episode 7, new teams

Check it out:  New Teams.

I wish i knew how to write in shaky letters. If I could, I would write
THE KITCHEN CHALLENGE
in shaky letters.  
also there is a twist this year.  
Here’s the ‘Caption This’, this week (a picture taken and commenters guess what we are thinking):
Dude, that means I got 2 of the 7 caption this’s already.  I would love to talk about it but apparetnly i’ve cut off my own lips.  
Oh, and Farrah called, she wants her hairstyle back….ah, c’mon emily, too soon, too soon. 
If you would like to guess what I was thinking, click here.
Or just comment here.  

 

mistakes have been made, but good news of a new magazine

 

 

Remember when i decided to paint my wall turquoise? (i understand if you’ve blocked it out, i wish i had). Well we (in television, that’s right i’m in television now, need proof?  sunday at 7pm HGTV) have a word for that – or an anagram, called PDSS – Post Design Star Syndrome (its a rare and non-terminal syndrome, could result in fame or a boost in ones career and possibly a lot of temporary fast design decision making).  i suffered badly from the last symptom when i returned – although now i’m suffering from the 2nd one (boost, not fame, please), which is awesome. 
When I got back from filming I had a bit of designing-for-a-competition hysteria and i needed “BIG BOLD COLORS” and I needed them NOW. (picture me enunciating the ‘B’s really loud, blinking my eyes really hard and flashing jazz hands while i say that).  So I woke up one morning (at like 6, btdubs) and went to the paint store, waited for it to open like a crazed ‘one day sale’ at Macy’s shopper the day after Thanksgiving – NO- the midnight before the day after thanksgiving, re-enacting the ‘open open open’ commercials from the 90’s, and bought a gallon of BM Caribbean Azure and painted it that day.  
huh.
I loved it for like 3 hours, and i have been living with it ever since.  I hate it.  really hate it.  There are a few things wrong – the color is too turquoise and not enough peacock blue.  It’s too bright, too bold for me.  I could handle it at a restaurant, in a hotel room, in a hallway, or at my beach house in Mexico (cut to my british accent: oh i do need to visit soon, its been just way too long).  But I can’t live with it in my 1 bedroom apartment in Silverlake that doesn’t get enough light.  
Yes, its the color above, styled for a test shot, taken by Terilyn Fisher).
It is actually making me angry.
Don’t get me wrong I love turquoise, but its in the wrong place, mixed with the wrong things and in order for me to truly make it work it would take more time, effort and money than just painting over it.  
So that is what is about to happen.
 I have a shoot here next week for the new and potentially extremely fabulous  RUE Magazine –  that’s right MAG-AZ-INE – i know, that word sounds familiar and i get strangely nostalgic saying it, its been a while since i heard that a ‘new’ one was coming out.  Check this out: I heard an old wives tale that we used to have shelter (home design) magazines sent to us in the mail! can you even imagine! magazines with pretty photographs of aspirational homes for us to flip through actually came out monthly and we could buy them for almost nothing! (which, HELLO, clearly might have been the problem, i didn’t go to business school, but should great things that cost a lot of money to make be virtually given away for free??  seriously???)  
ANYHOO.  Well now they are back, just on-line.  Adapt we will.
VERY VERY EXCITING INDEED!!
And i’m gonna be in it.  
YES!  
It’s gonna be a party, and I love to party.
Back to my paint problem:
I have the rest of the apartment in BM november rain, which I loved, but I want something cooler right now.  
Point is:
I need light grey paint color recommendations.
I want it to be fairly color-less – no hints of green, purple or brown, it could go more blue if it has to.  Just picture the perfect gray (reminds me of one of my favorite blogs, ‘a perfect gray‘ perhaps she also was in search of this perfect, yet elusive color).   I want it to be as if pure black was mixed with pure white.  But fairly light.  Maybe even just a tone.
Your challenge begins today, and you have until tomorrow.  Don’t let me down, people.

