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Painting the Nursery

I am waiting for the ultimate surprise. In t-minus 9 weeks, the gender of Baby T will be revealed! Strangely, a lot of prep work seems to be contingent on old, traditional norms. Pottery Barn, OshKosh B’gosh, Carter’s, Old Navy and other big brands are convinced that “male means blue” and “female means pink.” The birthing industrial complex kindly suggests green, yellow and grey as unisex hues. Onesies, house paint, socks, and animal-themed toys (lions are on “boy teethers” / birds are on “girl swaddlers”) are all codependent on antiquated tropes. Some of the clothes even seem overtly sexist, “Mommy’s littler helper” and “Daddy’s princess.” Sigh.

That said, a few brands get the aesthetically pleasing, gender-neutral baby fashion (and lifestyle) items right without all of the saccharine, cutesie details: Boden, Giggle, Sprout, Tea CollectionBurt’s Bees Baby, KicKee Pants, SkipHop, René Rofé Baby, and hundreds of independent brands found online and via Etsy.

Now that my nesting instinct has kicked in at (just shy of) 32 weeks, my personal struggle with the “gender wars” came this past weekend. In my desire to check errands off of my (never-ending) list, calm anxieties, or feel superficially prepared for the whirlwind of a newborn, I decided this Saturday was the time to paint. Four of my wonderful friends obliged and were paid in delicious Greek food and major gratitude.

Headed to Lowe’s Home Improvement with nothing but a few dream photographs from Pinterest, I had little idea of what color to choose. Originally, I had wanted a minimal and Scandinavian white. But, my friend Sonja said such a dull color was “unnecessarily punishing the baby with bland” and also, not indicative of the excitement, joy and magical exuberance of a child. Tall order.

Hours later, we chose Valspar’s Mint Hint. I’m told it pairs well with Apple Slice, Lime Sherbet, and Pearly Violet. Considered a blue undertoned neutral, it easily complements grey, wood, and pastel. Step one of our unisex mint nursery is now complete!

Now on to modern yet infant appropriate decor.

A Modern, Gender Neutral Mint Colored Nursery

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P.S. Yours truly, neurotic mom-to-be, promises the room was HIGHLY ventilated – windows and doors were open.
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Thai Food that isn’t Pad Thai

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Thailand and Cambodia. In Thailand, we visited Lampang, Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon Mountain in Chom Thong District, and the capital city of Bangkok. We literally booked round-trip tickets within a week of watching the Thailand episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown featuring Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame (even going to his favorite haunts in Chiang Mai). Through tasting preserved fish jerky to morning rice congee to Thai-iced tea to Dtam Som Oo (Thai Pomelo Salad), one constant that is obvious in almost all Thai cuisine are the vibrant colors.

Thailand’s flavor profiles and spices vary greatly in each region: this is due to many factors including palates of its own royal Ayutthaya or Lanna empires to Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Malaysian and Indian influence. Western impact, beginning in 1511 CE with the Portuguese, also brought now common crops like the chili pepper. At Santa Cruz Church on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburri district, Portuguese influence is apparent.  Narrow, winding passageways meander through the Kudeejeen Portuguese Village where a special bakery remains that conjures treats as they were enjoyed centuries ago.

Common flavors in Thai food come from garlic, galangal (Thai form of ginger), coriander, cilantro, lemongrass, shallots, pepper, and kaffir lime leaves. I could not stop consuming Pandanus (also known as Screwpine!) teas made from pandan leaves,  a tropical plant replete with tons of medicinal benefits.

Some of my favorite dishes and street snacks were the savory green papaya and salted crab salad (som tum pu pla raa), “dry” Kuaytiaw Sukhothai noodles, and the sweet Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Scallion (kanom krok). As they say in Thai:

เสน่ห์ปลายจวักผัวรักจนตาย – “English version: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” (Meaning: When a wife cooks well the husband will love her until the end of life.)

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Girl Crush – Julie Thevenot

Founder and titular Designer, Julie Thevenot launched her line in 2008, starting with hand-printing and dye-testing in her custom-built silkscreen studio. This self-taught fashion designer received her MFA from the National Superior School of Decorative arts of Paris and integrates this artistic training into her working process.  Thevenot left Paris for the energy of New York City. Not limiting herself to the medium of fashion, create print editions, wall displays, music, jewelry and more.

At Home With Julie Thevenot, Photogrsphy by Agnes Thor for New York Nests
The_Walk_Up_Post_Meta_Tag At Home With Julie Thevenot, Photogrsphy by Agnes Thor for New York NestsPhotography at the home of Julie Thevenot by Agnes Thor for New York Nests.
Julie Thevenot Big Wall HangingHer work explores everything from color theory to crystals. It is minimal and yet filled with depth of color. The modern lines remind me of Josef Albers, yet the macramé ombre is very seventies! The sulfuric neon yellow evokes the painted geothermal pots of Yellowstone National Park. 
 
Julie Thevenot Wall NeckTextures mingle: wood meets metal meets acrylic. Soft objects become sharpened.  The spirit wall hanging, hand made in the USA, is comprised of leather details on long brass tubes. Need it? Buy it here.
 At Home With Julie Thevenot, Photogrsphy by Agnes Thor for New York Nests
Photography at the home of Julie Thevenot by Agnes Thor for New York Nests. Grace Jones, coral and Black & White Photography continue to inspire the designer. 

The_Walk_Up_Post_Meta_TagAbove all, Thevenot hopes to always remain jubilant, playful and imaginative. Her work has a childlike sense of wonder, and you can tell that she is in love with the universe and its vast cosmos!

Julie Thevenot ClothThe Samsara Scarf is 100% silk twill 48’x48’ , made in France. In Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism and more, the Samsara or Sangsāra is the repeating cycle of birth, life and death (reincarnation). 

Her work spans a northwestern aesthetic, oriental meditation, geometric minimalism, and the bright hues of a print-maker’s color magic. As Albers explains in his grounbreaking Interaction of Color (Happy 50th Anniversary!), “In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is — as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.”