Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tuesday Tunes

At the risk of ruining my life and effectively losing all credibility and friends, I’m going to admit to you that my favorite band growing up was Ace of Base. Like, favorite. “The Sign” was the first CD I ever had, but since I am such a connoisseur of music, my favorite album of theirs was their second, “The Bridge.” I made a mixtape for a long vacation car ride with my dad and put the following song on it twice. Not once, TWICE. As in, I loved this song so much I decided that a car ride to Massachusetts wasn’t difficult enough for my father, I needed to subject him to this multiple times.

Several things:

Why does one of the guys look like he’s trying to break through the camera and kill me, and why does the other one with the Chester Chester Child-Molester mustache look like he’s trying to seduce me? Also, button your shirt, dude, nobody needs to see that. Also, nice bean bag, lone brunette girl. I thought everyone in Sweden was blond?! There go all my previously held assumptions about the world, THANKS Ace of Base.

Remember when you’d get your 3 closest friends and you’d gather round and sit on a pile of canvas? ME TOO!

This happened. I don’t know why, but it did.

This happened, too. You knew it was coming.

I’m not really sure what got me back on this 90s train, but listening to this song again after all these years reminded me how many gems there were on this album. Yes, I said gems. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still know every word of every song on this album and they still make me want to dance. So synthy!

What are your guiltiest music pleasures? Anything worse than Ace of Base? This one is hard to beat.

January 17, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Crux Blanket

If you’ve perused home design blogs or Scandinavian blogs (or those magical few that are a mix of both, be still my heart!), you’ve probably come across this blanket:

This is the Crux Blanket by Swedish designer Pia Wallén. It was first sold in 1991 and made of ecologically sourced wool by a small, independent family in Sweden. It also cost over $700 dollars. I’ll pause to let that one sink in for a bit.

It pops up frequently in shelter mags and blogs alike:

source unknown

from here

 (white floorboards and walls!) from here

 It’s become both iconic and ubiquitous, and somewhere along the line I fell in love with it. In addition to being a Crazy Candle Lady, I’m also a Crazy Blanket Lady. Remember how I obsessed over this blanket? My boyfriend bought it for me for Christmas in light gray (!! clearly he knows the way to my heart. That and he reads my blog). It is heavenly. It totally needed a friend, and the Crux blanket would provide the right amount of contrast. But at $700, even I realized there are some things I just shouldn’t buy (my therapist would call this “progress”).

But then I found out there was a new batch of blankets being produced, made in cotton sourced from Peru. The fabric change meant it would cost less than its wool alternative. Please tell me I don’t need to explicitly say that I bought one the moment I found one for sale online? Good. Now that we’re all on the same page:

I bought it from Story North, a store based in Surrey that sells all sorts of wonderful Scandinavian home goods. The owner is an interior designer and blogger who loves all things Swedish and Nordic as much as I do.  The service could not have been more wonderful (they had no problem shipping it to the states), and when it arrived I almost didn’t want to open it, it was so beautifully and carefully packed. Check out that packaging! Wrapped in waxed brown paper and tied with raw string, with a hand-printed tag card that reads “Here is your Story North product. We hope you like it as much as we do.” Well, guess what? I DO.

It is soft and cuddly and has come in really handy this past weekend because it was (and still is) freeeeezing. Unfortunately, like most things I bring into the house, Fitz has decided it belongs to him and won’t let me have a turn with it.

Oh, what? That travelcard cushion? Yes, about that. Did I mention that I’m also a Crazy Pillow Lady?

Also, don’t know if any of you caught the Golden Globes last night, but “Homeland” picked up TWO awards, one for best television drama and one for best actress. If that isn’t endorsement enough, I don’t know what is! And “Midnight in Paris” won best screenplay. DUH.

January 16, 2012 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 13

Friday Five

Happy Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? Did you even think about the date today? I think it was a way bigger deal when we were in school than it is now. I haven’t walked in to anything yet, nothing has com falling out of the sky to land on my head, and more importantly I didn’t oversleep my alarm despite how exhausted I was (uh, still am).

This week felt like it flew by without time to even process it, despite the fact that things have been slow at work. This was a really difficult Friday Five to compile, for whatever reason. Let’s take a look.

 

1. Parks and Rec Season 3 / 2. Silk dot pillow / 3. IKEA cart / 4. Homeland / 5. Pilot Fine Point pens

 I’ve mentioned my love of “Parks and Rec” before, but after getting the best season on DVD for Christmas, I’ve been watching episodes every night and just can’t stop laughing. The show is so laugh-out-loud funny and all of the characters are amazingly written; I’d go out on a limb and say it’s funnier than ‘The Office’ in its last few seasons.  You don’t need to watch the first two seasons to understand the plot or characters, and the show really didn’t hit its stride until season 3 anyway.

