House Beautiful

10 Design Trends To Kiss Goodbye

When it comes to design trends, I’ll say this before I say anything else: you should always do what you love, because what you love never goes out of style. So if you love any of the stuff on this list – go ‘head and do yo thing.  But, while we’re on the subject of trends, here are my two cents on what I might poke myself in the eyeballs if I see much more of, cuz nothing chaps my hide more than trendy business.

It’s not so much that these things have become so, so overplayed that they’re like a bad Sugar Ray song you can’t get out of your head that makes your ears bleed; it’s more that I look at everything in your home as an investment, so I think the idea of having to recycle your decor every time the trend tides change is asinine, expensive, and exhausting. You heard it here kids: invest ONLY in the things you love that are timeless, and leave this stuff behind.

1. GREY EVERYTHING: Ugh. Every time I look at new construction or a house someone is flipping, the whole DA*N thing is grey. ALL OF IT. Guys, I promise we can be more creative than that. I have one client who – though I love her dearly – undoubtedly says to me on every single design decision: “You know what, I was thinking about something grey.” (………….)

Ho LAWD! Besides being beaten like a dead horse times infinity, the thing about grey – especially when it comes to paint – is that there are 9 kablillion shades of it, so it can be tough to get it right – more often than not, it comes out too cold and lifeless. Comme ça:

The idea that the grey curtains have to match the grey drapes and the grey upholstery and the grey walls *legit* makes my innards curdle. You know what I mean – you’ve seen it before:

I’m not saying let’s abandon grey altogether.  But fer heavens sakes, let’s stop using it as a default for EVERYTHING. And if you’re painting walls or cabinets with it, make sure you do LOTS of samples on a wall – or have your cabinet guy make you a sample door – because nothing ever looks the same on a paint chip as it does on the wall or cabinet, and then factor in your light in your house, etc. The same color you just saw look great in Sallie Jane’s house on Pinterest may completely different in your house.

I think when grey is done right (and in healthy doses), it can be an amazing neutral to keep in your arsenal. Some of my faves are colors like Farrow & Ball Down Pipe – which is a dark, rich grey with so much depth that the color is almost indiscernible.. sometimes it looks grey, sometimes green, sometimes blue.

source unknown but bravo – it’s beautiful!

via F&B’s website – I commend the wall color, but I object to the chevron (!) see #2

Not sure what this grey is, but I took this pic at the Drew Tasting Room near St. Helena in Northern Cali a few weeks ago.  Stunning.  It looks like Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.

On the lighter side, I also love Dunn Edwards’ Lace Veil – it’s the palest neutral with a barely-there blue undertone.  I used it as the all-over downstairs color at my Charleston beach house project earlier this year:

Another few examples of the palest grey done right: Jenna Lyons did it on her walls (the woman can’t get it wrong) – and IMO, this grey has a good bit of blue in it that gives it some life, and there’s also so much beautiful texture (the sheepskin chairs, the buttery leather), warmth (the brass tones) and color (the coral sofas, everything on the bookshelves) layered into the space that makes it work beautifully.

photo via New York Times

And not to be a ho, but this is a kitchen I finished in Downers Grove, IL this Summer.  We didn’t want to do white cabinets, but wanted something classic and timeless with a little bit of pigment.  We did the palest grey-blue, and it came out super serene and lovely. Design by Covet Living Interiors, Photo by Oakley Homebuilders.

2. CHEVRON: The lights went out at this party around 2007. You heard it here. I’m silently screaming “Uncle.” Forgive me, my chevron-loving friends, but if your BFF blogger can’t shootchoo straight, who will?

3. ACCENT WALLS: sorry, but accent walls are the design equivalent of wearing a dickie, and that is a fact.

I think the rationale for doing them is probably that they’re less committal, or that maybe if you’re using wallpaper or reclaimed wood (please no more reclaimed wood walls, for the love of pete), it’s less of an investment, etc… but whenever I see them, all I can think about is a dickie. The space always feels disjointed or unfinished to me. Like this… plus chevron = double whammy.

