Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Patio Set Reveal

OK, so it is not the BIG reveal as there are decisions I need y'alls help to make.  I got my patio furniture... and opted for comfort before style by getting those with the swivel thingies for feet. The option on the cushions was either this mustard color or a turquoise blue that was a little overbearing.  So I'm thinking I need pillows.  The ones in the pic are from my previous home... but I'm trying to get away from the reds.

The patio can be easily seen from both these rooms, so I wanted to extend the same color scheme:

breakfast room
living room - ignore the fugly sofa, it's not going anywhere

So, even though I generaly dislike the quality of their products, I don't mind spending $25 per pillow for outside fabric pillows at Pottery Barn. I found this little collection that I quite like.  Even though I don't live by the sea (we have a one hour drive to Galveston),  I do live by water (it is only a golf course lake off my backyard). And it is almost Summer...  What do you guys think of these pillows?

I think that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to add some trendy items to the space.  But I'm not a fan of IKAT, and I can't seem to find one of those geometric pillows with outside fabric.  Do you all have any ideas?

Restoration Hardware had this one, but I'm not sure the print will read well in my patio. I am totally open for ideas you guys... Also, do you all color flow your rooms even when one of them is outside?

Monday, March 29, 2010

MAC's Look In a Box Duty Free Only

In 2009 MAC came out with the idea of putting together a version of their "Look in a Box" set and sell it only at Duty Free shops throughout the world.  Apparently, this little marketing trick worked out nicely for them since this year they are at it again.  There are three new, limited time, and exclusive to Duty Free Shop looks put together for you in a tidy little box.  From the brushes to the liners... everything is right there.

Say you are in the mood to show up in France next month sporting a Goth look... fear not.  Pick yourself the Gothete box and you are there! If Goth doesn't do it for you, try the "Indie Girl" or the "Goldie Rocks" sets.  Pretty cute idea, if you ask me.  But I'm still baffled as to why they would limit their exposure to the very small number of international travellers.

You can still find a "Look in a Box" set at the MAC  counter of Bloomingdale's, but these particular sets are exclusive to the duty free shops and available through the Summer months only.  I guess one can always go to the MAC counter and have them emulate the contents of the sets for you... for a price cosiderably lower than a plane ticket's!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Garden Trek" Series - Episode 2

As part of my "Garden Trek" Series this week I will be showing you a great big naked wall...

My neighbor's house is built on a "zero lot" that comes right up to my property line.  As much as I love them, I am not in love with their wall.  This is the view I have from the opposite side of the yard.  The bricks make me a little queasy.  I think that staring at this wall for too long may cause seizures in a young child.  You?  This is what I call too close for comfort.  The arch covered in Japanese jasmine and rock (?) based citrus grove were left here by the previous homeowners.

So here is the same wall from the edge of my patio.  If you look closely, you can spot my dog Tuco right at the bottom of the picture.  This is his look out spot.  What a desolate sight to behold, huh boy?

Voila!  That picked him right up!  We moved the boxwood that was obstructing the lake view and used it as a layer against the offending wall.  Hopefully it will grow to at least 6 feet tall and make a lovely hedge.  To break things up, we added seven Italian Cypress Trees.  The yard guy will have to transplant them a little more away from the wall this week, but that's another story.  These beauties grow to 30 feet tall, albeit slowly.  So we decided to go ahead and get them quite high already at about 12 ft.  If you like them sprint to your closest Costco.  At the nursery you will be paying $40 dollars for a 3-4 foot tree.  Guess how much I paid for those 12 ft wonders at Costco?  $39.99.  Score! 

We had enough boxwood left over to plant around the perimeter of the patio.  What is that fence doing there, you ask?  It serves a multitude of purposes.  It keeps the dogs from playing and pooping in the yard, unsupervised.  It corrals my toddler in.  And most importantly:  It keeps the alligators out.  Over beyond on the other side of the larger property fence we have a 9 foot aligator who thinks that's his tanning bed.  You can never be too safe around 'them gaters'.

