Lingering upon Alice Gao’s creativity

Today, I thank the world for photography. Correction, Alice Gao. Because, unfortunately, under the realm of photography is the likes of selfies, and so I can’t say I thank the whole world.

But I’m just gonna come clean and say it – selfies are such a gift. Come on, they’re super liberating. You have all the power in the world to be as pleased as you like with your photo, rather than having your face’s fate quivering in the hands of that stranger at the party who snapped you and a friend out of the blue, leaving you like a couple of deer in headlights with excessive makeup on. (What an image. I enjoy it.)

So on second thought, yes, I thank the world for photography and selfies.

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Alice Gao, though, really must be the reigning queen of this world. Or at least for me, on this day, and since I’ve found her. For example, I can’t decide whether or not I’d like to hang the finished painting alone or the photo itself of the painting still dripping from the creative process. As in, with the palette still fresh and the bottles looking as if they have given every last drop of their creative juices to the canvas at hand. And the strips of moody navy, slowly peaking towards the colour the artist was looking for. She makes her photo a piece of art, when it is itself featuring a piece of art. Now that’s ingenuity.

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And here, although these flowers look as though they’re fit for a palace or among tight circles serving high tea, the griminess of the sink and the crossing strips of metal on the window serve as a humble stage for the royally strewn stems.

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Caught mid-packaging, I see every bit of the efforts we take in creating something beautiful from head to toe for a recipient we care about. Cut string, labels messied about from choosing just the right one, stamps even. It’s as if Gao is floating in and out of our lives and pauses these moments in the most unexpected lights.

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Ah. This I adore. The composition has allowed for an immense dark sky to hover over the vibrancy of the flowers, the normalcy of morning tea. But this colour to me is not laden with grief or gloom, but blanketing comfort, lifted just enough so that we can see the light she has captured.

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I almost feel as though I’m viewing more so a portrait of a portrait than a scene of an apartment. The framing of this portrait, however asymmetrical, focuses the lady staring right back at us. The to-die-for gold and marble end table elevates her to a point of eye-level, as if we’re about to enter into an enlightening conversation with the woman before us (who I have no doubt has some bad-ass stories to tell).

ps. white brick wall alert. yes, i am swooning.

And oh my golly gee willickers, I just found her blog, Lingered Uponand I did a helluva lot more than just linger. I think I just moved in unannounced. Here’s a sneak peek of her posts, slash justification of my rudeness:

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Just everything about this outfit makes me feel like a savvy, stylin’, successful photographer.

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And just everything about this makes me want to just be her for a day. Those boots. That espresso. That style.

*m

Chalky Creative Juices (Yummy, eh?)

You can just call the space above my bed a void. Regrettably, it holds the remnants of a DIY project that was unintentionally entirely unpractical. That’s kind of a mouthful, but the project was too. I hung stringed lights so that they made the silhouette of a frame. Boom, that’s magical. Then I tied three strings from each side to the other, and attached photos with paper clips to it. That’s where it went awry. Because every time I settled into bed, my pillows would destroy my masterpiece in one innocent “still-getting-comfortable” move.

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So remind me why I didn’t move into a classroom again? Well, because that’d be straight up depressing, obviously. But it does hold a very simple answer to not only changing up your bedroom as often as you please, and, if I got that nifty chalkboard “marker”, I get a semi-permanent headboard too.

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Isn’t this room so alive? It’s practically bursting through my screen. And, unlike my own whimsical dreams of a starrily lit headboard with dangling photos, the whimsical nature of these cupboards is still practical. It also saves you from ever needing to tell a friend or house guest (I guess the house guest isn’t your friend, in this case) from where that dang breakfast spoon is.

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I recognize that this is a menu, but golly jee willickers, it’s art to me. This should just be my headboard instead. And I wouldn’t say no to what they’re serving up either. (In fact, I’d ask for it immediately. Maybe command if I’m direly hungry.)

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So what we’re looking at here is but a simple collage, am I right? No! A gallery of inspiration, thanks to the elegant logo floating above. A collage can always be deemed a gallery when given a title.

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I never knew this either, but a chalk headboard can make your dreams come true, too. Want a little puppy to greet you in the morning? Draw one into your reality. Let’s just ignore the fact that it may be diagnosed with an unknown doggy disease given its distant eyes and disintegrating legs. Let’s move on from this morbidity. It’s a cute idea.

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And here, I present to you, a real gallery! Displayed on the walls of a Parisian apartment bedroom, we have a very minimalist gallery – although, I’d fill those frames in a second with some substance. Or at the very least a chalk-drawn doggy. 😉

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Gord Bond Exhibition at Hamilton’s Mulberry Street Coffee House (aka a coffee shop I can deem perfect in an instant).

