Friday, August 30, 2013

Maxi Dress sale surfing at Piperlime

Piperlime is having a sale with up to 70% off right now, and there are some good deals on dresses in there.

My picks:
$190 Mara Hoffman Tank dress (was $240)
I love Mara Hoffman's complex prints and easy silhouettes. This tank dress would be a great weekend outfit or a swimsuit coverup or a date night dress.

$68 Velvet by Graham maxi dress (was $150)
I am not sure you can tell in this picture, but the dress is striped with spearmint and gray horizontal lines. The A line shape is flattering and the soft colors are nice.

$30 Hive & Honey chevron stripe maxi dress (was $69)
This dress has a defined waistline and chevron stripes that angle down on the top and up from the bottom. It looks very comfortable.

$70 Michael Stars Hi Scoop back maxi (was $158)
The high neck on this dress is unusual in a maxi, and I think it is very elegant. The fabric is oatmeal and gray stripes, with a string tie belt at the waist.

$54 LA Made belted tank maxi dress (was $121)
I love the LA Made brand and all their jersey items. They are cut soo nicely and are really comfortable. They aren't heavy but they do last longer than you think they would for tee shirt material. This crossover top maxi dress looks really soft and great to wear.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cute decor items from Target

There are some nice and affordable new home accessories at Target, so I thought I'd point out a few that I like:

$12.48 Nate Berkus hurricane lamp with rope
This would be a great vase or a nice outdoor candle holder.

$29.99 Gazebo lantern with flameless candle
Because it is a fake candle, you don't need to worry about forgetting to blow it out when you go inside.

$22.99 Threshold hexagonal lamp shade
This would look great eometricon a tall thing floor lamp or on a geometric glass table lamp.

$24.99 Threshold mercury glass squat lamp base
This would be a nice choice for that shade above, and would make a good bedside lamp also.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two pretty vases from Anthropologie

Normally, the homegoods from Anthro are overpriced and cute but not amazingly worth it.

But I really like these vases and I think they are reasonable!
They make any flower you buy look intentionally arranged and artsy instead of just thrown in a glass.
Also, since the openings are pretty narrow, you don't have to buy a huge amount of flowers to fill them up and make them look nice.

They would also be great housewarming or wedding gifts.

Horizontal Chemist Vase
$38 Horizontal Chemist Vase
The center vase is mounted a little higher than the flanking ones so it looks nicely arched if your stems are all the same height. It would look great on a shelf or against a wall.

Vertical Chemist Vase
$38 Vertical Chemist Vase
Similar design but stepped up vertically to showcase different flowers. This one is also a little more 3D than the other, and would be better on a table where you can see it from many sides.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bohemian themed decor from Zulily

On Zulily right now, there are a lot of cute home accents with pretty designs.
They would be great to brighten up an otherwise solid colored and neutral room, and make it feel much more special.

If you do decide to sign up for zulily, please use my link! If and when you eventually buy something, I get a credit when you sign up through me.

My picks:

$40 Melamine dinner plate set (was $60)
Unbreakable and decorative, sounds great! Yellow is a great cheerful color especially when used outdoors, and these plates would be great patio dining plates for when you don't want to risk breaking glass on your porch.

$30 Melamine salad plate set (was $40)
Picture this on top of the plates above for a really colorful setting. I like the solid background of this size. Unfortunately I am the queen of salad and dessert plates already so I can't buy any more.

$44 Hand painted low table (was $90)
I like this design, it reminds me of a tray that E and I bought on our trip to Mexico city.
It would be a good table to use while eating on the floor, or as a foot rest. Or a kid's level table.

$25 Peacock chip and dip plate (was $35)
What can I say, I am sometimes a sucker for matching things and flat flat plates.

$30 Dena Marrakesh serving platter set (was $45)
These skinny rectangular plates would be good for serving bread or crudites.

$30 Ikat melamine serving bowl (was $44)
It's 11.5" x 4.5" and would be really pretty as a fruit bowl or salad bowl.

