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Still Reppin’ Cheap Art

25 May

Large scale art can be expensive, and while I’m still working on gathering basic furnishings and decor as a first-time home owner, art just hasn’t made its way up the priority list. Just because splurging on an original painting from my favorite artist isn’t in the cards right now, doesn’t mean I want barren walls.

I’ve loved Ashley Woodson Bailey‘s dark floral photographs since the first time I saw them. Some of my favorite designers, like Kristin Jackson and Christine Dovey, have used her photograph’s in their homes and clients’.

via The Hunted Interior

I’ve also loved Ellie Cashman‘s wallpaper designs, which I believe are based off of Dutch painter Cornelis van Spaendonck’s work, but I’m not sure I am ready to commit to a fully floral bathroom yet either.

via Cupcakes and Cashmere

The affordable compromise? Framed Ellie Cashman wallpaper samples. They probably won’t stay forever, but I LOVE them. This time, I spent the extra $12 and had custom black core mats cut at Hobby Lobby. I still opted for my trusty IKEA Ribba frames.

Ellie Cashman Wallpaper Prints Art Black Paint Bathroom

Looking for more inexpensive art inspiration? Check out my free printable watercolour Prada Marfa print, the $2 marble art I made, and how I upgraded my IKEA Ribba frames.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

DIY Campaign-Style Frames

28 Mar

If you haven’t noticed, I dig inexpensive wall art (see free Prade Marfa printables here and $2 Marbled artwork here). While I would love to collect a few museum-worthy pieces, my financial priorities just don’t lie in art right now.

Ikea is my go-to for frames, but I’ve been wanting to “hack” my dining room frames lately. I opted to avoid the trendy campaign-style makeover for my nightstands, but still have a secret love affair with brass corner brackets.

In the spirit of inexpensive art, I give you upcycled campaign-style frames.

DIY Campaign Style Frames

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Free Printable Prada Marfa Watercolour Art

28 Feb

When you aren’t inspired enough to paint over every beige room in your home, cover them with art!

Well, that is what I am doing, since I have not committed to paint colors. I also don’t feel like dedicating months worth of weekends to painting all but three rooms in my abode right now.

Free Printable #PradaMarfa Watercolor Art

After hearing about the new app, Waterlogue, I quickly decided to purchase the app, which is currently only available for iPhones and iPads, and transform my favorite photo of Prada Marfa from our recent trip out west. Here is what I found: if you start with a high quality photo, you get good results. Lower quality photos don’t create desirable results.

Free Printable Watercolor Prada Marfa Print

I also waterlogued a photo of Big Tex from our engagement session.

Free Printable Watercolor Art

I put each 11×17 print in 20×28 RIBBA frames from Ikea, cut new mats from posterboard, and hung the prints in my dining room.

I love my new, inexpensive wall art and have decided to make the Prada Marfa print available to my faithful blog readers. When I took the files to FedEx Office, they said the image should print clearly as large as 18×20. Since the original Big Tex image was taken professionally, I thought it best if I not share that one. Who besides us wants a print of a creepy, giant cowboy anyway?

Click HERE to download the Prada Marfa print.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Marfa, Texas

26 Nov

Marfa is a peculiar place. If I were just passing through, I doubt I would be inclined to stop. Marfa doesn’t stand out among the numerous other small west Texas towns, yet has a quiet and artistic culture all its own.

El Cosmico Marfa, Texas

I have been wanting to take a trip to Marfa, Texas for a short while now. When I heard there was talk of tearing down Prada Marfa, I set planning in motion. Taking the six-hour roadtrip from Austin didn’t seem too long, considering the airport nearest to Marfa is three hours down the road.

El Cosmico Teepee Marfa, Texas

Anthony was on board with the trip as soon as he found out we could stay in a teepee at El Cosmico and bring Nola, our dog. We might have made a different decision had the weatherman predicted that it would be a blistering twenty-five degrees while we were there… Thankfully, the queen-sized bed in the teepee was outfitted with mattress warmers, so we stayed toasty, as long as we stayed in bed.

