Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This dresser is filled with CD's, not clothes.

1930's dreser with 75+ years of love and abuse. Now mine, after $50, a couple soapy rags, and a generous application of Johnson's Paste Wax.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My Firstborn.

Born through marriage, that is - NOT my birth canal. I forget who it was but some writer once said that your mate is your first child, the one you nurture and care for first. My husband's 32nd birthday was this past Friday, and provided me ample opportunity to further compare babies to husbands.

My hubs as a youngster:

Aww, so vulnerable and adorable....just look at those sad eyes....worrying about ice cream and t-ball.

My hubs on Friday night:

Drunk as a skunk, attempting to take his shoes off.....

And telling me his balls itch.




Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grandma is better than Bed Bath & Beyond.

Not only can Grandma make a mean nutroll and dance the polka like a champ (both things I've yet to see this big box store accomplish), she also stocks cooler products.

Seriously, I had a $25.00 gift certificate for that place and thought I could at least find an indoor/outdoor rug to put in front of the back door. I was also in the market for a circular wooden tray for the coffee table, a basket thingy for the bottom shelf of our bookcase, and cute, lightweight curtains for the office nook. In a store with three levels of goods, you'd think I'd find one of these things on which to spend my hard-earned (not really) giftcard.

Two hours later, I came out of the store with several bottles of this:

I know you should never say never. But I'm saying right now that I'm never going back there.

Now, for Gram. When I was home over the holidays I found these languishing in my mom's linen closet:

AWESOME pillowcases that Gram had made for mom when she got married. Hot pink edging to match my mom's hot-pink coverlet, an idea that both enthralls and frightens me. I lived in that house for 18 years and never once saw these cases OR a hot pink coverlet. Such secrets. Anyway, mom told me to take them since she hadn't used them in 35 years.

In addition, Gram decided to give all the ladies in the family old homemade aprons for Christmas. Here's mine:

She gave these to us not because she really thought we'd love to have them, but because she derives perverse pleasure in making us dress up in odd costumes on Christmas Eve. I'm not sure at what point she began confusing Halloween for the eve of Jesus's birth, but it's become a weird, uncontested tradition. This year's theme was 'Mama's Family'. We also received hats for our trouble.

In conclusion, my Grandma's got better loot than BBB. This post feels like a hallucination.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Last night's dinner.

Was pretty good, actually. I realized that this blog is supposed to be about domestication, and it seems all I've been focusing on are table arrangements/weddings/bruce springsteen.


Wild turbot fillets (they were frozen from Trader Joe's, okay?) with HOMEMADE THYME MASHED POTATOES, roasted red pepper sauce (also homemade), and salad (ditto on the homemade). I know, fish with mashed potatoes? But don't hate. It was kind of cold in LA last night, and mashed potatoes just seemed right, and it wasn't like we were having company over or anything. Besides, I'm a big proponent of mashed potatoes, anytime, anywhere.


+Bake the fish with a slice of lemon for about 10 minutes at 375.
+Get a jar of roasted red peppers, puree the contents (minus some juice) in a food processor with salt and pepper.
+Peel and dice a few papas, then boil til soft, then put in lots of butter, milk, salt, thyme (I only had dried) and pepper, then mix with a hand mixer.
+Thinly slice cucumbers, place on bed of lettuce, drizzle with dressing of your choice.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Egg Whites in a Carton

I got mine from Trader Joe's and mmmmmmm, they (it? not sure if this should be plural or not) are damn good. For me, it's less about the healthfulness of whites vs. yolks (though it opens up some room for cholesterol better used on things like butter, salted butter, clarified butter, melted butter, whipped butter, and herb butter) and more about ease of use. Some call this lazy, I call this one less dish to wash.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Full Disclosure.

Everything I never needed to know about lovely expensive things, especially of the fashion variety, I learned from The Nerdy Fashionista ( ......sorry I can't link because I'm using an old browser)

Here we are at our best, rocking our couture polyester graduation gowns.

