Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tuesday Tunes

I’m not in the best of spirits today, a carry-over a particularly rough (read: emotional) night last night. A majority of the time, my impulsive side is one of my favorite things about myself. I don’t look before I leap, I don’t weigh consequences or pros and cons, and usually, if I like something, I go for it. A majority of the time, this works out for the best. But there is that small minority where things just don’t pan out like I’d hoped, and I end up defeated and upset, because along with being impulsive, I have this tendency to get really, really excited and built-up about things, even (especially?) before they are definite. So today I’m a mixture of sad, disappointed, and a little heartbroken. But I’m trying to be positive, so today’s music selection is the most upbeat song I could think of:

True story: I heard this while shopping at  a Forever 21 a few years ago, and it has become my go-to song whenever I’m feeling particularly down in the dumps. Because, really, just try to be in a bad mood while listening to this song. It’s not possible!

Happy Tuesday, lovely readers. I’m planning on getting a manicure after work (I’m going for this color) and a half-pound of salted caramels to cheer myself up. What are your go-to remedies when you’re feeling sad?

August 30, 2011 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 3

Inspiration

How’s everybody doing out there? Relatively dry? Un-flooded? Irene came and she went, and oh my god do I feel like an idiot for filling my bathtub with water and rushing out to buy batteries and canned food. It rained. We didn’t lose power. In fact, I slept through the entire storm.

However, any lofty ideas I had about spending a relaxing weekend at a nice boutique hotel in Chelsea, hitting up the new (and first ever stateside!) Laduree store that opened on Madison Ave, and spending the afternoon learning to prepare delicious, seasonal cuisine with Lidia Bastianich herself (look at her! jauntily tossing heirloom tomatoes in the air! god, I love that woman), were promptly (and painstakingly!) cancelled. I know that booking hotels through third-party sites is risky business, but you’d think that the “Non-Refundable” policy would be, I don’t know, FLEXIBLE in a hurricane that shut down city transit, bridges, transportation through the northeast corridor, evacuated part of Manhattan, and sent several states into “states of emergency.” But no! Luckily, after waiting on hold for 2 hours, the poor customer-service agent felt bad when I started crying, so I got my money back. The class was postponed and they are “working closely with Lidia” to reschedule. So all is not lost. But I can still whine about it!

The upside is that being stuck inside my house all weekend provided me with ample time to redesign the bejesus out of my blog. This is only the thousandth redesign I’ve had in 6 months, for those of you keeping count. You’ll be happy to know there was zero cursing involved with this redesign! That might be a first. I’m not 100% sold on the header (duh, when have I ever been), but I do love the new typography changes and widening of the content area. I’d love to know what you think about it, and if you have any suggestions or ideas you’d like to see me incorporate into the layout/design!

Anyway, now I’m all bummed out and we all know there is only one way to cheer me up: House porn! Here are some beautiful interiors to brighten up your Monday mornings.

from here

The stacks of books, the painted white floors, that old mirror, you had me at hello.

stylist Gitte Kjaer, via

This was probably what Lil Jon had in mind when he sang, “To the windooooowwww, to the wall!” My jaw literally dropped when I saw this. I want those windows.

both from here

Do I really have to explain what it is about these rooms that makes me all tingly and short-of-breath? I’m pretty sure the 2nd photo is the epitome of my perfect home, and the 1st one was what I imagined all lofts in New York looked like when I was a kid. Actually, it looks like the apartment in ‘Center Stage’. Who remembers that movie?!

from here

What, you mean you don’t browse Parisian apartment rental sites for fun? Then how woud you ever find amazing stairwells like this one?

from here

from here

Okay, okay, this isn’t an interiors shot, but come onnn! If that just doesn’t make your day, nothing will.

If you have any fun, hurricane related stories I’d love to hear them! Or if you just want to share some gorgeous interior design shots, I’d love to see those, too.

August 29, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Friday Five, Washington, DC edition

I feel like I am being plagued with unfortunate luck. I have been riddled with a yucky cold since I came back from Washington on Sunday, and then there is all this crazy weather and a natural disaster. Not that I can claim Tuesday’s earthquake (earthquake on the east coast?! I still don’t get it!) was specifically out to get me, but Hurricane Irene? She has direct orders to, quite literally, rain on my parade. I’m supposed to be heading up to New York tomorrow to stay through Monday (here) to attend a private cooking class with none other than everyone’s favorite Italian gramma, Lidia Bastianich. I paid an arm and a leg for the lesson and will be super-grumpy if a wee bit of rain (I think if I keep downplaying how severe a hurricane is, it just won’t happen) gets in my way…well, it won’t be pretty. White Person Problem #511.

