general / brain dump

(Image source: The Animal Print Shop)

I. Food

  • I’ve been following David Lebovitz‘s pastry blog for ages. His new iPhone app just relaunched and is only 99 cents. I got it even though I don’t have my next trip planned. There is tons of food p0rn!
  • This recipe for the famous wings from Portland, Oregon’s Pok Pok look surprisingly easy.
  • If you frequent Starbucks, I hope you have a loyalty card (which can be created from any gift card). I don’t go as frequently as I used to, but if you do, I highly recommend buying a discounted gift card. I’ve been a happy customer of They are legit and Starbucks gift cards sell on average for 20% off. Though $80 or even $100 sounds like a lot, Starbucks fans know that that doesn’t last very long. has a ton of other retailers as well so it’s a nice, indirect way to get a discount on something that never goes on sale. Why pay full price when you don’t have to? (Note: I’ve never sold any gift cards through them and can’t comment on that.) New customers get $5 off orders over $50.

II. Fashion

  • Gilt City has a free 30% coupon for J.Crew Factory through September 14. It works on top of existing promotions but does have some fine print. In general, I’m not a fan of outlet quality but have really liked some of the J.Crew incarnations at Factory. You can find reviews if you Google, but often the Factory version is more wearable (whether it’s longer, in easier to maintain material) and the price isn’t bad. These Baggus (already on sale) are excluded from the promotion but are still a great find! These jewelry trays are cute.
  • Love the new Clare Vivier spot design. Especially this Margot tote and this pouch. If she ever did a collab with Baggu…

III. Decor

After years of living in an old Manhattan walkup, I decided I was over the city and its pricey, tiny real estate and lack of simple comforts, and moved back to my home state. I have a love/hate relationship with moving and am happy to say that I survived!

  • Moving tip: The less you have to move, the better and when you live in a walkup, it’s easier to sell it than to trash it since you’re giving the buyer full responsibility to get it down the stairs! A few weeks before the move, I started making a small inventory of house items that I wanted to sell on Craigslist, i.e. don’t want to pay movers to move it and want to make some dough. The end of summer is the peak season for moving, so these items turned hands fairly quickly. There is a strange resell market in Manhattan for the mundane, such as Ikea. The Mulig clothing racks went easily (buying on CL saves you a trip across the river to an Ikea!) as did the Hovet floor mirror (which sold for what I paid for it years ago). Sometimes I assign a dollar value to commit a buyer, but will pretty much give it away for next to nothing.
  • I have three more major purchases to make (for now) — shelving, dining table, and dining chairs! I’m crushing hard on the makeover Emily Henderson did for Cup of Jo (link) and am thinking of doing open shelving behind my couch.
  • I can’t wait to visit the Design within Reach outlet… good chairs are such an investment (as are “good” furnishings that are easy to resell on Craigslist when you’re ready for a change).
  • I got this beautiful lamp from Pols Potten across the pond a few years back. I recently broke it and figured it was not worth the effort in repairing. I’m happily anticipating its replacement, thanks to a friend (I can’t justify paying transatlantic shipping…)! Having visited the Pols Potten flagship before, I think you’re better off buying it online versus in store since store stock can vary. P.S. Bijzondermooi has excellent customer service.
  • How cute are these chicken plates by Holly Frean on Anthropologie? There is an Anthropologie really close to my new place. Uh-oh!
  • Since I unloaded the Ikea Hovet (I wanted something more delicate), I ordered this brass one from West Elm. It was on sale and I only paid a pittance for it thanks to the loads of gift cards I found during the move. I am glad that Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel now allow gift cards to be used across their sister brands, like Gap Inc does.

IV. Beauty

  • If you’re into Korean skincare, this post by blogger, fan-b, on shopping on Korean websites via a Korean shopping service can’t be missed! (She also has a ton of posts of Memebox, which I never delved into nor will I allow myself to.) Prices are soooo much better in Korea, but it’s really hard for a non-Korean reading person to figure out how to do it since so many sites can’t be Google translated. Why do Koreans make text into images?
  • My new bathroom has massive amounts of storage and is the size of my old bathroom and kitchen, and then some. I had no less than four boxes worth of toiletries, etc.! I never shared my Seoul skincare and beauty haul on the blog because I don’t want to scare you…

V. Watching

  • I recently completed a House marathon on Netflix. Now, I’m watching Call the Midwife set in the 1950s London, also on Netflix.

VI. Wired

  • I just got an upright Dyson. It’s amazing and made my area rug look like new (which is partially because I only had a handheld prior to this…)! It did cost an arm and a leg, but I plan on getting a ton of use out of it for the next decade (kind of not joking). It comes with a 5 year warranty and you can bet I put it on an Amex to tack on another year!
  • If you shop online and/or like to know what UPS packages are on their way to you, sign up for the free UPS My Choice and use the code here for a free 6 month premium upgrade. I mentioned it 3 years ago and can say it’s still as good as it was when it came out! You get notifications of incoming packages before they attempt delivery and you can reschedule, release your authorization, etc. Some options are not free unless you’re a premium member.
  • I have friends who think Instagram should only be consumed on a smartphone. Well, I like feeling complete (if there is every a “view all” button, I will click on it) and my fingers get tired of scrolling or get annoyed when IG reloads to the newest photo. When I’m not on my phone, I check Instagram on Iconosquare. You can do more organization on the site, e.g. organize followings into categories and view by category, but I haven’t done so.

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