Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best-of-Class: Under 35 and Not So Bad

with age

Definition of : Best-of-Class

A product considered to be superior within a certain category of hardware or software. It does not mean absolute best overall.

All this Christmas shopping has had me on the internet researching everything from sound bar speakers to children's scooters. Every product has a different website leading consumers to new links, new place's to read, learn, review and agonize over every possible choice under the sun. Each site with a different perspective and yet, there it is on almost every one, the phrase "Best of Class."

There is "Best of Class" for speakers under $200, CD Players for under $400, Boots under $500. . .It never ends. But what does the phrase mean? How should I interpret it? Does this commonly used phrase only relate to electronics and material goods? At the time, I pondered the thought for a moment but moved on to more pressing dilemma's like whats for dinner. . .at Moe's.

Shortly thereafter, in a totally unrelated conversation, I was brought back to the very same train of thought, except that consumer products were not the topic at hand. One fun night out, I was hanging with one of my best girl friends at a local restaurant bar, when we made friends with two middle-aged, mostly married men. (That is a topic for an entirely different blog.) At some point during the night, and after at least a bottle of wine between us, one of the men declared that something drastic happens to ALL women at the age 34. Wait, what was he saying to me? Was something supposed to be happening to me that I have been blissfully unaware of? Have I been going aimlessly through these last 6 months without knowing that a train wreck was around the next bend? This can not be true. My head was spinning already trying to come back with a solid rebuttal.

Apparently, according to "Subject A" and confirmed by "Subject B" women lose almost all self-confidence in the looks department at the age of 34. They become impossible to live with, marriages become rocky and all things basically go way south from this age benchmark. I can still feel the heat in my cheeks. I counter argue that I feel great, better than I did at 28 for sure. Prettier. More self-confident. . .of course. Best of Class.

I am sure that he did not believe me. I do not care.

No I am not 24 anymore, as if you could pay me to go back. If that was the case I would be endlessly searching for love in all the wrong places instead of nestled up with The Bug, Coop and sweet Scotty. I would live in an almost empty apartment, with stolen cable given to me by my neighbor, who I am sure just felt bad for me. I would be driving my old Honda Accord, that despite ever having one tune up or any gas, always started but was completely illegal to drive. I would live paycheck to paycheck, work for bosses that I hate, in a career that would never take me anywhere.

I would be lying to tell you that my yearly maintence level of daily preservation has not drastically gone up. I picture the Glamour Magazine article on "What She Spends" and I shutter. I am in the middle-upper category I think. . . I used to be in the lowest. I run more, drink less and try harder. I have tricks up my sleeve I may or may not ever share with you. I own a mirror and I try to remember to look in it. . .from behind. Most days I come to the conclusion that what is staring back at me is not so bad.

The last ten years have brought me to a place I never imagined for myself. I have confidence in my future and peace with my past. I look forward to the next stage in life but try to cherish the moments of today. All of the fine lines, gray hair and muffin tops in the world are worth it to be here, at the age of 34 and as far as I can tell, Best of Class.

And that's not a bad thing to be.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Takes A Village: How to Make A Throw Rug for $30


Lately I have been starting more projects than any design crazed person should ever start at one time. So what do I do 2 days after I promised myself I would finish all works in progress  before starting anything else? I find this totally beautiful, 100% wool,  upholstery grade fabric remanent in an equally fabulous stack of fabrics at Post & Gray.

On impulse, Owner Kelly Vieregg and I threw the rug down on the bare floor just to look at the beautiful pattern. I already knew for $20 (yes that's right) that I was going to buy it and figure out what to do with it later.  Just my luck...later happened to be in 20 seconds, because I knew immediately that I was going to figure out how to make it a throw rug!

I decided to use a classic wool throw rug from Williams & Sonoma Home that is layered in our  master bedroom as a model. It is a gorgeous piece of wool backed with a simple cream canvas. Last week on our fun trip to Mary Jo's with Collin, I had her help pick out a yard and a half of heavy dark gray canvas  ($6 a yard) to back to the rug.

Next up,  I put in a phone call to my great friend Christy Parbst who also happens to have a super high-end sewing machine. I told her about the project and I swear she was so excited that she invited us over immediately to have an impromptu playdate and work on my project.

After measuring our hallway, I took the measurements and both fabrics over to Christy's. First  we cut the wool fabric down to size. We then reversed the fabric and laid it directly down on top of the canvas and cut it to match. Christy and I pinned the fabric all the way around and we got to work sewing. Christy decided to sew the rug  just like one would do for a pillow case. When we were just short  of the last edge we stopped. Clipped the corners of the rug so that the corners would be more square and flipped the thing inside out! Since we were running out of time, Christy used her machine to finish the seam but in theory one would finish it by hand. I am not kidding when I say in a little of an hour, we made a classic throw rug.

Here is the fabric just thrown on my hallway floor:


Here we are in Christy's basement measuring and cutting the fabric with a little help from her little man Henry:



Christy the sewing goddess cutting her corners:


We flipped it inside out:


And we made this little crafty thing!