 

re-birth of the catalog? uh. gross.

 

Oh, hi.  We all have hoarding tendencies, right?  shut up.  Remember this post? yep.  well I used to hoard catalogues, too – under the guise of ‘i need to know what the style trends are’.  But i’ve backed off for a while.  i’ve been keeping the anthros and jcrews and garnet hills, but ditching all the big box stores because they are  always the same – oh and also because i’m trying to create a pathway to get to my kitchen .  BUT, this came in the mail a while ago and i will be hoarding it – nothing weird, not in my bed with me, its not like i’m going to make love to it, but i’ll put it in my new ‘hopefully-catalogues-will-be-more-like-this’ magazine box. 
 (p.s. i haven’t worked for West Elm in 5 years, since i was an assistant, i have no loyalties, just love them, and this is about the styling)

Robyn Glaser is the styling mastermind behind this catalogue (i’ve heard).  And it was totally obvious to me – she’s insanely good.  
Here’s the deal with styling catalogues jobs.  There are a lot of great perks to them – they are well-oiled machines, they pay well, its a big chunk of days in a  row, decent budgets and great travel – the locations are always really pretty houses in idyllic locations.  
But here’s what sucks about styling catalogues – you can only really use what they sell – meaning every piece of furniture, rug, accessory, tchotchke has to be from that store.  And this is why they look like ‘catalogues’, boring and predictable (hello bridges, i hope i’m not burning you).  
When I worked for Garnet Hill doing the home catalogue, they were great because they don’t actually sell much furniture or accessories so we could shop outside and bring in vintage – and recently with the Pendleton fashion catalogues that i’ve done, too.  But Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barn/William Sonoma need you to stay within brand (which i totally understand – why use a vintage vase when you could use a product).  And so its hard to shake things up, make it look lived in, give it more personality, take risks and really be ‘stylish’ when given these restraints.  
(although PB kids i think has a lot of fun with them, fyi)  
The go-to props (non-products) that are always safe are organic things – aka pretty rocks, driftwood, the ubiquitious manzanita, balls of twine, antlers, etc, – these are considered ‘safe’ because they clearly couldn’t come from a competitor – and consumers don’t call wanting to buy that branch, thinking it is a product – or maybe they do, who knows.  But after a while, styling with these does become a bit predictable, too – although a pretty branch will always be a pretty branch in my book . So, if you have always wondered why there are so much of these kinds of things in catalogues, that is why – same with food props and newspapers – it tells a story without being too distracting and off-brand.  YES, i’m a huge fan of Catalog Living Blog, and we all wish we had thought of it, she’s hilarious.  
(side story, i remember at one point shopping for pretty rocks in New York for a catalogue and paying, i sh*t you not, 5 dollars a piece for river rocks.  I needed 20 of them – different shapes/size/colors and I left the store, carrying a super heavy box of rocks, minus $100 – insane, right? Attention all river rock importers (if only i had a nickel for how many river rock importer readers i have i’d be a nickel-naire)  head to the city, you can swindle those urbanites into buying ROCKS FOR FIVE DOLLARS A PIECE.  funny because its true)
ANYWAY
 HELLO.   WEST ELM.  nice to meet you again. 
they be shaking things up, and it looks awesome.   
Here’s why – i think, anyway.  It looks like 1/3 of the accessories from the new West Elm catalogue aren’t from west elm – they are vintage and probably from Robyn Glaser’s incredible Prop house in NY.  And mixing all of these vintage pieces in,  makes me want to be this person and I NEVER say that about catalogues.  
I am often repelled by the catalogues, even though i like a lot of the individual products because the lifestyle they create is so suburban and perfect.   (no offense to people who live in suburbs, or people who are perfect – although if you are sooo perfect you probably wouldn’t take offense anyway, because oh, good for you, you’re soooooo perfect. suck it)
But this looks effortless and natural, it sells the lifestyle first, product second – which is ultimately i think what makes this work.  This person isn’t perfect, they are interesting and messy.  This is what Anthro does most of the time – you can’t even see the details of the shirt  through the blurry over-sunned photograph, but you want to be that person twirling on the boat in the lake, so you buy it – or it drives you to the store to buy it. 

