Archive for January, 2009

spotted: shower cap

January 31, 2009

This summer my mother and I vacationed in the Florida Keys. One night, in our room, my mother says to me that she could really use a new shower cap. It was a comment out of left field but I made a mental note.

This past December my dear friend Stacie and I celebrated our birthdays by shopping and drinking. As our shopping excursion progressed we quickly gravitated towards Fifth Avenue. Then there at Fifth and 56th we made a stop. Amidst the holiday crowds we found ourselves scurrying into Henri Bendel’s.* We were there on a mission to find the perfect mascara. As we waited (and waited) for a salesperson I studied a nearby table filled with a random collection of stuff. I would have stared at the cosmetics but the Kevyn Aucoin makeup counter that we stood by was rather dismal. Instead, I inspected the goods at this table and it didn’t take long before I stumbled upon a shower cap. An adorable Henri Bendel chocolate brown and bright white-stripped shower cap. It had a vintage appeal with ruffled edging that was inscribed HB. I simply loved it and promptly returned a few days later to purchase two. Thus my mother and I are now owners of the Centennial Stripe Shower Cap.

First created more than 100 years ago by Mr. Henri Bendel himself for his clients’ ocean-liner voyages, Bendel’s signature cosmetic bags and travel accessories are favored around the world by models, makeup artists and jet setters. Add a touch of signature style to your daily routine with our protective shower cap. Durable, waterproof printed vinyl in signature brown and white stripes. Elasticized edge for a secure fit. HB graphic print lining and trim. Comes with a drawstring fabric storage pouch. One size fits most.

As a gracious blogger I asked my son if he would model this beauty for my blog readers. He’s 15 months and did manage to babble back some response. I took that babbling to be a yes and ran with it. Well, my brilliant idea was apparently his worst nightmare.** Look for yourself.

Oh, the misery.

Oh, the misery.

.. and then it got worse

.. and then it got worse

 

before it got better.

before it got better.

 

*Henri Bendel, New York’s legendary Fifth Avenue boutique, is a Girls’ Playground for trendsetting young women from around the world. Or, so the store itself says. 

**Mom, if you are reading this. Please do not call me to insinuate it was in poor judgment to ask Graycen for his assistance in modeling the shower cap. I am certain he had a good time. As should you be, it’s written all over his face. – xoxo, Rebecca

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craft: gift wrapping

January 29, 2009

Years ago my husband and I traveled to London. It was rather random as I had won a travel credit at work by convincing customers they needed some product they really didn’t. UK flights were cheap so we figured why not. Plus it was the furthest place we could get on $500. At the time it had been a few years since I had ventured oversees, though I did grow up in Spain.

Back then, in Spain, I collected pencils. I came across my pencil collection just recently. I was doing the obligatory Clean-Out-Your-Crap-from-Your-Parents-Home-Cause-You’re-an-Adult-Now-and-Don’t-Live-There. And it was there, in a purple Crown Royal box, where I reconnected with my beloved childhood pencils. I couldn’t bear to throw them away since apparently, in that moment, I discovered I still loved pretty pencils. But I’ve digressed.

Once in London both my husband and I were eager to shop. I was on the hunt for pencils, paper, stationary, ribbon… that sort of stuff. There, on a shopping trip in Harrods, I came across the most magnificent wrapping paper. To attempt a description would do it a disservice. It was sensual, and beautiful, and perfect. Even now I get giddy over my find. I had to have it so after paying some ridiculous sum of money I became the proud owner of several sheets. A few years have passed and I still own most of what I purchased that day.

I love paper, and ribbon and stationary but I also hoard it. It’s ridiculous, really. When I go to wrap a gift (or write a letter) I suddenly can’t part with my goods. I become attached which is almost (almost!) embarrassing to admit. Just recently my mother asked me to wrap a gift she had purchased my husband for the holidays. Now I love my mother (and my husband) but there was no way I was using my collection on such a thing. From there I began to lament over my ribbon and if I was willing to part with any of that. In the end I just gave my husband the gift.. nonwrapped with no ribbon. Shhh, don’t tell my mom but see, ridiculous. Slightly worse is my need to reuse similarly pretty things that I receive. Because you see, when I am so fortunate to receive a gift – if it has ribbon that I like I ever so gently fold it up and save it for later use.

How.. umm.. green of me!

I have vowed to be better. This weekend we were invited to a baby shower and I was most excited about wrapping the gift. I selected an adorable striped paper that was left over from when I lined envelopes for my son’s birth announcements. The paper is pink…. my child is a boy… long story – don’t ask! I’m digressing again.

