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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Joyful Holiday Giveaway!

I am sharing my affinity for glass art! Today is the day for the wonderful art glass holiday ornament giveaway ~ YAY! The Artful Home (I have posted about them before) and I have partnered to add more sparkle to your holiday season. How? By adorning your home with a fantastic art glass ornament. If you did not see the preview, here are the ornaments in all their glory.....

The Vincent by artist Paul Lockwood (retail value $42.00)

Chantilly Lace by artist Michael Egan (retail value $95.00)
Candy Cane Lace by artists Mary Mullaney and Ralph Mossman (retail value $99.00)
How do I register to win??!! Simple! Visit the ornament section of The Artful Home by clicking here. Find another ornament (or two) that you love and write a comment on this post about it. That's it! I will put all those that enter in a hat and pick three lucky readers. The deadline to enter is Thursday, December 3rd at 8:00 p.m. (EST). I will draw the winners and announce them on my Fun Friday post December 4th. Remember to check back to see if you won!

A couple more lovelies for you ~

First, if you would like the chance to win more ornaments, The Artful Home is doing a giveaway all on their own. Between now and December 18th, they are giving away an ornament a day. How wonderful is that??!! Click here to register.

Second, The Artful Home and I would like to extend to my readers a 10% discount on ANY piece(s) you fall in love with at The Artful Home. Use it for yourself, for gifts, on anything you would like. Simply enter the code PAULAGRACE between 11/30/2009 and 12/14/2009 while checking out to receive your discount. Just a little gift from me to you to thank you for reading and to celebrate the holiday season together.

I am linking with Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday as these ornaments would transform your tree, Smiling Sally's Blue Monday as one ornament is a gorgeous blue, and Its So Cheri's ~ Its So Very Creative Party since my giveaway is truly art! Wow ~ love these parties!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Fun Friday ~ Justin Nozuka

I became familiar with Justin Nozuka on the Mayercraft 2. He's a rising star. "He earned a Juno award (like a Canadian Grammy) for Best New Artist, and VH-1 named him a "You Oughta Know" artist" per My Fox Dallas/Fortworth. I have featured Justin on my blog before. He just keeps getting better. Here's a video I have been enjoying.

I love this song! Made me notice him.

This song made me love him as an artist. Before you listen ~ know that it is a heavy song.

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. Don't forget the giveaway!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Today, we are just kicking back with friends. I have made an enormous amount of food. All able to be kept well in or on warmers. Friends will come all day long and help themselves to a plateful (or more) of delicious food and marvelous drink. They may eat anywhere and stay as long as they like! My way of thanking them for being wonderful friends to my family and I.

A special thank you to all my readers and blog friends! I truly enjoy doing my blog. I appreciate all your support and comments. I look forward to all that is to come.

Enjoy your day!

P.S. Don't forget the giveaway!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Excited to Wait ~ Giveaway Preview

You all know I have an affinity for glass art. Well, on Monday, November 30th, The Artful Home and I partnered for a Holiday Giveaway. Three beautiful glass ornaments will be joyfully given away! Here are the ornaments.....

The Vincent

Chantilly Lace

Candy Cane Lace

Plus, there will be an extra special little something just for my readers ~ a little thank you from me to you.

Please visit on Monday to register for this very special holiday giveaway!

Holiday Drinks

House Beautiful shared drink recipes for the holidays. The Jade Cloud sounds particularly yummy:

Jade Cloud
1/2 oz. Rose’s unsweetened lime juice
1 oz. crème de prunelle
1 oz. vodka or gin
Shake well with cracked ice and serve in a whiskey sour or small frappe glass.

I would use vodka!

I usually serve a red and a green martini for the holidays. Here are a couple of recipes ~

Berry Fusion Martini recipe
1 oz Absolut® Kurant vodka
1/2 oz Hpnotiq® liquor
1/2 oz creme de cassis
2 oz cranberry juice

Chocolate Mint Martini
1 1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce creme de cacao
1/2 ounce green creme de menthe
1 Splash club soda
Garnish - chocolate covered candy cane

What's your favorite holiday drink recipe (alcohol or non-alcohol)? Will you share your recipe??!!

