The Beach Life by Sweet Paul

When it comes to styling, I have a handful of favorites. The sweetest one is Sweet Paul. It’s been twenty months since the first issue of his mag became live and I’ve been hooked ever since. Here’s his latest one from the Summer 2012 issue.

And of course who doesn’t like the beach life? If the details are these gorgeous, I’m inclined to love it even more. Bateau stripes, crisp whites and gorgeous corals all fit the well-edited theme. Sometimes, less is truly more.

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The Coffee Table Tray : 10 Styles

As I was helping a friend and giving advice on how to decorate their home, it suddenly occurred to me that the coffee tables of most parents with young kids are either non-existent or barely there. Of course it’s not very practical to put little decorative items, even breakable stuff just within reach of toddlers. The solution? Trays. They are affordable and as versatile as can be. Place them on that coffee table when entertaining & take them out when the kiddos are roaming. Also, I’ve always been a fan of oversized ottomans as coffee tables and the only way to decorate this space and be functional and uncluttered at the same time are, yes, with trays again. Here are 10 Designs, 10 ways to style that coffee table tray:

Python trays [or Crocodile or Zebra or Leopard print] dressed with a coral is perfect as a valet tray as well.
Chevron or any geometric pattern for that matter.
Lacquered styled with books, vases & candle holders.
Metal & Vintage.
Not all trays are made with four corners, circular works as well especially if it’s an Hermes.      
In Rattan or anything organic or nature-inspired.
Simply white is a no-fail strategy.
Mirrored with shiny details exude Hollywood Glam.
And finally, a dash of neon is very Summer-inspired.

You can even change them by the season or by the event! DIY them, scour the flea markets, shop online or your local gift shops…they’re everywhere. So, style that coffee table & enjoy!

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Design & Decor, Styling
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My Easter Weekend in the Woods

Well, well…wouldn’t you know, it’s Wednesday again! Wednesdays are usually creative days for me. I try to alternate my days from doing administrative stuff & using my left brain for this {and this} amp; doing “creative” things & using my right brain; from DIY’s to event design, interiors & set styling. Today I’m having to do more left-brain stuff as our server was out almost all week last week & I’m playing catch-up. Anyway, I want to share with you my Easter weekend in the woods.From previous collaborations to new ones… Diya introduced me to Star who is doing the wardrobe styling for an independent short film and they needed a set stylist. Sweet…I was pumped to have this experience and work alongside creatives…yes, I dare consider myself a creative! 🙂

Anyway, it was a whole day affair in the woods where grass is tall, flowers are thorny and the terrain muddy. But the people & crew…amazing. Here are a few pics:

We picked flowers a la a Disney princess in the woods & placed them in these spray-painted pain cans. Some were hanged, some were placed on the ground.
These fabric streamers & laced votive holders were made on the spot.
 A vignette of vintage + junk
My Sunday was more relaxed…no egg hunting though, just brunch with some sparkling & donned  peach & lace. I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter!

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Behind the Scenes, Styling
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Bloggers Take | Inspired Spring

I think aside from billions of pollen in the air in the Spring, this season is pretty much all that and more. I do feel happier for some reason…longer daytime maybe? All the bright colors I see? Anyway, since I feel more inspired as ever {and for so many reasons!}, I’m doing a new series at the blog I’m calling: Bloggers Take | Inspired Spring. It will officially start on April 3rd with a post by the utterly sweet Sam of The Peak of Tres will adore her {if you don’t already}. But first, here’s my take on what makes this season I.N.S.P.I.R.E.D.

1. Mint Green! This hue is more in trend than ever {although I must admit they still don’t look good as kitchen tiles}. See how much we love it from posts here & here.
2.  Sandal season especially it’s in Salmon Pink. I wear close toed sandals in the Spring, not really my rule, it just turns out that way.
3. Bright hued outfits. This Heidi Merrick collection is perfect! Except of course I need to get ones at a much cheaper price…I’m pretty frugal when it comes to clothes shopping.
4. Being outdoors! Relaxing on a beach chaise is perfect and doing Al Fresco dining at a 5. Courtyard, romantically lit by a 6. Candle chandelier is just heaven to me
7. Of course, I don’t wanna forget that a great book is a must! Sibella Court is my props stylist icon & wrote this amazing book although my Book Wish List is certainly growing.
8. Pastel colors of course & yes, I am a sucker for themed tableware and these Rosanna La Vie Boho & Flea Market Chic plates are just so adorable!
9. Paris {or any European getaway}, well because me & the hubs were planning to go, he is kinda stalling on buying the tix, I’m getting scared…should I put the pressure on?
10. Philosophy Spring’s Eternal…I just started using this per my daughter’s advise {yes she’s a beauty insider junkie}, it’s refreshing and makes your skin glow!
11. French Macaroons {Or Macaron}, I am just addicted to them & have a whole board dedicated to them

Of course this is just my short list. Anyway, come back and check out the different bloggers take on what makes their Spring inspired.

