Paris. And I’m famous!

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

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

Why, you ask? Oh, no reason:

from here

from here

from here

from here

from here

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

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

IKEA Catalog

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Have a great weekend, kiddos! Any exciting plans?

Now with more elitism!

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the pinning has begun.

Moral of the story: PATIENCE PAYS OFF.

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

Friday Five, Big Poppa edition

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

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

Five things I love thanks to my dad:

 

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

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

The Burning of the House of Lords, JMW Turner

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

A Fish Called Wanda, Amazon

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

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

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

Paris, photo by Jens Versteegden

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

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

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

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

*this cannot be proved, but my dad swears he came home and Otis was missing from his little tank. with the snap-on lid. and we never found his body. and my dad loved eating frogs legs. you do the math.

The damage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspiration

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

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

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

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

Love, Etc.

Hello out there! I’m not dead. Nor did I fall down another flight of stairs and land in the ER, again. I’ve just been wholly inundated with the enormous, obnoxious, horrendous task of moving. You know, that old beast that rears its ugly head every 12 months and makes you cram all of your belongings into boxes and bags and schlep them from one place to another. This time, on top of all the usual hellacious-ness that comes along with moving, I got an extra special treat: moving in 110 degree weather! Aren’t I lucky? It actually would have been fortuitous timing if I’d been laid up (again) on crutches and unable to lift even the lightest of boxes from my apartment. Drat.

But it’s over now, thank god, and I’m mostly unpacked and settled in, and I’m happy to report that my new place is far nicer than my last place already, because it doesn’t have a fireplace that drops whole bricks down the flue while you’re trying to sleep (it does, however, seem to have an affinity for GIANT SPIDERS, OMG. I’ve killed like 3 in the last 2 weeks). Also, my new place comes with a pretty cute roommate, whereas at my last apartment, I was my own cute roommate (and I lived up to the title whole-heartedly, I’ll have you know).

As a treat to myself, and to ward off any lingering post-traumatic stress from lugging boxes down the stairs, then up the stairs, then down the stairs, and sweating through my throwback New Kids on the Block t-shirt (jealous?) I took myself to see Love, Etc last night. It was the first time I’d ever gone to see a movie alone, though I’m sure I missed large bits of the movie because I was too busy being all self-congratulatory and sussed with myself for being brave enough to wander into a social event solo. It was exciting! I had BOTH armrests to myself!

Oh, and the movie was really, really lovely and I recommend you run right out and see it. If it doesn’t make your heart swell, you must not have one at all.

It was beautifully done, perfectly paced and the stories of everyone involved were all equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking in their own ways. The most profound statement about love came from Gabi, the (gorgeous) 18 year old Brazilian idealist: “Love is like building a house. Every day, you add a brick. Love isn’t, ‘Oh, she’s so beautiful, now I’m in love.’ No. Love is something you build with someone.” And interestingly enough, one of the men in the film, Scott, is a director and is seen attending his opening night of the play “The Understudy”, which I went to see last January! The play was hilarious and a real gem, and not just because Zach Morris was in it.

But of course, the elderly couple just stole my heart. All I’d like(/want/need), more than anything else in the world, is to end up like that little old couple. Crazy in love with someone for 50 years.

Go out and see it immediately! Even if the only date you can find is yourself, you’ll be happy you went.

Wanderlust

Do you want to hear something terribly distressing? My credit card company raised my credit limit a staggering amount the other day. Staggering as in, triple my current limit. Like, out of no where they just up and decided to tempt me with a hugely increased credit limit. I pay my bill on time, in full every month (usually before it’s due), so why are you punishing me, Capital One?

I mean, okay, to them, they probably thought this was a perfectly acceptable, nice gesture to show me I’m building credit responsibly, and here is my reward for being a diligent borrower. To me, they might as well have mailed me a box full of gremlins laced with anthrax for all the gesture of good will means. I briefly debated calling Capital One, giving them the address of my blog, and being like, “Are you trying to kill me? Bankrupt me? WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE?”

Of course, I know they want me to spend more. It’s evil. They gave me that huge increase in the hopes I’ll use every last dime of it and then have to pay them hundred in interest attempting to pay it off. Well! The joke’s on you, Capital One, because I’m not biting.

(Though, let’s be honest, I had a total Scrooge McDuck moment and might have had visions of doing this.)

