Thursday, August 21, 2014

Currently Coveting

I miss the days when "back-to-school" shopping was a thing for me.  I'm not sure which I loved more- the school supplies shopping or the school outfit shopping (any American gals remember Limited Too?!).  Nowadays, I have to be much more practical with shopping and try to take advantage of a good deal when I see one.  Thankfully, there are many end of summer markdowns happening, and I have my eye on a few pieces- especially for Christmas in Australia, when it'll be the middle of summer!




Shop This Board:

1.) Lime Strappy Back Bikini $68/2.) Black Metal Drop Earrings $14/3.) Working Class Karl Muscle Tee $32/4.) Vix Menfis Printed Coverup $195/5.) "Seeing Double Napkin Set $36/Plastered Cocktail Napkin Set $36/6.) Acrylic Striped Ice Bucket $50/7.) Blue V Neck Drop Waist Dress $76/8.) Leopard Strappy Heels $230


How hilarious is that Karl Langford muscle tank?  I saw it while walking through Nordstrom the other day, and really wanted to snag it.  What do you have your eye on lately?  And is anyone else concerned that the Top Shop for Nordstrom new arrivals look like the 90s threw up all over them? 




Monday, August 18, 2014

Leopard & Coral with Chronicles of Frivolity

Happy Monday!  Did you have a good weekend?  I can't thank you all enough for your encouraging words and support following my personal post last Friday. It means the world to me.  It can be scary to open up about something like that, so feeling my message was received with love and kindness is a relief.  Today I am excited to be collaborating with Katey of Chronicles of Frivolity, because this girl has STYLE.  Katey and I met through our blogs (of course) and bonded over our shared love of Tex Mex and the word "smoke show". I am constantly checking her blog and popular instagram account for outfit and accessorizing ideas, and wishing I lived in Dallas so I could take her shopping with me.  While I am most confident in making homes look pretty, Katey has a knack for styling herself and her friends, so we thought we'd team up and combine our skills!  Katey put together a fab outfit with splashes of coral and leopard, and I give my take on how to bring those elements in to your home:





Shop Decor Items:

Palm Beach Coral Chandelier $1,050/Figure XXVII by Kate Long Stevenson $300/Leopard Velvet Pillow $72/Greek Key Trim Coral Pillow $60/Vintage Cantilever Leopard Chair $349/Coral Turkish Towel $39.50/West Elm Pillar Table Lamp in Marble $229/

This is one of my all-time favorite color/pattern combinations.  I adore the leopard heels Katey is sporting, too! Go check out her blog to get the outfit details!

XOXO,

Sam

{photographs by Chronicles of Frivolity}

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Personal Note


I'm sure most of you were just as shocked as I was to learn of Robin Williams' passing.  Not only that he died, but that he did so by his own hand.  It's unsettling to think that someone who brought so much joy to so many couldn't find enough of it for himself.   In recent hours, we've learned that he was dealing with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease that likely compounded the anxiety and depression he was already grappling with.  None of us- not even his wife- can truly know the depths of his despair or what exactly was going through his head in those final days.  Maybe it's best we all remember him as the beloved comedian and movie star he was, rather than how his story ended.  

His death, like most shocking events these days, has garnered a lot of attention and it seems like everyone is taking what they can of what happened and twisting it in to their own personal soapbox.  That's the last thing I want to do here.  However, I feel it does provide an opportunity for me to open up and share a bit of my own story with you all.   I have struggled with managing my anxiety and depression for most of my teen and adult life in varying bouts of seriousness.  While it used to bring me shame and humiliation, talking about my struggle no longer embarrasses me- in fact, it makes me feel more free.

I'll never forget my first panic attack.  Anyone who has had one knows the horrible symptoms- your palms become sweaty, your heart starts racing for no apparent reason, and you are filled with intense fear.  It started because my brother, whom I am very close to, was leaving for college when I was a freshman in high school.  I was a little down about him moving out of the house, but was handling it for the most part pretty well.  Then, one night I was lying in bed, and my thoughts spiraled out of control to the point where I honestly thought I was dying.  If you've never experienced a panic attack, your first one is incredibly confusing.  It started with me feeling a bit sad, then I started thinking "what if he gets hurt in college," to "how will I deal with high school without my brother there," to "my sophomore year in high school will be awful" to "Why do I feel like I'm dying?!"

