At work, I'm none as the new girl with the cute headband. Now call me crazy, but it a world where some people are trying so hard to fit in, I believe that some of us are just born to stand out. Everyday, I switch my IKEA uniform up with a headband with from my outrageous collection (outrageous in a good way, I promise).  I strongly believe that it's possible to stand out without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best hair accessories for under $6.00. My store of choice - Forever21!

I wore this one to work one day and got so many compliments from visitors!
It also comes in black. The Oversized Double Bow Headband $4.80.

I own this one in red as well as black. It also comes in teal and cream.
The Shiny Satin Flower Headband $3.80.

I absolutely HAD to get this one to wear with my uniform my first day of work. I actually darkened the yellow portions to custom match my shirt. The Plaid Bow Skinny Headband $3.80.

Who doesn't love a little houndstooth? Of course it comes in black!
The Houndstooth Satin Bow Headband $2.80.

My fiance always claims that I'm wearing some type of endangered bird when I wear feathers, but hey - you've gotta love it. Feathers Petal Headband $3.80.

Yes, those are zippers! How do they do it? Must be magic! Believe it or not, this
would actually be a splurge for me! The Zipper Trim Headband - $5.80

More than likely my next purchase - for obvious reasons.
The Pleather Bow Headband $3.80.

Okey Dokey, I'll keep it short and sweet! Go out and adorn yourself with something beautiful and inexpensive!

Remember your last stay at Motel 6? While you're thinking about the dingy floral comforters, the stained carpet, and lingering smell of well... everyone's nose is different. In any case, I was so impressed when I saw the Phoenix, AR prototype for Motel 6's extreme makeover. Now brace yourself for because you may not be ready for this!


That's right, you don't even recognize it! Just like I thought! The sleek platform beds with neutral coverlets, the accent walls, the absence of a tropical floral pattern - it's Motel 6 (2.0).  With the ingenuity of Priestman Goode, a London-based design firm, the new Motel 6 will include such design luxuries as a custom , multifunctional unit, modern furnishings, wood laminate flooring, and granite counter tops.  And for those of you interested in the tech goodies, a 32" flat-screen television, connections for your mp3 player of choice, and wireless internet attract those looking for a refreshing stay on a modest budget.

The oh-so-intelligent entertainment unit which encompasses lighting, a television, shelving for storage, and an exposed closet for hanging clothing.

Or maybe you would prefer an aqua room instead.


Are you feeling giddy yet?

And of course no great hotel is complete without a luxurious bathroom. The cubby hole towel rack, vessel sink, and black granite counter tops are collaborating quite nicely. Below, sister hotel Microtel is also jumping on the extreme makeover bandwagon. This design was created by a Savannah College of Art  & Design student  Bijal Patel. Pretty awesome thing to have in your portfolio if you ask me!

 The green looks soothing, clean, and comfortable!

Of course now you're wondering, how can I stay at one of the hotels with the upgrades? Well, the bad news is that it will take a while for these new designs to reach a Motel 6 or Microtel near you. As you know, beauty takes time! According to a Dallas rep for Motel 6 Laura Rojo-Eddy, it may take up to 3 to 5 years to complete the renovations in its 1,000+ locations. But the good news is that the average price per room will still be about $45! Check the website for more information and keep your fingers crossed!

I'm definitely not ready to be a mommy yet, but as a designer, I have always wanted to design a nursery. But alas, the days of theme-y cartoon character nurseries are long gone, and new wave of design has hit the baby world. It's the concept of a chic, modern nursery.

Noteworthy features of  today's modern nurseries include: 
1. Removable wall graphics (think Etsy)
2. A unique color pallet (no need to limit choices to pastels only)
3. A classic modern chair (new, knock-off, or the real deal)
4. Modern mobiles (abstract shapes and colors)
5. Animal skin (rugs, sheepskin, the softer and fluffier the better)
6. Chandeliers (a lovely element of aspiring maturity)
7. A beautiful, sleek crib that makes a statement

The transition from bows to butterflies is adorable :)

Love the fly-aways, and the color is electric!

