Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen Edition

"Shots" would look perfect in any kitchen and quite an inspiration for a good baker!

This posting should really be titled: "I will accept any of these items with open arms", but alas, it is not. It's officially the holiday season now that we've pushed past Thanksgiving (I still have tons of leftovers, YUM), it's time to think about the season of giving no matter what you celebrate! Here are some great gift ideas for the kitchen.

I received these as a gift from my sister a few years ago and i will never forget how delicious, flaky, and buttery these croissants were. I wish I had some right now. From Williams Sonoma for $39.

I'm pretty sure that I gave this to my mother last year for her birthday as one of those gifts that says "I really want to keep this for myself but I guess you can have it." I love Italian food and the recipes that my mother has made so far have been so delish. Urban Italian from is only $23 but I suggest buying it from your local independent bookstore...

I seem to have started a collection of aprons from Anthropologie. I keep getting them as gifts and I'm not even sorry--they're adorable! The Twittering Tea Time apron is $28.

I just straight up need this. Le Creuset Mortar and Pestle from Bloomingdales for $38.

This is the perfect little colander for one serving of pasta and is the perfect size for a tiny New York kitchen. Also from Anthropologie for $12.

These jute wine bottle bags are perfect for a gift of wine! A set of four from Wisteria for $19.

This scalloped edge silver bowl is so gorgeous. It would be perfect for a little display of ornaments, or grapefruits in the kitchen! From Eddie Ross's Etsy Shop for $55.

I'm always offending people with my current bottle opener from college and this would be the perfect upgrade... I love keys too! The Castle Key bottle opener from Anthropologie for $12.

The Brook Farm General store has so much to offer, these hand towels being one of them. They are 100 % cotton and only $18.

How adorable and vintage is this VINTAGE ice bucket!? I love the round shape of it--perfect for the Holiday Cocktail party from Brook Farm General Store for $55.

Two things I love: objects in miniature and organizational goods! These mini numbered spice jars take care of both of my needs. Digit spice jars for $5 from Anthropoligie.

I love giving gifts just as much as I love to receive them but I'm sure these will all be big hits! I'm hoping to do a guide for every area of your life but we shall see. Happy Monday!

Alicia B.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sneak Peak of my Photo Show!

This weekend has been extremely relaxing but busy nonetheless. I had an entire corporate residence to design, math homework (eek), my little sister to spend lots of quality time with, and Black Friday deals to attend to! I got a moment to swing by and check up on my photography show in at Millrace Books in Farmington, CT and would love to share some of it with you!

It is set up in the gallery space of a small independent bookstore in the town where I grew up. I used to ride my bike there and get the latest American Girl books. Now I just love independent bookstores; they have such character. Above is a short description of my work!

The show is centered mainly around water. I love to photograph water.

Growing up in New England though, nothing quite gets me like nature or a beautiful sunset.

This one here was taken down on the Connecticut shore over the Fourth of July.

The show is up for one more month at Millrace Books, but this month really flies! I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to show my work to more than just my family and friends. You know, photography makes a great gift, too! If you want to check out more, go for a day trip to Farmington, or take a look at my website,

Alicia B.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling Thankful

This is the season to be thankful. We all have had quite a year with many ups and downs but we made it! Now is the time to just relax and enjoy the moment if you're with family or friends. Think about what you are most thankful for in the world. For me, it's my loving family, my amazing supportive friends, and my health. On the design side, I'm thankful for my blog, my great readers and commenters (you guys COMPLETE ME), my school, just plain good design, and my job! Here are some other silly things that I'm thankful for--because there are so many!

Yes, I'm thankful for the color yellow. I believe I've mentioned my love for yellow before but nothing puts a smile on my face and warms my heart like the color yellow. This living room by Mary McDonald.
I'm also thankful for throw pillows. I love to make them, look at them, lean up against them, and buy them too! Isn't this one fun? It's from Anthropologie: The Waterloo Pillow.

I'm thankful for girly sophisticated dresses like this one! I just bought it in black for a holiday party in December. Silk Taffeta bow dress!

Painted furniture and gorgeous bedrooms. This one is by James Michael Howard.

I'm thankful for Country music. Isn't Taylor Swift adorable? Don't judge me but ALL of her songs are great!

Stuffing is my favorite thing for Thanksgiving. Nothing compares to the way my mother makes it and I've been known to by accident (on purpose) eat an entire pan of this delicious stuff! HERE is Martha's Chestnut and Apple stuffing. I bet it's DELISH.

