Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Nook; Moving

Well, I moved into my new apartment, which was crazy-making, and stayed up to 5:30 am unpacking and moving boxes around, and then left a few hours later for a two-week trip home to see my family in South Carolina. Procrastination, scarce car resources, and a camping trip conspired to keep me from moving early, which would have been less stressful but, what's move without a meltdown or two?

Anyway, I got just enough rearranged before I left to start to see our new dining room as a real room I can live in, rather than a staging ground for boxes. It's a big room and the dining room table is tiny, so I think we'll have a lot of bookshelves and my big comfy blue velvet chair. I got the chair from my grandma, and it definitely shows its age but it's still pretty nice and really great for sitting and reading and drinking coffee. So I'm going to position in by the window, kind of like in this picture.

Picture is from Kathryn Ireland, an interior/textile designer, via Ill Seen, Ill Said.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I did it: Red Hair

So I actually went through with it and dyed my hair. It went from looking like this (above) to this (below).
Oh my. This is exactly one day after I henna-ed it, so it has mellowed out a good bit since then. It's now a pretty solid red. I missed a few spots, since I put it on dry hair, so I might go back when I start seeing roots and redo it a touch. Anyway, it's a big shock and rather hard to get used to, but I really like it.

Biking Scandalicious!

Saw this on Dress, Design & Decor the other day. It's from Elle Russia via Oh Fashion Models. Sorry, DD&D, I like your blog but this is ridiculous. I know biking is super trendy and all right now, but ain't no way she's going to bike in that short of a dress. Some of us, like the girls at Academichic, bike to work and class and everywhere, and know the perils of skirts on bikes. I sent this over to Daddy Likey who has a funny feature called Don't Show-Cha Your Chocha, we'll see if it makes the cut!

There's so many pictures of models looking super cute and biking or pretending to, and even Martha Stewart is in on the commuter bike trend, but it just kindof annoys me. I guess I should be happy that the greatest form of transportation is getting the love it deserves, and is being taken out of the uber-hipster world of fixies or super-pricey mountain bikes. And I am, I just want to point out: this picture is ridiculous. Notice how she has to do the awkward leg-cross just to keep it PG? Yeah, you can't do that while biking.

In fact, once a little boy yelled at me on the street while I was biking, "I can see your panties!" So, getting over the fact that the word "panties" is totally unacceptable, I'm going to chalk that up to childish rakish mischievousness, as mine were definitely not showing and it was in fact Halloween, the only time it might be even slightly appropriate. And my dress was way longer than hers.

Side note: in Egypt, I only saw one woman riding a bicycle. And she was a foreigner, and it was in Maadi (a neighborhood rather far from the city center where many foreigners live). I envied her a lot, and frequently entertained thoughts of stealing the little old bike leaning against the wall in my alley, totally unlocked and ripe for the taking. I think it belonged to one of the kids that delivered tea or something to the scores of guys who hung out at the barbershop at the front of the alley. But, you know, gotta maintain some kind of respect from the neighbors (who am I kidding? I suspected some of them thought I was a "lady of the night" while others were really nice to me, like the fruit stand man Abdullah, my buddy, and the sweet potato seller lady).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rustic, Done Wrong.

I love rustic & old & repurposed as much as the next person (arguably more than the next person) but this first image gave me the heebie-jeebies. I do not want to sit there, at all. My back hurts just looking at it. DANGER CHAIR! (My roommates came up with this name for the chairs I collect from the alley that are not in the best shape-- one had an alarming tendency to flip you backwards, another creaks dangerously if anyone over 130 pounds sits on it.)
Then it gets worse. This makes me think: wartime orphanage (except the pom poms which are really pretty cute, and I wouldn't say no to the ceiling beams or the lamps).
Rusty chair and iron bed? No thanks. I'm sure it will stain the perfect white linens and probably give you tetanus. Also, chinks in the ceiling = wicked draft.
Don't move the pendant lights or they'll drop rust flakes into your food. Ew!

First two images: house in Nimes used for photo shoot locations and movie sets from the company Light Designs via Bliss. I can see now that it's not meant to really be liveable.
Last one: Atlanta Homes & Design via Griege via Dress, Design & Decor.

Sorry to be drinking the hateorade. I really do usually like the stuff that these blogs post but it's kindof freeing to break off the "omg so pretty" blogger vibe.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Up Chairs

I rewatched Up, the Disney/Pixar movie, a few nights ago and was impressed again. It has some of the most moving dialogue-free animated sequences I can remember, and the attention to detail, especially in textiles, warms my heart (maybe) even more. I'd take Ellie's chair--the wildly disproportionate top-heavy one on the right, please. Oh, and an art deco blimp, that too.

