On Wednesday, September 30, the 41st Ikea store will open in St. Louis. Residents can begin lining up on Monday morning but today I managed to get a first look at the brand new store as part of their Ikea Friends and Family Preview Day.
The place was packed for a preview day. As soon as we got inside workers were cheering, handing out bags, maps, anything you could possibly need.
For me on this shopping day, I wanted to mostly stake out the store layout and some new pieces. I work only a block away from the new Ikea so once the fuss dies down I can pop over on my lunch break and grab what I need.
One of my favorite things about Ikea are the room displays. I love seeing wonderful ideas on how to use the products and how to think of new ways to enhance my home.
I also really enjoy all the household items you can purchase from Ikea. I needed some cheap but sturdy dishes for my 3rd floor kitchen and found them for under $1 each. I found lots of office organizing gear, and even plants, both real and fake.
I also really appreciated that Ikea had some special nods to St. Louis in its new store here. They had an exclusive STL piece of art.
The Ikea food court also overlooked some great parts of the growing Midtown/CORTEX area including my workplace, the SLU campus, and the Cathedral Basilica. Speaking of the food court…
I brought along some guests with me for the big event and we all enjoyed some Swedish meatballs before hitting the lower level. I even ran into someone from my office building there and I have a feeling with the $1 breakfasts it won’t be the last time.
When we had enough (aka we hit the time limit for our pass), we went to the checkout. This massive place has a lot of lanes and they are ready for you.
Considering how stressful it must have been, the cashiers were calm, collected, and friendly. Having worked in retail I was seriously impressed and grateful.
After the checkout area you have a chance to buy some snacks or freezer items to take home with you. Those cinnamon rolls are so good despite not being as famous as the meatballs. If you have a long drive back to the suburbs, be sure to grab a snack for the road.
I’m thrilled St. Louis got an Ikea right in the heart of a growing area of the city. They aren’t necessarily a local store but they are investing in the community and I’m already investing in them with my purchases from today.
See more photos from my preview day over on my Facebook page!
Do people still give watches for Christmas? I hope they do. I love watches and I hate seeing cell phones pop out every time someone needs to know what time it is. Plus, watches are such a classic for accessorizing.
My own watch was looking a little big on me lately. I like my watch to have a little bangle effect to it but it was starting to knock into my keyboard and my desk way too often. That’s where this handy watchband link remover comes in.
About a decade ago I used to work with watches and jewelry so I have a certain affinity towards them. This item here is the best tool for removing links from standard watchbands. You can’t use it for a screw-on band or for a stretchy band but it works perfect for one like mine and most on the market. The best reason to do it yourself is convenience. For under $3 you can always change your size should you gain/lose weight or just want a better fit and you don’t have to wait in those long after-Christmas lines. This isn’t a sales pitch, this is just how I use my own tool.
First up, you need to find the pins. They shouldn’t be too hard to locate as they’re on the edge of each watch link. Check both the left and right sides of the link and find the skinnier point for the link (hint- it should not have a line down the center) and that’s the side you want facing the ABC end of your link remover.
Put the pin facing the ABC side and line the pin up with your little screwdriver tool. Now screw in very gently until the pin pops right out. Set this pin aside, you’ll need it later. Now repeat this step on the opposite end of the link you are removing. The link and the second pin should fall out. You’ll want to keep that pin and link in case you need to resize in the future.
Now, time to reach for that first pin you set aside. You’re going to use the top compartment on your tool to hold the watchband on its side. Make sure that skinny side from before is facing down. Now push your pin in, skinny-side first, and give it a firm push until it clicks in place. Then you’re done!
You may want to remove links from above and below the watch face for balance and you’ll just repeat this process if that’s the case. If you’re still not convinced, the watchband link remover is also one of those perfectly priced items that will qualify you for free super saver shipping on Amazon if you’re just under that $25 mark. Don’t forget- the free shipping cutoff for Amazon is tomorrow, Tuesday 12/18/2012!Pin It
This past weekend I tried a bit to get into the Christmas spirit. Christmas can be a hard holiday for me. I feel like if I don’t get something done then I’ve let people down and if I do get it done it’s often to the sacrifice of my own happiness. Awesome, right? I’m sure I’m not alone but it’s a constant struggle for me to find some balance.
