Personalize your Decor with a Creative Collection

January 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm , by

When I walk into someone’s home for the first time, I can usually tell if their decor expresses who they are as people, or if they just picked everything out of a catalog. Chances are, you can too. If someone’s home feels personal and warm, they usually have unique touches throughout their abode. People always ask me for advice on how to create this sort of feeling in their home. One thing I always tell my friends is to start a distinctive collection that makes them happy. I’m not talking Precious Moments or porcelain clowns here people, but something a little less conventional. The key is to keep the collection classy—don’t let it dominate the room, but rather just add interest. Also, take your time! Interesting pieces aren’t all found overnight. I’ve been working on my Buddha collection for months now, and may just add one or two more.    buddah

Here are a few ideas to get you started— new year, new collection! I dare you to think of an easier (and more fun) resolution.

Wine Corks: One of my friends started saving champagne or wine corks from special occasions. She would write the date on the bottom of the cork, and just toss them in a big bowl. I suggested she get a bunch of different sized apothecary jars and display them on a shelf. The end result was fabulous!

Interesting pictures (to you): I love groupings of picture frames just about anywhere. Hang a bunch of  different framed pictures of birds or fruit or keys or bridges or  bugs or  waves—anything you love. Use all black frames or mix and match colors, whatever you prefer. Choose a large wall for a big collection, or just start a small one above a table or chest. Your guests will love looking at the different images you have collected, and so will you!

Vases: I know this sounds well, perhaps uninspired, but you would be surprised how stunning a collection of different vases looks on a white fireplace mantel. Anthropologie is a good place to start. It is easy to incorporate this collection into your travels as well! you can pretty much find a vase anywhere in the world, and then it becomes even more personal. For additional visual impact, start a collection in just one color, such as blue or green. Happy hunting.

Decorative Hooks: These are everywhere, and come in just about every shape and size. I would stick to brass, bronze, gold or white for a sophisticated look. Mix antique looking finds such as this design from the Paris Apartment in with more modern hooks, such as this branch from the container store. Hang them in the kitchen, or in the entry way. Feel free to use them for practical every day uses too.

Address Numbers: Numbers have long been associated with personal meaning. Why not start a collection of your favorite number? Vintage sevens or nines would look great in an office. Better yet, collect a significant date, such as your anniversary. You can find old numbers, buy new ones, whatever you like. Check out accurate image inc. for some possibilities.

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Fabulous Champagne Flutes! Cheers!

January 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm , by

beefluteDuring the holidays my sister and I decided to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants—Gulfstream in Newport Beach, California. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so we decided to toast to, well, warm weather. (If you live anywhere in the Northeast, I know you feel me on this one.) We each ordered a glass of champagne which were served in these ADORABLE champagne flutes with bees on them. We both fell instantly in love. When I got home I searched for them online, and to my surprise I actually found them! I had to share this find with you—after I ordered some for myself of course.

Need to fill those glasses? Check out my previous chat with Kristan Cunningham of HGTV’s Design on a Dime for the best budget-friendly bubbly. Cheers!

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Host a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Bash

December 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm , by

image001Don’t welcome the New Year in a crowded bar with an overpriced drink in hand—instead host a New Year’s Eve Party in the comfort of your own home! To help you throw a festive celebration that’s easy to pull off, HGTV’s Design on a Dime host Kristan Cunningham answers some of our staffers’ New Year’s Eve questions.


LHJ: What’s the best number of guests to invite for a fun but not overwhelming gathering?

KC: 20 is a manageable number to seat, feed, and have drinks on hand for (without remortgaging your home) but it’s also enough people to keep the party interesting. It’s also an easy number for the hostess to handle. You can work the room and make sure that each of your guests gets some face time without it feeling like speed dating!

LHJ: Can you get away with asking for potluck? Is it cool to assign people to bring a specific dish or type of wine?

KC: You can absolutely do potluck, and this is obviously a great way to cut down on your overall costs. But with all of the responsibilities you already have on your plate, don’t take on the headache of trying to wrangle and coordinate this aspect. Leave it to your guests!

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Festive Florals: A Quick How-To

December 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm , by

flowersI absolutely love the holidays! I try to have friends and family over every chance I get. Last weekend I invited my dearest friend Maya and her husband Nick over for a last-minute meal. Just because I made a quick salad and ordered in pizza didn’t mean I couldn’t throw together a quick flower arrangement and light some candles, right? Holiday tunes, some soft candlelight and this arrangement made the impromptu meal feel festive and special. Don’t let the details of a party or dinner stress you out to the point that you avoid it all together. All you really need are a few nice touches, and great people to share them with!

How to Make this Festive Floral Arrangement:

1. First get your flowers. Select a simple white flower—roses or small white carnations are affordable and work well. Then choose a green filler like plain leaves or pine branches. And of course you need a pop of red. I like these berries that I found at our local flower stall. You don’t need very many—just a couple of sprigs.

2. Then fill a wide-necked clear glass vase with lukewarm water. Take all of your flowers out of their wrapping and remove the rubber bands.