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I sat down next to a rather colourful young man, with a pair of eyes that seemed to stare into my soul, or at least one side of my face. I was then asked to leave the coffee shop as I was engaging in an animated discussion with a painting.

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Gord Bond is the real creator of these fellas. He plays “God” to a whole clan of faces that perpetuate reflection on how we examine those around us – what we decide is perfect and, with that, what we decide is beautiful.

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I was entranced by them. And although not for their realism initially, I came to see these portraits as even more realistic as to how we interpret the world… because I don’t go up to the bus driver to pay for my ticket and see nothing but a face in perfect proportions. I see the greying hairs burrowed on top of his eyes, and maybe the lines stemming from his eyes. Or I greet the hostess of a local restaurant and focus on her perfectly arched eyebrows, as though they were painted on her face, and her full lips dramatized with the help of a cranberry hue in lipstick. So if I were to paint a portrait of either of these people, and if I were to paint proportionally as to what I focused on, the works of Gord Bond would mirror my own, in terms of style alone, to a precise degree. Magnified and shrunken characteristics, bold strokes glazing over the areas I didn’t linger over, and more detail given to the areas I did. The beauty of this work, however, is that no two portraits would be the same given our own differing interpretations of our imperfect world around us. What ends up on my canvas could be entirely different than yours’, and that’s why I was so entranced with these paintings… because it was as if I was stepping into the interpretation of the world through the eyes of another.

*m

(no photo mine, unless it says Little Rabbit Ears on it!)

Colour Outside the Lines

Lately, I’ve been thinking back to my dorm room of last year. It smells of day-old coffee filters and my perpetually turned on heater that would suffocate any and all visitors. So the ones that stayed I knew must really like me.

*patting myself on back for friend-making strategy*

And even though my parents once told me that they thought of my dorm as jail cell, I grew to really love my bedroom, office, living room, sometimes kitchen, but never bathroom of  a dorm. It was another home for me, and nothing less. And how else to make a single room feel like a home but to infuse it with glorious amounts of colour.

Here is an ode to colour, in the rooms that make it feel most like home. Although, disclaimer: sometimes the coziest of rooms don’t rely on bright colours but cloud-like hues of grays and whites, as an example. Definitely not discarding the cozy appeal of those colour schemes, but I grew up in a colourful house, so… a gal’s gotta have colour.

houseofc_forsale_9Magnified floral wallpaper will get me any day. I can vouch for the joy floral accents can give you (hint: I sleep under floral sheets and it sets me up for the happiest of slumbers).

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That chair is not simply pink. No, it is punk pink. So pink it makes your heart do a little dance, just like the youthful vibe it presents to us.

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Eyes first directed towards the toile curtains in replacement of ordinary cupboards. Such french enchantment in a kitchen should really become a prerequisite to any kitchen cooking up crêpes. (Note to self: purchase toile towels at the very least.)

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When the back of a sofa becomes the focal point of a room, you know it’s one damn special sofa. The floral detailing, of course, is to credit. Although this room exhibits a total lack of fear towards mixing and matching patterns altogether, so it goes as no surprise that the back of a sofa would be used as the perfect opportunity to give the room that one final hoorah!

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Really, I just want those thermoses. They speak to me on the same level as the delicate vase with that beautifully plump flower I would want to wear in my hair everyday.

On a sidenote, please check out Miss Moss’s wedding for some serious eye candy. If you’re like me, upon first glance at that name, I immediately envisioned a pleasant woman, but just enveloped in moss from head to toe. Cool. So, in hopes to confirm this, I zipped on over to her website only to be so much happier with what I found – a treasure chest of posts with designers I hadn’t heard of, playlists, and gorgeous photography to go along with her words. Needless to say, she’s been a favourite blogger of mine for the better part of two years now, and the fact that she is the coolest human being has just been verified by her wedding. 

*m

Indoor Voices, Please

Some things in life are reserved for children. Pee-pee dances, ice-cream trucks, and fort building just don’t draw as much of an adult crowd.

On second thought, that is debatable, as I sit here envisioning the fort I built last year for *ahem* studying purposes. Success rates are low for actual “studying,” especially when embraced by blankets and a box of celebration cookies are within arm’s reach (just as an FYI). And you know what, if an ice-cream truck were to parade down my street at this very moment, the primal urge to leap through my house would overcome me, alerting any and all roommates as the sweet, melodic tune drags me by the ear to its menu.

