Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is It Normal?......

....to cry when you experience your first Anthropologie, J. Crew and Restoration Hardware store?....and to exclaim out really loud when you accidentally stumble upon Grand Central Station when you weren't expecting it on 42nd St...... I think I actually swore?!......and to be scheming already on how to send for your children and never go home?

More than I ever expected..this place......is beyond words. Truly. I kept telling every New Yorker who crossed my path today how lucky they were to live in such a fabulous city with EVERYTHING at their fingertips! It's not as crowded as I expected it to be...well yeah, Times Square is, where all the tourists are...but the streets are so wide ....and off the beaten track, it's quaint and full of so many delightful surprises.

I put in a big day. My feet aren't blistered, they're bruised right through to the bone. I walked from 7am to 9pm non stop. I started my day down in Lower Manhattan after a subway ride down the R line. I met a delightful gentleman also waiting for the same walking tour guide. He was from New Orleans, visiting his daughter, who is a District Attorney here in New York. We had an hour to kill until the tour so he thrilled me with stories of his childhood, growing up in Newport, Rhode Island. I am almost considering heading up there? It's only just over 3 hours by bus from here. Wish I hadn't booked and paid for all my accommodation here!


We spent the next 2+ hours exploring Lower Manhattan, Wall St, the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park and Ground Zero. Oh those reflection pools! ....such a moving tribute. After the tour, when I was on my own again to explore, I wandered into St Paul's (the oldest church in NY and the only one to survive all those damn fires) to find memorials containing all the people missing posters that were put up on the black iron fence of St Paul's when the towers first came down. St Paul's was used as a command post for all the volunteers during the clean up and volunteers actually slept in cots and ate there. There is a memorial featuring all the badges of the volunteers involved during that time....moving stuff. Spent most of the day, wiping away my running mascara.

After another subway ride up town, I grabbed a burger after realising I had not eaten a thing since the night before. Is this jet lag? ..not being hungry? That's my only symptom! The burger joint was a traditional diner..so I sat and soaked up the atmosphere and chatted to a well spoken, suited, Wall St type, looking gentleman who told me all about his adventures in Australia...not nearly as thrilling as my adventures here in NY but I didn't have the heart to say anything of course. Oh, and the burger was soooo good. Good, good, good! That smokey, chargrilled flavour?....taking that back home as a memory. The finest burger I have ever experienced. Big statement, but true.

I joined a Greenwich Village walking tour for the next 3 hours and hyperventilated over all the beautiful town homes that have been used in so many movies and TV shows. Saw the apartment block that Monica and Rachael from the TV show Friends lived in, the front steps of the house used in The Cosby show and the front steps used for many a movie, even ones starring Audrey Hepburn. Robert De Niro just sold his house in the same street for just under 10 million. It was originally listed for $16 million. Tough times. I saw the off Broadway Theatre where Barbra Streisand was discovered and the club where Jimmy Hendrix started off before he was shipped out to the UK.

We wandered through Little Italy and then parted ways at Washington Square Park..... and from there I embarked on a monstrous walk back up 5th Ave from below 8th Street to 49th, through the Flatiron district, stopping to admire (and cry over) every beautiful store I had only even dreamed of seeing in real life. I will do a separate post on 5th Avenue...as I thought you might like to wander with me on that walk and enjoy the sights too!

My feet were KILLING me by 42nd St but I had to take a peak at Grand Central Station when I stumbled upon it. Breathtaking. More tears. Maybe that's another symptom of jet lag....a highly emotional state!

I'm now back at my hotel in Times Square. It's 9.36pm. I seriously need to shower and sleep. I'm off to THe Hamptons first thing tomorrow morning. Looks like its a chocolate bar for dinner. I can't walk another millimetre.

My hotel bed is the most comfy bed I have ever slept in....big statement ....and the shower pressure? .....perfection. The stars have aligned for me this trip. I am ever so grateful to be here.

Speak to you once I get to Southampton and put in some walking miles there. Sweet dreams!

