Monthly Archives: February 2011

ASOS

I am having a love affair. With ASOS. Yes, the lovely, online mega-retailer of fabulous (and fabulously priced, for the most part) clothing. The site is like too good. I spend more time browsing than spending, unfortunately, but all that is about to change!

I got a new job! This is very exciting for me, because along with being rescued from the soul-crushing self-hatred that comes with being Conan O’Brien’d  out of a job I truly enjoyed, (not to be gauche) I even got a 15% increase in salary and a legitimate job title! I’ve graduated from the world of Administrative Assistants, which means that someone out there thinks I am capable of more challenging tasks than filing and watering plants. However, I’m pretty sure I should just have my new job direct deposit my earnings in an ASOS spending account.

Observe:

Bow blouse

This shirt fits the like, want, AND need categories.  Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. I’ve been obsessing over it for weeks now; saving it in my shopping cart and moving it to checkout but chickening out at the last minute. (UPDATE: I bought it. This shirt is made from the clouds of heaven —the clouds of heaven, you guys — and will make all the other clothes in my closet feel immediately inferior simply based on proximity.)

Tailored Low Slung Pants

Hello, earth tones! Everything about this outfit is making me weak in the knees. That oversized tan slub top and the brick toned pants are just perfect together. I love her hair. Seriously, the next time I announce that I want to chop all my hair off (even if it is for a good cause) please, someone, talk me out of it.

Belted Wool Coat

I never thought I’d say this, but this coat is making me want more winter, just so I can wear this beaut. Maybe somewhere cold but endlessly sunny so I could pair it with that hat! I don’t consider myself a hat girl, but come on. Also, that model has perhaps the best eyebrows ever. I bet you didn’t even notice them! That’s okay. I’ll look out for those types of things; I’m big into eyebrows.

I’m telling you guys, I’m pretty sure I should marry this site. If I did, I’d wear this:

Hybrid Three Quarter Sleeve Capelet Dress

You know, assuming the wedding was in late May in a lush garden somewhere. Of course, I’d totally go for a side-chignon and a bright red lip. That model’s hair is the perfect shade of reddish-brown; it’s making me want to dye my virgin hair that color.

Also, how gorgeous are all of these women? I know, I know, they’re models, they should be pretty to look at. But take one spin around Forever 21’s website and check out some of the girls there, and you’ll see how huge an upgrade the models over at ASOS are. Not that I’m hatin’ on F21. Don’t think I didn’t notice America’s Next Top Model Cycle 5 Winner Nicole Linkletter modeling for them these days. My how the mighty have fallen.

February 26, 2011 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 3

House Inspiration

Maybe it’s because I’m home all the time these days, but my once-charming little apartment is starting to become…not so charming. The tap water tastes like lead, I found ants in my cabinet (actually, I found a live ant in my box of sugar as I poured it on my oatmeal), and my beautiful, marble fireplace with carved fleur-de-lis inside has been dropping crumbling brick and dust from the floo for a few weeks at random. Sigh. There was an episode of House Hunters International (love that show!) where they were in Bulgaria, and looking at an old farm house in desperate need of renovation. The thing didn’t even have indoor plumbing, and all I could think was, “that house is nicer than my apartment.”

So what’s a girl to do when her lease extends through July and there are only so many times you can scrub your floor and redecorate? Look at pictures of other people’s more beautiful homes, of course! (did you not get that with this post?) Why don’t we:

from here

This kitchen makes my heart flutter. Everything about it is perfect. Painted white brick (clearly the way to my heart), exposed bulb hanging pendants, open shelving, chalkboard wall. I just can’t even. I hope this woman doesn’t mind that one day I’ll replicate this kitchen exactly in my home.

 

from here

If I have to pick a second favorite kitchen, it’s this one, hands down. Bertoia stools! Those hanging lamps! That tile! The mix of natural wood and the laminate white upper cabinets. And don’t think I didn’t see that kittle row of plants on the window sill.

 

from here

Get that Pia Wallen blanket off the floor!! There is a lot going on in this room that makes me happy, aside from that blanket being on the floor. Eames shell side chairs! Giant wall of windows! Painted white floors! I wish I could have painted white floors. Like, more than I want world peace.

