Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 7

Lord of the Taylors

This week's challenge is to create a dress for Lord & Taylor, to go along with a collection of dresses designed by former Project Runway contestants.  It must be commercial, retail for $200-$300 and fit the "Lord & Taylor woman," which to me means a 60 year-old trying to look like she's 50, but evidently L&T has been rebranding.

The current collection is cohesive in that all the looks are dresses and... um... that's about it.  Clearly there was no collaboration on this "collection" so I don't see what the point is in making the current contestants adhere to an aesthetic that includes a cranberry-colored chiffon maxi dress with gold applique kimono sleeves, a black taffeta party dress with a pearl brooch and a long-sleeved brown pencil dress that looks like UPS corporate.  Would you like some ketchup with your coffee?
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Huckleberry Bar

Today I'm hungover.

Last night my sister, her friend and their youthful livers came to visit me in Williamsburg.  I thought I was just going to do my older sisterly duty of treating them to dinner and sending them off on their sloppy bar hoppy way.

I thought my bar hopping days were over.  Now I'm much more of a bar plopper- I like artful light fixtures, artisan bathroom soap, a music level that permits conversation and seating so I can wear exquisitely painful shoes and get compliments from the gays.

But last night I hopped with the 24 year-olds and marveled at their remarkable tolerance for shitty bars. We went to five bars (which incidentally quadrupled my bar tally for the month).  One had loud shitty live music and a cover, one was a pool hall without pool tables, and one was an ironic hipster country club.  I drank beer out of cans.

Me and my sister, Stephanie.  Basically she's my face from 7 years ago.

After all that, I was desperate for a good cocktail and something resembling decor, so I brought the crew to one of my favorite local spots: Huckleberry Bar.  I love this place.  It has a sultry ambience and an excellent bathroom.  The lights fixtures are grade A and the bartenders are charming, dapper and adorable.  Oh yeah, and the drinks & food are good too.

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Jean-Louis Deniot

Every once in a while  you see something that profoundly impacts you and you know that things will never be the same

That's how I felt today when I saw this kitchen on Elle Decor, designed by and belonging to French designer Jean-Louis Deniot:

The article is aptly titled Seventh Heaven.  I cannot get over the hammered silver cabinets in all their glorious perfection.  It's like seeing a unicorn.  Or so I've heard.

Now spend the rest of the day thinking about Paris and the perfection that is this kitchen.


It's like they always say, "Where there's one unicorn, there's sure to be more."
Actually, no one says that but me.  But it's true.

Here are some more mythological wonders from Jean-Louis Deniot's portfolio:

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Tuesday Trend- Animal Sculptures


I'm feeling a little wild this week with no work to tame me, so I thought I'd wrangle together a collection of some of my favorite animal sculptures used in interior design.

Animal sculptures are a tricky thing- they can definitely fall into the creepy, taxidermic (is that a word?) downright-scaring-guests-away category.  However, the right piece can really make or break the design of a room.  Some designers layer in animal sculptures in a peek-a-boo manner while others choose to make them the focal point of a room.  Personally, I love the quirk, humor and unexpectedness of an animal sculpture- it's like a living punchline.

Joey's dog statue from Friends

What do you think?  Would you ever / do you decorate with animal sculptures?  Check out my faves and then let's discuss:

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Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 6

Annie, Get Your Gunnar

Last week Raul got the double-dutch-oven-Auf (this is a real thing).

All images via

This week the designers get slapped by the Coldstone Creamery of reality when they have to design for normal women.  Every year Project Runway has a challenge like this one and every year there are designers who act like they've just been asked to squeegee Michael Kors' fake tanner onto his speedo lines, rather than simply do the thing that they claim they have always dreamed of doing.  Come on designers, models get their clothes for free so you better get used to size 14 if you ever want to make it.

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I want it painted black...

I really want to paint the ceiling of my loft dark gray or black. 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

How badass would my loft look with a dark ceiling?!!!

But it's a rental (boooooo).  Nothing can destroy a design boner like remembering you live in a rental, am I right?

There's no way I'm (Jon is) going to paint the entire ceiling black and then paint it back to white when we move out.  I wish we owned, but I can't imagine living anywhere else in the whole world, so I'll have to wait until our bank account catches up with my champagne dreams.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the black ceiling or am I needlessly depressing myself?  Discuss.
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Angry Design


Interior design is not cheaper than therapy.  But, it's way prettier.  Especially if you think swear words, blood splatters and gratuitous sex & violence are pretty.  Sure, why not?

