A Year in Furniture Purchases

As 2012 comes to a close, it's time to look back on the year and reflect. Have I grown this year? Did I learn new things? Did I achieve my goals?

Most importantly, does my home look better now than it did a year ago? To this last one, I can definitively say yes. As I have been trying to make interior design more than just a hobby in my life, I've been making a concerted effort toward my inevitable two-page spread in Architectural Digest (I've got double secret off-the-record unverified unconfirmed confirmation on this from a guy named Chuck who says he works at AD). Jon and I have been blessed with some generous wedding money, which has also helped the efforts. Our apartment today is more functional, practical, comfortable and beautiful, even if we are far from done.

Due to the aforementioned generosity in the form of gift cards, I am deeming 2012 the year of the store-bought new furniture, as most of our purchases came from big box companies. I always love to balance old and new, and now that our river of plastic money is finally running dry, next year my goal will be to hit the 2nd-hand markets hard. 

Below is a summation of a year's worth of furniture and home purchases. I love them all:


You had me at hello.


I've wanted you for so long.


Where have you been all my life?


Do you have any idea how sexy you are?


You complete me.


To me, you are perfect.


I can't live without you.


I will love you forever.

You were worth the wait.

The one that got away.

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Outside Inside


Today's trend is dedicated to a friend/coworker who dreams of converting his own loft one day and creating an outside oasis indoors. While I can appreciate this, my own personal relationship with indoor plants is somewhat abusive in a violating-Geneva-conventions sort of way. Define water torture, I might say in my defense.

I tried to add some Home Depot "low-light" plants to our decor a few years ago, and even those, sitting in front of our floor-to-ceiling windows, didn't last as long as a carnival goldfish. For me, gardening just falls under the same category as cooking; things that I don't feel like learning.

But that doesn't mean I can't admire the amazing use of greenery in interior design. I find indoor plants to be warm and inviting in an inexplicable (primative? evolutionary?) way. I think it's clear that the indoor garden designers tend to be of a different ilk than us straight interiors people who may throw in a ficus every once in a while. As you can see from the below examples the use of entire plant gardens command full attention, influencing and impacting every element of the room's design. The actual arrangement and design of the gardens are an art form of their own, not to mention the attention and skill to keep this mess alive. Like every day.

Here are some of my favorites:

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Khoury Guzman Bunce Limited

I have just discovered the fantastic work of Khoury Guzman Bunce Limited.  Aside from truly inspired furniture design using "materials that aren't associated with modern furniture," such as fumed white oak, silicon bronze and Borosilicate and plated precious metals, they are also a full-service interior design and architecture firm. And with a name like KGB, I just can't stay away:

All photos via
The above photo is their Chelsea showroom featuring their furniture designs:

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Buy This Now


The Loeffler Randall Sophie Wedge boot is 50% off TODAY ONLY

That means it's $350 instead of $700... that is a BFD!

Buy this boot for someone you love (ME ME ME ME ME ME ME) or for yourself because it is gorgeous and timeless and at $350 your broke ass can now afford it.

Riot on!

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My Name Is Burl

Everywhere I look, I'm seeing burl wood these days. What is burl? Basically it's deformed your-momma-tree-must-have-been-hitting-the-sap-a-little-too-hard wood but damn if it isn't just gorgeous. It creates a swirling pattern that is reminiscent of a tortoiseshell or animal print. It lends a luxuriousness to even the most basic of furniture designs and brings an unexpected texture to case goods.  It's no wonder Milo Baughman was such a fan. And if Milo was a fan, I'm a fan too.

Here are some of my favorite examples of burl wood in design. Just try to go on with your life now after seeing these:

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Yikes! Stripes!

I had a productive weekend- as I mentioned Friday, Jon and I painted some accent stripes on our wall as part of our office makeover.  Seeing as how I'm still alive,  you can deduct that the project was a success and I was not, in fact, murdered for my life insurance money. The office is far from done, but I am really happy with the results!

