Reversible Coat + Take-Everywhere Tote

January 26, 2018

I got this "coat" (it's more of a long oversized sweater in my mind) from Cuyana back in the fall and it's been a daily staple ever since. AMAZING for this weird cold-in-the-morning-and-night but warm-in-the-afternoon weather Dallas has been having. Highly suggest scooping one up! It also comes in another cute color way (blush and camel!).

Fun Fact: my diaper bag is a State of Escape tote. This Escape Carryall. One of the best pre-baby purchases I made and get asked about all the time. If you don't know about SoE, the Australian brand makes bags with neoprene fabric supported and performance sailing rope. They're soft but super durable, light weight and can be hand washed. Win, win, win, win - especially for kid-use. I just got this Guise bag from the latest Premium Guise Collection. Obsessed with the denim tones in the Guise collection. Molly actually stole it and has been using it for awhile now...I get it. They're too good to resist.

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Style

Cozy “Amour”

Fun fact: we justify buying cute sweatshirts for ourselves by calling them “sister sweatshirts.” This has been going on for years and we have at least half a dozen matching cozy cotton pullovers. This “Amour” Sweatshirt from J.Crew is our latest matching purchase. Classic typography embroidered on a classic silhouette makes for a win!

Style

$16 Statement Earrings

The bold geometric style of these Metal Statement Earrings screams “Designer! Expensive!” Which is why we were so shocked and excited to see that they’re only $15.99. You must click over to Mango’s site to see them on the model – their larger in scale which only adds to the statement-making appeal. Get a pair for you…and your bestie.

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

Living Room Update + Annie by the Dozen

January 24, 2018

Some of you may be thinking, "Where ya been?" And the answer I have is, "Here! I've been right here!" After ringing in the new year, Sally and I decided to take a little hiatus and recharge our creative batteries. And I'm speaking for both of us when I say that it was a great decision. We've gotten organized, have been able to take care of some personal things that kept getting pushed off, and brainstormed some of the content we want to share now that 2018 is off and running.

The personal things that have been getting all my excitement and focus: getting my pups trained, putting some design attention into my living room, and doing a few creative side projects. My two white labs Blue Moonbeam and Rosebud are the loves of my life...but they've really done a number on my living room. My slip-covered couch is a sloppy stained disaster, my sea grass rug had several square feet completely shredded (I coped by covering the areas with duct-tape which Rosie then promptly ripped off), and I had basically thrown up my hands on even trying to make the overall situation look good. But I am so sensitive to my living environment (my brain hurts if I haven't made my bed or if there's stuff on my dining room table) and the living room vibe was slowly crushing my spirit.

Before the holidays I told myself that I was giving myself two big gifts: calm dog (i.e., obedience) training for the pups and a full living room update. I missed my babies while they were away (we were reunited last Friday!) but in the time they were gone I got to collaborate with Annie Selke and fluff up the living room with newness that has made the space SO much brighter and made for the best decor jump-start to the new year!

 

A few months ago, in my quest to pull myself out of my living room rut, I was talking to my friend Kelsey (from The Loveliest!) and asking her advice on rugs and an overall feel for the room. She told me to look at Annie Selke, that she loves their rugs and they have lots of durable options for dogs. Since I didn’t have a real vision for the room – aside from wanting to keep several of my existing future pieces and create a lighter, brighter feel – beginning the refresh process with a rug choice felt like an ideal starting point.

Off to Annie Selke I went. And I scrolled through the options of rugs for hours. Days. I liked so many of them I told myself that I’d get back to making a decision after the holidays (because gifts for others and all that). Imagine my surprise when the cool, creative people at Annie Selke reached out to me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a design project with them in the new year. Who, me? It’s like all the visualization I had been doing on the living room had literally manifested into a fairy godmother (appropriately named Annie). I said “omgyesisthisadream?!” pinched myself and then we got to the fun stuff…picking pieces that would update the room while blending with the things I already had.

Annie Selke is a real person and she’s basically a decor badass. Her acclaimed companies Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert, Luxe, and Annie Selke Outlet produce bedding, rugs, home furnishings and accessories for everyone to love and are all contained under the Annie Selke name – everything is easily shopable via one website. For someone like me who often needs a curated selection to choose from (endless pages of options can scare me off) pulling inspiration and a wish list  items from one place made it really easy for me to hone in on what look and feel I was gravitating toward.

