Monthly Archives: August 2011

Now with more elitism!

If you’ve been paying attention on the internet recently, then you’ve probably come across something called Pinterest. In case you haven’t, lemme break it down for you. Imagine an online, virtual mood-board, only better than a mood-board because you don’t have to break out your scissors or rip pages out of magazines or steal a lock of a stranger’s hair on the bus to collect the things that are currently inspiring you creatively. Not that I know anyone that still keeps a physical mood-board these days (or anyone that would seriously steal a lock of someone’s hair unless they were a Chester Chester Child-Molester), but up until Pinterest, everyone was just saving images to folders on their desktops. I know I was. Which was getting annoying because try saving an image and assigning it a file name that not only captures where the image was originally from in case you want to source it later, but also gives credit to either the photographer or stylist or something. Tricky, right?

(Lest you think blogging is all fun and games, I’d like to tell you about the one time I saved 15 images of nice interiors from Emma’s Designblogg without ever writing down what post/photographer/designer they were from, and then had to go back searching through over 6 years of archives to see what I’d pulled. White People Problems #466. I can say that because I’m white.)

Anyway. With Pinterest, you can literally find anything on the internet and stick a little “pin” in it. It’s then saved to your designated mood-board, and you can follow other people’s Pinterest accounts for more inspiration. Pretty nifty. You have the ability to make as many mood-boards as you want for as many different things as you want. Renovating your kitchen and want to collect a bunch of inspiration images of other dream kitchens? Stick in a pin in it. Planning a party and want cute ideas for decorations and favors? Stick in a pin in it. Etc, etc.

It’s all awesome and fun sounding. Except that you can’t just join Pinterest.  It’s not like facebook, where anyone and their mother (literally. tell me you aren’t friends with your own mom on facbeook by now) can join. Pinterest requires that you either get an invite from someone that already belongs to it or join a waiting list. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir of every 16 year old boy that has ever existed, but do you know how frustrating it is when someone tells you to wait? It’s pretty much the equivalent of that Meatloaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” I’m all, “I gotta know right now, what’s it gonna be, boy? YES OR NO?” and Pinterest is all, “Let me sleep on it, baby, let me sleep on it. I’ll give you an answer in the morning.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you need to listen to this once you crawl out from under that rock.

When I finally decided to join the wait-list, it was 2:14 on a Thursday afternoon. I’d read enough feedback from people that the waiting list is totally arbitrary and it can take weeks to get an invite, so I just swallowed my pride and prepared to practice the one virtue I’d never, ever been bestowed with: patience. Waiting lists are for the un-worthy! What if I have to wait forever, and then I don’t even get in until it isn’t cool anymore? This was going to be intolerable! I had so much inspiration just floating around out there on the internet without any organization! Am I not good enough for the site? What if they think I’m not good enough?

And then I got an email at 2:15pm telling me I’d been invited to join Pinterest.

And now the pinning has begun.

Moral of the story: PATIENCE PAYS OFF.

(check out that little button to the right and follow me on Pinterest! If you’d like an invite, just leave a comment and I’ll send one to you!)

August 8, 2011 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 5

Friday Five, Big Poppa edition

Okay, wait. I don’t want to be held accountable for false advertising, so I want to clear up the title of this post: No, there will not be any references to the one and only Notorious B.I.G., because hi! I am about as square as they come and my musical collection includes more Beethoven than Biggie, and have I not told you about the time I went to see Riverdance live? And that I bought a t-shirt? Far be it from me to make gangsta rap references and ask you to take me seriously.

Anyway.

Today is August 5th, and while I’m enjoying the fact that my Friday Five actually falls on a 5 (it’s actually Friday Five!), there is far more significance to the date than that. Five years ago today, I lost my dad. It had been coming for months, but spending an entire summer in the hospital (from ICU to the inevitable hospice), didn’t make the actual event of losing him any less sudden or painful. I’d like to say it’s gotten easier over the past 5 years, and it a lot of ways, it has.

But without a doubt, my dad was the most amazing human being I’ll ever know, and was also the best friend I’ll ever have. He was a wonderful collection of knowledge, a gifted artist and architect, a kind and quiet soul, but also possessed (perhaps incongruously) one of the funniest and crassest senses of humor and could always be counted on to make a joke that would lighten any mood (though the subject very well might have been farts or the fake girlfriend he always joked he had, named Trixie LeTharge, the red-headed Burlesque dancer who never shaved her underarms). He collected interesting gadgets (a wallet-sized pen that could write in space, a spelunking headlamp he wore to read books in bed, giant travel bags that folded into small pocket sized pouches), had thousands and thousands of books, and knew almost everything about art, history, music and culture that you’d ever need to know. The term for when an artist paints himself into the background a portrait? He knew that. Pat Metheny’s entire discography? He had it. Stranded in the Memphis airport at 2am and needed someone to talk to? He’d answer. He might call you “bitchmuffin” (endearingly) at some point in the conversation, but he’d still answer.

