Why I Always Break Out the Good China—For Any Meal of the Day

In the house where I grew up, we had two living rooms: a formal one that we weren’t allowed to sit in, and the other that housed the television and, often, our overflowing toys and books. When my French husband visited my family home for the first time…

In the house where I grew up, we had two living rooms: a formal one that we weren’t allowed to sit in, and the other that housed the television and, often, our overflowing toys and books. When my French husband visited my family home for the first time, the dual living room situation confused him: The house isn’t particularly large, and my parents don’t regularly host guests, so the formal living room sat empty most of the time. After some convincing, my parents gave us free rein to rearrange the furniture—we left them with twice as much usable space, and a chance to enjoy the expensive, comfortable, practically unused furniture that they’ve owned for 25 years.

My parents’ hesitance to use nice things isn’t limited to furniture, unfortunately. My dad was once gifted a great pair of loafers that he rarely wore—and now that he needs to wear supportive sneakers, he has little reason to. On that same visit, I unearthed a bottle of good whiskey that has probably been sitting in the pantry for a decade (unopened), and spied all the beauty products I’ve ever sent my mom for her birthdays—still in their packaging. (“I’m saving them,” was her response.)

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There’s a ‘Best’ Rug for Your Home—Here’s How to Choose

Wall-to-wall carpeting was on my list of “features to desperately avoid” when scouting for my last apartment. I’d been living in a San Francisco studio where the landlord had installed such a carpet in approximately 1995. On several occasions, I borrow…

Wall-to-wall carpeting was on my list of “features to desperately avoid” when scouting for my last apartment. I’d been living in a San Francisco studio where the landlord had installed such a carpet in approximately 1995. On several occasions, I borrowed a steam cleaner and meticulously scoured the fabric in the hopes of getting it as close as possible to its original off-white hue, but after years of being walked upon, my efforts proved futile. (And I won’t even get into how much dirt that steam cleaner dredged up every time.)

So when I found my Los Angeles apartment, I fell in love with the 1930s architecture, the built-ins, and the flood of natural light—but most of all, I fell in love with the hardwood floors. There’d be no chance of years-in-the-making dust or stains, and plenty of opportunity to change the feel of each room with a few rugs. But where does one begin?

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These 5 Classic French Foods Were Created by Mistake

Even though I’ve been cooking my French husband’s favorite dishes for nearly a decade, I tend to follow recipes closely with very little room for improvisation.

But maybe it’s time I reconsider: When I looked more deeply into France’s gastronomic hist…

Even though I’ve been cooking my French husband’s favorite dishes for nearly a decade, I tend to follow recipes closely with very little room for improvisation.

But maybe it's time I reconsider: When I looked more deeply into France’s gastronomic history, I found that some of the most beloved recipes were born from mistakes. (Like, an errant addition of hot cream, or a chef caught off guard without the correct ingredients on hand.) After all, a little deviation never hurt anyone!

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