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.

Polka Dots

I like to pretend that I am refined enough in my design sensibilities to be unaffected by something as pedestrian and juvenile as polka dots. I like vintage inspired pieces that tend to border on shabby chic. I like sleek, all white, Scandinavian interiors, with minimalist furniture and natural woods. I am mature. But seriously, sometimes I see polka dots and become a dog chasing a laser beam and my brain just explodes with rainbows and giggles and I can’t focus on anything else besides how gosh-darn cute polka dots really are. There are even times when I will pour nonpareil sprinkles into my mouth because there isn’t any real candy in my house. And don’t even get me started on candy buttons, even though the candy to paper ratio you end up ingesting isn’t ideal.

But anyway, polka dots. They’re adorable, they’re cheery. I mean, have you taken time to appreciate polka dots recently? I mean really appreciate them? And not just because they happened to be on your underwear or socks? No? Well let’s start off high-brow then, shall we?

This was the inspiration for this post. Artist Damien Hirst (and his assistants) have painted over 300 of these spot paintings, and this coming winter they will all be shown in a touring exhibition in several galleries around the world. You can buy one of these when they go on sale through London galleries, if you happen to have a cool $75K laying around. Ahem.

However, if you like rainbow polka dots and want to integrate them into your life (I do! I do!), here are a few (cheaper) ways to do it:

 

1. Umbrella, Amazon / 2. Bowl, Fishs Eddy / 3. Plate, Fishs Eddy / 4. Kisslock coin purse, Etsy / 5. Spice Jars, Fishs Eddy / 6. Straws, Sweet Lulu / 7. Japanese Washi Tape, CuteTape / 8. Glasses, Fishs Eddy / 9. & 10. Teapot & Teacup, Cath Kidston

You’ll notice that Fishs Eddy has a lot of polka dot products. It’s not that I’m a lazy blogger, but when life offers you that many products with polka dots, you include them. And if you want proof of my restraint, there was actually a really cute polka dot tea towel that I decided not to include. So there!

This morning I’m hitting up Target with two of my lovely coworkers to browse (JUST BROWSE) the new Missoni collection before we head into work. It’s a tough life.

Laduree & Lidia

Laduree & Lidia. Lidia & Laduree. I was a half a step away from continuing that alliteration and including “lovely” and “luscious.” I’ll let you figure out which adjective goes with which. Yay, games!

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with something beautiful (in this case, food), words are completely unnecessary. This explains why people are so often rendered speechless by the mere sight of my face, and why I can’t have mirrors in my house (this is a burden, you guys). So here are some photographs from last Thursday’s adventures with macaroons and delicious Italian cooking, with limited interruption from my giant mouth (except, obviously, when it comes to licking my screen).

When I die, I want to my otherwordly self to be sent here. After I’m finished haunting all those who have wronged me or withheld macaroons from me in this life. (Maybe it is time to rethink your whole, “You don’t need to buy the box of 30,” stance, boyfriend.)

She’s making this face because I had just asked if she thought I possess any discernable culinary talent worthy of more than concealed laughter and nausea.

And now, the meal, where I tried to capture each dish before I started eating it, but was not always successful. Sorry, it was just too delicious:

SO. Eataly. I’d been there once before, but just to eat a panini and have a glass of wine and a cup of gelato (just). And walk around and admire all of the imported olive oils and smell the fresh-baked bread. Getting to go back again and experience a whole different side of it was a real treat. The little school is a private kitchen with maybe 10, 2-seater, marble-topped tables (which I have been trying to hunt down ever since, because I need one in my house) and a curved island with a cooktop and prep area in one corner. Lidia, who is exactly as cute and sweet in person as you’d expect her to be, wanted us to call out any questions we had about anything, whether or not it was related to what she was doing at that exact moment. I got her take on de-bearding mussels, and boyfriend got a history of the spice trade in northern Italy and why Italians don’t use pepper traditionally. I learned it is perfectly okay to leave mozzarella on the counter instead of in the fridge, and that I really, really like Prosecco. The sommelier of Eataly paired a wine with each of the courses and gave us a history of the grape varietal and how to match wines with certain foods. Turns out, unsurprisingly, my palate is woefully ignorant to anything other than sweet whites.

