Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baffling Pregnancy Products

There are some truly ridiculous pregnancy products out on the market today. While I understand that expectant mothers may want to create some keepsakes and mementos of such a big event, I daresay that there are a few memories that may not really be worth memorializing and reliving.

Recently I joined zulily, a Gilt Group-style sample sale site dedicated to products for children and maternity. While zulily has great sales on lots of wonderful products (email me if you want an invite!), from time to time they do hawk some rather ridiculous products. This week, the belly casts on offer from Proud Body take first prize in my (very unofficial) "Baffling Pregnancy Products" contest.

A belly cast. Really?! For starters, the process for making a belly cast would be not only a bit ridiculous, but potentially uncomfortable. The last thing I really want to do right now is get naked and drape wet plaster across my giant belly and then let it dry (itchy!). And once it dries...what exactly am I supposed to do with it? Well, I suppose you could always perk up that plain plaster cast with some paint:

These look like baby shower games gone very, very wrong.

And again....then what?! Am I going to hang this up in my house with pride? Not a chance. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'll go ahead and say it: they're all kind of, well, hideous (though I'll admit the  frog is a rather clever use of the shape). Beyond that though, what an incredibly awkward (and personal) thing to show off to friends and neighbors. "Oh that? That's just my naked torso when I was 39 weeks pregnant with Junior -- weren't my breasts magnificent?" Talk about embarrassing Junior.

I mean, I've heard of bronzing baby shoes, but this is just ridiculous....

And no, I'm not ashamed of my pregnancy body. In fact, I'm rather proud of it given that I've managed to keep my weight gain to about 20 lbs., the bulk of which is in my bump, as it should be. That said though, I don't really feel the need to immortalize it in plaster.

Second prize goes to the Mommy Measure Pregnancy Tape. I spied this one in a parenting magazine I was flipping through at my OB/GYN's office last week. Now, you can track your growing belly's progress, marking off those inches with little hearts. Seriously. This can't be a big seller. Most women I know don't even want to know their weight at the doctor's office!

Frankly, I found it upsetting enough to realize that not only did I no longer fit into my own jeans, but I didn't fit into my husband's either (and, at this point, I'm not even close to that). I just can't picture myself pulling this sucker out in a few years time and marveling at how at one point my waistline passed 38" (and then 40"...) inches!

What about you? Spied any baffling pregnancy products out on the market? If so, please share!


Monday, February 21, 2011

10 Reasons I Love this Master Bedroom

1. The color palette. Wheat and cream punctuated with cool slate blue and rich coffee is soothing, gender neutral and classic. The perfect choice for a master bedroom where you're looking to balance competing tastes and create a sense of calm. 

2. The iron chandelier with wood bead trim (Visual Comfort). It's a wonderful mix of materials that lends the traditional shape a very up-to-date feel.

3. The bold curtains. While the fabrics used on the bed are quiet and monochromatic, the African inspired print from Peter Fasano lends a much needed graphic punch. The dark coffee tone picks up on the dark wood of the bed frame while the slate blue trim ties in with the other blue accents used throughout the space.

4. The ceiling moldings! I'm a sucker for a gorgeous ceiling, and the beautiful trim here is classic, but still streamlined enough to work in a more transitional space.

5. The greek key rug. I'm of the opinion that greek key is a pattern that goes with absolutely everything -- and it's a great way to bring in some geometry when you're working with florals, paisleys or other more intricate (and feminine) patterns. Besides, I love something soft underfoot in the bedroom. 

6. The sunburst mirror. Despite being ubiquitous, sunburst mirrors are still a favorite of mine -- and this one from Ironies is absolutely stunning.

7. The curtains hung around the bed. The oatmeal linen (the same linen used on the duvet) with the wrought-iron hardware is simple and unfussy -- essential for keeping the room more gender neutral and adult. The subtle ribbon and button trim on the drapery adds a touch of glamorous luxury while still keeping the overall look understated. I also like how high they're mounted (to the height of the windows), which accentuate the high ceilings and help balance out the large windows adjacent to the bed.

8. That painting (by Christina Long). While I'm a lover of art for art's sake (and not just for matching your decor), that painting does an outstanding job of bringing together all the colors used in the room. It's also lovely and intriguing in its own right. Bonus: Christina Long's work is also relatively affordable!

9. The beautiful throw pillows. If the bed is the star of a bedroom, then the throw pillows are the star's jewelry -- and it's essential that they shine. The mix of fabrics and styles on these pillows is lovely and tie in the room's color palette without feeling matchy-matchy. Note how the bolster includes a trim reminiscent of the drapery's zebra-inspired print while the euro shams incorporates the embroidered linen on the bed's drapery.

