The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Home and Design

Girls And Their Cats

Home and DesignAlexandra kingComment
Photo by BriAnne Wills

Photo by BriAnne Wills

Lois, Maxine and I are thrilled to be featured on the rad Instagram project Girls and their Cats this week! Head here for the full story on how I came to meet these two little weirdos, my signature morning look the "kitty bikini" and why these girls are so very wobbly.  Also make sure to scroll through the other photos for a whole host of sweet stories from cool women and their furry friends. In turn hilarious, moving and sweet, this amazing series, the brain/heart child of Brooklyn photographer BriAnne Wills, turns the "crazy cat lady" stereotype upside down, and highlights the special bond between a girl and her feline friend. The love is real, you guys.

Hotel Dreams- The Providence Hotel, Paris

Home and Design, Living For The Weekend, TravelAlexandra kingComment
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So I know that technically I am sitting in an office in Midtown Manhattan, but I'd like to urgently convey that in my head I'm at The Providence Hotel in Paris. Let me take you on a little tour.

The restaurant and bar looks like this.

Each of the rooms are individually decorated with vintage furniture, and all come stocked with a full cocktail bar. Also, that headboard.

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How dangerously luxurious is this room? Also since when did I actually like, no, LOVE, wallpaper?

A bed for dreaming and mustard velvet banquettes for reading/cocktail-ing.

Just you, a clawfoot tub, and some cute Parisian chimneys for company.

Simply heavenly, non? 

 

All photos courtesy of Hotel Providence

Spring Dreaming

Travel, Home and Design, Gift Guides, Fashion & BeautyAlexandra king2 Comments
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1) Ulla Johnson Odessa Dress, because it's my fave from her collection this year, and, though pricey, is some made-to-last, future-heirloom, pass-down-to-your-future-daughter level shit 2) Mac Lipstick in 'A Sprinkle Of Magic' which makes your lips look like you just finished up a serious make out session 3) Marc Chagall's Lovers Under The Lilacs, cos, as mentioned, Spring is for lovers 4) Earth Tu Face Skin Stick because Spring beauty= a little moisture and the sun on your face 5) D.S. & Durga Poppy Rouge fragrance, because it is the sexiest, freshest most incredible smell 6) Elie slipper flats because they're part harem chic, part downtown minimal 7) A Room With A View by E.M Forster, because it's romantic, hilarious and has a great scene involving an epic kiss in a poppy field 8)  French Market Basket for carrying your book, wallet, water, a forgotten KIND bar, half a dozen dog-eared business cards of people you must call and that half smoked pack of cigs from karaoke the other night (these are just theoretical examples) 9) Gold Hoop Earrings, cos they're a classic, for a classic girl.







A Frying Pan

Love and Marriage, Home and DesignAlexandra kingComment
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Here's a story about romance. Not the Valentine's Day bullshit kind. The real kind. On the first birthday I ever spent with Isaac, he bought me a frying pan. A FRYING PAN. Now let me tell you, on initial encounter, it wasn't that I was disappointed, exactly. I had not fallen in love with a man with a Ferrari or a Ferrari budget (thank god and dammit). But really, dude, a frying pan? He presented it, beaming, unwrapped, entirely naked, stern in its plain, utilitarian usefulness, and I dutifully went through the motions of pretending to be absolutely delighted (you can take the girl out of England..). What a nice sturdy handle! I exclaimed, half-heartedly. A terribly useful non-stick surface! Just the right size for pancakes! Then he explained.

When his parents were newly married, both just out of the military and living in Alabama, for their first wedding anniversary Isaac's father had wanted to get his new wife, Isaac's Mum, something nice. But they were totally broke, living at home, saving up for a new life in Texas. So, Isaac's dad went along to a tiny store in Gadsden, one of the only places to buy things at the time, and he saw the frying pan. They needed one, he said. He also remembers it was "teflon, and about four or five dollars" (I called up my sweet father-in-law, Dave, to get him to tell me the story in his own words). He also remembered that Isaac's Mum was "very surprised, and very gracious".

They used the frying pan for years, he added. Though he insists that when it comes to his romantic gifting skills, "I got better!".

So here's to the loveliest of family traditions. And here's to my frying pan. Long may it sizzle, and hang in the walls of my heart and home- as hot, heavy and hopeful as my love.

P.S

This Christmas Isaac got me a Soda Stream. I LOVE IT.



Design Crush: Tutsi Baskets

Home and DesignAlexandra king2 Comments
My Tutsi basket, home at last

My Tutsi basket, home at last

Is there anything uglier than a TV remote control? Nope. For some unknown reason our one television came with THREE of them, taunting my clutter phobe heart and finding ever more myriad and weird out of sight places to rest their hard ugly heads. Cue much drama during episodes of Top Chef when we needed to turn up the volume during Judges Table. Anyway, to finally end this war, and it is a war, once and for all, I had been searching for something I could store all TV related electronics in- out of mind and out of sight. It took me a while to figure it out. I needed something small, yet tall enough to handle a cumbersome remote. And I wanted a lid. And for it to be beautiful. And that's when it dawned on me- the Tutsi basket.

I first became obsessed with these conical lidded baskets after I traveled to Rwanda for work, and saw them being made by smiling women weavers, casually chatting among themselves, seemingly oblivious to their performance of extraordinary alchemy with only sunshine and dry grass and fluttering fingers. African basketry is also a uniquely female art form, which I love. As this article from The New York Times points out- "Everyone thinks of African art in terms of sculpture and masks that are made by men...But textile and fiber arts are the domain of women.” 

