Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Retro Redesign: SOMA

I'm taking you to the gritty and trendy SOMA this week after some heavy Tudor inspiration last time.  That's one of the best parts of this city - the architecture runs the gamut! I found this fun loft, but to me, this is an example of a style mix that doesn't do the space any favors:

This loft, in the trendy and industrial SOMA neighborhood, strikes me as too neutral.  Somehow the feel is more grandma when the space is so cool.  I'm not going to suggest ultra modern decor, but I think a better arrangement of furniture (not so boxy) and some clean mid century lines would take this space to a whole new level.

First, I would roll up the floral rug (and I love me some floral rugs, just not in this space) because it accentuates the boxiness of the room and doesn't have a loft vibe. Instead, I would want to see something more like this in the space:

My first thought was an animal skin rug, like a black and white cow hide.  The irregular shape and the texture would work really well.  But when I saw this, something about the geometrical shape and the zebra pattern spoke to me.

Then I would troll craiglist for seating as awesome as this:

I even love the bright blue cushions - this space needs an injection of bold color!  Scale would be important in this room though, so you'd definitely have to keep that in mind, but I think breaking it into two separate space a living area and an office area would break it up well.  It would take a while to collect everything I would want in this room, especially at affordable prices.  But patience and vision would pay off in the end after a few more items like side chairs, desk and a buffet were secured.  

Speaking of scale, some oversized art for the wall would be a must.  I know they have some hung up there, but I'm struck by how it looks like it's trying to be modern.  Art is so subjective, but what is hung there now isn't my taste, so I would change it.  First I would change the wall color to a bright and bold complimentary color to the couch.  Something in the orange family.  Then I would hang some classic black and white photography gallery wraps like these:

I think it's fun to have a space pay homage to it's surroundings, so I purposely chose Yosemite, a great Californian park, and the Transamerica building, a San Francisco icon.  I love that the black and white tones will pick up the gray tones in the zebra rug.  I would add more tone on tone accessories in silvers and charcoals until it felt balanced.  

How do you feel about mixing styles? Would you take this loft back in time like I did or bring it into the 21st century?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why would anyone spend $X on a meal?

A while ago, I saw a couple Twitter conversations about how people would never pay such and such a price for a meal.  It got me thinking about the relevance of that price and what people value.  I've spent a jaw dropping amount on food, yet, I haven't run a bill over my rent.  So I'm somewhere in between the Oh wow that's a lot and the Oh wow that's insane. This is the story of how I went from sloppy joe's to gourmet bbq lamb sliders.

My mother, whom I love dearly, loves her meat well done.  God bless her, she put dinner on the table for our family every single night, but growing up, food was more of a utility than an art.  From western Pennsylvania, my parents valued meat and potatoes.  My dad especially loved those frozen lima beans in the butter sauce.  One time, at a friend's house, I was served whole wheat pear pancakes and could barely choke them down because they weren't the white fluffy Bisquik kind that I had grown to love.  This is the snapshot of my childhood.

Then I found a roommate on Craigslist who loved food.  She had a love affair with not only the food itself but with the cooking and in her line of business, she was was living and breathing the foodie lifestyle.  All of the sudden I was introduced to cheese, soy, chocolate, burgers galore, next season's hottest new whatever, etc.  I had a marvelous teacher and I was an avid student, making up for lost time.  Why hello Goat Cheese, lover of mine, where have you been all my life?!  Fava beans, you tasty little lima bean look-a-likes! Lamb chops? Now I know how to broil 'em to perfection.

When I moved to Durham, I found myself in a concentrated microcosm of the emerging New American food movement and microbreweries.  You may laugh, but the Triangle is a cradle of of exciting and trendsetting food with a sophisticated population.  Once they added in a southern twist I was a believer in grits, slow roasted meats, local veg, trout, and corn bread.  I loved them home style, deconstructed, served with fine linens in my lap and a tasty brew in my hand.

New American certainly isn't lacking here in San Francisco, after all Chez Panisse invented the movement, but  now I'm taking my obsession across all sorts of borders.  Vegan, Vegetarian, Seafood, Chinese, Vietnamese, Afghan, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, French, Moroccan, Turkish . . . the globe of flavors keeps spinning. Oh, and of course, every bite pairs with wine!

I spend money on a meal because it's an experience.  It's an evening of entertainment.  Of using all of my senses and retruning to a a more primitive version of myself - but still civilized.  It's appreciating an art form, just like some people collect art.  Wine is a similar experiential art form.  It's more than appreciating the flavor, but appreciating the work and the artistry.

Yes, at times expensive.  I've spent more money in the past year on food than I would ever like to admit.  But I will spend, spend again and spend mightily to continue the sensual experience of food.

