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Something happened with the light this weekend. Despite the three feet of snow still piled up along the side streets in the City of Newburgh, it suddenly feels like spring is coming. The weather was beautiful yesterday, and the daylight pouring into the second floor of our house made want to do nothing but wander from room to room.

I don’t really take many pictures of the house anymore unless I’m working on a specific project, but after eight years, those projects are fewer and farther between—especially since the remaining ones are expensive and daunting, but not necessarily interesting to look at (like replacing our exterior window casings or buying a new boiler…snore + $$$ = no fun). I still love my house, though, and it still makes me happy to share it. So maybe it’s OK to just take some pictures without them being about a renovation project!

Here’s a walk through the oft-neglected second floor of the house, taken while admiring the almost-spring light.

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My fiddle-leaf fig tree is still alive! Miracles. The print is from Fieldguided—I bought it ages ago but just got around to framing it last month.

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Ah, it’s the rarely-seen east wall of the bedroom! I’m still unsure about the Heywood-Wakefield dresser. HAH. I’ve been thinking about either painting it (don’t bother with the hate mail, H-W protectionists, I already know) or getting rid of it since pretty much the day I bought it, but it’s kind of grown on me? I don’t know. It’s not hurting anyone, so it can stay for now. I promise not to paint it. Really. It is an amazingly well-built piece of furniture, I’ll say that much.

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I love you, Tom Dixon Offcut Bench. This is one of the best things I’ve ever bought. It really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated—the fluorescent orange is nearly blinding. I got a good deal on it because it was a floor model and it’s a little banged-up.

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The guest bedroom gets such nice light. It’s in the middle of the house, directly above the dining room. It’s a little shadowy, but the sun that comes in the huge window is beautifully filtered. It’s such a nice place to be. I wish we had more guests. (Sadface.)

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Frames. Everywhere. Always. I’ve been making a big effort lately to get artwork I’ve collected over the years out of storage and into frames, and, hopefully, onto the wall. It never ends! One of these days I need to sit down and make a master list of frame sizes, what I want matted, and what I can frame myself versus having to send to a shop. It’s overwhelming.

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And finally, the studio. I never get tired of this white floor—it’s the best room. It looks bright and clean even at midnight, and even when there are guitars and amps and cables all over the place. Yes, that section of molding is still missing. And yes, that’s OK—it’s good enough.

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I swear I’m getting closer to having my second Stockholm post finished up (I edited my photos down from 2000+ to 66! Progress!), but in the mean time, here are some really stupid boots I bought! OK, they’re actually not stupid at all, but since I can hear the creak of eyeballs rolling out of their sockets right now, I might as well acknowledge that they do appear to be the footwear choice of complete idiots.

If you (a) live in New York, (b) following someone who lives in New York on any form of social media, or (c) live in the US and own a computer or a television, then you are probably aware that we’ve had a whole lot of snowstorms here this winter. None of them have been devastatingly huge individually, but the sum total has been…well, it’s been exhausting, even for an avowed snow-lover like myself. Sanitation trucks can’t fit down the streets with alternate side parking suspended, so there are trash bags frozen to the sidewalk layered with snow and ice and more trash bags and snow with cigarettes and coffee cups on top (for garnish). Trash bag parfaits, if you will. It’s disgusting. It’s also tough to navigate the massive slush puddles* at every corner and the ice-encrusted streets, especially with wind and snow whipping at your cheeks and eyes.

*Bill Cunningham’s photo essay of men attempting to jump slush puddles is fantastic.

Anyway, yesterday it hit 51°F, and all of these giant hills of snow started melting with a vengeance, creating rivers of salt-brine and filth. And you know what? I was PREPARED. I was prepared because last weekend, in a fit of madness after discovering that my decade-old, much-loved brown Frye boots were apparently starting to dissolve from constant exposure to salt and snow, I ordered a pair of rain boots. Super-ridiculous high-heeled rain boots, mind you—Sorel Medina Rain Heels, to be precise. Short review: They are AWESOME.