Keeping with tv shows, I recently got into a show called “Homeland,” the CIA drama about a Marine prisoner of war (who is hot and British in real life!), who is found in a bunker in Iraq 8 years after being captured. The whole show focuses on the suspicion of a CIA agent who believes he’s been turned by Al Qaeda and might be a terrorist. You guys, I’ve never seen a show like it. Every episode leaves my jaw on the floor and if I can’t watch multiple episodes a night I get really, really antsy. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and it’s apparently been signed on for two more seasons. If you have nothing else to do this weekend, or even if you do, drop everything and commit to watching this. You’re welcome in advance!

But don’t think that all I do with my unencumbered free time now is watch tv. I do lots of exciting things. Like shop! When I was at West Elm picking up my amazing drum pendant (I still get a little weak in the knees thinking about it), I decided to indulge in more sale items, and picked up this adorable throw pillow. The case is silk, with watercolor dots with labels in handwriting. It’s adorable, and looks great on my dark gray sofa with a bigger, burnt orange pillow behind it. The filling of the pillow insert is down, so sometimes you get little pokey pieces of feathers sticking out, but it’s worth it because it’s so gosh darn cute. I love West Elm sales, seriously.

I’ve been looking around for an industrial chic kitchen cart to serve as a mini bar, and I think I may have found a winner with this IKEA option. It’s reasonably priced, and I love the rail around the bottom shelf; it would be perfect for storing all of the terrible alcohol I drink (Malibu rum and cake flavored vodka, though you’re supposed to keep that in the freezer). I love the idea of having a bar cart, but it would obviously necessitate purchasing respectable alcohol to keep on it. The only thing I’m having problems getting past is that the front drawer on this thing reminds me of something hospital-related. Like it’s where they keep scalpels and needles and stuff. I don’t think I can talk myself out of seeing it like that.

If you’re a nerd like me, you get disproportionately excited over new pens. I love pens. My dad, being an architect, always used these Pilot Razor point flare pens in red and black; I don’t think I have a single memory of him without the little yellow-tipped cap sticking out of his shirt pocket. If I had to endorse one pen, this would be it. They are, as the name suggests, razor fine, and the ink doesn’t skip like it does with ballpoint pens. I get so excited every time I use it to write silly things like grocery lists or draft up post ideas. I’m weird, oh well.

What are you up to this weekend? I have Monday off thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. and I’m planning on catching up on a lot of sleep, and a lot of Homeland. I only have 3 episodes left until the season finale and I cannot wait to figure this mystery out. Have a great weekend, kiddos! I’ll see you Monday.

January 13, 2012 / design / Friday Five / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

Celebrity Crushes

Remember a few weeks ago when I gave my mini-diatribe about people stealing my stuff or heavily “borrowing” it? I have a new one to add to the list: West Elm themselves have decided to copy my swagger. Yes, I said swagger. Just Monday I posted the story of how I got a magical bargain on a pendant light, titled “Let There Be (Cheap) Light.” I even tweeted about it and mentioned @WestElm. What shows up in my inbox a mere 3 days later? This email, from West Elm:

Coincidence? I think not. How shady! (Get it? Shady? Shade-y? See what I did there? Sorry, I didn’t get much sleep last night, thank you, sheeting rain) Clearly I am SO AWESOME that West Elm just has no choice but to steal all my ideas. I mean, really. I’d love to be grumpy about it, but this obviously means I am doing something right. Maybe I should write a post for IKEA and then if they try to steal it I’ll make them give me a job designing showrooms. My god, wouldn’t that be the best job in the world?

Shifting gears a bit (okay, a lot), you might have noticed this post was titled “Celebrity Crushes.” So we’ve talked about girl crushes already, but I realized I never gave the menfolk their due. There are a bunch of hunky men in Hollywood (don’t you dare try to tell me that Christian Bale or Ben Affleck belong in that category, or we aren’t friends anymore), but after careful observation and years-long obsessions, I’ve been able to narrow down my biggest celebrity crushes to these 3 contenders:

Crush #1. Gary Oldman.

 Yes, weird, I know. But there is something so incredibly attractive about him, and yes, I know he is old enough to be my father, and he generally plays the creepy, scary murder or bad guy (like, in almost every movie he’s ever made), but come. on. Have you ever seen “Immortal Beloved,” the movie where he played Beethoven? Or “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead,” the movie about the two wacky side characters in ‘Hamlet’? Or, perhaps, the movie that started my entire obsession with his gorgeous man, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (DON’T JUDGE ME)? He’s fascinating to me.

