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8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way via Wisebread

by Camilla Cheung  | Wisebread

It’s not always easy being thrifty. For me, it means not indulging my purse obsession as much as I’d like, forgoing the pricey bottles of wine, and decorating my house with thrift-store finds. I usually don’t mind, but sometimes, a little encouragement is in order. Here are a few of my favorite luxuries that are worth a modest splurge — they help me to persevere, encouraging me to take a long view of the frugal life. (See also: On Choosing and Defending Your Luxuries)

1. A Good Showerhead

Sure, you could shower every day with your apartment’s original showerhead that sprays as much air as water and takes twenty minutes to wash shampoo out of your hair, but why suffer? A new showerhead will set you back $20 and is completely worth the investment for better water pressure, even spray, and perhaps even different spray settings. When I lived in China, I had to make do with some less-than-optimal apartments, but the one non-negotiable was that there had to be a clean, spacious shower with a good showerhead. It went a long way towards keeping me sane.

Along the same lines, many old apartments don’t have an aerator on the kitchen faucet, which means that the water splashes up whenever you turn it on. Invest the $2 in an aerator attachment from Walmart. The difference is amazing.

2. Quality Bed Sheets

Life is too short to spend it lying on pill-y, bad-quality bed sheets. You spend up to a third of your life in bed, so why not make your bed sheets good ones? They’ll last longer anyway, so in the long run, they might save you money. Look for combed Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets with a thread-count of at least 300 (higher thread-count isn’t always better — I always get a little skeptical when it comes to 1,000 thread-count or higher). Look for a well-known brand with good reviews. I’ve heard good things about Costco’s Kirkland Signature Pima Cotton sheets, which are top-quality but not too pricey.

3. Soft Toilet Paper

I used to buy whatever toilet paper was on sale at Walmart, and I ended up with coarse, crumbly toilet paper that chafed. Not fun. Now I’ve found a brand I love, and I buy it in bulk when it’s on sale or when there’s a coupon, even though it’s marginally more expensive than the cheaper brands.

4. Certain Food Products

For my family, buying milk from cows that haven’t been treated with growth hormones, Omega-3 eggs, decent extra-virgin olive oil, and a few other food items is a priority, even though these food products may cost a little more. I believe that the investment in our health is definitely worth it in the long run. I make up for the extra cost by buying seasonal fresh produce on sale at our local market, eating meat less often, and cooking from scratch instead of using more expensive jarred and packaged goods.

5. A Sharp Knife

I have one sharp santoku knife that I use for most cutting and chopping purposes. I have a few other slicing and paring knives, but the one I splurged on was the large santoku, which I use as a chef’s knife. A sharp knife with a good weight is safer and makes cooking a breeze. It doesn’t have to be super-expensive. Victorinox makes good-quality chef knives that won’t break the bank. Trust me, buying ONE good sharp chef’s knife is better than buying a whole block of cheap knives. Keep a sharpener on hand to hone the edge.

6. A Good Can Opener

For a year, I struggled with a dull can opener that gave my hands a workout every time I tried to use it. I refused to get a new one because my can opener WAS new. It just sucked. Finally, I caved and bought one at Marshalls for $5. It makes me happy every time I use it now. The smoothness of the mechanism and the sharpness of the cutter just make my heart soar.

7. Scented Hand Soap

Hand soap from Bath and Body Works is another item that I brought overseas with me when I lived in China. When on sale, these bottles of soap cost $3-4 each and went a long way towards making my apartment feel like home. Especially when you have guests over, a nice bottle of hand soap makes your bathroom feel more luxurious and spa-like.

8. Date Night

Sure, you can’t afford to eat caviar and truffles every week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an evening to enjoy yourself, away from everyday responsibilities. Schedule a babysitter and plan a date night for you and your significant other, even if it’s just a few hours at Starbucks or a leisurely meal at Burger King. It’s the time away and the extra focus you have for each other that count. Try to make it a regular ritual that has special significance. It’s a treat that you can look forward to every week or two.

Little purchases can add up over time, so it’s important to keep track of what you’re spending for these small luxuries. You might find it helpful to give yourself an “allowance” to keep your spending in check. This means that you can spend your allowance money guilt-free, but you’re not allowed to go over budget!

What little luxuries do you think are worth the splurge? How do you keep them to a limit?

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Thousands of Rich Hipsters Convene At The 2011 Burning Man Festival via Gawker and Palm Beach Post

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How Rich People Do Burning Man

By Lauri Apple | Gawker

Unless you’re wealthy, you’ve probably been spending Burning Man Week moping about how you couldn’t afford tickets to America‘s favorite festival of radical self-expression this year. But make no mistake: Those rich people touring the playa on their Mad Max cruisers are suffering, too.

As the Wall Street Journal tells us, many of this year’s Burners With Money to Burn are doing all they can to avoid the heat, food shortages, and other potential inconveniences of Black Rock City life by spending shitloads of money to recreate the comforts of home. Reps from the RV rental company Classic Adventures RV, for example, tell the WSJ that Vanity Fair New Establishmentarian and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk hired them to set up “an elaborate compound consisting of eight recreational vehicles and trailers stocked with food, linens, groceries and other essentials for himself and his friends and family.” That’s not all:

[Classic Adventures] charges $5,500 to $10,000 per RV for its Camp Classic Concierge packages like Mr. Musk’s. At Mr. Musk’s RV enclave, the help empties septic tanks, brings water and makes sure the vehicles’ electricity, refrigeration, air conditioning, televisions, DVD players and other systems are ship shape. The staff also stocked the campers with Diet Coke, Gatorade and Cruzan rum.

But isn’t part of the point of Burning Man to “rough it,” radically? Perhaps in the olden days this was true. But rich people bring to the festival their own values and beliefs:

  • Sleeping in a tent sucks
  • Being really hot sucks
  • Making your own art is hard, especially when you have no artistic skills or actual creativity whatsoever

About that last item: The WSJ tells us about one San Francisco real estate mogul who either didn’t feel like or lacked the capacity to construct their own sculpture, and therefore they hired a “team of artists and metalworkers” to built one on their behalf. The mogul wasn’t available for comment, but a chef who cooks up gourmet meals for Burners with refined tastes explains: “People have less and less time to be radically self-reliant.”

Despite their relatively resplendent accommodations, upper-crust Burners can’t shield themselves from every hardship:

Adam Stephenson, a 40-year-old marketing director for Symantec Corp., says that even though he is paying a premium for RV service, he put a lot of work into building a shade tent and buying costumes and supplies. And the RV isn’t the Ritz. “It’s not super easy,” he says. “The air conditioner is not on all the time.”

And when the A/C does break, the rich people sweat just like the poor people sweat. The sun treats everyone the same. This is one of the lessons you learn out there on the desert, when you’re not mastering leadership and contemplating how creativity can bourguignon-beef up your bottom line.

If you’re still sad about missing out on all the adventure and enlightenment and rich-people whining, this live-cam takes you to the action:
Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage | Palm Beach Post

Tens of thousands of people have descended on a great expanse of Nevada desert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Burning Man, a gathering of free spirits, artists, entrepreneurs — and anyone else who managed to get a ticket.

Several thousand more would-be participants will have to wait until next year, as 2011 marks another historic milestone: the first time the event has ever sold out, said Burning Man communications manager Andie Grace.

(Story continues below)

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According to an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, the event is permitted an average of only 50,000 people per day, Grace said.

The theme of this year’s festival, “Rites of Passage,” is an appropriate one as it also previews a change in the structure of the California-based Black Rock City, L.L.C., which runs the event, from a for-profit organization to a not-for-profit that will continue to promote the festival’s ideology throughout the year.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Taylor Swift Does It Again in Nashville

BUYER: Taylor Swift
LOCATION: Nashville, TN
PRICE: $2,500,000
SIZE: 5,601 square feet, 4 bedrooms 4.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Country-pop singer/songwriter Taylor Swift may only be in her very early twenties but she’s amassed four Grammys, seven AMAs, six CMT Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Award and 13 Teen Choice Awards. She’s also already begun to snatch up and sell off high-priced real estate like a property obsessed celebrity twice her age.

In late 2009 the poised young lady dropped $1,990,000 on an airy and very grown up 4,062 square foot penthouse pad at the Adelicia, a newly-constructed full-service building in downtown Nashville, TN. In September 2010 she forked over another $1,400,000 for an historic red brick mini-mansion hard up on a busy road a wee bit south and west of downtown Nashville. Most reports from the time suggested the house was purchased for her family. Seven months later the fresh-faced phenom splashed out $3,550,000 for a quaint mini-compound tucked up into a secluded and bucolic canyon setting in Beverly Hills, CA. Yes, puppies, believe it or not there are indeed pockets of pastoral perfectness right in the heart of dirty ol’ Los Angeles.

After some interior renovations and privacy making landscaping projects, the young country queen had a real estate change of heart and flipped the Nashville mini-mansion back on the market with an asking price of $1,450,000. A real estate whistle blower down in Nashville, let’s call him A.M. Uhsnitch, told Your Mama that Miss Swift and the Family Swift ultimately found the residence too small for their needs and too crowded on to a too small lot on a too busy street. We’re not really sure why these things didn’t occur to her/them before they signed on the deed’s dotted line but occur to them it did not, apparently.

Anyhoodles poodles, although Miss Swift has yet to unload her unwanted white elephant in Nashville, Your Mama hears through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that Miss Swift and The Family Swift have already plunked down $2,500,000 for another historic and storied estate just about 3.5 miles due south in the upscale Belle Meade ‘hood due south of downtown Nashville. It’s also all-but across the street from a middle school, which means there’s probably a noisy parade of tweens and titanic SUVS streaming past the house at least twice a day 8 or 9 months of the year.

In the early 1930s insurance executive and one-time U.S. ambassador to Denmark Guilford Dudley Jr. bought up large swathes of rural property south of Nashville. Eventually he came to own hundreds of acres of rolling hills and pasture lands encircled by miles of white picket fences where he raised thoroughbred horses. His horse farm homestead came to be known as The Northumberland Estate.

At some point–we don’t know when and can’t be bothered to find out–The Northumberland Estate was divided and subdivided, some of which became a swanky gated enclave where in the spring of 2008 Oscar-winning Aussie actress Nicole Kidman and her country-pop music crooning hubby Keith Urban spent $3,470,000 for a 10,925 square foot mansion often referred to as the Queen of Northumberland. If the Urban-Kidman crib is the Queen of Northumberland, then the smaller but no less grand mansion Guilford Dudley Jr. built in 1934 as the residential centerpiece of his vast Northumberland Estate is the king.

The Guilford family sold the mansion and it’s surrounding grounds, by then whittled down to just 5.69 acres, in September 2004. The buyer, as per property records and previous reports, was Luke Lewis–the chairman of Universal Music Group–and his wife Lauren. The Music City royals paid, according to the records Your Mama peeped, $1,500,000 for the estate. The couple embarked on an extensive and expensive renovation and restoration of the property that played up the 1930s razzle-dazzle glam of the mansion’s architecture and elegantly-proportioned entertainment areas and seamlessly married it to modern amenities and conveniences.

A double-gated driveway streaks across a tree-sprinkled pasture and curves up to a scallop-patterned cobblestone motor court in front of the imposing and genteel southern plantation style residence. An ambitious and stately Greek Revival-style columned portico makes an in-your-face grand but still inviting statement that marks the main entrance to the mansion. Listing information Your Mama teased up out of the interweb shows the multi-winged main manse measures 5,601 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A two-story detached guest/pool house, added in 1964, measures 2,087 square feet and has indoor and outdoor living/entertaining spaces plus 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Guests who pass through the palatial portico are greeted in a somewhat tight but opulent entrance hall with black and white checked marble floors, a glitzy wall of smoked mirrors, and a gently curving staircase with scrolled wrought iron railing. The mansion’s main rooms include a 31-foot long living room with hardwood floors, vaulted ceiling with custom carved decorative brackets, and a wood burning marble fireplace. The banquet hall-sized foot formal dining room has chestnut-colored parquet floors, a barrel vaulted ceiling with massive moldings, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling paned glass panels and French doors that open the room to a courtyard patio on the backside of the house.

A separate butler’s pantry connects to the fully updated and upgraded center-island eat-in kitchen, complete with full-size side-by-side stainless steel fridge and freezer, two dishwashers, honed granite counter tops, custom Shaker-style cabinetry with glass-fronted uppers, breakfast bar, and a desk/workstation. A nearby laundry facility is convenient for washing linens and things.

A boozer-friendly 600-plus square foot sun porch–more grandiosely called a “terrace room” in marketing materials–has a gleaming white Carrara marble floor with black marble inlay and wood burning marble fireplace. Liquor lovers like Your Mama will appreciate the built-in wet bar decked out with a marble counter top and built-in ice maker and mini-fridge. One entire wall of floor to ceiling paned glass windows overlooks tiered formal gardens while another wall has two sets of French doors that open the room to a covered terrace that leads out to the swimming pool.

Cozier quarters include a quite petite office/study with paneled walls and built in bookshelves and a significantly larger den/family room with white-painted paneled walls, built in bookshelves, hardwood floors, gas fireplace and an attached terliting and bathing facility that can also be accessed from the poolside terrace by swimmers and sunbathers.

The master suite claims hardwood floors, generous 10-foot ceiling, wood-burning fireplace, a wall of closets with antique French smoked mirror doors, and a small sitting area tucked into a large bay window with garden view. Besides the mirrored wardrobes in the bedroom, clothing and other persona items can be luxuriously organized in two additional closets, a separate closet for shoes and another for linens. The attached bathroom has a grey and white marble tile floor, dramatic domed ceiling with crystal chandelier, separate soaking tub and marble shower, and a pair of pedestal sinks.
The swimming pool and surrounding terrazzo terrace separate the main house from the two-story guest house (above), done up and did over in a similarly glammy 1930s meets southern traditional manner. The living/lounging area has herring bone patterned hardwood floors, wood burning marble fireplace juxtaposed against pecky cypress wood paneled walls, a kitchenette/wet bar, and floor to ceiling paned glass windows and French doors. A surprisingly glamorous spiral stair with custom wrought iron railing connects the two floors of the guest/pool house that is, let’s be honest hunties, larger and much nicer than the homes of most people. Upstairs each of the two bedrooms has hardwood floor laid at a 45-degree angle and a private marble and glass tile bathroom.

A columned covered patio off the pool house overlooks the swimming pool and has a large wet bar with granite counter tops. Although the house is really far too traditional for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s personal taste in architecture and day-core, we do like that a person is never more than just a few steps from a booze storage cabinet and/or wet bar in this house. A nearby storage room for rafts and water wienies offers utility hook ups so that Paul the hunky pool man can launder the towels without ever having to glide his virtually hairless suntanned body into the main house where our imperious and ever-horny house gurl Svetlana would no doubt climb all over him like a starving monkey on a banana tree.

The walled and gated grounds include a separate electronically gated entrance for landscapers, caterers and other domestic helpers who the owner might not want to darken the drive or muddy the motor court with their pee-cup trucks and beat up Dodge Neons. Well-tended grounds dotted with statues and fountains surround the house and include broad flat lawns, massive and mature shade trees, tiered formal gardens, flower cutting garden and plenty of room for a tennis court and/or vegetable garden should the Swift family desire them.

Additional fancy features of The Northumberland Estate that may have appealed to young Miss Swift and her family include custom landscape lighting, hardcore security system, removable child-proof fencing around pool, integrated speaker system throughout the house and outdoor entertainment areas, and an automatic and integrated bug repellent system in the outdoor entertainment area.

Over the years the house played hostess to scads of presidents and other politicians (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Gore), Tinseltown luminaries (Bob Hope), and any number of country music moguls and superstars (George Strait, Reba McEntire, and the boys from Brooks & Dunn). No doubt with Miss Swift as the new owner, the parade of high profile people who will visit the house will continue unabated.

With a penthouse in downtown Nashville, a house to sell and a house to decorate in an leafy nearby neighborhood and a mini-compound in the canyons behind Beverly Hills, Your Mama imagines young but rich and powerful Miss Swift will keep an army of smart architects in angular eye glasses and nice, gay decorators in Gucci loafers employed for months and perhaps years to come.

listing photos: Fridrich & Clark

Posted by Your Mama

Elijah Wood Lists Santa Monica House

SELLER: Elijah Wood
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA
PRICE: $1,850,000
SIZE: 2,130 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (plus separate guest house)YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The last couple weeks Your Mama has been on an informal and haphazard attempt to clean out some of the celebrity real estate cobwebs on our trusty laptop computer. Today we continue in that vein with a brief discussion of a modest if not exactly inexpensive Santa Monica, CA residence owned by actor Elijah Wood who recently listed the property–as a tear down, dontcha know–with price tag of $1,850,000.

The former child actor (The Adventures of Huck Finn, North, Flipper) hit the Tinseltown jackpot in the late 1990s when he was cast in the enormously popular and lucrative Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Since that sci-fi franchise came to a close in 2003-4, the now 30-year old Mister Wood expanded his move role repertoire with a bevy of small but interesting films that include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Green Street and Everything is Illuminated. The massive music aficionado also founded and runs his own indie record label Simian Records.

Property records show the 2,130 square foot Spanish-style casa–teeny-tiny by today’s celebrity real estate standards–was built in 1924 and acquired by a then 18-year old Mister Wood in August 1999 for $1,450,000. Based on previous reports and other online information, the charming but unassuming main house was occupied primarily by Mister Wood’s momma and poppa while young Mister Wood set up house the detached guest quarters.

Listing information indicates the two-story main house contains 2-3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms while the guest cottage, detached from the main house but attached to the two-car garage, includes an additional bedroom and bathroom plus a small office area.

A boxwood lined walkway leads to the rotunda entry hall laid with what listing information calls “British brewery cast iron tiles.” We’re not really sure what those are but presumably they’re interesting enough to be mentioned in the listing. The entry gives way to the “formal” living room with its spectacular barrel-vaulted ceiling, over-sized picture window, and wood-burning fireplace flanked by tall paned side-lights. Rich hardwood floors in the living room extend into the “formal” dining room as well as into a main floor bedroom/den that features a second fireplace and French doors that connect to a trellis-covered terraced at the rear of the house. Two second floor bedrooms, both with hardwood floors and tree top views share a single bathroom.

The small-ish kitchen could use a renovation to make it glisten with modernity but currently features vintage cabinetry with glass-fronted uppers, intricately patterned multi-colored tile back splash, butcher block counter tops and high-grade appliances that include a six-burner Wolf brand range. A wide archway connects the kitchen to a small breakfast room with built in buffet/china storage cabinet.

A sizable dining/lounging/entertainment terrace extend off the rear of the house and steps down to a raggedy patch of grass and concrete terrace half-encircled by a low stone wall/bench and curving trellis. The two car garage at the back of the property is accessed by an alley way.

Our brief and entirely unscientific research indicates that Mister Wood has not lived in this house for a number of years. In October 2004 Mister Wood spent $1,200,000 for a modest 1,408 square foot residence in downtown Venice, CA that property records show has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

listing photos: Keller Williams / Santa Monica

Posted by Your Mama

Brad Pitt Officially Lists Malibu Beach House

SELLER: Brad Pitt
PRICE: $13,750,000
SIZE: 4,088 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: In March 2005, about the time Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston called off their short marriage and he hooked up with earth-momma/actress Angelina Jolie, superstar Brad Pitt shelled out a very a-list $8,410,000 for a very contemporary and glassy ocean front bachelor pad perched on 1.26 bluff top acres on the rugged but extremely swank Encinal Bluffs area in Malibu, CA.

The well-known architecture buff spent years and millions transforming the 1962 mid-century home into a designer show pad that became Ground Zero for the then still budding affair between Mister Pitt and his current long-time lady-made and baby momma Angelina Jolie.

Starting in 2009 rumors began to swirl and make their way around the celebrity real estate merry-go-round about Mister Pitt–and by extension Miz Jolie–wanting to sell the ocean front estate. As far as Your Mama knows–and we really don’t know a damn thing–we were the first property gossip to discuss the rumors back in early February 2009 when we heard from Our Lady in Malibu that Mister Pitt had quietly floated the property on the (pocket listing) market with an asking price of $18,000,000.

More than two years later the property remains in Mister Pitt’s bulging real estate portfolio and yesterday it landed on the open market with a much lower–and arguably much more realistic–asking price of $13,750,000.

Listing information shows the low-slung, angular and crisply modern residence measures 4,088 square feet and includes a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms, as per the listing, are currently used as offices, which means when the Pitt-Jolies are in residence in Malibu all 78 of their natural born and adopted children have to share a single bedroom.

The primary living spaces have dark bamboo floors and walls of floor to ceiling glass that expose the house to the various courtyards, patios and decks around the house that offer panoramic views up and down the quintessentially dramatic California coastline. The sleek and modern interior areas include living and dining rooms, a family room, and an all-stainless steel kitchen with walk-in refrigerator/freezer.

