August 31, 2010

bleed radio bleed

Besides being an awesome photographer AND architect, my boyfriend Eric is also a guitarist for a band called Bleed Radio Bleed. They describe their music as "post-punk rock with elements of psychedelia and Latin American music". They've gone through alot of changes over the years - bandmates leaving, new bandmates joining, old bandmates coming back - but I think they've really got an awesome group of guys together and they sound better than ever. They have been recording their album for what seems like forever and its now all done! You can catch them this Thursday at The Savage Rock School in Blackwood NJ - more info on their MySpace page. If you'll be busy eating Korean fried chicken (like I will be) and can't make it, mark your calenders for October 8th. You can see them playing at the North Star in Fairmount and can purchase tickets here. In the meantime, check out their MySpace page to listen to some of their music.

August 30, 2010

food challenge: 2 of 239

Last Thursday, Eric and I went to Meritage for dinner. I've walked by a million times and always comment about how cute it looks, but have never been until now. I'm so glad I finally decided to give it a try because it's now one of my favorite restaurants in the city!


The dish that was on the "list" were the dumplings. They were panned fried and stuffed with pork and shiitake mushrooms served with what tasted like a hoisin sauce. They were delicious, but I do have to say that they're not my favorite dumplings in the city. I personally love the dumplings at David's Mai Lai Wah in Chinatown - they come with this ginger sauce that is incredible.


We also got the scallops as an appetizer which were REALLY yummy. They were pan seared and came with sauteed Maitake mushrooms, bok choy and black truffle. They were perfectly cooked - Eric's favorite dish of our meal. I thought they were great, but my favorite part of the meal was....


...the Korean fried chicken dinner! Doesn't that picture make your mouth water? OMG, I want some right this second!! I've been telling everyone about it and can't stop having dreams about it! It's actually a dinner for two and includes six pieces of chicken, asian style cole slaw, sesame spinach, pickled carrots and daikon and an extra large can of Sapporo. And you get it all for $25 - that's only $12.50 per person! However, I probably wouldn't have been full if we hadn't also gotten the other dishes. But I can eat. A lot. So what makes the chicken so good? First off, its double fried so it's extra crispy. Then there's the sauce that I could probably eat by the spoonful - just kidding (maybe). It's this amazing combination of sweet and spicy - I was literally licking my fingers. This is not the first time I've had Korean fried chicken - I went with a few friends to Momofuku in NYC to try their fried chicken dinner which included Korean fried chicken as well as Old Bay seasoned frried chicken. I have to say that Meritage's chicken is just as good if not better! The downside is that this meal is only available on Thursday nights and its a summertime special and next week is the last week it will be offered:( So if you want to give this a try, make your reservation now! I did - I'm going back next week at 8!!

spinach w/pickled veggies

August 27, 2010

house love pt.3

Robin was my thesis advisor when I was in grad school for interior design. I loved working on my thesis and she played a big part in that - she was always encouraging and offered good constructive criticism. Plus she was really nice and fun - which is why we still keep in touch and she is now one of my friends! There are people who are good designers but aren't good critics, and there are people who are good critics but are so-so designers. Robin is neither of those - she has a talent for both. She lives in Pennsport (an area of South Philly) in a 2 story, 1,230 sq ft rowhome. It needed a ton of work when she first bought it:

I ripped out all the carpeting and refinished the floors, drywalled the entire house (there was wallpaper on plaster), drop ceilings in every room - got rid of those and drywalled, new front and back door, painted everything, new kitchen (knocked down walls), new bathroom (expanded), exposed brick wall going up stairs, new lighting everywhere.

Phew! Now, 3 years later, it looks incredible. Worth all the hard work!


Robin isn't afraid to change things around every so often. This set up is completey different than the layout I saw when I was over for a party at the beginning of the year. She used to have her home office set up where her dining table is now located and her sofa was in a different spot...I'm inspired to to rearrange my house now. Its such an easy and inexpensive way to redecorate!


One of my favorite things in her house are the lighting selections. She has a couple of these drum pendants throughout. I love how simple and modern they are. She also has a few fans from Modern Fan that I'm jealous of - unfortunately they don't show up in any of the shots.


Love the exposed brick running up the stairs!


Although her walls are a gray color, they have a warm tone to them that really works with the rest of the colors in the space. Here is what she says about her personal style:

I would say that I am definitely leaning towards contemporary design rather than traditional, but I don't generally love residential spaces that are extremely stark or sleek. For my home, I have definitely chosen products and furniture that are contemporary, but I have tried to stick with warm, earthy tones that seem to make me feel calm and very comfortable.

Her home is well designed but it certainly comes across as very comfortable and warm and laid back. Which is also very reflective of her personality.


This is her new home office location - aren't those desks great? I think they're from West Elm.


