water break

This is what I saw when I looked out my window this morning. That little white spot on the right-hand side of the photo is a gush of water that sprouted from my neighbor's driveway sometime before the sun came up. My husband called the city to let them know there had been a water main break, and ten hours later they finally showed up to address the problem. Catcher was excited to see the bulldozer outside of our window (that's a bulldozer, right?), and I was relieved that the city is not tearing up our front yard days before we begin taping My First Sale--did I mention we start on Sunday--although that could make for a good story line...



Remember 28 days ago when I came up with the brilliant idea to apply for HGTV's My First Sale? Well, today we got the call that we made it, and they want to begin taping immediately (maybe this weekend...yikes!). So tonight Alex and I are celebrating. If this little media blitz doesn't get our house sold, then I give up.


lawn ornaments

I've never been big on yards or plants or things sprouting from the ground. Perhaps that's why I loved living in New York City (added to the fact that I hate driving), but if we make it on My First Sale--or maybe even if we don't--we'll have to address the issue that is our backyard. To get a head start on the project, I've decided to focus my energy not on figuring out which plants thrive in our climate and what type of sunlight they can tolerate but on the furniture that could create a nice little seating area on our "patio."

I'm a little obsessed with Russel Woodard's Sculptura collection that puts the patio sets you find at Home Depot to shame. While I'm not psyched about putting money into landscaping, I'm willing to invest in these mid-century beauties because I can envision them in the courtyard of the box house.






blue socks

On Scout's first flight, she was lucky enough to be upgraded to first class thanks to her father's gold status with US Airways. Alex willingly swapped 1D for 23E, where he kept Catcher busy with goldfish and a flip cam during 68 minutes of flying.

Meanwhile in first class, I was sitting next to a nice gentleman of the business variety. I'm sure he was thinking to himself, "Great. I'm the one sitting by the baby" when he first discovered his seat, but he was actually quite pleasant. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Man: How old is the baby? About 4 or 5 months?

Me: Um [thinking] 9 weeks.

Man: Wow [looking at Scout], you're a big boy.

Me: It's a girl. She's a girl.

Man: Oh, sorry.

Me: That's okay, they all look the same at this age.

Man: You threw me off putting blue socks on her. [He turns to Scout] I'm sorry, sweetheart. Why are you wearing blue socks?

Me: [Thinking: what's the big deal with the blue socks? Girls can't wear blue?]

Man: What's her name?

Me: Scout.

Man: Skylar?

Me: No, Scout [extra emphasis on the "t"].

[90-second pause]

Man: Where did Scout come from?

Me: [Thinking: my belly? Charlotte? Oh...where did the name come from]. Scout came from the book To Kill a Mockingbird.

Man: [Nods his head]

Random woman in aisle: Aw. Look at that baby. How old is he?

Me: It's a girl.

Random woman in aisle: Oh, sorry.

Man: I know. She's confusing us with the blue socks.

Me: [Again with the socks?]


first flight

Image from B-Side Blog

I still remember my first time on an airplane. I was eight years old and my dad was taking my brother, sister and me to Disney World for the first time. My dad is an early rising kind of guy, so he booked the flight for around 6:30am, which meant we had to get up at 4:00 in morning and drive an hour to the nearest airport. We didn't mind, of course, because we were wide awake with anticipation. What does an airplane look like on the inside? Will we be able to see the pilot? Can we look out the window? Before boarding our flight, we even took a picture with the flight attendant--they still referred to them as "stewardesses" at the time--and the image of us standing next to her with her frizzy blond curls and bad uniform is forever imprinted on my mind.

When it was time to take our seats, the three kids sat together. My sister got the window because she's the oldest, I (the middle child) was stuck in the middle and my brother got the aisle across from my dad because he was most likely to act up. Those were also the days when they served meals during your flight, and I chose pigs-in-a-blanket with a side of baked apples as my breakfast. The flight was relatively unremarkable--no serious turbulence or crash landings--and I've loved flying ever since. I often joke that I have no childhood memories, but I remember that flight.

Tomorrow Scout will take her first flight at the tender young age of nine weeks (if you don't count us flying to Milwaukee when I was nine months pregnant). Catcher was about the same age when he first rode on an airplane (not counting our trip to Hawaii when I was 16 weeks pregnant). We're going to Maryland for the weekend to visit my brother, sister-in-law and their brood of four children and three dogs. I can't wait to see everyone, and I can't wait to tell the kids someday when they say they "never get to do anything" that they were riding on airplanes before they could even hold up their own heads.


they like us

It looks like we're one step closer to making it on My First Sale. The producer called yesterday to let us know they loved the casting video and they're working on a pitch to send along to the network for final approval. She also mentioned that we shouldn't do anything to the backyard--one area of the house that could use some improvement--because it would be good footage to show us cleaning it up, planting, etc. 