 

from here

Of course this dining room comes from the Netherlands. Again with the painted white floors. I don’t love how the gaps between the beams aren’t caulked, but that just adds to the overall aesthetic of the room. Eames chairs with wooden eiffel bases! Those branches. Why are of all the light-filled rooms overseas?

 

from here

That’s it! Someone needs to buy me a vintage dress form and some wonderfully distressed chevron floors. I bet that fireplace doesn’t occasionally drop dirt out of it. Harumph. Just check out the layering of paintings and empty picture frames on the mantle! Empty picture frames make me weak in the knees.

And, the piece de resistence:

I don’t even know where to start! Rainbow books! A mirror tray and a bouquet of fresh daisies! A PUG! This might be my favorite picture ever in the history of home decorating. Or ever. Just check out how that adorable pug puppy is all set to launch himself off the sofa, possibly to unleash a reign of unrelenting kisses and snorting.

Now I’m just fussier over the state of my apartment than I was before. What would you change about your home if you could? Tell me!

February 24, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Bookworm

I don’t consider myself a very black-and-white person by nature; I’ll shades-of-gray all over something before coming to a conclusion about it. This holds true in all areas of my life, except for literature analysis. It makes me want to crush things when I have to talk about what the author could have meant by saying a character took a pickle dish down from the shelf (side-note: Ethan Frome is forever a comedy, thanks to 11th grade English). Yes, there are evident themes in Lord of the Flies, but that book was picked apart so much that it was ruined for me. I don’t want to perform surgery on a book, I just want to read it.

I remember sitting in a Creative Writing workshop course in college and listening to the other students dissect a story I’d written, and being amazed at the things they were reading into, things I’d never intended or meant when I’d written it, but things they were just sure meant something else. Uh, if I meant for the protagonist’s decision to lock herself in the bathroom to be a metaphor for upper class guilt, I’d have put  a footnote in all caps that said that. But I didn’t, so stop reading into it.

Thankfully, reading has not been ruined for me. I still love nothing more than curling up on my sofa with a good book (and a better cup of tea) or reading until I fall asleep at night. My dad was the kind of person who read a book a day, almost, and was good friends with local booksellers. He spent years reading to me in bed at night, both of us eventually falling asleep. Over dinner, we’d read from the Etymological Dictionary (and yes, I endured a fair bit of teasing for that).

Anyway, here are some of the books I’ve read/been reading recently:

 

Little Bee, by Chris Cleave

I loved this. Santa left it for me under the tree this year, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s beautifully written. The author has a refined voice, and the end left me, literally, speechless. I had to sit quietly for a while when I finished it, to let it all sink in. Once you read it, you get why you’re not supposed to talk about it, and truly, I don’t want to ruin the magic of this story for anyone else. Trust me though, it is definitely worth a read.

 

Incendiary, by Chris Cleave

Again, the author has this staggering command of a woman’s voice. Plus, lots of Arsenal references! It’s a pretty dismal, very realistic story on a fictional terrorist attack. I’m almost finished, but I don’t want to be.

 

Columbine, by Dave Cullen

I have a very weird fascination with Columbine; the event itself, not the book. I was 12 when Columbine happened, and it was the first major, life-changing thing that totally reshaped the way the world worked for me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened. Guns at a school? That just didn’t fit anywhere in the world I’d known my entire life up until that point. A few months after Columbine, my school installed metal detectors. Dress codes came a few years later.

I went to see “Bowling for Columbine” when it came out, but after reading this book (well, okay, so I’m halfway through it but I can’t read it when I’m by myself because it scares me too much, and it’s extremely dense due to being a compilation of 10 years of research) I realize how narrow Michael Moore’s take on the whole thing was. He went into the movie declaring that guns were the entire problem, that it all happened because of America’s problem with guns. I’m not saying that point isn’t valid, but Dave Cullen goes further into the story with this book, by talking to victims’ families, taking full pages from the shooters’ journals, and interviews with hundreds of people connected and affected by the tragedy. It’s definitely worth picking up, but if you’re a chicken like me, don’t read it late at night or before you go to bed, or you’ll be left sleeping with the lights on.

What books are you reading these days? Any recommendations? I’d love to know!

