Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Designer Crush: McGarr Design & Interiors

Happy Tuesday!  Did you guys have a good Labor Day?  I went to float the river near Austin, TX and managed to lose my phone while on the water. (Wahh wahh).  I'm due for an upgrade on September 21 and want to take advantage of the iPhone 6, so for the next 3 weeks I am stuck with a go phone!  Please excuse my poor quality instagram posts in the meantime. :)  Nonetheless, it was a restful and fun weekend, which was a relief after a hard week of school projects and work deadlines. I apologize for the radio silence last week-  I hate not posting, but sometimes there are not just enough hours in the day!  
Today I am excited to share my love for a local Houston interior designer that I extremely admire- Julie McGarr of McGarr Design & Interiors


Typically, the designers I crush on are residentially-focused.  While Julie does indeed do residential design, she also has an impressive hospitality portfolio.   She is responsible for the drool-worthy Brasserie 19 restaurant interior, from the antiqued mirror bar backsplash to the modular brass light fixtures to the bistro-style chairs. 






She also designed my favorite restaurants in Houston-  Coppa Ristorante and Coppa Osteria in the West University area.  Besides their to-die-for Italian food, I love to frequent these establishments for their luxe modern interiors.  How gorgeous are these back-to-back banquettes?  The nailhead detail is fabulous and something you don't often see in a restaurant:


Nailheads also line the upholstered barstools at Coppa Osteria.  Julie brought in interesting brass light fixtures throughout the space here, as well:


And if that weren't enough, McGarr has created some swoon-worthy residential spaces, too.  I love the rich green paint color in this boudoir:



A dreamy backyard pool...




What a talent!  I could drool over Julie's work all day.  She attended the Art Institute of Houston (like me!), and was recently awarded the "Rising Star" award from the Decorative Center of Houston.  I can't wait to see what she dreams up next.


{all images via McGarr Design & Interiors}

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Keep it Classic

There are some things that just never get old- dinner parties with friends, a glass of wine on the patio, the color combination blue and white, Johnny Depp's smile... you get the picture.  No matter the season or your mood, some things are just classic.   I loved seeing everyone's "back to school" photos this week- snapped as their children got on the bus or as they walked in to their new classroom.  It was yet another reminder that the season is soon to change and fall fashion will be in full swing before we know it.   What am I planning to wear?  Anything that will make me feel chic, effortless, and cool.  As we transition between seasons, here is some of my fashion inspiration:






I also have my eye on Emerson Fry's fall collection after catching a glimpse on La Dolce Vita yesterday.  Anything easy, classic and cool.  What's on your fall wish-list?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday's Worthy Links



I just can't come to terms with the fact that summer is ending.  It went by wayyyy too quickly for me, and I can't believe September is around the corner.   How did that happen?  I don't feel like I consumed enough margaritas or got enough pool time in.  Nonetheless, in Houston you can lay out well through the beginning of October- so maybe it's time I make up for that.  Any big plans for the weekend?  The highlights for me will be a revolution ride at Define Body dedicated to all hip-hop and rap music on Saturday afternoon, and Lindsay coming to town for work on Sunday.  

Before signing off, here are my favorite tidbits from around the web this week:

-Need a good laugh?  I literally died watching 22 People Who Definitely Should Have Not Taken the Ice Bucket Challenge.  I am sure you are as tired as I am of seeing a million people douse themselves in water on your Facebook feed.  Nonetheless, it's for a wonderful cause, as demonstrated by this video.

- Seeing the movie trailer for Wild has me itching to read Cheryl Strayed's memoir.  The movie, starring Reese Witherspoon, looks incredible (in all honesty, I watched the trailer 5-6 times), and I have heard the book is fabulous.  

-As you all know, coffee table books are "my thing."  I can never have enough of them, and am constantly flipping through my collection for design inspiration, interior details, and a fresh perspective.  I am always searching for new ones, as it can often seem like I already have them all!  Kelly Wearstler's Library features a cultivated selection of her "must-have" titles, from incredible photography to rare, out-of-print gems.  

-Admittedly, I don't normally find much to get excited about at West Elm.  But lately, I feel like they're killing it with their lighting collection.  I'm obsessed with these mid-century pendant lights and this deco marble table lamp

-Gaby of The Vault Files shared her home on The Glitter Guide this week.  The gallery wall in her bathroom is TDF, and the photos of her are stunning.  I finally got to meet Gaby this past April at the Reward Style Conference in Dallas!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

{image above via Tuula Vintage}

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}