Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tabletop Greens That Don't Die

As the holidays approach and we get ready to actually officially have company for the first time since we moved into our new house, I've been trawling the internet to find a longer-lasting alternative to cut flowers, and preferably something that will be resistant to my black thumb.

I'm a huge fan of terrariums. Nothing but a few drops of water and indirect sunlight and these mini ecosystems can really flourish. This modern Danish terrarium available on Pop Deluxe is gorgeous and would look great on the dining table or mantle, but etsy has a host of more affordable options, including these by Made by Mavis. But the last one I got, I still managed to kill everything inside.

Etsy also has other great options like these amazing preserved plant decorations by floradelsol. They're not plastic so there's still definitely some natural beauty to the elements. I love my comfort garden and have been eyeing a few other things for our next dinner party.

And if I had the time to drive out to Venice, I'd love to explore Big Red Sun's collection of sumptuous succulent offerings. They just showcased some of their work at a recent work event that Secret Agent PR helped to organize and their decorations really made the party. I'd love to get my mits on their succulent globes or one of their larger table top arrangements. One of these arrangements and you're done. For the year. They're timeless and can live as long as you take care of them.

But realistically, I should probably focus on trying to get our dining chairs delivered before Thanksgiving, so I'll probably just going with these adorable wheatgrass placeholders from Revisions Studios.

I'm just glad there are such talented and creative plant people out there so I can just click and buy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Out Loud

While I'm still at best a neophyte blogger, I'm thrilled to be participating in Blog Out Loud's next event at DWR on Nov. 4. Sitting on a panel with the likes of Alissa Walker (Gelatobaby, Fast Company), Laure Joliet (Apartment Therapy, Dwell, At Home at Home), Gregory Han (Apartment Therapy, Unplggd) and Emily Goligoski (Sanfranista, Notes on Design) is pretty exciting. We'll be talking about a host of different things, like finding our voices, how we got into it, how we keep up with it, why we even do it, all that good stuff. My angle on it being slightly different since I'm from the dark side.....(PR).

Blog Out Loud organizes these blogger town halls regularly mainly for people who are interested in blogging themselves, putting a face to the monikers and kind of offering an inside look at the ever-expanding world of blogging. Basically, they promote self-expression through blogging.

The best part? Since organizers Megan and Rebecca have great design taste and connections, the goodie bags are always AWESOME. If you plan on attending this event, be sure to snag one. Secret Agent client Amenity will be putting in a special modern organic goodie for all attendees.

Here are the details...hope to see you there. Hecklers welcome.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

About Hiring...

Over the last few months, I've been blogging for American Express' OPEN Forum as a "Lifestyle Expert" for Inhabitat. The topic is generally supposed to be "lifestyle" with a green tinge (since that's what we know about at Inhabitat), but still needs to be applicable to small business owners. Honestly, I've kind of been struggling with ideas on what to cover. Mostly because the topic is lifestyle and most of the time, I don't really think I have a life! But finally, after several essais, I think I've found the key, which is to write about my own business-related discoveries. Despite my own disbelief at this fact, I am indeed a business owner. And my business is, knock on wood, doing pretty well, all things considered. (And by "things" I mean recession.)

My last story on Hiring for the Home Office actually got a few comments (at least in the twittosphere) which was pretty rad. For the record, my new employee/intern/assistant-secret-agent has full use of a separate bathroom and doesn't seem to mind the occasional poot from Brutus.

PS. That's not my office, just a very neat and clean example of a home office. I'd share a photo of Secret Agent HQ, but then I'd have to eliminate the three people who read this blog.

Good-Byte, Fare thee Well

My friend Shelley recently started a delightful and delicious little blog about Single-Handed Cooking, and it reminded me that this whole blogging thing is about enjoying yourself. This isn't a press release, or a post for an editor. This is straight up, unadulterated self-expression. That said, I'm hereby retiring the ridiculous byte system of categorization that I stupidly instituted in a lame attempt to organize my writing. Frankly, all I do all day is organize thoughts, words, and expression. The Saturnfly Report has the right to be as completely disorganized and scattered as it wants to be since I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who reads it and well, that's pretty much how my mind works anyways. A million things, all at once.

So just as Shelley's Hawaiian Ladies come out unabashedly different each time, so shall my posts from now on (though clearly never quite as delectable!)

Photo by Wade

Friday, July 31, 2009

designbyte: Second Hand Slingback

I'm on the hunt for dining chairs. I have this dream that I'll be able to find eight to ten relatively matching chairs with great potential at a thrift store and save us tons of money. With my chronic lack of patience, the chances of this dream coming to fruition are slim to none, but one can hope! Upon a friend's suggestion, I checked out the Lincoln Heights St. Vincent De Paul's Thriftstore this afternoon (instead of working).