Anyway! Just like I did the when I went to New York last time (and just like I WOULD do again next Friday for this weekend’s mini-vacay, if I didn’t already have something spectacular and amazing in the works for you!) this week’s Friday Five is all about my trip to Washington, DC.

Aside from the 2 hours of pouring, torrential rain and crazy lightning on Friday night, wherein I passed the time squeezed like a sardine at the covered roof-top bar at Nationals stadium and narrowly avoiding drunk-chicks (the real ‘DC’ in ‘Washington, DC’) and drunk-bros desperate to start something because oh hell no, you did not just interject your elbow into my 3 square inches of personal space up in this roof-top bar that is presently 15 times over capacity, you need to watch yourself, bro! … the trip was great! I walked pretty much the entire city, including a 5 and a half mile jaunt that took us up to Georgetown (land of DC Cupcakes and CB2!!), down Embassy Row (seriously, the Embassy of Finland is uh-maaay-zing. I had a total design-nerd meltdown on the side of Massachusetts Ave trying to process how gorgeous the building is), and to the White House front lawn. Most shockingly, however,  I entered and left CB2 without buying anything. Lest you assume I have developed overnight the ability to control my impulses (HA!), it was only 10:30am and I didn’t feel like schlepping a huge bag with me for the rest of the day.

Washington is a great little town, but seemingly lacks anywhere to eat unless you go on a Where’s Waldo search for food. Very bizarre. Sunday morning at 11:30am found me slumped over on the sidewalk from a mix of heat exhaustion and low blood sugar, giving my last will and testament. This is not even remotely an exaggeration. Someone, remind me to eat something before starting my day walking around the Capitol and the Supreme Court, will you?

Anyway, without further ado, five photographs of my trip to our nation’s capital.

Third floor, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

I definitely got into a heated debate with one of the people that worked at the front desk of the museum over whether or not there was a portrait of Nixon hanging in the Presidents wing. Guess what? There wasn’t, but that old dude was desperate to convince me otherwise. I’m amazed I even had the energy to climb all the way to the third floor rotunda, but the view up there is just something else. Total departure from the clean, gray lines of the rest of the building. The tile work on the floor and ceiling is just beautiful. It felt like walking into a house someone like Jay Gatsby might have owned.

 

The National Archives

This was sort of an accidental visit, as it wasn’t on the itinerary for the weekend. But the building, like most of the major buildings in DC, was just so staggering from the outside that we couldn’t walk by it without investigating. The National Archives house the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Or, at least that’s what we’re told, because there was no way I was waiting in line for another hour once inside to see it. There are plenty of other exhibits to see, including a sheet of notepaper on which JFK scribbled in a meeting on the Cuba during his presidency. Fact: he had messy handwriting.

 

Beautiful house, Georgetown

During the aforementioned trek through Georgetown on Saturday morning, I rounded a corner and saw this wonderful, quaint little house, nestled between two larger and imposing ones. I don’t think I need to tell you precisely why I am smitten with it, do I? Painted white brick? Red door? Lattice fence out front for growing ivy? It still maintains its charm after all these years and several coats of paint. Not that I could ever afford to live in Georgetown, but if I could, this is where I’d pick.

 

Breakfast sandwich, Puro Cafe, Georgetown

Yes, I did just post a picture of a breakfast sandwich up in here. Trust me, if you had tasted it, you would have done the same thing. Puro Cafe sits on a main street in Georgetown, and after walking around the university campus and being veritably famished, we stumbled in here for a late breakfast. It did not disappoint. The sandwich was served open-face on a toasted croissant, with a slice of ham, a poached egg, and a light bruschetta on top. Between this, the flat screen showing a fashion show, and the all-white decor, I was so overcome with joy I nearly wept.

 

Flower stand, Eastern Market

Eastern Market is a wonderful indoor/outdoor farmer and craft market in southeast DC. It’s also the oldest running market in DC. There are vendors selling crazy looking heirloom tomatoes, handmade art, fresh fish, flowers, produce and more. I almost left with an old window pane from a church, the panes of which had been turned into mirrors. It was only $45! I really regret not buying it. Anyway, I’ve never seen bigger hydrangea bunches in my life, and they must have had three different pots that large. I love how cheery flowers can make any space.

Well, that’s my weekend in a 5-picture nutshell. I have plenty of pictures that didn’t make it in, such as me smiling in front of the White House, posing in front of DC Cupcakes, lots and lots of pictures of dinosaur skeletons, and even a picture of the actual robes worn by Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter. Note: he is very, very short.

