Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spa Created For You

The last and best beauty investment I made was in an unknown (to me) lotion called Jerome Privee Spa Moisturizing Body Lotion. The bottle claims to be "enriched with aloe vera, Vitamin E & collagen" but what is really impressive is the scent and the way it feels. I'm terribly OCD when it comes to how moisturized my hands are (just ask anyone who knows me) and I never ever use lotions with fragrance because that just means that it contains alcohol, which is drying and counterproductive. But this lotion has been nothing short of amazing so far. I use it all over after drying off from a shower and the scent and feel is very luxurious.

Luxury is very important in a bathroom. A bathroom is one of the most personal spaces -if not the most- that you're in by yourself. We're completely vulnerable and these acts of privacy require a certain level of comfort. For my personal taste, I prefer a bathroom reminiscent of a spa-like environment. I think of the dainty scent of flowers, shades of white everywhere, clean surfaces and reflective surfaces. Here is my own inspiration for a luxurious, spa-like bathroom experience.

Beautiful white flowers in delicate organic shapes help set the mood.

A white glass tile mosaic, such as the beautiful example here, lends to the clean aesthetic of the spa environment. In a bathroom it shimmers and shines under the lights (thanks to various degrees of reflective glass) and makes your bath sparkle.

I love a great white damask wallpaper, even with a hint of metallic (such as mylar) for the added dimension of shine and reflection.

A solitary bath you can sink into with the sun's rays streaming on your face, and even the glow of candlelight for after the sun sets, evokes feelings of ease and relaxation.

This bathroom is more traditional than spa style, but the clean lines and wall lamps/sconces give it a spa feel without completing indulging in the concept.

This bathroom takes advantage of the glorious shimmering stone tile, while still incorporating another style's influence.

Calm and serene. That's a bathroom any lady would love to put herself in to just relax and indulge. We spend a great deal of our lives in the bathroom, so why not make it a pleasurable experience?

My Style (E)scape

A while ago I entered a contest over at coco+kelley to design a inspiration board for tableware in the vein of outside entertaining using items from Vivre. The theme I selected was Carrie Bradshaw (in her "adult" apartment, referring of course to SATC: The Movie). Fortunately for me I made it to the top 10 (I forgot to vote for myself, or ask people to, so I was quite surprised!) Here was my entry:

Unfortunately I didn't win, but it was the very first inspiration board I made and it was a lot of fun! It turns out that AphroChic is doing the same contest for a similar prize, so I may enter that one as well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Regular Blogging to Resume Monday!

It's been a nice few days away from blogging and spending time with my family, but Monday means back to business! I've got some new ideas that I think are pretty great, and I can't wait to share them with you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Return to Normalcy

My world has been filled with so much love the past three days. It didn't start well, though. Thursday afternoon my diabetic mother had a severe low blood sugar and I had to call the paramedics to take care of her when I was unable to. In my fear I called Jeff and without much hesitation, he left work early, ran home and collected enough belongings for a few days and rushed up to see me. He was due to come up Friday morning but because of everything going on with my mom came up a day early. Mom turned out fine in the end, thanks to the amazing paramedics here in town. The moment he arrived began the greatest experience I've had in a long time.

It's mid-evening Saturday now and Jeff left a good twenty minutes ago. I shed some tears, as usual, and even he shed a few of his own. We had a lot of fun and today was as perfect a day as any perfect day could be. We made brunch for everyone and we all sat down together to eat. Later we went to the Flower Festival (an annual carnival in Lompoc) and then returned home. Jeff and my grandma and I went swimming in the pool and then we had a nice dinner from Subway. We played video games as we ate and before he packed up his stuff to go home we laid on the bed and hugged each other.

We may be young (he's almost 21 and I'm 26) and some may have questioned whether our union was a perfect match, but there is very little doubt in my mind that our relationship is anything less than perfect. Even with the squabbles and the occasional fight, our entire world is about loving each other. It's been a great 13 (almost 14) months and every day I thank my lucky stars for giving me such an amazing guy to be not only my future husband, but the greatest best friend I've ever had.

