Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mean Reds...Tired Blues...Let's Look at Fabulous Rooms!

I have the Monday blues...which is bad considering that it's Thursday!
Who would have thunk it? Midnight navy walls are gorgeous!
Photo from Elle Decor
I don't know what wrong with me this week. I am beyond tired. And everyone I talk to is saying the same thing. Exhausted. Well, according to Above the Law (a fun, if often rather snarky, blog about lawyering life) there is a name for this phenomenon: "Blue Monday," a depressing Monday just after the Holidays.

Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly gets the "Mean Reds" and I seem to be having the "Tuckered-Out Blues." But I think you'll agree that these fabulous blue interiors are anything but tired!
Such a cozy room to curl up and read a good (or even a bad) book on a dark January day.
Photo from Elle Decor.

Photo from Elle Decor.

Great high/low room.
Photo from Elle Decor.
Oh, I know you're thinking..."This is not a blue room!" But it's lovely and the doors are blue.
Photo from Elle Decor.
bedrooms - bedroom Chinese Chippendale faux bamboo blue chairs blue lamp blue bedding  From Elle Decor  blue faux bamboo chair, white desk, art,
Lately, I'm loving pictures hung on bookcases.
Photo from Elle Decor.
Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes.

The White House Blue Room.
Miles Redd. Photo from Elle Decor.

Not a blue room, per se, but I've already noted my obsession with lovely tables, so here you go...
Photo from Veranda.
This is a toddler's room. A toddler! Meaning that I am beyond jealous of a three-year-old!
Photo from Elle Decor.
Photo from Elle Decor.
Photo from Elle Decor.
A Paris Apartment Packed with Color Elle Decor  Apartment Therapy New York
Parisian apartment from Elle Decor.
So gorgeous. Elle Decor says this room is blue, so blue it is!
Miles Redd (a.k.a. Miles Blue). Photo from Elle Decor.
Lots of light and great high ceilings! Photo from Veranda.
To-die-for kitchen in two photos above by Sherrill Canet.
I'm starting to think I should stain my floors ebony and paint my walls a cool blue.
Photo from Elle Decor.
Rethinking white cabinets when I see these stunning black ones.
Photo from Elle Decor.
Fun kitchen from Domino

Frank Roop's Home. Photo from Elle Decor.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011...To the Best Year Yet!

Happy 2011! Can you believe it's 2011? Does it really seem like twelve years ago that we were partying like it was 1999? Yep. And that means Prince must be a card-carrying member of the AARP by now (I'm not going to consider what this means for me).
New Year's Eve, NYC, 1928.

New Year's Eve, Hollywood, CA, 1950s.

New Year's Eve, Washington, D.C., 1940

Seriously though, I love New Years. It's right up there in the Holiday Hierarchy for me. I associate New Years with friends, champagne, dancing, and my once-per-year opportunity to wear sequins and all manner of gaudiness without drawing disgusted stares from Bostonians who still seem to prefer (and actually do a pretty admirable job "rocking," as my friend Dustin says) sensible Puritan garb such as tweed blazers and cabled wool turtlenecks the other 364 nights of the year.

But mostly I love the incredible sense of hope, optimism, and new beginnings that New Year's annually bestows upon the world. No matter how bad the previous year, we get a universal clean slate.

When I look through these faded photos of New Years past, it strikes me that none of the subjects could have known what the coming years might bring. One of the pictures depicts the December 31st prior to the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. Another shows London revelers enjoying a festive and bright dinner shortly before the city went dark during the war. Still, I imagine that most of the subjects of these photographs muddled through the darker times, and on a subsequent New Years Eve, once again felt a renewed sense of hope and possibility. It's nice to know that, come what may, we get a fresh opportunity each and every year to put the past behind us and to try anew. 

New Year's Eve. 1957

New Year's Eve. Ogunquit, ME. 1938
I guess this is why there are so many ideas floating around the globe on how to court luck, happiness, and fortune in the New Year. Just in case there's any truth to some (or all) of these old wives' tales, I usually attempt to incorporate as many as possible into my New Year's routine.

Problem is, I've compiled quite a few good luck tidbits over the years. But since this is my good fortune for the next twelve months we're talking about here, I try my darndest to optimize what the coming year will bring. I eat lentils (Italy), black-eyed peas (American South), donuts (Netherlands), cabbage (Russia), and pork (probably countries without large kosher populations) on New Year's Eve. I wear red (China/Spain) and yellow undergarments (Venezuela/ Mexico), with white clothing (Brazil) on New Year's Day (one must exercise caution here, so as not to alarm non-superstitious passersby with loud unmentionables showing through too-translucent whites...). And please don't visit too early on the January 1st unless you're the tall, dark-haired man that should be the first person to enter the house in the New Year (other than the residents, I assume).

But try as I might, is there really any controlling what the coming year will bring?

