house buying…not for the faint of heart

Two years ago, my fiancé and I bought a house and completely gutted and remodeled it.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time, as all terrible decisions initially do.

After being told it would take six weeks to complete, 6-8 months later they were finally ‘finished’.  And by finished, I mean it looked like absolute shit.  The painter, after initially painting all the rooms the incorrect colors, had stopped showing up.  He honestly painted half the kitchen and never returned (but did manage to steal my sunglasses on his way out).  Our hardwoods all started buckling and coming up so bad, we even took a nail gun to them one fateful evening.   Our General Contractor (who ended up not actually being a contractor) had moved to Idaho and stopped returning phone calls.

Then we learned while hard, it’s not impossible to sue someone in Idaho while in Louisiana.

And while I learned a great many things about myself during this period, be it the fact I can easily now paint, tile or stain anything, another interesting thing I learned was apparently if you take my money and run, I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.  Idaho included.

So after sinking another round of ungodly money into the house to actually finish it, we finally sold it.  Literally, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that house.  And since we had a lot of trouble selling it, we decided to take a break from house buying for a bit.  We needed time to lick our wounds and have lots of drinks to dull the memories.  And just have some drinks in general.

Apparently, forget we did, because we just bought another house.  And it needs so much work, it’s getting completely taken down the studs.

I barely survived House War I, lets see if we survive HWII.

I’m already skeptical.

The Land of Bridal Magazines…

Working in the wedding industry, when speaking with brides-to-be, I find myself frequently saying, “I know, it can all be very overwhelming, but…”

But apparently I didn’t truly understand the complex nature of that sentence.  Or how truly overwhelming it actually is.

We got engaged on Christmas morning and it was wonderfully low key.  We’ve been dating 8 years, and at some point along the way ‘high key’ went out the window.  So I posted the obligatory #ringselfie, because if we don’t put it on the internet, it’s like the silent tree in the woods.  And immediately after, people started asking when the date was and where it was going to happen. And immediately after that, I started to panic.

I honestly believed that since all I do, about 50-70 hours a week, is work on weddings, that this would be simple.  But I find myself thinking when I’m overwhelmed (buzz word), I’ll think about this later.

I’m really good at that mentality, I’m still ‘back-burnering’ things from college.

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So I did what any bride-to-be in over their head does, I went and bought a magazine.  I guess this is exactly why I pay for business advertising, so that’s money well spent.  I only bought one bridal magazine because my magazine budget would only cover that, Travel & Leisure, and four interior design magazines.

I guess I got sidetracked.  That’s ok, I’ll just think about it later.

moving is fun!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted; as ‘they’ say, “life gets in the way sometimes”.

We finally sold the house that we spent an eternity (and an ungodly fortune) remodeling but it hasn’t really set in yet.  While we look for a new house (oh God.), we’re renting a temporary space in a gorgeous area called Bayou St. John.

Last week, I had two hours to find somewhere for us to move to before the movers got there.  As my mom has not subtly informed me several times since this happened, most people do this in advance.  And that most people probably don’t live in an insane housing market quite like New Orleans.  Hindsight blahblahblah.

But the most exciting part of all this is I finally had the opportunity to open the champagne that I have been dragging around the southern part of the country for the better part of three years.  [side note: I’ve actually found none of this is very exciting, it’s more like a big incredible stress inducing money pit.  I honestly might as well take my checking and savings out of the bank, head-on into the backyard (that doesn’t exist because I live in New Orleans, which is just a weirder, smaller New York space-wise) and light it all on fire]

So in any case, here is my new stoop.  And my traveling champagne.  Which, not surprisingly, tasted funky.  Apparently hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold over the course of three years is not good for the quality of your bubbles.

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So you live, you learn and so on.  Except I seem to have trouble with the learning part so I just keep living and repeating the same shit.

But at least I’m finally in New Orleans.  On my stoop.

my day as an event planner…

Several months ago, a bride contacted me to do her wedding flowers.  We really hit it off, so she asked me to help her with the wedding planning.

I’ve never planned an event before, I usually go decorate with florals then head off for cocktails somewhere when work is done (good business strategy).  But she was persistent and I like new challenges.  So I became an event planner for a day.

I even wore all black, which I rarely do because it makes me look like a sad high schooler.

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For the florals, we did a color palette of blushes and whites.   Roses, peonies, hydrangeas and baby’s breath.

The reception took place upstairs at Antoine’s and looked incredible (I’m biased).  I set out place cards, centerpieces and little gifts from the bride and groom.  They’re both from Russia (now Floridans) and she had someone from back home (Russia, not Florida) hand paint little nesting dolls as thank yous.  I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and unique.

Everyone loved them, especially me.  She gave me one as a thank you for my event planning help.  Well, that and she paid me.

But I’m obsessed with my new little doll.

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It sits on our mail able so I can see it everyday.

when in bloom…

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As a florist

Let me begin again, I don’t care for the term florist.  So dated.

As a floral designer, obviously I’m pretty biased when it comes to flowers.  They’re all great.  Really great.

And I’ve gotten into gardening, so even rooted plants are great.   Clearly I’ve found my calling.

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But in terms of favorite flowers, in my opinion [IMO- I’m trying to learn the verbiage of the young, but might be a wasted effort since I’m talking about branches and gardening], nothing beats the flowering branch season.

