Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LCY Shops: gold, black, and white

when looking over recent items i've been wanting, wearing, using, and adding to the new place, a trend quickly appeared. lots of black, white, and gold. a year ago all i wanted was color. bright, feminine colors! is this me maturing? living with a boy? or simply hanging out with danielle too much?

• i think this black and white image of the ferris wheel in paris would look perfect on our living room mantel against the dark grey walls.

• we included these gold coach loafers in our fall footwear essentials feature on the everygirl and i've been coveting a pair for myself.

• you may have noticed two of these black and white colorblock pillows on my couch in my restyled home tour in chicago home and garden magazine (full tour coming to LCY soon!). they are from stone textile and i love the bold yet simple look they create when two are placed right next to each other. stay tuned since we'll be giving one away on the everygirl in the next few days to celebrate the brand's one-year anniversary! congratulations, elizabeth!

• credit on my favorite budget home goods site - joss and main - allowed me to purchase these ivory laguiola steak knives. we don't have a good knife set and the price seemed reasonable ($67) for quality knives made in france. plus they're pretty.

• we regularly use danielle's gold watch as a prop for photo shoots so i've kinda sorta been wanting one of my own. i love the classic design of this gold eco-drive style by citizen watches - available at watchco.

• saw this cursive design necklace on pinterest and immediately repinned. so beautiful.

• i was enjoying brunch at the bongo room with mike a few weekends ago and was delighted that my latte came to me in this double glass takeya tumbler. i quickly googled the brand when i got home, and now i have one of my very own! highly recommend! makes a fantastic stocking stuffer or coworker gift at $20!

• love love love this oversized leather butterfly chair from eurostylelighting - it's perfect for any room of the house, including the our room!

• kelsea, the very talented designer behind kslademade, was generous and sent over her newest style crossbody bag in dark brown. i use it every day. it's become my go-to bag for fall.

what's your favorite item out of the bunch?

and if you haven't voted yet - please do! turns out anyone who votes gets entered to win a pair of the clarks boots for themselves!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leather Boots Style Contest? Sign me up! (read: pretty please vote for me?) sent me and three other style bloggers a pair of Clarks Mascarpone boots and knee-high Wigwam socks and asked us to style a fall look around the preppy shoes. I by no means consider myself the fashionista, but because riding boots are my go-to footwear in the fall and winter months, this didn't seem too challenging. Now you get to vote on whose look you like best!

I immediately thought to pair the brown leather boots with another fall staple: the blazer. This one I got half off for $40 at Gap since it had a button missing (I've since fixed this). I love the bright girly hue and the white trim. I also reached for the Coach Penny Over-the-Shoulder bag in emerald and my knew Pan collared blouse from Aqua at Bloomingdale's. The final prop? Buddy the pup, of course! Who doesn't enjoy a long walk on a crisp fall day?

The whole look was very reasonably priced - with both leather items, the Clarks shoes and the Coach bag, being the most costly (as most leather goods are).

If you like the look, please vote "Alaina" on the contest page over at You don't have to sign up or anything - simply hit the "VOTE" button under my photo.

However, if you want to sign up, you'll be entered to win a pair of these boots for yourself! Good luck!

photos by Danielle Moss

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Everygirl's Home Tours in Chicago Home and Garden Magazine

I am not kidding when I say it was this time last year that Chicago Home and Garden magazine came to me wanting to run my home tour and career profile in their publication. And I kept telling them I had "a few more things" I wanted to change before we photographed it. Notably, new art above my couch, a bedroom overhaul, and spruce up the dining room. Since money doesn't grow on trees... nine months later, I was finally able to get it to a place I was happy with, we scheduled a date, and photographer Andy Barnes and team came over on quite possibly THE gloomiest day of the summer and shot my old apartment. You may remember me blogging about Andy and the Chicago HG shoot back in May... I was ecstatic since he was responsible for shooting my most favorite Jayson Home and Garden catalog ever.

So July came and went... the photos turned out beautiful! And in late August, I heard from the new editor Gina Bazer about wanting to refocus the story on The Everygirl, and more specifically, Danielle's and my home tour. Press for The Everygirl?! No brainer. So we met her for coffee, chatted about decorating, and Danielle submitted her own photos of her apartment since there wasn't time to schedule another shoot (not to mention she had moved!), and now, this week, the winter issue hits newsstands! One year later. With a 4-page story on The Everygirl, and a blurb with our url on the table of contents page (incl. a photo of me and the pups! They're such good models.)