Hey listen… I did one last year for a kid’s room. But only because the client twisted my arm so many times it fell off and I screamed MERRSAYYYYY!

I say when it comes to wallpaper – go ‘head and go big (or go home). I’m sure I’ve seen an accent wall at some point that was rad, but I can’t recall… though it was probably inside some molding or in a recessed arched nook or something – and therein lies my exception to the rule.

4. INDUSTRIAL EVERYTHING: This is one I feel like dudes-the-world-over think is still the best thing since sliced bread and aren’t gonna let go of for at LEAST a few more years (*COUGH* Chris… love you babe):

Reclaimed wood accent walls (or just reclaimed wood everything) + Edison bulbs + shelves made of steel pipes + everything made of steel pipes + leather on all the things + white subway tile with black grout + all furniture made with a metal pipe base and wood top – that’s the combo I mean. And it is a BIG formula in Colorado.

I am pointing my finger at Restoration Hardware right now for contributing to this long-past-its-sour-milk date… see me? Individually some of those elements are great peppered into a space, I think… (I’m over Edisons but still def not over exposed bulbs)… I love me some leather but not on all the things.

PS: white tile with black grout = never a good idea, unless maybe you run a Starbucks or own a restaurant. It just feels so harsh. If you’re worried about grime, just do medium to light grey – Laticrete’s Light Pewter is a fave (seen below in Karrie’s kitchen), and you can see it’s not “light” at all. But still much softer than a stark black.

5. GRANITE: oh man. Such a rager in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and I’m voting for it to stay right there where it belongs. This speckly natural stone was, I swear, boasted in every real estate ad 15-20 years ago like it was mined from the heavens above, blessed by the Pope and sealed with unicorn tears. Most types of granite these days I come across in slab yards are either black & white or brown & well – brown. Mehrr. Blehhhr.

If I ever ran across one that was a little more unique with different movement than just salt & peppa speckles – and one that didn’t feel like it belonged in a Tuscan kitchen in 1998, then I would consider it. There are for sure some anomalies out there. But in general, natural stone like quartzite is stronger and more chip-resistant than granite (and also has more linear movement), also less resistant to stains (so folks with kiddos love it) and I think has a great deal more staying power. This quartzite beaut below is also in the kitchen of my sweet DG friend whose house we had a ball doing.

So anyhoosit – if we were holding hands & skipping through the slab yard singing songs, just know that I would make sure we blew straight past the granite aisle altogether. If you’re flipping a house or thinking about selling one anytime in the near future, I can confidently tell you that granite countertops are not gonna be your friend. Trust me on this one, campers.

6. (THESE) BLACK & WHITE CEMENT TILES: Oh I know, I just heard an audible gasp and lost 12 friends. There’s so much of it out there that’s great and that I love and use all the time: the more unique patterns that are either antique, in unexpected colors or just ones that we all haven’t seen done more times than ever-loving Debbie Does Dallas (henceforth known as D-cubed). But there is SO MUCH OF IT that has become so homogenized on the Interwebs that I tend to steer clear. For instance, I would move past patterns like this, because I guarantee they’re in every. single. remodel that’s gone down in the last 2 years and have become way commoditized:

However, I think there’s a difference between the mass-market ones we can’t get away from, and the ones that look like you would see them on a bedroom floor in a B&B in Mexico or Morocco, that have been there for 50 years and are still so beautiful. And cement tile is great for its durability, pop of fun, relatively reasonable cost (about $15 / SF on average) and because most of them are 8×8, tile setters don’t hate kick and scream while they’re laying it. So if you’re in the market for cement tile, I would consider ones like this:

From a project last year in the Jack & Jill bath of a few little gals. This color palette of dusty rose, mint and mint chocolate is happy and so delicious I can’t take it. This one feels timeless to me.

