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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.)

Nomess Copenhagen Balsabox

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.

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Photo by Weekday Carnival

I’ve been a fan of twinkly strings of lights for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, strings of Christmas lights stayed up in my bedroom all year long, and these days Patrick Townsend’s String Light sits waiting for me to find the right spot for it (I will, I will). I love the ambiance they add to a room — maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia for the feeling of holidays when I was a child, I don’t know.

Lately I’ve been really coveted a strand of Glödlampsslinga lights from the Swedish company Granit. They don’t ship to the US and as far as I know there’s no distributor for them here, so I’m relegated to admiring them from afar for now. If I ever get my act together and make a trip to Sweden (a.k.a. “the motherland” — I haven’t been there since I was 8 years old!), that’s at the very top of my shopping list. I have a couple of cheap-o sets of outdoor globe string lights in my garden, but they just don’t have the nice heft and presence of these black rubber-corded ones. Someday!

In the mean time, here are a bunch of the photos I’ve been saving of Granit’s Glödlampsslinga in other people’s homes. I hope you like them, too.

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Photos by (1) Regines kreativiteter, (2) Hannah’s Room for Plaza Interiör, (3) Elv’s blog, (4) Dusty Deco

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Photo by Frida Ramstedt for Trendenser

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Photos by (1) & (2) Mokkasin, (3) Fredrik Karlsson with styling by Sarah Widman, (4) A Merry Mishap

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Photo by Deborah from Ollie & Seb’s Haus for A Merry Mishap

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Photo of designer/stylist Susanna Vento’s home by Petra Bindel for Dwell (see more of Susanna’s home at Varpunen!)

You want a strand now too, am I right? Well, if you’re in Sweden (or have a nice friend there who likes to send you things!), you’re in luck! For those of us in the US, though, here are some other options…

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1. Glodlampsslinga, Granit / 449 kr
2. String Lights, onefortythree / $125 (coming soon)
3. Vintage Metro String Lights, Brookstone / $94.99
4. Vintage Light String, Restoration Hardware / $152 (on sale)

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Normann Copenhagen has been making Dropit hooks in black (and a bunch of other colors!) for several years now, but they’ve just introduced them with a natural finish. I really, really don’t need any more things in hang stuff on, but that’s not stopping me from wishing I could cover a whole wall with these happy wooden raindrops!

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The sizes of the vases in the Agnes line range from a wee 6cm to a lanky 32cm (and everything in between). I’d love have the whole set arranged on the mantel in our master bedroom. Hmmm…I’m seeing a trend here where one or two items isn’t enough and instead I need to have everything…

Question: Do you see this vases as white with black creeping down from the top, or as black with white climbing up from the bottom?

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Oh, STOP. Obviously putting the Plus duvet and sham with my Pia Wallén cross blanket would totally be overkill and not in a good way, but still…I covet. I wonder if it could work in the bedroom at the house? I’m fine loving it from a distance, too.

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Okay, I’ll be honest. I like the original Tablo tables with the wooden legs better than the new all-black and all-white ones, but this is a post about new things, and the old ones aren’t new. That said, if someone wanted to give me one of the solid color ones, I wouldn’t turn it down! Of course, if you’re going to give me a table, you might as well make it the one I really want…in which case, I’ll take the large black one with the wood legs. Thanks!!! It’s going to look so good in my living room.

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Bright green and black vintage wool blanket from Hindsvik

With any luck we’ll be heading out of wool blanket territory soon (28°F in the third week of March? Ugh!), but you know me and blankets. I really love the intense green of this vintage striped one from Hindsvik. Bright green looks so great with pale wood and black/white interiors!

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snug.abc poster from Snug Studio

The shapes that make up the alphabet in this poster from Snug Studio are based on the shape of classic building blocks—like the ones I’m playing with in this photo! The next time I know someone who’s having a kid, this is what they’re getting from me.

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Plus Sign vinyl wall decals from UrbanWalls

I don’t really think of myself as being a wall decal person, but these guys from UrbanWalls are really appealing to me. They come in a whole bunch of color options, including GOLD! Can you imagine a bathroom covered in gold crosses on black walls? Swanky!! Or pale gray walls with white crosses? So pretty.

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✚ Hand printed Mountain leggings and Mountain pillow

I couldn’t choose between the leggings and the pillow, so I went with both. To be honest, though, I kind of want everything in the Thief & Bandit shop. (p.s. They have another shop full of amazing kids’ stuff, too!)

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Festoon ceiling light set from Raw Dezign

This is such a simple idea, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done before. This string of ceiling-mounted lights from Raw Dezign comes with hooks for hanging and a choice of 13 different colors of braided cloth cord. You can contact them directly if you’re interested in a different length, too.

What’s on your Etsy wishlist right now?