Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Art for Office (Cozamia)

Hi all!  I had planned on painting a large canvas for a giant blank wall in my office, but chickened out about hanging my own artwork in there.  I also fell for an artist (Cozamia) I recently discovered on Pinterest, a site I find myself on daily, so I ordered one of her prints, the one below, that I'll probably hang horizontally.  I think it'll add that perfect pop of color to the room.  I can't wait to receive it!

I had some trouble narrowing it down, because I also loved the ones below. 

And check out her office- so cool!

All images via Cozamia

Do you have a favorite source for art?  I'm seeing more and more art I like on websites like Pinterest and etsy, and plan to incorporate more art into our home this year.  

My daughter Hannah on the complexity of Iran

I wouldn't push the proud father thing if I didn't think she was good.

Green: Iranian film creatively bends censorship rules - Forum - The Daily Northwestern - Northwestern University#.Tyhotk9I4rw

Good news and bad news on race and housing

Ed Glaeser and Jake Vigdor find that all-white neighborhoods are a thing of the past.  They find:

  • The most standard segregation measure shows that american cities are now more integrated than they’ve been since 1910. Segregation rose dramatically with black migration to cities in the mid-twentieth century. On average, this rise has been entirely erased by integration since the 1960s.
  • All-white neighborhoods are effectively extinct. A half-century ago, one-fifth of America’s urban neighborhoods had exactly zero black residents. Today, African-American residents can be found in 199 out of every 200 neighborhoods nationwide. The remaining neighborhoods are mostly in remote rural areas or in cities with very little black population.
  • Gentrification and immigration have made a dent in segregation. While these phenomena are clearly important in some areas, the rise of black suburbanization explains much more of the decline in segregation.
  • Ghetto neighborhoods persist, but most are in decline. For every diversifying ghetto neighborhood, many more house a dwindling population of black residents.
That said, Andy Reschovsky sends me to the most recent US Census Homeownership and Vacancy Report, which shows the ration of black to white ownership rates fell from .643 in 2006 to .617 in 2011; for hispanics, the fall was from .651 to .632.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Media Cabinet Makeover {Bookshelf Styling}

Hi all!  Hope you had a great Monday!  Over the weekend, I spent some time rearranging the media cabinet in our living room.  I was getting bored with how the bookshelves were styled, thinking it had too few books and needed more color.  I've gotten asked before about where we purchased the cabinet, but it's actually a built-in unit. You may remember how it's looked for the last year.  I painted the back Jamestown Blue by Sherwin Williams when we first moved in.

The blue in the first picture isn't a good representation, but rather a result of poor camera settings. But it's not actually as dark as the photo below either:)  

Anyways, I think you get the idea about what the shelves looked like.  So after shopping our house for more books (brining some cookbooks out of the kitchen and into the living room- a previous faux pas for me) and buying ten used hardcover books at Half-Priced Books for just $1 each, I had much more visual interest.  I also ditched the paper covers and went solely with the books themselves.

One of the biggest differences is that I took out the shelves at the very top that were relatively empty, and filled them with books.  I also added a couple of decorative vases and boxes (already owned from Home Goods).  I like keeping the photos in the shelves because seeing them just makes me happy.  Here's a closer peek.

In keeping our bookshelves practical, the Pottery Barn clock counts down to nap and bedtime, and the kleenex are essential for a baby's constant runny nose.

My favorite row of books is below.  I love the colors and two of my favorite books (Interior Wisdom and Food to Flowers) are housed there.  The Christmas book is awesome too, and I was surprised to find such a pretty patterned book (the brown links) when I took the cover off of Nate Berkus Home Rules.

And all again at a glance.  

Better, huh?   

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creating a Beautiful, Bright Boy's Room (via A Thoughtful Place)

After sharing peeks into her young son's "big boy" room, my good friend Courtney (A Thoughtful Place) recently revealed the whole room:)  I am such a fan of how she pulled the room together and adore her color combination and personal touches.  You can see more photos of the room and read about the handmade projects on her blog here.


Isn't her son absolutely adorable enjoying his reading nook?



The toy closet is genius!


 A fun, interesting and personal gallery wall.

Our son is barely two and has never crawled out of his crib, so we're in no hurry to get him in a "big boy" bed, but this room sure is inspiring me for the future!  AWESOME job Court!  I'm sure G loves it!

*And I also wanted to mention that Courtney is a contributor to the online decor and lifestyle magazine, House of Fifty, and their latest issue is out today.  Go HERE to read it:)

Better graph with more recent data

In comments, a complaint was lodged that I used a graph with a linear y-axis for demonstrating change in income over the past 40 years.  The problem with such a graph is that if everyone has the same percentage income growth, the slope for high income earners will still look higher.

So here is a graph where the y-axis is logarithmic.  It also contains more recent data:

The point doesn't change: from 1969 until 2010, income at the top of the bottom quintile essentially hasn't moved (it changed from 26,289 to 26,685).  Income at the bottom of the top five percent has moved quite a lot (from 121,516 to 200,354) .

