Friday, July 31, 2009

next best thing

well, i've accepted it - my hydrangea bush is not going to bloom this year. i thought it would, but it looks like it will need one more year since being transplanted about a year and a half ago. as a consolation, though, a nice colleague of mine gave me a huge bunch of them for my desk.

have a great weekend...fill it with things that make you feel good.

sweating the small stuff

sometimes it's the little things that make me the happiest. i have found that as someone who notices every detail, it pays to pay attention to them when making choices and purchases, because when it comes to details, a little can go a long way. if i'm noticing all the details anyway, i might as well enjoy them. i've found this to be particularly true for functions that are mundane and often unfussed over. why not fuss just a little? it makes everything nicer.

for example, i love how h&m (which stupidly doesn't allow you to shop online) carries packages of hairties in several different color combinations each season. about a dozen of them are under $3, and are totally worth it - for summer, when my wardrobe is full of corals and pinks, these coral, white and tan hairties are a small detail that make me feel just a little more coordinated and finished than the mundane black ones. i might even be the only one who notices them, but that's good enough for me.

another small but appreciated detail is the use of pretty file folders, rather than plain ones. of course, filing and billpay and paper organization is not, on its face, a fun task, but i do enjoy the folders i use (a gift from my mom) which are varied and pretty and they are, like most things i enjoy, easy to mix and match.

i also really enjoy the little pillbox i carry in my bag - another thing which could just as easily be utilitarian and clinical looking, as there could be no task more mundane than arming oneself with ibuprofin and nexium...but pulling out a pretty little box instead just feels nicer.

what small details make a difference to you?

file folder photos from

Thursday, July 30, 2009

really, coach? really?

file this under "money would have to be burning a hole in my pocket to buy this."

it's a garden tote, and it's from's trimmed with alligator and comes in either green or blue trim. it comes with some garden accessories and it’s cute enough. it's also $6,000. yup, you read that right.

it's hard to really know where to start with this information. i'm not going to knock the idea of spending $6,000 on a bag - that's far too obvious and besides, i’m comfortable with the idea that we all function and spend at different levels. and i'm not going to knock coach - they're reliably classic yet modern and i've been loving their foray into patent leather in recent years.

what i will say, though, is that if i were going to vilely overspend on a bag, it would not be on coach (sorry), and it would most definitely not be on a garden tote, in green or blue trim.

it might, however, be on one of these little judith leiber numbers which range in price from just around $2,000 to dangerously close the price of a coach garden tote:

or for a less....sparkly look, maybe one of these:

escada plisse leather boston bag ($1,173 at neiman marcus)

valentino bow tote (a mere $895 at neiman marcus)
nuti medium ostrich hobo (on sale at saks for $2,388)
valentino bow hobo (on pre-order at saks for $1,895)
salvatore ferragamo sotto chiave shoulderbag ($4,250 at neiman marcus)
back in the real world, my most recent bag purchase was this oversized clutch from h&m, and it was $16. and i feel pretty good about it.

coach photos from, ; judith leiber photos from; escada photo from; valentino photos from and; ferragamo photo from

love, actually

i hate commuting. i mean i reaaaalllly hate commuting. the traffic, the crowds, the pushing, the incessant noise...all before a decent hour or at the end of a long day. i know it's something that most of us deal with, but it's one of those things that i personally just have a very low tolerance for. it's a timesuck and it's hands down the worst part of every day for me. i try to doll it up with reading or eavesdropping on conversations or walks through grand central market, but it is what it is and i hate it.

once, i boycotted the subway for a year. i became obsessed with the idea that people acted as if being underground rendered them invisible - spitting, shouting and some things i dare not mention here. eventually it became too inconvenient to boycott, and i gave in to what i had been calling a "subhuman" mode of transportation for a year. the subway is, by far, the worst leg of my commute - everything is dirty and hot, sticky and often wet. and that just describes the surfaces, nevermind some of the people.

recently, i had a particularly horrid rush hour with a broken escalator and only one staircase for both up and down (for the second week in a row) and it was then i started thinking another boycott might be in my near future.

but i was momentarily softened at the sight of a man -- a stranger as it turned out -- helping a woman with a double stroller down the stairs and through the crowd. i tried to quiet the hateful commuter rage inside me - the thought that people are good and nice even when they're hot and late and tired - that fact should make me happy.

i wasn't quite there yet.

