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Tuesday
Jul102012

Tips for a Simple Summer Tablescape

It has been heating up here this week in Southern California. We got by for quite awhile without getting past the mid-90s. But 100-degree weather has finally hit and with that we can officially welcome in summer. We actually have been quite lucky here. I know some parts of the country are stifling right now. I have family on the East Coast who have updated us on the extreme heat in New York and Connecticut. And my friend from Washington, D.C. had high temperatures, high humidity and no power for three days. I guess us Southern Californians cannot complain too much. Have you been dealing with extreme temperatures? How are you coping?

Since the heat is definitely upon us now, I thought I would share this simple summer tablescape that I styled a few weeks ago for Houzz. I will share the DIY for the tablecloth here on the blog soon but for today I thought I would just focus on some simple entertaining tips to use during these hot months.

When it is this warm, I think it's important to keep things as simple and easy as possible. Designate a linen drawer to hold your summer go-to favorites. We have had these red gingham napkins tucked away for ages but there is something casual and uniquely summer about them. They compliment the blue and white palette nicely and were just the right pop of color to keep things interesting.

Incorporate your food into the decor as well. Since red was my complimentary color, these diced tomatoes made for a lovely spread and focal point. The best part is once you are done admiring them, they can be shared and enjoyed. If you are having guests, write out names on scrap pieces of paper and clip with a clothespin. It is a simple detail but it will stop the wind from blowing them away.

Instead of laying out your silverware, just store it all in a mason jar. For an easy summer meal, the casualness is welcome. A bloom or two always makes an evening more special. Clip a few buds from your garden and display them in a used glass jar. This white peony was the last pretty remnant from a wilting bouquet. It got to have one last hurrah for this dinner. The jar is actually a repurposed balsamic vinegar jar from Trader Joe's. The shape was perfect though and it looks very vintage.

You can never go wrong with white dishes. They are timeless and can be used all year round. Against the blue and red backdrop, these white plates really popped. It makes the tabe look so crisp and fresh.

But the best suggestion is to not get caught up in the details. Focus more on enjoying the meal and your lovely guests. It may be hot this summer but with a refreshing drink and good company, the days are sure to be a delight. What are some of your summer mealtime routines? What are your go-to pieces for easy entertaining during these hot months?  

Friday
Jul062012

Washington Park in Denver, Colorado

Happy Friday everyone! For my American readers, did you all have a nice Fourth of July holiday? I had a long day at work so by the time I got home, ate some dinner and watched a few fireworks I was ready to call it a night (and then wake up super early the next day). So mine wasn't too eventful. I hope you all had a safe and fun day.

I want to share a few of my Colorado vacation pictures today. Summer is synonymous with time spent in the park and outdoor picnics. While in Denver we visited a few parks because we had Scout with us and she limited what we could do indoors. Scout appreciated romping around outside and getting out of the car (we spent a lot of hours in the car). Denver was very hot while we were there so we gravitated toward shaded spots on the lawn. A favorite destination was Washington Park (or Wash Park as the locals call it), recommended by my Denver friend Nic. The neighborhood is just what I enjoy: old homes with lots of detail, big overgrown trees lining the streets, big sidewalks and plenty of photo opportunities. 

This old high school was right across the street from the park. It was beautiful, looking so collegiate with the ivy climbing up the brick walls. No high schools look like this is Southern California. Since we don't have any extreme weather, our schools are really spread out with multiple buildings and a lot of outdoor areas. To me, this is a school out of the movies. On the right, is a wrought-iron gate in the Washington Park neighborhood. Look at all of those green trees!

Just one of the many old homes I feel in love with here. Even in the middle of the day on a Friday, this felt like a lively community. So many people were at the park, most of them walking, jogging, rollerbladding and biking. The people of Denver are very healthy. Even in the minimal time we spent there, I saw this to be the case.

There were two small lakes in the park and ducks and geese were cooling off and sleeping in the shade.

It is a pretty picturesque spot.

Scout has obviously seen birds before but this might have been her first encounter with ducks. She was very intrigued...but from a safe distance of course. I wouldn't mind having this park as my view everyday. What a lovely park to walk in and get inspired.

Scout had the whole backseat to stretch out in during this road trip. She does great in the car but after a few hours she would get antsy. And she was quite content when we got home. She missed looking out her windows at our yard with all the lizards and birds. 

