Sniff sniff, horray

(How much trouble do you think I will be in for stealing the ad slogan from Gain? What’s the worst they could do, soften my fabrics to death? Zing.)

I like candles. But liking candles is a slippery slope. You can go from “liking” candles, to being one of those people whose house is overrun with competing scents eminating from the 14 different jar candles they have on every free surface, creating a veritable nose-molesting smorgasbord of aromas. I think the worst thing stores like AC Moore and Michael’s have done to the precious, scent-free breathing air has been to offer giant jar candles at 3 for $10, thus enabling crazy craft ladies who have wicker decorations above their doorways to smell simultaneously like “blueberry pie” and “fresh pine,” two scents that should never, ever mix.

However, there are redemptive candles. Candles that do not smell like concentrated  car freshners . Here are my three favorite:

Capri Blue Volcano, by Aspen Bay

This has to be the best smelling thing of all time (aside from wet puppies, freshly baked box-mix cake, and whatever that stuff my boyfriend uses after he shaves). The problem with it smelling so good is that at nearly $20 a candle, you get caught between wanting to indulge in the scent and burn it every free second so your house is filled with this delicious, sweet, crisp scent; and the realization that, holy crap, this thing is expensive, maybe we conserve it and only burn it at select times.

Leaves, by Slatkin & Co. (from Bath & Body Works)

The reason I can’t link this candle to a retail site, is because I’m pretty sure its been discontinued or is (hopefully!) seasonal and just not available right now. I picked up this bad boy on a whim in the middle of last fall, and it was almost a life-changing experience. Seriously. The name doesn’t do it justice, and is completely unfitting. This candle smells like hot apple cider, cinammon, and that bright crispness that comes with fall weather. I quickly bought a second one, and then bought more and gave them away at Christmas as presents. Looking back, I should’ve just been a grinch and kept those candles for myself so I can burn them and enjoy the scent myself, but I’m nice like that. At Christmas.

Isabella, by Tocca

Upon googling this deliciously decadent candle, I discovered that it was often listed as being “watermelon scented.” Well, there you go. I would never, ever have described this candle as smelling like watermelon, but that just goes to show you that my nose does not, apparently, know. That aside, I think you need to trust me when I say this (heinously priced) candle is sublimely scented and lovely. I don’t  burn it often because of its small size, but I keep it on my night table and even when it isn’t lit, I can smell it. And guys, it smells amazing. Totally worth the insane price tag for something roughly the size of a bag of fruit snacks (what? is that not an appropriate unit of measurement? too bad, it’s all I had nearby).

 

What are some of your favorite candle scents? Minus 10 points if any of them come from a craft store.

Friday Five

You guys! I am clearly on to something with this whole blogging thing. Remember this Friday Five, specifically this set of mirrors I was coveting? Well look what we have here: a post at Apartment Therapy about the same exact mirrors! I want credit for loving it first, AT. Clearly my design skills are so honed that I am way ahead of the curve. I want full acknowledgment of my incredible talents and tasteful aesthetic. I may even want a statue in my honor, with the inscription to read, “Erin: The FIRST, true lover of overpriced distressed mirror collections.” Somebody get on this.

I was going to just jump right into this week’s Friday Five, but now I’m afraid that one of these will end up on another website as if it was their idea all along. Harumph! However, not even the threat of being outdone can prevent me from giving you, dear readership of 3, the 5 things that are tickling my fancy this week:

Oui Ring in White Gold, from Dior

I feel about this ring the way Miranda Hobbes feels about Sean Connery: “Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” As in: there is nothing more perfect to me in the entire universe than this ring. I’ve raved about it for years, yearned for it, dreamt about it. Wouldn’t it make a charming, unique engagement ring? Assuming the girl said “Oui” and not “Non.” Of course, like any wonderful fashion accessory, its utility and purpose are woefully incongruous to the price tag. Last I checked, it was around $700. Cheap by Dior standards, expensive by Erin standards. And I would undoubtedly lose it like I have lost almost every other ring I’ve ever owned in my life: by leaving it by the sink in some public bathroom.

