12 July 2012

What I'm Doing on my Summer Vacation


I don't think I have to state the obvious: I abandoned the blogosphere. And it's felt pretty good. No longer do I think about what I might share publicly, but instead focus on all that is happening in my private life. I would love to share every little detail about our fabulous summer vacation, our little boy's first birthday, and my obsession with ridiculously overpriced side tables I would love to have for our living room. But I'm not sure I want to share all of that with just anyone with internet access to see. Of course, I couldn't resist sharing just one final pic.

I started blogging to fill a creative void and for a good while, it felt right. It made me seek all the good things going on in Pittsburgh and elsewhere. We got out and participated in them. And then, I quit my uncreative job and took control. I achieved my short-term goals: I am my own boss, I have creative part-time work, and I am blessed with the most wonderful little being on the planet (with a supporting and loving husband, I might add.) The gap is overly filled. 

I also feel a bit overwhelmed with all the virtual clutter in my life, via pinterest, news feeds, tweets and blogs I follow. My humble little posts can't compete. If I am going to do something in my (limited) spare time, I want to do it with purpose and passion. That being said, I am pursuing an exciting, creative (non-digital) side project, and I'm super excited to share it in the future. I'll be back. In the meantime, I'll save you one less blog to filter.

Signing off (for now),
Christina

14 May 2012

Summer Sundays Sun Salutations


How's that for alliteration? Sorry I've been off the map (see previous post.) Anyhow, this came across my inbox and when I saw yoga and park, I had to share. I guess this is the second annual. But last summer was a complete blur with newborn baby, so it will be the first for me!

Yoga Hive in the Park  by the east end-based Yoga Hive studio
Every Sunday morning from May 20 through August 19
9:30am at Highland Park Reservoir
Rain, rain go away: in case of uncooperative weather, it moves it back to the studio.

01 May 2012

Frame of Mind

I came across this documentary about design thinking and had to shamelessly promote. Not because I have anything to do with the funding or creation of this artifact, but because I constantly, maybe daily, am asked what kind of designer I am, and this is a look at the type of work I love. I know I talk so much about interiors, products and fashion, and I am a lover of all things well-designed. But when it comes to my true passion in the workplace, it is to collaborate with others and design a solution to a wicked problem.

The film premiered a few days ago so the jury's still out on reviews. However, there are some major heavy-hitters interviewed, several of whom were keynote speakers at conferences I've attended, so count me in as a viewer. Plus, I particularly like the quote in the trailer: It doesn't matter what the problem is. I can go in and solve it because I am a designer! But in all seriousness, while the term design thinking is old to the choir, I hope this film highlights what an open-minded approach, collaboration and prototyping can do for issues affecting many of us.

23 April 2012

Madewell, Finally!



I haven't been to Ross Park mall in a couple months. (Simply because baby and I went frequently in the frigid winter months and other than this unwelcome cold snap, we've enjoyed the outdoors quite a bit.) But now I have a worthwhile reason:

Madewell is opening tomorrow. I've admired this edgier little sister of J.Crew online for years and only recently stepped foot in a store while on Newbury Street in Boston last month. I am super excited for another in-person fashion option in Pittsburgh, so I can try it on and not worry about shipping it back.

I am loving stripes, colorblock and the chambray trends this season. Lots to go in my dressing room! Now the weather needs to return to Spring to wear such cute things.

18 April 2012

Something to See


It is always fascinating to see photos of Pittsburgh in its previous era. Collections of vintage photos and a variety of works will be on display at the first annual PGH photo fair this weekend, April 21 and 22. Intending to promote "the discussion of photography within the contemporary and fine art market," the fair will introduce Pittsburgh to international dealers and intends to appeal to both photography experts and novices alike.

The PGH photo fair will be held in the ballroom of the former YMCA in East Liberty. Apparently, this structure is slated to be restored into a fabulous hotel, as part of a collaboration with local developers and Ace Hotel.

It is also so fascinating to see how much Pittsburgh is developing before our eyes.

13 April 2012

Keeping it Local

I am very excited to report that we just signed up for our first CSA (community supported agriculture) with the local organic Kretschmann Farm. We're easing in with a light share that we'll pick up in our neighborhood every other week. I've always been a little intimidated by committing to a CSA and instead try to buy local in the Strip or a farmer's market when possible. But with limited time these days, and a strong interest in eating organic produce and using it for baby food, I decided it was time to try it.

I'm excited to expand my vegetable dish repertoire and I am going to attempt my own Julie/Julia challenge of sharing a recipe here, but on a more realistic bi-weekly basis. I'd love to hear any suggestions too!

Kretschmann is accepting enrollment through April 22. Or check out where else you can buy local near you through Farmigo, a pretty impressively designed service concept.

