A Minimal Mantel

Pier 1-1-Design Crush

 

My holiday decor game plan goes something like this:

  1. Work around what you already have.
  2. Stay true to your style.
  3. Don’t do a lot of rearranging.

 

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It’s a plan of action that’s served me well in the past, but when Pier 1 challenged me to do a mantle refresh I knew it was time to try something new. Their holiday collection revolves around several styles this season, a little something for everyone, and it was fun to pull from a few to create a look that was 100% me.

 

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The starting point was this amazing Peacock Ombre Wreath. My tree is full of jewel-toned ornaments, mostly in different variations of pinks and reds, so this piece on the other side of the room just made sense. It’s colorful and saturated and a great focal point to build my mantel off of.

 

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Christmas is all about sparkle, so anything I did wouldn’t be complete with some sort of lights. I fell for these Ornament String Lights in a heartbeat. The ten shimmery ornaments are handblown and have a mercury glass finish, something that’s always been one of my holiday staples. I stretched a strand along the mantle and tucked about half into the lower part of the wreath. It ended up feeling very abstract and modern, which I love! And they’re operated by a battery pack, a total bonus.

 

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To add some extra height I pulled in the Glitter Ice Pine Tree Set. They’re such a great touch with those silvery bases, but manage not to compete with the brilliance of the wreath. Decorating with threes is something I always do – in this case the tallest of the three trees was offset on one side by the middle and smallest sized. My mid-century rocking bird is the only piece I left from the usual mantle setup because it just added something special.

 

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The last touch was a pair of LED Birch Tree Pillars that tie in nicely with the all-encompassing tree theme I ended up with. They have two settings – one for a steady light and one that flickers like a real candle! I’ve been turning them on every evening and the yellow tone of the lights is just so warming.

 

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This post is brought to you by Pier 1 Imports. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Fast Company Innovation Festival + Post-it Brand

Post-It-3-Design Crush

 

A few weeks ago I hightailed it to New York for Fast Company’s Innovation Festival. The event featured industry leaders, CEOs, and some of the brightest minds in business all speaking about what’s next in terms of innovation, creativity, and design. Through open and honest talks and behind the scenes workshops at some of the most dynamic companies and startups in New York, we got a firsthand look at the business and culture behind it all. After three days I left highly impressed and inspired.

 

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I was there at FCIF as a guest of Post-it Brand– I don’t need to introduce them, do I? I’ve been an office supply junkie since childhood so it was a natural fit. My Mom used to bring me home the supply catalogues from work and I’d go through and mark them as though they were toy catalogues! Post-it Notes were always one of the most coveted items with their variety of colors and shapes.

 

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If you think about a few projects you’ve been a part of – both work and home – I’m willing to bet Post-it Brand has been present in some fashion. Their products just lend themselves so well to brainstorming, planning, and processing that it’s almost too easy.

Now they offer one of my favorite office products ever –  three sizes of Post-it Big Pads that stick right to the wall. I’ve been using the medium-sized ones to plan out editorial content, then plastering the area around them with smaller Post-it Notes. They’ve definitely changed the way I process some of my thoughts and go about my business with Design Crush. This kind of collaborative thinking is what Post-it Brand is all about, and one of the many reasons they’re a staple in desks and homes around the world.

 

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This post sponsored by Post-it Brand. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content! Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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A Cabinet Makeover with Walls Need Love

Walls Need Love-1-Design Crush

 

This Depression era kitchen cabinet has played a big role in my home as a bar cabinet. I love having a dedicated place to house all of my favorite barware and spirits, but the piece was in need of a little refresh since I first painted it glossy black a few years ago.

 

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When Walls Need Love reached out about checking out their products I knew just what to experiment on. I’d toyed with the idea of wallpapering the interior of the cabinet ever since painting it, but to be honest I was nervous the pieces within might not pop as much if up against a pattern.

