Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quality Control

I've been thinking a lot about quality lately. Quality of life. Air quality. Quality wardrobe investments. Top quality pieces of furniture. The quality of my writing (which has taken a nose dive on this blog, sorry about that.)

So many things in 2011 are disposable. As a culture it seems we've decided that disposable = easier. Maybe that's true in the short term. Buy a bottle of water and throw it out when you're done. That's easier than remembering to fill up a water bottle at home, carrying the empty vessel around when you've drank all the water, and washing it when you get home. But think of all the hidden work in that water bottle. You have to stop somewhere to get it. You have to throw almost $2 away on it. You acquire a useless receipt that may or may not hang around in your pocket for too long. You have to wrangle with the recyclables at your house. And then there's the psychic toll of thinking about how all our empty water bottles have turned into the 8th continent of the world. Ugh. (Have you seen The Story of Stuff? It takes 20 mintues. Do check it out.*)

Or take most of things that are bought at Ikea. Sure, my $600 Ikea couch lasted almost a decade. But I also have a garage full of $20 lamps, chairs, and $2 vases that I cannot bear to throw out but don't want in my house anymore. I bought them when I moved from an apartment to a house and felt the imperative to fill the house up. But I couldn't afford nice pieces and didn't take the time to muse about what the chair that I would really love and treasure for the better part of my lifetime would look like. I just saw things at Ikea that I could afford immediately, and voila -- problem solved. (Apparently I'm not the only one, and that's why Ikea is the biggest furniture manufacturer in the world.)

Or all the sweaters I've bought because they were $20 on sale and who doesn't need another cardigan? You know who? I don't. It's taken me a long time to figure out that having a glut of bargain clothing doesn't make me a better dresser because I have more options. In fact I tend to wear the same things over and over again because I can barely squeeze my hand between the clothes in my closet to see what's in there. I forget about a lot of the clothes I have because they are lost in the oversupply. I give away a garbage bag of clothing every seasonal wardrobe rotation. I just keep filling up my closet with irresistible bargains. The quantity obscures the quality. 

Having a baby who comes with lots of stuff has really amped up my anxiety about being overstuffed. There are less drawers in which I can hide away my extra things. The baby has a lot of stuff that is constantly in use and has to stay out in the open. So I find myself, about every 2 weeks, thinking of a new corner of my house that needs to be organized and cleaned. All the things stuffed into my secret hiding places need to be ruthlessly sorted through, thrown out, or put back in an orderly fashion -- in clear bins labeled with a P-Touch! I want to be one of those Bed Bath & Beyond ladies!!!! Okay, no, I don't actually need to go shopping to acquire more things to put my things in. But I have never before had the desire to take on these particular Martha Stewart qualities (in the past it's always been glue guns, yes, overly organized drawers, no). 

A lot of people feel over-stuffed at this time of year with food and with objects. This year my family tried to reduce the amount of presents exchanged, and though we did make a dent, I still found myself really disappointed with the amount of shopping, spending, and wrapping I did. But it was a step in the right direction. 

I have gained a lot of resolve and taken solace in a blog called Treehouse Chatter. It's written by a friend of mine who over the past few years has embraced veganism, minimalism, and environmentalism. I don't want to speak for her (you should really read her blog), but I think her personal evolution has come from a very curious, exploratory place, and as a result I find what she shares on her blog (and in our conversations) to be inspiring and ellucidating, not judgmental, intimidating, preachy, or militant. I am really happy to have a place on the internet that I can visit when I have cruised my regular assortment of pretty blogs that have me thinking that I would be a much happier person if I got yet another incarnation of a long-sleeved striped t-shirt. 

It's nice to know that there are blogs that inspire healthier living, not just online shopping. I'm not sure what Seven Presidents inspires, but I hope maybe I have piqued your curiosity enough for you to click on Treehouse Chatter and see what it has to say. 

*After you've watched that, perhaps you need something a little lighter. I recommend Marcel The Shell With Shoes On One & Two.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Coming To A Living Room Near Me

We finally pulled the trigger on a new couch, and it's spectacular.  "Go big or go home" is definitely turning out to be my home decor mantra, between this velvet fox and my yellow chairs. I think I will just have to be one of those people who has a house filled with eccentric treasures that somehow go together because they are loved ecstatically. And I'm okay with that.

