Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Décor: “Eco Stockings” from TheBeeHivery

We bought three of these stockings from the TheBeeHivery on Etsy last year, and we are still loving them. They’re made from free-trade coffee sacks and have a great rustic feel -- so on-trend (though I hope sustainable décor isn’t just a passing fad).
We have them hanging from our mantel and they go perfectly with our woodland Christmas theme. They’re on the small side, but that works for us (12.5” long, $18 each). If you want even smaller ones, she offers mini stockings, too ($15 each, 8.5” long). BONUS: she’s offering free shipping right now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gift Pick: Miix Spoon Set at MoMA

The Miix Spoon Set by Chi-Wing Lee would be a sweet hostess gift. And at $24, these bone china spoons would be a great holiday gift for any girl on your list who's into vintage/design/unusual things. At the MoMA Store.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vintage Find in Falls Church: Funky Crewel Sofa

I noticed this sofa when we drove by the Clock Tower Thrift Shop in Falls Church yesterday. It caught my eye because of its cheery, orange crewel-style fabric. The sofa’s not in very good shape, but at $20, you could just salvage some of the fabric and make a few fun pillows.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Even Better 'Best Cocoa Brownies'

This chilly weather has put my cravings for comfort food into overdrive. After not baking for months, Ive baked twice in the last week. On Sunday, I made Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies. But this time, in addition to toasted pecans, I added a little bit more kosher salt than the ¼ teaspoon the recipe calls for and stirred in a handful of chocolate chips right before I put the pan in the oven.

O-M-G, they tasted so good I thought I might cry. Each bite was a little piece of sweet + salty-chocolaty heaven. The other night, I let our 2-year-old try a little piece. He usually eats like a bird, even when it comes to sweets. But he downed that brownie so fast and asked for more (choc-o-lit? choc-o-lit?) before I could even cut myself a piece.

Theyre long gone now, but I'm still craving them. I might have to make another batch this weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Falls Church Target – ‘Fresh Grocery’ Oct. 14

I’ve become a big fan of Target during the last couple of years. Partly because of their partnerships with the likes of Dwell, Orla Kiely, and John Derian (who has a new line launching with Target September 5 -- can’t wait!). And partly because you can pretty much get everything you need while you’re there (is it possible to walk out of there without spending more than $100?)

And soon, Falls Churchians and Arlingtonians will be able to get even more at our local Target when “Fresh Grocery” becomes available October 14 -- a full line of groceries, including meat, produce, bakery and dairy. I don’t think we’ll start doing our regular grocery shopping at Target, but I can’t deny it will be convenient and, most likely, affordable. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Twig Pick: Love Letters Bedding

I'm loving the new Love Letters Bedding (by Ruffian) at Anthropologie. It's very sweet -- maybe too sweet with the bows. But if you're gonna decorate sweetly, a bedroom is the place to do it. $228 for a queen duvet; $88 for two standard shams.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Weekend: Arlington County Fair

The Arlington County Fair actually started on Wednesday, but it runs through this Sunday. So if you haven't made it there yet, it's not too late. We have so much fun every time we go. It reminds me of the bigger county fairs we went to when I was a kid, even though it's on the small side and so close to the city.
And, of course, they have all the classic carnival rides and food, including deep-fried Oreos (sooo good). The Racing Piglets is a fun event, especially if you have little ones.

Thomas Jefferson Community Center
3501 South Second Street
Arlington, VA 22204
Fri & Sat: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sun: 11 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Twig Pick: Bird Cage Lamp

While I was searching for something else, I came across this Bird Cage Lamp at save-on-crafts.com -- a steal for $39. If you’re not into the whole decopauge/vintage-imagery thing, you could easily swap out or reface the included lamp shade. Perfect for a sun room, covered porch or bedroom.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Weekend: Bella Vita Designs Grand Opening

Bella Vita Designs -- vintage, hand-painted furniture and accessories by Cally Apicella and Kelley Yeomans -- will be opening their first storefront this Saturday and Sunday, August 14 & 15 from 10 am to 6 pm at 6 W. Potomac St. in Brunswick, MD.

