I've been hearing a lot about coconut oil lately, and it seems like the whole world is going coco-crazy. This creamy and delicious all-natural substance is way more than just a cooking oil. It can also be used as a make-up remover, face wash, toothpaste, and moisturizer. I decided to give it a shot, and let me tell you my mind is blown! I purchased my first tub of coconut oil last fall when I signed up for the Awaken Your Health cleanse. I've used it a little bit for cooking, but I recently discovered that this versatile paste can be used for lots of other things too - including cleaning and skincare. I picked up a few tips from friends and bloggers that have totally changed my daily habits. Keep reading for 3 easy ways to incorporate coconut oil into your life:Read More
Last summer I wrote a post about my visit to Build It Green! Brooklyn, and I recently had a chance to check out their 2nd location in Astoria Queens. Build It Green! NYC is a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. They collect donations of unwanted building materials and furnishings, and sell them at discounted prices at their locations in Queens and Brooklyn. They have everything from appliances and plumbing fixtures to furniture and hardwood flooring. Keep reading to see some pics from their huge warehouse, and learn more about how you can support green building:Read More
Buying custom-made furniture is a great way to make your home unique and special while also supporting small businesses, artists, and craftsmen. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. The new CustomMade website is a good place to check out to find the right craftsperson for your project. CustomMade is an online marketplace that connects customers who want one-of-a-kind creations with professional and passionate makers. You can find everything from custom-made tables and chairs to jewelry and clothing. You can even propose your own custom project idea, and get estimates on how much it would cost to make. I've put together an industrial-chic dining room using pieces I found on the CustomMade website. Take a look:
1. Stained Glass Candle Covers - Starting at $50
Add some color to your tabletop with these beautiful stained glass candle covers. They have an open bottom and sit directly over a tea-light or votive candle. Made in Pennsylvania by artist John J Walker.
2. Octolight - Starting at $300
I love the simple lines and bold geometry of this vintage-inspired pendant light by Oblik studio, made with modern steel and welded bronze joints. It comes with a 60W Edison bulb, required hardware, ceiling canopy cover, wall plug and rayon vintage reproduction cord. You can customize your fixture in a variety of cool geometric shapes.
3. Custom Salt Cellar Carved Out of Stone - Starting at $110
These beautiful salt cellars are hand-carved by Robin Antar out of different colors of alabaster and polished to perfection. Each piece has a unique, organic shape, and adds a touch of sculptural beauty and stone texture to your tabletop.
4. Reclaimed Pine Joist Table - $3,750
This table is perfect if you are looking for a relaxed, industrial feel. The top is made with reclaimed pine wood from an 18th century New York City townhouse. The legs are made of 1" steel black plumbing pipe. These tables are custom made to order by Mark Jupiter of Brooklyn, NY, and ship in 12 weeks.
5. Contemporary Custom Upholstered Dining Chair - Starting at $495
This classic style dining chair can be customized to meet your needs. I think a beige linen chair with nailhead trim would look great with this dining room. Beige works well for a natural, industrial vibe, and the nailhead trim adds a touch of glam.
6. Recycled Sari Silk Rug Series - Starting at $4,590
These colorful, hand-knotted rugs are woven with Tibetan wool and recycled Indian Sari silk yarn. Available in custom sizes to meet your needs. The bold color and pattern brings warmth to the room, and hides stains well.
7. Reclaimed Barnboard & Custom Raw Steel Stools - $325
If you need to pull up an extra seat at the table, these industrial stools made by Ron Corl are stylish and sturdy. The seats are made with 100 year old reclaimed Ohio barn wood, and the legs are 1" square steel tubing. Great for your home, and durable enough for a bar or restaurant setting.
Big news in the world of IKEA kitchens! If you've ever purchased a kitchen from IKEA before, you may know that the AKURUM line has been their staple kitchen system for the past 20+ years. But this February they launched a brand new kitchen series called SEKTION - a versatile, modular system that can be customized for a variety of different looks. While the new SEKTION system is comparable in price to the AKURUM line, it is not compatible. The AKURUM line has been phased out, but you can still purchase replacement parts through the end of September.
