31 January 2014

friday list.

I've been sick and uninspired so I thought a fun list would be a good way to say "hey whats up!" after a little impromptu hiatus. I lifted this from one of my current favorite reads Wilderness.

What did you look like one year ago today?
I lived in Queens, had black hair. Rich took my picture and was making me laugh so that we could hardly get a good shot.

when did you wake up this morning?

First at 4 when Rich let go of me and got out of bed, and then again at 6:45 an hour after I'm supposed to be up for work.

what was the first thing you thought when you woke up?
The first time was "stop that, go back to sleep" and the second was "oh shit! oh well, I'll just take the later train."

have you called someone this morning who and what you said?

I called the bank about officially paying off my car!

what mood are you in?
A little stressed. I sometimes come here to type out my thoughts while I'm at work because it clears out my brain so that I am less distracted by things outside the window or noises in the office and I can focus. I'm quite busy but if I can't concentrate nothing will get done.

do you hurt anywhere?

Just a little, my bronchitis is finally going away with the addition of a second inhaler and lots of cold pills and tea. Its been almost 3 weeks of this so of course my nose and lips are red from blowing my nose 10,000 times.

if you could choose anything to eat right now, what are you hungry for?

olives. as always.

what did you buy when you pulled your card last?
strawberries and cantaloupe for breakfast in the cafeteria.

which was the first website you visited on the internet?

I checked the weather and then my email like every morning. Then an article about Colonel Meow passing away because I saw on Instagram that he died. I've been thinking a lot lately about what will happen when all our favorite internet cats pass away, its sad but they have much shorter lifespans than humans.

what are you doing tonight?

Friends are coming over for a game night at our apartment. Pizza and beers. Sam moved back to NY from France too, so its going to be a big American fun-house!

which is the first song you put on today?
Belle and Sebastian: I Don't Love Anymore. It was the first song that was queued up from my playlist yesterday afternoon. I have been revisiting all their songs while I wait to see Stuart Murdoch's God Help the Girl.

what were you doing exactly a week ago, this time?
sitting in my desk at work counting the minutes until the weekend.

what are you wearing today?
my new favorite outfit. I've worn it every Friday for three weeks since I bought this skirt.

The weekend then, what about it?
The beach, the superbowl, more pizza, more beers, friends.

30 January 2014

the sixties: british invasion

I'm watching the Sixties: The British Invasion on CNN right now and I can't take my eyes and ears off it for too long. In honor of my favorite period in music and fashion that I would share some of my favorite images from the 60's. If you follow me on Spotify you know that a lot of 60's music pops up on my playlists too.

I could watch these documentaries for days. Any recommendations? This one just ended as I pieced this post together during the commercials.

20 January 2014

getting things done

After being sick with bronchitis for a solid two weeks I was itching to get to some projects around my apartment I've been putting off while hibernating in my bed. Sunday we stayed in bed late, made brunch and I took a nap on the couch. When we finally got moving on some projects it was already dark, but that just means we can have cocktails while we work. St. Germaine and soda for me, and Moscow Mule for Rich.

One of our bigger projects that we made a start on is hanging some of my old National Geographic maps from the 40's, 50's and 60's. Its just really hard to find frames that fit, so Rich measured the ones we plan to use and we got started on a frame hunt.
Rich played some records while we moved on to another project
Finally painting the hutch! Taping up the wood and wearing a hat to hide my unwashed hair.
We painted and while it dried Rich whipped up some stir fry chicken for dinner.

Our Hoosier cabinet is really coming along, I'm so excited that we painted the panels pale blue. It makes the kitchen so cozy. I'd really like to paint some red stencils on there too at some point, but one thing at a time.

15 January 2014

july to december 2013

Here is the second half of my favorites of 2013 list. Here we go from scorching hot July days all the way to Christmas day with tights and a cozy sweater. See the first half here.






14 January 2014

pom pom.

As I slowly decorate this plain white apartment I spend a lot of time looking for ideas. One of those was to try to ignore the wheat colored carpet in our bedroom and fill it with colors I love. It all started to come together when we chose a print for the wall which hopefully we will buy soon (though I think a vacuum cleaner will have to take priority), but I also wanted to make something too as a start. I saw this pom pom garland on Pinterest and suddenly I was seeing these festive poms everywhere.
I went with the super simple "hand wrapping" method after reading about 10 different ways to make them. You simply wrap the yarn around your fingers until it looks "poofy" enough. You slide it off and cut it off the roll and snip a long piece to tie the middle. After that you cut through the linked loops, and then trim as necessary to make it round. The trimming as necessary part is a bit messy, but its fun to give a pom pom a haircut.
Here are the instructions I used (substituting my hand for a fork).

