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Home Living

Lamps Under $100

July 31, 2015

Ever get that itch to update something in your home? I’m constantly resisting to scratch this itch, but if you must scratch, then scratch wisely. An easy way to give your home an affordable refresh is to switch out older lamps. Here are some of my favorites and they are all under $100…


i love lamp
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine






Happy Friday!
Home Living

The SST Guide to Styling A Bookshelf

May 13, 2014

I think I have touched on this before, but if not in order to properly understand the SST story, you must know that Wilson is a complete and utter hoarder. He holds on to something, ANYTHING, for any possible reason and for far too long.

A few years ago while encouraging him to expunge some of his clutter, I suggested that he throw away a 007 Bond video game from a Nintendo 64 that he owned in 1996. Aghast and affronted by my request, he sputtered, “No we can’t throw that away! That was my favorite game!” After I asked him if he still owned the actual Nintendo 64, he responded: “No but I was thinking about buying one on eBay. I think it’d be so cool to have people over and have a party to play the game.”

When Wilson plans the party, I’ll be sure to send you an invitation.

Then there’s little ol’ me, who loves to throw anything and everything away because I despise clutter. It is a guilty pleasure of mine to consistently reduce the amount of things I own, and of course I do it to a drastic degree.

When we moved in together, Wilson and I had an interesting — shall we say eclectic — mix of household items and furniture. I took it upon myself to reduce the amount of riff raff we owned and deduce it to an organized — shall we say thoughtful — array of things, keeping only the items that were absolutely necessary and that demonstrated unyielding utility.

Pre-Hurricane Anti-Hoarder Anna, we owned three can openers.


I cannot possibly explain the anxiety and distress possessing THREE OF THE SAME THING caused me. I”m getting upset right now just thinking about it. Cue another swig of Malbec. Because I am an extremely generous person and always put the needs of others before my own, I donated the two spare can openers to the Salvation Army — along with a slew of other items Wilson doesn’t know about, until now of course — and felt very good about myself for the rest of the day because of my commitment to both philanthropy and organization.

A few weeks later, the aforementioned commitment to philanthropy and organization was severely questioned when I made an enormous pot of chili and needed to open approximately 15 cans of food. Shit. “We used to have at least two can openers,” Wilson said briskly, dangerously cutting his eyes at me. If looks could kill. “Where could they possibly be? Wouldn’t it be so nice if we each had an opener so we could open all these cans at the same time so it wouldn’t take as long?!” Double shit.

Clearly there are some advantages to being a hoarder, as learned from my dear Wilson.

Besides having an extra can opener when you need it, hoarding provides myriad odds and ends from which to choose items to style your bookshelf. Thanks to Wilson’s unnatural penchant for keeping stuff, I was able to easily and satisfactorily arrange the bookshelf in our living room — and the one in our loft and guest bedroom too, for that matter.

Wilson did you think I’d ever say thank you for hoarding? Don’t worry I’m not. I’m just saying I didn’t detest it quite as much on the day when I organized this bookshelf.


Tip #1 to organizing your bookshelf — shop in your own home. This is a 100% free way to shop for things to put on your bookshelf. You can’t get any more #plasticforkbudget than that.  I shopped in Wilson’s unbelievable amounts of shit stuff he’d amassed over the years, and you should do the same. Look for great hardback books, pretty photographs, trinkets from the past — the blue bird above was my Grandmother’s — mementos from a fantastic vacation… Anything and everything that you think looks pretty, pull it together to arrange on your bookshelf.

teapot bookshelf

Tip #2: Once you select the things you like most from your clutter, separate out the books. Books are the most important element of a well-organized bookshelf. Your goal for your bookshelf is a collected, lived-in look, not like you spent hours moving things around an inch or so until they are just perfect — don’t even act like I’m the only one who does this — and a variety of books, both paper and hardback, achieve this tricky balancing act.

I was lucky because Wilson owned a million hardback books about UNC and Tar Heel basketball, which were perfect for displaying on the shelf. All I did was remove the covers from the books — no I did not throw them away, Wilson would disown me if I damaged his precious UNC memorabilia — and then organized them by size and color. In the picture above, I stood them vertically in the upper shelf and arranged them in a faux rainbow, and then stacked some other books horizontally and put a picture of Wilson’s family on top on the lower shelf. Whatever you feel looks right, go with it. It’s your shelf for heaven’s sake. 

books on bookshelf

My beautiful and silver spoon taste Herend china dessert plate.

