Welcome to Puddingstone Post

By coincidence, the pop starlet Lorde released her song “Royals” at about the same time I began building this site. No doubt the song became wildly popular due to it’s catchy melody — not to mention the singer-songwriter’s striking looks. But there’s more to it than that.

Lorde taps into something deeper that’s been nagging at our collective consciousness. Distracted by the fantasies all around us — the girl in the perfect jeans, the rapper dripping in diamonds, the neighbor’s immaculately organized kitchen — it’s damn near impossible to believe our self-worth doesn’t come from being perfect and having the best of everything. And with goals like that, it can be pretty hard to focus on what matters most. To wit:

But every song’s like
Gold teeth, Grey Goose, tripping in the bathroom
Bloodstains, ball gowns, trashing the hotel room
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams

But everybody’s like
Crystal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair

And we’ll never be royals (royals)
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz

I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t you a little bit old to be relating to teenage pop songs? In a word, yes. But I like what this these lyrics are getting at, which, I think, is this: Fantasizing about something virtually unattainable is one thing; mistaking it for our true aim in life is another. I mean, yes, some days it does sound really sexy to own a tiger on a gold leash. But then I remember that I’d still have to pick up that cat’s poop.

Alternatively, the Japanese use the term wabi-sabi to denote a way of thinking that centers on impermanence and imperfection. The idea is to accept things as they are, to find beauty and elegance among things in their natural states. In other words, life is complex, and accepting imperfection is an art form. Like my grandmother used to say (she borrowed the notion from John Steinbeck), “You don’t have to perfect; you only have to be good.” As a recovering perfectionist, I think I’m finally beginning to understand what she meant.

Named for the conglomerate rock that makes up swaths of the coastline where I grew up in RI, Puddingstone is a reference to the imperfect mashup of stuff that gives our lives meaning and makes us whole. Think of us as a salon for women and men who favor quality over quantity and practical luxury above extravagance. We find our inspiration in the disheveled beauty and organic elegance of homemade dinners, wandering paths, well worn homes, and other experiential niches of life.

In our closets, our pantries, and even our relationships, we strive for goodness, not flawlessness. We love a tidy desk as much as the next person, but we don’t glorify perfectly organized cupboards, extreme crafting, or fleeting fashion trends. For readers that crave authenticity and experience above gloss and glamour, we’re offering an alternative.

We hope you’ll enjoy our stories about design, food, style, culture, and travel. Our first features will include an industrial mill renovation in Hudson, NY, a backyard Paella party for 30, ideas for an efficient-yet-elegant wardrobe, beautiful travel tales from Costa Rica and Vietnam, and lessons from living off the grid in Alaska.

Ultimately, life is full of cheap distractions; our quest is to discover the artisans, projects, products, services, trends, and thought-leaders worth paying attention to. Here’s to everyone who craves a different kind of buzz. We welcome you along for the ride.

At top: Florida State University’s a cappella group, the AcaBelles, sing a spare and beautiful arrangement of Lorde’s “Royals.”

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Welcome readers! Photo by mrhayata via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.

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