Lately I’ve been coveting a modern feel. Neutrals, clean lines, black and chrome and leather, oh my! I just can’t get enough.
Each of these interiors I find so appealing and well-balanced. Interesting angles juxtaposed with curved lines — a sharp-lined chair with an arched lamp or curvy pendant here, a playful couch with an angular coffee table there — and enough touches of black to keep the eye intrigued. Plus just enough eclecticism to keep things feeling inviting? Just my style.
This morning I took a bit of time to putter outside, and it was so nice to focus on green growing things.
I am a renter, and for years I just let the gardening service take care of the (very basic) landscaping outside our house. I figured it wasn’t “our” house, so I shouldn’t change anything or put any of my own money into plantings. Well, over a decade later we are still in this house. We love living here, and along the way I finally began to carve out a space of our own.
It began with a couple of tiny succulents. I work at an archive with a large botanical garden, and the biannual plant sales became more than I could resist. A couple tiny ones could live in a pot, I reasoned, and come with me if we moved. Something about extra-tiny things makes them irresistible, no? With each plant sale I added one or two more, until I had a nice little stoop garden outside on our patio. Then the camellia sale came around and a pair of those came home with me, plus one for my mom. She had a glorious oasis of a garden at the time, and always loved a new plant addition. I got a large pair of pots for the camellias, excited for the blooms that their slender stems promised. Also one summer my mom house-sat for us and cared for the dogs while we went on vacation, and to surprise me for my birthday she got me a beautiful plumeria and refinished our hand-me-down patio chairs while we were gone. It was such a sweet surprise, and it got me that much more excited to actually use our little outdoor space. A few years later when she moved, I inherited some beautiful staghorn ferns, aloes, and her little camellia is reunited with her sisters.
Fast forward to now, and my little patio is full of green, growing things. I hauled a weathered pallet left on a curb back home and have it propped up against one end of the fence, where it makes a lovely spot to hang planters. We acquired a hammock as a lounging solution that takes up surprisingly little real estate, and it has become my older pup’s favorite spot to curl up with us and watch the world go by. A petite pink bistro set makes me smile every time I see it, topped with my collection of little succulents and pots. And even though life is usually hectic, every so often I’ll get to have a morning like today, where an hour can be spent re-potting, watering, puttering, tidying, and nurturing something green. Something living. Something thriving. Something content with only the most basic of needs, and flowering all the same. Somewhere in there is a lesson about stillness and contentment — but for now, I am grateful for a few moments to breathe.
Fall has finally arrived in earnest here, which means I finally got to wear my new plaid coat today. It drapes nicely, is lined beautifully, and fits like a dream — the kind of piece I can dress up or down and wear for years! It feels like this year’s crop of plaids is more playful than ever (and I do love a classic pattern done in fun colorways), so here are five more I have been eyeing. Enjoy, and stay warm!
I’m in the process of planning a getaway in December with a few girlfriends, and we are all seriously looking forward to a few days away to relax, recharge, and savor some quiet. Currently we are scouting out some AirBnB locations, trying to decide. Beachy location? Desert oasis? Mountain escape? Regardless of which we choose, I do have some essentials in mind.
Alice Munro’s Dear Life, for short stories to dip in and out of all weekend long.
A hair band in the perfect ochre for easy-yet-cute hair.
Comfy velvet wide-leg pants for lounging, because duh.
Softest hoodie that is ideal weight, ethically made, and beyond comfortable.
Faux fur mules that will be equally stylish outdoors as in.
Cozy candle with a hilarious boyfriend-y backstory, for all the comfort and none of the inconveniences of toting our menfolk along.
I love a dash of whimsy in a space, especially in subtle, unexpected ways. Lately I am loving quirky animal accents, and if it’s brass-toned, so much the better!
I fell for this charming little mallard mirror years ago when I saw it in Kim and Scott’s beautiful bathroom. It was such a fun touch in a classic room, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Fast forward a couple years and this quirky lamp had to be mine. It lives on my dresser, and makes me smile every time I see it.
Likewise for these Farmkeep knobs from Anthropologie — I have the goose and hare on our nightstand drawers, and they are so adorable! They have since sold out, but these bunny-ear knobs or sleeping foxes are equally great options.
Most recent to capture my heart? This beautiful brass bird side table. This is a slightly less spendy option, but I love the webbed feet on the first one so much! It is currently in my living room, and I am having great fun trying to find just the right spot for it. It feels equal parts glam and fanciful — perfect.
I preordered Kim Liggett’s new novel The Grace Year as soon as I could, and was riveted the moment I had it in hand to devour. There is simply no other way to consume this book — heart in hand, fully devouring this tale of girlhood and womanhood. Liggett’s speculative fiction expertly weaves a world where women have no power or agency, save the magic they must be rid of in their sixteenth year, the grace year. It is a survival story, a modern fairy tale, a coming-of-age, a resistance manifesto, and a terrifying horror yarn all at the same time, deftly told and hauntingly realized. I could not put it down.
There are so many ways that women and girls tear each other apart and lift each other up by turns, and this novel explores those dynamics in interesting ways. What does power come to mean when you are entirely deprived of it? How do we define ourselves within the rhythms of family, society, friendships, and love? What does that mean for our self-hood? How can we push for meaningful change? All of these are questions I turned over in my mind as this story unfolded.
Besides a fascinating macro look at a society described by some as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Lord of the Flies, I thoroughly appreciated Liggett’s attention to small details. The language of flowers in particular made for a beautiful leitmotif, further strengthening her world-building. Flowers make for a common language, but they also prove to be a perfect metaphor for the girls themselves. Fragile, beautiful, unique, prized, just as easily crushed as admired — the Grace Year girls and their story will haunt you long after Liggett’s last page.
Delightfully crisp mornings have finally arrived in southern California, and I’m embracing the change wholeheartedly with a comfy-yet-polished Friday outfit. Mustard-y ochre is having a bit of a moment, and this a super-affordable little bouclé number had me at “hello.” Paired with the perfect drapey tee, some modern earrings, and luxe velvet mules, it is the ideal way to welcome autumn — and the weekend!