Oh, New York

From today's "Page Six" in the The New York Post:

Barbara Corcoran [the infamously difficult real estate gazillionaire] and her 4-year-old daughter, Kate, admiring the snowman they'd made in Central Park as a passerby took the carrot from its nose and ate it . . .


Keepin' It Classy

The other day, after a flash snowstorm totaling four measly, sticky inches and an immediate drop in temperature that froze all of the dang stuff into blocks of ice, Jon awoke to an early morning squash game, 6 AM styles. He headed downstairs and out the front door to clear off the car and shovel out the driveway. Hearing nothing out of the ordinary, I drifted back to warm, fuzzy sleep.  

And. Then.

Jon arrived home an hour and a half later, sweaty and smelly, with a gift:

Rita's hand. 

"Apparently" he ripped it off while "attempting to open" the frozen door. Because that "sometimes happens when you have brute physical strength."

I have no words. 

Rita is now a collection of multicolored body parts with a masking-taped left eyeball and missing a damn hand

It's getting real Milwaukee styles over here. 

Next stop: his and hers Slim Jims, so we can break into the car through the driver's side window.


On to London

New York Fashion Week has flown the coop to London. Here are some last looks that can take a permanent trip to my closet:

Ralph Lauren: Fall Florals (the cut of this dress looks incredibly flattering).

Tommy Hilfiger with Peter Som: Casual Warmth with Gingham Chiffon - just genius. You'd think this wouldn't work, but it does.

Tommy Hilfiger with Peter Som.2 - Hello Fall Shorts and Sparkly Blazer (and I've been rocking this side part with a bobby pin lately, too). I might replicate this entire outfit.

Erin Featherston - Neutral Boots, Flattering Dress, Bright Color, Glasses? Done.

Erin Featherston.2 - White Blazer, Pattern Dress, Neutral Boots. Done and doner.

Isaac Mizrahi - A Little Less Flash - a different take on short and sequins, sexy but not too much.

Naeem Khan - All over this. One shoulder, Metallic, Intricate Beading (a little Eastern flair), Sheer. An unforgettable dress. Check out the back in the photo below.

And one for Jon, a la Tommy Hilfiger and Peter Som - So handsome, not the least bit stuffy.
All images from


Dear God, We Bought A Couch

FINALLY. Hallelujah Haysus!

Purchasing a new couch has been a trial two years in the making. Currently, the couch and chair in our Milwaukee living room are gorgeous wood cane pieces from the early 20th century that we found at an auction in upstate New York. Since the former and hideous leather couch went to the Manhattan apartment's new owner (Hallelujah Haysus again!), we've had to make do with these. As beautiful as they are, they are straight up not fun to sit in.

One early January morning, as I laid across the couch (total length: 60 inches), I realized not only could I not feel my legs (due to the extreme fetal position I was forced into), a ginormous lump was rudely punching my left kidney in the gut. 

The offender? A coil spring. Super.

Clearly, these pieces needed reupholstering, refinishing and a good spanking before they should be allowed to embarrass us in front of company. I relayed this to Jon only to receive a peal of insane, hysterical laughter and the view of his rear end as he walked out of the room shaking his head. Apparently, I was the only one concerned with our furniture's reputation. Typical.

This gave me flashbacks to my previous attempts in New York at ridding 'us' of the leather abomination. I may have subtly tried to damage the old leather couch in hopes that Jon would realize we "absolutely could not continue living like this - we have standards!" (What? Just a few scratches in conspicuous spots, nothing serious.) Jon's reaction when I would, utterly shocked, point them out? "Those scratches? The couch came like that. That 'lived-in' look." Hmph.

But finally - the coil spring, evidence for the prosecution! The defense conceded a loss! Hallelujah Haysus a third time! I was finally and legally allowed to go shopping. Try and stop me!

I began my research and stated that I would not be purchasing anything from Ikea, Home Decorator's Collection, JC Penney, Craigslist, Salvation Army, etc., (though they have adorable options I have written about several times before). This is not our first, second, or even third home - it was time to man up and get a Real, Grown-Up Couch. One that wouldn't embarrass us in front of company. The mature kind. That would scold us and slap our hands for eating at the coffee table while watching television.

[I'm fairly positive this instantly terrified Jon into submission. Subsequent internal male brain conversation: What in God's name kind of couch is that?! I will not assist this endeavor other than testing out butt cushion comfort. Wife will not be questioned regarding any detail whatsoever. Commence Immediate Deafening Capabilities at all statements of word 'couch.']

