Recent Posts

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's "Snot" You, It's Me

The Hubbs and I celebrated our 17th year of marriage back on the 15th with a date night, which involved a swanky dinner for 2 and a movie. There is a back story, however, which is required for the following accounting of the evening. I've had a summer cold for the last few weeks. My nose is all stopped up and my eyes are all water-y. What makes me even more appealing is the fact that I sound like Gilda Radner when she portrayed her Lisa Lubner character on SNL. This, however, didn't stop me from trying to entice the Hubbs with a little make-out sesh before the movie started. So, I shot him one of my signature sideways looks accompanied by a raise of one eyebrow and a little coy smile - which is code for, "I'm ready for a smooch-fest." And, as luck would have it, it worked. As he made his move to give the kiss of the century (insert the swell of violins here) . . . I coughed . . . right in his face. The Ricola lozenge that I had been sucking on shot out of my mouth, ricocheted off his forehead, and landed in the hair of the lady seated in front of me. I immediately looked at the Hubbs, who was turning a lovely shade of purple and shaking uncontrollably in a fit of silent giggles. The mechanics of the throat are lost on me, apparently - "breathe air, swallow spit," I tell myself constantly. At that point, I figured my only option was to liberate the lozenge without her knowing it, because the only other person besides me and the Hubbs who was aware of this event was the guy 3 seats down who shot me a toothy grin while raising two thumbs-up gestures to his chest and nodded in a "what-a-loser-you-are" fashion. So, I stood up, bumped her seat pretending to leave to go to the bathroom, and thwacked the lozenge out of her hair. I apologized to her for the bump and continued on to the bathroom. When I returned, the Hubbs turned to me and began to say, "Hey, happy anni . . . .", he stopped short of finishing his sentence and had kind of a confused-disgusted expression on his face - I couldn't help but notice that his gaze was fixed on my nose. I didn't understand the look until I saw IT. I didn't have his view point, but I could see it - something slick, shiny and spherical, which was growing ever-larger as I breathed. It was an enormous bubble, of the mucus persuasion, looming from my left nostril, and it was the size of one of those clear hamster exercise balls.

Later that week, on our actual anniversary, the Hubbs presented me with a present . . . It was a gift certificate . . . for a flu shot . . . .

Aaahh, good times . . . good times . . . .

This post was triggered by a couple of fabulous gifts that were given to me by a darlin' creature named Stan. When I emailed him that I had received my gift, I mis-typed and wrote ". . . you are the darkin'-est creature." Stan Williams is the author of The Find, and my new all around best-est bud. He is not only fabulously gifted and talented, but is one of the most generous people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. When Stan was here in July for a book signing, he presented me with an absolutely gorgeous version of one of his Hooch Bags. A vintage black purse was full of goodies like vintage nylons, a vintage French paperback book, and a French dictionary to help me make my way through the pages, since I don't speak French. Also included was a vintage Air France hand-held fan, along with a vintage French postcard inscribed with a dear note from him on the back, all of which are some of my most prized possessions. And, as if that weren't enough, I got an email last week telling me that something he ran across spoke my name and he was sending it to me - if you are keeping count, I'm 2 presents behind! He sent me the brightest, happiest vintage printed napkins from one of his favorite stores in NYC called Angel Thrift Shop. I requested that he stop being so wonderful already, and let me catch up!

Thank you so very much for all my lovely, thoughtful presents, Stan! I mean they're not a certificate for "a live virus" or anything, but they are truly appreciated and loved. You are "The Darkin'-est!"

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Want It Wednesdays: Benches, Boots, and Butterflies

Photos courtesy 1. Annalynne 2. Nicholas Archer 3. Gardenhouse 4. Lightly

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make Sure Not to Catch on Fire

Have you ever thought about something too hard and gotten dizzy? This is the question I posed to my children yesterday as we were shoveling out their closets and drawers, preparing for our "GI-NORMOUS CLEAN ALL THE CRUD OUT OF YOUR CLOSETS, SO WE CAN BUY MORE CRUD TO FILL THEM GARAGE SALE." They turned to shoot each other a "Did she take her meds this morning?" look, quickly pivoted toward the door and left the room, returning moments later, my daughter carrying a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper and my son with a cold washcloth in hand, telling me to put my head between my legs and take deep breaths. I think there are often times when my family thinks that I might accidentally (on purpose) set myself on fire if not watched carefully. I suppose I don't blame them, because at that particular moment I was wearing a pair of the Hubbs old brown wingtip shoes, a lacy pink vintage slip over my running shorts, and T-shirt that I'd accessorized with a couple of those large black Hefty garbage bags tied at my waist and a pair of glittery sunglasses that would have made Elton John wince in disapproval. My question was treated as rhetorical and never answered.

