Friday, November 28, 2008

Funny, They Don't Look Low-Budget.

Did everybody see the great "rooms" by design bloggers Courtney Barnes from Style Court and Grace Bonney from Design Sponge for the November issue of InStyle magazine? I thought they were such great ideas for budget or, really, any decorating. In case you didn't see them:



So chic and affordable! I cannot believe they could all do this for these prices. I suck at shopping. You know me - I could come home with only face cream when I could've purchased a bed for the price of it.

Is there Polyvore for home decor? It would be fun to try to put together rooms like this. I would especially like to see what Polyvore Expert Stephanie from even*cleveland would do. Buy the way (Freudian typo), she has the cutest wool and cashmere hot water bottle covers for sale on her etsy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grace.

by Eric Enstrom

Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

xo

Holiday PSA.



On your holiday travels, the Board of Directors and staff of HG just want to remind you to drive carefully because this is likely to be the guy driving next to you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Damn You, La Mer.

La Mer is like heroin. Try it once and you are hooked. But the samples are definitely the gateway drugs. For me, it started innocently enough with a hit sample of the Creme de la Mer. Which led to the purchase of a small jar at $130/ounce. With the small jar came a sample of The Lifting Face Serum. Then it was a purchase of the small jar of Creme de la Mer and The Lifting Face Serum (1 oz. costs $235 + $130=$365). With The Lifting Face Serum came a sample of The Lifting Intensifier. And who doesn't want intense lifting in your 40s? Uh huh. That's right, nobody.

So, the next purchase was inevitably the large, sorry medium (the large creme is a supersized $1390!) Creme and the Combination Lifting Face Serum and Lifting Intensifier at the bargain total price of $545 ($235 for 2 oz. Creme, $315 for Combo).

I'm not even going to discuss The Radiant Facial, The Eye Balm, The Concentrate...

Then one fine day my dealers cosmeticians at Neiman-Marcus call and say it's double InCircle points day and they have a super special gift for me. I race in, whereby a sample of the Body Lotion is thrust upon me. I don't even want to know the price. The madness must stop, I say!! I run out of the store, down the mall to Happy Harry's and buy a bottle of Oil of Olay for $9.99. That's a savings of $535.01!

But after all that gorgeous, skin-plumping La Mer, my skin feels like the desert. In August. I try Chanel and Kiehl's and an assortment of Olay products until I stumble onto Lancome and its High Resolution creams for face and eye. After one use my skin feels somewhat French-ish. La Mer-ish. Soft. Smooth. Finally. A replacement. An affordable replacement. My affordable replacement and I get along just peachily for months and months until the day I find the junk stuffed in my makeup drawer, under the blush. A sample of La Mer's The Radiant Infusion. I try it just once. What's the harm, right? Wow. It makes my face cream glide on. I feel younger. I look at least 5 years younger. Oh, I'm imagining things, I think to myself. I keep trying it. My bottle is getting emptier and emptier. Best of all, The Radiant Infusion is only $95 for a 4.2-oz. bottle! That's a deal in La Mer Land. And it works under my cheaper (but still not cheap) face cream from Lancome. How happy am I?

And then yesterday, I run out of Lancome only to go to Macy's to find that they have discontinued my creams!! It has taken me YEARS to find them and they have discontinued or specifically are "reformulating" my perfect face and eye creams. *sob*

I know this has happened to you. With lipstick. Face cream. Jeans. Something. What's a girl (or guy) to do?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland.


If you are not quite ready for the rapidly approaching holidays, this is sure to get you in the mood. J. Franklin Styer's nursery, winner of the 2005 Philadelphia Flower Show and longtime fixture in on Rte. 1 in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, this year massively renovated its indoor shop, now called Terrain, into a garden of delights! I left with an amaryllis bulb and a wire vase to fill with spaghum moss and soil as a midwinter treat for my aunt. There are bulbs galore, wreaths and kissing balls, treats for the birds, great pots and handmade pottery from South Africa, goods from Sweden, candles, soaps, stone acorns and stone coasters made to resemble woven wicker; a beautifully displayed selection of items for both indoors and out:









There is a cafe to stop for lunch, brunch or early dinner several days of the week. Events occur throughout the year such as winter birding and forcing indoor bulbs. Today I plan to attend the free outdoor winter container design class.

When it's really cold and miserable outside, I love to visit a great garden shop and dream of spring but for now I'll be content to dream of sugarplums...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Geography Lesson: DelaWhere?


Now that you know about Wilmington, it doesn't really matter if you don't even know where Delaware is. Don't feel bad. 99.75% of the population of the U.S. has no idea where Delaware is. The other .25% live in Delaware. When I first moved here someone from Chicago said, "Where is Delaware? It's in Rhode Island, isn't it?" Ah, yes, do not feel bad.

