When it Comes to Storage, Think Outside the Box!

Keeping my living and working spaces free of clutter has always been a challenge.  This is surprising since my dad is the king of organization!  Growing up, our pantry shelves were adorned with those little red plastic labels indicating various food categories.  My dad kept a card catalogue for his several hundred 45s and records (which were kept in alphabetical order by artist anyway)!  My mother told me that it is not uncommon for her to come home from shopping and find that he has organized something such as alphabetizing her spices.  Oh yeah, did I mention that he created an archive (by subject of articles) for all his National Geographic magazines going back about 2 decades.

And what about me? -my car doubles as an extension of my closet and a garbage container.  My office is swimming in papers of which the degree of organization is most certainly questionable!  I do, however take pride in my new apartment which, being a bigger space (esp the larger closet spaces) has presented as much easier to keep tidy).  A few days ago, I noticed that The Container Store is opening in a month and a half right around the corner from me, so I went to the website to peruse the merchandise.

The store offers decorative boxes, shelving, baskets, crates, trunks, and bins.  With the various colors and patterns and ascetic appeal, you no longer have to hide your storage odds and ends in the closet!  Match the colors to go with your existing decor and create an organized space that meets your needs.  And the best part is that this stuff is affordable!  I mean REALLY affordable.  Here are a few of my favorite items :

And, while options like the ones below are more expensive, The Container Store also offers suggestions for how to organize various spaces such as work and entertainment.  I love these, especially the desk organization:

There are also many DIY storage projects you can create in your own home.  Design Sponge has many ideas you can complete as a weekend project.  Check out these:

Shown here:  a jewelry display box (this you can make to various sizes and backgrounds, and use whatever hooks are to your liking), a framed display shelf, a file cabinet covered in decorative wallpaper (I like the display board above the desk with the two frames on cork board), and an oak shelf desk (I also like how simple this is yet it can be such an eye-catching piece with the right accessories).  Click on these for instructions to do them yourself.

My organizational skills are definitely a work in progress, but perhaps after a trip to The Container Store, I will make my living and working spaces more livable and workable – not to mention making my dad proud!

Images 1-6 property of The Container Store (http://www.containerstore.com/welcome.htm), Images 7-10 property of Design Sponge (http://www.designsponge.com)

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Gilt Groupe, guilty pleasure…

I recently stumbled upon a very unique online store.  Forget Ebay!  Gilt Groupe sends daily emails about “flash” sales featuring designer brands in womens, mens and childrens clothing and accessories, jewelry and …pause… HOME!!!!

Today’s sales include Diane Von Furstenberg, Anzie Jewelry, Jay Godfrey, Areaware, Casadei, and Society for Rational Dress.

I highly suggest checking out Areaware!  The prices are fantastic.  Today, they are featuring pillow covers, totes, candles and other very fun accessories!

Gilt sends an email to members daily around 11:45 am detailing the sales that will start that day at noon.  Members have a few minutes to peruse before all of the item listings post… and they’re at unbelievable prices!  Also, another perk – refer a friend and you get $25 off your next purchase!

But wait!  Not only does Gilt sell clothing, jewelry and items for the home – they sell vacations!  Jetsetter, one of their toolbar links posts special hotel, spa and vacation packages that remain listed for several days.  We’re talking all over the world – Belize, Napoli, Vegas, Cali, Barbados, Monte Carlo, Ibiza, Figi…  For an underappreciated social worker like myself, some of these are a long shot, but they also feature bed and breakfasts in Rhode Island, West Virginia, Colorado, and Florida, to name a few.  Definitely worth checking out. 


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Images 1-3 property of Gilt Groupe (www.gilt.com).  Image 4 property of Jetsetter (www.jetsetter.com)

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I love Ikat … no words necessary…

ahhhh… I love Ikat!

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Soak up some Style with Design * Sponge

I know, it has been too long since I’ve posted.  So much has been going on with the move to my new apartment, and anyone who has moved before, knows that it is always a far bigger pain than you anticipated!  But I’ve begun to nest and am putting my design creativity on the back burner in order to let the literary juices flow for a bit!

I really thought I had found the gems of interior design blogs.  The best, of course being Apartment Therapy, but last night, as we were drinking lemonade on my porch like old ladies, my dear friend Katie imparted upon me a priceless bit of design eye candy!  It’s called Design * Sponge.  While I will admit that it’s not as good as Apartment Therapy‘s site, it is a close second.

