Lovely Home: Gallery Wall and Minted.com

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So a few months ago we left our cramped apartment in the heart of the city and hightailed it on out to the ‘burbs and bought a house where each kid could have their own bedroom (score!) and there was ample free parking with NO street cleaning (I know – I thought that was impossible in LA, too.) While we’re thrilled with our super family-friendly street and the ample space, owning a house – especially once kids are already in the mix – is a ton of work. Decorating a new space once filled me with excitement and joy, now I just see the scant free hours we have slipping away while we surf endlessly online for the perfect rug, or try to haul two little ones to a furniture store (HINT: it never ends well.)

One area in our house I’ve been staring at and envisioning is this large swath of empty wall between two windows in the family room. I’ve always wanted to attempt a gallery wall, and this wall is just begging for a bunch of frames. But where to start? I quickly got lost in an internet spiral searching for prints, adding things to multiple shopping carts and never checking out. Then along came Minted. If you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s kind of a one-stop-shop for independent artists to be able to have their work showcased to the world, and for regular people like us to find them. What’s not to love?

I had long perused Minted for holiday cards every year, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they also sold art prints. You can even get them pre-framed. One feature that I particularly love about Minted -besides feeling like you’re supporting independent artists – is the “art styling” tab where you can see gallery walls created by fabulously creative people to inspire and guide your choices. And when you click on a print, below it you’ll see curated gallery walls that incorporate that print so you can get even more ideas on how to style it – which is just so awesome.

Here are just a few of my faves – clearly you can see I’m all over the map:

MIN-8VQ-GNA-007_A_APZ

MIN-LOY-GNA-007_A_APZ MIN-TRM-GNA-007_A_APZ MIN-1XF-GNA-007_A_APZ
MIN-L9J-GNA-007_A_APZ fox

And don’t even get me started on the loads of adorable prints for a nursery – that may be a whole post in itself! So I’m finally feeling ready to pull the trigger on my Minted shopping cart and can’t wait to share how it turns out!

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Lovely Instagram Printing: Printrbook

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As many of you already know, I love Instagram. It’s a fast and easy way for me to document moments of life (and lame food shots) that I know I wouldn’t otherwise. The main problem with apps like Instagram though is what do you do with all those awesome pics you snapped besides look at them on your phone from time to time? Thanks to the advent of multiple Instagram printing services, it’s easier than ever to get a printed book, magnet, or even phone case of your Instagram shots. I’ve tried several out there already – Blurb and Stickygram to name just a few – and was recently introduced to a new service called Printrbook.

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At about $11-12 USD (they’re based in the UK), you get the most adorable (approximately) 4×4 softcover book of either 25 or 50 Instagram photos (I went with 50.) I loved how super easy it was to select the photos I wanted in there, because there’s nothing worse than spending hours picking out the pics you want only to have to rearrange one image and wasting another hour. You can add a title, and choose to have your Instagram caption/date showing or not showing. I chose to show them to have some reference of when things were taken. It’s also a breeze to order multiple copies of the same one (Christmas presents, anyone?) And if you’re a print snob like me, I have to say I was pretty happy with the print quality of the images (especially considering they’re low res.) Just know that it’s printed on heavy duty matte paper, lest you’re expecting a glossier version.

The books were also the perfect miniature size for Little Miss to hold as she lovingly gazed at pictures of herself (who said toddlers weren’t narcissists?!) They’d also be great as grandparent gifts, anniversary gifts or even as wedding favors. And while Printrgram only offers one size/version of the book, they are working on offering more variety in the coming months as the business grows. Exciting!

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As an added bonus, Printrbook is offering A Lovely State of Mind readers 10% off with the special discount code lovely10 for the first 50 users. Happy printing!

Lovely Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2013

Wow, time has flown by! Mother’s Day is in a few days, and I’ve totally missed the boat on advanced gift-shopping and this round-up post. I know all I want is to sleep in (i.e. anything past 7am), relax, eat good food, and spend time with my little family. No diaper changes would be an added bonus. If you’re still stumped on what to get mom, here are some of my favorite picks.

maya brenner
That quintessential Mother’s Day gift – a necklace. I remember “buying” so many of these year after year at our elementary school “store” and gifting them proudly to my mom only to see her wear it for a week and never again. So get her one this year that she’ll love to wear all year-round. I’m partial to delicate initial necklaces like this Maya Brenner version.

market tote
It’s Spring! Which means lots of trips to the farmers markets, and the like. So why not gift mom with a super-cute market tote made for such trips. It’s definitely the kind of item she’s lust after but never really splurge on for herself, and this Apolis Market Bag from Terrain is so cute, she could use it as an everyday tote too!

purl-soho
A Learn-to-Knit Kit from the famous Purl Soho makes for a thoughtful and creative gift for the crafty or wannabe crafty mom. Don’t forget the most important part of this gift – some uninterrupted free time for Mom so she can actually learn these new skills. Maybe one day you’ll get a lovely homemade goodie out of it. (I say “one day” because if she’s anything like me, learning to knit will be a long process with lots more stops than starts.)

clare vivier
Go all out this year and get Mom something really special – a monogrammed buttery oversized leather clutch  from Clare Vivier. These gorgeous bags, iPad cases, wallets, and clutches are sure to become family heirlooms one day, and the gold monogramming just adds an extra sentimental touch.

west elm enamel pot
When Mom wants to wind down after a long day and goes to make her requisite cup of tea, how happy will she be making it in this gorgeously simple enamel tea pot from West Elm? Pair it with some charming mugs and a selection of fancy teas to complete the set.

And if you’re really stumped, what Mom doesn’t want or love a spa day. Dads, whisk the kids away for some special time and send Mom off to get that massage/scrub/facial/reading US Weekly time that she’s been dying for.

Hope everyone has a lovely Mother’s Day celebrating, being celebrated, and just having a grand ol’ time in general.

P.S. Here’s a roundup I wrote over at Savvy Sassy Moms of awesome things you can do with your Instagram pics to have hard copies of them – another great Mother’s Day, or any day gift for anyone!

Lovely Design: Polkka Jam

Have you guys heard of Polkka Jam? Me neither – until today. And now I am officially enamored. They’re a Finnish design firm creating the most awww-worthy products and textiles. I mean just look at this stuff, just look!

All images from Polkka Jam

I’m not even a cat person yet can’t help but crack a smile at their new cat-centric collection. And how cute would that print be in a vintage-themed nursery?

Fall is Here: Lovely Mugs

There’s nothing better than curling up on the couch (ideally in sweatpants) with a hot yummy something in a nice mug. There’s just something about wrapping your hands around that large ceramic houseware that just screams the word “cozy”!. So as the temperatures start dropping, here’s a roundup of some fireplace happiness-inducing mugs that I wish I owned (along with a week off of work).

1) Oh Leander Drifter Mug 2) Heath Ceramics Studio Mug 3) Citta Designs Mug 4) Leif Large Knot Cozy Mug 5) Orla Kiely Apples & Pears Mug 6) Ready, Aim, Admire Mug 7) Old Havana Mug

Happy drinking!