Friday

New Year's Eve

Hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve! Una and I are off to a nice dinner and . . . a trip to "The Pot", our local casino. It's a special night (our pre-wedding anniversary - 8 years!) and well, why not? Maybe this baby will bring some gambling luck for the first time in both my and Una's lives. 


I expect to regret this good deed within 20 minutes of arriving to the Pot.


If you'll be watching the ball drop from Times Square (or joining in the Jersey Shore spectacle that is Snooki being dropped in her own ball), here's a little history for you on the tradition (courtesy of timessquarenyc.org).



The actual notion of a ball "dropping" to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year's Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first "time-ball" was installed atop England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. This ball would drop at one o'clock every afternoon, allowing the captains of nearby ships to precisely set their chronometers (a vital navigational instrument).


Around 150 public time-balls are believed to have been installed around the world after the success at Greenwich, though few survive and still work. The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day - and of course, once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight not for a few ships' captains, but for over one billion people watching worldwide.


Revelers began celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square. The first New Year's Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.



1978 New Year's Eve Ball


2011 New Year's Eve Ball


The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighing 11, 875 pounds, built to withstand the stresses of high winds, precipitation and temperature fluctuation to brightly shine over 400 feet above Times Square throughout the year.  For 2011, Waterford Crystal has designed 288 new “Let There Be Love” crystal triangles featuring a romantic pattern that blends a modern cascade of hearts with diamond cutting. 


Bonne annee!

Lanvin Wannabe

Emerald Wicklow Dress by Deletta at Anthropologie for $158.00. 


A copycat chic version of this beauty from Lanvin (worth thousands):


Sigh. Looks like a Roman statue brought to life. 
The Wicklow will do in the meantime - a great party dress.

Word of the Day

Hogmanay: A gift given on New Year's Eve.


Hint, hint.




Or how about making these adorable champagne coupes from Design*Sponge? You can always find these glasses on sale at the Salvation Army for 99 cents. Trust me, I spent 6 months collecting 150 of them for my wedding. Directions below!



Materials
*You can buy a full kit of supplies here for $19. It will last you for many rounds of glasses.*
Steps
1. Clean your classes with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
2. Using your paintbrush, dab a SMALL amount of liquid adhesive on your brush to create a shape or pattern. If you’re doing a longer design, be sure to move quickly because the line will disappear as the glue starts to dry.

3. Let dry for 20–30 minutes. (Don’t worry if you can’t see the glue; it’s still there and sticky.)
4. Carefully take out a sheet of your gold or silver leaf and gently place it on top of your glue pattern/shape. Dab with your fingers until the leaf fully adheres to the glue shape. You can use a soft cloth or sponge to gently press the leaf into the glue.
5. Gently brush away the excess leafing until the shape you’ve drawn is left.


6. Using a clean paintbrush, coat the portion of your glass covered in gold/silver leaf with the leaf sealant (the sealant will dry clear). The design will not be waterproof until it’s coated. Allow the sealant to fully dry, and you’re ready to go!

Note: These are not dishwasher safe. They will be waterproof and safe to drink with, but you’ll want to wash them gently by hand.
See pictures of the process here!

Tuesday

Normally don't post on stuff like this

But Natalie Portman is engaged? And pregnant?!

Okay, I guess it's not that shocking seeing as she's turning 30 (had to look that up on IMDB). Might be a bit awkward when the child reaches the age of 10 and starts looking older and is physically taller than its mother.

Just saying.


I feel like her granny.

Monday

2010 Nor'easter

My parents' house in the small farming town of Rehoboth, Massachusetts (population: 10,074) received a foot of snow in the blizzard. Making today's 5:00 PM flight home to Milwaukee a hilarious joke on us. Currently on hold to book a different airline for Wednesday morning, as our cancelled flight was rescheduled - at the earliest - to Thursday AM.

Wow.

We have my brother's chocolate lab with us while he is off touring the Caribbean with my littlest sister, uncle and cousins. No, I wasn't invited. Yes, this will be reflected in next year's Christmas gifts. Nola, a California born and bred puppy, does not know what to do with this hard white rain. And as such has decided to leave yellow marks everywhere. Like at the bottom of our back door staircase. 

Snaps of the yard:







Hello winter!

Thursday

Signing Off

Have a wonderful next few days (whether you celebrate Christmas or not)! I'm signing off to finish wrapping, enjoy the snow before it melts, and indulge in some-slash-lots of holiday treats (the baby wants them - can't say no to baby!). 


