Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fun

I hope y'all had a great Halloween!  Ours was pretty low key, just visiting with our neighbors and taking the adorable kids trick-or-treating.  James decided he wanted to be "construction" instead of his pre-planned "circus ringmaster" at the last minute, so we improvised.  

I really adore these kids and they had so much fun going to each door and yelling, "Trick or Treat!" 

I can't believe it's November already!

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The Economic Wasteland That Is The Eurozone

The September unemployment figures for the Eurozone make grim reading, for the Eurozone as whole the unemployment rate hit a record high of 11.6%.

That is a figure that is both shameful and dangerous.

However, dig deeper and it can be seen that Spain and Greece are suffering even more with rates of 25.8% and 25.1% respectively.

To add to the woes of the Greek people Greek finance Minister, Yiannis Stournaras, has submitted the 2013 budget to parliament. If the current policies of austerity, being imposed to assuage the Troika, are maintained/pursued:

-Public debt to GDP will hit 189.1%
-There will be a general government deficit of 5.2%
-There will be an economic contraction of 4.5%

It is clear that with rates of unemployment and debt at these levels democracy will be hard pressed to survive, as people will reach out for any ideology other than Eurozone austerity to save them.

Yet what does the European Commission do?

It asks for a budget increase of 5% to feed its bloated bureaucracy and those that serve it, whilst forcing the people of Greece and other Southern European states into penury.

This is a recipe for revolution.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Office Decor Updates

Y'all know that I've been working on a few updates to my home office and I'm thrilled with the difference painting the walls made.  I went with Sherwin Williams Divine White- the same color as our trim and cabinets throughout the house.  It's a fresh, blank canvas.

Feeling like I wanted a more sophisticated look for the room, I am going with mostly black and white, a few pops of color in flowers and in the bookcase, with animal print elements for added flair.  I originally planned to buy a leopard print rug, but ended up moving our cowhide rug up there instead.  I love the look, and think it's more subtle than the leopard rug would have been.  But now, I'm thinking the black drapes are too much, so I've got a grey velvet pair on the way to see if I like them better.  Maybe this weekend we can get around to hanging the new chandelier I got from Home Depot.

I knew I wanted a black lamp and lampshade and completely stumbled upon one at Target (lamp base + drum shade).  And it happened to be part of the Nate Berkus line.  I literally had just a few minutes in the store because I was on my way to a nail appointment.  I didn't even grab a shopping cart because I was only getting "one thing".  Yeah, right:)  I ended up with the NB lamp, a pillow (can't find the link), and picture frame.  Still pretty good if you ask me.  I saw the chevron vase and passed on it, but really like it.  It would look great on top of my bookshelf.  

I'm also L O V I N G my desk facing against the window!  And having some cute accessories on the desktop is fun too.

Mikasa Chevron cups // Tory Burch paperweight // Dabney Lee calendar

West Elm owl // vase // cup (can't find link, but similar to this) // Fog Linen Work tray

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UBS Redundancies Smokescreen

Whilst UBS is enveloped by the smokescreen of publicity derived from its mass culling (and handling of that mass culling) of staff today, it seems to have been a "good" day for it to also let the world know that it is under investigation in Singapore, along with other banks, for possible manipulation of Libor and other benchmark rates.

As per Reuters:
"These investigations focus on whether there were improper attempts by UBS (among others), either acting on our own or together with others, to manipulate LIBOR and other benchmark rates at certain times."

UBS - U've Been Sacked

UBS may well regret how it has handled informing its staff about their redundancies today.

The FT reports that UBS was one of the most popular trends on twitter, as the blogosphere flooded with comments describing the shock and resentment of staff.

According to the PR bullshit being spouted by UBS the redundancies are a ‘strategic acceleration from position of strength.

Who hires these people, and why are they still in their jobs?

UBS Redundancies Update

Ralph Sinclair has tweeted the follwoing:
"From inside 100 Liverpool Street: "Whole desks are gone and there are people stood outside without access to the building."

UBS Redundancies

It seems that UBS is making some people redundant today and over the next three years (10,000 in total).

Sadly, as per Owen Callan, UBS is using the "old school" method of informing them.