Crush #2. Robert Pattinson. Like every other woman and 14 year old girl in the universe.

Team Edward. That’s all that needs to be said. I finally saw “Breaking Dawn” last night with my mom and sister-in-law, and it just confirmed everything for me about him. Can we talk about his hair? He’s got great hair. And he’s British, too, just like Gary Oldman (are we sensing a theme, yet?), but unlike Gary Oldman he was born the same year I was. I think my favorite thing about him isn’t that he plays a sparkly vampire in Young Adult movies, it’s that in real life he always looks like he doesn’t even care about any of the attention. And that he could really use a shower. Quit looking at me like that.

Crush #3. Jim Halpert (aka John Krasinski).

There’s no way you’ve watched “The Office” and not developed a crush on Jim, the dorky, adorable, Pam-smitten paper salesman. My crush is actually more on the character he plays on tv, but level with me: how cute is he in that Gap ad with the scarf? He is so cute and goofy on the show, it’s impossible to not to have a crush on him. To be honest, in real life I’m more attracted to his hot wife, Emily Blunt. They make such a gorgeous couple, it’s ridiculous.

Honorable Mention:

Anderson Cooper, the silver fox CNN host. Chiefly, this moment:

Okay. Spill the beans, you guys. Who are you biggest and most enduring celebrity crushes? Who are your guilty-pleasure crushes? Any you’re embarrassed to admit? It’s so gross and rainy here today, I’d love to have a fun distraction.

January 12, 2012 / design / Gary Oldman / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Recent Macaron Goodies

So many you’re new or maybe you have short term memory loss or maybe you’ve intentionally been blocking out all previous mentions of macarons on this here blog, but for those of you late to the party let me be the first to tell you: I love macarons. If you want to play catch up: read this, this, this, or this.

Anyway. Given that Ladurée is in another city and, ahem, really expensive, I’ve had to stop being so picky about where I get my macarons or learn to live without them. Clearly the latter is not an option, though it seemed that Philly hadn’t caught on to the whole macaron craze (does it count as a ‘craze’ if it’s just me?) yet. It’s kind of like the frozen yogurt trend or the popularity of cupcakes of the past few years. It take my city a while to catch up. Which it finally did, last week, when I had not one, but TWO different macaron experiences. Which was good, because I’d literally been itching from withdrawal.

I work in the same business park as Urban Outfitters headquarters, which makes commutes in the morning a really fun game of guessing which people on the subway work there. Here’s a hint from someone who is always right: look for the person who looks like the most homeless, and you’re on the right track. Bonus points for some sort of stupid, floppy crocheted hat or tights with holes in them. Oh, and it’s sort of a giveaway but every employee inevitably wears oxfords or lace up boots. Once, I saw a girl in an outfit so ridiculous it actually crossed over from being insane to being completely normal, so homeless did she look. Combat boots, ripped purple fishnet stockings over leggings, an enormous denim jacket with white sweaters for sleeves, a bright red gingham scarf, and a floppy hat. I couldn’t stop staring. It was awe-inspiring how stupid she looked.

Anyway, aside from my bitchy proclivity to judge others harshly based on their wardrobe choices, Urban also provides the only meal option for the area in their cafeteria. It’s an enormous industrial warehouse that’s been converted to a giant dining hall but still retains the exposed metal beams and huge windows. It’s amazing, and hard to really describe how cavernous it is, but totally styled-out. There’s an enormous koi pond in the middle.

from here

Anyway, they have 9 or 10 different gourmet stations to choose from for food: you can get fresh rolled sushi, grilled sandwiches, salad with raw tuna, the works. They also have a dessert station with the usual cupcakes and cookies. You have to walk right by it on the way to the registers (where sometimes, depending on what you’re wearing, the cashier will mistake you for an Urban employee and give you a discount on your meal), and on my most recent trip there with coworkers last week, I saw a tray of brightly colored macarons. I was so happy I could have hugged the homeless woman in front of me in line.

Verdict: Smaller than Ladurée, but a lot stiffer. With the exception of the vanilla flavored one, perched on top there, it felt like eating hard candy. I bit into the strawberry one on the end and the filling didn’t budge. This was probably because they’d been sitting out rather than in refrigerated cases. Still, they were cheap, readily available, and only a stone’s throw from my office. (And if you’re wondering, yes, I did set them up on my desk for a photoshoot).

And then, a mere 3 days later, on my walk home I passed a yummy French bakery I’d heard rumors of having macarons, though I’d never been able to spot any in their cases, I spotted them. There, from the street, I saw trays and trays of macarons. Obviously never one to turn them down, and committed to continuing my unofficial taste-test, I popped in and bought 16 of them.

