Tuesday, January 31

It's Laundry Day!

Is there any time of the week that forces self-reflection more than laundry day?  Most of us NYC dwellers have to drag our laundry down a few flights of stairs and across at least an avenue or two.  It is during this trek every week that I begin to do the cost-benefit analysis of laundering my jeans only once a month, turning my underwear inside out and wearing it twice, and not trying to put food in my mouth while watching TV.  Are any of these things worth a reduction in laundry basket weight? 

You also have a chance to look back at the way you've presented yourself since the previous laundry day.  It's a debilitating feeling when you realize in retrospect that you have, in fact, not worn a pair of proper pants in two weeks.

Well, yesterday as I was folding my laundry I realized I might be nearing "clothing rut" territory.  No, this is not an Instagram camera filter.  Every single thing in my pile was indeed denim, chambray, or blue and white striped.

So in an effort to mix it up a bit, I think I'll try out these style resolutions I found over at Boden.  Or maybe I'll take baby steps instead and try out these red and white stripes I saw at Anthropologie...

Photo Credit: Anthropologie

Monday, January 30

Style File: Keri Russell

It's back!  Style File kicks back up with the always lovely Keri Russell.  You may have noticed here and here and here that I have a serious girl crush on Keri Russell.

What's not to love?  She is the master of casual chic, and best of all she looks so approachable.  Even at an awards shows or a red carpet event, she looks effortless, often tying her hair in a loose bun or wearing a simple t-shirt with a blazer.  If you ever doubt the importance of buying well-tailored, classic pieces, please see the pictures above.  And speaking of pictures... check out her amazing Brooklyn home, which she designed with her craftsman husband.

P.S. Do you remember when she cut off her signature curly hair and Felicity's ratings dropped significantly?  I looked up the statistics today and in the 1999 season the show had 4.4 million viewers, but the following season, it only brought in 2.2 million viewers.  Can you imagine your hair having that big of a following?

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was exactly what I needed.  We had gorgeous weather on Saturday, so we walked over to the puppy park and after months of persistence, our wish finally came true.

Two little pups wandered away from playing fetch and came straight to us for some one-on-one puppy time!  Plus, we got a seat at the bustling bagel shop around the corner and found two Criteron films - Masculin Feminin and Good Morning - fo' free at the library.  Ah, little victories. 

I spent the afternoon searching for bedding and a desk chair with no luck.  But I did pick up this belt in black and this striped skirt, both on super sale. 

Now... you should stop scrolling now if you are at all hungry.  Below you will see NYC's best crepe available, the s'mores crepe from the Creperie in the West Village, secured by yours truly Saturday evening. 

Can it get any better than that?  Now it's back to work and back to laundry and back to restocking the groceries tonight.  How was your weekend?  Any fun plans for the week?  

Photo Credit: Dores

Saturday, January 28

Unwind This Weekend

Hope you all have a chance to take a little time for yourselves over the weekend...  It seems like a good weekend to just unwind and curl up with a good book. 

Have you had a chance to hear Michael Kiwanuka?  The 23-year-old British artist with Ugandan heritage was featured on NPR a few weeks back and has a full-length album, Home Again, coming out in March.  If the album is as good as the tracks he has already released, I might have a new go-to for quiet nights in.  You can listen to 5 tracks on NPR here, or search on YouTube.

Also... a look into a rent-controlled apartment in Greenwich Village that goes for $331.76/month and a look into the most expensive apartment in NYC

Some hair envy over here. 

And a happy birthday card and congratulations card for your crude friends. 

Photo Credit: 1 unknown, 2

Friday, January 27

Spring Wishlist

Anyone else already thinking about spring?  I'm putting the Fossil pieces below on my tentative Spring '12 wardrobe wishlist.  I'm pretty excited about this cute vintage inspired button-down. It reminds me of my favorite Steven Alan shirts, at approximately a quarter of the price.  Cha-ching! 

Plus remember my New Year's resolution to buy better shoes?  I think these options might be nice...

Photo Credit: Fossil

Thursday, January 26

The Dreaded Bedding

What is the DEAL with bedding these days?  I've got an itch to switch up my bedding, but there's not a single option out there that has me excited.  Originally I went on the hunt for a duvet cover, but I quickly realized that was going nowhere fast. 

