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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Thursday, October 31, 2013

My sister's kitchen

is in dreadful shape. Her wall oven broke like a year ago. She has 4 hideous electric burners. The cabinets are mismatched and falling apart. Hideous floor -- vinyl tiles. PLus wallpaper in a sickly pink with light blue check marks or something. It does not merit a photo.
It is supremely awful . Luckily, however, she's got the sliding glass door.

Because we Have a Plan.  A High/Low Plan!

She loves this kitchen that I found on

Her kitchen is a bit smaller than the one above. Imagine the left 2 upper cabinets and the base cabinet below gone. That's the size we're working with.  Only about 12 feet.

I am buying her a new gas range -- likely this Samsung. Notice the continuous iron grates on the top and good chunky handles.

I'm a good sister. I can't help myself. My nieces and nephew need proper meals, and my sister is a great albeit cash-straped cook.

That's a custom walnut island. My guess -- it cost at least $3K, possibly more.
We want maximum size for the island plus seating, and luckily our dad is the Tile King of FLorida. So we have the counters covered.

So I found a series of potential stand ins, ready to go. We'll add casters to whatever she buys.  They are all $1100 or less. I think the first one is the winner. Or the last one. We'll likely do an ivory granite or marble counter that extends at least 6 inches over either end, plus at least a foot behind to allow for bar seating.  They are not as deep as the island so I am also looking for two of these that exactly match in height, width and wood tone (a tall order) to place back to back.

Then we'll add some cabinets from Ikea, chunky subway tiles, open shelves, a cool stainless fridge, a farm sink because I need it, and this rug and these lights and dishes (and the cabinets, but in Ivory). The dishes have to be new to look as nice as the rest o the kitchen and to allow them to be on open shelves.

You're welcome, sister!