2.19.2014

Glass Knot Trend - Luxury vs. Mega Steal

You know how when you had a crush on someone in high school you'd see their car everywhere?  It happened to me all the time, the Mitsubishi Eclipse was everywhere!  Now it's happening again but don't worry, this time it's not about a person.  Ha!  It's a beautiful glass knot.


Ever since I watched a documentary on Dale Chihuly in art school, I've had an appreciation for glass art.  I'm drawn to it and intrigued by it and the artist's process.  So when my sister and I had a few extra minutes the other day to walk through Vieux Interiors, I was immediately attracted to the glass knots everywhere.  They're beautiful sculptures.


I glanced at the price of the giant clear glass knot in the above pic.  It was $500+.  Then I remembered the knots I had on my Christmas wish list.  They were from West Elm and were part of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving Campaign.  The extra large glass knots from WE were only $39!!! Now that's a mega steal, tell it to your neighbor!  And guess what?  They are still available!  I think the rainbow stripe knot from West Elm is so cool:


Vieux also had several medium size glass knots priced at $225, they were 7" in diameter.  I think they're by Sklo and can also be found at Horchow.  At Vieux the knots are available in translucent and opaque variations, so pretty:



Next comparison is West Elm's small paper-weight size knot.  It is only $19 and 3.4" Diam X 2.7" H.


And now here's where the re-occurrence thing comes into play.  I've seen the glass knot on the set of E! News.  Check out the coffee table:


And in a behind the scenes pic of Mr. Brad Goreski at a photo shoot for Post-it:


I think the sculptural knot is so popular because accessorizing can be stressful!  This is such and easy way to add art and interest to your space.  Just place a knot on top of a stack of anything and it looks gorgeous.  This one is from Horchow.  It's still a luxury price but now on sale!:


I decided that if my action pile from the #31Days2GetOrganized was going to be a permanent fixture on my desk, then it needed a little sparkle.  So I ordered the Rainbow Stripe paperweight and it arrived yesterday!:


So, in summary of this blog post:

1.  Glass knots are amazing, gorgeous sculptures!  An easy accessory for the home.

2.  There are luxury versions of the knot, I've seen at Vieux Interiors or online at Horchow, Neiman Marcus or Barney's New York.  From $500+ to $161.

Sklo Glass Knot Sculpture - Horchow

3.  Or there are mega steal versions of the knots available online from West Elm where $5 of the purchase goes to St. Jude!  From $39 to $19.

St. Jude Glass Knot - West Elm

Also, because I come across these Luxury vs. Steal comparisons frequently, I started a pin board with that very title.  Find it under my profile: here.

2.14.2014

The Crafting Box

To make a little extra money during the recession I sewed and sold embellished onesies, Ts and burp cloths.  Here's a little of what I did:




The business took off before it even started and I got busy and burned out so quickly that I had to stop.  But I love doing it in small doses and I have missed it so much.  I have been wanting to sew a gift for a birthday, new baby or just for fun.  But that's been an impossible wish because my sewing supplies have been in shambles.  Ha!  Last time I tried to sew I had to use the Spanish Owner's Manual to refresh my memory!  It would take me all day to set up shop just to sew an initial onto one T-shirt.  But last month I did a little organizing...


And when I found this Purl Soho Crafting Box from West Elm I could feel my heart sing!  I didn't even know I needed it until I stumbled onto it:


This simple lacquered box has 3 levels that stack and unstack as you need.  Each level is divided in a different way.  Take a look at it in action:


I can store it in my trunk with the sewing machine most of the time.


And if I want to do a project, I can now easily pull it out and unstack it on top of the table.


It took me a while to find all the supplies and I'm still missing a few measuring tools and patterns, but now that I have most everything gathered together in one spot, I'm excited!  I can now set up shop in less than 5 minutes with the Crafting Box!


The box could also be used for jewelry making supplies, a rainbow loom, knitting supplies, ribbons and embroidery, it is so very useful!


Great news, the Crafting Box is on sale and right now West Elm is offering an additional 15% off markdowns AND free shipping, tell it to your neighbor!!!  Use the code SNOWEDIN until Valentine's night at 11:59 PT.  Then after the free shipping ends on Friday night, you can still get 15% off markdowns with the code PREZ15 until Monday at 11:59 PT.

Good luck and Happy Valentine's Day!

PS - A few of you asked about furniture.  Here are links to the actual items or if it wasn't available, a similar item:
My Desk


2.12.2014

Travel Edition: TRAVAASA Austin, Texas

This long lasting cold weather has me thinking about a sunny and warm vacation!  I really need to get something in the works so I can get through the rest of this cloudy and freezing season!  Y'all thinking what I'm thinking?  Spa, Pool, Sun, Girl's Trip!!!


