Project Basement

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Earlier this week, a dear friend of mine sent me an email that started with, “Yo, I need your style guru-ness to help me with a new project.”

Before I continue, it’s important to note my friend is hilarious. She sips tea in the morning, goes foraging in the woods for ferns to transplant to her garden in the afternoon, and teaches the finer points of classic American literature to college students. Her emails always begin with pleasantries ranging from “Yo” to “my dearest dearest love” to “Hey G”.

In a nutshell – she’s the best.

So this project she’s working on: refinishing her farmhouse’s basement.

The house itself – located atop a perfect perch outside of Portsmouth, N.H. – overlooks rolling hills with barns and horses speckling the distant landscape. It’s perfect New England charm, and I’m excited to help her with her latest home endeavor.

The challenge with most basement projects is, of course, lighting. But luckily we’ve got a window to work with, crisp bright white walls, and light pinewood floors. A nice clean palette.

My initial thoughts are to capitalize on the light, bring color and pattern in while keeping the palette feeling natural, and honor the farmhouse history while bringing in some more modern elements.

I immediately thought of the gorgeous persian rugs I’ve been seeing lately that incorporate more modern/punchy colors, a neutral grey sofa with clean lines (personal bias confession: my eyes love a good grey+white+natural wood combination), and lighting from a recently discovered design team, onefortythree their work is simply stunning, I’ve been lusting after that rocker for months (see item 4).

Above, I’m sharing a very early stage, quickly assembled lookboard as part of this post. Personally, it’s a little nerve wracking because yes, I know spacing isn’t perfect, image resolution isn’t the best – it’s the definition of a work in progress. It is a sneak peek into the creative process she and I are currently working through, and it serves as a quick easy-to-respond-to  guide so that we can keep refining and designing the space around those key items.

What do you think of the concept so far?

Get Down to Business: Last Minute Download

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Have you waited until the last minute and now find yourself dreading the trip (and walk of shame) down the picked over CVS card aisle? We feel you, it’s not a happy place to be, it’s not where Cupid would want you to be right now.

Great news! We’ve given a basic business card template a twist, adding in a few sweet nothings for you to share with your Valentine.

Just download, print, and cut out your favorites. Or if you are near a Paper Source, this is the paper we used, already perforated.

Boom. Valentine success.

A Fine Pair(ing)

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A good pairing doesn’t go unappreciated in Our Town.

I love (oh, hi it’s Lisa) seeing two fonts fall in love with each other, finding the perfect cozy chair with the exact right amount of character to complete that reading nook, or when those new booties just happen to go with everything, it’s really the best to discover a new pairing, isn’t it?

So, when I came across this delicious cocktail recipe bringing together some of my favorite ingredients, and in honor of an endearing pair of best mates, I had to share it. The earl grey syrup sounds so incredible I think I’d put it on my pancakes! That step is not to be skipped, I recommend Bee Raw honey, and my Earl Grey  tea of choice from Harney & Sons. Not only are these delicious options, they do a nice job prettying up a pantry.

Thank you to Molly and Brandon for posting the recipe over at food52.com, and tip of the hat to the creator, Kenaniah Bystrom, bar manager of Essex in Seattle- you had me at Sherlock & Watson.

Hunt for Natural: Fresh Sugar Face Polish

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One of my (Bianca’s) goals for 2014 is to pay more attention to where my beauty products come from and to stop using so many chemicals. That’s not to say I will never, ever use a non-natural beauty product — I’m a bleached blonde, glitter-loving human, so yeah, that’s not really possible –  but I’d like to practice moderation. I figure if I naturalize my day-to-day, I can allow myself the occasional spritz of Aqua Net and gold dust.

So I’m going on a Hunt for Natural. This will be an occasional series where I spotlight the latest natural obsession that’s changing my life.

Read on below for my first love: Fresh Sugar Face Polish.


Fresh Face Polish ($55, buy here)

  • What it is: A face exofliant/mask hybrid
  • Where I heard about it: This interview on Into the Gloss with Senior Vice President of Coty, Catherine Walsh, in which she raved about the product — calling it her “best skincare secret” and saying it erased her pores. Her skin’s flawless so obviously I was sold.
  • What it says it does: From the Fresh website: Sugar Face Polish with nourishing brown sugar and real strawberry seeds is an innovative formula for all skin types that exfoliates and hydrates the skin, instantly revealing a softer, smoother, more radiant complexion.
  • What it actually does: It makes your face as soft as a baby’s bottom. I kid you not. I’ve only used it 3 times so I can’t say if it’s erased all my pores but it makes me feel like an all natural goddess and it hydrates like whoa. I used it on New Year’s Day and it gave me a much needed boost of color. Oh and it smells like a lemon square. #win
  • Is it really natural: This I’m still trying to figure out since I know that even if it’s labeled “all natural” it may not be “ALL natural”. So I’m doing some research. Stay tuned (and let me know if you’re a scientist and can help figure this out.)

Snow day comforts

A few snow day ideas:

+ Add some pretty to your walls! 
I’m loving this Lucky 2014 Calendar, it makes me smile every time I look at it. This is going to be a great year in Our Town.

+ Go shopping on your own bookshelf.
Re-reading this classic has me feeling nostalgic. It’s a perfect fireside read snuggled under a blanket and sipping tea from an equally beautiful mug – what a fantastic gift to receive from my Our Town partner in crime, I’d link to her bio, but we’re not very good at writing those.

+ She’s Whiskey in a Teacup.
A favorite phrase of late, it must be the mix of time I’ve spent in the country (Montana) and the city (back in Boston) over the holidays. It just feels like it fits with the back and forth. Currently playing around with some different print options. Stay tuned!

Note: these are not ALL of the things you’ll need for a snow day. I also recommend making a delicious soup and catching up on a favorite show. I’ll be checking back in with some old detective friends whilst sipping on my favorite winter warmer,  a whiskey ginger cocktail – it’s delicious.

Cheers + Stay Warm!