I have a pair of serious snow boots that I wear when I’m upstate, but wearing them in the city is kind of silly. They’re overkill, and I wind up avoiding wearing them because my feet get hot and I don’t feel like dealing with changing in and out of them at the office (and carrying shoes with me, etc.). I don’t find regular rain boots comfortable enough to walk in for long distances, and again, I don’t really want to sit around in them at work all day long. Basically, if I can’t wear a pair of shoes from the time I leave my apartment to when I come home at night, they’re just going to sit in the closet.

The difference with these Sorel boots is they look like regular footwear, yet are totally waterproof (aside from the gusset, they’re completely rubber—even the heel is rubber-wrapped) and have excellent traction on the soles. I walked across patches of ice, went down slushy subway stairs, and stepped in deep puddles, and my feet and ankles felt steady and stable the whole time. No sliding, no slipping. (Funnily enough, the only time I had an issue was in my office, where the rubber soles skidded on the flat carpet and I almost tripped.) Because the shoe has a hidden platform, the heel height doesn’t actually feel very high—it’s comparable to walking around in my favorite boots in the whole world.* I’ve only walked about two sidewalk miles in them so far, but I don’t doubt that I could spend a whole day on my feet in them, just like I can in my Leslies.

*For some horrible reason, Frye has discontinued the Leslie Zip Booties! Tragic. They are the best boots. You can still get them on sale in a few sizes on Amazon, though. Sigh.

I have no doubt that these guys are going to become my go-to footwear every time it’s wet outside, regardless of the season. We get a lot of rain in New York, and I’ve gotta stop killing my leather boots—which I expect to have and wear for decades—by constantly subjecting them weather conditions they’re not designed for. High-heeled rubber rain boots, welcome to my world. Let the people laugh at us, I don’t care. I hope to get many years of use out of you!

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YAY, I’m finally writing my first Stockholm post! I got back from my trip a week ago, but I’ve been scrambling to recuperate/catch up since then. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen a bunch of snapshots, but holy mackerel (holy lutfisk?)…I took a lot of photos with my camera-camera. I kind of don’t even know where to start.

WHAT A TRIP. I left for Stockholm the evening of Saturday the 1st, lost an entire night of sleep to the 6-hour time change and the 9 hours of traveling, then arrived at noon-ish local time on Sunday. I can’t sleep on planes no matter how hard I try or don’t try, so I was a mess by the time I got to the hotel. I pulled myself together and met up with my aunt and cousin (who was at work 5 minutes from my hotel) for lunch, though, which was really fun! I’d never spent time with my aunt apart from my mother before, and in her absence I felt very moved by how similar they are. They may live thousands of miles apart, but they are sisters to the bone—and I love knowing that there’s another person in the world who reminds me of my mother. (I feel more than a little choked up writing this…)

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From there I met up with Emma, who very kindly took me around to some of her favorite shops in the area despite the icy rain that was falling. Unfortunately a lot of stores are closed on Sunday (or because it gets dark at 4:00 in the afternoon!), so we were a bit limited, but I still managed to take in some of the city and squeeze in fika time at Snickarbacken 7. Mostly it was just so nice to spend time with Emma! We’ve known each other through blogging for years now, but we’d never met in person before. I felt instantly comfortable being with her.

Side note: I love saying “snickarbacken.” Google translate tells me it means “carpenter hill,” but I prefer to imagine it having something to do with peanuts and caramel and maybe a graham cracker crust.

I stayed at the incredibly fancy Nobis Hotel (more on that later), which is in what travelers call an “ideal” location, but it’s really a very touristy/business-y part of the city. I still don’t really have a great sense of Stockholm geography, but I’ve learned that next time I probably want to stay in Södermalm, which I repeatedly heard referred to as “the Brooklyn of Stockholm” and “the Williamsburg of Stockholm.” As a transplanted Brooklynite, I understand what that means (nope, I’m not going to use the H-word)…so, noted!

