My Week In Instagramz

Dear Real Diary,

There is little I love more in life than being pleasantly surprised. I’ve taken this so far as to plan fake surprise birthday parties for myself, just so that I can pretend to be shocked when I walk in the door. Just kidding I’ve never done this. But I have totally wanted to every year for the past ten years.

As you can imagine, I was very pleasantly surprised when I showed up to Minnesota (to help out on a project with Emily and Curbly) and it turned out to be awesome and inviting. The people were a delight, the shopping was fun, and the surroundings were serene. The cities themselves, St. Paul and Minneapolis, were beautiful and charming. Though Emily and I did constantly find ourselves wondering where we were. Like I found myself on more than one occasion, sweating and bewildered, asking a sales clerk “Are we in Minneapolis or St. Paul?” And they’d laugh and be like “Honey! I have no idea either!” Clearly they did know, they just didn’t want me to feel as idiotic and lost as I actually am.

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If my life was in danger and the only way I could save myself was to ace a geography test, I would die immediately. I don’t know why I am so bad at it. If you asked me to draw a map of the United States, California would be the left third, New York and Florida would be the right third and the middle third would just say “some stuff or whatever.” My lack of georgraphical knowledge can probably be blamed on the fact that in California we learn geography in fourth grade, and I spent most of that year putting Elmers glue on my hand, waiting for it to dry, and then peeling it off. This is all a long explanation of why I didn’t know that the Mississippi river ran through Minnesota. I guess I just always thought it was only in the South. Like somehow magically the river just bubbled out of nowhere and just so that people in straw hats could be like “thut thurs a big rivur!” Apparently not.

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This giant elevator is right next to the Mississippi. Not sure where it goes. Probably to a totally exclusive club that none of us are invited to.

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Um, I’m sorry, look at that Library. I want it for my house.

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In honor of National Coming Out Day, I posted this picture of me in a closet. Followed by a video of me coming out of the closet. It was really, really meta.

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This is the bar cart we styled for the Curbly Makeover. Check out the whole thing on Emily’s blog. The house turned out GREAT!

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I’ve developed a thing for mid-century book cover design. I don’t really know what is going on. I just know that I want to keep buying these books until they are piled so high that their weight crushes me and I suffocate to death.

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Returning home I was reminded of what a fantasyland I live in. Every morning I wake up with cacti and succulents staring at my face, downtown LA in the distance, palm trees whispering against my windowpane. California is a cartoon of itself sometimes. In a totally good way.

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Everything about this Val Surf signage is right. The color. The name. The location. Thank god for California in the 90z.

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These scissors again, for your viewing pleasure. True love.

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A close up of the Paul Newman sculpture at the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

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Our Golden Coast. When I first moved to Los Angeles my friend Noel and I would go to Gay Beach every weekend. We’d drive along Sunset boulevard, past Hollywood, past the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bel Air, through all the winding parts of Sunset and finally we’d be spit out onto the Pacific Coast Highway and the beach. At the end of the day I’d come home with sand all over my feet and I’d track it into my apartment. And on Monday morning when I’d get up for work there would be a swimsuit drying in the shower and sand all over the bathroom’s hexagonal tiled floor. To me, there is nothing more glamourous than sand all over the place. A reminder that you luxuriated on the gorgeous coast. That you are lucky enough to just rush off to the beach when you feel like it. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is California Glamour.

Love,
Orlando

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Weekend Glamourtimez in Santa Barbara

Dear Diary,

I woke up on Sunday with ants in my pants and the sense that I needed to do something with my day. I knew I needed to go to the plant nursery to get plant potted in the glamourpot my friend Matthew gave me, I knew I wanted to drink a coffee, and I knew I wanted to stare at the ocean. So I decided to hop in the car and drive up to Santa Barbara because, why not? You only have one life. And if you spend it waddling around Los Angeles like a bozo, eventually you’ll get bored and want to gouge your eyes out with a dull Hello Kitty pencil. I enlisted my friend Nathan to come with me for this adventure.

Our first stop was State Street, where we ogled Spanish Revival Buildings and searched all over the place for a Mexican Restaurant that ended up being closed.

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We saw this terrifying doll at Antique Alley. I’d like to meet the person that made this. And ask them what they were thinking. Seriously. I thought I had issues.

