Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm in the Wrong Business!

Yesterday I had to drive 60 miles to get one of our cars serviced (oy, life outside the big city!!) and I was dreading not only the drive, but the waiting.... Until I discovered that there was a Target in this town!  I didn't realize when I moved outside of the city how living without Target would effect me.  It's my place.  I find so many things there that I didn't know I would ever need!!  So I happily walked into Target with two things on my list.  20 items and $136 later I walked out of Target.  When I was at the check-out, the lady was ringing up a few cute birthday cards that I got for some friends.  The cards were $6.95 each - WHAT?!?!?  When did a paper card (okay, these had sequins and ribbon, but still) become almost $7?  I could get into that business!  So here's the question.  Do people keep birthday cards or just toss them?  I'm happy to pay a bit of money for a card if people will keep them, but I'm not sure people do and I would rather buy them a glass of wine or something.  Let me know what you think - do you keep your cards?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Glitzy Green Gift Wrapping

I am a very fortunate lady and receive some pretty spectacular gifts...along with those, I get some wonderful wrapping paper that I keep (just one more thing I have to find space for!).  Is that weird?  I fold up the tissue paper, keep all of the ribbons and cute bags so I can use them again.  I keep them in two woven boxes that my mom sent me from Maui.  If you receive gifts from me, more than likely the wrapping has been 're-gifted'.   I believe in using what you have and re-using things like paper and ribbon.  
Three of my best girlfriends from San Francisco are coming to visit me in Vail this weekend and I put together some fun gift bags for them so that they can survive the dry/cold weather. 

 They're just little gifts like a water bottle, Luna bars, moisturizer samples and lip glosses....

But I made them look really special by using luxury gift wrap - Hermes and Cartier ribbons and a Chanel shopping bag.  Hopefully my friends won't mind that there aren't any luxury goods in there!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tragic Technology

If you are an iphone owner, like me, you are part of a special club that only 'we' can understand.  I have turned into the biggest dork since becoming an Apple convert.....and I LOVE it.  However, this love of technology can suck the soul right out of you.  I have discovered an "Application" on my iphone that is a game called ReMoveEm.  If you find this game, do not download it - run for your life!  I have a very unhealthy addiction to this game.  It's completely basic (like Tetris, but even easier) but I can't stop playing it.  'A' is always asking if I'm playing the game and I say 'no' so now I hide in the bathroom to play it.  I'm living a secret life.   So if you would like to keep your job and keep a happy family life, stay far far away from this game. 
 Plus, I hold all of the 'Top Scores" anyway so you would feel very intimidated playing it.  

Mixing Styles

A few years ago I started getting really bored with my decor 'style.'  I realized that I was trying to have a similar look for all of my belongings and it was boring after awhile.  I began reading magazines for inspiration and noticed that my favorite spaces combined multiple styles.  I like a little bit of everything to keep the look interesting and fresh.  'A' and I bought this square dining room table that has a nice heavy barn look (from Arhaus) and matched it with these really simple, modern plastic chairs from Design Within Reach.  The juxtaposition of the two styles works perfectly and everyone comments about how much they love our dining room.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Show Off Your Bling!

I'm a "if I don't see it, it's not there" girl.  I consistently forget about all of the great things I own because I can't see everything.  This especially happens with earrings.  I end up wearing the same jewels all the time and feel boring without some fantastic earrings.  I love having my signature pieces (my gold/sapphire ring, antique gold necklace from Portugal and my Cartier Love bracelet from 'A'), but changing up earrings is so fun!  

I keep my earrings hung on this funky 'bust' with a chicken-wire skirt. I found it at a boutique in the Highlands area of Denver, but you can find great items like this in many boutiques.  This way I can see all of my earrings and make an effort to actually wear them!  

Also, if you're a shoe lover like I am, use your shoes as art!  These fantastic cowboy boots should not be hidden in the closet - these were made to show off - so I keep them in a book case, mixed in with books and picture frames.  My favorite cowboy boot shop is "Boots & Boogie" in Santa Fe, NM.  Roy, the owner, is a hoot and some people (including 'A') pay extra money to buy some of Roy's old worn-in boots!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Ski Time

Now that we're almost unpacked, I can enjoy some great time on the slopes!  

