Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Run

Like many of us, I run to leave the stress behind and to connect with the intangibles. And even though it's Monday, I'm still enjoying some of the endorphins from being out and about over the weekend. I almost never think about wardrobe and prefer just the basic necessities: shorts, wicking shirt, Nano and my pair of Brooks. But I've been seeing some pretty fabulous workout getups on my customers of them was wearing what I thought was a chic, knit sweatshirt and I was floored to hear it was from the Hearts collection designed by Scarlett Joahnsson for Reebok.

With the abundance of top designers and celebrities designing athletic wear, there are no more excuses for you fashionistas out there to hit the gym! above: Stella McCartney's modern, wearable workout wear for Adidas.

above clockwise: Some fashionable motivations for you to get out there and lose some of that winter weight or tone up for your wedding: Scarlett "Hearts" Reebok knit warmup sweater. Serena Nike tennis dress. Stella for Adidas running shorts and dance top. Scarlett Retro sneakers for Reebok.

above: A sketch of my quiet weekend run path to the ocean.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Friday: Cat Seto Tattoo?!

I're probably wondering where our usual Happy Friday post is where we have something sweet and sugary and girly up for post right?

Well, we all ditched cupcakes and sugar for a day and headed on over to the tattoo parlor and our new Shop Friend: Picture Machine.

It was a mad scramble over to the parlor after work to witness someone (we are sworn to secrecy as to who) on the team get a tattoo of one of our flower designs. We're pretty sure we freaked out the tattoo artist with our cameras and constant crowding over the counter to make sure everything went smooth.

above clockwise: The floral outline and Chanel blue petals were inked onto the small of her back in a matter of minutes. While waiting we asked the tattoo artist what the latest trend was and he showed us an album of photos where customers have been asking for mustache tattoos on their finger (who knew?!). The last step is applying the belts, no swimming, lots of lotion (but no aloe vera) for the next two weeks. The tattoo came out beautifully!

Have a happy Friday and weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All Work and No Play: Anya Hindmarch

This time of year we are in full design mode here at the studio and I love Anya Hindmarch's wallets, especially this orange one that reads "work" in such an official, preppy way!

above: The line also produces great bags and shoes (with an "up and at 'em" attitude) for the office.

above: Homeward bound...but with those shiny flats maybe a quick cocktail with the girls first!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shop Friend: Addiction Salon

I love all of my chic, modern bridal clients and lately I've been hearing about their quandaries for adding some drama to their more modern, simple sheath and column style gowns. One client is wearing this beautiful Junko Yoshioda gown with a dramatic back. Her requirements are: no veil, no gloves, no jewelry (except for her grandmother's vintage teardrop earrings) and the teensy-tiniest of bouquets.

I came across this stunning updo created by Ilona over at Addiction Salon. A work of art like this needs only the simplest of earrings and gown and will cause some jaw dropping when your guests see you walk down the aisle.

above: At Addiction Salon, a revolving gallery of art is also shown for purchase or perusal while you are being styled! The salon is located inside a loft in the Potrero Hill neighborhood where Ilona also cuts sleek, mod styles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tea for Tuesday

I think Tuesdays deserve a little tea (hibiscus!) and tranquility.

clockwise: Jennifer found some pictures from her recent trip to an Egyptian tea market where fragrant dried hibiscus sat in bushels. On a hibiscus hunt: vintage embroidered buttons from Skiddoo. And a whimsical "hibiscus" rose wrap to sip your tea in.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shop Friends: Pleasing Pantry

Designer Sue Rich of Pleasing Pantry truly elevates the products in our studio,
and not just in a flattering way! She creates one of a kind pedestals from
orphaned vintage plates and the results are absolutely beautiful & personal statements
for your home or party. Just imagine stacking these with candies or savories for a stand-out bridal shower or tea! Sue is wonderful to work with and has such a great eye that I asked her to share some words with us on her passion.

above: aside from great touches for your event or wedding, the miniature
pedestals are perfect for placing your jewelry atop

Sue, where do you find inspiration for your vintage pedestals?

I make frequent trips to the
East Coast where I comb through
flea-markets and antiques shops, and I am always inspired by the detail
and craftsmanship of the items that I discover and rescue. On my
travels I collect anything that catches my eye, from orphaned vintage
pieces, to vintage kitchen linens or even old picnic baskets. I am
often tempted by various random items that now sit in my studio until
the perfect idea to recycle them and give them a new life hits me.

What is your background and has this always been something you've been
interested in?

As a younger woman I studied Graphic Design in
Boston. When life
carried me to
Seattle from the East Coast, I noticed the nostalgic
pieces I loved hunting for back east were far less prevalent here. I
then conceived the idea to turn my hobby of collecting and transforming
these treasures into a business. I've always valued the nostalgia and
comfort these vintage pieces evoke.

