Thursday, January 27, 2011

Change of Plan(s)

Yesterday, I was all excited about my new room, perfectly content with the layout and eager to begin putting the finishing touches together. Then my floor plan and I received some helpful criticism (not my favorite thing but I am trying to keep an open mind) from landscape architects to the stars, Kurt and his boss. 

My initial design decisions were rooted in the fact that our apartment only has electrical outlets in interior partition walls. (The landlord must have been lazy and didn't want to chop into the exterior brick.) I was tired of living amidst a sea of extension cords, so I wanted to locate my desk and other electronic things along this wall, close to the power source. That left (what I thought was) a cozy little corner by two windows for my bed. 

The masterminds at Terrain decided it would be nicer to open up the corner with the two windows for a small chair and/or table. They suggested arranging the bed so it would look towards the windows instead of being jammed up against them. It won't be so drafty and sleeping in will be easier without the sun beating down on me. I'm most excited to have 3 sides of the bed accessible for easy bed making! (You can't imagine what kind of acrobatics I have had to do for the past couple years!) My favorite tip they offered was to remove the closet doors and replace with curtains. This will open up a lot of floor space in the room and offer a great opportunity to introduce some color and/or pattern.

Thanks, Kurt and Steven! I'm hoping to test out the new arrangement this weekend to see which works best!


Dear Old Man Winter,

      Thank you so much for all the snow you have sent New York City this winter (over 50 inches already, to be exact). It really makes for a beautiful scene out my window. However, I am writing to you now to say that I. Am. Over. It. It has got to stop. I have worn my boots for more days then I can count. Snowfall like this would have paralyzed any city I have lived in before NYC but I still have to go to work. Snowdays don't exist here! I have slipped on ice and fallen on my butt on the sidewalk, not once, but twice this season and have been pelted by one too many snowballs. The prettiness of snow lasts for about 20 minutes before it turns to brown slush and collects precisely where I need to walk. And did I mention I don't like the cold? Anyway, you can go ahead and bring on those sunny days and warm temperatures a bit early this year. I don't think anyone will mind. Hell, I will even take the humidity. I really think we have been through enough. A change will be greatly appreciated.

      Yours truly,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Room Transformation

Surprisingly, I hadn't drawn my room in AutoCAD until anticipating this move (don't laugh...I'm an aspiring architect...I think it's allowed). I can't believe how teeny tiny it is! The bed takes up half the space! I knew it was small, but now, more than ever, I am happy to expand to a little more space (see New Room). This is the layout I am planning on, but you never know how it will stay until you live with it for a while. 

Kurt and I started by spackling all the holes and painting the walls. I know it is boring, but I wanted the walls white. I like the look of white walls with more colorful furniture and accessories. Plus, I'm lazy and only want to paint this room once. Red is a notoriously hard color to cover, so I was afraid my wimpy white would be no match for it. Luckily, I found a mystery can of grey primer in our apartment which laid down a good foundation. 

Everyone, please note the Block O Kurt painted on my wall. He was very proud of it and wanted to make sure everyone saw it. Isn't he special? (Also note Aubie Cat checking out his new space. I think I caught him at a bad angle. He's really not that plump.)

I really liked the grey and momentarily considered painting the whole room in it. However, I stuck to the original plan and we moved along with the white. Most walls got one coat to freshen them up and the scarlet/grey wall needed two coats of white.

Kurt rolled the walls while I went around with a brush getting the more detailed areas. It was a pretty good system. The non-color I used is Benjamin Moore's White which you can buy right off the shelf without any tinting. The overall effect is a little sterile, so I couldn't wait to move things in to warm it up.

Window treatments first.

Then all the other junk! (See those reimagined dressers?!) The move from next door was pretty easy. I carried armfuls over while listening to Obama give the State of the Union Address. Pardon the mess. It's still a work in progress. I still need to move my clothes and get rid of lots of junk. The walls are in major need of some art. I have tons of maps that should brighten it up. I also think that stretch of wall between those two windows would be the perfect location for a plate wall (sans fish) (thanks for the idea, Mack!). I also plan on giving my old room a deep clean and fresh paint on the walls so the new roommate has a clean slate to work with. 

I'm in love with the few extra square feet I've gained. It's amazing what a little breathing room and brightness will do for you. I can't wait to see what the new roommate brings for the common space and we can start putting the apartment back together. Maybe I should host a dance party while there is absolutely no furniture in the living room!

Dresser Makeover

I completely ripped off this dresser remodel from Aubrey and Lindsay's blog. They say imitation is the fondest form of flattery, right? I think their project turned out much better than mine, but I thank them 100% for the inspiration. It's a great way to turn my inexpensive (and actually pretty good quality) IKEA find into a more grown-up piece of furniture.