On Monday November 30th, I have a wonderful holiday ornament giveaway! Don't forget to come visit to register. You will be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dixie Chick Chic

I love the Dixie Chicks. I had the fortune to see then a couple years back when they opened for The Eagles. When the issue of Metropolitan Home came with Emily Robinson home featured, I took notice.
Her space is so open and airy with calm hues. It has an industrial feel without being cold. Here are a couple more shots.
Architects Jim Poteet and Patrick Ousey; interior designer Joel Mozersky

I adore this shot (and the rug). Having the glass separate the room was a splendid idea. The instruments are art to me and I would love to see them all the time. The light radiates throughout. How wonderful!

Take a look at the full story at Point, Click, Home ~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spectacular Master Baths

Beth Slifer's eco-friendly bath is elegant and beautiful giving rise to Why Not? eco-friendly ~ that is a phrase the Sustainable Furnishings Council uses (I am a member and will be certified in green design in a couple of weeks). Take a look at the video she narrates telling about her wonderful room.

Gorgeous, safe, and friendly to the environment. How wonderful!

Take a look at this ultra feminine bath retreat by Tristan Butterfield. Stunning!
I continue to be drawn to pink hues!

Now something blue for Smiling Sally! I am an equal opportunity kind of gal so now something masculine by the wonderful by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz.

Listen to his thoughts on this bath.....

What fabulous inspirations! Which one was your favorite?

These are wonderful metamorphisis opportunities so naturally I am linking with Between Naps on the Porch as well as Smiling Sally. Hop over there to join the party!

Source: Kohler

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun Friday ~ Women in Design

Today I thought it would be fun just to look at some beautiful work from talented female designers for inspiration. Nothing like a little eye candy on a Friday! Shall we.....

This lovely room is done by Angela Free. I selected this one because of her use of a mural. I like using murals that are subtle and well done. Her application is impeccable.

This design is by Evelyn Benatar. I am not sure when this design was completed but her use of color ~ neutrals beige and gray together ~ is a hot trend right now and well implemented here. The chandelier looks like hovering bubbles to me. I find this room very soothing.

The next two are from the incredible Laura Kirar.
I stopped in my tracks at this one. When I saw the pendants at the last Market, I imagined an application very similar to this one. I posted about it.This is what I mean. The pendants I featured are the ones Laura used here ~ or at least very similar. It is especially lovely over a large dining table as seen here. Varying height ~ floating from above. Wonderful.

How about this bedroom? Spa hues done with energy ~ movement. There's a juxtaposition one doesn't often see. When done well, it is quite spectacular. See example above.

Beth Dotolo did this design. The room is expansive. Clearly she and client wanted to keep it that way. Yet, with the use of bedding and ample sized portable lamps on the nightstands, the room remains warm and inviting. A delicate balance well achieved here. The chairs off in the distance are wonderfully placed for the photo.

This Janie Hirsch design is so delicious. I really just want to sit in the bed with a yummy cup of tea and read a good book. The headboard is simple and magnificent. I love the soft colors. The chandelier over the side chest serving as a night stand is very elegant and lovely backed by the soft drape. Simply divine.

The last two are by the remarkable Suzanne Kasler.
Oh! ~ I wish I found this for my guest post on Sarah's Haute Design ~ Ode to Pink. Suzanne's use of pink hues in this dining room are heavenly. I am in love with the drapes against the taupe walls. That's her Hickory Chair settee. I love that piece. When I met Suzanne at her Safavieh party, I was impressed by her hair. Say what? Her hair was finger combed with a clip slightly coming out. I thought, 'Now there is a working woman and probably just finished helping to set up her display.' Unpretentious. Lovely.

The pops here add just the right amount of color to this room. The unique upholstery with soft colors on the stools adds just the right amount of interest to the grouping. 'Just the right amount' aka well-edited.

I hope you enjoyed these lovely rooms completed by fabulous designing women. I did.

