Monthly Archives: July 2011

Love, Etc.

Hello out there! I’m not dead. Nor did I fall down another flight of stairs and land in the ER, again. I’ve just been wholly inundated with the enormous, obnoxious, horrendous task of moving. You know, that old beast that rears its ugly head every 12 months and makes you cram all of your belongings into boxes and bags and schlep them from one place to another. This time, on top of all the usual hellacious-ness that comes along with moving, I got an extra special treat: moving in 110 degree weather! Aren’t I lucky? It actually would have been fortuitous timing if I’d been laid up (again) on crutches and unable to lift even the lightest of boxes from my apartment. Drat.

But it’s over now, thank god, and I’m mostly unpacked and settled in, and I’m happy to report that my new place is far nicer than my last place already, because it doesn’t have a fireplace that drops whole bricks down the flue while you’re trying to sleep (it does, however, seem to have an affinity for GIANT SPIDERS, OMG. I’ve killed like 3 in the last 2 weeks). Also, my new place comes with a pretty cute roommate, whereas at my last apartment, I was my own cute roommate (and I lived up to the title whole-heartedly, I’ll have you know).

As a treat to myself, and to ward off any lingering post-traumatic stress from lugging boxes down the stairs, then up the stairs, then down the stairs, and sweating through my throwback New Kids on the Block t-shirt (jealous?) I took myself to see Love, Etc last night. It was the first time I’d ever gone to see a movie alone, though I’m sure I missed large bits of the movie because I was too busy being all self-congratulatory and sussed with myself for being brave enough to wander into a social event solo. It was exciting! I had BOTH armrests to myself!

Oh, and the movie was really, really lovely and I recommend you run right out and see it. If it doesn’t make your heart swell, you must not have one at all.

It was beautifully done, perfectly paced and the stories of everyone involved were all equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking in their own ways. The most profound statement about love came from Gabi, the (gorgeous) 18 year old Brazilian idealist: “Love is like building a house. Every day, you add a brick. Love isn’t, ‘Oh, she’s so beautiful, now I’m in love.’ No. Love is something you build with someone.” And interestingly enough, one of the men in the film, Scott, is a director and is seen attending his opening night of the play “The Understudy”, which I went to see last January! The play was hilarious and a real gem, and not just because Zach Morris was in it.

But of course, the elderly couple just stole my heart. All I’d like(/want/need), more than anything else in the world, is to end up like that little old couple. Crazy in love with someone for 50 years.

Go out and see it immediately! Even if the only date you can find is yourself, you’ll be happy you went.

July 28, 2011 / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Wanderlust

Do you want to hear something terribly distressing? My credit card company raised my credit limit a staggering amount the other day. Staggering as in, triple my current limit. Like, out of no where they just up and decided to tempt me with a hugely increased credit limit. I pay my bill on time, in full every month (usually before it’s due), so why are you punishing me, Capital One?

I mean, okay, to them, they probably thought this was a perfectly acceptable, nice gesture to show me I’m building credit responsibly, and here is my reward for being a diligent borrower. To me, they might as well have mailed me a box full of gremlins laced with anthrax for all the gesture of good will means. I briefly debated calling Capital One, giving them the address of my blog, and being like, “Are you trying to kill me? Bankrupt me? WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE?”

Of course, I know they want me to spend more. It’s evil. They gave me that huge increase in the hopes I’ll use every last dime of it and then have to pay them hundred in interest attempting to pay it off. Well! The joke’s on you, Capital One, because I’m not biting.

(Though, let’s be honest, I had a total Scrooge McDuck moment and might have had visions of doing this.)

Think of all the things I could buy! Like this, or this, or maybe even these. I could even buy all three, and still have room on my credit card for way, way more.

But then, of course, logic reigned me back in, and I realized that my current, patented system of ‘Saving Up to Buy Things’ will work out better for me in the long run. Credit should only be used for emergencies, like when you leave your debit card at a bar (me), or in a rest-stop ATM in New Jersey (you know who you are), or perhaps for world travel. Because, at present, the only emergency presenting itself to me is a dire need of a European vacation.

See, there’s a chance I’ll spend a little over a week gallivanting around Italy this fall (not because of my newly enhanced credit limit, no, but that certainly would make things a little easier). Exciting, si?  Naturally, the nerd in me is very excited over the architecture and history and culture and the food, oh my god, the food. Can you imagine how good Italian food tastes in Italy? If I don’t gain a substantial amount of weight in the time I’m there, I’ll have considered the whole thing a waste.

