With Valentine’s Day right around the corner (what is happening to the time?? I’m still full from Thanksgiving!) you’d have to be blind to miss all of the commercials and talk of flowers. Not just any flowers, but roses. Red, long-stem, overpriced roses. Don’t get me wrong, I love roses, what girl doesn’t? But the fact that they are like twice the price on one specific day is so bothersome. If you ordered a dozen roses a week after Valentine’s Day, they wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much. What a brilliant marketing move, that the flower industry has convinced billions of people that roses are to Valentine’s Day what turkey is to Thanksgiving (ugh. I’m not kidding, the mention still makes me feel like I have a food-baby). It’s a total scam, it’s unfair, but I’m guilty of buying right into it and being one of those girls who still loves Valentine’s Day roses. Sue me! I’m human, and perhaps more materialistic than most other, normal, restrained humans.
But Boyfriend and I just booked a vacation for the middle of May last night (you can see our seat assignments over on 365) and in the interest of not being frivolous with money in the next few months (I’ll pause why you laugh hysterically) , there are several alternatives to the crazy-overpriced bouquet of roses. For this Friday Five I picked my 5 favorite flowers, all of which would be gorgeous for V-Day, or any day of the year.
1. Craspedia/Billy Balls / 2. Blue Orchids / 3. Hydrangeas / 4. Peonies / 5. Tulips
Craspedia, the lovely little yellow button flowers, have been popping up all over the design world. They might have even had their peak, but I still love them. They’re adorable. And surprisingly impossible to come by. There are tutorials online to make a felt version, but I’d still love to get my hands on a bunch of the real thing. Same with blue orchids. Impossible to find in real life, readily available online in bunches of 100. These are generally given as a sign of sympathy, but have you ever seen a more gorgeous shade of blue in your life? Let me answer that for you: no, you haven’t.
Hydrangeas…where do I even begin? These were the first flowers I ever really fell in love with. I love the varying shades on each individual leaf, and how they almost look like millinery flowers, pinned in the middle with little round pins. Peonies are decadent and gentle at the same time. So wonderfully French, and these look gorgeous even when they start to die, because the petals fall off as these giant, soft fronds. Plus, peonies are so large that you only need a few in a vase to make a real bouquet.
And then of course, tulips! Beautiful, perky, cheerful tulips. Chi posted a picture of a stunning bouquet of red ones earlier in the week, and it made me want to run out and buy a bunch immediately. I forgot how quickly flowers liven up an entire room.
This weekend I’m doing a little dining room re-design, so hopefully I’ll have tons of pictures to show you next week. What are you up to? It’s supposed to snow here tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Fitz is super excited at the prospect, because he thinks snow is a delicious frozen drink made just for him.
Oh, and for where I’m going on vacation? I’ll be doing a reveal this afternoon over on 365. Any guesses? Annie guessed Sweden, and Chi guessed London, and while both of those are very much at the top of my list, they’re not the right answer. Have a great weekend, lovelies!
So, it’s official: I think I’ve caught the cold that everyone seems to be getting. I’m crossing my fingers it’s just allergies from letting Fitz cuddle in bed with me, and then somehow getting dog hair up my nose while I was sleeping. I woke up around 2:30 this morning super congested and freaked out that I wasn’t breathing, only to hear a rattling noise coming from my noise every time I tried to breathe in or out. I am the opposite of excited about this. I do not handle being sick very well; my desire to stay in sweatpants skyrockets to a level much higher than average (and honestly, it’s pretty high to begin with).
This weekend I think I’ll be taking it easy, and by taking it easy I mean maybe painting my living room? I’ve been threatening to do that for weeks now, though. Despite sounding stuffy and pitiful, I’m spending tonight with my lovely lady coworkers, which includes drinking wine and eating nachos and sitting around and enjoying a girls night in. I couldn’t be more excited. Actually, I’d try, but my brain keeps yelling “SWEATPAAAAAANTS” whenever I try to think about anything else.
Without further ado, this week’s Friday Five (germ free, I promise!).
I’m back on my routine of reading voraciously on my commute each day, and this week I picked up “Dracula”. I know, I know. We’ve covered how terrified I am of, well, everything, so I know it doesn’t make sense that I’d start reading perhaps the most classically scary book of all time. But I’ve made the wise decision to not read it when it’s dark outside. I know that I should be embarrassed by the fact that, at 25 years old, I am spooked so easily that I cannot read an antiquated vampire novel after 5:30 at night, but considering I was once so in love with the boy band O-Town that I made my dad take me to 4 concerts, not even “Dracula” can shame me. It takes a while to get used to the writing style, and I can’t stop picturing Gary Oldman in the role (which is very distracting), but so far I’m really enjoying it.
I mentioned last week that Boyfriend got me a whole bunch of Body Shop products as one of my Christmas gifts, and this Wild Rose hand cream was one of them. I keep it on my desk at work and use it several times a day; between the cold weather and my constant hand-washing (I pee a lot), my hands are like sandpaper. This hand cream smells delicious, like rose macarons (interesting macaron story over on 365 yesterday, in case you missed it!) and isn’t paste-y or sticky. Like most Body Shop products, it’s made with a Fair Trade ingredient: Brazil nut oil. Bonus: the tube is really neat looking and jazzes up my desk. Always a good thing in a cookie-cutter cubicle.
