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Laney’s Big Girl Room

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“After I get finished with my big girl bed, then I’m gon’ get a boy bed”

These are the types of conversations I have with my 2-year old daughter Laney about her future transition to a big girl bed. She thinks it’s fun to kid with me about wanting a “boy bed”. We are preparing to move Laney to a different room in the house but the room needs a little work before we can do that. I’ll be sharing that room tune up after we begin the work but today I wanted to share my inspiration for the room and a rough plan.

laney amber interiors

laney attic room

Laney Dunham room

laney glow room

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

laney pink stripe

laney suzani room

Laney Tarses roomimages via Pinterest

And here’s a little design board I worked up for the room,

Laney's Room

Feist / Dresser / suzani / hooks / sconce / headboard / sheets / quilt / bed / blanket / stool / fabric / rug


Jaxon MINI

Jaxon mini web res 5

That’s my all-star niece Madeline, my brother Chris’ little girl. She’s hamming it up! (She gets that honest from both her mom and her dad.)

For the past month or so I’ve been working with a team of folks to bring a creative pursuit to life, and here we are – at the launch date of Jaxon MINI, a kid’s line designed by Victoria Richter!

Jaxon Home is a brick and mortar home furnishing shop in downtown Culver City. My group came on board to help Jaxon Home build a website and we’ve fallen so madly in love with the business and it’s owner Victoria, that I’m honored to say this venture is now something that is part mine to make a success.

And it’s new to the web! Not many people outside of LA know about Jaxon yet.

I’ve been an observant consumer as brands of all shapes and sizes have announced new lines online without knowing how much thought and how much work must go into a product line launch. It’s been very exciting for me to be a part of such a collaborative and creative effort.

To kick off the line we’ll be hosting a group of around 40 or more Mommy bloggers and Los Angeles mover and shaker moms at the store. There will be shopping, sampling, and sipping wine as well as a presentation by a children’s book author on getting published. (I’ll be taking notes… maybe children’s fiction is in my future too – since all my dreams seem to be coming true!)

If you are here in LA, come on over. 5-8pm at the store.

If you are my mom, or my dear friend – please join me in celebrating by taking a look at the Jaxon Home blog, and please please feel free and comfortable to shoot me a note and let me know what you think, good or bad! Lay it on me betsy at



NYE 2014

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NYE banner

Just in case you’re curious about who is pictured above. Me + Laney (2) + my Mom/ DC (5) + my husband/ DC + Laney



Still thinking of the families, children and members of the Newtown, CT community. There are no words.

I keep hearing mention of spreading, giving, sharing LOVE. I am sending my love to Newtown.


















All images via Pinterest


Sally Mann

I was introduced to Sally Mann’s work through Pinterest, which these days is where I meet with a whole lot of new things that I like.

sally mann portrait

Sally Mann

This is the photograph that sent me frantically searching,

Sally Mann Candy Cigarette 1989
candy cigarette, 1989

Sally came in to public view with a series of intimate photographs of her three young children, Jessie, Emmett and Virginia shot in Lexington, Virginia. The collection was called Immediate Family and it first appeared in Houk Friedman Gallery in New York and then later in a traveling exhibit at the The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

From what I’ve seen of the series, the collection explores both the reality and fantastical nature of childhood and the sensuality that Mann saw in her own children all under the age of 10.  In most of the photographs contained in the Immediate Family collection, Mann’s children appear nude and sometimes they are injured, sick (bloody noses, chicken pox, pink eye) or appear exhausted. The nudity and context of some of the photographs sparked some controversy and garnered Sally some press and attention that wasn’t forseen.

After Immediate Family was released, Sally was contacted by a filmmaker named Steven Cantor. Cantor intended on making a documentary short about censorship in our culture but after meeting Sally and seeing the pictures of her children what resulted was Blood Ties, a 1994 documentary about Sally and her family that was ultimately nominated for an Academy Award.

sally mann virginia & jessie

After Blood Ties, Sally continued to create art in collections like Still Time and What Remains. Cantor and Mann remained in contact and in 2004, Cantor released a full length documentary about Sally, her artistic process, her family and the project she was working on that centered around death and decay called What Remains.

sally mann damaged child

After learning more about Sally and her work, naturally I wanted to know what became of the most beloved of subjects–her children. Did they become artists too?


Turns out Lexington, VA, the site of the Mann family homestead, was also home to many acclaimed artists like Cy Twombley. Under Twombley’s tutelage, Jessie Mann also began painting. Emmett joined the Peace Corps for a time and Virginia went to law school.

Jessie Mann

Jessie Mann today, via Just Say Maux

For me, some of the photographs in Immediate Family at first were too raw, too provocative but then I started to remember childhood, especially a childhood in the rural south. The injuries depicted in these images; blood, scabs, black eyes, bloody noses, insect bites–all of that is par for the course and capturing that on film is a solid dose of realism. When I gave my brother a black eye, I don’t think we would’ve been scarred if my mother would’ve sat him down against a white wall and photographed him. Its the apparent sensuality in some of these images that creates the shock value and what many wrestle with including myself. Some will instantly be dismissive, some will remember skipping stones on the river in the heat of summer. I’m just wondering–Does/Should this art have a place in our world?

A portion of Cantor’s 2nd film about Sally, What Remains.

Some other great resources:

PBS did a feature on Sally in 2003, in their Art of the 21st Century series, Art21

A Dialogue Between Steven Cantor and Sally Mann

The Disturbing Photography of Sally Mann


Attic Win

I love the idea of a bunk room and if you have browsed the TEOT flickr page at all you’ll find lots of images that make “attic” references. Although my house is of ample size I think I have an unusual amount of attic space in a total of four attic rooms. Two of the attic rooms are entirely empty due in part to the fact that I have a GIANT basement. So I consider these empty attic spaces to be wasted space.

My wheels are constantly turning about renovation whether its about my own house, my neighbors house or a friend’s house so its only natural that I utilize Contractorculture’s tips to turn one of these attic spaces in to an attic bunk room. So my husband and I tip-toed up the stairs at 10:30 and measured the width of one of the spaces and whispered about head room so that we could assess the prospect of converting one of those wasted spaces…sometime in the not so near future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Erika’s bunk room, that was a big hit and understandably so. It was graced with Erika and her team’s design skills and it was great use of a small space.

I was reading up on some painting tips recently at This Old House and happened upon this attic bedroom suite for kids and thought this was another great version of the attic bunk room. Please excuse the directional arrow on the image.

attic bunk room

bath window vinyl shutters This Old House

attic bunk room entry This Old House

attic kids suite plan This Old House

This plan is exciting to me for a few different reasons,

  • this is the layout I have in a more basic form, 2 attic spaces joined in the middle by a bathroom
  • they raised the door frames to 6′ and vaulted the ceilings just like in the bedroom area, GENIUS
  • mechanicals enclosed in accessible space for future repair
  • added closet space
  • moved tub/shower over to window wall

You can see the rest of the renovation of their East Hampton home here.

I’m apprehensively sharing a couple of photos of my outdated upstairs bathroom, you can see a door on the left side of the bathroom and on the right. These doors each lead to separate attic spaces that are 14′ wide by about 18′ long. So in comparing that to the TOH layout above, do you see the potential? Now I just need to win the lotto and put this plan in to motion.

upstairs bath attic door

while we’re looking at this bathroom…notice the sconce on the wall, its actually a ceiling light with a glass shade attached. This bugs me every night when DC and I are going through the bedtime routine. Ugh!

upstairs bath door view