Anyway, despite being a bit restricted by location, Emma and I had an amazing dinner out at Riche. Their menu is decidedly un-vegan, but the chef was MORE than happy (I’d say he was excited, even) to prepare a special vegan meal on the fly for me. I don’t even remember everything that was on my plate because I was so tired and I wasn’t thinking about foodstagrams, but I do know that there was a vegan risotto, a fennel salad and something with hazelnuts. Whatever it all was, it was DELICIOUS. Such a nice place to sit and talk, too.

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Even though my photos of it aren’t great, I need to mention the Nobis Hotel, who put me up for the three nights I was in Stockholm. The Nobis is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in (though to be fair, it’s competing mostly with fleabag roadside joints—I don’t have much fancy hotel experience). It’s located in a former bank—a very famous bank, in fact—the one where the Norrmalmstorg robbery took place in 1973, and where the term “Stockholm syndrome” comes from. It’s a gorgeous building, with its protected late-1800s interior layout and architecture preserved yet made contemporary by the Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune in 2010. The picture above is of the ceiling over the atrium that houses a lounge area.

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Orla Kiely toiletries, Scandinavian design everywhere, and a collection of great lamps from all over the world in the lobby. I wish I’d taken more photos, but I didn’t have much time at the Nobis during daylight hours. Here’s a really nice collection of both the common areas and the rooms, if you’re interested to see more. So. Damn. Fancy. (Also, the mattress and pillows? They’re making me rethink my entire approach to sleeping at home, where my bed now feels like a pile of rocks in comparison.)

After that first afternoon in Stockholm, I basically had NO free time whatsoever to do anything on my own. There were media events (and the Furniture Fair, of course) scheduled from early morning until late at night, so no time to go to shops or museums or restaurants that weren’t part of the Design Week tour. So Monday and Tuesday were jam-packed, and then I left for New York very early Wednesday morning. Talk about a whirlwind! My sleep schedule was completely crushed, and I brought home a nasty cold and a whole lot of exhaustion with me. It was a amazing trip, yes, but I really wish I could have added on a couple of extra days just to be able to breathe a little and get out to explore Stockholm. Next time.

I have SO MUCH MORE to talk about and share from my trip, but it’s too much for one post—I think it might be more like a dozen posts! Next up, lots of studio visits. For now, I leave you with a collection of Instagrams from Stocklhom…a little taste of what’s to come.

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Home of Joanna Laajisto / Photo by Mikko Ryhänen for Residence Magazine (via Emmas Designblogg)

Once or twice a year, I get really serious about thinking about getting serious about painting all of the orange wood floors upstairs in our house white. I’ve been doing this at least since June 2008, which is…a while ago. Yes, the studio at the back of the house is long done, but what about the rest of the second floor? Guys, I feel like this spring is when it’s going to happen. We’ve been trying very hard this winter to give away a lot of extra furniture and rugs and stuff, and I really want to pull everything together and make the bedrooms (ours and the guest room—and yeah, I still want to put up that Half Moon wallpaper!) really nice and bright and fresh. All of our energy has been focused on the downstairs for so long!

Once you start thinking about white floors, of course, you can’t stop—so here’s a little round-up of some of my recent favorites. (If you can’t get enough of white floors, here are lots more.)

And yes, the floor in that top photo is actually a pale gray, but I make my own rules.

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Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I can’t enough of those Granit string lights! The Granit shop in Stockholm is on my list for next week, and I really hope I have time to visit.

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Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want a rug in the kitchen, but yeah, this confirms it—I want a rug in the kitchen. Commence years-long hunt for the perfect antique rug…

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House Doctor rug from Inreda Utreda, photo by Daniella Witte

Or wait, maybe I want THAT RUG. That’s a really nice rug.

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Photo from Varpunen

Ahhh, the definition of peaceful! I love the EYE EYE poster from Fine Little Day, and the light reminds me of the one I’ve been coveting from Schoolhouse Electric. Such a perfect spot.

