Black Friday: Gift Guide for the Stylish Lass….

I like to shop but I hate crowds.  I would rather punch myself repeatedly around the eyes, nose and throat than deal with the hordes of shoppers looking to score a deal.  Instead, I will be at home, nursing a rather large delicious treat as I watch movies on Netflix.  Why will I be so stress-free you ask?  It’s because I will be doing my shopping online and having UPS and Fed Ex act as my little gift elves delivering retail happiness to friends and family across the nation.

If you are of sane mind and lack the will of a mother lion looking to protect her young, then I encourage you to join me on the proverbial couch and relax.  But like I have all this week, I am not leaving you to your own devices to twist in the cruel retail winds.  My staff and I have pulled together different gift guides each with a different focus.  Even better is that everything on them is under $100!

So let’s get this baby rolling with the first gift guide – Stylish Finds for the Sassy Lass curated by my assistant Michelle who is one uber-stylish lady ….

Stylish Girl Gift Guide by Courtney Out Loud

[clockwise] West Elm Gold Flatware // Restoration Hardware Faux  Fur Throw // Mor Emporium Black Collection Scented Candle  // Bespoke Home Monogrammed Natural Linen Jewelry Roll // The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp // Yosi Sarmra Chain T-Strap // Deepa Gurnani Crystal Petal Earrings

Stylish Girl Gift Guide 2

[clockwise] Tinley Road Vegan Leather Jogging Pant // West Elm Marble Silk Pillow // Hudson Grace Marble Cheese Board // Modern House Wine by Alexsis Swanson // The Head & The Heart – Let’s Be Still // Sole Society “Skylar” Bootie 

I love Michelle’s picks and have ordered a few things for my sister from this list.  Now if you excuse me, there is a piece of pie and a hunky Norse god that goes by Thor awaiting my arrival on the couch.  Happy Shopping……

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Enjoying the Rainbow With Lamps Plus …

Hi – my name is Courtney and I like color.  I love a beautiful neutral space, but color gets my heart racing.  Color gets me excited.  Color is my equivalent of “design MSG” – I think everything looks better with a touch of it.

Thankfully, the folks at Lamps Plus think the same thing because they recently launched their Color + Lighting Collection featuring over 100+ colors and a variety of different lamp styles.  From the classic gourd to groovy floor lamps, this collection really covers the gamut and gives something customers more options than even many custom lighting companies I have worked with in the past.

Lamps Plus has a huge selection of lamps outside its Color + collection that features beautiful colors.  If you lean more towards modern then I suggest the Delta Peacock Lamp from Robert Abbey…..

Robert Abbey LAmps Plus

For a lamp just shy of 2 feet tall, it packs quite a design wallop thanks to its geometric shape.  Just like the Color + Collection, it comes in a multitude of colors including new two-tone variations which I absolutely adore.  It is on my short list (I know – bad pun!) for at least two different clients – one we will use it in their office and the other will find itself on his night stand.

So embrace your inner Rainbow Bright and throw caution to the wind!  After all, it’s only color!

[photo credit: lamps plus//collage credit: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

disclaimer:  lamps plus was a sponsor of blogtour london 2013 but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Loving Out Loud: Kari Gran Skin Care ….

Contrary to popular belief, I am a pretty simple person when it comes to my daily “beauty” routine.  Face wash, astringent (occasionally), facial moisturizer & lip balm – 5 minutes tops and I am done.  Not sure if its impatience or a “guy thing” but anything more complicated and I am probably not going to do it.  However, I have noticed that after a certain age (cough….) that your skin needs a little help to look its best.

Enter Kari Gran ……

Kari Gran CollageThe Kari Gran brand was founded by Kari Gran (left) and her longtime friend Lisa Strain (right). Lisa and Kari, both successful real estate brokers, met “in the business”, and became close friends. It was Lisa who originally inspired Kari to move beyond her kitchen where she made her first batches of eco-skin care products for friends. Today the two partners work in a loft in Downtown Seattle making products and running the Kari Gran e-commerce business.

I had the opportunity to hear Kari talk during my trip to Seattle and was struck by how honest she was about starting her business, but also by her skin.  Seriously, the lady is a walking testament to her products!  At the end of her talk, Kari provided the audience with samples of her skin care line which I politely took but secretly plotted to gift to a friend upon my return to San Francisco.  But as luck would have it, the evening I returned home, I ran out of my normal face wash.  On a whim, I decided to use Kari’s line and after one use understood why Kari’s skin looked so luminous  …….