Delaware is like the hanging chad of Pennsylvania. In fact, it used to be the lower states of Pennsylvania until the Revolutionary War. It is the "First State," in reference to its being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It is the "Diamond State," because it is a jewel? I have no idea. Delaware is also known as the "Blue Hen State," referring to Blue Hen Chickens, the official state bird which some general carried around during the Revolution to entertain the troops with cockfighting. The tradition of cockfighting is still carried on in Rehoboth Beach. *wink* Also, the University of Delaware is known as the Fighting Blue Hens. Its state flower is the peach blossom because before Georgia, Delaware was known for its peaches until a blight killed off all the trees.

Delaware is divided into three counties: New Castle, Kent and Sussex. New Castle county is where I live. Kent is the middle of the state and Sussex is in slower, lower and includes the beaches. Delaware was originally settled by Dutch traders in Zwaanendael, which I understand to now be Lewes.

Delaware is located on the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) peninsula in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is only 100 miles or so from tip to toe with a state population of approximately 850,000. No city has over 100,000 people.

Delaware is home to the famous annual Punkin' Chunkin' event which occurs the weekend after Halloween. People build catapaults, trebuchets and canons designed to launch their leftovers (pumpkins) to a win. Canons tend to be so powerful they turn pumpkins into pie. And ain't nobody winnin' no punkin' chunkin' with no damn pie. This event went from being a couple of drunken friends to an annual (drunken) event that this year drew 20,000 spectators and dozens of participants from all over the world. It grossed around $100,000 in ticket sales, the majority of which is given away as scholarships. The winners the year I went - oh, yes, I went - were from Britain. Classes of schoolchildren enter as well as adults from various walks of life. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Punkin' launchers.

Rehoboth Beach hosts an annual jazz festival in October and the Independent Film Festival in November each year. And, as you know, Rehoboth is my other hang. Both Rehoboth and Lewes have beautiful beaches and state parks, swimming and shopping. Oh, and there is no sales tax in Delaware.

Chateau Country up north is home to the beauty that Andrew Wyeth captured in his paintings, some of which are exhibited at the Brandywine River Museum (actually in nearby Chadds Ford, PA), along with N. C. and Jamie Wyeth's art.

Now, just as you are starting to get comfortable with Delaware and thinking that you might like to visit or take a vacation here, I present you with this gem, found on the internet: Delaware. The Most Expendable State in the Union? An example of the hilarity: "Delaware blocks Maryland's view of the ocean." Have a look and a laugh. And come visit sometime. We'll keep a lighthouse on for ya.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here's What Wilmington Looks Like.



I know you stay up nights wondering what design looks like in Wilmington, Delaware. Well, these images from the Holiday issue of Traditional Home magazine give a glimpse into a home a few blocks from me. It must be in Wawaset Park because Westover Hills calls itself Greenville (home of Joe Biden). I'll go check tomorrow because it might be right here in The Highlands. (Update: Actually, I checked and it's in Westover Hills.) Anyway, this design is actually kinda racy for Wilmington.

Wilmington wears its buns tight. There is a lot of old money and a lot of new money that likes to pretend that it is old. Old money is not impressed. Old money will cut you.

It has a vast park system. The parkway and park near my house were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame. Most of the old mansions were du Pont homes. They were abandoned long ago when people stopped having insane, excessive amounts of money to live in them, including the du Ponts. Except for Brip (Irenee) du Pont who still lives in this chateau in the Brandywine Valley.

Drive-by photography by HG

The Brandywine Valley is tres scenic and only a minute or two from the city. Brip lives in 3 rooms, the rest of the place is closed off. He drives an ancient Honda Accord or something and wears shoes that are 20 years old. That's how you know you're really rich. Some other mansions are turned into museums, such as Winterthur (Win'-ter-ter), about 5 miles away. The local crazies tend to be duPonts as well - inbreeding, don'tcha know?

There is one old mansion in my neighborhood which belonged to the family of Caesar Rodney (of the famous midnight-ride-through -a-thunderstorm-to-sign-the-Declaration-of-Independence- breaking-the-tie fame) where the gardens have been lovingly, voluntarily restored (that is, restored completely by volunteers) but the mansion is wholly derelict. I love that mansion and it is one of my life's goals to see it rehabilitated (I may be too late). Here are some photos of the gardens and the house at Gibraltar.






The gardens are just open to the public. For free. You can just go hang out or take your wedding party for photos or ride your bike and have a morning coffee there. Also a block from my house is Rockford Park, another part of the neighborhood park system. There's a huge dog park and baseball fields and a water tower that still functions: the engineer who built it also built our house so he had a place to live while he was working on it.


This is the Grand Opera House which has been completely restored and is a fabulous place to see a concert or a musical. I saw Brian Setzer (from Stray Cats) Orchestra last year at the holidays and it was awesome. It's such an intimate place.


Wilmington is the largest city in the state, home of the Blue Rocks and is the corporate domicile of more than 50% of the publicly traded companies in the United States, and over 60% of the Fortune 500. If Delaware is a very small world, then Wilmington is, well, smaller than a small world. But then its motto: "Wilmington. A Great Place to be Somebody" ruins everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Playlist for a Broken Heart.


