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  • making a house a home: saturday spent swooning!

    Posted at 11:32 am , on August 12, 2012

    Must you shine so damn brightly? I remember a friend thumbing through one of my books and settling on this line, saying it like sermon. We were in my apartment, a time when the evening fell from the gloaming to daylight, and we kept hitting repeat on the CD. Back then we reveled in creating melodramas. We were the tele novella kind. Although it was a time when too much wine was had and so many things done were best left forgotten, I couldn’t help but hear the edge in her voice. And years later when we parted ways, she sat across from me in a restaurant and said that being my friend was so damn hard. I moved pasta around my plate, biting my lip wondering whether I should shout or cry, and she kept telling me that my success was becoming too much for her to bear. That she felt she was disappearing into the great, giant shadow that was me.

    What do I say to this? How do I respond? I earned this, all of this. I’ve always worked for everything I had. There was no other way.

    We were in Soho and the sidewalk was uneven beneath my feet; I felt as if the ground could give way any minute, drag me under, swallow me up. The silence was painful and you could hear, amidst the frenzy of Lafayette, the click of our shoes on the pavement. The glare. The sun was so damn bright. We were squinting at things, trying to adjust our eyes to the light. Back then we were on the same subway line, and the idea that I would have to ride a train with someone who had basically told me that she couldn’t be my friend because I was too much for her to fucking bear?!, was unbearable.

    So I stepped out into the street and took a cab. When I arrived home, I walked into darkness. Lackluster walls and a couch frayed at the seams. The bookcases from an old love, an old home, stood ominous, and I sat on the floor, shut my eyes and wanted to burn it all down. Because the one place to which I sought refuge was a reminder of all of the mistakes and heartache that had come before.

    If you don’t know me, really know me, you couldn’t possibly know what this home transformation means to me. I can’t even explain it to my dear friend and decorator, Chris, because there’s no context. But I will say this, my home is becoming my shelter. I come home and I’m swathed in comfort and quiet and this, THIS, puts my heart on pause.

    The couch has been replaced with something soft, velvety and blue. The bookcases are now shorter and whitewashed. Dried lavender fills the vases on my coffee table and my cat has found a new home on my bench (!).

    Yesterday I went on a shopping trip and went to Home Goods, Marshall’s, Target and Home Depot. From mustard plush pillows to feather-soft towels and shower curtains to pavers for my outdoor umbrella — it feels good to bear witness, to see my home take shape and form. To not apologize for all that I’ve worked so very hard for. To feel good about the place my home is becoming and the woman I keep evolving to be.


    Posted in home decor, lovely living | 4 Comments | Tagged , , , ,
  • making a house a home: what I’m adoring, right now.

    Posted at 8:28 am , on August 8, 2012

    This weekend a friend told me he loved me. I was quiet as he spoke, stared at him as he told me that he’s privileged to have bared witness to my blooming — my transformation from a young woman who donned multiple masks to someone who knows when to leave a party, knows how to make a house a home. As always, his words have a tremendous effect on me because this is a friend I adore, trust and respect. This is a friend who’s seen me weather difficult times with grace. This is a friend who has been in my home and toasted my most private moments. Aside from feeling grateful to have such wonderful people inhabit my small, strange world, it reminded me of the importance of family, of having a place of refuge. It took over three decades of being on this earth to realize that having a home IS NECESSARY. Home is the expression of your heart. Home is the people you allow through your door and into your rooms, occupying your most protected space. Perhaps this is why I’ve been fixated on imbuing my space with LIFE, with LOVE, with me.

    Friends and readers of this space know that I’ve been slowly transforming my apartment into a space that exudes comfort, whimsy and loads of leisure. My work life is quite hectic, so it’s important that I come home to a soothing space filled with things, photos, foodstuffs and books that bring me extraordinary delight. Aside from finding the right furniture (with the help of the amazing Christine White), I’ve been considering accessories, magazines, books, vases, plates…accessories.

    Lately, I’ve been smitten with vintage plates, glassware that has a patina, and Euro food magazines. I’ve been collecting perfumed, handmade soaps, hand-painted plates and savvy market finds. Cloth napkins, thick, deconstructed fabrics that make for lovely tablecloths, my old first editions re-bound and preserved — these are the things that are giving me pleasure. Paging through books from 1901 and 1912 give me pleasure. Fresh flowers and the fact that I want to try to own a plant I won’t end up killing — this gives me pleasure.


    Posted in home decor, style | 4 Comments | Tagged
  • hello, home: covetable housewarming gifts worth the splurge!

