Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Small Kitchens

Do you guys know most apartments in Brooklyn have virtually no kitchen? This is what I am discovering after looking at more than 25 apartments in the last month or so. I don't cook all that often so I can live without a palatial kitchen and sometimes a small space just means you get to be exceptionally creative with storage and presentation. Is anyone else out there as thrilled with this challenge as I am? Here are a few photos for inspiration:

An old favorite from Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Small Cool Spaces

Cammie's Chunk of Green

Jordan's Light, Location & Vibe

Anna Dorfman's Manhattan Apartment

Anna Dorfman's Newburgh Kitchen

Monday, October 22, 2012

Storytime: Sad Truth Edition

via Louis Vuitton
A wise man once said, You can't always get what you want. That man was Mick Jagger (DUH) and he was correct. Also he sang it ,which means it must be extra true.

Back in July, when I was young and full of hope, I announced to my two readers that I would be moving and getting my own place and then treated everyone to a list of things I would have in my super shiny, adorable first apartment here in New York City.  I felt like Mary Tyler Moore, exuberantly tossing my hat up into the air with newfound independence.

I was going to make it after all, god damn it.

But then, life happened.

My moving date was set for Sept 29th. New tenants were scheduled to move in a few days later. Despite months of planning and saving, I still struggled to save enough money to accommodate the initial moving and broker costs. Brokers were standing me up or presenting me with apartments listed at several hundred dollars over my target rental price. One broker flat out laughed at my expectation that I'd find something reasonable that didn't look like a rape den. My moving date was rapidly approaching and I was finding fewer and fewer listings in my price range and desired neighborhoods, even though I'd branched out to consider neighborhoods I'd barely heard of. With only two weeks to go and no movers booked, I started frantically emailing people with rooms to rent.

 'I'll just save money by having a roommate and then I'll also treat myself to something fun like customized upholstered cushions for my armchair. That will make it worth it', I told myself. I am a person who appreciates consolation prizes.

I emailed about 50 people who had posted ads on Craigslist. I received maybe a dozen responses. One of them was an offer of a small furnished room in exchange for topless massages. I was able to set up appointments to look at a handful of apartments but most of the people who originally responded never followed up. I was promised a room and then the renter changed their mind not once, but TWICE.

That's right. Disappointed and rejected two times.

Now, I'm a responsible, fully-employed adult who is friendly and fairly down-to-earth. I have verifiable income. I don't look like a serial killer. I don't smoke or do drugs.  I don't come with a rider of outrageous demands. I won over my first roommate by wearing a cool necklace. A NECKLACE.

When did the nyc housing market become more competitive than the job market or the dating market? I had Plan A (to get my own place) and Plan B (to find a new roommate) and I'd made peace with the fact that Plan A was not feasible with my current income and in this market, unless I wanted to live somewhere so far out that you have to take a bus just to get to the subway. Or else live next to the airport. I was ready to accept the realities of having a roommate again, but now even that wasn't working out?!

The clock was ticking!
The hourglass was emptying!
Another dramatic metaphor for running out of time!

Finally, with two days to go before I was to vacate my apartment, I gave up.

I hired movers to take all my stuff to a storage unit, I packed a duffel bag and I went to a friend's apartment. (PLAN C, otherwise previously known as 'Plan C but that will NEVER HAPPEN oh my god can you even IMAGINE?!)

You know you are blessed with some amazing friends when they are willing to take you in when you literally have no place to live and are so exhausted you keep breaking out in fits of maniacal laughter because the situation got so hilariously out of hand. If my friends weren't so awesome, I would have had to move in with my parents in the suburbs of CT and endure the soul-sucking commute on Metro North each morning. And then I would have gotten sick of that and quit my job to start a new life on my parents' couch, spending my days making crappy art work to sell on etsy while I worked on 'finding myself'. Thankfully, I was saved by one such amazing friend (and several others, whose guest rooms and couches I will be visiting soon.)