I've always been a big fan of IKEA kitchens. The quality is pretty nice given the price points, and the cabinets can be customized in any style you like. You'd be surprised how many "high-end" kitchen designs feature IKEA cabinets. The downside to IKEA kitchens is that their customer service can be pretty spotty. There are lots of different parts and pieces you need to order, and it can be tricky to figure out everything you need. Keep reading to take a peek at the many new looks of SEKTION.Read More
Ooof! Last week was a doozy in New York City. We got pummeled with snow and slush and more snow. If you've been feeling blue, and think you might be going crazy - you're not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder aka S.A.D. is totally a thing, and it affects millions of people - especially young women - each year. The reduced levels of sunlight during winter months can affect your circadian rhythm, serotonin, and melatonin levels - causing you to feel irritable, hopeless and depressed. But hang in there friends - spring is right around the corner! Keep reading to learn how SAD affects me:Read More
Last week real estate blog, Curbed, celebrated small-space living with the first-ever Micro Week - a week full of stories and articles featuring some of New York's tiniest apartments. With housing costs on the rise, many New Yorkers are accustomed to sharing small spaces, and need creative solutions to the challenges of crowded city life. With urban dwellers in mind, NYFU aka "New York Functional Furniture" just opened a brand new showroom on 18th street in Chelsea. The company was founded a few years ago by a group of international designers who all ended up living in New York City. They've put together a unique line of furniture with lots of creative, multi-functional pieces. The sofa beds are streamlined and modern, and come in a range of color options. Shipping is free in New York and New Jersey, and items can be delivered in 48 hours! Keep reading to see pics from my visit to the brand new showroom, and a few of my favorite pieces:Read More
Have you guys heard about Blue Apron? It's a pretty cool service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to your home. Each week you receive a box of groceries with everything you need to make 3 delicious meals for 2 (or 4) people. I paid $59.94 for 1 week - which works out to $9.99 per meal, per person. Not bad considering these turned out to be super yummy, restaurant-quality meals. Plus, I usually ended up with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
I was pretty impressed by the tastiness of the meals I whipped up, especially since my cooking skills are fairly remedial. I tried a bunch of new foods, and picked up a lot of different cooking techniques. It's more work than I care to handle every week, but you can cancel as often as you like. Once a month is ideal for me. My biggest concern is the amount of plastic packaging used for all the individual ingredients - supposedly it's all recyclable, but I hope Blue Apron will look into less wasteful packaging options for the future.
Overall, the concept is pretty mind-blowing to me, and it's especially helpful for busy New Yorkers - who know how grocery shopping in the city can be an epic task. I'm really bad at meal planning and grocery shopping, but Blue Apron makes it easy to cook new things. Want to know what I ate? Keep reading for the full scoop.Read More
The final step in Lisa's Bedroom Mini Makeover was to give her nightstands a little style refresh. Accessories are often overlooked, but these are the finishing touches that bring warmth and personality to your space. Shopping at a local thrift store or flea market is a great way to find really unique pieces without spending a fortune. For Lisa's room, I used a combination of items she already owned, and mixed in a few new items from the Park Slope Flea Market, Build it Green!, and Housing Works Thrift. Keep reading for all sourcing details, and I'll reveal the grand total costs for this 4 step bedroom makeover.Read More
A few weeks ago I showed you my sister Lisa's 4 step bedroom makeover. Today I'll be talking about Step 3 - DIY Lamp Shades. This is a super quick and easy way that you can customize your lamp shades with a little craft paint. I followed the instructions from this great blog "P.S. - I made this". A subtle ombre effect is a great option because it looks sophisticated, but it's hard to mess up. I'm not a particularly gifted crafter, but this requires minimal supplies and is totally doable. If you already have some shades to work with, it only costs about $5 for the paint and brushes. I did a pretty turquoise color, but there are lots of options that could look cool - sunset pink, golden yellow, or deep blue indigo. Have fun with it and make it your own! Keep reading for more details, pics, and instructions.Read More
