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There are two types of first-time mothers. There are those mothers who decorate the baby's nursery for the baby. Teddy-bear printed bedding. Chunky plastic toys in bright primary colors. Dancing elephant mobiles in gender-friendly pink or blue. Then there are those mothers who decorate the nursery for themselves. Mid-century modern cribs. Monochromatic color schemes in dusty lavender or yellow and gray. Carefully selected wall garlands, lace tents, and a curated bookshelf styled with a vintage metal piggy bank, a precious stuffed bunny with a flower crown, and, just maybe, a couple of actual books. If I were a mother, I'd be the...

Not all of the things we want to do in life are monumental. Sometimes, a life goal might be seemingly small, simple, mundane, but something we want to accomplish all the same. I've been hoarding cooking magazines for as long as I could remember. In high school, college, I had stacks and stacks of Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Martha Stewart Living on my shelves. I had a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens when I was in grade school. I still have a subscription to Food & Wine. At one point, long ago, the stacks started taking over my room. So I...

The sun had moved, just enough, to start flooding though my living room window again. It gave the whole room the same glow that made me fall in love with the apartment in the first place. My fig tree noticed too and started blooming to life again. Translucent lime sprouts, the first new growth I'd seen amongst the stale deep leaves that had held strong all winter, and something different, a little green bulb. My first fig was growing. I was growing a fig. Me, the girl with the blackest thumb you could imagine, was growing fruit. I knew it was too early in...

I got rid of a lot of things before I left to travel. It was a nice feeling to purge everything unnecessary, everything unneeded, from my life. In the end I sold, threw out, or donated over two-thirds of my belongings. Still, I kept many things, a couple of boxes of books included. (Plus a few more boxes dedicated entirely to The Baby-Sitters Club...

  I've had this bookcase forever. OK, not forever, but probably close to ten years. It's actually just from Target. For a few years in the mid 2000s they used to hold an annual "Global Bazaar" event featuring worldly-inspired limited-edition furniture and accessories. It's a hard-wood piece and, even though one of the sidebars is loose and falls out when I stuff too many books on the shelf, is pretty solid. It's another one of those pieces I can't imagine ever not having. It's pretty, it serves a purpose, and it serves that purpose well. The bookcase fits nicely into the little...

  Thai superstition says that the owl is a cursed, evil, symbol: if one lands on your roof, horrible things will happen. In most other countries the owl is much brighter figure, representing intelligence, perspective, wisdom, protection, mystery, power, fortune. It seems that only in Thailand does the fowl bring misfortune. So, maybe, it's kind of ironic that my owl collection began in Thailand. I never meant to start a collection of owl souvenirs. I didn't. I simply walked into a hipster art store in Chiang Mai and fell in love with an adorable painting of an owl. I simply bought something I thought...

  Want to know how to get a kitchen as awesomely teal as mine? If there's one thing in this world I'm an expert in, it's finding teal home decor. Especially for my kitchen. I can walk into any store, sniff the air, and zone in to anything teal. I'm kind of like a drug-sniffing dog that way. It's my super power. Anyways. It's actually really easy to collect everything teal for your kitchen (or any color, really), so long as you're not in a rush. I didn't go out and buy everything at once, I just slowly collected through the years,...

  Whenever anyone compliments my interior design abilities, I tell them my secret: if you just buy everything in the same color it will all match. OK, so there's probably a line that you can cross from going from just enough of a single color to look put together to swimming in an over the top monochrome jungle. My teal kitchen might just be tiptoeing that line. I didn't really mean for my kitchen to become an explosion of all things teal although OK maybe I did. I just can't help myself. If I go to a store and see a teal spatula or...

  It's hard to ever really declare something as "done." Usually things come to a point where you've "done enough" or where anything else you do is really just nitpicking or when you're just so over it you can't do any more. It was like that when I launched my new site last year. It came to the point where I'd "done enough" to go live, even if the site was far from ready. I just couldn't put it off any longer. Yes, even still, I have a laundry list of things I need to fix and, yes, I still have...