Monday, May 31, 2010

Keys to the Kingdom!

Finally got the keys to our house - YAY! The previous owner was renting from us since March and had a hard time letting go. She is a nice (very) old lady, sharp as a whip, and funny. She brought up three children in the house and had a very successful career in real estate - a good omen for me! Now that the house is empty we can see clearly the amount of work there is to be done and it is a bit overwhelming. Have to tackle everything step by step... Anyway, we are so happy that the work can now begin!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Appliances, Part III

After much research, reading consumer reports and running around in appliance stores, we finally made our picks and purchased all the major appliances yesterday: the induction cooktop, double oven, dishwasher (all Bosch), fridge (Samsung), and exhaust hood (Zephyr). The salesman was close to a nervous breakdown with us.. and my husband's haggling was driving all of us crazy. But in the end we got a good deal so it was worth it and even the salesman was happy as he probably does not get customers like us very often who will buy everything at once (he must've made a nice commission).

It will take a few weeks for delivery, but that's ok, as we have not even started on the kitchen yet (demolition will start next week). I am very happy with the appliances we picked. They are all top of the line and should serve us well. We also got a 10-year warranty and at-home service plan, which will make it very easy for us in case we have trouble with any of the machines. They will even replace the product if it cannot be fixed. I cannot wait to cook up a storm with these!

Bosch Double Wall Oven

Bosch Dishwasher

Bosch Induction Cooktop

 Samsung French Door Fridge with Freezer Drawer

 Zephyr Hood

Today we have been running around looking for a countertop, unfortunately all the slab yards were closed so we could not go and actually pick a slab, just look at samples at showrooms. Next Friday we will go and make the final decision at the slab yard. The picture of the kitchen has emerged in my head, and it is dark brown cabinets, light countertop (most likely granite for durability, although I love the look and veining of marble), and matching light floor. I may have to do a light floor in the entrance too, as the entrance should flow into the kitchen and the floor tile should be the same... So many choices, so hard to choose!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pebbles for my Private Spa

The master bathroom in our new house is very small. And right now, it is uglier than ugly (you can see for yourselves below). But when I am done with it, it will be my own private spa with a pebble-tile steam shower, aaaaahhh. I had this whole spa thing pictured in my head, so I thought that this is going to be easy, just go and pick out the materials to match the picture in my head.. Well, not so fast! There are millions of choices to choose from, beginning with the pebble tiles! Black, white, light gray, dark gray, green, pink, etc. I like the more natural look of the gray pebbles, but even in the gray family the choices are endless. What to choose????

This is the space that will be TRANSFORMED into BEAUTY and TRANQUILITY!!

Oh, and (yay!!) we get the keys to our new house on Monday night, which is when all this fun is going to BEGIN!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goodbye Idol

I have to admit that I have been watching every season of the American Idol until now. Some seasons have been better than others. My daughter has grown to love the show too. But last night marked the end of the Idol for me. I am a big fan of Simon and now that he is leaving, I doubt that the show will be very interesting next season, it had already grown a bit tired this season. I may still get a peek in here and there, but I doubt I will be into it as I have been until now. So Goodbye American Idol, it was fun while it lasted! And congrats to Lee and Crystal!

BTW - I thought that Paula Abdul looked fabulous in the fuschia dress. I wish my legs would look half as good when I am her age!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Entre S'il Vous Plait

Here are the current plans for my entrance, although I am still debating whether to do black or white marble floor:

Black (or white) marble tile floor (the tile would continue into the kitchen, thus creating unity between these spaces)
One wall all mirror
Black lacquered desk for keys and mail
A fun rug to keep things light and set the mood
Black crystal chandelier hanging overhead


Walmart Dress and Sex and the City 2 Premier

I almost dropped my eyes when I saw Wendy Wiliams wearing the same (or almost same) Walmart dress to the Sex and the City 2 Premier as I wore to the wedding on Saturday night. The only difference was that my dress was from the maternity collection. Sex and the City being the fashion icon of the decade, that is one bold move. I guess I have REALLY been right when I have been talking about fashion going more and more democratic in the past few years. And Sex and the City has a lot to do with that movement too, combining high and low and wearing what looks good (regardless of price tag!). I don't know if Manolo Blahniks would ever have become so popular without the show. Before SATC Blahniks and other shoes in that price range were for the Park Avenue trust fund socialites - but now all of us regular working girls want to wear them too... Whether that's a good or a bad thing, I don't know (it is a bit insane to drop a week's salary on shoes - but then again - who says that we have to always be sane)! All I do know is that I personally don't own one single pair of Manolos and I feel a bit deprived. However, since I am NOT shopping anymore (I keep repeating that like a mantra, in the hopes that I can really brainwash myself into NOT shopping completely), there will not be Manolos in my near future.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The new NYC Fashionista

My 7-year old daughter has always been into fashion - to the extent that I need to put on brakes at times, after all, she is only 7 and there is so much more to life than fashion. She has decided and styled all her outfits on her own for a couple of years now, and does a wonderful job if I may say. I loved this outfit because of the bright turqoise and the color coordination or purple and turqoise.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why does it have to be Sunday night?

