Tuesday, June 29

Summer Redecorating Project

This weekend, we're rolling up our sleeves and starting our guest bedroom painting project. The orange, although pretty in the late afternoon light, is starting to grate on my nerves.
It also highlights all of the imperfections on our walls...which is never a good thing.
I've always been inspired by the beach, and this room is going to become much more beach-like in the weeks to come. The walls will be painted a creamy vanilla, and the bedding will also be shades of white and cream. I'll probably add a few old comforters on the end of the bed for good measure. The room can't be too white in our house filled with yellows, faded reds and blues! It would look strange!
To go along with the bedroom redo, I framed up a few of my recent beach photos. The top photo is of the palm tree in my grandma's backyard, and the bottom photo is the lifeguard station in Manhattan Beach, California. These two will go in the dining room.
These three will go in the new guest bedroom. The top one is from Manhattan Beach, and the bottom two are from Palos Verdes Estates, where my mother grew up. The bottom photo is of La Venta Inn. My great-grandmother's home overlooked this beauty (and beyond it, the ocean). Can you imagine that? Sigh!
No wonder I long to live by the ocean....
More photos of our progress to follow. Also, coming soon - garden photos!

Thursday, June 24

Well Styled Movie: The Holiday

This week, I'm really inspired by pretty movie homes (obviously). I've already profiled a New York brownstone apartment and an Italian villa. Now it's time for the lovely English cottage from The Holiday. If you haven't seen this movie, it's set in my two favorite places - England and Los Angeles. The L.A. house is way too modern for me, but the English cottage is one of my all-time favorite houses. Unfortunately, this house was built for the movie, but there are so many really wonderful English cottages in my birth country that it doesn't matter. Sigh! The character who lives in this cottage is Iris, played by the always incredible Kate Winslet. Iris is a romantic journalist, and her home reflects that perfectly. You would have no idea that the home was decorated by a famous interior designer, but it was. You can read more about him by clicking on the links below. Very cool stuff. Now it's time to admire some of his handy work:
Iris's airy library.

The kitchen

The exterior of the cottage.
The cozy living room.
The teeny bath with the cutest little window! Cameron Diaz's character enjoys the snowy English day.
The entry. Love the wellies and the sweet front door!
A different view of the living room.
The bedroom.
Another view of the living room and entry.
I love the way everything is mismatched, but it somehow goes together. It's not too old-fashioned - it just looks lived-in and loved. It's especially magical during the scenes at night. It also doesn't hurt that the movie takes place during the Christmas season, my absolute favorite time of year....
It's been 100 degrees in Memphis for the past few weeks. I'm very ready for the Christmas season right now.
P.S. - For more information about the home's designer, visit this amazing blog, Cote de Texas. For more about cool movie houses, visit Hooked on Houses. Both blogs have really great stories and definitely worth a visit. :)

Tuesday, June 22

Well Styled Movie: Under The Tuscan Sun

Apparently it's movie week around here. As you may remember, I first blogged about the book Under The Tuscan Sun earlier this year. It's one of my all-time favorites that I've read over and over again. The book is written so well that you can visualize everything Frances Mayes talks about even if you've never been to Italy. Fortunately for me, I've been to Italy many times. My only living grandparent (my paternal grandmother) lives in Naples with my aunt, uncle and their children. It's been years since I've visited Italy, but this book instantly takes me there. I can taste the food and wine, see the vivid colors of the sunflowers, grasses and villas, and hear the voices of Italy's people. This book is truly a treat for the senses. Plus it focuses on the important things in life - simple pleasures like family and friends, food and a cool old villa. It's simply magical. The movie isn't the best ever, but I enjoy it for the cinematography and the villa itself. There weren't many pictures from the movie on Google images, but here are a few:
Like I said, the book and the movie are all about food. Check out the farm table and beautiful plates on the wall in the background. This movie and book will make you want to cook and drink lots of wine...
Books, a cat, flowers, and the most beautiful shutters I've ever seen...I adore that color.

I want this bed. I wish I had a close up to show you...

Pretty flowers.

Those delightful shutters and an Italian terrace. My husband is not Italian and has never been to Italy, but he loves true Italian food. I can't wait to share it with him this summer. Yes, we're going to Italy this summer! We just booked our tickets, and we are very excited!

Talk about a romantic trip. Good food, good wine, lots of walks around Roma, Napoli and Capri.

Non vedo l'ora di andare in Italia.

The above quote is courtesy of Google Translate.

Now it's time to work on our Italian. :)

Monday, June 21

Well Styled Movie: You've Got Mail

Sorry I've been MIA lately. Work has been a bit overwhelming. Luckily, most of the stress is behind me now, and I'm finally able to go back to a 9-5 schedule. Thank blog and my garden are suffering! The one thing that hasn't been suffering lately is my workout schedule. With the craziness at work, it's a good way to release stress. Anyway, during one of my recent gym visits, You've Got Mail was on TV. I've always loved that movie. There are just so many good things going on - how can you not love it? One of my favorite things about it is Meg Ryan's apartment. It's so homey and cheery. It seems like she's inherited all of her grandmother and mother's furniture, and then added her own flair to it. I literally can watch the movie just to see her apartment - it's wonderfully inspiring and full of character. Her clothes are pretty awesome as well -- lots of classic neutrals! I especially love her outfit at the end of the movie. Here are some movie stills I found via Google images. Enjoy!
Meg's sunny kitchen. I love the bread box under the table.
Usually I'm not a fan of oak furniture, but it works in this space.
Notice how many lamps are in this space.
The kitchen's french doors and vintage floor.
Her grandma couch. I love it.
The end-of-the-movie dress and cardigan. My favorite.
The molding, the bookshelves, the plates on the wall - I love it all!
Such a cozy space!
I love the wide assortment of art on the walls. It adds to the visual interest of the space.
Piles of books and mismatched bedding!
Classic t-shirt and sweater combo.
Twinkle lights and a gray sweater. Heavenly.
Flowers and books.

