Design StaB

I know it's not just me. I can not be the only one that has noticed the exceedingly negative tone HGTV's Design Star has taken this season. Seriously, what is WRONG with the judges?

1. I miss Clive. He was what the show needed, and he is what the show is missing.

2. Vern has become a complete a-hole. This week's episode ended with a "Get outta here" from Vern. No kidding around on his part, a for real GTFO in utter disgust over the red team's failure to design a winning space for the firemen. What happened to the smiling, happy, do-gooder Vern from Trading Spaces and Deserving Design. He's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this season. The Vern on DS is not the same person that's on DD.

3. Candace Olsen. Totally disappointed in her. Again, split personality or something. She seems so rude when critiquing the contestants. Just unnecessarily harsh. Not the same super-peppy and fun-loving Candace from Divine Design.

4. Genevieve Gorder. Also rude. While she walks a fine line between being nice and condescending, she hasn't yet fallen to the side of nice for good. So many times I feel like she's going to be nice to a contestant, but it's like she hears herself being nice and she reels it back in and trades it out for being a biotch instead.

5. What's up with the deliberation time right in front of the bottom two contestants? That is SO high school. Whispering about someone right in front of them and pretending they can't tell what you're saying? Really? It's not like we can't tell they've already made up their minds when they push their heads together for a few seconds to confirm they still feel the same way. So gross.

6. The critiquing of rooms right in front of the teams. Tacky.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the designers don't need some tough love to inspire them to push harder. I agree with that, but I don't agree with the format of this year's Design Star. The judges no longer sit behind a table, they sit in low, comfortable chairs as if to say "come into this room, stand up, and let me judge you." They no longer seem to provide much constructive criticism. Just, "You suck, do better."

This year, the camera challenges are used as a punishment for those in the bottom rather than as a place to grow and shine and separate the natural-born talents from the not-meant-for-tv talents. The way the camera challenges work this year end up serving to make the contestants fear the camera and want to avoid having to be in front of the camera - kinda not the point of the show, seeing as how they are supposed to be winning their own TELEVISION SHOW. Perhaps the format is to inspire them to be better designers to avoid being in the bottom, but at the same time they are depriving them of much-needed experience in front of the camera and then sending them packing when they aren't perfect on their first try.

Take Dan. Last week, when he was in the bottom two, he had to do his first camera challenge as the "punishment" for being in the bottom. In previous weeks, when he was RULED SAFE BY THE JUDGES, he was not required to do a camera challenge. So naturally, he was sort of rough and didn't do as well as Alex who had done at least two prior camera challenges. Based on the judges' mumblings during deliberation, they were set to send Alex home until they saw Dan's presentation. So let's recap. The more weeks you are safe as a designer, the worse off you are going to be when you get your own TV show and have no camera experience to speak of. Yeah, makes sense HGTV.

If you are like me, you probably also watch The Next Food Network Star. This show and Design Star were born of each other and from watching both the difference in tones is obvious. The judges on FNS have remained the same from season to season and so have their attitudes and critique styles. While the judges on FNS are still tough and say the nasty truths out loud, they still offer encouraging criticism and let the contestants know they are pulling for them. They do not talk down to them, but instead see when the contestants are struggling whether it be with food, point of view, camera presentation, or even personal matters and they offer a shoulder for them to lean on. Each week, no matter how disappointing a contestant may have been, the judges are supportive in the end. They don't say "Get outta here" as if the contestants have invaded their personal space and time. Each week when they send someone home, they seem genuinely sad to have to cut someone and acknowledge that they've got to let someone go and they wish it wasn't so.

