Blue Nile Adds Diamond Studs In Several Sizes To Their Secret Sale

Hey guys, Blue Nile has added some diamond studs to their secret sale. I like mine either small, like this 1/4 carat total weight pair, or not small, like these.

1 carat total weight. Platinum

Again the sale’s 40% off with code SECRETSALE. That’s not nothing. It means the 1/4 carat pair are yours, or your daughter’s, for $417 vs. $695. And so on. You just might be in the market – diamond studs are exceptionally useful pieces of jewelry.


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Despite A Few Annoying Characteristics People Are Pretty Wonderful, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:18am

It’s been a week full of friends. The blogosphere veritably blossomed, in-world. I met Chronica Domus, Tish Jett, and Kim of Northern California Style for the first time. I spent a day with Susan from Une Femme. And then I made a December date to meet Adrienne of The Rich Life on a Budget.

Here on the blog, Chronica brought a crew of new commenters, who know so much about antiques I’m clapping my hands in excitement.

Never mind me. The women who came to Tish’s book signing, for the most part, came with friends. Women who parented together, women who worked together. Powerful. Creative. Warm. They touched each other on the elbows as they navigated a store full of glittered snowmen and white china.

I hope all of you, as we head into the season of Images Of Gatherings Of Happy Well-Lit People, have circles and fires at which to gather. I’ll try to keep things inclusive and attentive around here. I know that a column of comments isn’t anything like a group of loved ones in your house, but, if you find yourself in moment of loneliness, let’s say I’ve painted my blog front door as I did in-world, and I’m ready. Feel free to wax and wane.

Tonight my family, those who live in Northern California, are coming for dinner. We’re having a couple of whole grilled fish, the Korean short ribs recipe I worked out (yes, I’ll post it before the year is over), stir-fried greens, short-grained rice, salad, and a Kentucky Butter Cake which I made yesterday so as to have time to clean up all the flour that exploded from the mixing bowl.

I am not a good baker.

Maybe I’ll grab a minute to call my best friend in New Jersey. One Thanksgiving when I was recently divorced, and on my own, she had me over for dinner. Lots of memories fade these days, not that. Colored crystals on the candlesticks. I had no responsibilities, no tasks, it was almost as though I was not there. Except I was.

The question is always how to engage, how to fit in, how to find ease in company. One of the things I have learned as I age is that few people feel comfortable in groups. Not that I wish pain on anyone, but it’s helpful to know you’re not the only one worried about doing it right. I find the most “right” is when I disappear into the event and the people around me. Become transparent, if you will, Transparent and content.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, in company, if you like, or happy solitude.

A Well-Hosted Visit To The Monthly Alameda Antiques Fair

A while back, the blogger from Chronica Domus (she prefers to remain anonymous) invited me to join her at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. This past Sunday, I did just that.


The event is held every month in a very large open space on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay.


Chronica always attends the fair with her best friend. They welcomed their new companion with grace, including me as though we’d known each other for years. Having a best friend of my own, being so familiar with the bond, it was a pleasure to coast in the wake of their shared traditions and language.

Ostensibly, I was looking for a table like this one, from my grandmother’s house.


Chronica explained to me that it’s Federal style, but I don’t yet know if it’s a 20th century reproduction or the real thing. Either way, I’d like to find a twin for my guest-bedroom-in-progress.

As it turned out, no such tables, but I didn’t mind. I came home with a different souvenir, a Japanese porcelain bowl painted in Hong Kong for $6. eBay tells me Hong Kong-painted porcelain became so popular in the 60s that they had to import white basics from Japan for local companies to decorate and sell.

Later we ran into a spoon-sized silver Tiffany shovel for $40, so fun for a gardener, but one token seemed enough for the day so I kept only the memory. eBay tells me now it would have been a a steal.

Ah well, another time.

More than stuff, however, I brought home a better understanding of my own methods of thought. It’s never too late to know yourself. Just look at these images.






I’ve always been good at seeing big patterns quickly, deriving general principles from a limited set of data. Extrapolating the theme from the details. This antiqueing business requires the reverse, spotting that one detail you need in and among already-themed items.

As we age, we’re urged to take up bridge, or puzzles, to keep our brains hopping. I’d rather figure out how to find the one perfect lamp in a throng.


When I left, Chronica gave me a bag of lemons from her tree. I owe her my clean cutting boards.