Skiing alone can be fun because I can go at my own pace and enjoy nature, though I get more exercise when 'A' and I ski together since I spend the entire day trying to catch up with him.

After skiing my favorite place to go is the "Red Lion" for hot wings and a Blue Moon beer.  If I want something nicer, I go to "Sweet Basil" for an Alpine Vesper and a fancy burger with truffle fries!  

For the Love of Nespresso

During my crazy working girl days, I drank a ton of espresso.  The employees at the Starbuck's next to my office knew my name and my drink of choice - Grande Non-fat latte with Cinnamon and Nutmeg (because I thought it made the drink taste like Christmas).  One day, during one of my "who can afford to live in San Francisco with my lifestyle" freak-outs, I calculated that I spent at least $1300 per year on coffee!  When I realized that I could have bought almost two pairs of Louboutin's for that amount or actually put some money in the bank, I was depressed!

Last spring when I moved in with 'A' (that's what my boyfriend would like to be known as now that I'm taking our home life public), we bought a Nespresso machine.  It's hard to spend $700 up front on an Espresso machine, but when we added up the savings it made so much sense.  The capsules come in a variety of strengths and flavors and are 55 cents each so if you have 2 per day (I do, I do!) that's only $402 per year.  Even with the cost of the machine, our espresso costs went way down in the first year!

We have the Lattissima Machine ('top line' model in black).  

I bought us these great espresso cups in Portugal at Vista Alegra, one of the oldest China companies in the country. I love the designs!

If you're not convinced by me about the Nespresso machine, George Clooney does the commercial, so there's another great incentive.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hanger Hanger on the Wall

This summer I did a home tour in Beaver Creek of some of the most exquisite mountain homes I have ever seen.  Aside from my constant calculating of how much money we would have to make in order to build one of these homes, I could not get my mind off of the disgusting hanger displays in the enormous closets in these homes.  Though these closets were larger than the 2 bedroom apartment I lived in in San Francisco and filled with designer clothing , the hangers were all mismatched, plastic, wire and all colors of the rainbow.  These people had thin plastic hangers holding up their furs!  That poor fox did not die so that it could hang on a turquoise tubular hanger.  I'm not anti-fur, I'm just anti-disrespecting your clothing.  Here's the deal - you will never love your closet until you have matching, functional hangers.  Whether you have a custom closet or you live in a rental with a pole and a shelf, matching hangers will change your life and preserve the life of your clothing.  

My favorite place to buy hangers is  They have a huge variety of hangers in various finishes and I think their pricing is really good.  Also, for me, one of the most important things about working with a company is customer service - I only work with people who 'get it' - and they do.  

My absolute must-have hanger is this one....

It's called the Vinyl Hanger.  I prefer to purchase it in black, though white and light pink are available.  Black seems to show the least amount of dust... oh, Colorado is so dusty - I can't get over it!  This hanger is space-saving, keeps wide-neck shirts from slipping and, most importantly, you can hang delicate sweaters without getting 'pucker-marks' or stretching the fabric.  I prefer to hang rather than fold items because wrinkles are my enemy and I like to see what I own so I don't buy the same black shirt over and over again.  You can buy hangers to match your closet or buy a color that contrasts for a cool look.  My step-mom has a white California Closet and I got her all black hangers - very chic! can also monogram your hangers which is very 'in' right now.  Monogrammed hangers make a great gift for a house-warming, wedding or new baby!