Have a great weekend, kiddos! What are your weekend plans? If you live on the East Coast, too, good luck surviving Irene! What about hurricane survival tips, got any for me?

August 26, 2011 / art / photo / Paris / travel / Comments Off

The Art of the Steal

Last night I watched the most incredible documentary I think I’ve ever seen (maybe after The Cove, which I would not advise watching if you are prone to crying during mass animal slaughter), called The Art of the Steal, chronicling the outright bastardization of Albert C. Barnes‘ will and trust, and the moving of his private, intended-for-education, premier-in-the-world collection of Post-Impressionist and Modern art, by both “charitable” institutions and the city I live in, Philadelphia.

Up until last night, I could turn a blind eye to every negative thing someone said about my city. I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school and college in this city. I work here. I live here. I was proud of this city, despite it’s obvious flaws and shortcomings. I can live with flash mobs (not the fun, dance-y kind you see on commercials) and terrible infrastructure and even the accent that I seem to be immune to, but the systematic and calculated degradation of a man’s will and the planned theft of his collection for profit and tourism? Not something I can take lightly. I am downright ashamed of my city after watching this.

It reminds me of an unpublished Shakespearean sonnet: How can I invalidate your will? Let me count the ways!

I’m all for making art, especially great art like that in the Barnes collection (181 Reniors! Be still my heart!), more accessible to a broader group of people in an effort to enrich their lives and provide an unparalleled cultural experience. But if the person who owns the art wants to keep it as a school? You listen to the owner. Even after he dies.

Having been to his Foundation and the grounds he intended the collection to stay in, and also have grown up only 5 minutes from the new location, I think I can safely be completely enraged like I’ve never been enraged before. White People Problem #3 (after “The dry cleaners didn’t use starch!” and “There isn’t enough hot water for my bath!”) is: They are trying to mess with art! The “they” in this film is as varied as our former mayor, former governor, and a whole host of other baddies who should hope I never, ever meet them in a dark alley.

If you love art and/or have a conscience, you need to see this movie.

August 25, 2011 / art / photo / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Tuesday Tunes

Well, so much for a post yesterday. I got home from DC so late on Sunday night I simply did not have the energy to upload any photos or assemble a post. Tomorrow, I promise! In the meantime, here are two new Tuesday Tunes (try saying 3 times fast!) for you to enjoy:

Keane is one of my all time favorite bands, if not my number one. When “Hopes and Fears” came out I remember listening to it over and over and over again, even making sure to bring extra batteries with me when I commuted to school for my disc-man (Yes, there were days when people didn’t have iPods). They’ve kind of lost me with their third album and newer stuff, but their first two albums remain two of the only CDs I can play from start to finish without wanting to skip a single track. “Bad Dream” is one of my favorite songs off “Under the Iron Sea.” If you have previously written off Keane as a soft-rock band for wussies, change yo funky attitude and go buy both of them, immediately.

I intentionally did not include the official video for this song, because it is beyond bizarre and weird and at one point she gets soaked in fake blood from a stuffed white cat. I don’t know what to make of it other than that it is distracting from her incredible voice. Also distracting from her incredible voice? These lyrics. Basically, don’t pay attention to anything in the song other than her range and adorable-ness. It’s catchy, and I’m guilty of really liking this song. It’s different than anything I’ve heard in a while. She’s classically trained as an opera singer, which I kind of pick up on, but not really, because I don’t really know anything about music.

Enjoy your Tuesdays! Any songs you’ve been hitting repeat on lately? I’d love to know!

August 23, 2011 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Friday Five

Happy Friday, kiddos! As we speak, I am on a train to DC for a long weekend that fingers-crossed (!!) doesn’t get rained out. I’ll be doing all of the requisite tourist-y things, like taking pictures of myself hugging the National Monument, or giving a peace sign in front of the White House, and also hitting up a baseball game and maybe playing a game of Bocce at an Italian wine bar. I’ve had a nagging pressure headache for the past few days, so let’s hope it goes away and I can have a relaxing mini-vacation. Of course, all of this is assuming I can tear myself away from this hilarious video long enough to leave the hotel room. I’ll be back blogging on Monday with lots of fun things to share with you, so in the meantime let’s have a look at this week’s Friday Five:

Salted caramels

My darling friend (and a reader from the beginning!) Aly bought me a box of salted caramels the other day for seemingly no reason. This, along with her adorable-ness and her penchant for somehow being able to wear heels to any occasion (bowling party) without even breaking a sweat, makes her one of those friends you just wish you had. I’m a huge salt lover, but I’d been skeptical about how salt would pair with something as sweet as chocolate covered caramels ever since these candies started popping up everywhere.  Wow, was I wrong.  These are delicious and the combination is reminiscent of chocolate covered pretzels, only more decadent and incredible. If Aly’s intent was to fatten me up so I have even less chance of being able to function in a pair of heels: woman, mission accomplished.


