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Oh. Hello. No use explaining my absence, in part because there was no real reason for it. But for now, I’m here.

I haven’t been carrying my camera around as much as I used to or want to, but I’ve been taking pictures on my phone and having fun with the new(ly updated) VSCO Cam app.

Some views, from the past month or so:

New York (City), you’re pretty okay in the late springtime.

All photos by Taking of Toast, edited with VSCO Cam

Back to Business

Business seems to always come in fits and starts. It’s that time of year at work where I feel (and am!) really busy. It’s been building slowly, and then we hit a certain point at which it just became “Busy, busy, busy!” But other than this past weekend, when I had lots to do — all of it voluntary and enjoyable — I realized that I’m not that busy in my free time. A co-worker asked me the other day what I’ve been up to outside of work, and I paused for a moment before saying, “You know what? Not much!” As I said, though, work’s busy, so that sort of spills out and just makes me feel exhausted and tired and lazy, not too keen to do much.

Speaking of this past weekend: A friend and I were at a birthday dinner (hers, not mine) in the West Village last Saturday night here, and I suggested we take a walk to get banoffee pie for dessert. We’d been seated at the restaurant between reservations and were running out of time, so I thought it best to get dessert elsewhere. I’ve also been wanting to try another slice of banoffee pie since I first tried it in London a couple years ago. Going to a restaurant just for dessert! I felt very adult (plus, I had coffee after dinner, at night, so that made me feel luxurious. For some reason, I associate “coffee with dessert” with luxury? I don’t know.)

On our walk, we came across this building, above. Shoko’s recent post (which I highly recommend) about “looking up” and appreciating what’s around you was running through my mind that evening, so I stopped to take a picture. Everyone talks about it, but wow, does the Village have some great buildings.

Photo by Taking of Toast, edited with the VSCO Cam app

Flowers for Spring

I was on my way home from running errands on Saturday when I spotted a flower shop with beautiful, bright blooms on display on the sidewalk. I decided to keep walking — it was across the street, I didn’t need flowers, they were probably really expensive, etc. But I got to the corner and couldn’t resist. The flowers’ pull was so strong that I crossed the street and walked back up the block (both in opposite directions of where I was headed). In I went, and flowers I purchased. It was our first truly spring-like day, the sun was shining, and they were just so colorful. Were they overpriced and an “impulse buy” on my part? Certainly. But are they beautiful? I’d say so.

All photos by Taking of Toast

Art of the Menu

Even though I’m not a graphic designer, I still find Art of the Menu a source of inspiration. In addition to making me want to possess graphic design skills, it makes me want to travel around to visit all the restaurants whose menus are featured on the site. While a restaurant is, yes, about the food, service, and atmosphere, the smaller details are still appreciated. I always enjoy a menu that’s well designed — and goes well with the restaurant’s overall look/feel —  or something other than just text on a page. That’s not to say a cool-looking menu can make up for an otherwise bad dining experience, but if you can design a memorable menu, then I say, why not?

Designed by Drach P. Claude for Jeannette et les Cycleux in Strasbourg, France

Designed by Bex Brands for Gabardine in Point Loma, CA

Designed by Fixer Creative for Shuga’s in Colorado Springs, CO

See more under the cut! Continue reading

Knit Knit Knit

After a relatively strong posting run, I went away again! Well, not away away — I wish! — just blog away. Work has been busy (and getting more so), but one of the main reasons I’ve been posting so infrequently is that I’ve been knitting! Yes, knitting. It was all rather spur of the moment, but I decided to pick up knitting again. Or start knitting. Maybe somewhere in between, given that the last time I tried knitting was in ninth or tenth grade, and I had to relearn. It’s been fun, but time-consuming. Those hats, scarves, etc. don’t knit themselves, and I’m still a slow knitter who needs to stare at my knitting so I don’t make any mistakes. You know what they don’t tell you when you start knitting (or maybe they do and I just never paid attention or had anyone to tell me)? Knitting gets expensive! Yarn gets expensive, with skeins going for upwards of $40! No wonder cashmere scarves cost so much money.

So far, I’ve knitted a scarf (which will be officially “finished” once I get over my laziness and wet-block it) and completed a hat, which I am really am quite proud of! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, even with double pointed needles. I was very close to completing my second hat when I noticed a mistake, and in an attempt to correct it, I’ve made about three more. What I really need to do is learn how to correct my own mistakes. I think that will save me a lot of stress and trouble going forward.

Photo by Taking of Toast of the selection at Purl Soho

For the Wall

I have four or five prints/posters of various sizes sitting in my room, waiting to be hung at a later date. Some, I managed to hang up in college; others, I’ve ordered since then. If I had an unlimited budget, I’m sure I could find enough that, once hung up, there’d be no wall left. I’ve been collecting my favorites over on Pinterest, as well as discovering lots of new work. I like imagining what room I’d put them in, how I’d hang them (if I’d hang them — the framed-poster-on-the-floor trend still seems to be going strong). Below are some of my favorites. For a few of them, I’ll just say it: It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when (like that Max Wanger print, which I’ve had my eye on for months).

Clockwise from top left: “In Meadow” print by Anna Emilia Laitinen; “cat nap” print by Yelena Bryksenkova; “Blue Waves” print by Yao Cheng Design; “Cats” print by Amy Borrell/Cake with Giants; “New York” photo print by Max Wanger“Synchronized Swimmers Print” by Rifle Paper Co.; 2013 Birthstone Calendar by Oh My Deer Handmades; “Must Dash” archival art print by Emma Block

I also love this watercolor print by Malissa Rayder for LEIF, which is sadly sold out now, as are a few of the ones featured above. That will teach me to waver on purchasing (one-of-a-kind) prints! As a new (again) knitter, this one caught my eye. This poster made me laugh, and someday, I will have one of these on my wall.