We were each given an official Eataly folder that contained the menu du jour, all of the recipes from the class (HA, as if I will ever be able to recreate the magnificence that Lidia prepared for us), as well as wine tasting notes. We also were given the opportunity to have Lidia sign our cookbooks and take a picture with her. Hello, Christmas! And I totally got my moment to call out boyfriend for having a massive crush on her. YOU’RE WELCOME, dude.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a beer on the amazing roof-top beer garden while we waited for our bus home and so we could indulge in our high from the afternoon.

And while at the bar, a woman came up to me and asked if my Laduree bag was from the city. I told her it was, and you should have seen this woman’s face light up. I imagine it was exactly what I looked like when I found out they were opening in the states, only my hair has never been able to achieve the level of shine that this woman’s did. But that might have had less to do with macaroons and more to do with her superior grooming habits. Anyway, this totally validated all of the spazzing I did about Laduree and how much I stressed making the trip uptown for these macaroons to boyfriend, who ridiculed that anyone would spend $3 on something bite-sized and kept saying that it couldn’t be that hard to make them, he could totally make them, and are you really going to keep cuddling that bag all day? And then we got home and he tried one and then it was all, “OH. Oh, those are delicious.”

So yeah. You could say it was a good day all around. Understatement of the century.

Also, I love my little point and shoot, but all of the time I have spend adjusting the levels in Photoshop after taking them off my camera makes me wish I had a good DSLR again. I’m getting dangerously close to buying this like I’ve been talking about for months. What? You think I could go an entire post and not mention something I wanted to buy? Whose blog do you think you’re reading?

Friday Five

Hi! I want to start by saying that I’m seriously impressed that I can articulate a thought outside of “ohmygodohmygodmacaroonsmacaroonsohmygod”  and “ohmygodohmygodLidiaLidiaLidiaohmygod” after yesterday. I think I can safely rank yesterday as one of the best days of my entire life, from start to finish. I mean, really, what isn’t to love about getting a day off work to traipse around Manhattan, walking around the gorgeous public library, eating macaroons imported from France, having drink at my very, very favorite bar in the city, having a 4 course meal (& wine pairings) prepared by a famous chef, and then coming back home to a puppy who is beyond ecstatic to see you? I have so much to tell you about Laduree and the Lidia experience, but I’ll wait until Monday for all of the pictures and details (there are lots of both). Don’t worry, I’ll still give you a sneak peak at the action below. I am benevolent like that.

Also, another lovely side-effect of having a Thursday off work is that I only have to wait one day before the weekend arrives. I’m pretty sure this has spoiled me for all future work weeks in the same way that Lidia has spoiled all food not prepared by her for me, and the same way Laduree has spoiled all desserts that are not French macaroons for me. White. People. Problems. Actually, speaking of WPP, my darling friend and ex-roomie Lyndsey provided me with perhaps the most amazing WPP of all time, in reference to her recent drive down the east coast: “I was so frustrated because NPR kept going in and out!” That might trump every other WPP, ever.

Anyway, here are 5 things I’m digging this week:

The New York Public Library, main branch

I’d walked by the main branch by Bryant Park the last time I was in the city, but unfortunately, the last time I was in the city was Memorial Day weekend, and naturally the library was closed. It was on my to-do list this morning, and boy am I glad I got to see it. It is a massive and beautiful building that is seemingly all marble and dark, carved wood inside. The ceilings are cavernous and gilded and hand-painted, and now I totally understand why Carrie wanted to marry Big here. I love libraries. They always smell so good. Oh, and there’s books. I like them because of the books, too.

