Inspiration Fix: Navy Velvet

Friday, October 18, 2013

The official turn of Summer to Fall weather has led to skipping down the street, good hair days and general feelings of glee all around. Officially time to bid my sandals adieu and give my old buddies in the coat closet a dusting off.

Fall has also inspired quite a bit of pinning and obsessing over little seasonal updates for the apartment, especially all of these amazing navy velvet pieces I've spied. Some of my favorites from around the Pinterest-sphere here:

Weekend Snapshots

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cleaned the apartment and remembered the genius behind this chalkboard quote...

Things You Need Right Now: Couples' Closet Must-Haves

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sharing an apartment with your significant other can be as challenging as it is fun when it comes to incorporating two apartments full of stuff into one (see my tale of woe for girly home goods here). Sharing a closet is a whole other animal.

Tips like "hang hooks on empty walls" and "use empty floor space creatively" are great for people who have all of this sprawling empty space to work with. However, if you are 24 (ahem, or newly 25) and live in NYC, this likely is not your situation. Nick and I have given our closet a few edits since moving in so I wanted to share our lifesavers (and relationship savers) in case you find yourself in a similar scenario any time soon.

Monday's Mantra

Monday, September 23, 2013

This isn't just any old Monday, it's the first Monday of fall y'all.  Heading out this morning with a fresh attitude, wearing a light trench for my walk to the train and enjoying a pumpkin spice latte. Cheers!

Till next time,

DIY Cork Board Calendar

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nick and I had a pretty packed weekend between his busy b-school schedule and doing an amazing build in Breezy Point with some great people from Tuesday's Children and NY Says Thank You (shout out). But, we managed to squeeze in a DIY project we've been hoping to do for a while - a cork board installment in our little desk alcove. 

Lake George Getaway

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pardon the posting hiatus, I have been busy dragging myself out of bed every morning in a post-vacation fog feebly attempting to get back into a regular routine and catch up on one million emails. But it was worth it. Our first trip to Lake George was ridiculously amazing and definitely won't be our last. We stayed in a tiny little cabin at the Shore Meadows Motel in the campy, touristy part of the lake called The Village. It was cheap, comfortable and had a great little private beach with a cozy fire pit for the lake's chilly summer nights. 

I don't feel like our snapshots capture just how peaceful and beautiful a trip it was, but they get pretty darn close.

The Art of the Staycation

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

As a young working couple, it has been pretty impossible to find the time for a legit week-long vacation that works out for both of our schedules. To get to that elusive compromise place, we decided to do a long weekend away at Lake George so that Nick could get back to it on Monday and I could resume my time off with a little staycation (more on amazing Lake George to come). 

With my cheesy tourist tee on and a little coffee in hand, I present to you the art of the staycation:

DIY Pretty Pinecone Object

On our trip to scenic Lake George over the weekend, Nick and I got in some serious quality time with the great outdoors. Throughout our adventures, I found a few free souvenirs and brought them home with me to spruce up our bookshelf. 

One such souvenir was a perfect little pine cone that I envisioned living on the cover of some vintage books wearing a generous coat of gold spray paint.

Our bags are packed...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nick and I are off! We're headed to a tiny cabin on Lake George for our first real vacation vacation. While we've traveled many times since living up here, we've never taken a trip just us the two of us to do just about nothing. 

Here's to bathing suits and bad reception. And whiskey. And wine and beer. 


Monday's Mantra

Monday, August 5, 2013

Now into the month before my biggest event of the year, there are about one million cooks in the proverbial kitchen and even more opinions. It can be tempting to take on the role of the compliant one, giving in to outside pressure and giving up on your own opinions just to move things along. But I'm challenging myself this week to stand behind my gut feelings. 

Care enough to put yourself out there today and take a risk - you could be wrong, or you could come up with something completely original and great. 

Till next time,

Things You Need Right Now: The Prettiest Darned Watercolor Prints Ever

Friday, July 26, 2013

Every time Summer hits in the city, I can't help but think of this quote from Chuck Palahniuk's "Invisible Monsters" where the main character describes how great she feels in the sweltering weather:
" was a great feeling, a million spotlights picking you out of the crowd, or into a restaurant when outside it was ninety degrees, and everyone would turn and look, like you'd just been given some major distinguished award for lifetime beauty achievement." 
Umm, what?