At the end of the growing season I will post an updated picture of this bare wall.  Give it a few months and this little area will start to look pretty decent, indeed.

On a tangential note:  I cannot believe how expensive patio furniture is !!!  Yikes... yesterday we spent most of the morning hunting for some at a local store.  After getting over the sticker shock, we finally agreed on a little set.  The final reveal on that will have to be saved for a later post.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yay I won!

How fun for me!  I won my first giveaway ever!!!!  Earlier this month the lovely Michelle B. from Every Little Thing had this giveaway and I couldn't pass it up.  For two great reasons:  Be the Change and Owls


Michelle writes this adorable blog that shows bits and pieces of her adventures as she explores the possibilities of living girly around the guys in her life. She has the most darling family.  Hubby Ryan and two precious boys (naked boy and polished pearl).  Both her blog and house are very calming and pleasing to look at... white background images with light blues throughout.  Blue seems like the right choice with a house full of men!!  Notice the pen color on the darling note she sent me with the gift. Not in the picture is the yellow silk paper she wrapped the book and owls with. My dear son got a hold of that pretty early on...

I am loving the notebooks - the perfect spot to jot down blogging ideas.  And this little Owl has made the day of my little guy.  It took me at least one hour to get the above pictures, because G-Man would not put it down.  I was affraid the posting picture would end up being that of TWO pieces of the owl...

All is well that ends well. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Great Debate: Yoga Pagoda vs Yoga Yurt

So I opened my big fat mouth over at Susan Fox's blog, Love Where You Live, this week.  She asked the question "What do you think of my meditation yoga room?" regarding the possibility of her building a yurt as a meditation/guest house.  If you don't know what a yurt is... read on.

via Wikipedia
According to the great Wikipedia oracle, a yurt "is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia." (For my college readers: remember Erin from Exiled,  MTV's spin off of My Super Sweet 16, who was sent to Mongolia to live with some gypsies?  One of those.)  The Western version is an adaptation of these structures using high tech materials, less easily movable, and designed for the different weather conditions of its enthusiasts.

via Susan's Blog
Susan is a contributing editor for Traditional Home and owns The Green Plum, a boutique furniture shop, in Salida, Colorado.  So when she posts this question, I am sure she has already done her homework and knows what she wants.  But that has never stopped me from voicing my opinion before, so I went ahead and put my foot in my mouth... as usual.   So my words exactly were "[something nice]...I'd much rather have a pagoda...[more nice stuff]"

So to redeem myself, I have spent the better part of my free time away from my 18 month old son hunting for awesome, mind blowing, knock your socks off examples of fantastically fabulous pagoda buildings that could be used even in the most harsh winter conditions. Indulge me...

credit Burmese pagodas/temples built in the 11th-13th centuries.

Here is my connection between Yoga and the Pagoda, from this point on to be known as the Yoda.  Again, according to the oracle of wiki, what we call a Pagoda is an evolution of the ancient Indian stupa, a structure where sacred relics were kept and venerated.  This concept spread out throughout Asia and its form assumed the characteristics of each new country.

In the western world, the pagoda became popular around the 18th century, when the trade of goods from the far off lands inspired architects and designers as well as the poets and artists of the Romantic era.  These buildings, however, were nothing more than beautiful western structures embellished with some more exotic features such as a curved roofline and hanging cornice.

credit The Pagoda at Alexandra Park, Oldham, England

Georgian Pagoda at Blackheath, London photographed by the very friendly The Blackheath Bugle

credit Patterson Park Pagoda, Baltimore MD

The conclusion: If one is really inclined to build a pagoda to be used as living quarters in a harsh environment, and one had the means to do it, it can be done.  Just have a fabulous architect draw out a western version befitting your house, and hire one of the fabulous designer bloggers to decorate it. For the rest of us, there are two options:  build your own, here, or buy this gorgeous one from Rowlinson for under 1,200 GBP (under $2,000 US dollars).

