Break the routine

Here we are with yet another Friday already upon us. I tried to muster up an exclamation point for you but I think I am a straight-up period person today. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that Max used that awful six-letter word with me the other day. It was that word you never ever want to hear: BUDGET. That sound you hear is me screaming on the inside.

Christine Phillips

I’m also experiencing an uncomfortable pain shooting up from my lower back, which in turn is making me rather nauseous. It’s the kind of feeling I have when any Zooey Deschanel song plays on Sirius. It may have something to do with moving 12,000-square-feet worth of furniture or that charlie horse I had at 4 a.m. that happened just after Max began his snore cycle in my left ear and just before Big Ray saw movement and thought it was time for breakfast. He then proceeded to crawl on top of me (Ray, not Max), which felt like someone put an extra-large ham on my stomach.

But let’s don’t dawdle (I have no idea how that word just popped in my head or why it even resides there) on my maladies. Let’s talk food, which is my second favorite subject behind design. Since we do eat out a lot—even on a “budget”—sometimes you get stuck in a rut where you go to the same places on the same day each week. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I enjoy when the restaurant staff recognizes me as a regular and gives me a little extra special treatment. But routines are just that: routines. That can get boring super fast like trying to watch an episode of The Mysteries of Laura. (I mean, has anyone actually listened to the dialog on this show? It should be called The Not-So-Mysterious Case of the Utterly Obvious.) So Max and I have been trying to mix it up.

On Sunday, we attended the first pop-in at Café Momentum with guest chef Andre Natera from Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Many of you will remember Andre from his work at the Fairmount and Marquee grill in HPV. I am definitely not a restaurant critic, although I do critique (design wise) absolutely every single room I have ever entered. I can’t help it. My brain is just wired that way. However, I can throw down a delicious meal. I like nothing better than having a free Sunday afternoon where I can listen to music and spend hours preparing an experimental dinner. Typically, this is just for Max so you will have to trust me that they are usually pretty darn delicious. I have also eaten at some of the best restaurants in many a fine city so we are using this as the basis that I might have a more refined palate than say Mama June. But this meal was one of the best meals I have eaten in a very long time with some flavor combinations I have never tasted. I am not even a yam person but his east side yams baked in clay with maple comb, smoked corn emulsion, aqua dulce ogo seaweed has me reconsidering the sweet tater. And to top the evening off, it went from four courses to six courses of sublime heaven on a plate.

Later in the week, we tried Agave Azul thanks to a recommendation from the SOBs. No, I am not being hateful—well, not at this very moment anyway. SOB stands for Steve, Oliver, and Bill, three downtown fixtures everyone should know. Need a recommendation on where to eat on any given day in Downtown? Just ask the SOBs. Want to know who has the best drinks on a Tuesday night? You got it. Ask the SOBs. The restaurant currently has a small menu with small plates but everything was tasty and fresh. And from talking with some of the staff, they plan on expanding the menu soon. It should definitely be on your “try” list. I say we all meet for happy hour.

We also tried the new sushi restaurant in Trinity Groves. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great. It will not be knocking Yutaka off my top-10 list any time soon. And then Wednesday, we decided to try a new/old restaurant: Truluck’s. The new space is nice and open, and the food was delicious and perfectly prepared. If you are trying to have a nice, quiet dinner though, this would not be the place. The bar gets really loud and some of that filters upstairs. Other than that, it was all good.

Now on to what’s new in design. I had a visitor this week. Fancy decorator to the rich and famous, Timothy Corrigan, stopped by to say hello. He was in town giving a talk at Brook Hollow Country Club and popped by to tell me about a new furniture collection he is working on. It sounds super interesting and will be made in France by a well-known manufacturer. That’s perfectly appropriate since he calls France his second home—and who wouldn’t with that fabulous chateau he owns? Anyway, be on the lookout for the new collection to be revealed at Maison & Objet in 2016 and followed in the States shortly after.

In other design news, it is spring market in High Point. It is a huge market and massive amounts of new product will be shown, some of which will be headed this way soon. But I have to say, my favorite image so far is from my friend and PR guru, Christine Phillips. Nothing says market like flats, Band-Aids, and Advil. This is indeed one smart woman who knows how to work a market.

And with that, I’m out of here!

Stainless steel memories

Meant to post this on Friday from the D Home blog.  Please enjoy.  Have a great week.

I hope the yellowish-green pollen that seems to cover everything from my car to even objects in the house has not thrown your allergies into overdrive. (Note to self: maybe keep all the doors closed during beautiful spring days.) On the plus side, yellow is supposed to be in this year.