Listing information shows that the house is equipped with radiant heating but no air conditioning but we’re guessing the design of the house and the cool coastal breezes make air conditioning unnecessary. Other features, as per the listing, include covered parking for three cars, three fireplaces (two indoors one outdoors), sound and security systems that we can all bet are the finest money can buy, and a private path/stairs to the sandy and somewhat remote beach at the bottom of the bluff.

The property slopes dramatically from Pacific Coast Highway to the steep bluff that tumbles down to the sand and sea. A heavily fortified gate opens to a driveway that brings cars past a tennis court and lap-lane swimming pool to a tight motor court at the front of the house.

Listing information indicates that plans and coastal approval exists for the addition of a second story designed by architect Chris Sorensen, a Malibu-based architect who specializes in what his website calls “environmentally conscious design solutions.”

Although the multi-culti Pitt-Jolie clan spend much of their time in Europe where home base is Chateau Miraval, an 880-acre spread in a rural area in the South of France, they maintain a number of pricey and posh pads state side including a secluded ocean front compound just outside of Santa Barbara, CA, a growing compound in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles and an historic mansion in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

photo (top): Pacific Coast News
photo (bottom): Bing

Posted by Your Mama

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Few Links to Keep Y’all Busy

Family matters, a funeral puppies, require Your Mama be away today. Sorry darlins.1. Art gallerist Larry Gagosian just paid hedge hog J. Christopher Flowers $36,500,000 for the famous and famously large and expensive Harkness Mansion on the Upper East Side. Sound like a lot? It is, but it’s almost $15,000,000 than brassy Mister Flowers paid for the huge house in 2006 and every inch of the interiors is still to be done.

2. Actor John Larroquette lists an ugly little in Mellenthin-style ranch house in Sherman Oaks, CA

3. Ruth Madoff, wife of convicted Ponzi putz Bernie Madoff, who used to own a penthouse in Manhattan, an ocean front home in Montauk (NY) and a water front home in Palm Beach (FL) has been found living in a modest condo in Boca Raton, FL. And she drives a Honda Civic that probably cost as much as she used to pay to have her hair dyed.

Posted by Your Mama

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alec Baldwin Goes Downtown

BUYER: Alex Baldwin
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $12,500,000 (list)
SIZE: 4,137 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: What’s old quickly becomes new again in the world of celebrity real estate. Two weeks ago the peeps at The Post reported that Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin listed his long-time home at the high-toned and twin-towered Eldorado building on New York City’s Central Park West with an asking price of $9,500,000.

What was not mentioned was that Mister Baldwin attempted to sell the 3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom spread on the 22nd floor at The Eldorado way back in August 2009 with a much lower asking price of $7,500,000. It doesn’t take clicks and flicks of the hard-working beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus to determine that Mister Baldwin and his Real Estate have seen fit to jack up the price by a full two million dollars even though, arguably, the real estate economy isn’t all that much better today than it was two years ago.

Anyhoo, at the very same time Mister Baldwin listed his 22nd floor co-operative apartment at The Eldorado he also listed a second 1-bedroom unit with 12-foot ceilings on the ground floor of the building with an asking price of $1,200,000. This unit no longer appears on the open market nor is is mentioned in current listing information for Mister Baldwin’s bigger unit upstairs. Make of that what you will.

Mister Baldwin has been on on the house for new digs in The Big Apple for quite some time. Originally his search centered around Upper West Side where he reportedly peeped at numerous fancy pads including places at the troubled Apthorp building and a 4 bedroom spread at The Dakota priced at $12,500,000.

Ultimately 50-something year old Mister Baldwin turned his real estate attentions downtown where his plan, as per all the New York City property gossips, is to buy a new crib where he can bunk in the lap of luxury with his much younger 28-year old lady-friend, yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas.

Within days of The Post reporting on Mister Baldwin’s (re-)listing of his Upper West Side aerie, a real estate snitch whispered to the fine folks at Curbed that Mister Baldwin has signed contracts to purchase a duplex penthouse at the newly renovated Devonshire House in Greenwich Village’s hoity-toity Gold Coast ‘hood. The hulking red-brick pre-war edifice was originally designed by noted and beloved architect Emery Roth who, coincidentally, also designed the geometric Art Deco magnificence that is The Eldorado.

Mister Baldwin (allegedly and reportedly) opted for a 4,137 square foot penthouse pad at Devonshire House that last carried an asking price of $12,500,000. Listing information shows the posh penthouse–with interiors done up and did over by big-time decorator Victoria Hagan–contains 3 sizable bedrooms, each with private (and windowed) pooper. The large master suite, tucked into a oblique corner of the building with eastern and northern views, features an entry vestibule with coat closet–which we love–a windowed bathroom with separate glass-enclosed shower and raised soaking tub, private sitting area/study, and a dressing hall lined with closets.

The main living space pinwheels around a floating staircase and includes a formal dining room, living room with fireplace, and eat-in kitchen with center island breakfast bar plus room for a table, white Shaker-style cabinets, crisp white counter tops and grey-veined marble back splash, deep farm house sink and commercial-style stainless steel appliances.

The floor plan, as marked up in marketing materials, shows a somewhat awkward relationship between the foyer, living room, kitchen and dining room. As marked, one has to go through the kitchen or dining room in order to get to the living room. Iffin this were Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s $12,500,000 penthouse we’d probably make the dining room the living room and the living room the dining room in an effort to promote a more harmonious relationship between the public spaces.

The second floor contains a family room/den with built-in wet bar, windowed bathroom and access to two terraces, a smaller one that overlooks the building’s courtyard and a larger one that hangs over tree-lined East 10th Street.

listing photos and floor plan: Stribling

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UPDATE: Kim Kardashian Wedding Venue

Yesterday the tee-vee people at Extra reported–and we passed on–that the wedding of booty-fied reality tee-vee star Kim Kardashian and professional basketball player Kris Humphries would take place this weekend on the grounds of a Montecito, CA estate owned by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.During the broadcast they showed photographs of the grounds which Your Mama immediately recognized as the property Mister Schmidt snatched up in late 2007 for $20,000,000 from comedian/chat show host Ellen Degeneres. The property, with it’s stuh-ning 1926 George Washington Smith-designed Spanish Colonial mansion and acres of immaculately groomed grounds, seemed like an obvious and excellent choice for a celebrity wedding that will undoubtedly be packed to the rafters with other celebrities and high profile people.

However, today, much to our confusion, scads of reports have come out with photos provided by the industrious paps at X17 Online that show an entirely different Montecito estate as the chosen location for the Kardashian family wedding event. In fact, X17 Online’s aerial photographs show the impressive estate in a frenzied state of preparation.

The, walled, multi-gated, high-hedged and heavily fortified property X17 shows, isn’t far from Mister Schmidt’s estate and also boasts a magnificent George Washington Smith-designed mansion. A little peeking and poking around the interweb turned up records that show the 10-plus acre estate where Kimmy K. will actually tie her nuptials knot is owned by Frank J. Caufield, a co-founder of a high-powered Silicon Valley-based venture capital concern.

Old marketing materials for the property provided by a snitch we’ll call Montecito Mary, reveal that the pristine spread, dubbed Sotto Il Monte, centers around a 15,452 square foot main house completed in 1929 for Kirk Johnson, one of the founders of the First National Bank of Beverly Hills. The Santa Barbara Tax Man shows the Tuscan mansion contains only 2 bedrooms but 6.5 bathrooms. In addition to the main manse there are various barns and outbuildings scattered throughout the grounds that include a guest house, staff quarters and manager’s apartment, greenhouse, shade house, a car collector’s garage, pool house, gymnasium.

The vast gardens were originally designed, as per marketing materials, in 1927 by A.E. Hanson who took his stylistic cue from formal Renaissance gardens in Italy. The gardens, a complex series of interlocking garden rooms adheres to a rich formality with boxwood lined symmetrical parterres and tree-lined allées. In addition the to pretty and perfect gardens, the meticulous grounds include a north/south tennis court, an indoor swimming pool plus a 25-meter outdoor pool–that photos show will be covered for the ceremony–and great swathes of Gastbyesque lawns that slope down from the rear of the main residence.

Apropos of nothing having to do with the Kardashian wedding fete and feast…In the early Naughts Mister Caufield married a lady named Karen. After not-quite 8 years of marriage, Missus Caufield filed for divorce. Your Mama, who does not know a hole in the ground from a tin cup, does not know if Mister and Missus Caufield reconciled or finalized their divorce proceedings but we did find online documentation that in 2009 a court ruling provided estranged Missus Caufield with $406,504 in temporary spousal support. Monthly spousal support, children, monthly spousal support.

Property records show that Mister Caufield also owns at least two other posh properties in California including a 6,685 square foot mansion in the snazzy Pacific Heights ‘hood in San Francisco, CA purchased in the mid-1980s from a now-deceased but once-prominent pediatrician for $1,450,000. Records also indicate that in October 2007 Mister Caufield shelled out another $2,325,000 for a 1,599 square foot penthouse pad in a converted building in the Jackson Square area just north of downtown San Francisco.

The Kardashian clan’s home base is Momma Kris’s krib in the horsey gated community of Hidden Hills, CA and in February 2010, before hooking up with hunky Mister Humphries, Kim Kardashian dropped $3,400,000 on a 4,000 square foot Beverly Hills bachelorette pad. We have no idea where Miss Kardashian and her soon to be hubby will settle down once they’re unified in the eyes of God and government. However, iffin we were the wagering type–and we’re not–we’d bet the farm that in Kimmy K.’s case, a new spouse means a new house. We shall see butter beans, we shall see.

photo: Bing

Will the Bank Boot Burt Reynolds From his Florida Estate?

Once upon a time mustachioed actor/beloved geriatric sex symbol Burt Reynolds was the Hollywood shit. Women swooned over his thickly haired chest and cavalier masculinity while men practiced smacking wads of gum and making stupid wisecracks in an effort to adopt that special brand of Burt Reynoldsian good ol’ boy man-sexy.He popped into the Tinseltown scene way back in the late 1950 but Mister Reynolds’ professional salad days were without a doubt the 1970s and 80s when he appeared in dozens of films that include Smokey and the Bandit (I, II and III), The Cannonball Run (I and II), Stroker Ace, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with top-heavy country queen Dolly Parton. In the late eighties and well in to the 1990s he switched from the silver screen to the tee-vee screen with starring rolls on B.L. Stryker, Out of This World, and Evening Shade. In 1997 his all but moribund movie career was revived when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Boogie Nights, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination. Since then he’s appeared in scads of movies and television programs, most of which we’ve never heard of let alone seen.

The last couple of years have not been particularly kind professionally, personally or financially for the one-time superstar. In 2009 he reportedly checked himself into rehab to cope with an addiction to pain killers and in 2010 he underwent a quintuple bypass surgery. Now, here we area in the dogs days of summer 2011 and word slips and slides down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that Mister Reynolds is more than a million dollars behind on the mortgage for Valhalla, his waterfront estate in hoity-toity Hobe Sound, FL

It seems almost inconceivable that a man with such a long and presumably lucrative career in the Show Business would find himself in the sort of financial pickle that would keep him from making his mortgage. However, according to earlier reports, a lawsuit filed last week in Martin County (FL) Mister Reynolds stopped paying his mortgage about a year ago and owes Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation (MLCC) around $1,200,000 in unmade payments. Should Mister Reynolds not make good on what he owes, MLCC could move to foreclose on the luxuriously appointed but decoratively kitch property, a maneuver that would put Mister Reynolds out on his 70-something year old keister.

Mister Reynolds has owned the property since 1980 when records show he paid $700,000 for the three-plus acre water front spread that includes a 12,538 square foot main mansion with 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Interior spaces include a cavernous living room, formal dining room that opens to a screened in party-porch, office with antique wood-paneling and waterfalls–yes, water falls–extensively equipped fitness facility, wine cellar, saloon-like billiard/game room, and a huge home theater with wide screen, portable popcorn maker and small organ.

The secluded and deliciously private property also includes an additional 2 bedroom guest house, caretaker’s cottage, heated swimming pool with adjacent gazebo, floating helipad, and private dock plenty large enough to park a big boat (and a helicopter).

Mister Reynolds attempted to sell the estate in 2005 when it was listed with an optimistic asking price of $15,000,000 that was later raised to $15,900,000. Within a year of the price increase the price tag had plummeted to $12,900,000. Eventually the price was dropped again to $10,500,000 and then again to $8,995,000. A few flicks of the well-worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows the last asking price–or at least the last asking price we’re aware of–represents a punishing 44% reduction from the highest number put on the property.

As of this morning, Mister Reynold’s Hobe Sound residence remains on the market with an asking price of $8,995,000.

listing photos: JIC Realty

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kim Kardashian to Wed At Ellen Degeneres’ Former Estate

UPDATE (Next day): Turns out Extra–and, by extension, Your Mama–got it wrong. The correct and updated information on the Kim Kardashian wedding is located here.While Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter couldn’t care less there are oodles of children and other folks in a high state of anxiety and anticipation over the upcoming nuptials of behemoth booty-ed reality tee-vee superstar Kim Kardashian and professional ball dribbler Kris Humphries.

There are two just things we know about this impending matrimonial ceremony/Kardashian family public relation über-event, both of which we gleaned by unwanted osmosis via all the gossip glossies, celebrity blogs and boob-toob entertainment “news” programs. The first is that Kimmy K. and her entourage of sisters and bridesmaids will be expensively clad in custom made gowns by wedding dress designer extraordinaire Vera Wang who, in what may or may not be a coinky-dink, just dropped $9,200,000 for a glassy house in Beverly Hills.

The second bit of intel we’ve passively soaked up comes courtesy of the celebrity scuttlebutt slingers at Extra who reported on the telly tonight that the wagon hitching ceremony cum tabloid spectacle will take place this coming Saturday at an historic and well-known estate with celebrity connections nestled into the ocean view hills of the uppity seaside enclave of Montecito, CA,

The lavish but low-key estate belongs to high profile Silicon Valley royal Eric Schmidt, otherwise known as the former CEO of Google. When the multi-billionaire stepped down from his post atop the corporate pyramid at Google in early 2011 he received a $100,000,000 parting gift. Before his exit from Google was announced he and they engineered a plan to sell a fractional block of his overall stock that at current rates would put more than three hundred million clammers in his already over-stuffed wallet.

Mister Schmidt acquired the property in November 2007 when he paid comedienne/chat show host Ellen Degeneres and her Sapphic wife Portia de Rossi $20,000,000 for the four-ish acre estate. Celebrity real estate watchers will recall that notoriously fickle property maven Ellen Degeneres picked up the impressive spread in October 2006 for around $15,750,000 and by March of the following year had flipped her picture-perfect compound back on the market with a hugely increased asking price of $24,000,000.

The privately situated and heavily secured luxury compound’s architectural heart and soul is a 5,000-plus square foot main house with 4 bedrooms and 4 full and 2 half bathrooms designed by beloved Santa Barbara architect George Washington Smith. Staff and/or guests can be comfortably accommodated in a detached 1-bedroom guest house with kitchen and an additional studio space tucked into a quiet corner provides private respite from family members and all the full-time staff people required to maintain an estate of this magnitude.

At the time Mister Schmidt snatched up the property, the extensively and meticulously landscaped grounds included a long winding drive, massive motor court, championship grade tennis court, extra-long swimming pool with raised spa area, wide terraces, broad lawns, and a stunning allée with colorful tiled fountain that screams out for a highly stylized celebrity wedding designed–we presume–by an efficient, innovative and extremely well-paid event planner.

The children should note the photos here reflect the house as it appeared when Miz and Missus Degeneres acquired the property in 2006.

listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty

Posted by Your Mama

sday, August 16, 2011

Vera Wang Goes Way Modern on the West Coast

BUYER: Vera Wang
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $9,200,000
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Probably all of the children already know about New York City-based wedding dress designer turned lifestyle guru Vera Wang’s recent acquisition of a very contemporary crash pad in Beverly Hills, CA. Since we’re a little tardy for this party, we’re going to try to add a little additional meat to this celebrity real estate bone by also recapping some of Miz Wang’s other and many real estate transactions over the last few years.

Back in early August Your Mama heard from one of our more reliable informants–let’s call her her Wanda Tellyousomething–who whispered in Your Mama’s ear that Vera Wang and her home builder turned tech entrepreneur husband Arthur Becker were just about to close on a glam and glassy pied a terre in the trendy Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills. We jumped on our bedazzled and bedraggled princess phone and made a few calls to other sources but, alas, didn’t turn up a confirmation on the matter. However, we should have known that Wanda Tellyousomething’s lacquered acrylic nail was spot-on correct because ol’ Wanda always has juicy and accurate 411 on high-end real estate deals in the Platinum Triangle.

Being asleep at the celebrity real estate wheel meant the scoop landed in the laps of the much more respectable gals at The Wall Street Journal to whom many of the gabby high-end brokers in Tinseltown with bulging rolodexes full of high profile clients prefer to tattle their celebrity real estate tales. Your Mama imagine we are, quite frankly, too contrary, uncouth and low rent for most of those folks.

Anyhoodles poodles, we really have no idea why Miz Wang and Mister Becker wanted a fancy modern house in Los Angeles but a fancy modern house they did want and a fancy modern house they did buy. Redfin and others now reveal that the luxe-living couple just coughed up a considerable $9,200,000 for a boxy and low-slung sprawler that recently underwent a full-scale renovation by well-known L.A.-based high-end house flipper Steve Hermann.

All the Los Angeles area real estate freakos and fans know that Mister Hermann has done up and did over many handfuls of showy and shiny multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles and Montecito. Mister Hermann once sold a house high above the Sunset Strip to pop star Christina Aguilera, who still owns it despite significant efforts to sell it, and twenty-something year old Oracle heiress/movie producer Megan Ellison (True Grit, Waking Madison) owns not one but two adjacent homes on which Mister Hermann performed his home renovation hocus-pocus prior to her purchasing. Young Miss Ellison, as many of y’all already know, also owns a third contiguous and contemporary crib but it was not a product Mister Hermann’s design mind.

Property records show Mister Hermann picked up the Trousdale Estates fixer upper in June 2008 for $5,000,00. He spent the next couple years and, as per listing information, another $3,000,000 on a high-style renovation that transformed the H-shaped house into a slinky signature style that reflects his personal vision of modern southern California living. Your Mama has been in a number of Steve Hermann-designed homes and although we find them a bit slick and oddly impersonal for our personal taste they are, to be sure, spectacular and gleaming machines designed for a high-gloss life that appeals primarily to the sorts of people who can afford them.

Two Junes after purchasing the property, the house briefly appeared but was quickly de-listed and then re-listed in March 2011 with an asking price of $10,900,000. It wasn’t long before Miz Wang and Mister Becker swooped in from New York and put the property in escrow, but not before they negotiated for a hefty 16% discount off the asking price.

It should be noted that the seller, Mister Hermann, a licensed real estate agent affiliated with the upscale Westside Estate Agency, represented himself in the transaction; Miz Wang and Mister Becker were represented by powerhouse property purveyor Stephen Shapiro, one of the owners of the hugely successful boutique brokerage where Mister Hermann currently hangs his real estate shingle.

Listing information does not indicate an exact square footage but the Los Angeles County Tax Man shows that before Mister Hermann got his hands on the house it measured 4,394 square feet. Unless he expanded the residence–and perhaps he did, we don’t know–the Wang-Becker’s Bev Hills house encompasses about 4,400 slinky and louche square feet that strongly projects a quintessentially Los Angeles kind of real estate sexy.

A plaza-like motor court with front-facing two car garage stretches out in front of the single story residence, a series of nearly transparent pavilions that include a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. A muscular spine-like colonnade of thick posts and beams protects a gurgling water feature and wall of floor-to-ceiling glass that runs across the front of the house and allows someone standing at the frameless all-glass front door to see clear through the house, past the swimming pool to the explosive city views.

The front door opens directly into the open-plan main living space with gleaming white terrazzo floors, 12 foot ceiling with ring of clerestory windows, and walls of glass with wide sections that slide open to obliterate the distinction between indoors and out. A simple fire box set into an entire wall of horizontally striated stone slabs provides a necessary anchor in a vast space that visually floats above the city. We could do without the flat-screen mounted above the firebox. Does there have to be a tee-vee in every room? Doesn’t anyone else besides Your Mama sometimes like to be in a room where there isn’t a boob-toob blaring?

Other expensively and meticulously finished entertainment areas include a super-sleek kitchen with highest end Euro-style cabinets and appliances, a huge family room with two vast walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, and a home theater with tiered seating for thirty movie-viewers and reality tee-vee watchers.