People arrive at work, if their passes don't work they are ushered into a special room where they are told that they are on special leave.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Recap

On Thursday and Friday I got to hang out with two of my favorite girlfriends Cassie (Hi Sugarplum) and Courtney (A Thoughtful Place).  We are long past referring to each other as "mybloggerfriend" and now are simply, friends.  Good ones.  The kind that go shopping at West Elm and end up sitting on one of their couches chatting for way too long, then finally remember to look around. :) This was such a treat because we are all in different cities and it just so happened that Court's husband had to come to Cassie's town for work, so we all decided to meet up.  

Cassie, Courtney, Me

Courtney, Me, Cassie

It was totally surreal to be standing in Cassie's gorgeous home after seeing it in pictures for so long.    I love what she's done with it and am excited to see how the future projects she's planning turn out- especially in the dining room.  

Getting to be in each other's company for two days was awesome.   These women mean so much to me and have been such a support and encouragement.  They are the real deal.  

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Back in Houston, we went to a "dress up" Halloween block party that was so fun.  Our friends hosted their 3rd annual party, complete with bounce houses, hay rides, fire trucks, a movie projected onto the garage with blankets, pillows, and bean bag chairs for the kids to cozy up with.  The food was awesome (with proceeds going to charity) and the drinks were delicious- especially the chocolate vodka:)  

Aren't our friends cute?!

I can't remember the last time I wore a costume!  Unfortunately, James didn't want to wear his costume, so no pics to share- crossing my fingers for Halloween! :) 

Are YOU dressing up this year?!  If so, as what?

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Greece Riskier Than Syria

The Washington Post reports that an annual survey of finance directors by BDO has found that Greece is considered a riskier place to invest and set up business in than Syria.

Only Iran and Iraq are considered more risky than Greece.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Greece Fails To Meet Targets

Unsurprisingly Greece is failing to meet its debt targets.

Reuters reports:
"Greek debt will be above the target of 120 percent of GDP in 2020, a preliminary report by the IMF showed on Thursday, and Athens will need more reforms before emergency credit from international lenders can start flowing again."
What now then?

Exit or political fudge?

Cynthia Carroll To Leave Anglo American

Anglo American, the mining giant, has announced that Cynthia Carroll will step down as chief executive after six years at the helm, once a replacement has been found.

She has come under increasing pressure from investors over Anglo's deteriorating share price and the company's industrial relations at its platinum operations in South Africa. Earlier this year shareholders asked the chairman to look for a new chief executive. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cozamia Art in the Guest Room

Our guest room makeover lost steam somewhere between summer, changing jobs, updating my home office, working out 5 days a week, and because I got "stuck" with exactly what I wanted to do with it.   My plans to order fabric and make my own drapes didn't work out because I ordered the fabric online and, although pretty, in person it wasn't what I had in mind.  I ended up buying premade drapes from World Market in a dark aqua velvet.  They are very plush and pretty, but I still need to hem them.

I brought home the Cozamia art (Lucid Surf) that hung in my old office and I really like it in here.  The colors are vibrant and playful and go great with the orange and aqua thing I've got going on.

I had the print professionally framed at Aaron Brothers.  Had I bought a smaller size, I could have bought a frame off the shelf for much less, but this size was too large.  

Hopefully, I can finish the rest of the room soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pensioners To Work For Pensions

In an admission as to how parlous the finances of the UK are, especially wrt funding pensions, Lord Bichard a former benefits chief has suggested that retired people should be encouraged to do community work such as caring for the "very old" or face losing some of their pension.

He is right to prompt a discussion about how pensions can be funded. However, I am not so sure that this is a viable solution.

Aside from the obvious political difficulties of "selling" it to the public, a good many fit retired people play an active role in their local communities already. As such, it is unlikely that even if this idea ever came to fruition it would achieve any measurable financial benefits.

Legs Kicked From Under Property Market

New rules to be announced tomorrow by the FSA wrt conditions on which mortgages can be granted will kick the legs out from under the struggling property market and, by definition (since the British economy is underpinned by the property market), the economy.

The new rules will make it much harder for the following to take out a mortgage:

- those over 50
- the self employed
- those wishing to use an interest only mortgage

Thus, at a stroke, the tenuous recovery that might be occurring within the economy has been stymied.

Come See Me At Small Shop!

Halfway to the weekend friends!  I'm guest posting at one of my blog crush's blogs today:)  And have you heard, she's celebrating 10 years in the design business?

Congratulations to Erika Brechtel of Small Shop Studio.