During the Easter weekend—a moment also noted for its overuse of yellow—Max decided it would be a good time for a garage sale. I never think it’s a good time for a garage sale. And yes, we did have an estate sale just two years ago when we got engaged and decided to live together. I think Max might be questioning that decision on a daily basis. It was also two years ago that Max said he wouldn’t change anything in the house. Since then, almost everything has changed in one way or another; therefore, we needed to have a garage sale because it was starting to look like we lived on a set for Extreme Hoarders.

For two straight days, I organized, cleaned, and priced the entire contents of the garage. It was dusty and dirty. We had enough stuff out there for a first apartment, down to the placemats and napkins. We also had a much-debated set of stainless-steel cookware. (Remember when that was all the rage? I think I purchased it with my first paycheck.) The debate wasn’t about keeping it. We just couldn’t agree as to whether we should give it to my friend or sell it. Max said it was a draw, and the cookware should definitely stay in the sale. I said I felt like we should send it to my friend. So back and forth we went until the day before the sale. As I looked at it on the table marked for pennies on the dollar, I decided to send it to my friend. Max said, “Whatever. I just don’t want to see it in the garage again.”

So I took off the stickers, put it in a box, and placed it in the trunk of my car so I could send it off. I also decided to text my friend and let him know the good news. But guess what? He didn’t want it.

So after all that, I retrieved it, repriced it, and replaced it on the table for the sale, which was early Saturday morning. That morning, I was my usual morning self—a combination of Miley Cyrus after a late night binge and my father. Max put out signs and left me alone with the garage sale and the cookware. When the first car pulled up, a woman looked around and wanted to make a deal on some furniture, but since she was the first, I wasn’t ready to deal. The next car arrived, and a woman emerged who liked lots of stuff. She grabbed all of the Champagne and most of the martini glasses, a lamp, a vase, and then the much-debated cookware. I was calculating her total in my head—not all that complicated—and then I noticed I had put a 10-cent sticker on a pan that should have been $10. I explained my mistake. She was disappointed but took the other stuff. On her way out, she saw a bench and decided she wanted that as well. She said she would return later with her husband and a truck.

When Max returned, he was on the phone. I barked at him to get in position. Then another car arrived, but it wasn’t just any car. It was Code Compliance. I thought the officer might be on break and perhaps wanted to shop. He didn’t. He wanted our “certificate.” Apparently, you need one to have a garage sale? I never knew this fact ever. So Max talked to the officer, and then came back and told me, “We’ve got to shut it down.”

So one hour into the garage sale, the police shut us down, down. (Hat tip, Kesha.) I contained my rage as best I could. I just went silent and started moving all that stuff back into the freaking garage. The neighbors came over asked why we were closing so early. We explained, and they howled with laughter. I had to eventually laugh, too, but only after a visit to Brain Dead for an early beer brunch.

But all was not lost. As I was moving the last of the stuff back into the garage, which filled it back up completely, the lady who purchased the bench showed up with an empty truck and a husband. I said, “Let’s make a deal on some furniture. I don’t want to move it one more time and you have an empty truck. How much cash do you have?” So that cleaned out one side of the garage. The other side of the garage was still full of tables and tables of goods.

When I arose on Sunday, I went into the garage and looked at all the things still priced for sale, including the cookware. I realized I was only hanging on to that set because it represented the last vestige of my old independent, single life—a time when I boarded a plane and took a job in a city I had never visited and never looked back. It was something I had never done before alone. I had placed all those old hopes and dreams onto some stainless-freaking-steel cookware. Yesterday, when I arrived home to see the garage empty including the cookware, I was slightly overwhelmed. I had forgotten that the charity we selected was picking up everything. My stainless-steel past was gone.

I actually had to just sit in the car for a few minutes to process everything. But I was also more than slightly relived. It was time for that past to go. I had more than realized all those dreams and then some. It’s time to embrace whatever the future holds, which apparently includes a well-organized and rather empty garage. So from the world’s shortest garage sale, I also get a life lesson on moving on and letting go.

Reverso for Verreum designed by Sacha Walkchoff

Reverso for Verreum designed by Sacha Walkchoff

And speaking of letting go, it’s time I let go of the keyboard and get ready for my weekend. I leave you with something beautiful that caught my eye this morning. From the creative genius that is Sacha Walckhoff, creative director for Christian Lacroix and my former man-crush, I bring you this awesome collection of glasses and vases called Reverso for Verreum. Designed for use up, down, or however you choose, these lovely creations in glass-and-silver coating are both fun and surprising. I love the mix of colors, and I love anything that is multifunctional. But wait a minute! This just gave me an idea. I could have reused that cookware as decorative pots for plants or maybe really loud wind chimes.