Seriously, where I grew up, The Limited was the height of fashion (do they even exist anymore?). And I'm not going to knock it, cause I would totally shop there if I found one.

Do it.

Today, I received this in my email:

Before you say, 'No, I couldn't possibly deal with the five gazillion brides and their minions who frequent these things,' listen to me. If you are getting married and do not have your dress yet, or if you are getting married and have a dress but are having severe, persistent second thoughts, GO. TO. IT. You might find the perfect dress, or you might just feel better about the one you already have.

Hard to believe that it hasn't even been a year since I went to the NYC sale. I wasn't going to go (see aforementioned reason). So, at 6 that morning, I was snoozing in bed while hundreds of women were putting the finishing touches on their matching t-shirts and making sure to wear exposable undergarments. But 1 o'clock rolled around and I found myself at Filene's, expecting the worst.

Magically, it wasn't that busy. All the crazies had had enough, I guess. Mind you, whatever sizing/style/color organization that may have existed in the morning had long since been abandoned. But at least there was no elbowing involved. It was pretty easy to discard most of them: beads? no. rhinestones? no. poof? no. strapless? no. white as the driven snow? no (purity is *so* overrated).

So, that left me with 8 or so dresses to try on. Most of which didn't work, and all of which involved me showing my wide ass and jiggly belly to all customers, salespersons, and security men present. But I have no shame, and then I saw this:

Nicole Miller IE0003, metal taffeta (?? I think Nicole herself made that name up), with large, vintage-y baubles between the boobies (see a couple posts below for me in the dress and a front view).

And to say that I loved it when I first tried it on would be true.* And to say that the $250.00 price tag was ah-mazing would also be true. To say that I walked around in it for an hour hemming and hawing while two girls quietly stalked behind, waiting for it to be taken it off and put back on the rack, would also be true -- and I'm sorry for that, it wasn't personal.

Only after getting it home and doing some research did I find out that the dress still (and even now, still) retailed for $1800. Which, really, was just a bonus for me, but a lesson for you, future bride: go to the goddamn sale.

*It would also be true to say that I still had doubts about the dress leading up to the wedding, feelings that I think are totally normal. So don't freak out if you have those kinds of feelings, too. Everything gets projected onto the. dress.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Let's show some love...

For the color mauve. Except this time, let's not call it 'dusty rose'. And also, let's not even think about resurrecting 'country peach' from its rightful resting place near 1987.

It was only a matter of time.....

...until I posted about the first and true love of my life, Bruce Springsteen. That's right, I said 'first' and 'true', even though I'm married to someone who is definitely NOT Bruce Springsteen. I love this man, and if he wanted to make sexy-time with me, I'd totally be game. Of course, he's got a wife and kids and I respect that....but hot damn.

Hubs knows that Bruce is my free pass. This man lights my birthday cake ablaze, if you what I mean. No matter that he's as old as my father. NO. MATTER. He is one fine piece of good-lovin', body-rockin', knockin' boots all night long.

I've seen thirteen shows and counting, just waiting for my chance.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I have shabby things because I'm poor.

Hubs and I went to dinner with another newly-married couple last week, and the discussion turned to 'decor' (through no fault of my own, I swear to god). The wife asked me what I thought of 'shabby chic'. And, even though I thought I had very strong opinions on the matter (strongly against), I found it hard to come up with a concrete answer. I think this is because several of the things in my apartment could definitely be classified as 'shabby' and a few of them might be considered 'chic', but none of them in that Rachel Ashwell way. And I can totally be smitten with a distressed table *or* chairs, though not usually used together. Basically, I often like pieces that convey some sort of history, whether they be proper antiques or just well-used-and-showing-it. But I *hate* new things meant to look shabby, crackle glaze, and 'richly worn patina' in a can.

So then I went and got this table off of Craigslist for $30:

Totally Shabby. Not So Chic.