Woven Skirt, Forever 21

I vowed I would never, ever shop at this store again once they lodged a ridiculous lawsuit against the hysterical blogger behind WTForever21.com. Which, if you haven’t checked out before, go do it now. I sometimes laugh so hard at the things she posts that I am reduced to tears (“On what occasion, precisely, is a person supposed to wear this dress? Some undetermined instance which calls for both the casualness of a denim vest and semi-formal nature of coal colored chiffon? A hillbilly funeral, perhaps? Dinner at Saddle Ranch and then drinks at Applebee’s? Forever 21, WTF?”). The lawsuit had no basis in reality, but they were flexing their bully muscles and threatening the blogger with legal action because she used their name. Sorry, F21, satire is totally protected speech. Anyway, I had sworn off this store finally, and not because I got tired of all the clothing only surviving one go-around in the washing machine before being reduced to shreds. But then I saw this skirt, and my heart did a little flutter, and for under $25 I had to snatch it up. I feel like I’m cheating on my principals, but it is so cute.

Paris Bus Scroll, Home Decorators

Bus scrolls have been popping up all over design blogs and house tours these days, but getting your hands a true vintage (or even believable reproductions) bus scroll can cost upwards of $200. Enter Home Decorators. I swear that store is such a hidden little gem that no one even knows about. Which is why an amazing, 60″ wall scroll meant to look like a vintage Parisian bus route can cost only $34. THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS, are you kidding me? I feel like I’m stealing. They have one for London and New York as well, but you know where my heart is. Only downside is that it’s back-ordered two weeks, and patience has never been my friend. I’m helping to pass the time by pinning tons of photographs of Paris over at Pinterest.

 

One Day by David Nicholls, B&N

I bought a copy last Friday after seeing ‘Midnight in Paris’, and was able to get a copy that didn’t have the movie-tie-in cover. I know this qualifies as a White Person Problem, but I’d rather not buy the book at all than carry around a copy that has a movie poster for a cover (the only notable exception includes ‘Possession’ by A.S. Byatt, but I was young and had a girl-crush on Gwyneth Paltrow, sue me). ‘One Day’ was an easy read, but full of very sweet moments, and very heartbreaking ones as well. It was engrossing, and I’d recommend it without hesitation. But it definitely made me want to cut all my hair off again and move to Paris. More.

 

from here

Every once in a while, in all of the insane amounts of browsing interior design sources I do on a daily basis, I stumble upon a photograph of a space so amazing that I literally have problems breathing properly. You guys, this is one of those pictures. Of course it is in London. Oh. My. Gosh. I want to throw a big fluffy area rug right in the middle and set up a reclaimed wooden desk by those windows and spend every day writing in a notebook and drinking tea in old porcelain teacups and wear a big sweater the whole time. Also, I would have a pixie-cut again. If this room had a bathroom and kitchen (who am I kidding) I would never have to leave. And how glorious that would be!

Alright, lovelies. What are your hot weekend plans? If I were staying home this weekend, I would totally throw on that big sweater and curl up on the couch with a book. I’m reading this book now! Enjoy the weekend!

August 19, 2011 / eat / drink / fashion / vanity / Friday Five / home design / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Tuesday Tunes

Well what do you know, another weekly recurrence to add along with the Friday Five (there will be one this week, promise!). What can I say, I like alliterations a little too much.

Here, for your listening pleasure, are two songs I’m currently enjoying.

I heard this song in an H&M a year ago and danced around the store to it while carrying my inexpensive, European-sized clothing items, thinking I’d google the lyrics when I got home and figure out who it was. I have done that so, so many times before. I feel like half of the songs I like I first heard in stores. Either I am musically challenged or I shop too much. It’s probably a little bit of both. Anyway, once I got home I couldn’t remember any of the words. I googled everything I could remember, but it was futile. Finally, a month later I was back in H&M and it came on again! I Shazaam’d it and voila. Now I dance around my house to it. I know nothing about this band, and there is seemingly no information about them online, but this song is catchy.

 

And bringing it down a bit, this song is from the movie Broken Embraces, and it is simply beautiful. Heartbreakingly beautiful. It makes me wish I had ever learned to play the guitar, or been any good at violin as a kid.

Happy Tuesday! Any catchy songs you’re listening to lately?

August 16, 2011 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 2

Paris. And I’m famous!