Actually,good morning! I had to wait until this morning as my photos aren't loading well onto my iPad and i had to get some sleep. They take too long to load so I am only sending through snippets as I don't have the time to wait for them to load individually. I have a million photos which might have to wait until I get home to be shared in all their glory!

I slept 6 hours last night, waking at 4.30am. I think my body clock has set already. No jet lag at all! I will share my secrets in another post. Dont want to get too cocky! I might get a delayed response today!?

I need to eat as dinner last night was a chocolate bar as I could not walk anywhere to scrounge for something. I am sorry that I am not replying to comments on instagram and here. I just have enough time to do a crude post each day and that's it. I am so grateful to have you sharing this with me. I took some fashion photos yesterday and Bruce (New Orleans walking companion) chuckled as I chased a woman down the street to get a photo of her fabulous ' New York hair' ....it was glossy and long and volumous and big!

I said I have a duty to my readers!

I'm off to The Hamptons. Dream coming true....just about now. I have to catch the bus on 59th st which is 10 blocks from here so I'd better get a move on. See you there,

A-M xx

Ps I am not sitting long enough anywhere to use free Wi Fi and that stupid Travel Sim, that all Australia Posts flog to you when they know you are heading overseas, doesn't work. I knew it wouldn't. The help desk are useless. It's a rort. So I am just loading up snippets when I get back to the hotel late at night. Will have to do. No time! See you in The Hamptons!

Pps I am loading up photos on instagram when I can so theres more over there, under TheHouseAmBuilt ... I think... I've forgotten my instagram handle! Sorry about the punctuation. Rushed.

Monday, July 30, 2012


We touched down in New York at 7pm last night, after a fabulous Virgin America flight from LA. I have to say the Virgin America crew have so much more life in them than the Aussie crew! It was a long flight so I made myself stay awake, to get used to local time, by chatting to the lovely crew up the back. We flew in over the western end of Long Island so I was climbing over my fellow, less enthusiastic, Aussie passengers to see the Long Island mansions on the shoreline. Seeing my first glimpse of the Manhattan skyline silhouette, against the setting afternoon sun, brought on the tears big time. I'm finally here. New York!

I had the most gorgeous driver pick me up. Simon. He's been here for 16 years, originally from South China. He gave me his best broken English tour of Queens, as we made our way into Manhattan over the beautiful Queensbro Bridge. He told me how spectacularly the crime rate has dropped in the time he has lived here and he even stopped the car so I could take my first picture of an NYPD cop car as he reckons NYC cops are the best in the world. Gorgeous. I wish I could have stolen him to guide me around the city for the rest of my time here. He drove the long way round, up gorgeous Park Avenue, for my benefit, and he chuckled at my tears as we hit Central Park.

I dumped my stuff off at the hotel, had a quick shower (the best I have ever had in my life! - big statement, but true) and then headed out into the bustling Times Square.

I just stood in the middle of it all, the thousands of tourists, inhaling the sounds, the tooting horns of the taxis and trucks, the smell of the street corner pretzel vans, the monstrous flashing bill boards.


I bought my first piece of NYC pizza to scoff whilst I wandered..... $3 for a piece the size of my head...a vege one .....soft doughy base, hardly any cheese .....was the tastiest piece of pizza I have ever had - another big statement, but true! There are going to be a few 'big statements', emanating from this here blog, over the next few weeks, I predict!

I wandered and wandered through Times Square until I came across two rather chilled out firemen perched on the bumper bars of their trucks in their station. I wandered in to have a chat. The engines were beautiful! Turns out Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 nine lost all 35 of their crew in 9/11. They had a beautiful memorial to them all in the station. They let me climb over their gorgeous trucks and have a good look through their station. They have such pride in their work and station...such an institution.

I headed back to my hotel when I realised it was midnight and I had to start sleeping on NYC time.

Got 5 hours sleep and now I am bouncing around realising that I have enough energy to do the 2 free guided walking tours I adventurously booked before I left Australia. My guide emailed me last night. I'm going to start in Lower Manhattan and work my way up to Greenwich Village by this afternoon.

