February 29, 2008

American Living.

Ralph Lauren is now doing a line for JC Penney called American Living, and the commercials are so wonderful. The snapshots of lovely everyday moments evoke a sense of nostalgia in me, and make me feel proud to belong to this country.
Watch it below...

video

The clothes are classic Ralph Lauren and priced decently {if the quality is good}. Here are a few of my favorites...

I am a sucker for cropped pants, and these seersucker and polka dots are adorable!

I'm always weak for boat neck 3/4 sleeve shirts and trench coats.

My absolute favorite is this boat neck, 3/4 sleeve, black and white striped dress. I think I might even brave JC Penney and go try it on...

Happy Leap Day!

Kate Spade Ads.


Kate Spade really has the best creative team in the business. I love her ads. They create such a sense of fun and whimsy. They make me want to get all dressed up and go to the park.

The adorable women in green with the old fashioned camera takes the cake...

Heart Warming....

This African Lion was in a traveling circus and was malnourished and abused, so the woman in the following clip rescued him 6 years ago and nurtured him back to health. The affection this amazing creature shows her is nothing short of heart warming...


February 28, 2008

Gratitude.

I am currently grateful for....

  1. An evening bike ride with J, around the neighborhood on our beach cruisers....I felt like a kid again.
  2. Shopping at Whole Foods and finding steel cut oatmeal that cooks in 5 mins.
  3. Enjoying 83 degree weather, while the Midwest and East coast are freezing.
  4. Starting to read Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth...I've jumped on the Oprah bandwagon.
  5. Watching as my roses and flowers begin to blossom again. I love Spring...it's magical.

February 27, 2008

Ding Dong.

Ughhh...I just got bum rushed by my neighbor wanting to show her sister my house, so she could get ideas {they are on the assertive side}. The pile of laundry is still on that chair in the window and we have kicked off shoes everywhere, not to mention, the kitchen was a mess! They just left and I am feeling so insecure about my lack of organizational skills....

I hate pop ins.

Inside The Windows...

One of my favorite things to do is go for a walk at dusk and pass by people's windows, just as their lights are going on, and before they pull down the shades for the night. I like to make up stories about the people inside, and guess what their lives are like. I always feel warm when I see a mother making dinner for her family or children sitting at a table doing homework. It's so comforting to see 'real life' happening.

Just for fun...here is what people see when they pass our house around 6:30 pm.


{Piles of laundry on chair in the background, and Brooks waiting at front door for potential visitors}



February 26, 2008

Oscar Favorite.

Jennifer Garner was my favorite at this years Oscars.
She was the perfect combination of carefree, happy, comfortable and beautiful.

February 25, 2008

Sixx Design.

I am feeling so inspired after reading about this New York husband and wife duo who run a design company named Sixx Design. I am completely amazed at their style and their ability to mix modern and vintage. Even more amazing, though is the fact that they have 6 children and are able to live in New York and design fabulous spaces. Check out their website, under projects, and the first two examples are their residences. #5 Centre Market is their New York apartment, and Great Barrington is their house in New England.

These spaces are a perfect combo of fun, stylish, laid back and interesting. The rest of the projects are run down spaces they've purchase and fixed up. I would love to be inside their world for a day.

February 24, 2008

I can't tell you how many times I've watched THIS....it makes me sooo happy. I'm currently counting down the days until May 30th.

February 22, 2008

In The Middle Of The Night...

Sometimes I struggle with getting good sleep, because with my sweet Mr. Brooks in the bed, this is what I hear all night when sleeping...

{We don't have a video recorder, so here is a fellow Frenchie named Roxy doing a perfect impression}

It secretly comforts me...

February 21, 2008

On A Happier Note...

...I wish I was sitting on this porch in Nantucket, sipping a lemonade and having a really good talk.

And staring out at this....

Here is it from the front and back...perfection.

{Photos from Architectural Digest}

Please Excuse Me While I Get On My Soap Box....

One of the recent headlines in the news, is the issue of 143 million pounds of recalled beef that went to schools for lunches. For those of you who don't know why the beef was recalled, it was because the animals were so neglected and abused, their meat was not fit for human consumption. The Human Society of the United States chose a slaughterhouse at random, and secretly taped the treatment of these animals. Their investigation documented animals too sick or injured to stand or walk—called "downers" by industry—being kicked, beaten, dragged with chains, shocked with electric prods, sprayed in the face with hoses, and rammed by forklifts in efforts to get them to their feet to pass USDA inspection. If you have a strong stomach and can handle it, you can see it here.

We are really in the dark in terms of how some farm animals are treated. Many chickens are kept in cages that don't allow them to move, while pigs are kept in tiny pens that are so small, they can't even turn over. Animals are strung up by their feet for slaughter while they are still conscious...watching as they are stabbed to death. It's sick, inhumane, disgusting and it strikes deep in my soul as being completely unethical. It is my belief that by being the strongest species, it is our job to care for and speak up for, those that can't do this for themselves. This includes animals and children.

