Happy Memorial Day weekend! We were sent home at 1 today and I don’t have to be back in until Tuesday, so I thought I’d try to knock out the first half of this week’s Book Club this afternoon, then wrap it up tomorrow afternoon. Since I never finish them in one day anyway, amirite. I hope you have Monday off because we’re about to begin a journey into the land of beige that may require several days of recovery. Of course I’m talking about ‘Cupcakes and Cashmere At Home’, the second book by Emily Schuman. Let us proponent!
First impression: A quick read through seems to indicate this is basically a book about Cuppy’s house.
Chapter 1 is ‘Entryway and Living Room‘. She kicks off this section with the life story of her house – apparently it was built in 1916, they kept and painted the original front door, put trees in planters on either side of the door, etc etc. She then goes into basically describing what you can see of her home when you walk in her front door before gently pouting about not having a proper mudroom or foyer or coat closet. Which leads her to crow about how she and Gee-off settled on a console table with a mirror over it and their ‘ceramic dish we got on our honeymoon in Italy’ which has forced them to not stand around reading mail or leaving their shoes all over by the door.
She then tells us about ‘The Importance Of The Layout’ which is just her blathering about how they measured and arranged until the coffee table was exactly 18 inches from the sofa and the side tables had to be positioned so they could be used without a lamp blaring into your eyes. Then we get another page of ‘How To Create An Entryway When You Don’t Really Have One’ in which she basically repeats that they had to make do with only a console table and no closet which ‘Ultimately, it’s a good thing’ because she would fill up a closet. And ‘Ultimately, I’m thrilled’ that she’s now forced to put things elsewhere. I guess Ultimately is the new Proponent.
We are shown three ways to ‘style’ a coffee table, none of which look practical for actual everyday coffee table use.
‘Little Moments That Go A Long Way’ is actually ok. Suggestions like switch out outlet/lightswitch covers, keep your baseboards painted and clean, and recovering (she left out slipcovering, but that is a good option especially if you have Ikea furniture!) are all things I’ve done myself and can agree with her that they are fairly easy changes that ‘can make a profound difference’. But then she spends a page on rug placement which sent me right back into drool emoji town. And then we get into the two things every formulaic decor book must have – how to do a gallery wall, and how to arrange your books by color. Eyeroll.
She ends with her advice for living rooms for ‘Renting’ versus ‘Owning’. It’s pretty basic stuff like don’t buy the big ticket items that are perfect for your current apartment because they may not fit if you move elsewhere, and save the hiring professional painters for when you own.
Chapter 2 is ‘Dining Room‘ and jumps right in with ‘The Importance of Entertaining’. Cuppy yammers on about how having a dining room is her dream come true because she loves entertaining. She tells us she and Gee-off have a no meals in front of the tv rule, and then says she took ‘durability’ into consideration because it’s no fun having parties if you’re worried ‘your guests are going to tip their red wine onto the floor’. Now I’m starting to wonder if I’ve ever been to a party at her house, because I’m pretty sure I’ve inspired similar decorating rules for many people after finishing off a bottle of chianti.
She shows us a few ways to set a table, and then gets into ‘Bar Cart’. I am not a huge proponent of Cuppy overall; I find her odd mixture of bland and anxious a little too wtf inducing to become any kind of fan. But the woman knows how to wet up, and I can’t remember a time in Cuppy history where she didn’t have a fully stocked cart of social lubrication.
Chapter 2 then ends with more ‘Renting’ vs. ‘Owning’, and it’s pretty ‘yeah no duh’ stuff about not spending a lot on a dining set for a temporary rental, and splurging on linens and stuff once you own.
Chapter 3 is ‘Kitchen‘ and I never understand why bloggers get into this in their books. Kitchen size and use varies so much among people that it seems odd to lecture about ‘The Importance of Open Space’ or ‘Displaying Spoons’. But no matter – Cuppy will tell us about…
She talks about pantry and fridge organization which is just sort and put things in order, and throw out gross stuff. For ‘Renting’ vs. ‘Owning’ she suggests wallpapering your fridge when you rent, as opposed to investing in awesome appliances when you own.
Chapter 4 is ‘Bedroom‘ and we are immediately told about ‘The Importance of Comfort’. She and Gee-off apparently spent lots of time collecting images and discovering they were ‘drawn to clean lines and calm spaces’ which…do I date the wrong guys, is this an activity most men enjoy?
Anyproponents, Cuppy goes into excruciating detail about how she and Gee-off ‘spent an inordinate amount of time’ trying to sort out the perfect colors for their mostly neutral bedroom. There was agonizing over the perfect paint color because it sets ‘the tone for every room’, but also ‘the entire house’ and can be ‘flattering or harrowing’ depending on the lighting. (Ed. note – anything warm will make your skin look glorious in all but fluorescent lighting, especially the red family including pinks, purples, etc. Anybeige, back to Cuppy…) She seriously does go on and on about how some greys looked ‘too purple and some were too pale’ and my Lord girl just bring home some 1 oz. pots and do some samples already.
Then we have her ‘Things That Guarantee Good Sleep’ which includes not having a tv in the bedroom, using blackout shades, and wearing an eye mask. These are all things I do and I’m starting to wonder about my life choices if they align with Cuppy’s.
