No More. Please.

It’s hard to describe what’s happening here in Boston.

To the rest of the country, Boston getting more snow is not news.  If the city was struck by a tornado, or another terrorist attack, no one would have difficulty imagning the struggle the city inhabitants would be facing.  People would be able, on some level, to sympathize.  But snow?  ‘Hey’, I’m sure they think, ‘they’re used to it.’  And in a way, we are.  Snow doesn’t usually shut us down.  But this winter is entirely, utterly and horrifyingly different.

Boston_winter_2015_parkingFutile attempts to save a parking spot.  The city garbage trucks are taking everyone’s furniture, though people just find another old chair to use after garbage day.

As this NYT Opinion article so perfectly articulates, the city is under a slow, painful siege.  It builds with every falling flake, every few days.  When I say we are being buried alive, I’m quite literally only half-joking.  The entire region is truly shutting down, and what’s worse is that from where we are now, it’s nearly impossible to see any light at the end of this snowy tunnel we’ve been trying to dig out.  Our public transit system, already in such dire shape from years of under-funding and incredible mismanagement, is barely functioning.  People are crowded at subway stations, many of them above ground, waiting for hours while too-crowded trains roll by – if they come at all.  The commuter rail system that reaches into the suburbs is, as one friend put it, a free-for-all.  With the train schedule officially suspended, many just show up just hoping a train will, at some point, appear.  Buses can’t move through the streets, because on every road where there were two lanes, there is now one.  And on roads with one lane, there are literally none.  The streets are so gridlocked that emergency vehicles cannot even get through.  Without a way to get around town, business are dying.  Even the giant ones.  I tried to go to a movie last week, on a day when the sun decided to come out.  The theater, the largest in downtown Boston, was closed.  They had no staff.  I feel for the small independents, as if they don’t have it hard enough.  People’s pipes are bursting, ice blocks the size of ovens are falling off gutters and crashing onto the barely-shoveled sidewalks.  An entire icy gutter was ripped off the building across the street yesterday, crushing the car below it.  It’s not even safe to walk around.  All this, while the temperature is plummeting into record lows.

Boston_winter_2015 Trying to keep hydrants clear daily.

As you can imagine, people’s tempers are flaring.  Just the other night, an incredibly ugly verbal altercation erupted on our street – my neighbor’s life was threatened; the cops had to come.  All over a parking spot.  I’m glad our city is a more liberal one where most people don’t carry guns; if they did, I would bet everything I own that more people would be getting hurt.  Or killed.  It’s not as if anyone can help us, unless they want to build a pipeline to help remove snow out of the whole region.  We are fresh out of places to put it, and fresh out of patience to handle it.


Peter Combe

During the Superbowl, I fell into the dark hole of Instagram after realizing the Pats were scoring while I was busy on my phone.  So being the superstitious bunch we are, I continued to do that for about 4 hours.  It worked – they won, and I found a whole new side of Instagram that I’m now addicted to.  It’s already paid off, because I discovered Peter Combe.


photo © Peter Combe.

Combe creates images using paint chips, like from Home Depot. The effect is absolutely stunning.

6-peter-combe-paint-chips-art-yatzerphoto © Peter Combe.
bioImage_4photo © Peter Combe.

Peter_Combe_Art_06photo © Peter Combe.

6a-peter-combe-paint-chips-art-yatzerphoto © Peter Combe.
PeterCombe3photo © Peter Combe.

He also has a series using strips of paint chips.

Peter_Combe_Pink-Interference-in-situ-Tom-Dixon-roomscape2010Diane Farris Gallery
4-IMG_3282SB Fine Arts

I love seeing artists in action; it’s fascinating to watch them create their art.  Luckily, Combe’s Instagram is where he shows off his process.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.22.03 AM


Falling Apart

Things aren’t going well outside, what with 48 feet of snow on the ground.  Unfortunately for us, they’re not going well inside, either.  In the 2 years that we had rented out our apartment, we fixed the washing machine twice, replaced a dishwasher AND replaced 2 air conditioners.  All these appliances are revolting once again.  After 3 weeks of not even being able to use our washing machine, after 3 new parts ordered, too many hours on Google and one completely useless failure of a brand service repairman appointment later, we have a new washing machine on order.  I won’t name names but it starts with a B and rhymes with sloshed, which is what I became after I learned we needed to get a new one. The machine is less than 4 years old.  Strike un.

The new dishwasher that was bought and installed when we were gone has stopped cleaning the dishes, instead leaving a fine film of soap on everything that we realized we’ve been ingesting for who knows how long now.  Strike deux.

The replaced air conditioner for the bedroom was, as it turns out, not even a wall unit, like we had previously.  Our property manager bought a window unit and shoved it into the frame for the wall unit.  Now that we’ve had a few freezing days, thankfully we know where every crack is and we’ve marked them all by shoving dish towels into them.  Strike trois.

