When in the Scottish Highlands...

It's all about being comfortable and practical without sacrificing gorgeousness.

Let me introduce you to my old friend ANTA- who I fell in love with during my post college Scotland preservation field school.

A product of the husband & wife team Lachland and Annie Stewart, two designers (he- architecture, her - interior & fashion design) who deeply love everything unique about their country.  Everything, from their gorgeously simple corsets, to amazing pottery to the ANTA house, is completely influenced by Scotland and its history.  

There is no shortage of Tartan's

or St. Andrew's crosses 

All of their products are designed and made in Scotland, hitting home TRUE sustainable design and the preservation of trades such as wool-working and furniture making.

And the stewarts not only talk the talk, they truly walk the walk... enter  Ballone Castle.  Ballone Castle is a 3-story, late 16th century, Z-plan tower house castle that is right on the edge of Moray Firth in Tarbet Ness in the highlands of Scotland.  It fell into ruin and by the 1990s looked like this:
this photo of Ballone dates from the 1980s
Lachie and Annie Stewart would picnic next the ruins and in the 1990s, decided to buy the property and restore it fully.  After a long battle with Historic Scotland (their preservation philosophy is "if its falling apart, just don't let it fall apart any more."  The Stewart philosophy: "a building isn't any good unless it's being used."  I find myself siding with the Stewarts on this argument.  This the renovation of Ballone began and when i visited in 2005 it looked like this:
Ballone castle when I visited in 2005.  Thats me in the lower
left side of the pic in a purple shirt.
The drive up to Ballone is absolutely breathtaking.   
My much adored professor, who was our guide during the trip (and lives part of the year in Scotland) is friends with the Stewarts and was able to get us access to the house.  No pictures were allowed, since it is a private residence, but I can tell you that it really was spectacular - simple, cozy and classic.  The Stewarts have 3 children, so there were skateboards and hockey sticks strewn across the hall ways, with each child living in their own "tower" of the house.  It breathed life into what one would think would be a cold, drafty and archaic building.  Annie Stewart told us a story about how her son was on a trip with a number of international students when one child from France was bragging to the others about how he lived in a Chateau outside Paris,  to which the young Stewart replied "I live in Castle, so what?"

So please enjoy the eye candy that ANTA has to offer.  I was able to snatch up a latte mug during my visit.  It suffered a chip on the shipment back to the states and since they don't ship to the states, it's my lone ANTA piece.  However, some day......


Happy Christmas-time

Drum roll please... unveiling the 2010 Bama family Christmas card, designed by yours truly at www.onepounddesign.com

I didnt realize until after they were printed and we received the cards that our little fluff ball of joy looks kind of exiled to the corner -- which in the end makes sense since he's been playing the"which christmas ornaments can I eat" game recently.  Bad puppy!

The bama house has of lately has been swamped by getting christmas gifts bought and out the door, as well as prepping for our 2 day trek up to Virginia for the holidays to be with my side of the fam.  Its truly a two day ordeal, but it goes by fairly painlessly and I cannot wait to see my family & friends from home.

Did you manage to get Christmas cards in the mail this year or did you find another, more creative way to spread holiday greetings to your family and friend this year?  I'd love to hear what you, my wonderful readers, are doing for the holidays and if you've got any unique plans in the works.  Also, if you have a christmas card that you'd like to share, I'd love to have you post a link to them in the comments section.  Holiday cheer abounds!


Home for the Holidays

Shame Shame on me.  Wow,  I really must admit that I've been a terrible blogger over the last month.  I would attribute my absence to being a full time and then some worker - I'm now at TD 5 days a week manning one of their divisions (whoop!) in addition to being in full blown designing mode (there's been a lot of  "hey can you get this design rushed to me?" around here lately - ah Holidays) and still running the house.  No time to get in trouble I guess.

So heres whats been going on since I last was around:

- One of my friends from Arch school and her boyfriend came to visit us in NOLA, which was wonderful since the last time we saw them was our wedding.  We did the French Quarter Circuit, complete with breakfast at Brennan's and drinks and the Carousel Bar & the Sazerac.  It was fun playing tourist in our city for a weekend and a blast hanging out with great friends
Aggie Arch Grads in a pretty Vieux Carre Alley

- We went to Alabama for Thanksgiving.  I amazingly didn't take any pictures during our week-long stay, but Mr. Bama's camera happy Aunt did -- If she snapped any of us, I have a feeling it would feature me stuffing my face with turkey while Mr. Bama downs a brewski or a sazerac (I distinctly remember bringing a new bottle of Sazerac Rye Whiskey down with us and it being absent from our goods on the way back).  Turkey Day just isn't the same w/out good family, great friends, carbo & tryptophan loading as well as a continuous source of  libations.

