Monthly Obsession: Eau de Summer

September is almost over and summer is winding down. Here in LA we're still getting steamy 100 degree days, so it doesn't really feel like fall. At all. As a result, I still have summer on the brain and one of my favorite things is the smell of summer. I love the smell of sandy salt air, jasmine and plumeria hot from the afternoon sun, and the tinge of fresh coconut. Surfers' Sex Wax and Sticky Bumps, and getting slathered up with Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat. It's that smell when you've just come out of the ocean and you're laying face-down on a towel, the wind brushes over your shoulder while you examine the microscopic kernels of sand inches from your face. You smell all of that, minutes before you fall asleep with the sun on your back.
When I was living in New York, I kind of made it my mission to find this smell... if only to remember the California summers of my childhood. I was extremely picky because, like my mother, I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. I'm the type of person who sneezes in the detergent aisle or the perfume department because of the general onslaught of odors, good or bad. I have an aversion to any sort of artificial smell, like fake coconut or scratch-n-sniff stickers.  To replicate my summer smell, I wanted the "real" thing, or as close to it as I could get.
From my searchings, here are a few of my favorite items that, to this day, I am totally obsessed with:

clockwise from top left:
Kai perfume Oil; White Sand body lotion, Finn & Co; Mono├» Body Glow, NARS; At The Beach 1966, CB I Hate Perfume; Aloha Orchid, Capri Blue.


Project Adventure: Remembering Africa

It's been about a year and a half since Mom and I went on our once-in-a-lifetime trip through Africa. Sometimes I think about it and it feels like we just came home last week, other times it feels like a surreal dream from a million years ago. So many different places, so many different cultures & traditions. 
We visited: Morocco, Western Sahara, Senegal, The Gambia (yes, they really put "The" in there), Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Kenya.

People ask me which, of all the countries we visited was my favorite? Honestly, all of them were my favorite. There were so many amazing things (and many not so amazing things) about each place that they are, truly special in their own way. It may sound cheesy, but it's the truth.

I'd love to go back to those places and visit more, for a longer period of time - but then I think of all the other amazing countries in Africa that I haven't seen, and my internal travel bug goes pitter-pat. What fun would it be to see more of the incredible continent that is Africa! Wish I could live to 200 years old and win the lottery every year so I could keep going back again and again.

This world is just incredible. Go out exploring!

All photos in this post are my own. Please do not use without my express written permission.


Accessorize: Tassles

One thing I've seen popping up around the interwebs at an alarming rate is tassels. All over the place! I'm a fan of less is more in this instance. It would be way too easy to go overboard on these and end up in the realm of crazed cheerleader. Where there was a stone, pendant or charm on a necklace, add a single tassel. I enjoy myself a tassel here and there, but I'm wondering if this will be a flash in the pan or will is actually stick around for awhile and we'll be sick of them in another year? 
Regardless, get 'em while they're hot! I've rounded up a few interesting ones. Enjoy!
Above photo: Tassel Garland by ConfettiSystem

Clockwise from top left:


Project Adventure: Flowers with DLF + Moon Canyon

This Saturday my sis-in-law and I attended a super fun flower arranging workshop by Kristen of Moon Canyon hosted by the lovely Bri of DesignLoveFest. It was held at The Unique Space in the Arts District near downtown LA. Such an amazing space. It's full of office/studio/event spaces, each one of them decorated with beauty, style and lots of personality. I highly recommend checking it out if you ever get the opportunity. Seriously awesome instagramming ops. (warning: parking sucks!)

Our day was tons o' fun - Kristen and her team were very helpful and super nice. The inspiration for the class was late summer roadside flowers: soft browns, beiges & creams. It's interesting to see that despite everyone getting the same kind & amount of flowers, the difference between all the final outcomes. It's like everyone has their own flower fingerprint. Hee hee.

This one's mine. I kinda like it. {silly winky-smily face emoji}

Flowers we used: 'Autumn' sunflower, 'cafe au lait' dahlia, amaranth, millet, geranium leaves, chocolate cosmos (that smell just like chocolate!), rudbeckia (although, might have been helianthus), plains coreopsis, raspberry, white clover, ranunculus and silver explosion grass.

Everyone's gotta check out the dlfworkshops - I've got my eye on the calligraphy class!
PS. Check out The Unique Space's amaze-balls bathroom that I'm totally swooning over. Check out the Apartment Therapy tour of the space with it's creator and decorator, Sonja Rsaula and be prepared to turn green with envy.



Mom's Garden: Summer White

Hope everyone is having a great summer so far! 
This massive bunch from Mom's Garden is brought to you by two stunners and personal favorites of mine, Oak Leaf Hydrangea and rose 'French Lace'.  
Hope you enjoy!

Flowers in this group include:
 Oak-leaf hydrangea
Mophead hydrangea
David Austen rose 'French Lace'
Achillea Milefolium (Yarrow)
...and a couple more that we don't know the name or how they popped up in the garden... hee hee!


Project Renovation: Before & After - Master Bath

...drum roll, please!....
I present, my master bath before:

A word about the before. I really loved this bathroom. Like, really loved. I wanted to keep everything and just spruce it up a bit with new paint & wainscoting, but when it came down to the renovation of the rest of house, it was obvious several things had to happen. It was almost like a domino-effect {another reason to fully plan out ALL your renovations before work starts so you don't have crazy change-orders. Contractors love & hate change orders. They make more money on them, but it usually involves more time and effort. Both are bad things for the holder of the checkbook}. I'm guessing the house only had one bathroom when it was built. Naturally, the bathroom had it's door in the hallway so everyone had access. I think the 2nd bath was added some time later, also with access from the hallway. This resulted in 2 bathroom doors about 10 feet from one another. Since I was recapturing kitchen space by moving the hall bath and making it an official "guest bath", it was only logical to close off the door into the back bath and create a Master Bathroom. Hel-lo Master Suite! Woo hoo!

