because they can

September 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

Sitting on the mantle in my parents’ house is a wood vase filled with dried purple flowers that I made in the sixth grade. For two months I perfected my technique on the lathe and when completed, I triumphantly presented the fruits of my labor. I am reminded of this proud moment in my history as I browse through the incredible woodwork of Because We Can, an Oakland-based husband-and-wife team specializing in sustainable custom furnishing and interior design. It seems there is no limit to what they can create:

LCD Ecoglam

LCD Ecoglam

I’m not a fan of TV. I do like watching it (Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, especially) but frankly I think they’re ugly and I don’t like when the television becomes the focal point for a room. However, the Ecoglam frame from BWC really solves this dilemma. My computer is currently my entertainment center (thanks, Hulu) but this custom frame may change things.

Smart solution for small spaces

Smart solution for small spaces

Living in a big city often means trying to pack a lot into a relatively small space but these decorative shelves are a great solution. The cutouts are a cool, custom decor and they don’t clutter a shoebox-size apartment.

Three Rings office

Three Rings office

Video game company, Three Rings, asked BWC to oufit their SoMa loft to resemble The Nautilus from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Wildlife and Presidents chair

Wildlife and Presidents chair

I love these chairs, I imagine a mismatched grouping around a long farmhouse table in my rustic-meets-modern home (that I’m slowly building in my head). Until then I’ll just keep at the lathe and admire these pieces from afar. —MR

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go with the flow

September 14, 2009 - 3 Responses

Picture 2

What if we could fork over a some hard-earned cash in exchange for, say, an extra serving of self-esteem during a moment of insecurity? A dose of trust when making that proverbial leap of faith, perhaps? Wouldn’t it be nice to stock a pantry with compassion, authenticity and silence rather than canned beans and brownie mix? Thanks to Norwegian designer Mads Hagstrom, whose online Flow Market opened earlier this month, we can (no pun intended).

Picture 4Soul food at its finest: Small tins of 73 highly coveted intangibles are available for a cool $19.25 each. A steal for such priceless luxuries.

Picture 3By attaching a retail value to an abstract idea, Hagstrom’s Flow Market has caused me to think twice about what I consume. I mean, do I really need these gorgeous Taryn Rose boots just to make myself a worthy contender in a passive-aggressive game of one-upmanship? I’d love to take a spoonful of “Self-Love” before I commit to a $400 charge on my credit card. And you? Does your antidote to a bad day equate to a creamy, dreamy chocolate eclair? Crack open a “Cravings Liberation” instead.

Picture 5What’s on your shopping list? —LML

1984

September 11, 2009 - 2 Responses

In celebration of my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, my siblings and I are throwing a surprise party, with a “This is Your Life”-type movie and a surf-and-turf menu. And, we’re dressing up like it’s 1984 (the year they wed). There are few things I enjoy more in life than dressing up, be it for a fancy occasion or a costume party, so I have been doing my research in preparation for the big day.

For my two brothers I’m thinking: Wayfarers, headbands, peg-legged jeans and either a tie over a Hawaiian or a Polo and jacket:

Jerry curl with sweatband, classic

Jerry curl with sweatband, classic

Don Johnson at his best

Don Johnson at his best

For my sister and me: leg warmers over stirrup pants (obviously), oversize and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts or T-shirts tied asymmetrically in a knot and crimped hair.

80s inspiration board

80s inspiration board

Oh, and lots and lots of hair spray for everyone.

Aqua Net

Aqua Net

Do you have suggestions or perhaps inspirational photos? Please advise! —MR

shake it.

September 8, 2009 - 4 Responses

When Polaroid announced that it was canceling production last year, I stocked up on as much of the vanishing film as I could. Its grainy, high contrast images make everything look a little bit cooler than it actually is. Unfortunately, its suddenly precious existence has now made me hesitant to use it all. Every potential picture bears a heavy weight of importance—one more insta-magical shot, one less piece of film—which totally takes away from the instantaneous fun and satisfaction of it in the first place. Enter: ShakeItPhoto iPhone application. Granted, I am a self-described late adapter. I hated computers when they first entered the scene (seriously) and delayed getting a cell phone for a ridiculously long time. However, today I’m totally reliant on my Mac and am lost (thank goodness for GPS) without my iPhone, so it just makes sense that I’ve found my nostalgic film in digital form. The app works just like the trusty Polaroid camera: take a photo, watch the white-framed image drop down and shake your phone (yes, it shakes and jiggles) until the square frame slowly develops into your image. Amazing. —MR


hand-blocked happiness

September 8, 2009 - One Response

I’ve always loved John Robshaw’s linens, but from afar, since their substantial price tags have kept me at bay. Thankfully, I’ve just discovered fashion designer Roberta Freymann’s more affordable (yet still three-digit) quilts, pillows and tunics from her line, Roberta Roller Rabbit. The hand-blocked, Asia- and India-inspired prints come in brilliant shades of indigo, gold, green and fuchsia. I just got the Big Cata yellow quilt, which looks particularly fetching folded at the foot of my bed, and I’m eyeing those Amanda orange throw pillows. —MR

Big Cata

Big Cata

Amanda Pillow

Amanda Pillow

going back, back to….

