Thursday, 28 February 2013

don't you love...mirrors and chinoiserie

So while I was looking at mirrors the other day I came across this gorgeous bathroom (House & Leisure).  Romantic bathrooms are very much my thing.  If I ever manage to take a good photo of mine I will show you mine, its the one room in the house I like every time I walk into it.
And it drew me down a little chinoiserie hunt across the internet.  Rose pink silk chinoiserie wallpaper, love every one of those words so together its just heavenly (via Griffin and Wong

Butterfly botanical detail, detail of succulents and roses via Style Me Pretty.  Would love to work both chinoiserie and botanical images into my home.

Fish tacos at Hula Hut

Where my Austin people at? Have you been to Hula Hut? I feel like that's a stupid question, because every time I go there, the rest of the city seems to be there are, as well. 

There are certain restaurants in town we totally take for granted and definitely frequent, but I never really think to post about. Hula Hut is one of them. It's a super busy Mexican restaurant (with a Hawaiian theme!) nestled in on Lake Austin, and it's always a fun, party-like atmosphere and consistently good food. And by consistently good food, I mean that the fish tacos I get 100% of the time I go there are always freakin' delicious. I used to try fish tacos wherever I'd go, but eventually I gave up since they were never ever as good as Hula Hut's, and who likes to set themselves up for constant regret and disappointment in life? Not I. 

So if you've never been, give 'er a try! I'd recommend going on slightly off-peak hours, though, because this place has a wait list a mile long sometimes, especially on weekends. I'd also recommend the "HuLaLa" (drink) which is as big as my head.  I have an abnormally large head, so that's saying something.

Other Austin posts:

Barton Creek Greenbelt (ancient post alert!)
Hillside Farmacy
Homeslice Pizza
Hope Farmer's Market
Saltlick BBQ
Snack Bar
Triangle Farmer's Market
The Oasis (ancient post alert!)
Vintage Heart Coffee - 1 | 2

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

If you don't ask, you don't get.

an oldie, but still one of my faves.

Can I talk about this guy for a minute? Just for a minute, I promise. To be quite honest with you, three-quarters of the time this guy drives me bat-shit crazy, and we both, in fact, routinely make sadistic jokes about desiring to push the other down the stairs or inflict other mild injuries that won't necessarily mortally wound but will definitely cause discomfort, but despite that, we love each other like crazy. I think finally, after three years of marriage, we're both feeling very secure in that fact. 

Lately I have felt this profound sense of gratitude for being given the gift of this relationship and its influence in my life. I remember having a conversation with my mom once, really early on in my relationship with Matthew, and I was telling her about what a go-getter he is, how driven and determined and assertive he is. She was super happy for me and my happiness, of course, but I remember her bringing it to my attention that often the things we love about our sigO in the beginning are the very same personality traits that wind up driving us nuts later on, or manifesting themselves in different ways that aren't as attractive. And I think that has been so true for both me and Matthew. Determined and assertive can also feel like stubborn and abrasive, at times... things like that. But I am learning to accept the good with the not-so-good, and love this man I married for all the things that make up who he is, even the parts I'm not as fond of. I'm sure he could write an entire book on my not-so-good traits, as well, so touché. 

Anyway, that was two whole paragraphs just to get warmed up and say what I really want to say. I felt compelled to tell it here because not everyone has a Matthew in their life, and I wanted to share some of the lessons this guy has taught me.  

From day one of meeting him, I have been blown away by his sheer tenacity (as evidenced in our love story and his persistence in the beginning there). Nevermind that he's a good-looking guy who may or may not possess a Super Power of melting people's brains with his eyes, but besides that, he simply does the hard or uncomfortable things that most people won't, like sometimes simply asking for what he wants or needs. Not accepting the current standard or rules. Expecting better from people.

I think the number one thing I've learned from Matthew can be summed up in a phrase I've heard him say multiple times over the last four years of knowing him: "if you don't ask, you don't get." I think so often we all live with this crippling fear of rejection... maybe it's a pride thing, or maybe it's just a lack of confidence thing. But too often we are afraid to reach out, to negotiate, to ask for a discount, to invite a prominent person in your profession out to lunch, and so on. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed this guy simply asking for something I would have been way too chicken to ask for, and then he gets it. So much of the time! He has saved us literally thousands of dollars on things like furniture or car repairs or vet visits or prescriptions, because he'll ask if there are discounts available to people like students or he'll search online for coupons or otherwise just take extra steps that "normal" people (such as myself) are too lazy to take, and then we pay extra for it. Another example! Back when he started law school, he found a guy on LinkedIn that was a part of the same fraternity in a different state back in college, graduated from his same law school, and is now a partner in a local law firm, and Matthew just cold-called the guy and asked him out to lunch. He made a good connection and friend he now sees all the time. Things like that. The list goes on and on of these things I've seen Matthew do, but the bottom line is it's just a little extra effort that most people wouldn't make, and most importantly, he doesn't let fear of failure or rejection paralyze his life. The worst someone can say to you when you ask them for a favor is "no." And really, how bad is that? The reward usually always outweighs the potential risk. A little at a time, Matthew's no-apologies approach to pursuing goals is rubbing off on me, though I like to think I bring fine feminine sensibilities and more empathy to the table, which makes us a good team. ;)

