Monday, September 29, 2008

{design: speaking of Martha...}

Are you loving Eddie Ross on Top Design as much as I am? He formerly worked for Martha Stewart as the Senior Style Editor of Living, among many other fun things prior to that.

Check out his blog which has my other favorite blogger Habitually Chic shopping at a favorite NYC flea market together.

Where the heck was my invite??!!

I'm routing for Eddie to win Top Design... and if he doesn't, then the show is rigged (or they are discriminating against Martha).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

{design: let's pretend we're Martha}

and I don't mean prison, fraud, lying, etc. (even though the way my month has been going, that seems more logical). Let's go back to the days when Martha was still whittling away, making all her Christmas ornaments from string and pinecones. Okay, not that far back...

I'm talking about making beautiful fall themed table arrangements. I've realized that I don't want to be digging around my storage or closets for what I used last year, but a quick and easy (find at the grocery store) idea. I liked these pictured here from Better Homes and Gardens, and the last one, Martha, of course.

Friday, September 26, 2008

{design: great idea, candle sleeve covers}

I recently saw these on another blog... can't find which one, but newly obsessed with changing out all my chandelier & sconce covers! I actually had a client ask me ages ago where to find fun, cool ones, and just shrugged (and thought he was being a little obsessive)...shhh.

{shop: (or not) good bye, good buy?}

I wish desperately I were in the city right now to attend the closing of Charlotte Moss Townhouse... If anyone attends, please post deets.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

{design: books, cases, and libraries}

I recently saw on blogger Alkemie's click here blog, her amazing post on home libraries. I was swept away, because I too, am obsessed with bookcases and books. I'm having some beautiful, ceiling high, bookcases built into the new addition of the cabin, and was thrilled to see these ideas.

Do you remember when JFK Jr. gave the interview about his mothers' passing, and he said, "She was surrounded by her friends and her family and her books and the people and the things that she loved." That has always stuck with me, not only because he was talking about the great, Jackie O., but because her books made the top three list, right up there with her friends and family, all the way to the end.

I searched for the picture of an incredible library/dining room that I've saved for years but couldn't find in time for this post. UGH.

Karl Lagerfeld's impressive book room. How cool that they are all placed horizontally.

Alkemie's book recommendation available from Amazon.

I also have this pic in my Design/Inspriation book, and am using it as a guide for an existing room in the cabin that I want to transform into a room like this.
I hope you are as inspired by these pics as I am! I've sat and inspected every last detail a thousand times... obsessed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

{home: rita konig- Domino mag contributing editor}

In this months Domino magazine, you can see how Rita Konig turned a mere 400 square feet of living space into a cozy retreat. So many things I'm loving about her space...

love the neutralish wallpaper that makes the room look bigger...

love the polariod picture wall above the fireplace...

love the LOVE framed pic and the sophisticated but fun use of color...

love the burlap fabric on the sofa, and the combination of the clean lines of the coffee table with the classic lines of the sofa...
love the Osborne & Little wall paper...

Rita is a contributing editor at domino where she writes shopping, entertaining, and decorating pieces for the magazine. She's the author of two books: "Domestic Bliss: Simple Ways to Add Style to Your Life" and "Rita's Culinary Trickery."

click here to see her Domino story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

{GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow}

Got GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow?
Oscar winner launches lifestyle website
Monday, September 22, 2008

(NEW YORK) Gwyneth Paltrow has launched her own lifestyle website, GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow. It's a "collection of experiences [of] what makes life good" according to the site. Currently in its nascent stages, each of the sections (Make, Go, Get, Do, Be, See) link to an essay by Paltrow. Want to live like Gwyneth? Here's a few tips. "Make your life good. Invest in what's real. Cook a meal for someone you love. Pause before reacting. Clean out your space. Read something beautiful. Treat yourself to something. Go to a city you've never been to. Learn something new. Don't be lazy. Workout and stick with it. GOOP. Make it great." The first email newsletter will launch on Thursday.

GOOP is the latest brand expansion by Paltrow who last night launched her PBS culinary show with Mario Batali, Spain...On the Road Again. Last week, she made an appearance on Oprah to showcase her personal workouts with fitness guru Tracy Anderson, who recently launched a series of fitness DVDs. Comments from Paltrow's publicist were not received by press time.

Article by Fashion Week Daily

{money: an experts (my husbands) thoughts on the US government's bail out plan}

Our government has changed the rules of the game. The result will be higher interest rates, higher inflation and higher taxes down the road. The de-leveraging process which began about a year ago has been preempted by one of the most aggressive legislative moves since the Great Depression. Our US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulsen (former CEO of Goldman Sachs) is proposing to transfer billions in unrealized loan losses from the very institutions he use to serve (banks and brokers) onto the people he now serves, the US tax payer - Tax payers should revolt en masse!

