The dust has finally settled a bit on our initial remodel of the new house (our full electrical and plumbing overhaul are 95% done) and as the kitchen and bathroom slowly come to life this place is starting to feel more like “home” everyday. Although we have a VERY long way to go until this place really sings, we are focusing the majority of our energies right now on getting the kitchen and bathroom as livable as possible. There will be many photos to come soon of our slow, but steady progress, but for now a few kitchen items that have caught my eye and will gradually be making their way into our space, if they haven’t already.

1. Marble Kitchen Slab : As much as I would have loved for all of our countertops to be marble it just wasn’t in the budget. I’m still thrilled with the butcher block countertops we went with, and as a means of keeping them looking pretty and fresh we are using this pretty marble slab on top of the counter for all of our meal prep.

2. White Subway Tile : This is hands down the thing I’m most excited about when it comes to our kitchen remodel. I plan to do ceiling to floor subway tiling throughout the entire kitchen. Currently looking to this Melbourne home and this San Francisco coffee shop for inspiration.

3. Glass Jars for Pantry : We have really limited storage space in this kitchen so I want to do an open pantry with reclaimed wood shelving and have all of our storables in glass jars. I’ve already purchased a variety of these Ikea jars in the small, medium and large sizes.

4. Turkish Kars Rug : I’m on the hunt for the perfect rug to sit underneath the sink. I want something with fun bright colors to juxtapose the neutral foundation of the white cabinets and appliances and butcher block countertops.

5. Wood Utensils : I’ve collected wood kitchen tools all over the world during my travels and can’t wait to finally have a place to display my collection in pretty canisters on our countertop. I especially love these pretty jobillo wood spoons and these ones too!

6. Copper Pots and Pans : With the majority of our decor budget going down the drain with the plumbing and electrical overhaul (ha! get it!), purchasing these gorgeous copper beauties is a long ways off, but a girl can have a bit of wishful thinking right?

7. Enamel Dishware : I’ve had just a teeny obsession with enamel for a while now, especially this amazing collection at Merci in Paris. I bought one of these pretty almond green bowls last time I was there and am wishing I could have the entire collection for entertaining.

8. Leather Cabinet Pulls : I’ve always been drawn towards kitchens that offers a little something untraditional. I tend to get bored easily with interior decor, and all of the cabinet pulls and nobs I’ve found online never spark much interest for me. For longer than I can remember I’ve envisioned having leather cabinet pulls if we ever got a chance to remodel a kitchen. Now that the cabinets are installed (thank you Adam and Jason!), I’ll be spending next weekend looking for the perfect leather hide to create our new pulls. I like these ones, but feel like for the price I can easily make my own and be just as happy with them. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!

9. Apron Sink : At least 10 people told me it wasn’t possible. To give up the idea, it just wasn’t gonna work with our cabinet choice. Well, guess what? It worked and looks damn good. A BIG thank you to my sweet hubby for not giving up and making that apron farm house sink a reality for us after cutting into the cabinets for the perfect fit. And although we had to wait months to get the darn thing, I’m so grateful this one was a reasonable price!

10. Scented Soy Candle : I love having candles burning throughout the day especially in the kitchen. I fell head over heels in love with these Apotheke soy candles while we were in Brooklyn a few weeks back. They have so many fun scents, including the basil sage mint, tomato and the green tea ginger, all perfect compliments to a kitchen. I brought home the jasmine scent for our living room too!

11. GE Artistry Series Appliances : When we initially started our hunt for new appliances (the house had none in it when we purchased it) I thought we would head in the direction of stainless steel, but none of the appliances we could afford really made me happy. When I randomly stumbled across this white retro looking line from GE, Adam and I both fell madly in love. At the end of the day, we wanted our kitchen to be really clean and neutral in color and these appliances fit right in. We purchased the fridge (my favorite of all of the appliances), the stove, microwave and dishwasher too (hallelujah for that last one!). I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they look.

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A NYC Brunch + Our Weekend.