What a lovely weekend this was! The highlight was a beautiful wedding at the Water Club. The tables were not numbered but named according to famous places in NY and London (the bride is from NYC and the groom from London). The live band was great and of course I had to shake my pregnant booty on the dance floor.

Unfortunately the above picture is the only one I took all night.. I am so bad! I should have taken a pic of the beautiful bride.. and the lovely view from the Water Club. And have someone snap a picture of me and my hubby..but no, I just get so in the moment that I forget about the camera. I guess what made the evening ever more lovely for me was all the wonderful compliments I received. I am not sure if people were just feeling a bit sorry for the obviously pregnant lady and wanted to make me feel better, but I probably have never received so many compliments in one night.

I had on a very cheap maternity dress from Walmart (of all places!!) I normally do not patronize Walmart from various reasons, one big reason being that I don't like their employment policies and cheap bad quality disposable stuff from China, and the second that New York does not have a Walmart store. But someone had told me about a line that Norma Kamali designed for Walmart and me being a big fan of cheap chic I had to give it a try. I ordered a bunch of maternity stuff online and the box arrived the day before the wedding. The Norma Kamali dress was just a black lycra thing with a tie in the back (it really showed off my belly though because I rather look like I am pregnant, not fat), but it fit me perfectly. So I wore the $20 Walmart dress with my Nine West silver heels, silver Tory Burch clutch, my black and diamond vintage cartier watch, a huge pave diamond ring and a big costume necklace of glittering glass I had scored from eBay a while back.

I guess I normally let myself look pretty drab these pregnant days since this one time that I got dolled up with good hair, make-up and a decent manicure I got so many oohs and aahs. The best compliment of course from my husband who at some point looked at me when we were dancing and said that you're the most beautiful woman in this room by far....after almost 19 years he can still make me so happy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

When it rains, it pours - or take this Kimora Lee Simmons!

So I never got to share what I did get for mother's day (which, in case you haven't noticed, is a humongous affair in this family - probably because I was the type to never have children and then ended up with 2 and a third on the way). Anyway... After all the talk about a Bottega Veneta and secretly hoping that my hubby would have somehow scored a Birkin at some auction, I got neither. But I did get bags. Four of them, as a matter of fact! What did I say - when it rains, it pours :-)

The story of the bags starts with an illegal ponzi-scheme recently discovered by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Often times when all other avenues to recover moneys have been exhausted, there is an auction that sells the criminal's possessions, such as cars, yachts, art, etc. all the way down to the jewelery and bags of the criminal's poor wife. Enter my husband whose hobby it is to check out auctions. He happens to go to this particular auction where they are selling the stuff that the Ponzi-scheme criminal and his wife used to own. My hubby was really after a certain very rare watch, which he did not win. But then as he was leaving a lot of four Louis Vuitton bags came on, and he thinks, hmm, my wife has been talking about bags like a crazy woman lately, let me bid on this one. And he wins the bid! And goes home with four brand new looking LV's.. A few days later it's mother's day - so guess what mommy got?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TV Obsessions - part 2 - 9 by Design

Bravo's new reality TV show, or docu-series, as Bravo calls it, is just delicious! With the baby-boom in my own life, it is amazing to watch a show about a really cool family with 7 children (no, it's not a typo!). And it's not his children and her children, these children are all from same parents, and live with their parents all the time. However, the show is not about the children, but about designing homes. A very timely subject for me, again. So it's no wonder I have been obsessed about the show. The first time I saw the show I dreamed about the family the whole night. And the second night I was renovating my new home in my dreams all night, with the catch that my new home was really their home. I know, Freud might have an opinion on that one.

The Novogratz family lives in my favorite NYC neighborhood, the West Village, and buys old dilapidated buildings and builds gorgeous and unique modern homes in them, all in the lower Manhattan area so that their kids don't have to change shcools when they move, which is apparently quite frequently. They basically started out as house-flippers and have since expanded to taking on other people's design jobs too. The homes are full of unique and creative details, and the furniture and art are a mix of very high end designer stuff and some rare vintage finds. The color scheme is mostly white which appeals to my Scandinavian sensibility. However, there is always some pops of strong color, and it's never boring or too precious looking. I have definitely had some ideas for my own home by watching the show, and some ideas that I was on the fence with were confirmed.

In the next episode the whole family will travel to London. I can't wait to see how they pull that off...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Design Overload at the A&D Building

Yesterday I attended the Opening Night at the A&D Building. It is an event for interior designers mostly and open to trade only, but a good friend of mine (who just happens to be an interior designer!) sneaked me in with her. For the mere mortal it was a design overload. But what a happy overload! There were tons of showrooms that were hosting receptions with wine, prosecco, and little bites to eat. Parteeeee! I had such a craving for the prosecco but in my condition it is verboten so no prosecco for me..just for my friend who enjoyed quite many glasses!