But, here's the deal, I am a little light headed from the realization that I am not alone. I mean I knew I wasn't alone, but this week I sat mesmerized in front of my computer monitor looking at the blogs of fellow thrifters. I thought I knew the scope of "dumpster divers" that existed in the world . . . well, I had no idea! One of the things that has always perplexed me is the re-purposing ideas that flow out of these women and men - the cogs of my brain just don't function that cleverly. My finds just get stacked in piles until I'm able to restore them to their former beauty and sell them on the website, at flea markets, or at antique shows. I feel bad about my piles. Truly I do. If you saw my piles, you might feel bad about them too, but you'd probably be too polite to mention them. My daughter has begun referring to me as "Big Edie" (you know from the Grey Garden's story) and I snap back with, "Well. . . I guess that makes you 'little Edie then, huh?!'"

Just ask Stan Williams, he's seen my piles! And Stan is a perfect place to start, since he is the "Prince of The Find!" Here, he posted an idea he came upon using a bunch of hot water bottles. The Italian jean maker Energie, just sliced an opening in the side of the bottles, poured in a little water and grouped it together with all your others on a wall as hanging vases for assorted wildflowers for an awesome window display! Stan also has a marvelous interview with Amy of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie here.

Here's a nifty idea from Junkin Escapades I came across the other day. Old liquor bottles were paired with old brass house numbers to make some really cool looking vases. For more ideas check out Junkin Escapades blog where she writes about her quest for anything crusty, rusty, dusty, dirty, dingy and chippy!

Christine Terrell of Austin, Texas makes all of her pieces from upcycled decorative tins. The circles are punched, formed and then the edges are finished smooth. The basins are then drilled and strung on rigid german silver head pins and attached to sterling silver French hooks. My favorite is her retro rocket pins. See more of her beautiful creations at her Etsy store here and read her blog posts here.

Photos courtesy The Elegant Thrifter, Junkin Escapades, and Adaptive Reuser

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Want It Wednesdays

Photos courtesy of 1stdibs, 4. Pieces, 2. Downtown, 3. Swank Lighting and 1. jkl Design

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'll Take a Baked Potato - Hold the Sour Cream and Cheese

Camping hit my family pretty hard in the 1970s. Camping is one of the "Six Wonders of My Universe," the other five being the word Thesaurus (Is there another word for it?), Cured Ham (What disease did it have?), the word Lisp (That was kinda mean to put an "s" in the word - don'cha think?!), the Alphabet (Why is it in that order?), and Cows (Can they laugh? And if so, does milk shoot out of their noses?)

When I was a little girl, my younger sister and I called Airstream trailers "baked potatoes" because of their obvious resemblance to how a russet potato looks when wrapped in foil before being placed in the oven for baking. I take my actual baked potato with everything on it - because being overly indulgent and unhealthy is all part of my mystique - it's practically written into my irreverent blogger job description. Its listed right after "Is this woman on medication?" and just before, "I hope she has a good attorney!"

Dorothy: Fine artist Sarah Pratt stuck to a theme inspired by the Wizard of Oz's heroine's dress and carried it through to the smallest detail. Every surface of this trailer is covered in light blue and white polka dots

As an adult I have an unexplainable need to own an Airstream and fix it up with some quirky, fun paint and upholstery and stuff. I periodically just put the word "Airstream" or "vintage Airstream" into Google and see what comes up. On Sunday evening I came across some great inspiration via The Grand Daddy Hotel in Cape Town, Africa. I would gladly camp if I were offered accommodations in any of these "Baked Potatoes!"

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: This trailer by Mark and Joe Stead is the only one that comes with a bunk bed. And, of course, the closet is stocked with plushy bear suits!

Mark Stead has a great video on his YouTube channel you can find here.

The Grand Daddy Hotel believes that luxury shouldn’t exclude playfulness. That conviction is perfectly illustrated in its "penthouse" trailer park. A collection of vintage Airstream caravans are nestled beneath the backdrop of Table Mountain. Each of the 7 two-sleeper trailer suites have been conceptualized and designed by local artists and makes for an accommodation destination like no other.

My "unexplainable" has turned into an "Unreasonable stalker-esque" need!

Love of Lace: Tracy Lynch utilizing her favorite color pink to create an extremely feminine boudoir.

