Wednesday, March 20, 2013

d.i. why not? vintage hanky gift wrapping

I think this probably has to be the easiest DIY project I have done in a while.  The last super easy project I did was probably the clothespin starburst but this is even easier than that one! 

I love nothing more than being able to reuse something lovely from the past in a totally fabulous way.  And I also really enjoy wrapping gifts.  I love it even more than shopping for them.  Coming up with fun and interesting ways of packaging is something I look forward to every single holiday.

I happened upon a table filled with these vintage hankies during one of my flea market outings.  What I loved about these the most was the fact that the gal selling them already cleaned and ironed each and every one of them.  That was key, because we all know what these were used for back in the day (yuck!) and I was thrilled that someone had already taken the time to Oxy Clean the old cooties out of them.  When I saw these vintage handkerchiefs, I was immediately inspired to pick some up and use them to wrap pieces of my jewelry as gifts for friends and family. 

The longest part of the project was the hour I spent going through each and every pile choosing my favorites.  Because of course I had to look at each and every one of them.  And then I had to go through the entire table one more time.  Ideally, you want to choose a hanky with a great pattern in the center as well as cool detail on the corners.

I started by placing my square jewelry box in the center of the hanky like so.  This box measures 1 3/4" high x 3 3/4" square. I think a square box at this thickness or slightly thicker works better than a skinny rectangle.

I then took two corners of the hanky on the diagonal and tied them to each other only once.

I did the same with the opposite corners.

I then tied the same diagonal corners to each other one more time.  This makes it more secure and structured while still allowing your gift recipient to easily untie and open to see the fab goodies you placed inside!

I think my fave of the group is the yellow one.  I am a little obsessed with yellow these days and the scalloped detail around the edge makes it look even more lovely!

Depending on the hanky you use, these can look classic or modern.  No tape, no string or ribbon of any kind is necessary as you have a built in bow!  Perfect for upcoming Easter or Mothers' Day baubles or really any time of the year!  Happy Spring!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Monday, March 18, 2013

motel mondays: part 31

Happy Monday!  Haven't had a motel monday in quite some time!  Well, I had to have one for this fab motel - the El Sol Motel.  When I saw the sign I had to snap a photo.  I have no idea where this little motel was.

Ya see, the fab vintage neon sign was actually for sale at the Rose Bowl Flea Market last weekend.   I have never seen a vintage neon motel sign for sale at any local markets until then.   And yes, I sure was tempted to pick this rustic beauty up.  But sadly the short funds and storage space forced me to walk away.  Of course, that was only after spending a lot of time staring in awe and maybe drooling a little while snapping a zillion photos.

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Celebrating Girl Power

I don't know about you but I am loving all of the recent girl power stories in the news lately.  Kind of  awesome that women are being celebrated.  Just watched this great documentary on PBS called Makers: Women Who Make America and felt so lucky to have grown up in the time that I did with all sorts of opportunities at my fingertips.  I forgot that there was more to PBS than Downton Abbey! And then, for a good dose of extra inspiration I watched a bunch of these video interviews on their website featuring all of these women I really admire (Martha Stewart, Diane Von Furstenberg, Katie Couric, etc.) talking about overcoming their fears of failure and succeeding in their chosen careers.

Well, I really was truly inspired!  Even though I finally feel like I am on the right path, starting over a new career I love, I still feel waves of fear and doubt every so often (let's be real - I feel those doubts all the time!).  And now I'm working on a big project that scares the wits out of me (more on that in the coming weeks!) and have all sorts of anxiety about it... So, having these super successful gals talking about the same fears in their videos makes me feel that much stronger in my decision to persevere.  I am more determined to to prove the cliche - sometimes the greatest risks bring the greatest rewards - isn't such a bad idea.

I also saw a documentary called Girl Rising last week that reiterated my gratefulness for living in a country that offers people (and girls especially) so many opportunities, no matter what class you are born into.  Seeing the girls featured in the film made my think of my own experience meeting children in the tiny village in Nepal I volunteered in last year. 