Bottom line: ask for what you need! Whether that's from your significant other (I need more words of affirmation! I need more foreplay! I need marriage counseling! ha), from your cable provider (Matthew actually got our monthly bill down from over $100 to $40 once?!), your car mechanic, your wedding vendors, your boss, your friend, and the list goes on! It's not always about money, I hope I'm making that clear. It's just about not being ashamed or timid when it comes to creating your own life. If you don't ask, you don't get. A good thing to remember. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

don't you entrance mirror

I have been wanting to make our entrance hall prettier for a long time.  What I really wanted was a mirror like this one.  That's one huge wow factor!  Lacking the several thousand dollars I have been trawling for bargains on ebay.  Finally success!  

Chrysanethenum botanical illustration 
Its not as huge as this one but its big enough to make an impact.  Can't wait to see it in a few days, lets hope it works!!  The border looks a bit gold and nasty from the ebay photos but I am planning to fix that with some paint and creativity.  Watch this space!!

Whats your favourite bargain find?

Feeling blue

I'm writing this post on Monday evening, a half eaten plate of pasta and meatballs and an empty glass of wine by my side here at my office desk. It was a weird day, one that I chalked up to being weird because I'm female, and I cut myself some slack and permission to take it easy. Everything I planned for the blog this week never really materialized over the weekend, but ah well. Such is life. It really was a busy and full and good weekend, and on Sunday night I found myself sobbing and wishing another week of losing my husband to law school wasn't about to begin and also wishing that Hugh Jackman had won best actor at the Oscar's. It's hard having ovaries.

As for today's post, it seems I truly excel at picking the worst possible days to shoot outfit pictures, because it just so happened that some sort of bizarre hurricane-force winds blew in today (Monday), even worse than last week's windy shoot. Even now as I write this the wind is tearing at the trees outside my window, though to be honest with you, I really love the sound.

This outfit is varying shade of blue and sea green, with the most adorable yellow boat shoes from Old Navy for the finishing touch. I went there over the weekend, and was so surprised by how awesome so much of their stuff was! I wanted these shoes in every single color, but alas, I settled on yellow and only yellow. Not promising I won't order more online, though. The temptation may be too great to bear.

I look like a pirate here.

{ Shirt: c/o Tailor and Stylist (10% off your purchase with the code storyofmylife10), Skirt: J.Crew (similar), Hat: Banana Republic outlet, Shoes: Old Navy, Necklace: from Megan's old shop }

Monday, 25 February 2013

Last Week's Links

1 | Another amazing home designed by the talented Caitlin Wilson and photographed by Ashlee Raubach
2 | Looking for some sources for affordable home decor? Look no further than this post
3 | Check out these great ideas for tried and true bold paint colors for furniture. 
4 | Such a smart and easy way to cook popcorn.
5 | This artwork is beautiful.

6 | These printable butterflies would be amazing in any room in your home. 
7 | I am pretty sure this is the most beautiful card I have ever seen. 
8 | I'm dying to get my hands on this floral blazer.
9 | Such an amazing and beautifully designed wedding invitation over at this blog.

top photo - Caitlin Wilson Design / bottom photo - Better Homes and Garden


Sunday, 24 February 2013

don't you love...a little bit of glamour

It's very seldom that I post a whole article from somewhere else but I just could not decide which of these images not to include.  It's pink (it seems I am still having a pink moment) and glamorous and perfectly styled, it's quirky and unique and slightly over the top.  It's the home of mother of 4 Christine Dovey who blogs aBijou and Boheme.  Read the entire article with more pics on Style at Home.   

Those light fittings are seriously off the charts fabulous and crazy!  Makes me even more mad that I missed out on a crazy mid century chandelier at auction last year.
Love the layers of pinks and textures, the warm rug and floor prevents it being too candy, and I have always had a thing for chinoiserie style paintings or wallpaper.

I was looking for styling tips and this home has so many great vignettes.  Great collections of decorative objet and art, perfectly put together.

Antique silver, white porcelain and old fashioned roses.  I am struggling to imagine this house full of children, tell me your secret Christine!

Clever clever, the marble splash back has been finished with a small piece to create a shelf.  May have to copy that to finish the tile edge in my bathroom!  Would create the perfect space for candles and pretty bath products.  Careful editing on the shelves again.
Books, art, flowers, old mirror - so good!
All photos by Donna Griffith via Style at Home.
Have been toying with having a bench behind my dining table like this too.  It makes the narrow space seem generous and comfy instead of slightly awkward.  

Is it too much for you or do you love it like I do?

What's next...

Well hello there.

After a nearly month long hiatus (where has the time gone?!) I'm stopping in for an update.

