3.30.2011

Serving breakfast all day (for free!)

I’m not, but Williams-Sonoma is all week! Did you know they often have complimentary technique classes in their stores? 

 I just received their April demo calendar and it looks great!
click to enlarge

Why am I so excited? Because this is can be a fun, free outing!

Go take advantage with a friend or with your hubs sometime and let me know how it went! Throwing in free classes here and there apparently is a regular thing with Williams-Sonoma.

With the weather starting to warm up and the Spring lines out in the stores it's the perfect little outing to speed up Spring around here.

The closest store to us is in a spread-out open-air shopping center. I love outdoor shopping- I don't even remember the last time I went to a mall! Our usual outings look something like this:
  • good conversation over coffee at Caribou, (which unfortunately just closed down but will be replaced by Starbucks).
  • inspiration for planning our dream manor at furniture stores like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.
  • learning something new at our favorite, Williams-Sonoma. We easily can spend an hour in there looking at all the specialized (and 'muy expensivo') cook's tools and equipment like that quality All-Clad d5 stainless-steel skillet.
We actually did make W-S a stop on our vacation last month in downtown San Francisco!

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I loved this sign!

I'm just super excited about the technique class this weekend!
Technique class: From Scratch- Sausage
We were given a meat grinder attachment for the kitchen-aid mixer as a wedding present. We always thought it would be awesome (and economical) to grind our own meat and make our own sausages! It's about time we try this!

I'm going to try and go to that class. Class or no class, I promise to do a follow-up post Julie & Julia style when we finally make our own sausages! I'll give myself a general deadline: sometime before the summer. Oops. Too generous?

3.26.2011

The art of Undecorating

This is an article from today’s paper I came across that I think is going to be quite catchy.
Nota bene: Comments throughout that look like this are by me.

WSJ: The Rise of the Personal
In interior design today, the ideal is lived-in, unfussy, creative imperfection. Call it 'undecorating'

By KATIE ROIPHE
[undecorate] Photograph by The Selby
The apartment of decorator Jacques Grange from the website 'The Selby' illustrates the undecorating trend.

Perhaps now is the time to undecorate, and by that I mean it's time to embrace the new design trend of undecorating. In her book, "Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design," Christiane Lemieux, the founder of the innovative fabric and furniture company DwellStudio, documents a widespread new trend in interior design, which is to say the lack of it, or rather the profusion of do-it-yourself style: "Perfection," she writes, "is overrated." The ideal the book puts forth is of unfussy, lived-in, creative, imperfect homes; it's a postcard taped to a vanity mirror, or two children scootering across a loft's exquisite floorboards, or cheap blue vases from Chinatown wired into lamps. The premise here is cleverness over money, taste over expense, personality over hired expertise, idiosyncrasy over polish; it's a welcome development, reflective of a recession-fueled revelation that money is not the same as beauty. ("Undecorate" features a foreword by Deborah Needleman, the Wall Street Journal editor who oversees this section.)
Photos: The Artfully Disheveled Home
Photo: Melanie Acevedo
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DwellStudio partner Jennifer Chused's room is featured in the book 'Undecorate,' by Christiane Lemieux.