next, i saw a woman swipe her metrocard for someone who had a non-working one, and then i saw them go separate ways - they, too, were strangers. my mood was lifting. i started to have that feeling of "we're all in this together" - everyone hates commuting, everyone has stresses and everyone is hot in this goddamn sweatbox...has the mta never heard of air conditioning? are they amish?

well, just to underscore my love actually feel-good airport moment (though a dingy underground subway station is several rungs down from heathrow), i then saw an elderly woman all but carried down the stairs by a young man who saw her struggling, almost washed away in the sea of people...people just like me, who only moments before were pushing through to get to the train, only to stand three sweaty rows deep on the platform anyway.

you really should take a gander at the scene from love actually, even if you've seen it before. it's a good one.

i was sort of amazed at how, in such close succession, i witnessed so many acts of kindness. i felt a little floaty and out of body-ish, and once i determined i was not in fact about to pass out, i pondered whether this series of events was a coincidence. i considered that these moments might always be there to be seen if you're open to them, which usually doesn't coincide with being open to barking "does your wife know you push women on the train?"

who would bark such a thing? certainly not me...

having witnessed this love-fest, i felt close to tears - anytime i feel communal, i feel teary. just as hugh grant actually is all around. i could have hugged those men and women helping fellow commuters, but if i had, we might have all exploded from extreme heat exposure, so i just smiled instead.

traffic photo from

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

just sprayin'

not to be like the father in my big fat greek wedding, but windex has been one of my best recent discoveries. not for windows, but as a jewelry cleaner. it's the fastest method yet (forget dropping into a container, waiting a few minutes, fishing it out, rinsing it and then drying) and works every bit as well as the motorized jewelry cleaner i have that takes 20 minutes. just spray your jewels liberally and blot dry (no rinsing required).

fyi - this method is jeweler-approved (at least by mine) as a safe way to clean diamonds and most other gems. as always, keep this and other jewelry cleaners away from pearls.

enjoy and put your sunglasses on! with any luck, your baubles will look like the out of control harry winston ring pictured above.

windex photo from
ridiculous diamond ring photo from

in the fold

leave it to anthropologie to have folding chairs that make my heart ache. the terrai folding chairs are available in six designs, each of which uses at least two different fabrics on a handcrafted sheesham wood frame. they are $198 each, which of course i realize is steep for folding chairs, but who says you have to keep them folded? we're not talking about white and silver samsonite plastic jobs here.

each one of these chairs is a piece of art in itself and can (and should) be used as a permanent part of a room, not only dragged out for passover. i could see one being at home in a dressing area or next to a small key table as a spot for draping or piling, if not used as actual seating at all times. or, let's be serious, they'd be amazing as permanent chairs around a cool round dining table or at a desk or vanity. but even just the purchase of one would be a good investment in my opinion, as it would add to the spunk and color of any space, and can easily be moved around as its charms and functions are needed.

my recommendation is not to spend the extra $30 these cost to ship and get them at the store if you can - my local anthro has them in stock. call yours to check.

images from

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

here comes the bride

so you know how every bride misses one part of her wedding? for me, it was our tequila bar and louge, for my friend kim it was the amazingly huge pan of paella at her cocktail hour. well for this bride, she missed what was undoubtedly the best part of the whole wedding - the processional (at least until her entrance). though of course she has this video to watch every single day of the rest of her life. (or at least that's how often i'd watch it if i were her).

seriously though, this is so great and totally worth all the buzz about it over the last few days - in theory, the idea of a crazy wedding processional sort of makes me roll my eyes, as i'm sort of a traditionalist in many ways. but within 30 seconds of this one's start, i was smiling the whole way through. in fact, by the end, i sort of had that "oh, those two" feeling about the bride and groom who are clearly complete strangers to me. it's just a moodlifter, and a unique and memorable way to start a wedding and a marriage. i'd love to hear about other unique wedding stories if you have them.

click here for video

although the bride is a little sheepish at the end and doesn't quite know what to do with herself, the applause from the crowd says it all. priceless.

the view from down here

i'm very into the idea of looking up right now. a few weeks ago, i wrote about my dad's buddhist advice to "look up," meaning to have faith. in addition to that, which i try to do, i've been fixating on looking up in a different way - physically looking directly skyward, and i am consistently amazed at what i see.