So I opened my search up to sheets, then to pillowcases, then to decorative throws.  Nothin. Nada. Zilch.

My parents had the same situation when they were replacing their comforter a few years back.  Everything is too floral, too modern, too boring, too expensive, too geometric, too bright.

The only set that piqued my interest was this set from Dwell Studio, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing I spent $260.00 on just sheets.  And that kind of defeats the whole purpose right?  Plus, it's veering into the "geometric" category more than I'd like. 

Laurent and I have a studio apartment, so our bedding takes center stage.  None of it really matches, and none of it really works with the rest of our apartment.  Any tips?  I love the look of the bed featured up top!

Photo Credit: 1 unknown, 2

Our Paper Shop

Have you seen OUR PAPER SHOP?  It's still pretty small right now, but there are pretty things to send to your minimalist loved ones.  

Photo Credit: Emmadime

Wednesday, January 25

It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later

Last night, Laurent and I went to DUMBO to see Daniel Kitson's one man show "It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later" at St. Ann's Warehouse.  His storytelling was so engaging, touching, and humorous that I've been thinking about it all day.     

"This is a show about every single one of us, the past in our pockets, the future in our hearts and us, ourselves, very much stuck, trapped forever, in the tiny eternal moment between the two."

The performance opened with Kitson weaving his way through the hanging lights onstage and pausing at the brightest bulb.  Surrounding it with his hands, he told us that in this moment, William Rivington was dying.  And that bulb over there?  That was the exact moment that Caroline Carpenter was being born.

The remainder of the show, Kitson roamed meaningfully across the stage, unraveling a story at each brightened bulb. William Rivington and Caroline Carpenter were, as we found out, inhabitants in England at roughly the same time who had never formally met.  For 90 minutes, Kitson beautifully illuminated the lives of these two characters.  His descriptions were unbelievably precise, his delivery nearly flawless.

Take for instance, Kitson's description of William's last days.  Years ago, William settled on what his last words would be, and as death loomed, he realized he was entering into a dangerous guessing game.  William utters his last words nine days early, and spends the rest of his dying days in defiant silence, barely able to resist the urge to tell off a priest come to give him last rites.

Tickets are sold out in NYC, but I highly recommend seeing this show if it comes to your city!

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Meet Eleanor, the Coolest Kid In Town


Do you ever read Rockstar Diaries?  It's such an entertaining read.  Naomi Klein shares tips about everything - traveling, fashion, recipes, entertainment, and music.  But I have to admit, I most look forward to seeing her photos- she always has great style and funny everyday photos like these of her baby, Eleanor. 

If Eleanor's choice of dining poistions doesn't make you laugh, I'm not sure what will.  Gotta love a kid that just nestles in for a meal with one foot high in the air, toes spread.  Happy Wednesday! 

Photo Credit: Rockstar Diaries

Tuesday, January 24

Hello 21st Century, You Look So Lovely...

After all the years of resistance, I have joined the iPhone community!  I have never really felt a strong urge to have a smart phone, but recently I have been finding more and more reasons to make the leap. 
  1. NYC is enormous!  I have the general neighborhoods down, but finding a particular street on foot can turn into a daylong affair if I set off without consulting Google beforehand.     
  2. Turns out iPhones are much less expensive when you sign a contract.  I genuinely thought everyone who had an iPhone was forking over $650.  As you can see, I had done very little research in this area.   
  3. I found the iPhone case pictured above and I thought, "The time for an iPhone is now. The very first attractive, patterned case has made its way into your life, and that is not by mistake."  I'm embarrassed to admit just how much this case influenced my decision. 
So... fellow iPhone users, I need your help!  I've downloaded the Instagram and Yelp apps, what else do you recommend? 

P.S. Could someone please explain to me if there is a way to track your data usage throughout the month?  Also, what uses data- accessing the internet, some apps, anything else?  I'm a beginner here...

Photo Credit: Society 6

Monday, January 23

In the Kitchen: A Cooking Tip From the Food Gods

Have you seen the "How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds" video?  SAVEUR magazine's Executive Food Editor, Todd Coleman, demonstrates how you can peel a head of garlic with minimal effort and without the pesky lingering smell under your fingernails.

Here's the best explanation I found for why this works...

