Saturday, April 28, 2012


Ted proposed to me in Venice, in a secret garden he had discovered on a trip there years before. The garden was ancient, and quiet, and green, and around the corner from Harry's Bar where we retired afterwards for celebratory bellinis. I realize that all of this sounds very romantic, and it was, but it was also a bit of a comedy of errors.

For example, I wouldn't shut up while Ted was trying to propose, because I had no idea what was going on, so he was struggling to even get a word in edgewise let along get down on one knee. He also became violently ill immediately following the big question (which is a story for another post), and we ended up having to cut our trip to Venice, and Italy, short.

All this to say that while we had planned a day trip by boat to the island of Murano, it never happened. (I am also the only person who has vacationed in Rome and never seen the Vatican, which we were saving for the last days of the trip.) But to get back to the point. As a result, perhaps, of this aborted visit, I became obsessed with Murano glass, specifically with Murano glass chandeliers.

There is one that I have on the brain right now, that I saw on the Interwebs and cannot for the life of me find again (don't you fucking HATE when that happens?); it was was so lovely and looked like it was made out of strips of pink candy ribbons. Just beautiful.

In the meantime, I gaze at these and dream:


ABC Carpets

Pieces Inc

While these are all classic-style, people also get all crazy up in the glass-making business, WHAT WHAT, and  not all Murano glass chandeliers are so predictable:

Alexander and Pearl
 I know what you're thinking, it looks like an octopus, and yes, yes it does, but it's still incredibly interesting and also comes in several colors if bright orange isn't your jam. (Who is writing this post? I have no idea).
Pieces Inc
This, I am aware, is not technically a chandelier, but rather more of a "flush-mount" (see, I know what the hell I'm talking about. I write a design blog, yo!). But it's very pretty and so here it is anyway. Suck it.

1st Dibs
I didn't even have the heart to look and see how much this one costs, because the prices on 1st Dibs only manage to depress me and I have a party tonight and want to be in a festive mood.

No Idea Where I Found This
Yes, very weird, very 70s, but still, imagine how it would look lit up, and the color! I love it. It should be in my Gracious Entryway even as I type. So cool.
Pieces Inc
I like this even more than the similar one from 1st Dibs and I guarantee you, while not cheap, the price will also not force you to up your meds so you don't put your head in the oven. And you know I have a soft spot for amber.

So what do you think, Dear Readers? Do you love Murano glass lighting as much as I do? Do you like the traditional ones, or the cracked-out, cray-cray ones? I love them all, and would have one in every room of the house if I could. So it's probably just as well that I can't.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012


OK, fine, so technically the colors for this week's color collective hosted by the lovely Brynn over at Chartreuse and a Twist are aqua and turquoise, but as you will see I own a lot more turquoise stuff than I do aqua. Well, actually the truth is that the aqua stuff I own is mostly clothes, and it's hard to photograph clothes all together in one picture. Well it is for me, at least.

So I went with a couple of aqua sweaters as background and picked out my favorite turquoise jewelry to highlight:

You may be wondering why I own so much turquoise jewelry, but I am a December baby. Among the trials and tribulations of such a birthday, which include people lumping your Holiday and Birthday present together (which is a sin Ted committed once. Only once), you also get turquoise as a birthstone. No diamonds or sapphires for me, oh no, not even pearls. I get turquoise. Which is most often worked into jewelry with a Southwestern motif. And while I understand some people love this, it's not really my thing. In fact, I fucking hate it.

So I've spent many years (and plenty of money) amassing a collection of turquoise jewelry that I DO love, because I really do love my birthday, and my birthstone, and being born in December. This antique ring is my favorite piece, which my best friend Meredith found, had the stone replaced with a turquoise one, and gave to Ted to give me for my birthday (now THAT's a best friend, just FYI):

I love it more than my children and wear it as often as I can. This stack of bracelets came from God-knows-where and the skull on the little one looks a little out of sorts, but whatevs:

These plain stud earring are from a Slane sample sale, which is really the only way I could afford them, let's be honest:

The necklace and earring set are some random brand that I don't remember:

And yes, I know that it looks like a cheap knock-off of the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection, but I don't care, I love it. Although that's not to say that I wouldn't be willing to give the Alhambra collection a chance, I mean, hey, I'm open-minded. Sort of.

The backdrop for all of this is my "aqua" contribution, in the form of two J. Crew cashmere sweaters in a color that they don't make anymore and probably had some ridiculous name like "Breeze" which doesn't really tell you what color it is at all. As for why I have two of the same exact sweater (Don't lie, Ted, you are wondering) I will have you know that one has long sleeves and one has short sleeves. Which makes it totally legit to own both, even though they are the same color. Right? I also own one piece of aqua jewelry; it's a necklace that I wear wrapped and wrapped around my wrist as a bracelet:

It was a gift from my mother-in-law (I KNOW!!!) and looks very cool on, especially when you have a tan. I love it.

Anyway, thanks as always to Brynn, and definitely check out her infinitely more beautiful and creative color post, as well as all the others who link up - very talented company I have forced myself upon! Till (next) Tuesday, you guys! (Yet ANOTHER song reference that sadly dates me as OLD).


