Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thrifted Thursday (and Cooking!) - Cut Glass (Crystal?) Punch Bowl

These pictures disguise the true monstrosity that is this punch bowl. It appears cute and tiny in the photo, but it's actually the size of a large globe (but way heavier)!

I found this punchbowl at Goodwill back in December while scavenging and prepping for our New Year's/apartment-warming/Paige-is-cancer-free party. Some may find it a bit dated, but I thought it would work for the occasion (I also really liked its perfectly scalloped edging).

It has held various beverages at different events, such as Martha Stewart's Southern Comfort Punch and Poor Girl Eats Well's Sweet & Fruity White Wine Sangria (with mango, berry, and pineapple chunks - perfect for transitioning into summer!). Hmm, I just realized I'm sounding like a bit of a lush... My friends would laugh because I'm always the most sober at parties. I guess I just like making new concoctions.

For example, I have been wanting to make ginger cupcakes for quite some time now but haven't had the proper ingredients. I would always get the urge to bake when it was simply too late in the evening to run to the grocery store (read: I was simply too tired and/or lazy). Last weekend I purchased Molly Wizenberg's (the lovely author of the cooking blog, Orangette), A Homemade Life, and have been savoring every delicious word, determined to try some new recipes and expand my culinary horizons.

That book whipped me into shape, and last night I made my little long-awaited ginger cakes with honey-ginger buttercream frosting.

Unfrosted... A little muffin-like, I think...

There were a few mistakes here and there: I used baking soda instead of baking powder, so I just threw the powder in after the soda anyway; I grabbed the almond extract without looking, thinking it was the vanilla until it came out of the bottle clear instead of brown (so I used both of those, too); I realized I didn't have ground ginger so I went about smelling my spices and decided nutmeg would be a fine substitute; and the sugar I used for the frosting was granulated instead of confectioner's so the frosting was a little... sand-like, I guess...

They also weren't particularly pretty (see photo below), but even after all of my mistakes, they still tasted absolutely delicious (although maybe a little on the too-sweet side...), and I was perfectly happy crunching through the little sugar grains in the frosting. They were actually fairly well-disguised by the little candied ginger chunks in the cake.

Frosted! With a hint of nutmeg sprinklings...

I guess the next step, now that I'm getting more adventurous with my cooking/baking (and accepting the mishaps), is to work on my food styling skills. Next time I will have some beautiful foodie photos, I promise!

Thrifting and cooking may not seem like they have much to do with each other; but when you think about it, both often come down to making do with what's available to you. It's a real skill to be a master of improvisation, to make chaos appear flawless, like you knew what was happening all along.

How have you pulled off looking like a pro when you didn't actually know what you were doing?


EDIT 5/3/09: I am very proud to say I received calls and emails from co-workers who said the mini cupcake leftovers I brought to work were delicious! *grin* Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My apologies for another delayed day. I may have to take a rain check today. Things are a bit crazy and I need to take a breather. I wish I could do so on a comfy couch like this one. And look this glamorous while doing so, too!

How are you all holding up these days?


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What do you want to be when you "grow up?"

I apologize for the delay in posting today! I haven't been able to focus at all this week, and it's only Tuesday! For the time being, I'm going to leave you with this beauty:

Sandra Freij

When I was little, I was an ice skater, determined to become the next Nancy Kerrigan or Oksana Baiul. I even had the little outfit and bright white skates!

This dream eventually faded, but I love ice skating to this day (and can still pull off a toe-loop!).

What were you determined to become when you were little?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Speak Easy

On Saturday night, I reconnected with some long-lost good friends at a Roaring '20s-themed party. The lighting was perfect, everyone was appropriately dressed, and there were even blackjack and craps tables set up (surprisingly, the host said he didn't spend a dime on decorating, but it looked great!).

I wished I had a flapper dress to wear, but I was able to make do with a brown satin cocktail dress, a tweedy, textured vintage jacket with cute trim & buttons (probably from the 1940s), and a feathered headband, all of which I already owned.

I absolutely love fashion from this decade. The caps, hats & headbands, the long strands of pearls, and the dropped waist dresses (which I can't necessarily pull off properly due to my disproportionately large hips - not that they're large on their own, just that compared to the rest of my body, they're a little off... TMI? Sorry...).

I'm also a huge fan of art and fashion illustration from the '20s. I love the art deco movement and its influences not only in illustration, but also in architecture and jewelry.

I have an art deco calendar above my desk at home that I could easily get lost in for hours.

What are your thoughts on the Roaring '20s?
Style-wise, what is your favorite decade?


Friday, April 24, 2009

Looks from Life - Light

I came across the photo below awhile back, and just recently found the accompanying dress in Jaeger London's Spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection. The concept of light is truly amazing, not just for how it brightens dark corners, but for how it floats through the air, and how it really is made up of many different colors like the dress below (have you ever played with a prism?).

