Artist Of The Month - Adam Gwon - October 2010

If you haven't heard of Adam Gwon yet you're either not a fan of musical theater or you simply haven't been paying attention. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School Of The Arts, Gwon was named on of the "Fifty To Watch" designated by The Dramatist magazine. Adam Gwon was also the recipient of the 2008 Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theater songwriting; the ASCAP Harold Adamson award and the MAC John Wallowich Award. Along the way Gwon has received commissions from various regional and national theaters/programs.

To data Adam Gwon has eight completed musicals and a vast collection of additional material under his belt. His most accomplished work to date, Ordinary Days, was produced by The Roundabout Theater in 2009 but has also been performed at various venues throughout the US as well as in London. More recently the musical was licensed by Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals. The Original Cast Recording was released on September 21, 2010 on Ghostlight Records, and is the sort of breakthrough musical that becomes a benchmark in a composer's career.

Keep checking back throughout the month for more information on Adam Gwon. In the meantime, check out our review of Ordinary Days!

Learn more about Adam Gwon at or

The Love List

I'm loving...

this mudroom. Found via The House That A-M Built.

this manifesto. You could do a DIY version!

My view at 6:30am

Early morning is one of my favorite times with Toby. He's super mellow and talk-y, and we "chitchat" about lots of fascinating things while he plays in his crib. When Toby was first born, I was so anxious that I was doing everything right (he was so teeny), but these days I'm thankfully settling in, feeling more confident and just enjoying his awesome company. Oh, Toby, I adore you and your Jack Nicholson eyebrows!

Laughter yoga

Have you guys heard of laughter yoga? Indian physician Madan Lal Kataria encourages people to get together in small groups and start fake laughing; after a while, he says, the laughter will become genuine and euphoric. Dr. Kataria believes that laughter can cure physical and psychological ailments. It sounds nutty, but my friend Scott recently tried it with a group of friends and said it was surprisingly awesome. Would you give it a shot?

P.S. Also, marshmallows!

Golden Gate Bridge dinner party

Whoa! Our girl Jordan just hosted a four-course dinner party on a beach underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It must have felt so magical to be eating parsnip soup in the cool breeze beneath the twinkling lights.

Read her full story here.

(Photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day)

The Plaine Truth - Alive

The Plaine Truth - Alive
2010, The Plaine Truth

The Plaine Truth was born in 2004 at the inspiration of drummer/vocalist Brian Plaine.  Guitarist Yoav Thaler was the first add and eventually bassist Anthony Mancebo came into the fold.  Backing vocalist Chiz Nwokonkor is a late addition, filling out the band’s mix of classic rock, soul and funk sound. The New York City based band has been gigging extensively in the tri-state region for the past few years in support of their debut EP, Alive.

Alive opens with "Alive", a catchy slice of classic rock with funk, soul and modern edge sewn in the seams.  Classic and modern touches make this tune a potential breakout hit.  Get this song in front of the right radio programmers in the right mood and you'll be hearing this song coast to coast.  Vocalist Brian Plaine sounds a bit like Dave Matthews but not in a way you'd expect to hear him, and the background vocalists create dynamic triad harmonies for a big sound.  "Borrowed Time" is built around a low-key funk bass line and a sound that lends itself to thoughts of classic 1970's soul music.  This is music you can listen to for fun or dance along to.  "Gone Away" takes a somewhat harder edge in a song about shattered dreams and love gone awry.  The chorus here has a somewhat magical feel; a simple declaration that soars out of the mass of anger and confusion like a single ray of hope.  Then it's back into the emotional maelstrom with big guitar leading the way.  The funk returns on "Pocket Full Of Soul", with a riff reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz.  Don't let the title or the funky pretense fool you; "Pocket Full Of Soul" drips with rock n roll attitude even as The Plaine Truth exploits the down-tempo setting to full effect around a melody line you simply can't escape.  Just try to get it out of your head.  The Plaine Truth closes with the title track. "Wheels" takes on a solid country/southern rock sound and culminates in a chorus that will make arena rock fans drool with unbridled envy.

