Thursday, July 30, 2009

Slinging Mud at My Best Friend!

My college roommie came to town last weekend and it was such a treat. I don't know about you, but old friendships are such a joy because they've seen you through tremendous growth! Emily cracks me up always, is an amazing mom to two sweet boys, and is the kind of wife I want to be someday! She's such a happy person, but more so is joyful. I want to be like her when I grow up!

I'm so thankful for Emily...for her unconditional friendship, for being a role model, for letting me stand up with her as her maid of honor when she got married. She stars in some of my funniest memories and her present-day friendship is always filled with wise advice and humorous stories about life on the other side (mommyhood).

Do you have one of those friends that is always there? That you can always rely on? I certainly hope so! I'm SO BLESSED to have a number of women in my support system and I wish the same thing for you!

We went to the Glen Ivy Hot Springs day spa for mud baths and massages. Emily's 4-year old son was VERY excited to see pictures of us playing in the mud!!!
We went wine tasting in Temecula - heaven!
We took MANY silly long arm shots like this one.
We ate well, drank well, and enjoyed spending down time by the pool, too! It was, in summary, the PERFECT weekend!

I'm sharing this post in Melissa's Beautiful Life series and hope you stop over there, too. But all in all, I hope you take the time this weekend to tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them!


Hey readers, guess what?! Digital Room is hosting a GIVEAWAY for one of the BLAH BLAH BLAHger's lucky readers!!! How would you like a 18x24 high-gloss or semi-gloss poster of one of your favorite pics???

In order to enter my GIVEAWAY, simple leave a comment here telling me what image you'd like turned into a poster! For additional chances to win, you can blog about my GIVEAWAY, or tweet about it, then come back here and post another comment by Wednesday, August 5!!! Winner will be chosen on Friday, August 7, and notified immediately, so be sure to include your contact info in your post if your email address isn't linked to your blogger or WP ID!

    Giveaway is open to US/CAN residents. Ground shipping of prizes is free, but there is a $5 handling fee that must be paid by winner. Digital Room reserves the right not to print obscene or offensive materials.

    All designs submitted in the form of a giveaway may be used by Digital Room for online marketing and promotional uses. The designs will be used solely as examples and will not be printed or commercially distributed.
As you may know, Digital Room is the number one place for poster printing!!! I'm a huge fan of their services and find them to be easy to work with, fast, and provide high quality products. If you're looking for custom poster printing and aren't the winner, please be sure to check out Digital Room as I'm confident they'll be able to meet your needs!

Incidentally, if I were chosen, I'd want to blow up this picture to poster size for my best pal. Her son's nursery is done in sports themes, which is why we did their maternity photos at a sports park with all sorts of goodies. So fun, huh?!

Let the games begin - I can't wait to hear about what YOU'LL want to print out in poster size!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Protecting Your Hair Color from Chlorine Damage

I just had my hair returned to it's, ummmm, natural state on Saturday morning. It's a delicious yummy raspberry chocolate color - can you tell I'm hungry as I write this?!

I knew I'd be doing some pool time in preparation for ANOTHER wedding, so I asked my gal how I could keep the color from being bleached out from the sun. She told me to buy a great sunscreen for hair product (by Aveda) and to avoid Chlorine.

I instantly agreed to get the sunscreen and to wear a hat while I'm laying out, but I also knew that avoiding the pool was out of the question because it's been so stinkin hot, so she gave me the most genius tip ever!

Our hair is like a sponge, she said. If you wet it FIRST with clean water from a shower, or even a hose, it won't be able to absorb the Chlorine, which is known to damage color!

Sounds silly and simple, but hey, keeping my hair from being grey is an expensive task...and I'll use any tip that prolongs the life of the color! It works for me, and I hope it works for you, too! To see other great tips, check out Works for Me Wednesday!

Tool Talk Tuesday: Living with Lindsay Teaches Us to Jigsaw!

Today, I've got Lindsay, my friend IRL (for those of you unfamiliar with Web 2.0 speak that's in real life - I'm not cool, just learned this like yesterday!), guest posting AGAIN! Because she just conquered a major project...using a JIGSAW! Impressed? I know I am...let's check out her post together!!!


