Marine Drive

Previously, I discussed in spine-tingling detail how I decided to add more color to my closet by allocating a chunk of my fall/winter budget to cool-toned blues and greens. And how I was inclined to shamelessly wear them together.

Last spring I documented a few reasons why blue + green should always be seen. So when Mr Vix and I went for a drive a couple of weekends ago, it seemed like a great excuse to match the very welcome blue sky…plus some leafy goodness.

Now yes: 2005 called and it wants its short-over-long layered look back. But hey, can’t I call it “retro”? Or at least say I am wearing it ironically?

After all, my tongue’s already firmly in cheek from wearing this vaguely nautical cardigan. Though the closest I get to sailing is eating Chips Ahoy, the stripey sweater had me at “perfect colorblocking for those with Rectangle/H shapes.”

But I’m dead serious when I say I’m thrilled with my new deep green pencil skirt—so much so that I’ve been breaking out old and new prints and solids to wear with it.

Including a top that called to me despite my ambivalence about:

  • its scale
  • its rather Grandma’s-Wamsutta-bedspread print
  • the way “tobacco” and “sunshine” defile its otherwise cucumber-cool shades

Having recently re-reviewed Brigette Raes’ suggestions on how to pick a print on behalf of my pal Fizz, I’m pretty sure I look like I’m being eaten alive by my own clothing.

Though its wayward shapes DO match my hair.

I’m thinking the dolman-sleeved 70s silhouette + silk jersey fabric flipped me into Persnickety Bohemian mode. Whatever the reason, I was in loooove the second I saw it, but I resisted for weeks before committing.

Others were not as taken with its charms.

Where did THAT come from?” asked a saucer-eyed Mr Vix.

Me: “Whaaaat?! This is one of my core pieces for fall. I know it’s a little sofa-y, but I think it’s pretty.”

Mr Vix: [Amish farmer silence]

My printed glory and I flounced off to the guest bedroom to read and wait for him to come to his senses. He claims he stopped by to ask what I was doing for dinner, but didn’t see me on the bed.

[Which reminds me: I still miss the guest room’s former deep blue paint. Problem was, it only looked good for 2-3 summertime months. After a few years I ceded that Northern light + gloomy climate + big tree = me on a ladder with a bucket of more-muted-without-the-flash caramel.]

Returning (mostly) to my comfort zone of solids, I decided to match up a denim pencil skirt with a deep blue-green cardigan, another of my new fall pieces. While I usually avoid hosting a hootenanny in my bosom zone, the neckline’s deep V and the ability to break up my torso with a strong inverted V at the bottom were compelling. Which made it easy to turn a blind eye to having a 3-D chest.

Between the floral print and the ruffled sweater, some might say my blind eye is getting a lot of exercise this fall.

Anyway: Thinking about my aggressively warm-toned room reminds me that Pantone may want my butt in Golden Glow this season, but I’m having none of it. Bad enough that despite my fear of yellow walls, I’ve given up and put temporary and more permanent golden shades on the vertical surfaces around here.

But on me? I draw the line. Let others dabble in the sunlight shades; I’m sticking to a different, algae-hued story.

Gratuitous Color Shot #1: Along the path at dawn

So the sun shone incessantly and the irises bloomed while I was gone—my inner Toto still believes there’s something to be said for touchstones.

A homecoming parade of sodden but stately iris

Up in Room 10

People are really living down to my expectations lately, and I’m perversely satisfied by that. It gives me something to tuck away when the glass half-full types try to convert me. I mean I myself am trying to become a half-full type, but 5 minutes of national news—or on a more personal note, discussion with a local company whose product JACKED UP MY TEETH—kills that off.

As a result, life has felt so…grubby…lately. And when a vulgar person such as myself can’t stop thinking, “Hmmmm, I really wish I could exfoliate from the inside out” I’d say the world needs to find its sense of decency, sir.

But a year ago, just back from my 40th birthday jaunt, I was high on life and beauty. Given how depressing I’m finding that thought, I can tell I might just benefit from an attitude adjustment.


Anyway: While most of my trip memories are positive ones, the thought of Room 10 sends me to an outrageously relaxing place. A place where I don’t want to bludgeon in-my-opinion wrongdoers senseless. Since it’s impossible for me to ACTUALLY be there, it seems prudent to have a tangible reminder front and center:

Seven Bridges Hotel, April 2009: The proprietors' welcoming tulips + wonderful antiques awaited us in Room 10

After walking through 10’s door, I admit I was torn between exploring Amsterdam and never leaving the room—and not just because the characteristically steep canal house stairs were a little intimidating. [I left. But we lingered over the delicious breakfast.]

