When Children’s Rooms Grow Up

You guys up for another game of Give Lisa Your Opinions On Color? It was so much fun with the front door, let’s play for my “studio!”

Yes, as part of my house interior update, my son’s room is becoming a “studio.” I use the quotation marks because I have not yet earned the right to use that term in its full sense. “Office,” on the other hand, feels a little “off.” (Sorry.) I may eventually settle on “workroom,” but I’ll see how the space evolves before deciding.

This is how the room looked, before.


The rug, a soft forest green carpet remnant, for floor play. Daybed, thrown in a Christmas ago, to house guests. Carved wooden four-poster, where my son slept for years, from my grandmother’s house. One of my cousins must own its twin; my mother and her siblings were more focused on fairness than integrated furniture futures.

And here’s the room as of April, 2015.


Here’s what you see.

  • Pottery Barn daybed, here
  • Dash & Albert “Harlequin” rug
  • A very old quilt from Garnet Hill that used to live on my daughter’s bed
  • Another, antique, quilt one of my best college friends gave me for my first wedding. Not sure if it works here, but am enjoying the experiment.
  • A 35-year old lamp from George Kovacs’ now-closed Manhattan store
  • Mission rocking chair I bought from an East Bay antique store when I was in high school
  • Pottery Barn cushion (current offerings)
  • The corner of an old Ikea chest of drawers

Eclectic, as one does at 58.

I like to sit in the rocker and stare out the window. The bed will house guests when I’m lucky enough to have any.


Here’s what you see when you enter the room. If you’re visualizing as you read, this area sits at kitty corners to the daybed. I’m keeping my son’s old Ikea desk, and I bought an Ikea chair recently, to match. Essentially, I’ve split the space, the area by the window is cozy, colorful, and berugged, the area by the desk wood-floored, neutral, and practical.

As always, I’m using feng shui principles as a starting point for the fixup. As always, because why not? Without constraints, a few limits on my choices, I’d never do anything.

What does feng shui indicate for this area of the bagua?

  • It’s the space of children & creativity
  • Use white, pastel colors
  • Fill with stuff that supports and inspires the tasks at hand

Creativity, well that’s a lucky break. Pastels, you see in evidence. (I absolutely love the rug, thanks Mom!) Task support, I’ll organize. But what I’m enjoying almost most of all is hanging creative work by friends and family, as inspiration.


Photos by Cara Forbes. Her print shop is here. I might also want this one, of a Scottish beach.


Photos by Brigitte Carnochan, my stepmother. On the left, my daughter from ballet days. On the right, a vase of flowers Gitta gave my son to color, when he was little. Never underestimate the joy of having a real photographer in the family. Gitta’s website is here. My favorite is probably this, of grasses, a palladium/platinum triptych.


Watercolor on the floor by my cousin, Reeve Schley. A few of his other works, here. And, another Pottery Barn cushion, which used to live on my sofa, but why waste? I’m too old to suffer a wooden seat.

I’m not done here, not by a long shot. But I have an important question. What color should I paint the bookcase? It faces the daybed. Cute 23-year old photo of my children, gratis.


The easy choice would be a neutral shade from the rug, tied to the the Ikea pieces. I considered blue, to pick up the cushions, but blue seems too safe. Had I not put my Lily Pulitzer heritage behind me, I’d Think Pink.

But I’m really tempted by lavender. A dusty, grayed-in lavender. The color would refer, subtly, to the now-tamed purple-gray bathroom tile, and pick up the rug.

A closeup of Mme. Harlequin. Fuzzy socks, gratis.


I open the floor to you, my distinguished and well-loved guests.


Pottery Barn links are the only affiliate links here, as such they may produce commissions.

Flowers In The House, Apricot Rose Edition

It’s time for Flowers In The House. Jane over at Small But Charming occasionally hosts a blogger linkup in which everyone posts photos of, unsurprisingly, Flowers In Their Houses.

These are my apricot roses, in a brief moment of integrity before they begin to drop scented petals on the floor.


Which may be their way of mourning the lost sun. After all, they started here.


If you’d like to see more flowers, and it’s Monday, so perhaps you might, the other links are here. If you have a Flowers in the House post, please feel free to link up. And, if you do visit, please tell Jane you hope her (minor but still) surgery goes well.