Her kitchen is fantastic! Can you believe the cabinets are from Ikea? They look so expensive! Everything works so beatifully together...the glossy cabinets with the matte counters, the colors, the lighting! I think its my favorite space in the house, as well as hers:

I think I have to say the entire kitchen is my favorite element of the house. I love the finishes (they're somewhat soothing to me) and I think it functions really well. I also love the adjacency to the back yard...sometimes I almost think of it as one space.

Ah, yes, her yard. Another space I'm extremely jealous of. I've already expressed my envy of it earlier this can find that here.



Doesn't her bathroom feel like a spa? The colors have such a soft, soothing feel to them. I love white subway tiles - a classic option that always looks good and is affordable! I don't know if you can tell by the photos, but the penny tiles she chose to use as an accent on the walls are also on her floors.

Robin leads a very active lifestyle (you can often find her biking through the city) and she plays on a number of sports leagues including softball and bowling. When I asked her where her favorite local spot was she said:

I think right now my favorite spot is North Bowl. I practically live there between being in a league and practicing and just wanting to go and have fun.

North Bowl is awesome! The interiors is interesting, the food is pretty good and its cheap! Hmm, I should go there more often..

Thanks Robin for letting us into your home!!

August 26, 2010

food challenge: 1 of 239

Over a month ago I posted about the "food challenge" my friends and I are taking on over the next few months. We had plans to go to Village Whiskey to try their short rib and chedder french fries but conflicting schedules kept postponing our eating session. We finally made it over the other night and it was worth the wait...but not because of the fries. Don't get me wrong, the fries were definitley REALLY good - the addition of the short ribs was a fantastic idea. But we also ordered the Whiskey King Burger which includes: maple glazed bourbon cipollini, rogue blue cheese, applewood bacon and foie gras - and it might be the best burger I've ever had! It definitely overshadowed the fries. Even Colleen, who is not a big beef eater, loved it.
Here is a photo of the burger...sorry for the grainy photos. I forgot my camera so Coll had to take pictures with her iphone.

Shortrib and chedder fries!

Here is Suzie (my roomie) showing off the salad she ordered. We sat outside (which is why I can't really comment on the interiors) and it was drizzling - hence the napkin around Suzie's hair. Doesn't she kind of look like the flying nun?


my new miu miu' 21 heels?!

Do you remember these Miu Miu platform mary-janes? I wanted a pair so badly (especially the pair with the cat print!!), but they sold out really quickly! Honestly, though, who am I kidding? Even if there was a pair left in my size, I can't justify spending over $600 on a pair of shoes right now (actually I'm not sure when I will be able to justify that...).



But now I have a pair and they only cost me $25.80! Okay, so they're not really Miu Miu's. They're actually from Forever 21 but the shape of the shoe is really close - if not identical- to the Miu Miu's! Here I am modeling them:


Remember, they are from Forever 21, so they're made of polyester and PVC. But for $25.80, I think I can deal. I wore them around the house last night to try to get used to the height (they have a 5 1/2" heel)...let's just say I won't be ready to wear them out this weekend. I'm pretty good in heels, but it's going to take some practice before I no longer feel like I'm going to topple over!


I also got this pair which were the same price...although I'm still not sure how I feel about them. I think the pattern is cute, but they could look really cheap in person. I should be getting them in the mail next week so I'll find out soon!

If you are one of the lucky ones that can actually afford the real thing (and are a size 9.5), there is one pair of blue satin Miu Miu mary-janes left on! They also have a pair of silver glittery mary janes and a pair of black satin ones. However, they don't have the platform, which to me makes the shoe. That and the amazing block heel.

August 25, 2010

goodbye foster's...


(image via

Foster's was one of my favorite home stores in Philly - I was a freshman in architecture school going to First Friday the first time I visited the store. Over the years it has become one of my go-to stores whenever I needed to buy a gift. Now, 11 years later, they are sadly closing their doors forever:( They are having a huge sale this week - 50% to 70% off of everything! Apparently they close early, so get there before 6. Their address: 33 N. 3rd St.

Goodbye Foster's, we'll miss you.

August 24, 2010

loving lace


I came across this image a few years ago and fell in love with it - it's so beautiful and has such a mysterious and almost sad quality to it. I didn't know this at the time, but the woman in the photo is Gloria Swanson and was photographed by Edward Steichen who held the title of chief photographer for Vogue at the time.

I have a love of sheer fabrics and especially lace. It seems like lace has also been a popular choice for many designers - here are a few pieces I love:

lace dress

I saw this dress last night on {this is glamorous} - isn't it gorgeous? I think it would make an amazing wedding dress (just need to add some sort of slip so you're not flashing everyone your goodies!).


Jumpsuits have been super trendy lately and I love this one from Stella McCartney - so chic.