But I loved the lines, and I'm a sucker for a turqoise used as a trim, even though I have no idea why the light turqoise looks so cobalt blue in that pic. But when we went to get it, it was a LOT more beat up than it looks in the pic. And there were stains of unknown provenance all over it. I knew immediately that it would be added to my long list of projects. But, since it will sit in our landing/entryway, I didn't want it to wait too long for attention. I got that sucker home, covered the kitchen/back porch with plastic cover, and got to spray painting. Note to self: next time, just use a can and a roller, will ya?

So, I just painted the cream-ish area white, and left the (organically) distressed turqoise as it was. I barely let it dry before putting it in the entryway. Project (hastily) done, with mixed results, but better than before, and now we have a place to hide our shoes:

The turqoise color is most accurate in the first of those two pics. And the table's many imperfections (and my severe impatience) necessitated the use of this edge-to-edge dupioni silk runner:

I love that footed bowl so much that I move it around to all of my tables, just trying to figure out where it would be best used. And that is the ONLY movie poster allowed in our apartment (much to the chagrin of my screenwriter/entertainment whipboy husband), and even it is only allowed because it's in Italian and black and white.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Wedding details.

All that ranting about the brown tuxedo and other stupid wedding inventions took me back to my planning stages. The nine months prior to our fall wedding were nuts. I was living in an alternate universe, and only now do I recognize how absurd the whole thing was. At the same time, I know that all of my obsessing paid off in the end. I was determined to have this wedding on *my* terms, and not on Martha's or David's or even Vera's. We had a church ceremony with an outdoor, tented reception in the hills of WV, and I was going for a natural, pretty, let's all get together and celebrate vibe. Here are some non-pro details shots taken by my brother and sister-in-law.

First, the altar arrangements. Simple cymbidium orchids with bear grass in vases bought at Ollie's for 6 bucks:

The modern stained-glass window at the chapel:

A beautiful friend playing the part of bridesmaid in a black velvet JCrew dress with bouquet:

And the official JCrew pic:

One thing I should say is that all of my bridesmaids are beautiful, skinny bitches (I hate them), so this dress looked fabulous on them. Probably wouldn't have been a great choice if the girls had all different body types.

My husband's brother, playing the part of groomsman. We purchased nice silk ties to gift the men with since the rental options were all hideous AND AREN'T EVEN REAL TIES. The boys wore classic black single-button jackets with notched lapels. His bout is a single freesia stem.

The porch of the house where the reception took place:

The cake, 'twas red velvet with buttercream icing and a little fondant lace detail and it was yummy and looked edible and somewhat homemade and I loved it for its un-Martha-ness.......with mom and dad's cake topper from 1972 and a homemade cake stand (crown molding and spray paint, that's all I'm saying):

The world's most perfect gardenia, a flower very special to my family, used floating in crystal bowls on the cake table, in the moms' and grandmas' corsages, in my bouquet, and in mini form as a bout for my hubs:

The long, linear tables. Be gone to banquet-hall hell, round! Also of note - the nice, bulbous wine glasses that we bought at Gabriel Brothers for...get this.....17 cents a piece. Of course, we still have 300 of them sitting in the basement now, but geez! The wine glasses the rental company had were so teeny-tiny, with the shortest stems I've ever seen. So finding these was a real coup.:

Me and the hubs about to cut the cake. My dress is a Nicole Miller, found at the NYC Filene's Basement Bridal Extravaganza sale for $250.00, originally $1800.00, still on the NM website. Oh, yes. And husband also wore a single-button jacket, but with a black silk tie:

And, for posterity, my red satin shoes:

Of course, there are a million and five details that I'm not showing here, like my homemade invites, save-the-dates, programs, menus, seating cards, honey favors, welcome bags, etc, etc, etc. But I'm still slow at this blogging thing and that already took me forever. And I can't use all of my original content at once, people.