Ricotta cookies from Isgro’s Bakery

If there is such a thing as heaven, it exists in these cookies. You have not lived until you’ve eaten one (or a half pound in one sitting, if you’re me). I could go on that show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and spend the entire segment making incoherent moaning sounds while simultaneously wiping drool from my chin (I’m attractive). They are so sinfully delicious and perfectly soft and melty, they shouldn’t even be legal. The store is small, the line is always long, and sometimes you think you might shank someone if they take the last of the cookies on the tray, even if that someone is a heinously overbearing Italian man with biceps the diameter of my torso. But it is so, so worth it, mere words cannot even describe it. Thank goodness I don’t live too close to this place, or I’d seriously weigh a million pounds (potential plus-side: I could then go on Biggest Loser since my boyfriend and I watch that show with fervent dedication). I love these cookies so much that I created a brand new category called “food” just to tag this post.

Fruity & Bright Supersoft Body Lotion, Victoria’s Secret

My skin, as I’ve lamented before, is finicky, sensitive, prone to serious dryness, and borderline translucent. This lotion solves all of those problems (with the exception of that last one, because this lotion is a lot of things, but it isn’t a self-tanner). I was reticent to spend $12 on a body lotion, but got roped into it by a really convincing salesperson at Bath and Body Works one day, and I’ve never looked back. While it is not perhaps the most grown-up body lotion I could be using, it smells amazing without being overwhelming, isn’t too thick, and makes my skin “supersoft” just like it promises. The only downside is that B&BW stopped carrying this particular scent, so to buy it I have to go to the actual Victoria’s Secret store, or as I like to call it, the “Self Esteem Crushers, Inc.” (thank you, Adriana Lima, for being god’s most perfect creation and making me feel unworthy of even standing in line beneath a picture of your scantily clad, flawless body. Ugh).

The upside in all of this is that on my most recent hobbling voyage to pick up some more of this stuff, I discovered they were having a we-might-be-discontinuing-this-scent-so-it’s-all-half-off sale. Faced with the debilating panic of not being able to keep using this lotion forever and ever, I did what any good consumer trained to be easily sold on things in hot pink containers that smell like strawberries and vanilla frosting sold by women much, much hotter than me, would do: I. Stocked. UP. I shuffled my pathetically velcro-shoe’d foot home, lugging a giant, heavy bag of lotion, looking like I was going to recreate the Malibu Barbie version of the Buffalo Bill scene from “Silence of the Lambs” (not that I have even a 15th of the stomach required to watch that movie, as someone who routinely sleeps with a nightlight and can’t watch Law and Order by herself).

Brocante Wallpaper, from PiP Studio

(photos from Helena Söderberg)

PiP Studio, the Netherlands based homegoods and textiles store, has the absolutely adorable slogan, “Happy products for happy people.” And if you spend any time browsing their website, you will understand just how appropriate of a slogan it is. PiP is a little bit like Cath Kidston (another fave), but with way more whimsy, and they have perhaps the cutest, girliest, most fabulous stuff. Shabby chic floral quilts? Check. Vintage circus poster notebooks? Check. The world’s most amaaaazing wallpaper? Double check. Seriously, I don’t think I can live another day without having that wallpaper somewhere in my house. I don’t even own a house, and I don’t think my landlord with appreciate me wallpapering my apartment, but I don’t care. On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy would it be if I bought a roll now and kept it for the future? I can see a wonderful little powder room being jazzed up with this wallpaper. Or an entryway. Or a dressing room. Or a breakfast nook. Or a reading nook. Or any nook or any other wall, anywhere. Do you not see the quaint old postcards? The vintage faux-tographs (see what I did there?!)? The yellowed strips of “tape” or the delicate little “push pins” holding each darling picture? Be still my heart!

Stockholm Loft, from Desire to Inspire

I struggled for a while finding the perfect 5th thing for this week’s Friday Five, and contemplated whether or not I could get away with a switcharoo and just make it a Friday Four, but I’m glad I was saved at the 11th hour, because to have 4 things instead of 5 would have just been heinous with a capital H. Then I found this.