Verdict: Weirdly flavorless (cranberry) or overwhelmingly flavorful (like the green apple and cinnamon ones), and the muted colors aren’t doing it for me. Harder and chewier than a macaron is supposed to be, and I don’t think I needed to buy 16. But they were less than half the cost of Ladurée. A fair substitute if I’m in a pinch.

You’d have thought that eating over 20 macarons in a week would have satiated my craving, but no. I still had my heart set on a set of Ladurée candles I mentioned in my first Friday Five Gift Guide. Retailing for $60 at the store, and $75 in the online shop based in San Francisco I found that also sells them, they are prohibitively expensive, but something I wanted nonetheless. Wild strawberry and brioche scented? SOLD.

Magically, I found only one set of the candles on eBay, and it happened to be the set I wanted. The person was selling them for less than what they usually cost, so I snatched them up without a moment’s hesitation, further solidifying my reign as the Crazy Candle Lady. Seriously, I love candles. And I love Ladurée. This is like a match made in heaven.

I love them. I couldn’t resist burning the brioche candle before snapping this pic, so no, she didn’t sell them to me used. The jars are really delicate ceramic with a beautiful white ceramic crest on the front of each. They make the entire room smell delicious even when they’re not lit, which has made a certain four legged creature in my house completely bonkers.

The return address on the mailing label they came in was a penthouse in Manhattan, so naturally I googled the seller’s name. Is that creepy? No? Then perhaps finding out that she is a socialite, party girl, and proclaimed “self-medicated label-whore” (from her Twitter profile) and then screen-capping her more outrageous tweets is. You guys, my money is sitting somewhere between her nostril and her brain right now.

I don’t even know what kind of drug you do when you light it on a spoon, but I’m really afraid to google it. At least if my life ever goes off the rails to the point that tweeting openly about my illicit drug usage doesn’t bother me, I’ll know never to use a plastic spoon. At least there’s that.

So once the awkward realization that I just gave $50 to a clubrat drug-user faded, I was able to appreciate the absolute insanity of the situation. Of course the person I buy Ladurée candles from has both a prescription and illegal drug problem. Anyone that lives in a penthouse and has a “von” in their last name who has a spare set of overpriced French candles that smell like macarons laying around they need to sell off to fuel their cocaine addiction is OBVIOUSLY the one person I end up giving money to.

Oh well. Have any of you ever bought something off eBay and then googled the seller? I never had before but now I’m super leery of where my money is going now. Who would have thought that my quest to have everything Ladurée related would lead me here? Maybe this is a sign!

January 11, 2012 / design / eat / drink / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Tuesday Tunes

I love being able to see what people google to get to my page. Sometimes it makes perfect sense (“IKEA subway tile” and “Ladurée macaron flavors” are big, repetitive, obvious hits) and sometimes they make less than no sense at all, and I even google the same thing to see what exactly on my blog comes up. Recently, the best/most random was “shittiest engagement rings.” I can’t even. It definitely makes me more conscious of the things I google and the places I click. Though admittedly I’m surprised no one has stumbled here googling “George Michael’s eyebrows.” I have the market covered with that topic.

Anyway. Music! Tuesday Tunes! I’ll start with an analogy to get you in the right mindset: You know how radio dj’s always have the best voices and then when you see a picture of them, you think, “Whoa, I didn’t think they looked like that.” Or you have a penpal and you meet in person and finally putting a face to the name is disorienting because you had a different picture in your head? Do we all know the sensation I’m referring to? Good. Now let’s look at the video for “Always” by Erasure:

It is so full of WHAT I don’t even know where to begin. I cannot catch the plot; it seems like it is operating in not only a parallel universe with monsters and controllable weather, but one with a different song altogether. What is happening? Why is he dressed in a ceremonial lamé kimono and gold glitter swimming cap and why is there an orb that explodes in the sky? This was the first time I’d ever seen this video, and I regret it immensely. This song was such a guilty pleasure of mine (I love synth-y goodness, sue me, I grew up in the 90s) and now I am so creeped out by the entire thing I can’t listen to it without seeing this video in my head, playing in some terrifying loop. If you listen to the song alone, is this the sort of video you’d have pictured? No? ME NEITHER. I was thinking something, um, how to say this…NORMAL. Maybe in black and white. Maybe no kimonos, I don’t know.

Let’s dissect this, shall we? (Read: I had too much free time to play with Photoshop, again)

WHAT IS HE WEARING? He looks like a drunk and blind homeless woman who got stuck living behind an Hibachi restaurant. Why is he flailing at the sky? Life is full of unanswered questions.

