Monday, July 26, 2010

Renovation status and a little break..

Here's bit of an update of what's going on.

The window installation is still going on today and the house is full of old windows (help!). We are replacing 36 windows all together, so the amount of garbage is staggering. If you've seen the picture of our garage full of garbage, now imagine that pile in our living room!

The kitchen is also still not finished, basement bathroom is getting there but not fully done.. The kid's bathroom has no vanity.. The master bathroom has Nothing, but that is the least of our worries now. But thank God we do have one fully working bathroom upstairs, even though it too may still be missing some finishing touches like the vanity mirror and back splash.

We feel overwhelmed and a little yesterday we had some therapy..retail therapy that is. We bought some art, a chandelier, a king size bed (for lounging around with our girls on those lazy mornings that we may have had at some point and are looking forward to eventually having again), a mirrored cocktail table, and a sideboard / kitchen table (the original plan of the kitchen counter extending to the table had to be scrapped and I have been scouring the net for a table that fits both sizewise and lookwise. The one we found yesterday is nothing like the modern metal leg, white tabletop table I had planned, and is a major risk, but I loved it anyway and bought it in the spirit of 9 by Design. We shall see how it looks...  I will post pictures at some point).

We are moving this week and I probably won't have time for posting anything here for a little while.

I will come up for air in a couple of weeks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Countertop Composting

Here I go again about composting! Yesterday I made a rare shopping spree to Marshall's. I went to check if they would have had Le Creuset pots as I had seen a large selection there a while back. Of course there was none left now that I wanted to buy a couple (I have to change most of my cooking pots because of the induction cooktop). But, I did find an Oggi countertop composter. It's stainless steel and promises to be odor free with a charcoal filter. And it was only $24.95 - almost half of the price it sells on I have been looking for a dish to collect cooking scraps, banana peels and other such bio waste and this Oggi countertop composter is perfect. It looks good and is actually designed to do what I want it to do. Now I just have to find the actual outside composter to which the scraps will be emptied into daily.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bamboo floor close up

The bamboo floor is now installed and ready. I absolutely love the look. It is very organic and modern, light and airy, with a bit of an eastern flavor. I am very happy with this environmentally friendly choice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


While dreaming about a trip to New Orleans, the girls found some carnival supplies at Pier One..

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three Weddings and a ... not one but two babies coming up

We have been to three weddings this summer. From the last one, which was the wedding of our former nanny, I finally got a picture of "la familia" in our wedding finery and a picture of the beautiful and radiant bride in her gorgeous Greek Goddess gown, no baby bump in sight yet..  In NY weddings are usually adult affairs and my older daughter was super excited to participate in this wedding celebration which was her first.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And the Winner is...

Natural stone Quartz. For the kitchen countertop that is. Natural stone quartz is a very hard stone, with extreme durability and stain resistancy (hurray) and is not to be mixed up with the man made quartz countertops that are very popular these days. We love the look of white marble with gray veining, such as a traditional carrera marble, and wanted a natural stone countertop, but since marble is a very porous material and stains really easily it's not the best choice for a house full of children and red wine drinkers. The other natural stone choices were granite, limestone and quartz, of which quartz is said to be the most easy to maintain. We picked two slabs that have a white base color and interesting gray veining. The fabricator will come and measure our countertops later this week and they will then cut them and install, hopefully within days.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best Laid Plans

Here are the drawings for our kitchen.. and a picture of the dark bamboo cabinets from the showroom. But how is it going to look when it's done? I am anxious, nervous and excited, all at the same time. The installation continues today - and I hope they can fix all those little problems that we noticed on Friday..

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Dolls

My older daughter looooves her American Girl dolls. She has been playing with them a lot lately since we've been staying home sorting out stuff and packing. She has Kit Kettridge, Mia (doll of the year 2008), and a Just-like-me doll that she has named Selena. The American Girl dolls have become an amazing phenomena among young girls, partly perhaps because mothers love them too :-).  Each of the character dolls comes with a full story line, books, movies, costumes, furniture, etc. Many are based on historical characters and are educational as children learn about the doll's time period, and what life was like then, while enjoying the back story of the doll. The store itself, on Fifth Avenue, is a tourist destination, and a heaven for all doll-lovers. It has a restaurant where girls can enjoy tea, lunch or dinner with their dolls, a hair salon and a hospital for damaged dolls, a theater and of course beautiful displays of the dolls.