10 January 2014

veronica mars: teen idol

I'm so excited I'm practically jumping as I type: in March the Veronica Mars movie will be arriving in theaters. After what feels like forever we will finally find out whats happened to all of our favorite Neptune teens ten years into the future. Just between us, I've been reading Veronica Mars fan fic for years and have very high expectations for this next chapter in my favorite private eye's life. Veronica was so badass, but she also had a lot of faults that got her in to trouble and the best part about her characters obsessive personality, taste for revenge and inability to trust was that extra bit of sarcasm and attitude she added.
Now that SoapNet here in the US is gone the entire series is finally back on the internet over at Amazon so if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend getting on that this weekend.
Here are the trailers for the movie, coming out in March, just in time for my birthday.

When I heard Logan's voice on the phone call to her, I screamed "EPIC LOVE!" V Mars fans will understand the reference.

09 January 2014

tulum tips

Last March in the dead cold of winter Rich and I packed light and headed to Tulum Mexico for a few days, lured by breathtaking turquoise blue waters, Mayan ruins and and a hot, sunny weather forecast. What I discovered was that the beauty of Tulum was not limited to its natural wonder but to the feeling of blissful relaxation it imparted on me. Waking up with the sun and falling asleep just after dark rested my stressed out mind, spending days on a quiet beach with the smell of a salty breeze and the brilliant sun soothed my jangled New York senses.
You don't really need a guide to Tulum, it would be crazy to tell you what to do there because its the kind of place where you don't really make plans. But there are some useful tips I would recommend to anyone thinking of visiting this heavenly seaside town.

Getting from Cancun to Tulum:
Once you land in Cancun you may feel a little lost after going through Mexican customs and multiple security checkpoints. Tulum lies about and hour and a half south of Cancun and there are a few options you can choose to get there: car rental, bus or taxi.
We chose to take a bus which went to Playa del Carmen where we then transferred to a 'second class' bus to Tulum. Once in Playa del Carmen we were confused and there was very little information offered but once we were on the bus it made quite a few stops to get to the town of Tulum. Once there, we had to catch a cab to our hotel. It was an exhausting trip. Its cheap, maybe $20, but from our door in NY to our hotel took roughly 13 hours.
My recommendation is to take a taxi. We took one to the airport for our very early flight home and it only cost about $75 and wth a tip about $90 altogether which we split. Worth every penny. You will probably take cabs into the town or to some of the sights while you're there and can talk to the drivers about your return trip to the airport and make arrangements for price and pick up time. Luckily there is also a fleet of taxis outside of the airport when you arrive to make the trip easier.

Typically I alert my bank about my trip in advance and take out money from an HSBC ATM when I arrive at my destination. There was an HSBC in the center of town (I only say HSBC because its a trusted international bank with offices in NY should anything go awry after the trip I'd be able to handle it in a NY branch.) Tulum was a cash town so get cash and don't expect to use your credit cards very often or even at all.

When choosing a hotel pay very close attention to the amenities offered. If having a bathroom in your hotel room and twenty-four hour electricity are important to you then you should make sure they offer that before booking. Rich and I stayed at Los Lirios de Tulum because he was not keen on the idea of a shared bathroom with other hotel guests and thought that 24 hour electricity would be useful.
We had our own balcony facing the ocean with a hammock and chairs, a big room with a couch facing glass doors looking out at the ocean and a huge bathroom. Some of my best memories are of waking up to the sunrise and the sound of waves and palm fronds rustling in the wind. Air conditioning and 24 hour electricity were offered but with the ocean breezes and the fact that its normal to be asleep by about 8 or 9 every night we didn't need either.
If you aren't picky about those things there are plenty of lovely hotels up and down the beach that offer partial electricity and other varying levels of amenities from shared bathrooms to cable tv's. One of the nicest things about our hotel that we liked was that our stay included breakfast so we didn't have to go too far early in the morning for fresh fruit and omelets.

To eat:
Amansala: The most perfect fish tacos and mango margaritas with a view of the ocean. When you walk up it looks like the Swiss Family Robinson tree-house with huge glass windows and wooden staircases.
Hartwood: A slightly upscale dinner restaurant with a delicious locally sourced menu and founded by Brooklyn transplants, its a pretty popular spot so get there right when it opens at 6 to get a seat! There's an outdoor kitchen in the back with an enormous wood stove, we had a great time watching as the dinners were prepared.

