Project Harmony: Day 1 Victories!!

Bonjour!

I am already finding huge success with my new one-month decluttering project, which I have appropriately entitled “Project Harmony.”  I am a few small steps closer to feeling like this!!

freedom jump for joy new year clean slate fresh start inspiration
closer to clutter-free!

I’m actually already feeling like this, and here’s why: last night after a long day at the 9-5, I was pretty wiped out, and didn’t get to start on PH (Project Harmony).  I was in bed pretty early, and thus woke up a bit early this morning.  I stared at the small mess on my kitchen table and started putting things away, like the bag of recent Target buys, the pretty wrapping paper I found on clearance, throwing away receipts, etc.  When I pulled out my gift wrap box under my bed, I saw a big bulky old duffel that was now a dust bunny magnet.  I resolved to putting it in a “donation” box that I would start putting together, and when I opened the duffel to make sure there wasn’t anything important in it, I found these:

crate and barrel el pollo loco gift cards
total value: $80!!!

Two gifted gift certificates from friends that I thought I had accidentally tossed in the trash!!!  Oh happy day!!!

PH has me so inspired in the very first day – I feel like I can do ANYTHING! Now if only I could figure out how to create a shoe closet like THIS for myself in my teeny apartment…

closet organized shoes storage fashion home
dream closet!

A girl can dream, right?

Day One of PH: TRES BIEN!!!!

How are your home organization projects or New Year~New Slate projects going?  Inspire me with your own progress and success stories!!

Happy Thursday!!

LBH

Bonne Annee 2012!!

happy new year 2012 bonne annee
{flickr: Alexandre Dulaunoy}

Bonjour!!  Bonne Année!!

I hope you had a safe, festive and delightful holiday season with friends and family, and if you enjoyed it as much as I did, your pants are fitting tighter but your smiles are bigger.

champagne new years eve glasses celebration bonne annee

I spent New Years Eve at home with a few wonderful friends, laughing and looking back on the year, enjoying a few cocktails (which didn’t help in the fight against my cold – boooo), and watching the ball drop at midnight while my eyes grew heavy.  What a perfect evening it was!

black eyed peas new years Hopping John Hoppin' Jon
black eyed peas!
mustard greens collard new years soul food
slow stewed mustard greens

Yesterday was spent with a few mimosas here and there, a little cleanup, and some New Year’s cooking.  The black eyed peas simmered, the mustard greens slow stewed, and the whole roasted chicken definitely kicked off the new year right!!!

reflection window granite counter new yearToday is the last day of holiday rest, and it’s wrapping up nicely with more relaxing, a little shopping (there are some AMAZING sales still happening, ahem, SAKS), a matinee and a beer.  It is, after all, 79 degrees here in our LA winter (I know, just AWFUL!).

I’m trying to keep my goal for 2012 simple: be better.  A better friend, partner, worker, listener, cook, daughter, sister, person.  Be a better me.

What are you doing to kick off the New Year?  Any resolutions to help guide you, any bad habits to kick, or any new habits to start?

Here’s to a fabulous start to your year, bonne ami!

♥ LBH

Looking Back, Pausing and Moving Forward to 2012

owl, wise owl, hibou
{tumblr: dontcallmebetty}

Bonjour!

I hope you are enjoying the holidays with many loved ones and friends! I have been a bit absent from LBH but this has given me so much to think about and ponder, and be so very thankful for the many blessings and people in my life. I have been so excited about creating La Belle Hibou as a new vehicle for me to connect with others and learn, share, and exchange ideas, perceptions, inspirations. So with this here last little post for 2011, I thought I would personally open up a bit more to my tiny audience and to anyone willing to read it, about my last 12 months.