•  19.May.2014

What?!? It’s Monday again?! I’m seriously not sure why weekends can’t go on and on forever, especially when they include a plethora of amazing sunshine like we’ve been experiencing here in the PNW. Seriously, best place on the planet to live when the sun is out!

We spent our weekend slowly chipping away at some tasks on the house (nothing exciting enough to share on the blog), and were also out and about with a visit to the Ballard Farmer’s Market (pretty much heaven on earth and the closest thing to my memories of the markets in Paris), an evening of wine and chatter with close friends, and a quick jaunt down the street on Sunday morning for the biscuit food truck. Yep – you heard me correctly…fluffy, buttery, covered in gravy…yum, yum…yum! One of the best parts about the new house is that Chuck’s Hop Shop (this would be Adam’s version of heaven on earth) is literally a two-minute walk away and they always have the best food trucks parked out front on the weekends. I feel a new tradition in the making my friends…!!

After five weeks of non-stop projects, I’ll be spending the next couple of days cleaning up the mess of those said projects. Although it may seem that a prop stylists job is complete once the shoot or event is done, that’s hardly the case. Endless returns (props, decor, furniture, borrowed elements), invoicing, re-organizing, unpacking, re-packing, clean up…there is almost more to do after a shoot than before sometimes! Today is all about returns so I’ll be rushing out that door with an arm full of organized loot this afternoon, but before then, I wanted to give you a little peek into a simple brunch I styled a couple week’s back at my friend Anna’s‘s gorgeous pad in NYC.

Her amazing apartment is in the Nolita neighborhood and it was such a joy to see Anna in her element as she whipped up the most amazing and tasty Saturday brunch for some of her closest friends. Anna is working on self publishing her own cookbook (you can learn all about her amazing journey here) and I went to New York to help her execute some fun gatherings, one of which was this simple brunch in her beautiful home. What I took away most from Anna during my time in New York, was her philosophy on sharing oneself with loved ones around our very own dining tables. That not everything has to be perfect; the menu doesn’t have to be grand or elaborate ; really no fuss at all. That a home cooked meal served under the bounty of laughter and conversation of friendship is one of the most important things in life and can actually be simple and beautiful all at once. Some fresh lilac, white ceramics, a new set of linen napkins, a classic menu and of course the yellow table made this particular Saturday incredibly special.

My time with Anna actually inspired me to make community and the art of “gathering” a new priority in our house. We have always used our dining room for something other than a table (my office, additional storage, an extension of the living room) but after being around Anna for a full week, and watching her relish in the beauty of the table and sharing in the simple pleasures of great food cooked at home with friends on a regular basis, I cannot even imagine not making that same experience a priority in our new home.

For more details on this lovely and simple brunch, some fantastic recipes, as well as all the amazing adventures Anna is heading on later this summer be sure to head over to her blog! I’ll also be sharing some fun (and gorgeous!) images from the dinner party I styled for the launch of Anna’s book later this week. Stay tuned!

 

photos by : signe birck.

 2.

Where Oh Where?

•  12.May.2014

Happy Monday ya’ll! Goodness it has been far too long since I last checked in here! The past few weeks have been one gigantic whirlwind with non-stop travel and a plethora of fun new projects (if you follow me on instagram you might have noticed I’ve spent about 7 of the last 45 days at home in Seattle). Paris, Barcelona, Keystone, Denver, New York, Denver again…I feel like I’ve wrapped myself around the globe three times over and am just now slightly coming up for air. The entire experience has been thrilling all at once, but lack of sleep, gross re-circulated airplane air, and a “go-go-go” mentality have definitely started to take their toll. I’ve never been more sleepy in my life and I feel a cold coming on…nooooooo!

I’m trying my best to keep all the avenues of life in tact during these periods of solid work but am seriously falling short on most fronts. Does anyone else ever have this problem?? I feel like sometimes this world of social media gives off the impression that everyone is kicking ass at everything all the time. I mean for those of you mama’s out there (Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way!) who are juggling school schedules, naps, play dates, family dinners AND a business or work schedule I salute you!! Doing it all AND well, is no small feat!