I’ve been in love with this tote bag from British company Paper Plane for a few years, and if I hadn’t just bought the Marc Jacobs nylon Hillier last night (!!!!!) I’d consider buying this bag, too. Eventually, I probably will, let’s be honest. It’s so adorable! The straps are measuring tapes, there is a little handwritten grocery list on the front, along with a pouch for “parking tickets [or] stolen grapes.” Plus, it has an airmail theme, which we already know I love to bits. And it’s reasonably priced at only $15.
Continuing my mid-century theme from yesterday, these Arne Jacobsen mugs are killing me. I first saw them in the same photo from Lotta Agaton’s shop in Stockholm where I saw the LocalGraphics Stockholm poster, and it took me just as long to track them down as the poster. But of course I found them eventually, because I am a Champion of the Internet and part Lisbeth Salandar, according to you crazy ladies.
Pretty soon I’m going to be sourcing the tile on the wall or something. But aren’t those cups sweet? I love the type on them. Unfortunately, the only place I can find that sells them charges more than double the cost of the cup to ship them anywhere. Clearly this won’t do. The only solution is to go to Sweden and buy them at Lotta’s store (obviously, my obsession with this store is reason enough to go to Stockholm). At dinner last night, Boyfriend and I struck up conversation with an older mother-daughter duo at the table next to ours, and we got to hear all about how incredible Stockholm was and that if we go, we should take an overnight ferry ride to Finland and spend some time there. So hopefully travel plans will be solidified in the near future and I can finally live out my life-long dream of traveling to Scandinavia. Fingers crossed.
And since I am definitely a Crazy Candle Lady, I couldn’t leave off this amazing smelling goody from today’s Five. I went to Anthropologie a few weeks ago and picked up this Capri Blue Volcano candle and got in line to check out, impressed with my restraint of going in and only buying one specific item, only to be pulled out of line by the overwhelming desire to sniff out and track down whatever the delicious and sweet scent was wafting over from the next room. It was this candle, by Voluspa, and I think I fell in love. The candle is a mix of goji berry and tarocca blood oranges and you guys, it is unbelievable. The glass jar adds a bit of glamour to it, and would make a great gift for someone who happens to be obsessed with candles.
You guys, it is freezing. I think this is the coldest spell we’ve been hit with all winter, and my body does not know how to cope with it, despite the multiple heavy layers I put on to combat the shivering. I’ve even been subjecting Fitz, the string-bean of a dog, to wearing his new winter coat (a Christmas gift from Boyfriend), which he simultaneously hates and wants to eat. I cranked the heat up extra high last night and then woke up sweating at 2am, which makes no sense at all. I’m pretty sure my body is dumb. It does not understand when I try to help.
Aside from almost dropping dead from frostbite, this week went impossibly fast. I was off Monday and was running errands (read: at IKEA) and then spent all day Tuesday in court, waiting 6 hours to give testimony in a frivolous lawsuit against my mom by her shady ex-contractor. My part took all of 5 minutes, and the rest of the day was spent sitting in the hallway, dying slowly inside. So between those two days I feel like I missed an enormous chunk of my blogging duties, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since (The upside is the 3 day workweek. I can really get down with that). So this week’s Friday Five was a little hard to compile since I missed a full two-days of my usual internet browsing and scouring. I gave it my best shot anyway. Herewith, 5 things that I’m into this week:
Did I mention how fabulously spoiled I got for Christmas? Boyfriend really set the bar high this year, unfortunately for him. One of my gifts from him was a big assortment of products from Body Shop, including a giant tub of mango body butter, my god, and, among other things, two shower gels. One of them was this fig & rosemary scented goodness. I love taking showers anyway, but this has seriously made my mornings way more amazing. It’s a light gel that lathers unbelievably, and makes you smell fresh and herbal. Bonus: the bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic and is also 100% biodegradable. So now I get to be all smug that I’m saving the environment from both un-recyclable waste and my stinky b.o. You’re welcome, earth! The other scent he got me is cucumber mint, and once I finish both of those I think I’ll investigate the rest of the line (watermelon & eucalyptus? yes please!).
All of yesterday’s talk about traveling reminded me of this adorable flexi journal, which I bought for a friend in college before she left for Italy for a semester abroad. Somehow that journal has become a collector’s item, and isn’t available for anything less than 10 times what it originally cost. Crazy, right? Thankfully, this airmail version is really similar and not horrendously priced. The pages are all different. Some have lines, some look like train tickets. It’s a great gift idea for someone going on a trip, or something you could bring with you on your own vacation to document everything. Or just carry in your purse and scribble down grocery and to-do lists. Is that just me? Got it.
In other Christmas gift news, my mom bought me a tin of this salted caramel hot chocolate and it is basically crack cocaine in hiding. Unfortunately it isn’t available year round, only during the holiday season, so I have to somehow stretch this mix into lasting me until then. It will be just like the Hanukkah miracle my ancestors experienced, making oil to light one candle last for 8 nights. Only with hot chocolate. And I have to make it last 10 months. I don’t think it is going to happen, considering that after one cup I wanted to pour hot milk into the tin and just drink it out of that.
