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Monday, February 27, 2012

HOME SWEET HOME

I love my house. I love it so much that one year I included it in our holiday card as though it was one of the kids.

You see, I was born and raised in NYC. This is the first house I've ever lived in. When we moved, I looked at exactly one house in one town, and I looked at it exactly once before I put in a bid. This did not, as you might imagine, lead to matrimonial harmony, especially since Ted wasn't with me when I saw the house. So that was interesting.

But I had always wanted to have an old stone house, and the second I walked in the door I knew that this was where I was supposed to live and raise my kids. So I told Ted that this was his one chance to recreate his beloved suburban existence, and thankfully, Ted loved the house too. So we moved to the country.

Anyway, here's basically what it looked like our first winter:


I think if you've read any of this blog you are aware that there are several changes I'd like to make on the inside. But until recently, I hadn't really thought much about the outside. I mean, I painted the door green:


By myself. In case that's not clear from the photo. And I put those fir trees out for the holiday:


And I loved looking in the window and seeing the Christmas tree:


And it looks so pretty in the winter light:


There are, of course, things I'd like to change. I want to add a picket fence, change the white louvered shutters for dark green paneled ones that match the door, repaint the front step from grey:


to white (I mean why is it grey? WHY? Ignore the crappy green paint job on the door), and add an arbor over the path that leads by the porch to the back yard:


You know, just a few little things. Ted's totally on board (not). Are kids still saying "not"? I'm sure they are. Anyway, all those changes are ahead of us (pretty far ahead, if you talk to Ted) and in the meantime, it's not so bad coming home to this:


After all those apartments, I feel like I live in a fairy tale.

XOXOXO
ABC
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CRAIG'S LIST ROCKS MY WORLD

So when you check your bank balance online, and the balance is in parentheses, that means... what? Well, it's probably best I don't know. I'm only asking out of curiosity anyway.

Anyway, out of the goodness of my heart (and the bitterness of being broke. But mostly the goodness) I am going to steer you towards some AMAZING Craig's List finds that I am too poor to buy and have nowhere to put anyway.

I know that CL is all over the country, as is my readership (insert derisive laughter here) but this post will focus on great deals in the Tri-State area. Just cuz. I'll get to you folks out there in the flyover states soon enough, don't worry! But right now I'm in an Empire State of mind, so here goes:

Both Charlotte Moss and Jonathan Adler say that the main piece in any living room should be a Louis Bergere chair. Who are you to argue with two such great designers? No one, that's who. Now take a look at these beauties:



For just $99 and a trip to Great Neck, LI, these can be yours. Picture them reupholstered, although I actually like the fabric as is. But say you don't need chairs, you have plenty, what you want is a coffee table. Never fear. Take a look:



I admit that I might be biased because my Uncle Michael and Auntie Ann Burr had a table like this when I was growing up and I have fond memories of that house. But still! It's beautiful and just $125 in Westchester.

No need for a coffee table? What about a loveseat?



Get your ass down to the Flatiron district and for $300 you and your sweetie can be cuddling on this cozy two-seater. No? OK, how about a dining room table that comes with leaves to expand it?



Look at that gorgeous wood finish? So pretty. And just $300 on the Upper West Side. But if you already have a place to eat dinner, what about a place to rest your sorry ass? This club chair and ottoman haunts my dreams, I covet it so much:



On a separate but related note, why the fuck do people take such God-awful photos when they are trying to sell their stuff? Is is really that hard to take a decent photo, especially when you are trying to make something look good? I know for a fact it's not because I SUCK at photography and I could take pictures that were about 100 times better than these pieces of crap. But don't let the bad photos deter you, there are gems out there on Craig's List just waiting to be scooped up by savvy buyers such as yourself.

XOXOXO
ABC
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Friday, February 24, 2012

BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL DRESS

OK, so Ted seems to be taking a break from reading the blog (perhaps he was tired of reading about how cheap he was?) and I thought I'd take advantage by posting one of my recent purchases. Calypso St. Barth is one of my favorite stores, and when Ted and I lived on Grand Street in The Commune, my walk home from the parking lot conveniently took me past not one, not two, but three Calypso stores (For some reason Broome Street is Calypso central). Those were the halcyon days before we had children to suck up all our money, time, and energy, so I was a frequent visitor to all three establishments.

Now, sadly, I am relegated to shopping on the internet because who wants to haul two brats darling tots around Soho on a spare afternoon. Luckily for me, Calypso has a great website, and, more importantly, AMAZING sales. When I visit the website I don't even bother with the regular categories; I go straight to the sale section. The discounts are DEEP (as well they should be because frankly everything in that store is incredibly overpriced).

