Guest Bathroom Updates

4 Feb

The first home decorating project of the year is complete. In all honesty, I painted it about three weeks ago.

If you need a reminder of the bathroom’s before, you can look here and here.

For a grand total of about $50, I think the small updates made a big difference.

Mint and Gold Bathroom

Fresh paint (Valspar Mint Chiffon), art pulled from another room, new hand towels, a vintage milk glass tray, and a new curtain rod enliven the formerly beige room.

Printed Hand Towel

Rose Shower Curtain Hooks

Fire King Milk Glass Tray

Mint and Gold Bathroom Vanity

Ornate Gold Framed Mirror

Rae Dunn Knock on Wood Linea Carta Alphabet Plate

For a full list of sources, visit the Home Tour page.

The Best of Gusto & Grace: 2014 Edition

5 Jan

At the beginning of the new year, I love taking a little time  to reflect on everything the previous year held for me. Here are a handful of Gusto & Grace’s 2014 Highlights

The Popcorn Hydrangeas from the Circus Baby Shower I hosted for my friends and godson remains the most pinned image from the blog.

Popcorn Hydrangeas for Circus Baby Shower www.gustoandgraceblog.com

If you didn’t earlier this year, don’t forgot to bookmark this life-altering Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

When our box of ticket stubs started overflowing, I got creative and started using our bedside lamps to store our ever-growing collection of stubs. Read all about them here.

Ticket Stub Filled Lamps https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/ticket-filled-lamps/

In February I was asked to appear on Good Day Austin. With a squeal of delight, I accepted, and had the time of my life showcasing my DIYed wedding invitations. I even earned an invitation back!

FOX 7 | Good Day Austin: Make it Monday | DIY Wedding Invitations www.gustoandgraceblog.com

My home finally got some art on the wall and it all started with the Prada Marfa watercolour print I created. You can print out the full sized version for FREE here.

Free Printable Watercolor Prada Marfa Print www.gustoandgraceblog.com

I fell in love with the fact that San Antonio is only an hour away after an exploratory day trip.

Ocho_Hotel_Havana_San_Antonio_Texas

Gusto & Grace got a Home Tour page, which I am now realizing is in dire need of new photos. Grab a cup of something warm and a soft throw, and take a look around!

Black & White Entryway Inspiration

I made my first visit to Round Top, and came home empty handed. I still kick myself for not buying this gorgeous, vintage, lucite beauty:

Round Top Antique Fair | Gusto & Grace

For a grand total of $17 I turned my neighbors trash into my gaudy, golden treasure. Spoiler alert: The upstairs bathroom is in the middle of an update.

ornate gold frame mirror

On our one year anniversary, wedding photos hit the blog.

Bridal Party Socks Groomsment Photo Ideas

Jeremy & Kristin Photography

After our incredible one year anniversary trip, a.k.a. second honeymoon, to Paris, I may be on the road to becoming a Francophile. If you’re planning or trip, or simply obsessed with the City of Lights, you can read about my favorites sites (museums and monuments), shops and eats in Paris and oogle over Chateau Versailles.

Laudree Paris | Champs Eylsees

I may have gained status of Best Wife Ever by playing on my husbands weaknesses and planning Pizza Week: nightly dates with local pizza. Bufalina, however, won the award for best pizza we ate all week.

Via 313 Austin

In July, the console we commissioned our friend to build finally made it to Austin. I have talented friends, folks. It is a such a handsome piece of furniture.

White Modern Geometric Console

In July, my mom and stepdad, and sister and brother-in-law came down and the guys installed crown moulding in our kitchen and dining room.

Dining Room Crown Moulding

This fall, furniture made of dreams arrived on my doorstop, or, as my dad refers to them, thrones.

Neutral Living Room Hooded Balloon Porters Versailles Chairs

This holiday season I hosted our first annual Christmas party

Christmas Snow Globe Cake

…and learned my lesson about glitter wrapping paper.

Gifts with Glitter and Tartan

My love of Christmas has not diminished, as evidenced by my growing ornament collection. Read up for tips on hunting down the best traditional European glass ornaments!

2014 Christmas Tree

On the personal front, 2014 was a big year for Anthony and I. I finally found a job in Austin in January 2014. Anthony got his CPA, we bought a used car, removed PMI from our mortgage, and later re-financed our house. We welcomed a new newphew and a godson in March. In May, welcomed my sister and her husband home from New York City and bid adieu to Anthony’s brother and his family when they moved to a new wintry land. In October, paid a short visit to them in Minnesota to see their new digs. Last month, we took my first trip to Anthony’s happy place, Disney World (pictures to come).