And P.S. - google image search for "up chairs movie disney" brings some insane gems. Enjoy.

Lions & Tigers & Bears, oh my!


I think I fall in the "this is not ok" camp.

via What Possessed Me, a funny funny blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"My house has 100 bafrooms!"

Remember when HomeStarRunner was like, the funniest thing anyone had ever seen? My roommates and I (I'm starting to realize that I refer to "my roommate" like it's one person, but really I could mean any of about 2o people over the years) always went around saying "My house has 100 bafrooms!" "You mean your parent's house? You mean 2 bafrooms?"

But really, my own house (/apartment. /with roommates) has two bathrooms, and I, personally, have my own. It's accessible only from my room. Which means, let me just be sure I'm clear here, No One Else Can Use It (unless I let them, and I'm pretty nice, so I probably will). I've been obsessing about this a lot, but I've never had my own bathroom before and I'm pretty excited.

Check out how nicely the little dinky shelf thing I bought on the neighborhood craigslist fits in that annoying little crack between the sink and the wall! I must say I think the remodel sucks and the boys' bathroom has much nicer vintage features, but who cares? They share, I don't. This is going to spoil me, I'm never going to want to put up with the kinds of bathroom situations I've put up with in the past again.
This is how it looks in my room! Note the rolling clothes rod hanger thing that I got on craigslist to replace a closet! And the drawer that I took from a discarded dresser that I'm going to paint and expand to be a shelf (it's next to the mini radiator). I'm also going to paint my room green; I hate white walls, off-white is even worse. I feel hot and bored just looking at them. You can't really see, but the bathroom is actually kindof huge, with enough room for my smaller dresser, which takes some of the heat off the tiny-room-no-closet problem. It also has a tub, even if it's freakishly shallow and has ugly new tile.

Please ignore my painting clothes: I made the shirt from an old Norge t-shirt and it is great for "wearing as little as possible while sweating it out in your new apartment."

Mid-Century Modern lust

I came thisclose to winning this gorgeous Eames chair in a giveaway from This is Glamorous. Seriously, it was given to someone else with my name.

I would gladly throw away all my alley chairs for chairs like this. I have a quiet but ardent love for mid-century modern furnishings, probably because they, you know, cost money. For example, I have been quietly obsessing about whether the chairs in the lobby of my school are in fact the famous Barcelona lounge chairs designed by Mies Van der Rohe who designed my school. I'm not going to say it's site-appropriate or at all a comfortable or practical building (one of my professors referred to it as "the auto showroom" and the huge windows make the rooms too hot or too cold or too bright to see overhead projectors or too cramped for a normal classroom layout or otherwise stupid), but it has a beautiful clean school-like feel that I love.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheap Food and a Less-Cheap Cocktail

This is what I ate for dinner not long ago: rice with onions, raisins, garam masala, and grated carrot. It was super easy and just stuff we had lying around. I eat pretty sad food when left to my own devices.

But I drink well! I had bought Elderberry Flower Concentrate at IKEA a long time ago (and not opened it, I'm not that gross) and found a recipe for using it on Apartment Therapy.

1 oz IKEA elderberry flower syrup
1 oz gin (I think we had Broker's at the time, but before that we had Junipero, which I heard about on a Design*Sponge article)
1/2 a lime (the recipe calls for 2 slices of lemon, but we only had lime. We're big gin & tonic drinkers round these parts)
the rest of the glass (6-8 oz) chilled soda water

Mix it up with ice, add the soda water, and enjoy! Your drink is officially way classier than your food!

Oh, and this is our back porch & cat, both of which I will miss to varying extents when we move. In the spring we took all the glass windows off the porch and put in the screens, and it makes a lovely place to sit and enjoy the backyard, and for the cat it is a giant moth trap.

NASA, check it.

I love NASA. Always have, always will. Even their logo rules.

