Tag Archives: Shopping

Keeping Up With the Tradition(ians).

8 Dec

Family traditions are an important part of our culture. They tie together generations and allow us to pay homage to those, amongst other things, we can’t sit with at the dinner table.

From a very young age, my mother taught my sister and I to hold on to traditions, create some of our own and value atmosphere. (not necessarily in that order).

For example, every night, no matter how busy we were with school, sports or dance, we lit candles, put on some music and ate dinner together as a family even if it was for five minutes.

These are the things I will carry on with me as I start a family of my own.

Specifically for the Holidays, she took decorating our house very seriously and instilled in me the need to continue that in my own home.

As you know, I grew up in the Midwest where space and square footage reign supreme, so although my heart wants to buy the same 12 foot tree we get during Thanksgiving at my parents home every year, reality says 3.5 feet it is.

This is quite a change from my childhood but now my home is where my husband is. So my decorating remedy for our “tiny dwelling” is to fill it with Christmas accents and adorn our tree with family keepsakes.

Ever since I was small, my Mother has given my sister and I an ornament in our stocking. They varied each year in size, shape and significance but the point was she was helping us a create a timeline of all of our Christmas’ spent together as a family.

Growing up I didn’t take it very seriously, as I was much more interested in the mountain of gifts under the tree, but I realize now just how special they are.

Each year when I decorate our tree, a part of me gets to revisit those moments and remember that family, friends, love and time are the most important aspects of life.

These ornaments tell the story of where I came from. When my husband and I have children, I will carry this tradition on for them. After all, it is the small things that remain the most meaningful.

Luella says…Confessions of a Christmas Tree.

I would love to know what some of your family Holiday traditions are?

What do you treasure the most during this Christmas season?

Just a reminder that Christmas and New Years go by so fast . In this economy, when not everyone can give what they are used to, take a couple of moments to recognize what you are truly thankful for.

It is more important to be present rather than to give presents.


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Go Green.

20 Nov

“The Emerald surpasses in its greenness all green stones, and even the leaves of plants, and it imparts to the air around it a green shimmer.”

Isidorus, Bishop of Seville 640 A.D.

I love the color Emerald. It is the color of the Earth. Of trees and grass and leaves and nature.

In fashion, I love the subtlety of Emerald when paired with primary colors and the way it brings a warmness to my skin tone.

It is timeless so I suggest next time you are shopping,  if you come across a piece in this shade of green, buy it and make  it a permanent fixture in your wardrobe.

Blonde, Brunette or Red hair doesn’t matter because it works for all of us.

It also is a perfect pop color for home decor. A subtle accent on the wall or a simple throw on a bed can make a room have depth. Try it for yourself.

If I had to choose three words to best describe Emerald-Green, they would be warm, rich and decadent.

Luella says…An Ode to Emerald.



After thinking about it,  I realized it also reminds me of Christmas and the onset of the Holidays with Mistletoe and Evergreens.

What does it evoke for you?

What color do you love?

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All the Pretty Little Accents.

9 Nov

To me, home decor is about personal expression. Similar to fashion, one can take the liberty of doing whatever it is their heart desires. A blank wall becomes the canvas, the inhabitant becomes the artist. What a perfect dilemma.

Etsy is a great marketplace for anything and everything decor. I was searching for something unrelated and came across this fine art Polaroid print.

Love is Possible Polaroid print.

It inspired me.

How beautiful would this be in a simple frame perched on a mantle or hanging on a wall? Sometimes the best parts of room decor are the little details and smallest editions.

Below are some more subtle finds I feel would be beautiful to frame and display.

Luella says…Accentuate the Positive.

Mustard and Bloom Fine Art Botanical print.

This Tree Stands Polaroid print.

Rue des Saules in Montmartre fine art print.

Life is an Adventure letterpress print.

Melancholy Blossom photo with water-color overlay.

Keep Calm and Carry On photograph.

9 Polaroids of Paris.

Pearl and Marmalade Limited Edition letterpress print.

In the Light of Day photo using Analogue and Digital Techniques.

California letterpress print.

Peacock Feather Starry Night print.

Whirly Gigs original hand painted print.

La Vie en Rose letterpress print.

Cake letterpress print.

Caribbean and Sky Polaroid print.

