Tuesday, January 29, 2008

{ daily indulgences: paris ~ day 2 }

Upon discovering the dreamy watercolors of Carol Gillott and her Parisian-inspired art blog, ParisBreakfasts, I was immediately transported back to this quintessential Parisian way of life.

Carol mixes raw pigments herself (with Parisian water of course) to create her own secret formula paints.

The result adds a granular richness and unique intensity to the paintings that portray her daily adventures in Paris' pastry and chocolate shops. 

Beyond a simple art blog, ParisBreakfasts offers photos, insider travel tips and details of some of Paris' best kept secrets, while also sharing special finds in New York--Carol's home between jaunts to Paris. A quick browse of her portfolio and you, too, will fall in love with her inspiring collection of paintings which are featured here. 

To satisfy your daily cravings (sans calories), sign up for ParisBreakfasts' weekday newsletter hereBetter yet, indulge in one of Carol's decadent creations yourself by contacting her directly for purchase details.

Monday, January 28, 2008

{ bonjour paris: day ~ 1 }

Enchanted with these romantic, french-inspired finds... 

Jennifer Rydin Designs featured on etsy.

Etsy: Marzipan
Marzipan Mercantile featured on etsy.

J.Mundo Designs
J.Mundo Designs featured on etsy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

{ paris bound & you're invited }

Pack your bages

I've had Paris on my mind ever since reading about a new Parisian inspired design and craft book, The Left Bank Look, in a recent post on Holly's fabulous design blog, decor8. The captivating photos have had me reminiscing about my magical, whirlwind tour of Paris eight years ago with my hubby. I remember sitting at an outdoor cafe for hours, watching Parisians stroll by and daydreaming about their seemingly charmed lives–and then, kiddingly (or not) proposing to my husband, "Perhaps we can both quit our jobs and move to Paris for a couple of years!!??" The stylish and simple lifestyle of that enchanting city spoke to me and left a lasting impression that's been with me ever since.

Paris Fave 3
images courtesy of flickr– to see the full size of this image and 
the photographer's portfolio, click on the link below

Alas, there are no immediate plans for another Parisian rendezvous any time soon.  But not to worry...I've discovered a Parisian inspired world that's right at our fingertips and I'd love for you to join me as I explore (virtually) this dreamy city and the people, designs, and creations it has inspired. Just have your bags packed and ready to go Monday. I will be finalizing the details of our exciting itinerary over the next couple of days. Until then, here is a sneak peek of the tres jolie Paris as seen through some of my favorite flickr finds...

Paris Faves 2
images courtesy of flickr. Click on the links below to see each of these fabulous 
photos at full size and to access each photographer's portfolio and bio.

: : : : :

Paris Faves
images courtesy of flickr. Click on each of the links below to view each fabulous photo 
at full size and to access each photographer's portfolio and bio.

{ C'est bon, non? }

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

{ weekend getaway (part II) – murphys, ca }

Images courtesy of bingley0522 & jimhildreth via my flickr faves.

With all of the snow activities last weekend, I didn't have time to explore Murphys' charming "Main Street" downtown and the surrounding areas like I usually enjoy doing. Nonetheless, I thought I'd share some of my favorite spots with you from my many visits in the past. Murphys seems to have something for everyone–if you enjoy wine tasting, shopping, golfing, antiquing, and good eats, plan a weekend getaway to this increasingly popular destination in the Sierra foothills. It's about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive from most SF Bay Area towns and is even closer if you live in or are visiting the Sacramento area.

Getting There:
Murphys is located off Highway 49 on Highway 4. The Calaveras County Visitors Bureau has a great interactive map you can access 
here as well as a wonderful description of places you can stay here.

Big Trees State Park. Along with two magnificent groves of giant sequoias, the park features over six thousand acres of pine forest on both sides of the Stanislaus River. Campgrounds, picnic areas, and many miles of hiking and bicycling trails make Calaveras Big Trees a popular and worthwhile stop when visiting the area.

Wineries. Calaveras county is home to 20+ wineries, featuring some of California's best vineyards. (Shhhhh...despite producing some of California's most exceptional wines, wine tasting here tends to be a more intimate and less crowded experience than tasting in California's more, ahem, famous wine region.) A printable map of wine tasting locations is available here.

Ironstone Vineyards Summer Concert Series. Incredible music in a breathtaking setting. The winery's amphitheatre boasts a beautiful and intimate venue set in the midst of the vineyards as well as amazing sound quality...all under the stars. The 2008 concert schedule will be posted in April, here.

Where to shop
images courtesy of rivana & bingley0522 via my flickr faves.
Kristine's 426 Main Street • Murphys • 209.728.2506. Styl
ish, sophisticated and funky indie designer threads are plentiful in this charming local fave for women's fashions. Don't miss the fun and funky jewelry and knitted goods showcased by the counter.