One agreement that Alex and I made when we bought our house was that I would be in charge of the inside (regarding decorating choices) and he could have free reign on the outside. I have a feeling that I won't be sticking to this pact once the cameras start rolling. Although I don't know anything about plants and I'm not big on nature, I am big on opinions and I'll want to express mine. Of course, I won't really be in to the whole planting (or whatever) part, but maybe I can move stuff around or point to things.


copy cat

mita copier

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but what about downright plagiarism? Today I discovered that a future co-worker has plagiarized a post I wrote for our company blog, schooled by poole, on her own blog. I just happened upon her post and couldn't believe it when I started reading my own words--how bizarre. I know the blog isn't a Pulitzer prize-winning piece of literature, but I was shocked nonetheless to see that someone who considers herself a blogger would steal someone else's words (and I do consider it stealing). In this age of the Internet, I understand that there are hundreds of blogs about fashion or design or whatever and themes repeat themselves infinitely, but to rip something off verbatim is what gets to me. I actually find it pretty lame. We can write about the same things, but let's not write exactly the same thing.

Ironically, her blog title refers to cats...maybe she is just a copy cat.


my first favorite color

As a child, purple was my favorite color. There was one year when I demanded purple sheets and sent my mom on a wild goose chase until she could fulfill my outrageous request (at the time purple was impossible to find; pinks abounded, but I wouldn't go for that). I still remember that first set of purple sheets...

But somewhere along the road, my favorite color changed. Perhaps it was when I heard that crazy people cite purple as their favorite color more often than any other, or maybe I just grew up (fact: adolescent girls like the color purple). In design school, they almost teach you not to like purple since so many people have a negative reaction to it. I subscribed to that ideal for a while, but lately I've been loving purple again. Maybe because I'm getting older and as the poem says, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple."

Whatever the reason, here's a look at some interiors where the designer didn't listen to what the instructors say and trusted his/her own instincts that purple is phenomenal:

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Jamie Drake interior, New York Social Diary




Why is it that after we decided to name our daughter Scout I keep coming across things called "Scout?" My latest find are these pocket-sized notebooks--or Scout Books as the company calls them--that are made from 100% recycled papers and soy-based inks. In my early days living in New York, when the image of a "starving artist" was still appealing and I dreamed of becoming a writer, I used to carry a little notebook around in my bag to jot down my thoughts and inspirations for characters in the novel I was writing in my head. Five years later (and still living in New York) I attended design school and carried around a sketchbook for those moments when I again found inspiration but instead felt the need to draw.

So it's no wonder that I fell in love with this little Scout book--not only does it boast my daughter's namesake, but it also reminds me of the days when I wouldn't let my thoughts get too far away. I can't wait to order a pack of three Scout books--one for jotting my thoughts; one for sketching; and one for my next venture down the road...


not again...

Today my husband received a call at 8:50am saying that a realtor wanted to preview our house between 9:00 - 10:00am. Normally this would be a serious inconvenience given 10 minutes notice prior to a showing (or "preview" as the case may be), but since he had taken out the garbage and remembered to put the toilet seat down he obliged. At 2:00pm we received the following feedback: Was not able to preview. Thanks.

Two days in a row we get the shaft? Thanks but no thanks.


dust and go

One of the most frustrating things about selling your house is that you have to be ready to show it at a moment's notice. At exactly noon today, my husband texted me that he had received a call requesting a showing today between 4:45 - 5:45. This is my first week back at work, so I wasn't home to do the requisite before-showing cleaning and had to hurry to the house during my lunch break to perform a little dust-and-go. Thank goodness I decided to check in on the place (side note: Alex was the last to leave the house this morning) because the state in which I found the house was less than ideal.

Nevermind the gym bag and flip-flops sitting by the front door, this is exactly what Alex's closet looked like when I walked into the bedroom. The main complaint we hear about our house is that "it's too small," so showcasing that fact with a closet spewing forth its contents wouldn't be a great idea. And what's with all the cords piled up on the corner of the desk?

In our "small" kitchen, we don't really have room for a trashcan, so we're in the habit of loading up plastic bags by the windowsill that we take out two or three times a day. It's sort of an unwritten rule that the last person to leave the house in the morning takes the garbage out. On second thought, it's an actual rule that when my husband is home, he's in charge of the trash (it's "man's" work). Yes, those are dirty diapers poking out of the bag that didn't quite make it out of the house this morning. But the lucky bamboo in the background is a nice touch, don't you think?

This is just an example of a pile of clutter left lying on the washing machine, which happens to be crammed into our small kitchen. No one wants to see your unorganized stack of mail.