This is artist Tom Sachs, image from The Selby. His studio is majorly cool and looks almost like my friend's physics lab. Other people who like the aesthetics of science:
  • Vincent Fournier, who photographs space program training stations around the world, via Mint. Go look at it, it has ROBOTS.
  • Kitsune Noir will hook you up with a cool picture of a spacesuit every week, among other wonderful science/art combinations. Yeah, you're welcome.
  • Beakers as home decor found all over the place, mostly Design*Sponge.
  • Some really cool microscope photography of booze from Deb at The Debonaire who posts some good nerdy science images pretty frequently.
  • And cool images from UofC's Argonne lab.
  • Please read this quote by "Digital Philosopher" Amber Case from Swiss Miss, when she tells briefly how her father explained to her the concept of worm holes. I learned that concept straight from Madeline L'Engle, but it reminds me of my childhood when my dad explained the fourth dimension and protein folding and how math works to my malleable little brain. Thanks dad, you're the best!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big Color Changes = Insomnia

So last night, instead of watching a movie, I painted my new room in my apartment green. I mixed together a bunch of old green paint with some really light blue-ish green and Jess helped me get it all on the walls, so yay! that's done now. I'm going to try to move some of the big stuff tomorrow when I have the assistance of a friend and a car.

While I did that, I also dyed my hair with henna. It's not dry yet, and it's supposed to darken over time, but right now I look like the chick from the Fifth Element (that Bruce Willis science fiction movie?) and I am kindof freaking out. Much like the chick from the Fifth Element was when she woke up dressed only in like masking tape in a weird glass coffin. Whew, at least I'm in my own bed.

Alls that to say, I can't sleep, either from freaking out about my hair or the coffee I drunk at 10:30 in order to force myself to go back and finish the paint job (lesson learned). Also if you were in my neighborhood around 10:30 you might have seen me walking or biking around with a plastic bag on my head and covered in paint, not a pretty sight!

Leather Jackets

I was never a leather-jacket kind of girl. I kinda have some vegan qualms about wearing animal skin, as I had a traumatic childhood run-in with a neighbor's fox-fur scarf (it had the heads and paws still on! unacceptable.) I borrowed my roommate's brother's leather bomber for awhile, but it wasn't warm enough and was kinda boxy and ugly, so that ended quickly. And this scene about "leatha" from Project Runway "the greatest show on television" makes me super happy. I love Blayne! "My husband's leatha... my kids came out of me leatha..."

But these are so awesome. The first one is so badass I cannot stand it. Obviously, they're from All Saints. Sign me up!

NPR + Gaga = Awesome

I was hating on NPR the other day, because I love to hate and I was probably hungry and cranky, but I take it all back after watching this video. Thanks, Jess, for posting this for me to see!

Red Hair!

So I like red hair. I started this post in April and was compiling images of pretty redheads long before that, drooling over their hair. When I was little and read Anne of Green Gables, I decided that I wanted to have blond, red, or black hair. I guess I didn't quite realize that only left out brown hair, which is beautiful too. I was born with black hair, then it turned super blond (really freakishly--I still suspect I was somehow switched out with another baby around 12 months), and the blond slowly darkened until recently when it's become a kind of light brown, sometimes blond. Sometimes it looks red in pictures or in the sun, which always pleases me a lot, so I thought I'd take the plunge and dye it.

Oh yeah, I found the cookbook image I think first through frolic, and it looks like it's published in Australia only but you can buy it here. I like how her red hair manages to look all rustic and laid-back.
A banner from Ruche, an online store with vintage-inspired and often eco-friendly good deals that impresses me a lot and I've blogged about before. I like her strawberry-blonde.
This is actress Piper Laurie, best known for her role in Twin Peaks, a show that I like in theory but fall asleep during every time I actually try to watch it.
This is from an old Toast catalogue, whose images were SO GORGEOUS that I ordered it from the UK and brought it with me for airplane reading on a trip. I was actually looking at it last night too. Some people think its weird to re-read catalogues, but I really don't get bored looking at the good ones.
It looks like I found this on daydream lily but I think it may be from some street style blog? Also, I love her bangs. LOVE THEM.
This is the super-beautiful Alison from the band A Fine Frenzy. I first saw her in this awesome video called Lost Things. I suggest you take a look. She's so pretty it makes me kinda sick.
Oops, there she is again. If you'll forgive me, I kinda tend to obsess. The photo is by Angela Kohler who made the video I linked to above, which is cool and dream-like fantastical magical and stop-motion and you should watch now if you didn't before, ok?
This is some model, shot by Gabor Jurina and found on Dustjacket Attic.

Ok! So it comes as a shock to no one that there are a lot of beautiful redheads out there. Since Jessica Rabbit (and probably before), red hair has been a blaring sign that says SEXY. I've never really been one for blaring signs, but I feel like a change and think I might be able to make it work for me. My grandpa had red hair, and I've got the ridiculously pale Scandinavian skin, so I decided to finally try.

