Currently: June

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1. Erin Boyle writes a gorgeous piece on evenings on her Brooklyn rooftop after the kids are in bed.

2.  Some aspirational mudrooms over here.

3. What happens inside men as they balance life and work and what society expects them to value most.

4. Hanan is killing it with her casual style, something much more difficult to achieve than fantastic formal style.

5. Is there anything more appetizing than rose gold birks?

6. This is the drugstore concealer I’m loving these days! The sponge applicator is super gentle on the fragile skin under the eyes and the coverage is great.

7. Such a fresh, springy print.

 

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Chanukah Gift Guide 5: Judaica

Sometimes you want to give a meaningful piece of great Judaica, but the right gift can be so hard to find, especially if you love a more modern aesthetic. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

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  • Kirby kiddush cups. A little something different for passing kiddush wine around the table, these glasses feel heavy and smooth in the hand. The unique design makes every Shabbat a celebration, and their distinctive silhouette will look beautiful on a shelf or tray all week long.
  • Square Eshet Chayil tray. Designed by David Fisher, a Jerusalem graphic artist, this tray features a gorgeous laser cut design on the back of thick, durable glass. Eshet Chayil, the praises sung each Friday night as tribute to the women of the home, is reinterpreted in this modern floral motif that comes in deep turquoise, wine, and green.
  • Set of 6 letterpress Chanukah cards. Not the usual Chanukah card! This textured letterpress set is cut to look like a tear-off ticket to the Festival of Lights. Click through to see the gorgeous typographical detail. Package this with an organza bag of chocolate gelt and a dreidel or two, and you are good to go.
  • The Jewish Holiday Journal. Finally, a great way to keep track of favorite holiday memories, recipes, and reflections! Write a few lines each year and watch your family story grow. The book is divided into sections with simple prompts for recording travel, special moments, noteworthy events, and even holiday menus.
  • Hammered stainless steel Tzedakah box. Why are stylish Tzedakah boxes so hard to find? This stainless steel charity box has a contemporary feel and thoughtful details.
  • Israel’s Sky and Sea home blessing. This stained glass home blessing is a beautiful gift for families or even young professionals just settling in to their first home. Shades of blue and turquoise are pieced together to make a present that will be such a pleasure to open.
  • Kate Spade seder plate. I have never seen a Kate Spade design that I didn’t like, so  this seder plate just had to be included. Porcelain cups with shiny gold lettering pop on the simple white tray. A great gift for weddings, too.
  • Floral glass mezuzah. It’s so easy to buy all plastic mezuzah covers and never update them to something a little more special. This handmade aquamarine mezuzah case glows with color. I am also partial to this one from the same artist.
  • Five-light modern crystal candelabra. In general, candelabras are made of heavy silver in traditional designs, leaving those of us who love clean lines to find our own individual candlesticks for ushering in Shabbat. This piece brings the classic candelabra back to life in sparkling crystal with a modern feel.

Chanukah Gift Guide 4: For the Homebodies

Everybody has a homebody they love, and that person does not want zip-lining passes for the holidays. They also don’t want to learn improv with you. Homebodies love to be seen for who they are, people who love to be cozy and don’t want to have to apologize for it. So here are nine gifts that say, “I know it’s 5:15pm, but put on your pajamas and settle in for the evening.”

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  • The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures. This book is full of things to do every month that will make your life more cozy, crafty, yummy, and welcoming. Because sometimes it’s those little handmade moments that make your home a happy retreat.
  • Fatwood Fire-starter Crate. Few things are lovelier than a crackling fire on a cold night, and customers rave about these fire starters that get you from chilled to toasty in just minutes.
  • Harney and Sons Black Tea, Paris. Spoil someone you love with this black tea accented with flavors of  vanilla and caramel. Over 1,000 reviewers loved this kosher blend inspired by Paris, and more than a few mentioned the classic storage tin.
  • Velvet Bow Slippers. These velvet slippers with faux fur lining would be just as happy in an English cottage as your third floor walk up. Voluminous grosgrain bows adorn the front and coordinate with the polka-dot sole.
  • Let’s Stay Home pillow. Handlettered in your color of choice, this farmhouse pillow case has your evening plans all figured out.
  • Cornflower mug. There’s just something delicious about wrapping your hands around a great big mug. Fill it with coffee, tea, or soup and settle in for a classic movie or a long catch-up with a friend.
  • Dove Gray Chambray Napkins. Everyone needs a set of napkins that can be thrown in the wash without a thought and just get softer with time. Why save cloth napkins for best when they can elevate your everyday meals for just a couple of dollars? This version in cotton and linen will look even better crinkled straight from the dryer.
  • Pure Beeswax Tapers. Hand-poured beeswax tapers don’t smoke or drip, and smell so clean and delicious, never interfering with other scents on your table. Wrapped up with string, they make the perfect gift for hosts, too.
  • Arrow Jacquard Warmest Throw. Get comfortable under a bright woven throw blanket and spend the afternoon watching the snow fall outside the window.

Nursery Inspiration

As I round the corner into my final trimester, the to-do list grows and it’s nice to take a break from the organizing, the appointment making, and the budgeting to think about a lovely new space for this new little person.

Inspired by the Tapestry fabric collection by Art Gallery, which I used to make the baby quit, I’ve pulled together an inspiration board for a budget-friendly, gender-neutral nursery. I wanted something sunny and light, with only the good notes. Plus I wanted to incorporate a few things we already have (like the teal rocking chair, below) to keep spending at a minimum. We are choosing to make over dressers we already own and going with the most inexpensive IKEA crib to leave room in the budget for a few high-impact things that should still look good and work well a few years down the line.