Special shout-out to Sonny the cat, who we lost last month. His passing allowed us to finally let go of our 7 year old Ikea wreck and move on to something more grown up. I know what you're thinking -- your kid is going to ruin that couch. You may be right, but the time was right for us to say yes to a piece of furniture that we absolutely love.

Extra-special shout out to Mr. SevPrez who rejected my reasonable, compromise choice in couches and fell in love with my fantasy couch, and then spent all of Thursday night moving furniture around to make it fit in our family room. (We won't get the new couch til February but we are living with the new configuration.)

We spend a lot of time on our couch. And a lot of time looking at it, since we have an open floor plan. Why not have something big, bold, and beautiful? Life is short, seize the teal velvet!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Motivation To Be Festive

I'm taking Christmas to the next level here at Seven Presidents. Some years I'm more gung ho than others, but I think the addition of our little one has me excited about the holiday this year, even if at 5 months old she's too small to really appreciate it. Reminds me of the Christmas episode of "Up All Night," Will Arnett's new show. That show pretty much nails the experience of being a regular person who has a baby and doesn't totally lose their identity. I find myself laughing out loud at least once every episode. But I digress.

My mom keeps offering me holiday decorations that my Grammy made, and I keep accepting. Her handmade decorations hold a ton of sentimental value and precious memories, which is probably why I've always been so hard on new store bought Christmas decorations. Grammy set the bar pretty high. 

I got the extra parts of her ceramic village (except for the church, which seems appropriate). I set it up and meant to take a picture because -- what do you know! -- President Obama stopped by the village to shake hands and drum up votes for 2012. I also acquired a calico gingerbread garland that is hanging over my entryway where I hang our stockings. (Poll: Do you think stockings are just for hanging on Christmas Eve?). 

I stopped by my mom's yesterday and she gave me a stick wreathe to decorate (again, I should have taken a photo) and an idea for the pendants in my kitchen, which I actually managed to photograph. And notice that pot rack in the background? It's been about three years in the making. I finally found one I liked from Crate & Barrel and my dad put it up for me. (It's serious business. Because pots are so heavy you have to make sure it's in a joist.) I couldn't take a picture of the whole room for you to get a better idea of how it looks because there were dishes everywhere. But just trust me that it is an awesome addition to the house. It looks pretty cool and it frees up an entire corner cabinet, which now holds all the extremely tall cereal boxes, bottles of olive oil, cans of formula, and small appliances that were cluttering up the counter. Serenity now! And Merry Christmas, if I don't talk to you before the big day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Charlie Brown Tree No. 3

This year's tree was handpicked (and cut) but my dad. It road all the way down from Maine on the top of his Mini Cooper. He was a little concerned that maybe it was too wily, but it turns out it's awesome -- long arms and loads of personality. Fits right in.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I think Christoph Niemann needs to be added to my list of people who inspire me. He sketched his NY Marathon experience while he ran it. 

His I Lego NY book is awe-inspiring.

And he did an illustration for the last page of the NY Times Magazine back in 2000 that I have kept for 11 years. It currently graces my refrigerator. I really loved it as a college freshman but it took on another level of poignancy once the twin towers fell down. 

Love that guy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Testing Testing 1-2-3

Do you know your Kolbe Score? It's a kind of personality test based on your instincts. I'm a fact-finding quick-start. Or a quick-starting fact-finder. Probably neither of those are the appropriate nomenclature. Anyway, it's a fascinating and useful personality test. Will totally explain a lot of the reasons why you work well with certain people, why others frustrate the heck out of you. My sister-in-law is a Kolbe expert which is so cool because sometimes I'll tell her a story and she can just nod knowingly. My dad is a crazy fact-finder like me. My husband, mom, and brother are crazy quick-starts. They like to tease me because I am such a predictable fact-finder. Example: when I wanted to start playing soccer in middle school I went to Barnes & Noble and bought a book about it. That's just how I roll. I just came across a quotation by Dave Eggers that sums up my driving, unconscious principle: "All I ever wanted was to know what to do."