There's nothing plain about The Plaine Truth.  The band has a keen ear for melody and an ability to craft songs that insinuate themselves into your brain and refuse to leave.  Alive is a splendid introduction, the sort that will have you checking the band's website on a regular basis to find out when the next album/ep is coming out.  Don't miss out on The Plaine Truth.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about The Plaine Truth at is available digitally from

Christine Marie - Christine Marie [EP]

Christine Marie - Christine Marie [EP]
2009, Christine Marie

Christine Marie is a California girl with southern intentions.  A singer/songwriter not yet out of her teens, Christine Marie is already a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International and BMI, and is planning to move to Nashville as she starts college in 2011.  In 2009, Christine Marie released her self-titled debut EP, a 3-song collection of pop country inspired by the likes of Garth Brooks, Leanne Rimes and Keith Urban. 

Christine Marie opens with delicious pop/country of "Boy Behind The Radio", tracking the dreams of a young girl with a crush on a singer making her own dreams come true by becoming the girl behind the radio and someday meeting the voice.  Incredibly catchy, Christine Marie works the song for all its worth.  The song is universally appealing as there isn't a person out there who hasn't entertained a similar dream at least once in their life.  "Let's Do Somethin' About It" comes from the same country/pop lineage.  Christine Marie offers up a dynamic vocal performance, singing lead and harmony vocals on the EP.  There's a bit of a Jackson Browne-meets-Shania Twain aesthetic here that's hard to ignore.  Christine Marie closes with "It Starts Today", a musical resolution to go out and grab life by the horns and take what the world has to offer.  Once again a highly catchy turn, all the more appealing as the song (and the rest of the EP) hasn't been glossed over with the sort of high production values that steal life from the music. 

There's so much to consider in thoughts of who will "make it" and who will not.  Who you know and luck are big components of bridging the gap between being great and being famous, and such things cannot be predicted.  From a talent standpoint, from voice to sound to affability, Christine Marie displays the tools it takes to become a household name.  The songs offers on Christine Marie are catchy and accessible, with the sort of energy that tends to light up the request lines at country radio.  It might not happen right now, but don't be surprised if Christine Marie makes it big someday.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Christine Marie at or Marie is available digitally through and iTunes.

Wednesday giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Chicago letterpress studio Snow & Graham. They're giving away their beautiful 2011 wall calendar, which has gorgeous flower illustrations each month. Wouldn't it look lovely above a desk? (It would also make a great gift.)

For a chance to win, please visit Snow & Graham's shop and leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen at random tomorrow. Good luck! xoUpdate: Mrs. Dontje is our lucky winner. Thanks for playing.

Blind Mare Story Leads to Song Ripoff Scenario

Dear Rich: I am the composer of a piece of sheet music. I have included it in a booklet with a story about a blind thoroughbred mare. I made an agreement with a rep from a local TV station that at his request, I would find a group to perform the piece and after they taped at the TV station he said he would call me in for an interview. I found the group to play the song but find out after they did the session I was not included in the interview. In place of me they have a woman that they are giving credit for composing the song. As the agreement was breached I intend to send a certified letter stating, "I am the composer of the original work registered copyright pursuant to Title 17 of the United States Code and they do not have my permission to televise, show or reproduce in any manner. Any attempt to do so will be an infringement on my copyrighted material." Will my letter hold any weight?Wow, that seems kind of sad ... ripping off a song about a blind mare.  As for your letter we're not sure whether it will have any effect. That all depends on whether you are the creator of the song and you can prove it. (Also, you might want to tweak the grammar; we think you mean to say "you' -- the TV station -- and not "they.")
How the TV station might respond. If we were the lawyers for the TV station and we received your letter, we'd start by talking to the producer of the segment. We'd find out why someone else was listed as the songwriter and not you. It's possible the producer may have information that contradicts your claims. If that's the case and an investigation supports the producer then your letter would not provide satisfaction for you. If the producer can't provide a reasonable response, the lawyer may contact you to get more information (and perhaps settle the dispute). Alternatively, the lawyer may blow you off and not do anything and wait to see whether you will file a lawsuit. (Sad to say, the response might be different if the letter were from a lawyer.) BTW, you should also file a copyright application for the song if you have not done so already. If you plan on soon filing a lawsuit, you may have to take advantage of the expensive expedited application process
How you can improve your letter. The most effective cease and desist letters are the ones that anticipate all arguments from the other side. So if you have facts that demonstrate that the other alleged composer is not the true composer, you should succinctly introduce your facts and anticipate the station's arguments. You don't need to show all your cards. You can say, "I have facts that contradict any claims that someone else has written this song." Also we know that lawyers spout stuff like "pursuant to Title 17 of the U.S. Code"  but  we think that's kind of bunk. Why not just say "Under U.S. copyright law ..." Finally, avoid threatening a lawsuit. That may give rise to what's known as a declaratory judgment action and you may not want to be drawn into a court battle. It's best to wind up with something such as, "If we cannot reach a prompt resolution of this matter, I will have no choice but to pursue other legal options."