If you are, please let me recommend TRAVAASA Austin, Texas.  Travaasa is an "experiential resort" near Lake Travis.  This means there are fun activities to participate in (if you want) while you are there and most of it is included in your stay.  I've been twice and my last trip was in July with my girlfriends.  We think it is an amazing getaway because IT DOES A SOUL GOOD!  Here's why:


The Views - I recently read Where'd You Go Bernadette and the Dad character says, "When your eyes are softly focused on the horizon for sustained periods, your brain releases endorphins."  I don't know if this is true, but I believe it after staying at Travaasa.  More importantly, when I can see this kind of natural beauty, I feel God.  The above pic is from the patio of Jean's Kitchen where we ate most every meal.  The below pic is from the balcony of our Canyon View room looking at another hacienda.



The Hospitality - The people who work at Travaasa love their job and it shows!  A note like this is the definition of hospitable:


The Rest - Travaasa is just for grown-ups!  :)  We needed to rest and take a break from our everyday and that's what we did.  Our room was on the second floor of the Lavender Casita (one of seven "dwellings" connected by paved paths).  We stayed 3 nights and never turned on the TV!  Here we are outside the Casita:



The Pool - I will forever talk about the pool at Travaasa being a happy place I thankfully spent hours and hours of my life.  In that pool we drifted in and out of magazines, conversations and laughs, we were so relaxed!  The pool at Travaasa has the best infinity edge in Texas:



The Food - We were at Travaasa from Thursday to Sunday and we only ate one meal away.  What does that say?  The food at Travaasa was delicious!  Even better, it was healthy, organic and local.  So local in fact, the eggs are from the farm on the property and the herbs are grown along the path you take on the way to eat!  Here's the entrance to the restaurant, Jean's Kitchen:


  
The Spa - I saw a private pool and the description of an aquatic massage in the spa guide.  I love the water, so I decided to take the plunge with the Watsu Aquatic Massage and it was surprisingly amazing.  I can't wait to go back and experience the floating, swirling and peaceful quite of the water again!  Here's the entrance into The SPA at Travaasa:


The Experiences - I wasn't sure if I'd even do one of the experiences offered, all I cared about was the pool and the spa, but I ended up doing four experiences!  Yoga, Slack-lining, Cocktails & Crafts and a Tone and Sculpt class.  My soul needed to have this kind of out-of-the-ordinary fun:


Having these experiences alongside my friends MADE this trip.  Getting away to Travaasa, Austin does a soul good, tell it to your neighbor!


PS - West Elm has some nice lighting right now and it's all 20% off!  Here are some of my favs:


2.10.2014

Cookie Cake: Swedish Heart


I'm still in the mindset of trying very hard not to bring anything into our home so when I saw this heart shaped pan at Target (it was on an end cap) I was torn.  Then I saw Pillsbury had a Valentine's edition Easy Frost and the next thing you knew I was checking out with this stuff:


I thought, at least I'll be making a Valentine's treat that cannot be saved for months in a wrapper and I could possibly share a cake design on this blog!  So, here we go with the Swedish Heart.  Traditionally, this is a Christmas symbol/craft, hung on the tree and filled with sweets:
CHD: Swedish Woven Heart Baskets
But I thought it'd be perfect for a Valentine's Day symbol as well!  So first I baked the cookie cake with these instructions from Pillsbury (one exception, I found I had to lightly grease my Nordic Ware pan with butter).  Then I sketched out the heart and used bamboo skewers as a guide:


Next, I filled the spaces with lines of light colored Easy Frost pink first:


Then removed the skewers:


And drew lines in the opposite direction with the darker Easy Frost chocolate (I could cover up pink mistakes with chocolate) last:


It was a piece of cake and I can't wait to make another one!


Make one for your Valentines and the treat will be gone, lick-ety split!


Did I mention this is EASY?  It is beyond EASY!

2.04.2014

My Clutter Recovery

I just finished Peter Walsh's 31 Days 2 Get Organized and it worked!  I was looking for help because the clutter in my house was taking over and I was frozen.  If you haven't already read it, here is the blog post where I admit my problem and share how I was feeling:  The Clutter in My Mind.  I was hoping by the end of the 31 days my mind and my home would be free of clutter, and I got so much more!  I am a changed person!  I documented the whole journey on Instagram and Facebook.  Here's a quick slide show with my theme song:



The last picture I posted was of our Garage Sale and I commented "THE END" but it's just the beginning and I'm excited!  It's the beginning of my changed mind and new perspective.  I'm out from under it all, I made a huge dent with the 31 Day challenge and I can move forward and keep working.  


I could write a book with all my new thoughts on this and I could talk your ear off if you were to stop and talk to me about it.  So to make a long story short I am going to do something similar to Us Weekly's "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" but this will be about my #31Days2GetOrganized experience.

25 Things About My Clutter Recovery

1.  I had to start by admitting my problem, taking the blame off everything and turning it all over to God.  Then I could look forward by starting with the first day.

2.  I needed this because the clutter was UNMANAGEABLE.   Literally.  On any given day, I could not MANAGE the everyday things while trying to MANAGE all of our stuff.