Where my quick-starting comes in: I have an overactive mind that overproduces ideas and I excite easily, so I tend to get a lot of things going (see Pop Ups, Full Time Job, Motherhood, Running, Craft pursuits, Blog Posting, etc). Before I take action I do tons of research, but once I get started I throw it all out the window and improvise. I am the worst person in the world at following directions. I swear I become illiterate when following directions. I can't see them. It's bizarre.

I also like the Carl Jung typology test (condensed Meyers-Briggs). The minister who married us had us take it before we went to our pre-marriage counselling. It was a really great way to get the conversations going about what will keep tripping us, and conversely, where our magic lives. I'm a ENFJ - Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Judger AKA The Benevelont Pedagogue. (Seriously, who makes these names up?!) Basically I have instinctual spidey senses, I like to stay late at parties (which will forever annoy the introverted Mr. SevPrez) and I only play to win (that's the J). People who play for fun make me CRAZY! I am a get to the point type of gal. But enough about me. What about you? Go take the tests and we'll talk.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inspired By...

...their honesty, creativity, ingenuity, courage to live and work outside the mainstream.

I get really into stuff, and sometimes I think the people in my life tire of my unsolicited, overly enthusiastic, proselytizing emails. And then I remember, that's why I have a blog.

Chuck Close, painter. 
The guy went paralyzed half way through his career, which forced him to come up with new ways to physically paint, resulting in (I think) his best work. Unbelievable. I saw a documentary about him on PBS when I was in college and have loved him ever since. His studio is only a couple blocks away from my office, and one day I walked by him sitting outside. I walked around the corner and spent about 5 minutes facing a brickwall trying to convince myself to go back and talk to him. When I finally worked up the courage he had gone back inside. I'll get him next time.

Mindy Kaling, writer. 
She kills me. It's like she has a portal to my brain and knows my innermost thoughts.
I think a lot of women my age feel the same way, but I still feel special.

John Cage, composer, artist, all around amazing guy. 
He is so much more than the guy who composed a piece of silent music. He was a contemporary of Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and that whole crew of crazy forward thinking guys. Joyful Zen is what I take away from him. 

Pablo Picasso, painter.
You know who he is. I am not cool for loving him. I wrote an essay about my early obsession with him -- maybe one day i'll share it on the blog in serial form. I wrote it to submit to This American Life until one of their old producers told me it wasn't universal enough. I freely admit that ever since that experience my love of TAL has dimmed. But I think it just happened to coincide with my love for it burning too brightly: it could not be sustained. Now I tend to find their unassuming, casual narration style somewhat rote and grating. But who am I kidding, I still listen.

Marc Maron, comic & podcaster.
The only way I survive my commute is by listening to podcasts which pre-maternity leave had been limited to shows that air on NPR; the only way I survived the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy was by discovering Kevin Pollack's Chat Show on iTunes. Because I could not listen to Terry Gross or the Planet Money team talk about economic doom while my whole life was all about bringing a human being into the world. So I took hour long walks around my neighborhood once or twice a day and amused myself by listening to Kevin's long form interviews with actors. It was fluffy and funny. Only a week or two ago did I finally download some of Marc Maron's WTF podcasts -- long form interviews with comics, writers, and actors. It was kind of like graduating from high school (KPCS) and going to college where everyone smokes cigarettes and talks philosophy. But it's still funny. In fact it's about ten times funnier, so I've turned into the girl who walks around Port Authority grinning inexplicably. And I like that. Marc Maron, I think I love you.

Yeah, everybody loves his cute punctuation, his love poems, blah blah blah, but until you read "i: six non-lectures" you have no idea what a mindblowingly compelling thinker he was. There is so much more to him than writing in all lowercase. The book may have taken me about a decade to read and understand cover to cover, but it is the most special book I own, and it was passed down from my mother. And it goes without saying that "if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have one."

Pema Chodron, Buddhist monk.
I was first introduced to her work through Stephanie, my amazing old yoga teacher in Brooklyn. One time she read a passage from her book in class and I started crying. That yoga really can really sneak up on you sometimes. I always turn to her books "When Things Fall Apart" and "Start Where You Are" when things fall apart, which they inevitably do every couple years. You don't have to be a meditating Buddhist to take away some real pearls of wisdom.