Here are some awesomely angry interiors:

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A Williamsburg Weekend

This weekend was all about exploring.

I don't know about you, but I tend to fall into patterns- going to the same places, seeing the same people, doing the same things.  It gets to the point where I'm actually nervous to try something new.  Some of you may call that Social Anxiety Disorder, but I just call it "being in a rut" because that sounds way less certifiable.

I guess I was feeling especially adventurous this weekend, however, and tried to shake things up while at the same time getting to know my neighborhood a little bit better.

If you don't know, I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  But not the "cool" part, not Bedford.  I live a few subway stops east, though I daren't say I live in "East" Williamsburg because a.) there's no such thing as East Williamsburg and b.) that's what people say when they live in Bushwick (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There are tons of awesome spots in my part of town, however.  Here are a few that I visited for the first time this weekend:

Grand Street Bakery:

These people really walk the walk, repurposing the former Grand Street Bakery into a cool vintage store.  The t-shirt selection is righteous and I saw some pretty awesome leather boots that wanted so badly for me to adopt them.

Asian Foods Express:

This Asian restaurant supplier on Grand Street is a true gem.  Though it has a storefront, it looks like a store that has yet to open, with boxes piled up in front of the windows.  Even Yelp says it's closed, which I think adds a bit of street cred to the place.  I guess they just don't care because their main line of business is wholesale; providing Asian ingredients to the Thai and Chinese restaurants in the area.  However, if you stop in (at a time that they happen to be open, which seems a bit unpredictable), they'll sell you whatever you need!  Jon and I bought palm sugar, Thai basil and green chilis, all ingredients we don't see at our regular grocery store.

Then we went home and rocked out with our wok out.  We (Jon) made Pad Kra Pow and it was sexy hot.

Mei Ying Qi Gong Tui-Na:

Finally, I also got a Chinese massage because my legs hurt from marathon training and my neck was sore from writing Project Runway recaps on my laptop.  True story.  I'm usually a little wary of massage spots- all the nakedness and the fear of a little tug with your rub.  But reviews suggested this place was upstanding and cheap so I gave it a try.  My masseuse rubbed my neck so hard I thought my head was going to explode, and if you know me, you know that means it was the best massage ever.  I have bruises on my legs from where she punished my calves.  After she ripped apart my muscles, she used hot stones so I left feeling like Paula Abdul 5 minutes before an American Idol taping.  It was glorious.

I'm so happy I discovered a few new "regulars" in my 'hood.  Sorry some of these pictures are ass- I forgot to snap my own.
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Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 5

The Tale of Nitpicking Nina and the One Way Monkey

All photos courtesy of Lifetime

Last week Andrea and Kooan disappeared into the murky abyss, Raul was brought back from the dead and we said Auf Wiedersehen to Buffi. 

Nevertheless, the show must go on!  This week is another team challenge!

Oh how I love this meatloaf of a challenge.  It is to design a capsule collection of professional women's wear that is both editorial but also works in the real world.  There will be 2 teams, and both will have to direct their own photo shoot in addition to designing the collection with no designated team leaders.  The winning team's photos will appear in Marie Claire Magazine!!!  Oh, no, wait- that's not right.  They will appear in Marie Claire.... @Work..... Magazine!@#$!?@?#!!!  Our #1 source for all women's work fashion journalism, duh.

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TV Update- Facts of Life

Dear Beth,

I'm a housemother at a Northeastern boarding school taking care of 4 high school girls in my home.  Each girl is starkly different and conveniently archetypal:  there's a shallow popular blonde, a mousy bookworm, a sexy tomboy and a Tootie.  However, we all share the common space and it could sorely use an update from its early-1980's beginnings!  We need enough seating for 5, shelving for books, plenty of surfaces for studying and complementary acoustics for my warbling.  Plus, it has to look good in case a young George Clooney happens to pop in.  I hear he's going to be a BFD someday.

Thanks in advance,

Edna Garrett

P.S.  I hear the HGTV show Design Star All-Stars is in the TV set update business as well.  I hope you don't disappoint.

