Friday, January 25, 2013

Design Trend - Hedgehogs?

HI Everyone so I know I have missed a few days blogging - this brutal cold New York weather has clouded my mind and my mood (ever notice how the cold just gets you down?). Anyway I came across a post on Apartment Therapy today discussing possible new design trends and I was reading all the comments and several people mentioned Hedgehogs? Seems like a rather random design motif - but I did a little searching and found some cute items. But I am still not convinced that I love these - what do you think??

Pottery Barn Kids Hedgehog Bookends $29.99
Splendid Avenue Wooden Hedgehog Clock - $68.00 Owl and Hedgehog Print - $12.99

Land of Nod Hedgehog Nightlight - $99.00

Dwell Studios Hedgehog Wall Hook - $28.00
Decoylab Hedgehog Brooch - $12.00
So I think this could def. work as a nursery theme check out this duvet cover

Etsy Store DMDesigns - $72.50
But maybe a few of these pieces can work in adult spaces to add a little whimsy and fun! We have seen the Owl make it's way into decor and the Deer and the Octopus! Maybe it's time for the hedgehog to move in!

I am going to leave you with this super cute story of a cat that adopted a few baby hedgehogs - so cute!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Product Review: Vacuums

So I thought I would dedicate this post to the review of a product I purchased and have been using for some time now. Vacuum's are a tricky purchase sometimes you can spend a whole lot of money and be stuck with a dud! It's hard to know which one will work best for you. So I am going to share my experiences to help in this daunting purchase process.

I will start off with my first real vacuum purchase about 5 years ago. I bought this Hoover Bagless Upright Vacuum, now the one I had was an older version (different color) and didn't have a retractable cord as this one now appears to have. But other than that it seems to be the same.

I bought this one because I was developing allergies to dust and I was living in an old apartment building at the time and I am pretty sure there was dust infested in the all the walls and floors making my allergies go crazy! SO I was attempting any remedy I could. This vacuum has a Hepa filter that claims to be helpful in controlling dust allergens. I used this vacuum for about 4-5 years and brought it over to my new apartment. It seemed to do the job. Although it often got clogged up and would not pick up dirt. Dust and dirt would get stuck in the inside canister preventing new dirt to come in. So I would have to get my hands in there and rip it out - always a pleasant experience. But I suppose that is bound to happen over time? My reason for finally tossing this monster - is just that! It is a beast of a thing. It is very heavy and large. I am living in a 850 sq. ft apartment, with a LOT of furniture. SO maneuvering around furniture was next to impossible also storing this this thing was a challenge. Closet space is valuable and this one needed it's own closet! SO moral of the story if you live in an apartment with little open living space and limited storage this is not the vacuum to get. Also I would not recommend this if you have two levels - bringing this thing up and down stairs would not be fun.

So when I wised up I started searching for smaller, light weight vacuums that offered greater ease for mobility, that's when I stumbled on the Dirt Devil FeatherLite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum, SD40100

I read the reviews for this item and most of them were favorable and said it had good suction and was light and easy to move around. Also the price was amazing!! SO I went for it. And I have had it for about 6 months now - and I love it! The suction is great and it can get around all my furniture with so much greater ease! Some of the reviews I read touched on the fact that it is low to the ground so you have to kinds hunch over to vacuum and I can see that - but it really isn't that big of a deal, vacuuming is a chore so some work is involved regardless - ha! The other thing the reviews mention was that it is loud. This I didn't really notice - although Jules does run for hills every time the vacuum comes out - but that's not really a good judging factor he does the same thing every time I turn on the hair dryer and he hides under the bed during thunder storms. But I have a little video here you can check it out for yourself.

Also the canister is easily removable and simple to empty.

All in all I think this is a great vacuum - the price is amazing and it is very lightweight and it storage is not a problem at all it tucks away nicely in the closet. So that is my two cents on vacuums! Hope that helps someone.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wine Glassiness

So I have a little confession to make - I am a bit of a wine glass snob. I can be rather picky when it comes to my wine glasses. I like a nice large, lightweight, clear and beautiful glass to sip my vino from. I also have another problem when it comes to wine glasses - when I find one I like - I need to have it. SO I have developed a bit of an eclectic wine glass collection - and I love it! Who ever said you need to have a complete set of one type of wine glass? I love setting my dinner table with a variety of wine glasses! Check out my Thanksgiving table here.

I am even OK with serving white wine in a red wine glass and vice versa (although I wasn't always this way that was a bit of a progression). My feeling is if it feels good - go with it! But drinking out of a bad wine glass is the worst! For your general knowledge here is a basic outline of the different types of wine glasses.
  1. Port, 2. Brandy snifter 3. white wine, 4. red wine, 5. red burgundy,6. Champagne flute 7. Champagne coupe
1. Port, 2. Brandy snifter 3. white wine, 4. red wine, 5. red burgundy,6. Champagne flute 7. Champagne coupe

So what makes one wine glass good and one bad?

