Our Many Homes: The Vermont Retreat


Part two! Today I’m all about the woodland retreat. Some converted barn up in Vermont with an open floor plan, 200 year old wood beams, and wide windows to look out across all our rolling acres of farm and forest. There will be a little writer’s shed in the back (like Roald Dahl!), where I can get away from The Boy for a couple of minutes. For whatever reason he seems to think that the two best times to start a conversation with me are 1) when I am reading or, 2) when I am writing.

We’ll come visit in fall, when the whole landscape is soaked with the blood of trees and the apples are ripe for picking. We’ll tap for maple syrup and eat pancakes until we burst. We’ll come visit in winter, and The Boy can go skiing while I curl up with my sheepskin blanket, my book, and my boozy hot cider. But my favorite season of all is summer. Summer in New England is magic. Sure, it’s oppressively hot and the humidity clings to your skin in a wet film. But the blackberries grow wild in the yard, the tomatoes hang heavy on the vine, and the fireflies flicker against the stars.

PS: How freaking rad is that pantry?

More homes tomorrow, but if you can’t wait until then you can always take a peek at my Pinterest.

Image sources, clockwise from left: 1, 2, 3

Our Many Homes: The LA Pad

I want so many things. I want to grow my own tomatoes. I want an entire closet for just my shoes. I want enough shoes to fit in said closet. I want my own land, land so big that I can stand on the back porch and hoot and holler and no one but the pigs will hear me. I want a home filled with love, and magic, and hidden nooks for curling up with books, and secrets waiting to be discovered. I want my purple house.

But here’s the thing: I have too many tastes, and ideas, and personalities just to fit in one home. I want a thousand homes, a million homes, a home in every port, a home for every mood. So this week, every day I’ll do a new post for each of my imaginary, one-day homes.

LA padToday’s post is all about my dream pad in LA. Los Angeles is my home right now, but I think The Boy and I would eventually like to move north where there are more trees and fewer cockroaches. There are lots of things about LA that I could happily live without: the traffic, the trash and grime, and at least some of the people (the ones who gladly live up to every LA stereotype). But there’s plenty of stuff I love about LA, too: the sunshine, the funky neighborhoods, the thrift shopping, the tacos. I could never say goodbye to all that, not completely.

In my fantasies, my LA home is a bungalow up in the hills around Griffith Park. On warm summer nights, The Boy and I walk to concerts at the Greek Theatre. Inside is all mid-century glamour: lots of white with gold accents and pops of bright color. We’ll put on Motown records and dance around in front of our huge windows that look out across the city below while we drink whisky out of these moroccan lowball glasses.

Tune in tomorrow for more housing dreams, or check out my Pinterest for inspiration!

Image sources, clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3


The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Big Brother

So far we’ve covered sisters big and small, and now it’s time to talk about my last sibling: the older brother. My older brother was the first to introduce me to Led Zeppelin and Lord of the Rings, which means I can credit him with at least two of the reasons why I’m cool. My brother and I bond over three things: books, booze, and food. He’s also pretty much the funniest person I know. He always has the most perfect, acerbic  witticisms that just bite people to the core. It’s not always fun to be on the receiving end, but I’m his least annoying sister so I’m usually in the clear.

1) Ice Sphere Molds: Because he’s a total whiskey snob. Pair with a bottle of his favorite to ensure the best sister ever prize.

2) Christmas Sweater: Cozy + cool.

3) Sight Gag Bookends: There were really so many good ones to choose from, like this. Or thisOr

4) Slate Coasters: For his brand new, grown up apartment.

5: The Genius of David Thorne: Because he’s the snarkiest jerk you know, and you love him for it.

5) A Cool Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For Ma

Today’s guide focuses on the most important gift you’ll give this holiday season: the present for Mom. At my house, presents for Mom are a big deal, and rightfully so. My mom loves to give gifts. She’s never said as much, necessarily, but I can always tell how happy it makes her when I really love a present. My mom spends a lot of time and energy looking for cool and interesting gifts to give her kids. We always got the neatest presents as kids, and the same is true today. I think she deserves some pretty stellar gifts, herself.

