Brooklyn Crab

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today my good friend Lizzy is here giving us a little dose of Brooklyn. Scott and I loved Brooklyn when we lived there, but now with a baby and a need for more space and better schools, we're making the Jersey migration (also those crazy intense Park Slope moms scare me a bit!). But that doesn't mean that we can't make the occasional jaunt through the tunnels and over the bridges to get our Brooklyn fix.  Lizzy recently turned me on to Brooklyn Crab which sounds like such a fun place.  I'm looking forward to trying it before the end of the summer.  Take it away Lizzy:

The other weekend a group of us decided to take a little Brooklyn Bike Adventure. Setting off from Williamsburg we rode south to Brooklyn Crab, the recently opened shellfish lovers mecca, nestled on the water's edge in rehabilitated Red Hook. The crab shack stands three stories high above the East River providing scenic views of the Statue of Liberty, Governor's Island, and lower Manhattan.  When you arrive the bustle of the city immediately escapes you, and you are taken to a local beach-side watering hole where you smell the salt water and the fresh catch in the air.  The host jots your name down and casually mentions it will be a few hours, then gives you the run down on the shack's amenities.  Bar to the left, mini-golf and corn-hole in the back yard; we will call your cell when you're up!  We walk away confused and excited, head to the bar, grab a beer and absorb.  The bar's windows are fully open shutters providing unobstructed views south and east.  Families, old, young, hipsters, and Hamptonites are meshed together like a large dysfunctional family enjoying Sunday dinner and one another's company.  A few beers and hours later, we we're seated.  Shortly thereafter our patient and helpful waitress entices us with a Bloody Mary.  The Old Bay infused Bloody is topped with none other than the oyster of the day.  Of course!  The menu is full of raw, steamed, baked, and fried deliciousness.  When heading to the shack I recommend taking a few pals, ordering family style, and plan on a wait, so pack a snack for those hungry husbands.  Leave Brooklyn and the city behind, take in the fresh food, the casual atmosphere and enjoy the little shack in Red Hook.

- Lizzy

We're Open!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last week was an exciting one for my hardware line. The Nest Studio hardware shop is up and running and accepting pre-orders for shipping in August. Stop in and check it out.  AND our faceted knob got featured on HGTV's Daily Delights Blog!  Stay tuned for new prototypes and designs in the coming month and get your orders in before our first production run sells out.

Wanderlust: South Africa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Today I'm over at Delicious Duds guest posting about one of the places I've been dying to hit up.  Here's a little sneak peak;  jump over for the full post.

Stylin' Mammas: The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blame it on the boots and San Francisco's "June Gloom" but I am taking the Southwest thing and running with it.  This outfit is for the San Francisco summer.  Too cold for shorts, so cropped jeans give a nod to the season while keeping the legs warm.  Button down is rumpled for a "fresh from the beach" feeling.  Sweater is perhaps more aptly described as as a big old blanket for when the fog rolls in.  Necklace is that nod to glamour that finishes the look and makes it appropriate enough for cocktails al fresco -- if you don't have kids and do that sort of thing -- or a late-afternoon beer with the husband, if your life is more like mine.

Thoughts on New York

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's been a crazy few weeks here with moving and getting adjusted to big city life again. We've been very fortunate to have my parents with us since early July.   They helped us with our move in LA and drove our car across the country (yes, you heard that right) to deliver it to use in NJ.  And now they're here helping us with the house hunt and taking care of Baby Bryan while we get settled.  We can't thank them enough for all the help and support they have provided during this time.  

Transitioning back into the land of humidity, public transportation, and walk-up apartments has been interesting.  City living definitely requires an extra layer of coordination with everything you do, but it's also so exciting. I joined some friends for dinner and drinks last week in the city.  Completely forgetting about the off-duty cab witching hour, I ended up walking from the West Village to Nolita. Thank God I was wearing sensible shoes!  In any case, please stay with me for these next few weeks. I may be a little slow on the blog post front, but I hope to keep you as updated as possible (and we should be close to making a decision on our little version of NJ house hunters). 

House Hunters: New Jersey Edition

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lately I've felt like I've been on an episode of HGTV's House Hunters.  We've been hunting for Chez Davis East for a while, but recently got serious now that Chez Davis West is pretty much sold.  

