Friday, January 29, 2010

Gray Skies

I've been struggling to catch up with myself after landing in New York Monday night and then pushing through the work week on the fumes of my jetlag. Hopefully this weekend I'll finally be able to catch my breathe. W's bus broke down on the way to NYC tonight (oh Chinatown buses how we love to hate you!) so he'll be in pretty late. It's absolutely freezing here, so we'll be leaving the apartment as little as possible. After trying to work in quick phone calls across a 6 hour time difference, and ill fated attempts to chat on old cranky hotel computers, we're looking forward to some quiet time together.

Paris is a beautiful city in any weather. This trip it was full of dark gray skies and rain showers. There's something I always find alluring about dark lonely figures and thin grey skies. This shot of the Eiffel Tower is the only time it emerged from behind the fog while I was there.

Stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ladies of Liberty

These ladies are gracing the windows of Liberty- an upscale department store in London. This store has gorgeous dark wooden carved walls and balconys. It's worth a trip just for the architecture. Add in a great little section of art books, and the "habberdashery" full of fabrics and bits of feather and trim- it's a treat! Don't they look rather Marie-Antoinette Modern Chic?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

London Skyline

This is London- after dinner one night we walked down to the rivers edge so my colleague could get a glimpse of Big Ben (which is in the opposite direction of this photo). It was a really productive trip, full of long, drizzly, grey days. I got back to New York yesterday evening, and after a full day at the office I'm feeling a bit muddled.  I have some fun photos to share, they'll be trickling in this week as I get readjusted!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In Paris...

A quick hello from Paris! I took the train across this morning, and though it is still cold, the sun was peeking out a little bit, which is a welcome change after gray, rainy London! I'm slowly scrubbing the thick layer of rust off my french skills, though I keep saying "si" and "por favor" to everyone. I'll get myself all straightened out just in time to be home. I hope you all are having a great week, I'll be back in the States early next week with fun pictures to share!

Print by Blanca Gomez available at her Etsy shop.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oxford Street here I come!

I'm off to to London, for the start of a whirlwind work trip split between London and Paris. Posting may be light as I dash between stores during what has been called one of the worst winters on record. I'm excited to take the train between the cities via the Chunnel, but after this historic breakdown last week that stranded thousands, we'll be packing extra snacks for the trip.

Any recommendations for inexpensive, not-to-be-missed restaurants in either city? We'll be visiting Au Printemps, so I'm hoping to have a moment to stop by Laduree for some of  their world famous macarons!

Photo by Javiy.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Read the Printed Word!

Let's talk about books. Real, paper, curl up with it on the couch, books. I read pretty quickly, and pass along a lot of books when I'm finished, but there are some I hang onto dearly. I borrowed W's copy of Illusions last year, and loved it so much I asked for my own copy, which he gave me for my birthday. I also love inscriptions inside books when they are gifts- so you'll always remember who gave it to you and when.

So I was thrilled to see that Pretty Pretty Paper and East Side Bride have started Read the Printed Word, a pledge to continue reading real books in this age of iphones and kindles and all manner of electronic thingy-mabobs. They have lovely buttons you can add to your blog (like the image above, or the stack of books to the right) if you decide to take the pledge, and they might even start up a book club around it. 

One of my goals for 2010 is to not only read more good books, but to use the New York Public Libary. I got a library card when I first moved to New York, but as a grad student I spent most of my time in the main research library which is gorgeous (remember the first wedding scene in Sex and the City?), but you can't actually check out any of the books. And there my patronage ended. Until Now. This week I dusted off my library card and got it reactivated. It seems that at some point in the last few years the NYPL has become this amazing, free, "Netflix of Books"! You can save lists of books online, and put things on hold which they will ship to the branch of your choice, and they even tell you how long the wait is. I have six books on hold at the moment- it seems I am number 84 in line for a copy of My Life in France by Julia Child. Yay for books and our amazing system of public libraries!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Of Turbans and Bellies

It has been one of those days. I grabbed my purple turban and threw it in my bag last week to use as the "several yards of cloth" that seemed to required of belly dancing class. At least, it was unclear. And yes, I have a turban. From a trip to Morroco, where they are quite handy at keeping the fine sand our of your nose and ears and mouth when balancing on top of a lurching camel. And yes, I was off to belly dancing class, which  I highly recommend- Brooklynites, you can check it out here.

The teacher was awesome, and very technical, so I felt like I wasn't just flailing about trying to keep up with some insanely fast choreography. She really broke it down and even talked about which moves came from Lebanon versus Egypt etc. I also loved the environment- most of the woman were proudly displaying an, uhhemm, plethora? of belly and chatting warmly with each other. This was a nice change from the stick-thin spandexed ballerina types I've found in other types of classes. Not that I have anything against those types, I'd love to be one, but I also love people who are confident about their bodies, it helps me feel more confident myself. Plus I've always been more of the tomboy-ish, atheltic, all-natural kind of girl, so those exotic, slinky, sexy movements are a bit of a challenge for me. To say the least. W makes fun of me- whenever I try to be sexy I get all self-concious and flare my nostrils in an attempt not to laugh at myself, and just look ridiculous.

Anyway, said length of cloth was not required, but I figured it could use a good wash since it's been acting as a tablecloth hiding my giant printer box for the last few years. Classy, eh? I threw it in the laundry bag and promptly forgot about it. Oh yes, I did. I just did laundry and it looks like a ballpoint pen threw up all over my clothes. I feel like such an idiot. Hand-dyed dark purple cloth? Uhhm yeah, I should have seen that one coming a mile away.

I would show you a photo of me in my gorgeous turban, but that was back during the pre-digital image days. So you'll have to enjoy this lovely image from here- just pretend the eyes are blue, and there you go. That's what I looked like. With a very handsome camel at my side I might add.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Reading...

