Category Archives: Shelterrific

Editorials, reviews, and columns covering gardening, cooking and entertaining for nationwide home decor and lifestyle website

Just for Fun: Kyle Hilton’s Pop Culture Paper Dolls

Shelterrific August 2, 2012

Illustrator Kyle Hilton combined his love of pop culture with his fabulous talents to create a series of paper dolls that make me giddy! From Tarantino flicks to “Breaking Bad”, the colorful characters are rendered with their signature accessories. Leslie Knope (“Parks and Rec”) comes with a helping of waffles from JJ’s Diner, a stack of idea binders, a Sweetum’s NutriYum bar, and the Pawnee time capsule. Dowager Countess (“Downtown Abbey”) comes with an, ahem, assortment of emotions. My personal favorite is the “Arrested Development” set. Finally, I can have my very own Gob Bluth paper doll complete with Sword of Destiny! Now if only I could have a dollhouse Magic Castle. . . .

Food Allergies? Try the Soft Serve Fruit Co.

Shelterrific August 1, 2012

I hate frozen yogurt. I try to like it, I swear. The Pinkberry, Red Mango/, etc. invasion has been going on for a few years now, but every time I try a new concoction, it’s always the same. It’s not an ice cream replacement. It’s not even ice cream-adjacent.

My search for healthy, delicious ice cream-like treats took a turn for the better this weekend when walked through the doors of The Soft Serve Fruit Co. in New York City’s Union Square neighborhood. The delicious concoctions are dairy free, gluten free, fat free, vegan, and kosher parve. All those ultra-healthy terms normally scare me, but I went ahead and gave it a shot anyway (against the better judgment of my sweet tooth). It was amazing! Delicious and refreshing, the soft serves are made up of only three ingredients: fruit, water, and a dash of organic cane sugar. Choose one (or all) of the rotating menu of fruit soft serve flavors and then pick from a variety of toppings to round out your sundae. I had dark chocolate and blueberry soft serve with pomegranate seeds on top and I didn’t miss my usual strawberry cheesquake blizzard one bit.

Quest Filled: ThomasPaul Octopus Shower Curtain

Shelterrific July 24, 2012

My quest for a cool shower curtain has been made much much harder by my new green and black tiled bathroom (recently dubbed “the mint chocolate chip bathroom” by house guests). After much Googling, I fell in love with ThomasPaul’s starkly beautiful Octopus Shower Curtain. While it is, unfortunately, distinctly out of my price range at $120, I love the slightly steampunk, nautical aesthetic. I ended up going directly to the source (and down the rabbit hole) to ThomasPaul’s website which features yellow puffer fish pillowscharcoal throws featuring silk screened thoroughbredslimited edition bandanas decorated with portraits of admirals. Everything ThomasPaul is going directly to my wish list.

Bookmarkworthy: 20×200

Shelterrific July 16, 2012

I just made the big move from Chicago to New York City and am beginning the long process of feathering my new nest. I started my quest at 20×200. The website is a mecca for great, cheap art and the perfect place to start a collection. There’s no crappy motel art here- no gliding seagulls or empty park benches. Instead, 20×200 is a curated assortment of colorful, haunting, gorgeous art. Remarkably, 8 x 10 prints start at just $24! Search prints by color, size, or artist. New artists are added weekly so there’s always a new piece to add to my wish list.

I started my collection with Holden, a print of an intricate snake drawing by Jacob Escobedo and a photography print from Thomas Prior. Pictured above is Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf 353: English Lit, the perfect addition to a cozy reading nook.

Summer Essentials: The National Parks Passport

Shelterrific July 10, 2012

In the past three days, I’ve visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island,Clinton Castle, Federal Hall, and the birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt. No, I’m not looking for clues to figure out who stole the Declaration of Independence, I’m collecting stamps for my National Parks Passport.

The National Parks Passport ($8.95) is part guidebook, part wish list, part check list of all the historic sites, parks, and memorials that the National Park Service is in charge of. At each NPS site across America, there is a specific stamp (usually in the information center/gift shop) that you use to make a cancellation and mark it in your passport. I’m sure the passport is really meant for kids to get them excited about visiting the breathtaking and fascinating treasures that dot America, but I’ve become obsessed with mine. I’ve found myself going out of my way to finagle routes that include the historic spots. Every place I’ve visited has surprised me, made me learn something, and given my camera a workout. Grab one immediately for your summer road trips- my only regret is that I didn’t get mine sooner!

One more bonus feature: profits from the passports funnel back into the National Park Service so you can feel warm and fuzzy buying yours.

Post Off: Who are You Pinning?

