Wednesday, November 30, 2011

domestic desires

I rarely browse through IKEA and think, "Wow, that item is beautiful." I generally find things that are cute or practical or quirky and modern but the appeal lies mainly within their inexpensiveness. Well, I was walking through the other day, looking for some random item, and was amazed by the gorgeous VITLING bakeware line. The green interior and taupe-y, grey exterior are sooooo pretty. Even though my oven still smokes every time I use it, I could justify adding this to my collection. And of course they are affordable! The only thing that would make it better is if it had a matching lid. Then I could easily show it off at potlucks! Go ahead and consider this the first addendum to my Christmas/birthday wish list :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

all i want for christmas...

Well, at least its a start. I'm positive I will add more as Christmas and my birthday draw closer.

My dear iphone has taken a few spills within almost the year I've had it, so I figured it was about time I get a case. I've had my eye on some of the beautiful designs from Society6. So practical, right?

I think I caught the coffee table book fever after I bought the new DesignSponge book. I've been mourning the loss of domino for years and thought the best way to pay my respects was to invest in their book, domino: the book of decorating. The magazine's spirit will live on by sitting on my bookshelf.

Another practical option: new running shoes. When my motivation wanes in the winter months, I hope these cute new kicks will encourage me to get my ass to the gym. I only chose these New Balance ones because they are pretty. Any suggestions, more experienced runners than I?

I used to have a cute little pink Swiss Army Knife for years until it was confiscated at the airport. It was so convenient to have on my key chain for random moments. I love the design of this one. The only thing that could make it better is a bottle opener. I am also tempted by the Tourist model except that it doesn't come in pretty colors and doesn't include scissors. I think that is my favorite tool. However, the corkscrew is hard to pass up. Don't judge. Wine on the go is a frequent occurrence.

And now for my real dilemma. If you can't tell from my constant blog whining, I want a new camera. I need a new camera. I just can't decide what kind I want. All my options seem to have a binding theme though; they are crazy expensive. Do I go for the compact route with a souped up point and shoot? Do I take the middle ground and get a mirrorless option with a semi-compact body and nice image quality and interchangeable lenses (which I could possibly share with Kurt)? Or do I go all out and invest in a DSLR and a good purse/camera bag for toting the beast around? So many options! Please, send me your advice!!!

Above: Canon Powershot S95 / Olympus E-PL3 (love the white!) / Canon Rebel T3

Oh, and while we're at it, I will take one of these. Cute overload!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

thanksgiving in west virginia

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend gorging on turkey and shopping till you dropped. Here's a little recap of our trip to Snowshoe, West Virginia to visit Kurt's parents.

Our trusty steed was a Ford Focus. It is generally not a great car but got great gas mileage, even through the mountains. Not that I would know any of this because I didn't drive a minute in that car. Kurt and Erik were kind enough to chauffeur me around for a few days. Thanks, guys!

We left NYC pretty early on Wednesday and stopped in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for lunch.

Even though I adamantly suggested we find a Chick-fil-a somewhere, we settled for Philly cheese steak sandwiches before hitting the road again.

After 8.5 long hours in the car we finally got to see this sweet face!

And of course this guy too. Opal and Oxford were quite the entertaining duo.

I don't have too many photos of our Thanksgiving Day meal, but I made these appetizers that were delicious! Stuff dates with gorgonzola and goat cheese, wrap in bacon, secure with a toothpick, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Definitely good party food.

Kurt spent most of his time tending to the fire. The weather was pretty mild but he did a good job keeping us all warm.

In order to avoid a post-meal coma, we took a walk around the little Snowshoe Village.

Kurt wasn't quite as excited about the giant Adirondack chair as I was.

Most of the condos and houses on the mountain were pretty cheesy, but there was this one little quirky, space age house made up of several pods. I want to stay there!

SNOW!! I was a little horrified when we first arrived and was suddenly hit with winter, but thankfully the rest of our stay was unseasonable warm. The resort thought they might be able to open the slopes for Thanksgiving but sadly the weather was a bit too hot for skiing.

We had to get to back to the city, so we headed out midday on Friday. If the museum had been open, we would have loved to take a tour at the Green Bank Telescope very near to Snowshoe.

The drive took us through West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally to New York. Phew!

We stopped for dinner in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the Firehouse.

As I'm sure you can guess, it was an old fire station turned into a bar and restaurant.

Across the street is a walk-thru window at Dunkin' Donuts. Pretty hilarious. We would like to see the line on  a typical work morning or after bar hopping on a Friday or Saturday night.

Ugh. Now it's back to business in the big city. After a two day week, it might be tough to get back into the grind of work today. Christmas vacation can't come soon enough!

Friday, November 25, 2011

on the road again

It seems as soon as we got to West Virginia, we turned around to head right back to NYC. The city calls us back for work obligations and football rivalries. We're currently on the road and hoping to avoid the general Black Friday madness as we pass through the burbs. (By the way, have you heard of Small Business Saturday? I often fall into the routine of shopping at big chains, but I like the idea of supporting your local businesses. Spend your money where it makes a difference and supports your neighbors.) I hope you all have a great weekend and are starting to get into the holiday spirit. I'm slowly beginning to contemplate gifts (for myself and others), planning outfits for upcoming holiday parties, and gearing up to actually send out holiday cards this year. Saving the world one party dress at a time :) Turkey Day recaps next week.