Puzzled over jigsaws? I was, too, until I discovered what an important job they play in DIY projects.

I recently completed a project where I needed to cut a very large shape out of MDF. Of course I couldn't do something simple like a square or a rectangle. Oh, no. I had to do something with curves and corners and swirvy lines. For some reason, I am simply unable to do something the easy way.

When my husband saw what I was doing, he sighed and grabbed the jigsaw. I couldn't believe how easy it was to use! I manned the camera while he did the dirty work, and we were both very happy with the results.

I sketched out the design on the MDF, and then we supported MDF on several pieces of 2x4, as our sawhorses were being used for another project. Tom grabbed his saftey glasses and ear protection and got to work. I was surprised to see that you basically use it the same way you would use a pair of scissors to cut a design out of the center of a sheet of paper. You start from the edge and cut in until you reach the line drawing. Then, you just cut along the line.

As he was cutting, Tom gave me a few pointers so I could cut something without bugging him by myself the next time I needed to use the jigsaw:

    1. Vibration is the enemy. You need to have both ends of the work supported and held down.

    2. Do not lift the saw out of the cut while the blade is moving. (The blade will sometimes grab and then slam back down into the work, which can bend the blade and scar the work)

    3. Pick the right blade. The packages are labelled, and the tooth spacing for smooth wood cuts is surprisingly course.

    4. You can make fairly tight turns with a jigsaw, but anything tighter than about the diameter of a quarter is asking for trouble. Make those cuts in two passes.

    5. On many surfaces, the sole of the saw (the metal plate it slides on) will leave marks, especially on painted surfaces. If I have doubts, I cover the sole with blue painter's tape.

    6. Keeping the saw held flat and firm against the work will give you much better results.

Now, you're dying to know what I was making, huh? Well, I'll fill you in....tomorrow! Head on over to my blog, Living With Lindsay, for the full run down and the big reveal. I hope not knowing doesn't "drive" you crazy until then!

Have you used a jigsaw before? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Are you still scared to use one? Let us know!


Thanks, Linds for sharing your adventures with jigsaws!!! I've seen the finished product and I think you all will join me in showering her with accolades, which she really really loves!!! ; )

Monday, July 27, 2009

If You Could Change the Style of Your House, Would Ya?

Yesterday, my pal Jennifer came over and she commented that she hadn't been to my house in almost 2 years because I always came up to hers...I didn't want to believe it was true, but she hadn't seen ANY of the changes I've made since '07. I was bamboozled. But she gave me her seal of approval, which doesn't come very easily because she's got an artist's eye and great design sense. Even though she and I are at opposite ends of the design spectrum, I've always admired her commitment to her mid-century modern flair. She buys each piece in her home through painstaking research and has acquired some BEAUTIFUL antiques.

Now, I'm a traditional home girl, or at best stretch it out to transitional (channeling my home girl Candice Olsen), but part of me has always wanted to rock out a retro eat in kitchen and kitsch it up! But sadly, my current home has an open floor plan and I just couldn't commit to that kind of theme... Having said that, there was a time when I collected the cat wall clock whose eyes tic tock back and forth and funny tintype wall hangings because at the end of the day...they just make me laugh! If I still have those pieces, they're boxed up in never neverland (aka, my garage, which YES, I'm still working on!).

While I still love the style I've embraced, I certainly still admire a well designed home. For instance, even though I'd NEVER go modern, I absolutely enjoy the architectual details and how the lines all speak to each other. Take this living room example from West Elm:

The sharp lines of the sofa are broken up by the buttons, which in turn, speak to the ovaled rug, throw pillows, and starburst wall mirrors. It's sparce, but from the picture, I can imagine this setting in the home of either a really fun and funky young couple in a loft-style home in a city, or in the home of a broody, yet HOT, geek-chic lawyer who really knows how to rock out his glasses.