All Glory letterpress print.

Tree with a Sea View Polaroid print.

Art Deco Wallpaper print.

Buy it. Frame it. Hang it. Enjoy it. Build your own nest.

Put This On.

22 Oct


I love the word apothecary. It evokes a sense of history, a time when potions and elixirs were made and sold in local Mom and Pop type stores. So many beauty companies we know and love today started with a chemist in the back of one of those. They no longer exist really and now we have so many beauty and skin care choices it is hard to know where to start.

Let’s start with the basics.

I believe hydration is the single most important factor in anti-aging.

Be aware of parabens and plastics that are in many of the products we like to use. Going green in what you are putting on your largest organ (skin) is so important.

Get in the know here: GREEN BEAUTY GUIDE

It doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive to work. You just need to remain diligent in your application and be wary of too much sun, cigarettes and not drinking enough plain water.

Below are products that have been tried and tested on both my husband and myself long before I  knew I would be discussing it in a blog. They are the best of MANY go rounds. They are easy to find and almost completely Beauty on a Budget.


Luella says…Finally Something to Get Addicted to



For the LADIES

AMORE PACIFIC Moisture Bound Lotion – Lightweight, Brightening, long-lasting.

KORRES Pomegranate Balancing Lotion – From Greece amazingly light and refreshing with a soft skin after finish.

SKINceuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 – Great base to wear underneath the above mentioned moisturizers. Ultimate sun protection.


SABON NYC A & E Vitamin Mask – Amazing super moisturizing formula. When you take it off, your skin feels like butter.

OLE HENRIKSEN Aloe Vera Cleanser – Great non-dehydrating cleanser. Eco-Friendly, with aloe healing  properties.

MANUKA HONEY Organic Natural Mask – A natural anti-aging remedy. Straight Manuka honey applied directly to your face. Tightening and moisturizing.OLE HENRIKSEN New Beginning Scrub – Gentle scrub with brightening and oxygenating effects.


SABON NYC White Tea Night CreamUnbelievable White Tea scented, soft and rejuvenating nighttime formula.

KORRES Quercetin and Oak Age Reversing Night Cream – A bit thicker and filled with restorative properties.



KIEHL’S Soothing Face Creme for Men – Great every day face lotion.

SABON NYC After Shave Cream – Wonderfully scented, replenishing and rejuvenating.

ANTHONY UV Protection SPF 15 – Important Oil Free SPF base layer.

KIEHL’S Facial Fuel Cleanser – Invigorating day cleanser. Amazing skin pick me up.

ART OF SHAVING Unscented Mini Kit – Perfect for the “old school” shaving enthusiast.

OLE HENRIKSEN Walnut Exfoliating Scrub for Men – Refreshing, cleansing and brightening exfoliator.


BLISS SPA Baggage HandlerWheat based, quick action eye lift and de-puffer.

SKYN Icelandic Relief Eye Cream –Tightening, thick restorative eye cream.


MAMA MIO Boob TubeAmazing chest & neck daily lotion with lift and tightening properties. Truly works!!

MOISTUREL Body CreamBest, cheap overall body cream around.

MAMA MIO Shrink to Fit Cellulite Cream – Cellulite and firming cream. Amazing.


MOROCCAN OIL for Shine and Body – Yummy smelling and silky smooth finish for any hair type. LOVE it.

NECTAR OF THE GODS Detangler – BEST detangler around, period. Little goes a long way.

AVEDA Grooming Clay for Men -Non-Greasy sculpting clay that keeps its shape.


Moisturizer is your friend. Taking care of your skin is the best remedy for feeling good.

You’re only as old as you think you are.

A Cold Weather Concept.

18 Oct

“There is a definite chill in the air…Everywhere.”

We are officially entering Autumn. It’s time to embrace the chance to start wearing the overcoats, sweaters, pants and jackets you put on hiatus for the Summer season.

I will admit it is always a bit hard for me to pack away my easy slip-on and go dresses that I love to wear during the Spring and Summer months. Layering is always an option but less is more; which is why I went searching for a great transitional piece, the Sweater Dress

Adding to its reputation for being a “Winter weather staple” is that it can be styled a thousand ways. Over leggings, tights or skinny jeans. Worn alone with knee or thigh-high boots. Paired over lace or matte stockings. Belted, cinched and accessorized.