$18 Patterned cheese serving set (was $30)
Cheese plates can be boring, but these patterns that extend to the handles of the knives are fun.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DIY woodburning spoons project

I happen to own a soldering iron, and since I don't have room or the set up to do some real stained glass work and don't know how to do electronic work, I figured I should put it to some other use.

I've been itching for a craft recently, and I remembered my days of using a woodburning tool in 4th grade to make a sign for my door, and thought that the soldering iron might be the right shape.
So I googled around and it looks like indeed there are many of us out there who are using soldering irons and woodburning pens interchangeably.
Some people say one is hotter, some say the other. I say who cares, let's burn stuff!

What is wood around here?
Well, the floors and the furniture but I don't think that would be an excellent place to start. Nor would NYU appreciate it.

I do have a bunch of wooden kitchen utensils, though. And while I use my flat wooden spatulas often, I use my wooden spoons less. So if I screwed them up I wouldn't be too upset.
Also they came from Ikea for $1 so I could easily get new ones.

Here are my utensils before:

Here is my soldering iron:

Here is my first spoon during:


Close up with neck band added:

Here are all 3 spoons after. (front)

(and back)


My hand got crampy from holding the tool, so I decided to do the flat ones later.

As you can tell, I went geometric for the first design, then on the second spoon I started with more lines and added dots, then tried for a bluebell flower on the back.
The third design was inspired by henna patterns. I am least happy with the way that one came out.
 I think I like the first one best.
What do you think?

The first thing I did to each spoon was draw lines around the edge of the head of the spoon. This helped  me steady my hand and also think about what I was going to draw.
I freehanded all the designs but I bet you could use a ruler and even draw pencil lines ahead of time if you wanted. You definitely can't erase the wood burning.
Well, maybe if you had a lot of sandpaper and a lot of time. And you didn't mind a skinnier utensil.

Going with the grain of the wood was much easier than crossing it. It was hard to drag the tool straight without it getting caught on the wood and burning holes deeper in some places than others.

One unexpected bonus of doing this burning was that my spoons had been chipped and not quite round anymore, and I used the soldering iron to burn off some of the rough parts and reshape them a little.

I am keeping my little experiments here, but I think in the future these would be great gifts. You could burn people's initials on them or helpfully label them as spoons (cooking is confusing).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pretty apartment plants that also smell pretty?

Remember when I talked before about houseplants?

I am still obsessing over them.

For our wedding, I took apart all my aloe plants and babies and repotted each in its own container. We gave them to our guests to take home as gifts, and I was happy to see them going to good homes. The events director at the place we got married was skeptical, btw. He said that he liked the idea but that usually no one takes them and that he would collect them for us at the end of the night so we could bring the leftovers home.

(Here they are, all lined up to go)

In his face, though! Bam. My friends (even the ones who were taking planes home!) took all the plants :)
One was left at brunch, probably by accident, but none were unwanted.

Anyway, now I just have the big mama aloe plant and that one forgotten baby. And I am used to having so many more!

We live close to the Union Square farmer's market, and I love walking through there and looking at all the plants. It is hard not to come home with any.
So far I've bought a mint, a rosemary, and a string of pearls (so cute).
I am glad to finally have my string of pearls plant, I've been wanting one for too long. I hope it grows quickly and makes tons of new strands!

Here is what a grown up one looks like:
Mine is still a little baby and its strings aren't hanging over the edges of the small pot I bought it in yet.
It looks more like this:

I still have my fuzzy purple friend Gynura Aurantiaca, called purple passion or purple velvet.
That looks like this:

or at least it used to. Now it looks much more vine-like and stringy and woody. It still has fuzzy purple leaves, but they are few and far between.
I was just reading about them and it is because they need to be cut way back in the winter and the cuttings can be replanted as new vines.
I cut the longest vine just above where a leaf was, and shoved the cut end of the loose part back into the soil. I am hoping it propagates like that and I don't have to do anything else for it. I have tried that once before with this plant and it worked. I guess I just have to be more aggressive about cutting and re-rooting it.

I also have a christmas cactus and a snake plant and a zz plant.
But I want moooooooorrrrrre.

