Friday, December 28, 2012

pretty much the greatest gift you could get anyone.

I present the J. Schatz egg nightlight. Designed and created by Jim Schatz, these lil' babies are my absolute favorite item for the home. The glossy stoneware orb casts tons of tiny "stars" on the ceiling and walls of your pitch-black room. I got them as super-special, I'm-an-awesome-aunt first Christmas treats for my niece and nephew, and little Lucy was staring at the glow completely mesmerized when they put her down to sleep at night.
The light coming out is actually yellow–not blue.

And they come in a variety of candy-colored hues. Beauuutiful. Like Christmas lights! I know Christmas is over, but this unique item is the perfect gift. Not just for nurseries, but really, it can be for someone of any age. I secretly want one for my bedroom! They're not super cheap so maybe start saving now... or if you're going to be having a baby, add it to the registry!

Happy Weekend!

For more great lighting ideas check out Scotlight Direct website.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012 Revisited

Has Christmas really come and gone already? This holiday season was a bit rougher than most. As I've mentioned before, a few large changes have happened in my life the past month (all will be shared soon enough), but annual gift exchanges, homemade mail-delivered treats, packages at my doorstep, Christmas parties, friends, puppies, babies, and wine helped get me through it with a genuine smile on my face. I'd love to share some snapshots of the past couple weeks with you here. Odds are if you follow me or The Everygirl on Instagram, you've already seen a few of these.

Sarah Winchester, an Everygirl photography contributor and friend, sent delicious homemade peppermint bark that I enjoyed while watching Christmas movies and periodically staring at my new graphic living room rug from RugsUSA (sneak peek above). Tuck loves the bark and the rug.

Speaking of Tuck. He's always been a very intelligent but odd dog... and this time he's taken it to a new level of creeping. This might be his best move yet. I was sitting on the couch hanging out and chatting w/ Caitlin, when I looked over and realized Tucker was sitting perfectly still near the mantel, partially behind the tree, just staring at us. So weird. I love him. (Isn't it crazy how different he looks pre- and post-grooming?)

In other news, I wore my sequin-collared top for a festive look at Danielle's Christmas party (you might remember it from fashion week activities). The same party where she and I met two years ago, which we mention in our About Us bio on The Everygirl. She did such a lovely job hosting. I'm thinking this will have to be an annual tradition.

Gifts were a bit frugal this year since I had quite a few friends to buy for. Each of the girls got a great pair of J.Crew socks (my favorite, but at $12.50 a pair, a real treat), mini disco ball ornaments from CB2 (that I recommended keeping out year round! I have mine on my bulletin board), and a set of colorful hair ties from Mane Message. The neon tags and white and gold boxes plus some baker's twine made charming and colorful–albeit untraditional–gift wrapping. It was my neon-colored version of Santa's workshop.

My high school girlfriends and I participated in our annual Secret Santa gift exchange–a tradition we've been doing for... oh gosh... if we started in 8th grade, that means I was 14-years-old, which means it's been going for... 14 years. Crap, that's a long time. It was just as fun as always!

Danielle joined my family and me at my mom's to celebrate on Christmas Eve. It was so nice having her there... my older siblings are married so I'm usually the lone ranger when we get together. It was nice having a person there! You can't tell in this photo, but she wore green and I donned red. Always complimenting one another's outfits. It's really quite perfect.

She loved the mini disco ball.

...almost as much as Fiona loved the fire.

Speaking of the pups, Danielle brought Buddy along since we were spending the night (lots of wine), and we were pleasantly surprised the puppies got along splendidly! Tuck has some territorial issues, but he handled having another man there just fine.

Danielle brought her festive albeit it absolutely ridiculous hats! Shortly after gifts we changed into our cozy clothes...

...and spent the rest of the night playing games, watching holiday flicks, drinking vino, and eating cookies. It was really quite perfect.

Spent some quality time with my new niece and nephew, Lucy and Jack.

...and here we are Christmas morning. College sweatshirt and plaid flannels. (Not even my college.) Not sure I changed out of that outfit all day, which is just how I like it.

How was your holiday? Cozy and happy, I hope.

Friday, December 21, 2012

from my home to yours...

...wishing you all a very merry christmas.

i realized i hadn't shown you all my tree.

isn't it lovely? yes, it's very real, smells fresh and christmas-y, and was carried home from the nearest lot just like the past couple years. the ornaments are a combination of childhood ornaments, christopher radko's i have been gifted since i was young, newer ornaments i picked up from target, pottery barn, west elm, world market, etc., and candy canes. the needlepoint stocking w/ my name on it is another piece i've had since i was a child. my mom finally gave all of us ours to keep in our new homes. this is the first time it's actually hanging from a mantel. i love this little scene–complete with the sunburst mirror from layla grayce and paris ferris wheel print from the paris print shop–and i'll be cozying up here all weekend with my favorite christmas movies, some tea, and my pups... until monday when i'll be heading to the suburbs with danielle to celebrate christmas eve with my family.

i want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support, kindness, and patience this past year. i know my posting was sporadic to say the least. 2012 - the past month in particular - has brought about a lot of change in my life, a lot of which was beyond wonderful and more than i ever could have expected in my life. and recently, some very scary but exciting changes are on my horizon, all of which i will share with you after the holidays.

in the mean time, i hope you all have a peaceful, wonderful holiday with your friends, families, and loved ones. and please keep the families, victims, and all those affected by the tragedy in connecticut in your thoughts.

