In Which I Dominate West Elm’s Sale Section (Again.)

Every time I think I’m going to unsubscribe from West Elm’s emails, they send me 15% off coupons. They’ve gotten it down to a science. It’s like they not only know how annoyed I am by their near-daily emails, but how exactly to win me back. I’m nothing if not predictable in my addiction to spending money to save money. I’ll refresh your memory with the story of how I got this amazing pendant light for less than third of what it should have cost:

The lamp has been hanging in my living room for a few months now and you’d think I’d have gotten over the amazing deal I scored on it, but you’d be wrong. Whenever I turn it on I squeal with delight. It remains, exactly as I described in that post, “the moment that will forever be engrained in my memory as the time I saved so much money I sweat through three layers of clothing.” I’m not even remotely embarrassed by that sentence. Have you seen that lamp?

Over the weekend, I bought the small IKEA desk I wrote about on Friday. I want to pause here to pat myself on the back for this particular trip to IKEA. I was in and out in under 5 minutes. Literally. This is a feat of unparalleled proportions for me, and I think I deserve some credit for not lingering at every display and spending my requisite 2 hours in there. We parked in the loading spaces, went in through the exit to avoid getting lost and distracted in the serpentine marketplace, beelined straight for the right aisle in the warehouse (I had done a stock-check before we left the houes), and carried the box right to the self-checkout. It was loaded into the back of the car in less time than it normally takes me to wrangle Fitz into submission so I can cuddle him against his will.

I spent the majority of Saturday night assembling it during commercial breaks of a marathon of America’s Next Top Model cycle 6 (the good old years), and then moved my iMac and associated desk accessories to it on Sunday. My computer had been sitting in the unused and rarely visited guest bedroom in the front of the house, and figured if I relocated it to a room I actually spend time in I’d use it again. As it stands, ever since I bought my macbook over the summer, I’ve barely touched my desktop. Which is sad, because the thing is a champ and still runs like the day I got it. And have I mentioned how awesome it is working on a screen so large? No offense to my macbook, but I don’t have to squint to blog.

But of course, in some domino-shopping-effect, buying a new desk meant I had to buy a new chair. If you give a mouse a cookie, she’ll end up twitching with anxiety over how fast she can get to West Elm. I found out from one of their many, many emails that they were having a floor sample sale. Oh, and another email informed me that all sale items were an extra 20% off. And then, then my friends, came the 15% off coupon. It’s like they were practically begging me to come buy a new desk chair, like a hot girl throwing herself at you. Who am I to turn that down?

So I went. And there were chairs upon chairs upon other low-priced chairs. And that’s when I saw her.

She’s beautiful. She’s turmeric colored, which I immediately knew would be perfect with the dark gray walls in the bedroom (gray + yellow = love). I made a quick call to Boyfriend to ask him to measure the space between the desk legs, hoping it would fit the chair’s dimensions. That was a fun conversation. Once we figured out which of the 15 closets in the house the tape measurer was hiding in (“Is it under the sink?” “The sink?” “The kitchen sink. Is it under the sink?” “Why would it be there?” “I don’t know, I’m not there!” “It’s not there. Why would it be under the kitchen sink?”), we moved on to: “No, the opening between the front legs.” “Like, the distance to the wall?” “No, the opening between the front legs!” “You have to stop saying that out loud. It sounds like something else.”

Long story short, we found out that it would fit perfectly. I sent him a picture to confirm the color, and he ended up loving it. Win-win. I picked that beaut up and carried her to the register as gently as if I was carrying her over the threshold of our honeymoon suite.

And then the really fun part started. Because she was a floor model, they knocked 20% off the price.

But when I was carrying it, I noticed a few scratches on the back, where the seat curves. I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask if the 20% off was the lowest price they could go, since it did have some wear on it. And you know what? I recommend you all do this when you’re shopping if you see some minor imperfection on whatever it is you’re buying. Just because I asked, they changed the 20% off the retail price to 30% off. An extra 10% savings just because I pointed out a scratch or two.

