By Emily McDowell Studio – Available for purchase here and here.

See my picks for Valentine’s Day Gifts for yourself, your friends, and your significant other!

1. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood – notes of Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood, Chinese Pepper, Rosewood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla (special size starting at $145)

2. John Wayne Bracelet – Because some guys like jewelry too. “…Given to soldiers as a symbol of friendship and respect by the Montagnard tribe.” ($80)

3. Deep Sea Sand Art – perfect for anyone’s desk (Got this for S a few years ago! $85)

4. Fossil Townsman 48mm Automatic Light Brown Leather Watch – with movement! ($225.00)

5. A Man and His Watch by Matthew Hranek – This one is hard to find! You may have some luck at your local bookseller ($33)

6. Burberry London Leather Card Case in Burgundy – S still won’t let me live down that I got him a maroon one instead of a LE Mineral Green one ($225)

7. Fondale Vase – Guys like flowers (or at least greenery) too. What better than to present them in a vase “inspired by the shape of airflow funnels on the decks of large ships.” German engineered to boot 😉 ($250)

8. Frog Prince – While it may seem cheesy on the surface, I gifted this to S a few years ago for is desk at work (to me, he really was my Prince out of a sea of toads). When his office went to a clean desk policy, I was pleasantly surprised to see this surface front and center on his desk at home. Best presented with a heartfelt card (Full disclosure, this thing is small, $68)

9. Terre Noire candle by MAD et LEN – black soil, petrified pine and aged oakwood ($110, but get 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for their emails)

10. House Blend Coffee from District Roasters – Notes of chocolate and hints of juniper. Roasted in Houston, TX. Bonus: pair it with a handmade mug ($16 for 12oz. bag)

11. Saint Rita Parlor Parfüm – Notes of Whiskey, tobacco, and rose. Saint Rita Parlor is based in Los Angeles, and they make interesting things (starting at $40)

12. Dark Chocolate Bourbon Bears by Sugarfina – Tried these at my local Sugarfina counter, and they’re positively yummy. If your SO (or you) is a vodka fan (S isn’t), their “Vodka is Always a Good Idea” set is adorable as well ($26)

13. Wild Man Grooming Kit – After Shave, Man Mist, Bod Butter, Soap ($60)

1. Jasmine Morganite Cluster Ring – For anyone who likes sparkle. Would even make a beautiful engagement ring ($290. Further customizations available on artist, Emi Conner’s website. But it won’t reach you in time for Valentine’s Day!)

2. Haffke Bronze With Rose Picture Frame – Just add meaningful photo, or an antique print ($103. Pricing due to quality of materials)

3. Tiffany’s Interlocking Circle Necklace – I have a soft spot for this, as S gifted this to me for our first Valentine’s Day! I was completely taken aback by such a thoughtful and beautiful gift. And I still wear it. Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of Tiffany’s Blue? ($375)

4. Mothership IV Eyeshadow Palette from Pat McGrath Labs – If you or your girl are into makeup, you cannot do better than this limited edition palette. Full pale girl review coming early next week! ($125)

5. Colette Madam Gown by Eberjey – Just look at the beautiful lace back ($110)

6. PHI One Rose de Kandahar EdP by Tauer Perfumes – One of my favorite date night fragrances, and I’m not normally a fan of rose. Notes of apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, bergamot, rose essential oil, Bulgarian rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka, musk, ambergris ($160. Sample available here for $4)

7. Staub Cast-Iron Heart Cocottes, Set of 3 – Perfect for whipping up heart shaped desserts…or some gnocchi romana :X ($60)

8. La Naissance d’Aphrodite Triangle Bodysuit by ID Sarrieri – Something reddish pink and lacy ($676, but 20% off when you sign up for their emails. More budget friendly option here!)

9. Lace bralette by Anine Bing – Something black and lacy ($99)

10. UGG Addison Slippers – Also available in blush pink and silvery grey ($70)

11. Marshmallow Hearts from Williams-Sonoma – Gift with Cardamom Rose drinking chocolate and a delicate cup ($10 for the marshmallows; $20 for the drinking chocolate; $12 for the cup – currently on promotion for $10)

12. Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfecting Powder in Prismatic Amethyst by Becca – A unique lavender highlighter for an makeup lover ($38)

13. Rosy Velvet Pouch – cute clutch, or extremely luxurious pouch ($48)

A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to revisit my old hobbies – web design and blogging. I’d just bought my first house (moving in with my boyfriend), and was feeling inspired by all of our plans for said house and DIY adventures.