10. In short, this room epitomizes classic, thoughtful design at its best.

Photography Credit: Traditional Home. Interior Design: Amy Bergman.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

What I Want This Spring: A Stripe Blazer

At 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I'm absolutely dying to get back into "normal" clothes (or have my normal clothes fit, well, normally). While it will probably be a few more months before I do any serious shopping to let my weight/size settle back down, the top of my wishlist is a stripe blazer, which is popping up everywhere this spring. Blazers have always been my go to piece for the office and even on the weekend when I want to look pulled together. Either way, I'd pair with white or dark denim and some fabulous wedges. Wear a bright colored top (like orange!) or mix in a small-scale floral to make a bigger statement.

Source List: (1) Maritime Stripe Blazer (J.Crew; $118); (2) Striped Jacket (Banana Republic; $167.99); (3) Bailey 44 'Gyro' Jacket (Nordstrom; $187); (4) Robert Rodriguez Stripe Blazer (Nordstrom; $375); (5) Elizabeth and James Preppy Striped Blazer (Sakes Fifth Avenue; $425); (6) Navy Breton Stripe Jersey Blazer (Boden; $98).

What's on your shopping list this spring?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The JuJu Hat: Are you over it?

Last night I was watching Dear Genevieve on my DVR. Genevieve was decorating a small office, the focal point of which was going to be a juju hat. And it got me thinking how fascinating it is that these feathered Camaroonian ceremonial headdresses (also known as tyns) have become the darlings of the design world. How in the heck did that happen? Sure, they add a wonderful pop of color and texture to  a wall and are a fun conversation piece. But now, with their debut on HGTV, they've officially gone mainstream.

So the question I have for you is: are you over it? I'll be honest, I've got mixed feelings on the subject. I hate the idea of spending several hundred bucks on what is probably just the next "Keep Calm" trend and yet I can't deny their ability to add some wonderful color and texture to a space -- as all of these wonderful examples show.

Sally Wheat (via High Gloss)

As an avid fan of bright color, I can't help but be drawn to the bright orange juju hat against the soft gray walls. The color also ties in nicely with the orange flowers on the mantle. Sometimes, it just takes a little splash of bold color to make a big statement.

Laura Day

Another brilliant red-orange example, this time against a bright yellow wall. There's just something so incredibly happy about these colors; this is a room that could make even doing your taxes less chore-like.

Jenn Cranston (via Canadian House and Home)

In a room full of whites and neutrals, the white juju hat adds a nice touch of texture (essential for keeping a neutral space from being a total snooze fest).

Elizabeth Martin (via Elle Decor)

I've got to say, I'm falling more and more in love with orange everyday -- especially when played off against blues or grays. It just feels incredibly fresh and sophisticated but still (and I think this is so important in design) fun. The hat's African origins compliment the other exotic accessory choices, including the zebra skin rug.

Alessandra Branca

This pink and chocolate brown lounge is an all-time favorite of mine -- and I only just noticed it sports a white juju hat on the wall! I think the white juju plays up the crisp white trim nicely and really pops against the hot pink walls. It's also a fun mix with the Chinoiserie print chairs and traditional furnishings.


Of all the examples of juju hats I found, this bubblegum pink (with a dash of black) version might be my favorite. It fits perfectly over the asymmetrical fireplace and is balanced nicely by the narrow tapestry in the adjacent niche.

Hout Bay Manor, South Africa

Two red jujus, one over each doorway, are a nice way to highlight the red trim around the walls. I must say though that what I'm most drawn to in this room is that stunning floral artwork over the sofa, which is really just stunning.

Photograph by Melanie Acevedo

I love the bright, warm colors of this room, which are nicely tempered by the white walls and neutral sofa. I'm a big fan of very traditional Victorian spaces painted out in white and decorated in a modern, colorful style. It just always seems to work.

The rich jewel tones of this room are fantastic. Despite the fact that nothing "matches," all the bright colors work so beautifully together because they're all the same level of saturation. The lack of print (save for the over scale floral of the rug) keeps the noise level down as well. Could all this be achieved without a juju? Absolutely, but it's a eclectic touch that works well with the Moroccan pouf, midcentury chair and loveseat and the very ornate console. By the way, I have no idea who to credit this room to. If you know, please share so I can give proper credit!

Where to Buy. If you're not over this trend, there are a number of good e-stores that carry jujus in a variety of colors and deliver internationally:

Laviva Home (USA)
Table Tonic (Australia)
Design My World (UK)

So now that I've shown you some examples, I want your opinion.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, my darlings! I hope each of you got to spend the day with your sweetie and other loved ones. As always, many thanks for your continued support of Odi et Amo.

