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An Evening with Birchbox.

28 Jun

On Thursday night I was lucky enough to be invited to a get together for Birchbox at the fabulous Malmaison on K Street.

Dinner with Birchbox!

Birchbox is a subscription service that sends about five little beauty products to your door every month for the bargain price of $10. You can then purchase full sized products if you like the trial sized ones from their website, but there’s zero obligation to. So Birchbox is perfect for product junkies who are always on the hunt for the next best thing, and for people who just want a little happy in their mailbox every few weeks. They’ve also recently launched a “man box,” which I think is super cool.

I’ve had my eye on the company for a few years now but have never actually become a member. So imagine how fun it was for me to arrive last night and see THIS at my place setting:


Dinner with Birchbox!

Here’s what was inside my box:
Dinner with Birchbox!Dinner with Birchbox!

I can’t wait to try the hair oil and the headband. And I adore the chevron lining of the box!

I didn’t get a chance to take many photos of the space, but you can see and read a little more about Malmaison here at BYT (which is also the source of the photo below). Here’s what it looks like from the exterior: a little touch of glam right under the Whitehurst!

Dinner with Birchbox

What a neat space for a neat event! I even got to meet and chat with a bunch of fun lady bloggers, so if you’re interested in reading more about DC Style, check out Worn Magazine, Spicy Candy DC, The Seventh District, Miss Lyle Style, and The Glossarie

Have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be trying out some new products courtesy of Birchbox!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


Super Mario Inspired Metro Map!

19 Mar

Graphic designer Dave Delisle has created a fantastic map of the Washington Metro, in the style of Super Mario Brothers. It even includes the new silver line!


Super Mario Metro!


You can purchase a print here. I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting one for my public-transit-obsessed son.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


Advent Calendar Round-up!

1 Dec

It’s December 1! Have you thought about having an advent calendar? If not, you still have some time to pull one together. Here is a round-up of three do-it-yourself treat containers that will function perfectly and perk up your holiday decor!

1.) Toilet Paper Roll Calendar (via Woman’s Day): You heard me right: those pockets are made of toilet paper rolls that are strung across a ribbon.

Crafty Calendar: if you don't have 24 toilet paper rolls, you can just roll up paper and fold them over to make pockets. (image via Woman's Day)


2.) Beautiful Boxes (via The Painter Family):  This is my kind of advent calendar — candy, candy and more candy! Though it looks elaborate, it appears to be simple boxes adhered to a large framed board!

Gorgeous little gifts! (image via The Painter Family)


3.) Kid-centric Advent Calendars (via the Crafty Crow): It isn’t cheating for me to point you to another round-up in my round-up right? I can’t commit myself to a single project featured in The Crafty Crow’s 2011 Advent Calendar Idea post, so I’ll just send you to read it for yourselves. It includes lots of paper crafts, and yet another toilet paper project! Enjoy!

Just one amazing calendar you'll see in this post... (image via The Craft Crow via Giddy Giddy)


Still too much DIY-ing for you? If you have a Christmas tree, you can always wrap a single small gift and put it under the tree each day. To be 100% honest, I think this is the plan I’m going to follow. My little guy is still two so he is barely understanding the concept of Christmas, but he is fascinated by everything about the tree and I’d love to get him even MORE excited about it. What a fun month this is!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

West Elm Pop-Up Shop Opens in Georgetown! Hooray!!

15 Jul

West Elm’s Pop-Up Store opened Thursday in Georgetown at 3333 M Street NW.

Photography by Studio Saldana

A far cry from the hulking behemoth of organic bedding and chocolate-wood veneers that used to exist downtown, this is West Elm‘s littlest store and arguably their most charming one. As such, it carries a limited amount of furniture and focuses instead on their collection of textiles and accessories. You’ll find a lot of one-of-a-kind items here: hand-printed ethnic print pillows, vibrant throws made from recycled saris, and gleaming glass mosaic wall decor from India that’s traditionally used to panel elaborate buildings. There are also tons of soaps, candles, and little items that you’ll probably be happy you purchased on an impulse. I got a candle in my little gift bag that smells so good, even my husband approves: Paddywax’s “Library” scent.

Sure, you’ll also see a lot of these things in the catalog and online, but here you can PICK THEM YOURSELF in an environment that feels a lot more like a 14th Street boutique than a mall store. If you’re like me you’ll want to spend half an hour pouring over the dozens of unique blankets so that you can pick the perfect one: at $99, they’re priced pretty well compared to similar finds elsewhere.

Photography by Studio Saldana

Though the official opening day was Thursday, the opening celebrations are going to be Saturday, July 16th. All day Pleasant Pops will be giving out their popsicles outside of the store, and for the first two hours there will be prizes on some of the popsicle sticks: 25% off? a $1000 gift card? …in any case you get a delicious and free treat.

Photography by Studio Saldana

West Elm will be in this location until at least right after the new year.  Right now they have the Fall line in the store, and Georgetown is one of the first locations in the country to have it in stock. It’s very ethnic and indigo, with lots of hand-blocked prints and chunky textiles. In late September they’ll switch over to their Holiday line, which is apparently going to feature even more one-of-a-kind items and be heavy on the paper mache. They’re loving being in the Georgetown neighborhood and hoping to stay on a permanent basis as 2012 rolls around…just look for them to move to a bigger (but hopefully not too big) space if one comes available.

