When you commute between homes, have specific diet needs or feed children you find yourself bringing food back and forth and trying to maximize each trip to the market. When I plan for a weekend of entertaining, I love to cook things that make good leftovers and are easy to reinvent in the next dinner. I also plan my menus out in advance so that I can shop locally for any items that the town market won’t have and transport it on my way out of town.
The perfect accessories are coolers and containers. These are few of my favorites.
LLbean- the classic canvas tote, good for dry foods and walking the farmers market.
Flee a company I discovered when living in Boson, water resistant and super cute fabrics
Coleman, the Standard cooler made by a company that knows the outdoors
Crate & Barrel, sort of cheesy, but insulated and practical so you can’t argue with that.
Gladware Family Pack- Head to your BJs or Costco and pick up the Family Variety Pack….they are the best and don’t throw away the box it is so nice to grab the whole thing from the cabinet when it is cleanup time after a big meal.
There is nothing more fun that stationary. The art of writing letters to stay in touch is a thing of the past, but nothing beats the holidays when your mailbox is stuffed and the creativity of each piece showcases the personality of the sender. Because I haven’t lived in the same place for very long, I have invested in a few various stationers and I just love the process and result. In times like these, value is the most important consideration when purchasing a luxury item like stationary. This year I used, Etsy, my new favorite resource for “All things Handmade” I was able to have multiple artists bid, quote, and demonstrate their unique designs. I ended up with a product for ½ the price of Kate’s Paparie or Papyrus. Here are the final products.
To start the bidding process figure out what you are comfortable paying for your project and in my case I ordered, We’ve Moved Cards, Birthday Invitations and Return Address Labels. I figured a bulk order would give me more bargaining power and I am happy with the result. Check out Tucci’s shop at Etsy if you like her style.
After reading, watching and asking others with green thumbs how they do it, I decided to take a leap into planting over Memorial Day weekend. Being that my soil hasn’t been tested and there isn’t anything that seems to like to grow on the property I figured I would start out with container gardening. If you are living in the north east then it is still spring and you have time to plant both perennials and annuals.
I made a few visits to Lowes, Walmart, Home Depot and garden centers, but left with nothing. I was always unsure of what would work and not be a waste of $$$. I was also concerned for what I could care for and the quality of the plants. I had always heard that diseased plants come from chain stores and the only guarantee in buying plants was to buy them from a grower and have them plant them for you.
All my plants camp from Home Depot & 99% of my plants have survived the past 2 weeks, 1.5 fatalities and that was because I didn’t read that it needed full sunlight which I don’t have and the tomato plants in the topsy turvy are TBD. In addition to sunlight, a watering schedule, pots/ planters and deer are the other concerns I needed to understand before buying anything.
Here are some sources I consulted and here is what I ended up with…I’ll keep you posted on how they survive the summer.
Martha Stewart Show w/ Jerry Fritz of Linden Gardens Topic: Deer Resistant Gardens where Jerry coins the key to planting planters…always be symetrical and have a Thriller plant (Attention Grabber) a Filler (bulk) and a Spiller (flows over the sides), LOVE IT.
Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler
Earth Easy: Raised garden beds, for those of you with property a friend of mine is composting and everything with the raised beds…Very Obama!
Upsidedown Tomatoes: Topsy Turvy, As seen on T.V.
White Flower Farm - Highly Recommended
http://www.northcreeknurseries.com/- Highly Recommended
Fun Pots/ Planters
Oh the joys of moving. In NYC you often shop for the apartment where you currently live. My tip for you is to try not to get too attached to the pieces b/c when you move the process begins all over again.
One way to decorate is to hire an interior designer to sweep in, personalize and coordinate your style, colors, and organizational needs and be budget conscious along the way. Another is to shop, research, shop and shop some more. I have come to rely on instant gratification when shopping which is why the usual suspects cater to my needs. Pottery Barn, William Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Design w/ in Reach, West Elm, CB2, William Sonoma Home, Macys, Ikea and Restoration Hardware. Mixing and Matching these items with the purchases from ebay, flea markets, travel tokens and family heirlooms typically make up my style.
My recent move added a 2nd bathroom and 2nd bath to our apartment, so I need to furnish new spaces, plus use old and new furniture to accommodate the new shape of the common space. Here are some of our favorite finds.