ATTENTION, MEN: Avoid making this face while delivering flowers to a woman, unless you want her to know you intend on murdering her and sticking the body in your freezer. Also, smaller bouquets are preferable.

If you possess the power of flight, this can be used to impress the women-folk, so long as when you levitate you maintain some element of masculinity. If you look like this, you’re doing it wrong.

You don’t know how hard it was for me to not photoshop in lamps on his hands. But I restrained myself, because it would have interfered with the magical floating orb he just created and released into the air. Can we focus on the last part of that sentence? Some key words I’d like to point out in case you missed it: magical, floating, and orb. Also, sassy frozen Japanese woman, you could try to act impressed, he just created an orb for you and you’re all, “YAWN.”

(Also, I couldn’t resist:


YOU’RE WELCOME! If this doesn’t make sense, go here)

But the orb must have impressed her somewhat because she’s letting him comb her hair. Or maybe he showed her the power tools he’s going to use to dismember her body unless she lets him. I hate to draw inferences, but LOOK AT HIS FACE. I make a lot of incorrect assumptions about people being potential rapists (too much Law & Order) but in this case, I’d say I’m actually right. “Yeah, I’m going to kill her after I finished getting the knots out, AND WHAT?”

Oh, wait! Intrigue! A devil on stilts! In a Chinese dragon mask! With large talons! I get it. Not really, but I don’t want to look at this picture anymore so let’s move on.

You’d think the Bad Guy in the video would have a lot of powers, so why he settled on putting them in a giant snowball is a mystery. I mean, the one guy can fly and create orbs, all you’ve got is a giant snowball? Am I the only person who doesn’t understand what’s happening right now?

Thankfully, the devil is vanquished, and he can once again return to combing her hair while she tries to blink in morse code for someone to come rescue her. I am so uncomfortable looking at this picture, and the crazy camera angle has little to do with it.

So there you go. Watching this video was like meeting a penpal and discovering they had a third arm sprouting out of their forehead and owned 50 cats, when they seemed SO NORMAL before. You know what I need? George Michael’s eyebrows.

Whew. Now I feel better.

January 10, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10

Let There Be (Cheap) Light

Last Friday, I left work early to meet my mom for lunch, and to do some shopping. I’d been eyeing this gray felt drum pendant shade from West Elm for a few months for my living room to replace the hideous light fixture that’s there now, and I’d just gotten an email from West Elm with a 15% off coupon. My mom and I were going to walk right by the store, so I figured I’d stop in and see if they had the light in stock. I say that as if I hadn’t already decided to buy it, like I was going in for a casual stroll. No no. I practically ran out of work in the afternoon, I was so high on the adrenaline that accompanies big purchases. I realize this makes me sound like an absolute shopping addict, but c’est la vie.

Anyway, we got to the store and asked a salesperson if they had the lamp in stock. He had to walkie-talkie someone in the back stockroom to confirm, but it turns out they had a few in the store. “Would you like to buy one?” he asked. Isn’t that cute? Would I like to buy one? I was practically hyperventilating at the prospect of finally owning it, and he couldn’t tell I was interested in taking one home with me from the way I was nuzzling against the floor sample, my arms wrapped around the giant shade as if we were long lost lovers. I’m not weird, I just really, really like home goods.

We got to the counter to check out, and what followed was basically the best moment of my entire shopping life. I’m pretty sure if nothing else goes right for me in this world, I will at least have this memory to cherish.

The thing is 26″ in diameter, and beautiful. Did I mention I loved it? Other drum shades like this go for a lot more money, so I was willing to pay $150 for it. Less, actually, because I had my 15% off coupon, don’t forget. But then, Arthur, the wonderful salesperson who forever has a place in my heart, says, “Oh, did I mention it was on sale?” NO, ARTHUR, YOU DIDN’T. Do you know what I love more than anything else in the world, even more than world peace? SALES. Say the word, observe the perfect way it rolls off your tongue. SALE. I’m trying to keep my heart rate down and my eyes in my head, thinking he’s going to tell me it’s $20 cheaper. Imagine the sound my head made when it exploded when it told me what the actual sale price was:

YOU ARE KIDDING ME. Arthur is informed that I will be naming my first born after him, regardless of gender. And then I realize I am so exciting I’m actually sweating. Arthur then solidifies my decision to build a statue of his heroic figure riding a unicorn in bronze, when he says, “Oh, and we’re having an extra 20% off already reduced sale items.” My eyeballs make an audible BOING as then pop out of their sockets. My mother is put on guard in case she has to catch my lifeless body as I faint to the floor.

