Thursday, July 31, 2014


I am a self-proclaimed purger when it comes to material possessions.  Growing up, my dad used to give away one item of clothing every time he bought something new for his wardrobe, and I suppose the minimalist mentality stuck.  I hate clutter, and try to keep my decorative accessories to a minimum.  The one thing I can't have enough of, though, is books.  I inherited a great collection of antique books from my mom that I treasure.  I also have a thing for collecting blatantly sexist books from the 1920s through the 50s.  And, as you are probably well aware of by now, I looove coffee table books.  Needless to say, I love a beautifully-designed built-in bookshelf.  It eliminates the need for freestanding shelves and adds architectural charm:

Admittedly, my OCD brain loves to see books arranged by color in a shelf.  However, I realize this isn't necessarily practical.  I appreciate the haphazard, lived-in vibe of these bookshelves.  The accessories and art added in create a sense of personality:

Although this gilded shelf is not built-in, I had to include it in my post because I love the way it has been accessorized.  The collection of vintage globes on the top shelf and the plates mixed in with the colorful books is the perfect balance of authentic and chic:

My favorite built-in design I've seen to date comes from the design great herself, Suzanne Kasler.  Again, I think the haphazard nature of the books creates a lived-in, cozy feel- like a true reader lives in this house!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Take Me Away: 45 Park Lane

I realized recently that I don't share a whole lot about what's going on with my design school projects. It's not because I don't find what we are studying interesting or noteworthy, but more so because after working on assignments for several hours a week, it's often the last thing I really want to rehash. Nonetheless, I had to share an Art Deco gem I discovered while researching hotels for my hospitality design course.  45 Park Lane, sister hotel to The Dorchester, is a luxurious hotel located in the upscale Mayfair district of London, England.  This chic spot was designed with an upscale, contemporary Art Deco aesthetic in mind by New York-based designer, Thierry Despont:

Having spent an entire quarter studying the Art Deco period at school, I can confidently say it's one of my favorite design styles in our history.  Art Deco started post World War I in France and spread internationally in the 1930s and 1940s.  There were regional differences, but Art Deco is categorized by its embrace of technology, breaking from the organic shades of Art Nouveau.  Art Deco emphasizes symmetry and rectilinear shapes, a celebration of luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.  This distinctive style influenced architecture and interior design, as well as consumer products and fashion.  Many furniture pieces have an architectonic quality and are fashioned of expensive materials, such as lacquered wood, ivory, and metal.  The lobby of 45 Park Lane features an Art Deco light illuminating the staircase that leads to Bar 45, famous for its delicious sliders and exotic cocktails:

Bar 45's design is overwhelmingly glam with a mirrored panel bar featuring hidden liquor storage.  Here, weary travelers can enjoy a cocktail (or two!) as they listen to live jazz music:

Wolfgang Puck made his European debut with 45 Park Lane's restaurant, CUT.  CUT at 45 Park Lane mirrors the award-winning original CUT in Beverly Hills offering outstanding steaks and a swoon-worthy wine list: 

And now on to my favorite part of the hotel- the suites!  A mixture of luxe Art Deco with clean, contemporary lines and savory textures creates a lovely respite for guests.  The rooms feature in-room spa treatments at your request as well as free, organic beverages in the minibar:

All of the 45 suites have leafy views of Hyde Park, including the 1,450 square foot penthouse, which features a wrap-around patio:

This intimate, boutique hotel is calling my name.  Eurotrip, anyone?!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

I had the best time visiting my BFF Lindsay in Kansas City this past weekend.  As a Midwesterner through and through, nothing makes me happier than traveling to a state so sprawling that it takes a 30-minute car ride to get anywhere.  Linds has the most adorable home (as you probably already know), so I love staying with her and seeing her latest decor updates.  Like this settee she originally found on Craigslist and had reupholstered in a punchy pink (and added tufting!):

Isn't her inspiration board fun, too?  The first thing on my KC to-list was to buy some new shades, after discovering I had lost my trusty Raybans.  As I've talked about before, I have probably had 25 pairs of Rayban Aviators in my lifetime.  I always end up losing them, and I try for a bit to be happy with cheap alternatives.  Nevertheless, I always eventually go back and buy another pair of Aviators because I love them so much.

