Flaunt it Friday #22

Wow!  I love all the talk about my previous post "When Good Decorators Go Bad", keep the comments coming! 

When Good Decorators Go Bad...

If you have read my blog before you probably know that I'm a big fan of Ballard Designs. I love to browse their catalogs for inspiration but rarely buy things because of their hefty prices. One of my best bargains ever was of a Ballard's bar stool look-alike that came from K-Mart... you can read all about that suh-weeet find here. :)

About a week ago my highly anticipated Ballard's catalog arrived... it always brings a big smile to my face when I see it in the mailbox. It's like when you're a kid at Christmas and your mom gets that big fat JC Penney's catalog that is so thick and heavy you can barely lift it- then you go through the millions of pages of toys circling every picture of the toys you want Santa to bring you. That's how getting my Ballard's catalog makes me feel, except I wish there was really a Santa to bring me everything I circled. Sigh...

Anywho, this catalog was featuring some design work by Suzanne Kasler.  I've seen her stuff in Ballards before, always very soft and romantic with muted tones... usually very pretty stuff .  I excitedly opened my catalog ready to be inspired and found this...

 Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

Ok, very muted tones of creams with natural wood, nice..  pretty cream vase collection... wait a minute. 

What are those things all over the wall?? 

Wait, are those what I think they are?!?  Antlers spray painted white?!?

Insert huge GASP here... They are antlers spray painted white!! 

Seriously Ballards?!?

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

Wow... these are just not pretty.

Know what the kicker is??  They are charging $249 for a set of 5. 

Excuse me... I just fell off my chair.

I so DO NOT get this look...  it is such a weird concept. 

They are made of plaster so no animals were harmed but that's not even my biggest problem, as a decorator I find them to be unattractive and just plain weird.  I don't have any other words to describe it... maybe ugly. 

The description on-line for these lovelys states that Suzanne Kasler is known for "her unique eye and eclectic accessories" like these antlers.  Like maybe Ballards knew these were pretty weird so used words like "unique" and "eclectic" like maybe they weren't totally sold on them either??

I think Ballards took a risk with this look and failed... big fat F. 

Don't worry though Ballards, I still love you. xoxo

What do you guys think??  Am I being overly critical... should I give these ugly unique antlers a chance??  


Flaunt it Friday #21

Wow... it's already Friday!  Time to party!!  

Thanks for all the awesome link ups, can't wait to see what you did this week! :)

New Bedding for the King

We got our new mattress!!!  Woot Woot!!  No more sleepless nights and aching backs!  (picture me doing the happy dance right here)

You can read about my 4 mattress' in 12 months saga here

#4 was delivered last Saturday.  With #4 we decided to upgrade from a queen size to a king and get a completely different style mattress.  I. LOVE. IT.  There is SO much more room to stretch out without feeling like I'm hogging the bed.  And when hub's is hogging, I don't have to hang any of my extremities off the side, awesome!

When I got married almost 10 years ago I remember my sweet Mamaw telling me, "Oh honey, I know you love each other so much and like to be close to each other but believe me, you'll want that extra space in your bed so get a king if you can."  A wise woman indeed. :)

We sold our Queen sleigh bed for asking price within the first week we listed it.... Woo Hoo!!  I got more for it than I expected (no one ever offers full price but this guy did, sweet!)  I was able to order a king sleigh bed for just a little more than I made off of our old one. 

I seriously considered making my own headboard like I've seen so many other crafty bloggers do but I really love a sleigh bed, I feel like it makes my room.  And honestly, I was just a little scared of what my first attempt at a headboard would look like.  So, pictures to come of the new sleigh when it arrives...

I really loved my old bedding and probably would have bought the same comforter but it's no longer available.  I've been obsessing looking over the past week to no avail.  I purchased not one, but 4 bedding sets last week... seriously, 4.... am I a crazy person??   

They are all going back.  In some circles I am known as the "Queen of Returns".  Very impressive, I know. ;)

My room is done in beige and brown tones with ice blue accents.  I needed to stay in those tones to match the decor already in there because I like it (and it's only a year old) or I would've changed it up.

My champagne tastes never let me down... I found some beautiful comforters for about $500 (no shams included) but the old beer budget laughed in my face. 

I ordered this lovely and expensive comforter on clearance, it had been $500 but I got it for much, much less.  I only purchased the blue comforter and shams and planned to mix it with the brown I already had.



Sadly, It looked terrible, the blue was all wrong, looked like a shiny electric blue bad 1980's prom dress.  I would've taken a picture but it was too embarassing, seriously.

I then got this set... sorry about the terrible picture.


After I got it home I didn't even take it out of the package because the color looked sage green in the lighting of my room.  I also decided the pattern looked too old fashioned, kind of like an old tin ceiling pattern which normally I like but just didn't go with my more modern decor.

Then I got this one which has even a worse picture...


