Monday, January 31, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Home

I went home this weekend for my grandmother's 80th dance-themed birthday party. She is awesome - I can only hope to be as beautiful and energized as her when I'm her age! I flew home on Thursday, then Friday we drove to Alabama for the party. It was nice to be home, even if it was only for a night. My mom made lasagna, my parents and I caught up on Modern Family and the Office and I admired the beautiful country scenery that surrounds my home. It's nice to retire to the countryside and escape the city life for a few days (I usually say this sentence with a British accent). When I go home and go for my nature walks, I almost always listen to these songs:

1. Bird Song Intro - Florence + The Machine
2. To Build a Home - The Cinematic Orchestra (I love when songs build up, like this one)
3. North - Phoenix
4. The First Days of Spring - Noah and the Whale (It gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. One of my favorite songs - ever.)
5. Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl - Broken Social Scene
6. Mango Tree - Angus and Julia Stone
7. Blue Skies - Noah and the Whale
8. Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens
9. Challengers - The New Pornographers
10. In These Arms - The Swell Season
11. Half Acre - Hem
12. Ivy & Gold - Bombay Bicycle Club
13. Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
14. Albina - Horse Feathers

What songs remind you of home?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Napa Valley

...on the drive to Napa Valley
Grapevines IIVineyards of NapaBlossomsRosePanini and VinoLavender in NapaGrapevines I
It's cold and rainy days, like these we're experiencing in Charleston, that make me long for the warmth and comfort of California. Lately, I've been reminiscing about my trip to Napa Valley last summer - a lot. My parents took me for my 21st birthday.
Oh! The sun, picturesque landscape and delicious wine - I want it all now!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mixtape Monday: What I am Listening to and Why

This is a mixtape of songs that I have been listening to as of late:

1. Get Better - Mates of State

2. Switched On - Islands (Vampire Weekend-esque)
3. Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club (sounds good paired with #2)
4. Enzymes - Freelance Whales (This whole school year I have been really into Freelance Whales. Get a free download of the song here and see the video for it below!)
5. Poison & Wine - The Civil Wars (This boy/girl duo are the Nashville version of The Swell Season. Cannot everyone relate to lyrics like "I don't love you, but I always will"? They're heartbreakers.)
6. Tip of My Tongue - The Civil Wars
7. Four Winds - Bright Eyes (pair with #5 & 6)
8. Illgres - Sigur Ros
9. North by North - Faded Paper Figures (if you like The Postal Service, you will love this song)
10. The Ghost Inside - Broken Bells (best song from the album)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Window Bunting

Window Bunting 3
Window Bunting 2
Since I don't have any curtains in my dorm room, I like to make "dressings" for my windows.
In the Fall I hung translucent paper leaves in front of the window and for Winter, I made this festive bunting. I bought some metallic and patterned paper, and ripped out pages from a vintage book (Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters catalogues work well too). Then I cut out square and diamond shapes from the different papers and then folded them all in half to make triangles. Classic white glue worked perfectly to attach the paper to the string.
They don't need to be perfect and it actually looks more fun when they are different sizes and shapes!
Window Bunting 1
It's such an inexpensive, easy way to make your life a little more festive :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Charleston

King Street(s)
Charleston Bridges and Buildings
{double exposures of Charleston shot with my Diana F+}

I've officially been back in Charleston for a week, but it seems like a month between classes and starting a new job. I try to avoid the January blues - that time after the Christmas when its just cold and there are no holidays to be excited about. Thankfully, the busyness of my new job, the familiarity of Charleston and my amazing college friends has seemed to help me overcome that feeling. In honor of this city that I am proud to call my home for two-thirds of the year, I present a Charleston mix-tape:

1. South Carolina - Tennis
2. Campus - Vampire Weekend
3. Marathon - Tennis
4. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
{Tennis is a new husband-wife duo that has a lo-fi 60's vintage beach sound. They are cute, summery and have a song called South Carolina; Ergo: I really like them. You must read their interview here! When you read this adorable interview, you will find out that the couple met in a college philosophy class - which leads me to Vampire Weekend, whose members also all met in college. I'm sure most of you have heard of VW and their music (beachy/harpsichord/afro-pop/Cape Cod). If you listen to them together, you will see how their i'm-a-preppy-hipster-on-the-sailing-team kinda sound really go hand in hand. They should go on tour together and wear matching vintage argyle sweaters, skinny jeans and yellow boat shoes. In other words their music reminds me of Charleston style and the locals' lifestyles and leisures}
5. Drink All Night - Steven Fiore
6. Boston - Steven Fiore
{Steven Fiore is a local Charleston artist who is am amazing singer-songwriter. I am fortunate enough to be able to go to live shows of his all the time. He has an amazing voice, a nice folk-rock sound and lyrics that will break your heart. You need to check him out!}
7. Everywhere I Go - Lissie
8. Heart of Gold - Neil Young
9. Wedding Bells - Lissie
{Lissie is a new find for me and I cannot wait to get more of her music. The tone of her voice is so beautiful and rich. Her sounds is something I would describe as indie-country-pop. I just got some Neil Young songs added to my library as well. These two artists complement each other really well. And what does this have to do with Charleston? I am the type of person who when hears a favorite song of theirs is transported back to memories to when they first got it. They aren't usually significant memories, I just remember the month, time of year and what was going on in my life then. These 3 songs will always remind me of January 2011, second semester, Junior year of college.}
10. Starry Eyed - Ellie Goulding
11. Guns + Horses - Ellie Goulding
{Being back in Charleston also means going to the gym regularly and trying to find good workout music. Ellie Goulding is HUGE in the UK right now, but not so much in the US. She has really great electro-pop music and a unique voice. It's uplifting/fast-paced music that makes me enjoy working out.}

