21 December 2011

BBB on Hiatus for South African Holiday

The time has finally come for my two-week holiday in South Africa and I can hardly contain my excitement. Thanks to the power of the internet and the amazing global community of bloggers, I've been able to make some really great, informed decisions on how to structure my itinerary while in Cape Town. I'd like to personally thank blogger, Kirstey, (and the friend who referred her to my blog) for reaching out with suggested sites to plan my trip. 

Kirstey's site, South of the Sahara, is a celebration of her home country.  She recently moved to Boston (ironically, my adopted home town!) and frequently posts on SA as well as her new life in the Hub of the Universe (seriously, look it up).

Her "Tour South Africa" series beautifully encompasses the finer things that SA has to offer...and from a local's perspective to boot! I found this extremely important while looking for info for my trip. Never again will I consult a travel site when I've got blogs! Here's some of my favorite posts.

We have a 12 hr layover in Jozie (yes, already embracing the local lingo) so this was extremely helpful: 

My bff's gf is from Durban and I'd LOVE to follow this guide but we won't have any time:

Kirstey also referred me to this amazing blog below that has THE most amazing photography of local SA sights, stores, and restaurants. 
Lana's "Stellenbosch Uncovered" series was the backbone of my planning for our vineyard trip through the region. Here, she calls on Locals to name their favorite spots to dine and shop. 

Should you find yourself planning a Stellenbosch wine tour in the future, check out Lana's extensive reviews of the wine estates in that region: http://lanaloustyle.blogspot.com/p/western-cape.html

Her breath-taking photography of the deli at the Tokara Wine Estate sealed the deal for me, and we've booked lunch there next week! 

Another site that Kirstey suggested was, iwantthat. This site locked down ALL of the shopping I want to check out in Cape Town.


Iwantthat is the blog of freelance journalist Vicki Sleet, who has her finger on the pulse of the next big thing to eat/drink/see/do/buy in the Cape Town area. When I convince my bf to take a trip into town to shop, we're coincidentally going by this shop:

I'll be back in a few weeks, meanwhile, please show your support of these three blogs and check them out! Tell these amazing ladies that I sent you...

AND please have a safe and happy Holiday/New Year! Being a welcome part of this blog community means so much to me and your comments/support are the icing on the cake!

16 December 2011

BBB Gets Inside: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for H&M

After completing Steig Larsson's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy early November, I caught wind that Trish Summerville was doing a line inspired by the US movie for H&M. I marked it on the calendar and then braced myself early for the shopping mayhem to come. 

Except it didn't.
A friend told me about a pop up shop for the collection held in the Meatpacking District (72 Gansevoort St) on Monday, and we attempted to check it out last night. Problem was, we arrived at 10:01pm. The shop closed at 10:00pm. No kissy faces to the security guards or pleas on our knees was making that door budge open.

I went to check it out today during normal hours (12pm-10pm from now, extended through the weekend) and was amazed with the space and merchandising. 
First, you are greeted with Lisbeth's motocycle outside before you enter the space. 
Hints of Lisbeth's background as a computer hacker greet you at the door, as mannequin faces are replaced with computer tablets (not ipads, noticeably). 
Lisbeth-inspired combat boots and her signature bag where she stashes her laptop, guns, and mace (2nd and 3rd books-I'm geeking out over here) greet you at the door. 
The space is ware-house like, littered with rope, chains, and wood palettes and reminded me of the warehouse scene in the 3rd book (The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest) where Lisbeth must fight for her life to escape her monstrous half-brother. 
The space is small, but brilliantly features each piece in a little vignette. Each piece of clothing was easy to find and so far, sizes are pretty abundant.
I snagged two of these belts ($12 each) to wear together. I wanted the pleather moto pants, but unfortunately neither colorway (black or burgundy) were in my size. If you are a size 6-10, please get down to the store and snag these up.
The view of the store from the cafe. Coffee plays a big role in Larsson's trilogy, and the space designers aptly put an interesting cafe adjacent to the shop where free coffee and internet were offered.
The attention to detail was amazing here. From someone who has read the trilogy, it was nice to see little touches like the movie poster on the cafe's bulletin board. 

So what did I get? I walked out with an amazing leather jacket in black. I had to be honest with myself and not get caught up in the excitement of owning almost all of the collection. Since Lisbeth's style is very much my own, I already had the staples like combat boots, leggings, cargos, and hooded sweatshirts. The jacket is the deal here, at $199 for full leather. 

Since you'll probably ask, here are some shots I took in the dressing room. The clothes fit well and had a subdued color palette of black, charcoal, taupe, olive, and burgundy. My goal was to find that WOW piece so I was ruthless with editing down my purchases. 

 Here's the hooded asymmetrical sweater with safety pin closure. Draped well, but the quality of the yarn was just OK. Not bad for $29, but I have a few sweaters similar to that so I passed.
I paired the sweater with the white cut-off tee (purchased for $12) and the olive cargo pants. The pants fit well, but I have a pair similar at home in black. The boots are my Frye Engineers. 

