Feelings and Emotions: DC Living

I went to the park. There are leaves there!

1. I've been in DC for over a week now, and I have only become homesick once. OK, twice. But since someone has promised to mail me tasso and a boudin-stuffed chicken, that feeling has been somewhat assuaged. It helps that I have my own car and can find my way to the grocery store without a map (but not home, for some reason? Going backwards is hard.). Before, when I would visit, it always felt like vacation. Now, it feels like a life. Or, at least, the beginning of one.

2. I find myself inspired on a daily basis. Possibly because everything is brand new. But also because there are places to go! Things to see! The BIGGEST ESTATE SALE MAILING LIST I'VE EVER SEEN. It is BIGGER THAN THIS WOLMORT. I'm not saying that there weren't things to see in Louisiana -- there certainly were -- but I grew up in the town I just left, and I sometimes felt like I couldn't make anything new again. Does that make sense?

3. Things I miss about Monroe: The weather. Here's my favorite kind of August: hot as shit. Sweltering, humid, 90-degrees-at-night, hot. And it's kind of unseasonably cool here already? On the other hand: jackets and coats! I am going to be forced to buy some cute coats. FORCED. Also, I miss shrimp po-boys, Enoch's, and my red chairs. Oh, and my people, most especially my teeny tiny baby. Who starts college next week and doesn't miss anyone at all.

4. Things I love about DC: All of the foods. Do you people know how many foods you have? Also: I can get sushi delivered to me? OKAY THANK YOU I WILL HAVE THAT. Running without fainting and/or dying from sweating. All of the new-to-me plants and flowers. Lunch with new friends. Driving around, getting lost, and finding my way again. Coffee shops. Decorating new spaces (more on this later). This girl I know.

4. I mentioned this before, but I am taking clients again! I'm so excited about it I cannot see straight. I also have a couple of other projects in the works that I will tell you about soon. SOON! Right after I go to another coffee shop.


Read | Moving To DC


Below, please enjoy this list of things I've been reading before, during, and since moving. It's a haphazard list, but a good one.

1. Nate Berkus: The Things That Matter. When I was packing to move to DC, I really could only take what would fit in my (small, sedan-like) car, so I really had to think about the things that mattered. Like clothes. And all of the textiles. And this one wire chair that was NOT staying in Monroe if it killed me. (It nearly killed me.) Seriously, though, our homes do tell our stories, and mine says, "You might be a crazy person."

2. Kathryn Casey: Shattered: The True Story of a Mother's Love, a Husband's Betrayal, and a Cold-Blooded Texas Murder. I listened to this book -- my first audiobook ever -- for hours during the two-day drive, and it made the time pass so much more quickly. Bonus: MURDER!

3. Washingtonian Magazine. This month's copy of Washingtonian was waiting when I arrived in DC, and is it not the perfect issue for me? Best local shops, AND a sandwich guide? I mean to tell you.

4. Alethea Harampolis, Jill Rizzo: The Flower Recipe Book. I've wanted this forever. It's gorgeous and easy and now I am a professional.

5. Bryan Batt: Big, Easy Style: Creating Rooms You Love to Live In. You may remember Bryan Batt from such roles as Sal on Mad Men, but you may not know that he owns an adorable shop on Magazine in NOLA called Hazelnut. He also wrote this book, which features tons of New Orleans homes and is one of my new favorites.

6. Marya Hornbacher: Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power. If you are a part of any twelve-step group and can't get into the higher power thing, I recommend. High(er)ly.

7. John Nelson: License to Cheat: The Hypocrisy of Nevada Gaming Regulation and the Exploitation of the Federal Courts. I've known the man who wrote this book since I was a little girl; his lovely wife wrote me the sweetest note recently about my coming out post, and revealed that John had written a book detailing his journey into gambling addiction and the casinos who take advantage of that. 


Your Tuesday Headless All This Fit Into My Car Photo

And it should go without saying that I am really good at Tetris.


Camp Notes: Location, location, location.

1. We have locations! We have locations! We have... guess. Locations! Our DC camp will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the gorgeous Ulysses Room in Truxton Circle. Spaces are limited, and all camps are on sale right now, so I'd advise you to sign your cute selves up right this second.