I would paint it a fun shade of aqua, or apple green and white, or coral and white.  Hang some pretty  floral fabric panels on the inside.  Stick some incense sticks in a funky chinoiserie container and call it done.


 credit Napping pagoda in Bali

Susan, darling, can I convince you to build your Yoda at your house here in Galveston and have me over for some Bloody Marys?



Monday, March 22, 2010

"Garden Trek" Series - Episode 1

Now that Spring is officially here, I'm starting a series on the gardening projects we have going at our new home (new to us, at least!).

Last year we moved from hilly and fertile,  Tulsa OK (zone 7) to the flat and gumbo soil of Houston TX (zone 9).  Even though the move took us just a State away, it seems that my gardening life was launched much further and landed on alien grounds.  Below is a collection of pictures from my previous home, where azaleas bloomed unabashedly under a lush canopy of Japanese maples and oaks, surrounded by ivy, yews and boxwood...

The home was 9 yrs old, and in need of some sprucing up.  We added those garage doors and shutters.

I painted the window frames the same color as the throat of the azaleas... It is Spring time and the grass has not yet recovered from the Winter.

As soon as we moved in, we set up a dog run on the side of the house for our weimaraners. The small gated fence keeps them from using the backyard unsupervised... no accidents here, please.

The backyard was absolutely bare aside from the large trees. As you come in from the side gate, the first archway leads us into the backyard beyond.  I thought of this area as a 'foyer'.
Through the gated archway, the path takes us to the 'living area', where my hubby built this huge fire pit. Still Spring, so things don't look as lush.  And the Summer pots are still empty.

Here is a view from the patio

From the 'living area' another path leads us to the potager (kitchen) garden.

I had pyracantha climbing up the sides of the archway - not a best choice given the thorns (lesson learned)

Looking down the center of the yard into a very wet area where the whole yard drains to.  See if you can spot that face on the fence... I'm working on a project for the current home using it.

It took us 5 full years to get this backyard filled with all you see in these pictures.  Originally, it was a plain Jane, grassy lot with lovely mature trees.

So now to our current home:

I am very aware that it takes time and patience to grow a garden.  And I am always up for a challenge, so when we found our bare bones current home, we looked at it as an opportunity to make it shine... Stay tuned, we've got lots of projects in the making. Join us in our journey.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Givenchy Summer 2010 Line Up

I am loving the soon to be released, limited edition, Summer 2010 make up collection for Givenchy.  The packaging alone is a feast to the aesthete's eye.  Chinoiserie love anyone? 

But Oh the untold benefits of a 3 in 1 combination blusher, tanner and highlighter...  Just the ticket for a worry free, laid back Summer look.  Check out Fleur de Frangipanier (the tropical Plumeria, for the botanists in the bunch).  It will come in two shades: Island Sun and Island Tan. 

The line will be released late April, early May. Just dreamy...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Treasure Hunt this Weekend

A fellow blogger, Herself, from Designing DNA, is hosting a Virtual Flea Market event this weekend in order to raise money for the ongoing effort to rebuild the homes of storm survivors from Katrina and the floods in Atlanta through Samaritan's Purse

There will be tons of vendors and artisans sharing their wares for our delight.  A chandelier auction and cupcake walk are also on the line up.

All you have to do to partake in the fun is grab a cup of coffee/tea and visit her site at this Saturday and Sunday (March 20 and 21) and see what treasures you may find.

I can't wait!  Go check it out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Croc Quartz Wall

Behold!  The world's first quartz surface with the look and feel of crocodile and lace.  How fantastically decadent is this?    To find out where, go here.