I’m so so excited to share all of the fun collaborations I’ve been working on lately especially after I wrap shoot 8/8 this Wednesday. I’ll have a couple days off (yay!) before jumping right back into work mode again, and I’m hoping during those moments of calm I can spend a whole lot more time tucked into my cozy bed and a whole lot more time here on this blog with you. I snapped this shot after wrapping a fun shoot I styled for True North Coffee Roasters this week, and I can’t help but stare at this image and wish it was me leisurely reading the paper this morning. I’m jetting out the door to source some final props and furniture for an upcoming shoot with BHLDN this week, but will check back in soon!

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A favorite image from a shoot I styled a few months back for Mount Townsend Creamery. Cause why wouldn’t cheese styling be my idea of a perfect work day? If you ever get a chance to taste some of Mount Townsend’s cheeses you won’t regret it. Promise.

 

Photography by Rina Jordan. Tags by Julia Manchik. Food and Prop Styling by Jenn Elliott Blake.

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Birthday by Pancake.

•  22.April.2014

I turned another year older yesterday and it got me thinking about my ideal birthday celebration. Although I spend most of my time brainstorming and dreaming up ways to celebrate special occasions for others, I rarely enjoy actually doing so for myself. Adam never fails to ask me year after year what I want to do for my birthday though and I usually answer with one large empty sigh and a big melodramatic : “N-O-T-H-I-N-GGGG”. Now don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my nearest and dearest, and eating just-out-of-the-oven cake is just about my most favorite thing to do, but celebrating turning another year older just gets to be more and more of a drag as the numerals increase each year, ya know?

So in an effort to rid myself of my Eeyore-like birthday tendencies, I decided to get excited about turning another year older for once! With the help of Bing Rewards and my sweet friend Rina, I set out to plan my most ideal spring birthday celebration complete with a cake with a twist. I wanted to mix it up this year and create an untraditional birthday cake : cue in the pancake! Ever since I got back from Europe last week I’ve had a mad craving for pancakes. Maybe it’s because I just ate enough french croissants and crepes to float home across the Atlantic, but a good old fluffy home-style pancake seemed like just the way to curb my birthday sweet tooth!

But first I had to find a way to create those perfect and fluffy cakes. Oh and of course get those much-needed party supplies as well : cake stand, candles, inspiration for decor, flowers, ya know, the essentials! Luckily using Bing as my research tool, I set out to find a recipe for the fluffiest pancake. One of my favorite features of Bing is their image search which can easily be accessed right from my iPhone. Not only can you set out to search anything and everything, but you can also seek out images by color, category or even those which are copyright protected! Amazing right?

For this particular celebration, I simply wanted a pancake that not only tasted good, but looked good too – therefore the images available via Bing were key! In the midst of searching for that perfect cake, I also used Bing to search for information related to farmers market hours (on Easter Sunday I picked up all my pretty spring assortment of flowers from the Ballard Farmers Market) and the ingredients I would need for my frosting glaze.

Did you know that each time you search via Bing you can rack up points through Bing Rewards and in turn use them to acquire gift cards?! Yes! – you heard that correctly – just by searching for party decor inspiration & the perfect pancake recipe online, I accumulated points which in turn allow me to acquire gift cards for amazing party decor and supplies via websites like Amazon! How awesome is that, right?! Hello pretty white cake stand! Uh, let’s just say Bing Rewards is now this prop stylists new best friend.

I found an entertaining video here and set out to make my cake. With the help of my adorable husband who stayed home to help me master the art of the pancake, we found that like the video mentioned, folding in the whipped egg white vs. just adding the whole egg in at once did make for a fluffier (is that even a word?) cake. We also added chocolate chips and coconut flakes to the mix to add a special sweetness to my pancakes, which I sourced from one of my favorite local shops Delaurenti’s in Pike Place Market. I finished my pancake cake off with a simple powdered sugar + milk glaze on top, and some fresh berries to make my cake layers.

