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Little critters in our home...

So I hate/am afraid of birds in real life but for the last several years, I've been totally obsessed with abstract images of them. The important word there being abstract. There is something so beautiful and modern about the silhouette of a bird. You can see my obsession infused all over our house...

Can you find the bird?

wall decal in the nursery

tea towels

bird figurine I got for $5 at the Chiasso warehouse sale

In the past year though, I've found myself being drawn to a different kind of bird..the owl. It is not beautiful like the bird but there's something about an abstract owl that is just so charming!

owl wall decal in the nursery

I've actually been eyeing this owl tea cup at Anthropologie for a while but for some reason, was unwilling to pay $12 for it. I went recently and it was marked down to $2.99 and it came home with me that day. Every time I reach for a pen, I can't help but smile...why does it look so friendly?

Do you have any critters in your home?


Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

picture by Amai Tea & Bake House

Comedian and recent relationship guru Steve Harvey refers to sex as "the cookie" because according to him, "Everybody likes cookies. That's the thing about a cookie. I like oatmeal raisin...but if you've got vanilla cream, I'll eat that too."

I couldn't agree with him more. Cookies are my sweet indulgence of choice and I can never eat just one. Another weakness of mine is anything with green tea, which explains the title of this blog. So when my sister told me about this Green Tea Shortbread Cookie recipe, I just knew it would be perfection!

Get the recipe here:
Green Tea Sweets Recipe by Amai Tea & Bake House

I love how the cookies look with the leaf cookie cutter but if you don't own one, here's what I did. Take an empty aluminum foil box and line it with parchment paper (so the dough doesn't stick) and then press the dough into the box. Carefully pull out the long rectangular dough with the parchment paper and refrigerate it. After it hardens a bit, cut the dough into slices so they are little squares. It's actually a lot faster/easier than rolling it out and cutting each cookie out of the dough separately.

Here are mine prior to baking...

I had a lot of extra cookies so I packaged some to give away to friends. I always have clear glassine bags and tons of pretty ribbon on hand. Really, that's all you need to make an attractive packaging for your sweet treats! And it feels so much more special than cookies dumped in a ziploc bag or tupperware. Happy Baking!



M.I.A.*: My home

*M.I.A.= Random tangent but my daughter and rapper M.I.A.'s son were born on the same day!

I told myself it wouldn't happen. I told myself I wouldn't let it. But has. My home has been taken over by little A and all of her belongings. How can such a little girl have so many belongings??

Before: Living Room
After: Living Room

Before: Dining Area (home to many intimate dinner parties with close friends)

After: Changing Table (home to many stinky diaper changes with 1 beautiful baby girl)

I hope to someday be reunited with my home...


Mixing high end and high street

My fashion (and decor philosophy for that matter) has always been to mix and match. Mix and match an H&M tank with J brand jeans, a new trendy dress with a vintage Dior clutch...

Each season, I decide which trends will work for me. Then, I find those trends with price tags that won't make you cringe. My go-to places are Forever21, H&M, Akira (local to Chicago), Target, Urban Outfitters, and I'm a little ashamed to say but yes, BP (the juniors department of Nordstroms).

The key to shopping at these places without looking like you to mix and match with more high end, quality pieces. These are classic staples that you can wear again and again (or "ah-gane" as Jill on the Bachelor likes to say) ...things like jeans, great cardigans for layering, a well fitted trench, shoes and handbags.

So to put all this jibber jabber into practice...

Mini florals in sheer fabrics were big last spring/summer and are back this year. Here's how I made it work. (disclaimer: Sorry these pics are not showing the outfits well...I took these last year before this blog. Also, I was pregnant in both these pics so again, ideas for how to dress with a belly bump!)

Target dress, Old Navy Belt, Chloe Edith handbag

Forever21 Tank, American Apparel leggings, Chanel classic flap bag


From a a home...

The one thing that really makes a house, in my opinion...are the little personal details that make it a home. I love modern furniture but too often, it can come off cold and unwelcoming. I love infusing cute, personal touches to break up the starkness of contemporary style.

Several years ago, I bought these adorable alphabet hooks from Anthropologie. I bought 3: one each for the hubbie and myself to hang up our keys and an additional one for our dog, turtle's leash.

These hooks showed anyone who entered our home that it was a place happily occupied by the 3 of us...that it was our home.

A few weeks ago, I received a gift from a dear friend, C. I figured it would be another adorable onesie or another tiny pair of shoes. But inside the little box was the most perfect gift I could ask for. A symbol of our little girl, A becoming an official member of our happy home.


Baby Bump Style

When i got pregnant, I vowed that I wouldn't turn into a complete shlumpadinka (as oprah likes to say)...or in other words, a frump. It was depressing how little was out there in terms of cute, affordable maternity clothes. I even flirted with the idea of starting my own maternity clothing line that was cheap and trendy (think forever21 or h&m).

I ended up buying non maternity clothes in bigger sizes.
Here are some looks that I made work for me...

DVF wrap dress (Wrap dresses work great! Just tie the ribbon part above your bump!)
Cole Haan nike air nude patent pumps (These shoes have height but are soo comfy!)

fr L-R (me, the bride!, the bm)
12th St by Cynthia Vincent dress in a bigger size. It was a little loose everywhere but tight where my bump was. I made it work with a thin belt above the bump. I plan on getting it altered now that I'm losing the baby weight. I also layered a JCrew cardigan in eggplant over it.

Some maternity fashion tips:
  • belts: tied right above or below the belly bump
  • stretchy non maternity clothing
  • maternity spanx (they exist!!)
  • long cardigans layered over everything
  • form fitting clothes are actually more flattering than huge clothes when pregnant (show off that bump!)


Modern Nursery

For those of you who don't know, I just became a mommy about a month ago! It's been an incredible journey so far that I could go on and on about but for the purpose of this blog, I wanted to share some pics of my nursery. It's been featured on ohdeedoh and project nursery.

For our daughter's nursery, we wanted a room high in style but low in budget.
I was definitely going for a contemporary style for the room.

crib: walmart
rug: target
chandelier: urban outfitters

blanket + pillow (EllaJeanGifts etsy store)
bear: from my travels to paris over 7 years ago!

These AMAZING silhouettes were made by my friend, sarah of Truly Smitten.
They are available in her etsy store!

Okay so the one pricier item in the room is this gorgeous Eames chair!
I've been obsessed with it for years and found a used one on Craigs List for $360.
and it was in great condition!!

lovely alphabet print (SycamoreStreetPress etsy store)

The ikea bookshelf we got for $40 on craigslist!!
Notice the lil bird on the lightswitch!

a closer look at the bird

dresser: walmart
sofa bed: bo concept
stroller: quinny buzz (bought new on ebay for $280!)
Can you spot the owl?

There it is!
all wall decals: vinyl wall art

the other side of the room...
I put up these prints that I already owned from AshleyG's etsy store.

I was really happy with how the room turned out and I hope our daughter, A will come to love it as well!


Lovely Obsessions...


"Lovely Obsessions" was one of the titles I originally wanted for this blog before I came to the crashing realization that any title I could think of was already claimed. Anywhoo, this site will be about my obsession with all things lovely! Pearls and green tea are definitely up there in my "I die" (a la Rachel Zoe) list!

Lovely fashions? Check!
Lovely decor? Present!
Lovely bites? Absolutely!
and let's throw in a little bit of lovely travel for good measure!

I hope you all enjoy browsing/wearing/drinking pearls and green tea with me!