If you missed last year’s recap, you can find it here.

Happy New Year!

♥ Dominique

Glitter and Tartan Wrapping Paper

24 Dec

The best advice I can give on glitter and tartan wrapping paper? Do not try this at home.

After spying the prettiest glitter wrapping paper at the end of the Christmas season last year, I promptly decided that next year I’d wrap all of my presents in silver glitter and Christmas plaid. Three rolls of paper, and 50 yards of wired ribbon later, I’m swearing to you that I will never do it again.

Gifts with Glitter and Tartan

Sure, it looks fabulous, and yes I do love it, but here is what the shining silver rolls don’t tell you while you are swooning in the store: tape doesn’t work on it. Yes ma’am, you read that right. I wrapped all of my Christmas presents this year without any adhesive. After, of course, trying and failing with all but duct tape.

Anthropologie Stockings

It does warn that you might end up glittery, but when it is still on the roll, you cannot fathom the table or the rug that look as if Tinkerbell has stomped and flown all over it. I imagine I will be finding excessive silver glitter in all of our Christmas decor for years to come. I also predict that all recipients of our Christmas gifts will like their presents a little less when the realize the mess we’ve left them with.

My fingers after simply picking up the above present to photograph it:

Hands and Glitter

I repeat, do not try this at home.

Merry Christmas,

Dominique

Snow Globe Cake

22 Dec

This year, Anthony and I hosted our first annual Christmas party. After all was said and done he told me, “We need to throw more parties. It makes your soul happy.” I guess it was pretty obvious to him that I loved every bit of “work” that went into it.

The centerpiece was an easier-than-it-appears snow globe cake. Christmas Snow Globe Cake

I never take shortcuts on frosting because nothing can beat a homemade buttercream, especially when it is Nutella buttercream. Everything else, I totally cheated on. Boxed cake. Premade fondant. Store-bought gingerbread house kit.

Snow Globe Christmas Cake

The depth of the gingerbread house had to be cut to size so the house would fit under the dome. I sawed through the gingerbread with a bread knife and realized later it probably would have been easier if I had worked with a wet blade.

Snow_globe_Christmas_Cake

I entered photos of the cake in a contest at work. Cross your fingers for me, there is $100 on the line!

Snowglobe Cake Red Christmas

Tell me about some of the best Christmas parties you’ve ever been to in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

A Peek Into My Ornament Obsession

16 Dec

Originally featured on Styled by Ryn.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions from my childhood was getting a new Christmas ornament from my stocking each year. For years now I have been collecting European blown glass ornaments, and my mom continues the tradition of adding to my collection each year.

If you don’t know where to look, finding high quality, European glass ornaments can be a wild goose chase, but there are certain stores you can go to year after year, and certain brands that make stunning ornaments. I’m here to share my secrets!​

2014 Christmas Tree

Brands to look for:

• Christopher Radko- Christopher Radko is really the brand that popularized intricate blown glass ornaments in America and can be found at department stores and boutiques alike. These ornaments tend to retain their value for years to come and are quite popular on secondary markets, like Ebay.

Popcorn Maker Ornament

Texas Ornament Cotton Candy Ornament

• Eric Cortina- Eric Cortina makes some of my favorite quirky and whimsical ornaments such as my French bulldog wearing a top hat, bowtie and a spectacle, and my clip-on of Santa’s boots sticking out of the Chimney.

Santa Chimney Ornament French Bulldog Ornament Button Ball Ornament Paris Hot Air Balloon Ornament Crown Tree Topper

• Inge Glas- Inge Glas is one of the oldest German-based glass blowers. These little treasures are usually more reasonably priced than other brands.

• Landmark Creations- Landmark Creations is best known for their ornaments of, well, landmarks.

• Michael Storings- Made by Landmark Creations, Michael Storings hand paints bulbs, typically of different scenes in New York City.

•De Carlini- If you prefer the Italian style blown glass ornaments, with a very distinctive look, De Carlini is a great go-to.

• John Huras- Read this guys story; it is really neat. Accustomed to the gorgeous and traditional trees of Poland, he originally started making ornaments for orphanages whose trees he wished could bring more cheer to the children.

John Huras Russian Santa Ornament

• Jay Strongwater- These last two brands are both on my wishlist, not on my tree. They are extremely pricey, but every ornament I have seen by these two artisans are stunning.
Patricia Breen- As mentioned above, the detail on Patricia Breen’s traditional designs are breathtaking.

Where to shop:
• Bergdorf Goodman- Bergdorf Goodman has many exclusive ornaments with at least five themed trees each year. They will ship internationally, but if you’re in New York City for the Christmas season, I highly advise a stop on their 7th floor where their Christmas room is set up.

