Usually I write about food and recipes on Mondays, but what with Frankenstorm bearing down on the lovely state of Maryland this afternoon, I thought I’d share our preparations (some practical, others maybe not at all as much, but they make me feel better). Here are a couple of prevention measures we’ve picked up from the crazy weather we all deal with now.

1. The most practical prevention we learned after Isabel last year was to clear the basement floor of anything that is not plastic or that will be a disaster to clean up when soaking wet (in case the the basement floods).

Don’t be jealous of our gorgeous basement. While I was gone at a wedding this weekend, D found time after his twelve hour day (he works in emergency management) to clear up anything that would be potentially yucky in a flooded basement – drop cloths, cardboard boxes of ornaments, etc. His dad and I had a blast cleaning up after our sump pump stopped working during a courtesy-of-Isabel power outage last year, so that’s our attempt to avoid it this time around.

2. Which brings me to tip #2. Shop vacs are your best friend. 

Here you see ours ready to perform its magical sucking up of tropical storm water. Last year it was buried behind many other various and sundry basement inhabitants (Christmas tree stands, ornaments, painting supplies, lacrosse gear) but it now waits in an easy-to-access place of honor. Once again, hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, it will be relatively easy compared to last time.

3. I prepared a “go kit” yesterday. A go kit implies a need to leave and go to a shelter, but really you should have one in your vehicle and your home, for “shelter in place” situations when you can’t (or shouldn’t) leave your home (like right now). 

Here’s a list of what you should have ready in your kit. The rule of thumb is you should be able to be self-sustaining, without power, for 96 hours (four days). We have plenty of non-perishable food, a can opener (super important), water, batteries, candles and matches in a waterproof container, re-chargeable flashlights, a first aid kid, blankets, pillows, pet food, other practical odds and ends like duct tape and a mini-tool kit, and a laminated list of emergency (police, fire, power) and family contact numbers. Optimally, I won’t need to burrow in a (hopefully) non-flooding basement, but should the need arise, I’m ready to go. Which brings me to tip #4.

4. Create a space that is relatively cozy to hunker down in.

I stored a bunch more candles, extra pillows and blankets, flashlights, etc. Not being able to leave the basement is, of course, worst case scenario (especially if we get water in), but if the wind were to get so violent that windows were an issue, I’d be ready. And maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about it if the situation got that bad, but it really makes me feel better to have some nick-nacks around that I like – dried flowers, pretty pillows and a candelabra. 

Of course I followed other practical tips like ~

1. filling up all the pitchers in my house with water (by the time I got to the store, there was literally no bottled water, but why buy it when I can get it out of the tap?) You should account for at least one gallon per person in your household per day,

2. filling up the bath tub in the event water stops running (to be able to flush toilets),

3. charging up cell phones and computers fully,

4. using as much refrigerated and frozen food as possible in case the power goes out.

If you’re on the East Coast, good luck with Sandy! 


Kitchen organization

I get really annoyed with all that extra stuff – dish and hand soap, lotion, matches, kitchen candles – that tends to clutter up my counter tops, so I’ve been keeping all the runaways all together on a tray. Only thing is the one I have is oddly shaped for its purpose ~ 

So, I need a new tray. Par the course for moi, pulling the trigger and making a decision is not easy. 

Colorful? Love all of these.


Coral print? I’m not sure about the shape.


Sparkly? Yes, please. My inner bling is craving this not-so-subtle gold and pink number. 


Per the usual, I’m leaning towards the least practical option. However, I think I should follow the advice I give my students and “go with my gut.” Long live sparkle.

I love pretty much everything David Lebovitz does, from his blog, to his book The Sweet Life in Paris, to his restaurant alma mater, Chez Panisse. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I really want to go to Chez Panisse. Embarrassingly, I have not yet spent any time in the Bay Area and therefore have not yet tried it. But I am dying to.)

