Tuesday, August 31, 2010

See Ya Summer

While my calendar may tell me differently, it only seems fitting to consider the last day of August the official end of Summer.  Like most transitions, saying goodbye to watermelon popsicles, poolside days, and tank tops and hello to caramel apples, bonfires and cardigans is bittersweet.  But whether you’ve been waiting for relief from the heat since May or you’ve already started your countdown to Summer 2011, it would do you good to spend today soaking up the last of Summer’s sweet offerings.  Do a little reading on your patio before dinner, treat your family to an ice cream surprise or cook up an unquestionably Summer dish like a grilled corn and tomato salad.  Summer is such an enlivening season- it deserves to be celebrated!  If nothing else, take advantage of the Summer to Fall sales events going on!  You may have to store the best deals until the sun comes out next year, but if the price is right it’s worth doing.  Check out a few of the price cuts that caught our eye.

West Elm

Z Gallerie



Pier 1

Monday, August 30, 2010

When Fringe Means Fabulous

It’s hard to hear the phrase ‘fringe curtains’ and not instantly think of hippie beads or metallic birthday décor- neither of which are good.  But believe it or not, fringe can actually be incorporated into a space without dating it or weakening it’s style…in fact, it can really enhance the level of chic in a room!  Because it’s a little bit of an out there concept, it’s best to stick with a reasonable color palate when making your selections.  Dial down the crazy by allowing the fringe to blend into the space rather than contrast heavily.  Use the idea of fringe curtains add emphasis to an area, to loosely partition off a space, or even in lieu of window shades.  Not sure how to pull the look off?  Check out a few rooms that got it right. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gadgets I Never Knew I Always Wanted

My love affair with ridiculous kitchen gadgets started the first moment I laid eyes on the Magic Bullet infomercial.  Convinced it would change my life, I hounded my Dad until he bought one.  As is the case with most kitchen gadgets, the item bound to simplify every breakfast, lunch and dinner sat on the counter and gathered dust.  You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson, but I’m still just as enamored as I was way back when.  Buying superfluous items for your kitchen can occasionally be really fun- here are a couple worth checking out.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Smile Like You Mean It

I know the secret to happiness.  You didn’t see that one coming via design blog, huh?  But it’s true…I found it.  Now brace yourselves, because here it is: your level of happiness has less to do with what’s happening around and to you than it has to do with what’s happening inside you.  The truth is, happiness is born in your thought life…it’s why so many rich and famous people are miserable while plenty of underprivileged folks in desperate situations are pressing on with enthusiasm.  I’m not talking about mindless affirmations or disingenuous cheer…I’m talking about real, ear to ear grin inducing joy…born from a heart that chooses it.  Now, there’s no additional charge for my two cents on life…but believe it or not, the concept of choosing to be happy and thankful has it’s place in home decor.  Sometimes we need a few “reminders” to chin up incorporated into the design of our space…whether it’s in the form of pictures, art, or even a specific color.  Of course everything varies from person to person, but I tend to accomplish this through displaying pictures of those close to me, as well as various decorative items that help me feel connected to my loved ones (cigar boxes from my Dad, a matchbook from my Grandfather’s favorite restaurant, etc.).  Every time I walk in my house I can’t help but think of the special people in my life...it’s like a recipe for cheer.  If you require something a little more literal, than check out the Etsy shop of Vol25, an adorable artist whose work is filled with uplifting quotes, doodles and other smile-inducing goodies.  Visit her shop by clicking here to see her complete collection of prints, but first check out my favorites below.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dorm Days are Here!

When it comes down to it, there are some people we choose to invite into our lives, some we decide to distance ourselves from, and a small group we are essentially stuck with whether we like it or not.  The latter of these troupes is made up of your parents, siblings, offspring, extended family…and the stranger you’re randomly assigned to share a 6x6 living space with your freshman year, otherwise known as your first college roommate.  Whether you like it or not, you are a part of each others’ lives.  It just so happens I hit the jackpot across the board in the mandatory relationship department…from immediate family to distant relatives I wouldn’t change a thing.  Same goes for Lauren, the energetic ballerina from Chattanooga that Lee University fortuitously assigned to the other half of Sharp Hall’s room 207 in 2003.  Lauren was a fantastic partner in crime throughout my college experience and I’m thankful we’ve remained friends over the years since graduation.  She recently brought an awesome site to my attention that we would’ve gone bonkers for back in the day called Lovely Undergrad.   Even though it’s too late for us to utilize the tips and tricks, we wanted to pass them on to the next generation of college roomies.  You can search dorm décor by color or style, try a do-it-yourself project, find tips on getting organized and small space solutions, and then some.  There’s even a great section that highlights real dorm rooms.  Here are some of my faves.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canopy Style

Until recently, when I envisioned the type of space that’s compatible with a canopy bed, I saw something very one-note.  What I failed to realize is that canopy beds come in literally hundreds of different styles and shapes that harmonize beautifully with a wide array of design concepts.  Since your bed is a guaranteed focal point in your bedroom, a canopy is a fantastic way to create some drama or just give it a little extra oomph.  And while some looks are less guy-friendly in style than others, there are definitely options that appeal to even the most masculine steak eating, Home Depot loving, ESPN watching alpha male.  Check out a few of these different styles and shoot us an email for more information on any of the following.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Inner Circle of Online Shoppers (& Your Invitation to Join)

The world of online shopping is a place with no closing times, no lines, and a “virtual mall” that goes on forever…as if that wasn’t dangerous enough, I have discovered it’s “happy hour”.  Come 12:00 noon Eastern time (11:00am Central) the most fantastic sales on the most brilliant sites begin.  While I strongly maintain I’m not a shop-a-holic, if you twisted my arm I might have to admit to having a few of the symptoms.  That being said, if setting an alarm to alert me when the daily sales begin is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.  I’ve mentioned Gilt Groupe in a few of my previous posts, though their sales are so unreal I’m tempted to bring them up nearly every day.  They specialize in insanely discounted designer clothing, accessories and home décor and offer sales that are short but brilliant.  The even better news is they are not alone!  I’ve been assembling a repertoire of killer sites with similar offerings, so keep visiting us at design-muse.com to stay in the loop.  Today, I’m thinking you need to know about Ideeli…they offer the same types of great brands and ridiculous prices as Gilt...oftentimes with even more reasonable prices.  I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do.  As of about three hours ago (the previously aforementioned “happy hour”, to be exact), the new sales on both Gilt and Ideeli launched.  Both sites are free but offer short sales and are open to members only so the sooner you sigh up, the less likely you are to miss out.  Click here to register for Gilt and here to register for Ideeli at our invitation.  All their sales are impressive, but I was particularly taken by the Marlo Lorenz throw pillows that went on sale at Ideeli today.  Check out these vibrant selections from her Pretty Pillows, Chanda, Gita and Hamsa collections.