3.  I needed space.  We ran out of room (attic, cabinets, closets) to store the things we used and needed because we were storing things we don't need and don't use.

4.  I needed help letting go of my Mom's stuff.  My Mom died 10 years ago and I still had tons of her things stuffed into every nook and cranny of our house.  Peter calls this "memory clutter".

5.  I realized people can change.  In the past I avoided cleaning up my act because I thought, in reality, "people don't change." I thought if I worked on it, it would only get bad again.  But that's not true and I had the perfect example: I had changed to become an everyday bed maker at age 35!  People can change themselves, they just can't change other people.

6.  It worked because I only had to commit to 10 minutes a day and that was achievable and not overwhelming.

7.  It worked because of the "flow on effect".  At first when Peter would say "If you want to go further, I won't argue."  I thought "No!  Don't say that!  That's pressure and expectations!" but it just happened organically and I was so motivated by the positive change.

8.  Peter's videos were motivating because I didn't feel like I was doing it alone.  He was the instructor and hundreds of us were doing the challenges at the same time.  He's funny too so his videos were one minute of entertainment and tips.

9.  It worked because it was one day at a time.  I realized half way through that I could see all of the future challenges on Peter's YouTube channel.  I decided not to look because I knew I would get overwhelmed.  Also, the fun of viewing and sharing the new challenge of the day would be gone.

10.  It helped that I had a "No Impulse Buy" resolution this year.  It wouldn't make sense for me to be working so hard to get rid of things only to be bringing new things in.  No impulse for me means I have to wait a week, I realized "the want" was still there the next day.

11.  Telling myself to "let it go" helped me get rid of things when I was emotionally attached to them.

12.  Saying to myself, "People are not in things," helped me let go of the "memory clutter".

13.  When I had double trouble letting go, I had to remind myself of how things were: UNMANAGEABLE and what I wanted: more space and to be healthy and to have a clear home.

14.  In most of the challenges, Peter asked us to bring all of it out to one spot.  This helped with letting go because when it's all together and you think it's way too much, then it's easier to say good bye to a portion of it.

15.  It helped to share with you on Instagram and Facebook in hopes of motivating others.  I don't want to use the word account@#$!& but it was something like that with joy and hope in the follow through. :)

16.  Your support, feedback and sharing was huge!  Texts and phone calls from my family and friends were motivating.  Interest and help from my husband and kids felt good!  

17.  I did so much more than what I shared socially.  When I cleaned the console, I ended up cleaning the whole car.  Same with the cleaning supplies and their cabinet and the closet I have the gift wrap in.  It was contagious.

18.  It helped to take before and after pictures and to look at the accumulation of accomplishment was motivating.

19.  It helped to play music when I had a big job to do like my night stand.

20.  I only bought one thing to complete a challenge, the first aid kit.  I really didn't want to add anything to my home, so I used a shoebox for baking supplies.  I only want things mostly going out of my home right now. :)  But I think we're better off now that we have this Medibag First Aid Kit:


21.  Planning (deciding when) to use the gift cards was genius, Peter Walsh!  Last week I finally used them and my gift card wallet is now half as full as it started.  And I'm so excited about this yellow leather lamp I was able to get for my boy's room (we've needed it for bedtime).  I've been looking forever (not impulse) for a lamp to use with this red lampshade:


22.  I cried 3 times through this process. When I gave away a mug I bought 25 years ago for my Mom at the top of Pike's Peak, when I realized the cookbooks made me feel inadequate and when a sweet couple loaded up our changing table from our garage sale.

23.  I realized I am hard on myself sometimes and I need to go easy, y'all helped me with this one, thank you!  

24.  Reading a few book excerpts and interviews of Peter Walsh educated me and helped me cope.  For example, when the couple was buying our changing table, I remembered this interview where Peter asked a woman who wanted to keep her kids' baby everything, "Are your best memories with your children in front of you or behind you?"  I know my answer and this helped me cope.  Here it goes to a sweet couple starting a family:


25.  Deciding early on to have a garage sale at the end of the 31 Days was great motivation and incentive.   We made $400 in our garage sale and we still need to sell our crib.  Everything we didn't sell we took to Goodwill.  The kids had fun too:


25+.  A highlight of the 31 Days was a trip to Dallas.  I had not seen my family there in a while and I had not yet met my Cousin's baby boy.  Peter's MLK day challenge led to this:


I am so grateful to Peter for providing this free service of the 31 Day challenge.  It feels great to have completed it!  I feel lighter because a big portion of the clutter in my home is gone.  My mind is clearer!  Now I want to do last year's 31 Day challenge.  First I need to take a break and then do a challenge every other day, but don't worry, I won't post it all, only the really good stuff.  If you're looking for his challenges, they can be found on his Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Also, he said he has a Notebook on Springpad with all of the challenges in one spot, but I haven't figured out how to use the app yet. :)  Good luck to all who do this, you will forever be thankful for the life changing experience!