Thursday, August 26, 2010

That's a Wrap

I'm being asked a lot "So what now?" and the truth is I've been back into the swing of things since this all wrapped in April, keeping busy with MM Design installing a couple of great new homes (pics to follow), enjoying the Summer at the beach with my gang, weekends on The Lake with the fam, and living the life of a fauxcialite in NYC. But now that Design Star has wrapped to the rest of the world what am I thinking...

I'm very proud of what I accomplished as a designer, well with the exception of a few missing rugs and some shotty rushed design decisions.

I've made some amazing new lifelong friends.

And I am very pleased with how America got to meet Michael. I was ALWAYS true to myself and anyone who knows me will tell you that. For those who don't, my snarkiness = funny, my bossiness = determination, my excitement = genuine, my expressiveness = truth...

So, what next? Maybe I'll get fat and go on Celebrity Fit Club, eh, I'm too narcissistic for that. Hmm, what about a little recklessness to land myself on Celebrity Rehab, nah, I'm enjoying a healthy stable life. Huh, maybe a Tila Tequila style show, eh, ya know what, I meet enough creeps in NYC without a show... So let me cook on it and get back to ya.

Stay tuned, and thank you all for the love and support!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From Pig Farming to Design Starring

Until I was about 7 years old if you asked me, "what do you want to be when you grow up" I'd answer, "a pig farmer".  And now, 23 years later, I'm thinking I couldn't be farther from that, though I still dream of having a pet pig in New York City (even though Daniel Faires has already beat me to it).  I'm a seasoned Interior Designer, running my own business, living in the largest city in the US, traveling, socializing, and designing my way through life, and now, a top finalist in a competition reality show... Yeah, not so much the life of a farmer, though NYC can be a smelly dwelling, especially this time of year.

So now it's down to the wire and I'm super revved up and pumped to wrap this diddy up. And Ms. Olsen, Ms. Gorder, and Mr. Yip, though you may ask yourself "Who is Michael?"  or think Mr. Moeller is "putting on" a show or "acting" like a "TV Host", well I can assure you, that it's just me... I'm overly expressive, quite dramatic, outspoken Michael, always have been and always will be.... 

I've sung "Happy Birthday" to the likings of Ms. Monroe in short shorts in my high school play. I rocked out Disco Ball Pants to ring in the new millennium. And threw myself a 30th Birthday Party where the requested attire was "Deconstructed Black Tie Parisian Equestrian Chic." (Which BTW, this past episode took place on my actual 30th Birthday)

I'm the person who's told to speak more quietly when excited in a public place. The obvious eye roller when rubbed the wrong way. Am all smiles when overjoyed, cause I don't know how to be just "joyed", most of my emotions are "over" the top, maybe even exaggerated... I'm slightly flirty (no comment needed from my gang please, this is a PG rated blog). And most of all, I'm confident, not cocky...

So, here goes... Bring on the final challenge and yes Emily, you said it "may the best woman win" cause honey, I'm just as much of a lady as you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Food for Thought

OK, it's a little late, but the way I figure it is as long as I get this done before you see me act a fool on the next episode I'm good! 

Now, let's get the one thing everyone thought was sooooo funny out of the way... Fruit Salad, need I say more... I thought it priceless how it was constantly captioned under my name the entire episode... Ha ha! 

So food as inspiration, hokey, well maybe slightly, but why not? I mean we let food aid, affect, influence, stimulate, comfort, relax, and energize us. Not following well let me break it down for you:

Michael’s Glossary of Foodology

Beach weekend eating: An act of eating healthy, typically high in protein and low in carbohydrates, to prepare one’s body for a bathing suit.

Morning’s gonna hurt: Any substance ingested after 3am while intoxicated; most often in the form of pizza, cheese gravy fries, or any item ravaged from the fridge in an act of desperation to avoid a nasty hangover.

Home-cookin: A conscious, non-guilty routine of eating Mom’s amazing meals; also occurs when visiting a Grandmother.

Hangover Remedy: Foods typically high in fat content and carbohydrates. Greasy, cheesy, or saucy foods that will coat the stomach, cause drowsiness, and calm the pain from the night prior.

Give me the damn ice cream: Often an overly indulgent intake of ice cream or frozen dairy-like substance that masks the pain of a negative situation: Most often seen post break-up, after a bad day at work, or when feeling lonely.

Let me eat cake: A syndrome that occurs in the presence of baked goods. Most likely to happen at weddings, children’s birthdays, and holidays.

Emotionally Overweight: When one feels fat from overeating, but is in fact still quite thin.

On a Date: Meals that are eaten easily, have faint pleasing aromas, and are not messy; an avoidance of foods that leave bad breath or particles stuck in ones teeth.

See what I mean? Food can influence you in a lot of ways… So letting it influence the design of your space, well, all right I’m with you, its still kinda hokey.

I’m hungry!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's Cookin Good Lookin?

