My Sweet Week

Happy Sunday lovelies! Hope your week has been swell. Mine was quite busy last weekend then slowed down. More projects are on the horizon & I’m pretty psyched about my design project with The Vintage Laundry.

Here’s a recap of my fave snapshots from last week:
1. Gorgeous jewelry lent to us by my friend ByJeannie for a shoot.
2. Adore my striped big toes…don’t judge me!
3. Sneak peek of one of the details from a recent shoot…tea rose literally! Rose courtesy of my friend Kaleigh from Meldeen.
4. Love my hair + make-up by talented artists, ummm, from looking like crap to fab, thanks Erica, Adrienne & Jenny

5. My mini-vase adorned by a little arrangement by Joanna’s Mom of The Plantation

Have a creative and stylish week ahead!

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Elizabeth St. Cafe | Austin

Is it wrong to choose a restaurant just by how it looks from the outside? From my husband’s experience, I do that all the time. I guess, you can say, when it comes to food, I have no loyalty. I like trying something new all the time. So, on a Sunday brunch while cruising at South First here in Austin, we drove by this cafe that we had to turn around. I was drawn to the candy-colored pink and turquoise facade, the striped gray awning was an added bonus and the word Boulangerie literally called my name. This is Elizabeth St. Cafe which offers a French Vietnamese light fare, always with an Austin vibe of course!

French Doors everywhere! Bringing the outside in & the inside out.

A lot of light, striped + turquoise caned chairs and marbled black & white floors are amazing together!
The Parisian chic wallpaper is unexpected in the bar area but totally adorable!
The bar stools have a mix of turquoise & mint hues. The marbled bar with curvy brackets are distinctively French.
You know how I love arched hallways!
The Cafe at night.

 The food? I’m a bit partial as I love Asian & French food. We had a couple of Banh Mi’s {Vietnamese Style Sandwiches}, Nigori Breakfast Punch and Pots De Creme for Dessert, well because Creme Fraiche is good with anything! I’m definitely coming back!

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Farewell Merry May

Hello lovelies! I can’t believe it’s June already! 2012 is almost halfway done. This year has been pretty crazy yet amazing so far for me. New liaisons, collaborations, creative endeavors and friendships & love, of course. No matter how hectic life can get, I’ve vowed a few years back to cherish my friendships, old or new & to truly show it and make time for it. Because seriously, life just wouldn’t be amazing without them!A little over a week ago, I made a short trip to San Fran to reunite with a few of my high school friends, some I haven’t seen in twenty years! Isn’t that crazy? I can’t complain either that the location was SF. I’ve only been once before doing touristy things of course. This time, I really appreciated the city more & don’t get me wrong, I love my current hometown of Austin but San Francisco is just amazingly beautiful anywhere you look! Here’s a few instagram shots:

Clockwise from top left: I adore quaint shopping districts! Garden scroll bench at an Elmwood shop {SF Bay area}, we also visited Fillmore, Haight & Hayes; the Berkeley Rose Garden is breathtaking; that’s the Climbing Eden, my fave rose, just look at her elegant pink hue; me & my friend’s little boy; our view at brunch at Auberge du Soleil; I fell in love with this lime green Boulangerie on Hayes {the shop‘s fave color!}.

Earlier in the month, I visited my close friend Melissa {the redhead in the pic, isn’t she gorgeous?}, who moved to Colorado to finish her advanced Pilates training. I haven’t seen her in a year! We had great eats, including breakfast at Hotel Boulderado. I adored snuggling with her cute pup & checking out the Farmer’s Market & all the shops on Pearl Street. Good news is she’s coming back to Austin this year. I want my friend back!

So, June will be hectic as well but more *work* hectic type. Have an amazing week ahead everybody!

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Austin Downtown Living Tour Recap

So, I’m two weeks late posting about the Austin Downtown Living Tour. Well, this recap is just a partial as I wasn’t able to do the whole tour & had a shoot that afternoon. Anyway, here are some of my snapshots & some things I learned about Downtown & Urban Living.

1. Bedroom Must Have | The Upholstered Headboard: Because of minimalist surroundings, it seems upholstered headboards is a must for that modern bedroom, it gives it the right amount of coziness in the room but maintaining the “coolness” & “chicness” of the surroundings.

2. Make an impact with lighting: Of course every designer & decorator knows that but with modern spaces, every piece should be a statement & the lighting is no exception.

3. Don’t neglect the entryway: Another no-brainer, right? Yes, the foyer or the entryway should be the first place to exude pizzazz.

