To live in Piper’s NY home. Except I’ll pass on the stint in prison. Do y’all watch Orange Is The New Black? So great.

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Small Screen Spaces: Orange is the New Black | Apartment Therapy

To eat these. They look so yummy!
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To own a print of this. I’m not a big art person but I’m getting there, and this piece speaks to me.
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To build something like this around my air conditioner. I start dreaming up all kinds of plans for the yard this time every year.
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I have been wanting to visit and take photos of my friend Laurie’s house forever. She lives in a small town about 45 minutes away and was still in the midst of remodeling for much of the last year so I couldn’t really just pop on over with my camera, but since her husband got a job offer that will require them to move she wrapped up the remodeling projects and invited some friends over for a play date. I showed up a little early to snap some photos before toddler chaos ensued.

Laurie’s house was built in the 1930′s and is located in the heart of a small town (so small that if I named it specifically you could definitely find her house, so I’ll keep it vague for privacy’s sake). It had been vacant for over a year when they bought it and needed a LOT of work. Laurie has a master’s in Historic Preservation so she kept original features wherever she could and respected the home’s integrity where new work was needed.

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A center hall is one of those things that’s rarely seen in newer homes but I just love. I know it’s impractical, a waste of space, but so classic! You can see from the front door straight to the back, with living areas to the left and bedrooms to the right. I love the tile inlay in the middle of the floor!

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Just inside the door Laurie has this collection of family photos. This is totally what I was going for with my frame wall. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so zealous with the straight edges.

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Laurie puts a lot of effort into hunting for interesting pieces. That is actually an antique radio there in the right corner!

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This house has amazing architectural features. Lots of original built-ins, beadboard, mouldings, etc. And I love that the living and dining areas are connected without the less cozy “open plan” effect.

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Laurie collects vintage tablecloths and has a huge stash stored in the buffet. I later spilled a bit of enchilada casserole on this lovely one–I hope she was able to get it out! How beautiful is that dining set? She’s collected all of her furniture over time from various antique and thrift shops, estate sales, etc. Only a couple of pieces, like her sofa, were purchased new.

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The ceiling and light fixture in here are original to the house. So beautiful! And can you believe those twelve foot ceilings? Definitely on my wish list for my future dream house.

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How retro-chic is this kitchen? Laurie did all the tile work in the house herself, including this classic black and white ceramic floor.

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The upper cabinets and the sink are original to the house, but the countertop is Ikea butcher block and the lower cabinets are from the Home Depot. I totally covet that vintage kitchen radio.

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Laurie is also an amazing cook. She’s a woman of many talents!

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I think that this little area they use as a breakfast nook was a porch at some point, but has been closed in. I love the simple contrast of cast iron pans hung on a white wall.

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Her daughter’s room is painted a deep mustard yellow and full of vintage touches. We have the same crib in white. I love the classic lines,

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Laurie is really proud of the work they did in the bathrooms, and with good reason.

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This was originally just a tub with no shower and a drywall surround. They added a shower and gleaming white subway tiles installed by Laurie herself, along with the floor. Color me impressed.

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The master bedroom gets this great lazy morning light. The floors were really bad in here, so they painted them, and moved some things around to create a deeper closet. How perfect is that quilt? I feel like this space is so classically and authentically Southern. Can’t you see one of Kate Chopin’s characters sleeping here (or, less classic, Sookie Stackhouse or Skeeter Phelan)?

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I wish I could have gotten all of her beautiful antique furniture in one shot.

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The house was originally four bedrooms with one bath, but they broke up one of the bedrooms to make room for a second bath and a laundry nook. This bathroom is all new, but doesn’t it look like it could’ve been there all along?

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I am not a big fan of the vessel sink in my downstairs bath because I don’t think it matches the style of my house, but this setup would be right at home. So pretty and classic.

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More amazing tile work from Laurie and her husband. I love the look of white tile with dark grout. This is such a soothing space!

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Laurie has an Etsy shop where she sells vintage clothing–she actually was a blog sponsor for a while–and she uses the third bedroom as her office. Floor to ceiling vintage dresses!

