Things We Like: Asian Inspired Bedroom Design

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

Asian inspired design embodies most of the traits I look for in a bedroom: minimalistic furnishings, clean lines, and an overall feeling of tranquility. While Asian inspired design can take some careful planning to pull off, especially when you’re designing a bedroom, the rewards can be bountiful.

To help you achieve Zen in your bedroom, I’ve put together my top five cornerstone elements of Asian design.

1.    Asymmetry

Several weeks ago I discussed the different ways to achieve balance, which is one of the main principles of design. To recap, the three types of balance are: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, and Radial. Asymmetrical can be difficult to implement, but it creates the most visually interesting space.

A common example of asymmetrical design in the bedroom is the use of differing nightstands. When planning an Asian inspired bedroom, you may try to include a single nightstand on one side of the bed and an iconic sculpture (e.g., Buddha), or decorative lamp on the other You may also use two of the same nightstands, and place different objects on top of either.

2.    A Touch of Nature

Asian inspired design almost always includes natural elements, such as the use of stone and wood for your furnishings and floors. A natural wool rug can also be a nice addition to an Asian themed bedroom. While it is against the general principles of Feng Shui to include living plants in the bedroom, a small plant in a large bedroom may be perfectly acceptable; it all depends on your particular space. Orchids and bamboo are two examples of smaller plants that you can incorporate in your Asian inspired bedroom.

3.    Chinoiserie Furniture

Chinoiserie is the French word for “Chinese-esque,” and represents a style of furniture that emerged in France around the 18th Century. Often Chinoiserie furniture comes in dark lacquered colors with painted decorative scenes. Replicas should be easy enough to come by, and the sky is the limit if you’re planning to use real antiques. When selecting furniture for your Asian inspired bedroom, aim to keep it simple. This furniture tends to be very ornate, and you can quickly overdo it and make your bedroom feel busy.


4.    Clean Lines

Clean straight lines, coupled with circular décor are what will help tie the look of your room together. Rectangular platform beds, and long straight furnishings will help keep your eyes on level. To keep the look interesting, you can include circular motifs throughout the room. The circle is an important symbol in Japanese culture, and is associated with Zen and enlightenment. Circular mirrors and sculptures are a great way to spice up the straight lines of your bedroom.

5.    Minimalistic

Asian inspired bedrooms imbue a sense of minimalism. An uncluttered bedroom is essential to capturing the serenity that you should feel while in your bedroom. This is a prime example of, “less is more.” It can be easy to go overboard with purchasing interesting objects to decorate your bedroom with, but think of this as an exercise in self-restraint. If you can follow this singular rule, you’ll be well on your path to enlightenment!

These are just a few of the major points for designing an Asian themed bedroom, and the possibilities are almost limitless. The Asian cultures are diverse, and you may either choose to encompass a sort of melting pot of Asian design, or stick to one country or culture exclusively. Most importantly, designing an Asian themed bedroom should be fun.

What do you think are the essential elements of Asian design? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Breakfast in Bed: Götterspeise

Post by Alison Hein

Götterspeise – quite a mouthful, whether you’re saying it or eating it. “Food of the Gods” is so decadently delicious, it’s a decidedly rare indulgence. Here’s my story:

Location: Straubing, Germany, Uncle Franz and Aunt Irmgard’s kitchen
Time: Just after New Year’s, late evening, after a long day of over-eating and over-drinking
Cast: Tante Irmgard and me

Irmgard: “Have you ever tried Götterspeise?”
Me: “Huh?”
Irmgard: “Never mind. Watch me.”

Irmgard pulls out a few cookie tins and removes a variety of sugared, nut and cinnamon-filled delights. She breaks these into pieces and places them in a large bowl. She runs quickly to the other room for the brandy decanter, returns and sloshes a generous portion over the whole cookie mess.

Irmgard: “Good night.”
Me: “Huh? What about the Götterspeise?”
Irmgard: “That? We’re having it for breakfast!”