I Love BG Taxi OrnamentTin Toy Monkey Ornament Penguin Snowscape Ornament French Macaron Ornament (2) Clip-on Carousel Horse Ornament

• Neiman Marcus- Like Bergdorf, its sister company, Neiman Marcus has many exclusive ornaments made just for them each year.Neimans boasts of the widest variety of readily available European ornaments year after year. Be sure to shop in store, as many of their exclusive ornaments are not available online.

Fish Ornament Blown Glass Ornament Mackenzie Childs Ornament Pinocchio Ornament Russian Doll Ornament

• Bloomingdales- Bloomingdales carries more Landmark Creations and Michael Storings ornaments than any other large department store

• The Christmas Store in Fredericksburg- If you’re in central Texas, this is a great little shop for any time you need Christmas fix as it is open year round. They are one of the few retailers in the United States that has an entire room dedicated to Radko ornaments. If you’re out-of-state, give them a call, and they’ll help you hunt down what you’re looking for.

Wisdom on Display Ornament, Signed

• Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland- Flip through their catalog or shop online year-round. Bronner’s is a place of Christmas overload, but narrow your search to European-made ornaments and it is less overwhelming.

• Macy’s (online only)- Macy’s doesn’t carry many European ornaments, but they do carry Christopher Radko online.

• Dillards- Dillards is one of the few department stores that carries Radko in store. Go and check out the quality for yourself!

• Marshalls, TJMaxx, Homegoods- A lot of smaller brand German and Polish ornaments can be found at these chains. I’ve gotten lucky and even found a few Radkos for under $10!

• Tuesday Morning- At Tuesday Morning you can find a few different brands, including Radko’s from last season at up to 75% off!

• World Market- World Market usually has a small selection of ornaments made in Poland. Their quality isn’t superb, but they’ve got some fun additions like hamburger, stand mixer, and digital camera ornaments.

• Pier 1- Pier 1 has a very limited selection of European blown glass ornaments, but you can count on them to have a few each year. This year they have a pretty snazzy dragon I’ve been eyeing.

Non-European ornaments are not always sub-par I have a few treasured ornaments that were made in China. Sometimes you just find an original concept or design that makes up for lesser quality and sometimes the quality and detail are equally lovely. Old World Christmas ornaments are made in China and you can find them in endless shapes so they’re great if you are looking for a very specific ornament. Anthropologie occasionally carries blown glass ornaments that are unique and worthwhile. I also have a few ornaments on my tree that are travel souvenirs made in China, such as a bearskin soldier I bought in London.. Waterford’s blown glass ornaments are typically made in China, but the detail on my Waterford ballerina ornament rivals that on many of my German and Polish made ornaments.

Waterford Ballerina Ornament

If you have glass ornaments that are precious to you, I highly recommend purchasing Sure Grip Clips. You can find them online, but they are pretty pricey. Hobby Lobby carries them for a song in comparison. I replaced all of the clips on my ornaments this year and feel like my collection is much more secure on the tree.

Do you know of any stores or brands available stateside that I’m missing? Do you collect a specific type of ornaments?

A Giveaway: $50 to At Home (closed)

2 Dec

When At Home, formerly known as Garden Ridge, contacted me as asked me if I would be interested in partnering with them to do a giveaway, my answer was a swift and resounding “YES!” I have to admit, I love their new branding. I feel like it is more in line with what they actually offer in-store. While their outdoor selection is large, their accent furniture and decorative accessories are my favorite.

This weekend, my mother-in-law, my husband and I braved the weekend shopping crowds in order to purchase 45 feet of garland and all the bulbs and floral picks to go with it. You can’t beat one-stop-shopping during the holiday season! At Home also has Christmas trees in every color, shape and size. Neon orange? Hot pink? White? Traditional green? They’ve got it. I am tempted to return for a mini purple tree to deck out in TCU ornaments for my office.

wpid-img_20140913_212032.jpg

Beyond their Christmas section, I really can’t get over their selection of garden stools. I’ve never seen a better (or better priced) selection of garden stools, which are perfect for extra seating or a small side table indoors or out.

wpid-img_20140913_214349.jpg

One lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to At Home. Click the link below to enter. Come back daily for additional entries. The contest ends a 12:00am on December 9th.

Click Here to Enter

Disclaimer: At Home supplied the gift card for the giveaway. All images and written words are my own.No compensation was received in exchange for my opinion.

Fall Front Door

12 Nov

Too long ago, a friend asked me if I would blog about rental-friendly outdoor entry décor. If you remember, my front door has not been the most welcoming sight. Between broken keys stuck in locks, replaced handles, no wreaths, unfortunate wreaths, and a partially unpainted door our entryway had quite a saga of sadness.

