Friday, November 30, 2012

SIMPLIFY.

Deweese!

Your table setting is gorgeous!! Congratulations on a Thanksgiving VERY well done. I'm so impressed and also thrilled you got to use your china.

The big news in our house is that Nick and I just finished our holiday shopping. Yup, that's right. No last minute stressin' over here! It feels great and was actually easy and fun. Almost my entire family has a birthday in November, December, or January, so these times can be a little hectic in terms of gift giving. But I've got it down to a science!



The first thing we do is update our shared google spreadsheet that shows us what we got for everyone last year. We also use this to create a budget. It might seem kinda crazy/geeky, but all it takes is the sinking feeling of one forgotten birthday to let the nerd factor disappear and to forever rely heavily on the power of a spreadsheet.

This year, we didn't just budget on the spreadsheet...we also budgeted via mint.com! That's right, Deweese, Nick and I took your advice and recently signed up. It's awesome! Thanks for pointing us to this site. (Readers: learn more about mint right here).



Feeling organized, we pulled out the credit card. Without giving anything away, we did a lot of shopping online. Earlier this year, Nick and I signed up for Amazon Prime (aka that thing where you pay $80/year for free Amazon shipping on Prime products...which ends up being most products we want to buy). The "free" shipping allows us to buy gifts when it's convenient without always worrying about combining everything under one shipment or waiting for free shipping deals. I also had many things shipped directly to our parents' houses.

Finally, wrapping! I know some people find wrapping silly...but the minor crafter in me LOVES it. I seriously look forward to the one night a year where I watch a holiday movie, pull out all the wrapping, sit on the floor and wrap all the presents. I can't explain why I love this so much but I do.

This year I purchased a HUGE roll of craft paper and some baker's twine. I'm going to use regular white card stock to make gift tags in the shape of snowflakes. Pretty simple and affordable!

One trick that works for me is to wrap things in boxes and without any bows. This allows me to wrap ahead of time and pack them by stacking them together. The boxes look fresh under the tree no matter how long they had to travel to get there! Here's an example of what I did in a previous year:



Simple, packable, and finished upon arrival. No tissue paper to fluff up or bow to retie.

So, what are your gift giving tricks? Also, click the link to read about Deweese's oh-so inspiring small business holiday pledge last year!

Good tidings,
Blythe

PS: Mint or Amazon Prime did not sponsor this post or any post on 75th + Sedgwick! I just actually really like these tools. And when you really like them, it can be hard to not sound like a commercial!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DRESS THE TABLE FOR TURKEY: FOLLOW UP

Hello Blythe!

What a magical time to be in NYC. I remember you taking me to see the store windows and being so impressed. I take it your not going to Rockefeller Center to watch the tree lighting tonight?

So glad you had a good Thanksgiving! Nice to go to Florida in November. I loved visiting my brother in Tampa for Thanksgiving a few times... the weather! We had a great time here in DC. The turkey on the pie btw is a from a cookie cutter my Mother-in-Law brought with her, she's pretty clever.

Remember when I wrote you about dressing the table for Thanksgiving? I ended up not spending that much time preparing, I knew I could take it to the extreme and really go overboard, so I didn't even think about it until a few days before. My Mom and Jeff's Mom helped me pick some things out at World Market, we got some flowers and used some large votive candles we already had and that was it!

I was really in love with this photo from the previous post, so that's what I tried to immulate. Though, while I love tall tappered candles, I prefer a lower setting, so you can see everyone's face at a big table.


And here's our version...



From World Market we purchased a large spring green table cloth, orange ramekins (we filled with candles from Ikea) and gold etched votives similar to the picture below. We added bunches of orange tulips to wine glasses that we already had and I threw on some scented pine cones I picked up at Whole Foods. We also used our wedding china for the first time which was just as amazing as I imaged. So fancy! Unfortunately I didn't take any good shots with all the candles lit!









This is Jeff's first turkey (25 lbs). It was amazing, he did a terrific job!


Remember the shower we threw for my cousin Anna? This is her little one Abby!