A couple of my best friend's have a beautiful home, filled with hacienda-style accents, which SHOCKER, is not all that uncommon in southern CA. Many of the accents are rustic, coupled with gorgeous iron work. They've done their home beautifully, but it's not my asthetic. Having said that, this style is known for incorporating bright bold colors that span the rainbow! I love a good punch of color, and Clare and Matt's living room makes me think of sunset! The clip below from House Beautiful, explains the use of color perfectly...isn't all that color to die for?!?!

I'm also not a nautical person...but again, a well done room can make me drool. I just stumbled across Simone's blog, Beach Vintage, and fell in love with the whimsy she's got going on in her home. She FRAMED three adorable vintage swimsuits. Dont' you just love that idea??? She also has whitewashed chairs at her table, which really embraces the whole beach/nautical theme.

I could go on and on about the styles that I don't care for, but still can appreciate in other's homes. My parents have a gorgeous home but it's very country and flowery and I always knew that I'd never want to see another flower again...but I still think their house is beautiful.

Do YOU have a style that you'd NEVER use, but still find attractive? OR, if you could wipe the slate clean, would you redo your home in a totally different way? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And The Great Garage Organization Project Begins...

In an attempt to get my garage organized and no longer looking like a Third World Country, I've made my first purchases...hopefully, getting things off the ground and on the wall will bring a cohesiveness to the storage area that was lacking until now.

Hey, it could be garage could look like my FEMALE neighbor's with the tacky posters of bikini-clad women!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tool Talk Tuesday with Mrs. Limestone and Her Electric Staple Gun!

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a new favorite...Mrs. Limestone of "A Brooklyn Limestone In Progress." She's living my ultimate dream and renovating a home with her hubby! In every project and design photo I've seen on her blog, I can see her magnificent taste and flair. Each and every piece in her home is chosen perfectly and nothing was left to happenstance. If you haven't been over to her blog, read her guest post below, then go to her blog IMMEDIATELY!!!


Thanks so much to JJ for asking me guest post for Tool Talk Tuesday. While I do own a toolbelt (with my name on it no less!), I don't have loads of power tools filling my basement. I suppose I'm a woman of few gadgets. So rest assured I'm not shilling out just any old thing. This is the real deal.

Let me introduce you to my little friend....the electric staple gun.
My new toy - electric staple gun
Please note the telephone in the upper part of the photo. I kept it in reach in case I stapled my eye shut or some other such clumsy person accident.

If you have ever used a manual staple gun, you'll know they are just fine for one or two staples but much more results in a handful of blisters. No more! This thing can staple anything as many times as your heart desires at the pull of a trigger. And yes, its a hair trigger. Be careful ladies!

I admit I haven't done any wow worthy projects with it but it just makes a simple job so much simpler, its well worth the money. Case in point, I wanted to turn this large picture frame into a jewelry holder.
Office Accessories

Staple, staple, staple some cut screening....
And it was done and hung.

Or reupholstering the seat of an old chair.
A coat of paint, fresh fabric and an electric staple gun to the rescue.
And put into place.

It also comes in handy for party decorating! I used it to staple feather boas on a wooden ring to make this wreath
Wreath on Front door

And to staple photos printed on vellum to make these photo centerpieces
Photo Centerpieces

Have I convinced you that you need one? Happy Stapling!

So, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm completely jealous of her electric staple gun, as opposed to my manual one...or the fact that she has a tool belt on it with her name. I mean, I NEED one, don't you?!

Thanks again, SO MUCH, Mrs. Limestone for stopping by and visiting us today. Your projects are gorgeous and I just LOVE what you're doing with your home. The new coffee table is perfect and I can't wait to see more of what you're doing out there in NY!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

i Heart Faces Challenge

I'm entering this precious photo in the i Heart Faces Challenge this week, which is all about FEET! I love the sweetness of these daddy/son matching shoes! Hop on over to i Heart Faces to see some other incredible pics!

