Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sweet Treat

Happy Tuesday Guys!

Sorry I've been M.I.A. I've been feeling a little uninspired recently.

That was before I discovered the jaw-dropping awesomeness of Amy Atlas' dessert bars (via Oh Happy Day). Suddenly life feels a little sweeter.

All of her confections look absolutely delish and the styling is gorgeous. To see more of Amy's incredible work, click here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Playing Nice

[Photo credit: Wilspiritart]

It's Wednesday and the 'midweek mess' is creeping up on my kids' room. While I return Batman and Barbie to their respective homes, I dream of delightful spaces like these ...

[Photo credit: Britt_Vanlaeken (left); Myself magazine via Kaylovesvintage]

[Photo credit: Cookie Magazine]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Full Disclosure-ish

Happy Monday y'all!

I hope everyone is feeling rested and ready to jump-start this week. I spent the weekend bringing some semblance of order back to our home as we've been a bit off-kilter since school resumed. Finally, the kids are on a great schedule and Mom is in a happy place :-)

And of course, last Friday I promised to share some tidbits about myself. So here we go:
  1. I am 5 foot 3 inches but many people assume I'm taller. It's what I call 'tall energy'!
  2. Growing up, my favorite show was 'Style With Elsa Klensch'. Now my guilty pleasure is the Rachel Zoe Project.
  3. I am a very empathic person and can cry at the drop of a hat.
  4. Although I love cooking for my family, I could easily subsist on Post Trail Mix Crunch!
  5. I was born and raised on an island but can't swim a stroke.
  6. My favorite quote is, "love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe." - Author Unknown.
  7. I don't watch scary movies. Bad things happening to even fictitious characters is not entertaining.
  8. Frivolous but true: I attended the same high-school as Rihanna - different years of course. Go Ri-Ri!
Have a blessed day!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Pick-Me-Up

Well folks, you have a perky blogger here! I actually managed to fall asleep last night after 8:00 pm with my kids and didn't wake up until 6:30 this morning! I really have to do this more often.

Normally I stay up until the wee hours doing all manner of things - washing dishes; picking up stray toys and other detrius; prepping school stuff; blogging! But let me tell you, that 10+ hours sleep was so refreshing! It also made me realize that Mommy needs a schedule too.

So starting today, I vow that on weeknights I'm off-duty at 8:30 p.m.! I will take a relaxing shower; put the kids' bedtime music on repeat; kiss my hubby and head to bed. Yes, I won't be able to pull this off every night and but putting it in writing will help hold me to my word ;-)

Another feel-good moment yesterday came via Linda at Lime In the Coconut. If you haven't checked out her blog yet you must! As you all know, I loooove tropical style. And Linda is quite frankly living the dream! Blogging from her lovely Florida hacienda, Linda's musings on sunny, laid-back design are my online staycation! Linda has also generously awarded Pretty * Practical a Hooked On Houses Hooked On Your Blog award! Thanks so much Linda for my first blog award! Gosh, I'm feeling mixture of pride and shyness all at once.

According to the rules awardees who accept must pass it on to 5 other blogs they love. You also receive bonus points for sharing 8 things we may or may not know about you - I'll share mine in Monday's post :-) In the meantime, I will pass on the goodness to my other fave reads listed alphabetically:

Happy Mundane
Lil Orange Book
Nonchalant Mom
Three Hole Punched

Definitely check out these great blogs. Make sure to get your rest and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cozying Up to Fall

[Photo credit: Pretty * Practical]

As I feel Fall's first whispers this week, I find myself drawn to all things cozy - like the inviting atmosphere at Purl Soho in New York. From that gorgeous hanging quilt to stacks of fabric in pumpkin and berry tones, what's not to love? Although I took these pics during early summer, the mood seems 'so now', doesn't it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Say It With Flowers

Wall Street is in the tank. But we still have life. So with no further ado, Happy Monday everyone!

I am absolutely blown away by these unexpected arrangements featured in Germany-based Myself magazine. I particularly love how the carefully-considered props interact with the flowers/plants to 'tell a story'. Really makes me rethink the role nature plays in the home. So inspiring!

Friday, September 12, 2008

DIY Fridays: Framed Corkboard

[Photo credit: Pottery Barn]

I was tooling around the Pottery Barn's online catalog recently when I came across this framed corkboard. I immediately thought, "Hey, I've done that!" A generous-sized 36x48 inches, this memo/inspiration board is at home in any setting but will set you back a cool $149. So here my friends, is Pretty*Practical's frugal but fabulous version. :-)

I repurposed an old beech RIBBA frame that no longer functioned as such due to missing back hinges. Yup, too many art swappings. I also had an inexpensive cork noticeboard from IKEA that had seen better days.

First, I painted the frame white to contrast with the cork. Then I removed the cork board's thin wooden frame and cut the board down to size. Finally, I applied wood glue to the inside edges of the frame and inserted the cork board leaving it to dry.