We started our tour with the Holly Hunt showroom, which was a totally new place for me. It is my friend's favorite, and apparently the favorite of many of her firm's upscale clients. We then moved on to the B&B Italia, who had the best party with a drop-dead-gorgeous DJ and the most fabulous new furniture collection. 

Given that I am in the process of planning my new kichen I was most interested in kitchen designs. The Varenna kitchen by Poliform was the tops! Loved it!

It would take too long to list every kitchen showroom we visited, so let me just think back to the big themes..
  1. Stainless Steel - it was everywhere. Obviously in appliances, but also in countertops, islands and cabinet doors.
  2. White Marble - it too was everywhere. There was all kinds of different looking and differently treated white marble.
  3. White and Black - most of the showkitchens where glossy white and black, simple, and even plain. There was a lot of white glass!
  4. No pulls - most of the cabinet doors had no pulls/knobs/handles, which gave the showkitchens an extremely streamlined look. Even the drawers had either no pulls or as unnoticeable pulls as possible.
  5. Induction Cooktop - all showkitchens featured  this cooktop. The old electric cooktop was nowhere to be seen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TV Obsessions - part 1 - Crazy Housewives

There are a few programs that I am totally addicted to..and I am sorry to say but they tend to be reality series.. There are actually four shows playing now that I have to watch. Thank God for DVR!!! (Recording cable box - without which I would never watch any TV except for the news.) Bravo is obviously the channel where most of it is happening as there are three must-see shows playing now on Bravo.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is on its second season, and the ladies are so totally crazy that you just cannot stop watching. All I keep thinking about is why would anyone want to have themselves be depicted in the way those women come thru in that show. They are just so totally bitchy, stupid, insecure and vain. And their cluelessness just makes it all so hilarious! They are so proud of their gigantic homes decorated in god-awful "French Chateau" style that would give a migraine to any normal person visiting. I guess because of all this, I am just so totally hooked...

Then there is the Real Housewives of New York City. Who are not really housewives as most of them seem to do at least some kind of jobs (except perhaps the "Countless" Countess Luann, or new girl Sonja). We know these girls pretty well now as it is season three already.. And they sure have issues as well, but are somewhat more identifiable than the NJ housewives. Communication is a big issue here - I feel that they could all work out their issues if they all just learned to communicate better. And that includes listening as well as talking! But then again, if they did that, they would be almost like normal people, and the show would not be fun to watch..

The third Bravo show deserves its own entry so more about that later - I can just say that I am OBSESSED thinking about the family that the show is about!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I have been pampered by my wonderful family all weekend long! I really am very blessed to have my adorable girls with each their own individual, amazing, fun and smart personality. And of course I am very blessed to have a best friend, lover, handy man, and the best father for my children all wrapped in one husband. A thought goes out to all those women too who want to have a family / children so badly but for some reason cannot... I am hoping the universe will make it happen for you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

So much excitement..

Kids have so much energy, it almost makes you exhausted just to watch.. Like roaming around in the West Village, Soho, China Town and Little Italy all day wasn't enough, my daughter invited a friend over and is now doing limbo, solving mysteries and just running around dancing and making silly sketch jokes.. How much would I get done if only I had that energy level?

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's in a Name?

Since I have been thinking about names lately (my new baby, my blog and changing lifestyle), I paid attention to the bit of news I heard the other day, about recent studies done in Canada and Holland about the effects of women adopting their husband's name when they get married. Very interesting study indeed, and the information made me very happy that I kept my own surname.

The women that take their husband's name are perceived as much more stereotypically female, lower-educated, with more children and more traditional family values, who work less hours in non-management jobs. In a job interview situation, if the interviewer knew that a woman had taken the husband's name, they perceived their salary requirement at over a $1000 less than women who had kept their own name.

I was pretty stunned about this, but I guess I shouldn't have been. The world still sees women as submissive and to some extent as "property". Even though sometimes it is annoying that my children have a different last name from mine (my husband insisted that they have his name), I am still happy that I kept my own name, my own identity and better career development prospects.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gritty New York

On Friday I made the difficult decision of not doing my usual 2-week+ trek to Finland in the summer. I love the Finnish summer, with mosquitoes and all.. It is so clean, fresh and wonderful compared to a sweaty, humid New York summer. This summer, however, we will be in the middle of a huge renovation, packing up, moving and I will be quite pregnant in the middle of all this. It just adds up to a bit too much, so something has to give. 

Oh, and by the way... Our renovation project is getting bigger and bigger as we have decided to change the place of the stairs to the second floor of our new house. My husband and I finally sat down last night and drafted a budget for our big renovation (we could almost build a new house for the money that it will take - craaazyyyy - and a bit scary!). It looks like mommy has to do without a Bottega Veneta or a Birkin for now! But that is just fine. The new house will have plenty of space for my existing bag collection which I will be able to display in a way that I actually have access to all my treasures - who needs a new bag when they can have 20 that feel like new?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Favorite Flower

This beautiful bloom is my favorite flower, 
and this specific peony is even more special because it grows in my mother's garden.
I will definitely plant some peonies in my own yard next summer.