Above, swiss chard.

06 April 2012

First Easter for Somebunny

I wish I had some time to do a fun activity like dye eggs for Easter. In color block. (I am obsessed with colorblock at the moment. ) I'd love to share crafts that I made by hand, but alas, working part-time with part-time help leaves no time for Martha-like moments. Maybe one day when baby is interested in doing such making. I did hear a tip for hollowing the egg-- use a nasal aspirator. Gross or genius? You decide.

Instead, I made a cute Easter basket for baby with items from Target (that's Tar-jay if I were speaking with you and not writing). I included a favorite book in board format, a sparkly new cup (we hate sippy cups in this household), and the softest jellycat bunny ever (not from Target). We are going to brunch on Sunday and will watch the older kids partake in an Easter egg hunt. Curious to see what baby thinks of all the action. Have a nice weekend and Happy Easter!

03 April 2012

Stripes Forever


I am back! Baby and I took a roadtrip up to Boston with several stops along the way over the past 10 days. It was great seeing family and friends, and being able to relax with many open arms willing to hold and play with the little one while I had some R&R.  (But I hear the weather was so much better in Pittsburgh, sigh.)

I also had the chance to shop a bit, and as I unpacked last night, I realized that this is pretty much going to be my go-to look for the summer. I came home with a coral top and striped skirt, and a striped top with coral jeans. Huh. I love this color combination-- so fresh and classic.

Image source

20 March 2012

Design Classic for Baby


As I've mentioned previously, the objective of my latest decor projects is to incorporate baby friendly options that meet a sophisticated sensibility. In other words, I want to minimize the garish plastic baby paraphernalia taking over our living space, yet do not want to compromise our baby's happiness.

The style quotient of my kitchen was just markedly increased thanks to Stokke, who kindly sent us the Tripp Trapp chair and baby set to review for my son. I chose black to match our Thonet cafe chairs and my husband and I were extremely pleased with how it tastefully it fit in our little kitchen nook area. Compared to our previous high chair (which is not a garish plastic item, but quite nice), the Tripp Trapp has a remarkably small footprint and is a true chair, not a high chair.
Can you find the high chair in this picture?

It is designed to slide right up to the table, which has enhanced the dynamic of our morning breakfasts together. He is happily sitting right there with us, not isolated on a perch (although some isolation can be good when managing the messiness.) The Tripp Trapp has a table tray that is sold separately if you want some sort of containment for spills and sticky fingers.
Stokke is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the chair this year, which is a testament to this classic design. The chair looks and feels quite solid, and it adapts with easy adjustment as he grows. For now, my son obligingly lets me place him in the seat, and he loves to slide his feet on the footplate. My only minor complaint is that the harness, while secure, isn't as smoothly integrated with the baby set, and sometimes it's a bit challenging to buckle him in. But then again, all buckles are challenging with squirmy babies.

This is a fantastic baby chair for design-conscious parents who want to sit and dine at eye-level with their little one. The price tag is on the higher end, especially when adding accessories, but the chair will outlast his childhood (hard to believe right now. Can he be a baby forever?)

"E is for Eames..." Learn ABCs and classic chair designs with the alphabet color print, shown above.

14 March 2012

Embrace Time


Maybe it's the designer in me, but I love when I find something that perfectly blends form and function. The playful look of bright, colorful enamel bracelets debut in Kate Spade's new watch collection (also at Nordstrom.) I love every little detail about the carousel bangle watch: the smooth enamel in bold colors and patterns, the plated gold trim, the spade icon at 12 o'clock, and the clever little sayings etched on the inside.

The dilemma is which one to choose?



09 March 2012

It's a Date


Happy Friday! Very excited for the weekend. Family time, warm weather in the forecast, longer days as we Spring forward.

And tomorrow night, my husband and I have a date.

We have made a deliberate effort to go out every so often and enjoy an evening just the two of us. It's different now-- it's nice to dress up and it does feel like a date, reminding us of the excitement in our early days years and years ago. For a while, our jobs and responsibilities would make us tired and we'd bail on tentative plans. Now with having to make arrangements for the babe, we always follow through even if we're a bit tired, but it's exactly the break we need.

So off we go to the symphony. I went for the best seats available with a promotional code earlier in the season and happily discovered we are sitting front row for the performance. Having a world class symphony so accessible in Pittsburgh is something we do not take for granted.

01 March 2012

Nest Effect

I've been a bit busy with a work proposal and hopefully soon another design project bringing me to full capacity. I notice my posting frequency reflects that! But yesterday with my mother-in-law in town, we stopped into home decor shop Boxwood in Bakery Square and I came out with a lovely packaged scented candle-- Nest Fragrances' Black Fig and Honey. I am hoping that this will be a nice (read: a bit more affordable) alternative to my absolute favorite candle, the Parisian diptyque Figuier. My first boss gave me that candle for Christmas and I was instantly attracted. Such a great gift.