We visited Ethan Allen, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Macy's, Boston Store, Williams Sonoma Home, Restoration Hardware. I researched fabrics in our price range, leg and skirt options, down cushion inserts, fabric warranties, delivery charges. Heck, I love this crap and even I was overwhelmed. How in Hades am I supposed to know what I'll like in 10 years, since Jon has determined that is the bare minimum this couch will live in our house? Weeks of hemming and hawing ensued.

And then, salvation by way of Jon's favorite word in the English language: CLEARANCE. With an additional 10% off yesterday only. The couch was purchased within 5 minutes of discovering it online (via Google Shopping - an incredible tool for comparing prices). Done and done.


Traditional English roll arm sofa with turned wooden legs and down cushions in a cotton blend fabric to maintain a more tailored look (linen, though soft, gets too rumpled for me). It is a massive 96" long and 37" deep. 

Looking a little like she needs a pair of earrings right now - colorful throw pillows to come at a future date when both Jon and I have amnesiaed the entire couch-buying process and price. Though frankly, I don't care if she grows a mustache and passes gas worse than Houston and Jon combined after a meal of pork tacos. She is here to stay. 

See you in 44 days, friend!


Shutter Island

Was awesome.

Go see it and tell me what you think. (Jon made me and it was worth it.)


Sitting Courtside

Yesterday, courtesy of a new business contact of Jon's, we were invited to attend the UW Madison Badger men's basketball game against Northwestern. When a last minute change had us with two extra tickets and without the kind donor, we took our friends Emmie and Brian (a Madison alum) to the game. AND here's where we sat:

Yeah, that's me five feet from the ref with my toes on the court and a smile camouflaging a serious concern that one of massive players would A, land on me and force me back over the chair with my rear end up in the air and on TV for the entire world or B, miss a pass and I'd take one for the team to the head. It was awesome. Here is Jon's foot next to the court:

We sat next to radio announcers Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas. "That was Trevon Hughes's 1,000th foul shot at home!" The random sports facts and trivia that sportscasters like to throw out during the game? They come from an incredibly organized system of information:

Hah! Not even sure those notes were written by a human or in English. As you can see, these were ridiculous seats. You could actually feel the floorboards move with the players' steps (the Kohl Center also serves as the hockey rink and sells out 17,230 seats every game). And eavesdrop on the players' conversations on court. Gossip and drama! Love it!

Our friend Brian, a devoted Badger basketball fan who attended when they made it to the Final Four, had a look of glee for the entire day (two of the tickets were for a floor-level suite, and we swapped with each other at half time). Jon stated that since we did not go to a Big Ten school and as such, did not have any special allegiance to serious college sports, he was willing to begin a 'hometown' relationship with the Badgers, "because our seats will never get any better than this." To which I agreed. 

Though sitting courtside at a Big Ten basketball game is not really the basis of a real relationship, and I informed Jon this would be more like a one night stand for us. Courtside wasn't going to date us, let alone take us out for breakfast. 

I think our future relationship will be with the nosebleed section.


We Have a Houseguest

Here's the routine that occurs every 7 minutes, apparently long enough for the dogs to unite and play, ignore each other, and then completely forget about the other's existence, thereby leading to a joyful reunion . . . again. 

1. Who is this stranger I have never met? A friend! Yes! Welcome to my land!

2. Come, Aslan, let's check out the abundant poop that appears daily in  the backyard. Where does this stuff come from? Smells familiar.

2. Wait! I can't run that fast - I have two bad hips and four bad knees! Stop and do what I say, I am your elder! I am furious! Do NOT smack me in the face with your paw. That is it. We are done. Where did you go?

3. Separation. The yard is a lonely forest of trees and snow.

4. Ignoring and amnesia. . . What are these smells? Must check perimeter of yard to gauge security. Will pee over each yellow stain to ensure domination over this wild territory.

5. Stranger! Welcome! So nice to meet you! I am Bloom, Houston Bloom. (Reunion.)

The excitement never stops around here!


Olympics Rock

Have you been watching? Here's a list of our golds so far (the most out of any country):

Photo of Shaun White by Adrian Dennis via Getty Images

Hannah Kearney in Women's Moguls/Freestyle Skiing (her second trip to the Olympics, at age 24)

Evan Lysacek in Men's Figure Skating (the first American man to win since 1988!)

Lindsey Vonn in Women's Downhill/Alpine Skiing (her third Olympics, at age 26)

Shaun White in Men's Halfpipe Snowboarding (for the second Olympics in a row!)

Seth Wescott in Men's Snowboard Cross (for the second Olympics in a row!)

Shani Davis in Men's 1000M Speed Skating (for the second Olympics in a row!)