While most people get through a panic attack after their trigger is gone (i.e. riding on a plane, being in a large crowd, giving a speech), I couldn't shake mine.  I was literally in a state of panic for 3-4 days.  It was terrifying.  When I still couldn't shake the dread coursing through my veins by the 5th day, my parents took me to the doctor.  He prescribed an anti-anxiety medication and also recommended a great counselor. I honestly shudder remembering those early days of struggling with my mental health.  I was so confused. I had no real reason to be anxious or sad- I had a great life, a happy family, plenty of friends, and my whole life in front of me.  It made me ashamed to be struggling with what seemed like teen angst- sadness that felt self-indulgent.  But it wasn't self-indulgent.  It was real.  

For an entire year, I would wake up and pray that I could get through the day.  It felt as if there was an all-consuming, black cloud over me that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get rid of.  During that year, I was working on my anxiety and depression with a counselor, and also trying different medications in varying doses to see if something could make me feel "normal" again.  Finally, the depression began to lift.  I stopped being consumed by my "what ifs"- "what if I never get over my depression?"  "what if I never feel happy again?"  "what if I always struggle with panic attacks?" - and got back to being a normal teen again.

I suffered with a panic attack here and there throughout the rest of high school, but nothing too long-lasting.  I had learned great coping techniques in therapy for how to redirect my mind when I felt a sense of dread coming on.   I had also learned more about mental illness and how normal it was to struggle with it- that I wasn't completely insane for feeling depressed for no apparent reason. 

Later on in my junior year of college, I went through a really awful breakup.  While I began to pick up the pieces of my life, the old familiar demons of anxiety crept up, and I found myself once again in the throes of panic, dread, and depression.  At least this time around, I understood my feelings better and knew I needed to see a therapist.  The worst thing you can do when you feel depressed is isolate yourself, although that often seems like the most attractive option at the time.   One book I found while going through this particularly dark time was Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss.  This book unequivocally changed my life.  Myss presents a compelling case for how our energy anatomy affects our physical anatomy and well-being.  Here are a few quotes I loved from the book-

"Even when 'change is constant' feels like an enemy that has swept away a happy part of our lives, our lonely times will come to an end and a new part of life will begin.  Consciousness is the ability to release the old and embrace the new with the awareness that all things end at the appropriate time and all things begin at the appropriate time."

“I am convinced that the deepest desire within each of us is to be liberated from the controlling influences of our own psychic madness or patterns of fear. All other things—the disdain of ordinary life, the need to control others rather than be controlled, the craving for material goods as a means of security and protection against the winds of chaos—are external props that serve as substitutes for the real battle, which is the one waged within the individual soul.” 

I know my story isn't unique.  Statistics say that on average, 1 in 3 women will grapple with depression at some stage in their lives.  Erin of Elements of Style is very vocal about her ongoing struggle with anxiety, as are many other bloggers.  While depression and anxiety are different conditions, it is not uncommon for them to occur at the same time. Over half of those who experience depression also experience symptoms of anxiety, and in some cases, one can lead to the onset of the other.   I guess it was just on my heart to share my story, because it is a very real part of who I am that I am no longer ashamed about.  In fact, in a way I am thankful for my mental health struggles because they have forced me to take a deeper look at myself and also to rely on the help and strength of others.  

 Thankfully, I am in a very good place now and feel I have found a great medication to manage my anxiety/depression as well as coping mechanisms for times when I feel overwhelmed by fear.  People are always surprised when they learn I struggle with aspects of my mental health because I am a genuinely happy and outgoing person.  But I've learned through my experiences and this recent event that even the most outwardly happy people can sometimes be secretly struggling to control their mental state of mind.  And unless you share your struggles, the isolation can overwhelm you.   Please know that if you feel alone in your sadness or lost in general, there are resources for you.  If you live in Houston, Crisis Intervention is a great resource.  Whatever you do, please know you are not alone in your struggle and that there is always hope.   

