There is no way to say this nicely

With our house, we inherited two 30-foot palm trees that stand sentry on the edge of our front lawn. They look like medieval guards at the gate. I love them.

We’ve never owned such trees before. We’ve also never lived in a traditional neighborhood before — with joggers, moms with strollers, and couples on bikes.  Also, there is dog walking.

And so I have discovered that if you have large trees on the edge of your lawn, the dogs will stop, with the owners standing by, and “water” them.

HOWL. SHUDDER. SHIVER. GAG. QUIVER. WASH HANDS. LOOK AWAY.

I know I’m strange, but it really grosses me out, OK?

Just this week, I’ve noticed three bathroom sessions. I stood inside and watched with horror, wanting to howl “nooooo!” through the open windows.

Except I’m the new girl in the ‘hood, and I can’t be THAT new girl.

So I went and washed my hands instead. I have pulled weeds from those trees, people.

Technically, I believe it exhibits poor manners to let one’s dog to do its thing on someone’s front yard, but if I post a “no dogs” sign on the trees, I might as well also hang a sign on the front door that says “brat.”

In America, it is not OK to dislike dogs.

I know this because I’m not a dog person, and when that tidbit comes out, people are shocked. People judge. People think, “This girl, she needs to be watched. She’s dangerous. She’s unnatural. She’s not like us. We probably shouldn’t hire her. We probably shouldn’t be friends with her. We definitely shouldn’t date her.”

OK, so sometimes I’m a little overdramatic.

But I promise you that upon the above confession, I will now receive surprised and sad emails from my dog-owning clients, all of which will go something like this: “Really?! You’re not a dog person?! But you like my dog, right?”

George is the only one that knows. When I come over, ring the doorbell, and his dog goes insane, he yells, “Shut up, Sparkles, she doesn’t like you.”

God bless George.

So this is a conundrum.

Is there something wrong with me? I mean, not the dog person thing – clearly everyone agrees that such feelings are freakish.

But being so heebie-jeebied out by the dogs doing their thing on my front lawn — is that weird? Is anyone with me?

And what should I do? Put up a sign anyway and pass out cookies to all the neighbors once a week so that I will have friends? Try one of those repellant sprays? Stop looking out the windows? Consider a fence?

And really, I don’t necessarily want an answer, because I likely won’t do anything at all. I’d rather be a nice neighbor. I’d rather have better manners. I’d rather look away.

Like Kathleen Kelly, I just wanted to send these thoughts out into the void.

So happy Monday morning, dear void.

By |2015-04-13T03:02:41-07:00February 23rd, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|5 Comments

A little something new

As of last night, we have a working oven.

To reward my hard-working husband, who brought this glorious moment to fruition, I am going to crack open a new cookbook.  I bought it because the Barefoot Contessa said that it was her favorite new cookbook. In the kitchen, I do what she says.  Success inevitably follows.

Huckleberry Cafe is a beloved Los Angeles hotspot, and the new Huckleberry cookbook from owner Zoe Nathan gives up the goods. It’s all fruit-filled crumbles and egg-topped melanges and brioches rolled around oozing blueberries.

Every page looks utterly diabolical. I cannot wait.

I also now require a trip to the Santa Monica bakery itself — a favorite of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner, to boot.

I believe I am going to start with the Blueberry Cornmeal Cake, reputed to be one of Huckleberry Cafe’s best-sellers. Look at this thing.

Recipe here.

And then next week we can discuss the diet and exercise program I will begin, because this stress-eating comfort-food business is going to make for an unhappy summer.

But first, cake.

 

By |2015-02-19T07:03:58-07:00February 19th, 2015|Recipes|0 Comments

The Bad-On

It has been a wretched 24 hours at Camp Sterling. My charmed “Oh Bunny” sighs have turned to “OH, BUNNY” squalls, and really, Bunny, I would like a word.

In the ’80s, Bunny decided to enclose his patio, turning it into what our Realtor named the “Bad-On,” because it is an add-on, and it is all kinds of wrong. The ceiling slopes so low that my 6’3″ husband skims his head. There is no A/C. The walls are, of course, faux wood paneling. The window goes into the hall bath shower (?!@$%?!).

The Bad-On is coming off.

But in the meantime, Bunny didn’t get a building permit – or build the Bad-On to code,  and that is causing some serious headache and heartache this week at Camp Sterling.

Xanax, anyone?

Last night, in an effort to calm our sad hearts, I thought I’d make dinner. It has been weeks of take-out, and the thought of another paper sack made my stomach turn.

Our stove is still not functioning — and neither is the washing machine — but I was determined.