I love you with all of my heart, Jeffrey.

And now that he's gone and we're not sure if we'll see each other in 2, 3, or 4 weeks, it's time to move on with the life I live separate from him and to continue to search for a job and do my thing. And he will do what he has to do. That's what life is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guest Blogger: Passionate Bold Striking Flora

Jeffrey Parker is a budding scientist currently working on obtaining a degree in molecular and cellular biology. In his free time he enjoys cultivating a passion for flowers, particularly those of the exotic variety. Currently in his own home, Jeffrey has a Chinese Yellow Banana, Passion Flower, Trailing Red Spider Fuchsia, Upright Jingle Bells Fuchsia, and would enjoy maintaining exotic orchids if his budget allowed for it. Here, he shares with us three choice exotic flowers and how you can grow them in your own home! (Images were obtained by Jeffrey via Google Images).

I have picked out 3 plants in particular which I believe it could be agreed upon produce astonishing flowers. They come from all parts of the world and need different requirements in different humidity, soil, sun exposure, and air quality, so the advice I give is strictly from the vantage point of Western Garden, in an inland valley, or one whose weather is most influenced by the interior of the continent rather than offshore.

#3- Dahlias
Although these flowers are not hard to find and may seem ordinary, they can be far from it. Though I have never seen it, these bold flowers can grow as wide as 15 inches across in some species, and come in a wide variety of colors, and stamen/ovum colors. The leaves can also be different colors. Working at the Do It Center in the nursery, The largest Dahlia I have ever encountered was 13 inches across. Normally to get flowers these big it is necessary to throw a huge amount of nutrients (especially nitrogen) on them to get them to flower, but it is an art to get them to produce a few huge flowers, as supposed to a moderate amount of medium flowers.
Normally these flowers are bought when they first come in, but sometimes they stay in the nursery a year until someone decides they see a flower and they want it. To get them to continue blooming it is necessary to help them by carefully watering them, and making sure they have sufficient foliage to support the flower (nutrient-wise), then 2-3 weeks before it is time for them to bloom (late spring to end of summer) I will give them nitrogen and iron, over a long period of time to help them develop the flowers. It should be noted they need to be in the ground or else they are very stressed under transplant conditions, and should wait till next year. When flowers fall over and can not be secured, they should be cut off and floated on water or discarded. After the flowering season is over, they should be given ½ as much water and all the flowers cut off to prevent stressing the plant to support the giant limb. I know the least about these in this list because I have never owned one, but I do take care of them in the nursery.

#2 – Musa Lasiocarpa (Chineese Yellow Banana)
This is truly an exotic plant, and may require a green house or covered 4 walled courtyard to grow. This is not a true banana but a true relative. When it gets to the right time, the flowers starts to develop, and from that point, none of the leaves develop anymore. It takes a full year for the flower to develop, and the leaves slowly die off until all that is left is the bud at the top of the plant, usually at the beginning of the summer. Then a magnificent 8 inch yellow artichoke looking flower opens up, and remains until the end of summer. At the same time this is happening, many leaflets (small plants) may start forming and spreading from the base of the plant. These are new plants that can be kept in place or transplanted. I believe the flower smells like banana, but I have yet to know, since the one at the house has yet to open. At this point, the flower should be cut from the trunk at the end of the season, The original trunk should be cut down, and time should be allowed for the sprout to start the process all over again.
This flower should not be picked. It is beauty in the idea in the beholder, because it is mounted on a dying trunk. This plant needs shade in hot regions like mine, and very fast draining soil. It is also beneficial to have many worms at the bottom to ensure good drainage. When I planted mine, I also had added perilite and sand, a very small amount of 15-30-15 to tempt the roots out, and the original soil. It is also beneficial to break the root ball from the store when planting, and to make sure the plant never gets direct sun light when it is extremely hot outside. The closer you have it to a house the better it may due, as the house will support it in the wind, and the temperature is slower to change around the house.

