Friday, September 29, 2006

straight and narrow

You all know that I love me some good sales, especially when something I've been coveting unexpectedly appears on the discount rack. My rainy-day Friday was immediately happier when I popped into CB2's sale section and saw that the Avenue console table I've been eyeing for weeks was finally on sale. (Normally $169, is now only $129). I love the clean, modern lines of the table and it's the perfect height and length to place behind my couch. But the best part? It's incredibly narrow (only 8" wide), made for apartment dwellers like me who want a display console but need the floor space even more. So just as I was pulling out my credit card to seal the retail deal, I realized CB2 has only lowered the price of the light wood table ... d'oh! I'm a chocolate wood gal at the moment, but here's hoping the espresso version goes on sale soon! I'll certainly be watching for it.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

bubble trouble

So, I have a holiday trip coming up soon! That's right, kids, just one more week to go until I leave for the sandy beaches of Cabo San Lucas. (Wooo!) To make my transportation-life easier in light of all the TSA restrictions on liquids, I've decided to rethink my beauty must-have's for the week. By now you know the deal -- you can only carry on minimal quantities of liquids, creams, lotions, lip gloss, whatever. All this banning business (and even worse, throwing out business!) makes this girl a tad nervous. One solution that I found? Lush's sweet-smelling solid shampoos and conditioners are TSA-friendly because they are actually solid (just like a bar of soap). They lather when mixed with water, and dry nicely to pack back up for the flight home. And they work! They're really sudsy (for the diva in me that won't leave the shower until I've seen adequate bubble-action) and smell so great. Voila -- one less thing to worry about!


good eats

I have been on a restaurant tear the last few weeks. (It's one of the best perks about living in NYC!) Like most New Yorkers, I've been keeping a mental, and sometimes hand-written, list of my must-eat-at restaurants around the city. They range from the five-star special occasion places (I know someone wants to treat me to a meal at Masa!) to the small neighborhood joints that friends have glowingly recommended. And now, I can happily check three more yummy accomplishments off the list.

Last week, we made the delicious decision to go to Cookshop on Tenth Ave. in Chelsea. Not only was the food very good, but chef and owner Marc Meyer only uses humanely raised, growth-hormone-free products from local farmers and artisans, that somehow makes the dishes taste even better! Or maybe I just felt better eating it. (For the record, get the spit-roasted rabbit with sage and garlic. It's cooked on a wood-burning rotisserie that you can see from your table and it's to die-for.) But aside from the tasty grub, I really loved the casual design of the space -- a spare but cozy, comfy place to hang out for a couple of hours, where as much thought was placed on the integrity of the interior as in the quality of their food. The tables, for example, are made of a type of oak that were chosen over less expensive woods because the cheaper ones come from endangered forests. The menus, tawny and matte, are made from recycled paper.

If you're a cheese head, then the Upper West Side's Picholine is like the mother ship calling you home. It was cheese, cheese and more cheese at our table that night! And even though I'm usually not the first one to attack a cheese plate at a party (I'm more likely to be the punk plucking the grapes off the tray), I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed tasting all the different types, on their own and incorporated into interesting French dishes. My favorite was a blue cheese terrine appetizer made with pungent blue cheese, sour cream, walnuts and apples. Mmm ... Our waiter told us that the space was recently renovated and redesigned. Looking at the main dining room, it's no surprise that opera fans make up the bulk of their customers (the Metropolitan Opera House is a few steps away) but they've done a nice job of livening up the joint by decorating with graceful lavender, silver and gray, without turning off their core audience.

And this week, I had the pleasure of having dinner at chef Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak with a new friend. Holy cow (cough, cough), this place is amazing! They got everything right, from the great interior design to the we-are-the-ultimate-kings-of-beef menu. (And for the record, men outnumber women in this restaurant by at least four to one. I'm just saying ...) When you look at the menu for the first time, prepare to be initially overwhelmed by the choices because the steaks are divided into "aged" categories, including those sitting around for 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56 days. (Can anyone really tell the different between a 35 and 42 day steak? Not I. We went with the 35 day-old buddy.) Plus, all the steaks have gone through "beef provenance," which means they know the lineage of each piece of beef that ends up on your plate, based on breed, where the cow grew up, how it's been fed, and its family lineage. Our waiter said that cow family trees are provided upon request -- wonder how many people actually ask for those family details. By time we got around to eating, I probably knew more about my steak than I did about my last boyfriend.

The space design is as impressive as the food. When you walk in, you immediately notice the striking, two-story glass wine tower which divides the front lounge from the dining area (a huge, high-ceilinged room with chocolate wood walls, butter-colored banquettes and a large wall mural of Manhattan). I especially loved the modern, masculine hanging lamps which created a soft, romantic glow all around the room.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

let there be light

I've been thinking about my ceiling a lot lately. (Weird, I know.) But it seems to be the one part of my apartment that doesn't get very much attention, but has the most potential. A few weeks ago, I hung West Elm's capiz circles pendant lamp over my bed and it feels like a whole new room! And since it's hanging from the ceiling, it lifts the eyes up, making my apartment seem a little bigger. Ain't design great? Well, now I'm on a pendant lamp kick! I'm thinking that a pendant in the kitchen would look fab, and also break up the monotony of the boring cabinets and appliances. Ooooh, project!

Fucsia pendant lamp

Meridian pendant lamp

Smokebush linen pendant lamp

Alpha pendant lamp


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

under foot

I'm a big fan of Interface FLOR carpet tiles (modular pieces that allow you to create your own unique area rug), and was excited to see their first step into the world of curves. Their new Button tiles are a fun addition to their right-angle, square stock. Each button-circle is made up of four pieces (think "pizza"), which you can join together in solid or alternating color combinations (if you buy more than one circle pattern in different colors, naturally). It doesn't look like the rounded pieces can be connected with any of FLOR's square tiles (which hopefully will be their next design leap) but I like the direction they're moving in.

Another new step for FLOR appears to be carpets with borders, which I love! (The old checkerboard look is a little too dorm room chic for me.) The borders of the Lily Pad and Renaissance make the puzzle carpet look like an actual one-piece area rug -- but you still get the flexibility of creating your own size and shape.


Monday, September 25, 2006

print + pattern

I really love Marimekko's new Fall 2006 designs -- the colors are deep and saturated, and both classic and modern at the same time. The Kookos design (above) has beautiful orange, tan and yellow ornamental shapes in vertical rows that would look great incorporated into a room or framed on its own. The Fandango (next) appears more formal with its ornate floral pattern in berry red on brown, while the Pihapuu (bottom) has a serene, zen-like quality with its brown tree branches and green leaves on a sky blue background.

For smaller projects, designer fabrics are a great choice because they make such a large statement on their own -- they're perfect for stretched canvas art, framing and covering pillows. But if you have a bigger project in mind, like reupholstering furniture or making draperies, the cost of posh fabric can definitely add up. (You'll need several yards just to upholster a few dining chair seats.) Luckily, the designer aesthetic has gone mainstream and now it's easy to find fabrics with trendy modern patterns at almost every price level.

Pink Flower ($9)

Lumimarja Pink ($38)

Floral Jubilee ($8.50)

Moss Etsuko Flower ($17)

Powder Etsuko Dots ($4.50)

Flea Market Red Leaves ($9)

Ladybug Etsuko Rust ($17)