Hope you and yours are healthy and happy as we close out 2010 and head into 2011. I can say for sure - for once - that this new year will be an unforgettable one. 

xoxo,

Providence Classic

Wednesday

Lawd Help Me

Paper due in T minus 3 hours. 10 pages down and in serious need of some lipstick. 


Sh*take.


I so wish I was holiday shopping right now.

Tuesday

Exhibition A

Cynthia Rowley (fashion designer) and Bill Powers (husband, gallery owner, judge on Bravo's Work of Art) have collaborated on exhibition a, a members-only website for art - think Gilt for your walls. All pieces are exclusive editions from contemporary artists - an incredible and affordable way to begin collecting.

The first "limited-time open editions" (translation: flash sales) offer pieces ranging in price from $75.00 - $610.00 from artists Hanna Liden, Mark Borthwick, Richard Phillips and Rene Ricard.

Awesome, awesome, brilliant idea to get the masses interested in purchasing art.

Join here:

Monday

Project Decorate in the Debut Martha iPad Issue

Martha Stewart Living debuted their first iPad issue and in it, two designers decorate the same space in different ways. First up, Kevin Sharkey:

 Fabric on the ceiling; love the window cornice details.

 Wicker furniture, garden stool

Lovely pillows.

Rebecca Robertson's take:
 She covered Ikea cabinet doors with mesh radiator screens. Love the collapsible bench as coffee table and vibrant rug.

 Quirky molding, dark wood floors, cutout screens over the windows.

Love the eclectic styling on the bench. Those graphic trays are paper-covered baking trays.

To see more photos and vote for your favorite, go here!http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/project-decorate-kevins-room

Friday

NYC for a Flash

In NYC this weekend for a 30th birthday, mini-Christmas with my sister (who will be at her boyfriend's family's place in Virginia on the 25th) and a brief visit to baby Gus before heading to Providence (was hoping to see my newest friend, Gin, but am coming down with a slight cold - a no-no for someone who still counts their age in days). 


Where I will need to complete the final paper I am only now just starting for my theory class. 


And submit it on Wednesday.


That's just hysterical. 

Thursday

Sale Today Only!

Hurry and check out Horchow today! Their 25 - 30% off sitewide sale includes items on clearance or estate sale. There are some good deals to be had (I just scored Ralph Lauren bath sheets - the supersized towels - for 60% off), but only if your purchase today!




And don't forget to use both Winter (for 25-30% off) and December (for free shipping) codes when you check out.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday

Wednesday Want

Calypso Home Kuba Jaipur 9 x 12 Rug for $1500.00


Pretty, pretty. Want in my bedroom.

Tuesday

Holiday 2010

Tomorrow Una will perform a holiday song with his colleague before his entire company. There are some new developments on the performance side that I cannot wait to post on Thursday. In the meantime, it is 9 degrees outside and freezing. Awesome.

Monday

Blizzard

The Midwest got rocked by snowstorms this weekend. Oddly enough, Milwaukee was forecasted for a foot of snow and got . . . a few inches? At most? The wedding in Chicago, however, was doused in it, which made for the most beautiful scenery and freezing ears and legs. Thanks to baby brain, which on average has me forgetting about 10 items a day, I brought our camera and then promptly left it in the hotel room. Lucky for me, a handy guest made a short video of the ceremony with a message from some guests. Courtney, the bride, looked simply stunning. The orchid in her hair was in memory of her grandmother, who passed away recently and was never seen without one (chic lady). Check out the video here:


P.S. This was a wedding I created a style board for on the 9tailors blog earlier this year. Check it out - the bride gave each bridesmaid a vintage crystal brooch to wear with their gowns.

Sunday, after leaving horrendous blizzard conditions behind us in downtown Chicago (where I was literally stabbed in the eyeball by a flying icicle masquerading as a snowflake) and finding nothing but some slight rain and wind in southern Wisconsin, "we" took advantage of the nicer weather and stopped at Pleasant Prairie outlets. And oh boy, did we hit the mother load:



Una found New York Giant onesies. Obviously we had to purchase one in each size, ensuring appropriate Giants paraphernalia through the 18-month mark. Officially the first baby item we've purchased (I want to hold off until we're further along) and as far as Una's concerned, the most important.

I'd call this a very successful weekend. 

Friday

Off to a wedding!

Our last of the year and destined to be a winter beauty - held at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago. I can't wait to see the bride (a college roommate and dear, dear friend) in her dress. Temperatures have finally risen to the late 20s (we were hovering between 13 - 15 the last few days) and yesterday's snowstorm has stopped. Just in time for Saturday's to begin. 


