Saturday, April 23, 2011

obsession of the month: home tours

Home tours are not a new thing in my world. I've enjoyed them for years. In fact, this year was my fifth White Rock Home Tour. It's become a bit of a tradition in my family because we are now joined by my mother (or "Mimi" to Harper), my dad (or "Deedak" to Harper -- don't ask, long story), my sister (Aunt Mallory), my brother (Uncle Jarred), and anyone else who wishes to join us.

April in Dallas is a month of home tours, in fact. Earlier this month, we also did the Park Cities Home Tour. Despite the rather large homes and beautiful landscaping, those homes were a bit too lavish for me with King Louis XVI drapes and wallpaper, rooms overflowing with hefty antiques, and guilded baths. I can appreciate the homes and the neighborhood (ooo-la-la!), but it's not me. White Rock Home Tour, on the other hand, is fantastic because: 1) It's my neighborhood. I'm so proud. 2) The homes are all modern, many of them mid-century modern, a style that I love and appreciate with marked jealousy. 3) There is often a "green" home on the tour, and I love sustainable materials. 4) Every home has modern interiors (not contemporary, but modern -- the two are strikingly different), a style I infuse into my own home.

I snapped the above shot in the backyard of a mid-century home (circa 1955) that had a 2010 addition on the back, which added a bedroom, bath, and living space. It is my dream home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the joys of toddlerdom

No, this is not a post to rant about temper tantrums or to boast about Harper's growing vocabulary (although she now loves to say, "That's the ball!" in the most endearing Texan drawl I've ever heard). Rather, I'd like to expound upon my belief that when you are a stay-at-home mom or a work-from-home mom, etc., there is a semi-immense pressure to expose your child to all those worldly experiences (a.k.a., keep her entertained and exhausted so she takes an adequate afternoon nap).

At 18 months, my beautiful daughter is no longer content to play pat-a-cake in the den with mommy. Now we must have outings each day to various places that hopefully have either a playground, large expanses of grass, or something to climb on. In the last two weeks alone, we have attended Baby Bounce classes, purchased a yearly membership to the Arboretum, made new friends and learned how to go down the slide at the local library playground, gazed at gorillas at the Dallas Zoo, and made an appointment to check out Kidzone. I'm not kidding.

I don't know about Harper, but I'm exhausted.

Photo by Uyen Beiswanger

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

obsession of the month: PacNW

It might have something to do with the fact that The Husband proposed to me there. Or because I haven't been back since 2005. Or it could have something to do with the fact that I finally got around to reading the Twilight books. Whatever the reason, I'm fixated on the Pacific Northwest right now. The forests, the seafood, the drizzle, all of it. Luckily, my sister and I felt the urge to whisk ourselves away to Seattle and Vancouver later this month. I'm stoked to see Jen, who ran away to Seattle not long ago, and the 2-hour roadtrip to Canada with my sister, where we are hoping to spot some vampires. It's a mini-adventure with no concrete plans in place. Just four days of Pacific Northwest goodness.

*I took the above photograph in 2005 just outside Vancouver, BC.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

thanks, mr. frost

I'm in a poetic sort of mood today, which reminded me of my most recent trip to New England and a beautiful cemetary in Bennington, Vermont. I knew Robert Frost was buried there, so I begged The Husband to pull over and all three of us piled out of our rented SUV. The October air was perfect -- crisp, not too cold, quiet, sunny. Harper was bundled in her hoodie. There was a gorgeous white church built in 1700-something-or-other, and it was surrounded by gravestones of Revolutionary War soldiers. But perhaps the most breathtaking part of the scene was the bright yellow falling leaves that seemed to be everywhere -- coating the pathways and landing softly on tombstones. Mesmerized by the beauty of the place, I couldn't stop snapping pictures. We slowly made our way through the graves, following arrows that said "Frost grave." And suddenly there it was, and I was practically alone with a poet that filled many of my days as a pupil and, later, as an English teacher. By the time we arrived at Frost's grave, I wanted to thank him for leading me to that place, a beautiful, historic cemetary on a hillside in rural Vermont. I never thanked him properly, so instead, I'll leave it with one of my favorite Frost poems and a hope that one day I'll return.

A Late Walk
by Robert Frost

When I got up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.

And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.

A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.

I end not far from my going forth,
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

colin firth = freakin' awesome

Dear Colin Firth,

Why are you so freakin' awesome? Seriously, I love you. And not in a kissy-kissy type way (although you are quite dashing) but in a you're-the-best-actor-to-ever-star-in-myriad-period-pieces way. Yep, I saw The King's Speech recently, and you've outdone yourself.

I will buy the following circa-1939 poster (coined by King George VI) in commemoration:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

shelter mags, how i love thee

Once upon a time, I was an editor at a shelter magazine. I spent my days perusing design blogs, interviewing designers, choosing rooms shots, and writing about demask wallpaper, mid-century furniture, and other interior trends. Alas, the magazine did not make it, like so many other home and garden magazines (RIP Blueprint, Domino, and Cottage Living). While I've mourned the death of several shelter magazines during the last few years, I'm still able to peruse the design blogs, thank goodness.

Recently, I came across a new shelter magazine that's very much alive and kicking, Covet Garden. Clever name, eh? It's dedicated to inspiring rooms and interiors and spends less time ooo-ing and ah-ing over products (though it does include some).

I love magazines with artful covers, and Covet Garden does it well. Here's a link to past covers. The mag is short (less than 30 pages), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in style. It's simply beautiful to look through. I'm feeling inspired already...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

obsession of the month: mad men

I know, I know. I'm "late" to the whole Mad Men thing. But hear me out: I have a 15-month-old, and my television time is not what it used to be. So I'm using Netflix to catch up. I thought, 'Oh, I'll get season 1 and see if I like it.' Holy martini, it's so good! I adore the one-liners, the clothes, the furniture, the uncontrollable drinking and smoking, and the misgivings of 1960 society. It's a very smart show.

Perhaps what I most love about it is that it makes me think. I think about how much social norms have changed since then, how different my life would be if I lived then and whether I would be a beatnik or a housewife. A career woman or a mom. A wife or "the other woman." The truth is, I would hate living during that time, but Mad Men gives me a chance to imagine what it would be like. So thank you, Mad Men, for being a smart show, because I hate mind-numbing TV, like those "World's Most Ridiculous Car Chase" programs. Give me smart TV. Give me Mad Men, please!