Obviously, things could have been much worse and I am thankful for the things I have and the people around me and know that despite some set backs, I will be fine. All this is true. But let me tell you, these have been some dark times. It's hard when the life you envisioned for yourself doesn't match up with what the world has in store for you. That's so cliche I want to punch myself in the neck for even typing it but it's also true.

So that is why there are no posts about my new apartment and adventures decorating it. No fun DIYs or dramatic unveilings. No makeovers or diagrams or wishlists.

For now, I'm regrouping and taking some time to figure out what my priorities are. The silver lining of this whole situation is now that I don't have a set moving date to adhere to, I can take my time to find the right solution whether that means finding someone with a room to rent, finding a roommate to search for an apartment with or finding my own place. Perhaps I simply wasn't meant to have my own apartment yet. Perhaps I wasn't meant to live with the girl who is a nudist (no judgement) or the couple that preferred I shower at the gym instead of in their bathroom. Perhaps I would have settled for something that would have turned out to be less than ideal, just because I was running out of time.

Perhaps time is actually what I really needed. Which means Mick Jaggar was correct, Sometimes you can't always get what you want.

But you get what you need.

(See what I did there?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

toast and tea

Hidden Animal Mugs
time for you and time for me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of toast and tea.
-the love song of j. alfred prufrock by t.s. eliot

Color Combo Challenge

Sometimes I like to amuse myself by visualizing new color combinations in unexpected spaces. This is one of those times.
via Boutique Mix
A few years ago while working at Kate's Paperie, I became obsessed with a set of Kate Spade stationery that featured a retro variation of postal stripes in navy, red and pink. Kate Spade recycled the same pattern last year with some variation in tone and color on a candy bar clutch and I've been utterly smitten ever since.

via Kate Spade-aholic
Enough about stationery and purses though- what I really care about is decorating. How would this combination work in a room? Navy is such a traditional and conservative color but a bright pink could make it really fun and adding in red accents would balance out the youthful aspects of hot pink. I can easily see it working in a bedroom or living room with all the textile and upholstery possibilities. Here are a few examples via Pinterest:

I like a good challenge so I started thinking about how these colors would look in a kitchen. Dark counters and a textured rug anchor a lighter table and counter top which leaves room for plenty of punchy accessories. Pretty cute, right?

From Left: Lacquer Tray, Rug, Chairs (color discontinued), Table, Wall Clock, Pendant Lamp, Mixer, Counters, Print

Friday, July 20, 2012


My favorite Bowie album.
For the three of you who read this blog, sorry I haven't written in a while. I know you are very sad. And I also know you talk to me every day and therefore don't care much. But nonetheless, I need to start blogging again. For my own sanity. And also so I can post decorating ideas I want to make sure I remember, which is the whole reason I started this blog in the first place.

Oh hey and also, I'm moving into my very own apartment soon! Yes, I will FINALLY be living by myself. It is a little scary, but I'm moving forward. So get ready world, this apartment will be full of sequins and creepy old portraits of people I don't know. It will have crazy rugs and as many throw pillows as I want. (Which is means A LOT)  It will have decorative objects in random places and artwork in the kitchen. It will have hot pink and mint green even though no one thinks they look good together but me. It will have fresh flowers all the time and a real TV stand. Lack tables will be banned from the kingdom that is my new home.

All these things will happen, I promise.

In the meantime, I will probably spend the next 2-3 months fantasizing about stuff I need and want and DIY projects I will do and comparing paint colors and upholstery fabrics. In short, I will be in heaven.

Get excited, people.

Or at least, you know, pretend. For my sake.