When I was little and in love with all things Little House on the Prairie, my brother and I liked to play “pioneers.” We’d turn off the lights, get flashlights, and make tents out of sheets. My mom would bring us sandwiches. It was heaven.

Playing pioneers as an adult is, um, different.

I noticed yesterday that our barbecue grill has a burner we have never used, and  thought, “Oh, yes. Laura Ingalls wanted me to notice that.” So I drove to the store, grabbed the groceries, came home, and went to work preparing tacos — the 10-minute classic kind my mom used to make, because yesterday, I really wanted my mom.

I heard my husband in the back of the house, chipping out the last of the carpet tack strips. While dinner cooked, I stood in the spot in our backyard where there is a small view of Camelback Mountain.

The sun was setting, and the mountain was pink. I felt like I’d won the day, just a little.

I came inside and set the table with real dishes, for the first time.

There were even flowers in the center.

On our dining room wall, I’ve hung this framed quote from a Roald Dahl book, and last night, before dinner,  it felt so very apropos.

I called my husband to the table, and he walked into the kitchen.

“I ate dinner before you got home, Jaimee,” he said,  still very, very angry at Bunny, this house, and all parties involved.

So I spent dinner in the company of my phone, looking up prices of fantasy airplane tickets for this weekend.

Later that night, in bed, I paged through my old paperback copy of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” in which author Frances Mayes survives a house renovation in Italy.

These days, I find it very encouraging.

She had scorpions – and we don’t (yet), so at least there’s that.

On Frances Mayes’ worst day, she took a shower, put on a white linen dress and went to town for a shopping spree.

I think I should do that in San Diego.

By |2015-04-13T03:03:09-07:00February 18th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|2 Comments

The Living Room vs. Great Room Debate

I’m working on our new floor plan.

My mother is convinced that we need a living room separate from the open kitchen/family room area.

Our realtor, Rob Kukla, also remodels Arcadia houses and is convinced that we don’t.

Help.

(Design by Myra Hoefer – one of my most favorite living rooms ever)

I’m leaning toward siding with my mother, as all good daughters should. She says that when and if we have children (and that’s still just a dream, friends), I will want a room that’s pretty and presentable at all times.

Toys, she says, will invade our lives. Bouncers. Swings. All manner of red plastic gadgets that will surely drive me to the brink of sanity. (Who wants to let me design pretty baby gear? Who wants to tell me which baby gear is actually necessary?) When I was a kid, we had to keep our small collections of toys in our rooms and there was no such thing as a twilight turtle or a wipe warmer.

My client, Tiffany, who has one of the most beautiful homes ever (and yes, I will show you, but it’s on deck for showcase in a magazine), says that her formal living room has turned out to be an excellent place to sit and talk on the phone  without being interrupted by her children.

“They never think of looking for me there,” she said, giggling.

And that all sounds pretty genius to me.

(Design by Rafterhouse – an Arcadia remodeling company)

However, if I let go of my living room dreams, we won’t have to add on quite as much square footage — thus preserving the budget for other things. Like a back wall built entirely of windows — which we are having either way. Or his-and-her offices. Or a wrapping paper station in the laundry room.

I have always wanted a wrapping paper station.

Design by Urban Grace Interiors

So, let’s hear your vote:

Are you on Team Mom or Team Realtor?

Do I need a separate formal living room or will one great room suffice?

By |2015-04-13T03:03:27-07:00February 17th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|6 Comments

Part Two: Betty and Bunny

Sometimes, to cheer myself up, I think about Betty and Bunny.

This was their house.

They bought it in 1961, raised a happy family here, and Betty even rode her bike around the neighborhood until she passed away last year. She was almost 90. Her husband, Harold, a teacher, died in 2003. He went by Bunny — a fact that made me love him immediately. They were married for 53 years. He called her his bride.

We bought the house from their son, a contractor.

“I know I should tear this down and build something great and sell it for a fortune,” he told me. We were standing in the street, looking at the front yard.

“But I can’t tear down my memories,” he said.

I looked up a photo of Betty the other day. She reminded me so much of my Granna — such grace and kindness in her eyes. I told my Mom about Betty and Bunny, and she cried.

From Betty, I inherited this tiny glass hobnail vase. I found it in her medicine cabinet filled with Q-tips, and I am holding it as a treasure and a talisman.

In this house, a family was happy. In this house, a husband and wife were married for 53 years.

In this house, there was always love.

I want that, too.

I want to build upon their memories.

The other night, after my tired husband helped me pull out the carpet in the bedroom (Betty’s son’s idea), and mop the floors, he held me close and talked about his dreams for the house.

“I’m excited,” he said. “We can have a backyard with orange trees and grass and a hammock. We can ride our bikes. We can go on walks.”

Yes, I said, and I thought about Betty and Bunny.

