Digest 11.8.15

Sunday, November 08, 2015

I'm back to work and trying to figure out how to juggle my new role as a working mom. So far it's been a pretty smooth transition, but I know it'll only get harder as work demands get more intense. Finding time to read and write blog posts will certainly be a challenge. I'm stealing a quiet moment this morning to share a few links, including three examples of teeny-tiny family homes:

A 1-bedroom house becomes a 3-bedroom—without enlarging the footprint!

A tiny European pied a terre that fits the whole family.

Five kids in a 2-bedroom condo.

VW camper bus 2.0. 

Cartoonist Roz Chast's take on Marie Kondo made me laugh.

Three cheers for grains.

Truly delicious fig-orange yogurt that's made right on Long Island.

5 ways to use mealy apples (I made applesauce).

3-ingredient pancakes.


IKEA Sniglar Crib

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Okay, here it is: my first baby-focussed post (written on my last day of maternity leave!). When it came time to furnish our little fellow's room, we opted for as much "grown-up" furniture that could grow with him. However, we needed a crib for the first few years, and wanted one that would convert to a toddler bed. While I have written about and admired many beautiful cribs, we couldn't stomach spending a ton of money on something our son would outgrow in a few years. We opted for IKEA's cheapest and most simply designed model: Sniglar. It was handsome, and we liked that it was made of solid hardwood and free of any paint or finish—plus, it fit our modest budget. So far, we love it.

A funny side story about IKEA cribs: Years ago, I worked at a wonderful design shop in the far West Village called auto. The shop sold the then-cutting-edge DwellStudio crib bedding, and the owner displayed it on an IKEA crib. I cannot tell you how many times someone would come into the shop wanting to buy the crib and how surprised they would be to hear it was from IKEA. The owner joked that we should buy a dozen cribs, scrape the IKEA logo off them and sell them to people for a serious mark-up.
An IKEA assembly veteran, this crib should have posed no challenge for me and my husband. (I once spent an entire week of my life assembling IKEA furniture in a storage room in the Mall of America for a Budget Living magazine show house.) However, Sniglar mysteriously came without any directions! The only ones included were the directions for converting the crib to a toddler bed, in which you start with an assembled crib. I figured a little Googling could solve the problem, but it took a surprising amount of effort and uncovered this very funny video that told us that our struggle was not unique. For any parents out there searching for Sniglar assembly instructions, here they are: IKEA SNIGLAR crib assembly pdf.

Fall 2015 Decorating Books

Friday, October 16, 2015

This fall is one of the most exciting seasons for decorating books that I can recall. So many decorators and stylists whom I admire have had books published that I can't decide which titles to spend my leisure book budget upon. Here are a few of the new books that I have my eye on:

Life | Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home by Tricia Foley
I've long-admired editor and stylist Tricia Foley's simple, clean aesthetic, and while I'll never probably embrace the white-on-white-on-white look as fully as Foley, I love to dream of an "elegantly simple" home.

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson
Everybody's favorite home blogger finally has a book out. Beyond the excitement I share with everyone for Emily Henderson's first tome, I am particularly excited by this title because it was produced with two of my favorite work pals: stylist Scott Horne and photographer David Tsay.

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess
From my first encounter with Lauren Liess's blog, I have loved her earthy-yet-simple vibe. (I also love that she seems like a real and relatable working mom.) I can't wait to see a full book of her interiors.

In Pursuit of Beauty by Timothy Whealon
Timothy Whealon came onto my radar this summer when his amazing apartment was featured in ELLE DECOR. When I heard he had a book coming out this fall, I immediately bookmarked it for my to-read list.
Carrier and Company Positively Chic Interiors by Jessie Carrier and Mara Miller
I met Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller last spring when I wrote about their Kips Bay Decorators' Show House room for Curbed.com, and I have been a huge fan of their work every since (I've pinned dozens of images from their portfolio to my inspiration boards online). 

Cabin Porn by Zach Klein
I'm apparently the last one to know about the Cabin Porn Tumblr. I read about the site and the book in the New York Times a few weeks back (the article is worth a read!), and decided I was very curious to see the book that was born out of the site. 