Did you see some other points of interest in these rooms?! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Karen Dunlap ~ Design For Your Success Now

In keeping with the theme of wonderful women this week, meet Karen Dunlap.

Karen is a good friend of mine. We have traveled to Market together, been on vacations together, enjoyed wonderful music together, we even exercise together with a trainer..... I think very highly of her.

Here we are at Market.

But what is Karen doing in the picture at the top? She's teaching as a local design center about Social Media. Why? Because Karen has a passion for getting out useful information to other designers. She has dedicated much time and energy pursuant of pertinent information specifically for the design industry.

Not only is Karen a wonderful designer, she has a second job ~ teaching others on how to have a successful interior design business. Her company is called Design For Your Success Now. Her blog and E-zine provides invaluable information for free! She is developing her coaching arm of the business and soon will be available to you.

Karen is committed to help others have success ~ her generosity is abundant. I would encourage all those that would like specific knowledge about the business of interior design to join her blog and sign up for her E-zine (newsletter). You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beliefs, Values and Little Girls

First I need to say that this post is my opinion, belief, value system, etc. I have featured some amazing women on my blog this week and I want to continue in that stream. I am not posting about a specific woman today but about women in general.

My thoughts are forever connecting and expanding; that usually takes me to new places in my mind. I read an article in the Washington Post that got me thinking ~ as the Post always does. It was called In Art We Lust. The caption under the title reads "At second blush, classic works are allowed to rise to their full erotic potential." Please read it for yourself. It may evoke your own thoughts and feelings and I would love to hear them.

Women have always been depicted in art. Why? Because the women's body is unsurpassed in it's beauty.

One look at Gisele and you can see why. Men want to look at women they consider beautiful and want to imagine having sex with them. As if that is a surprise to anyone. So women have been depicted in art often as nudes. There has been many wonderful pieces of art devoted to nudes.

Canova, the famous sculptor, did several including the one below.

He also did men.
But covered the genitalia with a fig leaf.

I think women look at men they find attractive and wonder what it would be like to have sex with them too. Does that surprise anyone? I doubt it ~ if you're honest with yourself. And why not? Sex is pleasurable. I think for women, there are so many double standards that if a certain generation of women states for the record they like sex, it would almost be taboo. I believe that 'sex' was experienced as painful by prior generations, and perhaps still is by some women today. It can be painful if foreplay never enters the picture. Hmmm??? Where is the love, where's the pleasure?

Where am I going with this... well there is also another side of art depicting women. There are countless pieces that depict women being ravaged apparently against their will, there are scenes of violence towards women. 'Sex' can also be against one's will ~ this is known as rape. All of these have been depicted in art. Why? For power and control. Violence against a woman is an issue of power and control. Those that depict these events in art either have distinct issues with power and control or were trying to shed light on the issue. If we consider what is happening in Uganda ~ we can see that the issue is a major one ~ major.

In Uganda and other countries in Africa, the issue is so in-grained, so cultural that outside intervention is the only way to end it. Much like outside intervention had to occur to stop Hitler. There were those that believed differently than he but risked being persecuted if they were defiant. Is the issue in Uganda so different? Lives of women and girls are taken daily. Daily.

The statistics and laws in our own country (US) (please excuse the link ~ just click on the top link when the Oops! page comes up; I don't know why it won't go directly) about domestic violence would make your jaw drop. This country has learned by making mistakes ~ domestic violence is no different. Many women died with little consequence for the abuser. It wasn't until 1994 ~ 1994 ~ that the US Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act as part of a federal crime bill. That was not that long ago ladies. And we wonder why we still feel disrespected sometimes. It was relatively okay by our government standards to be disrespected. You know I am on the Board of Directors at LAWS (Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter). You may help by clicking here.

This is all very heavy, I know. But I wanted to talk about what we can do for our girls. You have read on my blog that I think we perpetuate the ideal beauty ~ as in Gisele ~ to a height of the God-like proportions. Do I think the gorgeous Gisele and others who look like her are to blame? NO! They look like that just like I look the way I do. It is believing that these gorgeous creatures are the standard, that is how one SHOULD look because that's what beautiful. Bullshit! Do I like to feel beautiful, be seen as alluring ~ of course. I would be lying if I said differently. However, I was raised to believe that the beauty on the inside is significantly more important.

