Inspiration

Happy Monday! Yesterday my mom and I went to the theater to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), the completely hilarious play that takes 3 actors and attempts to condense all 37 plays into 2 hours. Lots of awesome accents, quick costume changes, and nerdy Shakespeare humor (read: right up my alley. Did I ever tell you about the time I read Macbeth in 3rd grade?). The 2nd act involves a lot of audience participation, and yours truly was pulled up onto stage by one of the actors during a scene that breaks down Ophelia’s character. I don’t want to spoil it for you, because it is truly worth seeing. My mom and I had actually seen it in London about 10 years ago, and we have been laughing about it ever since, so it was fun to see it again and see if it lived up to our memories of it (it did!). I think our new tradition will be to try and see it in a different country every 10 years (that’s cool, right Mom?).

Anyway, it was a great weekend, but as usual Monday came around too quickly. Here are some drool-worthy interiors to start your week off right:

from here

Wine cork Eiffel tower, oh. my. god. Do windows like that really exist anywhere in the world?


from here

Those dining chairs are the same as the one behind the desk in the photo above, I just noticed that.

from here

Is that pastel canvas not the most beautiful thing in the world? I love that floating white credenza, too.


from here

Amazing mirror. Like I needed to point that out.


from here

Can I buy a radiator for decoration?

from here

You had me at “striped rug,” “Eames chair,” and “sawhorse desk.”


from here

Süsk posted this from her old apartment in Paris, and my heart just exploded.

So, I’m trying something new this week, and posting something EVERY DAY. I might be over-extending myself and if the content isn’t up to par, just let me know. Maybe being a degenerate blogger works better for me, who knows. See you tomorrow!

Friday Five, Lake Vacation edition

Fall is officially officially here, and I am in love with this weather. Every year I forget how delicious the crisp air smells and how much I love living in boots and scarves and drinking hot apple cider. I’m indulging in some totally clichéd fall fun (more than pumpkin picking!) and taking a vacation in the Finger Lakes, in New York state at the beginning of November. I’m excited for scenic drives, orange and yellow leaves, bed & breakfasts, and enjoying the region’s plethora of wine trails (read: getting drunk in nature).

And as we know, I’ll take any excuse to turn something into a material experience. This week’s Friday Five is all about prepping for the ideal fall vacation.

 

Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Finger Lakes, New York

The problem with figuring out where to stay in the Finger Lakes is that there are so many options, and all of them boast the same gorgeous scenery and abundance of vineyards. How I settled on Seneca Lake in particular is a mystery, but you can bet I’m beyond excited to see that view up close and personal. I’m hoping that there are still some leaves left on the trees in a few weeks, and it isn’t too cold to enjoy a hot cup of spiked hot chocolate on the balcony of the bed & breakfast at night.

Flannel boots, Steve Madden

I can’t even take how adorable these boots are. Check out that flannel! These are such an awesome balance between masculine and feminine…or more like 90-10, but still. I can just see myself walking around the rows and rows of grapes, leaves crunching beneath my flannel-lined  faux work-boots. And, because I am a tycoon of internet shopping, I have a coupon code that brings these bad boys down an additional 20%. Now all I have to do is wait until they have my size back in stock. WPP.

 

Plaid throw blanket, Terrain

Now I know, technically, that bed & breakfasts provide their own blankets. But who doesn’t need a little more plaid in their life? And considering this blanket is made by a family-owned wool farm in Ireland, I’m kind of swooning over the idea of wrapping myself up in it. It doesn’t look the slightest bit scratchy, either. Oh, and have we talked about Terrain? That store is incredible.

 

Feu de Bois candle, Diptyque Paris

Sure, spending $90 on a candle may seem a bit excessive. But have you smelled this thing? It smells like crackling firewood and if there was ever a scent associated with this time of the year, it’s a roaring fire. Let’s be honest, the reason it is so perfect (and the reason I was so quick to include it on this week’s list) is because it’s French. So not only will you smell the yummy and smokey smell of “warm, familiar, sophisicated accord of rare woods throughout the long winter days” you’ll smell like a French elitist. Win-win.