Patience by PavlaEva; Dress by Jaeger London, Spring 2009 RTW
(click picture to enlarge)


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thirfted Thursday - Large Paper Lantern Lamp

Today's Thrifted Thursday should really be called Free Thursday because this piece didn't cost me a dime!

Freecycle is a network similar to Craigslist, but everything is free. Its aim is to keep completely usable items from entering the garbage system and sitting in a dump for the rest of time. I'm not trying to be preachy, but I'm all for recycling, composting, and definitely reusing! Freecycle is an awesome program and I highly recommend checking it out.

This large lantern lamp came from Freecycle when I lived in Southern California. I made arrangements with the original owner to pick it up from her doorstep (which may sound a little sketchy to some, so as the "freecycler," you can specify where you want the "freecyclee" to pick up the item).

I'm not a huge fan of overhead light (definitely not as flattering, and can often be too bright for a space), so this lamp is perfect. It sits atop a long low shelf (Expedit from Ikea, to be exact) in the front window of our living room, and lights up the space perfectly. The cream colored shade adds a warm glow to the room, but is still rather bright so it can be the only one on and still sufficiently light everything.

How do you light your space?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Swoonworthy on Facebook

Swoonworthy now has an official Facebook fan page!

It will be a place to easily check out the most recent blog posts, and I might even have a place to sign up for style, interior design, or organization help.

Just type "Swoonworthy" into the search field in the upper right-hand corner of the Facebook layout, and become a fan! I can't wait to see you there!


Rain, Rain, Go Away - Puddle Jumpers

Guess what... *sigh*

It's raining again. Typical Seattle drizzly mist. Ugh.

Rainy Day by Maka

And I have a hunch that this weather is going to stick around until late June. Those wonderful sunny days we had the past week were just a tease.

It's this kind of weather that makes me rethink a rubber boots purchase. I realize they were more popular for fall, but they're so practical; and with it being more of a trend now, it's easy to find adorable ones... but no matter the color or pattern, I think I would still feel like I was getting ready to haul manure from a barn. What are your thoughts? How have you successfully worn rubber boots? If you've chosen not to go the rubber boot route, how do you handle the springtime puddles?

Here are some cute boots (and yes, I meant to rhyme)!

(click to enlarge)


1. Green Hunter Wellington's
2. Stormy boot (via
3. City Scene Heart boots (via
4. Polka dot boots (via
5. Nova Plaid rainboots (via
6. Celine with leather trim (via
7. Chinese Laundry Swerve boots (via PiperLime)
8. Sporto Drizzle boot
9. Pink Hunter Wellington's
10. Burberry exploded check

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Orange Love

I've always had a soft spot for orange, even before I attended my alma mater, whose colors are orange and white. I love the pinky-oranges, the red-oranges, the tangerines, and the burnt siennas. There are many (many) people who are absolutely terrified of this color, but I always enjoy a little orange highlight during fall to brighten up the typical browns and grays, or even the shock of an entirely orange dress to spice up those hot summer nights!

The only orange dress I own is one I purchased last summer at a little boutique called Dream in Fremont, a fun neighborhood north of downtown Seattle. Despite it's vibrant color it is the most versatile summer dress I have ever owned. I was able to dress it up to attend a friend's wedding, but also wore it on casual trips downtown, and I can always throw a cardigan over my shoulders when the evenings get chilly.

The dresses below are all from various Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear collections. Oh, how I wish I could afford these pieces!

Basso & Brooke

BCBG Max Azria

BCBG Max Azria

Chris Benz


Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier

Oscar de la Renta

Valentino (via coco+kelley)

How have you worked orange into your wardrobe? Have you ever dared to wear an entirely orange outfit like the ones above?

It may be a bit daunting, but give orange a try! After all, as Frank Sinatra once said, "Orange is the happiest color."


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Commons

I woke up to the most beautiful morning today! It will be in the low 70's today and tomorrow, sunny through and through!

I had a fantastic, ultra productive three-day weekend. Ran a lot of errands, did a lot of cleaning, and even made the drive all the way up to the Skagit River Valley (northeast of Seattle) to go to the tulip festival! (I'll post pictures in the near future...)

For today, I had planned to focus on tulips... but during my search for photographs, I came upon Flickr's newest project, The Commons.

The Commons is a place to view the world's public photography archives, and add whatever information you may know about specific photos, therefore enriching the collection. Maybe I'm late in discovering this, but it's just too cool not to share! If you don't have a Flickr/Yahoo account, I would highly suggest signing up just to access this amazing collection.

Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, circa 1942
(this title is a bit misleading, using "camp" for "prison"... amazing how they could still smile and look oh so fashionable during such a horrible time in history)

Inspector, October 1942
I love the color of her outfit against the plane.

