The easy and relaxed feeling it gives your space is sometimes lost on rooms that become overly "decorated." And I do love the way that it makes a space feel fluid and constantly changing with the lives of the people who live there.

Images: Living Etc.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A love letter to my pillow...

Dear Bed,
I feel that I've taken you for granted all these years. And now that you are safely packed up with packing tape and boxes, awaiting arrival at your new home, I finally appreciate the comfort and love that you have offered all those nights.

I'm sorry for all those times I selfishly tossed random handbags and shoes on you in a dizzying rush to get dressed in the mornings. How completely thoughtless of me to scatter chocolate chip cookie crumbs between your sheets.

I promise that I will change for you. When you return, I will have soft, pretty new sheets in your honor, and fluffy pillows with a fun, modern print. I will spend lots of time snuggled in your warmth (sorry, the dogs stay, they like to sleep under the covers). And I will never spill tea and cookies in you again while spending late nights catching up on blogs...ok, the tea and cookies will probably stay too, but I'll try to be tidy.

Yes, my dear bed, you will return to your very nice life soon, with freshly painted walls and a cozy new room. Until then, all my love.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Hello to all! After a whirlwind week, bouncing back from coast to coast for work travel, I'm back with my feet on the ground and catching up on all the blog activity (How did I miss the Domino Tag Sale, I'm devastated!). As I dig myself out from under a stack of emails and blog posts, I thought I'd leave you with a little taste of my week, courtesy of my camera phone.

I started out my week in Long Beach, CA. Even after spending my summers in SoCal during university, I had never been to Long Beach. I'm working on two large meetings out there this coming year, so I stopped in for a quick trip to take in the sights and sounds.

Any city that lets my little pups run around in the sand, is good enough for me! (Sidenote: I got a landslide of emails about the Dog Post from last week. We bloggers really love our dogs, huh! R&B are still visiting my parents, but I hope to have them back soon!)

My trip was filled with meeting after meeting, but some of them involved eating, so no complaints here. This is Parkers' Lighthouse, a "Long Beach Gem" according to the locals. They have an amazing 360 view of the city and water from the top floor bar.

I apparently grew up under a rock, because I stood there dumbfounded when my gracious tour guide was waxing on about the prestigious Queen Mary. The historic ocean liner (bigger than the Titanic) is now a floating hotel and special event site in the Long Beach harbor. The ghost tour is a particularly fun, but I was smitten with the planter boxes outside (Yes, I'm the girl who stands in front of a national treasure and gushes about the modern looking garden boxes-- gotta appreciate history, right).

Another space I toured, wouldn't work for what I needed, but still had a gorgeous bathroom. Come on now, admit it, how many of you have pictures of bathrooms...light fixtures...random architectural details on your camera phone. This is precisely what the camera phone was invented for, no?

One of the coolest parts of my job is scouting out hotels. While out west, I had the chance to tour a new boutique hotel opening soon in the Long Beach area called the Avia Hotel. When I think boutique hotel, I think...great hotel bar, and I don't think this one will disappoint. Champagne flights and chef tastings are in the works...I'll be staying here next time I'm in town!

The concept for the lobby level is "nature and texture." Many of the materials weren't installed yet, but there were stacks of beautiful dark brazillian woods flooring and natrual stone everywhere. And, I don't know why I love to wear hard hats so much, but I do.

This is the rooftop pool deck, which will be very cabana-esque, and one of the best views in the city when it's finished.
A couple of shots I grabbed from the website of what the property will look like when it's finished.
Continuing in my jet-setting, I ended my week a coast away in Florida. Not quite as hectic as my trip to Long Beach, I was able to slow down a little and enjoy some time in a cabana next to the hotel pool.
Cabanas and colorful drinks on a Friday's a hard life, I know.

I also ventured out in the city for a dinner at Emeril's restaurant, which was fantastic. I was highly skeptical going in, preparing myself for something overrated and underwhelming, but I was pleasantly surprised. The chef's tasting menu was a hit at our table.

Back on the homefront we've run into some delays with The Jewelbox. Sadly in the form of water gushing through our newly laid floors. You may have noticed the lack of pictures I promised were coming shortly. It wasn't as pretty when I got back, so you have to wait a little longer. Things should be back on track shortly. In the meantime, my things are stacked comfortably in a U-haul awaiting their new home.
Hope everyone had a great week! Looking forward to catching up on the happenings of Blog-Land soon!