Pleasantville: Liam Mooney, the creative director of WhatiftheWorld as well as the creative director of the Penthouse Park project, decorated his trailer as a 50s style home. Using colors and fabrics from that era. He even stocked the bookcase with mid century cheesy romantic novels!

Afro Funk: Carla Soudien was inspired by the street fashion of Cape Town, South Africa

The Ballad of John & Yoko: Tasmin Relly, Cara Rose and Chloe Townsend dedicated their trailer to the most iconic couple John Lennon and Yoko Ono and their 1969 Bed-In for Peace. The bed that takes up 3/4 of the entire space and is accessorized with a few simple items, like a guitar, some records, and a few books.

Earthcote Moontides: Susan Woodley's and Brigitte Dewberry's ethereal trailer is all about taking trek. Pearly, luminescent textures and muted earth tones lend to this trailer's dreamy existence.

All photos courtesy of The Grand Daddy Hotel.

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Words of "Wish-dom"

Note: This is for my beautiful niece Morgan, in honor of her college graduation from Texas State University tomorrow at 2:00 pm.

When I first thought of writing this blog to my niece, I immediately thought, "Who am I to give this amazing young woman advice?" I thought, "Its not like I've lived my life, since my own college graduation, so famously." I've decided to dedicate this blog to her because I can't think of a more tenacious, more courageous human being in the world to receive it. I'm writing this because I love her and I'm so proud of her. I count myself as one of the lucky "ladies of the land" that had the privilege of helping to raise her after my beautiful sister's and her wonderful mother's death in 1995, when she was only 8 years old. I got to be her cheerleader when her Mom had stress tests every week for several months prior to her birth. Her Mommy and I would coax her to move just a little with our pleas of "'Come on baby girl, you can do this!' or 'I can't wait to meet the little girl you are going to be!" Upon hearing us, she'd move and we could leave and get my sister a gi-normous tea with "rat turd" ice and lots of lemon. On June 11, 1987, Morgan Ashley Avary came into this world and changed my life forever. I spent her formative years imposing myself into every possible event, birthdays, piano recitals, sleep-overs, Christmases, Easters, spring breaks, summer breaks, school projects, and movie nights watching Doris Day in Pillow Talk or Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl, while we inhaled truck loads of popcorn and oceans of cola. Thank you and your Dad for receiving my presence so graciously.

I came across a quote made by Art Linkletter that says, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out." My Morgan must have been one of those people that Mr. Linkletter was referring to. And although I am just slightly biased, I think she is one of the best people that I know and I would like to pass a wish list, of sorts, on to her, a point of reference to guide her in this new chapter of her life, an application, if you will, to become her mentor, just as her Mommy was in my life.

So, here goes:

• Like you, while I was in college, I only did laundry six times . . . a year . . . you might want to up that to at least 12.

• When I finished school with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I was completely lost. I did everything - I waitressed, I worked in retail, I worked for a newspaper, I sold advertising, I had no idea. And I thought I'd just finally settle in some ordinary job, where I would make enough to pay my rent, maybe have basic cable, or maybe not, I didn't really have a big plan. My point is, that, by the time I was your age, I really thought I knew who I was, but again, I had no idea. For example, after my college graduation, I thought antiques and vintage stuff was for old ladies or men with suspiciously good taste. And look at me now.

• When choosing a path, don't measure success by the amount of money it will make for you, or by the number of people it will please. Choose a path that is unique to you. Just always remember, that there is a difference in people who have money and people who are rich.

• More importantly, don't live in fear - free yourself from that and never look back! Challenge the known and EMBRACE the unknown.

• Dream big - expect that life will be all that you want it to be - set high expectations - whether you expect to succeed or fail, you're probably right!

• While you are out there figuring out what things you want in your life, remember that I love you and want those same things for you, too.

• Live your life as an honest and compassionate person. Help people every chance that you get.

• Follow your passion and stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else's path . . . unless you're in a new city and you're lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that or turn on the GPS or something!

• Don't ever give advice, it will come back and bite you in the booty.

• Try not to take yourself too seriously - laugh and learn from your mistakes and failures.

• Don't take anyone's advice . . . So, my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine . . . Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Finally, I know that you are concerned about your future, my darlin' girl, but there's no need to worry. The economy is turning around, the job market is wide open, the world is your oyster! It's gonna be great! You've already survived the worst. What else can happen to you? And as you know all too well, that some of the most devastating things that could happen to you will be the things that teach you the most. And remember what your Mommy used to tell you, even before you were born:

"'Come on baby girl, you can do this!' and 'I can't wait to meet the young woman that you are going to be!'"