In the backyard an infinity edged spa is elevated to soak in the view while the rectangular swimming pool is sunk perfectly and dramatically flush with the surrounding stone slab terracing. Various dining, lounging and sunbathing terraces are tucked into the deep eaves and pinwheeled around the swimming pool. A narrow strip of grass softens the transition from the terrace to the steep hillside at the rear of the property and is just large enough to satisfy the pooches and other outdoor peeing pets

It seems strange to Your Mama that Miz Wang, whose eponymous fashion and lifestyle brands typically impart a modernish spin on traditional minded designs, would opt for something this aggressively contemporary with such extreme exhibitionist tendencies. But, brava biotch! We may find the wedding industry repellent but we applaud Miz Wang’s nervy and uncharacteristically flashy choice in a west coast pied a terre.

When Miz Wang’s pharmaceutical industry tycoon daddy Cheng Ching Wang died in the fall of of 2006, she and her brother inherited a substantial amount of luxury residential real estate including an estate in Southampton, NY, a big spread about an hour north of New York City in bucolic Pound Ridge (NY), an ocean fronting estate in über-posh Palm Beach and an elephantine duplex in New York City at the breathlessly high-brow and fearsomely expensive 740 Park Avenue.

Within months of Big Daddy Wang meeting his maker the Wang heirs placed their father’s Southampton spread on the market. The 8 bedroom and 9.5 bathroom post-modern-ish mansion sold about a year later $11,500,000.

In October 2007, Miz Wang famously decided to buy out her brother’s stake in their parent’s gigantic duplex apartment at 740 Park Ave. Property records and previous reports reveal she coughed up an astonishing $23,100,000 for her brother’s half of the colossal co-op.

At the same time Brother and Sister Wang sold their father’s house in the Hamptons in November 2007 they hoisted his Addison Mizner-designed Palm Beach, FL mansion Villa Traquila on the market with an asking price of $23,000,000. The price later dipped to $19,000,000 and it was finally sold in May 2008 for an unknown amount of money.

November 2007 was a busy real estate month for the Wang siblings who also pushed their father’s 33-acre Pound Ridge, NY estate with its 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom contemporary house on the rental market at $25,000. Iffin we’re being honest–and we always are–we’d confess we have no idea what’s happened to this property since then.

Prior to moving into her parent’s former pad at 740 Park Avenue, Miz Wang and family occupied an approximately 6,000 square foot full floor spread in a dynamite pre-war building just a few doors down from Mommy and Daddy Wang. She heaved the mansion-sized third floor apartment (shown above) on the open market in July 2007 for $35,000,000 and sold it for $33,600,000 in early January 2008 to one of the lucky daughters of multi-billionaire industrialist Ira Rennert. Mister Rennert’s other daughter, iffin anyone might be interested, paid $32,000,000 for an approximately 7,500 square foot duplex at 740 Park Avenue just a few weeks after her sister closed on Miz Wang’s pad at 778 Park Avenue.

listing photos (Los Angeles): Westside Estate Agency and www.stevehermann.com

Have Mercy…

The last thing Los Angeles needs, kittens, is another couple of narcissistic reality show strivers to pull into town like a damn traveling circus. However, according to gossip juggernaut TMZ, that’s just what’s going to happen when The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C.’s Michaele Salahi and her slippery hubby Tarek relocate to the West Coast in order to further their “budding entertainment careers.”Can you see Your Mama rolling our eyes?

The folks at TMZ report today that the (melo)drama magnets are in the final stages of securing the lease on a $20,000 per month mansion in Beverly Hills where they can bring up (surrogate) baby. (More uncontrollable eye rolling). We simply can’t be bothered to look up the details but from what we can see from listing photos the house–a kind of Palladian-influenced Neoclassical Federal-Colonial–sits nestled into a steep hillside. In front a circular drive sweeps across the front of the house where a pair of lions guard the double-height porch. In the rear a wide brick patio wraps around a rectangular dark-bottomed swimming pool. Amid the thick foliage on the hillside a dramatically lit waterfall adds a pretty but incongruous air of a tropical resort hotel to an otherwise very traditional house.

Knowing these two troublemakers are in town makes Your Mama want to stay inside 24/7. That is until we recognize we’re unlikely to frequent–or crash–the same sorts of parties and events as Mister and Missus Salahi who, bless their hearts, will no doubt attempt to immerse themselves with an embarrassingly ravenous fervor into the moneyed intersection between Hollywood and the high-brow charity circuit scene in the Platinum Triangle.

Is the queen of all reality tee-vee Andy Cohen over at Bravo going to pull a fast one and re-hire Miz Salahi for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? We don’t know nuthin’ about that, butter beans, but stranger things have happened, stranger things have certainly happened.

Oh wait, here’s the update. Mister Cohen reportedly rejected the Salahi’s efforts to be cast on the Bev Hills edition of The Real Housewives… Whatever will they do now?

listing photos: themls.com via TMZ

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ryan Kavanaugh Flipping Krib in the Bu

SELLER: Ryan Kavanaugh
PRICE: $10,500,000
SIZE: 2,791 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Have mercy, children. Your Mama has a lot on our damn plate right now. That ain’t your problem, of course, but it means we sometimes miss the celebrity real estate brass ring the first time it comes around on the carousel. In addition to telling new stories, over the next couple weeks we’ll also be discussing older–and often previously reported–celebrity real estate matters we over-looked, passed by or otherwise just didn’t get to sooner. Case in point: About two weeks ago former venture capitalist turned Hollywood super-producer Ryan Kavanaugh listed his ocean front Malibu residence with a price tag of $10,500,000 and we’re just circling back around to it now.

Mister Kavanaugh probably isn’t a household name in Peoria, Poughkeepsie or Paducah but in Tinseltown everybody–and we mean everybody in The Industry–knows Mister Kavanaugh operates as a high-powered player in the highly competitive game of movie making. Few may know his name but most regular movie goers and watchers have likely seen at least one if not a handful of the dozens of movies in which he’s had a financial hand in getting made

According to a January 2009 article in Malibu Magazine, in the early Noughts Mister Kavanaugh was living large as a brash and baby-faced 20-something year old venture capitalist with a multi-million dollar house and a douche baggy Ferrari. Yes, that’s right. We said it and we meant it too. Take note Justin Bieber: Twenty-something year old men with more money than life experience who scoot around in attention demanding Ferraris always, always, always look like hardcore douche bags. The only people who don’t find it to be silly and tacky are the twenty something year old moe-ron men who drive Ferraris and that certain kind of woman who finds douche baggery sexy. Even more stupefyingly ridiculous? A teenage boy driving a Ferrari. Gwaawd. Gag Your Mama with a damn spoon. We’re not jealous of Little Boy Bieber people, so don’t even waste your time and energy to go there. We do not want to hear it.

Anyhoo, Mister Kavanaugh’s venture capital business went bust, he lost all his money and eventually turned his hard-charging attentions to The Big Business of Show. He founded Relativity Media in 2004 and in the six or seven years since has executive produced scads of hyper-successful movies that include (but are far from limited to): Cowboys & Aliens, The Fighter, Salt, Nine, Little Fockers, Frost/Nixon, Burn After Reading, Mamma Mia!, Pineapple Express, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. A long list of projects in the works (and in the bag) include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and an as yet untitled Snow White film staring hotsy-totsy baking soda heir Armie Hammer as the prince and Oscar winning actress (and fellow Malibu resident) Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen.

Relativity Media has agreements with half a dozen major studios to co-finance films and has begun to snatch up various film production and distribution operations. It seems, puppies, that Mister Kavanaugh–a whippersnapper just in his mid-thirties now–is well on his way to being the next Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Along with Mister Kavanaugh’s rocket to showbiz success came a Hollywood Big Baller lifestyle that included a lavish and controversial commute from his home in Malibu to West Hollywood by helicopter. That’s right, he commuted by helicopter. We do not begrudge Mister Kavanaugh his money or success. We really don’t. However, a lot of people bristle and squirm with inequality and righteous indignation when they hear of such naked extravagance, particularly during the current and terrifying volatility of the economy that has a lot of folks wondering how they’re going to pay for four dollar a gallon gas to get to their near-minimum wage job where they perform various services for the rich people who spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars every day to fly themselves to and from work by helicopter. But, poodles, we digress and that is really another topic for another blog.

Before moving to Malibu prop records reveal Mister Kavanaugh owned a secluded contemporary crib on Beverly Ranch Road, just off twisty and famous Mulholland Drive and up a private shared driveway high in the hills above Sherman Oaks, CA. In December 2007 he sold his house on Bev. Ranch Road for $3,100,000. We’re not sure where he went from there but records indicate he eventually landed in a 1930s Spanish-style casa on the sand in Malibu where in February 2009 he shelled out $5,850,000 for an ocean front residence at the western end of Malibu’s celebrity-lined La Costa beach. Mister Kavanaugh quickly caught a case of the Real Estate Fickle and flipped the house to director/producer Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Starsky & Hutch) for $9,000,000. The house sits sandwiched between David Spade’s house and the 1930s cottage that Oscar winner Charlize Theron sold to Glee creator Ryan Murphy in May 2011 for $6,562,500.

In October 2009, a number months before he sold his house to Mister Phillips, Mister Kavanaugh splashed out another $7,000,000 for another oceanfront pad, this one also on La Costa but down at the opposite end not so far from the house Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne have been trying to sell for an eternity and is currently on the market for $9,500,000.

Property records reveal that Mister Kavanaugh acquired the property from spectacularly successful class-action trial attorney Thomas W. Girardi, the real life attorney who litigated the Anderson vs. Pacific Gas & Electric case that inspired the Erin Brockovich movie that won Julia Roberts an Academy Award. Mister Girardi’s eponymous firm reportedly took in “at least $120 million” in legal fees for that case.

Listing information for Mister Kavanaugh’s current crib in the Bu states that it’s been “recently renovated and updated.” Presumably these recent renovations and updates account for the toe-curling 50% increase in asking price over the $7,000,000 he paid for the place less than two years ago. At it’s current $10,500,000 asking price, Mister Kavanaugh’s house is the most expensive house currently listed on the open market on La Costa beach.

The listing, held by Mister Kavanaugh’s Beverly Hills-based real estate agent mother, states the tile-roofed sort of-Spanish/quasi-contemporary beach abode was originally built in 1955, measures 2,791 square feet and in includes 2 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

A gated and walled entry courtyard puts a grassy buffer between the perpetually busy Pacific Coast Highway and the glass front door. Inside the open plan living/dining/kitchen area has white washed hardwood floors and a full wall of floor-to-ceiling wood framed glass windows and doors that marries the cozy interior spaces to the sea side outdoor entertainment area.

The mildly but unmistakably feminine and unexpectedly Shabby Chic-inspired day-core makes Your Mama wonder if Mister Kavanaugh actually lives (or lived) here or if all of his things were removed and replaced with a truckload of white slip-covered sofas and wood coffee/end tables from Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota’s giant warehouse of banal staging furniture. Whatever the case, the sky-lit living area has shallow vaulted ceiling, built-in bar counter, and a double-wide fireplace flanked by display niches and wood-storage boxes. A kick-up-your-feet white slip-covered sectional sofa that faces away from the ocean encircles a beachy wood coffee table. On the wall opposite the ocean, a giant over-sized mirror makes it possible for someone on the sofa to view the ocean even though not facing it. Blech! Gack! Maybe we’re just funny this way but Your Mama would much rather turn the damn sofa around so the ocean can be seen directly rather than through the dizzy-making reflective artifice of a mirror.

Behind the dining area the deluxe but design-wise fairly ordinary center-island kitchen with breakfast bar has white Shaker-style cabinets with glass-fronted uppers, grey-veined marble counter tops and high-grade commercial style stainless-steel appliances. Upstairs, at the road end of the house a sizable family/media room has a wood-beamed vaulted ceiling, corner fireplace, sand-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, and another white slip-covered sectional sofa wrapped around a wood coffee.

A notable–and we think successful–architectural effort was made in the second floor master suite where the ridge line of the wood-beamed vaulted ceiling was replaced with an angled sky light that runs the full length of the room. The room faces the roiling Pacific Ocean through an entire wall of wood-framed glass windows and doors that open to a petite private terrace with glass railing and up-close and personal view of the waves and whitewater. The attached bathroom also has a vaulted wood ceiling pierced by at least one dramatic sky light and includes double sinks and a soaking tub separate from the two-headed (and sky-lit) shower area.

A decent size for Malibu but far from huge entertainment deck off the main living area hangs over the sand and, as per listing photos, offers enough square footage to accommodate a few sunbathing beds at one end, a teak dining table for eight at the other and, in between, yet another white slip-covered sectional sofa curled around a wood coffee table. High-powered heaters mounted in the eaves ensure the salty aired deck can be used even when the weather gets a bit cool and coastal.

Your Mama has no knowledge of where Mister Kavanaugh plans to decamp but iffin we were the wagering type–and we’re not–we’d bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly and our mean ol’ pussy Sugar he’s headed someplace more expensive and more impressive. We shall see, butter beans, we shall see.

Property records also show that in July 2008, Mister Kavanaugh spent a total of $1,290,000 for three 625 square foot apartments in a newly constructed apartment building walking distance to Rao’s in New York City’s can-be-sketchy East Harlem ‘hood. Rao’s, for those who don’t already know, is a teeny-tiny old-school Italian eatery well-known as the most difficult–near impossible–restaurant at which to secure a reservation in all of New York City. ‘Tis true. Check it out.

listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty / Beverly Hills

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Real Estate Run Down: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

This one’s a doozy, children, so grab yourself a candy snack and a boozy beverage and settle in to a comfy spot for the long haul…Any body who knows any thing about celebrity real estate knows that when a rich and famous person gets married, makes a baby or heads for the court of dee-vorce the old marital house usually gets traded in for a new bachelor or bachelorette pad. Now that superstar Jennifer Lopez has kicked her salsa singing husband Marc Anthony to the curb Your Mama imagines at least one of their several luxurious residences might be sold off.

Now, puppies, have some common damn sense here. Miz Lopez did not ring Your Mama on our bedraggled and bedazzled princess phone and tell us with her own lip-glossed lips that she plans to sell any of her homes and/or buy a new one. For all we know she and her wire-thin soon-to-be-third ex-huzband are going to stay living up under the same roof. Who knows? Not Your Mama, that’s who. We are simply guessing on the what might happen based on our entirely unscientific and otherwise useless long-term study of the fickle real estate habits of the rich and famous. Miz Lopez in particular has come under our celebrity real estate microscope because she’s a wildly wealthy showbiz phenom who buys and sells real estate about as often as she gets in to and out of long-term relationships and marriages, which is–let’s be honest hunnies–fairly frequently.

There are three fancy-pants pads in that Mister Anthony and Miz Lopez share, at least there are only three we know about. There were oodles reports in the fall of 2010 that they’d peeped a penthouse pad at the controversial mixed-use Paseo Caribe complex in San Juan, Puerto Rico but we have no direct 411 about whether or not they moved forward with a purchase on La Isla del Encanto.
photo: Icon Brickell

We do know that sometime in 2009 Mister Anthony bought a minority stake in the Miami Dolphins football team and in September of the same year he told the peeps at People that he’d bought a condo in Miami. He went on to say that when the decoratin’ was done the condo would be “the sexiest place in town!” Your Mama was unable to parse the property records to reveal the details of said purchase but most reports from the time state they picked up a penthouse at the newly constructed Icon Brickell (shown above), a glittering 10 acre forest of 50-story smoked glass and steel towers that cleave to the edge of Biscayne Bay. In October of 2009 it was revealed by a blogging Miami real estate agent that Mister Anthony and Miz Lopez placed 10–yes, hunnies, ten–additional units under contract at the Icon Brickell but iffin we’re being honest–and we always are–we’d confess we really haven’t any idea if that’s accurate or not.

Mister Anthony and Miz Lopez both previously owned property in the Miami area. In October 2003, shortly before he divorced former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres Delgado–mother of two of his five children–he laid out $750,000 for a 4 bedroom and 3 bathroom mock-Med inside the gates of the Doral Country Club. Mister Anthony quit-claimed the property over to his ex-wife in 2005 and she sold it in late 2009 for $750,000.

In May 2002, about the time she bailed on her second marriage to former back up dancer/choreographer Cris Judd and famously hooked up with actor Ben Affleck, Miz Lopez dropped $9,500,000 on a lavish water front mansion on Miami Beach’s celebrity-lined North Bay Road. Miz Lopez’s massive Miami mansion was originally built in 1929, sits on more than 1 acre with 200 feet of bay frontage and has a waterside swimming pool and private boat dock. It was here where she reportedly holed up in the fall of 2003 after she and Mister Affleck called off their highly anticipated and much ballyhooed wedding in Santa Barbara, CA.

Miz Lopez floated her Miami manse on the market in late 2004 and sold it in March 2005 for $13,900,000, a substantial $4,400,000 profit not counting renovation, decoration, carrying costs and real estate fees. The buyer was health care industry tycoon and venture capitalist Mark Gainor and his wife Elyse. As it turns out Mister and Missus Gainor, who gave the estate complete and very expensive overhaul, have the magnificent mansion on the market with a staggering asking price of $34,500,000.

But we digress. Back on the west coast…

The 10-acre Calabasas, CA estate where Miz Lopez and Mister Judd were married in September 2001 was recently quietly placed on the market with an asking price of $8,850,000. Miz Lopez did not, however, own the lush suburban spread. It’s our understanding she merely leased the deluxe digs for her nuptials.

As far as Your Mama knows–and we really know so very little–the first house Miz Lopez owned in Los Angeles is a sprawling 9,000-plus square foot contemporary privately situated at the tail end of an approximately 250-foot long gated drive in the 24/7 guard gated (and celeb-friendly) Summit community perched in the rugged mountains that tumble down to the flats of the San Fernando Valley.

Property records indicate Miz Lopez snapped up the posh, low-slung pad in February 2000 for $4,297,500. Presumably she unleashed a squadron of smart architects and nice, gay decorators on the property because she managed to flip the airy California contemporary at a significant profit. In October 2004, shortly after making it official in the eyes of God and government with Mister Anthony, Miz Lopez sold the sleek residence to hotelier/restaurateur/nightclub impresario Sam Nazarian for $10,950,000. A few flicks of the well-worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows the former Fly Girl–here she is doing her thing in a pair of mom jeans–took in a heart stopping $6,652,500 profit not counting renovations, decorations, carrying costs and real estate fees.
photo: Sotheby’s International Real Estate

Mister Nazarian, for those who might be curious, held on to the 4 bedroom and 6.5 bathroom house only until August 2006 when he sold to rockstar/fashion maverick Gwen Stefani and her musician man-mate Gavin Rossdale for $13,250,000. At the time he sold to them the property included an infinity edge swimming pool, tennis court, screening room, and–natch–state-of-the-art security systems. The photo above shows the house as it appeared when Mister Nazarian sold it to Miz Stefani and Mister Rossdale who recently completed a massive renovation of the entire property that included the addition of an additional structure that may (or may not be) a guest house, staff quarters, recording studio, home office space and/or etc.

When the salsa singer–a winner of two Grammys and three Latin Grammys–married the entertainment industry juggernaut that is Jennifer Lopez in June 2004, h already owned a secluded estate about 30 miles outside Midtown Manhattan in the high-brow Long Island enclave of Glen Head (NY), sometimes referred to as Brookville. Property records Your Mama perused indicate Mister Anthony paid $3,700,000 for his 6.25 acre spread in Glen Head and Nassau County tax records show the tree-shaded estate features a 16-room red brick Colonial built in 1941 that measures 10,084 square feet and includes garage parking for at least 6 cars, 7 fireplaces and an unlucky 13 terlits in 8 full and 5 half bathrooms.

Of course we don’t know an A-bomb from and iPhone but presumably Mister Anthony occupied the genteel residence at least part time in the early 2000s when he was married to and making babies with former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres Delgado. Mister Anthony and the beauty queen reportedly split in October 2003 and finalized their divorce just days before he married Miz Lopez in June 2004 in a secret ceremony at her Beverly Hills home.

At the time Mister Anthony Miz Lopez married she still owned a giant house up in the Summit community, the one now owned by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. However, since this was where Miz Lopez lived during her ill-fated and much-publicized affair with Ben Affleck, we highly doubt it was at her house in the Summit where she and Mister Anthony were married.

We seem to recall that the star-crossed (and ultimately ill-fated) lovers were married at a massive mansion in Beverly Hills, CA that, as it turns out, was just heaved on to the open market with an astonishing $40,000,000 price tag. We also seem to recall reading that Miz Lopez once leased the house but–and this is a huge but, children–we have no confirmation other than previous reports that Miz Lopez ever had anything to do with the house in question.

What we do know about that house–for what it’s worth–is that it occupies two lots in a prime section of the flats of Beverly Hills. Silver screen legend Jimmy Stewart lived in a large but comparatively modest mansion on one of the two lots but his house was knocked down in the late 1990s to make way fora lavish 13,885 square foot Mediterranean mansion that contains a total of 9 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms divided between the main and guest houses. Records shows the owner as a mysteriously named corporate entity that links back to Mary Ann Sigler, the CFO of billionaire Tom Gores’ multi-billion dollar Platinum Equities. However, the owner, as per two of Your Mama’s impeccable tattletales is neither Miz Sigler nor Mister Gores but rather mergers and acquisitions honcho Johnny O. Lopez, a founding partner at Platinum Equities.