And more. As my mom says, “A simple thank you will suffice.” But we’ll add some hypertext and images because it’s 2015, and because you too, if you’re in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, might want to stop by the Faire. (Shall we forgive them that final “E,” in the spirit of always looking past first impressions? Yes, I think so.)


1-6,10: LPC
7-9: Chronica Domus


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UPDATE: Tish Jett At Bianco In Los Gatos, Starts at 11:30am Not 10am

I’ll be there this afternoon. Would love to meet you.

That is all. Didn’t want anyone trekking up or down the Peninsula for naught.

How Long Does It Take To Choose A Front Door Color? For Some Of Us, A Very Long Time Indeed

You may remember that ~11 months ago I wanted to repaint my front door. You may also remember that I thought I wanted a red.


I didn’t. Why not? I tried. I really tried. But the green-gray of my house didn’t like blue-reds and I don’t like orange-reds and there you have it.

The experience convinced me I needed a whole new door. Mid-century modern like my house. Light wood, small windows.


The price of said door convinced me otherwise.

And then, in a flash of inspiration, quite different from the logical processes I usually follow, I knew. Janet lit the fires. Then Amy Beth Cup Dragoo did her barn, and Daniel his garage. Perhaps that means I’m trending but I don’t mind.

As of two weeks ago my front door is no longer a patchworked love child of intransigence and desire.


It’s black.

All black. A blue-green black satin, to be specific, known by its creators at Benjamin Moore as “Blacktop.” Makes me think of Jack Kerouac. The front door as road to somewhere. And ready for Hallowe’en, once I found a dark red planter with black speckles to keep my puny pumpkin company.

Door with empty planter

Looked nice and spooky with the traditional jack o’lantern hack.

Pumpking Hack

Monday, I planted hot pink cyclamen, in the mood for a little pink v. red dust-up.


Now we’re ready for guests.


Even if we are simply hosting ourselves.

Why did it take me so long? All the things I didn’t know; light plays funny tricks on surfaces, paint, in brief, is not fabric.

Why do I like it? The black door is classic, modernized by a non-glossy finish. The red and pink together, just ornery enough. And the utilitarian hardware store doormat? Even when you spend a year figuring something out, it’s nice to have it look easy when you’re done.

Blue Nile Is Having A Secret Sale

This post is presented in collaboration with Blue Nile

Blue Nile is having a “secret sale” on a few select pieces. Secret, as in it’s not navigable via their site, you have to use this link, here, and use the code SECRETSALE.

The sale is significant because it’s 40% off. Which means you could get this pretty silver, amethyst, and white topaz necklace for your daughter for ~$90, instead of $145. There’s something about that square with the drop shape.

Silver amethyst and topaz necklaceThe sale also includes a few nice pairs of earrings, particularly these in silver, and these, in gold.


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What Scares The High WASP Most, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:18am

A GhostWhat scares a High WASP most? The desire to make Art. Perhaps because it in turn makes clear you are trying and you care.

Happy Hallowe’en! Let’s keep the apostrophe but give away all our candy!

Oh, and if you’re in the mood for absurd crafts, a recent jack o’lantern hack. For stories, remembering my kids’ costumes past. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Upcoming Events With My Friends The Brilliant Style Bloggers

I need to alert you all to a couple of events upcoming in the next few weeks. Two of my favorite over-40 style bloggers, and long-distance friends for that matter, will be hosting events for their books. And, both here in the USA, even though both live in Europe.

On November 4th, Tish Jett, author of Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance, will be right here in Northern California, for a book signing. I’ll be there too. Sue, from Une Femme d’un Certain Age, and Jennifer, of A Well-Styled Life, are also planning on attending. Please do come along.

Tish Jett Book Signing
Date: Wednesday November 4th
Time: 10-5:30
Location: Bianco 418 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos
RSVP: Not needed. This is a holiday open house

Now, those of you on the East Coast, dry your tears! On November 17th, Alyson Walsh, author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous, will be in New York City, for her US book launch. I can’t make it, although had I known of the event previously I’d have scheduled my recent trip to coincide with Alyson’s visit. I expect it will be a fabulous party, given the planned Style Tribe cocktails and Alyson’s Northern England sense of humor.

Let’s rally the troops in support. Come by after work.