Think of all the things I could buy! Like this, or this, or maybe even these. I could even buy all three, and still have room on my credit card for way, way more.

But then, of course, logic reigned me back in, and I realized that my current, patented system of ‘Saving Up to Buy Things’ will work out better for me in the long run. Credit should only be used for emergencies, like when you leave your debit card at a bar (me), or in a rest-stop ATM in New Jersey (you know who you are), or perhaps for world travel. Because, at present, the only emergency presenting itself to me is a dire need of a European vacation.

See, there’s a chance I’ll spend a little over a week gallivanting around Italy this fall (not because of my newly enhanced credit limit, no, but that certainly would make things a little easier). Exciting, si?  Naturally, the nerd in me is very excited over the architecture and history and culture and the food, oh my god, the food. Can you imagine how good Italian food tastes in Italy? If I don’t gain a substantial amount of weight in the time I’m there, I’ll have considered the whole thing a waste.

Of course, it’s all up in the air right now, and nothing has been finalized and actual plane tickets have not been purchased. But that shouldn’t stop me from obsessing about what I’d wear on the plane ride, right? Right. Which is why, after spotting this bag, I immediately created  my ideal long-plane-ride outfit, one that has the perfect balance of comfort and style:

 

1. Chiffon trim Racerback Tank, Old Navy. I usually don’t even like racerbank tanks, but the color on this (not to mention the price: $20!) is absolutely perfect. It looks soft enough to fly for 7+ hours in without bunching weirdly on your back or being itchy.

2. Cardigan, Boy by Band of Outsiders. I know this cardigan is over $500, and no, I didn’t pick up drugs as a hobby. I obviously do not intend to buy this exact cardigan, any gray cardigan will do (you know, to counteract the air conditioning that always seems to be set to 55 on planes).

3. Washed Canvas bag, ASOS. I’ve already professed my love for ASOS way back when, but this store is so fabulous it deserves another round of complements. This bag is absolutely perfect for a carry-on piece, and I imagine it will hold my laptop, a magazine, a book, and all of the other various and sundry items I tend to carry on planes (toothbrush, ipod, tissues, a clean pair of underwear in case the airline loses my luggage, as has happened at least 3 times to me). It is even good for carrying around the destination city and accumulating all the little travel souvenirs I like (/want/need)  to collect (matchbooks, cafe napkins). And it was $25. Like, want, need, bought.

4. Women’s Classic in Slate, TOMS Shoes. They don’t look comfortable, but I can’t swear to that, as I’ve never tried a pair on. I love the idea behind TOMS, though. I have already bought a pair for a friend’s baby (hi Elle!) and oh my god, you’ve never seen something as cute as baby Toms. These just seem lightweight and easy to slip on and off during the extended molesting TSA employees administer these days.

5. Chinos, Topshop. I made the mistake once on a flight to London of wearing jeans. It was an overnight flight. Thankfully, the flight was virtually empty, and I was able to claim a row of 3 seats for myself and stretch out and sleep most of the  journey. Unfortunately, sleeping for 6 hours in jeans is the equivalent of sticking your legs in a waffle iron. Circulation to my feet had been severed somewhere over Greenland, and I had marks and pocket outlines on my stems for what felt like days after getting off the plane. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson, and I only fly in leggings or loose, cotton pants. Like these chinos. I own a similar pair, and I’ve already given them notice that they may get the honor of accompanying my lower half overseas.

6. Crumpled City Map, Junk Skull. Oh, and speaking of Italy, how darling are these crumpled city maps from Italian designer Emanuele Pizzolorusso? They are soft, waterproof maps that are meant to be balled up and thrown in the bottom of your bag as you travel. Adorable and functional. I’d love to frame a map I took abroad with me when I got home.

7. Layton Chronopgrah Watch, Micheal Kors. Of course, you’ll need a watch to set to local time, and if this doesn’t just fill that role gorgeously, I don’t know what will. And it’s on sale!

 

Any exciting travel plans coming up for you guys? Or, do you have a specific thing that you can’t get on a plane without? I’d love to know!

Stay cool this weekend, kiddos.