I may have said I loved rooms before. I may have claimed there wasn’t a photograph of a room I liked more than that it in the whole world, from every aspect of the design, decor, and aesthetic. You guys, I lied. The picture above (from a Stockholm apartment for sale here) makes me want to explode with delight. Check out that wall of built-in bookshelves, with that gorgeous ladder and the roaring fireplace next to it. And those skylights! Everyone knows skylights are pretty much the best thing you can have in a houes. And this place is rife with skylights. I’m generally a sucker for the all-white-theme houses in Sweden are famous for, but this just take it to a whole different level, with the muted gray sectional sofa (to die for), and the distressed wood floors. And, I’m sorry, do you not see that pug, perched adorably and ridiculously wrinkly on the back of the sofa? I can’t even. You guys, I’m pretty sure I figured out where God lives. Quick, someone give me $5.2 million so I can have this place. Do you think the owners will throw in the pug if I promise to love and snorgle it for the rest of its wonderfully congested life? Sigh.

What are your weekend plans, kiddos? Me, I’ll be tyring to hitch-hike my way to Sweden and perform some serious voodoo on the owners of that apartment to get them to hand the keys over to me for nothing more than my winning smile. And maybe eating another half pound of cookies, who knows.

Friday Five

In a feat of spectacularly disasterous uncoordination, I managed to fall down a flight of stairs while carrying a laundry basket on Sunday night. I spent the better part of Monday in the Emergency Room, leering at other patients, comparing ailments, eating vending machine Pop-tarts, being x-rayed, recounting the embarrassing tale of my fall a million times, generally feeling sorry for myself, and ultimately being strapped into perhaps the most unnattractive orthopedic shoe of all time and hoisted into crutches (crutches!).

I suppose I should consider myself lucky, and not only because being laid up for two days meant I was home and in bed for the all day America’s Next Top Model marathon on Tuesday, but because my injury was about as small as it could get in a tumble of that magnitude: I broke my big toe. Not my wrist, not my neck, not my ankle. I fell down a flight of stairs and all I got out of it was a broken big toe, a bruised ass bone (that’s the technical term), and a deflated ego. Granted, the toe is twice the size it should be and purple and black and spends all day and night throbbing to the point that I think the nail is going to go flying off from the pressure. But it’s still the retard equivalent of getting mugged and having the assailant only steal a chapstick. Kind of worthless, when you think about it.

I briefly considered making this week’s Friday Five just a picture of 5 healthy, un-broken toes, but was pleasantly surprised with all of the free time I had in my gimp-tastic state to browse the web for something (anything) to take my mind off the insane pain. I’ll admit that sometimes hangnails make me cry, but I’ve broken both my arms before, at least 4 other little toes, and my wrist, and none of those breaks hurt nearly as much as this one. Not to mention that the inability to put weight on one of my feet is severely cutting into the amount of time I am able to Flamingo-stand for fun. That, and I had a trip to New York planned for today through Sunday, and I had to cancel everything and fight for refunds from both the hotel and the bus. Instead of wandering the MoMA’s new photography exhibit tonight as I’d been planning and looking forward to for weeks, I’ll likely spend the duration of the weekend in some sad fetal position with my right foot stacked on pillows and buried underneath an ice-pack. Lame!

Anyway, enough griping. Here are 5 things that are making me happy this week:

Lion ‘Cola’ hard candy, from Japan

I picked these up on a whim while standing in line at this amazing Asian supermarket last weekend (before my ungraceful Assride through Stairville) and they are delicious. If you’ve never been to an Asian supermarket, GO. Go now. They have everything you could ever possibly want in a grocery store (400 different types of teas in one aisle, directly across from bins of dried mini shrimp) and the prices are phenomenal. I’ll admit I took a gamble buying chicken from a place that kills fish to order, but I survived, it was delicious, and more imporantly, it was cheap. Ever wonder where all the Mochi Red Bean ice cream (<3<3<3) is hiding? In the freezer section, next to the frozen eggrolls! Oh, there’s also the extra-special bonus of being the only non-Asian person in the place. But anyway, these candies. They taste like artificial soda, are the size of chiklets, and fizz in your mouth. They also have 60 calories a piece, so go easy on them. And don’t buy them from Amazon; that is a total ripoff. I think one pack cost me under $1.