This is WEverb11 post that I started in December, but just finished now.  WEverb11 is a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Learn more at WEverb11!  Prompt 27 was: Where did your money go this year? Where do you want it to go in 2012?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Finds - Vintage Pastels

When I saw this dress from LOOP Modern, I immediately started to plan my outfit for my imaginary art opening.  No matter that I haven't created anything worth hanging up in a studio in years.  No matter at all.  The imagination carried the dress through the entire process of making the art, selling the art and reigning elegantly as the artist at the posh opening.
 I may have no openings to grace with my presence in the dress, but it did inspire me to collect pastel inspired items with a mod feel.

Clockwise from Top L:
Apple Charlotte - Blue Lampette
September Wren - 60s Carnival
Amelia Bedelia Vintage - Pink Mid Century Curling Iron
Lucy Snowe Photography - Mid Century Art for Him Architectural Photography

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oliver Loves to Jump

We've got a jumper and a feather monster on our hands. First he ate all of the feathers off the toy, then he couldn't get enough of the bells.  I've since replaced it with a new featherlicious wand.

Encouraging his jumping was probably one of the worst kitty parent decisions we've made.  He's all about jumping now - in the fridge, on the counters, on the tables, on the wingback chairs.  Specifically, we're looking for a solution to keep him off our counters.  This Cat Away has had minimal impact since he knows I turn it off when I'm in the kitchen cooking.  He's a sly one, this cat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My New Political Conversation Blog

I'm kindof obsessed with politics.  But I keep it off this blog because there's an old adage about not pooing where you sleep.  I created a new blog to party poop all over and we'll be talking about issues.  My idea is for it to be a place that's not so partisan focused, but ideas and solutions focused.  Truth be told, I'm over the parties and I think that there are voices that aren't being heard.  If you're politically inclined, would you consider joining the conversation?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weather Break down

Resorting to "Is not!"s and "Is too!"s, Mr. Palindrome and I were making no headway in our ongoing argument about the validity of the claim that San Francisco has "perfect weather."  Mr. Palindrome is strongly in the Yes camp while I sullenly cling to the No claims.

I finally looked up the hard stats so that I could prove a point.  First, I looked up the Durham, NC stats which looked pretty good to me. Click through to Wikipedia for a bigger picture, but the basics are that it usually doesn't get too cold, rarely snows, has a good mix of sun and rain and provides enough heat in the summer that you can work up a thirst and find lemonade refreshing.  All things quite important to me.

Probably the most convincing argument in my mind for San Francisco's non weather perfectness is the absence of seasons.  Just pulling together this graphic to show how the above data plays out made me nostalgic for leaves in the yard, grass and dustings of snow.  
For Mr. Palindrome's case, the 1374.6 hours of sunshine per year in Durham reinforce his case that San Francisco has much less rain and much more sun.  The chart below for San Francisco's weather history shows very little rain, milder summers and winters and 3061.7 hours of sunshine per year.

However, when I put together the "seasons" picture for San Francisco, I felt a little bit vindicated.
Looking at the statistics, it would appear that I lost the argument if for no other reason than the disparity of the sunshine hours.  Call me a sore loser, but the only real conclusion I can admit to is that Mr. P and I approach the issue with completely a different set of values.  He loves predictably mild weather and very little rain.  I love snow days, the smell of autumn, and hanging out at the pool.  To him, San Francisco will always be a little slice of perfect weather.  To me, it will always fall short of a geography with a strong four season pattern.

What's your idea of perfect weather? Would you want to live year round in perfect weather? Do you and your partner have the same idea or different ideas about it?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Finds - Cheerful Scandinavian

I'll give you three guesses - What book and movie have I recently watched?  One hint: It's either cheerful or Scandinavian, but not both.

Clockwise from Top L:
Projecteur - Accent Pillow
Clay Objects etc. - Demitasse Spoons
Jane Foster Design - Swedish Flowers Print
Jane Foster Design - Toy Cat

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Iconic Picnik Effects

Clear skies, full heart . . . can't lose.  

Coach Taylor got it right and I adapted it for my photography purposes.  After watching the final season of FNL and finding myself in the pleasant world of happy endings, I edited a few of the Golden Gate Bridge shots from the movie tour.  I was happy, the sky was happy, and all seemed right in the world.  

I'm admittedly a dunce when it comes to PhotoShop.  I tried Corel PaintPro for a while because we had the software, and I was able to make minimally better edits.  Then I adopted a full Google approach to blogging and it changed the way I blog.  I upload my pics to Picasa, edit in Picnik and pull into Blogger.  Then . . . Picnik announced it was closing.  BUT, all the functionality will be available in Google+.  So, the next round of uploads that I do, I'll be uploading pics to G+, editing in G+ and then pulling into Blogger.  I'm a huge fan because all of those tools are free.  Music to my little ears.