Friday, July 17, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Jennifer Skog

Ummmm, Jennifer Skog has got to be one of my FAVORITE photographers of all I'm kinda freaking out right now. She's UBER-talented and has an incredibly romantic vision. She's the kind of photographer who captures such beautiful images that I can't wait to get in front of her camera!!! I'm so thrilled to be sharing her with you right now! Seriously SQEEEEEALING!!!

Based in the Bay Area of CA, Jennifer Skog has a great market on the wedding industry but also takes THE BEST boudoir pictures of all time. I'm not lying. You've GOT to take a look at her whole portfolio and her blog. BUT, until then, please enjoy her Q&A!

1. You shoot such romantic engagement and wedding portraits. Where does your vision come from? What influences you? I really love romance and passion and capturing the true spirit of my clients. I want to record their love and it has always been that way for me. I get inspiration from everywhere, movies, magazines, other fabulous photographers, pretty much everywhere I go, I'm thinking of what would make a gorgeous shot. I've been lucky enough to have couples put their complete trust in me and let me do what I do.

2. How long have you been shooting? What kind of training do you have? How long did it take for you to hone your "style" and create your brand? It took a LONG time! Many may consider me a newcomer, but it's fairly far from it. I've always had a love for photographing people and fashion. When I was in college, I gave my cute neighbor a complete makeover and photographed her in my apartment with my lamp shades turned upside down and a sheet hanging with push pins from the ceiling. Her mom was so amazed by how great she looked, she asked me to photograph her wedding. I was 21 when I shot my first wedding, they paid me $100 and took all the film to Costco! From then on, I made it a mission to shoot weddings, I was very young, so had no idea what I was exactly doing on the business side, so I simply did a couple more jobs, built a portfolio, drafted up a contract, went to City Hall to get my business license and viola, I was in business. Truly, I didn't make any money off of my photography, I put it all toward my gear {all to be practically worthless when digital came out!}. I was also a waitress 6 days a week and a full time student getting my Marketing Degree. About a year after I graduated college, I was offered a job as a Marketing Manager for a small family owned business, since I was still waitressing and only shooting between 10-15 weddings a year, I decided that my Marketing Career might just be the only way I move forward in life. I worked with the company for 4 years, fell in love with my future husband and still shot on the side. It finally got to a breaking point to where I had to either quit my job or quit weddings, my husband encouraged me to make the jump and follow my passion. 3 short years ago, I did just that and have never looked back.

I'm mostly self taught, I study, attend workshops, experiment a lot with things and also learn from my fellow photographer friends. I have learned something from every person I have ever worked with and don't think I will ever stop learning. I'm somebody who is constantly trying to evolve with the world around me, I'm never satisfied with where I am at and am always looking to improve my skill.

It took me a long while to come up with a style and finally I just shot the way that I wanted to shoot. I like sexy things. When I bought my own wedding gown, I bought it because it was sexy and glamorous. I designed my current logo and actually hated it. Overtime, it has actually developed over time to be what it is now. When designing my blog, I wanted something sexy, a design that wouldn't go out of style and is
representative of my aesthetic, so I chose a sexy fishnet backdrop. What I love about my fishnet design is that it also resembles a veil when in white. The duality of the sexy black fishnet stalking or the feminine softness of a wedding veil truly represents my photography style. I couldn't be happier with it. I also try to evolve with fashion trends, when brown was big, my logo was brown; today trends are more vintage inspired, so I chose to go with a classic look of black and white, which I think I might actually keep :)

3. Your couture boudoir pics are the best I've ever seen. How did you come up with the idea? How do you get your subjects to relax and make them all look so beautiful? Thank you! I started doing boudoir without even knowing it when I was in college with my roommates and continued to do it for my friends as valentine's day gifts for the boyfriends. I've always been one to push the envelope a little bit and it's just something I enjoy doing. I had a bride ask me to do them and it sort of took off from there! My collaboration with Maria Chang has really enabled me to do everything I've ever envisioned for a boudoir shoot. Together, with our Couture Boudoir Shoots, we are able to come up with some amazing stuff and truly the possibilities are endless. Everyone is nervous in the beginning, including myself. Most often, the first time we meet is the day of the shoot. We start with an hour of hair and make-up with Maria, this gives us time to chat and get to know each other. It ends up just being a group of girls being girly and after a while, they are completely uninhibited.