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When all is said and done, and I’ve managed to devour a chocolate fudge ice cream bar with zero stains, I’ll think about heading back inside as a nineteen year old. My homework, at the very least, will snidely greet me.

And yet, there are other moments where that child and young adult fuse into one glorious creation. Call me, “Swing Table.”

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The most divine creation of all tables. My inner-child is jumping for joy whilst wiping the chocolate remains off her cheeks (it is a stark white, after all), and my literal-aged self is sighing in content serenity, imagining a spread of crepes atop the surface.

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The foundation for this idea is mostly laid in whimsy and child-like playfulness, and yet the outcome is both refined and stately. A walnut surface set against the swaying chairs is reminiscent of the modernities of design embracing traditional roots. Nature embracing what it has led to.

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I don’t want to get too philosophical on you here, but at the very least, I feel as though this piece demonstrates that neither nature nor modernity is ignoring the other. In that fusion, we find a piece of furniture that cannot help but to tempt my child-like, yet oh-so-mature eyes.

Find at Fancy.

This weekend couldn’t have come sooner, on a side note.

What I hope to accomplish is highly academic.

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Come to me, pumpkin meringue pie. I shall treat you well.

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Oh, how I love it when I find a new cooking blog that I can devour with my eyes.

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Mmm, spiced cream filling. The golden edges are reminiscent of the TOWER of pancakes I made this morning. That tends to happen when one does not take note of the servings size. Three pancakes envisioned. Eleven made.

No regrets.

*m

Mother Nature, My Favourite House Guest

When I was still living at home, as in the house where my mum would put out a beautiful bunch of flowers on the kitchen table, and the house where my siblings and I would fight to the death over the last half-piece of bacon, and even the house where my dog would leave us the smelliest of presents in the darkest of corners, I never came to fully appreciate just how much I needed those flowers my mum would so diligently adorn our house with. Although I did very quickly appreciate the lack of bacon debacles and poopy presents. (Warding off my dog’s twisted sense of humour has been a struggle.)

But now it has hit me as to why flowers are a necessity my mum couldn’t go without. Quite simply, flowers are 24/7 spreaders of joy and cheer.

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 But now I am forced to accept the weeds along the side of the road on my way to class as  indifferent replacements. Once upon a time, dandelions were sweet, simple gestures, but now they are my only hope for a burst of natural exuberance. Long story short, my life is lacking some natural exuberance.

I just want a chair where I can feel like my bottom’s on vacation.

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Or a room where the walls are purely white because the flowers speak for themselves, breathing into the room with colourful exhales.

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 Even if that means just a sliver of life, like a single branch, or, if i’m really and truly desperate, a picture of pressed flowers will do just fine.

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Perhaps one day I’ll try to act as though I am Mother Nature herself, deserving of an indulgence so cheerful and so joyous that it’s simply not meant for the mortal race; I would drape a string of bottles with my lovely cheerleaders in each one over top of my desk. Ah, the optimistic sense of motivation I’d be given.

“She has it! She’s got it! She can always do it! Wahoo! Yippee doo dah! Look at her go!”

My cheer of choice. Thanks, ladies.

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As a result of my desire to make my humble abode as welcoming as possible to my future flowery tenants, I came across some damn nifty flower-trappers. Don’t worry. To the flower familia, this contraption is just called, “Palace for Joy.” What a life they lead. Maybe one day my room can just be permanently entitled, “Palace for Joy.” Although of course I’m going to need some flowers for that to even be a possibility. No Joy Palace lacks in Mother Nature’s offspring. Don’t be fooled. She needs an heir or two.

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Mmmmm. Yes, that is my go-to response for these babies. Simply, “mmmm.” Maybe it’s this dreamy photography, where the flowers look as though they really are captured from  utopia in glass water drops, but something tells me that the way the sunlight would dance through these Orbs of Joy would at the very least warrant an, “Mmmm” or a, “My god, I think I just opened my eyes for the first time” or maybe, “Turn me into a fairy, asap. My homeland is calling me.”

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Luckily for me, I live with someone who shares this somewhat obsessive appreciation for flowers. Now what does this naturally call for? A wall of pressed cheerleaders. Okay, that was admittedly disturbing, but remember that the cheerleaders of the Earth actually enjoy it. Their presence is intended to be permanent, but for some reason (someone told me because they are technically alive, but it could be a rumour) they need water and whatnot to keep on livin’. So pressed flowers are a beautifully convenient replacement.

Here is a perhaps more fancy-shmancy-DIY-skillz version..

If you want to get really epic:

gorgeous garden wallUntil next time, keep smilin’ (with flowers in your room, I think I’ve made it seem like that’s the only way possible).

