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Greed

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I’ve been taking quick peeks here and there over the past week at H&M’s home collection, which until now was unavailable to the US market. I can’t figure out whether they’re planning to eventually offer home goods for sale in stores here as well, but the online shop is up and running! (You can buy H&M clothing online now as well, by the way, though I doubt I’d ever need to order clothes online from them — there are now 11 H&M stores and counting in Manhattan alone, which is just bananas.) Anyway, this morning I finally took some time to really look at the entire collection, and I’m surprised by how much of it I like. A lot of it does tend to run the more gimmicky route — like all of the fake-old-timey NYC subway-themed things, which I’m really not a fan of — but much like digging through the clothes in H&M stores, there’s good stuff mixed in with the t-shirts that say DO IT LIKE THE ’90s (what does that even mean?!). And, of course, the prices are crazy-low.

The wide jacquard-weave cushion cover in the photo above is probably my favorite item, which I’m sure is really shocking (hah). For $18 plus a $7 FJÄDRAR insert from IKEA, you’d have a pretty sweet dog bed with a removable, washable cover. Nice! I do wonder what happens if you put an IKEA pillow inside of an H&M cover, though. Is the Swedishness exponential? Actually, I just realized H&M sells inserts, too. So there you go.

Here are some more of my favorites…

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Canvas cushion cover in cerise / Jacquard-weave cushion cover / Velvet cushion cover in pink
Cat cushion cover / Copper candle holder / Dotted blanket
Jacquard-weave blanket / Velvet cushion cover in orange / Velvet cushion cover in charcoal

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And finally, who can resist a burlap storage tote (larger size, too)? Not me! Yeah, I do kind of wish it didn’t say STORAGE on the front, but I bet the back is blank — and even if it’s not, it’s still cute and it has a wire-framed top, which is nice.

OK, I’m going to go and try to order a few things before they all sell out, because they’ve literally been disappearing while I write this post. I’ve been snoozing, and now I’m losing!

A lot of teenagers go through a phase where they think skulls are really cool. This is because skulls are really cool. I never exited that phase. Skulls are possibly the most clichéd representation of badassery ever, and the fact that schmancy designers like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have brought skulls into the world of luxury goods — and endless knockoffs of those luxury goods — has made them pretty inescapable. They still look cool to me, though, and I keep on buying skull stuff and feeling happy that I don’t have to wait until Halloween rolls around to do it. (This is also how I feel about black nail polish.)

Here’s my skull wishlist…

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1. Ceramic skull planter, Mudpuppy
2. Skull blanket, 360 Sweater
3. Cartolina skull temporary tattoo, Fiona Richards for Tattly
4. Skull pendant light, RawDezign (also in black)
5. Crocheted skull, Crochet Bloke (pattern available in his book)
6. Skull art print, Dawn Kelley
7. Black enamel skull ring, Alexander McQueen
8. Skull sweater, Zoe Karssen

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1. Black metallic stoneware skull, Mudpuppy
2. Skull tiles, Josep Motas for Bussoga (see below)
3. Dia de DUMBO wallpaper, Flavor Paper
4. Twin skull ring, Alexander McQueen
5. Tiny crocheted skulls, Dewey Decimal Crafts
6. Skull scarf, Alexander McQueen

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Photo from Heathrow Speaking After Dark

I had to include another photos of Josep Motas’ incredible skull tiles in use. Isn’t is neat how they seem to turn into a more traditional Mediterranean tile when they’re all together like that? D16 reader Raquel emailed me about them months ago thinking I’d like them, and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head since. I’ve tried to find a US distributor of these tiles because I would love to be able to use them in a house project, but so far I’ve come up empty-handed, even after attempting to contact Bussoga. I did find an interview with Motas, the author of which noted the same thing I did about the floral appearance of the skulls when they’re on the wall. I love this part of the description from the product page: “The top goal of this design would be for someone to like the tiles when put together, who retiles their bathroom and then one day discovers that they have to rip off all the tiles while sitting on the toilet.” Hello, THAT’S ME!!