Of course, it’s all up in the air right now, and nothing has been finalized and actual plane tickets have not been purchased. But that shouldn’t stop me from obsessing about what I’d wear on the plane ride, right? Right. Which is why, after spotting this bag, I immediately created  my ideal long-plane-ride outfit, one that has the perfect balance of comfort and style:

 

1. Chiffon trim Racerback Tank, Old Navy. I usually don’t even like racerbank tanks, but the color on this (not to mention the price: $20!) is absolutely perfect. It looks soft enough to fly for 7+ hours in without bunching weirdly on your back or being itchy.

2. Cardigan, Boy by Band of Outsiders. I know this cardigan is over $500, and no, I didn’t pick up drugs as a hobby. I obviously do not intend to buy this exact cardigan, any gray cardigan will do (you know, to counteract the air conditioning that always seems to be set to 55 on planes).

3. Washed Canvas bag, ASOS. I’ve already professed my love for ASOS way back when, but this store is so fabulous it deserves another round of complements. This bag is absolutely perfect for a carry-on piece, and I imagine it will hold my laptop, a magazine, a book, and all of the other various and sundry items I tend to carry on planes (toothbrush, ipod, tissues, a clean pair of underwear in case the airline loses my luggage, as has happened at least 3 times to me). It is even good for carrying around the destination city and accumulating all the little travel souvenirs I like (/want/need)  to collect (matchbooks, cafe napkins). And it was $25. Like, want, need, bought.

4. Women’s Classic in Slate, TOMS Shoes. They don’t look comfortable, but I can’t swear to that, as I’ve never tried a pair on. I love the idea behind TOMS, though. I have already bought a pair for a friend’s baby (hi Elle!) and oh my god, you’ve never seen something as cute as baby Toms. These just seem lightweight and easy to slip on and off during the extended molesting TSA employees administer these days.

5. Chinos, Topshop. I made the mistake once on a flight to London of wearing jeans. It was an overnight flight. Thankfully, the flight was virtually empty, and I was able to claim a row of 3 seats for myself and stretch out and sleep most of the  journey. Unfortunately, sleeping for 6 hours in jeans is the equivalent of sticking your legs in a waffle iron. Circulation to my feet had been severed somewhere over Greenland, and I had marks and pocket outlines on my stems for what felt like days after getting off the plane. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson, and I only fly in leggings or loose, cotton pants. Like these chinos. I own a similar pair, and I’ve already given them notice that they may get the honor of accompanying my lower half overseas.

6. Crumpled City Map, Junk Skull. Oh, and speaking of Italy, how darling are these crumpled city maps from Italian designer Emanuele Pizzolorusso? They are soft, waterproof maps that are meant to be balled up and thrown in the bottom of your bag as you travel. Adorable and functional. I’d love to frame a map I took abroad with me when I got home.

7. Layton Chronopgrah Watch, Micheal Kors. Of course, you’ll need a watch to set to local time, and if this doesn’t just fill that role gorgeously, I don’t know what will. And it’s on sale!

 

Any exciting travel plans coming up for you guys? Or, do you have a specific thing that you can’t get on a plane without? I’d love to know!

Stay cool this weekend, kiddos.

 

July 22, 2011 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Paint vs. Stain: The Outcome

As anticipated, the weather was absolutely glorious and sunshine-y all weekend, leaving me fresh out of excuses to schlep the little side table from this post outside to sand the bejesus out of it. I should preface this entire post with the disclaimer that aside from one other table and a few rooms, I am by no means a skilled painter. In fact, I’ve never sanded or primed anything in my life. However, looking at the grossness of the table, I knew sanding wasn’t up for debate. It had to be done, lest I live forever with scratches of “CK” etched into the front of it (Calvin Klein? Crack Kills?). Someone was kind enough to leave me a wad of chewed gum on the front, too. Yummy!

First, a quick trip to Home Depot was in order. I picked up a sample can of Behr’s “Fountain Spout”, a mini paint tray, and a 6-pack of 100 grit sandpaper. Total cost: $8.70. Bonus, I ran into a kid I went to middle school with that I hadn’t seen since in the paint department (hi, Vance!). Don’t ask me how I settled upon this particular paint color. I had Behr’s “Monet Lily” in mind, but it turned out to be too lavender-y in person (weirdly), and this one jumped out at me while I was standing there.