So I was ecstatic to find this *pastry* app he developed. It fits the bill for most of my favorite things …


 … France, desserts and Paris! What more could a gal ask for? I can’t wait to try this out next summer, and experiment in previously unbeknownst-to-me sweets shops. Pierre Hermé’s macarons will never be replaced as my number one preferred, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try others 😉 

Post card memories

I like to keep this fairy tale looking post card tucked snug in a mirror ~

as a constant reminder of two dreamy weeks in Italy last summer. Those fishing villages in the Cinque Terre are just exactly what you would envision – the color pops of the houses all built one on top of the other, the impossibly narrow and steep streets, and just-so cafes were the perfect end to our two weeks of la Dolce Vita. We debated traveling to Nice for a day but decided against it in favor of more relaxation away from trains. I was disappointed at the time, but hopefully Nice will be crossed off the list with next summer’s pending travel plans. What trip do you dream of taking, or love remembering?


Gold accents

I fell in love with this pin today …


… and it got me thinking about gold in general around the home…



I especially love those canisters top right. They are vintage and French! What more could I ask for?


I also love these festive gold table settings. So fun for Christmas, especially, I think.

And, well, I know I’ll never have this gold headboard …


… but I love it popping against the bright wall and crisp blue pillows!

What about you? Do you like gold or do you prefer silver accents?

Summer to fall …

I *almost* bought these exact green chinos severely on sale this summer on a New York weekend …

A little jaunt over to the Comptoir des cotonniers blog, Brèves de style, which produced that image above, has me convinced me I should have. Sigh …

Aywho, that summer-turned-fall look got me thinking about which of my summer-y purchases will transition well into fall. I’m definitely going to invest in a new jean jacket (should have known better than to sell that pupppy all of a decade ago …) and pair it with this cutey yellow maxi skirt. Some closed-toe wedges instead of sandals and I think it’ll be fall-appropriate!


And this necklace will re-invent a dress I’ve been wearing to weddings for three years now … (I got light pink)


I’m thinking it’ll look great with an old army green tunic-y top I pulled out the other day, too. Mine is kinda like this one (except sleeveless), and looks cute belted or not.


 I’m also excited to pair some lacy skirts with crew neck sweaters instead of tanks or blouses.


What with all the color every-which-where, I’m putting things together that I never would have a couple years ago. And now that D and I know we’re staying put for the foreseeable future, I’m planning on curbing my obsessive trips to second hand shops and the Goodwill to purge my wardrobe. A worthy cause, certainly, but I can’t count how many times I’ve turned around through all my many moves in the past five years, wondering where my jean jacket, loafers, belt, sweater, etc, ran to. Looking forward to hoarding a bit 😉

Slipcover accomplished

Last week, I told you about my master plan for our front room. We had chosen the slip cover option as a band-aid for our couch necessity for now, but after my Pottery Barn experience, I was really nervous for slip cover 2.0 to arrive in the mail. Let me tell you, I have never been more pleasantly surprised with an outcome. We have now gone from this ~

to this ~

Aside from tracking down a steamer to de-wrinkle the slip cover around the bottom, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The mini-instagram of 1.0 is really kind to the green and “cream” (too many afternoons with Riley on it have died it more of a shade reminiscent of dish water) stripes. So I’m happy with the clean slate grey. I had been convinced I’d stick with mustardy hues to accent with, but I’m thinking the grey on grey is pushing me more in the direction of some serious yellow and maybe even purple color pops. I was ecstatic to find that most of my nosing around blogs and such produced purples paired with lots of grey. So there you have it!

I love the look of these jewel-toned chairs and would love to have something similar to them juxtaposed against a rustic dining table one day. For now, I can settle for pops of yellow laced with purple through couch cushions, vases, etc.

I hadn’t really thought about adding a pop to the floor, but this provides some inspiration to do so. I’ve been spying some spectacular (and affordable!) rugs on Joss & Main recently so that’s an option, as well.

The first thing I did when I moved here was paint the spare room lavender. These pictures reminded me why. It’s so calming!

What are your thoughts on purples? Do you lean more towards muted colors or pops of colors? Or striking a balance?

All images (except the first two which were clearly taken with my cell phone) via one of my favorite Francoholic sites, located here.