Color and Mood

As a child, I absolutely loved my mood ring. Rarely was it accurate, but it served as a reminder that color plays a critical part in one’s mood. This was my favorite lesson in art school, and it still plays a large role in my life. Whenever I am designing (from products, to sets, to styling my own home), I take color and the moods it can evoke very seriously.

Let’s take a closer look at some colors, the emotions they typically elicit, and where they may work in your home.

Primary Colors


Blue has a calming effect, and it has been linked to lowered pulse rates. This color works perfectly in a bedroom or bathroom due to the serenity it offers.


Red gives rooms energy; it both draws people in and stimulates the heart. Paint this color in an entry hall or dining room.


Yellow is a naturally happy color; however, moderation is key with this color. Babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms, and it is known to cause frustration. Nevertheless, yellow works well as an accent color, or with accessories, in a family gathering space.

Secondary Colors


Purple is dramatic and rich. Romance comes to mind when I think of this color, and its use in royal homes like the castles of Ludwig of Bavaria. It evokes both luxuriousness and creativity. Lighter shades of this color, such as lavender and lilac, are prefect for a bedroom. It is calming, without being too cool (like blue).


Orange, like yellow, is a happy color that exudes energy. In ancient cultures it was believed to heal lungs and increase energy levels–what a perfect color to paint your exercise room! It is also a great color to accessorize; Pantone’s color of the year 2012, Tangerine Tango, is the perfect hue with which to do so.


Green is both refreshing and cheerful; it is, literally, where blue and yellow intersect. It is known to be easy on the eyes, and to increase fertility. Green can be used in your bedroom, reading area, and even living space. See our blog on Emerald green and how you can inexpensively accessorize with Pantone’s 2013 color of the year.

Neutral Colors


Although not officially a color, white can allow your tiny apartment or room to appear larger. While white is probably not your first choice, it evokes a great sense of peacefulness. It can also be a great canvas for all of your other colorful furniture, accessories, and artwork.


Grey is a wonderful neutral. If the hue is cooler, it can have calming effects similar to those produced by blue. On the other hand, if the hue is warmer, it can be inviting and give more energy. Grey is a perfect base color, and can work with just about anything and any design, contemporary or classic.


Black, in small doses, can ground the room; many designers use this tactic. It is also very edgy and powerful–and, combined with some colors such as emerald green, can be exquisite. For example, check out Kelly Wearstler’s work at the Hotel Viceroy.

Whether you just need to update a small area or you plan to reinvent the look of your entire home, consider how you want to feel in each space. Then, let the colors speak to you. They are waiting to be heard.

The Internet is Like The Walking Dead

Every time the cast of The Walking Dead seems to have found a safe haven, it ends up being overrun by zombies. After a lot of shouting, and sweating, and having their clothes slowly turn grey, the survivors must then move on to a new locale with different vulnerabilities; which, eventually, will also be breached, at which point the party will yet again change locations.
In this way, the internet is much like The Walking Dead. Craigslist, for example, which was once a community-based stronghold, became compromised—then overrun—almost overnight. It’s no longer a respectable place to buy a used rug, let alone find anonymous, deviant-yet-safe sex.

Even seemingly impenetrable fortresses, such as Facebook, have their own unlocked doors and unguarded gates. While the structure may still be relatively safe, there are certain things to beware, and certain corridors to avoid.
You’ve probably seen, and possibly even helped, these flesh-eaters invade your cyberspace without even knowing it. The posts that say, “Click ‘like’ if you agree that men should help with chores,” or “like if your tired of fake-azz friendz,” for example, are ruses competing for your attention. The authors of these posts are simply collecting likes. Once they receive enough, they will sell their profile to a business with questionable ethics, whose owners can then boast that they, or their lame photo, has x-number of likes. By playing along, and thinking that cancer was one “like” away from being defeated, you have invited zombies to come break bread at your table. Stop it. If anyone on the internet asks for your opinion, and you don’t already know exactly who they are, stop flattering yourself. They don’t really care what you think. They are simply waiting for you to reach out to them, at which point they will bite your hand. By then it will be too late.

A Woman’s Survival Guide to Sitting at the Big Table with the Big Boys

Welcome to the Table

Welcome to the Table

I tend to work in male-dominated fields, therefore my client base is 90% male. Of course, that percentage rises as you move up the food chain into the executive levels. This means I often find myself the only “skirt” in the room when the door closes and the high-level meetings begin.

Through the years, I’ve learned a few things about how to make the most of my presence in these situations and defend my territory. There are tricks on how to balance fitting in, garnering respect, holding your own, and maintaining your composure, even through heated conversations.


1. Be prepared. Know the topic, study the details, and do your homework. This will ensure your confidence and your ability to answer a question promptly and correctly. Executives like straight answers. CEOs want you to respond like a calculator when numbers are in question.

2. Be on time. Rather, be early. Set up your computer, iPad, whatever you may have. Set the tone for the room with your presence, chat with colleagues you may know. If you are late, be sure you discretely apologize, take a seat, and do not offer details. No one wants to hear it. This especially pertains to having a sick child, or other “female” reasons, no matter how valid. It will only diminish your position amongst the audience.

