Archive for March, 2011

Be Back Soon…

Via Country Living
First of all, I wanted to say a huge thank you to all those who commented and e-mailed me with your thoughts and prayers from yesterday’s post.  Your response was overwhelming and it really made my day.  I’m sorry I haven’t returned e-mails yet as I didn’t have any time in front of the computer yesterday.  You’ll be hearing from me soon.  I’ve just got to hop on a flight first…
Graham and I are all packed up and we’ll be sitting beach side in no time.  We are headed to Hawaii for a family vacation.  I can’t wait – it’s our first vacation in a long time.  This is my very first blog vacation; I won’t be writing posts while I’m away.  But I’ll be back on Tuesday.  Have a fabulous rest of the week everyone!

March 30, 2011 at 5:42 AM 3 comments

To Dad, With Love

Today marks the second year since my dad died.  While we try to maintain positive energy as a family and we do a great job of supporting each other, I will admit that March is a very difficult month for me.  Grief comes differently to everyone and dad’s birthday and death date set on each side of the month of March really make it a tough time of the year for me.  However, it is a beautiful sunny day today and as the birds chirp, flowers begin to bloom and spring finally shows it’s first signs of life, I know that Dad would want us to celebrate him and all that he was today.

I thought I would share the words that I said at his rosary:

When we would complain as children, my father’s common response to our woes was, “Life is not fair.”  I stand before you, 28 years old, feeling the unfairness of life.  But my father’s advice continues to chime in my ears.  He always explained to me that you will face difficult times out of your control, but what you can control is your attitude.  You can choose to wallow in your misery or you can choose to face adversity with optimism and a smile.  As a tribute to you dad, I promise to continue living with joy, to continue to dream and to continue to love.

My father had a very spiritual side deeply rooted in a childhood rich in ritual and faith.  We often went to mass together on Sundays even if it was only for communion or in Spanish.  When I think of Sunday, I think of one thing.  The ride home from church with Dad.  Sunday has always been my favorite day of the week and I know it is because of Dad.  He had about 4 miles to cover on the drive from the church to home and it would take him 20 minutes.  He would drive about 10 miles per hour finding any back roads possible.  We’d check out people’s gardens, open houses and strangers that walked by.  He’d drive with the window down, saying howdy to anyone who passed.  He’d have Garrison Kielor blasting and when Garrison’s stories were funny, he would let out a huge guttural laugh, as though he had heard the best joke of his life.  His peace with himself and his joy with the world were contagious.  I loved the happiness of a Sunday morning with my Dad.  He always knew to take things slowly and to enjoy every bit of the ride.

My father was able to give me away on my wedding day.  It was such a blessed event which despite how he felt, he carried himself with such grace.  Before we were about to walk down the aisle, I stood with my arm linked in his, nervous as can be, shaking.  I looked up at him searching for the sage advice he always gave me.  He looked down at me and as the doors opened, he whispered in my ear, “Holy shit, there are a lot of people here.”  That was all I needed to hear to let out a big laugh and I felt at ease.  We walked down the aisle as we loved to do together, like proud peacocks basking in the attention.

I know Dad will be looking down tomorrow and will be saying the same line he said to me before we walked down the aisle.  He will be overwhelmed with joy by the amount of people he inspired.  It is such a testament to him and to the iconic man he was.  And out of the thousands of lives he touched, I was blessed to be his only daughter – his confidant, his joke stager, his serenading companion, and his raucous sidekick.  Life may feel unfair at times, but I am the luckiest girl to have spent 28 blessed years growing into who I am because of my father and all that he was.

March 29, 2011 at 8:54 AM 10 comments

Dining Room Choices

Last week, I missed out on these two blush velvet wing back chairs in perfect condition on Craigslist going for $50. I was late to the find as I only came across the post about three days after it was posted. The beauties were gone and I was left missing them. I wanted the wingback chairs so badly as end chairs for my dining room table. My latest inspiration is the dining room of the Kemps seen in the latest Elle Decor issue…

After watching a few back episodes of Secrets of a Stylist on HGTV, I felt compelled to try my own little mix it up dining room style from only items I already owned. Roll cameras, welcome to Secrets of a Non-Stylist, I’m your host, Kate Collins…

First things first, I tried just replacing the end chairs I had now with a pouf and garden stool that I already owned…

I liked that it was finally adding more character to my dining room, however, I felt I could do better. I felt that the side seats heights were off and it made the room feel off kilter. A little balancing out…

I put the new John Robshaw pouf and an awesome wedding gift from my brother Miles and Brittany – a Gumps garden stool – as the new side seating.

I liked this look a lot more than the first option because it had a better sense of symmetry.

Now on to option three…

I moved the settee that I have sitting in the bay window of the dining room and I place the table bench seat where the settee was…

I really like how the blueish green in the settee speaks with the blueish green in the lamps. Man, I sound so articulate when I use words like “blueish green”

But alas, the heights of the backs of the side chairs were off and the look wasn’t quite right. You’d think I’d have learned the first time. So a little tweaking….

And from the other side…

In other news around the dining room – the large mirror you see on the right hand side wall is supposed to be hung. However, it weighs approximately 1 ton and we’re a little scared of a gigantic hole and a pissy landlord. The art piece was a gift from my dad and is incredibly special to me, however, that may move to the bedroom and we have a new piece that is at the frame shop. Lastly, Graham’s surfboard is still sitting pretty in the dining room…

Which arrangement do you like?