El Cosmico Teepee Marfa, Texas

Our first stop in town was Pizza Foundation, and it was the best food we ate all weekend.  Businesses in Marfa have weird and limited hours. Pizza Foundation, for example, is only open Thursday through Sunday. Other places are open only for lunch, or are open for dinner, but close at 7pm. And then, there is the Latenight Grilled Cheese Parlour in the Museum of Electric Wonders where you can get a gourmet grilled cheese only from 9:30pm until 12:30 or 1:30am. In many other cases, it was indistinguishable whether a business was closed for the day, or closed for good.

Pizza Foundation Marfa, Texas

After driving the wrong way and then course-correcting, we found out the the infamous Prada Marfa is not in Marfa at all. Rather, it is in Valentine, Texas, about 30 miles down highway 90. Prada Marfa is as odd and charming as it looks in all the pictures.  On the way back to Marfa, expect to get stopped by U.S. Border Patrol.

Prada, Marfa

Anthony and I grabbed a drink at Jett’s Grill in El Paisano Hotel, where James Dean, Rock Hudson, Carol Baker, and Elizabeth Taylor stayed while filming Giant. The hotel opened  in 1930 in anticipation of an oil boom that never happened. In its glory days, El Paisano was called one of the grandest hotels between El Paso and San Antonio.

El Paisano Hotel Marfa, Texas

Artist Donald Judd, whose work can be seen in modern art museums across the nation, including the MoMA, the Fort Worth Modern, and the Blanton in Austin, moved to Marfa from New York City in the 1970s. His work remains a large part of Marfa’s history and culture. Anthony and I visited Judd’s Chinati Foundation, built on the old military Fort D.A. Russell.

Donald Judd Chinati Foundation Marfa Texas

We tried to visit the The Wrong Store, and even called the number on the hand-scribbled note they placed on their door saying, “We are here, call xxx-xxx-xxxx.” No answer, but gawking at the hand-carved door and peeking through the windows still put me in a state of wonder.

The Wrong Store Marfa, Texas

Before leaving Marfa, we stopped at Boyz 2 Men for some mediocre $4 breakfast tacos, which would never fly in Austin, and at Frama, for hot chocolate. I loved Frama’s Scrabble letters menu.

Frama Coffee Marfa, Texas

Unfortunately, we did not even attempt to see the Marfa Lights. Visibility was terrible with the bone-chilling weather.

Frozen Cacti Marfa, Texas

Marfa was a a pleasant change of pace from not only my normal city life, but also from the pace of a typical getaway.

Powder Bath Progress

21 Jun

When I was 11 or so, my bedroom was yellow. Not a pale, creamy yellow, not a mustard yellow, it was canary yellow, or YELLOW! as my mom called it. I picked it, and I liked it (at the time).  The theme song to my bedroom quickly became Corey Hart’s Sunglasses at Night. Fast-forward a few years, and my parents were thrilled to help me repaint my bedroom blue.

When I had the paint chip in my hand at the home improvement store, I was confident I’d like dark walls in our powder bathroom (all because I noticed a trend on my Pinterest board). When I saw the mixed can of near black liquid, I questioned my own judgment. My thoughts were, “What will my mother say about this color?” and, “Will the powder bathroom have a theme song?”

Hesitantly, I brought the paint home, and started covering the walls. Hoping my husband wouldn’t hate it, uncertain I’d like it myself, I felt daring.


Before I moved in, before Anthony and I were even engaged, I took down the builder grade mirror, and replaced it with the one pictured above, which was (flipped horizontally) above my headboard at home. Small improvement.



I love the black walls and the progress, but the room is still lacking decor. I’m on the hunt for:

Black and Gold

Why didn’t anyone tell me how difficult it is to paint behind a toilet? Are there tricks? Any suggestions for a theme song?

