Create a Chic and Stylish Bedroom on a Student’s Budget

School’s out for summer, but it won’t be long ’til it’s in again and time to decorate your (or your child’s) dorm room or apartment, or maybe you just want to freshen up a bedroom for summer. Oh, and you want a designer look, but not the designer. (No offense to, like, the 85% of my friends who are designers, but we can’t take you EVERYwhere, you know?) Two clever North Carolina gals have started a “luxury dorm brand” called LeighDeux, because both of their names are Leigh. Cute. And so are their designs.

LeighDeux. The “headboard” at back is actually a pillow. Genius, and $179; or $201  monogrammed. Not $200, not $202, but $201.

Leigh Goodwyn and Leigh-Ann Sprock, based in Charlotte, N.C., set out to fill what they saw as a void in the marketplace for “chic interiors designed to fit the dorm space,” says Goodwyn.

Not that dorm rooms aren’t chic. What was it Elsie de Wolfe said about cinderblocks and linoleum?

Absolutely nothing is what.

A typical dorm room gets the LeighDeux treatment. The headboard pillows are especially good against those ghastly cinderblock walls.

You can even double up on the headboard pillows, and deploy the “Curtain Call” bedskirt to hide a world of sins and stuff. Even the odd boyfriend you snuck into your room.

Not that you would do that.

No, certainly not.

Okay once…

LeighDeux ensemble featuring the ”Curtain Call” bedskirt to hide a world of sins and stuff. 

 “But it’s great for home, too,” says partner Sprock. “Want to freshen up your beach house? It’s designer quality in a fraction of the time.”

LeighDeux bedding and pillows work for home as well as school.

But wait. There’s more. A percentage of every sale goes to scholarships, says Goodwyn. Funds were awarded this past spring to two deserving UNC students, both of whom  are starting entrepreneurial efforts of their own. “We want to make more than chic dorm décor. We want to make a difference.” Well, brava.

In addition to its bright beachy colors, LeighDeux has softer, subtler palettes.

Sold online and through a team of campus reps across the country, says Goodwyn, “All of our products are made from 100% organic cotton, sourced locally, and manufactured in the Carolinas.” Love that, and love the idea of the campus reps. Entrepreneurs begetting entrepreneurs. And slightly more glamorous than selling mums at homecoming, which my own sweet husband His Grace did. He would have much preferred LeighDeux, because he would have met more girls that way.

LeighDeux in lavender.

There are many fabrics and designs…

LeighDeux fabrics come in a wide range.

…and aside from those genius headboard pillows and “curtain call” bedskirts, the pieces include lamps, duvets, bolster and throw pillows, ottomans (ottomen?), hanging hamper-y things, and a sort of soft-serve version of a slipper chair. Many pieces can be monogrammed. Or you can just monogram your wall. Which I never thought of. I love it.


LeighDeux off to school…

Prices range from $45 for pillows, to $115 for lamps, to $201, for a monogrammed headboard pillow. Not $200, not $202, but $201 😉 I only tease people I like.

Read more and shop the LeighDeux store here. And, as ever, all posts on are for the love and non-remunerative.

P.S…. News bulletin from the Department of Shameless Self Promotion: The Bee Cottage Story (more info here) is going into a second printing, like, gulp, already. Wowowow. So excited and so grateful to all of you for your support. Thank you. 