 

Abingdon Tote, J Crew

The poor salespeople at J Crew have had to endure me walking in, making a beeline for this bag, and then looking at it and touching it for the next hour. I love this bag. Talk about masculine-feminine. Can’t you just imagine carrying bottles of Seneca-vineyard-made wine back to your room every day? The canvas is a perfect color in real life, and if I didn’t already own 2 bags that look like second cousins to this one, I would’ve snapped it up by now and saved the people at J Crew some exasperated sighs.

Have I inspired you to get rugged and go on a wine tour? Ha. Do you have any fall vacation plans? Or even spring vacation plans? Have a great weekend, kiddos!

(Also, special “hello” to the person who came to my blog after googling “Red Dwarf Porn.” I’m not sure I know how to feel about this.)

Weekend in Pictures

I’m so tired, but isn’t that the mark of a great weekend? Walking the puppy along the beach and laughing as he freaked out when the water came up to him, picking 20 apples from an orchard for $4.75, going to an Italian festival and playing lawn Bocce, having a wine tasting at 11am, stumbling upon a creepy abandoned motel on the outskirts of Atlantic City and being too scared to get out of the car, and wishing I’d never heard the noise Fitz makes when he comes face to face with goats. Oh my god, that screeching howl. Anyway, here are tons of photos, as promised:

 

Happy Monday, kiddos! How was your weekend?

Friday Five

You guys, something very exciting is happening to me today: I’m getting my hair cut! More specifically (and most exciting of all!) I’m getting bangs again. So that picture of me on my About page from when I was 3 years old (and refused to wear pants but would wear sunglasses indoors) is going to be an accurate representation of me again! I still even love turtlenecks, go figure. Though I may have to put a moratorium on wearing turtlenecks while I have bangs; there will be just too much encroaching on my face.

The haircut is just the the tip of the Exciting Iceberg that is this weekend. I’m heading down to Brigantine, New Jersey (and no, we are not allowed to make any references to the festering pile of degradation and spray tans that is The Jersey Shore) for the weekend. Fitz is very excited to run along the beach and has been bugging me all week about whether or not he has to wear his swimmies (yes) and if he’ll be allowed to pee in the ocean (no, but he probably will anyway). Then, on Sunday, we’re heading to our favorite orchard/winery for some apple and pumpkin picking, followed by a wine tasting and loading up the trunk with as many bottles of their delicious Peach wine (trust me on this one!) as we can carry. All this means for you is that I will have tons of photographs to share with you on Monday. Win-win.

Without further ado, here are 5 things that have piqued my interest this week:

 

BookBook laptop case, Twelve South

I had never heard of these before my friend Anna mentioned that she was going to buy one for her new Macbook Air. But now that I know about them, I have to have one. Are you kidding me with how cute that thing is? And practical, since it’s hard-backed, so it will protect the laptop in addition to making it look like a vintage book. Sure, it’s pricey. But you can stand it up on a bookshelf! And again, have we not established that I care more about form than function? BookBook, why you so cute?

 

New Zealand, photo by Simon Smith

Stay with me. I recently got Google Earth (I know, I know, I’m about 2 years late to the party) and I spent all day Sunday “traveling” around the world (I even went to the northernmost tip in Europe, in Finnmark, Norway and found some weird secret bunker/where Santa lives). Aside from the obvious perks of being able to “visit” the Eiffel Tower whenever I want (which has been every 5 minutes for the past week), it’s given me a renewed fascination with New Zealand. The culture (this is the country that has given us “Flight of the Concords” and “Summer Heights High”) and the landscape (see above) are just so appealing to me. I’d love to go someday, and hopefully double up the trip with a nice jaunt in Australia. Until then, I’ll be wandering around on Google Earth.