So kudos, West Elm – (and Robyn Glaser and i’m assuming photographer Roland Bello).  I feel sorry for your catalogue phone people as i’m sure there doing a lot of ‘well, that’s not actually a west elm product’ speeches, but you made me look twice – and hoard it.   And where oh where is that wallpaper from, does anybody know?  its perfection.

I hope this is the track they are staying on for a while, because me likey.  

 

Dan’s weddin’

Looky looky what I found.  Dan Faires and his couldn’t-be-lovlier betrothed (i told you i was gonna bring that word back) Dasha got hitched last weekend.  I couldn’t make it due to an awesome bachelorette weekend in San Francisco for my besty, but man….I’m speechless, this looks so amazing.   All the men in overalls, all women in white and no shoes.  America, eat you your heart out.  They are high school sweethearts, planned the wedding in three months, it couldn’t look less pretentious and more fun.  I’m just so happy for my friend, Dan.  So happy.

 

 

I know, i know.  She is ridiculously beautiful.  I do love a happy ending. I do.

 

PLEASE check out Dan’s blog (click on the highlighted words) and website.    Buy his awesome furniture – handmade, all reclaimed wood (I think, Dan tell me if i’m getting anything wrong)  – a full Arkansas and Brooklyn style merger.

I remember once on the show we were all sitting in the van waiting for something and Dan, after a long producer induced silence, said in the most from-the-heart-way, ‘Megan (one of the producers) can i please use the phone, I really, really miss my girlfriend and my mom’.    Needless to say we all melted and almost broke down, at that point it was like 2 weeks without a word to our loved ones.  They got engaged right after the show.

And don’t forget to vote for him for fan vote.  Why not me?  Well, because viewers haven’t seen much of me on the show recently – its all in the editing room, so i feel weird asking people to vote for me if i’m not knocking my own socks off.

Oh, and also because i’m not delusional, i’m at like 2 percent and Dan is over 40%.  If its not me, then I want it to be Dan – I mean look at how happy he is.  And he has a pet pig named Trudy.  I’m not kidding.  Trudy.

Traveling today, i’ll get to questions when I get home.

Episode 6, the red team

 

You guys rock.  Seriously thank you for the support.  I thought about not addressing it (the cruel anonymous comment yesterday, click here), but, well, that felt lame and way too passive.  Really glad to know that you guys have my virtual back.  Thank you, thank you.

 

Now on to the Red Team.

You weren’t the only ones shocked about the double elimination this week.  oh no.  We, the blue team, got our little reality worlds rocked when Courtland walked through the door and shut it after him. alone. He then very theatrically fell onto his knees, dropped his bag,  opened his arms and shouted happy obscenities.  Always the dramatic, that Courtland.  

So now for the Red Team.  You should know a couple things – these people are my friends which makes me biased, and i like them all personally.
Heres’ what i like about their space.   Probably more than you think.  i like that they played with mixing styles, too, but kept it high end.  Their furniture had a much better scale for the room, that tufted bench is super pretty, that coffee table grounded the space and adding in a round black leather pouf created contrast in size, shape, color and brought in a bit of youth and edge.  My, my, don’t i fancy myself some sort of design expert.  What makes me worried is the rug.  ish don’t think so.  I do love that rug, but we actually had a ton of rugs to choose from this time, so not sure why they got one so small.  And the angle, don’t want to beat a dead cow, but the only rugs i like to angle are hides.   I like the modern glass/metal table mixed with the traditional frenchy chairs, and their color palette wasn’t altogether different than ours – but no, i wasn’t crazy about the yellow walls.  I actually think the red team has some much needed color contrast in the furniture choices, however, that our space lacked – I think the person that lived here probably didn’t spend too much time here and maybe never fully moved in, but they had good/weird taste in furniture.  I feel like maybe the judges aren’t as interested in mixing styles as much as we are and they saw things as concept-less rather than an unfinished good concept.  What do I know. 