Posted in Blog, Decoration & Design | 14 comments

The Magic of Tidying Up, Even (Especially?) for Non-Minimalists

The Magic of Tidying Up, Even (Especially?) for Non-Minimalists

Everything you hear about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up claims it is different from other de-cluttering books. And guess what, yup, it is. FINALLY a way to be happy with the stuff  I love (and there's a lot); to get rid of what I don't (a lot of that, too); and how to decide which is which. With no guilt. Srsly. The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo The book has developed a cult-like following, with Facebook groups and Instagram  hashtags and God knows what. It's sold more than 2 million copies, been written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and been on all the TV shows except possibly Game of Thrones. (Am I the only person you know who does not watch Game of Thrones?) It's that good. I posted this on Instagram a few weeks ago, when the frenzy began... Garage at Rancho la Zaca gets the "KonMari" treatment Japanese author and orgaznizer Marie Kondo's Magic is the guilt-free getting rid of stuff, including that pesky "perfectly good" that is no longer perfect for you. The aim, she says, is to  keep only what  "sparks joy."  So she is not telling you you don't need 4 olive oils, 5 weird Asian-y sauces, and 7 vinegars. If they spark joy for you, so be it. Just get a few lazy Susans to organize them while you're at it. Condiments organized on lazy Susans at Rancho la Zaca For our office supplies at the ranch, these Container Store bins with zinc tags written on with a chalk marker have made life easier for all of us. Office bins at Rancho la Zaca You keep what truly brings you joy now, today, and let go what may (or may not) have done so in the past,  even if it is "perfectly good," you've never used it, your old boyfriend made it for you, or your nona gave it to you. And you do it guiltlessly. Here's how, and stay with me now... Linen closet at Rancho la Zaca  Using the author's "KonMari method," you let it go with love. You thank it for what it once meant to you, or did for you, or how it made you look thin. You also organize, fold, and store your things with love, again thanking them for all they do for you. It sounds goofy, I know, but it absolutely works.  Rancho la Zaca tent linens. Because a guest house would be way too convenient. I feel a new clarity and lightness that I attribute directly to this process. Who knows what inspiration I might have made new space for? But listen, before you get nervous... Cocktail napkins, Rancho la Zaca All this talk about de-cluttering and getting rid of things, Art in our New York apartment does not quite, exactly, Yes I do need three pairs of leopard pumps. make me My scarf drawer, NYC a minimalist.  My NYC coffee table. Charlotte Moss' Garden Inspirations and Piet Oudolf's Humello are two of my fave garden books of the season. More on Charlotte at bottom of post. If you see what I mean. Despite my admiration for those who are. They also make me nervous. I wrote with gushing admiration last summer about Everything That Remains espousing a minimalist  lifestyle, but I had my disclaimers. I'm not 100% positive those guys would get that, yes, I actually do need twelve china patterns, thank you. Besides, most of them are just the dinner plates. That is totally minimal. China cupboard, NYC Few of us truly are minimalists or want to be, frankly; hence the trouble with tidying up and staying that way, which Kondo also addresses. And yet, there are people who want nothing to do with it, and that is okay. They're not going to buy the book anyway. If you have a minute and want to laugh out loud, read this  April 26 piece in the Financial Times, ''Minimalist v Maximalist,'' by FT columnists Lucy Kellaway and David Tang, written in letter form after visiting each other's houses. I drastically paraphrase, but to give you an idea: "Dear Sir David...thank you for showing me all three of your splendid London homes...I hope you won't be hurt if I tell you I was relieved to get back to my own empty kitchen...sat quietly trying to collect myself...I had been warned that your approach to interior design was maximalist, but nothing prepared me for the sheer volume...Your wife tells me there is not room to unroll a yoga mat...I gathered you have five further houses...and three warehouses to store additional belongings...What is it all about?...What, I wonder...would happen if you gave your stuff the Kondo treatment?... Lucy Minimalist vs. Maximalist in FT - Lucy Kellaway squares off with David Tang My dear Lucy...First, I only have three more homes...thank you for showing me your own one home, whose manicured tidiness offered, I admit, a sense of calmness but also a feeling of tedium... confirmed to me your embrace of Kondo for her dubious principle of joy through decluttering. Doesn't that make you a slave to possessions when possessions should be our slaves? ... Also, as a Chinese, I have never really trusted the Japanese...Just think of the anti-climax of opening a large drawer only to find...a few rolled-up bundles of your husband's monochromatic underpants... Stuff the Kondo... Masses of love, Sir Anthony Prise Wing-Cheung Tang, KBE, OBE etc etc He has some points, and more in the full article. He also has more Goyard suitcases that Bergdorf Goodman, and strangely enough I don't envy that. Here's another good, though not funny, article in the Wall Street Journal, and a YouTube video of Kondo with a translator.  She is so cute... "Today, I going to tell you how to change your life forever... I am crazy, tidy, fanatic." Now you, too, are crazy, tidy Kondo expert.  Order the book via your local indie bookstore here, or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. I look forward to hearing back from y'all on this. P.S. If you are not busy Kondo-ing and are within a 50-mile radius of Long Island, please come to Madoo Gardens in Sagaponock and hear Charlotte Moss, Madoo director Alejandro Saralegui, and me carry on for a bit and have lunch with us afterward. David Tang's got nothing on Charlotte, I tell you ;)  Saturday, June 20, at noon. Tix here.  Great house-and-garden shopping, too. All endorsements in are non-remunerative.