Helmet style

We've talked about helmets (and lack of helmets) before, so I'm loving these photos of Milanese models in their Vespa helmets. Very cute!

(Photos by Hanneli Mustaparta)

Maine perfume

A few years ago, my dad took my sister and me on a fall weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. We stayed in a charming old B&B and made it our goal to eat lobster for every single meal, including lobster scrambled eggs, bisque, rolls, whole lobsters, and even a McDonald's McLobster...
Even though it rained almost the whole time, the trip was one of the best I've ever taken. So I was psyched to discover this Maine perfume. Wouldn't you love to smell its sea, air, sun, pine and grassy scent?

(Photos by 3191 Miles Apart and Between the Bread)

Feldiken - Common Splendor

Feldiken - Common Splendor
2010, Feldiken

New York City Indie singer/songwriter Feldiken returns with his latest EP, Common Splendor. The six-song cycle follows on the heels of Small Songs About Us. Feldiken expands his reach by digging into personal experience and infusing broader stylistic influences than in the past, from New Orleans Zydeco to Celtic kitchen party and the broad base of acoustic folk that lay in between.

Common Splendor opens with "Age Of Miracles", turning a mildly ironic comment on the state of the world into a song celebrating the joy of finding the perfect person in a complicated world. "Together In This Groove" is a disco song that celebrates the oneness of people when they dance. Lyrically trite and awkward, the song is nevertheless delicious dance pop. "Common Splendor" is a joyous exploration of the togetherness of family where people love you no matter what. Feldiken highlight the human imperfect of individual members as a component of the perfect whole of the group. A gentle Celtic flavor ties this together with fiddle on top. It's a brilliant tune. "Everybody Loves You" is a brief, pretty transition into "Everything For Everyone", a catchy mid-tempo tune which plays like the idealistic worldview of an entitled mind. Feldiken closes with "The Future", looking to tomorrow an asset. Feldiken's bow reinforces the positive outlook that lay at the heart of Common Splendor, breaking it down to its simplest form.

Feldiken marks his territory in terms of love, using landmarks from the world around him to keep his bearings on Common Splendor. The EP is charming in its honesty and good-natured approach. Feldiken writes and performs with a flair that's unmistakable and projects a persona that's instantly likeable, putting the listener at ease.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Feldiken at or Splendor is available digially through Feldiken's website.  CDs and Downloads are available from  You can also get the digital version from iTunes.

Copyright on Knitting Patterns

Dear Rich:  I wrote 7 separate patterns detailing how to knit things that I designed.  I adapted my patterns from old patterns published in the U.S. in 1962 by an author then living. I now seek digital publication for my "how-to" articles for my patterns.  I knit mittens based on these patterns and gave them as gifts and took a picture of the children I gifted these mittens to, expressly requesting them and their mother not to use the picture or the articles for their publicity or gain without asking me. I believe they used these photos for gainful purposes and had gain from them. What are my rights to others' profits or gain for their gainful use of the photos or articles gifted? Sent from my iPad. Dear Sent From My iPad: Good luck with your knitting and your patterns. We support crafts makers because they try so hard and they've been around for so long and because we have a book we're trying to sell them (yet, they don't seem to want to buy it ... okay okay, we can handle that!). 
Right you had a question. The short answers to your questions are: (1) copyright law protects the portions of your patterns that are original to you (though pattern protection can be iffy); (2) you may not have much claim to copyright  if your designs are derived from the patterns published in 1962; (3) the author of the 1962 patterns could claim rights to your derivative patterns but only if those 1962 patterns were registered and renewed (unlikely); (4) you own the copyright in photos you take so you can chase people who copy without your permission (although you'll need to register with the Copyright Office if you file a lawsuit); (5) the parents of the kids you gifted can come after you if you use the photos to sell the patterns (under a theory known as "right of publicity")  unless you got authorization from them.
A little confused dept. We're not exactly sure what happened between you and the people you "gifted" but it sounds like everybody involved in the gift giving process now regrets it. That's so sad. We believe, like this writer, that gift-giving is actually a form of "taking" but in your case, we feel like there is a little bit of overtaking. Maybe one reason our crafts book doesn't sell so well is that many crafts people recognize that what matters for commercial success is not a proprietary attitude but quality and craftsmanship; these skills will always transcend the underlying patterns.