Thank you girls for all of your help! This village of friends just rocks!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Road Trip: Collin and I Run to Mary Jo's and This Is What We Found

What to do on a dreary Monday? Head to Mary Jo's Fabric Store in G-Town is what! My friend, decorator and fabric expert Collin Haglund and I set out in search of fabric samples for her clients and inspiration for me.

This is some of what we found:


Spruce up a chocolate-brown couch with this awesome upholstery weight fabric. Use it on anything from pillows to an ottoman. Be crazy brave and put it on a couch. . .designer heaven.


Multi-colored chevron is more earthy than it appears here.


Love this geometric goldeny yellow!


I want to use this vintage looking fabric in Sadie's room some day!


Dress up a sitting area with this silky organic pattern.


Bold Gray + Yellow ='s FUN!


This is so modern I love it and can't believe Mary Jo's has it in stock! I want to cover a vintage chair in it!


Toned down version of the one above!


Collin is hard at work, of course!

Here's What I Came Up With:


I took this gray and yellow chevron fabric and cut 2 1/2 yards. Collin and I are going to make partial slip covers for the dining room chairs at some point soon but thought for now I would do this:



PS: The fabric looks even better in person. The fluorescent lights and camera flash are the culprits.Oh and go to http://maryjos.com/ for information and directions.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Mommy's Are The Real Santa's Elves


*Future Elf

Tis the Season. . . ready, set, sprint!!!. One Christmas Tree up. Ornaments, half up. Stockings, up. Wreath, I am still working on that part. Two presents under the tree and 22 Day's left to go....my heart is racing just typing this. To that point, I shouldnt be writing, I have too much left to do!

Or maybe I should do what I know that I wont, which is sit down and burn a holiday candle and just relax and enjoy the holidays.That's what sweet Scotty would tell me to do. Scotty that gets up and goes to work everyday to provide for our family. The real life Santa . .And what am I? I am an economic simulator, a christmas time spender, a financial drain and I am one of Santa's many elves. Only Scrooge would be mean enough to care about something as trivial as money at Christmas. Not one to ever be confused with such a person, I will knowingly drain most of every paycheck until my Christmas work here is done. I will not sit down (at least during school hours) until the day after.

Just watch any Christmas movie with an Elf involved and you will not see one Elf napping, relaxing or checking email. Elves run a hundred miles an hour around a workshop (or the mall) to provide toys to all the boys and girls. As such, I will pack, wrap and ship, toys and presents to as many of my friends and family as I possibly can. I will assemble toys with 1,000 pieces and directions written in Chinese. My fingers will bleed from the paper cuts and my back will kill from being hunched over. I will make midnight runs to Target for more wrapping paper and last-minute dollar items for the stockings. I will agonize over what type of cookies we should leave out for Santa, and if Rudolph like carrots or not.

I will concentrate greatly on keeping my "Santa Tales" straight and pray that I don't make even one small mistake. That at least for now, I am still smarter than my darling, sweet and crafty daughter. I am not alone, only one of an almost infinite number of other elves working together to ensure our children have a special Christmas Day. See most importantly, all Mommy's are Santa's elves. We are responsible for spreading the Christmas spirit and for continuing to pass down the traditions of this holiday for generations to come. We will bring our family together to celebrate the birth of our most important family member, Jesus Christ. And for that I think Santa would be proud.



Monday, November 28, 2011

River Birch Beautys: Curtain Rods For Every Season


Ahh, the joy of having great neighbors is one of the many perks of living in our fun neighborhood. The people who shop our merchants, eat at our restaurants and live in our 'hood are what make living in Dilworth sort of like living in a small town. We see each other at the grocery store, the pharmacy (what up Dilworth Drug!) and just about every other place one could imagine.

Every time I tell people which house is ours (and I really mean it) it is always followed with "of course, next to the Teeds!" Karen Teed, is the co-founder and Creative Director for Something Classic Catering in Charlotte. Karen and her business partner Jill Marcus's most recent claims to fame are the wildly successful restaurants Halycon: Flavors From The Earth and vegetarian restaurant Fern: Flavors From The Garden.

Last weekend I wondered over to her house to discover she was hanging these amazing River Birch limbs as curtain rods. They look designer, were totally affordable and are the perfect supports to her new oatmeal linen curtains and gray chaise lounge.

See below for more pictures of her sunroom:



Just in case you were sweating the funky chandelier, the "jump right in comfy" gray chaise or the divine linen curtains, they can all be found at our local IKEA. Creative Director. . . .Oh yeah!

To learn more about Something Classic go to http://www.somethingclassic.com/

To learn more about Halycon: Flavors of the Earth go to http://www.halcyonflavors.com/

To learn more about Fern: Flavors from the Garden go to http://www.fernflavors.com/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's Old Is New Again: The Return of Brass and Gold

Ahh, Brass and Gold, a glamour girls call of the wild. How we love things that sparkle and shine! Here are just a few of my favorite recent finds. The good news is that a good bottle of gold spray paint can turn almost anything into a diamond in the rough! What you do with it is up to you:)

Etsy: A Vintage Goldmine!