This one from Jatana Interiors has me weak at the knees.

The Hex Star from Popham Design is so beautiful! The hex shape, the random pattern of the stars, and the sage & celadon color palette of this one is so unexpected and interesting.

Mamounia in Santorini from Ann Sacks is so bomb.

Love the Medallion Sapphire from Amethyst Artisan.

Their Mirror pattern I’m currently using in a big renovation – it feels kind of old world and kind of mod to me at the same time.

…and would be SUPER RAD with this marbelized wallpaper (though that’s not how we’re using it in this space). But the juxtaposition of those patterns is what keeps it all feeling fresh.

7. FARMHOUSE RUN AMUCK: And listen – I love me some Chip & Jo. I love me some country chic sprinkled in a home, à la quilts and Shabby Chic and worn textiles and such. Always will – Nanny & GG & Aunt Bunky always quilted and I love furniture with a patina and such. What I’m talking about is the copycat regurgitation of evvvvvverything from Fixer Upper: the overkill of “Fresh Eggs” signs and wire cage pendant lights and quatrefoil rugs and (not antique, but) chalk painted then sanded to look old furniture. And thank you to Kate Wagner, the hilarious soul who wrote: “I Really Can’t With These Pinterest Farmhouse Ideas” for Architectural Digest.

I think the country, farmhouse/rustic vibe works best when it’s more authentic, and interspersed with some juxtaposed elements to keep it real.  AKA mixing styles so it doesn’t feel so one-note. Designers Leanne Ford and Lauren Leiss are – I think – both BRILLIANT at this. À la:

Nate Berkus too:

While we’re on the subject, a few of my favorite furniture pieces (EVER) are ones that straddle antique & modern:

Straight farmhouse / country but all authentic and so well-loved and worn:

Moral of the story: if you’re into the farmhouse / country vibe, invest in antiques instead of the chalk-painted dime-a-dozen replicas (and hey – some of my best antiques ever have been under $50 from Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity), steer clear of signs that tell you to do what you already know you’re meant to do in each room, e.g. “BREAKFAST SERVED HERE!” (cuz trust me, we get it), and layer in some clean-lined pieces to keep the space feeling fresh.

8. INDIGO & MUDCLOTH: I know, I know. They’re pretty and they feel cool and tribal and SoCal-esque and they’ve been EVERYWHERE for the past few years. Replayed so many times on Instagram I can’t count and I think my eyes hurt. I still like them, but they’re getting to be like my girl D-cubed.

I’m not saying send them to Goodwill, but I am saying LET’S MIX IT UP PEOPLE! If you still love that look, try for a fresh spin on it – or just use a color/pattern that isn’t so overdone.  I love these below:

Hollywood at Home never gets it wrong. This bedroom (with what looks like a mudcloth coverlet) works because all of the patterns are so artfully layered.

Should we play a drinking game and see how many times I can say “layer” or “patina” or “timeless” in one post?  We’d all be housed by now. Just letting you know I’m self-aware.

This Indigo Mudcloth African Boho is in a more faded color – which is a little more unique – and I haven’t seen this pattern circulate as much:

And when you use it, maybe toss it in with other patterns & colors that are a different texture, and maybe that aren’t vintage… like this velvet pattern from Kravet:

Or, opt for another (albeit harder to come by) ethnic textile on a pillow or two, like one made from a Chinese Wedding Blanket:

9. THE NOTION THAT ALL YOUR METALS HAVE TO MATCH: Dude, rules are meant to be broken, and this is one that makes me want to pull my hair out…. (and pretty sure I did just that last year on the boob tube). I just had the lady down the street from my aunt – who I’m helping with her kitchen – insist that she needed brushed nickel cabinet hardware b/c you “have to match it to your stainless steel sink.” Oh sugar, sit down.

