~ La Présente ~ For Mom

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

My parents left a box of old photos so that I could eventually digitize all of the pictures. And as I sat at my laptop this evening to write a post with gift ideas for Mom, I remembered that box. Before I knew it, I had spent over two hours looking at hundreds of pictures, trying to remember events and dates, laughing at the memories I could recall, and holding back a tear or two. Or three.

Photographs are against some religions because of the superstition that cameras or photos steal a soul (or something like that). While I respect the belief, I also feel that this means truly missing one of the best ways to keep family and friends close to your heart, no matter their distance. My mom lives 2500 miles away, and yet in the last two hours of seeing her face through the years, the vacations, the family reunions… I was immediately reminded that my mom is always close.

I couldn’t help share a few of my favorites. There really is nothing like a mother’s love…

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms never stop caring for us, no matter our age.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms show us what tenderness and love means.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms are our SUPERWOMEN!

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms’ happiness is our own happiness.

  • It’s not too late to make some amazing DIY gifts for your mom!
  • Your gift doesn’t have to be crafty – whip up something delicious and easy in the kitchen!
  • Give your mom the gift of time: hire a local maid service while you take her out of the house for a few hours.
  • If your mom loves movies and TV shows, set up Mom with a 6-month or 1-year Netflix service.
  • If your mom loves to cook, sign up and take a cooking class with her and learn to cook a few new exotic or ethnic dishes. Check Yelp for some local cooking classes in hers or your area.
  • THE FAIL-SAFE: Treat your mom to a brunch at home with some fun recipes like a Bacon, Egg and Toast Cup, or any of these other great simple recipes. (And clean up after, too!)mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love, mothers day brunch recipes, martha stewart, brunch recipe, bacon egg toast

What are you doing for your Mom this Mother’s Day?

♥ – LBH

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A Nod to Childhood + Practicality

Bonjour, bon ami!!!

It feels as though I have been running every day, and unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to update my little space here.  Fortunately, my mother is feeling much better, and so I’m very thankful for that.  And luckily, in between all the running around, I have been able to finish a couple home projects, one of which I am soooo excited about!!

face paint little girl creative bored cute kids children chalkboard wall kitchen DIY home improvement projects crafty

Remember being a kid and playing with your coloring books, markers and crayons, and then discovering that you had amazing blank canvases in your house where you could create your brilliant works of art?  You probably also remember the big trouble you or your siblings got into for turning those walls into your childhood art gallery.

You have probably seen recent home improvement blog posts like this one on Apartment Therapy about kid-loving chalkboard paint and chalkboard walls in homes that provide hours of entertainment and a true gallery for their masterpieces.  I decided to use the chalkboard paint to create a functional wall in my kitchen, where finding a lose clean piece of paper nearby while I’m cooking or cleaning is nearly impossible.  Now I have the best and most convenient post-it-note ever!!

Here are a few pictures of this very fun and very easy project:

creative kids children chalkboard wall kitchen DIY home improvement projects crafty postit note practical wall paint{before-during-after}

Now I never have to worry about jotting down a quick note to myself that I’m out of milk, peanut butter, olive oil, paper towels or anything else that I notice I need throughout the day of cooking, cleaning or other.  And not like when I was a kid, this girl will never get in trouble for drawing on this wall!

You can find chalkboard paint at your local home improvement store like (my personal favorite) Lowes.  Depending on the size of the wall you want to paint, it can take you a few minutes to prep the wall with sandpaper and tape the trim, and twenty minutes to paint a first coat (it will go on very streaky and thin, but that’s okay – a second or third coat will cover it beautifully).  After an hour or so, you can paint a second coat, and after another hour a third if you need it.  Then two or three days later, you can christen your chalkboard wall by writing on it with chalk and wiping it off, thereby dusting it and making it ready for your everyday scribbling, drawing and reminder note writing!

creative kids children chalkboard wall kitchen DIY home improvement projects crafty postit note practical wall paintDo you have a chalkboard wall?  Where would you paint a chalkboard wall?  And who would use it more in your home, you or your kids??

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend, bon ami!!


Sunshine Through the Rain

sunshine through rain raindrops sun clouds breaking hope light
{caitlin doyle}


First, I want to thank all of you for your kind words, thoughts, prayers and support for my mom and family.  I am so happy to say that she has been released from hospital, and I will be seeing her in just two days (she doesn’t live in the country, but fortunately she is clear to travel, and I can’t get her back home to the US fast enough!!).  It’s a great relief to know she is feeling better and we now know what we need to fix.  I am so grateful to the wonderful hospital, doctors and staff who took care of mom.