The verdict: Upon taking it out of the box, I realized the glass container was not as interesting as the sporty sleek outside packaging, nor as pretty as the French label. I lit it last night and it filled the house with a subtle sweet scent that still lingers just a bit. It is slightly more powerful than Figuier but it isn't give-you-a-headache strong. It also made me want to clean up the little piles of things I needed to put away. The impact scent has is so interesting.

27 February 2012

Statuesque


Bravo on this year's Academy Awards all around. I thought it was delightfully entertaining and elegant, with deserving winners and great fashion.

There were so many nominees for best dressed-- Penelope, Angelina, Cameron, Tina, Natalie. But my vote is for Gwyneth. The cape was bold, but appropriate for a cool February evening. She just glowed, and her gown fit her svelte silhouette like a glove. I think I need to pay attention to my weekly Goop letter a little closer to learn her secrets.

And without the cape. Stunning.

16 February 2012

Oh, Macaron


Thought I'd share our dessert from Valentine's Day dinner-- a perfectly sweet ending to the French-themed meal.

Earlier that day, baby and I ventured to Millvale to the only bakery in town of which I am aware makes the Parisian macaron, Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery. A tiny storefront with an entrance too narrow for the stroller, the bakery's inside was filled with delectable baked goods, including a rainbow assortment of these delicate, round sandwich cookies. Which by the way, are gluten free!

My husband and I had fun sampling several of the flavors that night-- marzipan, rose raspberry, nutella, salted caramel and vanilla. While I am a nutella fan, it was a bit too rich as a filling. Our agreed upon favorite was the vanilla bean-- a sweet compliment to the light chewy little cookie. We verbally mmm'd in agreement, reminding us of an afternoon in Paris when we stopped in Ladurée-- a heavenly experience. Apparently their newly-opened NYC location has a line out the door most days. (The NYTimes reviewed macarons around the city a while back-- what a fun assignment.)

There are a few good macaroons to be had in Pittsburgh, but they are different from the macaron-- apparently both begin with a meringue base, the former has coconut, and the latter a fine almond powder, giving it that perfect dome shape on the outside and chewiness on the inside. I am no pastry chef, but I have a refined sweet tooth and these macarons, well, take the cake.

14 February 2012

Filled with Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cluster of colorful balloons + Paris backdrop = uplifting, romantic feel.

I feel especially uplifted this year with not one, but two loves in my life. We usually take the holiday lightheartedly and I've planned a French inspired menu for tonight including dessert.

Speaking of the most romantic city-- in a little over a month, the direct PIT to Paris flight resumes and continues through the summer. So glad it remains!

Print found here. Image above from here.

09 February 2012

Outside the Box


Most new state-of-the-art refrigerators tout digital screens and other technological features. Temperature control is great, but apparently not everything should be kept at the same chilled level. And isn't it a shame when you buy beautiful strawberries, gourmet cheese or other epicurean delights and stash it all away (sometimes forgetting that you put it in there?)

A talented design student from Eindhoven created the Refrigerator 02, a mini fridge with a cheese dome-like glass top. Perfect little countertop display. I have a feeling that only crumbs would be left in ours most of the time.

08 February 2012

Our Style of Living


As I've scoured decor blogs and pinboards for general interior ideas, and now, baby-friendly decor inspiration, I've always been curious about the homes with a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair. This is the only highchair on the market that actually blends in with decor (leave it to the Scandinavians, of course). I wonder with a little one residing, do these picture perfect rooms remain so on a daily basis, or  have sticky fingerprints and toys strewn about.
I love this kitchen. Of course I do, because it's white and gray.

I wonder this because I am on the verge of baby proofing. After one close baby roll-over, I listed our glass coffee table on e-bay. Now with an open space in the living room, I am wondering how to replace it with something aesthetically pleasing and accident-proof. Many recommend a storage ottoman, but I also do not want to encourage that our living room become a play room. I've also considered a solid round wood table, but I hear about scratches. I'd love a smooth white lacquer table, but I should probably avoid sharp edges. What to do?

I'm sure I'll find a compromise at some point. When choosing baby items during registry, I started to feel guilty when I picked the least garish for my own taste, rather than go with what might be best for baby (and best for wallet.) I absolutely wanted a Stokke in our kitchen. But when adding up all the accessories to make this adjustable seat usable for a baby, it doubled the price. I also heard about toddlers tipping them once they can kick the table.

