Merry Merry: Owl Ornaments

As we know, I have a bit of an owl problem. Since few things bring me greater joy than owls, Christmas decorations and the holidays, I thought I'd post a roundup of my current favorite "owl-a-ments" out there. Enjoy!
1. Felt Animal Ornaments, West Elm
2. Glittered Owl Ornament, Anthropologie
3. Glittering Whoo Ornament, Anthropologie
4. Hoot Owl Ornament, Urban Outfitters
5. Radko Sun Valley Sentinel Ornament, Amazon
6. Little Gold Owl Ornament, by kissikissi, Etsy


Merry Merry: Trimmings

Decorating for Christmas is one of my all-time favorite activities. In college, my roommate and I had a "celebration tree" that stayed up from fall break through St. Patrick's Day. Ours usually doesn't make it that long, but I still love to pull out the ornaments—glass and glitter, owls and souvenirs. This year, we also got to hang an Advent calendar that my mom made for my dad when they were dating and a tree skirt hand-beaded by my grandmother. Since this is my first Christmas away from my parents and siblings, it's nice to be surrounded by some touches of family. As for the EPIC process of decorating our tiny apartment, I'll spare you the details and let the pictures speak for themselves. Happy Holiday Season!


Bookshelf: Out of Oz

I read Wicked before I ever watched the musical. It haunted me. Imaginative, dark, beautiful, achingly tragic, and haunting—I loved the book. Son of a Witch came out around that time, so I quickly devoured the next book in the saga. And while waiting for Maguire to write A Lion Among Men, I read Lost and Mirror Mirror, his other fanciful books. Of course, before reading A Lion Among Men, I felt the need to reread Wicked and Son of a Witch. So while Out of Oz was winging its way to me from Amazon, I refreshed my memory by rereading the first three books yet again.

I never understood why my mother reread her favorite books. It made absolutely no sense to me to read something you already knew the ending to. But I am learning a whole new way of experiencing a story. The world draws you in deeper, the characters are more real. The overarching narrative is grander, the stakes higher. That's probably a fair amount of hyperbole, but it's been my recent experience.

After reading through the first three books in the last two weeks, I felt thoroughly immersed in Maguire's Oz. One almost needs that amount of engagement to get through Out of Oz, his most dense and complicated novel thus far. More than any of the others, it draws on the original L. Frank Baum books. Part of me wishes I'd re-read those—a childhood favorite of mine and my dad's. But the primary twist at the end of the book would not have been as unexpected or as painful had I remembered some of those Baum characters and their stories. So maybe the surprise was better.

This book was the most like Wicked for me in that I felt so emotionally invested in some of the characters, broken and wounded as they were, that their losses struck me. From the Lion and Nor to Liir and Candle, from Rain to Tip, I hurt for so many of them. There is enough plot summary out there, so I will spare you, reader. But the strongest story of this book, to me, was not the tale of Oz, the restoration of order and justice. It was the story of lost childhood and young love. Both are themes that pervade the novels, filled with characters from broken families, broken lives, and uncertain beginnings. Most relationships end tragically in Maguire's world. And in real life, first love rarely works out. Yet there is a part of the heart that still wants those first passions, the feeling of giving oneself wholly, to last.

I was a little less satisfied than most reviewers at the end of the book. The scene with Glinda is unnecessarily vague and created more questions than it answered. I also wanted more resolution with Rain, Elphaba's granddaughter. Although Maguire says this is his last Oz novel, I find myself hoping that he writes another tome. If not, I'll have to be content with the way I continued the story in my mind, with young lovers magically reunited, birthrights restored, and Elphaba and Fiyero alive, somewhere in the hills of Oz.


Human Nature

I am rarely one to write about politics and controversy, and much has been said about Penn State. The atrocities those boys experienced are unimaginable. All should be able to agree that what happened to them was undeniably wrong, horrific and tragic. What most cannot seem to agree on was the responsibility and guilt of Joe Paterno—and the rest of the staff with knowledge of Sandusky's actions.