Tip #3: Decide how you want to space each grouping of items together. Do you want the items spaced out to give the shelf a more modern, simple feel? Or do you want to mimic an actual library, and stack books on magazines on anything until the shelves are completely filled? Both are great looks, it just depends on your style. Personally I like a less-cluttered look — shocked, I’m sure — and so I space each little group of things together about four inches apart. Surprisingly I did not measure between each grouping. Maybe my OCD is improving.

books and conch

Wilson and I brought back the conch above from our honeymoon in Turks and Caicos. We drank a lot of rum punch and Wilson made friends with everyone. People love him, especially when he’s been overserved.

bookshelf upclose

Tip #4: Edit yourself. Even if you are going for a library, cluttered look for your bookshelf, you always need to scale it back just a touch to make sure everything goes together. Coco Chanel recommended that every woman should remove one piece of whatever they are wearing before they leave the house to ensure they aren’t overdone — same concept here. You should remove one or two things from your bookshelf styling to make sure it’s not too much.

side table

Another example of using books for decorating.

The good thing about bookshelf styling is the overall look of the shelf can easily be tweaked, changed or completely overhauled in just one afternoon. You could even accomplish it in a cocktail hour if you have a good bottle of red as your motivation. Try out my tips and let me know how it goes by leaving me a comment. I love hearing from you my pretties…

Home Living

Best Thursday Ever: Vietri Warehouse Sale

May 2, 2014

You know when you go into a situation, not knowing what to expect, and it completely blows your mind? The times when you think you’re going to have fun, but you actually end up having one of the best days of your life?

That was me yesterday. At the Vietri Warehouse Sale. WE HAD THE BEST TIME! Holy crap. I did not sleep last night because I was so excited to regale you with my amazing stories of yesterday’s unbelievable experience that was the #vietriwarehousesale. I can’t wait any longer. I have to tell you! Let’s begin…

My friend Gracie and I hopped in the car on the way to what should now be known as the new Mecca of North Carolina. While we experienced a few hiccups on the way — including the splatter of what seemed to be a bird’s egg all over my car windshield, I was not happy to say the least — we arrived in the small, unassuming town of Hillsborough, NC, no worse for the wear and excited for what was in store for us.

As we took a left off the exit ramp and approached the Vietri headquarters, I nervously darted my eyes at Gracie.

“What if… what if this sale isn’t as good as we hope it will be? What am I supposed to do if it stinks? I can’t lie and say it was good!”

Gracie, ever the voice of reason, responded kindly, “It will be fine, it will be great. Don’t worry.”

“Yea, you’re right. And if it does stink then we will just drive to Chapel Hill, go get blueberry beers from Topo and not worry about it.”

“That’s the best plan B I’ve ever heard,” Gracie said, alleviating my nerves.

I can fix anything with a good happy hour.

I’m so glad that to report that I was so wrong. It wasn’t that I thought the sale was going to be bad, I just didn’t know what the hell to expect and didn’t want to let anyone down because I’ve been pumping it up so much. I don’t like to disappoint people.

This is the truth — The Vietri Warehouse Sale is the BOMB and yesterday was by FAR the best Thursday of my life. And it didn’t even involve any alcohol, thank you very much.


We walked into the warehouse and our jaws dropped to the floor.

“HOLY %^&*!”

There it all was — every breathtaking piece of Vietri imaginable. All waiting for me to pour over. The best part? THE PRICES WERE UNREAL.

Sorry I know I’m using a lot of caps in this post but it’s necessary. I’m not yelling at you, I’m just super excited.

bright plates

Peppered with every color in the rainbow — Pantone ain’t got nothin’ on Vietri — the handmade, hand-painted Italian pieces are more than just beautiful — they truly are works of art. I bought a platter like this for my kitchen. Love.

me and gracie 2

Going from section to section, Gracie and I were like the charging of the bulls — we ran towards the barrage of gorgeous colors, knocking down any people in our way of attaining the best deals in the warehouse. Take no prisoners!

mosaic mugs

Look as these mosaic pieces! So gorgeous and would make anyone’s morning bright and cheery when drinking coffee from them.

blue and white plates

I’m just like my mother in that I love anything blue and white. Hence my dining room.

blue plate

I actually got a little breathless when I saw this piece. You’d think I was asking the plate out on a date or something.

