Here is a little secret Sweetheart hipped me to: when it is chilly and grey and perhaps may snow and the sky looks like the underside of a steel mixing bowl, and you wish you could be magically transported from your cold old desk to a land of tropical breezes, louche afternoons, and honeysuckle-bougainvillea twilights, then just put on WWOZ, live streaming radio out of New Orleans. It is truly awesome, and these ceaseless winter days we need all the help we can get. Get thee there.
This plant in my apartment:
image from here (seriously ET is the best, I cried).
After seeing Jenny’s Mom’s sideboard looking so fresh and so clean (almost as an aside in this post about the lovely green wallpaper), I decided to tackle our identical Ikea NORDEN for my first project. I capitalize NORDEN because anytime I say any Ikea name I say it loud and in a bad/deep Swedish accent. Here is the naked NORDEN:First, let me tell you a few things about our apartment. It is the whole bottom (read: basement) floor of a classic Brooklyn Brownstone. The kitchen is HUGE by New York standards (110 sqare feet) and our landlords re-did it a few years ago, choosing the marble-and-cherry wood finish and stainless steel appliances that were so very popular at that time. All the nitty gritty kitchen functiony things about it are pretty great (storage, counter space, big sink, dishwasher [!!!!!], large gas range with griddle etc.) and we cook in it ALL the time. But… it will never look like this:It will never look like this for a few reasons: a) I am not Julia Child (sigh) b) our kitchen has no windows, it is, in fact, in the very middle of our apartment which is in the very bottomest darkest basement and c) there are no plugs in the kitchen into which to plug such a thing as a standing mixer and/or a lamp so- no-knead bread and overhead lighting it is. But I digress. Since I couldn’t just up and move to France, it was time to paint my NORDEN. For that I needed my Mama. We had ingeniously scheduled for her to come and visit at the exact time when the need to revamp was reaching a critical fever. With her help and guidance, we had two major projects lined up, first take care of das Norden and second, to paint the old secretary that I use for my desk (spoiler: you will be seeing some pictures of this very soon). We went together to pick out paint and decided on these two colors. Martha Stewart Oolong Tea- a sandy celadon we hoped would read less yellow- for the NORDEN, and Gabardine- a blue-green-grey color equal parts “stormy sea” and “I think the man in this suit is a spy”- for the secretary. Even after many inspiration based e-mails on the subject and lots of in-person discussion spent contrasting the colors of my pots and pans, we still probably talked about it for, like, an hour at the Home Depot on Nostrand Avenue next to the Sugar Hill club. We got our paints mixed, bought a few tools and a fair amount of wine and got to work sanding and priming. We had help the whole time:After our first round of sanding and priming, we had to leave the NORDEN in the middle of the kitchen overnight, so we ordered takeout and started in on the wine. About a bottle into it we looked at each other and said: We’ve got the colors backwards! NORDEN must be GABARDINE not OOLONG! In vino veritas. The next morning we started in on the gabardine, and spent most of the day on the floor. We had a very good time down there:When all was said and done, we loved it. We kept looking at it and saying “It looks more blue than green!”, then “it looks more green than blue”:Do I wish my kitchen were different? Yes. Do I wish it was brighter, airier, and not lit by four recessed floods? Yes. But, honestly, I can’t realistically change those things, so instead of maintaining some sort of bitter renters inertia, the simple act of just painting the NORDEN made our kitchen feel absolutely marvelous. Now the cast iron wok and the red dutch oven are friends, the fruits and strange amaros are close at hand, and we feel a bit more human.
More ever-loving thanks to Mama, who- as we’ve already established– never does anything half assed.
Julia Child’s marvelous kitchen from here.
After my jaunt through Rome, I’m off on a Mediterranean cruise through various exotic ports of call, where I’ll be sporting a fabulous one piece, drinking Pina Coladas, wearing a caftan, and lounging on the Lido Deck (see above). If there’s internet on the wine dark seas, you’ll be hearing from me. If not, picture me eating Thanksgiving dinner in Turkey. Ciao, turkeys.
amazing caftan image from here.
I love stockings, and I just realized that it’s time to break them out again and I need some new ones (how does this happen every year? do they slink away during the summer when I’m not looking?). Check out this great breakdown of man vs. tights in New York Magazine. They take 11 different brands of stockings and put them through various mechanized tests that effectively mimic “crossing your legs under a ‘reclaimed wood’ trestle table at a hipster place”, “accidentally snagging them on your other shoe”, and “somehow poking a hole in them while putting them on WTF”. All of this happens at FIT’s textile lab, which sounds like a hosiery-version of the dungeon in “The Princess Bride”:The winner for softest stockings were my personal favorite Wolford Velvet De Luxe (these also come in a thigh-high version just to be extra awesome- get them from Journelle) and the strongest were my second “I’m broke” go to- Sparkle and Fade from Urban Outfitters. WIN!
Princess Bride image from here.
Seeing as I already have the boots from when I was thinking about going as “Miss Piggy playing the Accordion”, I’m thinking Sexy Inexplicable Melancholy sounds doable. Though if I can get someone to go as “Masculine Toast Points” with me, then maybe Sexy Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg is where it’s at. So much sexy.
As always, thanks to Meags for this (who’s going as “Sexy First Edition ‘Old Man and the Sea'” of course.)