We're gearing up for a huge blizzard in NYC tonight! Stay safe and warm, New Yorkers. Last week I showed you this 4 step makeover for my sister Lisa's bedroom. Today I'm focusing on Step 2 - Building a Better Gallery Wall. My sister Lisa is a phenomenal photographer, and she wanted her room to showcase the work of some of her super talented photographer friends. Gallery walls are a great way to make a bold statement, and display a variety of images. You can fill a large wall with a bunch of smaller pieces to create a striking and dramatic effect. We put this gallery wall together using a few of her existing frames and 10 new ones from IKEA for a total of $127. Keep reading for my tips on how to create a quick and easy gallery wall.Read More
It's 2015, can you believe it!? The new year is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and give your home a design refresh. I helped my sister Lisa decorate her bedroom over 7 years ago, but after years of wear and tear, it was definitely in need of an update. She didn't want to go crazy with a major overhaul, so I suggested a 4 step mini-makeover to upgrade her look. Keep reading to see how we transformed this cute, but tired bedroom into a bright, and stylish showpiece.Read More
Happy New Year, friends. Now that 2015 is in full swing, it's time to start planning your next escape! I spent the most wonderful week in Tulum, Mexico over the holidays, and this tropical paradise is definitely worth a visit. This eco-chic beachfront community is filled with charming resorts, natural wonders, and ancient ruins. It is located a 1.5 hr drive from the Cancun airport. You can walk, bike, or taxi along the Tulum beach strip, but you'll need a car to explore the surrounding areas. I hunted the Airbnb listings for Tulum, Mexico, and spotted a few options that would be great for a winter getaway. Keep reading to see full details, pics, and pricing for 4 awesome places to stay in Tulum.Read More
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I've been having a wonderful time celebrating the season with friends and family in New York City and Minnesota this year. Check out some highlights from my holiday adventures.Read More
My roommate, Rose Hoang, is a phenomenal chef. I feel like I live in a five-star restaurant because she is always experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up something delicious. In today's post, Rose is going to show us how to make a delicious Miso Orange Glazed Chilean Sea Bass. I know it looks and sounds complicated, but you'll be surprised how easy it is! I'm not even a big fan of mushrooms, but the sauce was so tasty I ate them all and loved every bite. The salty-sweet marinade has notes of Japanese flavor and tastes sooooo good! Rose was inspired by this recipe, but expanded on it with a touch of citrus, fresh mushrooms, and veggies. This recipe serves 2 people, and would be great for an intimate romantic dinner.
Rose Hoang is a self-taught chef who grew up in San Jose, California. Her parents are Vietnamese immigrants, and she learned to cook from her mother, often using fresh ingredients from their backyard garden. While Rose's cooking has a strong Asian influence, she loves to cook all types of food, mixing flavors and trying new things. You can follow her cooking adventures on Instagram. Keep reading this post for step-by-step instructions and pictures.
While I love the holiday giving season, choosing the rights gifts for your friends and family can be an arduous task. When in doubt, I like to stick with items that are useful, classic, and beautiful. Take a look at my picks for some items that will make any home feel cozy and warm this winter:
1. RyuMei - Kamakurabori Red Wave Tea Canister - $9.99
For all your tea-loving friends, this gorgeous tea storage canister is decorated in a traditional Japanese Kamakurabori style. Complement this gift with some organic green tea or macha powder.
2. Wind & Willow Home - Wooden Mixing Spoons (Set of 3) Fall Harvest - $32
Minnesota-based home goods company Wind & Willow Home is known for it's simple, yet modern housewares which are internationally recognized for their bold colors, bare woods, and organic textures. These charming wooden spoons will come in handy for all your brownie-baking needs this winter!