3. Sit at the big table. There are times a conference room gets overfilled and seats are brought in, forming a perimeter around the room. Do not sit in one of those seats; sit at the conference table, as this is where the big boys will sit. There will always be a spot saved for the CEO and the President at the conference table. Arrive early and get yours.

4. Do not fidget; keep your cool, even under pressure. Especially under pressure. There is nothing more compelling and impressive than someone in control when the heat is on. Remember that body language says everything, even more so than a straight face and calm voice. It’s the whole package that gets noticed, especially as a woman in a room full of men. If a point arises where conversations get heated, do not raise your voice, but rather interject your comments and opinions when the conversation has settled. No one hears anything when everyone talks at once, and a raised voice can infer an emotional response rather than a pragmatic one.

5. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make one up, especially if it is a question regarding money. Never, ever just blurt out a figure as a proposed cost, even if you’re assured, “I won’t hold you to it.” Yes, they will. Women tend to feel like they have to oblige instantaneously. Avoid this urge, and oblige only after being fully prepared and informed.

6. If you are wrong or at fault, own up to it. Should the meeting be about your businesses’ performance, progress on a project, or lack thereof–be honest. Next, offer a solution; or, better, discuss the progress on the solution that you have already put in place. Don’t let the situation devolve to bullying, and don’t take any more crap than necessary. Be respectful and take responsibility where you own it, but be careful of any “enemies” who may take advantage of this situation to rant or expand the situation to belittle you or your business.

7. Never, ever cry. Period.


These bullet points may sound a bit stoic, but it is important to be seen as an equal in these situations. In business, someone may not like you; but, if they respect you, that can be even better.

Birthday Pancakes!

So, this post is for Moms, Dads, and anyone who loves sprinkles (or cooks for someone who loves sprinkles). My husband and I started making these festive breakfast pancakes for our girls a couple of years ago. It has become a birthday tradition in our house, and it’s such a cute way to celebrate before the usual rush to get everyone out the door to school or work!

First, make your pancake batter as usual. Our secret to delicious pancakes: add vanilla extract and melted butter to the batter. When your griddle is hot and ready to go, just pour the batter onto the griddle as usual then immediately add the sprinkles, just like this:

IMG_3317Aren’t they cute and festive?!

Then, simply serve them up in a big stack with either syrup, whipped cream, or frosting!  My girls love them with frosting, of course. Don’t forget the birthday candles!

This is my littlest on her most recent birthday, just about to dig in!


Ciao for now,


A Man’s Guide to Surviving a Female Workplace

It’s not all opening jars and explaining Star Wars jokes; there are also useful, real benefits to being a male in a mostly-female, or all-female, workplace. For starters, your knowledge of yogurt brands and varieties will increase exponentially; and, while it’s still elusive, you at least know that gluten exists, and that it’s not for everyone. Also, if you’re ever watching Jeopardy! with your wife, and the category is Ryan Gosling, you stand a fighting chance. These bits of knowledge would most likely evade you, friend, if you only worked with men.

JamesWorkMore striking than the differences between women and men in the workplace, however, are the similarities. Sure, women may brush their teeth (at work!) before a meeting–but, once finished, they leave the bathroom just as messy as men do. They may not leave a half-eaten burrito in the refrigerator for three weeks, but their hummus canisters get equally–if not more–disgusting due to neglect. I sometimes mistake them for petri dishes.

So, although we’re more similar than thousands of jokes would imply, here’s quick list of survival tips I’ve compiled for the male in a female-dominated workplace:

1. Get used to the dirty work. It’s not like women are incapable of cleaning an air duct or showing a spider who’s boss, it’s just that when these challenges present themselves, some of them suddenly favor more traditional gender roles. Just go with it. Statistically, women still earn less per hour for the same work as men, so their battle for equal treatment is ongoing. In the meantime, the least we can do is deal with some funk now and then.

2. Keep emergency chocolate on-hand. To us it’s just another snack, but there is neuroscience behind its effect on the female brain.

3. Treat co-workers as equals. They can be different from you, and it’s fine–even healthy–to acknowledge these differences. But “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “less than.” This isn’t even a gender thing, it’s a courtesy thing; but, if you lack simple courtesy, you may be accused of having sexist, classist, or other unfavorable “-ist” motives, when in reality you could just be a jerk who is indiscriminate in his jerkhood.

4. If someone is crying, don’t offer to “fix” anything, just listen. Or run. Running works, too.

5. In the workplace, do not admit to having read this blog. Act like it’s the world’s biggest coincidence that you happen to have chocolate every time a female coworker groans for it. Nobody likes to be pigeon-holed based on a list of stereotypes–even if they are relevant, accurate, and compiled by an observant (and handsome) genius.

6. Keep a sense of humor. You’ll need it in any workplace, unless (possibly) you’re a funeral director. In that case, use humor sparingly.

7. Stay open-minded. The opposite sex, or anyone whose life experiences differ from yours, has plenty to offer. Learn from it.