June 25, 2012

free money

Although I love to post about beautiful interiors and gingham Miu Miu sling backs...

Ok, I had to see them one more time.

                                      Image via Pinterest.

I'm going to go all left-brained on you right now. Here's a visual.

                             Image via Pinterest.

I am a bargain hunter/money saver extraordinaire.  Yes, I carry a coupon book (only with realistic coupons that I will actually use) and yes, I always search for coupon codes for free shipping. Guilty. I also consider myself savvy in the finances as the budget guru of the household. Now, I hate paying interest and every time our mortgage comes in the mail I cringe over the amount of our payment that goes to interest and a tinsy wintsy amount that goes to the actual principal (we have been homeowners for about 3 years now so this massive debt amount is fresh). Major bummer. That being said we've decided to try and make an extra principal payment every month. This equals major savings over time.

{*Disclaimer* - These are my own opinions based on our personal situation. I do not claim to be a financial planner. If you have credit card debt or student loan debt that has an interest rate higher than your mortgage rate it might make sense to forgo extra payments on your mortgage and put it toward that debt. Again, this has to be tailored to your personal situation.}

Soooo upon registering our mortgage online (so that I can make payments without wasting a stamp/check/envelope - seeeeee the thriftiness?) I noticed an option for making biweekly payments.


Biweekly payments? Sounds interesting. How did I not come across this option in three years of payments? There goes the financially savvy self-proclaimed title. I called our mortgage lender to figure out the skinny on this biweekly stuff.

Apparently, you can make a half payment every two weeks and within a year of doing this you will actually end up making 1 very important extra payment to your mortgage. Imagine that over a 30 year term!??! 30 extra payments that seem relatively painless. Miss mortgage lender told me that if I enrolled in the biweekly program now that my mortgage would be paid off 6 years earlier and I would save $31,000 in interest!!!! That's like getting a Toyota for free. Or 51.6 pairs of gingham Miu Miu sling backs. Coupled with that extra payment per month and we are rolling in the savings. Your welcome 50 year old Merrick. I am totally doing this. The idea of only stomaching half of the payment at a time plus this savings is a no-brainer for me.

What do you guys think? Are you enrolled in a biweekly program?

June 22, 2012

gorgeous exteriors

Let's pretend for a second that the triple digit heat is not about to hit us here in Texas and that we are somewhere lounging in cool breezy 70 degree weather. Denial much? Here are some beyond-fab exteriors that I would love to enjoy this weekend.

Spanish style

Perfect backyard space with pergola, hot tub, and landscaping

Inviting patio with fireplace + wine

Would love to have a picnic like this


Happy weekend y'all!

June 21, 2012

self-diagnosed renovation restlessness

I am a sucker for a renovation project. I jump at any opportunity take a hammer to something ugly in my house (to get all the 1988 out). Attack! Here's part of the list I have already tackled with tons of help from my family and especially my father-in-law.

- popcorn ceilings (done, and SOOO worth it)
- unnecessary walls (bring on the open floor plan)
- sponge painted walls (seriously?)
- shell shaped sinks (one down, two to go)
- weathered brass knobs (done, welcome satin nickel levers)
- pineapple light fixture in foyer (done, antique crystal chandy a great flea market find)

Seeing before and afters becomes quite addicting. I mean come on, how often are you glued to the TV watching make-overs on daily talk shows? Such a Cinderella story. I get the same rush for a good 'ole home renovation and after my last flip I'm itching for a new project. My poor husband is probably nervous every time he comes home from work. He has come home to ripped off drywall, removed cabinets, and one time I was out in our front yard on a ladder with a hand saw cutting down a dead tree. Well, that's another story. Our master bathroom (holding the other two clam shell sinks hostage) is screaming for a make over. Here are some bathrooms I have been drooling over...

Gorgeous silvery blue/gray cabinet color with white marble vanity, faux bamboo mirror and artwork.

Venetian mirror (loves) with stone sink and treated mirror walls. Stunning.

Silver details with marble.

Ok, now for the more practical and cost conscious inspiration.

Falling in love with this taupe + gold veined marble combo.

I've been admiring this image ever since Sarah Richardson arrived on the interior design scene (aka HGTV, lolz). We have a dungeon of a shower right now and I'm looking to hop on the seamless glass shower train and love the striped mosaic tile look. This is a must.

Christina Murphy bathroom on decorpad. Have always loved white on white (in kitchens too). I like this bathroom because it is so elegant for what looks to be a normal bathroom size - for those of us who don't live in grand estate. Great sconce and I am searching for scalloped linens.

Again another standard double vanity done well. Here's our favorite marble again. I also love the sconces over the mirror (looking to do this in my bathroom).

What do you think of these bathrooms? Any renovations on your wish list?

All images via Pinterest. Follow me HERE.

June 20, 2012

marie, manolos, and macaroons

I don't have a very sharp memory when it comes to remembering movies that I have seen. People often ask if I have seen a certain film and my go to response is, "probably but I don't remember." What's the deal!?!

