January 29, 2009

words cannot describe the cuteness

If you need a little pick-me-up (or even if you don't), do yourself a favor and take two minutes to watch this RIDICULOUSLY adorable video.

(thanks, Naomi Megan!)

Are you there, Hootie? It's me, Brooke.

Maybe I'm just noticing it more for some reason, but I could swear that I have been hearing a lot of Hootie lately.

I admit it: I sing along to Hootie. I mean, come on, admit it — that $h!t is catchy! I went to their concert when I was in 7th grade and I still sing my heart out when I'm driving in the car and "Hold My Hand" comes on. But it's been really odd to hear them on the radio several times in the last few weeks. I feel like I missed something.

Is there something I don't know? Is Hootie staging a comeback? Or does the recession just have people craving fluffy poppy 90s music more than usual?

January 28, 2009

the most darling little cake ever.

The other day I discovered inchmark, a ridiculously and wonderfully pretty blog written by a former senior art director of Martha Stewart Kids and Martha Stewart Living. Her name is Brooke, so naturally, I love her. (We Brookes gotta stick together, ya know?)

Now, I have always loved baking, but don't do much of it lately because I'll eat whatever I make and I already haven't been to the gym since before my September wedding (oops). The last thing I need are sweets tempting me. But I have still always wanted to take a cake decorating class so someday, when the occasion calls for it, I'll be able to show off my mad skillz and wow my party guests with my beautiful creation.

Today, this inchmark post made me realize that maybe I could actually do this without taking a class or thinking I have to be able to pipe perfect little roses out of icing (because those things look kind of old-fashioned, anyway, and not in a good way... and isn't that what they teach you in those classes?). After looking at so many wedding cakes over the last year and a half and thinking that fondant was the only solution to making a cake look pretty, this post was a refreshing reminder that plain old icing can still look really pretty (and not necessarily like a weird store-bought cake wreck). This cake is absolutely darling and lovely, but totally simple.

Yes! Polka dot cake! I can do that!

Definitely check out inchmark for the tutorial on how to make the little icing dots (without dealing with fondant). Even her how-to photos are darling.

January 26, 2009

I've been tagged!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy — my first tagging! Thanks to the lovely Brandi over at Silver Pencils for thinking of little ol' Claremont Road as a fabulous blog.

Rules of the tag: List 5 Obsessions/Addictions that you have, and tag back to the person(s) that gave you the award. Post the rules and tag an additional 5 people.

1. I am completely addicted to my staple snack: Triscuits and whipped cream cheese (Philadelphia brand, of course). It's actually a little dangerous.... I'll get out the respective packages and a little knife and set up a nice little spot on the coffee table for my snack, and ten minutes later, it's like the Triscuit bandit has made away with all of the crackers. I devour them and don't even realize it. There have been many nights where this snack has become my dinner. It's a little pathetic.

2. I LOVE celebrity gossip. So far I haven't talked about it much on this blog, but don't be fooled: People.com is like the mother ship calling me home. When I have to explain my love of celebrity gossip to someone who just doesn't get it, it usually comes down to this: the screwed up, wacky lives of celebrities make me feel normal. I do draw the line at the crazy tabloids that obviously report false "news" (InTouch, Star, etc.), and I don't really follow Perez Hilton because he's just a little too mean for me, but give me the lowdown on so-and-so's divorce proceedings or whatshername's big family drama, and I feel a little bit better about my average Jane life.

3. I have been married for four months and I still read Weddingbee daily (okay, okay... several times a day). I can't help it. It's like I'm deserting an old friend if I leave! There's just something about the community, diversity, and openness of the ladies there that keeps me wanting more.

4. This is more of a past obsession, but I used to be absolutely hooked on Friends. When the show first started, I was a freshman in high school, and I was immediately obsessed. I used to tape it every single week (yes, with a VCR) and when I went away to college my mom would tape it for me every week so I could catch up when I came home (I pretty much lived at the design studio in college and wasn't in my dorm to watch it). Even though I now own all of the seasons on DVD, it was still a little sad to finally throw away all of the VHS tapes a few years ago. I still love watching Friends anytime I catch it in syndication, and I quote it constantly.

5. I love potatoes in all forms. I do not discriminate against any potato. If you are a potato and you are ready to be eaten, I will eat you. Damnit, now I want a potato.