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I forced the poor people at 7 Day Nursery to pot this succulent for me. I didn’t even have to get my hands dirty. EVERYONE WINS! Except for them I guess.

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We stopped by the Old Mission Santa Barbara and wandered around. A fun fact about me is that I am obsessed with California Missions. There’s something about them that’s just so innately Californian. Classic Spanish style because they actually were, like, Spanish.

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My favorite part of the Mission was these beautiful sculptures (the ones shown are by Bruce Wolfe). All the missions have these lovely statues, but I’d never really noticed how, um, intense they were. I mean, check out that gaze. That eye contact. Taken out of context it kind of just looks like a Brokeback Mountain moment…

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And don’t even get me started on this guy’s body. Like what amazing GNC supplements does he take? What gym does he go to? Does he have a personal trainer? That girl’s all “Hay boy wanna go on a date?” And he’s all “Gurl, you think I’m straight with a body like this?” (Please note that I’m not religious so I have no idea who these figures are… I apologize if it’s, like, Jesus and his mom or something).

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I love this guy. He looks just like Paul Newman, the most beautiful man in the history of time. Gimme that statue!

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The wayfinding at the Mission is pretty adorable, little Friars pointing you in the right direction.

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Um, hi weird sculpture from my nightmares.

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If you’ve ever wondered where I live, here it is. The poor box. That’s my house.

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After the Mission we fled down the 101 to  the beach. Whenever I see a sign for the 101 the theme song to The OC starts playing in my head and I imagine that I’m a cracker gangster from Chino who is going to move into a fancy house and steal all of Rachel Bilson’s money. That’s what happens on that show, right? In other news, is it offensive when white people call other white people crackers? I hope not. It may just have become my new favorite thing…

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Speaking of crackers, here I am on the beach acting super crackery. Oh my god why can’t I stop saying cracker? Cracker. Ahhh!

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And here’s my friend Nathan playing with a stick.

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Nathan put his Jack Purcells on a rock and it was such a good product shot that I couldn’t resist. I have these in white, but now I want the grey ones.

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The sunset if California is magic. If you’ve never watched the sunset over the Western ocean, you must. Also, whatever you have planned for this weekend drop it. Instead, get in your car (or on a train [or on a bus]) and go somewhere pretty that’s nearby. Don’t bother with making hotel reservations or making a big ordeal out of it. That will ruin it. Just fly out the door and go somewhere fun. And take a cracker with you. They’re a hoot!

Love,
Orlando

PS: Writing assignment – Are you offended by the word “cracker”? Seriously tell me, in 500 words or less, in a comment. Why or why not? I asked like all my friends and they all gave me different responses so I can’t tell how offensive this term is. Also, I don’t know why I find it so funny. I heard it used by Gabby Sidibe on American Horror Story recently and it cracked me up. I shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV. Anyway, what do you think? Okay or not okay?

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Five Fun Things For the Homme

Dear My Apartment,

Are you ever scared, that someday, maybe even someday soon, I will fill you with so much garbagetreasure that you will look like the home of a deranged collector, forced to live alone forever because no one could ever love someone who buried himself in so many objects? I do. But sometimes I see something pretty and my eyes turn into spirals like the snake in “The Jungle Book” and I just have to have it. Regardless of whether it fits in my place or not. Luckily I have been finding a lot of tiny, apartment-size treasures lately. Below are five of my favorite recent finds.

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1. Landscape Painting. $37.50 from Missouri Mouse (St. Paul YO!).

Why do I love seascapes so much? Why do they make my heart feel complete? When did Zac Efron turn into a man? The world is so confusing.

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2. Brass Crab. $75 from Casa Victoria

Yes, I hear you. It was hard spending $75 on a vintage brass crab. But they I was like “Self, it’s a brass crab, go for it!” And then everything was ok.

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3. Vintage German Brass Scissors. $6 from Antique Alley in Santa Barbara.

I’m sorry. Did these scissors change your life yet? They really make me happy. I spent a few minutes chopping paper this morning for no reason other than to ogle these babies.

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4. Glamourous Brass Candlesticks. $2.99 each from St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul is always an adventure. Mainly because the place is DISGUSTING. Like everything smells like rotting birds and whenever you touch anything you get dirt all over your hands and face and look like a chimney sweep from “Mary Poppins.” But then sometimes you find something cool and it makes all the filth worth it. Or is it worth it? [Applies scabies medication].