And finally, some of my Skullstagrams…

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1. Wheatpaste on Pacific Street, Brooklyn (artist unknown)
2. My skull rings! The black & gold ones are from UO, and the plastic is from the doomed NoHo Market
3. A plaster skull at Modern Anthology
4. My office skull-buddies — matte black on the left, glitter with light-up eyes on the right
5. Mini skull candles from the Halloween clearance aisle at Target
6. My skully hand at Lisa & Clay’s wedding (the thin gold rings are from ASOS)
7. A blue jay skull I found in my garden
8. A giant skull candle from West Elm’s Halloween clearance table
9. Me feeding a delicious vegan donut from the Cinnamon Snail to one of my pet office skulls

If you’re alive and in New York City right now, then you know we are in the midst of a rather grueling heatwave. If you’re alive and you follow any New Yorkers on Twitter or Facebook, then you also know about the heatwave, because complaining about the weather to anyone who will listen is really what we do best. Temperatures have been hovering around 100°F for the past couple of weeks, and it’s just insanely humid. We walk a lot (and fast) here in NYC — most of us don’t get around in cars, so we’re walking several miles a day on the hot pavement, plus up and down the stairs into subway stations (which are not air conditioned, by the way). AND IT’S ALL UPHILL, BOO HOO. I know, I know, I’ll give it a rest, but seriously, we’re melting here right now. For those of us who wear black on the outside ‘cos black is how we feel on the inside, these are trying times. To take my mind off the fact that my hair is plastered to my head with sweat, I put together a couple of outfits that resemble what I’ve been wearing during the heatwave.

“The color for today is BLACK. That’s right, black! So you can absorb some of these rays and save that heat for winter. So you want to get on out there, wear that black and be involved!” That’s the truth, Ruth.

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1. Boycott shirt, Kowtow
2. Mosaic scarf in marigold + black, Blockshop Textiles
3. Chock A Block necklace in black/brass, Maslo Jewelry
4. Licorice nail polish, Essie
5. Lace-up espadrille wedges, Gap
6. Sexy Skinny Jeans in dark indigo, ASOS (also in plus size!)
7. Paperback bag in black waxed canvas, Moop

I know it might seem silly to include a scarf, but it’s something I always keep in my bag, even on the hottest days. You just never know when you’re going to wind up in a store or office or apartment with the AC on full-blast, and you can go from sweltering to shivering in minutes. I do realize that skinny jeans probably also seem insane in hot weather, but that’s just how I roll. I at least make sure I’m wearing sandals with them to let some of the steam out! By the way, those espadrille wedges look amazing on, but I can’t walk five miles in them. One mile, sure. Then my feet hurt. They’re great for days when you don’t have to walk a million blocks, though!!

These ASOS jeans are great for my fellow high-hip-to-waist-ratio girls. Since I’ve been losing some weight I’ve needed to buy a couple of inexpensive pairs of “transition size” jeans, and I love the deep, even color of these and the way they fit. Very comfortable! (They come in plus size, too.)

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1. Short sleeve black dress, Target
2. Super Duper Strength sunglasses, Karen Walker
3. Herringbone scarf in papaya, Blockshop Textiles
4. Tempus necklace, Stone & Honey
5. Geranium nail polish, Essie
6. Endless Bummer tote bag, Fieldguided
7. Leslie Zip Booties, Frye

YES, I have been wearing dresses! Well, one dress. I bought this guy on impulse for $25 at Target last month, and I’ve actually worn it a bunch of times since then. I wish it wasn’t polyester, but it gets the job done. The fit/length of the sleeves is flattering, and who doesn’t love an elastic waist? I have to admit it is nice to have bare legs in summer, but I’ll only do it if I’m wearing boots. I wrote about my intense love for these side-zip Frye booties back in December, and my feelings remain just as strong. They go with EVERYTHING. True four-season footwear. I even wore them to a wedding. They are so beautifully-made, too, and incredibly comfortable. I can walk in them for hours on end. I think they might be the smartest shoe purchase I’ve ever made.

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A year and a half ago, I sort of offhandedly mentioned in a post that I had bought an iPhone case from Society6, and that the quality was, to put it bluntly, complete crap. I ordered the case because I’d been contemplating (and am still contemplating — I like to contemplate) selling my own designs through their site, and I wanted to make sure the quality was good before proceeding. Reviewing products isn’t what I do here, but since I’m a self-obsessed blogger and therefore occasionally Instagram photos of my reflection in bathroom mirrors, I do get a fair amount of questions about my iPhone case. I don’t like to mislead anyone into thinking I recommend stuff just because it’s in my hands, so it seemed fair to me to post about my personal experience with this particular product.