Macaroons, from Laduree

Have I mentioned yet that I went to the new Laduree in New York? Or that I was really, really excited about it? How silly of me, I thought I already shared that with you. Allow me to fill you in: YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS. These macaroons. They are, and I’m straining to say this politely, an orgasm in your mouth. I know I should be all delicate with them because they cost just under $3 a piece and are not something I can easily go buy more of, but something happened to me when I opened the box, and it wasn’t pretty. I lost all ability to keep my saliva inside my mouth and my clothes spontaneously came off. I might have growled while eating them. From lower left, we have 2 pistachio, 2 rose, a vanilla at the top of the row and a vanilla at the bottom of the 2nd row, caramel with salted butter (OMG WHY DID I ONLY BUY ONE?!), 2 blackcurrant violet, a green apple, a raspberry, a coffee, a lemon, a coconut, and finally a strawberry & mint. I also bought the world’s most expensive carrier bag so I can take my lunch to work and look like a total snob. Horray! More pictures on Monday.

LIDIA, at Eataly

Here, the woman who gives me a flicker of hope that my ability to cook exists is explaining the kind of saute pans she prefers to use. Isn’t she adorable? If you’ve ever watched her show on PBS (and if you haven’t, WTF!) then you definitely get the sense that she is a genuine sweetheart whose passion for food and travel is inspiring. She is so knowledgable, and such a good chef. Really, this might have been one of the most expensive meals I’ve ever had in my life, but it was worth every penny. Again, waaay more pictures to follow on Monday. I have so much to show you!

“A Beautiful Death,” by Jack Crossing

Jack Crossing is a British graphic designer with a really interesting and unique portfolio of work. I stumbled across this bird on a tumblr somewhere without any credit to the image’s creator. Thanks to the (crazy and futuristic!) invention of reverse image search, I was able to track it down. Now I just wish he had a print of this available for sale. Something about it is so haunting and dear. From Jack: “This was a piece I put together last year for a project called RVLR, where a selection of designers, artists, and illustrators were all given the same images and asked to create a new piece of art work.” From me: I really love this image.

Alphabet totes

I bought one of these, with a giant E on it, a few years ago from Urban Outfitters (at an insane mark-up now that I look at it). It has been my go-to bag ever since. Sure, I have a ton of bags and purses, but this tote seems to go with everything, and has held up well to being beaten up over the years. It could use a good washing, but I’m trying to use that as an excuse to buy a brand new one. They have them in a few different color combinations, but my heart is still with the natural & black combo. Really, as far as canvas tote bags go, this is high quality and durable. Plus, I’m a narcissist at heart, so I’m obsessed with my own initial.

This weekend I am hoping to catch up on my sleep and lick the inside of the Laduree box for any crumbs that might have escaped my grasp the first go-around. And, you know, I’ll probably spend the weekend being talked-down from going back to New York to get more. Or to stalk Lidia and make her live with me. What are your hot weekend plans?

Enjoy, kiddos!

The Art of the Steal

Last night I watched the most incredible documentary I think I’ve ever seen (maybe after The Cove, which I would not advise watching if you are prone to crying during mass animal slaughter), called The Art of the Steal, chronicling the outright bastardization of Albert C. Barnes‘ will and trust, and the moving of his private, intended-for-education, premier-in-the-world collection of Post-Impressionist and Modern art, by both “charitable” institutions and the city I live in, Philadelphia.

Up until last night, I could turn a blind eye to every negative thing someone said about my city. I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school and college in this city. I work here. I live here. I was proud of this city, despite it’s obvious flaws and shortcomings. I can live with flash mobs (not the fun, dance-y kind you see on commercials) and terrible infrastructure and even the accent that I seem to be immune to, but the systematic and calculated degradation of a man’s will and the planned theft of his collection for profit and tourism? Not something I can take lightly. I am downright ashamed of my city after watching this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMe3r9PLtpI

It reminds me of an unpublished Shakespearean sonnet: How can I invalidate your will? Let me count the ways!

I’m all for making art, especially great art like that in the Barnes collection (181 Reniors! Be still my heart!), more accessible to a broader group of people in an effort to enrich their lives and provide an unparalleled cultural experience. But if the person who owns the art wants to keep it as a school? You listen to the owner. Even after he dies.

Having been to his Foundation and the grounds he intended the collection to stay in, and also have grown up only 5 minutes from the new location, I think I can safely be completely enraged like I’ve never been enraged before. White People Problem #3 (after “The dry cleaners didn’t use starch!” and “There isn’t enough hot water for my bath!”) is: They are trying to mess with art! The “they” in this film is as varied as our former mayor, former governor, and a whole host of other baddies who should hope I never, ever meet them in a dark alley.