Now, I edited these in Picnik, but remember that all of the actions are still available in G+.  First, I'll show you the Straight out of the camera (SOOC) shot, then I'll show you the edited shot detailing which action(s) I applied.  For someone without the bandwidth to sit down and actually learn/pay money for editing software, this is a super convenient way to bump up the power of my shots.  Could I do better on my own with a little dedication and education?  Maybe, but for now I'm content with the results.


1960's Edit
I'm digging the color bump in the bridge and the fade across the sky.  Rounded corners without my thumb going numb punching corners? Yes, please.  For practical uses, I'm thinking of greeting cards with a message in the sky. It also would have been cool for moving announcements.


Lomo-ish Edit
What I like about this is that the sky and the bridge suddenly come alive.  The brick wall and the seagull in the foreground take a more prominent role.  I think this would be a cool gallery wrap.  I picture this gallery wrap above a black enamel parsons desk and some mod office accessories.   Really, the colors are just making me chair dance because they're so happy.


Boost and Vignette Edit
I wanted the colors to pop to dramatize the patriotic feel so I boosted first.  Buuuuuut, it was too POW at first and there wasn't a lot of interest outside of the middle of the photo.  I played around with a few other actions and then started layering them.  The vignette action seemed right to me for the aesthetic I was going for - focusing on the subject and adding a layer of interest.

CinemaScope and Sepia Edit
After my first edit, I just wasn't done.  I loved the colors but wanted to make edits that would focus more on the subject.  I wound up edited all of the color out.  With the Sepia tones, the focus becomes the flag and bridge's relationship.  The CinemaScope edit further focused the photograph with a crop and slight frame.

Anybody else using free editing software?  What's your favorite action?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Movie Star Sunglasses

I have this desire to KNOW the city I live in.  More than know, to experience it in such a way that I become part of the city.  And sometimes, to feel that way, I must play the part of a tourist.  

I feel silly saying that I want to KNOW my city and I think that sightseeing will get me there.  Then I remember how much history I learned about California, the prison system and the bay currents when I visited Alcatraz.  I like being in the know.  It feeds my irrational love for hatching pre-mishap and escape plans.  Can you tell my first job was an emergency management planner?

Sometimes the knowing part is less academic and a little more Us Magazine.  As much as I gleaned from trips to the Presidio, reading every plaque erected, I gathered some awesome tidbits from a movie tour of San Francisco.  I got the experience as a Christmas gift for Mr. Palindrome because he loves movie trivia.  On the San Francisco Movie Tour, we saw locations from some 70 odd films and TV shows.  The tour was about 3 hours and held our attention with movie clips, funny quips and frequent stops for pictures.  

The weather happened to be brilliant, clear and mild.  Mr. Palindrome insists that the weather is mostly this way.  I insist it is rare.  Future posts with hard scientific data are forthcoming.  In any event, we're posing in the park where the Tanner Family is picnicking in the opening credits of Full House.  
If I had access to San Francisco City Hall, there would not have been a wedding.  Me, with some gloves, pantyhose with ticking, a fascinator and my groom would have walked happily up those steps single and down again married.  No fuss no muss.  The Chinese New Year dragon in the background is just a bonus.
This shot was taken from a lookout in the Presidio and we talked about The Rock.  Having just seen it, I'm fresh off a bout of severe Sean Connery mimicry.
Apparently, the owners of the Mrs. Doubtfire house kindly ask tour groups to stay on the opposite side of the street.  And they drive a Volvo.
When we had a pit stop to see the beach where Jimmy Stewart rescues Kim Novak out of the water in Vertigo, we caught about 20 surfers riding waves.  There's so much San Francisco in this picture - sail boats, surfers, Alcatraz, the city skyline.  Love it.
Since it was once in a life time clear, I took the opportunity to grab a few shots of the most famous bridge.  I love me some Bay Bridge myself since it's in my neighborhood, but there is something about that orange coloring and gorgeous suspension that will always keep the Golden Gate first in the city's heart.
I don't want to give the whole tour away, but bottom line, I liked it a lot.  I had fun, we saw a lot of the city, we learned cool tidbits to impress our guests with.  And I got a shot of the bridge that might be worth framing.  After the tour, we REALLY played tourists and walked to lunch at The Stinking Rose.   When we finally got home, we watched Twilight on opposite ends of the couch.  It was a GOOD DAY.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Finds - Iridescent Blue

The shimmer caught my eye and reminded of hope this week.

Clockwise from Top L:
Becali Jewels - Vintage Rhinestone Brooch
Wrapped Round My Finger - Bicentennial Carnival Glass Candy Dish
Crush Cosmetics - Star Struck Eye Shadow

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kitty Yawns

His soft white fur.  His cute little grey beauty mark beside his nose.  His long white whiskers.  His swishing grey tail.  His reverberating purr.  His sand papery pink tongue.  His sleepy yawn.