The origins of the "undecorating" movement lie in the rise, in the past decade, of blogs like "Apartment Therapy" and "Design Sponge," and the creation of shelter magazines like Domino and in Italy, "Apartamento," that began disseminating informal, accessible, personal design to the stylish amateur. The internet provided new access to anyone even moderately interested in design, or even just bored at work, to a whole realm of design ideas, no decorator required. The emphasis is on freshness, on individuality, on places one would really want to live in, and not just look at. Its values are reflected in websites like "The Selby," which celebrates extremely personal style, and in other new books like "Details" by Lili Diallo, or "Summers in France," by Kathryn Ireland.
The profusion of "undecorating" has some connection to the economic times, the idea, suddenly, that lavish is not entirely cool. It is not coincidence, surely, that in a world in which President Obama tells Wall Street guys that they should be ashamed of their bonuses, that the ideals of do-it-yourself, and cheap, eccentric, idiosyncratic expressions of personality should be in the ascendant.
Uhm. why quote Obama?
Ms. Lemieux says that this particular mode of creativity is, on some level, a response to an interior decorator being out of the question for many. "In figuring things out yourself," she says, "including what you can afford, you make interesting decisions that wouldn't be made if money were no object—the imperfections, the real life demands are what inspires us."
Love that quote. It summarizes our home with all  the mismatched furniture we love  perfectly!
There are people within the decorating world who are suspicious of the idea of "undecorating." Kevin Sharkey, executive editorial director of decorating at Martha Stewart Living, for one, says, "I don't like the word. It conjures up a negative feeling." Yet, he adds, "if there is a trend, we probably initiated it." Ms. Lemieux believes Ms. Stewart had a role in the shift toward the do-it-yourself underpinning of "undecorating" and casts this new movement as more Martha deconstructed or Martha on the fly, or maybe, one might add, Martha minus the turning of tea towels into curtains.
Wow. can this guy be any more full of himself?
Those who are averagely interested in their surroundings will find something liberating in this new modus vivendi.
The trend toward informal, idiosyncratic decorating is exemplified in designer Inès de la Fressange's Paris apartment, photographed by Todd Selby.
undecorcover
Photograph by The Selby
Cool. Random things on floating shelves or bookshelves. That’s what we’ve got going on in the living room and trying to make work. (upcoming post!)
It's true that many of the people featured in these gorgeous, glossy new books are "stylists," or "prop stylists," or otherwise employed in fashion. Gazing at their done-over barns and railroad apartments in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, one gets the definite sense that their "undecorated" spaces are a bit more decorated than our own undecorated spaces, and one secretly suspects that one's own life may not yield up the time to stumble across handpainted Chinoiserie wallpaper by the storied French firm de Gournay or antique Etruscan pottery brought back from a trip to Beirut. However, this book does make one reconsider one's own home, and see the accidental splash of color, the bike helmet perched on a coffee table book, the bewildering collection of Ganesh statues, say, the giant clamshells on the mantel, in a different light.
Insert: “sea-glass jar from Capri, fish-bone Don Quijote honeymoon find from Mexico, guilded and painted plate from Argentina, varying size- carved elephants from Sri Lanka.”
The idea of an accidental aesthetic, of the things that you pull together for private reasons, gives you a new perspective, and liberates you from the more rigid dictates of good taste.
This hits home with things like our bookshelf  and our altar with focus on the personal, meaningful things rather than shiny PB-esque knick knacks.
Take the orange striped Moroccan rug you bought after a break up out of a sudden desire for color and warmth and an exotic new something, along with the forest-green Art Deco couches, which some might say clash in both color and style. Instead, according to these principles, they now give your living room a certain undecorated panache; they are expressive of a moment, a private history. The fantasy of the undecorated house is Tuesday morning as it is actually lived, not as we would like other people to imagine it; it is the idea of energy, of chaos, of motion, of mess (well, mess within very circumscribed and aesthetically pleasing limits: children lying in a pile of books, artfully unmade beds, one piece of clothing strewn across a couch).
This "democratic" impulse in design, of course, is not entirely new. Periodically there is a design revolution that imagines itself in opposition to the formal, overly polished aesthetic of the previous generation. Take for instance Roger Fry's Omega studio, founded in London in 1913, where Bloomsbury artists designed fabrics and furniture in venetian reds, salmons and lemon yellows, to reflect the fresh air of the changing times, in direct rebellion against the formal antiques and heavy draperies of Victorian interiors. One of the newspapers of the day called the studio's creations "immoral furniture," and that immorality was an early glimmer of the impulse to "undecorate."
The cynical among us might imagine that if the movement toward "undecorating" truly takes off, this will simply mean enormous amounts of effort poured into looking effortless; that a whole new breed of undecorators will be spawned, who will scour Parisian flea markets to unearth that perfect, quirky, idiosyncratic expression of their client's innermost self—and, in fact, there already are some hard at work doing just that. The cynical might even argue we are simply creating a new rigorous set of standards—Eclectic! Personal! Quirky! Casual!—for the average individual to live up to. But even those hardened cynics will have to admit that they would rather go to a dinner party at one of the splashy, inviting, inventive houses featured in "Undecorate" than step into one of the daunting interiors on the cover of Architectural Digest, where you are very likely to be quizzed on obscure Renaissance artists and will almost definitely spill red wine on the impeccable expanse of white couch.
altar
Example of a space in our home that reflects something deep about our lives. Perhaps it might look like an odd use of space and material but for us this focal point in our home is quite purposeful.Two garage sale finds have been oddly paired together: a buffet table along with an office organization drawer thingie make up our altar.