So, shall we meet here again next year when I start talking about how I’m finally going to get serious about painting my floors, or should I wait until the 10th anniversary of owning the house? That’s not too far away!

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Photo by Sam Falk/The New York Times

And a hero has gone. May we all try to live with even a fraction of the dignity, compassion, spirit and mindfulness that he did, and may we all carry his music in our hearts along the way. Goodnight, Pete.

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

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My father gave me this record when I was about 3 or 4 years old, and some of my earliest memories are of listening to it on the stereo in his studio—and, of course, singing along. When I was a little older, maybe 6, we listened more to Pete’s political songs like “Little Boxes” and “What Did You Learn in School Today,” and Dad explained to me what the words were all about. I learned what activism is. Big lessons for a little kid, but Pete (and Dad) made a huge impact on me and started to shape my social, political and ethical beliefs at a very early age. We’d go to see him play down by the Hudson River at the annual Clearwater Festivals, and later on, when Evan and I moved to Beacon, Pete became our neighbor. I’d see him at the train station all the time, and he kept on playing at local benefits in Beacon and Newburgh well into his 90s. The last time I saw him play was a few years ago in front of a small group of captivated children on the dock of the Hudson River, surrounded by the mountains and with his beloved Toshi nearby. I’ll miss you, Pete. Sorry to see you go.

If you have memories of Pete Seeger, whether from growing up in the Hudson Valley or from being a part of the political folk movement yourself or just from listening to his records, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to share.

“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.”
Pete Seeger, speaking before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1955)

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Poster designed by Marcus Eriksson

I’m not usually a fan of being surprised, but sometimes crazy, unexpected GOOD things happen. This is one of those times, and even though part of me is sure there’s been a mistake, I’m letting myself be CRAZY excited.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email totally out of the blue from the Consulate General of Sweden. That in and of itself was pretty exciting (I figured it was maybe an invitation to an event in NYC), but then I read the whole email…and IT WAS AN INVITATION TO SWEDEN. Specifically, it was an invitation to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February! YAY!!

And, like, everything is paid for. The flight, the hotel, the food…seriously? For me? Yeah, seriously. What is this craziness?! I guess this is a totally normal thing for other people, but not in my world. You might as well have told me I’d won the lottery. (OK, maybe not Mega Millions, but a really good scratch-off.) How did this happen? I have NO idea, but it did, am I’m going. To Stockholm! My motherland! To look at tons of innovative and beautiful new furniture and lighting! And take pictures and talk to people! In Sweden! Me! Anna!

Once I convinced myself the email was real, I started thinking about how remarkable it is that the Swedish Consulate has a program in place to promote Swedish culture in the United States, and that part of that program includes covering the cost of transporting New Yorkers to Stockholm to learn about Swedish design. I guess I don’t know for sure, but something tells me there aren’t US Consulates bringing people from Europe to the US to cover American design. Are there?

The Stockholm Furniture Fair has been on my radar for as long as I’ve been reading Emmas Designblogg and admiring all of the photos she takes when she attends every year, but I never imagined I’d get to go. I am really looking forward to seeing as many booths as I can (the list of exhibitors is bananas, so I need to strategize…and get comfortable using Evan’s old iPad), taking loads of photos, writing up a ton of notes, and meeting lots of people. I’ll blog about the entire experience and all of my favorite discoveries, of course!!

I’m only going to be in Stockholm for a few days, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a little time to visit with my aunt and uncle while I’m there. I haven’t seen them since they were in New York several years ago—the last (and only) time I visited Sweden was when I was 10 years old! Even though that was 28 years ago, I still remember so much about the trip and about Stockholm. The only thing that could make this better would be if my mother were able to come along, but maybe next time.

What a great opportunity this is! I feel very, very lucky.