Knit Knacks • 281b Main Street • Murphys. I only aspire to knit at this point, but even I can appreciate the unique, quality yarns, notions, and 'knit knacks' found in this charming little shop for knitting afficianados.

Villa Mia Antiques • 237A Main Street • Murphys. Inside the green shuttered entrance of this exquisite little shop you'll find both early American and European treasures including collectibles, Quimper pottery and vintage (and contemporary) jewelry.

Alchemy Wine Bar & Restaurant • 221 Main Street 
• Murphys. This is one of my favorite spots to stop in Murphys. Aside from its renowned restaurant, Alchemy also offers a wonderful wine bar and a delicacy foods market with an out-of-this-world delicatessen. Eat outside in their charming street side courtyard or grab some goodies to go and enjoy a picnic at one of the local vineyards.

V Restaurant • 402 Main Street • Murphys • 209.728-0107. Tucked into a small courtyard off Main Street in Murphys, this small, cozy restaurant offers a a wonderful selection of appetizers and entrees including pasta dishes, steaks and fresh fish. Wonderful ambiance, nice selection of local wines and friendly staff make this one a winner.

images courtesy of alchemy & aria

Aria • 458 Main Street. Ste B • Murphys • 209.728.9250. Wake up to one of Aria's steaming lattes or mochas while indulging in one of their breakfast goodies. From cranberry scones and ham and cheese croissants to bagels and chicken apple sausage biscuits, Aria's handmade baked goods will get your day off to a delicious start. 

More info: Additional information for planning a visit to Murphys is available here. Also, please feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any additional questions.
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

{ weekend getaway (part I) }


We took an impromptu road trip over the holiday weekend to visit my in-laws' at their weekend home just outside a quaint little town called Murphys, located in the Northern California gold country. 
(Thus, my unplanned absence from S.HOPtalk yesterday).

Their cozy, no frills home is the perfect escape for enjoying quality family time. It doesn't even have (gasp!) internet or cell phone access. We all go through technology withdrawal for the first 5 minutes or so and then quickly settle into a relaxed, unplugged mode...board games, reading and–this time–learning how to build a proper fire.

The highlight was the snow, snow and more snow.  Murphys sits just below the snow level and typically doesn't get snow, so on Sunday we decided to drive a few miles up Highway 4 to a spot where you can pull off the side of the road and play in the snow. 

We spent a lot of time building snowmen. (Actually, we can't take credit for this guy, but Bella thought he needed some accessorizing). 

First a scarf...

How about a hat too?


It was hard to say goodbye...
I'll miss you...

We promised we'd visit the snow again later this winter. 

And then...much to our delight...we woke up Monday morning to an unexpected surprise...

Which meant more play time in the snow...

Then, it was time to pack up and head for home...

I find that some of my favorite memories are from unplanned adventures we've taken. It's fun to dive into something with no expectations and discover the surprises that await us. 

Friday, January 18, 2008

{ my kind of friday }

This is the way we wash our clothes...

Thank you to all of the new visitors who discovered and stopped by S.HOPtalk this week...I look forward to 'getting to know you'. My 'real' job and house work are calling to me today, so I will be signing off until Monday. Next week we will be visiting one of my favorite places, so be sure to stop by for a look-see. Until then, here are some inspiring links I came across when I was out and about this week. Take a moment and indulge...

Poppytalk recently introduced its new 'Collecting' feature and I'm quite smitten with Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon collection. Her Uppercase blog and shop are also a worthwhile visit.

3191 launched their new endeavor this week, 3191 a year of evenings. It promises to be just as addicting as last year's offering, 3191 a year of mornings, which is slated to be published in book form later this year.

And lastly, Alicia Paulson (aka Posie) treated us all to her new web site this week. If you haven't stopped by yet, make a point of doing so this weekend. Like all of her creations, it's fab*u*lous!!!

That should keep you busy for awhile...have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

{ T is for Thursday... }

Treasured Finds

When I unpacked this adored vintage print that my mom recently handed down to me, and studied its sweet sentiment, I started fantasizing about a simple life – one in which Thursdays could be set aside for baking or, perhaps, Mondays would be reserved for laundry. Around here, things typically get done when they get done. However, in my desire to create balance and a more simplified life, I'm finding the idea of a few established routines rather appealing. I don't anticipate ever embracing a rigidly scheduled lifestyle, but I like the idea of creating some simple routines that become the foundation for cherished traditions down the road. Perhaps someday, my family and I will look back and fondly remember the scent of fresh baked goodies in our home on Thursday afternoons. A girl can dream...

Do you have any favorite family routines, traditions or rituals? Do tell...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

{ wednesday whimsy }

Add some whimsy to your Wednesday with these charming finds from etsy.