Instead, I found a very sturdy and well-designed alternative, the Oxo Tot Sprout. Baby sits securely and happily, it's easy to clean and grows with the child. It looks more like a cute baby chair and not a modern accent. But that's okay-- a baby lives here-- it fits our style of living.

Oxo, can you make a great coffee table for me, too?

04 February 2012

Love letters


Valentine's Day is only 10 days away. I am in love with these illustrated cupid postcards and almost everything from Rifle Paper Co. I discovered the charming stationery brand when seeking a birthday card in Shadyside last month. Just off Walnut Street on Filbert is Scribe, a carefully curated collection of paper goods including pretty letterpress, too.

The thought of giving my husband this valentine made me chuckle.

26 January 2012

Yoga on the Brain


One resolution I made this year was to practice yoga regularly. There is no question that it does a body and mind good-- see this interesting article about the positive neurological and psychological effects yoga has on one's body. I'm convinced. I always feel recharged and relaxed after a practice. My challenge is to keep motivated in my sleep-deprived mommy state.

This post is for me to put my resolution in writing and be held to it. Pittsburgh is a very yoga-friendly city with studios and activities all over:

We have a shiny new lululemon store that besides the amazing yoga wear, also offers free community yoga on most Sunday mornings.

There is a yoga expo this weekend, with demonstrations and classes.

Amazing Yoga is offering a $25 for 2 weeks unlimited special to new students and lapsed students who haven't been in a year.

Schoolhouse Yoga offers Mommy & Me, as does Yoga Matrika (where I enjoyed partaking in prenatal yoga regularly.)

As the saying goes, if it's a priority, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse. Here we go. Anyone care to join?

Top image and another article about yoga's benefits found here.

25 January 2012

Saks and the City Finale


A very sad day is approaching us in Pittsburgh: after 60 years, Saks' downtown store is closing its doors on March 17th. I've ventured downtown a few times since the announcement and the atmosphere is noticeably melancholy: stylish shoppers are mourning the loss of a contemporary and luxury goods retailer and salespeople are mourning the loss of working in one.

While I sort of took it personally that Pittsburgh couldn't stay hip enough to support Saks, apparently Saks has closed many stores around the country including fashion-forward Southampton and Portland. So maybe it's more the sign of our economic times.

I stopped by earlier today and found the store to be buzzing with patrons navigating the racks. Run, do not walk, to Saks to score some good deals. All the sale items are up to an additional 60% off; and all full-price items are 10% off with a final sale.

Naturally, I did not leave empty handed. I found another pair of my favorite pants: camel J Brand pencil leg in luxe twill. Available in a variety of hues, most of them are on the sale side of the store. If you do not own a pair, I highly recommend them. I already have them in navy blue and dark red, dress them up and down, and wear them in my rotation constantly. And if you need further endorsement, Princess Kate has been seen frequently wearing the similar skinny leg version.

23 January 2012

Luck of the Dragon


Happy 4710! Today began the 2 week celebration of the Chinese New Year and the year of the Dragon. Apparently, the only mythical creature of the zodiac signifies luck, happiness and prosperity, and to have a baby born in this year is much desired. If procreating isn't on your to-dos this year, apparently it is also encouraged to use energy of this vibrant sign to accomplish a significant goal. Something to ponder. Here is a yearly prediction horoscope for your sign's meaning. Mine is eerily applicable...

This pretty dragon print above is from The Pink Pagoda, which also has a cute blue print I'm contemplating for my dining room.

19 January 2012

Ad Creative

Sometime last year I posted about Holstee's manifesto poster. This lifestyle company has a pretty inspiring message and now its been created into a short video and nominated for a TED award. Friends of friends are behind the creative, and I'm happy to share this ad worth spreading. Take a look and vote!

13 January 2012

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week


Next week is Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. There is a nice list of participating establishments, including a few new ones that I haven't even heard of, and a few new ones I have tried, like The Porch at Schenley in Oakland. I've only been for lunch twice and both times it was buzzing both inside and out with professionals and students alike. The menu is reflective of the decor-- light, modern and pleasing. Maybe we'll try the prix fixe dinner special next week.

11 January 2012

All Wrapped Up


Ok, so I lied. I am still as sick as a dog. Apparently, my antibodies skip right past me and go to feeding my little boy who is all healthy and energetic once again, leaving me drained. All I want is to curl up in a cozy blanket like this. Who doesn't agree on these cold January days?

09 January 2012

Fresh New Look


I'm alive and finally well in 2012! Our holiday travels caught up with us and caught us a pretty bad cold. We are on the mend and feeling better as of yesterday, and this is the first free moment I've found to write a post.

I've thought a little more about where this blog is going, and sometimes it's a bit still (or stale). I promise to try to write more, even if short. I also figured a little facelift couldn't hurt. Plus, I love chevron print and gray, of course.
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