 

“The Most Beautiful Walk in the World” by John Baxter

I picked up this book only a few hours after I saw “Midnight In Paris” because the back cover promised something equally as enchanting as that movie: an account of the Paris of pedestrians, told through historic vignettes and present-day stories, the former of which included copious references to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, all the major players in Woody Allen’s movie. And it didn’t disappoint. I finally finished it this week and just wanted to give it a big hug afterwards. Baxter is just so likable, even though part of me hates him for being an accomplished writer living in Paris with his Parisian spouse and making a living spending his days helping friends buy Matisse prints or giving walking tours to clueless Americans. I just ordered “We’ll Always Have Paris” by him, which promises to be chock-full of stories of love and sex in the city of light. I can’t wait!

 

“West Forty Third Street” and “Central Park South” by Joseph O. Holmes

These photographs of New York are absolutely amazing. The detail captured in each of them is just ridiculous. I wish either of them were still available for purchase, though I think I’d have a hard time choosing between them. Joseph O. Holmes is a Pennsylvania native (yeah, PA!) and he is currently documenting the Occupy Wall Street protests over on his blog. I love photography, and these photos make me want to be better at it. That’s why I love them.

 

Sidecar High Dining Table, CB2

I’ve lusted after this table for awhile, and even tried to talk my friend Aisling into buying it for her new apartment just so I could visit it and cuddle it when she wasn’t looking. I don’t have a need or the space for an additional dining table, but if I did, this would be the table I’d choose. I’m aware it’s completely impractical for any household with more than 2 people (or even 2 people who don’t love all-white interiors or sleek, clean lines) but could you just check out those shelves on the end? So incredible.

What are you up to this weekend? Any seasonal activities like apple picking? Have a great one, kiddos!

Inspiration

If you were to visit my “Interiors” board over on Pinterest, the first thing you’d notice is that there is a lot of white. Like, an overwhelming amount of white, disproportionate, even. Like, might-not-have-been-born-with-the-ability-to-see-colors white. I could go on, but all you really to need know it (in case you have not gleaned this about me by now) is that I love all-white interiors. Preferably Scandinavian, though the French run a close second. (Random side story: over the past weekend, during a particularly competitive game of flip cup, a new recruit was placed on boyfriend’s team, and we racially-profiled decided he looked like he had wandered out of an IKEA catalog, so there were definite chants of “IKEA! IKEA! IKEA!” as he chugged his beer. Wait, where was I going with this? Some Scandinavian reference? Pretend this made sense, thanks!)

ANYWAY, here are some inspiring interiors that happen to be all white. Don’t say you didn’t see this coming.

from here

Is this not the most perfect dining room you’ve ever seen? Check out that door. And those windows! My goodness, do people actually live like this? Do they need a roommate?

from here

I don’t care if I kicked the wall every night, I’d gladly sleep here. Though I’d have to invest in a sleep mask because LOOK AT ALL THAT LIGHT.

from here

Distressed leather chair, French typography poster, single bulb pendant lamp, white floors and walls. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you asked for a list of Things About This Photo That Make Me Hyperventilate.

from here

In all of my wildest interior design fantasies, this is the exact entry hallway I’ve pictured, right down to the painted white brick (!!) and a skylight.

both from here

You’d think these two would be in Sweden somewhere, wouldn’t you? It’s surprisingly New York. Interior Designer Magdalena Keck is a genius and someone should just give her Swedish citizenship for her ability to make me weep openly over how badly I want that kitchen.

 

from here

This hallway is ten kinds of perfect, and 9 of the reasons are that floor.

BRB, have to go clean up the puddle of my drool. In the meantime, which of these are your favorite? Or do you totally reject all-white interiors? I’m very nosy.

Muted tones

You know that scene in Sex and the City, from season 3, where Carrie and Big run into each other at that furniture show/auction and she asks where his wife is? He says, “She’s got her eye on a beige chair. Everything in my apartment is now beige. Beige is bullshit.” Big’s answer was sort of the inspiration for this post. Well, sort of, minus the profanity.

