Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Front Door of Perception

I moved into a smaller, more modern, and utterly different house about four months ago. Since then, improvements have been bumping along. We repainted the interior, removing the blinding and clashing color palette (marigold yellow and hyacinth purple, anyone?), and replacing it with a more beachlike, neutral paint job. Changing out the doorknobs from cheapy brass apartment style ones to slightly more expensive stainless steel globe knobs made a sizable difference (such a little change, such a big impact).

Before we get started on the kitchen (by Ikea. We need clean and affordable, not custom and fancy), I decided to fix something that's eaten at me since the day we bought the house: the front door. Here's what the front door looked like before:
Yes, those are paint chips taped to the front door.

Doesn't this fit right in?
Ugly, pedestrian, and most certainly doesn't jibe with a modern, clean lined house. Here's the old doorknob:

It's yea Olde Knob.
I had plenty of ideas for a new door (and the new door project was funded by my grandmother, who demanded that her generous housewarming check not be used for moving expenses; she wanted to see her gift in action). After endless online searching, I found Crestview Doors, a small company based in Austin, TX that makes modernist doors with strategically placed windows. I fell in love with the Burbank, and realized that Crestview offers a Doorlite door window kit you can buy to turn any plain door into that modernist gateway of your dreams. So that's what I did. We ordered the kit, bought the door, had the windows installed, the door hung, the hardware purchased from Rejuvenation, and finally painted the whole thing one screaming bright shade.

I'm so happy with the results!
The shape of the cut out windows evokes the shape of the living room windows.

Yes, it's bright. It's making us smile every time we come home.

We added classic mid century modern star power.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Got Your Kid's Goat

He looks all innocent, but he'll gobble your pantyhose right off the line.
I spend a far amount of time every Fall looking at Halloween costumes. Mostly, they don't change too much from year to year: there seem to be myriad ways to tart up daughters and superhero sons.

But then I saw this Goat costume, and it all changed. I think this is ideal for a toddler, because it feels like jammies to them, but is just cute and ridiculous enough for you. I have a thing about goats (no, not in a creepy way). I think they're adorable, and fairly personable, and I'm a big fan of their fromage. I have this fantasy that someday I'll live in a place just rural enough to have a little goat of my own. She could eat the grass in the yard, and menace the cat, and be allowed in the living room for short periods when Mr. Crab is out (this scenario doesn't please Mr. Crab at all). Since we are very urban people, this fantasy isn't a possibility. But, dressing my little niece up as a goat for Halloween might suffice.

This head banger of a costume can be your child's for just 40 bucks from Chasing Fireflies. C'mon, admit it: the costume's not baaaad. Now I'm going to go giggle for about three hours.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Something REALLY Scary for Halloween

Watch out boys, he'll chew you up!
I grew up in a very healthy household. As a result, Halloween, with its endless candy troll for one magical night, was like a dream come true. And, the day after Halloween, my mother would try to wheedle the candy away, with promises of higher quality candy "replacement." I never went for it. A few pieces of See's were nothing compared to a pillowcase full of mini Snickers. My mom didn't raise a fool.

My daughter is 11 now, and is suddenly not interested in trick or treating anymore. I suspect it's partially because sugar is more available to her, and literally not much of a "treat." I have accepted that it's probably the last year of costumes for my girl. But if I had a dog, this hammerhead shark costume would be a winner.

Why dress up the dog? Why the hell not? The dog looks way cuter than many older children. Best yet, you get to choose what the dog wears! There's no arguing with about the appropriateness of being a "Sexy Ghost," or banning the wearing of a cleaver through the noggin. Rather, you get to dress your Dachshund up like a loaded hot dog, your Chihuahua as an iguana, and your pit bull (yeah, I know the pic is a pug, but please) like a man eating shark. It's awesome. They have to wear it. And since you have to walk them anyway, you might as well make the evening walk a Halloween event.

Find all these costumes and so much more at Baxter Boo. Now, if only my cats were as pliable...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Scent Bar Targets Luxe for Less

The sophisticated fragrance of Scent Bar at a Target price point smells pretty good to me.
By now you probably know that I'm extremely fussy about perfumes, in fact about scented products of any kind. I've had a difficult time finding any I could tolerate for any length of time, until my friend Franco Wright's store, Scent Bar, opened in Los Angeles years ago.