Hugs and Kisses,

Photography Credit: Doxie Valentine courtesy of Persnickety Pelican.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bedding for the Fashionista

As with throw pillows, there are approximately a bazillion fabulous options for bedding. And I for one can never get enough. Truly, great bedding can make a bedroom -- and it's far easier to swap out with the seasons (or your mood) than furniture. If you're a lover of linens like me, then you'll be thrilled to hear about a few more wonderful options to add to your wish list. Two of my favorite fashion designers are jumping into the home goods market by launching bedding collections at Bloomingdale's this month. 

Diane Von Furstenberg's new bedding collection (available now) is, unsurprisingly, all about bold, colorful prints that are right on trend (think batik and animal print). In short, exactly the kind of bright, bold prints that I gravitate towards (and why I covet DVF's iconic wrap dresses). One could argue that it would take an adventurous, confident person to pull these rooms off, but I'm a big believer of "fake it til you make it." Basing a bedroom around some of these prints will not only make you look confident, but ultimately feel confident. After all, how could you wake up in one of these beds and not feel like you could take on the world?

Kate Spade's collection (available later this month) is softer, with a feminine, preppy vibe with that slightly playful twist that the label is famous for. These are the pretty linens you'd expect to see on in a chic bachelorette pad or perhaps in the guest rooms of a classic east coast beach house. Regardless, these are the types of linens that make me sigh and think "oooh....pretty." 


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Nursery Reveal!

Apologies for being a week late in getting pictures of the nursery up on the blog, but I was waylayed a bit by work and weather last week and couldn't get the finishing touches put in the nursery until this weekend. Last Friday I showed you a photo of the finished window seat, complete with cushions (which I ordered in Sunbrella fabric for maximum stain-resistance/durability). While I stuck with a neutral off-white cushion, I had a contrast welt done in orange to inject a bit of fun and pick up on the orange grosgrain trim on the pillows and pelmet box. 

Dave and I made the pelmet box from some thin pieces of MDF, glued and screwed together and then thickened by Styrofoam (adds a nice visual heft without any extra weight). I then wrapped the three sided box in batting and used a staple gun to affix the fabric. Orange grosgrain ribbon in two thicknesses was then added with some simple fabric glue. My mom and I then made two throw pillows with leftover fabric and trim. The pillows are a simple envelope style, which eliminates the annoyance of sewing in a zipper, but still allows for removal for washing (essential in a kid's room, I'd imagine).

But you've seen this photo already. Time for some new eye candy, right? Before we get to that though, a reminder of what the room looked like before (think storage room):

Inauspicious start, yes? Well, after cleaning the room out (and several trips to Goodwill), I was able to finally get to work on the nursery in December. After several weekends of smaller DIY projects (the crib skirt, pelmet box and pillows), waiting around on painters (didn't have the energy this time around to paint the room myself) and assembling quite a bit of furniture, it's finally finished (well, mostly!):

Of course, the room really won't be finished until Baby G. makes his debut and it gets crammed full of photographs, toys, clothes, short, the room really starts to live. But I'm really happy with how the bones of the room have turned out. There's plenty of room to grow, but it's also cozy enough to feel like home straight away.

I'm still in love with my schoolhouse-inspired ceiling fan. I've decided to forgo a mobile over the crib for now because I hear many babies are more enraptured by a ceiling fan than any mobile...and hopefully Baby G. will fall into that group! Besides, it was impossible finding one in my color scheme (and right now I'm not up to the task of making on myself!).

I ordered the glider back in November, but only just received it a few weeks ago. While I loved the aqua-on-blue polka dot fabric in the store, I had some serious reservations almost as soon as I came home: would the polka dots be too loud? Would I regret not going with a solid color? Would the blues work with the wall paint? Fortunately, when the glider finally arrived, I was relieved to see that it wasn't nearly the disaster that I'd built it up in my head to be; in fact, I rather like it and the polka dots are a playful, fun addition to the room without being overly loud.

My mom made a nice lap quilt with more of the O&L fabric. The back and binding is a multicolored polka dot print, which picks up on the polka dot print on the glider and around the monogram.

The "g" monogram and was my first real attempt at wall stickers. I must say, it was easier to apply than I feared and the end result looks like I painstakingly and meticulously painted the monogram on the wall. I gussied up the white Jonathan Adler-knock off floor lamp with some spare grosgrain ribbon (again, affixed with simple fabric glue).

The rug is from DwellStudio and a great buy at $200. At 5'x8' it fits the room nicely and will be a great play area for Baby G. when he gets a little older. I intentionally left a lot of floor space in the room for tummy time, playing, crawling etc. I think all kids' rooms need that extra space for creativity and play.

With little wall space left, Dave and I installed the bookrack from Pottery Barn Kids. I went with an ultraslim rack over a traditional bookcase both because I love how it shows off the colorful kids' books, but also because I had little wall space left that wasn't near a door (and I didn't want to crowd the room out). Currently, it houses my collection of Roald Dahl books as well as some cute board books I received as shower gifts. The top shelf has baby pictures of Dave and I in fab zigzag frames I scored at Furbish Studio (because not everything in a kid's room needs to be from a kid's store!).