Now I tag:
Kimberly Michelle
Oh! Apostrophe
This Casita
Geek in Heels

January 24, 2009

If I cooked...

... I'd want this fabulous Ampersand cutting board from House Industries.

But I'm still working on that whole "domestic"/"cooking" thing.

Found via
Here Are Things I Like.

January 23, 2009

QuickVoice for iPhone

I always have my best blog ideas while driving. Except, well, I'm driving, so I can't exactly whip out a pen and paper to write down my idea (and by the time I reach my destination, I have usually forgotten what my idea was. I have a terrible short-term memory like that). Now, though, I'll be able to just press a button and record a quick thought on my iPhone with the help of the QuickVoice app (which is free!) without getting into a fender bender. Seriously, is there anything this phone can't do?

January 20, 2009

Holiday Hangovers + Leftovers round-up

Check out my sister-in-law's awesome blog (I'm totally not biased!) Inspired Goodness to see the fabulousness of the Holiday Hangovers + Leftovers party that took place at the home of her and my big brother in Brooklyn on Saturday night. To entice you a little, here are a few teaser photos....




Check it out :-)

Etsy find: Kira Ferrer jewelry

I took a quick peak at Etsy today and happened up Kira Ferrer's work. Her work is simple and classic, yet still very fresh.

January 19, 2009

tomorrow is THE day.

Whether you voted for him or not, you have to admit that tomorrow is a pretty historic day for our country. I, for one, am giddy with excitement for this momentous occasion. I'm feeling hopeful, rejuvenated, and, of course, patriotic.

In clipping out some favorite articles from my old Martha Stewart Living mags, I came across this amazing spread on "living photographs" from the early 1900s. Pretty amazing, no? (Click on the image to enlarge)

A close-up of the above photo

Here's to positive change.

January 17, 2009

Hangovers and Leftovers

Today we're heading up to Park Slope, BKLYN to visit my brother and sister-in-law and attend their 3rd annual Holiday Hangovers and Leftovers party. Last year's party was a huge hit, and this year's Evite promises "holiday favorites from Christmases past — moldy fruitcake, sticky sugarplums, past-its-prime eggnog and enough cookies to make you fit into Santa's suit."

My favorite part of the evening is the bad gift exchange — everyone brings the weirdest/ugliest gift they received for Christmas this year and regift it to another attendee. Nick and I received only excellent gifts this year (lucky for us, but unlucky for our popularity at the party!); fortunately my lovely friend Cat "donated" a miniature Precious Moments knock-off nativity set to the cause. I can't wait to see what we get in exchange. (Last year Nick got a "gum by numbers" art set. Like paint by numbers.... but you have to chew different colored gum and stick it on the picture where that color goes. Um, ew.)

This year, there is a new twist to the festivities: bonus points for anyone who wears an ugly Christmas sweater! Well, I prefer to look cute, so I'm going to pass on this one, but hopefully the creepy nativity set will make up for it.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

January 13, 2009

This one's for my (Blogger) homies

Just a little linkypoo for any of my blogfriends out there learning their way around Blogger. With a simple Google search, I found this tutorial that helped me modify the Minima template, allowing me to have a wider text column and two sidebar columns. (And I have zero knowledge of HTML, but I didn't have too many problems following along.) Have a gander, if you will!

Blogger template modification tutorial

Happy blogging :-)

January 12, 2009

The magazine gods heard me...

Remember this morning's post about having too many magazines and needing to unload a few? The post where I joked that now I'll have to get some new magazines to fill the void? I got home from work today to a FREE US Weekly magazine waiting in my mailbox. And apparently they want to send me three more free magazines in the coming weeks. Seriously. How funny is that?

I used to subscribe to US Weekly — it was my trashy treat to myself each week (even though I really aspired to be sophisticated enough to read People, but I couldn't afford a subscription). US would conveniently arrive on Fridays, so after a long week of work (at a job that I was not very happy at) I would indulge in some smutty celebrity gossip, cover-to-cover. Nick always knew to just let me read my magazine in peace, and then our weekend could begin and I would be human again (until Monday morning struck again).

