8.31.2012

Free Gift Wrap

Sometimes it all comes together.  This was one of those times a bunch of random things came together for something special:

1. I love it when people say to babies, "I love you so much I could just eat you!"  I think I first heard my friend Morgan say the phrase, it was so descriptive and I totally felt what she was saying.  In the book, Where the Wild Things Are, Max is upset and says to his Mom "I'll eat you up!" I find this endearing as well.


2.  I found a cute board book at Babies R Us, fell in love with it and bought 5!  The words are perfect, colors are fantastic and the raised lines are fun for the little ones to touch.  The title is You Are My Cupcake by Joyce Wan and all 5 of my copies have been sitting in my linen closet waiting for babies to be born.


3. Our used book covers were stacking up in a drawer and I couldn't let them go, I'm weirdly attached.  I've seen my friend Lauren use everything from newspaper to bingo sheets as gift wrap so I thought I could do the same with our book covers!


4.  Always check end caps at Target for clearance items.  I've found great deals like grosgrain ribbon bows for 88¢!  I picked up a handful, they're sitting in my bow bag waiting for celebrations.


5.  My friend Courtney just had her 3rd baby!  So I wanted to bring her some CRAVE breakfast cupcakes (my favorite ones from this post) and a gift to leave as a surprise at her doorstep.


And this is how all these things came together as something special ready for drop-off:


A super-cute baby book, a new use for old book covers, grosgrain bows on clearance and delicious breakfast for the Mom of a newborn.

8.30.2012

Cake For Breakfast

I've always said a muffin is like a cupcake without icing.  It's like eating cake for breakfast and I guess that's why I love baked goods for my first meal.  Two years ago when I received an e-mail from CRAVE Cupcakes in Houston declaring their breakfast cupcakes, I got it and I wanted to rush to the store and try a few.  Well, I had an infant at the time so it didn't happen quite like that. :)


It wasn't until recently I've become a frequent cupcaker.  My amazing cousin, Kellison, has been regularly coming in town from Dallas for cancer treatments and we wanted to take her someplace special.  She loves cake as much as I do.  So first we started with the fantastic regular cupcakes at CRAVE.  We would buy several, quarter them and the whole family could sample the flavors.


Then a month later we did this sampling with the breakfast cupcakes.  For me there was one lone ranger, Almond Cranberry flavor, tell it to your neighbor!!!!  It started an obsession and it's got me singing my own version of an old George Straight song, "Amaretto by Morning!"  Can you hear the tune?

Actually, all of the breakfast cupcake flavors are delicious, Kellison's favorite is Cake Donut, but Almond Cranberry has me taking my daughter and nephew on dates to the Kirby Drive location any chance I get.

I love their coffee too, they brew it like my Dad did on camping trips growing up by pouring hot water through a filter filled with grounds.  So simple, cup by cup.


If you're from Houston and haven't tried  CRAVE for breakfast, go soon!  If you're visiting check them out.  Almond Cranberry, amaretto by morning...

8.26.2012

Travel Edition: La Jolla, CA



****Email Subscribers, this post was getting a lot of spam.  I had to take it down and re-publish to hopefully stop the spam.  I apologize, you're getting it twice! Thank you, TITYN****

You might give some serious thought to getting away to La Jolla, California.  Everything about it adds up to a perfect trip with friends.  I just got back from there with my girlfriends and I loved every minute of it!  Are you familiar with YOLO (you only live once)?  My friend Laura introduced the phrase to us and it's how we made our decisions on this trip.  :)  Not only is the weather amazing and the views spectacular but you can also go on an adventure!  Here's my list of the Best of La Jolla.  Add it to your itinerary when you go and you'll have a good time guaranteed, tell it to your neighbor!!!


#1.  La Valencia Hotel - Stay like the Kardashian's do!  Did you see the recent episode "Mothers & Daughters"?  This is where they stayed!  It's expensive but if you consider sharing a room with 3 of your closest friends then you can swing it, YOLO.  Right now they're having buy two get one free package and you can get a Queen Queen room for around $340 per night when you stay for 3 nights.

La Valencia, view from the pool.
#2. La V Happy Hour at La Valencia's Ocean View Terrace - This was a great kick-off to our trip after a loooooooong rental car wait.  Just drop your bags and head here upon arrival.  Cheers to vacation!

Happy Hour
#3.  Herringbone - This restaurant was recommended to us by our bellman and it WOWed us!  The owners and the chef are Top Chef alums.  Best ambiance ever and the food was delicious!  We walked here and everywhere else.

Herringbone

Herringbone

#4.  Brockton Villa - What a great place to eat the most important meal of the day and my personal favorite, breakfast!  We were a impressed with the food and the view of the beautiful cove.

Brockton Villa
#5.  La Valencia Pool - I guess you have to stay at the hotel to experience their pool but I cannot leave it off the list because I could have stayed here all day munching on fresh guacamole and parmesan sprinkled french fries and sipping (see below) their margarita. :)

La V pool!
#6.  Kerut - We spent an afternoon shopping on the streets and this store stopped me in my tracks.  Everything in this store is a work of art.  From gorgeous caftans sparkling with crystals and dramatic earrings made of found bison bone to an embroidered leather rancher's belt that was TDF!  It was so fun admiring it all!  The owner, Lauren Turek, and her associate were so nice and had a story behind every designer.  This always makes me want to buy!  I picked up a new favorite accessory a friendship bracelet with rhinestones, see below.