There we go digressing again…

Mister Anthony proved the exception to Your Mama’s celebrity real estate theory about how rich and famous folks tend to trade properties when they trade spouses and/or procreate. It seems that Mister Anthony bucked that trend and simply packed up the beauty queen’s pageant gowns and tiaras and moved in Miz Lopez’s gold records and booty shorts.

photos: www.thomfelicia.com

Soon after they hitched their wagons, the newlyweds hired nice, gay decorator Thom Filicia to replace Dayanara’s day-core with the sophisticated and shiny decorative dreams of Miz Lopez. Mister Filicia, those y’all tee-vee watchers older than 35 surely recall, appeared on the boob-boob in the mid-Noughts as one those sassy Fab Five gays on Queer Eye who used to race around New York City in an SUV saving heterosexual men from making bad fashion choices and installing foos ball tables in their living rooms.

Mister Filicia bathed the elegant and pleasantly pared down interiors with crisp white walls in the formal living room and entrance hall where we swoon for the abstract landscape hanging on the wall. He preserved or installed rich wood paneling in the cozy and more masculine-vibed library and wrapped the formal dining room with some sort of shimmery gold, silver or platinum leaf. A doorway on one side of the fireplace gets perfectly balanced by an architecturally to-die-for arched niche with scalloped apse.

She may be a gal with a ghetto-fab booty from the Bronx but beehawtcha has a bazillion professional irons in the fire, knows how to turn it out like a real damn celebrity and, dontcha know, Miss Thing has an Andy Warhol soup can lithograph hanging on the wall in her gleaming Long Island kitchen. And it’s probably the real damn shit, too, not some poster crap you can buy at the MoMa gift shop.
photo: Real LI

In 2008, right about the time rumors and reports of marital friction surfaced over Miz Lopez moving her momma Guadalupe in to their Long Island mansion to help take care of newborn twins Max and Emme, the spicy Puerto Rican sensations spent $2,050,000 for an adjacent 2.24 acre estate.

We really haven’t an iota what was done to or with the property but at the time of purchase it included a stately but undistinguished 5 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom clapboard-sided center hall Colonial (shown above) perfect for housing (Grand)Momma Lopez, domestic staff and/or security personnel. The purchase was reportedly (and logically) motivated by security and privacy concerns since the two estates share a single entry gate and a short stretch of of a long Belgian block-lined bluestone drive way. Your Mama would bet our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly the entry gate has since been fortified Fort Knox-style and is probably manned by an firearm-brandishing sentry in a seriously bad mood who will unceremoniously turn any moe-ron right around who has the hair-brained audacity to slowly roll their hoopdy up the sleepy lane towards the gate.

Back on the west coast…

In January 2005, half a year after their June 2004 wedding, Mister and Missus Lopez dropped $6,250,000 on an English country-house style mansion on nearly three-quarters of an acre tucked behind fortified gates and high hedges on supremely swank St. Pierre Road in the the trés hoity-toity Bel Air ‘hood in Los Angeles, CA.
photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

The couple hired L.A.-based interior decorator/designer Michelle Workman to work the place over into a rustic-fancy French farmhouse (shown above) with casually elegant interior spaces that married (and juxtaposed) the patinated sophistication of a 18th-century chateau, the romance of a country cottage, the glamour of Old Hollywood and the kick up your feet comfort of Shabby Chic. We do love all the luscious textures and the pair of table top chandeliers in the foyer are dee-voon but the pervasive muted pastel palette and the proliferation of self-consciously distressed bits and pieces feel a bit over-femified for Your Mama’s personal taste in day-core.

About four years after buying Miz Lopez and Mister Anthony listed their Bel Air spread with an asking price of $8,500,000, which was later slashed to $7,900,000. Listing information from the time indicates the property encompasses a 7,357 square foot main house with 4 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms surrounded by extensive mature gardens, swimming pool with adjacent pool house and an additional guest house/studio. Property records show Miz Lopez and Mister Anthony sold the property, which backs up to the sometimes very busy North Beverly Glen Boulevard, in early December 2009 for $6,200,000. That’s a fifty thousand dollar loss not counting renovation and decoration, carrying costs, and real estate fees. They sold, as per prop records, to a hedge hogger named Mark Spitznagel who runs a so-called Black Swan fund and is reported to be making money hand over fist during this period of intense stock market volatility.
photo: Pacific Coast News

With their house in Bel Air on the market and two twin babies in tow, the Lopez-Anthony’s went on a house hunt in 2009. They finally settled on a massive bi-winged mansion in the swish suburban equestrian enclave of Hidden Hills (shown above) where the bucolic streets are lined with large mansions owned (and leased) by a large number of high profile Hollywood types.

Melissa Etheridge owns a home in the gated community where until recently she lived with ex-wife Tammy Lynn Michaels and their brood; Britney Spears leases one of the largest estates in the Ashley Ridge section of the community; And agéd rock star Ozzy Osbourne and his very ambitious manager/wife/chat show hostess Sharon own a sprawling Martyn Lawrence Bullard designed mansion they recently heaved on the open market with an asking price of $12,999,000

Property records reveal Mister Anthony and Miz Lopez paid $8,200,000 for their Hidden Hills residence in mid-January 2010 and listing information from the time of purchase shows the behemoth brick-faced mansion sits on two lots that total 3.04 acres, wraps around a massive rear motor court and measures in at a whopping 17,129 square feet with a total of 9 bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms. Mister Anthony and Miz Lopez, feeling the house needed a few decorative nips and tucks once again brought in L.A.-based decorator/designer Michelle Workman who did the whole thing up in a nearly monochromatic pastel palette of blues, grays, pinks, and peaches that exudes a sleek old school Tinseltown brand of Silver Screen glamour.
photos: Veranda

Photos of Miz Lopez and Mister Anthony’s Hidden Hills house recently appeared in Veranda magazine (shown above). Images show a double height entry with white walls and dark wood floors where a curving staircase wraps itself around a lunette settee and drool-worthy cocktail table on top of which sits a vase with a spray of pussy willows. According to a recent cover article in Vanity Fair, the nearby powder pooper is outfitted with hand towels monogrammed with an “M” for Muniz, the actual last name of Mister Anthony and his children.

The formal living room–which she confessed in a recent cover article in Vanity Fair that she rarely uses–pushes cool elegance towards classic showbiz camp with a white grand piano. White pianos are just never good, children. They always seem like a gimmick and a good old-fashioned ebony Steinway would have been a better choice in our book. Then again, this wasn’t our book to write. The blush pink dining room gleams and glimmers with a boxy chandelier crafted from super-sparkly cystals and a cozy book-lined library has rich wood paneling in the library.

We have no idea if Miz Lopez or Mister Anthony actually cook. We suspect they say they do when asked by the press but probably still employ a well-paid private chef. Either way the commodious eat-in kitchen was outfitted with every bell and whistle to make a chef’s knees turn to jelly including a faboo black and brass Aga range that Your Mama can assure the children cost more than an American minimum wager worker earns in an entire year. The Tiffany blue raised panel cabinets are topped with glossy milk-white counter tops and the breakfast area looks more like the opulent private dining room in a swank eatery than the sort of place where twin toddlers eat Cheerios and slurp up SpaghettiOs.

On the second floor, in addition to their expansive master suite and hallway hung portraits of various Tinseltown icons, there is what Vanity Fair called a “spa” area that Mister Anthony had installed for Miz Lopez as an anniversry gift. The “spa” includes “two massage tables with glittery pillows” and a gigantic closet/dressing area lined with full-length mirrors, rows and rows of color-coordinated shoes, and racks filled with red carpet worthy clothes. Mister Anthony’s man-cave portion of the mansion occupies a separate wing and is reported in Vanity Fair to include a bar, 20-seat screening room, recording studio and a mini-putting green.

The three-acre estate has panoramic views over the horsey community and in addition to tons of off-street parking where their extensive retinue of family, friends, staff and hangers-on can park their cars, the property includes double-gated drive way, a swimming pool and spa encircled by one of those awkward but necessary child-protection fences, several outdoor living areas and covered patios, a built-in barbecue station, expansive tree-ringed lawns and, where a tennis court once was, a multi-hole putting green with sand trap that doubles as a sand box for the kiddies.

Jenny may have come from the block in the Bronx, butter beans, but, to co-opt the parlance of The Jeffersons, she done moved on up to the proverbial East Side. Yes, hunties, she most certainly did. No matter what you think of her easy to digst pop songs about Christian Louboutins, the flood of downright awful rom-coms in which she starred in the early Naughts–Gigli? Maid in Manhattan? Uhm, no. Just, no–or the near-ceaseless merry-go-round of her romantic life that gets played out in the pages of all the gossip glossies, the lady is here to stay. She has a new album out entitled Love? with at least one well-performing single, she’s got a couple of (not very promising sounding) movies in the hopper, she inked an unprecedented deal with mass-market retailer Kohls that will put an estimated $7-10,000,000 in her pocket for the next 21 years and she’s reportedly signed on for another (exceedingly lucrative) season on American Idol.

What all that means to Your Mama and the children is that newly single Miz Lopez probably has another half dozen or more luxe and lavish homes to buy, renovate, decorate and sell on to the highest bidder. We can barely wait for her to get started.

As for Mister Anthony…a little celebrity real estate snitch told Your Mama that he’s leased an approximately 10,000 square foot ivy-covered Italianate mansion just above the Sunset Strip that was listed with an asking price of $23,800 and made famous as one of the houses featured on mock-reality boob-toob program Entourage.

Posted by Your Mama

Thursday, August 11, 2011

P!nk’s Pad on the Block

SELLER: P!nk and Carey Hart
LOCATION: Sherman Oaks, CA
PRICE: $4,000,000
SIZE: 4,435 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.25 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just before Baby Jesus’ birthday last year Your Mama dissed and discussed a 5 bedroom and 6 pooper Balinese-y-contemporary/quasi-Craftsman mansion in Malibu for which 3-time Grammy winning rocker-chick P!nk and professional motocross racer Carey Hart had coughed up a very a-list $11,850,000 a few months earlier.

A celebrity real estate snitch whom we call Sherman Oaks told us then that the tatted-up couple would soon put their San Fernando Valley love nest on the market. Two-thirds of a year later, the new Malibuans have pushed their walled and gated Sherman Oaks, CA mini-estate on the open market with a $4,000,000 price tag.

Property records show Lady Pink–née Alecia Moore–paid $2,000,000 for the suburban estate in December 2002, long before she hitched her wagon to Mister Hart’s motorcycle in 2006. The couple were close to dee-vorce in 2008 but eventually patched things up, bought a big house in the Bu and made a baby. And of course, for rich and famous folks, a bun in the oven makes a new multi-million dollar house as necessary as a $1,200 baby buggy.

Listing information shows Lady P!nk’s two-story Spanish-style casa, situated in a prime South of Ventura Boulevard ‘hood, was originally built in 1946, sits on a flat .69 acre lot, measures a 4,435 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 4.25 bathrooms. A quarter bathroom, for the chitlins who don’t know, isn’t really a bathroom in the bathing sense of the word but rather a facility that contains only a terlit, no sink and no shower or tub. They are often dismal and claustrophobic cubbyholes located in basements, garages and/or services areas. Your Mama’s Midwestern besties Chow-Lee and The Laundress have one of these lone terlits in a dark corner of their Minneapolis basement surrounded by a wood-built stall pretty much exactly like in a public restroom. It’s more than a wee bit scary to pull your pants down in this compact stall-space but in a house filled with a trio of electrified rugrats who think it’s funny to pick the lock on the door the pooper when you’re–well–pooping, it’s a welcomed haven of dirty bizness privacy.

Anyhoo, a concrete, brick and wrought iron wall shaded by thick privacy-making foliage runs across the front of P!nk’s property. The double-gated driveway curves tightly in front of the house and leads to antique hand-carved double front doors. The gorgeous doors are probably not original to the house but do lend a smidgen of much needed architectural gravitas to the house, which looks to Your Mama on the inside more like a modern-day suburban mcmansion than a old-timey vintage hacienda.

The voluminous impress-the-guests type has a double-height ceiling, staircase with perplexingly paltry wrought iron banister, some sort of stone floor (perhaps it’s Travertine?), and walls bathed in a gawd-awful flesh colored faux suede paint treatment that Your Mama hopes and prays the new owner will change to something less faux and far less corporeal.

Lady P!nk and Mister Hart certainly seem to like their faux suede paint treatments as evidenced by the worrisome wound-colored formal dining room lit by a high-glam black crystal chandelier and the tobacco-stained honey-colored formal living room that features near-white wall-to-wall carpeting, a vaulted ceiling with exposed beam and a fireplace flanked by built-in book cases that reach from floor to ceiling and pleasantly enhance the vertical visual experience of the room.

Although Your Mama’s Big Book of Decorating Dos and Dont’s is explicit about faux paint treatments meant to give the walls the textured look of suede: They are to be used only sparingly–if at all–and should always be installed by a faux-paint treatment professional as opposed to a weekend home improvement warrior who thinks they were born with a decorative green thumb.

Family and informal entertainment spaces includes a game room with vaulted ceiling, built-in window seat and fireplace with imposing flagstone chimney breast and a carpeted family room with a few built-in book cases and another imposing flagstone chimney breast. The generous gore-may eat-in kitchen is anchored by a Toyota Camry-sized center island with breakfast counter and has white cabinetry with glass-fronted uppers, granite counter tops, commercial-style stainless steel appliances and direct access through French doors to the dining and entertaining terrace that extends off the rear of the residence.

Since the house sits towards the front of the long narrow lot, the thickly planted and (mostly) private backyard seems particularly expansive and includes lots of entertainment amenities that include broad terraces, a covered patio (outfitted with a ping-pong table in listing photos), an angled swimming pool, grotto-style spa, built-in fire pit, built-in barbecue center for year-round grillin’ and chillin’, and a football field-sized lawn. Although listing photos show much of it has been removed, aerial photos of the house show the grassy area was once dotted with a swing-set, trampoline, and mini half-pipe where the mister and mistress of the house could practice their skateboarding tricks.

Listing photos show the furnishings (and day-core) are spare and the cabinets empty so clearly Lady P!nk and Mister Hart have completed their move from Sherman Oaks to Malibu where they are frequently photographed around town with baby Willow in tow.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sheryl Crow Just Wants a New House

BUYER: Sheryl Crow
LOCATION: Nashville, TN
PRICE: $5,225,000
SIZE: 6,784 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a celebrity real estate canary down in Nashville (TN) Your Mama learned yesterday that folk-rock singer-songwriter/sometimes actress/fearsome breast cancer survivor/single mommy of two tots Sheryl Crow went and bought herself a new mansion down in Music City.

According to reports by local celebrity real estate gossips and confirmed by Your Mama with Davidson County property records, in late July (2011) nine time Grammy winning Miz Crow dropped a total of $5,225,000 on three contiguous parcels that total 50.69 acres in the affluent and semi-rural Forest Hills area due south of downtown Nashville.

Your Mama did not, we regret to inform the puppies, turn up an official listing for the property…yet. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?

A long celebrity-style driveway winds through an open pasture, curls around and cuts through a thick wood to a wide clearing where a dour stone mansion looms dramatically over a massive circular drive and motor court. Property records and other online sources reveal the imposing 18-room mansion, with its ecclesiastical-like architectural flourishes, was built in 2005, measures either 6,784 or 7,769 square feet depending where you look, and includes 6 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. Additional living space above the three car garage is attached to the main house by a loggia-style breezeway.

A charity event-sized stone terrace with outdoor fireplace extends off the back of the two-story house that looks out over a broad tree-dotted lawn ringed by a privacy ensuring forest. Between the main house and the garage a low wall encircles a swimming pool, spa and substantial sunbathing area. A second, smaller walled garden connects the pool deck to a sport court well and thankfully hidden behind the garage.

This is not the first time for Miz Crow at the Tennessee State Real Estate Rodeo. In 2006 the low-key but luxe-living superstar began to buy up property down in bew-colic College Grove. She ended up with a sprawling and beautifully tended 150-acre equestrian estate called Cross Creek Farm. It wasn’t long after settling down in College Grove that Miz Crow had caught a classic case of the Celebrity Real Estate Fickle; Your Mama dissed and discussed Cross Creek Farm, in May 2010 when Miz Crow had the posh property on the market with an asking price of $7,500,000.

With no immediate takers for Cross Creek Farm Miz Crow made real estate headlines across the globe in the fall of 2010 when she put the solar powered pastoral property with its 10,254 square foot mansion, recording studio, and extensive equestrian facilities up for auction with a minimum bid of $1,000,000. The auction remained open for bids until 6pm the 23rd of November (2010). Your Mama has no idea who may have bid what amount for the celebrity singer’s farm but it did not sell–or at least no transfer of property has been recorded–and the property remains listed with a $4,500,000 price tag. A few quick flicks of the well worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that Miz Crow has cut the price by about 40 percent, a stunning statistic all the Chicken Littles can cluck endlessly about.

In addition to Cross Creek Farm and her new mansion in Forest Hills, Miz Crow owns a number of other properties across the U.S. of A. including a gated multi-parcel compound tucked into the rugged foothills just above Hollywood, CA that records show she acquired in several 1998 transactions that combined cost her $5,100,000.

A deeper dive down into the property records reveals that Miz Crow also owns a beachfront crib in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, an unincorporated gulf-front collection of communities on the Florida Panhandle between Pensacola and Panama City, an area often referred to as the Redneck Riviera due to the high number of pee-cup truck driving and gun-toting good ol’ boys and gals that live and vacation in the area. Records reveal that in January of 2003 Miz Crow splashed out $1,000,000 for a beach front lot that now includes a 3,529 square foot house with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. A little leg up from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial informs Your Mama his is not the first house Miz Crow owned in Santa Rosa Beach. In 1997 she bought a smaller landlocked residence for $289,000 that records show she sold off at a tidy profit in 2004 for $650,000.

photo: Davidson County Assessor

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Afternoon Tidbit (Three of Three): Roxanne Pulitzer Lists Mansion That’s Perfect for a Billionaire Xenophobe

Former aerobics instructor and life insurance sales person Roxanne Pulitzer (née Renckens) struck it rich when she married wealthy newspaper heir Herbert Pulitzer in 1976. Her soigné life in the sometimes harrowing Palm Beach social scene came to an abrupt end in the mid-1980s when she was catapulted to tabloid infamy amid salacious divorce allegations of dabbling in the occult, drug use, and bisexuality.The much-maligned Foxy Roxy went on to pose for Playboy–she says she did it so she could pay her divorce attorneys–write some books set in the Palm Beach milieu she once inhabited, and marry a few more times. She and her fifth husband, retired management consultant Tim Boberg, settled into late-life marital bliss on an approximately 3.5 acre estate near Telluride, CO they acquired in 2001 for $5,500,000.

If we’ve said it once we’ve said it 42,000 times before, the rich and/or famous can be fickle when it comes to their real estate. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, after spending around $8,500,000 on improvements Miz Pulitzer and her fifth mister ran out of home improvement and expansion projects–she told the WSJ that she “can’t stand him [Fifth Mister] at home without a project”–and earlier in the year their home on the market with an asking price of $19,900,000.

The rambling 23,124 square foot log cabin meets Palm Beach style mansion has 7 bedrooms, 8 full and 5 half crappers including a 4,000 square foot master suite, a computerized state of the art bowling lane, 100-foot long indoor pool with waterfall and spa, 8-seat home theater, sun room outfitted with plant misters and grow lights, a fitness room full of body torture devices, 4-car temperature controlled garage, heated pathways, patios and motor court, a full-scale outdoor replica of the Labyrinth at Chartres in France, a private golf fairway, putting green and bunker, an art gallery, and a 2-lane 150-foot long computer controlled indoor shooting range with separate ventilation system.

Lowerd have mercy, children, it boggles and betwixts Your Mama’s pea brain to try and calculate the finances and quantify the sharp organizational skills needed to manage the staff required to maintain this property properly. You need a pool man, a greens keeper for the golf course and gardeners galore for everything else. Then there’s a strapping and barely clothed work-out buddy, movie equipment technician, bowling alley waxer, and a marksman who knows how to operate a variety of hand guns and other semi-automatic weaponry. You need a minimum wage terlit gurl whose superstitions will not be tweaked by the 13 terlits, a window washer, wash woman, and meal preparer. About the only person not needed here is a well-formed young man to shovel the snow from the pathways, patios and motor court since they are all, as aforementioned, heated at great cost for winter time convenience.