 4. Choose your decoration wisely: Is it too much to make every piece in a space a conversation piece? I say, a big NO to that. I’m thinking a huge golden nugget, a much huger {?} wall puzzle and a floor to ceiling sculpture of vintage books all fit the conversation piece description.

5. Vignettes shouldn’t be fuzzy: I sort of love maximalism, but in these spaces, being unfuzzy is the way to go!

Thanks so much to DANA & POM PR for a wonderful tour! I especially loved The W & Four Seasons!

Before I end this post, here’s my ever faithful co-conspirator when it comes to Home Tours {Thanks again Kindra & a sneak peek of the photo shoot I styled that day.

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Austin | Downtown Living Tour

Some of the places that will be featured in the Downtown Living Tour: 1. The Map: clustered together, you can easily walk to most of them 2. The Austonian Lobby 3. Four Seasons Residence 4. The 360 Condos pool 5. The Restaurant at the W.
Fresh from the Smarter Spaces Tour…there’s another tour coming up this weekend, April 22nd in this amazing town. The Downtown Living Tour is on again. Now if only I’m a real estate investor, I would buy a unit from each one of the condos featured {there are historical buildings too}. If you must know, I’m a big fan of home tours…I see something new every time, sparks my creativity & enriches that design part of my brain.
Downtown Austin is truly remarkable. Living in one of these spaces, you will be just a walk away from fabulous restaurants, shopping, night life & the lake. That’s why I am so torn about to sell or not to sell our place. Yup, the lingering dilemma from the post last Monday. Still need your help by the way. 🙂
Anyway, get your tix here & have a fabulous stroll in downtown Austin! ————————

Tomorrow, get more Spring Inspiration from Beth of My Design Chic!

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The Dilemma

Hello friends! Thought you may be able to help little ol’ me. I’ve been having a dilemma lately….to buy or not to buy a new home. We have been living in a condo for the past two years but I’ve been itching to have a bigger space & an outdoors we can call our own. It’s hard to complain, we live in downtown Austin which is the perfect combination of urban living yet as close to nature as you can get. I’m ready for that new space, yet the husband thinks that selling our condo would be a mistake given that the real estate economy is just now rebounding & that holding on for at least two more years would be well worth it. Of course, it’s different if we can afford two mortgages. Maybe rent a house, lease our space? But that would also mean holding off on a dream and sort of, waiting until I can fulfill painting my own canvas and seeing me, my husband and my daughter enjoy a dinner al fresco overlooking old trees…our trees. After all, when you are an avid design enthusiast, isn’t your home your own masterpiece?

This home which is now owned by a Depeche Mode band member was Jenna Lyons’. It’s been blogged & reblogged but when a home has so much character and good bones, I just can’t help but rave about it over and over…

Of course, marriage is about compromise & having “our” dream, not “my” dream.” Is waiting for more money worth delaying having that home? And having this itch is not something that came overnight, it has been brewing for a year or two {I’d like to think I believe in delayed gratification}. It maybe so superficial of me to think that a house with a courtyard will symbolize our family {with or without an actual house — we’re a family} but…. This is of course my point of view and I understand my husband as well. Any words of wisdom, thoughts?


So sorry for the delayed posting but check out Jody’s post from About Last Weekend for our Inspired Spring series.

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Paris | Always a Good Idea

 A few weeks back, my husband just said…how about we got to Paris? My answer…why yes {remembering the words by her gorgeousness Audrey Hepburn}. I mean duh! If you’re new here, I’m actually newly married {I think a year is fairly new}. Me and the hubs haven’t traveled much together and I didn’t think he would fall in love with Italy last year {our honeymoon} but now he wanted to buy an apartment in Venice. Not sure about that, I mean I love the idea but it’s not like we’ve got lots of cash stashed somewhere. He thought I won’t wanna go since I’ve been to Paris before, but from experience, you look at a destination with different eyes when you are with the one you love. Ahem, corny, I know but he does read my posts. 🙂
So, even though I drink a cafe au lait everyday here in the US, I must remember to rather use the terms “Cafe Creme” there. Or not ask for an espresso cup, but a “demitasse.” And order strictly an espresso or simply “cafe” after 10 am. Hard lessons, when you don’t order right in these countries, you might get a weird look.
Anyway, since I’ve been dreaming of French Cafes & Bistros, I hope you don’t mind me sharing the new stuff at the shop
1 / 2
And of course, cafes are better with some sweets in these compotes.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4
We haven’t booked the trip. Budget is going to be tight but maybe I can stash some baguettes for sustenace.
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Austin Modern Home Tour 2012

It’s that time of the year again Austin! For some reason, I get so excited when events like these happen. Could it be that I love design? Well, that’s no brainer.  So, here’s the WHAT, WHERE, WHEN & HOW….