Here’s what I KNEW I needed to replace: destroyed sea grass rug and sectional sofa. I knew I would keep: a huge woven armchair with cow-hide cushions, an antique ottoman from my grandparents that I wanted to reupholster (love the leopard but I couldn’t deal with two animal prints in one area), matching white side tables, a skinny console table, and a simple tray table that serves as my bar cart. And there were a few things I thought I needed: some pillows and some statement decor pieces to fill in empty spaces.

Annie Selke has some beautiful furniture pieces – and I almost kicked all my existing stuff to the curb to start from scratch but I’m way too sentimental and very much against waste, so I had to bypass most of their awesome selection (the sofas are awesome but I had my heart set on a certain sofa situation and knew nothing could change my mind – more on that in an upcoming post). So I went back to Annie Selke’s the selection of rugs and revisited some of the styles I had digitally dog-eared a couple months earlier.

Um, picking a rug is not easy…especially when you’re a “go big or go home” rug person like I am and you know that whatever you pick will make a big visual impact. What helped me narrow down the selection process was looking at the indoor/outdoor category. I’m not a messy/dirty person but my living room is a high-traffic area and my dogs are not dainty and I 100% need something durable to stand up to standard pup wear and tear…and very frequent vacuuming. Lucky for me, Annie Selke’s indoor/outdoor rug options are vast. I sorted by the size I was needing (10′ x 14′) then bothered every person I knew asking what they thought I should get. I was stuck between doing a tan-hued neutral (similar to the seagrass vibe I currently had), being bold and going with something blue, or trying to find something on the lighter side that wouldn’t be a nightmare to keep looking clean. The more I looked at my brown seagrass situation the more I realized how dark it make the room…I don’t get a ton of natural light in my living room so the hardwood floors + brown rug + heavy stone fireplace made for a drab feeling that I wanted to break free from. So even though I really liked this and this, I crossed all brown/tan options off my list. I loooooved the idea of bringing in blue (my fave color) into the room with a rug – and Kelsey suggested this or this – but ultimately, I chickened out on account that I was worried a colored rug would just be something I’d get sick of. My process of elimination made me feel confident that light but durable was what I needed.

Perfect. Rug. Found. Annie Selke’s Dunes Bleached Oak Rug had what I wanted and needed: ultra-durable braided construction, richly textured, ideal for high-traffic areas, good with regular vacuuming, and a neutral color that was light but not “white.” I should probably note now that nearly all Annie Selke rugs are eco-friendly, made with sustainable materials and/or recycled materials. If you’re conscious about having non-toxic pieces in your home this is a great plus. I was slightly concerned that the Dunes Bleached Oak Rug would be a little too light just based on the available image online but the 95% Jute/5% Cotton is a perfect off/white natural hue that has great color variation (from the natural jute) ideal for high traffic. As soon as I unrolled it with the help of Sally I was SHOCKED by how much of an immediate difference it made in the room. It’s like someone finally turned on the lights and the room finally got the brightness I had been craving. I’ve lived with the rug for a full week now and have nothing but love…no shedding, it’s great with the dogs, vacuums like dream, and I adore the light color but don’t worry about walking on it with shoes because of the durable materials.

Once I settled on a rug I had no problem selecting a few other Annie Selke things. I’d heard such great things about their WOUFs (dog beds) and decided it was time for me to swap out Blue’s dark blue dog bed for something more neutral and clean. I picked out the Trimaran Stripe Platinum/Ivory Indoor/Outdoor Wouf and it’s perfect with the rug. I think I clicked on every single category to make sure I was seeing everything Annie had to offer – and that’s how I found the poufs in the outdoor furniture category. When I see “outdoor furniture” I don’t think patio, I think durable. Maybe it’s the dog mom in me, but if I’m going to have furniture I want it to be things I don’t mind my dogs interacting with. A square poof seemed like an ideal extra seating option and the perfect thing for a small empty wall in my living room. Since I love blue and chicken out on bringing it into the room with the rug, I opted for the Mingled Denim Indoor/Outdoor Pouf. I use this thing so much – perfect for perching on to put on shoes – and I love the texture and how it makes a cozy visual impact.