I then found the most perfect ribbon that was a bit oversized for the gift itself. The ribbon is recycled from a gift my son received. I liked the contrast of the small gift against the wide ribbon. The package was then topped off with an elephant and giraffe cut out. I should mention that the animal cut outs are chipboards from the Martha Stewart Crafts collection.* And here goes the end product. Do you like?

a-gift-for-jina-large-image

Shower Gift

 

Close Up

Shower Gift, Take Two: Close Up

So there. I’m a bit bonkers about paper and ribbon and other such embellishments. I’m also selfish and not very giving when it comes to using these things that I’ve collected but I swear I’m going to get better. Really!

If you have a neurotic confession, please dish as I don’t want to feel all alone here.

* Chipboard animals can be purchase at Michaels. If you are here in the city try Lee’s Art Shop.

spotted: an eye sore

January 26, 2009

Every weekday morning on my way into work I ride crosstown on the city bus. On most mornings the streets are barely populated and the sunlight hasn’t fully made her presence. Often the storefront windows are freshly cleaned and the window washers can be seen packing up. It is during this time that I do my best window-shopping. As the bus travels east to west I take in each new display. I haven’t figured out how often they change so when a new display is up it’s like receiving a surprise present. It’s a joy to witness and I tend to get most excited when we near 5th Avenue – for obvious reasons of course. But, for the past week, maybe two, I have been witnessing an eyesore. Really, it’s horrible! Now I may offend someone with this statement but I’m putting it out there. Two things that do not go together – a $1,300 Louis Vuitton bag and glow in the dark paint. Ugh. This day glow is a big no go for me.

LV Speedy Bag - Stephen Sprouse

LV Speedy Bag - Stephen Sprouse

 

Since this blog is about Beautiful Living I’ll leave you with something a bit more alluring. Louis Vuitton featuring Madonna. Now this is a bag (and an ad) I can stare at all day.

Madonna in Louis Vuitton Ad

Madonna in Louis Vuitton Ad

a new kind of party

January 25, 2009

My husband and I moved to New York City eight years ago. We were dating at the time. He was chubbier, I was slimmer. For me, the move signified a dream coming true. For my husband, it simply meant he had nothing better do that summer.

We came here with no friends and it has been a slow process in gaining acquaintances. Though let’s face it, forming deep friendships in your adult age isn’t easy. So here we were, big city, bright lights, wanting everything for our future. It seemed daring. Exciting. And we dreamed, or probably I dreamed, of being a socialite. Sadly we were far from it. We didn’t have connections or glamorous clothes. Heck, we didn’t have much money and that is sort of essential when leading the party life in New York City. To make up for what we lacked we started hosting the most fabulous soirées in our apartment. The catch.. we were the only two people in attendance. I’m sure it sounds funny but we never hosted a two person shindig we didn’t enjoy. I’d send my husband out on errands while I transformed the apartment. Then I’d get all dolled up. Clothing selected with much thought and care after which I’d rush to finish whipping up something tasty.

One year, on New Years Day, I remember it being bitter cold and yet I insisted that my husband step out so I could work some magic. We were hosting a party that day and had purchased two bottles of an exclusive bubbly for the occasion. We were so eager to pop open the bottles that our party started at some absurd time like 1pm in the afternoon. I remember inserting a Biggie CD into our broke down radio player just when my husband rang the buzzer. I remember dancing, and laughing, and drinking. I remember great food and more laughing – then that was it!

Around 8pm that same day we both woke up. We had drank a bit too much bubbly. So much in fact that we both passed out. Neither my husband nor I could remember the rest of the party. It was an awkward conversation. Neither of us knew how the party ended though we did discover some rather comical and telling images on my camera. Even though we’ll never be sure what really happened – we have a clue.

In my last post about lists I said I wanted to celebrate something once a month. In some small way my husband and I want to bring back some of that silliness and enjoyment. On Monday we hosted a pre-inauguration dinner. The theme was America which was carried over into the menu. We had a third attendee this time, our son Graycen. We also skipped the bubbly. Perhaps next time.

Our American Menu

Beer, Brewed in America
Coke Floats with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Potato Chowder with Smoked Vermont Ham
Buttered Corn on the Cob with Black Pepper & Garlic
Slow Cooked Barbeque Beef

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Potato Soup made with Vermont Ham

Potato Soup made with Vermont Ham

 

This soup was made with Yukon Gold Potatoes and Vermont Ham. It was tasty the first night, yummy on the second night and delicious on the third. Next time I might cook a day or two ahead of time. It was also much more chowder like by the third night, which had been my intentions.  

