The Best Spoons (and the Best Mom!)

If you're a House Beautiful reader, you probably delighted in this spread of Sabre frosted acrylic spoons in the November issue.

We spotted them at Maison d'Etre in Oakland and my Mom surprised me with a little burgundy spoon! (Did you think I was kidding about my Goodies from Mom theme this week?)

It's cheeky, but I think it will play nicely with my more formal white dishes.

There's a color to please everyone (22, to be exact), and the salad server sets would be an excellent hostess gift... definitely an idea to tuck away for the holidays!


Still Giving Thanks

So many thanks to my family who came down from Seattle to spend Thanksgiving with us! We had a busy weekend sharing our favorite shops and sights, being the only 5 people in Berkeley pleased to see the Huskies beat Cal, and feasting upon Ferdinand the turkey.

Mom apparently had Thanksgiving and Christmas confused, because she arrived bearing gifts (who was I to correct her?). This week's blog posts may have a "wonderful thing my Mom got me" theme! For instance, she brought me this charming little pitcher, which not only had the perfect sentiment for the occasion, but also matched my table setting. How does she do that? 

Ferdinand turned out to be the most marvelous turkey I've ever eaten: tender, fragrant, and slightly apple-flavored thanks to his cider and Calvados brine. We'll be enjoying him on sandwiches and in soup for several more days, along with leftover mashed red potatoes, sourdough & green apple stuffing, cinnamon-spiced cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie!

I got a bit caught up in family and food and forgot to take pictures of my Thanksgiving table, but my bouquet of roses, cabbage, and feather sprays is still looking lovely and reminding me of all of our holiday fun. Mom, Dad, Drew (and Ellie & Paige), I miss you already!

I swear I'm still feeling the soporific effects of all of this sumptuous fowl, so I'm spending the day with the Nutcracker ballet and a pile of December magazines. Can it be time to decorate for Christmas already?

How was your Thanksgiving?


Ferd the Bird

The blog may be quiet this week, but my apartment is certainly not! Adam and I are hosting a Thanksgiving feast, and the preparations have definitely thrown my OCD switch. Totally normal to rearrange your bedroom furniture in expectation of dinner guests, right?

We finished our grocery shopping this week, and Adam and I spent more time interacting with potential turkeys than we did with potential new kittens (Phineas was an easy choice, obviously). After a lot of weighing and examining, we chose a hefty young bird, toted him home, and named him Ferdinand. I'm training him to be delicious.

Ferdinand is being brined, so I keep peeking to see how he's enjoying his salty apple cider bath. Every time I take the lid off our pets appear, eagerly sniffing.

Isn't that the most gloriously full refrigerator you've ever seen? 
The cats agree. "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings!"
Tildy the Cat is dying to get her paws on Ferd the Bird.
LOL. "I can haz Tanksgivins?"

Okay, back to work. Pies to bake, cranberry sauce to make, a linen closet to reorganize (hey, it's possible that someone might look!). 


Beautiful Bounty in Edmonds, WA

Here's a special Christmas shopping word to the wise for my Western Washington readers: try downtown Edmonds for nostalgia, twinkle-lights, and one of my new favorite shops.

Bountiful Home resides in a little old house just off of Main Street. If you pass through its arbor and down the garden path, you'll find yourself on a welcoming porch arrayed with potted plants and rusty finds. Once inside you'll understand how Bountiful Home gets its name. Special things sparkle all around.

The shop is an homage to all things old-fashioned and lovely, from vintage glass bottles and snail-mail stationery down to the creaking floorboards. Forget about just wanting to buy something- you'll want to move in.

Definitely the place to go for romantic holiday trimmings and memorable hand-picked gifts!


"Like" Rappaccini's Garden?

Did you know that Rappaccini's Garden has a facebook page? Click "Like" for updates when new pieces are posted. Facebook fans will be the first to know about holiday sales and special offers at Rappaccini's Garden!


Dare to Dream: Crowning Glory

Discovery of the weekend: editing html comes about as easily to me as calculus. There's a certain college math professor out there who gets that joke, and we're both grimacing. Actually, one of us is crying a little bit.

I'm comforting myself with a brief online window-shopping break. Because that's what comes easily to me. One might even say that I rule at it. Take, for example, the ceiling lamp that would look divinely right in my living room...

