Archive for March, 2011

Undecorating

March 31st, 2011

There’s a new book I’m excited to get my hands on called “Undecorate” by the founder of Dwell Studios: Christiane Lemieux.   

There was a fantastic story in The Wall Street Journal last weekend about this undecorating trend: the idea that a home shouldn’t be this forced reflection of perfection, but a place where things come together organically over time and everything just sorta makes sense.

But before we get to the book, it sorta reminded me how the world of prop styling has really forced us away from pin-straight, high-end luxury, gilded decorating and more into a relaxed, realistic, DREAMY way of living.     That is, the prop styling worlds have taken the “sloppy” approach to decorating so far that there’s even parody site making fun of some of these photo spreads:  Take Catalog Living for example.

I see here a fluffy bed with comfy sheets, a weathered bookshelf (not sure I’d stick above my head…but that’s beside the point), some b/w photos artfully snuck into the cracks of the bookshelf, old books casually stacked on top, and a cup of tea perhaps drunk after a morning of catching up on some reading.

And here’s what Catalog Living has captioned this over-styled photo:

The horse had heroically made it over the highest peaks of Book Mountain, but unfortunately faced a treacherous descent before he could reach his companion.

You have to laugh a little.    It’s worth visiting on a regular basis whenever you need a laugh:  catalogliving.net.

Anyway, I think UNDECORATE has recognized the fact that prop stylists have changed the way we view decorating and has captured this idea that certain types of clutter, disarray, random juxtapositions and casualness can actually be very very pretty.

I’m a big believer there are two types of rooms that will be obsolete in about 20 years: the formal dining room and living room.     These used to be rooms that we never went into as children and even today we never use.   In any of my houses, I don’t have either and think the way architects are going to be designing houses in the future, we’re going to eliminate them altogether.    It’s just not the way we live anymore.

So, would love to hear what you think about this un-decorating trend.     Do you think this is a beautiful way to live or do you think it’s just outright sloppy?

I’m off to Borders (lucky my store is still open and not on the chopping block) to go pick up my copy.   Maybe I’ll read half of it, leave it flipped open by my bedside table and take my two horses for a walk up Book Mountain….   :)

A Visit to Bloomingdale’s Home in Chicago

March 30th, 2011

One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Chicago is the Bloomingdale’s Home store.     It’s not because I don’t have a Bloomingdale’s outpost near me or anything like that at all, it’s because the building the store is housed in is an incredible place to see.    The historic Medinah Temple was abandoned and ripe to be demolished when Bloomingdale’s came in and agreed to save it, preserving the exterior of the building all while updating the interior to meet their needs as a retailer.   Here’s I could find online:

One of the most distinctive buildings on the Near North Side of Chicago, Medinah Temple is considered one of the nation’s finest examples of a Middle Eastern-style Shirine temple. The plethora of Islamic and Middle Eastern ornament on the temple’s exterior gives it a sense of exotic fantasy well-suited to the Shrine rituals for which the building was constructed.

This is the ceiling of the store.     The gorgeous dome structure is quite the architectural feat to see in person and you can clearly see the Islamic and Middle Eastern influences throughout the store.    The key thing is to keep hunting behind barricades, false walls and other in-store fixtures to see how they preserved all of the architectural details.

Carved, ornate columns are everywhere….

Upstairs in the furniture department, you can get right up to the preserved stained-glass windows.

Another small detail from inside the store.

So, the next time you’re in the Windy City, hop on over and take a look.   And BUY something from the store as your price of admission and thank you to the retailer for taking the steps to preserve such a magnificent and wonderful space.

Packing up some Wholearth Beauty Goodies

March 29th, 2011

I like to start with a simple, unfinished, raw wood box.      They are inexpensive, straightforward and you can find them at virtually any craft store like Michaels. 

Instead of a flimsy gift box, here’s something that’s strong and lasting and I think makes for a better presentation to the recipient than anything else.

The other day, the electric company decided to work on some of the wires on my street which meant I would be without power for about 90 minutes.    So, I used that time to put together some nice gift boxes of our Wholearth Beauty line to send to a VIP client.

Having a craft room with ample supplies is a huge perk, so it was reassuring to know I probably didn’t have to run out and buy anything to make something nice.    Just had to hunt hunt hunt in my office.

I lined the bottom of the box with cork contact paper.  Just measured the box, cut out the square, removed the waxy paper back, and stuck it on the bottom.

Filled the inside with all four Wholearth Beauty fine fragrances (including our new #9 scent which smells like brown sugar, lime and grapefruit… really delicious), put some of our hand creams and scrubs into unbleached treat bags (leftovers from a Brides magazine shoot) and threw in a wooden peace sign that was also leftover from a photo shoot.

I had some clear sticker paper leftover with our Wholearth logo printed on it, so I cut those out and put it on the lid of the box.    The pressed botanical flowers in resin squares were leftover samples when we made our Wholearth Beauty invitation for our launch event.    Those get pulled out of the storage box and are added to the top of the box using double stick tape.   Tie it all up with leftover green ribbon from an old “look book” shoot and voila!  the ultimate beauty gift.

And the power comes on…and off the gift goes.

Win! Some Method Goodies

March 28th, 2011

Let’s start this week off with a contest, right?

I’ve been in Spring Cleaning mode for, um, 3 weeks now and a lot of that is not just about purging and recycling, but about re-organizing and re-visiting lots of the stuff I have around the house.

A hallway walk-in closet has been transformed into a prop closet, all full of beautiful items used for photo shoots, books, TV segments and more…. the stuff that’s not easy to re-create in a few minutes and has some kind of lasting quality in my mind.

That closet was once “THE STORE” in the house, full of tons of Method product and other goodies that I would let friends and family “shop” inside of whenever they visited.    The store, folks, is closed.

So all of the Method goodies have been moved to a cabinet space about the washer/dryer and I thought: why not let someone here at Daily Danny have the fun of shopping at “THE STORE” before it closes for good?

So, here’s a shot of what I’ve got on hand…. and here’s how you can win:

Leave a comment picking a few items from the photo that you’d love to have.   I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner and I’ll send ya what you ask for.

It’s as simple as that.

Have fun and good luck!

Hard to Recycle Week: Sports Watches

March 25th, 2011

This is proof—-for everyone out there who doesn’t believe me—-that I do in fact go to my gym and try to exercise.     I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind of person who gets excited about the idea of exhausting myself on a treadmill or “feeling the burn” as my instructor in “Boot Camp” says so enthusiastically throughout the class.    I just want to burn off whatever empty calories I consumed the night before so I don’t end up as a contestant on The Biggest Loser anytime soon.

Anyway…. since I’m always on the lookout for unusual ways to recycle, I saw this: a collection box to hand in your used sports watches.

I went to the Polar Watches website and I still can’t figure for the life of me what these watches do: what I do know is that they don’t tell you what time it is.  They just motivate to keep working out harder, longer, etc.     They measure your heart rate, measure distance, create custom workout programs….  all stuff not on my bucket list of things I care about. 

BUT, since this is Hard to Recycle Week, if you’re a fitness fanatic with a collection of sports watches that measure your heart rate and you’re thinking “gosh, how do I recycle these?” well, I have got news for you: you can recycle them.

Just look for these Polar watch recycling boxes in gyms near you.

Yep, let’s end Friday on a recycling post that is irrelevant to 99.9% of us.    Myself included.

Have a great weekend all!