Barbeque Beef from the Slow Cooker

Barbeque Beef from the Slow Cooker

I found this recipe on All Recipes as well. I thought it was tasty. My husband that it was great and seemed to enjoy a bit more then me. 

Buttered Corn with  Black Pepper and Garlic

Buttered Corn with Black Pepper and Garlic

All in all I’ll say it was a nice meal. I had been expected more but it was nice so I should just call it a success.

spotted: crate&barrel

January 23, 2009

Just the other day I was flipping through the current Crate&Barrel catalogue when I spotted the Market Tote. It’s a beautiful green – that was my first thought. Then I noticed something even better. I love that this tote has multiple compartments. My initial thought was how useful this would be for mothers and trips to the park, play date’s and so forth. On so many occasions I’ve been out in the company of my husband or my mom or a friend with child. There I am in need of something from the diaper bag but my hands aren’t free. So I try telling some other person, who didn’t pack the bag, where to find that all important item that I need asap. Then there is them: digging and digging. My head spins with a screaming voice “It’s right there.” Instead of verbalizing that I patiently wait and smile while my head keeps spinning. Oh it would be so much easier to say, “The last compartment on the right.” And with six compartments in multiple sizes there’s room for my things as well. A blanket here, a few toys there, wine for mommy, a glass right here and a bottle for the little one over there. Brilliant!

Crate&Barrel - Market Tote

Crate&Barrel - Market Tote

 

lists

January 20, 2009

I woke up this morning
Feeling brand new
‘Cause the dreams that I’ve been dreaming
Have finally came true
Yea, I woke up this morning
Feeling alright

 Will-i-am, It’s a New Day, 2008

The chorus of this song keeps running through my head. It’s a new day, It’s a new daaaayyyy! And I do feel that way. I can only hope that this energy stays with me through the course of the year.

I’m self diagnosed OCD. Funny to me but not so funny to my husband. I’m neurotic, particular and sometimes irrational. I don’t count cracks in the pavement or have a ritual for washing my hands. I’m just easily fixated. Right now I’m running a lot of lists in my head. In part I know it’s my eagerness to make something of the New Year but I also have an internal need to accomplish more. I’m not looking to discover something or to become CEO of a company. Those are great aspirations… but, they aren’t mine. Rather, my ambitions focus on the happiness of myself and my family. I want my son to look back when he’s 30 and say he’s had a good life, a childhood that was happy and joy filled. That he has a remarkable mother who did good things. I want him to see me do those things which I enjoy most and in turn seek out the things that he loves. I want him to know that the world is his and I want him to have the confidence to step forth and take it.

That confidence is something my husband and I talk about often; our hopes to not stifle him. Not only do we want him to believe that the world is his, we want him to know that the world is his.

These are my current lists.

Personal Wellbeing
1. Bake more (once a month)
2. Test out new recipes (once a month)
3. Create, craft and be imaginative
4. Host a gathering
5. Take more ridiculous photos (3)

Motherhood
6. Teach my son good manors
7. Absorb, soak up, take in the small moments
8. Be still, have fun
9. Celebrate something (once a month)

Home
10. Change door handles throughout the house
11. Update at least one light fixture
12. Save for kitchen remodel
13. Get quotes on wiring living room and master bedroom for lighting
14. Customize our walk in closet

take one

ridiculous photo, take one: my husband and i

 

 

be brilliant

January 19, 2009

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

source unknown

source unknown

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

 Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

home ideas: paint by color

January 17, 2009

I‘m particular. Clear minded if you will. Instinctively – I love it or I don’t.

But wait, hold on. It must be mentioned that I selected the most phenomenal couch, which we returned to the manufacturer two years later. It didn’t work within the dynamics of my home. My mother and I spent an afternoon last December meticulously hanging 12 photos on my living room wall. Each image was perfectly spaced and leveled. The photos were hand picked and arranged with precision. This past December we took them all down. The scale was all off. Two years ago on a June summer morning my husband and I walked into Bloomingdale’s out of pure boredom. We left with a dinning room table. I’ve come to hate that table. I hate how the legs bow out. Plus, the chairs are all wrong and not my style in the least bit. I hate them as well. I’m presently in the process of convincing my husband we need to Craig List the entire set. Shrug!