Here's the winner: 

The Trish Summerville for H&M Girl With the Dragon Tattoo launched December 15th in stores across the US. Please let me know what your favorite pics were!

All photos by Courtney of the Big, Beige, Box. Please use with permission. 

15 December 2011

BBB-Holiday Gift Guide-

Are you still looking for last-minute gifts??? I compiled a board on Pinterest here. I've found some AMAZING gifts (read: I would like any of these pleaseandthankyou) for mostly under $100.

Do you have any cool gifts to suggest? Please pin them to my board, it's open to the public!

Happy Shopping!

14 December 2011

BURIED-where's Higgins?

Been hustling to close out the end of the year and go on holiday. Be right back!

09 December 2011

Holiday gifts you can DIY on the cheap

Since I've been doodling and sketching since childhood, I always give art as gifts. I wanted to review a few projects I did a while back and debunk the claims that art is only done best by those with talent. 
Personalized portraits have always been a fun project for me. Some times I free hand the drawing, but if I'm feeling particularly lazy, I will straight-up trace the image right off my computer screen. That's right,  in the project below, I stuck an 8.5"x11" piece of computer paper right to my screen and traced a quick, rough outline of the people that I wanted to sketch. After I had my pencil drawing somewhat mapped out, I then went to town with a Sharpie and with first the outline, then started shading. 

If your sketching skills need some brushing up, why not just photocopy your art? I'm serious. I've done it  twice, and still have one of these projects hanging in my home. 

In my Newport Mansions Photocopy Project, I took advantage of  poorly aligned printer cartridges and got a really cool effect when making copies of photos in a book. 
I literally just put this image under the copier (I have a 3-in-1 printer, scanner, fax inkjet printer) and framed the results. 

 Lastly, I got even more creative with my printer/copier and literally copied my pillows. This was the time when Imperial Trellis was at its height and I couldn't get enough of this pattern.....SO I copied and framed it.

This project has actually followed me to three apartments. First, the original:
Squint and you can see them over the backsplash of Apt #11
Then, they found a home and a new skull friend in Apt #12. 
Now, they'd even found a place in Apt#13. 

Have you any quickie, DIY art projects? Please share!

07 December 2011

Guerrilla sightseeing NYC

What a weekend! On Friday I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney from Courtney Out Loud during his trip to NYC. We spent most of our time eating delicious food and wine at Eataly and talking shop. It was such a great feeling to meet up with someone who has a burning passion for design and is so open and willing to share his knowledge and experiences! The blog community has been so kind to me and it motivates me to push myself farther into design. THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, my bff came in from LA and we spent the next four days running amok in the city. I was able to get her some culture in between drinks and amazing meals. Here are some of the snaps I managed to take. 
We stopped at MoMa (which should really be my second home) and spent a lot of time on the painting floors. It never ceases to amaze and awe me that I can walk down the street and be around the works of Master artists like Van Gogh and Monet. My mummalah raised me on a strong dose of water lillies so every time I see this gargantuan painting, I get lost for a while. 
My friend pondering Monet's technique. 
I stumbled upon Van Gogh's  Starry Night. I don't recall seeing that a few months ago so it may be a new addition to MoMa. I could be wrong, but if you're in the city please check this out. It's even more spectacular in person. 

Lately, I've been very interested in watching people take in the art at museums. I've seen some really cool moments: a man swooping his wife around to steal a kiss in front of the Monet was one I wasn't able to get with my camera. It was so spontaneous and passionate...so cool to see. 

We visited the 911 Memorial yesterday. The grey, misty weather was a somber backdrop and echoed the subdued palette of cool stone and bronze in the grounds and architecture. Because each individual's experience here is so different, I will only say that the memorial design is PERFECT. It secures the footprint of the Twin Towers in the landscape and outlines the vacancies they left. I can't even put into words how powerful it is to be there in person. 
Lastly, today we shopped in Soho. Here's a shot I took while lying on the couch at the Frye store. There are over 2800 straps of leather, all about 4 ft long, with circular metal rings attached at the bottom. The rings are the hardware from their "Harness" boot. Coolest chandelier EVER!

02 December 2011

This Old House at the Newport Mansions!

My stepmother works for the Newport Preservation Society and forwarded me the update on the This Old House segment filmed earlier this month.  Please follow them on Facebook for updates, or visit their web page here.  The Elms is an amazing mansion filled with tons of history and is famous for its gardens. I'm very interested in what TOH is going to feature on its show. I'll keep you posted with the air date and channel soon.

I'm off later today to connect with the West Coast Courtney, of Courtney Out Loud.  I am SO excited to be meeting him in person and we are going to explore NYC's finest design retailers. If you hear a large boom and the sun drops out of the sky, don't worry, it's just the universe imploding as two Courtneys unite (notice that I didn't spell K-ourtney??).
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