2. Our NOLA camp will be held Saturday, Oct. 19 at Hattie Sparks, a cute shop where you will arrive for camp and then promptly buy everything in there. Hey, it's not my fault you can't control yourself. In addition, there will be a pop-up shop with hand-selected items from Amelia Presents, located in Oxford, MS. Deep South, represent! 

3. Our Raleigh Camp, on Sunday, Sept. 15, is almost sold out, like, there is one spot left. Go sign up here. BREAKING: I've just been informed that you may look at and/or touch Jamie Meares for an extra $5. Cash only.

4. For those of you who have asked, I am taking local clients in DC. Interested? Let me know. Yay!

5. I have space for two more camps before the year is up. What do y'all say? NYC and LA? Talk to me.


An Afternoon at Illume

This post is brought to you by Illume Candles.

A couple of weeks ago, over the weekend of my Minneapolis mini-camp, I was invited to spend a day at the Illume Candles headquarters. Look! They made me a sign, y'all!

The creative team and actual candle-making factory are all contained in one building, so I got to see lots of exciting things, starting with their shelves and shelves of already-made candles. I accidentally stole them all.

The creative team's offices all look like this. I am not sure how they became so cool, but I was not asking questions. I was mainly gawking. 

"Oh, I think I'll just play with some watercolors here on this table, trying to come up with some ideas for next year's designs," said a cool person who knows how to use watercolors.

Don't you wish your inspiration board were baller like this? I do.

After a little tour and a few minutes drinking coffee and walking around meeting everyone -- yeah, I met the CEO of Illume Candles, we're best friends now -- it was time for a tour of the factory.

First up: the Burn Room. The Burn Room consists of about a million candles all going at once, and all being tested for something different: flame height, something called mushrooming, vessel temperature, smoking, burn time, and fragrance throw (there's cold throw, which is how the candle smells when it's not burning, and hot throw, which is how the candle smells when... it IS burning. I am now a candle expert.)

There was one room dedicated to all the different fragrance oils, powders, and pigments. And there were wicks! So many wicks, you guys. Did you know that the wick is chosen depending on the particular candle? Now you do.

Something is happening above which I do not remember, but which I do know looked super cool. I was tempted to pocket those awesome wooden squares, but I did not, because my outfit didn't have pockets.

Then we went to the back of the factory, and all of a sudden I was in an episode of Breaking Bad. I was assured that there were no meth-making products on these shelves. Allegedly.

Making candles: it's kind of like baking with Crisco. Each candle has its own individual recipe, and everything has to be measured and checked off extra-carefully to ensure identical quality across batches. This is just one of the vats that the candles are mixed in. I resisted the urge to taste it.

Wick-holder-downer thingers! These are for safety, so that when one's candle burns to the bottom, there is still a little wax left and no one starts a fire. Also they are for looking really cute in large barrels.

The wick machine, which -- you guessed it! -- attaches the wicks, is apparently very fancy. It's German, from whence many fancy wick-machines hail.

These gorgeous pillar candles are made in something that resembles a springform pan. See? Candle-making: it's a lot like baking. Except, sadly, you cannot eat the end product. 

Here is an Essential Jar candle, from start to finish. Please also note Jenny's cool rings.

And, suddenly, the tour was over. I was a little sad, because I could have stayed in that factory all day watching and learning. To assuage my sadness, Jenny (my Illume contact, tour guide, and other new best friend) had planned something called Crafternoon, during which time the creative staff all sat around a big table eating chocolates and mod-podging fabric onto trays. Apparently they do something like this every week. Um, WHAT? Hi, I work here now.

We got the tray idea from Martha Stewart, and the fabric from Josi Severson (in whose adorable shop I held my camp!).

Since the people at Illume are basically the sweetest people in all the land, they sent me home with lots of candles. The ones you see below are their Coconut Milk Mango pillars, and, along with smelling super-dreamy, are the perfect shade of pale pink. I've been really into pink lately.

Jenny encouraged me to burn several candles at once to make up a WHOLE NEW SCENT, and...y'all, she is kind of a genius. Below: Garden Sage Starlight Tin, Amber Dunes Essential Tin, and Coconut Milk Mango Essential Mini Tin. The combined scent smelled like butterscotch and summer. I'm still sitting here, right now.

Thank you so much to everyone at Illume for such a fun adventure! I hope to burn your candles for many days henceforth. I'll be back next week for Crafternoon.