 

Yes, of course they needed art and accessories – a lot of them.  But we didn’t have the budget or clearance for that.  

 

I don’t totally get this tall table thing.  Sorry. 

 

OK.  I think that we all agree (including Stacey) that this bed needed a mattress as well as maybe to get rid of that black dead animal at the foot of the bed.  BUT, the bed itself is beautiful. I like the trunk side table, not so much the lamp, it reminds me of my hotel lobby days….woah woah,  i was a cocktail waitress (queue my lady of the night music).  As far as the drapery goes:  I actually thought that incorporating the taxi-cab paraphernalia into the drapery was interesting in a deconstructed way.  It’s not like we had fabric stores to choose beautiful drapery from.  Drop cloth canvas was our drapery and Stacey thought that drapery would elevate the room.  Of course you can rip it apart and say how crazy she must be for putting drop cloths in a luxury apartment, but keep it in perspective, people.  We were also given plastic souvenirs to work into the luxury apartment, so excuse us for not being perfect and for perhaps not totally understanding the inconsistency of the challenge. I like the color of the room, the idea of the drapery, that beautiful bed, the pillows and the trunk.  Again, needed matress, art accessories, life.

 

Ah, the notorious blueberry bathroom.  What’s the big deal?  So it’s blue walls?  It’s not like every guy in town hasn’t had blue walls at one point or another.  I’m a Tom fan, through and through.  And I understood what he was going for, although, yes he made a mistake in the color choice (hello, mistakes are made every 10 seconds when working under this kind of pressure).  I think a dark bathroom can be weird and cool and cozy, for a guy, or a club, or a smurf brothel.  The fact that it has no natural light is the exact reason why you should embrace a color (although maybe not a saturated color) and not just paint it white like we did.  Without natural light, white can look bland and unfinished – but paint a room blue and you have yourself a mini statement – a little surprise when  you are on the john.  And who doesn’t like a surprise while on the john.  Let me be clear: no, this did not look amazing, but relax, everybody, its just blue walls.  Geez. 

 

Elimination.  My, My it is getting heated up there.  At this point I want to press stop and rush to Chicago to give Stacey a hug.  I know that you  guys didn’t get to know her, but she was snarky as hell.  She had good taste.  Not perfect when it comes to teamwork and competing, but someone you wanted around all the time because she is just overall rad.  I’m sorry that you didn’t see that.  

 

Stacey looked pretty broken and sad and done.  I wanted to reach out and hug that little hot pink bundle of snark.  I’ve been there.  You just want to give up and go back to your happy life.   I think that Stacey was ready to go home.  At this point we could each go home for anything, so its not that its arbitrary, its just that we are getting down to the nitty gritty.  Working in groups is stifling.  it just is.  Her 60% comment was probably true, she was just done.  I missed her a lot.
Tom!! Talk about ready to go home.  Don’t feel bad for this guy, he has a crazy amazing job and was ready to get back to it.  He did this for the adventure, not the career, so he felt like he had enough and was ready to head back to real life.  Sayonara reality.  Off to his summer house on shelter island – where i will be joining him next year, he invited me…  and i’m a big taker-upper-on-middle-of-the-night-kinda-drunk-invites.  
Not everybody got to know Tom like I did, but he’ll always have a place in my heart.  
Courtland’s video was shocking.  I’m glad that he apologized beforehand, because man that was…um….not nice.  at all.  Courtland is a nice guy, he must’ve just had it up to his v-neck with his teammates. 
Down to five.  Kinda nuts.  And at this point while we are still sad that people we like are gone without a proper goodbye, we realize that the less people around means the less people to compete with.   So I guess a double elimination just makes the whole thing more efficient.  
On to the kitchen challenge.  May you all forgive me.