Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tuesday Tunes

I’m totally squirming. I have some very exciting news! I’m guest-blogging over on Inspiration Cooperative today, in the second of Theresa’s “Wear in the World” series, featuring (surprise!) Paris. I’m so delighted to have been a part of it. When Theresa first approached me about it When I forced her to let me do this, I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to spill the beans. I love Theresa and her amazing blog (most of you are already reading it, since we have quite the little clique, but if you aren’t, VAMOOSE!), so this was very exciting all around. Thank you again, Theresa. I love the idea of guest-blogging, and I’m currently mulling over some ideas to include you sexy ladies in some upcoming projects. Have to pay it forward!

If you’re stumbling over here from Theresa’s blog for the first time: hi! You’ve sort of caught me on an off day, as today is Tuesday and on Tuesdays I write about some cheesy band and make fun of their music video. Most days the content is a little more, um, un-ridiculous, but today you have the honor of discussing my guiltiest of guilty pleasure bands for the 2nd time in as many weeks: Ace of Base. I’m pretty sure I’ve effectively lost all new readership right there.

At the time in my life when Ace of Base was my favorite band, we didn’t have this thing called the internet. Or, okay, it existed, but this was before everyone had a computer in their home. You know, when people read books and communicated with one another face to face instead of in 140 characters or less, and sometimes spent full summer afternoons dancing in their room to Ace of Base, whatever. The good old days (so naturally, to fit with my self-imposed digital diet, I’ve been flooding my eardrums with endless amounts of their music all over again. Attn coworkers: if you see with headphones, it is a safe bet I am listening to Ace of Base. That’s a fireable offense in like, 23 states).

Anyway, given that Wikipedia didn’t exist, it was impossible for me to really know anything about the band other than what was printed in the liner notes of their CDs. In using my Supreme Powers of Internet Sleuthing, I’ve learned several things about Ace of Base in the past few weeks since this post (the most important being that Boyfriend, while generally tolerant of all of my insane foibles, has a really short fuse for 90s Swedish pop music. Alas). Three of the original members were siblings! The girls were sisters, which makes the fact that one of them has brown hair even weirder. I didn’t think it was possible to be from Sweden and not be a blond (careful, my ethnic stereotypes are showing!). Most shocking of all was the fact that the two boys actually produced the music. Like, they created all of the awesome synth tracks and pop beats. I genuinely had no idea they did anything useful in the band other than fill the generic part of “Man 1” and “Man 2.” Apparently they are musicians! Who knew?

Weirdest, creepiest discovery was that “Man 2” had been active in the Neo-Nazi scene as a teenager. Like, wrote a record of racially charged songs as a member of a band called “Commit Suicide.” His mom must have been so proud. “What is little Ulf (side-note: Ulf? Wtf kind of name is Ulf?) up to these days?” “He has a band! Maybe you’ve heard their hit song, ‘White Power, Black Head Slaughter’?” (I DIDN’T MAKE THAT UP. That was an actual song title. Also, shit, now I’m going to get people searching for Nazi stuff clicking on my site). Though he gave all of that skinhead stuff up and eventually went on to form Ace of Base, they still put out songs with vague undertones of Nazism: “Young and Proud,” “Happy Nation,” which includes like like “dream of the perfect man”, “for the people, for the good, for mankind brotherhood”, and “a man will die, but not his ideas.” Hmm.

Thankfully, this song, “Living in Danger” has seemingly no subliminal messages about white power. WHEW.

Now, in no way is this song one of their best. It’s from their first album, which is my least favorite (yes, I have the complete discography of Ace of Base ranked according to preference, YOU HAD TO HAVE GUESSED) but it is one of the few songs to have had a music video made for it. Obviously, this provides me with the opportunity to screencap the shit out of it for your our my enjoyment.

File this under: Last Face I Want to See Following Me Down the Street. And this one wasn’t even the Neo-Nazi growing up! Go figure.

“I want YOU…..to help me get these tendrils out of my face.”

This is weird. Why are you looking over this guy’s shoulder? What could be possibly be looking at that is so fascinating that you simply cannot help but be a creeper? I bet it’s something awesome, like a dirty magazine or someth–

OH. Good god, I love the 90s.

Don’t you just love passionate escalator singing? I sure do. What? Why are you looking at me like that? Are you expecting me to photoshop lamps onto her hands, or something? God, you guys, come on. I’ve matured.