Adventures in Austin City Limits

16 Oct

This past weekend, Anthony and I attended ACL Festival, or Austin City Limits Festival, a 3-day music festival in Zilker Park, with over 120 bands playing on 7 different stages. We watched somewhere around 22 of them. If I had to play favorites, The Colorfeels, Ben Howard, Gary Clark Jr., and Florence + The Machine would be at the top of my list. Finish reading this post, then go immediately and check them all out.

ACL Fest 2012

ACL rules say you’re not allowed to bring in cameras with a removable lens, so we broke out the old Polaroid camera my uncle gave me and my siblings when we were small and ordered some of the Impossible Project‘s Film.  I also thought it would be an appropriate time to download Instagram. We saw so many people with DSLRs, and overheard people tell the gate guards that the lenses didn’t come off. We decided to stick to the rules and have our fun by documenting our time with our instant camera and Instagram. If my scanner wasn’t boxed up in Austin, I’d upload the Polaroids.

The first day, we found a no-hassle, free parking spot 1.2 miles from Zilker (yes, this can actually be considered a great spot for the fest). We returned there each day. That was where our adventures began. Friday, we walked past different tents handing out sodas and goodies, and scored some more shades; this time, in a fun blue hue.

When gearing up to go we had a dilemma: bring chairs and lug them around all day or a blanket that could squeeze into the backpack? I’m very much the “travel light” type. This question was easily answered as we conducted our own “social experiment”. Friday we brought one inexpensive folding chair that would not be missed if lost or stolen and placed it at a stage near the festival entrance. We proceeded to stage hop and left the chair. In the end, our chair was safely resting where we left it. Anthony said that  leaving the chair was like leaving your dinner plate at a buffet restaurant. That made me giggle. While the blanket was great, it poured on Saturday, so chairs were a much better option for the mud. We picked up a second chair for Sunday.

Sweet Leaf Tea Smiles

With a crowd of about 80,000, ACL is people watching at its prime. Can you say gold lame leotards? If outfits didn’t make you stand out in the crowd, many people made “flags” so they could easily be found by their group. It felt a bit like ESPN’s College Game Day. Anthony and I stuck together the whole time, so we didn’t need a flag, but when meeting up with some friends it was easier to find each other by saying fun things like, “We’re to the left of the giraffe, in front of the tie-dye.”  My favorite flag was an upside-down turtle with a speech bubble that said, “This is awkward.”

When we needed to re-energize ourselves, we found plenty of food options at the festival. Booths lined the edge of the grounds with mostly local selections. Everything from food truck tacos to local organic salads and tamales were available. Fort Worth’s Tim Love even made an appearance with two booths (Love Shack and Woodshed)! I think the selection was a reflection of Austin as it was very “foodie” for a festival. Truffle Pomme Frittes from Second Bar + Kitchen, and Boomerang’s Australian style hand pies were among our choices over the weekend. I wanted to try Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Pop Rocks, but never did get around to it. After the festival Friday and Saturday, Anthony and I decided to grab a late night bite to reflect on the days’ events and discuss our favorite acts.
We sure are glad we chose ACL over the Red River Rivalry game this year…

New Orleans: A Guide

17 May

Last weekend I took my first trip to Louisiana and visited New Orleans to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday.  As New Orleans was the kick off of a new age for him, I will use it as a kick off for my blog. In doing research for our roadtrip I found advice on experiencing New Orleans to be lacking. Today, I write for that reason. My guide compiles what I wish people had told me, what I did, what I wish I would have done, and what I would do differently.

The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone might have been my favorite place in NOLA. It is easily the most unusual cocktail bar I have ever entered. The center of the bar looks like a classic carousel that the bar top and stools rotate around. We learned from the bartender that it takes fifteen minutes to do one full rotation. If there is not a seat available at the bar when you walk in, wait. It is worth it.  I ordered a Golden Cadillac, a delicious, creamy licorice hinted drink that would be best compared to a White Russian. It was fantastic.