Okay, so let’s address the elephant in the room: that cell phone. I know, I know, is it 2005 again? Here’s the deal: since deleting facebook and twitter and email from my phone, I basically have a Blackberry that isn’t being used to its full potential. It’s a glorified qwerty keyboard that I sometimes get calls on. And I’m paying (okay, fine, again, my mother is paying) $30 a month just because it’s a Blackberry. If all I’m doing is getting calls and the occasional text message, why not get a phone that can just do that? The only time I really need it anyway is when I’m commuting, in case something happens to me. I’ve gone through a ton of cell phones in the past few years, and I always lament that my Nokia was the best phone I’ve ever owned. So I’m returning to my roots. I bought one for cheap on Amazon and I’m going to try it out for a few days and see if I can handle the transition back down to a basic phone. If I can’t, I can’t, and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. But I’m sticking to my New Years resolution to spend less time connected, and this seems like a step in the right direction. Albeit one I’m probably going to get made fun of for. YES, in the year 2012, I have a flip phone. Sue me. I don’t get all the insane banter about why people can’t live without their smartphones, because we all did for the majority of our lives and if I’m not mistaken, we all survived. Think of it this way, I already carry my camera, a book/magazine, and my iPod with me all day, my cubicle has two computers in it, and my house has two computers in it. My Blackberry is just redundant at this point.
Shifting gears a bit, a week or two ago I saw this picture, from one of my favorite sources of inspiration, Swedish stylist and interior designer Anna Leena:
I know, right? Breathtaking. All that white on the floors and walls, and those dark elements in the furniture. Be still my heart! Focus. See that basket underneath the desk? I never would have though to use a wire basket as a magazine rack, but the minute I saw this picture I knew I had to have one. Thankfully, I found one almost identical on Home Decorators. I picked one up during a 10% off sale and got free shipping, thank you very much. Adventures in shopping domination continue. I guess I wasn’t alone in my love of that basket, though, as it’s backordered until the beginning of February. I’m waiting impatiently for it to ship.
Okay, so tell me, are you judging me for getting a Nokia after all these years? Do you think you could make the switch back? What are you up to this weekend? I think I’m painting my living room, but we’ll see how much energy I can muster. All I want to do is hibernate in this weather. Have a great weekend, kiddos!
Happy Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? Did you even think about the date today? I think it was a way bigger deal when we were in school than it is now. I haven’t walked in to anything yet, nothing has com falling out of the sky to land on my head, and more importantly I didn’t oversleep my alarm despite how exhausted I was (uh, still am).
This week felt like it flew by without time to even process it, despite the fact that things have been slow at work. This was a really difficult Friday Five to compile, for whatever reason. Let’s take a look.
I’ve mentioned my love of “Parks and Rec” before, but after getting the best season on DVD for Christmas, I’ve been watching episodes every night and just can’t stop laughing. The show is so laugh-out-loud funny and all of the characters are amazingly written; I’d go out on a limb and say it’s funnier than ‘The Office’ in its last few seasons. You don’t need to watch the first two seasons to understand the plot or characters, and the show really didn’t hit its stride until season 3 anyway.
Keeping with tv shows, I recently got into a show called “Homeland,” the CIA drama about a Marine prisoner of war (who is hot and British in real life!), who is found in a bunker in Iraq 8 years after being captured. The whole show focuses on the suspicion of a CIA agent who believes he’s been turned by Al Qaeda and might be a terrorist. You guys, I’ve never seen a show like it. Every episode leaves my jaw on the floor and if I can’t watch multiple episodes a night I get really, really antsy. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and it’s apparently been signed on for two more seasons. If you have nothing else to do this weekend, or even if you do, drop everything and commit to watching this. You’re welcome in advance!
But don’t think that all I do with my unencumbered free time now is watch tv. I do lots of exciting things. Like shop! When I was at West Elm picking up my amazing drum pendant (I still get a little weak in the knees thinking about it), I decided to indulge in more sale items, and picked up this adorable throw pillow. The case is silk, with watercolor dots with labels in handwriting. It’s adorable, and looks great on my dark gray sofa with a bigger, burnt orange pillow behind it. The filling of the pillow insert is down, so sometimes you get little pokey pieces of feathers sticking out, but it’s worth it because it’s so gosh darn cute. I love West Elm sales, seriously.
I’ve been looking around for an industrial chic kitchen cart to serve as a mini bar, and I think I may have found a winner with this IKEA option. It’s reasonably priced, and I love the rail around the bottom shelf; it would be perfect for storing all of the terrible alcohol I drink (Malibu rum and cake flavored vodka, though you’re supposed to keep that in the freezer). I love the idea of having a bar cart, but it would obviously necessitate purchasing respectable alcohol to keep on it. The only thing I’m having problems getting past is that the front drawer on this thing reminds me of something hospital-related. Like it’s where they keep scalpels and needles and stuff. I don’t think I can talk myself out of seeing it like that.
If you’re a nerd like me, you get disproportionately excited over new pens. I love pens. My dad, being an architect, always used these Pilot Razor point flare pens in red and black; I don’t think I have a single memory of him without the little yellow-tipped cap sticking out of his shirt pocket. If I had to endorse one pen, this would be it. They are, as the name suggests, razor fine, and the ink doesn’t skip like it does with ballpoint pens. I get so excited every time I use it to write silly things like grocery lists or draft up post ideas. I’m weird, oh well.