Hey, Adolf? Even if the lyric is “get down,” it’s really inappropriate to point your index finger down to your um, nether regions. Although maybe I’m being crass! Maybe he isn’t insinuating anything sexual, maybe he is being innocently literal. But then what is he pointing at?

Yes. I went there.

Most Random Scene Award goes to this little nugget of weirdness. Priest sitting on a rock in a cemetery, is approached by reformed bad-boy rocking a ponytail and fur collared leather jacket for penance. Seems simple enough, albeit it out of left field. Weren’t they just in a subway station?

Wait, you mean they blew the Priest up? YES. With the power of synth!! That was really the whole message all along. And guess what?

Nailed it.

January 31, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 14

Who’s Afraid of Color?

Answer (and this might surprise you!)…ME. Obviously I am afraid of color. I might actually be allergic to it based on the frequency with which I fawn over all-white interiors. Try though I might, I tend to gravitate to rooms where everything is so washed out, you can’t tell where the floor ends and the sofa begins. It’s heavenly.

But every once in a while I see something that makes me a total color-convert. In this case, it was a Josef Frank pillow that made my jaw drop (#3, below). It was just so beautiful and bright, like all of his fabrics, that I couldn’t help but be absolutely smitten over it. Of course, it is far TOO LOUD to realistically be included in my decor, but a girl can dream can’t she? I decided to play along for a bit and pretend I’m not actually afraid of color, and created a fake living room moodboard based around the pillow in question. What follows is a living room I’d have if I was blind.

1. Side table / 2. Sofa / 3. Pillow / 4. Chair / 5. Bookshelf / 6. Tray / 7. Lamp / 8. Bench / 9. Rug

I’m pretty sure Pee Wee’s Playhouse had less color than that room, though none of these pieces of furniture have faces (unfortunately). On their own, each piece could work in a room with less competition; together, it’s like a rainbow had a bad acid trip and threw up all over the place and can’t remember who she went home with the night before. How sexy is that purple chair, though? I love the button tufting, though maybe not in a Grimace-the-McDonald’s-character color. If only I’d found that rug for this post on polka dots! Oh well.

Which is more your style? All out color of stark white? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Do white interiors make you want to throw condiments all over the place in rebellion (ahem, Annie)?

Happy Monday! My weekend was very low key, meaning absolutely no painting was accomplished. I mentioned over on 365 on Friday night that I had a bad food poisoning incident, and that sort of derailed any big aspirations I had for the weekend. I spent a lot of time on the couch with a mug of decaf vanilla tea. Oh, and with macarons. Macarons make everything better.

January 30, 2012 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

Friday Five

So, it’s official: I think I’ve caught the cold that everyone seems to be getting. I’m crossing my fingers it’s just allergies from letting Fitz cuddle in bed with me, and then somehow getting dog hair up my nose while I was sleeping. I woke up around 2:30 this morning super congested and freaked out that I wasn’t breathing, only to hear a rattling noise coming from my noise every time I tried to breathe in or out. I am the opposite of excited about this. I do not handle being sick very well; my desire to stay in sweatpants skyrockets to a level much higher than average (and honestly, it’s pretty high to begin with).

This weekend I think I’ll be taking it easy, and by taking it easy I mean maybe painting my living room? I’ve been threatening to do that for weeks now, though. Despite sounding stuffy and pitiful, I’m spending tonight with my lovely lady coworkers, which includes drinking wine and eating nachos and sitting around and enjoying a girls night in. I couldn’t be more excited. Actually, I’d try, but my brain keeps yelling “SWEATPAAAAAANTS” whenever I try to think about anything else.

Without further ado, this week’s Friday Five (germ free, I promise!).

1. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” / 2. Body Shop Rose hand cream / 3. Airmail shopper tote / 4. Arne Jacobsen monogram cups / 5. Voluspa Goji candle 

I’m back on my routine of reading voraciously on my commute each day, and this week I picked up “Dracula”. I know, I know. We’ve covered how terrified I am of, well, everything, so I know it doesn’t make sense that I’d start reading perhaps the most classically scary book of all time. But I’ve made the wise decision to not read it when it’s dark outside. I know that I should be embarrassed by the fact that, at 25 years old, I am spooked so easily that I cannot read an antiquated vampire novel after 5:30 at night, but considering I was once so in love with the boy band O-Town that I made my dad take me to 4 concerts, not even “Dracula” can shame me. It takes a while to get used to the writing style, and I can’t stop picturing Gary Oldman in the role (which is very distracting), but so far I’m really enjoying it.

