The Apartment Revealed

So yes, I've been living in the apartment for well over a month now, actually it'll be two months on Sunday if you want to be specific. Mind you the apartment is still a work-in-progress but here are the most recent photos, yes I know LONG overdue...note, when relevant I've added paint colors and sources for decorative art, et al, just in case you're curious.

First things first, you should know that upon arrival at the humble homestead you will be asked to remove your shoes. Martha Stewart featured the concept of creating a framed (ahem, polite) request within the immediate entry way which you can see at left. ;-) I hope to have a supply of slippers/socks on hand come those slushy wintry months.

At right is the BM Moroccan Red wall complete with my foyer piece. The stacked system is in essence three (3) sets of stacked drawers--a little redundant I suppose--purchased at HomeGoods. The radiator cover was left behind from the former occupant and there is a Chelsea Hanger (courtesy of Southern Living Goods) on the left wall adjacent to the front door. I need a mirror above the file system, initially the plan was to use the one I now have propped in the living room but the wood is too dark, and I will probably order something from Brocade Home.

For the benefit of those who haven't been to the apartment, or cannot remember the layout, just an FYI. If you turn right at the end of the foyer, you enter the living room; turn left and you enter the kitchen. The kitchen used to have an archway wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area. I have since blown out the wall to create one large room, as noted below.

The color of the walls is BM Semolina Yellow, the kitchen cabinets medium brown AKURUM from IKEA. The ceramic tiles, purchased from Weissman's Home Discounts, remind me of a riverbed and the golden granite seems to complement everything nicely.

There is a Tiffany-style flush mount above the glass bistro table in the front of the room. My contractor added a small bookshelf to the windowsill and spray painted the radiator cover in a copper accent metal.

The metal and white tile buffet server to the right was a steal from Pier 1. There's nothing like a bargain, a skill I picked up from my mom. :) The refrigerator, though out of sight, is opposite this wall. A stainless steel bottom freezer procured from Quentin's List at a severely discounted price.

I bought the mini-mighty ceiling fan ages ago and shattered the bulb cover just as the electrician was prepared to set it up. I called the manufacturer thinking that I would have to search high and low for the cover but they sent a replacement to me for free! I promised I would talk them up in return for their generosity. Contact XX here for your very own.

At some point I hope to be organized but until then the kitchen has become my catch-all room. It's one part office/den/kitchen for now.

There are normally four (4) chairs around the bistro table but for space-sake I've been using three. The other one is in storage (aka the garage). The chairs were remnant pieces from a floral show Nat & Junior planned and executed, and at first I didn't think they would go with the decor (I have two in royal blue velvet corduroy and two in cranberry) but the linen seat covers from QVC offered the perfect fix. I love the idea of using the table top as a mini gallery, so here's an art shot of sorts of two prints beneath the glass. The green glass mosaic platter was given to me by Sharyl, the yellow mosaic candle sconce I picked up at TJ Maxx; I think it was from my very first visit to the infamous 'never the same place twice' store.

Here is a close-up of the window overlooking the garden. The window offers a southeast exposure, and a good amount of sunlight throughout the day. The photo is a tad dark but I think you can still make out the fashioned bookshelf and windowsill. Once I get a screen for the window the plan is to have a pillow for Tigger so he can get a clear view of the world outside. :)

Next room to view is the living room which as noted above is to the right of the foyer entrance.

The living room is painted BM Shaker Beige (thank you Stacy!) and with the exception of some key pieces is fairly sparse. To the left, an Indonesian carved mirror from an import/export warehouse in Newark, with an ancient (and soon-to-be-replaced) AIWA boombox. Kerri suggested upgrading to the 3-2-1 BOSE system (a bonus that it comes with a DVD player); I'm looking into that option now. I am planning a trip up to Woodbury Commons (where there is a BOSE outlet) in October.

I have an espresso finish Markor Bookshelf from IKEA (mine is twice the size of the one shown) that will either go in this corner or on this wall below, adjacent to the leather chair. In a previous post I mentioned my frustration and at times, hesitation, in finding the right area rugs for the space. As you can see, Tigger duly enjoys the sheepskins from IKEA; not sure if they have a larger version but perhaps therein lies the solution. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, please don't hold back if you have any cool innovative ideas. ;-)

This love seat from Jennifer Convertibles is in the opposite corner of Tigger's shot. :) Yes, I made the jump and purchased a Cloud blue twill sofa. The rose flower pillows are from Cost Plus Market, the black floor lamp is from Homegoods (in Staten Island).

The walls seem bare but I have a selection of prints to make up for the existing drabness, including some black and white shots from my college photography portfolio. The sofa definitely needs a coffee table and potentially a shag rug to be placed in front of the piece.

Next up is the powder room...I replaced the cabinet sink with a pedestal and switched up the lighting, adding a much needed outlet. There used to be a very modern white, black & yellow wall paper which I tore down, something about wallpaper in a bathroom that doesn't set right with me. Anyway, the wall color is Behr Cosmic Dust. I added a bamboo floor mat, palm tree linen shower curtain (from Overstock.com) and a crocheted curtain my grandmother made years ago.