Dear Genevieve,

I'd like to take this opportunity to answer your question "What am I doing?" from this weeks elimination in regards my styling in this kitchen shot:

You're having me, Casey, John, and Vern over for dinner. You've just left your glass of Pinot Noir, a nice full bodied one (I know this cause Casey and I drank it after the challenge), on the counter to run into the bedroom and put on some lipstick before your guests arrive. Why do I know this? Well their is no lipstick mark on the wine glass (though if their was lipstick on the glass I may have to wonder if Stacey came back, but I'd know for sure only if their was a note next to it saying something like "thanks for the mussels -xoxo"). OK getting back on point... You've left the mussels next to the sink in the colander ready to wash and get in the gorgeous yellow enamel pot to steam. But first I'd suggest halving the artichokes and getting them in the oven cause they take a while to roast. Snap the asparagus and get them on the stove top. Girl, it's a good thing you bought cupcakes for dessert cause you still have a lot of cooking to do before your guests arrive... And the table is still not set! Well they can munch on the gorgeous meat and cheese board you've laid out and chat with you while you wrap up dinner. And honey, please use the apron draped over the butcher block to cover up those gorgeous threads of yours!

And when the guest's ask "What's for dinner?" your reply:

Fire Roasted Artichokes with Herb Aioli

Spicy Mussels with White Wine

Salad of Warm White Asparagus, Baby Arugula, and Beefsteak Tomatoes with Porcini Dressing

Fresh Bread with Rustic Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

It's all there, ready to roll, and I love to cook so if you want me to come over and help you I'd be happy to, though theirs only one apron, ah well, I'm sure I have a scarf somewhere that I can repurpose into and apron...

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, I always have one (a story not a scarf) when I'm styling an interior shot. So it may seem like a lot of stuff on those counters but it's because no one ever leaves my house hungry, my Grandmother Flo would not stand for that!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A nail to the thumb, why that's a Tuesday for me!

OK, so it took me long enough to get this out (I got to get better at this whole blogging thing) but THE THUMB IS FINE! Honestly, it was only a matter of time before something like "shooting myself with a nail gun" was to happen. For those who know me, know I have a loooooong history of clumsy accidents, for those who don't, well, they go something like this:

Age 3: Split my head open (several stitches required)
Cause: Falling off a barrel on it's side (my stupidity ensues)

Age 5: Cut my arm from shoulder to elbow (48 stitches required) 
Cause: Running into a barbed wire fence (sorta wasn't watching where I was going...)

Age 7: Split Chin (several stitches required)
Cause: Face planting into my brothers playpen (I lost my balance!) 

Age 8: Tore my middle finger on left hand (several stitches required)
Cause: Opening an electrical circuit box (yeah, most normal people manage this task on a daily basis without injuring themselves)

Age 10: Third degree burn on my upper right arm
Cause: Crashing my four-wheeler into my bothers go-cart (I thought it would be more dramatic to heave over the handlebars and onto the go-cart's engine than fall to the side.) 

Age 14: Sliced open my shin and the muscle below (several internal and external stitches required)
Cause: Attempting to hang a hammock in a Mexican hotel room's bathroom (My sister suggested we see if the ceramic towel hooks on the wall were strong enough to hold the hammock, so naturally, I lifted myself up onto one... I learned the hard way that they in fact were not strong enough.)

Age 16 - 18: Seven car accidents resulting in minor scrapes and bruises (thank god my folks own an auto body shop)
Cause 1: a tree just came out of nowhere
Cause 2: someone parked way to close behind me in a parking lot
Cause 3: the road just ended, or maybe it curved off to the side
Cause 4: a car rammed me as I pulled out of a gas station, I was looking right! He was coming from the left, note to self: always look both ways!
Cause 5: an idiot was stopped at a light and I rear ended him, wait now that I think about it, the light was red...
Cause 6: the same four-wheeler/go-cart accident occurred with my brother and I around the same blind spot in our driveway, this time with our cars.
Cause 7: while borrowing my mother's car, because mine was in the shop, I rear-eneded yet another person, I'm not good when people stop in front of me...

College years remain a blur, but for the most part I stayed in one piece. 

Age 25: Sliced the side of my thumb on left hand (several stitches required)
Cause: Putting together presentation boards hung over

And alas, putting an 1 3/4" nail into that same thumb, my left hand's been through a lot! The heightened adrenaline, sheer exhaustion, and ticking clock made me numb to the whole thing. I really wanted to just yank it out with a pair of pliers, but those firemen insisted on taking the proper precautions... So the wrapped me up like a friggin mummy, ushered me off to St. Vincent's in an ambulance, took X-rays, and then had some nurse yank the nail out with Doctor type tongues, eh, should of just shut my mouth and grabbed the pliers!

Never the less, Alex put together my desk as best he could, and I am proud to be part of a team that pulled together and took the win for us, thanks guys! Not bad huh:

I had planned a black trim with an eagle head silhouette detail around the base which would have made my piece a bit more interesting, but the fact that it got built was good enough for me... And secretly I was relieved for a moment in the ER, it was the first and only time in this competition that I sat down with no cameras and relaxed, but don't tell Casey, Emily, or Alex that.

P.S. This episode is when Trixie met Troy... 