She then talks about ‘Closet Organization’ and ‘Guest Bedroom’ which are pretty boring, before doing the ‘Renting’ vs. Owning’ which is just invest in bedding and fresh flowers if you rent, buy a nice big expensive bed if you own. Annnnnd to be honest, I just knocked all this out in the past 45 minutes and would like a fire escape break. Be right back with ‘Bath’.
So Chapter 5 is ‘Bath‘. Cuppy starts off talking about ‘The Importance of Details’ which is really just an excuse for her to talk about her marble sink, statement wallpaper, and regrettable brass fixture choices. Then a page of ‘Finding A Scent For Your House’ featuring the usual blogger suggestions.
She suggests hanging art in the bathroom, but not just boring paintings – try hanging your nail polish on your wall in a rainbow or ombre theme. Er. Then she tells us what’s on her counter (a Mason Pearson brush, snore) and shows us a picture of her lipstick drawer while bragging about her awesome storage system. I wish I could tell you what that system is, but she doesn’t explain it. ‘Renting’ vs ‘Owning’ has advice like fill a bookshelf full of baskets if you’re renting, and redoing the counters if you own.
Chapter 6 is ‘Home Office‘, because we all enjoy being told how to arrange a workspace by professional bloggers. She suggests plexiglass instead of a dry erase board, and bookshelves – though she doesn’t keep books on hers, just tchotchkes that remind her of “why I love Cupcakes and Cashmere so much”. So basically a big bowl of nail polish, a bunch of Diptyque candles, and some booze. She then says hanging plants can add texture to your office. Then, before I could snarkily say ‘well obviously as a busy professional working from home you have lots of time to sit around overthinking ‘Window Treatments” she mentions their designer suggested curtains. Cuppy had an interior designer. She didn’t even decorate her home herself. And yet here she is writing an entire book telling us how to decorate. Amazing. Her ‘Renting’ vs. ‘Owning’ advice is that you should get the smallest desk possible if you rent, and if you own you should be ready for your office to become a nursery.
Now Section 2: Entertaining. We begin with Chapter 7, ‘Cozy, Low-key, Casual Nights In‘. Cuppy starts off with a nice hearty backpat, declaring ‘For the past few years, I’ve almost single-handedly devoted myself to mastering the art of mid-week entertaining.’ She likes to throw together last minute parties, texting people in the morning to come over on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and claims ‘Everyone is always blown away and impressed by the most minimal effort.’ So for those of you looking for an explanation for Cuppy’s success, there you are. Anysnooze, her ideas for casual nights in are ‘Retro Game Night’, a weekly viewing party for some tv show, and wine tasting.
Chapter 8 is ‘Monthly Dinner Parties‘ and apparently mid-week fancy dinners are great because ‘single friends are always looking for mid-week activities’. She invites couples and singles and then uses placecards to ‘enforce’ her seating arrangement. The day of the party (because some people have all day every weekday to fanny about at home worrying about signature cocktails and and playlists) she cuts up vegetables for hummus and then bakes a chicken or makes some pasta. She then says you can also just order takeout and invite people over. Can she seriously not even just sit at home alone and eat takeout? Nobody needs constant company that badly, girl.
Chapter 9 is ‘Day Parties‘ and I have no idea wtf that even means, but I assume it’s something you can do when you’re a full time blogger and have nothing to do all day every day. Apparently daytime parties are super intimidating because sunlight = people can see if you half-ass anything. She says it can be worth it to hire a bartender to serve drinks and clean up glasses. Wait…so she didn’t decorate her own home, and now she doesn’t even serve her own drinks? She concludes by advising us to also book a house cleaning service the day after the party. OMFG does she not do anything herself?
‘Holiday Parties‘ is the focus of Chapter 10 and Cuppy tells us there is not one single holiday she doesn’t throw a party for. This includes hosting a ‘girls only’ ‘Valentine’s Day Party’ for the purpose of stuffing yourself with candy and cookies and booze. Her included playlist is kind of wtf unless she’s expecting it to turn into THAT kind of girl party, but since that would be exciting I doubt Cuppy meant it that way. Then there’s the usual party ideas like ‘ugly sweater party’ and ‘friendsgiving’. For someone so in love with Holidays this is certainly a light chapter full of Zzzzzz.
At last we reach the final chapter, ‘Outdoor Parties‘. She blathers on about picnics for a page, and then suddenly it’s Cuppy Goes Creole with a weird crawfish boil party suggestion and something about falling in love with Purple Haze beer in New Orleans. In case you’re wondering what to wear to a Cuppy style fais do-do:
Then she suggests renting a screen and projector and having a backyard movie party before the book ends with the Resources section. I guess in case you want to know where her designer bought something.
Overview: Now that I know she used a decorator and is a proponent of hiring servers and cleaners for parties I just can’t take any of her advice seriously. Guess what, we can all have fabulous homes and entertain like champs when we hire out the work. I’d rather read a book by her bartenders and housekeepers and decorator to be honest.
You can buy this book on Amazon, though I have no idea why you would want to.