Vern is the most disappointing. His style is right in line with mine and I've loved his work since Trading Spaces. He's always done charitable work with his designs and that's something to be inspired by. But now, I just want to toss him aside to find a new design inspiration. He has become this negative, judgmental, critical person on the show and it makes me want to quit watching any of his programming. Then I wonder if all the designers are fakie-fakes on air and just jerks on the side. Candace Olsen, too. She's so fun and spunky on her show and she portrays a can-do-no-wrong design style that is to be envied. But I don't like her attitude on DS and I am finding it hard to ignore. Like I said, Genevieve is walking a fine line and I haven't made up my mind on her yet. She at least cracks a smile during the judging and gives people that have done well a pat on the back. We'll see how she continues.

I think I keep watching week to week just to see if they'll snap out of it as the number of contestants shrinks. Something's telling me this is just the result of Mark Burnett producing the show this year. I miss the old days of cheering the designers on and encouraging them to dig deeper without all the harsh and mean-spirited criticism.


Shower Curtains

Recently, I've become obsessed with getting the downstairs/guest bath and guest bedroom DONE. I don't know what my issue is there, but I've been searching high and low for the perfect shower curtain to kick off the design theme in the bathroom.

If you recall from previous posts, here's how our bathroom looked when we moved in. It still looks mostly the same except we tossed out those "I don't know whose feet have been there" rugs that the renters left behind. Still got those icky pinkish-peach walls that I pretty much hate.

Other than that, the bathroom is just lovely and SCREAMING for some color - BRIGHT and CHEERY color. Something about that pink just makes me want to puke.

I'm a huge user of black and white as accents, so all this room needs is the right punch of color. For me, that's where the walls and the oh-so-important shower curtain can make the room or break the room. I have a secret love for SCs and this is the only bathroom in our house that requires the use of one. The other 2 showers are stand-ups with glass doors. So, I'm completely obsessed with finding the PERFECT one.

And then...my August issue of Real Simple came in the mail the other day and I brought it to work to browse through during down time.

And then...what appears during my flippage?

Real Simple must've read my mind. I have my eye on one of the curtains they featured, but all of them were quite beautiful (albeit a little pricey, some of them) and gave me some wonderful websites to visit and add to my online shopping repertoire.

First I checked out IndiaRose because I love the teal and white curtain at the top of the second pic. I think this could easily become a quick DIY project (and may try it if I can't find my dream curtain!). IndiaRose has beautiful things - visit!

The brightly-colored paisley curtain in the middle photo is the one I've got my eye on. It's from echo which has tons of great stuff. Bathroom accessories to match your shower curtain! I won't go that far, but I love it when companies make things that already blend well with other items they sell. It can sometimes make a hard-to-find item way easier to find.

I really love the idea of a fun yellow bathroom with all the black and white we've got going on. I've had yellow on the brain for a while but I also wanted the bathroom to blend well with the guest bedroom which is serves and also with the living room/dining room/kitchen. Since you can see the bathroom from each room and vice versa, I want it to be a calming palette of colors seen and not a big ole jumbled mess. I hear not to be "matchy-matchy" and I'm not, but I get a lot of pleasure in monochromatic color palettes and also ones with opposite colors (think green & red).

Just today I purchased the Woodlands duvet and shams from Pottery Barn. It's so fun and happy and charming, what guest wouldn't want to sleep under it? And I'd never seen it up-close before because it's a catalog/internet only item, but look how fun! It reminds me of paint sample cards. With numbers and random codes and things. Love it. Love the colors. Can't wait to put it in the bedroom.

Whatever shower curtain I decide on, I want to add a thick, black grosgrain ribbon around the edges and then have our monogram added to the center - also in black. Just to bring in the black from the tiles and sink base. So I'm trying not to go too busy with the curtain - the monogram shouldn't end up fighting with its host.

I'll keep hunting and will post pictures of my progress soon!


Florida 4th

This year, we spent our 4th of July weekend in Lutz, Florida, with who seems to be our mirror-image couple, George & Leigh. These punks moved down to Florida a year ago this September and we've yet to forgive them. BUT, we still try to grace them with our presence every so often.