Morning arrives. Irmgard and I are back in the kitchen. Irmgard whips out a heavy pot and places it on the stove. She heats some milk, adds some eggs and some other ingredients to make pudding. Then she pours this on top of the brandy-soaked cookies. She scoops some Götterspeise into a couple of bowls, and tops them off with whipped cream. She hands me one.

Irmgard: “Guten Appetit!”

I dig deep into the Götterspeise. My spoon comes up a gooey mass of culinary dimensions – dense, brandied pastry; rich, golden pudding; sweet, airy cream. I close my eyes. I taste. I sigh. I understand the name. This is indeed Godly food.

Me: “Danke schön!”

Moral of the story: When having an indulgent breakfast in bed, be sure to eat decadently delicious food.

Ingredients
2 cups broken assorted Christmas cookies (substitute a mix of any firm, stale cookies)
1½ cups rum (substitute brandy or liqueur)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream (optional)

Preparation
Place broken cookies into large glass dish. Pour rum evenly over cookies and let sit for at least one hour, or as long as overnight. When ready to prepare, give the cookie mixture a good stir, and divide evenly into two serving dishes (cocktail glasses work well for this).

Combine sugar and flour in a heavy saucepan. Add milk, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk about one half of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Bring again to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and salt.

Gently pour pudding mixture over cookies, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm.

If you like, whip heavy cream, sweeten, and place on top of Götterspeise when ready to serve.

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Bedroom Design: The Vanity: The Fairest of them All

Post by Erin Sears.

Growing up, I thought that all fancy women had vanities, also known as dressing tables, in their bedrooms.  After all, my grandmother had one and my lovely mother has one too.  When I was a young girl, I definitely wanted to be fancy, so my mom got me a vanity for my bedroom. It was powder-coated white iron and glass perfection. I lined up my hairbrushes and Wet and Wild brand makeup (you know you had some too) on it for a few years until adolescence and the grunge era took over and I abandoned the vanity completely.

Now that I’m grown, I long to be fancy again. My current humble bedroom and meager wallet cannot facilitate purchasing a vanity now, but when I bust out of this little apartment (and bust out I will), I know exactly what vanity I will buy and the look I want to create.

Here are some ideas for the perfect vanity. Perhaps one of these will strike your fancy?

Source: http://msmadeulook.blogspot.com/

Whoa! Now if this vanity isn’t fancy, I don’t know what is! I would like my life to match this fit-for-a-princess piece of furniture please and thank you. I love that this vanity comes with a matching bench and has been accessorized with presumably treasured framed art and decorative boxes. Like other surfaces in the home, your vanity is for more than just storage. It should be a place to display some of your most special items.

Source: Pinterest user

IF I had an alter ego, it might live in one of those glamorous modern houses you see in magazines. My furniture would have clean lines, wood accents to warm up all of that metal and glass, and accessories that hinted at my love for global adventure. THIS is my alter ego vanity.

Source: http://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=12611

It’s award season in Hollywood, dahhhh-ling and this vanity is perfect for any starlet. Using a lamp on your vanity is a great way to check out how you look in soft light and all of these mirrors are ideal for practicing your acceptance speech. ENJOY!

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Bedtime Stories: Jan Brett’s Beauty and the Beast

Finding a good illustrated version of a classic fairy tale can be quite a challenge. All too often, the illustrations are ugly, or creepy, or both. The below picture is an excellent example, even though it comes from one of my childhood books and I kind of want to get a copy and kind of never want to see it again:

If terrified ambivalence is not something you are interested in, and being awoken by children/partners afraid of creepy-ass Bosch-styled monsters isn’t your thing, then you might want to check out Jan Brett’s books. She has illustrated and retold literally millions of tales, from the Ukrainian folk tale The Mitten to a version of Three Little Pigs set in Namibia. My boy’s new favorite is her version of Beauty and the Beast.