What are you up to this weekend? I have Monday off thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. and I’m planning on catching up on a lot of sleep, and a lot of Homeland. I only have 3 episodes left until the season finale and I cannot wait to figure this mystery out. Have a great weekend, kiddos! I’ll see you Monday.
Happy Friday! And I’d first like to give a shout out to Fitz, who turns 1 year old today! I was hoping that he’d wake up today and decide to be less of a maniac, but no dice. The other night he stole a whole sweet potato from the kitchen and starting chewing it. In front of me. Like it was a toy. And he didn’t seem to understand why I got so upset. Obligatory picture of the birthday boy over on 365 later today.
Today is also the first Friday Five of 2012! I wasn’t good about doing these regularly last year, at least not for the first few months after I came up with the idea, but this year I’m going for the full 52 (or how ever many Fridays are in this calendar year, I’m too lazy to count). Without further ado…
I’ve mentioned my love of Etsy store Rib & Hull before, the Warsaw based designers of incredible wool and felt bags and Mac cases, but somehow refrained from obsessing over this black & white striped tote. The whole bag is hand crafted from natural canvas and leather, and feeds my crazy addiction to stripes. Unfortunately, this winter weather makes it nearly impossible for me to carry any bag on my shoulder without wrestling down my enormous puffy winter coats sleeves, so this might be better suited for warm weather. But I promised Annie I wouldn’t talk about warm weather because warm weather means warm weather clothing, and the both of us are on a spending freeze when it comes to more clothing. I’m betting her resolve is better than mine, because I can’t go 2 days without buying something. I’ve tried.
The “Je T’aime” poster by Swedish designer and art-director Therese Sennerholt appeared in one of my favorite interior shots of all time, and I’ve spent an ample amount of energy tracking it down:
The poster is a) Swedish and b) in French, so naturally it is perfect for me and I must make it mine. I finally was able to figure it out thanks to a new blog I stumbled across that I am totally in love with, Vosges Paris, an interior design blog that combines the writer’s, AND I QUOTE, “love for French grays and Scandinavian whites.” I’m pretty sure this blog is my soulmate. All she has to do is feature macarons one time and I’m going to lose my mind. Anyway, the poster is reasonably priced and might make an appearance in my house sometime soon. I just have to find a really old leather chair to sit it next to. Tell me the styling of that shot is incredible?
Continuing on with the French theme, the “C’est La Vie!” card from Rifle Paper Company is so darling I can’t even stand it. When my dad told how much he loved me, he always said, “I love you so much I could bite my toes!” I don’t know why, but it’s one of those phrases that’s stuck with me and I’ve come to use it on lots of things. Thus: that card is so darling I could bite my toes! The mixture of French, rain, a neckscarf, a striped shirt, and lipstick is just adorable. At $4, it’s a total steal and I’m going to buy one and frame it and put in on my desk. (See what I mean about not having any restraint when it comes to buying things?)
I’m going to skip number 4 for a moment, and head right to #5 on this week’s list, which is a book that was perhaps written solely for me. “At Home With White.” From what I can tell, since it hasn’t been released yet, or maybe it’s being re-published, I don’t know, the book is a collection of home design images and tips for having all-white interiors. How to layer white, how to balance it, how to roll around on your painted white wood floors delirious with delight, etc etc. It comes out at the end of February, and I’m really considering taking the day off and showing up at the bookstore first thing in the morning. Is that weird? Probably. But someone out there not only gets me, they wrote me a book, so respect must be given.
Okay, so back to #4. The Blackberry with the “No” symbol through it. I woke up on January 1st and made a last minute resolution: I want to limit the amount of screen-time connectivity I have in my daily life. I work at a job where I sit in front of a computer anywhere from 8-10 hours a day. In the mornings, the first thing I did was reach for my Blackberry to check for facebook notifications or emails or twitter updates. I would be online on my phone during my commute to work, at a computer all day, and then on my Blackberry on my way home, where I would walk in the door and promptly boot up my iMac or my macbook and surf some more. I hate it. I hated feeling hyper-connected all the time. I missed the days when I didn’t have to worry about facebook. I made the choice New Years day to delete the facebook and twitter apps from my phone, to not check my phone once during my commute in the morning or on the bus home, and the resolution that when I come home from work, I do not touch my computers. My life has improved in the span of a week. I’m reading more, playing chess at night, having conversations with people, playing with my dog more, taking real photographs. Anything my phone has to tell me, with the obvious exception of phone calls, I have access to all day at my computer. I’m considering deleting my email from my Blackberry as well; it’s only my personal email, nothing is so important that it can’t wait until I get to work. This means that when I turn my work laptop off at 5:30, I check out, I sign off for the night. I’m done. No facebook, no email, no twitter. This change has this made me happier and less anxious. I’m more productive when it comes to this blog, because I have taken away my option of sitting on the couch with my laptop all night. I’m even debating downgrading my cell phone to a non-smartphone (I refuse to call them “dumb phones” when they do exactly what cell phones are supposed to do).