#1 Passiflora Alacaeruela (Passion Flower)
My favorite flower, I have been raising this vine for well over a year now, and it took off after I planted it in the right location. In the hottest regions, this plant needs shade at least half the day, and it is best not to have intense evening light when the day is at it’s hottest. Overall I would worry more about the vine freezing then about it burning in the sun. It is advisable to mimic the location it was grown in the store it is bought from. But what makes this flower so amazing is how hard it seems to obtain in certain regions, and how alien the flower looks. The flower is 3-4 inches across, the outside petals are greenish purple with 10 petals alternating purple and white. The stamens arrange in a circle like a hub sitting a centimeter away from the petals, and the ovum comes out the middle 2 inches, spreading into 2 level at the top. The bottom level has 5 extending parts, and the top has 3. The top of the middle section looks almost like the hook on a grappling gun, and it makes for arguably one of the most bizarre flowers in nature. The reason that very few people posses these plants is cause cooped up on a stick, the hardly flower. They are hard to obtain, because most people don’t know about them or buy them, so very few nurseries will spend the energy to grow them. Considering what you get they are fairly inexpensive. The leaves of this plant are three lobed, like the boy scout emblem. They are an amazing highly adaptive plant with a very specific niche. They support a particular type of butterfly, which lays its eggs on a leaf, and then eats the leaf, gets wrapped up in a chrysalis. Then the butterfly will pollinate the plant.
The best plan is to set an area up well in advance for this plant. It likes gradual change. It should be shaded a couple of hours till gradually the light reaches it’s peak (noon), and then should get full sun, finally allowing the sun to filter out gradually for the rest of the day. This is how I have it, so I assume it should work for most in Southern California as well. My plant grew around the courtyard to a length of near twenty five feet. The soil is very important. NO CLAY, planting this plant in excellent draining soil is crucial to its survival. I dug out an area 5 to 6 X the area of the roots in width, and mixed in a lot of potting soil and sand, with ample perilite, and a small amount of 15-30-15 all purpose, with a fair amount of ironite to support the leaves and photosynthesis. It should be noted I keep this plant in close proximity to a sprinkler, and it is near a giant bird of paradise, and a majestic fern, next to a 300 + gallon pond. This may keep the humidity in the area slightly higher, and give certain parts shade more at certain times. Once the plant is established it is hardy as long as it is fed once a year, and does not freeze. The vine should also be heavily trimmed to keep it from overexerting itself, and waisting energy. As soon as I was aware of a long overgrown 25 foot vine, I cut it off.

Note: This may not be the best method for growing the above plants in your area. Always get an experts advice before proceeding with these plants. The Western Garden Book edited by sunset is like the bible of plants, and contains an alphabetical list by genus of all the plants grown in the west.

3 Party Dresses, 1 Pair of Shoes

Three party dresses style around one pair of shoes? When the shoes are as fabulous as these, it's difficult to resist! Here is our take on three different ways to dress up and style around a pair of great heels. Like it? Let me know, or even suggest something new!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Emma Watson for Teen Vogue

When I saw these new images of Emma Watson for Teen Vogue (via ONTD) I instantly fell in love. From everything to the colors, the location, the styling - everything is stunning. And inspirational. Take a look.

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Fresh Look

Hopefully this will be the last time I change the layout. At least as far as the colors are concerned, for a while. Please let me know what you think by commenting below. Thank you.