When I first heard about the American Girl doll from my daughter (who was whining to get one at age 5) I dismissed it as just another marketing ploy for children. But since then I have actually become a fan. I much prefer my daughter to play with these wholesome dolls rather than barbies with their super skimpy outfits. Of course, the American Girl dolls are masterfully marketed, and insanely expensive, but I have to admit that compared to many other toys, these dolls are superb quality and have returned countless hours of playtime pleasure. My daughter continues to play with her dolls, now with her younger sister in tow.

Renovation Status - Master Bedroom

The master bedroom has been painted and the floor has been sanded and refinished! Here are the before and after pics:

This is the original floor, just refinished. The paint colors are very subtle, the lighter blue/gray is called French blue and the darker shade is called Reflecting pool.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Too many goodies in one day

I feel sorry for the mailman.. On Thursday I received four magazines - Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle and Marie Claire.
All four mags have lots of fall preview, although the August number is always a bit light, given that all the efforts are focused for the massive September issues. Anyway, what I gather from these, the list for fall goes something like this:

Bag: Lady like, cross body, strawstring, leopard print
Coat: Camel color classic
Dress: is back
Suit: Man style tailoring
Shoes: surprisingly, Biker boots, kitten heels
Color: Red/orange, neutrals
Other big things: Fur, and dare I say it --> the 90's (as in Carolyn Besset-Kennedy references)

Renovation Status - Kitchen Cabinets

Our kitchen cabinets arrived yesterday, and the installation began immediately. But of course there are a couple of small problems.. The island is a bit shorter than it was supposed to be, which may actually turn out to be ok; however, there is no support for the table that makes the other end of the L-shaped island. The cabinet on top of the window is too short but the cabinet guy came up with a good idea of how to make it work --> add an extra shelf in the middle. The garbage cabinet was supposed to be a pull-out drawer, instead they sent us a regular cabinet door model. That needs to be changed. But all in all, even though installation is not finished yet, I am pretty happy with the way that the cabinets look. The color is right on the money and the style is exactly what I had wanted. Can't wait to see the kitchen finished. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Since moving is in my mind, I have been thinking about all my moves lately. Throughout my childhood I lived in one apartment, but a few years after I moved out on my own, my parents sold the apartment and moved to a different city. Oddly, I did not feel too much nostalgia for the childhood apartment. I guess I had really grown out of it.. Then there was a time when I was a young adult when I moved 11 times within three years - the moves were within two countries and two cities. I got to know a lot of different neighborhoods, but I did not get too attached to any of the apartments because they were all for short term, temporary. Now I have been living in the same apartment for about 11 years, and when I think about the upcoming move, I feel (oddly, again) nothing but happiness and relief to get out of this apartment. I thought that I would be at least little bit sad and nostalgic because this is where I really established myself, it is where I started my marriage, had two children, a dog, a cat, lots of happy times and many many parties, some challenging times as well including a marital crisis, health problems and a space crisis due to shopping gone wild. This apartment has served us well, but it is now time to go, and let go, and embrace the new.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who doesn't love Pillows?

Everyone I know loves pillows.. Or should I say, all my girlfriends love pillows - guys don't really care, and some seem to think that there is such a thing as too many pillows :-)

Anyway, I have been looking for cute pillows, although have been resisting buying until we move. I already have tabs at pillows at West Elm, Pottery Barn, etc. But once I saw this very cute pillow from Dwell Studio on sale at One Kings Lane, I had to order.. I am not sure where the pillow will go yet, maybe to one of the girls' rooms, maybe the guest room..

