August 27, 2014

By now, you know I love a good capsule wardrobe. I always create one for when I travel. It involves planning out the least amount of pieces that will create the greatest amount of options, while minimizing the amount of space used in my suitcase.

It works pretty brilliantly for travel, but I never thought to create one for my own closet, and what I wear day to day. I had a lightbulb moment when I revisited a line that, to be honest, never appealed to me before. Often stereotyped as something for ladies my mother's age, I ended up finding tons of versatile pieces from Eileen Fisher that can be mixed and matched all season long. Cheap, no. But well built, and tailored to perfection, yes. They just feel good on your skin.

Fall is a time of big wardrobe buying for me. With the climate I live in, I can get wear out of the pieces I buy this time of year almost year round. I tend to spend a lot now, save a bundle when you might be buying cutoffs and sandals.

This season, I decided to limit myself to a certain number of pieces that can be mixed to create an outfit for every need. That magic number for me? 30. You probably have some of these pieces in your closet already, and you can use those to build your own capsule for fall.


I could create enough outfits to last me months with these 30 pieces, but here are a few to get you inspired.

Our Home - Planning A Dining Area

August 11, 2014

There's no way to describe the main living area of Casa Seventeenth & Irving than awkwardly large. While I rejoice at the amount of square footage we have compared to the typical San Francisco apartment, the living area has been an impossible to solve puzzle since the day we moved in.

I drew up a little floor plan so you can get an idea of what I mean. It's a mind-boggling 20' long by 13'3" wide. But a good 3' of that 20' depth is virtually unusable, since it functions as the main traffic area to our dining room, kitchen, and entry hall that leads to the bedroom, bathroom, and front door.

When we first moved in, I had my desk area in the lower right corner of the living area, facing the wall. I quickly learned that I hated facing a wall while working. About 3 months of that, I turned my desk to face the entry hall, but left it in the same space. I continued working like that for a good 2 years.

One day, in the dead of our San Francisco "summer" which is actually a cold, foggy, miserable few months, I realized that corner of our apartment is not only the coldest it's also the darkest. No wonder I was hitting a slump daily, trying to keep myself awake! We have East facing windows in the living area, so while it's nice first thing in the morning, by midday it gets fairly dark in there. And, if it's foggy, the light is non-existent.

I took on a bigger job around that time, and I asked Mr. S&I if he would mind if I took over the dining area. We moved my desk and immediately, my work productivity increased. I have a giant window behind me (I face those two closets) and a large light fixture overhead providing bright light. I've been happily working in our former dining room ever since.

We pushed our existing dining table and chairs to that sad bottom right corner. It is still so dark, cramped, and awkward feeling that we barely use it. The table and chairs are just too large for the area, and the darkness wasn't working. Result? Binge watching House of Cards while eating at our coffee table far more often than I would like to admit.

The former designer in me couldn't let this go. I want a comfy space to eat and enjoy the meals we love making together. I want a solution to this awkward corner of my home. It is the first wall space you see when you walk into our place, and I want it to make an impact.

I came across the image at the top of this post in my inspiration files and suddenly, I had an idea. Why not build out a cozy dining corner?

I think it's important to begin every project with a plan - if you don't, you'll find yourself buying random things to fill the spot, that you'll never be happy with, and you end up replacing them. "Buy the best, and you'll only cry once" is now my motto (thanks Miles Redd) as even I'm guilty of purchasing filler pieces I end up regretting.

Armed with this plan, I'm determined to get this area built out in time for the holidays. We've put so many things around the house on hold while saving for the wedding, but afterwards, I'm looking forward to making some of these long awaited improvements.

Since that area is so dark, I'm on the lookout for a large fixture that is appropriate for low ceilings while still providing lots of light. Something like this to bring that sparkly brightness. I also want it to be transparent, so that it doesn't cover too much of the large piece of textile art we just purchased. I'm looking forward to having that reflective lucite to bounce light off of, and at 60" x 60" it will help take up a lot of real estate on an awkward wall.

I've been hoarding about 10 yards of charcoal velvet for the last year that I got at a warehouse sale, and I've finally found its perfect use. I plan to work with a local upholsterer to build out a banquette that we can anchor to that corner. I love the leggy look of the inspiration photo, but I want to add some extra storage and plan to panel out the front to match the original doors of our home.

Do you like banquette seating? I think it will feel cozy, and it's a great space saver if you don't have room for a proper dining area. I'm going to push a small round pedestal table up against the banquette, and add these two vintage chairs I just scored to the outside edges. 

One corner down, many more to go. I can't wait to share the finished photos with you.

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Going To Greece

August 5, 2014

I'm currently trying to wrap my head around everything I will need to pack for the crazy amount of time I will be traveling starting in September. I'll need a month of clothes for Georgia, everything for the wedding, and then a suitcase for two weeks of honeymooning through Greece & Italy.Can I just skip all of the other tedious stuff and go straight to the wedding and immediately to beach frolicking right after, please?I've been stocking up on a few things to get me through my trip - a hat for my pale San Franciscan skin, a tunic to cover up and protect my shoulders, and a new suit that I think is very French girl chic. These sandals are making the rounds on Pinterest because they truly are "shout it from the rooftops" comfy, and perfect for going to the beach or tromping cobblestone streets. I never travel without a giant tote, this time I have a lovely monogrammed version with my new initials to take with me thanks to my friend Mere.We're planning to make stops in Athens, Paros, Mykonos, then on to Italy where we're still working out an itinerary. Suggestions? Shops to shop, places to eat, things to see? Have you been? This is a huge bucket list check for me so I want to see it allllll. 


Another Year

August 4, 2014

Yesterday was my 31st birthday, and with all that's going on right now, it was incredibly low key.

31 feels odd.

I could wrap my head around 30. Sure, I had plenty of sweat inducing panics in my 29th year about the big 3-0, but when it came, I was happy to see it. The promise of a new decade, along with some exciting things like an engagement, a new job, and a wedding to plan made it seem....tackle-able if you know what I mean?

And now, with less than 2 months until the wedding, I'm trying to figure out what 31 will look like. Here's what I know:

I'll get married.

I'll go to Greece & Italy (bucket list for yeeeeears).

I'll change my last name.

And then?

Unlike years past, I think I'm okay with just letting this year happen. I'm a go-getter and tend to set big goals and lists for myself with checkboxes to tick off. But one of the best lessons I've learned this year is to make to-do's for the important tasks that actually need them, but the bigger things like life goals, experiences, dreams? Don't force it.

If I held myself to the impossible "life plan" I mapped out for myself around 21? Without going into too much detail, I'm certain I would be miserable. But I still have to gut check myself on this often.

My only plan this year is to just be happy. Happy in the present, happy with all that I'm fortunate to experience, and just really live.


Move Right In | House & Home's Suzanne Dimma

August 1, 2014

If I could only pick one shelter magazine to continue reading for the rest of my life, hands down, it's the Canadian publication House & Home with editor Suzanne Dimma at the helm. Y'all. Suzanne just GETS me. I'm certain if we met we would be fast friends, bonding over our shared love of grey, navy, and white.

If you haven't seen House & Home, their iPad version is fantastic and ridiculously affordable. I usually prefer the feel of paper in my hands, but their app is well designed and makes saving inspiration photos like these to my files as easy as a screen shot.

If I had my way, I would happily move into her basement she just finished renovating. I mean, look at this place. This is what I mean when I say neutrals don't have to be boring. There's a definite limit of color palette here, but may prints, textures, and statement pieces to keep it intriguing.

Her entire house is exciting (look at that kitchen) and you can see the rest of it here.

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