Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let’s talk about Tamara Magel, shall we?

Tamara is a Hamptons based designer who once upon a time had a successful career in consulting. Lucky for the world, she left all that behind to launch a business in consulting–about flexible, seasonally-varying, worldly style in fashion and in the home.

I love her work for its unabashed use of a neutral palette, inevitably enlivened thanks to sumptuous fabrics, intricate and interesting fixtures, and an art selection which, sublimely, takes itself none too seriously.

Let’s get just things going with this bright, open kitchen with a big old honker of a table. (All the better for entertaining, my dears.)

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Tamara’s spaces not meant to be shared are equally as good, by which I mean this dressing room puts every fancy retail store’s entire changing area to shame.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Actually, I think my favorite part is that rug.

Here, Tamara’s take on the dining space.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Are my eyes fooling me, or did she match that curtain rod to the metal of the fixture?

Though slightly less organic feeling than the space above, this clean and sophisticated living area is nonetheless exceedingly cozy looking. Like, let’s camp out on that couch on a Saturday afternoon and watch something long and fluffy.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Since I’ve already admitted to loving the wardrobe rug above, it’ll come as no surprise that I am fangirl #1 for this tile situation:

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor. This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

There isn’t anything that quite gets me in interiors like a black and white contrast with one dose of warmer elements to balance it out. Thus: hello, this room.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Thus: hello, this kitchen off that room!

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Stop it, Tamara. Just you stop it.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Here begins a taste of that cheeky art I referenced above. Because sans location identifying, this space might threaten to look a tad stifled.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

Meanwhile, a pinky swear fantastically offsets the rest of the contemporary, neutral girl’s bedroom. As does that macro knit throw. Can I get one of those, Magel??

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor. screen-capture-12

This space is even cozier and more dramatic than the rest–a sort of inverted black and white contrast as the space happening above.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

But man, how those black walls appear as smooth as black coffee with a dollop of whipped-brick-cream in between.

This Hamptons designer has a knack for neutral palettes, extraordinary textiles, and art that (bless her!) has a sense of humor.

(Just another thing hanging over your head.)

screen-capture-15

LO

VE.

-Me.

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

simple tips for living with less stress and overwhelm and more organization and productivity--sign me up!!

1. Use a master notebook or scheduling and list-making system. Stop using a dozen different notebooks, scraps of napkins, a zillion post-its.

2. Eliminate the obvious distractions. Turn off email alerts on your phone. Utilize the Do Not Disturb feature during certain hours.

3. Make phone dates ahead of time with friends, family, and business contacts to avoid the annoyance of playing phone tag.

4. Prepare. The way to avoid feeling frenetic is to be prepared so that when crunch time arrives, the next step is obvious. Prep your meals by pre-washing and chopping produce, have your work bag packed the night before, etc.

5. Stop trying to do it all.

6. Do not overcommit. When in doubt, say, “Let me think/double check on that.” Don’t automatically say,”YES!”

7. Before committing to anything or anyone, communicate expectations and clarify deadlines. (“I’d love to help you out with that. When do you need that from me by?” Or: “I’d love to have your help with that; when is the soonest you can get that to me by?”)

8. Schedule admin time. With yourself. At your desk. Every week. If not every day. Use that time to update your calendar, answer emails, schedule appointments, handle incoming papers, etc.

9. Batch your tasks.

10. Don’t expect you’ll remember any important details or task reminders “later.” Capture it when it occurs to you.

11. Turn it off, tune it out, quiet the crazy.

12. Give yourself a twenty-minute buffer. Always. Anytime you go anywhere. If you aim for twenty, you might end up with 5 or 10, and we all know, these crucial down-to-the-wire minutes make all the difference.

13. Assume it will take longer than you think it will. See above.

14. Be where you are. Work on being present in the moment.

15. Commit to showing up for yourself in one spirit-feeding, life-giving way every day.

16. Routine. Get one.

17. To-do list–make one.

18. Review your to-do list for tomorrow before you go to bed at night.

Image credit: “Head Strong” by Giampaolo Sgura for Allure US September 2015

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let’s usher in a new month by talking about a bunch of stuff I loved last month! Okay, great!

hand picked favorites from a professional organizer! 1. OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set

Cleaning, I’ve realized, is a matter of having the right tools. If you can’t get into a crevice or corner, you can’t clean it. But, with a set of cleaning brushes designed to fit into those tiny spaces, there isn’t much of anything to which you can’t give a thorough cleaning.

It will shock you to no end that the dirt and gunk in those little crevices–just out of reach–haunt my dreams; the needle-thin line joining the two parts of my electronic toothbrush. The same tiny groove in my clarisonic. And in my iphone. When said crevices begin to take on a darker, dirtier color I get the icks and it will annoy me like a nat.

Enter these brushes, which make detail-cleaning a breeze.

