Make: A Scarf into a Kimono in under 5 mins

February 23, 2015

untitled-105I don’t know if it’s the sunny days that have been peeking through or if I’m just tired of wearing bulky, gray and black layers, but I could not be more ready for spring. I’ve started planning my Spring Wardrobe on Pinterest , and I keep stumbling across lots of beautiful, flowy, springy looking kimono-style pieces. I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect one and, while there are so many choose from, I just can’t make my mind up. I remembered this scarf I got on sale from Zara a while back that is truly the softest thing I have ever touched. It’s also a HUUUUUGE rectangle of fabric, and while I loves me a big ole scarf, this particular piece of fabric is just too pretty to be wrapped and twisted into unrecognition – this pattern is seriously so beautiful. It deserved to be seen!

untitled-124All you need to make a quick kimono is a scarf or a large square or rectangular piece of fabric of your choosing, and some needle and thread. Simply fold the top section over onto the scarf (the size of the fold depends on how long you want the kimono to be/how drapy you want the arms to be). I wanted my kimono to be longer, so I folded over about an 12 inch section. I simple sewed the two sections together, about a 5 inch stitch, leaving plenty of room open at the end to keep it nice and flowy. How many times can I use the adjective “flowy” in one blog post, you ask? A lot, apparently. Leave the big section in the middle unstitched – that will drape around your shoulders. Repeat the same 5 inch stitch on the other side to create the other “sleeve”, and then…

Kimono… you’ve got yourself a kimono of sorts! I can totally see this being a perfect around the house piece of clothing or a beachy coverup.

untitled-109 untitled-116Another plus to this simple DIY is that, if you are careful with your stitching, you can easily pull the thread out and wear your scarf for its original use!

***Also, please forgive the terrible photos of me “modeling” this thing. I haven’t exactly mastered the art of self portraits.

Come on spring!

(Here are a few tutorials I found on making your own kimono, if you are feeling adventurous!)
Kimono Tutorial – by Irene
Kimono Tutorial – by cottonandcurls
Kimono Tutorial – by Francois et Moi

 

5 Tips on Visiting/Moving to Paris

February 19, 2015

untitled-47While I love to babble on all day about home design and obsess over other design/DIY blogs, I also love the pragmatic posts here and again, when applicable. When I found out we were moving overseas, I relied on the kindness of other bloggers’ willingness to share their experiences on travel and moving to a new country. So this post is, in a way, my version of paying it forward.

I know many of my friends, family and readers are planning to travel abroad, and some of you newbies might be think of doing so, too. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your time in Paris more:

untitled-51.) What’s the plan, man?
If you are like me, you love to plan. I still make little lists for the day (don’t confuse “planning” with “organization” – these are two very different things). No matter the day, I always have the greatest intentions to scratch things off of my list. In Paris, however, you might be dissappointed from time to time. One thing I love about Paris culture is how laid back everyone is about almost everything. The downside to that is that things take tiiiiimmmmmmeeee here. Seriously. Like real time. And if something is under construction (like the Pantheon in Paris, pictured above), expect that it will be for a bit. This can interfere with site-seeing plans if you are visiting, so be sure to research ahead of time and buy tickets to as much as you can in advance! You might pay a little extra but, hey, you’re in Paris! Also, Parisians exercise their right to strike very often – the trains, the busses, the hospitals. It’s kind of a common thing here, and while I kind of love the moxy behind it, it can be a little daunting.

Luxembourg Gardens-1222.) Taking the metro:
While a bit confusing at first, the metro is an incredible efficient and intuitive way to get around Paris. I’ve ridden the subway in New York several times and, by comparison, the metro in Paris is much easier to figure out. However, if you have a baby stroller (like yours truly) or are handicapped in any way, the metro is almost a no go. Paris is an old, old city, and is not completely retrofitted to meet modern day handicapped standards. Some metro stops have escalators and elevators, but most do not. And trying to make connections to the stops that are accessible can put you completely out of the way of where you are trying to go. The bus system is a much more accessible route for anyone with babies or handicapped needs. While a little bit slower, you can still get a much broader view of the city is transit. And people like to talk on the bus! It’s fun and feels a little more coloquial. The metro is all business – for the most part- like any other subway line. Headphones on, no chatting.

Luxembourg Gardens-116

3.) Get your shoes on!
I could probably talk for hours about shoe culture in Paris (what does that say about me?). This is one area where you need to be sure to be comfortable at all times. I think because Paris is such a huge hub for fashion that we, as foreigners, all asume that women and men walk around in incredibly chic, outrageously uncomfortable shoes all day. At least, that was my assumption before I moved here. That is definitely not the case – most people wear comfortable shoes, or at least, moderately comfortable, meaning lots of trendy tennis shoes and low heeled boots. Another shoe point (<PUN!) is that your nice shoes will get DESTROYED within the first few days here, and that is NOT an exaggeration. The streets are cobbled and bumby and going up and down stairs and running in and out of shops is hard on the feet. So don’t bring that super expensive pair of shoes you have been saving just for Paris unless you plan to wear them door to door via a car.

