Apr 30, 2009

Love it! - Melamine dinner plates

Whether color, pattern or classic "black and white" is your thing (black and white for me) these funky melamine plates are perfect for sprucing up your outdoor soirees (shindigs for me) Sold in sets of 4 - TonicHome.com will one-up-you with corresponding salad plates!

www.TonicHome.com - 11" dia. (Set of 4) $45

Apr 29, 2009

Love it! - Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace Project

A year ago I first posted about Macy's philanthropic effort, "Rwanda Path to Peace Project" bringing shoppers exquisitely woven baskets handmade by Rwandan genocide survivors. I just received an email announcing the launch of this season's newest baskets, just in time for Mother's Day! With a larger selection of sizes and color combinations, helping other women earn an honest living, sustain themselves and their family is a gift in itself.

"Established to create a viable, sustainable business that provides economic stability, the Rwanda Path to Peace project promotes an environment of peace to positively impact the future of Rwanda’s eight million citizens. Willa Shalit, an American businesswoman, has spearheaded the four-year effort to develop an American market for Rwandan women’s crafts. Shalit believes that women helping each other can change how Rwanda rebuilds its society, empowers women, and sustains economic security beyond traditional forms of assistance.

Focusing on trade, not aid, the export and sale of these baskets has put real, sustainable income directly into the hands of Rwandan women, most of whom are heads of households and were previously living on less than $1 a day. This income has visibly changed the lives of the weavers in remarkable ways by providing food, shelter, medical care, education, and other necessities, while also imparting a great sense of pride and self esteem. Rwanda has never exported their fine crafts on this scale before. There are now over 2,500 weavers across Rwanda, including both Hutu and Tutsi women, from both sides of the 1994 genocide. These women sit side by side as they talk and weave together, slowly healing themselves and their society."

www.macys.com/rwanda - $35 - $120

Apr 27, 2009

Love it! - Garden ceramic collection

Currently on sale at PotteryBarn.com, this charming ceramic set will bring warmth to any traditional table setting. What I love most is the juxtaposition of the glazed white ceramic with the textured rattan handles. French country silhouettes aged to perfection, lends the perfect look of Provence that has been admired for centuries!

www.PotteryBarn.com $16-$89

Apr 22, 2009

Love it! - EARTH DAY! - American Forests Buy A Tree

While "design" is one of my greatest passions, one of my newest has become environmental preservation. Through American Forests, the nation’s oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization created in 1875, you can buy a tree in your name or as a gift in another person's name. EVERY DOLLAR PLANTS ONE TREE! It's very easy to do. On their website, www.AmericanForests.org, click on the "Plant Trees" tab. There you can choose from a number of projects that you want your donation to benefit. Once you choose a project you can make your donation, $15 being the minimum. Then choose if it will be a gift or not. If it is a gift, they will ask you to fill out the address and name of the recipient who will be mailed a certificate saying that you have planted trees in their name - how great is that!

Another really cool program that American Forests initiated is the Historic Trees Nursery. The Nursery, a state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville, Florida, propagates direct-offspring of trees that witnessed events and lives significant to American history. Hundreds of trees are available including offspring of Tulip Poplars that majestically stand at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, or the Oleander that blooms on Thomas Edison's Florida estate. Categories include Presidents, American Revolution, Women, Civil War, African Americans, Native Americans, Veterans, Country Music Artists, Authors, Inventors, and trees of regional significance. Through their Historical Trees website www.HistoricTrees.org , for $39.99 you can purchase a 1-3' tree derived from the original of your choice. Plant it in your own yard - now that's a story to pass on for generations!

More about American Forests:
American Forests' goals focus on assisting communities to restore and maintain healthy ecosystems in both urban and rural areas all over America, whether it's planting trees to restore wildlife habitat, ecosystems damaged by wildfire or working with cities to reverse the decline in urban tree cover. Today, the organization's primary campaigns are "Tree-Planting for Environmental Restoration" and "Reversing the National Urban Tree Deficit". Since 1990, American Forests' Global ReLeaf campaign has been planting native trees in rural and urban ecosystem restoration projects across the United States and around the world. About 85% of American Forests' tree-planting projects occur in the United States and 15% are international efforts. All are conducted in cooperation with local partners, foresters, or natural resource experts. To learn more, check out these links.

Historic Tree Nursery

Love it! - Envirosax Bags

So I've been trying to "Green" up my life and while I'm no Al Gore, I'm making strides in my daily life, in my own way. It doesn't happen overnight, but I've made a commitment to myself and that's all that matters, right? There are many little and big things one can do, but one of the easiest things that everyone can do is to cut down on using plastic bags. I myself have a number of eco-bags and net bags that I use when going to the market in place of taking plastic. I also keep small roll-up bags in my shoulder bags so when I make unexpected shopping stops, I just pull it out and tell the store to keep their plastic. These totes by EnviroSax are so great looking and with all their stylish designs, there's something for everyone. You can buy them individually or in sets and would actually make great gifts. The company itself also practices what it preaches by operating under "Greener" conditions and abiding by fair trade laws. Here are some of their stats on plastic bags you might find eye-opening:

-Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year.
-Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
-An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
-Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
-Plastic bags create pollution and kill wildlife in the USA every day of the year.

-It is estimated that 500 billion plastic bags are used and discarded worldwide every year.
-1 million plastic bags are used and discarded worldwide every minute of the day.
-Single use plastic bags made of HDPE remain in the environment for up to approx. 1,000 years.
-Over 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles worldwide are killed by plastic rubbish every year.

EnviroSax Bags

Love it! - Sigg water bottles

Enough with the plastic bottles! Go Green and use an uncrackable aluminum Sigg bottle. I'm sure you're seeing them in their fun colors and patterns popping up everywhere. That's because they not only come in a variety of designs to fit your personality, but their special engineered lining combats residue, leaving your drink tasting fresh and metal-free. According to them, Americans add over 30 million plastic water bottles to our nation's landfills everyday - Now that's a wake up call - I carry mine in my tote bag where ever I go!


Love it! - Eco-friendly toothbrush

So the next step in "Greening" up my life was switching to Radius's Source toothbrush. I've been using it this past year and it's great! The brown handle is recycled wood fiber combined with corn-plastic, which is eco-friendly. The lighter Flax color is post-consumer recycled polypropylene. The handle is reversible for left or right-handed, you can attach the head in either direction. Just buy new heads and reuse the same handle. The replaceable head accounts for 1/5 the amount of waste of a standard toothbrush. Imagine the amount of plastic waste that could be reduced if everyone switched to a reusable handle!

www.RadiusToothbrush.com or at WholeFoods Market (I buy my replacements at Wholefoods, they have an entire section for eco-toothbrushes)
Note: The soft head feels softer than the average drugstore brands. So I use the medium.

Love it! - Feed Bag

One of the great things about writing this blog is the gift of sharing not only beautiful products, but ones that mean something, that are socially or environmentally conscious. Designed by Lauren Bush, buying one World Food Program FEED bag feeds a child in school for one school year. The FEED Project is a partnership between the United Nations World Food Program and Lauren Bush, WFP Honorary Spokesperson. The bag is reversible with one side burlap and the other white cotton. No matter how you carry it, isn't it great knowing that you're making a difference just by doing so.

World Food Program Feed Bag $60 - www.Amazon.com
For more info on the FEED organization visit - www.FeedProjects.org

Apr 21, 2009

Love it! - Wicker tray

How do you take a wicker tray and make it different? Well Pottery Barn adds leather handles for a high-end look while still remaining rustic - as they do so well! Take this over sized round tray and create a fun outdoor snack-scape or sit atop the kitchen island filled with fruits, muffins and a floral centerpiece for the morning rush!

www.PotteryBarn.com Wicker Tray w/Leather Handles 28"Dia x 4"H $69

Apr 20, 2009

Style Story - Black chests

There's something very sexy about a black chest - well these in particular from Horchow.com. Maybe it's their curvy silhouettes, their patterns, hardware, or maybe just the allure of their stealth appearance - possessing a strong appearance by day, but vanishing into the darkness by night. Whether you can put your finger on it or not, their appeal is undeniable!


Apr 17, 2009

Love it! - Needlepoint chairs - 2 for 1!

I first saw these gorgeous needlepoint chairs from Source Perrier last Fall. I blogged about them though they were certainly our of my budget. But what I loved was the garden maze pattern on the seat. I've always been drawn towards the history, romance, perfection, presentation and unique patterns created by European gardens. So you can imagine how elated I was when I woke up this morning to an email from Source Perrier announcing 2 for the price of 1 on their Fern Needlepoint Chair. They are now $895 for 2!