"The dry fibrous peel is relatively brittle, so all the agitation inside the shaking bowls helps to break it open along the seams.  The clove itself is slightly slippery, so that helps it to slip out of the broken peel.  The friction and the mutual abrasion of the cloves as they bounce around inside the bowls is crucial.  It’s working on the same principle as a rock tumbler, in which the stones rub one another to smoothness."

I love someone's comment regarding the explanation: "Amazing! This will save me a lot of effort, the “why” is definitely secondary to me…"

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, I took my own advice and had a long, restful weekend.  We got our first real dose of snow in NYC on Saturday morning, which was all the excuse I needed to sleep in until 10:30 on Saturday and 12:00 on Sunday, listen to records, and watch the latest episode of Parks and Recreation.

On Saturday, Laurent and I made an enormous breakfast (raspberry pancakes, hash browns, eggs, orange juice) and I followed that up with an enormous dinner at my friend Katelyn's (pesto pasta, salad, bread, brie, wine, more wine, desert).  And in honor of the snowy city, we busted out the Swiss Miss hot chocolate last night.  So much food, so little physical exercise.

On Saturday, I went out with some friends to Ward III, a bar in Tribeca which allows you to create your own bespoke cocktails.  The bespoke cocktails are made based on your preference of five things - spirit, texture, spice, flavor, and/or fruit.  The concoctions that I had were dangerously delicious, which led to the previously stated sleeping in until noon on Sunday. 

It was pretty crowded when we first got there around 11, but the crowd died down significantly towards the end of the night.  I think I'll go back on a weekday or earlier in the evening to try the food options and a few more custom-made cocktails. 

What about you?  How was your weekend?

My 10-year-old cousin, Noah, was in his local newspaper for being a recycling machine at school! Pretty cool, huh? Watch out Lisa P. Jackson, soon you'll have competition for the head of the EPA.

Photo Credit: 1, 2

Sunday, January 22

Art on Water

Have you seen this stage in Bregenz, Austria?  The floating stage rests in the town's Lake Constance and has seen some amazing transformations each season.  You might recognize it from Quantum of Solace.  Wouldn't you love to see a performance there?

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

Friday, January 20

Have a Restful Weekend

What are you up to this weekend?  Laurent has tonight and tomorrow off until the evening, so we can have an (almost) proper weekend together.  Plus our laundry is done and the apartment is clean so it looks like we'll have nothing but relaxation for the next two days.  We just started watching the Prohibition series last night and I'm really into it so far!  Have you guys seen it?

I'm also hoping to get in some face time with my friends Katelyn and Anna before the weather gets too cold and makes me a captive of my own home.  You can see some of Anna's wonderful photography work here

In honor of the amazing Etta James, a few of my favorite songs to take you into the weekend... All I Could Do Was Cry, I'd Rather Go Blind, Good Rockin' Daddy, and Tell Mama

P.S. Today I overheard a little girl say, "HAPPY HOUR FROM 2-7?  Well what does that make this hour? Sad hour?" and Duly Noted reached 1,000 views.  What a great way to start the weekend.

Photo Credit: Unknown

House in a Hill

This beautiful home, embedded in the hills of Vals Switzerland, was a project by Christian Müller Architects and SeARCH. What a unique and lovely way to incorporate the natural landscape into home design. 

What do you think?  Would you ever want to live in an untraditional home like this?  The inside is a little cold for my taste, but I think the exterior is amazing.  And those views...

Photo Credit: Home Designing

Thursday, January 19

St. Dymphna's

St. Dymphna's is a fantastic pub located in the East Village on St. Mark's Place.  Laurent and I have been there twice, and both times we have had great service and satisfying food and drinks.  They have a great variety of beers on tap and their happy hour is from 12-8.  If you go in for dinner, you'll be able to grab a drink for $4-$6 (I highly recommend the Strongbow or Magner's Pear Cider) while listening to classic tunes from the late '60s and early '70s.

The atmosphere is so cozy and warm, and it's an added bonus that there are so many tables.  We recently went on a busy Thursday night and were still able to grab a table and enjoy a long dinner.  Grab a few friends for dinner and try some of our favorite hearty options: French onion soup, veggie burger, or shepherd's pie.

