Nothing feels as good as getting the last open spot at the counter of your charming local café on a bustling Saturday morning. Finally, you can read your book in peace among the vintage amber chandelier, the smell of fresh brewed coffee, the dainty metal chairs.
Unfortunately, most Saturdays the café is a war zone. Hungover college students do battle over the communal table, hungry masses bump elbows at the bar seating, croissant crumbs decorate the reclaimed wood. And if you do find a seat, you are guaranteed to have at least a few people give you the side eye from the sugar station for taking the time to enjoy your latte.
What if I told you the serenity of the cafe does not have to be marred by people. In fact, with a few home décor adjustments, you’ll never have to spend $6 on iced coffee again.
1. Cups. Replacing your slogan mugs with a wide mouthed cup and saucer set sets up the illusion that your $0.30 cup of joe is a coffee experience. Add a tiny spoon that serves no other purpose and you’re one step closer to café greatness.
2. A Chalkboard. A chalkboard or some chalkboard paint makes a space feel strangely cozy. Is it the personal connection? That someone dirtied their hands to let you know that the word of the day is ‘chrysostomatic’? Either way, try a chalkboard above the kitchen table or on the fridge to add a bit of rustic chic to your home.
3. Itty Bitty Tables. Even if you have a dining set, consider adding a small round table to your kitchen or window nook. A sunny space is ideal, but somewhere below a cheery art print works just as well. With a cup of coffee, a book, and your own private table, you can have the charm of the café with a side of peace and quiet.
Natural beauty is all around us, from a skyline sunset to a misty mountain range, but capturing all of these moments is impossible. Luckily for us, Instagram is teeming with fantastic landscape photographers, able to transport us around the globe with just a swipe through our feed. Here are some to look out for:
@kristinawilsonphoto utilizes lighting to create a soft glow that seems to radiate from each shot.
@shanemichaelblack has an affinity for mountains, highlighting their proportions by including himself for scale in many of his images.
@stevint is not afraid to get chilly; hiking and photography collide to make his epic snowy images.
@chrisburkard has a cool 2.3 million photographers on Instagram, and there is no question why. His shots have an impossible vibrancy to them, as if we could walk right into them.
@hillary_younger employs a darker, more saturated look to her photos, amplifying the drama and bringing out rich texture.
Last year was the peak of the high maintenance glam home; and now that copper and marble have seemed to run its course, we have opened our hearts to more natural textures. In particular, woven baskets have made an astonishing comeback as an easy way to introduce a bohemian vibe to a room without it risking looking like a tent at Bonnaroo.
Wicker baskets, in addition to being affordable, are one of the most sustainable basket options since they are biodegradable and made from fast growing trees like rattan. Add a cute plant for additional earth mother vibes.
This week, high-end restaurants offer fixed price menus, a saving grace for designer appetites on a strict budget -well- a budget that accounts for $30-sashimi-and-miso-brownie-lunches. There are 381 restaurants participating in New York Restaurant Week, but if picking just one seems daunting, here are a few shining stars in this year’s culinary constellation:
Haru is the peak of sushi greatness if you’ve grown up enjoying the mayo volcano that is AYCE as much as I have. It isn’t Morimoto, but the fish is surprisingly fresh for a restaurant whose closest source of water is the Hudson. nycgo.com/restaurants/haru-amsterdam-avenue
Ben Jack’s Steakhouse was opened by two Peter Luger alumni, and it shows. Close your eyes and quality beef, cookie-cutter wait staff, and no-fuss plating could almost be a Peter Luger. Only Peter Luger isn’t offering an outrageous filet minion deal.
In a city jam-packed full of meat-centric Korean BBQ, steakhouses, and hot pot, Hangawi chose a different route. Hangawi is a vegetarian restaurant singing praise to chewy sweet potato noodles and fiery kimchi kale. A must eat for both vegetarians and those of us burned by cloying sauces and fatty broth.
Love the minimalist Scandinavian look but hate the cold? Us too. High contrast black, grey and white fabrics are effortless; they match anything and give the room a modern polished look without much fuss.
You don't have to bear the icy Nordic winter to get the look, you can find key fabrics in most department stores that will give you the playful minimalist home of your dreams. Mixing high contrast patterns look trendy without trying too hard, so don't be afraid to go all in on a reading nook, or just keep it simple with a bedspread and matching pillowcase.
Justin Reznick is a photographer, environmentalist, teacher, and author. His eye for color and detail combined with innovative camera technique sets him apart from modern landscape photographers, and his love of natural and man-made architecture creates dynamic images in any setting.
"Lower Antelope Canyon is my favorite quarter mile on Earth," Reznick said. "The amazing fact is that the sandstone walls are the same color, it’s the way the light bounces in the canyon that produces the color separation. This only happens at the perfect time of day."
Taken spur-of-the-moment, his photographs are an act in reaction photography and a fantastic display of new camera technology. It was taken with an infrared camera, which can capture light beyond what the human eye can see, providing a dramatic, high contrast image.
"A lot of photography is about reacting to light and sometimes it’s fast and fleeting and being able to adjust," Reznick said. "If you know your camera really well, the camera’s not going to slow you down."
Sean Davey lives the life we city-dwellers can only daydream at our desks about. The Australian native spends his days on Oahu’s north shore, photographing surfers and ocean wildlife. He doesn’t put so much emphasis into planning a shot, rather he grabs his gear and follows his gut, hoping a shot from the day will be his ‘golden egg.’
From visiting small farming communities to swimming with large schools of fish, Davey shares his daily happenings through photography that feels spontaneous and organic. “I don’t really put too much emphasis on planning, I just kind of go.” 140 magazine covers later and Davey hasn’t changed his process.
“The best photos come out of nowhere,” Davey said.
You can find both photographers' prints here.
Contemporary Oil Painter Bill Jacklin features New York in his new Marlborough Gallery exhibit. Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 6-8pm. (http://www.artnet.com/galleries/marlborough-gallery/bill-jacklin-1986-2016/)
The Sculptors Guild marks its 80th anniversary with a special exhibit curated by New York Poet Josh Yau. Opening Reception on Sunday, February 5 from 1-4pm. (http://www.nyartbeat.com/event/2017/30D2)
The ICP School celebrates visual resistance in a discussion led by artist Quito Ziegler and filmmaker Kristen P. Lovell. RSVP required. (https://www.icp.org/events/visual-resistance)
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