- alaina

Monday, December 17, 2012


I spent all yesterday painting my office Musical Myst by Behr. And let me just tell you... fail. I went into Home Depot and selected a color I thought resembled Middleton Pink (they couldn't match Farrow and Ball's perfectly blushy hue since it's a new color and not in their system). I was confident in my "no need to test it on the wall, I can tell what colors I like just by looking at the swatch" because that's what I did in my old apartment with Behr's Dolphin Fin grey and it came out perfect. And the Black Jack by Bejamin Moore paint I used on the wall in my old home office. Apparently I lost the magic touch.

When I finished last night, I thought it looked ok. Maybe it needed a second coat since you could barely notice the pink in a photo. But when I woke up and saw it in daylight, I realized it must have been the yellow incandescent lights making it look bearable. In the morning daylight, Musical Myst is looking purpley, almost w/ a neon glow in some light. Apparently my office has a lot of natural blue light. Not good. Don't know what to do next... hate that I wasted an entire afternoon. C'est la vie.

standard beige that the entire apartment was painted with when I moved in

AFTER - bleh. ew no. boring.

AFTER #2 - in some soft light I thought it could work...

AFTER #3 - but for the most part, you can't even tell it's pink in photos.

Well, I tried.

Back to the drawing board. Or as the case may be, back to Home Depot.

Help! Anyone have luck with blush pinks that look pink but not in a Pepto Bismol/bubblegum way?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Belle Update: the office (because you've all been so patient)

Hi everyone,
As you all know, it's been a while since I had a real post go up... 'real' meaning something other than relaying content that's over on The Everygirl. First off, thank you so much for your support and patience. I feel so incredibly lucky to have so much love from my readers. As I mentioned, my and my family's health is fine, and I apologize for worrying all of you. That being said, rather large changes have happened in my life lately, and I'm trying my best to adjust.

As such, I am throwing myself into finishing off this apartment. Too many "maybe this" and "maybe that's" have been thrown around, and I'm ready to make this place my own with the official tour debuting on The Everygirl in February. Finishing touches starting with my home office. One night recently when I was feeling particularly down, I grabbed my hammer and a set of nails, turned on Mumford, and went to town rebuilding my inspiring gallery wall in the office. What's been a blank wall since moving in became this in a matter of minutes...

Ahhh (sigh of relief). There she is. Not super impressive, I admit. But it feels like home. Naturally, I needed to concoct a plan to spruce this up.

The plan:
- have my thrift store mid-century chair professionally reupholstered (possibly w/ some tufting?) in this amazing fuschia velvet fabric from FabricMart on Etsy.
- add more art and make it super colorful - remove the darker pieces. I'm thinking of using some of my favorite images from The Everygirl features throughout the past year - particularly these gorgeous shots of Jihan Zencirli (Geronimo Balloons) taken by artist and photographer Kimberly Genevieve.
- clean. that box has been there with miscellaneous office stuff since moving in august
- paint that shit. the wall, that is. but what color...?

Teal? White? Pink? brainer, really. Pink it is. I love love Middleton Pink by Farrow and Ball but might have to find a more affordable alternative.

Also adding this amazing and reasonably priced black and pink rug from Lulu and Georgia. Keeping the pink geometric rug I already have from RugsUSA. This is gonna be good. Real good.

Note that is not actually the desk I work on - hence the birdcage. My desk is near the window to the left in the photo. This is an old, beat-up parsons desk that is acting as more of a console table and storage.

Excuse my horrendous photoshopping. You get the idea.

Miss you all. I'll hopefully be here a little more often now that these last projects are underway...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

six festive looks for six holiday fetes

these ladies sure know what they're doin'. so honored to be able to work with such kind, talented, generous women. check out the holiday fashion feature on the everygirl today.

big thank you to Liz Schneider of Sequins and Stripes (christmas party), Alicia Lund of Cheetah is the New Black (work party), Krystal Knight of The Feisty House (bundle up!), Sally and Molly of A Piece of Toast (christmas morning), Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam (christmas day), Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday (new year's eve) for making this incredible, budget-friendly, inspiring holiday fashion feature happen!

and if you haven't, check out these other everygirl #holidayweek features:
FOOD: 5 non-cookie holiday dessert recipes
SHOP: the ultimate, budget-friendly gift guide
DECORATE: 12 tips for bringing holiday cheer into your home (when you don't have a tree!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the everygirl's gift guide

You may have heard it's Holiday Week on The Everygirl and our gift guide is live! In typical Everygirl fashion, almost all of the 95 items in the gift guide are under $50, except for a few "splurge" favorites we couldn't leave out. We have a little something for everyone–the ladies, fellas, little ones, home, office, entertainer, and cook. And we've asked some of our favorite bloggers to share their picks under $30.

Have at it! We dare you not to buy at least one thing.

In other news, things have slowly gotten a little better for me this past week... the support from everyone - in my personal life and across the blogosphere - means more than you realize. Thank you.


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