3. Place the white flowers in first, and make sure to remove any leaves that fall at or below the water level. Cut the stems* at an angle, and place one stem of flowers in at a time. This way you can vary the heights of the flowers as you build the arrangement. Next add the greenery. Again, remove the leaves that fall below the water level. Lastly add the sprigs of berries in, and you have a fun and festive arrangement!

*Tip: Just cut a bit off the stems to start, and then adjust the height as necessary. You can always make the stalks shorter, but you will find it pretty hard to make them taller again!

That’s a Wrap: Holiday Gift Wrap with Personality

November 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm , by

p_BHG134568[1]Whether you are making, baking, or buying your presents this year, wrap them in a way that truly shows you care. Here are a few affordable yet creative ways to personalize your gift wrap.

A Simple Statement
Kraft paper goes from blah to beautiful with some colorful ribbon and a few personal touches. Bonus—one roll will last you the entire season! Last year I wrapped all of my boxes in Kraft paper and used red or plaid colored ribbon from Michaels to spruce them up. Raffia and twine also work well for this simple and rustic look. Finish the package off with an adorable vintage gift tag from You can apply this idea to plain brown lunch bags too—just fold over the top and punch out two holes to thread the ribbon through. They are great for gifting coffee!

Express Yourself with Color
Don’t be afraid to ditch the traditional red and green and go for something bold! Purples, golds, blues, silvers, pinks—really any color—can work for the holiday. Start by choosing a color scheme that inspires you and buy a couple of different rolls of wrapping paper—one with a print and one solid to mix and match. Paper-Source and The Container Store have some great options for holiday gift wrap. Use double-stick tape to attach a cut-out strip of the patterned paper around a box wrapped in the solid paper, or vice-versa. To keep your gifts unified choose a solid colored ribbon that will work with all of the packages. If your color scheme doesn’t scream holiday, attach a jingle bell or a glass ball ornament in a complimentary color to the ribbon. Check out for some unique colored glass ornaments.

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Let There Be Candlelight

November 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm , by


I’m a candle snob, I admit it. I see nothing wrong with spending a little bit of money on a great smelling, long lasting, fancy candle. Go ahead and drink your White Zinfandel and order your well done steak (ok, don’t) but really don’t buy one of those scentless teal drugstore numbers. Yuck!

I light a couple of candles every night when I get home from work and instantly feel more relaxed. Their soft glow and subtle scents force me to kick off my shoes and de-stress. Okay, maybe the candles don’t force me to do this, but they are an important part of my nightly ritual, and I love them. I’ve listed a few of my favorites for you here. Try a few, and light up your life!

Voluspa These candles come in a beautiful round shaped container that look great on any surface. The Japonica Collection is my absolute favorite—they smell heavenly as well.

Archipelago These candles burn for hours and smell fabulous! I dare you to not fall in love with the Stonehenge glass jar candle. I can’t get enough of it.

Tocca Elegant, simple, and quite possibly perfect. It adds a bit of class to any bathroom.

Illume A great selection that never disappoints. My new favorites are the retro tins (pictured above). These colorful over-sized tins are sure to put a smile on your face.

Your Go-To Home Decor Inspiration List

October 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm , by

courtney-smYour little guest bathroom (in need of a major makeover) looms beyond a slightly ajar door, begging you to face its bare and boring walls. You want to spruce it up, but you don’t know where to start. Should you give the walls a quick coat of paint, put up some trendy wall decals, or just a hang a few new pictures? The project suddenly becomes too overwhelming for a Saturday, and you find yourself turning to something like laundry—I mean an episode of The Real Housewives of Somewhere.

Too often we become frustrated with trying to improve a space in our homes (I’m not talking major renovation here people, just a bit of deserved attention) and we decide to abandon the task altogether. There is no plan, no inspiration, and you end up with something like nice new towels in a color that you will inevitably hate next month.

When I find myself in these predicaments, I turn to some of my favorite home blogs and sites for help. I spend some time with these friends, take some notes, and before I know it, I have tons of fresh new ideas! The list is short and sweet, because inspiration overload can also lead to excessive and unproductive viewing of The Real Housewives of Somewhere. Next time you find yourself in a state of home decoration confusion, (or on the couch for 3-plus hours) refer to this list for an instant shot of inspiration. This blog is always full of unique and fresh home decor ideas—a good mix of fabulous design and cheap decorating options. Great inspiration for small spaces! Got a design question? Glasgow-based editor Ronda Carmen hosts helpful Q and A’s with designers and trendsetters that are sure to help you find an answer. Don’t miss Steal This Look, and 10 Easy Pieces under “Inspiration.” These sections are sure to get your creative juices flowing! Check out this new site for some amazing deals on home products we all love. There’s nothing like a great sale to get a makeover moving—am I right? This site hosts private sales for members daily, and becoming a member is painless. So we have an exclusive deal for you: Click on the link above, and receive $10 instantly when you join, just for Ladies’ Lounge readers! The offer expires October 31st, so get on it, and get shopping. This site has more than 100,000 vendors who offer unique vintage and handmade finds, home decor included of course. If you’re looking for that perfect conversation piece that no one else has, chances are you will find it here.

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