Friday, July 30, 2010

Cheap Lust

Craigslist find of the day: a 1969 Datsun Roadster for $ if I could just airlift it to the Amalfi Coast and real quick-like order a vodka tonic and some mussels at a seaside cafe...

Rediscovering (thanks Molly) the cheap joy that is Forever 21 (even though I would have had to break my arms and my pelvis in order to fit into some of that stuff-what's UP with that??)
The perfect Frenchie boatneck shirt I bought for $9.50

And the splurge-y $24.80 silk striped one I'm going back for

The perfect orange nail polish, $6.50 Sally Hansen "All Fired Up"

And these phenom shoes (thanks a heap Jamie) that I am *this close* (holds up two close-together fingers) to ordering.

Oh yeah, but save your money for travel and all that baloney. That was SO yesterday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Decorating with Craigslist-Vintage Men's Club Inspiration

Inspired by the Down Town Association in Manhattan where Joanna Goddard was married, I put together a clubby, Anglophile room using only pieces available today on Craigslist, all for around $500.
Although I adore this look (Freemans Restaurant and Beekman's Hotel get it right, too) it's best when not taken too seriously.
If I were really designing this room, I would get a little cheeky and assemble a gallery wall of paint-by-number ships or regal pooches above the Chesterfield sofa.

Chinese red lacquered campaign cabinet ($50)...I would group orchids and blue and white Chinese porcelain on top of it.

Vintage green leather Chesterfield, the centerpiece of a clubby room ($200)

Vintage Persian rug, suitably faded and worn ($200)

Antique dresser ($100)...I would pile it with books and curiosities, maybe a ship-in-a-bottle and a lamp!

Antique Windsor chairs ($50)

A paint-by-number gallery wall example:

Dude. I kind of want this room.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tips for cheap travel (how to do it even if you think you can't)

When it comes to travel, there seems to be two camps; those who think it's for the rich and/or costs an arm and a leg, and those who know the tricks.
Out of necessity, I know quite a few tricks. Just thought I'd share a few (hundred):

1) Pick your destination based on what's currently cheap. I look at this like buying fruit that's in season; sure you want watermelon in February, but if it's not in season it's going to be expensive. For some reason, Costa Rica was ridiculously discounted last year, which made it an obvious choice. We flew round-trip from San Diego for $220, including taxes. The entire trip was cheaper than some local road trips we've taken!

2)Sign up for Travelzoo email alerts. Their weekly "Top 20" list is full of incredible deals (including local entertainment...I regularly buy symphony and other performance tickets for under $20, and we saw Spamalot for $7!).

But the real jackpot is the "flash sales" they randomly send to your in-box.

One morning the flash sale was $225 round-trip to Barcelona from San Diego, tax inclusive. The sale lasted all of six hours (I know this because that's how long it took me to locate someone who would go with me, and by then it had ended!)

Be flexible, have a passport, and be ready to book.

3) Parlay one vacation into another by volunteering to get "bumped" off your over-booked flight. I know some people who purposely choose notoriously over-booked flights just for this opportunity. The airline will typically reimburse you with a domestic round-trip ticket and put you on the next flight out.

Additionally, excessively delayed (we're talking hours) or cancelled flights should be compensated with flight credits. If they're not offered, politely but firmly request them. It probably helps to have a frequent flyer account with the airline, and maybe to cry a little (or let your kids cry..).

Last year, our flight to NYC (which we paid for with rewards points) was delayed by four hours. United sent each of us a $400 flight voucher, which nearly covered the entire cost of our flights to Kauai for our next vacay. Free flights from free flights...not bad!

5) Which brings me to...rewards cards. They are only as good as the people using them. No use working your rewards card all year to get a free $300 flight to NYC, but paying $300 in interest and ending up in debt!

If you sign up for a card just for the intro 25,000 free miles, get in and get out. Cancel the card immediately upon return to avoid forgetting about it and getting hit with the annual fee, and don't make charges on it (beyond what's required to get the free miels) to avoid interest.

We like the Citi Premier Pass because it has no annual fee and allows you to earn points on the purchase price AND the miles flown for EVERYONE whose flights are charged using the card (that means double miles points-once for the airline frequent flier program and once for the credit card).

6) Rent a house. Better yet, travel with friends and share the (comparitively low) expense of renting a house. Use VRBO or my new favorite, AirBNB. If you're looking to be comfortable, have an authentic experience, and travel on the cheap, there's no better way. You'll have tons more space and privacy, and amenities that would cost a fortune at a resort, like access to laundry, kitchen, bikes, beach equipment, patio space and/or yard, BBQs, and "concierge" advice from a local.