This weekend was spent trying to find that sweet spot. I went with my mom down to Cherokee Street in St. Louis. If you’ve never been, it’s a walkable street with brick historic homes and storefronts. Many shops are filled with antiques or crafts. If you visit, you’ll notice the amazing food in this area too. It’s sort of the Mexican food capital of St. Louis. Today was also what is known as the Cookie Spree where every shop on the street that is participating has a cookie tray inside. Can you say way too stuffed?
I ate lunch at a place called Neveria La Vallesana. Very good burritos there. I also did a ton of window shopping. If you want some fun places to shop, The Purple Cow, Retro 101/Cherry Bomb Vintage, and St. Louis Curio Shoppe are your stops. If you want something practical, check out China Finders, Lady Jane’s, Haffner’s Antiques, or Hammond’s Books.
My two favorite shops of the day both heavily featured antiques. Elder’s Ltd had 3 stories of some of the most beautiful antique/mid-century furniture at reasonable prices. It’s a shame I wasn’t looking for that this time but I’ll definitely be back. My other favorite was the place I got my big purchase of the day, Bella. I’m not sure my dog is impressed but I’ve got high hopes for turning this tea cart from Bella’s into a bar cart. There was a 20% off sale going on today and they gave me a great deal and I can’t wait to get to work on this beautiful piece.
Oh and notice my blue dining room rug in the background? It got moved to the living room this week. I don’t know why, I just decided to mix it up. I might end up with a new rug in the dining room and it’ll work with this new bar cart look. I’m just trying to decide if I want to stick with blue as my accent in the dining room of if I’d rather go with a bolder color. Stay tuned for updates one day on that front.
The dining room did get a bit of a new look minus the rug being taken away. We put up our Christmas tree! It may not look like much, being a $16.99 purchase from back in 2005 but it means something. The year my husband bought it was his first in a new apartment back when he was still just my boyfriend. I was really sick that winter and had just gotten some bad news that I’d need more treatment so I am pretty sure he bought that cheap little tree to cheer me up at a time where money was tight.
I think that’s the important way for me to find some balance this season. Just stop and take a step back and remember all the little reasons to try hard this season. I don’t have to do everything right or everything perfect but I should try to do it with love and care and let the pieces fall where they may.
Just because the Olympics are over doesn’t mean you have to stop going for the gold. Gold is back in style and I couldn’t be happier. I know some people will always be loyal to white gold/silver/platinum but I’ve always loved all things bright and shiny and the right shades of gold and brass can be so beautiful. I’m happy to see more designers giving gold a chance and I’m hunting for the perfect accents to bring some gold into my home.
I like to view gold as a neutral since I think it pairs so well with brighter colors like a bold blue, a soft aqua, or even a royal purple. Pink and gold have been a personal favorite since I saw a spread in Martha Stewart Weddings back in Winter 2007/2008 featuring a dusty pink and gold. That was also the same year of Blueprint Magazine’s beloved pink Christmas (also by Martha, RIP Blueprint). Since then I’ve really grown to love all shades of pink with gold.
(clockwise from top left- Kate Spade NY Ticker Tape Plates, Crate & Barrel Hakkari Hurricanes, Cover of Gifted Magazine, Tulip Family lamp & shade, Crate & Barrel Give Thanks Plate, Brushed Brass Ice Bucket)
Gold seems to work even when paired with other neutrals. Gold and white can bring an amazing warm tone to a look and always makes me think of the fall and winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gold and black is such a bold contrast that I find it looks sophisticated and bold. I’m noticing the trend of black interior doors and trims coming back and when paired with gold it can form a daring choice.
If you’re not a gold person but want to try out the shade as we head into fall, artwork is always a great way to test out some color. I love the mixing of gold and brass in this space. (via Ana Antunes Home Styling, LOVE artwork by Jen Ramos at MadeByGirl)
If you’re as into gold as I am, follow my gold-inspired Pinterest board to see my favorite gold pieces all year long.Pin It
I love getting a good deal. I don’t always coupon but I do like to think through many items I enjoy and find more affordable options. It’s why I love sites like Copy Cat Chic and Knock Off Decor. You might remember how I showed you how you can afford a Parsons desk at any price point, that’s another way I love to save.