Before, they only exhibited at events like the Lucketts Market and DC Big Flea, so you'll no longer have to follow them around to see their affordable, pretty wares.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Festival @ Terrain 8/21

I wish I could go to this! It's at Terrain at Styer's -- the pretty nursery/cafe/landscape design company in Glen Mills, PA. Some of the activities include tomato tastings, a canning workshop and a sunprint workshop by artist Jessica Durrant. What a lovely way to spend an August afternoon.

CSAs, Patio Tomatoes & Okra

Earlier this year, we decided to join the Jug Bay CSA with a couple of our friends. A CSA (community-supported agriculture) is a program where you can buy seasonal produce and herbs directly from a local farm. You pay up front early in the season, and then your “shares” are delivered weekly. With Jug Bay, you can either pick them up at the farm or at their drop-off spot in Capitol Hill.

Aside from always being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of produce we get (we end up sharing a lot of it), it's been a good experience overall. One of the benefits is that it inspires you to prepare food you might not have otherwise.

For instance, okra, which has been plentiful lately. Okra dishes are not a part of my culinary canon -- my family is Italian and I was raised in northeast Ohio. But Chris (who lived in the south for several years) suggested we make stewed okra and tomatoes. Sounded like a good idea to me.

So I did a quick search and found this basic recipe.* Turns out, this is a quick and simple way to enjoy okra. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much to good-quality, fresh ingredients. This is my kind of cooking.

Making this dish has also been a good way to enjoy all of the patio tomatoes we’ve been harvesting from our garden. I highly recommend these tomatoes, by the way. We're novice gardeners, but it's been suprisingly easy to grow them. And they have a great tart flavor. The ones we have are by Herb Herbert's Traditional Herbs. We got them at Merrifield Garden Center.

* I modified the recipe by sauteeing the onions in olive oil, using fresh tomatoes and cracked pepper, and not using green bell peppers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Twig Pick: Vintage Blue Bird Light Fixture

My friend Mia sent me this vintage light fixture on eBay. It’s too cute. You can buy it now for $299 (+ $54.99 for shipping -- that seems a bit steep).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The “Crow Room,” Rokeby House, by Robert Chanler

I nearly jumped out of my seat on the train when I saw this photo of the “crow room” by Robert Chanler. It's in the New York Times’ article about Rokeby House, a 195-year-old home on the Hudson River. Chanler painted it in the 1890s.

It’s beautiful….and so contemporary. This is the aesthetic that Anthropologie (and others) strive for -- and here is the real thing in all its lovely, decaying glory. Amazing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Before and After: Our Patio


There were a lot things that made us fall in love with and buy our house last year. Like its 1940s charm and screened-in porch. But definitely not the patio -- it was an eyesore and actually kind of dangerous with its uneven flagstones (we think it was the handiwork of a previous homeowner).

So we decided to renovate it this past spring. We wanted to reuse the flagstone -- they were in great shape, it was the "green" thing to do, and it would help us save money. And all of the contractors who gave us estimates were more than happy to comply.

We ended up going with Simpson & Company Landscape Designs (based in Falls Church), and we were not disappointed. Their estimate was the most competitive, they were easy to work with and they were QUICK -- both in terms of providing an estimate and completing the work. They laid the flagstone on top of a concrete base, and refaced our concrete steps with flagstone and fieldstone. We are so pleased with the results.

When the patio was finished, we realized that the rusted, old railing on the stairs didn't cut it anymore, so we had two new railings installed. (You really do always end up spending more than you planned no matter what type of reno you're doing.) We went with Reliable Rails (based in Manassas), which was also an incredibly smooth experience that yielded great results.

I'm still working on decorating the space, but so far we've added a potting table from World Market (no longer available online) that we use for entertaining as well as potting plants, and the Rock Lake Bistro Set by Country Living.