This time, I went with the blue-tinted glasses, and love them!  Friday night, we went out and caught up over sushi and cocktails on The Plaza.  Saturday, we had the most delicious Italian lunch at North.  I had the fig, goat cheese, and prosciutto pizza (sans the prosciutto, since I'm a pescatarian).  It was TO DIE FOR.  Are you getting the point of our weekend?  Food and drink. :)  That afternoon , we went to one of our favorite spots- Imperial Massage.  Linds will probably get mad at me when I let her secret spot out, but I have to share.  This massage spot is so incredible.  However, the set up is kind of weird and might alarm you if I don't warn you.  Basically, it's a dark, open room with several reclining chairs.  For a 1-hour massage (don't worry, you keep your clothes on) it's only $30!  And it is a good massage.  Just read these reviews.  Anyway, I am not ashamed to admit I asked if we could go back Sunday, too.  It's that relaxing!  After our massages, we did a little shopping.  My favorite decor store in KC is Nell Hills, so we went there first.  The prices are incredible!  I loved this brass lamp with a snakeskin-textured shade:

Saturday night, we went to La Bodega to have a few cocktails and tapas. 

Two of Lindsay's KC friends, Erika and Kate, came out with us too!  After sweating profusely on the patio at La Bodega, we walked over to Port Fonda for a few drinks. 
I LOVE this place.  Every time I visit Linds, I make her take me here at least once. Port Fonda is a contemporary Mexican restaurant that started in an airstream trailer (as all good Mexican restaurants do), and is now one of KC's hot spots.  

I love the light-up letters in their main dining area:

Sunday morning, we went back to Port Fonda for brunch.  The bloody mary bar there was insane.  I am not the brightest bulb in the box, and didn't realize those toppers were pork-rinds til I filled my drink with them (waa waa):

After brunch, we did a little antiquing.  Unfortunately, neither of us found anything we couldn't live without.  However, we did visit a junk shop and this sign cracked me up:

I need a home.  Any takers? ;)

Sadly, this will probably be my last visit to KC.  Lindsay is moving to Dallas in a few months for work, and I couldn't be more excited to have her several miles closer to me in Houston.  I predict regular weekend visits in my near future.  As always, thank you Lindsay for being the best host and friend in general!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Go-To Summer Beauty Products

Hi all!  How is your week going?   Summers can be a hard time to feel chic and put together, especially when it comes to your skin and makeup.  If you live in a humid city like me, it can be even harder to maintain a fresh look in the sweltering heat.  But fret not!  I've recently added a few fab beauty products to my makeup and skin care routine, and I love them so much that I thought I'd share the love with you.  I also added in a few tried-and-true favorites:

1.) Maybelline Rocket Volum Mascara $7.77 - I have probably tried every mascara on the market (both drugstore and high-end brands) and NOTHING beats this baby.  The mascara glides on so easily and makes your eyelashes look beautiful and thick, almost like you have on false lashes.  During the summer, I don't like to wear eyeshadow since it's so humid in Houston and it tends to crease.  So, my mascara has to pack a punch!  I truly believe this mascara is better than any high-end brand.  Amber of Barefoot Blonde also raves about this mascara here.

2.) PCA Acne Gel $42- I do not exaggerate when I say this acne gel is a miracle worker.  My facialist, Jaclyn of Skindustry, sells PCA products at her shop and turned me on to this gel.  You only need a tiny bit when applying to your breakouts before bed, and when you wake up, your pimples will be GONE.  The salicylic acid helps to dry out the blemish and surrounding oils.  It's a godsend during the hot summer months!