If you love art and/or have a conscience, you need to see this movie.

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!

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.

Friday Five

It’s officially summer this week, but all that really means for me is that now I get to exist in a state of perma-uncomfortableness. My apartment, with its window air conditioner, isn’t nearly cool enough in the mornings for me to blow-dry my hair without having to wipe sweat off my face afterwards, but my office takes the warmer weather a sign that it should be even colder inside, so I have to bring sweaters to avoid freezing to my desk chair. Seriously, the thermostat now reads “ice cave” at work, and “sweat lodge” in my apartment.

The bipolar climates I have to endure have made me that much more resilient in my search for things that make me happy, or, at least, make me temporarily forget why I’m shaking in my cardigan when it’s 95 degrees outside. Behold, the first Friday Five of summer:

 

essie nail polish in Peach Daiquiri & Fiesta

I love these shades of pink and peach. A lot of people have been leaning towards paler, more neutral colors for the summer, but I think fun, fiery colors are the way to go. Bonus points that each of these shades would match a dress I just bought for an upcoming wedding. Also, they kind of go along perfectly with the color scheme on this here ole blog. I didn’t really know I liked pink so much.

 

photograph by Shini Park, via Park & Cube

And speaking of summer, doesn’t this photo send chills down your body? I want to jump in a pool so badly after looking at this (and maybe paint my nails a delicious plum color). This picture was taken at a lakeside resort in Austria during a fashion week event (seriously, that sentence got better and better by the word). Shini is a fashion blogger living in London (swoon) who takes the most incredible photographs (though she has credited post-production in Photoshop to being 40% of her photography). I kind of want to buy a print of this and hang it in my house. It makes me feel cool and relaxed just looking at it. Here’s hoping I make it to a pool sometime this summer!

 

Gray stripe bed sheets, from West Elm

If it were at all possible, I would spend every minute of the day in bed. I love sleeping, napping, and drooling on pillows, so naturally I’m really into designing the perfect bed. These sheets caught my eye a while ago, and I’m falling more and more in love with them (plus! they’re on sale!). Not only do they encompass three of my favorite things (gray, white, and stripes), they also happen to be about 1/4th of the price of these sheets from Dwell Studio, and they look virtually indistinguishable. If anything, I like the West Elm sheets more, for that seersucker puckering it looks like the strips have going on.

Macbook, from Apple

I have been a Mac girl for as long as I can remember. In the summers when I was little, my mom would bring home her Apple 2 from her classroom and I would spend hours playing games on it. When I was in high school, she brought home her iMac G3 (the blue one), and I spent my summer shooting and editing artsy-fartsy videos in iMovie. Then, in my sophomore year, I got my first iBook. That thing was a champ, and I ended up passing it along to my dad when I upgraded to a iBook G4 in 2005, and it served him well for just surfing the internet and listening to music. My little iBook G4 got me halfway through college, and then it was time to upgrade again, because the thing just couldn’t handle running Photoshop or InDesign, which were both crucial to being a Photojournalism major. I bought a snazzy iMac in 2008, and to this day it is one of the fastest and most impressive machines I’ve ever worked on. That is where I do all of my blogging, photo-related work, and day-to-day internet surfing. I haven’t had a single problem with in in 3 years, and there was no need to add another Apple computer to my life. Right? Seriously, PAY ATTENTION, this is me we’re talking about here. I know I didn’t need a new Macbook, I wanted a new Macbook to replace my iBook, because sometimes you are just too lazy to get off of the sofa and there is blogging to be done (this is an entirely First World Problem). I hemmed and hawed over this purchase, and what finally swayed me was how cheap it was on Amazon (about $60 off), with no tax (a savings of another $80) and free shipping. It arrived yesterday, and someone is going to have to literally pry it from my clutches to get anything else accomplished. It also happens to look incredibly sexy sitting on my white lacquer desk.