It's been a few months since the reno and we've been spending so much more time out there compared to last year. No more "homeowner special" -- we now have a little escape in our backyard. It was definitely worth the investment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twig Pick: Farm-Stand Flowers

There are things I love about each season. For summer, it’s the long days, the beach and farmers’ markets. One of my favorite things to pick up at the market is a colorful bouquet from one of the farm stands. There are always such pretty options at the Falls Church market, which is where I got the ones on our patio, above. Ahh….summer. And zinnias!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vintage Ice Cream Parlour Sign @ Georgetown Anthro

I love this vintage ice cream parlour sign ($1,640) at the Georgetown Anthropologie -- it's so whimsical and cheery. And French. (And I love how Anthro has one-of-a-kind vintage pieces in each store.) It would be so cute in a kitchen, or even a patio.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Post about Decorati on Shelterrific

Check out my post on Shelterrific about using the remote design services of Decorati. These photos are the "after" photos of our master bedroom. As you'll see in the post, I ended up not taking any of the designer's advice and just completely re-did the room. But I would still use the service again, as it helped me think about the room in a different way.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Watering Tips from Terrain

I’ve kind of been obsessing over Terrain at Styer’s website ever since I first heard of them in the spring of 2009. And even more so since they launched their online store last fall. Terrain is a nursery/café/landscape design company outside of Philadelphia. I’ve never been there, but based on the site, I pretty much like everything they design and sell. It’s owned by the same folks who own Anthropologie, so I guess that explains why. They have that whole French/vintage/cottage/boho aesthetic going on.

In their Bulletin, which is basically a blog, they often have useful gardening tips. Their latest one is on watering during the summer. As a newbie, I found it pretty helpful.

Incidentally, they’re also having a 30%-off sale on outdoor furniture right now. Very pretty stuff!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Mom's Garden

For Mother’s Day one year I got my mom a card that said, “Everything you touch grows.” This statement describes her perfectly: she’s extremely nurturing -- and an insanely good gardener. I can only hope that gardening talent is something that’s inherited. Both of her parents are/were very good gardeners (my grandfather grew the best tomatoes), and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

These photos are of the front of my parents’ house (they live in the Cleveland area). Not only is something always in bloom in the spring and summer, but whatever is blooming is vibrant. That pop of lime green against the dark green, purple and pink in the first photo is fantastic! And the house is surrounded by big, old trees. When I was growing up, each spring my front bedroom window was filled with light-pink crabapple blossoms. But the real stunner is their back garden and patio. It’s a beautiful, restful little haven -- it looks like something out of a magazine. I hope to have photos of that space to share here soon.

I wish I had had more of an interest in gardening when I was younger and living at home. I could have learned so much, and perhaps I would have become interested in entering a field having to do with horticulture or design at a younger age (before I went to college and grad school for other things). I guess I was too worried about hanging out, getting my homework done and participating in the five million activities I was always a part of.

At least I picked up on a few things. And I have sweet memories from when I was really little of helping my mom plant gladiolas and marigolds (I can recall that scent at any time), and of being amazed at her roses that twined their way up to the balcony off of my parents’ bedroom.

My mom's name is Rose; maybe she was destined to be a good gardener. My namesake is not a flower, but I still hope to reach her level of skill someday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Twig Pick: Enameled Tinware on Sale @ Viva Terra

These cheerful tinware bowls from Viva Terra ($29 - $32) just exude summer (and vintage style). I think of picnic lunches in the park and dinners on the patio. You can also get a coordinating pitcher, cups, plates and tray. They're all on sale until tomorrow, June 24.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This Summer: Outdoor Market @ Stifel & Capra

Every Saturday through August, Stifel & Capra (260 W Broad St, Falls Church 22046) is holding an outdoor arts and vintage market in their parking lot. It's like an addition to what they have inside -- which is a great selection of vintage goods, jewelry (artisan and vintage) and affordable art.

I didn't hear of this gallery/shop until we moved to Falls Church last year, which is a shame. I've found some wonderful vintage jewelry, kids' decor items (like this switchplate cover ($7) we put in our son's room) and wacky things like a 1950s BBQ set in perfect condition ($18). They also have a large selection of pretty vintage linens, including tablecloths. You should definitely check them out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Twig Pick: Hooked Wool Rugs by Hable for Garnet Hill

The Hooked Wool Veggie Rug by Hable Construction for Garnet Hill is just about the cutest rug I've ever seen. Perfect for summer, especially in a kitchen or sunroom, or even a hallway. The Garden and Sunflower Rugs are sweet, too. $128 for 2'6"x3'6" and $178 for 2'3"x5'10".