Maira Kalman, illustrator.
You knew this already

Uncle Jim, my mom's brother.
My love and respect for him has been chronicled on this blog before. He is half of the dynamic duo we are always going to Maine to see. Let's be honest: we love the state of Maine, but we really love our relatives who live there. Otherwise all those evergreens could start to look the same.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall: Home and About

Pumpkins on the stoop! My favorite way to showcase pumpkins, inspired by Katy Elliot's documentation of pumpkins above the door in Marblehead. Halloween is epic in my town, so I like to make sure the house is sending signals to potential trick-or-treaters (and there are A LOT of them) that our door is open. 
And this morning -- this very very warm morning -- I completed my first race post baby, a 5K in my favorite shore town. I had very low expectations since I've been taking it easy out there, but I managed to break 30 minutes, which I was pretty excited about, considering it means I ran 3 miles at about a 9:30 pace and I'm quite sure I that's about a minute faster than any mile I'd run in preparation. Later this month is the Trik-or-Trot, then November brings the Turkey Trot. Love all the local fall races, and so happy to be back in the mix! (Even if it is harder to get to the starting line in time with little P).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Unrepeatable Not Repeating.

Five years ago I created a website called I Am Unrepeatable. It was a space on the internet for open thank you notes and love letters -- a place for anyone to post a personal message in a public space, with an option to send the message to the person mentioned. I was inspired by wondering what "regular" people would say if given the chance to make an acceptance speech like all the fancy movie stars do at the Oscars; I was inspired by the notion that living life every day is a beautiful achievement, more deserving of attention and air space than the "Best Actor In A Motion Picture." 

This year I made the decision not to renew the space with my web host. It doesn't get as much attention as it first did, but more than that, I've realized people now share so much of their lives on Facebook. It's true that plenty of status updates are full of complaints (about the weather, traffic, strangers, Mondays, etc), but there are also incredible messages of love and acknowledgement shared in that online community. 

So it is not with sadness, but with gratitude, that I say that's days are numbered. I feel a sense of accomplishment that my little corner of the internet can pass on to the nether world knowing that Facebook has become an integral part of so many people's lives, so much so that it's second nature for someone to share how much they love their parent, sibling, or child, just because it's their birthday. It's an incredible thing, actually, if you think about how different the world is today than it was 1o or even 5 years ago.

I took screen shots of all the pages of Unrepeatable so I'll always be able to go back and read all 593 acknowledgements. I would encourage you to take a gander at them. I guarantee it will improve your mood. In fact, I challenge you not to cry, or get goosebumps. 

As crazy as people can be, I still believe we all share something beautiful and pure at our core. 

Here's the first thing ever posted on the site, written back in the summer of 2006. Five years ago, my immediate family was my parents and 2 siblings. Now it includes my husband and daughter. By taking a moment to really absorb that fact, something as abstract and seemingly remote as a website has touched me to my core once again. Thanks for all those who participated and visited over the years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clearly I Have A Chair Thing

You know, a thing for chairs? I am about to inherit some excellent chairs (in the style of the 2nd picture) from a family friend, and I am already daydreaming about reupholstering them. And all I can think about are these two imagines I've pinned to my Pinterest page...

Pinned ImagePinned Image

Would it be crazy to buy some canvas, or whatever kind of fabric would be good for upholstery, and hand paint it?!! Because that's all I fantasize about. Even if I just hand painted a stripe, I just think it would look so amazing. But what color? I keep thinking red but then I wonder where on earth these chairs are going (this is what happens when you have a thing for chairs -- I never even told you about the mid-century Italian Leather ones I scored for a song while antiquing with my mom in Allenhurst during the heat wave just days before going into labor). I think at least one of them could go in little P's room, and I'd rather it be pink. But then what about when she's a teenager and is so over pink? Maybe royal blue? Grey? Black and white? Brown (totally not my instinct, but could be nice)? I might have to call up Lenny and see how poorly he reacts to this idea to gage just how crazy I'm being.