I mentioned last week that Boyfriend got me a whole bunch of Body Shop products as one of my Christmas gifts, and this Wild Rose hand cream was one of them. I keep it on my desk at work and use it several times a day; between the cold weather and my constant hand-washing (I pee a lot), my hands are like sandpaper. This hand cream smells delicious, like rose macarons (interesting macaron story over on 365 yesterday, in case you missed it!) and isn’t paste-y or sticky. Like most Body Shop products, it’s made with a Fair Trade ingredient: Brazil nut oil. Bonus: the tube is really neat looking and jazzes up my desk. Always a good thing in a cookie-cutter cubicle.

I’ve been in love with this tote bag from British company Paper Plane for a few years, and if I hadn’t just bought the Marc Jacobs nylon Hillier last night (!!!!!) I’d consider buying this bag, too. Eventually, I probably will, let’s be honest. It’s so adorable! The straps are measuring tapes, there is a little handwritten grocery list on the front, along with a pouch for “parking tickets [or] stolen grapes.” Plus, it has an airmail theme, which we already know I love to bits. And it’s reasonably priced at only $15.

Continuing my mid-century theme from yesterday, these Arne Jacobsen mugs are killing me. I first saw them in the same photo from Lotta Agaton’s shop in Stockholm where I saw the LocalGraphics Stockholm poster, and it took me just as long to track them down as the poster. But of course I found them eventually, because I am a Champion of the Internet and part Lisbeth Salandar, according to you crazy ladies.

Pretty soon I’m going to be sourcing the tile on the wall or something. But aren’t those cups sweet? I love the type on them. Unfortunately, the only place I can find that sells them charges more than double the cost of the cup to ship them anywhere. Clearly this won’t do. The only solution is to go to Sweden and buy them at Lotta’s store (obviously, my obsession with this store is reason enough to go to Stockholm). At dinner last night, Boyfriend and I struck up conversation with an older mother-daughter duo at the table next to ours, and we got to hear all about how incredible Stockholm was and that if we go, we should take an overnight ferry ride to Finland and spend some time there. So hopefully travel plans will be solidified in the near future and I can finally live out my life-long dream of traveling to Scandinavia. Fingers crossed.

And since I am definitely a Crazy Candle Lady, I couldn’t leave off this amazing smelling goody from today’s Five. I went to Anthropologie a few weeks ago and picked up this Capri Blue Volcano candle and got in line to check out, impressed with my restraint of going in and only buying one specific item, only to be pulled out of line by the overwhelming desire to sniff out and track down whatever the delicious and sweet scent was wafting over from the next room. It was this candle, by Voluspa, and I think I fell in love. The candle is a mix of goji berry and tarocca blood oranges and you guys, it is unbelievable. The glass jar adds a bit of glamour to it, and would make a great gift for someone who happens to be obsessed with candles.

January 27, 2012 / fashion / vanity / Friday Five / home design / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 13

Oh, IKEA.

Of all the stores I love in this world, none have as special a place in my heart as IKEA (I’ve sung its praises here and here and here). Sure, the founder might have been involved with a fascist movement during WWII, but have you seen how cheap the sofas are? Have you tried the meatballs? Don’t even get me started on the lingonberry juice. If I could pump that intravenously into my system, I would. Every picture in my house is framed in a Ribba frame. Sure, I occasionally have to retighten the bolts on the bed frame for the guest bedroom and maybe the drawer bottoms on my Malm dresser pop out from the weight of a few t-shirts, but come on. It’s IKEA. It’s like my Disneyworld. If I don’t get to go every other week or so I start to get twitchy.

But you can’t take a spin around the enormous warehouse without recognizing a few instances where the Swedish retailer has borrowed heavily from other designers. This topic of derivative vs. inspired work came up yesterday with regards to Ork Posters and LocalGraphics posters, and last week with a cheaper tassel garland alternative. And for as much as I love IKEA, there are too many instances where their products closely mirror a mid-century original. Obviously, the mid-century pieces pre-date their IKEA counterparts (I refrained from using the word “knock-offs”), but given how classic and iconic all of the pieces and designers were, and that they were all Scandinavian, it was only a matter of time before IKEA created derivative pieces at a much smaller cost. I’m not setting this up to condone or judge IKEA for what they’re doing, I’m just pointing it out.