Once we were engaged and we started trying to save a bit better, I gave up my subscription. I guess it's been over a year now (but don't worry, I've been keeping up on all of my celebrity gossip via People.com). I guess the free issues are all a marketing ploy to get some of their subscriptions back up in this troubled economy, but I'm going to try to resist temptation and just enjoy the free month of magazines they'll be sending my way.

Now, if you'll excuse me while I go read about J. Lo's big fight with Marc Anthony and learn how to get buff like Jennifer Aniston.

Goodbye, Martha. May we meet again someday.

Don't get me wrong — I love me some Martha Stewart. The woman has created an enterprise solely based on domestic goodness. But when I was subscribed to Martha Stewart Living a while ago, I couldn't help but feel completely inadequate every time I would read through an issue. Ideas for the large home and sprawling garden I don't have... recipes chock full of ingredients I've never heard of and probably will never use... and "good things" that I'll never get around to doing. I didn't renew my subscription, and instead found myself loving her Blueprint magazine a whole lot more — it was more geared towards the twenty-something crowd, and most of the ideas felt a lot more attainable to me.

Then, of course, Blueprint went kaput (one downside of the Martha enterprise is that if something doesn't do well immediately, bub-bye it goes); since I had just subscribed to Blueprint and would no longer be receiving the issues that I paid for, they decided to send me Martha Stewart Living in its place, which I'm still receiving. Gah. And yet, as much as they make me feel inadequate, I still hoard them, "just in case" they'll come in handy someday.

While cleaning the apartment last night, I found that I have 22 issues of MSL taking up space in our home, and I just. can't. take it. anymore. Yes, maybe in ten years I'll have a lot more use for Martha's recipes and gardening pointers, but I'll go out and buy new issues then. There is no reason for me to hold onto these piles of paper that are doing me no good and just making me feel like a crappy excuse for a grown-up.

What I have decided to do is spend a little time going through and cutting out a few of the "good things," recipes, and articles that may actually prove to be useful to me, and start a small binder with these ideas. It's something I've always wanted to do with interesting articles I've come across, but I've never gotten around to doing it. It will take up a lot less space, and all of these magazines wouldn't have gone to complete waste.

Unless anyone else has any good ideas for how to keep these ideas organized (anyone?), I think I'll get started tonight. Nick will be so excited that I'm freeing up some space around here. I'll have to go buy some new magazines now ;-)

January 11, 2009

On the Turntable: She & Him

I've seen the Zooey Deschanel Domino Magazine spread making the blog rounds over the last few days, but I've found that a lot of Zooey fans don't even know that she has an album out. We all heard her lovely voice in Elf, but Zooey is also 1/2 of the duo She & Him (along with M. Ward), and their debut album, Volume One, has taken up permanent residency in the CD player of my car for months now. My favorite song: "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" (The video is a combination of quirky and just plain weird, just like Zooey herself!)

Love the purity of her voice, love her 60s style, love the throwback quality of the songs. Love, love, love it all. And I've heard that she sounds even better live. How can you not just love her?

(PS, did you hear that she just got engaged? I can't wait to see what she wears!)

I cry when I watch "Made" on MTV.

I don't know what it is... but I always get a little teary-eyed when I watch Made on MTV. And, yes — I've seen most of them. I've spent many a Saturday morning in bed watching 2 or 3 episodes in a row (and usually getting my husband sucked in at some point, as well, even after he pretends he's too cool to watch. Big faker).

If you've never seen Made, you're missing out. I promise it's not just another MTV "reality" show (yes, the quotes are definitely intentional). It's a documentary-style show, and each episode focuses on a high school/college age kid who wants to be "made" into something — a hip hop dancer, homecoming queen, a cheerleader, BMX bike rider, rockstar, opera singer — whatever. The hour-long show basically follows the 6+ week journey it takes the kid to reach their goal with the help of a coach... usually someone who has to dole out a little tough love when the kid becomes a whiney little brat who wants to throw in the towel. Ultimately, it shows the learning process that takes place, the kid figures out a little bit of who they are, and they come out of the whole thing a stronger, more confident person, even if they didn't reach their ultimate goal.

