Thursday, February 28, 2013


I am delighted to welcome as a new sponsor of Chinoiserie Chic the online buying service JAMIESHOP.COM - your access to "to the trade" for your home at as much as 30 - 40% off retail.

Nationally renowned interior designer, Jamie Herzlinger, revolutionizes access to purchasing luxury items for your home from any “to the trade” manufacturer, with her online buying service, JAMIESHOP.COM.

All the furnishings, wallpaper, lighting, fabrics, rugs and home accessories seen in magazines, such as Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home and House Beautiful, are now available for purchase at up to 30-40% off retail. Shop names like Gracie, Fromental, Quadrille, Circa Who, Baker, Currey and Company, Ralph Lauren Home, Scalamandre, Schumacher, Clarence House - the world of interior design at substantial savings.

JAMIESHOP.COM provides exclusive access to luxury "to the trade only" manufacturers at designer wholesale prices. Their fee structure is 25% above their designer wholesale net cost. You will receive a copy of the manufacturer's original invoice.

Jamie Herzlinger Interiors has over 20 years of trusted relationships with over 400 of the top "to the trade only" manufacturers. Benefits include -

Exclusive access "to the trade only" manufacturers
No contracts
No risk
No hourly fees
You are a client of a nationally known and respected Interior Design Firm.

Visit JAMIESHOP.COM to learn more.

WA insurers and agents fined $2 million in 2012

From a news release we issued minutes ago:

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued more than $2 million in fines against insurers, agents and brokers in 2012.

“Ideally, we’d have full compliance and no fines,” said Kreidler. “But the reality is that sometimes it takes a fine to get a company to address problems. And in many cases, these fines were accompanied by compliance plans aimed at making sure the problems don’t recur.”

The fines totaled $2,033,990. Violations included charging customers for coverage they’d never agreed to, charging unapproved rates, allowing unlicensed staffers to sell policies and failing to register with the state.

“Fortunately, these cases are the exception,” said Kreidler. “Most companies, agents and brokers follow the rules.”

The agency posts all disciplinary orders – including those that don’t include fines – at

The total for 2012 was higher than the previous year’s $1.4 million.

Fines collected by the insurance commissioner’s office do not go to the agency. The money is deposited in the state’s general fund to pay for other state services.

Over the past 12 years, Kreidler has issued more than $15 million in fines for violations of Washington’s insurance laws.

My Home Office Makover

Tomorrow is March 1 and spring is in the air here in DC. In my own garden, the camellias, Japanese quince, and hellebores are blooming - three of my favorites. Did I ever tell you all how much I love gardening? I have a certificate in landscape design and am a Master Gardener and I love this time of year in DC especially. Someone once said that spring is something DC does well and it is very true.

Whenever spring arrives I love to tackle a decorating project in my home. This time I have decided my home office needs some updating. As is often the case with me, my inspiration came from a fabric - a Charlotte Moss fabric "Caroline" that I have been wanting to use ever since it came out. It reminds me a bit of Clarence House David Hicks The Vase. The colorway is currant, but these pictures don't do the color justice - it is the yummiest deep coral pink. And the scale of this design is huge. So dramatic! Follow along the next several weeks as I post my weekly progress on this room from inspiration to completion.

Next I will be working on a Pinterest board, an inspiration board, and a paint color for the room. Speaking of Charlotte Moss, I received this photo at bottom from her last night as part of an announcement about an upcoming auction and book signing of hers in NYC. Check out that coffee table - a Chinoiserie wallpaper top under glass -  a great DIY project.

Don't miss Chinoiserie Chic tomorrow - my daughter Kate has done a fabulous inspiration board and I will be revealing my Houzz Ideabook for March.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your Brain on Potato Chips

Or, more accurately, a rat's brain on potato chips.  Last week, PLoS One published a very interesting paper by Dr. Tobias Hoch and colleagues on what happens in a rat's brain when it is exposed to a highly palatable/rewarding food (1).  Rats, like humans, overconsume highly palatable foods even when they're sated on less palatable foods (2), and feeding rats a variety of palatable human junk foods is one of the most effective ways to fatten them (3).  Since the brain directs all behaviors, food consumption is an expression of brain activity patterns.  So what is the brain activity pattern that leads to the overconsumption of a highly palatable and rewarding food?

Read more »

One Room Challenge - Week 4 - The Devil is in the Details

With a tiny room like a powder room, every detail is important. When selecting accessories for my One Room Challenge powder room, I have tried to make every detail special and unique. Can toilet paper be a beautiful design feature? Why not?

A few year's ago, I saw a photo of a beautiful Chinoiserie powder room with black toilet paper and did a post on it. I showed the powder room with white toilet paper and another photo with black and the black looked so much better. Research for that post almost four years ago led me to the discovery of Renova - the world's first luxury toilet paper available in gorgeous colors shown above. Their advertising campaign is the world's sexiest toilet paper - some examples of their sexy and suggestive ads are below. This ad campaign is pretty wild by American standards, but I much prefer it to Charmin's toilet paper ad campaign which you will find here.