On Mothering: Where The Sidewalk Ends

I'm writing today's post in memory my dear friend Willow who passed away from cancer earlier this year. This Sunday, a group of us will gather once again in her honour to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. If you'd like to support us and our goal of working towards a future without breast cancer, please visit my donation page here.

This post is a little more personal, no dust or renos involved, so feel free to skip this one.


Chloe and I reached a milestone of sorts last week but rather than jubilation, this milestone has left me a bit melancholy. After 17 months and 10 days, we've ended our breastfeeding journey.

I don't know how we quite ended up here, so far down this road. Before I was a mom, I knew I would breastfeed but I thought six months for sure, maybe a year, was how long this relationship would last. I just never thought breastfeeding was "my thing", so to speak. Unlike my sister who was a La Leche League advocate and extended breastfed her babies, I never felt that breastfeeding was something that came to me naturally. And now its gone and I feel inexplicably like a small piece of me is gone too.

I was luckier than most. Chloe latched easily, there were no supply issues, and I only had one bout of mastitis. I had no qualms about nursing in public (underneath a cover) and had a circle of friends whose homes I felt comfortable enough to nurse in too. So it has been the perfect supportive environment for this relationship to flourish.

But while I loved looking at Chloe's face, watching her fall off to sleep as she nursed, being able to calm her cries by just bringing her into me, watching her grow and thrive from my milk, it has been long and difficult too. No matter how much you love your child, this particular journey can at times make you feel confined, restricted, claustrophobic. When there is a helpless little one who demands to be fed every 1.5 hours you do it... though your other inclination may be to run, run far away. At those times, I would feel a twinge of guilt. How could I think such things? I was the one who brought helpless little one into the world and I knew full well what that would demand of me.

But there is more in the nature of breastfeeding than just the physical act of feeding your baby. And this is the part I was not prepared for. It literally forces you to give up a piece of your body, your space, your being, to someone else. I have grown accustomed to having ownership of my body so for such a precious baby to lay immediate and total claim to it was difficult. At times, she would own not only my body but my mind too, as I sat or lay there, counting the minutes, my mind filled with the million things I had to do, but not being able to move an inch. "Be in the moment" my sister would tell me. It could be so difficult to enjoy those moments when they ate up the better part of your hour, your day or your week.

Surrender. Sacrifice. That is what breastfeeding has taught me. To give wholly and completely. I guess in my selfish ways I never thought I'd be able to nor want to do that for so long. But I'm so glad I did. I appreciate that my body was able to do that and nourish my baby and give her the best start possible.

So this week, as I reminisce about my friend Willow and other women whose breasts failed them, I am thankful that mine did not fail me nor Chloe. Its time for us to get off this path, little girl, and step into a whole new direction.

Looking for a photo intern

My dears, I'm looking for a top-notch photo intern to do some fun original shoots for Cup of Jo this winter. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

About the internship:
* One day per week, preferably a weekday. The day might change week to week, depending on the shoot, so someone with a flexible schedule would be amazing.
* A bunch of different shoots, including street style, city photos, home interiors, parties, etc.
* Commitment of at least 3-4 months, ideally longer.
* Unpaid, but great exposure on the blog and tons of gratitude.

About the photo intern:
* A Cup of Jo reader.
* Lots of photography experience.
* Shoots digital.
* Fluent in Photoshop.
* Cheerful, creative and hardworking.
* Punctual, efficient, organized and great at meeting deadlines.
* Outgoing and comfortable approaching strangers on the street.
* Lives in New York City.
* Preferably a flexible schedule.

If you're interested, please email COJphotointern at with a bit about yourself, resume, and link to your photographs. Thank you so much!

(Photo by Crystin Moritz)

The Way Through


File:Cherokee Pass2.jpg

Camp 59: Cherokee Pass, Rocky Mountains: Daniel A. Jenks, June 1859
(Library of Congress; restoration by Lise Broer)

In a heavily

forested pass
beneath snow

covered peaks
on the way

toward the Oregon
and California

-- Our wagons
had to be

to keep them
in their

the hillside
was so
steep --

Jenks made camp.

