2011 08 01 archive

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Look Ma, I’m an editor!

Hitting newsstands this week is the September/October issue of Chicago Home and Garden Magazine, the shelter-focused sister publication of Chicago Magazine. This is a very exciting moment for me because… drumroll please…

…yours truly has a byline on page 52! I was so honored when Jan Parr, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, asked if I’d contribute as a market editor for their color issue. Umm… would I?! Where do I sign?

So I spent some time calling and interviewing Chicago designers about the color trends they’d been using in their work. I ended up focusing on a room by Tony Stavish, whose palette consisted of cool greys accented by warm yellows and reds.

Then I searched the Chicago market for furniture, textiles and accent pieces that would work in a bedroom with the same colors.

 I did the same thing with a navy, white, and gold room designed by Sarah Back.

I especially loved the luxurious pieces I pulled for this spread: gilded antlers from Branca, a linen sofa from Jayson Home and Garden, and a velvet Jonathan Adler bed… mmm mmm good.

Apparently my editors loved it also since it was the focus on the table of contents page! Notice the huge “52?” That’s my story!

The third spread was based on a colorful room by designer Deb Reinhart. She used fun, young colors – lime, fuschia, and teal – and transformed them into a sophisticated bedroom haven for the Glencoe Show House this past season. It was definitely a challenge pulling product in these colors that had a more traditional yet rustic style, but I’m really pleased with how it came out.

So that’s that. Three and a half years of journalism school and two years of blogging, and I can officially add Editor to my LinkedIn profile. : )

But in all seriousness, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I am so grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity and all the other experiences that have come my way since starting Live Creating Yourself. I couldn’t have done it without all of your support. Thank you for coming back day after day and making LCY a part of your world. I hope I continue to improve and inspire.

And if you’re in Chicago, be sure to pick up a copy or order an electronic copy here!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Wish Granted


Thanks to my very best friend, my craving for a good ole’ fashioned carnival was quenched. And we didn’t even have to leave the city of Chicago! A small school was putting on a fundraiser for families and children, so naturally, we attended. I am sad to report there was no Ferris wheel or Zipper, but the blinking lights, the sugary funnel cakes, and the overstuffed prizes were just what I needed. And I kind of loved the ATM that spit out tickets instead of money. The whole evening was charming and magical, and just the kind of night I needed now that summer is coming to an end. Thank you, Lauren!

Mmm… so what’s next? Apple picking, haunted houses, and harvest festivals. Oh my!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crow’s Nest

I know most of us swooned over the tufted white sectional in the White Done Right post. Well, I was pleased to discover the rest of the Hollywood estate belonging to singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow is just as beautiful. From the tiled walls in the kitchen and bath, to the dreamy hand-carved bed and bedside sconces, this home impresses from entryway to… well, can we call that a backyard? I mean, the “canvas pavilion” outdoor living space has everything including a bed and electricity. And the view from that hammock? Perfection.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A little run down.

I want to be her right now. And I am hoping to do as much of this as possible this weekend… aside from the carnival, and the family dinner, and my friend’s birthday, and the insane amount of hours of freelance work I have on my plate… sleep will get in there somewhere. Maybe.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

words worth reading

excerpts from the Commencement Address Steve Jobs presented to the 2005 graduating class of Stanford University:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Sources: 1, 2

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Such Great Heights

As if the rustic, neutral decor in these three interiors wasn’t enough to get my heart racing, the drama added by the extra-high ceilings places these spaces a cut above the rest. I particularly like how the owners of the kitchen utilize their vertical space for storage and display. I can’t imagine it’s easy getting that pink KitchenAid mixer down, but how often do you really use it, anyway? And those windows in the last image… it doesn’t even matter what the view is of on the other side. As far as I’m concerned, the windows are the view!

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

alaina’s notebook: j.crew shopping list

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Tonight I’ll be venturing to the J.Crew on Michigan Avenue for a private shopping party with some of my favorite Chicago ladies. Read: this could be dangerous. To reign myself in from completely exploiting the 20% discount we are being offered, I’ve narrowed my wish list down to a few fun pieces for fall, inspired by the colorful prepster look warn by Miss Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific. I mostly need tops, so this mix of color, pattern, and sequins is right up my alley. Yes, mustard silk blouse, in a few hours, you will be mine. I’ve wanted a leopard-print belt for forever and a day so that might finally make its way to the checkout register, and while I probably won’t get them, how fantastic are these ankle-zip skinny corduroys? Who would have thought cords could be sexy? Leave it to Jenna. Making the impossible possible.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend in Instagram

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you’ve probably already seen some of these… apologies for the repeats.

Saturday AM: Last week I received an email from Heidi, a talented interior designer and author of A Thousand Laughing Starfish, informing me that she’d be in town for the weekend from Ohio and would love to meet and chat about blogs, design, and work. Always eager to meet another like-minded blogfriend, I said yes!

Saturday AM: So we went to what I consider the best breakfast spot in Chicago: Southport Grocery. If you’ve never been, go. And get the Sweet and Savory French Toast with a side of potatoes. You’ll die.

Saturday PM: After the morning’s monsoon, the skies opened and friends and I were able to enjoy bits of the air and water show from one of their roof decks in Wicker Park. Uninhibited skyline view. Not too shabby for Alaina.

Sunday early PM:  I ventured out to St. James Farm near Aurora with my mom and sister-in-law for my cousin’s bridal shower. It was outside in a beautiful picnic area, which I thought was a nice departure from the cliché country club luncheon. It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect.

Sunday early PM:  The hostesses piled on the charm, serving lemonade and iced tea out of mason jars with striped straws.

Sunday PM: Someone showing up at your door with flowers might be the greatest thing ever. It’s nice starting the week with pretty pink stems nestled on my desk.

Sunday PM: I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life yet I had never sat and looked at the night skyline from North Avenue Beach. Until yesterday. A view of Lake Shore Drive, the John Hancock Building, the Drake Hotel, Navy Pier, and the sparkling lakefront. It was kind of perfect. Great end to a lovely summer weekend.

How were all of your weekends? Good, I hope! Summer’s coming to an end… are you making these last weeks count?

Friday, August 19, 2011

LCY Listens: Ben Howard (Oh, and I’m going hipster on all of you and getting myself a turntable.)

Meet Ben Howard. He’s a 23-year-old singer-songwriter out of England. My sister and musical sensei just introduced me to him.

His first album, Every Kingdom, still isn’t out yet, but a few tracks have been released on YouTube, including his first single, “Old Pine.” I’ve been listening to it on repeat the past few days and cannot get enough of his voice, the string accompaniment, and if we’re being honest – that shaggy hair and smirk. Not to mention the video has me wanting to catch the next flight to Ireland where I can frolic merrily along the open coastline roads. While listening to this song. Oh, also, the 3:20 mark is the best.

Thanks, David, for sending me this tune:

And another good one I found…

And here are some preview clips from the entire album:

While I was on his site looking for where to pre-order the iTunes album, I saw an 12-in vinyl record is for sale. Which reminded me of this scene in Crazy Stupid Love where Ryan Gosling brings Emma Stone back to his place and he puts on a record. My heart melted. I loved it. I wanted it! So after a quick Google search, I found this beauty over at Urban Outfitters. Apparently Crosley is one of the best when it comes to turntables, and the vintage design is oh-so cute! And UO sells quite a few of my favorite albums in 12-in vinyl format. Imagine Florence or Mumford coming out of the scraggly sound of a turntable. Beautyful… I think this is a worthwhile investment piece, perfect for parties, dinners, or lounging around listening to your favorite tunes.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Catch up on all of LCY Listens here!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

alaina’s notebook: tory burch fall 2011

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Two of my Chicago ladies – Zoe and Danielle – posted about these fabulous boots and flats from the Tory Burch fall 2011 collection. I’m obsessed. And I’m pretty much convinced Ms. B can do no wrong when it comes to accessorizing the preps of today. How fabulous is that hat? Reminds me of this page out of Alaina’s Notebook. Thinkin’ I need to snatch that up asap.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Daily Bread // Le Pain Quotidien

As you all know I was in DC earlier this week, and I was so bummed I never had a free hour to stop by my favorite bakery, Le Pain Quotidien, for a meal. French for The Daily Bread, this rustic restaurant looks as great as the food tastes. Founder Alain Courmont opened shop in 1990 in an effort to provide his city of Brussels with what he considered high-quality bread. He furnished the first shop with antiques and an oversized table from a local flea market – an aesthetic that has carried on to all of their locations worldwide.

Many of the pastries, breakfast, and lunch items – including their fabulous omelettes, tartines, and open-faced sandwiches – are made from organic and local food producers. Translation: it’s not the cheapest bakery on the block. But it is the best.

Every Le Pain Quotidien boasts a trademark communal table, just like the original shop had. These oversized wooden farmhouse tables, which are typically centered in the restaurant, offer seating to both groups and individuals who can then talk and enjoy their meals together. Perfect for the lonesome traveler like myself! I sat at the communal table when I was in New York last February and had some great conversation with two people I never would have met otherwise!

If all of this wasn’t great enough, their cappuccinos and lattes are served in bowls. Love.

And the food is as pretty as it is healthy and delicious.

And on each of the tables awaits four jars of the most delectable, sugary spread you ever did taste. Le Pain produces their own versions of Nutella-like spreads for your yummy bread and pastries. Noisella is chocolate and hazelnut (so essentially Nutella), Noir is dark chocolate, Blondie is white chocolate, and Brunette is a praline spread. Oh. My. Gawd. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – GO FOR THE BRUNETTE! I tried bringing a jar of this back home with me last time I visited DC, but the cruel and unusual TCA man made me THROW IT AWAY because “it’s a liquid.” I tried pleading with him. “This is no liquid, sir. This is a praline spread from Belgium!” He was not impressed and made me throw it away, anyway. $10 of deliciousness. In a small plastic waste can at Reagan Airport. Tears were shed.

IF you are lucky enough to live in or visit New York, DC, or LA, make sure to stop in as those are currently the only U.S. cities playing hostess to this international bakery. And if you are in Europe where Le Pain Quotidiens live happily in cities around the continent, I hate you.