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4 books everyone should read this year

We have all made New Year's resolutions now or in the past and some were kept but some were not. One resolution I have is to read more...making the time to do so is always a challenge, but I feel like it is a way to open my eyes to new ideas in a fashion that nothing else can.  Here are four books that are worth reading (or reading again) this year.

Set aside some time alone, a comfy chair and your imagination and then get to it. Enjoy! xo

8 bright design secrets that'll style away winter blues

Snow, rain, sleet, avalanches, snow plows, overflowing rivers, early dusk and late dawn, political imbroglios, holiday withdrawal~ it is all enough to make anyone a little sad/nervous/nauseous. Your home is your castle. Here are some quick, easy ideas that will help brighten your outlook and your keep. 

8. Get a desk chair in a popping' color.

7. Put up a beautiful new light.

6. Refresh your bed with new sheets or new pillows or a new duvet cover or a new throw blanket or all of the above. 

5. Give some love to an old upholstered piece with a yummy new fabric and go for a sexy contrast welt.

4. Replace a boring lampshade with one that has some sass and color.

3. Find and hang a great piece of art. Leave no stone unturned--flea markets, secondhand stores, garage sales, estate auctions, or museum gift shops can get you fab finds.

Tinsel  by ArtHide

Tinsel by ArtHide

2. Throw down an embellished cowhide to liven up your floors.

1. And this is the easiest of them all--take the plunge and paint a stripe or an accent wall or an entire room in a brave, bold color. 

There now, doesn't that feel better? 

xo, Carolyn

p.s. most of the images above were pulled from Instagram and links are attached to the pictures.

fabulous fall

In California, Fall is finally in the air, making us want to cozy up to the fire and strew pumpkins and gourds all over the porch.  Here are some helpful ideas...


We are loving these prints from Philomela*. Adding some fresh items to your decor will not only be refreshing and rejuvenating to your space, they spice up all that upcoming indoor time. Whip up a few new accent pillows and you have got instant Autumn warmth. (If you can't sew, we have people who can!)

*Philomela Mirror in rust and Swashes in copper/aluminum, Sabine trims by Samuel and Sons, Workroom C Isabel in coral, Scalamandre Aurora velvet in persimmon

If you are hosting a dinner party this fall, or Thanksgiving itself, here are some simple centerpiece ideas that look great and are easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Okay, about holiday decor on the porch/at the front door. We need to keep this simple, too.  I love a beautifully decorated porch for the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they all seem to roll together too quickly these days.  So let's start with these little white pumpkins ~ with or without some complimentary gourds. (You can pick these up at the grocery store at the same time you pick up some milk.) 

Your guide to pumpkins is  here.

Your guide to pumpkins is here.

You can put your pumpkins in a pretty urn or a terra-cotta planter or a modern container.  Throw in some moss or leaves if you are feeling extra creative and voilà, instant Fall decor.  When the first of December rolls around, trade out pumpkins for poinsettias, red or white ~also available at your grocery store when you pick up more milk ~are you seeing a theme?.

A wreath on the door creates an instant impression of the happy homemaker/Martha Stewart type who obviously has their act together. Even if you don't, you can totally fake it.  And the rest of us will be jealous and have another handful of candy corn or glass of Champagne or eggnog and wonder why we aren't as organized as you are.  Smoke and mirrors, baby!  Consider Etsy your best friend in this case, and magnolia leaves your wreath of choice (because they dry well!). The one pictured comes with an autumn-appropriate bow and on December 1, when you change out your pumpkins, you are going to change out the bow to red or green or gold or silver or whatever--and if you forget, it will still look festive and nobody will be the wiser. 

We can't do your gift shopping or your holiday decorating or your cooking for you, but if you keep on this riff of "what can I use at the grocery store or order online?" the holidays can keep to what they are supposed to embody--spookiness, gratitude and goodwill towards our neighbors. So, remember to start where you are. Happy decorating and happy holidays!