September 30, 2010

janisak designs

When I found out that Josh, an old classmate of mine from architecture school, started designing/building furniture on the side (he's a fulltime architect) I wasn't that surprised. He has always had an incredible sense of design and man was I jealous of his model making skills in school! The designs are 100% Josh, and except for getting some help with the steel fabrications, the woodwork, finishing and assembly are all completed by him. And he says that it all started because of a mistake:

Sara (Josh's girlfriend) asked me to put a glass top on some old metal legs she had from an old table. I had the glass made and when I got the glass top, I realized I screwed up the fastener hole spacing and had to buy a new piece of glass. Instead of throwing out the piece of glass that I screwed up, I designed and had metal legs built for the screwed up glass and found myself with a new coffee table. Shortly thereafter, one of the neighbors was throwing out all these beautiful old floor joists. I couldn't stand to see them go in the trash, so I took them. With my hunger to make more cool things out of steel, I coupled the two and started making the benches.

The table that started it all...


My favorite pieces are the benches that he's made. They have a rustic appeal but also feel modern and sophisticated. Using mostly reclaimed/salvaged materials, they have a sense of history that is lost in most furniture you find today. And the cool part - Josh was able to find the materials locally, right here in Philly:

I usually scrounge the material, walking around and looking for construction sites and people doing demo, climbing into dumpsters, that type of stuff. All the pallet wood came from the Italian market, a nice, close source. I only go for the solid red oak pallets though, the fir ones usually get so banged up and trashed by the time I get my hands on them. One guy had a stack of big old joists beside his house, he was chainsawing them up and using them for firewood. I stole one later that night because I couldn’t stand to see it burnt up like that. Hopefully he didn’t miss that piece of wood too bad, after all, I turned it into something. Now that people know that I’m into this type of stuff, the wood has been finding me. I like working with old material because they are pretty and sturdy. I always tell Sara, I don’t ever want to buy anything new, they just don’t build stuff the way they used to. We’ve seen it in our short generation, everything has turned plastic. It’s the same with timber, they just don’t grow stuff like this anymore. The long leaf pine forests of the South have been clear cut to dangerous levels. The old growth timbers are jewels. The best way to obtain such species of timber is through recycling, so when I get my hands on something like this, it feels special.

This bench is made entirely out of pallet wood - pretty amazing huh? Who knew pallets could be turned into something so nice?



I really love these two pieces. The metal complements the wood but isn't too fussy that it detracts from it. The beauty of the wood is really able to come across.


Impressive, right? I've actually been lucky enough to collaborate with Josh on a few pieces for a salon I'm working on - hopefully I can share those with you soon. If you have any interest in having a custom piece of furniture made for you or are interested in purchasing any of the pieces shown above - you can either email me or contact Josh directly at or 215.923.1115..

images: eric heidel

September 29, 2010

my must-have pieces

Some people have lists of must-have pieces of clothing or shoes - I have one for furniture. But this list isn't a general list for everyone - it's really just a list of classic pieces that I love and hope to someday have in my home (a girl can dream right?).

#1: Egg chair: It was designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen and has become an iconic piece of midcentury modern furniture. Even though it was designed almost 50 years ago, doesn't it look futuristic? I absolutely love the shape - it makes such a statement - and the fact that it comes in so many different color options. Green would probably be my top choice, but the light blue is pretty and brown leather is always a classic choice. It retails for around $6,000, so not quite in my price range right now.


#2 & #3: Cherner chair and Saarrinen dining table: There aren't many dining combinations I like more than a round Saaririnen table with Cherner chairs. I love the contrasts - the wood with the stone, the dark with the light. Alone, they are amazing, but together...sigh. Both are from the 50's - that time really did produce some of the best furniture.


#4: Louis Ghost chair: This piece was designed more recently (in 2002) by Philippe Starck for Kartell. I love that it's both traditional and modern - using a historical shape but contrasting it with a contemporary finish like resin. The amazing thing is that it's actually affordable (at least in comparison to the other pieces on this list) and I already have one:) It was my graduation present from Eric when I finished design school. Best present ever.


Do you have your own list of must-have furniture pieces?

September 28, 2010

nicole miller at XIX

Last night, Nicole Miller hosted an event as part of the Philadelphia Collection to celebrate the "top 19 most fashionable Philadelphia ladies". It was held at XIX and for those who have never been there - it's worth it just to see the space. It really is beautiful. I've never gone to eat off their regular menu, but they have an afternoon tea that is beautifully presented and very tasty.


Isnt' the ceiling pretty? I feel like my photos aren't doing it justice. Pearls hanging from the ceiling may seem cheesey, but it really works here.

There was a bartender serving "Parisian cosmopolitans":


The "top 19 fashionable ladies" all received a gift from Tiffany's. I wish I could've seen what were in those boxes! Somehow I was not selected as one of those 19.