*m

first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh is me, eighth, ninth

An Incomplete To Do List

What I should do with my summer and what I do, in fact, do with my summer are two very different things. And not that I’m not enjoying myself, with this intellectual enlightenment I’ve been granted during summer school – it’s just, I need some variety up in hur. Don’t get me wrong, I relish summer. It parades into my life once a year, with baskets of confetti and absurdly large sunglasses, and we all dance around like old pals in front of some kid’s lemonade stand. We then haggle the dollar price on the lemonade and leave with a real bargain! (I kid, I kid. I pay fair price for that lemonade. It’s fair trade.) But here comes the real tragedy. I haven’t been to a single lemonade stand. This doesn’t necessarily define my summer, believe it or not, but I also haven’t been to the beach more than two times, maybe thrice (I am Shakespeare with that word). And I also haven’t had a week of lounging on my couch where my laziness has taken on the shape of another Miranda, dressed in a pair of lounge pants that are never allowed to leave the house and Hermione level hair.

Hey, you might be thinking, ah jeez, what a debbie downer (imagine if your name was actually Debbie Downer for a moment and bask in gratitude), but all I’m thinking lately is how I should be painting my front door bubblegum pink and putting up my favourite number on it.

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Or that I should spend more time making use of all of the dishes in my kitchen, whipping up crepes and croissants and declaring, “C’est parfait!” with a triumphant kiss to the air (even if the croissants resemble a popped balloon more quickly). If my kitchen was on the airy, crisp level of this beauty above, I don’t think this could be a problem at all. As soon as the aroma of the culinary masterpieces had settled in the kitchen and seeped into the unsuspecting noses of my family members, we would all take a celebratory dip into the most inviting, modest pool I’ve seen. A pool like that is unassuming, and almost more luxurious in its simplicity because it’s not demanding your attention. It’s more of a pleasant peek-a-boo once you enter the kitchen.

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Most importantly, why have I not found a place like this to have all of my meals in? This space begs to be filled with slender women dressed head to toe in breezy sundresses on  a strictly gluten free diet. There is a certain elegance to this room that is very natural, most likely due to the abundance of greenery spilling from each corner. And the candle-lit lighting is always a suggestion of both intimacy and luxury to me.summer to do list 4

Really tempted to do something my mother would do, and bring a bundle of tree branches into the home, but then top it off with a myriad of lights and/or orbs with candles set in them. I think I may need to dedicate an entire post about why I am so obsessed with stringed lights.

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And a final quote to leave on.

“I still love the people I’ve loved, even if I cross the street to avoid them.”

*m

Music For Yo Fine Earz

To be frank, my week has been hella chill, yo. The program I’m in isn’t entirely centered around what those around me call midterms. We do, howeva, have some majour research papers and projects coming up in the near future so don’t think this is a slacking deal. And even though my week has been deemed chill, my weeks in general seem to go by faster and faster. Honestly, it’s slightly disturbing how quickly it all goes by. 
One minute I’m waving to that dreary figure called Monday slumping towards me and then the next I’m running after Friday in his disco clothes whizzing past. I need more hours in the day! Mother Nature, I’m snapping my fingers! Make that sun last a little bit longer puh-leeze. 

What’s been helping me actually get out of bed in the morning though, before I’m caffeinated and superficially wired for my first class, is some new musica that’s been injecting some rhythm into my toes. 
First, tumblr tabs to inspire a beautiful fresh start to next week’s Monday morning. 
C’est parfait. Ce cappuccino est art à moi. 
(go google translator, buddy ol pal)
Attics have always had such a haunted reputation. Put in a window, let that glorious light in, paint the walls milky white, and suddenly the attic of that supposed family of ghosts is your most beloved sanctuary.
I used to be convinced that this type of layout of a kitchen was the most absurdly cramped idea for a realistic family. Now that I’m confined to the size of a closet for a bedroom, and have fallen quite in love with its quaint coziness, there’s much more appeal to living small. This is almost like a more formal alternative to an island, and who doesn’t like a hint of well hidden fanciness here and there?

Abstract Numbers:

Small Rooms:

Alvhem Makleri:

Abstract Numbers:

Abstract Numbers:

Abstract Numbers (can you guess I’m a fan?):

Alvhem Makleri:

Alvhem Makleri:

Now my lovelies, onto some music I’ve been digging.

And by digging, I mean obsessed with. Alex Clare is the most dreamy combination of foot tapping goodness and hip swinging grooves and actually poignant lyrics.