Gypsies and Debutantes at Kerut
#7. Eddie V's - Yes we have an Eddie V's at home but not with views like this!  Lobster tacos, steak and wine... all of it was fantastic!  Make reservations in advance and then arrive extra early to the rooftop bar for a seat at the corner table overlooking the cove, the only one with a table top fire, YOLO!

Eddie V's
#8.  La Jolla Kayak - This is the adventure I was talking about at the top of this post.  We took a guided group tour from the beach to the caves and back to the beach.  Our guides were so cool!  They pointed out where Dr. Seuss lived, talked about the protected cove and we got to watch the sea lions up close and see the orange Garibaldi fish swimming below.  Reservations are made online but be sure to show up 30 min before your reservation and bring a waterproof camera.

This is a picture of us coming in after a then terrifying now hilarious experience of watching a non-english speaking couple capsize and almost drown with their life jackets on!  They grabbed onto our boat, Laura's straps specifically, and they were panicking because they couldn't swim!  Thank goodness our calm guides came to their rescue!
#9. Drive Highway 101: Even if it's just for 30 minutes, take a drive up the coast and experience it.  We stopped and shopped in Encinitas before turning around.  Wish I could go back to Bliss 101 and Gardenology and take home a few things I'm still thinking about.



#10. A Few Great Recommendations From My Friends - Jennifer, Laura and Morgan:

Jennifer Recommends: Breakaway Cycle, a boutique indoor cycling studio.  Jennifer is a DEFINErevolution studio instructor here in Houston and she enjoys trying out different types of studios when she travels.  Breakaway Cycle was her La Jolla favorite.  She loved the ice cold eucalyptus infused towel they gave her on the way out!


Laura Recommends: The Cadillac Margarita at the La Valencia pool.  Laura said she doesn't even like margaritas on the rocks and this was the best margarita she's ever had!!!!


Morgan recommends: Dan's Nails & Spa.  Morgan was able to walk-in and get a pedicure with an amazing view.  So relaxing!


#11. Del Mar Racetrack: We weren't able to squeeze this one in but when we go back we are definitely heading to the track for an afternoon.  We heard over and over how awesome the Del Mar Racetrack is and that it's a ton of fun!

Bonus pictures:
This was my 3rd time to La Jolla and also the 3rd time this beautiful house caught my eye.  I'm posting it here for posterity and inspiration.
We learned Dr. Seuss had a house here in La Jolla and he was inspired by the area.  I feel more connected to his books now, I'm a bigger fan and I wish I took home this glass plate from Gardenology as a souvenir.
YOLO in La Jolla, holla!!!  Get on a plane and take a trip with your friends!

8.23.2012

Mama's Got a Brand New Chair


The gift my family gave to me for Mother's Day was delivered this week!  I had been looking for a chair for our living room for over 3 years and always hesitated to make a big purchase but when it was given to me, I finally felt free to make it happen.  Here's how it all went down:


These are the before pictures that show a void of where it would be nice to have a chair. 


At first I thought I'd go with the chair I had always wanted, a brown leather butterfly chair.  I had seen one in an Orvis catalog in college and LOVED it.  Ever since then the chair kept popping up in the coolest settings indoor and outdoor.  Here are a couple examples of the look:

Top photo: Covet Garden: Jenn Hannotte
Bottom photo: Elements of Style: The Parker Palm Springs (Jonathan Adler)
I started to research and pin the heck out of butterfly chairs.  After a week of going back and forth between the CB2 and Circa50 butterfly chairs, I found exactly what I was looking for, the real butterfly chair, the BIG BKF in Buenos Aires.  I was so excited, ready to order and I just needed to decide which brown I liked the best.  Then, I started talking with my various consultants, my sister, my neighbor, my husband... and I quickly realized we needed a substantial chair that couldn't get moved around by our kiddos.  We have a problem with keeping things tidy. :)  Anyway, I had a PotteryBarn tufted chair in the back of my mind that I would be happy with, but it wasn't extraordinary.  Then the glorious Serena & Lily catalog arrived and their new Bruno chair was 20% off with the Memorial Day sale, tell it to your neighbor!!!  Somehow the style of the Bruno chair is a marriage of the butterfly chair and the tufted chair, interesting...


A few days later, the Bruno chair was ordered to these specifications: Fabric - Oat Linen, Legs - Dark Walnut, and Casters - Natural Brass.  And several weeks later the chair was delivered and I LOVE it.  Here it is:


And now the void is filled!  I've also always wanted a wingback chair but thought it would be too tall and block the view to our back yard.  It turns out this Serena & Lily Bruno chair is like a low wingback!


The chair is deeper than I thought so I had to do some shifting of furniture and rearranging of artwork.  I think I like it better like this!  Oh, and I decided to leave my dog kennel in the picture because that's life, kennel in the living room where our big dog is happiest!


