Friday Crush: Yellow Makes Me Happy

Yellow is a very cheery color.  It is said to spark original thought and inquisitiveness.  As the brightest color on the spectrum, yellow is seen much more readily. It is used for cross walks, street dividers and even the school bus, so it is more visible to others.

Yellow used in the home can bring about cheerfulness, inspire the intellect, and provide a space with warmth and energy.  In small doses it can bring a happy disposition to a room, if a full scale onslaught of yellow is not your liking.

yellow accessories

yellow mood board via Olioboard


It’s a great gender-neutral color for a nursery.  Bright, vibrant and creative, what more could you want for your child’s room?  It is a shot of happiness every child ought to be bathed in.

OB-yellow nursery


Yellow is great mixed with navy, white, gray or even green.

OB-yellow color schemes

These are just some of the reasons I am crushin on yellow this week.

Friday Finds….. Candles

This week on Friday finds, I am sharing my favorite candles and accessories.  It is my sincerest belief that a room with out candle light on a chilly dark night just feels drab. Candle light brings a warm glow to any room and adds a welcomed flair of romance. Every thing just feels cozy when the dancing flickering flame bounces around the walls illuminating the room with a soft glow.  Whether it’s a scented candle or a few unscented votives, bringing in candles just warms a room.

I read once that Albert Hadley suggested that candle light be spread about a room rather than be clustered in one central place. I love this idea. A table set with three candles of varying heights complimented by a few smaller candles placed on accent tables brings a beautiful over all glow to a room.

So, how best to display candles?  Well, how about these ideas…

PicMonkey Collage_candles

wine bottle hurricanes courtesy of …..Etsy via Pinterest

candles displayed on mirrors courtesy of…. Colin Cowie via Pinterest

elephant tea light holder courtesy of …world market

I love the idea of turning old wine bottles into hurricanes to diffuse the candle light. It creates a soft warm glow.  This idea is also wonderful for burning citronella candles out side. The glass and narrow bottle opening keeps the wind at bay. It’s perfect for outdoor dining with unscented candles as well.

Colin Cowie always has amazing ideas too.  Placing candles on a mirror enhances the light of the candles by reflecting it upwards.  Such a sweet idea.

My go to has always been the tea light. Tea lights are small candles that can easily be inserted into decorative accents like the elephant. They provide just enough light to be an enhancement without burning too hot and giving off too much heat. Tea lights can be found scented or unscented.


Any home that burns candles regularly needs a pair of wick trimmers.  They are helpful in removing the creosote from the top of the wick and lets the candle burn more cleanly.  Wick trimmers can be simple or more ornate. The choice is yours. I have a couple and much prefer the more decorative one as it sits nicely on a tray along with matches.  The one above features a snuffer as well.


Snuffers are wonderful for zapping the oxygen from the flame to safely put out the candle. Often times I have the urge to just blow out the flame. This approach is ok with jar candles, but not recommended for tapers. Once I accidently blew wax all over the table. It was such a mess to clean up!


It’s hard to say I have a favorite scented candle company. I adore Tyler candles. They are made of soy and the scent is strong enough to waft through several rooms in the house. The one draw back is the cost. Lately they have been a budget buster for me. I recently discovered a line of soy candles at Target that are more budget friendly and also have a strong but not overpowering scent.  Sweet Spun Sugar is my current obsession. It’s like taking a walk through the midway of a carnival and smelling cotton candy.


Color of the year- Pantone’s Marsala

Late last fall Pantone announced their color of the year. They opted for a muted maroon shade called Marsala. I haven’t weighed in on the new color of the year yet, probably because I don’t particularly care for it. Marsala is dark, dank and too “mature” for today’s interiors in my opinion. It’s not quite red, but not exactly brown. It’s a bit of a muddied mix of the two.
I don’t think it’s a very attractive color. It’s dirty, flat and oppressive. It screams 1990’s bad design choices. Other designers are calling it a myriad of bad names too. One even said it looked like dried blood. Yikes! Thankfully, I am not alone in my dislike for this color of the year. The design community has revolted against it too.
Honestly, I have no idea what Pantone peeps were thinking. It’s described as a hearty earthy color that is dramatic and yet grounding. It’s being touted as a versatile color with an appeal for both men and women. ” An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication…”  Well, if they say so.
I hardly see it catching on with interior designers. It may have a place in fashion and accessories, but I don’t see it having a life within a space. Perhaps its well suited to a monastery or the walls of wine cellar. It may have its place in masculine studies and on the runways of Milan, but I don’t see it taking off the way Tangerine Tango or Emerald green did a few years back.
It certainly would not be my first choice for any color scheme. I could see using it as an accent color, but certainly not a prominent color.  Some decorators and designers have used it as a lead color in a space. They make it work somehow. Those that have tended to utilize the color have done so in older more traditional spaces with ornate wood work. It won’t work well in a modern, contemporary space with high ceilings and an abundance of natural light.
This is the first year I have not agreed with a color choice. From Tangerine Tango, to Emerald Green and Radiant Orchid, their previous choices have been bright, modern and delightful. Marsala is just drab and uninspired. It takes me back in time to an era of bad decisions and fugly colors. What’s next, avocado green appliances? Say it ain’t so.
As one who adores color and believes every color in the box of crayons ought to be used, this is one color I would sadly leave in its place.  What do you think of marsala? Is it a yay or nay?