Digest 10.13.15

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My maternity leave days have been consumed with caring for my baby, but I've had some time to read a little and bookmark a few things to share with you. Here's what's been on my radar lately:

If you can still find any plums, this simple torte is to die for.

I love these suggestions for using up kitchen scraps.

Plus a whole bunch of ideas for cilantro stems (which I will never throwaway again!).

The dreamiest little beach cottage.

Worn Wear Project.

Chic flat-pack furniture (not IKEA!).

A DIY concrete desk.

I've been admiring these purse inserts for baby gear.

A collection of Halloween ideas.

My Pinterest account featured on the Grace and Glory Home blog.

Oh Boy!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A little over two months ago, my husband and I welcomed our son William into the world. He is the sweetest, most wonderful boy, and I am filled with unspeakable joy to be his mother.

I kept quiet about his impending arrival, but now that he’s here, I’ll likely write some things about becoming a mother and sharing our home with a tiny, little human. But don’t worry, I won’t stop writing about recipes, DIY projects, and living well in small spaces: The posts just may be a little less frequent in the months ahead.

Ode to a Robot Vacuum

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Should I buy a Roomba? Is a Roomba worth the price? I asked myself those questions many times, and now that I have an answer, which I want to share it with you. I’ve been curious about robot vacuums since they hit the marketplace 13 years ago. However, the high price of the machines always deterred me from buying one.

When I saw a used Roomba for sale at a yard sale earlier this year for $30, I jumped at the chance to test it out. (The previous owner said that the Roomba could not keep up with her shedding dog, but I was willing to give it a try.)

Because my Roomba was previously owned, I had a few hiccups with it at first. A little sleuthing on the internet and some helpful YouTube videos helped me trouble-shoot some problems (the brush heads needed to be cleaned, which involved tweezers to remove hair and debris, and later battery charging issues). I have had nothing but good experiences with Roomba since, and I can now say that I think these machines are worth their retail price tag. If my used model died tomorrow, I’d definitely replace it with a new one.

My husband, on the other hand, does not share my affection for the Roomba, which is what prompted me to write this post. His complaint is that the Roomba doesn’t do a meticulous job, but I would argue, that’s not the point of a robot vacuum. It’s never going to get every corner and nook that you could tackle with a broom. What it is going to do is lengthen the time between deep floor cleanings and cut down the weekly maintenance you have to do yourself. If you run the Roomba once a week, it will keep your floors reasonably clean. Up that to twice a week, and you’re in really good shape. It'll also tackle spots you would need to move furniture to reach, like the spaces under beds and sofas.

I usually set the Roomba to work when I leave for work in the morning, since it’s pretty noisy while it runs. When I get home, I’m always surprised at how much dirt the machine has managed to pick up in its travels, and I’m thrilled that it wasn’t me sweeping it up. Confession: I was never the kind of person who swept or vacuumed the whole apartment every week, so the Roomba has seriously upped the cleanliness of my home.

I like using the Roomba for another reason: It forces us to be tidy. To get the most out of a robot vacuum, you need to offer it a clear path, and to do that, you can’t have tons of crap piled up on your floor. When I run the Roomba, I put all the chairs up on the coffee table, dining table, and desk, which in turn means that those surfaces must also be clear of piles of crap. See what I mean? To have our apartment ready to be cleaned by a robot means our apartment must be in order.

All in all, I think a robot vacuum is a great addition to our small two-bedroom apartment. It might not be the best solution for everyone (like the dog owner I bought mine from), but for me, it's been a great way to cut down on my housekeeping time.

Digest 7.18.15

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer seems to be flying by. The last few days in New York City have all been perfect days with blue skies, low humidity and bearable temperatures -- let's all hope this weather is here to stay.

I'm so in love with Food52's staff kitchen -- so many smart solutions!

Tiny Parisian apartments.

A minimalist cooking and designing set. 

Summer nights have me thinking of linen bedding.

Rag rugs, yes please!

Making me want to get back to the West Coast.

How to save for a down payment on a New York City apartment. (Great advice.)

The Sacrificial Chair is a pretty funny idea.

On the reading list: Calder at Home.

