Sustainability and taking care of our planet is very important to me, and a couple months ago I shared this blog post about the next industrial revolution - cradle to cradle products that are environmentally responsible and create zero waste. Today I am super excited to share with you an opportunity to support a real life cradle to cradle business. The team from Life Without Plastic has created a sustainable, cradle to cradle, plastic free, zero waste lunch bag. Many insulated lunch bags on the market today are made with plastic foam that cannot be recycled. Plastic is a huge problem, and constitutes nearly 90% of all trash on the ocean's surface! To counteract this problem, Life Without Plastic is running a Kickstarter to launch this exciting new product, and you can donate through August 25th. Depending on how much money you donate, they offer lots of great freebies for your support. I pledged $30 and will get the Plastic Free Shopper Reward package which includes several organic cotton mesh produce bags, and a free digital e-booklet with tips on how to reduce waste. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting, innovative and sustainable new product.Read More
Last year before leaving New York City, I worked on the design of a Thai/Malay restaurant in Westchester called Sambal. This was one of my favorite projects to work on as it is located in a beautiful historic building in the charming town of Irvington-on-Hudson. Located just forty minutes outside of New York City, this gorgeous restaurant serves delicious Thai-Malaysian food in a lovely setting overlooking the Hudson river. Chefs Navjot Arora and Lucky Thai, along with help from business partner Sushil Malhotra, have created a premier destination restaurant highlighting the intricate flavors of South-East Asian cuisine. The decor aims to capture the rich culture of Thailand and Malaysia with luxurious materials and jewel-toned fabrics. Keep reading to see lots of photos from this stunning, two-story space, and learn more about the design process:Read More
Last year was a time of great change for me. I left New York City after 13 years, and moved to sunny San Diego to pursue a master's degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. While this shift might seem random or out of the blue, it's actually something that I had been mulling over for several years. I was growing frustrated with the interior design industry, and yearned to work with people in a more personal, healing manner. I became a certified yoga teacher two years ago, and that experience opened me up to the larger world of alternative medicine and healing.
I had my first acupuncture treatment a little over a year ago, and it completely blew my mind. I had gone through a major breakup and was struggling with deep depression. I literally felt like I was falling apart. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stop crying. I was a hot mess - it was the worst I'd ever felt in my life, and it had been going on for months. Some of my yoga friends swore by acupuncture so I decided to give it a try. I didn't really have high expectations. Mostly I was scared about having needles stuck in me. I assumed at best the treatment would be soothing and relaxing, like a massage. But what happened that day is something I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. It's hard for me to find words to describe that first acupuncture treatment. Right after the treatment I felt relaxed and sleepy, not unlike how I feel after getting a massage. I went home to take a nap, and when I woke up, I knew instantly that something was different. Keep reading for the full story:
One thing you may not know about me is that before I became an interior designer, I was an engineer! I actually studied chemical engineering at Cornell University, and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. While I ultimately decided to move in a different direction, I'm grateful for my engineering education and definitely believe in supporting other women engineers. Unfortunately, women are still a minority in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, despite the skills and talent we have to offer. I recently chatted with Kate Scarcella, my friend, classmate and sorority sister from Cornell University about her career in engineering. Over her 14 year career, Kate has worked in a number of engineering roles, most recently developing and managing the execution of a solar boiler that will be installed in a massive solar power plant. She also spent many years working on electrical components for jet engines, and her job has taken her to unique engineering facilities from Las Vegas to Israel. Still, Kate is only one of two women in a team of twenty, and women engineers are high in demand. Keep reading to learn more about Kate's career, the best and worst parts of her job, and her advice for women considering a career in engineering:Read More
I've been trying to shop more consciously these days, but I've realized that making the most ethical, eco-friendly decision is not always clear and easy. There are many factors to consider when you are purchasing a new item. Are the materials non-toxic and recyclable? How much energy is consumed in the production process? Are the workers who create this product paid well and treated fairly? The truth is there are many variables, and it can be tough for the average consumer to get the full story. Fortunately, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is here to help. They have created a detailed certification system that rates products according to material toxicity, recyclability, energy consumption, and social fairness. This non-profit organization was founded in 2010 by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of the revolutionary book, Cradle to Cradle. I read this book last year, and it totally blew my mind. It talks about the ways things are made in modern society, and sheds light on the monstrous waste stream that is the byproduct of mass production. If we want to take care of our planet for future generations, we need to reconsider the way we make things with an aim to minimize waste. The exciting part is that we already have the resources and technology to make this happen. It's only a matter of changing minds and taking action. While the Cradle to Cradle certification system is not perfect, it aims to scale up sustainability to make it accessible and affordable to the masses. It's a step in the right direction, and encourages companies to strive towards sustainable practices. Keep reading for more details about these Cradle to Cradle certified household products:Read More
In loving memory of my dad, James Arthur Weatherbee, who passed away on April 17th, 2017.
My dad loved my mom from the moment he laid eyes on her. But that was not the case for her. She had refused his numerous offers to go on a date because she thought he was too nerdy, and besides she didn't really date white guys. Then one day he tripped and broke his nose. He looked so pathetic with his swollen, bandaged face that my mom finally agreed to go out with him. She discovered that in spite of his nerdiness he was brilliant, kind and funny. And so she married him. And she stood by his side til the very end, with tenacious loyalty and dedication. My dad always had a way with words, but dementia slowly robbed him of the ability to speak. Some of the last words he knew how to say were "I Love You". He made great effort to remember these words and practice them. He clung to them ferociously. He would shout them repeatedly, even if it was inappropriate or embarrassing - at the movies or the symphony, in the mall or the grocery store. People must have thought he was crazy or mentally disturbed - a crooked man in a wheelchair shouting wildly. But I know he was not crazy. He was a genius and a prophet. He had looked death in the eyes and spoke the truth. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU. In the end, these are the only words that matter.
While I've absolutely loved my first few months living in San Diego, there are nearly 8,700 people who live here without a home. Coming from New York City where there is a substantial homeless population, I was shocked by the number of people I saw living on the streets of San Diego, sleeping in parks or makeshift tent cities. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization that aims to mitigate this problem by creating homes for ownership by low-income families in need. They believe that every man, woman, and child deserves a safe and affordable home to live in dignity and safety. One way you can support this organization is by shopping from or donating to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. At the ReStore, you can find great deals on building materials and home furnishings while promoting recycling, reusing, and repurposing of quality items. They sell everything from light bulbs to lumber, windows and washing machines. Keep reading to see pictures from my recent visit to the ReStore, and get a feel for all the cool stuff you can get there for 30-70% off retail price.Read More
It's been two months since I moved to San Diego, California, and I wanted to give you an update on how I've been doing. I've had ups and downs, but overall I'm loving life in San Diego. In fact, I love it so much I decided to stay. I was planning to return to New York in the Spring, but I've decided to extend my stay at least through August. It's exciting, and scary, and all kinds of feels. But overall, I feel really good about the move. San Diego is a pretty amazing city, and I'm excited to continue exploring. Keep reading to learn all about my first few months in San Diego!Read More
One of the things I love most about New York City is the rich diversity of people and cultures. The immigrant communities make our city better, and also make the local restaurant scene more delicious and exciting. This summer I shared some pics from Aahar Indian Restaurant, a Tribeca eatery I designed, and today I wanted to highlight their delicious lunch special. They have an awesome $14 pre fixe lunch special in addition to a hot buffet or a la carte menu. The generous lunch special comes with naan, one appetizer, one entree, rice, raita, lassi and dessert! Aahar is a family-owned restaurant specializing in North Indian cuisine. Owners Prashant and Sonal aim to deliver carefully prepared, authentic Indian food made with savory spices and quality ingredients. I love a hearty Indian meal, especially during the chilly winter months to stay warm and cozy. Keep reading to see pics of what we ordered for lunch on a recent visit:Read More
Whether you are trying to lose weight or just want to stay healthy and energized, it's important to start your day with a nutritious breakfast. I've been eating the Pura Vida breakfast everyday, and it's super easy to make. Packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, this is the perfect way to start your morning.
A few months ago I shared the finished pictures from Hank's Juicy Beef, a sandwich shop I designed in Tribeca. Today I wanted to give you a sneak peek into the design process with some dramatic before and after shots. When owner Henry Tibensky first reached out to me for help, he was struggling to come up with a design concept for his Chicago-style beef sandwich shop. The space was originally a Quiznos sub shop with a heinous orange, green, and red color scheme. It felt dark and dated, like the early aughts had vomited all over the walls. Hank wanted the space to feel hip and fresh, and reflect his love for his hometown of Chicago. I came up with a design concept that incorporated Hank's colorful personality while staying true to the building's classic Tribeca roots. Keep reading to learn more about the design process, and see the stunning before and after shots:Read More
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2017 is off to wonderful start. Personally, I'm making some big changes this year. I just moved from New York City to San Diego, California! Well, for the next few months at least. The short story is that I'm here to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Pacific College. I started a master's program this past fall in New York City, and it turns out my school has campuses in New York, Chicago, and San Diego. So I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to escape the East Coast winter and spend some time on beach. Not a bad idea, right? The long story is a little more complicated than that. Keep reading for the full scoop:Read More
The interior design industry can be very wasteful sometimes, and I'm always on the hunt for creative, sustainable building solutions. Reuse and recycling are key tenets of sustainable design, and incorporating reclaimed wood will add richness, history, character, and texture to your space. Reclaimed wood can be used for many applications including flooring, decorative paneling, and exteriors. Sawkill Lumber Company is based in Connecticut and serves the New York City area with some of the coolest reclaimed wood around. They source reclaimed wood from barns, industrial sites, houses, and bars. What sets Sawkill apart is not only the quality and history of its wood, some of which has been around for 1000 years, but also the intensity, focus, and care that goes into its rehabilitation and transformation. They have a seven acre lumber mill in East Windsor, Connecticut, as well as a 4000 square foot warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn which you can visit Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30am-5:30pm. They aim to make reclaimed wood more readily available, and offer a wide variety of dimensional lumber and wood species. Keep reading to learn more about some of my favorite options, and see pics of gorgeous reclaimed wood in action:Read More
As I reflect on what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, access to clean drinking water is at the top of the list. Sure it's something so easy to take for granted, but without it, our world could very quickly devolve into chaos. Which is why I wanted to bring attention to the situation currently unfolding at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. For months, Native American tribes, environmentalists, and their allies have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which would transfer oil from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing under the Missouri River along the way. Many Native Americans are opposed to the pipeline because it would cause destruction to their ancestral homeland, and a potential spill could have devastating consequences for the millions of people who depend on the Missouri River as their main water source. The situation has become increasingly tense in recent weeks as protestors have clashed with the oil company and law enforcement. Personally, I am opposed to the construction of the pipeline. I believe we need to divest from the oil industry in favor of clean and renewable energy, and the time to start is now. Our nation has a long and sordid history of manipulating and steamrolling the indigenous people who originally inhabited these lands. While we can't change the past, we can do better in the future. If you would like to support the Native Americans in their fight to protect our land and water, please consider donating here, here or here. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, you can also check out this blog post to learn more about where you can buy beautifully crafted items made by Native artists.Read More
We are midway through November, and it feels as though the seasons are just starting to turn. As the days grow shorter, and the nights grow colder, it's time to bundle up and stay warm and snug in your home. I've pulled together a round-up of gorgeous, American-made products that will bring that cozy Fall feel to your space. When you buy American-made products, you can feel good knowing that your money is going to fair wages for skilled local workers. You are supporting the local economy, and creating jobs for designers, artists, and craftspeople. Keep reading for more details, including all sources and pricing info.Read More
It's been a crazy couple of days since the results of our latest presidential election have been revealed. No matter where you stand on the issue, it's clear our country is deeply divided. And people from all sides are struggling with feelings of fear, anxiety, and powerlessness. It's hard to know where to go from here. But one way we can all come together and reclaim our power is to become conscious consumers. It's important to know where the products you buy come from, and who makes them. That's why I'm excited to partner with New York State Grown and Certified, a new labeling program from Empire State Development that aims to educate consumers and promote local agriculture. When you buy local produce, you invest in local economy, strengthening the connection between rural farmers and the customers they serve. Plus, local food food is fresher and has less distance to travel, reducing your carbon footprint. When you see products with the New York State Grown & Certified seal, you know it comes from a local New York state farm with safe and environmentally responsible practices. I recently got to visit Minkus Family Farms in upstate New York where I learned more about how our food is grown. Keep reading for lots more pics, and a full tour of the farm. Plus, I'll show you what a warehouse full of 20 million pounds of onions looks like!Read More
When you step out onto the rooftop farm of Brooklyn Grange, it's hard to believe you are in New York City. Chicken coops and rows of fields are not what you would expect to find on the roof of this industrial building in Long Island City, Queens. But Brooklyn Grange is an innovative rooftop farming business that will open your eyes to the exciting possibilities of urban farming. Founded in 2010, they operate the world's largest rooftop soil farms with locations in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Each year they grow over 50,000 pounds of organically-cultivated produce! Plus, they promote healthy local communities by offering educational programming and green roof consulting and installation services. Keep reading to see lots more pics, and learn more about my recent visit to Brooklyn Grange's Long Island City rooftop farm.Read More
I recently read this article about a school in Baltimore that replaced detention with meditation, and I'm excited to see a growing interest in the practice of meditation and its benefits. I started getting into meditation around ten years ago. I was in my twenties and living in New York City - having the time of my life, but also struggling with bouts of anxiety and depression. One particularly gloomy winter day, I decided to attend a meditation at a Buddhist center in Chelsea. I'm not quite sure how I ended up there because I wasn't even really into yoga at that point. But it made a big impression on me that evening, and it's stuck with me ever since. It's hard to describe in words what I felt, but I guess you could say it was a little taste of peace. Like DEEP, INNER PEACE, if only for a fleeting moment. But more importantly, I realized that there was a whole roomful of people (a whole city full, a whole planet full!) who are looking for the same thing. I've only been back to the Buddhist center a few times since then, but meditation has become a part of my life in many different days. While I don't have a super-consistent practice, I try to meditate every day - even if it's just for a few minutes. I recently became a certified yoga teacher, and I'm currently studying acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine - all practices that are closely interconnected with meditation. I guess you could say I'm a big fan. I believe that meditation is a powerful healing tool that has the capacity to change your life, and the world around you. Keep reading to see the top 3 reasons I love to meditate:Read More
If you have an appreciation for locally designed and crafted furniture and home goods, then you must check out the work of Katy Skelton! This Savannah transplant recently moved out of Brooklyn after 5 years to start her own successful furniture design business. Guided by her background in interior design and product development, Katy strives to create beautiful, affordable furniture that is all made right here in America. We picked her brain about her inspiration, favorite designers, and plans and pieces for the future. I can't wait to step into her brick and mortar shop one day! Keep reading for the full interview:Read More
Hey friends! I'm excited to share some photos from a recent project I worked on called Hank's Juicy Beef. Located at 84 Chambers Street in Tribeca, Hank's Juicy Beef serves delicious, Italian-style beef sandwiches made with grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic-free beef. The sandwiches are marinated in a special au jus, topped with pickled vegetables, and served hot and juicy on a plump Italian-style roll. Owner Henry Tibensky, aka Hank, grew up in Oak Park, Illinois surrounded by some of the best Italian beef joints in town. Using a recipe that has been in his family for generations, Hank aims to bring authentic, Chicago-style beef to the Big Apple. He wanted the design of this casual spot to be hip and modern while paying homage to his midwestern roots. The restaurant feels clean and modern with a classic Tribeca vibe and a jungalicious accent wall. Keep reading for more details, and a full tour of the space!Read More