Most of that discussion I leave to lawyers, victims and sportscasters. But this week, I found David Brooks' op-ed both thought-provoking and challenging. His basic arguments are far more eloquent than my summary, but essentially most people have higher moral expectations of themselves than their actual behaviors. In this case, most of us believe that we would have told police, turned in Sandusky and saved the day. We say we would theoretically take one high-minded action, yet when faced with the reality of the decision, often take a neutral or contrary action. We do not step in. We do not save the day. Obviously there are exceptions to this, people we usually deem "heroes." But basic human nature is far darker than our society is willing to acknowledge. Brooks argues that the first step in actually preventing tragedies like this is admitting our own weakness. It's the first voice I've read with a solution that goes beyond justice. 

Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: "How could they have let this happen?" 

The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive? That was the proper question after Abu Ghraib, Madoff, the Wall Street follies and a thousand other scandals. But it's a question this society has a hard time asking because the most seductive evasion is the one that leads us to deny the underside of our own nature.

This had nothing to do with design or travel or any of the other things that bring me happiness. It just made me think.


Italy: Milan to Verona

After a long week at work, we were ready for vacation to begin. We landed in Milan, jet-lagged and brain-dead. Heading straight to the station, we managed to drag ourselves onto the train to Verona. 

In Verona, we collapsed at the hotel. We sat down on the bed, and a "15 minute nap, I swear" turned into 2 hours. We woke, though, and were still able to spend the afternoon and evening getting a taste of the old city. The Arena (now used as a concert venue), the old Castelvecchio, and Juliet's balcony (cheesy, but a must-see) were enough tourist spots for us. As we searched for a place to eat dinner, we kept seeing people drinking these orange beverages. Curious, we asked our waiter what they were, and ordered a round. That night, we discovered Aperol spritzers, a refreshing blend of Aperol, seltzer and sparkling wine. We ate an amazing dinner in the Piazza Brà—our first pizza and gelato of the trip! Then, we went back to our hotel, listening to the sounds of the children still playing games and dancing in the street festival, before collapsing in our room for good.


The Day of My Birth

This marks my 5th birthday since I have moved to New York. I had more amazing birthdays growing up than I can count (actually, it'd probably be the same number as my age!) But since I've been so far away, birthdays have taken a different tenor. Maybe it's growing older. Maybe it's the distance from my parents and siblings. Yet despite how much I downplay the day, there is always something so wonderful about feeling celebrated by family and friends. As a child, my parents, especially my mother, were really big about birthdays. It was our day and no one else's.
I look back on the last 5 birthdays, and each of them still were incredibly special in their own way...
In 2007, I'd just moved a month before, so everything was still new and exciting. My mother shipped me a Blue Chip Cookie Cake (I've had one every year since I was 10.) And my dad ordered flowers. They gave us money for some of my friends and I to go out to dinner and celebrate. We ate Mexican food downtown, and it felt like home.
In 2008, I came home after work, and Justin had decorated my apartment. He'd been over during the day and hung streamers, blew up balloons and made me signs. I still get all smiley and mushy imagining him coloring the sign or taping up streamers. It was the sweetest, most precious thing he could have done to make me feel special. My friend Maggie was in town from LA, and several of our other friends came over for a mini-surprise party. We had Buttercup Bakeshop cupcakes, a chocolate fountain, and, of course, cookie cake!
In 2009, my birthday was also my last day of work at Reader's Digest. They'd canceled my department, so all of us were out of a job. Our team had lunch that day as a final goodbye, and we reminisced over the two years we'd spent on the project together. As I was getting close to leaving that day, the receptionist called to tell me I had a delivery. Expecting flowers, I happily walked to her desk only to see MY DAD! He'd flown in for 24-hours. Instead of sending a gift, my family sent him, which was better than any present. I needed a boost and a reminder that all would be well, that I was loved and valued and cared for. We went out to dinner at Roberto Passon, my now-closed favorite restaurant and it was unbelievably good to spend the time with him. Then, the next weekend Justin and I went to Tavern on the Green, another now-closed NY eatery, and we had a party at my apartment. That year, I woke up believing it would be a bittersweet day, and instead it turned out to be one of my most memorable birthdays, ever.
Oh, also, 2009 was the year Justin made me a travel scrapbook of adventures we've had, and others we would someday have together—he promised an Australian vacation so I'm holding out!
And finally, in 2010, Justin and I were apart. I was working in New York, and Justin was doing a show in Connecticut. Although I'd prepped myself to spend the day alone, he suggested we meet midway for dinner and then to stay at his parents'. He surprised me with a bunch of our friends from the area, all gathered at the Mexican restaurant for a birthday dinner. (I know, there is a theme in many of my favorite foods—Mexican or Italian!) That weekend, we had our own getaway at a B&B near the theater.
This year, we are in Italy. As I write this the week before, I am hoping that as you read this, I'm exploring the countryside, driving safely in our SmartCar, and having a wonderful, romantic time.