Casa Jaguar: One of the few late night spots with a bohemian vibe set beneath the jungle and an amazing drink menu.
La Luna: Delicious food and Moroccan decor, my favorite part was that the bar had swings so sit on while you have a drink. Next time I go I'd love to sit on a swing and have a happy hour drink while the sun sets.
Kin-Ha: AWESOME MARGARITAS (Rich told me to put that in all caps). The owner sat at the bar smoking cigarettes and occasionally popping into our conversation which we loved because it made it homey like we were regulars. Delicious, freshly caught seafood and a laid back feeling.
The only place where I wouldn't recommend eating is Los Corales because it was overpriced and nothing seemed fresh.
Flor de Michoacan: Icy treats in the center of town with a beautiful garden in the back. Its not to be missed.

A flashlight: Much of the beach and the road are unlit at night and walking around can be a little scary without one.
Clothes that aren't floaty: at least when I traveled there in early March it was very windy. My best outfit during the day was my bikini and at night a lightweight jumpsuit. When I tried to wear dresses they were constantly blowing up over my head.
A hat: For obvious reasons

Towels: At least one or two of your own beach towels, otherwise at many places you'll have to pay to rent one.
Empty water bottles for the beach and snacks: Make your first stop when you arrive in town at the convenience store near the bus station to get a few gallons of bottled water and beach snacks. Once you're down on the beach road its a bit difficult to get those things and the bottles of water are expensive at restaurants. Bring your own bottles to fill from your gallon jugs to carry down to the beach.

This is mostly what I brought and I felt like I had over packed. I really only needed the daisy dress, shorts and bathing suits. Bliss is not having to worry what you look like on vacation.

08 January 2014

january to june 2013

Right now I'm feeling totally under the weather so I'm just wearing lots of layers and a hat this week and thought it would be fun to see some of the things I wore last year. These are some of my favorite things I wore in 2013 from January to June. Of course there were a lot of mini skirts and fun tees, but I also branched out and started wearing pants more often. I grew out my black bobbed hair and tried to wear more vintage for everyday outfits.







07 January 2014

home sweet home-in progress

Its been just three months in this apartment and while it feels like home, its finally starting to look it. The whole place is brand new which is an entirely foreign concept to me. Growing up in a Victorian house and since then living in pre-war apartments has spoiled me. I never had to try that hard to make a room look pretty. Our apartment only lacks that same cozy character you don't seem to get in brand new spaces. Gone are my deep windowsills for growing roses, the pretty crystal doorknobs and subway tile bathrooms. So we will have to make it up elsewhere.
Please excuse that we have not one thing on the walls. Furniture was the first priority. The couch is Ikea and the two chairs were found in family attics.

The glass topped coffee table, perfect for computers, ukuleles and funny books.

Our other furniture was bought secondhand and we found the globe with one of the chairs in Rich's grandmother's attic.

Our room is so modern and I'm not used to it. We have an old bedroom set from the 60's my mom had as a little girl and a big antique etched mirror I've had for years.

Rich wasn't too thrilled about having all my pink bedding so we started over with some new things from Ikea and a Pia Wallen cross blanket.

Hey there! Its my aloe plant from my city apartment, I still haven't killed it. Success.

06 January 2014

snowed in.

On Thursday vacation ended and I went back to work in Manhattan and the regular daily trains and patterns. Hardly anyone was working, they were finishing their New Year's Week at home. But those that were there peeked out the windows very often and constantly wondered when the forecasted snow would arrive. Like little excited kids who plan to sleep with their pajamas inside out so they'll be given a snow day we all talked about how it would be in the morning. Would anyone be in the next day?
Friday morning I woke up and got ready for work while the sun came up and when it did, the world looked like a shiny snow globe.
Rich checked his email in bed and was told to stay at home. I wasn't given the day off, but I still got to stay put so I went back to sleep until work normally starts at 8:30.
I worked from our spare room (it feels so good to say that! to have more than one room!) in my cozy pajamas with hot tea straight from the kettle. Checked emails, banged on the keyboard, caught up with my co-workers who were working from home as well.
At around noon the snow stopped, I got dressed and Rich and I took a walk down to the beach through a few snowdrifts.
We met up with Trish to watch some of her friends surf on the coldest day of the year.

And, back to work!
A late lunch and answering some emails.
Rich stayed in the living room practicing his ukulele I got him from Christmas while I finished working in the office.
In the evening Trish and Vic walked over for beers and a pasta dinner.
And that was it for Friday because it was the coldest night since 1988. After dinner I hid under all the blankets with Rich on the couch and watched TV with tea until bed.

happy, honey & lark. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.