Liberty Oval Ring Pull from Home Depot (a steal for $2.10 each!)

Benjamin Moore's White Dove (Semi-Gloss)

I painted all the drawer faces which were then meticulously inspected by Aubie.

We loaded the drawers back in and installed the new hardware. Piece of cake! I completed the whole project in one evening. Pardon all the junk surrounding the drawers. It is all the stuff that goes back in them. I elected to hold off on staining the frames like my inspiration blog. I have a theme of unfinished birch wood through the rest of the room and wanted to keep some continuity. I like the new hardware but think it may be a little too ye olde for the rest of my things. Eventually I may choose to switch them out for some Anthropologie knobs (or cheaper knock offs from World Market).

Not sure if you can tell from that last image, but I also moved rooms last night! I love the new space! More on that later!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clean Energy

From the way I blog about it, you would think my impending move is halfway across the world, not just the other side of a single wall. Regardless, its been occupying my time and thoughts. Since the roommate who moved out had all the utilities in her name, I get the joy of transferring them to mine. Luckily, a couple guys with Green Mountain Energy had a booth set up outside my grocery store recently (they also hang out at the flea market) and explained their mission. As a consumer, you have the right to choose where your energy comes from. Most power companies in the US provide electricity made from polluting materials like coal. You can elect to receive your electricity from clean sources such at wind or hydro power. The service is the same and may only cost a few more dollars each month. I signed up on the spot, so hopefully 3F will soon be doing our part! Please see if your power company offers a similar option. Plus, Green Mountain partners with the NYC Parks Department's Million Trees campaign and planted 2 trees in our honor for making the switch! What's not to love?!

Monday, January 24, 2011

weekend.'s cold outside! This is the time of year I just want to buckle down and hibernate until spring. Alas, life must go on, so I braved the elements a few times this weekend, puffer and snow boots required.


Friday night, Kurt and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has extended hours Friday and Saturday nights, and we like to take advantage of this great series called Observant Eye. A tour guide takes you through the galleries and highlights specific pieces of art that are connected by a common theme. It's great motivation to go all the way uptown and actually do something cultural. I also enjoy how they cover a huge variety of topics. (The museum is enormous! They have a lot to pick from!) I don't think I would have chosen to spend a lot of time looking at, say, African tribal masks, but when someone is telling you the story behind them, it makes it a million times more interesting. Broadening my horizons :)

This session's topic was childhood in Ancient Greek and Roman culture. Our tour covered several statues, pottery, and even a sarcophagus. It's also great to experience the museum without crowds. I highly recommend it!

Post-museum, Kurt and I made the journey out to Williamsburg. A friend through Kurt's work was having a birthday party/house warming at her adorable new studio. I was very jealous. She has a great space with a balcony and French doors and very little stuff. It is a goal of mine to eliminate clutter and only have the plain sight anyway.

Saturday, Kurt ditched me to go skiing. He, his brother, and another friend took the Paragon bus to Hunter Mountain for the day. I did boring, non-blog worthy things while he was away. I had high hopes for a warehouse sale at Taschen but was disappointed with the selection. I came away with a calendar of travel posters which may or may not end up as art for my new walls.

Saturday evening, I met up with some friends at Cubana Café for dinner and drinks. They have amazing margaritas and sangria, and I always get the Cuban sandwich (continuing my quest to find NYC's best...their's is quite good but I still think Habana Outpost's is better but, sadly, it is the off season).


My roommate moved out on Sunday morning but I wasn't around to watch the madness. Kurt and I stopped by in the early afternoon and it looked like we had been robbed. I knew all the common furniture was hers but the place looked so barren. I had a mini freak out that I wasn't going to be able to pull everything together by the time the new roommate moves in next Saturday. Even though we already had a project planned for the day at Kurt's apartment, he was so sweet to help me start painting the walls in my new room. We ordered some Thai food from around the corner at National (so cheap and so much food!) and got to work. It's still a work in progress, but I will be sure to reveal the more complete (because it will never be finished) makeover towards the end of the week. Kurt deserves all the credit. He did most of the work.

After our painting frenzy, Kurt and I kept Sunday Movie Night alive with Pulp Fiction. Kurt was amazed I had never seen it (I'm amazed he's never seen Star Wars, but that's another story) and insisted we watch. It was really nothing like I had expected. I guess it was entertaining but not one of my favorites. It was funny but pretty disturbing at times. Jeez, I'm such an old woman...

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Snow and New Boots

View from my window when I woke up.

Walk to work this morning. Cutest street!


