Fancy Salt & Pepper

I come from a family in which there was ALWAYS a pepper and salt grinder on the table. For a while even,┬ámuch to my embarrassment,┬ámy dad took to carrying his OWN pepper grinder to restaurants. I, also, like my s&p freshly ground, but have had some bad luck with grinders falling apart over the years so I started getting the …

Vanessa McGradyFancy Salt & Pepper

Style: How to Fix a Hole in a Cashmere Sweater

While our boots straighten themselves up in the closet, anxiously awaiting to traipse and frolic in the chill of fall, our cashmere tends to come out beaten and defeated from wily critters that take a bite from the most inconvenient places. It makes me sad. Here’s a cashmere sweater I got for $1 at the thrift store. I figured I …

Vanessa McGradyStyle: How to Fix a Hole in a Cashmere Sweater

DIY Wedding

As I’ve said about a million times on this blog, when you’re doing something right, the universe greases your wheels. But what about when you hamfist it? The universe basically throws gobs of bleh at you and makes you start over, refresh. Step away. Reevaluate. And you can’t have clarity until that clarity wants to wash over you like a …

Vanessa McGradyDIY Wedding

The Art of Compromise

I very much loved my solid oak, dovetail-crafted antique dresser, which I’d moved around from cabin to house to apartment since the early 1990s. I had to give it up as my fiance and I negotiated his move into my smallish two-bedroom apartment. I got to keep my couch and loveseat while his went to a quick and savvy Craigslist …

Vanessa McGradyThe Art of Compromise


My friends and I have been hiking on the weekends. Monster hikes. We see waterfalls and meadows and clover fields and tide pools. We bring dogs and babies and more friends. We leave phones and iPods and makeup somewhere else. It reminds me of Jane Austen novels, in which the party always takes a long walk in the country after …

Vanessa McGradyUnplugged

How much?

How much is in a bowl of money? With the quarters removed for laundry, not counting foreign coins? Well, that would be $82.58, thank you very much. Which, I have decided, can only go toward completely frivolous and decadent pursuits. Especially those involving rum.

Vanessa McGradyHow much?

Predictions for 2009

Everyone is all about cheap chic, even those of us rare few who still go to an office 50 hours a week. We are becoming more conscious as a society about our consumption. We’re trying to get by on less, we are trying to make simple lives, we are trying to retreat from the shrine of shopping malls. With this …

Vanessa McGradyPredictions for 2009