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5. The World’s Most Depressing Book. $20 from Missouri Mouse

I will probably never read this book, but the title and the cover are perhaps the most important contribution to literature in the history of time.

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The cover really deserves a second look. I mean, check out that diagram. “DESCENDANTS??” Part of me wants to read this and another part of me realizes I would probably want to commit suicide immediately upon finishing the first chapter.

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5. Ceramic Planter. $10 from Long Beach Flea market. A gift from my (stunningly gorgeous) friend Matthew Lanphier.

I love geometric objects and plants, so this thing was right up my alley. Fun fact: did you know that if you live in an apartment and don’t feel like getting dirt all over the place most nurseries will pot plants for you for little to nothing? Mickey’s Plants in Los Angeles does it, as does Seven Day Nursery in Santa Barbara, where I got this guy planted. Having it planted at a store is helpful because then you don’t have random half-empty bags of dirt in your apartment. Speaking of bags of dirt, all men are dirtbags. Including me. That is all.

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5. Whale Book. $10 from Mall of St. Paul

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I couldn’t resist this book because it is the exact hue I like of aqua, my very favorite color. Also, that 1950s typography really does something for me. Something sexual and raw and unexpected. I think I need to be alone…

Ok, so you probably realized that was more than five items. I tried to make it seem like five by repeating five three times, but you probably caught on to me. This is something a lot of hoarders do. Saying they bought less than they really did. If you need me I’ll be at a mental institution undergoing electrotherapy for my hoarding addiction.

Love,
Orlando

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Whazup With My New Design Client Kelly Oxford

Dear Reader,

You know, this summer brought about a lot of change for me. The love of my life ran out the door, screaming and crying about hating my ugly face (lie, mostly), my sister got married (truth), and I started working exclusively with my own clients, after years of working with Emily Henderson (truth). This summer was crazy and tumultuous and sad and gross, but now autumn is arriving and everything is falling into place and all of the sudden my life is glamorous again. I’ve started working with a great company that pairs designers with clients. The company is Homepolish and they’re awesome. They make the whole design process way more streamlined and easy to deal with. For designers they’re great because they take care of all the business stuff (billing, taxes, etc). For clients they’re great because they help you find world-class designers and offer a range of services that fit into a number of different budgets. [Turns to camera: "Can I have my money now?"] {Just kidding this is not a sponsored post}.

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My first client for Homepolish is Kelly Oxford. Those of you who are in the know already know who she is. In all honesty, I actually didn’t know who she was before this project. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting psychotically obsessed with her. I find very few people funny. But I immediately found her hilarious. My first tip off was the name of her book:

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When I recited the title of this book to a friend he asked me if I had written it because it sounded so much like something I would say. Literally my exact sense of humor. [Sidenote: Did you hear that they changed the meaning of the word literal to not mean "literal" anymore? Like you can literally say something is literally literal when it literally isn't. I can't tell if I think that's really annoying or kind of cool. Like if enough overly dramatic Northeastern college students use a word incorrectly they now have the power to change its meaning. That is literally the dumbest thing I've ever heard].

Speaking of literal, Kelly’s tweets, which are greatly credited for her fame, are literally the funniest tweets in the world. Here are ten of my faves:

1. “Eminem songs about relationships and parenting is basically mommy blogging.”

2. “Is it cardio if you try on a bikini and have a panic attack for 20 minutes?”

3. “The first thing I think when I see a profile picture of someone kissing their boyfriend or girlfriend is ‘What a fucked up relationship.’”

4. “Anonymous rude comments are a great way to anonymously tell the world you don’t believe your opinion is very important.”

5. “Just told my 5 yr old she’s full of blood and made her cry.”

6. “Just watched a woman put on her sunglasses before walking into a restaurant, in case you wondered what living in LA is like.”

7. “Yesterday I heard a 4yr old say “I can only drink room temperature water,” if you’re wondering what life in LA is like.”

8. “Gram (at 91) ‘I know I’m fun because homosexual men love talking to me.’”

9. “My Gram died today. She once asked me how gay people have sex, I said ‘the way you think” she shouted “I knew it!’”

10. “I would pay Liam Neeson 1MILLION dollars to follow me around and shout ‘Get the fuck out of her way’ for one afternoon.”