As noted in the Wall Street Journal, Miz Pulitzer and Mister Boberg’s mansion is just a short hop to the Telluride ski-chalet that Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld recently listed with an asking price of $18,300,000.

listing photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Afternoon Tidbit (Two of Three): Update Rachel Uchitel

Just in case her 15 minutes are not quite up…She may have had to hand back the $8-10,000,000 hush money she was paid by her philandering former lover Tiger Woods because she broke the silence the millions were supposed to buy but, according the the peeps at gossip juggernaut TMZ, VIP hostess turned short-term reality tee-vee denizen Rachel Uchitel just hauled in $330,000 on the sale of a New York City apartment she bought last year.

P.S. We’re not even going to mention that dreadful carved wood giraffe standing up over there against the wall because it’s giving Your Mama a burning moment of heebie-jeebies that someone would actually think to stick that thing there like it’s day-core.

listing photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Posted by Your Mama

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Afternoon Tidbit (One of Three): Update on the Woolworth Mansion

A New York City townhouse–owned by the estate of late lady-gym mogul Lucille Roberts (and shown above)–landed on the open market in mid-March 2011 to much real estate shock and awe with a titanic $90,000,000 asking price. The sick-palatial and approximately 18,000 square foot Neo-French Renaissance style pile–designed in 1911 (or so) by high-society architect C.P.H. Gilbert for dime store tycoon Frank Woolworth for one of his three daughters–was concurrently listed for lease at an astronomical $210,000 per month.The fine folks at Curbed as well as many of the New York City real estate gossips reported today that the rental asking price for the 7-floor townhouse was recently slashed to a still spine tingling $165,000 per month.

A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that at it’s current price a rental tenant must bring in $1,980,000 per year just to pay the damn landlord their agreed upon due. We have no experience managing of residence of this magnitude but we imagine the deep pocketed tenant will have to cough up an additional couple or few hundred grand each year to heat, cool, clean and otherwise staff and maintain the high-maintenance mansion.

Nothing like a little real estate reminder that you’re poor as a church mouse, right?

listing photo: Brown Harris Stevens

Susan Sarandon Snags Penthouse Bachelorette Pad

BUYER: Susan Sarandon
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $1,750,000
SIZE: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroomYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, there are a number of juicy(ish) celebrity real estate tidbits in the works but, right now, at this very moment, the pickins are slim. Rather than leave y’all high and dry–or drowning in discussions of properties owned by “celebrities” most people have never heard of before–we’re going to dig down into the archives and pull up a few old things that we never got around to dissin’ or discussin’ when all the other real estate gossips were yammering about them.

Let’s start with soo-blime actor Susan Sarandon, a gutsy gal with one Oscar in her pocket (Dead Man Walking) and another four nominations under her belt (The Client, Lorenzo’s Oil, Thelma & Louise, Atlantic City). Miz Sarandon has dated (Louis Malle) and procreated (Franco Amurri) with a few high-profile gentleman but her longest romantic entanglement has been with fellow Oscar winning actor Tim Robbins (Mystic River, Dead Man Walking, The Player, The Shawshank Redemption). The lefty-left-left activist couple never hitched their wagons in the eyes of God and government but they did bring two children into their unmarried union, something that no doubt reinforced the seething hatred right wingers to have for these two famous limousine liberals from Tinseltown.

Anyhoo, sometime during the summer of 2009, after about 23 years of bleeding heart coupledom, Miz Sarandon and Mister Robbins called the whole thing off. Until that point the Sarandon-Amurri-Robbins clan split their time between New York City and the bucolic and upscale community of Pound Ridge, about 50 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

In 1991 Mister Robbins and Miz Sarandon acquired a lofty-style cooperative apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood. They eventually bought up one entire floor and half of the one above to give them about 7,000 square feet of interior space on the 7th and 8th floors. The massive apartment is just a few blocks from SPiN, a ping-pong bar/eatery in which Miz Sarandon is an investor.

In June of 1995 the then happy now kaput couple coughed up $1,675,000 for a secluded 7.74 acre spread that backs up to the Cross River Reservoir. The New York State Tax Man shows the estate includes a 5,068 square foot main house with 4 bedorooms and 3 bathrooms. Several out buildings dot the property and a large terrace off the back of the house has a swimming pool.

Your Mama has no idea what plans Miz Sarandon and Mister Robbins might have in regards to keeping or selling their Pound Ridge property but we do know it sits within a couple miles of the posh mansions, sprawling estates and colossal compounds of loads of other rich and famous folks with a yen and the bucks for a pastoral getaway just an hour from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Ralph Lauren maintains a vast estate in the area where other property owners include Richard Gere, George Soros, Martha Stewart, Abigail Disney, Matthew Bronfman, and Clive Davis.

In June 2011, not long after it became publicly known that Miz Sarandon and Mister Robbins’ relationship had reached its sunset, property records (and previous reports) reveal Miz Sarandon paid Mister Robbins $3,200,000 to take full ownership over their leviathan loft in New York City. At the same time she was buying Mister Robbins out she also snatched up a wee but pricey bachelorette pad in an elegant pre-war apartment building in a particularly charming (and swank) section of Greenwich Village known as the Gold Coast.

Property records (and previous reports) show the newly single sixty-something year old Miz Sarandon paid high-end wallpaper designer Anya Larkin $1,750,000 for a well-scaled but far from humongous 1 bedrooom and 1 bathroom penthouse pad with million dollar city views and a wrap around terrace almost as large as the apartment itself.

Now, children, have some common sense here. The only way to look at a one bedroom apartment that costs one and three-quarter million clams is to see it through the very specific real estate goggles of New York City. Like it or not, Big Apple Haters, the petite penthouse’s pit falls–the stingy closet space, the crapper accessible to guests only by walking through the bedroom, for example–are far outweighed by the prime location in the hoity-toity heart Greenwich Village, the white glove services of the pre-war building, and the giant but manageable wrap around terrace with sparkly city views to the east, north and west. The wood-burning fireplace and unusually spacious contemporary Craftsman-style kitchen are icing on the nearly two million dollar one bedroom cake.

Much to our chagrin the front door opens directly into the main living space, which means that all the Chinese food delivery men in in neighborhood are going to know exactly what Miz Sarandon’s living room looks like.

In the nearly 400 square foot main living space, divided into living and dining areas, built-in cabinets anchor one side of a Batchelder (or Batchelder-style) fireplace. French doors in the tile-floored dining area connect to the terrace that snakes around three sides of the apartment. Your Mama knows that some of you real estate beotchas are going to hiss, “Pshaw!” and deride a New York City terrace as dirty and loud spaces that, more often than not, lack any real privacy. And y’all would be right. Terraces in New York City are typically loud, dirty and in full view of at least a few neighbors. Howevuh, honey bees, this former New Yorker would have happily endured the indignity of a dirty and loud wrap around terrace where our neighbors could spend all day watching Your Mama lounge around in a ikat sarong on a nappy chaise lounge eating candy, drinking gin & tonics and picking at our toenails.

The dining area is open to the cook-accommodating kitchen outfitted with commercial-style stainless steel appliances and blessed with a window over the sink that provides a pretty city view while doing battle with the dried up sticky shit off the bottom of a frying pan.

A small vestibule off the living area leads back to the generous but far from ginormous bedroom that includes French doors that open to the east-side terrace area and a double-windowed pooper re-done in classic 1930s style with white subway tiles on the walls and black and white honeycomb tile on the floor. Floor plan information indicates that the bedroom’s lone closet–a small walk-in–is inconveniently situated in the vestibule between the bedroom and the living/dining room. But again, these wonky real estate moments might seem like deal killers in suburbia but in New York City, as in many other densely urban areas, these annoyances become mere quirks.

Property records also show that in addition to the two apartments in New York City and the Pound Ridge spread she once shared (and as per public records still co-owns) with Mister Robbins, Miz Sarandon also owns a 1.5 acre waterfront property with a 3,270 square foot residence on Mount Desert Island in Maine, the same swanky neck of the dramatic Maine coast where media mogul/domestic goddess Martha Stewart maintains a 63-acre waterfront spread with a 35,000 square foot mansion she calls Skylands.

Politically progressive Miz Sarandon has not always had an easy-peasy relationship with her staunchly Republican mother Lenora Tomalin but property records do indicate that mother and daughter buried the hatchet when it came to real estate and co-own two condos at a Leisure World retirement complex in Leesburg, VA.

exterior photo: Property Shark
interior (listing) photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty via StreetEasy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Girlfriends’ Persia White Lists in Studio City

SELLER: Persia White
LOCATION: Studio City, CA
PRICE: $1,529,000
SIZE: 4,200 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend between racing around to family parties and building a chicken wire contraption to keep the damn raccoons from snatching the fruit off my tomato plants in the middle of the night Your Mama took some time to peruse the Los Angeles area real estate listings. In truth, we didn’t come up with much but we did turn up a property in the hills above Studio City listed for $1,549,000 and owned by actress/musician/artist Persia White.

From 2000 to 2008 Miz White starred on the boob-toob series Girlfriends with Golden Brooks and Tracee Ellis Ross, the daughter of Miss Diana Ross, thank you very much. Although she hasn’t worked much since her gal pal program was canceled, she does, as per her resume on the Internet Movie Data Base, have a few movie projects underway and in the hopper. In addition to her ack-ting Miz White, a staunch and vocal advocate for environmental, human and animal rights, also makes music–she released a solo album in 2010 called Mecca–and paints emotionally charged images that often depict women curled up in the fetal position, bent over backward, or in otherwise taut state of heartbreak and/or longing.

Property records show girlfriend for Girlfriends–married a time or two and the mommy of one–acquired her two-story hillside house in June 2004 for $1,135,000. Built in 1990, the contemporary cottage encompasses 4,200 square feet with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and nearly unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains during the day and glittery lights of San Fernando Valley at night.

At first glance the tile-roofed residence looks a little (too much) like Grandma’s house for Your Mama’s particular and persnickety taste in real estate. It ain’t easy for us to get past the unnecessarily horrific white wrought iron fence of uneven heights that runs along the front of the property. When we do mange to squeeze our eyes past the ugly fencing, a closer inspection reveals an attempt to present a more modern edge on the front facade that’s dominated by the odd coupling of a red Spanish tile roof and a smoked glass and aluminum garage doors.

An entry deck connects the driveway to the commercial-style smoked glass and aluminum front door, shaded by the overhang of a deep eave and roof projection with very post-modern circular detail that may or may not be a window (we’re not sure). In order to get that sentence right, puppies, y’all must roll your eyes with self-righteous architectural disdain when you read the words “post-modern circular detail.”

Anyhoo, the interior spaces of Miz White’s domicile have been stripped down to an Armani Casa-like simplicity with prominently grained ebonized wood floors, large planes of gallery white walls and divisions between some rooms obliterated by opening up doorways to the full height of the ceiling. A chunky double-sided fireplace with veined black marble surrounds and hearths divides the living and dining rooms. Both room have extra-side wood-framed glass doors that slide open to a narrow wrap around deck with oblique view to the distant mountains at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley. A built-in wet-bar in the dining room should elate all the booze hounds like Your Mama who, rather than join the congregation of party guests in the kitchen looking for a snippet of sausage or hummus, gravitate towards to liquor cabinet for three fingers of gin.

The galley style kitchen has taupe-gray tile floors, traditional black raised panel cabinets somewhat successfully zhushed up with black paint, black and brown flecked granite counter tops and medium-grade stainless steel appliances. This is not what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter with fifty grand to spend on a kitchen re-d0 but it ain’t awful. It’s certainly better than a faux-Tuscan extravaganza with a gigantic pot rack that drips with fake grapes, Chianti bottles and coppeer pots. For what it’s worth–and it’s not worth a goddam thing–we the kitchen day-core might be vastly improved by simply swapping the snooze of a rug shown in listing photo with some sort of antique Turkish kilim rug.

The master suite includes a good-sized bedroom with fireplace with granite surround, wood floors, two sets of French doors that lead to a private view deck, and two custom-fitted walk in closets, one with glass fronted shoe cabinets for displaying the Brian Atwoods and Jimmy Choos. The large but lackluster attached crapper has a lot of beige tile work, two sinks, separate shower and jetted tub and a wide-window with tree-top view.

A short stair connects a small lower level deck along the back of the house to an entertainment and lounging deck built around a narrow tree trunk. Additional features that a potential buyer might find enticing include a non-toxic paint on the walls, a finished 3-car attached garage with additional storage space, video surveillance security system, two-zone heating and cooling systems, water purification system, and an unfinished storage area that listing information suggests would make an ideal studio, gym or media room.

listing photos: Re/Max Execs

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hank Azaria Downsizes in Los Angeles

BUYER: Hank Azaria
SELLER: Dan Castellaneta and Deb Lacusta
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $5,500,000
SIZE: 4,415 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathroomsYOUR MAMAS NOTES: Multi-talented actor/producer Hank Azaria has been on the Hollywood hamster wheel for a very long time. His scads of starring and recurring roles on both the boob-toob (Huff, Friends, Mad About You) and silver screen (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Birdcage) have earned him oodles of respect and accolades among fans and other industry denizens. He is, however, probably best known (and paid most) for the voice over work he’s done since the late 1980s on the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons. His comedic talents and long-term showbiz success have allowed him to build up an impressive portfolio of posh properties in Los Angeles and New York City.

In March 2009, with a bun in his lady-friend Katie Wright’s oven, Mister Azaria splashed out a very a-list $10,000,000 for an 8,434 square foot mansion at the tail end of an exclusive cul-de-sac. Although the property hovers over the parking lot at the extremely hoity-toity Bel Air Country Club in Los Angeles, the children can be assured it sits well elevated enough to have a distant but de-lovely vista of the Pacific Ocean during the day and a sparkling view of the glittering carpet of lights of Los Angeles at night.

The actor and his baby momma hired talented and much-published decorator du jour Trip Haenisch to work over the traditional interior spaces. Mister Haenisch, for those who like their celebrity decorators cross referenced, recently re-worked the chic mid-century Malibu compound owned by Courtney Cox that recently appeared in the pages of Elle Decor.

Mister Azaria’s Bel Air mansion includes 7 bedrooms 10 bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, a barn-sized family room with a pair of sofas upholstered in teddy bear fur, a substantial home gym, screening room and an office where Mister Azaria keeps his quartet of Emmys and a poker table surrounded by Eames-designed office chairs. Magazine readers will recall that Mister Azaria’s meticulously done Monterey Colonial-style mansion was just featured in the August (2011) issue of Architectural Digest and y’all know what the say about celebrity homes that appear in the gleaming pages of Arch Digest, right?

Well, dontcha know pets, a few weeks ago, just days after the August issue of A.D. landed in our mail box, Your Mama’s bedazzled and bedraggled princess phone started to clang-a-langa-lang. On the other end was a chatty real estate insider pal we’ll call Peter Peckerwood (of the north of Sunset Peckerwoods) who snitched that Mister Azaria was very quietly in the process of selling his big ol’ Bel Air mansion and purchasing the much smaller Pacific Palisades residence of The Simpsons cast mate Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson) and his wife Deb Lacusta who has herself penned a number of episodes of The Simpsons.

Property records for the sale of Mister Azaria’s Bel Air mansion have yet to clear but, according to the usually impeccably informed Mister Peckerwood, Mister Azaria has done sold the posh property to a friend who couldn’t resist making an offer that Mister Azaria could not refuse.

Mister Castellaneta and Miz Lacusta’s part of this real estate tale starts in 2006 when, according to Mister Peckerwood, they went a-huntin’ for the perfect contemporary house. Not having found something more modern to their liking, in December 2006 they settled on a charming 4,415 square foot mock-Tudor mini-mansion in the quietly ritzy Riviera area of Pacific Palisades. They paid, as per property records, $5,750,000 for the well-preserved pad that was, according to listing information, designed by architect Gerard Colcord and built in 1928.

A little over four years later Mister Castellaneta and Miz Lacusta stumbled across their contemporary dream house–oddly enough located just a couple short blocks from their Colcord-designed crib–and in April 2011 they coughed up $5,700,000 to purchase the 5 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom property. The following month they heaved their 4 bedroom and 3.5 crapper Colcord-designed digs on the market with a $5,750,000 price tag.

Along comes Mister Azaria and Baby Momma Katie who must have desired a real estate downsize and, according to Redfin, paid his fellow Simpsons cast mate $5,500,000 for the smaller and less glitzy but still atrociously expensive residence in the Riviera ‘hood. Why did Mister Azaria opt for a new house almost half the size of this celebrity-style pad in Bel Air? We don’t know, so don’t anybody take the bother or breath to ask.
In addition to his new house in Pacific Palisades, Mister Azaria owns two additional homes in Los Angeles. In 1992 he paid $390,000 for a house in the Hollywood Dell neighborhood that he still owns and rents out. November 1996 he paid $285,000 for a property deep in one of the canyons that cut into the mountains behind Beverly Hills. The secluded Bev Hills hideaway (above) briefly appeared on the market last year with an asking price of $3,600,000. It was also listed for lease at $11,000 per month and online listing information Your Mama persuaded out of the interweb shows it went for $9,000 per month.

The stage-trained actor–who went to drama school and remains poker-playing BFFs with Oliver Platt who currently c0-stars with the dee-voon Laura Linney on The Big C–bought a large loft in a quintessential cast-iron building from the late 1800s in New York City’s SoHo ‘hood in July 2005 from famous artist/photographer Cindy Sherman. The peeps at Property Shark (and reports from the time) reveal that Mister Azaria bought the 4,000-ish square foot loft condo in the heart of the maddening tourist-filled SoHo shopping mecca for $4,625,000.

In late July it was reported on Curbed that Mister Azaria had (somewhat reluctantly) put his New York City loft on the rental market with an monthly price tag of $16,000. Listing information for the oddly-configured loft shows it contains 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, a 70-foot long entrance gallery, an almost 700 square foot living room and a windowless media room with exposed brick wall. One entire corner of the loft is given over to a professional quality gym because, apparently, Mister Azaria is mad-serious about the condition of his body.

The eat-in kitchen has an old-timey tin ceiling, black tile floors, urban-country type white Shaker-style cabinetry, butcher block counter tops and high grade stainless steel appliances. A perusal of the floor plan included with marketing materials reveals the loft has a terribly long list of awkward architectural moments–an essentially windowless bedroom, way too much space devoted to a gym–but none perhaps more pearl-clutching worthy that the kitchen windows that look into an otherwise private windowed corridor that connects the master bedroom to the master bathroom. Admittedly we like the un-decorated put your feet on the sofa vibe of the media room and main living space but the floor plan, puppies, has Your Mama needed a nerve pill and a handful of jelly beans.

listing photos: (Pacific Palisades): Sotheby’s International Realty
listing photos (Beverly Hills): Prudential
listing photos and floor plan (New York City): Stribling

Posted by Your Mama

Feed The Children:

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Red Curry-Glazed Salmon and Bok Choy and Pineapple Slaw [#seafood, #recipes, #quickanddecadent]

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Red Curry-Glazed Salmon

by Real Simple

Red Curry-Glazed Salmon and Bok Choy and Pineapple SlawSang An

Read Reviews or Write Your Own
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 15m



  1. Heat broiler. Place the salmon on a foil-lined broilerproof baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, oil, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Dividing evenly, brush the salmon with the curry paste mixture.
  2. Broil until the salmon is opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes

Bok Choy and Pineapple Slaw

Read Reviews or Write Your Own
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 30m



  1. In a medium bowl, toss the bok choy, pineapple, and cilantro with the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Tags: #seafood, #recipes, #quickanddecadent

OPULUXELtd.com                      LIFESTYLE===}}{{=== DESIGN

Opuluxe Lifestyle Design™ Fashion Trend Alert: The All-In-1 Color Blocking Style Guide

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The 411 on Color Blocking

By Danielle | Bitchie Life

FOLLOW ~Danielle
@StyleNBeautyDoc on Twitter

Though it’s been done already for years and years, color-blocking is back in a BIG way this season. But what is it and how do you pull it off exactly?

I was hoping you’d ask that!

If you love color and have many bright hues in your wardrobe, color-blocking is a way of getting more bang for your buck by combining colors you may not immediately pair together. Though the shades aren’t what you would think of pairing together first, there is a rhyme and reason toward choosing them. First, grab a color wheel and then follow these steps:

1. Colors directly next to each other (i.e. yellow and yellow-orange; yellow and yellow-green; violet and blue-violet, etc.)
2. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and violet-red; green and orange, etc.)
3. Colors directly across from each other (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange; red and green, etc.)
4. Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
5. Colors that form an X (i.e. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow, violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)

Since brown is a neutral, it will go with virtually any color on the color wheel. I love to pair a chocolate brown with cobalt blue or fuchsia or bright red—such a fun and bold combo. Of course white, black, and the hues of blue found in denim are also neutrals that go with just about anything.

Colors that are a part of a “color family” also apply. So for instance, you can substitute pink with red and still be able to pull off the combos based on the color wheel (i.e. we see that blue and red form a right angle with each other–then in Elise Neal’s outfit she wore fuchsia and cobalt blue).