Kari Gran

The line is based on a three-step process of cleansing with oil, misting with a hydrating tonic and applying a moisturizing serum.  I will skeptical on multiple levels; first, I have oily skin and putting oil on my already acne prone skin seemed a recipe for disaster .  Second, reading the instructions for the process made it seem rather involved, mind you not complicated, but more time-consuming that my standard 5 minute regimen.  Last, it just made me feel a bit too “girly” for my comfort and this is coming from a guy who has toggled between Steel Magnolias and a Golden Girls marathon on TV on more than one occasion …….

But I figured, the worst I could get was a pimple, so I tried it out that night and subsequently for the rest of the week.  While I didn’t get pimples, what I got was a glowing complexion!  After a week of use, I saw the forehead furrow lines minimize and my general complexion improve.  I got compliments on my skin and I actually started to look forward to my nightly routine.  As for the time commitment, I found myself still spending about 5 minutes but once a day in the evening rather than twice a day.  It actually reduced the amount of time I spent on my skin while making me feel better — so I consider that a “twofer” in my book — less time + better complexion = win!  An added bonus was that since I shave, I found this routine to reduce ingrown hairs and overall shaving irritation, so while I may have still felt a ting girly, it was now mixed with the manly affirmation that the routine was good for shaving, so I was able to save face (pun intended)…..

So while I wouldn’t say I am now a slave to beauty, I will definitely call myself an acolyte of Kari Gran.  Now if someone could make flossing more interesting and a little less gross, I would be all set…..

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen kiddos!!

[pictures courtesy Kari Gran, Belathée Photography & moi]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

disclaimer:  i was gifted a sample of the kari gran skin care treatment but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Loving Out Loud: Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb ….

I can’t say I am fully recouped from my whirlwind trip to the London Design Festival thanks to my hosts at Modenus and their fabulous sponsors but what I lack in sleep I am more than making up with inspiration.  My want/lust files are overflowing from all the manufacturers, vendors and artisans I was introduced to by walking the show floors as well as the one-on-one time that Modenus ensured we had with select brands.

The group was lucky enough to be led on a tour of Lee Broom’s showroom (a full post on this to follow shortly) by the designer himself ……

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Lee Broom is one of the UK’s leading product and interior designers overseeing his own line of high-end lighting and furnishings as well as collaborations with a bevy of high-profile clients including Christian Louboutin’s new in-house boutique at Harrods.  Deeply talented and deeply humble, Broom was a gracious host to me and my fellow Blog Tour London participants.  However, it was the story behind on of his most popular items, the Crystal Bulb that made me develop a teeny, tiny designer crush on him and a big crush on the fabulous lighting element …..

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Lee said that the “light bulb” moment for the product happened because he wanted to find a way to give gifts to his friends and close colleagues.  Knowing it was impractical (and highly expensive) to give away other pieces of his line, he conceptualized, prototyped and produced the Crystal Bulb in 6 weeks for its début in Milan.  What had been a little idea generated amazing buzz resulting in ELLE Decoration awarding him their design award in 2012 for the bulb and a cult like following for his wares.

Lee Broom Crystal BulbHaving seen the bulbs in person, they are truly beautiful.  The full-lead crystal bulb is hand cut with a traditional crystal pattern and fits any standard E27 lamp, wall or ceiling fitting.  In the showroom, the bulbs were hung as multi-level groups which were stunning but were also shown flush mounted as ceiling fixtures and hung solo as the perfect drop pendant.  The bulbs are available alone or with a brushed brass pendant fitting and with a gold silk flex cable.  I envision using the bulbs as pendants in a powder room or marching single file above a modern kitchen island.

I am smitten with the Crystal Bulb and may or may not have ordered two to play with in my home.  Alas, I think that this  may become a pattern with all of my wonderful findings from my trip to London.  Now I just have to find the money to pay for them!

[pictures courtesy of Lee Broom/A+R Store]

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Loving Out Loud: Pickwick Weller …

There is something to be said for the laid back approach that most Californian men take to style.  Jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt are the basis for many of my male friend’s wardrobe, present company included.  However, as I have gotten older, the appeal of a 3-pack of Hanes white tees is lost on me.  My t-shirts serve multiple duties from casual to work, so I need a work horse — something that I could throw on in a rush but just as easily throw a blazer on and present to a client in a pinch, so I was excited to be introduced to a new player in the tee market, Pickwick Weller. . .