In all of the images below, the original is on the right, and the IKEA version is on the left.

Docksta round table, $149 vs. Eero Saarinen Tulip table, $1,980

Stockholm floor lamp, $99 vs. Arne Jacobsen floor lamp, $880

 Frosta stool, $10 vs. Alvar Aalta Stool e60, $290

Patrik swivel chair, $199. vs. Arne Jacobsen Swan chair, $3,960

Poang recliner, $99 vs. Arne Jacobsen Armchair 42, $2,620

Now, say what you want about IKEA for doing this, but I would love you to point me in the direction of the person that would first buy all of the original items over their cheaper alternatives, because I’d like to ask them for some money. Do I think IKEA is right in blatantly copying good, established design, tweaking a few things, mass producing it under a different, un-pronounceable name and making it less expensive? No. But like all copies and derivatives, the original is always executed better.

I know this opens up a whole can of worms on the debate over whether it’s ethical to buy an inspired piece rather than the original, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. My dad had a Poang recliner in his apartment, and given that he was an architect I’m sure he recognized its striking resemblance to the Arne Jacobsen chair, but back then I didn’t. But I don’t think my dad was a monster for buying it, whether he knew it was derivative or not, instead of spending 26 times the amount on a version from Hive Modern. I’m not sure I’d mind owning that round dining table from IKEA, even if my dream house has a white carrera marble Saarinen version. But if you asked me if I’d be bothered by owning a fake Louis Vuitton handbag, the answer is most definitely yes. I don’t know what I draw that distinction. What about you?

January 26, 2012 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Runway Prints

Remember my fascination with Ork Posters from a few weeks ago, those magical typographic maps of cities around the world, split up into neighborhoods? At the time, I was lamenting that there wasn’t a Stockholm poster. But then I saw this picture, from Swedish interior designer and stylist Lotta Agaton’s new shop in Stockholm:

from here

It’s hard to spot on the wall, but there it is. It’s obviously an Ork Poster, right? I mean, it looks exactly the same as all the other posters of different cities, with the different neighborhoods are typed out in varying heights and sizes. After a furious search of the internet (someone should hire me to be a private investigator, I’m telling you), I discovered that NO, it wasn’t an Ork Poster at all, but rather a print from a Swedish company called LocalGraphics.

I love them so much I’ll let it slide that I’m pretty sure they’re directly ripping off Ork’s entire idea. Or maybe they came first, I don’t know! Either way, a void has been filled by the missing Stockholm print, and if I could only decipher their site to figure out how to order one of these (they have a bunch for different areas of Sweden, including the adorably named Malmö. Pretty sure I’m going to nickname my future child that, it sounds like Elmo and Marshmallow mixed together), I’d have it hanging in my house by now. They’re pricier than their Ork equivalents, at almost 3 times the cost not including shipping, but when has price ever stopped me? I thought so.

Around the same time as this was all happening, a Chicago-based architect and designer Jerome Daksiewicz emailed me a link to his portfolio site, a multi-disciplinary creative studio called Nomo Design. He has a series of Runway posters, which are prints of airports around the world with their official 3 letter code, and a linear sketch of their runway layouts.

What I think I love most about them is that they look almost like the inverse of an Ork Poster in their minimalism and color. Where Ork Posters/LocalGraphics posters are busy and cluttered, these are simple, elegant, and almost eerie in their shape. Doesn’t San Francisco’s kind of look like a gun? They’re also extremely unique. There are currently 4 available for purchase in the Nomo Design shop, 3 available for pre-order, and 4 more coming soon. I’m eyeing up the Heathrow print, and wishing a Charles De Gaulle runway print makes an appearance soon. Okay, fine, and an Arlanda print to round out my Stockholm poster-lust.

At $26 a piece, they’re well priced for their size and craft. A portion of the proceeds from each poster sold goes to  Challenge Air, a program that works with special needs children and provides flight experiences and aviation training, providing “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to special needs children and youth through the gift of flight.” So it’s art for a good cause, and you get the karmic satisfaction of having enriched the lives of a disabled child by decorating your home. Win win.

Would you get one of these Runway prints of your city? Unfortunately, PHL is like the world’s worst airport so I’d rather have a European one, if for no other reason then that I could always be reminded of trips there. Also, what’s your take on that LocalGraphics vs Ork Posters situation? I know I should be more stringent about blatant copies (oh, and that site I accused of copying my Tangerine Tango post tweeted me basically saying they had no idea what I was talking about. Right.) but until Ork gets on their game and makes a Stockholm print, this is really the only option.