I'm so glad my friend Nic recommended Washington Park. Have you ever visited? Have you ever been to Denver? How did you like it?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday
Jul042012

DIY Project: Two-Tone Gilded Air Plant Terrarium

For those readers in the United States, happy Independence Day! Do you have big plans for the holiday? Are you having a party? Barbecuing? Watching fireworks? I have work today so the festivities will be limited but we have a great view of a couple different firework shows from our deck so that is how I will spend my evening. Whatever your plans, be safe and have fun!

Today I wanted to share a DIY project that I put together for Houzz. I acquired this little air plant awhile ago and have been meaning to create an official home for it. Air plants live off of the air (hence the name) so they have the ability to grow on any surface. I wanted to put together something unique that would become a display piece in our home. I actually came up with something quite simple and minimal in design but I gave it a little color boost with some gold spray paint. Here is the two-tone gilded terrarium I made:

Instead of rocks, I used a bag of white navy beans that you can get for cheap at the grocery store. All the materials are easy to find and inexpensive and some you might have lying around your home already.

Do you want to DIY this gold terrarium yourself? Check out the article on Houzz to see the full tutorial and materials list:

Bowl Over Guests With a DIY Air Plant Terrarium 

Originally we were displaying this guy on our coffee table, as shown in the pictures, but Scout started getting too interested in the beans. She kept sneaking them and I'd find navy beans scattered in the living room. We have it up higher now, near a window so the plant can get plenty of light.

I thought succulents were easy to care for but air plants are even better for those who are plant-challenged...aka people like me. I spritz mine with a little spray bottle occasionally and every once in awhile I submerge it in a cup of water. But it can survive without water for a long time. This might be my ideal plant. Have you tried caring for air plants? How do you care for yours?

Happy 4th of July! 

Tuesday
Jul032012

Hiking with my Diana Mini

Before I left on vacation I sent in a few rolls of undeveloped film to be processed. Two of the rolls were shot with my new Minolta camera and the third was an unknown black & white roll. It was unknown because I couldn't quite remember what was on it. It had been sitting on my shelf for months. The suspense really builds up when you have a roll sitting that long. I start to dream up these grandiose sequences and magical images.

I felt like a kid at Christmastime as I opened up my files to see my photographs. What memories had I captured? It turns out that I had shot this roll with my Diana Mini over a period of a few months. Some of the shots were taken inside and they turned out really dark but a handful were shots of a hiking adventure my family took in the local mountains.

The Diana is a toy camera so the images aren't super perfect and crisp. But that is also the beauty of the device. You don't quite know what the results will be but that is the fun of film.

This last one is of my stepdad. There is something ghostly about him moving across the white rocks.

It was fun to relive this memory. It was a really lovely winter day and it felt good to spend it among nature. In our busy lives we can sometimes forget about these little moments. I am so glad this adventure got preserved. Do you have any film rolls lying around? Are you anticipating what those images will look like?

This film was processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles. 

Monday
Jul022012

New Month, Back to Blogging

Hello friends who I haven't talked to in forever. Yes it has been a long bout of silence here on the blog. I hate posting inconsistently but it was really nice to vacation and set my computer aside. We all deserve a little technology break to rest and refuel our creative juices. Of course a technology break still means the iPhone and camera are by my side but I am proud to say I used the internet quite minimally. Do you allow yourself to get away when you're on vacation?

So our vacation consisted of a trip to Denver, Colorado. My Mom and I drove up there to see my brother and his band perform in downtown Denver. We spread the trek out over a couple of days to minimize hours in the car, stopping in St. George, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado as well. We passed through some truly beautiful country. And such an eclectic mix too. Utah has some spectacular rock formations and Colorado has an impressive drive through huge mountains. I had never been to either of these states so I really appreciated broadening my view of our vast country. Have you ever been out that way?

Here is a sneak preview of my trip with a lot more pictures to come. I actually took more film shots than digital ones so I'll need to wait a bit to get those developed. But I'll be sporadically recounting the trip through my images in the weeks to come.

Somewhere in Nevada I believe before reaching our first stop in St. George.

At a look out point in Utah on day two of travel.

Besides vacation pictures, I have DIY projects and other photos to share. This week may be back to the grindstone with work but I am glad to get back on track with blogging. I missed it. Have a good Monday night!