 

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Walls Need Love has a fantastic selection of removable wallpaper, just the level of commitment I was looking for (RE: low). If I didn’t like the end result I could simply remove it and call it a day. To start I ordered samples of four designs – Vintage Nautical, Watercolor Cactus, Crazy Pineapples, and Retro Nouveau – and after much deliberation decided to go with the Retro Nouveau. While I thought I wanted something bright and large in scale, it turned out that the best fit for both the cabinet and my style was the smallest and most neutral.

 

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The removable wallpaper itself was really easy to install. I measured and cut a length off of the roll (with a little extra for unforeseen errors), then removing about a foot of the backing paper at a time started at the top and made my way down. I used a wooden ruler to smooth out any bubbles as I went. Lining up a smaller pattern like this isn’t the easiest when it comes to other adding other pieces of paper, but I made my way slowly and used a razor blade to trim off any excess. Overall I’m really pleased with how easy this little makeover was, and with the impact it makes in my dining room. Removable wallpaper is so versatile, I can’t wait to try out some other home projects of different scale with it.

 

Walls Need Love-1-Design Crush

 

This post sponsored by Walls Need Love. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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Lamps Plus Holiday Gift Guide Sweepstakes

Lamps Plus Holiday Sweepstakes-Design Crush

I’ve teamed up with Lamps Plus to do a fun giveaway of some of my favorite pieces this holiday season! If you have a list as long as your arm to shop for, like me, you know the importance of not breaking the bank as you cross off all of those loved ones’ names. My five favorites are above – Lola Modern Acrylic Lamp, POP Stoneware Teapot, Aeneas Votive Candle Holder, Spectra Tumblers Set, and Turquoise Cloud Glass Vase – are all affordable, and if these don’t strike your fancy there’s bound to be something else in Lamps Plus’ massive offerings that will. They’re also sharing a coupon code, use GiftGuide15 through December 31st for $10 off your order of $150 or more.*

How To Enter: 
1. Follow Lamps Plus on Facebook and Instagram.
2. Comment and tag a friend on either social channel, for multiple entries tag additional friends individually. Specify which item you’d like to win and both you and a friend will each win that gift!

Winners will be notified by Lamps Plus on or about November 30th.

Complete rules can be downloaded here.

This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram. By entering, each entrant releases and agrees to hold Facebook and Instagram harmless from any and all claims and liability arising out of the entrants participation in this sweepstakes.

* Redeemable online, or by phone. Not valid at LampsPlusOpenBox.com. Minimum purchase requirement excludes shipping and applicable taxes. Offer valid on regular priced, in-stock merchandise only; not valid on special orders or previous orders, sale items, mark-downs, clearance center items, or with other coupons or discounts. One coupon per customer, one time use only. Offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash or gift certificates. In the event of a return that lowers the total purchase amount below the coupon’s minimum purchase requirement, the coupon savings amount may be deducted from your refund. Not valid on all brands. Other restrictions may apply. Call 800-782-1967. Coupon expires: 12/31/15

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EPICfail (+ a Giveaway)

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I’ve been a fan of Christine Fail’s jewelry since she launched her first line, and only fell more in love with her classic organic pieces after meeting her in New York a few months ago. Christine’s latest line – EPICfail – is a foray into higher end jewelry that launched in September. The collection of 14k gold and sterling silver jewelry is accented with rose-cut diamonds and is intentionally ring-focused, with many of the pieces designed as contemporary ceremony rings. The collection includes six rings in a variety of widths and thicknesses, three pendant necklaces, two pairs of earrings, and a cuff. The line still fits Fail’s minimal aesthetic, but elegant texture is the focal point.

 

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With EPICfail, I’m returning to my roots in fine jewelry. I have been excited by the challenge of incorporating some of the more advanced techniques I am mastering, such as wax carving and stone setting, into the collection,” Fail says. “I’ve always been my own muse — creating pieces I would want to wear, knowing there was a customer with my sensibilities — and the same applies to EPICfail.”

