I am frantically packing for my trip to Italy tomorrow (!) but thought I would take a minute to share some of the key items on my perfect packing list. As a frequent traveler, I can attest that having certain high-quality, multi-tasking items can make any plane, car, hotel, etc. into a cozy home away from home. Without further ado . . . 

An iPad mini, because I like to have reading options from newspapers to novels, at my fingertips, $399 

A pretty passport cover to keep your precious ID safe, $78

A simple, patterned scarf to wear around your neck, shoulders, or as an ersatz blanket on the plane, (bonus: it goes with everything!),  $59.50

See-through packing cubes to keep all your stuff sorted (and compressed!) for easy suitcase stuffing, $38

Of course, a stylish and sturdy suitcase to pack it all,  $285

A fun sleeping mask to grab some precious shut eye on the plane, $12

And, last but not least, a comfy pair of pants for long car rides, lounging in your hotel room or just plain strutting your stuff, $79

Anything I missed? I would love to hear your must-haves in the comments! As I have mentioned before, I will be in Italy for two weeks (through mid-September) and will do my best to post an occasional update here and there. But don't be mad if I get caught up in gelato and cobblestoned streets and Renaissance paintings and forget to come back and say hi . . . For now, I will simply say: arrivederci!


Last week I took a little field trip out to the Queens Museum. Shamefully, I had never been there, even though I have lived in New York for six years (I am blushing as I type this, trust me!). I chose a beautiful sunny day and took the long subway trip out. Disembarking from the train, I frolicked through the World's Fair grounds and past the amazing Unisphere . . . (more photos I snapped of that here)

I popped into the museum's famous panorama. It is a scale replica of every building in New York City; when new buildings are added or renovated the museum staff even update it! Plus they have tiny planes flying in and out of the model to JFK. The whole thing is quite a spectacle, even if it does contain the occasional pair of dropped sunglasses in the Hudson River!

Then I checked out the impressive Andy Warhol exhibition about his controversial contribution to the American Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair—a large 20' x 20' paneled painting depicting the photos of the FBI's thirteen most wanted men. The show was well researched and informative, calling on Warhol's practice as a whole and fleshing out the mitigating political and practical factors involved in the removal (technically the painting over) of Warhol's work just days after the opening of the fair. It was fascinating to see all the pertinent historical materials gathered in one place—copies of bureau info packets on the criminals at large, letters sent between people involved in the project (including Warhol's friends complaining about FBI raids on his studio!), newspaper articles recounting the removal of the work, etc.—intermingled with Warhol's concurrent silkscreens and the museum's models of the fairgrounds themselves. The show—and the museum's recently renovated space itself—is quite fun to explore and I recommend you take advantage of these last few sunny days of summer and pop over there before the Warhol show closes on September 7. You can also find out more information about the exhibition here and the museum itself here.

After my visit I came home to reread some of the reviews of the show, mostly to see what kind of critical attention it had garnered. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new article in the New York Times that chronicles an unusually personal backstory; Mr. George Lawler stumbled upon a review of the exhibition earlier this year and was surprised to see his father's face illustrated in one of Warhol's 'most wanted' paintings. The Times story, while brief, recounts Lawler's abandonment by his parents and the unique perspective he has on Warhol's classic decree that 'everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame'. It's a cool article and I recommend you check it out here.


Guys, where has this week gone? Matter of fact, where has this summer gone?!! I can't believe we leave for Italy next week! And two days after we get back, in mid-September, is my Mom's 60th travel-themed birthday party. So much fun to be had, so little time!

To get ready for all the fun times ahead I have been working my crafty magic behind the scenes (in between bouts of mad dissertation work. I hope to be able to share more details and instructions for these projects after the party, but until then here are some fun sneak peaks.

above | I painted these tiny wooden airplanes pretty colors to decorate the birthday cake. I am planning devil's food chocolate with white buttercream frosting; these planes will be attached to wires and inserted into the cake to look like they are buzzing around it. Cool, right? planes bought here

above | I had these vintage-style postcards made up with a custom cancelation stamp on the back. I hope to have guests write notes on the back and then, after the party, bind them into a keepsake guest book. postcards bought here

above | Using my favorite yellow crepe paper rolls, I made these cute sunshiney garlands to hang as a backdrop for the food table. Love them! crepe paper from here

above | Last, but not least, I have spent the better part of this week putting together these favors—pocket-sized Moleskine notebooks stamped to look like passports. I can't wait to show you the step by step of these puppies; there are lots of fun details customized for the party, including the little security stickers on the back. What do you think? I hope the guests like them!Anything I am missing? If you have more clever travel-themed ideas for the party, lay them on me in the comments. Thanks! And happy weekend!
p.s. I posted all of these photos to my Instagram account this morning. If you like what you see, head on over here and follow me! 


