Prep, Party, Parade, Plans

Carnival season in New Orleans has ended, and for that, I and my liver are truly grateful.  For us, the highlight of Mardi Gras weekend is the Endymion Parade, which is the only parade that passes close to our house.  Endymion is a super-crew--that means they have a large number of floats, huge floats, celebrity grand marshalls, major bands and singers performing at their ball, and they roll during the weekend before Mardi Gras when the city has been whipped into a frenzy (especially this year...Who Dat Nation---finally a grassroots organization I can get behind..  Since we live a block from the route, our house becomes the scene of an all day event--which means days of prep before hand.  This year, out of town guests dropped by unexpectedly the day before while we were still cleaning.  Notice the cleaning supplies still on the console.
So, what's a host to do?   Turn the lights down low so the still-present dirt can't be seen, and pour the drinks with a ration of 1 to 1 liquor to mixer so the the guests won't remember any dirt even if they have night vision.

Besides, with a support staff like mine, who can go wrong?  Cleo, our helpful concierge sizing up the situation:
And showing our guests the hospitality the South has been long known for:
And Damien had the kitchen "situation" well under control:
Luckily, parade day was clear and sunny, if a bit chilly.Even if the bottle tree my 80 year old father made for us was the only tree left alive after this winter.  (By the way, I have to admit it took less than a week for us to fill in the foliage with empty bottles--but that's what happens when your significant other works as a wine manager.)
Finally the parade:
But I didn't let the festivities interfere with my plans for blogging domination. I'm trying to develop a strategy:  Do I crossover into mommy blogging like dooce?  But I soon realized there were a couple of flaws in that plan, not limited to  the fact that I was unlikley to gain media attention for being fired for blogging since:  a: I work for myself, and  b: the only time I was fired was in the mid 90s, and it involved (among several other things) introducing  a client's wedding heirloom ( a crystal bowl HER mother received as a wedding present)  to a tile floor.  Perhaps I could try to steal  the title of Host with the Most from Eddie Ross?  However after realizing I just greeted guests with (unused) cleaning products left out, enough visible pet hair that someone asked if we were participating in a pet cloning experiment, and matching "stemware" that matched because it was actually red plastic ups from the dollar store, I probably would not win that contest.   (In fact, the "matching stemware" included not only the red cups, some clear cups from leftover from last year, and some purple plastic cups that came in a Crown Royal gift pack---faced with drunken hoards, I asked myself what would Martha do and decided to mix materials--so festive!  so unexpected!  And luckily Mardi Gras crazed drunken hoards turn out to not be that particular about either their beverage or its container) So since I have neither children or fine china to exploit, I've settled on exploiting my pets.  I hope it worked, but somehow I don't think "furkid" blogging is really going to catch on.


There Has To Be a Morning After

This is how I feel ( and look) this morning--the day after our annual Endymion parade day long party.  I have no party pics (the hubs lost the memory card from the camera during superbowl festivities in the French Quarter), but rest assured it was as beautiful, tasteful, and elegant as the above photo suggests.  It's not a great party until a drunk girl staggers through the house screaming, "Where the Hell is my rubber chicken?" and someone passes out in the middle of the kitchen.  Good times.


Overwhelmed, Underwhelmed, and Why I Started Blogging

Now I know where I've been going wrong in my latest round of D-I-Y projects:  if I had gloves to match my shirt and a blond to bring me ice cold refreshment, maybe work would be less overwhelming, though I prefer my "light refreshment" to include rum, coke (sorry Miss Crawford, wherever you are), and a twist of lime.

I've been posting lightly lately.  It's for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, some minor medical issues, a time consuming work project, and the whirl of  family related Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras activities.  By next week, most of those issues will be resolved, and I do have some great ideas  and some photos (I wish that the photos were also great, but alas my camera skills are not yet perfected)  to share next week from my latest project, which blends the topics that really interest me:  combining traditional and modern elements, doing it yourself ( slipcovering, upholstering, painting), reworking and reimagining old furniture, and doing it all for a smallish budget.

So we've discussed the overwhelmed portion of my mindset:  the usual trifecta of work, health, and family.  What's been underwhelming me?  Blogland, the blogosphere, etc.  I don't want this to turn into a rant, especially since it would be a bit hypocritical considering my own less than earthshattering posts lately (I painted my bedroom--call Margaret Russell, I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know!!) as well as my own reasons for starting a blog, but I'm tired of cookie cutter looks likes ripping out great vintage tiled bathrooms to put in crappy home depot flooring and sheetrocked walls painted in whatever is the latest approved neutral, or covering every surface possible in Imperial trellis or Mai Chaing.  I'm tired of looking at exactly the same finishes over and over:  carrera marble, feedbag linen, dark stained floors, white kitchen cabinets.   Sidenote:  I've been professionally involved in design for over 10 years---I've seen trends come and go, and I'm always amazed how many people embrace a popular look and become convinced that this look, shown everywhere--at all retail levels and all kinds of media--is a true classic that will never become dated.  The truth is, the only look that never really becomes dated is a personal look with lots of traditional elements.  And no one may believe me, but I'll bet that most of the people gushing over the Swedish/Belgian look with feedbags and seagrass gushed over shabby chic with loose slipcovers and peeling white paint and, before that, gushed over patterned chintz, English country, and jewel tones, and will soon be gushing over something else.  I want to see individuality.  I want to see colors outside of an approved range from white to beige to cream to if-there-are-enough-shadows-and-you-squint-it-kind-of-looks-grey.  I'm in the camp of Diana Vreeland, "I’m a great believer in vulgarity- if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste- it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against."

And I want some discussion about design--real discussions-likes, disklikes, why you like or don't, why you think this works or not, etc.  Isn't there something between snarking and fawning?  (and by the way, I'm really sick of snarky people who show no pics of their own design skills.)

Now, I guess, comes the part where I have to be prepared to put up or shut up.  I originally started my blog after Thomas had to to forcefully drag me away from screaming at certain HGTV programs, where the "designer" had done certain things like facing the steps to a large bathtub with wood veneer or placing a white rug under the breakfast room table (for a family with three boys under the age of 10).  My original idea was to blog about how bad these designs were---in short, wallow in snarkiness.  But, honestly, negativity, snarkiness, and cynicism are not where I wanted to focus my attention.  Sure, they're fun---I've always been a fan of "If you don't have anything nice to say,.....please come sit by me," but constant negativity was putting a strain on my disposition.  So my orignal idea was to focus on the positive--what do I like, what can I do to combat bad design information.  And in that mission, I have failed--or at least underperformed.  Like most new bloggers, my first posts were rapid and vapid.  I trudged on, why I really don't know, and since then I've improved (I hope) my posts and my photos, and somehow acquired some followers.  Thank you.  So, I'm committed to either going back to my roots to post about the things I really love:  individual design, color, doing it your self, reclaiming the old, etc. while trying to ignore what everybody else is doing  or, if that doesn't happen, to closing up shop and finding a new focus. 

Thanks for indulging me and my self-indulgent fit of pique.  If you come back later (and I wouldn't blame you if you don't), I promise some pretty pics and a fun project.  Until then, "laissez le bon ton roulet."