Now that I'm an experienced striper (not stripper, mind you), I've got a couple pointers if you ever decide to give it a try:

  • This goes for any project ever, but recognize that everything will take longer than you expect
  • Be aware that floors are not always even so measuring from the floor may not give you a good result.  A laser tool is essential for this project, as is a second person to hold said laser.
  • Be crazy psycho meticulous with the first line: mark the walls every 3 feet or so and then apply the blue painter's tape as flatly and carefully as possible. It may not seem like a big deal if there are wrinkles in the tape, but this can screw you later in the process
  • I measured all the subsequent lines off of the first line of tape to make sure that the lines would be parallel to one another
  • Be mindful that the painter's tape is negative space, not color. That means if you want a 6 inch stripe, the space between the tape must be six inches, not 4 inches plus the width of the tape. This means sometimes you'll be aligning the tape from the bottom and other times you'll be aligning it from the top
  • THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! After you've applied the tape, take a credit card edge and run it over the tape to make sure it's completely adhered to the wall, particularly the edges. If you don't do this, paint will seep under the tape and your line will look like it was applied by epileptic donkeys.
  • After you've done your coats of paint, remove the tape while it's still not completely dry. I'm not exactly sure why, but that's what other sites said to do and I think the lines looked cleaner when I did it wet than when I forgot and had to do it dry.

 For the BEFORE, go here



And here's the AFTER:

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Happy Painting Weekend!

This is a big weekend for the office renovation! Jon and I are going to be painting the striped detailing on the wall (see my mock-up here).  I'm very terrified excited to try this out- it'll be my first foray into any sort of wall "art". But I figure I might as well try on walls that someone else owns! If it looks like ass I'll probably have to keep it for a while so that my husband won't murder me in my sleep for my paltry life insurance sum, which would cover the costs of fixing the wall and possibly little else.

Thing is, I'm really an all or nothing kind of person. And all this paint thought has me DYING to paint our bedroom area a moody, dark color. It's been on my mind for a while, and I'm hoping I can convince Jon that it's a fantastic idea to just paint the whole universe this weekend.

And finally, I'm about to complete a "simple" DIY project that I began, uh.... a year ago. It's a beaded chandelier made from a hanging planter and mardis gras beads but needs to be spray painted a respectable color. I'll give you the entire ridiculous rundown of this year-long adventure, but suffice it to say this was the DIY project that couldn't.

Here are a few examples of dark moody bedrooms that I can't get enough of lately:

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Fashionation: Part 1

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about fashion; my particular participation in the industry, my love/hate relationship with it and why after all these conflicting feelings, I still feel compelled to follow clothing design as if it were a competitive sport.

I'm writing this 3 Part Series partially for myself, and partially to open up a discussion with you all on just what exactly defines fashion, who gets to play and why it matters at all. If you're familiar with this blog, it's pretty clear that fashion design is a distant 2nd in my heart to interiors and through this series, you'll see how my love of fashion is burdened with a self-deprecation that can only come from feeling like perhaps I'll never truly belong. After all, the closest I've ever gotten to the Fashion Week tents was the season finale of Project Runway on TV and I don't even own a single statement bag or red-soled shoe. The fact that I'm OK with that only further proves my point.

So this is where my mental landscape was when I came across this article from New York Times Magazine on Zara's success as a "fast fashion" retailer. I highly recommend reading it- if for nothing else than the quintessentially snooty reader comments that could only come from fashion-critical NYT readers. But also so you'll know what the hell I'm talking about.

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Beth's Misfit Christmas Wish List

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Now that it's officially holiday season, I'm sure you all need to see another wishlist like you need another cold sore (remember my Christmas in July wishlist?!). But mine's way better because no one wants any of these things. Except me. AND I SERIOUSLY WANT THEM (would I ever lie to you?). This list is from the Island of Misfit Gifts and I love it and I'll be really really jealous if I know you and I see you with any of these things.