- The day after we got back from Bama, I came down with a NASTY head cold.  To douse the fire in my throat my life for a full week consisted of OJ, Theraflu (AM and PM), a whole bag of Ricola throat drops and a whole box of Throat Coat Traditional Medicinals Tea. Thankfully I had an amazing Mr. Bama to be my nurse, so we nixed the sickness before it became anything serious.  PS - how cute are the Trader Joe's tissue boxes below?  Almost makes me wish we had a TJ here, but not soo quick.
- In some excitement, TD has had some A-MA-ZING new silk dresses come in recently. They are part of the designer/ store owner, Candice Gwinn's, new "Candice Gwinn - New Orleans Collection" label.   Truly drool worthy, and here are just my fave of the new collection:
Rosalind Dress in Dragonfly/Black
Joan Studs Dress in Black. 
Badass and Flirty all in one dress
Sadie Dress in Dragonfly
Art Deco Beading!? Oh love.
You can see the entire Trashy Diva Silk Holiday Collection here.  Also, a new store blog has been started, so make sure to follow the updates of so many of the new company developments at http://trashydivaclothing.wordpress.com/.  Who knows, maybe you'll see yours truly making an appearance?

- Decorations abound in the Bama household.  After last year where we were moving during the holidays and had no time to get a tree, nonetheless actually decorate, we went all out this year! We went and found a great pre-lit, artificial tree - with all of the Bear hair in the house, the last thing I need to do is add pine needles to the mix.

Mr. Bama putting the "star" (really its a snowflake) on the tree

all glittery and pretty

Somes is rightfully very pleased with himself

Bear approves of the new tree.  That is, until he
tries to eat it or he pulls it over onto himself
So now its crunch time, between getting Christmas cards out for myself and clients and surviving the madness that surrounds getting everyone's gifts and then shipping them.  So let the races begin and be sure to take some time to step back and observe the magic of the season.


Have You Thanked a Veteran Today?

I have a whole heck of stuff from this past week to catch up ya'll up on, BUT first things first:
I remember seeing this commercial a few years ago and thought about how simple and poignant it is this and every Veterans Day.
So if you know someone who is or has fought for our Country, be sure to thank them for their sacrifice and willingness to serve in order for us to have our many freedoms


Halloween Wrap Up

I'm a little exhausted from the events of the weekend, plus I had a "gift" day off -- spent catching up with the 100,376 million things I needed to get done today (and no, I still didn't get around to vacuuming).  But I did manage to make Mr. Bama a killer, all-be-it very Al-dente, shrimp pasta dish for dinner.

Soo, drumroll:
Quick recap the events from Halloween weekend:
the "Louisiana Myths, Legends and Famous People" Halloween Party
its hard to tell, but we're Bonnie & Clyde
The Trashy Diva Crew
Rocky, the VERY poorly taxidermedied racoon, modelling my
 Bonnie wig & beret
umm, babe, thats not me.
Halloween / Bear's First Birthday Party
the pupcakes pre-peanut butter frosting
applying the all-important peanut butter "frosting" to the pup-cakes
voila! de pup-cakes est fini!
Bear says: Thanks for the Birthday Pupcake Mom & Dad - nom nom nom 
Now time for spooktacular Halloween fun!
the house all spooked-out
Mr Bama carving his masterpiece
what's to come

guess whose is whose
the birthday boy waiting for trick or treaters
and the piece de resistance:

the Headless horseman's horse!
needless to say we had an awesome Halloween weekend - we actually ran out of candy Sunday night (wow!) so I'd say things went very well.  Onward to November!


Halloween Party #1

This past Saturday was the Trashy Diva Halloween party - it's quite an event mainly because we all take our costumes so seriously.  Seriously as in "I'm going to kick-butt on the details of everything," not an "omg do not make fun of my costume - i put so much thought into this" kind of way.  Mr. Bama and I spent all of Saturday putting together our costumes (did I mention that I am the *queen* of procrastination!?) and by 8pm we were ready to party it up w/ the rest of the TD crew.

Here we are in all of our glory at the party - theme: "Favorite movie/tv star":
any guess who we are?

a little later on (and a few glasses of wine later):

Next weekend is halloween party #2, fending off our neighborhood's massive amount of kids as they beg us for candy (aka trick or treating) and Bear's 1st (What the heck!) Birthday.  Busy busy weekend in the Bama household.  Happy All  Hallow's Eve!


In Memoriam : A Piece of Childhood (please.. no laughing)

Today I received a blast from the past in my mail - an American Girl catalog.  "Oh, those American Girl people are getting ready for the holidays!" I said to myself, knowing that they probably figure that all of the women in their twenties who had these amazing dolls growing up do get curious and sneak a peek inside to see what is up in the world of Felicity, Molly and Samantha in addition to ordering for their little girls.  Or maybe it's just me.

