Coming Soon to Cocoa & Hearts...

We WERE supposed to shoot new stuff for Cocoa & Hearts today, but it's really overcast & not good natural light...
We're hoping to shoot at the end of this week so hopefully you'll see new paintings to the gallery! Here's a peek at what's to come! Keep a look out!

Sorry for the awful iPhone pics....better pics coming soon, promise!


If you want to be notified when all this goes up on Cocoa & Hearts, just go to the homepage of the site & subscribe by adding your email.

 If you're on the email list you'll be notified first!

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Renting: The Good, The bad, The Ugly

Hello everyone! This is Jackie from York Avenue blog, I'm here today on MadeByGirl talking about my rental experience! 

Renting in a city like New York has a ton of ups and downs. There are many challenges that come with living in, and decorating, a rented (and tiny!) space, but I think the happiness to be gained by living in a city you love far outweighs the downsides of being a renter!

Living in a rented apartment forces you to find creative solutions to the dilemmas that come with your space. If you can't paint, you have to bring in color in different ways. If you can't put down carpet, you have to use interesting area rugs in varying configurations. And on and on. It really opens up your creativity and forces you to think outside the box! Another thing I actually enjoy about renting is not being responsible for every single thing that happens. When something breaks, I can call my building maintenance staff, instead of needing to find a repair person on my own. Of course, this varies depending on your situation, but when I think about owning I just think of so many things that I would be solely responsible for, and forced to deal with all on my own, and then I feel happy about being a renter! One more upside: if I lived in my own space, I would feel a lot of pressure to make it perfect and renovate every inch. As a renter, if something is ugly and there's nothing I can do about it, I just learn to live with it. It actually turns out to be a good thing-I've learned to be flexible and not demand absolute perfection from my space. I've learned to do what I can (which is a ton), and be happy with the less-than-perfect bits of the rental. These things give it personality, I say! 

Of course, the big downside to being a renter is that you are stuck with those less-than-ideal features of your rental. I have an odd window situation and not very much light in my apartment-it's not what I would have ideally chosen, were I buying, but again, you find ways to manage. Another downside of renting a small space is the urge to decorate every inch of it! It's so easy to go overboard and want more, more, more, but I've found that in a tiny space, keeping things simple and airy is a MUST.

Then there are the really ugly things in a rental that you simply can't do anything about. For me, this would be the unattractive, dated kitchen cabinets. No chance of a total kitchen renovation when you're renting! But as I mentioned in "the good," I've learned to live with this imperfection and embrace it. As Deborah Needleman points out in her book The Perfectly Imperfect Home, (which is the best design book I've ever read, by the way), every home needs a little bit of ugly!

If you'd like to share, the good, the bad, the ugly of living in a rental, email me your submission with 3-4 pictures of your apartment! Pls use the same format as above! 

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Thanks to Ladies Home Journal

Yesterday I attended an event at the offices of Ladies Home Journal in midtown. I normally don't post stuff like this, but I thought maybe I'll start doing so....

One reason is.... I wanted to thank all the ladies from the mag, who were so kind & generous with their time. I chatted the most with Beth Roehrig (Home Editor) & Sue Erneta (Fashion editor) - are you surprised?  Somehow, I'm drawn to all the home & fashion people in the industry....figures ha!
About 9 BLOGGERS were invited to attend this event - & I was quite happy to be one of them! We're supposed to be featured in the mag in a section called "Let's talk about..." Another one of my pretty blogger friends who also got the invite was Ashlina from The Decorista blog- she's the brunette hanging out in their AMAZING kitchen below!
I hope to go to more events now that I'm living in Manhattan- so pls feel free to email me invites! Maybe I'll see you in person soon! 
Above is the new March issue...revamped. How much nicer is their logo?? Don't you think??

Ashlina & I (NOT) cooking in the kitchen.


The kitchen in their offices was HUGE. I swear it was like 4 kitchens in one. Almost too large to shoot!

Some of the many DELICIOUS sweets they had for us...! Love!

Me (on the right) hanging out with Beth (Home Editor)- loved chatting with her! 

 We all got a BIG goodie bag, filled with lots of cool items! One of my FAVE things was this handmade Stingray cuff bracelet! You can get one at Leighelena.

Ladies Home Journal is always looking for interesting stories about women. If you think you have a story that is inspiring and should be told, email me & I'll let them know! 

