{The Petal Pusher} Herbal Essence

Happy Friday All! As promised, Tina’s back with a bit of Herbal Essence. Enjoy! 

Confession #72:  I am an herb waster.  Yes, I am.  Don’t you hate it when the recipe calls for sprigs of fresh mints or rosemary, the rest of the bundle that you must purchase from the market (because, admit it.  Not all of us have a green thumb.) gets stuffed in the fridge left to DIE!?

I’ve found many variations of it on the blogosphere on adding herbs to floral arrangements.  What a brilliant idea!  Bringing closer two of my favorite things, food & flowers!

I decided to do all my gathering for this occasion at the Union Square Greenmarket.  I love the farmers markets this time of the year, it’s filled with spring and summer fruits like the strawberries and blueberries and an abundance of fresh vegetables and spring flowers.  And of course lots and lots of herbs.  There were lots of the usual suspects and lots of unfamiliar, interesting and supposedly delicious vegetables.

So I picked up some lavender, mint, rosemary, oregano, basil, lilies, flowering sage, snapdragons, peppergrass, garlic scape, spray roses and the always sunny sunflower.  I decided to go with the country chic route with most of the herbs that I found.  It just seemed so fitting.

Snapdragons paired with oreganos, sprinkle with some peppergrass and garlic scape and volia!  Or you can simply dress it up with combinations of spray roses and the lovely mint in a beautiful silver vase.  It not only makes it more grown up, the mixture of the sweet smell of the spray roses and the ever so fresh mint is delightful!

The small bundle of bouquet consists of basil, rosemary, lavender, sage and spray roses will be living on my bedside table.  Waking up to the aroma of this herbal blend in the morning is what I imagine waking up in Provence to be like.  Ah…  A girl can dream can’t she??

If you missed June’s entry in the Petal Pusher series, click here.

Cue the Fireworks!

For my folks in the US, Happy 4th of July!

{image via the the fashion bomb}

{image via style section la}

May your celebratory cookouts, BBQ’s, Picnics and/or Beach jaunts be filled with happiness, friendship , laughter and, of course,Fireworks!

Also, I just wanted you to know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m in the midst of my class and working on designing my site.  Class ends next week so I’m in the thick of making something fabulous, I hope. I have a few ideas to work out, so after Friday I will be taking a mini posting break to finish my final project.

However, since Friday is First Friday, my friend Tina, The Petal Pusher, will be back with the next installment of her floral series. Here’s a Sneak peek of what’s to come:

It’s beautiful! I can’t wait to show you the rest of it!

Also while I’m discussing series I’d love to have a contributor for a monthly food and tabletop decor series. If you are interested please shoot me an email at jessica@designwonderland.net so we can discuss. At the moment, I can’t promise any compensation, but I can promise exposure for your talents!

Wednesday Love: French Bistro Chic

Because it was dream for the both of us, several years ago, my mom and I embarked on our first trip to Paris. Our first of many meals in Paris was in a darling little bistro in the 1st arrondissement. Since then, I have always loved the feel of those French bistros tucked away in the city nooks of Paris.

{image via flickr. originally from gourmet magazine}

With that in mind, I’m absolutely in love with these French Art Culinary Prints from Eva Juliet’s Etsy shop. (Oh Etsy…Every time I think I have broken free of your charms you just lure me back in. Oh well, there are worse thing, suppose.)

These are  the perfect touch for a kitchen gallery wall. Along with these prints, I’d think about mixing in some vintage art, like paint by numbers, found portraits or old photos, to add a bit of lived in texture and charm. Then add this French bistro comfort mat from Ballard Designs.

Don’t forget lovely and fresh white dishes and glass touches. These below are from Fishs Eddy. I could spend hours there.

The next step for me in decorating is my kitchen. It’s small and quirky and with the bistro as inspiration, I can play with up the personality of the space.

 

Creative Studies

Hi Everyone! I hope you had an amazing weekend!

I have a confession–I have been distracted from blogging lately. This summer, my job is paying for me to take an intensive web design class and for the first time in a LOOOOONG time I actually have homework. In fact, I spent the whole weekend, working on my sketches for my site. No really, the entire weekend. Anyhoo, I thought I’d share some of the visual inspiration for my project.