Especially now that I have a balcony!
I am looking for fragrant plants that can make my apartment smell pretty. And flowers! I don't have anything that regularly makes flowers (I guess except the xmas cactus).

A lavender plant would be nice:
Lavender ‘Provence’
$8.95 Lavender 4"
Very fragrant with silvery purple flowers

Chinese Perfume Plant
$14.95 Chinese perfume plant (Aglaia odorata)
This plant has little yellow flowers that bloom on and off all year and are supposed to smell great. I am not sure how it would be indoors- it is meant to be in a very warm Florida-like places, but maybe in a very sunny window it could work. Also it grows to 3-4 feet tall so that might be a very tall house plant soon!

Collection of Maypop Vines
$14.95 Collection of Maypop Passionfruit plants
You get a 2.5" pot of the rare white ones and a 4" pot of the purple one. They produce fragrant flowers and fruit and the purple one can withstand colder temperatures. I might want to buy a more mature one that I know I won't kill as easily.

Corkscrew Flower
$18.95 Corkscrew flower (vigna caracalla)
I've never seen this before! Isn't it cool?
It is a climbing vine and the flowers bloom late summer to early fall, perfect right now, and are supposed to smell good and look like snails.

Cinnamon-Scented Wax Plant
$10.95 Cinnamon scented wax plant (hoya lacunosa)
This plant grows in a hanging basket and releases scent at night. Wouldn't it be nice to come home to a cinnamonny house? The site says it is an easy grower and likes to be neglected, so it might be perfect for my friend Alex who is great at neglecting plants.

Willow-Leaf Acacia
$12.95 Willow-leaf Acacia (acacia retinodes)
This acacia grows up to 8 feet tall in a container and when it hits 4 feet tall, it starts flowering these yellow fragrant puffballs. Cute!

Night Blooming Cereus ‘Mark Twain’
$18.95 Night blooming Mark Twain cereus (epiphyllum oxypetalum)
These plants have large flowers that bloom after the sun sets.
The species was found at Mark Twain's house in Hartford, CT.

Plumeria ‘Candy Stripe’
$39.95 Candy Stripe Plumeria (plumeria rubra)
So pretty! They look like they are painted. These would die outside in NYC but maybe I could keep them alive by bringing them inside in the winter?

Winter Jasmine
$8.95 Winter Jasmine
Speaking of winter, this one blooms in fall and winter which sounds great to me! That is just when you need flowers the most. It likes to live in containers or baskets in sunny cool windows (so not on your radiator).
(Lavandula x intermedia)
This is the famed azure blossomed lavender developed in the perfume fields of southern France and cherished for its intense scent and floriferous grayish-silver spikes.

Hardy to Zone 5 and higher for outdoors.

Full sun, grows to 12-20" in container, minimum temperature indoors 35°, blooms in spring.

Fragrant! - See more at:
This is the famed azure blossomed lavender developed in the perfume fields of southern France and cherished for its intense scent and floriferous grayish-silver spikes.

Hardy to Zone 5 and higher for outdoors.

Full sun, grows to 12-20" in container, minimum temperature indoors 35°, blooms in spring.

Fragrant! - See more at:
This is the famed azure blossomed lavender developed in the perfume fields of southern France and cherished for its intense scent and floriferous grayish-silver spikes.

Hardy to Zone 5 and higher for outdoors.

Full sun, grows to 12-20" in container, minimum temperature indoors 35°, blooms in spring.

Fragrant! - See more at:"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What I got at the Hatch sample sale

Last week I went to the Hatch sample sale. Let me start by saying that although it is a maternity brand, I'M NOT PREGNANT!
I just really like their flowy silk dresses and wanted to check them out.

Anyway, Hatch had a sample sale in Soho with deals of up to 80% off, and I went the first day.
Even though I got there right after it started, there were already several women who beat me to it and had armfuls of dresses. It wasn't frantic or anything, but I was impressed at the dedication of these pregnant ladies who booked it over to the sale.

There were true samples for $40-$80 and damaged items for $25. Then there were great deals on the stock dresses and jumpers, which were about $75, (down from $329).

