Tag Archives: pearls and pastries

Deck the halls…er, the Studio.

Oh, hey Monday!

My first Christmas in SF I decided I was going to buy a tree. I knew that even though I would see my family on the actual day, being away during the season might be a bummer, and it would be my first winter without the Chicago cold. How would that feel? It felt great, by the way. So I went to one of my favorite websites since I moved, overstock, to find the perfect fake tree for my apartment.

Now, I know in Illinois, it’s divided down the middle between artificial and real trees. My family always used an artificial tree that my dad loved (haha) putting up every year. But here in California? When I admit that I’ve never, ever, in my life cut down my own tree with my own hands and my own ax and my flannel tank top because it’s too warm for actual flannel, people look at me with horror.

What about the smell, they ask. Don’t you miss the evergreen smell?

To that I say, there is a wonderful candle that creates that smell for me!

Regardless, last year, my tree didn’t come for awhile so I have slowly and secretly been decking the halls of my studio (yes, before thanksgiving) so that this year and last year could average out.

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree out of the box

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree out of the box

decorated...wait for it...

decorated…wait for it…(the majority of the ornaments are from Target last year, there are burlap ones from Velvet Beanthe garland is from Christmas Alley

and lit!

and lit!

I am words person so...//via this shop

I am words person so…//LylaDee made them

I love mantles!

I love mantles!

This picture is from last year's attempt at a christmas card...as you already can tell, Ava is extremely photogenic...unless we actually invite a real photographer in. Although we did have pictures taken on the beach so maybe it was a phase. But this is a photo in a series of photos where she refused to look up.

This picture is from last year’s attempt at a christmas card…as you already can tell, Ava is extremely photogenic…unless we actually invite a real photographer in. Although we did have pictures taken on the beach so maybe it was a phase. But this is a photo in a series of photos where she refused to look up.

stocking from anthro//sequin hanger here//burlap banner here

stocking from anthro//sequin hanger here//burlap banner here

An elephant needs an ornament

An elephant needs an ornament

Here are my tips for decorating for the holidays in a small space:

  1. Understand that for the majority of the year, you will have to store your decorations so make sure you have enough storage before you go buck wild. Figure out your storage situation before you buy anything.
  2. Prioritize the things that you can’t live without. I knew I wanted a tree but 99% of my ornaments are really cheap. This year I almost bought these expensive ornaments and I thought: why? My tree looked gorgeous last year and I am sure I can use this money for some other christmas decoration that I will spot…which I did. On an anthro stocking for $30.
  3. Use what you have. If you notice in the pictures, I already have a lot of silver and gold in my apartment. So my silver elephant has an ornament on his trunk and so does my gold one. I wrote a Christmas verse on a chalkboard I already use on my mantle. My gold sequin hanger from Pearls and Pastries is in a more obvious spot. I put mistletoe above Beyonce. (Just kidding on the last one.)
  4. I also like to stick to some “winter” decorations along with Christmas ones so I can leave them up a bit longer. Also, all of that goes on sale right after Christmas and so…good deal. The winter dome on the mantle, which I wanted so badly before Christmas, went on major discount after Christmas.
  5. If you, like me, are away from you family, still go through the motions. Turn on those Christmas lights! Put up the tree! Also, it helps your family worry a little less about you.

My space is not much but  I do love decorating for the holidays. It reminds me that seasons do exist in other parts of the world. Once I was walking down the street, the air a bit brisk, and I thought: I could really go for a pumpkin spice latte. Then I remembered it was June.

All the Christmas cheer also connects me to my family back home. My mom loves nutcrackers and has a beautiful collection of them. My stepmom recreates Santa Village inside their house. And my little sister watches Christmas movies year round. Before she could speak, we would say: What does Kevin do (from Home Alone, for you scrooges who don’t know who Kevin MacAllister is)? And she would put both hands to her face, open her mouth wide and let out a little scream from the infamous scene where the kid put on aftershave.

Decorating for the holidays also gets me into the spirit. It is is a daily reminder that I have Christmas cards to send and presents to buy and I do all those things joyfully, with twinkling lights.

I can’t wait to show you San Francisco decorates for the holidays.

No matter what size your space, how do you decorate for the holidays?

Fa La La, La La La Laaaaah,

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All that Glitters is Gold. (Holiday Gift Guide Part III)

UPDATE: A ton of the things on my gift guides here and here and on this one are on sale over the interwebs today Hi. I’m probably listening to Christmas carols right now…Sugarpaper LA (the pink calendar and the striped notebook, OfficeLuxe (which includes Kate Spade stationary), and TataHarper (amazing) are just a few that I know of.