A recent visit garnered me this gem of a dress:
It came yesterday and is fully as incredible as it looks. Completely beaded, it shimmers when you move, and it's lined with layers of grey tulle so you're not flashing your hoo-ha to the world. But the best part? It started out at $550 (I KNOW! WTF??), was marked down to $299, AND they are having a 40% off sale. This beauty became mine for $179, which I know is a lot. I know. But you should see this dress. Of course, the only problem is that I don't really have the perfect shoes for it...

Here are some candidates:

Badgley Mischka



Nine West



Badgley Mischka


Badgley Mischka


RSVP

So what do you think? Which ones do you love? Which do you hate? Share in the comments! Unless you are beginning to feel Ted's pain, and are gaining some sort of understanding of where he's coming from, in which case, fuck off. No sharing for you! I get enough of that at home, thank you very much! But if you'd like to weigh in on the shoes, I'd LOVE to know what you think :)

XOXOXO
ABC
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

NECESSARY OBJECTS: HOUSE

I can't lie. I am a bit out of sorts. Ted and I have made a financial decision, together, that is the right thing to do and will, in the long run, be a wonderful thing. It is already a wonderful thing. But it means that the current draconian spending rules will have to remain in place for a while. Mostly it sucks for you guys, because here's where I bitch about all the things I can't buy RIGHT NOW. Also, I got my period today so there's that. (TMI? Perhaps this is not the blog for you.)

And while it seems on the surface that it fucking sucks for me too, the fact of the matter is it totally doesn't, and, if anything, it is making me much more thoughtful about how I spend money. Always a good thing, if not particularly enjoyable. Anyway, all that's just to let you know why I will be continuing to whine about spending limits and the like. This post is really about something totes different: all the items I need to make my home beautiful. (Not ALL the items. Just the short term, maybe-one-day-attainable stuff).

Let's start with the entryway. There's a lamp I've been coveting lo these many months, and one day it will be mine. Mark my words:

Capiz Shell Lotus Lamp, $420 at Worlds Away

Here's the table I want for my chinoiserie lamps and foo dogs:
Console Table, $309 at Wayfair

Moving on to the living room, I'd like to replace the couches, and have found what I believe to be a remarkably cost-effective solution, although I would get two of them in camel velvet:

Carla Couch, $699 from Custom Sofa Design

As for the floor, I have once again dug up a relative bargain:

Oriental Rug, $755 at Rugs USA
And of course, new lamps to replace the gold plastic wonders that currently grace two of my end tables. This pair would be perfect, but sadly is no longer available:

Greek Key Lamps, $355 from High Street Market
But I could make do with these:


Blue Lamps from... Etsy? Maybe?



Moving on to the bedroom, I am desperate for an upholstered bed and have fallen for this one:

Skyline Bed, $560 from Wayfair



So there you go. I think that's not too much to ask from 2012, right? I'm sure you agree with me. The mood I'm in, EVERYONE better agree with me. I'm going to take a muscle relaxer and go to bed.

XOXOXO
ABC
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GIVE IT AWAY: YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO

When T-Dawg was pregnant, one of the many pre-natal tests that a pregnant lady undergoes found a problem with her unborn baby's lungs. The baby was eventually diagnosed with CCAM, or Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation. There was a very real chance that Theresa's baby was not going to make it, and an even better chance that she would have to have surgery while still in utero. Since the midwife center that Theresa used to deliver her first child was not equipped to handle the situation, she and her husband traveled down to CHOP every two weeks to check on the baby's progress for the rest of the pregnancy.

Now, hotels in Philadelphia are mad expensive, yo, and maybe you are Daddy Warbucks but regular folks can't just be ponying up for a two-night stay twice a month. So Theresa and her husband Rocco stayed at the Ronald McDonald House on their trips to the City of Brotherly Love. They received support, a place to stay during an incredibly difficult time, and a way to provide their unborn daughter with the care that might save her life.

Fast forward. Here is Catherine:


She is five years old, exactly one month older than my own son Andrew. She is perfect. Her life, even the part of it that took place before she was born, gave me a new appreciation for the Ronald McDonald House and what they do. So today's Give it Away is this: collect pop-tabs, you know, those things from soda cans, and give them to your local Ronald McDonald House. It's a small thing, but makes a big difference. So just do it, already! Jeez.