3. Small Spells - Black Crescent Moon Small Planter with Plate - $42
Rachel Howe of Small Spells is an artist and ceramicist based in Brooklyn, NY. I love her quirky line of mugs, planters and more. This adorable moon planter is made to order, and will arrive in 4-6 weeks.
4. Jayson Home - Branch Brass Servers - $75
Add a little sparkle to your life with this elegant brass serving set. Everyday meals feel like a fancy affair when you bust out these beauties.
5. CB2 - Inner Peace Wreath - $49.95
This oversize, rustic peace wreath was designed for CB2 by Robert and Cortney Novogratz. I used to work for The Novogratz, and I know for a fact that they are literally "the coolest"! This was inspired by the giant wreath they put up at their country house every Christmas, and it is one of my favorite items from their prolific product collections.
6. Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. - Buffalo Plaid Fringed Throw - $120
This 100% wool blanket will be sure to keep you warm during the chilly winter months. Buffalo Plaid is super classic, and will stay in style for a very long time. Perfect for your guest room, or movie night on the sofa.
7. Coalition for the Homeless - Any amount
Sadly, due to skyrocketing living costs, homelessness in New York City is on the rise. This year nearly 60,000 people, including more than 25,000 children will be spending the holidays in a homeless shelter. The Coalition for the Homeless provides emergency food and clothing, permanent housing, job training, and special programs for homeless youth. Please consider making a donation this year to help make the holidays a little more comfortable for those in need.
8. Thymes Frasier Fir Candle - $28
Thymes Frasier Fir Candle is hands down my favorite holiday candle! It has a rich, earthy scent that smells just like a Christmas tree, and instantly fills your home with holiday cheer. I've tried other similar candles that have a mild, artificial scent, but Thymes Frasier Fir the real deal. It smells amazing and lasts a long time.
9. Brooklyn Slate Co. - Slate Cheese Board (multiple sizes) - $28 and up
Serve your cheese and appetizers like a real grown-up with these beautiful, natural cheese boards made of slate from a family quarry in Upstate New York.
Today's post is all about kitchens! A few weeks ago I showcased some black kitchens, and I recently highlighted the growing trend of painted cabinets and brass hardware. Whether your style is classic or contemporary, a white kitchen is a timeless look that feels light, bright, and airy. Keep reading to see some examples of white kitchens that range from crisp and modern, to elegant and ornate. Which one is your favorite?Read More
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing holiday weekend. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom, my sister, and my boyfriend's family on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was an international affair with friends and family from Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and the US.
In case you missed it - a few weeks ago I was featured in an interview on Wayfair.com with some tips on small space living:
"Most of us don't live in a tiny apartment for a long period of time, but that's no reason not to bring a bit of personality into your space. Laura Weatherbee of L. Weatherbee Design Studio is an expert in helping people transition (and love!) their small spaces. Lucky for us, she's dishing about organizing, her small living must haves, and making the most of a petite home."
You can check out the full post here.
If you are looking to buy handmade goods, Etsy is a great place to shop. There's a lot of good stuff on Etsy, but there's also a lot of random and not so great stuff too. The site is growing every day, and new shops pop up all the time. You can find a little bit of everything on Etsy - from dining tables made with reclaimed wood to fabulous leather poufs. Today I wanted to highlight a few shops that caught my eye - selling really cool furniture and home decor items made right here in New York City. Keep reading for more details about each of these 4 shops:Read More
I can't believe this November marks my 11th year living in the Financial District of Manhattan! I've been here so long, I sometimes forget how crazy city life can be. I was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Minnesota - spending most of my life in spacious suburban homes. Now I share a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate, and I have about 8 million neighbors. It's funny how people live in cities - stacked on top of each other in little boxes piled high into the sky. While New York is a complex city with challenging problems, it's still one of the most incredible places on earth, and I'm grateful to call it home.
The new transportation hub at Fulton Center opened recently, and it's just one of many new futuristic development projects that are changing the landscape of lower Manhattan. With the the 76-story Gehry skyscraper at 8 Spruce St, the PATH Pedestrian Tunnel, and the recently opened One World Trade Center, the "new" New York is starting to look like something out of The Jetsons. It's both exhilarating and terrifying. Personally, I find the gleaming new architecture to be out-of-this-world, and awe-inspiring. It feels like the future is unfolding, and I'm lucky to have a front row seat.
In contrast to New York's new space-age developments, this is the suburban house in New Jersey where I was born. I loved growing up in the suburbs, but I'm not sure where I see my own family in the future. While I dream of having a big yard and ample space for messy projects, I can't imagine life outside of a big city. I love the density, diversity, and excitement of urban life. I love the energy of 8 million people packed into 300 square miles.
As the world population increases, I see more and more people moving into urban areas. And like it or not, if we are going to fit more people on this planet, we'll have to get accustomed to living with less space. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. We all need to let go of some of the "stuff" that clutters our minds and homes.
One major drawback of high-rise living is the lack of greenery when you look outside. I can see why many people find the matrix of glass and steel to be cold and soulless. From my 7-story window, the seasons look more or less the same - like bricks and concrete covered in soot. But I like to imagine that the cities of our future will get greener, with integral parks and gardens built all around the sides of buildings. Check out the jaw-dropping renderings below, designed by WOHA architects, for the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition. Even though these are just imagined views, they make me optimistic and excited about all the possibilities. While I can't say for sure what the future will look like, I'm pretty sure it will be nothing like the past.
Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? Before European settlers arrived in the 15th century, North America was home to a rich and culturally diverse population of indigenous people. Today, although Native Americans make up only 1.7% of the US population, there are over 500 federally-recognized tribes, each with its own unique culture and heritage. Although I am not of Native American ancestry, I wanted to celebrate this month by featuring some beautifully crafted items made by Native artists. While there is a lot of Native American "inspired" stuff out there, authentic work by Native American artists is much harder to find. Thankfully, Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe, author of the blog "Beyond Buckskin" has compiled a list of resources where you can buy products that support economic development in Native American communities. I checked out some of her recommendations, and highlighted a few of my favorite items that would make a great addition to any home.
1. Awoken Loon and Moon - $132.35
I love the crisp lines and colors on this woodland style painting by artist Derek Harper, who is Oji-Cree from Keewaywin First Nation in Ontario. The loon is a really cool bird with a hauntingly beautiful call, and it's also the state bird of Minnesota, my home state. This framed painting is 8.5"W x 11"H.
2. Arctic Flower Birch Bark Drum - $85
This lovely birch bark drum was made by Dolly Metchooyeah, a Dene from Chateh, AB. The gorgeous flowers are made of moose hair tufting, an intricate decorative technique used for centuries by the Dene people.
3. Cedar Basket w/Canoe - $200
Hand-woven by Violet Riebe, of the Hoh tribe from the Pacific Northwest, this basket depicts four canoes with four birds flying above.
4. Hand Coiled Acoma Pottery - $650
The Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico is known for its distinctive, geometric-patterned pottery. This beautiful vase was made by award-winning potter, Shawna Garcia-Rustin. The black-and-white design is a great complement to any color scheme.
5. Di Dream Catcher - $130
Dreamcatchers have a sculptural beauty that adds three-dimensionality to a space, and they look great on the wall or over your bed. Plus, they filter out nightmares while you're sleeping! This caribou-hide piece was made by George Chocolate, Tlicho from Behchoko, NT.
6. Eagle and Bear Paddle - $352.12
Hand-carved paddle by Gelineau Fisher, an Ojibwe artist from the Longlac 58 First Nation. This paddle would look awesome displayed on the wall horizontally or vertically. It is decorated with a painted eagle and black bear.