Monday, November 19, 2018

Best Buys of 2018

Stepping in to 2018, I had made up my mind that I was going to curb my shopping habit tremendously.  I was tired of haphazardly buying things that I inevitably felt indifferent about 2 weeks later.  I wanted less stuff in general in my studio apartment, and I wanted everything "fun" I purchased this year to feel intentional.  I didn't succeed 100%- living in New York is expensive, and while I don't shop for "things" a lot, I did spend a lot of money on weekend getaways and eating out at restaurants- and I want to be better about this next year.   Nevertheless, I do feel that I was able to change my outlook on shopping this year- thanks in large part to this book, this podcast, instagram accounts like this one, and my own desire to feel more financially secure.  With that being said, there were a few select purchases I made this year that I am still pleased with- and wanted to share them.

1.) The Snowdrift Reversible Coat from Anthropologie.  I am officially obsessed with this coat.  It's comfortable, chic, very warm, and reversible. This one runs a little large- I purchased a size XS and it's still a bit roomy on me:


{also have had this black MZ Wallace handbag for 3 years now and can't say enough good things about it- it's my purse/gym bag in one and is just the most functional bag ever.}

2.)  Bandier lustrous leggings in black:  These are supposed to be just for working out (I think), but I keep wearing them under sweater dresses and skirts as regular leggings.  They are so comfortable and flattering.



The La Mer Moisturizing cream made the list last year, and it's here again- because even with it's price tag, it's pretty life-changing.  It has the best texture and just melts in to your skin.


Besides the fact that I lose them at the bottom of my purse on a fairly consistent basis (and forget to put them in their handy floss-like case), I love the Apple wireless ear buds.  It's so nice not to have to untangle headphone cords, or hold a phone up to your ear when walking and talking. 

Tortoise iPhone case - a simple, inexpensive purchase that I just love (this one is cool, too):
My general shopping tips for more mindful spending:

1.) Don't go just to "browse" somewhere.  It's too tempting and you'll likely end up spending money on something you don't need.

2.) If you really are tempted to buy something, never do it in that first moment.  Give yourself a few days to consider the purchase, and if you still want it in a week and can afford to buy it, then make the purchase.

3.) I actually prefer shopping places in person than online because you can try on.  95% of the time when I try to buy clothes on a website, I end up sending them back because the item doesn't fit perfectly and I don't want to spend $$ tailoring unless I REALLY love the piece. So, I do my best to avoid browsing retail websites. 

4.) Have a budget in place.  Admittedly, I didn't start keeping a budget until my late 20s and I'm not sure why I procrastinated for so long.  I do a simple Excel spreadsheet and log my expenses a few times a month to make sure I am staying on track.  I actually love the freedom a budget gives you- it feels empowering to know exactly where all of your money is going- how much you are saving, what categories you could improve upon next month, and how close you are to reaching goals.


XOXO,

Sam





Wednesday, November 14, 2018

An Ode to Bedhangings

Bedhangings are extravagant and luxurious and that is exactly why I love them so much.   Nowadays we use them in decorating purely for fun- but they were once utilitarian.  Canopy beds with curtains were created in European medieval times and used by noblemen for privacy, as they often slept in the same room as their attendants.  I first fell in love with the idea of a partial bedhanging (meaning, just behind/above the headboard or front part of the bed) when I worked for the queen of color, Amanda Nisbet.  This was her master bedroom:


Ah, that electric chartreuse!  The picture above doesn't pick it up well, but the inside back fabric of the bed hanging is a chartreuse Fortuny print.  Jeffrey Bilhuber also used a chartreuse inside the bedhanging below for an Upper East Side apartment.  The exterior floral fabric is a Muriel Brandolini print:


And this sumptuous master bedroom might be one of my favorite color palettes ever- designer Alexa Hampton's master bedroom.  The walls are covered in a rich plum custom Gracie wallcovering, while the bed hanging fabric is Clarence House's Cesonia paisley (now sadly discontinued).  I always love Alexa's inclusion of Neoclassical pieces, like the bedside table here:


A stunning bedroom photographed for Phoebe Howard's book, Mrs. Howard Room by Room, shows off a chic canopied bed sitting in a room of custom-made Gracie wallpaper and silk velvet curtains with glass bead trim.



Nicky Haslam took a stab at the canopy for this London attic, with a chintz linen upholstered on the dormer window and walls, and a Rococo frame above.


And I couldn't complete a post on bedhangings without admiring the more casual, beachy style- like the drapey linen hangings in this Greek isle home:






Which bedroom is your favorite?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Etsy Finds Volume 4

I've long been a believer in Etsy.  I think it's one of the coolest marketplaces out there- the breadth of products available combined with the unique quality of each artisan makes it a fun site to scour.  Nowadays, you can even get your wedding (or bridesmaid) dress on Etsy!  Personally, my favorite shops include funny needlepoins, antique French furniture, and delicate jewelry.  Etsy is also a great place to refer to for stocking stuffers or unique holiday gifts.  Here are a few of my favorite items on the site right now:

Shop This Board:

1.) Cluster Ring in 14k Gold $285.30/
2.) Leather Bucket Bag, $115/
3.) Leather Card Cases, $28/each 
4.) Fashion Illustration by Leigh Viner $28/
5.) India Block-Printed Pillow Covers, 2 for $153/
6.) Herman Miller Eames Dining Chairs $2,450/set of 6/
7.) Books by Color, $43.75/
8.) Pink and Peach Tassel Earrings $15.29/
9.) Agate Slices Coaters- $9.90/each (also love these)





Favorite new Etsy shops:

Cotacoco (very inexpensive but chic jewelery) 

BlushFashion (wedding + bridesmaid dresses)

Northwind Supply (inexpensive leather goods + monogramming)

BoeTech LLC (literary and anatomical cookie cutters- and you can even make your own custom face cookie cutter)

MidCenTree (Mid-Century furniture)

FunkyDreamMosaics (interesting, unusual mosaic tiles)

Book Styles (buy books by color)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jennifer Lawerence in Red Sparrow

Although Red Sparrow has been on my "to-watch list" for some time, I didn't get around to seeing it until I was on a flight back from Austin to NY last weekend.  The movie stars Jennifer Lawerence as Dominika, a Russian ballerina who suffers an injury and then must find an alternative source of income for her family.  Her uncle sends her to "Sparrow School," where she learns to work as a government spy, often requiring her to use her body to manipulate and seduce her targets.  Many of the scenes are extremely hard to watch, and I can't say I was captivated by the story- but what I was captivated by was Lawerence's wardrobe in the film.  I already have a rather massive girl crush on J Law (it started with this role, I think), and the costumes her character wears throughout the film were just perfect.  My favorites were the all-black ensembles.

Exhibit A:



Making an entrance in a 20s-era black silk gown paired with black mary jane pumps.

Black dress, only $99:


Parker Monarch Gown, $594:

Carolina Constas Maris Lace Panel Gown (love this one too), $795:


Gucci Mary Jane Pumps, $695:

Exhibit B:


Wrapped up in a black suede coat and cashmere scarf.

Slick Wool-Blend Wrap Coat, $267.30:



J. Crew Belted Wrap Coat, $145:


Rebecca Minkoff Black Scarf, $58:


Nordstrom Cashmere-Lined Touchscreen Leather Gloves, $99:

Exhibit C:



A racy cut-out one-piece.

The swimsuit she is donning here is the Noir Split One Piece, $232:



Alternatives to love...

Becca Crochet One-Piece, $124:


Cami NYC Luka Ruched One Piece, $58.50:


Exhibit D:

A chic beret and trench coat pairing.

Black Beret, $17:


And a cute option in white, $25:


The timeless Burberry trench, $790:

Or, a less expensive option from BB Dakota:



Last note:  Dominika's platinum blonde in the film is my dream hair hue:


The costume designer for Red Sparrow was Trish Sommerville, who has worked on The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and is clearly well-versed on dressing strong female characters.  You can read more about her inspiration for the clothing in Red Sparrow here.




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Charming Palm Beach Home by Ellen Kavanaugh

The cover of House Beautiful's October issue really spoke to me.  Rich lilac and amethyst hues, a cheeky chinoiserie wallcovering, a hint of a channeled bench upholstered in a playful pattern, a shirred lampshade trimmed in pink: I had to find out the story behind  this stunning room that contained so many things to love!


Designer Ellen Kavanaugh is based in Palm Beach, Florida, and was taxed with renovating and styling a classic Mediterranean home in to a more fresh, livable space.  The construction and renovation process had to be completed in a very short time span, as is typically the case.  Ellen was careful to maintain much of the beautiful interior and exterior architecture, like the columns throughout the rooms, while making the home feel fresh with the furnishings and decor.


In my opinion, the most delightful part of decorating is getting to design custom, dreamy lampshades.  I love that Ellen paired a light blush glass lamp with a lilac shirred fabric shade in the living room (similar options to buy here).  And the channeled bench reupholstered in an ikat is very bohemian chic:




I always appreciate a good mix of high and low- like these wicker Serena & Lily chairs with a trestle dining table (and how great is that wallpaper?):


Moroccan-inspired tiles line the kitchen walls, with a Greek Key border following the perimeter of the window:


Ellen's take of the design direction for this house is summarized in the story:

“The client, who’s a former art teacher, wanted the quirkiness and retro-nostalgic pastels of a Wes Anderson movie…what’s cool about his cinematography is how it nods to childhood the way it’s remembered, not the way it was lived, so the visual style is singular and very fun,” Kavanaugh shared with House Beautiful. “It’s the same with these rooms. They are elegant and playful and don’t take themselves too seriously.”







Friday, September 14, 2018

Palette Cleanse

New York has been incessantly rainy and gray for the last two weeks, and now that Labor Day is behind us, the reality of fall is settling in.   As usual, I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye to summer.  This one was particularly sweet- I had two design installs, spent a few weekends in the Hamptons and one in Nantucket, and I fell in loooveee.  Nevertheless, a change in season is always the perfect time to step back, re-access goals, and cleanse the palette for a fresh start.

{Alexa Chung}


{Delphine & Reed Krakoff}









Shop This Board (from left to right, top to bottom):




Vince Brown Suede Boots (already have my eye on these for winter snow)









I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I'm off to Tulsa for the weekend to see a high school best friend tie the knot!





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