I’m starting to think that this is a joke, a conspiracy, a candid camera tv moment. THIS CANNOT BE REAL. This is perhaps the single greatest achievement of my young life. What, mom? You thought that college diploma I got was something special? DO YOU NOT SEE HOW MUCH MONEY I JUST SAVED?

And then, the piece de resistance, the moment that will forever be engrained in my memory as the time I saved so much money I sweat through three layers of clothing: Arthur, beautiful, kind Arthur, he of the West Elm name tag and walkie-talkie, my best friend in the entire universe, says, “Didn’t you say you had a coupon?” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOW COULD I FORGET I HAD A COUPON? YES, YES I HAVE A COUPON. 

 I don’t remember what happened next because I lost consciousness. My mom tells me I had a grin from ear to ear and laughed maniacally when Arthur (BLESS YOUR SOUL, ARTHUR) joked that he could charge me the full price if I wanted him to. Apparently I kept saying “NO WAY” really loudly every time he told me the new, lower price and just assumed I didn’t want to pay it. Isn’t he cute? My mom and I got lunch after I paid for the lamp so I wasn’t able to take it with me out of the store that day, lest I wanted to crash into a million people all afternoon with an enormous box. I did go back for it the next day, though.

So that is the story of how I saved over $100 on a lamp, aka the best story of my life. The only minor downside is that they were out of stock of the ceiling conversion kit to hang the damn thing, so it’s sitting in the box in my house. Once it’s hung I’ll take millions of pictures of it in all its glory.

January 9, 2012 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 24

Friday Five

Happy Friday! And I’d first like to give a shout out to Fitz, who turns 1 year old today! I was hoping that he’d wake up today and decide to be less of a maniac, but no dice. The other night he stole a whole sweet potato from the kitchen and starting chewing it. In front of me. Like it was a toy. And he didn’t seem to understand why I got so upset. Obligatory picture of the birthday boy over on 365 later today.

Today is also the first Friday Five of 2012! I wasn’t good about doing these regularly last year, at least not for the first few months after I came up with the idea, but this year I’m going for the full 52 (or how ever many Fridays are in this calendar year, I’m too lazy to count). Without further ado…

1. Striped tote / 2. Je T’Aime poster /  3. C’est La Vie card / 4. Limiting my technology / 5. At Home With White

I’ve mentioned my love of Etsy store Rib & Hull before, the Warsaw based designers of incredible wool and felt bags and Mac cases, but somehow refrained from obsessing over this black & white striped tote. The whole bag is hand crafted from natural canvas and leather, and feeds my crazy addiction to stripes. Unfortunately, this winter weather makes it nearly impossible for me to carry any bag on my shoulder without wrestling down my enormous puffy winter coats sleeves, so this might be better suited for warm weather. But I promised Annie I wouldn’t talk about warm weather because warm weather means warm weather clothing, and the both of us are on a spending freeze when it comes to more clothing. I’m betting her resolve is better than mine, because I can’t go 2 days without buying something. I’ve tried.

The “Je T’aime” poster by Swedish designer and art-director Therese Sennerholt appeared in one of my favorite interior shots of all time, and I’ve spent an ample amount of energy tracking it down:

from here

The poster is a) Swedish and b) in French, so naturally it is perfect for me and I must make it mine. I finally was able to figure it out thanks to a new blog I stumbled across that I am totally in love with, Vosges Paris, an interior design blog that combines the writer’s, AND I QUOTE, “love for French grays and Scandinavian whites.” I’m pretty sure this blog is my soulmate. All she has to do is feature macarons one time and I’m going to lose my mind. Anyway, the poster is reasonably priced and might make an appearance in my house sometime soon. I just have to find a really old leather chair to sit it next to. Tell me the styling of that shot is incredible?

Continuing on with the French theme, the “C’est La Vie!” card from Rifle Paper Company is so darling I can’t even stand it. When my dad told how much he loved me, he always said, “I love you so much I could bite my toes!” I don’t know why, but it’s one of those phrases that’s stuck with me and I’ve come to use it on lots of things. Thus: that card is so darling I could bite my toes! The mixture of French, rain, a neckscarf, a striped shirt, and lipstick is just adorable. At $4, it’s a total steal and I’m going to buy one and frame it and put in on my desk. (See what I mean about not having any restraint when it comes to buying things?)

