Friday, October 10, 2014

Crazy for Color Gradation...

As we are getting into the fall holiday spirit, I wanted to come up with a fun craft the kids could do that would double as a decoration....So, as major color-lovers, we came up with a candy-corn inspired paper garland.  It was super easy and fun to create....My 3rd grader, Jack, came up with the alternating color pattern.  All that is required is card stock, scissors, glue, a hole-punch, and baker's twine.

Our candy-corn-inspired garland, final product ; )

This color gradation project in turn, inspired another home design project I have been wanting to try for a while.  Ever since I spotted Kourtney Kardashian's color-coded bookshelves, I fell in love with this idea (see prior blog post)...

Kourtney Kardashian's Home Office

....I wanted to give it a try in our TV room.  Clearly, we do not have as many shelves to accomplish such a dramatic visual bang, but the color geek in me was pretty happy with the result (and the project with help from the kids was fun to boot!!)....

Caroline with our end product...

Below are some additional inspiration sources for color-coded book shelves.  I love the major color impact these add to a room.  Whether arranged against dark or light colored shelves, they inject energy and whimsy into a space.  Happy fall!!

Bistro du Vin in London


Chic Geek

Good Housekeeping

Homes and Gardens Magazine

Huffington Post

Real Simple

San Francisco Adobe Bookshop

San Francisco Adobe Bookshop

The Lovely Little Things Blog

How about arranging books this way? Brilliant!

Windsor Smith Library 

Vogue (Lulu DK's Library)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Does the 'Most Hateable' Team in the 2014 MLB Playoffs Need a Defense? I Think Not, Mayor Slay....

The WSJ just published "St. Louis to America: Don't be Jealous" by Francis G. Slay, mayor of St. Louis, as a response to the recent appointment of the St. Louis Cardinals as the most 'hateable' MLB team in the 2014 playoffs (see Index below).

I must admit, when I read his article, I cringed A LOT.  First, for the Cards to be ranked #1 'hateable' based on statistics such as historical pennants won, payroll figures, and general fan-based fever, it is clearly a compliment in this case.  If someone 'hates' you in sports, they are simply stating that you are 'the team to beat'. Therefore, (with all due respect) I cringed at the mayor's overall defensive tone in his response article.  This index is just getting the MLB playoff teams into a competitive spirit for the post-season baseball season.  It's all in good fun.  No defenses needed.

Also, I read the list of reasons the mayor is clearly proud of St. Louis only to quickly thereafter state, "The point is that we here in the Midwest are not a boastful people.  We're humble and quietly go about our business..." This is quite a contradiction.  AND, by the way, this tone is exactly what rubs people the wrong way.  I've known plenty of people over the years who have claimed 'St. Louis people think their city is paved in streets of gold.'  It's fine and expected to be proud of your hometown, quite another to be arrogant about it.  Nobody cares to hear you rant and rave about why you believe your city to be superior. Though I no longer live in St. Louis, I will always cheer for my St. Louis teams and be thankful for so many awesome experiences growing up there...Certainly, there is much to love. But, I also recognize it is just one of MANY amazing U.S. cities, so who is to say which is 'better' than the next?

Granted, it is to be expected that the mayor of St. Louis is going to be proud of his city.  Yet candidly, the list of things he brags about is rather lame.  Rather than spouting debatable facts and figures, I would much rather he describe the more authentic and qualitative reasons St. Louisans should be proud of their city.  There are many.  I understand his intent in writing this article, but the tone, approach, and data he weaves into his ill-suited defense is a big mis-fire, in my humble opinion.

Finally, neither residents of St. Louis nor any other Midwest city should bother wasting their time defending their cities to coastal residents.  After living in six different cities (Midwest and East Coast) over the last twenty years, I can say there are pros and cons to living in any major or mid-size city in the U.S.  Each city has its own unique history, landscape, and culture, with various things to offer.  It can be a TON of fun to live in New York, Boston, Chicago, D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco or Los Angeles, for example.  But, a very high quality of life DOES exist outside these places.  I always laugh at those who provincially believe otherwise.  And, I always find it ironic that those who DO have a pretentious or elitist attitude about the East Coast or West Coast are actually not culturally savvy at all.  Clearly, they are totally closed minded to other places.

Try the adventure of moving to say, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Charlotte, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Austin, San Antonio, (St. Louis), or any other mid-sized city and I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.  But here's the thing: you have to leave your snooty attitude at the door and actually MAKE AN EFFORT to get to know the locals, discover the cool authentic neighborhoods, culinarily diverse restaurants, and cultural/historical gems in these cities.  Sure, it is not Central Park, or Fenway, or the Golden Gate, or the United Nations.  But keep this in mind: you often trade culture and opportunity for cash and convenience.  After living in Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta, I can tell you there is MUCH to see and do in these awesome cities, but you will pay a premium in logistics and $$ to enjoy them.  You are lucky if you settle in a place that is balanced to your liking.

By the way, Deadspin author Drew Magary wrote a scathing response to the Mayor's article and it made me cringe even MORE.  Despite his excessive vulgar language, poor writing skills, angry/whiny/immature/snarky tone, I could see this coming.  Although the mayor may suggest otherwise, I doubt any St. Louis fan/resident actually believes anyone is jealous of their city. Nevertheless, get a life, Drew. Take Slay's article with a grain of salt, from someone who has had WAY bigger fish to fry this year than just defending the Cardinals. Who is so enthusiastic about trashing another person or city? A terribly insecure, unhappy, and sad individual. I am sorry you spent so much of your youth as a benchwarmer.

