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room-lift: inspiration

Jonathan Adler designs... be still my heart.

For as long as I can remember, my favorite expression of personal style has always been the home. A collection of rooms and spaces that exude the essence of the person living in them, where you choose to spend your life. Fashion is fickle and you can change it with your mood, weight, whatever. But paint colors, furniture, light fixtures, these are long-term commitments. The rooms you live in reflect more than how you feel that day, or what’s trendy. They speak to the things you value most in life: comfort, style, organization etc. – the kind of person you are.

I’ve never quite understood people that could just walk into Pier 1 and buy whatever the sales girl told them would look good on their coffee table. But then again, I never really understood Pier 1 as a whole. Anyways…

Growing up, my mom ran her own interior design business and, being the mini-me of my mother that I was have always been, naturally I preferred to spend my free time with her, looking at design magazines, shopping for fabrics, picking out molding… the list goes on and on. When girls my age were dreaming about normal 9 year old things like, oh I dont know, body glitter and Delia’s, all I wanted was a house of my own that I got to decorate, any way I wanted to. I would collect paint chips and carpet samples, tear out pages from Architectural Digest and Elle Decor, and hoard them in my room as inspiration for future design projects. Mind you, at 9- 12 years old, the “future” where I got to decorate a house, was a long way away. Nevertheless, I loved it. Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces was my idol, my mom was my best friend, and I had a propensity for breaking my glasses. This should be painting a pretty accurate picture of my adolescent social status for you.

Appropriately enough, my favorite activity is still surfing for design and style inspiration online and in print. If you raided my bedroom you’d find monthly stacks of magazine tear-outs, my email is congested with daily blasts from Dwell Studios, Design*Sponge and etsy, and HomeGoods is my idea of a bitchin’ Saturday afternoon. Doesn’t matter if it’s modern, rustic, feminine, nautical, french country, etc, I love beautiful spaces and appreciate a well-done room. But after browsing and swooning over so many gorgeous examples, you can start to lose sight of what you appreciate vs. what’s actually you.

So today’s RoomLift Lesson is: “DO YOU” 

My deepest gratitude to the Jersey Shore for introducing that phrase into my personal lexicon. But seriously. If a space should look like the person inhabiting it, then your RoomLift should come out looking like you. Or at least the you you’d like to wake up to every morning.

Check out my Pinterest page to follow my ever expanding board of RoomLift Inspiration.

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Prepping for: Zombie Apocalypse

Welp, it’s official. I am running my first 5k. Since I have always vehemently opposed “running” as a “hobby” it would take something totally ridiculous and once-in-a-lifetime to get me to sign up for an organized race. Enter: Run For Your Lives. A Zombie-Infested, 5K obstacle course.

Yes, you heard me right. No, I’m not running a fever. Yes, this is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.

This August the friends and I will be road-tripping to good old St Louis, MO for 1 part 5k, 1 part obstacle course, 1 part escaping the clutches of brain-eating zombies, and all parts awesome. So it looks like the roomies and I have some training to do.

Plus what better summer-workout motivation is there than “not getting eaten” in August?

Happy Leap Day everyone!!

xoxo,

SS

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Time for a Room-Lift

While I was in NYC, I got to spend one night with one of my best friends, Maria. This was my first time seeing her since she moved into her new apartment, a 3 bedroom on the Upper East Side, and it was a bit of a wake up call. I need to decorate my apartment.

While the quarters were tight- railroad style bedrooms (look it up), one bath for three 20-something girls, and virtually no storage- Maria, Betsey and Megan have transformed the apartment into an adorable space that looks and feels like home. Accessories neatly stored, bath products tucked away in useful organizers, and a hook for everything you could possibly hang- everything has it’s proper place. Undeniably, one has to be more organized when sharing small living spaces, but they did it with style. There’s a bevy of warm and happy pops of color, everything is perfectly stored out of sight until it’s needed, and yet nothing looks remotely utilitarian. They’d even found the time to hang things purely for decoration… in exposed brick walls. That’s commitment to a style of living.

Now, our apartment is by no means on refugee-camp-levels of disarray, but we’re far from what I would call “finished.” There are a few remaining unpacked boxes, plenty of unhung artwork and a pathetic excuse for organization happening in my room. Seeing the great job that these three had managed to accomplish on a New Yorker’s schedule and budget left me thinking: what the eff is my excuse?

Couple this revelation with the fact that my dresser literally collapsed in on itself as I was packing for fashion week and all signs point to: ROOM-LIFT

Room-Lift is actually a term I stole from my mom- it was the i
name of her interior design business when I was growing up-
and it’s exactly what I plan to do. Give my rooms a face-lift, starting with the bedroom.

Since I’m on a lease and a tight budget, I’m not going to invest heavily in anything I can’t take with me. So that means I’ll stick to elements like furniture, art and decor, like removable-window treatments and lighting. But the first step is gathering inspiration. A process that’s significantly easier thanks to sites like Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, Etsy and Design Sponge.