We're looking in several communities in New Jersey.  Montclair / Glen Ridge, Maplewood, and Millburn. Each community has its own vibe and unique personality.  Montclair is the more urban of the three. It has several town centers: Downtown Montclair, Watchung Village, Walnut Village, and Upper Montclair.  Lots of great bars and restaurants (many of which are BYO which means extra cash in the bank - cha-ching!) and a very cool magnet school system.  Glen Ridge, its adjoining sister town is a little more white bread but has some of the best schools in Jersey.  Maplewood is smaller than Montclair but closer to New York City.  It has a New England Town sort of feel with tons of mature trees, a super quaint town center and a high school with a ropes course to die fore.  Millburn feels a little more suburban but the property values are really high (which means if we can get the worst house in Millburn, we'll still be good to go), and the schools are some of the best in the nation. 

Of course, as luck would have it, we are considering three houses in all three areas.  There are pros and cons to each. Some need more work than others, but have amazing proximity to the Manhattan bound train. Others, less work but a higher price point, while others are farther from the train but have more square footage. As you can see, all three are some sort of take on the Colonial style (center hall, side hall, front porch etc) which is very prevalent in these parts.

Which one will we choose?...... stay tuned after the commercial break (of course, unlike the TV show, we might put in an offer and not have it accepted and not get any of the three). We shall see....

Childstyle Shoot

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well, one last hurrah for Bryan's nursery.  Now that we're all moved out and settled in Jersey, it's nice to have HGTV's Childstyle episode as a little momento of Bryan's first room. Here's hoping we can find a house that is as great as ours in LA and that affords us the same opportunities to personalize and upgrade as we did at Chez Davis West. It was so much fun meeting Rebecca and the rest of the Childstyle Crew and being a part of the shoot.

Taking the Plunge

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


As most of you have conjured from my recent blog posts, change is afoot in the Davis household.  Scott is set up in his new job at Nickelodeon in Times Square, and we've made the big cross country move to New York (well, really Jersey just across the river from Manhattan).  We are very excited about our big move and eager to reconnect with our friends on the East Coast.

So what does that mean for me career wise?  Well, I'm taking the plunge and am wading into the wild world of sole proprietorship and being one's own boss.   For those who have been following along for a while, you know that in between work, baby and renovating our home, I've been pouring my heart and soul into both this blog and my new hardware line.  Well, with so many commitments, something had to give.  Many folks in my industry have asked if I am transferring back to Wilson Associates' New York Office (from whence I came before setting up shop at Wilson LA).  Wilson has been my family for the past eight years, and there was certainly the opportunity to go back to the New York office.  And having that opportunity made my decision that much harder.    However, I'd been thinking about going out on my own and making my passion projects into a real business for a while and the time just seemed right.  I'll get to spend a little more time with Bryan while he's a wee one and focus more energy on growing my hardware line and doing some residential and commercial projects on my own.

I am very excited about this new chapter in our lives and the opportunity to share it with you all.  From house hunting in Jersey, to renovations and updates at Chez Davis East, to new introductions to Nest Studio's Hardware line, I hope you stick around and follow along with this new phase in our journey!

Artist Profile: Erika Huddleston

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Fourth Artist Profile in the series showcases the work of Erika Huddleston. Erika is an artist cum landscape architect.  We went to high school together in Dallas and since then Erika has dabbled in textile design, interiors, art, and landscape. She is truly an example of the well rounded artist.  Here we go.

Landscape Recording: Static/Dynamic IV", 2011, oil on canvas, 32 x 40

How did you get into painting and art? and What is your training?
I have painted all my life and enjoy trying out new materials and techniques.  I went through a phase of being into earth pigments and went into the Kremer Pigments shop in Manhattan all the time buying gilding gold leaves and linseed oils.  I also ordered bags and bags of colored powdered pigments from Sinopia in San Francisco and used casein and different matrices and did some wall murals-- always testing.  But, my first real academic class in painting was in college where I had an inspirational professor named Don Evans.  He lives in Nashville and encouraged us to let the paint's physical properties direct our work.  He grew up in Abstract Expressionism.  It was in New York at Parsons School of Design that I learned more about the decorative arts and began incorporating space and place into my art.

Landscape Recording III: Static/Dynamic, oil on canvas, 32 x 40, 2011; Hay + Straw II, oil on canvas, 23 x 40, 2011

Do you see yourself as a landscape designer who paints or as a painter who also does landscape architecture?
I have an MLA -- Masters in Landscape Architecture-- and I love urban green spaces-- living in New York made me value anything of the natural world.  I am currently studying the ways and means of creating more "urban wilderness" for cities as a psychological help to people who experience "change" in their personal lives and need to see proof of change in nature.  My paintings record particular urban greenspaces and their natural changes. So far, I've done series of paintings on Shoal Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Texas and White Rock Creek Greenbelt, in Dallas.  I guess I'm a landscape architect who paints to understand sites.
Landscape Recording VII: Static/Dynamic, oil on canvas, 32 x 40, 2011; Landscape Recording V: Static/Dynamic, oil on canvas, 9 x 14, 2011