New Year's Eve, NYC, 1932.
New Year's Eve. Paris, France. 1961
While I was driving on Christmas Eve to pick up some catering for our party, I heard an NPR broadcast on the history behind several classic holiday songs. Apparently, Judy Garland's famous Christmas song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," became popular not from Meet Me in St. Louis, the movie for which the piece was written, but several years later, when Garland brought many soldiers to tears during her live performance of the song at the Hollywood Canteen during World War II. Soldiers and their families hoped Garland's words, "let your heart be light / next year all our troubles will be out of sight" would ring true.  

When I SoundHounded a catchy song playing just before midnight this New Year's Eve, I though it was fitting that the song (a housey, Mobyesque piece by Devotchka) was called "How it Ends." Who knows what 2011 has in store for us, or where we will be next December 31st...But here's hoping that it will be the best year yet!  May peace and happiness be yours in the coming year...
JG0155-001, Sasha /Hulton Archive
New Year's Eve, London, 1938

New Year's Eve, NYC, year unknown.

New Year's Eve, 1957. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fabulous Holiday Tables

Image from Martha Stewart Living.
How did I get to this state? No, no, I don't mean to Massachusetts (although on a cold day in February, an Arizona girl does sometimes wonder...), but how did I ever become so obsessed with tablecloths, silver, centerpieces, and um, place card holders?

Place card holders! We are hosting my husband's family this Christmas in our still completely guest-inappropriate Money Pit. Unbeknownst to them, they will have place card holders. I'm not so much concerned that, left unguided, our eleven guests will find themselves wandering around aimlessly, searching for seats musical-chairs-style. And maybe two weeks ago, I would have scoffed at the utter ridiculousness of the absurd hostess who thought that place cards would be a necessary element in her half-finished, under construction house (keep in mind that we have electricians coming on the 23rd to replace our current dining room light fixture, a huge white and shiny brass ceiling fan with three bulbs in it, with something more elegant). But that was two weeks ago. That was before I laid eyes on these fine place card holders (and realized that Paper Source sells ready made cardstock place cards in every color imaginable).

My twelve tiny reindeer (take that, Santa, what with your mere eight...)
Sometimes while I'm in line waiting to pay for various irresistible tchotchkes, widely-accepted design slogans such as, "less is more" and "keep it simple, stupid" come to mind. But then I quickly dismiss them. Because, as I'm sure any shrink or yoga teacher worth his/her salt could tell you, it can't be good for the self esteem to repeat mantras ending with "stupid." So anyway, I am now the proud owner of 12 darling holiday place card holders--silverplated carved reindeer resting atop inlaid rosewood bases--that I found on One Kings Lane last week (if you're not already intimately acquainted with this address, run don't walk to their fabulous website for serious discounts on all manner of housewares; their Tastemaker Tag Sales offer regular people the chance to score major deals on famous designers' well-curated collections of furnishings and accessories).

 It has not escaped my attention that tablescaping---I'm told by my similarly obsessed coworker/enabler that "tablescape" is the lingo to use here--is not necessarily a popular hobby. I am also aware that some of my nearest and dearest believe that an intervention may be in order. That's fine, but would you kindly hold off intervening until I've had a chance to order these wonderful butter knife rests?

Crystal Knife Rests (4"L)
Crystal Knife Rests, $30/6
I say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So today it's Holiday Tablescapes Galore... Enjoy!

Unbelievably stunning!
Image from Carolyne Roehm.

Another lovely holiday table by Roehm. She often squares four candlesticks around a centerpiece.
Image from Carolyne Roehm.
Image from Jean Larette for DIFFA (Jo Malone table) 
Loving the blue, white, and fir!
Image from Country Living.

One of my favorite tables.
Image from Carolyne Roehm.

More plaid (and see, they have knife rests).
Image from iVillage Garden Web
Pretty sure this is my favorite. I am so partial to black, white, and gold.
Image from Carolyne Roehm.

Well, Hanukkah may be over, but that's simply no excuse to let your table go.
And how lovely is that candelabra? Here's a similar candle holder now available at West Elm.
Image from Object Bis.
Could this room be any prettier?
Though I don't know if I'd feel comfortable drinking my red wine at that table.
Image from Shelter.
Casual and warm.
Image from Digs Digs.
I wish some of these homeowners would adopt me. So, so charming.
Image from The City Sage.
Rebecca Thuss Holiday Table Settings
Love this whimsical winter wonderland!
Image from Rebecca Thuss.

Festive florals/dirty martinis at every place, now this is the Holidays done right!
Image from Oscar de la Renta
My takeaway from this tablescape--mismatched chairs are boho chic, not embarrassing...
Image from Better Homes and Gardens.

So fun...and I even own those Kate Spade peacock plates!
Image from Better Homes and Gardens.
Image from Carolyne Roehm. Who else?
Simple and stunning.
Image from Martha Stewart
Who says Tiffany Blue is not a Holiday color?
Certainly not me or that girl from the "Santa Baby" song!
Image from Southern Living.
Again, if it could be on a "Mad Men" set, I love it!
 Image from Martha Stewart

Carolyne, would you please come design the home G.P. Schafer restores for me?
Image from Carolyne Roehm.

The navy mohair with white winter branches is so elegant.
Image from Better Homes & Gardens