Friday, September 30, 2011

via verde grows sustainable architecture's reach

[Image from The New York Times]

 Via Verde looks more like luxury condo building than a subsidized apartment complex. It has the amenities of a luxury building too- fitness room with a view, lush gardens, tons of natural light.

But it started where community design should- by asking the neighborhood what they wanted. The answer: a healthy place to live.

By increasing building costs only 5%, Via Verde has green design as its core of the 71 co-ops and 151 rental apartments along with commercial space that includes a medical clinic. The building is designed to get residents into the outdoors and to promote growing the healthy foods the neighborhood lacks. Via Verde now has over six times the applicants that it has space for, a testament to the need for this type of development.

From NY Times:
"The greenest and most economical architecture is ultimately the architecture that is preserved because it’s cherished. Bad designs, demolished after 20 years, as so many ill-conceived housing projects have been, are the costliest propositions in the end. 

Of course a building consists of more than its skin and the claims of its makers. Its aesthetics remain inseparable from its function. It has to work, for the people who use it and live with it, not just see it. The real test for Via Verde — watch this space — will be once its residents have settled in, to see how green and healthy and gracious they actually find it."

Originally found on The New York Times.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

recipe: breaking out the ice cream machine

They say if you don't wear something for a whole year, you should throw it out (or, really, donate it) because you'll probably never wear it again. This is probably even more true in the kitchen where there are tons of fancy toys but far fewer necessary items. I am bad about following this rule.

Instead, after being secondhand gifted an ice cream maker at the begining of this year, I proceeded to leave it in the box all summer. Which in Richmond pretty much started in March. I then moved across the country, lugging the ice cream maker still in its box. At which point I swore I would use it.

[Color is a little off in this image]

Luckily, strawberries at 3 pints for $8 at the farmers market finally prompted me to make good on that promise. Uncharacteristically timid with my first solo-ice cream making experience*, I decided to use the recipe provided for me by Cuisinart. Recipe after the jump.

*Solo because in about second grade I assisted in cranking a hand-crank machine and in tenth grade we made ice cream in plastic bags in chemistry class. Neither experience instilled confidence in myself.

[Appropriate pink color]

diy: lace shorts

I'm excited to share my latest DIY. I may have accepted the fact that it is fall, but hey! This is (northern) California! And in Northern California, September is the warmest month. Yesterday was the perfect day to wear these shorts, though I kept it warm with a long sleeved top.

My original inspiration for these shorts was far daintier but I had a set of jean shorts that were really just too short to wear publicly and could stand an extra two inches of fabric. It was also nice to practice sewing lace on the shorts since I am sewing machine-less and had to do these by hand. I may still have to make a sweet little pair too.

[Tranquility shorts from BHLDN]

[A DIY from HonestlyWTF]


I did three-quarters at the craft show on Saturday and then quickly finished them up yesterday, spending about two hours total but none of that was super dedicated time. The lace came from my wonderful trip to Britex Fabrics. Photo tutorial and the final product after the jump.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

design sponge book event

As I mentioned yesterday, last night I attended the Design Sponge book event. I've been a fan of Design Sponge for a while, and since I share a homestate of Virginia with Grace Bonney, I was excited to meet her. We discussed how much we both love Richmond and that if we were to move back to Virginia it would be to Richmond. The event itself was gorgeous, as is to be expected of a Design Sponge event hosted by Anthropologie. My friend Caroline, who had not previously read the blog, joined me.
[With Grace!]
[Rice-a-Roni golden Gate Bridge]

There was prosecco and cookies, an edible photo backdrop, live music of the vaguely bluegrass-y variety, and lots of adorable displays. To show off their wares, Anthropologie used real glass wineglasses and I think that encouraged people to feel like they were in a cafe and linger. Caroline and I were eager to catch up so I didn't meet many other fans there, but when getting off BART in Berkeley, another reader recognized me from the event and stopped to say hi. (So good to meet you!)


[Enjoying the edible cookie wall with Caroline]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

impromptu picnic

One of the great features of the new apartment is that we have the back apartment next to the yard. To shady for growing things, but still a yard out the window. I had dreams of hosting a welcoming party in the yard, perhaps with some grilling, but that time is quickly coming to a close and no party has been planned. Instead, I planned an impromptu picnic that I rolled outside using the bar cart I found in Berkeley two years ago and Partner-in-Crime kept hostage until I moved out here. Dinner was supposed to be followed by finally painting a telephone table to be a bedside table, but alas, fall is here and it became dark early. I'm glad we took the chance to dine outside while the weather allowed.

