Home is Where the Heart Is

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and seeing some wonderful decorating and renovating ideas. Mostly, I’ve been inspired by Laurie’s mission to make her house a home. I think the reason that this struck me is that because we live in a rental house, I haven’t felt like it was our permanent home. So, I did some decorating, but there were a lot of things that I just didn’t bother with, because of that whole “we won’t be here long” mentality. But, I agree with Laurie that it is important to really “move into” your life and your home. To be present in your surroundings. So, in an effort to change my perspective and begin really being in my home, I’ve decided to use this blog to record my efforts.
So, Eric and I were married in April 2006, and I moved into this house in March of that year. Eric moved in after the wedding. So, we’ve been here a little over a year and a half. The photo above is of the house about this time last year. Not that you can really see the house through all the trees. Below, are photos of the house now. Basically no difference, except for the large tree on the left that was ripped out of the ground by a storm a few months ago. I think it looks better with less trees, although I hated to lose the tree.
As this is a rental house, we can’t make any permament changes to the house, so we’ve basically left the landscaping alone.
I do love the red door though. I think I may have to have a red door in my next home too!

Our house is a cute little house, and I love the amount of light we have inside from all the windows. It is a two-story, and about 1200 to 1500 square feet maybe. We have three bedrooms and two baths. We do plan to buy a house of our own in the near future, but I’m not going to wait for that before making a home for the two of us.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the inside!


New Purchase – Ralph Lauren Shoes

As a birthday gift to myself, I bought these shoes. They are Lauren by Ralph Lauren and the style is Jala. I love love love these shoes. I’ve been searching for a pair of sandals in this color for several months now, but hadn’t found anything I liked. This is the most money I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes, if you can believe it. There’s a story there though…

Years ago, after my divorce, I decided that it was worth it to take care of myself. I realized I deserved to dress well, to wear makeup, to fix my hair, to accessorize, etc. Watching one of the very first episodes of What Not to Wear on TLC was my wakeup call. They were showing the girl and how she dressed and looked “before”. I said to myself, “ohmygod, I look like that!” At first, I didn’t have the money to go out and purchase all new clothes, but I realized that nothing was stopping me from doing my hair and putting on makeup. Then I started looking at getting rid of clothes that had stains or tears in them. From there I went to wearing clothes that actually fit, instead of wearing clothes that were two or three sizes larger than the size I actually should have been wearing. I was hiding. I was trying to disappear into the background. But once my separation and divorce hit, it occurred to me that I deserved better – from myself and from other people. It was a long process, and in many ways I was learning things for the first time that a lot of girls learned in jr. high or high school. I was learning about makeup and purses and shoes and doing something with my hair other than pulling it back in a ponytail. I learned that long hair is not a style, it’s a length.

One of the things that came out of this metamorphosis was buying my first pair of heels. A friend took me shoe shopping at lunch one day, and I bought a pair of heels. I spent $49 on those shoes, and couldn’t believe I had spent so much money on a pair of shoes for myself. I loved those shoes, they were a step toward living my true life. I’m 5’9″, so putting on a pair of heels makes me really tall – there is no hiding when you’re that tall.

I am still on this journey of self-discovery, but one of the things I am finding is that I am determined to take care of myself. I deserve nice things, and things that show off my beauty. It’s not about spending a lot of money, it’s about knowing you deserve to treat yourself well. These new shoes encompass that feeling of being sexy, being beautiful, wearing clothing that accentuates my shape and being seen.

I could get used to this.


Style Inspiration – Jessica Alba

I love Jessica Alba’s style, and after recently re-watching both seasons of Dark Angel, I love her even more. She’s so fun and fresh-looking. Jessica has an everyday style in particular that I am really looking to for inspiration.

She always looks cute and put-together, in jeans and a t-shirt or in a summery dress (look at those bags!!)

I love the neutral tones in this outfit that compliment her complexion. I’ve been looking for a similar pair of heels in a caramel color.

The wooden bangles really make this outfit, as well as the grey heels.

Another casual outfit – her accesories seem to be what really pulls even the most casual outfit together.

For example – the turquoise she’s repeated in the scarf and the shoes.

I love the jacket that she’s paired here with the turquoise necklace. I recently bought a similar jacket to create the same look.

And of course, we can’t overlook her Oscar gown. The gold dress is amazing on her.

Jessica has a style that I aspire to, and this post is one I’ll refer back to numerous times, I’m sure.

Black & White

Although the black and white trend seems to be prevalent in fashion right now, at least in my locale, the graphic beauty of its contrast is always in style. The painting above is Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 71 by Motherwell. This was painted in the 1950s, and it is still just as compelling today.

I’ve also been looking a lot at what I refer to as “Plantation Style”, which I will probably discuss in a future post. Hemingway, of course crops up a lot in any reference to that sort of tropical British Colonial style. When I came across this photo on The Nest, I fell in love. I love the dark wood and zebra rug, but the pairing they’ve made with the lavender walls is really interesting. Hemingway’s African adventures are drawn to mind with the rug too. I like the use of the black and white photos as well.

Another newer trend I’ve seen in interiors would be this Murano glass chandelier found here. I love the Gothic look of it. Just an amazingly dramatic piece. And Murano glass is magnificent in any color.

I won’t spend time picking out specific clothing examples of the black and white trend, as you can see them anywhere. But, here are two beautiful examples of accessories.

The Kate Spade Hugo Poppy Griffen tote has a bold graphic look. It would be perfect for toting around books or something not-too-personal as the clear pvc might give your secrets away! The bag comes with a variety of piping colors, this one being Snow.

And finally, this beautiful bracelet by Jessica Kagan Cushman. She uses the ancient tradition of scrimshaw to create these pieces with sayings and quotes. The script lettering gives it a daintier look, but the use of black and white really makes it striking.

Red Silk

Last night I held some red silk thread in my hand, and watching the way it caught the light I realized that I was inspired to create my first post – and a new blog. Red is such an amazing color – the color of happiness, the color of desire. A few years ago, I read the book Slammerkin, by Elizabeth Donoghue. It’s the story of a servant girl in 1763 who begins a life of prostitution because of her desire to own a single red ribbon. The ribbon encompassed all that fashion and high society had to offer in her eyes. It’s an interesting thought how a color can have so much impact on us. At a nearby museum, their current exhibit features Japanese painted scrolls, mainly of geishas. What I find mesmerizing about those scrolls, is the hint of red from the underlayer of their kimonos. An invitation at a subtle level, perhaps? The red silk dupioni clutch (above) is a fun little piece with the pleats. This is from Vintage June. I love the idea of carrying such an attention-getting piece with a simple dress.
Make A Wish Necklace

These Make a Wish necklaces from Dogeared are fun too. With the red silk Kabbalah bracelets sighted so often, this is an interesting marriage of jewelry and creating your life.
Reese Witherspoon’s Golden Globe ensemble also uses red to great advantage. I would never have thought to pair that gorgeous yellow Nina Ricci dress with those red Brian Atwood Dorian heels. Gorgeous.
Nicole Kidman’s Oscar dress is actually strangely reminiscent of the Atwood sandals. This red silk Balenciaga dress is so elegant. It almost has that Parisian feel to me.
My intention with this blog is to focus on all those things that epitomize style and beauty for me. I have such a desire for the stylish, the luxurious and the beautiful, and want to incorporate it into my life on a daily basis.