No definitely not a good idea as I don’t live in a trailer park. Not yet anyway. Happy Friday.

Get your green on

Should have posted this Friday.  Please enjoy from my post for the D Home blog.

I just realized it is Friday the 13th. I am not superstitious—he says with fingers crossed while throwing salt over his shoulder—but the date could explain why the dog did a number two on my new rug. (It really looked more like a numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5.) Anyone looking for a sweet, super cute but slightly neurotic dog can text me. He comes with a free-but-slightly-used rug.

The date could also explain why the recently repair roof is leaking in not one but four different locations. I just really want to crawl back in the bed. Of course, the fact that my new super soft and luxurious bed linens just arrived from my friend and founder of Tribute Goods, Karen Pulaski, has pretty much everything to do with the urge to return to my bed. These linens are as beautiful as Karen is, and she is pretty stunning. She is also super nice and does a lot of good things for other people. I, on the other hand, am not super nice. I know it’s hard to wrap your mind around that fact. It’s kind of like believing that any kitchen remodel will finish on time, all network shows are well-written, or that Downton Abbey will last forever. But I swear, I was once a nice person. At least I realize that I am less Ellie Goulding (universally acknowledged as a very nice person) and more Ariana Grande Latte.

I try to compensate for my “directness” by helping out various charities that benefit our local community. These may not be donations that will get a bridge or a marble plaque with my name in gold, but even the smallest donations can help make a big difference in someone else’s life. Hear that, Karma? I am trying to ensure my destiny in my next existence so you better not put me next to that mean, mean decorator with the bun on top of her head,  loves jazzercise, and told me to go to hell because a manufacturer was late delivering her sconce. Listen, I don’t build them; I just sell them.

But don’t let the gloomy weather or my mood dampen your pre-St. Patty’s Day celebrations. Get your green on, don’t drink and drive, and you should be fine. Here’s a tip: whatever you do, don’t drink a lot of green beer and then go eat sushi. Just don’t do it.

Spring/Summer 2015 collections by Designers Guild

Spring/Summer 2015 collections by Designers Guild

 

Here is something else that is fine and, appropriately enough, it is also green. It is your daily design inspiration, and it is courtesy of one of my all-time forever favorites, Designers Guild. From the Shanghai Garden Collection for Spring/Summer 2015, Tricia Guild shows you how green is done. I don’t know about you but I just love modern fabrics in an old chateau. It is so simple but so very chic.

So that is a wrap. Have a great weekend. Get your green on. Just don’t get it on anyone’s white furniture.

The mood is blue and it is a good thing

Doing some much needed blog updates so please excuse if you have already read this post, which should have been up last week.  Please enjoy!

 I am not sure if it is the fumes coming from the offices upstairs that smell like someone has left the top off the world largest Sharpie but something is making me dizzy—and not in a good way. The dizziness could also be the result of the rather ungraceful fall that I had on some black ice walking into the showroom this morning. Don’t worry. I landed in a downward-dog position, or as I like to call it, the “cavity-search” position. I wouldn’t know personally but I do have Netflix.

Not helping my mood is the additional fact that the top button of my pants popped off with great force when I got in the car this morning. It almost embedded itself into the dashboard. I am blaming the pants, not my fondness for chips and salsa. All of this explains why my facial expression is stuck in the Kanye position. You know the look—like something smells and it is not the kitty litter. I love using that line almost as much as Max likes talking about the time he missed the Grammys. It’s a lot.

If you are in need of any favors, today would not be the day to ask.

Last night was not like this morning. It was fun. The evening was all about the food and friends at Twenty Seven in Deep Ellum. Chef Dat knows how to throw down some delicious bites. If you like dining out as much as we do, then you should definitely take some friends and go. I promise you will have fun and experience flavors you have probably never had before like frozen fennel pollen. It was strange yet good, especially when followed with a sip of Pinot Noir. The restaurant also has one of my favorite bathroom designs in town. We will call it “dead rocker chic.”

The meal last night almost makes up for the Amsterdam Bar closing, which will continue to make me sad each time I walk the dog by it. Unless of course, someone uses the space to open a chicken salad sandwich and iced tea bar that also happens to have dog treats. Hey, there are currently more than 50 new restaurants opening in Dallas with what I think are like 35 just in Deep Ellum, so it could happen.