[Used a half a box of pasta, all we had left, plus lemon, olive oil, parm and frozen peas]

[A partial shot of the bar cart]
[Gracie behaved herself well even with all the goodies on the ground.]

A great date night out of the few remaining items in the fridge. Tonight I have another great date night, this one with my friend Caroline-- Design Sponge's Book Signing at Anthropologie! Stay tuned for a report back.

Monday, September 26, 2011

to my next phase

Friday marked the start of fall. My blogroll filled with recipes for chili and tutorials for scarves while I resisted. For East Coast friends, the change was apparent with the first colder days appearing. For me, last week was one of the warmest since I've moved to Berkeley.

A rainy weekend forced me to confront reality and consider why I've been resisting. For the past eighteen of my twenty-four years, fall has signaled the start of a new year, a new phase. Summer off was a wonderful treat but I look forward to my next phase, whatever it may be.

Photo from trip to NYC last November. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

tumblights 9/25/11

Ever since a "Fashion and Tumblr" presentation hosted by SMCRVA (the Social Media Club of Richmond, Virginia) I've been tumbling down the rabbit hole of the internets. You can find me at but I've also decided to post my tumblights, a weekly highlight of my favorite pieces here. Each of these has stunning images but also worth following the link to read more.

Can A Simple Piece Of Graffiti Bring A Dam Down? via The Fox is Black

A Liter of Light – solar lights made with plastic water bottles via Create and Share

Learning to Love Thai-American Food from Gilt Taste

The Only Time No May Mean Yes- Typographic Illusion Sculpture via swissmiss

Stockbox Grocers- Shipping container grocery store via Design Boom

The Fortress of Franzensfeste via Denzeen 

Enjoy these? Find more daily at And even more stunning images on my pintrest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

upcoming: craft show

I'm very excited to announce my first West Coast craft show- this Saturday at the Phat Beets Farmers Market. It feels very appropriate for my first California show to be paired with a farmers market and I'm excited to meet the crafters of the East Bay Arts Collective. I have some really fun new designs that I've been working on so come check it out!


There are some things that I've wanted to make, that I've been told are really quite simple but that have always intimidated me. Making fresh pasta is one of those things. Homemade bread. Pizza dough. Are there foods you've been too intimidated to try?

I plan to conquer these fears, starting with pizza. I first made a pizza dough while at home but it was a no-rise recipe off the back of a special pizza yeast (the only yeast the grocery store had.) Here in Berkeley I got a packet of regular yeast, and Partner-in-Crime and I tried again. We followed a recipe for dough from Epicurious that involved a step where you slightly fry the dough. Definitely got a nice char taste that my oven alone couldn't impart. I used my trusty cast iron and it all went smoothly. The biggest thing I learned is you can never roll the dough too thin.

[My first attempt at hand forming the crust. Switched to rolling after this one.]

[Partner-in-Crime prepping the fennel and onions]

[Fresh heirloom tomatoes roasted and then added to olive oil and mozz pizza. Sort of sauce on top]

[The most succesful- sausage, fennel and onion]

[Potato, bacon and fontina. Sadly the bacon burned. I picked it off when the pizza was hot but the burned bacon actually tasted great on the cold leftovers the next day.]

Sunday, September 18, 2011

weekend review: finding sunshine

This weekend was simply lovely. Moving to Berkeley in August felt like my summer ended abruptly and I've been wanting a beach and warm sun. The East Bay in sunnier than the city itself, but I rarely feel the sun really warming up my skin. A trip north to somehow warmer climates was just what I needed.

Add in Cowgirl Creamery, a picnic lunch that included fresh oysters from Tomales Bay Oysters eaten on location and a beach with amazing views. Plus great company.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

inspiration board: living room

One month into the new apartment and it's starting to come together. We have the basics that we need, but are still finalizing the decorative plans for the office, bedroom and living. I spent some time putting together an amazing inspiration board for the living room/dining area but of course can't figure out how to post it. (It's the right format and under the max size but keeps getting rejected- any clues?) Instead here are my inspiration images, without the awesome formatting and color scheme images. Overall theme is a bit of nature meets glam, with bright teal and orange-y red accents. It's based off our existing wood furniture, persian rug and desire to not be too traditional. Here's to hoping I can pull it off.

britex fabric

Britex Fabrics is a crafty-girls' playground, four floors of fabric, buttons, ribbon and random bits. Most of the fabric is out of my price range (and then there is the fact that I can't sew) but the random bits are just right. I found a few things to spark my creativity and am looking forward to many repeat trips.

[Projects to be]