My sand-paper-virginity became apparent as I was standing in the aisle looking at all of the various types and sizes and grits of sandpaper, my mouth agape. What is the difference between 80 grit and 100? Why are some sheets the size of 8.5″ x 11″ paper and some are little sponges? I know I was standing in a home improvement store, surrounded by knowledgable staff who could have easily answered my questions and pointed me to the right product for this undertaking. Instead, I grabbed the first pack I saw that said “Wood” on it and called it a day.

After giving it a good, quick cleaning with a few wet rags, I got ready to sand. I figured I would just hold the sandpaper in my hand and scrub away at the guh-ross yellow/orange stain and various scratches and indiscriminate globs of junk. Little did I know this would have been much more easily accomplished if I had bothered to read the back of the package in the store; I would have seen that I needed a hand-sander. You know, an actual machine that would do this for me. Sigh.

saying goodbye to the gum…

Oh, so halfway through I realized how flimsy the top rail was on the back of the desk. It was stuck on with two nails, and had an accumulation of gunk and crud in it that I was never going to be able to sand or clean properly if I didn’t just take the whole thing off. So I did. I don’t regret it at all.

 

see all that dirt? Yuck.

I used all 6 pieces of sandpaper, whether due to my own incompetence  with the process of sanding or  because this thing had about 12 layers of mismatched varnish and dirt on it. I wiped it down with some more wet rags before bringing it back in. And let me tell you, the stuff that came off on those rags was disgusting. And yellow. Getting as up close and personal with this guy as I did made me realize it wasn’t as “cute” as I originally thought, and the lingering guilt I had over not staining it a rich, dark brown and restoring it to its original glory was quickly dispelled when I realized that this thing never had any original glory. Fug Since Day 1.

Now, I know the smart, fume-conscious choice would have been to keep the thing outside and prime and paint it in the open air, but I live on a main street, and I didn’t feel like squatting in awkward positions in my oversized painting-designated-t-shirt and gym shorts will wielding a paintbrush. Believe it or not, I do have some dignity left. I also tend to talk to myself while painting or working on a project (or just like, sitting there) and didn’t want to scare the neighbors.

I found this can of primer in my storage unit in my building. I know it’s mine, that I didn’t steal it from a neighbor, but I can’t tell you why I have it, especially since at the beginning of this post I swore I’d never primed anything. It’s a mystery! I slathered on 2 coats of primer, waiting an hour in between coats to let it dry fully. I can follow some directions! Plus I had to stop and have a bowl of corn flakes.

first coat of primer

Despite the primer claiming it was a primer and sealer in one, I was worried that the yellow-ish tint of the wood was still showing through even after the first coat of primer was on. The second coat, however, really covered everything nicely.

After this coat I was able to really notice how ugly and un-help-able the knob on the little drawer was (no picture, because again, the grossness). While I waited for the second coat of primer to dry so I could begin the fun part (I know it’s basically the same premise, painting primer and painting paint, but I don’t consider priming “fun”), I walked over to Anthropologie (swoon!) to pick up one of these little glass knobs. Obviously I could have found something cheaper than this one, which was almost the same price as all of the supplies I bought at Home Depot combined. But then, this would be someone else’s blog, and I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet, but if I like it, it doesn’t matter how impractically priced it is. I will buy it.

first coat of “Fountain Spout”

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with the color as I was applying the first coat. I know I chose it for how icy and pale a shade of blue it was, but it just seemed too pale, too white. But after a second coat, and some last minute hole filling (someone had made some pretty impressive pencil-sized holes on one edge of the desk), drumroll please….

And of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to decorate it a little bit:

And there you have it! I’m really, really pleased with the final result. All in all, it took 5 hours of painting and waiting for paint to dry. Here’s the budget breakdown, if you’re curious:

Desk: $10, Craigslist
Paint & supplies: $8.70, Home Depot
Glass knob, $8, Anthropologie

Total: $26.70 and totally worth it.

This was probably the most productive weekend I’ve had in a while, and now I have the project-bug: I want to tackle as many things as I can! This is also the longest post I’ve ever had. That’s what she said.

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

Friday Five

Happy Friday everyone! In the interest of full disclosure, and at the risk of painting myself as an even bigger nerd than you no doubt pegged me for, I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night (er, this morning?), at midnight. No, I did not dress up, and yes, I did cry, but please still be my friend. It was really, really incredible (even though I totally thought it needed more Gary Oldman), but needless to say I am really, really tired. While I’m understandably sad about the series being over, it was a great way to kick off a 3 day weekend (what? you think I got home at 3am and then went to work 4 hours later? are you kidding? I am not fit to be released into public with under 8 hours of sleep, fyi).

