Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reading, lately

Still coasting through a combination of your recommendations (thank you!) and some random picks from the library.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Sort of like a fairy tale. A cranky bookstore owner living on a small island ends up changing his life dramatically when he lets a couple new people in. I was afraid this would be too sweet for my tastes but I ended up really enjoying it.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - This is a side novella in the Kingkiller Chronicle series that focuses on one of the minor characters, Ari. I just didn't love it, partly because I wanted more Kvothe and partly because Ari drives me a little batty, to be honest. Hearing the descriptions of her rituals for her different days made me feel anxious and on edge. But if you're loving the series you could read it to get a fix! But if you don't feel like it, I think you could skip it and not miss out on anything.

The Miniaturist - I somehow thought this was a young adult book and was super confused when things started getting graphic. It is not a YA book (it also isn't a shockingly graphic book once you realize it's meant for an adult audience, so don't get worried / get your hopes up, depending on your view of that type of literature). It's historical fiction set in Amsterdam in the 17th century and I loved the descriptions of life in the city and enjoyed the strange side plot of the glorified doll house but I felt like the "lessons" were a little too pat. I can't really describe it further without giving away the entire plot, but I thought the main character might have more difficulty coming to grips with the revelations, given the time period.

The Burning and The Reckoning - A new (to me) mystery series! Yay! The main detective, Maeve Kerrigan, is a great character and I'll be looking forward to more in the series. These are set in contemporary London, deal with mildly gruesome serial killer plots and have plenty of tension. Thank you, Hayley!

Night Film - This book was so, so strange! I read Special Topics in Calamity Physics years ago, and enjoyed it. Night Film will suck you in, but there were times when I couldn't decide if I was enjoying it but couldn't imagine putting it down half finished. Maybe that's a good thing? I found it deeply creepy. I can read about serial killers all day, but just a whiff of the supernatural and I have to make sure I'm not reading it alone at night. There is a lot of supernatural in here, along with thoughts about perception vs. reality that I found really interesting.

A Dark-Adapted Eye - I've never had much luck with the very popular Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell but one of you kind souls recommended this book written under Rendell's pseudonym. Fair warning - this is not really a murder mystery but more of a psychological examination. You know the murderer and the murderee from the very start of the story, so the tension comes from waiting for the exact events to reveal themselves. I think I anticipated the twist a little too early, which made me get impatient at some points.

The Cuckoo's Calling - Another new to me mystery series that is off to a good start. I checked this out because it is actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, but I had forgotten that by the time I got to it and didn't realize it until I looked it up just now. The main character is a down and out London PI, struggling to keep his business afloat. Knowing who the author is, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that it's extremely readable. This is a fairly light story, so if you like mystery but are not into gore or serial killers, try this one out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Under the bed storage for Malm

This is a long overdue post because we've been using these under the bed storage boxes for a few months now. But they're great! Our current place feels just right for us, but at 400ish sf we definitely had to do a lot of downsizing and we still came up a little short on storage. We got more ruthless with our clothes, which means we can fit everything we own into one dresser and one closet. But because the bedroom is small we had to put the dresser in the closet, which meant there was absolutely nowhere for our shoes to go. Neither of us was quite ready to commit to living with two pairs each, so we went searching for other options.

We've had a low Malm bedframe for the last decade and it's served us well. It's survived three moves without any sign of distress. The only downside to the low bed is that you can't get storage containers to go under it. I prefer not to store stuff under the bed, honestly, so that's never been an issue. But when you're living in a small space, that real estate suddenly becomes very valuable.

If you get a higher framed Malm, you can actually get drawers that are made specifically for the bed and work perfectly with it. For a hot second (okay, fine, two days) we actually considered getting rid of our bed and buying a whole new one just so we could have the drawers. But all we really needed was space for our shoes and I knew we didn't need large drawers for that.

We looked for storage boxes that would work, but the clearance on the low Malm is just about 4 inches and we had a hard time finding anything decent.

Instead, Dustin built out some simple wooden boxes for us in just the right dimensions. Because they are sliding in and out on wood floors, we added strips of felt on the bottom edges so they'd glide easily.

underbed shoe storage
{apologies for my incredibly non-inspirational shoe collection - shoes are 100% not my thing so I just wear them into the ground and then dread shopping for new ones}
shoe storage

They aren't tall enough for heels, but you can easily lay them sideways instead.

The next step is going to be adding a dust cover. I plan to just get some large pieces of felt, tack them down in the back and then weight down the front edge so it drapes nicely over the front of the box. This way we can easily pull the cover back to access the shoes but it will keep dust out. (Um, yeah. I still haven't done this but I'm happy to report that dust hasn't been a big issue)

I'm so happy with how these turned out and they're actually easier than our previous closet storage solution. Instead of leaving my shoes in a pile by the door I'm pretty good about putting them away as soon as I get home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Baltimore and NYC

One of our dearest friends got married a couple weeks ago and we flew back to Baltimore for the special occasion. And then tacked on a trip to NYC because if you're already all the way over there...

This is the first real vacation we've had in a long time and I (shockingly) decided not to lug my camera along. I knew we'd be walking a ton and I wanted to carry a smaller bag and spare my back. I still ended up getting a fair amount of photos on my phone and while I missed my D40, it was nice to travel light. Some of these will be repeats from Instagram but there are a few fresh ones too.

The wedding (and all the associated festivities) were lovely and we ended up wishing we had more time in Baltimore. I had several awesome bar and restaurant recommendations that I was hoping to get to, but time was short and we had a baseball game to attend.

{inner harbor}

{oyster bar at the rehearsal dinner}

center club
{rehearsal dinner - photo stolen from D}

{george peabody library - photo stolen from D}

r and d wedding
{black tie! I got a dress from Rent the Runway and D managed to find a gorgeous tux on killer sale so now he's prepared for a lifetime of fanciness}

{excellent beer selection at camden yards}

We took the Bolt Bus back to New York and proceeded to make the most of our time by eating, drinking and walking our way through the city with one of our best friends. We also managed to watch the entire season of Unreal over the course of the week. If you haven't already, do it! This is a far from complete view of our week (notable and not included - the Cooper-Hewitt, the Met, fried chicken sandwiches at Hill Country Chicken, frozen custard at Shake Shack, shuffleboard at Royal Palms, ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery, amazing cold brew from Compagnie, killer beer selection at Proletariat and probably a dozen other things I'm forgetting right now because I didn't bring my camera) but at least it's something.


{jeppe hein - please touch the art at brooklyn bridge park}

{the most amazing happy hour at atrium dumbo}

{second baseball game of the week}

{finally made it to doughnut plant! the tres leches was delicious, but blue star is still my number one. and there's one opening in LA soon!)

{lauren introduced us to the beauty of Earl's Beer & Cheese}

{we will always detour a bit for some dewain valentine}

dewain valentine
{and the prisms! - photo stolen from D}

{view from the new(ish) whitney}

And someone was not terribly pleased that she was abandoned for a week, but she's been extra snuggly since we got home.

{circe back at home}