I've attempted to channel this outlook to absolutely no avail every time a new sweat bead flees for its life down my body. However, these gorgeous watercolor prints by Virginia Johnson are so full of cool Summery colors, it's almost enough to make this heat worth it. 

Weekend Snapshots

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's been quite the shitstorm around here lately - in the very best way possible - which has kept me on my feet and away from my keyboard. To catch you up on a few things, I lost all self-respect during this heatwave and bathed in a public water fountain, wore more top knots than Nick could handle and less clothing than appropriate for work. Or for ever.

Also on the clothing topic, I'm fairly certain there are no good outfits for falling down stairs, but I had the distinct privilege of finding out what falling down an entire flight in a bathing suit is like. It was at the Empire Hotel rooftop lounge and it was graphic. Thankfully, I had an onlooker verbally rush to my aid with an "oh god!" before sauntering back over to my friends with both my pride and bikini misplaced. 

I did, however, get to see some of my favorite beauties this weekend which reminded me to post this batch of overdue weekend snapshots from our Central Park picnic:

Monday's Mantra

Monday, July 15, 2013

This Monday morning, I leave you with a simple one:

via Fairy Tales are True
Check out pretty prints of this mantra and others like it from Taraphotographics' Etsy shop.


DIY Trash to Tribal-Inspired Folding Desk Chair

Friday, July 12, 2013

Among the piles of bouquets and diamonds from my many suitors, Nick stands out because he brings me discarded items from the steaming trash piles of New York City sidewalks. And I love it. Knowing of this extreme love for collecting things, especially free things, Nick added a little broken-down folding chair from the corner of 35th and Lexington to our DIY queue a while back. 

A Couple of Restaurants to Add to Your "Must Eat Here" List

Monday, July 8, 2013

If you're like me and keep a running list of those restaurants people mention in passing that "you HAVE to try," then I have two to add to yours while in NYC. The first is Barbounia, a sunny Mediterranean spot on 20th and Park with an extremely generous brunch deal. I popped in with my little sister when she was in town last weekend and we got unlimited champagne cocktails (bellinis for us, mimosas for Nick) which were filled up by the waiter before we ever finished a glass.
We had the Trio appetizer with the Hummus, Tzatziki and Spicy Feta dip - they are all super tasty but the Spicy Feta is crazy amazing. 

Guest Opinion: Nick's Man Wisdom - "Hey Babe, Those Shorts are Unflattering."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Hey Babe, you know, I love the way those shorts make your butt look just so saggy. All of that room between the fabric and your skin. Mhmm."

In true Nick fashion, he would never say outright that anything I am wearing is "unflattering," but I know deep down that saggy crotches and butts aren't exactly what pleases our man friends' eyeballs. And still I can't stop wearing my boyfriend shorts this Summer. So I'll continue to share bits of Nick Wisdom here and there which I know to be true but gleefully ignore if you'd like to join in.


Things You Need Right Now: Big Summery Totes

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As we stare down the remainder of this work week full of night-before-we-go-to-Disney-world anticipation, my impending Fourth of July plans have had me mentally packing my beach bag for days. And filling online shopping carts with dreamy beach bags from all around the interwebs. Lots of bright, pretty colors, patterns and dreamy amounts of canvas are perfect for bringing along this weekend, despite the rain forecast. 

Here are a few big summery totes that I'm feeling in need of right now:

Sakroots Water Nation Coral Reef Tote / Steele for J.Crew Cole Bag / Furbish Ikat Weekend Bag / Joie Louisa Woven Tote / Vince Camuto Palm Print Tote / Lo & Sons Catalina Weekender /  Etsy Neon & Chevron Canvas Tote / Zara Star Shopper
I've been stalking down Lo & Sons bags for some time and the Catalina might just be the one to make me jump. Then again, I love all of these equally serious amounts so I may just have to make some more room in my closet for a couple new friends.

Till next time,

Friday's Mantra

Friday, June 28, 2013

I've been having a couple of those crazy busy weeks at work where by the time I get home, I'm wondering what the hell I did today beyond pump out emails and complete task after task for ten hours. I am lucky enough to work for a nonprofit, though, that reminds me why we're there all the time. 