1) Hedgehog Measuring Cups: If there is one thing my mother and I have in common, it’s a deep, abiding love for whimsical but useless objects. But I mean, come on. HEDGEHOGS. Who cares if they’re impractical?

2) Cupcake Candle Holder: Because her cupcakes are so good they need accessories.

3) Dessert Tour of Your Local City: My mom has such a sweet tooth, she would eat dessert for every meal if she could. Dessert tours are available in most major cities, and it would be such a fun and tasty way to spend the day together. Or you could even plan your own tour, with all your favorite stops.

4) A Mug From Your Favorite Book to Read Together: Because the greatest gift my mother ever gave me was an introduction to my favorite books. This mug features the royal crest from The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, one of the greatest under-appreciated children’s books of all time. The crest reads, “Peace, Love, and a Sense of Fun!”

5) A Handsome Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home (and this guy looks exactly like our dog).

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Kid Brother

So I don’t exactly have a younger brother, but I do have a younger (almost) brother-in-law. He’s in his junior of college now, and double majoring in history and game design (which is just about the coolest combination ever). The Boy is good friends with his brother, which means that I am as well, and the three of us have a lot of fun together. It’s really nice to have someone around to gang up on The Boy with me. The future BIL and I bond over fantasy books, bad impressions of cockney accents, and (of course) merciless  mockery of his older brother. I love him because on the one hand he’s insightful as hell, but sometimes he can be a prickly little bastard. He and I love bickering and sniping at each other, all with great affection, of course.

 1) Lasercut Marble Machine: Hours of fascination, and it will fit on his dorm room desk!

2) Zombie Demon Fantasy Skull Gauntlet Hand Claw – I’m pretty sure the name is just a meaningless string of words, but that’s ok because this is the coolest thing ever.

3) Das Horn: This is a drinking horn. A drinking horn. What college-age brother DOESN’T need a drinking horn? He will be the coolest kid at school.

4) Kill Screen Subscription: A thoughtful quarterly on his favorite subject, for the future game designer.

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For Pops

These gifts are all for the most important man in your life: Dad. My dad, as you may remember, is awesome. He builds me things. He’s not afraid to tell me I’m stupid when I try to cure a cold with a spoonful of hot sauce (this actually happened, and he was right). And you know how most people walk through life feeling too embarrassed to say the important things to the people they love? That’s so not my dad. He’s always the first in line to tell me that he’s proud of me, that he loves me, that I’ve done good. So he deserves a pretty stand up gift, I’d say.

1) Oak Burger Planks: For the ultimate grill master.

2) Pickle-of-the-Month Subscription: What’s better than Olivebox? Getting pickles in the mail every month. Or you could go the jerky route; either way, you can’t lose. This one works best if you live within driving distance of your dad, so you can sample all the treats.

3) Automoblox: As a kid, my dad loved to put together model cars. He once told me that this was the genesis of his career as a film editor: putting small pieces together to tell a complete story. These cool cars mix the old with the new, and this set comes with three different models and universal parts, so he can devise his own creations.

4) Concert Tickets: My dad and I have a running deal: I will go see Bruce Springsteen with him, if he will come to a Furthur show with me. Shared moments are so much more meaningful than objects. A gift like this tells your dad that you want to let him in on part of your life, and show him a little bit of who you are as an adult. Doesn’t get much better than that. (Photo by Dylan Carney, courtesy of Furthur)

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

See more gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Baby Sis

We’ve already talked about the big sister, so today’s gift guide is for your younger sis. My baby sister and I have always been really close. She’s a lot like me, if I were quiet, sweet-tempered, and made friends easily. So basically she’s nothing like me… but that hasn’t stopped us from being friends.

My favorite thing about my little sister is her sensitivity. That’s not always a good thing for her. She gets hurt easily, and I always feel like I need to protect her. But I’ve never known anyone filled with so much love and compassion for others. Right now she’s off at school learning how to be a social worker, and the downside to that is I don’t get to see her or talk to her as often as I’d like. Next year she’s moving out of the dorm and into her very first apartment, so these gifts are all about building a bright, cheerful home, where she can can look around at all her pretty things, and know I’m always looking out for her.

