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Monthly Archives: September 2013

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how dreamy is this dumbo duplex, as featured in harper’s bazaar? all soothing hues and cozy textures, it manages to feel both modern yet classic. i mean, hello, two story living room and floor to ceiling windows. it’s no surprise that this home is gorgeous, of course, because it belongs to interior designer athena calderone, who also pens the blog eye swoon.

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my favorite design element of the space has got to be those luxe looking dining chairs. can you imagine having a passover seder in those babies? on this night, we recline. oh hells yes we do, in FUR.  that velvet chesterfield above ain’t too shabby either.

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man oh man do i wish i had high ceilings. they make it so much easier to have amazingly awesome light fixtures. i love the black and gold pendants above the breakfast bar, but it’s that sputnik below that i’m truly coveting. what’s so interesting about this space is that the building itself is all modern, clean lines, but the furniture tells all sorts of stories. it’s a new construction apartment, but it doesn’t feel at all cold. on the contrary, it’s a warm, welcoming space. as gorgeous and magazine-worthy as it is, you can tell that real people live here, albeit insanely cool real people.

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i’m also a huge fan of the color palate, which features soft grey, blue and lavender hues, alongside warm wood tones, deep navy blues, and splashes of metallic. the space is feminine without feeling overly so, which can be hard to achieve. i mean, hello, beautiful bedroom. do you mind if i move in?

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tumblr_mke6f6DD811r24iwto1_500yesterday, i had one of those days. you know the ones where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and you just know, today is not my day? i had one of those yesterday. i almost missed the bus across town to make it down to bar method. then, after class, as i’m getting ready, i realized, i forgot underwear. i mean, no biggie, right? (not). thank god i was wearing tights.

work was rough. i got put on a project i absolutely despise, one that’s not in the least bit creative (literally, powerpoint decks on powerpoint decks), one that does not excite me or inspire me or make me feel fulfilled in the least. i spent my entire day churning through slide after slide, inserting commas here and there, and dealing with people who i find to be ever so slightly incompetent. as i chugged along, i told myself, just make it to 6:30. then you can leave, and go to soul cycle, and spin out your annoyances, and all will be okay.

on top of all that, i’ve been feeling frustrated with this immense sense of competition i’ve been feeling from some of my fellow employees. i work with a few people that are of the ‘always raise their hand, always make themselves seen’ variety. you know, the kids who always sat in the front row in class, always volunteered to go first to present their project. teacher’s pets, all grown up. i’m sure they exist at your office too. and while i can appreciate someone who always knows the answer, feeling like you always have to be the star (and pushing other people out of the way to do it) really isn’t my jam. and i feel like there’s been a lot of that around me, and that’s led me to doubt that i’m doing enough, putting my name out there enough, getting noticed enough. in my heart, i know that’s not who i am (and not who i want to be), but when you’re surrounded by competitive “look at me!” types, it’s hard not to feel like you have to play the game just to keep up.

as if that frustration wasn’t enough, upon leaving work, i got to the 6 at 33rd to find the platform packed, people crammed in like sardines, staring at the sign that read, “6 train to parkchester 6 minutes.” which would have been fine, except that 15 minutes later, it still read 6 minutes. and i had to be at 83rd and 3rd at 7. when the train finally came, it was so packed that no one could get on. nor could they get on the next one.

finally, the third train that came had a tiny bit of room, and a kind gentleman moved his backpack and motioned for me to squeeze in just before the door closed. thank you, lovely stranger.

suffice it to say i didn’t make it to a 7pm class until 7:06, and i burst into soul cycle looking a hot mess, my stomach pooching out over my lulus, my hair all frizzed out, sans shoes or locker or anything else. luckily, they let me duck in late, and i clipped into my bike and shut my eyes and as i spun my legs, i let all of my anger and frustration from the day spin out behind me and dissipate into the air. one of the things they talk about at soul cycle is finding your goals, and sticking to them. they tell you to think about why you’re there, they advise that you shut your eyes and just pedal, and let everything else fall by the wayside. they ask you think about what you want, about what you need, about what you’re doing there, about who you are.

