Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weekend Getaway: Tulum

Happy Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.  I am absolutely spent, but so happy and so grateful for the new job.  It's been an absolute blast so far, although both physically and mentally taxing. First of all, our office is on the 6th floor of a Madison Avenue building and for the next 2 months the elevator is being repaired.  That means I climb 6 flights of stairs every morning, at lunch, when we leave and return from client appointments, and so on.  I'm hoping the stair climbing leads to toned legs and cancels out the hearty NYC dinners I've been devouring (Buddakan Sunday night, The Lion Monday night, Balthazar Tuesday night) but I'm not too worried.  I thought I would've made it to Soul Cycle by now, but I'm giving myself one week to settle in. I'll have to kick it in to high gear next week, because August 13 a few friends and I are headed to Tulum for the weekend.  


Shop This Board:

From Top:  Tassel Bracelet $18/L Space Colorblock Bikini $58.90/Bardot Lace Dress $15/Old Navy Straw Tote $19/Steve Madden Neon Heels $79.95/Urban Outfitters Towel $49.50




I'm going to be so ready for some sunshine, mescal, and fish tacos.  We plan to venture away from our resort and try Hartwood one night.  Tulum non-virgins- any other ideas of things to try/do/see?  Do tell!



Monday, July 27, 2015

NYC Bedroom Essentials

Today's a big day for me!  I start my new job in NYC and as of yesterday I officially have a home here in the city.  I lucked out and found an Upper East Side apartment with a vacant master suite.  A sorority sister of mine connected me to a few of her closest girlfriends who were looking for a roommate to occupy their third room.   It only took me one day of perusing studio apartments to realize what a better offer I had living with 2 other New Yorkers- getting my own bathroom, having a separate living/dining area, and paying 2/3 the rent of what a studio would cost.  The current tenant is in the process of moving out, but I snapped a few "before pictures" of the room so you could follow along on it's transition:




It's tiny (or should we say "cozy?") compared to Texas standards, but pretty large for a NYC bedroom.  Also, the location can't be beat.  I'll be able to walk a few blocks to work, and the Lexington subway station is also only a couple minutes away.  The first order of business is giving life to the room with a soft gray wall color and a stark white for the trim and doors. Here are the Benjamin Moore colors I think I'll probably go with- they're tried and true favorites:


 Secondly, I'll need to downsize to a full bed.  As I've mentioned before, my eye's been on the Octavia bed from Serena & Lily.  Right now, I'm imagining pops of hot pink and yellow mixed in with the gray and white:


Shop NYC Bedroom Decor:

Slim Aarons, "Monte Mano" Photograph $499/Hicks Large Pendant in Polished Nickel $609/Icarius Table Lamp $199/Octavia Full Headboard $995/Magenta Throw Pillows $134/Zebra Print Hide Rug $599/Mid-Century Modern Bergman Bench $1,595/

Because I have 2 narrow windows in the room, I imagine adding Roman shades with cornice boxes framing the top, like I did in Cakewalk Style Shop's office:


Stay tuned as I share the process of moving in!  It should be an interesting couple of months. 

Happy Monday, and I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stocking Up For NYC

As you know, this week I've been focusing on my move to NYC and contemplating my living quarters.  Well, the obvious next thing to consider on the list is my wardrobe.  To be honest, it isn't the idea of parring down to a tiny studio apartment that scares me the most, it's the New York winter.  I am a bonafide summer girl, and living in Houston for the past 5 years has made me nearly intolerable of the cold.  I remember going on apartment tours when I first moved to Houston, and a leasing agent telling me, "You won't even need a winter coat here!"  Well, it's time to suck it up as Carly would say.   The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale makes for the perfect time to stock up on northern winter essentials.  Here's what's on my "to-buy" list:






The Perfect Work Bag!



(A wedge heel will be much more forgiving when walking around the city!)


 


I'm sure I'll continue to stock up in the coming months.  Any must-haves on your winter list?!
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

NYC Studio Apartment Living

After announcing my NYC move yesterday, I promised I'd share the process of finding a living space  in the city and making it my own.  With seemingly endless apartment viewing appointments next week, I'm anxious to find a spot and get settled.  Since I'll be working in the Upper East Side, I've been primarily looking in that area.  Like most starry-eyed NYC transplants, I've realized 2 things- one, that my budget does not get me much in the way of  square footage, and two, I'll need to get creative with layout.  Luckily, many design-savvy residents have already figured out floorpan solutions and are providing inspiration for my own space. For instance, you have surely laid eyes on Elizabeth Bauer's oft-published pre-war Gramercy studio:


Featured in Lonny's June/July 2010 issue (and photographed by my talented friend, Patrick Cline), Bauer's colorful haven features a velvet sofa upholstered in Designer's Guild striped fabric and a bedroom surrounded in Rose Cumming's Zebrine wall covering.  A glass and brass screen gives a slight separation. 

Designer Alison Pringle of Baker Ballard is another inspiring soul who transformed her Toronto studio.  The wooden armoire anchors the space and fits in nicely as a contrast to the white and blue.



In 2014, House Beautiful published a Manhattan apartment designed by Lily Bunn for a 20-something young professional.  Although the space is not a studio, I was so inspired by the mix of high and low, like the Bungalow 5 coffee table and Jonathan Adler chippendale chairs:


Lucite pieces are great for small spaces because they seemingly disappear.  Lily chose a functional Kartell dining table with a mix of seating- the Chippendale chairs from the living room can be easily moved over for additional seating.




