Archive for the ‘Materialism’ Category

What I’m wearing to . . .

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I’m going to a wedding in October, the first in my adult life for which I’ll have full creative control over my wardrobe.  So, even though everyone will be looking at the bride, as well they should, I’m putting a lot of thought into my ensemble.  This is what I’ve come up with.


I bought this dress on the whimsiest of whims last winter. I found it on the wrong rack—a petite size far from the petite section—and it was marked down so far that I knew it was the last one of its kind.  But, it was a size up from what I normally wear and the petite size conversion rule turned out to be true!  At the three-way mirror in the fitting room, I had to use a clothes hanger to fend off a few admirers who would have stripped the garment from my body for themselves.  I escaped with the dress and I’m so excited to finally wear it!  Maggy London’s Fall 2009 collection is online here.

Can a girl go wrong with Tiffany?  Of course not.  I don’t think the silver beads get enough play.  They’re darling; the fine metal equivalent of pearls.  The bracelet was a gift in high school; the earrings were a little gift to myself after I got my second job.

I detest heels.  Really.  Partly on principle, but mostly because they hurt me.  But my Maid of Honor dress at Jill’s wedding in July was tea length, and I couldn’t get away with silver Birkenstocks in the church anyway, so I picked out this pair of sandals from Naturalizer’s N5 Comfort Elements collection.  These heels are amaaaaazing.  I made it down the aisle and back and through a night of dancing with the under-10 crowd at the wedding in these shoes, and in the morning, when I went back to the hotel to pick up Jill’s dress, I put them back on, just for kicks.  I think it was clear, when I walked into the hotel dining room that morning in a commemorative t-shirt from the 1984 Olympic games, madras shorts and silver heels, that my principles were out the window.

Thank you, Grandmom, for outfitting me with such an extensive dress-up collection when I was a little girl.  Thank you, too, for including items that could translate from pink plastic dress-up suitcase to special occasions in my adult life!  I’ve always loved the snap that this faux leather clutch makes when it’s snapped shut.  I’ll have to resist opening and closing it throughout the wedding ceremony.

I found this lovely violet silk flower among many effortlessly enchanting floral accessories in an Etsy shop called East End Home Arts.  I browsed the heck out of Etsy on a quest for silk flowers, and the selection in Suzy’s shop is unique, feminine, and affordable.  Her customer service is fantastic, too.  I my first order with her (for one of these peach cosmos) on the night before she gave birth to her first baby, and the new mom still managed to deliver within a week.  She told me that custom orders are her favorites to work on, so if you’re in the “flowers in your hair” mood, get in touch with her.  And if you’re not in the “flowers in your hair” mood, please take a good hard look at yourself and get back to me when you’ve sorted yourself out.

I’m ready to get dressed for this wedding now.  Where is my pink plastic dress-up suitcase?

Love is the greatest gift of all (but these are nice, too)

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

All I’m saying is, Valentine’s gifts don’t have to be made of diamonds, chocolate, or lace.  Consider the possibilities of brass, buckwheat, and gigabytes.


1. Dangling Hearts Tee from Mariska Hargitay’s line.  Short-sleeved shirt available in white with red or gold foil hearts (or gold on black).  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Joyful Heart Foundation.  $45

2. American Apparel Long Leg Warmer in Raspberry/Scarlett.  $16

3. Obv.  Apple iPod Shuffle in hot pink (or red). Free personal engraving when you order online. $49-69

4. Classic Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox. One small blade with a nail file, a small screwdriver, and a pair of scissors, fold out of this pink multi-tool.  Tweezers and a toothpick slide out from the end.  $19

5. Nino the Bug hopping toy. According to Kikkerland, Nino is a pollinating insect. That’s a little like a love bug, right? $6

6. Heart Maccents by MacStyles.  Show your laptop some love. $1.95-2.95

7. Bucky’s HeartWarmer buckwheat-filled pillow.  Heat it up in the microwave or chill it in the freezer for snuggleable comfort and pain relief.  Red, lavender, or pink cover is removable and washable.  On sale $14.95 (from $19.95)

8. Brass handcuff lariat by NYC designer Erica Weiner.  One cuff dangles at each end of a 22″ chain.  Fasten them together around the neck of a loved one.  No keys required.  $35

9. L2 Design Collective Valentines. Smooches Gracias and Beating Heart designs, and others at Supermarket. $4.25 each

10. My Beating Heart pillow. Are you tired of sleeping beside that clunky alarm clock like a homesick puppy?  Powered by one 9V battery, My Beating Heart will soothe your beating heart with its carefully metered rhythm.  $35

