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Party Etiquette

Back in the Mad Men era cocktail or dinner parties were the norm. When my grandparent's got married they received a punch bowl, serving dishes and bar ware and they hosted parties. In fact I've inherited and used quite a few of those pieces when I host a party. 

I am not Emily Post, but as a host and as a guest over the years I've picked up some tips on how to be a good guest. And yes, that is a thing. 

  • Bring something. If you are coming for dinner, cocktails or staying the weekend at someone's house please make sure you bring a little something. Generally a bottle of wine is totally acceptable. I usually let the time of year dictate my wine choice. If it's winter I'll buy a red and in spring or summer I'll pick up a rose or something white. If it is a backyard barbecue then I am definitely bringing beer. It's ok to let your budget dictate your choices. I was pretty intimidated by some friends who were, well, wine snobs, but I was able to pick up a decent red for about $12. That's all I could afford and that is ok. A $7 wine can be perfectly fine and close friends know that I probably will bring a bottle of 2 buck chuck from Trader Joe's. The only time this does not hold true is if your hosts do not drink, then pick up a bouquet of flowers. I tend to disagree with bringing a host/hostess gift that is an object because you may bring something they don't need. 
  • Offer to help. Even if you don't know how to cook you can help set the table, or stir the pot or bring things to the table when they are cooked. I love to cook and I love to have people over but that last mad rush of trying to get everything to the table while it is still hot requires more hands then I have! 
  • Don't go on a political rant, monopolize the conversation or get so engrossed in speaking with the guest next to you that people start to think maybe you should get a room (this has actually happened to me before). 
  • Offer to take off your shoes. Some households make it very clear that they are a no shoes house. Some people do not agree with this but it is their home and their rules. I usually don't ask people to take off their shoes, but if it is raining or snowing out then you can be sure I'm making people take off their shoes. 

Things are a little different when you hosting an event for really close friends. I reached a point where I realized I stopped entertaining because it cost too much and took up too much time. I love to cook and I love to entertain, but I started reaching out to people and asking if they could bring something. 

My goal is to have people feel comfortable and happy at my house. I will admit though that I've been happy to see some people fall off, or get cut, from the guest list because they were just not good guests. 

Do you have any tips on how to be a guest? Next week I'll do a series on how to be a good host since it cuts both ways! 

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How to add color without painting the walls

This next picture may shock you because it is kind of ugly. My bedroom is down in the basement and the ceilings are about 7 feet tall, the walls are beige and it gets little to no natural light. 

Over time I've changed out the bedding and I decided to embrace my cave like bedroom by introducing dark jewel tone colors. FYI it is the best place to sleep! 

What I really wanted to do was add some color to the walls but since I rent I wanted to find a way to do it without painting the walls. 

I found three large artists canvases, which can be a bit pricey, but I got them for 60% off. 

I painted each canvas with Behr flat paint in Polished Leather. Then I used a stencil that I found on Etsy from CuttingEdgeStencils. I wanted something large to play with the scale of the room. 

I painted the stencil in Behr Divine Wine but I used glossy paint. That's why you see a bit of shimmer. 

It's really challenging to take pictures in this room since there is almost no light! What I loved about this project is that I can take those panels with me and repaint them and use them again. It added something to the room that was really unique. And what surprised me was when I hung them the darkness made that wall recede and the room felt bigger. 

If you need help with your bedroom let me know

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Mending

I love reading Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, William Faulkner and Gertrude Stein. They were writers who used stream of consciousness in their works. It is like you are hearing the internal thoughts and dialogue of the characters. It can be challenging to read and follow and some people hate it! I love it because if you don't focus so much on the meaning and let the words wash over you, then you get to enjoy the language. 

I read Tender Buttons Objects by Gertrude Stein and it is illustrated by Lisa Congdon. I heard Lisa Congdon speak about it on a podcast and was intrigued. I love her graphic interpretation of Stein's words. I found it was easiest to read out loud. You could feel the cadence of the words and just the luscious way Stein uses language. Plus it helped me focus on the words on the page and at a certain point it felt meditative. 

I'm going to share with you "Careless Water."

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No cup is broken in more places and mended, that is to say a plate is broken and mending does do that it shows that culture is Japanese. It shows the whole element of angels and orders. It does more to choosing and it does more to that ministering counting. It does, it does change in more water.

Supposing a single piece is a hair supposing more of them are orderly, does that show that strength, does that show that joint, does that show that balloon famously. Does it.
— Gertrude Stein

She's speaking of the Japanese custom of wabi sabi that mends a cup or plate with gold or something beautiful and treasures the broken parts. I think the illustration that Congdon paired with Careless Water shows that beautifully. 

Or as Leonard Cohen sang- there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. 

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Just Embrace It

I had a friend tell me about a tv show of a teenager who was kept captive by a cult leader and then when she finally escapes she has to learn how to exist in a world that has moved on without her. My response was um, ok. Then I had another friend tell me about the show Kimmy Schmidt and since multiple people were saying the same thing I decided to give the show a try. And of course I loved it. 

What I also loved was the set. Holy luscious color batman. The turquoise and pinks and purples and reds and allllll the colors! I adore how they complement the casts characters with the set. Kimmy often wears hot pink and against the turquoise walls she stands out even more. Plus nobody can beat Titus for the best outfit award!

To get the Kimmy Schmidt look, which will come with a daily dose of optimistic positivity, think more. More color, more beads, more sparkle, more leopard, more scarves, more tchotckes and a little bit of what you found in your grandma's attic. Throw in some craigslist, kurb or mid-century finds and voila! 

From the New Bohemians via oldbrandnew.com

From the New Bohemians via oldbrandnew.com

I totally imagine this is what Titus' room could look like.

Image from Brit.co

Image from Brit.co

This one is for when Kimmy and Titus decide to take the show on the road. 

Via doityourselfrv.com

Via doityourselfrv.com

This would be the bed Kimmy would get when she moves out of her closet. 

Embrace your inner queen and deck out your home. If you want more inspiration head over to Pinterest for my Kimmy Schmidt board. Excuse me while I go drape a scarf over a lamp to set the mood. 

 

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Quirky Interior Design

Oh blog how I have missed you!!! I got sick and I feel like I've been playing catch up for a month. 

People talk a lot about eclectic decor, which is a mix of periods, styles and countries, but I tend to favor quirky decor. I love the picture of this living room because it has this unexpected eyelash pillow. It takes a room that is beautifully designed and makes it accessible. 

When I was looking at wallpaper for my dining room I found something that was beautiful, but the room started feeling over designed. And so I totally got alligator print wallpaper and it is gorgeous, and yet, a little quirky. 

My office has a vintage turtle footstool that my mom picked up for me years ago that I reupholstered with an old burlap coffee bag. It's tres chic, but so ridiculous that I love it. 

Don't be afraid to embrace your quirky side. Your home should reflect you. I'm going to leave you with another favorite of mine- the boob pillow. 

Image via Aleksandrazee

Image via Aleksandrazee

If you do want to keep up with what I am up to follow along on Instagram

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