True to form, I completely forgot about one of my absolute favorite movies - Marie Antoinette. OH EM GEE. This decadent period piece with a hipster flair is a feast for the eyes. I just completely fell in love all over again especially after finally making it to Versailles in April of this year. I'm just swimming in the whole film - costumes, JEWELRY, the mixture of funky indie music and washed out piano music. I wish I had watched this again before our trip. The director, Sophia Coppola, is a genius. I wanted the special feature about making the movie and the costume designer explained how the clothing color palette was inspired by the colors of macaroons. Also, there are tons of gorgeous floral patterns that would fit right in. Check out some of this deliciousness.

If you haven't seen the film - GO RENT NOW. Esp. for you creatives out there. Such inspiration! Reminds me of being here...

Le sigh.

June 15, 2012

for the love of turquoise

First and most importantly, happy Friday! Yes, finally the weekend. This post will be brief because I am headed to one of my favorite cities for a girl's weekend. I'm pumped about hanging out with my precious friend, Lauren, and some of my sorority sistaaaas that I haven't seen in a while.

Here's a project I just finished for one of my mom's friends. Barbara had this unique vintage rhinestone brooch that she wanted to translate into a more modern piece of jewelry. No use letting this good stuff go to waste. Repurposing is a typical Merrick Jewels project and I love doing it. Not only does it create a new piece of jewelry out of something you already own but allowing you to ENJOY a piece that you would not normally wear. I added turquoise, our favorite stone here in Texas, to keep the piece fresh, casual, and not competing with the brooch. What do you think? Do you have any pieces that you would like to repurpose?

June 13, 2012

take me back where nutella is a suitable breakfast

Napoleon's Apartments in the Louvre - Paris

Wouldn't be right without pictures of some crown jewels!

Literally checked off every room we viewed in the Louvre. Exhausted.


Recently, I've had several people ask me advice on traveling to Europe and while discussing I'm instantly flooded with the memories of R and I's trip to London, Prague, and Paris last month. Last month?!?! Seems like years ago. Must be time for another trip! I already have my eyes on Spain or maybe Greece?? Ah daydreaming... anywhere you guys are dying to go? Do share and take me with you.

June 12, 2012

live style - be stylish not only in what you wear but what you do

I started out writing this post on an adorable summer bag that I picked up while at the FIG market two weeks ago but got derailed. Since I'm a newbie to this whole blogosphere I'm trying to nail down who I am as a blogger aka what font best describes my personality, which layout screams fashionably chic, and more importantly how the heck do I get you to read this stuff? So I searched around on the other bagillion blogs I follow on my feedler (Feedler is a life saver - if you don't have it look it up in the app store) and got overwhelmed! I mean how am I supposed to blog about that fabulous Celine bag when I can probably afford one strap? (ahhh, what a heavenly strap it would be...swoon) ANNND I have the worst grammar! For realz. Then I realized that to be successful in the bloggie-world you don't have to be some forced fashionista. You need to be yourself. And then this phrase that has been mulling around with me ever since I auditioned for Fashion Star (I know what you're thinking... they asked me) popped into my head again.

Live Style.

To me fashion is so much more than just the items we put on our bodies but the way that we conduct ourselves in our stylish choices. How ugly does a pair of Louboutins look on a person who is ugly on the inside? Nobody should care about the labels you are wearing if you don't care for others and the environment around you.

Live style is a great motto for me because it breathes LIFE into fashion. It allows fashion to work for us - not us for fashion. It should be stylish to be kind in challenging situations, to help others (no matter how simple or small), and think about the bigger picture.

So don't get my wrong - I'm just as much of a sucker for all labels, trends, materialism blah blah blah. I am a jewelry designer after all. I'm just asking that we LIVE STYLE and be stylish not only in what we wear but what we do.

Also, if you are wearing my jewlery - please make sure you recycle. :) Har har.

June 08, 2012

i am busy

Image via Pinterest

Merrick Jewels coral/turquoise Vacation earrings - $162

While browsing Pinterest (I have 2,000+ pins on my profile does that mean I'm officially obsessed? Follow me HERE), I came across this image and it made me laugh. I might need this. After doing market last weekend this picture sums up what I will hopefully be doing this weekend. In reality I know I will find something to fill my time... us creative/DIY types can't sit still. But it's the thought that counts right? This picture also reminds me of the Vacation earrings which take me on a trip somewhere whenever I wear them. Coral and turquoise? Perfect for an exotic destination like Bora Bora (sigh)...

Image via Pinterest
Or sitting in your backyard with your feet in a blow up pool looking fabulous. Looks like I will doing the latter. Happy weekend!

Image via Pinterest

June 06, 2012

to market, to market...

It's official- I survived my first market. Hats off to reps and exhibitors that do these things multiple times a year because it is quite the production. Apparently, I need to build up my market endurance. And those of you that think that being a jewelry designer must be sooooooooooo glamorous... imagine hauling what feels like a small village's worth of items from your car in a dress and heels in the Texas heat... #retailrealities.

Aside from the manual labor part, I was so excited to take some orders (YAY, stay-tuned for new retailers carrying Merrick Jewels!!!!) and meet some great self-made businesses along the way. It always gives me the warm and fuzzies talking with people who have started their own businesses and are actively chasing their dreams. Why wait right? It is SO very inspiring and it affirms exactly why I love being in this business. I look forward to blogging about some of the talented exhibitors I met at market and the tres adorbs summer bag I picked up along the way!

A big HUG and thank you to all of you who have kept me in your thoughts and prayers during market time. I am alive and will return calls soon. :)