My root canal, part 2 out of 3, did not go so handily. The temporary crown broke yesterday. So I was back in again today for a new one. And I'll be back again next Wednesday for the permanent crown. I should get VIP check-in at this point. 


Happy Friday!


P.S. Lonny's new issue is out!

Wednesday

Doody-Ball Teeth Part 100

We all know I have bad teeth. (And here and here.) 


I sit in a room with a Hot Tamale, a tooth dies. Guess what happens when you're pregnant? Your mouth gives up and becomes a playground for gum disease and cavities. My question - what happens when your mouth was already the Six Flags of the bad-tooth world


Early dentures, that's what.


Today I head to the dentist to finish the root canal I began this summer (and which had to be postponed to the second trimester once I found out I was pregnant), as well as to receive the necessary 'pregnancy check-up' on the rest of my teeth. This would already be bad news on a good day, when I've been flossing for months, haven't touched a sweet thing in a week and drank mouthwash like water for 24 hours. 


But when one eats candy several . . . okay, many times a day (thank you, future baby - couldn't you crave cottage cheese? or dried apricots? or water?!), this is a recipe for disaster.


My appointment's at 11. I'm guessing I'll be out by next Tuesday. 

Tuesday

The Most Tremendous Email Ever

Received by a friend from a colleague who, rightly, called in sick: 


Dear XX,


I was going to come today but very embarrassingly, I've had diarrhea for
more than 12 hours. Barely slept last night...and probably cannot leave
home either.



*         *         *


Simply tremendous.

Monday

Pogonip

Pogonip - noun: An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western U.S.


Not sure what they call the freezing Milwaukee atmosphere that greeted me this morning when I drove Una to work at 6 AM. It has officially gone from 50 degrees (early last week) to 15 degrees. Black ice has also conveniently formed at the top of our stairs, which I discovered by accident yesterday while nearly throwing my back out by holding the railing for dear life as my legs went horizontal. 


Winter's arrived. And so has our tree, dressed up and ready for a nonexistent party. 



She's bottomless, so I'm not done. And yes, that is Una's childhood Giants helmet that we use as a topper. It's his favorite part of the tree. Can you spot the cheesehead ornament?

Friday

Sushi and a Glass of Wine

I've written about red wine enough for anyone reading to realize it's clearly my beverage of choice. A glass of red wine, sitting next to a fire, watching a good movie (and eating movie theater butter popcorn) is pretty much my idea of heaven. Mmmm, yes.  But if you pinned me down and made me choose one food for the rest of my life, I'd come out with sushi. I'd eat it every day. As would Una. His first purchase if we were to win the lottery? A personal sushi chef. I'm not even kidding - I was told this verbatim several years ago. (Mine would be a house in Bermuda or the south of France. The sushi chef can travel with us.)


Well, I've had to say goodbye to both the red wine and the sushi. Una and I are having a baby! A real, live baby. Holy crap! To be honest, it still seems surreal - I've gained 5 pounds (looks more like a small turkey set up shop around my love handles), can't eat half of my favorite foods, and my skin's broken out like a 14-year old boy. Super. That perfect glow and basketball belly ("She doesn't even look pregnant from behind!")? - urban myth. Jeans that are now worn unbuttoned in public places and 24-hour gas? - reality. 


Our little baby Bloom is due at the end of May (we won't be finding out the sex) and now that we're in the second trimester, it's time to get cracking on the preparations. You know, like reading the text surrounding the baby book pictures, getting the baby's room ready (it's currently the "clean laundry pile" and storage room), and growing an actual pregnancy bump that looks less like I overdid it on the McDonald's Dollar Menu. The experience has been so different than I'd imagined (no morning sickness - heck yes!), and Una and I can't wait for the next six months. It's a pretty crazy time, good, weird, overwhelming - and so full of love.


In the meantime, I've already decided my hospital bag will include makeup (have you ever seen a photo post-birth? not good for the complexion), a bottle of screw-top Pinot Noir, and one plastic wine glass. Bring it on, baby. 

Wednesday

December 1

Hanukkah begins (at nightfall)!


World AIDS Day


The 55th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to move from her bus seat


Iceland and Papua New Guinea's birthdays as sovereign states


Woody Allen, Sarah Silverman and Eric Bloom (of Blue Oyster Cult fame) were born


Henry 1 died in 1135


The first official snowfall in Milwaukee today, though it has yet to start sticking. What's going on by you?