This week I found an amazing deal that I just can’t pass on showing you. The Anthropologie Wide-Eyed Cookie Jar has been quite popular online with its big owl-shaped face. Unfortunately, the Anthropologie cookie jar costs $88. Ouch! Luckily I found a super close copycat over at Kirkland’s. While the Kirkland’s version is only a statue, it looks like a near-clone of the Anthropologie version. If you already have enough cookie jars but need more owls in your life, the Kirkland owl is a great Anthropologie copycat with a $76 savings.
I also really love this other cute owl statue at Kirkland’s. They’re an interesting sort of store. We have a small one in my area but I often forget to check it out. Are you a Kirkland’s fan or do you appreciate the name-brand of Anthropologie more?Pin It
Back in the 1930s, a challenge was issued to students at the Parsons School of Art & Design. The designer “challenged students to design a table so basic that it would retain its integrity whether sheathed in gold leaf, mica, parchment, split straw or painted burlap, or even left robustly unvarnished.” (NYTimes) The resulting table was named the Parsons Table.
The Parsons table was surprisingly modern for the era and has lasted the test of time. The school’s design skills have also been applied to other furniture pieces like chairs, end tables, and desks. How can you tell if you’re looking at a Parsons desk? Just check the thickness of the legs- they should be the same thickness as the top of the desk. (Learn more building instructions by checking out Ana White’s Parsons Desk plans)
The favorite Parsons desk of most folks these days is produced by West Elm. It costs $349, has two drawers, and is 48″ x 24″ x 30″. You can buy it in black or white. Don’t think Parsons desks have to be boring. Remember the goal of making a desk that looks good in every material? There are so many options below with different looks. All those designs also mean different price points so you should be able to afford a Parsons desk no matter your price point.
These are 4 additional West Elm options. 1-Parsons Mirror Desk ($599), 2-Parsons Natural Grass Cloth Desk ($499), 3-Parsons Diamond Grass Cloth Desk ($499), and 4-Parsons Metal Desk ($499) made of wood with hand-wrapped rich antiqued metal cladding. Each is the same size as the original and has two drawers.
Another option is through Room & Board. They have a customizable Parsons desk with 10 different table sizes and 24 different tabletop surfaces. To get the closest size to the Parsons, choose the 48″ x 24″ x 29″ console table/desk. You can choose glass, MDF, butcher block, solid wood, quartz, granite, or even marble. My favorites are with the white glass (#5- $619) and with the Solid maple with shell stain (#6- $699).
Parsons desks can be found at lower costs too with just a few changes. The 7-Overstock Student Desk ($144.99) is the closest match with almost identical dimensions and 2 drawers. 8-Home Decorator’s Parsons Desk ($106.24-$129) comes in 6 different colors though it only has 1 drawer. The 9-Container Store’s Parsons desk is a mixture of steel and melamine without any drawers and can be found in stores for $129. Though a little narrower and with only 1 drawer, you can get a Parsons desk from Walmart (#10) for $59. The cheapest of all is smaller, drawerless, and has different legs but Target’s Parsons desk (#11) is only $39.99.
I’ve shared my love of Parsons desks but I’m curious if any of you have any Parsons pieces. I just bought my first piece after my last sales post. Here’s a glimpse of it.
Have I gone completely crazy?Pin It
Have you ever shopped at Home Decorators Collection? This isn’t a sponsored post, I’m just a loyal shopper. Most of my bathroom furniture is from Home Decorators as is my favorite (okay only) rug. The company used to be St. Louis based but they’ve shifted to Atlanta to be with the big boss of the company, Home Depot. There are stores in both Atlanta and St. Louis but other orders can be placed online or through their catalog.
Alright, background time over. The reason I’m mentioning them is that they have some huge deals going on right now. I’m talking a Secretary Desk for under $170 (1), a great work desk for $131- in blue, green, or white (5), and a Parsons desk for $125 (3). Similar Parsons desks usually go for around $300-$400 so even if you don’t love green or yellow you still have money leftover for paint updates. I also really like the blue armchair (2) they have on clearance and this industrial style coffee table (4) which would look totally amazing in my loft. You know, if I had a loft.