Camp 23: Arkansas River River, on the Santa Fe trail: Daniel A. Jenks, April 1859 (Library of Congress)

File:Humboldt River Papa 2.jpg

Camp 100: Humboldt River, on the California trail: Daniel A. Jenks, July 1859 (Library of Congress)

Hannah Fairchild - Paper Kingdoms

Hannah Fairchild - Paper Kingdoms
2010, Hannah Fairchild

Minnesota native Hannah Fairchild re-settled in Brooklyn in 2005 with the intent of becoming an actor. Highly artistic with a strong independent streak, Fairchild didn’t take to the bridle of the actor. Fairchild spent her 2006 tax return on a guitar and set out to remake herself as an artist. Four short years later, Fairchild released her debut album, Paper Kingdoms. Recorded entirely independently in Fairchild’s apartment, Paper Kingdoms dances a highly personal path between fantasy and reality as it explores the difficulty of being a girl and growing up in a complicated world.

Paper Kingdoms opens with "Pin Up", a song of consolation to a friend who has gone through a breakup. Cutting and powerfully empathic, Fairchild avoids the usual syrup and sap that such songs seems to inspire. If Paul Simon had a love child with Tori Amos, she might sound a bit like Fairchild here. "All Eyes On Me" is a song of growing self-assurance and power that might reflect recovery from a loss or just a late bloomer coming out of her shell. It's an amazing bit of songwriting that shows a bit of Ani DiFranco influence. "Before The Cold Air Hits Us" documents the angst and gratification of a dysfunctional relationship in chillingly honest terms, focusing on the comfort and familiarity of the situation for both parties. The title here references reality and the hope to dwell in the known a bit longer before reality hits.

"Poor Leander" shows further empathy, this time for a friend whose need to save others lures him into messy relationships again and again. The intriguing narrative recognizes this quality and also his need to seek out the narrator every time that things fall apart. Fairchild gets in-depth with "Cassie At The End Of Things", an intriguingly positive look at falling down. The song digs past complacence to the elements of loss. Fairchild is in her best voice here, and the performance is nothing short of electric. "Nicollet" is a brilliant tune about a broken soul trying to be the beauty she seeks. Stark and hair-raisingly beautiful, the narrator is full of defiance and self-respect in spite of all she's been through. The last two songs on Paper Kingdoms appear to be cut from different musical cloth. On the rest of the album Fairchild has shown an ability to drill down on her subject and tell lyrically dense but concise stories in song. On "Lady Of The Court" and "Long Since Gone" show Fairchild as a more rambling lyricist. One might guess that these two are earlier songs of Fairchild's included here to fill out space. Both show promise but don't have the focus found on the rest of Paper Kingdoms.

Hannah Fairchild has a voice that grabs your attention and holds it, a gorgeous and edgy alto that's as unsettling as it is entrancing. Writing with a ferocious honesty on Paper Kingdoms, Fairchild bears her soul while maintaining a charming yet firm sense of control. Paper Kingdoms is one of the most strikingly honest and beautiful creations to cross this desk in 2010, even accounting for the final two tracks. Don't deprive yourself of the experience that is Hannah Fairchild.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Hannah Fairchild at or Kingdoms is available digitally from iTunes.

J Minus - Devil Music

J Minus - Devil Music
2010, J Minus

Seattle quartet J Minus walks the wild edge of alternative music. Not Alternative understand, but an alternative to what we call Alternative. Formed in 2002, Dylan Fant, Trevor Wheetman, Chris Mongillo and Meyer Harrell work within the bounds of solid songwriting, dynamic harmonies and a refusal to tie themselves to one specific sound. You may hear flashes of bands such as Death Cab For Cutie, The Samples or Toad The Wet Sprocket in their sound, but J Minus takes these influences, mixes them with their own inherent talents and creates something new and unique. J Minus dropped their third album, Devil Music over the summer. It may be their best work to date.

