September 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
So, Mr. H and I were in London for a few seconds this summer. I must admit, it isn’t my favorite city, but I suppose it has its moments. Many of these moments can be found at Claridges, which is a celebration of the insanely glamourous Art Deco style. (However, The Carlyle does it up a tad more subtly and with far better service. There, I’ve said it.) The hotel has also preserved some rather excellent bits of More Dignified Times, such as a manned elevator with very plush little banquettes to sit on while you elevate, a truly delightful tea service, sparkling whatnots everywhere, and this thing on our nightstand:
I don’t suppose Waterworks sells one of these, but I could really use one, especially if the buttons actually delivered what is promised.
I am sorry to disappoint, but every photo I took of the interiors is too awful to post, so you will have to just visit their site to see how fabulous the place really is: http://www.claridges.co.uk/gallery2.aspx?id=3288
That said, all is not lost, since the most amusing part of the trip for me was a little something I found just up the road from the hotel:
I wasn’t even looking for this, as I honestly didn’t think anyone would care to memorialize where the Bee Gees wrote any of their music. Not to say the Brothers Gibb should not be memorialized and celebrated, but, really, we don’t do these kinds of things in New York. (Could you imagine???) Which I guess is why this little bit of nuttiness made me like London a little bit more this time around. Even if a decent meal and some genuinely hospitable service is in somewhat short supply.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
September 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
I am writing this as a group of men are using very loud equipment to chip off the existing facade of my house. (It will then be replaced, I sincerely hope.) Getting to the “destruction” phase of this project has highlighted how much knowledge one can amass over time that is not necessarily something that you would pass on to younger generations unless you made a point of remembering to do so. And since I probably won’t be writing a book on the topic of Managing Your Life, I thought I’d put some of it down here.
So here we go!
Don’t get too set on marrying your college sweetheart. True, I know of three couples that met in college and are still happily together, but the odds are not in your favor. Try to think of these relationships as Starter Marriages Without the Paperwork and carry on.
Also, enjoy the insane amount of time you have with your friends now…it gets harder and harder as you get older to find enough hours in the day. And I know people say this all the time, but that is because it is true.
This is a good time to start getting into the habit of keeping things tidy and organized. Sure, it can be fun to ignore all housekeeping rules you lived under as a kid for the first few months out on your own, so do what you must to feel “free”. But after a bit, really, make your bed, do your laundry (and put it away), keep your bathroom clean, dust and, for Pete’s sake, WIPE UP THE CRUMBS. These are good habits to develop now so that you don’t have One of Those Houses later in life.
When you leave the house, try not to look like La Sonnambula. (Although, that is a lovely costume in the ballet.) Dressing with purpose gives you a little lift. Also, I can’t be alone in appreciating the effort when someone is dressed like they care. In fact, I know this to be true, since shopkeepers and the like will almost always treat you better when you are dressed properly. This isn’t about expensive or trendy…it is about pride and good manners.
Also, regarding women’s shoes, a possibly earth-shattering bit of information: A pair of nude-colored shoes are a better investment than a pair of black ones. Neutral goes with everything; black goes with very little. Trust me on this one and spend wisely. Same with handbags and the like. Although I tend to like purple for evening bags. But that could just be me.
It has been my experience that I never regretted spending my hard-earned dollars being generous or doing the Right Thing, if that makes any sense. Just make sure it comes out of your “nice to have” budget and not the “essentials” portion.
Now You’re Really In It
Seriously, the best part of my wedding (aside from getting hitched to Mr. H) was going down the aisle and seeing all those smiling faces of the people in attendance to celebrate with us. So, whichever end of the aisle you are at, take a moment to take it all in, as I am pretty sure you will remember it for the rest of your life.
Also, figuring out the seating plan at a wedding will make you feel like a Ninja when you are done. Keep in mind what you have learned and put it to good use at dinner parties and the like later.
So, you now “own this piece of s***”, as Samantha Jones once said to Carrie. Congratulations and my condolences. It is going to be great and a lot of work. Please, for your own happiness and sanity…
– Test paint on each wall before you do the entire room. ON the walls…in big, wide strips.
– Be patient when decorating. Rushing often leads to wasted money.
– Appointments with home care professionals are always “tentative” on their end. This is especially true for Electricians, HVAC Servicemen, and The Cable Guy. As such, schedule several on one day so it isn’t a complete waste when one or two don’t show. (And don’t drink too much water on these days for obvious reasons…)
– Believe and live “Cheap is Expensive”, since it is.
– Know that you will probably spend more time waiting for your new windows to come in than you will spend finding your dream job, perfect mate or even that perfect place to live. (Which will probably need to have the windows replaced.)
Catherine Deneuve is believed to have said that when it comes to aging, you have “to choose between your a** and your face”. I don’t know if this is true, as my a** pretty much has a mind of its own. But I do know that if you haven’t been, you should start getting very serious about skin care. Moisturize (everywhere!!) and be careful in the sun from here on out.
OMG, There’s More???
You are no longer young enough to be completely carefree, and you are too old for hooey. So I say do only what you have to, what pleases you and what you feel like trying on for size.
Since you probably don’t have much time for gardening and arranging flowers, it might be comforting to know that you can get an orchid to bloom again. I know because I have done it myself and it is easy: After the first round of blooms have died off, cut that stem down by about 50% below the nearest notch and just let it be in not-so-direct sun. It takes a while, but when they do bloom you won’t believe how fresh an orchid can be.
I used to throw bigger parties (think 40 – 50 people), but realized that I never got to spend time with anyone and was exhausted by the end. So now I keep it to between four and ten guests, create a menu that does not require a lot of time and attention, and set a table that looks inviting but not “table-scaped”. (Is there a more stupid entertaining trend? Avoid.) Also, for weekends with guests that inevitably include lengthy, wine-soaked dinners that frequently start with cocktails and end with nightcaps, water glasses must be full at all times. And, it does not hurt to keep individual coconut waters on hand for everyone before bed and in the morning.
Generally, it is never as good or as bad as you think it is going to be. And, more importantly, you never know what “it” is going to be, no matter how much planning, imagining or worrying you do. So it simply isn’t productive to obsess over what could happen. (This is a Development Area for me.)
It does not take a lot of time to have a little fun. So make sure that you do.
(Photo of a rather sensible shoe: Some Cozy Night)