28 December 2010

New Beginnings

The holidays came and went with the same feeling as the weather: sudden and intense, like a cold gust of wind. We were chased out of New England and back to Pittsburgh a day early due to the blizzard. And now we're off to ring in the new year! Just like this cute card from ink and iron, I am delighted and grateful for what 2011 will bring. Time for new resolutions and beginnings.

Of course, I plan to leave 2010 in style, no less. Just got a confirmation that my cute Milly sequin number is on its way from Rent the Runway. My husband gave me a fun silver and rhinestone cuff bracelet in my stocking that will match perfectly.  
Happy New Year! 

17 December 2010

On Poinsettias

When you actually study the poinsettia flower, the shape, colors and texture are quite beautiful. So I can't figure out why I just don't particularly love them. Maybe it's the ubiquity, or that most times I see it, they're still in the shiny cellophane-wrapped plastic pot straight from the grocery store. Or I envision the over abundance of them on the altar at church.

I find poinsettia-printed or embroidered pieces so festive, like these beautiful little cupcake holders.

Or this cute handmade decoupaged ornament.

Apartment Therapy had a nice feature earlier this week, offering beautifully creative ways to integrate the holiday floral into tablesettings and other decor (many Martha-inspired). I gravitate toward the white. So elegant with gold or silver accents.

Love this rustic approach (from here).

The white backdrop celebrates the poinsettia (from here). Are these topiaries real? I love the lacquered black flower boxes.

Or simply, cut and placed in a variety of glasses, shown from Southern Living. (I've also seen them with cranberries at the bottom, which looks great.)

06 December 2010

Giving it the Boot

The snow has been lovely and festive, but downright cold! We barely finished raking up the rest of the leaves and now find ourselves concerned with shoveling the driveway. Disclaimer: This image of my pup sitting in the driveway is from February 2010, not this weekend. Just a visual reminder of what may be to come.

So, reminiscing back to the record-breaking snowfall last winter, I've asked Santa for winter boots this season. My wellies with a wool sock aren't cutting it. And my Uggs are pretty much boot slippers for the house. I have to remind myself that I no longer live in a paved concrete metropolis, but a residential-slash-urban area with a lackluster plowing record. My new reality involves walking the dog to Frick Park daily. I need boots with traction and slush-resistance. Can they please, please be a little bit stylish? That means nothing that looks like a moon boot or like I should be hobbling on crutches. 

The contenders:
Waterproof, check. Traction, check. Cuteness, check. Seems a little pricey for nylon and rubber, no? But, they're very wearable on the street and for errands, and hopefully would last several winters.
I think quality is pretty much a guarantee. They're cute and look warm and comfortable. I like the quilting, but not a fan of the contrast stitching.

I can't decide if these are totally fabulous or a hefty bags tied at the ankle. Probably need to be tried on in person. But I like the contrasting materials and general fashion update on the duck boot. 

Simple, black, completely affordable. Wedge heel adds an element of style. Too simple, though?

So, Santa, which one should you get me? 

30 November 2010

Handmade Goodies

Ok so, whether it was lack of preparedness or interest, I did not participate in Cyber Monday. I have little desire to step foot inside a mall to complete holiday shopping. Last year, I had more luck at boutiques and stores on Walnut Street, South Side Works (Sur la Table, to be specific-- the best for stocking stuffers, too)  and the Handmade Arcade, which unfortunately, has been postponed until April '11.

Fortunately for those looking for unique handmade crafts, there are 3 viable options on the horizon.

Sweetwater Holiday mART
now through Sunday, December 5
Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley

I Made it! Market
Friday, December 3 - Saturday, December 4
South Side Works next to REI

Space Collective Holiday Show
Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 18
4823 Penn Avenue

And this Thursday begins the Joy of Cookies tour in Lawrenceville. Marked with a gingerbread man at participating retailers, enter the boutique to sample a tasty cookie, get the recipe, and shop.

10 November 2010

Barrel of Fun

Absolutely discussion worthy: there is now a Crate & Barrel store within a 10 mile radius of the city of Pittsburgh! I'd like to say I have something to do with it. We created our wedding registry at C&B in our original home store location of Providence a few years back. It was less than ideal managing it only online. And our friends here drove to Cleveland to complete their registry.  So I wrote a letter making my case. There is much demand. And here we are, with a shiny new store.

Whatever the strategy was, I am overjoyed. C&B has the best selection of kitchen, entertaining and decor items you never realized you couldn't live without. Top 5 things on my list (although I could easily go on):

The chunky glass votive candleholder from Finnish-based Iittala. I love the quatrefoil shape.
These placemats are gorgeous and so elegant. Looks like mother of pearl, but according to reviews the shell material is an easy clean too. 

I really wish I had a need for some barstools. I love the industrial ruggedness of these.

Of course, Crate & Barrel is the place to go for adorable holiday knickknacks. I refuse to look at anything red and green until after Thanksgiving. I would love a pumpkin spice cookie shaped like a pumpkin from this pretty glazed mold.

All of the acacia wood pieces are gorgeous. And just $20 for this smooth little chip and dip bowl.

06 November 2010

Lights, Camera, Action

The lineup of films for the Three Rivers Film Festival looks amazing! Wonderful foreign films, indies, and many others with a connection to Pittsburgh. The festival runs at various theatres around the city from November 5-20.

Although gruesome, After Life with Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson (and Drew Barrymore-boyfriend Justin Long) looks to be a good one. A special reception with the director will follow the screening on November 18.

04 November 2010

So Sweet

The best cupcakes in Pittsburgh can be enjoyed at Vanilla Pastry Studio in East Liberty. Period. Seriously, there must be drugs mixed in the recipes because I am addicted. My favorite this Fall season was the carrot zucchini with cream cheese icing. The pumpkin spice was a close second. 

Don't be deterred with the construction for the new Target store. They are still very much open, and willing to deliver advance orders to your car! Although it's worth the stop inside. Light and airy with cases of  beautiful baked goods, the glass paned french doors allow you to peek back at the pastry chefs hard at work. Go on a Saturday and you're sure to see a tiered wedding cake being constructed to perfection. Although this Saturday, Vanilla Pastry will host an evening event for artist Keith Schmiedlin from 6-9pm. 

16 October 2010

Join the Club

Club Monaco, a former staple of my work wardrobe in New York, is now available to order online via Shopbop!

The men and women's lines are so chic, streamlined. Modern yet classic. I love everything about this outfit. The supple faux vest. The sexy masculine pleated pant.  Perfect with the flannel Louboutins I am coveting.

11 October 2010

Domino Effect

Looking better than ever, Lonny celebrated its one year anniversary in the newly released Fall issue. And may I comment on the site redesign: so clean and streamlined (with no faux magazine fold across the spread, thank you!), allowing us to focus on exploring the rich, stylized photographic features. A few of the drool worthy ideas:

Rich dark backdrops and geometric patterns.

Pops of color against white walls.

Gold accents and almost perfect symmetry.

Living greens and patterns against patterns.

As the most sincere form of flattery, there are now two other shelter mags delivered gratis right to your electronic doorstep: Rue and Australian Adore.

I really like the depth of Rue's suggestions, and how seamlessly they tie overall style with interior aesthetic.  The magazine founder's abode is amazing. And I was convinced it was somewhere in Europe, but in fact, it's a charming spot in Chicago's north end.

Adore's cover story features an amazing apartment in Dubai. Not quite exotic, but it all seems very familiar.  Adore seems to, well, adore the style that Domino captured.

10 October 2010

Style Compass

Love this city guide for Pittsburgh on design*sponge. Well done to the creative minds who compiled suggestions and shared some of the hidden secrets here (some of which I never knew existed!) This feature is chock full of amazing, one of a kind places in Pittsburgh, and I could still think of a few other worthy to make the list. My additions: Big Dog Coffee, Roxanne's Dried Flowers, Paris 66, Vanilla Pastry Shop, Penhollows, to name a few.

I love the images. It really captured Rooster at OhYeah, and chic Hot Haute Hot among other great places. (Although I'm kind of sick of the outdated incline pic, missing 3PNC from the skyline.)

Thanks for putting Pittsburgh on the design*sponge map, ladies!

07 October 2010

Phipps Fabulous

A dazzling evening at the city's most dazzling venue is approaching. The Phipps Conservatory's annual EcoFabulous Garden Party is next Thursday evening, October 14th. Proceeds benefit future exhibitions and garden programs. Be fashionably early at 6pm for dining and live music, or get funky at 8pm with cocktails and dancing. Tickets start at $45.

06 October 2010

Give Back

On October 13th, open your heart, wallet and web browser for the Pittsburgh Foundation's annual Day of Giving, benefitting over 400 local non-profits.

The rules and web support for the initiative have changed to accommodate the overwhelming participation last year. A prorated amount of the reserved $500,000 contribution from the Pittsburgh Foundation will be allocated based on donations to participating organizations.

Apparently Pittsburgh was ranked the most charity conscious city in the US, meaning we are most generous per capita. I sense a strong correlation with our most livable ranking. The non-profits are what make this city so culturally vibrant, and that is something I'm willing to support.

04 October 2010

Fall Forward

I spent most of yesterday whirling around the house cleaning and organizing my life. Maybe it's my September birthday, or aligning myself to a school calendar, but for some reason Fall always feels like a crisp, fresh new start to the year.

A good part of my cleaning had to do with fashion: compiling old magazines and catalogs for recycling, and pulling out my warmer clothes from the attic. One of the most amazing features of our house is the walk-in cedar closet on the third floor. (That sealed the deal for me.) I raced up and down to complete the great clothing exchange: putting away the cotton blends for cashmere, corduroy and cowls. I love Fall.

Now that I've taken inventory, I know what I plan to add to my wardrobe. Without further ado.

The gray blazer, with a twist. One of my thoughtful friends gave me an Anthro gift card for my birthday. It took me no time to pick this out. I love the clean ruffle detail. I can see wearing this with jeans or black wool slacks. I went for the gray (surprise, surprise) although I was really considering the lovely burnt orange.