I know it seems counterintuitive to make this choice given that, uh, I have a blog and it’s on the internet and it requires attention and maintenance. But I just feel like I’m wasting $30 a month on a data plan (okay, fine, my mother is wasting $30 a month on my data plan, because yes, I am 25 years old and still on my mom’s family plan, SUE ME) to tell me things I either don’t want to know or things I am capable of finding out from the computer I’m in front. It’s surprisingly liberating, but it’s only been 5 days. We’ll see if I end up in withdrawal.
Okay, so spill. Have you been keeping your resolutions so far? What about my self-imposed technology-ban? Would you ever try it? Do you think you could survive? And what are you up to this weekend? Tomorrow is supposed to be fairly warm (in the 50s, they’re saying!) so I think I’ll take the birthday boy to the dog park and let him get beat up by bigger dogs. He loves it. See you on Monday, kiddos!
I can’t believe tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I figured out how I’m celebrating! My best friend and I are going to go see the Muppets movie tomorrow afternoon (Aidan: get your Rainbow Connection nail glitter ready!!). Tonight I’m going to see “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” so this will make 2 movies in 12 hours that I have been dying to finally see. I’m hoping to break out the sweatpants early tomorrow night and see how long I can stay awake. I’m definitely coming down with something (the flu? the plague? the black lung?) and last night I crashed at 8:30. You guys, that was so early even for me. I was pretty impressed with that, to be honest. I thought only toddlers and the elderly had that in them.
So since it is Friday, I’m bringing you one last Friday Five of 2011. This one is less of a list of things that interested me from the week, and more of my favorite things from the year. Narrowing this down was surprisingly easy, and I think if you’ve been following for a bit you could even figure these out. I’m not that complex, honestly. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to be more interesting. How does one accomplish this? Any pointers?
I don’t make a secret of my insane, all-consuming love of Paris. I have dreams of picking up and moving there and living like a total starving artist in a minuscule apartment with more light streaming in than I’d know what to do with. And I love literature and art, so the entire crossover with the most beautiful city in the world chronicled in “Midnight in Paris” automatically makes it the best movie of the year. Maybe the best of the last several years. It is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time, and I’ve only seen it twice. I ended up buying myself a copy on Blu Ray after Christmas and watched it the day it arrived. All I want to do is watch it again and again. It’s quirky and sweet and the incredible of shots of Paris make my heart swell. If you haven’t seen this yet, go watch it immediately!
Of course, along with my “move-to-Paris” fantasy comes the fact that I would spend all of my money on macarons. This year was definitely the year of macarons for me, and I didn’t even have that many! Maybe somewhere around 30? Definitely not enough, but at what they cost (including getting to New York to buy them) perhaps I shouldn’t go overboard. Macarons are definitely my favorite food of 2011, and yes I said food not dessert because if given the opportunity, I would eat these for all 3 meals a day and find some way to puree them over ice and drink it as a smoothie. I got a rose scented hand lotion as a stocking stuffer for Christmas and the first thing I thought of was that it smells exactly like a rose macaron from Ladurée. I then proceeded to lick my hand. Can you imagine how obese I would be if I had the luxury of living in Paris and being near any one of the 3 Ladurée stores? My love (and slow descent into addiction) of macarons can be read here, here, and here.
And I wouldn’t want just any apartment in Paris. It must of course be entirely decked out in white. The more white, the better. If I feel like I’ve gone color blind, I’m on the right track. My love of all-white interiors made quite the appearance on this here blog over the course of 2011 (a few samples include here, here, here, here, here, and here. Oh my god). And in all of the scouring of the internet I’ve done for these amazing, bleached interiors, I think my favorite room of 2011 is that bedroom. I love literally everything about it. The multiple fluffy comforters, the gold frames on the dresser, the white orchid and lamp above the bed. This is what heaven looks like to me. A white apartment in Paris with a sheepskin throw on the floor. I can safely say there will be many, many more pictures of all-white rooms in 2012. Get excited!
Perhaps my most exciting purchase of 2011 wasn’t a macaron or a new laptop or new camera (or, ahem, two), but the adoption fee I paid to bring this insane puppy into my life. I have never met another living being in my entire life, animal or human, with as much energy as this little guy. Fitz has two speeds: asleep and running. And usually his “running” mode involves chewing something, which, if you get in his way, is usually a part of your body. But still, I’m totally supportive of shelter adoptions and think dogs are the greatest thing in the world. Fitz has been a hilarious and happy dog so far and will turn a year old on January 6th. 2012 will be a big year for him. I’m excited to fall more in love with him, my main man.
And of course, I couldn’t do a “Best of 2011″ round-up without including the biggest contributor to this whole blog thing: you guys. All of you amazing readers and fellow bloggers, from all over the world (I think I have Sweden, the UK, and various parts of the US represented!), who stop by and read my drivel and pad my ego and make me genuinely excited to post new things everyday and read all the fabulous things you have to say. I love waking up to email notifications on my phone that say “A New Comment from…” and you all inspire me to be a better, more consistent blogger. I couldn’t do any of this without you, my wonderful little audience. You were one of the best things about my year. I hope I get to keep all of your for a lot longer.