In addition to being hilarious, she’s also supes pretty. Which kind of boggles my mind. I have this theory that pretty people are never funny. Which, according to my extensive research, is 100% true all the time. Most good/relatable/actually funny humor comes from a feeling of alienation. And people who grow up pretty just don’t have that sensibility because everyone was nice to them their whole lives because – DUH – they were pretty. This is why I’m convinced that I am hilarious. I was one of the ugliest children/adolescents in the history of time. At least that’s what I like to tell myself in order to make it okay when I laugh at all my own jokes. In conclusion, Kelly is gorgeous. Which is weird and stuff but she totally makes up for it by being an effing genius.

Look at her in these glamourpics:

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She can do cute.

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She can do weird circus lady with creepyman.

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She can do literal supermodel kill yourself.

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She can do “Disney Hand-Boobs.”

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And finally, she was on the Today show. Did you know that I have a secret fascination with the Today show? I do. The combination of banal “cat-saves-baby” stories with crazy cracked out happy hosts that makes me really excited. Plus I love that there’s always some white person with a Spanish sounding name (ahem, Natalie Morales!) that makes me feel included as a fellow white person with a Spanish sounding name (ahem, Orlando Soria!).

Here is the mood board I put together for Kelly’s office:

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Kelly has very masculine/mid-century taste. Thus, I’ve designed her office to be relatively simple, clean lines, nods to 1960s literati style, and furnished with pieces as unique and outlandish as she is. This week we are getting the painters in and ordering all the furniture. It’s pretty exciting. Mainly because I get to hang out with Kelly and drink lattes and talk about our feelings and how we’re both scared that we are going to die in a giant earthquake today. I’ll have an update in the next few weeks with how we’ve progressed and shots of the space. Get. EXCITED!

Love,
Orlando

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Why You Should Ogle Other People’s Homes

Photography by Alexander Evans

Dear Diary,

Los Angeles. It’s not really a walking city. But if you force yourself to get out of your car and wander around, there are plenty of things to ogle and admire. I came across a lovely building on Harper Avenue recently and decided to snoop around. While I enjoy where I live, one of my favorite weekend activities is to walk around and fantasize about living somewhere else, whether it be a glamourhouse up the street from me or this gorgeous Spanish Revival apartment building. Or is it a condo building? Also, what’s the difference between an apartment and a condo? Why do people who own condos find it necessary to call them condos and not just apartments? Is it classist to call them condos? Am I classist? Also, why do people in New York buy “apartments” but people in LA buy “condos”? When did my scruff turn into a beard? Does this beard make me look older or just more hip? Why am I asking so many questions?

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Here’s the building as it appears from the street.

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If I lived in this building I imagine that one day, a deranged blog fan would find me and yell things at my window until I came and stood on the balcony. And then I would look down and see that he was hunky and blond and then we would fall in love. And I’d jump down and he would catch me and we would get married.

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Right? Like, hello! These are total Romeo & Juliet balconies (even though I doubt you can actually stand on them unless you are miniature).

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The building has a beautiful courtyard where residents like to sit and act rich.

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That doorway. I’d love to cuddle up and sleep on that stoop, just so I could stare at it all night.

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I’m not a huge fan of wrought iron, but for some reason I love it on Spanish Revival buildings.

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I don’t know what this style of window is called but I love them and want them all over my futurehouse.

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I’d imagine that there is a neighborhood near you where you can go and stare at houses or apartments. Look them up and down provocatively. Wink at them. Maybe whistle and yell explicit things at them. And you should explore these neighborhoods. It’s good design research and it makes you appreciate your surroundings. So go forth! Ogle some buildings!

Love,
Orlando

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The Glamourest of Glamourtimez: Anjelica Huston & I Design A Space Together

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Dear Diary,

Last Friday I found myself standing on a deck in Venice with flashbulbs going off. How did I get here, you ask? Well, I was part of a glamourous marketing campaign organized by Airbnb. Five different designers paired up with five different celebrities to design pop-up Kithauses all over LA. I was lucky enough to be paired with Anjelica Huston. Which was clearly a dream come true. Everyone keeps asking me how it was to work with her and all I can say is that she was the most pleasant person ever and that her voice is so beautiful that everything she says sounds like a song.