This was our second visit, the first being last December for New Years Eve. We've apparently got this thing with holidays and Florida. Seth and I took Friday off and drove down. That's not a typo, we really drove. All 10 hours. It wasn't even close to as bad as the last trip which took 12 hours thanks to some stand-still traffic. I napped a few times, and Seth happily drove. We hardly stopped for even bathroom breaks thanks to my current state of water-retention. So we made good time is all I'm saying.

Saturday, we spent the day out since some furniture was being moved out of their house. We wanted to make sure we didn't get recruited to help. We drove to Tampa and parked and then took the Tampa Trolley to Ybor City for some delicious breakfast crepes at a local creperie. I got a wonderful spinach, feta, tomato, egg, and cheese crepe and we (as in everyone but George) shared a "sweet" apricot & cream cheese crepe to finish breakfast off in high foodie style. We had to eat big to last us through the day.

We got back on the Trolley and took it up a ways to where we wanted to catch a water taxi which would then drop us off at the brand new Tampa Museum of Art. Our taxi captain and his wife were two of a kind. I'll just say they weren't our kind of hosts, but we survived unscathed and decided to skip the water taxi on the way back to the Trolley.It rained toward the end of our ride and we got a wee bit wet. AND WE DIED BECAUSE WE HAD NO PONCHOS. NO PONCHOOOOOS. OMGNOPONCHOS! Inside joke. Moving on.

We dried off for a second before heading inside to check out the TMOA. The exterior of the building was super-cool and we figured the inside would be as well. We paid $10 each to get in, but it seemed more like a $5 kind of joint. HOWEVER, once we left and were outside the building again, we all couldn't shake the feeling that we had missed something...or several somethings. The building was twice as big as the area we toured and we left wondering if we were too stupid to navigate the building correctly. We saw some fun LED art, I guess?

At this point, the rain had stopped, and the sun was peeking out so we began walking in the post-rainshower steam bath weather as any normal and sane group of people would do (I wish there was some HTML code to indicate sarcasm. I'd insert it here.) We walked back and caught the air-conditioned trolley back to Ybor City where we parked it for a bit and had a few drinks at the Tampa Bay Brewing Co. outside, under the misting fans. Ahhh...a little bit of relaxation to end our tour of downtown Tampa. And the only time and place I was able to get a tiny bit of sun on my glaring white arms.

I have no pictures from the rest of our Saturday so let's just get on with our 4th of July festivities. Nothing really exciting happened Saturday night other than we ate pizza and I fell asleep at like 7:30 or something. No really, it's true.

Sunday, we had no hard and fast plans so here's how it went. Seth and I slept in and took our sweet time getting ready simply because we could. I wanted to take a trip to IKEA because it's just what you do when you're within 30 miles of one. It's just natural. G&L said they wanted to join us so off we went. We stopped somewhere first, but I really can't remember where that was? AM STUPID. IKEA is more important than that stupid destination anyway. Perhaps it was Pinch-A-Penny? Again, not important.

At IKEA, we joined the rest of Tampa in shopping for a few random things. I had some shelves and planters in mind, but the shelves seemed like too much work so I got the planters and my favorite framed artwork that I've been drooling over and we called it quits.

Then we all harassed George until he replace the Big Green Egg that Leigh's brother moved out in the great move-out the day before.The Big Green Egg is George's love and he broke down and bought one.SWEET! That meant we were in for a good dinner on the 4th!

Rotunda wasn't so sure about all this egg stuff, but she was patient and watched her daddy set things up.And then...AND THEN...we had fire...So we could have salmon...Please excuse my blurry pictures. It was getting late and light was low.

While we waited for our salmon to smoke there was this...and this...and a LOT of this...and then some of this...and then also lots of this (Rotunda knows how to party)...
After we ran barefoot into the cul-du-sac to watch a 360 random display of neighborly fireworks, we wrapped our evening with a delicious citronella candle light dinner by the pool. Then George, Leigh and Seth started getting all serious talking about life and empathy and I peaced out and went to bed. Because I'm not all that serious.