But this weekend, I'm reminding myself to take a breath and do things that make me a happy gal. Reminding myself to NOT check my email, to be silly, to do something creative or just do nothing at all. Reminding myself to actually enjoy the day and live it - which is such a weird thing to realize that you can forget. 

Enjoy that deep thought of the day :)

Have a great weekend!

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DIY Chalkboard Paint Stripes

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A really quick and easy project that I've been wanting to post is the chalkboard paint stripe Nick and I created in our plain little kitchen:
Like many renters in NYC, Nick and I struggle with ways to make our rented space ours without taking drastic measures difficult to reverse one day. This was especially true of our very small, stark white kitchen with one open wall constructed in a very bizarre shape. We thought up a lot of different useful possibilities for the wall including shelves and a pot rack - but were convinced I'd find a way to poke my eye out in either scenario (not unlikely). Since we both wanted to try our hand at chalkboard paint, we decided this weird wall would be a great place for experimenting with it.

Oh. Miami.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Oh. Miami. You were so fun, beautiful, expensive and, at times, super weird. 

Over the weekend, I headed down to the MIA for a bachelorette weekend to celebrate the remaining single-ness of a best friend who is soon to be a b-e-a-utiful bride. I know that I am extremely lucky to have amazing friendships that have lasted years, but I can't help but feel spoiled when we get together like this and I get to see all of them for more than an hour at a time, a rarity since moving away. Others might think this about their friends, but mine are the funnest and funniest people on Earth. I'm sure of it. 

We stayed at the Clevelander Hotel right on famous South Beach whose view, service and staff were all amazing. The lobby decor screamed Miami chic with bright colors and clean lines and is where we had multiple frozen "welcome cocktails" and met our super sassy bell hop. One downside to the hotel: the outdoor clubs on the ground floor and roof deck hosted some serious getting down all hours of the night, but they do provide complimentary earplugs in the rooms.

Happy Anniversary NYC

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

After a questionably sober post-bachelorette flight home from Miami Sunday, I shared a ride home with a gal who reminded me of a much younger, adorable and less jaded version of myself from two years ago.

Hey girl, are those bangs? A feather headband? Street hot dog?  Ok, cool.
After pointing out everything we passed (no offense Queens, but we were in Queens) and asking where all the skyscrapers were, I felt obliged as a super experienced New Yorker to ask this person if she was here visiting or here for good - because she needed to learn her some stuff right away. She said she was staying for two months for an internship and asked if I had any suggestions for things to see other than the obvious. 

Weekend Snapshots

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brunched some amazing brunch, tried out a new restaurant, failed my Miami diet and got to nothing on my to-do list. Sounds about right:

First stop: Fruit Pizza Heaven from this brilliant lady.
Hung out with a pretty girl who tasted some pretty flowers.

What This Weekend's Lookin' Like

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This weekend, every person in New York City has vacated to go be cool and listen to cool music at Governors Ball. I am not one of these people since you have to buy tickets months ago and I find it difficult to pay large sums of money without some kind of instant gratification. And what if I hated the Lumineers or Best Coast by then??! (Just kidding, that would never happen).

Also, the fast approaching Bachelorette getaway for one of my besties in Miami next weekend has me holding on to my wallet for dear life while I still can and Nick has a mid-term next week so he's nose-down in stuff that literally makes my eyeballs fall out. They. fall out. 

Things You Need Right Now: Flamingo Everything

Thursday, June 6, 2013

via 100 Layer Cake
My recent trip to Florida with Nick and his family was a seriously much needed break from the New York winter (and New York Spring, which I often forget is also freezing). I got my first "tan" in six months and came back to the city totally renewed. But back in the city I certainly was as my favorite Penn Station squatter reminded me that Monday by dancing a jig around his trash can and chatting animatedly with the air. Hi air! Damn you air! Aw.