But as I remember all these birthdays, I can't help but feel incredibly humbled and abundantly blessed. I have such a generous, thoughtful, amazing family and husband. I love y'all! And everybody else, talk to you when we get back!


Italianspiration: The Doors

As a child, I wanted to be an architect. Though some dreams and interests change, I am still fascinated by space and place and how it defines life. What happens inside apartments I can only glimpse through the window? What does the city look like from 30 stories in the air? What treasures do people keep, what paint colors do they choose? J can attest to my constant stumbling around the city, barely dodging other pedestrians as I crane my neck to look at the built-ins of a brownstone as we pass by. In Venice, the mystery was compounded. Some of the most decrepit facades concealed elegant palaces, homes that have stood for centuries, outfitted by aristocracy both modern and ancient. I love the way the water ages the wood, the way it strips back layers of paint, the way it feeds the moss and mold that reach up from below. Riotous, unintentional color. What is going on inside—ruin or renewal, mystery or normalcy?

 All photos taken in Venice, March 2006.


Italianspiration: One Week

One week from today, we will be on a plane to Italy. I have to admit, it's turning out to be both the best and the worst timing possible. It's been an insane couple weeks for both J and I. (My clip folder—thankfully—attests to many of the recent late nights spent reporting.) And J is in the middle of some big changes on his current project. The time away and alone will be good for us, even better and more necessary than we'd imagined when we originally booked the trip. However, it also comes in the middle of big projects and deadlines for both of us, so leaving is a little scary. But we're going. Period. So I am praying we get everything done in the meantime and are able to focus on our trip and each other when we're there. I cannot wait for next week!


Happy September

September is my favorite month. Other months boast great days like Christmas and our anniversary, but as far as entire month-long periods go, September is still tops. I'm sure it's a holdover from my years as a student, but it still feels like the year really starts in September. It was always both a new grade in school and a new age for me.

Reasons to love September:
  1. My second-youngest sister's birthday (see T-shirt design below)
  2. My dad's birthday
  3. My parents' anniversary (#29 is this year!)
  4. Labor Day = three-day weekend
  5. School gets going, which means new friends and new school supplies
  6. The heat abates somewhat but it's still lovely enough to be outside
  7. Charity: water's September campaign
  8. My birthday (not telling what #)

Newsstand: Bike NYC

As a newly-minted bicyclist, I enjoyed Frank Bruni's op-ed yesterday about Janette Sadik-Kahn and New York City's increased bike lanes and push toward fewer cars. The city is gradually becoming a much friendlier place to ride on two wheels. Of course, it doesn't always feel that way commuting in the morning along Central Park South...

I like Bruni's quote of Gabe Klein, the Chicago transportation commissioner, who noted that biking was an antidote to many modern ills: “There’s the congestion problem,” he said. “The pollution problem. The obesity problem. The gas problem.”