Yes, my version is Pottery Barn's 16 x 20 petite cousin, but you can certainly 'upgrade' by purchasing a larger frame and cork board. And with IKEA's large 27 1/2 x 39 1/4 frame retailing for $27.99 I would say you have another $121.01 to splurge on cork ;-) Work it people!

And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

T is for Tablescape

Look what I spotted recently at the W Hotel in Times Square. Isn't it lovely?

Resting on top of a huge ottoman, the arrangement is comprised of a large plexiglass tray with the rectangle vase placed inside. The graduated magenta flowers and the 'floating' tealights add a nice touch.

But my favorite element has to be the pretty paper (I believe) beneath the plexiglass tray. The 'watery' colors make the arrangement pop and the pattern can be switched out a whim. I'm totally inspired to try this at home. This would look great too if you're hosting an intimate party, no?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fashion Week Trendspotting

A note from Pretty*Practical: For some unknown reason my pics mysteriously disappeared from this post. Anyway, here they are again. Sorry guys!

This was the scene yesterday when I passed by Fashion Week at the Bryant Park tents. A handful of intrepid photographers snapping away and fabulous folks hoping to get past the velvet rope without an invite.

Last Thursday our local freebie newspaper, AMNY ran a great feature showcasing designer sketches for Spring 2009. I don't know about you, but I just love the color and the whimsical feel they evoke. Although we'll be seeing plenty of the real deal this week, I thought it'd be fun to distill their trend predictions and consider the ramifications for home decor. Serious stuff, right? :-)

Anyway, here are the terms that were bandied about: modern; futuristic; bold accessories (plastic, crystals); metallics; minimalism; muted tones; nature; poppy colors; water colors; femininity; bohemian.

Overall, the emphasis appears to be on buying great basic pieces (specifically modern, streamlined investment pieces) and making it pop with bold accessories. Yes, a basic design tenet, but how will it play out Spring 2009 Home?
Here is Pretty*Practical's take:
  • beautiful pillows and rug with 'watercolor' effects.
  • blinged out light fixtures festooned with large crystals.
  • fabric featuring large scale 'nature' motifs and burled wood occasional pieces
  • oversize vases in super-shiny plastic...I'm thinking a faceted vase in mandarin orange or lime. West Elm are you hearing me? ;-)
  • worldly bohemia via items 'picked up' from exotic locales...this could be anything from 'vintage' Parisian tea-towels to Indian elephant figurines.
So, what do you think we'll be coveting next spring?

Friday, September 5, 2008

DIY Fridays: Fabric-Covered Lampshades

It has occurred to me that we haven't had a DIY Friday in sometime. So here is my weekend challenge. While browsing in Brooklyn Heights over the summer a quick trip into decor mecca, Nova Zembla, revealed a lighting lover's paradise. Aren't these lamps awesome? I fell hard for the colorful bases and kicky printed shades. Sadly, kicky prints meant pricey. But, I knew this a project a praticalista could pull off!

[Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens]

If you have a tired lampshade that's just begging for a makeover, Better Homes and Garden has a great tutorial that details how to create a swanky fabric-covered lampshade. So grab your fave fabrics and start gluing! And please do share your success stories. I'd love to see the results!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


While shopping for some additional school supplies yesterday I came across a non-toxic adhesive called E-Z-Tak. Removable and reusable, it's used to hold items in place and appears similar to the museum putty sold here. Totally practical if you live with kids, pets or klutzy significant other :-) but have pretty things you want to safeguard.

Of course, some of you will say it's called "putting your stuff away." However, I truly believe that families and and a least a few pretty accessories can co-exist. My only rule is that decor should never be precious. So I shop accordingly and never buy anything I can't part with.

Which brings me back to this putty. I've had good luck so far with my cherubs but a little extra 'breakage' insurance never hurt, right?

I used E-Z-Tak to adhere this little ceramic bowl above to a shelf as well as some wooden letters to a wall. For the price (less than a buck) I was surprised that it held everything firmly in place. Will let you know if that changes. Has anyone else ever tried E-Z-Tak? Is the museum putty (few dollars more) a better bet?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Celebrate Good Times!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had an awesome Labor Day Weekend!

For some of us in New York, Labor Day signifies the annual West Indian-American Day Parade in Brooklyn. With close to three million revellers, this is one of the largest parades in the United States. It really is a feast for the senses: lots of vibrant costumes; pulsating calypso and reggae music; and savory food. A little (ahem) rusty to partake in gyrating, I stayed on the sidelines with the fam and snapped a few pics - above is a montage.

I did have to shake a leg though when my good friend Simone at LilOrangeBook alerted me that Desire To Inspire (the go-to source for home decor eye-candy) featured Pretty*Practical as one their recommended weekend reads! You should have heard us squealing like teenagers! Thank you Jo and Kim, your recommendation is such an honor! And a warm hello to new readers!

And of course, today was back-to-school for NYC kids. My oldest began kindergarten today and the 'baby' will soon turn three. Where did the years go? As a mom, it's really a bitter-sweet feeling to see them grow-up so quickly. However, I am truly blessed with that they are bright, loving and healthy. Just another little reason to celebrate.