Gumbo, jambalaya, and a po boy were on my list of foods to eat. I wish I would have been able to try more of each to have some comparisons to offer, but Mr. B’s makes a great Gumbo Ya Ya (for non-seafood eaters) and yummy Barbecue Shrimp. If you are looking to eat at a busy restaurant but didn’t make a reservation, ask the hostess if the bar is full service, as you can usually seat yourself without a wait. This is what we did at Mr. B’s. Also, if you want to try some of the finer restaurants but are travelling on a budget, eat at these places during lunch hours. You can often order smaller portions of dinner offerings at a lower price.

I was told repeatedly that Cafe du Monde  is a New Orleans must. This coffee stand is open 24 hours so it isn’t too difficult to avoid this place during early morning hours when you will wait in a long line of tourists. Grab three warm, powdered sugar covered beignets for a whopping $2.65. Cross the street and shop the work of local artists in Jackson Square.

Obviously a walk down balcony lined Bourbon Street where the Mardi Gras magic happens is in order. Another must-walk street in the French Quarters is Royal Street. Replace all of Bourbon’s bars with art galleries and antique shops and you’ve got Royal. In the unassuming art galleries you’ll find the work of both local artists and renowned artists, such as Picasso and Dali, for sale. While you’re on Royal street, if you want to pick up a souvenir that really says New Orleans, I’d suggest stopping in Bevolo for a gas lamp like the ones you see all around the city.

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without live music. For good blues we were told to go see Big Al at the Funky Pirate, but were also advised to “follow our ears.” We didn’t make it to see 495 pound Al, but found some fun brass bands at Vasos and BMC off of Decatur.

Saturday morning we went to Brennan’s.  As our waiter mentioned, Brennan’s is in Webster’s dictionary under Bananas Foster, but The brunch prices seemed to reflect the name more than the quality of food. If you want to dine there I’d suggest eating no more than their recommended turtle soup or their famous bananas foster.

Sunday we opted for a less expensive morning meal and ended up at Merchant: a little cafe on Common Street that serves crepes, croques, and coffee. Both the Pancetta and the Triple Cream crepes were scrumptious.  While the cafe is small, don’t expect to pop in for a quick bite as the leisurely staff makes everything fresh once you order.

After exploring the French Quarters take the St. Charles street car to the Garden District. You can get an all day pass for $3.  Bring exact change for your fare. Take a walk through the neighborhood, and admire the unique architecture marked by gas lamps and floor to ceiling shutters.

Head down to Magazine street, a 6-mile strip of mostly locally owned restaurants, galleries, and shops, and swing by Sucre for artful pastries, chocolates, macarons, or gelato. I ate an outstanding caramel peanut tart while my boyfriend sipped a Rocher gelato shake. This is one of the best patisseries I have been to in all of my travels.

I thought it would be fun to eat a bowl of gumbo at Commander’s Palace, but without reservations and a standing only bar, the wait would have taken up more precious time in New Orleans than I was willing to let it. Not to mention, I felt slightly under dressed in my casual skirt. For alternative dining in the neighborhood, hop back on the St. Charles street car and head to Slice Pizzeria: delicious brick oven pizza, a break from tourists, and NOLA Brewery beers.

If I had another day I would have loved to take the Gray Line Katrina Tour, walked through the WWII Museum, or visited the Audubon Aquarium. I’d also try a few different eateries including, Mike’s on the Avenue, Dick and Jenny’s, and The Columns.  If you have any NOLA favorites, please share below.

My pre-trip suggested reads: Design*Sponge’s New Orleans City Guide, The Urbanist’s New Orleans: What to Do, gusto & grace: a map of NOLA, The New York Times Travel Guide, and The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada.

UPDATE 6.29.12: Anthropologie recently publised this guide in their magazine.

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