Mirabelle Rug in the SF Bedroom

May 27, 2015

When it came to furnishing the San Francisco apartment together I share with my husband, rugs were actually one of the trickier decisions. I have such a hard time picturing how a rug will look in a room and often times it seems hard to see the actual color details in a photo online. However, rugs (along with lamps) are what I think helps make a home feel cozy and lived in. Our place is SF has wall-to-wall hardwood floors so we needed to pick rugs for both practical (we had to cover 75% of the floors for lease purposes) and decor purposes (the spaces flow together and needed to be anchored as separate).

The rug we envisioned for our bedroom was the hardest to find but we love it so much that its become our favorite room. With the exception of two lacquered bright orange night stands we got from Scout in Dallas, all of the furniture we had for the space was pretty neutral and we needed the rug to tie everything together. Thanks to the help of Bailey, who I default to for just about every single design decision, we narrowed in on the Mirabelle rug from Lulu & Georgia as the perfect choice.

 

The classic design with the central medallion is exactly what we had in mind but the worn-in look and the multiple color options available proved to be both a blessing and a curse. For us, the cobalt version was a favorite because of the hints of orange in the details that seemed perfect for our bright nightstands – but really, I think we could have ended up with the grey and teal or pink and been equally as happy. In the end we went with the blue it felt like the most classic color to be in a bedroom and I knew that we wouldn’t tire of the it in the long run. The mostly cool colors in the cobalt Mirabelle created great contrast for the warm-tones in the leopard x-benches I had planned to place at the end of our bed.

It’s funny how much has changed since we had these photos taken a little while back. I hated that bed from the moment Robert purchased it – from One Kings Lane or maybe Wayfair. I always thought that it was awkwardly low and not great quality, but it definitely did the trick for the time being. Since these photos we have switched the bed out with a white, four poster bed that seems much more suitable for the room. It also opens up under the bed storage space which is a must in our SF apartment. Our new bed sits higher off the floor and seems to show off the beauty of the rug even better, which I love! We also have new bedding on the way from Biscuit and Leontine that I am so screaming excited for and thanks to the layered color-scheme in the Mirabelle rug, everything will still look nicely pulled together.

To celebrate that the rug is finally back in stock, our friends at Lulu & Georgia are offering all A Piece of Toast readers 20% off purchases for a week (5/27 – 6/3) with the code APOT20 at checkout!

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Beauty

Shimmering Sands

We love makeup but know next to nothing about how to use eye shadow…jealousy is what we feel when we see girls with the perfect swoops of pigment, correctly placed shimmer, and confident smokey eyes. In an effort to get better at learning how to apply more than a light all-over powder, we’ve picked up the Shimmering Sands Eye Palette by Bobbi Brown. Wish us luck!

Style

Triangl Swim

The contrast-heavy designs Triangl Swimwear does with their signature black trim and bold color combinations always make us do a double-take. This season they’ve released darling crochet pieces but the straight-up neoprene styles are always our faces. Both of us went with some underwire tops this year – Molly the Poppy in Marshmallow Yellow and Sally the Milly in Indiana Ice. Swim time!

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

Beauty Dish

May 26, 2015

I don't have overly dry skin - even in the dry winter months - but my eyelids get crazyyyyy dry. It's a mystery to me how this can happen when the rest of my face and bod seem to be fine…but flaky skin around my eyes isn't only unattractive but it was making me itch and rub my eyes like crazy. Back in February I started asking some make-up artists what kind of eye creams the loved. I was already using some great products (this and this) that I liked a lot but they just didn't hydrate enough and layering makeup (concealer or powder) on top make the dryness look horrible. Jamie, makeup guru who did Sally's wedding beauty told us during her trial run in mid-February that Bobbi Brown made fantastic eye creams and after reading tons of the reviews online I decided it was worth trying.

 

Do you guys read reviews? I’m addicted to them – especially when it comes to beauty and skin products. God bless the people who take the time to write about whether an item proved to live up to its hype, did what it promised, and was worth the cost. I’ve avoided a lot of unnecessary purchases and been able to compare and contrast similar products I’ve been torn between just by reading what fellow beauty junkies on Nordstrom and Sephora have to say.

Even with all my online review reading, I still prefer to buy my skin and beauty stuff in person when I can. I like to feeeeel the product. And mostly, I want instant gratification of buying and being able to use right away. When I went in to buy Bobbi’s eye cream, I came out with another skin product and both of them deserve to be shared because they are truly my two “can’t live without” skin items. Who knew that Bobbi Brown was such a skincare wizard? Just getting these two things led me to a major overhaul of my beauty brushes and products – but that’s a Beauty Dish post for another day. Let’s talk skin.

Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream ($70): Bobbi makes a ‘Hydrating’ Eye Cream with a nice light texture (and it garnered fabulous reviews) but I thought that the ‘Extra Eye Repair’ Cream was the one for me to try since it my lids were flaking on the regular. The description mentions that the Extra Cream is rich and thick and it doesn’t lie – it definitely doesn’t have a light, lotion feel. I had never used something so thick around my eyes but found that I liked patting the thick cream under and around my eyes until it felt like it had sunk in. I let it sit and soak for a probably ten minutes before I put any makeup on and have never noticed any issues with makeup not going on well or greasiness…if anything, my concealer and powder goes on better now that my eye area is so hydrated and smooth. The super-concentrated formula is meant to help “reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness while boosting moisture levels” and after using it twice a day for a few months I’ve got to say that my little eye areas have never looked more refreshed or healthy! If you have hyper dryness under your eyes or your eyelid areas I’d definitely suggest trying this.

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement ($72): Once I had the Extra Eye Repair Cream in hand, I scanned the other Bobbi Brown skin products and my eye locked on the yellow-brown dropper bottle of Intensive Skin Supplement. I was mostly intrigued by the packaging (always liking a book by its cover) and put a few drops on the back of my hand to see what the texture was like. I have used a lot of serums…some feel like a light lotion and some feel like water. This formula felt like the constancy of a skin cleanser (more like a light gel?). It glides over a large surface easily and doesn’t sink in so quickly that you can’t get all the spots covered. But it does sink in nicely – hydrating without leaving a sheen or wet look. I use this both morning and night after I wash my face and immediately after putting on this toner. Sometimes I put a thick cream on top at night (I rotate between these three: 1, 2, 3) but during the day I will but on a light spf lotion (currently using this one) or just be good with the serum. One time I forgot to put on the supplement before my evening cream and it was shocking to feel how differently the cream felt and absorbed…with the supplement on first cream and lotion sinks in like water but without it on first creams take a lot longer to rub in and I my skin feels more greasy. This is my favorite serum I’ve ever used and I think the proof is in how little is left in the bottle. Usually I never finish the products I have (don’t judge, it’s terrible I know) but I’ll be using this till it’s gone and immediately buying a new bottle.

If I were going to be stranded on a dessert island I would want: a toothbrush, Bobbi’s eye cream, her skin supplement, and some sort of heavy duty SPF (since I would be on an island). I told you these two skin guys were very important to me!

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Interiors + Decor

Plant The Future

They say that having plants / flowers in your home increases quality of life. We think this is probably true. And while we lurve picking out flowers and other green things to arrange at home, some stuff looks better when done by experts. When we discovered Plant The Future we felt both love and jealously. Their designs of terrariums, orchids, mini gardens, and figurines are unreal. And they ship stuff…

Style

T-Shirt Dresses

The heat of summer – it’s coming. And we plan to be prepared with lots of easy dresses (less clothing is best when in tropical temperatures) that are basic but perfect staples for layering accessories and wearing on the reg. Old Navy makes some very nice t-shirt shifts that have great stretch and are made with nice thick cotton. We bought some last year and plan on stocking up again…

Three Beachy Looks

May 22, 2015

Two things: 1) I watched When Harry Met Sally... for the first time last night and loved it. There's sadly a long list of classic movies like these I haven't seen (ex: Steel MagnoliasFlashdanceSt. Elmo's Fire, etc, etc.) and I need to make a habit of crossing them off my list. 2) Houston reminds me of being at the beach, specifically a beach in Florida. It's not because we have a coastline and an ocean but because similarly to what happens daily at the beach, it rains for some length of time almost every day in H-town. I don't hate this - mostly because I work inside and the rain doesn't last the entire length of the day - but it does contribute to the humidity factor. The tropical-ish climate is something I'm adjusting to but my view is to embrace it with open arms since hating on it won't make living in it any easier. I love dressing for the summer so now I get to wear my beachy stuff more often and I just add layers for when I'm working in the air conditioning.

 

When I did a massive closet clean-out before my move I noted that I don’t wear or buy a ton of prints and patterns. There’s nothing wrong with this – I’m glad I know what I gravitate towards because it makes me purchase what I’ll wear the most – but I also felt the itch for some variety. I love white (most of you should know about my white shirt addiction by now) so I told myself that if I saw a not-too-loud-or-busy print with a mostly white background that I should bring it into the closet fold of friends. The lack of striped pieces I owned shocked me (I love them! why don’t I have any?) and since that’s the most classic pattern ever I mentally have been keeping an eye out for what I deem to be “good stripes.”

What I’ve got for you today are three beachy outfits that just happen to be great for the Houston heat – all with pieces that were purchased with my pre-move closet observations in mind.

Look One: Cover-ups are one thing I never regret buying. I don’t have a tonnn of them but I can genuinely say that I wear every single one and like to add one or two new styles each year. I’ve had good luck with finding cute coverups at Old Navy but I was particularly impressed with this embroidered stripe one…I mean, it kind of resembles Lem Lem. But with the addition of really adorable trim. The colors used in the stripes are subtle enough that it can go with any color of suit and I’m a big fan of the overall fit.

Look Two: Black and white stripes! Old Navy dresses are some of my spring and summer staples but this is the first “fitted midi” version I’ve tried and I’m kind of obsessed. I love an oversized shirt/top but fitted dresses sometimes feel more comfortable to me (and look better on my bod?) than a-line pieces. The addition of stripes on this just makes it even better…it also has a little slit up the back that makes it easy to move in. It’s an easy beach look but I even wore the dress to work yesterday with a distressed jean jacket.

Look Three: If you told me I’d ever own a kimono-style piece I would have held your hand and said, “Oh gosh, that’s just not going to happen. Where would I wear something like that?” But my bestie Brittany rocks them so frequently and so well that I came onto the idea that they made great outwear accents without adding much weight (re: a great layer for a hot climate). When I saw this printed (a print!! I need a good print!) chiffon kimono-style cover-up I thought it was worth trying. Not only was the print on a mostly white background but I loved the cute trim around the edges. It designed to be worn as a cover-up but I’ve also been wearing it with jeans over tanks and tees…I feel way cooler than I am and I feel like Stevie Nicks (and Britt) would approve.

Let me know if there are any 80s classics on your movie list I need to watch! And happy long weekend!

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Style

Color-Cube Minaudière

Functional clutches and handbags are necessary – function trumps form. But then there are sweet little bags that might not hold much but serve as works of art and can be conversation pieces. Take the Color-cube Minaudières from Tory Burch…done with inlaid wood and resin (either in hues or pink or blue), it can be carried in hand or worn with a shoulder chain strap. Très chic.

Beauty

Vavoom

We’ve been using kate spade makeup bags since our mom gifted us with our first “real” makeup in high school. Both of us still have that first bag (it’s the best) but we’ve been adding more ksny cosmetic cases, pouches, and bags over time. The Flashcards Natalie Case just caught our eye – we don’t have this style yet and it looks perfect for travel. Even comes with a smaller pouch inside!

We Made a Hayden Reis Tote!

May 21, 2015

When given the option to custom design something, I'd generally rather go with the pre-made options available. It's like, Dairy Queen creates delicious Blizzard concoctions so that I don't have to try and come up with the delicious combination myself - they took out all the guess work being the experts they are. I can apply this same scenario to both clothing and accessories…other than choosing a gold tone for jewelry or a bag in an available color, I don't generally look at items and think, "Oh I like this but I'd loooove it if I could change this, add this, do this, etc." The pressure of endless options is intimidating. But what would this rambling about customization be if I didn't conclude with telling you all that I obviously did design something special? My friend Emily asked if I'd want to create a limited edition "A Piece of Toast" tote for Hayden Reis and because I have looked at their site hundreds of times and own multiple bags, I already had some thoughts in mind for what I might like. Emily (the owner behind Hayden Reis) gave me a blank canvas and I let my little imagination run wild...

 

Emily said the overall color of the tote could be any hue but I wanted to stick with white since those tend to be my favorite. Once that was determined, I came up with separate four color stories I really liked and paired each with a different embroidered or appliqué idea. Clearly, we landed on a Hearts + Stripes design and I love how the colors came out. In case anyone cares to know what other three ideas were, it was: 1) a donut appliqué with pinks and reds, 2) “señorita” embroidered in a navy with an aqua bottom stripe, and 3) a lightning bold appliqué with hues of orange and a hint of neon. The fourth option, a design with three hearts in a blush hue with subdued blues won out because both Emily and I felt strongly that the symbol was somewhat missing from her assortment.

Lots of play went into how the hearts would be arranged with the blue stripes…vertical or horizontal? centered or offset? thin stripes or more wide? red contrast stitching or white? Then we debated about having a red handle (my original idea) or a grey. I deferred to Emily’s opinion on this one and love how the bag turned out with the grey nylon shoulder straps. As the factory was doing mock-ups we realized that the pink color being used for the hearts wasn’t looking right and Emily decided it was necessary to do a custom hue so that the blush color was perfect. I’m so glad she went to the extra effort of doing that because it really does look perfect.

I think the tote is a pretty great representation of A Piece of Toast because it blends the two style aesthetics Sally and I have. Sal is more girly and whimsical where as I’m a minimalist and gravitate towards neutrals. The hearts are her, the blue tones are me, but the classic and straightforward layout of the stripes is both of us.

Approaching this project with a plan of basic colors and fun creative concepts already in mind made the design process somewhat easy – totally surprising me and my lack of desire for address a blank canvas. I’m not sure I could replicate this success with just anyone, my friendship and trust in Emily and existing love for Hayden Reis really made me comfortable from start to finish and took the pressure off worrying about quality or taste alignment. It was a project made in heaven. And I hope y’all love the tote and wristlet as much as I do!

Hayden Reis totes are great for the beach (the lightweight sail cloth isn’t just durable and resistant to fading, but it lends a nice nautical feel) but I use mine on a daily basis. Blue has a designated tote for when I transport his bowls, toys, and food places; I keep a Diddy in my car for bagging and brining in groceries; Middy totes are ideal for errands, travel, and everyday hustling and hauling. I’ve gotten more than a few people hooked on Hayden Reis – my friend Hannah uses hers as a baby/diaper bag – so it’s fun that now the A Piece of Toast design is available for anyone to buy.

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