The money I was planning on using to create some more much needed storage in our unit is now being poured into an appliance fund, so we can correct the problem once and for all.  And shit, these things are expensive!  But also, they are ugly.  Options for reasonably-affordable American appliances are terrible!   First of all, the stainless steel explosion means there are far too many of these on showroom floors:

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 10.24.29 AM I like stainless, but it needs to maintain a commercial look in order to be good-looking;  clean lines, utilitarian functions, etc.  Slapping a stainless veneer on a generic oven is just…no.



Smeg, of retro pink & mint refrigerator fame, has some beautiful appliance options.  Of course, most are only available in Europe.

d634283386b58bb5b1a96ce7d93ff645I don’t like to look at refrigerators, but this is one tall drink of water of a fridge.  It can come live with me, for sure.

And then, there are the mack-daddy of cooking appliances: La Cornue and Lacanche.  I love these ovens not just because of their vintage, cast iron look but also because they come in COLORS!

domaine-06-655x510If this were my kitchen, I would call it Emerald City and I would only cook in these:

Christian Louboutin Pigalle Pumps 100mm Glitter Red-RdF_02
I’m not even going to look at dishwasher & refrigerator styles because those things should just get covered up in my opinion.

But, le sigh.  Since this isn’t our forever home, I wouldn’t spend the money putting in these beautiful top-of-the-line appliances; especially if we continue to rent this place out.  I can’t believe the beating it’s taken in the 2 short years we were gone.  So we’re replacing our white, generic middle-of-the-road appliances with more white, generic ones.  However, I can truly say that I’m happy to have them all, no matter how ugly these duckling may be.  Hand-washing my dishes and using the dilapidated laundromat in 3 feet of snow for a few weeks has given me perspective.   But a girl can dream about an emerald green gas range with brass knobs.



There is so much snow outside that I’ve actually lost my car.  I only knew it was there when I accidentally hit the panic button on my keys and my little horn came squeaking back to life from under a snow bank that is level with the parlor floor of our building.  This city is being buried alive.  Naturally, I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors, mostly on Pinterest.  Pinterest: For When Your Husband Is Watching Garbage on the SyFy Channel.  While pinning exciting lamps and  freestanding bathtubs, I came across this pin and it stopped me right in my pintracks:


Day-um.  That is downright depressing!  What aren’t people reading?!

I’ve always been a reader.  I loved getting lost in stories as a kid, and I learned just how intense words on a page could be when I read Where The Red Fern Grows at 11 years old and cried myself to sleep when Billy lost his dogs.  I’ve stayed up way too late many nights promising myself I’d turn off the lights “just after this next chapter” and I’ve actually been excited about trans-Atlantic flights when I know I’ve got a good book in my bag.  Right now, I’m in the middle of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.  Having recently driven across Kansas, the setting of the story, this book is really captivating my attention.  This is another one where I finally turn the lights out somewhere around 2am.


Here are some of my all-time favorite reads:

220px-ColumbinebookcoverColumbine by David Cullen

mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Asne_Seierstad_The_Bookseller_of_KabulThe Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

41ge7+YdIYLMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

the-poisonwood-bibleThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This-is-a-Happy-MarriageThis is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

51JpfiYAA4LReading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

bookcover lifeofpiLife of Pi by Yann Martel

51PTFS8YYXLMarie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser

ThePhantomTollBoothThe Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

TheJoyLuckClubThe Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Gatsby_1925_jacketThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

harrypotterEbks1Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

81+iucjYd9L._SL1500_Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

islandscIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

KiteRunnerThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

9780060736262_p0_v3_s260x420A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith


Wes Anderson is for Design Lovers

While we were snowed in here in Boston, John and I jumped down the Wes Anderson rabbit hole.  We watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, followed by Moonrise Kingdom, and it reminded me how much I love the style of Anderson movies – not only are the characters and story lines pretty great, but as a designer and noted movie house freak, I love the sets.
The Grand Budapest had a dominating color scheme of pink, purple and red.  It was really an explosion of love colors for the eyes.

GHB_9907 20130130.CR2
The Grand Budapest Hotel - 64th Berlin Film Festival
The exterior of the hotel was shot using a miniature model:

Same with the little funicular.
The interior lobby was shot in the now-defunct Görlitzer Warenhaus department store in Germany, one of the only grand stores to survive World War II.


One of the things that stood out to me the most, naturally, was the amazing type & graphics throughout the film, not just in the credits but on all the props.  In my quest for more information, I found this interview with Annie Atkins, who was the lead graphic artist for the entire movie.  Holy hell, what a phenomenal job!!

GHB_7079 20130122.CR2

In the film, the hotel has two lives: the glittery grand age in the early 20th century, and then later on during the Communist era.  The look of the hotel at that point is sad and drab, but the millions of lobby signs cracked me up. Apparently, millions of lobby signs was a legitimate thing in Communist East Germany.  Everyone conform!

I really loved this movie; it’s definitely worth watching, even if you don’t get excited by typography like I do.

Images from Creative Review, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, Nylon.