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunsets in Charleston

Charleston Sunset 1
Charleston Sunset 2
Charleston Sunset 3
I love having a view of the sunset from my window every night. I will glance over every few minutes to see how the colors change and morph. I feel like I haven't seen a sunset with these rich colors since I took these pictures back in September (and were all taken within 20 minutes). There's something so haunting and painterly about the silhouettes of the steeples, and just as it should be in the "Holy City."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas Cocktail Party

Christmas Cocktail Party '10
Although this post is about a month late, here are details and pictures of my family's annual Christmas party. Each year we have a different theme - and this year we had a Christmas Cocktail Party. The reason I still feel the need to post this, is that this is probably the least Christmas-y my decorations and overall theme has been in all 6 years that I have been planning these parties. The colors don't scream "Christmas,"and are just festive and celebratory. It was a dressy cocktail party, so I wanted the decor to be classy, not kitschy. Metallics and Neutrals were the colors and Anthropologie's store displays served as a huge inspiration.
Candle GlowFans 2Fans 1
My mom has a large window treatment in the breakfast room where the dessert table was going that just didn't go with the theme ( I was in charge of sweets, she was in charge of the savory). Therefore, I decided to cover the window treatment up with homemade paper accordion fans and pinwheels made from craft, printer and wrapping paper (tutorial coming soon!). I overlapped them, using staples and tape, to make sure every bit of the window treatment was covered up and VOILA - a temporary - Anthro-inspired window treatment. The color combinations for this project are endless and could be easily applied to any holiday or celebration!
Gingerbread "Leaves"
Fans 3Sweets and Treats
It was a super fun party that actually wasn't too stressful, due to the serving of appetizers and desserts instead of a whole sit down meal. Simple yet elegant candles that served as the centerpiece also allowed me to spend more time on making the window treatment and baking!
Many sweets, hor d'ouvrés, and drinks were had by all :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Best of 2010

I love making playlists - LOVE it. So, every Monday I want to brighten the worst and most dreaded day of the week with "Mixtape Mondays" - a little playlist of songs I am loving at the moment. This first playlist is a compilation of my favorite songs of 2010:

1. Big Jet Plane - Angus and Julia Stone
2. Norway - Beach House
3. Boyfriend - Best Coast
4. Tighten Up - The Black Keys
5. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep - Bombay Bicycle Club
6. Neu Chicago - Clive Tanaka y su orquesta
7. Skinny Genes - Eliza Doolittle
8. Spanish Sahara - Foals
9. Generator ^First Floor - Freelance Whales
10. True Love Will Find You In the End - Hey Marseilles
11. Just Like Zeus - Jenny and Johnny
12. Go Do - Jonsi
13. The Ghost Who Walks - Karen Elson
14. Do - Wah - Doo - Kate Nash
15. Get Some - Lykke Li
16. I am Not A Robot - Marina and the Diamonds
17. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
18. Cold Summer - Seabear
19. Gonna Get Along Without You Now - She & Him
20. Diplomat's Son - Vampire Weekend

Can't wait to hear all what 2011 has to offer! What were your favorite songs of 2010?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy 2011!

SparklersHappy 2011!
My family always starts out the New Year perfectly by having dinner at my best friend's house for a Spanish meal. Its a long tradition that has existed since we met in 8th grade. It is also a tradition that I bring the dessert and that we play with sparklers and fireworks after the clock strikes 12. This year I made a Poppyseed Grapefruit (or pamplemousse) Torte with White Chocolate Mousse. Although it has many steps, it is not that hard to make and is DELICOUS!
Grapefruit Torta with White Chocolate Mousse2011
2010 was a pretty good year, but that's it. It wasn't very exciting (except for going to California over the summer). My New Years resolution for 2011 is to have adventure and excitement. I won't be sky-diving or anything like that, but for me adventure will be trying new things and taking myself out of my comfort zone. Studying abroad in an "exotic" place and nailing a dream internship (more on those later) are also on the to-do list for 2011. It's going to be a great year, I can already feel it! I started this blog and got a job at Forever21 within this first week.
What are your New Year's resolutions/plans?

Acquiring British Qualities is also one of my resolutions.
Step 1? Add "u" to words like favourite, colour and flavour.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bonjour! Je m'appelle Lauren

Diana F+ 3/12

Pamplemousse is my favorite word in the world. It means grapefruit in French. Thankfully, it just so happens that I like grapefruit (yet I still have to put Splenda on it) and the French language (although, after 3 years of learning it, I can only speak to a two-year-old or a dog). The premise of this blog is to post about all my favorite things: cooking, crafting, baking, traveling, party planning, photography, music, clothes, holidays, (my favorite list could go on and on...). Thanks for visiting and I hope you follow!
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