I had a Babar calendar when I was a kid and now I think Gregorian time is an imperialist mechanism*

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

In the second week of 2008, I decided I had to have the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Shoes calendar on the wall in my office for the rest of the year.  I had to go to four different Barnes & Nobles to find a copy.  This year I planned ahead.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Shoes and the Fashion Institute of Technology Handbags 2009 Mini Calendars, published by Andrews McMeel, $7.99 each at Barnes and Noble

And even with months to spare, I couldn’t decide between Shoes and FIT’s Handbags for 2009.  So I ordered both.  And therefore, got free shipping out of the deal.  I can hang one up at home.  Another reminder to pay the rent is never a bad thing (unless it comes accompanied by the temptation to purchase shoes or a handbag).

On a slightly different note, next year is gonna be two-thousand-when?  Which rhymes with two-thousand-ten.  Which is the year after next and therefore even more astounding.

*Not really.  But I would love to have another Babar calendar.  I might just be a sentimentalist.

E is for nesting

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

The IKEA HELMER ($40 in white, red, or silver) was my project for the weekend.  I got it to replace a set of three plastic drawers on rubberized wheels—the kind that furnish dorm rooms and pantries but are better off hidden under a bunkbed or behind a closet door.

This is so-o-o-o much classier.

Since it’s the IKEA version of steel drafting drawers, the casters only roll forward and backward and the drawers do not have sliders or stops.  This makes it a little awkward to store heavy items.  I did put my blow dryer in, but if I open that drawer and let go of the handle, the blow dryer tips the drawer clumsily down and forward.  That’s not a problem that outweighs having an easy-access spot to hide an unsightly object out of sight.

On the other hand, these drawers are perfect for: hair accessories, a half-empty box of Q-tips, a collection of Sharpie markers, miscellaneous gadget cords, a sewing kit, a sticky lint remover roller, five pairs of pattern-cutting scissors, stationary and stamps, and a calculator that I haven’t used in two or three years.

One other thing that I want to show off in this picture: see my laptop bag hanging from the side of the desk?  I thought I was brilliant when I hammered a nail into the desk, specifically to hook the bag there.  Any improvisational solution that will get something, just one item, off the floor of my bedroom is ingenious enough for me.

Also picture: two FÄRM vases from IKEA ($2) and a fifteen-minute glass from cb2 ($10 in green or red).

What I spend money on when I spend too much money

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

August has been full of good excuses for shopping.  Incentive gift card for filling out a heathcare survey at work, an unexpected gift, labor day sales and a little freelance cash all went toward these purchases.

1.  My two-year-old Macbook is about as pristine as it could be after all the hours I’ve logged on it.  I regularly cleanse with compressed air and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but I just bought the Incase Hardshell to protect the glossy exterior.  The case is softly frosted, so it changes the whole look of the laptop, and it has a very touchable rubberized coating.  Externals snap perfectly into the laser-cut outlets.  I can’t believe I waited so long to get one of these.  Comes in pink, plum, red, blue, black, and frosted white for Macbooks of all sizes.  $50 at the Apple Store.

2.  The retractable blush brush at Sephora open and closes smoothly and it’s built for travel.  It’s also the first blush brush I’ve ever owned that didn’t come free-with-purchase.  $20 at Sephora.

3.  We finally, finally retired the Times Square photo poster that’s been hanging above our futon for a year and a half and replaced it with this ready-to-hang wrapped canvas print.  I love it.  The image is a magnified, sepia-toned photograph from beneath a leafy canopy.  At first, I wished some green accents had been preserved, but there’s a lot of depth in the image.  I tend to like artwork and patterns based on motifs and sort of nebulous themes instead of one focal object, and this one makes a much better impact than Times Square did.  $70 at Ikea.  Oh, and if anybody needs a tacky poster of Times Square, please let me know.  I have this random one just lying around.

4.  The kitchen is also getting some much needed attention.  I’ve had my eye on these sweet rebus-inspired screenprint posters for a few months, and the designer, BluLima, lured me in with this romantic, minty ink color (eco-friendly water-based ink, at that!).  I love.  Also in two shades of pink.  $12 (plus shipping) at BluLima’s Etsy shop.

5.  My bank statements and student loan account info are still in an unsorted pile laced with Dunkin’ Donuts receipts, but now the pile is inside one of these letter-sized Stockholm storage boxes instead of shuffling across my desk.  Available in graphite, red, orange, brown, and white.  $10 each at The Container Store.