Something I brought back with me beyond the tan was a distinct nostalgia for beachy things. My parents' home was always filled with authentic drift wood accents, vases filled with shells and coral that we found on our habitual weekend trips to the water and artwork scattered on the walls from beach-town artists that my dad would work on for good deals. Having seen more fish and birds, including pretty flamingos, in my life than I can count, I've also been seeing a lot of flamingo accents for this Summer that I'm super into:

Welcome to the Neighborhood Perk Kafe

Monday, June 3, 2013

Being two bona fide caffeine addicts, most of our Saturday and Sunday mornings are spent bargaining for who will brave the great outdoors and walk to the closest bodega or Starbucks to grab the coffees. A few days ago, Nick mentioned stopping into a new coffee shop he noticed around the corner called Perk Kafe. Drawn in by the bright sunroom out front, he ordered an iced coffee, promptly decided it was amazing and that we had to go this Saturday. 

Breaking It Down and Dirty at 305 Fitness

Friday, May 31, 2013

Despite the fact that I danced at a studio for many years as a kid - and even on my high school dance team in front of the entire student body - I would never be able to tell you that I am a good dancer. In fact, I'm pretty sure others feel uncomfortable watching me dance because of my alternative skill set - I have zero grace, a little rhythm and feel most comfortable butchering step routines and crumping. (Insert Nick's horrified face here). 

However, I never pass up the opportunity to entertain with my sweet moves. So, when I was invited by a new friend to go to a Miami nightclub-themed dance cardio class called 305 Fitness, naturally I said yes.  

305 Fitness Party from 305 Fitness: Sweat is Sexy on Vimeo.

Inspiration Fix: Books on Chairs, Chairs on Books

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On my amazing surprise trip to Florida this weekend, I brought along my copy of Design Sponge at Home by brilliant writer/blogger Grace Bonney. I've read it cover to cover before but always bust it out when I'm feeling hard up for some inspiration. This book is the home decor bible. It has amazing photos of beautiful and creative interiors (many of which are small spaces) decorating basics, DIY projects and even the makings of a working toolbox. If you hate all of those things, it also makes a gorge coffee table book. 

Hey Boyfriend Jeans, I love you.

Friday, May 24, 2013

I have a serious meaningful love affair with anything classically found in a man's closet. Over-sized button downs, waffle tees with the sleeves rolled up, big soft t-shirts, it's all so much more comfortable and alluring than almost any women's top I own. However, I have always had trouble fitting into men's pants which is just annoying.

The boyfriend jean trend entered my life while I was still in college a la something I saw somewhere on the internet and copied immediately. I tried out a few different styles - some too baggy, some too tight, some too harem-y. Nick hated them all which assured me I was onto something good.

DIY Shabby Chic Thrifted Chest

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I love Housing Works. Most economical NYers have been to a Housing Works Thrift Shop or Bookstore at least a few times during their journey to furbish bare apartments on non-existent budgets, perusing the rows of personal treasures past their prime. Although, some may not know that Housing Works is actually a much larger operation whose real purpose is providing advocacy and services to end homelessness and AIDS around the world - their thrift shops are simply an arm of their fundraising efforts. And I am a tireless supporter in that I almost always find something amazing to bring home with me. 

The first piece of real furniture I bought up here (real like not made of whatever everything in IKEA is made of) was from Housing Works.

It's the only large-ish item that made the move from girl apartment to co-ed apartment. I was shopping alone, it was heavy as hell, a hideous dark wood riddled with scratches and I needed it. I recruited Nick to come meet me in Chelsea to help me bring it to the curb and taxi it on up to the Upper East Side. 

This is a flattering picture. It was ugly.

Weekend Snapshots

Monday, May 20, 2013

What we did...

Finally saw The Great Gatsby (amazing).

Wandered Gramercy and admired the local real estate.

Things You Need Right Now: Floral Accents

Friday, May 17, 2013

As my friends and boyfriend can attest, I tend to dress as I decorate - "for women." I have a natural inclination towards Betty Draper-esque silhouettes when getting dressed up and my daily look consists mostly of skinny jeans and assorted over-sized sweaters or somewhat wrinkly t-shirts (casual dress-code in the work place is the jam). I'm much more interested in a high-neckline vs. cleavage because sweet statement necklaces totally clash with boobs and full skirts are more fun to twirl around in vs. yanking a skin-tight mini down every other step - you walk too much in NY for spandex mini skirts. You just do. 

This is the official warning of my disposition for any fashion-related posts I put out there to the world.