3.19.2011

Ite ad Ioseph

Happy Solemnity of St. Joseph! Today is one of my favorite feast days and we take a pause from the penitential spirit of the beautiful Lenten season to celebrate and honor the man God chose to be the head of the household of the Holy Family in Nazareth.

A virtuous man.


He embodies the virtues of family life, daily duties, and the protection of the purity of the home.

He is patron of the dying. He died the most holy death, in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

He is the patron of the universal Church. He protected, defended and guarded the Holy Family and continues to do the same for the Church.

Ite ad Ioseph. Go to Joseph. His intercession on our behalf are treated as orders! He was chosen to be the guardian of Jesus on earth. Jesus lived under his and Mary's roof and "was subject to them"  -[Luke 2:51] so how much more will Jesus listen to his pleads on our behalf from Heaven!

stjoe1


 Blessed are thy arms, which have carried the One Who carries all things.

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Do you have any special traditions?


Today we are using our beautiful wedding china for all our meals.

 We've also put fresh flowers (sunflowers are just so bright and cheerful and perfect for today!) by our St. Joseph statue, and I'm going to make a special dessert to celebrate similarly to how I showed you
here and here
.



Here are some quotes from St. Josemaria about the "master of interior life" I wanted to share to help us reflect on his many virtues:
There are many good reasons to honour Saint Joseph, and to learn from his life. He was a man of strong faith. He earned a living for his family — Jesus and Mary — with his own hard work... He guarded the purity of the Blessed Virgin, who was his Spouse. And he respected — he loved! — God’s freedom, when God made his choice: not only his choice of Our Lady the Virgin as his Mother, but also his choice of Saint Joseph as the Husband of Holy Mary.    —The Forge, 552

Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after our Mother. —He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God.   —The Forge, 554


source
As you get to know him, you discover that the holy patriarch is also a master of the interior life — for he teaches us to know Jesus and share our life with him, and to realize that we are part of God's family. St Joseph can teach us these lessons, because he is an ordinary man, a family man, a worker who earned his living by manual labour — all of which has great significance and is a source of happiness for us.
I don't agree with the traditional picture of St Joseph as an old man, even though it may have been prompted by a desire to emphasise the perpetual virginity of Mary. I see him as a strong young man, perhaps a few years older than our Lady, but in the prime of his life and work.


A great personality.
You don't have to wait to be old or lifeless to practice the virtue of chastity. Purity comes from love; and the strength and gaiety of youth are no obstacle for noble love. Joseph had a young heart and a young body when he married Mary, when he learned of the mystery of her divine motherhood, when he lived in her company, respecting the integrity God wished to give the world as one more sign that he had come to share the life of his creatures. Anyone who cannot understand a love like that knows very little of true love and is a complete stranger to the christian meaning of chastity.

Download the homily "In Joseph's Workshop"

And here's a great little something for the locals to go out and celebrate:

Hats off to Go Roma restaurants for honoring this feast day with this great deal! They are officially on my "good" list!
Have a joyous feast day!
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