 

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We’re giving away one of my favorite pieces – the Slope Ring (above right) – or $495 towards anything else in the EPICfail collection! Christine is also offering readers 20% off with code EPICDESIGN through 11/25.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

George Barberis, photography
Estelle Manifesto, model
Samantha Hough, hair/makeup

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Enter Redesignyl + Win

Redesignyl-Design Crush

 

Last week I dusted off my artist smock (aka opened Illustrator) and teamed up with Alamy, one of the world’s largest online photo libraries, to launch a super fun design contest – Redesignyl. Designers are being asked to reimagine 1 of 16 iconic album covers using Alamy images as the basis for their design, you get to choose up to three Alamy images to use for free. Once submitted your design will be displayed on Redesignyl‘s page where you can go right now to get started. Get your masterpiece submitted by December 18th so that I, along with the other three judges, can choose yours as the best. There will be eight prizes, including an incredible new turntable for the winner!

PS: Can you tell which album cover I reimagined?

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Juniper & Scout

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Looking for a shop with a little bit of everything? Juniper & Scout has got you covered. They continually track down the best in modern, handcrafted design so you can always find the perfect gift or treat yo self reward. Everything is made right here in the USA by makers who embrace original design, small batch production, and environmental sensitivity (major bonus). Here are just a few of my favorites below. Use the code DESIGNCRUSH20 at checkout for 20% off your total purchase! ​(Expires 12/15/15)

 

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I reserve the quiet ritual of French press coffee for chilly winter weekends, and vessels don’t get much prettier than this high gloss ceramic beauty with a copper pull.

 

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This bar of Black Gold Equilateral Soap has an activated charcoal bottom to deep-clean pores and is scented with lavender and tea tree essential oils, plus it has that easy-to-grip shape. Pamper yourself or leave it out for guests.

 

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My purse is basically a blackhole, so this Tropical Linen Pouch would be perfect for helping me get organized. It would also make a great gift, you could fill it with other little goodies or toss in a gift card.

 

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Moscow mules are my cold weather cocktail of choice, and while they’re traditionally served in copper mugs I  love these copper cups as a chic alternative. I’d also happily use one on the bathroom sink or to plant a few small succulents.

 

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How sweet would this It’s Good to Be Home embroidery look hung over the front door or near the coatrack? I love the modern take on such a traditional craft.

 

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I get so dry when temperatures drop, and this Rosewood + Blood Orange Lotion Ball looks like a fun way to stay moisturized. It would also make one heck of a stocking stuffer.

 

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If you are or have a creative insomniac in your life you may want to pick up one of these Creative Ramblings Journals. I’d put mine on the bedside table so I could make note of all of the strange Google searches I think of at 3:48am!

This post sponsored by Juniper & Scout. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush churning out fresh content!

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Balancing Life with the UP2

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Activity trackers aren’t exactly a new fad, and to be honest I’ve been known to make fun of those who are evangelists for them in the past. But ever since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a year and a half ago, suddenly all kinds of health issues that weren’t important in the past are a big deal. Carb intake, working out, getting enough sleep – all things that I’m paying way more attention to these days. Also things that Jawbone’s UP2 are helping me track and even improve upon! Hi, Pot. It’s Kettle. Let’s talk.

 

Jawbone UP-2-Design Crush

 

I stopped wearing a watch years ago because having it bang against my desk and keyboard while designing was enough to drive me crazy. I was happy to find that the band on the UP2 is an adjustable soft rubber bracelet, and I’ve had zero problem wearing it 24/7. After two weeks it’s already become a habit that I’m not eager to break, and keeping track of everything has become like a competition with myself. It even manages to go with my wardrobe when I stack on bracelets – no small feat! And on days when I forget to throw on any accessories it simply looks like a modern bracelet.