In an instance last Friday morning, the US reverted to banana republic and socialist like tactics in order to address the credit crises. The problem is not liquidity. There is more than enough liquidity waiting on the sidelines to buy distressed assets. The problem is that the holders of these assets are unwilling to sell at prices that result in real losses. Perhaps now, these institutions (the ones which created the problem to begin with) will be able to sell their souring and ill-conceived loans to our US government at prices that do not reflect reality, thus greatly reducing their ultimate loss. When our government turns around to sell these loans to “real” free market buyers, the resulting losses will reside with you and me, the US tax payer. If, on the other hand, they end up holding these assets, they will have to finance them by selling treasury bonds. In either scenario, you will end up with higher taxes or higher interest rates or a combination of the two – both are bad for the US consumer and, like what happened in the great depression, both will likely exacerbate an already weakened economy.

In the near-term, the government’s plan will do nothing to spur lending or galvanize the now dead securitization market – the primary liquidity pump of the last twenty years. All it does is push out eventual losses and transfer such loss to the US consumer who is in enough trouble as it is.

How does this happen in a country which leads the world in promoting free enterprise and free markets? Our current administration will tell you that the alternative to doing nothing is far worse (ooh- scary!). I will tell you that the government did what they had to do (sans Fannie and Freddie Mac) which was to keep AIG from failing and to prevent a “run” on our money market system, the latter of which by the way has its own set of unintended consequences we will need to deal with soon (can you hear the “run” on FDIC insured bank deposits capped at $100k?). While our administration may have stemmed the outflow of money market funds, as we sit here today, our capital markets for commercial paper and other short-term lending facilities like LIBOR remain in disarray. Translation: money is still extremely tight. Global capital is being hoarded and just like price gougers who charge $10 for a gallon of water during a hurricane, global banks are doing the same with short-term money.

Also part of this plan is to temporarily ban short sales on 799 financial companies. Yes, this is our free market, free enterprise promoting government at work. As our articulate President said last Friday morning, he plans to “persecute” short sellers. While he meant to say “prosecute”, the reality is that they are doing both because, apparently, evil short-sellers started rumors that led to the eventual collapse and government bailout of AIG, Bear Stearns, and the GSEs Fannie and Freddie Mac. Must we remind our government that these institutions failed not because of rumor mongering or short selling stampedes? These institutions failed because they MADE BAD LOANS, INSURED BAD LOANS OR BOUGHT BAD LOANS! Rumors have now become facts. Moreover, the ban on shorting financial stocks will eventually lead to even lower stock prices in this sector than would normally be the case since the government just resected a critical component to our market’s liquidity: the short coverer, who buys back stocks when prices fall. Just as the current price of financial equities remains inflated as the result of this rule change, such prices will remain overly deflated when the reality of poor earnings and economic malaise re-enter investors’ mindsets, financial stocks drop and a group of very reliable buyers (short coverers) are no longer there.

As a corollary to today’s action, we wonder where the SEC was in 2000 when long buyers of stocks repeatedly started rumors about the next paradigm changing Internet company and drove stock prices to unthinkable levels? Would the markets have accepted an SEC ban on the purchase of technology stock back then? No chance. The irony is that these “rumors” about AIG and Lehman et al proved correct. The stories driving the stock market in 2000 largely proved worthless – but in either case, the government has no business meddling in free markets in order to restore order. The consequences of many of their actions today will likely result in more loss and disorder in the long-run. The SEC has compromised our free market trading system and it will come at a cost.

Thank you Uncle Sam!
William J Roy, CFA
Director of Research
Jacobs Asset Management, LLC

Friday, September 19, 2008

{inspiration: Diane von Furstenberg}

In Florence with her '09 Spring Collection
"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become." DVF


...Charlotte Moss,

I just saw on Blogger, Habitually Chic, click here , that your beautiful store in NY is shutting its doors.

Almost a year and a half after opening her East 63rd Street flagship to much hype, interior designer Charlotte Moss is closing the shop at the end of next month.
“This was a difficult decision based on personal considerations,” Moss said. “While the interest in the store was gratifying, the demands of running the boutique and at the same time maintaining my interior design practice, licensing product and other aspects of my business were crowding out all of the other facets of my life — time for myself, my family, and my philanthropic and community work.”

I completely understand. My personal life takes a huge hit with running my store and design practice and I often think about doing away with it. It's a huge, and most likely painful, decision to make.

Good luck with all your future endeavors!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

{travel: the world's quietest places}

The Muir Woods, California

The Gobi Desert, Mongolia

The Kalahari Desert, Southwest Africa

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The Hoh Valley, Washington

Shhhh. See all the places & story here.