    Posted at 9:56 pm , on July 24, 2010

    Diptyque Paris Roses If this be a home, fill it with lavender and life. Lay down plush rugs and hang gossamer curtains from wrought iron rods. Fragrant the rooms with blooms, citrus and a cacophony of aromatics hinting of a spice garden. Make your four walls and rented rooms a place worth coming home to.

    After nearly a decade of hoarding Domino (the cover and spread of actress Zooey Deschanel’s abode warmed my cold, cruel heart), Real Simple, and ELLE Decor magazines, shuffling from one dreary and dirty apartment to another, I’ve found a small, but inviting space I feel privileged to call home. For years, photographs and sketches were wrapped in paper, rolled and bundled with twine; expensive shower curtains and objets de art were tucked away, awaiting the moment they would make their very audacious debut.

    Come next week I’m celebrating my new home and new life with a housewarming party. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than entertaining for my dearest friends, watching their eyes light up like fire when encountering my red velvet cupcakes with peanut butter icing or my delectable pistachio pesto. The gifts they feel obligated to bring (as etiquette requires one to do on an occasion such as a housewarming party) doesn’t concern me, because the greatest gift they could possibly give me is their friendship, their presence in my new home. So when I think about housewarming gifts, I focus on the sweet indulgences, the perfect, personal touches one can bring to their home.

    Hammocks & High Tea Lavender Satchels ($20): From the artistic print to the lavender and verbena perfume, I adore these closet satchels because they immediately dispel the ubiquitous packed-in-a-box smell. Hang them from your closet rod or nestle them in your lingerie chest, and your clothes are guaranteed to smell and feel unbelievably fresh and floral.

    Diptyque Roses Candle ($60): My affection for Diptyque, the crown jewel of illumination, runs deep. I’ve always been enraptured by the line’s distinct, subtle fragrances, which warm and fragrant your surroundings, making it a worthy at-home investment. And while I typically eschew the pungent scent of most rose candles, this delicate blend of a variety of roses, renders a warm yet subtle fragrance. Diptyque craftsmen blend the wax with very rare natural essences from Grasse (the very location where Chanel’s fragrances are born!) to ensure that each candle releases the perfect amount of scent for as many as 60 hours of burning.

    If you adore candles, but balk at the sometimes hefty pricetag, I’ve become smitten with Good Home Company’s Village Lavender Candle ($20), a soy-based candle that infuses your home with its warm, inviting scents. Akin to tumbling through groves of blooms, you will find yourself settling in on Friday nights with a great flick, popcorn (my ultimate must-chow is Popcorn Indiana’s Cheddar) and a candle burning down to the wick.

    mrs. meyer's Affordably priced at under $10, Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candle offers a clean, cool scent to accompany you when you’re busy scrubbing into the gloaming. Earth-friendly and cruelty free, I adore Mrs. Meyer’s products because they offer gentle and effective products that won’t crack the proverbial piggy bank. From lemon verbena to astringent basil to soft lavender, their line of hand soaps, counter/surface cleaners are the gift that keeps on giving. So if you’re tired of the ubiquitous dizziness that accompanies a Clorox wipe down, opt for natural products come move-in day.

    Although I’ve been crazed with settling into my new space, I couldn’t help but race into Anthropologie’s home section. Although I find their clothing quality to price ratio sometimes questionable, Anthropologie’s whimsical, fantastical and eclectic home items always give me pause. From coasters that could forseeably be transformed into works of art to etched ombre bowls to wrought iron lamps, you can find magic from $8-$800.

    Naturally, one who collects cookie cutter discs and saves for a stand mixer, couldn’t help but yearn and splurge on the Breville Dual Disc Juice Processor ($399). A brief aside: while I was in the stages of moving and selling off my furniture, four men on varying occasions pointed to my juicer and said it was the best one could buy. Each word of praise was followed by a knowing nod that I had acquired the king of juicers. A Williams Sonoma exclusive, the titanium cutting disc coupled with the superior motor speeds and stainless steal puree disc, you could juice apples to baseball hats, seriously. In the midst of a horrendous heat wave, it’s a great privilege to come home and savor delicious, healthful juices.

    Ultimately, the greatest gift you could possibly give yourself is appreciating your great space, being humble about all that you have in your life, heart, and home, because life can take unexpected turns, objects could be lost or taken from you, and what matters are those people trickling into your home. Holding your hand as you step into a new life, a wonderful, wonderful unknown.

    Full Disclosure: The aforementioned products, save the Anthropologie items, were provided for editorial consideration.

    Posted in foodie gal, home decor | 0 Comments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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