Monthly Archives: September 2012

The light is long, but it’s not long before it’s gone…

*Lyrics from A Simple Answer off Grizzly Bear‘s latest offering, Shields. I’m a fan of their music, and it grows on me the more I listen to it. Feels new and old at once, and familiar and fresh together. And emotional (and we all know I love emotional). And I always think of London when I hear them – posters promoting their then latest album, Veckatimest, were plastered all over the tube stations when I visited England for the first time ever. So, yeah, I’m a fan. Hope you are, too.

BEFORE: About 12" across, this little tray seemed perfect as a layering piece for the wall.

Have you every wanted to polish something silver-ish, but weren’t sure how, or even if it’d work? As a fan of finding thrift, antique-ish pieces to use as accessories (and even furniture, gasp!), I’m always coming across things that look like they could be silver, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t (the sale tag usually clues me in to that fact). Recently, I spotted a sweet little silver tray that I thought could be used as a mirror-esque item to hang on the wall in the pied-à-terre. (We all know the power of bouncing light around in tiny spaces.) For about $12, I thought, good shape, good size, reflective, textural, I’ll take it! (Jeff said, that’s old, and I hate old anything. I said, too bad, trust me, it’ll be great!)

So, I brought home the little gem, figuring that its character, intricate pattern, and patina would only act as another transitional item that might help visually blend our new things with the entirely old and crumbly existing architecture of the apartment. Only I had no idea how to clean it. So I decided to take a chance on a silver polishing product called NEVR-DULL (yes, that’s right, nevr). Found it at the hardware store that’s directly across from the flat. How convenient is that?

read on…

No need to hide, come on inside…*

*Lyrics from I Am An Ape from the collaboration album Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent. I think this album is challenging, but interesting, and quirky, and catchy, and absolutely worth a serious listen. I don’t always need music to be easy, and when I respect the artists involved, well, it’s kind of like music, to my ears at least. Hope you give it a try, and let me know how you like it.

House Tour: Living Quarters

The foyer, or entryway, is both grand and homey. It connects virtually every space in the house, especially when you take into account that the two-story entrance snakes continues on through the hall that connects all the bedrooms upstairs.

Despite our choice to now live a bi-polar dual-homed existence, our home is still actually for sale. And, though my focus is on making the new spot as homey as possible, I thought you might like to see a re-cap of our living space – or, living quarters as I’m calling them. The architecture of this home, built in 1920, provides for a connected-ness that most modern families crave, while at the same time allowing for some privacy, and some division of activities. For example, many people love the look/feel of a so-called ‘open plan’ space, where the kitchen, dining and living rooms are one Great Room. Not me, and apparently not builders in the 1920s. I prefer the kitchen to be its own space – after all, sharp, hot, and time-sensitive duties (i.e., people rushing around with sharp and hot things) are performed there, which can make a mess, which can be unsightly to guests and other family members alike. But, even though I treat the kitchen as a work-zone (which, if you’re like me, it most certainly is), the living room and dining room feel like fluid extensions of one another. The builders in 1920 agreed with me there, too.

read on…

Is this the way to live, is it wrong to want more?…*

*Lyrics from Feist‘s Undiscovered First from her ablum Metals. The video I picked was from the Black Cab Sessions recording, and I chose it for a few reasons: (1) because I always like to showcase an alternate recording to the album version when I can; (2) because they all look like they had tons of fun working in a moving vehicle (and bonus points for it being in an English cab); and, (3) because if Feist can not only perform, but also shine in a tiny, teeny space, then I have no excuse, have I?

There's the new place! We're above a new restaurant - a sausage and beer place - so quiet, it's not. But, hey, at least there'll be sausage and beer!