One thing I really like about Design * Sponge is that they feature far more cities in their city guides than Apartment Therapy, and the shops they do feature seem to be more affordable.  Also, they offer restaurant recommendations.  The Raleigh City Guide for instance includes a great little thrifty antique store called Father And Son(whose website is currently under construction – but you can look them up on their myspace page).   Father and Son is so cool, I’ll have to do an entirely separate post about them.  Design * Sponge’s Raleigh feature also recommends places in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham which I thought was a very nice addition.

Design * Sponge has a pretty good product guide.  They have a few interesting posts here about design in various movies with features such as “Living in Annie Hall” and “Living in Out of Africa” which while I think they’d be great articles in a decor magazine, they seem a little like fillers on this site.  Maybe that is because Annie Hall and Out of Africa are probably both in my top ten favorite movies and writing little articles about the design in them seems trivial in comparison to the brilliance of the films themselves!  Some of the other products recommendations are pretty great though – such as the various gift ideas in categories like “under $25” and “under $50“.

The best part of the Design * Sponge has to be the sneak peeks.  These are similar to Apartment Therapy’s House Tours.  What I like about the sneak peaks are the variety of design.  I have recently felt that Apartment Therapy has been repeating the same themes and styles throughout their house tours lately.  I think that the sneak peeks on Design * Sponge have shown that while people may have drastically different tastes, with the right approach, any style can be made to work!

Okay, I’m out!  Go have fun on Design * Sponge!!!

All photos property of Design * Sponge:  http://www.designspongeonline.com

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Aloft hotels… lofty design!

Aloft, a trendy W hotel recently opened in Chapel Hill.  I went by last week for a tasty mohito at the bar, wxyz and spent some time with friends in the superbly decorated lounge.

The Aloft in Chapel Hill, NC is located at the corner of Raleigh Rd. and Hamilton Rd.  Click here to view their website.

Whether you’re looking for a trendy spot to grab drinks with friends, or a unique and modern place to rest your head when out of town, Aloft seems to fit the bill!  They have locations all over the country, especially on the east coast, so next time you’re going to be out of town, consider Aloft.

These are some photos I shot while hanging out at the wxyz lounge.  This is my neighbor Mike (aka Mikey Cold Cuts).  I’m planning an upcoming post about he and his wife Amy’s apartment.

Image 1 property of Aloft Hotels:  https://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/index.html

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Assume the Position, Chicken!

Just like Apartment Therapy sends out a daily newsletter, one of their affiliate sites, The Kitchn, sends out a weekly newsletter.  Last week, the topic was, “The Naughty Way to Roast a Chicken”.  Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan explains how to roast a chicken in a bundt pan using some very risque cooking lingo!

Here’s Sara’s chicken.

So, I’ve never cooked a whole chicken, but as I’m trying to branch out and be a little more daring in the kitchen… I decided to try to roast a chicken the naughty way!

*The Recipe*

I picked up some potatoes, carrots, onion, and a chicken (about 3.75 lbs.).  Ingredients were only about $15.00!  Pretty good price… pretty great meal.

So, here’s me preparing my chicken.  I rubbed it with salt, pepper, seasoned pepper, lemon pepper, parsley and basil.

And…. here’s how it turned out:

Voila!  Before I do it again, I plan to learn how to carve this birdie!

When my brother and I were younger, we started a Thanksgiving tradition of naming the turkey.  There was Bob, Joe, Bob again, and my brother once named it after a boy who had just broken my heart!  We enjoyed watching it cook in the oven that year!  I think we decided to name the turkey because when you see an actual whole animal carcass, it makes you feel a little more guilt about eating meat rather than when you see it on a sandwich, as a slice or in some other form.  So, as you can guess, I began feeling a bit guilty about roasting my chicken, especially after I rammed his bum over the bundt pan protrusion!  And what shall I name this one?  How about “Dinner”?!

Photo 1 property of The Kitchn:  http://www.thekitchn.com/

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I have always known it was you

After seeing this poster on Apartment Therapy in several house tours and getting that warm fuzzy feeling, I finally bought it for myself!

I finally found the poster on Seattle Show Posters for get this – 12 bucks!!!  There were some other good posters on there as well.  I’d recommend checking it out.  “I have always known it was you” was under “art prints” but there are also some cool band posters.


photos 1 and 2 property of Apartment Therapy: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

image 3 property of Seattle Show Posters:  http://www.seattleshowposters.com

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