More Seven Bridges Hotel: L, view from Rm 10; R, lavish breakfasts that come with one's room

And now that I’m (way) back in RealityLand, Room 10 still exerts its magic by encouraging me to maintain environmental serenity and an appreciative perspective.

Because while I may have egregiously piss-poor behavior and resulting bills with which to cope, I too have tulips. And a garden view. And a city to explore. And (mysteriously) Mr Vix suddenly bringing me the occasional bedside coffee.

Vix Household bedroom windows...a pretty nice view as well!

My under-the-eaves oasis includes a quartet of soothing (repro) Alexander Jackson Davis watercolor'd architectural drawings

So if I can manage not to knock over this one-third full glass, maybe I can find a way to gradually add a little something to it. Too bad I can’t seem to convert my anger to tears, though: it’s a pretty safe bet I’d fill that headed-for-dry sucker right up and have a gallon to spare.

You can find tons of official pictures of Room 10 and its neighbors at the Seven Bridges Hotel site.

A lingering golden shadow

Having lived with more than my desired share of white, off-white, ecru, beige, ivory, cream etcetera walls, I now live in a house of Crayola colors.

My certainty about the types of colors that would work best in this house sprang from sources both intuitive (spending years in small-windowed houses filled with washed-out colors) and purchased (including 224 pages of validation from colorists-to-the-rich Donald Kaufman and Taffy Dahl). Donald, Taffy, and I agree: when a room is cursed with incredibly limited natural light, using a super-pale paint color results in grimness galore.

And really between the existing 70s-era kitchen and bathrooms I’d say we had enough grimness already:

SCARY! Vix Household bath pre-reno

SCARY! Vix Household bath pre-reno

Rather tediously, however, Mr Vix entered our relationship with a fondness for white, off-white, ecru etcetera walls–and/or an apprehension about co-existing with colors outside of that range. When we first moved in together, all I wanted was to get my paws on a roller loaded with cinnamon paint and all he wanted was Not That.

While our first year in the house included many, many color-related negotiations, I superstitiously avoided introducing the idea of one very-sensible-for-my-climate color range: yellow.

Because thanks to an 1892 tale by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I’ve spent the last 23 or so years associating said range with oppression and psychosis rather than breakfasts in cheerful diners. All because the shaky mental health of  Gilman’s narrator further deteriorates when she is confined to a single room in her home and forbidden to work, a single room whose dominant color is…YELLOW.

It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper—the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad….[T]he only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.”

Virago Modern Classic's latest cover design captures the essence of the disturbing 1892 tale

With that stuck in my brain OF COURSE I ended up with a eucalyptus bedroom. However, and though it seemed like taunting fate to give me what for, I eventually caved and ended up painting my home-based office a fairly mellow shade of gold:

My reluctantly-yellowd home office, on a grey (summer!) day

My reluctantly-yellow'd home office, on a grey (summer!) day

In the 6 years the walls and I have co-existed I’ve yet to go TOTALLY around the bend, so fingers crossed. Though now that the bath’s been redone in pale yellow tile, I admit I have a few twinges of worry. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that my mid-life anxiety started around the time the last bit of grout set the pattern in place. After all, I tore down the old walls myself; I know there’s absolutely nothing trapped behind them.

Or nothing that I can see, anyway….

Going for the light gold: still life with walls and floors

Still life with Vix Household's bath walls + floors: After ~ a year of yellow tile, disaster has yet to strike


I hate to go all Weather Channel Watcher on innocent people, but despite the light box and the vitamin D supplements and the dutiful exercise, I’ve never adjusted to the Pacific Northwest’s moist grey winters. [I will coat myself in moss and start talking to ferns before I live in super-snowy climes, however.]

As the past several days have seen blue blue skies shining on our beloved greenery I NEED to know: with July 4th nearly here, is warm weather ready to stay?

…to invoke summer—and offset my recent deluge of text—I’ve dug up photos that celebrate my favorite color pairing…

(top to bottom: Homegrown tomatoes in the Vix Household’s kitchen c.2004; San Diego Museum of Art; a kitchen stove’s fancy European tile sets the tone for a rural 1898 Oregon home; Balboa Park; old growth fir meets Ikea bedding chez Vix)