We've noticed that with a family of four, food can quickly become the biggest travel expense unless we have access to a kitchen (12 meals x a conservative $12 per meal = $144 a day)
But mostly, it's just nice to lounge with your own coffee without having to dress and head down to the restaurant for it, or to have a quick bite for breakfast and head out for adventure rather than sitting around at a restaurant while the kids spill juice and poke each other.

7) Have a vacation account separate from your regular savings, and have small automatic deposits set up...maybe you can't come up with $1200 at once, but you might not miss $25 a week being stashed in your vacation account!

8) Use travel as an annual excuse to clean out closets/garages and have a yard sale...add the money to your travel account.

9) Play mind games/Prioritize. If travel is a burning goal for you, like it is for me, when you're about to make a purchase ask yourself if you would rather have the item, or more money towards your trip. If you choose the trip, transfer half the money you just saved to your vacation account. I.e., if you passed on a $100 purse, transfer $50 to savings.
When it comes to going out, occasionally suggest a bottle of wine at your house instead of a full-fledged night out (or at least suggest a spot with a great happy hour instead of that expensive restaurant!), and make sure to transfer the difference to your travel account! Pat yourself on the back. So smart, you!

10) "Find" the money. Cancel your gym membership if you don't use it, ditch the excessive cable package, cancel the newspaper if you rarely read it, get a friend with skills to dye your hair, shop for a better cell phone plan, and ditch your the savings to your vacation account instead. Twelve years ago, we resolved not to pay for anything beyond basic cable, and every time we waver on that resolve we remind ourselves we've save an estimated $6000-$8000!

When making larger purchases, budget the amount you plan to spend and then "find" money by challenging yourself to spend less. You know what to do with the savings....
Case in point, we needed new patio furniture and I had budgeted $600 for a used teak set from Craigslist (which seemed to be the going rate). By looking a little harder, a little longer, I found the perfect set for $100. O.K., so I had to search "teak" over and over for a few days, and drive 90 mph to get it before anyone else did, but I would say that's worth being $500 closre to your next trip, wouldn't you?

What's your best cheap travel story or idea??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Zooey D sings to me

See the original "you're probably a hipster" post here!

Dang. Does loving this make me a hipster?? The first 32 seconds of this clip =
girl crush.

Historic mansionette for sale...

Be my neighbor, won't you? In the market for a turn-of-the-century hilltop estate? Yeah, I thought so! Aren't we all? Really though, I love this property. It's the view from my front door, and after 99 years of belonging to the original family, it has hit the market.

I keep seeing these investor-types milling about, but I'm really hoping that someone committed to preservation and as in-love with this historic neighborhood as I am nabs it. That's the original circular artist's studio built out of rock...our neighborhood was once a thriving spa retreat/artist's colony with springs that were thought to have healing powers!

I guess you've discerned that Modernhaus isn't very modern at all...

Here's another neighbor, the Todd House. After painstakingly restoring the house, the owners divorced and I bought their ginormous restored turn-of-the-century piano. I'm waiting for the new owners to invite me to a lawn party, Great Gatsby-style.

What is your ideal neighborhood?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ilmari Tapiovaara "Mademoiselle" high-back rocking chair

A Mid-Century Finnish designer you may or may not have heard of, Tapiovaara was both prolific and extremely influential. You've seen his designs all over, even if you don't know it. IKEA, for instance, copied many of his designs verbatim (gosh, the longer I do this the more I realize how little at IKEA is original design work).

This is Tapiovaara's rarely-seen "Mademoiselle" rocker, which is just pure perfection. The high back, swooping arms, and spare silhouette make her a knock-out, and very very comfortable, too. Ingeniously, the legs mounted over the tops of the rockers keep it from creaking when rocked. Besides discomfort, isn't that the biggest strike against wooden rockers?

Well honey pies, I've got one taking a Danish oil bath and getting pretty for auction tomorrow! Mine is solid hemlock, without the black paint as shown here, which feels much more "Danish" and modern to me.

Draped with a cozy sheepskin, this gets my highest recommendation as the best nursery rocker ever.