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I am so inspired by the work that Laurie and Trent have done, especially with a toddler underfoot. Nothing looks DIY’d in this house. If it were in my neighborhood it would probably sell for half a million dollars, but since it’s so far out of town it’s a steal. If you’re looking to move to small town Louisiana maybe you can buy Laurie’s house! Thanks again, Laurie, for letting me come snap some photos!

This is what I looked like two years ago this week. I was so hugely pregnant that I couldn’t go out in public without being stared at and talked to by strangers. It was like being a very uncomfortable celebrity. And I kept getting bigger for another three weeks after this photo was taken!

As you may have guessed, my body has not bounced back. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight almost right away but things were not the same. My abdomen looked like a war zone. Two years later the stretch marks have faded but my skin is still loose and laced with a web of faint lines. Me pre-pregnancy weight was technically overweight but I still felt comfortable in a bikini. These days–no way. I think this is hard for me because I don’t have any visual references to compare my post-pregnancy body with. There are lots of images in our society of women being confident at varying weights but not of loose skin and stretch marks. I don’t understand how these celebrities get to look so normal after having kids. No amount of diet or exercise is going to fix the skin on my abdomen, and maybe that’s part of why I’m not really motivated to lose weight, even though I know intellectually that a healthy weight is more about health than aesthetics.

Every woman’s body responds differently to pregnancy. Some women gain a lot of weight, some don’t. Some get stretch marks and some don’t. Some women feel fabulous while carrying a tiny human in their abdomen and some…don’t. I seriously felt like I was walking around with 100 extra pounds strapped to my body, even though I only gained about 25. I ached with every step and I even passed out a few times. For a long time when I heard women talking about how much they loved being pregnant I felt guilty, like my love for my child is reflected by my experience of pregnancy.

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There’s no point in comparing my pregnancy or my body to those of other women. My body will never be the same as it was before Jack, and that’s okay. My life will never be the same either! That’s kind of the point. Maybe my next pregnancy will be easier and maybe it won’t, but I have a feeling I’ll be much happier if I learn to just accept whatever the future holds (stretch marks and all).

I have been tearing through some books lately, y’all. I’m behind on all my favorite blogs and TV shows but it feels amazing to be immersing myself in one world after another through literature. Reading was my favorite pastime through childhood and adolescence but all the reading required for my English degree kind of took the fun out of it, then I was really busy through grad school and my first few years as a social worker and then I started a blog and had a baby and only now, ten years later, am I finally diving back into books with the kind of enthusiasm I once had.

I’ve had The Mad Scientist’s Daughter on my list for a while now and decided to download it to my Kindle for our beach trip. I quickly became obsessed and picked it up every chance I got. I’m actually re-reading it now that I know more about Finn’s background and how the story ends.

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Amazon**

A robot love story could easily stray into silly or tacky territory, but this is more like Her than Mannequin and I found myself rather enthralled. The gist of it is that Cat’s father, a robotics expert, brings home a startlingly lifelike android to live with them. Finn is the first and only of his kind and the circumstances surrounding his creation are unclear through much of the book. We spend what feels like a lifetime with him as Cat grows from a young child into an adult. The story takes place in the not-so-distant future, but despite the dystopian setting and element of robots I wouldn’t call it sci-fi. The outside world is background to what is really a study of Cat’s very flawed character and the affection she feels for Finn. It raises questions about whether self-determination is a right or a privilege, the future of feminism, and civil rights in the age of artificial intelligence, in addition to themes of metamorphosis, mortality, modernity vs. decay, and nature vs. sterility. The challenges of Cat and Finn’s relationship could even be compared to those of same-sex couples, especially prior to the changing attitudes of recent years.

What The Mad Scientist’s Daughter lacks in prose and a relatable protagonist it makes up for in Finn. As weird as a handsome android robot sounds I couldn’t help but be charmed by his thoughtful and unwavering nature. In fact, I wish the author had spent more time with him, especially near the end.  I hope this book gets made into an awesome movie just so I can see his character fleshed out a little more. The juxtaposition of a human who is too much like a robot and a robot who is too much like a human was fascinating, and the issue of age difference reminds me of The Time Traveler’s Wife with a dash of Edward Scissorhands.  Fair warning: there are some sexual scenes and quite a bit of profanity, so I wouldn’t suggest it for sharing with your pre-teen who’s recently taken an interest in robots. The next Twilight this is not. But if you’re into romance or character studies give it a gander.

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