There’s nothing my dad didn’t do for me, or wouldn’t have done. He is responsible for so much of who I am today, including the part of me that requires at least an hour of quiet time to decompress after social functions, the part of me that could eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and most importantly the part of me that cannot tolerate musical theater (STOP SINGING AT ME AND USE A FULL SENTENCE). I fell in love with art through spending Sundays at the museum with him, or sitting in his studio while he painted, the house smelling like espresso while classical music played in the background. When I decided I wanted to learn to use a film camera in high school, he handed me his Contax without hesitation. And when I decided I wanted to major in Photojournalism in college a month after he passed away, I got to use his entire collection of Zeiss lenses. I really want to get back into shooting seriously.

So, this week’s Friday Five is an homage to my incredible daddy.  Because aside from having brunch with my brother and his beautiful wife and my three amazing nieces and our moms over the weekend, there is no other way I’d want to remember this day than for all the love and happiness and goofiness he brought to my world. Especially all those times  he sang along to New Kids on the Block with me in the car, stood in line in the pouring rain for 4 hours to see O-Town (oh my god, the shame. I’m better now, I promise), all those lazy weekends spent watching “CBS Sunday Morning” and eating his yummy tomato and chive omelets, and all those trips to Salem every summer for vacation. Oh, and especially when he almost got us kicked out of one of the witch-hunt museums for laughing too much. This seriously explains why my brain lacks the “socially appropriate” filter.

Five things I love thanks to my dad:

 

Cable-knit sweater with elbow-pads (!!!), Lands End

My dad hated wearing color. His wardrobe was that of any artist/architect: muted browns, black, gray the occasional khaki (ever present were his signature socks and sandals combo, or loafers in the winter). He also had a love of giant wool sweaters. And elbow-pads. I took one of his sweaters when I was in high school, a luscious, dark green wool pullover, and wore it with everything, despite how comically oversized it was on my tiny frame. I still have it, and it’s one of my favorite staple pieces for the fall, with leggings and a solid pair of riding boots. Every girl needs a masculine, chunky wool sweater like the one above from Lands End. It’s such a great snuggly piece, and it just begs you to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine (or in my dad’s case, a big fat doob) and a good book.

The Burning of the House of Lords, JMW Turner

Turner was one of my dad’s heroes, one of his greatest influences in painting. My dad was an Impressionist through and through, and painted a lot of landscapes, so Turner really spoke to him. Being that he wasn’t religious, my brother and I decided to have his memorial at a fine arts academy instead of a traditional church service. He had book after book of his work, and even a coffee mug with the above image on it (it now sits in my cupboard). I remember seeing this painting every morning when I woke up at his apartment on the cover of this book, which sat right by my bed (oh my god, it costs how much? I’d never sell my dad’s copy, but geez!). I’m lucky in that the museum here has it in their permanent collection. This would look beautiful framed and hung over a fireplace. One day, when I’m super rich. Or maybe even sooner!

A Fish Called Wanda, Amazon

Back when people still rented movies, pre-Netflix, pre-DVDs even, my dad and I would go to TLA Video every Saturday and pick up a good haul. The policy was rent 2, get 1 free, so we ended up watching a lot of movies over the years (and I ended up paying a lot of late fees when I promised to return them but forgot). Among the goodies we watched, my dad showed me A Fish Called Wanda at probably a younger age than I’d show my own kids (not that I have them, but I will absolutely make sure they watch this some day). Ignoring (or including!) all of the bawdy moments, this movie is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s in my top 5 all time favorites, too. It’s smartly written (thanks to John Cleese, who also plays an adorably droll barrister in it) and an absolute gem. Michael Palin is at his best, Jamie Lee Curtis is to die for, and Kevin Kline, well, he won an Oscar for his role in this. My dad and I used to quote his character all the time. “What was that part in the middle?” and “Asshole!” If you haven’t seen it before, go, immediately, run don’t walk, as fast as you can, and pick up a copy. I can’t even tell you anything about it because I don’t want to ruin it. But I promise,  you won’t be disappointed. It might also be the only time that dogs meet terrible fates and you laugh so hard you have trouble controlling your bladder. Really.