3.) Benefit Watts Up!  Highlighter $30- I only recently began adding highlighter to my makeup routine, and I love the way it lightens up and adds a bit of glow to your complexion.  This Benefit Watts Up! highlighter has an easily application glider that allows you to apply it directly to your nose, under your eyes, and forehead.  It also comes with a brush for blending.  Love it!

4.) Chanel UV Essential Sunscreen $55- What would a summer beauty products post be without a reliable sunscreen?  Chanel's UV Essential is my absolute favorite, and to me, is worth the splurge.  It is specifically formulated for your face, and what I love about it is how lightweight it feels.  It also filters UVA and UVB rays, free radicals, and pollution and helps to shelter your skin from hyperpigmentation.

5.) Lancome Art Liner Eyeliner $30.50 I continually rave about this product.  I honestly wear it year-round and don't go a day without applying it.  It glides on so easily and beautifully, and makes doing a winged eyeliner easy as pie.  I buy it in Noir, the darkest black shade.

6.) Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs $12.79- Lindsay turned me on to this "tan in a can" product that instantly bronzes your legs when you spray it on.  I love it for nights out when I wish I had had time to get a proper spray tan.  I also use it on my arms and chest/back from time to time when I want to fake an all-over tan for a night out or a day at the pool.   Since I am naturally pretty pale, I use the "Medium" color.

7.) NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight $26- I love, love, LOVE this lip gloss.  It goes on so glossy and thick and has the perfect hint of color.  I wear it constantly in the summer, when I am running errands or even when going out for a night on the town.  It's the perfect gloss without looking too "overdone". 

What are some of your favorite summer beauty products?  Have any that I didn't include here? Do tell!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The View Through My Lens: 24

Happy Tuesday!  How are we doing thus far in the week, my dolls and dames?  I am feelin pretty good about myself because I've made it to Define two consecutive days (woop woop!)  and also managed to get a lot of homework and work done.  My productivity is at an all time high.  However, I have a feeling it might dwindle as the week proceeds, especially since I am visiting my beloved Lindsay (of Sadie + Stella fame) this weekend in Kansas City!  Nonetheless, I'll revel in my current energy and hope that copious amounts of Starbucks and the BPM Sirius station will keep me going.  Here's a look at what else has kept me going lately...

My niece Lily never fails to look absolutely adorable. I got to see her and play with her on a recent trip back home to OKC, and I can't believe how fast she is growing!  Click here to see her cuteness in action!

The Caceres Casa is finally coming together.  This is a shot of the living room, with our new High Fashion Home sofa, pillows, and painting by Houston artist Nedra Hawks.

My #BriargroveBeauty project is going along smoothly, and we just finished installing this David Hicks wallpaper as well as this brass sputnik chandelier in the entryway.  Isn't it fun?! 

I spotted the most gorgeous purple hydrangeas at Whole Foods the other day, and used an antique mercury glass decanter for a vase.  I'm also swooning over AERIN's new candle collection.  I purchased the Jacaranda Wood scent and I am amazed how strong the scent is + how long it burns.  It might be my new favorite candle!

I added a By Luciana print to our bedroom gallery wall in the top left corner.  It says, "Je Vour Aime Mon Cheri," which means "I love you my darling" in French.  Have you checked out Luciana's shop?  It's full of fun prints and tees.

Last April, one of my childhood besties tied the knot to an incredibly great man. They chose to do the ceremony at the courthouse with just their pastor and immediate family, which I think is so sweet!  Last week, the newlyweds threw a party to celebrate the union.  I loved traveling up to Oklahoma for the festivities and catching up with one of my favorite gals.  The green Anthropologie dress I am wearing here is deceptively comfy and probably my all-time favorite summer dress.