Photo Credit: 1, 2

Wednesday, January 18

The Chambray Shirt

Is there anything better than a chambray button-down?  I've had a boyfriend style chambray shirt from Target for a couple years, and I think the cost per wear is now down to a few pennies. 

They're classic, but not too clean, and dressy, but not too stuffy.  Whereas most button-downs need to be crisply ironed, chambray shirts actually look better a little roughed up.  Plus, you can get so much wear out of one piece!  With the right style and fit, you can make them work for just about any occasion. 

Recently, I picked up a faded chambray pullover from J.Crew and darker chambray dress (similar to the one above, but not quite) during their 30% off holiday sale.  They've both seen so much wear in the past month that I have to consciously tell myself to not reach for them every morning.

Then I saw this picture of Keri Russell (only 10 days after delivering a baby!).  I've never really like the look of short sleeve button-downs on me, but this might change my mind.  Plus, I've found the source of said shirt - J.Crew - and it's in my price range.  Is there such a thing as too much chambray?  Have I already passed that point?

P.S. Do you say button-down or button-up shirt? 

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tuesday, January 17

Realistic Savings Tips

After setting up a savings account over the weekend, I decided it was time to take a better look at what my spending habits have been like over the past few months. 

As luck would have it, Apartment Therapy recently featured an article with realistic tips to help everyone save money.  I've listed some of my favorites here and added a few of my own.  I'm by no means a great saver, but I have picked up a few things that I think work well for me.
  1. Catalog Your Expenses Each Month: Go back through your finances for a month and catalog all of your expenses.  I think the easiest way to do so is to create general categories.  I separated my expenses into the following: rent, utilities, student loans, transportation, home, groceries, eating out, clothing, entertainment, and health & beauty.
  2. Pinpoint Categories for Improvement: Go through your finances and figure out where you are spending too much.  I found that I have been spending more on eating out and clothing (surprise, surprise) than I would like to.  Try to also pinpoint small, daily expenses that are starting to add up like coffee, soda, magazines, bagels, etc. 
  3. Make a Realistic Budget: When you first start the budgeting process, it's easy to make your plan too strict.  For instance, if you currently spend $150 a month on eating out, you will have a difficult time getting down to only $50 a month.  When you make more realistic goals, you will be more likely to adhere to your new budget. Try reducing your spending by 10% the first month, 15% the next month, etc. until you get to a number you're comfortable with.
  4. Make Substitutions: I think this is the most exciting part of the budgeting process!  Find ways to do what you love without spending as much.  For example, if you love to read magazines, buy a subscription instead of individual issues, or stop in a bookstore or library and read them there.  If you love coffee, try getting a French press or taking your own mug into a coffee shop.  Some stores will charge a fraction of the price if you bring in your own cup.  Laurent and I love to go to standup shows, and we found a free one every Sunday night hosted by Hannibal Buress.  Embrace no money fun!
  5. Seek Out Discounts: Clip coupons, print off rebates, ask retailers if they have any special discounts.  I'm not the best coupon clipper, and frankly TLC's Extreme Couponing scares the shit out of me, but I always do online surveys for retailers like Gap and Banana Republic.  Just for filling out a quick 2 minute survey, you can get 20% off your next purchase.  Also, ask around for student/teacher/military/senior discounts.  J.Crew and Madewell both give 15% off your entire purchase, which can be pretty substantial.  However, you should never buy something on sale that you wouldn't buy at full price. 
  6. Embrace the Generics.  Figure out where you can buy store brands and where you would like to buy name brands.  Target's Up and Up brand is pretty great and I truly can't tell the difference on most items.  Trader Joe's also has some pretty delicious, inexpensive items under their store brand.  And if my father has taught me anything, it's to look for generic options for pharmaceuticals like Claritin.  Often you'll find options with the exact same ingredients for a quarter of the price.   
  7. Add it Up as You Go:  As a young child, I never found myself in debt.  Not once.  I can attribute this to three things: I had fewer expenses, I didn't know Anthropologie existed, and when I wanted to buy multiple things, I added the prices together in my head.  That practice has somehow slipped away, especially at the grocery and at Target.  I look at the individual prices, but I rarely keep a mental tally going.  When you're first starting a budget, try writing down the cost of each item you throw into your cart so you can edit your purchases before you get to the register. 
  8. Set Up Auto Savings at Your Bank:  Automatically diverting money from your checking account every month is a great way to limit your spending.  You can always change it or cancel it for a period that you will need more money, but I think it's important to have separate accounts for your spending money and your savings.  You should always try to save as much as possible, but a good rule of thumb is to have money set aside for an emergency (experts say at least 6 months' of salary) and then any savings beyond that can go toward a vacation, a car, a house, etc. 
  9. Treat Yo Self: Sit down and determine a few things you would like to do if you meet your budget.  For example, if you cut $30 off your grocery bill each week, find an inexpensive trade-off that you can look forward to, like a matinee play or a weekend of yoga.  If you set a small price limit for your rewards, you will have a net financial gain and you'll be much more likely to stick to your goals. 
I know keeping track of your finances can be daunting and time-consuming, but once you figure out a system that works for you, it can become really rewarding.  And if all of this is too overwhelming, you can always take my father's advice and simply spend less than you earn! 