The price is (surprisingly) much less outrageous than the shape, but I'm still putting this on my "Ha, I wish" list. Today's true dare to dream? A professional to straighten up the royal mess I've made of this poor blog...


Anthology Launch Party Wrap-Up

We made it to the Anthology Magazine Launch Party! We sipped, mingled, and saved! We stood like, an inch away from Victoria and Grant K. Gibson! We basked in the design glory!

Okay, I'll be honest. I shopped a little for me too. Congratulations to the brilliant women behind Anthology! The party was incredible, and I'll be poring over Issue I allllllll weekend.

As you probably noticed, Shock the Bourgeois is undergoing a little makeover. I'm finally shaking some of the recurring problems that came with my old design, and aiming to make the blog more readable (and welcoming to new followers). I'd love to have your feedback! Shoot me an email anytime at shockthebourgeois@mac.com

Happy Weekend,

xoxo Elizabeth


Anthology Launch Party

I woke up this morning to the pounding of a truly ferocious headache. Ouch. The plan is to take it easy until this evening, when I will rally, put on something fabulous, and dash off to the Anthology Magazine Launch Party at West Elm in Emeryville.

Will I see you there?


My Fall Wish List

Berkeley's November has alternated between warm rainy days and clear chilly days. I can't decide which I've enjoyed more- snuggling up and staying in, or venturing out to splash around town!

All that's missing is a stack of new books and a mug of spicy apple cinnamon tea...


Dare to Dream: Rugs

Carpet may be the most common renter's woe. Carpet worn bare over years of use, carpet harboring the former tenant's pet's fleas, carpet wearing stains that you hope had nothing to do with the former tenant's pet. Adam and I have faced all of the above in our current apartment alone. Someday when we live in our own home with herringbone wood floors we're going to reminisce about the carpet angst of our youth. Like the reasonably attractive but obviously defective remnants in our Seattle apartment. Not only did the unbound edges continually unravel, the carpet coughed up enormous poofs of synthetic fluff, even after six months of weekly vacuuming (and even more so after it choked and killed my vacuum). We'll think wayyyy back to the very, very green wall-to-wall carpet of our last Spokane apartment and have a good chuckle. Oh, how green it was.

My current complaint is perhaps the most common of all. Our carpet, even now that it's passably clean, is just hideous. The bedroom is swathed in matted orangey-brown plush (gag), and the living room sports dingy loops of gray, mauve, and blue. A posh tiger rug can only help the situation so much.

So, here's a dare-to-dream that I think all of you renters out there can relate to. I dream of covering up this hot mess with a much prettier area rug (that I could roll up and take with me when I ditch this joint). Something with a practical, show-no-dirt pattern that compliments my neutral palette...

Of course, rolling in at about half a month's rent, all of these practical investments are sadly out of this girl's price range. Ah, dare to dream.


Rainy Day

I missed out on the last Alameda Flea when I was out of town, so I had been looking forward to November 7th for months. We pulled into the lot to find it largely empty (I had a fleeting moment of elation thinking of the prime parking spot we were going to score), but we soon realized that the Flea had been canceled! Drat! California clearly has a looser notion of "rain or shine" than we Seattleites are accustomed to.

We headed over to the auction house instead. We didn't get involved in the bidding, but I thought this hand-colored etching was awfully fun...
Sorry for the glare on the photo- I haven't been able to find an image of this print online. 
(Though, in googling I discovered that the artist, Thomas Rowlandson, was a bit better known for his xxx-rated etchings... so search with care!)

Our extra hour was spent puddle-jumping and leaf-kicking up on College Avenue, where we stumbled upon an estate sale and visited a few favorite shops (where I scored an excellent find, which I'll show off later!). I was glad I'd brought my camera, because everything was Autumn-colored and glistening... and it almost felt like home.

What did you do with your extra hour?


Food for Thought

It's the weekend, and time to curl up with a good book- mine! As a first time participant in NaNoWriMo, I'm learning a lot about my writing process. I'm never at a loss for words... except when I have to type them out, in tiny black font on an intimidatingly blank page. I have the strangest notion that if I were able to dictate to someone, I might already have my novel and its sequel done. As it is, I'm lagging behind, but finally starting to develop a strategy. Incentivizing! Yesterday's reward was a walk to the farmer's market. It's literally about dangling a carrot in front of my nose...