So I’d like to try something for 2012 (aside from learning to be more interesting and staying up past 9pm). I’ve always wanted to do the 365 Project, when you take a picture everyday and post it. There seems to be no better time to start than January 1st. I’m not sure if I have the stamina to keep it up past, say, January 8th, but I think it would be fun to try nonetheless! That way, even if I have a post about silly materialistic things, I’ll have some original creative content to contribute. Plus it gives me the opportunity to use the new 50mm lens I got for Christmas! Win-win.
What are your resolutions for 2012? What do you want out of the new year? Any fun undertakings? I can’t believe I have to say this, but I’ll see you all next year. Thank you so, so much for an incredible year. Here’s to 2012.
You guys are very, very funny with your awful neighbor stories. I don’t feel too terrible about my living situation anymore! This was greatly aided by the fact that I didn’t hear a peep from the neighbors’ apartment all day or night. It is entirely possible they murdered each other, I don’t know. Given the vitriol they were spewing I wouldn’t put it past either of them. More than likely they are out of town for the holidays (can you imagine the gifts they got each other? What do you buy someone you hate enough to argue with over a pet rabbit in the middle of the night?) but no matter, I’ll take the quiet any way I can get it.
I’m calling this Frida Five a gift guide (the last in a series of 4), but let’s be honest: if you’ve waited this long to shop, odds are you’re going to end up buying someone gift cards from your local drugstore and a box of chocolates. Online shipping is not doable at this point, but I was undeterred in my regular scouring of the internet’s best goodies.
CB2 only has stores in a couple of states (and one of them is not mine, boo hoo), but for the month of December leading up to Christmas, they were offering free shipping on everything gift or Christmas related. This camera carrying case is adorable and functional, because everyone has a digital camera these days. I remember when I used to get a disposable camera for school dances or big parties and then would have to wait to get the pictures developed. There was something exciting about that whole process. Getting doubles of your prints, exchanging pictures with your friends at lunch. That isn’t to say that I don’t love my (multiple) film cameras any more than I love my (multiple) digital cameras, and this case would be perfect for either. The only thing is it’s bringing back memories of my photo professor in college telling us to never ever use a camera bag because it made it so obvious you were carrying a camera and therefore more likely to be a target of a thief. That’s why I always stuffed my cameras into a black fleece hat and put it in my purse. Logic!
How cute (and admittedly summer-y) is that scarf? It’s from an online store called LemLem, which was started as a way to employ and empower women weavers in the founder’s native Ethiopia. The scarf was featured in Esquire and has been sold out forever, but I keep compulsively checking to see if it comes back in stock. At $125, it’s a bit pricey (in fact, it’s the only thing on the list that is over $50), but looks like one of those staple closet pieces that will go with everything. And it’s named Gigi. Adorable.
Root is an herbal liqueur that combines 13 herbs and spices (Anise, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, spearmint, lemon, smoked black tea, wintergreen, clove, orange, nutmeg, sugar cane, and birch bark) to re-create the alcoholic precursor to root beer (you know, before this country went insane and tried Prohibition and they took the alcohol out of it). You can drink it over ice or mixed with other stuff, and the packaging is pretty impressive. The fact that it is brewed in Philly is also pretty neat.
Everyone has an iPod by now, right? If someone doesn’t, buy them one. At $49, the shuffle is a pretty good way to go. My brother and sister-in-law bought me a mini back in 2004 when I graduated high school, and back then iPods weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now. I don’t understand how something this small actually works, but then again there are lots of things I don’t understand (fractions, face clocks, Tea Party Republicans).
But if someone doesn’t have an iPod, odds are they don’t have an iPhone or a smartphone that can keep track of all their appointments. Enter the “Tomorrow” planner. Cute, practical, and exceedingly helpful in keeping all your stuff together. Need to remember to pick up shampoo on the way home? Write it down. As much as I rely on my Blackberry calendar, nothing really sticks with me until I write it down, so I always carry a notebook full of lists. I’m weird and neurotic like that.
Merry Christmas everyone! What are your Christmas plans? Do you usually go to the same place every year or do you hop from house to house trying to see all your family members? Does anyone get really drunk? Are you officially all done your shopping? What did you get people this year? What do you hope to get? I had caffeine this morning, don’t know if you can tell.
Tonight is my office holiday party (here), and I’m stepping out in a bright red pair of red suede pumps (over-under on how long it takes me to break an ankle?) with matching red lips. True story: I bought my first tube of red lipstick two weeks ago specifically for the party, and I finally feel like A Real Girl. Superficial, but true. In addition, I’m also having an early birthday dinner here (as close to dining in a Parisian bistro as I can get), and doing a second early birthday-slash-Hanukkah celebration at my mom’s house on Sunday with family. I fully expect to come out of the weekend exhausted and totally spoiled. Somewhere in there I have to do more Christmas shopping (it feels like it will never end) and maybe re-watch “Summer Heights High.” Have you guys seen it? It’s a few years old, but hilarious.
Continuing on with the Friday Gift Guides, today’s collection are things you could give anyone: your mom, your best friend, your Secret Santa, the lady down the hall who left an unsigned hate letter under your door (long story!). I’ll be doing one more gift guide next Friday for all you last minute Christmas-Eve-eve shoppers, and then going back to stuff I just want to buy for myself rather than other people. Again, superficial but true.