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Holst + Lee Debut Collection...

Holst + Lee is a New York City based company - lead by 2 talented girls who make the most colorful collection of jewelry I've seen.  Today I'm highlighting their debut collection......this stuff is HOT out of the oven & just in time for Spring!!  I've already chosen my favorite below, but I really just LOVE all of them, don't you? 

Well, this type of jewelry may not be for everyone, only for those who dare to wear bold & colorful pieces...
Try them if you dare, you'll find they have many different styles as well as bracelets!

Holst + Lee via shopbop 

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Food: Brownie French Toast

Hello everyone it is Lori and Michelle from pure2raw. Ready for a new, fun and tasty recipe? 

 Who loves having a little chocolate for breakfast? Who loves french toast? Ever have them together?? Call us crazy, but we wanted something chocolate for breakfast, and had some frozen millet bread that needed to be used up. So after some thought, we decided on brownie french toast! Now this is a breakfast everyone in your family will sure to love. We made ours gluten free too!

 Pure2raw recipe:  

Brownie French Toast Ingredients:
  • slices of your favorite bread (we used a gluten free millet bread)
  • 1 brownie recipe (we used this one of ours - chewy gluten free brownies)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup non-dairy milk or milk of choice (we used almond milk)
Directions: Make your cinnamon sugar mixture first. Take the 2 tbsp sugar and mix it with cinnamon in a bowl. Next whisk together your eggs and milk with the cinnamon and sugar. Then dip you bread into the egg mixture and place into 9x9 square baking dish. 


 Keep dipping bread slices till most of your egg mix is used up. Then you can just pour over the remaining egg mix if you want. Next in another bowl, combine all your gluten free brownie ingredients into a bowl and stir together. Pour brownie batter over bread slices. **you may use any brownie recipe of your liking.


Place into a pre-heated oven of 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes. Slice and enjoy.


 a healthy, little sweet FUN breakfast for you and your family to enjoy. 


We left our brownies a little undercooked. We like rich, fudgy brownies. Anyone else? 


Breakfast is served. Enjoy! This brownie french toast would also be great for a dessert. Recipe is very flexible. Just have a little fun with it.

-post by Lori & Michelle pure2raw twins

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DIY: Studded Coasters

Hi again! It's Jenny Bevlin this Friday with another DIY project! When I saw the coasters in Jen's post the other day, I fell in LOVE. Stylish coasters are hard to find! I decided to DIY them and share the project. These coasters will definitely add some major style to any table. Don't you think? 

 What you need to make these coasters:
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Cork Coasters
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Various Brads and Studded Rhinestones (You can find the brads in the scrapbook section of the craft store and the rhinestones in the t-shirt decorating section.)


Spray paint the coasters. You will only need to spray one side of each coaster since you will be gluing two sides of the coasters together. Once the coasters have dried, add the brads and rhinestones to the painted side of the coaster. 

You can put them in any pattern that you like. The brads on mine went all the way through to the other side of the coaster, so I pushed down the ends.  

Once you are done decorating one side of the coaster with brads and rhinestones, glue the unpainted side of another coaster to the unpainted side of the coaster you decorated.

 Lastly, add brads around the side of the coaster. 

- post and images by Jenny Bevlin

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Scarves for Spring...

I've been spying a ton of beautiful & colorful scarves online and on the streets! Totally in trend? Sure, why not? These are perfect for spring! They're light and airy....! 

What do you wear these with?? I totally feel any of these would look fantastic with a white t-shirt & a pair of old blue jeans...oh yes, & let's top it off with some high heel booties!

I happen to own a few scarves, but can't wait to get my hands on some really colorful ones! Here's a collection of my favorites from ShopBop as well as other shops. 

My picks are: A, C , E & F.

Are you into scarves?? Which of these is your favorite?


b. yarnz
d. yarnz
e. yarnz

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Design: Abstract Art

Hello lovelies!! It's Brooke from The Modern Sophisticate to share with you my love of abstract art. 

There is not another single item you can add to your home that screams "I have taste" more than a gorgeous piece of abstract.  They fit in traditional settings just as well as they do in uber modern spaces (which can be a God-send sometimes).  

Lately, I've even started to see a lot of abstract-inspired fashion, as well!