Today's events: Men's Super G Alpine Skiing, Women's 15KM Pursuit Cross Country Skiing, Women's and Men's Skeleton, Curling, Ice Dancing, Hockey and Large Hill Ski Jumping (the last four are qualifying events). 

Get watching! The Winter Olympics will close on February 28th. And it's a long 4 years til the next one.

See a complete list of our gold, silver and bronze medalists here!


Today Got Up on the Happy Side of the Bed

Sun is streaming through the windows, the snow is melting and the temperature forecast is 35 degrees!

Hallelujah, Milwaukee!


Someone Cool

How rad is this apartment?

Photo via Pixy's Crap

The book storage has classic, architectural details, the couch/day bed area has a relaxed, Morroccan, cabana feel with the curtain and ottoman (and reflects the view with a cleverly-placed mirror), and the curved, iron-railing staircase has so much charm. If this was a studio, you could easily place the bed where the couch sits (if it doesn't fit in the loft space, which could then make an amazing study/desk sitch). 

This kind of unique, smart decorating reminds me that you can make any space unforgettable. A carpenter can install molding to create a library feel, the curtain and rod is easy enough for any homeowner and the rest is simply curating your own pieces - objects, books, frames, furniture, art. Since I am not an interior designer, I would look through books to get ideas and inspiration on how to group my possessions. 

And the columns are just gorgeous. Yup, someone cool lives here. 

P.S. Every time I look at this picture I notice something else - the skylight? Sigh.

Color Combo

Loving it - 

Generra Fall 2010

And I am still obsessed with those Doo.Ri pants.

Image via


My Fall Closet

I love fashion. I just freaking love it.

The fall 2010 collections at New York Fashion Week are well underway. If I had Gisele's body and a Trump bank account (from the good years), I'd wear the craziest outfits off the runway. The ones where you just have to accept the designer's "vision," even if it takes you to the insane aisle at Barney's. A few problems - 1, you need to weigh approximately 108 pounds and be only 4 inches taller than I am on a good day to wear them, and 2, you must also sell your house and firstborn child in order to purchase the dang things.

Designers dictate the trends that all of the mass market retailers (Banana Republic, H&M, even Target) will sell in their stores. Since my bank account is more of a coin purse, I'm shopping these market retailers on sale days. Some highlights from the 2010 shows thus far, of which a variation will hopefully make it to my closet via Ann Taylor Loft. Yeah, I shop there. I said it.

Please, please, Couture Santa, bring me:

1. Sick Pants and Shoes from Doo.Ri (and the model's legs, if it's not too much)

2. Naval-Inspired Double-Breasted Coat from Ruffian

3. Leather-trimmed Cardigan and Schoolboy Blazer from Rag and Bone

4. Obscene Jacket from Rag and Bone. Must. Own. or Will Die.

5. Vintage-Inspired Boots from Alexander Wang

6. Neutral-Toned Sweater Dress/Jacket-in-One from Ports 1961 (I'll take the hair, too)

6. Electric Blue Geo-inspired Pattern from Lela Rose

7. Texture from Chris Benz

8. Saturated Color from Monique Lhuillier

9. Structured Drapery from Costello Tagliapetra

10. Adorable, Wearable Cocktail Dresses from Lela Rose

11. Sexy from Victoria Beckham; I would keep this for decades! Pretty please!

12. Softness from Jason Wu

12. The New One Shoulder/Sleeve from Lela Rose

Lucky 13. Yes all over from Carolina Herrera - beautiful gown, interesting pattern, and fashion statement jacket

P.S. Model Award goes to Karlie Kloss, the new Gisele/Daria/Raquel Z./etc. It actually appears as if she's gliding along on a moving sidewalk.

Nice legs, jerk! Unfair.

All images via


V Day at Our Place

Today caps off five days in a row (the horror!) working at the shop to cover the Valentine's Day crush. On Friday, the busiest day, our freelance driver was a no-show. My boss was seriously concerned that our two staff drivers would be delivering 'til next Wednesday. So . . . I may have offered Jon as a short-term solution, knowing he was in the midst of a 5-day work break and probably lounging on the couch in his undies and a sweatshirt, eating chips for breakfast.

A phone call ensued:

Moi: Hi! I have a question for you.

Una: . . . What.

Moi: Our-driver-bailed-and-we-are-short-someone-can-you-deliver-flowers-today-from-10-to-12-just-the-ones-close-to-our-house-I-love-you-it's-Valentine's-weekend!

Una: Nice try.

Moi: I'm serious. We don't have anyone else.

Una: But I'm all the way over by Walmart.

Mio: [Shopping radar shoots up - no new grills! It's 25 degrees outside! Illegal!] Walmart - what are you buying? 