There’s also 40% off outdoor furniture right now and free shipping + 10% off home decor. Sadly, most of my favorite items aren’t on sale right now. You know how Martha Stewart has a partnership with Home Depot, right? That same partnership carried over to Home Decorators too. Her Home Decorators collection has some gorgeous pieces and many will melt a scrapbooker’s heart. Just check out the storage cabinet above, beautiful right? I have seen sales on the Martha Stewart collection so don’t give up looking.
In St. Louis we’re often not a target market for home decorating chains like Z Gallerie, West Elm, Ballard Designs or even Ikea. Home Decorators helps fill the gap but I’d love to know if any other locals know of stores to find cute items. Even other mail order catalog advice would be appreciated! Where’s your favorite out-of-the-ordinary place to shop?
I’ve been looking at photos of Provence, France lately and I’ve fallen in love with the beautiful fields of lavender. How could you not fall in love with a countryside that looks like this?
So to bring the inspiration back home, I bring you this inspiration board.
Lavender Swoop Arm Tufted Chair Target $303.99
French Herb Wreath Viva Terra $69
Mikasa Lavender Lane 4-piece Place Setting Amazon $77.99
Lavender Field Print Etsy Artist GWENSART $12
Puckering Duvet Set Target $69.99
What other countries would you like to see some travel-inspired design for?Pin It
Happy Groundhog Day! I’m not really one to think a groundhog can predict when spring is coming but I am a little more willing to trust all my favorite stores. They can’t sell spring items unless people think spring is coming, right? Thankfully it looks like spring is coming…in 6 ways from my favorite stores.
1. A pretty spring pillow from Pottery Barn includes florals and artwork.
2. I’m not sure that I need egg cups but these chicken egg cups from West Elm are adorable.
3. These egg candles from Pottery Barn feature some of my favorite spring colors, pink, green, and blue. I can’t wait to see spring colors everywhere.
4. This house from World Market can be used in a million ways. Keep it full of candles for the rest of winter but the minute spring arrives use it as a terrarium. You could even use it now as a greenhouse to start your seedlings for spring.
5. This egg stand from Wisteria would make a gorgeous centerpiece or feature on a dessert table. Swap eggs for cupcakes and you can use it year-round.
6. The beehive trend is really taking over in 2012. This beehive cake stand from West Elm is the cutest beehive I’ve seen.Pin It
I went to Target over the weekend and went immediately to the Target Dollar Spot. I have a small problem with that section meaning I spend 1/4 of my life in it. I found some fun items I immediately thought would be perfect for a Valentine’s DIY project.
I saw this mug in Target’s Dollar Spot for $2.50. My mind immediately saw several cute projects I’ve seen pinned on Pinterest.
These mugs remind me of some I have from Anthropolgie. Just buy a Porcelaine Paint Marker and draw the design on yourself. I’ve seen pens like this at Michaels too. You could spell out “L-O-V-E” or I love the idea of his and her mugs for Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of His & Her mugs, aren’t these cute? I’m a little over mustaches in art but these mugs would be cute for me and my husband since he actually has a mustache (and beard) going for him.
Other cute ideas I love include writing a favorite love quote, lyrics from a special song, or even drawing the skyline of the city you met on your mug. Stuff your mug full of gifts from someone you love or use it to serve up some breakfast in bed.
The other item that caught my eye in the Target Dollar Spot was this silicone tray. It’s also $2.50.
Target calls it a muffin tray so the obvious choice for it is making muffins. But I thought, why not pie?
Heart shaped pies? I’m there. You could even go savory and make mini-heart-shaped pizza pies. My favorite idea isn’t as edible.
If you have kids, what better way to combine holidays and clean-up than with these recycled heart crayons? It’s so practical and you can make all those little pieces become new again.
I’m going cheap for Valentine’s this year so I was thrilled to see such cute finds. I still need to check out the local dollar store to see how well I can do there. Have you managed to dig up any finds in Target’s Dollar Spot or anywhere else thrifty lately?