Archive | March, 2010

CityShade – a local mum business

31 Mar

Before having a kid, I’d see these moms around town, with strollers so full of Stuff (bottles, bags, toys, books, clothes, snack foods, and whatever else they could fit in the basket, bottle tote, recyclable sack and diaper bag), that I (naively) vowed to myself, “I’m never going to be like that when my baby’s born.”  Then Fionn arrived, and I realized that there’s a reason why a mid-afternoon walk often requires the same intense preparation as a full day excursion.

With kids, you learn which items are essential and which items you can leave behind.  And, as is often the case, there are many essentials.  Sometimes you find a simple invention that not only saves space, it makes your life a whole lot easier.

I was reminded of this, and the general ingenuity of new mothers, when I met with Micaela Birmingham, amazing ‘mum’ (she hails from Toronto) and inventor of the  CityShade.   Always on the lookout for essentials that cut down on non-essential extras, I was incredibly impressed by Micaela’s invention, a sun/wind/weather shade that attaches to stroller system bassinets from Bugaboo, UppaBaby, and Peg Perego (among others).

 Whether you’ve given birth in summertime or wintertime, you find that each season presents its fair share of challenges.  One of them is the newborn-induced conflicting desires of ‘get-me-the-hell-out-of-this-house-NOW-or-I’m-going-to-go-ballistic’ and ‘crap, it’s too bright/windy/cold outside — plus, it’s naptime.’

 Shortly after the birth of her daughter in May of 2008, Micaela proudly headed out for a walk with her new girl and her ‘we’ve-thought-of-everything’ Bugaboo bassinet, and winced as the sun blazed down on her precious newborn’s skin.  Looking around, she noticed lots of new mothers were dealing with the same thing, using makeshift swaddles, jackets, blankets and towels – whatever ‘stuff’ they had with them – to shield their new children from the sun’s rays.

An architect by trade, Micaela is a problem-solver by nature.  And being a new mother, she was determined to make things easier for herself and other parents.  So she busted out the sewing machine, and created a prototype out of a dishtowel and some thread.  Shortly thereafter, she recruited some friends as guinea pigs, then found a fashion designer to help her realize her invention.  A year later,  after constantly being stopped on the street by interested moms and dads, Micaela started her CityMum business with 8 CityShade patterns – all manufactured here in NY. 

If you’re interested, please check out Micaela’s website here.  For $70 (including shipping), the CityShade makes a unique shower gift that you know will be much used and appreciated.   Plus, you’ll be supporting a fellow ‘mum’ and local businesswoman with a great idea.

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hollywood regency nursery inspiration

29 Mar

Viceroy Hotel Miami, Canadian House & Home

Now that mid-century style has been around for a while, even becoming inspiration for furniture at Urban Outfitters (e.g. my favorite chair), the next big thing hitting the public consciousness seems to be a style known as Hollywood Regency. If you know Kelly Wearstler(Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style)and Jonathan Adler(My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living)you’re already familiar with this seductive choice for interiors.

DesignGalleria.net

“Hollywood regency,” as the name suggests, comes from the studio-era of old Hollywood, during an age when people entertained at home.  Rooms were designed as personal stage sets, through a combination of deco modernity and lush, opulent textiles.  And, true to American luxury throughout the ages, more (mirrors, curtains, fabrics, pillows, patterns) is always better.  The best summary I’ve read online comes courtesy of HGTV.  And the best description is by Kristan Cunningham of Design on a Dime.  “It’s the juxtaposition of ‘super clean with super fussy’ that is so relevant [for today].” 

For additional reading material, go here:
Regency Redux: High Style Interiors: Napoleonic, Classical Moderne, and Hollywood Regency

My checklist for a room in this style would have to include:
– Lush fabrics/curtains – cane or geometric inspired textiles
– Rich patterns, complementary but overlapping
– Bright pops of color to offset black, white, gold and silver
– Lacquer everywhere and high shine surfaces
– Beautifully sculpted but carefully selected furniture
– Mirrors (sunbursts are a must)

And what’s wonderful about all of the items listed above is that they’re also the ideal ingredients for a nursery or child’s room.  But what’s interesting to me is that in the movement towards ‘modern,’ nursery design, we seem to have neglected the lushness and vibrancy that makes interior design so much fun.  I think the two styles (can, and should) live together beautifully.  So here’s my first inspiration board for you guys, inspired by Hollywood Regency:

Sources (clockwise from top left):
Dick crib, Bratt Decor (sale) $517.50
Capiz sunburst mirror,  Target, $79.99
Tweed rug, CB2, $159
Mid-century pendant lamp, Ebay, $99
Connected/Crimson curtains, Smith + Noble $300 (full-length)
Hemnes dresser, Ikea, $279
Vola glider, Monte Design, $995
Chrome/rhinestone drawer pull, Unbeatable Sale, $14.50 each
Hummingbird bedding set, JavisDavis, $260
Hello digital print, Madebygirl, $35

Please let me know what you think about this feature, and the inspiration board in particular.  Was it helpful?

quick survey

29 Mar

Now that we’ve been going here for a few months, I wanted to take this opportunity to find out what you guys think about RFYO.   I put together a survey – five questions to answer, less than five minutes to complete.  Just want to make sure I’m writing about things you, as my readers, want to read about.  Thanks so much in advance.  And as always, feel free to email me anytime with suggestions, comments, or complaints!
Click here to take survey

children's illustrations by Charrow

29 Mar

Flying cat by Charrow, Etsy, $20

Every Saturday morning before my design class at Parsons, I always seem to find myself making a detour for coffee.  And along with half the students in my class, it’s become a habit (bordering on obsession) to get an excellent beverage at a place called Joe.