2011 did not start out well. In January, a very close dear friend of mine unexpectedly passed away. I had spoken to her over the phone just weeks before, and losing her was one of the worst and most difficult challenges I have ever faced. Her passing also happened during one of the busiest times in my 9-5 life. I had been working literally about 100 hours per week since December for an enormous project – a project which came to a screeching halt the minute I got the news. And yet, her passing also brought many wonderful subsequent happenings. Mutual friendships became stronger, and we still turn to each other for comfort, laughter and support. Our friendships are closer because of our loss. In our loss, we have also gained. For this, I am so thankful and humbled.

wedding, southern wedding, Atlanta, place setting, wedding flowersI managed to get through that enormous project at work relatively unscathed, and lived to tell about it (no more 100+ hour work weeks!). Not long after the project closed, I was able to see another very close friend marry the love of her life. It was a beautiful occasion, and we cried and laughed and laughed and sang karaoke after the reception. She married during the early spring in the South, in a scene of trees blooming and cloudy skies breaking open. Such a happy occasion!

nicaragua, travel, central america, flowers, beach, monkey, jinotegaA month later, I was able to visit my semi-retired parents in their (temporary) home of Jinotega, Nicaragua. It was an amazing experience – the beautiful largely untouched land, the tumultuous political history and persevering people, the delicious coffee… the COFFEE!!! Obviously the cost of living is so much lower than the cost here in the U.S., so I’m so happy that my parents are happy. They deserve to enjoy their pseudo-childless lives now until they return to the U.S. And until that day comes, I have a reason for more Central American trips and passport stamps.

chicago, chicago bean, hollywood bowl, summer, pets, cat, dogThe summer passed too quickly – I spent a wonderful weekend in the windy city with friends, got to reunite with visiting friends, and had an infamously memorable weekend in Santa Barbara. A hard lesson was also learned: go to the doctor when you aren’t feeling well because home remedies aren’t always enough. I had a scare with a bladder infection that took a dangerous turn for the worst into a kidney infection. I know there have been just a few moments when I have feared for my life, and this was definitely one of them. Feeling terribly ill for nearly a week with a high fever, sweats, chills, repeat… Thankfully I recovered, LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY.

wedding, newborn, new parent, place setting, wedding decor, first dance, newlywed, life stagesThe end of summer and beginning of fall was truly the highlight of my year. A (future) sister-in-law’s wedding and spending time with (future) in-laws who make me laugh and smile and warm my heart kicked off my favorite season of the year. The wedding was followed by seven – yes, seven – baby showers of very dear friends. I finally acknowledged the universe’s message to me, and nodded in my understanding of this life stage. To see the first few newborns of said showers made my Babies-R-Us shopping sprees worth every cent. Holding the babies, hearing the ever so sweet and quiet noises they make while sleeping in my arms, taking more pictures than a paparazzo, hearing the stories about the long labors and pleasant epidurals… I am so blessed to be a witness to it all and be a part of it.

A couple weeks ago, after coming home from an amazing weekend in San Francisco with the one I love so much, I was brushing my teeth and preparing for bed when I began contemplating this blog post. Looking back on the year that began with a horrible loss, but is ending with beautiful new life, new beginnings. As much as I miss my dear friend ~ as stressed out as I was in 2011 ~ as many gray hairs that have popped up seemingly overnight on my head ~ as much as I did not accomplish this year that I intended to accomplish ~ it doesn’t matter.

look ahead, move forward, future, field of flowersIt’s time to prepare for another new beginning, new life events, new ups and downs, new inspirations, new discoveries of myself. It’s time to take each day one day at a time, and be grateful for the overabundance I have in my life. It’s time for me to pick up the phone and call (not text) family and friends, even if it’s just to say hi for a few minutes or share a funny story or thought. It’s time to make plans to have more people over to my home for a meal or a movie or a cocktail or a coffee more often than not. It’s time to give back to others whenever I can, no matter how little money I may have in my pocket. It’s time to smile to passersby whenever possible, and possibly get a smile in return, or not. It’s time to try to face each challenge, big and small, with a smile and with laughter and as much joy as possible, remembering that with each challenge my goal should be to better myself.

It’s time for 2012.

I thank you for reading my reflections, and I would love to hear yours!!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful end to 2011, and to an even better 2012!!

Bonne Année!!! Happy New Year!!!

La Belle Hibou

Beautiful & Quiet.

It’s a cloudy Saturday here in Los Angeles today, and it’s after 12 noon already, but I’m still in my pajamas, enjoying the last of my coffee and some quiet time (for once).  It’s amazing.