Not bad! I would have been happy with that, but lest we forget there were more discounts to be applied. I kept my composure even though I was giddy and my pupils had turned into dollar signs. All sale items were an additional 20% off. Why? For fun. Because the world understands me. I don’t know, don’t ask questions.

That’s nuts! I’ve already skimmed $35 off the cost of the chair. Now, a normal person would be content with these savings and not be greedy modeedy (as my mom says) about an additional 15%. I don’t know if we’ve met before, but I am not normal. I am a Shopping Empress. I am a black belt in Deals. I demand further discounts! I handed my 15% off coupon to the cashier and let her do her worst. Or her best. Definitely her best.

Having had ample practice in this sort of thing, I didn’t faint this time. I did have to do a little dance for myself for saving almost half of what the chair originally cost, though. And while this is a pretty good score for me, it isn’t my best work. The pendant light will always hold that title. But I was obviously still high on whatever chemical my body releases when I buy things at heavily discounted prices, so I happily strutted home, holding my baby in my arms with the legs sticking out and threatening to impale anyone who got too close. I also stopped at the bank to have a new debit card printed because someone stole my numbers two weeks ago and went to the liquor store with my money, ugh.

Now she’s sitting pretty with my new tiny desk. That corner of the room doesn’t feel so empty anymore, and I feel pretty chuffed with myself for showing West Elm who’s boss.

(It’s me. I’m the boss.)

Friday Five

I know yesterday I said not to believe me if I claimed I was dying, but I am totally dying. My throat went from being sore to just scratchy and tickly, which means I’ve started coughing, and my nose is attempting to be the president of phlegm production. Like it’s going for a gold medal or something. Guess what, nose? You win! Despite this tremendous set-backs, I’m actually in pretty high spirits for someone who is clearly at death’s door. I don’t have a fever or any body aches, thankfully, so I’m planning on muscling through today at work and then spending the whole weekend on the sofa. Except, you know, for when I have to make my weekly trip to IKEA. You totally think I am kidding. It would be daily but I don’t think my boss would appreciate it.

In an effort to distract myself from my impending demise, I poured all my efforts into this week’s Friday Five. Had I gone with my original list of things, you would have seen a collage of tissues, orange juice, sweatpants, tea bags, and Cadbury Dairy Milk pieces (you know, for their healing powers). I’d like to think this one is a little more jolly and a little less “woe is me.” 

1. Pillow / 2. Mango Body Butter / 3. Kate Spade Renwick Street tote / 4. Desk / 5. Paris Calendar

 I came across this pillow in a post over on Emma’s Blog. Danish design brand Louise Roe was previously unknown to me, but now I am obsessed. That feather is so incredible and elegant, and there are tons of other pillows in their shop that are just as amazing. Like this one of an aerial view of Manhattan. They also have a ton of other fantastic and minimalist home goods and a line of clothing, which features tons of neutrals and stripes (!!). If I didn’t have a black dog that sheds like he’s molting and didn’t insist on perching himself on top of all of the other pillows in my house, I’d snap this one up in a heartbeat.

I received a giant tub of this Mango Body Butter for Christmas and have been applying it to my pasty gams every morning since. It’s thick and creamy without being greasy, and you get the satisfaction of walking around and smelling like a delicious bowl of fruit all day. This morning my fingertips touched the bottom of the jar and I had a moment of panic. Yes, panic. Remember what I said about my tendency to be dramatic? Case in point.

Kate Spade is evil. They sent me an email about a sample sale earlier in the week, and I had no intentions whatsoever of buying another bag. After I bought that Marc Jacobs bag a few weeks ago I told myself I was done. I should know myself better by now. I should never have even clicked on the link to the sale, but I did, and I ended up snagging that lovely gray and coral nylon carry-on. For less than half of its original cost, which I’m telling myself justifies it, but it doesn’t really. My thought process was that I needed a good carry-on piece for our trip to Europe in May, and this one was big and sturdy enough to hold my laptop, camera, chargers, and a change of clothes just in case. Plus, it’s gray. It’s currently en route and will be here Monday. I can’t link to the bag on the Kate Spade site because it’s totally sold out now, but trust me when I say it’s for the best. You would have wanted one, too.