Oh, and Drew predictably states in his pompous douche-bag tone, "The whole 'flyover' country thing reeks of Midwestern reverse snobbery. It sneers at the imaginary coastal elites who ignore St. Louis for perfectly viable reasons, and it suggests that St. Louis is some kind of hidden gem of an American city that only REAL FOLK know about. All lies. St. Louis is a boxcar on fire."  Clearly he has never LIVED in St. Louis, nor any of the other Midwest cities that he constantly trashes.  What a joke.

I love St. Louis, and will cheer for the Cards until the rally squirrel stops running the bases.  Oh, and by the way, Drew, did you catch their AMAZING win over the Dodgers last night?

I will share his response below...But clearly, take HIM with a grain of salt ; )

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is Clooney Worthy?

People magazine reports that, "Amal Alamuddin 'was looking for Mr. Perfect' when she met George Clooney" according to close friend, Jae Kim, during her wedding ceremony speech...It seems George may have stolen the heart of Mrs. Perfect as well....The previously-elusive-bachelor has been quoted as saying he was 'marrying up'...While I certainly love Mr. Clooney as much as the next gal, I certainly agree!

Clearly, The Business Woman bloggers feel this way as they headlined their own version of this story as follows: "Internationally Acclaimed Barrister Amal Alamuddin Marries an Actor." LOVE. IT.

Before we admire her killer style, let's check off some of her accomplishments...

  • Oxford University and NYU School of Law graduate and recipient of the Exhibitioner, Shrigley and Jack J. Katz Memorial Awards
  • Student Law Clerk for now-Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was then a judge at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Successful, well-respected barrister and litigation attorney specializing in international law, human rights, criminal law and extradition
  • Appointed to numerous UN commissions and an advisor to the King of Bahrain and to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Syria
  • Published author and co-editor of "The Law and Practice of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon"
  • Tri-lingual in English, French, and Arabic

OK, OK, the list can likely go on, and on...We get it. She is smart. She is accomplished. She is stunningly beautiful.  In fact, I wish Disney would make her their next heroine so little girls would have a worthy role-model (as opposed to their typical beautiful-yet-vapid princess) Yet, on a more light-hearted note, she is also an intriguing and versatile fashionista!

So, lets get to the fun stuff.  Her stunning style, starting with her wedding weekend in Venice, Italy...

George Clooney, Wedding Outfits
Which of these ensembles is your favorite?

From left to right:
(a.) Welcoming her wedding guests in Dolce & Gabbana
(b.) Rehearsal dinner in Alexander McQueen
(c.) Post-wedding brunch in Giambattista Valli
(d.) Civil ceremony in Stella McCartney + J Smith Esquire hat
(e.) All of the above 

George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin, Clooney Wedding
My HANDS DOWN FAVORITE is this two-piece bespoke cream top and trousers with an off-white box clutch by Stella McCartney.  Tailored perfection! Alamuddin is stunning and chic in this high contrast of dark and light, its fluid, clean-lined silhouette, and romantic-yet-sensible vibe.

George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin
The coral and violet beaded blossom detail on the cream macrame lace of this Giambattista Valli Haute Coutrue 'minidress' is feminine and playful while providing interesting color and texture...I am typically NOT a fan of the asymmetrical hemlines, but with legs like hers, anything goes!  If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em, right?

Clooney and Alamuddin arrive in Venice on Friday, September 26.

Actor George Clooney and his wife, attorney Amal Alamuddin, stand on a taxi boat on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, on Sunday, September 28. Clooney and Alamuddin <a href=''>married in Venice</a> the previous day at a private ceremony attended by celebrities.

Love this modern-yet-traditional black and white striped Dolce & Gabbana sundress....

Let's face it, he is pretty adorable, too

Amal Alamuddin in her Oscar de la Renta afterparty gown (INF photo)
In her post-wedding Gatsby-style Oscar de la Renta dress 

amal george
In Oscar de la Renta French Chantilly lace gown,
embroidered with diamante and pearls...

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin's wedding photos

For good measure, I had to include the swank, stunningly beautiful wedding venue, the Aman Canal Grande palace in Venice, Italy

Main reception area with giant Murando chandelier,
 gilded ceiling and mural facades,
windows overlooking the canal...
Love the juxtaposition of the lavish, ornate, old-world backdrop
against the clean-lined, modern decor elements

I cannot even imagine the level of architectural detail
and exquisite interiors throughout this venue...
(Apparently, my invite was lost in the mail)

Back to Alamuddin...more photos of her versatile, unique style...

She rocks everything from the floral and feminine... the structured professional... the playful, ladylike... the feminine and fun... the relaxed, tom-boy chic... the Eat, Pray, Love-inspired?... the sophisticated neutrality-rules... the ladies-who-lunch... the Lake Como vacation goddess? the NYC-meets-Paris urbanite

Congrats, George.  She is smart, successful, beautiful (and hopefully as sweet as she looks) ....You found a keeper!