Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween - Disney style

I wanted to wish my three loyal readers (who cares if they are all related to me) a Happy Halloween!

This weekend my family and I are going to the happiest place on earth, no not Disney World, but the O.G. Disneyland (in Anaheim).  Disneyland opened in July 1955 with a total investment of $17 million. Walt Disney's brother, Roy, discouraged the creation of Disneyland because he believed it would lead to "financial ruin."

Um, Roy, I just heard that Disney paid $4 billion to buy LucasFilm and the "Star Wars" franchise. Not to mention they already own Pixar and Marvel! Talk about owning the world. But I digress, this isn't a blog about smart purchases or world domination. Disneyland always brings me back to my childhood and I now enjoy watching our kids experience the wonder of this place. The design of Disneyland is so unique for amusement parks with it's lands and how each was crafted so you feel like you are walking into a different time and place.

I love taking photos of places I go and finding the beauty in areas that maybe others may not notice. Disneyland is no exception.  When I went last year during the Halloween season, I was able to capture the magic of Disneyland and the feel of Halloween in the following shots: 

(outside of the Haunted Mansion)

(Inside the Haunted Mansion)

(Taken at Disneyland Main Street)

I'm hoping to capture more amazing shots this year as well.  Disneyland always does a great job decorating their park with their holiday themes. 

I hope you have a safe and fun Halloween.  Most of all as the great horror director George Romero always says "Stay Scared!".   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kids and modern furniture

Used to be in the day that modern furniture and kids did not mix. Sometimes that saying still holds water. My husband and I had purchased a Bo Concept sleek, white, microfleece sofa from one of our favorite modern furniture stores in San Diego, Hold It.  It was our first major purchase for our home. When our son, Milo, was born in 2007, that sofa became a breeding ground for Milo's spit up, pee, and whatever else comes out of babies. We ended up giving away our sofa. 

Although, we learned our lesson about buying bright white furniture when you have little kids who by nature will spill or spit something on them leaving difficult stains to remove - we still did not give up on buying modern furnishings. We ended up purchasing the black Karlstad sofa from IKEA. The kids love it plus it was comfortable, affordable and stylish enough to satisfy my husband and my tastes.

(sorry about the poor quality photo)
Eventually when Milo becomes the next Justin Bieber and Stella the next Taylor Swift, or Steve Jobs since they both know how to navigate the IPhone and IPad with such ease, I will be able to afford more furniture from our favorite modern furniture shops in San Diego. Until then, I will continue to window shop and find reasons to take cute kids on furniture pictures. Recently my family went to Mixture in the heart of Little Italy in San Diego. Mixture is a modern and contemporary home furnishing and accessories store.  It's a 3-story open loft with a courtyard in the back.

I figured out the best way to buy modern furnishing, if you have small kids, is to see what they gravitate towards. My son found the furniture he liked the most and told me to take photos of him on "something cool." So I quickly deduced that my son is (a) a narcissist and (b) has good taste (his little sister, Stella, just tagged along).

(urchin poufs by Christien Meindertsma)

(Livingstones by Stephanie Marin)
(Cake by Swan Italy)
(love their outdoor "Day of the Dead" decorations)
(Sledge by De La Espada)
(Horse lamp by Front)
There are always going to be compromises in one's life, especially when it comes to your children. Our home decor was definitely one of those compromises, but I managed to have fun with it and still find furnishing for our home that kept our sense of style intact and all those spills contained!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Filipino heritage in the home

My husband and I are both Filipino - I was born and raised in San Diego and my husband in the Philippines. We share an affinity for modern design and pops of color, in particular the color orange.  As much as I like the clean, straight lines of the modern design, I also like to bring the personal into the home.  In addition to having our fair share of family photos scattered about, we are attempting to include some of our heritage in the design.

Designer and author, Meg Mateo Ilasco, has the perfect home that mixes mid-century modern, bright colors and her and her husband's Filipino heritage.  

The rattan chairs are hand-me-downs from Meg's mom. The chairs were reupholstered to give them a more fresh look.  The Philippines are one of the top suppliers of rattan products. Rattan furniture are known for their durability and strength.  

Meg's dining room have pops of blue and orange colors that complement each other well.  The macramé planter is another find from Meg's mother.  I like that this room has an eclectic mixture of mid-century, 1970s, and personal touch to it.

In my own home, the biggest and most valuable piece is our original oil painting by Filipino artist Ed Santuangco. We discovered this artist's work when we went to the Philippines for our honeymoon in 2007 where we even had a chance to visit his gallery, Collections of Art, in Angeles City.  We were instantly attracted to the modernity of the painting in regards to his subtle use of cubism and the bright oranges, blues and golds.  But at the same time the theme is very Filipino - the painting depicts a Filipino market and in the background are the ubiquitous Jeepneys.

Of course not to seem too pretentious with this talk about original art in the home, I'll bring it down a notch by saying our Filipino household would not be complete without our "Barrel Men" (and women). If you are Filipino and you do not know about the Barrel Men then Shame on You!  If you aren't aware of the Barrel Men, let's just say that when you lift those barrels up, you will get yourself a little (or big) surprise. That's all I'm going to say.  Mindless entertainment for hours.  

The remainder of our house is comprised of a lot of Swedish furniture. We are not swedish, but my husband works at IKEA...which will be another blog topic for another day...

(top photos by Thomas J. Story via Sunset Magazine)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Frustrated designer: The Bowerbird

I told my husband I wanted to blog about the Bowerbird and he said the Bowerbird had nothing to do with design - oh you silly man!  The Bowerbird is like the Jonathan Adler of the avian world. The pops of color are everywhere.