Last but not least is the BM Blue Spa bedroom. Again I need an area rug here as well (I'm thinking I may take Sharon's suggestion and get that leather shag from Overstock) and would also like a floor to ceiling mirror to prop against the wall. Maybe in a dark espresso to match the bed, though I am open to suggestion. Ideally I would prefer not to have any other piece of furniture in the room and the goal (I need to call Ingrid!!!) is to organize both the closets (one in the bedroom, the other in the living room) so I won't need an armoire or chest of drawers, et al. If I must pare down my closet, well then all yee ladies might find yourself with some second hand treasures. :)

And we end the post with a view from the bedroom through the living room and into the kitchen.

Monday Morning Memory

Claudia is emailing photos (some of which I'm sure we thought were long deleted) from days gone by at Hartwood, and one from the Go-Go Lounge in Montreal...those Zodiac shots, man I can still remember the hangover. :)

Hartwood was the Gibbs' lake house (they sold it last year) the Penguins would visit each summer after a day's worth of whitewater rafting. Hartwood was a woodsy retreat and each time we visited we returned well rested from sleeping in the silent woods, gazing at stars off the dock, canoing the nearby lake...so many amazing memories and personal stories were born right there...A mystical place, the kind that haunts your dreams, and seeps into your heart.

Such a nice way to start the week :)

Review: My Moon Cafe - W'burg (09.09.07)

We treated Dad to a Mediterranean Turkish feast at My Moon Cafe (http://mymoonnyc.com/) in Williamsburg tonight. The food was delicious and the space industrially pleasing to the eye, a modern day casbah. Formerly a factory, many of the leave behind scrap metal was designed into the lighting and furniture.

NY Mag Review: http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/my-moon/

Whirlwind Saturday

This weekend, a perfect example of Indian summer would have been perfect for swimming and yet I was off and about. I attended a Meditation Seminar in the morning, it was your basic meditation 101 and taught techniques on how to silence the active mind in order to create harmony within oneself. It was surprisingly uplifting.

I went to visit Pip & Rich in Woodhaven. Pip and I used to work together for a dotcom startup in Carroll Gardens; it folded in late 2001 after declaring bankruptcy and stiffing most of the employees. Today is Pip's birthday, and I'll get to meet her son, Dougie and daughter Rose for the first time. I remember visiting Pip at the Bluestone Bar Grill on Columbia Street where she was a bartender. And if I'm not mistaken the last time we saw one another was at her baby shower (for Doug) at the Iona bar in Williamsburg. That was nearly (4) years ago!

Me & Pip [insert photo here]

Met Angela for a light dinner at Nelson Blue (review: http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252007/entertainment/food/full_front_al_food_food_cynthia_kilian.htm) a New Zealand bar & restaurant down in the South Street Seaport. The establishment is managed by the dearest kiwi and sky jumper, Paulie, a former bartender from our favorite haunt, Puck Fair. Nelson Blue is cozy and light, it reminds me of something you might find in San Francisco. The walls are decorated with Maorian tribal art and the bar hosts locals and tourists alike.

(insert photo w/ Paulie)

Angela and I went to see Absinthe, the 2nd act of the Spiegelworld's summer performance schedule of burlesque acrobatics and sideshows. I would highly recommend this performance; it's like nothing else I've ever seen and I would imagine there are few cities where you could find something as different as this to do on a Saturday night.

(insert photo of Angela & I by the water)

Essentials of Thai Cooking (ICE) - 9/7/07

Friday night I attended a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (https://web.iceculinary.com/icereg/details.asp?cid=ESSENTHA&DT=) down on 23rd Street.

The menu for the evening "Essentials of Thai Cooking" included: Hot-and-Sour Prawn Soup; Summer Rolls; Chicken Satay; Green Papaya Salad; Green Thai Curry with Chicken; Prawns with Coriander Leaves and Chili; Pad Thai; Steamed Fish with a Tamarind Sauce; Sticky Rice with Mango; and Tapioca Pudding with Coconut.

Loren Bianco was the chef, the very same one who instructed my Thanksgiving workshop last fall but my how he has changed...he lost close to 80 lbs! and looks great. I had hoped to work on the Green Papaya Salad (one of my favorite dishes) but it was paired with Pad Thai, a very popular item and therefore filled up pretty quickly. My team instead worked on the Hot & Sour Prawn soup. I am amazed by how much pepper (and a ll the variations of pepper) is used in most of the recipes.

The biggest surprise was the tapioca pudding...we made it from scratch using Tapioca Pearls (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapioca). While it was cooking it reminded me of biology class and I couldn't imagine eating it but looks can be deceiving, it was one of the better tasting items on the menu.

A couple on my cooking team looked very familiar, and as it turns out we--Kathy, a pilates instructor & husband Scott and me have mutual friends in the Beckles family. It's such a small world, isn't it?


