Do you know what I love?


I love when the New York Times thinks it’s discovered a new trend or phenomenon.

This time, it’s the overwhelming tidiness of The Container Store and the obsessions that it can provoke, coinciding with the opening of a new store at 58th and Lex.

Nevermind that these same “phenomena” have existing at least as long as the other container store has been open (you know, the one downtown?). Or, um, since the advent of Hold Everything, which was a bit more upscale (and which my mother was somewhat obsessed with), and is now being run over by its cheaper competitors (as in, the competitors have been around long enough to drive another store out of business)?

As for the author’s fascination with Go Shop, the “scan the bar codes and let someone else deal with the heavy lifting” service? I was using it a year ago when I was making daily trips to the downtown store for packing supplies.

And this made me laugh:

At 6:30 a pleasant-sounding man called to tell me that not all of my items were in stock. Would I like to wait two weeks until my entire order could be completed? Despite an extra charge for a second delivery, I told him to send my order that evening.

This woman’s entire job is to write about shopping and trends for the “most important” newspaper in the country! She’s not smart enough to get free delivery when they can’t complete her order as promised? I actually had this problem once when I used GoShop, and the store didn’t even suggest that I pay a second delivery fee. Heh. I guess she’s such a sucker that they could read it over the phone.

My absolutely favorite part, though?

The name of the column is “critical shopper“.

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one week down…


So I’ve been here for almost a week, and I’m starting to get used to it. I’ve been working a lot (that is why I’m here after all), but I did get the chance to do some exploring this weekend. In particular, I went to the Pantheon, the forum, Palatine Hill, and the Domus Aurea. And I took lots of pictures.

On Sunday, before I settled in to do some work, I did manage to find my way to the Prada on via del Condotti (It’s right at the bottom of the spanish steps, my hotel is right at the top). I was forced to buy a new pair of shoes thanks to the cobblestones that destroyed one of the two pairs of heels I brought with me. So clearly I needed to replace my ~$60 dead aerosoles with a pair of prada ponyskin loafers with the comfy driving moc bottom. The worst part about it? with the dollar in the toilet, I’m pretty sure I could have bought the same pair in NYC for less money. But there’s something about being in Italy, and not having to pay for any of the ordinary stuff (hotel, airfare, meals) that makes buying obscenely expensive shoes seem perfectly reasonable. And they are really comfortable.

Anyway, it’s 11 at night here, and I’ve got to be at the clients’ offices fairly early tomorrow, so I’m signing off….enjoy the photos.

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One step closer.


So I did actually make it to Ikea on Saturday, and it was all absolutely fine. They have helpers specifically located to help put together kitchens, and all of the stuff I wanted was in stock. Of course, "in stock" for kitchen stuff doesn’t necessarily mean in the store, but just not on backorder. Which means that it will be two weeks for delivery. Again, that’s a really good time frame in real-world numbers, but seems really far away from right now. But I figure that it’ll probably work out well, because they should show up right around the time all of the plumbing and electrical is finishing up and new drywall is put up. Hanging the actual cabinets should take very little time once they’re put together, which is my job (it’s the typical ikea-allen-wrench project).

Other than the incredible crowds at the store, it was all very easy to get done. The bus was standing room only (I managed to get a seat), and it was like every person in the New York area who didn’t go away for the weekend decided to buy some furniture. At the same time.

Four weeks!! I need to start throwing things out.

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The renovations are finally moving ahead, starting next Tuesday morning. It took forever to get the contractors to send me the correct insurance information, and then another two weeks to get the condo board approval (which, in real time is actually quite fast, but given my schedule, felt like forever). That finally came the other day, so there’ll be actual progress shortly. which means more pictures at some point.

So, in light of all of this, I make plans to take the bus to Ikea tomorrow (free shuttle!) to finally purchase my kitchen cabinets. But when I get online to check availability, every item I want to purchase is marked as not available. So I call customer service. And the first guy I speak to is completely unable to help me (kitchens are "beyond" him – you know, the guy who is the customer service representative at the Ikea shop by phone line). Apparently, even though the kitchen items appear in the catalog, with model and order numbers, they are not actually orderable anywhere but in the store. And if they’re not in the store, well, nobody knows what happens then.

The third person I spoke to was actually able to help me. Apparently the items are available in the store, they just get marked as not because the fronts are custom (sort of), so they have to be put together before the base cabinet with the birch door is actually considered in stock. And apparently they can order them for me if need be. Now how hard is it to actually get the first guy who answers the phone to know that?