{all images via pinterest}

I love that creative projects begin the same way because it has made the whole process of thinking in code and visually more approachable.  These images also helped me move through a BIG creative block (Kanye’s 808′s and Heartbreak and M.I.A Kala albums also helped). It also helped when I saved over and lost my initial design sketch. Yikes!! And you know what?! I didn’t freak out about the latter, because I  was over designing and wasn’t loving the first try and actually came up with a better idea. FYI, that usually happens when you think you’ve encountered a crisis; amazing things happen. Anyhoo, tomorrow I present my them at critique. Fingers crossed.

 

 

Celebrating My Year in NYC

Do you know what today is? A year ago today I packed my bags and headed North from DC to NYC!  Well, for me the best way to celebrate my year anniversary in my newly adopted city, was to check out my Favorite singer Alice Smith who played at City Winery last night. I’m talking desert island favorite singer.

Alice is probably the only reason I would be out past 10PM on a Sunday night, when clearly I have work the next day. But, as always, she was totally worth seeing. With an awesome vocal range, she makes singing seem so effortless and Alice ALWAYS has a good time on stage. With 3 great girlfriends in tow and seats so close that made us feel like we would be called on stage to sing backup any minute, it was an amazing way to ring in another year in NYC.

Alice also mentioned that she has a new EP, entitled “She” coming out soon. I can’t wait because I’ve been bumping “For Lovers, Dreamers and Me” since 2008 like it just came out last week. Plus I need a new NYC soundtrack!

Design Literati: Be Your Own Decorator

In Be Your Own Decorator, author Susanna Salk wants you to be confident when you are decorating at home. After all, after a successful career as a design writer, that same confidence has served her well, when decorating her home. However, if you are looking for a “how-to” book, she mentions early on that this is not that book. It’s actually about the “why-nots” of decorating.

The book, filled mostly with inspirational interiors and sprinkled with tips from A-list designers, surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Mostly because, with chapters like, Color, Mix, Whimsy and Rule-Breaking, I found myself asking “why not” instead of “should I” when it came to decorating my own space. For me, it’s so much easier to tell people what to do design-wise. However, by nature, I edit myself sometimes. Instead, this book reminded me that trusting my instincts serves a better guide than being shy about my tastes at home. I mean, if it works for the likes of Mary, Miles and Bunny, then, “Why Not” me?

And, as I hosted my first brunch at my NYC apartment, my home, still a work in progress, garnered much acclaim from my guest. Thank God I didn’t go with all those neutrals in the name of “good taste”, instead choosing a more adventurous palette with colors and patterns that are beautiful, rich, fun and, dare I say, me. Even designers need reminders now and again.

© Be Your Own Decorator by Susanna Salk, Rizzoli New York, 2012. Received courtesy of Rizzoli New York.

Of course, as a reader of design books, I always want more words, but again that is not the point of Be Your Own Decorator. As a decorating enthusiast, you should take this book, and see each chapter’s introductory essay as Salk’s personal decorating pep talk to you. She  may give you a few parameters such as, ” Whimsy should never forget it’s place.” Then, she pretty much tells you to get some inspiration, read the tips, be empowered and decorate. It’s definitely worth a good read or ten, especially over the weekend.

Speaking of…I’m out of here!

I Wish I Was Told This in Design School

image via a note on design

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of students about careers in interior design and share personal stories of my professional experience. I still consider myself an interior designer, even though what I do is much more specialized. However not a day goes by, when I feel like I do not use my design training. When I was a student, I didn’t realize that there were other jobs in the design community, until I saw a job posting for a Material Librarian. Based on the description ( I would be floating to different commercial architecture firms), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn about materials and also learn about different firms in and around DC.

When I was in school I had a very different  vision for my career and thought there was only one path for me, Interior Designer. Over time, with my experience working in different firms, I realized that commercial design wasn’t for me. Healthcare wasn’t where I belonged either. High-end Residential was an amazing experience and to actually work on projects, from concept to installation was invaluable. I’m a people person and to really get a feel of how people lived was amazing. I began to understand that trusting relationships with contractors and vendors was a necessity as they were more like team members. While a designer’s style may be the reason for the initial contact, I learned design is really client-driven. Also, I loved the mix and level of materials that I got to work with on a day to day basis. In contrast to my commercial job, this experience taught me about the high-end materials that I would reference everyday in my current work life.

image via lonnymag

Seven years later after my first job in design, I didn’t think materials would be my niche, but  I am always thankful for the experience. It helped me survive the recession when many designers were being laid off and an already competitive market became VERY competitive. It helped me get a very unique job in a specialized sector of design. And you know what? , Even on the most stressful days, I feel like I belong in retail design.