I am going to consult with my most trusted design aficianados (my SGBS partner, my brothers, my boss) and will report back on the project. But what do you think?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Life These Days*

As my friend who visited the other day with her new dog said, "Most of our conversations revolve around whether or not she is the cutest dog in the world." I relate to that. Right now so much of the space of my life is taken up by my daughter -- all of the "baby appliances" all over our house, all of the time spent feeding, holding, and soothing her, all of the parts of my brain anticipating her future needs, our new life as a family, the moment to moment excitement of getting to know her.

Becoming a parent has brought a new importance and excitement to family for me. It's one area of my life right now that feels complete. Part of it is probably just having all this time off from work, but I have never spent so much time with my family and been so happy to be a part of it. I like to think we are a real life version of the Bravermans (if you are not watching the show "Parenthood," you really should be.) Getting together at my parents' house for big sprawling family dinners with both of my brothers and their kids is a really awesome way to spend a Sunday night. We pass the little kids around and the big kids help out. In fact, my oldest niece opted to have a quiet dinner with me while I was feeding little P-- and even cut my meat -- while the rest of the family ate in the other room. You never feel left out.

Everyone says "you sleep while they sleep!" but since my little one is not the best napper that means I just go to bed around 8 or 9 when she calls it a night. So I've started watching movies (and Masterpieces, why are British mysteries so good!?) around 4pm since I can't stay up for anything after dinner. So going out for a dinner date with Mr. SevPrez is a tremendous treat (we've only done it once so far) but also makes me feel like I'm living on the edge since it cuts into my sleep time.

Everyone also says you lose weight while breastfeeding and I'm not sure that's true for everyone. I think you lose weight because you don't have two hands to eat with once your spouse goes back to work. Seriously. If I have to choose between eating and taking a shower, I'd rather take a shower. There's just something about keeping myself clean that makes me feel like I have everything under control.

And last but not least I am getting my running legs back. I went for my first jog/walk three weeks after giving birth, which is not really recommended or endorsed by any of the books. But everyone is different and I felt pretty good. I knew to go slow and give it a rest if my body sent me signals that it was too much. But now I'm jogging pretty much every other day, enjoying the time outdoors to myself and the feeling that I'm getting back into my old groove and, slowly but surely, my old body. I have a 5K picked out for October 9th and am looking forward to just completing it and having a good time. (I say that but I'm sure I'll end up setting a time goal for myself and as a result will be dry-heaving at the finish line.) But little P will be there to cheer me on and that will make me feel like a champ no matter how slow I go.

Motherhood is an awesome thing. I still can't believe we made a human being (and one who's so cute!). Right now she depends on us for all of her needs, but one day she'll go off into the world as her own woman, with her own opinions, hopes, and aspirations. It's pretty wild. But for now, I am pretty sure that all she dreams about are milk, swings, and bouncy balls. So we'll just take it one day at a time.

*I don't really want to give into to blogging about motherhood and kid clothes (there are so many other mom bloggers out there who do a great job), but right now my life revolves around parental concerns and experiences, and I felt I wanted to post something, so this is what you get. More diverse posts to come as "the first trimester" comes to a close and I go back to work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In With The Cool Girls

There are many amazing things about being the new mom of a daughter, but just one of them is the fact that my nieces, ages 12, 9, and 4, love coming over to their "cousin's house." (Could you just die?!) Which also means that they bring their interests with them. Which right now includes their boxes of string and collection of lanyard. Side note: it is so awesome that they have actual interests beyond watching TV and playing video games. Good old fashioned kids!

Now that I have a baby and don't have much spare time, I appreciate the fact that each visit usually yields at least one friendship bracelet. They are the perfect jewelry for a mom since they are soft and don't bother my little lady when I hold her.

Tonight my job is to try and recall my lanyard skills so we can move on to a new medium tomorrow. Exciting!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Just had to share this little french donut-hat wearing bear that my mom picked up for me at Bodega Shoppe when we popped up there in July. He's keeping my Grammy & Pop company as they look over our new baby girl, and he has a pencil ready to take down feeding and napping times. Merci, nounours!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's A Girl!