Shelterrific July 5, 2012

Whenever I need a break, Pinterest is my savior. A cup of peppermint tea and five minutes of browsing through the ever-changing, clean layout perks up my spirits enough to make it through the 3:30 lurch. From new guacamole recipes to lace shorts to Russian palaces, there’s always something that piques my interest and brightens my day a bit.

However, I’m not following very many people. I love Kate Spade’s boards including “Charm Colorfully,” “Travel Colorfully,” and “Celebrate Colorfully” and Elizabeth Banks always souses out cool pins. Her “80’s Horror Movies” board would make for a great thunderstorm movie marathon and “Backyard Spaces I Dream About” proves that even celebrities have decadent wish lists.

How about you, readers? Sound off: whose pins are you pinning?

Kinda Genius: Universal Wrapping Paper

Shelterrific April 27, 2012
Confession time: I’m terrible at wrapping presents. I always have the best intentions. I walk by Paper Source’s windows and think, “Ohhh, that’s what I want to be!” I want to be one of those people with a gift wrapping station complete with a dozen different colors of washi tape and tinsel bows. I want to present my wedding shower gift and have everyone coo over the homemade tissue paper violets perched beside the bow. But, let’s cut the crap, I never am. I don’t have the time, money, or energy to make paper turkeys to decorate Thanksgiving cards. I always end up wrapping birthday presents in leftover Christmas paper. My cringe-worthy, rock bottom moment came when I presented a baby shower gift in a slightly used Halloween trick-or-treat bag.

There is hope for me yet! A light on the end of the horizon has appeared in Wordless Design’s universal wrapping paper. The paper allows you to choose your own celebration by circling the appropriate sentiment. Not only is the paper universally usable (cutting down on having to stock rolls and rolls of specific birthday, mother’s day, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Festivus, etc. paper), but it’s also sharp, clean, and minimalistically appealing. Five sheets of this rad wrapping is about 15€.


Want it Now: Plaid Benches

Shelterrific April, 24, 2012

I love a good plaid. Be it the refined British Burberry patterns or rugged Scotland breeds that make up those delicious kilts, I am smitten with plaid.That’s why Raw Edges studio’s plaid benches have leapt to the top of my wish list! Part mod, part preppy, the collection of benches are made up of interlocking colorful bands crossing horizontally and vertically to make up a gorgeous pattern. Check out Raw Edges studio for the rest of designers Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay’s creations (the floors of the Stella McCartney store in Milan are nothing short of inspiring).

From the 2112 Shelterrific Files: The Bio-Robot Refrigerator

Shelterrific April 9, 2012

Is it an alien incubator? A suspended animation pod? An evil goo that will surely overtake the world and kill us all if it gets out of it’s streamlined prison?! Nope. Meet the refrigerator of the future.

Russian designer Yuriy Dmitriev recently unveiled the Electrolux Bio-Robot Refrigerator. The invention promises to revolutionize the appliance world since it does not require energy for cooling products. Instead, the odorless, non-sticky biopolymer gel cools food through luminescence. Objects are placed into the strong gel, creating a separate pod for each item. The objects are kept cool thanks to the transformation of invisible infrared radiation into visible light. The gel absorbs heat energy and radiates it in a different range of wavelengths (SCIENCE!). The Bio-Robot refrigerator is four times smaller than the average conventional refrigerator and can be hung horizontally, vertically, or (most impressively) on the ceiling. The fridge is completely silent, has no moving parts, and, even if it never comes to market, is an impressive stab at innovating a product that hasn’t changed in decades. Not to mention that pressing your hands into that goo looks supremely satisfying.

Tested and Approved: Carol’s Cookies

Shelterrific April 4, 2012

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that hoped someone at Carol’s Cookies would read this review and send me a Free Cookies for Life Card (sort of like a Black AmEx, only much, much, much better). I recently had, no exaggeration, the best cookie I’ve ever had in my life.
Let me try to paint you a word picture: first off, Carol’s Cookies are a generous portion. Each one weighs in at, famously, a half pound making each little mountain of a cookie the size of a small calzone. Secondly, they remain ever-so-slightly doughy and soft in the middle (especially after a quick microwave). I believe the true test of a cookie comes far later then it’s first emergence from the oven. The truly fantastic cookie will not turn brittle in crispy in the cool, cruel hours after baking, but stay soft and delicious. Carol’s Cookies are a testament to that comforting, soft-in-the-middle sweet spot that I judge all other cookies by. All-natural and handmade, Carol’s Cookies come in thirteen amazing flavors ranging from the classic chocolate chip to the decadent white chocolate macadamia nut and oatmeal chocolate cherry. Forget flowers and fruit bouquets, if you really want to show someone you love them, send them Carol’s Cookies.
Carol’s Cookies can be ordered online but if you’re lucky enough to be nearby their bakeries, you can often find them at upscale grocery stores (I’m able to feed my cravings at Chicago Whole Foods).