Where do you find inspiration? What would you say influences your work?
I'm inspired by cars from the 1950's and 60's! Their chrome and thick metal bodies.  The complex curves and weightiness.  They are functional and grandly decorative. Their paint colors. Also, when I see "weathering" in any material I'm always inspired. . . petrified wood, rot, fungus, oxidation,. . . allowing these processes to happen and planning for their unpredictability in our controlled world. . .
Hay + Straw I, oil and gold pigment on canvas, 23 x 40, 2010

What is your process? 
I choose a site-- normally an urban greenspace-- and walk the site for several hours. Then I decide on a place in that site to analyze and I bring my canvas and oil paints.  I draw the underdrawing in a #2 pencil and then return to the spot and paint onsite all day for several days, sitting on the ground. Painting directly onsite without photography is important to me because I want to avoid digital interfaces between me and the experience.  Painting can be quite emotional and direct.

Thanks Erika!  Look out for more of Erika's input on a future post about art collecting!

Weekend Instagram

Monday, July 16, 2012

Now that we're settled in our temporary digs in Jersey City, I've been trying to get into some kind of routine with Bryan, usually involving a morning walk to run errands and a late afternoon jaunt out to the park across the street to look at the bunnies (I made the mistake of venturing out midday the other day only to become drenched in sweat and find that the swingset at the playground was too hot to use). Any tips out there from NYC moms on how to beat the heat and survive a 3rd floor walkup with a stroller?

Guest Post: Wanderlust, Newport

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today, we have Halle here doing a little wanderlust guest post.  Take it away Halle:
Hi everyone! I'm Halle from Delicious Duds, and I'm so excited to guest post for Jess while she's busy with her move. We bonded a few weeks ago over our shared summer wanderlust, so today I've decided to share another dream destination that's on my list: Newport, Rhode Island. Where would I stay on this dream trip? The wonderfully picturesque Chanler at Cliff Walk

Can you imagine waking up to those gorgeous views? During my stay, I would probably be content to laze around the property and dine at one of the five restaurants on site {namely, the Cliff Walk Terrace or Spiced Pear}. Although, I don't think I could pass up wandering down to beautiful Easton Beach - where you can grab the most delicious looking lobster roll at the...snack bar? Fancy!

Laidback, preppy style is a must on the East Coast. Personally, I love to add colorful, funky accessories to an otherwise traditionally preppy piece {in this case, a striped linen dress} for a little more character.

What's on your wanderlust list for the summer?

Thanks again to Jess for allowing me to guest post - feel free to connect with me via Twitter or over at my blog, Delicious Duds!

Stylin' Mammas: City Mom Chic

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When did I become obsessed with the low boot?  Last summer's stacked-heel desert boot was a gateway shoe, and from there it was the low biker boot for winter, the low scuffed boot for spring, and now the low cowboyish boot.  And of course I am obsessing over the classic desert boot for fall, but enough has to be enough at some point.
Anyhoo, I am rocking these from Madewell all the time these days and recently spotted a woman wearing them to perfection with a Proenza Schuler-ish shift and a big old sweater -- pushing a stroller with a Birkin bag thrown on the handle, no less!  This would be my (more budget-friendly) version of the outfit.

Jess's Fetes: Life's Journeys

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jess Houlemard is back today serving up a Hot Air Balloon themed first birthday party for her daughter.  The event included travel decor (suitcases, maps) with a coral and teal color theme, comfort finger foods including grilled cheese and tomatoes soup, pigs in a blanket, mac n cheese and fruit.

Cupcake and Cake Desserts: Christina Ellison, Michelle Houlemard and Jessica Houlemard

Weekend Instagram

Monday, July 9, 2012

A bit of instagram

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

From this past week.... that wierd blob is the last bit of cookie dough from our freezer that I've been clearing out.... sad

Guest Post: Kelly's July 4 Party Guide

Monday, July 2, 2012

As I go further into the depths of moving hell, a few blogger friends have offered to help me out with guest posts. Today we have Kelly showing us her July 4 party staples:
Hello everyone! Kelly here from Studio DIY, a comprehensive DIY party blog and resource. Since Fourth of July is just a few days away (and one of the highlights of summer if you ask me!), I wanted to get you in the spirit for your Independence Day bashes with a patriotic party supply guide! You may already have those parties prepped and planned, but there's no harm in adding a few extra fun details, right?! 

Fourth of July Party Supply Guide

Happy Fourth!