Option A:

Option B:

Option C:

Any other option you can think of? Hounding the person who sold the velvet wing backs to give me the info of the buyer and then begging the buyer for me to have them in exchange for their $50 back, isn’t an option.

March 28, 2011 at 5:36 AM 15 comments

Happy Friday

I’m writing from sweet Seattle and I’m thrilled to be back in the beautiful city.  Can’t wait for the wedding festivities of two of my very favorite people to begin.  Congrats to Irene and Tito!!

It’s pretty clear that I love the couple, seeing as how I’ve devoted three separate posts to the bride as seen here, here and here.

Have a fantastic, love filled weekend everyone!


March 25, 2011 at 5:21 AM 1 comment


I am low on time today because I’m hopping on a plane to Seattle in a few hours.  I didn’t have a chance to put together an artist of a week but I’ll be back at it again soon.

For now, I’ve got outfits to pack, chores to finish off, work e-mails to send out and a very special wedding to get excited for!!

What I’ll be wearing on the dance floor – so ready to boogy.

I can’t wait to be up in Seattle hanging with my girls it’s been forever and a day since I’ve seen them and I miss them dearly.

My girlies…Irene in the purple dress and fabulous earrings (that she made) is the one getting hitched.  In case you don’t know what I look like, I’m the one next to the bride with the brown hair (not the most flattering picture of me but I love it to bits because we’re all together).

March 24, 2011 at 8:33 AM 3 comments

Peppermint Bliss

If you didn’t have time yesterday to check out all the beauty in the latest Rue issue, head on over there.  Most inspirational?  The home of Bailey from Peppermint Bliss (a blog I love).  Feast your eyes…

It’s one of the best homes I have seen in a long time!  I love the bold colors, the fabulous wallpaper, the unique fabric choices.  Go check out her entire home here

March 23, 2011 at 8:19 AM 7 comments

Darling Deckchairs

After getting over the initial shock of daylight savings sleep deprivation, I LOVE this time of the year.  It stays light later and here in California we get glimpses of the summer months ahead.  Since outdoor living is not that far off, it’s time to get the backyard in order.  Rake up those leaves, plant those flowers and bring on out the old school English deckchairs…

Where did I find such beauties?  Surely on the French Riviera?  Oh no, no, no.  Quite contraire.  These chic finds are available on ETSY at Gallant and Jones, click here for site.  And every time you buy a deck chair, they plant a tree.

Ahem, Mom and Aunts these would be great for the ranch.  Just look how cute they are out in nature…

March 22, 2011 at 5:31 AM 7 comments

You’re Killing Me, Smalls!

Lately, I have been green with jealousy.

Green over this lovely 50’s loveseat…

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Why am I jealous?  Well because this love seat was on the LA Craigslist and I live six hours away from there.  Oh and there’s more.  Now, I’m about to kill all those readers in LA, I wrote this post about a month ago and tucked it into my drafts to complete it later.  The items surely are no longer available.  Really, I shouldn’t be posting this post but I’m a bit dried up on ideas and a laziness factor has kicked in.  So, let this serve as inspiration to all you LA dwellers – your Craigslist is out of control good!!

Here are the rest of my finds from a month ago when I put together a little office solely from one day off of LA’s Craigslist.  You are killing me smalls!!

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Awesome lucite and white desk.  And what would go better with white, and green than pink?!  Nothing.

Lighting for the desk –

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Pair of pink lucite lamps for $100.  Ugh!  Unfair!

Now for the desk chair, this beauty for $375

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I want this chair so badly, it hurts.  Apparently this one is still available, check here.

Now this office is going to need some storage, how about some more pink…

With so much color, let’s just add in a jute rug – how about one that is shot next to garbage cans…ha ha.

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Lastly for the pendant light

This is a bit different to have in an office; I’d usually recommend it for a kitchen island but I like the unexpected element of it.  This is still available here.

LA, LA, LA….why do you have to be so close yet so far away?!

March 21, 2011 at 5:30 AM 5 comments

For Japan With Love…

You will not be receiving my usual Happy Friday post tomorrow.  I wanted to participate in the blogger silence day as my small contribution in showing respect for the victims of the devastations in Japan.  If you would like to donate, you can do so here.  To read more about For Japan with Love, go here.

March 17, 2011 at 11:32 PM 1 comment

Artist of the Week: Dallas Shaw

It’s that time of the week again, artist time.  I do wonder how this little series of mine is going down with my readers.  I have to say that I like it and it’s fun for me to do.  I’m always inspired by artists and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, art can make your home.  One day, I will take you on a virtual tour of my parents home and you will see how I was literally raised on that notion.

Anyway, I was tickled pink that Ms. Dallas Shaw commented on my blog two days ago.  Wow!  Humbled to say the least.  She is a fabulous artist and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a fashionista.  This girl knows clothes.  She drapes herself in the likes of Lanvin, Karen Walker, Donna Karen, Peter Som and Phillip Lim.  Tres chic.

You can see that fashion plays a major role in her art.  She has collaborated with major designers and clothing brands, such as DKNY, Dace and American Eagle, creating fashion sketches and even vintage wallpaper store displays.

She works in amazingly varied mediums from acrylics on canvas to her own t-shirt line.  I love how her illustrations translate the art of fashion and leave you breathless, craving a life well strut in head to toe avant garde clothing.

If Dallas’ work has you swooning, check out her site here; she also has an ETSY site but appears to be all sold out at the moment.

March 17, 2011 at 5:30 AM 6 comments

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