To bring in some additional texture I went for pillows. I wanted a mixed look and picked the Lexington White/Platinum Indoor/Outdoor Pillow and Concord Swedish Blue indoor/Outdoor Pillow to layer on my sofa with some pink velvet pillows I’ve had and some new vintage kilim pillows. I’m obsessed with how the the scale works with the smaller pillows and that they don’t “match” but look great together. I’m also addicted to having a blanket on my lap when sitting on my sofa (who isn’t?!) and the Boyfriend White Matelasse Throw is like the ultimate blanket upgrade to my collection of tired throws. It’s so cozy and I’m fully dedicated to keeping it white and clean!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Pinterest and Instagram it’s that coffee table books are always a good idea. I mean, duh. After moving 7 times in 7 years I had stopped letting myself buy pretty statement tombs because they’re hella heavy to move. But I was so craving some new covers to use on my sofa side tables. My tables are pretty small and low – and I plan on hanging sconces above them once I replace the sofa – and anything I had previously tried to style on them just looked silly. I thought that If I could stand up some coffee table books with the covers facing out that it might bring some color and vill the void without feeling like color. Annie Selke has a nice little selection of coffee table books in the decor and pillows category and I scooped up “Mr Architecture + Decor,” “The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Sunnylands: American Midcentury Masterpiece.” My tip for picking coffee table books: don’t just buy to buy, get ones that actually speak to your interests; and, Google the books to see if you can find pictures of them without the jacket covers…you’d be surprised how many hardbound books look even cooler without the jackets (case and point with “Sunnylands” and its awesome quilted and sunflower printed hardcover).

The final touches of flair that brought the whole room tougher for me are a Concrete Pebble Pot that holds whatever orchid I’ve managed not to kill and Cyril the Sloth. What? You didn’t think I would skip over checking out the stuffed animal offerings, did you? Cyril makes me unbelievably happy. As does the gorgeous pebbled pot on my console table – it brings the perfect texture and scale to the sleek stacks of books and simple mirror.

There are a few more things I need/want to do to the living room…painting it white to make it even brighter, hanging sconces that were in the bedroom at my last place above the sofa side tables, putting some art on the wall where my pouf sits, and have my ottoman reupholstered (so the vintage indigo mud cloth on it is attached and not sitting tablecloth style). But I’ll admit, I’m not in a huge rush to kick the extra to-do’s off my list. I’m SO crazy happy about the impact all the Annie Selke goodness made that I’m just enjoying the transformation.

What’s really fun is that I’m just the first of 12 people Annie Selke will be working with this year on room transformations. Each month there will be another blogger participating in the “Annie by the Dozen” room project! 12 months, 12 bloggers, 12 rooms showcasing our individual styles and favorites from the breath of Annie Selke offerings. I have a feeling that all the other Annie adorned rooms to come will blow mine out of the water but I couldn’t be happier about how my cozy little living room turned out. Everything stands out without stealing the show, feels stylish but also comfortable (my general life vibe) and most importantly, will stand the test of time.

Don’t worry…I’ll definitely give another room update after I get to painting and hanging stuff! They say that all interior projects should be a work in progress. That it’s better to make changes and bring in newness over a period time. I’m all about that philosophy. And I know I’ll be trolling Annie Selke frequently for inspiration and additions to complete my living room look and finish off the other rooms in my place!

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Style

Petite Maude

Structured simplistic casual elegance…the words that came to mind when we locked eyes with The Cuoio Vachetta Petite Maude. Designer Clare Vivier has created countless timeless bags (we’re big fans of the flat clutch) but this newer style brings new elements – a structured top frame, cut out handles and gusseted sides can also be pushed in – that we’re loving. P.S. “Cuoio Vachetta” is a minimally-treated vegetable tanned cowhide. Prettiest hue.

Style

Fluffy Nicky Sandal

Ugh. Every season Loeffler Randall does their thing and makes shoes and handbags that are nearly impossible for us to resist. This fall we have a big time crush on the Nicky Sandals. Nicky is a cool girl and she kind of definitely has it all…a chunky heel (that’s not too high), ankle tie straps and a fox fur poof across each toe strap. Available in dusty rose, eclipse (navy) and sliver metallic + multi-colored fur, this furry number is a little cheeky but super wearable.