January 25, 2012 / art / photo / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 16

Tuesday Tunes

I briefly considered renaming this series “Lamps on Hands,” but then Etta James passed away, and I suddenly didn’t find so much humor in photoshopping old youtube videos. (Don’t worry, though, I already have next week’s lined up, so I haven’t suddenly matured overnight or anything)

Theresa really said it best yesterday. I know there are countless other amazing songs by this incredible woman, and I’m not being original by posting “At Last” but this song still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. She was an unbelievable talent and music is better because of her. She was born the same year as my dad, and they both died of Leukemia. Though she out lived him by 6 years, 73 is still far too young to go.

I remember discovering this song when I was a sophomore in high school and feeling like no one else in the world had ever heard it, and being in awe of how perfect the lyrics were, and the way the tone of her voice sounded like she was talking just to me. I remember putting this song on repeat and wishing more than anything  in the world that my high school on-again-off-again boyfriend would finally be what I wanted him to be. Which, at 15, was impossible to describe what that is exactly. But I remember playing it in the car ride with my dad over the summer of 2002 on our way up the New England coast, and making an impromptu appointment at a hair salon in Burlington, VT, to chop all of my hair off because that boyfriend was going off to college in a matter of weeks and I would still be stuck in high school, and our time had really never come. We would finally end things for good a few months later when he was home on a break after over 3 years of playing emotional ping pong, but I will  never be able to forget how overwhelming my feelings were for him, how little sense anything made to me, and that this song made me feel okay.

I know it’s shallow to associate a song this moving with something as trivial as a high school relationship (if you can really ever call it that), but there it is. Looking back, of course, with perfect 20/20 hindsight, I should never have put so much emphasis on that entire situation, but who can see that when they’re 15 and hormonally imbalanced? It’s funny to me now, looking back on everything. So despite knowing that I was an idiot, and being able to laugh over it now (albeit while cringing), I really wish I hadn’t taken anything so seriously in high school. Although it was hard not to with a song this powerful.

Spill: what’s your embarrassing high school memory?

January 24, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Inspiration

Happy Monday! Today is expected to be a really really busy day at work, so you’ll pardon my brevity. It’s been a while since I’ve posted some all-white interiors, so let’s dive right in, shall we? To make the lack of color more bearable for those of you opposed to all-white-everything, you can play a gam where you try to guess how many audible gasps the following pictures caused me (hint: think double digits).

from here 

I had about 6 simultaneous heart attacks when I first saw this, and the first words out of my mouth were, um colorful. No pun intended. (No pun achieved?)

from here 

Love this idea for a night table.

from here 

I can’t even. I don’t know what function that table is serving as there are two chairs of different heights, but I love it.

from here 

I love Railroad style apartments, especially ones with white floors.

from here 

Pretty much the perfect kitchen. And I have that radio on the counter!

from here 

This one isn’t so bad, either. Love the industrial look of it.

 

from here 

I don’t know what I love more, the Marc Jacobs carrier bag, the Therese Sennerholt postcards on the wall, or the rustic desk. I can’t deicide.

Sorry to once again inundate you with more stark white interiors, but come on. I think Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes said it best: “If you don’t know me by now, you will never never never know me. Oooooh.”

January 23, 2012 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Friday Five

You guys, it is freezing. I think this is the coldest spell we’ve been hit with all winter, and my body does not know how to cope with it, despite the multiple heavy layers I put on to combat the shivering. I’ve even been subjecting Fitz, the string-bean of a dog, to wearing his new winter coat (a Christmas gift from Boyfriend), which he simultaneously hates and wants to eat. I cranked the heat up extra high last night and then woke up sweating at 2am, which makes no sense at all. I’m pretty sure my body is dumb. It does not understand when I try to help.