Even if you don't choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle, please purchase products from farms and companies that take care of their animals humanly. Look for cage free eggs, free range chicken, wild fish, and cruelty free meat. This site
Certified Humane lists which companies are certified cruelty free, and list by state where to purchase such products.

Thank you for listening to my soap box tirade...this is an issue that is very close to my heart and I feel very strongly about. It's our job to care for those that are weaker than we are, not to hurt them.

February 20, 2008

Sitting Pretty.

We've needed new chairs for our kitchen table for a while, and this weekend while strolling through Crate and Barrel, we found them. They were orginally $399 a chair {which we would have never paid}, but they had been marked down in the store to $130! They are so comfortable, and I won't feel bad when they get wrecked someday by kiddos, since they were such a good deal.



Happiness.

"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder."

-Henry David Thoreau


I'll be honest...I've been struggling lately with being happy. Sometimes the more you think about not being happy, the harder it is to find. I read this article today which focused on important contributors to happiness. Here are some of the points that stuck with me...
  • Be Curious - The key is to engage in activities outside your comfort zone.
  • Give Thanks - Expressing gratitude has been shown in numerous studies to improve mood.
  • Don't Dwell - Ruminating lengthens period of depression....distract yourself : go for a run, get a manicure or play with your dog.
  • Talk to Strangers - It's a strong social norm to be cheerful around strangers, and when we act that way, we begin to feel that way.
  • Do A Good Thing - The Dalai Lama preaches that if you want to be happy, practice compassion. Doing something nice for someone, even if it's small, enhances mood.
  • Work Out - Even a brisk 5 to 10 minute walk will benefit your mood.
  • Breathe Deep - Deep breathing from your belly, increases levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter associated with happy, calm feelings) and lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.
  • Go Fishing - Eating fish with Omega-3s has powerful effects on brain function and mood.
  • Enjoy Fats - The best mood enhancers: monosaturated fats (avocado, olive oil & nuts).
  • Add Background Music - Music can affect the pleasure center of the brain...the positive effect can last even after the music is over.
  • Take A Whiff - Smelling any scent that appeals to you can enhance your mood.

I'm going to give these a try and see if my happy butterfly quietly lands on my shoulder.

February 18, 2008

Handbag Dreams...

I saw this Ralph Lauren handbag in a magazine ad, and thought, "Ooooh..I love this! It looks like a great classic investment bag, and maybe it won't be too expensive" WRONG! I just looked it up online and discovered it to be a mere $14,000...see for yourself here. {Sigh}

February 17, 2008

All That Glitters...

I am addicted to hair accessories {or any accessories for that matter}, and my collection was starting to overtake my bathroom. So...what's a girl to do except make her own barrette board? I cut a piece from a foam board, covered it in some fabric I had laying around, then stapled 3 rows of ribbons, hung it on the inside of my bathroom linen closet and viola...an organizing distaster averted. Now, I'll actually be able to see what rhinestone clip to put with what outfit. {I love them so much...I even wear them to the gym}.



The above collection does not include the following...

{Headbands that hang from magnifying mirror}

{Elastic hair ties, clips and claws in wicker and china bowls}

{Headband organizer I made a few months ago when that collection was overwhelming me}


I guess I can hold off on buying any new hair accessories....at least for a little while.

February 16, 2008

Royal Experience.

J. and I spent our whole Saturday relaxing in the spa at the Royal Palms Resort. We decided that this Valentines Day, we really didn't need anything...we just needed relaxation. We started with the most amazing couples massage in a room with the door open to hear the outside fountain, then had lunch by an outdoor fireplace, spent time in an eucalyptus steam room, then had cocktails by the pool. It took us exactly 3 minutes to get there from our house and it was the shortest and best vacation we've had in a while.

{If you're an AZ local and have never been to the Royal Palms Resort...treat yourself. It's like going to a rustic european country retreat right in our backyard.}

February 15, 2008

Estate House.

Last night we had an amazing dinner at a new restaurant in Old Town called the Estate House. It was like being at a European seaside retreat and the food was wonderful. We sat in a back room called 'the den' and sat right next to a fireplace with navy blue walls and art work everywhere. The ambiance is european rustic with a french flair....we pretended we were on vacation the whole night. J. has dubbed it his new favorite restaurant, in line after RL in Chicago.


February 14, 2008

True Love.


My version of true love is....
  1. Hanging on when you want to let go and walk away.

  2. Admiring the character of the person you chose to be in "the trenches" with.

  3. Building the other person up to be the best version of themselves.

  4. Holding your loved one's hand when they're afraid.

  5. Going to sit through a 2 hour movie that you don't want to see, but the other person does.

  6. Listening when you want to talk.

  7. Commitment...choosing integrity and fidelity at all costs.

  8. Forgiving and moving on.

  9. Looking at the other person at their grubbiest, and still thinking they're beautiful, because you can see their soul.

  10. Acceptance...not trying to make someone what they're not.

  11. Laughing in the middle of chaos.

  12. Respecting one another.

  13. Choosing to be nice over being right.

  14. Sacrifice, Compromise, Cooperation, Negotiation...did I mention Sacrifice?

Happy Valentines Day.