The past 2 weeks, we have been babysitting my parents Great Dane, Graycie, while they traveled through Africa and Turkey.  She is such a hilarious dog with a thousand quirks.  One particular quirk is that she has absolutely NO idea how huge she is, and tries to squeeze in to the smallest places.  I was cracking up to see her posing in my living room wing chair last week, amongst a Mimosa Lane chevron throw pillow and a David Hicks La Florentina lumbar. 

What is life without movie quotes?  To me- nothing.  That's why I love my Buy Me Brunch tank, which commemorates one of the best scenes from Anchorman.

Ohhh Ben Stiller.  How I love thee.

Enjoy your day my dears!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Needing, Wanting, Loving: A Brass Bathroom

It's no secret I'm a fan of brass.  To me, nothing is more luxe than a cleanly-designed space accented with pretty gold fixtures.  I've shared my love of brass in the kitchen, but until today, I have yet to dissect the beauty of brass in the bathroom.  And what better way to start a week than to share a little bathroom eye candy?   I love the bright whites and the old-school brass shower plumbing in this bath:

And is there anything sexier than black + gold?  The glossy subway tiles in this shower and sink area accentuate the touches of brass:

Scott Maddux, the design extrodinaire behind Maddux Creative, designed this jaw-dropping bathroom that graced the cover of The World of Interiors May 2014 cover:

The deeply veined Arabescato marble combined with the rich, unlacquered brass here is nothing short of lustworthy.  The delicate cut-glass pendant lights add another dose of charm. 

This bathroom by Tracery Interiors is another chic example of the impact black and gold can have.  I love the tile they chose to adorn the floor, as well!

And lastly, what is more decadent than a standing washbasin constructed of lucite and brass?

One word- Yum.  

What are your thoughts- are you a fan of brass in the bath?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Project Update: Cakewalk Style Shop

TGIF!  Are you looking forward to the weekend ?  I hope so!  I thought I would close out the week with sharing a few updates on my Cakewalk Style Shop project, which I first introduced here. I am helping the owners of Houston boutique Cakewalk Style-  Jennifer Grigsby and Gina Cartwright- space plan and design their new shop location at 3201 Westheimer. How cute is the exterior?!

One of our main goals in the new space is to design inspiring office spaces in the back of the store for the girls to work from.  We are working with very minimal square footage, so function is our main focus .  To help add order to the overflowing supplies and products the girls had in their offices, we created a storage unit wall in Jen's office, constructed of Ikea Besta shelving in high gloss white. We plan to wallpaper the bit of wall nook that is visible in the Ikea Besta shelving and add downlighting.  This space is where Jen and her team plan to wrap and pack online orders:

We are also planning to wallpaper the main focal wall in Jenn's office that you see upon walking in her space. We decided on a bold floral print- Ellie Cashman's Dark Floral II Light Fresco wallcovering:

In Gina's office, we are in the process of adding window treatments to the windows as well as brainstorming an interesting ceiling treatment.  Here's what the current window situation is:

The glazed tiles aren't ideal, but because the girls are renting the space we have to work with what we've got!  The building sits on an east-west orientation, so there is serious sunlight streaming in in the afternoon.  The girls have even admitted to wearing sunglasses at times because of how bright it is!  So, window treatments are needed ASAP.  The plan is to do an interesting cornice box to frame the corner window and add roman shades.  Here's what's in our inspiration file:

I love the geometric shape of these cornice boxes.  They'd add such visual interest to the space and hide a bit of the upper tiles.

I'm thinking it would be fun to do an interesting trim on the roman shade:

For the ceiling treatment, love the idea of stripes like Kelly Wearstler utilized in the Avalon Hotel:

More fun stripes in a bold patterned nursery:

We will be installing the wallpaper soon, so I'll be able to share more progress pictures with you then.  I also need to take more photos of the offices themselves- I realized as I was putting this post together that I don't have many "before" photos that help explain the layout.  Be sure to follow along on my instagram for sneak peeks as we work on the space!
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