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

I loved Eat, Pray, Love.  I identified with Gilbert's restlessness. Heartbroken? Head to Italy and beyond. Makes sense to me.  Committed is the follow up to EPL, where Gilbert finds herself forced to marry her sweetheart so that he may enter the United States. A self-declared skeptic of marriage after a nasty divorce, this book is part history of marriage, part anecdotes on marriage from family, friends, and strangers around globe, part self-rationalization and philosophy lesson. If you've ever asked yourself Why? or conversely, Why Not? to the question of marriage in the modern age, this book attempts to pull all of those questions and ideas and justifications together. In the end however, it is a love story.

Some quotes:

“It is delicate, then, this operation of mutual, quiet, almost velvety oppression. Out of respect, we   must learn how to release and confine each other with the most exquisite care, but we should never- not even for a moment-pretend that we are not confined.” (pg 226)

“Every couple in the world has the potential over time to become a small and isolated nation of two-creating their own culture, their own language, and their own moral code, to which nobody else can be privy.” (pg 257)

I tend to ask these kind of philosophical questions anyway, but it was handy it have it all wrapped up with a bit of history thrown in for good measure. It's not the captivating story of Eat, Pray, Love, and really there are very few thunderbolts in here. She mostly ignores the role of children in marriage, and touches only lightly on recent politics. But it is an easy read in the voice of an old friend, and a few times I was given pause by a new idea or piece of the puzzle.

While we're on the subject, check out this New York Times article "Married (Happily) with Issues" by Elizabeth Weil and this post by Meg on her experiences with pre-marital counseling.

Monday, January 11, 2010

All about Eveline...

Happy Monday! I had a quiet weekend curled up inside as I've been trying to fight off a cold. I love the flowing lines and color washes in these prints- there's something dreamy about them, like floating in a warm ocean current. By Eveline Tarunadjaja, prints available on her website!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How about...

 These orange flats with this Seaport scarf from Canvas... such bright bursts of color and energy! If only I lived somewhere where these would be weather appropriate right now...

Perhaps with jeans, a white tshirt, and this bracelet to add a little glamour? hmmm?

Printed Tins

Festive, cheery folk art tins! Full of Paulig coffee, via The Dieline.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blow'n in the Wind

I'm having one of those days where I need to turn my face to the wind, close my eyes, and let all my cares blow away...

Photo by Ana via Feaverish Photography

Brown Paper Bags

I love these adorable lunch bags! I use a Built neoprene lunch tote to bring my lunch to work, but wouldn't these be perfect to wrap up a surprise for someone special? I can imaging coming home and finding one waiting with a favorite treat tucked inside! Available in packs of 10 (5 styles each) from bee things!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


How delicious are these Pantone Storage Bins? At just over 8 1/2 x 11", with names like "Macaw Green" how could you resist? I'd love to stack the Green, Gray and Pink together.  I'm already addicted to the Pantone Mugs below...

Available here for a price (but on sale today!)  found via Marvelous Kiddo

These are the mugs- two sets of 10 colors have been released, you can buy them individually here.  I have Paprika, Grape, Turquoise and Chocolate right now, but Baby Blue, Lagoon Blue and Cool Grey are tempting me...

Last thought on New Years...

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential."

-Ellen Goodman

(you can read her last column here)

Quote via Design Crush, Photo by pareerica

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Fresh New Decade

The 2000s... the excitement of the Millenium, Y2K. Graduating college and finding my way in the world. My first apartment, car, and heartbreak. Traveling for months. Licia. Grad school. 9/11. Iraq and Afganhistan. Katrina. Tsunami. Bush. And Bush. And Obama. Globlization. Gas prices. Columbia and the X-Prize. Brittany Spears. SARS and H1N1. Turning 30. Starting Peanut Butter and Poetry. The Matrix and Twilight and one more Indiana Jones. Ipods and Kindles and Crocs.

It's been a crazy decade, that has taken me around the world and back to New York City. So here we are. 2010. A brand new decade. I have all sorts of ideas and plans and hopes brewing for 2010 and beyond, I expect it will be a tumultuous year with lots of travel and change and introspection.

Good things from 2009:

1. Amazing trip to Chile and Argentina in the Spring
2. Met W
3. Started a 5 Year Diary (how fun to see where I was one year ago!)
4. Went to Tracker School and made fire using my own bow drill
5. Became a member of the Red Cross Disaster Reserve and Rapid Response teams
4. Started this blog
5. Discovered tons of amazing bloggers

Abstract Ideals for 2010:

1. Think Smaller. Sometimes drastic change is not the best answer
2. Slow Down. Sometimes a little down time equals a lot of perspective.
3. Patience. It's ok to not have all the answers right now.
4. Better food, more exercise.

Concrete Goals for 2010:

1. Travel somewhere memorable (possibly Isreal/Jordan combo in the Spring)
2. Join one of those seasonal produce cooperatives. Possibly this one.
3. Shop more at the natural food store and less at the cheap non-organic grocery store.
4. Use the NY Public Library. Read everything on my Book List 2010.
5. Start running in the park again (or at least on the treadmill for now)
6. Go hiking and horseback riding
7. Schedule better to see friends more often
8. Try something new each month.
       I took a West African dance class here in December
      This drawing studio is up next...
9. Bake something with rhubarb
10. Bring my lunch to work more often

W summed it up perfectly:

"Going into the new year is like a leap of faith. A salute to a world that is bigger than either of us. We set our sights on the horizon, trim our sails, and hold on at the helm. But the way is determined also by the wind, the sea, the unknown."

Where are you setting your sights for 2010 and beyond?

Photo by Saxony Marie