I might try to get on one of those double decker tourist buses at some stage too. I only have today in NYC before I jump on the Jitney first thing tomorrow morning, for The Hamptons. I'll have to see the rest after The Hamptons and after the conference. I'll have 8 glorious days after the conference to explore everything then. I will be staying up on the Upper East side, near Central Park, after the conference. I have visions of running in Central Park every morning, once I am settled up there.

But now, today, feeling good, no jet lag yet. 'Fingers and toes'! Ref: Faux Fuchsia, 2010. I'm off to find something that is not pizza for breakfast!

Back soon!

A-M xx

Ps my apologies for my spelling and punctuation. I am not proof reading.... Just getting stuff down here and getting out there!


I'm In The USofA!!!

Well it took me 45 years but I am finally on American soil. I could cry! Still 6 hours to go until I get to New York but I had a great flight, met lots of interesting people and made new friends. Sat next to some BMX biker dudes off to Longbeach to do some biker filming. They kept me entertained with all their 'dude' stories. I think the next flight is going to be a struggle. I'm so wired, there will be no sleep. Bought my first US chocolate bar for the flight. A 'Godiva' .... Any good? Gee the serving sizes of everything over here are enormous. I got scared and bought a banana for breakfast.

Boarding now! See you in New York! Seriously beyond exciting!

A-M xx

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quick, Have I Forgotten Anything?

I've been awake since 2am #insomnia #devilswork Ref: Faux Fuchsia, 2010 At 2am it was 9am in LA and 12pm in New York. Maybe my body is responding to my fear of impending jetlag and it's getting me adjusted now? If I only I had the sun to stare in to at 2am. Anyway, I am awake for the Olympics Opening Ceremony so that's a gift with purchase with the insomnia.

Can you believe I am still going to be working today? I thought I'd shut up shop yesterday but I had some pleading emails from customers, "please, please one more before you go". I stood firm and said no, when the first two came in, and then I caved at the third. I'd mentally left work but I suppose I am opening the shop for a few hours this morning. #dedicated

Ok, so these are my belongings for the next few weeks. Everything fits into a carry-on sized bag which I have placed into a larger suitcase, that will all be checked in luggage. My little one said last night, when he was marvelling at my packing prowess, "is that big suitcase for all our presents?". Where'd he hear that? Who said anything about presents?

And just so you believe me.... there are 5 frocks under the top stuff, not including the one I am wearing on the plane with a light jacket. There's also one pair of slacks, 2 tops, 2 little scarves, a running outfit, jammies, underwear, a spare pair of shoes and a little bag of miscellaneous stuff.. medicine, some accessories etc, hairdryer.... and a tiny little flat leather day backpack lying at the bottom of it all!

I am taking all my toiletries on the plane with me, as they fit into the 20 x 20 <100ml allowance.... and then the rest in my carry-on is:

*a money neck thingy - I don't do the belt thing, too hard with frocks
*inflatable travel pillow
*VISA Cash Passport
*Visa credit card
*travel insurance policy number and helpline
*portable iPhone battery
*phone to iPad adapter
*phone/iPad charger/cord
*socket converter
*TSA padlock - in a bright colour so I can recognise my bag
*hand-wipes and tissues
*spare glasses
*'origami good luck charm thingy', made with love by my little one last night

I am just going to take my little carry on bag with me on the bus to the Hamptons on Tuesday and leave the big suitcases at the hotel back in NYC. I am only up there for 3 days so I won't need much at all.

I'm doing the iPhone photo thing, like I did with Paris.... no big chunky cameras to carry. I might throw in my 'building site' handbag camera for insurance... if I can find it? I can't download the photos from it to my iPad (it's an old number) so it would be an emergency camera only if I lost my iPhone. 

