My Favorites from the 2014 Dwell on Design Event

Last weekend, Dwell was in town at the LA Convention Center, showing off the latest in home decor trends. I’ve been meaning to see this show for several years, and somehow there’s always something unexpected that gets in the way. Well this year, I was lucky enough to finally make it there with a coworker… a little work research, so to speak. Here are a few of my favorite things from the show.

This was one of the first booths we saw there, VIT. I just love the colorful modern glazed finish on such organic shapes.
DSCN5058Vertex Design Studios had some fantastic concrete-made decor.DSCN5069 These pendant lights were my favorite!DSCN5070 Cerno is a local company that designs and manufactures lights. I just loved their use of wood, and take a look at this incredible large-scale cantilevered lamp in the foreground. I love its angles, and it was big enough to just walk right under!DSCN5099 Being an interior designer on a student budget can be frustrating sometimes, so I’m always super excited to find low-budget good-design ideas. There were two booths there that got me excited for low-budget design solutions. The first was Stikwood.DSCN5107 Stikwood is a wood plank product with a sticky back, so you can literally peel and stick the stuff to whatever your heart desires! I think it wood be fantastic for a wall-covering or ceiling treatment. You could also use it as a make-shift headboard, or even stick it to the face of some simple Ikea furniture pieces.DSCN5108 DSCN5111

And speaking of Ikea, this company has a brilliant Ikea-hack business model. Semihandmade makes doors for Ikea cabinets. From the looks of it they are only a little it more expensive than Ikea doors, but significantly more aesthetically pleasing. Here’s your chance to have unique kitchen cabinet facing on an Ikea budget.DSCN5208 DSCN5209 DSCN5210 I’ve been falling increasingly in love with Loll outdoor furniture, so I was happy to take a look at their line in person. They make durable outdoor furniture out of recycled plastic.DSCN5113 DSCN5114 DSCN5115 This display totally tickled my fancy. Wouldn’t you just love to go camping with this!?DSCN5119 DSCN5120 DSCN5121 Clei had several great small-space solutions: everything from your standard murphy bed to desks that fold down into beds. This queen size bed was fun to see transformed into more storage space.DSCN5129 DSCN5130 DSCN5131 DSCN5132 I thought this chair by Sitskie looked like such a cool design, but I didn’t fully understand until I sat down on it. Each little piece of wood you see here moves, allowing the chair to form to your body. I have never sat in a wooden chair so comfortable as this one!DSCN5135These side tables from Karabachian Design are modern and simple, but the dip-died legs make the piece. I always love a surprise pop of color.DSCN5191There were a variety of modular and pre-fab homes on display there, which I was most excited to explore. I’ve been hearing a lot about some of the really cool architecture and design that’s happening in pre-fab homes so I loved seeing them in person. This is a scale model of a modular home called the Pinwheel series. This was an incredibly elaborate, perfectly hand-crafted model.
DSCN5143 DSCN5144 I mean, look at the miniature lamp!! DSCN5145 This prefab home by Altius was my favorite exterior of the homes on display. DSCN5148

Wheel Haus had a creative set up. This is more like a mobile home in that it is literally on wheels and just needs to be plugged into the utilities and you’re all ready to go! But look and the awesome, huge overhang over the porch. DSCN5167 And I just loved the wood plank ceilings. This feels nothing like your stereotypical mobile home.DSCN5165 DSCN5162 This 3-bedroom/1-bathroom house by Living Homes was by far my favorite prefab home on display. Its layout was well thought out, the finishes inside were top notch, and even the decor of the model made it easy to get a feeling of what it would be like to live there.DSCN5168

The people wandering through even looked at home inside. DSCN5169 DSCN5179DSCN5171 DSCN5172 DSCN5174 DSCN5180I’m so glad I was finally able to make it to Dwell on Design this year. It really got my creative wheels turning!

Which one is your favorite?

Paleo Challenge Update: The Finale

Well folks, that’s in. The month of April is over, and my paleo challenge with it. But the thing is that I don’t think I’m going to end it here. I’ve talked about how even my energy level has been and how much better my skin is, and I don’t want to mess that all up! So here are the usual updates for my last few official days of paleo, plus my plan moving forward.

Favorite Meal

DSCN0691On our last official night of paleo, we had some oven roasted chicken thighs with grilled onions and herbs, and on the side a yam with a delightful pad of melting butter. I like yams because they’re a little sweet, just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without doing too much damage.

Favorite Snack

I have been loving snacking through this whole diet (as you’ve probably noticed from my past lunches). I’ve especially  loved exploring paleo recipes that remind me of non-paleo foods. It has been helping me feel like I’m not missing anything by eating paleo, and makes me feel like I could keep this up for a lot longer if I wanted to.

DSCN0687We had friends over for dinner one night, and I whipped this almond cake up for dessert (adapted from this recipe). It was super easy to do! In fact we made a second one using orange instead of lemon, and I have to say I think I prefer the orange version! Drizzled with a little honey, it made the perfect sweet finish to a delicious meal.

DSCN0696I also made some paleo granola (adapted from this recipe), which is so delicious! Before this month, cereal was my breakfast pretty much every morning. On paleo we almost always have eggs and bacon for breakfast, but I was looking for something to mix it up a bit. This granola is oat-less and basically all nuts and dried fruit, so it’s very filling and a great kick start to the morning

Something Learned

Ok, I have a confession to make. There were two meals when I was unable to truly stick to paleo. I was at a conference where lunch was provided for us, and I have to say the options were limited and left few choices for anyone with special dietary needs. But what it taught me, which will help me moving forward, is to make better decisions about what I’m putting into my body. For example, when confronted with pizza on the first day I could choose between regular pizza, gluten free pizza, and vegan pizza.

conference_lunch

First I loaded up with as much salad as I could without seeming like a hog, and then I chose a small slice of gluten free pizza, deciding that the processed soy and gluten in the vegan pizza was probably worse for me than simply having some lactose and doing without the gluten. And I topped it off with a couple of baked chicken wings.

On the second day of the conference there was only chicken in mole (delicious!), corn tamale, and white rice served. So in that case I skipped the rice altogether, and then after hearing that the corn was all organic and that they did not use any soy in their cooking but instead used grape seed oil, I decided to eat some of the tamale as a means to get enough energy to carry me through the rest of the day.

How I Feel

As I’ve mentioned, my energy level remains even and my skin is still healthy, and I aim to keep that going for as long as possible! But now that my paleo month is over, I also feel a bit relieved that in situations like the conference lunches, or when I go to a friend’s house for dinner, I can let loose a little bit and not worry too much about eating bread, pasta, or milk products if that’s what’s being served. Which leads me to…

The Plan Moving Forward

Here’s what the hubby and I have decided to do, for our health: At home, we will continue to basically eat paleo, adding in occasional legumes (beans and peanuts) and whole grains (quinoa and farro) to be sure we’re also getting the valuable vitamins and nutrition they can provide. But the legumes and grains will be limited. Mainly our diet will continue to consist of protein and veggies, and we’ll continue to avoid lactose and gluten as much as possible. However, we’ve also decided that when we go out to dinner or find ourselves in a situation with few paleo options, we’re not going to stress about it. There is so much delicious food out there to be had, why miss out on it all the time. There are too many non-paleo things we love to taste! But the idea is “everything in moderation,” and that’s what we will be sticking to.

Besides, when we head to Abu Dhabi and Turkey in a few weeks, and are confronted with incredible foods we’ve never even heard of, we will be trying it all!

Will you be changing your eating habits moving forward? What changes are you making to be healthier?