Designer toilet paper has become a chic trend all over Europe in swank hotels, restaurants, and bars. It has now hopped the pond and is popping up here in trendy spots and in homes of the rich and famous like Simon Cowell who uses black toilet paper in all of his homes.

Since I am doing a very small powder room where every detail counts, I thought using this toilet paper in my One Room Challenge would be fun. I will be using the black toilet paper on a beautiful nickel faux bamboo toilet paper holder. This paper can be found on their United States website here and on Amazon. Although it is a bit pricey for everyday use, it is perfect for a powder room.

You can always catch up on all my One Room Challenge posts by clicking on the navy ORC button in my sidebar.

Now go see what the One Room Challenge crowd has been up to besides toilet paper.

My black Renova toilet paper

My faux bamboo toilet paper holder

Renova ad

Renova ad

Renova ad

Renova ad

Renova ad

Renova ad

Toilet paper wallpaper - yes, you can buy this!

Where's Waldo? Can you find the real toilet paper?

Chinoiserie powder room with black toilet paper

The same room with white toilet paper

My dollhouse bathroom with the world's tiniest toilet paper

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hearing set to consider request to buy Soundpath Health

We've scheduled a hearing on March 1 at 10 a.m. to consider Catholic Health Initiative's request to acquire Washington-based Soundpath Health Inc.

From our public notice about the hearing:

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) through its subsidiary, CollabHealth Plan Solutions, is proposing to acquire common shares of Soundpath Health from Soundpath’s current owners, Northwest Physicians Network and Physicians of Southwest Washington. The acquisition would allow CHI and CollabHealth Plan Solutions to own approximately 56 percent of common shares of Soundpath Health and become controlling entity of Soundpath Health.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a national nonprofit health system with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 81 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted, and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2012, CHI provided more than $715 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With total annual revenues of more than $10.7 billion and approximately 86,000 employees, CHI ranks as the nation’s second-largest faith-based health system.

If approved, CHI through CollabHealth Plan Solutions, Northwest Physicians Network and Physicians of Southwest Washington would be co-owners of Soundpath Health.

The public is notified that all interested parties may submit letters of support or concerns or objections and/or may participate in the hearing by appearing in person or by telephone at no charge.

To view the Notice of Hearing, which includes advice on how to participate in the hearing process, and to view all documents filed in this matter including the Purchase Agreement between the parties, and all other documents such as organizational charts and finances, current and past states’ regulatory actions and other litigation filed in this proceeding, go to Soundpath Health #13-0039 at

My First Ultra Marathon

I still don't even know how I was able to do it. My training plan, which I had laid out in October to allow me five full months to build up to a 50K race, was shot to you know what over and over and over. I needed this training though. About 4 years ago I did a 10K cold turkey, and I really struggled to run start to finish so I wanted to adequately prepare myself. 

About 5 weeks into my training last fall, I was at the ER being treated for a foot fracture. After about 10 weeks or so of healing, my foot was finally feeling better. I tried to play catch up on the 10 weeks lost and had two weekends of an 8 mile run and a 10 mile run...then at mile 8 of that 10 mile Saturday run my foot was hurting again. It wasn't ready yet. It did finally heal...but then I ran into a pole at the rodeo. Yes, it was a funny as it sounds. My knee was killing me and I was officially out until the week of the race.

I figured I should do something before race day so I ran 3 miles for speed this past Tuesday. The race was Sunday. To recap, the longest I had run in my life was 8 miles a couple of months ago, so the plan for Sunday was to push myself to the 10 mile mark and then walk/run/walk/run as needed simply to finish. I told Biz that I wasn't going to be silly about it and that when I was hurting or hitting a wall, I would stop. So, I bobby penned the heck out of my bun, slapped on some no chaffing gel, bought some Oakleys, a hand-held water bottle and a cute keep my hair out of my eyes headband, double knotted my shoes and was ready to go.

It is crazy for me to type this next sentence, but I was able to run the entire way. All 31 miles. HOW?! No idea. I wasn't tired. My back was kind of hurting and my feet were getting sore, but not enough to consider stopping. I just kept going and going and going. I was praying pretty much the entire time; I kept reciting Phil 4:13 in my head, early on a woman was holding up a huge sign with Isaiah 41:10 which is one of my favorite verses, and I was a broken record asking God to get us all through because I knew I couldn't do it myself. Boy did He ever pull through. I ran with my brother and his girlfriend, and we did stop for a few bathroom breaks or to give the kiddos a quick squeeze whenever we saw them, which were nice mini-refreshers, but we kept a slow pace, stayed fueled...and I am ready for another one! The energy of the crowd was amazing, bands were playing along the way for the first 12 miles or so which was awesome, and overall it was a great run around every neat part of Fort Worth. 