Una: I'm by Walmart. [Pause] I'm at Big Lots.

Moi: [Big Lots!] What?! Don't buy that $70 grill. What are you up to?

Una: Um, nothing. Anyway, I'm far away. I won't get to you in time.

Moi: You are 3.11 miles away. I'll see you in 10 minutes.

Una: God, fine. Bye.

Moi: Love you!

Jon arrived and was a wonderful deliveryman, despite having no directional sense whatsoever (thank you, Garmin) and a near-accident when the rose balloon bouquet blocked any vision out of the windshield. He worked for two and a half hours and literally saved the day (and the rest of us hours of shop time). Sneaky man that he is, when my boss told him she'd send his pay home with me, he arranged for her to make me a Valentine's bouquet instead. Here it is in all its glory:
I think it may be the prettiest bouquet I've ever received. Roses, stargazer lilies, stock, wax flower, eucalyptus and salal greens. It smells amazing. [The vase is too big, but it was all we had.]

So before work yesterday, as a thank you to my driving Valentine, I made him breakfast:

A very manly, pink heart pancake, Valentine's Day breakfast.


My 2010 Valentine

To be utilized when Jon is away:
 The "Hug Me" Pillow available for $28.99 at Overstock


Some user reviews: 

"The pillow exceeded even my wildest expectations. I'm told the pillow was modeled after Brad Pitt*, and I believe it! When I first nestled against the soft, but firm chest of my new "husband" I slept better than I ever had before. Now I don't mind when my husband goes out of town!"

"It's so comfy and my husband loves it too."
Well, I'm sold. 
And thank god for the hands! I don't think I would use this pillow at all if it was just a stump at the end. Much more lifelike this way.
Cuddle-time. For those whose significant others travel a little too much: The perfect gift!

*Brad Pitt?! They are marketing geniuses!

Lonny's Out Again!

Issue 3 is here! The only true replacement for dear Domino. Tear, tear.  
And there's a familiar face inside!
(No, not mine; check out page 70 . . . )

Funnily enough, I went to school with the Thompson sisters on the cover and knew the younger one, Antonia. I am getting really famous by proxy over here.

I still don't get the name, though. "Lonny" sounds like he'd be friends with Chester the Molester and Merv the Perv.


Worst. Day. Yet.

Well, it's been four months at the flower shop and typically progress goes in the way of an incline.

But not for me!

Yesterday began a 6-day stint, all employees on, to cover Valentine's Day, the shop's biggest sales day of the year (second place goes to Mother's Day with Christmas a distant, distant third). With Valentine's falling on a Sunday this year, sales have spread out across the work week and will go into the weekend, creating a steady, busy stream (and luckily not a one-day slam).

The work day revolved around packaging 10,000 orders of long-stemmed red roses (boys, a little originality?) until the owner reminded us we needed to make bouquets for Friday. These won't be going on the 50% off rack - that deal excludes holiday weekends - but are there for customers who want to pick something quick up and go. Since reducing my schedule to Mondays and Tuesdays in the slow season, I haven't had the opportunity to make them. I was excited and nervous to see how my old bouquet-making skills played out, sure they'd be rusty, but hoping I'd surprise myself. 

If that had been a gamble, I would have just lost the house.

I start assembling the collar of greens in my hand, and begin placing the flowers. It's a little wobbly, and I tighten my grip. I stare at the assembled bouquet and nope - it's not right. I walk over to my boss and show her - "looks like it's too tight," she says. I have to loosen my grip for a fuller bouquet. I go back and begin again. Meanwhile, "Superior," my fellow 23-year old colleague who surpasses me in everything but bucket cleaning at this point, is on her second bouquet, which she's made with a hand tied behind her back and one eye closed (okay not really, but still). I build the collar, place the flowers, careful to loosen my grip, and bring round two back to my boss. "This one's falling apart," she says. I look at her, frustrated. "You haven't done these in a while,"  she offers kindly.

"Nope, not since before Christmas."


"Why don't you let "Superior" do them? All the buckets need signs anyway, and the Burton & Burton package needs to be priced and stocked in the store."

That's right. I was asked NOT to do the bouquets and put on stock duty. At the ripe old age of 29.  


And then the entire shop went silent, having heard our embarrassing exchange, with me feeling like I was just sent back to pass kindergarten again, a la Billy Madison styles.

And then again. 

