I met up with a new friend yesterday for coffee, and she brought two bags of Stella's PopKern (hee!) for us to snack on while we coffeed. You may not know this about me, but popcorn is one of my favorite foods. It says so right there in my bio. So, I may have been overly excited. And then I tasted it, and now I want to live inside the truck. Right inside. Failing that, I can always live underneath it.

Listen. I know all you big-city people out there have seen so many food trucks that probably you have food truck fatigue. But this small-town girl is new, and excited about it. Also: ZA'ATAR-flavored popcorn? What is za'atar? I don't know. But I know it's delicious, and that I want it on my popcorn at all times, and that I would eat said popcorn for every meal if I could.

I am pretty sure this also means that I'm going to have to do research on more delicious food truck options for y'all to know about. It's going to be really sad and hard for me.

Speaking of DC, there are still a couple of DC mini-design camp spots left. Maybe I'll bring Stella's for you, who knows?

Follow Stella's PopKern on Twitter so you can know where they are at all times. I certainly am.

AuthorAB Chao
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1. Aiden Modern Vintage Turquoise Ring / 2. Jennie Kwon Black Equilibrium Cuff Ring / 3. Jules Smith Zoe Bracelet / 4. Sorel Caribou Boots / 5. Tuareg Fleece Jacket + Scarf / 6. Zara Funnel Collar Dress / 7. Madewell Linen Baseball Tee / 8. Benjo's Cousin Traci Boot Laces / 9. She Makes Hats Simple Slouch Hat / 10. Emerson Fry Trainer / 11. Joe's Jeans Rolled Skinny Ankle / 12. Kowtown Seattle Black Pant / 13. Eyefly Abbey Road / 14. By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Care / 15. Deborah Lippmann Dark Side of the Moon / 16. Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel Styling Cream / 17. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish / 18. Madewell Western Jean Shirt  / 19. H&M Knee Socks  / 20. CloudberryFactory Knitted Wool Socks


And now, presenting this year's Fall Uniform. It's a little different than the Elegant Cowgirl of past seasons. I'm going a little more monochromatic, a little more edgy, a little more... COLD. I'm really into the slouchy-pantsed, layered look that's happening. Also: short dresses, tights, wool socks, and boots. Because now I live in Canadia.

Vince Paper Leather Scuba Jacket

I am also yearning for a leather jacket. Here is my money-is-no-object pick. If you are my rich uncle, please get in touch. I'd also take this one. It's on "sale."

AuthorAB Chao
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Brought to you by Energizer®. Click here to learn more about Energizer® Portable Lights with Light Fusion Technology.


When I made my life list a few years ago, I included the item "Live in a house with a room dedicated to my closet." It's hard for me to keep my things organized in a little closet, where they get hidden behind other items or tossed on the floor and forgotten about, so I loved the idea of being able to see all of my clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry all at once. I realize that this is quite a goal in any space, especially when there are people, you know, living in a house and using the the rooms for things like sleeping. But my recent move to DC has made so many things possible, including this weird dream of mine. The house we are living in happens to have an office that was only being used infrequently; I have a lot of clothes; and we are sorely lacking in adequate closet space, so I was basically given permission to turn the office into my very own closet. Victory!


Jenna Lyons is inspirational to me on several different levels, and it was the original photo of her closet room that inspired me to add this particular item to my life list. Unfortunately, I do not own as many shoes as Jenna does, nor do I live in a fabulous Brooklyn townhouse, so I decided to combine the closet and another super-inspirational photo -- Jenna's office at J. Crew. That's right: a closet + office. A cloffice, if you will.

I had all the clothes, obviously, and we bought a clothing rack, hung some shelves + hooks for shoes, bags, and scarves, and repurposed a big restaurant work table as a desk, but the desk chair was, shall we say, lacking in style. What I am telling you is that it was ugly as sin. Purchased for $5 at a garage sale, someone had "helpfully" spray-painted the perfectly good, very cute industrial-type wood and metal chair black -- poorly -- and then applied a red faux finish. I mean to tell you.

Of course, that could not stand. And, of course, I decided that the chair needed to be properly stripped, sanded, and repainted. Right now. In the dead of night. Enter Energizer and their amazing line of portable lights.

The Girl With The Spray Paint Problem.

That right there is the 3 in 1 Light, which is perfect for up-close spray paint situations. 

I set the Folding Lantern on the ground for illuminating the bottom of the chair while I painted it. Also, my grass is now black. 

I love the 3 in 1 light's little legs, so it can stand up by itself.

A good sanding and a few coats of clear lacquer on the seat, et voila!

Here is the office room before. Please note that most of these items are mine -- the room obviously didn't look like this before I hauled in all of my junk. By junk, I mean three lawn and leaf bags full of wardrobe.

And now, it looks like this:

When I finished putting the cloffice together, I realized I didn't have enough light sources for nighttime. Bonus: The Pop Up Lantern is perfect for lighting up the inside of a cheapo paper lantern. EXTRA BONUS: it has a dimmer!

Hello, beautiful.

Brought to you by Energizer®. Click here to learn more about Energizer® Portable Lights with Light Fusion Technology.

AuthorAB Chao
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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.

AuthorAB Chao
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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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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.

AuthorAB Chao
Categoriesdesign camp
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