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Flower Fever

I think I’m one of those people that can be paid with gum…errr, flowers. I am just so in love with every kind. So glad that my Zyrtec & nasal spray are always on standby. This weekend while doing some dessert styling for a Caplan Miller event at the W Hotel here in Austin [can’t wait to share the professional pics!], David Kurio, floral designer extraordinaire noted how I gasp at every sight of a flower that he gave me a whole bucket. Lucky me! Too bad some of my other vases are at the storage but I managed to get a few containers around the house & scatter them all throughout our space.

Here is one side of the flower bucket in my kitchen …

And here’s some of them scattered throughout the house…

My favorite used to be hydrangeas, then peonies, now it’s ranunculus. Nature is just so beautiful! What’s your favorite flower? Oh and you knew I was just kidding about getting paid in flowers, right?

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DIY: Paper Flower & Christmas Balls

I must be a paper flower junkie, I get withdrawal symptoms when I haven’t made a paper flower in one week. This is exhibit one. So, for a recent photo shoot for San Antonio Magazine, I made these flowers for a “Mint-themed” photo shoot. They didn’t quite make the cut for the fashion spread but I thought I’d show you how to make them.Well, first, this is a modification of the flowers from none other than Martha Stewart here. I don’t claim to be a DIY guru but I’m an expert in writing Policies & Procedures [ok..that’s a joke, ask my peers! :)].

1. Step 1 : Get the following materials ready

Gift wrap tissue paper, scissors, pencil, paper

2. Step 2: So, I already traced different sizes star-like flowers [I like them because they are spiky, but you can certainly do rounded ones] and cut them.

3. Step 3: Grab about 5 flowers of different sizes. Largest one at the bottom and smallest one at the top. Bunch them and make a small hole at the bottom and center of the flowers. I folded mine into half and cut a little circle. A word of advise: the flowers were not cut perfect, neither were the holes ; I believe DIY’s are meant to be perfectly imperfect.

4. Step 4: Now, get your Christmas balls ready. I had these ones so might as well use them. I believe in repurposing!

5. Step 5: Take the crown off from the bottom of the ball. Widen the crown. Press the antennas together and put them inside the hole then immediately put the ball making it the center of the flower. The antennas are pretty strong so make sure you have a good grip on them.

6. Step 6: Press the crown together to secure the ball at the center of the flower.

And voila! Here they are:

And I don’t have the heart to throw them away and used them to adorn my memo board [they are held up by push-pins]. Now, that’s inspiration on top of inspiration…at least for me!

xo  Maureen

Styling |
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Styling Tips from Miss Cherie

How was your weekend everyone? Mine was low key…my husband has been sick for more than a week but he’s been deathly bored inside the house. So, we did visit the Farmer’s market, had some french macaroons and picked out paint colors after. Still productive, I might say.This weekend, I’ve also been obsessing about this commercial, I think it was blogged and posted over and over again when it came out…but one more post wouldn’t hurt right? Plus anything that inspires should be played over and over again. Since I’ve been doing styling projects more and more, I’ve been scrutinizing how some shoots just inspires me more than other. The Miss Cherie commercial for Dior is no different. These are just some of the tips and ideas I’ve learned from it:

May I add a great model, wardrobe stylist, photographer and director {who else but the amazing Sofia Coppola?} are key.

Have an inspiring week!

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A New Use for Egg Cups

I know it’s never too early to think about Spring, Easter and yes…eggs! In this case egg cups for that matter. I saw some wooden ones at Vintage Laundry {help! I visit this place at least once a week & I always go home with adorable goodies!} and instantly I thought…succulents!So, a trip to Tree House {Austin-based Home Improvement store that’s all about green home making — the shop is amazing & you must visit it soon!} was inevitable & I came home with these mini-succulents.

Prepared the wooden egg cups…oh, like took them out of the bag.
Took the succulents out from their plastic container.
Lovingly tucked them in the egg cups.
And voila! A wonderful display at the bar counter to make me happy when I’m washing dishes. I’m thinking they can be place cards as well, wedding favors? Oh…the possibilities!

Styling |
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Wild for Wildflowers

I’ve always imagined of owning a prairie ….oh, maybe somewhere in the South of France. Wildflowers & berries will be all around fresh for the picking in the morning. I’ll put them in my French Country basket {which of course hangs daintily on my vintage bike} and off I go back to my little cottage putting the wildflowers in lovely vases and I’ll make jam with the berries later.Ahhhh, oh well! I suddenly thought of wildflowers for an upcoming event for SXSW, this is Texas and people loves rustic. So, when I was picking the variety of wildflowers {there’s lots of them}, I found this inspiration:

And makes me wanna buy these vintage botanical prints from this shop.

So, I went with the following: Acacia, Heather, Pink Wax flower, White Asters, Billy Bulb yellows & White Lepto. So, they won’t be coming from my prairie & I won’t be cutting them myself but I’m sure they will still be as lovely on a wonderful Spring Texas Day.

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Valentine’s Day Sparkle

I hope your Valentine’s Day is off to a good start so far! Not sure what your plans are for tonight, whatever it is…don’t forget to savor the moment, have fun and it may not hurt to have some sparkle & shine.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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