This afternoon's goal is 1,000 words, and the prize is a pumpkin spice latte (a grande for a grand seems appropriate). Happy Friday!


Dare to Dream: A Better Light

When I'm grumbling about my apartment, one of my favorite topics is lighting. Our space came with ceiling lights that our landlord must have found on deep discount in 1989. They've got shiny yellow-gold  trim and a glass bowls that are impossible to remove, but always filled with dead bugs (seriously, how do they get in there?). They're really not doing much for my complexion either.

I'd like to imagine that everything would take on a more glamorous aspect under the glow and sparkle of a chandelier. Our large television would become a miniature theatre, I'd start calling my living room my "salon," and late morning coffee in my robe and slippers would clearly be more aristocratic than unemployed, right?

These unusual chandeliers are among my favorites at Lucca Great Finds in Seattle. They're on my wish list (along with the extra foot of ceiling height I'd need to make them feasible in our apartment...).


Gearing Up for the Holidays?

It's November, and time to set things in motion for the holiday season. This year I'm scouting for gifts that are memorable and shippable/carry-on-able, since we're not yet sure where we'll be at Christmastime!

Industrial chic always seems to come in a rusty, half-ton, impossible to gift-wrap package. Not so with these gear candleholders (CB2, $6.95 each). 

They're well priced, unisex, and best of all, a scalable gift: present just one to a holiday party host, or give seven to your best friend as a statement piece for their enviable loft apartment. These are a little modern art, a little steampunk, and heck, so universally appealing (I mean, who doesn't like tea lights?) that I'm tempted to buy 10 to have just in case.

Speaking of universally appealing, have you all seen Ez's new Gifted Magazine at Creature Comforts?

It's amazing. Read it, unless you're a member of my immediate family. In that case, don't peek, or you'll likely spoil the surprise for your present this year. Seriously, it's that good- I am stealing every idea.

Anyone else getting a head start on their holiday shopping?


How We Turned Things Around for Halloween

As I pouted on Friday, our Halloween Party got axed when the attendees dwindled. To add insult to injury, my Tildy-Pumpkin's face caved in. The perfect Halloween that I had envisioned was literally crumbling- and so was I!

I'm getting to know myself fairly well. I'm a perfectionist. I like to plan. I'm not always graceful about disappointment. I'm also realizing that "perfect or not at all" isn't the best philosophy for happiness. 

So this is how we turned things around for Halloween.

First, I literally turned our pumpkin around.

Then, Adam coerced/guilted/bribed/bullied a handful of coworkers into coming over for drinks and snacks on Friday after work. In the hour before our guests arrived we whipped up some guacamole, corn salsa, goat cheese bruschetta, a batch of salty-spicy-sweet toasted pumpkin seeds, and a cinnamon apple crumble. We lit some candles, and we had a party. Was it the costume party I'd imagined? No. Did my guests stand around and talk about science, thereby boring me to death? Kinda, yes.
But we had a good time (and my guacamole was really tasty).

For the rest of the weekend we were without any plans, so we donned our costumes, took the Bart to San Francisco, and found ourselves in the midst of a Giants/Halloween celebration. Plenty of orange and black, many beards to fear, blaring horns, dozens of Mario + Luigi pairings, and what we hope was just a pipe bomb. California knows how to party!

Adam's costume was indiscriminately creepy. Vampire? Werewolf? Zombie? Miscellaneous undead creature? It was open for interpretation, and judging by how few people dared to look him in the eye, it was a success.
 I went as a Mad Men-inspired secretarial type.

All in all, a good Halloween! How was yours?


Where I Blog From!

Happy Monday! It's an especially happy Monday for me, because (dare-to-dream no more) I'm participating in the Where We Blog From series over at Ill Seen, Ill Said!

I'm swooning at the sweet comments that have been left already. Many thanks to Jane- it's a thrill to contribute to one of my favorite daily reads!

Click on over for a peek at the desk where I blog from! Today I'm tethering myself to that desk for my first day of NaNoWriMo (175 pages to go, wish me luck!). I'll be back tomorrow with a Halloween recap...