Quick Living Room Refresh: Lucie Ayres

Back to the swing of things and back to my favorite interior designer friend and guest blog extraordinaire, Lucie Ayres! Take it away, Lucie and thanks so much! A Fall refresh for your living room!

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Every time the kids go back to school, I a) feel normal again and b) feel like the living room needs to be refreshed (and de-toy-ified).  Whether or not you have children, it’s always nice to change things up for a new season. Fall + Winter translate into more time spent indoors, so let’s make the indoor areas you value feel fantastic.

 

A few ideas/things that I like to do-

 

1 – General “Kondo method” time 

At this point in early Fall, I realize we all need a bit of a clean out. The question of “does this spark joy?” is a good one.  In my living room there are too many toys that don’t spark joy for me, but do so for my kids. Luckily I found these amazing storage ottomans which hold all those joy sparking toys and don’t create an eye sore. Or if you are lucky to have built in storage – put those things away (I also encourage the children (“gently force”) to look through their toys and donate the ones they are no longer playing with).

 

 

If you have bookshelves (I can’t live without them personally), this is the time to take a minute to style them, get rid of a few books you don’t care for anymore (and add some good new ones), as well as swap a different photo in the picture frames (update a family photo or add an old one you found that makes you smile) I also like to rearrange – lightly – just to make it feel different.

 

 

2 – Less flowers, more candles

 

Swap the summer flowers in a small vase for wheat stacks or pussy willows (bonus – these will last forever)  in a tall or extra wide vase and add candles. One of the best parts of Fall is the scents! The smell of hot apple cider, chopped wood for the fire, and crisp colder air are divine (maybe because I was born in September I have a special affinity for this season…)   Candles in woodsy scents like Fir or Cedar wood are the best. They really set the mood.

 

 

3-  Bust out the blankets

 

My favorite part is getting out those incredibly heavy weight blankets, like an extra long faux fur or heavy wool.  The idea of a cozy blanket and a great book (just finished reading Pacinko by Min Jin Lee and highly recommend it)  – who doesn’t love that?

 

 

4- Create a bar area 

 

Last but not least, why not create a bar area and invite some friends over to celebrate the season? My husband Chris makes the best Old Fashioned anyone has ever tasted, and everyone wants an invite to ours just to get another.  Master a cocktail and cozy up, enjoy the scents, good friends and a great book, and just relax into this amazing season.

 

 

Cheers! Lucie (All images are from the 22 Interiors portfolio)

 

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Westman Atelier Mascara

I am a tough critic with mascara — so when I say I am IN LOVE with Westman Atelier, please do not take it lightly. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MASCARA. It is the most incredible, luxurious, and out of this world mascara and I have never encountered *any* mascara that compares. Westman Atelier mascara, hands down, the best mascara and best money I have spent in a very long time. This mascara is far from inexpensive ($62) but it makes a huge difference.

 

Looks like a baton. YES, it’s large and luxurious but oh so worth it.

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To Do Fall 2019

SUMMER DON’T GO, but since you are, in fact, *gasp* gone, here is what I want to do this Fall…some repeats to last year, but as a lover of lists (and planning), I like setting goals for the season. Here they are:

 

1. Be more current and attend more live concerts.

 

Live concerts….so much fun to go to. And I don’t go often enough.  We are going to see O.A.R. in Port Chester in November, but otherwise need to get live music on our calendar.

 

2. See more theatre.

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Currently Loving End of Summer 2019

Here we are, another season has flown by, and now onto the new same old (a la Alanis, isn’t it ironic?). Tomorrow, we go in to our same old routine but now, a summer under our wings with new experiences and thoughts….so, that said, here is what I am currently loving.

 

1. Lizzo Tiny Desk Concert

 

MAD CRUSH

 

All summer, I was obsessed with Lizzo. I listened to all her songs, read her interviews, and fell madly in love with her. So now, I can’t wait to see her in September at Radio City Hall. She is one flipping incredible musician and loving and personable person — I want to meet her and become friends with her. You need to listen to her interview on Fresh Air and watch the Tiny Desk Concert linked above. Wildly talented.