Sign courtesy of her big cousins.
She came Friday night, and she was worth the wait.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The List Is Back

This morning over blueberry pancakes I had a little therapy session with Mr. SevPrez. I have been staying up til 2am every night with the feeling like I'm waiting for Santa. I have always been a night owl and now that I don't have any reason to set my alarm I'm showing my true colors. Waking up in the morning knowing there is nothing on the agenda, really, except birth this baby is a bit emotionally overwhelming, seeing as how I have no control over whether it happens or not. Couple that with the incredible heat wave we had over the last few days that made it really difficult to spend any time outdoors, and the fact that everyday I feel more pregnant and more uncomfortable, and it's physically taxing as well. Let's just say I'm sick of the couch, and we have watched every movie made in the last year.

I have a real need to feel productive, whether it's at work or at home, and I realized this morning that I really miss my lists. I kind of stopped writing them since I have been kidding myself that everyday delivery is imminent. No wonder I've been feeling so lost. So when my session with Dr. SevPrez was over, I made a little list and we set out on an expedition to run some errands and cross some things off.

We went to the Red Bank Antique District to look for a set of vintage drinking glasses, since I keep breaking them and we are a very thirsty family. We were just about to leave empty handed when I noticed an area we missed, and low and behold, we found a set of 8 glasses for $25. They are pretty awesome and harken back to a set I got in Brooklyn many years ago that has since died.

And we stopped at a craft store so I could just bite the bullet and get some embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets. I had a nice set of contractions earlier while making this bracelet and it was the perfect thing to focus on. Of course the contractions since went away or else I would not be writing this, but I finished the bracelet and it's ready to give to a friend as part of her birthday package.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tick Tock

Maybe it's a boy and he's waiting for the NFL lockout to end? I'm starting to think this is never going to happen...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Killing Time With Crafts

As I twiddle my thumbs waiting for this baby to arrive I am remembering why I always made so many crafts over the summer when I was young. If you didn't go to camp, (and I didn't because I hated camp, except art camp) you needed to do something with your time.

I just texted my entrepreneurial 12 year old niece to ask her if she is still making string friendship bracelets. I really want one. Actually I really want like, 4, all big and crazy colored. I think right now she's really into making costume jewelry with tools and stuff. But then I saw these bracelets on a blog and thought, maybe she could encorporate both? And charge me a little less than $425... You know, family discount and all.

Truth is I would make my own friendship bracelet (is that sad?!) but I gave all my string away to my niece. So I'm thinking maybe after a walk to the post office (to send back "The Wire" on Netflix and get our new disc pronto -- we are completely obsessed with the wire and just started season 4), I might need to bust out the paints. I have been really inspired by all the painting going on at Sketch42 blog but abstracts are not really my thing. We'll see. I keep trying to think of ways to jinx myself so the baby will come. Like once I get all the paint out and all my brushes dirty, maybe I'll go into labor? I'll try anything.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby Shower Highlight Reel

Animal print dress! Thanks H&M.

Paging Don Draper. The shower was at my brothers' office in Downtown Asbury Park.

My only decor request: Marble balloons. Aren't they so great?!

My partner in crime made Grandma's crumb cake! This was the plate I took home. I discouraged guests from eating it by penalty of death. Actually, they were just distracted by Amanda's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Amazing favors by Karen V. Remember the ones she made for my mom's birthday?

How cute is my husband, if I do say so myself!?

And the award for best gift goes to... Emily, for finding an Ira Glass finger puppet! This American Life just got that much better.

DIY Headboard

So at around 9 months pregnant (yeah, I'm going on 10 months, still no baby) I finally got around to making that faux upholstered headboard that had been on my list for almost a year. I had seen enough web tutorials on Design*Sponge and Young House Love etc. to have a general idea and make it up as I went along. 

I got Mr. SevPrez to pick up a piece of plywood at Home Depot, precut to the measurements I gave him, then I was off to Grayline Linens in the Garment District to pick out some linen. It was the most amazing and somewhat overwhelming selection of linens ever. Who knew there were so many subtleties. I went with something soft, natural colored, and got a remnant so I think it was only $25 for two and a half yards.

Next I borrowed a staple gun from my dad and got some quilt batting from Joann Fabrics, and was off to the races. The hardest part was getting the corners to my liking. They get a little puffy where the batting is folded (like you would wrap a present) but as I've said before, I'm not really one to stress the details so I just went with it. Once I got the whole thing covered in fabric it was barely noticeable. Another thing -- is it impossible to iron creases out of linen or what!? Holy smokes I probably spent a good hour ironing the fabric before I stapled it but STILL couldn't get all the creases completely out. Thank god I'm not a devil for details.

