vampires in the lemon grove: decorating inspiration

silk room decorating inspiration from polyvore

I haven’t yet finished Vampires in the Lemon Grove: And Other Stories by Karen Russell (Kindle here), but what I’ve read so far has been imaginative and beautiful–but with underlying horror and sadness. In the story “Reeling for the Empire,” a group of girls are held captive to produce beautiful silk for their government.

In this case, “produce” is quite literal as these girls transform into human silkworms. They feel the silk form deep in their gut, like a physical embodiment of their regret and shame. They hold on to their humanity for as long as they can, but it’s only when they submit to what they have become that allows them to build a cocoon and transform from slaves into something else.

It’s not a happy story. But it is beautiful. I love the contrast of something so pretty and delicate in the setting of such a dark story. The silk these girls create is colorful, every color of the rainbow, and each girl produces a color unique to herself. So in my design inspiration I focused on bold, beautiful colors in materials like velvet, chrome, cashmere, and–of course–silk.

The bed is a canopy bed, where you can be warm and safe in a personal cocoon, and the drapes over the bed are dip-dyed, from a light, pure white to a dark, sinister blue-black. The mirrored bed frame reminds me of an industrial factory, but it also represents how these girls had no mirrors and could not see what they had morphed into. The gold table, rug, and mirror call back to a moth’s wings in this story, which are gold and ivory with an intricate design. The oval mirror is the same shape as their only window. The pillows remind me of loopy handwriting–the handwriting that signed the contracts to work in the factory.

And the tea cup, of course, is where their transformation began.

living room sketch, two ways

rae's small cool space #smallcool

You guys know my living room, right? I just moved and decorated this year and I’m still quite happy with it. But it never hurts to imagine something new and play around with what if. So I drew a few sketches: one based on my living room now, and one with similar pieces that can change the whole look.

living room sketch

living room sketch

I’m really happy with my current furniture, but I could see myself hanging out with some pink shades and a navy couch. Plus nice wood and gold accents? I’ll need to figure out a way to use this somewhere…

a new library card

library card

After deciding to really focus on my finances for a while I finally got a library card over last weekend. It’s long overdue, really, but better late than never, as I’m sure librarians would agree. My first book from the Chicago Public Library is In the Garden of Beasts (Kindle here) by Erik Larson.

I’ve read Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and thought it was fantastic, and this book has been on my list of to-reads for a long time. And the library is really to thank for me picking it up now.

You see, I really wanted to read The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. It’s the final book in his trilogy about young adults with magic learning about life and tragedy in school and after they graduate. But it just came out last week, and everyone else wanted to read it, too. So I’m on the wait list. I don’t think I’ll have to wait too long, but this is certainly an exercise in patience for someone who often gets books on her kindle in less than a minute after she decides to buy it.

But I’m sure it will be worth the wait, and I am very excited to read another book in the meantime. And the book I did get, I didn’t have to wait for at all. Or even go into the library! I borrowed a Kindle book from the library’s website and it’s just about the coolest things I’ve ever done. After browsing through the titles that were available, I got to pick one out and download it straight away. No big deal, just got a fantastic book to read for free in just a few seconds over the internet.

Do you guys use the library? I think my wallet is going to be in a little bit better shape if I stick to the library for a while. It may mean waiting a bit for new releases, but right now I think it’s worth it.

concert in millennium park and what i wore

rae's days park outfit

(Outfit posts seem super silly after a week like this one, no? But in rough times you’ve got to make good art, and, well, right now this is my art.)

I work very close to Millennium Park, and every Monday this summer they had a free concert as part of Downtown Sound. I was able to go this week and have a great picnic dinner and listen to some cool music from Russian Circles and Colin Stetson. What a great summer activity! I wish I had been able to go to more shows.

For this show, I wore shorts from the Loft, a shirt from Francesca’s Closet, and a necklace from Target. (I think.)

millenium park concert

to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 6

to do lists of the semi-adult

In this episode of To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult, Jewels and I talk about having presence at work and in life. A great Wall Street Journal article on the topic (that you can read if you have access behind the paywall) sparked our discussion, and a picture of the infographic gave us some tips to discuss.

Presence, to me, is like a professional kind of charisma. If you have it, people listen to you and want to hear what you have to say. I think this can be really tough to learn, especially as a young person in the workplace. Do you guys feel like you have presence? Do you have any tips?

I think the best thing someone can do to start building presence at work is to simply be professional–sometimes easier said than done. (Ask A Manager is another great resource for questions on workplace behavior.)

We also talk about what we’re reading (Guardians of the Galaxy and Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook), what we’re wearing and what we are cooking (Jewels is learning to make the mother sauces, how cool is that!).

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

tiny bathroom decor

tiny bathroom decor

I know it’s small and you don’t have much space for storage and it’s probably the last room in your tiny apartment you think about decorating.

But can I be honest? I really like my bathroom.

The window is lovely and provides all this nice light. The white and blue I use keep things cheerful. And even though I don’t have much storage, I can keep my everyday items easily within reach.

I use only a clear shower liner to keep things open and so I don’t block any light from the window. It also makes this small space seem a little bigger. I use hanging net things (the official term) to store things both inside and outside the shower. That gives me light and airy storage for my shampoo in the shower, and hair dryer and make up outside the shower. I hate keeping the hair dryer stowed away under a cabinet when I use it almost every day.

Remember that shelf I painted for the entryway in my old apartment? It’s been reappropriated as a place to keep extra towels and toilet paper rolls. I LOVE the bright yellow–it’s such a fun piece and just narrow enough to fit against the wall behind the door.

tiny bathroom decor

You guys have already seen my easy glass cabinet makeover, and I still love the way it brings a pretty pattern into the space.

decorative paper project

I think buying a cute soap pump/trash can/toothbrush holder can go a long way to making your space seem more grown up and personal.

tiny bathroom decor

I can’t hang hooks over my door, but I am lucky to have two towel rods, where I can hang matching bath towels. For my bathrobe, I completely copied how I saw it at a friend’s apartment and I use an S-hook through one of the shower curtain holders.

tiny bathroom decor

I am normally not very matchy-matchy, but in this small space I like the cohesiveness and simplicity of using just blue, white, and yellow.

It’s a small space, sure, but that also means it can be one of the easiest and quickest to decorate. Renting limits my options, but I think there are always ways to work within your limitations to make your space prettier and more comfortable. This bathroom isn’t the most glamorous, but it makes me happy to get ready in every day.