Of Orange & Spice and Everything Nice

Orange is everywhere in my neighborhood. Harvest wreaths with autumn leaves, pumpkins of different shapes & sizes and the occassional scarecrow with the orange hat. But of course, orange starts sprouting everywhere around fall, halloween and thanksgiving. In feng-shui, it is also known as the “social color” suppose to spark lively conversations & good times. In interior decorating, it is considered a warm color closely related to browns, yellows & reds.

Room with analogous colors orange, red and brown.

Blue is its direct opposite considered to be its complementary color.


Can you see a hint of orange in your home? Consider the following ideas.

Orange sofa. (freephotosbank.com)

Accent table from Shine.

Even an orange refrigerator. (comet.co.uk)

And throw pillows with hints of pumpkin, tumeric and saffron at Bliss Studio.

Or find fabulous stationery & cards at a letterpress boutique appropriately called, Orange Beautiful.

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Kitchen Back to Basics

I’m still under the woes and bad spells the retail industry has reported. But despite the overwhelming negativity, there is some positive news. One retail giant has exceeded their sales from last year…Wal-Mart. I know, it didn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but it seems like even the high-income earners has decided to buy just the basics. I still yearn for the design & exclusivity of other retailers such as DWR (Design within Reach) which targets the urban rich & Williams-Sonoma, the traditional rich. Ikea also continues to give alternatives that are overwhelmingly cheap & somewhat trendy & stylish at the same time.

Let’s look at some common kitchen gadgets. First up, the metal can opener, it may be just a couple of bucks at Wal-Mart. A better-looking one is available at Ikea for $9.
Better yet, from DWR, it’s $32.
Serving trays anyone? Cherry wood serving trays, set of three is only $32 at Williams-Sonoma.
But at DWR, a set of 2 will set you back $350. Why? Well, they are crafted from forest-salvaged Douglas fir.

While, the klack tray from Ikea is only $4.99.

How about kitchen timers? The top of the line at Wal-Mart has a modern edge & cost about $9.
It has a close resemblance to what Ikea has to offer which is about the same price.

At Williams-Sonoma, it is $32.

So are the basics good enough for all kitchen gadgets? I’m not an avid cook & I’m not a fan of hanging-out in the kitchen anyway. My bread just stays on top of the kitchen counter but I know that this bread box which rings in at $240 at DWR is a must-buy for somebody out there.

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Retail Gloom?

For the past few years, I’ve been forcing myself to consciously see the positive & brighter side of things. It’s years of affirmations and multiple inspirational books. Yes, it’s a little cliche but I do believe in “the secret.” Even bought the DVD & totally fell in love with Rhonda Byrne’s voice. Yup, I do believe everything around you is because of your thoughts & that how you respond to circumstances is the difference between being entirely happy or hopelessly miserable. Yet this year has been a challenge. First up, in my practice, a partner buy-out in the early part of this year threatened the liquid assets of the business (I was so worried but we’re doing ok). It was tough working & assuming so many hats at one time. The practice desperately needed another licensed clinician which we have been searching for, perhaps for almost a year (just all of a sudden, a new therapist graduate who lives in the area applied for that job). Then two hurricanes hit our hometown which has also threatened the viability of the company (we’re back & slowly picking up again). I guess what I’m saying is, problems & situations always work themselves out. I had faith that they would.But what about the looming economy? Bad news seem to be everywhere. Not just the people in Wall Street are worried, everybody is. The retail industry has been hit hard. Consider the following store closings:

* Most information from Retail Information Systems (www.risnews.com)

Linens n’ Things-the company is being liquidated
Steve & Barry’s-103 stores
Sharper Image-86 stores (think that’s all of their stores)
84 Lumber Co. — 30 stores
Ann Taylor — 117 stores
Charming Shoppes (Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug) — 150 stores
Foot Locker — 140 stores
Macy’s — 9 stores
Movie Gallery — 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy
Pacific Sunwear — 153 Demo stores
Pep Boys — 33 stores
Sprint Nextel —125 retail locations
Wilsons the Leather Experts — 158 stores
Zales — 100 stores
J. C. Penney, Lowe’s and Office Depot are scaling back or delaying expansion. Office Depot had planned to open 150 stores this year, but will now open 75.

These are just some, there is now almost 6000 retail closings in 2008. Pretty scary isn’t it? How quickly things change. The business plan I finished for The Inglenook in the earlier part of this year raved how the retail industry has made big leaps as far as sales in the last 6 years. My new statistics are n0w entirely gloomy. Signs of the times? I’m not sure. I’m still up for the challenge of opening the storefront. But the word “soon” seem to be out of reach at this time.
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Musee des Montreal

It was ahh-heaven for me when I visited the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal, Canada. They have a permanent collection of furniture & decorative items from Renaissance to today ranging from Eames to Rietveld.

These teapots truly deserve to be in a museum, they are made by Michael Graves. The masses came to know him as the first designer who introduced a line of revolutionary household products at the big box retailer, Target.

A few other items caught my eye, like this emerald green giant fan & these oh-so-cute capsule lamps.

High design meets high fashion as “LOVE” is showing, a Yves Saint-Laurent Maison de Haute Couture collection. I was able to take a pic of this gown before a museum guard caught me. Oopps!

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Store Inspirations-Part II

I’ve been to New Orleans several times but last November was my first time to see the Garden district in a different light. If you happen to go, don’t just stay in the French Quarter; the Garden district is a fabulous stroll for oh-so-charming shops, good eats & beautiful houses & mansions. I loved the store Perch.

It’s also in New Orleans that I found $8000 vintage chandeliers. It came all the way from Paris & made of salvaged parts.

Abroad, I fell in love with this window display in Paris.

The lighting was very good & the tufted walls are just lovely. This window is just better to see in person!

So, sorry, I didn’t take a lot of pics at that time of shops. I think I was scared of being kicked out by boutique owners.

In the Philippines, my home, I visited wholesale companies like this one. I seriously loved these venetian ispired mirrors & frames, but to tuck them in with my luggage would have been a total disaster and this hammock/sofa is just way too big.

In Austin, my would-be-home, these are my favorites.

Mercury Design Studio, this shop is very chic.

Finch is one of the new kids on the block in the second street district.
At The Domain, I loved Rachel Ashwell’s Store. All white & shabby chic.
My recent finds, Zone Maison in Quebec City and Beige in Montreal.

Zone Maison

Haah, so many shops, so little time. More window-shopping opportunities to come!


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Store Inspirations-Part I

Ever since I started conjuring the idea that I’ll open a shop, I started visiting fabulous cities & checking out their wonderful home décor shops. It gives me a visual of what I want my shop to be when it grows up (or in my case, when it’s born). These places are awesome! Of course I have my own vision, but they sure give me a lot of inspiration.

Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago is already very popular and for very good reasons, of course.

I wasn’t able to take a picture of this shop, Zella Brown (which happens to be one of Home Décor Buyer’s retail stars of 2007). What a feat, I’m so jealous! But so well deserved. Here’s a piece at the store, a media cabinet from Shine.

Honorable mentions are Porte Rouge (all Parisian items) and Willow, a shop specializing in tabletop items & small accents.

In Seattle, I saw Maison Luxe for the first time. This place is really glam.



I also saw the most beautiful decoupage pieces & learned about the John Derian Company at Sirenza. Sirenza is not a home décor store but a fragrance & bath shop. I only took a picture of their sign, which I thought looks vintage & cool.
More to come: New Orleans, Paris, Philippines and more.

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Walls Galore!

All rooms start with a blank canvas, your walls. It’s up to you if you want to make it drab or fab. Sometimes choosing between satin or eggshell finish is not enough. Nowadays, you can let your walls talk with wall words…

from The Surface Store.

Or show your visitors who the real queen of the house is with this crown wall sticker from Danielson’s Designs.

Make it look romantic & candelit with the new Ralph Lauren regent metallic paints,

Or match your favorite denim with their indigo finish.

You can even feed monkeys (or whatever animal you love) and smell the flowers with these whimsical wall decals.



Or just show off your unique personality with glamour chic wall paper & wall decals for grown ups. Here are my favorites:

See more haute wall paper at http://www.namarococo.com/ and http://www.modgreenpod.com/.

Imagine the icon of glam right there in you walls, Audrey found at The Surface Store.

Or these iron vines and chandelier wall decals from Blik.

Whatever you choose, the options are endless. Let your walls express yourself!
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It’s finally up again!

Whew! That took a while. I had to reupload the content of my blog. I was only able to retrieve three of them. I lost all my profile views and I had thousands already! (ok, just about 230). But here it is… Oh and another thing, my site’s server is down, some kind of “denial of service” attack from China, Russia & England. Don’t really understand all the computer linggo but it’s being worked on at this moment.

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Ooppps I did it again!

I am pulling my hair out at this moment. I accidentally deleted my blog! Please bear with me as I try to recover it’s content.

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I recently just came back from a well-deserved R & R to Punta Cana. Punta Cana is a region in the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic & one of the fastest growing Carribean destination.I am a novice traveler as far as Caribbean destinations and my very first time to an all-inclusive resort. Endless buffets, sun, sand and beach. This is what the phrase “rest and recreation” was coined for. I never thought my multitasking, must-be-productive-all-the-time self would love it but with fabulous company and awesome surroundings, who wouldn’t? I also started taking notice to the Caribbean style of home decorating. Caribbean style is all about bright, bold colors .

Imagine wild magenta, highlighter yellows, orange and lime green.

Like this yellow-lime & flower inspired capri chair.

or these mulitcolored capiz platters.

It’s also about tropical accessories, like the shells floor lamps featured above.

Or these mango wood filled candles from West Elm.

It’s also about natural fibers and this rattan hanging cove chair certainly evokes a Carribean feel.
For a suburban cottage or city loft, going all Caribbean style just won’t look right but with a few punches of this amazing style, it may just be the way to bring the feel of a vacation to your home.

Of course, you can always go all out in your back patio with…

This rich yellow cabana or…

this cocoon hammock.
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