Alyson Walsh Book Launch
Date: Tuesday, November 17th
Time: 6 – 9pm
Location: Michele Varian (Soho Shop & Design Studio), 27 Howard Street (bottom of Crosby Street, v. close to the Canal Street subway stop)

It is wonderful to see talent and persistence recognized. I hope as many of you as possible can turn out in support. And party on.


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Objects Of Desire: That 70s Clothing

While fashion lacks a gale force trend right now, I think we might reasonably point out a few “breezes” — influences, if you will. The Seventies are in the air.

And that’s it for wind metaphors.

Anyone else here a teenager in the 70s? I thought so. Remember our bell-bottoms, skinny-rib tees, and hand-tooled leather handbags? The romanticism that flowered as the 60s faded, before disco took over? Puffy sleeves without irony?

You might be tempted to acquire a piece, maybe two, of type. Something that doesn’t require disrupting your wardrobe, but amuses and serves good purpose. BTW, if you’d like a sound track, here’s what I played on my turntable in 1974, over and over and over. Yearning Wr’ Us.

A Romantic Topper

The other day British company Poetry’s catalog arrived in the mail, unsolicited of course, and this viscose and silk velvet coat caught my eye.

Poetry Velvet Coat

You could wear it with impunity over last year’s skinny jeans and pointy flats, or boyfriend jeans and ankle boots. Or as a layer under your oversized camel coat. Subtle, but indicative. Poetry’s got a good returns policy, which is critical when buying internationally.

A Peasant Blouse

Aack! Peasant blouses! Our collective past! But, think about it, easy on the midriff, easy to pull on, might not be crazy. Besides, Tish Jett of Forever Chic and A Femme d’un Certain Age, concurs. (100% cotton and on sale.)

A Fringed Bag

A simple, relatively inexpensive cross-body bag with fringe? Cute. Even my uniform of New Balance sneakers, black tee, and boyfriends might benefit from a little handbag frivolity.


Or you could go all in. Because YSL made the high-end 70s. With some help from Halston, I suppose. There’s a book that concurs.

An Opinionated Patterned Tee

And, if you really preferred the glitter 70s to the grunge, remember the NikNik shirts that some guys wore? Pretty obnoxious. But a wildly patterned tee might be kind of fun. NikNik 2.0.

Pashma Silk and Cashmere Paisley Top

Via Halsbrook, in silk and cashmere for winter. It comes in other colors too.

One final note. Fie on those who say if you wore it the first time don’t wear it the next. Impunity, my friends, impunity and a good haircut. OK, impunity, a good haircut, and a love of adventure.


Thérèse Nielsen, AKA @nyreader, has given me permission to post this tweet about her beloved hand-tooled leather bag. Thus proving, in case any doubt remained, the 70s were real.

Thérèse, I thank you from the bottom of my blue suede lace-up shoe wearing heart.



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Something Original And Beautiful For Winter Hospitality


I love a last minute holiday rush. Malls, Amazon deliveries, and late night wrapping. No early Christmas shopping for me. But I like to ready my hospitality in advance. Something about preparing for guests soothes the soul in a way that buying presents does not. You?

Last year, in preparation for and celebration of the winter holidays, I acquired a new loveseat, table, and ottoman. Needed room for everyone to sit down. This year, I’m thinking maybe lampshades for the guest room. What, you don’t like glaring naked lightbulbs either? Fine then.

As for the table, around which we might gather? Mine is, for the most part, “set.” Not as in actually set, but set as in I know what I’ll use. Now is a good time to check inventory – of things that break, like interesting glasses and white plates, or things that seem to decamp in the night to Tanzania, like that 10th berry-colored linen napkin.

Alternatively, it’s a good time to summon a crew of beautiful weirdos to table. And I don’t mean your family. I’ve been admiring the mother-of-pearl handled flatware in Pigtown Design’s Etsy shop for ages. Meg is a longtime blogger, who writes here about traditional design, Baltimore architecture, and antiqueing forays.

Look at these.


The gorgeous, intricate engraved blades. Oh the ferns! They’re silverplate over steel, do not put them into the dishwasher. This isn’t regular silverware, game for wanton washing.


The luster of the handles.


Meg has other sets, large and small. Mix them with plain spoons, butter knives, even fish knives, if you’re hosting an implement-intensive feast. In fact, I hear she’s got some fish knives on the way. These are the kind of home goods that can become a family story of their own.


Illustration courtesy Marilyn Pollack Naron, charming food illustrator.

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