How cool is that?!

Also love that our friends over at Nate Berkus, Sasha Adler and Lauren Buxbaum landed the cover! Which I noted as being drop-dead gorgeous (those green chairs!) before evern realizing it was their project. And our good friends John and Maura Stoffer of Stoffer Photography have their byline on the pages, as well, since they shot a number of Danielle's pictures and our portrait. "Free press for everyone! Yay!"

Come back Monday for some fun behind-the-scenes pictures, and Tuesday for full-size pictures of my fully revamped tour - complete with pink geometric rug from RugsUSA, new dining table, Alicia Bock Paris photo, and my Jonathan Adler Lust pillow!

Thanks to everyone at Chicago Home and Garden - both past and present staff - who made this possible: Megan Duffy Rostan, Jan Parr, Gina Bazer, and of course, Andy Barnes!

Oh, and did you hear, it's Halloween weeeeekend! Have fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Belle: wishbone vs plastic chairs

so you've all seen my grey made-over dining room chairs that i purchased on craigslist, yes? well, they are on their last leg. most of the paint is knicked in places, the upholstery has gotten very dirty, and one of the chairs is broken and completely unusable. so with the move to the new place, i knew it was time to start looking for some new dining chairs.

i was thrilled to be contacted by the home goods website Euro Styling Lighting - a site that believe it or not, offers so much more than lamps and lighting fixtures. in fact, i found two of my most favorite chair styles on their virtual pages (for less than half the price at other retailers). the wishbone and the molded white plastic that looks like it's standing on a four-legged tripod. a quadpod?

behold the wishbone chair at its best:
in the words of buddy the elf... beauuuutiful. this has been my faaaavorite style chair since forever. i even had danielle take a photo of me sitting in one on our trip to abc carpet and home in new york city last fall.

but then there's the super interesting look of the white plastic chairs:
oooo... ahhhh... this style is half the price at eurostylelighting. tempting.

so to back track for a minute. our new dining room table arrived thanks to the folks from fashion for home. as i said in my last post, it takes months for most of this site's items to arrive - we ordered the table back in late july. but that's how they are able to sell their products for half the price other retailers do. each item is made to order. and i must say, it's quite awesome. i've never owned such a sturdy piece of furniture. i'm also loving the brown wood texture. mike influenced me to stray from my preferred white lacquer finish and i'm glad we did.

so now the question is: wishbone chairs or white plastic chairs?

vote above and/or in the comments!

follow along my new apartment decorating process!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

designer furniture for less

it's no secret i have a few favorite stores when it comes to buying goods for my closet and home (j.crew, anthropologie, west elm to name a few). but when the time came to decorate the new apartment, i've been trying to find new resources for furniture and accessories. i was pleasantly surprised to learn about fashion for home, a european-based furniture retailer that's expanding in the states. their prices are quite reasonable given the high quality construction and contemporary designs. in fact, i've seen department stores like bloomingdale's home and dwr sell similar styles for quadruple the prices. but these aren't knock-offs. fashion for home is able to sell their goods at such low costs because each item is made per order. there is not a large amount of inventory sitting in a warehouse somewhere... granted it means it takes 3+ mos for your purchase to arrive, but waiting is worth it when you're saving on an item like this!

for all my readers over the atlantic, be sure to check out to be honest, the selection is even better given the company is based in england! there's a larger bedroom collection and more options on other key pieces like dining tables, couches, and coffee tables. bookmark it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

to tutu or not to tutu?

i enjoyed some much-needed girl time this weekend, catching up with my pal caitlin on saturday. before brunching at my favoritesouthport grocerywe popped into anthropologie where i spotted a few gems. namely...
the tutu | the bib | the wishbone

im normally not a huge fan of bib necklaces, but this one by pam hiran is something special. the wishbone is meant to be a jewelry holder, but i love it as just a decorative token. something whimsical and shiny on display. but the real item of the hour is that tulle treat: the tutu skirt. i grabbed it as soon as i saw it and think it's quite fabulous. perfect for cocktail events, holiday parties, and whenever else i feel like dressing up. i was pleasantly surprised to see it got a great response on instagram. of course i'm not sure it would be the most practical purchase, but it's been two days and i'm still thinking about it.

so readers, i ask, to tutu or not to tutu? that is the question.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

she's here!

meet lucy.

my new niece arrived two weeks early on 10.11.12. of course, just as i leave for vacation without phone/internet. i should have known considering my nephew jack arrived a month ago while i was in new york. isn't she the cutest lil' lady? oh, i cannot wait to meet her this weekend! congratulations, andrea and paul!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Belle: Being Adventurous in the Bedroom

...and I'm talking about paint, people! See what I did there?