The wrap sweater. Enough said, and can't have enough.

I love the color of these versatile green corduroys. J.Crew is definitely the staple of my closet. Jenna just keeps making it better and better. (Side note- select pieces are available on Net-a-porter. To be able to sell it across the pond, perhaps?)

Fur. (faux for me, at least.) I love this vest. But so do many others, which is why it's sold out.

One quick glance into my closet and it's a sea of greige, beige, black and navy. I really need a pop of color, and this pretty Madewell scarf could do the trick. In fact, all of their accessories are pretty great and affordable.
Never mind daywear, this red-hot number is perfect for a night out. I have a classic go-to LBD, but sometimes that is just so... predictable.

And then a girl can dream... Unfortunately, I have absolutely no where to go in these gorgeous flannel Louboutins. Walnut or Butler Street? Mmm no. And they are not in my ideal price range. Sigh.

28 September 2010

My type of calendar

I can't believe I've already chosen a new calendar for 2011. Yes, a paper calendar. It is not for penciling in appointments (I can't imagine how the sale of paper calendars were affected in the age of the smart phone and syncing everything, but I digress.) No, this one shares a pretty new typeface everyday.

The Typodarium calendar has the date in a font on one page with the name, foundry info and a cheeky description on the reverse. Call me strange, but I find it therapeutic to start each day staring at a new typeface on a piece of paper. (Even better when it's letterpressed.) It's the little things in life.

19 September 2010

Figure flattering

Hello, Pittsburgh. I'm back.

Not that I ever left, just that I needed a little time to sort out things. Figure out where I am going, figuratively speaking.

I celebrated a (milestone) birthday last week with a few great friends. In style, no less. I thought it the appropriate occasion to try a hot look from Rent the Runway. It was the first time I had used the service, and I will definitely become a repeat customer. For $50 plus shipping, I received two sizes of freshly pressed, $500 Mark + James by Badgley Mischka garb. The material and fit were noticeably luxurious.

I can't tell you (or my husband) how many times I've bought a so-so dress and worn it once, maybe twice. Now it's a-ok to wear it once and forget all about it. And... all your Facebook friends will not be able to believe what an extensive wardrobe you have.

The dress:

On yours truly.

06 September 2010

Pretty Greens

The store-wide sale at this eye-candy shop is worth a perusal. I came out with a new potted cactus to enhance the green accent in our kitchen. We finally hung up the black botanical print I got here at the last sale, so it's coming together. The original inspiration post-- I will share pictures when all is said and done!

25 August 2010

A Few Lots of Fine Pieces

It's a smaller collection this time, but filled with a few gems. Pittsburgh and Cleveland based Aspire Auctions fall catalog is available for online perusal, with bidding starting Friday morning. I am longing for the jewelry and rug categories, but the furnishings are gorgeous as usual. 

And the art collection is one fit for a museum.

20 August 2010

Very Crafty

This will be the first and the last time you read the term N'at on this site. However, this instance is deemed worthy. Next weekend is the second annual Crafts N'At, an indie open market supported by the Pittsburgh Craft Collective, in which proceeds go to local non-profits (this year to Animal Friends.)

Some of the goods: "jewelry, art, soap, reconstructed tees, greeting cards, baby hats, stuffed creatures, hand bound books, spun yarn, and tons of other really cool, can’t get it anywhere else kind of stuff."

The details:
Friday, August 27, 6pm- 9pm
Wildcard, Lawrenceville

Craft Show
Sunday, August 29, 12-5pm
Soldiers and Sailors Hall, Oakland

See yinz there! Ha, I could not resist. Never again. On the record.

15 August 2010

Mass Exclusives

I am anxiously awaiting some of the upcoming Target + designer collaborations, especially the second installment of John Derian pieces. (I am pretty sure I cleaned out all of the Target stores within a 30 mile radius when his initial collection came out a couple years ago.) His gorgeous, whimsical, handmade decoupage pieces are the inspiration behind the collection, affordably printed onto melamine, acrylic and wood.

Some of the pieces I am eyeing (if I am lucky enough to nab them): The wood frame in a gray-blue and white print that reminds me of the Kelly Wearstler trellis pattern. It would be hard to replace the salient message in beautiful calligraphy (usually you can't wait to rip out the blank page or staged family photo that comes in a frame.)

I have wanted a tiered tray, but haven't found anything interesting enough until now. And the set of botanical plates are gorgeous, and perfectly match the green accent in my kitchen.

As if the anticipation couldn't get anymore intense, Gilt is having an exclusive preview sale of the coveted Target pieces this Friday, August 20th through the weekend. It also includes items from the upcoming collaborations with Mulberry and Tucker. 

And finally-- very much awaiting to check out the bold and colorful Temple St. Clair jewelry collection, set to launch at the end of the month. Since a real piece isn't in my foreseeable future, these adorable costume drop earrings could temper my craving (everything in the collection is under $50.) 
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