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Posts from the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Get Your Project On: Young House Love’s New Book

The other day, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted something that made me very happy. Their new book, titled Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, is officially available for pre-order!

You can hear the whole story from them right here.

In my other life, I’m a crime fiction writer trying to get my first novel published. The process for publishing fiction is different than for non-fiction, but hearing about John & Sherry’s journey in getting this book done rang some familiar bells for me:

It’s so funny because we distinctly remember every single phase: signing on with an agent well before Clara was born, writing an 100 page proposal in 2010, pitching it to publishers and picking the right one for the job right after moving in 2011, turning our proposal into a complete book outline and then a complete manuscript right around New Year’s, shooting for three straight weeks in our house back in February of this year, and then refining and proofing and proofing some more, and finally – finally! – sending this baby off to be printed.

One thing is certain, the world of publishing is not what you’d describe as a high-speed bullet train. It’s more like a horse-drawn carriage. Read more

Window Shopping at VivaTerra

The other day I got a catalog for a store I’d never heard of before called VivaTerra. This morning I made myself a tall iced coffee and sat down to do some window shopping at VivaTerra.

The first thing that caught my eye was this chair and ottoman:

Bruges Chair and Ottoman

Image borrowed from

This is the Bruges Chair and Ottoman. At a sale price of $829 and $349 it’s a bit splurgy (actually many of Viva Terra’s items are splurgy) but if it fits into your budget I really like the shape of it. Kind of like an Eames Lounge on vacation in Tahiti.

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Cherry Blossom Bathroom Mood Board

I have long been enamored of cherry blossoms, but surprisingly, I don’t have any in my house. Creating this cherry blossom bathroom mood board gave me some good ideas for a future bathroom re-do.

Cherry Blossom Bathroom

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Second Hand Diva: Craigslist Bookcase

It took me awhile to catch on to the greatness that is Craigslist, but after buying several of my favorite pieces of furniture from CL, I’m sold.

Admittedly, my house is pretty much furnished. With the exception of a few pieces (like the Eames Lounge I mention here) we’re not in the market for any new furniture. That doesn’t mean I don’t have DIY aspirations.

So I had this idea that I’d search CL, eBay, etc. and look for pieces that I think have potential for greatness and tell you all about it. This is just a starting point, mind you–the logistics of linking to a CL posting makes it pretty unlikely you’d score the exact same piece. My goal is to give you some ideas and inspiration for prettying up your own second hand scores.

Here’s today’s find:

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Inspiration: Bathrooms

I love looking at photographs of beautiful rooms. Collecting images of spaces I love helps me define my own style and inspires me when the time comes to do some designing/decorating/renovating.

Today's inspiration? Bathrooms.

Image credit: Canadian House & Home

I chose this bathroom because the design is crisp and clean, yet peaceful.

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Cherry Blossom Bridal Shower

This weekend, I hosted a cherry blossom bridal shower for a dear friend. The theme turned out to be the perfect choice, for a lot of reasons. Here are some pictures from the shower and a few tips and tricks to make your next celebration a little more special.

Pick a Theme
The cherry blossom theme was kind of an accident, but a happy one. When I was looking for invites, I found one with white cherry blossoms and I liked the colors on it. After I ordered them I thought “Hey, this has to be my theme!” I already owned a lot of Asian home accessories, and I immediately knew I could create a beautiful party with this theme.

So that’s tip #1: When picking a theme/color scheme, think about the decorative accessories you already own and the colors already present in your home:


In this case, I already owned the vase, Buddha, and fan. I just had to get some faux cherry blossoms to make the display complete. And see all that greenery out the window? It’s bamboo. Perfect.


Here’s a wider shot of the table. As you can see, my dining room is already filled with shades of green. So green became the primary shade in my color scheme, with accents of pink, white, and yellow.

Here are a few more photos of the party decor:


Again, all I did here was add the cherry blossoms and a fan.


I beautified my balcony by adding the irises (not in the color scheme, but I couldn’t resist):


Finally, I added silk fans to the flower pots I already had on the balcony (filled with blossoms from the 99 cent store):


Make Your Own Linens
Once my theme and color scheme were set, I knew exactly how I wanted my tables to look, and I knew I was going to make them myself. I measured my tables and went directly to the sale section of my local fabric store. Here, I chose luxe fabrics on clearance and some no-sew fusible fabric tape. Of the green material alone, I was able to make two table runners and at least one pillow cover for about $24.


Limit the Games
Or perhaps I should call this “Know Your Crowd.” I knew the group I’d invited wasn’t the type to go in for a lot of cheesy shower games, so I picked one game, and one “activity.”


When my guests arrived, I gave them each a “diamond” ring and told them the word of the day was “WEDDING.” If you were caught by another guest saying the word “wedding” you had to give them all your rings. The guest with the most rings got a prize, which was in this case the DVD of “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

See those fans next to the bowl of rings? Those were the party favors. I bought some inexpensive silk fans in the bridal section of Michaels and tied ribbons around the bottom.

The second thing I asked my guests to do was write advice or wishes for the bride on cards:


I bought a few decorative pens and some stickers and told the guests to write their wishes for the bride on the cards, decorate them, and put them into the glass vase. This turned out to be my favorite part of the shower, and it even made the bride cry! People wrote some beautiful, funny, touching things and the bride will be sure to hold them as keepsakes.

As for the vase of cherry blossoms, I simply cut the blossoms off of my faux stems and filled it up. I also added ribbons to the bases of each vase. Very simple, but very pretty.

Food/Drink Stations
Besides the bride, the food and drinks were the star of this party. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the food table (which was the table with the Buddha on it). Duh. But here is the dessert table (which was actually a bookcase):


In keeping with my Asian theme, I hand dipped fortune cookies in chocolate and sprinkles. Very easy and I loved the way they turned out.

I also made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that everybody loved. Not exactly Asian, but yummy, and that’s what counts.


To make things easier on myself, I laid out all the glasses in advance and told guests drinks were self-serve. I simplified this by having one choice in alcoholic beverages, mimosas, and set out a bucket with champagne, a cooler with more champagne and a pitcher of fresh orange juice. The non-alcoholic drinks were in a plastic tub on the balcony for easy access.

I laid out all of the food in advance to minimize guests congregating in the kitchen. As a hostess, I find a crowded kitchen really hard to deal with A) because it’s usually a mess after I’ve prepared everything and B) I want it clear so I can easily access anything I need to once the party starts. I know a lot of hosts enjoy people in the kitchen as they prepare party food, but I am not that person.

Laying glasses, utensils, food, etc. in advance means less questions from guests and helps them feel more at home when everything they need is right in front of them. It also helps to keep me sane, as I tend to get flustered when too much is going on at once.


And that, my pretties, is the way to throw a kick-ass bridal shower without breaking the bank. Now I’m looking forward to the Vegas bachelorette party and of course, the wedding!