Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We Were Liars

Good news: You don't have to look any further for your can't-put-it-down summer poolside reading. Because We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is it. We Were Liars just came out last week, so you might not have seen it yet, but trust me--this book is the Gone Girl of 2014. My very good friend Lauren gave me an advance reader copy of it last month, and I devoured it in less than 24 hours. It's that good.

Here's the premise: Seventeen year old Cadence is the oldest grandchild in the Sinclair family, which basically means she's a Kennedy. The Sinclairs are tall, blond, rich, and athletic. They're practically perfect, in an East coast prep school kind of way. They are the kind of people who use summer as a verb. As in, "We always summer on the family's private island."

Cadence's grandfather built a home for each of his three daughters on the island, and the entire clan spends each summer there together. It sounds idyllic, but life hasn't been so great for Cadence since she spent her fifteenth summer on the island. Something terrible happened that summer. Something she can't remember, because she sustained a head injury on the night that it happened.

Cadence's cousins, Johnny and Mirren, are her best friends, and they were there when it happened. But they haven't spoken to her since. The same goes for her kind-of boyfriend, Gat. All Cadence knows about that night is that she was found in the ocean, wearing only her underwear.

Cadence is an unreliable narrator (my favorite kind!) who slowly works to piece together what happened to her two summers ago. She gives away her belongings, one by one, without knowing why. And she writes short stories about a king with three beautiful daughters. Each story brings her a step closer to the truth.

I could say more about the brilliant construction of this story, but I don't want to give away the secret. Just read it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Living Room Design: Neutral Colors. Botanical Art. And Discreetly Placed Skulls.

Enough with the whining, right? Even though I'm a little sad to say goodbye to a home I've loved so much, it's hard to stay sad for long when there are so many lovely new rooms to design. When I think about what I want our new living room to look like, these words come to mind: Neutral. High Contrast. Transitional.

Living Room Tables - Concept #1

Here's a mock-up of what I'm imagining. The botanical art is from vintageprintable.com. The art is in the public domain, and it's sized to print at home on standard letter size paper. I'd like to print lots of these prints, and hang them in a big group. The end tables, lamps, and ottoman are from Uttermost. I'd like to use an ottoman as a coffee table, because it looks so cozy, but I'm wondering if it works well in practice. Anyone? Do ottomans actually work well as coffee tables?

At any rate, I have my work cut out for me. Right now, the room looks like this. Our painters are so good, and I'm really excited by the progress.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Have the Moving Blues. Or, I'm Not Sure I'm Ready to Say Goodbye Because I Still Love You.

In lieu of a genuinely sad picture, here is an Ibride tray depicting a pensive and decadent cat who reminds me of Oscar Wilde.
Having a new house makes me feel the way I imagine new parents might feel.: I'm proud, happy, exhausted, and I'm touching lots of disgusting things. Unlike a new parent, I'm engaged in a silent, antagonistic relationship... with the former homeowner. Here is a glimpse into her mind:

Redecorating is expensive. I ought to just smoke until the walls change color. And if I spill enough Coca-Cola on the floors and baseboards, then they'll change color, too! Never mind that the moisture will cause mold to grow under the carpet. At least it will steamline my cleaning routine.

I feel like a forensic scientist: Based on the furniture outlines left on the walls by nicotine, the traffic patterns in the carpet, the liquid spatters, and the placement of cigarette burns, I can determine exactly where the former homeowner spent most of her time and which rooms she rarely (if ever) used. I know she was left handed, and which nightstand she preferred to use, and which chair she sat on most often.

It makes me wonder what clues to my habits I'll leave behind when we move out of the condo. I sold the condo to my parents in March, and they plan to use it as a rental property. I can imagine the new tenants saying, "Those people definitely had a cat, and they were really bad at painting trim. At least they picked some sweet paint colors."

I hope they appreciate my beloved subway tile and marble threshold, and the black granite floor I spent so much f&%#ing time cleaning. I hope they love this place enough to tolerate the squeaky kitchen cabinets. In a perfect world, they'll regard the talkative cabinets with the same bemused fondness with which I regard them. And they'll never know about the many, many hours Keith spent repairing the icemaker, but I hope they enjoy the fruits of his labor.

As much as I already love the new house, it's hard to say goodbye to the condo where I spent seven years, found my passion for interior design, landed my first real job, finished my Master's degree, and fell in love with my husband. Heck, it's even where we shared our first kiss. I'm crying as I type this, because I put so much love into this place. I know we'll fill the new house with even more love, but it's hard to say goodbye.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Love Paint. And Paint Can Lead to Love.

Paint Colors for Our New House

New paint makes me so excited! I think it's in my genes. Little known fact: When my parents had just met, she turned him down for a date because she was planning on painting a room that day. So he offered to join her and help. He must have been really good at cutting into the edges, because this year they'll celebrate their 36th anniversary. And she's probably asked him to paint dozens of rooms over the course of their marriage. Mom is obsessed with paint. Obsessed. 

So I came by my own obsession honestly. Now I'm all, "Mom? Can I borrow your Benjamin Moore fan deck? Pleeease?" Because the new house is getting painted this week, hurray! I can hardly wait to see how drastically different it's going to look (and smell!) with a few coats of primer and paint. We decided to hire out the job, because the entire house needs to be primed with oil-based Kilz to lock the smoke away forever. And we didn't do so well the last time we used oil-based Kilz. As in, we accidentally got so high on fumes that we didn't know we were high until my knees buckled. Not cool. Even Dad didn't want to tackle this job.

I spent much of last week scrubbing nicotine off of peach and aqua walls in preparation for the fresh paint. It was disgusting but so satisfying to see the rags turn yellow as I scrubbed. Like peeling off a Biore pore strip and saying, "Ewwww... but WOW." It's nasty, but it was even nastier to have it on the walls. Now I'm excited to say hello to the new colors. Here are the rooms that inspired some of these choices. Check out each of these designers. They're very, very talented.

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
Stephen Shubel Interiors
Turan Designs

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars is coming to Nashville.

Hello, bookworms! What are you doing next Thursday evening? I just found out that Nashville is hosting a red carpet event promoting the new movie The Fault In Our Stars. The movie, of course, is based on Printz award winner John Green's book by the same name. I'm huge fan of John Green, so of course I'll be there. Oh, and the movie stars will be there too! But authors are much more exciting than movie stars, right?

Unless the movie star in question is Gary Oldman. I mean, duh.

For more info about the event, visit the Demand Our Stars page. All the nitty-gritty details are there. I'm sorry to run off so quickly, but I need to pore over roofing estimates, finalize paint color choices, check out a promising piece of used furniture I saw online, and spend time with my best friend, who is visiting Nashville. It's going to be a good day!