Biking is really a great way to accomplish so many things at once: get where you want to go, exercise, save money and help the environment. Saturday, J and I rode our bikes up through Harlem to Hamilton Heights, then cut over to the Hudson River up to Washington Heights. On the way back, we cut through Columbia and Morningside Heights. We enjoyed the opportunity to get outside, breathe the fresher air, and explore uptown. I've gone on a couple biking trips in foreign countries over the years, and it's one of the best ways to see a place. You can cover a lot of ground and yet go slow enough to experience your surroundings, even to stop and check out places en route. All of this is to say that I'm thankful we have bikes and excited to continue exploring our city.


Empire State of Mind

This was my view as I walked to the doctor's office early this morning. There's something about sunny New York mornings that puts me in a good mood—that and the prospect of a three-day weekend. Hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day!

A New Take on Microwave Popcorn

I brought popcorn to work with me today (I know, thrilling, right?) Our office microwave is abysmal, with no rotating plate and temperature control that I believe conspires to both scorch and freeze my food simultaneously. It's pretty amazing when the edges are burned and the inside remains unthawed.

I shouldn't have been surprised when my bag of popcorn (suggested time = less than 3 minutes) wasn't popped after 5. Unfortunately, I ripped open the bag it comes in to count my kernel-to-popped ratio. It was unimpressive. Like any good Googler, I went online and found this gem from the NYT archives. I grabbed the Pret bag in my desk drawer, dumped the un-popped kernels inside, folded the top over twice, and put the whole thing into the microwave in the other office kitchen. Viola! My snack was saved!

The whole ordeal also showed me that popcorn can be cooked easily in any paper bag, which can be pretty helpful. To cut down portion size, split the kernels inside a microwave-ready bag in half and save some for later. To cut down on all the butter and chemicals, buy the jars of kernels at the grocery store and use paper sacks. (This is also less expensive!) I realize these are unexciting tips, but it's an unexciting Thursday, so that's how it goes sometimes...


Local Haunt: Harlem Tavern

Tonight, we went to dinner at Harlem Tavern. We had watched eagerly all spring as the brick walls rose around the perimeter, as the interior of the bar was outfitted, as the neon sign was hung, and finally as the outdoor furniture appeared. The time had come to try it out. Harlem Tavern is the only beer garden in the neighborhood; it provides one of the largest outdoor dining areas nearby, too. Often, I'll get off the train and see a line of people waiting outside the wall, waiting for a table. It's one of the best places to take a big group—the long benches are perfect for lingering with a bunch of friends.


Back to School Project: Crayonspiration

(Photo by saruhh01)
As a child, I used to obsess over my school supplies. Every time I got a new box of crayons or markers, I would dump them out and put the pieces back in the box—in rainbow order. The pinnacle of achievement was when Crayola started making boxes with 96 crayons. (My brother, for some reason, found it the pinnacle of annoyance to watch me organize.)

Design-friendly Dishracks

Our management company has begun slowly installing dishwashers in the units in our building. For a low monthly cost ($10-15), residents no longer have to scrub everything by hand. J and I are contemplating the addition, but it would be difficult to give up one of our few under-counter cabinets. Decisions, decisions!

In the meantime, I'm bearing with our Ikea Kvot rack and admiring the selection I saw on The New York Times today. Designer Richard Joseph picked out some of his favorite "dish drainers." I've included some of his and my own in the roundup below. Which are your favorites? While the Kvot isn't the most stylish, it does fold up neatly beneath the sink. However, extra points go to several of these that have a cutlery holder, which would keep my flatware from streaking so much. Any other good suggestions—or would you forsake it all and go with the dishwasher when given the option?
1. Ikea Flundra, $2.99
2. Norpro's classic Pine Wood Folding Rack, $15.99
3. Geo Dish Drainer at A+R Store, $48
4. Abode New York's High & Dry dishrack by Black + Blum, $59.99
5. simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack at Williams Sonoma, $69.95
6. Dish Doctor by Marc Newson at the MoMA Store, $70

Italianspiration: Lagotto Romagnolo

As if there weren't enough reasons to love Italy lately, we found another one at Central Park yesterday. His name was Walter, and he's a Lagotto Romagnolo, aka an Italian Water Dog. J and I have been obsessing over various breeds of dogs for the last couple years, just waiting until we finally attain that perfect combination of income, free time and square footage to own one.