I can’t decide which I love more: the plant, or the translated description of it: “A small Organic Farming in the kitchen garden classy version (beets, red cabbage) or trend Aromatic (Basil)” and “the most fashion of all plots!” You guys, I didn’t know beets were classy. I feel like someone should have told me sooner. Under “Contents” this is listed: “A rectangle and a bag of lawn preparation ready to push.” A rectangle! Lawn preparation! I want to meet the person that installed the language translator on that site and have then write my wedding vows. Pure poetry. All joking aside, that plant is absolutely lovely and I think it would look amazing as a centerpiece on a white dining table or on a coffee table. Maybe not a coffee table, maybe something higher off the ground because this morning, I found the puppy with a long strand of used dental floss he had picked out of the bathroom trashcan.
The 2012 Guide de la Ville Paris is a map by Swedish designer David Ehrenstråhle, highlighting places and shops of note in Paris. Did you catch that? The poster combines two of my favorite things in the entire world: Sweden and Paris. Clearly I must procure a copy. But I’d have to email the webshop to see if they would even ship internationally, and I’m sure I’d end up paying an arm and a leg for it, but! Do you see it? Do you see how gorgeous it is? Paris kind of looks like a human heart here (if you squint a bit), which makes perfect sense to me. This would look awesome hanging in the entry hallway of my well-traveled sister-in-law and brother’s house.
Bocce is one of my favorite games, and also a favorite among old Italian men. Interesting fact: Like many other things in life (like sleeping and judging people silently), I am awesome at it. Have you ever played it? I used to play lawn Bocce with my dad at his friend’s lake cabin in the summer, and recently I played in a for-fun tournament at an Italian festival down the shore. This mini version is meant to be played on your carpet, but again, anything with pieces this small is just like a Fitz choking hazard/delicious snack waiting to happen. Any friends without animals who like to play board games? This would make a perfect stocking stuffer (it’s under $15!).
I had a debate with a coworker about the practicality of the mitten; he was anti, and I am historically all about them. I love mittens. I love the childlike feeling you get from them as well as how warm and toasty they make your hand because all of your fingers are bunched together. Sure, if you need to use your hands for anything they’re pretty useless, but I think these adorable Kate Spade air quote mittens could sway even the staunchest of non-believers. Bonus: you could endlessly reenact this scene from “Friends” (one of my all-time favorites).
At $35, the Bronze Fortune Cookie necklace is an absolute steal (You don’t know how badly I want to make some terrible “it stole my heart” joke right now!). Plus it’s adorable and a perfect gift for a girlfriend or sister. It’s whimsical and hand-crafted, which means it’s one of a kind. Just like the person you’re giving it to. Okay, enough cheesiness.
What are your weekends looking like? Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Have you started wrapping everything yet? I always forget about the wrapping part. Have a great weekend, kiddos!
Happy Birthday to my daddy, who would have been 73 (73!!) today! I wish he were here so I could shower him with presents and we could commiserate over having birthdays so close to Christmas. I really just wish he were here.
I couldn’t let the occasion go unnoticed, so today’s Friday Five Gift Guide is a collection of gifts that would be perfect for him. Or for any man in your life who has ever made full meals out of cheese and crackers and full pints of ice cream, has the best beard, can quote Kevin Kline movies at the drop of a hat, loves literature and classical music, and maintains imaginary affairs with French, redheaded burlesque dancers named Trixie LaTharge. That last one might have been just my dad, but hey. He is my favorite guy in the whole universe, you’ll have to forgive me wanting to show him off:
Here I am at age 2-3, rocking bangs and a turtleneck, trying to grab the flash from my dad’s camera while he is just trying to take a decent picture of us.
Here we are, ages 6 and 54 respectively. I have bangs. And I’m wearing a Bambi shirt. But do you see the card I’ve drawn for him? Clearly I did not inherit his talent for drawing.
Also in that picture I’m giving him a present for what I’m assuming is Father’s Day? Given that I’m in just a t-shirt I’m going to assume it isn’t winter. In the spirit on his birthday and the holidays, and to continue the Friday Five Gift Guides, here are 5 gifts that were inspired by my dad:
My dad’s favorite show of all time was Law & Order. We used to (try to) watch a new episode of SVU every Friday night, and it was always a contest to see who could stay up for it. Inevitably, we were both passed out 5 minutes in, me from clamping my eyes shut at all the scary parts enough times, and my dad just from being exhausted from a long week at work. My dad always joked if he ever suffered from insomnia, all he would have to do is put on an old episode of Law & Order and wait for the “dun dun” gavel sound that opens every show. It was a sure fire way to knock him out. At $450 for the all 20 seasons, it isn’t exactly the cheapest gift in the world, but it is definitely one I know he would have loved.
I feel like every holiday necessitated the purchase of yet another wool sweater for him, but this one, from J Crew, just seemed too perfect to pass up. It’s gray (one of his favorite colors) and looks so comfy and warm. I The collar would have been totally up his alley, too. Today I’m wearing one of his sweaters, a dark green cable-knit number with wooden buttons that is probably not entirely work appropriate, but I couldn’t not wear it today. I’m sure it’s my imagination, but it still faintly smells likes him, and it’s wonderful.
