Happy New Year!

Full steam ahead into 2011!  Shanna and I would like to wish you all a VERY happy and healthy new year.  We cannot wait to hear all of your new year's resolutions and look forward to another great year here at Swoon!

{Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart}

See you swoon,

Swoon-Worthy: Neiman Marcus Shoe Salon

OK, OK, I know ... is this really a newsflash?  Of course Neiman Marcus has swoon-worthy and drool-worthy shoes, selling the likes of Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci and my personal favorite, Manolo Blahnik.  But I had such a wonderful customer service experience at the King of Prussia Neiman Marcus Shoe Salon recently that I had to share.

I bought my first pair of Manolo Blahniks from the King of Prussia Neiman Marcus store about four years ago (they were a classic black pump). I wore them almost every day for four years, and they looked and felt beautiful.  I will tell you: I can justify the purchase because I loved them and if you do the math and divide the number of days I wore them by the total it isn't that expensive ... but more than that, the shoes were just the most amazing piece of workmanship I have ever worn. From the second I put them on my foot, they were comfortable and felt like butter.  Not kidding, not exaggerating ... butter.  That, my friends, is priceless.

In any event, my beloved first pair finally wore out and I replaced them last May.   So my new Manolos were pretty new.  I was wearing them a few weeks ago at work, and while standing up and talking to my boss in his office, we both heard a loud crack and I jolted backwards.  Yes, I was an urban legend come true: the heel broke off my shoe.

Cue the sad face and tragic music.  I was really upset!  The shoes weren't brand new, but they were less than a year old.  And of course I did not have a spare pair of shoes in my office.  I was going to take my lovelies to my favorite cobbler and hit up a shoe store near by, but I thought I'd try Neiman Marcus and see what they could do for me.  I happen to work about 10 minutes from the King of Prussia mall (danger) and figured I could stop in the store and get it taken care of.  I spoke with the manager of the shoe salon (Leslie) and her assistant and both were super kind and apologetic and told me to please come in and not to worry: they would help me.  So I hopped in my car and drove over there tout suite, wearing boots two sizes too big that my boss's daughter was kind enough to let me borrow.

When I arrived at Neiman, they had pulled a brand new pair of Manolos for me in my size and told me to please take them with their apologies.  They took my old broken ones and that was it.  I was floored.  I was totally expecting them to repair the shoes, but I did not think they would replace them.  They did mention that they could not guarantee a replacement if it happened again (which makes sense ...) but that they were always happy to help their customers.  And here is a shot of my brand new lovelies again.

I have to say, the shoes got me in the door, but the customer service will keep me coming back.  Thank you Neiman Marcus!

And hey, it's still the holiday season - do you have any warm fuzzy stories of excellent customer service? I'd love to hear.

See you swoon,

(I should mention that neither Neiman Marcus nor Manolo Blahnik have paid or comped me for this post ... but holy smokes, they are welcome to do so if they would like!)

What Would Jamie Wear: New Year's Eve House Party

I don't know about the rest of you but I am ready to say goodbye to 2010 and cannot wait to see what 2011 has in store for us, I know this is going to be a great year!  Like I had mentioned in my last post I will be welcoming 2011 in my favorite sweats with some of my best friends.  However, for those of you going to a house party this year and you want to look your best here are some things I have been pining over and would be great additions to any wardrobe.

Asos Revive Jet Beaded Kimono Jacket: You must check out www.asos.com.  This kimono jacket would be great with many things but this entire outfit is something I would love to have and would be beautiful for a New Year's party.


Asos Volume Sleek V Neck Top:  This outfit would be great with a chunkier peice of jewlery that stands out and makes a statement.  This outfit is a bit more casual but still perfect to hang out in all night long.


Topshop Black Embelished Dress: I need this dress.  NEED IT.  This would be great for going out or a house party, you cannot go wrong with this dress, I am not even kidding, it is beautiful.

Topshop Pleat Front Zipback Top: This top is a beautiful color and the detailing is just enough to make it interesting but not over the top.  I would pair this with some super dark jeans and peep toe booties or a pair of tall black suede pumps, dare I say Christian Louboutin??


Happy Shopping and Happy New Year to all!

See you swoon,

Home Swoon Home: no-sew projects with fabric

For years I shied away from anything DIY that was fabric-related because I don't sew and I don't have a sewing machine.  That's all changed since I discovered the magic of fusible seam tape and whipped out the good ol' glue gun.  Here's the low down (down low, no doubt) on these super easy projects:

The Fabric

Unfortunately, I don't live near many good fabric stores.  We have a few JoAnns, but I have never had much luck with the selection there.  Instead, I buy my fabric online.  My favorite site, hands down, is Fabric.com.

The prices and selection at Fabric.com are pretty amazing.  The shipping is fast (and often free), and I can always find a coupon code, which saves me even more money, and you know how much I love that.  Plus, the customer service is absolutely top-notch:  I once received a fabric that I did not order, and when I called the Fabric.com customer service center, they were apologetic and quickly sent the correct order, did not charge me a penny and let me keep the incorrect fabric (even though I offered to send it back).  Nice.

