Monday, June 30, 2014

Office envy

Ever since I got back from my trip, I've been on an organization tear. My current project: Updating my work space at home. For the last several months, my desk has become a receptacle for everything except office-related things. Books and knick-knacks, photos and jewelry, not to mention a massive printer that I've had for years, but never use. With a city-sized apartment, it seems like such an under-utilized space! So, I'm stream-lining: I tossed my printer, and I'm being ruthless about the things that deserve prime desk real-estate—and the things that don't. I'm also drawing inspiration from the work space ideas above. 

What do you think? Do you own (and actually use) your desk?

Will post before and after pics of my work space soon!

(Image 1, 2, and 3)

Friday, June 27, 2014

The weekend is here!

Happy Friday, dear readers! What do you have planned for the next couple of days? I'm so excited because my friend Shalah is coming to town. Remember: She's the one who gave me cooking lessons and got married in Ireland, too? :) Here, to get your weekend started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

Reading Rainbow redo (donate now!).

Such a pretty beach towel.

Amy Poehler's favorite rom-com.

Smoked s'mores in a jar. Yum.

Love this pretty maxi dress.

Summer alfresco dining ideas.

A rosé hibiscus spritzer.

Looking forward to seeing this film.

A sweet look at summer so far.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Travel Page: Aix-en-Provence

As I mentioned last week, I'm recapping my travels in Sweden, France and Italy. Next up: the South of France! After four hours on the high speed train, we made it from Paris to Aix-en-Provence. This was the one place we decided it was worth it to rent a car, since we knew there were so many wineries nearby that we wanted to check out and explore. I didn't realize how much I was craving that country air until I stepped off the TGV train from Paris. Whoa, what a difference! We made our way to our hotel, located just a 5-minute walk from the Cours Mirabeau, Aix's most famous street that's filled with cafés and shops once frequented by locals like Paul Cézanne and Albert Camus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flower arrangements 101

Whenever I pass a flower shop or bodega in New York with tons of buckets of fresh and colorful stems, I feel a sudden rush to make an impulse buy. But I always stop at the number of options. I never know what to pair with what! Of course, I know which types of flowers I like, but I'd love to be able to skillfully construct a well-balanced arrangement for my bedside table, my bathroom, or anywhere else in my home

So, I've been researching floral design classes in NYC, and I'm delighted to report that there are quite a few options to choose from. I was about to click "purchase" on a Williamsburg DIY class, when I found out that my favorite neighborhood floral shop offers classes, too! I can't wait to sign up.

How about you: Do you know your way around your local flower market? Any tips for someone just getting started in floral design?

(Image 2 via Design Love Fest)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Train Travel Survival Guide

As I continue to chronicle my travels in Sweden, Paris (here and here) and Italy, I wanted to share something important: how to survive all those hours on the train! We took a flight from Sweden to Paris, but after that, we traveled on high speed and commuter trains from Paris all the way to Venice. The toughest parts? Juggling our luggage and knowing a few key differences between US and European train travel (for example, you usually have an assigned seat/cabin number; also, in Italy, you have to validate your ticket before you get on board). The best parts? Entertaining ourselves and watching the gorgeous(!) scenery whiz by. Here's how we passed the time:

• Matt taught me how to play poker—and I cleaned up. We played for real money, and I kept winning! First, he taught me Texas Hold 'Em, then he taught me the original game. It was such a fun way to relax and kick back. People around us in other seats kept tuning in to see who was ahead. 

• I used Day One, an awesome app that allows you to record details about your travels in real time. It's like a digital journal, but it also records the weather and location for you, and allows you to plug in pics, too. Since we had 3-4 hours on the train every 3-4 days during our trip, I used this time to jot down all the things I wanted to remember about the cities we were in.

• I carried "The Vacationers" by Emma Straub. It's a fun read about a family that travels together for a two-week vacation on the coast of Spain. It was nice and relaxing to read about someone else's vacation while I was on vacation myself. :)

The rest of the time, I listened to a lot of Carla Bruni and took in the pretty views.