When everything in a space matches – whether it be hardware or a set of furniture, whatever – it tends to end up feeling flat and looking contrived. I promise, PROMISE promise – if you’re feeling nervous about mixing things up – you have my blessing. Do it. Layering materials, textures and patterns in a space is what gives it depth and character. Examples:

No idea what the source of this is, but note the gilded mirror, brass coffee table and the chrome frame on the chairs. It all works. LAYAHS.

This is a custom fridge I did this year at a kitchen remodel in Las Vegas.  We used antique mirror on the panels (which was heavily distressed, which helped tie some of the warmer & cooler metals in the space together)… cabinet pulls are all Rocky Mountain Hardware’s “Silicon Bronze Light” – which is a brassy/bronze tone but almost looks nickel in some lights, and the handles on the fridge are a darker bronze – still Rocky’s – because especially due to their size, we wanted them to be more discreet and “go away” against the walnut.

La Cornue knobs are a brighter brass that patinas over time, so it works nicely with everything else.

Kids Bath Mixation:

Antique Mirror + brass & lucite hardware + polished nickel plumbing, and it works:

We also mixed metals in Karrie’s kitchen (#casacovetliving) pretty successfully, if you ask me: kitchen light fixtures and perimeter hardware is oil rubbed bronze / black. Hardware on the island and the dining chandelier in adjacent nook are brass. Still my favorite kitchen to date – and I think that’s because when we did it, we were OBSESSIVE about making sure it was cohesive but didn’t adhere to any one design style, and was something they would love for a very, very long time.

A few more quick notes on metals:

  • If you’re choosing between chrome and polished nickel, go polished nickel – it has more depth and a little more warmth than chrome, so it mixes well with other metals. Chrome is typically a little less spendy, but it also can feel cold.
  • When it comes to brushed nickel – which feels a bit passé / 90’s – I would like to cheerfully encourage you to also entertain pewter as an option. It’s somewhere between a darker nickel and a bronze, which makes it a good mixer-upper. I just used it on the cabinetry in a coastal kitchen in Oceanside, CA where they had black stainless steel appliances, ORB plumbing fixtures and sconces in antique nickel, so pewter felt like it married everything below together in the end without competing with what was there.

  • I know brass is all the rage – and believe me, I love it – but know that NOT ALL BRASSES ARE CREATED EQUAL. You can find it online for a steal (as many of my clients do, then tell me I’m insane and that it’s not that expensive), but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Seeing it in person before you buy it is imperative. A lot of it looks green or yellow – like Donald Trump’s gold toilet kind of yellow-gold – and that you won’t want.

10. DISPOSABLE DESIGN: I don’t know if this is a “design trend” so much as a pattern of behavior I see in people these days, but it’s the frantic rush to furnish a room on the cheap or do a remodel in a day, just for the sake of getting it done. I blame Trading Spaces 🙂 j/k TLC, hearts & stars. One of my major design philosophies is that “haste makes waste“… cuz it’s true. Examples:

  • I had a (beloved client) demo her house last Winter BEFORE OUR DESIGN PLANS WERE DONE! Because the goofball of a contractor promised her the moon – that he could finish her gut reno in 6 weeks. That fella obviously had smoked dank for breakfast every single day of his life. What followed was 6 months of trying to undo his expectations and convince them to wait for the kinds of things we really wanted to put into the house. Finding things without a lead time is tall order unless you want to buy pre-fab everything off the shelf, and this was NOT a pre-fab sort of job. These wonderful, wonderful people had saved for for ages and wanted to do it right. By the grace of Jesus, Buddha and Santy Claus all put together plus a few strokes of good luck, everything ended up turning out beautifully… but I think I did develop an ulcer in February, and those poor folks (who lived in the house and in the converted garage for 5 months of the reno) probably developed 12 over the course of that job.
  • I actually got politely relieved of a job the other day 2 weeks after the initial measure / consult (before I had a chance to present options) because they got antsy and just wanted to do it themselves (and because some major retailer was having a sale). Totally respect their decision – different strokes – but that’s the rush-rush need to finish before we start phenomenon I’m referring to.

