bso bloggers

It was with much surprise and excitement that I received two seemingly unrelated emails on Wednesday, with only the common thread of this blog!I'll tell you about one for now...

I was given two free tickets to the
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from their PR Manager as part of their "bloggers night." As part of the evening, there were speakers from various media writers, such as Tim Smith(Baltimore Sun), Anne Midgette (Post) and Chalres Downey (IonArts blog), who presented a casual presentation/Q&A session preceding the concert.

And, oh the concert! This being my first trip to the BSO and really my
first symphony experience, I really had NO idea what to expect. Would I be bored? Would I be dressed appropriately (once again, a black cocktail dress is always a good call)?

Turns out I LOVED it. For starters, the concert hall at the Myerhoff is just gorgeous:

And the music! I loved it! The trio Time for Three opened with the symphony, playing an awesome fusion of classical, jazz, bluegrass...just all around awesome energy that everyone couldn't help byt get in to. Watch this - while not from the concert I saw you'll get a feel for the vibe and how totally adorable they are.

Here are a few more photos:

Anyway, I had a grand old time and I definitely would like to go on the reg'. There were definitely plenty of empty seats which was a little saddening - tickets are far from expensive ($25-$80) considering this is truly top notch music in the heart of our city. Talk to your neighborhood friends and plan to carpool over for a concert sometime. No matter what your normal musical predilections may be, I just know you'll love it.

Other good news to follow - I'm at the beach for the next few days so will finally have some time to relax and catch up :)

love k

my perfect (theoretical) roof deck

When I purchased and rehabbed (a.k.a. essentially gutted..) my parkfront house 4 years ago, I discussed the option of a roof-top deck with my contractor. At the time he dissuaded me from spending my money on a roof deck due to the general lack of use that they get. Advising me to cruise around town on a beautiful roof-deck-perfect day and see how many people were using them, he was proven totally right - the fact of the matter is, people just don't tend to use outdoor space that isn't on a visual eye-level with daily indoor space.

Then there was the issue of access. My second-floor back bedroom has a small balcony, but not enough room for a spiral (plus I LOATHE spiral stairs - how on earth am I to bring up trays of delicious cocktails and hors d'oeurves while teetering on the brink of death?!?). My 3rd floor isn't full-depth, but there's 2 feet of vertical wall space from my 3rd floor floor to the 2nd floor roof level (is this confusing you yet? I'd take a photo but my camera is broken!). I can hardly have people climbing out a window to make it all feasible. Zoning and permits would practically slaughter me for trying. Long story short, the plan was nixed and I moved on, still coming in way over budget.

But lately I've been showing dozens of houses with roof decks all over the good ol' 21224. And my boyfriend's house has not one, but three levels of decks ---->

And so, dear friends, I've got roof deck fever. After consulting with the Canton roof deck king, Victor Kocent, I've found a few options and a general price range to mull over. So the next step is obviously roving the internet for beautiful versions of what I want to do.

I could go straight up over the stairs up to the deck but there isn't enough room for a normal stair. But one of these would work....

While against a million codes in the US I'm sure, they're totally fine in the UK for accessing loft spaces and the like, as you get half the run of a normal stair because each step is twice the rise. I particularly loved this one, coupling fantastic storage of books and records/cds with beautiful design:

Ideally, I'd like to have two levels of deck, however - one off my 3rd floor and then outdoor stairs up to the roof. I like the idea of having a large space to grill 'n chill that is virtually "eye-level" with the third floor to promote regular use. Something along the lines of...

Note the normal staircase leading up and away, NOT a spiral! I also really like this upper deck design, especially since it would face the park. The incorporation of natural elements of wood and grass (though surely fake...) are really appealing to me:

Soo...yeah, basically I have to figure out how to make a window a door without creating major structural issues or potential water incursion. I think I have a workable idea. Now I just need to squirrel away $12,000 to make my outdoor roof top wonder. HA! With my design wish-list I think I shall be looking at around $2 million...

love k

pagoda photoga(rapher)

[Yes, I realize that title is beyond ridiculous. I can't help it]

I absolutely love when you see someone take an unfortunate turn of events and flip the script to make it an opening to a new opportunity. With the recent surge of job losses throughout our region, many young professionals have found themselves thrown into a tailspin when they're laid off. Some people, however, rise like a pheonix from the ashes of their former job to do something way more rockin'.

Take my former client and now friend Meghan Vince, who lives just a few
blocks outside our neighborhood in Canton. After being laid off with dozens of her coworkers, Meghan started the frustrating task of job-hunting. Rather than fall into a spell of cabin fever, she picked up her old hobby of photography. Within a matter of weeks she was turning this passion professional, exposing a true talent for portrait photography. I mean, heck, just look at her website, people! These photos are amazing!

I was probably the worst model anyone could ever want, but even with a total lack of talent on MY end, Meghan definitely brought out the fun of being photographed. Which got me thinking... what a great backdrop
we have in our midst - what better place to have some portraits of you, your loved ones, your pets, or your partner than around Patterson Park? Heck, now that I think about it... I have a hankering to have my business photo retaken with the pagoda behind me!

