Thursday, July 26, 2012

Featured on Julie Leah

Today's For the Love Of... is over at Julie Leah and all about printed denim. Hop on over to see what it's all about!

July Etsy Favorites // Paper Goods

There seems to be no shortage of beautifully designed and printed paper goods on Etsy, and I honestly think I could put together a post on pretty paper goods every week. Hand-pressed cards (and more!) feel like such novelties to me, and for a number of reasons:

1. My sister and I were at Target getting cards for my dad's and grandfather's birthdays and my parents and grandparent's anniversaries and had the hardest time finding quality cards, which for me, consists of two things- well placed design/typography and an appropriate or meaningful message. Perhaps design takes a slight level of importance over the message, because I know can write something meaningful inside. 

2. I'm not going to get on a soapbox and preach about how technology is taking over our social lives, because when I'm being honest with myself, I can't imagine life without my MacBook or iPhone or Kindle or Facebook or email. A handwritten note, whether it be a thank-you or birthday, mailed or hand-delivered, has so much sentimental value in a world where it's free, fast, and easy to type an impersonal message and hit send.

Anyone who denies the small rush of excitement when getting a card in the mail has either never gotten one or has only ever received the unrealistically cute and mass-produced kitten kind. Remember that.

Hope you enjoy these picks! My personal favorite? The calling card. So very Regency England. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alphabet // C

History Lesson // French Macarons

The macaron, a confectioner's sweet and airy delight is a merengue-based cookie that hails from the fashionable streets of Paris, slowly and surely charming its way into parties and baking books all across the world. 

If you've ever tasted one, you surely understand the macaron's trending popularity. A dainty sandwich that melts in the mouth with seemingly endless flavor profiles, and possibly the fact that they are French (we just can't help it) all contribute to the welcome spread of these tasty treats. 

They are the perfect companion for just about any activity. Waking up with coffee and the paper (a more accepted version of "cake-for-breakfast"), accompanying an afternoon tea (or nap), or a post-dinner dessert all suffice for consumption of this marvelous little cookie. 

So, as I commonly ask in the History Lesson, where did they come from?

As usual, there's a little confusion and debate on exactly where and when macarons first appeared. Fortunately for us, the most reported version is also the most glamorous version (as in, it involves royalty). 

According to many-a-source, the macaron first appeared in Italy at the hands of Catherine de Medici's (yes, of the banking and art-collecting Florence Medici family) personal chef around the time of her marriage to the Duc d'Orleans in 1533. Not long after he became the king of France as Henry II, thus moving the macaron to the country it's currently so commonly associated with.

It's important to know that the macaron did not start out as a sandwich, but simply as a single light cookie with no filling, topping, or what-have-you. Another fun fact: 'macaron' and 'macaroni' are unsurprisingly from the same origin, a word meaning "fine dough."

Their popularity spread during the French Revolution when two sisters baked and sold them to support themselves during the troubling time. Thus, a staple was born.

The sandwich version was created in the 20th century by the grandson of Louis Ernest Laduree of the Laduree pastry salon in Paris, still one of the most celebrated macaron bakeries today. He had the idea to fill two shells with a chocolate panache, and it stuck.

You may recall my two attempts at making macarons- delicious yet ugly here, and still delicious but slightly less ugly here. They take a skillful and steady hand- something I've not quite acquired. I've been known to eat multiples (and multiples) of macarons in one sitting, so perhaps it's good and well I'm not procuring the perfect little pastries right and left.

I'm going to go ahead and apologize for any cravings this little dabble has spurred on.

Image Source: Gilt Taste

Friday, July 20, 2012

Photo Diary // Early Days

Sometimes, it's nice to sit back, look back, and remember a time when all we really worried about was sharing our Barbies and how to get out of the daily dreaded afternoon nap. I know I always wanted to grow up (and still do), but there's something to be said about being carefree. It may be less gratifying, but sometimes it's hard not to envious of my former little self.

All of that being said, I'm definitely a bit envious of these little gals! I can only wish I was this fashionable growing up. Unfortunately, the 90's gifted me a few too many striped turtleneck and leggings sets, complete with jumpers matching my little sister's. On second thought, maybe I am glad to be older.

Sources: Pink//Rain//Ballet//Blindfolded//Gray//Twins//Diner//Florals//Stripes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

List of Online Magazines

Online magazines are a dime a dozen these days and I can hardly complain. Not only do I get to read my printed subscriptions every month (Elle and Marie Claire are favorites), but I also get to peruse through the online metaphorical newsstand, complete with click-through product links that are equally exciting and dangerous for me (read: big spender).

Over the past few months I have been bookmarking every single online magazine I've come across and have amassed quite a list of some truly entertaining reads. I love flipping through so many different ranges of writing and features- such pretty inspiration for just about everything, including a new favorite in graphic design (which, by the way, how are you liking the new graphics this week?).

I hope you have nothing to do for the rest of the day. Have at it!