An awesome mural made of NYC artist Aakash Nihalani. Photography by Studio Saldana

Photography by Studio Saldana

A few tips for your visit:

– Did you know West Elm offers a 10% discount to college students AND faculty? Just bring your ID (this applies to those of you who are currently in college or teaching it…not those of you who still carry your ID around six years later so you can see movies on the cheap.)
– If you’re buying chairs or hefty items, there is a loading area in the garage under the building, or West Elm offers very cheap same-day delivery!
– I speak from personal experience on this: The massive hill on 35th Street is a great and less-obvious place to park in this crowded area. Just make sure your gas tank isn’t on “E.” I made out fine, but developed a few gray hairs in the process. 

This article also appears on Prince of Petworth.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Butterfinger Brownies from Becky Bakes!

23 Jun

Posting recipes isn’t really my territory, but this one I just have to share: Butterfinger Brownies from Becky Bakes (a delightful little food blog).

Yes, they're as good as they look! (image via Becky Bakes)

Becky’s post about these brownies includes a cute story about her father and how every gift he receives always includes Butterfingers. My dad doesn’t have a taste for that candy specifically, but like her dad, he almost always receives some kind of candy with every gift I give him, too. Very cute, and definitely relatable for me. Needless to say, this morning when I dropped the toddler-monster off with my parents they also received a plate of these brownies.

Like Becky, I  omitted the espresso powder. I also cut the cocoa powder to three tablespoons instead of four because I don’t love a bitter-chocolate taste.  Instead of four Butterfingers I used only two (not necessarily to cut down on the Burrerfingeryness, but because my husband saw that I’d brought four Butterfingers home and complained that I wasn’t going to leave any for him.) Though I baked them for 41 minutes, a minute over the 35-40 minute recommended time, they were definitely a little undercooked. This is fine with me because in my house we tend to like our baked goods a little underdone. I found these perfect to eat, and easy to cut, after being stored in the fridge! You know what? — you should just make some yourself.

I won’t even try to top this post off with an interior-related image or thought. Sometimes, brownies are enough.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


5 Essential Things for Summer! …A Guest Post at Design Wonderland!

21 Jun

Recently, my friend, former graduate school classmate, and sometimes partner-in-design, Jessica from Design Wonderland asked me to write a guest post for her as she makes a big move to NYC.  I gladly took on the task and wrote about my Five Favorite Essentials for Summer!

Celerie Kemble's lovely patio (image via Lonny)

To me, summer means an almost effortless style that is freeing and spontaneous. It means throwing on a simple but elegant dress and chopping 20 minutes off of your morning routine. It means washing some fresh berries, putting them in a lovely bowl and calling it dessert. It means bringing the party outside, where you can just grab a chair from your living room and pull together an eclectic and comfortable seating arrangement that isn’t concerned about matching…

Read the rest over at Design Wonderland!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Asparagus Cake? Don’t Mind If I Do….

4 Jun

I came across this impossibly cute and intricate cake a few weeks ago via Sweetapolita, an amazingly talented blogger/baker/photographer. I could sit and peruse her blog for hours. 

This is actually a cake! A CAKE! (image via Sweetapolita)

She has got to be KIDDING me. This is impossibly awesome. (image via Sweetapolita)

If you have no other plans this weekend I dare you to attempt this confection. I consider myself pretty proficient in the kitchen, but this is something I can’t even imagine trying to pull together. How inspirational, fun, and charming! If you’d like to try it yourself, you can follow Sweetapolita’s tutorial by following the link at the top of this post. 

Have a great weekend!

 Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Must Read: Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design

18 May

Nerd Alert!

Here’s a book that design lovers won’t be able to put down, and others might find just a little interesting. It’s called Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design and it’s by Michael Bierut, a writer for the popular, often-but-not-always-very-design-industry-specific blog, Design Observer.

I am happily and excitedly going to be teaching a graduate studio in the fall that focuses on conceptual development and communication, and this book is a wonderful companion for that class.  Though it talks a lot about graphics (as Bierut is a graphic designer himself, and at the famed Pentagram, no less)  it is effectively interdisciplinary in its discussion of client relationships, concept generation, public perception, and it even touches directly on architecture for several essays.  I can’t stop myself from going back to it for inspiration for studio exercises. 

A fun bonus that makes this book even more appealing: each essays is set in a different font. What a great detail that almost anyone can appreciate – there’s even a legend for the different types in the back of the book.

If you’re interested in picking it up I encourage you to do so and browse some of the essays: none is longer than three pages, and though you may find yourself googling lots of graphic designer’s and architect’s names, it’s well worth the read. You’ll find yourself learning about everything from how product posters actually get made, to what happens when an architect makes a grave mistake that means a skyscraper has been constructed in a structurally unsound way. 

…and while you’re browsing the book, there’s no better coffee mug to be your companion than this one:

Pantone Mug (image via

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Things Organized Neatly!

27 Apr

Be still my heart, for there exists a blog devoted entirely to images of pretty things arranged in a neat and orderly fashion. It’s aptly titled “Things Organized Neatly,” and you can see it here.

It features lots of vegetables…

Beautiful! (image via Things Organized Neatly)

…lots of art supplies…

I relate to the thousands-of-black-pens. I relate so much you have no idea. (image via Things Organized Neatly)

…and lots of things photographed in a way that is begging for a spot on my, or your, or a future client’s wall.

I can just see a series of these... (image via Things Organized neatly via Marissa McClain Photo Design)

Not surprisingly, there are many selections from IKEA’s new cookbook as well as, inexplicably, lots of sandwich assembly photos.   I could look through it for hours.  Actually I already have.  It’s an endless source of inspiration, and I find beauty in so many places I wouldn’t have imagined. In fact, now that I’ve perused the blog I realize that I’ve seen so many of these images before and feel foolish for not having clicked through to see this blog as the source. In any case, I know it exists now and I’ll check it every day!

Hope you enjoy it, too!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.