it’s an interesting thing to study the sky- it’s a totally different view than the normal horizon-line angle we mostly employ. everything looks bigger and more perfect - the trees, the clouds, the expanse of sky. it must be what babies in strollers see as they lie on their backs and take in the world. i love experiencing that view and breathing deeply as i take it in, taking that moment for just myself.

my favorite is when the clouds gather in thick, billowy masses almost too intense to be real and not digitally enhanced. but they're real. and then the light peeks out from behind, or lines the edges of the clouds in an otherworldly pink or white or yellow glow. it’s seriously breathtaking.

i've been taking pictures of the sky almost everywhere i go, drawing some concerned looks, for sure. but i seriously can't believe how gorgeous it can be, and i can't believe i'm only first discovering this now. i mean, sure, we've all seen our share of sunset pictures with clouds, but this is every night i'm talking about. and all we have to do to see them is look up and watch - in the space of five minutes, the sky changes completely (and that's lots of pictures).

i'm thinking of having large blow-ups printed of two or three of the photos i've taken, probably in sepia as shown below, to hang in our dining room. i love the idea of looking at these each day, and i think the two below have just the right contrast and intensity for large-scale prints. i just love the way they make me feel – almost as much as i love the way the actual sky makes me feel these days, which is at peace and firmly rooted in the sense that the world is a very, very big place. although in uncertain times it can feel like this big world might misplace a few small people like us, this looking up i’ve come to love makes me feel the opposite effect - like the world will take care of us (if we return the favor, of course). it’s a nice feeling.

i guess those buddhists knew what they were talking about when they said "look up."

Monday, July 27, 2009

i'll bring the bubbly!

i have to introduce you to the sofia mini, the adorable bubbly in a can, from francis ford coppola winery. yes, a can. i know, people are still getting over the idea of wine in a box. but i have to tell you, you won't be disappointed. and i think i'm speaking mildly here...the introduction to sofia on the coppola website could make a girl blush:

born from a celebration of love, sofia blanc de blancs began as a gift from a father to his daughter. our sparkling wine, as bright and effervescent as the woman who inspired it, along with the charming and stylish sofia rosé, are a tribute to the romantic, ebullient spirit of women everywhere.

MY MY. excuuuuuse me.

really though, i loved it too.

so, a blanc de blancs is a sparkling blend of white wines...basically american champagne. what's different about sofia is that while most blanc de blancs are made from all chardonnay, this one uses mainly pinot blanc and then adds sauvignon blanc and muscat. it's crisp and refreshing and according to the coppola website has notes of pear, apple honeysuckle and citrus. and for the oenophiles...apparently sofia is "elegant in character...lightly textured and vibrant through the finish." yeah, what they said.

i was introduced to sofia around sunset on a friend's fire island deck and it was perfect - convenient, compact and extremely tasty...refined enough for evening, earthy enough for the casual outdoors. i found it to be fuller and more complete tasting than many champagnes and sparkling wines i've had before. is it the absolute best champagne i've ever had? no. but it was really good, and it's one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - if i were served a glass of this champagne at a party or a restaurant, i would think it was very good and i'd enjoy it fully. but being handed this adorable can with its attached retractable straw in my favorite place in the world at was elevated it to a simple kind of perfection.

the nicest thing about it is that everyone can have it in their favorite place in the world and at sunset, or any other time, because the size and portability factor make these minis perfect for picnics, concerts, the beach, and really any situation where individual servings of bubbly would be called for. the size is just right and the can keeps it nicely chilled for just the amount of time it takes to drink 187 ml. also, not that you'd be trying to hide the fact that you were drinking (it's always afternoon somewhere), but they're subtle too - the snazzy hot pink cans look more like an energy drink than anything else...way classier than a brown paper bag.

it's nice, even at home, to have some on hand to be able to offer the equivalent of a glass of champagne without popping a bottle. the minis are available in 4 packs for $16 or individually for $4, making them pretty reasonably priced, especially considering that they're the type of thing you wouldn't really go through cases and cases of.

they also sell a standard 750 ml bottle for $20, but if you're going to buy a whole bottle, i don't know that i'd buy this one, per se... for me, it really is a combination of the packaging, the concept and the wine itself that make the appeal of the sofia blanc de blancs. you can buy these on the coppola website, and even at some whole foods locations.

no matter how you buy it, the outcome is the same -- cute, individual, tasty bubbles to go. drink up! love!

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