Saturday, June 30, 2012

Golden Birthdays

This isn't a design post, but we've both celebrated our golden birthdays this year (Sarah turned 30 on the 30th and I turned 27 on the 27th) AND we celebrated the most important birthday of all on June 2...Sarah's baby boy! Because we've spent the past month celebrating, we thought we'd share some great birthday gifts and ideas with all of you.

For my birthday, Clay got me 27 gifts.  Apparently this is a tradition in his family/town and who am I to argue with tradition?  To be honest, opening was 27 presents was the most fun time EVER.  Here are all of the gifts, lined up in perfect, golden order:

The box included some great golden birthday gift ideas, like this bangle from Kate Spade, inscribed with "as good as gold" on the inside.  Coincidentally, Sarah got me the exact same bangle (great minds), and gave hers to me first so she wins out on this one.

Also from Kate Spade, this stationery with a gold initial and black and white stripes.  And we all know how I feel about black and white stripes.

I also got these sandals, which are a STEAL and are so cute (they run about a half size big, by the way).

And this book, which I can't wait to read during our summer getaway.  And it's pretty, to boot!

The gifts I got from Clay reminded us of the "forty in a box" featured on You Are My Fave.

How fun would this be to give (or receive)? We're definitely stealing this idea for future birthdays.

Sarah and I both made each other cake on our respective birthdays.  Sarah topped hers with edible gold star sprinkles like these.  We both used our mom's frosting recipe, which is too good not to share.  The pre-made frosting that you can buy in tubs in the grocery store...poison.  Especially after you taste this.

Mom's Perfect Frosting:
1 pound powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons milk

Cream 1/3 of the sugar with butter and salt in a large bowl.  Blend vanilla, two tablespoons milk, and remaining sugar into mixture.  Gradually stir remaining milk into frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached.  For more generous frosting, increase ingredients by 1/4. For chocolate frosting, add 1/2 cup cocoa.

Other (golden) birthday ideas we love?

Ombre balloons.


Cake pops.

Sparkler candles.

And champagne. Lots of it (and please rim your glasses with sprinkles! It's only appropriate).

Happy Birthday to all of our fellow summer birthday friends! Do you have any favorite birthday traditions or great gift/party ideas?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Julie's Apartment: DIY Black and White Striped Nook

My apartment doesn't have much of an entryway, but it does have a random nook in between our front door, kitchen, and master bedroom that has been dead space ever since we moved in.

It's a pretty tight space, with no outlet for any lighting, so I knew that I wanted to do something with the space that brought in a little bit of style and also gave us some extra storage.  I have always loved the look of bold black and white stripes in decor, so thought this might be the perfect spot to try some out. 

When I stumbled across this project by Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook, I thought Japanese washi tape might be the perfect way to get the look of stripes without risking our security deposit.  Because I'm a child and cannot delay gratification, I trekked around NYC until I found a store that sold black washi tape (for those interested, Kinokinuya Bookstore on 6th Avenue has a great selection). For those of you capable of waiting on standard shipping, Happy Tape is the place to go.  Once I got the tape, it was time to measure.  Basically, Sarah and I decided on how many stripes we wanted, how far apart we wanted them, and then got to measuring.  

After that, it was time to tape.  This tape is really easy to work with, and peels right off and sticks back on if you make any mistakes.  I stretched the tape longer than I needed it to go, and then used an X-Acto knife to get straight edges.

The above shot was so flattering we just couldn't help but put it in this post.  You're welcome.  After LOTS of taping and cutting...we ran out of tape.  

Clearly, our math skills need a little head is bowed in shame.  The next day, we ran out for more tape and then finished up.  Since then, we've added an embroidered print from HomeGoods and an Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet, which we got for a steal off of Craigslist and has been such great storage system for my shoes.  "After" pictures coming soon.

We love the look of the stripes, and that such a simple project has turned this nook into a functional, pretty space.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's black and white and..

One of our favorite statements in any design is the black and white stripe.  We love that black and white stripes are timeless, work with all different styles, and lend a bold, graphic statement to any room design.

All images: DecorPad
We have a few DIY projects to share with you that involve black and white stripes, but today we'd thought we'd round up some of our favorite, affordable ways to add black and white stripes to any room.

Two great rug options are the Ikea Stockholm and the Crate and Barrel Olin.  We love the simplicity of the Olin rug, and that the white is a bit more of a cream than you typically find in black and white rugs.  The Stockholm rug is SO well-priced and looks great with any style.

The Simone Bench from Ballard Designs can be upholstered in a variety of lovely fabrics, including a bold black and white stripe.  We love the contrast of the honey finish on the legs with the graphic stripe.

Last but not least is the Ikea Eivor throw.  At $20, it is the perfect, portable way to bring black and white stripes into any room.  The material is a really soft, sweater-like knit.  We think it would look great thrown over a couch, chair, or ottoman or at the end of a bed.

We can't wait to share what we've been doing with black and white stripes in our own homes.  Do you love them as much as we do?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Julie's Dining Room: Bar Tray

Ever since vintage bar carts started popping up everywhere, I haven't been able to get them out of my head.

The Decorista

Sigh. They're so darn pretty...

I've done some serious Craigslist/flea market stalking trying to find the perfect one for my dining room, but never found anything that was inexpensive and good looking.  I decided to stop obsessing about the cart, and just this week realized that instead of a bar cart, making a bar on the top of my dresser buffet might be my best bet for three reasons:

1.  it will make my dresser look a little bit less like a dresser and more like a buffet until it can find its way back to a bedroom
2.  the right tray will cover up the water rings left on the dresser top by yours truly.  True confession: I hate coasters
3.  it might give me the look of a bar cart with a much smaller price tag

Although not as Don Draper as bar carts, I really love the look of bar trays.

We still had some Crate and Barrel gift cards from our wedding (2 years ago...) and I was thrilled to find this tray at the Madison Avenue store (note: the tray is being discontinued, so if you want one grab it now!).

I love the brass accents, which remind me of campaign style furniture.  The tray is also really big (24" wide by 16" deep) so I knew it work really well as a bar tray.  After picking up the tray, it was time to accessorize.  Our mom was in town, and like me, has no shame.  We went straight to the liquor store and started grabbing bottles that we thought would look work well grouped together.  As we were arranging our bottles into different sets, employees would walk by and ask us if we had any questions to which we replied "No, we're just looking for pretty bottles."  Sorry we're not sorry, liquor snobs.

I stopped at our local thrift store and picked up this...thingy.  I'm not sure what to call it, but I know that it's pretty, brass, cost $10, and clearly is supposed to serve alcohol.  I love the bird detail.

  We put everything together and it now looks a little something like this:

The glasses are also from Crate and Barrel, glass coasters are from Williams Sonoma and the vase is Tiffany. Again, excuse the iPhone  Complete dining room pictures coming soon!

For those not convinced by the bar tray, and who have given up on their local Craigslist, Ballard Designs has a (fairly) reasonably priced option that we really love:

Ballard Bar Cart
"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."  Humphrey Bogart, you nailed it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Weekend

...and Happy Father's Day! Today we're thinking of our awesome dad, who's far away but always in our hearts.

We hope you had a great one! xo

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