Travelcard Cushion, from Ashley Allen

My obsession with not only London, but the London Underground, is insane. I have travelcards from all of my trips, some saved as mementos, and some used as bookmarks. I love the Underground map (I have this poster hanging framed in my apartment, this tea-towel, and this card holder). This pillow, at the equivalent of $48, would round out my collection nicely. Everything is measured in centimeters overseas, and I’ve never been that good at math (maths, if you’re British) anyway, but a quick google search tells me the pillow is about 11 x 9″. Not too overbearing. I think it would look perfect nestled on my dark gray sofa.

Marcel Marongiu’s Apartment, from Marie Claire Maison via Desire to Inspire

I don’t know why I’m surprised that the french designer has a gorgeous Parisian apartment. This house tour is years old, but I’ve only just stumbled across it now. Doesn’t it just take your breath away? Can you imagine the views of Paris he must have from this place? I’m really digging on those antique shutters used as a room divider, and that small gilded mirror above the chest in the corner is making me all sorts of happy. I bet you the floor boards creak just a little bit when you walk across them. Hey, Marcel, avez-vous une petite amie? Appelez-moi!

Canon Powershot SD1300, from Amazon.com

I bought this camera a week or so ago when it was on sale for the fabulous price of $109 (it still is through Best Buy!). At 12mp, it exceeds my giant Nikon DSLR, and fits in my pocket. I bought it with the intention of taking it to New York this weekend, and adding a new, convenient little camera to my collection, but now all I take pictures of is my jacked up toe situation. I’ve been documenting the bruising every day. I took my nieces to the playground on Saturday and was able to shoot on ISO 80 with amazing results. Indoor shooting is a little difficult, because the camera seems to always need more light. So far, though, I love it. Coupled with an $11 8gb memory card, the whole thing cost me $120 (gotta love Amazon’s free shipping!).

Deux Lux ‘Decker’ satchel in Coco, from Bluefly

In a Tramadol-induced haze, I stumbled upon Bluefly the day they were having an extra 15% off handbags. I’d been lusting after this bag for a while, and the price was finally right (a lot of things are right when you are hopped up on pain killers). If it sucks in person, I can always take advantage of Bluefly’s easy returns and get mah money back. I don’t think it will have to come to that though, because I have pretty high hopes about this beauty. Not that I can use it for a while, because thanks to ye olde crutches I am relegated back to weilding a backpack like a middle-schooler (further cementing the fact that I am indeed an 11 year old boy), but knowing I have a bag that requires full ambulatory motion to carry is certainly going to serve as motivation to heal faster.

Not too much on the agenda this weekend thanks to my lame extremity, aside from pathetically hopping around, wishing I was in New York. What supercool activities do you guys have planned this weekend? Take care, kiddos!

Friday Five

Wow, apologies for the 10 day lapse in blogging. I’m sure all 3 of you were very concerned over my absence. Fear not, dear readers! I did not succumb to food poisoning by way of the dasterdly Shamrock Shake, nor let my body waver to the mystifiying powers of daylight savings (which I still contend is a crock of shit, and someone else agrees with me!). That last part is only half true. Daylight savings is fucking my shit up in the worst way.  More than the time it inspired my dad to coin the term (of endearment) “bitchmuffin” when I had to ask him a million times to explain “springing ahead”. Couple that with a new job (going well so far!) and a new commute, and I make for one sleepy specimen at the end of the day.

 Sadly, the lovely dress from Zara in this post  had to be returned; in a battle of fashion and wanting to prevent a Lindsay Lohan-esque display of my top shelf, fashion lost. It put up a good fight, though. I hung the dress on the back of my closet door, lest I ever forgot how beautiful it was, and fought with myself to wait just one more day before returning it. I hope that somewhere, there is a Medium sized woman adoring that dress the way it deserves.

 All of these things have combined forces inside of me to create a venerable Captain-Planet-like mood of suckitude, the likes of which not even old, youtube’d seasons of America’s Next Top Model could vanquish (Cycle 2!).

The only solution, of course, has been to drown my sorrows the best way I know how: mass consumerism and vapid materialism! And out of all of it, I’ve started a new blogging recurrence: The Friday Five. Let’s take a peek at 5 things that have been tickling my fancy this week:

Ordinal Dresser, from Anthropologie

Nevermind that it is a cool $1000. That dresser will be mine. It is like my soulmate, you wouldn’t understand. Plus, I know 2 people who work for the company, and after a hefty 40% employee discount, that baby could be mine for “only” $600. I wouldn’t even put clothes in it. I would just stare at it all day and sing it lullabyes at night. What? That’s not weird.