I’ll have plenty of inspiration for my RoomLift to share with you later in the week…

xoxo, SS

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Cleaning House Like Kim Jong Un

Mementos, souvenirs, theater tickets, parking tickets, gum wrappers… I have a habit of hanging on to literally everything that passes through my hands. It’s a terrible tendency. Some call it nostalgic. I call it a hop, skip and a dead cat away from hoarding. It’s not that I have a hard time parting with, let’s be honest, junk, but more so that I seem to live in a state of “rush.” So when I don’t have time to make a proper decision about an item, I set it aside until I have a moment to consider it further. Well if you’ve ever met me, then you know that time will never come- so this indecision can lead to a terrifying build up of crap. Which is why sometimes, theres nothing more fulfilling than cleaning house.

Set rules.

For instance if you haven’t looked in a bag for the last 2 months, you may open it to make sure there’s nothing vitally important in there (i.e. your inhaler or college diploma) and if none of the contents qualify, TOSS IT.

Beware the trap of “Good Catholic” logic.

 “But people in Africa would kill for this half-used tube of hand cream.”

Would they? Really? That seems awfully presumptuous. And disproportionately violent in regards to the actual value of said hand cream. Let’s maintain some shred of reality here. At some point, letting something sit unused for that long is just as wasteful as throwing it away. Especially considering you will probably continue to buy more hand cream, regardless of how much you already have. “Good Catholic” logic can be detrimental to a hoarder on the brink.

Same goes for clothes. Give yourself two categories

1. Worn in the last 6 months or 2. Baptism Gown.

If it falls under neither of these categories, donate it. (Wedding Dress, see: Baptism Gown)

Another trick I use is this: how much pleasure has said item brought you in the recent past? For instance, if the only time you think about that old belt is when you’re screaming in agony from stepping on it for the umpteenth time, TOSS IT. If it were really important, it would have a more logical place for storage than under your foot.

If you think about it, spring cleaning or cleaning house, is one of the few activities in your life where you get to make all the calls. No one else will mind if you throw away that nasty old poncho. And even if they do, they can’t say shit about it. Unless the poncho was really theirs, not yours, in which case- you owe them a new poncho and should apologize for calling it nasty. But as long as they are in fact, your belongings… Be ruthless. Be unfeeling.

This is your personal North Korea.

Kim Jong Un-clutter your life and make no excuses for it. Rule with an iron fist. Because this is not a democracy, it’s a bedroom. and until that pile of magazines, old underwear and and broken hair elastics starts paying some goddamn taxes, what you say goes.

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Weekend Snapshots

It has been a delightfully low-key weekend, punctuated by long brunches with friends, the first real snow fall, and a few too many bellinis at our favorite local restaurant, Angelina’s. To keep the relaxation going strong, Roomie #2 and I have devoted today to watching footage from Men’s Week in Milan and making fun appetizers for tonight’s Golden Globe’s party at the apartment. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend…  xoxo, SS

Off to a lazy Saturday brunch

Roomie 2 + Larry

First Snow ❤

Bellini-induced PhotoBooth Session (we ❤ PanAm)

A little Burberry Prorsum from the comfort of the apartment

Minty Fresh Manicure

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Besherit

Besherit, the Hebrew expression for “meant to be” is my word of 2012.

My mom hates when I use it because “we’re not Jewish,” but the chosen people really nailed this one so I’m giving credit where credit is due. I’m calling it my “word of 2012” because instead of making resolutions only to break them a week later (I’m looking at you 1 yr old yoga ball and free weights), I’ve decided instead that 2012 should have a theme, a motif, a motto if you will, and that motto is to embrace the besherit.

Lately, it has come to my attention that I spend far too much time predicting, planning and questioning the future. Where will I live, where will I work and why on earth isn’t it all happening right now? A practice that is nothing more than a frustrating exercise in futility, for, through some recent reflection, I have realized that the best things that have happened in my life were anything but planned. Sure there’s been a general path I’ve followed- highschool, college, job, etc.- but all of the truly great opportunities I’ve had, decisions I’ve made and experiences I’ve accumulated have been the result of good timing, good luck and gut feeling.

For example, Mizzou was the only university I visited, I moved into the first studio I looked at in Chicago, and not getting accepted into the sorority I thought I wanted led me to my best friends today. All uncharted, unexpected or un-fretted over, and all for the absolute best.

It turns out there’s a reason we have the expression, “better than I could have imagined,” because we aren’t supposed to see the best things coming. At least not in perfect 20/20. While all the worrying, planning and predicting comes from a good place- a place of wanting the best and trying to avoid regret- even the best laid plans will never be able to trump what’s meant to be.

Not to mention, if you spend all day trying to spot the next best thing coming, there’s a good chance you’ll miss all of the already-great things around you. And that’s something to regret.

So even though it’s hard to let go, give yourself a break. Have a little patience and embrace the besherit. You may just find something you didn’t even know you were looking for. Here’s to a year of unexpected adventures.

xoxo, SS

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A look back!

To say I love WordPress is an understatement. I think it is hands-down the best platform for blogging that I have ever used- which is why I’ve stuck with it for so long. And to celebrate new years they sent me the coolest break down of stats about Samantha Says over the last year. It is so amazing to see that people are reading my blog as far away as Singapore and Australia! So I thought I’d share their report with you guys too! 2011 was a wonderful year and all of my Samantha Says readers have helped make it great. I can’t wait for the wonderful things 2012 has in store!

xoxo, SS

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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