Celebrating My Life of Living Well. Domestic and Otherwise.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We decided not to do a tree this year and celebrate the holiday season on the second floor of our home instead...

Many thanks for all your presents. Where do we begin?

Chris Everard

Came across these pictures earlier this year and fell in love. I have been waiting a full year now to share them with you. They are all from uber talented photographer Chris Everard.

Hope they bring you some joy and holiday cheer this season.

Drool over Chris Everard's portfolio listed on his agent's website, Sarah Kaye Representation. A blessed holiday season to you and yours.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Penguin Clothbound Classics for Children

At last, Penguin has published clothbound classics for kids and just in time for Christmas too!

For those with a voracious appetite for the literary accompanied by a strong sense of aesthetic, I know that I need not urge you to add these beautiful books to your own collection, but may I also suggest you bestow a few upon your favorite children this holiday season?!

Find them now at Anthropologie.

Ever since I discovered the Coralie Bickford -Smith clothbound collection of Penguin classics, I knew it was just a matter of time until this design direction made it's way into children's literature. I can't help but just marvel at all the beautiful linen embossed covers.

My favorite read and cover would have to be The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsons Burnett . I can't help but think that somehow the artist was inspired by the sublime colors of India, where the story begins. Marigold yellow ,saffron and shades of red and pink all somehow allude to an adventure the reader will soon encounter.

Having said that, all of the covers are exceptional and I can't find one that I don't love!

I haven't quite figured out why any information on the books themselves is not available from the Penguin UK website. Even less has been written about the cover designer so for now I won't assume that Ms. Bickford Smith designed these beautiful brightly colored covers since even her own website mentions nothing about these latest editions to the Penguin Clothbound collection.

What I have discovered over at Penguin Australia is that two more titles were simultaneously published but are not currently available in the United States.

I can't wait to get my hands on the full lot!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday Love.

We are celebrating another milestone in our home today.
My eldest daughter, our original baby is now 10 years old!

No fancy Martha Stewart planned party. Just an intimate dinner with family over the weekend, Sunday Brunch with friends who might as well be family, and today, on the birthday proper, we have a fun filled day planned out that begins this morning with pancakes made by Little Sister to be followed by an afternoon of pampering with some of her closest friends.

My Style Goddess. My Fashion Guru. Our Queen of Culinary Cool.

Happy Birthday Love... I Love You Forever.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Vanity Parade

From the time our tots are born, we parents are besieged with comments on how our little ones are miniature versions of ourselves. Rightly or wrongly, we decide that those observations are in fact compliments. We relish knowing that out there exists someone so familiar , somebody that resembles us in so many ways, that we hold onto the idea of the "mini me" for as long as we can.

And then one day, BAM!

That same little person, the so-called extension of ourself, says or does something completely out of character, (well out of your character at least) that you are left stunned by the sudden realization at how different they really are. You look at them in bewilderment , and as if meeting them for the first time, pause for a moment and find yourself muttering "whose child are you anyway?!" In a split second they become strangers to ourselves.

As was the case when both my daughters requested that they each be allowed to have vanities in their room to primp and preen.

"Primp and preen", where the hell did they get that one?
This coming from the offspring of a woman who barely looks at herself in the mirror before she walks out of the house and puts what little makeup she does standing over the bathroom sink! Oh, and did I mention they were both under the age of 10? My BAM was louder than most people's I assume.

After the initial shock, and a quick consultation with my extremely talented Interior Designer, we opted to have mirrored vanities made in true hollywood glamour girl fashion for both of them.

My starting point of course was the internet. Here are some of the images I found.

Instantly my favorite of the bunch but possibly too mature and elaborate for my daughter's rooms. This would be just fabulous for me if ever I found the time to actually sit down and fix myself!

Or maybe if I looked a bit more like her to begin with, my personality would warrant one of its very own.

This was one of the nicer vanities I thought , but as much as I like it , I think I love that chair a wee bit more. And the billowing rose colored silk drapes- yum!

How lovely to be able to look out the window, especially when what you see in the mirror is less inspiring -haha! The shape of the apron is different, but will it allow for drawers?
Hmmm... still not sure.

Cabriole legs? Perhaps. Am not sure about this bench/stool though. Proportions are off and am thinking it is missing it's Elton John mirrored piano. But I think I must get them one of those white furry rugs to complete the ultra-glam look!

Not sure about this one either, although I do like those lamps. I think it's having an identity crisis. The table looks more like a fabulous place to sit down and write a check then a delicate area to pamper and perm. The pouf seat, on the other hand , might work nicely. Let's see.

Now this is a great simple silhouette. Just need to add a little more oomph- it needs embellishments and detail that will make it truly fab.I love the matte gilded gold accents on this one. And the rope trim is very appealing as well.

I really like the slats (those tiny pieces of mirror stuck to each other side by side) is the single detail I love the most about mirrored pieces. A gold frame on the tapered legs is a must as well. Some simple etching might be nice too.

And I have always been partial to the kidney shape for a vanity.


And I know just the place to have them made! Will share photos of the finished products soon.

Click here for a great mirrored furniture resource!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

They're Finally Here!

Indulge me if you will and I'll release a less self serving post tomorrow.
I promise!

Remember those Elkin's chairs I was obsessing about here? And then, struck in a moment of my own genius, I came up with the idea of having a few made as barstools for my kitchen counter possibly covering them in pen shell to simulate the horn covered chairs I so coveted?