I won't show you my closet right now because we are remodeling our house and living in a rental for a few months.   I can't wait to show you our new custom closets in April!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Squeaky Clean

Most people know me as someone who prefers to clean with natural products whenever possible. I don't like stinky chemicals and I grew up in a natural home.  With that said, there are two things I need my chemicals for - my dishwasher and my mirrors.  After trying every natural product known to man for my mirrors (yes, vinegar and everything), I discovered "Windex Glass and Surface Wipes".  These are better than the spray because they leave no lint from the wipe and leave no streaks, making me so happy when I'm examining my pores in the mirror!  These are these are the little details in life that make my day.  A nice glass of wine and some Windex wipes and I'm set.    
Also, I always wear gloves when cleaning - protect your gorgeous hands and expensive manicure!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mountain Girl Beauty

Living in Vail is amazing, but it's not great for the skin!  I've lived in dry, high-altitude climates before (Santa Fe, NM) and know what it's like to put on body lotion while still in the shower.  Last year when we came up to Vail for the weekends, I would wash my face with olive oil - I love products with multiple uses! Here are some key products I love that keep my skin hydrated and (hopefully) keep away the wrinkles.  I'm embarrassed to show you the gazillions of other products I have/use, but trust that I've tried a ton of products that are on the market. I used most of these hydrating products when I lived in San Francisco too, just not as often:

Weleda Skin Food - This thick cream is for dehydrated, chapped skin.  I always put it on before skiing and my skin feels completely protected.  During the winter, skin can become really dehydrated and I like to slather on the heavy moisturizer.  I would rather walk around looking like a shiny penny than deal with dry, flaky skin.  Weleda is a German company that makes holistic skin care.  I love their baby products too (for all my friends in baby-mode!).  

Egyptian Magic  - This all-purpose skin cream has "magic" in the title so you know it's good!  (I am every marketers dream customer).  This ancient Egyptian recipe blends Olive Oil, Beeswax, Honey, Pollen, Royal Jelly and Propolis Extract to create this wonderful hard paste that turns to oil when you warm it in your hands.  I don't have any skin issues besides dryness, but apparently this cream is good for multiple skin conditions.  I like to use this a few times a week as my night cream. Take a small amount, warm it by rubbing your hands together and massage the oil onto your skin.  A little goes a LONG way so use it sparingly - you can also use it as a hand and foot cream, put it on your elbows or any other dry parts.  A big thank you to the Ancient Egyptian peeps!  

Aveda Energizing Composition - I just picked this up the other day because....I guess I needed more oil?  This oil balances the skin and is actually good for oily skin.  The smell is intoxicating (ylang-ylang), invigorating and the oil has many uses - scalp treatment, body oil, pre-face wash (yes, now we have come to the time when there is a PRE-face wash, not just a face wash.  Who knew I was missing a step for 29 years!  How did I survive?).   Aveda creates a great range of products and I love that they focus on preserving the environment and using good ingredients.   They also make products for people with sensitivity to scent etc.    
Here's a quick list of some of the body moisturizers I love (and have people hooked on):

All the Shea Butter products from L'Occitane.  I use their Pure Shea Butter on my lips and cuticles.  I have pots of it everywhere.  I've been using products from this company since high school and their products make the best gifts!  I almost forgot - I'm completely addicted to their Shea Butter Hand Cream.  It's the best out there and the tube lasts me at east a year.  It also comes in smaller sizes so you can keep one in your purse, car, and at work.  This is a 'must-have' product.

Dr. Hauschka oils.  I love the Moor Lavender Body Oil (warming and calming) and the Rosemary Body Oil (warming and invigorating) .  I usually mix a few drops in with my normal body cream and use more during the winter.  I try to use it religiously because it's an organic product and expires after about a year.  Another great company - check out all their products!  

ALBA Botanica makes my favorite body cream.  My entire family has been using it for years.  They have a few different kinds of lotion, but I like the "Maximum Dry Skin Formula" with Alpha Hydroxy acids that revitalize dry skin.  This is a natural product, but this particular cream smells a little fruity (smells a bit like fresh tuberose) so most men I know use the unscented lotion.   