The Bowerbirds are native of New Guinea and Australia. They are known for their complex mating behavior which involves building a bower to attract their mates.  Some Bowerbirds build their bower by arranging sticks in a vertical position and placing colorful objects around the area. These birds spend hours building their bower or as we humans call "the bachelor pad." Some Bowerbirds do not get chosen because their bower simply did not "make the cut." Rejection still stings even in the avian community.  


May I suggest to you, Bower-dude, instead of using scraps of blue paper on the ground to perhaps lay a few of the Jonathan Adler Brasilia bird pillows around your lair? Females love the cuteness and plus it may showcase your feminine style.
Some Bowerbirds use plant juice to color the twigs. This bower has pops of blues, reds and oranges.   

Reminds me of what Jonathan Adler's own dining room color palette looks like:

Okay now don't get me started on the Bowerbird's similarities to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West...

(top photo: Peter Halasz; 2nd bower photo: CauseThey'reThere's via flickr; bottom photo: Jessica Antola via Zatista)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Ryans and an Airport style

I'm convinced if your first name is Ryan and you are Canadian that you got some major style mojo.

I have this theory that if you are a celebrity and you are caught off the red carpet at an innocuous place like the airport and you look this cool and casual then you must have a natural ability to create style.  

If you just saw these guys at the airport and you had no idea who they were (and there were no paparazzi around) you would stare at them and admire (and possibly crush on) their innate "coolness" factor.  

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Reynolds
The shades and stylish chapeaus say "hey, I want to be incognito," but still look cool that you know "hey, I'm a celebrity."  The carry-ons are casually slung over the shoulder.  The hipster, low slung, dark washed denims so sexy and of the moment.  Ok stop me!  I'm married - darn you Canucks!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Milo and Stella

The two kids depicted above are my adorable, yet rambunctious children: Milo, almost 5, and Stella, almost 2. Designing a shared room is hard enough, but if your kids are of a different gender it makes it that much more challenging.  

I grew up in a small home. There were five siblings sharing two rooms.  I learned that sharing a room teaches patience and helps foster your own identity in a creative way.

One of my all time favorite shared rooms is actor Mark Ruffalo's children's room (which was featured in Domino's 2009 issue).  The room designed by Nickey Kehoe was proof that a girl and boy can share a room and still exude style and cohesiveness.  The eclectic and slightly bohemian charm of this room is what stands out to me, but the common elements (like the Jenny Lind beds and african hoop chairs) hold it together.  I love that each child can show their individuality in this room and still keep the style intact.  

Now if somehow I can work Milo's obsession with Minecraft and Stella's obsession with Super Mario Bros into this mix than we're in business...

(top photo:  original work; bottom photos: via BlackEiffel)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Diego makes me Blue

I'll be blogging quite a bit about the city I was born, raised and now live in.  San Diego certainly lives up to it's title "America's finest city."  San Diego was also voted the luckiest city by Men's Health Magazine in 2011 (the most hole-in-ones, the most Mega Millions and Powerball winners, and the least deaths by lightning strikes!).  Let's also throw in our beautiful beaches to the west, our mountains to the east, Shamu, World Famous Zoo, Comic Con, enjoyable weather and our delicious fish tacos....I can go on and on...

But this is a blog about design and style and color is an important component of both.  Color elicits moods and attracts the eye.  If there is a color that epitomizes San Diego it would be blue. Not primary blue, but aqua blue and baby blue.  Those blues make you think of relaxation and serenity.

The best example of this is our Coronado Bridge, which is becoming iconic to San Diego as the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco.

(photo by Travels by Monkey via flickr)

The bridge was opened in 1969 and was quickly recognized for it's beauty in 1970 by receiving The Most Beautiful Bridge of Merit by the American Institute of Steel Construction.  The blue color was chosen to blend with sky and sea.  The Coronado Bridge also has a graceful curve to it that is best appreciated from afar.  Driving on this bridge is another experience entirely - a little bit scary and exhilarating at once but the views from above are spectacular.  

This Blue can be found everywhere you look in San Diego. I took this photo from the Cabrillo National Monument:

(via iphone)

Lest I forget about style in San Diego in regards to the color blue, we only need to look at our own San Diego Charger football team:

(photo by Mike Nowak via San Diego Chargers)

Their throwback uniforms are generally regarded as one of the best uniforms in sports history. The perfect pairing, aesthetically speaking, between a sports team and a city.  Even though the Chargers got embarrassed on national television this past Monday night, they at least looked good doing it.  Way to go Throwback Uniforms!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What a cubicle dweller dreams of...

I am a cubicle dweller.  I work 40 hours a week stuck in a small, gray, 3 1/2 walled cubicle.  I think the longer I reside in one, my creative juices slowly gets drained out and is discarded with all the pulp and rind.   But  maybe if I was housed in a cubicle that had a little more style, a little more POP!, it wouldn't be as bad.  

A little less Dorothy "Kansas" and lot more Dorothy "Oz"...

Check out this awesome art installation by Megan Geckler.  She created this technicolor dream workspace for the water bottle company, bobble, using flagging tape and aluminum. Imagine what she could do with our post-it notes.  I'm not sure if I can get any work done in here, but at least it will make my day more interesting.  

Which brings me to this blog and why I started it - to give me an outlet to express my thoughts and visual interests and remind myself that life is more than just a gray wall, but a interesting place full of color and creativeness. Enjoy!

(photo via 2modernblog)

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