Anyone who has been reading Live Creating Yourself for a while knows that black paint is kinda my jam. Well, it never was before. I always played it safe: with my wardrobe, my decorating sense, and overall lifestyle. And then I started blogging and shiz hit the sparkle-covered, neon-hued, black-painted fan and my style sensibility was forever changed. It was the black wall in my teensy old home office that got people's attention (including Nina Garcia!, Cosmopolitan Slovenia, and Chicago Home and Garden - my old apartment tour coming out at the end of this month!). And ever since, I've fallen madly in love with the ultra dark shade.

Even before the lease was signed for the new apartment, the wheels were turning with ideas of how I'd decorate it. Black wasn't the first choice for the new bedroom. It was actually white. But given the horrible shape the walls are in, the white just wasn't cutting it. So I went the other route... and tested out a swatch of dear ol' Black Jack by Benjamin Moore just to see if I liked this direction.

And when an offer came from Farrow and Ball for some of their paint, I jumped at the chance and requested a gallon of their Off-Black (one shade lighter than their Pitch Black). Thus began a crazy Saturday afternoon of painting... Let me tell you, trimming with black paint on an extremely uneven surface is no easy task. Had to be done by hand. It was too big a challenge for my favorite trimming brush.

 Here's a shot of it coming along... paint hasn't fully dried - hence the brush strokes.

Seen here with my JCPenny crystal ball lamp. Love. Thank you, thank you, thank you Farrow and Ball for making such beautiful, non-smelly paint. The walls are seriously messed up - see that line to the left of the lamp? Those and similar dents are all over the walls... as I said, it's an old building. But Farrow and Ball's paint went on so smooth and did a great job hiding many of the glitches in the walls.

New black wall, pre-bed arrival, mattress on the floor. Definitely has the dramatic, sexy, cozy effect I was hoping for! Yes, I said cozy. Fortunately the room is rather large and gets a good amount of natural light through the one large window. So to answer what many people have asked, the room in no way feels claustrophobic. Believe me, I LOVE bright, natural light! But the black walls in the bedroom are sooo cozy. They make me feel so cuddled and warm and ready to settle in night after night for a good sleep.

After a week or so, the upholstered/nailhead trim bed I ordered from Joss and Main arrived! ($600 people! Would retail for at least twice as much in most stores. Note it's not just a headboard - it has the full base, as well!) It was a bit of a challenge to put together... but nothing a hammer, and two+ hours couldn't figure out. How sad and dreary does that old duvet look... even Tucker's like, "Mom, what are we going to do about this?"

...and as predicted, light-colored bedding is JUST what the black room needed. Here's a sneak peek I instagrammed of the new Serena and Lily bedding. They are so soft and luxurious - I feel like I'm in a hotel bed. duvet cover: Ventura Duvet // sheets: Pewter Gobi Embroidered Sheets // euro shams: Bark Border Frame // pillow shams: Berry Border Frame

...and here's the view of the wall across from the bed. It houses a dresser and tv. I am very anti-televisions in the bedroom for a whole host of reasons, but let's be honest: there is nothing like watching a movie in bed when you're sick (I tend to run You've Got Mail and Pride and Prejudice on repeat). So the cable is deliberately not hooked up to this tv, but it can play movies and Netflix should my heart desire. Now that the couch has arrived and we can actually use the living room, the bedroom tv is barely on except for sick days or particularly awesome thunderstorms.

All of that being said, I am creating a gallery wall around it. I love how the tv disappears against the black wall. Almost like it's not there at all. : )

So to recap without all the commentary:
Sigh. Now we're gettin' somewhere...

Still have some work to do. Not quite sure what I want hanging over the bed (if anything at all). And I am hanging Pottery Barn's white velvet drapes to add to the coziness.

I love it. What say you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Belle: I have a big girl bed!

Thanks to affordable bedroom furniture from Joss and Main and my new ultra luxe linens from Serena and Lily... I finally have what I like to call my big girl bed. The bedroom has really come along nicely... so much so that I'd say we are almost there!

As you recall I purchased this grey upholstered bed from Joss and Main...