The hardest part about the whole project? Working around the belly. But it was well worth it. A plain and simple headboard for under $75, and it completes the new bedroom (we swapped rooms with the babe-to-be). Awesome sauce.
Say hi to Beary, my bear for life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Making A Pilgrimage To Maira

Crappy photos illicitly taken with my iPhone while trying to look like I was checking my email.

I was pleased as punch to discover that Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) was coming to The Jewish Museum in New York, having missed it by just hours when it was in Philadelphia last fall. My mom and I went for our annual Summer Day of Fun on Friday afternoon. For me, it was like snuggling up on the couch with the cats and a good book -- totally comfortable and reassuring. I have most of her books, and even purchased the companion book to the exhibition last year to console myself for missing it, so there wasn't much newness to be discovered. Nonetheless I really enjoyed seeing her originals, and being in a space carefully curated by the hands of Maira. And I really enjoyed hearing the sound of my mother's giggles from across the gallery as she watch Maira's TED talk with headphones on. 

I could go on and on and on about Maira's wit, wisdom, and talent, or my feeling of spiritual connection to her, or my profound admiration for the fact that she has made such an accomplished career for herself by plumbing the depths of herself and her life, but I won't, I don't have it in me today. It's too much to put into words. I would say just check out her work for yourself and you'll understand. 
A horizon of Maira. 

There were a several other great exhibits going on at the museum but we were unable to see them before the museum closed (at 4:45 on Friday, for the Sabbath). I suppose we had spent too long luxuriating over lunch and lemonade at Sarabeth's.  For the record, Sarabeth's is exactly the kind of restaurant I would have if I ever had a restaurant: brunch food and baked goods all day. I would eat breakfast for every meal if it was nutritiously acceptable, and I have always been this way. A few years ago I ran into my high school sweetheart after many years of radio silence, and as we were catching up he asked "Do you still love pancakes?" I suppose I do, I just hadn't realized quite how much it made an impression on others. 

After picking up some things at the gift shop, I made the executive decision that under no circumstances should we take the 6 train downtown and make the horrible transfer to the E at 51st Street. It was a nice day (after several days of sweltering weather and thunderstorms), so we dared cross Central Park in hopes that we would come out on the other side and take the A/C/E directly to Penn Station. I use dramatic language to describe this decision because, well, have you ever tried to cross Central Park in a straight line? It's not really designed to be transversed on foot in this way, so it took some extreme diligence on our part. We consulted a lot of maps, and finally, when leaving Belvedere Castle and having to decide which way to take through The Ramble, I busted out the GPS on my iPhone. After all, my mother was wearing wedges and I am extremely pregnant. I could not stand the idea of us walking far out of our way. But what do you know -- we made it from the Jewish Museum to the Museum of Natural History in record time (not counting our respite at the Turtle Pond, where mom read Maira's newest children's book, Thirteen Words, and I took pictures of all the turtles in the pond). Once we popped out on the West side of the park, I made another executive decision that I was done with the smelly, crowded subway for the week, so I raised my right arm, stuck my belly out, and hailed us a cab to Penn Station. 
Mom reads to the turtles.

All in all it was another wonderful Summer Day of Fun for the books. Mom got off the train with me and Mr. SevPrez picked us up at the station so Mom could come back and get a tour of our new house -- well, our newly beautiful house with new hardwood floors. Photos to come!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Top 5 at 8.5

5 things that are saving me as I get more and more pregnant, in case you find yourself in a similar situation or know someone else who is.

1.  The Snoogle Pillow. My mother-in-law got a hot tip from her pregnant niece that this pillow was a must, and I've had it ever since Mother's Day. It's shaped like a G so it supports you head, belly, and legs. I've had great nights sleep with this thing although when you roll over it's a bit like wrestling an alligator in the night.