That's it. Done. I'm ready... apart from work.... I just have to do the ironing today and clean the toilets and I'm ready to get on that plane guilt free tomorrow. I'll be switching over to my travel sim on my phone tonight. I spent all day yesterday getting it working... not for the faint hearted... and I am only using it for instagram when I am not around free Wi-Fi. Emails, 'attempted blogging' and skype phonecalls to the boys will be done via the free hotel Wi-Fi. 

What a big week. I'm looking forward to a good rest on the plane. I'll be leaving early tomorrow morning so I will say farewell now and catch you on the other side (of the world)!

Miss you already,


Friday, July 27, 2012


Ok, it's sinking in that I'm outta here in 2 days time. I've started hugging and kissing my boys way more ....and telling them that I 'miss them already'. That's the hardest part, being away from them for a few weeks.... and being a long way away. I'll rise to the challenge. They are so busy with school and stuff, they won't even notice I've gone. Thank goodness for Skype.

I found this great New York Travel Guide through Flipboard last night. It's full of everything you could imagine... tourist tips and shows and updates on everything. How lovely that they will be lighting up the Empire State Building, in the colours of all the participating countries' flags, during the Olympics. I'm also very keen to catch a Central Park performance of Stephen Sondheim's 'Into the Woods'. I played in the orchestra of the Queensland Musical Theatre Company's production way back in 1996. It would be a wonderful trip down memory lane if I could see it again.... as an audience member and not a member of a 'flea pit' (that's what I called the orchestra pit in that production, as I am sure there were fleas down there). Glen Close is in it.... who'da thunk?  I hope the weather stays fine!

I have the longest wish list of things to do. I have been sent the most comprehensive lists of interior and design related things to see and experience, by my readers. Thank you so much everyone. I am so grateful that you took the time to write to me. I am collating it all on the plane trip. Everyone will be watching in flight entertainment and I'll be scheming with bits of paper and a notepad!

I have a big day ahead of me in the shed, finalising orders and shutting up shop for a few weeks. I so don't feel like it! I just want to go now!

I'm all packed! I'll share my packing experience with you tomorrow. You've gotta see it! I'm chuffed at how compact I am travelling. Helps that it is summer over there.

I can't sleep so I am off for a run I think... when it gets just a little bit lighter!
Happy Friday!

PS. Yep, mastered 'Blogsy'....although I cheated this morning and used the laptop when I am supposed to be practising iPad blogging. You'll just have to suffer what I send you from New York, with limited practice time under my belt. Any advice on Instagram? I have unlocked my iPhone and bought a 'Travel Sim' card which I am trying to activate and test. I tell you, those 'help desk ticket answerers' at Travel Sim have mastered sarcasm! Very intolerant of my blonde questions. I'm biting my tongue in my replies to them. Anyone else used this service?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blogsy It Is

Testing from Blogsy now. That's better! Bigger photos! Now you can see the pressed metal ceiling in all its glory! .... And oh those lights! Will come back here to practise some more tonight! A-M xx

iPad School For The Gifted

I'm sitting in bed this morning trying to learn how to blog from my new iPad, so I will be all schooled up on how to do it by the time I hit the free Wi Fi spots in New York!

I'm travelling seriously light so I won't have a fancy keyboard or anything that would make blogging whilst travelling easy....like a Wordpress blog! Ha! Will be actioning that when I get back, thanks to Katrina, 'blog designer and mover overer to Wordpress guru'! (New iPad blogger question 1 - how do I link back to Katrina's blog in this sentence?).

Ok, so I have Blogpress. Is that all I can use with a rattly old blogger blog? I checked the large photo setting but it comes out in a smaller size? I like my images to be big. Hmmm, anyone, what's the chop? (New iPad blogger question 2 - how do I centre a small font size link to the original photo source under my photo?)

The image is courtesy of houzz.com, by the way, and my new iPad screenshot skills. Nice kitchen. I love the lights. I digress.

