Have you ever read a book that made you want to cover everything you own in ric rac and contact paper and then LABEL it?
Would you like to?
I saw this book up at a friend’s house, became almost impolitely engrossed, and picked up a copy almost immediately. I was first drawn in by the photographs – of quirky retro decor, craft ideas, hearty Greek food, bric a brac, and Amy herself in an array of vintagey costumes that reminded me of the treasure trove that was the counselor dress up closet stash at camp (lucky the girl who grabbed that one pink princess prom gown, and woe betide the wearer of that one late 70s era jumpsuit). I want my house to look like that! Except it kind of already does look like that, since my decorating strategy is basically pick up enough small objects on my travels to stock my house in such a way that whichever direction you choose to zone out in, your field of vision will be filled with interesting things. My primary home-decor inspiration is the house of my tap dance teacher, which had among other things jewel-toned walls and a vanity overflowing with trinkets and I think a fridge always stocked with royal jelly.
Then after flipping though and thinking about where I could score some solid contact paper, I actually read the words in the book and realized that they were even better than all the eye candy surrounding them. She writes really true things that then range off into really true-ish things: “This is your party. You are the captain of the ship, the cobbler of the shoes, the Count of Monte Cristo. Even if you have slaves, you still need to tell them what to do.” From the didactic asides – “If there are two things I know for sure, it’s that animals love snacks and boys eat a lot” – to the super practical lists, like a 25-item compendium of munchies including 13. Powdered sugar on any kind of cheese, to the relevant life stories and tips, you’ll be busy trying not to snort too hard while taking notes.
Also, can we not lose sight of the fact that there are recipes in this book, and since the author is Manhattan-based they are ideal for the home cook who is short on grocery opportunities, cash and counter space? They’re heavy and Greek and so look totally delicious. I plan to try them out when there will be boys at the table, because see previous paragraph.
Recommended as a present for anyone whose life tends towards the seemingly cluttered and enjoys entertaining: “‘Hello, and I like you.” This is what you’re saying when you invite somebody into your home, without having to hear yourself say it out loud.’