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Ume Onigiri House

The local community pool in Eugene, Oregon (Amazon Pool) is unlike any other public pool. Sure, there is a random mixture of people (Olympic athletes, White Trash, professors, and a mish mash of kids),  incredible views and greenery, and endless options of fun (high dive, platform dive, loopty-loop slide, tunnel slide, obstacle course, water sprays, sandbox, you name it). But it is the snack grill that is my ultimate favorite. It is not your typical pool snacks — no corn dogs or french fries — but rather hippy dippy Asian cuisine served at Ume Onigiri House. Kombucha, of course, and even better their dumplings and onigiri. Even though Ken is half-Japanese, I had never tried an onigiri until this summer. AND MAN, how I love it. Seriously, if you ever go to a restaurant and see it on the menu, get it. It is essentially a rice ball filled with various fillings — teriyaki chicken is my kids go to, but I have had the kimchi and teriyaki tofu and they are DELICIOUS.

 

Placing the order. Each onigiri costs $2.50 — A STEAL OF A DEAL! That alone makes it amazing.

The kids love it so much that they can barely wait to eat it.

It comes with homemade pickles, spinach, and the rice balls.

Tusia loves to mix hers up…making it a mixture of rice and chicken.

Cruzzie loves the dumplings.

Dumpling dude.

A portrait of feet and onigiri.

Another day, another onigiri dinner.

Basically, twice a week at swim lessons, the kids would eat onigiri for their dinner.

Perfection.

 

So yes, I understand that Ume Grill is unique to Eugene, but wherever you are, go find ONIGIRI. So good and so healthy, too. The perfect little meal.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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CSA Chickens

There is SO much I love about my hometown, Eugene, Oregon, but one of the things I love most is the quality of the food. We get two deliveries of CSA vegetables per week (Turnip the Beet and Wintergreen Farm — my parents have been members of both farms for over 20 years!!!) as well as fresh chickens and eggs from Havurah Farms every other week. You literally don’t have to go to the grocery store except for pantry and freezer items. And the chickens?!?!?! MAN they are good. Who knew chickens could taste THAT good. They come from Havurah Farms and are pasture raised and non-gmo fed. Also, kosher, organic and killed young. You can literally taste the difference.

 

Every other Monday, my parents go to someone’s house for pickup. You get your chickens and eggs, check off your name, and then you are on your way. Old school, honor code. The chickens are killed the morning you pick them up.

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Dehydrated Peaches

Earlier this week, we went peach picking (one of my favorite pastimes in Oregon….  fun, beautiful, and super inexpensive. WIN WIN all around). In 20 minutes, we gathered 35 pounds of delicious and perfect peaches. As much as I love peaches, that is a WHOLE lot of peaches to eat….especially since they go bad very quickly. So within minutes, I made two crisps (a little bit of oatmeal, a little bit of butter, a little bit of sugar and VOILA).  But there was still 30 plus pounds left….so we decided to dehydrate them and they are oh so good.

 

Me and my partner in crime. She weighs just slightly more than the peaches.

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Whitagram App

There are a lot of filters and apps to make photographs better, whether it is to have for your own personal photo collection or to post on social media. Currently, I have seen a lot of people using “Whitagram” which leaves a very artsy and clean white frame around photographs. I recently downloaded the app and used it on some pictures.  I love the look. Download it on the app store on your iphone and use it on any photo in your library. PLEASE NOTE: It is hard to really tell what the end result looks like with the pictures here — as the blog post is a white background and the frames around the photos are white, it is hard to really picture what I am talking about. But trust me, it looks good and chic.

 

SUPER easy to use.