Red Dwarf, British cult sci-fi show from the 90s

How do I even begin to explain this without everyone thinking I’m a closet sci-fi nerd? Or did the mention of Riverdance solidify any doubt you may have had? My dad and I both tended towards insomnia (that or we couldn’t shut up long enough to fall asleep) and one night at around 2:30am while channel flipping we caught this show on PBS. I’m just going to throw caution to the wind here (along with all regard for what my readership of 10 –ten! omg!– thinks of me) and tell you this show is hilarious. Weird, yes, but hysterical, and totally aware of it’s weirdness. The premise is that a space mining ship (called Red Dwarf) has an accident and everyone on board is wiped out, except for one crew member (called Lister), who was in suspended animation (stay with me) and is awoken millions of years later and only has for company a hologram simulation of his dead bunkmate (called Rimmer), a life-form who evolved from his pet cat (named Cat) and a service robot (named Kryten). Whew, I need to take a nerd-break. Oh, the hijinks they get up to! My dad and I used to have to special-order the seasons on VHS from Suncoast video or wait to catch them on tv (again, pre-dvds, pre-DVR) and we watched them ad nauseum. I was lucky enough a few years ago to get the entire series on dvd for Christmas, and despite how geeky and campy the show seems now, I think about all the time my dad I spent watching this show and how much fun we had with the series, and for that, I’m totally okay with outing myself as a huge nerd.

Paris, photo by Jens Versteegden

It seems broad to include an entire city on here, but you have to understand how much the man loved Paris, and how much he truly belonged there. He loved the city for all its beauty, its timeless architecture, its narrow streets lined with cafes and museums, the people, the language, and most of all, the Eiffel tower. He truly felt at home there. We always talked about buying a small apartment, a walk-up, with all the original details, and promised we’d do nothing but eat baguettes and crepes. It’s no surprise that my dad spoiled me rotten my entire life (so, in a way, I should be thanking him for this blog’s existence) but when he came back from a trip to Paris when I was young, I remember running right up to him as he exited the plane (pre-9/11), leaping into his arms and asking, “Whatdya bring me?!” Not, “Hi, Daddy! Welcome home!” No. The time for pleasantries and hearing all about which arrondissement he stayed in and what his new favorite cafe was would come later. I had my greed to attend to, dammit, and I wanted my presents. I’d asked for an eiffel tower statue, a beret, and a french magazine. He happily obliged me all three, and I have all but the magazine today. After he passed away, my brother and I were cleaning out his apartment and I found a small, pocket-sized notebook in which he’d written down every detail of every day he spent in Paris. Short little things, in his beautiful penmanship: “Crisp weather, sat outside. Had an espresso and sketched. Lovely waitress.” I wish I’d gotten the chance to go with him and enjoy the city together.

Here’s to you, pop. I miss you tons and tons. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate classical music, for taking me camping, introducing me to photography, indulging me with art (but not Picasso), and for teaching me love really stinky cheese. I totally forgive you for that time you ate my pet water-frog.*

my daddy and me at my brother’s wedding, Martha’s Vineyard, 1997

Enjoy your weekend, lovelies. And go hug your dad. And if you’d like, donate to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research.

*this cannot be proved, but my dad swears he came home and Otis was missing from his little tank. with the snap-on lid. and we never found his body. and my dad loved eating frogs legs. you do the math.
August 5, 2011 / art / photo / fashion / vanity / Friday Five / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 19

The damage

(The working title for this post was, “Oh my god, you mean I’ve spent how much on this stuff?”)

The other day, the idea for this post came to me while I was crossing the street. This is generally how posts come to me. Or in the shower. Apparently, the process of shampooing seems to release all of the creativity in my brain. Weird, right? At least it’s just shampoo, and not crack. Crack is whack.

Uh, anyway. I thought it would be fun to go back and document all of the things I’ve written about on this website that I’ve ended up buying. Or, things I’ve bought that I’ve then profiled on here. Fun! A good time! And then I actually went through my (teeny) archives and started counting. And then it wasn’t so much fun anymore. Like, it was decidedly un-fun.

Because, apparently, I have bought waaaay more than I thought I had. And I felt kind of like a crack addict (Crack! It’s still whack!) having an intervention. Like, my blog came to me and said, “Erin, we love you. That’s why we’re all here. But this is what you have done to your wallet. Do you see? Do you see how much damage you’ve done? I cannot stand by while you shop your life away. I refuse to support your like/want/need addiction!” And then my blog cried really big, ugly tears and someone in the circle passed it a box of tissues while I sat there with my arms crossed and said, “Are we done yet? I have more shopping to do.”

That entire tangent really isn’t helping convince you I’m not on drugs.