There are a lot of articles and expert advice on how to pick a wine glass and what wine to drink from what glass from the real wine snobs out there. You can read this article here from Forbes magazine where CEO of crystal glassware company Reidel, Maximillian Reidel explains his process and how he goes about making the proper glass for wine. He gives two tips to get you started into the wine glass world.

  • 1. Buy the varietal specific glass of the varietal you enjoy the most and built your collection from there. If you love Pinot Noir, buy a Pinot Noir glass, for example.
  • 2. Spend approx. the same amount of money per glass that you do on your bottle of wine.
Now I don't necessarily think you need to go with the most expensive wine glass, I believe there are some cost effective glasses out there that work just as well. And as I mentioned earlier I tend to gravitate toward the larger glasses which are typically for red wine and I like to drink white wine from them as well. But that is just a personal preference and it's kind of like one of those instances where you know the rules and you purposely choose where to break them for your preference. My biggest issue with wine glasses is the thickness of the glass. A very thick-lipped glass is not meant for drinking wine. Like these from Libby - stay away from these!!
Libby Glassware
When you have a thinner lip the wine can fall into your mouth much smoother. Also a large body allows for swirling, breathing and movement for the wine. Here is another article from Wine Spectator that is helpful. They point out that it is best not to fill the glass completely when serving, give the wine some space to move around in the glass. Check this out regarding swirling your wine. Moving the wine around in your glass helps to aerate the wine and brings out the natural aromas and flavors.
For my wine glass collection I do have a few "sets" of wine glasses but I would get depressed when one broke and then I had an uneven set. SO decided to throw the idea of a set of wine glasses out the window and I started buying up glasses that I loved. Marshall's and TJ Max are great for this. They usually have single glasses for sale and often on clearance so you can get a great deal on a typically expensive glass. Garage sales and thrift stores are good too. Also when I go to wine shops or wine bars they will sometimes let you purchase a glass or it is sometimes included in a tasting! OK OK and maybe when I go to a restaurant and really really like a glass they served the wine in, and since it wasn't for sale, it might have ended up in my purse on the way out the door (but of course I will never admit to that if you asked me again). So here is a birds eye view of my collection that sits nicely in my china cabinet.

I have so many different glasses in the collection I can't even tell you where they all came from (and I might incriminate myself) but here are some of my favorites in the the wine glass world.
1. Crate and Barrell Hip Red wine glass 2. Reidel Vivant Pinot Noir glass 3. Lenox Tuscany Classics Balloon Glass 4. Waterford Marquis Full bodied Red Wine glass
OK what if you don't have access to a fabulous wine glass? I find it a sin to drink wine out of a disposable plastic cup - but alas I know that there are times when this is necessary.  For instance picnics and outdoor arenas that do not allow glass are such instances. Over the summer I discovered this amazing product and I have to share it with you! They are acrylic wine glasses by govino, they are super durable for outdoor use, and they feel great and have a super thin lip. A great alternative to a plastic cup. I discovered them at this wine shop in Brooklyn but you can buy them online! Amazon has them for $12.95 for a pack of 4.

via govino
So I hope I have offered you some insight into proper glassware and perhaps I have narrowed in on the quest to outlaw thick-lipped glasses used to consume wine. Or at the very least you will think twice when you grab for the stemware you serve or drink your next glass of wine in. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ugly Holiday Sweater Party

via Instagram
SO I know the holidays are past us now (even though I still have a pile of holiday decorations waiting to go into storage) so clearly I am a little behind! But I wanted to post about a holiday party we threw this year - it was super festive!
Apparently this idea of "Ugly Holiday Sweater Party" is a phenomenon that unbeknownst to me sweeps the holiday season. I am not sure how I got this far in life never hearing of this...but alas I am now in the know!
Also I didn't realize how hard it was to find a really ugly holiday sweater these days! I know I have had them in my day, gifts given to me through the years that a forced smile and thank you must be expressed to the generous giver of that holiday adorned sweater. Too bad I didn't hold on to them - what I would have given for that holiday cat sweatshirt I had when I was 15 =/
So the search for the perfect holiday sweater was daunting, I scoured thrift stores, department stores and discount chains like Target and Khols but I found the best place was a thrift store and I hit the jackpot at our local Salvation Army. There were so many good choices but I ended on this bad boy! I paired it with a festive top I found at old navy and some bright red tights! Oh and of course some reindeer ears.
We held a contest at the party for the ugliest sweater and I  have to say - there were a lot of ugly sweaters there, def. some great finds. But ultimately the winner was my brother -and he made his own holiday sweater. A trip to Michael's a little bit of crafting and this is what he came up with! (Yay! we are a DIY family)
We set up a photo booth in the bedroom, I put wrapping paper on the wall as a backdrop and guests had fun posing in their ugly sweaters. We had one Halloween sweater at the party as I did not discriminate on what holiday the sweater could be for, and of course my favorite sweater of the night you can see here with the white holiday cats - loved it!)
Some of our guests got a little carried away with the photo's and they hijacked the cat's scratching post. Jules was hiding safely in the closet during the commotion but I don't think he was too pleased about this.
A trip to Home Depot for some last minute decorations for the party ended with this coming home and landing in my tub! Guests got a pleasant surprise when they visited the bathroom (not only did he light up but his head moved!). Sadly he was returned to Home Depot the following day as I certainly have no place to be storing that beast all year long.
Photo via
I did a little DIY decorating as I came across this "Steal this idea" post on Brooklyn Limestone a few days before the party and so I did! I cut out letters from red construction paper and strung it up! It was rather time consuming so I only got one string across the room but I put some up along the wall.
Please ignore the gaping hole in the ceiling where a light fixture should be - and stay tuned for a future post regarding my never ending search for lighting!