Ok, so I am a total beginner again. I apologise in advance for my impending blog posts from this device in NYC, but at least there will be some! There was no way I was going to risk losing my whole work life, taking my beloved laptop. So there you have it. 'A-M's New York via iPad'. Bit excited that this one can take photos. There'll be no stopping me now..except for time constraints. I won't tell you how long it has taken me to get this far. The sun has risen .....and I started in the dark, dark. I'll get there! I always rise to a challenge!

Speaking of challenges, I set myself one yesterday and thanks to my wonderful readers I cleared all my Xxxx Xxxxxx stock out below cost within 24 hours! I needed to get it purged ASAP as I wasn't going to spend my last few days with my boys, before I head to NYC, fretting about moving stock, with only a 3 day time window of it being allowed to remain on my site (my only method by which to sell it...besides email.....and letterbox pamphlet drop!) Would have been much easier to not have purchased it in the first place, as it cost me dollars and time sending it out (still have a full day of packaging it all up today...sigh!...character building). I noticed on twitter other online stockists frantically promoting their clear outs of their branded stock too. I was not alone. I retweeted their sale tweets. We're all in this together. I mean you helped me!

So thank you, for buying all my stuff. I was sitting in the travel agents yesterday, extending my insurance (as I have extended my trip a bit!) and we were giggling over how fast the orders were coming in via my phone. If only business was that fast normally! ... I'd be building that next house yesterday!

Ok, I am going to hit publish and then run downstairs to see how everything looks here on the laptop! Fingers crossed! Viva New York iPad blogging!

A-M xx

Posted using BlogPress from A-M's iPad

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kitchen Furniture

 I found the kitchen that belongs to this beautiful antique armoire that I have been coveting!
 I so love that soft grey-blue colour. 
Isn't it wonderful how the cabinetry just hugs it tight?

 I'd almost forgo a Butler's pantry for that gorgeous armoire smack bang in the middle of it all.

Check out the stove!.... flanked by beautiful double hung windows of course!

I love this kitchen! It has the same layout as my old one.. sort of..... in a more glamorous fashion!

See? Twins! 

I seriously love kitchen furniture....

... and I needed to tell you that this morning!

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Nook

An 'elegant, under-the-stairs, upholstered, banquette nook' this morning. Very classy. I wonder if it is actually used, in any way, in real life though? Love the wall lamp. I have a similar one, in antique silver, in my shop. Also love the detail on the stairs too. Sigh.

This time next week, I will be waking up in New York. I will have one day in NYC, to get my bearings, before I head up to The Hamptons. I actually have 2 walking tours booked on my first day.... literally planning to hit the ground running.... well, walking. Over enthusiastic maybe.... but just in case I am full of beans, I booked one at 10am and one at 2pm. The 2pm one is in Greenwich Village. I think that's a great place to hang out for an afternoon and stare at the sun to get my pineal gland thinking it is not midnight back in Australia.

Lots to do this week. I have to collate all the wonderful emails and comments I have received from you into some sort of wish list/itinerary. I want to thank you for all your wonderful advice and if you have any more.... I am here... all ears... until early next Sunday! #beyondexciting

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Californian Beach House

I stumbled upon this gorgeous Californian cottage, over at House Beautiful....

Isn't it glorious?!!!

I am particularly in love with the kitchen, with it's vintage stove and it's breakfast bar blackboard! 

Look at the fridge! Custom made to look like an old icebox!

A beautiful trestle table with rustic captain's chairs, wicker baskets, timber floors bathed in sunlight.... just perfection. Those fabulous lights are made out of old buoys, cut in half.

A vintage pull-down map hides the TV... very clever.

Check out the bunk room!!!....

... and associated bathroom!... with lockers for guests! 
I love the striped walls... alternating bands of flat and semigloss paint. 
Now there's an idea!

Saved the best for last... the outdoor dining area. 
The marble bench-top extends from inside the kitchen to outside. 
Could it get any better? Sigh!

You can see more of this gorgeous cottage HERE. 

Happy Saturday afternoon! 
I'm off to a little bloggy afternoon tea... apparently it's my New York send off....
.. even though I am not leaving until next weekend.

I'll instagram the goodies!