Want to relive my past moving experiences? (Because, why wouldn't you??!) Check out these older posts:
Moving is Hard Y'all!
Big News
We are so behind

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kitchen Envy

Yiming's Black & White Prewar Kitchen
This is one of my all-time most favorite kitchens ever. When I saw it in the Apartment Therapy Big Book of Small, Cool Places, I squealed with glee and then promptly bookmarked it for future drooling.Why can't all kitchens have black walls and white counters? Sigh.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dreaming of...


via A Subtle Revelry
 Springtime is the perfect time of year to spend Saturdays lounging in the park with some snacks, a good book and also a few of your besties for when you get bored and just want to spend the day gossiping and debating the merits of pastel colored highlights.

via Sunday in Bed

via Tara Sloggett

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

my work self is eating up my life me

All sorts of crazy stressful things have consumed my life lately and I've essentially turned into a crazy person. The other day my friend asked me how I'm doing and I told her I'd recently eaten an entire stack of saltines for dinner and that I've developed an intense fear of both paper cuts and liver spots.

Yes, I am apparently turning into Liz Lemon.

Since I have nothing better to post, here are some of her best confessions!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Friday

via:  Camille Styles
This is how I would like to be spending my weekend. How about you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bookshelf Makeover

Remember that time I ranted about how I hate design trends because people ignore what does and doesn't actually work in their room? Maybe I'm eating a few of my words today. Just one or two though.

Much like the perpetually popular skinny jean, bookshelves organized by color aren't flattering for everyone. In fact in my old apartment, they would have looked terrible and out of place and sort of like I am trying too hard. Which is what most design trends do. The problem with trends is that unless they are rooted in classic design movements like the Eames chair I want nothing to do with them. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good Eames chair, I do. I love seeing them everywhere because they are generally so awesome and pretty and I am still kicking myself for not snagging the white ones my grandparents used to own. But I loathe hearing people talk about them because that conversation always seems to go like this:


Person A and Person B are both young, trendy 20-somethings who wear indoor scarves and oversize tortoiseshell glasses that show more of their cheek bones than their actual eyes, which probably don't need glasses in the first place. They are enjoying extremely bitter lattes and feeling good about their decisions in life, especially their decision to drink heinously expensive coffee that is organic and shipped in from the rain forest of a remote country that probably doesn't exist. 

You know what I really need? An EAMES CHAIR. An EAMES CHAIR would make. my. apartment. O-M-G.

Oh yes, I just DIE over EAMES CHAIRS. I want one in every color in every corner of my loft and also at every table and maybe as a nightstand, side table and toilet paper holder as well.You really aren't a proper adult if you don't have at least one in your apartment. You're just, like, a regular chair owner with chairs from like Target. GROSS.

Yes, I will sell my soul and also possibly default on my student loans in order to acquire this paean to aesthetic greatness because without one in my life, my apartment is just a closet-sized Ikea storeroom and everything is the WORST and how will people know I'm cool and have excellent taste?

Let's pull out our iPhones and look on Etsy for some vintage EAMES CHAIRS right now!!!!


Enough of that tomfoolery.

Back to business.

In my current apartment, I have just one bookshelf and it is in my bedroom, which isn't lacking for color but could stand to look more visually organized. This weekend, I decided to give it a try and see how much of an impact it would truly make.

Here's what I learned: I read mostly black and white books so maybe I should start choosing my books by the color of their spine. As you can see, I am lacking in yellow and green ones.

But ALSO my bookshelf does look a lot cleaner and less cluttered so, fine. I will keep it this way. You win this time, trend!

Here, see for yourself: (and btw I didn't leave my dresser drawer open like a lazy slob, it's just broken because Helen used to own it and broke it) (but then gave it to me for free like a magical free furniture fairy so I can't complain.)


Not thrilling enough? Ok how about a side-by-side comparison:

You are so mesmerized by this, I know. Just wait until I tackle my closet, which is a place I wholeheartedly endorse organizing by color and also by sleeve-length.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love in the Coconut

Gorman & Castle Pillow
This pillow!! Someone snatch it up! It would look amahzing on an all-white bed! Or on a grey couch! Or in a nicely wrapped gift box for your friend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VDay Countdown

Do you guys know Valentine's Day is a week from today? Well, if you're freaking out about what to get me, look no further than these handmade conversation heart cookies. I adore conversation hearts (just ask my mother who is forced to send them to me in bulk each year) and I also adore cookies (just ask....everyone I know) so naturally the idea makes sense.

Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere made a bunch and so can you! For me! Yayyyy! Kissesthx.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hot Lips

If only I had a photograph this striking near my desk to distract from my mess...

Image: James Merrell for Living Etc via Belly Button


Oh Joy! wallpaper + industrial piping and reclaimed wood = fabulousness

Image: Spork and Knife via Oh Joy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day: A Story

Best Movie Ever.

Back when I was in college I had both the worst and the best valentine's day ever. Let me explain.

It happened in two parts:

Part I: The Worst
In which our plucky heroine is disappointed by life and love and also her bitches.

It was Senior year and like most people at my small liberal arts college for girls who wear leopard print jackets and boys who wear skinny jeans, I was stressed out and terrified about what would happen to me after I graduated in a few short months. I spent the days alternately worrying about the future and then drinking enough vodka to forget the future existed. I also went to class, worked a few jobs, interned, and blah blah blah I was functional. So Valentine's Day was upon us and as most of my friends were single and sad about it, we all decided to shun the holiday altogether and spend the evening at California Pizza Kitchen binging on Thai Chicken Pizza and BBQ Chicken Salads. After all, chicks before dicks, amirite?

That morning I woke up and went about my student business and heard no word from any of my friends. That was not surprising- we were all busy doing studenty things and everyone was probably hung over from the obligatory 'tomorrow is Valentine's Day so we should prepare by doing shots' party. But we'd never set a time to meet up or figure out who could drive to such faraway lands as Scarsdale. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Calls went to voice mail. Texts were unanswered.

Reader, my friends ditched me. On Valentine's Day.

Let me make that more clear in case you don't understand the true gravity of the situation: A single girl was ditched by her friends on the worst possible day of the year.

So I cried. Like, buckets. I don't actually remember this, it just seems like the logical next step. I probably threw some things and also ranted-out loud, to the empty room- about how people are awful and who needs friends anyway and fuck this holiday and so on and whatnot. I also probably destroyed my room looking for candy bars to console myself. Basically, I turned into a Kathy comic. ACKKKK!

BUT THEN I stopped feeling sorry for myself and salvaged the night like the champ I am.

Which brings me to:

Part II: The Best
In which said heroine makes the best of things, gets a little drunk, cuts her hair and finds some dude in her bedroom.

Since my dinner plans were officially ruined and I was on the college student diet of bagels and diet coke, I was both starving and emotional. Finding some trans fats took priority. I headed over to the Pub, which is a crappy student hang out where they serve only burgers and fries and stale popcorn and random sugary juices like V-8 Fruit Fusion that I could pretend were healthy and therefore an acceptable meal replacement. If I wasn't going to have a classy meal at CPK, I was going to live it up, goddammit. So I ate my weight in curly fries while pretending I had scholarly reading to do that was DEFINITELY more important than some lousy couples holiday. Except you know what is awful about college students? The fact that they are willing to spend Valentine's Day making out over veggie burgers in their college cafeteria. And you know what is awful about artsy college students? That they think it is acceptable to treat every room as if it is their own goddamn poetry reading. YES THERE IS A POETRY READING IN THIS STORY. Clearly this plucky heroine had to get the hell out of there and figure out how to salvage the evening.

So here's how I did that: I rented All About Eve, drank a big gulp of Sprite and Peach Schnapps (shut up, I am awesome) and gave myself bangs because, why not. And also, fuck hair! Already this night had turned all sorts of fabulous.  There I was, playing with my newly chopped bangs and reciting Bette Davis's monologues in front of the mirror when suddenly my bedroom window flew open and some random guy jumped into my room.

What's this you say? A romantic development?! NO. YOU WISH.

