Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Deal!

This is an amazing deal and I'm dying for someone to take advantage of it. This five-arm, blown glass chandelier has been on sale via Pottery Barn for ages and is available for a mere $199. That's crazy cheap for a piece this size! All you would need is a new set of candle covers (that silver has got to go), which I've conveniently located for you here. I swear I don't work for Pottery Barn, I just want to live vicariously through one of my lovely blog readers. I would be on this in a second if my apartment didn't happen to have ugly popcorn ceilings with no hardwiring. My former editor, the incomparable Dara Caponigro, had a similar piece in her bedroom that was featured in the last issue of Domino. If you do end up buying this beauty, will you please, please email me pictures!!

Image: Domino, March 2009, Melanie Acevedo

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inspiration: Maryam Nassir Zadeh

If you're looking for some style inspiration (when am I not!), check out the profile of stylist and Lower East Side store owner Maryam Nassir Zadeh on Refinery29. Her bold choices and ridiculous accessories - I'd kill for that bracelet - say it all, and her namesake store carries the likes of Rachel Comey, Acne, and Isabel Marant. As a total aside, I saw Isabel Marant a couple of weeks ago at Bird in Brooklyn and almost died. She was wearing her amazing slouchy flat boots and was rocking a simple grey t-shirt and shorts - uber-French, uber-chic!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Youssou N'Dour & Food, Inc.

I saw two amazing documentaries this weekend that everyone MUST go see. The first is Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love, a documentary about the Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour and the message of love and tolerance that he puts forth through his powerful music. Combining the breathtaking beauty of Senegal (some of the opening shots were so gorgeous I couldn't breath) and the stirring music of an artist like N'Dour, the film will leave you feeling inspired. The filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, was at our screening, and hearing her talk about her subject and the larger purpose in making the film, you knew that you had just witnessed a true labor of love. 

The second documentary, Food, Inc., is a look at our current food system, and explores the reasons behind why a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli at the supermarket. I'm so thankful to Ben for showing me years ago why it's important to buy seasonal, organic, local food, and to shop at farmer's markets whenever possible, and this film will do the same for you. We as consumers have so much power to effect change, and the opportunity to make our voices heard presents itself daily through the food we buy and the choices we make. 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Topshop Bicycle Club

Summer in New York can be pretty brutal with the heat and humidity, but it brings with it tons of great freebies that more than make up for the weather.  From Shakespeare in the Park, to outdoor movies and concerts, it's a deal lover's paradise, and this freebie is just too funny not to mention. Starting tomorrow, Topshop in NYC will be offering free rentals of blue beach cruisers at the store, complete with helmet, lock, and a map of destinations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. You can rent for anywhere from an hour to nine hours. Way to get into the summer spirit! Ergo, I thought I'd post some of my favorite "chic girls on bikes" from The Sartorialist and Garance Doré. Happy Friday!

Thornwillow Stationary Bicycle engraved notecards, $35 / 10 cards and tissue lined envelopes

Wald 198GB Multi-Fit Bike Basket, $23, REI

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thornwillow Stationary

If you're as addicted to beautiful stationary as I am, you're probably still mourning the loss of Mrs. John L. Strong. Rather than resorting to rationing your last few thank you notes, check out Thornwillow Fine Stationary & Books. Their products are simple and lovely, the quality is impeccable, and the initial cards above would make a great alternative to personalized correspondence cards. Here are a few of their offerings that caught my eye:

Sedan, $35 / 10 letterpress cards and tissue lined envelopes

Lattice Border, $35 / 10 letterpress  cards and tissue lined envelopes

Olive Branch book plate, $28 / 16 engraved book plates

Advocate Fill-in Invitations, $35 / 10 engraved flat cards and tissue lined envelopes

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sea Ranch, CA

I spent last week at one of the most idyllic and breathtaking destinations in California - Sea Ranch. I love absolutely everything about this place, from the ideals that inspired its inception, to the architectural talent on display, to the fact that there is very limited internet access and no cell phone reception (hence my lack of posts). A New York Times travel story last year described it as "Utopia by the Sea" and so it is. My favorite quote from that article was, "it is possible at once to lose and to find yourself on a path, following it past tumbledown picket fences to a driftwood throne on a secluded beach." The Sea Ranch is often studied in architectural courses as an example of the philosophy of "living lightly on the land", and the house where we stayed was definitely a marvel of design. I wanted to share a little of my pictorial travel journal. Enjoy!
Here's our house! There are long window seats below each of the large windows looking out at the ocean. Perfect for afternoon reading.

The architect created these wonderful wings, so the house felt like it had so many "spaces" to inhabit, including this lovely courtyard. 

This small building housed the sauna and hot tub, complete with sliding windows that opened to allow  for star gazing. 

