Tuesday, March 30, 2010

mon garçon mignon

Nipper Knapp and I went to see the Lycee International de Los Angeles this morning. Quelle suprise, we'll be applying for 2011. If we don't get in, I don't know what we'll do. We don't have a "safety school", for PRE-SCHOOL. (eye roll, sigh) If he gets in, he can go there through his senior year in high school. Having gone to several schools, I'd love for him to grow up with the same kids in one place. Especially in a big city like Los Angeles. He'll be bi-lingual by 6 or 7, and in school with kids from all over the world. It would be a stretch for us financially, but what's the alternative?

Just read something online about the LAUSD that cemented my view, that noble though the idea of public education is, (I am partially the product of one), it is not an option for us here in LA. A little piece of my idealism just died. But I'm a mom, and Jack Knapp life is not a social experiment. Man I wish I'd know how exhausting weighing all these parenting decisions would be. The land of opportunity is so, if you are willing to beat your brains out, and throw caution to the wind.

In the mean time I'm allaying my education anxiety by embroidering sweet little things on the quilt panels for the quilt I'm making. That's right, I'm quilting. Who knew. Here's one:

Ma fille mignonne

Sunday, March 28, 2010

C'est tout

Mesdmames et messieurs! Moulez votre regard fixe sur mon trone royal!

It only took the better part of a year of my life to finish what all in all took about an hour total, but the downstairs bathroom is finished. Why did it take so long? Ambition, perfection, and sloth all got in my way. I finally cracked open on the the stupid marvy uchida paint pen, poured the paint into a sippy cup, added some water and free hand painted the design on the wall with a $1 paintbrush. It took 30 minutes. C'est parfait? Non. C'est fini? Oui.

So here it is. Finally a half bath you really, ahem, get something done in...

The big mirror is from Ikea, and I moved the orange Jonathan Adler soap dish and garbage can into this bath. That soap that's in there is Rancé Creme Grasse and it smells like heaven in a really old lady heaven kind of way. Love it. 

I took the Orla Kiely from Target box out and replaced it with the Liberty of London box. I put candles and my favorite Diptyque Pomander room spray in it. Just in case. 

This is truly the worlds smallet wc. It's like an airplane toilet. The mirrors help add some light. 

I also removed the Orla Kiely for Target magazine boxes and replaced them with these ones from The Container Store. Now you are starting to see why it took a year. I'm mental. Happy pooping!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

upholster this!

Like my baboushka? Dig my quilted pants? I swear I saw Grandma's sweater at Anthropologie last week

Anna Maria Horner Volumes in Gold

When my grandmother died 12 years ago, we all converged on her house is Muskegon and took stock of her life. My god, her house that had been a whole world to me as a child looked so tiny without her in it. My aunt Winnie and I stood in her bedroom when all the furniture had been taken out of it. Was it this small the whole time? Was she small? Physically maybe, but in personality she was a mighty force. While she never had a lot of money, the lady had a lot of style. Her home was always impeccable. We owe our beautiful Heywood Wakefield furniture to her. 

Grandpa and Grandma at the beach at lake Michigan with my aunt Connie

Anna Maria Horner Volumes in Rose

She had left little post it notes on the backs of things with people's names on them. She wasn't going to let that wooden crucifix or crystal duck go to just any old relative. I was the lucky recipient of these two beautiful chairs. I remember my grandfather sitting in the tall one filing his nails. He had worked for years in an auto parts factory and one of his nails was actually worn away from the repetitive motion of whatever his particular job was. My grandmother would sit in the short chair. I remember her always in an apron her hands bright red from scrubbing dishes. My grandmother taught me how to fish, how to whip potatoes with a hand mixer, and how to keep a home like a lady. I want to do her proud. 

Grandpa and Grandma's chairs

Amy Butler Coreopsis in aqua

The fabric on the chairs has seen better days. I've been reticent to have them recovered because they are filled with so many memories. But Mary would never have had threadbare chairs in her living room. So here's the deal. I've been looking high and low for fabric that suits the chairs, and would look great with our existing furniture. No easy task. As my friend Greer of the hilarious Dear Greer said when she "goes to fabric shows it's like a Marriot lobby threw up" on her lap. SO much ugliness. So little hope. 

