Thursday, February 26, 2009

Start small

So, it's hard to believe, I know, but spring cleaning time is near. This time of year a lot of people look critically at their decor & want to change things, but the task can seem daunting. I suggest starting small. Redesign in small doses, if you're overwhelmed, by sprucing up your room vignette by vignette. Try creating a new vignette on a tabletop, dresser or bookcase. Then, move outward into the room from there.

I like these 3 examples. Totally different styles. All great.

Want drama? Try symmetry, like this:

Sure, the fabric drapery adds a huge dose of drama to this room, but you get the same result by using symmetry. Symmetry = instant drama.

Want whimsy? Try mixing rustic & modern or neutral & punchy colors, like this:

The asymmetrical arrangement is playful, whimsical & stylish. And mixing styles (rustic + eclectic in this example) is always chic.

Want to make a statement? Group your collections together, like this:

Collections, when grouped together, are more powerful visually. Plus it's a great conversation starter. I love how clean this arrangement is.

"Want drama" photo of Mary McDonald's guesthouse by Miguel Flores-Vianna from (YES, this should ring a bell)

"Want whimsy" photo from

"Want to make a statement" photo of Todd Klein's West Village abode by Simon Upton from ELLE DECOR via

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

These are fabulous!

Love entertaining. Love design. Love love love anything that combines the 2, so obviously I was smitten when I found these cocktail napkins on Etsy featuring famous designer chairs through the ages.

Napkins by Toronto-based Avril Loreti, 2 sets for $52. Buy them here.

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST X: WRAP UP

OK, the takeaway from NY fashion week? In addition to some rusty-gold-bronze & gray-silver looks you must get yourself a purple dress for fall. Plenty of time between now & then to find something, non? As seen at various shows, the sky really is the limit...(click image to enlarge)

design credits, top row, L to R: Altuzarra, Erin Fetherston, Marchesa, Narciso Rodriguez, Rebecca Taylor, J. Mendel

design credits, bottom row, L to R: Victoria Beckham, Carolina Herrera, Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Yigal Azrouël, Douglas Hannant

(all photos by Marcio Madeira except Erin Fetherston design which was photographed by Kevin Sturman, courtesy of Erin Fetherston)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST IX

Had to post some Zac Posen. There were many themes running through his latest collection, but I happened to like these autumnal pattern-on-pattern looks...

all 3 designs by Zac Posen (all 3 photos by Marcio Madeira from

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST VIII

Sorry I've been MIA for a few days, lots going on...but I still wanted to post on the last batch of NYC's theme: fall lightens up!

Light-As-Air Separates by Brian Reyes:

(photo by Marcio Madeira from, design by Brian Reyes)

Light & Happy Dressing by Ports 1961:

(photo by Marcio Madeira from, design by Ports 1961)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST VII

Why do I cover fashion week? Because I. Love. It. Gowns like this Marchesa one make me smile, make me happy & make it all worthwhile.

Yeah, what can I say? I will always love Marchesa.

design by Marchesa (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST VI

Ah Matthew Williamson & Badgley Mischka. So divine...

Amazing Patterns & Details at Matthew Williamson:

all 3 designs by Mathew Williamson (all 3 photos by Marcio Madeira from

NOT-So-Basic Black Dresses at Badgley Mischka:

both designs by Badgley Mischka (both photos by Marcio Madeira from

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST V.5

Today's favorite is Matthew Williamson (WOW, I can't wait to share these photos!) but honorable mention goes to Badgley Mischka for some of the most stunning gowns I've seen all week. Will post images later!

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST V

Of all the collections posted yesterday, the Carlos Miele show really struck me. Why? The dresses! Loved 'em!

all 3 designs by Carlos Miele (all 3 photos by Marcio Madeira from

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So many clothes, so little time...

Wow, so many beautiful shows posted this morning. Unfortunately I won't have a chance to look through them all closely until tonight, but I did want to post this pretty gown from the Carolina Herrera show to hold you over! View her complete collection here.

(photo by Marcio Madeira from, design by Carolina Herrera)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST IV

Today's favorites...

Calling My Name (tie) turtleneck by DKNY & dress by Preen:

from the DKNY show (photo by Marcio Madeira from

from the Preen show (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Overall Favorite Collection Tuleh:

all 3 looks from the Tuleh show (photos by Marcio Madeira from

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fashion week breather

Whew, it's only Sunday, yet dozens of designers have already shown their collections (see the schedule for details)!

So, I thought I'd take a breather & post this gorgeous dining room I found on Point Click Home. It belongs to Milly designer, Michelle Smith. See more of the Shaun Jackson-designed home here.

LOVING the Venetian chandelier, bold wallcovering, ebony accents & flowers on the table. So gorgeous!

(photo by Roger Davies from ELLE DECOR via Point Click Home)

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST III

More shows, more's favorites are below...