Well, ‘Midnight in Paris’ was phenomenal. Exquisite cinematography and a charming story. The movie starts with a two minute montage of glorious shots of Paris, and I had to pick my jaw off the floor and wipe the tears of desperation from my eyes. I’m assuming that by now, everyone has seen this movie, but if you haven’t yet, you need to. Need!

I’m really starting to enjoy seeing movies by myself. I went to a noon showing and the theater only had 4 other patrons. Another upside was that tickets were only $6, which is virtually unheard of these days. The ticket might have been cheap, but the movie itself might end up costing me a few thousand dollars, because I’m this close to packing up everything I own and moving to Paris. Like, tomorrow.

Why, you ask? Oh, no reason:

from here

from here

from here

from here

from here

There is a conversation in the movie about whether Paris is more beautiful during the day or night, and Marion Cotillard’s character asserts that it is more beautiful at night. I completely agree. It’s been over 10 years since I was in Paris, and this is just simply unacceptable. Woody Allen really has me considering becoming an ex-pat.

Oh! This was a wonderful little surprise over the weekend: I was featured over on Insideology.com! Well, my desk was (or, one iteration of it!). And by a nifty British blogger, no less. Thank you, Annabel, for including me!

August 15, 2011 / art / photo / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10

IKEA Catalog

Every year, an event occurs that is so monumental in scope, so breathlessly awaited, so widely revered, that it rivals Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and the holy day of my birth combined.

I’m talking about the release of the IKEA catalog.

You know, the catalog that encompasses all the new, Swedish loveliness the homegoods superstore has to offer, photographed exquisitely, and paginated as if by the Gods. Swedish Gods, obviously. Because if you think it is a coincidence that heaven is all white, and all Scandinavian design is all white, well, then, you must not know anything.

Anyway, the new 2012 catalog is here, and it’s awesome.

Let’s observe some of the gorgeousness that graces the pages, shall we?

 

I love those windows and all the boxes stacked underneath them with random letters and numbers adorning them.

 

Again, with the windows. I don’t even usually like daybeds, but this is making me a convert. Also, don’t think I didn’t see the white paneling on the walls! Hey, pretty.

 

Bed, meadow, steps-tool used as a night-table, oversized lantern, fog, okay by me.

 

I love this wall color and the collection of frames and that mirror above the credenza. And the industrial desk fan. Those have become ubiquitous in the design world, and thus impossible to score for cheap on ebay anymore.

 

The windows, you are killing me. I wish my studio looked like this. I imagine this to be more Parisian than Swedish, but nationality aside, I’d live here in a heartbeat.

 

Oh, IKEA. Just don’t make the mistake of visiting during a weekend, as I did. Usually I know better, but I just couldn’t help myself. I needed this catalog.

Well, it’s Friday! I have the day off today so I’m taking myself to see ‘Midnight in Paris’ finally and then stopping by the bookstore to pick up a copy of this book. Has anyone read it? How about the movie, have you seen it?

Have a great weekend, kiddos! Any exciting plans?

August 12, 2011 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 6

Tuesday Tunes

Well, I never intended this blog to be a personal one, but I watched my page views literally quadruple in one day after I posted this in memory of my dad. Not that I’m in this for page views, either, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s nice to feel like you’re not just writing into outer-space, you know? And I loved writing that post more than any other I’ve done since I started this blog, so that tells me something. I think I’ll start adding more personal elements to my posts. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your fair share of materialistic posts about beautiful furniture or inspiring rooms, but maybe more with a dash of, “Hey! I’m a real person!”

The timing couldn’t be more fortuitous, really, because I have a few weekend trips coming up that are just begging to be photographed. And I’m thinking about getting this baby with some of my security deposit from my old apartment. Like, want, don’t need, and am having severe anxiety over even thinking of buying it and switching dslr platforms entirely. Yikes. See? Materialistic and personal. I CAN DO THIS.

Anyway, with an increased readership, I realized I’m also going to have to start posting more frequently here. I can’t promise I’ll have something awesome for you every day, or something substantial even, but I’m definitely aiming for more regular content around these parts. Hopefully my job won’t mind that I’m blogging on the company dime. Kidding!

SO. Music! I’ve never posted music on here before, and it’s high time I share with you these two songs. I’ve been recently addicted to both of them. Hopefully you do not find them egregiously opposite your taste in music and feel like giving them a listen.

Ignore the first 30 seconds, it’s just a French telegram. Trust me, just get into it. And yes, that is morse code.

The last minute and a half is just incredible to me.

Love em, hate em, or got your own tunes to share? I’d love to know!

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August 9, 2011 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 4