I'm always super-wary of chemical dyes and like to be all eco-friendly and stuff, so I looked into a lot of natural dyes before deciding to use henna. Using websites like this and this, and asking Claire who has used henna on her dark hair before (but didn't want to right before her wedding, although that would probably be the proper Uzbek thing to do), I decided to buy some at an Indian imports store. I lucked out and got a ride to Devon Ave (where all the Indian/Pakistani stores and restaurants are in this city and is super far from my house) but wasn't prepared to choose a brand, and ended up grabbing a packet of "instant henna" which later research revealed to be not real henna and probably suspect. So, I pestered everyone I knew with a car until I got another ride up there and bought some Jamila brand henna (I also got weird herbal Emirati toothpaste and a huge cheap box of tea). It's not the "body art quality" that the henna enthusiasts say is necessary/preferred, but it's also not a "henna hair dye" that promises a color other than red (which means: suspicious unnamed chemicals--ugh, I hate it when people harbor a blanket suspicion of "chemicals:" chemicals are in everything! but some hair dye chemicals really are quite harsh and can dry out your hair and give you a rash). So last night, following the recommended recipes from the internet, I mixed it up with some lemon juice, and today I'm going to add some other stuff (tea, paprika, something to make it not smell like hay) and put it in after work (it takes hours for the dye to "release," and then it has to sit in your hair for hours. T says it sounds like I'm cooking up some crack.) I got Princess Mononoke from the library so I guess we can watch that while I let it do it's thing.

I've almost never changed my appearance in a major way, and when I do (cutting bangs, ear piercing, shorter haircut) it usually takes me months to decide and obsess over, so thanks, friends, for listening to all my self-centered ramblings on this hair topic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dream of New York

A few nights ago I had a dream that I went to New York City. I took a train (only $12, how convenient), it was on a whim, just for the day. I was with some of my favorite friends; I helped one of them apartment hunt in old huge rambling buildings with curving stairways and endless waiting rooms. Then on the train on the way back, I sat across the aisle from a young Barack Obama with his little daughter in his arms! He was very friendly and we talked about how cute she was.

I felt so good the entire next day! The whole dream had a wonderful quality of freedom, happiness, exhilaration, exuberance, and serendipity. It felt like these pictures.

In fact, I've only been to NYC three times. And while it was fun, it kind of tired me out, drained my finances, got me soaked to the ankle in slushy ice water or traipsing through endless blocks trying to get somewhere I thought was much closer. I think I prefer the fantasy of New York to the reality, but if I ever end up there I'll be sure to reconsider.
Images: The Sartorialist; Bonnie Tsang for Pictory via the always-good Aubrey Road; Hafeez Raji also for Pictory; Trey Hill for Pictory, Sandra from Niotillfem on vacation in New York.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Furniture-Painting Adventure

So I bought 5 wooden boxes off the local version of craigslist for $10, where they were advertised as "hideous boxes." And oh god, they were! Avert your eyes from my blurry camera phone picture! Shiny black on the outside and red on the inside, and beat up. They stuck to each other and to anything placed on them, and the previous owner had tried to repaint one with what I can only assume was faulty glow-in-the-dark paint. It was all drippy and sticky and translucent: a hot mess.
So, since they were clearly unacceptable, I did some rummaging around and found this rusted-shut can of paint. With a lot of maneuvering and at least three tools, I got the bent and rusted lid off (note the hole I busted in it with a wrench) and found a totally acceptable color. The top of the can said "Sophisticated Blu" but it really should be "Uber-Girly Lavender."
Since I'm awesome and had nothing to do on Friday night, I primed the hell out of them while getting delirious from being alone in the new apartment and forgetting to eat dinner.
Then the next day I painted them the pretty purple, and did a lot of lying on my back on the dirty floor, sweating, listening to Shakira, and reading the week-old Wall Street Journal I used to protect my shiny new floor. In the background, please note my sweet new fireplace, which unfortunately doesn't work, and my built-in pantry.

These new boxes are going to be stacked in the corner next to a rolly clothes rack, together to become my best excuse for a closet. Total cost: $16 (boxes & clothes rack, paint & supplies were free)

Peach Cobbler

A few nights ago, I made myself some cheese grits & peach cobbler. Although Georgia is known for its peaches, South Carolina actually produces more of them. We just have more important and interesting things going on to be famous for, so we let that slide.