 

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My UP2 has been tracking everything from movement to diet to sleep, and yet I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of its functionality. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the idle alert which keeps you from staying in one place for too long, and the alarm that gently wakes you up in the morning by vibrating your tracker.

 

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I’m not a person who’s ever been extremely active, so I have my goal set to 8,000 steps a day. The difference now is that I’m eager to check my steps as soon as I’ve done an activity – like run on the treadmill, gone grocery shopping, or walked my dogs! I wasn’t expecting just how addicting it would be.

 

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Being able to keep track of every bite of food I put in my body throughout the day is incredibly important to sticking to my recommended 45 carb per meal limit. It’s a relief to know that there’s a record of the results somewhere other than in my mind, and that I can go back and look at what I ate when I was having an especially energetic or exhausting day.

For the past six months I’ve been struggling with sleeping well, I believe it to be a side effect of a new diabetes drug that I’m taking. I don’t have a tough time falling asleep – it’s the staying asleep that’s difficult. Because I wear my UP2 to bed it actually tells me how many times I woke up during the night, when I was sleeping light, and when I was in a deep sleep. In the morning it gives me a report and mentions tips like doing light let lifts when I can’t get back to sleep and getting up to do something productive if I’m restless. This has been my favorite function so far!

 

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What I initially thought was a fad has become a part of my everyday life, and a tool in treating my diabetes. At this point I can’t imagine not wearing my UP2 when it even manages to seamlessly blend into my day-to-day, from lifestyle to wardrobe.

This post sponsored by Jawbone. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush producing fresh content!

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An Outdoor Autumn Harvest Party

Pier 1 Fall-1-Design Crush

 

 

I think we’re all too fast to run inside once the temperatures begin to fade, don’t you? There’s something to be said for embracing the harvest season that’s almost here, cozying up in layers, and enjoying this time of year and all it has to offer before the hustle and bustle of the holidays take over. As I mentioned before, I’m bent on putting my backyard and decks to good use this autumn – plenty of game day get togethers, birthday celebrations, and fire pit parties are already on the docket. I like having an arsenal of dinnerware and serving pieces set aside especially for this time of year and the type of entertaining that I associate with it. What does that mean? Nothing overly precious, pieces that are functional and earthy in material and tone, and a bit heavier than my summer wares.

 

 

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Metals and woods are my favorite right now. The heft and textures they bring to the table (ahem) are unparalleled and, well, a little bit of shine never hurt anyone! I like it when my table looks pulled together, but not pristine. Matchy matchy is out of the question, so mixing metals and other elements is key to pulling everything off. Pier 1‘s Bronze Palm Leaf Serving Bowl is such a great statement piece that brought form and function to my table in spades.

 

 

Pier 1 Fall-4-Design Crush

 

 

My favorite recipes for casual get togethers are simple and fresh. For appetizers I like baked zucchini parmesan crisps and whipped Mexican grilled corn dip. I insist on serving a salad of some type – not always of the leafy variety – and can’t wait to try this grilled potato salad with basil, blue cheese, and tomatoes and this perfect for autumn almond apple quinoa salad.

 

 

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It’s easy to pick up a few growlers of favorite local beers to keep things casual, along with setting out a pitcher of plum spritzers. As the evening cools down even further there’s always a pot of coffee not too far away in the kitchen. I particularly love this Diamond Cut Drinkware because it reminds me of a set of similar glasses my Grandma used to serve iced tea out of every summer.

 

 

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When entertaining outside I like to lean heavily on my trusty grill and my crockpot. One creates delicious things within a few minutes while the other maintains a set-it-and-forget-it frame of mind, with both results usually being eaten on a bun. Case in point are these fried mozzarella and caramelized peach caprese burgers and pulled honey lime chicken sandwiches with corn and cabbage slaw. Hearty and bursting with flavor, they’ll please even your most picky party-goer. A few lanterns helps to further set the mood. One of my favorite outdoor entertaining tricks is using scented candles, the aroma ends up subtly wafting around in the most pleasant way. Simple white plates and cotton napkins help to bring everything else together. Later on we can carry these down to the fire pit to make s’mores and bask in the warmth of another evening spent in good company with good food and drink.