ANYWAY. Let’s just get right down to this, shall we? I present to you, dear readership of 9 (NINE, WE’RE UP TO NINE! Well, 8 if you don’t count my mom, who I’m sure would find anything I do enjoyable by virtue of being my mom. see: all those years I played violin/tortured the eardrums of everyone in the near vicinity), a comprehensive list of all things I’ve bought because of this blog. Oh my god.

Travelcard cushion, first written about here. And again, here. If it makes it any better, the designer herself sent this to me after reading about how much I loved it. I mean, I still paid for it, but um…it’s cute?

Canon Powershot, written about here, in the same Friday Five as the pillow above. I have a degree in Photojournalism and had been without a decent camera for longer than appropriate. There. Justified.

Deux Lux purse, written about here. If you haven’t been paying attention, that makes 3 things from the same Friday Five post that I’ve gone and bought. That was a bad week for me. And my wallet.

Capri Blue Volcano candle, written about here. I justify this by saying that it smells really, really good.

West Elm coffee mugs, written about here, in a delightful mini-post entitled, wait for it, “West Elm Coffee Mugs.”  Actually, I bought two of these. I don’t drink coffee. But you can totally put tea in these and the mugs can’t tell the difference.

The most comfortable shoes in the universe, written about here. Not only can I justify buying these by saying I needed them for work, but the second time I wore them, a co-worker made me an award in Word with clip-art, declaring that I had “The Most Stylish Shoes.” So there.

Crate and Barrel Hoopla Lamp, written about here. Oh, come on, you know you would have bought it, too. Update: in a sad turn of events, the Franken-lamp from that post has found a new home…at the Salvation Army. Sorry, Franken-lamp! I enjoyed using you for the time that I had you.

BHLDN Planter, written about here. So far, I’ve haven’t written on the chalkboard part, but it has definitely served it’s purpose as a mail sorter and decorative-plant-holder in the entryway of my house.

IKEA vases, first written about here, and then again here. Oh my god, what? Did I need all three? No. We’ve been over this. You never know when I’ll need a certain color! See? Proof.

IKEA pitcher, written about here. This shouldn’t even count, because it’s from IKEA and was therefore under $5. Also, it looks super cute on my desk.

IKEA lamp, also written about here. I know, I know. That again makes 3 things from the same post. But I don’t think this one should count because I bought it in white, not gray. Sooo, free pass, right?

Macbook, written about here. Okay. There is no justification for this considering I have a fully functioning, less than 3 years old iMac, but sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get off the sofa and blog. I will gladly pay for the luxury of not having to exert that energy. If this blog ever becomes my full-time job (HA. HA HA!) I can write this off, right? (“You don’t even know what a write-off is.”)

Bath tins, written about here. This was a totally frivolous purchase, I’ll admit. But bathroom organization is the bane of my existence, and these have made the entire process a heck of a lot easier, and prettier! Exhibit A.

ASOS Canvas bag, written about here. It’s perfect. It was on sale. I might have jumped the gun on buying it intending to use it as a carry-on considering I don’t have a plane ticket to anywhere purchased yet. But it also doubles as an efficient weekender, which is good, because I have two big weekend trips coming up this month.

Oof. If you add it all up (the items, not the cost. I don’t even want to go there), and count the vases from IKEA as individual items, then we’re at a grand total of 16. 16 things! I’ve bought more stuff than people who read this blog. For shame! Do I regret any of these purchases? Nah. Although if you see my lust after any more bags, just stop me. I have way too many.

Also, there is something NEW going on at the bottom of this post (and, subsequently, all other posts from the archives and from here on out). This little widget will now provide you with related posts you might enjoy. Or, that’s how they claim it is supposed to work. All I know is that every blog I read that has one of these LinkWithin widgets installed on it ends up stealing hours and hours of my time. So now you know my angle! But what do you think, should it stay or go? Do you think you’ll use it? Is it fug and totally messing up your enjoyment of the blog? Let me know!

Happy Wednesday, kiddos! Hope the week is treating you well so far. Check back on Friday for a special edition of the Friday Five!

August 3, 2011 / design / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 4

Inspiration

Hang on. Hold the phone. Can we take a look at something?

Those floors, those chevron floors. Do you see that fireplace? And oh my god, that mirror. Oh my god. Those moldings, and those doors. I just. With that pale gray paint. And the stack of books on the mantel! With that chair. I am having trouble breathing. There may not be a more perfect room out there. No but seriously, do you see that crown molding?  I can’t even!

This just made my entire week, and it’s only Monday.

Also, happy August! I have a lot of reasons to be excited about August; it seems like every weekend I have something going on! This month I’ll take a trip down the shore, a trip to DC, a trip to New York, and I’ll get to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday and a friend’s baby shower in the same weekend. Expect lots and lots of photos in the coming weeks!

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August 1, 2011 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 8