It was some guy who was trying to surprise his girlfriend with two dozen roses but whose girlfriend lived on the 3rd floor and he didn't want to ruin the surprise by making her come to the door to let him in. So you know, he climbed into the building through a complete stranger's window. We liberal arts majors are not known for our logic. Now normally, I would have been mortified by this. After all, I was wearing some pretty unattractive sweat pants and I probably had dried ketchup and residual bang hair all over my face. But it turned out alright because said dude thanked me by giving me a few of his girlfriend's roses (hey, I'll take sloppy seconds) and also he forgot the box of Russell Stover chocolates he meant to bring her. So I ate them all. Even though I MUCH PREFER Vosges or Max Brennan or even Godiva. Russell Stover is like the Walmart of chocolates.

So in the end, I had a great Valentine's Day- I watched one of my favorite movies and some guy brought me roses and chocolates (hey, I'll phrase it how I want to phrase it, Bitch).

And you know who didn't have a good Valentine's Day? All my friends because it turns out they spent the day dealing with Bridesmaids-style food poisoning and forgot to call me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lifestyles of the poor and not at all famous

I am pretty much the last person anyone should ask for beauty advice and yet suddenly everyone around me (and by that I mean all three of my friends) wants to know my favorite products. Let me preface this list by pointing out that I rarely remember to wash my face before bedtime and I pluck my eyebrows basically never. I only ever shop for beauty products at the drug store, with the exception of little samples of $100 face masks that I like to swindle from Sephora on a monthly basis. Also I am terrified of pedicures. So I am essentially the anti-beauty guru. But nevertheless, here are some of my favorite, can't-live-without, MUST HAVE, freak-out-when-empty essentials.

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer
 One thing I totally suck at is keeping a make-up bag in my purse. I am not one of those girls who actually powders her face in the loo or remembers to carry concealer at all times. In fact, I dislike those people intensely. It seems high-maintenance and fussy. However I do have lip gloss on me all the time, even at the gym and that is because I truly believe that a little lip color can completely change your face and make you look refreshed and ready to face down even your biggest foes. I swear by Burt's Bees lip shimmers, especially Fig. It is like the Black Honey of drugstore brands. It looks good on literally everyone, lasts forever and tastes good too. (But don't eat it. Gross.)

Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with Vitamins E & B3 UV Skin Shield SPF 15 Lotion
I never used to bother with moisturizer, even though my mother told me it was really important to use it every day to avoid getting my grandmother's weird crinkled neck skin. About 5 years ago I jumped on this bandwagon in a really hardcore way. Now I moisturize every morning and, when I remember, at night too (see above comment re: my bad nighttime habits). I like Olay's complete moisture lotion because it's not very thick and absorbs pretty much right away and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. Plus, it has SPF 15 and a bunch of nutrients so I can pretend my skin is absorbing the nutrients I should be getting from food but don't get at all because all I ever eat is junk.

Suave Naturals Creamy Body Wash, Milk & Honey Splash
Yes, it is Suave. I am apparently still stuck in the mid-90's when it comes to my body products. I might as well break out the cucumber melon Bath & Body Works bath gel. But hear me out. I first started using a milk & honey body wash while I was studying abroad in London. Over there, they have fancier, British versions of Suave, which was sold at uber-cool Boots Pharmacy (this was before it showed up in Target and became uncool). Anyway, I randomly bought a milk & honey body wash there one day and was instantly addicted. It was creamy and decadent and made me feel and smell like a Duchess every time I took a shower or bath. Usually it was a shower because I shared a bathroom with a boy so, ew. Now I am completely addicted to this scent and so happy I can buy it here for like $3. The Suave version leaves my skin super soft and the scent lasts but isn't overwhelming.

