25 Things To Do in 2014

sparkling-champagne-popping-cork-300x225I made this list earlier today…and realized I left one thing off the list…Blog! It’s something that I do for me and I love so obviously it needs to start again in earnest.

1) Say yes more than no
2) Call people instead of text
3) Try something new every month (hat tip: Steph Pelligra)
4) Spend more time with my dad
5) “Live” in another country – even if it’s just for 2 weeks
6) Relearn Spanish or Italian
7) Stop telling everyone their drink order is terrible (but Vodka? REALLY?)
8 ) Wear all the clothes in my closet(s)
9) Go on a girls trip
10) Stop worrying about being skinny – instead focus on being strong/fit
11) Ride my bike
12) Play more tennis
13) Tell people I love them more
14) Sleep without a light on (no judgment please)
15) Stop caring about what people think of me
16) Make more people laugh, even if it’s at my expense
17) Go to South America
18) Procrastinate less (after I finish this list)
19) Cook more
20) Be kinder
21) Start reading again for pleasure
22) Work my ass off, but be able to turn it off when the school/work day is over
23) Judge less
24) Save more
25) Listen to my friends when they tell me how awesome I am and drop kick my insecurities once and for all!

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Random Acts of Kindness

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I got in a fight with an old friend yesterday. It was about as heated as a fight over text message could get and left me really upset. Just when I thought the world was a dark, cruel place and that everyone in it was terrible and untrustworthy, I awoke to a bouquet of flowers at my door. Even though the delivery unceremoniously ripped me from my restless slumber, it restored my faith in humanity (at least for now). No the flowers weren’t from the old friend –  we are still working things out – they were from a very new friend. The small, and thoughtful, gesture has inspired me to make someone else’s day a little brighter. We’ve all experience the warm feeling that stems from a stranger holding the door for us during rush hour that compels us to show a similar kindness to someone else. I’m not a religious person, but experiencing that fleeting moment of love (that’s what it is if you really think about it) that is passed from stranger-to-stranger, acquaintance-to-acquaintance, friend-to-friend is nothing short of an everyday miracle.

Tasting Wine

NY VintersNY Vinters

I love wine. Period. Maybe a little too much.

I have known for a while that I like Malbecs, Sancerres and Syrahs, but I didn’t know why I liked those particular wines. I tried reading a book about the sweet nectar of the gods to get a better sense of what wine is all about and to figure out what drew me to certain varietals and not others. Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course is great, but you really need to experience wine firsthand to discover what you enjoy. You need to look at it, smell it, taste it, and taste it again (not necessarily in that order). I found a great Living Social deal for New York Vinters – a TriBeCa wine shop that specializes in wine education, tastings, and events – aka mecca.

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I took a class called “Cellar Seminar: USA vs. France.” It was a ton of fun guessing which Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah were made in America and which were made in France (I guessed them all wrong). The pours were generous, the shop served complementary sparkling wine and delicious snacks, and the wines were fantastic. I also learned about body, tannin and finishes in the wine world, among other things. Well I at least learned enough buzz words to sound knowledgeable at dinner parties.

View from the Tuscan Winery

The experience sent me back to 2009, when I took a bike tour and wine tasting with my father in Italy. It was my first tasting and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do it.

Very, very old wine barrels.

This past fall, I visited a friend in San Francisco. We spent a lovely afternoon at the Robert Mondavi winery in the Napa Valley. Full disclosure, I wasn’t crazy about the wine they served, but the vineyards were absolutely stunning, and the tour was comprehensive.

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Grapes at the Robert Mondavi Winery

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Barrel cellar at the Robert Mondavi winery.

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Sommelier at Robert Mondavi

I cannot wait for my next wine tasting – I learn something new every time!

Upholstered Dream Spaces

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I am not usually a fan of red as a focal point in my apartment, but this particular headboard is spot on.

As I feel a cold slowly sneaking up on me, I can’t help but fantasize about being in my bed. I spend more time there than most people. I sleep, watch “my stories” on my iPad, work, write, even eat in there (sue me), so it is essential that it is a sanctuary.

My double-size Tempur-Pedic bed is one of the nicest things I own. And even though I’d like  to upgrade to a queen, I’m not quite ready to invest in a new bed. But when I do, I intend to go all out. Ideally I’d also like to get Frette sheets, or some other fancy brand that I don’t even know about yet, but with my boundless bed usage, these less expensive sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond are my go to. They are incredibly soft and luxurious for the price!