February 21, 2011 / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Office envy

Have any of you seen this post over at Apartment Therapy  of Emily Schuman’s amaaaaazing house in Los Angeles that was posted earlier this week? For those of you not in the know (ie, me, up until Monday) Emily is the fashionista behind Cupcakes and Cashmere, the lifestyle blog about all things fabulous and pricey. Among her many talents (aside from having been seen on The Hills Season 1, making home-made peppermint marshmallows, having a fabulous and expensive wardrobe, and a fiance who seemingly loves nothing more than taking gorgeously styled photographs of her) she manages to always have a flawless manicure in some polish they don’t carry at the cheap Korean salon I go to. To the likes of me, a compulsive nail biter (who is also unemployed and cannot afford the luxuries of a mani/pedi), this is an amazing accomplishment.

As if I needed any more reasons to be jealous, I saw these:

I just, I can’t even. It doesn’t even matter that the garland isn’t centered with the desk, or that one drawer is slightly open, or that she runs the cord for the (sexy!) desk lamp down the front of it, or that she inexplicably needs two (two? why two?) pens out and at the ready at all times. I am having office envy of the worst kind right now!

And then, there was this photo, from her bedroom:

I know, I know, yet another “Keep Calm” poster. As if every house tour Apartment Therapy features doesn’t have one of those prints in some color or another. But it’s yellow! And I have an unnatural love of all things yellow. This shot, of the top of her dresser, just kills me it is so perfect. White lacquer trays (presumably from West Elm; I have one in yellow!) adorned with the perfect amount of beauty products and knick-knacks so as not to cross over from intentionally cluttered to downright messy. That gold pig! I don’t even know what I would do with it, but it just looks pretty. And those little gold mirrors! I have one of those, too. But not three. Of varying size and shape. Damn her.

Okay. Okay, I’ll calm down (and carry on!). I love my iMac. It is trusty and the screen is enormous which is perfect for editing photos and it cost less than her macbook. And I don’t need a cowhide rug in my apartment, or a gold pig bank. And I close my drawers all the way. And while I don’t have a delightful collection of tiny mirrors or garland that costs $130 (but I could, if someone wanted to buy me uh…a President’s Day present), I have things that are me.

It is easy to get overwhelmingly jealous when someone has nicer stuff than I do, but I think I learned a long time ago that you can’t try to measure up to everyone else or to someone else’s standard of living, especially when there are so many disparities that need to be taken into account, including income bracket, age, and —

Oh whatever, the desk got to me. There’s nothing wrong with a little de-cluttering and redistributing things around my apartment, is there?

The tulips are from my mom (thanks Mom!). Trader Joe’s had them in 10-stem bunches for $4.99. That desk lamp is kind of a Frankenstein project I intend to write about later.

I’m afraid that if I don’t get another job soon, I am going to be stuck in an endless cycle of redecorating the same 4 square feet over and over again like I did the last time I was unemployed.

Happy Friday, kiddos! What are your weekend plans?

February 18, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Bag-Lust Purgatory

For fun, and to occasionally flex my creativity muscle, I create sets in Photoshop of dream rooms or dream outfits. Usually, the source of inspiration is a single item, that I’ll then pair with other things to make it cohesive. In this case, it was this bag. Oh, that bag. How you taunt me with your…olive-ness. And of course, it isn’t available at my local Zara, and you can’t shop online, so I’m stuck in bag-lust purgatory. This happens to me often, but usually the reason is my inability to afford my expensive tastes (YSL Y-Mail tote in black patent, I’m looking at you. I’m not generally into matchy-matchy, but I have this Y-Mail wallet, and I think it is lonely).

Anyway, this set started over the gorgeous Zara bag. Not too price-prohibitive, at under $90. I say that with some level of jest, of course, because even I am not immune to the realization that spending a good sum of money on a bag is wasteful. However, let me not besmirch the loveliness of the bag in question. Zara is like the mature older sister of H&M, in my mind. The clothes are tasteful, not too pricey (seriously, when they have sales, they have sales). Plus they have that cool Euro vibe going on that I love so much. Oh! And did I mention they have a wide range of sweaters and tops with elbow pads this season? I’m a sucker for elbow pads.

So this bag. It looks like it can fit anything and everything, which is good, you know, because sometimes I have to carry a of things. It also means that I might spend an hour rooting around at the bottom like Mary Poppins trying to find my keys, but that is besides the point. It’s pretty. And it reminds me of a bag a freelance photographer would carry. I don’t know why, but that was what I had in mind when I made this:

 

And now I’m curious. What are your bag obsessions? Tell me!