www.SourcePerrier.com - Fern Needlepoint Chair

Apr 15, 2009

Love it! - Dorothy Draper chest

Ironically, I was just re-watching one of my fave movies this past weekend for the umpteenth time, "Sex & the City." During the scene where Carrie is in her Editor's office at Vogue being persuaded to pose for the annual "Age Issue," you can't help but notice the iconic Dorothy Draper chest. Coincidentally. I was perusing one of my fave online websites, TonicHome.com and saw that they have a vintage Dorothy Draper chest for sale. Needing some minor TLC, the more than reasonable price totally makes up for its fixable flaws - so snatch it up now before someone else does!

www.TonicHome.com - (original hardware, 3-drawers) 32"Hx30"Wx18"D - $1850

Apr 14, 2009

Love it! - Glass bookshelf

So according to the title of this post, you might be wondering where the glass comes in? Well upon a quick first glance, I thought, well that's a nice standard looking book shelf, nothing out of the ordinary - that is until I took a closer look and then I realized - genius! Each shelf is encased by a glass pocket door which lifts up and tucks unto the frame like a garage door. I haven't seen a bookcase like this in a VERY long time! As someone who is constantly battling dust, it is a dream come true! Protect all of your prized books and keepsakes from household elements. Green Tea Design uses black lacquer to update this Asian silhouette and for only $1150, it's a no brainer!

www.GreenTeaDesign.com - Glass BookShelf 33"w x 15"D x 78"H - $1150

Apr 13, 2009

Love it! - Lacoste towels

Add a punch of color to your bathroom experience with these sporty Lacoste towels sold through Horchow.com. Available in every color of the rainbow and in sizes from washcloth to bath sheet, they're currently on sale with free monogramming so act fast! And don't forget, buy the sheet size for an ample beach or poolside towel. Candy-colored orange, turquoise, yellow and green - these colors were made to be shown off under the summer sun!


Apr 10, 2009

Love it! - Ballard Designs SALE

For the recession conscious, I have you covered - as does Ballard Designs! With over 200 sale items, I've picked a handful of faves, but if you like what you see so far, do a little more digging and you just might find a treasure for mere duckets!


Apr 9, 2009

Love it - Outdoor pavilion

Can't take the summer sun? Is your market umbrella not giving you the coverage you seek? Okay, then this uber chic pavilion by Z Gallerie at only $599 is sure to please - outdoor entertaining never looked so good. A baby shower, Sunday brunch with the girls, afternoon tea, romantic dinner for two surrounded by candlelight - the possibilities are endless!

www.ZGallerie.com 10'x10'x10'-water/fade resistant

Apr 8, 2009

Love it! - Melamine plates

Who wants to use their best China when throwing a backyard barbecue or poolside party? So when I saw these monogrammed melamine plates on Horchow.com, I immediately thought - summertime outdoor entertaining! Throwing parties are stressful enough without worrying if the kids are going to drop their plates walking from the buffet line to the table. But with these bold designs, you don't need to sacrifice the style that your friends have come to know of you! Likewise, if you're the perpetual party "guest," wouldn't they make the perfect hostess gift - just add their initials and voila, a chic personalized gift that will keep you on the guest list for parties to come!


Apr 7, 2009

Market Profile - Jayson Home & Garden

If you're looking for an arm chair, but don't know what style, silhouette, material or color to settle on, Jayson Home & Garden is a great place to start. Though I've been to their flagship store in Chicago, I was recently perusing their website and this persimmon velvet wing chair stopped me dead in my tracks. I was completely mesmerized and then became giddy over the rest of their chairs. I knew a posting about them would be inevitable!


Apr 6, 2009

Contest - Diane James GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Two weeks ago, I announced our Spring Giveaway with Diane James, a faux-fauna maven in the design world. She so generously donated a gorgeous White Orchid plant with a retail value of $250. The rules were simple, I asked readers to email me a photo of a floral arrangement they created using;

-Any number of species
-Real or fake
-Any size
-For any occasion
-In any type of vessel of any size or shape

And after the deadline, I would choose 1 winning arrangement to win the faux-orchid shown here.

I chose the winning arrangement submitted by Yi-Nei in Chicago, seen at the top. She uses real White Snapdragons plus Yellow and Pink Peruvian Lilies. I chose her arrangement because there is a freshness to its overall aesthetic. Its predominantly neutral color palette of white and yellow has a controlled pop of pink and the variations in height and silhouette makes for a dynamic centerpiece. Her yellow theme effortlessly flows from flower to the gorgeous ribbed and scallop-rimmed vase right down to the yellow dresser it sits atop. In this case the vessel becomes a part of the arrangement showing great thought for continuity as it effortlessly blends into the space. The arrangement's color story, texture and tiered composition creates both a soothing yet stimulating result. It is that duality that makes it a clear winner - Congrats!