You can also use the color wheel when coming up with color combinations for your makeup. It can help you decide which makeup color to wear so that you don’t match your eyeshadow with your outfit. Check out how Rihanna paired gorgeous purple eyeshadow with her red frock:

And that’s how it’s done. Will you be rocking the color blocking trend this season?

@StyleNBeautyDoc on Twitter
Find a dress with blocking built in: This season we’ve found quite a few dresses with the color blocking mixed in. It can’t get easier than that! Check out this Diane von Furstenberg Reara Two-Tone Dress: [VyneWorld]

Steven Meisel / Courtesy of Prada

Steven Meisel / Courtesy of Prada

Gucci Spring Runway
The Fast Life of Dominque Francon
Kanye West
Kerry Washington
Lil Kim in Miami


Redhead Beauty a la Steven Meisel

Aaaaah the colors, the grass, the readheads!! A fabulous and very Alice in Wonderland editorial photographed by Steven Meisel as originally published in VOGUE Italia 2004.
Courtesy of FGR


Color Block Tool, Rectangular Crops, My Home changes, oh my!

Dear Polyvore Community,
We have some exciting new updates for you today!


Introducing the Color Block Tool by Polyvore featuring a multicolor necklace

Color Block Tool
There’s a new tool in the editor that lets you spice up your sets with colored blocks! Just click the “Colors” option to see popular palettes, like grays, earth tones, and brights. Drag a color block to the canvas, resize it, rotate it, and use it to build cool backgrounds, frames, and fillers. As you add items to your set, we’ll automatically suggest additional colors that complement your set. You can also search for keywords like “water” and “love”, which will return popular colors from ColourLovers that are associated with those themes. We hope this will be helpful for those of you who have already been clipping images of colored rectangles to use as backgrounds. Unlike clipped images, you can resize these blocks in all directions to create rectangular shapes without using the custom background tool.


Something that has really caught my attention this season is colour blocking trend. It is not a new trend as such but is definitely back with a big bang. Here I try to decode the trend and give my two cents on it. Since it’s the first of it kinds article from my side, I hope it makes a fun read.

color blocking trend Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

Time for some gyaan, please bear . smile Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

What is the colour blocking / Color Block?

Colour block fashion is one of the hottest new trends for the season. It combines the use of two or more blocks of colour in an ensemble. This could be for a top, bottom, tunic, a dress and even a handbag or shoes. Simply it means – creating an outfit by putting areas or blocks of solid color next to each other. It can include monotone, bright colours, muted colors, contrasting and complimentary colors. Clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories can all feature color block designs or can make up different blocks of color to be put together for a color block outfit.

color blocking trend 1 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

The famous Lady Dior bag also follows the trend and a Marc Jacobs color blocked bag –

color blocking trend 6 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

Color Blocked Jewellery –

color blocking trend 5 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

And of course color blocked makeup biggrin girl Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

color blocking trend 7 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

Color  blocking Trend 2011-2012The Nail Color Blocking Trend 2011-2012 via Trend Bloger

How do you bring to this new trend on your nails?

I started working with the polish ‘Rock Baroque’ Yves Saint Laurent. I must admit that it takes some concentration and practice but the following tips will certainly succeed!

What you need:
– Nail file
– File to the surface of your nail polish
– Basecoat (usually with a French manicure colorless)
– A colored nail polish on the line
– A pink nail polish
– Swab
– Nail Polish Remover

How do you go:
1. File your nails into a square shape
2. Apply a basecoat to
3. Bring the pink nail polish
4. Draw a line of about 4 mm with a different color nail polish
5. Remove the excess polish off with a cotton swab
6. Apply a top coat

And to test your guts, color blocked hair – biggrin girl Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

color blocking trend 3 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

Coming back –

Why do you need to be careful while following the color block trend?
Since they often involve the use of bright colours or many different colours together, it is easy to go wrong with it. The best way to pair colour block trends whether it’s for shoes, a tunic or a top is with other basic colours such as black, white, brown and gray. This way your colour block will pop out more and look more polished.

Why should you do the trend?
If you have been lapping up fashion news regularly, you will know how horribly ‘in’ it is. And if you still need another convincing reason to wear the trend. Here’s it – Use it to hide flaws of your body. I have your full attention now, don’t I? Women after all. razz Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert
So what I was saying is, use it to hide flaws, as we all know dark colours have a slimming effect, so colour-block the winter paunch or those baby fatty arms with dark shades and keep the rest of your outfit light coloured. It really works.

Basically this is how it will work for your body –
A darker column of color down the torso will have a slimming effect and can easily be created by wearing a colored cardigan, jacket or blouse worn open. Generally a color blocked outfit will work best if you stick to the usual rules for your body shape. If you are pear shaped, opt for darker colors on the bottom half. If you are apple shaped avoid horizontal blocks of color around the stomach area but highlight legs with color blocks created by brightly colored tights. If you are hourglass, a color block around the waist is a great way of highlighting it and drawing attention to you womanly figure.

color blocking trend 4 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

Just keep in mind the following points while wearing color blocks-

  • Don’t be shy to experiment. Any color combination is fantastic if you can pull it off properly. Blue, green and orange sounds mad but will look oh-so-pretty.
  • Do not combine more than three to four colors. It’s not that it doesn’t look nice, but it looks very ‘ramp’ish. Moreover more colors will keep cutting your body shape here and there making it a not so beautiful sight.
  • Choose what you want to color block and keep the rest of your look simple. For example, if you opt for a colorblocked bag, go easy on the clothes and shoes. You don’t want to look like a Rubik cube, do you??
  • Never ever ever combine two color blocked items. This is the worst thing to do to this trend. No actually you can, its just that you will end up looking like the latest catalogue of Asian paints. :evilgrin:

color blocking trend 2 Color Block Fashion: Trend Alert

In my opinion it is really fun trend to sport this summer. Firstly it gives us the opportunity to pair colors which we won’t dare to combine together otherwise. Secondly what are summers without cheerful bright colors?? Gone is the season of muted warm shades. Its time to paint the town in all colors possible.

So, go on and have fun blocking colors. Do let us know how you plan to wear it.
Stay stylish. :*

Image Source 1, 2


Summer 2011 Trends: Color Blocking

by Claire | FashionBombDaily

As seen at: Gucci, Jil Sander, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Rachel Roy, Z Spoke, Prada, and Diane von Furstenberg.

Left to Right: Jil Sander, Diane von Furstenberg, Rachel Roy Spring/Summer 2011
Left to Right: Z Spoke, Gucci, Prada Spring/Summer 2011

How You Wear it
Whip out that color wheel and get to coordinating! You can cop the trend by mixing solid colors or patterned prints. Have fun! Pair fuchsia with turquoise, blue with yellow, and plum with tangerine.

Take out some of the guesswork by purchasing pieces that already incorporate the trend:



Stylish Trend: Color Blocking

by Stylista Confessions

The hottest trend right now in my opinion is color blocking. While this may not be a new trend, it is definitely coming back in a big way! From clothing to accessories to even beauty, color blocking seems to be everywhere and I definitely am loving it more and more! You can create an entire outfit mixing and matching different colors and look like you just stepped out of a fashion magazine, which is definitely a stylish plus! I thought I would share some of my favorite color block looks from all different aspects including fashion, beauty, and home decor! Happy Friday!

from left to right: Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly, Elle Magazine Spread, ALDO necklace, ASOS Leather Tote, Jessica Simpson heels
from left to right: Martha Stewart colored frames, nails via It’s Because I Think Too Much, color blocking bookshelves, nails
Have a stylish weekend!
So until next time… Live Stylishly


Color Block Trend | Spring 2011

Posted by Melanie | OSoChic

When you think of the color block trend, the 80s and early 90s come to mind. My mom had a black, lime green & fuchsia colorblock dress and it was pretty fab. Fast forward a few decades and colorblock is back in style. As evidenced by the Spring 2011 runways, bright, color blocked pieces are one of the top trends for spring/summer 2011.

Spring 2011: Marc Jacobs, Etro, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Aquilano.Rimondi

To get the color block effect, you can buy pieces that are already colorblocked or you can improvise. For the DIY color-block effect, go through your closets or buy solid color pieces that can be mixed and matched. If a color block outfit isn’t your cup of tea, experiment with color blocking in your accessories. A color blocked bag or pair of shoes will add a je ne sais quoi to your look.

While brights are the most popular color blocking option, color block is not limited to bright hues. This season, there is a large selection of color blocked clothes and accessories in neutral, muted tones.

Dabble in the color block trend with these clothes, shoes and bags!

Color Block Trend Clothes

(clockwise from left) Marc by Marc Jacobs Color-Block Silk Crepe Dress, $598 (Nordstrom); Cooperative Tie-Back Top, $49 (Urban Outfitters); Colorblock Bodycon Dress, $15.80 (Forever 21); Marc by Marc Jacobs Splashed Colorblock Jersey Tank, $128 (Shopbop); Belted Paperbag Waist Skirt, $70 (Topshop); Cooperative Colorblock Short, $54 (Urban Outfitters); Morgan Low-Rise Skinny Jeans, $9.99 (Delias); Colorblock Stripe Skirt, $7.80 (Forever 21)
Color Block Trend Shoes

(clockwise from center) Jessica Simpson “Bendie” Platform Sandals, $98 (FlyJane); Sam Edelman “Westbrook” Wedge, $209 (Boutiquetoyou); Jessica Simpson “Vadio” Platform Pumps, $98 (Amazon); KG by Jurt Geiger “Carrington” Patent Platforms, $197.23 (ASOS); Iveans Wedge Sandals, $90 (ALDO);

Color Block Trend Bags

Boxy Flat Lock Clutch, $35.86 (ASOS); Modern Cargo Checkbook Clutch, $55 (Fossil); Rebecca Minkoff Colorblock “Bombe Mac” Clutch, $330 (Bloomingdales); Peter Jensen Red Front “Angela” Bag, $374.74 (ASOS)

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How to Embrace the Color Blocking Trend

by post signature

I believe glamour isn’t about your looks or the size of your bank account, but it’s a way of life and I’m constantly looking for ways to make my life more fun, exciting and glamorous! I hope you enjoy what you read and see here and if you do that you’ll tell your friends!

1. Jill Sander Spring 2011 RTW, 2. Louis Vuitton Spring 2011 RTW, 3. Gucci Spring 2011 RTW
Photos from www.style.com
Color blocking is a big trend for spring and summer as seen all over the Spring 2011 Ready to Wear runways! I suspect it will carry on right through the fall and winter months too! I’m not at all surprised, since many of us have been doing very basic color blocking ever since tights replaced panty hose as the main staple of winter fashion! Every time you throw on a blue shift with black tights, you’re color blocking on a minor scale and you may have never known it!
Classic old school color blocking is coming back and it’s bigger and brighter than ever! This trend is so simple, when aware of a few simple rules and it can be embraced on any budget, no matter how small! If you regularly have solid color separates in your wardrobe, it may not be necessary for you to spend any money at all to rock this trend!
Here are a few small rules to help make this trend oh so easy:
1. Keep textures to a minimum when color blocking. Too many colors alongside big ruffles, sequins or other textures might be just too much going on. If you must wear something textural, wear it on top.
2. For my taste, gold jewelry and accents are key to this trend. Color blocking just looks better with gold than it does with silver, though fashion is all about taking risks so it’s your choice.
3. If you’re not adventurous, or swear you look bad in color, try doing this trend with black & white, black & camel or camel & white.
4. If you’re worried about a color flushing you out, wear that color on the bottom with shoes or pants and choose a more flattering color, black or white for the top.
5. Unless the combo is fairly simple (i.e. only 2 colors) keep jewelry and accessories simple. However, with the right look, this is a good chance to wear the funky jewelry you’ve been splurging on all year! Big turquoise jewelry or any other bold color will look especially fabulous with black & white or white & camel combos.
6. When wearing colored shoes as part of the ensemble, find shoes that are as rich in color as possible. This often has to do with the material they are made of. I find that suede and patent leather tend to be more vibrant than other materials and work best for this trend.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? If you’re unsure of this trend, go simple. Invest in one of the many pieces available in stores right now that are already color blocked and pair with basics and simple jewelry. You don’t have to be outlandish to wear this trend. The look below pairs a color blocked red & black top with all black and gold basics and a pair of red sunnies. Simple, right?
Warehouse, Miso, Dorothy Perkins, Dorothy Perkins

If you’re a little more adventurous, but still unsure go for a 3 color look using black, white and a bright color. Still not too bold or difficult, but a little more fun! I think this is super chic and always appropriate! The ensemble below pairs classic black, white and yellow! Mix it up even further by wearing bright shoes and carrying a white clutch.

Jon Richard, Illesteva, Fiorelli, Tommy Hilfiger

For those who feel even more adventurous, the next look is super easy to put together. I have paired 3 colors using a bright turquoise pair of shorts with a white top and accessorizing with all yellow.

Adam, Ben de Lisi, Wallis, Monsoon, Carvela

Nude shoes are HUGE for spring and summer and they work so well with a lot of color blocking looks! This next look is super easy as well. Go for 2 colors, using one bold color like red and one lighter color like a pale yellow. Accessorize with nude shoes and gold jewelry, but don’t be afraid of bright colored shades or a fun bag!

Monsoon, All Saints, Kurt Geiger, Halston

Bold on bold is not for the faint of heart! I think it can be difficult to pull off without looking like you’re wearing a costume from Punky Brewster or Breakin II: Electric Boogaloo. However, this look can be super cute and fun for spring or summer. Pick 2 bold colors that compliment each other or are in the same family and mix it up. I would suggest green/orange, blue/red, yellow/blue or tuquoise/orange. The following works well too, using fuschia and purple and it’s toned down a little by using different shades of the 2 colors. Notice the pants and scarf are a little lighter than the earrings or the shoes. Another way to break up the brightness would be to take a cue from Gucci Spring 2011 RTW and use gold as a separator with shoes, wide belts and jewelry.

New Look, Monsoon, Peacocks, Karen Millen

For the extreme fashion forward, go all out! I recommend sticking to colors that are either true jewel tones or pastels, but not mixing the two when using this many shades. It’s important that all the colors look like they came from the same section of the crayon box. When going this drastic with color blocking, it is definitely wise to keep your jewelry very small and basic. It’s also important that the pieces you use are basic separates! The colors have enough going on, so having ruffles, embroidery or too much detailing of any kind would be extremely distracting and over the top.

Ted Baker, Jon Richard, Crumpet, Carvela, Whyred

I am super obsessed with this look! I’ve already invested in a bright orange bag and a pair of coral ballet flats for the spring! I’m on the look out for some bright trousers, shorts and skirts as well and I’m dying for heels in bright blue and some bright yellow espadrilles!

What do you think? Will you be color blocking this spring?
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Color Blocking: Trend for Spring/Summer 2011

By HelloBella| MyHelloBella

I have incorporated a few photos to express how color blocking should look:

By HelloBella| MyHelloBella

color blocking: louboutins

color blocking: louboutins by bellezayuuup featuring tahitian pearl earrings

Christian Louboutin platform high heels
$995 – net-a-porter.com
Cacharel flower clutch
175 GBP – glassworks-studios.com
Mimco tahitian pearl earring
35 GBP – houseoffraser.co.uk

Perfect for a club appearance or even an event.

Color Blocking Made Simple

By HelloBella | MyHelloBella
color blocking made simple

color blocking made simple by bellezayuuup featuring skinny leg jeans

IRO suede top
$137 – theoutnet.com
Rag & Bone skinny leg jeans
$155 – net-a-porter.com
Jeffrey Campbell summer boot
298 EUR – jades24.com
Straw hat
$70 – reissonline.com

Ray Ban folding wayfarer sunglass

twitter.com/cocochristelle Facebook

My name is Christelle Blanche and I am an aspiring celebrity wardobe stylist/PR. I am attending Miami Int’l Univ of Art & Design in Downtown Miami, FL and studying Fashion Merchandising. I will be graduating in 2012. I have very strong networking and social skills which will get me very far in the industry. I am currently interning as a creative stylist for thewebstermami.com, for more inquiries email me at: cblanche809@gmail.com

Color Blocking
Color Blocking by Ciao Vogue featuring christian louboutin heels

Splendid racerback tank top
$25 – net-a-porter.com

Steven Alan silk blazer
$229 – stevenalan.com

Cacharel cotton shorts
84 – matchesfashion.com

Gold bracelet
$45 – fantasyjewelrybox.com

MNG by Mango oval ring
$20 – jcpenney.com

Kendra Scott hook earrings
$52 – zappos.com

Wrap necklace
$14 – topshop.com

Madewell vintage glass shades
$154 – madewell.com

Rag Bone leather wrap belt
$105 – lagarconne.com

Fatboy Original Fatboy
$239 – designpublic.com
Color Blocking like YEAH!
Color Blocking like YEAH! by Chellibeans featuring a color block dress


Diane von Furstenberg colorblock dress
229 – matchesfashion.com

Color block dress
$70 – goddiva.co.uk

Cross back dress

Color block dress
$30 – 2cute2trendy.com

Bailey 44 color block dress
$190 – stylebop.com

Reiss bodycon dress
179 – johnlewis.com

Wedge high heels
$1,095 – giuseppezanottidesign.com

Butter shoes
$319 – endless.com

Dorothy Perkins nude shoes
38 – dorothyperkins.com

Miu Miu high heel sandals
$472 – bergdorfgoodman.com

Dsquared suede sandals
$365 – endless.com

Zara peep toe shoes
$100 – zara.com

Lanvin leather shoulder handbag
$2,185 – net-a-porter.com

Leather clutch
$36 – senseofashion.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors leather clutch
$178 – michaelkors.com

Heidi Mottram clutch handbag
$254 – boutique1.com

Mar Y Sol raffia handbag
75 – fashion-conscience.com

Magid clutch bag
$52 – endless.com

Tags: #fashiontrends, #colorblocking, #elle, #neoprep, #interiordesign, #nails, #bitchielife, #pinkjulep,#osochic, #vyneworld, #fashionbombdaily, #polyvore, #myhellobella,

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Anna Wintour Gets Run Through The “Sketchy” Rumour Mill by Talented Illustrator Lisa Hanawalt via [TheHairPin]

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Rumors I’ve Heard About Anna Wintour

By Lisa Hanawalt | The Hair Pin

Lisa Hanawalt lives in Brooklyn and does illustrations + funnies for publications like the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Vice, and Chronicle Books. She’s best known for her comic book series I Want You.

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10 Luxury Dog Gift Ideas

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10 Dumb Luxury Items For Your Beloved Dog


Diamond Dog Collar

You know what dogs really need? A bowl of dog food that makes its own gravy. A tennis ball to slobber on. Some shots to keep the worms away. But most of all, the one thing dogs need is constant love.

You know what dogs don’t need? Everything on this list of dumb luxury items for your pooch.

Yes, all of these ridiculous bowwow baubles are real. And yes, all of these canine luxuries will be used as fodder to incite the coming revolution. Dogs are not fashion accessories, and if you’re decking Fido out in frivolous finery, then you are dumb. Also: you’re either rich or bellybutton-deep in credit card debt. But mostly dumb. Read more…

Dumb as a Blog: A Daily Digest of the Dumbest Stuff People Do.Adorableoliver
You know what dogs really need? A bowl of dog food that makes its own gravy. A tennis ball to slobber on. Some shots to keep the worms away. But most of all, the one thing dogs need is constant love.You know what dogs don’t need? Everything on this list of dumb luxury items for your pooch.Yes, all of these ridiculous bowwow baubles are real. And yes, all of these canine luxuries will be used as fodder to incite the coming revolution. Dogs are not fashion accessories, and if you’re decking Fido out in frivolous finery, then you are dumb. Also: you’re either rich or bellybutton-deep in credit card debt. But mostly dumb.1.) La Jeune Tulipe Diamond Dog Collar

Diamonds are forever, which is why it is essential that your pet is outfitted in $150,000 worth of forever.  It’s perfect for showing off at the dog park… and later getting mugged at the very same park.

Price: $150,000


2.) Neuticles

Just because your best friend lost his two best friends doesn’t mean he can’t strut through the dog park with pride… thanks to testicle implants.  That’s right. Testicle implants. For dogs.  Made from FDA-grade silicone, just like what the movie stars use! They’re available in sizes ranging from petite to X-Large (with the option to customize them to XXX-Large). And, to use their term it’s like nothing ever changed.

Price: Up to $599, though custom sizes are available!


3.) Louis Vuitton Dog Carrier

A favorite with celebutants and other self-aware types, this Louis Vuitton carrier is perfect for toting around your most precious possession – your tiny, inbred teacup terrier.  LV, as those in the know like to call it, makes a special effort to point out that this pet carrier is both water and scratch-resistant… Because, like diamonds, urine stains are forever.

Price: $2490


4.) Rainbow or Natural Feather Hair Extensions For Your Dog

Is this fad over yet?  No?  Well, now you can show off to the world that your dog has terrible taste in hair weaves too.