As you all know, one of the key factors in keeping your skin moisturized and youthful is all about what you put in your body, not just on your skin.  Drink a ton of water (I have to constantly remind myself to do this because I seem to prefer espresso and wine - these don't count as water!), eat tons of fruits and veggies and eat good fats like olive oil, avocado (yum yum!), fatty fish, and nuts. I also take a great Omega-3 supplement - I am so bad at taking pills so I prefer liquids and this is a key supplement because it's an internal moisturizer, among other health benefits. I take "The Essential Woman" from Barlean's.  In addition to all those great Omegas, it contains a ton of powerful ingredients like Evening Primrose, Flaxseed Oil, Lignans, Isoflavones and Rosemary.  

Many of the items I mentioned above are available at Whole Foods or multiple websites.  Whew, that was a long post...I could write forever because I love this subject and will continue to add more posts about this!  Now I'm ready for a nice glass of wine... think antioxidants people!!

Bambi and Friends

Today I was scrubbing the carpet on the stairs (oh yes, taking time off of work is GLAMOUROUS) and a whole family of deer came to hang out with me at the house - see, I DO have friends in Vail.   I asked them if they wanted to help me with the scrubbing but they tried to hide from me.  See how toxic all those household cleaners are?  The fumes are making me talk to the wildlife and ask them for favors. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lavish Laundry

Of course my first 'real' entry has to be about something as exciting as laundry (really hooks the audience).  Working for California Closets for over 6 years,  I learned a lot about caring for and preserving your belongings.  Caring for your clothing is as important as organizing it!  My belief around clothing is to buy great quality and take really good care of it.  Nothing makes me more upset than wasting money on clothes that fall apart.  I would rather spend $400 on a dress that lasts years, than $50 on something I can only wear a couple of times - my style is more classic with an edge, less trendy (I need to mention, though, that the best t-shirt on the market is the "My Favorite T" from the GAP.  They're about $2o and better than anything else out there - expensive or cheap).  

Back to laundry.  The best laundry detergent I have ever used is from a small company called "The Laundress."  The company was started by two friends who had years of experience in the textile and fashion world.  They created a luxury fabric care line that helps to preserve all types of fabric, saves trips to the dry cleaner, is good for you and the environment, and has 4 different fragrance lines that smell divine.  I love the whole line, but if I had to chose I would buy the "Delicate Wash", "Darks Detergent", "Fabric Fresh", and "Wool & Cashmere Shampoo"'s really hard to choose because every product is amazing.   

If you are used to grocery store bought detergent, the prices will shock you, but I justify this luxury by thinking about how long my clothing will look fabulous and the dry cleaning bills I won't have - plus, the products are concentrated.  You can find this line in some high-end home and beauty boutiques, but I think it's easiest to buy from their website.  Be sure to check out their whole website - I think it's amazing.  I love the "Things We Love" posts...such a great idea for any business website.  

Check out the products and let me know what you think.  

Funny Note: When my boyfriend and I were discussing Valentine's Day, I said I didn't want anything because I would rather save for travel or for something in our newly remodeled house later in the year... but then I decided to ask him for some detergent from The Laundress.  I'm not kidding.  I'm such a romantic.  


Welcome to my blog!  I decided to call it "The Krafty Life" because my nickname has always been "Krafty" -  I would consider myself pretty crafty -  and I can't seem to focus on just one topic so the title seems to fit.  My best friend encouraged me to write this blog because I have always been someone who my friends seek out for my random knowledge on nutrition, beauty, organization, interior design... and anything else I can find information about.  I am a resource queen!  I have lived in many wonderful places, traveled the world and worked for California Closets (corporate) for over 6 years.  I have decided to take the winter off from working while I move to Vail, Colorado and I finally have time to start this blog.  
I am primarily writing this blog for friends and family, but if you find this blog, please read my profile so you know who I am and what my story is.  I am always amazed that people seek advice online from people they don't know anything about, especially emergency health advice.  CRAZY!!  
As someone who worked in the corporate world for a long time, I want to state that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or anything else I can get sued for 'not being' - I'm giving ideas based on personal and professional experience and understand that every person is different.  That's my little disclaimer, but I think most of my posts will be great ideas for everyone!