And if you recall, the walls are now black... more on that later.

Back to the bedding! Since getting dogs five years ago, nice bed sheets have gone to the wayside (along with wool rugs). And yes, I used to let my dogs sleep on the bed. After all, isn't the best part of having puppies cuddling with them? But thanks to Serena and Lily, I was able to make my dream bed! They have this amazing new tool: Make Your Bed, where you can mix and match their different products and see what your bed will look like before actually purchasing.

Be warned: you can get lost playing around with this for hours. I did.

I used the black and white diamond throw pillow as a stand-in for my Jonathan Adler "LUST" pillow that I so adore.
neutral and light

neutral and dark

blues and tan

softer blues

tans and berry... almost there...!

We ultimately ended up going with a mix of color and pattern... mostly white sprinkled with tan (bark), grey (pewter), and fuschia (berry). The light colors look amazing against the black backdrop.

My Big Girl Bed:
duvet cover: Ventura Duvet
sheets: Pewter Gobi Embroidered Sheets
euro shams: Bark Border Frame
pillow shams: Berry Border Frame
blanket: White Pickstitch Matalasse
throw pillow: Bark Diamond Pillow

Make your own bed here!

And come back tomorrow for a full sneak peek at the room!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

what is it with fall and bags?

how is it that anything worthwhile in fashion comes out in the fall? is it the rich hues of hunter green, navy, and cognac? the metallic sheens and leather accents? the luxe, cozy fabrics? or is it because i am unconditionally obsessed with this season (allergies be damned). whatever the reason, this new handbag collection - a collaboration from jane mayle and club monaco - has got me all excited. the fashion designer closed shop a few years back which makes this limited edition series of five styles all the more appealing.

one | two | three | four | five

i love the navy stripes on #5. which one would you pick?

Monday, October 8, 2012

quite possibly the best weekend of the year (birthday recap!)

the birthday festivities technically began thursday evening when these polka dotted delights arrived on my doorstep! thank you, papa bear! shown here on my striped rug from layla grayce.

then on friday, october 5 (officially my 27th bday), my best friend lauren took me out to lunch at my favorite mexican restaurant - uncle julio's hacienda. surprise sopapillas! it was a rainy day so i sported my ali ro anorak, of course (i'm obsessed).

Mike came back from work with the most beautiful (and huge!) arrangement of flowers for me!
(the pink rug is from - I'm obsessed and always get asked about it!)

and Mike's family had this tasty dozen delivered to my home! vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet from sprinkles. so thoughtful! these were a hit at my game night!

romantical dinner date for two at one of my favorite French restaurants - Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park. get the filet with red wine reduction. melts in your mouth.

followed by game night at my place! it was a large group so instead of my favorite board games, we played celebrity and drank a lot of wine. for those wondering, the striped flats are madewell.

it was the first time many of my friends were seeing our new place, so i wanted to create a nice ambiance! i decorated with gourds, pumpkins, yellow flowers, and candlelight. it was cozy and lovely. my new antler candlesticks from west elm were a perfect addition.

saturday my girlfriends and i headed to new buffalo, michigan for some r&r - if you've never been, it's a charming lake town just an hour and some change outside chicago. a little wine tasting at tabor hill, a hearty dinner, late night cocktails and chit chat. work often gets in the way of me hanging out, so it was great fun catching up and spending quality time with my best friends.

how beautiful is this winery? it's called round barn and we arrived just as they were closing, so we are planning on heading back w/ all the boys around christmas when it looks extra beautiful!

sunday i returned home and settled in on the couch with mike for a long day of football and fall ambiance! obsessed with this pumpkin souffle candle - a gift from danielle! and note i took the two oversized white hydrangea (i swear they must have been on steroids) out of the huge bouquet mike gave me and created a separate arrangement. two for one. awesome.

monday morning. back to work but not without a hot treat. loving my new crossbody bag from k.slademade and fair isle glittens i picked up in michigan.

Birthday Weekend Loot

Kate Spade ball hat / Kate Spade glitter bow belt / Kate Spade leather gloves / pumpkin souffle candle by Lumin Candles / k.slademade crossover bag in brown / wee heart ring in rose gold from Anthropologie / tippi sweater in shocking pink Paris in Color book  / Cupcake chardonnay / antler candlestick holders from West Elm / Kate Spade polka dot pumps 

Quite possibly the best weekend of the year. Thank you to everyone who made it so special!


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