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Executive editor Laura Kostelny is not the best photographer—something you are sure to notice right away. On her way to becoming the next Annie Leibovitz (complete with the financial woes!), she spends time browsing home decor shops, talking about deep (and not so deep) things on the patio of the Old Monk, and watching the worst reality programs you can name.

At Home With Tracy Martin Taylor: New Year, New Update

The month of January brings gym membership specials, weight-loss program offers, and the magical Elfa sale to help us organize. This is the time when we want to start fresh. I love to look at my stash of favorite finds and attack one or two. There are many reasons to hold on to certain pieces—maybe the too-small headboard was in the room you grew up in. Maybe you can’t part with your husband’s dad’s well-traveled uncle’s favorite chair from who-knows-where. Maybe you have a steal from the Wisteria sale three years ago that you had absolutely no place for but couldn’t leave the warehouse without. The Salvation Army will not be getting these kinds of items. So what to do? Let’s make a little happy happen—you will be so glad that you did. I can always identify the pieces in a home that have a story, and that’s a good thing. Vow to create a couple new tales to go along with your 2015 Pilates commitment. The stories (and firmer body) will make you smile.

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Bring Your Room Into The Woods

A lot of things make me nervous: live music, plays, overly earnest people, and people who wear hats to name but a few.So you can see why I thought I would hate the newish film Into the Woods. I LOVED IT. Apparently, I’m the only one, as it received basically no love from the Academy. (Thank God for Meryl!) Anyway, in protest, I am thinking of turning my bedroom into an enchanted forest with this mural by Rebecca Rebouche. And then I will sing Lilla Crawford’s part on this. I will, however, remain hatless.

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Friday Fun With Jim Williamson

The end of the first full work week of the year is just hours away. You can all let out a collective, “Ah!” Like many of you, I was not quite ready to return to work after those lovely days off during the holidays. There is something kind of nice about not knowing or caring what time or even what day it is—as long as it is just from a holiday-induced coma and not from an actual or medically-induced coma.

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What Else Would You Do With $50,000?

Once again, let’s pretend that you stumbled across an extra $50,000 that you forgot all about. And let’s say you wanted to devote all of that cash to getting your house up to snuff to maybe put it on the market. What would you do? This week, I’m posing the question to some of Dallas’ top real estate agents, and they give their two cents about your fifty grand.

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What Would You Do If You Found $50,000?

There are so many things you could do with an extra $50,000. You could move to Europe for a spell with your best friend, Laura, and eat and drink bad things while wearing berets. But maybe you are a practical person and/or someone who doesn’t care for hats. We asked some of our real-agent-friends what they recommend a homeowner do should she come an extra $25,000 and $50,000 in the budget to create better re-sale value.

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Gifts For The Book Lover: Mexico: The Cookbook

“Wait a minute,” you’re thinking. “You clearly said that this was a gift for a book lover—not someone who loves cooking and/or Mexican fare.” Okay, I hear what you’re saying. But do we really want to put people in boxes? Are we okay with identifying people with a single label? I mean, you don’t want to be known as simply “the first wife” or “the dog lover” or “the guy who got wait-listed at Stanford,” right? So stop doing that and then buy your literate friend the super lovely and useful Mexico: The Cookbook. With 200 photographs and 700 recipes, there’s a lot to admire to peruse. Bonus: She can make you a delicious meal and you can talk about how you don’t pigeonhole people anymore.

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Gifts For The Book Lover: Love Me Back

Perhaps you’ve read some things about local author Merritt Tierce’s debut novel, Love Me Back. People far smarter than I have given their two cents on the book, and I’m not going to do that here. This is a post about consumption, people! So I’m going to encourage you to buy this very dark book for the friend who loves to talk about books as much as she loves to read books. It’s a very fast read—I read it in a single night—and there’s plenty here to discuss. Like, she could talk about it for days and days! Actually, if you could include my email address with the book, I would very much appreciate having more people to talk to about this book. So in the end, by buying this book, you would actually be giving me a holiday treat.

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