This pisses the shit outta me.

What *is* that, you ask? Why, it's a brown tuxedo. Yes, a BROWN TUXEDO. And its mere existence pisses me off. Having just planned a wedding, I was witness to many ridiculous bridal inventions (like the white napkins versus ivory dress debate, the bedazzled unity candle, those awful Lenox bride and groom figurines that people use as cake toppers, garter belts with football team logos, etc), but NONE more annoying or *wrong* as the brown friggin' tuxedo.

I don't care that your colors are brown and powder blue, or brown and baby pink, or brown and mint green (all of which are terrible combos and ALSO piss the shit outta me). I don't care that the bridesmaids are wearing brown empire-waisted Ann Taylor Celebrations gowns, or that your linens are metallic brown organza, or that your flowers are chocolate cosmos, or that your signature drink is a choco-kahlua-ice cream-tini-rita.

Tuxedos are *black*. Or white, but only if you're getting married in an outdoor, daytime ceremony in Capri or something. Or, if you're in Palm Springs channeling Frank Sinatra.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Table arrangement, part deux.

Okay, back to the table. So, I went to a fabric store near me and purchased a small remnant for $4.00. If you haven't already realized this, I am a bargain hunter with the mostest. Seriously, nothing thrills me more than cheap things that shouldn't be cheap. I could marry bargain shopping, that's how much it turns me on. Anyway, here's the table with the neutral, non-fringed fabric:

And here's a closeup of the fabric. It has this nice, heavy hand-feel and a subtle pattern:

Another shot:

But then, I got to thinking (which was my first mistake)....that maybe I needed something taller in place of the a sculpture, or a vase, or......a LAMP!!:

Oh, yes, don't you think? I really think the height is necessary. Howevs, two probs. One, the lamp is stolen from my (admittedly unfinished) bedroom, where the matching one sits on another end table...and I like them there:

FYI, I got my end tables from C-list, too. They originally had bright pink drawer-fronts, which sounds nicer than they actually were. I also painted the wood veneer surface since it was crumbling. But the most difficult of all was cleaning that handle so that it actually resembled its original material, brass. Took me a while but I love it! Oh, and the peg legs have brass on the bottom but they're still covered with tape. But I'll talk more about my bedroom and its projects at a later date.

Okay, back to the lamp. The other, MAYJAH, issue is that there's no outlet for the lamp near the bookcase, so I'd have to snake the wire into the bathroom whenever I wanted light. And that's just not something I want to do. they make battery-powered normal-sized lamps? Or do I just have to give up on the lamp idea and try to find something else with height? Damn, I wish I could have a lamp there, though, since I could use the extra light!

If you're still here....for your viewing pleasure, my gems in the artisan bowl:

Um, I think I did something rash....

Okay, I KNOW I did something rash. But I was fresh out of the shower and couldn't stop obsessing about how long my hair had gotten and how bad my ends looked. So I did it.

Yes, with household scissors, and no, this isn't the first time.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm opening the apartment doors.

So, I'm starting this new life in Los Angeles after eight years in NYC and a long childhood in WV. I'm married now, and I finally live in an apartment larger than 300 square feet. It would be really, truly thrilling to have this decent amount of space if only I had any money with which to furnish it. We are, of course, renters. This means that all of my designer dreams are still in the pipe, for now. So I have to put on my 'decorating' hat...truth be told, I'm uncomfortable in that role. I don't like frilly, unnecessary things, yet without the benefit of a beautifully laid-out floor plan, custom built-ins, and comprehensive lighting, I sometimes feel like I NEED to gild this carnation of an apartment. And sometimes that can make me do silly things. Like this:

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not TERRIBLE. I mean, it's a bookcase. And it's filled with books chosen for their content (and not their covers, like every beautiful but unread book you see in a photo-styled magazine shoot). Even though all of my book spines don't color-coordinate with everything else around them, I refuse to hide them behind doors. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about 'decor' today. Hiding the friggin books. Or, even worse, putting them out in an edited sense only to look smart. Okay, back to the point:

Look at the silly throw blanket I put on top of the shelf. It has fringe!!! It's okay on a couch, but not on a table. It doesn't work, and the color is too Pottery Barn. But I took a picture of it just for you. To show you that it's okay to make mistakes.