But before I show you this gift list, I need to tell you something. I never pay full price for things. Okay, I rarely pay full price for things. I wait for the Friends and Family events at stores like Bloomingdales, which is way outside of my price range, except when I get 25% off or more, even on watches (which never go on sale!). There are items on this list that range from high to low (but they’re all gold!) but still I have to emphasize things my Nonna taught me. Do not be afraid to ask when the next sale will be. For example, I would walk myself into Kate Spade, say hello, and ask them politely when the next sale would be because I wanted to buy a, b, c. Then I would ask that employee when they worked so they would get the commission. I also make sure I have a budget for everyone I need to buy for before I go shopping. Otherwise, people would be getting a TON of great gifts that fit them perfectly but I would be broke. Remember to always ask for a gift receipt, too! Especially this time of year, there are a lot of flash sales and black friday (happy black friday!).

Finally, I have a question. Why must Jonathan Adler make such perfect elephant and animal things? I refuse to spend the money unless he is majorly on sale. But why does he make perfect elephants?

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  1. Michael Kors Midsize Golden Steel Runway Three Hand Watch//$195//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list:  Gold. Rose gold. What’s a girl to do? I recently tried on a Rose Gold watch from Kors and previously, it had not looked good on my skin tone (I’m Snow white, in real life). But this one was different. The gold was too brassy on my wrist. But this was perfect, like three bears. I also love the braided part. Although for people with small wrists, this is not an option.
  2. Animalia Coaster Set//$78//Jonathan Adler//Why it’s on the list: Because (pretend I said that in a whiny voice) he makes perfect animal things. Things I want to buy for my friends’ babies but I just refuse to spend the money. However, these are for grown ups and gorgeous looking. And elephants! And elephants.
  3. Bright Spot Avenue iPad sleeve//$145//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: Sometimes we need reminders. Be dazzling! I love the Rose Gold Color and c’mon, sometimes we need to remember that we can dazzle.
  4. Pop Fizz Clink Holiday Card Set of 10//$25//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: I love these cards and the theme Kate Spade is going with for this year. I am a freak for cards and the price for ten cards is actually quite good! These may be landing in some people’s mail boxes this year.
  5. Pop Fizz Studs Earrings//$32//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: This is one on the list that I haven’t told Santa about because I just realized I love them. I need studs for my job so I end up wearing the same pearls everyday because the Forever 21 earrings, while totally in, turn my ears green. So I am always on the market for chic studs and I love the playful vibe. (Santa?????)
  6. Child Size Sequin Hanger//$13//Pearls and Pastries (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: So, I talked about the regular size sequin hanger but now I want to talk about the child’s size. It’s literally PERFECT for Ava’s dress up clothes or a special outfit she wants to hang up for school. Anyway, I asked you: who doesn’t need a sequin hanger? (including young children)
  7. Get it Girl//$38//Michelle Dwight//Why it’s on the list: This is already on my list! It’s going to go on one of my chairs while the Belquist pillows will go on my bed. And you know what? It will remind me to always go and get it, girl! I don’t write self actualizations in lipstick in my mirror but I am a firm believer in little reminders like this to myself.
  8. Things We Love Coffee Table Book//$40//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: So, you may have noticed that this is a little Kate Spade heavy. So I figure…I will LOVE what she LOVES. Right??? Is this good logic?
  9. Critter Charm Necklace//$14.50//J Crew Factory Outlet//Why it’s on the list: I already have this baby. There was a flash sales (see?!) and I grabbed it for myself and two friends. Can I just say that EVERYONE comments on it? Boys, Girls–they love it. It was the first thing my little sister noticed after not physically seeing me for months. Later, she told her Karen, “Mom, I love elephants. Just like Nina.” (More on that story later!) and she even found her own elephant necklace at the Santa Monica Pier that she wears proudly. Also, as another aside, a really good friend, who knows me really well, finally read my blog (yeah, I know…what’s his deal?) and he told me: I think the biggest take away I got from your blog was that I didn’t know exactly how much you loved elephants. Well, guess what, I do! And I wear this necklace every single day.
  10. Bow Push Pins//$24//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: So cute. Again, surprisingly affordable considering the brand. If I had a home office (hahaha, San Francisco is laughing at me right now as I type this in my studio) I would have a cork board just so I could use these bow push pins. A girl can dream? Yes, she can. And I do.
  11. The Great Gatsby  Spiral Notebook//$14//Kate Spade//Why it’s on the list: You guys. At first glance, you think it’s a book. But it is a spiral notebook! What the, what the? I love this so much. Maybe I would get this for my brother since he told me The Great Gatsby was the one book he considered finishing in high school. Yes, you read that correctly. Normally, he’s not a writer but he’s an entrepreneur now, guys.

This is so great, guys! Because I feel like I am a personal shopper and I am not spending any money! One more holiday gift guide to go…Unless there is a clamor for more. PS You can also follow me on Pinterest because I am a great pinner. It may seem like this does not take talent but it sure does, baby.

Throwing Glitter in the air,

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Holiday Gift Guide (Part 1)

I love giving gifts…to the point where it can be a problem for my bank account. I just love finding the perfect gift for the perfect someone. Some people like matchmaking…I do this instead. And I think I am pretty good at it, too! So making a holiday gift guide made me really happy inside. So happy that I am also going to make two more for the next two Fridays because I have so many gift ideas! So, um, I hope you like it because I liked making it.

