Hawaiian Entry #3 | No Fanny Packs

This is part of a sign before you enter Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hi. It made me laugh, so I took a picture :)


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas is the only time of year when I feel compelled to use our fireplace. Since our living room is quite small, and the layout for a TV only makes sense that it is placed DIRECTLY in front of our fireplace, that poses a small problem this time of year.

My husband corrected this for us! He found the fireplace channel on the CW that shows a real working fireplace, decorated for Christmas, that even plays Christmas music! It was so hysterical and ironic that I had to take a picture and of course share it with all of you :)

I would like to thank the CW for creating such fine programs such as this holiday fireplace scene and Gossip Girl, DVR for making it possible to stop, rewind, and replay our technologically advanced "fireplace," and Charleston for having such great weather that I don't need to have a fire the other 364 days a year.


Modern Winter Design - Merry Christmas!

Once again, holiday design can be very traditional, but there are SO many options for Christmas that you can pretty much get any period design you desire. Christmas overtakes the stores starting before Halloween can even come and pass. Before you know it, fall decorations are 50% off during mid October! How else will they have enough room to deck the halls with Christmas fare? (Hint: and with these bargains, this is when you buy your next year's Fall decorations!)

Personally, I like a modern take on traditional design. I think modern design in this particular instance comes in the lines of your pieces. Ornament wreaths, plain cut stockings, simple tree skirts, polka dots; this is where you get your modern designer home, but stick with the Christmas colors! Reds & greens, and even what some designers have done with pinks and lime greens, or the addition of silver to go with its more traditional brother, gold.

All of these options keep the user involved and lets you pick and choose the way you want to portray this holiday of great magnitude. Yes, even baby Jesus can be modernized! [see picture above for Alessi nativity scene] Point is, with so many options you can be choosy, and since Christmas comes once a year, every year, pick pieces that are sure to last - as your children will be fighting over those ornaments before you know it!


Hawaiian Entry #2 | Ribbon Lei

While on the cruise ship we were taught local culture by "Hawaiian ambassadors" and made leis a few times during the trip. We made a kukui nut lei followed by the orchid lei, but my favorite was the ribbon lei.

They can be made by using any color grosgrain ribbon you choose and can be woven with up to 16 colors! I have managed to make a 6 color one, but that takes about 3 yards of ribbon and usually that is the longest that ribbon spools are sold. I would have to buy in bulk to tackle any more colors! :)

The Hawaiian culture uses the ribbon leis at graduations, weddings, and really any celebration and the best thing about them, in my opinion, is that they can be color coordinated with your school's colors! They also last forever when compared with the orchid lei.


Spelling Mistakes...

If you can't spell, I will automatically assume I am smarter than you, whether or not that is true. I can't help it. I will give a little more room for someone who is handwriting something, but if you are using any type of email or word processing program, spell-check will HELP you! :)

This also goes for your and you're... and there, their, and they're. But you are pretty much on your own with that one.

Now, you take a look at the back of this van and tell me if you would hire them to do your refrigeration work? [not even to mention the "N" is backwards...]


Hawaiian Entry #1 | Mochi

Mochi, defined by Wikipedia, is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki.

While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is also a prominent snack in Hawaii, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Thailand.

My friend Tiffany told us about it and when we stopped at a grocery store in Maui, we found the golden nuggets in the frozen food section. This delicious little gummy rice treat shown in the picture above is filled with ice cream! Yum. I tried the strawberry and the coffee flavor and enjoyed both.

We didn't end up eating them all so they stayed in the car while we stopped at the beach... when we came back the ice cream was melted and all that was left were the rice sacks filled with ice milk. I will spare you the word I used to compare them to [ball sacks]. I didn't try them, but I bet they would have still tasted good!


WRONG Shipment! :(

So I have been waiting for 2 weeks to get my new bed side table lamps for our master bedroom (one of those weeks I was on vacation, I will admit), and they are here! But they are wrong...

I stared curiously at the two boxes wondering how a 14" drum shade could fit in each one... I had a pit in my stomach because my first thought was that I had messed up and didn't realize the shades weren't included (and shades can be expensive!), but once they were opened I quickly realized why! West Elm accidentally sent me the Industrial Sconce instead of the Drum Sconce.

The SKU# and description was correct once on the box and incorrect once on the box and the shipper must have read the incorrect one... long story short, the correct ones will be here on the 20th! (Provided the exact same issue does NOT happen again with the incorrect SKUs...). More to come on this one and installation pictures are forthcoming!


Modern Gingerbread House

Well, I've been in Hawai'i for the week so that is why there were a lack in posts. I will update more on my vacation soon! For now, I have been pondering modern design in a traditional holiday activity...

I recently saw an Acura commercial featuring items that were frivolous. One of the people on the commercial paid a famous architect to design his gingerbread house in a "modernist style" and I found these pictures showing similar houses to the one in the Acura commercial.

It may be frivolous if you pay an architect to design your gingerbread house, but what if you are the architect (or even a fan of architecture) who designs it themselves? I always see those little kits in Wal-mart for 10 bucks for the generic 10x10 gingerbread house that everyone has seen a million times... boring! I now (if I have time ;)) want to design my own gingerbread masterpiece! Why not?


Master Bedroom Paintings

We bought a new comforter set for our bedroom about 6 months ago and since it is so different than anything I own, I didn't have any art to hang above it that I was happy with.

