Living room details

I snagged a couple more touches for our living room last week, yahoo! Per usual, they popped up when I wasn’t specifically looking. I had anticipated all we needed to “complete” the room was a rug and some new throw pillows, but of course I happened upon these ikat lamp shades before the perfect kilims or rugs ~ 

New lamp shadesI love the deep blue of the shades with the muted, earthy tones of our cave painting reproductions ~ 

Cave paintings

(Those, however, are not new. They’re my grandparents’.)  I also grabbed this yummy candle. At first sniff, I was worried it would be too sweet, but actually Reserve Moonsparkle emits just the right amount of sweet and fresh perfume. 

Reserve moonsparkle candleThey offer a lot of other options, as well. A good hold over till I can stock up on Diptyque candles next summer in France 🙂 


Mirror mirror on the wall

I’ve had this mirror I snatched up from the antique mall for some time now. It has comfortably rested propped against the wall in our guest room for two years, but I feel like we’ve found its rightful home in the living room …
MirrorI like the extra light it invites in when the front door is open, but I especially love the reflection of our ever-expanding gallery wall …
Gallery wall reflectionIt’s amazing how much a mirror will open up a space. Just a rug and the perfect pillows and I shall declare this space done! (For now 😉 )

Bonne année !

Bonne année à tous et à toutes !

It’s hard to believe I last artsdevivre’d almost two months ago. Eep. Things happen. Like life. Since I made that lovely coq au vin, we’ve been busy in our little corner of the world … D re-did our kitchen while I was in Michigan visiting my niece, nephew, brother and sister-in law for Thaksgiving.

La nouvelle cuisine

It was so sweet and thoughtful of him to take on such an aggressive project, and actually finish it (well!) in only five days. It’s so fun having the open cabinets I’ve been admiring for months on Pinterest. And the chalkboard paint is a super-fun bonus, too! 

I took on a few projects of my own (not nearly as expansive as re-doing the kitchen). I gave our front door a makeover, transforming from typical grey ~

Grey door

 ~ opting for a cheerful green ~

Green paint

I felt pretty nervous at how bright it was, but was ecstatic with the result ~

Green door

I love the contrast of the green door and black shutters. It was even more festive with this simple DYI wreath I hot glue-gunned together ~


It was a bit perkier the first week in December than it is now (pesky gravity), but I’ll supplement it with additional ornaments next year.

We of course did the usual holiday rigamorale, spending time with friends and family (in person and on face time), sending and receiving holidays cards and well-wishes. 


I’m pretty militant about online privacy, which is why this one is blurred out. You get the idea though 🙂

I tried out new recipes ~

Christmas roast

~ learning how to improve ones like this simple roast via my personal favorite, the Barefoot Contessa (you really should cut a roast this thick in half to optimize a medium-rare temperature). I was fine with the end pieces, but the middle was really too rare for my family’s liking. I shockingly succeeding at intricate ones like an authentic French Bearnaise sauce. The key is to continue stirring for quite some time. (I think Maman and I together put in about 35 minutes.)

We celebrated NYE Charm City style, and were so ecstatic to happen on a small-time ball drop in Hampden, ‘hun. So fun and festive, I couldn’t believe we haven’t been attending annually.

I’d lost my motivation for artsdevivre the past couple months. I’m an habitual comparer of myself to others and was feeling frustrated with my utter lack of knowledge of photography and graphic design. I can’t give the time to this blog that I’d like, what with my job that actually pays me. But I started to really miss this whole process, from brainstorming, to documenting, to writing and publishing. So me re-voilà les amis. I don’t promise perfectly taken photographs (I’ll still be sticking with my trusty iphone, instagram and diptic for now), or super funky layouts but I do promise (most importantly to  myself) to continue documenting all the little daydreams and real-life experiences that add up to create the artsdevivre in our lives. 


Usually I write about food and recipes on Mondays, but what with Frankenstorm bearing down on the lovely state of Maryland this afternoon, I thought I’d share our preparations (some practical, others maybe not at all as much, but they make me feel better). Here are a couple of prevention measures we’ve picked up from the crazy weather we all deal with now.

1. The most practical prevention we learned after Isabel last year was to clear the basement floor of anything that is not plastic or that will be a disaster to clean up when soaking wet (in case the the basement floods).

Don’t be jealous of our gorgeous basement. While I was gone at a wedding this weekend, D found time after his twelve hour day (he works in emergency management) to clear up anything that would be potentially yucky in a flooded basement – drop cloths, cardboard boxes of ornaments, etc. His dad and I had a blast cleaning up after our sump pump stopped working during a courtesy-of-Isabel power outage last year, so that’s our attempt to avoid it this time around.

2. Which brings me to tip #2. Shop vacs are your best friend. 

Here you see ours ready to perform its magical sucking up of tropical storm water. Last year it was buried behind many other various and sundry basement inhabitants (Christmas tree stands, ornaments, painting supplies, lacrosse gear) but it now waits in an easy-to-access place of honor. Once again, hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, it will be relatively easy compared to last time.

3. I prepared a “go kit” yesterday. A go kit implies a need to leave and go to a shelter, but really you should have one in your vehicle and your home, for “shelter in place” situations when you can’t (or shouldn’t) leave your home (like right now). 

Here’s a list of what you should have ready in your kit. The rule of thumb is you should be able to be self-sustaining, without power, for 96 hours (four days). We have plenty of non-perishable food, a can opener (super important), water, batteries, candles and matches in a waterproof container, re-chargeable flashlights, a first aid kid, blankets, pillows, pet food, other practical odds and ends like duct tape and a mini-tool kit, and a laminated list of emergency (police, fire, power) and family contact numbers. Optimally, I won’t need to burrow in a (hopefully) non-flooding basement, but should the need arise, I’m ready to go. Which brings me to tip #4.

4. Create a space that is relatively cozy to hunker down in.

I stored a bunch more candles, extra pillows and blankets, flashlights, etc. Not being able to leave the basement is, of course, worst case scenario (especially if we get water in), but if the wind were to get so violent that windows were an issue, I’d be ready. And maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about it if the situation got that bad, but it really makes me feel better to have some nick-nacks around that I like – dried flowers, pretty pillows and a candelabra. 

Of course I followed other practical tips like ~

1. filling up all the pitchers in my house with water (by the time I got to the store, there was literally no bottled water, but why buy it when I can get it out of the tap?) You should account for at least one gallon per person in your household per day,

2. filling up the bath tub in the event water stops running (to be able to flush toilets),

3. charging up cell phones and computers fully,

4. using as much refrigerated and frozen food as possible in case the power goes out.

If you’re on the East Coast, good luck with Sandy! 

New uses for old things

I love those articles in Real Simple about new uses for old things. We picked up a mini wine rack (for free!) at a yard sale, but with our crazy animal kingdom, the bottles being so close to the floor started to make me nervous. There’s nothing I hate more than clutter, so I realized it was a cute way to store magazines. 

Wine magazine rackNow they are all out of the way, but still easy to access. I don’t buy too many magazines these days, but the ones I do have are full of great ideas that I refer back to for projects, holidays, recipes, you name it. It proved to be the perfect solution which included no sacrifice at all 🙂 

Fall colors

I’m such a nerd for fall. Temperatures dropping spike my energy, I feel more clear-headed and everything seems just a bit more vibrant. Maybe it’s because of the gorgeous colors every-which-where. 

Like these fuchsia mums …

… or these orange ones …

… or these green and yellow accented gourds …

… which I think are sprucing up the coffee table nicely.

What colors are you enjoying this fall?