Price: $25

5.) The Earl Station Aspen Dog House

Jesus, just let the little guy inside.  It’s raining.  You can steam clean your Persian rugs later.

Price: $3092.95 (with optional climate control and canine cooler)

6.) Dog Mink Coat

Though most dogs have beautiful coats of their own, it is sometimes necessary to dress them up for especially cold days.  And thankfully someone has finally realized that some dogs deserve more than a fleece jacket.

Price: $45


7.) Cabana Carousel Canopy Dog Bed

Is your little puppy a princess?  Is she?  I bet she is!  And where do little princesses sleep?  Why a canopied gold dog bed, of course.  Show off your little rat and your excellent taste in animal furniture with this needed addition to your home.

Price: $1999 (Available in gold and white fabric)

Bell Of The Ball Gold Formal Dog Dress

8.) Emma Rose Formal Dog Dress

I guess if you’re going to bring your dog to formal occasions, she really should have the proper attire – I mean what would people think?  Created by a bridal designer, this gown is perfect for weddings, afternoon brunches or lying around on a GOLD CANOPY BED.

Price: $189

9.) Dog Bridal Gown

If the gold gown was nice but not wedding-appropriate, may we suggest this monstrosity?  Just make sure that it’s your dog getting married, because it is rather déclassé to upstage the bride by wearing white on her big day.

Price: $125

10.) Puppy Leg Warmers

Let’s be honest… you don’t want your bitch to look fat in those gowns you’re buying her.  Nor do you want her legs to get cold when doing Jazzercize or jogging in the park.  This just a solid, sound investment in animal apparel.

Price: $25.00

Lizz Westman lives in Portland with her adopted beagle-lab mix, Oliver.  Oliver recently got a $19 carpet from IKEA so that he can rest comfortably while she writes content for TruTV. 

The Worldwide Leader in Dumb. Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook.

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An Unannounced Visit Into The OVERCROWDED Minds of Hoarders

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The Psychology of Hoarders

Posted by Adam Tod Brown for The Smoking Jacket

Just about everyone has seen the various reality shows documenting people’s problems with hoarding. Or maybe you just know someone who has a ton of junk laying around the house and you’re worried that they’re heading for an appearance on one of those shows. Either way, you’ve probably wondered exactly what the hell is going through the head of a person who hoards.


This fascinating infographic has the answers.
Psychology of Hoarding Infographic
Source: Psychology Degree


Hoarders: Andrew

1 min – Dec 13, 2010
Andrew and Matt are clearing up his yard when Andrew comes across a set of plates that have been outside for some time. Andrew

Hoarders: Hanna

Apr 7, 2011
Hanna sits with Dr. Zasio and Matt to sort boxes of canned food. Some of the food is over 30 years old and the cans are heavily

Hoarders: Mary Lynn

2 min – Oct 25, 2010
Geralin discusses Mary Lynn s shopping and spending habits. Mary Lynn has justified her excessive purchasing by considering it to

Hoarders: Claudie

44 min – Jun 6, 2011 – Season 2 – Episode 13 – Claudie
This family of 14 was the Brady Bunch of the block–until mother Claudie’s hoarding tore the family apart and turned them all into the pariahs

6 Celebrity Hoarders

By Ami Angelowicz for The Frisky

6 Celebrity HoardersSplash News

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, better known as the White House party crashers cum “The Real Housewives of DC” cast members, may be hiding a very dirty secret. According to a former employee, they may have a hoarding issue. “[Their home] was almost like a hoarder’s house, with paper stacked up everywhere. There was also dog hair and dead bugs that seemed to be all over the floor—and old food would be sitting on the stove for weeks!” revealed the former personal assistant to the couple. As a person who has watched every episode of “Hoarders,” I would say that if these accusations are true, the Salahis are most definitely in the club. It doesn’t really surprise me either—something just ain’t right there. [Celebitchy]

On the laundry list of Lindsay Lohan’s problems is her compulsive hoarding issue. Luckily, Niecy Nash intervened.

6 Celebrity HoardersSplash News
I think owning 17 dogs qualifies Paris Hilton as a pet hoarder. [Examiner]
6 Celebrity HoardersSplash News
Maybe a hoarding problem was partially to blame for the end of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt’s marriage. Some pics of the inside of their house scared us more than Heidi’s new face. [Pop on the Pop]
6 Celebrity HoardersSplash News
“Friends” star Lisa Kudrow has publicly acknowledged her hoarding problem. She’s into keeping old documents, faxes, and day planners … like from the ‘80s. Yikes. [Perez Hilton]
6 Celebrity HoardersSplash News
Mariah Carey has been rumored to collect (read as: hoard) lingerie, perfume bottles, and all things feminine. [E Music]


  1. We admitted we were powerless over clutter — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt this material does not mean that AA is affiliated with this program. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only — use of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in connection with these programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise.

Copyright © 1989 – 2010 by Clutterers Anonymous World Service Organization.
All Rights Reserved.


Children of Hoarders on Leaving the Cluttered Nest

Stacy Sodolak for The New York Times

Holly Sabiston said that her home in Austin, Tex., fluctuates between neat and “über neat.”

By | N.Y.T.
JESSIE SHOLL’S West Village apartment is a rent-stabilized fifth-floor walk-up, three small rooms and a sleeping loft where she and her husband, both writers, have lived for seven years. Perfect-storm conditions for clutter. But Ms. Sholl, a petite, pale-skinned woman of 42, keeps things tidy with routine “purges.” Even of objects she likes.

“I should get rid of this,” she said on a recent afternoon, pointing to a chicken sitting on top of a bookshelf, handmade by an artist out of recycled shower curtains. “It serves no purpose.”

Two minutes earlier she had been admiring its colorful plumes.

She laughed. “It’s a little pathological, I admit.”

If Ms. Sholl is overly zealous in her approach to housekeeping, one can understand why after reading her recently published memoir, “Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding.” The parent Ms. Sholl describes is a woman whose cluttered living room inexplicably contains five sewing machines and at least eight pairs of moldy cowboy boots. She is someone who buys too much and doesn’t throw anything away, even as the stuff piles up and impedes normal life — the textbook definition of a hoarder.

In dealing with her mother’s home in Minneapolis, Ms. Sholl has spent much of her life alternating between feeling shame about its squalid condition and attempting to rid it of the books, scraps of paper, empty food cartons and thrift-store tchotchkes littering every available surface.

When she learned that her mother had cancer, in 2006, Ms. Sholl flew out for one last-ditch cleanup attempt, an effort that inspired “Dirty Secret.” “The stove was piled feet-high with dirty pans,” Ms. Sholl said. “It gnawed at me that she was living that way.”

Many children of hoarders know the feeling. Even as scientists study the cognitive activity that accompanies the disorder and television shows like TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” and A&E’s “Hoarders” have made it a mainstream issue, scant attention has been paid to how hoarding affects families of the afflicted, especially their children. Most are left to their own devices to make sense of growing up in homes where friends and relatives are unable to visit, with parents who seem to value inanimate objects more than the animate ones navigating the goat paths through the clutter.

Randy O. Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College, has been studying hoarders for two decades and is an author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” Children of hoarders, he noted, often display a tortured ambivalence toward their parents, perhaps because unlike spouses or friends of hoarders, they had little choice but to live amid the junk.

“They grew up in this difficult environment and naturally came to resent it,” Dr. Frost said. “But at the same time, these are your parents and you have to not only respect and love but take care of them. What happens when they get old?”

NOT surprisingly, there are a number of online support groups and blogs devoted to children of hoarders, including Hoarder’s Son and Behind the Door. The most popular, Children of Hoarders, maintains an online forum where members trade strategies for helping parents, discuss issues like “doorbell dread” (more on that later) and share stories. One account, posted by a woman named Tracy Schroeder, details in emotionally raw terms her mother’s death and the subsequent cleanup of the family home in Clovis, N.M., which was filled with magazines, craft supplies and dog feces.

“The COH Web site was my saving grace,” Ms. Schroeder, 42, said. “Nobody understands the weirdness of growing up this way unless they go through it.”

In high school, Ms. Schroeder said, she was a cheerleader and president of her class, but she lived in constant fear that “someone would see our house.” After her parents divorced, she strategically arranged visits with friends when she was spending weekends with her father. The college she attended was 20 minutes from her mother’s house, but she rarely visited, she said, because “I wouldn’t want to stay there, and that would cause fights.”

(Page 2 of 3)

Her reluctance to visit became a moot point when her mother eventually stopped letting her in. By the time she died, in 2006, Ms. Schroeder said, “I hadn’t been in the house for eight or nine years.”

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Adult children of hoarders like Jessie Sholl, with her husband, David Farley, often compensate by purging clutter from their homes. Their dog, Abraham Lincoln, shares their New York apartment.

She added, mournfully: “She wouldn’t let you help — that’s what’s so frustrating. She would cut you out if you brought it up.”

Ms. Sholl’s mother, Sheila Sholl, said she had the same attitude: for years she was in denial about her hoarding. “I told myself I was collecting kitschy things, and I was sure the value would go up,” she said. “I was dealing with anxiety disorders that I had as a child through this stuff. I’d walk into a room and see my stuff and feel comforted.”

As the house filled up, though, she shut down. “I never really could put effort into my environment because I felt overwhelmed by everything.”

Her daughter’s book, she said, helped her understand how hoarding affected their relationship, especially after she and her husband were divorced, and why her daughter decided to live with her father. “She had no place to be comfortable here,” Sheila Sholl said. “There was no place to sit.”

The Children of Hoarders message board often reads like a transcript of a group therapy session, but exchanges also reflect practical concerns. Some children of hoarders ask questions like, “How often do you wash bedsheets?” that reveal a lack of basic household skills.

Like others, Ms. Schroeder went through an adjustment period when she was on her own for the first time. The dorm room she lived in during her freshman year in college, she said, was a mess: “My roommate from that time still brings it up. I’ve never done that again.”

Holly Sabiston grew up outside Kansas City, Mo., with a parent who had a “junk room” that took over the house. (Her mother, Gwen Fisher, doesn’t dispute that, but prefers to see herself as someone with a cluttered house rather than a hoarder. “I don’t like the term,” she said. “I do have a lot of guilt that we didn’t have a better place,” she added, but explained that she accumulated items she thought she would use, and that money concerns kept her from tossing anything.)

Consequently, Ms. Sabiston, 42, never learned how to maintain a home, she said, so after high school she went to work for a housekeeping service, in an effort “to work it out by getting a job as a cleaning lady.”

It stands to reason that someone raised in a home marked by excessive accumulation would have a complex relationship with stuff. Some children of hoarders keep too much; others throw out everything. (Ms. Sholl can’t find her graduate school diploma; she thinks she may have tossed it during a purge.) Both responses may suggest an inability to determine the proper value of objects.

As Dr. Frost put it: “Without a role model, how can one learn what is valuable and what is not? How do you decide whether you need an empty soda bottle or a piece of junk mail?”

Ms. Sabiston now lives with her husband in a small house in Austin, Tex., that fluctuates between neat and “über neat,” she said. For years, she didn’t want much and found shopping “paralyzing,” but recently she discovered her nesting side, when she took a job as an image archivist for an architecture firm. She is currently reupholstering an Eero Saarinen chair that once sat in her paternal grandparents’ midcentury modern home, a project she describes in almost therapeutic terms.

One suspects that her lingering discomfort with shopping may be rooted in the fear of becoming a hoarder.

“I don’t think I’m in danger of getting anywhere close to my mother,” Ms. Sabiston said. “But I do still worry about it.”

It’s a reasonable concern. Preliminary evidence from research being done at Johns Hopkins University suggests that hoarding runs in families, said Jack Samuels, an associate professor in the psychiatry department. “We think there may be a genetic component,” Dr. Samuels said.

(Page 3 of 3)

Dorothy Breininger, a professional organizer and a producer of the A&E show “Hoarders,” said she had noticed that when someone was raised by a hoarder from a very early age, “there’s a likeliness they’ll want to collect.”

Stuart Isett for The New York Times

Jason Brunet said that his Seattle apartment is “somewhere in the middle” on the tidiness scale.

That may be why Jason Brunet was “reassured greatly” when he was able to downsize from a large two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom in Seattle not long ago. Mr. Brunet, 30, appeared in an especially harrowing episode of the show. His mother’s hoarding was so far gone that authorities deemed her home near New Orleans unfit for her pet dogs after Child Protective Services removed him when he was 13. He spent the remainder of his childhood living nearby with his older sister.

The episode shows him returning to his mother’s house for the first time in four years, surveying the squalor with the curiosity of an anthropologist. Standing in front of a bed heaped with junk, he informs the camera with apparent detachment: “This is like an alluvial flood plain, with layers and layers of deposits.”

His own apartment, Mr. Brunet said recently, is “somewhere in the middle” on the tidiness scale. When he moved, he added, “it was extremely easy to get rid of stuff that I didn’t need — I was relieved to learn that about myself.”

Not everyone leaves the cluttered nest behind so easily. Perhaps by living with his older sister, Mr. Brunet managed to avoid many of the hang-ups children of hoarders deal with — including the nearly universal “doorbell dread,” a term mentioned frequently on the Children of Hoarders board. It’s a response to living in an isolated home, where the hoarder is too embarrassed to entertain guests. As a result, children of hoarders tend to be uneasy hosts.

Ms. Sholl said she can’t recall anyone visiting her childhood home, something her mother confirmed. (“Somebody has to know me for 10 years before I let them in,” Sheila Sholl said.) And as an adult, “I can only think of two parties I hosted in my 20s,” Jessie Sholl said. “I didn’t like my space being viewed.” Now that she’s married, she added, her more-social husband has helped her feel comfortable inviting people over.

Marriage, however, creates its own challenges — merging one’s life and domestic habits with those of another person is an adjustment for anyone, especially someone who is the child of a hoarder. And it tends to complicate relationships when you tell a potential partner, “You can never visit my parents’ house.”

Ms. Schroeder has been married twice; neither husband ever set foot in her mother’s home. Certainly not her current spouse, who is very tidy, she said, and would have been “traumatized forever.”

Is it a coincidence that Ms. Schroeder married a neat freak?

“I wonder if I did it to have him ground me?” she mused.

Ms. Sholl’s husband, David Farley, a travel writer, has ventured inside his mother-in-law’s house. After her cancer diagnosis, he went along with Ms. Sholl to help clean. They both got scabies.

“I’ll probably never go back,” Mr. Farley said, though not bitterly. He seemed understanding of his wife’s history and said their domestic styles were for the most part compatible. The knickknacks he buys on his travels abroad, though, sometimes make her uncomfortable. As do his old baseball cards in the hall closet.

“I keep saying, ‘Sell them — let’s go to Europe’ ” with the money, Ms. Sholl said.

WHATEVER balance children of hoarders manage to find in their own homes, there is still the ancestral homestead to contend with — and the knowledge that it is filling up with more junk by the day — so long as the parent with the hoarding problem is alive. After years of pleading and arguing, children of hoarders often abandon all hope that the parent will reform.

Most therapists agree that the disorder is complex and difficult to treat. Dr. Frost noted that there had been some success with cognitive behavior therapy that “includes a combination of things: focusing on controlling the urge to acquire and learning how to break the attachment people have to things.”

Just trying to de-clutter the home doesn’t work, because “you’re dealing with the product of the behavior, not the behavior itself,” he said. “That’s what’s so frustrating to family members — they’re trying to de-clutter and it ends up being a giant argument.”

But by simply admitting her problem, Sheila Sholl has given her daughter a small measure of satisfaction that many children of hoarders desperately want but never receive.

“She has a mental illness that is really frustrating,” Jessie Sholl said. “But she doesn’t want to be a hoarder. Nobody wants to do that.”

Sheila Sholl, who is now cancer-free, said she was making an effort to buy less and keep her house tidier. Still, she said, “I’ve got all kinds of things on my table, dishes to be washed, cookbooks lying around.”

Her daughter, meanwhile, prefers not to discuss the house with her mother or to visit her there — until the day she must. “I’m not trying to sound flippant,” she said, “but when I go into that house I will definitely be wearing a hazmat suit.”

A version of this article appeared in print on May 12, 2011, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Leaving The Cluttered Nest.


Brian Stauffe

‘Dirty Secret’

Published: May 11, 2011

I take an early flight and arrive in Minneapolis in the late morning. That afternoon, my stepmom, Sandy, and I are meeting my mother at the lawyer’s office so I can sign the papers about the house. My dad and Sandy normally have limited contact with my mother, but before I left New York, Sandy called me and offered to help in any way she could; she even agreed to let my mother sign power of attorney over to her, since I live so far away. I wish I could call my brother so he could help, but that’s not an option.

When my mom arrives, Sandy and I are waiting for her in the parking lot in front of the lawyer’s office. My mom gets out of her giant rusty car and I try to ignore the fact that the back seat is piled to the ceiling with garbage bags, clothes, shoes, and God only knows what else. It’s April, and warm for a Minneapolis spring. My mother’s in one of her signature knee-length sweater-coats, the baggy black leggings she’s taken to wearing in the last few years, and a roomy pale blue T-shirt, or as she says in her lingering Boston accent, “a jersey.” Her keys hang on an orange plastic coil around her neck. Her curly hair is completely gray now—sometimes she dyes it brown or auburn—and cut in a chin-length bob, with bangs. It looks pretty decent for cutting it herself, which she always does.

“You look good, Mom,” I say, leaning down to hug her—she’s the only adult I know that I have to lean down to hug. “How are you feeling?”

“Not too bad,” my mom says and takes a sip of what I’m sure is coffee from her ever-present travel mug. Right after she called me with the news about her cancer I went online and found out that the statistics for colon cancer are good. Really good. And now, seeing how plump and healthy she looks, I’m even less worried. Then again, both of her parents died of cancer. So I’m worried, but not panicked.

“Thanks for coming, Sandy,” my mother says, sounding shy.

“Of course,” Sandy says, and squeezes my mom’s shoulder.

Inside the small office, the lawyer: blonde, pretty, and hugely pregnant, is waiting for us at the reception desk.

“Right this way,” she says, her Minnesotan vowels elongated as she adds, “How’re you guys doing?”

“Good, okay, fine,” we say, and take our seats around a conference table in a windowless room. A small stack of papers sits in front of each of us.

“Does anyone want coffee?” the lawyer asks, and my mother accepts, topping off the contents of her travel mug. My mom drinks two or three pots of coffee a day and nothing else. She hates water, which I’ve been trying to get her to drink for years. She won’t touch it. Just like the vitamins I’ve bought her, just like the leafy green vegetables I nag her about. And she’s the one who’s a nurse. She picks up her travel mug by wrapping both her tiny hands around it and takes a big sip.

I wonder what the lawyer thinks of us. She seems like the most normal of creatures; it’s hard to imagine that she’s encountered such a strange repackaging of a family. A daughter owning her mother’s house? The ex-husband’s wife holding power of attorney? Then again, maybe it doesn’t seem so strange. At thirty-seven, I have friends my age who are beginning to make choices for their aging parents. Because my mother’s and my roles were reversed early on, I probably shouldn’t be fazed by this new, official responsibility. But when I glance down at the stack of papers in front of me, it takes all my self-control to keep from jumping up and pacing.

My mother, on the other hand, appears as relaxed as I’ve ever seen her—she’s smacking her gum and sipping her coffee as happily as if she’s just found a treasure trove of misshapen wool sweaters or a bundle of dog-eared 25-cent detective novels at her favorite thrift store, Savers. I know she likes the idea of not having to be responsible for herself anymore. Like the time she called me at my dad’s when I was nine, demanding that I come up with the money to pay her outrageous water bill—since I must’ve left the hose on the last time I was there. I laughed, thinking she was joking, and she hung up on me. It turned out the bill was so high because my mother hadn’t paid it in months. But what stayed with me afterward was the relief in her voice at having come up with a “solution” before she bothered to call the water company and work out the problem herself. It was the same relief I heard in her voice the following year, when I told her I didn’t want to live with her every other week anymore, and that from then on I’d be living with my dad and Sandy full time.

The lawyer tells Sandy which papers she should sign, and explains that she should keep them in a safe if she has one.

And then it’s my turn. In one sense, it might be good for me to have the house in my name—that way I could force my mom to finally sell it and move into a condo. But the idea of that house in my name is too repellant. My hands won’t move toward the papers.

“I can’t do it,” I say, and at that moment I recognize a way out. “David and I have low-income insurance. With a house in my name we wouldn’t qualify anymore.”

I have no idea if we’d actually be disqualified—I just know I don’t want that house. I really, really, really do not want that house.

“You have to,” my mother whisper-orders, her hazel eyes opened wide.

“No I don’t. I can’t.”

The lawyer looks unfazed. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones. “How about this,” she says, and suggests we sign the papers and leave them in her office without filing them. We can file them later, she says, if it’s necessary.

“Okay,” I say, and sign them.