All my love,

Sam


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kate and Andy Spade's Adorable Abode

Sometimes, a home is so beautiful and well-thought out that it's worth studying or admiring over and over again.  For me, one of those homes is Kate and Andy Spade's apartment on Park Avenue.  First featured in November of 2010 on The Selby,  the home has been shared and re-shared many times, and for good reason.   The preppy east coast influences are balanced with whimsical, haphazard details that make it both comfortable and chic.  You can see Kate Spade's signature style throughout the space with lots of bold color and pattern.  The apartment is luxurious but not overly so- the perfect, cozy size for Andy, Kate, and their adorable daughter, Bea:



I love the tall stacks of coffee table books on their living room coffee table.  I get a lot of flack from friends and family about having way too many books- but to me, they are treasures and constant sources of inspiration.








How fabulous is the yellow and white striped headboard?  And of course, I love all the books and magazines!





How cute is their daughter, Bea?  I love that the heart of the space (and the family that lives within it) are clearly shown throughout the photos.  

{All photos via The Selby}

Monday, August 11, 2014

Design Darling Shop- 25% Off Today!

I'm sure you are all familiar with the fabulous Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling fame.  Although I have yet to meet her in person (we've tried a few times to no avail), she was one of the first blogs I began reading and I adore her to pieces.  It might be her pretty red hair, because many of my closest friends seem to be natural red heads! Anyway, Mackenzie turned 25 this past weekend, and in honor of her birthday, her entire Design Darling shop is 25% off with code "BIRTHDAY BASH" at checkout today!  Here are a few of my favorites from her site:

Shop My Picks:

Loren Hope Petra Earrings $68 (Today $51!)/Monogram Leopard Note Cards $28 (Today $21!)/"If I Do Say So Myself" Notebook $24 (Today $18!)/Turquoise Cupcake Tree $62 (Today $46.50!)/Leather Tote with Bow Handle $168 (Today $126!)/Loren Hope Mirabel Bracelet $103.50





Don't miss out, because the promotion ends today!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Women Smoking

Last night,  I started watching Boardwalk Empire.  A few episodes in, and I'm officially hooked.   It's fun to imagine what America must've been like in the early twentieth century, especially when Prohibition went in to effect.  The country was in the midst of the Roaring 20s, and there was a palpable energy and optimism that you just don't see today.  One thing that struck me about the show is how prevalent smoking was.  Of course at the time, society had no idea what damage cigarettes could do to your health.  It was just en vogue to smoke, and everyone had a chic cigarette case.  I've always admired the way actresses of Old Hollywood can take a drag on a cigarette and make it look like the most alluring thing ever.   I know smoking is bad, and I'm in no way condoning it, but let's give it up for the women who can make it look so effortlessly sexy:



{Frida Kahlo}

{The royal chic-ness herself, Coco Chanel}

{Marilyn Monroe}

And one thing I've noticed is that most of my favorite movies have a female lead who, at some point during the movie, takes a glamorous drag on a cigarette.

{Natalie Portman in Closer}

{Uma Thurman in my favorite scene at the diner, in Pulp Fiction}

{Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona}


{Penelope Cruz in my favorite scene in Blow}

At the end of the day, I know I'll never look this good smoking a cig, so I'll leave it to the celebs, models, and movie stars.



Any big plans for the weekend? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Designer Crush: Hillary Thomas Designs

Two consecutive "designer crush" posts may seem excessive, but I am bubbling over with inspiration this week and couldn't NOT share my love for Hillary Thomas.  Hillary's aesthetic is truly "collected" and "lived-in" in the best way possible, or as she describes it, "vintage chic."



I love the monochromatic palette in this dining space.  The colors blend seamlessly together, and the leather tufted chairs pack a true punch:



How fabulous is this pagoda armoire?


And cheetah carpet never hurts either...





As you can see, many of her spaces are filled with gorgeous, collected tchotchkes.   Here's what Hillary has to say about these items: 

"We’re often asked how we think about design. For us, it’s pretty simple: we care a lot about all of the things that we collect and surround ourselves with through the different phases of our lives. Our “stuff” tells a story about what inspires us, what we value, how we look at life, where we’ve been, where we’re going…it’s our humble little stamp on the world. And it’s one of the most enduring, lasting things about us that we can think of - it’s our style, and it doesn’t fade."

In addition to interiors, Hillary also has an online shop full of gorgeous objectry.  I love her lamp finials! They come in several gorgeous colors and finishes:


{All photos via Hillary Thomas}