Current Vibes

December 22, 2017

Well...now I know what it's like to have a site that's been hacked and full of thousands of infected files! Three days, many phone calls to various tech supports and site security software peeps, and zero emails received (that happens when your Google Admin account is tied to your domain), we are back in business. Apparently it's shocking to have a site that's been running for 7+ years without any security that has never had hacking activity?

I won't lie. The forced "break" away from writing, emailing, etc. did feel somewhat freeing. Also irritating. To think, this Current Vibes has been waiting to post since Wednesday morning. The horror! #notrealproblems  (keep reading to see what stuff has been on my mind and meant to publish days ago but ohhhhh well, better late than never as we head into the Christmas weekend!)

1. SCREAMING // MARYELLIS BUNN’S MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM: The Museum of Ice Cream…a creative and highly instagramable concept (#musumoficecream) that’s been in four cities so far and sells out tickets each time. When it coms to the museum i think you’re in one of two camps, 1) “OMG I have to get a ticket and experience this bliss,” or 2) “Wait, this is a museum? About ice cream? Are those real sprinkles in that pool??” I was in the second camp till Sally made a visit to the San Francisco museum in September and she came back with tons of photos and a full explanation of what makes it such a special experience. So I’ve mad my way from camp 2 to camp 1 but I was still *slightly* confused on the museum as a whole. Thanks to The Coveteur and the interview / feature they did with Maryellen Bunn – the founder of the company that is the Museum of Ice Cream – I totally get it. Or at the very least, I understand that Maryellen came to the idea out of passion and dreams up the fantastical and colorful “rooms” that both reflect the culture of the city the museum is in and evoke feelings from the visitors. I highly suggest reading the interview (all your sprinkle pool questions are answered!). I for one am excited for what’s on the horizon for Museum of Ice Cream…and here’s to hoping that I’ll get to experience the concept in one of its 30-day city installations some day!

2. INSPIRED BY // GRAY BENKO’S HOME: If you don’t follow Charleston-based photographer Gray Benko on Instagram (@graybenko) you should do yourself a favor and do so. She’s extremely talented and her children are extremely hilarious. After getting glimpses here and there of Gray’s home via her feed I was very excited when it was featured on Glitter Guide last month. I loved reading the Q+A with Gray as much as I loved getting to see the full extent of her interior design aesthetic. So many things to love! I can’t decide which room is my favorite…the breakfast room with it’s amazing rug, table, well styled shelves and painting of a guy eating pasta…the playroom with a gallery wall of vintage painted portraits and floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with uniform boxes (my type-A heart loves this idea)…or the office space with dark blue walls and a huge portrait of Gray’s daughter Farris in one of her signature beauty looks (look up #farrisdoesfaces and you’ll be cracking up for hours). Even better than all the design inspiration, most everything is linked! I’m now dying for this desk chair, contemplating stick-on wallpaper, and will more than likely buy a ton of these boxes to mimic the playroom shelves.

3. SLEEPING // NIGHT SHIRT: I’m sure everyone has their Christmas Jammies by now (I happen to be wearing my Roller Rabbit pair right this minute) but if you’re wanting to buck the red + green trend or looking for pj’s to gift, I’m loving this cozy nightshirt from Madewell. From the crisp white and pink oxford stripes to the contrast cranberry-colored piping, it’s a classic look that would look great snuggled up in bed, hanging by the Christmas tree, or even thrown on over a pair of jeans (why not?!). And guess what…you can get said night sort 30% off with code LATEBIRD!

4. NOTING // PRODUCTIVE AF: I am a big time pen-to-paper person. I have a physical planner (get a Graphic Image desk diary each year – my fave!), notebooks devoted to actual note taking during calls and meetings, and various notepads that I use for listing. Making to-do lists is one of my favorite things…not just because it feels so good to cross things off but because they keep me accountable (can’t “forget” to do things when you’re staring at the task on a list). As I prep for 2018 I’m getting all my paper products in order (nerd alert). I’ve got my Desk Diary and just ordered this notebook (Sugar Paper spiral lined notebooks are the best), and when I came across a pretty pink “Productive As F***“) notepad I thought, “Oh yes, much needed for list making in the new year.” Pardon the French, but this is just the kind of motivation and sass I love. Plus, it’s hard to lose a to-do list when it’s made on pretty pink paper!