Either I own these items, I am asking for them this Christmas, or I am giving them to people this year. You would think: Nina, how is that going to work? What if those people read your blog? Oh, silly reader, (you’re not silly, I promise) don’t you know that I am horrible at keeping gifts a secret? Horrible. Beyond horrible. I just get so excited; I can’t keep it to myself.

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  1.  Mini Capri Blue Glass Candle//$12.00//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: I’ve said this before on this blog but if I was Oprah and if I had a television show and if I did a Favorite Things show, this would be a gift on the list every single year. I love the smell more than anything. It’s the perfectly subtle and dreamy. It  just makes everything right in the world. Then once the candle is finished, I have a glamourous container for anything. These minis are even more fun!
  2. Ceramic Jewelry Plate in Mint//$19.50//J. Crew//Why it’s on the list: Isn’t she lovely…Isn’t she wonderful…Doesn’t she like to display her jewelry?
  3. Luxor Pillow in Wheat//$30//Belquist (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: I won’t lie to you. These pillows are on my Christmas list. Hopefully, I’m not on the naughty list because I love the textile that is used and I can’t wait to see them on my gray bed. (Hint, Hint, Santa aka Mom!) Also, I love supporting women who make things. Period. I searched high and low for the perfect pillows with a hint of glint for a long time and as soon as I saw these, I knew they were it!
  4. Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug//$10//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: Anthropologie is typically out of my price range but Nonna didn’t teach me nothin’ for nothin’. There are great finds at anthro (like the candle) that are totally within my price range (I just won’t be sporting one of their dresses for awhile or purchasing their bedding. Best of all, you can wander through anthro and live in a fairytale for FREE). Who doesn’t love a golden monogram? This is the perfect gift for your girlfriends or your boss (outstanding pencil holder) and really, who wouldn’t want to drink hot chocolate out of this (but probably not both without washing it)?
  5. Wine Bottle Basil Garden//$36//Why it’s on the list: I love Basil! And I love easy things like this. In fact, you can grow an entire herb garden this way! A great gift for moms or anyone who likes to cook (Nonna, close your eyes!).
  6. What would Blair Waldorf do? pencils//$8 for 6 pencils//The Carbon Crusader (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting a woman making things. She has a ton of pencils that say different witty sayings. What I’ve done in the past is buy some and add them to a group of gifts. Perfect gift for a friend: the mug, the candle and a pencil.
  7. Aromatic Stress Treatment//$80//Aromatic Irritability Treatment//$65//Aromatic Bedtime Treatment//$60//Tata Harper//Why they’re on the list: Because they WORK! These are the most expensive item on the list but frankly, I don’t know what I did before these oils. I happened to get a deal on them that since passed but I am giving these for Christmas to some people. Don’t be offended if you get the irritability one, okay? But in all seriousness. Yes, I am gifting these to a few people and it is all they will get because it is luxury. What is amazing about the brand in general is everything is COMPLETELY natural and you are paying for the PRODUCT not the packaging. I have many friends in beauty and they will tell you that when you pay for high end products that is where the money is going–the packaging. That ain’t so in Tata Harper’s case. I’m in love with these.
  8. The Original Sequin Hanger//$18//Pearls and Pastries (Etsy Show)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. At first, you think, why does anyone need a sequin hanger? And then you realize: why does anyone not need a sequin hanger? I have one that hangs on a mirror and another I am planning to hang in the bathroom with a print. The hangers are very well made as well. What a fun unexpected treat, I say.
  9. Bubbly Gold Champagne Flutes (set of 4)//$34.50//Why it’s on the list: who likes champagne? This girl. I love these flutes because they have a Kate Spade feel without the price tag. I think they’re so fun.
  10. Scour the World Gold print//$30//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I just love this saying. And this blog. So I love this brand.
  11. More Adventures, Less Plans Card//$4//columbusandtutu (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. I found this shop when a friend sent me a handmade card and gave me an early present of an art piece (hint: it includes elephants!). The card my friend sent me was perfect and honest and handmade. Again, this would be great to pair with a pencil and two or three of her cards.
  12. Keep Not Settling iPhone 5/5s case//$34//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I have a severe fear of settling. Let’s keep not settling. Blog post for later.
  13. Cabana Stripe Notebook//$16//Sugar Paper//Why it’s on the list: I love this list and I love this brand. I am very picky when it comes to notebooks and line sizing and this one is perfect and chic.
  14. Threshold Wood & Brass Bar Cart//$129.50//Target//Why it’s on the list: So it is expensive but what a great gift for a couple? Maybe your parents need a hip gift? Or maybe someone you know and love (a lot) that lives in an apartment would like it? Maybe your guy fancies himself a mixologist? I also happened to spot some gold, retro cocktail accessories at anthro.

Anything you’re adding to your Holiday lists? Anything catch your eye for someone else? Let me know!

Yay, Gifts!

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