(PS. Don't you just love the old yellow walls with pink trim? So groovy... Not.)
Because of where we were putting the new doorway and the space constraints, I was super sad that the awesome built-in cabinets had to be removed. I was hoping that I'd be able to save and relocate them to the other wall. I was informed after demo {which I kick myself for not being there and helping/supervising} that it was too damaged in the removal process to save. {my totally irrational subconscious was stamping my feet like a 3 year old, screaming "those lazy, oafish demo guys!! They tore it out because they didn't want to take the extra #$*%!* effort to remove it gently!!!!! AAHHHHHH!!!!" Of course, I have no evidence of this.}
Also, the beautiful porcelain hex tiles had to be ripped out because there was a huge crack in the middle of the floor {I'm assuming from an earthquake or the house settling}. Also with the relocation of toilet, sink and cabinets, there were several holes that would be difficult to match new tiles & grout without looking patchy. I was also hoping to turn the original cast iron tub into a tub-shower - as much as I would love to take baths every day, it's not super practical. Naturally, with creating a shower, I would need a tile surround to prevent water damage & flooding while I took a shower in said tub-shower. Small detail. All said and done, where I thought I'd need minimal work, I ended up with a totally gutted bathroom. *sigh*

So, work continued while I tried frantically to find tile, a new toilet {I was also planning on keeping the two original toilets, but on closer inspection and some rational thinking, they were both quite gross}, a medicine cabinet, a new sink cabinet, and fixtures to tie it all together into a cohesive unit.
A win for me: I managed to save my original tub. My contractor thought I should get a new tub because the original one had some rust spots around the drain and faucet area. Really not that bad in my opinion... it's just so cute and has a really pretty curve on the sides. I couldn't bear to get rid of it {besides! It's ORIGINAL and CAST IRON. I mean, come-on. Not only that, but a new cast iron tub is at least $1200! I'm not a fan of acrylic tubs. Cheaper yes, but no plastic tubs in my house, thank you very much}. After my insisting, my contractor found a little old man who reglazed it for about $250 and it looks brand-spankin' new. Winning!
So, without further ado, here's my new Master Bath!



Project Renovation: Before & After - Hall Bath

So, yesterday I gave you a little peek into the process of the hall bath. Now, I give you the final results of the hall bathroom! Yay!
As a refresher, here's the before:

And, here's the after:

 The mirror above the sink is original to the house & relocated from the master bathroom. Lantern pendant is from Morocco. Shelf: Pottery Barn. Sconce: Restoration Hardware. Tile: Fireclay Tile. Pedestal sink & toilet: St. Thomas Creations. Wall paint: Dunn Edwards high-gloss in "Deep Sapphire". 


Project Renovation: Hall Bathroom

With a shiver & a ghastly hiss, I give you.... the Hall Bath...

There is nothing nice I can say about this bathroom. Not only was it taking out a sizable chunk of the kitchen,  the toilet was so large that the door smacked the bowl when you tried to enter. The shower was leaking a steady drip accompanied by a petri dish-like floor growing happily in the dim dampness. The sink was molded fiberglass awesomeness. It was even outfitted with a super stylish light fixture, a la Vegas dressing room.
No question. It had to go.
I'll have to show you a floor plan so you can better understand the maze that was my house. {Apologies for the horrible scan quality} On the left we have an utterly complicated mess. On the right, a clean and simple with flow. Like a breath of fresh air.

So, now you know exactly what's going on, here's what happened in a lightning fast 3 image summary... remember, I was out of town for most of this {and again, leaving town is NOT ADVISED}

Looking back, it's kinda crazy the amount of work that was involved with all this.
All the tile in the bathroom is Fireclay Tile. I loved my tile, but unfortunately it took FOREVER to come in.  Usually it takes around 6 weeks. They make amazing stuff and since everything is handmade there can be inconsistencies. They had to completely remake a portion of my order because the quality wasn't up to their standards. So, that tacked on another 2 weeks. So we waited. Finally, it came in and the installers got to work. They were also nice enough to put up a couple of Ceasarstone shelves in the shower that I had made from scraps of the kitchen countertops.

As I've no more mula, dinero, scratch or dough to spend at the moment, there is no shower door. It will be coming later. Because, of course, I have Grand Plans. And naturally, Grand Plans are expensive!
Beeeecause, I want this awesomely amazing wonderful style of shower door:
See? Grand Plans.

Stay tuned! The final before & after pics of the hall bathroom is coming tomorrow!
If you'd like to see my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest, here is is.


Accessorize: Geometrics

Geometrics: they're all over the place. This is in no way a "prediction" post of what is to come, but rather a holy-crap-look-it's-everywhere post. What I love most about the geometric craze, is the variations of it all. Everything from triangles and zigzags in home decor to laser cut and 3D-printed clothing. This time I'm talking about the jewelry (and one clutch). Aren't they awesome?!


Project Renovation: Design*Sponge Feature!

 Check it out, everyone! Such exciting news, my house interior was featured on Design*Sponge a couple weeks ago! Many thanks to the super nice Amy AzzaritoGrace Bonney and all the readers & commenters on the site {and on Instagram} for all the support and lovely words! I've still a lot of decorating & finishing touches to do, and will be adding more detailed posts about the renovation process soon! Renovation been a whirlwind and oftentimes maddening, but one thing's for sure: All said and done, it's all worth it! {my pocketbook may beg to differ, tho}
Check out the full D*S post here
See more of my Project Renovation posts here