I worked with Franco an age ago, when he was a very young graphic designer, and I was an almost as young copywriter. We went to lunch a lot. We lunched late. And we chatted about everything from advertising to design to our nebulous futures. It didn't surprise me that Franco started the site LuckyScent with a partner. And it didn't surprise me a little later when Scent Bar first opened on Beverly Blvd. Scent Bar was the first dedicated perfume store that stocked incredibly hard to find cult fragrances. It's where I found the scent I wear to this day, Menthe Fraiche by Heeley. When it comes to fragrances, Scent Bar knows its stuff (just try to find the lines they stock in any department store, I challenge you).

So, when I discovered that Scent Bar has a collaboration line at Target, I was thrilled. Priced at just $8.99, this Sunswept scented body wash, mist, lotion smells like a yummy citrus summer. In Italy, no less. It's incredible quality for the masses, so that everyone can smell fantastic instead of synthetic. Order it online at Target, because it's turning into a bestseller pretty fast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coffee Break Present

Oh, deer... you're alone for the first time in three months. Drink up!
Sometimes I see something I wouldn't normally like, but I'm drawn to it anyway. That's the case with this mug, so I've thrown together a gifty package for it, something to give your favorite mom or dad whose child just (thankfully) went back to school.

The silence that comes with the beginning of school is deafening, but in a really good way. After the heat and constant activity of the summer, it's kind of amazing to have a silent peaceful home. And what goes better with a silent peaceful home than getting all ramped up on a great cup of coffee? This new Marimekko mug has "peaceful" and "silent" all over it, from the calming blue hues to the innocent doe eyes of that lovely fawn. This is a mug with no irony. That's why I can't believe I like it.

Anyway, the mug is just $22, and is very good quality. Add to the mug a pound of excellent coffee (Intelligensia's blends come to mind, or order Hawaiian coffee through Coffee Gallery), and you have the ideal parental coffee break kit. Put it together for your best friend and help her welcome fall into her home. Find the mug at FinnStyle.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Work Trekker, Meet the Pivot Bag

If a William Gibson character carried a bag, the Pivot would be The One.
It's no secret that I appreciate a well made work bag. I don't get too excited about fancy corinthian leather, or snotty overpriced cult labels (Henry Cuir, bite me), but I do get excited when a bag is basically so impervious to, well, everything, that my laptop or iPad or whatever is snug as a bug in a rug.

I've featured many work bags before, but none as tough as this Pivot bag made by Defy Bags. This Chicago company puts thought, energy, and American labor to work, and the Pivot is a prime example of this devotion to detail. The basic black beauty (hey, it goes with everything) is made of practically bullet proof Cordura fabric, its strap of super tough 2 inch auto seatbelt material, and its two Austin Alpin quick release Cobra buckles are good enough for Special Forces, so I think it'll hold your paltry stuff. There's even a rubber coated water resistant zipper pocket, so that all those spilled lattes don't ruin your day. And, if you actually do make a sojourn with this bag beyond hauling your laptop to the local Starbucks to work on your screenplay, rest assured you'll be well prepared. Apparently, it's also very lightweight, so at least your shoulder won't separate from your body while carrying that MacBook.

At $262, this is, alas, a bit over the Toad price point. But I still think it's a bargain for what you get. Seriously, this bag will outlast you and your progeny, I promise. At Defy Bags.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Giving the Smoke Alarm The Bird

Hey Birders: identify this bird's song.
I know that smoke alarms exist for our safety. I understand they are invaluable and save many many lives and blah blah blah. But my smoke alarm makes me angry. The thing is positioned in such a way that any (and I mean ANY) smoke or fumes caused by my cooking in my open kitchen sets the puppy off. It's annoying and disruptive, the exhaust fan has no discernible effect, and it always makes me want to unceremoniously knock the thing off the ceiling with a baseball bat.

Feeling that way every night while making dinner isn't so good (ok, yes, perhaps I shouldn't make quite so much smoke and fumes? Maybe cook with less gusto?). Then I saw this absolutely adorable Chick A Dee smoke alarm. Rather than looking like a white disk containing apparently radioactive materials, it looks like a white radioactive birdie. What an improvement. It also appears to be movable. What a novel concept. This is such a cute and practical housewarming gift. It screams: I value your safety, but honor your style, too. And if the giftee hails from Portland, well, you just put a bird on it.

Find this smokin' Chick A Dee at A Plus R.