Let's look at another woman I have written about.....

This is film director Jane Campion. Did you see the movie The Piano? A magnificent movie if you ask me. What she depicted in the movie was incredible ~ an obscure path to love. That came from within her. That is one beautiful woman!

My mom is an immigrant. She came to this country in the 1950s by herself ~ unheard of at that time ~ a woman coming to a new country by herself?!! She came here to study at a university. She met my dad and got married. More typical of that time. Then my dad became disabled. My mom had three children to take care of pretty much on her own (ages 7, 6, and 4 at the time). She had no family in this country. She relied on friends. She relied on herself. When money got tight, she opened her own school and taught Spanish. She was very successful. She raised us. She did volunteer work ~ always ~ to this day. Here's what I value, what I believe ~ because she taught me:

1) Confidence
2) Value Education ~ development your mind and then use it
3) Independence ~ rely on yourself ~ its a sure thing
4) Kindness
5) Empathy
6) Love
7) What to wear ~ be a lady
8) Be mindful of your manners
9) Help others ~ be generous
10) Be beautiful inside first then outside
11) Be strong

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all perfect ~please! ~ but those values and beliefs sunk in. These values and beliefs have sustained me. These are what we can give our girls. I have added to the list:

12) Stand up for yourself and for others who need help doing so
13) It's ok to be afraid just don't let it rule you ~ venture forward with the fear informing you along the way
14) Speak your mind ~ clearly, concisely
15) Feel your feelings ~ pay attention to them ~ let them help guide you
16) Be well-rounded
17) Be open minded
18) Lead
19) Enjoy life
20) Be respectful

I believe this is how a little girl becomes a beautiful woman ~ maybe an amazing woman. Perhaps even help them avoid or detangle themselves from an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

I have written about Lauren many times. You know I expose her the arts as often as I can. She has the theater bug now and enjoys doing plays. My daughter is six years old. Lauren looks the audience in the eye, she articulates her lines so all can hear her. She is confident. Do I beam at her from the audience ~ you bet I do. Its funny, I could always hear my mom in the audience when I performed in shows. She clapped so loud and yelled Brava! I was a little embarrassed by it at the time (being a tween). But now, I appreciate every clap, every standing ovation (even if it was only her). Why? Because she believed in me ~ that came across loud and clear. Now I believe in Lauren. What greater belief can there be?

Oh yeah, the lovely Gisele volunteers too, just like my mom, just like me. How gorgeous are we??!

Please share your values and beliefs to help make little girls into beautiful, strong women ~ we're all in this together.

P.S. Would my list change if I was raising a little boy? No except for one thing ~ I'd teach him how to dress well ~ but not like a lady.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode To Pink

Today I have the lovely Sarah Klassen from Haute Design as my guest. Sarah is on my blog today ~ I am on her blog today. How fun! How wonderful!

I am so happy to be a guest on Paula Grace’s lovely blog! We have a special treat in store for you today. We decided to swap posts – Paula Grace covering interior décor, and I, fashion. Beyond our love of fashion and décor, we also share a love of pink, which led us to an all-out “Ode to Pink” post. It all began when I was fortunate to win Paula Grace’s wallpaper/fashion matching contest a short while back. The prize was a beautifully crafted Coach wallet. Paula Grace had emailed me to ask what color I would like, and naturally, I chose pink!

This wallet is so lovely – the perfect companion to many outfits and handbags. When I received it in the mail, not only was I very excited, but my mind was soaring with all of the outfit possibilities. The bonus? It’s lined with the softest, sweetest lavender. Not a combination that is typically used, but is very charming.