WHAT: Austin Modern Home Tour. It’s only $20 if you buy it now or $25 at the door. It’s a chance for you to see & explore Austin’s Modern Homes and get inspired about sustainable living.

WHEN: Feb. 4, 2012  Starts at 11 am & Ends at 6 pm. There’s an after party from 6-8:30 pm with an architect panel.Whoa! A chance to meet Austin’s most amazing modern architects.

WHERE: All over Austin. Get your tickets in one of the homes.

HOW: To get there? Hmmm, any kind of vehicle I suppose, with one or 5 of your friends. Here’s how I’m doing it…

1. A girl must have her snack 2. And water! Gotta be hydrated always! 3. Possible outfit — something real relaxed, a satchel for the multiple print materials I’m going to get, flats, a scarf & sweater | blazer optional…this is Texas! 4. My trusty iphone — how else am I going to FB & Tweet these gorgeous homes? 5. A map which they will provide 6. My Nikon DSLR camera {which I still don’t know how to operate} and last but not the least 7. Business cards, tons perhaps? It’s time to meet new people in design.
The event was founded by the GoodLife Team & produced by Launch 787. See my blog journal from last year. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the homes.
And for a little definition of what makes a Modern Home…take it away, Rachel.
A modern home these days usually means something very sleek, angular, and minimalist.  It focuses most of its design efforts on materiality, so you tend to see more natural woods and stones alongside polished concrete and sheet metal.  With sustainability becoming such an important factor in design, things like skylights, tree shading and other attempts to incorporate nature into the home can frequently be seen.  Large window walls play double duty, contributing LEED points and also maintaining a decidedly post-modern style.  Interiors are generally minimalist, focusing more on singular specific pieces than a collection of object.  The “art gallery” home is very popular in design.  Color palettes usually stay within a neutral range of hues, although it is very trendy right now to do pops of bright colors against an otherwise white interior.  If this is done, usually the pop of color is a consistent accent color and sort of becomes a theme throughout the home.
House designs and styles can vary widely within this definition, but I think this will give you a sort of general heads up as to what you can expect to see on the Modern Homes Tour.
Umm. should you get your ticket now?

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My Philippine Trip | In Instagram

Holidays 2011 was filled with loving {and lasting} memories with Mi Familia in the Philippines. I visited my Mom after having a bout of illness. She’s all better now albeit because of prayers and hard work! Here’s a few snapshots of my trip via Instagram, of course!

1. The Philippines is filled with gorgeous churches, this is just one of them!
2. Capiz Lanterns are everywhere during the holiday season. May I just say they’re utterly gorgeous!
3. A Bahay Kubo | Nipa Hut at Subic Bay, monkeys were out galivanting around us.
4. A parol, the Philippine Christmas Lantern at a relatives house.
5. My daughter’s legs and feet enjoying a fish spa.
6. Street food well, were out in the streets! My fave, the taho, bean curd with sweet syrup.
7. Nothing like buko {coconut} juice in its shell!
8. Gorgeous banig or weaved pillows at a local home decor store.
9. French Macaroons are everywhere, even in the South Pacific, these ones are courtesy of Bizu.
10. My Mom and me enjoying an afternoon snack at Mary Grace.
11. Tiangge or the Flea Market at Greenhills is open until Midnight.
12. My daughter & I bought matching ribbon rings for a whopping $2!
Hope you enjoyed it!

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Candy Shop | Big Top Candy in Austin

I don’t eat salty or sour as much as I eat sweets. I honestly believe that the ratio of my sweet taste buds versus my salty, sour or bitter ones is 1000:1. I can do low carb and avoid the pasta in a chicken fettucine but I’ll have 2 servings of tiramisu please…which of course kinda negate the low carb premise. Ok, that’s me ranting about my taste buds. This post is really about this amazing candy shop in Soco. Yes, New York, you’ve got Soho, we’ve got Soco {South Congress}. Unique shops, food trailer treats and yes, sweet heaven…Big Top Candy. When you come in the shop, you will literally feel like you’re in a time warp…the design is old-fashioned, the decor is vintage and everything is 1950’s colorful. Oh, but everything is not sweet…

Who loves bacon? I do! Nothing like a refreshing bacon mint in the morning. Feeling a bit fancy? There’s Foie Gras Bubble Gum.
 There’s all kinds of taffy, much like the ones you get from a General Mercantile. And, yes, old-fashioned milkshakes.
For some protein, you might wanna get some BBQ larvets or Sour Cream n Onion crickets. Yum!
Be sure to check out the shop when in Austin. And thanks to my budding photographer sister for fabulous images!

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