The point is, I know exactly what I like. But when I bring it all together, sometimes things don’t work. I’ve learned a lot about my style through trial and error. And as you can see, I’ve had a lot of error in decorating our current home. So when someone recently asked me for help I felt conflicted. I’m just finally figuring out my style after two years of racking my brain. I’m not certain I should be anyone’s go to person on help but I will try. Tammy wrote:

I would like to do a mini- make-over to my apartment by the spring, lived there for 7 years and have not change the antique white paint on the walls. Any ideas, shall I go for light colors, neutral or dark? I have large windows so I get a lot of sun light, so maybe light colors would not be such a good idea.

The palest green or blue would be gorgeous. I’m thinking so pale that the hint of color is only visible when the light cascades through your windows. Or a bold butter yellow that drenches your wall in color. And I love see-through-pink or sex-and-the-city-teal. My neighbor did an olive green that I adore. Your options are endless but I do think your personality should guide you. I’m listing a few easy steps you might want to follow:

1. First, decide on your style and vision. Then, stick to it! This might be dictated by furniture you already have if you plan to keep it. I think the style you decide on should guide all your choices and thus eliminate error or a room that looks miss matched.

2. Decide on a color that YOU like. At the end of the day it’s about you coming home and loving the space that you walk into.

3. Don’t be scared of color and don’t feel like you need to play it safe. I personally love deep bold colors, I love pale pallets and I think white can be a phenomenal choice. Regarding white, I think it works when that is the color you intended the walls to be.

4. Be open to error. If you mess it up, it’s a pain to fix. I’ll admit that. BUT it’s also *just* paint. Test your color first by painting a swatch on the wall and live with if for a few days. I have skipped this step several times and I deeply regret it. Either way, it’s relatively inexpensive to correct a problematic paint job. Cut yourself slack and know that it’s ok to repaint.

Tammy – I hope that helps. I think you need to figure out the best color for you. For inspiration I’ve included several photos below. All images are from House Beautiful

Buena suerte!
 

 

house-beautiful-kelly-green1
Pale Green

 

Pale Yellow

Pale Yellow

 

Simply White

Simply White

 

Sunny Yellow

Sunny Yellow

 

Lavender Pink

Lavender Pink

 

stumbled upon

January 15, 2009

Speaking of birthday parties (or in our case the “non-party” birthday) check out this beautiful image. It’s from the birthday party of Anna Spiro’s son. Anna has a great eye for décor and you can find her blogging at Absolutely Beautiful Things.

harry-6thbirthday-2008-3

swoon, polka dot lanterns

harry-dec-2008-2

 

celebrate

January 12, 2009

I use to be co-owner of un belle fete, a boutique event planning business that focused on personalized weddings. My own wedding was pretty spectacular but I’m not sure you’re suppose to toot your own horn in such a way that screams “I think my wedding was fabulous.” I mean, it was (!!) but that’s not the point. I mention this to say that I l-o-v-e parties with pretty eye candy!! My focus is always on the details, those little things that often go over looked. I haven’t hosted anything since my wedding but one day I will and I’m certain I’ll be going all out.

My son recently celebrated his first birthday and we did nothing in terms of a big bash. It was a little sad but the smart thing to do. For the record, I am not a frugal person but my husband and I did make the choice to skip the party.* You know, to save our money while we can. Here’s the thing, it seems a bit unfair to me that one of the biggest birthdays in a child’s life occurs before they are able to comprehend all the hoopla surrounding them. I assure you that we’ll get to it in a few years. The big party that is. I can’t say which birthday it will be but it will surly be when my son can comprehend mommy’s craziness a bit more. When he can look at me with wide eyes and get a bit loopy over all the things that will go into this production – his first party.

This year, all was not lost on my Mr. G’s first birthday. We did purchase the most adorable birthday hat. Mommy loved it, daddy thought it was pretty nifty and Graycen… well he’s one and hates anything we put on his head. He refused to cooperate for photos but with two dedicated adults tag teaming him (and 50 some photos snapped) we got a few usable images. And that’s what it’s all about – the photo. Who cares if mommy was barking orders and if daddy was annoyed and ready to give up. And heck, who cares if Graycen cried. Somehow we I’ve decided it was fun and a big success. See for yourself.

birthday boy

birthday boy

 

birthday boy take two

birthday boy take two

I found the hat on Etsy. The seller is Golden and I highly recommend checking her out. Her prices are affordable, I paid $16 for this hat. Everything about it is perfect. From the zig-zag stitching to the fluffy pom-pom on top. Hats can be customized with an initial or number. We went with an initial making Graycen’s hat into a keepsake that he can wear for years to come.

*Footnote: As I have assured you, I’m not frugal. My husband, now he IS frugal. Not that there is anything wrong with frugal people. I married one.