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Cilantro Jalapeno Vegan Pesto

The other day, my mom made the most incredible pesto — the typical basil, pine nut, parmesan combination. It was so delicious, I found excuses to eat it (chip, carrot, spoon, you name it). But because everyone KNOWS how to make pesto, I decided to find a more creative (and cost effective) vegan pesto. Instead of pine nuts and parmesan, hellloooo cashews. Instead of basil, welcome cilantro and jalapeno. It is green, healthy, and has just a minor kick to it (next time, I want to add more jalapeno). Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

 

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Que Water Bottle

Goodbye plastic bottles (be gone!), hello collapsible water bottle! Who knew that a single tiny little bottle could bring so much joy? This lightweight bottle is perfect for traveling or everyday. You just smoooosh it and it is half the original size. No more lugging around heavy glass bottles or bulky bottles. This is the perfect solution for everyday on the move. Que bottles.

 

BIG — fill it up with water!

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Root Beer Float

OK, this might be the stupidest and most obvious post ever (or genius, depending on who you ask), but I recently became reacquainted with root beer floats, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. Seriously, two ingredients lead to the most refreshing and delicious snack slash dinner. It truly tastes like heaven, especially if you use high quality ice cream and root beer.

 

TWO — just two — ingredients!

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Bonton Girls Heart Swimsuit

I have a thing for fancy little kid’s bathing suits….I think it is because my kids wear swimsuits all summer long, so investing in a cute suit is worth it if you break it down by cost per wear. As a result, when I came across this swimsuit in Paris from Bonton, I knew that I had to get it. Right now, you can find this suit (on sale) here and here.

 

I love the ruffles, the look, the colors, the hearts.

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Paris June 2019 Highlights

Bonjour! My apologies for the slow posts these past two weeks — it was quite difficult to get on the internet to do any posts especially because I had a major computer issue a…..turns out, all is okay with my computer but the head of the charger died — who knew that that was a thing? In any case, I am now back in the USA *with* a working computer, so back to normal post schedules. I wanted to first share with you all some of the pictures and highlights of my time in Paris with the kids — we did go to the South of France for an amazing trip as well, and I will post those later. In the meantime, enjoy these photos!

 

In the Tuileries, one of our favorite activities is the trampoline park. It is an old school little hut with a man that got to know us because we went so often. Everyday when we would get there he would say hello and when we would leave, he would say “See you tomorrow.”

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All About Color With Lucie Ayres

Over the past several years, friend Lucie Ayres has guest posted here. Not only do I love it (writer’s block solution and busy schedule!) but I also love Lucie. She is full of pizazz, style, and is a super talented interior designer. To see her previous posts, go here and here. Today, she is presenting ALL ABOUT COLOR. Which I love, because if you know me, I am ALLLLLLL about color. Take it away, Lucie and THANK YOU!

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It’s SPRING  (officially Summer, but hey, early summer) – a colorful time of year, one that inspires the ol’ spring cleaning, and also the busiest time for many interior designers.  It’s that REFRESH MY SPACE moment. Sure, you can clean up, and add some new throw pillows into the mix (new pillows are NEVER a bad idea) but if you REALLY want to update a space  – it’s all about thinking about your walls… particularly the paint color. That much might be obvious, but what’s not obvious is the type of paint you buy.

 

Paint samples by DRIKOLOR

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O.A.R. at Pier 17

This winter, I posted on Pier 17 after I took the kids skating there with their friends.  I loved the new waterfront space, and was wondering how it was going to be used when the weather warmed up.  The answer?  Concerts!   Perfect.   And what makes Pier 17 even more prefect?  O.A.R.!  Readers of the blog know that Ken and I have a history with the band (Ken’s favorite), which goes back to when Ken won the chance to do a live sound check with them at a silent auction.  They were amazing and Ken has stayed in touch with them.  He is basically a groupie on the side.  Enjoy the pics from their concert last week!

Pier 17 is just off South Street Seaport extending into the East River.  The roof and views are amazing.

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Painted Leather Jacket: Scarlett Cussell

And what do you know — summer is now upon us. It has been an insanely busy week with school ending and all the packing and planning and HOW DID TIME FLY feelings. So much to do, so little time. So instead of focusing on everything that needs to get done between now and Sunday when we depart NYC for the whole summer, here is my new favorite addition to my wardrobe! A leather jacket — and not just any leather jacket — a PAINTED leather jacket with so much symbolism and personal touches that it makes me cry out of happiness.

 

My jacket.