What are you guys thankful for? I'm so excited to go home for Thanksgiving--it's actually one of my favorite holidays! I've been put in charge of the mashed potatoes this year and I'm going to make Herb and Rosemary Mashed potatoes (recipe from Martha Stewart), so they better be good! Have an amazing Thanksgiving everybody and please find SOMETHING to be thankful for!

ALSO: If you're looking for something to do over the weekend and you're in CT, please visit the Millrace Bookshop in Farmington and see my photography show! They will be open over the weekend! For more photos see

Alicia B.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Zippy bedrooms want your attention.

In the latest House Beautiful I was completely taken by Mary McDonald's home that she designed in LA. In regard to the incredible bedroom she said, "People have rules about bedrooms, that they're always supposed to be soft and pastel. Why can't they be zippy and vibrant?" I thought to myself, "You know Mary McDonald, you really have a point there." Here are some zip-tastic bedrooms.

Vibrant yellow and busy wallpaper everywhere, I've always loved looking at this bedroom. Via Ooh La La Blog.

In this somewhat simple bedroom by Sheila Bridges, she uses a bright green to jazz up the room. The contrast of the black, white and green makes this room quite exciting.

This color blue is gorgeous! I especially like the bold color wall with the busy bedspread. I bet that allows you to use more than one duvet cover and change the room if you so desire. From Living Etc.
Leave it to Jamie Drake to deliver a bright bedroom. Pinks and purples are everywhere you look.
Sixx Design. The bare bones of this room are quite tame, but with the drapery fabric and upholstered bed and the large scale color filled painting over the bed you are not bored.

At first glance, these rooms do nothing but delight me. There is so much to look at and bright colors to distract me. Personally though, I prefer a calmer color palette in my own bedroom. I have blue/grey walls and a simple white matelasse bedspread. There is still plenty to look at: books, pretty lamps, photographs and art work on my walls. I think Mary McDonald makes a valid point. We see so many whimsical and calming bedrooms, why not have an energetic and jazzy one? It certainly stands out.

Alicia B.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Faves

It's Friday again--time for Friday Faves! I have actually taken the day off to go up to Boston to see my younger sister play squash! She plays on a men's team (there isn't a women's team) and beats them all the time! I'm pretty excited to cheer her on. I'm loving on this winter/November feeling, clothing wise and design wise.

I love this grey toned outfit from J Crew. Tweedy skirt? UM yeah. Gold belt? totes. FURRY CLUTCH? Mine.

Stella and Dot is my new fave place for fun jewelry. Its fun, affordable, and SO pretty. This Sophia Pearl Bib Necklace is only $118.

And now for some interiors. I love the drama in this room but at the same time it's quite cozy. The pair of wing chairs is one of my faves--check out the design on front. Details like that are something that really matter in an interior. Plus who doesn't want a mini wheelbarrow on their coffee table? Photography by Emily J. Followill.

This bobbin chair is absolutely gorgeous to start but the whole scene is so dynamic with the colorful painting, tiny bookcase, and pretty throw pillow. Courtney Giles.

I'm off to Boston now but I will be stopping off first to see my photography show in Farmington, CT. I hope you all get a chance to stop by if you're in the area or even if you're not, you could take a flight into Hartford (New England's Rising Star) and check out The Millrace Bookstore and see my photography. Tell me if you go! Also, what are your plans for the weekend? Anything design related? Design-wise, I'm going to help my mother pick out a color for a painted bookcase!

Alicia B.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autumnal Reds

A friend, and one of my most loyal readers, sent me the most beautiful flowers on Monday. They are red roses mixed with red berries and a smaller red/orange rose. I loved the colors and they are the inspiration for this post. Reds and oranges are a perfect color for the season and they flow right into the next season: HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS!!

Amanda Nisbet makes this orangey red the dominant color in the room with lots of curtains in this color. I'd love a little throw like that one in that warm orange color.

Sharon Simonaire. The chair is quite eye catching int hat color but what I'm most drawn to are the paisley framed art works. So gorgeous and unexpected.

Cheryl Tague is just perfection as a designer. Her designs are simple yet so sophisticated and look very gracious.

Bierly Drake. This living room looks so warm as well. Did you know that velvet is coming back? Well, I read a lot of fashion magazines over the weekend, and it is. This velvet slipper chair is the perfect shade of faded pomegranate.

Alex Papachristidis has the perfect mix of reds and greens. This green desk with gold accents and little pops of reds in the painting, the file folder, the chair, and the coral is so delightful.