No Sew Tape Projects

So, once I receive my fabric, one option is to use this no sew tape, which fuses fabric together, kind of a non-sew hem.  You just iron on and it holds.  Here is the tape that I prefer to use: Steam a Seam 2 (which I purchase from Fabric.com)

Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible 1/2'' Tape

I have used the fusible tape on curtains to "hem" them to the correct length.  And, I've used the tape to cover over my living room bench's cushions, which were dull as dishwater before I added the punchy print.  Covering the seat cushions was a little time-consuming and required a lot of tape and ironing, but it was worth it.   If you do this, make sure to purchase upholstery weight fabric that will not show dirt or stains, as you won't be able to remove the cushion covers for washing.

Here are the pictures of my projects:

Glue Gun Fabric Projects

I know ... I know ... you hear the word "glue gun" and you have visions of bedazzlers and crazy tacky things.  Not so.  I love my glue gun and have found it to be as important a tool in home decorating as a drill or hammer.  I used my glue gun to create fabric backings for a few shelves in my home.  Before I added the fabric, the shelves were just kind of blah - the wine buffet was just too starkly white and the living room espresso shelf was way too dark.  The pop of pattern and color really makes the rooms and ties into the other colors in the space.  And the project was so simple.  I just bought some foam board from Target, measured the space, cut the foam board to size, cut my fabric with about one inch extra on each side, used a dot of hot glue to affix it and dunzo!  Here are my fabric-backed shelves in all their fancy glory:

There you go! Easy peasy and kind of fun to boot.  In case you're wondering, the fabric I used for both of these projects was the Premier Prints Barber Taupe/Robin, available at Fabric.com of course.  And because I don't already have enough on my to do list, I asked for (and received!) a mini-sewing machine for Christmas, this one, and now, I'm going to try my hand at some real sewing.

Talk to me about any fabric projects you have tackled or that are on your list.  I'd love to hear!

See you swoon,

What Would Jamie Wear: New Year's Eve on the Town

2011 is almost here if you can believe that, I sure can't but ready or not, here it comes!  So with the fast approaching new year the question(s) of the moment will be  where are you going to be when the ball drops and depending on the answer to that question your next thought is most likely, "What am I going to wear"! 

While I do miss dressing up for New Year's Eve and hitting the town, Kelly and I have joined our friends in a new tradition, a sweatpants party!  I know for younger folks this may seem a little lame but it really does not get any better than dressing down to go to a party where everyone drinks champagne, plays board games, and waits for the ball to drop in complete comfort.  I probably do not have to show you how to wear comfy clothes but this week for all of you going out for the holiday or going to a house party where sweatpants are not invited I will show you a few items that you can use to make any outfit a bit more festive. 

Forever21 Beaded Front Chiffon Top:  This would be great with a pair of skinnies (my favorite) or to make it a little more formal you could tuck it into a skirt, slightly bloused out with a trendy belt.  This would be great with black stockings and a pair of black velvet pumps! 

J Crew Couplet Dress: This one is a classic and can be worn for many other occassions besides New Year's Eve 
Couplet dress


Topshop Waterfall Ruffle Assymetric Dress: LOVE , this dress and it would be beautiful alone with black heels or with black stockings and a sexy pair of pumps. 


Topshop Embelished V Back Blouse:  This top has just enough bling to ring in the new year and would look amazing with a pair of dark jeans tucked inside your boots or with long boot cut jeans over a pair of tall pumps.  



Stella & Dot: This is a night to really glam it up, so here are some gorgeous accessories that you could wear with a simple black top and dark jeans or black skinny jeans/pants.  In this case the accessories are really the star of the show and the simple wardrobe choice can be the stage to set it off. 




I hope you all have fun shopping for your night out and if you need help or have questions, send them our way. 


See you swoon

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Jamie and I want to wish you and yours the merriest of Christmases and a happy, healthy 2011.  We can't thank you enough for taking a moment from your busy day to read our blog.

Enjoy time with your loved ones today and always. Cheers!

See you swoon,

{photo courtesy of Martha Stewart}

Swoon-Worthy Sites: Houzz.com

I just recently learned about this Houzz.com and I have been completely addicted ever since.  This website has an endless amount of ideas that you can use to inspire your home design from paint colors, to linens, furniture right down to the tiny details such as hardware on cabinets, flowers or window treatments and so much more.

I know I just finished my bedroom but I have now found a new bedroom that I would like to try out.  This is actually more of the color I was going for but my golden straw color turned out to be a little more yellow than I would have liked.  I do not plan to continuously change all of my rooms around on a monthly basis but this room I think I must have at least some elements of it.

LA bedroom modern bedroom

What I absolutely love about this site is that you can create your own ideabooks and save pictures that you find yourself swooning over as well as make notes about what specific things you actually saved the picture for in the first place.  I have only been on this site for a week and could design about 25 homes at this point!

Next up, bathrooms!  Now since I have this view out of my bathroom I will be doing this...
Master Bathroom contemporary bathroom

Just kidding, I wish!  Seriously though I love this design below, so simple and just enough color to keep the look clean:
Oasis modern bathroom

So go check this site out and start your own ideabook, and as always, we would love to see what you find!