Event Survival

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Officially survived my event Tuesday night armed with the essentials: a healthy case of the caffeine shakes, a tight dress and a certifiable crazy person smile. We were able to raise money for a great cause and have a great time together as a staff while doing it. And I love the dynamic of events - how everyone takes on a role so different from their day-to-day one. It really allows you to get to know and trust your co-workers.

I have to admit that my favorite part of event planning is always choosing the decor and seeing how pretty the room looks when it all comes together. It dictates the entire mood of the evening and, in this case, we were aiming for uplifting with Springy whites and greens with sparse pops of pink and yellow in the bouquets. To quote my amazingly talented and humble florist, it's hard to make an ugly flower this time of year, but the peonies, hydrangeas, lilies and tulips were perfect. 

Tuesday's Mantra

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So, I work for a non-profit and a HUGE part of my job is event planning. Events are stressful messes full of logistics and egos but are also really fun and rewarding when you get to see your vision come to life. I have my first solo go at it tonight and have committed to repeating these two things some wise people once told me when I feel like jumping out the window: 

1. You will never ever ever, no matter how hard you try, please everyone. Some people cannot be pleased. I haven't decided how I feel about cursing on the blog yet but there's a good curse word for these people. 

2. When in doubt, take a deep breath. 

Wish me luck and wishing all of you an audacious Tuesday!

Photo Cred: Striking Thruths

xoxo Amanda

DIY Pretty Blue Planter

Sunday, May 12, 2013

In honor of Mother's Day (love you Mel!) I decided I'd post one of our projects that would make momma proud: our pretty DIY terrace planter. 

After touring 50+ apartments in the search for our place, we decided an outdoor space, no matter how small, was a necessity. Turns out, ask and you shall receive sista. Our outdoor space is indeed a small balcony, shared with a nosy elderly neighbor and made luxuriously private by a hip-height transparent diamond-weave divider. And I mean nosy neighbor like weekly risking her life to lean over and around the divider to see what's up over here.

After having a few stare-offs from the comfort of my couch with said neighbor, we decided to install an ivy planter on our divider in hopes of creating a nice little privacy wall that gradually obstructed the view. We had been wanting to try our hand at urban gardening anyway so this was a great excuse. Here's how we did it:

Things You Need Right Now: The Spring Jacket

Friday, May 10, 2013

Among the many differences between Florida and New York is weather (duh) and, in turn, your wardrobe. Accommodating actual seasons is bizarre. And holy hell was I painfully unprepared when I first moved here. 

Two years in, I am still building the different seasons of my closet and am thinking my next purchase will be this Northeastern thing called a Spring jacket. 

All of my friends know that I have ZERO qualms with blowing every last penny on something new and pretty to wear when I know, and they know, that I will whine and complain about how I have no money to go out for drinks or to spend on a quality meal as I near that dive to zero before my next paycheck. Then another paycheck, then spend it all, then wallow, then remember that I live in NYC where being poor is called 'making it happen' so then I'm good. 

In that spirit, I have been checking out Aritzia's new line of Spring jackets and am in love. There's denim, tweed, leather, camo, flowers, pastels, bright colors, general amazingness. 

Photo Cred: Aritzia

Decorating Pt. 1

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's an interesting thing when you move from your tiny NYC apartment you shared with your roommate - who was also a girl - to an even tinier NYC apartment with a man...he is surprisingly not cool with filling the entire place with your very carefully curated collection of amazing girl things. Which are mostly, unknowingly, very girly. Chevron print is girly. Throw pillows (at all) are girly? The color GOLD is girly?! Lacquered trays on tables are what!! Apparently, yes. To all of this. 

Enter the interesting task of gender neutral decorating. My boyfriend and I moved in together about 5 months ago and have found the task to be both challenging and hilarious as we attempt to incorporate mixed tastes, a small budget and an even smaller amount of square footage. I will probably never get as many metallic accents as I'd like in the place, but he will also never wallpaper the entirety of our apartment with his large collection of records like he'd hoped. Compromise? Compromise. 

Here's our progress so far:

Starting Now

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A little blog about a Floridian trying her hand at a bit of everything in New York City. Especially life, love...and the pursuit of pretty things, DIY projects, furbishing the tiny studio apartment I share with my main man and other adventures.

As a new baby blogger, I would love feedback and comments - I need all the help I can get!

Till next time...


p.s. Happy Cinco de Mayo!