First things first.
(photo via here)
Like all of you, I am heartbroken by the violence and devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake and the catastrophes that continue to unfold.
For those of you wishing to help, here are a few organizations mobilizing immediate relief efforts:
You can donate $10 to the Red Cross instantly by simply texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 from your mobile phone. (More legal info HERE).
To donate $10 to International Medical Corps, text "MED" to 80888.
To donate $10 to Global Giving, text "JAPAN" to 50555.
To donate $10 to the Salvation Army, text "QUAKE" to 80888.
If you would like to recommend another worthy organization, please let us all know in the comments section.
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Next things next.
This book is wonderful. I read it during my blogging break and was so entranced that I almost cut my hiatus short to tell you about it.
Bill Bryson had the brilliant idea of using his own 1851 rectory in Norfolk as a template to unravel the saga of domestic life. In each chapter, he "journeys" to a different room in his house to write a history of the world without leaving home.
"Whatever happens in the world -- whatever is discovered or created or bitterly fought over -- eventually ends up, in one way or another, in your house. Wars, famines, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment -- they are all there in your sofas and chests of drawers, tucked into the folds of your curtains, in the downy softness of your pillows, in the paint on your walls and the water in your pipes. So the history of household life isn't just a history of beds and sofas and kitchen stoves, as I had vaguely supposed it would be, but of scurvy and guano and the Eiffel Tower and bedbugs and body-snatching and just about everything else that has ever happened.
Houses aren't refuges from history. They are where history ends up."
~ Bill Bryson
It's part detective novel, part biography, part whodunit and wholly entertaining.
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Last but certainly not least, I have been waiting forever to finally be able to tell you that my house is featured in the just-released book "Undecorate" by Christiane Lemieux, founder of Dwell Studio.
What does "undecorate" mean exactly? I'll let Christiane tell you:
Undecorate is about putting your philosophy first, putting your personality first, and letting your signature style blossom naturally from the decisions you make.
I was extremely honored to be a part of the book because, design rules aside, my home is definitely a visual kaleidoscope of my family's heart and soul. From the wallpaper, fabrics and mix-and-match furnishings to the art, books and daily clutter, we surround ourselves with things that add meaning to our lives.
The night before the actual photo shoot I couldn't sleep a wink -- not because I was nervous but because I couldn't believe I was actually going to meet all these fabulously talented people!
There was uber-chic Christiane who came in and infused the house with her warmth, her effusive spirit and limitless energy. Within minutes, I felt like I had known her for years. It was a privilege to spend the day with her and pepper her with questions about her fascinating life and adventures (there was a trip to Cambodia that sounded very "Year of Living Dangerously").
There was globetrotter/photographer Melanie Acevedo whose iconic images you would recognize from every design magazine out there (Vanity Fair, World of Interiors, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Domino and countless others.) Her photographs exude a warmth and quiet intimacy that can make a even rumpled bed seem like the most elegant destination in the world.
(photo via Melanie's website)
And then there was the friendly crew led by Christiane's chief dynamo Molly Peterson (the one who found my blog in the first place). The day flew by and when they finally packed up their cameras and computers and drove away, Luca and I felt a bit bereft.
All in all, there are twenty different homes in the book, each featuring their owners' idiosyncratic take on personal style. I've been taking it to bed with me the last two nights, so inspired am I by everyone else's way of looking at the world.
(My office. Photo by Melanie Acevedo from "Undecorate.")