Wednesday Whimsy
Composed of both new & vintage found objects,  J. Mundo Designs' 
one-of-a-kind pieces are created by hand with splendid attention to detail. 
Pictured here: Charming (l) Heartbreaker (c) & Change of Seasons (r) necklaces.

Wednesday Whimsy
As unique & beautiful as the places they represent, the Strand neck wrap (l) and Baker Street scarflette (r) are from Boutique Pink Designs' London Collection of hand crocheted and knitted scarves and wraps.  These made to order designs include repurposed vintage earrings, brooches and charms for a touch of yesteryear whimsy.

Wednesday Whimsy Wednesday Whimsy
Childhood memories, vintage finds and a fascination with the adventures of 'Alice in Wonderland' inspire each piece in Hoolala's storied collection of fun jewelry designs from Northhampton, England. Treat yourself or a well deserving friend to the sterling silver and pewter Smile necklace (l) or the silver vintage Magical Wishing Chair necklace (r).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

{ tuesday tips }

House Beautiful February 2008

Have you seen the new February issue of House Beautiful? It's pages are packed with great design tips for the New Year and a plethora of inspiring interiors to peruse. I especially love their practical and budget friendly "101 decorating Makeovers – small changes that make a big difference" feature and have shared a few of my favorite tips below:

Paint the inside of your kitchen cabinets a color 
that sets off your dishes and glasses. Everything will 
look cleaner and more finished.
(try this with your dining room hutch too)


Buy a big modern shallow bowl, fill 
it with photos, & put it on your coffee table. 
An instant conversation starter.


Hang a mirror in your outdoor room.


Pull apart a big inexpensive mixed bouquet 
from the supermarket. Group similar flowers and put 
them in small vases. You'll have some for every room.


Rearrange your fireplace mantel. Instead of one 
candlestick at each end, mass lots of them on one side. 
Remember: Odd numbers make the best arrangements.

The issue includes many, many quick & simple ideas that can instantly transform a room. We'd love to know...what's the simplest makeover you ever did that made the biggest impact?

Photo sources
Top Photo: S.HOPtalk
Other Photos: Domino

Friday, January 11, 2008

{ whistle while you work }

My favorite place

Visions of a home office makeover have been dancing in my head since the start of the New Year. I can hardly wait...we inherited an ideal work space-a detached studio off of our backyard-when we purchased our home 2 years ago and...it's ALL MiNe! I half expected hubby to realize what a gem it is and swoop in and take it over for himself. Nope. No interest. So it's just sitting there waiting for me to do my thing. But where to start? Do you find the endless possibilities of starting with a blank slate overwhelming too? In my quest for inspiration, I've come across some truly talented artists and designers with a knack for creating home studio and office spaces that are intriguing works of art in themselves.  Take a peek...

First up is the sunny home studio of Sharilyn Wright, creator of Lovely Design. I adore the charming school room feel of the colors and furnishings she's selected. (thanks again Cindy for alerting me to this wonderful space)

What a find...this vintage metal cabinet was rescued by Sharilyn from 
an alley and then repurposed into a nook that houses the delicious 
paper samples she uses to create her wildly popular paper goods.

Next, Cindy from Bluerose Design, treats us to this cheerful workspace she's created in her home.

Don't you just want to eat the yummy Benjamin Moore, Marshmallow Bunny wall color?  
The inspiration board was handmade by Cindy for her husband. You can grab a 
similar style wall pocket for yourself, by visiting Sally Shim's etsy shop

Personal, vintage details add to the charm of this creative space.

A visual merchandiser by day, Benita Larsson has a keen eye for great design which she's extended to her exquisitely edited home space in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Many of the creative storage solutions throughout her home are custom creations made by Benita and her hubby. Treat yourself to a tour of her fabulously organized home here.

Do you have a resource or inspiring workspace you'd like to share with us? If so, leave a comment and share your style secerets. In the meantime, I'll be digging into my new project. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 7, 2008

{ new year/new inspirations }

Lots of lovely new design catalogs and magazines have been popping up in my mailbox lately, providing fresh inspiration for the New Year. I thought I'd start by sharing a few 'getting organized' solutions I've come across since my resolutions list indicates that's something I should be focused on right now. :-) 

Check out these fabulous and functional finds to help you organize your life and stash your clutter in style...

Pottery Barn's Smart Recharge Station will help you organize and recharge all those 
new gadgets you acquired over the holidays

I also love their version of a family 'drop zone' with built in cubby 
for the pampered pooch (also great for storing boots and shoes)

Style files and scented pencils from See Jane Work...yummy!

It usually doesn't dawn on me to purchase a new calendar/planner until the New Year has actually started, so I was thrilled to find these functional works of art (psst: they look great cut down and framed when the year's over).

Cavallini wall art calendars available online at Kate's Paperie

Turtle Papers 2008 Calendar available on etsy

Check back later this week for some inspiring work space ideas. ~s

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