Beige has been on my mind recently. Perhaps because, like Big, everything in my apartment is now beige. See, when I moved in with boyfriend, I was moving into his fully-furnished house, the walls of which were painted paper-bag-brown by the builder in what I can only imagine was a decision he thought would be appreciated by the owner for not leaving everything stark white. Unfortunately for said builder, he didn’t know that one day I would live there. Boyfriend bought very bachelor-esque furniture after he moved in, including a dark brown leather sofa, chair, and ottoman, a dark brown coffee table, and dark brown bar table and chairs. Do you see where I’m going with this? The leather sofa is dark brown. The walls are beige. The custom built-in for the tv is black. The picture frames (which I have to take sole responsibility for, because I chose them all) are either dark brown or black. I have recently proposed a plan to change the living room from all-beige-all-the-time to something more colorful, while still being respectful of the fact that my name isn’t on the mortgage. But I’m pushy, and (bizarrely) boyfriend likes making me happy (hence why he agreed to paint the bedroom this shade of gray), so hopefully within the next few weeks I’ll have a paint and design project to share with you, with lots of before and after pictures.

Anyway, I was getting sort of tired of the brown and muted tones in my new digs (do I need to even say it? White People Problems), but then I stumbled upon this picture:

And I swear my heart skipped a beat. I don’t know who this woman is, but I’m sure she is gorgeous. I love everything about this photo, from her gold watch and bracelets to her delicate and long fingers to her pale pink manicure to her perfectly curled blond hair. This picture actually excited me about all the beige and brown and tan in my life. Not enough to change my mind about the new paint plan I have for our living room, but enough to take some time to appreciate beige and muted tones, and find some cool ways to incorporate it into any decor, with that incredible photo above as inspiration:

 

1. Drum Pendant, West Elm / 2. essie “Golden Nuggets” and “Case Study” / 3. Throw blanket, West Elm / 4. Faux-pony hair pillow, Barney’s / 5. Placemat, John Derian / 6. Parlour Chair, CB2 / 7. Bronze Flatware, Anthropologie / 8. Candles, Catbird

So I’ve had sort of a roller-coaster relationship with beige (to the extent that one can have a relationship with a color), but I have to say I’m changing my tune. Also, I need to qualify my previous crankiness by saying that sure, sometimes the lack of color on our first floor pokes at the design nerd inside of me, but really, how cranky can one possibly be when you live with something that looks like this: (OBLIGATORY PICTURE OF MY DOG!)

 

Friday Five, Fall edition

First of all, let me apologize for working on some redesign issues yesterday (and, um, today). I don’t know if any of you happened to check out the blog in the middle of one of my millions of changes, but my apologies for having things look a little weird if you did. I’m incredibly difficult to please, apparently, when it comes to this site design, but I’ve made a few changes in a direction I think I’ll enjoy for longer than, say, 2 weeks before I get bored again. The biggest change is the placement of all my old sidebar links (things like my archives, categories, blog roll, etc). I haven’t deleted any of it, just moved it to the footer of the page, where it is magically more organized. This let me make the content space wider, which just means now I’ll get to post BIGGER pictures of my dog. All of the other stuff, including my needs-to-be-updated About page, are now at the top.

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff. It’s Friday, which means it might or might not be time for another Friday Five! Who can tell around here, though. My track record is spotty.

It’s fall, and I’m starting to look ahead to chillier weather and crunching through leaves. So here are five fall things I’m liking this week:

 

The Library Bar at Gild Hall Hotel, New York

I stayed at this hotel last summer on a mini weekend getaway and fell absolutely in love with the whole decor of the place. It’s in the Financial District, so it’s quiet when you come home at 3am after hitting up a corner bodega to pick up a box of mini nilla wafers and a giant bag of salt and vinegar chips and proceed to be loud, annoying drunks. Ahem. Anyway, every room had a custom leather headboard, and the hotel had this gorgeous library bar on the second floor; don’t let the lighting fool you, it was never this bright, which only added to the appeal. It was moody and dark and great for making out in a corner. Big, majestic libraries with lots of leather definitely remind me of fall. I’d recommend Gild Hall in a heartbeat.