Toilet seat up--need I say more? Oh, that is toilet paper that you see in the bowl. I actually emptied the trash before I took this picture, but the overflow would have told a nice story.

Did I mention earlier that one of the most frustrating things about selling your house is that it needs to be "show ready" at any given moment? I forgot to add that it's also frustrating to go through the trouble of preparing your house for a showing only to find out the prospective buyers are a no-show, because that's exactly what happened today. While it's nice to have the house clutter-free for a day or two, it's also hard work to retrace my hurried steps and remember where I hid my husband's media guide that he needs for the football game he's working this weekend. Which reminds me, I need to go track that down for him...


safari ride

For whatever reason I'm somewhat obsessed with elephants. I can't pinpoint exactly when or how this obsession began, but I can tell you it was sometime after my 18th birthday. I know this because when I was 18 my obsession du jour was dolphins and (sadly) I have the tattoo to prove it. In my defense, though, dolphins were very cool in 1995 (and the legal age for getting a tattoo should be at least 25).

But back to the elephants. My obsession hasn't (yet) resulted in permanent body ink--although I have thought about how I could turn the dolphins on my hip into an elephant--but I do look for ways to incorporate them into my decorating. On a trip to the Sleepy Poet last month, I came across a couple of elephant side tables that spoke to me. The first was priced at $150 and the second was only $35, so we bought the cheaper one because I have plans to paint it some garish color anyway. It's currently lying in the back of our Explorer, but I'm dying to give it a new look and bring it into our home (when we have a bigger, more cooperative home of course).


cast away

Yesterday a guy with a camera came to our house to create a "casting video" for HGTV's My First Sale. Alex and I were interviewed separately, and then together and there was one family shot with us introducing the kids. I think we killed it. We're a cute, easygoing family, and I think (I hope) that shined through on our video. I felt completely relaxed in front of the camera and was excited to share our story. This isn't my first attempt at reality TV--my brother and I tried out for season two of The Amazing Race and made it to the semi-finals--so I hope I (we) make it all the way this time.

But let's not forget the reason I applied for the show in the first place was as a marketing tool to get our house sold. All the excitement of the casting video and my daydreams of us appearing on TV have temporarily pushed my anxieties about selling the house aside. I guess it's been a great distraction if nothing else comes of it...but I do want to be on TV.


testing 1,2,3

On Sunday afternoon, a camera crew for My First Sale is coming to our house for a casting video/screen test to make sure we're as charming on television as we are over the phone. I've always loved public speaking, so the thing I'm most nervous about is finding the right thing to wear. The producer suggested we don't wear black, white, grey or any crazy patterns or prints. That just about rules out my entire wardrobe, so I'll have to get creative. And what about the shoes?


take two

So guessed who called yesterday afternoon--the producer for HGTV's My First Sale. Apparently her boss had axed our story based solely on the information that we were just another family outgrowing our current space. He hadn't actually reviewed our application but once he did, he thought our story was compelling. He liked the fact that we moved here from Manhattan and 847 square-feet was palatial at first, but five years and two kids later it's shrinking by the minute (that was my pitch, by the way, I should have been in the production meeting last week). We chatted for another 30 minutes or so, and then she called my husband to get his side of the story. I texted him beforehand and told him to "be funny." He said he made her laugh a couple of times...

And now we wait. She had a production meeting this afternoon to further discuss us as candidates for the show, but I think we've got a pretty good shot this time (I knew they'd reconsider us!). I'm supposed to hear back within a couple of days, and the next step would be a casting test here in Charlotte. Good thing most of the baby weight is gone since the camera adds ten pounds.


final project

I bought this chair on eBay when I was nine months pregnant and dying for a project to keep me busy (can you say nesting?). My original intention was to use it at my desk--the chair's curvature contrasts beautifully with the hard lines of my Parsons' desk--but I didn't pay attention to the measurements and realized when I saw it in person that it wouldn't work. So I sat on the project (no pun intended) for weeks, which turned into a couple months, until this past Sunday when I simply couldn't take it anymore. It was time to finish the chair as my final project before heading back to work next week.

One last look at the chair before. Remember the palm beach grandma inspired plastic-covered cushion?

After weeks of deliberating, I finally decided on Osborne & Little's berber print fabric to cover the cushion. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fabric in person (after winning it on eBay). It coordinates amazingly with the colors I've already used throughout my house, and the medallion print couldn't work better with the seat's shape.

Ta-da! Here's a look at my "new" chair. Now if I only had a place to put it...