 Sheepskin and an Eames rocking chair, how could you not love it?

This was actually a closet, so extra cool points awarded for creativity! Plus how many babies do you know with a Bertoia chair?

 So soft and sweet.

Chic baby in training! The contrast of the dark floors with the cream is beautiful.

Striped ceiling, Nelson lamp, modern mobile, the color black and what appears to be a junior Panton chair- this baby's room definitely breaks the mold.  

Gender neutral at it's best!

"fragile" applique is pretty clever!

This color combination is like candy, and the lighting keeps it fun.

Hey, even babies deserve drool-worthy rooms. (And yes, the pun was intended.)

Lately I've been coming across this sweet little trend of balloons at weddings. Now stay with me, I know that balloons may remind you more of a six-year-old's birthday party, but I promise when done right it can be pretty sophisticated and well... chic.

Here is a photo from the diy diva herself, Martha Stewart . I love this desert table because it's very simple and monochromatic. Notice how the shape of the balloons are more round and substantial than your every-day variety found at the local supermarket.

Here are more used as in an innovative way to display tags for table numbers. Notice again how everything is kept very neutral and how the numbers themselves really take center stage. Below it gets even better! My favorite application of balloons has to be those in the actual bridal photographs. I think that there is something really beautiful and innocent about how they are used here. Some take the neutral, but stunning approach while others go for juicy pops of color.





So what have we learned? Keep it round, keep it neutral (or even soft pops of color will work if you're bold enough) and most of all -  keep it fun!

So I saw this photo of an awesome interior done by the ever-so-talented Cy Winship (a featured designer on HGTV's Decorating Cents). Now in syndication, the show has a guest designer every episode that helps conquer a room in need with the arsenal of only $500. Here's a snapshot of what Cy created.

So the piece that packs the most punch in this room has to be the sofa with the colorful pillows. That's when I started thinking. I said to myself. "Self, I wonder if I could recreate this sofa scape." Naturally, my thrifty design wheels started turning. Check out what I came up with to evoke the same "charcoal with a splash of vibrant color".

 First we have the stately cloth Sater sofa (also known as the Klamby) from IKEA. The sofa comes in at an affordable $199 and was available for a limited time during the labor day weekend special. It's also surprisingly comfortable. The shape and loose cushions are very similar to the inspiration room. I definitely wanted to purchase it, but sadly there was no space for me to store it while I look for an apartment. :(

Next I chose to mix up the pillows. This Nagu pillow from Target gives a nod to the green pillows Cy used and contrasts the charcoal pretty nicely. Not to mention that it echos the pink stripes that were used.

For the pink accent I also looked to Target for their embroidered toss pillow. The weaving is kinda reminiscent of the checkers in the inspiration room but in reverse which is pretty fresh because it was a happy accident on my part.

After studying the picture, I realized that there seems to be a small black pillow wedged between the middle of Cy's pillows, but instead of doing a regular gray pillow (you know, since I've been doing the inverse), I decided to go with a nice statement from cb2. I mean hey, you gotta make it your own!

So I've been searching high and low for unique wedding-worthy shoes that don't break the bank.  Recently came across the amazing new line from Christian Sirano (of Project Runway) for Payless. When I saw these, I completely drooled and went into my must-have mode.


I was thinking of wearing the boots for the wedding and the flats for the reception. The brown pumps would be ideal for my bridesmaids depending on their comfy-ness rating. The peep-toe pumps come in at $34.99 and are definitely "fierce" shoes that they could wear again and again. The boots are actually $49.99 and the flats come in a lovely $29.99.  I checked the store and Christian's line isn't in yet, but I may be ordering mine online after payday! They're limited addition (at least the flats are) so the hurry and snag them before their gone, that is unless you have a size ten foot. If you do, wait 'till I get mine first! :)

About two months ago I played around with the idea of redesigning my portfolio. This is a small sample of a template I conjured up for a 6,000 square foot fusion restaurant I designed for my hospitality studio. The restaurant is sweetly called "kiwi", and features seating for 254 people as well as a sushi bar, liquor bar, patio, and private dining area.