Monday, July 12, 2010

Installing Bamboo Floors

 Here's a short clip of the new bamboo floor in our living room. Love, love, love it! And once we get the new windows, it will look more modern. Can't wait to actually see the house. I have had to stay away because of floor sanding, refinishing, and painting fumes.. My hubby made the video so I could at least get an idea of how the floor looks like!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dry Spell

It has been so hot and dry in New York that our beautiful yard is getting all burnt and brown. I have to get an encyclopedia of garden plants, because I have no idea what half the plants in my yard are called, or what type of care they require. Because of the renovation, water has been shut off, and the sprinklers are not working their schedule, and these beautiful flowers are dying...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Underwear is underwear!

I never got the underwear as clothes trend.. It just keeps coming back in one incarnation or the other. To me, underwear is underwear. Women's Wear Daily and Elle UK posted some pictures of the Paris Couture Fashion Week Dior show front row. Here are the best and the worst.. Jessica Alba is so cute in the summery dress, but did Nora Arnezeder forget something - like to put on a dress? And of course, the man behind the show, John Galliano, was as eccentric as ever..which is why we love him so much :-)  The Dior show itself was full of amazing garden flower inspired dresses. Very extravagant, very beautiful.

Work of Art

I have watched a couple of episodes of Bravo's new reality TV show "Work of Art". Although I am interested in art and the artists creating it, I don't know that much about the art world, and especially not much about current, contemporary artists. It is definitely an area where I would like to educate myself more, which is one reason I was interested in watching the show. Given that art has been commercialized more and more lately, with ever increasing prices being paid at art auctions, and museum shops getting bigger and bigger with more online presence, I was not so surprised to see a reality TV show, and a competition at that, about art and artists. 

It is fascinating to see the process of creating art, although I am sure that the actual process of creating art is quite different than allowed at the show due to time constraints and the forced topic or challenge. Still, it's really interesting how each artist approaches the challenge in a different way. Some are much more conservative in their thinking than others, and produce more predictable work. And some (especially Miles) seem to have a unique brain that comes up with very unexpected ideas.

So far my artist favorites are Abdi, Miles and Jaime Lynn, who are all very different and very talented.

My absolute favorite in the show is Simon De Pury who is the Tim-Gunn-like mentor to the artists. I cannot help but compare Tim and Simon. Both are very old school type gentlemen, impeccably dressed with beautiful manners and a very soothing air about them. So far Sarah Jessica Parker, who is the executive producer of the show, has put in only one short appearance (I think I've seen three episodes), and was clearly a bit taken back because of a bad joke by Miles, who pretended not to know who she is!

All in all, an interesting show and definitely a nice addition to my DVR recording schedule!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Renovation Status Report

The garbage is gone!!

The great room is waiting for a new floor, paint and new windows - and of course, everything that goes in the kitchen.

The living room is waiting for the new floor, paint, new windows.

The floor guys are coming on Thursday, the kitchen cabinets will be ordered today - and it is all bamboo! I am happy that we ended up choosing this most renewable resource and eco-friendly material for both the floor and the kitchen. A tree takes about 50 years or more to grow, bamboo grows in 3 years; a vast difference which makes bamboo a lot more attractive. In addition it looks beautiful, wears well and is more water resistant than traditional woods.

American Woman at Outnet

I happened to take a look at shop ( outlet) and saw that they have a campaign called the American Woman. The selection is amazing, classic, wearable, grown-up business clothing, full of pencil skirts, jackets, shift dresses, trench coats... All with great discounts. And lots from my boyfriend, MK. The Outnet is quickly becoming my big favorite. (Hardly a surprise given my weakness for outlets..) Although it is wonderful to be expecting a child, seeing that fabulous outlet selection almost makes me resent this baby bump that makes it impossible to wear that stuff. I can't wait to put on a pencil skirt, slim cardigan, or a nice tailored jacket and slim pants.. The pieces here are very simple, well tailored pieces, exactly how I like them. I have never been into clothes that are loud or weird, because I like to wear my clothes, not have my clothes wear me :-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Maternity Dungarees

I have been wearing my maternity dungarees a lot, they are so comfortable. I was a bit hesitant with dungarees, thinking that they may make me look like a cow girl, or worse, a cow, but so far I've been able to style them so that they stay pretty neutral and urban. Here's my outfit a couple of days ago.

