American Picker in Cabo

As I reflect on my trip in Cabo San Lucas, I’ve been thinking about what sums up a great vacation. In short, my definition of a great vacation is all about the experience. For me, it’s made up of equal parts R&R, quality family time, tasty cultural cuisine and of course, shopping local! I love hunting for the perfect “tangible take home” so I can cherish the memories made and add a delightful piece to my living space. Plus, it gives  a good feeling to know that you have helped support their local economy. I will literally scour foreign towns and marketplaces American Picker style! It not only feeds my creative energy, but also gives me an adrenaline rush when I find that amazing item in a “have to have it” moment.

For me, part of the fun is the shopping experience, the thrill of the find and maybe even a little haggling en espanol…. courtesy of my “interpreter” who is tagging along with me for this excursion. At three year’s old his spanish is far superior to mine, but his taste’s??? TBD. Although he definitely loves a colorful find just like I do! Clearly he needs these sunnies, but let’s see if he can talk dinero with the shop owners!

Quinn sunnies

Of course, haggling with street vendors also makes me wonder “how low can you go?” I never really know if I’m overpaying since everything is negotiable. Since we have the world marketplace at our fingertips online, I thought it might be interesting to compare my local finds with online finds to know for sure. Here is what I found!

First up, my obsession with all things Otomi. Otomi embroidered art and textiles pay homage to traditional mexican style. These gorgeous patterns often featuring animals are intricate, colorful and big on my cravings list! I negotiated this table runner down from $150 to $100 but I also found one for $72 on e-bay that is nearly identical and also imported from Mexico, so…. hmmmm. Pass. They also were selling full tablecloths starting at $400 compared to what I found online ranging from $250 upward.



I absolutely love this gorgeous Mexican style embroidered table runner from Anthropologie, tassels and all, but it’s a definite splurge at $298.


Next up, I went on to find a deal from another vendor who sold me 10 otomi placemats (below) for $20 a piece that are going to be turned into pillows. They are online for $35 each, so I’d say that was a good deal! They are all beautifully hand-stitched and embroidered, and I think these will be the perfect compliment to a kid’s bedroom or playroom. Fun, whimsical yet refined, and washable! No matter how old you are, this is not something you outgrow.



This Otomi inspired bedding is from LandofNod and it’s on sale right now with pillow shams starting at $14.95. I love that it’s printed rather than embroidered making it more durable, and an overall great value. Hurry and get your cultural chic on!

I also came across this awesome otomi-inspired canvas bag and the girl who made it! She’s a graphic designer who made 25 of them for a family reunion trip. She had extra, so I chatted her up in hopes of getting a “gringo” discount. Isn’t it adorable?


Moving onto clothing, I spotted these darling little girl’s dresses, but Quinn wanted no part of it. Hey, maybe they’re for your cousins, dude! Don’t get your fruit loop colored sunnies bent out of shape, geez. These were roughly between $25-35, comparable to what I found online, but these were twice as cute!



Lastly, I contemplated this colorful woven tablecloth. I love the graphic stripes and the beautiful colors, but at $80 pre-haggle price, it wasn’t a must-have.



Bottom line, purchasing is all tied to emotion (you don’t say?). If you love it, even if it’s in the moment, price often can become secondary. There are deals aplenty online, but that purchase will never tell a story that can only be told by a day combing through vibrant textiles and multi-colored pareos as a mariachi band follows your footsteps. Simply put, an experience is something money can’t buy, it is felt. We attach emotion to items that remind us of those experiences which is why we treasure our souvenirs. That’s what souvenir means after all – “memory” in French.  So in spirit of making memories, I say, go squander a peso or ten, you’re on vacation! All you’ll remember is the time spent with those you love, which is hardly a rip off, it’s priceless!



Beach bag swag

Now that the new website is up and running, I am celebrating by taking a week off and heading down to Mehico with the hubs and wee dude.  Packing is always a chore, but when laid out in a pretty little style board,  I nearly forget about stuffing all that junk in my trunk (no pun intended).  I cannot wait to dig my toes in the sand with a margi in hand! Here are a few faves I’ll be taking….





1. Balm plus tint so your lips stay protected while wearing your face paint… win win.

2.  Cat-eyed Dolce’s always up the cool factor.

3. Woven sun hat… because one son giving me wrinkles is more than enough!

4. This beach bag transports me on tropical vacay just looking at it. Who knew a bag could whisper “cobble stone streets, swaying palms, beach hammocks and crystal blue water”… stop making me daydream you gorgeous thing!