Since the holidays have everyone scrambling, planning, wrapping, cleaning, sweating, and everything in between… I wanted to bring a little serenity to your day and mine with just some prettiness ~ inspiring images that will hopefully bring a smile, an idea, or some quiet beauty to your day.  Enjoy!!

New Mexico winter snow road trip vintage gas station
{pictory}
tired cat sleeping door cute
{patagonia gifts}
romantic dinner party table setting shabby chic
{brabourne farm}
red lips lipstick vintage retro fashion style
{miss moss}
jimmy choo shoes heels pumps gold glitter holiday party d'orsay
{lou, boos and shoes}
party decor holiday outdoor shabby chic festive lighting
{brabourne farm}
home decor photos montage collage framed
{plush palate}
miniature garden mini petite indoor kitchen potted plants
{apartment therapy}
paris winter snow eiffel tower photo
{this is glamorous}
chiffon dress dresses neutral beige peach closet french laduree
{this is glamorous}
do all things with love words to live by wise quote
{lou, boos and shoes}
home decor shabby chic color wall paint
{the diversion project}
entryway closet home decor rennovation removed closet doors
{apartment therapy}
bedroom decor bold colors black white shabby chic chandelier
{the diversion project}
home decor shabby chic storage boxes
{brabourne farm}
baking cookies holiday party recipe shortbread
{danielle marie}
vintage luggage suitcases leather nightstand
{design*sponge: Honor & Folly}

I hope you have a beautiful and relaxing weekend, and if not relaxing, well at least productive!!!

bonjour, bon ami!!

LBH

 

Golden Reminiscence

the golden girls sophia dorothy blanche rose rue mcclanahan betty white estelle getty bea arthur
{photo: The Guardian UK}

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Golden Girls series.  In fact, my bf likes to tease me that I’ve seen every episode multiple times, exponentially… I grew up watching the series with my parents, and I recall loving the jokes I could understand as a teen, and laughing along with my parents at the jokes that may have gone over my head.

Needless to say, I was soooo excited to see this video of Betty White talking about some of Rue McClanahan’s estate items. It brought tears to my eyes, thinking about these amazing women who ruled the airwaves for so many years, and whose legacies drove actresses and women like me today.  Hearing about Rue’s character Blanche Devareux, and Betty’s character Rose Nyland definitely made this iconic series even more incredible and so special to me.

Here’s a look back at 3 of the 4 awesome GG’s a few years back.

Needless to say, we will forever miss Sophia (my personal favorite), her pussycat Dorothy, and the one and only Blanche.

golden girls sophia petrillo estelle getty rose blanche dorothy rue mcclanahan betty white bea arthur
Sophia Petrillo for PRESIDENT!
golden girls sophia petrillo estelle getty rose blanche dorothy rue mcclanahan betty white bea arthur
the sharp-tongued Dorothy
golden girls sophia petrillo estelle getty rose blanche dorothy rue mcclanahan betty white bea arthur
the ever-sexy Blanche Devareux (that’s French for Blanche Devareux)

Rose, you still have lots of ‘kerflufennoggen’ so we are so fortunate to still have you!!!

golden girls sophia petrillo estelle getty rose blanche dorothy rue mcclanahan betty white bea arthur
Rose Nyland, the legend from St. Olaf

TV doesn’t get any better than a show like the Golden Girls.  These four women truly understand la bonne vie!!  And I am so glad for DVDs and the internets to keep these legacies alive for many years to come.

I can only hope that when I am in my golden years, I carry myself with the same class, joie de vivre and sense of humor as the Golden Girls.

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

LBH

Owl La Mode!

Have you noticed lately??!!

owls popular facebook christmas ornamentHibous are very ‘owl’ la mode!  I personally have always loved owls.  Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by the birds who I would hear on occasion late at night, who seemed to fear nothing, especially the dark, and who I never saw sleeping.  So mysterious, fascinating and so belle!!