Here's what I want for Christmas:

1. An iPhone cover that precedes me with an impossibly high bar
2. A dinosaur eating fried chicken ring
3. A bowtie so I can continue to dress like a man with boobs
4. A 26 lb. gummy bear that is meant for parties but would be just for me
5. A convertible shrug/scarf thingy that's cool, except I would wear it in some form every single day
6. A gold resin shark
7. Screw you slippers- for all the Screw University alums out there
8. Champagne... in a CARRYING CASE. Like a boozy superhero who is desperate for friends
9. The perfect combo of two things I love: French crap and Notorious BIG

AND finally,

10. MORE RfD FOLLOWERS! But not in a culty sort of way... well sort of in a culty sort of way. Like a cult of people who like design and humor and fried chicken and dinosaurs but who don't necessarily shave their heads or commit mass suicide. That sounds like a cult I'd be happy to lead. So follow me by subscribing to my RSS feed or by clicking Join this Site (you can sign up with one of your pre-existing gmail/facebook/twitter accounts). It's a gift that is FREE- probably the last time I'll ask you for a free gift so you're welcome.

Merry December!  Riot on.

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Tuesday Trend: I Love Lucite

chair via

Every home needs a little lucite.  Especially if you share the common predicament of limited space- lucite feels substantial yet the transparency allows the eye to travel through it so it creates an illusion of space.  Works every time.  (Lucite is pricey, but check out this post on lucite alternatives that give the same effect for less!)

If there was a TV show starring lucite, I would totally watch it.  And so would Lucy.

Here are some of my favorite lucite pieces in their natural habitats:

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Affordable Art Sources

This post is dedicated to a friend/coworker who has timeless fashion taste but confessed she isn't as home-interiorly blessed.  No sweat!  It happens to everyone, my friend (wink, wink).

We've spent, ahem, decades dressing ourselves and almost as long waxing, spinning, buffing and primping said temples. It's no wonder many of us may have a better handle on how to pull off the drop crotch than the dropcloth. Or how I just know that halter tops make my arms look Mobama hot, but babydoll dresses, no matter how cute, always make me look like Courtney Love post-overdose. We just inherently know our own proportions, how to emphasize the assets and minimize the flaws.
The same goes for homes, it's just not quite as intuitive. Homes have flaws and features and proportions. Said friend/coworker felt particularly clueless about art.  If furnishings are the pants and tops of your home outfit, art is the accessories.

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Thanks for following Riot for Design and being my internet friends.  I am luckier than a 12 year-old in a 30 year-old's body jumping on a trampoline in my 3,000 ft. Manhattan loft.
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Buy This Now


Quick!  Buy this adorable leather two-tone clutch from the Gap RIGHT NOW.  They're offering 30% off with the coupon code GETSTARTED, which makes this bad boy $28!

Fuh leathuh, dahling.

But don't eff around, this deal ends tonight!!! After that, you'll have to pay the totally reasonable but still unnecessarily full price amount of $40.

Riot on.
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Tuesday Trend


I see extra-long couches everywhere these days.  Either furniture designers are accommodating for the ever-increasing obesity epidemic, or this is just another appealing play on proportion in design. As you may have learned from me here, I love an oversized object and these sofas are no exception.  The added length reads luxe yet comfortable.  And sofas are basically failures at existence if they're not comfortable. Take a look at these stylish stretch armstrongs- do you dig?

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Buy This Now


This Crystal Boudoir Chandelier is for sale on One Kings Lane for $649.  It's part of a Tastemaker Tag Sale curated by The Paris Apartment, and one of the best items in the collection.

$650 is no chump change, but I dare you to find a crystal chandelier like this for a better price. Plus, you could put it in a room with nothing but cardboard box furniture and cat hair balls and it would be design mag ready.

Or just buy it for me.  Cause I'd make it mine if I could.

Riot on.
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Hukk Yes!

Have you heard of Hukkster?  It will soon be your new best friend, trust me.  It's a website that keeps track of all your shopping crushes and notifies you when they go on sale.