5. Because Babytime isn’t just for babies. Use it on the whole fam so no one comes home looking like a lobster.

6. Bkr water bottle all dressed up in her silicone finest. Stylish and eco-friendly too.

7.  This Kantha Quilt will take you from beach picnic to bonfire blanket. A well packed beach bag should always contain something that is multi-purpose!

8. Disclaimer- I’m brining the mini for book reading purposes only! I plan to fully unplug… adios tecnología.

9. Beach bag, meet beach cover up… you two need to go on a date, because you are one hot looking couple! You have me by your tassels, literally.

10. And finally, my go to flip flops. Perfect for every occasion, and they don’t take up valuable luggage space!

“Adios and vaya con Dios! I am leaving CA….” ((if you know the rest, sing along!))



Pasadena Home Tour

I have been sitting on some very exciting news which I have been dying to share. I am honored and excited to announce that my personal home has been selected to be featured on the 28th Annual Pasadena Kitchen and Home Tour!

The tour this year is particularly exciting because it focuses on the beauty of small spaces. While most people are familiar with Pasadena’s grand estates and the fabulous yearly Pasadena Showcase House, it’s not often that we get to see smaller scale homes that are just as beautiful and well-designed. Every square inch of small space is grandiose in style. It’s something attainable and all me!

The tour will feature four exceptional homes that are all under 2000 square feet. Each of the homes presents efficient, gorgeous, well thought-out, and unique spaces that were designed by local Pasadena designers. Designers featured are Greg Parker (Parker West Interiors), Emily LaMarque (Emily LaMarque Design Studio), Sara Bates (Sara Bates Interior Design), and Debbie Talianko (Talianko Design Group).

Because of this tour, ASID Pasadena continues to provide designers with knowledge and awareness, design students with upcoming scholarships, the public with information about the difference between ASID Designers and your average home decorator.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and interested in taking a step inside my personal home, bookmark your calendars for October 19th to come and experience a new twist to a long-standing event! Welcome in!


And, here’s a little sneak peek for you…

emily lamarque kitchen sneek peek




Welcome to Design Dish!

Welcome to my new lovely blog, Design Dish, formerly known as Modern.Chic.Inspired. Many of my archived posts of the past can be viewed here, feel free to check them out!

I decided my brand needed a fresh vibe, so with that, I’ve created this cozy little corner called Design Dish, a place where I indulge my oversized appetite for great design! If you are new here, you can expect to find me rant regularly about my cravings, dish design advice and serve up style to you lovely readers. Who’s hungry?

Now that we’ve turned up the heat over at the ELDS design dojo, here is a light menu of things you can expect me to dish on a regular basis:

CRAVINGS- trendspotting on my favorite design obsessions, inspirations, products and must haves

TRANSFORMATIONS – design revamps from my client projects, install days, etc.

STILL COOKIN’ –  in progress client projects that are on the boards

SCOOP – press, news or events featuring ELDS

HOT LINKS- my roundup of weekly faves from around the internet

HALF BAKED- discussion on design dilemmas, answer reader questions and provide expert tips and advice

DESIGN TO GO- this special delivery is still cooking and I can’t wait to announce this exciting venture ahead… stay tuned

A big thank you to Erika Brechtel and Zoe Rooney for collaborating with me on this beautifully created online endeavor! Looks great ladies, and I can’t thank you enough for your time and your collective talents.

There are plenty of seats at my table and you’re all invited. Come join me as I fill up on high style; it won’t cost you a single calorie! Now let’s start dishing!



ELDS brand makeover

You know I love a good renovation project. I am constantly fixing, changing and updating things. Everything is in gradual improvement. So it recently dawned on me that it was time to give my business and brand a makeover too.

I wanted to keep the look and feel of my site the same, but add a little updated edge. Overall I wanted it clean lined and simple so that my client’s projects took center stage. Of course, technologies have also changed since I first launched my website too. The new and improved version will be much more mobile friendly, have social media buttons (what took me so long!) and will also contain my blog…. which brings me to my next point.

We will be moving the blog to my website permanently. The good news is, that you can still look forward to receiving design dense info from me,  detailing my project work, collaborations, press, design advice and random musings of motherhood, etc. You love the last part, I know! Now that the website is nearly finished, we have been saving a few gems of exciting updates from ELDS that we will be sharing very soon. Stay tuned.

For now, here is a sneak peek of the upcoming site. We can’t wait to show you the rest!!