Holiday Gift Guide

It seems a tad early to start a collection of gift ideas, but you know those holidays will be here before you know it and you do not want to be running to CVS to get a teacher, hostess, or secret Santa gift. I think getting big gifts for your dearest is easy, but its harder to find special and useful gifts in the $25-$50 range. My philosophy about buying gifts for others is that if I would truly like it for myself, they will probably like it too. I do get in trouble with a "one for you, one for me" motto (hint hint loved ones). But here is a start that will hopefully help you as you start scouting gifts.

  1. Unison pot holder - for only $7, this graphic potholder is a super cool addition to any kitchen related gift.
  2. Food 52 egg separator - have you ever seen an egg separator so elegant? I mean, seriously! This is a sculptural and practical object that is obscenely good for $25.
  3. Food 52 brass coasters - there are so many beautiful kitchen objects on this site and here is amnother example of an on trend geometric and brass coaster set. 
  4. Chemex coffee maker - a classic. Paired with gourmet coffee grounds for a very welcome gift.
  5. A+R corky carafe - coffee and tea are a breeze for me, but drinking water throughout the day is a chore. I actually ordered this for myself to try to motivate me. I think on a table top, bedside, or at arm's reach of the PC it would look enticing.
  6. Holly Mueller Home constellation dish towel - I love this practical and personal dish towel for $16.
  7. Tiny Armour arc earrings - you cannot go wrong with sparkley jewelry and I could do a whole list of pretty shiny things I covet, but it is hard to find something that doesn't look chintzy for under $50. These are so pretty. 
  8. Coriumi leather pouch - A leather pouch is really helpful for organizing within a bigger purse and this one looks much higher end than its $30 price tag.
  9. Jerusalem cook book - a fitting Channukah gift but actually an inspiring cook book for any foodie this season, with cross cultural recipes and sumptious photography.
  10. Veak Ceramics floating planter - a little bohemian, a little green, a lot earthy and unique. 
  11. Ban.do art print - how cute and funny for a certain friend with a good sense of humour, and style.
  12. Mudpuppy Hamsa - protection from the evil eye in the form of an artful ceramic decor amulet will make for an unforgettable gift.
  13. Kinivo mini portable speaker - this is about as techy as I get. I get overwhelmed with choices and how expensive gadgets can be. We have this at home for instant dance parties when we listen to new songs on the iphone or watch music videos on the ipad. Its little and cute, easy to plug in and work, durable, and at $19 a fun gizmo that I don't mind my kids pawing.
  14. Think and Ink Studio mouse pad - it may seem like a boring idea, but nothing is boring about this black and gold mouse pad that will dress up the work area and make the gift receiver smile every day.
  15. Gizmo Gadgets ipad case - having recently recovered from a shattered ipad screen, this is more of a priority than pretty shiny things. I love the rugged leather, so me yet rustic enough for a dude.

Don't forget to make the bulk of your purchases Black Friday-Cyber Monday. I am astounded year after year by how much savings are to be had online at that time. Having a list ready to go makes holiday shopping/bargain hunting easier and actually enjoyable. Happy shopping.

Black Faucets

Let everyone else ogle brass fixtures. Instead, I will quietly covet a matte black finish on plumbing fixtures and hardware. I'm not talking oiled bronze with slightly brown notes, I am talking pure matte black. Just look at these bathroom beauties.

They look simple, but black fixtures are a premium finish above and beyond from your ubiquitous chrome or brushed nickel finish. I put together a short list of attainable black finish plumbing fixtures. Let's start a new trend together.


Looking Good in Castle Heights

First thing's first, out of no where I was included in around up of 50 top Instagram moms by Mom.me which totally made my not so great day a lot better. Second thing is things are starting to look really good in Castle Heights.

Castle Heights - Living Room.jpg

An energetic couple who had just bought a cute 2 bedroom cottage and are expecting a little one come February contacted me. They were eager to make their little box feel more like them, which turns out to be very me. A good dose of mid-century modern vintage, infused with ethnic textiles and garnished with minimalist modern design touches. And brass, requests for brass were put in. Awesome.

In a week I put these design boards together expecting revisions and changes. Nope, its all good to go so we are in a buying frenzy trying to get our hands on all the goodies you see and get them all installed pronto. The quicker the better which is how I love to work.

Our favorite room may turn out to be the nursery. All three of us are getting really jazzed about the subtley Safari theme we are developing. Its going to be earthy, sweet, and stylish. I think we are only a few short weeks from being complete.

Progress in Santa Monica

These are pretty crappy i-phone pictures but I am super eager to give you a little progress view into a remodel that is wrapping up in Santa Monica. A vivacious couple who were living in a tired but loved house that deserved better. It was time for a change. Here is the kitchen BEFORE. Oh, you know this kitchen. You have been in similar ones dozens of times. Oak cabinets, linoleum floors, tiles counters. Nothing special.

And here it is in its too cool for school current state. I'm just too excited to hold back the progress shots. In a few weeks I will share the full tour - exterior refresh, beautiful new lighting, the kitchen and bathroom renovations, new hardwood floors, and paint throughout.  

Yummy. Aren't those floors delicious?!

TV and Gallery Wall

IT seems to me there is only one right way to showcase your flat screen television monitor: camoflauge it among your favorite gallery wall framed art.

These different rooms all take on the same balanced and layered feel with one set of key ingredients. 1 sexy credenza + 1 flat screen TV (wall mounted or on a stand) + a collection of framed prints in various sizes = a beautiful TV art wall. I must give it a try.

Work Hard/Play Hard

Gotta say, I'm into the current state of the office/play room. Its totally busy with layered rugs, and an overload of colors, books, toys. But it happened organically and over time so for this little room, it works :)

Worth Noting 06

Happy Friday. Ready for a long holiday weekend? We plan on visiting the tide pools in Malibu, crashing our friend's block party, and even more beach time. How about you? I will leave you with some nice links to ponder this weekend. Make it a good one.

1) Tove Lo - Habits is on heavy rotation for me at the moment. I know its a Top 40 song but the strange mix of deeply sad lyrics with a danceable beat is a winner. Its a well crafted and moving song and has good reason to be popular.

2) Lovely house tour - lots of light, funky little design touches but pretty spare. 

3) If you like small spaces, this creative garage conversion to charming apartment is for you.

4) A little DIY rug from felt scraps.

5) I saw a version of this 3 ingredient chia pudding in the packed lunch of my toddler's classmate and I wanted to sneak a bite for myself. 

6) Wanderlust - a black and white beach in Iceland. Someday.

7) I like the inexpensive prints from the shop of Julia Kostreva.

8) Leave it to Ikea to come up with the cutest little medicine cabinet that reminds me of a MUCH more expensive version by Thomas Ericksson.

9) The LA home of Momo Suzuki is just so LA, you know. 

Loving My Kantha Throws

I recently picked up a few kantha throws made of vintage Indian saris quilted together and I am super enchanted with their lightweight, summery, global goodness.

I bought 3 thinking each bed would get one, but my children rejected the ones I bought for them so those are on the etsy shop now. They are all super neat though with their handmade patchwork of storied fabric faded to pastel perfection.  

Just look at that embroidery work. So pretty. I'll be keeping mine at the foot of my bed until its chilly enough to switch it out for wool, holding onto summer as long as I can.