Furniture rearranging update

My daughter approved of my home office. She suggested I keep the set-up as it is “cute.”

Oz seemed to approve, but he soon moved to go cuddle in the teenager’s bed.

Oz the King

So, I asked the teen, what do I do with my window bench?

Fog was sound asleep on the bench

So I suggested giving it a home in the living room.

Fortunately, the cats like the bench there too. That’s 3-legged Opie in the photo.

Meanwhile, in my office…

The living room updated

The living room was once our dining room. Our old couch is now on the sun porch.

The new couch came from Target.com, thanks to a Black Friday online sale, and the teenager assembled it.

I got home from work as the teenager walked home from school and we both found a giant, 100-lb box on the lawn as it started to rain.

Unboxing the Couch

It’s an emerald green Chesterfield love seat. My daughter finds it obnoxious but I like bold touches.

The painting continued and still isn’t quite done. The couch, as the reviews suggested is very low and rather deep, but some pillows made it very cozy.

And finally we got the room done enough to serve as a backdrop for our holiday tree trimming party.

Although I still don’t seem to have a good photo of the chalkboard accent wall.

The teen has done a great job with the painting and helping me tone down my bold leanings.

Trimming the tree (and soft debut of our living room)

I think I’ve stunned my friend Gayle, whose known me for more than 20 years.

My new burst of holiday spirit is of concern to her.

The teenager and I worked really hard this week to prepare the house for our tree-trimming party last night, an informal tradition meant to counterbalance my anti-Christmas energy.

We really needed a few more days to finish the painting and what not. But life doesn’t always accommodate. When you plan a gathering, especially at the holidays, you can’t shift the date because you only got one coat of paint on the walls.

The featured photo in this post is my neurotic habit of dissembling the taps and soaking them in hydrogen peroxide before a party and scrubbing the caulk with an old toothbrush before a party.

This is going to be a mini-blog entry. An introduction. Because I’m behind on blogging.

Last week I attended the Hess’s nostalgia day and toured the Hollywood costume exhibit at Allentown Art Museum. I would love to tell you about that.

And then show you how the living room is shaping up.

And then tree trimming.

So stay tuned. My goal for today is to do several loads of laundry, update my budget book after getting my nails done yesterday, buying wine, and purchasing a tree. That reminds me! Add wine review to that list.

    Allentown Art Museum
    Living Room
    Tree Trimming
    Wine review from party: Apothic Sparkling Red, Rib Back (from Western Cape South Africa) and Franklin Hills Cake

Scenes from the paint store

My daughter is taking a non-credit interior design certificate program at the local community college. I think that’s a fun and practical thing for a high schooler to do.

I’ve suggested from the get-go that she keep our house in mind.

A few months ago, I switched the living room and the dining room. It was something I always wanted to do, because the bright space by the windows seemed better for hanging out at the table. And the glare from the windows didn’t impact the television in the middle room.

I finally got rid of our 25 year old wicker furniture on the sun porch (an enclosed room facing south) and put our couch out there. The couch is too big to be in the “new” living room. And since my husband and I split up, I feel my house seems more and more like a 20-year-old’s first apartment.

I’ve been watching various retailers for reasonable furniture and I’m partial to Target.com because with the RedCard I can get free shipping and good deals. I asked my daughter if I could take advantage of the Black Friday online only furniture sale to buy an emerald green Chesterfield love seat.

She said I could ONLY if we painted.

So today we first went to Home Depot, but the store was very crowded and the shoppers were a tad obnoxious. Then we tried the Gleco Paint Store nearby. I start picking all the bold colors. She starts pulling me toward the pastels. I’m not fond of pastels.

She folds all the paint chips so I can’t see the bold colors.

We find a compromise.

She’s right that I shouldn’t put a bold color in that room because it doesn’t get enough light.

I’m excited to see how it looks.

Indochic— Target’s New Home Line celebrates colonization or as they call it, “French-Vietnamese fusion.”

My husband and I started brainstorming our weekly household needs and while he worked on meal planning and a grocery list, I opened the Target app on my phone to see if they had any amazing deals on things we needed. We all know a trip to Target is dangerous and needs to be carefully and cautiously plotted.

Otherwise, the money can disappear.

I immediately found myself drawn to this luscious teal blue chair.

I mean, I seriously see this chair as part of the renovations to our master bedroom here.

But then I read the description: “Indochic: Think French-Vietnamese fusion, full of elegant shapes and sophisticated jewel tones.”

Now, this is my version of when people cry sexism when parents put little girls in clothes that focus on cuteness or certain traits our society sees as feminine. Like the t-shirts that say “I’m too pretty to do homework” or something like that.

“Indochic” is the exploitation and the ignorant perpetuation of the stereotypes that allowed colonialism and the “civilizing mission” to destroy cultures. If you understand my outrage… Well, may the sun shine upon you. We are kindred spirits. If not, let me see if I can calm down and rationally explain the root of my indignation.

First, let me start with the term “Indochic.” It’s a play off of the term “Indochina,” a strongly European word describing the region between India and China. The term became prevalently used in the 19th century and eventually referred strictly to the French colony of what is now Vietnam.

The French called its colony in the region “Indochine” so already Target has managed to make a playful pun, and a French pun at that by combining the French term “chic” with the prefix “Indo.” It’s Indo-great! Indo-cool!

Now, let me rant about the idea of “French-Vietnamese fusion.” The mix of French and Asian style occurred when the French colonized this region. I am no expert on French colonization in Asia, so I can’t address this in depth. But let me offer a few ideas.

Any fusion between the French and the Vietnamese was not voluntary. So should we celebrate it?

Is a pun like “Indochic” okay because the reference dates to the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth century? Is it a forgotten pain? Can it be compared to referring as certain styles as “urban” as opposed to African-American? Would people feel differently about this type of style if the ad featured an Asian woman and a French man?

What I also find interesting about the concept of Indochic, French-Vietnamese fusion connects to my interest in miscegenation. The French developed strict plans for breeding between the civilized French man and the indigenous woman. In French Indochina, French men in the colony were encouraged to make local women their concubines specifically to purify and civilize by producing children with Frenchness.

But remember, the women in these unions would come from poverty by French standards and would be servants or laundresses to their colonial master before they caught his eye. Young native women and older French men, the women unable to say no because of the power exchange.

In colonialism, native cultures lose their land and their resources to the more powerful nation. Their men lose the chance to earn their own living. People who had independent lives become dependent on a foreign system. Tradesmen become servants. Women become housekeepers and sex objects. Native traditions and languages bend, twist and often break or are forced broken by the more powerful, dominant presence.

So when we advertise a sophisticated, elegant French-Vietnamese fusion and give it a cutesy name, we are perpetuating the idea that the cultures on the peninsula between India and China did not have anything to contribute to the world before the French came along and subjugated them.

It’s not Indochic. It’s not cool. It’s contemporary Orientalism.

If anything it’s Asian-influenced French design. Influenced. Because fusion implies an intentional attempt to blend two strong styles.