I decided to take some design cues from the patterns in the set and make (4) 20x20 acrylic on canvas paintings (the canvases were buy one get one FREE from Michael's!) and after about 4 tries to get the right shade of lime-yellow... or yellow-lime, it still isn't perfect, but I am really happy with the way they turned out!

So, for 40 dollars, I bought 4 canvases, paint, and stencils and created a custom art piece for our bedroom.


Thanksgiving Weekend Crocheting!

I can't just sit there, ever. I am always doing 10 things at once and that contributes to 1 part of my success and 1 part to others' frustration with me. I promise a lot, and I deliver, but sometimes it is at the expense of a clean house, studying for the ARE (Architectural Registration Exams), or other things that I have to do that I don't want to do. :)

Here is the fruit of my TV/ movie watching over the weekend!


Modern Fall Design - Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year I have the same problem. I always feel like Thanksgiving and "fall" decorations in general are too traditional for my taste. I have been able to find some things that fit it in with the modern decor of my house, but mostly I think I'm going to end up making some things. I attached some pictures that I find inspiring for the modern Thanksgiving home! I will definitely be working on a fun wreath for next year. :)

As for my Thanksgiving, my husband and I are headed to my in-laws house for a traditional dinner. I just hope there is green bean casserole! One of my faves. Have a great holiday all!


I got my Car BACK! :)

Nearly a month ago I was rear-ended pretty badly by a young woman just not paying attention. The impact she caused when she hit me also caused a chain reaction with the TWO cars in front of me. I was OK, but pretty shaken up by the whole thing because I just knew she was going to hit me when we had to stop abruptly. That is why I HATE it when people tailgate me!

Anyways, for the last month I have been driving a 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis. It is true what they say about your car having the same personality as you. I drove slower, felt older, just not sexy at ALL. Thank goodness I got my Camry back all in one piece! :)


Design | Baby Name Letters

I just wanted to share the pictures of the letters that I made to go over my niece's bed. She is adorable to begin with but these pics of her are just too much!

The letters were ordered online, the wood plaques are from Michael's, and the paint is just acrylic paint using some stencils, straight edges, and free hand. Once they were all put together I coated them with a satin clearcoat and finished them with a polka dot ribbon.


The Stars Aligned

So for anyone who knows me, you will know that I have a very hard time finding shoes that fit me correctly. I wear a 9.5 double width shoe and it is very hard to find anything remotely stylish in this beastly size. It gets so frustrating that at times I have thought about going into the wide width shoe business... anyone out there share my pain?

Well, there I was minding my own business yesterday at Shoe Carnival, having JUST gone to three other shoe places looking for walking shoes for my trip to Hawaii, and I find these adorable little shoes by Guppy Love.

I do not care what the brand is if I find shoes that A. fit me and B. look semi-cute. Seriously, I will wear anything from Payless to Dolce & Gabbana, just please let them fit! and these particular cuties were even on Clearance! That's right, $9.00.

I get home and decide to google the brand to see what other shoes they might have out there and when I looked at the size on the right shoe, it was a 10. Thinking that to be strange because I thought they were a 9, I checked the other shoe, and it was a 9.5! OOPS! I bought two different size shoes and not even the size listed on the box... but the funny thing is, my right foot IS bigger than my left so that may be the reason why I have been oh so comfortable all day!

It was the trifecta of shoe shopping, perfect shoe, perfect price, and perfect size (even though I didn't know it). I am in my little red shoe happy place :)


Turning 29, the Last Good Year?!?

I have had different emotions about my upcoming birthday of 29 and part of me was wondering if this is the last good year? There are many things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 30, and it is amazing to me that my deadline is down to just 12 months! Where has the time gone? I keep a pretty solid journal and thought that this would be a good entry to share and even get some thoughts from others. Bottom line for me is that even though Life isn’t Fair, it is still Good.

The great mystery to young people is that they think older people are SO much different when in fact we are so much the same, just with different problems. Instead of being afraid you won’t be accepted in the Red Rover line at recess, our apprehension comes from unfairness in the job, the dating scene and a grim reality that we might never find the “one,” paying bills, dealing with insurance, adult friendship, and [gulp] having children and placing this difficult thing we call “life” upon another.

When I was younger I would look at someone who was older, let’s face it they were probably 25, and think they had it all figured out. Then when I turned 25 I thought I was the one who had it all figured out. Now, I don’t claim to know a damn thing and think I have been all the wiser for doing so!
We are making these great changes in our lives; getting married, having babies, buying houses, and I think that we just all don’t know what we are doing until we do it! Life is a work in progress. We will learn from our mistakes (like buying a condo right before the housing bubble burst?), let’s just hope no one else gets hurt in the process.

I know a lot of people in their old age write about the things they’ve learned… well here is what a 29 year old knows:
  • Only marry someone who you truly, with 110% of your heart, know is the “one.” Some days Steven is the only thing I feel is great in my life and I couldn’t be happier that I am in his.
  • However long you think it will take you to pay off your student loans, multiply that by 5.
  • True friends are hard to come by. When you find a good one, hold onto him/ her.
  • Staying positive is the most important (and sometimes the hardest) thing to do - in any situation. If that doesn’t work, lower your expectations. ;)
Growing older is a part of life, whether we want to do it or not, it is going to happen. It is what we do during that time that truly counts. I recently read this quote:

"The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life."

I find that I often live in the past and worry about the future and that is what my 30s will be for – learning to live in the present. Right now, at 29, I have GOT to get these architectural registration exams over with! See? Life isn’t fair, but it is good.
From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)