butterfly & the power of blogging

click to see larger

Remember this post - when I raved about how much I loved the butterfly painting (well, the part that was photographed) on the wall of Jayson Home & Garden....
And I asked that if any of you kind souls were in or would be in Chicago to feel free to go to the store and take a picture of the entire wall for me - so I could see the full effect?

Well somehow (I can only say it's thanks to the power of blogging) one of the execs over at Jayson Home & Garden saw that post. 
(I'm not sure if it's okay to post their name/title I imagine it is - but just to be on the safe side I wont...but if you read this post and it's okay please let me know and I'll update this!)
Somehow, they saw that post and sent me a nice little email with 2 photos attached!

Isn't it amazing? I'm in love with it.
Yes, I'm in love with a mural.
As I was told, the visual person actually painted it...by hand!
These images are definitely being added to my inspiration folder - I'd love to have a butterfly like that on a wall in my future home. Or, how awesome would it look in a nursery? So cool.

Jayson Home & Garden has been on my radar for a while now and now, more than ever, I can't wait to visit the shop in person - whenever I make my first visit to Chicago.
(don't even get me started with the actual pieces in the photograph...the side table, hanging Moroccan lanterns, and ottomans in the first image...the blue/gray wing chair in the second...swoon)

Thank you Jayson Home & Garden!

*images courtesy of Jason Home & Garden


My Two Cents

Today I want to introduce a new on-going column here on Apartment #412 called:

My Two Cents

It's something I started doing on my old blog and though I only did one post for it I really enjoyed it.
Basically, it's about YOU the reader. 
I love trying to help others decorate their space, come up with ideas, or just give some suggestions and I'd love to help YOU out in any way I can.
So, if you have a question, need advice, need some ideas, some suggestions...anything decor related - anything...send me an email and I'll answer you in a dedicated blog post - complete with inspiring images to illustrate what I'm talking about :) 


All you have to do is send me an email with your name and your question. 
If it's a space planning question it'd help to have a snapshot or two - doesn't have to be anything fancy! But if you don't have any no biggie.
If you're on a budget - let me know what it is. Easy peasy!

Here's my email:

Okay...so who's first?
I'm really looking forward to this!
(and hope I get at least one question lol) 

*a picture-less post! i'm working on my brothers computer and don't have any of my decor images on it...and don't feel like google searching for any.


Use Your Imagination

If this table wasn't an hour and a half drive a way I would totally buy it....

...and spray it like the one seen in actress Rashida Jones' apartment. 

(as seen in the now kaput Domino magazine)

I also have my eyes on this mirror which, thankfully, is located closer to me.
I don't know where I'd hang another mirror but this one is really fantastic.
I wouldn't even paint it...

Doesn't it remind you of this one seen in Lonny Magazine?

Oh Craigslist how I love to hate you.


Picture Perfect

I've been on the hunt for the perfect point and shoot camera for a while.
But not any point and shoot.
As someone who currently only shoots with an slr I've grown to love having that extra control over my images...and having various lens options.

So I want a point and shoot that's lightweight enough for me to carry around in my pocket/purse all the time...because really, I don't want to lug my slr out to dinner with family and friends or a simple outing...
I want one that has some manual features...and it would be nice if it had some lens options...
and video might be nice too...
and I hadn't seen any that fit these requirements (maybe I wasn't looking hard enough)
until last night.

I soooooooo want this camera.

Especially after reading this review and seeing the images and videos captured with it. So awesome.

Let's see:
pocket-sized & lightweight = check
manual controls = check
option to change lenses = check
video = check (HD video I might add)
super cool minimal design = check (love the retro film type of feel)

Ugh. I forsee a new camera purchase in the near future...

What type of point and shoot do you use?

Remember That...

Thank you all so much for your comments on my previous post, Big Decisions.
I was extremely overwhelmed reading them all and if you left a comment - I've responded.
If you have yet to leave a comment and feel so inclined - please do.

*image from the delightful blog thenotebookdoodles.com
btw-that's not a font in the pic...it's her handwriting! so cool.


Big Decisions

A rare weekend post from me,
I know.

But something's been weighing on my mind heavily for the past few days, 
a big decision I need to make in the next week...
and I just need to get it out.
To blog it.
Sometimes getting things out helps you to see the situation a bit clearer,
plus it never hurts to get the perspective of others...
even if they are, technically, strangers ;)
Though I, weirdly?, see many of my blog readers as 'friends'
Weird eh?

Anyways, it's kind of exciting news...
and scary...
but definitely exciting...

You see, I have the opportunity to go abroad to live & work in 
New Delhi, India for 1 year.

How did this opportunity come about?
Well, last summer - after much thought - I put in an application with the Canadian branch of an international volunteer/work abroad organization and, after a phone interview, reference check, and in-person interview in Ottawa,  I was accepted.
Like why I decided to apply and what the organization does...

Well, since being accepted almost 1 year ago I've received two offers to date.
One for Rwanda, the other for a rural part in Southern India.
Both were for 2 years and, despite my initial excitement, just didn't feel like 'the one.'
So I declined both. 
Plus, I really was interested in a 1 year placement.
Which, I've been told by my adviser, is few and far between (2 years are the norm).

So for the past 7 months I haven't received any offers.
Then about two weeks ago I started to feel restless.
This full-time job hunt is wearing me down and the process of starting my own business is something I'm moving pretty slowly with - I dunno, call it fear. That's a whole other story...
Anyways, I began to feel restless.
Like a needed an adventure.
And I've been itching to travel (something I LOVE to do).
To go somewhere...just hit the road for a bit.
But, financially, I'm just not in a position right now to go the places I really want to go to.
It's then I remembered:
"I haven't received an offer in a while...I wonder if my file is still active?
I mean, can the deactivate it with out letting me know?"

So, two weeks ago, I called my placement adviser and asked if my file was still active.
He assured me it was but also let me know that because I'm interested in a one year placement - 
things might be slow.
"1 year placements are not as common," he told me.
"It would be easier to get a two year placement, if that was on your file I'm sure you'd have gotten more offers by now..."
I told him I would need to seriously think about whether I wanted to change my file to a two year in order to increases my chances of receiving offers and that I would call him back...

And then earlier this week, I got an email from him.
I'd received a placement offer.
A one year placement offer.
In New Delhi, India.
And when I read the placement offer it felt like...this could be "the one."

To be honest, which I always am here on my blog, India has never been a place I've had high on my list of places to visit, much less live. I mean, of course visiting the Taj Mahal is on my list of things to do...so I guess, technically it has been on my list....
But over the past few months I've gotten little glimpses of India through the blog posts of others that had me seeing India in a different light. 
"Oh the colours are so beautiful," I'd think while reading.
"Oh I'd love to see that in person"
"Oh so cool/interesting/different"

So here I am. 
Thinking about whether or not I should accept this offer.
I always say I want an adventure. 
To live abroad for a bit. 
To travel and explore countries that are more off the beaten path.
This would definitely give me that opportunity.
I did some google searches and to travel to countries in South East Asia, Asia, and even Australia would be fairly inexpensive. 
I could scratch a lot of countries off of my list....
Plus, I'd like to think, through my work/volunteer efforts I'd be making a difference.
And in the process of it all I'd be writing a better story.
Or at least a different story.

And now some images...because this post has been really text heavy :)

This, my friends, is New Delhi (which is the capital city of India)....

perfect for an afternoon picnic?

And I know, this is New Delhi too....

But so is this ;)

4-5 hours to these...a perfect day trip....

The Taj Mahal in Agra
photo taken by one of my favourite photographers Punam Bean

The Amber Fort in Jaipur
photo by Punam Bean

12 hours to this....a perfect weekend trip....

The Kama Sutra Temples
photo by Punam Bean

Fairly inexpensive and short flights to anywhere here.....

Definitely LOTS to do, see, and experience.
More than I actually even knew there was before a few days ago

(google + various Indian search terms has been in heavy use for the past day or two for me ;)
And really, how interesting and exciting would blog posts from India be? because I'd totally still blog...

I'll be doing lots of thinking over the next few days...
I can say, without a doubt, the number #1 thing holding me back is this guy.

*to see more of Punam Bean's amazing photographs from India click here


Good Times

In LOVE with these dresses from Mara Hoffman....

Isn't the detailing on the back of this SO beautiful?
I could easily see myself wearing this at my future Moroccan wedding...

And this one...Ohhh soooo pretty...

Perfect for going out with the girls in the summer...
or on a date.

And these tops,
business in the front, party in the back...

Wishing I had somewhere to wear any of these to this weekend summer...

It's my littlest bro's 7th birthday today...I see movie outings, kids, trampoline jumping, and ice cream cake in my immediate future. 

Good times.

*dresses & images from here


Operation: TUGFLW

Most people get fit for the summer...I choose to get fit during the summer. Go figure.

My birthday is a little over 8 weeks away and I really want to look my best for it.
So, after being not 100% happy with my body when I look in the mirror and doing nothing about it,
(but really, as women, are we ever 100% happy?)
and putting off buying new cute outfits, 
I'm choosing to, now, do something about it.

Enter Operation: Tone Up, Get Fit & Lose Weight
(also to be known as Operation TUGFLW)

8 weeks

Ultimate Goal: 
Hmmm, not sure the actually number of pounds I want to lose...
I think it's in the ballpark of 20 pounds - but really I'm just pulling that number out of the air because it sounds good. I plan on weighing myself in the next few days so I know what I weigh and can adjust my weight loss goal accordingly.
I also want to tone up.
And get fit.

If you read my other blog the remainder of this post will seem familiar to you - thought I've slightly updated some of the answers. I feel this q&a are a good way for you, the readers...and myself actually, to get a sense of my thoughts on this whole thing.

(FYI-I attempted Operation TUGFLW earlier this year and blogged it there. I wasn't doing too bad but then I kinda fell of the wagon...)

1. As of the beginning of this "Operation," what are your height & weight?
I'm 5'7" (5'6 & 3/4" to be specific) & weigh....not sure. Probably between 160-168. 
Feel free to click the link a few lines up to see what that weight looks like on me.
It's supposed to be 'taboo' or something for a woman to reveal her weight but it's really not that big of a deal to me because, I think, it's all in the way you carry your weight

2. We all know that numbers never give us the big picture. When you think of your body - its size, shape, strength & health - how do you feel?
Despite what I wrote above, for the most part, I'm pretty happy with my body. 
I'm curvy & I actually, truly, like its curviness. I don't mind that my tummy is a bit soft & I've got a butt & hips. I see my body as womanly. 
Like Beyonce & Jennifer Lopez. 
I've never been the "skinny" girl & I finally became okay with that in my early 20s. Actually, I really came to accept my body when I was about 24...this is around the time I stopped watching music videos & buying certain magazines*. Health-wise, I'm not unhealthy. I mean, a doctor would say I'm healthy, but I could definitely be more fit and I would be happier with what I saw in the mirror if I was a few pounds lighter and a bit more toned.

3. Why Operation Tone Up, Lose Weight & Get Fit'?
I'll preface this by saying that I've never been that girl who cares too much about the number on the scale. I'd much rather go by how I feel & look in clothes & then ballpark a number. Which I thought worked fairly well, until around August 2009 - just after my birthday....
(feel free to again, click the link above to see the rest of this answer...)

4. Based on all of that, what is your biggest goal in
Operation Tone Up, Lose Weight, Get Fit ? 
What is one thing you must accomplish in the next two months?
My biggest goal is to be as close to 100% happy with the way my body looks & that's when I'm a size 6 sometimes 8. To give that a number, I think that will be in the 140 range. However, since I really never weighed myself perhaps it's actually in the 150s? I dunno. 

5. Do you have any secondary goals? What are they?
I generally like my arms and I'm hoping to add some dresses and feminine pieces to my wardrobe.
So my secondary goal is to tone up my arms (biceps/triceps), shoulders & back. I'd also like to run a mile in under 10 minutes...I think I'm roughly at 12 right now.
Oh, and a third goal - I'd like to become more of an ethical eater, and take steps to eat 'better' food and really start to take note of what I put into my body. (more on this goal coming soon)

6. What's your day-to-day lifestyle like? What are you into?
The most exercise I get, if I'm being honest - which I am, is taking Howard out for his walks at least once, usually twice, a day.

7. Anything else you'd like share about "Operation Lose Weight, Get Fit & Tone Up"?
I'll probably blog my progress once a week...expect total honesty!

If you're still reading :) I would love to read any tips, links, or comments you might have!
Feel free to share any good blogs, suggestions on what I can do, good recipes, tips to stay motivated...anything! Also, if you're in the midst of your own 'Operation' I'd love to hear about it.
Truly, I would!

*Doing these two things drastically increased my self-confidence & how I felt about my body because I wasn't constantly faced with & comparing myself to (mostly) unrealistic images of women. Though, working in entertainment, I knew what goes into getting those images to look perfect (lighting, photoshop, pins in the back of clothes so it fits perfect, makeup, trainers etc...) when you see these images every day it's hard not to compare yourself. I encourage anyone struggling with their body image to cut back on your intake of some of these visuals - even for 30 days. Once you start seeing realistic images of women, women around you, you'll appreciate your body more & stop being so hard on yourself.


Thinking about Lonny Images & Vignettes

Despite being an online mag, Lonny is quickly becoming one of my favourites. The pages and pages of house tours, source information literally at my finger tips, and gorgeous images always leave me inspired.

The photography really deserves a second mention.
The photography in Lonny magazine to date has been nothing short of spectacular.
Patrick Cline takes the most amazing photographs of interiors (and other things too but for the purpose of this post we'll stick with interiors). They feel fresh and modern. His eye for composition, I'm big on well composed and creative compositions, always leaves me taking second, third, and fourth looks...

Here are some of my favourite images from the June/July issue made available last week...

While this might be too much, even for me, I'm drawn to this image.
Each piece on it's own is beautiful.

Another view of the same studio apartment in the above photo - what a great layout!
I'm particularly in love with the coffee table. Of course, it's the one thing that is NOT sourced.

I so badly want to see the rest of this wall - the butterfly painting looks AMAZING!
If anyone is near this store, Jayson Home & Garden located in Chicago, and wants to stop in to take a picture of the full wall for me...go right ahead! I'd be your best blog friend forever!

This white ceramic owl reminds me of my white ceramic monkey

Hot pink candle sticks? Love it.
Also love the mixed metals.

Awesome composition

My favourite image in the entire June/July issue of Lonny!
The styling takes it to another level. Love love love.

I also notice that now when looking at images of interiors, I'm paying more and more attention to the vignettes and the details...as witnessed by my selection of photos aboved. I'm really looking at how the side table is styled. How the console table is dressed. How the art is hung. What's on the bookshelves besides books...

I'm guessing it's because now that I've bought most of my actual furniture, the big pieces, I'm starting to zero in on the details and creating interesting displays. I think this step really ties the entire space together - creating little vignettes that are interesting to look at and are pretty. Styling them in such a way that they look like they were created with intent instead of like tchotchkes you forgot to put away.
(much easier said than done!)

*All images from June/July issue of Lonny magazine


DIY Glassware Project - Updated

I posted this project yesterday and made a point of getting it done, or at least started, right away. I loved the result I'd seen Emma achieve and it was too simple to do to to put off.

So I went to my cupboard and pulled out the empty glass jars I'd been saving up. The two on the end steel need to be emptied, stripped, and cleaned...

And while these would, and will, do just fine, they are (for the most part), the same size and shape. So, I decided to hit up my thrift store to see what I could find. For the record, I'm not the kind of person who would pay for glass bottles when I can just use my own for free - but I knew I'd be able to find some great shapes for less than $2....and I didn't want to wait to empty more of my own :)

So off to thrift store where there were TONS to choose from...

I was momentarily sidetracked by all the brass....

Then I got refocused....

And ended up leaving with these...way more than I expected....

Which looks like this all laid out...

Yes, I bought EVERYTHING above (except one of the white glass milk candle sticks in the back that you can barely see) PLUS a great solid glass juice jug and paid $27 for it all. Most items were 69 cents to $1.49 and I got some great vases in various shapes, mason jars, mason jar drinking glasses, candlesticks etc. What really made my grand total 'high' was the glass juice jug ($5.99) and two...I dunno, decanters or wine thingys (seen in the far right of the photo with the glass ball stopper) that I paid $3.99 each for - for a total of $14. So I'd like to think I really only paid $13 bucks on this project.

But keep in mind, I could have totally done it for free.

Okay, back to the project. After buying all this pretty glassware I couldn't decide which I wanted to paint! "Maybe I'll just leave them as is," I thought. But I thought back to the end result and pressed on...So I chose 3 to start... (I was doing this during The Bachelorette and picked only a few so I could still pay attention to Ali and her 11 guys. Did you see the one dude, the one who got the tattoo, when he kept singing to her?!?!? OMG. I was so embarrassed I ALMOST looked away.)

the one on the far left is my sauce bottle - 
the two on the right i bought for 69 cents each

paint in the vase as I move it around to get it coated...

upside down to drain excess paint...

I turned one right-side up to snap a picture so you could see the result.

I'm going to do some more and then will post a picture of them all.
This project was perhaps one of the easiest & cheapest I've ever done and I'm thrilled with the results.
I can't wait to display them - with flowers and without.

(thought - wouldn't it be fun to do some in black and use them to decorate your 
table for a halloween party? actually, you could do them in any colour for any occasion.)