This week went impossibly fast. I was off Monday and was running errands (read: at IKEA) and then spent all day Tuesday in court, waiting 6 hours to give testimony in a frivolous lawsuit against my mom by her shady ex-contractor. My part took all of 5 minutes, and the rest of the day was spent sitting in the hallway, dying slowly inside. So between those two days I feel like I missed an enormous chunk of my blogging duties, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since (The upside is the 3 day workweek. I can really get down with that). So this week’s Friday Five was a little hard to compile since I missed a full two-days of my usual internet browsing and scouring. I gave it my best shot anyway. Herewith, 5 things that I’m into this week:

1. Fig & Rosemary Body Wash / 2. Wanderlust journal / 3. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate / 4. Nokia 7020 / 5. Wire Basket

Did I mention how fabulously spoiled I got for Christmas? Boyfriend really set the bar high this year, unfortunately for him. One of my gifts from him was a big assortment of products from Body Shop, including a giant tub of mango body butter, my god, and, among other things, two shower gels. One of them was this fig & rosemary scented goodness. I love taking showers anyway, but this has seriously made my mornings way more amazing. It’s a light gel that lathers unbelievably, and makes you smell fresh and herbal. Bonus: the bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic and is also 100% biodegradable. So now I get to be all smug that I’m saving the environment from both un-recyclable waste and my stinky b.o. You’re welcome, earth! The other scent he got me is cucumber mint, and once I finish both of those I think I’ll investigate the rest of the line (watermelon & eucalyptus? yes please!).

All of yesterday’s talk about traveling reminded me of this adorable flexi journal, which I bought for a friend in college before she left for Italy for a semester abroad. Somehow that journal has become a collector’s item, and isn’t available for anything less than 10 times what it originally cost. Crazy, right? Thankfully, this airmail version is really similar and not horrendously priced. The pages are all different. Some have lines, some look like train tickets. It’s a great gift idea for someone going on a trip, or something you could bring with you on your own vacation to document everything. Or just carry in your purse and scribble down grocery and to-do lists. Is that just me? Got it.

In other Christmas gift news, my mom bought me a tin of this salted caramel hot chocolate and it is basically crack cocaine in hiding. Unfortunately it isn’t available year round, only during the holiday season, so I have to somehow stretch this mix into lasting me until then. It will be just like the Hanukkah miracle my ancestors experienced, making oil to light one candle last for 8 nights. Only with hot chocolate. And I have to make it last 10 months. I don’t think it is going to happen, considering that after one cup I wanted to pour hot milk into the tin and just drink it out of that.

Okay, so let’s address the elephant in the room: that cell phone. I know, I know, is it 2005 again? Here’s the deal: since deleting facebook and twitter and email from my phone, I basically have a Blackberry that isn’t being used to its full potential. It’s a glorified qwerty keyboard that I sometimes get calls on. And I’m paying (okay, fine, again, my mother is paying) $30 a month just because it’s a Blackberry. If all I’m doing is getting calls and the occasional text message, why not get a phone that can just do that? The only time I really need it anyway is when I’m commuting, in case something happens to me. I’ve gone through a ton of cell phones in the past few years, and I always lament that my Nokia was the best phone I’ve ever owned. So I’m returning to my roots. I bought one for cheap on Amazon and I’m going to try it out for a few days and see if I can handle the transition back down to a basic phone. If I can’t, I can’t, and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. But I’m sticking to my New Years resolution to spend less time connected, and this seems like a step in the right direction. Albeit one I’m probably going to get made fun of for. YES, in the year 2012, I have a flip phone. Sue me. I don’t get all the insane banter about why people can’t live without their smartphones, because we all did for the majority of our lives and if I’m not mistaken, we all survived. Think of it this way, I already carry my camera, a book/magazine, and my iPod with me all day, my cubicle has two computers in it, and my house has two computers in it. My Blackberry is just redundant at this point.

Shifting gears a bit, a week or two ago I saw this picture, from one of my favorite sources of inspiration, Swedish stylist and interior designer Anna Leena:

from here

I know, right? Breathtaking. All that white on the floors and walls, and those dark elements in the furniture. Be still my heart! Focus. See that basket underneath the desk? I never would have though to use a wire basket as a magazine rack, but the minute I saw this picture I knew I had to have one. Thankfully, I found one almost identical on Home Decorators. I picked one up during a 10% off sale and got free shipping, thank you very much. Adventures in shopping domination continue. I guess I wasn’t alone in my love of that basket, though, as it’s backordered until the beginning of February. I’m waiting impatiently for it to ship.

Okay, so tell me, are you judging me for getting a Nokia after all these years? Do you think you could make the switch back?  What are you up to this weekend? I think I’m painting my living room, but we’ll see how much energy I can muster. All I want to do is hibernate in this weather. Have a great weekend, kiddos!