Anywho, so I started perusing the pages of the catalog featuring dolls that only in form look like what I had growing up - modern dolls w/ the names of "Lacie" and "Chrissa" and something called Historical Dolls "Best Friends."  We didn't have those growing up, but we didnt need them --  myself and other girls of my generation were absolutely smitten with just Felicity, Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha and their tales of adventure and the details of the quirks of the times they lived in -- I think many women in historic preservation, history, archeology and the like could credit the beginnings of their all grown-up passion for their respective field began to when they opened the huge Pleasant Company white box with their very own American Girl doll on Christmas day as a girl.  I myself  took a liking to Kirsten the moment I was introduced to her at a friend's house - She didnt have my eyes (mine are brown) and she had bangs (not for this girl) BUT, she  was the only AG with blonde hair and that was all I needed!  I then bought and read all of the books about her and the next Christmas, she was my prized gift.  She had a prominent place on my window seat and I went about saving my money to buy her accessories and asking for them at Christmas.  My grandmother even made me her nightgown and undergarments (did you know that they used to sell the patterns for american girl doll clothing? Yeah.)
But the craziness didnt stop with Kirsten.  Growing up 45 minutes from Williamsburg made Colonial Williamsburg a frequent field trip destination in grade school and with that, I started loving Felicity and her story.  Colonial Williamsburg even had a partnership with Pleasant Company for education programs that encouraged girls to bring their Felicity dolls with them and experience a day in the life of Felicity in Colonial Williamsburg - talk about a little girl's dream!  To this day, I find Revolutionary America to still be the most fascinating time in history (and also architecturally!) for me and I owe much of it to Felicity.  I asked my parents for her as a birthday present and she became a fixture on the window sill alongside Kirsten (They were BFFs).  Three other AG dolls (umm, I like history and collecting?) joined them on the window sill over the years, but nothing beats the connection I had w/ Kirsten and Felicity during elementary school.

I knew that American Girl (err, Mattel) sent Samantha to the "archives" a few years ago, but she was one of the dolls that never gained a position on the windowsill, so it wasn't a huge deal to me.  Then I received the catalogue today and there, next to Felicty's picture, was a message saying "Add Felicity to your collection before she goes to the AG archives" What the heck!  I then took a look at the current line of American Girls "Historic Characters" and Kirsten was nowhere to be found.  I did some research (aka- Googling) and found out that my two favorite dolls, those who I spent countless hours playing with as a little girl and helped define a huge chunk of my childhood, have been or are slated to retire.  A sense of sadness came over me as I felt an incredibly important and defining part of my life be "retired."  I'm 27 years old, "retire" isn't a part of my vocab.  $100 says Molly's going next (run for your life, little 1940s American Girl... WWII doesn't hold a candle in historical importance to the depression era Kit or groovy 1970s Julie!!)

All of my AG collection (Felicity, Josephina, Kirsten, Addy and Taylor - umm, yeah, don't ask) sits carefully packed in my parents house in cedar luggage chests waiting until I have a little girl that I can share my youth with who will hopefully be as excited to learn about their fictional lives as I was growing up. If I'm blessed with all boys and neither my SIL or my sister has a little girl, then that is why Ebay was created.  To Felicity  - I will always fondly remember your fiery red hair, your loved for horses and having to tape your necklaces together b/c they often broke and Kirsten -  Your Princess Leia braids, your incredibly sustainable "spoon" that came in your accessories (you know what I mean, proud Kirsten owners) and how I stepped on your bed in the middle of the night when I was 10 and uttered my first curse word will always have a special place in my heart..  Ahh memories.



I mentioned in a prior post that a wonderful development had come up with work recently and that I would mention it in a future post.  Well this is the post!  My day job has given me a promotion - and the best part?  I'm being moved to the new office location, that just happens to be 4 blocks from my house.  As in walking distance.   I have never in my life been a practical walking distance from where I lived to anywhere decent - not school, not the store, not work, until now.   I guess thats the beauty of living near Magazine Street.  Even better: No more cursing at slow drivers or the random Garden District tour bus I'm stuck behind while trying to get from one side of the city to another in time for work.  I'm absolutely thrilled!