Walmart dungarees, H&M scarf, Michael Kors watch, Fendi sunglasses, Dior bag

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Change Happens

We are all creatures of habit, and I am definitely one of those people who does not move on easily. I get attached to things, places, people.. When change happens I need to struggle with myself to remind that change is ultimately a good thing as it can lead to growth, new friends, and better things, circumstances, a richer life experience. But once I get my head wrapped around the decision to change, and the change actually happens, I never regret it. I do not live in the past, or glorify what used to be. I always choose to believe that the best is yet to come. My life is undergoing a tremendous change right now. I am so busy that there is not much time to digest the changes - but I need to make quiet time for myself to listen to my heart and find peace in it. I need to have confidence in the change, and in myself, to thoroughly enjoy this time of my life when I am carrying my third (and last) child, readying myself and and my family to a move, encouraging my older daughter to look forward to new school, new friends, figuring out how the move will affect my relationship with my husband, in addition to figuring out all the little but important organizational aspects of our life.

Forever 21

Ok, I do love Forever 21 - I may be too old for it, but I can still find great pieces there, and the best thing is that they are dirt cheap! So I was very happy to hear that they have started to carry Maternity, as well as a Kid's line. I may not need that many maternity pieces anymore, but I will be surely shopping for my daughters there. Aren't these pieces cute?

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Chosen Ones

Here are the tiles I picked for my pebble shower spa bathroom.. I wasn't sure about these in the first place as I thought maybe I wanted something a bit more modern, but the marble tile has grown on me and I feel this will look like a classic with a twist - exactly how I like it.. The marble tiles will go on bathroom walls, the mosaic tile will go on the bathroom and shower floor, and the pebble tile will go on shower walls.

We also found the kitchen cabinets today! We we're going to seal the deal in the showroom where we found the cabinets closest to what we (I) wanted, but on the way there I spotted another showroom with the PERFECT cabinet style in the window. We walked in, showed our drawings and asked for an estimate. The cabinets were so perfect that I was sure they were going to be prohibitively expensive - and was so HAPPY when they were almost in the same price range as the cabinets we almost bought...which were ok, but not perfect. I felt very comfortable in the new showroom, the people were super nice, very professional and the cabinet style is what I have dreamed about. And, to top it of, these cabinets are eco-friendly bamboo - YAY!  The new guys will come and measure our kitchen tomorrow, and if all goes well, we will order our cabinets on Monday - I am very excited - I feel like a kid, I just want to jump up and down and clap!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reader's Dilemma

I am an avid reader. As an only child I grew up with my nose in a book whenever I was home with no friends around. During long summers in the Finnish countryside I raided the local library and read almost everything suitable and not so suitable for whatever age I was at the time. I guess I've always been a bit of a dreamer and an escapist. I still always have a book (or two, or even three) that I am reading. I don't mind my long commute because it gives me time to read.. But I suffer from the very common reader's dilemma, i.e. deciding what to read next. It is always a tough choice to decide on the next book, but the decision is being made especially hard if the book that you're currently reading is very, very good. And some books are SO good, that they ruin just about any other book that you pick up after them (for example, The Kite Runner was this kind of book for ruined other books for me for a long time). Anyway, I am reading one of those books now and it's John Irving's "The World According to Garp".


John Irving is one of my favorite authors and I have read almost all his books. For some reason, I never read Garp, which is probably his most famous book. I never even saw the movie that is based on the book. I did read the other Irving books and they are all great, but this one is above the others. And now that I am nearing the end of the book I have been worried about what to read next.

Until today...

I found the next book by accident. I had gone into a Border's bookstore to purchase a magazine, New York Spaces (interior decorating magazine devoted to homes around the NY metro area) when I saw that Carlos Ruiz Zafon had a new title out in paperback. Well ever since the "Shadow of the Wind" I have been crazy about him, so I picked up his new book "The Angel's Game".

Even though I am sad to be finishing "Garp" I am very happy because I know that "The Angel's Game" will be very enjoyable, and will hopefully avoid the letdown that usually happens after a book like "Garp".