Well, some folks got upset. One person accused me of working for a Society6 competitor (HAH!), and a bunch of Twitter accounts sprung up out of nowhere, having seemingly been created solely to tell me that I was wrong to have publicly “called out” a good company on my blog (despite the fact that I’ve said plenty of nice things about other products from Society6). It was pretty weird! A few days later, someone from Society6 emailed me and offered to send me a new case since the one I had was obviously defective. I said OK, they sent the new case…and…it was also complete crap.

Last month, I got a new iPhone. I went from a 4 to a 5, so I also needed to buy a new case. A couple of my friends told me that their more recently-purchased Society6 cases are good quality, so I decided to give them another shot. I was fully expecting to be horribly disappointed, so it was a very pleasant surprise to see that my friends are not liars and that the new cases are, indeed, MUCH better quality all around. I thought I’d take a few photos (with my new iPhone, naturally) to demonstrate the improvements.

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See the difference in printing quality alone? The old case really looks like an inkjet print, and there was a crazy amount of stretching/distortion to the pattern where the printed film was wrapped around the case. The new case has a much richer, crisper print, and even though the design is still fading a bit where it reaches the front edges, it’s something I can live with — I suspect that issue wouldn’t even be noticeable on a lighter-colored case. Another problem I had with the old case was that the design could literally be scratched off with my fingernail. After a week of actual use, there were numerous areas where the print was chipped or peeling. Not so with the new case! I’ve tried to scratch the design off, and I can’t. Gone also are the super-sharp edges on the front of the case where it meets the screen. The plastic is noticeably smoother, slightly thicker/more rigid and much more durable all around.

Both the old and new cases are manufactured for Society6 by Case-Mate, by the way.

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Inside the case is where things get wayyyyyy better. I was pretty shocked by the fact that the old case had NO shock absorption material inside whatsoever. It was literally just a cheap piece of flimsy plastic. The new case is lined with a layer of white silicone (you can see the Society6 logo embossed into it). It’s not thick enough to add bulk, which is nice, but it’s still additional protection for your phone — which, presumably, is why you’re putting a case on it in the first place (aside from looking cute). See the difference in thickness of the edge of the case, too? Again, not enough to add noticeable bulk, but the durability is greatly improved and the sharpness/gapping at the edge is eliminated.

Is $35 still too much for an iPhone case? Yeah, probably, but at least now I feel like the Society6 cases are nearly on par with the ones I like from Uncommon, which sell for the same price. I feel comfortable carrying my phone around in it, and I’d feel comfortable selling my own designs through Society6 as well — you know, if I ever finish contemplating.

✚ OLD case: Dawn Gardner, DG Aztec No.1 Monotone (now available as a new, improved case)
✚ NEW case: Domesticate, Mudcloth in bone on black

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I’m not sure how this passed me by until now, but Artek has issued their classic Alvar Aalto-designed stool 60, children’s stool NE60 and children’s chair N65 in a special Moomin edition! YES! I said Aalto stools with MOOMINS on them! That’s an explosion of Finnish-ness almost too awesome to believe.

From Artek’s March 2013 press release:

The motifs selected for Artek’s furniture comprise decorative and masterfully drawn Moomin characters from Tove Jansson’s output from the 1950s. There are several stages and styles in the artistic trajectory of Jansson’s Moomin figures, ranging from detailed and precise miniatures to expressive and stylised images. Comic strips and illustrated books were a genre apart, characterised by a highly developed visual style. Jansson’s beautiful line work and the sympathetic Moomin characters are a beautiful complement to the clear lines of Aalto’s furniture, while imparting a new feel to it.

The whole press release is great, especially the character descriptions. Snufkin was inspired by Atos Wirtanen, “a left-wing intellectual and an active member of the Finnish parliament in the 1940s.” I had a lizard named Snufkin when I was a kid, and he always struck me as being pretty progressive.

So you take a stool designed 80 years ago, add some 60-year-old drawings, and you get something that looks totally fresh and new and still modern in 2013. Isn’t that great? This is exactly why I care about good design — not to mention why the best children’s books are the ones you still want to read when you’re a grown-up. Good stuff is always going to be good stuff. (Well, maybe not asbestos. But you get what I’m saying.) I want them all!

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Mary Meyer clothing

I’ve been on a perpetual hunt for summer-appropriate clothing for my entire adult life. I am forever the one wearing a cardigan, jeans and boots in 90° weather. I don’t have seasonal wardrobe changes — my only concessions to outdoor temperature are sandals in summer and heavier scarves in winter. I own “summer scarves.” I don’t like to show much skin, and I just don’t think I’m ever going to feel like myself in a dress or skirt (and believe me, I have tried). Wearing a regular t-shirt without anything over it is WAY too risqué for me. So. Many. Issues. I embrace them. Why fight your anxieties?