Do you have any tips for surviving lots of train travel? What do you pack to pass the time? 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Take a dip

Now that it's officially summer, I keep daydreaming about escaping the city heat and spending as much time as I can by the ocean—or poolside. For the days when I can't get out of town, this water series by Max Wanger seems like the perfect alternative. Just looking at these photos, I instantly feel cooled off and refreshed. 

It's the best antidote to New York City heat waves, don't you think?

PS: More wall art.
PPS: More Max Wanger.

(Image 1, 2)

Friday, June 20, 2014

The weekend is here!

Happy Friday, my darling readers! What do you have planned for the weekend? It's Matt's birthday next week, so we're celebrating a few days early and thinking of trying this Brooklyn spot. Looks yummy, right? Here, to get your weekend started right, a few happy posts from around the web: 

The perfect patio wishlist.

Gift idea for rosé lovers.

How to enjoy soccer.

Tie your scarf like a French girl.

The scariest roller coaster ride ever.

Loving this necklace.

Hey, summer!

Since we've been discussing Paris, a macaron how-to.

Camp Kate Spade.

Mango and zucchini lettuce wraps. Yum.

The pros of long weekends (July 4th is coming up!).

(Image via Neighbor Food)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Travel Page: Paris, Day Two

I mentioned yesterday that even though we only spent the weekend in Paris, I had to spread it out over two blog posts. There's just too much to say about that city! Matt always laughs at me: I've been to Paris twice now in the last two years , but it still tops my list of places I want to visit next. There's something about it that always makes me feel at home. Plus, it was great to go back after refreshing my French conversation skills in Brooklyn last fall. I felt so much more comfortable chatting and making my way around this time. 

On Sunday, we woke up to sunshine, so decided it would be the perfect day to visit Montmartre, a place we missed on our last trip. We grabbed croissants at the boulangerie across from our apartment, and made our way to the metro...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Travel Page: Paris, Day One

It's hard to write about our weekend in Paris with just one post, so I broke it up into two separate entries so I had room to cover it all. :) It's just a two hour flight from Stockholm—so quick! Last time, we rented an apartment in St. Germain des Pres, so we decided to mix it up and stay in the 13th arrondissement this trip. There's nothing more fun than combing through the apartment listings on Airbnb to choose a place. We found an adorable 1-bedroom right next to Place D'Italie and knew in an instant, it was perfect for us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chef the Movie

Have you seen Chef starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara? For aspiring—or seasoned—foodies, it's delicious (and inspiring) to watch. Favreau plays Chef Carl Casper, a one-time "best new chef" who loses his culinary creativity (and eventually, his job) while employed in a kitchen whose menu is dictated by a wealthy restaurateur. So, he has to start fresh. What better way than with a food truck?

My favorite description of the film comes from Favreau himself in this interview with Food & Wine. He says that the reason he wrote the film is less about a fascination with food or the restaurant business, and more about a way to tell a universal tale:

"It's about losing the part of yourself that launched you," he says in the interview. I think that's such an interesting aspect of the film, especially in a climate that's all about reinvention and channeling your inner entrepreneur.

Even cooler, Favreau employed the LA-based founder of the food truck movement, Roy Choi, to be his culinary advisor for the film. Choi's one stipulation? He'd only do the movie if it looked absolutely real. The mouthwatering food scenes in the film are proof: His work paid off.

(Image 1, 2)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Travel Page: Stockholm, Sweden

I'm back! My apologies for the lack of blog posts over the last few weeks. I've been playing catch-up after my vacation. What a trip! We made it all the way from Stockholm to Venice in 13 days. It was a lot of go, go, go, but so worth it to see so many sights. I figured I'd spend the next few weeks posting recaps of my trip (in case any of you are planning a Swedish, French or Italian getaway soon). So, to begin: Stockholm, Sweden! We arrived after taking a red eye from New York...