Currently, owls are enjoying a bit of celebrity.  They are now Christmas ornaments (like the cute ornament shared on Facebook above), they are made into candles, tea cups and tea pots, and they accessorize hair products, storage cases, jewelry, and anything and everything possible.

owl tea pot tea cup Swarovski crystal clutch magnifying glass candle sewing box christmas ornament candle pin ringclockwise from top left: Japanese tea set from Japantown/San Francisco ~ Swarovski crystal clutch from Butler & Wilson UK ~ LBH‘s personal sewing storage from Joann Fabrics ~ owl rings on Pinterest ~ ceramic candle from Cost Plus World Market ~ owl pins on hats ~ owl ornament ~ magnifying glass from Etsy

If you, like moi, love hibous, here are a few great links for all things owls (and one that is just kinda hilarious and true…)

♣  DIY owl Christmas ornament from Camille Styles

DIY owl christmas ornament by camille styles♣  design*sponge lists a number of delightful owl ornaments for your belle hibou holiday!

♣ apparently Hippogriffhugger is not happy about the recent owl heyday…

♣ regardless, I want my own pet hibou who is just as adorable and delightful as this little guy!

lovely owl video youtube

Have a great Tuesday, bon ami!

♥ LBH

Sweet Inspirations & Laughter ~ Weekend Wrap

Bonjour, bon ami!!

linens sugar cookies baking sugar coffee table decor glass jug vintage lenses monocles industrial lighting candles birdcage luggageI hope you enjoyed a fantastic weekend!  Mine was filled with busy errands, antique and reimagined inspirations at the Remodelista Holiday Market, lots of baking and cooking, discovering a delightful new lighting solution for my light-deprived living room, and christening a friend’s new beautiful loft apartment.  You know, a quiet weekend.

antique market Remodelista Holiday Market boston terrier statue vintage louis vuitton linens industrial lighting There are a few pictures above from the Remodelista event, where I met the lovely Christine and Stacey!  The handcrafted goods and local craftspeople provided ideas galore, and I now have a new task for creating my own lighting!  (I couldn’t take my eyes off the various gorgeous intricate ‘Edison’ bulb light fixtures hanging high above.)  And the delightful live doves and finches in the many birdcages brought a certain serenity to the lovely event.  I could have spent all day with Remodelista!

light fixture loft apartment tutu dress tulle spiral staircase flame candlesMy lovely friend Andrea moved into a gorgeous loft apartment in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, and I was fortunate enough to capture a few beautiful pictures of the details in her loft.  I can’t wait to take more during the daylight, especially the details found in her outside patio area and back garden!

Well, before I finish up this last batch of cookies (yup, late-night bakefest 2011 is in full effect!), I wanted to share a few inspirational posts from this week:

beautiful: dustjacket takes a look back at 1969 in these amazing nostalgic photos.

delicious: tickets are now available for the 2012 Food & Wine Aspen Classic – get yours now!

delightful: in case you didn’t hear about it (although that may have been impossible!), the new Rue Magazine Holiday Edition is out!  And it is GORGEOUS.

delightful: daniella marie’s little miley enjoys playing with an empty cardboard box – all while maintaining her gorgeous looks in tact!

delightful: centsational girl gives some great tips for better home photography.

and just in case you missed LBH last week:

** Only 19 days left in 2011! **

Here’s to a beautiful Monday and a delightful week!!!

LBH

End-of-Year Events Not to Be Missed!

Bonjour!

The end of 2011 is fast approaching, and I’m sure you, like most, are nearing the “frantic mode” in preparation for the holidays.  But don’t fret, my pet!  There are a few fantastic events happening in LA, NY, Portland and SF in the next few days with some great buys, ideas and inspiration to get you through the last few days of 2011.  Check them out!!

antiques, los angeles antiques, big daddys antiques, vintageThis Saturday December 10th, a LBH favorite, Remodelista, is partnering with Big Daddy’s Antiques to bring a number of great buys from local designers for the Remodelista Holiday Market.  The event is free, the parking is plentiful (and free), and the inspiration is endless!!  You can find more details here!

portland bazaar, bazaar

For those in the Portland area this weekend, the Portland Bazaar is going to be a BLAST!!  This Saturday and Sunday only, you can peruse, buy and even join a workshop to learn how to make some of the amazing crafts and handmade designs made by local artisans in Portland.  I can only imagine all of the awesome clothing, accessories, vintage items, delicious food and drinks and more!!  One of my favorite bloggers (Design*Sponge!!) helped produce the Bazaar, and will be there handing out free coffee and tasty Pine Street Biscuits.  Please say hi from LBH!!

apartment therapy, holiday party, kiosk, evening partyApartment Therapy is hosting another Apartment Therapy Design Evenings event with the founders of Kiosk, featuring a design presentation to kick off the evening, pieces from various world travels and an evening of design delight!  Be sure to RSVP on Meetup.com, AND if you are a designer or student and would like to feature one of your works, make sure you email Herma (herma@apartmenttherapy.com) for details.

