Friday, May 21, 2010

Beach Cottage Bed Makeover

Our bed has had a plain white duvet cover on it for awhile now and even though I love the look of white, it wasn't working in our room.  It was too stark and the room needed something more, so lately I've been obsessing over the perfect duvet cover for our bed, one that adds color while combining masculine and feminine style.  My requirement was a blue-aqua color but I wanted it to not be too girly since I already have the inescapable pink chairs in the room.  I love creating a little cloud for us to sleep in with crisp, clean sheets, the perfect pillows and a fluffy, soft duvet.

After scouring every store in person and online I could find from Target to Overstock.com, I landed on the perfect blend I was looking for at Pottery Barn.  It's called Sausalito and is really more aqua than it looks in the photo.  It was a bonus that I found a pattern I liked in their organic line.

I've been working on adding more of a coastal, crisp feel into our home, a beach cottage if that's not too much of a stretch. G is from the Caribbean so this cottage style appeals to both of us.  I love decorating with beach inspired colors and textures but I'm trying to avoid an all out beach theme.  I hate cliche and have to leave room for my own quirkiness in the mix too.  I find that the blue and tan combination is so restful and I know I can use this for years to come.  The pattern and feel reminds me of a men's dress shirt, one that I don't have to iron.  

Of course I wanted a big fluffy look like they have in the store so I searched for a down alternative comforter to replicate that look.  I finally decided to get the organic Pottery Barn one but when I went to buy it, I found out that the organic one online is not the same one they sell in the stores.  Bummer, because I had my heart set on that one, but am not willing to pay so much for shipping.  Even though the one in the store was good; if I was buying a non-organic one, I was going to pay a non-organic price.  

All was not lost though because on that trip I learned a valuable Pottery Barn insider secret.  They have TWO comforters in their duvets on the display beds.  So my original plan wasn't going to work after all because there was no way I was going to spend almost $400 on two down comforters.  With Plan B in mind, I searched again online for down alternative comforters with good reviews.  A nudge from a friend (hi Amber!) prompted me to just order two from Wal-mart.  They have great reviews, free shipping to the store and two of them was half the price of one at Pottery Barn.  Of course anyone who really knows me knows that I will return them tout de suite if I don't like them!

To complete the look of the bed, we decided that the matching Euro shams were the way to go.  Since we still have my home-made headboard while we wait for the perfect, or shall I say, perfectly priced bed, they do not disappoint.  We got the pillows at Pottery Barn to go with the shams and I love their squishy, poofy down feel as much as I love how they give the bed a facelift.    

If you study in the store how they make a bed that looks luxurious and interesting, you will always see layers of color and texture.  I plan to add more layers to my bed to do just that.  With just a couple of regular pillow cases like the ones below, I can add interest and depth to the room.  The good news is that they will definitely be on sale as summer goes by and I can get a discount.




All of our sheets are white and I don't want to change that but adding a tan blanket to an under layer or at the foot of the bed is a possibility for the colder months.  We'd  have to be crazy to add another layer in the Houston summer though so that will give me time to find one that complements the look by fall.

What do you think?  Do you put a lot of effort into wardrobing your bed?  Does matching matter?  Do you think the bed is the face of the room?  Do you like beach cottage decorating but like me think it can get too much too fast?  I have a confession that sometimes I don't even make my bed but I'm going to resolve to get better about that!

Photos from here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Inspires You?


"It had the beauty of austerity, the wonderful shining cleanliness and even emptiness, the simplicity of having only what is it essential, which is balm to the troubled mind."  Caryll Houselander in Born Catholics  


This quote was posted on my refrigerator about 10 years ago, and now it is sitting on my desk.  It speaks to me in a way that is so contrary to the way that shopping and our consumeristic society makes me feel.  They both draw me though and I struggle to balance between over-consumption and a too minimal life. It makes sense that the quote is referring to a convent room where if anyone's life should be focused enough to attain this simplicity, it would be a nun.


When I read this, it always reminds me of how I feel when I'm traveling with only my suitcase full of essentials.  I go to a hotel room that has very little and I feel so peaceful there.  I often try to simulate at home how I feel in that space.  The room is decorated and the bed is cozy, but no clutter anywhere except what I bring.