and who you’re not. because when you think about who you want to be, you also have to consider who you don’t want to be. and who i don’t want to be is a competitive, take no prisoners, take credit for things i have not done, step on the toes of others to get where i want to be type of person. that’s not who i am. i pray it’s someone i’ll never be (and to my close friends reading this, if i ever get that way, please slap me upside the head and tell me to snap out of it).

when i got home, i stripped out of my sweaty clothes, and i took a long, steaming bath with some lavender oil and epsom salt, and i closed my eyes and turned off the lights and just let myself be. i took a step outside my grievances, and the things that were bothering me, and i reminded myself of who i was, and who i wasn’t. and then i toweled off and ate annies on my couch while watching the season premiere of chicago fire, otherwise known as my favorite fall TV show. because sometimes a girl just needs to watch hot firefighters saving lives to feel better about the world.

really, though, the above is pretty good advice. sometimes you really just do need to take a step back, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are, and who you want to be.

i’m on the hunt for the perfect fall bootie, but i’ve yet to find it. i’m hoping for a pair with studs, a pair that’s slightly western, and a pair that’s all about the buckles. i almost bought a pair of steve maddens at tjmaxx yesterday, but something held me back. of course, today i have buyer’s remorse. note to self: never say no at tjmaxx! stuff there is here today, gone tomorrow. alas!

i usually rely on my trust frye harness boots to get me through fall, but this season, i’m craving something slightly shorter. enter the looks below. tell me, do you have a fave?

bootie call

have you guys checked out the goods at furbish lately? the goods are good. i’m especially taken by the constellation offerings in their newest pop-up shop. snag your star sign in various formats: prints, adorable ceramic boxes, matches, cards…the options are endless. and also, how chic is that mirrored star pendant? i’d love it above my dining table, or in the entryway of my dreams.

starry night

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have you guys seen cameron diaz’s re-designed west village apartment? it was given a seriously glamorous  makeover by the queen of glitz, kelly wearstler. you can see the entire apartment in elle decor, but for now, let’s focus on the living room. mostly because it’s my favorite room in the apartment, but also because i put together a mood board for it for one of my freelance clients, and i couldn’t resist sharing it here with you all.

pretty fancy, right? it’s not exactly my style, per se, but i do love me some grasscloth on the walls. especially when that grasscloth is ROSE COLORED. i imagine if you lived in this apartment, you’d always see life through rose colored glasses. then again, if you’re cameron diaz, you probably think life’s pretty peachy as it is.

anywho, you can shop the look with the pieces below. my favorite? the brass legs, designed and created by wearstler herself. they remind me of those vintage hand chairs. so freaking awesomely cool, no? LOVE.

Living In: Cameron Diaz's West Village Apartment

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do you guys remember this video? hokay, so, here’s de earth. chilling. damn, that is a sweet earth you might say!

about halfway through the video, the french guy says, in a ridiculously french accent (in response to an impending missile assault from the US) but i’m le tired. this video came out way back in 2008, and yet, to this day, whenever i’m feeling really overworked, or, let’s face it, just really freaking sleepy, i say to myself, in a french accent, but i’m le tireddddd….

and guess what? i’m le tired. like, really le tired. i’ve got myself on a semi-exhausting schedule, and every time i tell myself i need to slow down, i don’t do it. or if i do do it, i only slow down for a day or so, and then i get back on the horse and continue pushing myself forward.

i read an interesting article about accumulated sleep debt a month or so back, and it got me thinking about my accumulated lack of sleep. i used to think of myself as a morning person ( i think i still am a morning person, just an overtired one), but lately, i feel like that pop in my step that i used to feel when i woke up early is gone. and by lately, i mean, ever since i started this job a year ago. here’s how i see it. before i took this job, i slept till around 8am every morning. soon after i accepted my job at draft, i realized there was no way i’d be getting out at 5. not even 6, really. which meant evening bar method classes were out of the question, unless i wanted to kiss my social life goodbye and get home at 9pm every night. which i didn’t. so i started taking morning classes at 7:30, which are great – but they mean waking up at 6:30 every morning five days a week. which meant that i lost 1.5 hours of sleep each morning, or 7.5 hours of sleep a week. multiple that by the 60ish weeks its been since i took the job, and you’ve got a whole of sleep lost. it’s no wonder i feel more tired now than i did a year ago, right?

add onto that my undiagnosed but definitely in there somewhere slight OCD (which means that if i get it in my head that i’m doing something within a certain time period, i have.to.get.it.done, no matter how late it means i stay up or how tired i am or how unnecessary it is that i do it right now) and you’ve got yourself a hot mess. for example, last night, exhausted from a rough class at soul cycle (my second of the week, on top of my 5 a week bar method schedule – why am i not skinnier with all this working out?!), i had intended to go to bed early. but i had also told myself that i was doing to do my laundry, because i’m seeing vampire weekend tonight at barclays (!!), and it needed to get done.

it took longer than expected to get home after soul, so before i knew it, it was 9pm and i hadn’t showered, cooked, or put my laundry in. so i proceeded to do all of the above, and didn’t get to bed till almost midnight.

now, a normal person would have said to herself, this laundry doesn’t need to get done tonight. it’s almost the weekend. leave it, and go to bed.

but not me. no, i’d told myself i’d do it, and so i was doing it.

it sounds crazy, right? but i won’t be able to sleep if i haven’t checked it off my to-do list. never mind what happens on days when my to-do list is too long to conquer. enter anxious sarah.

every morning, at the end of bar method class, the instructors have us sit, cross-legged, facing the front of the room. we place our hands on our knees, palms to the sky, and we close our eyes. and we take two long, deep breaths, in and out, in and out. and every morning, i wish this moment would last just a little bit longer. that i could slow down, just a little bit.

i love my life, and i love all that i do. but the frenetic pace of new york city and all the exciting opportunities that come with it mean i’m constantly running from one thing to the next. from bar method to work. from work to soul cycle. from work to dinner. from work to run errands. from work to my apartment to do more (freelance) work. from my apartment on the 10th floor down to the basement laundry room and back again.

why do i thrive on this busy pace? especially when it’s running me ragged? am i so afraid of my own thoughts that i won’t allow myself to slow the fuck down?

because, really, that’s what i need. to slow the fuck down. pardon my french, but it’s the truth.

in december, i will fly to nicaragua, to a sleepy surf town, for a full week, where i will have no choice but to slow down. there will likely be no internet, no phone, no instagram or facebook or twitter or anything to keep me plugged in. and so i’ll have no choice but to unplug completely.

here’s hoping i come back a changed woman. only 3 or so months stand between me and that freedom. let the countdown begin.

tea kettles

now that it’s getting cooler outside, and the sun is rising later and later, i find myself craving a cozy mug of tea in the morning. and by mug of tea, i mean travel mug, tea consumed on my morning bus ride across 23rd street to the 6 train at park avenue. i’m the type of person who drinks iced chai until it gets really cold out, like, 40 or below, but once it does, i’m a daily hot tea drinker. i love a good cup of steaming peppermint in the early mornings, when the air is so chilly you can see your breathe spelling out shapes in the sky. from late fall through early spring, i wake up before the sun does, and trek down to bar method before the rest of the world is fully awake. this requires a little bit of extra motivation; it’s no small feat to rise in the darkness. hence, a morning cup of tea.

it’s come to my attention, however, that my tea kettle, purchased a few years ago for less than $10 at tjmaxx, has seen better days. and since i’m entering high tea season, i thought it might be time to purchase a new kettle. i rounded up a few of my favorites below. i’m torn between the copper and the mint. which would you pick?

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image from drizzle and dip; i forgot to shoot mine (too busy eating it!)

i made this the other night, and let me tell you, it was balls to the wall awesome. never made risotto? never fear – it’s not nearly as complicated as it might seem. i adapted this recipe to my liking, which meant adding more rice, more wine, and skipping the mussels. what can i say? seafood’s not my style (though i can holler at shrimp from time to time!). roasted tomatoes with thyme, however…that is my style. big time.

there’s nothing like the sound of freshly sliced tomatoes hissing and popping in your oven (sidenote, i just accidentally wrote “pooping” instead of popping!). every time you hear that crackle, you know there’s some sweet tomato-y goodness coming your way.