By |2015-04-13T03:03:54-07:00February 13th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|2 Comments

The house saga of January 2015, Part One: Ouch

Looking at this photo now makes me cry. This was our house, and we lived here and loved it for almost four years.

Now we live in a retro slice of hell – sans hairdryers, clothes dryers, an oven or a shower. It’s a “before” picture, and there will soon be an “after,” but in the meantime, tears galore. Also, I am allergic to the carpet.  And it is powder blue.

Here’s what happened . . .

At 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day, we came home from a party to an email from our landlord: he’d sold our house — which was not listed for sale, to which we had the first right to buy — and we had until Jan. 31 to move.

There was much crying and wringing of hands and dramatic flinging of self onto the sofa and the bed. There was copious cursing of the landlord. I still think about toilet-papering his house — perhaps with eggs on top for good measure.

We didn’t want to move.

But we didn’t want to buy our house, either.

We were stuck, and happily so.

But the world has always had a tendency to force my hand and push me into bravery.

And now it is February 12, and we’ve moved.

There are  posts to come about the days between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12, and all of our stressed-out house hunting, and then the hijinks that come into play if you want to buy a “project” house in the crazy-competitive Arcadia area of Phoenix, which we did, and the drug-dealer-like communicating that goes on to make such deals happen. There will be the story of how we found our house through a Facebook post and a friend from Kindergarten, and how freaking GRATEFUL I was, and then the desperate agreeing to insane clauses, and the paying of enormous sums in cash only, and the strange and obnoxious rules of appraisals — all of which have landed us in a “before” picture, without a working shower, or a hair-dryer, and with 55-year-old blue carpet, to boot — with hordes of people lined up to buy the house behind us, if we’re crazy enough to let it go.

(I’m tempted, people, I’m tempted.)

There will be no “before” pictures until we have an “after.” And renovation can’t start until August 1.

Yesterday, my client and friend George called to see how things were going. I whined and carried on.

“Jaimee,” he said, “Don’t be one of those wives that’s a pain in the ass.

“I feel like this can be a fun part of your marriage — making do, planning the new house together.

“It’s an adventure,” he said.

We hung up, and I knew that he was right.

So I went to my friend Puddinn’s house to take a shower and wash our clothes.  I called a housekeeping service to come and scour the insides of the cabinets and drawers. The electrician is coming. Tonight, we’re going to tear out the carpet.

And for now, I’m back here, because I’ve got feelings, people, and, like this carpet,  they are going to need to come out.

 

 

 

By |2015-04-13T03:04:07-07:00February 12th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|2 Comments

Local Love: A New Blow Dry Bar and the new Pizzeria Bianco

Years from now, it’s possible that the blow dry bar will be hailed as one of the greatest luxury developments of our time. Remember when they invented sliced bread? Yes, you could do it yourself, but it makes such a mess. Blow-drying your own hair? Same ending (with a lot of extra sweat and frizz.) In this case, $35 brings a LOT of joy.

I live in prime blowout real estate. There’s a drybar in one direction, and the Blow Dry Bar by Kimberly in another. Today, Kimberly Robson is opening a second location near the Scottsdale Quarter.

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When I leave, my hair looks like this:

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and this:

Big smiles, all around. Find these hair goddesses here.  (At the Lincoln location, ask for Stephen. He’s my man.) Above photo by Allison Tyler Jones Photography.

*

Second set of important news: there’s also a new Pizzeria Bianco open at Town and Country on 20th Street and Camelback in Phoenix. In the space that Bianco used to call Italian Restaurant, there’s now Pizzeria Bianco in front, and Trattoria Bianco in back.

The most important part: Ty and I went last night, and THERE WAS NO WAIT. We sat down at the bar, ordered icy Cokes in glass bottles, and had the Wiseguy and the Sonny Boy pizzas in front of us within 20 minutes.

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This is my favorite thing to eat in Phoenix:

It’s also pretty inside. Bianco is all about the vintage find. I wish he’d take me shopping with him, or let me do it for him.

His father’s paintings are all around.

And have the chocolate Italian Ice for dessert. We love it so much that I tried to replicate it here. (Pretty close, my friends. Pretty close.)

By |2013-05-11T08:27:56-07:00May 11th, 2013|Style|0 Comments

Lunch with Carolyne Roehm and Ellen Katz at the Phoenix Art Museum (and the Encanto Home Tour)

The patron saint of blue and white visited the Phoenix Art Museum this week to share her life’s story about being an independent woman. Author and interior designer Carolyne Roehm grew up in the midwestern “boonies” and dreamed of being a big New York fashion designer. She married fabulously, was divorced oh-so-publicly, and still made her dreams come true. I loved listening to her funny, self-deprecating tales and admiring the tablescapes created by local designers in her honor. Ellen Katz always brings illustrious talent to town. Would you like a peek inside?