Scout was born on 7.20 at 7:23am and weighed 7lbs 11oz. Today is September 7th, and I'll be back at work in seven days. Presenting seven days of Scout:


famous in a small town

So maybe we won't be famous on the small screen, but can always be famous in a small town. My hometown newspaper, The Winchester Star, recently interviewed us because a writer was working on a story about the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, and we had just named our daughter Scout. My mom called me Saturday morning to let me know we'd made it to print. She's sending me a copy of the article so one day when Scout thinks we're the biggest dorks alive we can show her we were once cool enough to be quoted in The Winchester Star, and we didn't even have to eat at the Snow White Grill (if you're from Winchester, you get it).


size matters

In my more lucid moments, I realize I'm not the only person out there living in a small space. If we still lived in New York, our 847 square-feet would be considered palatial. So today I'm not complaining; I'm giving a nod to small spaces with big style.

apartment therapy

love. living. small.

Small Place Style

apartment therapy

Better Homes & Gardens



almost famous

Apparently the traditional methods of selling a home--listing with an agent, hosting open houses, etc.--are not working for us, so the other night I decided to employ a guerilla tactic of my own. I applied to be on the show My First Sale on HGTV. I'm not sure how serious I was when I began the process but by 3:00pm yesterday afternoon, we were almost famous.

On Tuesday night I was playing around on the internet and clicked on hgtv.com to see about trying out for one of their shows (I was thinking Designed to Sell would be appropriate). As I was scrolling through the tab "be on HGTV" I saw that My First Sale was looking for homeowners in Charlotte. It was a sign. 

Wednesday morning the fun began. I returned to hgtv.com and clicked on "apply to be on this show" and dutifully filled out the 25 questions--why are you selling your home, is this your first home sale, who does the sale involve, etc.--and attached pictures of both my family and the house. An hour later the phone rang. It was a producer for My First Sale who wanted to talk to me more in-depth about the show and our situation (side note: she thought the family and house were totally adorable). We chatted for about 30 minutes, and she was on her way into a meeting to pitch our story to her boss. However, there was one little caveat. Our main reason for moving is that we're outgrowing our tiny little 847 square-foot house, which is to say we're not under financial duress or under contract for our next place or some other  serious situation that makes for "good TV," so there was a chance we wouldn't be moving forward. She asked me to email her a couple additional photos in the meantime, and we'd be talking soon.

Thirty minutes later I got an email from her saying we were denied by her boss. They had too many stories about expanding families and needed something a little more compelling. I guess it's a good thing that we're not in a desperate situation, but it was fun imaging our family on TV. I had already begun planning my outfits and imagining what it would be like to have a camera crew invade our home for a few days (where would all the equipment go?). Alas, I guess we'll return to the traditional methods of home selling...at least until we hear back from HGTV saying they made a mistake and want to put us on the little screen.


meeting of the mommies

This morning I did something I've never done before. Not only is it something I've never done but something in a million years I never would have guessed I would ever do--I attended a "moms' group" at my local Starbucks. Here's how it happened:

Scout and I went on our walk as usual this morning. Instead of making a boring--and somewhat tasteless--cup of coffee at home I decided to treat myself to a latte and routed us by the Starbucks. As we strolled through the glass door, we were met by a group of moms--there must have been twelve strollers blocking the entrance--smiling and introducing themselves. I averted my eyes and went about my business ordering a double-tall-vanilla-soy-latte, but I was not safe. The ringleader, Nicole, had locked eyes on my bugaboo and approached me: "Are you here for the Elizabeth moms group?" "No," I sheepishly replied. "Do you live in the neighborhood," she persisted, and the next thing I knew I was sitting down drinking coffee with a group of strangers (moms) and talking about sterilized bags for holding breast milk. It was sorority rush all over again.

The moment was surreal. I had to stop and pinch myself. I couldn't believe I was sitting there, drinking my coffee, listening to the discussion swirl around topics like Bye Bye Baby (I'd never been there), burpy bibs (I'd never heard of them) and snoring husbands (ok...I could relate). Just as I was flipping through the rolodex of excuses in my head as to why I had to dismiss myself, the conversation turned normal. I learned that the girl to my right had moved to Charlotte from New York (so she must be alright; not like the rush chair over there from Mississippi) and we started talking about the Real Housewives of New Jersey and our other favorite shows on Bravo! I also learned that they were all first-time moms with daughters--all girls in the group--ranging in age from four to eight months, so I was kind of the expert. Their doe-eyes looked to me for advice, and we shared our motherhood anecdotes.

The hour I was there passed quickly, and I told myself upon leaving that I shouldn't be so judgmental and harsh on these "mommy" groups. Nicole texted me the website info for the group and told me there's another get-together tomorrow morning. I probably won't go back, but it was nice to step out of my element for the morning. And I think they liked me.