This particular branch is on 13th Street, but apparently, there are a few other branches scattered around the city (near most NYC college campuses).   What I like about this place, above and beyond their food and drink, is that the cafe is also a gallery, used to showcase the artwork of their baristas (who also receive profiles on the Joe website).  

One such barista/artist is a woman known as Charrow.   I was so taken by her paintings that I just had to share. 

Bio at Joe on 13th Street

Charrow primarily works in gouache, a type of watercolor, for her illustrations.

I didn’t do it, Etsy, $20

Many of the illustrations feature animals being cheeky in some way.  Flying cat, at top, was my favorite at the coffee shop, but there are so many more to see on Charrow’s website.   I don’t know if she has a children’s book in the works (I hope so); along with Children’s Book, her “Categories List” includes Commission, Greeting Card, and Conceptual.

Ugly sweater from Children’s Book
(Scarily similar to how my pup sleeps in our bed).

Charrow’s Etsy shop (echarrow) is like a greatest-hits collection, where you can purchase prints of her gouache paintings.  She also accepts special orders and commissions: “If you see something on one of my sites that you wish to have a print of please let me know.”

I can’t imagine an animal lover – of any age – not loving her work.

children’s illustrations by Charrow

29 Mar

Flying cat by Charrow, Etsy, $20

Every Saturday morning before my design class at Parsons, I always seem to find myself making a detour for coffee.  And along with half the students in my class, it’s become a habit (bordering on obsession) to get an excellent beverage at a place called Joe.

This particular branch is on 13th Street, but apparently, there are a few other branches scattered around the city (near most NYC college campuses).   What I like about this place, above and beyond their food and drink, is that the cafe is also a gallery, used to showcase the artwork of their baristas (who also receive profiles on the Joe website).  

One such barista/artist is a woman known as Charrow.   I was so taken by her paintings that I just had to share. 

Bio at Joe on 13th Street

Charrow primarily works in gouache, a type of watercolor, for her illustrations.

I didn’t do it, Etsy, $20

Many of the illustrations feature animals being cheeky in some way.  Flying cat, at top, was my favorite at the coffee shop, but there are so many more to see on Charrow’s website.   I don’t know if she has a children’s book in the works (I hope so); along with Children’s Book, her “Categories List” includes Commission, Greeting Card, and Conceptual.

Ugly sweater from Children’s Book
(Scarily similar to how my pup sleeps in our bed).

Charrow’s Etsy shop (echarrow) is like a greatest-hits collection, where you can purchase prints of her gouache paintings.  She also accepts special orders and commissions: “If you see something on one of my sites that you wish to have a print of please let me know.”

I can’t imagine an animal lover – of any age – not loving her work.

photo of the week (slightly OT)

26 Mar
Although I’ve gone paperless for nearly everything financially-related, for some reason I’m still getting my Macy’s bill the old-fashioned way.   And this means receiving not just a statement, but all the fun free tote bag inserts, perfume samples, and – of course – carpet cleaning offers that come along for the ride.
Found this one for “Macy’s Cleaning Services” yesterday.
“No, honey, don’t worry. I’ve got a guy who cleans up after me.”
I’m desperately hoping an assistant account executive somewhere was lucky enough to find a stock photo cross-indexed as ‘carpet cleaning/lazy husband/sexy legs shot/mud tracks/modern home.’  Otherwise, it would seriously hurt my brain to think someone recently lost hours of their precious life staging a photo shoot for this particular purpose.
I understand that messes happen.  But if this kind of mess happened in my house, you’d better believe that my male companion:
1. wouldn’t be reclining on the sofa with that look on his face for very long.
2. would be setting up direct debit with Macy’s for both the cleaning and my credit account.

Have a good weekend.  And be careful with light-colored carpet.

blast off – again!

26 Mar
 
Fionn’s favorite stuffed rocket, Etsy
In an earlier post (see here), I wrote about Mamas Little Monkeys and her adorable stuffed rocketships available for sale on Etsy.  Today, I was browsing the merchandise at Carousel Designs, and discovered the same pattern (albeit in a different colorway) on a super-cute crib bedding set.

Blast Off bedding, Carousel Designs

Of course, the colors are different; this set features a chartreuse-type color (if you’re interested, I’d take them up on their three-swatches-for-$1.50 offer, just to be sure).  And if I’d seen this a few days earlier, I may have featured it on my black-and-white bedding feature as well. . . (wow, a double back-link! next time i’ll try to make it three.)

Pattern close-up

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention – the prices on this website are incredibly good.  The four-piece ensemble (featured above) is only $146, which is now close to unheard of for a matching set.  Carousel will also do custom orders (for a fee, of course) if you decide that you want more of the chartreuse fabric and less of the black. 

In addition to most anything fabric-covered that goes in a kid’s room, the website also features cradle and portable crib bedding – two things that seem to be incredibly difficult to find  – and stuff for the older kiddies too.  I really appreciate the company’s philosophy as well.  Basically, you’re not going to be using these pieces for too long.  But for as long as you do, you deserve high quality at reasonable prices.