February 13, 2008

Social Experiment...

Most of my neighbors belong to the local country club....we don't. When it was one of my neighbor's birthdays she chose to have a "ladies lunch" at the club and invited me. I have to be honest, I felt a little weird going to this exclusive establishment, and was feeling a little nervous having lunch with mostly strangers in tennis outfits. Everyone was certainly nice and pleasant...talking about their children, cleaning ladies, private schools, etc. {Honest...you can't make this stuff up} and made me feel welcome with their chatting. I just mostly listened and stared out the huge window at Camelback Mountain...dreaming of France.

The server broke up the bill individually, and when she handed my bill to me, I started to get out cash and a few of my neighbors at once said, "Oh! We have yours..." I was confused and asked my neighbor sitting next to me "Can't I pay with cash?" and she explained that "No, you have to be a member of the club to pay". It was sooo weird. I came home and told J. about the experience and we concluded that we are not country club people...we'd rather picnic in the grass.

February 12, 2008

Quote on Tuesday.

"Relationships are difficult, time-consuming, baffling, and sometimes heartbreaking. They're also what make life worth living."

--Martha Beck

{I love this quote...it's so true and beautiful.}

La Saint Valentin.

Laduree is this wonderful pastry shop in Paris that specializes in macaroons. They come in every flavor imaginable {chocolate, coffee, pistachio, raspberry, rose petal, vanilla...} They are amazingly moist, flaky cookies with a creamy filling in the middle. We bought some the day before we left Paris, I flew with them in my carry on and enjoyed them {again} when we got home.

Look at these adorable chocolate boxes with a French Bulldog on the front...reminds me of Brooks.

With Valentines Day approaching, I checked out their website and they have these chic gift arraignments. The candles smell amazing...some parisian woman will be lucky to get this on Thurday.

February 11, 2008

Inspiration.

This amazing Maryland Farmhouse was featured in the March Country Living magazine...one of my monthly subscription staples. I love her style and could easily move into this house tomorrow. See more pictures and read the article here.

My favorites {besides the amazing porch with flowy curtains} are the niche in daughter's room for homework, giant chalkboard in son's room and the bench in master bedroom inscribed with wedding date.

Now I am off to watch Nate on Oprah....

New Taste.

I always thought these would be weird tasting, but last week they were on sale at Safeway, so I picked up the peppermint and spearmint. Now, I am hooked! They are so refreshing...it's like drinking water with a fresh piece of gum in your mouth.

February 10, 2008

A Day At The Museum.

J. and I spent our Sunday afternoon at The Pheonix Art Museum viewing the Masterpiece Replayed Exhibit, with famous works of art from France. It was really incredible and reminded me just how much I love museums. Growing up, when my mom would ask me what I wanted to do (roller skate, go to the park, etc.) I would always tell her that I wanted to go to the library or museum. There is a perpetual calm in these establishments that I crave in my life...and being in them makes me happy.

The grounds at the museum are beautiful and can briefly transport you to a European park (in your mind). We ate lunch at the museum cafe, and outside the window was a lovely family having a picnic in the grass. Now that the weather is turning magical...J. and I will be doing the same in the near future.

February 8, 2008

Gratitude.

Why I am feeling grateful...

  1. I was supposed to have jury duty today, but called to check in last night, and it was dismissed!
  2. I visited 2 different adorable newborn babies yesterday....Baby John and Baby Riley.
  3. Getting to chat on the phone with Keri on a weekday morning {she had the day off from work to care for Kaylie}.
  4. Going out for a wonderful dinner with J. at Olive and Ivy.
  5. Buying the last copy of this book at Borders. I'm officially scouring my closet, and eliminating anything that doesn't make me feel amazing.

Don't forget to count your blessings today...



New Shoes...

Once I clean my closet and rid of all the "junk", I think I'll treat myself to these perfect shoes from J.crew....and wear them with everything.

February 7, 2008

Nate.

I love Nate Berkus...Oprah's design guru. He has the most fabulous sense of style and is so darn adorable! I love that he incorporates personal warm objects into the most high profile, stylish homes. On a segment he did for the Oprah show once, he said that in his house, it's important to design so that the dogs can still be a part of the home (bed, couch, etc.)...I love this about him. He creates spaces that feel like warm and personal,which is so imporant...being in a house that feels like a model home gives me the creeps. Here are some examples of Nate designs I adore.

Sometimes I go here while sitting at the computer and just listen to parts of his radio show on XM radio. He has the best personality, too.

{Edit: I saw today that on Monday, Nate is going to be on Oprah building a dream house...I can't wait!}