 

Paint vs. Stain: The Outcome

As anticipated, the weather was absolutely glorious and sunshine-y all weekend, leaving me fresh out of excuses to schlep the little side table from this post outside to sand the bejesus out of it. I should preface this entire post with the disclaimer that aside from one other table and a few rooms, I am by no means a skilled painter. In fact, I’ve never sanded or primed anything in my life. However, looking at the grossness of the table, I knew sanding wasn’t up for debate. It had to be done, lest I live forever with scratches of “CK” etched into the front of it (Calvin Klein? Crack Kills?). Someone was kind enough to leave me a wad of chewed gum on the front, too. Yummy!

First, a quick trip to Home Depot was in order. I picked up a sample can of Behr’s “Fountain Spout”, a mini paint tray, and a 6-pack of 100 grit sandpaper. Total cost: $8.70. Bonus, I ran into a kid I went to middle school with that I hadn’t seen since in the paint department (hi, Vance!). Don’t ask me how I settled upon this particular paint color. I had Behr’s “Monet Lily” in mind, but it turned out to be too lavender-y in person (weirdly), and this one jumped out at me while I was standing there.

My sand-paper-virginity became apparent as I was standing in the aisle looking at all of the various types and sizes and grits of sandpaper, my mouth agape. What is the difference between 80 grit and 100? Why are some sheets the size of 8.5″ x 11″ paper and some are little sponges? I know I was standing in a home improvement store, surrounded by knowledgable staff who could have easily answered my questions and pointed me to the right product for this undertaking. Instead, I grabbed the first pack I saw that said “Wood” on it and called it a day.

After giving it a good, quick cleaning with a few wet rags, I got ready to sand. I figured I would just hold the sandpaper in my hand and scrub away at the guh-ross yellow/orange stain and various scratches and indiscriminate globs of junk. Little did I know this would have been much more easily accomplished if I had bothered to read the back of the package in the store; I would have seen that I needed a hand-sander. You know, an actual machine that would do this for me. Sigh.

saying goodbye to the gum…

Oh, so halfway through I realized how flimsy the top rail was on the back of the desk. It was stuck on with two nails, and had an accumulation of gunk and crud in it that I was never going to be able to sand or clean properly if I didn’t just take the whole thing off. So I did. I don’t regret it at all.

 

see all that dirt? Yuck.

I used all 6 pieces of sandpaper, whether due to my own incompetence  with the process of sanding or  because this thing had about 12 layers of mismatched varnish and dirt on it. I wiped it down with some more wet rags before bringing it back in. And let me tell you, the stuff that came off on those rags was disgusting. And yellow. Getting as up close and personal with this guy as I did made me realize it wasn’t as “cute” as I originally thought, and the lingering guilt I had over not staining it a rich, dark brown and restoring it to its original glory was quickly dispelled when I realized that this thing never had any original glory. Fug Since Day 1.

Now, I know the smart, fume-conscious choice would have been to keep the thing outside and prime and paint it in the open air, but I live on a main street, and I didn’t feel like squatting in awkward positions in my oversized painting-designated-t-shirt and gym shorts will wielding a paintbrush. Believe it or not, I do have some dignity left. I also tend to talk to myself while painting or working on a project (or just like, sitting there) and didn’t want to scare the neighbors.

I found this can of primer in my storage unit in my building. I know it’s mine, that I didn’t steal it from a neighbor, but I can’t tell you why I have it, especially since at the beginning of this post I swore I’d never primed anything. It’s a mystery! I slathered on 2 coats of primer, waiting an hour in between coats to let it dry fully. I can follow some directions! Plus I had to stop and have a bowl of corn flakes.

first coat of primer

Despite the primer claiming it was a primer and sealer in one, I was worried that the yellow-ish tint of the wood was still showing through even after the first coat of primer was on. The second coat, however, really covered everything nicely.

After this coat I was able to really notice how ugly and un-help-able the knob on the little drawer was (no picture, because again, the grossness). While I waited for the second coat of primer to dry so I could begin the fun part (I know it’s basically the same premise, painting primer and painting paint, but I don’t consider priming “fun”), I walked over to Anthropologie (swoon!) to pick up one of these little glass knobs. Obviously I could have found something cheaper than this one, which was almost the same price as all of the supplies I bought at Home Depot combined. But then, this would be someone else’s blog, and I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet, but if I like it, it doesn’t matter how impractically priced it is. I will buy it.

first coat of “Fountain Spout”

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with the color as I was applying the first coat. I know I chose it for how icy and pale a shade of blue it was, but it just seemed too pale, too white. But after a second coat, and some last minute hole filling (someone had made some pretty impressive pencil-sized holes on one edge of the desk), drumroll please….