After speaking to her over the weekend and between the tears for fears (no pun intended!), my mom did encourage me to stay busy and not worry since she was feeling better and would be home soon.  Just like a mom, she made me promise I would get back on track with my 2012 Project Harmony, and so I did!  This weekend I was able to tackle the hallway closet and bathroom a bit more, as well as do some rearranging and purging from the bedroom.

hallway closet DIY declutter organized resolutions design decor chevron clean cleaned storageI am so happy with the results!!  The hallway closet is no longer a pit of darkness, and it can now accommodate far more, including part of a certain better half’s future wardrobe 🙂 !!  I even experimented a bit and added a little chevron pizzazz – I’ll be finishing the linen closet with the same stylish touch.  The hallway closet was the test.  It’s a lot of work, and it’s one more reason that my better half thinks I’m nuts loves me for being nuts, but I love it!!

indoors indoor clothing line bathroom delicate air dry apartment life living small space maximize
{the indoor clothing line}

Being an apartment renter without a private patio or backyard means maximizing the small space I have.  So instead of taking up more floor space on laundry day to air dry my delicates on a fold-out stand, I picked up a wall mounted clothesline at BB&B for the unused space above my bathtub.  When it isn’t in use, you would never know it was there.  The silver plate that hides the retractable line is pretty inconspicuous, and the anchor latch even more so.  So convenient and easy!!

Well after last week’s craziness, and as I face another chaotic week ahead, it feels so good to know that I can find more peace and harmony in my home. I can’t wait to share that peace and harmony with my mom, sister and brother-in-law this week.  Until we speak again, bon ami, continue living la belle viethe only life to worth living!!


She’s Crafty: Project Harmony Continues


running chick on sand beach cute animal animals baby photography

{ running around like crazy!! }

I’ve been a bit busy with my 2012 Project Harmony work, and before I knew it some days had passed without updating the blog!!  Apologies for that… but I’ve made great progress recently!

After revamping my desk area, I started tackling my closets, which is no small feat.  But until I find a few last things to finish the closets, I’ve tabled them for now…  Instead, I’ve moved on to a project that I started a while back.  A couple months ago, I found a great article about saving a drab desk chair from becoming a curbside tragedy.  I knew I had to do something with my own horrible black boring desk chair, and so the day after Thanksgiving I found a great fabric, and this past weekend my better half and I performed minor surgery – and voila!  We are sooo happy with the results!!

desk office chair reupholster reupholstery reupholstered DIY craft sewing home improvement decor
{ aint she cute?! }

The desk chair will also now be invited to come out when visitors are over!!

It was definitely a project that required two people, just to make sure the reupholstery fabric was taut.  It was also very helpful to have a handyman to take the chair apart and put it back together afterwards.  Removing the original fabric was very tedious – there were lots of staples holding it on, so removing them all was impossible.  But be sure to use a canvas or upholstery fabric so that it is strong enough to handle the staples and tight pull.

desk chair office reupholstery reupholstered fabric DIY craft home improvement sewing
{ chair back }
desk chair office reupholstery reupholstered fabric DIY craft home improvement sewing
{ absolutely necessary: staple gun and hot glue gun }
desk chair office reupholstery reupholstered fabric DIY craft home improvement sewing
{ seat }

 After we finished the project, we realized we were bitten by the reupholstery bug – we can’t wait to find our next chair needing a facelift!!

Well I still have a couple weeks left in the 2012 PH, and I will have a couple more updates in the next couple of days to share with you.

How are your 2012 home improvement projects progressing?  I would love to hear about your projects – help me keep up my motivation for these last two weeks!!  😉

Until the next progress report – continue living la belle vie, my lovelies!


Duly Noted…


In the blink of an eye, another week has passed faster than most of us can keep up.  But it has been a great week for me, and I’m ready for a great weekend to boot.

A little (okay, a LOT) of self-realization and lists this week:

country picni river bank shabby chic elegant dinner party


1.  as much as I love a big fast paced city, I always yearn for some country

houseplant house plants plant decor style

{plush palate}

2.  just like Plush Palate, I also think the best way to bring life and vim to any space is through plants and flowers!

frame mementos picture decor home idea

{everything fab}

3.  I could always decorate my walls with some wonderful mementos as opposed to pictures – new weekend project for me!!

chocolate lavender pie recipe dessert

{sunday suppers}

4.  I MUST make this chocolate lavender pie STAT…

bedroom makeover paint dark walls decor remodel color


5.  my bedroom needs a major facelift, like this one – another weekend project on the list!!

corner chair reading sitting decor design shabby chic


6.  speaking of bedroom, I MUST find a new sitting/reading chair for the corner.

beadboard wallpaper installation bathroom DIY decor design

{Centsational Girl}

7.  where can I find some beadboard wallpaper?

yoga pose stretch exercise calm relax flexible


8.  I need to get back into a regular yoga routine.

eiffel tower paris travel europe vintage


9.  thanks in part to my better half and my dear friend at The Scarborough Faire, I really do love the French.

romance intimate couple hands love loving embrace arms soulmate


10.  I can be a pain in the ass – for putting up with me, my better half deserves lots of my thanks and love.  I would be lost without him and his love.

This weekend will be a busy one: a surprise dinner for my better half because he deserves it ~ I’m continuing my 2012 Project Harmony ~ enjoying a “Thanksgiving in January” dinner party ~ hosting a small dinner party where I’ll be cooking my very first rib roast… Every day that I open the freezer and see it sitting their patiently, I start salivating like my dog!!!!

What great plans do you have for the weekend??  Be sure to do something positive for your community on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After all, we have much for which to thank him, and still much work to be done.

Have a wonderful weekend, bon ami!!


