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Interior Design: A Reflection of My Interior Self

12 Jan

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand ways. – Oscar Wilde

Interior design is a newfound interest for me, one that most certainly stemmed from my love for fashion.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve torn out magazine pages with dresses, outfits, purses and shoes that inspire me, that remind me of my own style, that I simply find pretty.  More recently, I’ve been collecting pages from ELLE Décor, Southern Living, Pottery Barn and other catalogs. Bookshelves holding just enough books, antique keys accenting the top of a table, vases overflowing with peonies (my favorite) – all of these images will serve as inspiration when it comes time to decorate my own home.

I love organizing books by binding color and size (whether the same or quite contrasting) and piling them in horizontal and vertical stacks as I fill up my bookshelf. I love picking out which picture best suits a frame and deciding where to showcase that treasured memory. I love pairing unsuspecting pieces and creating a look that is both unique and more complete than if the parts were standing alone.

But, perhaps most importantly, I love color. While I was living in New York City, a friend commented on my colorful apartment, drawing a connection between my living space (which was the size of a small shoebox) and the “colorfulness” of my own self. His simple observance has since become one of my most cherished compliments, and it unequivocally plays a role in each decorating choice that I’ve made since then. For instance, my current bedroom set includes antique blue furniture (part of the Charlotte collection from Pottery Barn) – just what I needed for a fresh start in a new city.

this bedside table keeps my sleeping mask and ear plugs at an arm's reach.

(photo: source)

As someone who loves to write, my desk is perhaps the most important piece of my home décor. I chose the west elm parsons mini desk in polished white (which pairs nicely with white MacBook) and scoop-back chair in a yellow floral print (both comfortable and colorful). I bought a second chair that sits in a corner by my closet and works quite nicely when I need to put my shoes on or find a spot to set my purse.

where all my brilliant ideas come to me!

one of my favorite places to sit

(photo 1: source, photo 2: source)

For Christmas, my brother always gives me a coffee table book, a tradition that began quite a while ago. Last year, I unwrapped Fabulous Frocks, a fabulous book about my favorite piece of clothing. This year, I was the lucky recipient of HUE, written by Kelly Wearstler.  I plan to read it cover to cover, falling a bit more in love with interior design with every turned page.

i cannot wait to see what inspiration lies behind this cover...

(photo: source)

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Storytime

26 Oct

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told. – Mark Twain

Spending a majority of my time with toddlers, I’ve been reminded of the simple pleasures of storytelling.  Storytime can be anytime – and it’s always my favorite time with little ones. On Sunday mornings in the church nursery, I’ll often read book after book to giggly little boys and girls, each waiting patiently for their turn to pick out the story and sit on my lap. If that doesn’t make you feel pretty special, I don’t know what will.

Yesterday, a three-year-old told me that her books were for “bed times,” so no, we could not read them in the middle of a Monday afternoon. For many children, stories and sleep are one and the same. And maybe they’re on to something – it is a calming way to slow down and finish a busy day. When my brother and I were younger, we always read stories before going to sleep.  Perhaps, that is why I still read myself to sleep, often falling asleep with my book laid open on my belly.

To me, the quintessential children’s book is Goodnight Moon. During this past summer, I must have read it at least 100 times. I never get tired of the simple rhymes describing a bunny’s bedtime ritual of saying good night to the objects in his room. In fact, this story inspired one particularly adorable two-year-old to give good night kisses to the paintings, books and pillows in his New York City apartment. I believe that every child should have a copy of Goodnight Moon on his or her nightstand, ending each day by saying good night to two little kittens and a pair of mittens.

written by Margaret Wise Brown and published in 1947, Goodnight Moon remains popular today.

As an adult, I love hearing stories told by my parents and grandparents. Not only is it a link to their past, but it’s a link to my family’s legacy, a link to where we’ve been. Of all my relatives, Grandpa Baker loves to tell stories the most.  Not a phone call, family reunion or Christmas Eve goes by without one of his memories revealed. My favorite story that he tells is about meeting my grandmother in a haystack when they were children. Maybe true love is easier than finding a needle in a haystack.

For me, writing is a way to tell my story. Even if it never makes it beyond the pages of my journal and no one is listening or reading, it’s still being told. When I sit down to write, all the ideas bouncing around in my head become a bit more still, allowing life to make a bit more sense, even if only for a moment. Whether it be told pen to page or out loud, in many ways, storytelling helps to make yourself more understood, more connected to your world.

i've always loved a story before bedtime!

iPad? iWon’t.

18 Oct

The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed. – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Call me sentimental, but I love the feel, the smell, the very idea of a book. Granted, my family includes a long list of librarians and teachers, so perhaps this love has been instilled in me since I was a small child. Not a Christmas has passed without at least one book being gifted. Not a room has been lived in without at least one bookshelf filled to the brim with literary treasures of past and present.

In addition to my love for books, I also love to write. As a little girl, I incessantly wrote stories, carefully stapling two pieces of matching construction paper together to protect the outpouring of my innocent imagination. Even as a child, I paid attention to the different facets of a book – the title page, the dedication page, the author’s biography. I understood the importance of which font to use (and often changed my handwriting in an effort to capture this detail) and the effect of the cover picture (we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, but more often than not, first impressions rely entirely on appearances). Would this sort of appreciation have been fostered in my younger years had books been so easily replaced by technology?

One of my most prized possessions is my mother’s copy of Jane Eyre, which she first read in college.  Being one of my favorite books (along with The Great Gatsby), I’ve reread this story more times than I can count. As much as I adore the characters and the complications that they encounter and gracefully overcome, the faded green cover, the somewhat-broken binding and the worn-in pages unequivocally entrance me as well.  An iPad can capture the words and the wonderfulness enclosed in a book, but it simply cannot reproduce the book itself.

a few of my favorites

Having recently taken a long weekend trip (the best of my life, thanks to a certain someone, and also the reason for my blog-writing absence), I am even more intrigued by this “magical and revolutionary product” (Apple’s words, not mine). So, being the inquisitive girl that I am (just ask my boyfriend – I pose more questions that he ever thought possible), I started asking strangers in the airport about their choice to purchase an iPad. What makes it so great?

To my relief, here’s what I found: Reading wasn’t the number one reason for using an iPad. Yes, I talked to plenty of people who loved to read and initially bought the device for this purpose. But an iPad also allows you to sync your calendars and easily keep track of your busy life, play an episode of Olivia for your screaming child and manage a much-needed packing list before a vacation – all with the simple touch of a screen. While a laptop can do all these things as well, an iPad is more compact and comes equipped with Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G, making it both very transportable and accessible.

All and all, an iPad is more of an entertainment device than a stand-in for books, magazines and newspapers. Still, it just doesn’t sit right with me. What if, because of advancements in this sort of technology, books, magazines and newspapers someday become obsolete? Hoping to be a published author myself, (my parents always taught me to dream big), I would hate to think that my stories would never sit on bookshelves, never be shared among friends, never be flipped through with anticipation about what lies on the next page.

Recently, as I watched a friend quickly fill her suitcase and hastily head to the airport, I experienced a moment’s worth of jealously as she topped off her carry-on with an iPad. No need to cram magazines into an already over-stuffed bag. No need to question whether three novels are enough to sustain a week’s worth of time in the sun. No need to debate bringing along your laptop. An iPad is easier, smaller, smarter, quicker to pack. But it just isn’t the same.

the innovative ipad