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IKEA’s 2013 limited edition collection, TRENDIG, is just now becoming available in the US, but we have another one to look forward to* soon: BRÅKIG. And ohhhh, it’s good. Lots of pale wood and bright colors and geometric patterns.

*UPDATE: Actually, if you’re in North America, you have nothing to look forward to, because BRÅKIG will not be sold here. Heavy sigh…

Designed by Danish art collective ArtRebels, BRÅKIG includes modified versions of existing IKEA pieces (the FROSTA stool and my favorite LERBERG trestles—that’s them above, re-imagined in COPPER [!!!] with a thin plywood top), as well as entirely new works.

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I’m in love with that wood rack/stand thingy, right down to the copper hooks. I have absolutely no idea what I’d use it for, but I feel like I need it in my life anyway. If I had a need to hang 20 dish towels and some mugs in one spot, I’d be all over it. (OK, I’m sure there’s an obvious, practical use for it that’s just not occurring to me. Blankets? But then what are the hooks for?) Anyway, it’s pretty. Those ice cream-colored FROSTA stools are pretty, too, though I think I’d only want the pink one. (Remember my FROSTA makeover? The FROSTA has been discontinued here for so long.)

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Cups! Saucers! Trays! A whole line of textiles! These triangle patterns remind me of IKEA’s own 2008 textile collections (I still have mine squirreled away), Eugen Trost’s Zebra ceramics, and of course Sven Markelius’s classic Ljungbergs Pythagoras pattern—not to mention more recent designs by House of Rym and Ferm Living. These elongated triangles have become a staple of Scandinavian design over the past half century, and I love seeing the theme continue through so many new designers’ works.

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The multicolored knobs on the BRÅKIG dresser are great. I’m surprised by how much I like this, though I can’t imagine having it in my house. Maybe it’s because the knobs remind me of the SNODD cabinet knobs I used in my old, old apartment kitchen—they were really nice, so of course IKEA discontinued them immediately. I hope whoever lives in that apartment now appreciates them.

And THE CHAIR! It comes in a couple of pastel shades, too, but I think the unpainted (birch?) version is nicest. I like that the back is cut from a single piece of wood. I kind of want to paint black “socks” on it, though, just to break up all the wood a little.

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These art prints aren’t available from IKEA, but I thought it would be fun to include them anyway. ArtRebels have put together a whole selection of artwork inspired by the BRÅKIG collection, and yes, they ship to the US. My favorites (clockwise) are these by Camillia Konradsen, Sara Gade, Kristina Green Bonne, and WAAITT. Hooray for discovering new artists and designers!

You can read more about the BRÅKIG collection and see pictures of some of the other stuff in the line on ArtRebel’s blog. The full collection contains 36 pieces, so there’s a lot more to come! IKEA doesn’t have anything on their site yet, but the products are due to roll out in Europe beginning in February. No word yet on when we’ll see BRÅKIG in the US, but hopefully soon—there are a few pieces I know I’m going to want to bring home with me. UPDATE: Unfortunately, the BRÅKIG collection will not be sold in North America.

And here’s the BRÅKIG line as it progressed, as presented in a fun video by ArtRebels

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For the past six months (and by “six months” I mean my entire life) I’ve carried this looming sense of having forgotten to do something really important, but being incapable of remembering what it is because I’m so overwhelmed by all of the things I either procrastinated doing or discovered I had to take care of at the last minute. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’s one that’s come to define how I (mal)function on a day-to-day basis. Everything is always about catching up. I never feel on top of things. I am always certain I’m disappointing at least one or two or a dozen people, including myself. Any time I feel like I might be getting close to making progress, something happens—usually I get sick (like yesterday, which was spent lying on the sofa curled up with a box of Kleenex and a couple of dogs), but sometimes my website gets hacked or the furnace breaks. You know, normal things that happen to people. When you’re already struggling to keep up with the rest of your life, though, those little roadblocks start to feel uncrossable.