After finding the right avenue to make the request, our front door was finally re-painted. That only took a year and a half! Living in a townhome community, we are not responsible for exterior maintenance and our front door has to match the paint on the rest of our building. Since we pay dues to get this taken care of, I may have stubbornly refused to have the paint matched myself…

Finally, it is at least presentable enough that I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject. Here is what it looks like presently:

wpid-img_20141112_090111.jpg

My suggestions for rental friendly entry décor?

  • A door mat is a must. Mine is starting to tatter, and I’m hoping to upgrade to one as wide as our door.
  • Wreaths work wonders. I have a couple that I swap out with the seasons. The oval fall beauty pictured was a thrift store score.
  • Oversized planters gussy your entryway up. I picked up large urn pictured at Lowes on clearance at the end of the summer and planted an asparagus fern. I love the weird bushy look, and so far it has proven hardy enough for my complete lack of gardening abilities. While my front entry wouldn’t accommodate the style, I love the symmetrical look of two planters flanking the door. Look here for one of my favorite examples.
  • A doorman, of course. Suggestion courtesy of my humorous husband.

If you can make more permanent changes to your front porch, here is what I propose:

  • Door knockers add personality. Mine (covered by this particular wreath, seen here), came from a home salvage shop in Fort Worth, but I love this monogram one from Anthropologie.
  • Add a kickplate if you haven’t.
  • Simply paint the door. Oh how I wish I could choose the color of mine!
  • Swap out the light fixtures. This is somewhere, very far down, on my list of future upgrades to make. If you’re really fancy, go for some N’awlins inspired gas lanterns.
  • House numbers. Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie have some stylish varieties.

Feel free to submit questions or post requests of your own via e-mail.

As always, thanks for reading!

♥ Dominique

Living Room Updates

5 Sep

Pinch me.

The culmination of gifts, saving, and waiting arrived at my front door on Friday.

The anticipation has been overwhelming (overwhelming: a word that always makes me think about Ten Things I Hate About You).

My living room has never been featured in full on the blog. You’ve seen a few angles when I posted about our console and can see how far it has come when you look at our couches, and maybe you even sneaked a peak at Christmas, but otherwise has been intentionally left a mystery. Below is what it looked like most of the year I’ve lived in Austin:

Living Room Leather Set

Over the past couple of months our living room has undergone numerous changes. We swapped our lack tables for a thrifted and gorgeous glass-topped brass coffee table. The mirrored console made the move from the upstairs hall downstairs and the scissor arm lamps moved up to the guest bedroom.  We got rid of the oversized leather chair that matched the couch. And finally…

Neutral Living Room

I am the very excited owner of two porters chairs! (Also known as balloon chairs, hooded chairs, and Versailles chairs.)

I always swoon when I see images of these chairs or when I have see them at Bergdorf Goodman or Tillman’s Roadhouse (where we celebrated our rehearsal dinner), and now I own a pair! I can swoon every time I sit in my very own living room.

Head over to the Home Tour page to see the rest of the room!

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Date Night in Austin: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

29 Aug

Anthony and I spend so much of our time together. We frequent the movie theater and regularly dine out. While I realize this may not always be the case, for us childless, semi-newlyweds, that is just our romantic everyday living. We choose to intentionally celebrate our marriage monthly, at a minimum. Date night for us usually involves us trying something new, since that is what we enjoy. Sometimes that’s an activity, or a restaurant, and sometimes it is trying a new recipe at home.

Antonelli's Cheese Shop Austin, Texas

August’s date night consisted of a cheese class at Antonelli’s Cheese House and bottle of cider from the Austin-based Argus Cidery. If you’re in Austin, or visiting Austin, I highly recommend a visit. Even if you don’t make advance reservations for a class, you can pick up a few tasty cheese varieties for a picnic or a party.

Antonelli's Cheese Shop Austin, Texas

We were given half a pound of cheese each, divided into seven styles, served with baguette, olives, and macaroni almonds, as well as different pairings such as white honey and mustard violet.

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An Easy Fail Proof Brunch Recipe: Strawberries Romanoff Brulee

22 Aug

It’s no secret I love brunch. My 11am wedding ceremony was followed by a full brunch complete with bacon pops, mini pancake stacks, salmon mousse crostini, red pepper scones, fresh fruit, goat-cheese quiche, mimosas and a milk bar.

Next time I get to host a brunch I’ll surely be dishing up the simple, sinful combination of strawberries romanoff and creme brulee.

Strawberries Romanoff Brulee

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