Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creamware - Oh Happy Day!

Lee and I got married in July, but the wedding gifts still trickle in about once a week. I think the UPS man is probably sick of hiding things in our bushes! Tonight, after a long day I came home to find SUCH a wonderful treat. A small-ish box was waiting right by the door - to Mr. and Mrs. Lee McBrearty - from Washington, DC. There are many antique stores that I love in Georgetown, but I have always been particularly drawn to Swedish Gustavian furniture and in particular I always oooooooooohed and ahhhhhhhhhhed over the beautiful french creamware pieces like these that Marston Luce and Cote Jardin frequently had on display.

I must have admired them so much (and so very vocally, apparently!) that my former boss and friend Paul thought that I (we) should have a few pieces of our VERY own.

And AM I EVER THANKFUL THAT HE DID!! Along with the 4 beautiful plates was a gorgeous 19th century French white ironstone double-spouted sauce boat.
I hope that one day I will have quite a collection, and a beautiful cabinet to keep them in...

and when I do, please come have dinner with me!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sweet Virginia - Before and After

When a life-long friend in Virginia called me for help with her living room, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the beautiful horse country. After a delicious Greek lunch, we got down to business.
The task at hand: the need for a casual but elegant living room for a family of six.

The result - a casual, but elegant living room for a family of six!

It was a lot of fun, and I am strill thrilled with the result. Where we shopped:





Dungeon Days - Before and After

Noone can ever call me "high maintenance" after reading this forthcoming post.

Oh my goodness these "before" pictures give me a stomach ache and provoke me to question my sanity around this time last year. When I decided not to purchase my apartment in DC, I was in a bind and needed to move out right away. I, yes ME, an interior designer became a basement dweller in Virginia for 8 months. While the living conditions were sub-par, I admit I did have some good times in the "log cabin" with the 3 boys (friends) that lived upstairs. Please take a gander at what I saw when my friend Blake invited me to move downstairs into the Dunge:

As if the thought of living below ground in NOVA with 3 boys was not daunting enough, I turned the corner to find THIS: I didn't know this color of blue even EXISTED outside of smurf cartoons!

And next, the kitchen: gorgeous.

This my friends is what you call a design damsel in DISTRESS. First things first: Hire someone ASAP to clean clean clean!!! Second, think about what in the world you are doing and consider backing out. Third, remember that you have zero time to do anything and really don't have a choice. After all, the rent has not been as cheap since college days in Tuscaloosa. Fourth: no choice, you're moving in, go buy buckets of paint. Paint entire dunge apartment in two days (this is not too challenging since dunge ceiling height is only 7 feet). Awesome. Things are better already. Indluge in tylenol pm at night in order to forget where you lay your head and remember the cheap rent! Buy flowers often, burn candles always, and make plans in the district every single night.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Handbag in the Making


As I placed my Christmas order for handbags today, I started thinking about
how far along MERE has come! I LOVE thinking about the design of each bag, and I take it very seriously. You may find this process interesting.

First, the sketch is born - drawn by me, then sent to my people in New Jersey.

Second: the prototype arrives. Tweaked by me, then sent BACK to NJ for further development:
After a series of several additional sketches and/or phone coversations, I finally get the sample for approval (now this is my favorite part):

So this Christmas, when you are drooling over that Louis Vuitton that EVERYONE has, just remember me: little ole MERE, and all of the hard work and thought that goes into every single bag. All made in the United States of America! XOXO, M! (sorry, I watched Gossip Girl tonight)


Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Affair To Remember

Since I am starting a blog from my new Texas terroritory, I think it appropriate to share with you where I've been. J'ADORE Washington and the friends I made there so very much. Just look at this place! Do you blame me? And since it is mid-November and still 80 degrees and sunny in Austin every day (I am really not complaining about this!), I have also missed the fall in the east. I drove right though Georgetown on my way to work every single day, and it was like a movie-scene in the month of November.

I am going to share an email that I sent to friends on my last day of work in Washington. If you can't tell, I was just a LITTLE bit nostalgic and sad about leaving...

After spending the entire week cleaning out SIX YEARS worth of emails in the ole inbox, I realized I have a few things to share!