Friday, June 4

Something Magical

My grandma passed away in August 2003 after a short battle with cancer. She was 69.
I was 20. The week leading up to her death changed me forever. If you've ever lost someone close to you to cancer, then you know what I mean. It's devastating.
For the past seven years, I've felt myself becoming more and more like her. I've picked up more of her mannerisms. I enjoy things she enjoyed. We've even adopted a black lab who looks much like her beloved lab, Brandi. I find my greatest joy in the little things in life - good food, family, our pets and nature.
Even though I carry her with me every day, I still miss her like crazy. I wish I could hit the rewind button so I could see her, or even just talk to her on the phone or by email.
None of those things are possible, but my mother, sister and I still dream about the possibilities. I think that's all you have when you lose someone you love. You have your dreams and your memories.
It isn't every day that something magical happens that enables you to talk to the person you love so very, very much. That sort of thing is the stuff of fictional novels, right?
But something magical happened to us yesterday.
As crazy as it sounds, I will get to talk to my grandma next Friday.
It started last night when my cell phone rang. My mother had called me four times in a row. I thought something terrible had happened.
Instead, she told me a story. My dad's company is moving to 7 World Trade Center, and he's been cleaning out his office. Yesterday his secretary was helping him (he has A LOT of junk), and she found an unopened package. She held it up and asked what it was. He didn't recognize it, so he asked who it was from.
It was from my grandma.
At this point, I'm mildly surprised my dad didn't have a heart attack.
Instead he grabbed the package and read the date it was mailed. It was mailed on January 12, 1998. Three weeks before that date, my grandma had lost her second husband to cancer. It was probably a late Christmas present she had mailed. It had probably arrived while my dad was on a business trip, and it had been pushed aside and forgotten.
Probably. Probably.
The question is, how does a package get lost in an office for 12 years? Since that package was mailed, I've gone through four years of high school, four years of college, started my first job, gotten married, started my second job, bought a house, etc, etc....
Twelve years is a long time to lose an unopened package.
My dad's birthday is next Friday. He's coming home for the first time since Christmas. He's bringing the package, unopened, for us to open as a family.
How does something like this happen?
Realistically, it doesn't.
But it's happening to us.
I'm so excited and grateful for little miracles.
We've had so many little miracles lately.

Thursday, June 3

Artist Inspiration: Mary Blair

Maybe her name isn't familiar to you, but if you grew up watching Disney movies or if you have ever visited Disneyland, you know Mary Blair's work.

It's funny because I've loved her since I was a little girl, but I only matched her name to her work tonight after reading one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess. I wonder how many people go through life loving a person's artwork without ever learning the artist's name or their story? How sad.

It's A Small World has always been one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. Mary designed the artwork for the ride. She also designed two Tomorrowland murals featuring similar characters, which were covered up in 1987 and 1998 by Star Tours murals. She also designed a 90 ft mural at Walt Disney World in Orlando. If you'd like to see photos of her murals, Yesterland has some good ones. (Note: if you are a Disneyland fanatic, you must visit Yesterland. They have stories and photos of every single retired Disneyland attraction. As a child raised on all things Disney and Disneyland, this makes me incredibly happy.)

Mary was an illustrator and animator before she started working on It's A Small World. She is credited with the color styling on Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, as well as several animated shorts of that period. She also did quite a few print ads and she illustrated several children's books including I Can Fly and The New Little Golden Songbook. I'm going to be on the hunt for every book she illustrated. They are beautiful.

Mary was recognized with a posthumous Disney Legend award in 1991. Her style has inspired hundreds of animators, illustrators and graphic designers. It has certainly inspired me.

I'm so glad I finally know her story.

Wednesday, June 2

Fashion (and Music) Inspiration: Zooey Deschanel

Like her movies, Zooey's style is quirky and cute. I love how she marries vintage and modern into a look that is all her own. It just works for her.
I recently bought two headbands from Target because she inspired me so much. I want a rosette for my hair as well, but I'm afraid I'll look like a complete dork. Some girls can work hair accessories like that, but I'm not sure I'm one of them!
P.S. - If you're looking for a new band to discover, check out Zooey's band, She & Him. They have two CDs (Volume One and Volume Two), and both are the perfect combination of vintage and modern. They make me very, very happy.
Check them out online at For those of you who are as crazy about graphic design as I am, you'll love this site. My happiness grows. :)
Stay tuned for rose and house updates coming later this week. Everything is coming along nicely. Ahh, summertime!