January 20, 2012 / eat / drink / fashion / vanity / Friday Five / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 24

Traveling (sort of)

Google Earth is perhaps the greatest thing to happen to the world in the history of the internet. Seriously. Sometimes, when I am frustrated with the price of flights to Europe, or when it is Sunday and I have nothing else to do but wait for the laundry, I’ll play around in Google Earth as a way to release my wiggles about not being able to beam myself instantly to Paris and avoid paying the ludicrous airfare. It’s like traveling (sort of), only without having to put on pants. And it works (sort of!), only without any of the gratification of you know, actually being there. Plus, I get to visit places I’ll likely never actually get to in real life (and revisit places I have), despite my delusions of one day combing the globe and making my way through a string of foreign lovers (disregard that last part, Boyfriend).

Tromsø, Norway

Paris, France

Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden (say cheese!)

Brasov, Transylvanian Alps, Romania

Skye, Scotland

Grote Markt, Brussels, Belgium

Big Ben, my other boyfriend, London, UK

Arcade, Westcliff-on-Sea, UK (I beat my cousin in air-hockey here!)

As you can see, I’m not a tropical island, beach getaway kind of girl. Give me concrete, museums, and random European countrysides any day of the week over fighting to extract sand from places sand should never be. Maybe because I’ve been a city dweller my whole life, but I really love urban environments, crowded streets, and not having to slather spf 75 all over my paste-y figure.

In all of my traveling, I’ve come up with the following list of essentials to get me through a vacation:

If you’re going to be walking around a city, the best thing you can do is wear comfortable shoes. I’ve had three pairs of these Vans, and they are by far the lightest, most comfortable shoes to walk around in. The sole is cushion-y and the canvas material doesn’t rub and isn’t constricting. Unless you’re going somewhere in the winter when everything is gloomy and overcast, you’re going to need a good pair of sunglasses, too. These are my favorite. I have two pair. Why? Who knows, but I do.  A good bag is obviously ideal, and this one by Marc Jacobs (love of my life) is lightweight since it’s made out of nylon, but can hold anything and everything you’d want to stuff in it: napkins from restaurants you go to, your camera, a map to discreetly check without outing yourself as a tourist, a patent leather Passport holder, and extra band-aids (the last thing you want to ruin a nice stroll around the Tuileries or old cobblestone streets is a giant blister on your heel). This one can either be worn cross-body so you can have both hands free for taking tons of pictures, or under your arm for safety in crowds.

You know what can ruin a nice vacation faster than anything else? Traveler’s Diarrhea. Yes, I went there. Uncomfortable topics of conversation, this is what they look like! Just carry a box of Imodium and if you’re going somewhere risky, drink bottled water.

What am I forgetting? What are your travel essentials? This list goes hand-in-hand with this post, the perfect outfit for flying. Considering I don’t travel with kids, my list probably looks drastically different from those of you that do. Don’t worry, I usually carry a ziploc bag of Cheerios for myself.

January 19, 2012 / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 32

Garland, pt 2

So continuing on my trend of finding cheaper versions of an original (on Monday it was a blanket), I owe today’s post entirely to my hilarious (and apparently bargain-hunter) friend Audrey. Remember just a short while ago, I coveted this overpriced garland?

Guess what? That isn’t even the original! FOOLED YOU. This is a suspiciously similar tassel garland available on Etsy, for almost $100 cheaper. And you can’t even tell the difference. You guys. I just bought 6 of them. Kidding! But I might! I just might do it!

When I first posted about this garland, several of you kind, deluded souls suggested I could craft something similar rather than shell out $130 for something as frivolous as tassel garland. But that required more effort than I’m willing to devote to something like this. And given my recent luck at being an absolute Shopping Master (need I mention the West Elm light??), I knew if I just held out long enough, I’d either forget about wanting it altogether, or a cheaper alternative would appear magically, as if delivered by elves. (Yes, Audrey, I just called you a magical elf).

This is the original. Can you tell the difference? No? Neither can I. You know what can, though? My wallet.

I’m not usually a fan of direct knock-offs, but in this case I think I can make an exception. It’s not like it’s a fake Louis Vuitton bag or something. It’s some tissue paper hung from string. I’m not sure if any intellectual property is being infringed (fringed! get it?) upon with this cheaper version. Still, pretty spectacular find, if you ask me. And where did Audrey find it? Why, Pinterest of course! What did we ever do before Pinterest? Something productive, I bet.

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January 18, 2012 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 14