The Kithaus Anjelica and I designed was in Venice at the Cook’s Garden. You might be curious what the design process was. It basically went like this:

1. Anjelica outlined her tastes, aesthetic interests, favorite colors, designers, etcetera.

2. I created a design plan based on her tastes, collaborating with my friend and the lead designer Emily Henderson.

3. Anjelica and her team came back to us with edits and I redid the design plan until it was something we were all happy with.

4. I began sourcing furniture, providing options for Anjelica to choose between and she chose her favorites. Most of our furniture was vintage or came from Design Mix, which is an incredible resource for beautiful furnishings from around the world.

5. I loaded with a team on Thursday from 1 PM to Midnight. And then the next day all morning.

6. Anjelica came by to do a final run-through and some additional styling before our reveal.

This is what the Kithaus looked like in Venice:

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Anjelica styled these pillows and this throw to make the deck look more inviting:

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All furniture is vintage with the exception of the pillows (which were from Ikea). Fiddle leaf figs are from Mickey Hartigay Plants. Orb sculpture is by Suzanne French.

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Wallpaper is custom from Aztek Wallcoverings.

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Chandelier is from Casa Victoria.

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The pillows are from Nine Space. $38. Tray is vintage. The candle was made by Anjelica’s friend Carrie Lowell. The Robert Graham book is from her personal collection.

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These glamorous lamps were rented ($1200).

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This glamourous throw is from Land’s End. $70. Daybed is from Design Mix Furniture.

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The daybed is actually still available (we just rented it). $3995. It’s kind of the most beautiful thing in the world. Well, except for this AMAZING one-of-a-kind hand colored photograph of Anjelica by Ara Gallant:

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Below is the adorable bathroom in the Kithaus. The mirror is vintage. $80. The accessories are mostly from Shopclass.

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The painting is a DIY piece I made by painting out a vintage painting I bought for $10 at Goodwill. The bench is vintage from Sunbeam Vintage. $100.

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Oh, and don’t mind her. That’s just Anjelica Huston drinking a glass of champagne in the room we designed together. Hey.

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Emily stopped by to hang out in the pod and it was delightful. Her baby bump is the real deal. So exciting!

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Anjelica and I discussing the design of the room, seeing it with the lights on for the first time, the lamps glowing almost as bright as our hearts.

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After our champagne toast we ate one of the most delicious meals of our lives. Made with vegetables from the Cook’s Garden and cooked by Chef’s from Joe’s and Willie Jane, both of which are down the street from the garden. It was the greatest night of my life.

Love,
Orlando

PS: The house is on view until Saturday Oct 5th at 8 AM. FIrst Friday in Venice is on Friday. Stop by and say hello! 1033 Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Venice, California. 90291.

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Let Them Wear Cake!

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Dear Cake,

I became aware of your awesome fashion line recently and I just had to share it. In addition to your glamorously simple logo, you have a line of clothing that is just edgy enough to be classic while not screaming so loud that it’s annoying.

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Flag, $120

I want to hang this awesome flag in my apartment, so I can pretend I am the president of my own country where geometry rules and everything is in glamourous black and white.

I need the following hats for my fall look. My “fall look” is that I don’t have the energy to play with my hair for 20 minutes before leaving the house every day.

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Cake Hat $50

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Gamechanger Cap, $120

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Triangle Cap, $50

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Double Finger Ring, $295

I don’t know if I’m cool enough to wear this tough ring, but I want to be…

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NY Tank, $35

Geometry + tank top = everything I need.

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Cube Ring, $30

I don’t quite understand how this is a ring but I want it. I want it so bad.

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Gold Cross Ring, $30

This ring is like the modern version of Madonna’s cross necklace. Necessary.

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Reflections Sweater, $90

If you’ve met me, you know how vital this sweater is to my ability to continue living. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of clothing that more closely represented my personality, interests, and aspirations. Love.

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Lighter, $50

After I saw this lighter I decided to start smoking.

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Cloud Sweater, $90

I can’t wear red for personal reasons (my face) but I love triangles. Confusion…

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Basic Drop Tee, $80

This tee looks like it feels like air kissing your skin. Lovely.

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Open SIde Tank, $60

A gay man can never have too many basic white tank tops. This one looks particularly perfect, like it would drape just perfectly off your rippling gay body.

Anyway, head over to Cake’s website to see all their stuff.

Love,

Orlando

PS: This is not a sponsored post, I just came across this brand and wanted to share it with you.

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