Here comes the sun

I took this picture a couple of days ago, and I thought it was worth sharing.

I work nights, so I see a whole lot of sunrises on my commute home, but this is one of the best of my life. It was Philly's first taste of sun, post Sandy. We endured more than 48 hours of rain, which didn't feel like much at the time. But when that first hint of pink peeked out behind the clouds, it stole my breath. We might not have the Shore right now. Lots of folks might not have power, or their homes, or cars. But, my goodness, we sure do have some sunrises.


Hurricane Sandy comes to Philadelphia

We're getting all settled in here in Philadelphia for the next leg of Hurricane Sandy. So far it's just been wind and rain, but we're told it'll get much worse before it gets better. In the mean time we've been cooking, cleaning, and cuddling. Not a bad way to spend a Monday, huh?

I also grabbed a few photos earlier in the day. Here's what our neighborhood looks like at this point:

While things are still mild here, we're mindful that an hour east at the Jersey Shore, things are rough and wild already. Much of coast is flooded, and the storm is on its way here. Our thoughts are with everyone who has had to evacuate, and those who have already had major damage to their homes.


Update: We were pretty unscathed here in the city. I had to travel for my job (yes, I count as "essential personnel"), but the roads were clear and wind and rain were minimal when I left. Our condo and cars were undamaged, and so were we. Not everyone is as lucky, of course. The town where we vacation at the Shore is completely underwater, as is NYC, Hoboken and the Delaware beaches. Appalachia is covered in snow. We're thinking about everyone who is out in some way because of Sandy. Stay safe and stay strong folks.


It's black and blue, but it's no bruise!

I teased you a little about my latest painting project back when I did the living/dining/everything room. Even then I knew I wasn't done with my brush. Today, I've finished. I'm officially putting down the paint cans, and I'm backing away. But before I do that, I have something to reveal...

The guest bedroom:

Yep, that's chalkboard paint on an entire wall. It's big. It's bold. That's just how we do it here in Philly.

And the rest of the room is in more of a neutral blue. Hard not to love a color as soft and forgiving as this one.

I realize that it hasn't been long since I finished painting the room the last time. But I swear this IS THE LAST TIME. I truly am smitten with how it looks--rugged, but kinda glam, and totally liveable.


Dreaming of a unique nursery

Sometimes I think about how the apartment can and can't grow with the hubby and I. Things it can't do: sprout a third bedroom, gain a pantry, grow a backyard. Things it can do: someday include a nursery.

I know, I know--it's absurdly premature to think about stuff like that. We're a loooong way from adding to our family that way. But still, a girl will dream sometimes.

I'm totally not the frilly, pink decor girl. Industrial-chic more sums up the feeling that's been grabbing my attention lately, and there's no reason that can't apply to a nursery or a child's room. In fact, it's kind of perfect for a little boy's bedroom.

Let me show you:

See? Very industrial with the wire storage and the iron crib. But the Maurice Sendak touches make it a kid's room. Obviously both boys and girls love "Where The Wild Things Are," so there's no need to limit it to one gender, but this is just begging for a little boy to bring it to life. Envision this with a chalkboard paint wall and lots of toys. Maybe even a faux potted plant (no real dirt, please) to add to the wild-ness of the room.

Kinda makes you never want to see another standard-issue white crib again, huh?

Here's where everything came from:
Chandelier: Shades of Light
Cubby container: Restoration Hardware
Print: Etsy
Sheets: Pottery Barn Kids
Crib: Restoration Hardware



How to buy the right light bulb

"Figuring out what kind of bulb to put in a fixture takes some thought."

I must have heard that line in every article about lighting since the first person thought to write about lighting. But I never bought into it. Part of the problem is that pros are always talking about how diiiiifficult it is to light a room, but they never give you advice more than to use task lighting the kitchen, and vary the heights of fixtures. Well thanks, professionals. The four-year-old flower girl from my wedding could have given me that much info, and she would have been cuter about it.

So when I started focusing on how to get the right light for my kitchen, and living space in general, I didn't really know where to start. To keep you from spending the amount of time that I did on The Googles, here's a rundown of what I've learned. And I won't even say "diiiiifficult." (At least not any more. I'm done. I swear.)

First thing first. Look at your fixture, figure out the size of the bulb. Done? Good. Now it's time to actually start thinking. Do you want the room to be brighter? Darker? Should the light be dimmable? Will the bulb be visible from outside the shade? What color do you want the lighting to be?

For me, the most important question is the last one, so we'll start there. A woeful amount of bulbs will give you a yellow color. Some folks call it amber, or warm. I call it yucky. To combat that, I had to look at Kelvins, which measures the temperature of the light. Kelvins, temperature--makes sense, right? The easiest way to break this down is that the lower the number, the warmer the glow. (That's about 2,700-3,000 Kelvins.) The higher the number, the cooler it is. And the ideal break-even point is right in the middle at 3,500-4,100 Kelvins. I obviously trend to numbers on the high scale. For instance, I just bought eight bulbs with 6,500 Kelvins. That's how I roll. You might not be so bold, and that's OK, you rock star. We have room for all kinds here at GKH.

My next focus was on brightness. Try to remember brighter isn't always better. Shadows can be sexy, after all. When you think about the intensity of the light, you want to look at the Lumens. Lumens can vary from 700 for incandescent (those are the traditional bulbs) to 400 for Edison bulbs.

You'll also want to consider dimming. If you want to set the mood with these bulbs of yours, make sure they aren't CFLs. Even the newest dimmable CFLs only give you a small range from brightest to dimmest, and they can't be turned down within the first minute or so of being on. This is one of those times when it's worth it to at least consider a more energy-demanding bulb, unfortunately.

Another major variable is wattage. This won't affect lighting itself, just how much electricity you use. It's worth monitoring while you shop around. There's a big difference in how much energy the bulbs devour when you look from CFLs and LEDs to incandescent to flood lights. Make sure you aren't surprised by your electricity bill later.

I know that's a lot of information, but it's super easy to keep track of if you use a site that has comparison shopping like 1000Bulbs.com or Bulbs.com.

A couple of no-brainers that can be easy to forget:

  • Not all bulbs can go outside.
  • Your particular fixture is the most important consideration. Think about the size of the bulb's base and how long the bulb can be before it's visible. No mood killer quite like a Peeping Tom. (That's what I'm now calling bulbs that stick out past their shades.)
  • Variety, variety, variety. Bright is good in a place where you need to do detailed work, like a kitchen counter, but over a dining room table maybe not so much.
  • Different heights cast different shadows. This is very, very good.

It's true, I'm not as cute as anyone's flower girl, but hopefully I was more helpful than the generic lighting article. If you have any of your own advice, share it with everyone in the comments section.