1) Mini Succulent Planters: Because every house needs some green, and succulents are *nearly* impossible to kill.

2) Tissue Tassel Garland: How could you not wake up in a good mood every day with this festive beauty hanging above your bed?

3) Harry-Inspired Notebook: Because in your mind’s eye, she’s still twelve years old and dressing up for the midnight release party.

4) Chevron Vanity Tray: So she can get ready each morning in style.

5) Where the Wild Things Are Mobile: So she can have a wild rumpus every day.

6) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out my Pinterest for more gift inspirations!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Refined Dude

Today’s gift guide focuses on that gentleman who really appreciates the finer things in life. His interests run to good food, good drinks, beautiful furniture, and beautiful women. Paul was my roommate for the better part of last year, and he holds a really special place in my heart. He’s one of the most thoughtful people I know, and he always knows how to have fun. He can make friends with anyone he meets, and he brews a darn fine cup of coffee. He’s a true romantic spirit in the best possible way. He believes in the grand gesture, and in the power of small perfect moments. He surrounds himself only with objects of value; he’s the kind of person who would rather go without than buy something cheap and poorly made. I’m so glad that The Boy has such a good friend, not least because now Paul is a part of my life, too.

1) Camano Coffee Mill – Because, much like Agent Dale Cooper, he understands the magic of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

2) Enamelware Mugs: Paul is continually breaking mugs and glasses; he just doesn’t know his own strength! These steel enamelware mugs are stylish and sturdy enough to withstand his he-man grip.

3) Handbound Leather Notebook: For all his musings and grand ideas.

4) Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit: Because he’d always rather make his own than buy something, and now he can extend that to his food. Plus mushrooms are fascinating and delicious.

5) Grooming Supplies: Because he always needs to look his best.

6) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out more of my gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Best Friend: Part Two

I mentioned in the first gift guide that I have three best friends, and today I’d like to talk about another one. Maggie has known me since I was fourteen years old, and she loved me so much that she followed me to college. We’ve known each other through all our most embarrassing decisions and fashion choices. I can’t get rid of her now, because if I ever get famous, this girl has the dirt for the tell-all. So this gift guide is dedicated to Maggie: the friend with the great job, great taste, and great advice. She bakes, she hosts dinner parties, she works a million hours a week and she’s always available to talk you down when you want to shoot your boyfriend in the kneecaps.

1) Picasso Cats Scarf: I once promised Maggie the most hideous cats sweater for her birthday. It had tiny ceramic cat figurines sewn on it. We’ve never been able to find it since, but I think this Leah Goren scarf is way better.

2) Glass Pyramid Display Box: Because she owns more baubles, doodads, and jewelry than anyone you know, and they deserve to be displayed.

3) Vintage Crystal Decanter: So she can start her grown up bar collection.

4) An Olivebox Subscription: The papercraft gift that keeps on giving!

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out more gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Big Sis

Today’s gift guide is all about your older sister. All my life, my big sister was classy, pulled together, poised, and I was… not. She had neater handwriting and straighter hair. She was more photogenic, and (unlike me) she never chipped her manicure before she even left the nail salon. When I was a kid, we were bitter rivals. Today, we live in the same city and we’re good friends. I love her because she has impeccable taste and she always thinks of the wittiest comebacks.  But sometimes, just because she’s my big sister, I still want to kick her in the shins.

1) Gold Bar Necklace: Because she loves shiny, sparkly things.

2) Gold-trimmed Champagne Coupes: Because champagne is the only drink she actually likes, and you can’t make a champagne pyramid with flutes.

3) Chic Stationary: So little miss manners can send her thank you notes in style. Or, you could go with this alternative

4) Oversized Narwhal Pillow: Because no matter how pulled together she looks, she’s still a big goof sometimes.

5) A Cute Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out all of my gift inspirations on my Pinterest!