I was asked to speak to a group of women in a local chapter of an organization called NCL (National Charity League) here in LA and did so last night.  The representative from NCL that invited me thought that my story might be inspirational to some of their group's members  as a lot of them are moms that have taken time off from raising their kids and are now looking at reentering the workforce.  I have to say, I was really flattered.  And the gals that I met were pretty cool!  A couple of them asked me what I thought of the new Sheryl Sandberg book, Lean In.  Well, I haven't read it, but, in my opinion, leaning in is all well and good as long as you are leaning towards happiness and doing something you love.  If not, what's the point?  Who cares about the big title and big salary if you don't really enjoy what you are doing.

A big THANK YOU to the folks at Williams Sonoma Designer Marketplace (the folks behind West Elm and Pottery Barn) for listing ME as on of the best interior designers to follow on Pinterest.  Pretty cool, right???

Oh, and the fab art at the top of this post? Well, that's by a local artist here in LA that I love, named Kelly Reemsten .  You should definitely check out one of her shows if you can!  Really fabulous!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vintage Love

Is it wrong to love a chair?  I was lucky enough to spot this beauty at the Rose Bowl a short time ago and was lucky enough to have done so the exact moment the dealer removed it from his truck.  I wasn't looking for a chair that day.  It just happened that I found it.  For me it was love at first sight.  I knew we were meant to be together.  Kismet and all that.  When I saw it, I knew I had to play it cool as I quickly rushed while trying to appear to mosey on up to his booth and keep my voice from sounding as excited as I was to have spotted it when asking about it.  The price he quoted was crazy low. Of course I still negotiated him down a smidge (this wasn't my first rodeo!) but I knew it was mine.

The chair shape looks sort of like an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair but I have no idea who it is by and frankly I don't care. The pattern on the original upholstery (which happens to be in mint condition!) is strikingly similar to the David Hicks Hexagon wallpaper I have coveted for so long...

 And painted on my bedroom wall that Carmageddon weekend.

Yep, definitely a match made in heaven, my new chair and me.  So happy it wasn't a vintage regret because I think I might be in therapy if I missed out on this one.  If only finding the right guy was as easy...

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Monday, March 4, 2013

my blue obsession

Ok so I haven't run off to Greece for good, although it sure was tempting!  I really meant to continue writing about my fabulous Greek adventure much sooner than now but got caught up with technical difficulties (some things never change) and life in general since I got back and these last few months (can't believe it has been that long!) have flown by.  I do want to share some of my favorite bits of my time island hopping in Greece before moving back to blogging about my little old life back home and the fun projects I am working on...

Let me just say that if you haven't been to Greece, you should go.  Honestly, it was one of the most amazingly beautiful countries I have ever visited!   The geography, the food, the people... did I mention the food? And the most beautiful blue sea I have ever seen did not disappoint!  Far from it!  I was close to tears almost everyday I was there because I was so very thankful that I got to experience such a magical and beautiful place.  And, although I had the worst hair of my life (humidity frizz times a thousand!), it wasn't such a bad thing being a blond gal in Greece.  Even a frizzy blond gal.  Now if only that mojo will continue at home in LA... Oh, and blue was not my favorite color before I went but after seeing the amazingly beautiful blue sea there, how could I not be inspired???
breakfast of Greek champions
I decided on Greece because I had a feeling that with their current economic challenges, there might be some hotel deals to be had.  And since I am very budget conscious these days, I thought taking advantage of them would be a great idea!   And it was!  Traveling during low season also helped (I was there during the month of September).  And thank goodness for those frequent flier miles I have been hoarding from my past professional life!