Here are some of the "fashionable ladies", all wearing Nicole Miller of course:


My favorite outfit of the "19 ladies" was worn by Nadine Coburn. Everything is by Nicole Miller except for the bag which is Rebecca Minkoff. I think she looks great! She's dressy, but looks comfortable and not overdone. I like how the top of the dress slips off one shoulder and the booties look great with the outfit. I only spoke to her for about 5 seconds, but she seemed really sweet. She told me that she was recognized by Nicole Miller and chosen as one of the "top 19 ladies" because she recently married one of the Philadelphia Flyers (Braydon Coburn #5) and she wore Nicole Miller in the wedding as well as her bridesmaids. I found some photos of her wedding online and it was gorgeous. I don't know where it was held, but the scenery is so pretty it looks fake. You can view some photos here - let me know if you can figure out the location.


I thought this girl was cute. She stood out among all the other women there and I thought her outfit was adorable. And funny thing is, she's a fellow blogger. She lives just outside of the city and has a blog dedicated to fashion - you can check her out here.

dress: asos, socks: jcrew, shoes: forever21

And to top it all off, we got a gift bag before we left!


September 27, 2010

pizza and a cocktail

If you live in Philly, you've probably heard of Slice. It's a small gourmet pizza shop in South Philly and now also has a second location in Rittenhouse. I love pizza - all kinds of pizza - but nothing beats a good plain pizza. But I recently tried the carmelized onion and goat cheese pizza from slice and I can't get enough of it! It's extra virgin olive oil topped with mozzarella, carmelized onions, goat cheese and bacon. Eric and I ordered it again this past weekend and I enjoyed it so much that I forgot to take a picture until we were done - and luckily there was one slice left:


Also this weekend, I hosted a little afternoon cocktail party at my house for a few of my girlfriends (who doesn't love drinking in the afternoon?). My friend Shilpa made us all limencello cocktails that were not only delicous (and strong!) but so pretty!

It was a mixture of limencello, vodka and perrier with raspberries and blackberries. A perfect summer cocktail - it's officially fall but didn't Saturday feel like summer?

September 24, 2010

colonial wallcoverings


Meet Paul. Don't worry, he isn't as scary as he looks (and typically doesn't wear a mask!). He's the owner of Colonial Wallcoverings - a great wallpaper shop located in Bella Vista. If you weren't looking for it, you'd miss it. It's on the first floor of a non-descript building with a few rolls of wallpaper in the small storefront. They don't have a website nor do they really advertise. But the store has been around 37 years - and is still going strong - which is a testament to Paul, how he treats his customers and the variety and quality of the products he sells. This is the place to go if you're looking for wallpaper - I can't think of a better wallpaper store in Philly (except for the showrooms in the Marketplace Design Center, but not everyone has access to that). Whether you're looking for wallpaper or a vinyl wallcovering or something traditional or something funky and modern - you'll find something you'll love here.

If none of the wallpapers displayed all over the store catch your eye, there are a million wallpaper books you can look through:





Colonial Wallcoverings has been at the same location since the beginning - Paul owns the building and lives upstairs (nice commute!). He's seen Bella Vista transform a lot over the years - from an area that required him to keep gates on his shop windows to help with theft and vandalism to what it is today - a beautiful area full of well maintained homes, young professionals, cute cafes and restaurants (and one that was completely out of my price range when I was searching for a house to buy). If you're ever in the area - stop in. Even if you don't need wallpaper - it's fun to look around!

September 23, 2010

the new girl in the UES

Did anyone else watch Gossip Girl Monday night? No? Think it's strange that a 30 year old woman (wow i feel old calling myself a woman) would want to watch a bunch of teenagers running around NYC? Totally normal! Right. Well, the new girl on the show this season is Clemence Poesy. If she looks familiar, she also played the character of Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Alright, so maybe I have slightly...immature taste when it comes to movies and television. But seriously, how can you not love Harry Potter? The books are entertaining, you really learn to love the characters and I think its wonderful how it's gotten kids so excited to read. It's something kids AND their parents can enjoy. Thats hard to find.

Okay, back to Clemence. She's a French actress and model. I'm not familiar with any of her other work and she had such a minor part in Harry Potter - and has had only had a few lines so far in GG - that I can't really speak for her acting abilities. But, I think she has great style. Of course she looks amazing on GG (who doesn't?), but I'm talking about her street style. She has that very casual, French cool look about her. Everything about her looks effortless - hair looks perfectly messy, makeup is minimal, clothes look chic but comfy. I love it. See for yourself:

I love this outfit! The combination of black and olive green look so good. And that coat! Sigh.

Her hair looks so cute like this! Why does my hair never turn out like this when I put it up in a bun?


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Who would've though patchwork pants would look so good? I want those shoes.
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September 22, 2010

Happy Autumn!