Amy Butler Coreopsis in green

I had some beautiful fabric that I found at Michael Levine, but my upholsterer just informed me that it wasn't nearly enough for both chairs. SO I'm using that on a little 50's chair that my neighbor set out by his trash last fall. It's just the right size for Jack's room, and it swivels, which I'm sure will be a winner with him. But that means I'm back to square one with grandmas chairs. 

Amy Butler Coreopsis in peach

Throughout this post are my top options so far. I'm open to suggestions. Both of our couches are dark chocolate brown. Our furniture is all blond (champagne) Heywood Wakefield. I want something fun. Something modern. Something that might even be a little clashy, while still fitting in with our  "apricot fluff" walls and our crazy  Anthropologie pillows. What do you think?

Amy Butler full bloom in orange

Pretty in Pink

Please someone build me a little universe where I can appropriately wear this dress every day. 

cake fail

I am genetically predisposed to do too much. My mom went to law school  while working nights at the airport post office loading trucks, with a newborn, and a four year old at home. While she was doing that my dad was an elementary school principal by day, Phd candidate by night. He runs marathons. I have never undertaken anything nearly as ambitious as my parents did in their early years, or even now. Just listening to what they do in an average day makes me want to take a nap. My pursuits are limited to bathroom painting, mommy and me French class, and birthday cake baking. I don't finish most of these things, but I start them, usually all at once, because it's in my DNA to do so. Quelle domage.

But when I set out to make baby Jett's (Cleo's little sister) 1st birthday cake, I never imagined that I would be this big a failure. I killed two cakes in 12 hours. Jett and Cleo's parents are in a band, so I thought it'd be cute to make her cake a record. Old fashioned vinyl. The whole thing was Nipper's idea actually. We had just watched this show about the making of Saturday Night Fever, and when I saw the label for the album it brought me back to my childhood. Remember that little bull? I think I must have had kids album published by RSO, because I'm fairly sure my parents did not own Saturday Night Fever.

Monday night I made funfetti cake. Yum. unfortunately when I took it out of  the oven, the very center wasn't done and it fell. That's what I get for making box cake in a 14 inch cake pan. So Nipper and I were forced to eat it, warm, right out of the pan. Again, quelle domage. 

Tuesday morning, 8 hours to party time and I have no cake. Jack and I went to go to the store, but got sidetracked by Fiona. I had one box of dark chocolate cake, and one box of yellow butter cake in the cupboard. I thought, "Hey, I'll make a half and half cake, how creative!" HA. excuse my language, but the fucking thing fell apart taking it out of the pan. 

I was FORCED to eat as much of it as I could while throwing it in the trash and dialing Nipper to pick up Crumbs cupcakes for the party. Quelle horreur!!! It was delicious but two cakes in one day is my limit. I had even printed a cute "record label" for the top of it. Oh well. 

Dear Jett, I'm sorry you didn't have a proper cake for your first birthday. Last night when we sang Happy Birthday to you, you smiled so big, we sang it twice. I think you've forgiven me already. Hope so.

To see lots of things that never should have happened to something as nice as cake, check out cakewrecks. One of my all time favorite time wasters. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In case you were wondering

This is how the bathroom painting is going:

Introducing Fiona!

If you hate cats, don't even bother reading this post. When Nipper Knapp and I met, and I was all "I don't want our first date to be a date" and he was all "uhm, ok" and then he came to my house to pick me up, and saw my THREE cats, I'm sure in his mind he was all "I don't want this to be a date either". I was that single girl with a house full of cats. Two I had adopted together from the pound. They were fat sisters. The third, I had adopted from one of those cat adoptions they have on Larchmont. Her name was Pagoda, and I think she was a circus cat. She had a little bullseye on her side. She was skinny and had green eyes. She was pretty and when I brushed my teeth or stood for more than 30 seconds at the bathroom sink, she'd jump up on my shoulders and hang around my neck like an ermine stole.

When Nipper and I got married, and he moved in (because we were old fashioned like that), Pagoda promptly took to pooping on his pillow and peeing in his shoes. You know, making him feel welcome. I told him she had flair and that she'd get over it. She also took to leaping from our bed in the middle of the night onto the window screen and then clawing her way up it, in search of a bird, a bat, or some other phantom menace. I can't remember what the final straw was, but Pagoda had to go. Sobbing, I gave her to my ex-boyfriend, who promptly gave her away to some strangers. He was a really quality human being.