Bear - the Hybrid Dog

Inspired by Jen Lancaster's recent adventure with Doggie DNA testing, Mr. Bama and I decided to splurge for Bear's birthday and buy him a DNA test.  He's a lanky 65 pounds and we keep going back and forth about what he could be a combination of -- Mr. Bama said Great Dane, I put my money on a Lab of some kind.  Here's a pic of his mom - an Aussie Mix:
Pretty obviously Aussie, so we figured that plus something else.  We took 2 cheek swabs and then shipped them off to the laboratory to be analyzed, while in the meantime we debated more possibilities: greyhound?  pit bull? We were giddy with excitement when I got the email yesterday saying our results were complete.  The three of us sat together in the living room and I then proceeded to read the results out loud.  And then we regretted not sending a picture of our huge bundle of joy with the DNA samples, because according to them, this dog:

is a mix of:

a Brittany. I can see the possibilities a little
a Schnauzer.  Okay, so maybe this is where he gets his height .

a Yorkie? Wow, now you're pushing it....
a Shar Pei?  Really?

A Basset Hound. I'm beginning to think someone
in the lab was playing the "spin the wheel and
pick out random dog breeds" game on us
Lhasa Apsa!!?? what the?  Ok, someone was totally smoking
the Ganja in the lab.

Not one hint of Aussie at all (I'm thinking Bear's mom was lying about who she really was.  Tsk tsk)  No Lab, no Great Dane.  Nothing that we would have guessed.  Just one bird dog, a dog with a beard, two lap dogs, a hound and a wrinkly pooch.  Me thinks we need a second opinion.   Until then, Mr. Bama and I are trying to figure out a name for Bear's Hybrid variety -- perhaps a Brischkie Sharhoundsa?


Dear Mother Nature, Please Don't Ever Let It End

Right now it is absolutely amazing in New Orleans.  The humidity is ziltch, the heat has subsided and it is a perfectly comfortable 75-ish degrees out without a cloud in the sky.  The AC has been turned off and the windows are wide open.
I'm even wearing tights today.  The weather is getting in the mood for Halloween, which is perfect because this last weekend was dedicated to decorating. So out Mr. Bama and I went to find fun stuff for the house.  Six hours and five stores later, I found myself  incredibly disappointed with the Halloween decorations avialiable in the stores right now (picked-over doesn't even begin to explain the stores Halloween decoration sections), so I'm resorting to quality, not quantity.  Enter our trusty wreath that we used for our wedding + some ribbon and fake spider webs:

This plus a few orange lights for our banister and we are done and done until we get closer to the actual holiday when we'll get our Pumpkins for carving.  We've found that if you buy them too early in NOLA they will be subject to rotting away very quickly if they don't get smashed by some juvenile delinquent first.  Mr. Bama did manage to find some incredibly cute double old fashioned glasses for the holiday at World Market:

So now its just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying being done with Halloween decorating, as well as being super thrilled by a recent work development that I'm super excited about (and I will be sharing in a future post).  Happy Fall, Y'all!


Never gonna give up Teen Spirit

A friend sent me a link to this today and it made me laugh....  If you can remember back to the late 80s cheesiness that was Rick Astley and also everyone's fave early 90s grunge band Nirvana then you might just get a chuckle out of this.  I'm also ashamed to say that its kinda catchy and yes, I do love me some old school Dave Grohl.  Happy Friday everyone!


Fugly Architecture Thursday - Hot Hot Hot Las Vegas Style!

Today's spotlight isn't on the form of the building (we al know Vegas sure has some fugly "winners" in that category), but more so a particular building's "effects" on its visitors.

The Vdara hotel in Las Vegas is a brand spanking new luxury Hotel that is a center piece of the Vegas CityCenter.  Its actually a very sleek, simple looking building, covered entirely in glass curtain walls.
But in an unfortunate case of an architect not paying attention to context (the fact that this building is in Las Vegas) and conditions (once again, that this building is in Las Vegas) the design has been found to have a major flaw.  Luxury does abound at this hotel... unless you make the fateful decision to relax by the pool.

Apparently guests have complained of receiving severe burns from a 'death ray' of sunlight caused by the unique concave design of the building.
'It felt like I had a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning,Within 30 seconds, the back of my legs were burning. My first though was, 'Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer!" - guest Bill Pintas (source

This illustration does a great job of explaining the issue:

Not only does the insanely hot Nevada sun cook the guests "bathing" next to the pool, but it also moves as the sun moves -- There's no escape from the most luxurious "death ray" ever!

The article I first read about this design "dilemma" mentions that the designers, RV Architecture, LLC & Leo A. Daly (AOR) knew about the problem before anything was built, but figured that a "protective film" on the glass wall would help fix the problem.  Ummm, I may not be a licensed architect, but maybe flipping the building so the concave side didnt face south OR not designing a building entirely clad in glass in NEVADA would have fixed the problem.

Architects are taught in school and reminded regularly that their designs should always keep the "health, saftey and welfare" of the people occupying their buildings first and foremost in any design.  I'm guessing that doesn't  really apply to those outside of their buildings.  A HUGE Tsk Tsk designers.  Lesson: Cool design isn't always the most safety conscious
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