And it is snowing outside my office window right now. Luckily I wore the new snow boots Kurt got me for my birthday. Aren't they .....practical looking? :) My former pair of Tretorn boots (and seemingly every pair of rubber boots I have ever owned) sprung a leak and weren't going to last me the rest of this crazy, precipitous winter. Kurt did a ton of research to find boots with practically indestructible rubber that would be warm for the winter months but possibly still work when it rains in the summer. He insisted on getting a quality pair even though I assured him I don't lead a very high performance lifestyle. They are pretty great boots though. Very comfy and warm and so far my feet have remained dry. I hope Kurt doesn't expect me to be all outdoorsy now!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Do I ask too much?

Tonight Kurt and I attended a design "Meetup" after work. It was held by IDNY at the D'apostrophe showroom near Chinatown. We all know I like a good reception with wine and snacks (like here, here,and here) but I was a little underwhelmed with tonight's show. Not only did they want us to listen to a presentation about some design-y thing, but the bar was closed during the talk! We weren't exactly in the presentation mood so Kurt and I sneakily made our way to our coats before they began. I tried to avoid the judgmental glares of the event organizers as we scooted out the door. Obviously we were just there for the free refreshments (which I generally like to enjoy in a relaxed setting without a PowerPoint presentation). Second thought, we dropped our business cards into a raffle when we arrived...I wonder if we'll win!

{In case my virtual sarcasm doesn't quite translate, I'm being a total brat and know it. Sorry, IDNY! Maybe next time I will make more of an effort, but I just wasn't feeling it tonight. Nothing personal.}

dreaming of color


Winter is bleak. There is no way around it. I've been dreaming of long hours of sunlight, warm weather, and an escape from a sea of black coats and boots. Maybe that's why I was so inspired by watercolor art yesterday and have been gravitating towards bright colors today. I saw these adorable cookies on DesignSponge this morning. They look like a crazy amount of work but are too cute!

Then I remembered seeing these Pantone credit cards in Lucky the other day. What sucker would get a credit card just because it is a pretty color?! Answer: me. Who cares about interest rates and rewards point? I want a good design! (fyi, I do not have one. I don't think I would ever be able to decide which color!)

Now this project makes me want to go home and start baking immediately. I found it on (don't laugh) a Martha Stewart blog. It is a birthday cake for the founder of made by his mother. If you think this one is crazy, you will die when you see his wedding cake!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

watercolor wednesdays


Lately I have been admiring artist Caitlin McGauley's beautiful watercolors. I first saw her work in Lonny Magazine and the weekly posts she writes for their blog, aptly named Watercolor Wednesdays. She often paints ordinary objects and scenes but they always turn out energetic and quirky. They are never perfect but always have character. Maybe I am drawn to them as a departure from the everyday plans and elevations I stare at on my computer screen.

After seeing this building elevation today, I want to do my own! I had the briefest foray into watercolors during college and it would be great to pick up a brush again. The technique I used previously was excruciatingly time consuming, but I like the fast and dirty method Caitlin employs in her work. Hopefully the imprecision will make up for my lack of skill :) It would be great to decorate the walls in my new room with some scenes from around the city. Who knows...if they turn out decently, it would be fun to sell some on etsy. You too could own an original piece of art by Melissa Graveline one day! I'll keep dreaming...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

miscellaneous items

It is a slushy mess in NYC today. It's one of those days you don't want to leave your bed, let along trudge along the sloppy sidewalks to work.

To fend off the seasonal depression, I've been dreaming of a new DIY project with two simple dressers I own from Ikea. I need to order a few finishing touches but may start the process this weekend while Kurt takes a day trip to go skiing.

That project got my DIY wheels turning. When my roommate moves out in a week, she is taking most of the common room furniture with her. Luckily, Kurt's brother Erik recently snagged us a island/table he found on the curb. If it's not being ruined by today's rain/sleet mix in Kurt's backyard, I hope to give it a good face lift with intense sanding and paint. The piece has one small drawer, and I would like to replace its current pull with one like this.