In addition to Smitten Kitchen, as previously mentioned, we in my house love Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. To the extent that we are disappointed that one cannot be a "fan" of them as an entity on facebook, and must be a fan of the TV show, which we do not watch. We have the cookbook, The New Best Recipe, and we are fanatic about it. I really appreciate their scientific approach to cooking. Multiple tests with controlled variables and a totally obsessive pursuit of perfection: it warms my compulsive little heart.

But, in real life, I don't cook like that at all. For someone so in love with perfect scientific recipes, I really play fast and loose with them. How hypocritical.

Click here for the recipe I used, sortof. (You have to be subscribed in order to use Cook's Illustrated's website, and I happened to have one issue with this recipe in it. Fortunately, other people have typed it up for me.)

I had bought a pint of peaches at the farmer's market, but they went bad in about 3 days, and I was vexed. I salvaged what I could of them, leaving me with about 2 cups, if we're lucky, of peach mush. That's not at all the 2 1/2 pounds of firm but ripe peaches that the recipe calls for, so I halved the rest of the recipe (again, more or less.)

I used more than the proper proportionate amount of lemon juice, and didn't drain the peaches at all, just added extra cornstarch. I also didn't have plain yogurt, so I used sour cream. In addition, I ate about a quarter of the dough before I baked it (it was delicious).

We ate it with ice cream and watched the Up Series documentary. Lovely!

Image from here.

Deconstructed Part III: Random Edition

These first two are from Oak NYC, another online store I love. I'm not usually a big fan of the asymmetrical look (are you sleeves or not? make up your mind.) See this article on the insanity of one-sleeved shirts from Allie Brosh, the hysterically funny creator of Hyperbole and a Half webcomic which has pretty much caused me to lose all bodily control on multiple occasions. GO NOW AND READ IT. I'll wait while you compose yourself.
Ok, diversion over. Let's return to the important business at hand, which is looking at clothes. This skirt isn't really deconstructed but I found it yesterday and I want it. It's from Alexander Wang, and you can find it all over the internets, like at Revolve Clothing.
Way over on the other end of the fashion spectrum from Alex W, we have the Brooklyn-based etsy shop ruffeoheartslilsnoty. I found them a long time ago when I wanted some undies produced by someone more responsible than Target and not slimy like American Apparel (turns out that's not that hard, who knew, and instead I ended up just making some myself), and they make a lot of their stuff from deadstock (new fabric discarded from other manufacturers I think) and vintage. So they're actually really deconstructed.

I really want the t-shirt on the jumping girl in the first photo. And the last tank top reminds me of high-school cross-country so hard. And there's a cool Jane Jetson-meets-Wilma-Flinstone minidress that looks like something from an acid-tripping Star Trek.

Don't be scared off by their hipster talk! They've got some more normal (one or two non-neon color) stuff too, like some sweatshirts with cool stand-up turtlenecks and hoods. And crazy neon triangles bodysuits. You know, everything you need.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Deconstructed Part II: All Saints

I'm obsessed with everything from All Saints Spitalfields and I want it all. This long parachute dress recently was removed from their website which made me sad. Although I could never afford it...

There's a short version though, in white and a crazy print.

The print is not on their website, and I don't like it anyway. Here's the long dress on some British soap actress, Loui Batley. The tabloid where I found the picture found it unflattering, and perhaps the short one is more practical, but I like the drama of the long version.
Anyway, All Saints is opening a new store in Chicago, and I'm pretty pumped. I suppose if I ever get some cash to drop on a fancy dress or something (that is completely not appropriate for any occasion I ever go to) then I'll go there. Right.

Or I'll just go try everything on and sigh. I could officially not like this any more.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deconstructed Part 1: Raquel Allegra

I love Raquel Allegra. A young designer who works with recycled jersey from the Los Angeles county jail, she stretches and destroys the fabric to make it drapey in some places, sheer in others. I love it, and wish I could dress like this without looking like some kind of super-fashion woodland elf.

Wait. I do want to look like that. Um, well really I just can't afford it.

You can find her clothes, including some interesting and luxurious versions of basic shirts and leggings, at Assembly New York, Switch Boutique in LA, super-snooty Blake in Chicago, and all over online.

Maybe I'll watch some videos online and see if I can't learn how to make something like this myself, add it to my ever-growing list of impossibly time-consuming projects.

Images from google. The last three are from her new Spring 2010 line, and there's a slideshow at Refinery 29.