Tuesday, April 17, 2012

martha, kiwis, a view, and karaoke

Last week, I was in the same building as Martha Stewart two days in a row! If that's not noteworthy, I don't know what is.

One evening, Erin and I attended a book signing at West Elm.

The ladies from the Little Flower School put together a gorgeous book of arrangements and had several of their masterpieces spread throughout the store. (Erin and I have the same camera and she taught me a few tricks and settings to get fun pictures. Thanks for the tips, Erin! I guess I should read the manual :) ).

Erin and I had a few drinks and commiserated about our sad floral arranging skills while dreaming of owning everything at West Elm. Just as we were thinking about leaving, none other than the Martha Stewart walks in! We tried to play it cool, but I was a big nerd and tried to get a picture. It's pretty comical how many bad pictures I captured. That Martha is elusive! 

This was eventually the best one I got and then decided to give up being a stalker. People magazine won't be calling me anytime soon for my paparazzi skills.

The next evening, Jenn and I attended an Apartment Therapy talk at ABC Home. This is one of my favorite series to attend. They always have interesting speakers, ABC Home is beyond gorgeous, and the bartenders sure know how to pour a good glass of wine.

This month, they added a new feature where a couple diy'ers share a quick project to start things off. I'm going to pass on terra cotta pot lampshades but am seriously considering making a drum shade to dress up the lame lights in my apartment. Thanks, Engineer Your Space

This evening, the main guest was Pilar Guzman, the editor-in-cheief of Martha Stewart Living Magazine (and founding editor of the former Cookie magazine). While I'm not exactly the Martha demographic (although does anyone remember Blueprint? That was my fave of all time...maybe even more than domino... seriously.), I still have respect for the magazine and it's content and how Ms. Guzman is taking it in a slightly more modern direction. 

The conversation often turned to parenthood, so Jenn and I weren't too incredibly engaged. Kiddos aren't exactly our concern du jour, but it was refreshing to hear Pilar Guzman talk about modern, urban parents who maintain some level of design aesthetic even when kids have ugly toys. Good to know :)

Word is that Martha was in the house but didn't make a public appearance. She did bring us gift bags though! It just had a few MS magazines but it's always fun to get free stuff!

The next evening, Kurt's boss, Steven, and his wife, Wendy, had us over to their brand spanking newly renovated apartment for dinner. I never saw it in the "before" state but love the "after"! Everything is simple and crisp and white without being cold or severe. They incorporated some really creative, inexpensive solutions that look great. Even though the place isn't huge, they organized things very smartly, so it will be a great home for entertaining. 

I was so flattered they took a little inspiration from the bathroom makeover I did for Kurt.....yep, those matches! :) It's all in the details. 

I want a new apartment now! It's amazing how different a one bedroom feels from my dinky studio. Walls! Doors! Separation! Sigh.

Kurt's boss made some delicious roasted monkfish for dinner.

Kurt and I contributed this black bean and corn salad (adapted from this recipe). This is one of my go to (all the time) recipes, especially in the summer. It's super simple and can support tons of variations on the ingredients. Try it!

It was lovely to share a meal with Steven and Wendy, but the main purpose of our visit was to help plan Kurt and Erik's trip to the South Pacific. Yes, you read that correctly. Kurt is leaving me for 19 days (tomorrow, no less!) to travel to Samoa and New Zealand! I am very sad he will be gone, but I'm honestly not that torn up because this trip has been a long time in the making, and I have no doubt he will have an amazing time. (Maybe it hasn't hit me yet either. We'll see!) He's spending part of his time in Samoa working on a project he and his boss have been helping with for a few years (remember this fundraiser?). Afterwards, Kurt is meeting up with his brother and they are going to traverse (by rental car) the entire North Island of New Zealand. Steven is a native kiwi, as is another architect friend (seen here holding the fork), so they had lots of good advice on places to visit, parts to avoid, and amounts of sunscreen to wear. It all sounds incredible. I'm beyond jealous.

I'm going to miss you, Kurt! Maybe I can convince you to guest post about your travels when you return?!

I recently became an Architecture League member. I would like to say all their interesting lectures convinced me (it was part of the motivation!), but they also have a members-only monthly happy hour at various architecture offices around the city that was the main selling point. I get a free plus one, which I agreed to usually award to Kurt, so it's such a good deal (believe me, I crunched the numbers)! The latest "First Friday" was at Buro Happold in the Financial Distict. Theyre a large, multidisciplinary firm, so their office was pretty big but the showstopper is their amazing terrace and view.

They look right over Trinity Church (and cemetery which helps preserve their view) and a nice vantage point of the growing World Trade Center (re)construction. Watching the sun set over the Hudson River isn't a bad way to spend your Friday night :)

 After the Arch League happy hour, we met up with some friends at Hope and Anchor in Red Hook. I really liked the label on this beer and then realized it is from New London, the small town in Connecticut that I take the train to when I visit my grandmother much too infrequently.

The fun thing about Hope and Anchor is karaoke night and the drag queen that runs it :) There were definitely some regulars there and the host and bartender even had a few acts worked out. It was great! Only a few from our group were brave enough to try a song (Kurt paid his respects to John Denver with Take Me Home, Country Roads) but everyone had a blast. Can't wait to go back!

I was so lazy Saturday night and flaked out on two birthday parties in Manhattan. Did I mention the weekend's weather was gorgeous? Hot even? Sometimes (most of the time, actually) I love Brooklyn so much, I have a hard time leaving unless it's mandatory. To make up for my inter-borough laziness, I agreed to cook dinner for Kurt. I made a baked lemon and artichoke risotto {found via} with zucchini and squash salad {found via} and, in my attempt to be Italian, a plate of prosciutto. It was all delicious, if I do say so myself :)

After dinner, we met up with Erik and Andrea at Korzo. The bar was celebrating its 4 year anniversary by giving away free beers. Did I mention I love Brooklyn?

So in an effort to not miss Kurt too much, I'm off on a short trip to Washington DC this weekend, taking the Schematic Design section of my ARE this Thursday (eek!), and I just joined twitter! I can't decide what to tweet yet, but follow me @MelGraveline once I figure out how it all works :)


  1. Reading the manual is good but not a necessity, just experiment with all the settings! :-)

    Good luck on Thursday and have fun this weekend! I'll be thinking about guest posts the entire trip...

  2. Oh my goodness! You had a Martha sighting?! How exciting!


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