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Posted in Decoration & Design, Humor, Insight & Inspiration, Little Life Enhancers | 16 comments

Travel Essential–Best Little Hair Dryer Ever

Travel Essential–Best Little Hair Dryer Ever

Yoo-hoo... I'm over heeeeere... traveling with hopeless Internet. High-class problem, but I do worry about you when I'm gone. As you prepare for your own summer travels, you might try this little jewel of a hair dryer. The Babyliss Pro Tourmaline Titanium yadda yadda. Who names these things? By the time you say it, your dang hair is already dry.  BaByliss PRO TT Tourmaline Titanium and a 6-inch ruler, on a fab Designer's Guild fern print linen (not included ;) I like this one so much I use it at home and away. It has tons of power but is super light weight and easy to control with the nozzle thing. When my hair was longer, I'd be so exhausted from drying it that I'd get sweaty and the part I'd already dried would re-frizz and my cowlicks would pop back up and I might as well have left it wet. That is no way to start date-night. You know how there are people with perfect cowlicks right in the front at the perfect place? I am not one of them. My evil cowlicks and I will be back next week. Meanwhile hope you'll follow me on Instagram. Montenegro today, Croatia tomorrow, the Italy, then home. Bellissima!  Travel posts to come... All endorsements, shout-outs, and love taps on are non-compensatory, just so you know.

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Posted in Decoration & Design, Little Life Enhancers | 6 comments

8 Great Fancy Frocks–for Brides, Guests, or Glamorpusses

8 Great Fancy Frocks–for Brides, Guests, or Glamorpusses

Coming back to earth from the Met gala in early May and its barrage of derring-do-dresses, I'm still a bit googly-eyed. But at the end of the day, what works best for me, and probably most gals who are not Kim Kardashian, is simple, timeless, feminine, and flattering. Here's a peek at some pretties from Dee Hutton, a talented young designer and friend who fits the bill. Need something for a cousin's wedding ? Or a party where you might run into an old boyfriend and need to look really great?  This is whoa, but not J-Lo. The Ellena gown from Dee Hutton,  available in a raft of colors. A while back Dee Hutton had a trunk show at my sister's in Atlanta. I kinda fell in love with the clothes then, and applaud that they are designed for women who actually have bodies. Radical, I know. Love this with the leather bodice... ... Designer and founder is Nedenia ("Denia") Hutton Craig, named for her mother Nina Rumbough and her grandmother Dina Merrill (yes that one). Hutton comes from her great grandfather E.F. Hutton. Her great grandmother was Marjorie Merriweather Post. We're talking a major style legacy here, to say the least. Another thing I LOVE is that ANY of these can be made in pretty much ANY color your heart desires, including white or ivory for a bride, AND you can now shop Online. Any Dee Hutton dress can be made in almost any color, or combination of colors, your heart desires. You can also modify hemlength etc. This would be a bridesmaid's dress you actually liked. Though I must say bridesmaids' dresses have come a long way since the 18th century, when I was married the first time. ... I also like that this model's legs are whiter than mine. If that is possible. ... Many brides nowadays change from their long flow-y dresses to something more dance-floor-friendly, like the short white number above. We didn't think of that when I was coming along. How cute would this be as an "act 2" outfit for a pretty young thing? And it could easily be worn again, together or as separates. ... This one, though, stopped me in my tracks. In white or ivory for a bride, or in midnight blue or black for a femme fatale. Sooo glamorous with the tulle cape-y, jacket-y thing trailing behind. See you in Hollywood, doll... ... On the subject of dressing, my friend Slim Paley's post on the topic is wide-ranging and absolutely charming and hilarious--like all of her posts. If you don't already know about her blog, I just gave you the BEST PRESENT EVER. You're welcome. Love, moi. :) All posts in are non-compensatory and purely for the love.

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Posted in Blog, Fashion & Style | 5 comments

The Bee Cottage Story Gets First Official Review, a ”Barker,” and a Memorial Day Memento

The Bee Cottage Story Gets First Official Review, a ”Barker,” and a Memorial Day Memento

The Bee Cottage Story first official review is in from Publishers Weekly (here), which is very official indeed. "Lighthearted, likeable," and "a good beach read," they call it. I'll take it! Here in full: To "self-indulgent, frivolous," I say right on. In this big bad ol' scary world, we can use a little self-idulgent frivolity, don't you think? It keeps us from going barking mad. Speaking of, heretofore I thought a "barker" was a frantic dog, but turns out it is Web-speak for a kind of banner. If you are under 92 years old, you probably knew that, but I did not. A barker might have a photo, say, like this, with a headline, say, like this, to appear on the website's home page (click here), then lead you to the order page (click here). Not saying you have to, of course, but if you would like to have a personalized copy of The Bee Cottage Story when it comes out in July, it is right here at your fingertips. Or, if you've already ordered from elsewhere, you can request a personalized book plate to put in your book when it comes, by clicking here. You are a clicking whiz. Oh, and as this is Memorial Day, I will tell you that in the memoir part of the book, there is short chapter about my daddy. He was a career Army pilot who served both in Korea and in Vietnam. He died in 2006, but his bravery and honor, and that of all daddies, mothers, sons, and daughters who went before and after him, and who serve us today, are remembered and revered. Thank you for your service. God bless you, and God bless America.

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Posted in Blog, Little Life Enhancers | 23 comments