Monthly Archives: August 2014

Celebrity Couch Life: The Canavan Sisters

Like everyone else in the world, the people you see on TV have a life on a couch too. Liz and Marie Canavan, the infamous twins from the Amazing Race Season 19, invited me to their place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to chat about their couch life. We quickly found that when the girls aren’t on television entertaining millions of viewers, they spend time on the couch just like the rest of us. I never grow tired of seeing how reflecting on our couch life brings back some of our fondest and even most touching memories.

The Canavan twins could probably complete every sentence for the other. I think that in the 15 minutes that we hung out on their couch, they actually spoke in unison for some portion of it (something twins are known for). This interview spanned the entire emotional spectrum- carrying the girls from the happiness of sisterly memories on their childhood couch, through the heartbreaking moments they shared upon losing their father, and up to the current uncertainty they’re feeling as they pack up their apartment to live apart from each other for the first time in their lives.

A twin's couch life!

Liz, Marie, and I in their Manhattan walk-up

Do you have a family couch in your life? One you inherited, got stuck with, or possibly stole from your family like the one that Liz and Marie are about to leave behind in their New York walk-up?

–Shawny

“Reading Set Me Free”

With all of the distractions of our modern life, we bring in guest contributor Eric Bennion aka “The DiaryDad”, who reminds us the importance of reading on the couch as a family…

The couch acts a reading classroom...

The couch acts a reading classroom…

Spending time on the couch with my family can mean any one of many activities is going on. We have movie time there, sometimes we play a few video games from it, we have even been known to throw impromptu dance parties around it.   Our couch is definitely a place where we come together for good family fun.  One of my favorite “couch activities” is reading.   I like to read my books there, my wife and I enjoy curling up on weekends for a good Sunday afternoon read; the best however is when I read to my boys. In the last year we have completed the first Percy Jackson Series, a book on Greek mythology, and King Arthur’s tales. Just recently we began The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and almost every night they ask if I am reading a chapter (more often than not they convince me to read them two).

I think reading to and with your children is such an important activity.  There is great freedom in developing the skill and ability to read.  When I was a little tyke I remember wanting to read.  I wanted to read so bad I felt like it was killing me.  My workbooks were hard, my flashcards were hard, my phonics lessons were hard; but then again I was only 5 years old.  I saw people reading and wondered what it would be like when I didn’t have to ask someone to read a story to me.   I wanted to know if there was something I was missing.  I wanted to stop feeling like I was being held back by this inability to make funny black marks on a white page make sense.

They're getting pretty good!

They’re getting pretty good!

One day after weeks or months of struggling through phonics exercises and letter recognition with my mom and grandpa, I decided to have it out with a book.  I walked up to the bookshelf grabbed a copy of “Fun with Dick and Jane” and went to the couch in our basement in a winner-take-all showdown.  Either I would conquer that book or my brain would explode… and yes I read the hell out of that book.  Then I proceeded to read the hell out of it to anyone that would listen to me.  I read it to my mom, my grandparents, my dad , my brothers, and if I could have caught the mailman I would have read it to him too.

The great thing about that moment is that it set me free. Sure it was just a “Dick and Jane” book and sure it really lacked substance, but I couldn’t be held back anymore. All the knowledge that was out here in the world was available to me because I was a reader.  I began reading books with gusto, and to this day there is great comfort for me in the pages of a good book.

Reading to the boys on the couch...

Reading to the boys on the couch…

I remember watching this same phenomenon in my children, specifically my youngest.  I remember watching the frustration as he worked to make meaning from those funny marks on the pages.  When it finally happened I was more than happy to listen to him read the same story to me as many times as he wanted, because I knew.  I had been there and it was a huge defining moment.  Now both my boys are avid readers.  So much so that it is a punishment to make them go to bed without the opportunity to read.  One of the best “go-to” adventures for us is a “quick” walk to the library to load up on new books to read. Those trips never take us less than an hour even though the library is 5 minutes from our home and we never come home without a bag (or two) loaded with new books to read.

Whether at the library, the beach, at a park, in their bed- or on our couch, I hope that my kids never lose their love of reading.  It has been fun to see the things that inspire them.  What’s more, it is comforting to know that they have the same freedom that I gained those many years ago.  Learning to love reading is one of my favorite fathering moments and it is definitely a hallmark of my family’s “Life on a Couch”!

For more “Dadventures” from Eric Bennion, go to his page at www.diarydad.com!

What’s the last book YOU read on the couch?

— Shawny

Change Your Couch’s Clothing

Imagine for a second that you only had one set of clothes. You woke up every single day and you had one pair of pants and one shirt. No matter the weather outside, you just had that one set of clothing. During the 90 degree days of August, you had this one shirt. During the 20 degree days of January, you still had this one shirt.

Time for a change!

Lucky feeling bored about another season with these covers

As you got older and your pants stopped fitting so well, or they lost color or shape, you still only had this one pair to wear. As the times around you changed- and so did popular style and design, you still had only this one outfit. And eventually as the fabric weakened and the pants and shirt wore through and were filled with holes, they were still the only clothing you had.

Pretty hard to imagine, right? Now think about your couch for a second. As the weather outside changes, can you change your couch with it? Imagine how nice it would be to have a cozy, furry couch to warm up in the winter- and then have a cool, breathable fabric to stay cool during the dog days of summer. Or imagine that when your tastes in style changed, you could change your couch along with them.

Change clothes!

Changing the covers

A few years back, this would have sounded crazy. People approached the couch-buying scenario with extreme caution, knowing that whatever they bought would live with them for the next 10 or 20 or 30…or 50 years. Now that Sactionals exist, everything has changed. When my wife and I had our fourth child Valentine this past month, we needed some extra couch space so we just simply added some on. But while we were doing it, she decided she also wanted to change up the “feeling” of the room a little for the summer. So just like that, we changed the clothes on our couch! …The same Sactionals pieces we’ve had now for nearly 8 years look new, smell new, and amazingly feel completely new again. (And they’ve seen some abuse!) Every time we change our Sactionals I wonder the same thing: What do people with normal couches do? I guess they just live with it. I guess they just hide that stain under a throw pillow. I guess they just try to get a few more years out of it until they can justify spending the money to get an all new one.

Ready for summer!

Pepper feeling excited about the new covers

You know, this blog isn’t meant to be an advertisement for my company, Lovesac or Sactionals. This blog is however, a reflection of my own real life and the things I find to be changing the way we look at our life on a couch–and real life in general. I have devoted my life to creating products that disrupt the staleness of classic furniture. The feedback I’m seeing from people who truly LOVE their Sactionals is a confirmation that we really have created something special that is shaping the way people live their life on a couch. What do you think?

WATCH THE CHANGING PROCESS IN JUST 20 SECONDS…

— Shawny