Douglas Aircraft Company
A real Rosie! Her hair tucked up in that handkerchief is perfect!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Looks from Life - Perfume Bottles

Scientists say that smell is the strongest sense linked to memory. To this day, I can walk into my first grade classroom and it still smells the same; or I will catch a whiff of someone and they smell nearly identical to my first crush. Funny how just a quick inhalation can trigger such strong memories.

Now that warmer weather is on its (slow) return back to Seattle, I'm more likely to wear perfume. Whenever I put it on, it immediately puts me in a good mood. Maybe it's because I'm already in a better mood due to the weather, who knows. But a spritz of my favorite fragrance always brightens my day.

I wish I could say that I were judging today's looks from life based on smell, but to be honest, I picked these perfume bottles because I think they are absolutely beautiful!

Which combination is your favorite? Have you tried any of these fragrances?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thrifted Thursday - Small Metal Cups

After seeing the past three Thrifted Thursdays, you can probably guess that my favorite sections at thrift stores are the dishes and housewares aisles. It's the first section I always head to. I love finding new plates, containers, teacups, everything! Well, today's items continue with this trend in the form of two little perforated metal cups:

I know nothing about these little cups other that when I saw them at Goodwill I knew I had to use them for something (they were only $0.99 for both so I didn't think twice about snatching them up).

Last month I wrote about my daily routine; but I didn't talk about how I organize my vanity where I get ready every morning. Well, here is how I store some of my make-up tools, liners, glosses, etc.

They're the perfect height so the items don't get lost in the bottom like they could with a taller cup.

How do you store/display your make-up? Do you have a favorite container? A make-up bag? A special case like the pros?

Also, if you know anything about these little metal cups, or what they might have been used for, please let me know!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I had a few friends over on Saturday evening, and while my sofa comfortably seats plenty, some of us wound up sitting on the floor, encircling the large coffee table covered in food (who wouldn't choose the floor in this case?).

I don't mind sitting on the floor at all, in fact I rather enjoy it (remember, this is coming from the girl who spent five months living in a mud house in Himalayan India...); but some people might not feel the same.

I was recalling this weekend with a friend when I realized what I really need are some comfy floor pillows (especially because we have hardwoods), or some cozy-cool poufs. They would have to be relatively compact, maybe even stackable, so I could put them out of the way when they weren't needed. So... I went searching and came up with this fun collection:

What has your experience been with convenient floor seating? What about storing them?


Clockwise from upper left-hand corner:
Rattan pouf (via Urban Outfitters)

Flocks Urchin poufs
AtelierAfra pouf
Zaishu (I've always
loved the concept of Zaishu. I've tracked them for years and the art is ever-evolving, but the design has stayed clean, simple, and easily-constructed. Truly awesome.)
Dosa pouf (this link takes you to a photograph of a woman with the exact coffee table/pouf set-up I'm looking to recreate!)
John Derian Moroccan pouf (They even have metallic versions! Although I have heard horror stories of truly authentic Moroccan poufs reeking of wet cow... Maybe you should try the faux "Made in USA" version.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eley Kishimoto - Spring 2009

I'm obsessing over Eley Kishimoto's Spring 2009 collection! So wearable, so lovely!

(my personal favorite!)


I wish I were still living in Southern California so I could actually wear things like this now.

It poured yesterday. Oh, sunshine, where are you hiding? *sob*

Which dress is your favorite?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Seeing Spots

I find it interesting there were polka dots in both Spring 2008 (left) and Spring 2009 (right) lines of Valentino, just a bit of a size difference. He must be really determined to bring them back! It looks like this year just might be the season...

Polka dots were all over the runway at the Spring 2009 shows, both in the couture and ready-to-wear lines:



Rubin Slinger

Jaeger London (my personal favorite!)


Michael Kors

Louis Vuitton

Diane von Furstenberg

Maurizio Pecoraro

The look on the left below by Vivienne Westwood (which I personally would not don as an everyday dress) is translated fantastically in this totally wearable dress by Banana Republic on the right (now on sale for only $80!):

Henry Holland, lead designer for House of Holland, also tried the polka dot look for his Spring 2009 RTW line; however, I've decided not to include them here. Take a look at your own risk...

Lanvin, on the other hand, used polka dots in a perfectly lovely fashion as part of the Resort 2009 collection:

Below are some options for us "normal people" (click each collage to enlarge):

1. Lanvin (no wonder I love this one...); 2. Zucca; 3. CJ Banks; 4. American Retro; 5. Via; 6. Marc by Marc Jacobs; 7. Alberta Ferretti; 8. Prada; 9. Paul & Joe

1. Chloe; 2. Via Monsoon; 3. Jessica Simpson; 4. Tomas Maier

And remember, to avoid the Minnie Mouse look, stay away from red, white, and black combos!

Which of the designer looks above do you prefer?
Do you have any favorite polka dot looks in your wardrobe already? How have you pulled them off?