After nearly being kicked out of the thrift store for taking photos of potential candidates (who knew that the privacy rights of unwanted items were so protected?), I gave up. But the journey was not fruitless. Towards the back, I found this groovy two-piece sling back chair made from rattan and bamboo. I'm not sure if it's vintage, but it's for damn sure old. Nevertheless, after a quick bath, it looks totally at home on our otherwise unfurnished deck. We'll probably add a few bright pillows in the next few weeks.

I guess the dream is not yet dead!

Friday, July 24, 2009

travelbyte: Hogwild in Hoogwoud, The Controversy Inn

I just wrote a round up of the Top 5 Eco-Hostels and Hotels for Inhabitat this week. I managed to squeeze in 6, but there are of course so many more than that. One of my favorite unsung eco-spots is the Controversy Inn in the beautiful village of Hoogwoud, Holland.

Housed in two trams that used to travel the streets of Amsterdam and some town in Germany respectively, the Controversy Inn offers four 'luxury' suites, replete with hot tub, built out of recycled, reclaimed, and found objects. The sink is a tire. The hot tub used to be a car. The bed is a lifeboat. A table was once a parking sign. Each of the four suites is themed, from Mexican to Goth (or maybe it's Purple Rain-inspired).

Apparently Irma and Frank Appel have always had a thing for cars and vehicles. The trams are situated in a field on their farm, along with several other reclaimed items. Irma and Frank's bedroom is the upper floor of an old double decker bus. Their dog (Dodge) sleeps in a tire. The donkeys (Morris and Lotus) sleep in an old city bus, and the cat (one Harley Davidson) likes to sleep on top of a Lamborghini.

(This would be the sombrero hot tub in the deluxe Mexican suite...)

(...and the Purple Rain Pimp Suite.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

travelbyte: Summer Sentence in Slovenia

The virtual vacation continues.  From Taiwan, we head to the gem of the Adriatic, beautiful Slovenia, for a modern penitentiary experience. The geniuses at Sou Hostel have created a backpackers paradise with Hotel Celica; budget-friendly accommodations nestled within the walls of a former prison.  But a summer sentence here doesn't sound so bad.  Book a cell for some privacy or bunk up with other international inmates in the main room. Bar, restaurant, and gallery on the grounds.  Scary prison guards, not included.

realbyte: Big Parade LA Marches from Downtown to Hollywood

There's no better way to get to know your city than to actually walk its streets (and stairs).  Be part of the urban trek this weekend and join Big Parade LA as volunteers, friends, and complete strangers storm the streets.  Starting from Angels Flight in downtown LA and ending at the Hollywood Sign, the Big Parade will span 40 miles and 135+ stairs over two days.

Check out the full schedule here and join up for the whole walk, just five minutes, or hang out at the meeting spots.  Sunset Blvd. is major corridor on Day One.  You can catch the walk at Alvarado, end in Silver Lake, and just bus it back to your car.  Or join in the afternoon on Day Two and end your weekend at the Hollywood Sign, with views of the Ennis House along the way.

Follow the entire two-day event on Twitter @bigparadela for up-to-the-milisecond tweets.  Chances are they may pass by your house or your office on their urban expedition, so show your support by showering them with cold drinks or words of encouragement.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

travelbyte: Kitty Scratch Fever in Taiwan

I can't actually take any big trips this summer, so to fend off the seasonal travel envy and angst I'm starting a mini virtual vacation exploring the wondrously weird travel destinations that...well...defy description.  First stop?  Taiwan, for a dose of Kitty Scratch Fever.

Like the fever, the fascination with Hello Kitty is inexplicably infectious, though perhaps not entirely benign.  If the accessories, posters, and other accoutrements weren't enough, now travelers can literally live La Vida Rosa with Uni-Resort's Hello Kitty-themed guest villas.  Strange but great find, Unusual Life and Hello Kitty Hell.  We should have a South Park mountain resort in Colorado....

Friday, July 10, 2009

oddbyte: Speaking of Dead Cities

I just read about this amazing website (via the New York Times and Treehugger).  A web developer and amateur photographer in Detroit has been shooting the empty and deteriorating old houses since the 1990s with his Hasselblad.  It's heart-breaking to see some of these noble and gorgeous old houses just abandoned to the ravages of time. 

Buy a print for $35 and a portion of the proceeds will be do
nated to Habitat for Humanity.  It's your last chance to see these amazing old dames before they crumble to dust or are razed to the ground.

newsbyte: Inhabitat and Dwell Announce Reburbia Competition

Whether budding or jaded, Inhabitat and Dwell are calling all ilk of architect, designer, and urbanist to submit their bright ideas on how to reshape suburbia for a more sustainable future.  With countless cookie cutter developments becoming relative ghost towns and whispers of the Obama administration's plans to bulldoze square miles of our shrinking cities, the death of the sprawling suburbs as we know them is nigh.  So what next?  Good question.  If you have some ideas, this is your chance to chime in.  