Current Reads
Matchbook- My absolute favorite, with plenty of Kate Spade and great features.
Rue- A little bit of everything.
Lonny- For those who mourned the end of Domino a few years back, here is your replacement. Primarily home with style and other lifestyle tidbits peppered in.
House of Fifty- Classic and luxurious design with a twist, travel & lifestyle.
Adore Home- All around lifestyle with fun features and pretty graphics.
Sister Mag- Based in Germany (although in English- I'm not that multilingual), and a bit like stepping into the simpler sister version of Anthropologie.
Verily- Fashion, culture, advice & more. A teaser is available free while a subscription is $30 per year.
Sweet Lemon- Has a lot of articles with whimsical pastel graphics and relatable cover girls.

New Favorites 
EST- Based in Australia, simplistic clean lines meet classic interior style.
Styled- Features beautiful and whimsical DIY and pretty home entertaining ideas.
Trad Home- Just like it sounds, and a lot of great contributors.
Covet Garden- Short and sweet, with a slightly eclectic design and some fun recipes.
Ivy and Piper- Beautiful colored spaces with a mix of style at the end. I only wish it were longer!
Llamas' Valley- Simple and paired down design and living with somewhat of a rustic feel.
Roco- Plenty of features from industry pros and pretty pastels.
Standard- Plenty of outdoor and indoor interior decorating ideas- mostly photos.

High Gloss- Pretty homes + style + travel. They haven't updated in a while, but worth a look through the archives.
Docica- Focuses in on true beauty, style, home & culture.
Dabble- Hones in on design, travel, and food.
Sweet Paul- Simple design meets lovely places and deliciously fresh looking recipes. With some DIY and entertaining.
This Girl Means Business- All about being a woman in the business and entrepreneurial world.
Poppy- Fashion, beauty, hostessing and more for the twenty-something gal.
Dashing- A colorful take on the world of twenty-somethings.
Grays Lane- For the Anglophile- classic anything and everything.
Society Social Manifesto Magalog- Half magazine/half catalog for the party-hostess website Society Social.

Style Me Pretty- All sorts of features and beautiful shoots for helping a bride plan her wedding (or just hopefuls like me).
Pure Green- For those who want to live a stylish green lifestyle- food, DIY, fashion and travel.
Small Magazine- For parents on how to raise a stylish child (seriously, too cute).
Paper Runway- Paper meets art meets graphic design.

Let me know if there are any I missed!

Updated List:
Heart Home
91 Magazine
What Liberty Ate
Made With Butter

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Love Of // Neon

I always tend to lean toward the more conservative side of trends and actually have not really picked up the neon movement yet. After doing a bit of research for this post, I'm not sure why. I have such "classic" dressing tendencies, always stocking up on J Crew, silk blouses and Tory flats. But what do you know- the 80's rave-like staple color can even be given a classic twist. So, let's turn to my favorite fashion bloggers for a little lesson in perfecting the pop of neon.

Yes, a lot of pink, J Crew, and Kate Spade. I can hardly apologize for that!

Credits: Top; Atlantic-Pacific//The Pink Peonies//Viva Luxury//Brooklyn Blonde//quote//Atlantic-Pacific//The Blonde Salad//Atlantic-Pacific//Kendi Everyday

History Lesson // Playing Cards

We've all done our fair share of card playing. We grew up with them- playing Go Fish as a child, watching them in action in Alice and Wonderland, and maybe even passing them around the table in college during a game of heightened debauchery. They're the quintessential time-passer, a gambling accessory, and a social icon. So... where did they come from?

Historians debate on the exact origins of the deck of cards. Most, though, believe that they originated some time during the 9th century in China, as they were the first to invent paper back in the 2nd century (can you imagine- no paper?). Within about 200 years playing cards had migrated all over the Asian continent and featured characters of popular lore as the first face cards.

It is widely believed that playing cards made their way to Europe via Middle Eastern countries in the 1400's. Their popularity quickly spread and each region developed their own style- different face cards, different amounts of suits, and so on. In Germany, common suits of the time were acorns, bells, leaves, and hearts. The French created the card suits on which we base our modern-day decks, basing the club off of the acorn and the spade off of the leaf.

Europeans additionally altered face cards to represent their respective royalty. The first face cards were king, chevalier (knight), and knave (male child or prince). In the 17th century England it was conjectured that the "k" of king and the "kn" of knave on the corners of cards were too similar, causing confusion in the heat of the game, so the knave became a jack.

Initially the king was always considered the highest card, although in France during the French Revolution especially, a special value was placed on the then lowest card, the ace. Games with a high ace were used as symbolism by the expanding lower class to illustrate their rise to power at the time.

I hope you all enjoyed this little historical blurb. I'm trying to make the history lesson posts very relevant and not dry- so let me know how I'm doing and if there's any subjects you'd like to hear about. Happy Tuesday!

Image source: Kate Spade Instagram

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekly Favorites

This week has been rather crazy for me. I've been out of town three different times- although no complaining here. A few debutante dress fittings for my younger sister (in which I scouted out my top future wedding dress picks + designers), birthday shopping, and a day of father-daughter bonding at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. And of course, some very delicious eats.

Here's what I loved from around the web this week.