One thing I’ve always wanted is an upholstered headboard. Here are some looks that inspire me, along with some ideas on how to care for your sanctuary, courtesy of One Kings Lane.

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Not a fan of the bedding, but love the dramatic black headboard against the white wall.

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I am a true fan of dark gray walls. I love the juxtaposition of the orange headboard against the dark wall as the focal point of the room. I also adore the vintage dresser.

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Part of the reason I love Mad Men so much is because of the 1960s fashion and decor. The show has inspired me to search for vintage mod pieces for the home.

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I am not sure if I could ever commit to having this much magenta in my room. However, with the white and black contrast, this room works. Especially love the large, simple mirror.

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Urban Outfitters has an affordable option, that just happens to be in my favorite color!

Dark Wood Floors

I was recently posed with the question: if you had an unlimited budget, how would you decorate your home? It’s funny because, while I love decor and scour magazines, blogs, etc all the time, I live in a New York City shoebox and definitely have a limited budget, so I’ve never allowed myself to dream big. I was at a loss for words. All I could come up with was that I love the look of black-washed floors against white walls or equally dark walls. It’s something that has always stood out in my mind as a luxurious and bold touch. I also now realize that I need to dream big when it comes to my decor ideas – more posts to come! :)

Courtesy of Belle Maison

I love how this room contrasts the bubble gum pink with the dark floors and grey couch. Would I recommend this look in a couple’s bedroom? Probably not, but it’s a gorgeous look for a woman’s study or bedroom. The lamp really brings it all together.

Courtesy of Houzz

This room depicts the quintessential modern architecture and decor that I have an affinity for. But if I were to make it my own, I would probably try to incorporate elements from other periods and schools of thought. There’s nothing like a good Eames lounge chair though.

Courtesy of Houzz

I love everything about this kitchen (except for the tableware, too bland). The refurbished reclaimed wood, the chrome finishes, the black floors, the cowhide chairs…swoon.

Courtesy of Houzz

I want to live here. Enough said.

Above The Knuckle Ring

I was recently having brunch with a friend of mine who was wearing a simple ring above her knuckle. I’d seen it before, but for some reason this time I couldn’t get it out of my head. Fast forward one week – I was window shopping in my favorite section of the east village for vintage and unique pieces (7th and 9th Streets between 1st and 2nd Avenues) when I noticed a new(ish) jewelry store called Verameat. I popped in and discovered this little ditty that was (very) reasonably priced at $20. It’s gold-plated brass so I’m not sure how long it will hold up, but so far so good!

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The Bar Cart

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I’ve already decided that I will have a bar cart in my next apartment. It seems like a classy way to display booze – along with old fashioned champagne glasses and a mint julep cup full of flowers.

Here is a taste of the different looks I’ll be considering.

I will most likely be doing some sort of DIY version or flea market/antique look in gold, bronze, silver or chrome.

If I were to buy it new, it would probably be similar to one of the two below. The cart directly below looks a lot like the Restoration Hardware “Hanover Bar Cart” that is no longer available (unfortch!).

Common bar cart accessories (besides alcohol, natch) are trays, candles, decanters, ice buckets, glasses and mixers.

Silk Scarves

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Every woman has at least one or two items in their closet that they are convinced will, SOMEDAY, get worn. For me, it’s multiple, multiple silk scarves. Instead of tossing them like every organizing guru tells me to do, my goal is to actually wear them. The plan is to channel the effortlessness of Jackie O while I pretend to be fancy in the Hamptons this summer.

What I love about what I like to call “the future” (the internet, smartphones, ipads, etc) is that I not only found amazing inspiration on how to wear these neglected accessories, but also guidance on how to actually tie them so I look like I know what I’m doing. There’s even an entire blog dedicated to tying silk scarves.

Courtesy of Glamour

And then there’s THIS…which really blows everything else out of the water.

Audrey Revamped

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Courtesy of Ikea

Courtesy of Houzz

I feel like every 20-something woman (who lives near an Ikea at least) has seen and/or owned this print of Audrey Hepburn. I bought my own copy 5 years ago when I first moved to NYC and haven’t been able to part with it. I was thisclose to throwing it away about a year ago, but instead decided to see if there was anyway I could jazz it up and make it feel more original. I bought a tube of rose colored paint at Michael’s and went to town. This is what happened…It turned out much redder than I anticipated and the brush strokes are definitely visible, but I kind of love it.

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