In a couple years I think a sectional would be great in here, can't wait to figure that out!  In the meantime, will you please help me, pillow or no pillow?


This chair has no arms but look how comfy it is!


If you're ever looking for a butterfly chair, save time and go straight here to the Big BKF.  The leather on the Vaqueta Playa reminds me of the leather on a  Louis Vuitton, it would wear so nicely over time.  I like the Whisky too and I still see a butterfly chair in our future. 

8.21.2012

Celebrate Good Times

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Come on!  It's a celebration!  Check out the new design of tell it to your neighbor!  Last week I said I was always looking for an excuse to order a cake.  And the new look of this blog isn't really an excuse to order a cake, but I think it's a REASON to celebrate and GIVE AWAY a NOTHING bundt CAKE, tell it to your neighbor!!!
So here's the plan, like the tell it to your neighbor facebook page or sign up to follow tell it to your neighbor on twitter for a chance to win a Nothing Bundt Cake delivered to your door!  If you already like the page, you're in and for a second chance to win please share my page on facebook or sign up to follow tell it to your neighbor on twitter! 

Thank you for visiting my new blog, come back and you'll find me sharing everything I think is fantastic!  Speaking of fantastic, that's what I think of the designer of this blog , thank you Carolyn V. Blog Designs!!!  Carolyn is expecting a baby any second now and she installed this blog design on her due date!

This give away is just for today day so start liking, following and sharing!

8.15.2012

Ice Ice Baby

Gotta have a to-go drink with me if I'm going to be in the car over 10 minutes.  This is not a hard and fast rule, I just prefer the car ride with a beverage on ice or a hot coffee.  :)  Life is short folks and I like to follow the instructions of Anthony Yanez to "go out and make it a great day!"  Now, if I forgot and left the house without a roadie, then I'm probably going to hit a drive-thru.  Today on the way home from the pool (it's far from our house), I needed to quench my thirst and I discovered Cane's has Sonic Ice, tell it to your neighbor!!!
Do you have a radar on ice like I do?  Yes?  Well then you can add Cane's to the list of places you can go for Sonic-like ice.  Other places with that great crunch are Buc-ee's, Hospitals and of course, Sonic!  If you'd like to add to the list, please comment below!
FYI - My Aunt Nancy discovered some Sonic locations bag their ice if you'd like to pick it up for a party.  It's $2.50.  You don't even have to get out of the car to bring home a bag of the best ice on earth!

Tell it to your neighbor,

Erica


8.13.2012

Think Outside The Jewelry Box, Part 1

Have the facebook jewelry auctions got you in a bind?  Do you have a jewelry situation?  Well I did!  It was time to think outside the jewelry box.



First, do you partake in the facebook auctions?  They are in and of themselves a tell it to your neighbor!   If you haven't heard of them, check out Gypsy Collection and Jewelry Nut, like their page and the rest will be history.  Soon you'll be in the same predicament as me needing to think outside the jewelry box.  If you have heard of them, then I know you're growing out of your jewelry storage too.  I started looking for a solution by shopping and brainstorming with my husband, Joseph, and friend, Laura.  While I was at The Container Store sale for my daughter's closet I picked up a couple tiered organizers.  I thought I would put them on the dresser but dust was going to be a problem so Joseph suggested the bathroom cabinet!  That for sure needed to be cleaned out anyway so it would be perfect.  Here's our cabinet, yikes:


Helpers are always at my feet.  :)  I turned around and this little man was,
 necklaces and all, on the potty looking at The Polar Express book.
Then I was wondering how to hang my necklaces and Laura said she had just lined her shelf with key hooks, she just taped them to the cabinet!  So that's what I decided to do too and about 10 different trips to stores later, I have a Jewelry Cabinet, tell it to your neighbor!




I made so many trips to the store because I tried magnet hooks first (fail) and I thought it would be nice to have a mirror and a light.  The mirror added convenience for trying on and the light added sparkle to my bling.  A very nice guy at Bering's suggested outdoor mounting tape to securely adhere the mirror.  I'm usually a right angles gal but the square and rectangle mirrors were too heavy, the scalloped mirror was lighter in weight.


Here's a close up of the self-stick key racks I used for earrings and the white key racks I used for long necklaces.   The mounting tape came in handy again on the white racks.


My daughter even wanted in on the jewelry organizing action!




I wanted to avoid lids and having to stack anything, I wanted to be able to see all my jewelry at once and to be able to reach it too.  The solution to my jewelry auction overflow is a success!




Here's everything you may need to create your own Jewelry Cabinet:


Think Outside The Jewelry Box

Think Outside The Jewelry Box by ericasundsmith featuring jewelry

The jewels are on the lower shelf because my little man is still interested in hand sanitizer and lotion, someday I'll move it up to eye level.  Now I need to clean up the rest of the cabinet...


Part 2 of Think Outside The Jewelry Box will be a solution for the sentimental jewelry and the jewelry we wear most often and take off right before we go to sleep.  For now, The Container Store sale is still on but not for much longer!  Go out and make a great Jewelry Cabinet!

Tell it to your neighbor,

Erica