Source List:
Crib: Oeuf
Dresser/Changing Table: Oeuf
Window Seat Cushions:
Bookrack: Pottery Barn Kids
Floor Lamp: ZGallerie
Fitted Crib Sheet: Giggle
Fabric for crib skirt, pelmet box, pillows and throw: Osborne & Little
Ribbon Trim: M+J Trimming
Wall Decal: Elephannie
Letterpress Prints: Sycamore Street Press
Alphabet Poster: Binth
Chevron Frames: Furbish Studio
Ceiling Fan: The Period Arts Fan Company
Wall Paint: Forget Me Not by Benjamin Moore
Ceiling Paint: Icing on the Cake by Benjamin Moore


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby Shower Recap

I wanted to share some photos of my baby shower to show off how amazingly talented, creative and generous my friends (and sister) are. While I love design, party planning is definitely not my forte. My go-to formula is to book a private or semi-private room at a fun restaurant, get my friend Natalie to make invitations and then just show up! In contrast though, my friend Jess (blogger behind Jackson's Lane) is an amateur party planner (who should maybe consider going pro!). She turned my friend Christina's beautiful home into the perfect spot for a shower with beautiful, tasteful decorations, thoughtful details and some really great food (much of which I have my sister Chef Babs to thank for).

The theme of the shower was "feather the nest," so of course the primary decorations were birds and feathers. I loved the feather wreath over the fireplace decorated with BB Conn's initial and a glittery bird. The colors are very "Martha Stewart" to me and then blend in perfectly with the home's more traditional decor, softer color palette and soft gold touches. I think that's a huge part of decorating for a party: the theme and decorations really need to work with your home's existing decor.

Simple white roses and blue hydrangea are scattered throughout the downstairs in small clusters. I think this is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck and you can be guaranteed to get a sophisticated look when you keep arrangements simple, tight and petite.

Large manzanita branches in a tall vase (filled with feathers, of course!) create a fanciful tree for more glittery birds. Guests were asked to write notes and advice on pretty paper ornaments and hang them on the tree. I thought this was a great touch and a wonderful keepsake for the honoree -- and it would work equally well at a bridal shower.

A close up of the tags. I thought the paper was absolutely lovely and the tiny birds nests brought texture and a bit of color.

The ladies show that even paper plates and plastic cutlery can look chic with the right presentation. I also love the mint julep cup for the floral arrangement.

Jess decorated the dessert buffet with arrangements featuring baby/toddler pictures of Dave and I. The height of the arrangements work perfectly with the tall mirror and the pictures add the perfect personal touch. Again, this would work equally well at a bridal shower or engagement party.

The dessert spread. Don't you love the cupcakes decorated to look like bird nests? My sister made them with toasted coconut and candied eggs. My sister and I joked that I'd get gestational diabetes from my shower! Given that she insisted I take the leftover cake home, I'm starting to fear that there may have been some truth in our jests!

The favors were cookies made by Jess's sister-in-law, who turns out to be (in addition to an OB/GYN) a fabulous baker/decorator. I love how they incorporate my nursery colors as well as the shower's avian theme. They tasted as good as they look, I can assure you.

The lovely hostesses. Thanks ladies for a very memorable baby shower!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Introducing High Gloss

I'm so excited that the premier issue of High Gloss, the latest web magazine to hit the virtual newsstands, has arrived. The brainchild of fellow Houstonian blogger Paloma Contreras (of La Dolce Vita), High Gloss is all about interior design, style, fashion and entertaining. HG promises to deliver high style combined with a fresh, stylish (and thankfully, colorful!) perspective that I honestly haven't seen in its competitors (though let's face it, there's always room for another good decor magazine, isn't there?).

Of course, as a contributor for this first issue, I say all this with a wee bit of bias. You can check out my small contribution as the copy writer of the "Modern Makeover" article, which features a truly gorgeous Houston home designed by local favorite Sally Wheat. The home is truly drool-worthy and I've been dying to share it with y'all. 

Of course I'm not going to go and spoil all the surprises now that the issue is up -- you're going to have to go check it out for yourself. I did, however, want to give you a little sneak peek of the living room, with its more traditional bones, modern furnishings and pops of bold color in the accessories. It's chic, but also incredibly livable.

You can also see me on the list of contributors on page 10. Gotta love how I'm astride the virtual fold, right? In any case, I couldn't be happier for Paloma and her fellow editors at the reception the magazine has been receiving. Congratulations, ladies, on a job very well done! And Paloma -- I'm here whenever you need me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails