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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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Panamanian Pandemonium: House tour!

You may recall Alison (one L? two? too hard to keep straight), my gorgeous former roommate then tenant now ex-pat diplomat about town in Panama. When she isn't swanning around glamorously at embassy parties and taking weekends off to surf, our girl is decorating. Check her out!

This table was like $5,000. So worth it, according to me. She painted the walls blue. And observe the plant -- it's a sprouted coconut! Rug is folded over on the edge like all the chic girls do. (see: Meg's Marvelous Maison). The black trunk is from the Panamanian version of Craigslist, apparently. The chairs were apparently terrible pleather or something and she had them recovered -- a total of $250. I gotta get me some Panamanian reupholstering. The art over the couch needs framing but its a cool pdf blow up thing she got. I think it is a camel.

On the book shelf near the dining table, upper right hand cubby, is a fabulous book that I gave her called the South American Gentleman's Companion -- food and drink from all around central and South America, written in the 1950s by some airline execs. It's the second copy that has passed through my hands (the first I gave to my cousin Dan when he was also assigned in the foreign service to South America... They are pretty rare and I keep giving them away. dammit.

She's got some accessorizing to do... but still: supah, all the way around, n'est ce pas? Vaya, Alison. (or Allison, whichever it is. I think one L). I can't wait to go down there for a weekend.

and check her out! 5 mile run in 89 degree weather.


  1. who is the designer of that couch? i would love to have that in my living room! please email me! thank you very much :)

  2. Hi Isabella,

    I don't know the designer, but I got it at a store called LifePlus in
    Panama City. Perhaps they can tell you. You can Google them.