Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I had to share this image from this house tour. I think the entire composition is brilliant, and it reminds me a bit of an Old Masters painting.

I'm really going through a "blue period" in design...I've never liked blue much but now I want every room to be a saturated sea color.

I'm thinking of painting the walls in my all-white-vintage-tiled bathroom a glossy lacquered blue-black. Maybe even digging up an old brass porthole mirror.

Do you have dark wall colors? Do you like it?

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Great $16.50 European Resort Wardrobe...How to Dress for Barcelona

As modelled by my cowhide rug...

So as is turns out my very stoic husband did NOT want to roll around on the floor screaming out, "Yes! Yes! Talk to the camera!! You're gorgeous baby!!"

And I'm not 14, so taking pictures of myself is out of the question. At least as far as you will ever know...

So it's a little retarded, but I threw together some of my thrift scores from the other day to create some possible outfits for my upcoming Barcelona/Tossa del Mar trip. Don't get too critical...we're talking $2 dresses here!

Which is exactly how much this white cotton piece cost. It's short, lined, and has peasant sleeves. Looks great belted and dressed up a bit for town, and then unbelted over a bathing suit for beachside sangria...

The thick tooled-leather belt was thrifted, the woven clutch was a clearance find at the GAP at least ten years ago ($5), the fedora is an old discount store find, as are the brass rivet sandals.

I found an army green (my color du jour by the way) French striped boatneck tunic, $2.95, and added a short black cotton skirt, my Scaramanga leather bag, and a brand new (thrifted) pair of patent leather flats ($2.95). Somehow it looks frumptastic in the photos, but much cuter in person...

And finally, my dual-action day into night look!

These are my old-as-the-hills skinnies (embarrassingly from Target...) with a thrifted billowy tank, thrifted eel skin clutch, and the thrifted flats.

For a nighttime flamenco show or tapas dinner, I'll change into my new-but-thrifted Bass heeled brogues ($2.50--even though the tag says $4.95 red tags were half off) and add my thrifted Gucci tuxedo jacket (I found it in the boys section for $3.95).

I actually bought more, but not everything made it into the photos. I think I am positively ruined for shopping in regular stores...besides which there's nothing under $300 that I am the least bit interested in! I love that when you pick up something for $2, it doesn't matter if you only wear it once and there is absolutely no buyer's remorse to deal with! Then again, I've already worn that white dress three times since Wednesday...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm Happy, Feeling Glad

This has been the summer of Summer. I don't mean that everything is going my way...not at all. Ebay sales are taking a long, extended vacation for instance.

And my 13-year old is in an awful "criticize and question everything my mom does" phase. And also a "find everything she does irritating" phase. I am unpopular, and there's no sign of a comeback on the horizon.

Yet Dad is still, confoundingly, the awesomest human being alive. Dads get all the brakes I think.

And nothing in my life is or ever has been easy or free. I do my own stunts. What I have, I have made happen pretty much on my own, and that has meant years of steady and very hard work, saving, self-discipline, and, in the realm of relationships, intense loyalty and emotional investment (also a few bucks worth of therapy).

Maybe that's what accounts for the extreme pleasure and satisfaction of seeing my life take shape to be something, well, rather close to what I wanted it to be, with a few surprise elements mixed in.

Very early on, I clearly remember deciding to go for happiness, and you know what? I found it. As a kid I just sort of instinctually knew...that I would have to insist on it. That I couldn't compromise and that there would be no shortcuts. That it's not an easy path to walk. That lots of things would try and throw me off the path to happiness. Some by masquerading as happiness (money, selfish ambition, the promise of a "better" or "easier" life with someone else or somewhere else), and some by overshadowing it. Disappointment. Bitterness. Loss.

I have walked through the valley of the shadow of yuck, most surely, and for many years, but I feared no evil because I really did believe with all of my big squishy heart that I would come out on the other side happy.

The Bible, since you mentioned it, says people can be "refined" by fire, like metal. You can get burned up and blackened by life, or you can let the fire burn away the impurities and come out solid.

This week in particular I am filled with motherly gratitude. As all mothers can attest, it is the nirvana of motherhood to be able to raise your children as you wish to, providing them with the things you value.

Last night as we sat on a bougainvillea-covered patio eating dinner and talking--about our upcoming trip to Spain, about the day spent surfing and kayaking, about our goals--I felt, I don't know, rewarded? Blessed? Fortunate? I guess all of the above, and peaceful too.

I am exquisitely aware that I have a privileged life (even if to others it doesn't look that way), and that most parents don't have the option of taking care of their children the way they would like.

That's why I get the deepest joy out of things that seem silly; a bag full of new jeans for school, air conditioning, organic cherries, a Fleet Foxes song that comes on the radio as we drive along the ocean. These things make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Today my kids are doing this

to this bridge, and then anchoring for lunch and a swim

And very, very soon we are all going to there

and there

This morning I dropped by the thrift store and bought a European resort wear wardrobe for $16.50 including two pair of shoes.

Want to see me model them with my knobby knees and freckles and gap-tooth grin? Come back later and see if I convince the husband to play fashion photographer!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Yes, it has been SO LONG that I actually forgot my Blogger password.

I thought I would pop in for a little chat and to show you what I've been up to. I would need ten blogs to show you everything I've been up to, so let's just focus on the bedroom redo, ok?

The cavernous Mid Century walnut dresser was a $50 Craigslist find a year or two back...saved from Ebay by the fact that it weighs as much as a car and really can't be shipped

I bought a real piece of furniture, although it's West Elm so I'm using the term "real" very liberally.

Actually, it looks and feels very substantial in person. Purchased during a 25% off sale, and the in-stock fabric to avoid shipping charges, it was surprisingly affordable. Although for someone accumstomed to $0-$25 for significant furniture it was painful.

We had our carpet torn out and the 90-year old wood floors redone. We moved all our posessions out onto the lawn for two weeks. It was awful. Kinda like childbirth, it's one of those "if someone had told me how bad it was going to be, I would have never done it but I'm glad I did it and now it's over" things.

Thrift store abstract that has made its way onto almost every wall in my house looking for a home...the $5.95 tag is still on it. Once I commit to keeping it there, I promise to hang it properly (Morgan!)

Mid Century 20" diameter brass and glass globe, accidental Craigslist find (I went to buy a trio of Nelson bubble lamps, and the owner offered me this for $20).

Thrift store ceiling medallion $4.95.

Custom work from TerriPlanty, frankly priceless.

IKEA hide, $199. I literally pulled down every single hide in the middle of the store and spent two hours choosing this one. Ruben stood by holding my purse and trying not to gouge his eyes out. Brownie points.

Super-old Target coverlet. Eh, it works for now!



Finances and poetry? Dichotomous bedside reading. The enigma that is me.

Yes, it's real and it's fabulous (thanks M for the find!)

Oh yes, $25 on Craigslist.

It's funny, I wrote this awhile back about tidy, all-white interiors. I meant to install a psychadelic wallpaper feature wall and some jade green or yellow drapes. This all-whiteness was just meant as a "bottom layer" upon which to build. But it's so soothing, and such a nice respite from the deep colors and contast in the rest of the house, I think I'll keep it.


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