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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Monday, January 20, 2014

Have we talked about Demeter's Fragrance Library?

Do you know about Demeter perfume?
You should.

They are cheap -- about $15 per bottle at my fancy Walgreens -- and come in scores of scents (10-score, to be precise). My favorites are Jasmine and  Tomato (separate bottles).  You may recall my love of Jonathan Adler's Tomato candle from a few Christmases ago. ..

They do a lot of single scents. They also have weird scents like Funeral Home. Here's what it smells like:

"A Spot On Match
by Liz the Mountain Mama from Littleton, CO on 12/16/2013
The first time I encountered this fragrance was in a blind sniff-test my friends held as a party activity. I remember I exclaimed that "it smells just like a mortuary!" It speaks of dried lilies, carnations, mums, and ferns; old oak furniture and flooring; dusty, closed-up room air; and the faint whiff of formaldehyde. It's not a scent I'd choose to wear, but it's definitely eponymous."
They also have Glue, Holy Water, and Dirt.  And String bean. And Stable.
 It's so fun to just go and smell everything ( I made my girlfriends accompany me on a smelling expedition on my birthday. I love smelling things. One of them bought her daughter Gingerale, which smelled effervescent. really!) I am anxiously awaiting my Walgreens to stock the Grapefruit Tea.Anyway: buy them online if you don't have the fancy Walgreens.  Treats!

My sister's kitchen. Help me convince her by leaving fawning comments!

So nothing makes me happier than designing kitchens on Ikea's oft-maddening kitchen planner. Maddening, but so fun as you can see everything in 3D and twist the room all around. Excellent for sharing ideas with people who have a hard time visualizing your genius.
 Remember we talked about my sister's terrible terrible kitchen? Here's the plan for fixing it. 
First, the overview:
 Sliding glass windows to the ... I think east? The kitchen and dining room are both small and cramped, but opened up are large(r) and lovely. We determined that  she needs a table for entertaining, so the table (which will be custom built by our brother) will pull away from the island (also custom built... these are Ikea stand ins). But day to day, everyone can sidle up to the kitchen area to eat. 

So look through these photos, and don't get confused by the different color cabinets.. I tried them out in both white and gray. She liked gray in the showroom.

The image below is what the kitchen would look like if you were standing at approximately the sink.

 Here's from the current dining area.

 Flying overhead like the Flying Nun:

 Standing at the stove, or walking in the sliding glass doors to the deck.

Standing in the living room ... you are seeing the back of the stacked horizontal cabinets here. What you will really see is wall.
 This is if you are between the sliding glass doors.

 And by the stove again, buyt levitating slightly, like in those scary Paranormal movies.

 From the dining table. Bring me mead, woman!

 here I've switched over to gray cabinets. Note my continued resistance to traditional upper cabinets. They are the Buck Teeth of the kitchen, and I hate them.

 We like the gray. That's a wall of cabinets on the back of the current dining room... longer term storage for the kitchen. We might even build in a little bar there.
 If you were a raccoon living in the wall with Xray vision. Looking out over the sink.
 Back to white cabinets. There's no rhyme or reason here.
 Working at the island.
The end. Total cabinetry and appliance cost: under $10K for everything you see here. A wall between the kitchen and living room will have to come down, but that's nothing a sledge hammer can't fix.