My dad was never what you would call an “animal” person (to put it mildly) but we did have several pet water frogs for a few years. They were very, very cute and very, very tiny. My dad really bonded with one of them, Otis, and even upgraded his tank and bought him special food and could be found having conversations with him if you snuck up on him. But since there have been a bunch of salmonella outbreaks linked to water frogs recently, I figured the next best non-pet with the least amount of responsibility would be Sea Monkeys. Did any of you have these growing up? I had a couple and they were awesome. I figure this would be the type of pet my dad would appreciate: the kind where the eggs come dehydrated in a packet and then hatch in the water and become teeny tiny brine shrimp. Knowing him, though, he would end up attached to them and try to keep them alive forever.
I mentioned above that one of my dad’s favorite meals was a block of stinky cheese and a box of crackers. Maybe some spicy mustard and jam. No one loved stinky cheese more than my dad. Murray’s Cheese Shop, in New York, has a huge assortment of cheese (stinky and non-stinky), and you can even buy a 4, 6, or 12 month “Cheese of the Month” gift basket for any occasion. Every month, the recipient gets a 1/2lb of cheese (or meat, or a pairing if you pick that basket!) delivered right to their door. Can you think of anything more magical? Or delicious?
My dad never went anywhere without a sketchbook or two for moments of inspiration (or an emergency preparedness kit that included first aid supplies and a flashlight that worked 1000m below sea-level and a wallet-sized pen that could write in outer space, all of which fit in a small little pouch), and loved carrying a Moleskine datebook to keep his appointments and notes in. Moleskine has a line of city notebooks that include transit maps, neighborhood maps, and plenty of pages for sketching or documenting your trip. His heart belonged to Paris (just like my own) so this would have been a perfect stocking stuffer for him.
Happy, happy, happy birthday, Daddy. I miss you so much.
Have a wonderful weekend, kiddos. This weekend includes picking up and decorating Fitz’s very first Christmas tree. Do you think he’ll try to pee on it?
And please consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society this holiday season!
Today I’m spending the day with my grandmother (feels weird calling her that, she’s always been my Mom-mom) baking thousands of Christmas cookies and messing up my aunt’s kitchen with food coloring and tons of sprinkles. I have been looking forward to this SO MUCH, because my Mom-mom is an amazing baker and I basically live each year in anticipation of her Christmas cookies. She makes these sugar cookies with green food coloring in the shape of little Christmas trees…my god. They are to die for. In between baking and decorating I’ll be taking lots of pictures, trying not to get flour all over my camera.
Is it too early for me to start talking about what I want for Christmas? Yes? DON’T CARE.
Right now I’m experiencing the first ever twangs of remorse that I didn’t call this series “Friday Five Hundred” because trying to pare down what I want for Christmas into five measly items is like expecting a puppy doped up on sleeping pills to solve a quadratic equation: it’s just. not. happening. And don’t give me the spiel about how Christmas isn’t about the material objects but the time spent with family and the cherished moments between friends. No. Christmas is about the presents, and you and I both know it. I’m just spoiled enough to admit it. Although, truthfully, I am pretty stoked on getting to hang out with my two lovely cousins who are flying in from Arizona and Oklahoma for the holidays. But not because they’re awesome. But because it means two more people who could potentially give me presents. (KIDDING, Ilene and Stacy!)
Now, this is what I would ask for if money was no issue and I was on drugs. Realistically, I know better than to even ask for a watch that costs as much as 3 of the other gifts total, but a girl can dream, right? And I’ve lusted after this watch for a while and even came extremely close to buying it when Bloomingdale’s waas having a 20% off sale, but chickened out. Same story with a plane ticket to some European city, only on a much larger scale. I’m not insane, though. That 50mm lens comes in at just over $100, which seems like such a steal! I had a 50mm on my last DSLR and the thing was my best friend. If they had sold the camera with a kit that included that lens, I would’ve ordered that instead. 50mm lenses are my favorite. I figure I can use it to take pictures of my ever-growing coffee table book collection, especially if “Tashcen’s Paris” was included. It combines all the best in Parisian shopping, eating, and sights. And it’s cute. You know I’m a sucker for cute!
The last time I was at Ladurée I failed to buy a candle (or two!) despite my original plan to stock up. I don’t know what I was thinking, but clearly the combination of the endless rain and the delicious macarons (DRINK!) sitting just inches from me made by brain short circuit. That, or the $65 price tag brought me back to reality. This set of two includes Strawberry and Brioche (can’t you imagine how delicious the Brioche candle smells? My mouth is actually watering) and I found a place that isn’t Ladurée that sells them. Of course, they’ve upped the price and they’re sure to overcharge on shipping, but a small price to pay in the name of macaron scented candles! (DRINK). Plus, it’s actually cheaper than a roundtrip bus ticket to New York to go back to the store and NOT BE AN IDIOT and forget to buy one while I’m standing right there.
So! Now that I feel sufficiently greedy, distract me: what are you asking for for Christmas? Anything extravagant and crazy? Or more low-key? Have a great weekend, kiddos!
Hi! My name is Erin.
I like sleeping, Paris, gin, books, Oxford commas, and Gary Oldman. Read More→