Aqua glasses

These glasses are originally almost $20 each, but we got them on sale for $4 each! Gracie got a set and I got a set for my mother-in-law because aqua is her favorite color, too. Such a steal.


These roosters are originally $326, and they are on sale for $156. Holy moly so beautiful.

rooster upclose

“Anna take me home with you-adoodle-doo!”

green stuff

multi colored plates

As Gracie astutely noted, the Campagna line is quintessential Vietri, and all of it was more than 50% off. These brightly colored rustic dishes make me want to hop on a plane to Tuscany tomorrow. Ciao bella!

colorful plates


My Grammy collects little pitchers and so I had to get her one. Originally $42, I got her one for $19!

yellow vases


These babies were originally over $200, on sale for $50. I got two for my sister to put on her mantle.


When I saw that the sale had lamps, I actually screamed.

me and gracie

 The damage.

Because Gracie and I clearly had no clue what to expect and we think others may be the same, we’ve pulled together some words of wisdom to help you make the most out of your #vietriwarehousesale experience.

Six Ways to Dominate The Vietri Warehouse Sale

  1. Every great vacation takes some planning, right? Same thing here. Before you go to the sale, perusing the Vietri website to familiarize yourself with its collections to find the things you want/need the most would be very helpful. This will help you prioritize what you are looking for/what you want specifically so you won’t get overwhelmed. The warehouse is like four football fields put together so it’s an easy thing to do.
  2. Gracie and I were shocked at the amount of high-quality items the sale offered. Be prepared to love EVERYTHING. I was thinking this sale was going to be like a Saturday outing at Marshall’s where some of the stuff is crap but there are a few hidden finds — NOPE. Couldn’t have been more wrong. Everything is in perfect condition and you will WANT it so be prepared to keep your shopping addiction in check. I had a little trouble in this department.
  3. I noted the size of the warehouse already, but it really is enormous. Don’t let this intimidate you — it is very well thought out and you will be able to view all of the collections, just take your time. Gracie and I went through the whole thing slowly and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over everything, popping things in our cart as we saw them. After our first go-round, we took our cart outside, unloaded it item by item, and edited our choices so we didn’t spend a million dollars. I would HIGHLY recommend doing this because there really are so many special pieces that you have to prioritize your purchases so that you don’t go overboard. After we chose the items that we loved the most, we went back through the entire warehouse again, stopping by the collections we knew we wanted to peruse again and pick up a few more pieces from. It’s all about the strategy.
  4. BUY WEDDING GIFTS HERE! Gracie and I didn’t buy anyone a single wedding gift from the sale, which was easily the dumbest decision we made. The items are marked down so much that people will think you spent a lot more money on them than you did — I’m trying to get you in good with your peeps.
  5. Ask your most favorite people in your life if you can buy things for them. I asked my mom, sister, friends, mother-in-law, etc. if I could buy items for them, and most everyone took the bait. I didn’t find items for everyone, but the ones I did find were amazing scores and I am so happy to share these amazing deals with my faves. If you do engage in this extremely generous behavior, tell your peeps to look online at Vietri’s collections also so they can pick out things for you to look for.
  6. CHARGE YOUR PHONE! My damn phone died almost immediately when we got into the warehouse, hence the extremely quiet Insta and Twitter posts. The reception isn’t great in the warehouse and drains your battery so if you are buying things for others, make sure your cell phone is fully charged so you can send them pictures of the items you picked out for them to get their approval before purchasing. I’m currently not speaking to my iPhone.

An important thing to note: the Vietri staff were incredibly helpful and ready to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to ask them about certain pieces that you are looking for. They also will bring your items outside and keep them next to the registers to keep your cart nice and empty and ready for new things to put in it. Smart marketing.

All in all, we (clearly) had an amazing time. I know I get way too excited about getting a good deal, but this sale is so much more than that — this sale offers pieces that are completely unique and things that I will have for the rest of my life. Every single piece I bought is totally SST Investment Piece of the Month worthy, but I got it for a fraction of the cost! Um Vietri I love you.