Noxzema The Original Deep Cleansing Cream
This stuff is so amazing. I'm sure most women my age spend actual money on their face cleansers at fancy stores like Sephora but I swear by this cleansing cream. I use it in the shower, where I can slather it on like the thick cold cream we used in my theater days and then I leave it on while I shampoo my hair. My skin gets all tingly and cold in a good way and then feels so clean and clear afterward. I'm beginning to sound like commercial now so I'll shut up about that. I forgot about Noxema for a long, long time and then I rediscovered it when I visited my AWESOME FRIEND SADIE in LA and she had it in her shower. I've been obsessed ever since. I abandoned it for a while in favor of some gross grapefruit exfoliating bullshit but now I am back and it is better than ever.

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara
Back to make-up. Everyone raves about Dior mascara and I am all 'whatever dudes, Cover Girl Lash Blast FTW'. I use the newish Lash Blast Fusion because it builds volume AND length. Imagine that?!!? And it must work because lately people keep asking me if I am wearing false eyelashes as if I could roll out of bed early enough to apply those complicated mothers. I barely remember to brush my hair these days and I just noticed that my socks don't match. But I do swipe on this thick black goodness and it remains there all day, even if I watch a weepy movie like All Dogs Go To Heaven which we know is the weepiest movie ever and even worse than Sophie's Choice.

LORAC Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette
Here is something semi-fancy that can't be found at Rite Aid: Lorac eye shadows. Two years ago I was having an awesome mall day with Helen when I decided to deviate from my drugstore only beauty routine and splurge on an eyeshadow palette. Reader, I married it. Actually, I only committed to it for life. [Insert politically relevant joke here] But ladies, these eye shadows are the best. My eyelids tend to be a little oily (gross, I know) and so most eye shadows have melted and faded away by lunchtime. But Lorac eye shadows last all freaking day and they always look fresh because there is the tiniest bit of sheen but without a speck of slutty girl glitter. Even if I were that fussy girl in the bathroom retouching her make up every 4 hours, I wouldn't even need to because they are always fully in tact. My palette is running out and so I might buy the one you see above this long winded paragraph because the neutral tones are so pretty and glamorous.

Conair Brush Mega Self Grip Rollers
A few words on hair products: I never use them. I hate that they make my hair feel dirty and weighed down and greasy. I don't like to wash my hair every single day, god damn it! I hate all those shine boosters and serums and hair sprays and mousses. They are gross and they smell weird and as previously discussed, I only like to smell like a Dutchess who bathed in milk. Anyway, for the past few years I have been having a very passionate affair with Conair's self-grip rollers. I like to throw 2-3 of them on the top of my head for extra volume. Then I like to prance about my room wearing only my black tights and a short kimono like I am Ann Margaret. They do wonders for very little effort and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to look like a bombshell but who is lazy like I am.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


All those words above describe how I am feeling today. Here are a few more: tired, irritable, not in the mood to be nice to anyone at all ever.

I was thinking of actually writing something of substance today that is also more than 30 words but no. Just, no.

Instead, here are some things I want from West Elm. Deal with it.

See, I told you I can't play nice today.

Hand-Blocked Silk Paisley Pillow Cover
Peggy Mirror
Wood Magazine Holder
Mia Table Lamp OBVS.
Souk Rug
Color-Banded Dessert Plates
Valentine Pad-Printed Bowls

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Weekend

via Deliciously Organized
This felt like the longest effing week of my life and I am so glad it's finally Friday! This is the first weekend in several months that I have a day that is completely free and I am so excited to get some housework done and tackle some fun projects that have been on my To Do list for far too long.

via One more Moore
I'm having a few friends over for dinner so first on my list is baking a super simple dessert. I'm thinking peanut butter cup bars. Don't they look good?

via Glitter & Pearls

Last year I bought a fun desk calendar from Anthropologie with all these crazy designs in bright colors and I loved flipping it over every month to see what new pattern awaited. Now that the year's over, I thought I would find a more permanent use for the calendar so I plan to experiment with different designs to make some easy DIY wall art.

What's a weekend without a good workout? I think I'll also try out one of the new zumba classes at my gym. Here is what I think it will be like:

Happy Weekend!