You know how music can take you back to a single life episode, to a new relationship, to a broken heart? My first husband died of cancer just over 7 years ago (this post was a tribute to him on the anniversary of his death; the last gravestone was his). Today would have been our 23 wedding anniversary. When my heart is broken I play sad songs over and over. This is a partial playlist from that time period ("Songs to drive your car off a bridge to") and, unfortunately, due to my unbelievably shit week, it is my playlist today:

Give Me Love by George Harrison
Bring on the Rain by Jo Dee Messina
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Al Green
If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
Without You by the Dixie Chicks
What's Going On by Four Non-Blondes

Please pile on and add your favorite sad songs. Hopefully, I won't need them tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Domino Fairy Came...

Okay, so we've been having some trouble getting Domino in upper and lower Delaware which you may remember from this post. The October issue arrived well into November but November came compliments of the lovely and talented Habitually Chic! Habitually Chic may have a few lying around because she is also mentioned in the Nov. issue. Thank you H. C. for pitying me and my Dominolessness. And congrats on the mention!

Everybody has already posted on it, but I must profess my love for Jenna Lyons' house. The rooms read black but are really deep navy. I covet them. I will only bore you with a photo of one of the rooms since you've already seen them:


I will bore visually reiterate for you these two photos from another house, also from the same issue, with black walls. Love.



I first saw black used in an appealing way in an 80s home decorating book from Home Depot and, more recently(about 5 years ago) from the book, Bachelor Style. Here's the pad that got me thinking about black, the Paris Apartment of Jean-Pierre Calvagrac.



That sleigh bed is just dreamy. And I love the mix of burled woods and (let's say) faux furs against the darkness. Then today, while visiting the site of Hollister Hovey, I find more black beauty in the apartment she shares with her sister, Porter (of Porter Polaroid Project). Hollister calls their style a hybrid between Royal Tenenbaums and Charlie Rose. Ha.



So gorgeous and the coolest blogs. For the record, I have subscribed to Domino to avoid further delivery mishaps. Even though I'm not sure they'll still be around in 6 months... Hope I'm wrong.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chucks and Jones for Christmas.


Converse has a really great idea for a Christmas or holiday gift for kids or teens (or me!). They can design their own pair of sneakers (hi-tops, low-tops, leather, whatever) online and send you the link and you can order them. It takes 2-4 weeks so you'll want to get a head start.

Also another cute idea for Jones soda lovers or anyone, really: A personalized photo on a case of Jones soda bottles.


I can't believe it's not too early to start thinking of these things.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's Madge-ick.


Please provide captions for my amusement.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beauty and the Beach, Part Deux.


I got a new camera a couple of weeks ago. So, last weekend when I arrived at the beach, I went to the Shore Haus, which you remember from this post to take new (and more and hopefully better) pictures. When I got there, I discovered I was beaten to the punch by a fellow blogger, My Notting Hill.

It's a small world in blogland and to have met My Notting Hill was especially coincidental since I won her contest for a Canadian House and Home magazine and she had seen a post about Shore Haus on my blog.

So, go take a visit to My Notting Hill and see what new beauties John and Chris have to offer. (David, this means you.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Am I Smoking Too Much Crack?

Or did Nathan actually win the Top Design finale?

Am I missing something? Because his house looked like my first apartment which I decorated using castoffs from the neighborhood trash and homemade art from Goodwill. His "art"? Well, Basquiat he is not. And his bedroom looks like an outtake from the J.C. Penney catalog. Top Design it is not. But maybe it's just me.

Here, you be the judge and tell me how you voted:

Nathan


Ondine


Preston

I loved Preston's work - he was consistent and glamorous - I think he should have won. Ondine's final project was very pulled together and groovy but I thought she was inconsistent overall. I purposely did not post Nathan's dining room photo because it was his best room and I didn't want you to be unfairly prejudiced in favor of him but, seriously, what is his obsession with paper plates?

I recall the judges saying that while Preston was consistent and beautiful, Nathan was inconsistent but showed the promise of something better?? ¿qué chingados, judges?


Click here to see the Bravo Top Design finale photos to better judge for yourselves.

So, who did you think should have won? Was someone eliminated who you think should have won? Does Margaret Russell scare the shit out of you? Tell me. Curious minds want to know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The White Album.

via {this is glamorous}




Apt. 34 via {this is glamorous}


After months of being assaulted with red, white and blue, I'm feeling the need to cleanse my palette with white...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Are A Purple Nation.



I am still moved to tears over the greatness of this moment. Not only because we have elected a black president but because we have elected the most gracious, eloquent, inspiring man I have ever seen. With one collective vote, we have issued a mandate to erase years of hatred and fear, excess and arrogance and to become the America that we thought we may never see: A nation, undivided, where all men truly are equal. The promise of the future seems brighter than ever and the possibilities seem endless. What a beautiful, perfect moment.

Nation, I Am So Proud of You.

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