I think I was able to do it because I was literally thinking there was NO way I would physically be able to run that far, and wasn't remotely considering to run past mile 10 or 12. Zero expectations on myself. There was no pressure and I certainly wasn't going for time (I really, really applaud those that do marathons or ultras and can keep a 7 or 8 minute pace - WOW). The goal for this race was to simply enjoy it and finish. Mission: Accomplished! Now that my injuries are healed and I can finally start back to CrossFit, I look forward to seeing what the next race will be like. 

Does anyone out there do ultras and have any great ones they recommend? I have heard of the Keys 100, which is 100 miles from one tip of the Florida Keys to the other with a 38 hour limit I if that makes me feel any better. I was telling a friend about that today and said well, at least you can have a crew drive along with you for help, to which he replied, so you mean a psychiatrist can come and tell you you're crazy?? Made me laugh ;) Obviously I am nowhere near ready for that and the heat would be the hardest part, so I think keeping it around the 50K mark is good for now. Any suggestions, let me know! 

Below are some snapshots from the race on Sunday. Bravo to everyone that went out and did it from the 5K to the 50K!! I am so proud of us and I'll see you next year!

6:30am and it was about 30 degrees outside! We walked over to the starting line. 

 One last photo op before starting....

...and a shot of our shoes. Inov-8 is the brand, and they are a company in England that started with the goal of being specifically directed towards Ultra runners. LOVE them, and definitely a key element of getting me through!
{Side note: these help you NOT heel strike which is the complete wrong way to run, another reason why Five Fingers are also so great. The idea of "needing support" is so 1999. Read this article HERE in New York Magazine for further info and don't feel too bad, it's not you, it's your shoes!}

My first time to see the kids around mile 14 and I was SO EXCITED!!!

Teeny stretch and we were off again...

...until we saw them around mile 18, where sweet Squish was waiting to give me some lovely flowers he had found!

Raced to him and Munch for some recharging hugs :)

There was just a small bend in the trail so my brother carried Squish for a little bit before dropping him off with our crew again: my mom and Biz :)

Leaning in for a sweet kiss.
Between mile 18 and 20 the sun was really heating up. I did not want to overheat as that would add fatigue, so I had to regretfully lose my top. Was NOT planning on doing this otherwise I would have layered a tank top underneath my long sleeved shirt!!

This boy is going to run with me one of these days, I know it.

Around mile 25 I believe. We just split from the marathoners and have a separate loop to go around to complete the 31 miles.

Squish sprinted out as we turned the corner into the final stretch to the finish line, and we held hands and ran across together! It was awesome.

Our amazing team. We did it!!!

I am looking so rough here but I had to post it. This was inside picking up our medals and shirts, and I leaned on that pole. It felt so good to stop running for the first time in 6 hours that I never thought I was going to move again. I actually think I am asleep with my eyes open.

The best part of the run: I tucked one of the flowers from Squish around mile 18 into my water bottle and was able to look at it every time I took a sip. Heartsies.

...and THEN I had a photo shoot at 9am on Monday! {The magazine it was for is a secret but you will find out SOON!} See my awesome sunburn? My entire back is that color as well, and I have a pretty fabulous spandex shorts tan line. Yay for hair and makeup :) I *might* have worn compression recovery leggings under some of the long dresses...shhhh...

Mary McDonald, Your Votes, Elegant Business Cards

Pet Sitter, Dog Walker, Dog Groomer, Doggie Day Care, Pet Boarding
Thanks so much to those of you who gave me a head's up that Mary McDonald mentioned Chinoiserie Chic last night on Facebook. Very fun. Thanks also to everyone who joined in the fun yesterday and voted for my Raw Meat entry in the ugliest fabric contest. Things are looking good - I have received every vote but 1 so far. If you missed yesterday's post, you can read all about it here and vote here.

Today I am featuring the wonderful business cards at Charming Elizabeth. I love the idea of business cards with an illustration suggesting the type of business you have. I really like the new Chinese Chippendale garden folly with the dachshund above for someone who cares for pets. This is my business card below from Charming Elizabeth. I have chosen my favorite Chinoiserie cards with ideas on businesses they would be perfect for, but there are many more here with lots of other illustrations if Chinoiserie is not your thing.

My card

Travel Writer, Travel Agent, Rare Book Seller, Cruise Director, Tour Director

Art Dealer, Antiques Dealer, Upholsterer, Vintage Furniture Seller, Consignment Store, Furniture Maker

Book Seller, Rare Book Seller, Home Stager

Artist, Faux Finish Artist, Art Supplies, Art Therapy

Party Planner, Caterer, Party Store

Asian Antiques Dealer, Art Consultant, Interior Designer, Interior Decorator

Asian Antiques Dealer, Interior Decorator, Interior Designer

Landscape Designer, Carpenter, Asian Antiques Dealer, Auction House