 

Collected Mirrors, from Anthropologie

Anthro you are killllliiinng meeeee. Even though I’m convinced you are on crack for thinking it is okay to charge nearly $700 for a collection of old mirrors I’m pretty sure I could find at a flea market for under $30 total if I tried hard enough. I don’t think my pale visage is even worthy of being reflected in this lovely set of mirrors though, which is inspiring  some really fun Snow White moments for me (“YOU, ERIN, YOU ARE THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL”). Actually, I want everything in that entire room.

Bud Vases, from West Elm

D’aww. How tiny and cute! It’s no secret I love pretty much everything from West Elm, but these darling and affordable little frosted glass bud vases are especially high on the list right now. I want a couple of them in the light blue, amber, and maybe gray. Of course that would mean filling them with beautiful buds, not the faux-flowers I buy from IKEA.

Shopper tote, from MrPS on Etsy

I have been in love with this bag for over two years, ever since I saw the tea towel version of it in the Museum of London giftshop on my last trip across the pond to visit my family. It’s so sweet and cheery, reminds me of London and my family, and like any good canvas tote it is perfectly utilitarian. I could take it to the market to buy groceries, or carry my laptop in it (whenever I get a new one), or use it as an everyday bag. The possibilities are endless! The only thing that is throwing me off is whether to get it with the screen printing in blue or red. Decisions, decisions. At $19 a pop, I might just have to get both.

Woodland Print Duvet Set, from Pottery Barn

I’ve been a fan of my all white duvet and sheet situation for quite a while. It’s totally relaxing, extremely peaceful, and given the small size of my studio apartment, it doesn’t clash wildly with the rest of my furniture. But this duvet set is making me forget all about that. It’s so sunny and bright! What a perfect duvet set for the spring. Of course, I might have trouble falling asleep on sheets that loud, but what is a little more sleep deprivation in the name of quality home furnishings?

Well, that’s all for this week’s Friday Five. Have a great weekend, kiddos! What are your awesome weekend plans? I’m helping a lovely lady celebrate turning 25, and seeing my fabulous little nieces off to Disney World.  And trying not to spend any money.

What day is it?

I’ll be upfront with you and admit that I’ve never been a timely person. I was never good at keeping a diary / calendar / date book, arriving on time, or remembering where I’m supposed to be. And it isn’t for lack of trying! I’ve bought beautiful leather date books with gold embossed page edges with the full intention of writing down my schedule each day. It was easier when I was in school, and things like that were a necessity. If I didn’t write it down, there was a very good chance it would never get done. Not because I am lazy, but because I seemingly have the attention span of a cheese sandwich, and that plummets significantly once you pile on massive amounts of work.

Then I got a job, and a Blackberry, which somehow made me want to put everything I might possibly have to do in my calendar. It made me feel like a grown up, being able to say, “Let me check my calendar” when someone would ask if I was free.

I also felt like a grown up when I got my first big-girl apartment, that I was paying for on my own and not sharing with anyone else. You realize quickly when you move into a place with high ceilings that there is a scary amount of  blank wall space. Wanting to maintain my streak with being organized and also wanting to totally design-nerd-out on my apartment, it hit me.

The Stendig Calendar!

I had first seen it in Anna’s New York City apartment kitchen redo, and instantly fell in love with it. It’s a calendar that meant it. It’s large enough to take up an ample amount of wall space, and beautiful enough that it transcends being just a calendar, and becomes art. Did  you know it’s the only calendar in the Design Collection at the MoMA? Rationalization!

But back then I was unemployed, and couldn’t bring myself to spend $30 that I didn’t really have to spend (do you hear that? It’s the world’s tiniest violin). And by the time I got a job, it was almost 6 months into the year, and they had stopped selling the 2010 version of the calendar. What was a girl to do? This was a crisis of epic proportions! I felt like it was the most unfair thing that had ever happened to me, that I had to wait a whole 6 months to get my own calendar. (Do you know what we call this? White People Problems)

Those 6 months were agony, let me tell you. I tried to talk myself out of it several times, so the waiting wouldn’t be as painful, but my heart knew what it wanted. It wanted this calendar, and this calendar it had to have. So, finally, when the new 2011 ones were released in late December, I ordered one.