A Review: Phantom of the Opera

The Tampa area is fortunate to have many venues that bring in world class performances and Broadway caliber shows. The Straz Center is just one of them. For the past twenty years or so Straz Center  has been pulling in shows such as Wicked, The Book of Mormon,and Phantom of the Opera. It’s an amazing place to catch a show without traveling to New York.  We get over there as often as we can to see shows we love. Our favorite is Phantom of the Opera, running now through January 4th.
 This past Friday we were fortunate to have the chance to see the newly redesigned production of Phantom.  Cameron Mackintosh took the original Andrew Lloyd Weber score and redesigned the set and changed up the stage direction a bit too. I was anxious to see how he choose to retell the story.
One caveat before I voice my opinion about the changes,  we are hyper critical and have high standards of how we perceive Phantom ought to be executed. The story itself is difficult, one could call it an original horror story. There is a lot of tension, drama and torment within the story. For us, the best measure of a great production is one that balances the beauty of the music with the enormity of the emotion one would expect to feel. To accomplish this fete, the production ought to have a cast of seasoned musical thespians and the right level of special effects to convey the eeriness and horror of the story.
The music was amazing. It’s really hard to mess up the musical score with a full orchestra and highly talented vocalists. The Phantom was played by Chris Mann, a recent “The Voice” winner, so it’s assumed he can sing. The singing was all on par with what one would expect, but just because one can sing doesn’t mean one can act.  Mann didn’t bring the Phantom to life sufficiently for my liking. He needed to dig a little deeper to properly convey the anger the Phantom ought to feel. Afterall, he lives in the shadows and was abandoned by society.  One ought to have an hurtful and  mad at the world countenance with experiences such as that.
This production lost me with the poor acting and a less elaborate set design. The expected angst, and torment was missing from both Christine and the Phantom. The acting fell flat as they appeared to just get through the scene quickly and onto the next musical number. Each of the scenes sans music were missing the prerequisite emotion. The Phantom’s lines delivered from behind the stage and directed at Mr Andre and Mr Firmin were merely spoken, with no menacing inflection, or clearly conveyed threats.
The largest change was the set design.Rather than take up a large stage presence the show takes place inside a cylinder that moves, and opens for each of the scenes. I found it to be a unique way to stage the show but it inhibited a lot of the usual grand production techniques present in the original stage production. The use of dry ice was minimal, the chandelier was less impressive, the candles that rise from the floor were absent.
The scenes I found to be disappointing were the trip across the lake, the mirror scene and Masquerade.
The first time the audience sees the Phantom is when he appears from behind the mirror in Christine’s darkened dressing room.The scene should be intimate and filled with emotion. Instead the scene takes place in the shared dressing room of the ballet between the Phantom and Christine. The space is large, well lit and lacks the required intimacy.
The trip across the misty lake in the original was fraught with drama and suspense with candles rising from the floor and an abundance of dry ice wafting across the stage creating the illusion of a foggy night. In the redesign, it’s scaled back to where the illusion is lost. There are no candles, the dry ice is minimal and the fear that Christine is to feel is absent. The earlier production features cat walks that Phantom pulls her through to the waiting boat. In current tour, the catwalks are nonexistent, instead he leads her down the side of the cylinder and she willingly follows, lacking any fear of the disfigured man.
The most disappointing scene for me was Masquerade. Masquerade is a big production with elaborate costumes, and a stage filled with revelers. In this production, gone is the grand staircase, the elaborate costumes, and stage fillers with extras. The cast was in period dress as if they had just stepped in from the street and were handed a mask to wear. Rather than have the Phantom descend from the staircase dressed as red death, he appears from behind a mirror in a red cape and is less than menacing. It lacked grandeur and impending
doom one would except. A Phantom dressed in a red cape is not menacing at all, however dressed as Red Death he is much more ominous.
Yet, if I hadn’t had another production to compare this one too  I would have been in awe. Having seen the show many times, the changes that Cameron Mackintosh made just didn’t agree with me. Phantom is an elaborate production that was reduced down to a smaller more cost effective production. It truly appeared to be a low budget show. I can understand the need to reduce costs, but it would have been better to not to have skimped on the effects and sought out more seasoned actors too.  It wouldn’t take much to beef up the elements I wasn’t crazy about.
If you haven’t seen the show it is worth the trip into the city and the cost of a ticket. I know, I am a harsh critic, so don’t read too much into my opinion of the performance.
*note: I was gifted press tickets to attend the performance and write a review.

Friday Finds- Summer Entertaining Must Have’s

This week flew by, didn’t it? I feel if I blink it will be Christmas. I am not ready to say to good-bye to summer just yet. So while we still have a few weeks left to enjoy the warm weather and sand beneath our toes I thought I would feature my must have’s for summer entertaining.


Outdoor poufs for lounging with friends…. these were from Restoration Hardware

An table to gather around and share a meal

The quintessential outdoor bar

Citronella candles to ward off the bugs. These are a simple DIY with rosemary, citronella oil, lemons and a wax candle.

Outdoor games… we love croquet in this house

Fun accessories for the buffet