This is a view of the meadow from our front porch. Gorgeous!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake is definitely my favorite type of cake, but I find a whole Pyrex of it sitting around our apartment gets a little dangerous (just a tiny bit more won't hurt, right?). Cupcakes are a much safer way to go, and this recipe is from How To Be A Domestic Goddess, by the lovely Nigella Lawson. I'm obsessed with her cooking show because she so clearly loves food, and relishes in the joy of living, with a real understanding of the ways in which one can bring so much pleasure to the other. 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sunflower oil
2 large eggs
1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
12 paper baking cups

1/2 cup cream cheese
1  2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Beat the sugar and oil together, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and zests, then fold in the grated carrot and walnuts. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack while you get on with the icing.
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl till smooth and softened somewhat, and then beat in the confectioners' sugar. Squeeze in the lemon juice to taste. When the cupcakes are cool, smear the icing on top and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and little bit of the grated carrot. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Picassos & Portals

I spent the whole day running around the city in the rain yesterday, and one of the stops on my list was the Picasso: Mosqueteros exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery. If you're in New York and you haven't seen it yet, get your booty over there now because today is the last day to see this incredible show. As I was walking east down 21st Street from the Gagosian, I was completely taken in by the loveliness of those few blocks. It's one of those rare areas where the bounty of trees and the beauty of each residence, with their steep staircases leading up to grand double doors, makes you forget that you're in the middle of Manhattan. Some of the doorways were so charming I had to snap a picture (if you happened to see a young woman randomly taking a picture of your apartment on 21st yesterday it was probably me). It's admittedly random to pair Picassos and front doors, but hey, that was my day - and it was a great one. 

I love this red lacquer door with the funky horseshoe crab door knocker. 

So random, but so great! Get your own horseshoe crab knocker here. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blackout Storage

In my time cruising around on The Selby, I also came across the image above. I love the idea of doing monochromatic storage in black rather than the usual punchy colors. It looks so much more interesting, as if each box were filled with original Irving Penn chromes instead of the boring bills that are probably inside. The photo above is actually from the home of the photographer Paola Kudacki. This is a classic photographer way of storing film and a great idea for the rest of us to steal. As luck would have it, IKEA just introduced a bunch of black boxes for next to nothing, so you can create your own wall of storage without spending a ton of cash. I promise, everyone who comes over will be wondering what sorts of fascinating goodies are hidden inside. 

KASSETT Magazine Box with Lid, $14.99/ 2 pack, IKEA
KASSETT Clothes Box with Lid, $9.99, IKEA
KASSETT Media Box with Lid, $9.99, IKEA

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Recipe: Farro with Shrimp and Veggies

I love cooking with farro because it acts as a great base to which you can add all your favorite ingredients. It's also a whole grain and really good for you - it is after all bathing suit season. I came up with this recipe the other night in an attempt to use things we already had in our kitchen (farro, frozen shrimp, arugula, corn, garlic), thus doing as little grocery shopping as possible (red onion, leeks, fennel, cherry tomatoes, red pepper). The key is really the vinaigrette, since the hot farro just soaks up all the flavor of the balsamic vinegar and lemon, so feel free to add or omit any of the veggies and make it your own. I'm all about cooking in large quantities these days (hello leftovers!), and this makes 6-8 servings, perfect for a summer picnic with friends.

Farro with Shrimp and Veggies

2 cups farro
1/4 cup olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
1 red onion, sliced into thin half rounds
1 lb. peeled, deveined, uncooked frozen shrimp
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 oz. baby arugula, washed 
1 tbsp lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot with lid, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil and add the leeks and fennel. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, sliced red pepper, dried basil, dried thyme, red chili flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir together and cook for about 3 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and corn and cook for another 4-5 minutes until tomatoes just start to burst. Stir in the frozen shrimp, 1/2 cup white wine, and another pinch of salt and pepper, and put the lid on. Crank the heat to high for a minute or two since the frozen shrimp will bring down the temperature of the mixture significantly. Turn the heat back down to medium and cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink. Take the lid off and add the onion, lemon juice, and one last pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If the farro isn't done cooking at this point, turn the heat off and put the lid back on the pot. 

Cook the farro in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. While the farro is cooking, make the vinaigrette and set aside. Place the washed arugula in a large bowl and when the farro is done, drain it well and pour the hot farro and vinaigrette  over the arugula. Toss to combine. Add the farro and arugula mixture to the pot containing the shrimp and veggies and stir it all together. Serve immediately. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Selby & Sally Singer

Be sure to check out The Selby's amazing pictorial of Sally Singer's New York home at the Chelsea Hotel. It seems fitting that such a cool couple (her husband is the novelist Joseph O'Neill) would choose to live and raise their children in one of New York's most infamous and storied buildings. Past residents and guests include Jack Kerouac, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stanley Kubrick, Edie Sedgwick, Joni Mitchell, The Ramones, Édith Piaf, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jasper Johns, and Willem De Kooning, just to name a few. As if that wasn't ridiculous enough, the building staircases are lined with artwork by some of its famous former residents. In so many ways, the Chelsea Hotel embodies the creative mystic that continues to lure people from all over the world to this great city. Below are a few highlights from The Selby. Singer's home was also featured some years ago in a New York Times article, available here.