It’s a ghost town around here.
I’ll spare you the excuses; add me to the 95% of bloggers who abandon their blog.
Sophiedonelson.com began as my shingle when I ventured into freelance writing, a profession I left behind for a sweet (fulltime!) gig in marketing. (Gosh, I really am a cliche.) So, somewhere between getting baby #1 C. Wonder off the ground and welcoming baby #2 (a human one named Teddy), I should have posted this sayonara-for-now. And while I won’t likely return to writing for money, I may very well return to writing for free.
Ta ta for now!
Women (and a couple guys) at the custom-made flower cart during the C. Wonder grand opening weekend. Shoppers were invited to send flowers to wonderful women in NYC (care of C. Wonder). Here they explain who’s getting flowers — and why.
It’s here. It’s happening. It’s breathtaking.
The C. Wonder flagship grand opening is Saturday, Oct. 22 & Sun. 23rd. Just wait till you see it.
Pretty much everything amazing happens in July. Here are excepts from my last four.
It’s been nearly a decade since I started writing about home design, but it wasn’t until last month that I found myself, pencil in ear, tape measure in hand in the moldings and trims aisle of Home Depot with a very important decision to make.
We bought a home. An elfin walk-up on the scrappiest street in the toniest ‘hood in Brooklyn. And now, after years of waxing on about hand-tied passementerie and high-tech Italian cabinetry and floors made of wood reclaimed from dilapidated French convents, I am faced with the reality that my ability to define a Mission Style door knob back plate from an Arts and Crafts one doesn’t mean jack when the goal is to find a decent one 50 bucks or less.
And yet, the renovation continues. We’ve refinished the floors (coffee), knocked down some walls, swept the chimney (chim chim cheroo!), picked paint colors and drawn more graph-paper illustrations than the average 7th grade geometry class.
And what became of that game-time decision at Home Depot? I walked swiftly out the door and sketched a custom baseboard myself. An architect friend whom I plied with cocktails to join me on that big-box store errand gently mocked my incredulity at not finding contemporary moldings at Home Depot by asking, “Well, do you buy your clothing at Wal-Mart?”
Cheesy Michael’s glittery faux florals + cedar boughs
I never return from the provinces without a pit stop at Michaels, one of the most wonderful places on earth. Case in point: Last time I was there I watched a high school employee help a grandmother pick out the perfect fake xmas tree for her retirement home porch. Michael’s brings generations together with help from permanent botanicals*!
* My favorite-ever industry term.
Plastic glittery bits? Not so bad in context!
Once, another Michaels shopper asked what I was doing with an armful of dollhouse furniture. I couldn’t explain Operation Dollhouse to her, so I stammered and told her they were for my granddaughter (!?!). My most recent visit was for wreath-making supplies, though I ended up with pretty much dozens of glitter-covered plastic leaves because they were all so hideously beautiful I couldn’t decide. Herein, some image of the glitter and greenery decking out our apartment these days.
Boxwood and baubles
Vintage redhead tree topper
Click through for more pics…..
Me as host, September 2010, Furlong, Penn.
Now that it’s over I can come clean: I was up for a job as host of a new TV show for a home and garden cable network you’ve probably heard of. This week I found out it’s a no-go. The show was green-lit; I was not.
Last spring a designer friend of mine recommended me to a production company that was casting a new decorating reality show. The producer viewed my Editor TV segments, called me in for one, two, three screen tests and BAM, (months later) I was standing in the driveway of a townhouse in a swank subdivision in Bucks County surrounded by three cameras, two producers, a guy that reflected light onto my face using a metallic board and a dedicated makeup artist who claims she has never applied so much Frizz-Ease in her 30-year career. For almost two weeks, I was the Tim Gunn of home design, sparring with a designer about his use of vomit-colored Corian in the kitchen or praising one for her deft application of pendant lights in the bedroom (sexy!). It was a full-on blast.
The tapes were overnighted to LA and I was told I’d hear the news by Halloween, but that, it was pretty much a sure thing—a one-hour, primetime cable TV show (hosted by a woman who had been googling “talent agent” just months prior). Don’t make plans, they said. Don’t get a job. (Don’t get fat, pregnant, busy.) Halloween passed. Then I was told I’d hear by Thanksgiving. That passed too. AndI waited by the phone. And waited. I didn’t go to parties because I couldn’t stand to answer the question: What’s going on with the show? I regretted ever telling anyone about it.
My agent called this week to say that I could reintroduce cheese and bread into my diet and get a real friggin job because, while the show is getting picked up, I’m not. Turns out the producer who plucked me out of the wild—and dressed, groomed and trained me—left the project for another show. And the network exec who championed me now has a new boss who wants a host with a bigger name (and perhaps less big hair). The direction of the show is changing and I don’t fit the bill any more.
I cried for 30 seconds, cleansed my apartment with sage and sweetgrass, cut my hair and am ready to head back into the party. So I’m sending this missive out to the universe: I’m still ready for something really big. I haven’t laid into the brie just yet.
Update: This is a probably a sadder story than I meant to tell. The whole experience—show or no show—was wickedly fun and introduced me to a team of producers, designers and crew who were delightful, patient and entertaining beyond all reasonable necessity. It was, in retrospect, super awesome.
The big take-away for me? Apparently everyone wants to be on TV. I have colleagues who were so devastated by the news that you’d think they had themselves failed. I appreciate all that support and nodded along to the “fuck them!s”, but I’m OK with the outcome. I wish the new producers sunny days, quiet neighborhoods, witty designers and likable talent. And, hey, if that last part doesn’t work out, call me.
Mum Tyna’s Thanksgiving supper centerpiece, Ashburnham, Mass.
Overhead at the dinner table: “This is what I imagine Sophie’s soul looks like.” Agreed.
I’ll take all of it, please. U.S. Evergreens, Flower District, NYC
The cruddy stretch of Sixth Ave. from 28th to 35th Streets has more attractions than just NYC’s only JCPenney (at the godawful Manhattan Mall) and the DMV. It hosts a crafts-hoarder’s paradise, a wonderland of wholesalers selling an irresistible bounty of stuffIdon’tneed: ribbons, beads and baubles, feathers, veils and wedding accoutrement, costume jewelry, cheapo handbags and belts, dried flowers and, finally, the good stuff: big heaping piles of leaves, vines and flowers. The Flower District may be endangered, but it’s still very much open for business. This week I priced some bittersweet for an imminent wreath-making workshop (in my dining room) and on the way out (en route to Brad Ford’s 7th ave. atelier) I ran across a magical storefront. Sophie International! Click through to see what they sell!