After the Rain, Sun

As if the hurricane/tropical storm sucked all the clouds out of the sky, Monday was sunny perfection. Because the flooding blew out our servers, I had the day off work, so Justin and I went to Central Park. As you can see, we took a nap and read and met Walter the Lagotto (the most amazing breed of dog). After being cooped up inside for two days, we eagerly soaked up the fresh air and soft, sunny warmth. Check out more photos after the jump and enjoy the glorious weather!


Dark and Stormy Fondue

Last night, J and I had a couple friends over to celebrate surviving the storm (and to watch the VMAs).

I grew up loving fondue. Ski trips to Keystone Resort in Colorado were often highlighted with dinner at Der Fondue Chessel. Cooking our own fondue and raclette at the table was thrilling for my siblings and I. Later, my parents bought their own set of raclette grills and fondue pots, and we continued the tradition at home (punctuated by occasional trips to The Melting Pot.) Many delicious meals and many happy memories around fondue. Sunday night, we made two pots of chocolate fondue.


Weathering the Storm

Well, Irene petered out into a tropical storm, and though she did lots of damage to cities around NYC, we were mostly spared her wrath. This morning, we woke expecting wind and rain to be lashing our windows. Instead, most of the storm had blown over in the night and by midday, things were looking pretty good in our neighborhood. We ventured out with our fellow Manhattanites to survey the damage, grab a cup of coffee and breathe (relatively) fresh air. I love the smell of after-a-storm. The air is wet. You can smell the leaves and the dirt and not the trash. Even in the middle of the city, there is a damp freshness (I realize that sounds paradoxical.) But as we explored our neighborhood, we saw many traces of safeguards not needed. Better that way than the reverse...

Love, B+P

Today is my grandmother's birthday. When I was a little girl, Mamaw used to sing to us from Guys and Dolls:
I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap, and I'm talkin' in my sleep.
About you 
About you!
About you!
Every letter she writes, every phone call she makes—all end with "Love, B+P." As a child, I believed it was one of our secret codes. Actually, I still think so...

I saw the above design by Jason Wong of enormouschampion and loved it. He created it as part of a wedding suite for two of his friends, but I think the image also stands alone.

Happy Birthday, Mamaw!

Love, B+P


Me, My City & Irene

By now you all know that Hurricane Irene is barreling up the East Coast. There are enough sarcastic Facebook statuses, wannabe-viral tweeting, light-hearted jokes about stocking up on booze and cigarettes and "Welcome, Irene" parties, so I'll spare you. Best case scenario, Irene peters out and becomes nothing more than a rainstorm by the time she reaches New York. Then we'll laugh about how we over-prepared and how we "experienced" an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week. Some cities did get damage from both, so I don't find it that funny. But I'll spare you my treatise, because that's what the op-ed pages are for. They just announced MTA is shutting down the subway tomorrow at noon and all of the lowest areas of all 5 boroughs are being mandatorily evacuated. Things are getting serious, people. The NY Times is updating their information frequently, and here's a list of tips to batten down the hatches.

All that said, we are trying to prepare for the weekend as much as possible. Justin ran to the grocery store, which was a madhouse. I just heard from a coworker that Radio Shack is out of batteries and Duane Reade is out of water.


Midcentury Lovin'

Midcentury style and the color aqua are two of my favorite things. (I find it fortuitous that the color was so prevalent during the 50s and 60s.) Consequently, this article in the NYTimes made my heart pitter-patter for so many reasons.
(Photo by Nancy Palmieri for The New York Times)
Blogger Pam Kueber began Retro Renovation in 2007 and it's become the go-to place for midcentury homeowners and enthusiasts. Whether they're hunting for a vintage pink tile resource or light fixtures to complement a 1950s bungalow, "Midcentury Modest" homeowners turn to Kueber—and her dozens of other bloggers—for help. It's a place to share the tips and trials of restoring a midcentury home to an authentic state. Kueber's long-sought, turquoise set of steel kitchen cabinets make me absolutely envious!


