Tuesday, September 30

pinned [industrial windows]

Light is one of the most important things to me in my home- artificial, natural, you name it I care about it. In fact, it might be the thing of greatest importance to me, if I had to pick just one element of interior design to prioritize. Just ask D- my collection of lamps is slightly absurd.

Natural light is trickier, because of course you can't just head to the store and purchase some. The bones of your home are often unalterable, especially if you're a renter, which i will probably be until 2035 (ugh).

But just because you can't have it doesn't mean you can't dream about it, yes? My absolute favorite type of window is the large industrial-looking panes, floor to ceiling if you can get it. Here are a few images that I think get it just perfect. The last one is the best, although the rest of the decor is a bit modern for my taste.

the most beautiful of work spaces
both floors of the home can enjoy the natural light from these stunners
totally doable- an interior screen like this is could be added anywhere
a beautiful loft
looks like a thoughtful addition rather than part of the original home
via          CAN YOU IMAGINE!

Monday, September 29

link it up

I was in Chicago the end of last week and got stranded an extra day because of a fire. So, link up comin' your way today instead. 

If you too need to kill time on the North Shore of Chitown, go check out the Ba'hai temple- there are only 8 in the world, and this one is stunning. I know one person who practices their faith, and find it fascinating- the three main tenants are unity of God (just one fella), unity of religions (there are many paths up the mountain, but they're all pursuing the same thing) and unity of humanity (we are all equal, regardless of race, culture, gender, sexual preference, etc).

How to reheat pizza at home. Spot on.

When D and I want to pick a Netflix movie, it takes me 40 minutes of going back and forth between our queue and Rotten Tomatoes, trying to sort through the masses. Check out A Better Queue to bring the two seamlessly together.

In need of a classic camel blazer? Tried this on over the weekend and can't wait to buy it.

Why I hope to die at 75. I think my dad would agree with this dude. I mean, maybe if you're already 70, but I think as preventative care improves, not to mention smarter health choices being made since childhood, 95 is the new 75.

Thursday, September 25

bibliophile [the interestings]

An interesting read indeed.

The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer

You've probably seen this notable cover around. It got a LOT of hype when it came out, which means there are as many naysayers as there are huge fans. To give you the gist, I'm going to start us off with the blurb before I elaborate:

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

I enjoyed this book for sure. So we gather from the summary that this novel focuses on talent, success, friendship, and love. Friendship and love you can find by the bucketful in any novel, but the value in The Interestings for me was really it's study of talent and success. D and I, along with most of our peers, are at an age where we think long and hard about how we would define a successful life, so this book seemed well-timed to my own experience and also a bit of a warning (spoiler alert: not all of the characters have the "right idea" when it comes to the value one places on monetary and emotional success). The characters, however flawed, were so well portrayed off the bat that I didn't mind so much that they saw relatively little development or personal growth over the 40 years we follow them. I mean seriously. The personality flaws of these 15 year olds are the same flaws at 50, but it was still compelling to see them play out.

I've heard mixed reviews, but I enjoyed this one, and I'm comfortable recommending it.

Tuesday, September 23

craigslist creepin [raleigh-durham edition]

Do you even KNOW how much good stuff is on the c-list right now? I'm currently looking for some new chairs, so that's been my most recent search. Here are a few I'd love to make mine.

$140 for a possibly-Thonet chair...I would (and may) offer more like $90 and see what happens. It was just posted a day or two ago, so they probably won't be flexible yet, and by their labeling it's clear they know what they have, but it can't hurt to put my offer in the back of their mind, in case they can't sell it. It's sculptural and lovely. In my home, the back would be visible, which makes this one even more enticing.

$300 for this low-profile dark blue upholstered chair is steep, but could be worth it IF the fabric is high-quality and in good condition, which I can't confirm from the pictures. Real nice though.

A quick tip for you: searching "pairs" or "chairs" will most likely give you sets of seating, which in my opinion are always more valuable than singles. That's how I found these two gold leather wing backs. They would very much work with my color scheme, and leather (or faux, like these almost definitely are) is easy to clean. Plus, $150 for the set? C'mon now. Even I can afford that.

Although they won't work in my living room, this is a set of 7 chairs for $25. Wha? They're so fun!

Also, slightly random add-on that I need your help with: 1 ft long light bulbs. HOW COULD I USE THESE? This is the exact kind of Craigslist find I want to horde, because eventually it could be precisely what I need. Please send your encouragement, nay-sayers need not reply.

Monday, September 22

back in the swing of things

Hello! Hope you're off to a lovely fall and have been too busy enjoying yourselves to notice I took a few week hiatus. SO much has been happening personally, professionally, existentially, gastronomically, and socially that I've let for a song slip down my list of priorities.

In truth, one of the reasons I've been posting less is because the interesting things I love to do, and love to post about, aren't happening right now. Creative DIY's, little decor hacks and improvements to my home's functionality, and projects that involve a new skill take more space and time than I have available at the moment. While I appreciate our little apartment, our limited indoor and outdoor square footage (let alone the lack of storage) is just not conducive to big weekend projects that I find most engaging. I think, as a result, I've been apathetic towards posting regularly, because in my opinion, the best content is original DIY's, and I don't have too many of those to share of late.

BUT. I've decided to continue on. I still adore reading and cooking and drinking and traveling and dreaming about interior design, all things I can continue to post about until I have more physical space and opportunity.

Here's a few snapshots of my last month. See you tomorrow, for reals.

last of the summer outdoor concerts at American Tobacco Campus
LDW included a visit to Wrightsville Beach
Back on Loyola's campus for our dear friends' wedding
the MBA's are back (and so are the fun, boozy MBA events)
spent the last official day of summer at the quarry in Eno State Park

Thursday, September 4

discover [honey]

Are you an online shopper? Do you like coupons? How about saving money?