For most of the summer I have been eagerly planning a birthday bash for my beloved Mom, who turns the big 6-0 in September. It's been cool to brainstorm together and think of various means to make the party feel as special and fun as she is. Needing a theme, we decided to reference her worldly ways and make it a travel-focused party complete with tons of vintage maps and globes (my favorite!). After the party I will be excited to share all the fabulous projects I put together, but in the meantime I thought I would feature some of my inspiration.

Here are a few parties and products that have been jump off points for my planning process:

A bright, cheery teacher appreciation party. How awesome is that pull down map? I may have bought one of my own . . . 

This classy globe-focused wedding. I love the idea of vintage globe centerpieces!

This cake topper is too cute, perfect for that first birthday party!

The moment we decided to go with the travel theme, I thought of this print by Lisa Congdon as inspiration for the invite. Aren't they great? 

So here are some of the pretty things I am thinking of incorporating into the party. Clearly we are going with a light blue, turquoise and yellow color scheme (conveniently similar to my Dad's party last year) with pops of other bright color here and there. Overall we want to capture the vivacious, fun-loving, adventuresome character of my dear Mom and, with these sweet ideas, I think we can do it! Any other travel-themed things you can think of that I missed? Suggestions are welcome!

one  pull down vintage school map, $59.99 | two ocean light string from bright lab, $29.95 | three metal globe bank, $18 | four fun yellow and white bouquet | five stripey straws, 25 for $6.85 | six chocolate earth balls, one pound for $8.99 | seven yellow streamers DIY


Just some things I have come across recently that make me smile and are sure to brighten your mood too . . . .

High top sneakers shaped like dinosaurs with a fabulous kickstarter video to boot. (MIND. BLOWN.)

A hose attachment that lets you fill and tie 100 water balloons in one minute. (Instant summer fun!)

This amazing illustration (Supermannnnn!) by Phil Jones.

Speaking of masked men, Strongbad is back! (And there goes my afternoon!)

And, last but not least, Jordan (from Oh Happy Day) started an amazing new company selling these colorful string lights. (#wishlisted!)

What makes you (randomly) happy? Anything I missed?


When you live in a tiny NYC apartment, space is at a premium. Combine that spatial concern with my obsessive interest in minimalist design and you have me drooling over this prototype: the Swing Bin. This small trash can is—dare I say it?—gorgeous. Even better? This spectacularly cinematic promotional video.

Join me and back the Swing Bin kickstarter campaign created by its designer Shigeichiro Takeuchi.

(thanks to swissmiss for the tip)

p.s. I have some fun party-inspired posts coming up this week. Get excited!


Artist, designer and illustrator Andrew Neyer creates work that he aptly describes as "a combination of minimalism and wit [ . . . ] simple, sculptural, useful, familiar and extraordinary." I couldn't agree more. I am swooning over his pithy graphic works, particularly that glass of wavy blue water!

Check out all his awesome work (including some gorgeous pendant lights) at his website here.

Have a great weekend, all! I will see you back here on Monday. :)


I just stumbled across these very cool city prints by London-based artist Yoni Alter. They feature all the architectural highlights of various major international cities—New York, London, Paris, etc.—rendered in exact proportional scale and gorgeously bright colors. I love seeing the different building styles in different locations all set off in colorful silhouettes. Consider these wish listed!

See all the city prints here, buy your own print here.


Growing up across the street from a park, I learned at an early age the wonders of the playground swing set. But how much cooler would those hours of swinging have been if I had had access to this art installation-cum-swing? Created by the Canadian design group Daily Tous Les Jours, this interactive sculptural piece entails a set of swings that burst forth with sound and light when put into action. The result is a streaking band of light across the night sky accompanied by a harmonic range of tones and notes, fostered by different swings going at different rates and different times. Magical, no? The project, called simply The Swings, was put together for an art festival in Green Mountain Falls, CO and was meant to activate public space through visitors' bodies and collaborative actions.

Read more about the piece here and the Green Box Arts Festival here.


Last week I went to the Met to see their latest photography show: an exhibition of Gary Winogrand's work. He was a revolutionary in American street photography and the exhibition chronicles his amazing portraits and more. Check it out here. I highly recommend a visit!