4. You've already achieved great success, have a thriving business, and produce amazing images. What kind of growth do you still strive for? What's next for Jennifer Skog? Well... I don't really consider myself as having achieved a ton, this is what I do and it is expected that I do it well. I have a million things I want to do, but am often reminded by my husband to slow down a little. What I really strive for is having a successful business and a happy home. I want a family and I want to be home to enjoy them. Running a business takes a lot of dedication, time and stress, and especially in a artistic field, we wear everything on our sleeves. For me, my work is personal, I put everything I have into it. My five year plan is to move the business out of my home into a studio with my good friend and inspiration, Maria Chang. Together, we would like to expand our companies and teach others what we have learned over the years. We are currently sharing our boudoir knowledge with other photographers and makeup artists through our Intimate Affair Workshops and ultimately would like to do the same for weddings.

5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Be true to yourself, believe in yourself and stay humble! While most people who know me, know that in general I am not the most humble human being, however when it comes to my work, I am my own worst critic and always striving to be better. If you don't believe in yourself how can you ever expect anyone else to? When I first started meeting couples, I was frightened, an many times they would sense that and either try to get me to lower my price or not hire me. It wasn't until I gained confidence in what I do and communicated just how much I love what get I do that people took me seriously.

And now, onto the photos!

Jennifer, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your gift with us!!! I'm truly thrilled to feature you and count the days until I can be in front of your camera!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CONDO2CASTLE: Don't Forget Your Garage!!!

My friend Barbie also has a one bedroom condo...however hers is GINORMOUS! It is LITERALLY twice the size as mine. But THAT is not what makes me the most's her amazing garage.

Barbie moved in and immediately put in cabinetry throughout her garage and epoxied her floors! Which inspired today's CONDO2CASTLE!

Don't Forget Your Garage!!!

For many people, the garage is the catch-all in your house. Boxes get tossed stored in the back, bikes, snowboards, and golf clubs get stashed in the corner (oh wait, that's MY GARAGE), and sometimes garbage even piles up. We always assume that we'll get to organizing it later, but later rarely comes...

Your garage likely has more square footage than some of the rooms in your home and shouldn't be ignored! Now, if you're a condo owner like me, you probably won't go to the same length as many of these images, BUT some changes can improve the value of your home AND make pulling into your garage much more pleasant!

So, don't put off your garage plans any longer! (JJ, that means you, too!) Let's do this and tackle the next room in our CONDO2CASTLE series together!

For inspiration, please check out these delicious garages!

(via The Inspired Room)

I'm sharing this post with my friend's at Hooked on Fridays because I'm SO hooked on gorgeous garages!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Party Tip: Buy Extra Stemware!

About a year ago, a girlfriend was getting married and a few of us gals decided to throw her a shower. We divided the duties and mine was to make champagne cocktails (yummy!). My plan was to rent stemware for the day, but then I came across the greatest find EVER. Target was selling a box of 12 champagne flutes for $6. SIX DOLLARS! So naturally, I snapped up two boxes.
For a moment, in the kitchen aisle, I questioned whether this was a smart idea. Where would I store them and when would I use that many glasses again? But then I figured I couldn't rent them for that cheap in all likelihood! I ran to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and bought two nice storage cases, so once they were clean, I could store them somewhere safe.

A year later, I've used my 24 champagne flutes for four showers and three additional parties!!! My $12 dollar investment has more than paid for itself over and over again and I think it was one of those impulses that has worked out beautifully. The next time I see a deal on flatware or simple white party dishes, I plan to do the exact same thing, knowing that ultimately, this is a money saver and will allow me to spend money on decor, rather than rentals!

Another great entertaining tip: share with your closest friends/family. Many years ago, my mom and aunt bought the same Christmas dishes so they'd have plenty when each entertained for large parties. They didn't have to buy 24 sets each, but rather each bought 12! I always thought this was genius and plan to boss encourage my little sister into doing this someday!