Baby Abby with her new cousin, Baby Luke! My cousin Lil' Q on the left, and her Mom, my Aunt Bridgette, on the right.
The whole gang!

Gobble gobble,


Monday, November 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS IN NYC

Hi Deweese!

Hope you (and everyone else) had a great Thanksgiving! Several people asked me about that turkey you added to your pie. Was it a cookie cutter? So cute!

Nick and I got home just last night after visiting his Grandma in Florida! Nick's whole family was there to introduce our new nephew to his Grandma -- aka her first great grandchild. What an incredible moment!

The minute we came back we noticed something...Christmas has arrived in NYC. Despite the crowds, I love this time so, so much. It reminds me of coming here as a little girl with my family all dressed up.

Here's a quick list of my favorite things. They aren't very unique, but the Holidays are about coming together, right?
  • Packs of kids on the subway in mittens and hats just giddy having just seen their first show
  • Buying a Christmas tree on the sidewalk
  • Smell of chestnuts roasting on the sidewalk...but NOT the taste (turns out, they are pretty gross)
  • Visiting Rockefeller Center (just once) 
  • Walking around the shops at Bryant Park
  • The NYMag Gift Guide
  • And far away my favorite thing...the windows at Bergdorf
 What are your favorites?

Love,






PS: Happy Cyber Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble Gobble!

Blythe!

Love your fall photos! Thanks for sharing. I love instagram too, but definitely need to use it more. Thanks for the inspiration. Also, I'll never see a candy corn and not think of you and Dukester :-)

Things here in DC are gettin' festive! My parents and Jeff's parents are in town and we're cooking up a storm (ok, I'm doing the dishes). We also hit up World Market today for some last minute table decor. I hope it turns out!

This is what's happening this very minute...


A little turkey appeared on the apple pie!



And my Mother and Father-in-Law are reading the paper together.

Pretty thankful for just about everything right now.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve,



Monday, November 19, 2012

ODE TO FALL

Hi Deweese,

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? I can't. It really snuck up on me! It feels like time is moving so fast lately and it makes me feel pretty frazzled. I'd like to hold on to fall a little longer, but I know that as soon Thanksgiving comes and goes its all over. I love the fall. The air feels so crisp and clean after summer's haze and it is so wonderful to be outside and not be too hot or too cold. The best.

I had a great fall and I thought one way to hold on to it is to share some of my instagram photos with you. I thought by now I'd be over instagram but I can honestly say it is my favorite social media. I just never get sick of it and love checking it throughout the day! So please indulge me as I attempt to slow down the clock and dream of candy corn, cider, slippers and pie.










Love,


PS: Doesn't this look like the perfect transitional jacket?

Friday, November 16, 2012

PHONE-A-FRIEND: AMANDA NEEDS A NEW BED!

Happy Friday Readers!

We've got more exciting Phone-A-Friend news for you. Deweese's brother-in-law's girlfriend (we think of her as a sister-in-law) is looking for a new bed. And we agree with her that having a real bed, complete with a head board is oh so adult.  Here's her note to us...

Hi ladies!

I have finally reached my breaking point with our awful bedroom decor and am in need of some guidance. I figured, who better to ask then you girls! Tim and I still have a lot of that mixed-matched furniture from when we first moved in together and it has been way too long without a bed frame. So, I have decided to start saving for one! Although our current bedroom furniture will most likely not join Tim and I at our next place (which will hopefully be our first home!); I still want to buy a bed that will. So now, the difficult part... how do we choose a bed that will do the following:

1. Match different styles of furntiture, because who knows what we will end up purchasing for a bedroom set years from now.

2. Be trendy and stylish now and will stay in trend as styles change over the years.
                
3. Satisfy both my super feminine and shabby chic style and Tim's bold and modern style.
                 
4. Not be limited to only a few color schemes (i.e. wall color, bedding etc.) - Do I go with light or dark, since I will most likely have dark furniture?

My ideal bedroom is to have the bed be the focus point of the room. I want it to look rich and elegant. The thing is, I love so many different styles that it's hard for me to know which one I will decide to go with when Tim and I finally purchase our adult furniture! I enjoy eclectic pieces, however, I am not great at putting pieces from different styles together in a complimenting way.