After seeing the Jean Cocteau and the Disney versions, (oh and that Ron Perlman take too) it would be difficult to approach this classic Perrault story with fresh eyes. But Jan Brett does a fantastic job. The beast isn’t even a lion thing like he is in every other version. He’s a big hairy hog! Which is far less sexy than a lion, which makes Beauty’s decision to marry him that much nobler.

But seriously, it’s no wonder she has 37 MILLION books in print. She’s a terribly talented illustrator. The pictures are so rich and filled with little hidden treats for kids to pick out of the details. Fun.

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Movies in Bed: Strangers With Candy

Post by Josh Zinn.

With the exception of famine, genocide, and people who willingly use the phrase “it’s my time to indulge!” as an excuse for treating themselves to things like sugar free vanilla lattes, Sun Chips, or a Wendy’s Frosty™ frozen dairy desserts, there are few things that I will not stand for more than the rancid sight of a struggling student crumbling under the weight of societal expectations. With so much pestilence, poverty, and permissiveness paralyzing our great land already, it is beyond heartbreaking to witness people—just like you and me!—ostracized and obliterated just because they can’t ace an algebra test, go out for the equestrian team, or sell as many school-fundraising magazine subscriptions as that weird overweight kid who breathes through his mouth and whose family owns the cutlery store in the mall (y’know, the one with the suit of armor standing in front of it) that no one you know has ever stepped foot in.

Perhaps this is why, dear readers, I have chosen to present to you today not just a review, but, rather, a public service announcement that tells the sad yet uplifting tale of just such an unfortunate soul, “Strangers With Candy’s” Jerri Blank.

Like so many unique flowers before her, Jerri has struggled all her life to understand just why it is that she doesn’t fit in. Born into a family that would sooner feed her to the wolves than feed her mind with the great works of Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Danielle Steele, Jerri’s home life led her astray at an early age to the horrors of the street. Whilst school chums were learning to tie their shoes and tap dance, our fair lass was learning to tie one off just so she could make it through another lap dance. And for what? Another hit of smack instead of her favorite Easy Mac snack? For shame, America. For shame.

Now, in her forties and not-so-lovin’-it, Jerri has made the courageous decision to gather up the pieces of her life, go back to school, and start anew. Though other women her age may be learning to embrace the goddess The View says is within, our Jerri is learning to accept the fact that she must open a window to a new view on life—one that lets her be a heroine without heroin.
This, dear readers, is where you come in.

Though I know many of you must already be reaching for your wallets, wondering how you can help contribute to the renewal of one of our most valuable resources, I am here to tell you that you needn’t shove any more bills down Jerri’s pants to help strip her of her shame. Instead, what you can do is watch all three seasons of the riveting television documentary, “Strangers With Candy,” which details Jerri’s difficult transition back to high school as a not-so-traditional (and how!) student.

As each episode unfolds, you’ll gain a greater and deeper respect and understanding for all the dilemmas faced by women of the night whom have chosen to return to the day. Does being a drug runner make you good at track? How can I choose to walk away from an argument rather than stab a girl’s eye with my six-inch heels? If I sell my body today, does it mean I’ll get an A tomorrow? These are the questions Jerri must ponder every day and the cameras are right there with her, capturing every hesitation and quiet conversation with God.

Of course, amidst all the nervous breakdowns and drug withdrawals, fun with a capital F (Fun!) is also to be had as Jerri engages in wacky adventures with all of her new underage buddies! Watch as she tutors a blind student on human anatomy! Marvel as she challenges the inequalities wrought from our country’s race war by claiming a role in Raisin in the Sun! Cheer her on as she takes back her virginity from the hundreds of liver-spotted hands that have run their bony fingers across her! It’s time to feel good again America and Jerri’s here to massage all that mirth into you for only $75 an hour!
There are so many problems we face, both on our own and as a nation. Wouldn’t it make the world a better place then if, even for thirty minutes, we all took the time to watch a degenerate woman with clearly no hope for the future try to carve out her own little piece of heaven?
Now that’s something I can stand for. That’s the America I want to live in.

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