5 Simple & Sincere Sweetest Day Gifts Under $35


Forgot about Sweetest Day, ahem, tomorrow? No need to panic. Here are five super sweet gifts for your sweetie that all ring in under $35 and can easily be found in your local stores.

1. Put it in Words. Nothing says “I love you” like a heartfelt, handwritten, love letter. Leave one on the mirror for your sweetheart to find first thing in the morning. (If you’re leaving it for your man, bonus points if it’s in lipstick and sealed with a kiss.) Or hide love notes in throughout their daily routine — in their sock drawer, on the fridge, in the laundry basket, under their keyboard, on their dashboard, etc.

2. Skip the Flowers. Flowers fade fast. To show your love will continue to grow, choose a showy plant instead with blooms that last. Orchids and begonias are great picks that can often be found in your local grocery store. Tie a ribbon around it, and you’re set.

3. Make A Mix CD. Tell your love story through a series of tunes or share your new favorite tracks that make you think of them. Score bonus points by putting it on as dance music after a romantic dinner.

4. Give them Bubbly. Both sexy and sweet, bubble bath — Lollia makes a great one — shows you want to take care and soothe them as much as you want to, well, you know. Throw in some champagne to really set the mood.

5. Blow them Away. Wow them with a room filled with balloons. To take it over the top, tie a reason why you love them onto every balloon.


permalink | Posted in fun

A Parisian Kitchen

source: Dave Shea
source: Betty Lou Phillips

When you switch your flight last minute, you can’t be choosey. You get whatever flights are available, which in our case meant a 10 hour layover in Paris. Yes, 10 hours. Luckily those 10 hours started at 10:00 am. So instead of spending them cursing airport chairs, we whittled away our time walking the streets of Paris.

And it was stunningly beautiful. The absolute perfect fall day — bright blue skies, puffy white clouds and people everywhere enjoying the crisp, cool breeze.

After meandering in and out of shops, we stopped to eat lunch in the gardens outside the Louvre. While sprawled on the lawn, Brent asked, “What do you think of Parisian architecture?”

I looked around, and the first thing that popped to mind was, “The mixture of metals and the exquisite details.”

Everywhere you go in Paris, you can find stunning metal work. Railings. Gates. Bridges. Doors. And more often than not, the metal is mixed to highlight and draw attention to the stunning intricacy and details of the metal work. And while I love the way it looks outside, I think its most stunning use is in the kitchen.

There’s no better way to bring a touch of paris to your kitchen than mixing metals. The most common way to do so is with a mixed metal hood or stove, as seen above and below.

I find mixed metal hoods and stoves extremely sexy yet refined, like fine, French lingerie. The details are structured and streamlined leading the eye to appreciate the beauty of the shape. It’s beauty in the simplicity.

What do you think?


ON A SIDE NOTE, the first thing we discussed during lunch was how crazy lucky we were to get a 10 hour layover in Paris. Never thought I’d use the word lucky and layover in the same sentence, but it’s true. It was like a vacation in a vacation. And from now on, whenever I plan international trips, I’m going to exclusively book flights with extremely long layovers in cool cities in order to get bonus vacations. You may want to do the same, especially considering they’re often cheaper.

See 11 more stunning metal kitchen hoods »


permalink | Posted in decorating

All Hallows’ Eve

source: Better Homes & Gardens

The night of fright will be upon us in just two weeks, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t even thought about how I’ll decorate for it. Have you? If so, I’d love to hear all about your spooky decor. If not, here are a few fun ideas. I know I need them. If only one utilized cardboard boxes. I’ve got enough scattered around to fill a whole cemetery, or better yet, to make a hundred coffins.

See 8 more fun & spooky Halloween decorations »


permalink | Posted in decorating

Gold Notes


It’s no secret. I have a mild massive gold obsession. In fact, when I see something in gold it’s hard to resist. And in case you’re like me, I thought I’d share these chic correspondence cards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

After hours of searching for stationary, I stumbled across these beauties. Perfect for both everyday and special occasions, they make great gifts for the gold obsessed on your list. I chose the plum blossom, and it was even more beautiful in person.

Now back to unpacking. There seems to be an endless stream of boxes.


permalink | Posted in decorating



For some odd reason, other peoples dirt always seems much scarier than your own. So needless to say, I spent a lot of time cleaning our new place this past week. And I’m not a cleaner. I’d much rather be doing anything else, well, short of a root canal.

So in the hopes of speeding up the whole get-clean process, I decided to test out a few new cleaning tools, and I absolutely loved them.

1. Casabella Way Clean Waterstop Rubber Gloves. I always use gloves when cleaning to protect my skin from the chemicals, and typical I go through a pair a month. Somehow, I always get a tear in them. But not these gloves. They’re much thicker than your grocery store variety, but not so thick you can’t move your hands making them both durable and flexible. In other words, they’re the perfect cleaning glove.

2. OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set. You’ll never use a toothbrush to scrub again. The stiff bristles on these brushes work so much better, and the little rubber thing on the end is amazing at getting gunk out of crevices.

3. Casabella Microfiber Magnet Mop. Every time I used a Swiffer, I felt wasteful and oddly dirty. As if I was walking on a boatload of toxic chemicals. So I decided to switch back to an old fashioned mop so that I could use a “cleaner” cleaner without any waste, and this Casabella mop tops the charts. I’ve used the old fashioned cotton mops — back in my waitressing days — as well as a bevy of sponge mops, and none were as easy to use as this Casabella mop. It’s extremely lightweight. It’s head fully pivots making it effortlessly glide across the floor. And to top it off, the sponge can be removed and thrown in the washer.

4. Casabella 4-Gallon Bucket. It’s hard to get excited about a bucket, but the shape of this one is brilliant. Unlike round buckets that waste space in cabinets and closets, this narrow, rectangular beauty fits practically anywhere. Plus, it’s crazy lightweight.


permalink | Posted in housekeeping

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