Category Archives: Projects

Chez Moi: After (plus 5 tips for decorating small spaces)

Salut à tous! It’s been drizzling here in Paris for the past couple of hours; the air is chilly and the streets are sparkling with the reflections of passing headlights. I’ve been sipping tea and editing photos in my cozy little studio, listening to the Decemberists and other rainy-day music. Tonight promises hot chocolate and a good movie.

In the meantime, welcome to the Savannah-fied apartment! I managed to accomplish most of the goals I established when I was embarking upon my decorating adventure, and I’m very happy with how the space turned out. I hope you like it as much as I do!

There’s a reason I always refer to my apartment as “my cozy little studio.” It is 11 meters squared, and my bed takes up about 75 percent of my floor space. Super tiny! Especially by American standards! But it is just the right amount of space for me, and I never feel cramped or trapped. Even so, learning to get the most out of my limited space took some thought, which brings me to…

Tip # 1: 

Shelves. Boxes. Hooks. Fill every shelf and use boxes or baskets to keep things organized. You can install hooks to give purpose to otherwise useless surfaces, as I did with the shelf that hangs over my bed. By drilling hooks into the bottom of the shelf, I turned the overhang into a cute lighting arrangement. Hooks and shelves also serve to keep your floor space open and free of clutter.

When I was packing for my move to Paris, I spent a lot of time thinking about which objects, pictures and books make me feel at home. One of the things I chose to bring is my copy of Goodnight Moon, which my mom used to read to me when I was a little girl. The book is older than I am, and its edges are yellow and torn. The spine is broken, so it has actually split in two. I can’t imagine a bookshelf without this childhood treasure! But part of moving somewhere is embracing the cultural treasures your new home has to offer, so I bought two French children’s stories, Le Petit Prince and Le Petit Nicholas, to sit next to Goodnight Moon. I’m in the middle of Le Petit Prince at the moment– it’s darling.

Tip # 2: 

Save room for new things! When you’re decorating, make sure to leave some space for the trinkets, pictures and keep-sakes you’ll acquire in the future. I know I said to fill every shelf, but make sure to leave a few inches for new memories, too.

Despite the fact that I don’t have an oven, I’ve become very comfortable in my kitchenette. I cook dinner at home almost every night! My favorite part of the kitchen is the refrigerator door. As you can see, I’ve plastered it with photos! Every time I open the fridge I get to see my favorite faces!

Tip # 3: 

Magnets. And suction cups too. Using refrigerator magnets has got to be the easiest way to display photos. But why suction cups? Suction cups are great for making use of your shower door/walls. I bought hooks and plastic boxes that stick to my shower so that I can hang up my towels and toiletries.

Welcome to my favorite part of the studio: my balcony. From my perch I can see all the way to Sacré Coeur on the north side of Paris. I sit out here in the morning, eating my cereal and watching the people walk by on the street below. This is where my cactus Luz lives, and where I keep my flowers. The window that opens up to the balcony floods my studio with light all day long, keeping it warm and bright.

Tip # 4: 

Decorate with your…clothes? I know it sounds crazy, but things like scarves can make excellent home decor! I use four of my many scarves as curtains, and they look beautiful when the sun shines through them. I also organized my clothing in a quasi-aesthetic manner so my three-shelf wardrobe would look more like a collage than a laundry pile.

Now that I have made my studio my own, I absolutely love living here. Of course I didn’t get to make it my dream studio (that would’ve required a bulldozer), but I was able to douse it in my personality, making it feel truly like my space, my home. And that brings me to my final piece of advice:

Tip # 5: 

Make do with what you have, when you have it. If you’re living in a tiny place like this, chances are you’re on a budget, and you probably don’t intend to stay here forever. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what you can to make your space feel like home; don’t bother trying to turn it into something off of HGTV.

And love it for what it is, because for the moment, it’s all you have.

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

PS– What do you think of my decorating job?! What would you have done differently?

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Savannah’s Original Cranberry-Orange Pound Cake

The Italian phrase “L’arte d’arrangiarsi” means “the art of making something out of nothing.” This is exactly what I did when I created this recipe. I set out to make a cranberry pound cake only to find that I had no sugar, no fresh cranberries, no cake flour and no mace. That would be…eh hem…4 out of 7 ingredients. So I decided to work with what I had, putting faith in my limited baking experience and my bold taste buds to give me something edible, at the very least. Well, although I was certainly no Michelangelo in the kitchen, I did manage to bake up something more than edible; in fact, I’d go so far as to say I baked something delizioso! So here it is, my gift to you: Savannah’s original cranberry-orange pound cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 orange juice (increase or decrease amount to taste)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (give or take depending on your passion for cranberries)

Step One: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Step Two: Beat butter, honey, cream of tartar, salt and orange juice in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fully blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Beat until smooth and completely blended. Fold in cranberries.

Step Three: Spoon batter into pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Flip cake upside down onto a serving platter to get it out of the pan, then flip it right-side-up and slice it.

Step Four: EAT! Serve as a desert with an orange glaze (orange juice and powdered sugar, mixed to your preferred consistency) or with coffee at breakfast. Enjoy!