I’m going to skip number 4 for a moment, and head right to #5 on this week’s list, which is a book that was perhaps written solely for me. “At Home With White.” From what I can tell, since it hasn’t been released yet, or maybe it’s  being re-published, I don’t know, the book is a collection of home design images and tips for having all-white interiors. How to layer white, how to balance it, how to roll around on your painted white wood floors delirious with delight, etc etc. It comes out at the end of February, and I’m really considering taking the day off and showing up at the bookstore first thing in the morning. Is that weird? Probably. But someone out there not only gets me, they wrote me a book, so respect must be given.

Okay, so back to #4. The Blackberry with the “No” symbol through it. I woke up on January 1st and made a last minute resolution: I want to limit the amount of screen-time connectivity I have in my daily life. I work at a job where I sit in front of a computer anywhere from 8-10 hours a day. In the mornings, the first thing I did was reach for my Blackberry to check for facebook notifications or emails or twitter updates. I would be online on my phone during my commute to work, at a computer all day, and then on my Blackberry on my way home, where I would walk in the door and promptly boot up my iMac or my macbook and surf some more. I hate it. I hated feeling hyper-connected all the time. I missed the days when I didn’t have to worry about facebook. I made the choice New Years day to delete the facebook and twitter apps from my phone, to not check my phone once during my commute in the morning or on the bus home, and the resolution that when I come home from work, I do not touch my computers. My life has improved in the span of a week. I’m reading more, playing chess at night, having conversations with people, playing with my dog more, taking real photographs. Anything my phone has to tell me, with the obvious exception of phone calls, I have access to all day at my computer. I’m considering deleting my email from my Blackberry as well; it’s only my personal email, nothing is so important that it can’t wait until I get to work. This means that when I turn my work laptop off at 5:30, I check out, I sign off for the night. I’m done. No facebook, no email, no twitter. This change has this made me happier and less anxious. I’m more productive when it comes to this blog, because I have taken away my option of sitting on the couch with my laptop all night. I’m even debating downgrading my cell phone to a non-smartphone (I refuse to call them “dumb phones” when they do exactly what cell phones are supposed to do).

I know it seems counterintuitive to make this choice given that, uh, I have a blog and it’s on the internet and it requires attention and maintenance. But I just feel like I’m wasting $30 a month on a data plan (okay, fine, my mother is wasting $30 a month on my data plan, because yes, I am 25 years old and still on my mom’s family plan, SUE ME) to tell me things I either don’t want to know or things I am capable of finding out from the computer I’m in front. It’s surprisingly liberating, but it’s only been 5 days. We’ll see if I end up in withdrawal.

Okay, so spill. Have you been keeping your resolutions so far? What about my self-imposed technology-ban? Would you ever try it? Do you think you could survive? And what are you up to this weekend? Tomorrow is supposed to be fairly warm (in the 50s, they’re saying!) so I think I’ll take the birthday boy to the dog park and let him get beat up by bigger dogs. He loves it. See you on Monday, kiddos!

January 6, 2012 / art / photo / design / fashion / vanity / Friday Five / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

You Ruined It.

I found my dream room, you guys!

Check that beauty out. All white. Everywhere. Not a speck of color in sight. It’s perfect, it’s heavenly, it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. The room is a concept installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, photographed by Mark Sherwood and Ray Fulton, and on display at the Queensland Museum of Modern Art. It’s called “Obliteration Room.”

Check out that living room! I spy a bunch of IKEA products. And did you notice how everything is white? Because it is! It’s all white!

Aw, look, a woman and child, sitting on the white sofa in the white room, drinking out of white tea cups. Even the little girl has all white on. Oh, um, hey, little girl? You’ve got something on you there. It’s like a sticker. I think there’s one on the table, too. You should clean that up.

Hey, wait, what are you doing?? You’re getting those colored stickers everywhere! Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to put stickers on the walls?! This is getting out of hand. You should stop. It was good when it was white. Come on, let’s put the stickers down before–

Oh my god, oh my god. They’re everywhere. You guys…there are dots….EVERYWHERE. I’m having trouble breathing. I think my heart just deflated and fell out through my belly button. It can’t get any worse than this, can it? It’s can’t, there’s no way–

I’M DEAD. I died. My soul exploded at how sacrilegious this entire thing is.

The purpose of the art installation was for it to end up exactly as it did. Children were given stickers and encouraged to “decorate” (!@!&$(*SJHGFSJHDKAGGJ!#) the room, to live up to its name of “Obliteration Room.” You know why it’s actually called that? Because my soul was obliterated upon seeing it. I can’t believe people let their children do this! This is not art! This is destruction at its worst and a million, rainbow-colored reasons for birth control at its best. Obviously you cannot have children and an all-white home. GUESS WHICH ONE I CHOOSE.