Best Tailoring/Silhouette by Hutson:

from the Hutson show (photo courtesy of Hutson from

Look I Wish I Had Today, To Wear Today (tie) by Karen Walker & United Bamboo:

Karen Walker (photo by Marcio Madeira from

United Bamboo (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Overall Favorite Collection Koi Suwannagate:

Koi Suwannagate (photo by Don Ashby from

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST II

New batch of collections posted on, here's my take...

Overall Favorite Look by Barbara Tfank:

from the Barbara Tfank show (photo by Kevin Sturman/courtesy of Barbara Tfank from

Overall Favorite Collection (tie) Christian Cota & Jason Wu:

Christian Cota (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Jason Wu (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Most Interesting Color Combos (tie) Shipley & Halmos & Cushnie et Ochs:

from the Shipley & Halmos show (photo by Marcio Madeira from

from the Cushnie et Ochs show (photo by Marcio Madeira from

Fall 2009 Fashion Week POST I

Yesterday's shows: loved parts of Peter Som's collection but in the end I was turned off by all the stenciled mink (NOT a fur fan, obviously). Sad, because I really like Som's work.

And I thought writer Meenal Mistry's crititique of Monique Lhuillier's collection,"ultimately it was distracting" hit the nail on the head. Lhuillier is a good designer, but Mistry was right.

It was refreshing, then, to see such strong basics at Jenni Kayne. Everything was wearable, yet chic. Nothing was too fussy. Loved it.


(all 3 photos by Marcio Madeira from, designs by Jenni Kayne)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fall 2009 Fashion Week

Just a little reminder that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week starts this Friday (February 13). I'll be covering it, of course!

Check out this schedule to see when your favorite designer is showing.

What shade of blue are you?

Big basketball night last night. This game never disappoints. In honor of the Carolina-Duke game (& rivalry), I thought I'd post some gorgeous rooms in various shades of blue.

I happen to LOVE blue rooms. My living/dining room & bedroom are different shades of blue-green (Martha Stewart Blue Hosta & Laura Ashley Glass Green, respectively). There's something just peaceful but stylish about it. Plus blue is very versatile & works well with other colors.

Top photo by Lucas Allen from domino (oh, don't get me started on how sad I am that domino is closing down)

Center photo from HousetoHome

Bottom photo (personal home of designer Steven Gambrel) by William Waldron from ELLE DECOR via Point Click Home

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm so in love with calligraphy

Big calligraphy fan. Even more so now that I'm studying its beginnings in my Chinese Art & Culture class. The image above is a banner from an exhibit titled, "Art for the People." MoMA hosted the exhibit in 1999 (hey, by the way, have I mentioned that MoMA is like one of my favorite places on the planet?).

Anyway, the exhibit explored the idea of written language as a barrier but this artist, Xu Bing, explores ways to break that barrier. Think you can't read the "calligraphy" or "characters" in the image? Look closer. You can. Pretty awesome, non?

Read more about the amazing artist, Xu Bing, here.

(photo from

Monday, February 9, 2009

What to do with all that fabric

If you're like me, you have a good collection of fabric stashed away somewhere in your home. Not sure what to do with it? Yeah, I have that same problem. That's why I fell in love with this "Patchwork Pillow" from Country Living.

I'm going to carve out some time in the next month or two, I think, to make one. Will be sure to let you know how it goes!

Get more craft ideas from Country Living here.

(photo by Keith Scott Morton from Country Living)

Don't wear that!

So, yeah, everybody's a critic, I get it. I'll be the first to admit dressing for a first date isn't easy, but when I saw some of these outfit suggestions from Glamour (via I had to scratch my head. First, I think you should be comfortable on a date. Then, I think you should keep it simple. It's about you, not your dress. I think something like this frock (below) is far less complicated than some of those outfits. The price is a little more than I like, but I think you get the idea.

Ultimately, I guess you should just stay true to yourself. Just don't be too fussy!

"Flirty little belted dress" $128 from Victoria's Secret, buy it here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Loving all things FLAMINGO

Since this post (more specifically, THIS Jimmie Martin headboard), I'm all about flamingos or anything that reminds me of them (their color, texture, etc). A few ways to incorporate some flamingo loveliness into your life...

for your home:

for your friends:

for your body:

for your bebe:

"for your home" Flamingo fine art print, $15, by Mr. McPorkchop's Photography from Etsy, buy it here

"for your friends" Flamingo letterpress notecards, $6.50 for set of 4, by Joie Studio from Etsy, but them here

"for your body" Robert Rodriguez Sheath Dress, $396 from Neiman Marcus, buy it here

"for your bebe" flamingo tee, $40, by Flutterby Boutique from Etsy, buy it here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Book recommendations from Duke faculty

I'm always reading & telling people what they should read, so this article from the Duke University Center for International Studies caught my eye. Duke faculty members were asked to put together a list of recommended readings for President Barack Obama. Interesting.

Read full article here.

Current obsession: brown & blue dainty jewelry

All about brown & blue. These dainty pieces are just as perfect now with cream turtlenecks as they'll be in spring & summer with cream sundresses. Love them.

Necklace by Simply Shell's Designs, $20, from Etsy, buy it here

Earrings by Fuss Jewelry, $119, buy them here