Friday, April 24, 2009

A Hidden Luxury Treasure

I love the look and feel of trendy boutique hotels. Since I am a creative and fashion forward type of woman, I like my surroundings to emulate my taste and lifestyle. I recently met a sales manager from one of the sister hotels of Thompson Hotels in New York City, Gild Hall Hotel. By reason of Gild Hall Hotel being a sister hotel of Thompson Hotels, I knew it was going to be over the top and fabulous! I have never been to this hotel before. It is located in the Wall Street, financial district area of New York. Gild Hall Hotel is a hidden luxury on a small street like most "accidental" great finds. What I like most about this beautiful boutique hotel is when you initially walk in you do not feel like you're in a hotel. It feels like your luxury home away from home.

In a previous blog post of mine, I talked about rooms that have a manlier feel to them with leather furniture, dark wood floors, etc. The dark appeal can make a room look rich, like old London. Spruce it up with flowers if you need to bring a touch of added elegance and romance. Personally, I love the old dark look when I'm away from home. It's something different and another kind of luxury I'm exposed to.

Gild Hall Hotel rooms remind me of the Wall Street Investment Banker... Straight forward and direct with very expensive taste! You don't get a lot of "hoopla" when you're in this hotel. You get it right away from its first impression!

Usually, when I'm traveling I don't like taking "a bath" per se in a hotel. The bathtubs in a hotel do not feel like my bathtub at home. However, when you have a bathtub like the one at Gild Hall Hotel, a bubble bath is due every night (my dream bathtub)!

Thompson Hotels have become the hip traveler's hotel stomping ground! They are boutique hotels for high-end hospitality!

Look for more posts on high-end hotels as they will become the new home for Helen Julia Candles in the near future... Luxury meets luxury!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Home Spring Home!

I am sure by now you've already begun or completed your spring cleaning for your home. I love home decorating and for every new season I'm ready to try new colors for my home to put me in the current season’s aura. Now that spring has FINALLY arrived, pastels and bright colors come to mind; and yes, even for your home. One of my favorite home magazines, Elle D├ęcor, featured a story based on the home of Washington's 2nd power couple (not the Obama's this time), news-anchor, George Stephanopolus, and actress, Ali Wentworth. They have really put together a nice color palette for their home that can be used all year round, actually. You don't have to be rich to live beautifully!

(Images courtesy of PointClickHome/Elle Decor)

This beautiful living room incorporated pastels in such a beautiful way. The lilac velvet sofa and pink accent pieces with beautiful spring flowers brighten up any room. To come close to something this beautiful without spending your bonus check (yeah right!!!), you can easily find great deals and get the look for less. The Door Store furniture company has beautiful sofas that you can have upholstered to the color and fabric of your choice. Antique chairs are another great furniture piece for your living space if you don't like the "matchy-matchy" sofa collection. EBay is awesome to find great antique furniture and chairs that you can have reupholstered to your liking! You'd be amazed at what you can find without spending a-whole-lotta-cashola!

(Images courtesy of PointClickHome/Elle Decor)

When it comes to your dining furniture it can look as elegant as your living room with the type of chairs, table rug and accents you include on and around your table. I'm a fan of cowhide prints for my home. You don't want to go overboard with the animal prints, especially if you're a woman! Let's keep it dainty, shall we? EBay also has great cowhide rugs for a great price. Again, we're talking about budgeting not showing off European vacation purchases that you really could not afford! If you're looking for a solid color cowhide rug, IKEA has stepped up their game! I kid you not! You cannot tell that it's not the real thing, seriously!

(Image courtesy of PointClickHome/Elle Decor)

Then you have the family room or "the other man's best friend", a place to relax and unwind after a long hard work day. I love the feel and look of a velvet couch. It looks richer to me. Leather furniture is another nice sofa fabric that men seem to be in love with for some reason. To brighten up a room that has a manlier feel to it, beautiful hydrangea flowers always does the trick to give any room a pop of freshness and girly-ness. I love hydrangea's and you don't have to purchase real ones. There are artificial silk hydrangea's that look real and they will last forever in your home. You can change colors per season or keep the same ones all year round.

I hope you enjoyed my input on spring decorating. This should give you some idea on what my home looks like as it is very similar. Happy "inexpensive" shopping!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Makes You Wanna Say... Hmmm???

For the past couple of days, I've been looking for something that will inspire me to be more creative, courageous and bold. I then became curious to know what inspires other people. Have you ever thought? What inspires YOU? What is it that drives you day in and day out? What is it that inspires you?

We think of creative people as being inspired and ask about their work. What inspired you to paint, draw, and produce this piece of work? What inspired you to make this? Usually the answer is: a book/magazine, poem, film, experience, person, etc. Something else or someone else inspired the artist, the songwriter, film director and actor. But what about the person in a regular job? What inspires you?

Inspiration is a desire to live life without flinching. To take a risk and possibly fail. To act on your emotions, creativity, ability and beliefs. To take criticisms but have the faith in yourself to do it anyway. Hard work!

My personal inspiration comes from my emotions and the desire to achieve and succeed no matter the obstacles that stand before me. The higher the wall, the more I am eager to knock it down! The bigger the challenge, my endurance strengthens me to fight through it. When I'm looking for inspiration, it's not through a magazine, local trips to different cities or focus groups. My inspiration stems from daily challenges and obstacles that will always appear to be in my direction and finding new creative ways to go around them to keep moving forward to achieve my desired goal. I can create a list for days with all the challenges and obstacles I continue to face. Some of these obstacles, I'm sure you can relate to and you may have a few new ones to add to that list. The point is we will always have them and it's up to you to learn how to work around them.

So, going back to my first sentence, I've already found my inspiration! Now, what inspires you is the question!

From the creator and founder of Helen Julia New York!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Relax, Relate & Release!

Spa Week is back! Hallelujah! What a long winter this has been! We can finally put cold weather and snow storms behind us (I hope)! Steam room, deep tissue massage and calming music are calling for my undivided attention. We are all under a budget these days and luxuries like relaxing spa treatments are put on the backburner for a later time. Wait no more! Enjoy $50 spa treatments that can fit into your budget during spa week! We all deserve to revive, refresh and renew ourselves. Treat yourself to a day of no worries and the focus of attention is just you!

If you cannot physically get to a spa, you can at least feel the spa treatment of relaxation at home when you burn Helen Julia's Candles. Lighting our candles will dramatically improve your mood... I promise!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday, Julia! Yes, Julia of Helen Julia! Today is my Grandmother's birthday! She turns 85 years old and I am so grateful to have her in my life!

If you were not aware that the name Helen Julia was inspired by my precious Grandmothers, Helen Hargrove and Julia Annette Calderon, now you are aware! If you are fortunate enough to have your grandma in your life, you know how important it is to cherish every moment, grasp every word and absorb all of her wisdom. The old saying goes "Mother knows best". In reality it is "Grandma knows best". When I amuse Grandma Julia with my life experiences and curiosity, her chuckle says it all... "You foolish child! You have so much to learn." But in the same breath, I am educated with her wisdom. I listen to her trips down memory lane when she experienced a real Great Depression! Love meant forever! Communication was love letters sent through mail (the post office). Entertainment was family gathered around a radio to hear the late night talk show. And, my favorite that I am blessed to continue to experience with Grandma Julia, a home cooked meal bringing family together to remind us what we should be grateful for! Leave it up to Grandma to receive a dose of reality when needed and help put it all into perspective!

Happy Birthday, Grandma!!! Thank you for creating the woman I have become!

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Grandma Julia! Happy Birthday to you!" ... And many more!!!

I love you!!!