And in other news, I had a great War Eagle Moment last night! I feel like it needs a little back story first though. One of the reasons I love New York is that it is so diverse. There are millions of people from all over the world here and I am constantly being introduced to new ideas. That said, you don't often run across familiar faces, and being so far from the South, that interlocking AU is hard to come by. I rarely see other Auburn fans (other than at game day parties at the Auburn bar). Somehow, Kurt gets twice as many (if not more!) War Eagles than I do and it really burns me. I guess I don't wear enough sports paraphernalia...I generally only break out my Auburn t-shirts on gamedays, but I do have this headband/ear warmer I wear to and from the gym. I will admit I've been sporting it with more frequency since last week's victory

Well, on my way home from the gym last night, I had on my trusty orange and blue headband and was waiting to cross the street behind this guy who looked to be about my age. After a few moments, he turns and says, "War Eagle, huh?". You could tell from his hesitation he was new to the phrase. I responded with the requisite War Eagle and we chatted for a few minutes while we waited for the light to change. He didn't go to Auburn but his girlfriend's uncle is Auburn's offensive line coach and they were able to score tickets to the game last week. I got really excited, thinking this was Gus Malzahn (Kurt's long time football idol) and started brainstorming ideas to make this guy my friend. Then I realized offensive line coach and offensive coordinator are two different things and decided not to force my friendship on the poor guy. Apparently they had a great time at the game but were stuck in Arizona until Thursday because of weather. Even though he's not technically part of the "Auburn family", it was great to make a connection with a stranger so far from The Plains. I've got my eyes peeled for more War Eagle moments. I'm not missing out anymore!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

3F has a new roommate!

No, I haven't crossed the line into crazy cat lady and acquired another cat (although scarily, every time I see a stray on the street, I think what's one more?). One of my (human) roommates is moving in with a friend in Queens, leaving a vacant room in our cozy three bedroom. We put up an ad for the place on Craigslist, conducted a ton of interviews this week, and finally chose a girl who we think will make a great addition to our place. 

The upside to this transition is that I get to upgrade to my roommate's old room. Her room is a bit larger my current one and has three windows and two closets! I'm pretty excited about the move. I'm hoping to make more decorating moves in the new space, get rid of junk that has been gathering during the year and a half in my current room, and hopefully quell my desire to relocate for a while. I'll keep you updated on all the big changes happening at 3F!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

War Damn Eagle!

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, January 10, 2011


After our Staten Island excursion, I didn't take single a picture all weekend. This post is an exercise to see how many images I can scavenge from the internet :) I think I was pretty successful, but now I have serious camera envy because all my stolen shots are better than my typical ones! A girl can dream...



Saturday night, Kurt and I went to Paqueña for dinner. We typically go to their tiny little outpost around the corner from my apartment but I had a Groupon to try out their new location in Prospect Heights. It is at least 3 times bigger than the Fort Greene restaurant but still has the same great menu of tacos and enchiladas and very similar Day of the Dead-esque decor. Plus, they are one of the few places that carries my favorite Mexican beer, Sol (which I gained an affinity towards during many a Taco Tuesdays in Greensboro, Alabama). Kurt and I split a pork tostada (similar to the one pictured above) and shared a couple beers. We are such good penny pinchers that with my coupon we only had to pay tax and tip. My mother will be so proud :)

After dinner we met up with some friends at Building on Bond in Boerum Hill. Since many people were still out of town last weekend, Andrea was kind enough to put together a gathering to continue celebrating my birthday. I'm glad everyone could stop by! Thanks for my deli cookies and another rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to You". It never ceases to embarrass me.

{all bldg on bond images via}

I really love this bar. It's very low key and relaxed. The interior is quirky and rugged. It was designed (and possibly owned) by a design/build construction company next door, Hecho Design and Construction. They specialize in bars and restaurants. I want to work for them. Working next door to a bar doesn't sound half bad either :)

On Sunday, Kurt and I met up with some friends for brunch at Brooklyn Public House in Fort Greene. We tried to go to James, this new restaurant Erin has raved about in Prospect Heights, but they were booked up until 3:30! 

Public House was pretty quiet, so were were able to get a table right away. Kurt and I split a dish called the Maryland Crab Benedict. It was an English muffin layered with a crab cake, poached egg, and red pepper hollandaise sauce. Delicious. I'm deciding more and more that I always need to live near the water because I love seafood so much...the beach isn't bad either.

In the afternoon, I spent some much needed time at my apartment. One of my roommates is moving out soon, so I did a brief cleaning in order to impress potential roommates we are planning to meet this week. Then I decided to make some oatmeal cookies with cranberries and apricots (amended from this recipe) to use up some ingredients I had lying around.

Sunday evening, Kurt made a Bolognese sauce with pasta. He amazes me more and more every time he just throws something together. It's always delicious. We're trying to make Sundays movie nights, so Kurt gets some mileage out of his Netflix subscription. My choice this week was The Jerk with Steve Martin. It's an oldie but hilarious and awkward. Plus, Steve Martin is my old man crush, so I never mind watching him.

Sadly, I've been fighting a cold all weekend. I guess I could have traded all those previously mentioned outings for sleep, but that didn't sound like much fun. I hope to recovery quickly this week. A National Championship win by Auburn may be just the medicine I need :) Fingers crossed! War Eagle!
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