When I first heard about the open lecture in town where a top art historian and architect were going to talk about design using math, I sensed a migraine coming on.
Food Network star and Southern cookbook author Paula Deen, who a year ago announced that she has type 2 diabetes, is sharing her tips on cooking to live a healthier, longer life.
One is more delightful for being told one is delightful.
Whether it's an actual holiday or just the impending arrival of company that prompts me, I turn to my stash of go-to, never-fail decorations. These décor mainstays can change like chameleons depending on the circumstance.
A month ago - and halfway through his two-year lease - the tenant who rents my house in Colorado told me he'd bought a house.
My brother and I had a plan for our aging parents. The plan was they would not age. They would never need to move from the house where they have lived for 45 years.
Though I knew better, I couldn't wait to use the pretty new table linens that arrived in that day's mail. "Made for every day," the website assured. That was all the encouragement I needed.
This summer will bring another staycation for me. No Italy or Istanbul. No Tibet or Taiwan. No Egypt or England. If I want an escape, I'll have to rely on my fantasies - and the World Wide Web.
I just toured the New American Home, the showcase house for the 2012 National Association of Home Builders, which met this past week in Orlando. I left with a bad case of toilet envy.
Questions: If the problem with getting organized is not having
enough time, why are there so many books on organizing? If people
don't have the time to clean up their acts and get their stuff
together, how on earth do they have the time to read a book about
This is what happens when you're a health reporter with a
weakness for home design. I go to this party, which is to raise
awareness (and money) for women who have heart disease. Like many
parties for worthy causes, it's held in a very worthy home.
Ten years ago, while building my last house in Colorado, which I
really thought would be my last house, contractors kept telling me
to think of the next owner. I kept thinking: What next owner? I'm
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but Americans need to hear
this: The French are better at living well than we are. Way better.
Compared with the French, we Americans are galumphing, unrefined,
People say I'm lucky. I don't really see that, but I'm going
with it because I need to if I'm going to get through the holidays
without blowing my budget, my cool, my mind, or my diet. (Did you
know that stressed backwards spells desserts?)
If I had to do it over, which I actually do, I would gather new
holiday decorations the way I'd build a new wardrobe.
I can hardly bring myself to tell you this. I've lost all my
Christmas decorations. Twenty years of accumulated Christmas
decorations, including the tree, are gone. I don't have one
stocking, not a strand of garland, nor a string of lights. All went
In pursuit of my mantra, Look rich, be cheap, I go on every
design-house tour I can.
Editors note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series on how
car-buying tips apply when buying a house. Part 1 "Buyer's Market?
Beware," which appeared in the Nov. 6 At Home section, was on
shopping pitfalls and strategies. Today, it goes from finding the
house or vehicle to getting the keys.
Everything you need to know about buying a house, you can learn
from buying a car.
Ranking up there with other huge, irreversible life decisions -
What should I major in? Is this Mr. Right? Should I get a tattoo? -
is this critical question: Which dishes should I get?
Here's what I love about Halloween, by the time it rolls around,
after a dry stretch that's lasted since the Fourth of July, I'm
ready for some holiday festivity. I welcome an occasion to change
things up around the house, and it's so easy: Carve a few pumpkins,
spread a few cobwebs, hang a …
So what if the kids have made a few too many trips across the
wood floor on Rollerblades? Who cares if the drapes look as if
someone used them to wash the car?
Afraid of commitment? Check. Don't know where you'll be living
next year? Check.
I was very excited when I brought home my first outdoor rug five
years ago. I put it on the back deck, where it did everything an
area rug is supposed to do indoors, only outdoors. It defined the
space, and added welcome pattern, texture, color and pizazz.
Some people get all gaga over movie stars and sports
celebrities. Not me. The fact that someone has a fetching way or
can hurl a ball through a hoop from 50 feet does not impress me in
the least. Genius, however, gets me every time.
Achieving dreams takes effort and patience. Achieving dream
houses takes effort, patience, intestinal fortitude, humor and a
"What do you want for Father's Day?" I ask my husband, Dan.
Moving to a house with smaller closets has forced me to get
smarter about closet organizing. In my new place, closet space
isn't just smaller overall, but the master closet area is divided
into three closets: his, hers and I don't want to go there.
"I need some serious advice," my new friend Sheila wrote in an
email. "I have all this furniture from my old house, plus a
mish-mash of art and stuff, and minimal space. I don't know what to
do with it all."
AFTER: Angling the couch to take advantage of the view, grouping pieces for a conversation setting and weeding out little things that didn't belong transformed this living room.
As some of you know, I recently got a real job. Besides writing
my weekly column, I'm also now a full-time reporter. My new job is
the kind with regular hours, benefits, other people and my very own
I hesitate to write this column for two reasons. I'm reluctant
to encourage mass storage, no matter how stylish, because, on the
whole, we Americans have too much stuff.
Ever since it dawned on me that I was really moving, and not
just talking about moving, I've been overwhelmed.
Our house wasn't for sale, or even for rent. So the only way I
can explain how it is I'm writing this column while sitting in the
cab of a 26-foot moving van taking me to Orlando is simply this:
Fate always gets her way.
Once again, my false confidence and I forged ahead with a job,
and read the instructions afterward. Apparently, not just men do
0n those days when my teenagers have frayed my last nerve, the
plumber has stood me up, the dogs have torn the just-repaired
screen, my husband asks what's for dinner before he says hello, and
the car service lights illuminate my dashboard like a Christmas
tree, I've found needlepointing to …
If clutter truly is decisions delayed, I'd better start making
up my mind. My house is giving me a case of purge fever. I want to
go back seven years, to the last time I was in control, that one
I'm thinking, as I knead my throbbing temples into pie dough, of
how so many things that look easy aren't, like ice skating or
making lasagna (those layers!), or, more specifically, picking
Just when I thought I had this decorating business down, I find
out a basic rule I had relied on - pick your wall color first - is
just as wrong as a purple cat.
When the angels were handing out patience, I was in the
thick-hair line. I hate to wait. I like fast service, fast
thinking, fast computers, fast lanes and fast results. When I was a
child, I thought Slow Down was my name.
Sometimes other people make me feel so dull. I mean, I look at a
burned-out light bulb or a used subway ticket and see trash. Others
see a vase or material for a woven place mat.
Ahh, January - the month when people the world over resolve to
eat less, exercise more and visit their plastic surgeons.
Carpets can develop wrinkles over time. Fixing the ridges can extend the carpet's life, because it will wear out faster along the ridgelines and can crack.
Having carpets professionally restretched can extend their life and save you a pile of money in the long run.
I did not set out to be a home design expert. When I began
writing this column seven years ago, I was just another frustrated
home improver who wanted a great look on a shoestring budget.
To avoid another boring photo wall, try taking images you like, cropping them creatively and having them stylized, enlarged and stretch-mounted on canvas. Each of these canvases is 4 feet tall.
Here's what I love about my job: Not money. What money?
Last week, while talking to an informed woman about what is
wrong with most holiday parties, I had one of those
forehead-smacking moments. Dang! That's what's wrong with my
Like every kid, when I was a girl, I drew pictures of houses.
They always had a pointy roof, two equally spaced windows with
four-square panes, and a door smack in the middle. Occasionally,
I'd add the obligatory stick-figure family in the yard standing by
an apple tree.
"I've always been passionately interested in housework. And how
to avoid it."