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Yay! Fall arrives at 11:09 tonight. I love this season:)

food challenge: 3 of 239

When my friends and I were first discussing the food challenge, someone said that they just tried the matzo ball soup at Famous 4th Street Delicatessen and that it was amazing. So when Eric was feeling sick this past week, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.



It was different than what I was expecting. Instead of small matzo balls, there was a huge matzo ball that you were supposed to break up and put into the soup. The matzo ball itself was okay - I just don't think I'm a huge fan of matzo. I'll eat it, but I don't love it. However, the rest of the soup was very tasty! It was a very simple soup - broth with chicken, carrots and noodles - but was delicious. Definitely worth getting again!

September 21, 2010

bistrot la minette

Did you know that bistrot is another spelling for bistro? I didn't. I used to have a Forever21 tshirt that had sketches of Paris on it and various French words - and bistrot was one of them. I just thought it was Forever21 being cheap and not having someone who spellchecks their clothing...but apparently I was wrong. Makes me feel a little better about Forever21's quality control. A little bit.

Last week Eric took me to Bistrot La Minette - spelled with a "t" - for my birthday. I think its my favorite French restaurant in the city. Its hard to find good escargot in Philly, but its soooo good here. I've ordered it every other time I've been there but Eric convinced me to try something different this time. And I'm glad he did! We tried the Flammenkuche appetizer which is a pizza topped with carmelized onions, lardons and creme fraiche. YUMMMM. It was amazing. AMAZING. Now that should definitely be on the list. Actually everything I've had there should be on the list. We also had the Oeuf du Pecheur. It's a poached egg and mussels with a tarragon cream sauce. Sounds like a strange combination right? It's not. It's genius. And it only gets better - I had the duck confit for my main meal. It's hard to go wrong with duck confit - or anything fried in duck fat for that matter - and Bistrot la Minette definitely got it right. C'etait parfait! Wish I had photos of everything, but I left my camera at home that night. I was able to find a photo of their beautiful courtyard online:

Isn't it so pretty? Very romantic, perfect for a birthday dinner date:) Wouldn't it also make a great location for a dinner party? I love the long bench along the one side. On Mondays and Thursdays, they play French movies on a screen outdoors which is fun. The movies run through the end of October, so go if you haven't already.

the philadelphia collection


Philly is really making an effort to be more fashion conscious these days and I'm loving it. They had a mini fashion week earlier this month- remember the Kenneth Cole event I went to? Well, now they are doing a series of events called "The Philadelphia Collection". It all starts tomorrow with events everyday until next Saturday. There will be fashion shows, trunk shows, lectures, movies, live music, etc. And the best part...almost every event is free! You can find more information and the schedule here.

September 20, 2010

baby goes tweet tweet

Remember the baby shower I was trying to get ideas for a while ago? Well, it was held the other weekend and it had sort of a bird theme. It wasn't overwhelmingly bird themed - mostly it just had a casual, natural feel to it and the invitations had some birds on them and there were some birds nests centerpieces. Everything turned out really cute and was very much Nissa's (the mommy-to-be) style. Unfortunately, I can't take much credit for it - I didn't do much except help with some last minute setup and made the birds nests.

It ended up being the perfect day for a meal outdoors. A long table was set up in the backyard - I love the mismatched chairs. It really adds a lot of character.

Mason jars were used for drinking glasses...

IMG_1905 well as vases. The flowers were beautiful - my favorite were the lime green chrysanthemums:


I was also really happy with how the nests turned out. And they were pretty simple to make too. I wasn't able to find large premade nests at the craft store (they only sold mini ones) so I bought a coil of woody nest like material and was able to form it into nests. I added some moss, birds and eggs and I was done! Don't they look supercute on the cake plates?



don't call me gaga

I love Lady Gaga and the other night I was lucky enough to see her in concert here in Philly. My friends and I bought tickets several months ago, so we've been looking forward to seeing her for a long time and she didn't disappoint!

I would've loved to have gone all out and worn a bedazzled leather bikini and matching jacket with soda cans in my hair a la the Telephone music video:


But I had to tone it down a bit since we were going to Tweed for dinner before the concert and lets just say Tweed isn't exactly...edgy. Dinner was delicious, but we definitey got a few looks. Well, really just me and Kat since our other friends are normal and didn't feel it necessary to dress like Gaga:


Yes, that is a see through, lace, cropped top I'm wearing. And pleather shorts. And lace stockings. Oh and don't forget the bow made of (fake) hair. The funny thing, is that I actually wear those items - just not usually together. Hmm, never the hair bow though. But I do really like it. Here is a better photo of our hairstyles:


The show was amazing. There was a piano/car, piano on fire, fire shooting bra...the sets and costumes were incredible. And Gaga has an awesome voice - she sounds exactly the same live which is impressive with all the dancing she does. I wasn't able to get any good photos of show, but here are some I found online:

image via here

image from here

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My favorite costume of the show. Need to figure out how I can replicate this for Halloween...

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