Photo Credit: Vernacular Typography

*These goals were found on Apartment Therapy.  I've added my own content, but the inspiration was directly from this article.

Finally, an Adult Sippy Cup!

Have you all seen the Cuppow?  I've always loved using canning jars as drinking glasses, but they're pretty difficult to take on the go.  Now, you can just attach a Cuppow lid to any canning jar and you instantly have a cheap ($7.99) and cute traveling mug.  What a great, eco-friendly alterative to the typical plastic travel mug! 

You can hear the rest of the Cuppow story (and make a purchase if you're interested!) here.  I love that all the company's packaging, website, and marketing was executed by the designer's friends.

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well I accomplished one of my two goals for the long weekend... Even though it was nice and chilly here in NYC, I managed to get in a decent amount of exploring this weekend- mostly in Manhattan, but I took a little solo tour of Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday.  I attempted to find a great cup of hot chocolate, but unfortunately struck out.  A few highlights from the weekend... 

On Saturday, Laurent and I tried out Peri Ela, a Turkish restaurant near our house and escaped the cold by watching Singin' in the Rain

On Sunday, we made raspberry pancakes, I popped into Posman Books for a small gift, and ate at the always delicious Ronnybrook Farm Dairy.  If you're in NYC, stop in for their macaroni and cheese.  It comes topped with scallions and breadcrumbs and is served with rye bread.  They also have amazing ice cream, floats, shakes, and cookies with milk.  Yum. 

On Sunday I stopped in Academy Records in Williamsburg and came out with my very first record - Nancy Wilson's Gentle is My Love.  And above all else, I escaped the Trader Joe's at Union Square unscathed (it can get pretty crazy in there!).

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

Monday, January 16

As Winter Holds Steady...

As the temperature drops and the wind picks up, it's difficult to not wish for spring (especially because retailers have already put out their spring collections!), but I think this is such a lovely sentiment to keep in mind when you find yourself wishing for winter's end...

Photo Credit: Unknown

Valentine's Day Countdown

I know Valentine's Day is almost a month away, but why not start talking about it now?  Rifle Paper Co. has a few sweet Valentine's Day cards for those adults of us wanting to send a little love out into the universe.

P.S. They also have beautiful options to just say hello, throw a mysterious party, or invite friends to a circus-themed event

P.P.S. I think this is such a cute set of prints for a little kid's room.

Photo Credit: Rifle Paper Co.

Sunday, January 15

Jason Wu for Target

The Jason Wu for Target lookbook was released recently, and it looks like it will be a huge hit.  If you're unfamiliar with Jason Wu, he gained worldwide recognition after designing First Lady Michelle Obama's dress for the Presidential Inaugural Ball.  He was recently chosen to create a more affordable line at Target, with prices ranging from $19.99 to $59.99.

Here are a few of my favorite looks from the collection.  I was so pleased to see that all of his dresses have interesting details when you view them up close.  Hopefully I'll have a chance to try on a few things, but if this is anything like the Missoni for Target collection, I'll have to camp out at 5 am to do so.

 P.S. Is anyone else not crazy about the styling for these photos?  I don't know about the Heidi braids and the socks.  It seems a little misaligned with the collection...

Photo Credit: Alexis Bittar, Babble
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