The choices are creatively endless.

Luella says…Cold? Go bold.













Go chic, stay warm.

Haute Halloween.

12 Oct


Halloween is almost upon us. Costumes, make-up, parties and candy = I’m in. I will say however; every year I struggle with What to Wear?

While some of us can get into the whole transformation from “Hi, my name is…” to put “sexy” before anything you can think of; I can’t. I studied method acting in college and my teacher always used to tell me, “lose your cool card, become ONE with the character.”

While it was a bit easier for me on stage, picking out a costume is a challenge.  I don’t want to have blood dripping down my face. I don’t want to wear a rubber mask. Isn’t sexy supposed to be subtle? I want to be me, but just dressed up as someone else. You know what I mean?



My solution/mantra every year has been the same. Buy vintage, add in a little DIY and overall less is more. With this in mind, I present costumes to consider for this years festivities.

They are super inexpensive and can be cut, sewn or finished off with fun accessories. Channel your inner Project Runway and make something that is totally you – just portraying someone else. You might even find you can wear it  in the real world after Halloween is over. How do you say perfect in French?


Luella says…Let’s make it a Haute Halloween this year







HUSBAND / BOYFRIEND / PARTNER role: Ship Captain, Skipper


EDIE SEDGWICK - Mod 60's Girl



Gloria Swanson, Marion Davies, Constance Bennett and Jean Harlow OKTOBERFEST Ladies


German Beer Drinking Man, Oktoberfest attendee

BIANCA JAGGER – Studio 54 Girl


HUSBAND / BOYFRIEND / PARTNER role: Mick Jagger, Steve Rubell, Andy Warhol




Home Office sweet Home Office.

5 Oct


“Clean it up John.” – Anthony Kiedis      

My husband’s favorite band is Red Hot Chilli Peppers. On their album, Stadium Arcadium there is a song called Ready Made. Listen to it and let me know what you think. Although John Frusciante is “cleaning” it up musically we should still heed Anthony’s advice.   

 Ok, enough about music.    

A home is a respite but what if it is our office as well? A lot of us nowadays, myself included, fall into this category. If you’re job searching, studying, working from home or just surfing the web it is important to make the space, no matter the size, comfortable and organized. I think it helps breed creativity, passion and focus.   



The basics are a desk, chair, lamp, computer, an all in one printer/fax/scanner, paper, black ink pens, a storage shelf or tower, cork board for inspiration posts, a vase with some fresh flowers and an Ipod docking station. A desk can just be a desk but if you fill it with the right combination of interesting items/inspiring details, it could be the one thing that keeps you striving toward landing the job, finishing the project or finding the perfect pair of shoes.     

Less is more… always. Keep it clean, keep it organized and good things await you.     

Home Office sweet Home Office     



Crate and Barrel




Pottery Barn






Ballard Design
























Pottery Barn








World Market


















West Elm


The Container Store




Room and Board


Ballard Design








Unica Home


Pottery Barn


If you are struggling for inspiration, stop what you are doing and go for a walk or a lap around your house, exercise or read a book. (a real one) You would be surprised what a little fresh air can do to your perspective.   

Sadly, I heard about an old friend who passed away yesterday at the age of 31. Billy Joel was right, “Only the Good Die Young.” Hug your loved ones, be present and grateful.   

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Let There Be Light.

27 Sep


As much as I love fashion, I love home decor.  I am fascinated by  how much it can change and/or create a space.  For the last 7 years, I have collected various antiques and vintage items and have refinished, re-painted, appliqued, sculpted and DIY-ed them to fit into my aesthetic of beach shabby. I am planning on detailing some of my “finds” in upcoming posts so stay tuned for that.    

Now to the rest of the story. Our friends from Encinitas are renovating their beautiful home.  They have been searching for the perfect chandelier for their master bathroom to no avail. (Can we say luxe? Love it!) She loved my idea of INSPIRE TO FIND and to my absolute delight has commissioned me to seek out some possibilities for her.        

Chandeliers are the perfect accent to any room. They are decadent and purposeful, the perfect combination. Below are some of my favorites. Click on the photo to view more details. I also took the liberty of adding in some inspiration photos of rooms designed in various tastes. Let me know which one is your favorite!          