What has been the best thing about starting Pleasing Pantry?

Rescuing these orphaned plates and creating a beautiful, useful
pedestal is a joy for me. The icing on the cake is when a customer is
surprised to recognize their grandmother's pattern and the excitement
they feel knowing they'll enjoy looking at it daily. So many people
pack their china away in a cabinet and enjoy it maybe once a year. My
pedestal's enable people to bring a little of that specialness into
their day to day lives.

What has been the hardest?

For me the hardest part has been finding the time necessary to run
the 'business' aspects of the business. I run the entire business on my
own. I do the designing, marketing, packing and shipping, and
accounting myself. I recognize that soon in order to continue growing
my business I am going to have to get some help. This is the hardest step
to make.

Where in Seattle are your favorite little haunts to shop, eat and hang out?

is a great city for enjoying good food made with local and/or
organic ingredients, great shopping offering local artisans, and an
always booming indie music scene. I live in the Capitol Hill
neighborhood and often visit the Volunteer Park Cafe
( ). The owners are two of the nicest girls
you'll ever meet and everything they offer is delicious. Try the freshly
baked chocolate chunk cherry cookie, egg and prosciutto panini and a
pomegranate lemonade. Yes, I eat the cookie first.

Thank you Sue for your inspiring work! Please click here to see more of Sue's
designs as well as a list of locations where you can
purchase her products.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ring in your Friday!

Bemuse yourself with a wooly nest ring by Felted.

And in honor of our studio's make-believe holiday... celebrate Cupcake Fridays with a felted one on your finger!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Day of Spring: Janus et cie

Happy first day of spring! Time to start taking a peek at outdoor decor...or at least allow yourself to bookmark ahead for those warm, sunny months that are just around the corner...

above: I love the outdoor furniture that Janus Et Cie dreams up.

This bench is a classic from their "Botanical Estates" collection.

above: "Jardin" chairs in adult Easter pastel shades!

above: the "Obelisk" is a sculpture for your garden by day and a set of silvery rattan chairs by night!

above: whimsical "Love" benches

above: this "Poet Bench" is worthy of any zen garden

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

for the wall: Curtis Jere

I came across spiky urchin like sculptures hanging in the family room of a beachy, Nantucket home in the recent issue of House Beautiful. I loved how interior designer Frank Roop gave the cozy home some modern flair using the work of 60's metal sculptor Curtis Jere.I love his sunburst pieces! I found all of his work shown here at 1st Dibs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Domino and Drew Barrymore

The April issue of Domino features Drew Barrymore's gorgeous new Flower Films offices decorated by Ruthie Sommers.
Spirited, spiritual, irreverent and full of laughter and musings...are you a Drew Barrymore? I thought I'd put together a little of her style.
Above clockwise: I think of Drew as the ultimate hi+low girl. She is true to her style and views and seems fearless in surrounding herself with things that echo her spirit. Ensemble by Porridge. Prada bag. Chooka rain boot. Vintage tea cup. Absolut pillow. Green Thumb Designs earrings. Pura Lopez pumps.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Manolos

...and couldn't resist a green shoe post today...
a sketch by Mr. Manolo Blahnik of his beloved Elizabeth mule.

Happy St. Patrick's Day Martha Stewart Style

How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on a Monday? Food with friends and family...and tips from, not surprisingly, Martha Stewart who has a whole feature on her website with recipes and ways to celebrate.
Above clockwise: Irish Soda Bread, Pistachio Lime Tart, Shamrock Shake, Clover Cookies.
All recipes are from Martha Stewart with exception to the Shamrock Shake which would make a great Monday beverage of choice! I don't know about you, but growing up my sister and I were obsessed with McDonald's Shamrock Shakes (and still are!). I'm sure this was in large part because it was green and only presented itself during this time of year. Below is a much healthier adult version of a Shamrock Shake recipe which also uses soymilk and vegetable dyes.

Shamrock Shake
2 cups vanilla soy ice cream
1 1/4 cups 2% milk or soy milk
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 tsp crushed mint leaves
8 drops India Tree food coloring (or liquid vegetable food coloring)
Combine all ingredients in blender on high until smooth
Stop blender to stir ice cream with spoon if necessary
Pour into 12 oz cups and enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Farewell Tea at the Rotunda

Today is production assistant Mariko's last day with us as she leaves for Japan. We've watched her grow from intern to a master of all things production at our studio. She watched our orders like a hawk and eagerly contributed to our daily binges with sugar (now that's a team player!). We wish you continued success in Japan and we will miss you Mariko!

above: a farewell tea full at the Rotunda was in order.

Happy Friday to all of you!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shop Friend: Natalie Bowen in the Studio

I posted earlier this week on Natalie Bowen's beautiful floral designs. We were so very lucky to have her stop in to personally create an arrangement for our studio!