Amy Chaplin's Soaked Oats and Chia

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Here's an ideal breakfast for the hot and humid mornings we've been having in New York City this week: Soaked Oats and Chia from Amy Chaplin's excellent At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen. I bought this book over the winter, and I've done quite a bit of cooking out of it in the months since. The thing I love about this book is that it give me new ideas. Soaked rolled oats for breakfast? I'd never eaten them before Chaplin suggested it.

Yesterday, Amy Chaplin posted a lovely video of this recipe on her Instagram account, and it reminded me to start another batch. Double (or triple!) the batch and keep it in your refrigerator for a week's worth of healthy, easy breakfasts. Here's the recipe from the book below. Once you've made it a few times, you won't even need to look at the written instructions

Soaked Oats and Chia
With Almond Milk, Flax, and Wheat Germ

"Creamy, light, and satisfying, this has been my staple warm-weather breakfast for many years. It’s just right for busy mornings, as it is best made ahead of time and travels well in a small jar. I recommend eating it at room temperature, so if you remove a portion from the fridge as soon as you get up, it’ll be ready by the time your breakfast hour rolls around."


• 3/4 cup regular rolled oats
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds
• 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
• 1 tablespoon wheat germ
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 cups almond milk

 To Serve:

• Fresh berries
• Homemade almond milk
• Maca root powder, optional
• Hemp seeds, optional

Combine the oats, chia, flax, wheat germ, and cinnamon in a bowl; mix well. Pour in almond milk and stir until everything is evenly combined. Set aside for 20 to 30 min­utes at room temperature, or store in a jar and place in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours. The mixture will keep up to 4 days in the fridge. Serve topped with berries, a splash of almond milk, and a teaspoon of maca root powder and hemp seeds if you like. Serves 2.

Photo by Johnny Miller.

Rent This Rustic Island Cabin in Jamestown

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This past weekend, we headed up the coast to Rhode Island for a three-day weekend. We'd been to Newport a few times before, but availability (and prices!) of accommodations in peak summer months compelled me to look a little further afield for a place to stay, and I am so glad they did! We rented this adorable cottage in Jamestown, RI from local artists, David and Jennifer Clancy, which we found on AirBnB.
The property is immediately adjacent to the Jamestown Windmill (built in 1787). The Clancys live in the old miller's house and rent out a small cabin at the back of their property (you can see its roof behind the windmill above). The landscape is so beautiful. I cannot stress how immaculate the grounds of their property are: The plantings are thoughtful, the stone walls are perfectly stacked, the lawn is ready for its close up--even the mulch around the trees is even perfectly placed.

The back side of the cabin has wooden decks, Adirondack chairs, and a firepit--plus, an incredible view of the Newport Bridge. To the right in the photo above, you can see the enclosure for the outdoor shower and sink (the bathroom is located in the couple's glass-blowing studio nearby).

Inside it's just a single room with a bed, a table and chairs, and a few conveniences like a mini fridge and a microwave, but it's really all you need for a weekend away. If you're headed up that way in the warmer months (the cabin has no heat), I would definitely recommend staying at this adorable little house.

Jamestown itself is a lovely village, and I preferred staying there to staying in Newport--it felt like more of an escape from the city, which was exactly what we needed.

Rental information on AirBnB. As of this writing, there are a few summer weekends left, if you're thinking of booking a trip.

Digest 6.26.15

Friday, June 26, 2015

We're off to Rhode Island for a long weekend, and I'm excited to be staying in this adorable little cottage that we rented through AirBnB. Our weekend will be full of seafood, house and garden tours, and, if the weather cooperates, time at the beach. I hope your weekend is bursting with fun plans, as well. Here's are some of the stories that have caught my eye in the last couple of weeks:

Room for two in just 183-square feet.

An awesome, budget kitchen renovation--oh, the power of paint!

I'm curious about the book Furnitecture: Furniture That Transforms Space.

A luxury appliance for growing herbs and greens (kinda silly).

Is Pinterest making moms crazy?

Buyable pins aren't going to make things any better.

A dinner party made entirely of canned food? Yes!

Or kitchen scraps?

The problem with bagged, pre-washed lettuce.

Turns out a soda tax works. 

Cleaning advice from the Shakers.
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