-There are few of us that can afford to score a wardrobe full of couture from the latest runway show. For now, I'm content settling with these beautiful illustrations from Sunny Gu on her Etsy shop.

-A sunny outfit from one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Rachel at The Pink Peonies.

-If I ever have a spare $25 million and wanted a villa in Cannes- this is where I'd pick. Perhaps the most gorgeous views I've seen in a while.

-Gorgeous, classic jewelry over at Natalie Merrillyn. Start stocking up!

-You know you love a Chanel-inspired jacket. The Glitter Guide has pictures + details.

-Did you know Tory Burch has a playlist on Spotify?

-A pretty home full of fabrics prints that pop on Design Darling.

Did anything catch your eye this week? Tell me!

Credits: Original image

Friday, July 13, 2012

Photo Diary // Girlfriends

There are few things sweeter than genuine friendship. The thrill of having true camaraderie and a confidant- whether in trying times or out on the town- is invaluable. I am so blessed to have a wonderful group of beautiful, fashionable, fun and encouraging friends. What joys are there, after all, if one is always alone?

So, to all of my friends out there (you know who you are!), this is for you. 

Image sources: Petals//Models//Ice Cream//Beach//Desert//Pool//Upside Down//Vintage//Stars

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Your Home // Wallpaper

I'm no interior design expert, but wallpaper is having a major moment right now. And I couldn't be more heartbroken. How is it fair to be tempted by all of these beautiful rooms with no allowance of bedecking my own new apartment walls in rolls of pretty parchment?

Sources: Green//Black//Purple//Spots//Orange//Flowers//Berry//Floral//Green//Books//Gold

Photo & Type//Don't Forget

Source: Original image

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Etsy Favorites: Playful Jewelry

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that you never know what you're going to happen across. It may take a lot of digging, but once you come across something unique and handmade, it becomes completely worth it. Most of these little baubles look like they came straight out of Anthropolgie. This month's picks from Etsy are my personal favorite, jewelry. Next month, I'm thinking paper goods!

Necklaces: 1//2//3//4
Bracelets: 1//2
Earrings: 1//2

For the Love Of//Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Let's just get it over with: She's gorgeous. Absolutely. Gorgeous. Those lips, those legs, that hair.

Alright, now let's talk about her style. Somehow, the 25 year-old British model and occasional (questionable) actress manages to have a California-cool meets high-fashion-model-off-duty look, and it  completely works. Very few of us can have a nice collection of Hermes and Alexander Wang bags or pull off leather pants with such finesse. Of course, very few of us can be Victoria's Secret Angels and star in Burberry ad campaigns, too.

Image Sources: Top; First row: 1//2//3; Second row: 1//2//3; Third row: 1//2//3//4

Monday, July 9, 2012

Designer Spotlight//Banana Republic

The store Banana Republic is a brand synonymous with high quality American leisure wear epitomizing classic and everyday cuts. Skirts, shirts, and pants with clean lines are signature pieces along with well-crafted accessories and jewelry. 

Something the brand is also synonymous with is the historical term "banana republic," which I hadn't heard of until I took a decent college history class. In history, the term refers to a small politically unstable country that depends on exporting goods to a larger wealthier country for their primary economic profits. 

Honduras and Guatemala are considered banana republics because they had very large pieces of land owned by American and European fruit corporations (this is where bananas come in)- huge monopolies for private profit. 

So what does this have to do with clothes? 

In 1978 husband and wife duo Mel and Patricia Zeigler started Banana Republic as a safari travel-themed clothing company. Thus, stemming from the term banana republic. They originally had only two stores and made the bulk of their profit from, once again, travel-themed illustrated catalogues featuring exotic locales. 

The Gap Inc., which now includes The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime (a personal favorite), and Athleta, bought Banana Republic in 1983 and immediately began rebranding the store to create a more upscale version of The Gap as a mainstream luxury retailer- how we see BR today.

Recently, Banana Republic has had some rather exciting collaborations that have caught the attention of  high-fashion and everyday shoppers alike. On March 1 of this year, they launched a 40-piece country club-like collection designed by Janie Bryant, the costume designer of hit series Mad Men. If you've ever watched the show, you'll notice a strong nostalgia of longing for a period you were never alive for (well, maybe some of you were). The male model for the collection looks eerily like a young version of Don Draper (Jon Hamm for those of you who don't watch the show), which is always a plus.

This summer, they launched a Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection that features the signature colorful graphics and clean lines of the higher-end designer. Model Coco Rocha starred in the ad campaign- if you haven't checked our her wildly popular tumblr, go now! She's fun to follow along with, and it's hard not to be slightly envious of her jet-setting designer-wearing lifestyle.

Banana Republic also has a wonderful tumblr that chronicles new collections and the behind the scenes of shoots and runway shows.

Whew! I know that was a bit long-winded, but I feel like it's always interesting and fun to learn where your clothes are coming from and the ideas behind them. For Designer Spotlight, I'm going to try to alternate between high-end and everyday designers and companies, so for next week, look out for something a little more exclusive.

Image sources: old school//Mad Men//Trina Turk//runway