Here’s the thing: I think grew up in a place where – don’t get me wrong, we were fine, we had everything we needed, and I never would’ve wanted to grow up another way – but nothing was fancy. It was a cozy world of linoleum and carpet, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m pretty sure my parents still have all the furniture they had when I was a kid.  So while I do a lot of high-end design, most people I know – including me and the people in my family – MAY go big time and renovate/build or furnish a house once in a lifetime, if that. So to me, that makes it all the more important to do things thoughtfully – to make sure they’re what you love and to make sure they’ll stand the test of time – because I feel like some things in a home have such a sense of permanence.

I shudder to see clients (even the ones who can afford it) spend money on anything they won’t have for a long, long time… and am obnoxious about cautioning them against it. It’s this school of thought: “well, I’m gonna just spend $5k in this room now and get it done and let my kids destroy everything, then replace it all in a few years.” But the thing is, while you may end up saving in the short term, YOU END UP SPENDING THE MONEY TWICE WHEN YOU REPLACE EVERYTHING AFTER A FEW SEASONS, when you could’ve spent 30% more on the right thing in the first place and been done with it.  How’s the old saying go? “When you buy the right thing, you only cry once.”

For this same reason, I will literally clothesline someone jones-ing to do anything too trendy, because in 6 months I know they’ll be sick of it and want to do it over again. I feel like if I don’t push for timeless and help them spend their money wisely, I’m not doing a good job doing my job.

My home skillet Nate Berkus, who neither adheres to nor pays attention to trends, said the same thing: “It’s more about what feels classic; just do what do you love.”

Because as we all know – anything you really love never goes out of style.

xoxo,

 

 

Books to Take You Into Fall

Haaaaayyyyyyyy, readers! It’s been so long since I’ve written a book post – ok, ANY post, and I’ve been wanting to jot down book recs for y’all for a while. These are just a smattering of books I’ve recently read or am dying to get my eyes on. By the way, I’m currently on maternity leave, about to pop this baby out (I was due this past Wed), and even though I know I’ll be run ragged with zero sleep and in a zombie-like state for the next few months, something deep inside of me hopes I can get 1-2 books read in the next few weeks. Bless my heart… we all know that’ll likely never happen.

Seh. Without further ado… here we go!:

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – One of the best memoirs; no – one of the best books, period – I’ve read in a while. A memoir (think Glass Castle-ish) about a girl growing up in a survivalist family who ends up leaving them at 17 to go to school, and eventually earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Just… trust me. Read it.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – Warning: Judging by the sound of this book (description below), this could either be a frustrating read about a girl in a sort of narcotic, lazy, sleepy haze OR it could be a delightful read (reviews are pointed that way) by a young newish writer:

“A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers working at the height of her powers.” – Via

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward – By now we’ve heard alllll about this, and in the last few months I’ve limited the reading I do on our President for fear of going into preterm labor, but when Bob Woodward drops a new book so Bob Woodward-ishly thoroughly investigated and written, it’s almost impossible (for me, at least), to ignore it. Hey, I’m 40 weeks this week, so screw it. (*Orders on Kindle)

Calypso by David Sedaris – Currently reading this for Book Club and like all other David Sedaris books, it’s a light, fun, funny, easy AF read:

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah:

“Ann Mah, a food and travel writer and the author of the memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, has a new made-for-vacation read. The Lost Vintagedrops you into Burgundy, where Kate, a struggling sommelier, has momentarily skipped out of life in San Francisco. It’s been years since Kate has been back in France. Yes, there’s a guy: Jean-Luc, a neighboring winemaker and Kate’s first love, whom she never thought she’d see again and now must, in a new way. Her story and his are woven together with one that got lost—a never-before-spoken-about relative who Kate discovers was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.” – Via

 

The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life by Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace – I’m SOOOO excited to read this:

“‘Our sorority sisters were the picture of ambition’ back in college’, the authors write in The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life. Yet in middle age, much seems challenging. ‘Things hadn’t turned out exactly as they’d planned.’ People made compromises; they fretted about their choices; they did what they could to make life work …’ After interviewing 43 women…the authors—mercifully—don’t draw any polemical conclusions about what women want. The primary take-away is that women want many things, and different things at different times … If anyone is feeling adrift in midlife, this may be the most useful advice in The Ambition Decisions, even if it is not the point of the book and is not specific to women either: Friends—especially old friends—make life feel better, no matter how ambitious you are.” – Via

Now My Heart is Full: A Memoir by Laura June:

“June, a former staff writer at New York magazine’s The Cut who frequently writes on issues related to parenting, tells the story of her own experiences as a parent, beginning with her decision to have a baby at age 35. She shares the details of the pregnancy, the emotional roller coaster of early parenthood, and the loneliness—and boredom—that often comes with new motherhood. She is clearly fascinated by her life as a mother and with her developing daughter, Zelda, and she is an especially aware mother. Not all readers will share her in-depth fascination, but what makes this account different from “let-me-tell-you-what-an-amazing-child-I-have” baby books are the revelations about June’s mother, whose alcoholism became an early defining factor in her daughter’s life. Her mother’s disease became the author’s secret and introduced her to a life of secrets and lies. Her look back at her years with an alcoholic mother, which makes up a significant portion of the book, is straightforward and has the ring of accuracy. Becoming a mother changed June’s life in more ways than first-time motherhood inevitably does. It opened her up to a social world she had not known, and it allowed her to form family connections she had not had before.” – Via

Ghosted: A Novel by Rosie Walsh:

“With nearly 40 years under her belt and a recently failed marriage to her name, Sarah Mackey has finally found the love of her life. During her annual pilgrimage home to England to visit her parents, Sarah meets Eddie, who is chatting with an escaped sheep on the village green. Although Sarah is definitely on the rebound—or so says an app on her phone, downloaded by a friend with the best of intentions—and in no fit state to start a relationship, the chemistry between the two is instantaneous and undeniable.

Sarah falls hard, and after a week holed up together in Eddie’s cottage, she’s sure he has, too. So when Eddie leaves for his previously planned holiday in Spain and she doesn’t immediately hear from him, she is puzzled but not overly concerned. However, with every unanswered text and voicemail, Sarah’s unease mounts until she becomes convinced that a great catastrophe has befallen Eddie. Her best friends counsel her to let it go and accept that she’s been ghosted, but Sarah is haunted by Eddie and the promise of what their week together signified. Despite her friends’ warnings, Sarah begins an obsessive search for her one-that-got-away, determined to uncover what went awry, even if it means finally facing her painful past and her family’s trauma, which she’s been running from for nearly two decades.” – Via 

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

“Opening with Erin digging her husband’s grave, the novel descends abruptly—how did the honeymoon end so disastrously? The timeline backs up to set Erin and Mark’s roller coaster in motion. A documentary filmmaker, Erin has been working on a project exploring how prisoners envision their lives upon release. She has focused on three inmates: Alexa, an engaging 42-year-old incarcerated for helping her mother die; Holli, a sullen young woman imprisoned for setting a bus on fire during a riot; and Eddie, a charmingly dangerous local mob kingpin doing time for money laundering. While Erin presses on with her film, Mark, an investment banker, has lost his job, and prospects for a new one are dim. Although they’ve economized on their wedding, the honeymoon is meant to be a final splurge. What they find in the water, however, skews their moral compasses. Caught in a game they do not understand, Erin and Mark are swiftly beset by ominous Russian figures, mysterious text messages, and shadowy stalkers. Meanwhile, Holli has been released and disappears with her boyfriend, who appears to be associated with Islamic extremists in Syria. DCI Andy Foster, a Special Operative for Counterterrorism, questions how much Erin knew about Holli’s post-prison plans. So Erin can add Interpol to the list of people surveilling her every move. As events tangle further, Erin and Mark careen to the edges of international espionage and domestic disaster.”