 

Gray wool and leather Macbook holder, from Rib and Hull

And of course, now that I have a new Macbook, I want a cute case for it. The thing gets scratched if you look at it wrong, little feather scratches along the outside clear shell. These cases from Warsaw-based design store Rib & Hull are sourced from organic materials from Sweden (win!) and are extremely handsome and timeless. I love the dark gray felt wool and the very masculine vibe of this thing. I want to pair it with oxfords and maybe a straw hat. Of course, the Macbook pro is just a wee bit thinner than the Macbook, and I don’t know if it will even fit in here, so that might be a deterrent to actually buying it. A first!

Have a relaxing and sweat-free weekend, kiddos!

Friday Five, New York edition

Sup, homies! Before we jump into this week’s Five, I’ve got a surprise for you. But I can’t tell you what it is right now, for a multitude of reasons, chief amongst them my desire to torture you. You’ll have to come back on Monday for the news, but trust me, I think it will be worth the wait!

Anyway, for this week’s Friday Five, I’ve decided to change things up a bit. I spent a long Memorial Day weekend in New York City, and even though I’ve been to there a million times (and even lived there for about a month in my senior year of high school with my way cool cousin (hi Ilene!) for an internship at MTV), and even though I know it’s so uncool to act like a tourist, I let myself take pictures around the city like a tourist, because I was. And because for a large portion of my life, photography was my main focus, but I became swiftly disenamored with it after I graduated college. I’ve been trying to get back into it recently, thanks to this here ole blog, and I’m planning on posting more original photography.

Starting with this week’s Friday Five: five photographs of New York City.

Warehouse, 25th & 10th Ave

I attempted to see this Jeff Mermelstein exhibit at the Rick Wester Fine Art gallery on Saturday afternoon, but found it closed at 4pm, despite the website saying the gallery was open til 6. Major bummer. I huffed and puffed and let out an expletive or two (don’t take a photography exhibit away from me!) and was about to declare the entire day a waste, when I turned around and saw this across the street. I’m still grumpy about not being able to see the exhibit, but there’s always a silver-lining, right?

Lillie’s Victorian Bar, 17th & 4th

This is my favorite bar in the entire city, possibly even the entire world, for one very, very obvious reason: the decor (okay, two very obvious reasons: they serve 4 flavors of Lindeman’s lambic!). I hold a special place in my heart for Victorian pieces, and Lillie’s is decorated from floor (old parquet) to ceiling (painted tin tiles) with delightful, classic charm. Plus, all  of the bartenders seem to be from England/Ireland/Australia, which means a never-ending assortment of amazing accents.

The High Line

I know a lot of New Yorkers hate the High Line, and again, it might make me super uncool to think it was pretty neat, but it was. An elevated half-park-half-walkway with impressive views of the city? What’s not to love? The weather the entire weekend was gloriously sunny and warm, and after stopping for drinks at both the roof bar and Biergarten of the Standard Hotel and feeling tragically un-hip the entire time, it only made sense to take a stroll along the High Line from 14th street up to 20th. This photograph isn’t an accurate representation of the glass panes, though; they were really green and blue. Next time, white balance!

Museum of Natural History

I spent a good 2.5 hours at this museum on Saturday morning, totally nerding out over all the dinosaur fossils and taxidermied animals and, of course, the giant blue whale. All I talked about for days leading up to the visitwas the whale, and while it certainly didn’t disappoint, the entire museum won me over. And I didn’t need any more reasons to love it, but I stumbled across this man in the African Mammals hall. This sweet old man, sitting on his little folding stool, drawing. My father was an artist, and so I think I’ve reserved a special place in my heart for things like this.

brook-vin, 7th Ave, Brooklyn

I stumbled into this amazing little place in Park Slope on Sunday afternoon after having brunch and getting lost in acquainted with the neighborhood. What a wonderful treat, too. They were having afternoon Happy Hour, so wines were $5. It was a particularly sunny and hot day, so a crisp glass of white was in order. There might have been some stinky Camembert in the mix, too, along with some marinated olives. And everyone was just so nice. The decor was beautiful with an exposed brick wall and little hints of Industrial Chic (and you know how I feel about that).

Enjoy your weekend, kiddos! And make sure to check back on Monday for my extra-exciting announcement!