I say all of this to you because, in design it is really important to try it all. See where you fit; see where you don’t.  If you are a career changer (I was), you can bring your strengths and previous workplace experience to a design job. It’s invaluable, because you may already how to work in a team environment or address the unique things that come up in a work environment. However, by far the best thing I did was find a niche. I found something that made me unique in the architecture and design world. Of course specializing in materials, may not be for everyone, but it worked for me. For instance, I’m not cataloguing materials everyday. I have to know who to call when I need something beautiful produced. And, while  my knowledge of materials continues to grow, I know way more about glass, natural stone and textiles than I could have ever imagined in design school.

Mostly what I believe, that you, as a future designer, have unique talents. Over time, a combination of those talents and experience will direct your career path, which as I know well, isn’t always a straight line. Just be open to trying new things and your design life will be better than you imagine.

 

Monday Inspiration

I’m in a colorful mood and my home is starting to reflect that. Below, are two images that are currently inspiring my decorating style, which my mom deemed in a very Emily Henderson way, “refined bohemian.” That pretty much means that my style icons, Audrey Hepburn and Lisa Bonet are starting to converge in my living room. But the color thing, yeah, that’s all me.

image via delight by design

image via la dolce vita

The color of this library is serving as major inspiration. It’s feminine, but not girly because it has a lot of depth. Is possible that you may see this color a again. So, at this very moment, color, global prints and classic pieces are making me very happy.

 

Upholstery Diaries: Sexy’s Back

A recent phone convo with my mom, CC went like this:

CC: You’re home early.

Me: Yeah I left on time because my chair is being delivered.

CC: [excited tone] OOOOH text me when it arrives.

Chair arrives and I send text to CC of the front and back of aforementioned chair. “I love it!” she exclaims. “Everything you have looks just like the way you dress!”

I heart my mom for saying that!

So my chair has returned home with a makeover. You will remember that I sent it out to be upholstered and chose a certain fabric from Dwell Studio for Robert Allen. Just a reminder, here  is the before pic.

And the back..

For the makeover, I chose Dwell Studio’s Aravali  in Amethyst from their Robert Allen Global Modern Luxe  line.

The geometrics of the pattern juxtapose the curving lines of the chair.

For a complementary pop of color, I chose  Robert Allen’s Showtime CottonVelvet in Tulip for the back. Aravali has accents of this color in the fabric.

I love the back of the chair. I didn’t want to distract from it with a busy pattern and it  seem that Tulip was a fun color choice. I also had enough fabric to make a little pillow that is currently residing on my sofa.

Everything seems to be coming together and I’m pretty excited about it.

A New Rug and A Review

Slowly, my living room is starting to come together. I have developed my design direction and decided on a palette and my newly upholstered chair will be delivered this week. As all of these things have started to become a cohesive room  (at least in my mind), recently I was given the opportunity to review a rug from RugsUSA. I had been perusing the site and had my eye on one. So which one did I choose? Well, I chose the  Radiante Lanterns Ikat Rug in the color Sundance.  On screen, I fell in love with the modern take on the ikat pattern, but how does it’s good looks stand up in my apartment?

First of all, the color is fun and happy and upon unrolling the rug, it was a great pop of color. Next, I decided the best way to begin testing a new rug it would be to lay on it. Does that sound strange?  I live in a world where wool and silk carpet and rugs are the norm and I was a bit wary of how soft its hand-tufted polyester fibers would be, so laying on it seemed like a reasonable option. And just like a quality rug should be, it was really soft both under my head and underfoot even without a rug pad.

So what else do I love about it? A bonus is the way the pattern fades in and out as if it was hand-dyed as well as the oversized ikat print. Definitely a contemporary take on a traditional pattern. The color in the faded areas was a bit brighter than I expected, but for me it was not an issue. Also, the area rug I am reviewing is 5′ x 8′, which is a great size option for my narrow and awkward living room.

As you can see, I don’t mind spending time on the floor and I often spend time there, scheming.

So here’s the big question…Would I buy a rug from RugsUSA? Absolutely. The rug arrived really fast and I was impressed with the quality, the richness of the color and the construction. The bonus is that RugsUSA always has a sale going and a ton of merchandise to chose from, along with free shipping. Since I am already looking for some plush goodness for my bedroom I have a few options bookmarked.

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