Anyway, the weather is supposed to be beautiful all weekend, so maybe it’s high time for me to get to work on painting/staining (?!) that little side table. Though only 3 of you voted, the “paint” people have the majority. I already have a few different ideas in mind!

Until I return with a completed project, let’s take a peek at some things that tickled my fancy this week, shall we?

 

Bath bins, from Target

I bought these on Monday (and they STILL HAVE NOT SHIPPED, COME ON) and am totally smitten with them. I plan on putting them in my bathroom and putting extra hand-towels and small toiletries I’ve stolen from various hotels in them. Maybe some eau de toilette, if I’m feeling bold. And, as we’ve already established, if it has French on it, I will buy it. Especially if it’s under $10. These were a total steal!

Anchor tote, from B&N

Yes, you read that correctly. This adorable little tote bag is from Barnes & Noble. There’s an anchor on one side and a teeny sail boat on the other. Can you just imagine carrying this around on the beach? Well, not me. I am morbidly opposed to sand (yes, sand). So it’s more like I can imagine carrying this around the city in the 105 degree hot streak we had this week. B&N is running a promotion currently where if you buy any two books/items, you can buy the tote for only $13. That’s a pretty sweet deal for such a perfect summer bag. The upside is, you can use it to carry your new books!

 

Lambskin pouch, from Rennes

I can’t justify buying yet another pouch or wallet of some kind, but the leather on this little guy looks so supple I can’t help but love it. I don’t even know what I would put in it, but I’m really digging the masculine appeal. And the color is so unassuming, and still so buttery and perfect. Check out that liner fabric! If it came with a wrist strap, I would consider buying it to use to carry my blackberry, ID, some cash, and a chapstick out to a casual dinner. Probably for the best that it doesn’t, though.

 

 

Industrial Side Table, from Home Decorators

This table looks oddly similar to this one from Urban Outfitters, doesn’t it? In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re the same table. Only, I have a $10 off coupon from Home Decorators I received in the mail, and shipping is free, whereas buying it from Urban Outfitters would cost me an extra $10 on shipping (that $10 matters to me, obviously). All money aside, this table is gorgeous, and fits perfectly in with my new obsession with Industrial Chic. It would make a good bar cart, or an entryway table, or even a great night table. I love the steel legs and those distressed wooden beams. Swoon!

 

The new season of HGTV Design Star

The new season of Design Star started on Monday night, and I’m hooked! I watched the very first season and then must have been in a coma for the ones after it (wow, there have been 5?!), but managed to catch the commercials for this season during one of the many House Hunters International marathons I watch. And man, the competition is fierce! Sure, I fancy myself a decorator and can paint a wall like the best of them, but as far as my actual Interior Design skills go? Ya’ll, you do not want me wielding a power tool or building custom frame headboards. Although, one aspiring designer on Monday’s episode threw a blanket over a piece of plywood (literally!) and called it a headboard, so maybe I have a shot after all! My pick for the season is Kyle. I think that’s his name.

 

Got any hot plans (pun intended if you live on the sweltering east coast!) this weekend?Have you checked out Design Star? Who is your favorite designer so far? Enjoy your weekends, kiddos!

July 15, 2011 / Friday Five / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Moodboard – Entryway

I long for the day when I have a home big enough to warrant having a proper entryway, if only so I have more square footage to decorate, let’s be honest. Though I’ll never, ever call the foyer/entryway a “landing strip” (that is really one of the most heinous terms I’ve ever come across and I don’t know how it has become so pervasive in design-speak), I spend lots of time thinking how I’ll style it, what sort of elements it should have, and what I want it to look like.

I know Juno said, “It started with a chair,” but for me, it started with a sideboard. I haven’t been able to shake my affinity for this IKEA piece for a while, even though it is imposing and I’d have to have a really big house to be able to fit this casually in the space next to the front door (a girl can dream!). It’s all white and lacquer-y and perfect. I’m thinking you could put blankets, umbrellas, scarves and mittens inside of it and still have room for other, miscellaneous storage.  Behold, a moodboard for my future entryway*:

1. Bertoia Barstool, DWR – Ignoring the fact this $1K barstool will serves as a glorified coat rag and place to rest my bag, I can’t imagine anything better than walking in the door after a long day and seeing something that beautiful immediately. It’d be like having waiting, I don’t know, Javier Bardem** waiting for you shirtless and cooking dinner.