In design news, everyone is thinking spring and update time. Nothing like a snow and ice storm to expose all the stuff you need to get done at home. Yes, it is time. While you are fixing that leak(s) or broken hinge, you might also want to think about redoing that sofa the dog loves to wipe his mouth on after dinner or finally select a fabric for those vintage dining rooms chairs that scream, “Please help me!” And let’s not forget about that lounge chair that you placed that fabric sample on so your friend could see what  it’s going to look like. That was a year ago. We want to see the damn chair recovered.

moodboardblue

But don’t worry because Mr. Jim—with the help of the talented designers at Designers Guild in London—has some inspiration for you. No need to make a single decision because we have done all of that for you, right down to the paint color. Today’s inspiration also comes from the blue skies above, which we haven’t seen in while. So please feast your eyes on today’s mood board in blue. I really like the addition of black with the blue. It bumps it up a notch and takes it from pretty to chic and edgy while still feeling pretty. And who doesn’t want that? And every room can always use something in black, as long as it is not a mood or an evil presence like your mother-in-law.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Yes, it is finally Friday! Now what?

Well the last of the golden rays that shone upon us from Goopy’s perfectly styled mane are finally beginning to fade. Was it really only two weeks ago that I posted my most-liked image ever? Time goes by so quickly—much like my youth and my patience.

This morning when I got up I was thinking, which hat am I going to have to wear today? Will I be a meditator, psychologist, salesperson, mystic, decorator, or problem solver? I will probably be all of the above. One thing is for certain, come 5 p.m., I will be wearing my mixology cap. But enough about that. I will have plenty of time to explore all the behind-the-scenes drama involved in the high-end world of interior design when I finish my first novel based on my many years in the business. I have a few working titles in mind including Beyond the Bunting or A Tear in the Taffeta. There’s also always Heavily Distressed.

But we should be talking about 2015. As many of you know, Pantone announced their color of the year for 2015: Marsala. I’m not sure what your feelings are about the color, but it reminds me of the color left at the bottom of the stemware the morning after one of Max’s famous dinner parties. I totally see it in fashion; I even own a shirt in the shade. But I don’t think the world of interior decoration is going to go as gaga over Marsala as they did Radiant Orchid. 

What else do we have to look forward to in 2015? Lots and lots of new products. My tickets have already been booked for PARIS DECO OFF. It’s a huge event that takes place during several days in January where all the new collections of furniture and textiles are unveiled in Europe. I will give you all the inside scoop for sure. Sadly, I am certain I will have no time for sightseeing, as this is a working trip with events each night. But I am super excited to see all the new things and to meet lots of new design folks and hopefully see a friend or three.

It’s also a milestone year as far as birthdays go. Max has a big one, but we won’t mention the specific year because I would like to have pleasant weekend. I will also be celebrating a milestone birthday and guess what? I’m also not saying. But it is just down the road from 30. It’s down the road, take a left, another left, then a right, and then go down that road for a bit. Should you need suggestions for gifts (for me, not Max) I would probably go with, “What would Wallis Simpson want? “ Hint: It starts with a C and ends with “artier.”

Beautiful textiles by Misia-Paris for Casamance

Here is some design inspiration from Paris, but I think it also takes us to Miami and South Beach where much of the art world has gathered for Art Basel. This is from the Les Cles de L’archipel Colletion of printed velvets, textured silks, natural cottons, and linens from Misia-Paris for Casamance. I love that blue texture silk, and the color is stunning. I wonder if it would look good with some Marsala?

With that, I am off to don my mixology hat because I hear that whistle blowing somewhere. Today’s cocktail is appropriately called “The Rich and Famous.” I tried it at Thanksgiving and served it in amber champagne saucers from the 1920s. Presentation is half the battle. Here is the recipe:

Combine one ounce of gin (two if you are my old acting coach), two ounces of Prosecco, about a ¼ ounce of Dram Allspice liquor, one sugar cube, and a dash or two of bitters. It is Mr. Jim, so you know you have to have some bitter with the sweet. Garnish with a twisted lemon peel and enjoy. Even if you aren’t rich and famous, you will feel like you are after a few of these.

You’re welcome. Happy Friday!

Joyeux Vendredi

We have our first taste of winter—and it’s a big ol’ Texas-sized serving. Are you stoked? I am on the fence about the cold. I do like a change of season, which also means a change of closets, even though I have exactly three pairs of winter pants. Pants and I are having some issues. In my search for new ones, I tried on a lot—all marked as my size—but somehow, they all fit quite differently. Some I couldn’t get past my ankles, others dropped to my ankles, and the final pair required deep breathing exercises to zip. I gave up. I’m thinking of switching to kilts instead.