When Carolyne sets tables at her home(s), they look like this:

No pressure. In Phoenix, her tribute tables looked like this:

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Eggs above by Azadi Fine Rugs. Gorgeous white blossom assemblage below by DeCesare Design Group.

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My friends at Angelic Grove offered an impressive tower of hydrangea and orchids. They even made seashell napkin rings.

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This global scheme came from Bungalow.

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Michael Ferguson put bananas and cauliflower in his arrangement — such a fun idea.

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This swan was the heroine of the ladies who lunched.

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Carolyne is below in black and white polka dots, along with Ellen Katz, Sharron Lewis, Jane Jozoff, and Kathy Petsas. Ellen was best dressed, as usual — note the gold leather banding on the bottom of that incredible mint leather jacket.

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Carolyne’s new book is Flowers, featuring photographs of her sprawling gardens.

The shoe prize goes to Nancy Pendleton, in YSL.

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P.S. The Encanto Home Tour returns this Sunday and is  always a relished opportunity to peer into the lives of real people and their historic homes and gardens. I like to go, stand in a corner, and observe the crazy things that people say and do. Once, a woman plopped herself on a sofa and spent 20 minutes helping herself to the homeowners’ candy dish.

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Photos by myself, Haute Photography courtesy the Phoenix Art Museum, from Carolyne Roehm, and courtesy the Encanto Home Tour.

By |2013-03-22T09:08:54-07:00March 22nd, 2013|Parties|1 Comment

Local love: Millie’s Caramels by Jill McNamara

Jill McNamara is a gifted photographer, crafter, decorator, gardener, seamstress, party planner and a great, great friend.  And now she makes caramels and sells them locally, in an enterprise named for her grandmother, Millie.

Jill  let me invite myself over to her house and take a bite out of every single flavored caramel she makes.

I ate 21 caramels in an hour.

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You can buy them online here or at the Biltmore Farmers Market. My favorite flavor is Bourbon Pecan (16 of the 21 I ate). Tyson loves the Peanut Butter and Honey. Jill just introduced a new concoction: Maple Brown Sugar. I’m not allowed to know anything more about that.

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P.S. At the Brooklyn Flea Market, I ate caramel pie by Butter and Scotch. Did you see it on my Instagram feed? Oh, baby.

By |2013-03-14T05:20:38-07:00March 14th, 2013|Style|1 Comment

Local love: I’m smitten with Vintage By Misty (and win $ for shopping local)

Misty and I have been “dating” for months now: a friend would try to set us up, and then we’d email, or text on Facebook, and then another friend would tell me that Misty is perfect for me, and then Misty would hear the same thing.

Misty owns a vintage fashion shop downtown, full of Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent and leopard print and everyone who knows the two of us wanted to get us together. It happened, at long last. I went in. I lost my mind. I was there until the shop closed. I bought Christmas presents. I made Christmas wish lists. And now I email her once a week about another thing I need.  She also has an Etsy shop for her higher-end things, but then you won’t get to scope the bargain finds, or meet Misty, which is half the fun.

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Misty makes jewels out of vintage Chanel buttons. I love them to distraction. They are surprisingly affordable. Rings start at $65.

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Misty also stocks killer vintage pieces, like this Dior jacket which is haunting my dreams.

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The jewelry is insane. Christina Brian, you need this Guillemette L’Hoir Tribal Necklace.

This Chanel button ring is just $90:

This is beautiful Misty. I love her.

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These earrings …. oh, dear.

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As for what I had to have, this Razza lion necklace is a hint.

I’ll show you when I wear it, and I’ll show you the other crazy thing I had to have  on Instagram and Twitter today, so follow along ( Twitter: @JaimeeRose, Instagram: @JaimeeRoseStyle). It’s from the men’s department.

Vintage By Misty is at 818 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, and parking is  in the back of the store. Follow along on Facebook  to see her latest finds. Also, the entire store is currently on sale.

P.S. TWO SOCIAL MEDIA WINS:

When you’re out and about and shopping local, post photos of your favorite shops on Instagram and tag them #ReStyleShoutOut. REstyleSOURCE will be giving out random $50 gift cards to our Instagram taggers. Fun, right?

When you’re Tweeting and Instagramming in your favorite Phoenix shops, tag them #myphx to help the Phoenix Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. They’re running a big social media tourism campaign to bring $$$ to our fair state. You can also win a staycation in one of our glam resorts. Details here.

 

 

By |2013-01-07T06:45:26-07:00January 7th, 2013|Style|2 Comments
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