Give my recipe a try and tell me what you think in the comments below! What do you do when your pantry is bare and your sweet tooth is calling? 

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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4 Ways to Style Medium-Short Hair

Learning how to style my new hair has required a lot of creativity. I used to be a “brush, blow-dry and go” kind of girl, counting on my wavy blond locks to make up for my simple make-up and bushy eyebrows. But now, I put a little more effort into my daily look. I add a head band, I wear earrings, I make an effort to make an effort with my eyebrows. In the words of Joan Juliet Buck, “You can’t hide behind short hair…your face is no longer a flat screen surrounded by a curtain: the world sees you in three dimensions.”

Here are four looks I’ve fallen in love with:

This style is pretty straightforward: Leaving some hair to frame your face, place or tie a thin, colorful head band onto the crown of your head. Either let your hair fall forward, or tease it back to reveal more of the band. Tip! Accent the head band with earrings or other jewelry to give your look a subtle splash of color.

There are so many cute ways to wear this style! Check out this video to see all of the different options and learn how to do them yourself.

Tip! Styling a turband with medium-short hair can be tricky because your hair tends to fall out in the back. To prevent that from happening, pin your top layers back and tie the remainder of your hair into a pony tail.

Wrap a head scarf around the back of your head (hiding the pony tail) and cross the two ends at your part. Reverse the ends, wrap them around to the back of your head, and tie. Tuck the loose ends into the turband.

 This look is really fun to wear– I felt like a forest nymph all day!

Start by separating your hair into two sections. The first section is the hair that will make up your braid. Pull this section forward. The second section is all of the hair you want to be loose behind your braid. Pin or clip this section back so it doesn’t get in the way.

Start french braiding from the point where your hair meets you ear, tilting your head to the opposite side as you braid. Braid all the way to the other ear, creating a braided head band along your crown. Finish the braid, then pin it behind your ear. Either let the rest of your hair fall forward, or tease it back to get more volume.

Tip! Hide the beginning and/or end of your braid with flowers, bows or other accessories.

While a part of me longs to look like a character from “Hairspray” everyday, my more logical self knows hair that big can be a safety hazard. So I opted for a more relaxed version of the 1960s look.

Start by blow-drying your hair straight. Once it’s dry, use a large curling iron to curl your bottom layers under, and curl your top layers over. Tease the top layer to add volume, and add some hairspray at the roots to keep it big all day long.

Tip! Blow-dry your hair upside down to add volume so you can skimp on the hairspray.

I hope you have fun in your new look! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share your favorite styles, too! How do you wear your short hair?

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

Photos by my little sister! Thanks, love! 

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DIY Photo Garland

I like photos.  I take a lot of them. I print a lot of them. I keep ALL of them. And I love to display them in my home. A home just isn’t the same without pictures of the people you love and the experiences your cherish! Still, I’m sick and tired of picture frames, so I designed this little photo garland to hang up on my wall. It was quick and easy to make, and it looks super cute once it’s finished!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own: 

florist’s wire

wire cutters

miniature wooden clothes pins

Step one: 

Cut a piece of wire that is several feet wide. Between 5 and 6 feet should be good. Then, string your clothes pins onto the the wire by threading the wire through the metal springs in the pins. I used 11 pins on my garland.

Step Two:

Secure the clothes pins onto the wire by twisting the wire around the top of the pins. You can wrap the wire around them as many times as you want, but be sure to leave about 3 to 5 inches between each pin so that you have enough space for your photos. Also, make sure you leave a few inches at each end of the garland so you can hang it up!

Step Three:

Embellish your garland with leaves! For each leaf, cut a piece of wire 3 to 5 inches long. Tightly wrap one end of the wire onto the garland, securing the leaf in place. Then, fold the wire over itself, creating a little loop in the middle. Take the loose end of the leaf and wrap it around the garland. Bend the wire to mold into the perfect leaf shape (whatever that is). Continue adding leaves until your garland looks like a vine.

Step Four:

Finish your garland by creating curls at each end. Take each end of the garland and wrap a few inches of the wire around the handle of your wire cutters. Then, slip the curled wire off. You can use these curls to hang the garland on your wall.

Step Five:

Trim any excess wire off of your garland. Then, clip your favorite photos into the clothes pins.

Hang it up in your home and enjoy!

 I hope you like your new photo garland! Tell me what you think of the project in the comments below, and make sure to include any of your own tips and tricks that you used to make your garland unique!

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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Along Moon River

Hello my untethered friends! It is my pleasure to present to you my first ever solo video project! Music has always been part of my life, so I think it’s about time it was part of my blog, too. I hope you like the debut video, and I hope you come back for more!

I fell in love with Moon River long before I watched the lovely Audrey Hepburn sing it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In fact, I sang it with a community choir several years prior to seeing the movie. The moment I heard (and felt) all of our voices blending to bring this song to life, I knew it would stay with me forever. Moon River conveys love, hope, melancholy. It’s a wistful lullaby for lovers.

If you’d like to learn how to play it yourself, try out this arrangement.

Happy music making!

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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