And just like that, my mother goes back to smacking her gum and sipping her coffee, a pleased half-smile across her face.

After the lawyer’s office, we go to a coffee shop to discuss my mother’s post-surgery plans. For about the hundredth time in the last few years, I suggest that my mother sell her house and buy a condo. Partly it’s for selfish reasons: The smaller the space, the easier it’ll be for me to clean during visits. Plus, in a condo the yard work and repairs would be taken care of.

“Helen, I think that’s a great idea,” Sandy says. “I can help you find something.”

Sandy and my dad are realtors, with their own company and a few agents who work for them; they occasionally buy a house, fix it up, and try to sell it for a profit, with my dad doing all the carpenter-type duties.

“No,” my mom says. “I’m happy in the house. I’m staying.”

“That house is way too big for you,” I say. It’s got four bedrooms and a large backyard that as far as I know hasn’t encountered a lawn mower in years. Besides, the only bathroom is on the second floor and it’s not clear if my mother will be able to climb stairs after the surgery.

“How much could I get for it?” my mother asks Sandy. As soon as she hears the answer she starts shaking her head. “I know it’s worth more! A house two blocks away sold for twice that last week!”

“I know that house, Helen—it was sold by one of my agents. No offense, but your house just isn’t in that kind of condition.”

“Should we go to Savers next?” my mom asks. “It’s ninety-nine cent day. Everything with a yellow tag.”

“Mom, are you listening? What are we going to do about your house?”

“Maybe I’ll go look at the cakes,” my mom says. “I’m in the mood for something sweet.”

She scrambles to get out of the chair, her movements clumsy and deliberate. She has the gait of someone just released from an Iron Lung, someone with equilibrium problems. At 63, she moves with the grace, agility, and speed of a 93-year-old. Or, to be fair to 93-year-olds, maybe a 103-year-old. Sandy and I watch her hobble up to the counter. She’s wearing sneakers, as always, and her already giant feet (I’ve got them too) have spread even wider after years of back-to-back nursing shifts. I try to take some deep breaths, but the frustration over my mom’s reluctance to even consider selling her house roils inside me. Not to mention the dread I feel about having to clean it. Again. I have to admit, though, there’s another part of me that’s excited—maybe this time, it’ll work. Maybe this time, it’ll stay clean.

“Are you okay?” Sandy asks me. “You must be worried about her.”

“I am.” I look down at my hands; I’m tearing my napkin into strips. “And I wish I could get her to be serious for a second.”

Right then my mom returns to the table, empty handed.

“Oh, Jessie,” she says, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll buy a van, one of those step vans!”

“What’s a step van?” I ask.

“One of those vans that you step into! I’ll buy one and I’ll drive it to Florida.”

“And then?” I ask. My mother is a terrifyingly slow driver. I’ve walked a mile in a Minnesota winter rather than drive somewhere with her. And even in a normal car she requires two phone books to see over the dash. There’s no way she can drive across the country in a van by herself.

“And then I’ll live in the van,” she says.

“Mom, come on. I need to make sure you’re going to be okay. You do have some kind of retirement fund, right?”

I’ve never been able to get a straight answer out of my mother regarding her money situation. For years my dad and I have speculated about her savings. Her expenses are so minimal—the house is paid off, she drives a used car, never takes vacations—that she must have something saved from all the years of overtime at the nursing home. She must, we say, have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away in a mattress; it was what her father did, after all.

Just before her cancer diagnosis she was fired from the nursing home for being too slow. It wasn’t fair, she said, the people she worked with were so much younger, mostly in their twenties and thirties; they could just fly down the hallways while she struggled, and often didn’t succeed, to finish her duties before she had to punch out. So she began punching out and then continuing to work, hoping no one would notice. But they did notice. She was warned, more than once, that she had to finish her work during her shift. But she couldn’t keep up.

It was only because she was unemployed that she had time for the check-up that led to the colonoscopy, which revealed the colon cancer. And since I’m the one who insisted she get health insurance a few years back, she says I’ve saved her life. Assuming she survives the surgery, and I’m definitely assuming she’s going to survive the surgery. So I need to know how she’s planning to live. She won’t qualify for Social Security for two more years.

“The house is my retirement,” she says now, taking a sip of her coffee. “Jessie, this is cold. Will you ask them to heat this up?”

“Just answer me. Do you have a 401k?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, don’t worry.” She waves away my ridiculous concern. “I’ve got a plan.”

“Good. What’s the plan, Helen?” Sandy says.

My mother leans forward, her eyes glistening with excitement. “Cat beds!”

I drop my head into my hands, groaning, as my mother continues.

“These beds are like wicker baskets with pillows in them … and then the cats lie down and sleep in them!”

“Mom, be serious! This is about your future.”

“These cat beds are my future. They’re going to be so gorgeous, you just wouldn’t believe!”

“Do you realize that beds for cats already exist?” I ask.

She shakes her head. “I’ve never seen them anywhere.”

“Where did you get this idea, then?”

She leans back in her chair and is silent for a few seconds. “Okay. I do have another plan. I’m suing those motherf**kers who fired me! That was ageism and they can’t get away with it.”

“But you’ve been getting complaints at work for years,” I say. “The work was too much.”

“I don’t care. What they did was illegal and those motherf**kers are going to pay. Just wait!”

* * *

Early the next morning, my dad drives me to my mom’s house on his way to check out one of Sandy’s listings. Today is supposed to be the one day my mother and I will both be in the house while I’m cleaning, which will give me a chance to ask her before I throw out anything I’m uncertain about. Tomorrow my mom is going into the hospital for one last quick test and then the surgery—we’ll learn her prognosis a day or two after that. I intend to finish as much of the cleaning as I can while my mom is in the hospital recovering; then I’ll stay in Minneapolis for a few days after she’s out, so I can help when she first goes home.

We pull up to the curb. The exterior of the house is the worst I’ve seen it—the paint peeling, the enclosed front porch piled in some spots to the ceiling with furniture, boxes, and giant empty picture frames. And that’s just what I can see from here. But I’m going to do this, no matter what. This is my chance. I say goodbye to my dad and climb out of the car. The lawn is a foot high and the unruly bush plopped right in the middle of it at least six feet across. I quicken my pace as I walk up the narrow sidewalk and then the front steps. I open the creaky glass door and duck inside the porch, hoping no one has seen me. I don’t want to be associated with the junk house.

A neglected heap of mail, who knows how many days’ worth, lies scattered under the slot. The red carpeting, in the few places I can actually see it, appears to have been splattered Pollack-style with motor oil. Two beat-up, three-speed bicycles lean precariously against one of the windows. In the corner stands a vintage washing tub, the kind where clothes are squeezed through a ringer. And in another corner there’s something black and twisted, no coiled—ohmygod, ohmyf**kinggod—

—it’s a snake.

I’m out the door, down the steps, and to the sidewalk in a millisecond. At the curb, I lean over at the waist, taking shallow hiccuppy breaths. I don’t even care who drives past—if it’s a choice between being associated with the junk house or facing one of those hellish creatures, I’d happily tattoo across my forehead that I belong to the junk house. On the other hand, I don’t want to give my mother the satisfaction of seeing me like this. I pull my cell phone from my jeans’ pocket and dial my husband. He’ll know what I should do. He’ll understand.

But he doesn’t answer.

And I really can’t put this off. I only have five cleaning days here and if the house is anywhere near as bad as last time, that may not be enough.

I force myself up the steps. Getting my eyes to look at the snake is another challenge. But somehow I manage. And maybe I’m at a better angle, but now I can see that what I thought was a snake is actually a pile of oil-black rags. A twisted pile of rags. Thank God. I feel the dizziness leave my head, as if clearing out a room’s stale air by opening windows; my lungs expand, drawing deeper breaths.

I open the door and once again step inside the porch. Two crumbling armoires take up half of one wall. Boxes and paper bags are stacked all around and on top of them. This mess looks somehow familiar. And then I recognize it: Like stumbling upon the remains of a village buried by lava, the evidence of my last cleanup attempt lives on underneath. She was supposed to arrange for the Salvation Army to get the armoires. Ditto for the bags of old sweaters and the sets of inflatable furniture.

The glass part of the house’s heavy front door is covered with a bamboo shade, so I can’t see inside. I press the doorbell. My mother opens the door and steps forward onto the porch, pulling the door closed behind her so I won’t come in.

“Oh, Jessie, let’s go to Perkins before you start cleaning. I want some of their pancakes.”

“Let me see the house,” I say.

She freezes. I push the door open a few inches and steal a look behind her: The hallway is packed with stacks of even more ignored mail—her phone gets shut off on a semi-regular basis because she can’t find the bills—two ironing boards, a mound of ratty looking sweaters, winter boots and coats and snow pants heaped directly underneath an empty metal coat rack, at least one box of marshmallow Peeps, milk-colored storage bins that I know without checking are empty, an oversized plastic pail containing ironic jugs of Lysol and Pine-Sol, and dozens of unopened white plastic Savers bags with the receipts still stapled to the top.

I push past her, to the narrow path in the center of the hallway. It reminds me of the winters here, when people are too lazy to shovel their whole sidewalk.

“Christ, where do I start?” I ask no one, already overwhelmed. Three years ago when I cleaned, my husband was here helping me.

During a visit to Minneapolis, my mom had asked us to help her move a dresser. I hadn’t seen the inside of her house in a few years, not since before Roger, her boyfriend of ten years, died. When David and I went in, I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing—while her house had always been messy and crowded with things I considered useless, the clutter had entered the realm of the pathological: plates full of hard-as-a-rock spaghetti, smashed up take-out bags from Taco Bell and Burger King, coffee mugs with an inch of solidified something on the bottom, containers of motor oil, calculators and flashlights and key chains still in their packaging, knitting needles, magazines, bunches of brown bananas, and fast-food soda cups bleeding brown stickiness down the sides took up every inch of the kitchen table and the counter. The sink was piled high with dishes and an open garbage bag in the corner overflowed with paper plates. If she’d switched to paper plates, I thought, how long had those dishes been in the sink?

“What’s going on?” I asked her. “Why does your house look this bad?”

“I’m busy. I don’t have time to clean.”

I knew that was true; she was working as many doubles as the nursing home would let her. But still. “You can’t be so busy that you have to throw Popsicle sticks on the floor,” I said, pointing at a cluster on the other side of the doorway, in the living room. “Why can’t you put them in the trash? This place is an absolute disaster.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” she said.

“Tell me the truth. You really don’t see anything wrong here?”

She shook her head. “It’s not perfect, but it’s not too bad.”

All four burners on the stove were stacked with dirty pans, and the stove itself was crusted with grease that was cracked in places like a topographical map of the continents before they split apart.

“When was the last time you cooked?” I asked. My husband hadn’t said anything; he probably had no idea what to say.

“I don’t know,” my mother answered. “I only liked to cook for Roger.”

Family members of hoarders can often point to a particular trauma that occurred right before the hoarding began (though most hoarders show signs of it from an earlier age, often in their teens). My mother had always been a compulsive thrift store shopper, and untidy and disorganized, but when I saw her house that day for the first time since Roger died, I knew this was different. And it wasn’t just the trash everywhere. Her kitchen seemed utterly unusable, for one thing, and it was hard to walk from one room to the next. I’d heard the word “hoarder” in association with the famous Collyer brothers, and I suppose it stayed in my mind because I subconsciously suspected my mother was on the road to being one too—after all, as soon as she and my dad split up when I was seven, I began doing the cleaning, and as a kid I’d spend my summers weeding her front garden and planting flowers so my fellow students at the school across the street wouldn’t guess at the mess inside.

But what I saw that day was a whole new level of clutter. Clearly, Roger’s death had triggered my mother’s true hoarding. And what disturbed me most was that she couldn’t even tell.

Over the next few months, I kept picturing her in that house, alone. So my husband and I came up with a plan. We usually visited Minneapolis once in the winter and once for a long weekend each summer; we decided that the next summer we’d extend our long weekend by a few days and clean her house.

David and I arrived, full of purpose, determined. But my mother was uncooperative—I had to explain each and every item I wanted to get rid of and she fought me on almost everything. Still, we ended up driving seven loads of stuff to the Salvation Army in her car and leaving a mound of full trash bags out by her garbage bins in the alley. When we left, the house was better, but it wasn’t done. Somehow I managed though, to push her house to the bottom of my priority list. Until the cancer. Until now.

“Honey, come on, I’ll make some coffee. We’ll sit and visit,” my mother says, excited again. “Just for a few minutes. Please.”

I follow her into the kitchen. But none of her three coffeemakers work.

“I know you don’t go a day without coffee,” I say, “so how have you been making it?”

“That one just broke,” she says, pointing to an industrial-sized machine that looks like it was once white. “Oh, Jessie, now we have to go to Perkins!”

“The problem is, I need to start—there’s a lot to organize, and Joe’s showing up at 1:00.” Joe does construction and lawn work for my dad and I’ve arranged for him to help me haul the heavier items outside. At the end of the day another guy is coming with a truck to take the stuff away.

“Do you think Joe would help cut down this tree in the backyard?” my mom asks.

“Tree? What tree?”

“Wait a minute, Jessie, I’ve got something to tell you. You know how they say there are no atheists in foxholes?” she asks, a laugh already starting to crack her voice, “I’m proof that that’s not true! I’m still an atheist!”

“Good for you, Mom. Now what about that tree? What tree are you talking about?” Good Lord, I’m a humorless bitch. But someone has to take care of business and it certainly isn’t going to be her.

“It’s just this branch that’s been growing against the house. It’s not a problem.” She waves it off. How does a “branch” grow against a house? I walk past her, toward the back door, which is blocked by empty paper grocery bags, more plastic bins, dirty dish rags, rolls of paper towels, the skeletons of metal shelving units she never got around to properly installing, giant metal pots still in boxes, and full bags of garbage I don’t even want to guess the ages of. She stands behind me, watching as I try to get through it all.

“Oh, Jessie, the lock on the back door is broken. Do you think your dad and Sandy know a good locksmith?”

“I’ll ask them tonight. Although I can’t see why anyone would want to break in,” I add, like the bitch that I am. I can’t help it. Most people, I imagine anyway, whose mothers are about to undergo surgery for cancer have visits where they get to know each other better or discuss fond memories, or whatever it is that normal families do. I, on the eve of my mother’s surgery, get to begin cleaning out her junk-filled house because she can’t. The one bright side to this is that I’m too busy to worry about the cancer.

She’s not offended by my rudeness, anyway. “I know: You can think of all this stuff as a burglar deterrent! It’s my own free version of home security!”

As she laughs hysterically, I finally make it through the pantry and open the back door. She follows me out.

It is indeed a tree and it’s growing right against the house. To my untrained eye it looks big enough to crack the foundation if left untended. The whole yard looks like something out of Wild Kingdom: There should be lions and tigers prowling the lawn, hunting prey. It was once a beautiful backyard, with neatly cut emerald-green grass, two lilac trees that every spring and summer filled the air with their purple scent, and a long garden running the length of it. Someone has put planks of wood down where the garden once was, which is odd because it’s right up against the metal fence that divides her lawn from the neighbor’s. What is the purpose of the wood? It’s like a shabby catwalk to nowhere. And the two lilac trees look like something you’d see in a movie involving a haunted forest with evil foliage that comes to life and strangles passersby. At the back of it all, the rickety, paint-flaking garage looks about to tip over.

“And there’re those, too,” my mom says, pointing at the rain gutters running up the side of the house to the roof. “Could he do those?”

They’re totally rusted through in places, hanging off the house like a trapeze artist flailing in the wind. Then I notice the trim around the windows: The wood is coming apart from the house—it’s as if nothing wants to be part of this decaying landscape. And I don’t blame any of it. I don’t want to be here either.

“Jesus Christ,” I say.

“Oh, Jessie—” my mom says. “I just remembered something. The dryer guy is coming tomorrow.”

“What dryer guy? What’s wrong with your dryer?”

“It hasn’t worked in over a year.”

“How have you been drying your clothes?”

“I’ve been going to the Laundromat,” she says, shrugging. “But I don’t think I’ll be able to get there with my clothes while I’m recovering from the surgery ….”

“But what’s your basement like right now?” I doubt a stranger should go down there.

“It’s fine,” she says, a nervous smile on her face.

She’s lying. She brought it up for a reason. I need to make sure it’s in decent shape. But there’s a problem: I haven’t been able to go down to her basement in well over a decade. Even imagining entering that musty jungle makes my skin crawl. I’m not sure I can do it.

But then again, there’s no one else. What my mother refuses to believe is that her house is borderline condemnable. If she needs private nurses to come in and care for her after the surgery, they could report her to social services. She could be taken from her house; her house could be taken from her. I’ve told her this many times, but she just laughs and tells me I’m being ridiculous. The cleaning charts, the suggestions about Clutterers Anonymous meetings, my nagging these last few years about getting a retirement fund: all ridiculous.

It’s a miracle that she finally listened to me about getting health insurance.

“Let’s get started so we can be ready for Joe when he gets here,” I say, intending to put off the basement for as long as possible. We go back inside, my mother huffing up the back steps ahead of me.

Inside, she says she needs coffee and threatens to go to Perkins without me.

“That’s fine—you go, and I’ll stay here and get started,” I say, and she waddles out the front door. It’ll be easier for me to work without her here, anyway.

I decide to start in the living room. I pick up one of the white plastic Savers bags and tear the stapled receipt off the top so I can open it. Inside is a pair, no, two pairs, of those sneakers that have no back on them—the clog meets the sneaker. The white fabric is vaguely gray. I pick up another bag and the contents are identical, except this time it’s three pairs. Then another bag, again with two pairs. I don’t even know where to put anything; I just shove the sneaker-clogs into a garbage bag and hope that she won’t find them. The room is crowded with paperback and hardcover books, five sewing machines with hundreds of sewing patterns heaped on top, two foot massagers still in their boxes, a water-jet-infused bath mat, three electric heating pads which look second-hand, old magazine clippings of restaurant and book reviews, two banged-up motorcycle helmets, at least eight pairs of moldy cowboy boots my mother’s convinced she can sell for a fortune, two three-foot tall antique radios—the wood scratched and warped—hulking in one corner like bullies. Half-consumed boxes of Entenmann’s donuts and empty soda bottles and flattened lean cuisine boxes and crinkled candy wrappers.

Toward the top of the wall, almost to the ceiling, the plate rail supports half a dozen of those round tin containers that butter cookies come in. There’s a tin embossed with the image of two Scottie dogs facing each other; a red one with white stars circling the edge; a rusty one that was originally pink; one with a fat snowman and snowwoman surrounded by snowchildren; and two identical tins with a Rosie the Riveter–type character flexing her muscles. Scattered between the round tins are miniature perfume bottles, many of which I gave my mother when I was a kid, back when she was still a “collector.” They’re relics of a road veered wildly off.

Tears spring to my eyes and I wipe them away with the back of my hand. I’m suddenly so exhausted that if there were anywhere for me to sit down in this room, in this whole house, I’d collapse right there. But I can’t. Because every surface, every potential spot to sit down, is covered with junk. There’s just so much junk, so much worthless, heartbreaking junk.

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CRAZY VIDEO: Guess What This Woman Has Been HOARDING For 30 Years?

Posted by Patti the Precocious Guru | Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret

Most women will admit to owning more shoes, clothes or hand bags than they need. But for one woman, her passion for has spiralled out of control into a 30-year obsession. Click below to see the photos and video, of your not so typical hoarder.

Patricia Dean

Jennifer Bourgoyne, 45, from San Jose, California, has so many products that surfaces of her dressing table are piled high with lipsticks, eyeshadows and face powders, while drawer beneath are so full, not one will close. Speaking on Good Morning America today, she told how she spends hundreds of dollars on new products each month – whether they suit her or not.

Make-up hoarded for 30 years

Mrs Bourgoyne explained that her love of make-up began in her early teens, when she began suffering from poor skin. She also admitted to feeling like an ‘ugly duckling’ when compared with her ‘goddess’ mother.

Make-up hoarded for 30 years

Professional organiser Cori Roffler, brought on by GMA to help, quickly got to work, and within an hour had discarded all out-of-date products. Mrs Bourgoyne was thrilled with the results, exclaiming: ‘It looks like a department store.’ Ms Roffler even gave her client licence to buy even more make-up – albeit with one important rule: ‘For every new purchase, something must be chucked.’

Extreme Makeup Hoarders

abcnews.go.com4 min – Jul 21, 2011
Some women might tell you they can never have enough makeup.

Source: DailyMail

Tags: #hoarders, #a&e, #thesmokingjacket, #Whoreders, #celebrityhoarders,# NiecyNash, #LindseyLohan, #12step, #ClutterersAnonymous, #DirtyLittleSecret, #ChildrrenofHoarders, #CrowdedNest, #clutterednest, #NYT, #C.J. Omololu,#JessieSholl, #DirtySecret, #shoehoarders, #makeuphoarders, #Jennifer Bourgoyne,

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