Local Haunt: Franz James Floral

I've got a little story and a couple shout-outs today. I received an offer this week for a freelance project, at a company I've been wanting to work for more. All of this is exciting, of course, and I went home that night to talk over everything at dinner with Justin. (We tried Cédric—another new Harlem place, and it was wonderful. It's named after UES Le Bilbouquet's general manager Cédric Lecendre, who lives in the neighborhood and was completely charming and helpful during our meal.)

But back to my evening... I walked in the door to see this:
Somehow, Justin had managed to rush home, drop off his stuff, and then run to the florist. He made me feel so celebrated and encouraged. The really sweet coincidence was that in the hunt for flowers, he went to try Franz James Floral Boutique. He was helped by James (whose business partner is Franz), who talked him through the flowers. As Justin was looking at designs, he mentioned that the shapes and designs reminded him of Flowers of the World—the incredible UWS boutique that he's bought my "special occasion flowers" in the past. Turns out, James used to work there as a designer/creative director (I think that was his role!) But he recently left to go out on his own. We're thrilled that they're in the neighborhood now. He's created several bouquets that marked some very special moments in my life, so it gave a special night another layer of meaning. Here are some from over the years...

Italianspiration: Travel Organizers

It's Monday, which means I am already thinking of next weekend and my next adventures. My thoughts are also turning towards our upcoming Italy trip in September. In the midst of figuring out where to go, what to wear, and what to pack, I've been pondering ways to streamline the process. We are attempting to share a suitcase or just bring two small roll-a-boards that we can easily schlep onto the train. But one thing we've also discussed is whether to bring a laptop, iPad, Kindle, or any of the other devices that seem to power our lives (and weigh down my purse!)

Last week, I was thrilled by this innovative Vintage Book Travel-Tech Organizer by Design*Sponge's talented diy-er Kate Pruitt.


Bookshelf: Galore

I just finished Michael Crummey's latest abundant novel, Galore. Crummey's epic is set in the coastal town of Paradise Deep, a remote settlement in northern Newfoundland. A pale man named Judah is pulled out from the belly of a whale and into the bitter rivalries and harsh realities of two feuding families. Set in the 19th century, melancholy and moody prose weaves throughout the story. Several generations pass through Paradise Deep, each with their own quirks, their own loves, their own losses, and their own mythologies.

Crummey manages to reveal bleak realities with tenderness and grace. The town is filled with strong, broken people, who almost always accept their situation in life as-is. One of the most poignant story lines was about an old woman who married as a girl, out of duty, and thought she'd consequently lost the one man who ever loved her. Her discovery that she'd spent an entire lifetime unknowingly married to her anonymous admirer was too late, and about crushes the reader's heart with hers. 

For more, read this interview with Michael Crummey, this review and check out the book.


On the Wall: The United Plates

Okay, I promise this is the last round of state-themed prints I will post for awhile. But John Holcomb's set is hilarious, delicious and disgusting all at once. The logic of some of his food choices is funny, like the reasons for picking General Tso's chicken in Missouri: Despite the border war that will forever exist between a Jayhawk fan like myself and our arch-nemesis across the state line, I gave a nod to Missouri by making it one of my absolute favorite foods.
And any Texan would agree that BBQ ribs and cornbread is a solid choice. Enjoy!

H&M Comes to Dallas

(Photo by Lara Stolt, via Dallas Morning News)

I haven't lived in DFW for several years now, but many of my family and friends are still there. Yesterday, H&M opened it's first store in Texas at NorthPark Mall (my favorite—many happy memories there with Mom and Mamaw.) Wohoo! And it's just in time for Tax-Free Weekend, which starts today.