Alright, this next song may not be for everyone (it includes *gasp* swear words!). But I can’t deny the catchiness. Slash it’s quite the hypnotic tune. Next three are for them techno-dub lovers.
If girliness ever overwhelms you, and you’re in your footy pajamas with a cup of tea by your side, put this on and you will be in a small pocket of heaven. 
This song was stuck in my head for honestly days, if not weeks. It’s haunting. It’s beautiful. It’s addictive.
Cheerio! Hope the weather wherever you are is not as gloomy as the view I’m looking at. 
*m

Edible Selby Looks Really Sweet

So Todd Selby, the mystical photographer (no unicorn blood, I just use the word mystical for all things that are even greater than ridiculously and stupidly awesome), is out with another book but this time he’s taken my two favourite things of life and put them in one: beautiful design and food
Ranging from Tokyo to SanFran to to Me-hee-ko, he’s let us into a rather intimate side to some of the most creative culinary minds at work today. The photos are, well, obviously, of stellar quality. And if you’re still not sold, the whole book is resplendent with whimsical water colour illustrations and cute little questionnaires. Oh, and free fridge magnets. (Got ya with that one, eh?)
And seeing as how I’m on my own now, all grown up and mature and halfway to wisdom in my glamorous dorm room, I figure I need some stellar coffee table books. Small dilemma – my room’s too small for a coffee table! But I do have a sweet ass desk! I told you, it’s very glamorous. But Edible Selby, you’re going to be living in my room as soon as I express order you from my mother’s possession, because you look pretty sweet
See what I did there? 😉 
That’s one dreamy chef for the cover. Clever move, Selby, clever move.

His table of contents is in the language of water colour illustrations. My god, I need this.

Whenever a barista makes a little heart in my foam, I quite honestly feel like I was given a gold star in kindergarten. Just pleased as punch that they so clearly like me more than everyone else (I try to ignore the other girls walking away contentedly with hearts traced in their foam too). Inevitably, this is my favourite photo in the sneak peek version.

Peace and love,
*m

Scandinavian Haven

I have always been drawn to the crisp whites of Scandinavian design, and so of course this home was just irresistible to me. The kitchen is just perfect. I would cook yummy pasta salads all afternoon, with the light pouring in through the generous windows, and have a friend or two playing the ukulele in the corner while we laugh over life’s frivolity. Oh hawhawhaw! Life is grand.

But honestly, this is one of my favourite examples of Scandinavian design. The cheery yellow of the desk chair, along with the abundance of animal portraits on sheets and pillows, the rustic windows, the set of retro lockers… it all conveys such a clear, easy-living lifestyle. It’s also inevitable that if the walls are painted such a white white, that the furniture and design of the home will speak for themselves. They dictate how the home will feel. Whether that is minimalist, retro, rustic, or romantic. Scandinavian design allows for you to express your individuality, but in a subtle way.

*m

ps. Sorry I left you without some rabbit ears for the weekend. I was away at a women’s leadership conference. It was fascinating. Not to mention I met someone who is currently living my dream job – a sustainable architect, so I’m a happy camper.

Highly recommend you watch this documentary as soon as you can. It’s appalling the direction our media is taking us.

{Living Agency}

Can A Room Have Sex Appeal…

Oh, hey there, beautiful. I enjoy running with my dog in the forest, and cooking up some warm dinners afterwards for you and I to share. Leftovers for my dog, of course.

Oh, didn’t see you there! Guess I got lost dreaming about what I should make for dinner. Dessert though is covered, babe. Crème Brûlée is already in the oven just for you.

Darling, so glad you’re home. I’ve missed you. Let’s talk for a few hours in these, if I do say so myself, rather seductive leather chairs.
I’m more of the intellectual type myself. Let’s reenact a scene of Romeo & Juliet in all this space. You’ll make a beautiful, Juliet, you know.

Hi there. I was just thinking about you. I love to read up on the advancements of feminist culture over the last century, and would love to hear your thoughts over a glass of wine.
Clearly, yes.

What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a class act example of what it means for a room to be, by definition, sexy. I’m sure I’m not the first one to realize, as you’re scrolling through some shots of a house, that the adjective “sexy” comes to my mind. Where might this come from? Well, if a room can embody the “dark, rich, and handsome” stereotype of a man, just in terms of sleek lines, dramatic lighting, and a bold sense of personality, then the room would find a way into our hearts relatively quickly, wouldn’t it? So maybe “man caves” will find a place in the home of a lady, after all, if done like one of the “studs” above.

Until next time,
*m

ps. The Archtivist, my homepage, is where I found the majority of these good lookin’ fellows. Check him out.

{unkown, Roman and Williams, unkown, Arch DailyThe Archtivist}