In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Decorate Your Living Room from Craigslist Today

Sometimes, when I have a free moment (and when I don't, to tell the truth) I peruse Craigslist and pick the things I would buy if I had to decorate a living and dining room (and sometimes a bedroom) THAT DAY for under $2000 including truck rental. The rules: I can only pick from the last 100 posts, from one city's Craigslist. I do this when someone isn't asking me to find something in particular for them. It keeps the hand in...

So here's what to buy off DC's Craigslist today. It all starts with this awesome couch for $450.

Put a rug under it. This one is 8X 10 and around $200. I can't remember.

And put this $15 floor pillow - 24"X 24" -- on the rug. Yes, they work together.

I'm going to assume you have a couple of suitable end tables. So now you need to buy some groovy lamps. This porcelain lamp is $15, I think, and just needs a new shade because this one is clearly hideous. It's got wonderful 3-D delicate flowers on the base. Get a black drum shade. The teak lamp is $50.

You need a dining set (I am presuming open-plan living here... a loft or a studio) -- a table that's a little rough around the edges offsets all the slickness of that awesome white couch. If you went for something new and shiny, you're in danger of looking like a showroom. This table is $150 -- oak, classic. Just wax the top.

Buy these chairs (table not for sale, which is fine because it's loathesome in both tone and shape): all four are $160. They scream out for the round table above. We're all about juxtoposition today. Most days, actually.

Sum total if my math is right: $1090. (not including the black drum shade, which you can get here for $45. You may have to jury rig the fittings since that one is for a pendant light.)
You're welcome.

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