I have to admit, I’m kind of blue about the coming and staying of the “Brr.” As I was bringing in the plants to protect them from the cold, it was kind of like closing up for the season—only instead of closing the surf shack, I was closing my precious roof retreat. I wasn’t ready to shut down the space I worked so hard to make green and beautiful. A person can get used to 78-degree sunny days quickly. This explains why California real estate is so expensive.

 

But even if I’m not totally stoked about the cold, I can now stoke the fireplace (or flip the switch that turns on the fireplace). I consider our fireplace to be one of the world’s hottest fireplaces, and I am not talking “hot,” as in Joe Man “jello” hot. Our fireplace has two settings: hot and melt-sand-for-glass-blowing hot. There are actually other settings along the dial, but these seem to be the only two that ever work.

Most days I just want to take a sledgehammer and remove the damn thing since it is one of those weird corner fireplaces. I don’t care for it, and it limits furniture placement in that particular area. But usually on the way to retrieve the hammer, something else will happen, like, say, a leak springs in the newly fixed roof or a toilet overflows. This morning, we had no heat in the master. One thing is for certain with that fireplace, you will definitely need to hang those stockings by the chimney with care come Christmas for fear of a third-degree burn. You also better make sure those stockings are made from an all-natural fiber or they could spontaneously combust.

But enough about winter. We have many more months—and an ice storm or two—that will keep us in complaints. We should be talking about the new colors for 2015. As far as I know, Pantone has not announced THE color of the year for 2015 but lots of other people have. The colors have fanciful names like Baroness, Cyberspace, Antiquity, and Crystal Clear. Surely these names evolved during hours and hours of brainstorming and market research (aka:  the corner bar). I’ll try to break them down so they are easily understandable: purple, gray, green, and blue. Yes, sometimes it is just that easy. Now what makes these colors different is they tend to be paler versions of colors from seasons past and have more of a matte or dry finish. Think of it as a dry pastel, especially for spring. But then when haven’t pastels been popular for spring? I have been secretly working on my own paint colors. They are currently in the name stage only: Surly Sage, Hard-As-My-Heart Heather, Curmudgeon Chalk, and Griselda Gray.

In other goings on in Dallas, luxury leather goods store Mulberry opened at NorthPark. There was a fun opening party hosted by some very talented and lovely ladies. We sipped specialty drinks and bites from an exclusive LA caterer. (So exclusive, I forgot the name.) Throngs of guests piled through the doors. At some point, when the crowd gets too thick, I become like a border collie and search for the nearest place where I won’t be boxed in a corner. Fortunately, all we had to do was just step outside where tables were set up to make your own hand-stamped leather bracelet. It was kind of like camp, only cooler. Instead of Converse and t-shirts, these campers came equipped with furs, jewels, and designer bags.

Anyway, I guess I was getting a little too carried away with my stamping and hammering, as I was asked to stop for a moment so someone could give a speech. I told the lady next to me that this was good stress relief. She asked how so, and I told her that with each strike of the hammer, I would repeat what I have heard from my client all day—every day—for the past several months. “Where’s my dining table? Where is my dining table?” She laughed and replied, “I’ll join you because I just moved, and I don’t have my dining table yet either.” I guess hammering and chanting is better than being hammered and chanting. But who am I to say?

Paris Festive collection by Misia -Paris for Casamance

So this leaves us with today’s image, which looks like a nice, toasty, and ever-so-fashionable place to sit. Today we are featuring Misia, a Paris-based luxury collection under the ever expanding umbrella of parent company Casamance. This is their first collection to hit the U.S., and it is lovely. Think beautiful luxurious textiles and wallcoverings with exquisite feel and a good dose of bon vivant from our muse, Madame M of Paris in the 1920s. I am crazy about everything in this image, from the digitally printed drapery fabric, which also comes as a wallcovering, to that soft-as-silk faux fur. Expect future collections to continue with our muse as she explores love and travels the world. I think Hemingway might even make an appearance, but I don’t think any wild game will be harmed or used in that collection.

So with this inspiration, I am off. Bonjour, mes amis! And joyeux vendredi. (I promise no more French after this.)

Happy Friday – The Halloween Edition

It is not only Happy Friday—it’s also Happy Halloween! All you fans of the holiday who plan months in advance, I hope you win best costume, or at the very least see the Great Pumpkin. I am not one of those planners of costumes or for Halloween. My craftiness has its limits, and I can’t bring myself to wear one of those costumes whose content label reads “highly flammable” in a very large font. I can scheme the hell out of a room, make a beautiful arrangement, and even cook you a delicious meal, all while chilling your martini glass and stuffing an olive with your favorite cheese and ordering drapery hardware components for an entire house. But when it comes to craftiness, anything past a glue gun and industrial stapler is best left to the professionals.