Vintage Italian Tole Candle Holder Gold Gilt Hollywood Regency

The Perfect Center Piece For A Festive Table: Vintage Italian Tole Candle Holder.

Sunburst Starburst Mirror

Small Sunburst Vanity Mirror: Perfect For Any Dresser.

Vintage HOLLYWOOD REGENCY Pierced BRASS Orb Hanging Lamp

Hollywood Regency Chandelier: Perfect for a Minimalist backdrop!

Dwell Studios


This divine piece would solve all of my fireplace mantle issues. . . period.

Layla Grace: Well Currated For Sure

Currey and Company Tartufo Chandelier

One Of My Good Friends Has This Piece. Off Limits For Me ='s Good For You! From Currey & Company.

Worlds Away

World's Away Tess Cocktail Table and Side Table. . .A Girl Can Dream Right?

Etsy: You Knew it Right?

Sideways Wishbone Bracelet in Gold

I wish I may I wish I might. . .

Just in time for the holidays!



Gold Urchin Sculpture, found this afternoon at Slate Interiors on Central Avenue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taste Maker: Kathy Wilder Shows Off Her Stellar Home

Meet my friend and Charlotte Taste Maker Kathy Wilder, mother to three adorable little boys and interior designer extraordinaire. The first time I went over to her 1926 Dilworth two-story home,  I knew I was going to be in BIG trouble. (This just might cost poor Scotty a fortune. . .note to the trouble part.)  I really just love/idolize/"want to copy" her entire house.

Obviously I am not alone in my lust for her style, because she just  launched her own interior design business Kathy Wilder Interiors.  I know she is going to have more clients than she can handle. . .so  now the rest of us can benefit from her amazing style.

Last week I stopped by to document the awesomeness of her house. Dont you agree?

You had me at Hello!

Warm and Inviting Entrance.

A Living Room You Want To Live in!

BTW- Kathy Made This Table With a Friends Old Outdoor Table, Some Wood and IKEA Mirrors! Talent? You think!

Her Dining Room Rocks My World!

*Read 70's Vintage Chocolate Velvet Chairs.

The Wall to Ceiling Mural Painting Are Original To The House


It's All in The Details.

Red Chevron. . .enough said.

Hard At Work In The Boy's Room.

I swear she makes everything perfect!

I could go on all day about her house but I don't want to ruin her surprise when she launches her new website soon!  To contact Kathy about her design services email her at kmkwilder@gmail.com or call her at 704-915-1785.

Now I know you are all inspired!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Designer Challenge: Fireplaces Mantles


I have a love / hate relationship with my fireplace mantle's. I love them because they are the perfect backdrop to our old fireplaces; but I struggle with them because the grand space calls for something extraordinaire, not ordinary.

The mantle in our bedroom is giving me fits right now and the mantle in our family room feels pretty stale after 3 years. SEE MY TROUBLED MANTLE BELOW. . .


In search of inspiration I found these.. . .


Mirrors, purple layers, and golden sunburst....I love thee already.


Trefoil Geometric mirrors plus organic curly willow!!!

fireplaceLess can be so much more.


What to do when you have two pieces that aren't quite big enough?

Use them both and vary the heights to fill the spaces.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Time Luxury on a Dime

Best. Present. Ever.

Take home luxury to a new level with Restoration Hardware's 5 pound Chenille Throw! When I first came home with ours years ago, Scotty declared for "$60 bucks you had better be able to wear it!" He now refers to it as his "blankey." Yup, he's a grown man!




Friday, November 11, 2011

Cottage Chic: Holiday Gifts That Wont Break The Bank

Cottage Chic: Holiday Gifts That Wont Break The Bank.

Cottage Chic: Holiday Gifts That Wont Break The Bank

My friend Christy just announced  that Santa is already at the mall. . . .




It's two weeks before Thanksgiving. . .

Repeat after me. . . . I will not go BROKE over Christmas, I will not go BROKE over Hanukkah. . .

So. . . I promise that over the next several weeks (yes we have that many to shop) I will send out LUX presents that your friends and family will die over and that will leave you a little left over for (this never happens) you....

Here are my first two favorites from the best little shop in the world, Cottage Chic. Seriously, If I die before I wake I pray to thelord it's on their sheets! (I pray for more of course but you get my drift.) Cottage Chic is located on East Blvd in Historic Dilworth. Check out www.chicgoodness.com for more information and store hours.


From MOR Cosmetics may I introduce my new, absolute favorite perfume in the whole world, Little Luxuries Perfume Oil in Belladonna. The whole line is so divine that I promise your friends will think you spent "too much!" And for around $20 it wont break the bank!
MOR Cosmetics - Little Luxuries Perfume Oil 10ml

What to give your friend/sister who has everything: the gift they didn't know they needed. Check out the Butter London's nail polish in the Full Monty. ( My personal favorite.) The best part is the whole line has no carcinogens and is non toxic, making it the ideal gift for your heath conscious friends and pregnant sister. Pair this "molten" holiday gold with everything from now through Valentines Day. It lasts forever and dry's so fast that I can fumble for my keys minutes later. Oh and it's so classy even your in-laws will approve. Retails around $14.

Happy Holiday's!