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I lean towards quince every time.  I buy them in a bud stage, so they look just like dead branches.

And just when you start to think you have thrown your quince money down the drain, they start popping open, like little bundles of gorgeous pink popcorn.

drawer bugs…

When it comes to interior design, I think eclectic is great.  Unfortunately for me, I seem to lack the filter that differentiates ‘eclectic’ from ‘terrible’ and have often been known to confuse the two.

This lack of filter has led me down two paths: the first, buying interesting pieces that I will love for many many years.  The second path usually ends with me saying “well, that was a poor, non-refundable decision…”

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I’m really hoping I didn’t take the second path with my scarab pulls.

I love them (currently), and am hoping I won’t regret my decision to pay $50 for a pair of giant bug drawer accessories.  And to mention I actually don’t have a drawer to put them on.

I guess that just means it’s time to shop.

Wish me luck!  Because God only knows what I’ll return with.

flowers & ankle weights…

With three weddings and an event this weekend, I’ve had a long week of prepping flowers.

Beginning of week:

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here’s a glimpse of what my lovely studio looked like earlier in the week after one of my flower deliveries.

But to be honest, throughout the week it looks more like a flower explosion.

And on a side note, I had also decided to invest in some ankle weights (top right- which I meant to kick out of the way before taking this pic but they’re too heavy and I would’ve broken my foot).  I’m on my feet all day and had the bright idea that I could tone by backside and make flowers at the same time.  Logical.

Nope.  They’re 10 pounds and I can’t even lift 10 pounds with my hands, let alone my feet.  I basically just ended up standing in the same spot for four hours.

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{hydrangeas, blush roses, apricot ranunculus, wax flower and eucalyptus}

But thankfully, I’ve been released from my ankle weight prison and am headed out today to an elopement in the Quarter then a drop off of these little colorful cuties to a reception at Brennan’s.

no pictures, too serious…

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this website.  My life has changed so much so in the last couple months that I wasn’t quite sure what I had to say.

When I began this blog, something I had always envisioned was turning this website of design/interiors/fashion/randomness into something more.  I mean, lets be honest, it’s a really great name.  It’s like President Kitty.  You just can’t do better than that.  So with this great name, I needed a great followthrough.  After working so many years in fashion, I never wanted to get into retail, so I wasn’t quite sure of the direction.  But I just knew.

After starting my own floral design business in New Orleans mid-last year, it kind of came into fruition on its own.  At the beginning of this year, I (with The Boyfriend’s help) created House of Modern Vintage NOLA.  Since I do wedding florals, I also began helping a lot of brides design the style of their weddings.  Not like a planner, I can’t organize for shit.  Think more like design direction.

So The Boyfriend and I began scouting antique stores, resale shops, garage sales and estate sales.  Oh, and Etsy.  I know I always give Etsy shit because honestly it’s like finding a gold nugget in the middle of a landfill.  But find little nuggets, I did.

So after weeks and months of acquiring, we finally have a large assortment of design decor for events and weddings.  I’ve been slowly building a repertoire of events around the city (and Baton Rouge…long story) and getting it going.

I do weddings every weekend and it really has kind of taken over my life; I work 7 days a week and about 15 hours a day.  Fortunately, I love what I do, but it’s quickly taking over everything I know.  I don’t want to turn this into a wedding website, because then I might as well slap endless pictures of brides gazing thoughtfully into the distance and pairs of bedazzled ivory stilettos then rename it Pinterest.  But to warn you, it’s going to get wedding-y around here.

But anyhow, by doing so, the face of HoMV has changed.  I’ve found a calling (thank Christ it’s not fashion, that’s probably the only industry that pays as less than the government and is about as rewarding), and have revamped, revised and set my sights on very large things.  I believe it was Einstein that said, ‘go big or go home.’  Or maybe Chanel or Churchill, since the three of them are known to have said every quasi-inspirational quote in history.

So I may be late in saying this, as with everything I do, but ‘here’s to 2016.’  After I have my first two glasses of wine tonight, I’ll just have an extra as a toast.

“Go big or go home for 2016” – Einstein

enchanted forests and large horses…

I recently had the honor of participating in a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot at Audubon Park in New Orleans.

It involved a girl and her horse named Draco.  It also involved me learning I have a somewhat crippling fear of large horses.

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The photographer and bride wanted to go with a theme of “Enchanted Forest” so I went with a more natural, romantic look.  I thought it would be a good off-set to the super lush greenery of the park.

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Cabbage roses, dahlias and sweet hearts ranging in hues from ivory to blush to pinks.  With tons of greens all mixed for a bouquet and a flower crown.

And even extra flowers wired up for Draco’s mane and tail.

 

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I was sitting in the park with the photographer when the horse trainer gallops up all majestic-like n Draco.

The photographer casually asked if the horse, or giant stallion in my professional floral opinion, is calm and gentle (I think we were all a little antsy).

“No, his names Draco.  Latin for Dragon.  He’s pretty wild.”

Oh, well thank God.

Then while wiring flowers into his flowing mane (and simultaneously trying to control my breathing as to not fling myself into a full panic attack mode), I accidentally dropped a rose next to his gargantuan horse foot.

That rose is still there.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to throw myself on that grenade.

Enchanted Forest final pics to come….