Dolce & Gabbana made some beautiful lace dresses this year. Would definitley be hard to pull off (if you wear a full slip, you'll lose the beauty of the lace) unless of course you're Anna Dello Russo:

(image via

I also found some great options from Ebay:


This dress is vintage but can look really cool and modern if styled well.


This jacket is from the 30's - LOVE the poufy sleeves and would look great as a jacket over a fancy dress or even a pair of jeans and a tank top.

August 23, 2010

door knockers pt.2

I took some more photos of interesting doorknockers...enjoy!

This one belongs to my friends Deepti and Scott - I think they brought it home from a trip to India last year.










August 20, 2010

city gardening

I took a trip to West Philly this past weekend and visited my friend Karena who has an AMAZING garden. She lives in the ground floor apartment of a house and has direct access to the large yard (26'-10"x 32'-0"). It was a bit of a mess when she took it over, but she has transformed it into a beautiful oasis.

This is a before shot:

Here is an aerial view of the garden now:


I asked Karena what her favorite part or element of her garden was and this is her respnose:

My favorite part is that it has all come together through free re-used or re-purposed materials; every landscaped element has come from materials that were already here (bricks and cinder blocks), Craigslist (cedar planter and rock fill under the drip edge behind the rain garden), the curb (tree branches and rocks), or the "trash" (wood palettes and scrap wood for compost bin). In terms of a favorite space in my garden, I love the little patio/ sitting area I've created. It is tucked in the shade for most of the day from the woodland arbor with a grape and trumpet vine canopy, and looks out over the whole yard. The close proximity to my herb garden is special because herbs have been part of my life since childhood (my mother grew lots of herbs), and because they are part of my daily ritual and play a large role in my health (I make my own skin care products from herbs and use teas, tinctures and essential oils for medicinal purposes). I also LOVE how moss is also taking over the ground in between all the tiles I put down - it feels great to walk on barefoot!






Aren't these tree stumps great?! They were also locally found:
The tree stumps came from the intense wind and rain storm that rolled through at the end of June and knocked down a lot of older trees in the neighborhood (and throughout the city). I had been planning to somehow create a raised bed within my herb garden for a few weeks, and wanted something that was dual-purpose (e.g. a planter + a retaining wall). Biking home from work one afternoon I came across a city cleanup crew three blocks from my house. They had already cut a huge tree into sections and were running them through a wood chipper so I stopped and asked if it would be possible to set some of the logs aside for me and I would come back and get them with a car. I put a tarp down in the back of a Philly Carshare Prius and had my boyfriend help me load them into the car and bring them home (they were extremely heavy!). They worked perfectly, and double as seating or plant stands.





Karena has only planted a few things in her garden:
Crocus, daffodils, tulips, striped squill, starflower, alium, lords & ladies, hostas, columbine, astilbe, sweet woodruff, bleeding hearts, toad lily, ferns, lungwort, poppies, irises, solomon's seal, lilacs, morning glory, honesuckle, joe pye weed, culver's root, blackeyed susans, sedums, evening primrose, roses, peonies, strawberries, foxglove, penstemon, bellflower, lilies, phlox, ironweed, goldenrod, spirea, liriope, butterfly weed, daisies, lamb's ear, mint, lavender, bee balm, bergamot, chamomile, lemon thyme, catmint, oregano, echinacea, sage, baby's breath, geraniums, comfrey, chives, basil, parsley, lemon balm, rhubarb, sorrel, snapdragons, zinnias, mandevilla, celosia, cosmos, creeping jenny, coleus, Persian shield, begonias, nasturtium, verbena, rose moss, a japanese maple and a plum tree. However many that is. Plus: lettuces, chard, spinach, radishes, carrots, beets, heirloom tomatoes, beans, hot peppers, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Only the hostas, peonies, roses, liriope, irises, lilacs, morning glory and plum tree were here when we moved in, though I've moved some stuff around to give it a better environment.

The majority of my perennial and herb plants come from Greensgrow Farm in the northeast. They have the largest selection of native plants that I've been able to find in the city, and their plants are better quality than those I've seen at other nurseries throughout the area. I start all my vegetables from seed, and I primarily get seeds from mail order (Johnny Scheeper's), Mariposa Coop (Seed Saver's Exchange), and Whole Foods (Botanical Interests). My annuals come from Hillside Nursery since they generally have the best prices and they also carry Neptune's Harvest organic fish emulsion fertilizer, large bags of soil amendments, and a variety of mulch - all things I typically acquire at the beginning of summer. Other plants have come from my mom when she comes to visit, or from neighbors.

Wow. I haven't been able to keep a houseplant alive for more than a couple of months, so I can't even imagine being able to create something like this. I'm so impressed! Thanks Karena for allowing me to share your incredible garden!