My non-toxic method for oil painting from start to finish.

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For a long time, I put aside oil painting because I don’t have a studio and I didn’t want to fill my small NYC apartment with toxic fumes.  It’s one thing, to be in a studio for a few hours inhaling the stuff; it’s another thing, to live and sleep with it every day.  Long-term effects of inhaling turpentine and mineral spirits include permanent brain damage, dementia, and psychosis.

Throughout my training, I was taught that solvents were necessary to prime surfaces, thin oil colors, wash brushes between colors, and varnish the finished painting.  Basically needed for every aspect of oil painting. I used to think solvents were an occupational hazard oil painters had to accept. Continue reading →

Links

Dr. It Girl Peonies and Birks

Here’s some things I read this week worth checking out:

1. Micro-blogging the next big thing for advertisers? via the private life of a girl.  I don’t believe it too.

2. Is that big sofa really necessary? — This article written in the 80’s is so relevant today!  We got rid of our sofa and don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon.  It’s a long story so I’ll write more on this later. Continue reading →

apt tour: the bedroom sofa is where I do my work

bedroom-sofa

According to my reader’s poll, a lot of you guys wanted to see my apartment, so here goes.  It’s daunting to photograph my whole apartment in one day, so I’m going to break it down and start a series of posts on small areas.  I’ll try to keep it authentic (that means no staging).

Let me start by saying, I love interior design.  My favorite past time is re-arranging furniture and coming up with new ideas on how to repurpose things.  My BF and I have lived in this apartment for about 4 years.  It’s come a long way on a small budget.  We live in a 750 sq ft railroad style apartment in an old run down four story walk up in NYC.  It’s size and layout has posed a lot of challenges, but I think we’ve been able to make it work.

🌻 Continue reading →

closet mindfulness

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When my closet is in order, I am in order.
 My favorite place at home is my closet room.  I’m grateful to have an entire room dedicated to my wardrobe and dedicated to myself.  I don’t have a dining room.  I don’t have an office or a desk, but I have my closet room.  It’s a quiet place where I can get ready in peace.  What happens in my closet sets the mood for the entire day.  As such, I’m careful about what enters and ruthless about what should go.  With age, getting dressed feels easier.  I’m left with more energy to start my day and do better at work.   Continue reading →

3 minimalist kitchen tools that I can’t live without.

minimalist-kitchen-tools

A good friend of mine moved into a new studio apartment and was in need of basic kitchen supplies.  This was the perfect time to declutter my kitchen.  Always look out for opportunities in your life to unload stuff onto other people who are in need.  It’s a win-win.

In the process, I thought about which kitchen tools added the most value to my life and picked these 3 finalists.  They were chosen for their simplicity, effectiveness, and durability.  It just so happens that all these tools originated in Asia ages ago and can be found at your local chinatown or online for only a few bucks. Continue reading →

closet tour

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I have this curious fascination with looking into people’s closets.  LA based photographer Jeana Sohn does just that in a series of posts at closet visit where she takes you through wardrobes of local creative women.  My closet is much less interesting than what you’ll find there.  But still, I feel pretty happy with what I got, and thought it would be fun to take you on a little closet tour of my own.  Here we go: Continue reading →

apt: a case for blank walls

blank walls

In bed on an early Sunday morning,

shades of gray bounce off the walls left intentionally blank.

There’s something peaceful about blank spaces.  I used to move into an apartment and have this urge to make spaces feel “lived in”.  Quickly my apartment filled with a bunch of unloved objects.  Some time later, frustrated with my surroundings, I’d wonder how I ever accrued all this junk.  The previous generation donated all their things and redecorated their homes entirely.  But our generation, belts tightened, environmental consciousness ingrained since the 1990’s acid rain scare, has chosen instead to permanently minimize.   Continue reading →

7 Practical Feng Shui Lessons for Apartment Living

minimography feng shui

Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how people are affected by their home environments. The concept of simple living addresses the amount of stuff we have but doesn’t really offer guidance on how to best arrange our things. KonMari taught us how to arrange our wardrobes and knick knacks but pretty much ends there. Feng Shui offers guidance but so much of it is based on superstition and quackish ideas about good fortune. So I was so happy to find a book about Feng Shui by Cathleen McCandless that actually made sense, and quickly read through it yesterday afternoon. There’s a particular school called ‘form’ Feng Shui that offers practical advice on how to reduce semi-conscious anxiety and stress in ourselves by arranging furniture in ways that maximize a sense of security. Much of the advice is a common sense approach to home safety, that when implemented has a noticeable calming psychological effect. Here are some tips that I thought were most notable from the book and particularly useful for urban apartment dwellers. This list takes you from the outside to the inside of your home.

1. Make sure your apartment # is clearly visible from the outside (should you ever need to call for help, you’ll be easier to find this way).

2. The entryway should be a well defined area with partial separation from the living space (to psychologically transition you from an alert-outside state to an inside-resting state). Continue reading →