Even though we need more at home, I sometimes wonder how much more do we need?  The excess weighs us down and becomes a burden.  We have to buy bins to put it in, hide it when people come over, clean around it, organize it and sometimes just shuffle it from pile to pile.  Why not get a coffee and dedicate an hour to going through some piles today?

How do you bring peace into your home? Is cleaning out clutter balm to your troubled mind?  Do you need a lot to feel at home, or is minimalism your style?

Photo from a convent in Italy.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Post Israel Post About Israel (& Shopping Too)

I have been in a fashion funk lately.  Maybe it's because my mind has been so focused on planning our trip to Israel.  For months, all our shopping trips involved Smartwool socks and moisture wicking fabrics.  At first I hated buying all these adventure clothes because they are so anti-fashionable. The first time we went to REI, I said I don't even know why they have mirrors because all these boots are ugly.  They grew on me though and now I'd wear them every day if I could because I love the sturdiness and comfort.  But don't be silly, I won't wear them every day! After all, Houston is the land of Tory Burch flats and flip flops.

On one shopping trip, I was making fun of G for his choice of button up green hiking shirts complete with venting in the back.  Despite my heckling, he bought them anyway because he thought they were super cool and so functional.  The next day we were in Banana Republic and what do I see but almost the exact same green shirt with two pockets on the front, minus the back venting.  So, what do I know about fashion anyway?  You step away for a couple months and you are completely out of the loop.

Today, I got reacquainted with the fashion world by spending a few hours at Nordstrom.  I walked around and soaked it all up with the piano music in the background as icing on the cake.  I even saw an old friend so we just cozied up on the couches in the women's department and had an hour long chat.  Usually, it takes me a long time to shop there because the shoppping budget doesn't go that far.  I must carefully select my few purchases.

Natalie, one of the sales girls took me around and gave me the tour of what's in right now.  She mentioned skinny jeans quite a bit, cargo pants, long cardigans, and lace.  I don't hop on to every trend but my wardrobe needed some CPR.  I got a a long black cardigan, a white ruffley, flowy cardigan, a purple sleeveless top, and a pair of white wedge shoes.  Well, let me show you the couple of things I could find on the site.





I was supposed to be shopping for summer, but I justified the cardigans because one, Natalie told me how cool they are, and two because even you need a sweater in the summer for the chilly air conditioning. I'm usually totally against white shoes and I completely forgot that until just now.  I also got lured into a Laura Mercier makeover which was fun.  I need more makeup like I need a hole in my head but I got the black turquoise eyeliner anyway.

I came home and was so excited about my new purchases that I made lots of new outfits with my purple shirts and white shoes.  I haven't done that in so long.  I basically lived in a turtleneck and jeans all winter because our house was so cold.  I'm just now getting my summer clothes into rotation so I needed to reevaluate what I have.  I know my few purchases are going to go far with perking up my existing clothes.  It's encouraging that just a couple of new and modern things can invigorate a wardrobe.

Even though I'm excited about my new purchases, I can't forget to write about the most important thing on my mind these days though!  Our trip to Israel was life changing and amazing.  I bought a few items and it transformed a lot of my outfits, but experiencing Israel has transformed my mind. This was a study trip as well as a hiking trip.  We learned so many things that allow us to see Jesus and the Bible in a new way.  There was a light that was turned on by learning about Jesus as a Jewish Rabbi, the culture and practices of Jews during his time.  Knowing the land and the specifics of the culture helps us understand the parables and metaphors he used more clearly.  If you are interested in this, read Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, to learn more about unlocking the key to understanding a new level of the Bible.


To be in the land of the Bible and walk where Moses and Jesus walked was awe inspiring.  We would hike up a mountain or down a wadi and read about what happened in that place from the Scriptures.  The picture above and below is by the dead sea.  That scarf wasn't for fashion. It had cooling beads in it that kept me from overheating on those long hikes.  Here are a couple more photos.




Tell me what has invigorated you or your wardrobe lately?  Have you taken a trip that changed your life?  Is there a trend that you are loving?  Are you cringing or smiling that the 80's are back?  When Natalie from Nordstrom told me to pinch in the bottom of my pants before rolling them up to look more tapered, it took me back to junior high and I'm not that excited about the 80's coming back.  Are you rocking the skinny jeans and flowing cardigans?  Have you been to Israel?  Got a trip planned?

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