An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones:

“Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.” – Via 

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

“The Cabin at the End of the World plays out at a break-neck pace, with its events taking place over the course of one frightening day. We’re introduced to a seven-year-old girl named Wen, adopted from China by a gay couple (Daddy Eric and Daddy Andrew). Wen is an inquisitive kid who takes the family’s vacation to off-the-grid New Hampshire seriously, studying grasshoppers and having fun being away from school. While she’s out collecting bugs, she’s approached by a large man named Leonard, who tells her that he wants to be her friend, and that he and his friends need to have a chat with the family. She flees to the house, and her parents try unsuccessfully to keep the four people — Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina, and Adriane — out.

Once the four invaders are inside, they tell the frightened family that they don’t want to hurt them, but they have an important mission: one member of the family must be voluntarily sacrificed. If they don’t, the apocalypse will come.” – Via

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer – The older I get, the more appreciative I get of my female friends, because as good as a man is, they will NEVER understand you, or fully listen to you, or even fully empathize with you, the way your female friends will.

“For too long, women have been told that we are terrible at being friends, that we can’t help being cruel or competitive, or that we inevitably abandon each other for romantic partners. But we are rejecting those stereotypes and reclaiming the power of female friendship.

In Text Me When You Get Home, journalist Kayleen Schaefer interviews more than one hundred women about their BFFs, soulmates, girl gangs, and queens while tracing this cultural shift through the lens of pop culture. Our love for each other is reflected in Abbi and Ilana, Issa and Molly, #squadgoals, the acclaim of Girls Trip and Big Little Lies, and Galentine’s Day.

Schaefer also includes her own history of grappling with a world that told her to rely on men before she realized that her true source of support came from a strong tribe of women. Her personal narrative and celebration of her own relationships weaves throughout the evolution of female friendship on-screen, a serious look at how women have come to value one another and our relationships.
 
Text Me When You Get Home is a validation that has never existed before. A thoughtful, heart-soaring, deeply reported look at how women are taking a stand for their friendships and not letting go.” – Via 

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas:

“There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.” – Via 

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

“Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the post: it is from an ex-boyfriend of nine years who is engaged to someone else. Arthur can’t say yes — it would be too awkward; he can’t say no — it would look like defeat. So, he begins to accept the invitations on his desk to half-baked literary events around the world. From France to India, Germany to Japan, Arthur almost falls in love, almost falls to his death, and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Less is a novel about mishaps, misunderstandings and the depths of the human heart.” – Via

The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A.J. Finn

“Finn’s novel, released in January, introduces readers to Anna Fox, a traumatized child psychologist who never steps out of her home. Her husband and daughter moved out months ago, we don’t know why; she spends her days watching classic Hollywood thrillers, learning French and drinking endless glasses of Merlot. She also spies on the new neighbors who live across from her Brooklyn brownstone, the Russells. When she witnesses what she thinks is a murder of the wife, the monotony of her days are wildly interrupted. But can Anna—an over-medicated, agoraphobic alcoholic—be trusted?” – Via

Fly Me by Daniel Riley

GQ editor Daniel Riley’s new book Fly Me starts on the Fourth of July in the sleepy California town of Sela Del Mar. It’s 1972, a great time for Thomas Pynchon and a terrible time for airline stewardesses (the skyjacking epidemic was in full swing). Fly Me follows four residents of Sela—Suzy and her sister Grace, both stewardesses, Grace’s husband Mike, and a drug dealer named Billy—as their lives explode one by one. There’s narcotics-running, plane hijacking, sunshine, fast cars, and a rogue teacup pig.” – Via

 

And that’s all, folks. I’m closing my laptop, potentially for the last time before I BRING A CHILD INTO THE UNIVERSE… Oh fer goodness sake.

See you on the other side!

xoxo,