September 8, 2009 - Leave a Response

Oh September, you’re so bittersweet. Change is in the air, goodbye lazy summer nights and salt water sandals, hello Trapper Keepers and Converse high-tops.  Alas, my San Francisco existence doesn’t exactly fit those nostalgic memories—September here is when summer begins (and ends). Regardless, Labor Day weekend always reminds of me Cannon Beach, Oregon and Bruce’s Candy Kitchen. Many allowances were wasted away here on giant Jawbreakers and bags of salt-water taffy. My final two weeks of summer were spent barefoot at the beach, hell bent on making the final hours of break, sun, sand and candy-filled. I ventured north last week for a bit of the same, and though lots has changed and I’m no longer in school (though still wearing high-top Converse) I found Bruce’s and the beach just about the same as always—and thank goodness for that. —MR


empty nests

September 4, 2009 - One Response

As a journalist, I’m only as good as my voyeuristic instinct, and while I pride myself on my ability to give the third degree, I am floored by San Francisco photographer Todd Hido‘s more sophisticated (read: subtler) investigative eye. For his latest coffee-table tome, Witness Number 7, Hido goes beyond the closed curtains and barricaded doors of foreclosed homes in Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield to expose the eerie stillness of these strangely compelling vacancies. The result is a haunting set of photos that triggers an insatiable curiosity in the viewer: Who used to live here? What memories linger in these rooms? And my own question for you: Are you comfortable being a nosy neighbor? —LML

shabby chic

September 2, 2009 - Leave a Response
An "impossibly chic real woman" from Glamour's Sept. '09 issue

An "impossibly chic real woman" from Glamour's Sept. '09 issue

Today, as I quickly flipped through the Sept ’09 issue of Glamour, I happened upon a one-page feature by photographer Scott Schuman titled “5 Impossibly Chic Real Women.” I fell immediately for the unassuming style of a waif in a nude vintage lace dress and knock-around sneaks. Not exactly shabby, and not exactly chic, but utterly stylish—the way-poorer version of boho poster child, and one of my personal fashion darlings, Mary-Kate Olsen. My question: Could this style be pulled off by someone less wiry, more…rotund? Or does the look itself hinge on the loose drape of the fabric on such a thin frame? What do you think? —LML


wishing & hoping

September 1, 2009 - 2 Responses

My September ’09 J.Crew catalog arrived today. Usually, it’s a bittersweet moment. I’ll spend 20 minutes flipping through the magazine, drooling over the gorgeous preppy-glam clothes, berating myself for the high percentage of Old Navy duds that populate my closet. To be honest, the J.Crew catalog makes me hate myself. In the hands of a more optimistic soul, perhaps the catalog would have an aspirational effect, but for me, it is a barometer of failure. I cannot afford those vetements, not in this economy. Even if I could, my freelance-writing career specifies an easy dress code of loose pajamas. I miss the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses behavior that is cultivated amongst the catty, fashion-forward women working in a magazine newsroom. Strutting around that kind of cutthroat environment wearing J.Crew’s super-flattering matchstick ankle cords, shocking pink cashmere sweater and frilly Colleen Rose heels would surely inflict some damage—green-eyed monsters are known to wreak a little havoc, after all. —LML

petite maison

August 28, 2009 - Leave a Response

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I have an eccentric menagerie of two dozen or so miniature toys that includes a tiny burger, fries and shake, a neon green flip-flop and an inch-long rubber chicken. (The plastic bone-in leg of ham is my pride and joy.) I have often felt that this collection should include a few pieces of furniture (as a design writer, I should reprezzzent), however, I am no closer to affording the licensed miniature version of, say, the above Tulip chair by Saarinen (5.25 inches high, $220) than I am to affording the full-size seat (around $1200). Somewhere, a Geppetto doppelganger over at Vitra is making a fortune by shrinking iconic pieces by Eames, Mies van der Rohe and Ron Arad down to Barbie size. ‘Bout time someone gave that old Malibu Beach House a makeover. —LML

Mini Eames Lounge & Ottoman, $670 (full size: $3600)

Mini Eames Lounge & Ottoman, $670 (full size: $3600)