Ooh, my favorite!


antique baby
July 17, 2013, 11:26 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home

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Meet our antique baby! Our favorite part of the house: (1) because it was an incredibly lucky find, (2) because it’s so very us, and (3) because it’s often the only area that’s presentable. In searching for antique brackets for a custom shelving project we stumbled across this piece and decided to scrap the shelving and go with this instead. How could we not? It just so happened to fit this little nook PERFECTLY.

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She’s oooooold, but so sturdy and perfectly-imperfect with distresses and dings that give her character and charm.

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And remember when I was worried Andrew’s very masculine-man house would be more dominant than my very feminine-chickness? Well, I was so wrong because shit got really girlie up in here. Poor Andrew.

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Even his red and blue Catherineholm bowls have been overrun by me.

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Interestingly enough though, this little window is so Andrew and it is my very favorite corner. It has me working on a new mission to neutralize this area a bit.

(Maybe a black lotus bowl would help!)

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I often feel like a hack sharing pieces of the house when one could easily turn around and see a sea of vitamin bottles, phone chargers, and stacks of paper. But I appreciate these little vignettes, and in the midst the chaos of our hectic life and my inability to put things away, it makes me happy.



Kantha Quilts
July 15, 2013, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Art and Design, Home

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one / twothree / four

I suddenly realized I have a thing for blankets. This is in addition to my thing for pillows. Poor Andrew has to compete for bed space with a fortress of about seven pillows that I have carefully placed so that no matter which way I’m facing, there’s a pillow waiting. What can I say, I like to cocoon. When I looked around the house the other day I noticed that on the couch in the living room and in the Hobbit Hole (our name for our movie room), there is a pillow and blanket on each. It made me cozy and I started longing for the cooler fall weather so I could snuggle up. But then I noticed that if anyone were to come visit that I’d probably have to hide the blankets because they’re looking a bit dingy and worn. Ok, in all honesty there’s a white one that’s not even in the realm of grey right now.

Meanwhile, I have been feeding my fascination with the Australian design aesthetic. I love their use of color and have found that their online boutiques  are filled with the greatest treasures. It’s often so different than anything we can find stateside, so it’s been a great source of inspiration. On an innocent browse from the down under boutique Fenton & Fenton I came across these handmade Indian quilts which would in no way need to be hidden. In fact, I’d probably turn one of these into my new Linus blanket and wear it around as a shawl. I don’t know why people don’t splurge on blankets, but since we don’t these would make for one killer gift.



The Marlborough Seattle
May 8, 2013, 10:47 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home, Seattle

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After two years the lease at my little apartment is finally up, and of course, I waited a bit too long to start moving and cleaning. I got my butt kicked by the move last week, but still managed to find the time to get a little nostalgic. My small studio at The Marlborough in Seattle’s First Hill Neighborhood was my very favorite home to date (aside from my new home with Andrew!), and it held so many special meanings as it was my home when I returned from San Francisco and was my safe haven during the craziness of restaurant opening and adjusting to a new life.

After living in SF I knew I had to live somewhere with history and charm, and while there are many places in Seattle that would qualify, it’s also disappointing to see so many new, bland, and cheap apartments popping up all over the city. The Marlborough was originally built in 1928, but was just reopening after an extensive remodel/restoration, and even though it was the first apartment I saw (except for an awful condo in Beacon Hill that smelled like cats had lived and died there), I instantly knew it was so very me.

There was the large living room and bedroom…

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…a cozy little kitchen and dining nook…

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…original glass doornobs and crown moulding…

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…the separate DRESSING ROOM with french doors (in addition to a walk-in closet!)…

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(there was no way I was turning it into an office)

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…and killer subway and honeycomb tiles in the bathroom.

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Once well-loved by me, this sweet little home is available now. If, by chance, you’re on the hunt for a bachelorette pad you may want to check it out.

The Marlborough | 122o Boren Avenue | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.682.8800

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[image via VintageSeattle.org]

 



Accessories
April 29, 2013, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Green, Health, Home, Organic

accessories

Apologies for the delay with this final installment of my eco-friendly Earth Week favorites. (The neighbor we were stealing wi-fi from suddenly protected his network. The bastard.)  So here it is, a list of some socially conscious accessories and toys. Some of these are first steps in making an effort at a greener life, but I always look and hope for the next iterations just around the corner.

1.  Beeswax candles  Burning 100% beeswax candles are the best way to add a pure, natural fragrance to a room while also cleaning and purifying the air. Burning beeswax emits negative ions that get rid of odors and toxins (like dusts, molds, pollens, and viruses!) by attracting and destroying positively charged particles. Conventional candles and air fresheners are filled with chemicals, just read the label. While these candles are more expensive than others, they burn longer and much cleaner and have the most beautiful natural fragrance. Definitely worth the investment. We get ours from a local nunnery that makes them all by hand, but they are also available at Brookfarm General store.

2.  Baggu Bags  Always a favorite around here, I love the bright colors and heavy-lifting capacity of these guys. I love that Seattle has banned plastic bags and now charges for paper, so if saving paper wasn’t incentive enough, now there’s a toll to consider. They used to have great mesh produce bags that I still use and love. Since they’re no longer available try something like these.

3.  Powerstrip  Most of our electronics (TVs, laptops, phone chargers continue to pull power even when they’re not in use or powered on. It’s called Phantom Load, and the power leached is HUGE, so much so that when people switch to using a powerstrip they notice huge savings monthly. Simply plug all of your electronics into a single powerstrip and flip the switch to completely power off the flow of electricity.

Eco- Tip: Instead of buying new, try picking up a used one at Goodwill.

4.  Preserve toothbrush  These guys are made of recycled yogurt cups, and once you’re done you can send them back to Preserve to be recycled into plastic lumber for picnic tables and park benches. I’d prefer to move away from plastics completely, but at least these guys are doing something other than sending it to landfills. Send your brush back with the pre-addressed packaging, or save them up and drop them off at your nearest Whole Foods. They’ll send them back for you.

5.  Coyuchi Organic cotton linens  Again, moving away from conventional cotton is better for the environment and for you. Since we use our sheets and bath linens everyday it’s worth investing in some nice organic cotton. We love our Coyuchi’s, and I especially love stealing Andrew’s big bath blanket towels. They are often on sale at One King’s Lane, or check them out at Coyuchi site.

6.  Toyota Prius C  Until last fall I had been driving my first car (a ’98 Honda Civic) for the past 15 years! It’s not that I don’t lust after a sexy sports car, it was just that I am conscious of every mile I drive, and every tank I fill. With some nudging from mom and dad I started looking for a new car and as much as I fantasized about a badass Audi coupe there really was only one car that was truly me, and that was the new Prius C…a slightly sportier version of the classic Prius. Since I’m smaller I like that there are fewer blindspots in this body style. Perfect for scooting around town.  I love my little car, and more importantly I love my gas mileage!



Cleaning
April 25, 2013, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Green, Health, Home

Cleaning

 

These guys aren’t as fun or as sexy as pantry staples or cosmetics, but they are an easy and important way to be kind to the planet. The great things about them is that for the most part they’re easily accessible. Here are some of our favorite cleaners for laundry, dishes, and around the house.

1.  Food grade hydrogen peroxide (3%)  This guy again! It really is one badass all purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Again, must be food grade! Think all the benefits of bleach without the awful smell and toxic properties that are awful for us and aquatic life. It’s kind of mind blowing that this one ingredient can be used as a natural rinse for fruits and veggies, a clean way to disinfect countertops and bathrooms, AND also to purify skin, rinse for a clean mouth, and sanitize cuts and scrapes. All this from an extra oxygen molecule.

2-3.  Ecover Laundry Wash and Dish Tablets  A wonderful, forward thinking company with a great line of eco-friendly products that are quickly biodegradable and made with plant and mineral based ingredients. Their factories are run entirely on green electricity and even the bottles are made of a green plastic created from sugarcane (no use of crude oil). It’s a pretty amazing company, their site is a really interesting read.

4.  Natural wood brushes  No plastic on these guys, so there’s not as much guilt when they finally die and head to the garbage. Wood with sisal or tampico bristles. Lots of other great natural brushes at Brookfarm General Store.

5.  Bon Ami  Truly a good friend. This guy is perfect for scrubbing the tub or a greasy pan. Five simple ingredients. There’s also the original 1886 version which I just learned about.

Tomorrow’s the last day to celebrate Earth Week, so I’ll close out with my favorite accessories for around the house! (Are you enjoying this as much as I am?)



Kitchen and Pantry
April 23, 2013, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Farmer's Market, Food, Green, Health, Home

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One of the biggest impacts we have on the planet is the way we eat. Stigma’s and elitisms aside, eating locally, seasonally, and organically is one of the best things we can do to spare the environment. Here are a few of my favorite kitchen and pantry staples that are either from close by or are amazing products grown with eco-friendly, biodynamic methods.

1.  Eating Locally, Seasonally, and GMO-free. The average piece of produce on the shelf is 7-10 days old! Nutrients dissipate, so supporting your local farmer means fresher, happier produce, but it also means you’re eating what’s in season. You know those beautiful berries you see at the store in December? Perhaps they’re organic, perhaps not; regardless though, we aren’t meant to eat berries in December. Industrial Organic agriculture may have fewer pesticides but it is far from eco-friendly as the amount of irrigated water and transportation (often times) into the country takes a huge amount of resources. This article from the New York Times sheds some light on the Industrial Organic model. It’s sadly, not a good one.

2.  Briden Wilson Farms Organic Almonds  A family farm in Arbuckle, California that produces beautiful, organic raw almonds. They grow both natural and organic, but it’s very exciting that they have just planted an additional organic orchard. It shows that every socially responsible food purchase you make is a vote toward greener agriculture. As they live and work on the farm their use of chemicals for the natural almonds is often avoided by encouraging natural predators to the pests that will help to minimize disease and infestation. We love supporting this small family farm, so we purchase these almonds in bulk for homemade almond milk, and almond butter.

3.  Aptera Olive Oil When I can’t get a product locally, I make sure that what I do get is of superior quality and produced with eco-friendly practices. This olive oil from the island of Crete is not only one of the best olive oils in our collection, but the pricepoint is crazy affordable. It is also naturally organic as it is illegal to spray pesticides on the island. Most of the island still uses old-world biodynamic farming methods. I get this guy at Central Co-op.

4.  de Buyer Mineral B Pans  It’s virtually impossible to find non non-stick pans. Everything has a teflon coating (even Polar Bears and dolphins do now). It’s a toxic chemical that we don’t want in us (women of child-bearing age and children especially), and we don’t want in our water. Making the switch to steel pans may take slightly more care than conventional non-sticks, but your cooking, your food, and even your health will improve dramatically.

de Buyer has been manufacturing steel pans in France since 1830. The Mineral B pans are made of 99% iron with no chemicals or coatings. An organic beeswax finish is used to prevent oxidation during shipping, and also to aid in seasoning for natural non-stick surface. These pans are not only free from chemicals, but they are the best you can get period. Now easily found stateside, you can find them at Williams Sonoma and other kitchen shops.

5.  Pride and Joy Raw Milk  You know your milk will be good when the farmers consider themselves “grass farmers who also milk cows.” Pride and Joy manages their pastures without the use of any chemicals or genetically modified ingredients because their cows eat 100% grass (clover, alfalfa, and chicory too) during grazing season, and the finest hay during non-grazing months. While this leads to a lower yield per cow it ultimately results in a healthier herd and the highest quality milk. Their cows produce milk for up to 12 years, compared to just 3-4 with a conventional dairy. The girls are never given hormones and when antibiotics are used (only in life threatening situations) that cow is removed from the herd, the milk is not used, and the cow is no longer considered organic.

Raw milk is very difficult to find in Washington state, but it’s important to use in place of pasteurized because it is alive with active enzymes, antioxidants, and amino and fatty acids. All of this and more is killed during pasturization and homogenization. Unpasteurized means less resources and energy. Better for you and better for the environment.

Located in Granger, WA. Milk is available for pick-up, but also available at certain co-ops in Seattle. If you’re not in the Seattle area, look for a local dairy and research their farm and practices.

6.  Hama Hama Oysters  Sustainably farmed at the base of the Hama Hama river, in the Hood Canal, the Hama Hama oyster farm has been around since 1922. The oysters grow slowly taking twice as long to reach maturity. Still owned by the same family the farming practices from the oysters to the sustainably harvested timber are as green as you can get. We love our Hama Hama’s. And if you’re interested, you’ll find Andrew and me at their Oyster Rama this Saturday (April 27th).

7.  Bob’s Red Mill  Employee owned, non-GMO seeds, and one of the largest organic whole grains lines in the country Bob’s uses traditional methods of grinding whole grains with a stone mill that stays at cool temperatures. This ensures the nutrients stay in tact and uses less energy. Milling, testing, packaging, and distributing is all done in-house too. We don’t use too much flour, but when I bake I love Bob’s organic flour. We also love his stone ground oats for oatmeal.

8.  Jo Landron Atmospheres sparkling wine  One of my all-time favorite glasses of bubbly you may remember my post on it here. In 1999 the vineyard was certified as 100% organic and by 2008 the vineyard was converted and certified as fully biodynamic. The fruit is only ever harvested by hand, and the bubbly itself is created in the traditional method meaning that the second fermentation is done in the bottle. If I’m going to enjoy a bottle of sparkling wine it’s so much better knowing it’s biodynamic and chemical-free. (Hence, no hangover the next day!)

 



Enamel Storage Boxes
April 18, 2013, 11:47 am
Filed under: Home

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I like the idea of enamelware in the kitchen, but we don’t have a need for it as bakeware since we already have plenty of that. I thought instead that I’d pick up a few pieces from the new West Elm Market collection to use  to organize different nooks in the kitchen. The pieces I got seemed nice enough, perhaps for their intended use in the oven, but there was something off about them on the countertops. And then when Andrew referred to them as The Chamber Pot collection I was indeed over the enamelware as a countertop thing. (I ended up settling on a small lacquer tray for the salt and peppers instead.)

That’s not to say that I’m not up for proper enamelware storage, though, like these guys here. I like the idea of the air-tight Acacia wood tops and the versatility of the enamelware base that is oven and dishwasher safe. We’d get a lot of use out of these for leftover storage and probably even more for lunch boxes of sorts. Right now we have these German glass containers that don’t really travel well. I can definitely see these packed with a nice big salad thrown into a baggu for a nice, and easily transportable, afternoon lunchie.

Small $30, Large $40

 



Salt & Pepper
March 25, 2013, 10:14 am
Filed under: Home, Organization

saltnpepIn part of a larger attempt to get organized I finally got around to coralling our crazy collection of salts and peppers. It’s a small step but a welcomed change that has already streamlined how we work by giving our and most-used peppers and salts (believe it or not we have more!) a permanent place.

For the peppers I went with a set of white Vic Firth pepper mills. Remember my earlier comps trying to decide on colors and shapes? Right now they are housing white, black, pink, and grains of paradise. For the salts we have a mishmash of containers but it works perfectly and it’s easy to switch them out for others. The tray is from a bathroom set at West Elm ($16). We’ll see how the lacquer holds up in the kitchen, but for now it’s perfect.

One nook down and three more to go. I still don’t know what to do with our huge collection of spices, teas, and supplements. I will take any suggestions…please! It’s driving me nuts.



Bookshelves
March 20, 2013, 11:52 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home

bookshelvesWhen I was in school I worked as a production assistant at small book publisher that designed the most beautiful museum and coffee table art books. My collection of books mostly consists of those that I worked on, but Andrews collection is the coolest library of literature, poetry, travel guides, cookbooks, and random reference books. One of my favorite things that I’ve learned from Andrew is taking the time to research from a book rather than just jumping online to Google or Wikipedia. There’s something kind of romantic and rewarding about it, and it makes me happy. While my books aren’t part of the mix yet, and incorporating them is going to be quite a task, his wall of books so easily became ours with just a few little touches like the vintage persimmon print and the vision board.bookshelves2

My first instinct was to rearrange the cookbooks by color and then it dawned on me…I am so over color-coded books. Yes I remember things by color, but I also remember by shape and size and placement. So arranging for the sake of arranging is just so bleh, and I’m tired of contrived interiors. I liked them as they were so now I have to have Andrew move them back.



Cloth Extension Cords
March 4, 2013, 11:35 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Home

cordsWe have this little corner of the house that was in desperate need of a lamp, and now that I’ve brought a few of mine over it is looking just as I’d hoped. It really is wonderful how the addition of a single element can completely change the tone of a room, and really elevate a mood. I may be a lighting nerd, but I am so happy with the lighting scheme that’s going on here lately. There is one small problem, though, as this sweet little corner is missing an outlet. For now the cord is conspicuously reaching through the door into the bedroom, and while it’s not terrible it does call for a more presentable solution.

These woven cloth extension cords from our very favorite Best Made Company are just that solution since there’s no way I’d want to hide it. I’m thinking the yellow will be the one for this job, but there may also be a use for the red in another area…at least I’m hoping.

Made in Massachusetts and New York. 8 feet, $38.




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