Another exciting thing that happened this week: that evil clown was taken out on AHS-Freak Show. I felt as if all my childhood nightmares went with him. In fact, I watched it twice—just to make sure. Unfortunately, the nightmare of seeing the accidental upshot of my neck while testing out the camera on the new iPhone will not be so easily overcome.

 

Also this week, things have been working overtime at the geodesic dome on Preston. Wednesday night, we celebrated 10 years of Todd Events. We all know and appreciate how super talented Mr. Todd is. If you don’t, you should. It was fun to celebrate his success and see friends I haven’t seen since the wedding of the century 10 months ago! As you would expect, the Veuve was flowing along with lines of fancy cars waiting to valet.

If you will remember from blog posts past, when we were in our 20s, we would never think of eating at a cocktail party. Eating was for suckers. All we ate was air, a lemon wedge, and vodka. Now when we go to a cocktail party, instead of heading straight for a drink, we seem to all congregate at the nearest food station. In this case, it was one of several caviar bars. So as not to look like the hungry hippo I was feeling like, I had my friend pass me even more caviar under the table. Then out came hundreds of the little white baggies. Before your mind starts wandering, these were not the kind frequently found at Studio 54 or dropped from the purse of Paris Hilton. These were filled with foie gras burgers and fries. I guess designer burgers are my generation’s new version of “party favors.”

In design news, I had a visit from my acrylic manufacturer. He showed us lots of new products, some of which arrived this week. We also met with a few local designers, one of who may be doing a new collection of accessories. Also in design news: design darling William Yeoward launched his textile collection for Designers Guild. This time he did not one but three collections: Alberesque, Library, and Marlena. Trisha Guild must have him working overtime and with great results. I think this is one of his best collections to date.

Alberesque Collection by William Yeoward for Designers Guild

Today’s inspirational image is from his Alberesque collection, which was inspired by William’s many trips to India where he studied the beautiful tracery shapes and intricate carving from the marbled halls of Rajasthan. So for those of you who think traditional is dead, it is not. It has just been reupholstered and re-imagined for today’s modern life.
So that wraps things for the week. We have gone from killer clowns to killer parties and on to some killer new fabric collections.

Now go kill it in the costume department. I’ll be sitting at a food station cheering you on.

Is this going to be about snow monkeys?

Someone asked me this morning, “What is your blog going to be about today? Snow monkeys?” No snow monkeys this week, but it does sound like a topic I might need to explore at a later date.

My season pass to the State Fair is still waiting to be used. Not to worry, I will use it next week. I almost went last night when all the power outages and overall traffic nightmares caused by that the storm ruined many a Thursday evening plan. My normally super easy commute from the Design District to Exposition Park took more than 45 minutes. The commute was filled with lots of scary moments. Why are drivers so confused by how four-way stops actually work? It is not that difficult, people. If you can count to four, you should be able to figure it out. And stop signs mean you should apply the brakes and come to an actual stop. I swear, I saw at least three wrecks in a one-mile stretch.

In personal news, my new iPhone arrived. I know you were breathlessly awaiting this update. But for me, it is almost like celebrating my birthday all over again since this was a birthday gift that arrived a few months late. But upgrading does not come without a hiccup or two. It has forced me to address my digital hoarding issues. Yes, I am guilt of hoarding mass amounts of data—useless yet still adorable pictures of my animals, furniture, fabrics, holidays, and, of course, pictures of Max. All that downloading, updating, and syncing was not very fun what with the entire password remembering and waiting thing. It can make a person downright anxious. Mr. Jim needs no more anxiety.

 

It did help me think up a new phrase: “This could take an Apple minute.” An “Apple minute” is defined as a timeframe ranging anywhere from an actual minute to 28 hours. This is not to be confused with a “Mr. Jim minute,” which is usually defined as taking anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

In design news, the Dallas Design Center, which encompasses much more than just the actual center, has been sold. I think this could be the fourth or fifth owner since we moved to the area almost 15 years ago. Word on the street is they plan to redevelop the center in four or five years to multi-story residential. I have not confirmed this information because, let’s face facts, this is a blog series that mostly consists of stories about me. However, this information did come from a reliable source. What does that mean for the showrooms currently located in the center? Perhaps a new design area will emerge. The only constant in this business is change, which could also explain why my excited face and my not-excited face are the exact same expression.