Tuesday

The Tree


Sucked it up this afternoon and drove to my favorite tree-seller (I checked out 4 operations last year, before deciding Kellner's on Humboldt had the best prices and selection). 'Pretty' is resting on the porch in a bucket of water as tiny flurries come down and waits only for Una to arrive home and dress it in lights. And though it is certainly not green-friendly, having a Christmas tree is one of the few things I am resolved to do every year. It makes me feel like a kid again.  


As for the artificial kind? Love 'em, and on the hunt for a good one. You can never have enough trees. Woo hoo! Break out the bubbly and let the holiday season begin!

Shiloh

I try to stay away from the Brangelina gossip - they're weird, I feel bad for their poor kids (dragged all over the world and stalked by photographers), and while Angelina is one of the most beautiful and charitable women on the planet, something about her just irritates me (perhaps it's the world's worst British accent, Tomb Raider)


Anywho, then I saw Shiloh's shoes. Girlfriend does not mess around - zebra suede boots. Love it!


Via Popsugar.com

Supposed to Snow Today

It's been near 50 degrees the past few days. I was keeping my fingers crossed it would continue right on to April. 


Hah. 


Last day of November, Christmas decor has covered Milwaukee ground (yet to see anything Hanukkah related) and I still don't have a tree. Ahem. But my holiday gift lists are almost done! Favorite time of year, when I'm supposed to shop. Back to my homework - have to present on my final paper's thesis tomorrow. Nope, have no idea what it is. Super.


P.S. Gossip Girl rocked last night. 

Monday

Luggage Snob

Oh man, do I hate rolling suitcases. They are so ugly. Practical, yes (beyond belief), but pretty? Hideous. Even those Louis Vuitton rollers - not doing it for me. Instead, I long for the days when people traveled with trunks. A Goyard set with my monogram - why yes, I'd love that! And a butler to tote it all, thank you very much.


Well, Jon finally broke me down this past weekend and bought a small black rolling suitcase as a carry-on. This, of course, is his bag (as I will not claim ownership . . . though I am considering tracking down the chicest luggage tag I can find to dial down the hein factor). 


Reading the airline mags on our way home, I found Steamline Luggage. (What? SkyMall is hilarious and also genius at the same time.) These roller bags call to mind the steamer luggage bags of old, with a few modern conveniences. 


The Ambassador

The Aviator

The Editor
Photos via SteamlineLuggage.com

Those makeup/vanity cases are adorable. And certain styles are on sale for up to 40% off. Know anyone that needs a suitcase makeover? Head on over to steamlineluggage.com. 

Thursday

Gobble, Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!



P.S. Did I need to eat crescent rolls after a full dinner, appetizers, several desserts and a few deviled eggs (what? I love them)? No. But I did. Thank the good Lord for stretch pants. Now that's what I'm thankful for.

Monday

HP7

This is what my friend Sunny calls Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. She rereads the full succession of books before each movie opening and has already seen HP7 twice since it's opening on Thursday (including the midnight showing). She is a true fan and made me so excited to see it, Jon and I sucked it up and bought general admission tickets to a Friday showing at 9:30 PM. We were anticipating the worst: screaming tweens, costumes and at least one lightning scar.



Nada. College kids and older folks, in fact. After waiting for 35 minutes to get good seats (we were 3rd in line), we settled in for the two and half hour movie. Which was awesome. So well done. Even Una said he couldn't wait to see Part 2 in July. 


Plans to see it? Read the books? I haven't read any of them since they each first came out and as such couldn't remember 95% of the plot. Which only added to the suspense, in my opinion. 

Friday

Black & Spiro Christmas Tree

Anna Spiro, owner of the interior decor inspiration blog absolutely beautiful things and an Australian interior designer, posted photos of her store's holiday display. This Christmas tree is adorable, fun and whimsical! 


Photo via absolutely beautiful things

And easy to replicate (though I'd go for a much smaller version, perhaps that could sit on a table) - perfect for a kid's room, a workspace or an apartment, especially in a blend of chic holiday colors (black, silver and gold maybe?). 

My guess for the materials - wrapping paper or paper towel cardboard 'dowels,' fabric, wrapping paper, ribbon and construction paper animals. 

Thursday

First-Ever Elle Decor Showhouse

Elle Decor debuted their first ever Showhouse earlier this month in San Francisco's chic St. Francis Wood neighborhood. 


Photo via CasaSugar

The featured interior designers include Erin Martin (family room and lower level); Palmer Weiss (kitchen and breakfast room); Steven Volpe (dining room); Gary Spain (living room); Will Wick (den and bathroom); Kendall Wilkinson (entry foyer, office and upper hall); Suzanne Tucker (bedroom suite and deck); Jay Jeffers (master bedroom suite); Elizabeth Martin (bedroom); Grant Gibson (youth bedroom) and Surfacedesign, Inc. (exterior landscape and greenhouse).


