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a bright light in radiant orchid, pantone’s color of the year

A couple of years ago, we were insanely excited when Tangerine Tango was the color of the year. It is one of our all-time favorites and has a permanent place in our decor. Admittedly, we sorta skipped last year’s — emerald — but the new 2014 choice just announced today has us giddy (especially a certain kindergartner who loves purple). Pantone’s newly christened shade of the year is called Radiant Orchid, like a blossoming flower. And while bachelors may have a hard time incorporating it into their sensibilities, homes blessed with little girls like ours will find lots of the new hue in months to come. What’s nice about Radiant Orchid is that is a strong purple, with strong pink undertones. In the right light, you might even mistake it for fuchsia. Our hunt for the bright color is on, and we already found one thing that matches it perfectly. This Modern Lamp Shade from Mood Studio Design is just the right purple to capture the Pantone spirit. It’s made to order from the Canadian company, who we suspect is about to get flooded with orders. Put in a request for yours for $89 today and you’ll be ready for a stylish new year.

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thanksgiving to-do: finally polishing grandma’s silverware

We’re getting ready to host our annual Thanksgiving Redux feast at our house, which means dusting off all the serving platters and seasonal trinkets out that have been in our basement for a year. It’s usually around this time that I start to regret never having a formal wedding registry: I loved our low-key wedding, but it didn’t end with us getting a 12-piece china pattern or the flatware of our dreams. Instead, we’ve been slowing acquiring the things we love and truly need step-by-step. Today, while moaning about our lack of elegant flatware, I suddenly remembered a little treasure box that I was given after we cleaned out my grandma’s house a few year’s back. It contains a set of very fancy, yet very tarnished silverware. Inside is an 8-person set complete with soup spoons, pie knife and tiny little oyster forks. The certificate says WM A. Rogers AA and is says that each piece, except knives, is plated overall with pure silver. My grandma was issued this guarantee in 1952. Though the intricate Oneida pattern doesn’t really fit our clean and modern aesthetic, it seems a shame not to use. But how to brighten up? We picked up a tub of Goddard’s Silver Polish and gave it all a good rub. Quickly it started looking bright and clean. Afterwards we ran it through dishwasher, which I thought seemed silly, but this article assured me it that it work. (The key is to NOT mix with stainless-steel flatware, which can cause a chemical reaction and discolor the silver.)

For more silver polishing tips, see this Real Simple story.

Do you have any silver polishing tips to share? Tell me how to do it better next time!

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field trip: maui’s surfing goat dairy

When one thinks of Maui, usually visions of poetic sunsets, leaping whales and surfers with washboard abs come to mind. None of those are wrong, but what you might not realize is that there is a burgeoning farm-to-table movement happening on the paradise isle, which makes sense since getting stuff there is not exactly easy. We snuck in a pre-holiday season vacation thanks to the wonders of airmiles, and made a stop by the Surfing Goat Dairy. Found on the hills of Halekala, otherwise known as Upcountry, it’s down the road from a vodka distillery and up the road from a lavender farm. Founded about 12 years ago by two German expats, (he a software exec, she a school teacher) they decided to buy a small goat farm and turn it into an organic dairy is that is a gourmand’s dream. One hundred percent sustainable, it now raises Saanen, Alpine and La Mancha goats, and from their milk they make the most delicious cheeses. If you’ve never had the opportunity to pet a kid goat, you are missing out. They are friendly, soft and eager to have the back of their ears rubbed. They’ll also try to eat anything they can get their tongues on, so you do have to be careful. We signed up for a $15 tour and was shown around dairy and farm. Our favorite part was getting a turn to milk the goat moms for ourselves. Though they have machine pumps — which they swear are gentler and kinder than a human touch — we were each allowed to give a “squeeze” and aim for the bucket. The goats seemed grateful.

If you are in Maui, be sure to visit Surfing Goat Dairy. The best time to show up is around 2pm so you’ll be there for the afternoon milking. If you’re really interested in learning more about sustainable, organic goat farming, ask about their volunteer program. A summer in Maui getting close to some goats while perfecting your cheese making skills? Let the fantasies begin. And for those wishing to sample the goods without the jet lag, consider a gift basket for the holiday season.

For more information on the Surfing Goat Dairy, visit their site.

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the ultimate “yard sale” — oprah sells her stuff for a good cause

Oprah’s had a very busy November. No, we’re not talking about receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Obama yesterday. We’re talking about the auction which just wrapped up at Kaminski Auctions of a collection of Oprah-owned antiques, furnishings, art and signed memorabilia, all gathered from her gorgeous homes in Maui, Indiana, Chicago and Santa Barbara. Over 7500 people bid on the goods which quickly sold out. Among the featured items: A Bottega Veneta steamer trunk that she stored her sweaters in (!) that sold for $10,200. In the end, the sale raised over $600k for the fund. We can’t help but wonder if Oprah was cleaning house in order to make room for some new things. A pre-redecorating purge perhaps? Stay tuned!

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could you live in a $25,000 micro home?



We often dream about packing it all in and heading to the hills or treetops to live in a small kit house. From our reseplace, we’ve found they usually require some serious dough in the end, and can end up costing as much as buying an already existing home and sprucing it up. Ian Kent hopes to change all that by introducing Nomad Micro Homes — small, DIY dwellings that only cost $25,000. While not exactly the kind place you could live in all year long (unless perhaps you were a desert dweller), the Micro homes could be great weekend getaways, guest houses or even artist or writer studios. According to the founder, if you can put together Ikea products, you can put together one of these houses in one week. (Though, if you’re like us, your Ikea skills are not so great.) With their minimalist lines and high ceilings, it’d be easy to imagine spending some quality time inside one of them. Visit Nomad Micro Homes for more information.

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