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The concept is simple; tees made from beautiful fabrics, cut to drape the body. Insane right?  The brand recently opened up a showroom in San Francisco and I was able to tour the space and get a better idea of the quality of the pieces…..

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For men, they have divided their Fall collection in several different fits but my favorite is the cashmere Stuart tee.  It is a combination of lightweight cashmere & cotton, aside from feeling luxurious, the design team didn’t miss any details.  The Stuart features an awesome “spine” detail down the back and French seams — perfect for those individuals who tend to get irritated by the seams and tags in their clothing.

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Rather than open up a traditional retail space, the brand opted to do a showroom.  Customers can come into the space, try in a variety of tees, get a feel for the fit and quality of each piece and decide which ones to order with the help of the showroom staff.  The space exudes the Pickwick Weller ethos of refined, understated and cool….

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The long-sleeve Stuart is what I have my eye on and it I am positive it will become part of my staples come Fall!

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness.  You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Loving Out Loud: Wild & Wolf’s Wool Felt Laptop Case …

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as “perfection” when it comes to an object but only degrees of personal satisfaction.  Perfection is dependent on a relational analysis – basically you need to compare Object A to Object B in order to compare it “perfect”.  That is easy to do when you can find two objects you like and can sit side by side for comparison.

Well that wasn’t the case for my search for a laptop case.

Mind you there are tons of laptop cases on the market but none I would remotely be interested in purchasing for myself.  They were….too bulky….too geeky…..too adolescent.  And the rap sheet of offenses continued like that of a lifetime criminal.  Laptop case and bag makers are making crimes against “design humanity” and it needs to stop.

So when the web site Erie Drive contacted me about testing out some of their products, the first thing I did was search for a laptop case.  Low and behold, I ran across the Wild & Wolf Gentlemen’s Hardware Felt Laptop Case….

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I stopped.  Did a double take.  And cautiously ordered the case with high expectations and a fair chance of disappointment.  However, Erie Drive strives to find high-quality, unique items across a wide swath of retail channels.  Browsing their site, I was impressed to find a variety of items that not only were in my aesthetic but also at great price points for every room in the home.  Plus, their men’s selections were great…I felt I wasn’t shopping a high-end hipster’s closet.  The products they curated were witty, fun and most importantly appeared well-made.

Which brings us back to the laptop case.  Upon its arrival, I took it out for a test spin at my local coffee shop and I will say it exceeded itself on every category ……

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Made from wool felt and leather with brass clasps, the case just looks beautiful.  While not as padded as some cases on the market, I felt secure that I could carry this case and feel that my computer was protected.  Roomy enough to fit my Macbook Pro and two client folders, the case could easily substitute as a attaché case if you you needed to run to a quick meeting.

However, the part of that I loved most was the embossing on the back of the case …..

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No truer words have been spoken!  So with that, go get your weekend on and enjoy!  I on the other hand will be feverishly typing away as I head out-of-town yet again on Saturday to Seattle to attend a great event I will be telling you all about very shortly!  Until then, go check out Erie Drive and see what goodies you can snag for yourself!

[photography & styling: courtney lake]

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[disclosure]: from time to time, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.  the views and opinions expressed are purely mine & we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

Loving Out Loud: Macrame …

Sometimes my designs take on a life of their own.  I am working on a new design project for a client in San Francisco who is seeking a modern take on “California Living”.  He doesn’t want mid-century modern, flea market vintage or minimalist chic — he wants that perfect hybrid that looks eclectic but curated with a healthy dose of wood tones.  After talking with him and pitching the concept, I am confident that I have captured what he wants, but the one thing that has me tied into knots (pun intended) is that I have this overwhelming need/want/desire to incorporate macrame into the space.

Yes I said it…macrame.  The bane of many a home econ and craft projects in the 1970s may be making an appearance in one of my designs.

OuchFlower

Macrame Collage

Kinda cool right?  This isn’t your Grandma’s plant holder we are talking about.  This is fiber art in its best form — large, uninhibited and free.  This IS the embodiment of the California ethos — off kilter, kooky and doing its own thing.  I think these modern macrame marvels would be perfect for the bedroom.  Now lets see what the client thinks………

[photo credit: ouch flowers/himoart/sally england]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness.  You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.