Natalie chose shades of green, coral and peach to contrast with our pink shelves. Because our space has so many multiple levels and angles, she explained it was best to go with an arrangement that was low and compact.

Using our vases, she created arrangements that were sculptural, commanding yet demure. True to her style, they looked utterly fresh and organic. I received compliments all this week from admiring clients on how gorgeous they were.

Thank You
Natalie for being so amazingly talented and for stopping in to create such special arrangements for us! If you are looking for a floral designer who will bring out the natural beauty of your event (or create a very special bouquet for your home) click here for Natalie's info!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shop Friend: A.Jaron Fine Jewelry Part II

I'm back with more of Amanda Jaron's work and her answers to some of your reader questions about accessorizing!

Amanda, what inspires your jewelry design and collection?
As an artist you never know where your next inspiration will come from.
I find my inspiration from everywhere. Originally, I was inspired to make jewelry by the simple romantic idea of making sculpture out of gold and diamonds!
My past few collections have been inspired by interior design. This spring my collection makes reference to chandeliers as well, as garden elements. I am carving gemstones into custom made pendants that reference chandelier prisms. I am currently working on a collection using bamboo and rattan elements cast in 18kt gold and applied to sterling silver.

What has been the best part of being an indie designers in your industry?
Being able to work exactly when and where I am inspired. I worked in NYC for over 10 years. I enjoyed working in NYC, I even miss it at times. I treasure the everything I did and everyone I met there. But, as a designer working in a corporate workplace is difficult. To say I am only going to be creative from 9-5 and I will be especially creative for the big board meeting at 2:45 on near impossible.
My office was dead center between Times Square and Rockefeller Center. I would dream of the palm trees, sugary sandy beaches and crystal clear water from my childhood.
Back in Florida for the last 3 years,I have found the perfect balance. I LOVE living in paradise year round and designing couture pieces for my clients. Yet, at the same time designing collections for Saks Fifth Ave and The Home Shopping Network allows me to still work with corporate companies.
What has been the most challenging?
Doing it all! Staying on budget! I have caviar taste and enough new ideas in a week to fill the jewelry cases at Saks Fifth Ave in NYC all on my own!

Now for some reader questions.
Joan from Texas wants to ask: I wear suits everyday for work, what is business appropriate that is not so boring?
My signature look is pearls. Many people feel that pearls are too dressy for work. I disagree. I believe in pearls. I believe in wearing pearls with a t-shirt and jeans. But, I plead with anyone wearing a suit to NEVER wear a basic strand of 6mm "GRANNY" pearls! That is BORING! Always do something to update them.
I am on a mission to reintroduce pearls back into young people's wardrobe. Wearing your pearls a suit would be a great place to start. One way to make your pearls seem fresh and young is to twist them with a sterling silver chain and make a 2 row twisted collar.
Watches & bracelets-- how do I make it work without looking like I'm overaccessorizing?
My philosophy is that "It can never be too big or too much!" However, I know that not everyone is comfortable with that. My advice is to invest in 3 watches: 1 small scale casual, 1 small scale dressy and 1 crazy "fashion right"oversized style. So, if you are wearing your dressy bracelets wear them with your dressy watch. That way visually they appear to be just a stacking of bracelets. The oversized watches are a statement all on their own and could look like too much if you are not careful.

Claudia from San Francisco wants to know:
Is there a rule of thumb as to how many areas you should limit your jewelry to wear at once (earrings, necklace, bracelet, etc)? There are really no rules in fashion today. I believe in feeling comfortable and making fashion a personal statement. I can say the first rule is to always have a pair of hoops or studs on hand. NEVER leave the house without earrings! I believe that hoops or studs can act as a neutral if you are wearing a big necklace. You do not want to look too matchy matchy. So, having just a simple hoop/stud to pair with the big and bold neck is nice. On the contrary, if you are wearing big earrings, I would say no necklace and pair it with a stack of bold bracelets.

What would you predict will be the next trend in jewelry?
BOLD COLOR, bracelets will continue to be hot for Spring/Summer '08. I am doing a line of bold Resign Cuffs that will come in an array of vivid colors for The Home Shopping Network that are inspired by my $10,000.00 18kt gold cuffs for Saks Fifth Ave!

Thank you Amanda for your great advice! If you want to see more of the A.Jaron Fine Jewelry line, click here for her website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shop Friend: A. Jaron Fine Jewelry

Amanda Jaron's jewelry is so amazing that I had to do a two part post on her work. And to open, I could not resist introducing the talented Florida based jewelry designer's collection with this STUNNER of a ring. When I saw this, I literally got dizzy just admiring it!

above: Aptly named the "Perfect Present." This one of a kind ring is made of 4 one carat princess cut diamonds, and black and white diamond pave set into platinum.

above: recognize the model? that's Nazri from Project Runway wearing Amanda's exquisite pieces and a Youlin wedding gown.

above: sweet and modern. this claire pettitbone gown is perfectly paired with Amanda's mother of pearl ring.

above: butterfly brooches on Pnina Tornal wedding gowns.