Bag Tag Bag

I have been tagged by dearest Dori, from Dori The Giant, which means, to my embarrassment and your entertainment, I have to post the contents of my purse.  Dear Lord!  Here it is, a still life of my daily routines depicted by a pile of junk:

  • Yellow, very soft leather, B. Makowsky bag bought at TJMaxx (the inside liner is a cheetah print Grrrrrr!)
  • A stash of doctor, dentist, emergency room cards
  • A movie ticket
  • Sheet of reward stickers - warning: they never work!
  • Pair of socks for Gymboree activities
  • Uncharged cell phone (this one was bought to replace a lost one! I have phone issues)
  • Mango lip balm from (a gift from a dear friend)
  • Ann Taylor's Ann (discontinued - apparently I was the only one buying them so I bought whatever they had left)
  • Sally Hanson's lip inflation (everybody needs a little help)
  • Size 5 diaper (at least this one is dry.  just yesterday I found a wet one in there)
  • Car and house keys
  • More emergency room cards (i might be a little compulsive)
  • Fiddlesticks and Teething cookie
  • A red prize
  • A pen
  • Overstuffed, 10 yr old,  red Cole Haan wallet
  • The pile of crap that accumulates thru my daily trips to the grocery store
  • And missing from this pic: my camera, sunglasses, and a pack of wipes
So now I'm supposed to pass on the pleasure to quite a few of you... Hold your breath.
I hope all of you choose to play...

On the Issue of Education

I grew up in Brazil.  My education path was dictated by the social expectations of my culture.  Children from middle class families were expected to attend private school in order to attain a good enough basis to pass the very important college entrance examination for the coveted public educational system.  Pretty much all of our lives were geared towards passing this test.  Our parents and families made sacrifices on a daily basis in order to afford this type of education.  We all took it very seriously.

My son is one and a half and I'm a stay at home mom in Texas.  March is all but gone. Two of my preferred mother's day out schools have already closed their entrance application windows. April is approaching and the private school offering a program for my young child will be willing to accept my money for Fall enrollment, if I act swiftly. 

A private education is very costly.  Specially since it won't stop at the end of high school, like mine did.  The hook and bait that the local accredited schools have is that they teach one grade level ahead.  Once I make the decision to go public, changing him to a premier private school should prove to be quite difficult.  Perhaps impossible? 

This may sound delusional, but I want the best education for the little guy.  I am seriously considering enrolling him in riding lessons as soon as they will let me so as to get him playing Polo.  You see, Polo players have a better chance of getting accepted in an Ivy League school than any other sports program.  I have been losing sleep over this.

Should a young child, whose age is still being counted in months, be sent to school in order to adapt quickly to our educational system as well as develop the social skills necessary in order to become successful members of our society?  Should I, as an eager parent, foster his independence even when I am not yet ready to let him go?

It is very safe to say that most of you are very educated, outstanding members of your communities.  Many of you have children.  Probably more than one.  You all had to make some sort of call on your kids' education.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Thank you for sharing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Favorite New Blog Award

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivales) are tiny little flowers that sprout before the Spring equinox in most places in the Northern Hemisphere.  They foretell of things to come:  Spring.  I think they make the perfect reference to this award.

I keep seeing all of these cute awards out there and decided that I should reward my fellow bloggies who, like me, are fairly new to this environment, and whose blogs I think are just lovely and have great potential.  There are many of you out there and it was extremely difficult to narrow things down.

Today, I am awarding 5 blogs as my newbie faves.  In order to qualify, these blogs must be less than 18 months old at the time of the award.  I picked that age because my son just turned one and a half.  All I ask of them is to pass the appreciation forward to their favorite new blogs.

Please, also give credit where credit belongs by linking the image back to the fabulous Minna at .

And now, without further ado and in no specific order, my favorite new blog award goes to:
Thank you to all awardees for providing so much joy and entertainment to your readers.  I am so glad I found you all.

Spring Fashion and Makeup Reload

Hi guys!  Just a couple of weeks ago, when I started my blog, I wrote two pieces that only a handful of you had a chance to look at, but I think they are helpful and timely.  Go take a look...

For a quick (read: busy mom) solution for your Spring Fashion woes go here:  Spring Wear

For an excellent review of different options on mascara, go here:  It's All in The Eyes


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chanel Nail Polish Giveaway

To celebrate Spring and looking ahead to Summer I am giving away the fantastic new, not yet released, Nouvelle Vague Aqua Blue from the Chanel Summer 2010 line up.  This shade will have a limited release and I have my name already on the waiting list at my local boutique.  It won't be available until sometime in April, therefore, the draw date won't be announced until I have the beautiful thing in my hands ready to be shipped.  So check back often.  And look around my blog... You never know what you may be missing.