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Thursday, April 19, 2012


Since we are B-R-O-K-E, all six of you must step up, rally, and stimulate the economy the way I would be doing if my husband wasn't such a miser savvy financial advisor. Luckily for you, I'm here to guide you so that your money is well spent and you don't have to suffer from any buyer's remorse.

Design Darling is a fabulous boutique run by one Mackenzie Horan, who also writes a delightful blog. Her store is chock full of desirable items, but if I had possession of my credit cards had to choose, I would start with a navy bracelet:

Followed closely by this charming necklace:

To round out my accessories, I'd pick up this cocktail ring:


But the the goods don't stop at jewelry. You can also get items to make your home beautiful, like these incredible bookends:

Or this handy chunk of amethyst (handy for what? I don't know, use your imagination for Christ's sake):

You already know that I suffer from a throw pillow problem, so it should come as no surprise that I'd snap these two up in a hot second:



There are also candles in lovely colors:


And pretty, pretty matches with which to light them:


While I am obviously in love with pretty much everything in the Design Darling boutique, I did manage to restrict my purchases to two sets of candles and two boxes of matches. Everything arrived today (in a very timely manner, I might add) and the candles look lovely on my mantel:

So go! Spend money and send me pictures of your purchases so that I can live vicariously through you and continue to restrict my spending to save my marriage in a responsible manner.

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Monday, April 16, 2012


So Gerard came through and showed up today to put in the new lights. I am very happy. Baby steps, but slowly the kitchen is being transformed. Let's do a little Before and After, shall we? Here's one of the red lamps that came with the house:

Here's one of the new lights in its place:

The lamps cost about $90 each, the paint (Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, BTW) cost $60, and I don't know how much Gerard will charge. At this point we pretty much have Gerard on retainer, so twice a year he adds up what we owe him and we write a check. So the whole shebang comes in under $300, which isn't bad for such a change. Here's the old kitchen;

Here's the new kitchen:

In my next life, I want to come back as Gerard's wife (Just kidding Ted! I love you! Don't ever leave me!).

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The title of this post, which has also been the title of the folder that holds the photos for this post, is hysterical. If you don't think so (Ted), you were obviously born with no sense of humor and I feel sad for you. And for the person married to you. It must be hard.

Anyway, back to the armoire. If you remember, when we last saw it, the top was bare except for three old-timey seltzer bottles from Ted's grandfather's soda water company:

I admit, they were looking pretty sad up there by themselves, but I had a vision. And slowly (very slowly, thanks to the current strictures on my spending) it has filled out:

In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's finished, as much as anything is ever "finished" around here:

Everything up there cost less than $20 (thanks to flash sale sites) or was free (thanks to Ted's grandfather and an orchid pot I already owned) so if I find things I love more, any item can be replaced. Although for now, I like it. It's almost exactly what was in my head - lots of blue/green/turquoise in an otherwise very gold-ish room:

So there you go. The lesson for today obviously being that if you have enough patience your vision can be realized, no matter how small the budget. Also, don't marry someone with no sense of humor, especially if you happen to be very funny yourself.


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Sunday, April 15, 2012


Thank the Good Lord in heaven above, my kitchen eating area is no longer red. Although I feel I must add that painting is not for the lazy. And I only had to paint half of a 3-walled non-room! And it was still a total bitch. Although in my memory the unpleasantness is already fading, and I am thinking that I can paint William's room, no problem, right? This is how people end up with more than one child.

Anyway, let's do a little Before and After (there's very little that I love more than a good Before and After). It's not really a fair one, though, because the Before photos were taken at night with the lights on, and the After pictures were taken during the day, with the lights off because we had turned off the circuit breaker to the lights in the kitchen so that Ted could put in the new ones (more on that later).

Here's the breakfast nook in all its red glory:

I just threw up a little in my mouth. But for the last time. Because now it looks like this!

I love it. Love. It. Here's the side with the window:

Here's the side without a window:

Here's the reason we need a beverage fridge:

I was all worried about how fixing the wall color was going to make all the other things I don't like  more prominent, like the light and the etagere that's being used as a bookcase for two dozen cookbooks. Because I cook so much (I don't). But instead, I like everything better. Here's the light:

And here's the "bookcase":

Even the table looks better. What? That makes no sense? Fuck you, it looks 100 times better:

So does the beautiful lazy susan from Old Pool Glassworks in Maine, which is owned by my friend Renee who makes and sells very beautiful glass stuff:

Renee also made the nightlights I use in the boys' rooms, and which were given as favors at my baby shower. They are amazing and you should go buy one. But back to the kitchen. The second part of the plan was to replace the ugly red lamps. Here is Ted after removing one lamp:

And here he is removing the other one:

However. Like a lot of things in this house, looking under the surface of anything is like turning over a rock in the garden. You know, when you see all the worms and bugs squirming in the light? Scratch the surface of this old shack and you almost always get more than you bargained for and in this case what we got was some dubious electrical work that Ted was loathe to tinker with:

So a call was placed to Gerard the Handsome Contractor, and until he comes tomorrow this is what I have instead of two new lamps:

Oh well. Stay tuned for Part 42 of Project: Kitchen Facelift to find out how this thrilling tale continues. Will the new lamps get hung? Will I get a new range hood? And a beverage fridge? Oh, the suspense. In the meantime, here's another look at the products of my hard labor:

I still love it.

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