It's got one of those nifty bookmark buttons, so when you discover something amazing like this dress:

from Free People, you "hukk it" because you're not about to spend $600 on it, even if it will solve all your life's problems, straighten your teeth and grant you total consciousness on your deathbed.  

SO, when this dress goes on sale (and it will, I tell myself), Hukkster will send you an email immediately.  No wrist slitting because this dress DID go on sale, but you didn't find out until your size SOLD OUT.

So check out Hukkster if you like life.  It's just that simple.

Riot on!
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Office Space UPDATE

It's time. After talking about it for ages, Jon and I have finally decided to stop the eye stabbing that is his office area. 

I am so excited to re-design the space and finally make it functional and attractive! Plus, the new area will be for BOTH of us, so I'll be gaining a workspace. The area has to work for both of us- not too masculine or feminine and I'll shoot myself if it looks like a traditional office space. I quit corporate America because of cubicles, people.

Here's some befores.  You'll notice we've already got the new desks in place but everything else is going:

Out with the old, on with the new...

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Bipartisan Interiors

So the dust has settled, America has voted and now it's time for me to make some laughably loose connections between American politics and Interior Design.

Traditional design and contemporary design are as far apart on the design spectrum as Repubs & Dems are in the political arena.  However, there's a place for both aesthetics and we all fall somewhere in between in our own personal preferences.  Assuming our ultimate goal is righteous design, there's really no right or wrong way to go about it.

The best design reflects aspects of both design aesthetics- alternately working with and against one another to create drama and harmony.  In the below images, notice the artful combination of flat tax wainscoting with marriage equality light fixtures. One might not be able to imagine such contrasts co-existing in one room, but it works.  See what we can accomplish if we all work together people?!!!  Traditional spaces + contemporary furnishings = balanced design.

Feel free to forward this to your local Congressman or woman.

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Hurricane Update

Maybe this is why no one can find a cab

What a week.

Flood damage, fire damage, debris, pitch darkness, gas shortages, no subways, 3-person carpool rules... New York City has never felt so vast and untamed.  Just getting to and from work has been a daily adventure of Cloverfield fashion.  Not to mention the added complication that I have been on jury duty, so I had the unique opportunity of trying to travel to Manhattan AND downtown Brooklyn in the same day.  That's some bullshit.

On Wednesday, after realizing I would never find a car to drive me home, I ran home from Manhattan to Brooklyn.   The Queensboro was a clusterfuck of walkers and bikers, many of whom likely have never traveled by such means. After almost getting run over by three bikers who refused to slow down despite the crowds, I found myself screaming at them in an endorphin-fueled rage.  I think that makes me an official New Yorker.

But then the next night a cab driver who already had a passenger stopped to allow me and two other strangers into the cab because as he put it "we all gotta help each other out right now."  I sent karma and big tips their their way to make it to the airport in time.

And that's New York for you.  Just when you think you're out, it pulls you back in.  Disaster brings out the best and worst in all of us- and New York just has a shit ton of "us."  It's times like these that remind me that the millions of faceless auras and collective heartbeats that inhabit this city are all human beings with families and struggles and emotion and a surprising capacity for kindness. This, after serving two weeks of grand jury duty where I've heard hundreds of indictment cases of crimes- many of them violent and despicable.  Maybe I needed this storm to re-instill my faith and good humor in good and diverse neighbors.  Even when I'm calling them assholes on the Queensboro Bridge.

Over the next few weeks most of us will fall back into the well-worn grooves of our daily lives.  With time we may forget that some will never be the same and some have suffered immeasurable loss.  But we'll never forget this week and though I'm not grateful for the storm, I'm grateful for the people of New York who share with me this little water-logged sliver of landfill as home.

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Craigslist Ugly to Amazing

I found this black marble table and six chairs for sale on Craigslist for $250.  I can only assume the owner is charging $500 for the table, but paying YOU $250 to dispose of those nightmarish atari-esque chairs.

