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. 

AuthorAB Chao
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Slide presentations are fun. I am a liar.

I know it seems like this place is nothing but camp talk lately, and that is because I am in the camp WEEDS lately. Next week I will embark on a dangerous thirteen-day journey to the wilds of San Francisco, where I will hold not one but two design camps. I have a couple of announcements, so I thought I'd hit y'all with a little news update.

1. The San Francisco class size has been upped from 15 to 20. As of right this second, I have one space left for SF I and three spaces left for SF II. I have never had a class this big before, so it's all very exciting. I will be bringing extra rulers for rapping knuckles.

Sign up for SF I (July 21-22)! Sign up for SF II (July 28-29)!

2. Someone has had to give up their spot for the Seattle camp, so there is one spot available. Sad for her, but yay for you! Sign up here.

3. I have been adding some cute things to the Dewit Design Toolkit, but I cannot find a good place to get custom pencils. The last order I placed, from maybe a less-than-reputable company, was lost in the mail and I paid a bunch of $$$ for a great big box of nothing. Sad face. So I am taking suggestions if you have them.

4. This has nothing to do with camp, but four of my friends have recently dropped books, no big deal. Pam. Stephanie. Heather and Jessica. BAM. I know some smart, funny ladies.

5. I hope you have enjoyed my new habit of randomly bolding words. It's too hot to go outside so I am making my own fun, goodbye.


Prepping for NOLA Camp, trying not to eat all of the chocolate croissants

Hello, hello. I've got a lot to talk about this fine Friday. It seems like this should be another three-day weekend, doesn't it? Let us make it so: everyone call in sick on Monday! If you get in trouble, blame it on me.

First item on the agenda: Camp News!

1. I am looking for an intern-slash-assistant to help me with the Austin Camp. The job is easy PA-type work -- picking up coffee, setting up lunch, opening champagne. You know, the usual. Plus, free camp! If you are interested, please email me with the subject line "Austin Intern." 

2. Speaking of Austin, there are three spots left. I am just telling you. Oh, and a location has finally been chosen! Austin Design Camp will be held at Meredith Pardue's brand new art studio in Davenport Village. You may remember Meredith from such paintings as all of the ones in my house. I tried to make her be my intern, but she said she would be hospitalized for exhaustion at that time. 

3. My two San Francisco camps have been a comedy of errors, what with cancellations, un-cancellations, people switching weekends to be with their friends who can only go on a certain date, pregnant ladies who might go into labor on their weekend, etc. The upshot is, there is now one (1!) spot left for the first SF weekend. The dates are July 21-22. So if you've been waiting to sign up, or waiting for an opening, here's your chance!

4. I have had lots of new signups in the past week thanks to some nice people on the internet, and I just want to say thank you, both to them and to those of you who have signed up, especially if you are new readers! I am super-excited about the remaining camps, and also, thank you for reading! (Quit laughing, Sars.)

Abruptly switching topics, let's discuss the Books I Am Taking to the Beach next week. I don't know if y'all know this about me, but I get excited for the beach kind of like a goldfish gets excited for...well, anything. I forget, then I remember, then I get excited all over again! This happens for approximately three months prior to the actual vacation. Anyway, I have lots of books on my iPad for the trip, but I like to have real live books in my hand for actual beach reading. Sand in your iPad is kind of uncomfortable. So these are the three I've chosen:

1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I kind of like running, maybe you've heard? This book keeps coming up in nerdy running conversations with my fellow nerdy runners, so it is first up. Don't disappoint me, Murakami.

2. Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Duh. Everyone on the internet has read this one twice already, but I have WILLPOWER, y'all, and I SAVED IT so I would be GUARANTEED a fabulous beach book. You are welcome, Jenny Lawson. I know this is something you've dreamed about.

3. The Sociopath Next Door. You never know! Be prepared. 

The book I am most excited about, really, is the one written by my friend Kelley Lilien. It is a book of COCKTAILS. It is formatted like a SWATCH BOOK. And it is beautiful and filled with fancy beach drinks and I will have them all. Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatchbook, I will conquer you!

OK, so the last thing I want to talk about is something awesome that I am very excited to be a part of. The principal designer of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway here in Monroe asked me and several other designers to collaborate on decorating and styling the house before the tour begins next week. We each chose a room, and I will soon be the proud decorator of a guest bedroom in this really, really lovely house. It's been a huge honor to work on this project, and I can't wait to see the finished house. If you're a local, please stop by and check it out. And then buy a ticket! But try not to buy the winning ticket, because I kind of want to win. Thank you for your cooperation.

That's it, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be back next week with some exciting new content, including the bathroom I've been promising you for weeks now. Probably. If I don't call in sick Monday. Oh, don't get all mad, you're doing it too!

AuthorAB Chao
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Am I the last person to read this? I think so. But I'm fairly sure I'm the first person to read it with a yogurt snack and Diet Coke. 3372320442_fae52a7a19 I'm going to need Molly to go ahead and write another book, because I finished this one way too quickly. It is excellent. I cried. Then I made a list of the recipes in the book that I wanted to try first. I can't wait to get started. Buy it here.
AuthorAB Chao
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