And of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to decorate it a little bit:

And there you have it! I’m really, really pleased with the final result. All in all, it took 5 hours of painting and waiting for paint to dry. Here’s the budget breakdown, if you’re curious:

Desk: $10, Craigslist
Paint & supplies: $8.70, Home Depot
Glass knob, $8, Anthropologie

Total: $26.70 and totally worth it.

This was probably the most productive weekend I’ve had in a while, and now I have the project-bug: I want to tackle as many things as I can! This is also the longest post I’ve ever had. That’s what she said.

Friday Five

Happy Friday everyone! In the interest of full disclosure, and at the risk of painting myself as an even bigger nerd than you no doubt pegged me for, I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night (er, this morning?), at midnight. No, I did not dress up, and yes, I did cry, but please still be my friend. It was really, really incredible (even though I totally thought it needed more Gary Oldman), but needless to say I am really, really tired. While I’m understandably sad about the series being over, it was a great way to kick off a 3 day weekend (what? you think I got home at 3am and then went to work 4 hours later? are you kidding? I am not fit to be released into public with under 8 hours of sleep, fyi).

Anyway, the weather is supposed to be beautiful all weekend, so maybe it’s high time for me to get to work on painting/staining (?!) that little side table. Though only 3 of you voted, the “paint” people have the majority. I already have a few different ideas in mind!

Until I return with a completed project, let’s take a peek at some things that tickled my fancy this week, shall we?

 

Bath bins, from Target

I bought these on Monday (and they STILL HAVE NOT SHIPPED, COME ON) and am totally smitten with them. I plan on putting them in my bathroom and putting extra hand-towels and small toiletries I’ve stolen from various hotels in them. Maybe some eau de toilette, if I’m feeling bold. And, as we’ve already established, if it has French on it, I will buy it. Especially if it’s under $10. These were a total steal!

Anchor tote, from B&N

Yes, you read that correctly. This adorable little tote bag is from Barnes & Noble. There’s an anchor on one side and a teeny sail boat on the other. Can you just imagine carrying this around on the beach? Well, not me. I am morbidly opposed to sand (yes, sand). So it’s more like I can imagine carrying this around the city in the 105 degree hot streak we had this week. B&N is running a promotion currently where if you buy any two books/items, you can buy the tote for only $13. That’s a pretty sweet deal for such a perfect summer bag. The upside is, you can use it to carry your new books!

 

Lambskin pouch, from Rennes

I can’t justify buying yet another pouch or wallet of some kind, but the leather on this little guy looks so supple I can’t help but love it. I don’t even know what I would put in it, but I’m really digging the masculine appeal. And the color is so unassuming, and still so buttery and perfect. Check out that liner fabric! If it came with a wrist strap, I would consider buying it to use to carry my blackberry, ID, some cash, and a chapstick out to a casual dinner. Probably for the best that it doesn’t, though.

 

 

Industrial Side Table, from Home Decorators

This table looks oddly similar to this one from Urban Outfitters, doesn’t it? In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re the same table. Only, I have a $10 off coupon from Home Decorators I received in the mail, and shipping is free, whereas buying it from Urban Outfitters would cost me an extra $10 on shipping (that $10 matters to me, obviously). All money aside, this table is gorgeous, and fits perfectly in with my new obsession with Industrial Chic. It would make a good bar cart, or an entryway table, or even a great night table. I love the steel legs and those distressed wooden beams. Swoon!

 

The new season of HGTV Design Star

The new season of Design Star started on Monday night, and I’m hooked! I watched the very first season and then must have been in a coma for the ones after it (wow, there have been 5?!), but managed to catch the commercials for this season during one of the many House Hunters International marathons I watch. And man, the competition is fierce! Sure, I fancy myself a decorator and can paint a wall like the best of them, but as far as my actual Interior Design skills go? Ya’ll, you do not want me wielding a power tool or building custom frame headboards. Although, one aspiring designer on Monday’s episode threw a blanket over a piece of plywood (literally!) and called it a headboard, so maybe I have a shot after all! My pick for the season is Kyle. I think that’s his name.

 

Got any hot plans (pun intended if you live on the sweltering east coast!) this weekend?Have you checked out Design Star? Who is your favorite designer so far? Enjoy your weekends, kiddos!