I know people think that candles are an impersonal gift, but I personally love them and can never have too many. To me, they are the PERFECT gift. A little token of love that keeps on giving! Every time I light a candle, I remember where / who / what and think back to a memory with the given smell. I also have a cabinet of candles, as you never know when you need a last minute gift. So, here is my list of favorite candles!
1. D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain
One of my favorite scents — have it as soap, hand sanitizer, and as candles. It is light and refreshing and I never get sick of it.
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!
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).
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!
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
One of my favorite parts of our Pound Ridge home is the bulletin board wall in the playroom. Although we don’t spend much time in the room, it screams happiness. When we were re-decorating our home five years ago, I wanted a place to display the kids’ artwork, so we came up with the idea of having one full wall in cork so we could easily tack pictures. While I unfortunately haven’t updated the artwork in years, I just love the dimension, character, and color the wall brings to the room and house.
Color clutter! Although I am obsessively neat and like to have everything completely organized, somehow I love this little splatter of chaos and confusion. I am surprised that the last time I re-did the art wall, I didn’t organize it by colors…
Now that I am back to NYC, I am all about fast, easy dinners. I like simple, delicious, and healthy meals that do not require much thought but are still tasty and good for you. So when I came across Haven’s Kitchen Sauces on Fresh Direct, I jumped especially because my friend Katie Carey, happens to be the brains and beauty behind these delicious sauces! Can you believe how small this world is? TINY! And can you believe how amazing these sauces are? INCREDIBLE.
So good. So good. So good. Worth repeating and eating more and more and more of them.
Remember last Spring, we interviewed old friend Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors and then she posted on The Guide to the Perfect Bedroom? Well, she is back at it again for us all! Thanks so much, Lucie! And this time she is going to give us some Fall tips for rugs, pillows, and robes! Take it away!
Fall is the BEST time of the year – it’s cooler, the cocktails are heartier, and the social calendar is filled with parties. Many of us will have guests who spend the night or three, and why not make that the perfect excuse to revamp the guest room? Or any room, really. All one needs to do this transformation is a great rug as the anchor, a few fun throw pillows to help set the mood and maybe something for your guest (or you) like a gorgeous robe to compliment the decor, from Natori of course.
We put together our favorite rug / pillow / robe combos to achieve a FAB FALL design update.
Last month while still in NYC, my West Coast biffle stopped in for a sleepover on her way through NYC. As always, she gifted us the most unique, thoughtful, and special housewarming gift: a collection of coffee table books. (Her last gift, which I also posted on, is here.) Each book is beautiful, interesting, and special, but what makes them even more special, is that they are so me! Take a look at the selection — I love the idea of presenting friends with a collection of books that they can flip through and read for years to come.
The large heavy stack!
Readers of the blog know we recently finished a major home renovation. One of my favorite hacks is in our laundry room, where we had an old-school (retro like 1960s) lobby intercom AND an electric wiring box that required covering up. Since we need access to the electrical box, we wanted something cheap, easy, and replaceable. The laundry room is fun and playful (my favorite room in the house), so we added to the fun by covering the wall with place posters and washi tape.
UGLY! HELP! SOS!
The most recent decorative addition to our daughter’s room is this fun Indian tribal wall decor. It is colorful, bright, cheerful, and adds a different touch to the room.
I am all about random pops of color in our house, so I love the baskets from Baba Tree. They add the perfect touches in the living room and make me so happy.
Baskets at the edge of the chair.
I love browsing cookbooks so when Salad for President, came out I was ecstatic. This cookbook is full of recipes, interviews and contributions from creative artists / chefs / writers / musicians.
This book is the perfect hostess present (coffee table book?)
Now that we have completed our renovation, we are figuring out where we want to spend time in the new apartment. Like most houses, we spend most of the time in the kitchen. And the rest of the time, we are in the playroom. This room makes me incredibly happy as it is bright, cheery, green, and fun.
The whole shabang.
I recently posted tips from our friend Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors on how to make a great master bedroom. Read below for more insight into her interior decorating and her business. Thanks Lucie!
When and how did you decide to become a designer?
I’ve wanted to be a designer ever since I was a little girl and rearranged the furniture in my room constantly.
Lucie at age 8.
I love Zara — both the adult and kids’ clothes are my go tos for shopping. And now, I am in love with Zara Home. Although there are no stores currently in the United States, Zara Home is all over Europe and online. Think home decor at Zara prices — a win win for everyone! They have a terrific selection of linens, bedding, tabletop, accessories, and more. Recently, on my quick trip to Paris, I went in and oohed and ahhed at the selection (and prices).
The beginning of April was a complete whirlwind — the night we traveled back from our Spring Break (Puerto Rico, Florida, and Oregon!), we moved into our new apartment. Then, that Friday, it was the Passover Seder at my daughter’s preschool which I have been co-chairing for the past four years (a huge event for 400 plus people). That night, I flew to Paris to run the Paris Marathon. Call me a complete NUT CASE, because all of that on its own is stressful. Put it together, it is insane. Anyways, now I am back and readjusting to life…….and here is what I am currently loving!