In more design news, the Dwell with Dignity preview party is coming up next week. It’s your chance to get designer goods at amazing pricing. Everything is displayed in beautiful vignettes by some of the area’s top design talent, and the proceeds go to a great cause. I got to see a preview, and there are some really great items, and everyone involved has worked super hard. So go buy your tickets now here. I already have my eyes on a set of smoky mirrors, which I think might add some industrial chic to my master bedroom.

And finally, let’s wrap up this week with something new. How about these new fabrics from one of the world’s largest fabric editors, JAB? This image is giving me a whole lot of fall. And with this little cold front—I mean, cool front—we are also feeling fallish. I would be remiss if I did not point out that the drapery in this image might be giving me a little bit (okay, a whole lot) of that sweater that got Korina booted off Project Runway. But I do have to say it looks much better as drapery. Really, I think it was her horrible attitude that got her booted. If you want to move forward, here is some advice: Don’t *&^! with Nina. Anyway back to our fall look. This is from their Jazzy prints collection, which is just a small portion of the massive fall launch that includes some amazing textiles and wonderful sheers. I do love the bold use of the print on the sofa, and color just makes almost everything better. After all, isn’t it better to live a life out loud than never to have lived at all? I think so.

Happy Friday!

San Francisco – The recap

Often—no, let’s change that—every day on holiday, Max will ask, “What was your favorite thing about the day?” Recently, I had to reply, “Not dying.” This was after taking the advanced trail through the Muir Woods. But we will cover more on that topic later. Let’s get started with our vacation recap of San Francisco, or as I like to call it, “Please baby Jesus, don’t let this be like the last time I was here when Shortbread blew her makeup off.”

The weather was pretty amazing. It was warm and sunny every day. This has not been my typical experience with San Francisco weather. Usually, it is overcast, and I am layered up for the chill, so this weather made the majority of the items in my luggage unnecessary. But then again, this doesn’t differ much from any other trip. Over-packers Anonymous, anyone?

On our first day, we did some light shopping, touring, and French fry eating. I was starving but we didn’t want to spoil dinner, so we popped into Burger Bar for a beer and some fries. Trust me, best skinny fries ever. Then it was time to head back to the hotel and freshen up for dinner. While we were waiting for Uber, a gentleman staying at the hotel stopped me, and said, “Excuse me. Can I ask you a question?”

I am pretty sure there was an eye roll involved before I replied, “Sure, if you have to.”

He asked, “Are my pants too big? I noticed you look nice, and your pants are not a big in the leg as mine? I am really nervous. It’s my first date, and I want to make a good impression.”

He had on a coat and slacks and a clean white shirt. I asked him to turn around and then instructed him to open his coat. Then I had him close it. Then I looked at it again. I had him button it up and turn around again. I must say he followed instructions well, and he was pretty attractive in a “straight baseball player” kind of way. (Now that I think about it I should have given him Liz’s number.)

At the end of the exercise, I gave him some parting advice: “You look fine—very nice actually. Please don’t be nervous about your pants. Have fun and no more drinks until dinner. Nerves tend to make us drink too much, and you don’t want that to be the first impression if you want to see this girl again.”

Just between us: His pants were a little big, but I didn’t want to make him more nervous.

Then it was off for a drink at the Waterbar. Yes, it is located on the water, and it has a bar. It also provides great people watching. But if you want to check out as many places as possible in a rather short timeframe, you need to have a drink at one place, and then go to another spot for dinner. For us, that meant dinner at The Slanted Door. It was delicious and packed.

On the second day it was brunch with Ken’s lovely goddaughter at Brenda’s. (She really is lovely. Upon seeing her photo, a friend asked, “Your goddaughter is Blake Lively?”) Brenda’s is a super popular brunch spot with some of the best grits west of the Mississippi.

Then we pointed the Mini toward the Muir Woods. Here is one thing I can tell you about the Muir Woods: They are truly beautiful and awe inspiring. This could be why a million plus people make the trek each year. And it’s probably why we had to park about two miles away. I felt like I had already hiked by the time we reached the visitor’s center. If you aren’t in shape, say from months of trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with your leg, yet you decide to take a more difficult trail to take in the ocean view—well, may the force be with you.

I felt the force—the force of my heart wanting to pound through my chest—along with profuse sweating and shortness of breath. After hiking up the mountain for what seemed like 25 miles (but really was maybe two), I thought perhaps this could be my final resting place. I was paler than Nicole Kidman. All I could see were more and more tiny steps and grooves up an even steeper slope, and it all started to stretch farther in the distance like something out of that classic Hitchcock movie, Vertigo.