Learn more about Reburbia and submit your designs here.  The deadline for submissions is August 1st.  At stake? A cash prize of $1,000.  Winners - judges' choice and people's top pick - will be published on Inhabitat and as well as in the December issue of Dwell Magazine.

So go forth and green suburbia,....please!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

designbyte: Skate Study House Makes ID's Product of the Week

Rock on, Skate Study House.  Upon perusing the I.D. for the first time in a long time (ironically, I work in PR but very rarely have the time to read magazines anymore!), I  was thrilled to see that this quintessentially Californian, kinda Barcelonian, maybe French design atelier made the Product of the Week.  I'm that much happier since I wrote a quick story about them last year for Inhabitat!  Good

Thursday, June 25, 2009

designbyte: Dwell on Design This Weekend in LA

Check out Dwell on Design this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center (South Hall).   Besides great design programming, DoD serves up something new and delicious this year, provided you buy your ticket in advance.  The home tours are sold out, but the Sunday kitchen demonstrations during Square Meal should be very enlightening.  (I never have perfected the art of poaching...)  Not to mention the great shopping on the floor... Even if they weren't my client, I'd totally be going this weekend!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

greenbyte: Last Chance to Pimp Your Eco-Ride

Inhabitat has extended their Pimp My Green Ride Bike Contest to June 24th.  Win an awesome folding Strida 5.0 SX Limited, valued at $950, by simply sending in a photographic reason for why you deserve, need, can't survive without this special folding bike.  Whether you have a million and one steps leading up to your house or your car blew up in a freak accident and you've since turned over a new bike leaf, take a representative snapshot and see if you could be the lucky new owner of this state-of-the-art bike.  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

travelbyte: From the Air

Why is it that American airlines are so behind the times?  I'm sitting on a Virgin America flight somewhere over Pennsylvania, flying back to Los Angeles from Boston....blogging.  How cool is that?  

The entire Virgin experience is superior: from the slick check-in kiosks on Starck-like white tables, to the hot pink (maybe they're supposed to be red) and blue lighting, the humorous animated safety film, and the on-demand munchies.  From start to finish, this airline uses sleek and modern design combined with smart technology to give each traveler an experience that feels special compared to what one gets on other airlines.  

To top it off,  Virgin was just rated the greenest airline by Greenopia.  The company uses biofuels, has a comprehensive recycling program that hopes to divert 50% of its waste by 2012, offers travelers carbon offsets that go toward green energy generation, and has transparent environmental reporting on its website.

Clearly, Richard Branson is a genius, and I'm glad to have finally popped my Virgin travel cherry!  I can't believe it took me this long.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

realbyte: Anniversary at Palate

While Palate did not disappoint, it's pretty much a Glendale version of A.O.C. (plus urns full of giant plastic grapes).  Since Jonathan Gold happened to personally recommend the restaurant to a close friend, we absolutely had to stop by for our 3rd wedding anniversary.  The meal started with a plate of delectable cheeses and progressed to homemade pickled cucumbers (which were most definitely a highlight).  For the main course, we over-indulged ourselves trying four separate dishes (one of which - the steamed asparagus with egg - I am so going to deconstruct!) We lubricated our gastronomical experience with a lovely bottle of Sancerre.  Delicious? Yes.   Absolutely unforgettably mind-blowingly amazing?  Meh.  The fine wine and cheese and refined dinner portions have been done before so it's no longer surprising.  But what does set Palate apart is smart retailing.  They offer a library of cook books and a space where you can buy your favorite wine and cheese.  Now that is pure brilliance! 

Monday, April 13, 2009

green byte: Spring Greening DIY Design Contest Draws to Close

Inhabitat's Spring Greening DIY Design Contest comes to a close tomorrow, April 14th, at midnight EST.  The contestants this year are quite brilliant.  I wrote a story about one inventive submission from San Francisco dubbed the "Live Long and Prosper" lamp.  And the inner tube chair wrapped in recycled upholstery hailing all the way from Norway is pretty gorgeous too.  The book book shelf also brings a touch of wit to any room (why didn't I think of that?).   But I'd have to say that my favorite so far comes from Porto Alegre, Brazil where one creative - and infinitely patient - person managed to give old phone books a new life as rad new accordion coffee table.  If you've got an upcycled/recycled DIY project to share, you still have 24 hour to submit your great, green go on: get greening!