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Bar Pisellino

On a beautiful summery day last weekend, we went with friends-that-are-family to Bar Pisellino, a bar that I had read about and was so excited to try out. If you know me, I have been obsessed with Aperol Spritzes for the past 12 months, and Bar Pisellino not only serves them, but has them on TAP. YUP — Aperol ON DRAFT.

 

Nothing better than summer nights in Manhattan….especially with epic and gorgeous skies as documented by @ken.natori

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CFDA Awards 2019

Every first Monday in June, I attend the CFDA Awards with my mother-in-law. It is a fun evening of wild fashion, mega celebrities, and creative fashion designers. Although no one cares about a stay-at-home-mom-math-tutor-lady, I thoroughly enjoy people watching and taking in all the fashion. Here are pictures of last night’s event! And to see all the professional shots of the evening, go here.

 

Getting ready is no joke! But of course, as it is the end of the year, I still have massive amounts of tutoring and family obligations to attend to….so I had my hair done in my tutoring session.

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Natori Sleek Bralette

I am a prude and hate to show skin, but a fashionable friend convinced me to buy the Natori Sleek Bralette as it was a must have for layering…..so I did, but then had no idea how to style it. Thank goodness for genius ideas, because she told me to wear it under a blazer with high waisted pants. So last week, on my mother-in-law’s 72nd birthday, I decided to wear one of her creations for her dinner…..YES daring, YES out of my comfort zone, but YES fun.

 

It comes in two different colors: white and black. I decided to purchase the black because it was less out of the ordinary for me, and because I was already taking a risk, I wanted to make it more manageable.

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Tusia Photo Shoot

Our next door neighbors run fashion house, Oscar de la Renta, and so when they approached us to see if Tusia would like to shoot for their kids ad campaign, we couldn’t say no. Although I am not a fan of the modeling business (what kind of message does it send the child? Is beauty more important than school? etc….), I felt that this was a once in a lifetime experience that we couldn’t pass up — not many people can say that their first and only photo shoot was for Oscar de la Renta. Last Friday was definitely a learning experience for the two of us — surrounded by new things and processes…  I am not sure I love any of it — regardless, I am so happy that we did it. And absolutely everyone involved in the photo shoot was kind, loving, and thoughtful. Take a look at the behind the scene pics — and as soon as we get the final photos (if she doesn’t get cut — you never know!), I will share!

 

First, we had a fitting two days before the shoot. During this fitting, it was also a try out for the other models. The other four models were professional and hired children models — a very dark and weird place (IMHO).

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Ralph’s Coffee

After months of hearing about Ralph’s Coffee, I finally made it inside. And it is even more divine and fabulous than I ever imagined — chic, beautiful, and old school glamorous. Located inside the Ralph Lauren flagship store on 72nd and Madison , Ralph’s Coffee is a relaxing and delicious place to grab a drink and snack (Ralph Lauren partnered up with the team at La Colombe to create Ranph’s Coffee’s signature blend). It also helps that the people inside are just as beautiful as you would expect, making for great people watching.

 

Sidewalk art signage. Although the store does not open until 10 am, Ralph’s Coffee opens at 8 am. I can’t wait to go back!!!

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Brene Brown

Brene Brown is all over the place right now; podcasts, netflix specials, books, and even billboards. And there is a reason why. She is wise, relatable, informative, honest, and real. Known as a researcher and story teller, she is a self help guru that anyone and everyone can learn from. I watched her ultra famous Ted Talk (one of the top 5 Ted talks of all time — over 40 million views!) years ago, and find myself re-wathching it every year to relearn all that she has to share. She has spent years researching shame and vulnerability and shares it in an honest and approachable manner. And her most recent talk, a netflix special on courage (“The Call To Courage“), shame, joy, and human connection is amazing.   I found myself crying, laughing, and wanting immediately to REWATCH it all over again. It is that good.

 

Watch it now. Although, if you haven’t yet watched her 20 minute Ted Talk on Shame, that is where you should start. THENNNNNNN, you should watch this hour plus talk on Netflix. It is new (came out on April 19th — a couple weeks ago).

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