Restoration Hardware, Newton Accent Table (also comes round & adjusts height)
Design within Reach, Sapien Bookcase ( we looked at the west elm knock off & decided not as nice)
ABC Carpet & Home, World Fusion Console Table ( Always check out the Bronx Outlet ABC…First)
Anthropologie, Fern Forest Bathmat
When I am asked, what it is I want for my birthday or Christmas most of the time I look to my closet and think, a purse, a necklace or pair of heels. Then later that same day I think of my home renovation list and fixing the patio or saving to replace the roof would be a practical gift. But since I received an early birthday gift this week I am calling the Dyson Vacuum the Gift of the Year!
The only reason I was in the market for a vacuum is because I accidently locked my cat in a closet for 24 hours. Now every time I turn on the old vacuum it smells like cat! So it had to go!
I would like to consider myself a patient and thorough shopper. After an ample amount of research every vacuum available at Best Buy, Amazon, etc. has negative reviews except Dyson. The only reason people don’t buy Dyson is because of the lofty price tag. (avg. $500) After 1 day of using the thing, I am here to tell you it is DYSON or DUST.
A pet friendly and baby friendly house must be rid of dust, hair and germs and that is a challenge for even the most diligent home maker. A friend recently told me she vacuums just about every day and sometimes multiple times a day so I hope you are reading this and add the Dyson to your gift list!
My husband thinks that I now seek out reasons to vacuum b/c it is fun. I purchased the DC17 aka “animal” and a few of the accessories including the mini turbine head. It is amazing. I was able to clean the couch from head to toe and while it is junk…it looks a whole lot better. I also used this tool on my zebra rug which collects every piece of dirt & lint and all new! The suction is insane and the small things about its usability all make so much sense. I think it is a work in progress transitioning from the Stone Age to modern Dysontime, but well worth the struggle.
Have a maid? Clean for yourself for 4 months and it pays for the Dyson!
The Silver Lining: Dyson sells refurbished vacuums and I am so far very happy with mine. I have never been afraid to buy a refurbished machine b/c honestly they are the same as the original. You can still get a 6 mo warranty with refurbished vacuums through Dyson.
Recently, I received a Get To Know Your Friends Better chain letter, and my friend wrote, “In Target” as the “Place I Would Rather Be Right Now”.
Target’s tag line; Great Design. Every Day. For Everyone. This store is the single most reason I get jealous of the ‘burbs’. There simply is no better way to utilize your lunch break or spend your down-time before a dentist appointment.
Target is constantly adding new designers and new lines to their Design for All campaign. The products are innovative, fun, well made and look just as good as the alternative at half the price.
To search their list of designers Go Here, but these are a few products that make me want to drive to Jersey this weekend.
Chalk surfaces are an interesting element worthy to bring into the home. Chalk boards stimulate creativity through doodling and can help organize a family or dinner party. Whether subtle through a candle, box or painting a patch in your kitchen it is a fun and trendy idea. The chalk paint has endless possibilities.
Wine and Cheese Party anyone….
Chalk paint is ideal for the molding of swinging doors, cabinets or the outside of a pantry door. It also easy to paint on a removable surface, like a metal pliable sheet, that can be placed over your fridge door or framed and hung.
A friend once told me you can tell everything about someone by the books they read. Built-ins, bookshelves and console tables are ideal for showcasing those tokens of inspiration. Add in a mixture of art, plants, curiosities and photos to achieve the perfect display your favorite things.
Left to Right
Cow Horn “Cubo” Bookends
Mouse & Rooster Bookends
Bean Bag Esque Bookends
Reclaimed tree trunks make great occasional tables, plant stands and stools. Cluster a few and you have got an artful variation to the standard coffee table. Having a party, swing them towards the walls and use them for additional seating or place two at the end of your bed for the perfect bench. Many stores are carrying a wide array of options and here are a few of my finds.
Bamileke Table: Jayson Home & GardenLive in NYC: I found Bamileke Tables at The Antiques Garage, West 25th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues 9AM - 5PM, every Saturday & Sunday
Argentinean cypress trees trunks: Pottery Barn
Timber Block Stool: Viva Terra
Root of Earth Stool: Viva Terra
Resin Tree Stump: West Elm
Reclaimed Burma Wood Nesting Tables: Company Store
Twisted Table Uncommon Goods
Star Point Table Horchow
Hardwood Side Table Brocade Home
Peroba and Harvested Mahogany Environment Furniture