Tuesday, September 30, 2008


During my summer in Michigan I really fell in love with the ranch. I've never really liked it before because I just assumed it had to look pretty dowdy. But there were quite a few attractive and modern ranches on my way to work that really changed my mind. And the other week I came across this renovated ranch and completely fell head over heels. I love white and one of my all-time favorite architectural details is wood beams on a vaulted ceiling.

And what do you think of this colorful one? I mean, I do love yellow, but this might be a bit too much, even for me! I do love the little terrace on top of the roof though. So relaxing!


Trying to decide if I want to buy this market bag or not. Overall I love the look...more casual stylish than like you spent a lot of cash and time to look amazing. I wanted to buy it to replace my backpack, which is getting tired though I still love it. But wanted something a little less collegiate. The only thing I'm worried about it that if I put my laptop in there the pleats will be all messed up and it'll look boxy on the bottom, and that it might be very heavy on my shoulders. One great thing about a backpack is good shoulder and back support, and it's something I don't want to give up lackadaisically. Hmmm, it is really cute--I can't decide!

Cute Bathrooms

Some pretty cute bathrooms: this first one I love the blue theme (I'd like to have a "blue room" or a "red room," etc. someday) and all the tiles. The built-in look of the cabinets is nice, and I like the separated sinks. But maybe there a little too separate with the cabinets in between? The bromeliad also looks a bit smushed on the right side there...all in all, pretty cute though. The second one reminds me of my own bathroom, which is mostly white and clean looking, though I have my Dona Catalana framed magazine and my red/orange towels and rug, and my gray shower curtain. I like simplicity of it. And I really like those maps!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stairway Garden

Oh my goodness, when I have a cute apartment on the second floor of an old house (or, you know, my own house), I am totally doing this!! I just love all the cascading plants, and the wide tube is a great idea for watering! I wonder if those plants are potted or just smashed into the soil? Hmmm, I'd guess potted, but anyway so cool!!

As an aside, my own tabletop garden is going very well. I now have 5 plants, plus my basil plant that I just bought last week at the farmers market. So hooray! I'm making a chicken pasta tonight for dinner so I'm excited to use my fresh herbs! Hooray!

If I Were Designing Kindle 2.0...

So, I've had my Kindle for a while now and I still love it.I find I read a lot more, and better books (classics are so cheap!! 99 cents for most, and some free content as well). I've only bought one bestseller so far (9.99 for those...currently reading Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, which is right now average to good). Anyway, as awesome as the Kindle is, I think it has amazing potential in the next few versions. I anticipate that a lot of the products we use now will ultimately consolidate into fewer, more powerful tools that are easily adaptable for our needs (i.e. I've been advocating the "e-machine" for a long time...a transportable device that will serve as an iPod, phone, eReader, laptop, etc. that can dock into a more permanent station at home with more memory and space and all that...I really cannot wait until this day--I'm sure it is to come :)). So yes, the Kindle--unlimited possibilities, and I've been playing around with ideas of what could be improved, how the product could really be defined, etc. for a few weeks. Originally I was planning to ramp up my skills in Google SketchUp to make an illustration of my own, but after poking around on BlogKindle and other sites, I found a few illustrations that together formed my vision of Kindle 2.0. So, first, my inspiration!

In order for the Kindle to be successful in the academic market, it needs a bigger screen. Charts and diagrams in textbooks are vital to understanding the material, and making them into microscopic images destroys most of their value. Thus, you want a screen big enough to display textbooks, but small enough that it's not overwhelming for the everyday reader on the bus. I really like the idea of a 360 degree folding device where you can open it up to show large pages in Portrait or Landscape, as well as two smaller portrait pages when the device is held horizontally. It should also be possible to fold the Kindle back onto itself, so you can read only one smaller portrait page, similar to the current format of the Kindle. After reading on it for a few books, I find that things are much simpler, and that one page is less overwhelming than all of the text of two pages side by side. I'd like the option of keeping this format. I also think the Kindle should be able to fold the other way, so that both sides of the screen face each other for safe storing. In general I find the next page and previous page buttons to be really useful. I am not bothered at all that they are easy to hit, and it makes one-handed, snuggled-up-in-bed reading both possible and enjoyable :) In terms of other smaller changes, it'd be nice if the keypad was part of a touch screen, similar to the iPhone, and it might be useful to include a stylus to more directly underline or choose words to look up in the dictionary. It'd also be nice to access the dictionary from the home screen, and search for words directly instead of first looking them up in a book, and then looking them up in the dictionary. I find that while I do look up definitions while reading, sometimes I later remember the word I "learned" but not the definition, so it'd be useful to double check more easily.

So all of these things would be awesome changes and could really make a superb eReader. But what would really be revolutionary would be to force the Kindle into a screen component of a DDM PC. I find the concept of DDM computers fascinating, and it would be a really cool way to tap into a completely new market. I kind of view it more like this, where the Kindle would be part of the laptop screen at home, and then could be taken wherever to read/listen to music/watch DVDs on the go (I know the scope of the Kindle is currently only books, but seriously, I wholeheartedly believe that we'll eventually have one device to do it all). This would be great for families who have several Kindles, and could add/subtract to the main display of the family computer at home. But more realistically, I think increasingly family members each have their own laptop, so they would only add/take away from their own computer, which may actually work better for standard screen sizes and all).

So, what do you think? Is the Kindle the next iPhone? I say yes!