A Responsibility Of Privilege, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:41am



I know you all feel as I do about kindness. Maybe thoughtfulness is one of the next practices that might come with privilege? In other words, given education, and experience, do we owe the world a willingness to stand and think?

I was talking to my younger British friends, online of course, about parenting in America. They told me that from where they sit, young American mothers appear to be polarized. In this case, the battle is Sleep Trainers vs. Attachment Parenters. Do you put your baby on a schedule and let her “cry it out” when bedtime comes, or do you carry him everywhere, including into your bed? Apparently there’s no room for muddling through, or adapting to your particular child.

I can barely even bring myself to talk about our larger political environment. I dread the upcoming presidential election. So much stupidity, so much vitriol on the way. I think I could handle one or the other, both, please, no.

Here’s an untested hypothesis about our situation. America’s big and diverse. We’re riddled with gaps, in wealth, culture, life experience. Meanwhile, everyone wants to be heard. First the FCC removed the requirements for radio and television to provide equal representation for opposing points of view on important subjects. Then the number of communication outlets proliferated, with cable and opening up of the spectrum.

Finally, well, much as I love it, social media. Commence polarized yelling.

So America fights, entrenched for safety, lobbing absolutes across the battlefield in an attempt at kapow. When many of us know, if we’re honest, it’s not that simple. Nothing you can imagine that has more than one actor is simple. The mother/baby dyad is already complex, countries’ political, economic, and legal systems defy certainty.

It’s so tempting to find a position and stick to it. It’s easy to form opinions, and then look for data and anecdotes to reinforce what you want to believe. It’s hard to remember, “I could be wrong.”

I’m not advocating a mass retreat to uncertainty. Women in particular need to practice outspoken assurance. But I do think that when we live in abundance, our thoughtfulness and careful address of the other may allow us to repay some of our debt.

I’m staking many a good night’s sleep on this theory, so I hope I have it right. And no, I’m not going into the business of motivational posters, just playing. A privilege. Enjoy your weekend, may abundance follow you around.

If I Were Stopping By Macy’s Today

If I were stopping by Macy’s today, I’d notice in the window that they’re having a 25% off Friends and Family sale. Wandering the floors, I might decide to finally pick up a pair of amethyst earrings.

Drop Amethyst Earrings

They are ostensibly $300, then half off in that frequent department store discount habit to $150, and then an additional 25% off for Friends and Family. Which brings us to, muttering under my breath as I arithmetic it out, $112.50 for 14K gold and ~6 carats of amethyst. Amethysts perhaps irradiated, but for a splash of purple I can forgive.

Those of you with warm coloring might prefer these in citrine.

In truth, I don’t know if the sale extends to bricks and mortar, I admit to flights of fancy. Today online, however, Macy’s has many, many goods at 25% off with the code FRIENDS, with free shipping for orders over $99.

They seem to be experiencing heavy traffic, maybe due to sale popularity, so perhaps keep trying if at first you don’t get through.

Thank You To That’s Not My Age And To The Guardian

I’m very grateful and flattered to be included in Alyson Walsh’s article, “Getting married over 40: fashion for the meringue-averse bride,” up today on the Guardian’s online site. Alyson, the author of both the blog, That’s Not My Age, and a new book, Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous, has written about wedding style over 40. As always, she is witty and unpretentious, with style for miles. You should see the other brides she features.

Thank you Alyson, and to the Guardian as well. All photo credit goes to Emilia Schobeiri, of Emilia Jane Photography. She is, as I understand it, quite willing to travel.



Rocksbox Redux – Defining What Isn’t Our Personal Style With Help From Friends And Family

Here’s another installment in exploring personal style with Rocksbox jewelry. The last set tested personal geometry. This time we’ll focus on ornamentation and color.

In choosing my next pieces from the Rocksbox Wish List, I hearted a certain Gorjana cuff. Their stylist added dangling Trina Turk earrings, and a very dangly necklace by Charlene K.


Pretty, right? But when I went to get dressed, this set fought with my personal style so hard it bullied me into a trip to Imaginary Texas.


Standing outside Neiman Marcus in the Shopping Center. Seemed only fitting.