Despite the picture it was actually pretty and really nice quality.  The leaves are in shades of ice blue but the whole thing was just too white, the pretty pattern only was on the bottom and one side, it looks like more because the bed pictured is a queen, the leaves only covered a quarter it on the king :( .  The bottom leaves will be covered by my footboard and doesn't it look like it's just screaming for a giant stain on it when one of my boys sneaks some food upstairs (most likely my hubby;)

I bought a plain tannish-gold one on a whim, (or maybe out of desperation) because it is really good quality and was pretty cheap at TJ's,  I thought I could dress up the neutral color.  It ended up being a little too gold-ish and totally boring. 

I just ordered one on-line (so now 5 in one week!) and I'm crossing my fingers that this one is it! 

So, do you bloggy friends obsess over things like this or am I really a crazy person for buying 5 bedding sets in 7 days?

I'd like to think it's the decorator and perfectionist in me that makes me unable to settle for some thing that looks just average and that I'm not really a crazy person.... ok, maybe just a little crazy, but aren't we all? :)

Flaunt it Friday #20!

Yay for Flaunt it Friday!  You guys are awesome... another week of over 100 party friends!  Can't wait to see what you did this week! 

Shopping Chi-town Magnificent Mile aka: Michigan Avenue

I escaped on a 24 hour getaway last week with my hubby to Chicago. He had to go for business so this meant free swanky hotel, free transportation and lots of alone time for me... SCORE! :)

I LOVE my kids and hubby more than anything but every mom knows (hopefully!) how important it is to have some me time. Usually mine is grabbed in the bathroom in 5 minute increments with random screams coming from outside the door and someone inevitably yelling "MOOoooomm!" after the 2 minute mark. I needed a quick getaway. :)

We live within day-trip driving distance to Chicago so sometimes I take for granted what a cool city it is. While I was there it dawned on me that not everyone has visited and it might make a cool blog post... DUH.

Many of you may have heard of the Magnificent Mile (especially you Oprah fans) but if not, here is a little bit of info from Wikipedia about the "Mag Mile",
"Today, The Magnificent Mile® contains a mixture of upscale department stores, restaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, financial services companies and hotels, and caters primarily to tourists and the affluent. The area also has a high concentration of the city's major media firms, such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and advertising agencies. The Magnificent Mile includes 3,100,000 sq ft (288,000 m2) of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, and a host of sightseeing and entertainment attractions to more than 22 million visitors annually.[11] The American Planning Association selected The Magnificent Mile as one of the 10 Great Streets for 2007 through its Great Places in America program.[12] In recent years, The Magnificent Mile has added trees and flower-filled medians to reflect the changing seasons.

Many of the world's leading retail stores populate The Magnificent Mile, including department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, and Macy's. In addition, some of the finest luxury boutiques such as Cartier, Escada, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, Max Mara, Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Georg Jensen, Harry Winston, Yves Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, St. John, Loro Piana, Jil Sander, Givenchy, Aritzia, Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Paul Stuart, Betsey Johnson, Montblanc, Anne Fontaine, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Bottega Veneta, Herm├Ęs, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cole Haan, Charles David, Giorgio Armani, Kenneth Cole, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry, Hugo Boss, La Perla, Agent Provocateur, Dennis Basso, Piazza Sempione, Fratelli Rosseti, Hickey Freeman, Jil Sander, Henry Beguelin, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Bernadaud, Christofle, Arthur, Sermoneta, Manrico Cashmere, Marlowe, Graff Diamonds, David Yurman, Fogal, Wolford, Frette, Pratesi, Culti, Tiffany & Co., and Guess are located along The Magnificent Mile.[11] In fact, in its book The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers, the National Geographic named The Magnificent Mile along with Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue as one of the ten best shopping avenues in the world.[13]"


Piazza Sempione, Fratelli Rosseti, Hickey Freeman... Hickey who?!?  Some of the stores on Michigan Avenue are SO fancy that I've never even heard of them!  There are lots of other stores that I have heard of but most, unfortunately, are not really on the ol' Chic on a Shoestring budget.  Boooooo. 

However, don't let those fancy names scare you away.   It is SO fun to window shop these stores for inspiration and there are several shops that are reasonable if you can find a sale (J.Crew, Banana Republic, Crate & Barrell, GAP and my personal favorite- Marshall's)

It's also kinda fun to go in some of the real swanky places and pretend like you might be able to afford to buy something besides a sterling silver heart bracelet that was really popular 10 years ago at Tiffany's. ;)

                                                       Fancy-pants Tiffany & Co.

More affordable J.Crew upstairs from super pricey Gucci...

4 Story Crate & Barrel = FUN

The Lux Cafe is an awesome yet not too expensive restaurant that kind of reminds me of the Cheesecake Factory.  They hid Marshall's in a basement right by here... apparently it's not swanky enough to be a store front on Michigan Ave.! lol :)


To my dismay, one of my Michigan Ave. favorites, a beautiful and huge Pottery Barn store, closed. Sigh... :( 

Because I'm cheap thrifty I did most of my shopping at a huge TJ Maxx on State Street.  It has a Filean's Closet in the basement for even more bargain shopping.  I got some Seven For All Mankind clearance jeans($29!!) and shoes to list on eBay and hopefully quadruple my money.  Didn't find any decor unfortunately.