XOXOXO
ABC
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ORANGE: MY LEAST FAVORITE COLOR

So when I told Ted that orange was the color post this week over at Chartreuse and a Twist, and then mentioned that I wasn't sure what the fuck I was going to take a photo of because I have like one thing that is orange (a beach bag) and it is sort of orange in spite of itself. I mean, I like it despite the fact that it's orange.

Ted pointed out the irony of this, as the chair in which I spend, oh, let's say 6 hours a day is, in fact, orange. And he's right. It is. And like the beach bag, I like the chair in spite of its color. Here it is in all its orange glory:


Except I rarely see it like that. Here's the view when you're sitting in the chair - so, basically, what I see for most of the day:


But that doesn't mean I hate EVERYTHING orange. I like Hermes orange. What's that? Hermes is expensive? Yes, I know. Nice to meet you. If I ever get my credit cards back, here's what I'll be orange-ing it up with:




Although if Ted sees this, I imagine it'll add at least another 6 months onto the financial purgatory to which I have been condemned. Maybe I'll suggest he skip this post.

XOXOXO
ABC
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PROJECT: KITCHEN FACELIFT - AN UPDATE

I am so sick of my kitchen I could vomit. Though if I did so on the counter, one would be hard pressed to tell as the current granite closely resembles vomit, as I believe I have mentioned. Good times. But our financial situation is not one that is going to support an entire kitchen redo. Nor, to be totally honest, do I need an entire kitchen redo. But the status quo is killing me.

Rome was not built in a  day, and neither shall my kitchen be made fabulous in one. But that doesn't mean that I can't get started on some small things that I know will make a huge difference. Change #1? The cabinet hardware. Here's a gander at the lovely (not) brass fixings we have now:




Not only are they brass (which I know is totally in right now, but I don't give a shit, I don't want it in my kitchen) but they are also sort of corroded and gross. I found new ones online (where else?) at an establishment called MyKnobs.com. Here's what I ended up with after poring over what seemed like a million choices:






God, I feel better just looking at the photos. And the best part (at least as far as Ted is concerned) is that the whole order comes to less than $100. And while I might not be the handiest person in the world, I am certainly capable of switching out some cabinet pulls and drawer knobs. So the labor will be free. And I will be one (very small) step down the road of Project: Kitchen Facelift.

Up next? Replacing oven #2 with a beverage fridge. Then I am going to get rid of the range hood and replace it with something that's NOT revoltingly dirty and disgusting. Then new counters, backsplash, sinks, and a double range and we'll be all set! OK, OK, I'm getting carried away. One step at a time.

So what think you of my (soon-to-be) new kitchen cabinet hardware? Love? Not so much? Share with the group! Get it off your chest! You'll feel better, I promise!

XOXOXO
ABC
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

GOING TO THE DOGS

My new obsession: china Staffordshire dogs. They come in pairs and look something like these two from Etsy:


Traditionally these china dogs were placed on the ends of your mantel. But I have enough crap on the mantel and would use them to flank the hearth. I love them. While they all look similar, there are some slight variations, such as this pair I also found on Etsy:


With giant gold flowers on their chests. But the best part of any pair of Staffordshire dogs is the expression on the faces. They are all distinctive - here's a close up of one of the above:


Aloof and serious, even a touch condescending - a nice contrast to the ridiculous flower covering half its body! Here's another pair from eBay:


Probably not antiques, but they are taking themselves very seriously, nonetheless, as you can see. But they also have a hopeful cast to their eyes, as if a treat might be in the offing. Here's a more serious pair:


These two are all business. Your fireplace and mantel will be safe with these no-nonsense fellows around. Here's a pair that's probably antique:


You can tell because the gold is all worn away from their collars and chains. But their chins remain high; they are proud, these two. you can just tell. Here's another antique set:


These two look slightly less intelligent than the others. Not the smartest dogs in the pack, if you will. My favorite might be these two:


Proud and serious, yet you can tell that they have a sense of humor and would get the joke, if not go so far as to laugh at it. If the antique sets are a bit steep for your budget (they can run into the thousands of dollars) then there's always this option from the delightful online store Furbish:


These two are aware they are not originals and while they retain a proud bearing, they are also a little more accessible. These are dogs that you can chill with after a long day. And at $72 dollars, they are literally more accessible. You know, assuming you have access to credit cards, which I, of course, do not (THANKS A LOT, TED)

Anyway, that's my Sunday Suggestion for you all! Go out and buy yourself a set of china dogs! And if you don't have a fireplace, move. Just kidding! They can go anywhere! Like on either side of your front door, or at either end of a console table, or, well, really, the possibilities are endless. Go buy some. And send me pictures so I can live vicariously through you.

XOXOXO
ABC
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