A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock & Roll

Bonjour, lovelies!!

This evening as a few office friends and I left our 9-5 gigs, I mentioned running to pick up a few things after work, like mason jars to begin making preserves.  It is Meyer Lemon season, after all!!

And just as the words came out of my mouth, the thought crossed my mind that if it weren’t for the concrete jungle in which I live, one might never know I was much of a city girl, let alone a bit of a country girl too.

country picni river bank shabby chic elegant dinner party

One work friend asked where I am originally from, and my answer, “San Diego,” was met with a bit of a chuckle, since San Diego certainly isn’t thought to be very ‘country.’ However, if you ask anyone who was born (in the 70s or earlier) and raised in San Diego, they would actually tell you a different story.  I grew up in a small town of less than 40,000 people in a northern suburb of America’s finest city, where there was a lot of open farmland, even a fully functional (and quite pungent) dairy, avocado and citrus groves – a little bit of country surrounding the small growing metropolis.

I know that it is because I grew up with things like fresh local eggs, produce and open land that deep down inside, during those evenings of never-ending brake lights, stop-and-go traffic, and blaring sirens as background music… I yearn for the country, even though I always thought of myself as more of a big city girl.

little bit country little bit rock & roll city life traffic jam countryside peace quiet
{dontcallmebetty; wsj.com}

So while my life is currently rooted in one of the world’s most exciting cities, I try to bring that little bit of country into my concrete & steel world.  I can’t wait to start canning the Meyer Lemons for baking and cooking!  And in getting in touch with my country side, I have found a number of great links with instructions, recipes and tips:

~ Introduction to home canning and preserving

~ 85 Recipes for home canning fruits & veggies from A-Z

~ The Kitchn’s roundup of 5 great canning websites

If you aren’t into the whole sterilization/hot water canning/pickling procedure, here are some gorgeous and novel (and relatively easy!) ideas for mason jars outside of home canning:

mason jars herb garden idea unique decor DIY indoor
{Camille Styles’ adorable and practical mason jar herb garden}
wedding ideas mason jars unique shabby chic lighting candles parties decor homemade DIY
{shabby chic and elegant mason jars for weddings & parties}
mason jar jars lighting ideas unique DIY party wedding decor shabby chic
{beautiful & easy DIY mason jar lighting ideas}

What do you do to bring a little bit of country into your fast-paced city life?  Any suggestions for this country-turned-city girl?

Keep living your best belle vie, bon ami!!


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!


End-of-Year Events Not to Be Missed!


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!!


Faking the Faux Funk: Easy DIY

This cute little lamp is my new successful DIY project.  It looks like a simple, safe (but funky!) lamp.  But what you don’t realize is that this lamp was the product of some creativity and handiwork, not all thanks to me but thanks also to my better half.  AND… it’s actually not a working lamp, but rather it’s a vase with a lamp shade on top.  Here’s the story:

Back in October, I spent a number of hours in one of my favorite places in LA, H.D. Buttercup.  It’s an adult’s Disneyland.  Seriously.  If you are looking for some design inspiration, just take a walk through their showroom.  I dare you to take a quick walk – it won’t happen.

h.d. buttercup

On this serendipitous October visit, H.D. was having one of their clearance sales, and I found the above striped vase for $5 – FIVE DOLLARS.  I thought the stripes would breakup the colors in my living room very well, so I snagged one and brought it home.  After realizing the vase was too tall to fit in my book shelves, I put it back into its bubble wrap and into its bag, resolved to figure out how to integrate this little piece into the living room.

The same weekend as the vase win, I happened upon a downtown import/export furniture liquidation sale (it was my lucky decor weekend!!).  I found a few more pieces, including the silk lamp shade in the photo.  In the back of the warehouse, in a small unassuming box, easily ignored, marked “water damage – $12 each,” I saw the beautiful burnt orange silk material sticking out of the top.  After picking it up and inspecting it, I saw not one water damage stain/speck/discoloration, and I happily made it my own.  I just needed to find a lamp base…

Well after both the vase and the lamp quietly sat in their bags in the corner of the living room for a month and a half, while I was doing my pre-holiday weekend cleaning, I realized I had neglected them.  I took them out of their confines, and placed them both on the floor, and realized they actually made a good match together!

disney pixar

Enter the handiest and creative better half.  I showed him the ‘glamorgains’ (my nickname for glamorous bargains), and he agreed with my pairing.  He noticed that the neck of the vase was extremely narrow, but he started tinkering through the junk drawer and with the tool box.  After one trip to the local hardware store and some creativity, we added one dowel that fit perfectly into the vase mouth, and added a metal bracket.  The last piece was using the sticky goo that comes in the mail with credit cards stuck to the paper – that would keep the lamp shade in place on the metal bracket.

Where there wasn’t a faux lamp before, there is now!!!

What do you think?  We looked into making this a REAL lamp, but then we risk breaking the porcelain of the vase, and since both pieces were originally for decor, I’m okay with the faux lamp for decor too.

Any great DIY ideas you’d like to share?  I LOVE DIY projects, big or small.  Keeps the creative juices flowing!!

Happy DIY-ing!!