Designer Max Sinsteden's 525 square-foot studio apartment was another show stopper recently featured in the July/August issue of House Beautiful.  You may recall drooling over his college dorm room when it was published back in 2009, so it's no surprise that at the age of 27 Sinsteden has only stepped up his standard of living:


To divide his bed from the rest of the apartment, Max installed draperies that can be pulled shut, acting as a makeshift wall.  He installed a piece of art suspended from the ceiling in front of the draperies to further create a sense of separation. Genius!


Another great way to create a sense of separation between the bedroom and living area while still maintaining functionality is through the use of a bookshelf.  NYC resident Jacqueline Clair used a simple white Ikea shelf in her studio:


Dividing her books up by color and mixing in decor makes the shelf feel cohesive and beautiful, almost as if it is a work of art itself!


So NYC readers- Any advice for a NYC newbie?

Over the next few months I hope you'll follow along as I decorate my first NYC living space!



Moving to NYC


I am extremely excited to announce that as of next Sunday, I will be a New York City resident!  I recently got word that Amanda Nisbet Design has offered me a position to join their firm as their newest designer.  Working alongside one of my all-time favorite interior designers in the city that never sleeps feels like a dream come true.  And while I might have to tough it out in a tiny studio apartment for the foreseeable future, going to work won't be terrible when our office looks like this:

After 5 incredible years in Houston, I felt like it was time to make a change.  It's always been in the back of my mind that I'd love to go to NYC for a few years to experience the creative world there and hone my skill set as a designer in a fast-paced environment.  And now just felt like the right time for me to make that move.  I'm thrilled, but also a bit nervous.  Everyone seems to be preparing me for the worst (out of love, I'm sure)- "you know you will most likely have to send your laundry out, right?" "you know how expensive the cost of living is there, right?"  "you know this isn't Sex and the City, right?"  All very valid points, and I do know adjusting to life and culture in NYC will take time... but I'm so thrilled to get to know the city on a deeper level and give my new firm and career everything I've got.  Worst case scenario-  I realize the city isn't for me and I return to Houston with my tail tucked between my legs, only better for the experience.  I will say that everyone seemed to think I would hate Houston when I was preparing to move here from Oklahoma City.  "The traffic is terrible, and the humidity is even worse" were common remarks made by well-intentioned acquaintances and friends.  Maybe coming to Houston with such low expectations allowed me to truly fall in love with this city all on my own.  I hope you'll follow along (on instagram too!) as I learn how to pare down my decor from a 2,000 square foot townhouse to a 400 square foot studio apartment. I think first on the list is switching out my kind bed for a full or queen bed, and I have my eye on this one.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some studio apartment inspiration.  Small does not have to mean lifeless or drab- you just have to get a little more creative. :)

XOXO,

Sam

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Currently Coveting: Matching Separates

Happy Thursday!!  This week has been crazy with an out of town design install at work, so I apologize for my lack of presence here.  Last week I discussed my fascination with wide legged pants (which I think work best when paired with fitted or cropped tops), and today I wanted to share my other fashion favorite this season- matching separates.  I love the look of a flowy top with fitted shorts as well as cropped tops paired with A-line skirts- it's the perfect tailored look for summer!







What do you think of this look?  Love it, or leave it?




Friday, July 10, 2015

My 27th Year


Admittedly, the last year of my life hasn't exactly gone according to plan.  I remember Bri talking about how 27 is a weird age, and I'd have to agree.  Of course my own personal experiences have uniquely shaped that belief, but it feels like there's a strong pressure to have "figured yourself out" and laid the ground work for your 30s, yet there are still so many things in limbo.  So many articles these days talk about how aimless 20-somethings are, and my own desire to feel productive and achieved can get me down when I admit to still feeling a bit lost.  After a failed marriage and a pretty quick but intense relationship soon after that, heartbreak has been a common thread for my 27th year.  However, I don't think I could be openly talking about it with you if I didn't feel like I was in a much better, peaceful place having survived that.  I suppose there was always a "plan" I envisioned for my life, and now that things have ended up differently, there is such a feeling of freedom- like suddenly there isn't a script for my life anymore and I am literally walking out in to the abyss with frightening excitement. I think Lana del Rey says it best in her song "Ride"

"But I didn't really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it, to know what true freedom is."

I hate to say it because it's so incredibly cliche, but I think the difficulties of the past year have helped shape me in to a better person. In the process of searching for self-love and compassion to meet my own circumstances, I've found a strong empathy for others who are battling as well.   I was lucky enough to have some really great friends that helped me pick up the pieces and shower me with grace when I was pretty low, and when you've experienced love like that, you can't help but want to pay it forward.  Similarly, I've learned to relax the expectations I used to put on others to meet the needs I need to be meeting for myself, and it's allowed me to just relish my friendships and relationships for what they are.  Do I still feel lost, and at times lonely?  Of course.  Like I said, this is uncharted territory for me and I'm learning as I go.  But today I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time, and that's worth celebrating.  I felt like checking in on a personal note was a good way to end the week, and I want to encourage anyone who feels a bit confused or down to keep going.  The best way out is always through.

Happy Friday!

XOXO,

Sam