Like I need one more piece of IKEA furniture in my house. Shut up, I know. But there is a small nook in the bedroom that is just begging for a small desk, and this happens to be the exact right dimensions. Remember when I half-joked about my weekend trip to IKEA? This is why.

And last but not least, this beautiful, magnificent Paris calendar. Sure, it’s March, meaning 1/4 of the year is almost behind us, making the purchase of a full calendar somewhat insensible, but have you seen it? To better explain myself, go take a look at the Paris photographs for sale on Eye Poetry’s shop. Go on. Check them all out and come back here and tell me if you weren’t moved to tears by how gorgeous they all are. Because you will be. That shop is setting the bar pretty high for my photographs of Paris when I’m there in a few months.

Alright, kiddos. What are you up to this weekend? Any trips to IKEA planned? Have a great one, lovelies.

Inspiration

You guys. I’ve been hit. Whatever weird and funky Indian disease trailed Boyfriend home and demolished him first has now set its sights on my weak and tiny body. My nose is dripping on its own accord, and my throat is hot and raw and I can feel it all the way up to my inner ears. Given then I tend towards the dramatic, this should be an interesting few days for everyone. If I profess tomorrow that I’m dying, understand that I’m probably not but indulge me in my piteous displays of neuroses, deal? Good.

I know that chicken soup and tea are good remedies for colds, but when it comes to me, only one thing makes me truly feel better: all-white interiors. It’s been a while since I’ve drooled over some, so join me, won’t you? (Side story: last night I had to ask how to spell “won’t” because the phlegm was rattling my brain and I didn’t think there was an apostrophe. Not my finest moment).

from here

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: painted white brick, old empty frames, beautiful mantle, Diptyque candles.

from here

Stunning fireplace and all monochrome. I’m usually texturally averse to flokati rugs/pillows, but for this room I’d make an exception.

from here

Some people object to keeping Christmas lights up year round unless you live in a dorm, but this is perhaps the best case advocating for them I think I’ve ever seen. Also, painted white brick!

from here

Why do chevron floors and those windows only exist in Paris? I love all the moldings.

from here

Of all the things my squirrel-brain focuses on to love in this room, I’m most intrigued by the stack of replacement cushions for the (wonderfully industrial chic) stool at the vanity. Who needs 5 extra seat cushions?

from here

 This might be my favorite bedroom of all time. I’ve said that many, many times before, I know. But something about the dark gray sheets, the white lacquer sideboard, the Diamond Bertoia chair, the Tivoli radio, the niche the bed sits in, and the pops of red in the blanket and that wonderful task lamp…something about it just makes me tingly. It reminds me of the bedroom from “Vicky Christina Barcelona” in it’s simplicity. I seriously, seriously love this room.

from here

This doesn’t qualify as all-white since it’s all-grey, but let’s make an exception for this stunning interior. I love clothes racks like that, and that West Elm lamp. That bed looks super appealing to me right about now.

It’s going to be in the 70s here (the 70s!) today, so despite my increasing malaise I’m planning on walking over to Urban Outfitter’s cafeteria and treating myself to some sushi. Hopefully the wasabi clears out my congestion! Can you believe it’s almost Friday? This week feels like it flew by, Monday feels like a million years ago.