See you swoon,

DIY Tutorial: Tearing Out Shower Doors

I feel a little like Milli Vanilli.  Remember in the early 90s when they got busted for lip syncing because their CD got stuck on endless repeat "girl you know it's ... girl you know it's ... girl you know it's ... "? Yeah, well for the past few weeks, I've been saying "tear out shower doors ... tear out shower doors ... tear out shower doors ..." on a similar endless repeat ala Rob and Fab.  {Note: I am still pretty devastated that Milli Vanilli fell from grace in such an embarrassing way.  I still love their music.  And I don't think I knew until maybe my mid-20s that their names were not actually Milli and Vanilli.  Sorry, random.}

Anyway, up today is my promised and much talked about DIY tutorial on how to remove shower doors.  I will start by saying I was completely prepared to call in a professional if the shower surround underneath was in dire shape.  I figured I could handle some minor patch work (especially since I got a new saw for my birthday!), but knew if the situation under those doors was grim, I'd need to call someone who knew what he or she was doing.  Lucky for me, that was not the case.

Remember, this is what I started with:

The first thing I did was take my time and evaluate my space.  My doors were screwed into a fibreglass shower surround on the two sides and glued/caulked to the porcelain tub on the bottom.  The big wrinkle was the one side of the tub near the window: the shower doors acted as a little barrier between that fibreglass surround and the wood wainscoting.  This part of the wall scared me.   I did my homework on Google, You Tube and eHow and searched how to remove shower doors and watched many a tutorial online.  I also asked several friends how they did it. This was all very encouraging. I made my list of supplies and got ready.

The supplies that I needed were: screwdriver, putty knife, utility knife, and needle-nosed pliers (to pull the anchors from the surround).  Of course, I also needed a shower curtain, shower curtain liner, curtain hooks and a shower curtain rod, not to mention some almond-colored caulk to match the shower surround for filling in the holes where the screws were.  Once I had all the goods, it was time to get to work.

First, I unscrewed the doors from the frame.  I took the screws out of the top and bottom rails.  This bottom rail part pretty much held the doors in place (and was also disgusting and literally crumbling).

Next, I gave a tug and pulled down those doors! Yes!  To my surprise, they were not heavy at all (I'd been warned it was possible that they would be super heavy), so I took them outside to the trash (note: we set the doors & rails out on the curb before trash day and someone came and picked them up! gotta love that they're not going to end up in a landfill).  Here I am dorkily celebrating my first success.

After the doors were out, I simply popped the top rail off, and I was left with just the frame.  So I then unscrewed the screws holding in place and gently used my utility knife along the caulked sides to loosen the frame from the wall.

Once I got the two sides down, all that was left was the bottom rail.  The side rail near the window ended up being just fine.  I might add a piece of trim to finish it off a little, but for now, it looks good.  Anyway, back to the tub -- I did not want to scratch or damage the beautiful porcelain tub, so I used a stiff putty knife on this.  And it worked, as I am making clear with my thumbs up.

Ok, see that black? That was glue and nastiness.  I used my bucket of cleaning supplies and cleaned that tub and made it shine.  I ended up using a combination of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for Bathroom, CLR bathroom cleaner, steel wool and Comet powder.

After a lot of scrubbing, rinsing and scrubbing some more, I had done it!  My tub was completely clean and bright.  Once I finished cleaning, I simply caulked the small holes where the screws had been and called it a day.

Hooray!  Removing the doors and then cleaning/patching the tub and shower surround took a little under two hours.  Not bad!

Do you have any demo-type projects on the horizon? Share! We love that stuff.

See you swoon,

Rice Grain It Is

The last three days have been completely exhausting...and painful but as I sit here and gaze at all of the hard work that has been accomplished I honestly feel like it was all worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  I was going to wait to show you the before and after shots of the paint job that Shanna, Kelly and I took on so that I could show you the room before (you all have seen this madness but I will show you again in a minute), finish the room completely, and then reveal the after, but where is the fun in that?  So the plan now is to show you all the changes along the way, after all, most of the fun is in the journey isn't it?!

Some of you may have seen Shanna's comment after leaving here Sunday, the Rice Paddy that we were so excited about, well, it went back to the store, FAST (thank you Lowe's).  On the fan deck Rice Paddy and Rice Grain looked beautiful together, it was the perfect green for me.  Then I get the gallon home and BAM, on the wall is neon yellowish green, not what we had in mind.  This was very disappointing and for the sake of having clean painted walls for the holidays we decided on Rice Grain throughout.  This color is classic and leaves a lot of room to have fun with colorful accessories which you will see in later posts.

So here we go, McDonlad's colors are gone, here you see the before of the dining room and front room:

A little hard to see with the sun beaming in but we did end up counting four colors in this room alone including the ceiling and crown molding.  What you cannot see here is the wall with the scones that I featured before was dark green like the ceiling in our bedroom but not anymore!

And After: Notice the new dining room set from Craigslist, more before and afters on that coming soon!

And for the full Christmas Tree effect:

Send us your transformations, I would love to see the color combinations you have chosen.  And if any of you have found a green that meshes well with Rice Grain let me know.

See you swoon,