the wonderful thing about risotto is that once you’ve got the base recipe down, the dish is endlessly customizable. i’ve made beet risotto, mushroom risotto, asparagus and sweet pea with lemon risotto…you really can put just about any flavor into this creamy rice and it’ll be irresistibly delicious. i’d actually never made tomato risotto before, but after eating it the other night, i’m pretty sure i’ll be adding this recipe to my regular rotation.

one of the things i love most about risotto is that it forces you to relax. the dish requires constant attention on the stovetop, so you can’t do anything but stir. and drink wine, and chat with friends, or listen to music, or let your mind drift. there’s no multitasking, no, “i should prep my lunch while this cooks” or “i could be cleaning the bathroom right now” (these are legitimate thoughts i have, by the way). all you can do is stir, and breathe, and let me tell you, you want to breathe, because onions sweated in butter and salt and pepper smell incredible.

roasted tomato risotto sarah's sweets

so, let’s get cooking, shall we?

here’s what you’ll need:

for the roasted tomatoes:

4-5 large tomatoes (i chose plum, but you could do any kind, really)

about 2 rows of vine tomatoes (about 2 cups)

fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

for the risotto:

1 small onion, diced

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

salt and pepper to taste

1.5 cups of arborio rice

1/2 cup of wine, poured liberally (and a glass for you to drink while you stir)

6 cups of chicken stock

1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese

here’s what you’ll do:

*start by roasting your tomatoes. slice the big ones, leave the little ones be. spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. add a few sprigs of thyme onto the sheet as well – they’ll infuse the tomatoes with extra deliciousness. bake at 350 for 25-45 minutes (mine took almost 50; every oven is different). you’ll hear the tomatoes pop and sizzle as they cook. you want them to look wilted, but not too smushy, when they come out. the image above is a good indicator of what you’re going for.

*note: you can do this step ahead of time

set aside 1/4 of your roasted tomatoes in a bowl. you’ll use them later.

now, blend or food process the remaining 3/4 of the tomatoes until they resemble a thick soup. you’ll be stirring this goodness into your risotto in a bit. set aside.

put your stock onto a second burner and heat thoroughly. you’ll use the stock to cook the rice.

to make the risotto itself, put your diced onion and your butter into a large saucepan. cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions have sweated, the butter has melted, and the kitchen smells like your favorite italian restaurant. now, add your rice. cook for about a minute, until the rice turns clear and the pan begins to crisp. dump in your 1/2 cup of wine (feel free to add more, the alcohol burns off anyway) and stir. scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon as you stir to fully deglaze the pan and get all those delicious little browned butter bits up.

add about two ladles-full of chicken stock (though you can use veggie if you’d like to make this recipe vegetarian) into your rice, and stir. turn the heat down to low, and leave it there. for the next twenty minutes, you are a slave to your stove. all you need to do is stir, add more stock, stir, add more stock, and so on and so forth, until your rice is cooked all the way through, and your risotto is a beautiful creamy texture. again, this should take about 20-25 minutes. if you don’t use all your stock, don’t worry! once your rice is done, mix in about 1/2-3/4 of freshly grated parmesan cheese. mmm, cheesy.

now, take your blended roasted tomatoes, and mix those in as well. now, your risotto should be creamy, cheese, and a beautiful tomato red. go ahead, stick your spoon in and have a taste. hallelujah, it’s delicious, isn’t it?

now, take those tomatoes you reserved earlier, and stir them in as well. if the pieces are too big, feel free to cut them into bite sized bits first.

dole out into soup bowls or small pasta bowls. this should serve around 4-5 people for dinner. sprinkle a bit of parm on the top, and garnish with a small sprig of thyme. et voila, a delicious dinner!

John-Mayer-Paradise-Valley-artwork-tbvif you haven’t checked out john mayer’s new album, paradise valley, yet, you’re missing out. it’s quite a masterpiece, if i do say so myself. the perfect mix of mellow tunes.

my personal favorite?

who do you love, a duet with mayer’s girlfriend, katy perry. listen hard to this one, folks. the lyrics are beautiful, and her voice sounds ethereal and amazing on the track.

lyrics:

“My boy, he ain’t the one that I saw coming

And some have said his heart’s too hard to hold

And it takes a little time, but you should see him when he shines

‘Cause you’d never want to let that feeling go”

listen now, thank me later