2. Task Lamp, West Elm – I know I’ve beaten this task lamp thing to death, but this one doesn’t count because it’s not yellow! It is, however, a nice shiny black, which will compliment the shiny sideboard nicely whilst (whilst!) providing a little extra light in the room.

3. Torsby Sideboard, IKEA – Really, what is there left to be said that I haven’t already said? It’s beautiful. Like most IKEA products, it’s reasonably priced. And, like most IKEA products, it may or may not fall apart within 6 months with the slightest encouragement***. I want this bad boy in my house stat. I literally do not have a need for it, but I’m getting 10 kinds of itchy over making sure I get my paws on it lest they discontinue it, as IKEA is wont to do.

4. Mangowood Bowl, CB2 – I don’t know about you, but I always need a place to toss my keys and mail when I come in the door, and this bowl fits that purpose (and the overall aesthetic!) pretty darn nicely. Of course, it would be better if Mangowood actually smelled like mango, am I right?

5. Stendig Calendar – This is cheating, because I already own one of these, but I love it so much I had to include it, finally for it’s utility and not just because it’s black and white. And if you, like me, spend the first 3 hours of your morning confused as to what day it is, this will come in very handy as you make your way into the world. The world will often quiz you as to what day it is. It’s tricky like that. Better to be prepared in advance!

Got an entryway of your own you want to show off? Think the term “landing strip” is totally acceptable? I’d love to hear! (Even though you’re clearly crazy.)

*maybe, until I change my entire aesthetic again.
**he isn’t a particular crush of mine, but he was the first name that popped into my head. I would’ve gone with someone along the lines of, say, Gary Oldman (swoon!), but Javier Bardem seemed more universally regarded as “dreamy”
***breathing on it, duh
July 13, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 7

Inspiration

Things have been a bit slow around here, I know, and to my dear readership of 6, I apologize profusely. I worked 22 hours in two days last week, which I realize doesn’t sound all that impressive or worthy of breaking out your tiniest violins, but it’s not like I’m a doctor or something; I didn’t spend those hours saving lives, I spent them working in PowerPoint, and if you can think of a more terrifically awful way to spend half of your day, I’d like to hear it.

As I’ve long since held, the best remedy to recharge the pile of mush my brain had turned into is obviously to redirect my drool to fabulous decorated interiors. However, according to one delightful spam comment I received over the weekend, it seems like my readership could do with a little bit of a change of topic around here:

“This is really cool information about John Wayne it is very interesting about his life!”

The?

To be fair, this comment was left on my very first post, so it’s possible that the spam-bots hadn’t had a chance to really glean what this blog was about. Also, and this is probably going to alienate the very large demographic of my audience that are only here looking for John Wayne related content, I can’t even hear his name without immediately thinking of this. (“Actually, it’s perfect. I  just never realized John Wayne walked like that.”)

Anyway, let’s look at some glorious home design, shall we?

via RUM Magazine

You had me at the Eames rocker. That sleek black task lamp above the bed is incredible against all that white. Can someone source me that gray blanket, too, please?

photographer Lois Lemaire for Skona Hem

photographer Lois Lemaire for Skona Hem

I am crazy in love with that fruit crate used as a bedside table, that poured-concrete kitchen counter, and oh my god those open shelves with the recessed lighting underneath. They remind me of these IKEA shelves, one of which just came crashing down off my wall the other day.

photographer Ditte Isager

Alexander Wang’s studio, photographed by Ditte Isager

Ditte’s work is just so far past brilliant it deserves its own category. I’m all about painted white brick and giant, giant windows. Where do I even find windows like that? In the meantime, excuse me while I obsess over painted black floors.

from Living Etc, via here

Like in this office. Do you see that peach rotary phone on the desk or the black industrial filing drawers in the corner? Do you know how badly I am swooning for both?

photographer Anne Naumann

Forget about solving the budget crisis and throwing around boring terms like “debt ceiling.” Our government needs to start focusing their efforts on important pursuits, like teleportation, so that I can beam myself into this room and live there for the rest of my life. I’d never need to see the inside of another room again, ever.

source unknown

Except maybe this dining room. In my fantasies, which are vast and all include some sort of painted white brick and unnecessarily large gilded mirrors, this dining room is just down the hall from the bedroom above. That chandelier! I can’t even.

 

I’m back to posting more regularly, I pinky promise. There are lots of exciting things coming up around LWN, and I hope there are still some of you left to read about them!

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July 11, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 1