Forget the chairs.  They're heinous and even if they had a slightest glimmer of hope, they'd cost a ton to reupholster.  BUT the table has some real potential and could rock out a dining room.  It definitely needs contemporary chairs to liven up the heavy, geometric base and keep it from looking too dated (ahem, unlike the included chairs).  But total showstopper potential!  I'm getting a strong Kelly Wearstler vibe, a la these images:

These gems are not KW, but they are all about the black marble love.

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Jury Duty

Sorry I know I suck at this "posting regularly" thing lately...

I've been selected for Grand Jury Duty and am now halfway through my 2 week sentence service.  If you think I'm being dramatic by likening my service to jail time, keep in mind we even have a Jury Warden.

At any rate, spending 2 weeks on a jury is kind of like getting put in the Real World house with every person from your morning subway ride.  It's an interesting group of people.  Thankfully unlike the Real World we don't tend to dwell on our differences; we all share the common bond of drawing the fuzzy-ass end of the civil service lollipop.  Also unlike the Real World, there are no hot tubs at the Courthouse.  At least not on our floor.

But back to my endless array of excuses.  The day is both tedious and emotionally draining at the same time.  I just haven't felt all "ooh look at these amazing drapes!" lately.  I promise I'll get my textile mojo back, but maybe not until the week after next.

And NO, I haven't heard any hair perm murder cases (yet).

Immonium thygocolate was the case that they gave me

Until next time, Riot for me
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Chameleon Clocks

I came across this Chameleon Clocks App on Design Milk today...

They are cool, yeah whatevs.  But I couldn't help thinking how amazing it would be to have that app on your TV...

Think of the interior design implications!  Your TV could very nearly "camouflage" into the wall behind it.

Someone needs to make this happen.  It's only a matter of time before TVs and Computers are the same thing, right?
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Currently Coveting...


80's fabulous Italian rotating shelving unit by Joe Colombo from 1st Dibs.  I don't know why, I just have a feeling it would look amazing in the office area.

So you'll imagine my pure rapture when I spotted THIS:

Jim Walrod Design
There she is... well more or less.  This one is free-standing while the one I've been eyeing attaches to the wall but you get the idea.  Showstopper.

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Claire Basler

Today my internet ambling brought me to French artist Claire Basler's website and I was immediately in awe of her impressionistic, naturalistic artwork.

Her work includes paintings and drawings, as well as textiles and pottery of primarily natural subjects; flowers, grasses, trees and bodies of water.  

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Tuesday Trend- The UnKitchen

Kitchens are one of the most utilitarian spaces in our homes.  To this Rioter for Design (who doesn't really like to cook), they even feel a bit predictable and obligatory.  Like, FU, if I don't want a kitchen I don't have to have one! Well, OK fine, I guess I do need to stave off bacteria by altering the temperatures of nutrient sources from time to time, so yeah I guess I DO in fact need a kitchen.  But that doesn't mean it has to look like one.

The best way to accomplish the UnKitchen is to experiment with materials that are not typically found in kitchens.  Also, introducing silhouettes associated with other areas of the home, as well as artwork and upholstery are other ways to make a kitchen feel more like a customized space.  Kitchens are allowed to have personalities too!

Below are some of my favorite UnKitchens:

Not a tile in sight.

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What I Did This Weekend: Chicago Edition

This weekend I was in Chicago aka Chi-town aka The Windy City aka the place where bread with a hole in the middle gets to pretend it's a bagel!

I was there for this purpose, however I had a whole day free to tour around and Chicago is a pretty awesome city.  Here's what I did:

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Chicago Marathon

My marathon is this weekend.  It'll be my 4th marathon.