ABCs of Me

Perhaps these things are a bit juvenile, but from time to time it's important to get in touch with the kid within you and be a little silly. And so, the ABCs of me, Crystal:

A - Age: 26
B - Bed size: Twin
C - Chore you hate: Tidying up
D - Dog's name: I have a cat named Snuggles
E - Essential start your day item: Coffee most days
F - Favorite color: Pink & Green
G - Gold or Silver or Platinum: Platinum
H - Height: 5'10"
I - Instruments you play: I don't, but I do sing
J - Job title: Unemployed Blogger
K - Kid(s): Hopefully within the next 5 years
L - Living arrangements: Live w/ family
M - Mom's name: Cynthia
N - Nicknames: Crys, Giggles
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: None
P - Pet Peeve: Bad grammar
Q - Quote from a movie: I'll have to think about this one
R - Right or left handed: Both
S - Siblings: I am an only child
T - Time you wake up: 6 to 9 hours after I fall asleep, or whenever the alarm goes off
U- Underwear: Colorful cotton from Lane Bryant
V - Vegetable you dislike: Beets
W - Ways you run late: Traffic
X - X-rays you've had: Most of my body
Y - Yummy food you make: Manicotti :)
Z - Zoo favorite: Elephants

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

Wow. The artistry here is both surreal and fantastic. I'm not much of a fan of Tim Burton, but I will definitely see this live action/animated/3D film simply for the amazing artistry represented here. Take a look:

The White Queen, Anne Hathaway

The Red Queen, Helena Bonham Carter

The Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp

For more information, point your browser to this link.

Happy Sunday

It has been an unusually long day today. It started at 7am with a clogged toilet that only just got resolved within the last hour. To make a long story short (and save a potential blog entry for later) I am now officially an amateur plumber rock star. Not the ideal way to spend a Sunday, but I sure am glad it's over with. Happy Sunday to you all.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Park in the Sky

Perusing Tree Hugger led me to an article about a park in Manhattan that is architecturally and environmentally beautiful. Browse through the slideshow to see 19 awe-inspiring images of the sky high park of luscious greens, juxtaposed against the metropolitan cityscape of beautiful buildings and busy street corners. It reminds me of those beautiful places you see - in other countries - that you wish we had here in the US. I suppose that's my own fault for thinking we had nothing like that here in America. Now I feel as if I wish we had those here in California. My little corner of the Golden State here is void of these wonderful landmarks. All the more reason to get out and explore the world!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanks, Visitors!

I've seen a definite increase in my stats this week, and I thank you very, very much! Here's a shoutout to the different parts of the country visiting Color Love Life &: Chicago, Tucson, Paris, Marlborough, Van Nuys, Marietta, Matawan, Storstrom (Denmark!), Santa Clarita (Hi, honey!), Concord, Staten Island, Arlington, Las Vegas, Lake Mary (FL), Henderson, Marshfield, Columbus, Kirkland, Saga (Japan!!), Gauteng (South America), and good ol' Los Angeles. Thanks everyone!

Color Crave: Dress Up

Color Crave: Accessorize Your Wardrobe

These scarves from Anthropologie are lovely and make a statement. Whether you're demure or flamboyant, these scarves will compliment your wardrobe quite nicely.

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If carrying a purse is essential to you (isn't it to everyone?) then you'll definitely want to check out the following beautiful bags. In candy colors, these bags will add punch and vibrancy to even the most monochromatic of wardrobes.

Color Crave: Home Furnishings

When it comes to furnishing and decorating your personal space, a pop of color here and there can add life and interest to any room. Whether you prefer bold bursts of color from every corner, or a small pop of color scattered throughout the space, color can make a wonderful difference.

A well-placed rug can draw your eyes from center (looking about the room) to the floor, creating an interesting space and added dimensionality to your decor. The choice of solid colors, geometric shapes, floral or abstract is yours to make. Here are some great rugs that range in price (but all are affordable to any budget) and look great!

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All of these beautiful rugs can be found at the always amazing Target.

Color Crave: Pink & Fuchsia Packaging

Sometimes the packaging is just as beautiful (sometimes more) as the product's result. These beauty products from Sephora are just as pretty on the outside as they'll make you feel on the inside.

Color Crave: Beguiling Blooms

Flowers are a perfect way to dress up anything, from a silk corsage on your lapel to a vase full of daisies on your table. Partake in the exquisite beauty of these selected flowers in shades of pink and fuchsia.

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