And what party is a party without some pretty decor? Since spring is in full swing in Seattle I loved the idea of incorporating a pretty floral palette, especially since Easter is still on the brain and today is Earth Day! I created a simple garland using the buds of my favorite spring flowers (including some heaven smelling lilac from our front yard, twine, tiny clothespins and washi tape) and also assembled a charming arrangement to be buddies with my cake. Mango orange juice with a touch of champagne in pretty french glasses and voila! My perfect spring celebration, just in time for my birthday. Simple, fresh and sweet.

Photography by Rina Jordan. Styling, concept and floral design by Jenn Elliott Blake.

I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.

 7.

Friday Reality + A Few Links.

•  18.April.2014

I woke at 4am once again to the sound of raindrops against our bedroom window and the ache of severe jet lag. Both my pounding headache and the sweet sound of nature made me realize instantly that I’m back in the land of reality.

After spending an amazing two weeks abroad creating, brainstorming & dreaming with close friends, I’ve returned home to a plethora of exciting upcoming projects lumped together with the sheer mania of continued home repairs. We still don’t have a functioning kitchen or bathroom and there are boxes and boxes of stuff in every corner of the house (you are correct in assuming we haven’t even started unpacking yet!). Working from home in the midst of a full remodel is no small feat let me tell ya. I find myself engaging in constant daydreaming just to escape the harsh reality that life is a bit of a mess right now with no end in sight.

It has been a bit challenging to balance home and work life lately and Fridays these day’s don’t feel like Fridays much at all. With Saturdays and Sundays spent fighting the crowds at Ikea, repainting walls and attempting to make just one room in our home “livable” weekends feel like a whole lotta work these days. Looking forward to the day when we can just enjoy the beauty of homeownership, but in the mean time I’m just gonna keep channeling those quiet afternoons people watching at a cafe along the streets of Paris.

In the midst of returning home to the real world, a few links around the web that caught my eye this week:

1. Embarrassed to admit it, but I watched this video at least 15+ times this week. You’re welcome.

2. If you aren’t already watching this show it’s a must. I’m so addicted and have been for years. Revenge has never been so entertaining.

3. So excited to have my own chance to navigate the NYC floral markets for a fun dinner party this month with Anna.

4. If I could have one thing for my birthday next week, it would be one of these amazing classes. Too bad their all sold out through AUGUST!

5. Ummmm seriously, how did I not know about this show?? Thanks for introducing me to my new-found obsession Jill!

6. I can’t believe Easter is right around the corner! Loving this adorable egg decorating idea. Way to think outside the box Kelly!

Happy holiday weekend friends!

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Over the past few years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel more times than I could ever have imagined I would in my entire life. When I was a kid, we rarely traveled unless for a summer road trip that only happened every few years. So whenever I get a chance to pack up for a flight somewhere fun for work or play, I’m always eager to find a way to make it happen. And as I’ve become more and more accustomed to traveling, often traveling even very last-minute, the whole packing thing has become sort of a no-stress affair. I’ve come to realize that no matter what you pack, you’ll always end up wishing you’d brought something (that perfect red dress for a dinner at THAT restaurant) or wish you’d left something at home (those shoes that gave you walking blistering just 2o minutes into the trip). So now, I just kind of throw things in a bag and hope for the best really. For this particular trip to France this week, I’m currently coveting a few items that are essential to a comfortable and enjoyable adventure abroad.

 

pretty colorful flats from madewell (so you can look stylish while running to catch the metro) | dry shampoo by oscar blandi (perfect for those travel days when you’re on the go – I use it even on freshly washed hair to increase volume) | new passport (mine was finally expired & needed a name change) | comfy sweater from steven alan (one of those throw on and go options for chilly nights) | scarf from we are owls (can double as a pillow or eye cover on those long flights) | across the shoulder messenger from zara (make sure it has a zipper to ward off pickpockets) | digital camera from fuji film (i’ve been pining for a new not too bulky digital camera for easy travel) | lightweight jacket from jcrew (one that matches everything and will ward off unexpected afternoon weather changes) | packable hat from moorea seal (for those days you just don’t wanna fuss with your hair) | rose perfume from fragonard (i don’t wear perfume daily but I can never buy enough of this stuff to bring home while I’m in Paris)

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Creating in Color.