I would like to say a giant THANK YOU to Vietri for letting me cover this incredible sale, I am so honored to be a part of all this awesome money saving. You guys are truly the bomb.

Don’t forget — you still have THREE MORE DAYS to shop this awesome sale! For more information, click here

Home Living

The Story of the Owls and My Favorite Photos

April 29, 2014

Reason #347 why Wilson and I love our house: two owls live in our backyard. We are OBSESSED with these owls. They are so cool — they hoot at each other throughout the day and night and fly across the sky to search for food. A much cooler way to do grocery shopping. 

As the weather gets warmer, the owls have become more active and Wilson and I have had more lucky sightings of these awe-inspiring creatures. Wilson refers to them as the Owl Gang, speaking of them with as much reverence and respect as one would a U.S. president.

“Come here my brothers!” he called out to them the other night after a few bourbon drinks, “I am one of you!” He anxiously awaited for his acceptance into their gang.

They didn’t respond.

As do any celebrity, the owls have an entourage of crows that follow them, trying to poach the reward of their strategic hunts. Wilson is currently in the throes of crafting a master plan to take down these parasites, which involves the cloak of nighttime, our upstairs window and a 22. As bailing out my husband for using a firearm within city limits is not within my #plasticforkbudget, he is revising the logistics.

Left to his own devices, Wilson could either discover the cure to cancer or accidentally burn our house down. You just never know.

Our next-door neighbors have also joined in our fascination with the Owl Gang. We often exchange owl-sighting stories and they even snapped a few photos of one of the owls’ round little faces. Every celebrity is stalked by paparazzi.

Needless to say, things have gotten a little out of hand with our owl obsession. It also goes without saying that the owls are just one part of why we love this little home so much. In an effort to be more #grateful for how #blessed I am, I am sharing some of my favorite photos of the house.

Shall we?

glass coffe table2

This is the glass coffee I got a little confrontational over with an innocent lady. I’d say my attitude paid off.

glass coffee tablw

living room

Our house is cozy and therefore there is no entryway. You use the word “cozy” when politely referring to a house that is really freaking small.  Because of this, the room required impact, expertly delivered by these oversized lamps and bright colors throughout the room.

bookshelf upclose

I’m writing a bookshelf styling post so stay tuned for some ideas…

blue plate

Hanging plates on walls is the shit.


 You can learn a lot about a person by their bookshelf — who is most important to them, what books they read, the knick knacks they display to savor fond memories…


My attempt in styling the husband shit stuff. We like to have access to alcohol in almost every room. 

barcart 2

The birthplace of the brocart.

upstairs bathroom

A simple Target project that makes this little bathroom look stylish.

dining room shelf

My favorite crystal and china pieces, including my absolute favorite Vietri piece.

dining room

My blue and white dining room. These DIY lucite drapery rods were some of Wilson’s and my finest work.

dining room 2

We look very distinguished because of our beautiful barware, but it’s a farce. I purchased nothing in this picture, all of these pieces were wedding gifts. We did buy the liquor. #whatmattersmost

bathtub 2

OUR TUB! This thing is such a specimen of beauty and craftiness. The fact that Wilson not only found this gorgeous claw-foot tub on Craigslist but that he also hauled it in the back of his Yukon is one of the main reasons why he’s the absolute bomb. You go girl.

bathtub fixtures

I love the old-fashioned chrome fixtures. I love anything shiny.

Hope you enjoyed my Tuesday trip down memory lane…

Also don’t forget to enter my giveaway with Vietri to win this vase FO FREE. Free may be my favorite word.

Home Living

Craigslist Success!

December 5, 2013

I am so excited to announce that Cynthia loved the dresser that I loved too and she is calling the seller today to seal the deal. Since it’s in Charlotte and she’s in Richmond currently, Wilson and I are going to pick it up for her and store it in our basement. If we can haul a claw-foot tub, we can haul anything.

Mid-Century Modern Dresser

I’m so excited about this!

As promised, I put together a sample of what I am imagining Baby Girl Kain’s nursery to look like. Except swap out that painted dresser below for the one above.