Now I know, you’re going to be all, “You can just use an old toothbrush for that stuff, Annie.” I swear to you, I cannot! First of all, I don’t generally keep things stocked in my house, so I do not have a spare toothbrush which I might devote to cleaning. Secondly, if I did have one, I would most certainly use it to upgrade my current toothbrush. Thirdly, when I decide a toothbrush needs replacing I want to be rid of it. I don’t want to burrow it away for later.

So listen, sometimes there is merit in a thing fulfilling a specified purpose. And that’s the moral of this tale.

 

2. Knife Block Set

The situation was this: I was hard up for some knives. The few I had were as dull as the side of a spatula, and they were dropping like flies. It was time to take action or I’d never have another cleanly sliced apple segment again.

Not two minutes before finding this set, I’m pretty sure I swore off all countertop knife block sets. Who wants to look at their knives all the time? The answer is: me, when they look as good as these do.

I’m no knife connoisseur, but they also do a damn good job of cutting. That first time I used one I had a whole, “Oh my gosh, this is what a knife is supposed to do?!?!” I also haven’t found them to hold onto watermarks, whether washed by hand or by dishwasher (I know, I know, but I fold thongs, remember?).

The sole downside is that the six steak knives included in the set aren’t the most amazing things ever. There, I said it. Their serrations are on the larger, deeper, more spread out end of the spectrum meaning that their effectiveness varies depending upon the texture of what you’re cutting.

HOWEVER, given the fact that I honestly didn’t realize they were a part of the set when I purchased it (again, knife connoisseur: negator), I’m hardly mad about it.

AND, I love the other knives enough to make up for it.

ALSO, I’m truly mystified as to why these aren’t much, much more expensive than they are. Read: they are mad affordable.

 

3. Garance Dore Wall Calendar

I had the same version of this calendar last year and it was such a treat all year long that it only made sense to buy this year’s.

Is it perhaps a bit predictable? Maybe. But if Garance Dore is wrong I don’t wanna be right.

 

4. Poppin Desk Organizers

Poppin has been killing the office organization game for quite some time now, only I’ve never give them adequate praise for doing so.

From paper trays to scissors and desktop files to pen holders, Poppin has it all. I love their clean, no-fuss, entirely gender-neutral aesthetic, the way their products work together as a set, and the fact that their colorways include every punchy, saturated shade you could want. Consider them the non-statement statement organizers.

(I don’t know what I meant by that either.)

 

5. Antica Farmacista Santorini

I am wholeheartedly obsessed with Antica Farmacista. You might remember the company since I mentioned it about a million or three times last year. Since then, I’ve fallen, if possible, more in love. When it comes to luxurious fragrance products for the home, they win. Their diffusers are gorgeous in every way. I have one in, well, yup, every room in my house.

My all time favorite scent is unquestionably Santorini. I love it so much I’ve ordered and reordered. I’ve ordered for my room in my parent’s house in Detroit since apparently its become the fragrance version of a security blanket for me.

I’m also newly in love with Manhattan, and equally, newly head over heels with one called Sandlewood Amber (I think?). Generally, I worship their entire “warm” fragrance collection.

I am incredibly sensitive to smells, I’ve realized. Being around bothersome smells can truly put me in a bad mood. And being surrounded by lovely smells always lifts my mood.

So, I figure these guys are a Life write-off.

If you, like me, find your mood elevated and your tension abated when surrounded by pleasing smells, please treat yourself to one of their scents.

 

6. Marble tic tac toe set

“This is my issue with interior design,” my date-for-the-evening Jojotastic whispered to me at a design showhouse last week. “Why?” She pointed to a marble obelisk. “What is that thing’s function?”

(And let us say amen.)

Design objects, when overdone, begin to feel sillier and sillier. But when you have a few, select pieces that add to the style of your space and that inexplicably make you happy, well, -tastic, I’d make a case for those things.

Such are my feelings about this marble tic tac toe set. For the record, I will have you know that it has been used to actually play tic tac toe on one and almost two occasions. In any case, I love it and would certainly condone your using it to add an injection of sophisticated cheekiness to your living space.

 

7. simplehuman Under-Counter Pull-Out Trash Can

This has most definitely featured in a favorites post before, but I’m throwing it again because it deserves the attention.

I have this trash can in my own kitchen, and I installed a couple in kitchens around town this past month. In every case, it installs in a minute and works like a charm. It’s not huge, but never feels too small, it glides smoothly, and it’s usually the difference between having a giant eyesore of a garbage can in the center of your hub and keeping the trash out of sight and in easy reach.

Winner.

 

8. Bamboo roll-out tray divider

&

9. Bamboo roll out kitchen drawers

I feel much the same about the can above as I do these bamboo roll outs–they are the cheat to a custom-designed kitchen.

Easy to install, these roll outs eliminate so much of the wrestling that goes on in kitchens to get to the thing you want. They’re well-designed and feel incredibly sturdy.

Seriously, just figure out which cabinets are on your hit list and get one of these going already.

 

Hey, happy February!