It's rhetorical question day, obviously.
I was thrilled a few weeks ago to discover Honey, which combines my affinity for shopping from my couch whilst in pajamas with my sincere appreciation for discounts. Here's the scoop: install Honey as a Chrome extension (much like the "pin it" button from Pinterest, or the Ebates extension, or my much-loved poach-it). It'll look like this, hanging out at the top right hand corner of your browser:

When checking out at Piperlime or Asos or any other online retailer, simply click the icon to see all available discounts- if you want, it'll even apply them for you. I used it at Target.com over the weekend. It didn't find any codes that I couldn't dig up in 5 or so minutes of Googling around, but the convenience and time-saved is well worth it.

Oh, and if you're not already using Google Chrome, you're silly. Almost as silly as the four-dude team that came up with an online shopping app and named it honey...oops, my gender stereotypes are showing.

Friday, August 29

link it up

Oh my amigos. I hope you've all been managing the dog days of summer better than I have. Back-to-back travel weeks always leave me weary, so I'm especially looking forward to a long weekend. Hoping to get a last beach trip in, maybe a date or two, and D is twisting my arm to visit the outlets. Enjoy yourself and be safe!

Bill Gates is the man.

Speaking of philanthropy, had a good email chain chat-ski with a few friends over this article, one of the few thoughtful pieces I've seen relating to ALS. Interesting perspective, but certainly not one I endorse wholeheartedly. 

I lift weights but do very little cardio, and really identify with this article. “Treating exercise as a means to be more, as opposed to viewing it as a never-ending struggle to be less, is absolutely a game changer.”

This is a total win. Best thing I read all week.

I'm a big fan of Khan Academy, and have signed up for a few classes in the spirit of continual learning. I appreciate hearing more from their founder about children (or really, anyone) and education.

Friday, August 15

link it up

On my way to ATL today, then straight on to Houston. I've avoided it all summer and hope I won't melt in Texan August. Anyone up to something awesome?

How good does this frozen custard place look? It's on my itinerary for Atlanta this weekend (along with drinks at Paper Planes, a dinner at Canoe, and touring CNN and the Coke Museum. If there's time, I'm trying to get to SweetWater and climb Stone Mountain too- busy weekend for me).

Stephen King's 10 favorite books. I've had a deep affinity for him ever since his public statement of JK Rowling-adoration and Twilight series-shaming. I've only read three of these so far.

Sad, sad news about Robin Williams. Aladdin and Hook are both in my top-ten favorite movies of all time, and Mrs. Doubtfire can't be too far behind. I liked this article about his most memorable food moments (invisible food-fight, anyone?)

How cool is this: professional photo editing for $5 a picture, less if you upload a bunch. This isn't just airbrushing- they can add in missing family members to a portrait, cut out your ex, remove awkward street signs or passerbys, and so on. I might use this in the future for a head shot or beloved family photo that could use some work.

Totally realistic captions for your alcoholic beverages...too good.

Thursday, August 14

DIY or buy [brandied cherries]

I'm going to call both for this one: DIY AND buy, no need to go either or. Why? Because a purchased brandied cherry (the good, Luxardo-soaked ones) taste completely different than the delicious homemade variety.

Cherries are pricey, but never more affordable than mid-to-late summer, so now's the time to try this DIY. I'm going to recommend you buy a cherry pitter- yes, it's a dreaded one-trick-pony, taking up precious drawer space and rarely seeing the light of day, but there is no fool-proof alternative. I cut all my cherries in half and then pitted, and my brother recommended this hack, but I found that the pit sometimes took a bunch of meat with it, like half the bottom of each fruit. Nuh uh. Get a cherry pitter (which I still don't own...next year I suppose).

My recipe is below- it's an amalgamation of a few different recipes I found, and reflects both what I had on hand and what I wanted as the flavor profile. I made a very small batch, just 1 cup of cherries, because I want to try a few variations, mainly switching up the liquor (whiskey, dark rum, etc). The big difference between these and the Luxardo maraschinos? Well, mine were WAY less syrupy- the liquid mine were in had no notable viscosity, and was therefore a lot less sweet. In addition, my cherries weren't really masticated- they weren't as firm as fresh fruit, but sitting in the hot liquid for 20 minutes didn't do too much to cook them down. I think I'd like them a little more cooked next time, so perhaps I'll allow them to boil with the cherry juice, spices, and sugar before I let them cool and add the booze.

I'll be sharing a recipe I concocted for their inaugural tasting yesterday that is quite delicious soon.

Brandied Cherries

· 1/4 cup light brown sugar
· 1/4 cup cherry juice (puured and strained cherries)
· 1 stick cinnamon
· Pinch of salt, cardamom, nutmeg
· One thin 1in sq shaving fresh ginger
· ½ c brandy (try maraschino liquor, bourbon, or rum)
· 1 cup cherries

Over low heat, combine all ingredients except cherries and booze

When all sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, add cherries, and allow to sit 20 min (I let it cool because I don’t want to cook off ANY of the alcohol. I’d be less worried were I using Everclear or high-proof bourbon, but with 80 proof apple brandy, I need all the preservative qualities of the alcohol)

Add booze, stir to combine, and pour into canning jar. Set in cool dark place and agitate every few days for a month. Strain out spices, cinnamon stick, and ginger, and repack cherries with the juice. Refrigerate, devour.

Wednesday, August 13

life lately

It was a busy past week for me, what with a work trip to Chicago running straight into my dear friend K's wedding, which was an eventful and high energy weekend and an incredibly fun night. I've been too depressed since to do anything but drink cocktails with my homemade brandied cherries (recipe tomorrow), so I haven't had much to write. Instead, enjoy some pictures of me and my friends getting fancy.