Ready to see more of Amanda's work? This is just a teaser. Check back tomorrow when I post up what's behind Amanda's inspiring designs as well as some of her tips to our readers on how to accessorize!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shop Friend: Natalie Bowen Floral Design

What an absolute delight it is to introduce floral designer Natalie Bowen to Shop Friends today! Natalie is based in San Francisco, but she works in many different locales and I am amazed at how chic and personal her design sense is to her wedding and event clients.

Natalie, how would you describe your floral design style?

My floral design style is seasonal, structured and organic. I love using seasonal branches in my designs because just the natural shape of the branch can make such a statement. I like arrangements that have form, movement and a deliberate shape while still being approachable and not stark and overly modern.

What should every bride bring in to you or a floral designer on their initial visit?
I ask all my clients to bring any photo or magazine swatches that they have found of flowers or overall looks that they like. Even if the photo isn't of flowers the image can still clearly give me an idea of the aesthetic they are going for. I am creating such a visual piece that communicating in photos can be so helpful. I also find that most people do not know flowers well and do not have a vocabulary to describe what they want in their floral arrangements. By showing photos they can relay what they are imagining even better than with words.

The design for the anniversary party at the Foreign Cinema was so fresh, contemporary and personal. Can you share a little with us on the details and inspiration behind that?
The chef/owner for Foreign Cinema asked me to do flowers in a "green" theme. The party was at the beginning of the blast off of the green movement and because the restaurant has such a successful green waste and recycling program they wanted to celebrate that with a green theme. I loved the challenge of doing flowers in an all green color spectrum and had fun with using non-flower green life to decorate. The wheat grass boxes were a hit and I have used that concept again for an easter layout. They client had asked me to soften the already modern and hard environment with more natural and organic arrangements.

At our Paper Studio we work with a range of brides on different budgets. One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from brides regarding flowers is what aspect of the floral design should they put most of their budget towards?
The best way to get the flowers you want while on a budget is to realize that you don't need to have flowers everywhere! I strongly feel that centerpieces don't need to be elaborate to be beautiful. A simple orchid submerged in a tall vase of water can be much more dramatic (and less expensive) than a tightly bunched smaller arrangement.

For brides looking for "non-conventional" wedding flowers, what are some of your favorites to work with?
I think color is the best way to achieve a non-conventional look for a wedding. I love deep dark purple or red that almost looks black. Roses and hybrid calla lilies come in these colors and always have an impact. I love this shade combined with chartreuse green for a fresh unique look. I might suggest using pods, grasses and succulents rather than flowers to bring in a more modern and unique look. Mushrooms and moss can also be used to create "environments" rather than typical centerpieces.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful work Natalie! If you'd like to schedule an appointment or receive more info click here. I'll be back with more of Natalie's work with photos of an arrangement she will design for our boutique!

And calling all of you brides and party people out there! We'd LOVE to hear from you during our wedding week. What are you using for your centerpieces and bouquets? And do you have any questions about how to wear jewelry for special events or your wedding for our jewelry designer tomorrow? Email or leave us a comment!

photo credits: Anna Kuperberg, Gabriele Lange, Lisa Lefkowitz

Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy Friday: Good Reads

My friend Shoma first alerted me about this wonderful *free* online service called Good Reads where you can share books with your friends. How many times do you find yourself hearing about amazing books that your friends have read, only to go back home and forget the title or the mention all together? Good Reads is like a "Facebook" only for books. You share your favorite books, give them ratings or reviews and your friends get to see your list with emails on your latest reads. I thought this was the perfect way to get a virtual "book club" going for those of you who are busy or have friends spread out all over the world.

above clockwise: Some of my "Good Reads": I have so many friends who travel that "Eat,Pray, Love" was the perfect gift for their in-flight reading. My post earlier this week on Heidi's "Supernatural Cooking" had me thumbing through it again last night for more recipes to try. My friend Shoma has "Interpreter of Maladies" on her five star list. Annie Proulx, author of "Brokeback Mountain" wrote one of my favorite "get lost into another world" books "Close Range." The brutal, achingly beautiful life on the range is portrayed in this collection of short stories through her poetic voice. If you just want to forget your everyday, be a wild west rancher for the weekend and read this.

Happy Friday everyone--grab a good book and tuck yourself into a cafe! Next week I am posting a few wedding and event finds...including interviews and tips on planning from uber-talented florists and jewelry designers!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring Neutrals

While pops of color are strong for spring, so are neutrals. And who said neutrals couldn't be glamorous?above: dress by Giles. Oly resin goat head. Oscar De La Renta patent sandals. Celestina Nora "Shell" Clutch.