Sunday, March 29, 2009

Working with What You Have

After taking a few photos of my apartment yesterday, I decided to rearrange a few things:

I moved the Palmer stools (again), this time tucking them underneath the espresso brown console table that I found at for $99.99 (and assembled on my own, I might add). I also moved the mini palm -- I hope it gets enough sunlight in its new home!

The changes were small, but I think they made a difference.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Villanova v. Pitt: Good for College Basketball. Bad for my Bracket.

Just finished watching Villanova v. Pitt. What an exciting game! I'm still catching my breath.

'Nova took this one, and I should be upset about it, because my bracket is officially toast -- I had Pitt winning the Tournament. But I'm not upset at all. I'm thrilled, actually, because Villanova deserved to win this one -- they hustled, they played hard, and the number 3 seed beat its Big East rival/the number 1 seed in the region. Granted, things got a little sloppy near the end after Villanova realized that they just might win this thing. But what about Scottie Reynolds' buzzer beater at the end? Amazing. I live for upsets like that.

I suppose this is a little bittersweet -- the Pitt guys are crying (or look like they could, at least). I am sorry for them. But I'm a little more excited for Villanova.

Updated Apartment Photos

For Mom and Grandma:

The living room, in toto.

( I really should have fluffed that middle cushion before taking this shot.)

*Love* these pillows.

I found these books at Librarie de France. Librarie was the first retail tenant at NYC's Rockefeller Center, and they will be closing their doors for good at the end of the summer.

I still can't decide where these "Palmer" stools from Z Gallerie should go, but I do like them nestled in this corner. The mini palm tree was a Valentine's gift from my family, and I found the white planter at cb2 for $14.95! ( The lighting here is a little weird -- I think the sun was reflecting off the top of the stools.)

The coffee table. I'm a magazine junkie.

See that tote bag tucked under the zebra chair? Hidden inside are the infamous sewing class pajama pants. And yes, they remain unfinished.

The kitchen.

A close-up of my "Cafe Paris" favorites, plus the Orla Kiely canister that my brother scored for me at Target.

My bedroom.

I made the faux headboard myself! I found the fabric at the Marimekko Concept Store on the Upper East Side. (Please ignore the unsightly iHome "antenna" on the bedside table.)

My "dressing table."

That's it for now. Operation "Making My Apartment a Home" continues.

P.S. I still have March Madness pictures to post. They're coming. I promise.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Live from Miami

Hi from South Florida!  My brother and I have just returned from the last two games of the second round action in Miami.   It was an absolute blast.  We watched two really exciting games, after which the Syracuse Orangemen and the Arizona Wildcats each had earned a berth to the Sweet Sixteen.  

Here are a few highlights, courtesy of our hotel's wireless network (which works so much better than the wireless in my apartment back in New York -- that conveniently stopped working a few days before I left, leaving me without a reliable internet connection for the better part of the first week of March Madness...).

1.  The Syracuse guys really like each other, and they play like it:  During this afternoon's first game between Syracuse and Arizona State, it was really obvious that the Syracuse players like playing together and that they are very well-coached (love Jim Boeheim).  Even during the warm-ups, the players were very supportive of each other, focused and energized.  It was nice to see.

2.  University of Arizona fans are an organized, enthusiastic bunch.  The fans in the stands at Miami's American Airlines Arena knew most of the songs that the band played and many of the cheers that the cheerleading squad led -- and they were not afraid to display their loyalty (to everyone).

3.  Speaking of the University of Arizona band, there was a female band member -- a clarinet player sitting very close to my brother and me -- who was, by far, the most enthusiastic college band member that I have ever seen in my entire life with the highest pitched voice that I have ever heard in my entire life.  It was impossible to miss her (or her voice), even with all the action on the court.   My brother and I were pulling for the Cleveland State Vikings (I can never resist pulling for the underdog), but her display of team spirit was so infectiously over the top that even I had to smile and cheer when the Wildcats won.

That's it for now.  I'll upload pictures to the blog soon (yes, that means that I finally recovered my digital camera!).  Then I need to rest!  It's been a long (and incredibly fun) day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tournament Opener

I cannot believe that I made it home in time to catch the first game in this year's NCAA Tournament. In just a few minutes, #16 Alabama State will face off against #16 Morehead State to earn the right to play this year's all-around #1 team, Louisville. Yeah, it's a "win tonight/lose on Friday when you have to play Louisville" situation. But who cares?! I'm still stoked for tonight. I've got my eyes on the Alabama State Hornets.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let the Madness Begin!

Image: (it's actually legible there)

It's finally here! The field has been narrowed to 65 teams, and this week the Madness begins. I almost forgot how much I love this time of year. It looks like my brother and I will get to catch Syracuse (of "six overtimes" fame) in Miami next Sunday -- provided that they beat Stephen F. Austin State University on Friday. Here's hoping.