When I left LA I wasn't really sure which islands I was going to visit.  I bought a book on the Greek Islands and was so overwhelmed by the hundreds listed that I decided I would just wing it when I got there.  While I have traveled internationally quite a bit, I have never not planned every moment of my trip as far as hotels in advance.  But this last year has taught me that there's something kind of awesome about flying by the seat of your pants!  And it was a really wonderful experience that I am going to have to do more often!  I chose every island I visited by chatting with folks I met along the way and booked hotels shortly before my ferry docked on the next island.  And Trip Advisor was my best friend on this trip.  I booked hotels based on reviews that they were small, clean, inexpensive, cheerful, homey with great owners and fabulous views and was not disappointed. Oh, and I learned that booking directly with the hotels and avoiding booking websites actually got me the best rates.  Especially since I was booking my rooms very last minute.


Shortly after arriving in Athens, I hopped on a ferry to Mykonos.  Boy, was this island beautiful!  I ended up staying an extra day, stranded because of cancelled ferries due to high winds.  What an island to be "stranded" on!  Stunning views from everywhere I went on the island.  I walked/hiked the entire island in my 3 days there.  I learned that not only was I quickly becoming obsessed with the color blue, but I was also developing an obsession with windmills as there are some great ones on this island.  And really lucked out with a super cute little hotel called the Hotel Omiros.  Above is a photo of the view from my room.  Not too shabby, right?  And the owner, Yiannis, was awesome.  He and his wife created such a cool vibe and I met and hung out with some really great fellow guests through him.  Oh, and remember how I was stranded there an extra night?? Well, this guy was so fabulous that he offered to call my next island's hotel to get them to credit what I paid for the night I missed there.  How cool is that?  Will definitely be visiting again during my next trip to Greece!
Mykonos has an island mascot.  These groovy pelicans can be seen strolling around town everyday.  Yeah, I was kind of obsessed with them as well.  And somehow every single thing I saw on the island seemed so very beautiful no matter how simple...
How lovely is this simple wooden veggie bowl.  Sadly, not for sale, otherwise I would have snagged it for sure!


So, I knew that I had to visit Santorini at some point during my trip.  After all, it epitomizes what I pictured Greece as being.  And I was the superstar aunt sending postcards of the donkeys going up the steep hills to my nephews from here.  They thought it was a pretty cool mode of transportation up hill.  I met a fab girl from England on my first morning in Santorini and ended up doing a bunch of fun sightseeing activities with her.  She was very cool and I definitely met a new friend for life!
My hotel here was pretty groovy too.  Above is a sunset view from the hotel.  And the breakfast view was pretty awesome too!  I stayed at this fab place called the Hotel Kavalari.  The boys that were working the front desk, James and Kostis, were fabulous with all sorts of great restaurant and sightseeing advice.  Bonus was that James is a hairdresser as well so he had lots of tips for me and my frizzy blonde puffball moppy mess!   I stayed in a cool cave room built into the cliff which is apparently the thing to do there.
Santorini has this beach they call the Red Beach.  Because the "sand" is actually rocks that look like this:
Yeah, not so much red, but red-ish in my book. 

And while at the red-ish beach, look for this guy and be sure to get some of his corn!

 As you all know, I have an appreciation for handmade jewelry as I dabble in it myself.  Well, I met this woman named Anita that has a great little store called Ernesto Workshop and Gallery with her husband who is a woodworker.  Let me just say that her jewelry was so stunningly beautiful and unique... if you find yourself on Santorini, it is definitely worth a stop in as her pieces are works of art!

My friend bought this fab turquoise ring from her! Totally envious of it!  And above that is the Aquamarine ring of my dreams.  My someday-when-I-make-money-in-this-new-career-I-have-chosen ring.  And if you visit Santorini, be sure to visit a restaurant called Argo.  I ate there more than once as the food and vibe was amazing!  And the owner/chef, Konstantin, is not bad to look at and a sweet guy as well.  Order the Pasta Santorini and tell Anna who works there that I said hello!