In thinking about this set, I had planned to wear white jeans and a white tee, a blue utility jacket, and dark Birkenstocks. The usual Aging Intellectual Tomboy Californian getup. This jewelry would have none of it. “Add a lace tee and resort sandals,” it ordered. “But, but,” I stammered, my only lace tee is from Costco!” “That is your shame to bear,” said the bling.

The necklace even forbade me to wear my hair in a braid. Updo, OK.

Let’s take a look at the set in better light, at my father’s house. Next time Rocksbox is welcome to send a cute dog as part of the package.



What we see is that the accumulation of visual details, and the degree of dangle, conflict with my preferred more streamlined style. It would be hard to use tools while wearing that necklace. Also, coral-red is not for She Who Loves Blues.

My family agreed that this set Was Not Me. My sister took particular issue with the color of the earrings next to my face. My father might have said something, but was too astonished that yes, in fact, my jeans were holey on purpose.

By the way, data now indicates that the majority of High WASPs believe one should put one’s own holes in the knees of one’s jeans. They do not, however, object to Costco tees, only to Costco visual overwhelm.

This set would be good on someone who wears skinny jeans, maybe heels, and a blazer with rolled sleeves. Someone who sports a topknot with ease. Someone with coloring in the yellow family, who endorses vivid, and the high contrast of coral with black.

I’ll do one more Rocksbox post, next month. I’m thinking about trying a pendant necklace, to see if that’s how I want to repurpose my extra pearls and random small stones. I might even try out a honking big ring. If there’s anything you’d like to see, feel free to weigh in.

As long as you’re experimenting, I say, do it with gusto. We learn at the fringes.

What I’m Wearing Besides The Jewelry

  1. White “Nobody” Boyfriend Jeans via Ssense
  2. Charles Jourdan sandals. Vintage, i.e. I bought them 20 years go. Ssense has a few not wholly dissimilar luxury sandals, here, and here. A somewhat more reasonable option, here. Wholly unrelated, I love these.
  3. Lace tee from Costco, $9.99. One can make a lot of hay with a lace tee. Similar albeit more than $10 via Lord & Taylor.
  4. Bottega Veneta Large Hobo in blue. Same bag now available in navy (!!!) via Neiman Marcus. If this had been available in 2014 I surely would have opted for the High WASP color of choice.
  5. White cotton sweatshirt peacoat held over the shoulder in the shopping center photo so it looks like I’m hoisting a secret sail, UNIQLO.

Your code for one month of Rocksbox free is skyepealexoxo. This post is not sponsored, if you sign up I receive $25 in credits which, if they accumulate, I will use towards a Privilege giveaway. Most of the clothing detail links are affiliate and may produce commissions.

The Boy Child Turns 25



My son turns 25 today. I feel far too much love and pride to express in one blog post.

Happy birthday honey. Much love, Mom.

Tea And Epidemics, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:04am

This morning I will be having tea with Maryn McKenna, a journalist and author who specializes in public health, global health and food policy. How did that come to pass? These pages. I urge any of you who think about writing a blog, as long as you can carve out several hours a week and establish a routine, go ahead. It’s quite a journey.

In other important news, it rained last night in California. Plants are celebrating all around us.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

If I Were Stopping By J. Crew Today

We have a J. Crew in my neighborhood, as I imagine do many of you. I find their merchandising displays enchanting. The color mix!

But if I were stopping by today, or this weekend, I’d try these on. I’ve been sending the universe requests for 100% cotton non-dowdy khakis for donkey’s years; maybe these are they. 100% cotton gets me the straight line from lower hip joint to hem that I prefer.

Boyfriend Khakis

I might have liked to have given these a shot,

J. Crew White Selvedge Jeans
but I recently bought, and am wearing, these,

White Boyfriend Jeans



so I think I’m set for white jeans. Although, had I found the J. Crew version first, I might have shelled out extra cash for the privilege of making my own holes in the knees.

I’m dressing often in a palette of soft neutrals these days, tan, white, light gray, dark gray. Works well with gray hair and blue eyes. Perhaps a little odd to wear the colors of your bathroom, but we’ll keep that to ourselves.


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Wishing us all small changes, day by day, for the better.

Photo credit from NASA, here.