The first thing you do when you downsize – and in this case we not only downsized, but also downgraded – is to compare what you had with what you now have. In our case, we’re going from a home that we spent the last few years lovingly renovating to a state of comfort and luxury, to a rental unit that has seen its fair share of occupants (and coats of glossy, pale yellow-ish paint) over the years. The contrast, to put it mildly, is stark.

read on…

You and me could go on and on and on…*

*Lyrics from Eleanor Friedberger‘s I Won’t Fall Apart On You Tonight from her album Last Summer. I haven’t decided as yet if I’ll purchase this one – it’s one of those albums I enjoy, but not sure if it’s because it’s in the background of the other things I’m doing. Anywho, check her/it out as you see fit. Carry on.

Major BEFORE: Back when we bought the house (and our sweet pup was just getting to know the place that would be her forever home) this was what the porch looked like. We've since had it rebuilt, re-supported, re-re-staired (yep, twice), and now re-stained. Phew.

So, just when you thought we were done improving our current house, well, we took a hard look at the calendar, the side porch, and realized (much to our collective chagrin) that it needed a fresh coat of stain before the winter season. Ugh. First, ugh for having to think about winter already! Second, ugh for having to do another labor-intensive project during a time when our house is meant to stay show-ready. Last, ugh for the onslaught of back-breaking projects that we had to undertake in the span of days. Ugh, then blerg.

read on…

Head down as I watch my feet take turns hitting the ground…*

*Lyrics from Beyonce’s Smash Into You. I know this song isn’t about running, but it could be. If you weren’t Beyoncé. And you didn’t look uhhh-may-zing in just a leotard and a flowing, chiffon cape. But, again, we’re not Beyoncé, are we?

One of my favorite views on our local running route. Well, our big house local running route. Anyway, I love the dappled sunlight, the houses, the trees, and the mostly flat, long stretch of road.

Several months ago – after a particularly rough year (emotionally) following the loss of our doggie, and succumbing to the default setting that I have that encourages me to eat, drink and try to force myself to feel merry even when I’m sad, lonely, and grieving – I decided to start to try to get back into shape. Just like many of us, I do this every few years, because it often doesn’t stick, or because I allow my emotions to control my eating and exercising habits. This time, though, I wanted it to stick.

Part of my strategy for growing a new routine in my life was to get help. Luckily for me, Jeff was willing to tackle the project of revamping ourselves together. Without his support, and his partnership, I doubt I’d have a shadow of a chance to change my ways. I also made my intentions public to my friends on Facebook, to my family, and to myself. I bought an app for my phone that would help coach me along, and set my goals at really small, incremental (read: realistic) steps that would allow for interruptions – things like traveling, family time, and personal wellness days (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) – to be included in the schedule. I set goals, and together we met them.

read on…

What you only dream about, wild women do…*

*Lyrics from Wild Women Do as performed by Natalie Cole from the hit 1990 movie Pretty Woman. Those of you too young to know, the late 1980’s were a time of great sexual empowerment of women (note the sarcasm dripping from these words – there was no other empowerment allowed), and a time of great artistic achievement in music video technology where incorporating the film that the song was written for in the background (and sometimes foreground) of the video was the height of sophistication. Also, Pretty Woman has been in rotation on cable, most likely for the parallels between Richard Gere’s character and Mitt Romney’s stint as a ruthless businessman who bought companies only to chop them up and sell them during that same time period. It was de rigueur for the time, I guess, just like terrible perms, lip liner, and super-tight spandex everything. But I digress.

So, okay, so the house hasn’t sold yet. Which is to be expected, I suppose (summer is slow, historically, for selling houses). I’ve never sold a house before, and every market is different, and every home is different (just like every buyer), so, well, we’re waiting. Turns out impatiently waiting. So we decided to go ahead and rent a small apartment – may we call it a pied-à-terre? mais oui! – in Brooklyn, in the neighborhood where we’re aiming to eventually move to permanently. Or at least as permanently as can be.

Shocked? I am, and I was part of the decision-making process! We’re going forward with the next phase of our life, despite the obvious obstacle of having not sold our home yet, and not knowing how long it will take to do so. Clearly, we have the most beautiful home on earth (duh), but clearly we are waiting for just the right person(s) to claim this home in the name of their god and country (ok, or just their family).

read on…