 

My desk, the like / want / need office. Believe it or not, I did not do any pre-photo cleaning or straightening up. Aren’t you impressed? It’s one of my New Years Resolutions to be cleaner.

Look at how proudly that calendar is hanging on my wall. It’s like it is saying, “HELLO. TODAY IS FEBRUARY 13TH. IT IS A SUNDAY. DO NOT BE JEALOUS OF MY BEAUTY.” I didn’t realize when I ordered it that it would be a euro-style calendar, with the week starting on a Monday, as opposed to a Sunday start like we have here in the states. Somehow I missed that. But I’ve adjusted rather easily! Except for that one day in January when I was convinced it was Thursday but it was really Friday. That was fun.  

And in case you were interested:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, kiddos!

This chair. I can’t even.

There is a small (and weird) group of people in this world called Objectum Sexuals, who carry on intense, realistic relationships with inanimate objects. Like bridges, the Berlin Wall, and the Eiffel Tower (but I try to pretend that last one isn’t true, because I love the Eiffel Tower and don’t like to think that there are people in the world who routinely make love to small replicas of it). I was going to say that I didn’t understand their psychological pull to things that aren’t, you know, alive (or human, more importantly), and am in fact creeped out by the entire thing, but I think I’ve made that clear.

That said, I want to introduce you to my newest crush. Meet the Cappellini armchair:

This chair makes my tiny little heart flutter. Look at it! All curvy and colorful. It is like plastic and confetti and broken crayons and magic got together one night and did the hanky panky (In the interest of full disclosure, I googled euphemisms for sex out of sheer boredom and found a bunch! Some of them are so vulgar! I can’t even).

Anyway, back to the chair! If you find it as painfully cute as I do, it might be because this is a Cappellini / Walt Disney collaboration, and we all know that Walt Disney is the universal sign of mass-produced cuteness (and anti-Semitism, but that is besides the point). I’m sure it’s not really all that comfortable (the chair, not anti-semitism, though I suppose that’s pretty uncomfortable, too) but they lure you into thinking otherwise by announcing that there were only 99 of these brilliant chairs produced. Ninety-nine! As in, I’ve got 99 problems, but this, uh, chair, ain’t one.

True to form, the gene in me responsible for consumption is spazzing over the possibility of owning something that rare. So, also true to form, I start rationalizing the purchase. I could just save up for a few months, cut back on frivolous expenses like electricity and food, and then the darling chair will be mine! Nevermind that my studio apartment is barely roomy enough to fit the stuff I already have (which leads me to believe that I have too much stuff. I refuse to believe I am paying too much for a small apartment), look at that chair! If that chair doesn’t make you grin like a tea-party republican idiot, then you clearly have no appreciation for whimsy, or for finely crafted homegoods. And that’s fine. I’ll be happy with my chair, and you can lust after it from afar and I won’t even let you sit on —

Beg your pardon?

$2461.00? Two thousand, four hundred dollars? No, I don’t think I can “ADD TO CART”, no matter if it’s in caps lock or not. I’ll be adding it to my dream box, assuming of course that that is not some euphemism (we’re back on euphemisms!) for something else.

There is cute, and there is insane. And this chair, though it breaks my heart to say it, has crossed over to being expensively, prohibitively, ridiculous. I’ll just have to show my adoration in other ways, like creating an image header hommage to its wonderful multi-colored-ness.

Oh well. Good thing I have other chair-lust backups! Let’s observe, shall we?

The Bertoia Wire Side Chair. Fabulous and shiny, and, if at all possible, looks even less comfortable than the Cappellini above. But! The patent on the design has expired (thank you 70 year copyright rule!) so you can pick up a pretty decent replica on the cheap. Not that I would, because that is shameful. However, my thrifting talents aren’t quite as honed, but I’ve seen many examples that prove these are readily available (albeit in a right state) if you’re willing to dig around.

And oh, Eames shell rocker. You deserve a post all your own, even if I can just tell by looking at your my tokhes would hate you.