February 16, 2011 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is one of those weird holidays where you’re not sure if everyone celebrates it or enjoys it or in fact secretly hates the entire idea (Foxy, looking at you on this one), so you don’t want to bring it up in case it’s a sore subject. As in:

Snarky! I don’t know, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. I love roses, I love the entire institution, including the special pink, red, and white m&ms they release for the occasion. I was a Valentine’s Day Champion in high school. It’s true. Ask anyone.

On a more romantic note, let’s take a look at this lovely, lovely ring from Cat Bird, shall we?

Have you ever seen something quite so darling? I didn’t think so. I love Cat Bird, and in particular, I love this series of rings. How sweet are they? Delicate and feminine, and perrrrfect for stacking. I have an unnatural love my the first letter of my first name, and a little ring with my little initial is almost too cute to stand.

Tonight I have a date with my three favorite little Valentines, my nieces! I foresee cupcakes and lots of pink candy and glitter in my future. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

February 14, 2011 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

What day is it?

I’ll be upfront with you and admit that I’ve never been a timely person. I was never good at keeping a diary / calendar / date book, arriving on time, or remembering where I’m supposed to be. And it isn’t for lack of trying! I’ve bought beautiful leather date books with gold embossed page edges with the full intention of writing down my schedule each day. It was easier when I was in school, and things like that were a necessity. If I didn’t write it down, there was a very good chance it would never get done. Not because I am lazy, but because I seemingly have the attention span of a cheese sandwich, and that plummets significantly once you pile on massive amounts of work.

Then I got a job, and a Blackberry, which somehow made me want to put everything I might possibly have to do in my calendar. It made me feel like a grown up, being able to say, “Let me check my calendar” when someone would ask if I was free.

I also felt like a grown up when I got my first big-girl apartment, that I was paying for on my own and not sharing with anyone else. You realize quickly when you move into a place with high ceilings that there is a scary amount of  blank wall space. Wanting to maintain my streak with being organized and also wanting to totally design-nerd-out on my apartment, it hit me.

The Stendig Calendar!

I had first seen it in Anna’s New York City apartment kitchen redo, and instantly fell in love with it. It’s a calendar that meant it. It’s large enough to take up an ample amount of wall space, and beautiful enough that it transcends being just a calendar, and becomes art. Did  you know it’s the only calendar in the Design Collection at the MoMA? Rationalization!

But back then I was unemployed, and couldn’t bring myself to spend $30 that I didn’t really have to spend (do you hear that? It’s the world’s tiniest violin). And by the time I got a job, it was almost 6 months into the year, and they had stopped selling the 2010 version of the calendar. What was a girl to do? This was a crisis of epic proportions! I felt like it was the most unfair thing that had ever happened to me, that I had to wait a whole 6 months to get my own calendar. (Do you know what we call this? White People Problems)

Those 6 months were agony, let me tell you. I tried to talk myself out of it several times, so the waiting wouldn’t be as painful, but my heart knew what it wanted. It wanted this calendar, and this calendar it had to have. So, finally, when the new 2011 ones were released in late December, I ordered one.

 

My desk, the like / want / need office. Believe it or not, I did not do any pre-photo cleaning or straightening up. Aren’t you impressed? It’s one of my New Years Resolutions to be cleaner.

Look at how proudly that calendar is hanging on my wall. It’s like it is saying, “HELLO. TODAY IS FEBRUARY 13TH. IT IS A SUNDAY. DO NOT BE JEALOUS OF MY BEAUTY.” I didn’t realize when I ordered it that it would be a euro-style calendar, with the week starting on a Monday, as opposed to a Sunday start like we have here in the states. Somehow I missed that. But I’ve adjusted rather easily! Except for that one day in January when I was convinced it was Thursday but it was really Friday. That was fun.  

And in case you were interested:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, kiddos!

February 13, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 5

This chair. I can’t even.