I also got some King sheets for our new bed at the old Marshall Fields flagship store which is now Macy's.  I hadn't been there in a long time and forgot how huge it is... 10 floors that are each the size of a department store.  I found some sheets 75% off plus 15% off so paid $16 for king sheets and they're not even scratchy! 

If in Chicago you should MUST get some Garrett's Popcorn.  They are known for their famous "Chicago Mix" which is carmel corn and cheese popcorn served together in the same bag, sounds weird but trust me, it is addictive!  We get it every time we go to the city.  I bought some and my hubby bought some without knowing that I had already bought some and then he got some more in a gift package he received from his conference.  We had a TON of popcorn and had no problem devouring all of it.  :) 

As you can see the popcorn is almost gone!

I can't write a post about the Magnificent Mile without mentioning the fabulous architecture of Chicago.  I've been there so many times but I always find myself amazed by it's beauty.  We've taken a few architecture tours... one on a boat on the Chicago River, the other on a bus through town, both good but I highly recommend the boat tours. 


Me and my hubby overlooking the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue/Mag Mile.  The brightly lit white building behind us is the Wrigley building, one of my faves! 

The city and river are breathtaking at night!


Awesome architecture of the Tribune Building entrance.

Although I didn't go this time, Navy Pier is a must see for a Chicago visit, we were able to see the fireworks
on the pier from downtown.

Of course it wouldn't be a trip to Chicago without hitting a Home Goods in the suburbs on the way home but that's a whole 'nother post. ;) 

I hope you enjoyed my quick tour of Chicago's Magnificent Mile.  What's your favorite big city to shop in??
 

*Daylight pictures courtesy of Wikipedia, all others are mine! :)


Flaunt it Friday #19

Wow!!!  Thanks for partying with me last week... we broke another attendance record!!  :)  A super cool variety of posts (as always).  You guys are the best! 

The Mattress Saga, 1 Year, 4 Mattresses...

Yes, that's right, we are getting our 4th new mattress in less than a year. 

I know you're thinking we must be really picky about mattresses and made of money because mattresses are not cheap.  Oh how I wish it were that simple... 

The mattress saga started last summer when we moved.  We had never had a decent mattress... when we were married we got a hand-me down, not very comfortable but the price was right, FREE! 

We then got a cheap new mattress that ended up being awful after about two years, we slept on it for 2 more years and then decided that when we moved we would buy ourselves a decent mattress set.

We went to a reputable furniture/mattress store and did that weird laying on a mattress in the middle of a store "mattress test" that doesn't really test anything.  Just tests how long you can lay on a mattress stiffly and feeling awkward while the salesperson stares at you.  It's so weird...

Anywho, we bought a very popular namebrand mattress set that had bells and whistles we'd never heard of like a latex and memory foam pillowtop that was supposed to be the best of both worlds.  It came with a box spring and a 10 year warranty (thank the good Lord for that warranty).

I was super excited and when it arrived I was not disappointed.  I thought it was very plush and comfy.  My hubby on the other hand thought it was too soft.  At first I thought it was because he was so used to sleeping on hard crummy mattresses and that he would adjust to the new one. 

No such luck.

Immediately his side started to sag.  Before you let your imaginations run wild with what my dear hubby looks like I should also add that he is just an average size guy, a size that should not cause a mattress to sag within a week.  But it did.  My side started sagging after about 2 months.  After 3 months had passed our mattress sagged enough (1.5 inches) that the warranty allowed for a replacement mattress. 

This happened again.... and again.... and again all within 12 months.  3 mattresses down and #4 is being delivered next week. 

With our 4th mattress the store has been extremely apologetic and offered to replace the boxsprings (the warranty only changes out the mattress) and give our bed an extra support bar for free.  They also allowed us to choose a different style mattress. Thank you! 

They have been great about replacing these saggy loser mattresses quickly and have taken the last 2 before they were all the way to the point of warranty replacement (1.25 instead of 1.5 inches) because of all the trouble we were having.  We have been very pleased with their handling and are so thankful we bought from a family-owned business and not a big box store. 

For mattress #4 we decided to step it up and get a king size... it only ended up costing $100 more which we had to pay (boooo) and a we got a different style mattress, no pillow top.  We are hoping and praying this will be the mattress... comfortable and roomy, something that will solve all my husbands back pain caused by all the junky sagging mattresses over this past year. 

I am SO excited to get a king but SO sad that my Queen sleigh bed will no longer work.  I also really loved my bedding that will all be too small now. Sniff, Sniff... 



Now I need to sell my queen bed so I can use the cash to get a king.  Anyone need a gently used queen sleigh bed???  It's for sale... Anyone?  Anyone?? :)

I went online looking for a decent priced king sleigh bed and decided to check out CSN Stores because they have everything

I'm supposed to just be looking for a new bed but I was totally checking out bedroom suites and more.  They have all kinds of bedroom furniture, I even checked out a bedroom vanity.  I had one as a kid and thought it was the coolest thing ever! 

But really, I just need a bed.  I'm considering making a tufted headboard but I've heard that can be expensive after all the materials... plus I already have a gazillion projects on my to-do list.  We shall see... 

Have any of you ever had extremely bad luck with a high ticket item?  Did the store or warranty take care of you?