That’s when the recurring dreams start. I have a few that keep coming back to haunt me, but the one that I associate the most with stress is what I call “Forgotten Animals.” In this dream, there is either a small room or a basement or some neglected space in my house that I enter after a long absence, only to discover that it’s filled with animals (usually mice or rats, but sometimes ferrets—all pets I’ve had in large numbers in the past) in cages that are dead, dying, or living in filth and suffering. They are pets I’ve forgotten about that had bred out of control but have no food or water source. I immediately struggle to get their cages clean and hydrate and feed them, but I can’t move quickly enough. It’s a terrible dream, and it’s one that I have at least two or three times a year. It’s not hard to figure out what it means, and I try to take it as a warning.

Well, THAT was a fun therapy session! Anyway, yeah, I need to heed the dream warning. I need to figure out how to get myself organized so I can deal with the simple stuff and not get overwhelmed by the big stuff. There’s no reason to be in a constant state of chaos. I’m not really into resolutions, but I guess I’m kind of making one.

I don’t want to end on a low note, so here are some nice things from this weekend…

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Top to bottom, left to right:

VIVA HATE banner on my living room mantel by Going Steady Shop.
Next up on my reading list, Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure. Have you seen the trailer?
My new jade plant has passed the three week mark, which might be a record. I’m determined to not kill it.
I’ve been OBSESSED with Patrick Townsend’s Orbit Chandelier for years. This was a very, very nice thank you gift from Victoria, and it’s going up in my living room just as soon as I figure out how to deal with the old, non-standard electrical box in the ceiling medallion that thwarted my efforts this weekend. (Sigh.)
Daniel and Max came down for lunch this weekend. I made fancy grilled cheeze sammiches and we watched Flowers in the Attic. Perfect Sunday?
Nothing really, just admiring the tiles in the living room fireplace. So nice.
Fritz had his 6th birthday yesterday! Remember when he was brand new? (Warning: SO CUTE IT HURTS.)

I’m not sure I ever really noticed it until I started designing stuff for my own shop (which is turning out to be surprisingly pink-heavy), but I really do have a thing for pink. Not only screaming-hot neon pink, but a much softer, paler, gentler pink — shell pink, pale corals…blush, if you will. I think my obsession probably started when I was working on the design for sfgirlbybay, when I realized how great pale pinks look alongside black, white, marble and wood — my favorite tones and textures.

To be honest, this wishlist I’ve put together here probably could have been 15x longer. Once I started going through my Etsy Page and my Dropmarks and all of the miscellaneous junk all over my desktop, I found a whole lot of pink. I managed to narrow it down, though, and these are my favorites! I might still need to do a part two…

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1. Two Circles print, K IS FOR BLACK
2. Ornament Pastel Wooden Blocks, Sketch.inc
3. Short Stacked Candlestick, Kate Spade Saturday
4. Origami Paper Lamp Shade, Re-Born
5. Alfabet Poster, Leise Dich Abrahamsen
6. Pink Clay Facial Mask, Herbivore Botanicals
7. I AM HUMAN AND I NEED MONEY JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES print, Wasted Rita

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1. Mayor Sofa, &tradition
2. Nerd Chair, Muuto
3. Ink’d Pink, Sketch.inc
4. TS Berfa ampersand poster, Robert Wilson/Typespec
5. Wide-Rim Bowls, Kate Spade Saturday
6. Teepee Quilted Pillow, Ferm Living
7. Block Table, Normann Copenhagen
8. Wire Basket, Ferm Living

Back in November, I wrote an update about my skin and what I’ve been doing to it. I mentioned that I’d had some some concerns about whether my much-beloved Clarisonic could possibly be harboring bacteria even though I’m super-diligent about keeping the brush head clean (and changing it regularly), but it turned out my skin issues were apparently more likely a result of needing a change in prescription medications.

The Swedish company Foreo contacted me shortly after I wrote that post, asking if I’d be interested in trying their facial-cleansing device, the Luna. I agreed to try it out and write a review, which meant setting aside my Clarisonic for about two weeks so I could fairly compare the two and decide which I prefer.