I can never understand when stores seem to go out of their way to not let me spend money in them. It’s not like I was trying to buy a $20 lamp either. Anyway, buses start running at 10 tomorrow, so I’ll be visiting lovely Elizabeth, N.J. in the morning…

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Beautiful day…


This weekend was one of those supremely awesome weekends – yesterday in the 60s and today in the 70s, no humidity, and real sun. It’s one of those weekends which, after a crappy northeastern winter, really makes you feel alive again. Yesterday I spent the day at Ikea with my best friend from high school, where we obsessed alternately, over my possible kitchen layouts and her newly announced pregnancy. Since she moved up the ‘burbs with her husband, we don’t see each other as much as we used to (particularly not as much as when she lived 2 blocks from my office – it was a lot easier to drop in for dinner back in those days), and it was just really great to spend an entire day with her, driving with the sunroof open, with happy things to discuss.

Today, I spent the day with my dad, obsessing some more about the kitchen layout, debating which cabinets to buy and where to find appliances in miniature – my new kitchen is going to be extremely tiny – it’s a separate room, but the entire room is only 35 square feet and currently doesn’t have any counter space – right now it’s a 23" refrigerator next to an enourmous double basin porcelain sink next to a 20" stove. It’s pretty old school, and I’ve become somewhat obsessed about how to move things around to make it more practical. Oh, and I got to see my dad and stepmom’s new place again – they’re moving in in three weeks, and it’s almost complete. It’s pretty gorgeous. Of course, their living room is bigger than my entire current apartment, so it inspires a bit of jealousy as well. But the best part of the day was wandering around the Upper West Side, eating lunch at an outdoor table and actually getting so warm that I had to tie my jacket around my waist. Tomorrow it should be miserable, so I’m glad I got to enjoy it.

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Fresh Direct is back in my good graces.


When I called back during the day to lodge a formal complaint about Sunday night, they gave me a big fat credit, so I don’t hate them anymore (They were also surprised that I hadn’t been immediately offered one on Sunday night, so apparently it was a good thing I called back).

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As always, I have excellent timing.


So this morning, after being woken up by my super (I knew it was going to happen – they were doing a scheduled changing of all of the locks in the building and I was still asleep at 10:45 when they started banging on my front door), I decided, since it hadn’t started snowing yet, to venture out to run some errands.

Part of this was driven by the fact that FreshDirect had cancelled my order (and all orders) due to impending weather, meaning that I needed to leave the house to buy milk, and I figured that I’d head over to Tekserve to pick up a copy of iLife.

Well, I left my apartment at 11:45 and it hadn’t started snowing yet – about 5 seconds later, the snow appeared. By the time I got home, an hour later, never going more than 5 blocks away from my apartment, there was a full inch of snow on the sidewalk and the snow was coming down so strongly that you had to walk with your head down. And my neighborhood grocery store looked a lot like this. But it’s nowhere near as nice as Fairway (hence the plan for a FD order).

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New York, New York…


Gothamist today highlights the New York CityStore, which sells all types of New York memorabilia and tchochkes. I love this kind of stuff. My favorite? Show your support for the Department of Sanitation (!?). Hm. Then again, if these guys didn’t do their jobs day in and day out, it would become very quickly impossible to live on our tiny little concrete island. Maybe I’ll order a hat.

My actual favorite stuff is anything to do with the Chrylser Building, the Subway, or maps. And hey, my birthday is only two months away. How about that!

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Now all we need is a Target, and I’ll never have to leave Manhattan again.


Between this and the Container Store, I’m gonna need a bigger apartment. But we do need a Target on the island. I know that one opened recently in Brooklyn, but frankly, I’m not going to Brooklyn to buy a new shower curtain. At that point, I’ll just order one online. For ages I thought that they’d put one in in the giant empty space that had been vacated by Caldors on Union Square South (I mean, one not-so-trendy low-end superstore being replaced by a trendier one would require very little renovation, so it made sense in my head). But instead, it’s going to be another Whole Foods. Apparently it’s too much trouble for people to go to the location on 24th and 7th – they need another one on 14th and University. Then again, I pretty much live right in the middle of the two locations, so maybe I’m the only one who thinks this is stupid. But if people are willing to travel all the way uptown to go to Fairway, or wait a day for their food from FreshDirect, taking a cab an extra ten blocks doesn’t seem that crazy.

Heck, even I own my very own collapsible shopping cart (and yeah, I bought it at The Container Store). I don’t know if that signified that I had become a true NYC pedestrian or turned into my grandmother, but it’s seriously my favorite shopping accessory.

I just want a Target within walking distance. Sometimes I go to the KMart on Astor Place and pretend, but it’s just not the same thing.

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Frivolous post of the week.


I realized today that I really do have a shoe obsession, because while I’m reading this article in the Times, I’m sitting here wondering how to turn it into an excuse as to why I really need to buy more shoes.

Favorite quote:

Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York, had a simpler explanation for women’s ability to wear the shoes they love. “Women have a higher pain threshold,” he said. “Men would not do this.”

Yeah – at least I don’t have to walk around in these all day.

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