It was a great weekend and we debated spending another night but I didn't pack enough of my crazy pills and thus we headed home early Monday morning...in the rain. Thanks for raining on us AGAIN this trip, Tampa. Maybe one day you'll show us some love and shine on us.


Stylish Sleeper

I love sleeping. I've been good at it since I was a baby according to my mom. Husband will tell you the same. If I'm horizontal, I'll probably fall asleep. Here I am napping with my Westie.I'm sure I was sleeping through a NASCAR race or some other sporting event designed to lull ladies to sleep on a Sunday afternoon. Don't you love how he took the time and effort to take a panoramic shot of me and Westie snoozing?

Given this, my proclivity for sleeping, I suspect this is where my obsession with bedding stems. I can't get enough of it - much like sleep. I noticed this obsession in college when each year I thought I needed to have an entirely new set of bedding for my dorm room. I know I had 2 different duvets Freshmen and Sophomore year, but I somehow managed to use the same Tommy Hilfiger comforter Junior and Senior year. I know, I'm astonished myself.

After college, and upon getting my first job, I got my first apartment. A charming 1949, 700 square foot, story-and-a-half townhouse in Cameron Village. I had the tiniest of kitchens, no dishwasher, no central A/C (just 2 HUGE wall units - one up, one down), but I did have lovely hardwood floors both upstairs and down.

The entire upstairs (minus the tiny bathroom) was my bedroom - and it was huge. I brought in my bed from my parent's house as well as the bedding. I painted the room to match and it ended up being almost the identical color as my childhood bedroom. It didn't take long until I decided I wanted new bedding. I don't remember what triggered it, but I remember getting the duvet and shams plus the cutest little quilt to lay at the foot of the bed, and I remember thinking how designer my bed looked. It wasn't - it was a red/white check duvet. But it was cute and fun and I loved it!

From that point on, I just couldn't buy enough bedding. Mostly I bought sheets of various patterns and colors and thread counts. From jersey knit to sateen to cotton. It was fun and a semi-inexpensive way to make my bed feel new without replacing the entire duvet.

But then...the flood gates opened after husband and I got married and I've bought too many duvets and bed sets to name. But I will try. I have 3 from IKEA (all $20 for duvet and 2 shams), 4 from Pottery Barn, one from eBay, and one group of things I tried to make into something cute all bought from Target. It's just insane. I usually just buy the duvet before I go all out on shams and things so some of my sets aren't exactly complete. I have 2 bed skirts from Pottery Barn and then we bought a new bed which doesn't need a bed skirt. So those are out. I have several quilts and matelasses, some old, some new and I rotate them. Most of them have shrunk, which reminds me...I need a new matelasse.....

Back to my point. I love bedding and I swore not too long ago that I was going to stick with the cute and comfy IKEA bedding that's on our bed now. In fact, there is an IKEA duvet + shams AND an IKEA quilt + 2 Euro shams on the bed all at one time. I'm out of control. But then I saw the West Elm Fall Preview on Elements of Style and I fell in love with another duvet. Here's a peek:And to that I say I need both of these sheet sets from Serena & Lily because I love putting patterns together and both of these would be so fun to wallow on.

Lapis French Ring sheets:Red Star sheets:So cute, so fun, so colorful.

My master bedroom is up next on my list of rooms to start working on in addition to my downstairs bathroom. I love having red in my bedroom. Among all the bedding I've ever bought, a lot of it has big punches of red and although they say red evokes feelings of anger and it's not always good to have red in the bedroom, I love it. I don't put it on the walls, it's in pillows and rugs and quilts. It makes me happy and gives the room some warmth.

I want to bring in navy or a royal blue to the room, too. Hence the Lapis French Ring sheet. The rings on the sheets echo the loose rings in the duvet and I love the colors together.