Her blog is a daily read for me, and her home is to die for.  This girl has some serious style!

Go here for the full Home Tour.

Erika hosted a baby shower for her sister-n-law and did.not.disappoint!  The grey and orange theme is stylish and sophisticated.  I love how she kept the design simple, yet fun and whimsical with the fish details.  Go here for the full info.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Das Rheingold - The Funeral of Siegfried?

Germany, the economic "powerhouse" of Europe, is experiencing a crisis of confidence; so much so that in order to assuage some of the more extreme doubters, the Bundesbank audited its gold held in Frankfurt (lest people doubt that it had been sold off) and even allowed MPs to visit it to check for themselves.

So far so wunderbar!

Unfortunately, Germany also holds gold deposits abroad. The FT reports that Suddeutsche estimates about 1500 tonnes are held by the Fed, and about 800 tonnes by the central banks of England and France. The total value being approximately €133BN.

The German court of auditors has, not unreasonably, demanded regular audits of Germany's gold reserves abroad.

Fair enough, and perfectly reasonable, were it not for one "small" problem.

The last audits in New York were in 1979/80, and since then whilst the Bundesbank has been allowed into vault it has not been allowed to open the boxes in which the gold is allegedly stored.

As we all know markets are driven sentiment, and sentiment is affected by fear and doubt. Unless a full audit is conducted in the near future, the fear and doubt will grow to a critical mass and Siegfried may well meet his end.

Rumour has it that the US gold reserves in Fort Knox haven't been audited either, maybe the US needs to do the same as Germany and lance the boil of doubt?

DIY Showoffs Art WINNER & Nate Berkus for Target

Hi all!  Thank you to everyone who entered the DIY Show Offs Art Giveaway.  The WINNER is:

Congrats Emily!

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I'll be back soon showing you some office progress and a couple Nate Berkus items I picked up at Target over the weekend.  I actually forgot about the launch and stumbled upon the line when I was there to pick up a flat sheet for yesterday's project.  :)

 Did you look?  Find anything?

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Fabric Lined Expedit Bookshelf

Good morning friends!  If you've been following me on Instagram (@honeywerehome), you know I started a new job last week, so by the time you're reading this I'm probably knee deep in legal motions and trying very hard to look like I'm not still nervous:)  

Your input last Friday on what color to paint my home office was very helpful- thank you for weighing in!  The choice was between gray and white and the overwhelming majority of you voted gray, aptly pointing out that my white furniture (desk and bookshelf) would "pop" against a darker color.  I completely agreed with that, but decided to do the inverse- paint the walls white and add dark drapes and a dark color behind the bookshelf to make them stand out.  

For the paint, I used Sherwin Williams Divine White- the color I had left over from when our house was originally painted 2 1/2 years ago.  All of our trim, cabinets, and ceilings are Divine White flat.  My painter didn't prime the office walls, he simply painted one coat over the previous light yellow, so the color may be slightly warmer than if he had primed first.  Divine White isn't stark white anyway, it's more "soft white."  I must say that I'm loving the bright, clean look of the white!

Regarding the bookshelf, I briefly considered painting just the large wall behind the bookshelf dark, but am not usually a big fan of accent walls.  So, wanting the easiest, cheapest, and quickest solution, I simply taped a Twin Flat black sheet to the back of the bookshelf.  It literally took 5 minutes. 

The 5-tier Ikea Expedit measures 72x72 inches at the outer edges, and the Target Twin Flat sheet I got measured 68x96 inches.  I knew it would be just a few inches too short, but figured the contents inside the shelf would cover that part if it was on the bottom.  

I just cut the excess off of the long side.  

Below you can see where the sheet is just shy of covering the entire bookshelf.  

I tried to tape the sheet taught so that it wouldn't buckle. 

Of course, you could use any patterned sheet or color that fits with your decor and change it out when the mood strikes. 

Voila!  It reminds me of our painted kitchen cabinets

If you wanted to cover the Expedit completely and not have those couple inches showing, you could easily use the excess you cut off and sew it to the bottom or just buy a larger sheet.  

You can also see that I moved the cowhide rug up here - musical rugs and musical lamps is one of my favorite games:)  Yours too?

Make it a great week friends!

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Today on Honey We're Healthy, I'm talking about time management and the daily routines I use to make the most of the hours in the day.  People ask about this a lot, so if you're interested, head on over! 

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