•  28.March.2014

Living through the dark and dreariness of winter in the PNW takes a bit of a toll on your mood. Okay a BIG toll! For me this also leads to this overwhelming desire to live and create with some pretty dark & organic, moody & muted colors – if you saw this dinner I styled back in January you know exactly what I mean. So when a winter trip to Palm Springs offered the opportunity to escape the cold and get inspired to create with color I went a little bananas (okay actually a little pineapple!) . . .

One of the goals and intentions for me in attending Meet Make Do was to create without hesitation. To gaze over a pile of craft & floral materials and within a few hours conceptualize, create, and execute a design with someone whom I had just met. I was fortunate enough that sweet Ashley of the amazing blog Sugar and Cloth was kind enough to partner up with me for this tabletop design. Within minutes of putting our heads together we were already cutting fabric and whipping out the hot glue guns. Ashley had the brilliant idea to create a geometric hanging floral arrangement, so I got to work on creating a fun and colorful table setting to ground her gorgeous work. I was flabbergasted by how quickly and how fun it can be to create on the fly! I typically tend to be one of those people who plans things out weeks (at least days!) in advance but for this project we literally created the entire thing and shot it within just a few hours time.

Earlier that morning I had gone on a solo walk around the neighborhood where we were staying, and was inspired by the beautiful and rich colors of the Bougainvillea that seemed to cascade over the walls in every yard. As I alluded to above, I haven’t been drawn towards bold colors recently, so I was excited to push myself to create with some cheery and bright elements. There was this fantastic mid-century looking mustard fabric that complemented my chosen floral palette just right, and which instantly became my makeshift napkins. I hand-stitched a simple knotted row of thread along the bottom of the napkins to play off the arrangements and that magenta color I had been inspired by that morning. I found some pretty linen from our craft closet which I cut and ironed into a quick table runner.

When I think of Palm Springs, I always think of gold and sequins…not sure why exactly, but something about the place just feels all hollywood and glamorous to me. Therein lies the inspiration for the sequined chargers. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever used sequins in one of my designs, but I wanted to go a bit out of my comfort zone and create something with them. Using a sparkly gold sequined fabric, I cut out circle shapes to create fabric chargers. The edges aren’t perfect, but hello people! – whipped those puppies up in just a few short minutes! I love how their texture ended up popping off the table. They paired perfectly with those pretty gold and copper vases.

I probably had the most fun creating the peppy floral arrangements even foraging a few buds from around the yard itself. The majority of the gorgeous flowers were so kindly provided by Flower Muse and kept me captivated for hours. Aren’t those roses & tulips insane?!?!

For tips on how to DIY your own geometric hanging floral pendants & some additional photos from the day, head over to Sugar & Cloth for a full tutorial!

As for that pineapple vase?? It’s easier than it looks I promise : 1. Find a cute (and tall) pineapple. 2. Remove the prickly stem by cutting a hole large enough in the top to hold the diameter of a tall drinking glass or vase. 3. Hallow out the pineapple by cutting out all of the yellow fruit inside making sure to leave enough of the hard pineapple core on the sides to keep it sturdy and strong. 4. Put aside the fruit bits and juices for later to make a smoothie! 5. Squeeze a glass or plastic cup or vase the size of the cut out portion of the pineapple into the center of the hallowed fruit, making sure the container does not peek over the rim of the top of the pineapple too much. 6. Add water to the cup or vase for the flowers to drink. 7. Drop a floral frog or some chicken wire into the bottom of the cup or vase to help secure your arrangement. 8. Assemble your floral arrangement paying special attention to the edges where you want to cover up any places where you might see the lip of the glass or vase peeking above the pineapple. 9. Place on tabletop and enjoy!

