Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ippolita Wonderland Party Ring

Recently, I was up in San Francisco, and was shocked at how little plastic surgery I saw.  Living in SoCal I had largely forgotten that most people are not actually blond and that the average 50-year-old woman doesn't naturally have the full, perky breasts of a Barbie doll.  I saw people with...brown hair.  Boobs that didn't resemble globes.  Facial expressions.  And they were eating food.  Really good food.

While we were in SF I celebrated another that is precariously close to a rather large number.  I started realizing that I had outgrown certain things.  One of those is the hope that someday I'd be perfect. I'm appreciating that being flat-chested means I can sleep on my stomach.  That my stick-straight hair can only really successfully be stick straight.  That my inability to do just one thing at a time enables me to, well, do more than one thing at a time.  And I've come to know that I'm officially too old for some of the clothes in the catalogs I still get, and no matter what anyone says it's ridiculous for a woman of my age to be wearing a micro-mini.

One thing for which you can never be too old, thankfully, is jewelry.  While the world most likely no longer appreciate viewing a large swath of my thigh anymore, they'd surely enjoy a well-positioned delicacy made of semi-precious stones, something that says "maybe I can't wear short skirts and over-the-knee boots anymore but I can afford better costume jewelry now".  I saw this Ippolita Wonderland Party Ring in the Bloomingdales catalog, juxtaposed to a stack of a dozen or so rock-candy bangles with gorgeous hammered workmanship and thought, yeah, that still works.  At $795 a pop you'd hope to be going to a lot of cocktail parties to get your money's worth, but nice work, Ippolita -- the online photo doesn't do it justice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Custom Drapes

Rodeo Home Milan 50"x96" Luxury Drapes / Curtains in SesameI was unhappy today.  I took three days off since the kids start school next week and my plan was to spend time with them.  Which so far has involved letting them watch DVDs, play on the iPad or otherwise independently eradicate the house of any semblance of decency (did I teach these people that it was ok to throw used tissues on the ground when you're done blowing your nose?).  Partially because I must not be a very good mom.  And partially because there was stuff going on at work and my boss called me and I had to look at spreadsheets and think and write emails.  But really I just wanted to think about custom drapes.

A few weeks ago I went over to my friend Stacy's house and was struck by how adult her house looked.  She has a kid, but I didn't see any puke or juice on her sofas, nor did I find any booby traps made of string on the way to the kitchen -- her house was completely pulled together, with her furniture going with her decorative accents and most importantly, seeming to belong in her house.  When I got home I felt like my house was really juvenile (and not just because of the artwork made by the juveniles in my household, haphazardly taped onto walls with scotch tape, which I only occasionally find in places like under the bathroom sink or on top of a Build-A-Bear).  I've given up on having nice furniture for now -- at least until my kids stop walking on the sofas and the youngest of their friends becomes older than three.  But the drapes -- the drapes I can do!  So I've been looking into designers, stalking their websites, and learning about the differences between custom and ready-made drapes.  And custom drapes done right (that would be, not the way I've made them in the past) look full, have good heft, and look really great.  But I've also seen some bad custom drapes -- so I've chosen to go the designer route to get a referral to a good workroom.

The other thing I've learned about custom drapes is that they're expensive.  Will my life be way better once I have them?  One can hope.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Melaleuca and My New Non-Toxic Life

After a couple of months of dry-heaving from stress, I've started to re-examine my life and have decided that I should really focus on the living part.  One thing that's helped me feel a little more sane is de-cluttering and streamlining.

Enter Melaleuca, The Wellness Company.  A co-worker of mine recently introduced me to the products.  They're non-toxic, concentrated (and thus space-saving: I took back four ginormous bottles of toxic cleaners like Cascade and Jet Dry that I could barely carry -- and a single normal-sized bottle of Melaleuca's Diamond Brite did the job far better), effective (who knew natural products could be even better than harsh chemicals?) and economical (much, much less expensive than buying non-toxic products through regular retail channels).  A lot of the products serve multiple purposes, like the Tough & Tender all-purpose cleaner, which is also a fruit and veggie spray, or their toothpaste, which can also be used to polish silver.  Their vitamins are far superior to grocery store brands -- I started getting up early to do yoga in the mornings -- and my husband asked that I buy him some of these vitamins because he's never seen me with this much energy!  No more headache-inducing fumes after the cleaners come, no more giant Costco containers that don't fit on my shelves, and no more paying extra for companies' advertising and distribution costs (Melaleuca is customer-referral-only, so you get better value).

I've still got a long way to go before I'm as streamlined as Jay Shafer, who is apparently making it all work in a 89 square foot home -- and I'm pretty sure I'll never get there (where would I put all my handbags?).   But this is a pretty good start. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Method Dish Liquid and

My least favorite kind of stress is the kind that makes you randomly gag and wretch during the day, struggle to retain composure, and makes people wonder if you're trying to hide a pregnancy. I'll save the details for the novel that will render my financial success a foregone conclusion (please, magic book deal people, I'm sure I can think of something you'd want to publish!), but I found myself craving something very comforting...and yet very cheap.

Two weeks ago I was up in San Francisco visiting my brother and sister-in-law, who live the lifestyle of the people you'd imagine live in the spaces shown in the CB2 catalog. They had this Method Dish Liquid in the kitchen and I strangely found myself finding excuses to do the dishes. The pink grapefruit scent is perfect -- calming, soothing, not quite as sharply citrus and energizing as lemon but somehow spirit-lifting and happiness-inducing all the same. I also bought the all-purpose cleaner and have been cleaning a lot more...for fun! Equally non-toxic as my home-made cleaning agents, they smell a million times better than my vinegar-y concoctions. And they made me feel...better! Like, a lot less stressed...and just by washing dishes!

You can buy it pretty much anywhere nowadays, but one easy way is via Alice's prices are very competitive, and best of all, shipping is free AND you don't have to leave your home. Alice, your online domestic helper, will send you reminders to refill certain things at intervals that you specify. It's a great idea -- and once Alice gets a critical mass of inventory so that I can take care of all my household shopping online -- I will gladly fully outsource all of that to Alice. Worth trying out -- the more people that try it, the more leverage they'll have to get products.