I’m always looking for new art. Any favorites you’ve had your eye on for awhile or that you already have hanging in your home?

P.S. Happy March, and happy weekend! Spring is only three weeks away!

Toast

I think I could outfit just about every major element of my life(style) with items from UK brand Toast. I first heard about Toast a couple years ago when I was looking around the web for aprons. It doesn’t surprise me that I continue to see their stuff on blogs, Pinterest, etc. It all just seems so comfortable and liveable (like these PJs).

The styling of their winter lookbook is appropriately cozy and might even make me appreciate winter a little more.

The bright colors and patterns (check out that tile!) of Toast’s spring 2013 lookbook provide a nice contrast to their fall/winter lookbook, while still achieving that relaxed, comfortable vibe that seems to be what Toast is all about. Now I have my eye on this mug.

If you have some spare time, I highly recommend spending a few minutes (or more) looking through past lookbooks on Toast’s Pinterest. The locations/natural backdrops — especially the autumn 2012 campaign shot in Tusheti, Georgia, by Boo George — provide the perfect virtual getaway.

All photos from Toast

Saturday Snow

As you may have heard, it snowed on the East Coast a couple weeks ago. New York City got significantly more snow than it usually does, but we weren’t hit nearly as hard as places upstate and in Massachusetts, and, for that matter, outside Manhattan, where people are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. I still think there was more snow on the ground after the Great Snow of January 2011 — as only I like to call it — but the way people were talking about this blizzard, it’s as if that one didn’t exist.

We went out on Saturday morning to Central Park to explore the snowfall. There were sledders all over the place. The hill was covered in bright jackets of all colors, on everyone from toddlers to adults. Almost every dog I saw was even wearing a jacket. (There’s nothing quite like feeling outstyled by a canine.)

New York really is beautiful in the snow. I do wish I’d gotten myself up and at ’em a little earlier, if only to avoid the effort of trying to take photos of the snow-covered trees without people wandering right in front of the camera. But, hey, it’s good practice, right?

All photos by Taking of Toast

P.S. This is my 100th post! It only took me just under two years to do it, wahoo! Thanks for sticking with me and the blog. 🙂

Esque Studio

When I first came across this bubblegum paperweight by Esque Studio, the first word that came to mind was “whimsical.” The designers behind Esque Studio, Andi Kovel and Justin Parker, have been working together for 15 years, since meeting at a glass studio in Brooklyn. The idea behind establishing their own studio — which is based in Portland, Oregon — was to “[create] modern, functional, concept-based glassware aimed at the design industry and away from the pedestal. Through the years the duo has lead the movement of trend in glass, by breaking the rules and outdated notions of craft and material associated with their medium.” Even the studio’s name highlights this, by “refer[ring] to the suffix meaning ‘in the manor of,’ and is an intentional nod to and acknowledgment of outside influences and inspiration.” Esque Studio’s unconventional approach to designing glass is obvious in their body of work, from the Venom Candlestick Set to the Honeybear Vase.

I’ve put together some of my favorite items.


1. Beaker-Esque | 2. Lucidare | 3. Slumped Vase | 4. Ripple Vase | 5. Waterdrop Jug 2012
6. Mid Century Coolade Set | 7. Wall Tears | 8. Wax Collector

I love the bright colors of vases and pitchers. Find more of Esque Studio’s work — all of it special and gift-worthy — in the shop. Which items are your favorites?

All products and images from Esque Studio and the Esque Studio shop

Recently

I thought I’d share some recent photos from my non-adventures over the last few weeks. I try to bring my camera with me when I know I’ll be doing something special, but I think my phone does a pretty good job (occasionally, with some editing here and there) when I’m just walking around.

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, we went to Bobo for brunch on New Year’s Day. I’ve never sat down there, but I do like the look of bar area on the first floor of the restaurant. Still hoping to one day have a meal on the terrace. A few days later, on one of my days off from work, I decided to attempt soufflé! For my very first try, it wasn’t too bad. I gather a successful soufflé has a small amount of luck involved. At least I didn’t open the oven door to check on it?

I think the photo on the left was taken on a surprisingly warm day following a cold snap. I decided to walk home across Central Park, and it turned out to be at just the right time for taking advantage of the late afternoon light. We went to Chelsea Market in mid-January, and I was happy surprised to see all the string lights still up.

I think we’ve already had more snow this year than we did all of last year. Snow in the city tends to stay white for about half a day, before it gets muddy. Later that day, I had to cut up some limes for a party, and I had to stop halfway through to observe to myself, “I always forget how pretty citrus fruits are!”

I may have discovered my new favorite chocolate chip cookie, from a coffee shop in midtown of all places. It’s conveniently located a few steps down from a relatively new dumpling restaurant (which has a tiny library, pictured below), so you can get justify the cookie with a real meal. ( … Not that I would judge anyone for just having the cookie, or just having half the cookie. I’m a BIG chocolate chip cookie fan, and I can’t ever finish this one in one sitting.)

As I suggested above, nothing too exciting these past few weeks, but that’s okay! January’s meant to be relaxing, isn’t it?

All photos by Taking of Toast, edited with VSCO CAM