 

Brown boots, H&M

I have two great pairs of camel boots, one with a heel and one without, and they are absolutely a fall staple. They go with everything. So I have my fall go-to shoes set, right? Um, I’m sorry, do you not see these booties? I can think of 30 reasons why they are perfect and why I need to have them without even batting an eye. Perhaps the most persuasive reason is that they are under $40. For someone inept at the basic skill of walking upright such as myself, spending an inordinate amount of money on death-trap-heels is a waste. Can’t you just picture wearing these with a pair of dark wool tights and some rich fall colors? These are speaking my language.

 

Fjällräven Kånken Backpack in “Uncle Blue”

For every year of my life between the ages of 4 and 22, fall meant back-to-school. So maybe that’s why I’m drawn to backpacks this season. Fjällräven (which is Swedish for “arctic fox”), has an iconic series of backpacks in tons of colors. I love that you can wear it like a typical backpack or carry it handheld if you wanted. This would be great for a short vacation if you needed just a little extra storage for your laptop, camera, etc. Also, how cute is that little fox?

“Leaves” candle, Slatkin & Co.

You guys, I raved about this candle a while back and at the time, I was trying to fend off the heartbreak of thinking this scent had been discontinued. Thankfully, I was right in thinking that it was just a seasonal scent, and luckily, now that fall is here, it’s back! Don’t be put off by the name. Like I said before, it combines all of the best smells of fall (crisp, cold air, warm apple cider, and crunchy leaves) without being earthy or too sweet. I was so excited to find them back in Bath & Body Works that I couldn’t resist picking one up.

Scotch Naturals Nail Polish, Fall Collection

These colors are so, so perfect for fall. Sure, as far as nail polishes go, $14 a pop is more than a little steep. But given that they are an all natural, water-based, non-toxic alternative to standard nail polish (and that dreamy magenta is called “Macbeth’s Dream”!) they’d make a great gift in individual colors. The only problem is picking one. I’m leaning towards a rich red, called “Blood and Sand,” or maybe “Hot Toddy,” the dark gray-brown.

Happy Friday! What are your weekend plans? I’m planning on tuckering Fitz out at the dog park tomorrow and then giving him a much-needed bath when he’s too weak to resist it. Great parenting!

Colorful Language

Just because it’s officially fall and everything is coming up pumpkin flavored, doesn’t mean I can’t still embrace bright colors wherever I can get them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than ready to stop being absolutely ravaged by mosquitos whenever I set foot outside with even an inch of exposed skin (without any exaggeration, I got at least 65 mosquito bites between June and as recently as yesterday, when one got me through my pants. Industrious! I don’t just get one at a time, either, I usually get 6-10 when they strike); and have I ever discussed my love of wool and plaid and chunky knit sweaters? I already have my first visit to an apple orchard scheduled for mid-October. I love autumn, okay? But really. The one thing missing from the rest of the year is all of the bright colors you can get away with during the summer.

It might surprise you to know that while I adore (understatement of the century) all white interiors, sometimes I want to get all Rainbow Bright up in here and have hot pink pillows on the sofa and spray paint all my furniture yellow. I love yellow, remember? I’m kind of a commitmentphobe when it comes to color, though, so it’s fun to look at inspiring interiors and fashion elements and live vicariously through them. I’m happier in muted tones and sleeping in my dark gray bedroom. Here are some fun and colorful things that are tickling my fancy:

clockwise from top left: bright pillows via flickr / Zara lookbook – TRF September / fabric garland via flickr / colorful kitchen via decor8 / fabric letters from anthropologie / yellow sideboard via flickr /

The collection of fun pillows in the first picture, including that amazing Cheshire Cat pillow, is making me wish I had possessed any design sense when I was a teenager so I could’ve pulled off a bed like that. Or that multicolored hex sideboard. These days, I wish that I was confident in my ability to pull off a bold, blue hat. Or crafty enough to make strings of bunting flags out of fabric squares. But enough being hard on myself! Do I even have to tell you that the yellow sideboard is giving me heart palpitations? I wish IKEA still sold it in yellow. Aren’t those shelves of mismatched colorful dishes so charming? The brightness would undoubtedly drive me insane, but it’s fun to dream.