A modest proposal for tax reform

Let's just start by designing a code that requires that as adjusted gross income rises, the effective tax rate may not fall.  That way taxpayers would be able to look at their own effective rate, and know that everyone with higher incomes would pay at least as high a rate.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bedding- Help!

As you know, after having my eye on an upholstered headboard for our master bedroom, we finally bit the bullet and ordered the Aisling Cream Fabric King Bed from Overstock.  We are still waiting for it to arrive.

In anticipation of the bed's arrival, I've been looking for new bedding to dress her in.  Our current bedding is just plain white sheets with an aqua blanket.  I'd like to keep the pale color, but add some pretty pattern to make it more interesting.

I really like this muted pastel bedding from Restoration Hardware. But it might be too muted.

It looks very similar or the same as Emily's bed from A Well Dressed Home.  I like how she accessorized the bed with the grey zebra pillows from West Elm.

But I also like the Dwell Studio Batavia Dove Duvet Set.  It's more modern and funky, but still soothing.

It also comes in a buttery yellow, which I always think is pretty.  It looks great with the patterned sheets.

The paisley Pottery Barn bedding nice too.

Neiman Marcus has bed linens on sale right now.  I like the Legacy "Ellington" but I'd have to pair it with something that's not geometric to soften it.

The Ikat is so awesome and also comes in light blue.

I fell in love with this Annette Tatum bedding, but I haven't seen it in a king size.  The pinks, oranges and purples are fun but not overpowering.  I tend to lean toward grey, pale blue or aqua, but this color palette is so refreshing. 

A more affordable, but less colorful Target option is below.

Which one do you like best?  Our walls are light grey and the new bed is cream fabric.  Have you seen any others you like that I missed?  I'm torn but might be leaning toward the Ikat or Dwell Studio with patterned sheets?? 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The banal moderateness of Thomas Friedman.

In his paean to conventional wisdom this morning, the ever so serious Mr Friedman writes:

Second, I want to vote for a candidate who is committed to reforming taxes, and cutting spending, in a fair way. The rich must pay more, but everyone has to pay something. We are all in this together.

But how over the past decades have we all been in this together?   In 2007, those in the bottom quintile had the same income they had in 1998, and a bump of little more than 11 percent since 1969; those in the top five percent had seen incomes rise by 74 percent since 1969.

  Source: Alan De Smet plot of  US Census, Historical Income Tables - Families, Table F-1.

Sure, if everyone had benefitted from the policies of the past 40 years, then everyone should sacrifice now. 

But for the time being, lets begin by asking for sacrifice from those with the means to do so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Office

Having recently moved into a different office building at work, I got the opportunity to choose a few goodies for my new office:)  I still need artwork, so we'll see how that goes.

3.  Grocery store potted orchid
5-6.  Overstock.com (I spray painted them gold) 

The Jules table is between my two client chairs opposite my desk and the mirror is on the large wall with my diplomas.  I love the Pottery Barn desk chair as an alternative to most black, bulky office chairs.  You know the ones:)

The black Overstock tables look great with a quick covering of gold spray paint.  The #5 end table fits my printer perfectly on the bottom and I keep extra paper on the second shelf.  The #7 table is cool, but the round part arrived a little bent (luckily, I think I can bend it into shape).

I also added a wall calendar (Paper Source) and desk calendar (Dabney Lee).


It's so nice to work from a space you enjoy!  


I refinanced for the second time in the last year--the process was a little less painful.  So if one wishes to infer a trajectory, there is a fixed effect, but with no degrees of freedom. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Immigration laws provide no benefits - Forum - The Daily Northwestern - Northwestern University#.TxXEh65feMV


I recently decided to stop with the acrylic nails and have gone back to au natural.  Since I had James nearly two years ago, I've been wearing fake nails.  At first it was such a chore to try to fit in those bi-monthly sessions to the nail salon, but I got to where I looked forward to the hour of uninterrupted alone time.  My nail girl, Cindy, did a really good job and I always, always did a french manicure on my hands.

But then I started wanting a change, and went with shorter nails and (gasp!) color on my nails.

Now, without the nails, I need to let mine strengthen so that they can grow a little.  For the time being, I feel like I have boy hands that don't look that good.  I think I'll still visit Cindy for manicures and hopefully, in a few months they'll look more like this.

So tell me, are you into your nails?  Real, fake? It feels a lot better to me to type on the computer with my bare hands, but I also love the look of when I'd walk away from Cindy's chair with my freshly done nails.  Nail polish doesn't last nearly as long on real nails.  I've just been applying clear every few days.

For a secret santa gift last month, I got all these cute mini OPI nail colors that I'm so excited to try.

And I'm smitten with these barely pinky colors for my nails.

But I'm loving BLACK- Lincoln Park After Dark- for my toes lately.

Maybe this summer when I've got a bit of a tan, I'll go back to my trusty old french manicure.  What colors are you loving now?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two brief thoughts that MLK day inspires about income inequality

(1) Income inequality is still very much a legacy of differences in how government defended the property rights of people from different races.  The US government has been pretty good at defending the property rights of white people for a long time; in the case of other races, not so much.  Even if the government now defended all property rights equally, it would take many generations before differences in wealth across races would disappear.