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twig Pick: Anthro’s Tudor Garden Bench

Once again, I’m obsessing over something expensive and absolutely unnecessary from Anthropologie. This time, it’s a round, metal garden bench with a canopy. Because of its charm, it could easily transform your (or my) garden into a beautiful and romantic space. However, we really don’t have an appropriate spot for it in our yard -- and I don’t need to be spending $1,698 on it. But I do like looking at pictures of it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cord Control Ideas from Designers Call

Desigers Call posted a really helpful cord control round-up last week. Cord clutter drives me absolutely crazy, but I haven't been able to come up with a satisfactory solution for our home office yet, where we have a "leggy" desk (and we moved into our house over a year ago!). I'm definitely going to give one of these ideas a shot.

[Photo: Apartment Therapy - Boston, via Designers Call]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Glorious Grilling Recipes from Washington Post

My husband likes to grill and he's good at it. So I was intrigued when he told me about these grill/sautee recipes by Tony Rosenfled he recently saw on washingtonpost.com. We decided to try out a couple of them on a beautiful evening a few weekends ago and, OMG, they were so good. It took a lot of time -- they require a lot of chopping, and it's a two-part cooking method (grill, stove) -- but it is so worth it. It's helpful to have one person handle the grill and the other ready to take stove duty (not an easy feat when you have a toddler, but we managed).


The onions were ridiculous. We could not believe how rich and buttery they tasted, even though there is no butter in the recipe.

We accompanied the veggies with burgers and gorgonzola and a nice bottle of pinot noir. Yum. We'll definitely be making these recipes again, especially when we have people over.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Washington, DC DiggersList

A friend recently sent me a link to the Washington, DC DiggersList, which is kind of like a craigslist for homeowners and contractors. You can find listings for used appliances, building materials and tools, as well as listings for contractors and designers. In addition to DC, it's in about 16 other markets, and one of the goals of the founders is to keep as many building materials as possible out of landfills.

It's new, so there isn't that much up yet, but I think it could be a really helpful resource. I hope it takes off.

Update: Thanks for the shout-out, DCBlogs! (In DC Blogs Noted 5/25/10.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Garden Notes: Hibiscus and Rhododendron

I'm so proud: It's been 4 weeks since I planted some hibiscus in pots in front of our house, and not only are they still alive, but they are still blooming. Quite an accomplishment for this novice gardener.

I've been making sure not to over-water them, which I think has been my problem in the past with potted plants. I only water if the soil feels fairly dry about 2 or 3 inches down into the pot. So simple. But before I watered on a regular basis and didn't bother feeling the soil.

And on to other garden news, our azaleas have faded, but the huge rhododendron bush in our front garden is in full bloom (and I didn't even have to do anything to get it to this point). I can't believe it wasn't damaged by the crazy snow we had.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Merrifield Garden Center: An Explosion of Spring

I was at Merrifield Garden Center this past weekend (a couple of times, actually). I have a lot of ideas for our front and back yards, but I'm not really sure what's feasible. I am such a novice gardener. Thankfully, the staff here is very knowledgeable and willing to share what they know, including the landscape designers. I also appreciate how it's is organized, with annuals and perennials clearly marked. And they have educational pamphlets throughout the nursery on things like how to care for specific plants or your lawn.

I took a few snapshots on my phone (I was at the Merrifield location) that I think just capture the season. I am trying to relish spring as much as possible this year (though it's been feeling like summer the last few days).

In addition to plants, they carry accessories and furniture for the outdoors and in (for example, the painted-wood potting table [$249], above). They are definitely pricey compared to some other nurseries in the area and big-box stores. For instance, I'm looking for a basic, 22" terracotta pot. I found one at Merrifield for $69, but I found a similar one at Home Depot for $49. For some things, though, I think it's worth the extra cost for the quality and design. And you just can't find some of the things Merrifield has at other places.

And I really like this trellis/lawn ornament (couldn't find a price).

Just being there inspires me to learn more about gardening. I'm looking forward to doing just that this year.