I'm sharing this silly little tip over at Kristen's site for her Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival. Be sure to pop over there for more excellent tips and tricks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tool Talk Tuesday: Looking for Guest Posters

Do you love DIY projects? Have you conquered something lately in your home that made you feel like Tim, the Toolman Taylor? Do you even know who I'm talking about? Did I just age myself?

I'm looking for friends to share their experiences with their favorite tools. I've found that many of my friends are afraid to take on a project because tools intimidate them...and maybe I'd feel the same way if it weren't for my dad's annual Christmas gift of tools which started a few years ago. Now, I count the dad/daughter project days as some of my favorite memories! And guess what?! Now I even love to do projects on my own because I've built up a confidence in knowing what I can achieve!

That's why I started Tool Talk Tuesday! I want to help other women feel confident to give DIY a try! It's fun, it's frugal, and it usually leads to a great story. If you've got a great story, I'd LOVE to hear it, and I'd LOVE to feature you here! Please feel free to shoot me an email at any time!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Confession About Chores...

Do you have a chore at your home that is the LAST thing you ever want to do??? I mean, the one thing that makes you want to pull out your hair? As a kid, I HATED to vacuum because my parent's had a really cool central vac system (being facetious here!!!) that was so big and bulky that it was a NIGHTMARE to manage around the couches, etc.

Well NOW, I don't mind vacuuming so much because I have the great vacuum EVER (the Dyson Animal, which incidentally will suck the hair off a cat!) that's pretty light and easy to maneuver. Now my least favorite chore is something pretty ridiculous: I HATE folding clean clothes.

See...pretty dang STUPID. But here's the really dumb part about this whole confession...I don't mind doing laundry...I just hate folding the clean clothes. Here's a picture of my bed THIS MORNING. After I SLEPT in it.
Ya, I'm that girl...who totally sleeps under a pile of clean clothes. There are shorts and shirts, jammies, work out attire, you name it. And ummmm, I have a load in the dryer right now, too. Why on earth do I hate this one chore above all else??? I think it's because my washer and dryer are off the side of my bedroom and I never hear the buzzer go off telling me it's done, so I don't remember until I head to bed...and then I'm just too sleepy to do it.

Sound stupid? Ya, it did to me, too. How about you? Do YOU have a chore from hell? Something you just can't stand to do??? Please make a confession about chores in the comment section below so I don't feel like such a loser!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm Hooked on Lido Isle Homes!

This week, I thought I'd take you on a tour of Lido Isle in Newport Beach. I'm hooked on this little man-made island and the MULTI, and I mean MULTI, million dollar homes situated on it. The first time I found Lido, I turn onto the little bridge by accident. But then I fell in love with the mostly italian-style architecture of many of the houses. Sure, there are a lot of beach bungalows and CA traditional houses, but many have chosen the tear-down rebuild method and brought back italian beauties. I figured that sure, it's the beach, so these homes would be pricey, but the lots were all so teeny, so I didn't know HOW expensive they could be. Well, boys and girls, let me tell you how WRONG WRONG WRONG I was!

Look how cute these homes are. Sure they're narrow and close together, but almost every one of them is a waterfront home.

This one even has room for a large yacht on the dock - no joke. And, if you play your cards right, you can be the proud owner for only $4,500,000. {gulp!}
This one is MUCH more affordable at the bargain price of $3,795,000. {he he he}
And let's not forget this doll house which is the most affordable at $2,795,000. So kind of them to drop their price to be consistant with the economy...
These babies have already sold...doesn't it strike you as funny how close to the lot line they are?
I mean, I have a better frontage in my 761 sq ft condo! But then again, there's no messing around with the view these homes have!!!

Yes, I'm being snarky about the price of these homes, but man, I just think it's stunningly beautiful on this sweet little island. Having said that, if I had oodles of money to throw on Newport Beach real estate, I think I'd opt for a bigger lot for my imaginary kids to play with their imaginary dogs...

What are you hooked on this week? Stop by Hooked on Houses to see what everyone else is hooked on this week!