 

 

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No get together is complete without a curated playlist, at least not at my house! So of course I had to pull together some of my favorite songs that channel chill vibes and welcome autumn with open arms. Have a listen!

 

 

 

Hoxton Salad Server Set // Mother-of-Pearl Stainless Steel Pitcher // Diamond Cut Drinkware (Amber) // Bronze Palm Leaf Serving Bowl // White Buffet Napkin Set // Landen Mini Lantern // Landen Black Lantern // Pumpkin Chai Pillars

 


 

Brought to you by Pier 1. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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Outdoor Living

Overstock-1-Design Crush

 

 

This summer has felt like a dream. After spending summers in triple degree heat, being back in Pennsylvania this season has been better than I remember. When living in Oklahoma City I always felt like I was jumping from one air conditioned space to the next, spending the shortest amount of time in the sweltering heat in between as possible. I was determined to get my two (yes, two) backyard decks whipped into shape for some outdoor living as soon as possible.

 

 

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I teamed up with the folks at Overstock to make it happen since I’d either sold or donated the majority of my outdoor furniture before moving last summer. My first goal was to create a space that was functional for entertaining 12 to 15 people at a time, my second was to make the area comfortable during summer as well as fall.

It all began with a few Eco Concrete Samai Planters. I love their industrial look and that they’re heavy enough not to topple over if and when the wind picks up. The plants I’ve used seem to love them just as much and have flourished like crazy.

 

 

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The most important addition to the upper deck was a patio set. I knew I wanted something constructed primarily out of wood and ended up going with the Carlisle Rustic Metal 3-piece Outdoor Dining Set from Christopher Knight Home. It easily seats six people and I plan on adding chairs to both ends to accommodate a few more.

Smartfold outdoor folding serving cart from COSCO is the outdoor equivalent of a bar cart. It’s on lockable wheels so I can push it around serving and park it when done. It’s also come in handy when potting plants and making s’mores on the lower deck.

 

 

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I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to outdoor rugs, but I couldn’t really tell you why. The upper deck is in major need of a fresh coat of paint (next summer’s project!) so I thought a rug might offer a solution. The stripes of this black and bone indoor/outdoor rug by Safavieh do a great job of carrying the aesthetic of the interior of my home to the outdoors. And I have to say, the dogs absolutely love lounging on it.

 

 

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The last touch on the upper deck, or the deck that connects directly to the house, is the Laguna Park Bench. The geometric backrest is another extension of my style and the wood and metal of the piece tie in perfectly with the patio set and folding cart. I love sitting here watching the dogs while they’re on squirrel patrol in the yard, especially in the mornings with a cup of coffee in hand.

 

 

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But I have to admit, the lower deck is probably my favorite. When I bought this house almost a year ago I had no plans for its use. Was it built before the upper deck was put on? After? It was and remains a bit of a mystery, but its location right under a gigantic shady tree is just perfect.

 

 

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I’ve wanted adirondack chairs for years now, in fact I can remember telling my mom that they were one of the first things I’d buy once I had my own home. It didn’t happen quite like that, but these Acacia Square Back Adirondack Chairs now live in perfect formation on the lower deck. They’re super comfortable and I love the pop of light blue against all of that brown. Add a few blankets and we’re all ready for the cozy evenings soon to be spent out here.

 

 

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The yard itself is mainly the dogs’ domain and I didn’t want to take up their space with a fire pit, but I knew I wanted something similar to gather around come fall. I instantly fell for the Corvus Aviano Black Enamel Finished Wheeled Fire Pit. Again, I love the mobility of this piece. I can wheel it into the yard should the party get too big for the deck.

So, when are you coming over?!

This post sponsored by Overstock. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush creating fresh new content!

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