Over the past weekend I went to visit my sisters in Chicago and the holidays are everywhere there! People sure are rushing the season forward but why put off something that makes everyone feel happy and in a good mood? I love these colors (though I sort of have a fear of red), but they are fun and warm feeling. If getting a gorgeous bouquet of flowers makes me realize this, then so be it. They're so gawwgeous!

Alicia B.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Faves

Well, I'll spare you the gory details but let's just say I'm glad it's Friday. For Friday faves I'd just like to point out that it is not yet Thanksgiving and there is Christmas decor in stores already, and it's EVERYWHERE! Isn't it customary to wait until after we are thankful to start thinking about the season of giving? I'd say yes. I'm still in the Autumn mindset so I bought some bittersweet berries yesterday and my apartment looks great and seasonal! Let's enjoy the current season before we have to rush into the next one, shall we?

How can you rush past Thanksgiving when you have a cute little pine cone decoration like this one? This turkey decoration is so cute! And it looks so simple to do...

I attempted a mini version of this wreath and let me just say that it doesn't look a thing like this. Oh well. If you want to give it a go, be my guest! HERE are the instructions.

When I bought the bittersweet berries, it was especially strange because the only times I've gotten them was when I ran out into my back yard and collected them from the woods. Buying them seemed wrong. Well, I'm headed home now for some for the long weekend. Please no holiday and more specifically Christmas music until two weeks from now? Thanks. Have amazing weekends! I hope you all eat pumpkin flavored things, collect pretty colored leaves from the sidewalk, or try out different stuffing recipes in prep for Thanksgiving!

ALSO, my photography show starts today in Farmington, CT! If you're in the area (presumably admiring the amazing foliage), please visit the Millrace Bookstore and see my photography! The show runs from today to the end of the year, which is fast approaching. Thanks!

Alicia B.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farmhouse Sink Love

When I grow up and have a large converted farmhouse, my first order of business in the kitchen is to have a farmhouse sink. I just adore them. They look soft, smooth, luxurious and beautifully country.

Usually when I think of a farmhouse sink, I think white glazed ceramic. I do love this stainless steel one though. By Ruthie Somers via House Beautiful.

Woah I adore this. This might rival my favorite kitchen ever by Joan Schindler. I know those are strong words but this is so spacious and calming looking. From Living etc.
Gil Shafer can pretty much do no wrong in my book. Painted floors in a kitchen? LOVE IT. Painted interior cabinets? LOVE THEM. Farmhouse sink? You get the gist.

Via Simplified Bee. You can use many different materials for the same idea. I wonder how well copper holds up in a kitchen though...

Kyle Timothy took something pretty traditional looking and made it super edgy! I love this look-it's so chic with the glass tiles on the backsplash and this modern looking farmhouse sink.

I'm not sure if its the fact that it looks like a tiny tub, or how well it looks with a sweet country kitchen but I must have a farmhouse sink one day. I love how it extends down into the cabinetry below it too. Do any of ya'll have one? Is it everything I think it is?

Alicia B.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This past weekend I was meant to go to Philly to see my friends and their new baby but various parties got sick so the trip was canceled. I was bummed to be sure but I made the situation better by making pillows! Sometimes you just have to sew.

They are pretty much temporary until I can find the right fabric that I really want to work with but I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I'm going to attach a big button to the back where the opening is to jazz these up.

Alicia B.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Faye Toogood is IT.

Among other things this weekend, I finally had a chance to read the Sunday Times! I love just relaxing with a cup of tea and slowly making my way through the paper, but I rarely have time. In the NY Times Magazine (special design issue!), I came across this incredibly talented designer and stylist, Faye Toogood. Her last name basically says it all, because she's fantastic.

Apparently, while she was working for World of Interiors she went stealth underground and started her own business; designing windows for Liberty, and Dover Street Market's shoe department.

I'm obsessed with this little scene with the overscale necklace on the vanity and of course that window. Obsessed.

Remember when I said she was fantastic? Literally, her scenes have a huge element of fantasy.

Soon after she started doing her "under the radar" work, a sort of buzz began and more jobs followed. I can see why.

At World of Interiors she was feeling inhibited by the magazine layout (2-D) and needed to literally bust out of the page. Mainly, she's doing exhibitions spaces and displays but just got her first interiors space for the owner of The Rug Company.

Is this not gorgeous looking? Faye is only 32 years old and is so talented and has such depth to her design.

The two most important elements to her are color and texture. Her scenes are very tactile and vibrant. This one is very ethereal.

I'm quite glad I didn't discontinue my subscription, this week at least, to the NYTimes. Visit her website for more. There is so much there that I didn't post on here and all of it is amazing and inspiring. Studio Toogood.

Alicia B.