Although the brand is pretty prevalent in NYC, it's often too crowded with tourists to be an enjoyable shopping experience. I love the clothes, but saving money on trendy items is worth only so much hassle most days. Now, if it were a Marc Jacobs sample sale, things would be different...

NorthPark didn't allow customers to camp overnight, but the first 500 people got gift certificates from $10-$500 and opening day giveaways—now that would be worth it! Check out some great shots of the opening here and here. Enjoy and Happy Friday!


Closet Craving: Bold Pink and Red

Ever since I saw Emma Stone at the Friends with Benefits premiere, I have been longing for a pink and red ensemble. Now, it seems like the color combo is popping up everywhere. A long-taboo pairing any day but February 14th, hot pink and red are usually viewed as too similar to go together. I think these women may have proven that rule wrong. They remind me of Popsicles (one of my favorite summer treats!) What do you think?
(Photos by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
Emma's outfit is actually a peplum skirt and top—both by Giambattista Valli. Although the look is exactly what the runway model wore, Emma still manages to make the stunning look her own.

Feminine Fonts

I have a major love for fonts, and I am a big fan of Anna Quindlen's writing. (For a font-fix, check out Friends of Type.) So this poster just seemed perfect for me today, as well as for some of my friends. (You know who you are. :) It's by illustrator Erik Marinovich and was featured in this month's Woman's Day.

The second features a quote by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. I confess I'd never heard of her before today, but I just made the connection that's why my wedding dress was called the "Schiaparelli." No idea why I didn't google that long before now...
Someday, I would love to be described that way in the kitchen! Until then, I shall keep experimenting...



(Rifle) Paper Calendars

I am a sucker for a good, paper calendar. I try to keep appointments in my Blackberry and it just never seems permanent enough for me to remember. My friend Erin and I have had our Kate Spade planners for more than a decade now (I know, embarrassing), and there's always something so exciting about buying the upcoming year's inserts.

But I am also a big fan of Anna Bond's work and am always thrilled when Rifle Paper Co. comes out with new products. (I actually wanted her to design our wedding invitations but she was booked for the summer. C'est la vie.) This morning, I got the email about her 2012 calendars and notepads, and was thrilled to see the beautiful new designs. Her florals manage to be both elegant and whimsical at once. Check the botanical calendar and the rest of the new items here!

On the Wall: State Prints Part 2

Not to be repetitive, but here is another round of state prints I've fancied for a while. The Fifty and Fifty project is curated by Brooklyn-based designer Dan Cassaro, with one designer from each state finding a way to illustrate their motto. The prints have a completely different feel to the birds/flowers—much more graphic. I think the crisp color palette would look great in an office or study. Coral and navy, who'd have thunk? Which do you prefer?

On the Wall: State Prints

Our walls are anything but bare, but I would like to put more artwork up, especially some groupings or large-scale pieces. Today, I found these amazing state prints from Dutch Door Press. (Check out their Etsy shop, too!) I have an admitted love for owls, but I can be an equal-opportunity bird lover. The combination of state bird and state flower with the texture and dimension of letterpress printing makes me pretty happy. And the price is fantastic. I would love to make a set of these, with one from every state Justin or I have lived in. My only disappointment was that they haven't created Oklahoma or Missouri yet...


Monday Newsstand

(Photo courtesy of AntyDiluvian)
Here are some of the articles that piqued my interest or amused me today:

4 Years, 3 Apartments Later...

... also 1 marriage, 1 graduation, 1 bedbug infestation, zero pets, zero muggings, countless books, too many jobs and lots of love, prayers and dreams.

Today is the 4-year anniversary of my move to New York City. My roommate and I packed everything into a Budget Truck named Betsy and drove from Texas to Missouri, from Missouri to New York. We arrived on a Saturday morning at 6 am, after having spent the night at Howard Johnson in Hoboken. I started grad school on Sunday and things haven't slowed down much since. Lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, and every cliché I could throw at you, but in all seriousness, moving here has changed my life for good.