Part of the reason I tried it is because I recently purchased the shelf from Craigslist. It's a Bellini bookshelf. Apparently, Bellini makes high-end baby and toddler furniture. But the shelf itself is normal-sized. The mother who bought it for her daughter realized that its solid-wood construction would be dangerous should her child pull it onto herself. So, it became mine for $40. Hey, it's not the most gorge thing in the world, but it's solid wood, and white, and not from Ikea.

Anyway, it remained bare, save for the books, until today. Today, I bought that black bamboo-frame mirror from Goodwill for $14.99. I really needed a mirror there since the bathroom is so tiny and I always need a place to fix my hair and face while Hubs is in the shower. And then, my bro and sis-in-law gave us that framed picture from our wedding. I'm not the kind of person who likes to put pics of herself (let alone her own wedding!) around the house...but this one is sufficiently abstract and actually a really cool shot. And the turqoise bowl was a wedding gift, artisan-made by Maine potters. I plan on keeping my jewelry in it, just like designer Laura Bohn does in her own apartment. I hate jewelry boxes. They require too much organization. Check in tomorrow when I promise to have changed the fabric. Here's one last shot for posterity:

Don't worry. We'll address that skunk of a bathroom soon. Ugliness is life outside of Martha, people.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cheap upholstery?

Does anyone know of a good and cheap place in Los Angeles to get these Danish Modern dining chairs reupholstered? We (and by we, I mean I dragged my husband at 7 am on a Saturday to a garage sale in Silverlake) purchased all four of these for $90, knowing that they desperately needed new fabric. A few months later, they remain the same....and it's bugging me. Not so much him. He really couldn't care less, and this is part of the problem with domestication: being a Cancer (and more importantly, a designer), I want nothing more than to create a beautiful home. My husband, being a man, wants nothing more than a carton of OJ in the fridge and Rice Chex in the pantry. It's a prob.

Why I Love West Virginia.

Things is cheap. Real cheap.

This lovely mallard-green (I love 'mallard', both the color and the word), cable-knit pillow, $2.99, original price unknown but surely a lot more than three buckaroonies:

This colorful woven bolster pillow, $12.99, original price $125.00 at some fancy department store:

I'll admit, $12.99 was a bit steep for me, but I just couldn't resist. Because it totally coordinated with the piece de resistance, this embroidered wool pillow, $3.75, original price $150.00 at same fancy department store:

What, you don't believe me? I didn't think you would:

The only question is, how do you feel about all three of them together?:

Thanks Gabes, You are loved and always missed.

Already Contemplating a Second Marriage.

While Husband and I have only been married for three months, I'm already seriously considering getting married again. In December. With these centerpieces, created by moi:

Now, I think that poinsettias really have a bad rap. I know that the classic red poinsettia with the shiny green wrapping around the pot leaves much to be desired. But if you look beyond its function as a sub-par holiday gift, you can see the beauty in the bloom. I especially love the white and pink/white versions, like the one my mom got this Christmas:

When the blooms are cut and placed in a pretty vintage vase (thanks, Gram) with some wild dried things from outside, I think it looks fabu. And I want someone to have a wedding and use them, dammit. The plus side is this could be done without a florist and for very little money. All you'd need is some crafty friends or bridesmaids. Or ME!! I'd do it for FREE!

Imagine icy-blue/grey floor length linens, white napkins, milkglass vases in different shapes and sizes, modern white china, pewter chiavari chairs, and these beauties, everywhere: that divorce I smell? Tastes like chicken.