I know I'm an emotional person and all, but man, does this show get me. I mean, remember how much high school sucked sometimes? Remember how out of place you could feel, and how much you wanted to cry when someone just wouldn't believe in you or take you seriously? There's something about those kids striving for something, and along the way learning some major lessons about life, that just gets me all verklempt. The episodes that really get me are the ones where the really socially awkward nerdy kids want to become a "ladies man" or homecoming king or something of the like... when really, the only thing they want is just to be accepted as a normal kid who has friends and isn't made fun of. They usually figure out about 7/8 through their journey that reaching their ultimate goal isn't what's important; it's the invaluable lessons learned along the way that they will really take away from it all. Ah, to be young and confused again. Sigh...

Any other grown "adults" (yes, the quotes are definitely intentional) out there who want to admit to watching this show, and being as emotionally sappy as I am while watching?

January 10, 2009

Updated blogroll

Hello faithful readers! (All seven of you!) Just wanted to let you know that I updated my blogrolls on the left to include some of my favorite daily reads, as well as the blogs of my fellow bees. I hope you'll explore the links and perhaps find something new that you haven't seen before.

I'm sure I'm still missing a few, so thank you for your patience as I get this little bloggy blog of mine in shape :-)

made by hank

I blogged about these before the holidays over on Louella Court, but Christmas is now just a twinkle in the past and I'm still itching for one of these adorable bags from Etsy shop made by hank.

Even though we're recessionally challenged right now (I made that term up... whaddya think?) and we're being quite thrifty, I think I should be allowed to make an exception to support a local artist and fellow blogger. I mean, it's the least I can do to prevent others from becoming recessionally challenged, too... right? Right??

Luckily, Katie Henry's bags are snatched up almost as quickly as they are listed in her Etsy shop, so that helps with the temptation a bit. Maybe someday...

January 6, 2009

Feeling Like a Fraud

Today, I had a sore throat, it was dreary and cold outside, and I felt completely uncreative at work. Days like today make me feel like a fraud of a designer, and I hate that feeling more than anything.

Sometimes, I just have such a hard time getting inspired and designing anything that I even mildly like, and I am really hard on myself as a result. That makes it even harder to get over the slump and get inspired. In college, I used to put so much pressure on myself to create something incredible that I'd usually procrastinate too much, end up with a piece I wasn't all that proud of, and regret it later. I've gotten quite a bit better (I guess work deadlines seem a lot more serious now since there is an actual client waiting for the finished product!), but today's lack of creative inspiration reminded me of how insecure I used to feel about my work.

How do you deal with slumps in your career and/or creativity? Where do you find the inspiration that most often jolts you back into reality?

January 2, 2009

Gnome Me

Is it so wrong to want a house with a real backyard, simply so I can have one of these?

Gnome Garden Statue, $39.99 at Home Depot

Amelie totally made these things chic. And I want a life like Amelie's, so clearly I need a Garden Gnome all my own.

Dear Target:

You know how much I adore you. Since you first came into my life about eleven years ago, you have never served me wrong. Anything I need, you have, and you always provide pretty packaging to make me smile. But the other day, you scared me. While in your presence for a mere ten minutes to pick up a prescription, I saw two very disturbing things in the women's clothing department, both of which I was able to capture with the stealth use of my iPhone camera.

Exhibit A:
Gold lamé leggings.

Exhibit B:
At least five racks of bathing suits. Mostly bikinis.

Okay, so I get the whole leggings fad — not necessarily my bag, but I think some people can pull them off quite nicely. But gold lamé leggings? Why, Target... why? I know some fads of the 80s are coming back into fashion, but lamé is not something we ever need to see again. The only encouraging thing about sighting this atrocity in your store is that they were marked 30% off, so clearly I'm not the only one who isn't dying to get my hands on a pair.

And... the bathing suits. Now, I know that many people visit tropical destinations throughout the year and said people may need to purchase a new swimsuit for their travels. But several racks of bathing suits when it is 22 degrees outside in January? A bit much, I must say. Also not a very kind gesture since I'm still recovering from the excessive eating that has occurred over the last few weeks of holiday gluttony, and I'm not feeling what you would call "bikini-ready." I feel like you're just taunting me with your racks upon racks of bikinis, Target, and I don't appreciate it.

I still love you, Target, but I am expecting you to redeem yourself in the coming months. I would hate for our eleven years of bliss to be tarnished any further. I'll be watching.