1. Room by Nicole Cohen
2. Abstract by Nicole Cohen, Dress by Lela Rose
3.  Room by Jan Showers
4. Dress by Alice+Olivia, Abstract by Richard Aldrich
Do you like the look but not sure how to style abstracts for your own space?
Here are a few tips:

1. 'Camellia' Original Painting by Jen Ramos 
2.  Field Bench with Back by Dering Hall
3. 6 Light Chandelier by Currey&Company
4. Side Table from One Kings Lane
5. Polyedres by Hubert le Gall via 1st Dibs
6. Suzy Gold Leaf & White Marble Side Table by Worlds Away
7. Estelle Display Lamp from Circa Lighting
8. Colors 97 Original Painting by Jen Ramos

-post by brooke

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Renting: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Hi Everyone!! I'm Kim, and I write a blog called Design Thoughts and am so excited to share my Apartment living, Highs and Lows with you today!!!!

The Good

I left my home in MI (yep, that we own!!) to move to NY, into an apartment, 8 yrs ago!! Can you imagine?! To be honest, it took me many years of apt living, to find the good! (Sad, right?) But now that I have embraced it, there are so many great things about apt living!

The first, although, not glamorous at all, is that if something breaks (i.e. Dishwasher, washing machine, and furnace) you don’t have to pay for it to be fixed!!  Not having that stress is a BIGGIE for me.

Second, you can LEAVE whenever you want!!  It is SO great, knowing that if we are no longer happy living where we are, we can move, just like that, no strings attached!!

And Third, This won’t be everyone’s story, but for us, we have been VERY lucky that our landlord ROCKS!! We have been able to rip up carpet to expose hardwood, paint walls, and hang artwork, so we have been able to make this our HOME even though it’s an apartment.  It took me a very long time to accept our apartment as our home, but the minute, we left the hospital with our baby boy, everything changed.  I want to make this apartment special for him, not just a place we rent. So...that’s what we are doing, little by little, knowing that one day, we won’t be here anymore, but the time we spent here, we enjoyed, by surrounding  ourselves, with things we love!

The Bad

I’m an Interior Designer. SO, it’s very difficult, not being able to “renovate” a space, that may not be my style or preference. ( I’m talking, moving walls and re-locating plumbing) When we moved in, our bathroom had pink tiles and pink walls, and not super cool, hip, see it on the pages of Domino(yikes, old reference)  Pink, but like, no one cared EVER, pink. We had to wait, until the upstairs apartment flooded (um... 5 yrs AFTER we moved in) for our landlords to remodel the bathroom.  Our Washing Machine is in our kitchen...Lucky to have a washing machine, yes, but to have it RIGHT next to our clean dishes…Not so great. That has been BAD. So many things I would change or remodel if this was a home we owned, BUT, along with the freedom of picking up and going anytime you want, also comes the fact that you are TIED to whatever awful design elements are there.

The Ugly

Ohhh the ugly...sigh...Okay, I am going to state the obvious here, because truly, it’s the worst thing.  Other people, not your family, literally are living one wall, or floor, away from you.  Even the coolest neighbors, whom we have had, are so close, you can hear everything that’s happening, which means, of course, they also, can HEAR everything that’s happening in your home!  It’s not cool, but, you learn to live with it! The other very obvious, you are paying someone else, every single month, for a place, that’s not yours...ouch! It stings, I’m not gonna lie. I hate sending that check, BUT see the “Good” evens out ;)

I have to say; even though I can’t wait until the day we OWN again, living the “apartment life” has been great! Especially in New York…EVERYONE lives in apartments, so it’s the norm!! The key is making it your HOME, not just a place you rent!

Thank you!
Kim from Design Thoughts blog


1st picture, this living room use to have grey, commercial carpet and bright yellow walls, so ugly!
2nd picture,( real life in the Salter House) , my son Liam, enjoying hot chocolate in our "home"
3rd Missoni picture wall

If you'd like to share, the good, the bad, the ugly of living in a rental, email me your submission with 3-4 pictures of your apartment! Pls use the same format as above! 

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Sally Wheat Interiors

I'm a FAN of Sally Wheat. Her Interior design has always attracted me & her style is sooo inspiring! She recently featured one of my old 'Butterfly' fabric prints in a little girl's room! I was like, "no way, so cool!" - I was excited.

Sally Wheat is one of Houston's freshest new designers and I'm sure you'll be seeing more & more of her work around the net! You can take a peek at her portfolio here.  

-images via sally wheat

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