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I adored the story behind these beautiful things. The problem was, I was in Rwanda on a super intense reporting trip and didn't have time to sleep, let alone identify the Tutsi basket I wanted to take home, so I left that beautiful country basket-less. Sad indeed.

The bad news is that outside Africa, they're hard to find, and pricey. There are numerous divine examples on fancy auction sites and specialist online shops. But I rejoiced when I was able to find this, which I was about to buy before I realized I needed a slightly bigger version. I eventually found the one you can see in first picture on Ebay.  She cost a princely $50 with shipping, which I know seems like a lot for a basket. However I'm of the firm belief these are heirloom items (justifies self, frantically). Regardless, my plant jungle seems to have taken to her, and I have a uniquely chic prison for those horrible controls. Everyone's a winner.

P.S

More internet sleuthing has yielded this steal of a deal, as well as this and this.

 



Five Indestructible House Plants

Home and DesignAlexandra kingComment
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So now that you've had a good look around our apartment (thanks for stopping by, you babes!)  you'll have noticed that I have a little bit of a thing for plants. Isaac will laugh like a drain at the casual nature of the previous sentence and argue instead that it's more like a pathological mania (ever long-suffering, he has carried home many a giant plant in the course of our relationship-exhibit A). I can't help it though. I grew up with a mother who considered no room complete without something green, and it's a habit I've inherited, as well as a sort of in-built sense of what plants need, and an ever-present and rather maternal yen to keep my growing (literally) collection happy.

A few sweet readers with self-professed black thumbs asked where they might be going wrong, so I thought I'd share a list of five of the most patient and hardy house plants I know. But first, here's a piece of advice- the biggest mistake I've noticed people make with houseplants is when they view them as mere ornaments, which of course they are, really. But that's a problem. Because, and I know this sounds a little loopy (crazy plant lady alert) in order to have a happy plant-filled home, you should view them more like pets. Yep. In order for house plants to thrive, they truly need a domestic pet level of commitment, and an environment that absolutely works for their needs, which of course vary wildly by species and size. Buying a plant that requires full sun, lots of humidity and daily watering is not going to work for you if you live in a basement and take a bunch of vacations. It's the equivalent of buying a hamster and then expecting it to live happily in a fish tank- certain death shall certainly ensue, despite everyone's best intentions (poor hamster!). But the good new is that for every finicky Persian cat of a plant that needs daily grooming and a velvet pillow to stay content, there's a dependable and darling tortoise who's happy with salad scraps and a cardboard box for napping. The five plants below certainly fall into that latter category and are also inexpensive, garden store staples (I'll also have a post in the coming weeks with some more finicky and pricey girls for you to adopt, should you dare).

1) ZZ Plant

 

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Good old ZZ plants (these are the deep green guys in the main picture that I have in my bedroom) are Herculean in their toughness. They do need some light, though will absolutely tolerate very low sun, drafts, abject disregard etc. They are practically indestructible. A sure fire-way to kill a ZZ though? Over watering. I water mine, very lightly, literally once a month. If that. They absolutely thrive on neglect. Just leave these babes alone, and they'll be happy as clams.

2) Peace Lily

A Peace Lily is the only plant I've had repeated success with in rooms that have absolutely no light-zero, nada, nothing. These plants are native to rainforests, where they grow right on the ground, beneath the forest canopy. Therefore, they like things to be dark and damp (they LOVE bathrooms- everytime you take a shower, you're giving your Peace Lily a spa experience). As much as you shouldn't water the ZZ, you should do the direct opposite for the thirsty PL. Lots of water, once a week. And under no circumstance should you put these sun-shy plants in a window. A side note: Peace Lilies are some of the best air purifiers in the biz (NASA astronauts take them to space)

3) Sanseveria

Sanseveria or Snake Plants are so gorgeous and sculptural. You can see mine here, which I've had for four years! Their care routine is basically the exact same as the ZZ. Overall, Snake plants are pretty easy going, but the more light the better. Again, like the ZZ,  a sure fire way to kill a snake plant is to over-water it (one of my girlfriends recently called me to tell me her snake plant had rotted from overwatering-"I just loved it too much!" she said, to which I replied "darling, you should see it more as waterboarding". As you can tell I am VERY bossy about this).

4) Pothos

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Pothos plants are the BEST. Mainly because they grow so fast, and the higher you hang them, the snakier they get. These are the plants I have hanging by the leather chair in my bedroom (photo here). Pothos like to be kept lightly damp and in medium light. Water once a week, and they'll reward you beautifully. They are also terribly compliant and just want to please, so will put with a lot of crap, even (deep breath) over-watering and low-light. Because they like to grow downwards, Pothos do wonderfully in hangers.

5) Bird of Paradise

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The Bird of Paradise is a great pick if you're looking for something big (and, with proper care, they'll reward you with lots of extra growth, too). They also love light and are perfect by a window. Birds of Paradise like their soil to be a little moist, so, like the Pothos, I advise a weekly water.

And hey, you guys, don't feel bad if you lose a house plant or five on your journey to green fingers. When it happens to me, and it still occasionally does, I just figure that 15 bucks of flowers would have lasted only a few days, and therefore a month or two of plant is a fab deal. So bonne chance my fellow plant nerds! May your apartment jungles grow wild and free.

P.S

A genius tip for knowing when you need to water and my take on the biggest plant diva of all, the Fiddle Leaf Fig