My next island stop was Milos.  I instantly fell in love!  I learned about Milos on my first day in Greece while chatting with some folks touring the Acropolis.  They said you couldn't beat it's beauty and they were right.  One very noticeable thing about this island is that it is not on the cruise ship circuit which was very refreshing.  Slightly more challenging to get around because of its sleepy nature and the fact that I was there off season with not as many buses running.  But I still had an amazing time! The geography here was stunning!

I also had an amazing hotel experience here!  I stayed at this fab place called Nefeli Studios.  The owners, Roula and her husband, were amazing and so warm and inviting.  They helped me maximize my short stay on Milos.  I truly wish I could have stayed longer than the few nights I was there but sadly high winds were expected and were going to cause ferry cancellations, stranding me much longer than the extra day I wanted to stay.

On my first night in Milos, I was dining alone at a groovy restaurant in the village near my hotel and this really fun group of British folks invited me to join them (actually, they insisted and would not let me say no).  And I had the best time hanging out with my new friend Christina and her family and friends.  One of my favorite things about traveling solo is that you tend to meet all sorts of cool people along the way.

I spent one entire day on a boat ride around the island, stopping at all sorts of fab beaches and amazingly aqua colored swimming spots.  I was the only American on the boat filled with Italian and French tourists.  I ended up having lunch with a really sweet older Italian couple and somehow my knowledge of the Italian language left me that day.  My Nonna would have been so disappointed in me as most of my sentences consisted of "mi piace_"  (I like) and "no mi piace" (you guessed it! translation - I don't like).  I used to be able to speak more than that but I choked!  And of course it all came flooding back to me after bidding my new friends "arrevederci!"

As I mentioned before, I chose most of my islands to visit based on conversations I had with random people offering their advice.  Well, I met this fab couple that was a Greek gal and her French husband while hiking the volcano off Santorini.  They said to me "Have you heard of Amorgos??? You MUST visit! It is so beautiful and perfect for hiking and outdoor activities."  I decided to check it out.  This is a sleepy little island known most for being the location where a very famous (in France) French movie called Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) was shot.  I had never heard of the film before but upon arriving on Amorgos, I learned that the film is shown every single night at a bar of the same name.  I saw it my first night there and thought it was very beautiful but could have done without the depressing ending.
So, my good hotel luck did not end in Amorgos.  I found this lovely little hotel in the port called the Hotel Minoa.  Because Amorgos is teeny tiny (under 1000 people live on the island), staying in the port is not noisy and polluted as it might be on some of the larger and busier islands.  Here, it was just lovely.  The owners, Stamitas and Ioanna, were just as warm and welcoming as every single other Greek person I met on this trip.  And the hotel was simple, cute and clean and lovely having breakfast under bougainvillea and staring at the sea.  Bonus that this hotel has a pastry shop in the lobby.  Yum!   

This island is deserving of its reputation of beautiful blue seas and lovely geography.  I spent most of my time exploring on foot, hiking, and taking the bus to other beaches and parts of the island.  My favorite beach is in the photo above, called Anna Beach.

It was on Amorgos that I had my most "Gosh, sometimes I am such an American prude" experience.  One day I was sitting alone on the beach reading my book.  All of a sudden I hear someone speaking in Greek and I turn around.  Sitting behind me was a woman about my Nonna's age (mid 80's).  Topless.  Speaking to me in Greek.  I had no idea what she was saying to me as other than please, thank you, hello and goodbye my Greek is nonexistent.   So, I am just smiling at her and trying to act cool, like I am around naked old people I don't know all the time.  And then a French guy swims up to me with his snorkel.  He gets out of the water.  Nude.  He starts chatting with me, guessing what the Greek lady is saying.  Here I am, alone on a tiny beach with a topless old lady and a naked snorkeling French dude and then his girlfriend, who has just arrived.  The only person "fully clothed" in a bikini and feeling like a loser. Oh well.

Perhaps you're inspired to travel to Greece? I promise there won't be such a lag between now and my next post!  So much to catch up on!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern