Anonymous asked: Hi! I just wanted to stop by and say that I love your blog! The images you have posted of your apartment are seriously inspiring. You did an amazing job! I also took a peak at your Instagram, and your photos on there make me feel all giddy, haha. I dream of living in New York one day. My experience will be a little different than yours because I have a little one that will be coming with, but so far what are your favorite and least favorite things about the Big Apple? Xoxo

Thank you so much!! That’s so sweet of you! 

…and oh gosh… my favorite and least favorite things??? 

My favorite thing about living here is EVERYTHING. In the half year I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve only just barely chipped the surface on all of the the things there are to love about this city. The people, the places, the FOOD… I know it sounds very vague and a little cliched, but I really do love just about everything. Of course there are days when I feel like I’ll move tomorrow, but those are so few and far between (and usually fueled by something silly like a bad commute on the train)  and something always happens not long after to remind me of how great it is to live here. 

I have such admiration for people who live here with little ones! Good luck to you!! 

My Brooklyn Apartment: Before & After

It’s Saturday, everyone! I’ve been getting a few notes from you all asking about how I found and fixed up my apartment, and figured I’d use the bleak weather here in Brooklyn today as an excuse to finally sit and put together a little before and after of my space and maybe a few pointers on how I re-did a few things on a pretty strict budget. 

So…. let’s start with the before. I moved to New York pretty quickly.  I was offered my job in early May and started in mid June.  A little over a month may seem like a decent span of time to get that sort of thing together, but leaving my old job, getting someone to sublet my old place, figuring out what to do with all my furniture (really, so much furniture… how did i accumulate so much furniture?) annnnnd finding a place to live in a city that I’d only been to once for three days on my job interview  in just a few weeks was no cake walk. 

I decided I’d leave pretty much everything I owned at home (thanks for letting me leave so much stuff in your basement, mom) and move here with two suitcases.  Luckily I had a few friends in the city who all graciously offered me their homes until I could find one of my own.  I jumped from couch to couch in Bushwick, on 110th, in Williamsburg, and Park Slope, none of which I could really afford to make my permanent landing spot, (but I wanted you so bad, Park Slope) so I decided to venture away from what my pre-conceived idea was of the “perfect” neighborhood and discovered Crown Heights. 

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While not “the” trendy neighborhood, it works for me and I was able to find a place that met the needs that were most important to me… safe, room for all my stuff (all that aforementioned furniture) and my apartment had no shortage of potential.  I looked at so many apartments that were “newly remodeled with stainless-steel everything” but with that you also get $$$$$ and tiiiiny and I realized, you know what? who cares. 

I’d looked at about 15 places, and none of them worked.  They were either too expensive, too small (like, entire apartments for multiple people that were smaller than my college dorm room) or someone else was able to sign the lease and hand over the cash before I could get everything together (happened probably 12 of the 15 times.)  Finally, on the 4th of july, I came out to crown heights to look at yet another “freshly remodeled” apartment, only to have the broker tell me that it had rented that morning while I was on my way over.  

He must have seen the look of desperation and defeat on my face, because he told me had another place that he’d just gotten the call for, and while he hadn’t been over to see it yet, (so he couldn’t speak to what sort of shape it was in) he’d take me. 

It was pretty bleak.

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(Do you see that rainbow ceiling fan??? With all the caked-on dirt?) 

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Initially, I was like NOPE.  N-O-P-E. Nope. 

But, the clouds began to lift, and inevitably, other people came to look at the place while I was there, and in a mode of pure panic and fear of loosing yet ANOTHER place, I said “I’LL TAKE IT.”  So, flash-forward through some pretty serious doubt, getting my roommate’s approval (who was finishing her master’s degree in spain and wouldn’t be moving in until September) and some really, really, reallllllllllly deep cleaning and paint, I moved in.

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wonderingviator asked: Where did yo get the gorgeous owl print above your bed from? I have fallen in LOVE with it!

Hi!  I actually purchased a book of bird prints (you can find them in the discount section at B&N on the regular) and have been dissecting it to use  as art for years!  I just found three in the book that went together and picked up frames at target!  Hope that helps! 

and thank you! 

A New Years Party via the West Elm website…. oi. 

After a week at home in the midwest, I’m about to return to the city to face January and the rest of the winter season. I’ve only been through a few flurries in the city thus far, but I do know that things are about to get cold. and slushy. and mucky. and grey.

My typical uniform for the winter is as follows:  black. black. black. black coat, sweater, hat, gloves, etc.  Maybe with a punch of grey thrown in for variety. Are you catching my drift?  My winter wardrobe doesn’t know what “color” means. 

Well, good news is i’ve fallen in love… with a pair of pants.  Bright orange patterned pants.  What a swift way to stick out your tongue at winter and chant nana-nana-boo-boo.  

Because I’m off work this week and sitting on my mother’s couch with a golden doodle curled up at my side, I had time to put together a little board of things I’d use to combat the winter blahs with said bright orange patterned pants.  Some of these things are already in my my closet (the bean boots, transport tote, and madewell parka which is the most luxuriously warm thing I’ve ever worn in my life (I’ve even worn the lining to bed once or twice on those extremely cold nights…oops)) and some of them are things I wish were in my closet. 

Mostly the essentials… coffee (always coffee), a great book, an extra-warm sweater, an emergency kit including nail polish remover, deodorant, and EARRING BACKS… do you know how many pairs of $5 earrings I’ve picked up at Duane Reade just for the earring backs?  I don’t know either, it’s that many… oof.  Warm boots, a new phone case, something sparkly for my wrist, something pretty for my wall at home (this is an interior design blog after all) and some lip balm that doubles at hand salve. 

Throw in some museum passes or movie tickets and you’ve got yourself a perfect survival kit for making it through a winter in the city (or anywhere for that matter.) ENJOY!

Life updates, Christmas in Brooklyn Edition! 

With every new season I spend here in NYC, I swear it’s my favorite. (The babe in all of these photos is my roommate, Sarah)

oh, Hi.  This is my bedroom…. with 1,000+ notes on it.  

#eek  

Via The Selby

artfood asked: I just read the article on your fabulous apartment on Design*Sponge- congratulations! Your place is so, so gorgeous and you have amazing taste :)

Thank you SO very much! So glad so many people are reaching out, it’s been such a fun little adventure to take part in! 

Joanna Goddard likes my apartment! 

Pretty exciting considering I think she’s one of the most inspirational people in the blogosphere. 

Eek! 

Hiya, Gorgeous. 

A dream kitchen in Manhattan. 

Via Domino

Via The Selby

North Fork of Long Island 

Via The Selby

Explorers Club, NYC

Via The Selby

Explorers Club, NYC

If you would have asked me what my favorite Holiday was as a child, I would have, without hesitation, answered Halloween. But now that I’ve gotten a little older, and my tastebuds have decided that chocolate and candy are no longer my favorite food (okay, maybe that’s a lie) Thanksgiving is quickly rising to the top of my Holiday list.

Because my immediate family consists of just my mother, grandmother, and myself, the Thanksgivings of my childhood were always pretty small. But when I started college, something shifted.  We began taking in my college roommates and friends who couldn’t get home for the holidays, we combined forces with our Italian neighbors, and our Thanksgivings became an all-out, over the top, celebration of food and friends. 

This year is no exception (we’re expecting 20 some people….) and my mom has been handing the reigns over to me slowly but surely every year. 

That being said, I’ve been searching for recipes to provide little alternatives every year… Not that there’s anything wrong with the classics, but one can only eat mushy stuffing with celery so many times over the years before an update is necessary.  

Here are a few of the recipes I’m hoping to try this year with my family to provide some small but exciting twists on the classics, while still keeping the traditionalists (sorry, Nana) happy. 

1) Pretzel Bread Quinoa Stuffing with Garlic Butter Mushrooms. Uh, Hello.  I’m going to be honest.  I don’t like stuffing.  Mushy bread that’s been cooked for hours inside a bird just doesn’t appeal to me… Call me crazy. Anyway, when I saw this recipe the lightbulb finally went on.  I’ll never win the battle of replacing my nana’s original stuffing recipe all together, but I think I can make this in addition to hers and maybe sway the masses.  

2) Grilled Kale and Radicchio with Almonds and Balsamic-Orange Glaze.  Light, colorful, and the new brooklynite in me appreciates the kale.  Done. 

3) Sweet Potato Biscuits.  I’ve made these before, and I’ll make them again. and again. and again. and again. I usually make them with soups and stews (and double the recipe to have enough leftover the morning after for an egg and bacon sandwich) but I think they’ll be a great addition to our holiday menu.  Plus, can you really ever have too many dishes with sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving? 

4) Sweet Potato Coconut Casserole. Marshmallows + coconut + sweet potatoes. In the words of Saint Martha, it’s a good thing.  

5) Pear Cranberry Slab Pie. Of course there will be pumpkin pie at our table (and pecan, apple, and sweet potato) but this looks like a great update to feed a crowd of people who probably are ready for dessert before the first slice of turkey is even carved.