Common Sensicals Others Forget

Communication is key to anything and everything we do; being honest about how we communicate extends a part of our soul to the people we care about.

If invited to someone's home, bring something (flowers, candle, bread).

If you offer to help out, stick to your word and pitch in.

If you RSVP to an event, show up.

If you're running late, call.

If something comes up and you can't go, be mature enough to communicate this to whomever is expecting you.

If you decide you don't want to go (for whatever reason), tell the person. Honesty is the best policy; if others respond badly to the truth then there's something behind the emotion.

september starts

The shortest weeks are the roughest. Fresh from an easy holiday weekend, I kept my promise to Helen & Kristin (co-workers of mine) in that I would start going to Pilates class. They have been steadily going since their arrival at AOL. I remember taking one class early on, and much like yoga with Rebekah on Tuesday nights, falling off. When I was training at Gleason's I had focus and discipline. Given, I am no longer an active member but for a good while there I was quite content to wake up at 7am on a Saturday morning to train. And yet, I don't know how I can start something with gusto only to lose interest so quickly...mind you, this only tends to happen with exercise routines. Is it boredom perhaps or just an inflated form of laziness. Other than that I have no excuse, classes are free and conveniently scheduled during lunchtime and after work hours, equipment is provided. What more can anyone ask for? Hopefully I can keep the momentum up--the initial benefit of feeling great could certainly spur that on.

Tuesday night was a French Tuesday as we celebrated Florence's birthday on the UES in her building's garden. I was in charge of the mojitos. Adept as I am at drinking the Cuban beverage I am not so capable in making them. The batch was most definitely stronger than sweet. Florence's friends (most of whom speak French) were very sweet...Vivek filled me in on the geographical history of India (shaped like a diamond), Sham invited me to his Belgian Beer Hall Vol de Nuit (named for a book by St. Exupery) downtown near NYU and J.B. (short for Jean-Baptiste) educated me on the proper way to pronounce Detroit, as in Deh-twau--in French le d├ętroit du Lac Erie.

Above: Sham, Nikki, Andrea & Florence (09.04.07)

My iPod has been terminal for quite sometime. Though an attempt at resuscitation via the iPod Doctor back in April, the diagnosis was shorter than expected and the 3rd generation iPod has made its way to the junk drawer in the sky. I headed over to the Apple store Thursday night for a replacement. What mayhem, the Steve Jobs empire was thriving...and without too much pain I was able to upgrade to an 80 GB iPod Classic (and subsequently spent most of the weekend souping it up).

"Beached Whale Spent Labor Day Weekend Sleeping Swimming Slothing"

...not exactly headline news but it's true, I spent the most of the weekend embracing the last moments of summer head-on with sea & sun. With a few minor errands thrown in:

Panda Sport
9213 5th Avenue @ 92nd Street - Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Dylan over at Panda Sport was super helpful in assisting my roller blade upgrade. He took the time to size my foot and walked through the how-to optimize the skates for best use, including proper cleaning et cetera. Spurred on by this new purchase, I woke up early both Sunday & Monday for early morning blading by the Verrazano Bridge. Luckily they repaved a good portion of the path (though not so much of the area near Caesar's Bay which made for uneven rolling).

Sunday night I drove downtown to catch a movie at BAM. I swear the summer holiday weekends are the best times to stay in the city. There's parking and the crowds are kept at a minimum. I parked just off Lafayette and walked over to an Italian restaurant called Scopello's. A few years back I remember networking with a woman who was their event planner. While they had outdoor sidewalk seating, I opted to sit at the bar its top covered with an almond cream mosaic tile. The decor was more soothing than I would have imagined from her description, muted shades of orange and yellow, lots of exposed brick. The waitress/bartender was friendly and accommodating, the food yummy (I had casarecci--gemelli pasta with mushrooms and sausage) and moderately priced.

The movie was hilariously funny if you like British humor: "Death at a Funeral" - Directed by Frank Oz, chaos ensues when a deep dark secret is revealed about the deceased at his funeral.

bayhead delights - 8/26/07

The drive out to Bayhead was painless and we had a lovely day at my brother's summer house. The house was beautiful with enough room for 20+ people and their children. Even as we played tag throughout the house (yes I was the 'bad' aunt) the (9) kids--Matt, Jamie, Christopher, Alexandra, Victoria, Charlotte, Gracie, Paul & James--had plenty of places to hide (even for this big kid who ran for cover at the start of the pillow fight). I think the highlights of the house included the wraparound porch, awesome porch swing, and outdoor showers.

I had gone for a swim mid-afternoon before dinner (a surf and turf spread of clams on the halfshell and hangar steak) and the private beach (you had to use a badge just to get access to the staircase) was gorgeous. The gravelly sand under my feet instantly transported me back to the summers spent in Barnegat Bay when I was a kid. The waves were rough from the neighboring storms but the water was refreshing and light.