Well, I ended up taking that idea further and they finally arrived last night. I'm ecstatic!

Aren't they gorgeous?

They came out exactly as I had imagined. Thank you Gerly and Daniel for all your efforts and to everyone else at Skyshine Designs.

And a last note for those of you who may be concerned, tiger pen shells, which are indigenous to the Philippine waters, are not endangered species . This was something I verified before ordering them.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Spot of Tea and a Good Book

A spot of tea and a good book.
This is how I have been spending most of my my time recently...
and I love it!

I have just finished this beautiful story, The Help. If you haven't read it, run don't walk , and get yourself a copy. I absolutely adored this book by Kathryn Stockett.

With it, my selection of tea would be anything from my my absolute favorite purveyor, Mariage Freres. Bourbon, Casablanca, Vert Provence and Buddha Bleu are my preferred blends of choice. All green or red teas with fruit, flowers or spices to give them distinctive flavors of fantasy!

A great book must be accompanied by a great tea after all.

While waiting for my husband to finish the next book on my list, I thought I would read Ash in the interim. My 10 year old recently finished it and declared it to be one of her "best" books ever. Will be interesting to see what she defines as an entertaining read .

With a fresh young novel by the promising and highly acclaimed Malinda Lo, I will enjoy sips of Paris-Singapore and Magic Flute from the equally promising newcomer, TWG.

Next up is The Little Stranger.

" The number 1 book of 2009... several sleepless nights are guaranteed!"
- Stephen King for Entertainment Weekly
I can't wait to start devouring it!

Sounds perfect for one of the many rainy afternoons we've been having . You'll find me absorbed in it on the porch this weekend, enjoying a a pot of a smokey Lapsang Souchong from Dammann Freres .

Bon Weekend!

I Just Love, Love, Love It!

Tell me, is there a little girl out there who has never dreamed about living like Eloise at the tippy top of The Plaza Hotel?
Lucky for all the precious women in Tommy Hilfiger's life, our dreams are their reality.
Feast your eyes on this!
Mr. Hilfiger's grand new apartment that sits atop the newly restored Private and Pied- a- Terre Plaza Residences. Click here to read the full article and see more pictures of the Hilfiger family's exquisite new home on one of the highest floors of the iconic Plaza Hotel in NYC.

There are Warhols and Basquiats adorning the walls of the Hilfiger residence, but this Eloise mural by Hilary Knight, painted on an original French Renaissance style turret would have to be my favorite work of art in this home.

And yet another black bistro kitchen for me to drool over!

Oh to be wickedly wealthy certainly has its perks!

I'll be in New York this September and while I don't think an invitation to see this apartment is in the cards, I am very excited to go to the new Todd English Food Hall at the concourse level of The Plaza.

Be tempted by this slide show on Zagat Buzz.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Searching For The Perfect Pair of Wings

You think it would be easy. Need a chair. Go out and buy a chair.
When did I allow everything to get so complicated?

Yes, I need a chair. Actually I need two. Ok, so maybe need is not exactly the right word . Let's just leave it as I have a strong desire to purchase a pair of wing backs for my living room. Once decided upon, these will eventually become the best seats in the house so of course comprehensive research is of vital importance!

Why do I sound moostruck over a chair you ask? Read on and see for yourself.

I find that the mood a wing back chair creates in a room is unique and unparalleled. Comfort and warmth, elegance and refinement, a wing back exudes all of these distinguished characteristics and more .

That gorgeous gold gilded tea paper on the walls , the soft ambient light and that velvet upholstery, tell me, could there be a better chair out there to curl up in with a good book?
I think not.

Any chair more elegant than this baby ?
Love that lamp and the pouf on the right, have been seeing a lot of these lately.
Note to self, must add more gold furnishings to my home .
A dusting of gold adds a layer of luxury and a final polish to any room.
Personally I like my gold matte and I adore most anything that has been gold leafed.

So many superb styles and interpretations. What to do?

Should I go classic and elegant?
Or maybe something with a subtle twist on the traditional like this Grosfeld House wing chair available at Aero and as seen on 1stdibs.
This one from The New Traditionalists. The animal hide back and trim are just so nyc bobo (bourgeois bohemian) chic!

Have been enchanted for some time with these tasteful chairs from Victoria Hagan Home.

Am a big fan of nail heads as you can see.

Or something completely mood changing- perhaps some mid century modern flair with the Papa Bear Chair designed in 1951 by Hans Wegner?
Here is another chair caught my eye particularly , because I can't make out if its a vintage design or of a modern interpretation of a classic wing. Either way, I am drawn to it's silhouette.

And any chair that sparks that much curiosity deserves consideration.

Here are a few more interesting takes on the wing back.
Not necessarily my taste for our current home but possibly for another time and place.

Another mid modernist take on the Wing chair.
Can't you just see this chair below in Dan Draper's office?

And then to add new depth to my confusion, there is the allure of canopied porter's chairs I have to contend with. I have been enamored with these for a while now. Ever since I was reintroduced to these beauties at BG, (decorated by none other than the fabulous Kelly Wearstler), I was captivated by their form and grace not to mention their sense of drama and mystery.

While their origins may be humble, (these guerites were literally porter's chairs in 16th Century France ) they will always be the epitome of chic to me!
Below is a photo of the chairs as seen in BG. I don't know what I love more, the chairs or the
de Gournay wall paper! Ooh La La!

Decisions, decisions.
Which ones would you choose?