(2) I have heard business people, to the extent they complain about income inequality, complain about the outrageous incomes earned by athletes and entertainers.  Yet I venture to guess that Lebron James and Beyonce have much higher marginal products than the vast majority business people, including CEOS and investment bankers.  

Hannah Green sends me to Nadeem ul Haque on development in Pakistan

Nadeem ul Haque introduced himself with a bit of bluster as Pakistan’s official “growth” strategist, then began blurting out his frustrations. There’s no growth to speak of in Pakistan, he said — less than inflation anyway, and nothing like India’s 8-percent boom. The government he came home to serve in Pakistan is going nowhere. And then the line that spun my head around: “This is the country that can kill the world,” he said. “And your country hasn’t the foggiest idea what you’re doing here. Find a way to educate youth in Pakistan — 90 million under 20 — or don’t sleep at night. You haven’t got enough bullets to kill them… We can do without the Beltway Bandits and even the billions of dollars in what they call aid. What America should be sending Pakistan is C-SPAN and National Public Radio, and then reopen the USIA libraries… What you send is Raymond Davis and Blackwater… Are you out of your …. minds?”

The conversation we recorded a few days later is a slightly tempered version of that first burst at a farewell party in Islamabad for an American aid official. We’re getting Nadeem ul Haque’s heartfelt version of the Post-Colonial Blues. First, fond memories of the British and American cultural centers and mentors in the 1950s and 60s who propelled him to the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago and a career at the World Bank. Second comes the the appalled realization that a new native elite had slipped into the palaces, polo grounds and clubs of the old colonialists with, if anything, less interest in the mass of the population. And third, a rough critique of a distant and disdainful American connection with Pakistan: bullet proof cars for aid workers when they get out of the office at all; “they don’t use our toilet paper,” he says; and nobody, but nobody, knows where the other-than-military money goes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making Art

Y'all know that my little guy loves to color, but we've really only painted once (in the backyard with washable paints).  Over the weekend, we headed to Michaels to pick up more supplies (acrylic paints, canvases, and paintbrushes) so we could both get in on the action.  I've never painted before, but I was inspired by Jen of Made by Girl to try to create some of my own art for my office at work.  I have the perfect wall for a large abstract painting above my desk.  I was going to have James make it at first, then I decided to not be scared to try it myself.  "Try it, you'll like it!"- I could also be losing my mind since I'm now hearing Gabba Gabba when I type.

Via Cocoa and Hearts
I doubt Jen's studio looks like ours:)

Yeah, we set up shop in the garage (cold outside!) and worked on the floor.  James stepped on my first piece.  We really need easels.  I started playing around just to get the hang of it a little and when I feel more confident, I'll move on to my big canvas.  I'll be sure to show you when it's finished:)

Have y'all tried painting?  I've seen some great work by Natalie and her son (Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers).  I'd love to see yours if you want to leave me a link in the comments.  Let's have a great week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maybe the reason Tim Tebow does option plays...

...is that he is high variance.

My colleague Dowell Myers says, “'Show me your papers' should be replaced with 'Welcome to English class.'”

He has a lovely op-ed in the New York Times:

How do we change course and begin treating immigrants as a vast, untapped human resource? The answer goes to the heart of shifting from an immigration policy to an immigrant policy.
For starters, the billions of dollars spent on border enforcement should be gradually redirected to replenishing and boosting the education budget, particularly the Pell grant program for low-income students. Some money could be channeled to nonprofits like ImmigrationWorks and Welcoming America, which are at the forefront of helping migrants assimilate.
Second, the Departments of Labor, Commerce and Education need to play a greater role in immigration policy. Yes, as long as there remains a terrorist threat from abroad, the Department of Homeland Security should have an immigration component. But immigration policy is all about cultivating needed workers. That means helping immigrants and their children graduate from high school and college. It means that no migrant should have to stand in line for an English class. It means assistance in developing migrants’ job skills to better compete in an increasingly information- and knowledge-based economy.
Thanks to our huge foreign-born population (12 percent of the total), America can remain the world’s richest and most powerful nation for decades. Shaping an immigrant policy that focuses on developing the talents of our migrants and their children is the surest way to realize this goal.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Upholstered Headboard

We'll be having some house guests with us for awhile, and wanted to make them comfortable in our home so we decided to put a king-sized bed in our guest room, as opposed to the uncomfortable old queen bed that's in there now.  Getting a king-sized mattress also called for a new king-sized headboard, so we decided to move our current headboard/footboard into the guest room and get a new one for our master bedroom.  You might recall the styles I had been looking at last year.

I ended up purchasing one through Overstock.com, and it probably won't arrive for a few weeks.  It got great reviews, so I'm really hoping it's nice!

It's the Aisling Cream Fabric King Platform Bed.  I like the nailhead trim detailing and the fact that it's not just the headboard.  

Our current bed (from Z Gallerie) will be heading to the guest room.

I've got lots I'd like to do to transform our bedroom, I'll be sure to show you when the bed arrives!