1. Flying Tiger Flower Pens
For those of you who do not know Flying Tiger, you need to. It is a Danish store, similar to Ikea, but for home goods and gadgets. It has everything and anything, at super cheap prices. Luckily for me, it is a block away from my son’s school, so I always find myself in there when I am early for pick up. It is great for party favors, silly gifts, and your own home. Check it out!
This pen cost ONE DOLLAR. Isn’t it beautiful?
We are so fortunate to have a lot of great friends, many of whom are incredibly talented in their field. One of these peeps is Lucie Ayres, a dear friend of Ken’s from his junior year study abroad program in Prague. Lucie is an interior designer for her company 22 Interiors based in Los Angeles. She has a beautiful eye, incredible taste, and great style. If you ever need a designer, I highly recommend her. And even if you want some inspiration, subscribe to her blog and follow her on instagram. In the meantime, here she is for a guide to the perfect bedroom!!!! Thank you, Lucie! Take it away!
The perfect bedroom, styled by 22 Interiors.
Drum roll……This is our last official night living with my inlaws. Spring break starts tomorrow and when we return, we will be in OUR NEW APARTMENT! We have been living in temporary digs since June 2016, so the return home will be that much better and sweeter. Our home! Here are some pictures of the current state of our apartment…not everything is done, like wallpaper, and lights, etc…but that will take place in the next two weeks (or so we hope!).
This is our future dining room and living room. I love the new floors (they are the same floors just sanded down and stained light vs the original dark color).
We are officially five months into our home renovation project, and slowly, it is taking more form and becoming more like a real home! The lights are now in (not the light fixtures, but the electrical outlets and lights on the ceiling), the walls are in place, and the stairs connect the floors!!! Mind you, it is far from done, but I now have a better sense of what it is really going to look like, and I can’t contain my excitement. Take a look at the newest pictures:
The new entry way!
One of my best friends happens to be one of the most organized people I have ever met. She literally has a folder for everything, a labeled box for anything, AND she has a genius way of organizing holiday cards — by hole punching them and putting them on a ring. No clutter, no loose mail, and everything is all in one place. So I did as all fans do and copied her. It sounds so silly, but it’s been a game changer! It might be an overstatement to say it has changed my life, but I kinda feel like it has. #Dramatic
You simply punch a hole in the corner and put it on the key ring. So easy (and cheap). And it feels so clean and organized.
Exciting times for our family of four…..we are expanding! NO, NO NO NO, not to a family of five, but to a bigger apartment. We are currently (as of a few weeks ago) combining our apartment with the apartment below us, to give us more space and a forever family home. We are *INCREDIBLY* fortunate to have this dream come true, and we couldn’t be more excited. Thanks to the handful of friends who have looked through the plans, walked through the space, and given advice. Thank you for being my support system — I wouldn’t be able to do it without you. And of course, main thank you to my Babers for giving us this dream and putting up with my anxiety and fear of being displaced for 6 months…
The stairs! Toosh’s old room upstairs is now becoming the top landing of the stairs! It’s currently a big hole — but I can totally envision the stairs!
I love bedding — Natori bedding and Roberta Roller Rabbit are my two favorites, and recently I came across Hill House Home and fell instantly in love. Hill House Home has sheets, robes, duvets, and pillowcases. The pillowcases, which you can monogram, are the items that won me over.
I love the font.
I can never have enough candles in my home. And for some reason, candles are one thing that I tend not to be price conscious about. In my closet full of presents (one of the best lessons passed down from my mother), most of the presents are candles. After reading a lot of reviews on candles (yes, they exist), I instantly bought cult-favorite D.S. & Durga. D.S. & Durga is a husband-wife team that makes the candles in Brooklyn (but of course).
Earlier this summer, I posted about natural deodorants and highlighted the Saint Olio one. Since then, I have become hooked on Saint Olio’s natural cleaners. This all purpose cleaner is perfect for the bathroom or kitchen, or anywhere that you want a clean surface and smell. My son walked into the bathroom recently and said “it smells like lemonade in here!” Well sort of, as it is citron and lemony, truly so fresh and airy.
The magic natural all purpose cleaner.
My favorite form of social media is instagram, mainly because I love the square cropped photos with various filters that instantly make me look like a photographer. (Yes, I realize the irony behind the fact that I am a public blogger but have a private instagram account and don’t really like posting photos. I’m an enigma. But if you send a request and your profile isn’t obviously psychotic, I will accept it!) So recently, I did a DIY project where I hung some instagram photos in my son’s room. I know, super creative.
A little surprise on his closet door.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so in addition to purchasing lingerie from Natori, you need to buy flowers! And what is easier than purchasing flowers online / via iphone app with Urban Stems. The lucky ducks that live in the NYC and DC area have access to this brilliant company. Simple, beautiful, and straightforward. The bouquets cost $35 and are a beautiful arrangement of carefully selected flowers imported straight from farms in South America. A bonus: According to the company, the farms used are environmentally-friendly and operate with labor friendly policies for their employees and their families. 90% of the farmers are women. Curious to see the product before I sent it to a secret admirer (my child’s preschool teacher – she is my true love), I bought a bouquet for myself.