Wanting to reach the top, I considered employing the butt scooch. It’s something I learned from my acting teacher when she had too much whiskey and couldn’t walk up the stairs ,so she had to go via the butt-meets-step method. But it didn’t sound very pleasant and neither did death, so I started back down the trail. Although Max was disappointed that he didn’t get to reach the top, Max also began to feel the force. His was the force of nature. I’ll just leave it at that. I may go back next year to see if some poison ivy might be growing in a particular location.

On a happier note, I feel like we covered more of San Francisco this go than all my previous trips combined. We explored from the Tenderloin and the Gold Coast to Lombard, Union, Fillmore, and beyond. We also explored Sausalito and even made some time for some culture at the de Young Museum. The views from the Hamon Tower are spectacular.

Now back to our culinary exploration of the city. We did SPGR in the Fillmore area for fantastic pasta, although the corners of my ravioli were dryer than the heels of my feet three weeks after a pedicure. But everyone else loved their dishes. Other delicious meals included dinner with more relatives of no known blood relation at Park Tavern. It’s a great space, and I had the most amazing roasted chicken ever. It ranks right up there with the $100 Thomas Keller chicken at Todd and Ceron’s wedding (featured inVogue!) And we discovered some delicious new wines. Image that.

On Sunday Max said he had a surprise. The last time he surprised me was with a marriage proposal at Cartier on Fifth, where I had arrived with acute food poisoning. So when he said he had another surprise, I immediately reached for a bottle of Imodium. But thankfully, this was not one of life’s milestone moments but rather a relaxing day at the spa at Cavallo Point, a former army post now turned world-class resort.

This was the perfect way to end a holiday: Lunch by the meditation pool, an excellent massage, and a wine tasting on the veranda looking at the bay. It’s heaven! I did not want to leave and neither did my Orlebar Brown shorts, as they somehow found the only loose nail in the city and attached themselves to it. Like I have always said, Mr. Jim just can’t have nice things. We finished off the day with dinner at Boulevard, and what was yet another wonderful meal.

So that was my trip. Now you know where to eat, where to relax, and which trail not to take through the Muir Woods. You also know when it best to tell the truth or maybe just a little white lie. (Mr. Too Big Pants, I hope you had a good date!) Happy Friday!

It takes two

It seems like this week has been about a stories of twos. It started Tuesday, when I had two beers and two tacos for dinner to celebrate selling two dining tables. See how simple I can be? Wednesday, I had dinner with a friend. I haven’t seen her in two years, and we live about two miles from one another. That’s just not right. But she is the kind of friend that you can just pick up where you last left off. In other words, she is the best kind of friend.

The next day, I had two different clients that I had not seen in forever, but strangely enough, I had just recently thought about. Don’t you hate when that happens? It is kind of spooky. It’s also the reason why I try to never think about an ex.

Back to my clients. The first one—who is typically always happy—is going through a divorce after three decades of marriage. So while I was happy to see her, I was not happy to see her so unhappy. And then that same day, as I was busy calculating drapery hardware (while simultaneously wanting to stab myself because this would be the unglamorous part of design—all the measuring and calculating and recalculating), another client walked up to my desk. This person happened to be my very first client on my first day of work when I moved to Dallas not quite two decades ago. I have to tell you, my mouth dropped open as soon I as I saw her because I actually thought she had died. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see that she had not. But I did hug her three times, just to make sure.

And then last night we had dinner with the two Davids. We had not seen them in two years. And then I also started my wildly popular blog, Style Bastard, two years ago. When I say “popular,” I mean in the way that so many people are waiting in line to work with Lohan—not very.

Now let’s talk about design. The fall fabric collections are arriving at an alarming pace. Thousands upon thousands of new designs, textures, patterns, and colors are arriving daily. Do you have a particular design style you are looking for? Chances are we have a brand new fabric for that, plus some.

St. James’s – the new Royal Collection from Designers Guild

I think it’s only fitting that we tie in our stories of two with the launch of Royal Collection from Designers Guild. The new collection, called St James’s, takes its inspiration from St. James’s Palace where Tricia Guild and her design team were given exclusive access. The designs draw inspiration from many different aspects of the palace: interior decoration, architectural elements, and items from the archives. The Queen would have nothing less than this beautiful collection.

We just lost someone I consider to be the queen  of comedy, Joan Rivers, and I am suffering from whatever they call it (I’m too lazy to Google) when you’re sad that a celebrity you didn’t know in-person dies. But I will carry on, and I am kicking off the weekend with dinner and a show, Buyer & Cellar, at the Dallas City Performance Hall with two of my favorite people.

So as we end of story of two I leave you with some more wise words from our dearly departed Joan ”Never floss with a stranger.” Happy Friday!