(P.S. Florida State lost to Duke, but no biggie -- they made it to the Tournament, and they'll be heading to Boise, Idaho to play a first round game against Wisconsin later this week.)

Selection Sunday. But First, the ACC Championship Game.

Selection Sunday is finally here! I'm so excited. This evening, I'll have a better idea of which teams my brother and I are likely to see when we head down to Miami for Round 2 of the Madness.

But first: In just over 30 minutes, Florida State will meet Duke in the ACC Championship Game. As I've explained before, I am a Florida Gators fan. My blood runs orange and blue. So what I am about to say is going to be shocking. At the risk of alienating Gators fans everywhere, here goes: I am pulling for the Seminoles to deliver an upset in the ACC Championship Game. That's right, I really, really, really want FSU to win. This has more to do with my tendency to pull against Duke basketball than anything else. (Sorry Duke fans -- I really like Coach K and I respect Duke's program. But I firmly believe that Duke basketball is consistently overrated, each and every year.) Plus, as someone who calls Florida home, I have to support the Seminoles in their quest to stir up the basketball hierarchy of the Southeastern United States (defeating North Carolina was a great start).

Time to get ready for the game. Under normal circumstances, I'd be snacking on pizza and wings and little pigs-in-a-blanket while my eyes are glued to my TV. But I'm battling a cold at the moment, so instead I'll be enjoying a steady diet of throat losenges and chamomile tea. Yum.

Go 'Noles!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recession Specials

My family and friends will tell you that I love Target. A lot. I can spend hours in that store (just ask my brother-- I've dragged him to Target for a marathon shopping session on several occasions). Moreover, as someone who has been furnishing a new apartment in the middle of a recession, I really appreciate the small items for the house that I've found at Target (including, for example, the silver bowl on my coffee table that I scored for $5 and the great-smelling J.R. Watkins all-natural hand soap in my bathroom that set me back $3).

According to this Time Magazine article, Target is being outdone by Wal-Mart as the economy continues to tank. Why? Well, for starters, Target apparently devotes some 40% of its shelf space to home and apparel items (so that's why I love shopping there so much), while Wal-Mart sets aside 45% of its shelf space for grocery, health and beauty items ("consumerables"). When money is tight, consumers are more likely to fork over cash for grocery and health items than for home goods and apparel. And Wal-Mart's prices on consumerables are better than those at Target (in all fairness, even I have to admit that I've noticed that Wal-Mart's prices on these items are better than those at my beloved Target).

For what it's worth, Target is not taking this lying down. The company is shifting its focus toward consumerables, and will soon begin offering a larger, more prominently featured selection of groceries and other non-home/apparel items in an effort to regain some ground in the discount retailer market. That sounds fine -- as long as Target doesn't drop the fun, affordable home and apparel offerings that keep the interior designers and wardrobe stylists in all of us coming back for more!

I Love my Grandma. And France.

At some point during the process of designing my new apartment, my sensibilities took a very French turn. I became obsessed with all things French -- from the black and white canvas print of the Arc de Triomphe that hangs behind my couch to the "Cafe Paris" sugar bowl in my kitchen to the vintage French books that I found earlier today at a small French bookstore here in New York, I've tried to sneak a little piece of France in most corners of my apartment.

In December, I stumbled upon the pretty "French" cross stitch pattern pictured above. And for the past four months, my sharp, politically savvy, all-around fabulous grandmother has been working on this picture for me. With love. She's the best. I can't wait to hang it in my apartment. I'm very lucky.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ode to Domino: Funky Fern

That funky fern looks great in this bathroom. I'd love to keep a plant in the bathroom in my apartment, but it gets absolutely no sunlight at all, so I'd have to find a plant that wouldn't miss the sun. I'm very open to suggestions.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday. She was the very first person to read my little blog and she remains one of my most loyal readers. I love you, Mom. Happy birthday!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ode to Domino: Black and White and Big Feathers!

I've been experimenting with mostly black and white photographic prints on the walls of my apartment -- I really like the clean lines and calming effect of simple black and white art. And I absolutely love the grand scale of the black feathers on the white folding screen here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ode to Domino: Seafoam Green Nightstand

I love, love, love this little nightstand. How adorable! The contrast between the green nightstand and the blue and white striped rug is perfect.

(P.S. I realize that I am one of just a handful people still mouring the loss of Domino magazine. But I have tons of images stored, and I want to share them!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Countdown to Selection Sunday

Under normal circumstances, by this time of year I'd know who's heavily favored to be a #1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, who's expected to win the whole thing, and what my beloved Florida Gators have been up to for the past 3 months or so. This year has not been so normal. It's taken me a while to adjust to my new schedule, and I'm still working on figuring out how to balance work and life in a way that works well for me. (I should explain that this is not a complaint. The economy is nothing short of scary right now, and every day I am so thankful to be gainfully employed.) I've also been slightly obsessed with getting settled in my new apartment and furnishing it in a way that makes me feel comfortable at home. And, in the midst of these adjustments, I have not been keeping up with the NCAA men's basketball action. This is bad, because my brother and I will be attending two Round 2 games at Miami's American Airlines Arena on March 22, and I refuse to be ill-informed during the year that I have the opportunity to see a few games in person. That means I have less than 2 weeks to catch up!