We also played some party games at the party one being White Elephant Gift exchange. And this was super fun! All the guests were asked to bring a wrapped gift ($5-10) and we picked names out of a hat and each person choose a gift, opened it and then the next person could either pick a new gift or steal a previous gift that was opened. Surprisingly the most coveted gift of the night was a vintage 1982 issue of Penthouse (someone stole it out of their parent's collection) and yes these were late 20s to 30 somethings at this party. Other fun gifts were an old boom box (with a tape deck!) we aren't sure if it actually worked and I think it was picked up from the trash on the way to the party - but it offered a good laugh when it was opened. I walked away with a bottle of wine so I felt like a winner! We then played a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity which is an awesome "adult" party game, it's a saucier version of Apples to Apples. All in all it was a fun night filled with holiday cheer!

OK well time to take the holiday decorations down to storage, until next year!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Go!

Happy 2013!!! I know it has been a while since my last post and I have along list of prepared excuses that I keep repeating to myself to find some kind of justification,but that fact of the matter is... there is no good excuse.  Sure I can say the holidays got a little crazy, work started to pick up, I took on a part time job, I discovered Dexter (and there are 8 seasons!). And yes these are all valid excuses but really it makes me realize that this blog is yet another unfinished outlet of my life.

All too often I find myself full of wonderful ideas that I put in motion, like the stamping starter kit I bought at Michael's that got one use and went back into the half organized closet - that never got completed.The jewelry tree I am making for my friend that is painted and has a base but has been sitting sadly unconnected on my entry way table (next to a pile of unopened mail) for months now. The 2nd Hunger Games book that I bought immediately after finishing the first one and sits on the shelf never cracked open. And this list can go on and on. I am not sure what is it that stops me from finishing the great feats I set in motion - apprehension? boredom? fear? laziness? life? But there is one area in my life that my follow-through has proved successful and it dawned on me - perhaps I need to pull from whatever it is that drives me in that area into other areas of my life.

So what is it that I have so dutifully followed through with and without fail never falter at - yoga! Yes I am yoga addict - perhaps it is the addiction that drives me but I keep a steady 5-6 day a week yoga practice and I am very diligent (obsessed?). I plan my work meetings around yoga, I plan my social activities around yoga. Pretty much everything else runs secondary to me being able to make it to that daily hot yoga class. So yes my friends think I am a little crazy but this is one area of my life I have managed to keep up with and can't live without. And in fact before I discovered yoga this was a similar case with going to the gym - I always held a pretty steady and stringent workout routine. I always needed this constant in my life and made every effort to keep it going. SO I have started to ask myself why and how I can apply this to other areas of my life.

At the beginning of last year my yoga studio proposed a 30 day challenge. 30 days. 30 yoga class. At this time I was averaging 3-4 classes a week (which was decent) however the switch up to 7 days was scary but I took the challenge! I was even more stringent on making classes than I was before and I was careful to not overdo it in class and I paced myself, looking for that balance that would enable me to complete the challenge. And I did it! One class a day for 30 days! I realized that I could wake up early on a Sunday! (granted Sunday remains my one day off now) but the challenge helped me to see that it was possible. And following the challenge my practice was seemlessly upped to 5-6 days a week which I have held strong (give or take a vacation here and there) now a year later. And I completed the mid year challenge without a problem and I started doubling up on classes like it was no sweat (ha!).

So taking those 30 days and making going to a yoga class a daily priority conditioned me to continue it after the challenge. The premise behind the challenge is that they say it takes 21 days to form a habit (and well 30 was just a more even number!) so if you do something for 30 days you are essentially creating a habit. You condition your body and your mind and you just do it. SOOOO of course my yoga studio is doing this challenge again and it starts today - of course I am doing it again (I have a reputation to uphold) but I am thinking of adding my own challenge in regarding my blog.

30 days, 30 blog posts!! I realize this is rather ambitious and running it simultaneously with the yoga challenge is probably a bit much - but I figured to just go for it! I want to take this blog to the next level and without posting that is never going to happen. So I figure for 30 days I am going to make this a priority. Now you may see some shorter posts, I may stray from my DIY, design mode to maybe recipies? travel? who knows!  I am going to try to mix things up and see what works and what doesn't. I can certianly use some help! So let me know what you would like to see on here and if anyone has a design dilemma - please email me! You can email me at

So what can you commit to for 30 days? These challenges work better with support! =) Ok here I go ... look for another post tomorrow and time to finish up some work so I can make my yoga class...ha!