The fat sisters remained, and though they didn't have the same skill for the dramatic that Pagoda did, they did have the uncanny ability to kill my  newly minted husband. He's allergic. So after a talk with the allergist who informed Nipper Knapp that they in fact were slowly killing him, and that most people get rid of spouses before pets, I told him I'd think about it. (I was a real peach) Then at dinner on New Years Eve, my father looked at me with disbelief and said "What are you talking about? They are CATS! He's your husband!", I cried, a lot, then I got rid of the cats. One went to live with Sadie, and one went to live with my mother. I felt bad breaking up the band, but they both ended up in happy homes where they are spoiled rotten, and they aren't murdering anyone.

That was 5 years ago. Two days ago, there was a knock at the door. Well, not really but something made us go out on the porch and there she was. She was sitting there like she had been waiting for us. Like she lived here. She let the kids pet her and hug her and basically made herself at home. I know they say that you don't choose cats, they choose you, but this was something else. Cleo decided her name is Fiona, which Jack pronounces Iona because f's are hard to say when you're two.

I took her to the vet this morning. She doesn't have a microchip, but she does have a hernia. Our guess is whoever owned this sweet cat couldn't afford the surgery. Fiona being a wise little thing smelled my marc jacobs wallet through the fence and came to introduce herself. She'll get the surgery this week, then we'll figure out what to do with her. She's welcome to live in our breezeway, but that makes me feel guilty. Mom? Sadie? She's kid tested, mother approved.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The French Skinny Experiment

moi dans le jardins luxembourg, 9 months before Jack Knapp arrived with his poopy diaper and my back brace.

Went to the doctor and the doctor said "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" How I wish that was my problem. His prescription is 3 weeks of physical therapy twice a week, advil, and no more 14lb Marc Jacobs bags on my left shoulder, and when I hold Jack I have to alternate. Bastard. Doesn't he know I've been carrying that 14lb bag since I WAS 14?! I've been cultivating this cripple since adolescence and he thinks he can just... Ok fine, I'll switch. But I'm going to have to rethink my entire wardrobe, the part in my hair, and possibly our neighborhood. I don't know if they let right shoulder purse ladies live in my neck of the woods.

In the meantime read The French Skinny Experiment. My two friends, one in Burbank, swoon, and the other in Paris, REAL swoon, are conducting an experiment. It involves crepes, toddlers, walking up and down stairs to do laundry, taking a lover, eating yogurt and small French apples, and lots of sex. I suggest starting at the beginning.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free at last! Free at last! Thank god almighty I'm...

Oh. Excuse me. How embarrassing. I guess it wasn't THAT good. It's not like my people have been waiting hundreds of years to be un-bonded from the shackles of overpriced imported chintz. But this Liberty of London match up with Target was GOOD. So good that it propelled me out to La Quinta where my mother is spending the winter, in the hopes of actually finding things still on shelves at 8am. LA women are expert shoppers, and unless you sleep outside in your own Kitson pup tent the night before, you're not getting anything at events like this. They are as a rule, a mob scene. 

Jack still in his jammies on our way into the first Target of the day

So in my weakened state, unable to stand up straight, barely able to sit, I drove two hours with Jack in tow to La Quinta. We arrived before bedtime. So Jack played and we had a little dinner. We had a leisurely bath, and then my mom said "do you think we should run over to Target tonight after Jack goes to bed to see if any of it is out yet?" We both agreed that there was no way those Target workers were going to stock those shelves AFTER closing. They'd want to get it done so they could get out of there fast right? We had faith that they'd want to get a head start on tomorrow's work today. Oh Mrs Nipper Knapp, what a silly girl. Not only was there no sign of the line, when my mother asked (I begged her not to) a teenage employee if it was out, he stared at her blankly, said "uh", as I was cursing her shouting "LEAVE HIM, HE KNOWS NOTHING!!!!, and that was it. He was never able to muster more than that. Not one more syllable. 