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Haute vs Hot

There is a Jewish proverb that states, "No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell." My gene pool and I share some travel escapades that would make the Griswald's look like “Ozzie and Harriet.” I fondly recall summers as a child when my family and I would take one of two kinds of vacations: either we would go to visit relatives in Wichita Falls, Texas, where temperatures were known to reach 117 degrees, or we would go camping, where tempers and tensions could reach similar extremes. Dead Oak Campground was a location we often frequented and it definitely lived up to all its name implied . . . and more. I often thought that it resembled what I had imagined the end of the world might look like right before Jesus swoops down and takes
me off to heaven.

We had one of those pop-up trailers that we had to crank up as if we were retrieving water from a wishing well. The trailer hitch, for some strange reason, had to be checked and re-checked about 40 gazillion times, as did the brake lights and turn signals. Most times, either the lights or the lifting of the trailer onto the hitch would go tragically wrong and send my Dad off into a godless rant of four letter words.

Aaah the memories . . . .

I've heard it said that a vacation is “what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer.” This profound statement pretty much sums up my past week. My children were at their last week of camp, and being weary of missing them, I decided to plan a little "staycation" for the Hubbs and me. I began tossing around ideas to him, which were met with a pivot of his head and slight nod, as if to say, "I don't have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem." My response to his lack of involvement was less than lady-like, reminiscent of my Dad's rants, but with less Aqua Velva.

So, my suggestion was to don the swimwear, grab a towel, and head off to our community pool. Before the Hubbs and I were first married, there was no pre-nup, which would divide assets if things later went South, only an unwritten mutual-decay contract that bound him to not point out that I discovered a new little French bakery this year that makes delicious apricot tarts - (and now I have 2 apricot tarts of my own just above my hip bones) and bound me, likewise, to not comment on the fact that he would make a glass of milk look tan.

I figured, at the very least, that being poolside I could get chin-deep in a new book I'd just picked up from the library. When my eyeballs got tired of reading, I decided
to people watch - the following is a stream of consciousness, of sorts, that I'd like to share:

Hmmmm . . . . Good tan . . . WOW! Those can't be real . . . blech! Back hair . . . Its called man-scaping, look into it . . . Nice hair (since its not purple) . . . Bone rat . . . More bone rat . . . Seriously, people, eat a burger or something . . . LADY! Your kid is drowning! LADY! . . . Rhinoplasty, I have a number . . . Wench, I wish I had a body like that . . . Thong swimsuits should have a weight limit . . . I'm just sayin'.

So when we returned, I had an e-mail from a friend who was in Los Angeles on business. He had sent me a photo of his hotel room at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, thinking I might appreciate the decor — thoughtful, huh? It took me a minute, but I realized that his hotel was decorated by one of my most favorite designers, Kelly Wearstler! I e-mailed him back and asked for the favor of a few more photos, and boy did he come through! The following photos, as it ended up, were just enough to make me feel as though I had been on a lovely trip, complete with a swanky bar, posh room and sunny luxe pool!

The Viceroy in Santa Monica was originally built in the late 1960s as the Pacific Shore Hotel. And as I said earlier it is a designer masterpiece re-imagined by Kelly Wearstler. Guests enter the hotel via over-sized doors leading into an elaborately designed hotel lobby. Regency-style furniture decorates the large drawing rooms along with a scattering of antiques. This leads to a more intimate library area with chaise lounges, sofas, and the upholstered club chairs. A bar runs across the lobby with dark wood lining the area occupied by light chairs and amazing fabrics. The restaurant overlooks an outdoor pool area accented by cabanas and a separate lounge of its own.

Each room is decorated with extensive moldings, Lucite tables, beveled mirrors and regency-style furnishings. The beds are made with luxurious linens and the bathrooms have marble showers and whitewash armoires to continue the swanky theme.

Photos courtesy Keith Crawford

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Man Stan

Our man Stan, author of The Find, has been busy recently and I feel the need to share. Over the past weeks, Stan has been taping a piece that Open House ran about The Find this past Sunday morning, which can be found here. He's on his way to a television show of his very own, I'm certain of it! He features, among others, a Chelsea apartment that has been decorated by Mark Ciolli of Carl & Co. Stan proves again and again that, although we may be in a recession, that doesn't mean we can't redesign our homes. And ever generous, he shares his tips on how to scout flea markets, thrift shops, and garage sales for show-stopping furniture, beautiful lighting and wall decor.

All images courtesy of Open House NYC, LX.TV and NBC Local Media.

Follow my blog with bloglovin