Well, life and stress got in the way, despite my best-laid (or so I thought) plans. Don’t get me wrong – DIY adventures, misadventures, and decorating have happened. As have life, love, and travel – it just wasn’t captured here!

Flash forward nearly 2 years, and I’m feeling the itch again. This, arguably, has been the busiest time of my life – I’m going through a major career/job transition (ongoing for about 6 months now); I’ve been dealt some health issues that I’m doing my best to tackle; life continues – family, friends, doggies, commitments and obligations… but most exciting of all – we are getting married!

Engaged engaged2

I’ve always loved weddings, but actually planning my own has been a blast. Not only does it have my creative juices flowing again, but it has uncovered some hidden passions of mine and awakened old ones. Besides the obvious – forming a true unit with my best friend and the love of my life, and all of the adventures that will come with that – this journey will hopefully generate a different type of voyage entirely. But – that is a topic for another time!

In the meantime, you may notice that this space has changed a bit, and may continue to do so in the short-term, as this blog finds its stride. However you may have found your way here – I am glad to have you, and hope that you will stay with me!

Our Sunday will be spent enjoying coffee and breakfast at our favorite spot, and then cleaning and preparing for a Labor Day brunch. Thiss will be the first time we have this many people in our new house at once, so hopefully the place will clean up nicely.

I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend!

Favorite places around the web this week…

1) I almost feel like I’m cheating by sharing this, as it isn’t gluten free – but it is too yummy not to share! Ashley, of Not Without Salt, has partnered with Anthropologie to give you Skillet Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. In addition, you can snag her cookie mix at a discount (and part of the profits go to charity, to boot)!

2) An extremely enabling Sneak Peek of the 2015 Holiday beauty collections

3) If I had some extra (ok a lot of extra) cash laying around, this Chloe Dress would be in my closet!

4) 20 People from Famous Paintings Who Literally. Can’t. Even. Right now

5) 129 of the Most Beautiful Shots in Movie History

6) Sinderella – one of my favorite bloggers! Documenting the misadventures of a 20 something on the hunt for true love in the big city, using what else but the modern day matchmaker: Tinder (I can definitely relate – hang in there Sinderella!)

7) On my to try list: Coffee Tonics! Coffee addict? Check! Fan of Gin & Tonics? Check! Love trying new foodie things? Double check! What could go wrong?

8) Traveling to Paris soon (or are you just lucky enough to live there)? Then I’m jealous of you, because you will get to visit Shakespeare & Company’s new cafe, which is opening this Fall!

Listening to this week…

Hello! Welcome to my (and sometimes our) little place on the web. I (Lauren) created this space to talk about things I’m inspired by; items and trends I’m enjoying (mostly beauty, fashion, music, & interior design); recipes; and the DIY (mis)adventures that I may enlist my loving boyfriend, S, to help me complete.

I have quite a few ideas for this blog, and am hoping to have a regular scheduled program nailed down in the next few weeks. So for now, just the essentials:

1) I’m absolutely addicted to Tom Ford beauty products, and you will probably see his name / products pop up on this blog quite a bit :).

2) We are both foodies!

3) As of only a few weeks ago, I am under strict orders from my body to not consume anything containing gluten, which means that most (if not all) of the recipes that will be featured here will be gluten free! While I’m excited for the new challenge, I’m also a bit bummed because A) I had recipes all planned that I wanted to post, and those will have to take some retooling before I can share them. B) Let’s be honest – I really, really love bread. *Insert sad panda here* Gluten and I have since reconciled – so any recipes shared here will be a mix!

4) I’m a Francophile – my mother is French, and father attended school in France. I have lots of family left in France and was very fortunate to spend the majority of my summers there growing up. This has a significant influence over my tastes and culture. Seth is of German descent, and as such, we very much enjoy giving each other a hard time.

5) We are also both Texan, which *also* has an influence on our tastes in culture.

If you’re itching to know more – the About page is where you can find out more about me & S. Otherwise, feel free to Contact Us with any questions, concerns, or comments you may have at any time.