Enter Mary Meyer clothing, handmade in Brooklyn! I love, love, LOVE Mary’s stuff. So far I’ve only bought one dress, but her summer 2013 collection is so fantastic that I’m going to have to pick out a couple of things to add to my (tiny) wardrobe. I’m having a hard time narrowing down my wishlist, but my top contenders are the Beach Biggie, this Cap Dress and Sahara Pants (probably the closest I’ll ever get to wearing shorts). The dresses are actually the length I like my shirts to be, so I can pair them with skinny jeans and ankle boots, oxfords or sandals and feel totally comfortable. In the fall and winter, I can just put a cardigan on top! See? There’s no such thing as seasonal clothing in my world. Layers ahoy!

p.s. Yes, there are Mary Meyer clothes for boys, too! I’ll sneak a tee shirt for Evan into my order, too. I have a feeling he’d like this Black Ascent one.

Anna + Mary Meyer dress

And on a more personal (and highly tangential) note…

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, the only thing I could think about was that the Supreme Court was going to be ruling on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure. It’s no secret where I stand politically, socially and ethically when it comes to equal rights, and I wanted to dress for the occasion — one I hoped would be a celebration. And so, this Mary Meyer dress covered with pink triangles was IT! (This particular print isn’t available anymore, but it’s the “Biggie” style for fit reference.)

Kind of a funny segue from a post about clothing, I suppose, but that’s alright. Whatever gets you there.

It’s been two years since I wrote this post about the New York Senate legalizing gay marriage in my state, and it feels SO good to know that my friends in California are now afforded the same rights. The death of DOMA has set the stage for the remaining 31 37 states in the US to follow us down a path of greater humanity. Let’s do this.

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Thanks to a retweet from Kate, I just discovered the beautiful home goods store Cotton & Flax. Run out of Los Angeles by artist/textile designer Erin Dollar, Cotton & Flax has a product line that is pretty much demanding to climb into a box and fly across the country to my house. I just spent about half an hour clicking through the shop, and I think I may have marked every single item as a favorite.

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Clockwise from top left:
 ♡ Black Diamonds Tea Towel
 ♡ Confetti-Patterned Wool Felt Coasters
 ♡ White Plus Tea Towel
 ♡ Linen Brushstrokes Pillow

Erin also writes a Cotton & Flax blog, where she shares some of her own favorite handmade goods, as well as behind-the-scenes peeks at her studio. PLUS!! She also shares freebies for download, like these insanely cute patterned iPhone wallpapers. I don’t know about you, but I like to try to match my phone to my tea towels.

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EEEEEE! Postcards!! I used to send postcards out all the time because they’re so low-hassle: Cheap stamp, no envelope, small space = fast writing, not to mention the fact that anyone can and will read the back keeps me from saying anything too dumb. I don’t know why I stopped, but I need to order a couple of packs — because who doesn’t like to get a little real mail every now and then? Especially if it’s neon pink.

All photos © Cotton & Flax

HELLO THERE! I just got back from a trip to San Francisco (more about that in my next post!), and while I was there, I became weirdly self-conscious about how my makeup was stored. Even though I don’t do a lot of long-distance traveling, I am constantly making trips back and forth between our house in Newburgh and our apartment in Brooklyn. I guess it would make sense to buy two of everything and not have to take anything with me, but realistically that’s not going to happen — cosmetics are expensive, and I’m super-fickle about which products I like to use on a daily basis…not to mention the life-span of products once they’ve been opened. Two coffee makers? Yes. Two tubes of $32 mascara? Not so much. As a result, I wind up throwing everything in various drawers and boxes when I’m at the apartment, and living out of Ziploc freezer bags when I’m traveling or at the house. Not cute. And much as I like the idea of keeping all of my stuff in clear lucite boxes like Nubby Twiglet, I know I’m just not tidy enough to keep everything looking pristine all the time. (Also, not everything I like to use comes in pretty packaging. Alas.)

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Nomess Copenhagen / Balsabox Personal
Earlier today I came across this cool neon pink and balsa wood storage box by the Danish company Nomess Copenhagen, and it immediately went on my wishlist. It’s actually made up of three boxes, two of which nest inside the largest one. The lid lifts off completely and becomes a standing mirror! Such a great design. It’s not good for traveling, but it’s simple enough to toss stuff in without having to worry about fitting everything into tiny, specialized compartments (I’ve never been able to make those fancy professional train cases work for me). I still need to measure to see if it can fit on the shelves in my bathroom, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be perfect.