Feeling French

If someone were to track my activity when it comes to the internet, it would look like a rorschach test: a giant black cloud made up of furious clicks all spinning off wildly in different directions. Comme ça:

this is actually a mousepath, get your own here

Despite some of your assertions, I’m less Lisbeth (expert and deliberate) and more manic squirrel who has discovered an entire world of goodies. When I get into the zone, I cannot click fast enough. It’s like a race to see how much information I can absorb, and then it turns into a down-the-rabbit-hole adventure and I end up finding the most incredible stuff simply because a click here turns into a click there, and then voila!, before you know it I’ve gone and found a picture like this:

 from here

Once I was done having seven simultaneous heart attacks at the sheer gorgeousness of the styling, my squirrel-brain kicked into overdrive in an attempt to curate a room full of items that recreates the raw yet luxe French country chic of that image. I’ve been in total “Europe” mode ever since we booked our tickets for May, and though we’re only stopping in Paris for a few days before heading back to Belgium, I’m beyond excited. Plus, you know I love a challenge. Think I can’t find 8 things that match this aesthetic? WRONG.

1. Framed map / 2. Chandelier / 3. Mirror / 4. Pillow / 5. Candles / 6. Enamel Sign / 7. Chair / 8. Footstool

Maybe I relied too heavily on Home Decorators for some stuff, but they have an awesome collection of French shabby chic-esque stuff. My mom bought me this tote bag from them for Christmas. She knows how I roll. I think I need a vintage enamel sign in my life. You know, to put it behind my sink for decoration.

Is French country chic too shabby for your taste? I can picture a whole house styled this way, with distressed chevron floors or old stone tiles in the kitchen. What do you think? Too frou-frou for you-you? I crack myself up.

India

Remember when I said Boyfriend made it home safe and sound? Well, he did, but at the time we were both operating under the assumption that he was in the clear, sickness-wise. Turns out, the Cold From Hell was incubating, laying dormant, waiting to strike. Oh, and strike it did. You’ve never seen a more sniffly and sad human being in your life. I made soup yesterday (SOUP. From scratch! Not a can!) for him, and kept shuttling glass after glass of Gatorade or orange juice and cup after cup of tea to the bed (gotta keep your fluids up!) and disinfecting everything in a 10 foot radius of wherever Boyfriend happened to be.

A few of you asked why he didn’t bring me anything back from India. India isn’t a place you bring souvenirs home from. You bring back diseases and a newfound respect for the First World, clean running water and sanitary living conditions. You bring back clothes that are covered in 30% Deet mosquito repellent, and the Cold From Hell. It was 95 degrees in India, and Boyfriend returned to temperatures below 40 here. Take that coupled with a 26 hour trip home, and it’s no wonder he has been laying in bed contemplating whether or not death is preferable to blowing his nose one more time.

I armed him with my small point and shoot before he left and told him to take lots of pictures. “Lots” to someone that was working 11 hour days in Bangalore equated to 4. Four pictures. Three of which were taken from the window of a cab, and one from his hotel the day he checked in (sans luggage, thank you British Airways) of a plate of macarons and mini-cakes because he thought I’d appreciate it. He knows me well.

I’m happy he’s home but pretty confident that I’m going to chain him to the water heater in the basement the next time he brings up potentially having to travel back to Bangalore. Fingers crossed this cold breaks early and he regains his will to live. It sucks to see him so sick, but it could definitely be worse. And at least he’s home.

Friday Five

It’s Friday! Last night I went out to dinner with my mom and her boyfriend to an amazing Italian restaurant. It was our first time there and it turned out to be one of the 10 best meals of my life. If you’re ever in East Falls, you have to go. I’m already planning when I can go back. The food was unbelievable, really excellent rustic Italian, and the service was impeccable. They even brought out birthday cannoli at the end with a little candle!  My mom was too mortified to let anyone sing to her, but we did anyway.