WAR EAGLE!!! Let's show my Tigers some love in the Iron Bowl!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

many thanks!

I hope you are having a lovely Thanksgiving! I have the pleasure of spending it with Kurt and his family. I hope you are having an equally good time with your loved ones (or at least a yummy meal). Most of today's food will be taken care of by the gracious Martigs but I am hoping to whip up some Kickin' Chickpeas and Mulled Wine for midday football watching and some Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates for later. Wish me luck!

{gorgeous flowers from Saipua in Red Hook, Brooklyn}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

take me home, country roads

Well, not exactly home but some country roads are currently carrying Kurt, Erik, and I to Snowshoe, West Virginia to have Thanksgiving with the Martigs. They recently bought a condo at one of their favorite ski resorts, and we are helping them break it in for a few days. I'm looking forward to some time away from the city and work. Good food, company, and time with the Martig's dogs won't hurt either! I hope to have some "on location" blog updates for you soon. Have a great Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

c wonder

I was recently in SoHo running some errands and decided to stop in, C Wonder, a shiny, new gift wonderland on Spring Street.

The store is quite a sensory overload but they have some really cute stuff. (The vibe reminds me of preppy sorority style, so take from that what you will.) A lot of it was pricey, but some things were reasonable enough. I've got my eye on those gorgeous ikat plates (and that floral Vespa)! Check it out if you are in need of lady gifts or a does of vitamin D once winter starts to set in. It is sure to cheer you up!

If my lousy iPhone pictures have left you wanting more, check out a feature on C Wonder in the latest Lonny Magazine.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I recently won this awesome perpetual calendar from West Elm by entering a giveaway from Benign Objects. Rachel has a really great blog which focuses on graphics and typography. I really enjoy following her and don't mind when she wants to give me free stuff! This baby is going to sit proudly on my desk at work :) Thanks, Rachel!

Remember this last time I won something? Yeah, those recipe cards haven't seen any action in almost a year! They are just too pretty to mess up! None of my recipes seem worthy. Maybe I will regift them this holiday season...or maybe On Board the Gravytrain will host a giveaway! :) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

foray into painting: part i

I'm such a tease with all these broken up posts, right? Sorry! Part ii hasn't happened yet. It's hopefully in the fuuuuuture.

I think my purpose in life is to cover my walls with things. I'm always on the hunt for something interesting to display. Lately I was inspired by this wall mural and thought I could recreate something like it on a smaller scale. I probably could have picked up supplies somewhere more convenient to my home or office, but I will always look for an excuse to go to Michaels (and Home Goods) waaaay on the Upper West Side. I grabbed an economy pack of canvases and some craft paint (on sale!) while unsuccessfully trying to brainstorm other craft projects.

Once I had a couple hours blocked out for painting, I spread out on my amazing new table and planned the size and angle of my chevron stripes and sketched them out in pencil. My completely unhelpful assistant was there to supervise.

The palette. The colors look completely crazy onscreen but you get the idea: burnt orange, deep magenta, mustard yellow, gold, and aqua.

Then I began the tedious process of applying color by color. I wanted a hand crafted look so I didn't want to tape the edges but tried to stay within the pencil lines with my brush strokes.

Looking back I wished I had been more loose with the design like my inspiration (and her inspiration). I was pretty rigid with the color arrangement and could also vary the width of the stripes. It didnt turn out as miraculously as I had hoped. C'est la vie! Good thing I bought a multi pack of canvases! There's always part ii!

I actually like the closeup best. Maybe I will chop it up into tiny pieces. What do you think?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

banquet table

(also known as how Kurt does all the work while Melissa stands around and takes pictures)

For quite some time I have been using the same dinky table in my apartment as a desk, a dining table, and general work surface. The teeny Ikea components have traveled along with me, in one form or another, from my very first New York City apartment. I didn't have any grand plans for an upgrade until Kurt's boss offered me a huge solid core door he and his wife had used for a table in their Manhattan apartment. I'm sort of limited on space but decided it would be worth the sacrifice of floor space for a large work table. One night last week, Kurt and I got a zip car to pick it up and man, it was heavy! I felt bad for Kurt since I am such a weakling. He practically had to carry it himself. I think he's planning a vacation the next time I decide to move.

I decided I wanted these legs from Ikea. In the picture they look a little unwieldy, so Kurt was kind enough to help me cart them home from the store. We should have figured they would be flat packed and the trailer would be overkill. Lesson learned. Sadly, one of the legs which we had to assemble ourselves was defective. We were able to jerry rig it together but I am a little wary. If you hear of a Brooklyn girl dying in a freak door/table accident, Ikea is to blame.

After some measuring, the door was a little too long to fit in the available niche, so we (ie Kurt) had to cut it down. He was a whiz with the circular saw and pretty soon the door was cut and my apartment was covered in saw dust. The table fits snugly (what's this I hear about measure twice, cut once?!) but it fits! 

And is sooooooo big! I was a little in shock when it first went in but now I am getting used to it. It sticks out a little farther than I would like but I will live with it unless it starts getting in the way. I'm dreading have bruised hips from running into it constantly! I can't wait to have people over and we can all have a big meal around it. Too bad all the guests will have to bring their own chair :)

The large work surface is amazing! I can really spread out and make a big mess. I even christened the table on it's first evening with a new craft project. I think we will get along just fine.

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