{the old proverbial "doghouse"}

Have you ever been a complete jackass, but didn't know you were because you had a perfectly logical reason for why you were being a complete jackass?

Have you ever figured out that you have been acting like a complete jackass, but when you finally have seen the light, some damage has already been done?

Have you ever done or said some things that you knew were wrong at the time, but did or said them anyway because you were determined to be right.

It's called being in denial, not living in reality. Start the process of emotionally cleaning house and you may be surprised at what follows.

{metaphor for life: clean out your 'fridge}

This whole power outage and cleaning out the refrigerator has left me thinking about how to simplify my life. It's been way too long that I have been spreading myself too thin and not doing the best job at the things I am putting my efforts into. While I was emptying out the fridge, waiting for Maria to show up, I started to get deep into the meanings of some of the items I was all too happy to be chucking into the bin.

How the hell have I let some of these things occupy space in my all too valuable refrigerator real estate? For instance, why are there twelve bottles of salad dressing- old expired ones, new yummy ones, ones I like to always have around that are multi-purpose, and open ones still hanging around that I dislike but keep anyway. All of which I was treating exactly the same, giving the same lack of attention to. Are these salad dressings representing my friends? Or, what about all those condiments? I've never thrown away an entire refrigerator full of food, condiments...every last thing? It was strange. I think the condiments may represent my day to day life, necessities, things I need to get through the every day. Without them, things are more difficult, less tasty. I also threw away some lovely meats that were in the freezer. I have these on hand for special occassions, think about all the time, plan entire meals around, savoring the thought of it all. I had to chuck those like all the rest, and it was painful. Why hadn't I used more of it, planned more meals with all that lovely food, taken the time to defrost and cook it, rather than saving it for a special meal or an emergency? Could all that lovely, expensive meat represent my husband...

Looking at a completely empty refrigerator gives me hope of filling it with meaningful items. Starting fresh and keeping it simple. Not letting the old and useless items mingle with the tried and true, only to diminish their value and dilute what I see when I open it up, looking for inspiration, only to be discouraged and shut the door.

{holy crap, who turned out the lights...}

So, last night, my husband, dog, and I returned from our fabulous summer travels, only to find out that your's truly had forgotten to pay the electric bill before we left... and you can guess the rest...or can you?

Let me elaborate:
1) The refrigerator had turned into a complete petrie dish. GROSS.
2) The lawn was dead and most of my landscaping was hanging on by a thread.
3) No lights=no A/C= pissed off husband, who had to be on another plane this morning at 7:00am. (this one is worse than the stinky fridge, believe me)
4) Begging and pleading with So Cal Edison doesn't work. And, did you know that once they turn the power back on, you need to find some switch behind your house somewhere to turn it all back on?? What the...
5) Begging and pleading woth my housekeeper to come over at 7:00 am to clean the refrigerator is not okay.

I've had a sucky day, but the power is back on. Unfortunately, not the homecoming I had envisioned.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

{remembering: 9/11}

I haven't posted anything since being here on vacation, but it's important for me to do so today, to remember and reflect. There's something so deep for me about today that draws me back to that day, time, visuals. I received a frantic phonecall that morning from a friend to make sure I was okay and to see if I knew what was going on. I didn't, and it was happening blocks away from my apartment on 22nd street and 9th avenue in Chelsea. Once I had the tv on, I went up to the roof of my building to watch with horror as the buildings burned, people jumped, and then the buldings fell with such unbelievable force, you can only understand it to have witnessed it with your own two eyes. When I think about it today, with all the information we now know, I wonder what was going through my mind as I saw the most horrible thing happening before me. I don't know, still don't, but know what the fear felt like, and the panic that ensued.

My office at the time was just blocks from the WTC in the financial district, and when we were finally able to return back to that part of town, the information was out, and we all knew what happened. There are many unbelieveable stories that I heard, but one that really takes me back is from my boss at the time. She was on the subway while the buildings were being attacked, and got off the subway just after the first plane hit. As she walked toward our building on John Street, an airline ticket fluttered down to her feet. She took note of this because we worked for a travel company called Travelocity, and that is not something that just happens. As she got to the office, obvious that something terrible was happening, the people who were already there were witnessing the events from our huge windows facing the towers. Their stories are horrible, they were lucky to be inside and safe.

The days and months that followed revolved around trying to get through those times, and working around ground zero. We dreaded our subway rides home, because some of the trains ran so close to the site that you could smell the death. They were sad and memorable times and are still difficult to think about. My most shocking moment was seeing the now infamous image (in person) of the twisted metal of the building. I have no pictures because it was so heart wrenching to see, that I couldn't bear to save an image of it. It was already imprinted in my mind, never to be forgotten.