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A few basics about each device…

Clarisonic Mia
✚ Retail price $125 (usually 20% off at SkinStore)
✚ Single speed (other Clarisonic devices have variable speeds)
✚ 1-minute cleansing cycle
✚ Must change brush head every 2–3 months (~$20 each)
✚ Must disassemble device in order to clean thoroughly and prevent bacteria growth
✚ Must charge device 2–3 times monthly

Foreo Luna
✚ Retail price $200
✚ Variable speeds
✚ Anti-aging facial massage mode
✚ 1-minute cleansing cycle
✚ No brush head to change
✚ Easy to clean; silicone does not harbor bacteria
✚ Single charge lasts for up to 450 uses (!)

On the surface, the Luna sounds like it would be the obvious winner between the two, right? That’s what I thought, and I was really excited to try it out. Reviews for the Luna on other blogs seem to be universally positive. I felt pretty certain that I was going to LOVE the Luna and be a total convert, and I was looking forward to never having to buy another disposable brush head again.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really happen that way. The first thing I noticed is that the Luna is uncomfortable to hold. The Clarisonic is ergonomically-designed and its contours fit in my hand easily, but the Luna is more like a disc. I felt like I was going to drop it, and even after two weeks of use I couldn’t figure out how to grasp it comfortably for a full minute. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me, though. What is a real issue is that the lack of ergonomics extended to the way the “bristles” (silicone nubs, really) made with my face. I had a really hard time maneuvering the Luna over the less-cushy parts of my face, like across my forehead and around my nose. I’ve always really liked the feeling of cleaning my face with my Clarisonic, but I found myself dreading using the Luna.

I would have put up with the discomfort if using the Luna made a positive change in the appearance of my skin, but sadly that was also not to be. Even on the lowest speed, the Luna seemed to be much harder on my skin than the Clarisonic. I don’t know if that’s a result of the ergonomic problems, but my face always looked red and irritated after use. After about five days of use, my skin became terribly dry. By the end of the first week, I was breaking out around the sides of my nose, which is exactly the area I was having trouble cleaning the most — and that’s not a part of my face where I typically have breakouts.

But still, I continued. I know as well as anyone that skin condition is not static, and I wanted to make sure that the negative changes weren’t the result of cold air or hormones or stress or dry heat in my house or whatever. There was no improvement into the second week, and on day 13 I officially put down the Luna and went back to my Clarisonic.

My skin pretty much immediately improved after going back to the Clarisonic. I think the difference really does come down to ergonomics more than anything — because the Clarisonic is so easy to hold and because the bristles easily accommodate facial contours, I naturally have a much lighter touch when I use it. I don’t use it like a scrub brush, I just slowly let it lightly glide over my face. I use the delicate brush heads, and never have any problems with over-cleansing or redness. Yeah, it’s kind of a hassle to have to take it apart and clean it every night (I use hot water and Dr. Bronner’s, then let it dry completely overnight, disassembled), but it’s not the end of the world. I don’t mind having to charge it more often, either. I would love to be able to quit spending $80–120/year (OUCH!) on brush heads, but given the incredibly positive effect the Clarisonic has had on my skin over the past few years, I feel like it’s worth it. Oh well.

I still feel pretty disappointed in myself for not liking the Luna. It’s the same feeling I have about not liking the oil cleansing method or mineral makeup — how come these things that seem to be universally awesome for everyone else are such duds for me? I don’t know. Maybe the problem is me!

Have you tried the Luna? Do you like it?

p.s. The skin care routine I wrote about in November is still working out really well for me. The tip of my nose is perpetually flaky in the winter cold and I’m forever battling dark underye circles, but everything else is about as good as its ever been — and continues to improve.

p.p.s. Um, this is probably obvious, but I feel like I should include a disclaimer just in case: Foreo sent me a Luna free of charge in exchange for a review, but this post is completely my own opinion.