this was a good week (including a giveaway of designmom's awesome book!)

This was a super-fantabulous wonderful week!  Here's why:

•  Oh, you lovely people, with your very sweet birthday wishes.  Thank you so much.  I read every single comment, note, email that you sent me wherever you could find me on the internet, and I'm so grateful.  In fact, I was so moved by your kindness, I stole an idea from my friend Ana Flores -- for every birthday wish I received yesterday, I've donated $1 to the United Nations Human Rights Council -- a total of US$ 235.00.  The United Nations Human Rights Council is committed to protecting all human rights around the world, including fighting against discrimination on the basis of gender, race, national origin, religion and sexual orientation.  This is what Chookooloonks is all about, so again, thank you.  With your kindness, we're helping to fight discrimination and bigotry around the world.

•  Some people celebrate their birthdays with massage, or mani/pedis -- I get henna.  So, I treated myself to a visit to the lovely Soniya at the Original Henna Company here in Houston yesterday morning.  You can see her beautiful work, above.  Henna never lasts that long on me, for some weird reason, but to be honest, I get it mostly for the experience of getting it, rather than its lasting effects.   Soniya is a gentle soul, her studio is calm and peaceful, we drank tea together while she worked, the henna smells amazing, and there's just something wonderfully restorative about having someone draw beautiful art on your body.  A lovely time, and the perfect way to start my birthday.

•  Dude, Pluto, amiright?  Looks like a planet to me.  Also?  NASA is so awesome.

•  Love these amazing portraits of celebrities by photographer Martin Schoeller.  

•  "It's so exciting to be a part of this movement: to see beauty in difference."  A famous fashion photographer's chance encounter changes his life:  the article itself is interesting, but I encourage you to especially watch the video.  That's where the magic is.

•  My husband asked me if I would like to stay in this hotel for $300/night.  It's like he's never met me.  (The view might be spectacular, but the experience looks, frankly, horrifying.)

•  I sort of think I need these It Could Be Worse CalamityWare Mugs.  

 This 10-minute pickle recipe, shared by my friend Erin.  I feel a pickling binge coming on.

•  My sister bought me Harper Lee's new book, Go Set a Watchman, for my birthday, and I read it in one sitting.   It's not nearly as good as To Kill a Mockingbird (but really, how could it be?), but it's good.  And it's stunningly current.  Required reading in this day and age, truly.

• Have you heard Janet Jackson's new song?  It's not bad, but it reminds me one of my favourites of hers.  And since my birthday has me in a nostalgic mood, here's the music video for it (you know, back when they used to make music videos). (Also, don't miss the J-Lo cameo.)

Click here or the image below to watch That's The Way Love Goes.  (Man, I used to pray for abs like hers.)


And finally, one more thing before I go:  I was cleaning up my office this week, and stumbled upon a copy of Gabrielle Blair's book, Design Mom, that I had purchased back in May, had her sign, and fully intended to give away here on the blog -- and totally forgot.  So let's do that now, shall we?  Simply leave a comment on this post, saying anything, wherever in the world you might be, and I'll pick one commenter at random to win the signed copy (and hell, I'll throw in a signed copy of The Beauty of Differentas well).   I'll announce the the winner on this post on Sunday evening.

Because what's a birthday without gifts, amiright?

Thanks again for everything, friends.  Have a wonderful weekend. (Don't forget to leave a comment!)

update, sunday, july 19, 2015

According to, the winner of the books is ~cheri, who said, "Saturday morning coffee and reflecting on how this was a very good week here as it had a focus on time spent with several people I love - but my goddaughter in particular, as she lives out of state."  Congratulations, ~cheri!  Please check your inbox for an email from me, requesting all your details.

And thanks so much for your comments, everyone -- hope you've had a lovely weekend!