In these images, I am wearing tones of deep blue and black, and have used the wallet as the main source of color. It also looks pretty paired with the softest of pinks, the darkest of grays, and heavenly with aubergine and silver. It can play the main role in the outfit, or beautifully accompany the main piece in the look.
I hope you enjoy this post below, which demonstrates some of the different ways in which to wear pink. From warm pinks with tones of orange, to soft, barely-there samples, to brights, and cool options, there are a vast number of possibilities, depending on your mood, coloring, and style preferences.

Here, pink is classic, tailored…maybe even a bit sassy! It runs the show. If you’re loving this look, think Manhattan, Carrie Bradshaw, tea at the Plaza, classic, vintage-inspired pieces, with a dash of glamorous accessories to complete the look. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone? I’ll bring the coffee!

Here, there is no girly touch left unnoticed. From the oversized bow, to the full, layered skirt, this Christian Lacroix ensemble is the epitome of haute couture. Simple legs and shoes let the dress be the show. The hair design offers a twist to the otherwise voluptuous look. Isn’t that dress spectacular?

Powerful pinks reign here. Combined with layers and umpteen textures, pink has been worked into a Fall/Winter look, seamlessly. Rich jewel tones combine to create an overall statement. Or, alternatively, combined with pearls and metals, softens the otherwise cool look, and brings out a floral/berry appeal. I’m especially loving the deep blue paired with hot magenta!

The sweetest, most feminine and decadent movie that showcases pink? Marie Antoinette of course! From hats, boots, and lips to full dresses, pink plays quite a role. When the ladies aren’t wearing pink, they’re eating pink macaroons, laying in pink bedding, or drinking pink champagne. The height of girly.

It’s easy to add a touch of pink to your outfit! The possibilities are endless -- pretty shoes, a simple belt, a bow, classic bag, or fun array of bangles.

Are you craving some pink now? Here are a few beautiful items for your Christmas list, or the perfect gift for a loved one. (P.S don’t forget your four-legged friend!)

Gift Items:

01 Kate Spade – Plaza Bow Pouch - $145,
02 Kate Spade– Guilia - $325,
03 Kate Spade – Guest - $325,
04 Kate Spade – Have Courage Idiom Bangle - $78,
05 Kate Spade – Take A Chance Idiom Bangle - $78,
06 Kate Spade – Tickled Pink Candle - $48,
07 Kate Spade – Hand in Hand Dog Sweater - $125,
08 Juicy Couture – Studded Neon Collar - $45,

If punchy pink is too much for you, perhaps you’re more drawn to barely-there pinks –the softest and most romantic pink sister of all. Pure elegance.

Whether you are going out, staying in, or just want a pretty pedicure, this soft blush color is most universally flattering and timeless. (think Chloe) Whether you are keeping the whole outfit soft, or using black (or other dark colors) as the grounding element, this subtle color is as gentle in spirit as a lamb.

Why is it that we love pink so much? What is about this color?

Pink evokes so many emotions…passion, happiness, romance, confidence, fun, etc. The list goes on and on.

* It has been proven that pink encourages friendliness while discouraging aggression and ill-will
* From brands like Victoria’s Secret and Juicy Couture, to Laduree, to movie characters, such Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde”, there are many, many positive associations that have been created with the color

What is it about pink that draws you in?

Thank you Sarah for this wonderful post ~ always talented, always informative, always lovely.....

That settles it! If I ever need a stylist, I am flying Sarah in.

Its funny, I wore pink just the other day to a Women in Business Conference ~ I felt happy, confident and people were very friendly just as Sarah says. I wore a black pencil dress, a pink tweed-like blazer, a large pink shell neckless, and black stiletto pumps (hmmm?! ~ black and pale pink ~ just like Sarah's header on her blog :-) The ladies were commenting on the neckless a lot. The one thing I always feel when wearing pink ~ I feel pretty. I love feeling pretty!

Here I am in my black and pink outfit with Vernice Armour ~ America's First African American Female Combat Pilot and currently a motivational speaker. An amazing woman!

Yesterday, Elizabeth Lyons. Today ~ Sarah Klassen and Vernice Armour! I have an amazing women happening here. I think I'll stick to that theme this week.

Stay tuned!

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