5. SALTING // CAP BEAUTY PINK SALT: I didn’t realize till recently that CAP Beauty had a “grocery” section of their site. I can already spend hours getting lost in beauty sites (especially ones as pretty as CAPViolet GreyFollain, etc.) and getting to look beyond the selection of skin care, make-up, and beauty tools can be fun when the additional assortment is as well curated and on-brand as what’s on the rest of the site. Basically, the CAP Grocery is very fun to page through. From tea + coffee, pantry items, adaptogens and more – there’s so many new-to-me things that are fun to explore. My fave part of the Grocery is the CAP-branded goods…pretty packaging, check! I’m not sure how I feel about matcha (though CAP may be selling me on the drinkable mood-lifter and antioxidant power powder) but I’d love to add the Pink Mountain Salt to my kitchen. It’s just pretty, it’s “packed with 84 vital minerals and trace elements to sustain and promote complete body function and wellbeing.” So I need it.

6. WANTING // MARGAUX MADE-TO-MEASURE: I haven’t worn a pair of classic ballerina flats in…years. Probably because I have never had a nice pair that I’ve loved. But I’d love to have a pretty pair of classic ballerinas (leather, grosgrain trim, cord bow, slight stacked heel). Essentially, I’d love The Demi by Margaux NY (experts of classic shoe silhouettes). But since I have “unique” feet (re: bunions) it can be tricky for me to find flats that are comfortable and that actually fit. So I love that Margaux has a Made-to-Measure option where you can order a Fitting Kit for $15 that contains everything to take your exact foot measurements and determine which flats you want. The custom option is a little more expensive that buying a stock size and width but for someone who has a tough time finding a fit, the extra cost and six week turn-around time for handcrafted flats could be worth it!

7. READING // STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS: “Here’s to strong women, may know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” I’m a girl power nerd so I love the “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” (volumes 1 and 2). Each volume has 100 stories – and accompanying portraits illustrated by 60 different female artists – of great women throughout time (think J.K. Rowling, Freda Khalo, Cleopatra, Beyonce and so many more). Each bio is short, sweet, and inspiring. Great for yourself, fearless females and little girls and boys!

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Beauty

Olio E Osso

Jean Godfrey-June of goop is one of our beauty spirit animals. We read so much of what she writes that it feels like we know her. But the word of Jean is hardly ever wrong. Case and point: when asked for a no-makeup must-have she named Olio E Osso Balm– specifically the No. 2 hue – for giving a natural flush that’s perfectly pretty. We use the balm (No. 3) and it’s a game changer for those of us who don’t regularly wear full makeup but want to look good!

Style

Bow-Tied Sleeves

Ohh look what we have here…a white shirt. Shocking right? We fully admit that we have an addiction when it comes to white tops (including tees, blouses, sweaters, etc.) but we try to scoop up a selection of basics and more special pieces. And this Emilia Top by Tory Burch is a perfect combination of basic + special. The mock-turtleneck body is a cozy knit and the sleeves are cotton poplin with slits down the side and fabric bow ties. Pretty. Perfect.

*The* Sweater-Blazer

December 19, 2017

Run - don't walk - and get yourself this Sweater-Blazer while it's fully stocked in all sizes and colors! If you're a J.Crew fan (which Sally and I are, despite the overdose and addiction we went through in college) then you may know that their Open-front Sweater-Blazer was a huge best seller this fall. It would come back in stock then sell out immediately. Sal and I were determined to get one in our size (Tip: size down, it runs big! We wear it in xs) and even though it has been and continues to be excluded from every discount and sale the Crew runs (grrrr) we both bought it at full-price in the heather khaki color in early November. Good buy? Um, yes. I wear it so often that I'm considering getting it in the black.

 

Throw it on over a t-shirt (these Everlane ones are my current fave), an embroidered top (like I did in this post!), a button down, a henley, a bodysuit, a turtleneck…really anything. It’s polished but casual. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the five colors available in the sweater though I have to say that the heather khaki (which I have), the black and the heather cilantro are my top faves.

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