Devil Music opens with "Congratulations, You Suck; a catchy tune that asks a troubling paramour to set him free rather than string him along. Buried in the emotional angst of the tune is a great pop arrangement that slowly unfurls as the song progresses. "When The Lights Go Out" is a song of reassurance written for a child who is afraid of the dark. Parents in particular will appreciate J Minus' effort here, a sweet and good-natured tune with an enjoyable melody. "Can I Count On You?" seeks assurance in a meandering pop arrangement. The song is very well written, featuring an off-center, needy protagonist in a needful quest.

J Minus explores dashed expectations on "Who We Were", looking at the hopes and dreams of children and the reality of their adulthood. It's a stark take on how negative thoughts and experiences impact or characters and personalities. Things get maudlin in the middle of Devil Music, with J Minus losing the energy that drove even the darker moments over the album's first few songs. "Swing Low" is the exception, a catchy rock tune with big harmonies in the chorus. This is a tune that sticks with you or recurs in your mind at odd times, and is a bright light in the middle of Devil Music. "While It Lasts" is a melancholic rumination on impermanence that features a solid melody but is a bit of a drag in emotion and energy. "Into The Dark" is tortured pop music that delves into a sense of failure and loss without clear boundaries; a singular effort that is both difficult and rewarding as a songwriter and as a listener. J Minus closes with "Episode 2", which opens in bland musical terms but turns into a vibrant pop song that counters J Minus' almost morose vocal style. It's a request to leap forward into the unknown of tomorrow, a fitting, yet bold end to the album.

J Minus intrigues with Devil Music, a collection that's unbalanced but which contains a few gems along the way. Fans of The Cure and The Smiths will find a lot to like here, but J Minus has enough pop sensibility to appeal to a wider constituency.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about J Minus at or Music is available on CD through J Minus' webstore.  Digital copies are available via iTunes.

Robot man

This robot man would look hilarious on a bookcase. His break-dance-y moves are awesome!

(Via Swissmiss)

Stockholm style

Simple yet beautiful. Adding a chambray shirt and black jeans to my fall wishlist. Also, red hair!

(Photo by Stockholm Street Style, via Vic)

Brooklyn Diary

Our girl Lena just curated a new book, Brooklyn Diary, which takes a look at the daily lives of 21 Brooklyn artists, documented by 10 Brooklyn photographers. They reveal their favorite neighborhood spots and offer peeks inside their quirky homes. Part-coffeetable book and part-travel guide, Brooklyn Diary will be released on October 11th. I'm really excited for it. Congrats, Lena!

(These photos show Anna and Tim Harrington and their sons Benji and Casper. As lead singer of the punk band Les Savy Fav, Tim is known for his crazy theatrics--he must be such a fun dad. Anna and Tim also run the textile company Deadly Squire. Their photos make me want to pickle vegetables and buy a pool.)

(Photos by Jessica Antola)

The Entry Way

After having lived with an ugly, yellowed radiator, chopped up baseboards, and a severe lack of storage for the last three years, I can tell you that my day has become 1000x more enjoyable now that I have a clean, organized entryway to come home to.

The entry was one of those neglected areas of our home. When we moved in 3 years ago, we tore out the nasty pink carpet and old radiator cover right away, vowing to quickly turn the entry into a bright and welcoming space. But of course, other things got in the way and we learned to live with the non-functional triangular closet and piled our keys on the windowsill. Isn't it amazing how you can just become immune to certain problem areas in your home?

We did make improvements to the space like installing new lighting, getting a yummy striped stair runner, and replacing the front door and storm door. But without a new radiator cover, the space never felt quite right. And now it does.

HandyMan did a great job building the rad cover. The fresh white paint on the cover and repainted baseboards really brightens up the area. The slim design, which HandyMan fitted around the existing door trim, is functional yet visually doesn't take up much space.

Chloe loves the little built-in cubbies. Everyday we find something new stuffed in there... shoes, socks, animal finger puppets! She's now taken to pulling out her shoes and telling us exactly which ones she wants to wear that day.

And I've finally been able to put up my limited edition Catherine Ledner armadillo photograph in the entryway. I bought the photo years ago with the intention to specifically hang it here. Its been in Chloe's room up till now.

I love how the yellow & grey wallpaper background in the photo picks up on the yellow in the dining room walls and in the kitchen.

HandyMan also took some time to repaint the closet door and baseboards and spraypaint the closet door hardware black to go with the hardware in the rest of the house. Now the entryway looks clean, fresh, organized. I literally walk inside the house now and take a deep relaxing breath when I step inside.


and now!