HGTV recreated the Facts of Life set

Mrs. Garrett,

Tell HGTV's Design Star All Stars that the TV set update is so DONE... BY ME!  I've already rocked out the Three's Company set AND the Golden Girls set.  Not that I want to make this a real competition- the DSAS (Design Star All Stars) are all badass designers and we're not really playing on a level field:

What They have:
-Cija the carpenter
-the luxury of 3 dimensions

What I have:
-unlimited access and budget
-certain liberties with scale

So with that in mind, here's my update:

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Oh that saucy minx, the Queen!  Now that the London Olympics are over, I've found myself missing the daily coverage on Queen dress colors, royal waves, corgis and Morning Show false-affectation at possibly the worst skydive stunt in the history of skydive stunts.  Did anyone else notice how the announcers kept acting like it was real.  THE JIG IS UP!  We know she didn't jump!  She's the goddamn queen!  She doesn't jump from planes with James Bond!  She doesn't jump from curbs.

At any rate, Anglophilia is officially a trend.  If you're an interior design blog addict like me, you've seen enough Union Jack pillows to line them up and cross the pond yourself.  So dunzo. But I'm not sick of Auntie Liz, or the whole royalty thing.  Seems like a pretty good gig to me, though unfortunately they don't seem to be currently hiring.

Here are some of my fave examples of queenly influence in design:

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I'm finally back from the back from the beach!  

It took 9 GD hours driving and we didn't get in until 3am.  I hate driving.


I don't know about you, but I am possibly the world's most neurotic/morbid driver.  At any given moment while I'm on the road, I can picture any number of horrific scenarios: a motherless toddler suddenly crawling into my lane, trucks squeezing me like a tick for sport, hydroplaning off the curve of an exit ramp even on perfectly dry pavement, a farm truck's open-air feathered cargo bursting from its secures and covering my windshield... I think I conceive my own death about once every 15 minutes. That is, if I'm lucid and not on the brink of falling asleep at the wheel.  Cars are my ambien.

When I spotted this art exhibit, Collisions, by Eyal Gever, it really hit home (pun regretfully intended). He designed software that simulates collisions to create these 3D sculptures:

Bus vs Car

Truck vs Truck

Truck vs Truck Side Crash

Bus vs Pillar

From the Artists' Statement on Eyal Gever's website:

I create sculptures based on sublime moments. These are moments that fill a person with amazement, awe, terror, astonishment, and silence. They are also moments of pure beauty....

...Beauty can come from the strangest of places, in the most horrific events. My art addresses these notions of destruction and beauty, the collisions of opposites, fear and attraction, seduction and betrayal, from the most tender brutalities to the most devastating sensitivities. I oscillate between these opposites.

Beautiful.  Now remind me to never go on a road trip with this guy. 
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Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 4

Episode 4: Saved by the Belt

All photos courtesy of Lifetime
Last week's episode left us with more questions than answers; Andrea disappeared into the night while Chris, with wide eyes but a tell-tale heart, at once feigned innocence while admitting that he "pushed her in front of a bus."  

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Beachy Keen

Sorry for the radio silence this week, Rioters! 

I'm at the beach and I totally thought I'd keep up the posting but I've decided it's my American beachly duty to watch every waking minute of Olympics coverage while it rains outside instead of blogging.


Yes, it's the second day in a row of rain.  Here's my arsenal:

umbrella / glass / bikini

Hope you're having an Aly/Gabby/Misty May kinda week!
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Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 3


Episode 3: Get Thee to the Emmys

Last week's Unconventional Materials Challenge gave us all a toothache, but it was worth it to see Oh-My-Lantie go.  This week is the Lexus Challenge!

What do you mean you don't know what that means?!!!  It means Project Runway agreed to yet another awkward product integration that had absolutely nothing to do with the week's challenge!  But hey, if Lexus wants to sponsor my next trip to Trader Joe's, I guess I'd let them drive me there.

Officially, the Lexus Challenge is designing an Emmys red carpet look for former Project Runway contestants, in the colors of Lexus cars.  The designers are randomly paired and will have only 1 day to complete their looks.  Most excitingly,  the winner will accompany his/her client to the Emmys.

All Photos Courtesy of Lifetime
I love team challenges.  Watching creative people try to work together toward a single vision is like telling five year-olds to take turns in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippo.  Rev up your (Lexus) engines, folks!  Here we go!

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