I’m happy to report Boyfriend landed safely last night after a grueling 20-some hour journey from India. He had a layover in London, where he loaded up on fish and chips, chatted with me on Skype, and secretly managed to hit every single store in the terminal to bring me back a bunch of British goodies. You guys. Like I needed another reason to be excited about his return home, imagine my delight when, picking himself up off the floor after I tackled him with hugs, he handed me a giant plastic bag filled with some of my favorite things in the entire world, all of which are unfortunately hard to come by unless you’re actually in England. I think my brain exploded with giddiness. It was an overload of joy. Boyfriend and British surprises? Sure, you can get some of these things in the states, but it’s just not the same and I don’t care how spoiled that makes me sound.

By some stroke of fate, or maybe he planned it that way, there were 5 things in that bag. And when life (or Boyfriend) hands you a perfect Friday Five, you don’t question it. Herewith, my favorite Friday Five to date:

1. Cadbury Dairy Milk minis / 2. PG Tips tea / 3. Elle Decoration / 4. Flake bars / 5. Aero bars

This morning for breakfast I had a large cup of PG Tips and half a Flake bar. Okay, and other breakfast food, but I can have a bagel any day of the week. It was like Christmas morning, which sort of makes up for the sore throat and cough I woke up with. Boyfriend is still on weird India time (I never actually figured out the time difference, either, haha) so at 3:30 this morning he was wide awake and so was Fitz, which meant so was I. If there was ever a morning that called for British chocolate, it was today.

I plan on spending the rest of the weekend drinking cup after cup of tea and finding the bottom of that big bag of Cadbury minis, flipping through the copy of Elle Decoration (!!) Boyfriend bought me. This is just about the most perfect assortment of things you could ever buy for me. Seriously. I’m not touching the Aero bars, even though they’re massive and there are two of them, because those are like gold to me and I am conserving them until absolutely necessary. Which might me tomorrow. Who knows. I’m still partly in shock. And deliriously happy.

The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow, so I think we’ll take Fitz for a long overdue trip to the dog park so he can run around like the crazy dog he is. He tends to get beat up a lot at the park by other dogs. He doesn’t have any manners. What are you guys up to? Anything fun and exciting? Lots of relaxation? Have a great one, kiddos. I’ll see you Monday.

“I’m Chuck Bass.”

First order of business: A very happy birthday to my Mommy (that’s Mommy Moo to you). Mom, I tried to buy you a younger age for your birthday since it was all you asked for, but there were some logistical complications. I love you! When the weather is nice I’m taking her to New York for the weekend and treating her me to Ladurée and a show on off Broadway.

Second order of business: Boyfriend is officially en route back to this side of the world, landing in Philadelphia at 8:30 tonight. I’m mostly excited for Fitz, who will finally be able to stop searching the house in a panic, convinced Male Human is hiding somewhere and why won’t he just come out and play already? And, okay, maybe I’m a little excited to have Boyfriend back, and not just because I get to sing, “Hey la, HEY LA, my boyfriend’s back!”

I finished season 4 of Gossip Girl last week and proceeded to freak out at Theresa about the cliffhanger it ended on. I’m not going to ruin it for anyone who might want to get into the show, but OH MY GOD. And the cruelest part is that the first 10 episodes of season 5 (which is currently airing) aren’t on Hulu Plus or Netflix or anything, so I’m left having to be patient (!#^%!^!&^) and wait until the season repeats over the summer. I might die. Of being overdramatic.

In an effort to distract myself, here is a round-up of items for the most intense character on the show: Charles Bartholomew Bass. He of the hotelier fame with the devilishly low voice. He might or might not have tried to date rape a few characters early on, but he redeemed himself by trading his girlfriend to his uncle for a hotel. It’s a long story, and one that only works on tv. 

 1. Whisky / 2. Flask / 3. Book / 4. Signet ring / 5. Ascot / 6. Cufflinks / 7. Notebook

I love a man who can rock an ascot, or own a $650 book of vintage soft-porn. That notebook says “Excesses I Had and Liked,” which, if you’ve ever watched a single episode, might as well be the alternative title to the entire show.

Who should I do next? I think I’m only interested in Dan and Serena. As far as I’m concerned Vanessa and Jenny are a waste of screen time.