I'm really scared about this one.  I can't remember if I was scared about the other ones.  That's what happens when you run 1 marathon a year.  You forget.  You forget how much time it takes to prepare. You forget how 20 mile runs on Saturdays devour your weekends Honey BooBoo style.  You forget how it took 2 weeks to feel like you could walk normal again after the race.  You forget that you'll have to kiss pedicures goodbye because no one deserves to have to touch your black toenails that hang from their digits by flimsy and scientifically-unidentifiable toenail threads.  You forget because you signed up nine months ago because otherwise it would sell out.

A lot can happen in the time when you sign up all Oh-I'll-be-ready-to-start-training-when-the-time-comes! and when that time comes.  I've had the most joyous, scary, exciting, frustrating and confusing summer: I went on my honeymoon, I had two family members in the hospital, my job at work got a whole lot busier AND, oh yeah, I started this part-time job blog.  Somehow I managed to run too, but not with the same focus and excitement as in years passed.  So I have no idea what to expect this time.

I could look like this:

Or I could look like this:

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Little Blue Deer


The updates to the blog are complete and I couldn't be happier with the result!  What do you think?  Tell me how much you love it because you totally do.  All the awesomeness that is the new RfD is thanks Little Blue Deer Design.  I worked with Shari and she took my ideas of "simple, chic, not too cute" and made them come true.  And she gave me revolvers.


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Design News

Yesterday it was a rumor, today it's confirmed:  Deborah Needleman will be leaving her helm at WSJ Magazine to become Editor in Chief of T Magazine.

Deborah is a cool lady and an inspiration- she's also the founder of Domino Magazine.  However she's best known to me as someone who started following me on Twitter.  Then I made a poop joke and she promptly unfollowed me.

At any rate, best of luck to you Deborah!  I am 75% sure I'm over the poop jokes, so please consider re-following me!
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Revenge of the Tartans

It's October, which means it's time for the fashion mags to tell us plaid is in style this year.  Nevermind that plaid was in style last year... and the year before...and the year before...   Fashion is the art of having a terrible memory.

Interiors are different though- plaid can be bad.  Usually it's either stuffy/fox hunting/cabin or dated/frumpy/Walmart sale.  Plaid curtains were some of the formative images of our childhoods, weren't they?  And now they remind us of the 1960's and 1970's, which tended to be the last time our parents redecorated despite that fact that that was 20 years before we were born.  Or is that just me?  Maybe you grew up like a contemporary minimalist Seattle vampire family- I don't know.


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The One That Got Away

Do you do the flash sale thing?

I'm a big fan of One Kings Lane- they do online vintage for normal people (as opposed to 1st Dibs, which is for Gwyneth Paltrow & Ann Romney).  Not to brag, but I swear I'm one the OG's of the site.  I was all over that ish like years ago.

Anyways, I usually forget to check the site RIGHT AWAY IMMEDIATELY because, uh, remarkably I don't spend every waking moment in front of my computer.  So of course by the time I get around to looking, someone harder, better, faster, stronger has already gone and scooped up the awesomeness that should have been mine:

Gone in 60 seconds
This vintage marble & brass table sold for $500.  Yeah, not like dirt cheap but marble & brass are my cocaine & heroine cocktail.  Could I afford this right now (the week after I bought this)?  Not really.  But do smack addicts ever let that stop them?

If it can't be mine, I hope this table went to a good home.  Preferably handsome European transplants who read The Economist and only drink champagne.

What about you?  Still longing for the One That Got Away?  What was it?  How'd it happen?  Ebay? Craigslist? Gun-shy at the sale?  Trust me, it helps to talk about it. 
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I judge Emmy Best Dressed lists like other people judge Emmy dresses.  Any celebrity can fall victim to ass-kissing stylist syndrome, but if you think this dress belongs on the best dressed list, then YOU are the problem.

It's moments like these when I just have to ask, if this dress was on Project Runway, What Would Michael Kors Say?

"She looks like Julia Child in mourning"

"It looks like some sugar plum fairies may come prancing out of her skirt any moment"

"Somewhere there's a curtain store that just sold out of fabric"

"MOB meets Cookie Monster"

What do YOU think Michael Kors would say?  Help me come up with some more.

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