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I knew that light turquoise was a good starting point, for how well it pairs with wood tones, yellows, and crisp white. It’s a calming color that doesn’t scream “baby girl” or “baby boy”, and it can be glammed up with gold without a lot of effort.

This Target rug ($48) is a great foundation and looks great against the IKEA crib ($79). That same light wood tone is reflected in the book organizer ($38), which has heavy duty canvas slings to hold lots of books and serve as a blank background if I decide to get creative with stencils or applique. For art, I love this poster of Jerusalem’s Old City ($20+), as well as this print ($30+) which features a happy sun reminding you to say “Modeh Ani”, the Hebrew morning prayer thanking God for giving you another day. I have also made an Aleph Bet wall hanging and a mobile from the same fabric line as the baby quilt to add a personal touch.

I figure that an inexpensive but sturdy side table ($30) would be useful next to the rocking chair, to hold a lamp ($20)and a bottle of water for late night feedings. The dressers are going to get their own facelift with removable wallpaper ($35) in a woodsy pattern, and gold drawer pulls ($3.35). A can of gold spray paint ($6.46) will be handy for sprucing up the old dresser knobs and other accessories, like wall hooks and shelf brackets. I’d love to finish off the room with some wood pieces, like these gorgeous etched blocks ($49).

What do you all think of this plan? Sunny and bright?
And would you like a dresser facelift tutorial when I get to it?

Straight Out Of: Anne of Green Gables

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Outfit inspiration photo, locket, easy hair tutorial, white blouse fabric line,  Anne of Green Gables scarf, vintage botanical print, boots

When the cool Fall air starts slipping over my window sills in the morning, and the sun goes to bed a little earlier each night, all I want to do is cuddle under a warm quilt with a favorite book. Anne Shirley is an old friend, and I’m very much looking forward to spending an afternoon together, getting reacquainted.

I was excited to do a fun roundup for you, of soft colors and boots, vintage flowers and pearl drops, but really all of these things are just reminders to see the magic around you. To venture out and explore, and to stay in and luxuriate in your own imagination. Autumn is the season of full library queues, of lovely touches and cozy plans. It’s a time to remember old friends, to make space for dreams, and to re-center yourself as one more beautiful, wonderful thing is this beautiful, wonderful world.

So this month, feast your soul, imagine what can one day be, and re-center. I’ll be over here, doing the same.

The 20 Minutes a Day Project

This month, my husband and I are overhauling our apartment so we can kick off September in a more streamlined, clutter-free space. Between recent work trips and other distractions, our place is showing some definite signs of neglect. It happens before you know it; piles of papers start to form, closets take on a life of their own, and no matter how much you clean, the place never feels sparkling and fresh. It’s time to create some space to breathe and bring some serenity back to this little apartment of ours.

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This can be an overwhelming undertaking, whether you dedicate whole Sundays to the project or try to tackle it in evenings after work. I knew we weren’t going to get anywhere if we got burnt out after day one, so I came up with a plan to spend just twenty minutes each day addressing a specific category of clutter. Continue reading

Gallery Walls in 2016

Gallery walls have been around for a few years. In fact, I featured Young House Love’s fantastic gallery hallway here in 2013. John and Sherry created the comprehensive guide to the how-tos of building a fun, dynamic and meaningful gallery space. That was back in 2011, but gallery walls don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

In my 2013 post, Living with Photos, I discussed the role photos play in creating a beautiful space that reflects who you are and the things that are most important to you. Today, I’m excited to share my top tips for gallery walls and how to keep them timeless and fresh, even six years into the trend.

  1. Combine black and white images with color photographs for a classic look. The best gallery walls look like the pieces were collected over time, with an organic, personal feel.

  2. Or choose all back and white photos for a dramatic effect that won’t compete with other textures and colors in the room. This modern collection of crisp black and white prints is a gorgeous contrast to the raw wood, straw, and stone in this space.

  3. Incorporate the unexpected into your layout. Perfectly symmetrical arrangements tend to look like a set of frames you picked up at Target. You’re really not looking for a “gallery wall in a box” look. Asymmetry takes care of that right away, even when you choose the clean look of identical frames, below.

  4. Keep it personal with items you might not have thought to frame. Incorporate a page from your favorite book, a map of your hometown, your scribbled wedding vows. Make it meaningful and unique, not something that just anyone could have in their home.

  5. Choose a gorgeous color scheme. This brings cohesiveness and happy energy to a space you walk through every day.

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  6. Bring in some dimension. Add a textured weaving, three dimensional word art, even a string of bright pom poms for an interactive feel. Please just avoid the “Live Laugh Love” canvas prints. In twenty years, those are going to be what shag carpets were to the 70s.

  7. Use washi tape instead for a spontaneous rotating gallery anywhere. This is great for a dorm room, the inside of a closet door for daily fashion inspiration, or above a desk. Such a great way to show off favorite instagram photos.

  8. Continue your gallery all the way down the wall. This works especially well in a corner for a cozy, casual feel.

     

    What are your favorite gallery wall tips? Do you like to create a wall all at once, or let it grow over time?

I’d love to share photos of YOUR gallery wall! Tag me on Instagram (@sara.bellin) to have your photo featured in my next post!