LaurelJRyan's Profile

Display Name: LaurelJRyan
Member Since: 8/17/09

Latest Comments...

Though it is't for a Smart phone, I've been using Draw Pad for iPad to organizing my spring cleaning goals and plan my patio renovations.

6 Interior Design Apps Offer Help With a Swipe Weekly Smartphone App Roundup
3/17/12 11:24 AM

@b77 It is still a charcoal grill, just a much shallower version than the ones typically used to grill steaks and burgers.

Grilling With Chopsticks: BBQ Parties in Japan
5/27/11 06:52 PM

I visited a friend who served me homemade yogurt, but when I asked her how she just said that she leaves whole milk in a jar overnight. It tasted like yogurt, was a little more runny than the American stuff, and didn't make me sick. But before I try it myself, is this a safe method to make yogurt?

How to Make Yogurt at Home
9/2/10 10:47 PM

I'd add making sure you've packed your important documents or copies thereof. Never know when you need to whip out last year's taxes or a birth certificate.

Also, I would place extra emphasis on paring down. I watched a girl drag an entire case of Dr. Pepper with her to rural Japan, insisting that the stuff couldn't be found anywhere in the country. Sure it was tough to find, but not impossible. Moving countries is oftentimes about letting go of some creature comforts and finding new replacements.

Preparing For An Overseas Move
8/18/10 10:59 AM

I think EliJack makes a good point. Prudishness and being uncomfortable around images of nudity aren't always directly related. I think that one does need to consider one's guests when hanging art, no matter what the subject. I think that insisting that everyone who I invite into my home immediately adapt to my values is as close-minded as labeling all nudes pornographic. Then again, I might not be allowed to have an opinion since I never took an art class, and all the artists in my family are musicians.

Reading all the responses that reference the study of art makes me wonder: why is it that approval of nudity or nude art a sign of open-mindedness and/or education?

The Proper Place For Nudes | Apartment Therapy DC
3/21/10 10:32 AM

I'm with Phalene. I'd love to see a post on triple and quadruple-duty rooms. I'm currently trying to make my apartment cohesive; it's completely furnished. When I write "furnished," of course I mean "came with everything the previous owner didn't take back to America, including picture frames, toiletries, musty rug, and mismatched everything." So that's a barrel of monkeys and then some fun.

I want Jamie Drake to come to my apartment immediately.

4 Double-Use Bedrooms | Apartment Therapy Chicago
1/29/10 07:31 AM

Nice to see that someone else uses that industrial-type shelving in their kitchen! It makes me want to buy more colorful pans and hang them up.

Kitchen Tour: Ashley's Bright and Efficient Kitchen | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
1/29/10 07:05 AM

You've managed to incorporate my favorite shade of purple in your decorating; I'm envious! It looks uncluttered and a little whimsical all at once. Well done!

Kayla Tohny's Close To Campus Home House Call | Apartment Therapy San Francisco
1/29/10 06:51 AM

I agree that you just need to rearrange, rather than repaint your furniture, and that the best placement for the bed might be under the window. As someone who has made a lot of necessity-based purchases and regretted them (I'll never forget the day I first found design blogs), I wouldn't go buying anything before you've tried to work with what you have.

You might try softening the black furniture with the addition of textiles. An Asian-inspired table runner could easily tie in the green (like the lucky bamboo you have in the corner), black and brown in one go. You could drape it on the TV cabinet to tie that into the room scheme. The office chair looks a little heavy for the space. You could brighten that up with fabric or simply keep an eye out for wooden chairs worth spray-painting on Craigslist.

Good luck! There's a lot of advice here, some which may not work with your personal aesthetic or budget, but I'm sure you'll find what suits you. As long as you have an idea of how you want your bedroom to feel when it's finished you can edit and decorating with a goal in mind.

How Do I Work With Black and Brown? Good Questions | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
1/26/10 11:35 PM

SBMODERN, I slept on one of those traditional mats for about eighteen months. Japanese and Korean futons are indeed pads that range from 6 to 12 cm in thickness, and are great at absorbing sweat and the like from the body. They can and will mold (oh, that makes one feel like such a slob), but a simple solution to that is to vacuum them once a week, or make like the Japanese and hang them out in the sun, then beat the dirt out of them.

Traditional futons wonderful in summer because they're so close the the ground; it keeps one near the cool floor. During the winter, that same issue makes life near unbearable (that, and the complete lack on insulation in Japanese housing). It is a great small space solution if you have a closet deep enough to store the futon and blanket. AT actually shows these in a Kyoto guest house tour: And the picture above is definitely that kind of traditional futon.

Now tell me that a low mattress looks like "poor student." :)

I bought a bed, though, because in my part of Japan the cold season lasts longer than rainy season and summer. Despite the many bedding accoutrements for warming one's futon God bless you, Muji, for providing me with an affordable bed to keep me away from the bone-shaking cold. Plus, my apartment has no convenient place to hang my futon in the sunshine, and the suckers are kind of heavy to haul up one flight of stairs to hang over the railing. No lies, though, some days I miss being able to store my bed out of sight.

And is it just me, or are college students more likely to loft their beds in order to shove desks and Rubbermaid drawers underneath? I had to climb up to or take a running start to get into bed all through college. We all shoved so much storage under our beds that a low bed was an obvious waste of space.

How Low Can You Go? | Apartment Therapy Chicago
1/22/10 07:21 PM

Anna Europe, that is a darn good article.

Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2010 | Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh
1/13/10 09:50 AM

For the record, during the 1800s it wasn't uncommon to find boys named after professions. There were plenty of Doctors and Lawyers running around who didn't live up to their namesakes. Frankly, it really is racist to play "guess my ethnicity" with unusually-spelled or "re-appropriated" words.

Besides, what is traditional? Sure, if you're caucasian and of Western European heritage, Emily and Margaret and Brian and Robert are perfectly normal names. Most of the Biblical names (stolen from Hebrew like Malikai, or Malachi) are also normal. However, if your cultural heritage stems from a country in which Moreblessing (yup, pronounced More Blessing) is normal, why not name your child something similar? Charity is a traditional name, right? So why isn't Precious? Many black Americans have Ghanian or Western African heritage. Names that end in -qua, -kai, or that begin with two consonants are common in the native languages. I'm currently teaching in Japan, working with girls named Mai (pronounced "my"), Nanami (nah-nah-mee) and boys Syuuto (shoo-toh) and Kouta (koh-ta). Again, what is normal? What is respectable?

As someone who has worked in day care and elementary schools for my entire career, I've seen name trends come and go. I can say for sure that they aren't limited to ethnicity or education. I've read Kevin Henke's Chrysanethmum to young children enough to hope that their parents are teaching them to look past a name. I think it's horrible to reject someone for their name only, when they cannot help with what they've been saddled by their parents.

In summary, it's odd and unmerited to believe that education leads to "normal names." If we are really as open to various cultures and ethnicities as we think, we wouldn't ask each other to stick to "traditional" names that are really just white European. It's classist, racist, and just as uneducated as naming your child after a European capital.

Simple test: Is London or DeShawn a classier name for a boy? If your first thought is London, and be honest with yourself, check your skin color. Now draw your own conclusions. After the indignation wears off, ask yourself what's cool about naming a child after a capital city, and if you'd ever name your child Warsaw or Abuja.

Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2010 | Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh
1/13/10 09:36 AM

My walls were already covered in the basic equivalent of floor laminate. I'm currently in the process of covering them in duct tape and paper! I've had surprisingly good reviews thus far; we'll see how it goes when I finish my living/bedroom.

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles | Casart Wallcoverings: When Painting's Not An Option
10/19/09 10:14 AM

I don't disagree with a couple of things out of place, but perhaps that's because I'm naturally disorganized. I think that's more like eyeglasses left on the coffee table with the book I was reading earlier than draping a sweater over a chair. Nothing that will get in the way.

I like the baroque approach to symmetry—make it look symmetric at first glance. On second and third glance it becomes a game of One of These Things Is Not Like The Other.

Apartment Therapy Chicago | 8 Stylist's Tricks That Really Work
10/17/09 11:53 PM

Bento boxes are something that should be in everyone's cupboard. It's a concept from Japan, where lunch is usually composed of rice and small samples of various foods. After only a month in Japan I had switched from the Ziploc bag approach to the bento—the container is more eco-friendly, the food portions are more easily controlled, and the overall presentation (of utmost importance on this side of the Pacific) is more attractive.

For those interested in making their own bento lunches, visit for the basics. I like seeing the little smokies cut to look like octopi.

Apartment Therapy The Kitchn | How To Choose the Fastest Checkout Line Delicious links for 10.14.09
10/17/09 11:39 PM

My very first apartment after college was in a sketchy area five-minutes' drive from my work, which happened to be near a very convenient shopping area. My location was amazing but the apartment was crap. It had potential; a tiny studio converted from a hotel built in 1911, the original murphy bed frame (and what felt like the original mattress), and easygoing landlords who didn't mind a little paint here and there. However, it was dingy, had terribly carpet, no showerhead, concrete walls, burnt wood from when the last tenant accidentally set the place on fire, and very little natural light. And creepy neighbors. I lived there for six months until I moved to Japan. I would repeat the experience for the sake of convenience, but would have worked harder to fix up my living space.

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles | What's More Important: Apartment or Neighborhood?
10/17/09 11:25 PM

Heh heh. CHEST of drawers. Heh heh heh.

Apartment Therapy New York | Creative Storage: Peter Rolfe's Human Form Drawers
9/9/09 06:10 PM

LSUGrad03, I am in league with you. Some handy tricks from no-shoes-inside Japan for bare floors: wear slippers inside when it gets cold. Keep easily washable slippers in an entryway basket for guests. Use floor cushions to add texture and extra seating (a great small space solution).

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles | Living Rooms without Rugs
9/9/09 03:44 AM

I was about to advise the addition of color, but then one of my coworkers walked past my computer, said something I didn't understand in Japanese, and when I looked confused said, "Office. Wabi sabi. Very good." I hope that means I'm not in trouble for looking at AT during work hours...

Critics need to also consider individual preferences in working environments. Some people are more productive when there's noise in the background and plenty of visual stimulation. Others are more productive with a calm, harmonious environment. This office looked sterile and industrial at first glance, then I thought, "I'd probably get a lot of work done there." Also, I'm guessing that the budget was blown on the floors and chairs; why not keep the tables if they match the current color scheme?

Apartment Therapy San Francisco | Office Space Before After
9/9/09 03:43 AM

White isn't a "trend," and neither is antiquing or shabby chic. I'm more likely to purchase my furnishings based on texture, so that cabinet on which rests the coffee bean bag filler doohickey would never work for me. My dream home looks nothing like this, but I think this home looks clean, bright, and still I wouldn't feel uncomfortable putting my feet on the coffee table. Without shoes, of course.

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles | A Fuss-Free White HomeFeatured in Sköna Hem
9/9/09 03:41 AM