I had done my research online first and had an eye out for the Airplane dress and the Soiree dress because I think both of them are so versatile and elegant.
It was hard to tell the materials that the samples were made out of, since they didn't have tags. I wanted the silk dresses instead of the polyester ones, and eventually I figured out what was what.
There were 2 racks of samples and then 3 or 4 of the stock dresses. I was determined to get the best deal, so I focused on the samples, and it paid off!
I ended up with the soiree dress in black silk, the airplane dress in black silk, another shift shirt dress in mint green silk, and a long open cardigan in navy cashmere (with a small hole in the armpit that I plan to sew) for $40 each!

I tried on and liked both the stock versions of the sweatshirt dress and the tank dress, but I decided that for $75 each I didn't need them. Even though that is so marked down from what they usually are.

Luckily for those who missed the sale, they have things on sale online now too (not at sample prices, but still).
Here are my picks from the website:

The Soiree Dress Sale
$174 Soiree dress in black silk (was $348)
Still so happy I got this for $40!

The Dinner Party Dress Sale
$169 Dinner party dress in red silk (was $338)
I don't think I saw this at the sale but it is so pretty.

The Shirt Dress Short Sale
$124 Shirt dress short in charcoal crepe jersey (was $248)
This is a little more maternity-only so I didn't try it on, but one woman was wearing it and it looked great on her.

The things that I tried on that I didn't like and looked like a blob in were:
The button down dress
The kaftan
The Slouch dress
The button down shirt
More power to you if you can pull those off!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Where I went on my honeymoon

I had such a great time in the Greek Islands, and it was in large part because of the awesome hotels we stayed at.

We spent 3 nights each on Santorini, Folegandros, and Naxos, and then one night in Athens.

BTW, everyone is SO nice when you tell them you are on your honeymoon. On the flight there, Delta gave us some champagne. When we arrived at the Katikies hotel in Santorini, they informed us that we were being upgraded to the honeymoon suite! It was crazy nice and totally unexpected. It was especially great because the hotel (even with a deal online) was pushing our budget limits already, and then we got the best room there that we never could have afforded otherwise.

The Katikies Hotel is on the northern tip of Santorini in a white cliffside village called Oia (pronounced EEEyah).

You know when you see pictures of a hotel online and they look prettier and cleaner than when you actually get there? Not this time, it actually looks even better in person.

We stayed in the main hotel (they have other properties and villas too), which had 2 pools and cascaded down the side of the cliff. One pool was a grotto style white cave, and the other was the infinity pool you see in the pic above.
But we had our own private pool, being in the honeymoon suite and all.

We didn't get poolside massages like in this picture, but we did get breakfast on that patio every morning, which was a great way to start the day.

Here is a picture of the  room itself. Everything is bright white and calm.
Our room was the farthest down the cliff which meant we had privacy but also meant we had to climb a ton of steps when we wanted to go anywhere. Since we are both the type of people who like to see things and explore, we got a workout.

Our hotel on Naxos, Finikas, was also exceptional. 
This was the one hotel I booked without consulting E because it just looked so great and I'd tried to book it before but it had been sold out. Then all of a sudden it was back on with a cheap promo rate for the nights we wanted to go, and I jumped on it.

What you see in that picture is the view of the pool from behind a 600 year old cypress tree that has a flowered vine growing in it. It's really pretty. Also you can see the native palm trees that they are very proud of which grow naturally only on 2 parts of the island.

The Finikas hotel is also new but is not modern in style like the others we stayed at. The rooms were comfortable but the purple stripe theme we had wasn't quite my taste.

The food was great at this hotel, though, as was the staff. And it was just so pretty and peaceful. Sitting by the pool and looking over at the beach and ocean was very appealing.
This hotel was probably the most isolated of the ones we stayed at, which we liked. Instead of being in the main port town of Hora, this is about 20 min south, and past a park of protected cypress trees and down a dirt road. The beaches around it are pleasantly uncrowded, if a little windy.

If you are going to the Greek Islands, I truly believe these are the best places to stay after having researched others and staying there.

And that's (some of) what I did on my summer vacation!
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