This is a force to be reckoned with! Caption picture below: Fireman walks in, see's this and says "Huh, it's like polishing a turd..." Ha ha, favorite quote of the day!

This challenge was an amazing one. The FDNY is a breed of men and women who risk their lives and take other's into their own hands on a daily basis. One of the most traumatic moments in my life was when I had my apartment in New York catch fire and these guys arrived in a matter of moments and contained the fire to one room in a four room apartment... Yes, these folks are a rarity and I admire them for that. I was honored to be part of this and able to personally give back to them. And um Squad 18, if that desk is falling apart or the, uh-em, painted linoleum floor needs a little maintenance, well I live in NYC and would be glad to come by... and Trixies coming with me!

Recently, I caught these guys in action at a fire that broke out a block from my place... Seriously, this is their day job...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bookcases, Barb, and Battling Nina

I'm not sure where to start... This week has been super surreal and I'm just stating for the record, I'm not letting any of it go to my head and start acting all too big for my britches, I promise... Except Mom, I'll need you to send a car for me this weekend before the lake, I can't take trains anymore...

OK, to start, I forgot how much I loved the look of our room this past week. They start to fade in my head after a certain amount of time. Clean, fresh and simple can certainly be dynamic and I think the boys and I proved that... Some may say it's safe, but I say if you're borderline OCD, like to clean, and enjoy light and airy, then go for it, live in a white minimal box. Me, I need lots of color, varied depths, and patterns to distract me from dust bunnies, wall scuffs, and grit... Please don't think I'm a slob, I just am too busy to clean several times a day. 

And then the bookcase, well yes, while it was my conceptual idea, Courtland did have a lot of input on the the schematics and construction of the piece, and without him it would have never happened. For me, I just wanted the head of the bed to face the windows... Killer views to wake up to.

Next, my first recognition from a stranger... Now as an Urbanite we get used to celebrity sightings and I mean like real, legitimate ones... So New Yorkers, well I'm not sure on the whole they'll notice me. But take me to suburbia and my chances increase. I was in Lowes buying some hardware for a project I'm doing outside The City, 16 drawers pulls to be exact, at self checkout, $3.97, $3.97, $3.97, $3.97 and so on, which naturally I started laughing at myself after hearing the $3.97 for the 8th time, I have a tendency to laugh and talk to myself a lot... (Note to self: stop doing that in public, it looks strange.) So I'm walking out and this woman approaches me and says "Are you Michael?" and since this project is not far from home I'm thinking this must be a friend of my mother, or a teacher from grade school, or a friend's mother, but no it was not, it was a complete stranger... So I answered yes and she first apologized for "bothering me" (Note to others: attention is never a bother) and then proceeds to to praise me, the show, my designs; she tells me how she's routing and wishes big things for me... And all I'm thinking is what do I do? Do I introduce myself? Do I thank her? Do I call for help? But being so taken off guard I awkwardly introduce myself (Duh Michael, she knows who you are) and I meet my first fan, Barb... And while I am not the least bit shy or put off by attention, this scenario was surreal. I got in my car, was literally shaking, and called my mom! I think I've been in a bit of denial this whole time... But now, I'm thinking, this is going to happen... Future trips to Target and Home Depot should be approached with caution. Shout out to Barb from Lowes!

And of course, a mini-challenge with Nina on the PIX morning show. It was fun to get back in the game, push creativity to the max, and hastily spit something out that you hope is presentable in the end... You can watch it here if you missed it:

I'm happy with the outcome, considering it was done in 90 minutes... If I had more time, I would have added more layers and continued my graffiti word play with "star".

My inspiration, Shepard Fairy... and well Traci, my good friend who encouraged me  the night before to take a risk...

But my favorite thing that happened all week was having a car sent for me for the PIX Morning News. A guy could get used to that, I need a driver, now accepting applications but you must supply the car and be OK with no pay.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Little Bounce for your Step

I've been brewing a bit since the last challenge, thinking about how some people think its far fetched to use music as an inspiration for interior design, but the more I thought (don't worry, is was minimal) the more I realized music is probably one of the heaviest forms of influence in our daily lives.

Now most of you urbanites will agree, we bounce around our cities bearing an electronic extremity, be it an Ipod, your mobile phone, or a Walkman (for real, I've spotted recently spotted a few hipsters sporting them, God they'll try to bring anything back...). And what about the rest... You're listening to music while driving in your car, working in the office, and relaxing at home. We all have our playlists, radio stations, and online music  blaring according to how we feel or want to feel; it puts a little bounce in our step, energy to our workouts, life to our commutes, and even some needed consolation when feeling blue. So music, I can confidently say you are a bigger part of me than you may think, you inspire my moods, actions, and routines. Its way too often that I am living in a soundtrack and I'm not ashamed to admit it... Am I the only one that has a runway strut when walking down a subway platform listening to my Ipod??? I think not!

See below for a playlist to bring a little inspiration to your weekend... It's a good one to clean the house, hang by the pool, or just plain background for hanging with friends. Hit play and enjoy!

Stay tuned, this Sunday is an all new episode brought to you by flowers!