I have found myself being drawn to larger tufted headboards, the beige colored upholstered frames, dark wood sleigh beds, and although I have not found the right one, I have always loved cast iron beds. I just have no idea which direction to go in! Please help!

Thanks so much!

Amanda


To Amanda, we say: Right On! This is a challenge a lot of us face, and it's not easy! Blending not only your feminine style with Tim's more modern style and also blending your post-college/early 20s furniture with more adult furniture can be wicked hard.

For instance, if Deweese and Jeff didn't live together, she would totally have this bed, probably upholstered in something lovely and floral and pink. But alas, they do live together (for loads of wonderful reasons) and have no bed at all, just a metal frame.

Layla Grace Eloquence Sophia Upholstered Bed Antique White


Keep in mind: It's way okay to mix different styles and finishes in one room. Mix and match you're furniture to have a more collected and authentically "you" look. Buy pieces that make you happy, and they will end up working together. Promise. We know it's easier said than done, but when you're surrounded by pieces you love, instead of pieces you're trying to match, you'll love the result.

However, we DO agree that it's a good idea to stay neutral on the bed for now, especially with upholstery, it's so easy to change bedding and/or wall color and give the room a whole new look. You can even change your bedding with the seasons, we learned that from Dukester!

This may not be your color palette, but it's a nice example of an upholstered bed, blending masculine and feminine. The color palette of browns and reds is super HIM, but the prints and patterns are more delicate and soft, not to mention the curvy headboard: very HER. Notice the miss-matched side tables.



Again, curvy and feminine shape on the headboard, but masculine color palette. So very harmonious. And again, the tables.




Here's our first choice for you, an upholstered wing-back bed from Room + Board. Super sophisticated, but also a little masculine, think wing back chairs in a library or study.

Room & Board Marlo Storage Bed

We also like these wing back versions from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Restoration Hardware.

And you can't go wrong with a simple square tufted headboard. 

MGBW Butler Bed






You can find upholstered headboards in every shape and at every price point. There are loads of fabric options, too. Try Ballard Designs, One Kings Lane and Overstock for a more pocketbook friendly approach. And definitely consider a leather bed. See Blythe's headboard here, with lovely and delicate white accents in the bedding.

You also mentioned liking iron beds, and we have some thoughts on that. When Deweese thinks of iron beds, something like the below usually comes to mind. Which is well, just a little too Cider House Rules for us (Read: Orphanage).
C&B Scholar Bed
And while we love iron canopy beds, they are a bit femmy. Something tells us Tim isn't going to be dreaming of a Pats Super Bowl under this.

Layla Grace Cecile Iron Canopy Bed
But THIS is a great alternative. Nice bold clean lines for Tim, and a lovely canopy bed for you. You have to have a big enough bedroom for this, but it's supah classy.

Room & Board Architecture Bed

A bonus, both upholstered and iron beds will work with any and all wood stains, so you won't be limited as you start to collect more bedroom furniture.

Final tip: Get something you love right now, even if you're afraid you're not going to love it in 10 years. Odds are you're not going to be spending your last days on earth in this bed.  We hear this advice a lot from designers and bloggers... it's easy to get bogged down by making sure something lasts style-wise, but make sure you're not a slave to that notion. This is a piece of furniture you're going to spend a LOT of time in, make sure you love it now. Don't spend 10 years kind of liking it, only to replace it anyway.

Keep us posted!




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UPDATE! PHONE-A-FRIEND: JULIE'S KITCHEN

Hi Everyone!

It is an exciting Wednesday. We have yet another Phone-A-Friend update! Seriously, these just make our day.

This time we heard from Julie. You might remember that Julie was looking for help with her NYC kitchen... specifically the window treatment.

Here are some of the before shots...




And here is the mood board we came up with. Find all of our sources, etc, in the orignal post.




And here is Julie's finished kitchen with custom window treatment!











Wow! Julie, we love it! Congratulations on an awesome job.