In order to be eligible you must do 2 things:
  1. Become a follower - hit the "follow" button on the right by the pictures of all my lovely followers

  2. Leave a comment in this post only
Open to International Followers too!

The winner will be picked randomly, and I'll need to be able to get a hold of said winner, so when one is sellected I'll request their email address.  Also, in the unlikely event that I cannot get a hold of this particular shade, I reserve the right to replace it with another new shade.

Good Luck Everyone and Welcome to The Shiny Pebble.  Pull up a chair and stay for a while...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Projects Compilation

Forced Forsythia [credit]

With less than 10 days away from the official first day of Spring, I am more than ready to start on all of the fun projects I have lined up.  With a toddler to "help", I have limited myself to easy, but effective DIY's that can be done in very little time.  The more time consuming ones will have to be done during his naptime.  :)

My first project is one I do every year:  Forcing flowering branches to bloom. Unfortunately, our newer home has no flowering shrubs or trees from which to gather these early drops of sunshine.  So this year, I'll plant a flowering tree instead of forcing.  But if you want to try this easy project, here is what you'll need:

  • Branches of budding tree or shrub (forsythia, cherry tree, rosa banks rose)

  • Clippers

  • Hammer (to crush the place where you cut the branch for water uptake)

  • Large container filled with water
All you do is gather the branches, hammer the end where you made the cut, place them in water, bring it inside to a bright location in a warm room, and wait for it to open up and make you happy for several days.

A very easy project that can be done with small children (just watch that they don't get a hold of the candy unsupervised).  All you need are pastry bags, jelly beans and some ribbon.  These would look so lovely on your Easter/Spring table. It will easily coordinate with whatever color scheme you have planned.  You can get any flavor you want online here.  For Martha's instructions go here.

I'm not planning on doing these just because I have lots of other outstanding projects right now, but aren't these just so adorable?  I found them at To Be Charmed.  They have several examples of this japanese Washi Tape project, including using paper cups for containers.  Very cute.  For the "how to" go here.

I found this picture at Torie Jayne's blog.  I am not sure if this is the styling done by Pottery Barn or herself, but I LOVE the way it all looks and will probably do a tablescape that includes books tied up with string, bunnies, and daffodils tucked in very simple containers. Just lovely.  Keep reading to find a delicious recipe from Torie Jayne as well.

Now, would this be a lovely idea for a Spring Shower?  The bunny banner is a fun, kid friendly project too.  Go here for instructions.

Here they are, the mouthful and I am sure delectable Toffee Apple Cupcakes from Torie Jayne.  They are easier to make than they look and only require a handful of ingredients.  The sugar nests are ready in a jiff once you learn to work fast.  :)  You could cheat with the icing and buy it ready made... Hmmm cream cheese icing anyone?  I'll try them this weekend.

Here is a fun one... I have a corner of my garage where I could fit a potting station...  I might add a sink since the connections are already there.  Isn't this such a joy to look at?  Lots of fun can be had here. Yeah, that's as exciting as it gets around here. 

If I had a little girl, I'd be hopping all over this one...  If you celebrate Beltane, and want to learn how to make a crown of flowers, go here.

The un-contain-able Tracy Porter shows us how to make this beautiful basket, which she hangs IN the house.  While you are watching the video, make sure you notice her handpainted peacock curtain panel hanging between rooms. I want one for the entrance to my study.

If you are passing out gifts this Spring, do it in high style.  A Gift Wrapped Life, one of my very favorite blogs, has a write up inspired by what the very talented Sande Chase saw on the runway for Spring 2010.  Don't forget to stop by her shop and look at the fabulous goods she has collected and at the fantastic selection of wrapping paper and accessories all put together for our convenience.

Alright everyone, I hope you enjoyed these projects and decide to try a few of your own.  I would love to hear what crafty things you guys have planned for Spring.  Have a wonderful weekend!


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