Perfectly timed to sweep up my attention now that Downton Abbey is nearing its end, I am pretty smitten about the new show Smash on Monday nights. I love good New York City melodrama, and this one is far more fun than an old lawyer or police detective type of show. You may know that all New Yorkers are required to comment to on the apartments of fictional New Yorkers, usually by saying things like, “A magazine writer could never afford an apartment that size.” In Smash, the onscreen dwellings are pretty accurate, and one detail I couldn’t help but notice is the prominently placed stoves in several scenes. You can totally tell a character’s place in life by the type of stove they own. The single, gay composer’s apartment (top) is pretty sweet. His stove is a stainless steel Viking. But his partner, who is married and lives in a West Village townhouse, has a professional style, double-fuel Wolf stove. The struggling actress, bottom, has a basic white one in her rental. If stardom means owning a dreamy Viking or Wolf, I say, it’s time to practice, practice, practice!
Can you tell that we have spring on the brain? There’s still frost on the ground in the morning, but we are already plotting our gardens for springtime, and herbs are on our the top of our must plant list. We spotted this idea the other day on RecycleChicken.com: gutter gardens! We’re not sure how we’d attach this to the house, but the elevated position would be great to prevent ground critters from nibbling, and new puppies from digging. What do you think? Could you rock these sprouts?
A friend of ours posted a link to this Sunset magazine video on her Facebook page this week and we’ve been thinking about it non stop. It’s a tour of a zero-impact kitchen by Béa Johnson’s (her whole house is like this but it’s the kitchen that is most inspiring). Not only is it clean, modern and and bright but every drawer and cabinet is filled with smartly-used glass jars filled with locally-grown food. I love the idea of no-impact living, but I think it’d be really hard to pull off unless you lived in the right place. My dear friend Henny tries to maintain an uber green lifestyle and is constantly pulling out re-used produce bags from her backpack when we’re in stores. I oblige when she’s with me, but on my own I only remember our grocery totes about half the time. We bring them in and then forget to put them back in the car! What about you? Could you imagine living a no-impact life? Or perhaps just having a zero-waste kitchen? Here are some tips from Béa’s Sunset feature, below:
1. Get rid of your trash can. Everything goes either into the recycling bin, or it gets turned into compost. If you can’t do one of those things with it — eat it!
2. Pillow cases work in the freezer. This Californian buys a week’s worth of baguettes, cuts them in half and freezes them in pillow cases for the week.
3. Make your own orange juice. We can do this. We have a juicer we never use!
4. No more plastic containers from the store. Bring glass jars, hit the salad bar and bulk aisles, and stock up. Granted, cashiers at Whole Foods might do this, but I can’t imagine our local grocery store pulling it off.
P.S. Béa has a blog! zerowastehome.blogspot.com
P.S.S. If you feel a little insecure after watching this video, and after recently learning that French women are better moms than us, you’re not alone. Sigh.
It’s not very often that we write about fashion here on Shelterrific, but this insanely adorable top from Anthropologie lets us wear our domestic hearts on our sleeves – and tummies and backs! A silk-screened image by photographer Sarah Ball (we couldn’t find any additional info on her so let us know if you have some to share!), it features a delightful pink cottage on its front and back. Match it with a pair of jeans and kelly green cardigan and you’ve got an outfit worthy of any weekend getaway. Now, all we need is a little cottage to visit! A little pricey at $188, we’ll keep on eye on the sales racks for this one. Swoon, swoon.
When we bought our house about a two years ago, it was nearly perfect. Porch, backyard, short walk to the train. Coming from a small apartment meant we had stars in our eyes at thought of a things like an attic, garage and a basement. Storage galore. We were smitten. So smitten we casually overlooked that the kitchen didn’t have a dishwasher. I had lived 40 years without one, surely I could go a little longer, I thought. However, once we moved in my inner baker and closeted hostess-with-the-mostest personality came out. I cook at least three times a week and we have guests over several times a month. Suddenly, the no dishwasher thing was getting to be a real drag.
We called in a kitchen contractor type and were dismayed to learn that slipping in a dishwasher was not going to be an easy task. Our cabinets were all custom-sized, and the nice stone counter top could break if they tried to lift it up. There was some extra space in the corner of the kitchen, were we had placed a small bistro table. It was nice to have a table in the kitchen, but honestly we never used it. Our solution became clear: Extend the counter with butcher block (so we didn’t have to worry about matching the stone counter) and put the dishwasher there. There’d even be room for a stool, if we wanted to tuck one under.
A few weeks later, and voila! I can’t believe how much I am in love with our new appliance. We picked a Bosch — not the most expensive model, but a nice one that hums quietly when it’s on. It also has a pretty red light that beams on the floor so we know when it’s in use. Unlike dishwashers of my youth, this one does not have a drying cycle. I suppose it is to save energy, but if you open it up too soon things will definitely be too wet.
Now I am trying to learn the tricks of good dish loading. How dirty can things be when I put them? How closely can I pack things together? I definitely have noticed a few butter knifes that still look dirty after a cycle, and if we put the plates too close together, the backs will stay gunky.
Got any good dishwasher advice to share with me? I’d love tips on loading. What does your dishwasher clean that surprises you? What do you never put in there? As always, your shared wisdom is deeply appreciated! — Angela M.