To help me on the final phase of Operation Destroy and Re-build (also known as the kitchen and family room reno), I obtained a couple of Benjamin Moore fan decks, which is something I should have done a LONG time ago. I got the classic colors and this smaller one of Off-White Colors. Most of these are also in the big deck, but there is something about seeing them all together in one place--really having all of the key neutrals side by side so you can see how they look directly against each other. Looking at them all spread out like luscious shades of cashmere, I want to dive straight into the deck and just live there. I am a very visual person and this got me thinking about how much pleasure I get from just looking at something that I find pretty, pleasing, well designed, etc. This is, I'm sure, why I love Pinterest so much. I can look at things I love all in one place like one giant bulletin board that has no end. There are other bloggers out there who refer to these type of things in a variety of ways--sparklies, pretties, etc.--it doesn't matter what you call them, they are there to make you happy. For no particular reason and in no particular order, here are some of mine:
Kiki and Coco in Paris by Nina Gruener is an absolutely delightful romp. If you have a little girl who appreciates special dolls, Paris and adventure, or even if you don't--you must have this book. I bought this for a little girl and couldn't bear to part with it. It lives on my coffee table.
In keeping with the Paris theme, I LOVE this picture of Fauchon. When I was an exchange student in high school (yeah, I was lucky enough to get a family who lived in Paris), we went to Fauchon one day and I was allowed to choose just one perfect precious bon-bon. I nearly cried while eating it. The black, pink and gold of this storefront are, in a word, divine.
Speaking of walls, this is one of Kate Spade's. I wish it were mine. The wall color, the trim detail...the art. Have you seen the art? Collecting art is one of my greatest pleasures. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are lovely prints available for purchase--mainstream artists on sites like art.com or little guys (like me) on Etsy. Search around--you may find something you really like. Etsy is also a super savvy way to pick up original art for a song. There is A LOT of talent in the world. Surround yourself with it--surround your children with it. It adds so much to life. If anyone out there has another great source for original art--please tell me about it!
Speaking of pinks, you may recognize these bateaux from the jardin du Luxembourg. Children rent these and push them with a stick in the little man-made pond and try to race each other. Watching this is one of the great joys of being in Paris. I could eat up the colors of these boats.
The designer of the exterior of this Paris flower shop deserves an award. The pink petals and the green--the simple logo. In love.
Speaking of simple and elegant, really, is there anyone more elegant than Carolina Herrera? No, the answer is just plain, no. This woman can rock a fitted white shirt, black skirt, red pumps and a simple gold bangle better than anyone on the planet. I look at this image every time I need a breath of fresh air and a reminder to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Under the category of timeless elegance, this is simply a gratuitous gear head eye-candy shot. This photo brings tears to my eyes (yes, I am hopeless) in a greatness begat greatness kind of way.
Speaking of things that are just right...The Blue Pig Tavern, the restaurant in Congress Hall in Cape May, NJ is possibly one of the most elegant alfresco dining locations at the Jersey Shore. Besides serving great food, having a unique atmosphere, being steps away from the beach and having a logo that is a pig in the most perfect shade of blue/green ever (Benjamin Moore's "Oceanfront"), Oprah and Stedman have been spotted there, so you know it's good. They've gotten so sick of people trying to nick their linens, silverware, china, etc. that they finally offered it for sale.
This print has been on my wish list for some time as well. "Bunny Dressing" by Michael Sowa blends art and whimsy and well, it has a rabbit. This would look great someplace unexpected.
Like everyone with a Pinterest account who is planning a renovation, I've gone crazy pinning pictures of kitchens, wall colors, sinks faucets, tile, etc. that I like and when I came across this one, it somehow jumped off the screen as being kind of perfect. I think what I like so much--what makes it seem so balanced is that there is a blend of all of the elements, stainless steel, wood floor and basket, topiaries ( I love the pots they're in) and a piece of original art. Art should go everywhere--not just over your sofa or bed. It's clean, simple and warm. We can't see the sink, but I imagine that it looks something like this:
Right now I'm on my second house and probably my seventh kitchen faucet. Over the years, I've come to learn a great deal about how I want a faucet to look and what I need it to be able to do. First, I'm in love with polished nickel because it looks a little like sterling silver. It isn't trendy (brushed nickel falls into that category), buffs up like jewel and since it costs more than other finishes, is usually found on more quality pieces (although not always). I like having a sprayer, but don't care for the pull-down models since every time you use it, you have to yank on the spout. I can't imagine that they last very long. Ditto the new electronic models that turn on by touching a sensor on the side--what happens when that breaks? No thanks. No, a simple vintage looking model like this one with a single handle so I don't have to futz around with mixing hot and cold (I have this now and can't be bothered to use the cold handle, so I turn on the hot and either freeze or burn myself--not awesome). To my way of thinking, the handle of your kitchen faucet sink is the one single thing that you touch the most frequently in your house. Think about it. It's like the steering wheel in your car--you ALWAYS have your hands on it. Shouldn't it feel GREAT? This one is the Danze Opulence model. Not priced in the stratosphere and good reviews.
As we come to the end of summer (I am in total denial of this, btw), I want to share with you the Blue Pig Martini. It smells like summertime and tastes like heaven--not to be enjoyed only when it's warm, but so much better when it is--preferably at the Brown Room in Congress Hall. To make two, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add three shots of Hpnotiq, one shot of vodka, quarter shot of Blue Curacao (for color) and one shot of pineapple juice. Shake vigorously and pour into two martini glasses. Be careful, they go down reaaaallllllly easy.