Saturday, May 28, 2011

Double Funky Site!

This go 'round, I'm doing a bit of a double Funky Site.  I'm doing a Funky Site by way of another Über Funky Site! First, I have to give a shout out to HGTV's Blog, "Design Happens" - I love this blog and all the places it leads me. They have great ideas and great taste of what's interesting and attractive.  It is kind of a Permanent Funky Site on my list!  Before I do my second and actual Funky Site of this post I am going to give a quick little feature of what kinds of awesome things can be found at HGTV'S Blog - interior/exterior design ideas, interesting finds, and Do-It-Yourself projects. I am not going to designate a whole Funky Site, because there's just too much, and it's added to everyday, but I'm sure I will mention it again and I am seriously encouraging you to visit it!! 

Some of the items featured on their blog are more of "dream" items for me... like this amazing lounge chair with a canopy to cover you from the sun when you need it. This piece is beautiful and so classy. I love the bright red pillows! 
Modani sells these amazing love seats.

Other ideas featured on their blogs are more attainable for me.  This is a colorful and visually stunning way to decorate with baskets.  I have a soft spot in my heart for baskets because my grandma weaves beautiful baskets. I also love the woven rugs and rustic wood table they feature in the picture.

This is another interior design that I love. It's so rustic, but so clean. From the detailed, antique-like mirror to the rustic table and weathered pots, the clean, white hardwood floors and the worn bedframe, all look great in the bright space they are in.  I love the addition of fresh-cut white tulips!!

These shiny, "Oscar the Grouch homes" are amazing as planters!! This is such a clever idea! The colors pop so well against the clean silver.  This is a fun and easy DIY project from their site.  They suggest you screw on the wheels, which can be optional.  For the larger cans, they fill the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of the way with empty 2-liter bottles then start adding dirt - a nice way to take up the space and utilize recyclables. I wish I had space to do something like this!
For instructions on how to do this, go here!

The last item for HGTV's Funky Site leads into my main Funky Site feature. These amazing glass bubbles are from West Elm.  Practically floating in them are air ferns, which basically live off of air, only needing a little water on the base once a week.  This looks so other-worldly and alien-like. I ended up buying the two smaller round ones and bought air ferns from an online store....!!! I am extremely excited to put these wild things up. 

This purchase leads me to my main Funky Site....

The ever-amazing HGTV Design Blog has led me to an amazing store called West Elm.  They have great furniture, accessories and ideas. I bought my amazing glass bubbles (above) from their site! They have a lot of other great items. Let me show you...   :)

Bubbles Ceramic Side Table

This is a really unique ceramic side table. It can be beachy or kind of vintage, shabby chic.
Natural Tree-Stump Side Table
I also love this tree stump side table.  It's so rustic but I think still works perfectly with so many different styles. I think it would look great even with the ceramic side table above.

Round Coco Mirror

At first sight I wasn't sure about this mirror, but I love it now. This is a "round coco mirror" and it's made out of dried coconut pieces!

Angle Nesting Shelves

This is so quirky and fun. It adds a great flare and style to shelves.

Elton Settee

This is a dream item for me, but an absolutely beautiful and classy settee none the less.  It would look great paired with pillows with bright, bold patterns.

West Elm has some great pillows along with other home accessories.

I think bright patterned pillows matched with a bold colored pillow work perfectly on a white couch.

Recycled-Glass Bud Vases

Even these little recycled-glass bud vases are great. They're perfect little vases to display fresh wildflowers around your house. Right now they are on sale for only $3.99!!

Glass Teardrop Table Lamp

This is another great accessory they have.  These glass teardrop table lamps come with a raffia shade.  I love the right one with butterflies in it!!

Jason Polan Botanical Dessert Plates

West Elm also has beautiful plateware designs.  I love this Jason Polan Botanical Dessert Plate.

Henna Dessert Plates

This Henna Dessert Plate has a beautiful and interesting design.  A good alternative to plain, white plates.


West Elm also has a great section called We Love where they feature information on the artists featured in their collections, behind the scenes videos, and local guides to cities they consider home.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

MY Birmingham

  I have lived in Birmingham now for right about 3 years.  Within the last year and a half I have finally had enough money (non-AmeriCorps stipend now!) and opportunity to really check out Birmingham.  I have kind of mapped out the areas of Birmingham that I frequent or that make Birmingham the city it is to me.
  Birmingham is a small, big city.  It is a big city in that it is relatively well-known, with a downtown full of high rises, and a bustling university and hospital system.  Despite that, Birmingham can feel surprising small sometimes.  Within Birmingham, everyone knows everyone else, or at least someone they know.  The city shuts down on the weekends, especially on Sundays, and there are blocks of beautiful architecture and potential life that are virtually empty.
  I am not complaining about Birmingham, but merely pointing out what I notice.  I actually think Birmingham is growing and will continue to grow into a cooler city than it already is.  The longer I live here, and work in downtown, the more I discover new places and appreciate Birmingham.  The trick is finding the best places to go - below is a map of MY Birmingham and my favorite areas to be.

  This is the downtown Birmingham that I know.  I work at the YWCA on the North side in the heart of the downtown high rises, near the courts and Loft District.  We are only a couple blocks from Sloss Furnaces, an old blast furnace in the middle of the city. As you cross over the railroad tracks you get into the South side.  They recently built Railroad Park, which is an awesome green space in the middle of the city.  They have done an amazing job with play areas, walking paths and a pavilion. It has begun to bring tons of people into the city and they are talking about what new feature to put next to it now.  Even though I don't go to UAB, the University and the hospital system brings in tons of people - many young and progressive - which helps make up a large part of Birmingham's culture and economic life.  Right in the University area is Five Points.  Although Five Points can feel a little lackluster at times, it can be a pretty nice area and has great potential to become a serious nightlife hot spot in Birmingham. East of the UAB and Five Points area is the Highlands area with great parks and beautiful homes.  


Another big reason I love living here in Birmingham is how close we are to some of the coolest cities in America.  The map shows the distance Birmingham is to a load of great cities.  Here's a breakdown of how far we are to certain things:
  *Birmingham to Atlanta - 2.5 hours
  *Birmingham to Mobile/Pensacola/The Gulf Coast(BEACH!!) - 4 - 4.5 hours
  *Birmingham to New Orleans - 5 hours
  *Birmingham to Memphis - 4 hours
  *Birmingham to Chattanooga - 2.5 hours

I won't go through and list everything, but the farthest distance is Birmingham to Charleston with about 8 hours.  In other words, we are within an easy drive to some awesome cities.  In less than 3 hours we can head north to Chattanooga and go camping in the mountains; and in about 4.5 hours we can be down at the Gulf Coast on the white sand beaches.  We are so close to amazing cultural cities like Memphis and New Orleans.  My friend and I have a list about 6 months long of all the places we need to go on the weekends.  There are not many areas of the U.S. where you are within such short drives to some really awesome places. Having said all of that, I will now include my travel to regional areas in the "My Birmingham" section because it is one of the things that Birmingham offers. 


All in all, I think people underestimate Birmingham - both residents and outsiders.  It has an amazing amount of history and charm.  It's actually a very cool city and is continually growing to become better.