Oh, and did I mention there will be a LiveStream of the event for us who can’t make it in person?  (Don’t you just love the internet??)

There’s a new West Elm store in LA!!  A few other favorite bloggers, D E S I G N L O V E F E S T, Cupcakes and Cashmere, and Mrs. Lilien will be there hosting this lovely little party next Thursday!!  Check out West Elm’s chic-but-bank-friendly pieces, enjoy some tunes and cocktails, and meet a few lovely people!!

Be sure to RSVP at westelmRSPV@gmail.com by December 11th!!

renegade craft fair, san francisco, handmade crafts, holiday fairNot to be left out is San Francisco and the Bay Area, which is hosting a number of events in December.  One of the biggest is the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale happening next weekend December 17th and 18th, a giant showcase of all things indie-craft.  Find tons of handmade and independent designs and goods (perfect to help ease the “frantic” in your holiday planning!), enjoy a number of activities and of course great food and drinks.

Well, I obviously have a lot of prepping to do with all of these great events happening!!  What other not-to-be-missed events are happening near you??  Do share!!

Have a belle weekend, bon ami!!

LBH

Beautiful Delicious Delightful Weekend!

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beckyoinla
beckyoinla
beckyoinla




I hope you all had a beautiful, delicious and delightful weekend!!  They always seem to go by toooo fast… mine was absolutely wonderful.  I spent four days in San Francisco, one of my most favorite cities on this planet.  I got to meet a great friend’s new firstborn (10 days old!!), I walked through the unusually windy but gorgeously sunny streets of San Francisco, and all the while I got to learn how to use my new (to me) DSLR!  My {mostly} patient other half is the camera expert, so I tried to listen and learn as he gave me tips and suggestions on how to make the most of the new Canon.

Here is a quick roundup of some of my favorite stories, images and postings from this past week, which passed by far too quickly.

beautiful: gorgeous film images and a brief chat with an amazing pro

delicious: easy homemade whip cream  (It’s ALWAYS better!!!)

delightful: a day dedicated to tweed – just lovely!!

beautiful & delightful: the little details in this home gave me lots of ideas for my own!

And just in case you missed LBH last week:

I have so many lovely pictures and stories to share with you this week, but I wanted to wish you all a warm restful Sunday night and a beautiful start to the week!

Bonne Nuit!!

LBH

Hilarious Heroines of Comedy

bridesmaidsmovie.com
KCRW.com

There’s been a shift happening in the world of comedy over the last 15 years.  It’s actually been happening for many more decades, but until recently this shift has become undeniable and obvious.  Following in the footsteps of their female ancestral comediennes like Betty White, Bea Arthur, Carol Burnett, and countless others, a small group of women began breaking through the male-dominated world of comedy.  Americans got to witness this firsthand on Saturday Night Live, and names like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and now Kristen Wiig have become just as familiar as ‘Bill,’ ‘Eddie’ or ‘Will’ (Murray, Murphy and Ferrell, resp.).

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo were featured today on “The Business,” a radio talk show about the biz on LA’s local KCRW.  It’s a great show and definitely worth sharing and listening.  What I appreciated the most is Kristen and Annie’s perspectives about women in comedy, and how their film “Bridesmaids” wasn’t written to deliberately attract a more male audience through its raunchy comedy.  Rather, they both wrote it because they based it on the funny women they both personally know and work with, and laugh at.

Click here to listen to the webcast.

Hearing Kristen and Annie on today’s show reminded me of a girls-trip I took years ago, that was anything but girly… And it reminded me that classy, beautiful and strong women can be just as funny, if not funnier, than their male counterparts.  Bravo to these beautiful, delightful, unapologetic, talented and inspiring modern women!!

– LBH