Edit: I also think it will be important to solve the following issue: now that people will buy fewer paper books, their libraries at home will be smaller, and it will be harder to show off what they've read to others. I also get a lot of comfort from being surrounded by all of the books I love, so that is lost as well. It'd be nice to allow some sort of "cover" that would display what you're reading on the Kindle, though this isn't a perfect solution. I can't decide whether iPod-esque anonymity or public displays would be better...maybe the option to do either. Hmm...


Cute looks for J.Crew as they partner with an independent designer (for the flower appliques). Cool idea to garner support from the mainstream and indie crowds.

Other Random Photos

Out to Sea

Two very different moods, both of which I love

Chicagoist Photos

Thought I'd share these recent photos of Chicago in the summertime, as I'm sure I'll need them to get through the next several months! It's not too bad yet, though it is pretty rainy today... Trying to decide if I really want to drive up north to run with the R4R group or just run on my own. Hmmm, maybe if there's parking... Anyway!

Bus Stops

I was waiting for the bus on Saturday and I got to thinking...how come the bus stop pavilion is a square, instead of a long rectangle? The square shape is bad for a few reasons:
-only enough seating for 3 people along back edge
-if it's nasty weather outside and people herd themselves into the pavilion, the people who get there last are the first ones on the bus
-general uncomfortableness of squeezing together and having people on all sides of you, instead of forming a line

I propose a bus-length shallow pavilion that would allow people to naturally form a line while allowing them space to sit down on a bench and/or take refuge from the weather. I also would really like to see swings!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coco Mademoiselle

I think I may have to buy this perfume. I tested a sample in my Instyle mag, and man is it yummy! Keira Knightley is still weird to me, but what're you gonna do.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Did a Painting!

So...I probably haven't painted anything since freshman year of high school, but I was feeling artsy the other day so I decided to do this for our living room/kitchen. Not too bad--and I did it!

American Road Trip

I want to go on a road trip really bad. Like, really bad. I imagine reading John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America each morning and belting out fantastic 80s songs amongst the mountains in the afternoon. I want to sample fine German cuisine in Milwaukee, hike through the Grand Canyon, and explore the wineries of the Napa Valley. I want to visit all the restaurants I saw on the Food Channel's' Best Restaurants in America, and judge for myself whether Taco Taco Cafe really does have the best Mexican food, and whether the best pizza is really to be found in Phoenix, Arizona. I want to go to that crazy "largest ball of yarn" a la Brian Kell somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and meet endearing strangers on the train. I'm going to plan something fabulous for winter break, and another something fabulous for the summer, since Warwick is right--I'll never have 3 months of free time any other time in my life, unless I really do go back for my PhD, or I retire. But yeah...needless to say, I've been getting megaroadtripenvy from my new favorite blog, Wanderful. I'm in love with their RV, and the fact that they love Wawa as much as I do.

Seriously, how cute is this trailer????

Well, time to get to class, which I just realized about 20 minutes ago. Happy weekend!

Jim and Pam

Oh my goodness...The Office on Thursday was amazing. I was pretty much paralyzed during the whole proposal scene except for frequent gasps. I couldn't believe it! It was such a surprise and the best kiss ever! After poking around a bit online, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's watched it going on 20 times on my DVR. Sigh...oh yay, Jim and Pam!



I've come across some really cute desks over the past couple weeks that I thought I'd go ahead and post...first, this white desk is so cute and I am in LOVE with the colored drawers!! It's actually a kids desk, which means it's very expensive, but it would be ohso easy to do yourself.

Next, I really like this wall desk look for small apartments, and it's something I'd like to do in my next place so my bedroom can be a work-free zone. Again very easy to make yourself but I think IKEA has some cute ones (this one is from Mash).

And finally, I just thought this was so cute since I do a LOT of working/surfing in bed or on the couch, and sometimes it does get a bit toasty in my lap :) It's super fun, no?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Midsummer's Night Candle

So...a few weeks ago I bought this Yankee Candle from a little farmer's market in Michigan. I LOVE the scent and it smells just like a summer night spent on the roof. Today Apartment Therapy asked all their readers what their favorite YC scent was, and several people noted Midsummer's Night because it smelled like men--uhhh, how did I miss this? I just smelled it again and it indeed smells exactly how every man should smell. Kinda feel weird about burning it now, but man it does smell SO GOOD! Ay ay ay...

Reading Nook

In my current apartment my favorite place to read is my bed, and with my Kindle that is a lot more comfortable than before, since I only need one hand to flick next page. But someday I imagine a more dedicated space, preferably outside or very near the light that is quiet and bright and a little haven from the rest of the craziness. I imagine the first spring days where you might need a blanket still outside, or those rainy days where there's nothing good to do except curl up with a good book. Today I'm going to read a bit more of Brisingr, since things have been too blurry to read over the last couple of days. But yay, I really hope Paolini brings it back in this one!

I Want That!

Dear Mayor Daly,

Please consider these swingset style bus stops for Chicago, Hyde Park in particular. Sometimes the #6 does not come on time and I'd be a much happier camper if I could swing while I wait. Think about it.


Yellow Doors

I'm loving this pop of color against neutral colored houses. I actually saw TWO yellow doors in the flesh in Michigan, and thought they both looked so stately and modern! Maybe if I move to Atlanta I can have my little ranch with a yellow door... :)

Fall is Here...

Wow, I kind of really love the cardigan on the left...it looks warm and cozy and I actually like the applique--and the tie! Hmm, maybe fall clothes won't be awful after all.