Happy belated fall, kiddos! What fall-y things are you most excited about?

Remember that animal I invited to live with me?

So I know I flip-flopped about whether or not to order this goddamn camera so many times, but late last week I was finally able to overcome the sweats that always accompany large purchases and just click “BUY,” aided nicely with a notification from Amazon that the item in my cart had dropped an additional $30. It arrived at my work yesterday and my productivity for the day fell off a cliff. Unlike my macbook (the purchase of which I could justify somewhat because now that I am a “serious blogger” I needed to have the ability to lay on the sofa and post, obviously), I’m still having minor palpitations of both the excited and “oh-my-god-did-I-really-just-drop-that-much-money-on-a-camera” kinds every time I remember that, oh yeah!, I bought a new camera! Do you know how many megapixels this baby has? EIGHTEEN! One, two, three, four, five….eighteen! That’s 80% more megapixels than my last DSLR, which translates in 800% more squealing on my part.

But still. I majored in photojournalism, and I developed more rolls of film in high school than the number of boys I kissed (THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING). I’d like to say that I’ll go back to shooting artsy-fartsy stuff, but let’s be honest: we all know that I’m going to take a billion shots of my dog. Remember him? It’s really, really hard to get a decent picture of him indoors because he’s all black and can usually be found laying on our dark leather sofa or his dark doggy bed (WPP #86). But not anymore!

Ignore the fact that I clearly have to vacuum the floor and focus on that silly little beard that makes him look like he is perpetually carrying a cotton ball on his chin.

Fitz is really eager to learn and when he’s not busy being adorable and hopping everywhere, we’ve taught him “come, “paw,” “down,” and “roll over.” We’re working on training him to use the toilet (because, dude, puppy bladders? they are ready to be emptied at 6:30am every day) and how to fetch daddy a beer.

You can safely expect tons more pictures around here. They might or might not be of Fitz, but hey. He’s cute.

 

Airmail

When I was little, I remember spending days at our swimming club splashing around in the shallow end (because I was terrified of going under water, I was just certain I would die instantly. You would think this neurosis would have faded over time, but no, instead it transfered to an irrational fear of sand) and watching my mom sitting on one of the lounge chairs, writing letters to my great aunt in Westcliff-on-Sea, a sweet little seaside town in the southeast of England. Yes, people still wrote letters when I was a kid. My mom and great aunt would write back and forth on beautiful blue airmail stationary. I think that was when I fell in love with airmail stripes. And travel. Though I wouldn’t meet her til a few years later, the idea that I had a great aunt that lived in a far away country was so exciting and romantic. I guess that’s why I find airmail strips so adorable and charming.

There are tons and tons of options for nerds like me who fall in love with things like stripes. And thanks to the magic of the internet, I can collect my very favorite pieces and obsess over crafting airmail-inspired things.

top picture from here / bottom picture from here / tape strips from here / rubberstamp font from here

I was completely inspired by Lauren Elise’s crafts using this airmail washi tape (a roll of which I bought and can’t wait to use) and this Diving Twine. How great and vintage-y is that rubberstamp font? I’d love to create an invitation for a party or something by printing onto mail tags (like the one above), and stringing some of the twine through the hoop. Cute, right? And how adorable are the letterpressed wedding invitations with the airmail theme?

Surprisingly, I’m not very crafty by nature. Sure, I’ve painted a desk or two in my day and I’ll redecorate the same 4 square feet until I’m 10000% satisfied, but I never really had the gene to break out some crafts and make handmade invitations. Until now! The only problem is that the tape is so cute that I want to hoard it and snuggle with it. Now you know what turns me on.

What sort of crafts have you guys been up to lately? Holly over at Love of Life made some really swell fall crafts (like this wreath and this felt flag garland) for staggeringly cheap! And check out these gorgeous hand-printed cards from Süsk. It’s things like that which get me excited about crafting.