Let there be light.          


Old World Glamour.           


Neiman Marcus Venetian



Erich Grinder Mansion



Art Inspired.         


 Traditionally Elegant.        


Brocade Home

Anthropologie High Minded



 Beauty at the Beach.        


Jayson Home and Garden Madame Noire



Design Within Reach Murano



Seaside Hideaway.         


Graceful Estate.         


Neiman Marcus Harlow



Jayson Home and Garden Eliza



Art Deco.         


Great Chandelier Jet Black



Ethan Allen Michaela Twelve



Vintage in Virginia.         


A Room in the Manor.         


Neiman Marcus Durango



Jayson Home and Garden Jenny



Art Deco          



Atelier Abigail Athern Neo Baroque



Atelier Abigail Athern Mud



 Scandanavian Retreat.         


Country Cottage Chic.         


Unica Home Venini



Erickson Beamon Glam Rock




Blame it on Ray LaMontagne.

24 Sep

 I love Ray LaMontagne so much. His new cd, God Willing & The Creek Don’t Rise is haunting and rich and I can’t get enough of it. This morning his music inspired me to pay homage to the most important men in my life. My husband Ralph, my Dad James, my Father-in-Law Wayne and my best friend JD. This post is for you, all the men out there and the ladies who love them.          

   Operation: Sweaters, shirts, shoes and pants. As the weather gets colder and true Fall sets in, we all need a change-up in our wardrobes. Who doesn’t like new clothes?Men’s fashion is hard. I have worked in the fashion industry for 9 years and I still find it difficult to rattle off a bunch of great designers who get the “every day” look right.  I went on an adventure today and have detailed below some really great Autumn/Fall items for the men in our lives.    

These items are available and in stores now. Click the photo and it will take you directly to the retailer’s site. I have three tiers when discussing prices. Dreaming, Realistic and Steal. I put these items at Steal +.            

 Happy looking, happy shopping.          



OBEY Shoreline sweater $78
Shades of Greige crewneck $97
Scotch and Soda Cardigan $140
Original Penguin Heather pullover $41
MG Black Label Zip Cardigan $92



Gap Very Soft V-neck T $19.50


Subtle Plaid Shirt $98.50



7 For All Mankind Corduroys $159


Joe’s Jeans Corduroys $158

Nudies Bootcut jeans - Vintage Wash $179


J Brand Cooper Bootcut in Dark Wash $165


Express Heather Grey pants $79.90



Marc Jacobs Patent Leather boots $174


Costume National Black Boots $283


Base London Washed Leather boots $110


Steve Madden Leather slip-ons $59.95

SupraPilot Fleece shoes $104


John Varvatos for Converse Brown Leather "Throw Back" Shoes $150


 If this blog could sing. It would sing just like Ray.  


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I Do, in June.

22 Sep


J’aime vintage. I got married in June, to a man named Ralph, in my favorite place in the world, my parent’s backyard in Brookfield, Wisconsin. I am now a wife and I have a husband. Crazy but true. I can’t say I spent my childhood dreaming of my wedding day, it was more that I was dreaming of who I would be married to.

Even still, when it was my turn to be a bride, I wanted to plan it like an intimate dinner party. I love vintage as aforementioned and thus was born my theme. Mismatched china, a sideboard to hold our cake, handmade table numbers made of vintage French apothecary and soap labels, ball jars, green depression glass and cream hobnail vases, Lisianthus, Gardenias, Peonies, Green Hydrangeas and Ranunculus flowers, tuxes and candles; essentially “splendor in the grass.”  To accomplish this, let’s just say a lot of DIY, Etsy and imagination.

I knew some things were beyond my control and I left those to come as they may. At the end, it was an evening filled with lovely memories I will keep with me always. It was perfect. Wonderful friends, family, decadent food, drinks, dancing and laughter.  We are blessed. I know I relied on others inspirations to create my own so enjoy! 

(photos by Krystal Muellenberg and Studio Noveau





“Let’s turn to the West, Let’s turn up the music, Let’s hope it’s always as good as this” – Chris Pureka

(Venue: Shully’s Garden Tent, Cake: Sweetness by Alice, Flowers: Esther)

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