Here's the plan for catching up: (1) Bury myself in from now until Selection Sunday. (2) Substitute SportsCenter for MSNBC in the mornings while I'm getting ready for work. (3) Cross my fingers, cash in all favors and hope to goodness that the Gators find a way to the Tournament this year.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sewing Class Wasn't "Sew" Easy (Awful Pun, I Know. I Couldn't Help Myself.)

Today was the last day of my sewing class at FIT. I didn't walk away with a complete pair of pajama pants (I have 4 separate "leg" pieces of fabric; 2 of them are semi-connected in a pant-like fashion). So, 5 weeks and $230 later, I don't have a completed garment. But I do have some basic sewing skills: I know the names of most parts of a sewing machine. I understand how the different parts work. I can sew a straight line. I understand what it means to sew "with the grain" of the fabric. And I can thread a sewing machine (my proudest accomplishment).

There are several other sewing classes at FIT (Learn to Sew Like a Pro II and III, to be exact). I do want to take these, but I want to finish my pajama pants first. The plan now is to invest in a good sewing instruction book and a decent machine. Once I get the basics down, I'll move on to the next class. Of course, my ultimate goal is the same: making myself a shift dress that I can wear this summer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Michelle Obama on the Cover of The Oprah Magazine ("O")

For the first time ever, Oprah Winfrey does not appear alone on the cover of "O" Magazine. Who's the very special guest on the cover of the April 2009 issue? First Lady Michelle Obama!

Ode to Domino: DIY Inspiration

Something about this bedroom is so appealing to me. I love the clean lines of the dresser and the bed and the contrasting patterns on the throw pillows. And I really love the art on the wall! It's so funky and modern. The walls in my living room are painted a similar shade of "greige," and I'm considering dripping some of the leftover paint on a white canvas and hanging the canvas on my wall for a similar effect.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ode to Domino: Color Contrast

I *love* this bedroom. Stark color contrast has always appealed to me, and the contrast here is so well done. And how great is that duvet (coverlet?)?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ode to Domino: Color and Patterns

The Bachelor distracted me from the "Ode to Domino" series earlier this week. But that doesn't mean that I've stopped mourning the loss of my favorite magazine.

I love the contrast between the brightly colored and patterned textiles and the stark white walls here. Dead animal on the floor? Not so much.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No More Roses. Please.

Jason "I accidentally gave this rose to the wrong girl" Mesnick

Jillian "I hope I pick the right guy the first time" Harris

Part 2 of the "After the Final Rose Ceremony" special was a joke. Jason and Molly are (allegedly) happy together. Melissa kept it classy and stayed far away from the show. Jillian (runner up #2) is the new "Bachelorette."

I'm totally over this show. I was never a huge fan, but I started watching it ages ago when I was in college and I appreciated it for the mindless entertainment it offered at the time. Now that I'm a little older, I realize that the show is ridiculous, if not cruel and exploitative.

The next chapter in this never-ending saga begins on May 18 with a new installment of The Bachelorette (featuring Jillian). Seriously? Haven't we all had enough? I have. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to sneak a peek when the new season rolls around. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

They Might Be Free, but They're Not Easy

The NY Times ran this incredibly fascinating article about the free throw. That's right -- the entire article is about player performance at the charity stripe. The bottom line? On average, success at the free throw line has not improved in 50 years. Neither endless practices nor Air Jordans have helped. In the words of Larry Wright, assistant professor at Columbia (Statistics), this phenomenon is "mind-boggling." Indeed it is. Perhaps Shaq can find some comfort in this.

The Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever. Real Talk.

Usually, ABC is lying when it claims that an upcoming rose ceremony on The Bachelor will be "the most dramatic ceremony ever." But today, ABC did not lie. I literally fell off the couch and hit the floor hard while watching tonight's episode. Oh.My.Word. ABC's bachelor, Jason Mesnick, dumped Melissa shortly after proposing to her in New Zealand. I thought they were so in love! And to make matters worse, he has now started a relationship with Molly, the 24 year old department store buyer from Grand Rapids, Michigan (Jason dumped her shortly before proposing to Melissa).

I am speechless. I actually liked Jason! He seemed like a really sincere guy. Maybe he is sincere, and maybe something happened between Jason and Melissa that totally explains this baffling development. I just don't get it. I was really shocked when Molly basically welcomed Jason back with open arms soon after learning that he had shown Melissa the door. I really hope that things work out for Melissa. She was always my favorite. Team Melissa!