Elephants in my bed and on the wall and in my purse and around my neck

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

1. When I don’t have a whole trunk’s worth of stuff to carry, this little clutch will hold all my peanuts. Neon ‘Cleo’ bag by Jenny Yuen. $295 at the designer’s website or select NYC stores.

2. White porcelain elephant teapot. 9 x 5 x 6″; holds 28 ounces. Dishwasher safe. $14.99 at Target.

3. In the seventh grade, I wore a pewter elephant charm and a blue glass bead strung on black embroidery floss every day . . . until the thread frayed and finally broke. This model is bigger, kitschier, and a little more glamorous. $9 at the Etsy shop Spellkiss.

4. A cute clutch for the little things I don’t want to forget. $28 at the Etsy shop Cotton & Cloud.

5. Pico Elephant Pillow. Designed by Ross Meneuz for Fauna. 8″ x 9.5″ x 3″. Hand-printed on 100% cotton broadcloth using water-based ink. Made in Brooklyn. $28 at Design Public.  This is my favorite elephant.  It reminds me of a set of cat-shaped pillows my grandmother has had since I was a toddler, only hipper.

6. Color Zoo Ellis the Elephant Stuffed Animal, Flower Power print. $24.99 at Target.

7. Does it come in my size? Lil’ Elephant Elite Collection Infant/Toddler Costume. Sizes 6 months to 2T. $39.99 at

8. Hanna’s award winning wallpaper comes in poster-form so there are no rolls to match up. She provides a formula for calculating how many posters will cover a specific wall. There are seven different patterns in the AnimalFlowers collection, including Elefantgräs. 150 Swedish kronor (about US$24) per poster; order by e-mail or shop in Europe.

9. Yes! The Pink Elephant. Drink up. Cocktail drink markers. $6.99 per box at Perpetual Kid.

10. Which came first; the piggy bank savings or the elephant bank from Jonathan Adler’s menagerie collection? In glossy slate blue or matte white. $78 at the designer’s website. (Let’s hope it was the savings.)

This is what I see on the way out of my bedroom

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

One thing I have tried to do in my apartment, both out of necessity and desire is decorate and accessorize with objects and images that look beautiful to me even if they aren’t high art.

This is the north wall-lette of my bedroom. It’s pretty narrow (the door is just to the right) and impeded by both the radiator and the light switch. It also gets a lot of sun through the three large windows on the front wall.

I didn’t want to hang a print here because it might fade from exposure. It would have been awkward to place one individual item with the light switch in the way of any symmetry.

The first thing I did was change out the switch plate. The gold one that was here when I moved in clashed with the silver coating on the radiator. I don’t think my landlord thinks himself an interior designer, but hello! That’s a catastrophic aesthetic error. I bought the matte white switch plate at Target or Home Depot for less than three dollars. I couldn’t have any distraction from the aged Victorian radiator.

The zinc letter E is from, yes, Anthropologie‘s monogram collection (8″ high, $18; 25″ high, $98). I staked out two different stores for two weeks until I found one with perfect texture imperfections. I really like the “drop-shadow” it casts on the wall in the early afternoon.

I got those four silver frames on clearance at Urban Outfitters last winter. They were meant to be magnetic, but the tiny disc magnets on the back had all popped either out or in leaving holes—which happened to be perfect for hanging on flathead nails. I think I spent about $10.82 on two sets of two. They are very lightweight and I wouldn’t want anybody from Antiques Roadshow to see how faux they look up close, but I love the baroque-y shape.

I’m really crazy about what’s in the frames, though, and this is where the “use whatever looks beautiful” philosophy comes in. I replaced the halftone portraits of Ghandi with images clipped out of catalogs. You can decorate more than the coffee table with junk mail!

On the left is a deep purple velvet tufted chair that I saw in an Urban Outfitters catalog. I cut it in two, so it’s pretty obvious what’s in the photo if you look at just the top half, but the bottom half is meaningless without it’s mate. On the right is a scrap from a J. Crew catalog. They did a photoshoot with lots of distressed furniture in a pristine living room, and one model posed beside this slender, white table with peeling paint and a chandelier on its side on the table top.

On their own, none of the framed clippings would mean much. Even as a set they don’t really convey a distinct message other than, “This is Emily’s aesthetic style, and since she can’t afford any upholstered furniture or a chandelier and she doesn’t have room for furniture that serves only one purpose, she decorates with pictures of all of those things.”