Here are her notes:

Hello ladies,

Thank you again for your wonderful kitchen advice.  I made a lot of changes, and all the little adjustments make for a lovelier kitchen.  Here's a (long-winded) rundown of the changes:

-Our favorite change is the new custom roman shade from The Shade Store, using the Dwell fabric you had suggested for the doorway.  We LOVE what it does to the kitchen; the photos of course do not do it justice.

-Using your suggestion of replacing the doorway curtain with one that features complimentary colors, we snagged this one on sale from Anthropologie.

-Another big change was oh-so-easy: furniture rearranging!  The room feels much better this way, and it also opened up the big white brick wall.  It's the perfect space for displaying some of our gorgeous painted ceramics: one from our Mexican honeymoon, and the rest from our brother-in-law and his family, carried many thousands of miles from Uzbekistan.

-I made a simple swap of the wall-mounted light to a plainer, white lamp.  I had the cord shortened to eliminate sloppiness.  I love the light you suggested, but hard-wiring is frowned upon in my rental space so I just wasn't willing to fight that particular battle.  My husband's reaction: "So you bought the exact same lamp in white."  Well, sorta true!

-I also made a some other small changes that eliminated the reds and other random colors that were in the room, tying them all loosely together for a more cohesive, yet not matchy-matchy, look.  The (dying) plant was re-potted in a new pot from Etsy.  I also swapped out the arrangement of objects on the windowsill and put together all my seashells, rocks, and bits of coral from various trips.  The turquoise votive holders were a recent gift, and the gilded shells and sea urchins are from my latest crafting project.  I like they way they relate to the whole yellow-plus-blue scheme without being a precise match.

-After a purge of our one tiny closet, the vacuum lives there.  This makes me HAPPY.

-Finally, the photos don't quite show it, but a fresh coat of paint on the radiator is one of those little details that perk up the whole space.

We wouldn't have come this far without all your wonderful suggestions, so THANK YOU again!  This has inspired me to redo the other rooms as well... post-thesis!

xoJulie


Interested in Phoning-A-Friend? Just email us

Read though our Phone-A-Friend archive here

Love, 



Monday, November 12, 2012

VETERAN'S DAY

Hello!

Veteran's Day is one of my favorite holidays, because I get to celebrate one of my favorite people, my brother! Donn  has been in the Army for 22 years now, or most of my life. He's a Colonel with the 75th Ranger Regiment and we couldn't be prouder (remember this cake?).

A few weekends ago Jeff and I headed to Fort Benning, GA to meet my parents for a visit with my brother and sister-in-law before my brother deployed to Afghanistan. I realized that while I've spent the last 22 years touring Army posts all over the country, most Americans never really get visit one. So I took some pictures to share with you. I've seen my fair share of posts, and this is one of my favorites.

The new gates as you enter post.

The General's House. Whoa, gorgeous.

Benning is home to the US Army Airborne School.

This is where you learn how to jump out of a plane. My palms sweat when I see these.

Jeff on the ropes. Part of the famous Ranger obstacle course.

When touring post, you may see one of these which always cracks me up.


But in fact, there are a lot of tanks, stationary and mobile.


Fort Benning is pretty big, sometimes you have to stop for fries and a Diet Coke while taking the grand tour.

My brother's office.


Rangers lead the way!


A memorial inside Regimental HQ of the fallen. You may have heard of this particular Ranger. 
And if not, read up.

While there is lots of Army green and brown, tanks and courses, Fort Benning is also a complete community where people live, kids go to school and play little league! There are also the loveliest homes. This gorgeous Spanish Mission home is similar to where my brother and sister-in-law live!

The inside of their home is beautiful as well. Here's a display of all the places they've lived with the Army. The little house reads: Home is wherever the Army takes you. They've lived in CA, WA, KS, GA, FL, LA, KY and Korea. Not bad.



And there are restaurants and movie theaters and bowling alleys and a golf course!

And lots of this!

Fort Benning is also home to the new National Infantry Museum. Fascinating stuff.



For Christmas, my parents got my sister-in-law Yongmi, a brick on the walk at the museum.


Immortalized as one helluva Army spouse.


That's the tour! Hope you enjoyed it. 

HAPPY VETERAN's DAY!

xo,

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