Cynthia's Baby Nursery

1. Monte Design Joya Rocker 2. Emma Iron Crib 3. Horchow “Medowmack” Wood Lamp 4. Hee Tray Table 5. Worlds Away Hicks White Pendant 6. Home Collection Blossom Canvas 7. Jayson Home Antique Painted Chest 8. Rey Mirror 9. Aoide Shag Rug, Winter White 10. Bungalow 5 Flora Beige Table Lamp Base

Again, most of these pieces are a small fortune so just use it for inspiration.

To find lamps similar to the ones above without spending a crib full of money, go to Homegoods. My home away from home. It always carries a great selection of lamps that look along the same lines as these in the image and they usually are in the $40 to $50 range, which is awesome.

For the nail-head ottoman, I would shop One Kings Lane for a cheaper version. I’ll keep an eye out for you Cynthia. From nail-head furniture to napkins to vintage jewelry, this website really has it all. I get so excited when I get my email for the daily sales on One Kings Lane. Nerd. 

As for the gliding/rocking chair, this is the piece that you want to splurge on. I would suggest going to the usual stores — Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware —beware it’s dangerous in there — West Elm, etc. — to find a comfy chair that will wrap its arms around you during your 2 AM feedings. Everyone needs a hug, even from a chair. West Elm also carries similar bedside tables like the one above — I have this mirrored tray table in my guest bedroom and adore it. I would wait to purchase anything from these retailers until after Christmas to see what kind of sales they offer. Cynthia’s not due until spring, so no need to rush a purchase when a deal could be on the table. 

For a great inexpensive rug, I would rely on for a good quality piece. I bought the rug in our bedroom from there from the Magnolia Home collection and it is superb. also sends out daily discounts if you sign up for its emails. The one in the picture above is from One Kings Lane, which is a great place to look for one too.

Cynthia I wish you all the happiness in the world with your sweet baby girl and know she will fill your heart with so much joy. I’m also SO happy you didn’t spend $1,400 on that other dresser too. These are a few of my favorite things…

Home Living

Wilson’s Piece de la Resistance

November 27, 2013

As promised, I am proud to debut Wilson’s award-winning claw-foot tub. I gave him an award for being the greatest, Craigslist-hunting husband.


 Isn’t she a beauty? Five feet of pure porcelain heaven.

tub 2

Me + this tub + a glass of red wine = night night. I actually do not get in it when I am home alone because I am afraid that I’ll fall asleep in it — it’s that good.


I love the chrome fixtures on this tub. The faucet is a narrow rectangle and makes the water cascade down into the tub so beautifully. It’s the little things.

tub 3

Wilson searched on Craigslist for a few weeks before he found this tub. It is made by Vintage Tub & Bath and retails for over $1,000 — we got it for $300. It has a small crack in the finish of the porcelain near the back that occurred during installation. The couple that purchased this tub — for their mountain house, mind you — asked the company for a refund, and instead of a refund Vintage Tub & Bath sent them a whole new tub! Vintage Tub & Bath’s awesome customer service turned into the couple’s luck to sell the old tub which translated into me having the tub of my dreams for the price we could afford. We will fix the crack one day, but right now it’s just fine. A little crack never hurt nobody, just ask the Toronto mayor.

Like the devoted person he is, Wilson picked up the tub from the couple’s home in South Carolina and hauled it back in the trunk of his Yukon. Wilson I am thankful for you and your crafty ways.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone! I am thankful for each and every one of you also.

Home Living

The Elephant in the Room

November 11, 2013

I found this gold elephant at Target last week and just adore him. He is a member of the Nate Berkus collection — oh Nate… In an effort to exercise extreme self-control — see here — I did not buy him, but because he was only $10, I may go back…

Here’s a board I put together if I was going to decorate a room around the elephant. None of the other items are in my plastic fork budget, but we’ll just classify them as inspiration.


1. Nate Berkus candles candleholder  2. HAY black furniture  3. Heathfield Co rectangular lamp shade  4. Teakwood table  5. Abstract wall art  6. Mills Floral Company boxwood plant  7. Sunburst wall art  8. Linea table lamp  9. Serena Lily cable knit blanket

Speaking of inspiration, I would like to say an enormous thank you to all U.S. veterans. Your bravery, courage and tireless commitment to preserving our freedom is nothing short of remarkable, and inspires me everyday. Thank you for protecting the greatest country in the world, allowing us to do the things we love — like write this blog.