Brad and I have been doing a lot of thinking lately—discussing some important issues, making big decisions. One of these decisions is our housing situation.

We've been considering moving back to California to be closer to my family for quite some time. Visiting them once or twice a year really isn't enough... it's difficult. Very tough on my parents. But we love Florida... we love our friends, our home, the weather, places to go, cost of living... everything. We are happy here.

In the end, we decided to stay here for now.

With that decision comes sacrifice, however. My business is expanding, and our house isn't. We need more space.

As much as I'd love to start house hunting for the perfect new home with everything we need, it just wouldn't make sense for us to buy another house with our future living situation up in the air.

So we're working with what we've got—time to get creative. Here's the problem: I need a new printer. Not just a printer... but a printer:

My tiny office is already bursting at the seams, so there's absolutely no room for this 74" wide beast of a machine.

I suppose I could pay $700 a month and rent a studio somewhere for my office space, but that arrangement just isn't for me. There are times when things come up at night and I need to be at my printer to take care of rush orders, for example. I need to be able to easily access my equipment for my own sanity. And also, I just love being at home, and I worked hard to get here so I should be able to enjoy that freedom.

While racking my brain trying to come up with a solution, Brad suggested we switch our master bedroom and office spaces.

So this:

would become this:

and vice versa.

Sounds kinda crazy... especially considering our master closet and bathroom is attached to our room, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Luckily, our master bedroom is just the right size to comfortably fit everything I need for the office.

Here's the plan:

Note: these aren't the exact proportions, it's just a visual representation.

One major thing lacking from my current office is desk space, especially since now I'll be printing my own posters.

I currently have three of these Vika desks from Ikea:

These are great, but unfortunately they don't have anything wider than 30". The solution? Get two of these longer ones and put them side by side:

I'll be covering the surface with a large cutting mat so it should be like having one seamless table top.

The two long desks will be sandwiched between two of my existing shorter desks, which will be up against the back wall. After measuring, there is just enough clearance (literally within an inch or so) for the desks to clear the doorway going into the bathroom. Whew.

On the opposite wall will be the printer. It will be where the TV and bench is now:

We're not sure yet if we'll be able to keep the TV... the printer comes just below it (within an inch or two) so it will be close. But I'd like to keep it if possible.

Then, on this wall will be storage:

Don't mind the old photo when I was painting the dresser, this is just the best one I could find that shows the whole wall.

For my storage solution, I decided upon three of these Vittsjo shelving units from Ikea:

Except I would love to transform it into something that better fits the style of the room, like Kate did:

The dimensions are perfect for all of my supplies (don't you love when that happens?) and the price is right, so I'm excited about getting to work on that one.

As for the rest of my existing office setup, I'll still be hanging my wall cabinet above my desks on the back wall, and these shelf ledges will be next to it:

Of course I'll still need a rug, and I'll figure out all the rest of the details as I go along. Can you start to visualize it yet?

Let's move on to our new bedroom.

Yep... this one is going to be cramped with our King bed—or as I like to think of it, "cozy". Cottage Cozy is the decided theme, and I am definitely the most excited about this room.

Here's my inspiration:





Notice anything absent from these photos? 


Yep, I'm stepping out of my color bubble and trying something new: navy. Less beach house cottage, more lake house cabin, if you will. 

The walls will be a nice medium gray, something along the lines of this:


And, my favorite part, something I've been dying to do for a long time now...


A plank wall! It will be an accent wall behind the bed and the focal point in the room.

I'm also going to have to figure out what to do with this closet...

I won't need it for any of my office supplies, and we already have a walk in for all of our clothing, so I'll have to figure out something to store in there. The pistachio green paint will also be replaced with a deeper gray, and I'm thinking navy and white striped curtains.

To introduce more navy into the room, I'm looking into new bedding and pillow options. We will be keeping the jute rug that's currently under our bed since it's a perfect fit, and it will also tie into the natural bamboo roman window shade:

Speaking of that window, it's basic builder grade right now framed in drywall, so I want to add some character with crisp white trim. And on that note... I'd like to try an alternative crown molding technique that doesn't require any sort of crazy cuts. Molding and trim just really transform a room and makes it look finished, don't you agree?

On the window wall where the file cabinet is, I was thinking a simple black and white square gallery wall would look nice:


I have an idea in mind to accomplish this very inexpensively... so we'll see how it goes!

That's about as far as I've thought it through for now. I'm sure I'll find more ideas/inspiration as I go along. 

This seems like quite a lot to tackle, but we're going to have to get all of the prep, paint, trim and panel wall in our new bedroom completed as quickly as possible so I can get my office space set back up without a delay in my workflow. 

Luckily, my little sister is flying in and staying with us for a couple weeks in early March, so I'll have some extra help. It will be a fun bonding experience ;)

I'm road tripping to Ikea within the next few days to collect all of my materials, and then it's game on.

I'll check back in as soon as progress is made!