Completing an in-store sale with a customer, I proceed to hand him fifty extra dollars out of the drawer. [I thought he had given me a one-hundred dollar bill, which I had typed into our system and therefor followed its - incorrect - change tally.] He very kindly handed it back (I love you, Milwaukee!), but only after several confused exchanges between us where I finally realized I had typed the wrong amount of money tendered into the system. Which everyone in the shop also heard. I look over at my boss, who is presumably thinking, hmmm, why did I hire you?

So, THE CLAW IS BACK. And I might be fired. There must be a lesson in here.


The Doody-Ball Teeth Song

I am fairly positive that milk gives me cavities. 

Every time I go to the dentist, an old filling has to be replaced or I have a new cavity in a tooth I forgot existed. Hello, aren't fillings made out of a metal compound? How does that break down in the mushy, 98 degree cave that is my mouth? It's not like I'm eating drill bits for breakfast over here. 

Understandably, I avoid the dentist as much as possible. Which only makes things worse. Last night, upon realizing that yet another old filling appears to be on its way out and commenting to Jon on said traitor tooth, he goes to me:

"That's because you have doody-ball teeth."

And then breaks into hysterical laughter. He continues to mutter "doody-ball teeth" to himself repeatedly over the next two hours, cackling away.

This gave me a mortifying flash-forward of Jon ten years from now, laughing hysterically and pointing at me with our future small child, singing "The Doody Ball Teeth" song. Followed by the child informing me that milk gives it cavities and as such, they would like a bowl of Captain Crunch with Mountain Dew instead.


Congratulations! Now Here's Your Gift.

Why thank you, I'd love one.

A great wedding or housewarming gift:
Baby Alpaca Throw on sale at Abitare for $225
50" W x 80" L
 Love the colors.




Having a thing for trophies. 

Love this lamp from Avid Home for $315 (down from $425):

I'm picturing it in a library with deep, peacock blue lacquered (or high gloss) walls. Great for a masculine bedroom, too. The antiqued silver shade is just gorgeous.


I straight up bought it for the name and label design:

 Dang! That's Good Root Beer


Root beer is another big Wisconsin thing (does it never end? our waistlines can't take this!). This is a butterscotch variety, which was much less intense than expected. A lovely review I discovered on the interweb (as my friend, Susanna, calls it) by Joshua Allen on his blog, The Knowledge for Thirst:

I grabbed a little something called Dang! Root Beer (full name: Dang! That’s Good Root Beer), popped the cap, and downed half the bottle in one swallow. It tasted like rusty grease. I was all: Way to memorialize our valiant soldiers, Dang. Nice work.

Then I took a paper towel and wiped off the rim and saw I’d removed a good amount of rusty grease. Then I took another, more tentative, sip and I was like: Dang! A nice sweet taste that’s in the ballpark of the undefeatable Weinhard’s, but not nearly as thick and rich so it’s a better companion to an elegant repast of grilled wieners.

I didn't get that rusty grease sitch - it was thick and rich, but not too much. Butterscotch not being my thing, I'd like to try Dang!'s original recipe. (Sidebar: the root beer out here, seriously, is delicious. They all seem to have a really subtle vanilla aftertaste that blows A&W out of the water. My favorite is a brand homemade by two local kids under ten who are saving up for college. I swear I did not make that up.)

Dang! was purchased on the drive home from Chicago. All three of our tails tucked between our legs, we stopped just across the Wisconsin border at Mars Cheese Castle, an amazing feat of medieval construction off Highway 94.

Photo via The Rocketeer on Flickr

Overwhelming was not the word. Expecting to see board games, UW-Madison Badger paraphernalia, and a pile of summer sausages, what I found, as Una waited with Veloc in the parking lot, was everything under the sun that may be cooked with/dolloped on/slapped in/eaten with any of those famous Wisconsin primary food groups: beer, brats and cheese. A massive cheese deli counter, jellies, sauces, a bakery . . . I quickly sampled all of the tasty tidbits offered, purchased the Dang! and went back out to Jon with one slice of a pecan kringle (a ginormous, flat danish of sorts).

We left Mars and headed a few rolls of the tire on down to Bobby Nelson. 

Photo via

I thought this joint was going to serve cooked meals, but it is, in fact, a very small deli with a very large reputation. So I checked out the list of brats and chose the Jalapeno Cheddar variety on a hunger-induced whim. [Which we cooked last night for dinner and oh, the deliciousness. Jon put his brat on a bun with some mustard, but I sauteed mine up with orange bell peppers and bacon, and dipped it in green salsa. AHH, SO GOOD. . . Hmm, where are my leggings?]

So we finally continued on our way home, hungover and confused, having expected, in all honesty, a house-size vending machine in Mars and a gas station brat stop, and instead located legit specialty stores that required much too much gastronomical consideration. 

Particularly after the Poopscapade.