Tag Archives: circumventingthesystem


Picture 5

Ghost ranch, New Mexico by Kevin Russ

You’re not stupid. Neither am I. It only takes one Black Friday sale at Banana Republic to realize anything worth having is not worth its asking price. If it were then that performance fleece (ugh…“performance fleece”) I bought my step dad for Christmas wouldn’t have left your store so easily when just the week before it was 70% more expensive, right insidious clothing conglomerate GAP Inc*? But if I’m a liar may I be struck down where I type and buried in a pair of stone washed carpenter jeans and a striped henley.

What’s my point? My point is this…actually, I don’t really know what my point is because I get easily distracted by tangents, but I don’t believe in paying full price and if you read my blog I can say with the utmost certainty you’re probably someone who doesn’t either. You’re resourceful. Rational. Level-headed. A shrewd bargain hunter with an eye for a markdown and a nose for bullshit. And like you I also see stuff and smell shit, which is why I am hopelessly addicted to flash sale sites. Gilt. One Kings Lane. Fab. Hautlook. I was even subscribed to Zulily at one point because that’s how diseased my head pudding is when it comes to a sale. Daddy loves himself a deep discount.

Four Donkeys (Ghost ranch, New Mexico) by Kevin Russ

That’s usually a good thing (I once got a Nelson desk clock for $40!) but it can also be a not-so-good thing, too. Sometimes my noodle is so focused on the sale I lose sight of the bigger picture. Take the other day for instance. One Kings Lane sent out a GOOP-esque email with the subject line reading something like ‘New Year, New Wall Art!’Ā  and the body was all about discovering emerging artists in a way only my beloved Gwyneth can do. (I may be taking a little too much creative license with that but you get the idea. OKL, I really, really do love you!)

One of them was Kevin Russ, a photographer I’d never heard about until just right then, scrolling through on the OKL site. Now, let me get something out of the way. I won’t succumb to any culture hate-shaming if you don’t, ok? If you found a band you love by watching The Hills? GREAT. Heard about an amazing book from Entertainment Weekly? FANTASTIC. Discovered Portlandia because Fred Armisen was at the premier of Iron Man 3 and you happened to read the caption below his red carpet pictures the next morning on WireImage when really you were just hunting for nudes of Chris Evans? HALLELUJAH. Who cares where or how you found out about these things! Don’t feel ashamed! Besides I live in Manhattan not Brooklyn. My cultural tastes can be a little inauthentic. So, yes, I discovered a photographer I very much enjoy from a daily home decor email blast so what.

OKL: Sale? SOLD.

Anyway, enough of the potatoes and on to the meat of this quickly unraveling post. Kevin’s stuff is gorgeous and amazing and rustic and calming and I was feeling so taken by it all when I thought to myself, I may have just used a credit card at Starbucks but dammit I’m going to treat myself to one of these. But before I did my better judgment kicked in and told me I was being an asshat for not at least googling this business before buying, so I did and lo and behold I found Kevin’s photography on Society 6, the same website I used to find Man & Camera‘s work a few months ago. Comparatively–although I’m sure OKL did his work up oh so very nice–the price point is shocking between the two sites, and instead of buying just one piece I could buy three prints on Society 6 and still have money to spare to frame them. There really was no question, so I went ahead and snagged a few of my favorites. I’m so jazzed to get them in frames and up on my walls! They’re going to look stunning.

And so the cautionary, albeit obvious, sale tale comes to an end. Use your Internet, people. You’re paying for it so why not make it work for you. If you’re like me and working on a threadbare budget you can’t afford not to browse the dark recesses of the web for cheaper alternatives.

Go check out Kevin’s work (all of which is taken on his iPhone WHAT) and browse around Society 6 for other great artists! And continue to buy things on One Kings Lane, too, because they’re great and this post is not indicative of the awesome things they offer on a regular basis. One time I was duped into an end table by He Whose Name I Can’t Mention (no, not Voldemort, just some awful antique dealer in the Village) and they were wonderful throughout the entire return process, even sending a white glove service to pick it up from my apartment. Well done, OKL. You’re in my book šŸ˜‰

*That was just an attempt to relate to my readers and gain their trust. I’m like you, GAP. I love big business. Do not be afraid to sponsor this blog or give me money. I’ll be your corporate monkey.


There are few things in life more obnoxious than signing your first lease only to discover the list of riders that comes with it is longer than the lease itself (forgetting your phone in a cab and stepping barefoot on a Lego are the only two that could be worse).”Tenant shall not paint or repaint any part of the apartment.” “Tenant shall not decorate in a manner which alters the appearance of the apartment.” “Tenant shall not attempt to make the space his/hers in any way and live out the lease term in quiet solitude, staring ponderously at the white walls and thinking about why he/she signed this lease to begin with.”

This is the modus operandi for rentals in New York and so it is with my apartment, too. So what do you do? I’m all for clean white walls but they’re not for everyone, and eventually you need to feel like you’ve left your mark on the space you spend the other 50% of your day in.Ā Check out my bathroom, for instance:


Not cute.


The plant fools no one.

I changed the vanity lighting to chrome top bulbs–a super simple and cheap fix that can make any room feel a little more lux–but that wasn’t cutting it. Then I discovered the extraordinarily beautiful adhesive wall decals from the folks over at MUR. Affordable, modern and easier to put on than jorts in summer, you can slap these suckers (and prints) on your wall without the fear of leaving behind that icky glue residue or chipping the paint underneath (Read: YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT WILL BE SAFE).

I wanted to do something with their Stripes, somethingĀ  vertical and multicolored to give the room the feeling of being much bigger than it actually is, but I know me and I know I can’t draw a straight line to save my life so the thought of figuring that one out made me break into ugly sweats. Instead I went with their ‘Mini’ Southwest collection and I couldn’t be happier:


BIG difference…


…very little effort!

I went with two tones just because I need to prove I’m fancy, though one color would’ve been fine and cut the price in half. Even still, including shipping it was only about 40 spanks. Not included in the price was the bottle of red wine and Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits album I bought on iTunes, but if you’re like me then you know alcohol and music is a given when tackling any home project.

Once I got the measurements down the rest really just fell into place. The trickiest bits were the light socket and medicine cabinet, but the decals are so mailable you can crease them to fit the corners without damaging their appearance. Once they were in place I ran a razor blade along the edge to get an smooth cut and that was that. For the outlet, however, I did remove the face plate (remember to turn off the breaker) to give the stickers the appearance of being painted on.


I’m really pleased with the end result. I think in a year or so I’ll take them down and try a new design, which is completely doable at this project’s price-point and skill level. Sky’s the limit when it comes to this DIY! Who knows–maybe a nifty new blacksplash is in my kitchen’s near future?