Luxembourg Gardens-1174.) Push it!
There are over 2 million people living in Paris proper, which is about 40 square miles big. That’s a lot of people in a condensed amount of space. Most people here use public transportation of some kind. Like any pedestrian city, be prepared to hustle through the streets on almost any given day. Parisians, much like New Yorkers, are in a hurry, and will not get our of your way. It feels a little dog-eat-dog at times, but it’s really just a result of a long history of relying on foot to get you around. Be prepared to get shoved and pushed a little, and don’t take it personally.

untitled-325.) Utilize apps!
A lot of buildings look the same here, and the city is based on a “snail system”, not a grid. So, take it from me, it is very, very easy to get lost here if you don’t know the city very well. Paris is compartmentalized into 20 districts, or, “arrondissements”, and anytime a local asks where you live or are staying or where a certain place is, they are referring to the district. Locals call each district by number – the 11th is a cool part of town, the 3rd is where The Marais is, which is a really awesome part of town…and so on. The districts are planned out like a snail, starting at the center of Paris at the 1st. There are lots of good apps to help you navigate the city –  CityMapper is a great one, as well as SNFC if you are feeling adventurous. Goole Maps is great, but I’ve learned the hard way that even trusty ole Google can get it wrong from time to time.

Lastly is not so much a tip as it is a myth debunction (is that a word?): Parisians are friendly! Don’t believe the rumors! People in Paris are definitely not in your face with politness, but they are very warm and friendly people. I can’t tell you how many times someone has helped me lift Colin’s stroller up a flight of stairs or pinched his cheeks.

We love Paris and hope that any of you visitors do, too! Bon voyage!

 

 

Checking in.

February 7, 2015

Salut! Just wanted to say hi. It’s been raining in Paris (and snowing a little), but the sun has been coming out a lt lately. Here are a few photos of some of the goings-on around here. We got our dining room table (more on that at a later date), so we are enjoying actual sit down meals now. We have been getting out more and Colin is crawling now, so life is busy!!
Enjoy :)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

Snow Day

January 30, 2015

It snowed this morning and I just happened to have my camera sitting next to me so I snapped a few photos.

Snow Day-18 Snow Day-10 Snow Day-16 Snow Day-20

It didn’t stick to the ground, and it was that big, flaky snow. But it was still fun.

Happy Friday everyone! What are your weekend plans?

The Organized Life: 5 tips to organizing a closet in a small space.

January 22, 2015

Organized Closet-2I didn’t grow up as an organized person. I have been known to quite literally sweep things under the rug a time or two. Being organized is not always an inate skill. But the good news is that it’s never too late to learn!

Over the holidays I talked to one of my friends about New Year’s goals. I told her that my biggest one was to have an organized, streamlined life. Sound familiar? It’s basically turned into a mantra, especially now that having a baby has added a whole new level of need to stay organized.

Organized Closet

I wanted to share a few things I have learned over the years about gaining control over at least one area: the bedroom closet. Now, I used to be kind of a pack rat when it came to clothes, bags, shoes, belts, scarves…you name it. I also used to spend a lot of my free time scouring thrift stores, so as you can imagine, I had stacks on stacks on stacks of shit. Yes, shit. Because that is what most of it was. Which leads me to tip number one:

1. Be brutal and purge, purge, purge!
Say bye-bye to excess! Take a look in your closet and ask yourself “What do I really need“, or better yet, “What do I actually wear all of the time?”. Yes, you have those special occasion pieces that you save for years and hardly wear, but day to day, do you really need everything in your closet? For example, I tend to kind of buy the same kinds of pieces over and over- for a long time it was stripes. I took a look in my closet one day and realized I had 3 quarter-length black and white striped shirts that were almost identical. Does one really need this many nautical striped tops? It will sting a little, getting rid of some of those things, but pare down to your favorite peices and I promise you, you won’t miss any of those things you toss.

Organized Closet-6

2. Uniform is key.
This might seem trivial, but trust me, it’s super important: buy uniformed clothes hangers. Toss out all of those hodge podge wire and plastic hangers and invest in some nice wooden or streamline plastic hangers. Visually, it makes a huge difference and, surprisingly, everything fits better in your closet when you aren’t trying to jam mismatched or cheap hangers into every tiny hole.

Organized Closet-93. Closet cubes.
Speaking of uniform, investing in a cube storage system for your closet is another important tip. I found these flexible cubes at Ikea for about $10 a pack of 6 differently shaped bins. These are great for small storage because they give you the opportunity to utilize your closet space more efficiently and to compartmentalize your wardrobe. For example, instead of having one huge, messy bin of scarves, I have two bins – one of heavier scarves and one of more lightweight fabric scarves.

Organized Closet-11 Organized Closet-12 Organized Closet-54. Display your favorite pieces.
This has always been one of my favorite little tricks. Obviously, we all have those tshirts that are pitted out and those shoes that should probably be thrown out. I like to neatly hide those away and showcase the pieces I am most proud of. I know this sounds silly, but I actually think this is a way to have daily self affirmations without even knowing it. If you start your day feeling good about what you see in your closet, I think it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Organized Closet-7 2015-01-22 Organized Closet-16

5. Store away seasonal clothes.
This is such a simple way to keep your small closet space to a minimum. I have all of my summer items neatly tucked in a soft box under my bed, and as soon the weather permits, I will be trading the winter stuff that is in here now with those more breezy summer clothes.

Organized Closet-10Aaaaaaah it feels good, guys! I’m not gonna lie – I worked on this closet for about 10 days and it is finally done.

What are your biggest organizational challenges?