2.  MIA clogs from Urban Outfitters. Stylish arch support for my 12 hour days. They never even gave me a blister! And they are much cheaper than Hasbeens, which I love but are outrageously expensive for wooden shoes that are going to get smelly and beat up. When I see pregnant women waddling around in flip flops I cringe. You wouldn't be waddling if you would just wear proper footwear! I still walk faster than 65% of the people in Penn Station. So far so good.

3.  Covergirl Outlast Lip Stain in Wild Berry (essentially bright red). Focus on my red lips not my double chin! Took a recommendation from Cup of Joe and don't regret it. I layer a little Black Honey Almost Lipstick from Clinique over it to make it look less like I drew on my lips with a red magic marker and to freshen the color up during the day. 

4. American Apparel tank dress. Mine's a little longer than the ones on the site -- thankfully it goes past the knees which has become my preferred hem length. Not sure if it's because their website is pervy and models are only allowed to wear XXS or if I have an older version, but I think I'm going back for another sometime this week. The 90 degree weather makes me feel like I need more dresses, and STAT!

5.  Sunbeam electric heating pad. I keep this sucker plugged in on my couch at all times so any time I sit or lay down I can use it on my back to soothe any aches and pains or loosen up tight muscles. It is a must after a long day or a long pop up! The cats like it too.
Clogs in action.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May Flowers at Lobsterfest

This afternoon we attended our 3rd annual Lobsterfest at my parents' best friends' house. I've chronicled this amazing shindig in the secret garden before, and this year didn't disappoint. I made two peach pies to ensure that we'll be invited back next year. Though next year it'll be harder to crack lobster claws with a baby on my lap. Imagine that!

I couldn't help snap this lovely clematis on my way out.

And what about this pink peony? There were white ones and pale pink ones too, but these guys just begged for attention.

Friday, May 20, 2011



Odosketch is my new favorite thing on the internet.

Sharing A Poem

This one's hot off the presses from this week's New Yorker.


by W. S. Merwin

Going too fast for myself I missed
more than I think I can remember

almost everything it seems sometimes
and yet there are chances that come back

that I did not notice when they stood
where I could have reach out and touched them

this morning the black sheperd dog
still young looking up and saying

Are you ready this time

Friday, May 13, 2011

Unexpectedly Awesome

The hardwood under the wall to wall upstairs and up-the-stairs.
A work in progress, but something to smile about.

This may mean we need to class up the joint and get a better light. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Only Wall In The House

Our small Cape Cod is full of windows, built-ins, and wood panelling (painted white, thankfully). Since we moved in we opened up the first floor by knocking out a wall in our kitchen. The upstairs is a classic small Cape Cod configuration of sloped ceilings and dormers. This is a round about way of explaining that basically, we have no place to hang anything on our walls. I was pretty sad about this until I realized that all our family photos could adorn our stairwell! It's such a non-space that I had been neglecting it. 

A few months ago I went to Ikea and bought a ton of frames, mostly white ones in various sizes but also a few small unfinished wood ones that I painted grey with left over test samples from Benjamin Moore. (I had to resist the temptation to use only white frames. So many people do that -- understandably, it looks like a million bucks -- that I feel like I had to add my own (messier) personality and use some of my existing frames from our old apartment.) They were sitting around for a long time before I filled them with photos (it's so much harder now that everything is digital). Then they sat a little longer until Mr. SevPrez and his SevParents embarked on the upstairs painting extravaganza. 

This Sunday, after a Stolen Goods pop up the day before and an action packed Mother's Day Brunch at my brother's, I came home intending to take a nap, but somehow found myself hanging frames up the stairs. It must be the nesting instinct.

I followed the ingenious tips from the guys over at Young House Love, namely to use scrap paper and tape to map out where everything will go on the wall before making holes everywhere. Next you mark where all the nails go on the scrap paper, hammer them in, remove the paper, hang the frame, and just like magic, everything looks perfect the first time. No cursing required.

The only thing bad about this project is that it's a tough space to photograph, so I can't share any good pictures with you. But I assure you that walking up and down the stairs has become a totally different experience. I look forward to being reminded of our great friends and family and the highlights of our lives. 

Next time we go to Ikea we'll pick up some more frames. We have more space on the wall I started and there is a small empty wall at the top of the landing that will probably get filled up as well. This is good, since I think once our little one gets here we'll have lots more photos to add.