(I’m posting this for therapeutic reasons, so that I may become more comfortable with it. It’s the same reason I watched “Little People, Big World”; to become desensitized to midgets, sorry, dwarves, sorry, Little People. It’s all about facing your fears. And apparently I fear nothing more than all-white rooms being RUINED by color. Except for spiders. And elevators.)

January 5, 2012 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

Garland

Sorry if things look weird around here. I spent yesterday coding intermittently and changing some things around. So if things are looking a bit, um, awkward, keep hitting refresh until they look somewhat cohesive. And forgive that awful new header. It’s only my 7th in 11 months, and I’m still super unsatisfied with it. It is very much a placeholder at the moment.

A while ago, back in the baby-days of this blog, I posted about a house tour that was giving me Office Envy. Specifically, this picture:

 I mean, come on, right? While I don’t have a pink office or fancy tassel garland, I do have my own white lacquer West Elm Parsons desk, which ended up appearing on one of my girl Annie’s posts, which is in fact how we even met (Annie, look at our cute little comment exchange in your thread!). This was an important post for me, even though I was a Bad Blogger back then and left 2 comments un-responded-to. Shame on moi! In the post, I also called out how fabulous (and fabulously overpriced) that tassel garland was. And it is. Absolutely fabulous and crazy expensive. A girl can dream, though, right?

Well, the way things work around here is that I dream about something and obsess over it for an ample amount of time and then forget about it entirely, exhausting the need to buy it (hopefully). Such was the case with that tassel garland, until I read Theresa’s post on the best trends in fashion & home design in 2011 and voila! There was the gorgeous garland in all of its sparkly, flowy glamour. And it was like a piece of my heart I hadn’t known was missing was filled in again, and the angels sang in all their reverent glory. “There you are, tassel garland!” I cooed, ” I can’t believe I ever forgot about you!” (You totally think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? Do you know me at all?)

UGH. WHY ARE YOU SO PRETTYYY. And why do you cost $130??

Wait. Wait. IT COMES IN OTHER COLORS? Say it ain’t so!

Honestly, I’m still in love with it. Maybe even more in love with it now that I know it’s available in this hue. But despite my well-paying job I am still no closer to justifying spending $130 on tassel garland than I was when I was unemployed and broke. But aren’t the colors so incredible? I love the mix of blues and minty green and silver and rosy bronze. If I can’t spend $130 on sweetly colored decorative garland, maybe I’d be willing to spend my money on clothing and accessories in the same colors? (This is called a segue, observe its literary powers of transition.)

1. Shirt / 2. Cashmere sweater / 3. Sequin scarf / 4. Ballet flats / 5. Oxfords / 6. Glitter Loafer / 7. Rebecca Minkoff Bag / 8. Bronze Skirt / 9. Pleated Skirt / 10. Clutch

Okay, so those mint patent oxfords are 11 types of ridiculous, but they are pretty much the perfect shade of sea-foam blue-green, aren’t they? And they are kitsch enough to be cute, even if they aren’t practical. I knew J Crew would come through in a big way (both tops and the glitter loafers are theirs) because I remember a few years ago my sister (in-law, though I hate qualifying it like that; she is my sister and has been since I was 5) and I sat on her couch and looked through/drooled over the spring J Crew catalog and it was just page after page of that color scheme. We decided “Vespa green” was the name of the shade of those green ballet flats, from Topshop, after the iconic Italian moped. Both skirts come from Topshop, who has a surprising number of skirts of all lengths and (questionably tacky) patterns. These two mimic the same shape of the tassels as well as the colors, and would look darling paired with a bright opaque tight. To bring in a bit of sparkle, the gold sequin scarf from Bando and the glitter loafer from J Crew fit the bill nicely. I’m in love with the shape of the loafer, though I don’t think glitter is appropriate for just any day. And I’ve been lusting after a Rebecca Minkoff “Morning After Mini” bag for a while, but in black, not the bronze one. Still, the shape is the same and the color works for our purposes. That oversized silver clutch is from Zara and is on mega-sale. I just eyed it up in person at the store, and it’s pretty great for a night out.

These colors are making me think ahead to spring, when my day will not start with temperatures in the teens and chunky snow boots and puffy coats. The weather on the east coast took a big dip after New Year’s and has been so bitter the past few days. Some girls look like cute little snow bunnies all bundled up in their winter gear, but not moi. I look like an abominable snow man in a mish-mash of dark brown and black and gray. It’s really, really appealing if you’re into that sort of giantess thing.

I swear this isn’t the last time I’m going to pimp this, but maybe the third to last? Who knows! Regardless, if you haven’t checked out my 365 Project yet, what are you waiting for??

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January 4, 2012 / design / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 27