I will drive away this weekend, but not without remembering how much Washington has meant to me over the past 6 years. Not only is DC a very smart, stimulating city filled with interesting people and wonderful restaurants, but most of all, I will miss the friends that I've made and the memories we shared. First, a tribute to girlfriends! I have never been more proud to call some of the most beautiful, smart, funny, and talented women I know my friends. It was always fun to go to dinner and discuss everyone's latest – whether she be training for a Marathon, studying for a graduate school entrance exam, traveling to Asia in Air Force II, running a successful jewelry business, or just a day's work in the West Wing - My incredibly smart and talented friends only influenced me to better myself. From this time in DC, I have learned the value of being an independent woman, and if God blesses me with a daughter, I hope to instill in her the importance of living and learning by herself in those formative years post college…years that I would never trade for anything! I will never forget the many hilarious times that we shared together–a trip with 4 girls to New York in the Waldorf's Towers(thanks to US Treasury, don't tell), watching Mamma Mia in Washington from 3rdrow seats in the National Theater – only to take the lead actor out on the town afterwards (details to remain un-mentioned), Layton and Mary Susan's annual PCP Party (Pumpkin Carving Party) – the best was when Jim Screws caught on fire!, going to the White House for Queen Elizabeth's Royal visit with Dougie, Amanda, and Ellen, The boy's annual spring "Come Pop Your Cherry Blossom Party" (I still find the title offensive!), dinners with Jared to hear about his latest incredible travels, and a very favorite memory - when he invited me to a movie with the President at the White House on a Saturday afternoon. I will remember MANY, MANY long walks with my girlfriends all along the National Mall or our "MassAvenue route", and the trips out to the Vineyards in Virginia on a crisp, fall afternoon. I'll always laugh when I think of Alfonso – where do I even BEGIN with him – a best friend and co-worker for six entire years, and a fun travel companion on trips to Paris, New York, and Puerto Rico! I'll miss Georgetown and U Street shopping and of course, playing "Redneck Never Have I ever" at Peacock CafĂ© – the infamous game that when combined with the French kiss or mimosa did not always find us in favor with adjacent diners. I will remember the broken hearts and the boy drama, of course! Isn't that what friends are for? Teale and I kept Thomas Sweet and Vace in business! I will smile when I think of my guy friends – I think it rare at our age to know some of the most hard-working, hilarious, smart, and respectful men. ..most of whom have recently left the city to further their education with a law degree or masters of business. I can't wait to sit back and see where you boys end up. I have a feeling a few CEO's and members of Public Office will emerge from this group. And best of all, I will remember what a neat thing it was to watch good friends cultivate relationships and find their soulmate. While I will be sad to leave DC, I hope to visit often, and when I fly over the mall and especially the Jefferson Memorial, I will always remember the beautiful night in March when Lee asked me to spend my life with him. And so, the new life will lead me to Texas (for 2 years, at least)! I will leave with a big smile, I know a few tears, and a memory of six wonderful years.

And so here we go:
from the Nation's Captial:

To the Capital of TEXAS!!

(i took this photo the other day while driving down South Congress)

and for the record, Austin Texas is a beautiful place. Washington is a very traditional city. If you have ever been to both Paris and Washington, you will see a resemblence in the layout of the two cities: the wheel "spokes". Well Bonjour! - this is because a French artist and engineer, Major L'Enfant, was responsible for designing the plan for the nation's captial.

As for the geography of Austin, Lee and I are enjoying the many things to do outdoors.

Take a look at this: Lake Austin is only five minutes from our house!

Hmmm...I wonder what Lee is pointing at? I was too busy wondering how many years until we can buy one of these....

...and so the McBrearty's move to Texas. So far, I can tell you the following about Austin:

1- The geography is beautiful! (more posts to come on this!)

2- The people are friendly and the weather is amazing.

3- Everyone here goes CRAZY for Halloween and equally crazy for exercise.

4- The color of choice is ORANGE. Everywhere: ORANGE. Guess why.

5- The McCombs school of Business is very time-consuming.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why Hello

Well Hello There.
My dear friends from home Jennie-Marie and Ginny have talked me into starting a blog! At first I thought: "WHYY would anyone ever care what I am up to?" But, then again, if you're bored, quit reading! About me: I am 28 years old, recently married, and have just relocated from Washington DC to Austin, Texas. My husband is getting his masters in business, and is therefore quite busy. I think it will be fun for me to write about the things that I find and love.
I was fortunate to work for the most amazing people at the most fabulous design firm in the country for the past six years in Washington. To Solis Betancourt I owe much of what I know!
While I was very sad to leave, I am excited to see what this new chapter in my life will bring.
I am thinking this blog thing will be fun.