So if you need some awesome photos taken by a fantastic local lady who has found the silver lining in a tough lil' rain cloud, Meghan is your girl. You'll find yourself laughing and having a grand old time, and have some sweet portraits to admire and share. Remember, supporting local talent helps us all.

love kimi

a befitting benefit for halloween

Have I mentioned the neighborhood benefit masquerade cocktail party (aka NBMCP) that I'm planning? I haven't? How rude of me! I'm practically bursting at the seam with excitement, friends. It's all my favorite things rolled in to one event - shall we break it down?
  • NEIGHBORHOOD! As though you need me to tell you how much I love Patterson Park and it's awesome residents
  • BENEFIT! The Creative Alliance, like so many local non-profits, has faced the loss of donor funding to support their fantastic events which keep local art and creativity thriving. The Great Halloween Lantern Parade is an annual event beloved by children and adults from within and outside of our neighborhood boundary. Donations from this event go directly to supporting the Parade's continued success
  • MASQUERADE! Oh, the mysteries of the masquerade just add such an element of old school class, don't they? I, for one, purchased my mask weeks ago, while others are making their own.
  • COCKTAIL! What better way to start your weekend that cocktails and hors d'oeurves?
  • PARTY! Decorations, food, drinks, candy, masks, cocktail dresses....need I say more?
Excited doesn't even begin to portray what I feel about this. Truly, the opportunity to help support one of my favorite neighborhood (nay, city!) events is one I welcome wholeheartedly. Hosting a worthy benefit with my favorite friends in attendance while dressing up with a mask is just about as close to heaven as it gets for me. If you are interested in attending or donating, please visit the event website to RSVP. love kimi

wil they, won't they... will YOU?

The clock is starting to tick down on the $8000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit, set to expire at midnight on November 30th. While those of us in the industry are petitioning our hearts out to have it extended, as of now there is certainly no guarantee that the credit will continue. There is of course a lot of posturing about if this Federal Housing tax credit will be extended, increased, altered, or ended, but I would encourage you to assess your own housing situation as well as that of your friends, family, or colleagues. It's a perfect opportunity for you to toot the ol' Patterson Park horn, as we are a prime-priced neighborhood for first time buyers!

Here are some points to consider or bring up with others:

1. Buying a home can save you money - You'll save on taxes because your home purchase will give you what's most likley your biggest tax deduction - the interest on your mortgage.

2. Stabilize Housing Costs - As a renter, you may be subject to rent increases with each renewal, but with a fixed rate mortgage you can look forward to the same monthly principal and interest payment as long as you own the home

3. Build Wealth -Historically, property values tend to increase over time, especially if you're looking at a 5 or more year span. In fact, as a general rule homes are people's largest concentration of wealth and their biggest asset

4. Personal Gains - Owning a home has its challenges (no landlord to call to fix a leaky pipe!), but it also has its rewards, through a sense of personal gratification and the pride of home ownership. Talk to anyone about the satisfaction they felt upon buying a home and making it their own and you'll see why "home is where the heart is."

There are many other reasons to set your eyes on home ownership or to advise those you love to do so for their own financial, lifestyle, and emotional reasons. The current market offers unprecedented opportunities for first-time and move-up buyers alike. With extraordinary inventory, historically low interest rates, and negotiable prices, this is the time to consider your best move.

love kimi

welcome to our next-door neighborhood, Blue Hill!

A couple of months ago, a new restaurant opened just one neighborhood over from us (about one mile from my house, door to door) on a prominent corner of Conkling and Dillon, turning an allegedly pretty down and out bar into the Canton area's newest hot spot. Blue Hill Tavern is now the talk of the town and the place to go for happy hour drinks or celebratory dinner. Whether you want to spend a few bucks on nibbles, such as smoked salmon tartar, or go the whole hog on the $52 Chateaubriand, you're sure to find something to please the palate.

While you certainly won't get dirty looks for showing up in jeans, you'll find that the majority of the patrons are wearing what I term "snappy-casual" attire, which I personally appreciate. With so many bars in the area, it's nice to have options for those times you just want to dress up a touch and not stand out.

You'll find there's plenty to please the senses as well, with a bar-long water feature, semi-private balconies on the second floor, and lovely service all around. When I recently went with two friends to celebrate a birthday, we had great cocktails, and assortment of appetizers, and delicious burgers all around. Learning that it was a birthday celebration, the servers let the birthday girl pick a dessert and brought it out with candle ablaze (and extra forks!).

If you haven't been yet, I suggest you put this new spot on your list the next time you're looking to leave the neighborhood for a night out or just a casual cocktail with friends or co-workers.

love kimi

let's go to the movies.. in the park!

ok so this is so overdue it isn't even funny at this point. In fact, I haven't posted in so long it became this nagging task that I couldn't even face, but somehow the sunshine and pretty weather and upcoming vaca on my horizon has brought me around, so...

Hi! Great to see you all again - it's been so long! I've been busy with work and fun and life, so let's get caught up:

Many moons ago now, I went to my first "movie in the park"(The Never Ending Story, no less!) and it was a BLAST. Hosted by the "Friends of Patterson Park" throughout the summer months, "Moves in the Park" sets up in the small park near Ellwood Avenue, with a huge inflatable screen and several family friendly movies. Anything that gets people out of their house and in to their community is a great thing to me. More and more, I find that people are retreating their living rooms and dens to watch tv and play video games rather than get out in the world. Not only is this very isolating for people, it also means that ghey don't get a chance to meet their neighbors, enjoy their community, and take advantage of fantastic opportunities for young and old alike. So what better way to do all of that than by packing a picnic, gathering friends or family, and enjoying a movie together in the company of others?

I think that the "movies in the park" season may now be over - what a shame since I consider the fall to be the some of the BEST months to enjoy the outdoors - but let's all make a concerted effort to think of things that combine relaxation with community. What are your ideas?

(apologies for the poor photo quality - it was dark, and my niece is quick as a cat!)

glad to be back, and stay posted for more catch-up posts!

love kimi