For a bunch of other fun tutorials, DIY’s and pictures that blossomed from Meet Make Bing check out these fun posts by some of the other gals who attended or the hashtag #meetmakebing :

- A fun pop-up balloon message DIY from Kelly over at Studio DIY

- The perfect prank for April Fool’s from Brittany over at The House that Lars Built

- Adorable DIY letter pillows from Chelsea over at Lovely Indeed

- A life size putting green from Lexy over at The Proper Pinwheel

- These pretty floral wreaths from Brittni over at Paper & Stitch

 

- images by Mary Costa Photography - pretty tableware provided by West Elm - post and event sponsored by Bing - all thoughts & opinions are my own.

 

 4.

A Return To Paris.

•  26.March.2014

Although the trip has been planned or anticipated for longer than I can remember, I have yet to mention yet on the blog (or even to practically anyone in my life) that I’ll be heading back to Paris next week. I think all the mayhem with the house over the past few months made me fear this trip abroad might have to be shelved; pushed so far off the back burner that my Paris devoted heart would not only break but shatter into a million little pieces. I was afraid to potentially admit that this decision to purchase a home might just have done the one thing I didn’t want it to do – prevent us from having the ability to travel.

I’ve mentioned it many times before but Paris is that one place in the world that I ache for. It creates a sense of nostalgia unmatched by any other place I’ve been. Ever since I was little I have always had an extremely visceral reaction to even the idea of the city of lights. It wasn’t until our honeymoon that I had my first experience with the city, but immediately upon stepping foot into my first French cafe, it has been the place that makes me feel free, alive, confident. I can barely even speak a full sentence in French without stumbling over my words and second guessing myself, but even if I went and stayed in the city and engaged in complete silence for weeks, I would still feel most at home in Paris.

I anticipate this might just be my last trip to this wonderful city for a really long time. I know some people never even get a single opportunity to visit this beautiful place, so I know I am immensely blessed to be returning for the seventh time. I’ll be meeting up with one of my dearest friends Grant, a person whose kindness and ability to view the world with boy wonderment makes me feel like anything is possible. I’ll also be reconnecting with wonderful Anne who is so graciously and kindly providing me with a place to rest my head at night. I can’t wait to see these two again! I’ll also be making new creative connections, including Jill whom I’ve looked forward to connecting with for longer than I can remember. Jill, Grant and I are already cooking up some fun collaborative projects while I’m in town and I can’t wait to share them with all of you when I return.

For now, as I gear up for the packing phase of my upcoming trip, I’m sharing some cherished images from my dearest friend Michael. He captured these shots during our time together in Paris in the fall of 2012, and every time I look at them I’m immediately transported back to all the fun we had and how much personal growth I experienced during this adventure with close friends.

I’ll definitely be sharing images of next week’s Parisian adventures on my instagram feed and will be coming back home to share here too. Any favorite Paris spots I must check out?? I always gravitate towards those that are tried and true, but I would love some tips for some new places!

 

images captured by mr. michael newsted.

 5.

Kitchen Inspiration : HGTV.

•  24.March.2014

I’ve been meaning to post these photos for a long while, but am so excited I refrained from sharing them until now. As we are attempting to make our new house into something we can be excited and proud of, I’ve been on the hunt for kitchen inspiration for a long while (I talked about our initial thoughts here) and this kitchen really falls in line with what we have in mind for our own space.

I’ve been really struck by minimal lines and neutral colors lately, and an all white kitchen with butcher block countertops & white subway tiles is really all I can think about. I love how fresh and clean it looks – makes me inspired to cook dinners at home…yay finally! I had the pleasure of assisting the ever so talented Chelsea Fuss during this shoot for HGTV over a year back, even brining along some of my own props for the shoot, and Lisa Warninger did such a fantastic job (she’s so amazing!) of capturing the beauty of this kitchen remodel. Working with these two ladies was such a pleasure and I remember feeling so warm and happy in this kitchen while we were working. It felt so perfectly simple to me.

For more details of this shoot be sure to head to HGTV for the before and after photos of the remodel – I mean how cute is that little window?!

 

images by lisa warninger. styling by chelsea fuss. styling assistance jenn elliott blake.

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