Ok, so tail between our legs we went home. Rested up. Morning was going to come early. After dozens of LA sample sale experiences I demanded that we be Target at 8 sharp. My mom laughed that we'd be the only people there. She was right. Bright sunny morning, and there were practically tumbleweeds rolling across the parking lot as they unlocked the doors. Not only were we the first people there, we were the first people to inform them that they were supposed to be launching a GIANT promotion today. Yup, not a thing was out. Turns out the manager had the dates mixed up. Even though they were clearly marked on the boxes. Oh yeah, that's right, I was there for the unpacking of the boxes. I even unpacked a few, but more on that later .

While we were there, they got some of the the clothes out. They were nice enough to let me sort through the rolling racks. I piled my cart high, and got Jack a few toys to mess around with and headed for the dressing room. Merde. It's all really cute. Dresses, tops, bathing suits! My mom even got a few things. Here's what I came away from at Target numero uno:

I was bummed that the dresses were polyester not cotton, but they actually hang really nicely!

Hello business casual audition shirt!

The swimsuits are straight out of the 50's. SO cute and flattering! 

No these are not for Jack. The little girls next door have birthdays coming up!

Ok, off to Target number 2. We pack Jack and his new truck into the car (I'm not above bribery, sue me) and head down Highway 111 to Palm Desert. Strike two. They don't have anything! Not like they're sold out. Like, they haven't put it out yet. Oh sleepy desert town. I buy soy latte number two, a playmobil fire engine for Jack (oh yeah, this was not my proudest parenting day), and head further down the road to Palm Springs. Jack fell asleep in the car, so I went in solo, while Nana waited with him in the car. Paydirt. Unfortunately it was almost 11am by now, and I encountered women coming down the aisle with carts overflowing with stuff. "It's all gone" I thought. "I should have come here first!" But no they had left me some crumbs: 

When I saw this shelf, I thought our little venture was doomed. 

I had no intention of buying bedding. But it was all so pretty and PERFECT for the pink palace/man cave/cotton candy club. AS soon as I do the big unveiling, I'm going to have a naming contest

This was what I came for. Little boxes for every little thing in my office. Perfect. 

Candy jars and planters. Too cute. I might plant some jasmine and put it on a high shelf. So pretty. 

I've been needing a watering can and gardening gloves, I swear. 

When I rolled my covered wagon back to the car, my mother laughed out loud. "Ok, let's go home". "Uhm. Ok, how about I take you and Jack home, and I head back to the La Quinta Target? I have a few more things to get." "There was anything left?" "Yes." 

So that's what I did. We drove back and I dropped them off. If I'd subjected Jack to one more Target SOMEONE would have called the authorities. Poor baby. He and nana were headed to the pool when I left, so it's not like I left him in the car with the window cracked. 

I drove back to the La Quinta Target, and as I walked in the female employee from our 8am run laughed when she saw me. "It's all out now!" Well, not all of it. This is where I became a part time Target employee. I hovered around a guy unloading boxes of boxes for a while, and when it started to get awkward for both of us, I asked if he'd just open the biggest box because I had a feeling the large milk crates I was looking for were in there. He happily obliged and I headed for lingerie.  On the way I spotted these. Perfecto:

I'm going to fill these with pictures of Jack

I don't know if I've mentioned it before I'm still wearing the same underwear from when I was pregnant with Jack. It's sad underwear. It has holes in it. It was cute when I got it, but now... Sad sad sad panties.  So thank you Liberty of London (Nipper Knapp thanks you too):

The pink panties have a little ruffle butt. Too cute!

I head back through the women's section just to see if I missed anything on the way out, and lo and behold there is my friend unpacking boxes in the accessories section:

I made myself useful and unwrapped some purses and flip flops. One of the stock girls was friendly and we were judging each bag as it came out. The other woman was eyeing me suspiciously. I don't blame her.

I didn't buy any though

I did buy these though. Cute right?

This was the only thing I saw that I wish I had bought. But I couldn't justify, nor did I have room in the car for chairs. Well I could have strapped Jack in his car seat to the top of the Prius National Lampoon Vacation style. But after the three Target visits, I figured I was pushing my luck. So I left them there for some other lucky girl to take home. 

$99 of pretty

What else? I bought Nipper Knapp one pair of boxers, but I'm not showing them here because, after last weeks romantic story about him making me coffee I don't want you ladies imagining him in his undies!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Give me Liberty or give me DEATH!

That reminds me of Eddie Izzards bit about "Cake or Death". Check it out. It's funny, and the rest of this post isn't, so laugh now, because I'm about to steal your soul... just kidding. Not really...

Ok, but sadly that has nothing to do with the last few days which have been scarier than Mr. Toads Wild Ride. As some of you know I threw my back out last week. It was awful, and I feel pretty crummy still. Although much better than Tuesday when moving one millimeter caused me to cry buckets of salty tears.  The whole thing has been a wake up call for me in a sense. I have the good fortune of an efficient metabolism and an almost adolescent sense of immortality. So I've survived thus far, chugging soy lattes, while eating handfuls of dark chocolate m&ms, as dessert for the twice  weekly(sometimes more) pizza, or on most days, in&out burgers that have become the main stays of my diet.

My diet in the last few years, has deteriorated to the point where, I no longer recognize meals as something I want, but rather a method of supplying calories in a hurry. I used to LOVE food. I still love food. I MISS food. I used to eat things like cucumbers, and you know lettuce. I ate sushi, and tons of fruit. I'm not blaming Nipper Knapp, because it takes two, and god knows I loves me some pizza, but I had never had an in&out burger before I met him. In fairness, I was eating $20 chopped broccoli green apple and blackened chicken salads from café midi every day when I met him, so that wasn't really a great plan either. But in the last few years, I've found less and less time to eat the foods I like. I've also made lots and lots of excuses for why I can't/won't/don't work out. "I don't need to", "I don't want to", "you can't make me"...

SO this is the second time in the last year my back has seized up like this. My md gave me flexeril and 800mg advil. The drugs made me sleep but did not ease the pain at all. After 5 days of suffering I went to my acupuncturist. She is a miracle worker! She advised me to take magnesium for my muscles, and you know, exercise, and stop stressing. Genius. I felt better immediately after seeing her. I'm still super stiff, I'm walking like the hobbit, but I can walk. So...

you can't hide from me pussycat...

You know you can't tell me anything. I can't even tell me anything. I try sometimes, but then I'm all "shut up! You're not the boss of me!" But I'm going to pretend like this is some kind of incentive program. Like, you eat a salad, and you get to wear pants without shame. You get up earlier, and make oatmeal, you don't have a heart attack at 50. You go to the gym, you get to think about how you aren't going to be crawling the bathroom at the age of 35 because your core muscles are weak, and your blood is made up of 2 parts starbucks, 2 parts Chanel No5. Who do I think I am?!

I would also like say that Nipper did something for me that is in my opinion the sexiest thing he's ever done in nearly 6 years of marriage. NO! Not THAT! Ladies! What kind of blog do you think this is? He saw that I was unable to make my morning latte of Francis, dear Francis. This thing has all kinds of switches, and levers, and unexplained knobs. It's not like an American machine with a little coffee cup icon and a little steam icon, so that you can send your kid in there to make it. It's Italian. It's temperamental. It's a mystery! But Nipper Knapp figured it out. He did it without the little online tutorial, which I had to watch like seven times before I made my first cup. He made my latte every morning this week, and brought it to me on the couch. Swoon.

For this I will forgive him for getting better looking than me every day, and for introducing me to double double animal style. Look it up you dirty birds...

Oh, wait, I never got to the Liberty part of this post! I'll be back tomorrow with a full accounting of my adventures at EVERY Target in La Quinta, Palm Springs, and Palm Desert on the hunt for Liberty of London stuff. Let's just say it involved, late night reconnaissance, a walker, and an escape vehicle. Just kidding. Not really.  Ok here's one little sneak peak from ONE of the Target's:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm all over this!

Liberty of London are doing a line for Target. It comes out this Sunday. I'm going to be out in Palm Springs, and I'm planning to hit at least two Targets Sunday morning. Hallelujah! I'm a little bit excited. I never hear about these things beforehand and I'm always sifting through the dregs to find some cute little piece (like the Orla Kiely stuff last year, or the Rodarte dress I had to track down in Denver, because it sold out here in LA) Here is a link to the full lookbook for the line. So many pretty little things!

Speaking on liberty print, check out these little ruffle butt panties by Bettsy Kingston on etsy. If you have a baby girl, I DEMAND that you buy a pair! If you don't have a baby girl, this should be incentive enough to go and get yourself knocked up.