There is a small (and weird) group of people in this world called Objectum Sexuals, who carry on intense, realistic relationships with inanimate objects. Like bridges, the Berlin Wall, and the Eiffel Tower (but I try to pretend that last one isn’t true, because I love the Eiffel Tower and don’t like to think that there are people in the world who routinely make love to small replicas of it). I was going to say that I didn’t understand their psychological pull to things that aren’t, you know, alive (or human, more importantly), and am in fact creeped out by the entire thing, but I think I’ve made that clear.

That said, I want to introduce you to my newest crush. Meet the Cappellini armchair:

 

This chair makes my tiny little heart flutter. Look at it! All curvy and colorful. It is like plastic and confetti and broken crayons and magic got together one night and did the hanky panky (In the interest of full disclosure, I googled euphemisms for sex out of sheer boredom and found a bunch! Some of them are so vulgar! I can’t even).

Anyway, back to the chair! If you find it as painfully cute as I do, it might be because this is a Cappellini / Walt Disney collaboration, and we all know that Walt Disney is the universal sign of mass-produced cuteness (and anti-Semitism, but that is besides the point). I’m sure it’s not really all that comfortable (the chair, not anti-semitism, though I suppose that’s pretty uncomfortable, too) but they lure you into thinking otherwise by announcing that there were only 99 of these brilliant chairs produced. Ninety-nine! As in, I’ve got 99 problems, but this, uh, chair, ain’t one.

True to form, the gene in me responsible for consumption is spazzing over the possibility of owning something that rare. So, also true to form, I start rationalizing the purchase. I could just save up for a few months, cut back on frivolous expenses like electricity and food, and then the darling chair will be mine! Nevermind that my studio apartment is barely roomy enough to fit the stuff I already have (which leads me to believe that I have too much stuff. I refuse to believe I am paying too much for a small apartment), look at that chair! If that chair doesn’t make you grin like a tea-party republican idiot, then you clearly have no appreciation for whimsy, or for finely crafted homegoods. And that’s fine. I’ll be happy with my chair, and you can lust after it from afar and I won’t even let you sit on —

Beg your pardon?

$2461.00? Two thousand, four hundred dollars? No, I don’t think I can “ADD TO CART”, no matter if it’s in caps lock or not. I’ll be adding it to my dream box, assuming of course that that is not some euphemism (we’re back on euphemisms!) for something else.

There is cute, and there is insane. And this chair, though it breaks my heart to say it, has crossed over to being expensively, prohibitively, ridiculous. I’ll just have to show my adoration in other ways, like creating an image header hommage to its wonderful multi-colored-ness.

Oh well. Good thing I have other chair-lust backups! Let’s observe, shall we?

The Bertoia Wire Side Chair. Fabulous and shiny, and, if at all possible, looks even less comfortable than the Cappellini above. But! The patent on the design has expired (thank you 70 year copyright rule!) so you can pick up a pretty decent replica on the cheap. Not that I would, because that is shameful. However, my thrifting talents aren’t quite as honed, but I’ve seen many examples that prove these are readily available (albeit in a right state) if you’re willing to dig around.

And the side chair's sexy, taller friend.

And oh, Eames shell rocker. You deserve a post all your own, even if I can just tell by looking at your my tokhes would hate you.

February 12, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Oh hi, you must be new here.

Do you know how hard it is to come up with a pithy entry title after spending an entire day already trying to come up with a cool, pithy blog name, and searching for the perfect font and the perfect color combinations to make the perfect image header? It’s veritably exhausting.

Thankfully, it is Saturday, and I have been drinking Vinho Verde since noon like some eastern European expat, because I’m convinced the tap water in my apartment is non-potable and I don’t have anything in my fridge besides a bottle of mustard and some string cheese, and I don’t want to drink either of those.

Enter Gazela. Fabulously priced at a mere $6.99 a bottle (though in googling it, I’ve seen it sold for even cheaper), and deliciously bubbly and sweet. My best friend and I picked a bottle of this up on a whim a few years ago, mostly because it had a peacock feather on the label. What can I say? I am clearly on my way to becoming a renowned sommelier.

Gazela Vinho Verde

SO. I’m intending for this blog to be an aggregate of all the things that tickle my fleeting fancy (and there are many, many things, ranging from purses, to desks, to clothes, to swedish furniture) where I can hopefully expel the desire to buy all these things by writing about them to death.

Hi, I’m Erin. I like / want / need lots of things.

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February 12, 2011 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9