Coriumi pouch

Coriumi / Geometric Pattern Pouch
I own another, smaller pouch from the Lithuanian brand Coriumi, and I keep it in my bag at all times to hold tissues, sunglasses, a comb, band-aids and all of the other stuff that would otherwise be floating around loose and getting lost/dirty. It’s really nicely made. I’d like to add this one to my collection to stash all of my makeup when I’m in transit. It’s big enough to hold everything I need without being stuffed to the gills — it’s basically the size of a big Ziploc. Aaaaaaand it doubles as a very pretty fold-over clutch! I usually transport my makeup brushes by rolling them up in a paper towel, which would be easy to nestle at the bottom of the pouch.

IKEA Pallra box

IKEA / Pallra Box + Pokal Tumbler
IKEA has been nailing it lately with their small storage boxes (let us not forget the best box) and this happy yellow round guy is no exception. I haven’t seen the Pallra box in person yet so I’m not sure if the levels are fully separate or if there’s a swivel-hinge on one side (update: no hinges!), but I like that it’s not just one big open space. It’s only $10 and the yellow covering is paper fabric, so it really lends itself to being decorated (I’m picturing potato-stamped white triangles). Round boxes aren’t great for storing brushes, but how cute would that yellow box look paired with this pale pink stoneware cup? Yup.

Speaking of makeup storage and that kind of stuff, someone asked me how I care for my brushes. Nothing to it, really! Once a week or so, I wash them in tepid water and Dr. Bronner’s mild/baby liquid castile soap. I press out most of the water with a dry washcloth, then leave them flat to dry completely overnight — near an open window if possible. I’ve had some of my brushes for more than a decade now, so it must be working out!

OK, now tell me how you store your makeup so I can feel inadequate and disorganized.

Summerland giveaway

I’m sure I’m not speaking just for myself here when I ask why spring has been sooooo sloooooow to start this year! A couple of days ago I was bundled up in a winter coat in near-freezing temperatures, and today the thermometer is hovering just below 80°F. New York City is gorgeous in the springtime, but it never lasts long enough — before you know it, we’ll all be complaining about how hot it is.

In celebration of these precious few weeks of beautiful weather, though, I thought it might be nice to do a giveaway from one of my favorite Portland-based boutiques — and one of D16’s earliest sponsors! — Summerland. One lucky person will win a $100 gift certificate to spend on anything in the shop!

Here’s how to enter:
Visit Summerland and pick out a few of your favorite things.
Leave a comment here letting me know what they are!

Here’s how to get two extra entries:
Like Summerland and Door Sixteen on Facebook.*
Follow Summerland and Door Sixteen on Instagram.*

* If you already liked/followed either of us, that’s fine. Just let me know in your comment so I can count your extra entries!

The deadline for entries is April 16th at 11:00 PM, EST. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. I’ll announce the winner here and on Twitter tomorrow. The winner will also be notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

UPDATE: The winner of the Summerland giveaway is Shawnna! Congratulations, Shawnna.

Small print: This giveaway is open to international entries, but Summerland is not responsible for customs fees and duties if they should occur.

Bonus discount!
Summerland is offering a 10% discount for ALL Door Sixteen readers between now and the end of the giveaway (April 16th at 11:00 PM, EST). Use the code DOORSIXTEEN at checkout!

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My favorites! Clockwise-ish, from top left:
Mila dress, Eskell / Number One sunglasses in Vanilla Wood, Karen Walker / Dark Wave fragrance oil, OLO (I wear this every day!) / Girls Just Wanna Have Fun nail polish, Deborah Lippmamm / Blixen boots, Wolverine x Samantha Pleet / “Everyday Is Like Sunday” banner, Banter Banner / Pink Cross bow tie, Twenty-Seven Names / Rose + Vanilla tinted lip blush, Fig + Yarrow

D16 in Lonny

The new issue of Lonny magazine is out today, and guess what? I’m in it! I was invited to share some of my favorite things with Lonny readers in their ‘Blogger Style’ column. It was so much fun to put together this little collection.

You can read the entire April 2013 issue of Lonny online, including my feature — I’m on pages 34–35.

Huge thank yous to my friend Ilenia Martini for taking a photo of me that doesn’t involve a bathroom mirror or an iPhone.