Check the storefront tomorrow evening around 7:30pm Pacific time for the auction.

photo via Deconet

Note to my hair

Dear hair,
I'm pretty sure you can do better than this. I am very disappointed in you. It's embarrassing the way you've let yourself go.
Hey, everyone is entitled to a bad day now and then, but you're making a habit of it.
Pull yourself together, or I'll be forced to let you go. You heard me. Chop chop.

photo from Craftzine

Monday, July 19, 2010

Something Borrowed

I don't want to own this room, but I DO want to visit it. Specifically, every morning for coffee. Something about the light, the spareness, the giant old wardrobe, and even the wildly blooming wallpaper make it seem so fresh and inviting. I can envision leaning over (o.k., hovering over) a plate of warm chocolate croissants, sharing a laugh with a friend.

It reminds me of a decorating maxim: Design a room around how you want it to feel, not how you want it to look.

via Design Sponge

Sunday, July 18, 2010

String Theory

You could totally do this. Have your girlfriends over (or male friends--whatever, I won't judge) and drink sangria and make these. The sangria will make them come out prettier. And no, I'm not going to stop mentioning sangria in every post until the summer is completely, totally over. Which, in San Diego, means late October suckas!

Did you know I have ginormous piano-playing hands and can't wear slip-on bracelets? Nope. They won't fit over my giant paws. Once, in Mexico, I tried on a beautiful silver bracelet and couldn't get it back off. Remember the "Man-hands" Seinfeld episode? Yeah. Deeply offensive to me and my big-handed brethren (support group, anyone?). But I have an octave reach, which made banging out loud Beethoven-fueled adolescent angst on the piano pretty fun. Silver lining and all that jazz.

SO, make these bracelets and then open up an Etsy store and make millions after Cup of Jo features you in a post that reads simply, "I like these."

In case you're link-impaired, click here for the down-low.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


If I had to choose, say for the purposes of an upcoming anniversary, could I?
Or is it possible to get an advance on the next three anniversaries...sort of like a purse payday loan?

Oh Clare Vivier, do you also have to be beautiful? Genetic jackpot, that one...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bits 'n Bobs

To me, this is the ideal wedding photograph. Everyone should have a least one picture of themselves where they feel relaxed, glowing, and gorgeous (I'm still waiting for mine!):

by stephanie williams photography

West Elm is going to turn me into a crazy, rug-collecting old woman. This is a great summertime rug with white slipcovered furniture and driftwood-y accessories (none of which I have):

Desert Fete's lucious film photography (Jamie I don't think you even know how good you are...):

The best little girls' room, making artful use of Marimekko wallpaper and IKEA pieces:

This high-waisted yellow linen skirt from the defunct Blueprint magazine...yep, I've been holding onto this picture THAT long:

This zig zag lamp, which is ethnic and graphic and perfect:

Beach camping in Malibu in my vintage turquoise trailer: come back in August and I'll have some pic's for ya.

That's it ladies and gentlegerms!

(got to run, will upload live links and the rest of the attributions shortly ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Omann Jun rosewood credenza and Hans Olsen Safari chair--auction previews

I love everything I sell at MODERNHAUS, but let's face it; furniture is not the same as children. I don't love it all equally.

It's quite a thrill for me to be able to offer rare icons of Modernism in my store, and to live with them however briefly.

This evening I will be listing a phenomenally long and sexy Omann Jun rosewood credenza, and an extremely rare Hans Olsen leather Safari lounge chair.

Please visit the store around 7:30pm Pacific time, and until then, enjoy these previews!

Josef Frank and those damn Swedes

When I cranked up la computadora this morning, I thought, "Huh, that Google logo looks like Josef Frank fabric!"
Well, I guess I know my unaffordable Swedish design history because it was indeed a tribute to the designer.
A while back I designed a little fantasy nursery around one of Josef Frank's best-known textile designs.
I had read that he designed over 200 textile patterns, and a little research led me here.

Oh dang. He designed a heckuvalot more than textiles. Here are some highlights from the website (which handles the licensed reproductions), but you should really grab a cuppa and head over yourself. It's amazing.

Designer's challenge: can you find the things that influenced Peter Dunham, Orla Kiely, Lotta Jansdotter, and even IKEA?

Some furniture highlights (this is where I see Frank's influence on Peter Dunham's interior designs; the fig trees, the wicker, the classic-meets-organic style):

Two new favorite textile designs:

How is it that these bags aren't EVERYWHERE (oh, maybe it's the pricetag)??

The wallet is made from his "Manhattan" print...I would love to carry one:

Stunning lighting, which looks to have influenced Tommi Parzinger pretty heavily:

A number of delicious design books, with lots of potential for cutting and framing:

A full line of vases, planters, and other botanical supplies:

Plates, trays, children's dishes, sculpture:

What's your favorite piece? I dare you not to want it all!


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