Click here to see tons of photos from the house courtesy of CasaSugar!

And I Agree

People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (dude, what a totally cheesy title). Y-e-s. 




This is, of course, totally fine for me to post as Una has a well-known crush on Ryan's wife, Scarlett Johansson. She's a twerp. 

Wednesday

How the Blooms Do Things

Been working on finally getting our bedroom and the dining room painted (the living room is all done). After both of these we'll just have the guest bedroom left to do. I don't know why this gets dragged out over several months instead of making ourselves miserable for 7 straight days when we first move in (ahem, July). But, alas, such is how the Blooms do things.


Once we finish I'll post pictures. I'm tempted to include the before shots of the guest bedroom, which is currently painted a glorious 50/50 mixture of lavender and mint, but I'm unsure if the after will live up to this current scenario. 


So excited for the holiday season. Just found out that Una's work requires all new hires to sing a Christmas song at their December party . . . for the entire office. Lucky for Una, he's got one other newby to perform with, who just happens to have been awarded a voice scholarship to college. I am still gunning for an elf costume to accompany his back-up vocals. 


This. Is. Awesome.

Tuesday

A Royal Commoner

Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged! He proposed with his mother's engagement ring, an 18-carat sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds, in Kenya last month. They will marry next year.



Bring on the spectacle! I cannot wait for the fashion!

Monday

Soft and Pretty

Loving this dress on sale at J Crew for $139.99 . . .



With a blazer, contrast belt, dark tights and suede wedge boots, oxfords, or strappy brown leather sandals . . . perfect to mix with something on the edgy side. Or just wear with a sparkly belt and a pair of delicate heels.





Friday

Happy Friday!

You know I'm seriously contemplating driving to the Restoration Hardware outlet store to take advantage of their 20% off sale. There's a mirror (times two) I've had my eye on now for 3 months. The sale extends to all stores, online and even the catalogue. 



Happy shopping and hello weekend!

Thursday

Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Via here


Thank you to all our veterans. And happy birthday, Dones. We miss you.

Wednesday

Pretty Dang Clever

Not sure if you saw yesterday's post from High-Heeled Foot in the Door on Katie Ridder's "Leaf" wallpaper? (Side note: the same wallpaper seen on Sara Gilbane's front closet wall in the November issue of House Beautiful!). A very clever DIY-er copied the beautiful pattern onto transparency paper and projected it onto her bathroom wall. Taking a sharpie, she traced the entire look onto plain wallpaper!


Photo from A Penny Saved

I most definitely do not have the A) patience, B) focus (fairly sure I exhibit several tendencies of adult ADD) nor C) ability to do this to my satisfaction, but it's impressive nonetheless. 


Check it out here!

Tuesday

Knight Moves & Home Decorators Collection

Kyle of Knight Moves picked out a bunch of great items from Home Depot's sister furniture and decor store, Home Decorators Collection. I've written about a few of their pieces before (herehere and here), but check out what she likes in their newest catalogue (loving the 3-Light Pendant and Clara Table Lamp me-self):


Safavieh at One Kings Lane

Are you a member of the home decor online sample sale site One Kings Lane? Seriously, if you're not, it's time to join (write a comment and I can send one of their member "invitations"). It's officially my favorite shopping site. All that stuff that's in the interior design magazines and is totally out of the normal person's price range? They sell it here. On clearance. 


Today's feature sale is for Safavieh rugs, and features some beauties at more than 50% off:

Soho Rug: 5 x 8 is $429

Peshawar: 5 x 8 is $2499 

Thom Filicia Stone: 5 x 8 is $499

Oushak: 5 x 8 is $1999

Check them out! Drapes and rugs are the basic staples of a room and make any space feel finished and (when chosen in complementary colors and schemes) pulled together.

Monday

Lanvin Does H&M: Part 2

Ready to see what Lanvin has created for H&M? Prepare to swoon. Here are some beauties I would love to try on and take home. 







All photos via HM.com

Sadly, Lanvin will not be coming to Wisconsin. Apparently not much of a high fashion market. Shocker. Instead, I'll have to drive an hour and a half to Chicago to try and score some of these. Which I am considering . . . though not at 7 in the morning, to join the line of people no doubt queued up before the store opens (this is what happens in New York). I'm hoping there will be some clothes left in my size by the time I get there (say 5 PM) and then I can scour eBay for the exact pieces I'm looking for. 

Pray for me. Oh yes, my closet happily accepts prayers. And donations.