I melt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Retro Redesign: Inner Richmond

It's a 1908 and could definitely use some exterior sprucing! But the interiors really struck me with this house in Inner Richmond.  I'm getting both Victorian and Tudor Revival vibes from this place and think it could go either way out front.  If you added some scalloped details, shutters and three tone paint I can see Victorian, or adding some trim in a dark brown would take it to Tudorville.  

In any event, there is a gem of a room, with tons of poetntial in this formal dining room.  The fireplace here is definitely more Tudor Revival (though there's an amazing Victorian fireplace in another room).  Ah, it's giving me an identity crisis.  I'm going to go with Tudor though.  Final answer Regis. 

435 10th Avenue via Redfin

Not awful, but the all one color on the walls and fireplace is a bit too matchy for me.  the built ins make my heard go pitter patter while I could just drop to me knees and kiss the hardwood floors.  See? So much potential!  In searching for some inspiration, I came across this picture in Traditional Homes:

Since it's the same color, I really saw the connection!  See back through the cutout there's a built in?  I think bringing in a golden beige for the built ins and below the chair rail really break up all the blue.  Even adding the blue curtains doesn't overwhelm.  And I'm just a big natural wood fan.  Look at that gorgeous table.

After scouring Pinterest, antique dealers and reproduction stores, I pulled together these items that I think really recreate this look and would work in 435 10th Ave's room!

Clockwise from Top L:
Overstock - Handmade Rust and Blue Wool Rug 6' Square
Eva Designs - Croc Embossed Leather Chair
Preservation Station - Five Arm Tudor Chandelier
Homes and Garden Journal - Antique Grandfather Clocks
Harper Gallery - Antique Oval Carved Oak Dining Table

Would you keep the blue paint job? Is the Tudor style too formal for your taste?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

From Hotel to 1 Bedroom

A while ago, I gave up on ever downloading this video.  Then, when I did a memory card dump into Picasa a few months ago, part of the video magically appeared.  I had this big idea to give a tour of our hotel and then our apartment to tell you how it prepared us for the transition from house on a half acre in NC to ~800 sq. ft in SF.  The intensity of my southern accent has just about waned completely back to my Maryland newscaster.non-accent - especially compared to my NC house tour vlog!

Obviously, the companion vlog would be of our apartment.  Best intentions . . .  Now it's a few months later and I finally had the place clean enough to give a proper tour that would make my Mama proud.  If you watch nothing else, forward to the 1:30 mark for some Ollie fun.  We've been watching a lot of Arrested Development . . . C'mon!

If you ever want to downsize, we highly recommend our strategy of living in an even smaller place in between so that you're appreciate of the extra 100 sq. ft rather than lamenting the loss of over 1000 sq. ft.

Have you downsized in the housing department? What helped you in the transition?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl Sunday

As a Redskins fan married to a Giants fan, I took solace in this someecard. - I hope the player who makes the winning catch in this year's Super Bowl doesn't unintentionally shoot himself in the thigh next season

For my blog friends who are also football fans, may your chip and dip bowl be full, the beer flowing, and the commercials raise at least a chuckle!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Finds - Superbowl Style

Someone in our house is very happy about the Superbowl teams this year.  Someone in our house is a huge fan of a certain team.  Someone in our house is psyched and hoping for a repeat of the last time these two teams matched up.

I'm not that someone.  But in the spirit of loving one's husband and setting aside differences during celebratory times of the year, I've done a little collection of what I would imagine a Giants fan would like.


And it's never too early to start cheering for next year - Go 'Skins!

Clockwise from Top L:
NFL Shop - Reebok Henley
Miss Bessa Designs - Red and Blue Ruffle Scarf
Shindig Parties to Go - Giants Printables
Stone Lotus Pottery - Royal Blue Chips and Dip Set

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby in a Drawer

My maternal great grandmothers raised 20 children between them.  When I collected information for a memoir essay about my grandparents, my grandma recalled sharing a room with her brother, even after she was married.  One full bed and one twin bed decked out the room.  It was a matter of necessity and there had been recent times in memory when it had been even more crowded.  I'm always amazed at how far my sense of privacy has developed from my roots.

I regularly joke about putting a baby in a bottom drawer since we moved to a one bedroom. I imagine you'd get a visit from CPS about it these days, but way back when, it was a practical necessity for some growing families.  Ollie decided he'd show us how it was done.

After a few pats trying to nest in my pants, he abandoned the drawer.  Thus, my hypothesis about babies in drawers is that it would only work if the baby was less mobile than a kitten.

Any interesting stories in your family about depression era sleeping arrangements?