Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Before summer completely slips away, I'm going to unplug for a short while. Just a little breather. I find that my creativity gets a boost when I give it time to percolate a little bit. 

I'll leave you with a few things that have recently caught my eye!
I'm awaiting the newest Pineapple paintings by Jen Ramos of MadeByGirl. Her paintings sell out lickety split, so you have to be ready to pounce. 
Loving the newest fragrance, At Last, by Lollia. It is heaven!!!
And, finally, I'm drooling over the closet of fashion blogger, Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies, as highlighted on Domaine Home. Even her drawers are lined with pink velvet. Not sure my husband would spring for this when we redo our master closet, but it's fun to fantasize.

Whatever you're fantasizing for the end of your summer, go make it happen! Wishing you sun drenched days and lingering nights.
images: fotosearch, lollia, domaine home

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Secret Garden

Finally! I never dreamed I would find such joy in a simple fence, an arbor and some gates. After 8 years in our home and frustration with an oddly shaped back yard (long, not deep), we are in the home stretch on our garden project. 

As you can see through my new arbor, it appears to be the front of the house. But, it's not. Well, not really. We're on a corner, so we actually have 2 front yards, according to the city records. What it does mean is that the foot and car traffic along the "side" of our house is as busy as a typical front yard. That left me feeling too exposed. I craved some sense of privacy.
Sometimes what can be seen as a problem or obstacle is just an opportunity to do something unique. We had an existing footpath into the back yard from our earlier landscape design. Instead of ripping everything out, we kept it and put in a little "folly" gate. It works, but it's not something you or I would go through. But, perfect for children. Almost like their secret entrance. 
From this view, the secret gate is in the corner, under the hydrangea tree.
Here is the view from our side yard.
And, here is the view from my favorite chair, seen above. 
There are a couple more finishing touches that we hope to get to, but overall, I'm really happy with how it's coming along. At last, I feel like I have a little backyard oasis…my secret garden.

Do you have a secret place?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sleep Away Treat

I'm picking up my youngest son from sleep away camp today. Several states away. Ok. More than several. He's in the South (gotta keep those Southern connections). He had his first overnight in the woods this week - sleeping bag and all - and one of their rewards is that classic, summertime camp treat. S'Mores
You can melt them over a fire pit. You can put them in a jar. You can bake them in a cast iron skillet. 

But, no matter how you style them, they'll take you back to that night you spent at camp or in the backyard, licking the melted chocolate off your fingers, while the fireflies darted about your head.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and the joy of simple, summer pleasures.

images: Cooking Classy, Dessert for Two, Sulia

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Giving Yourself A New Experience

So often we think of giving to mean "giving a gift" or "giving to others". Today, I'd like for you to consider how important it is to give yourself new experiences. I am just back and still elated over the dinner "experience" I just had with my husband at Prune, a restaurant that has stood the test of time (15 years in NYC) on the Lower East Side and gave us more than we expected.

Here's how it started. My wonderful soul-friend, Ted Kennedy Watson, has written many times about his dinners at Prune whenever visiting NYC. I trust Ted's taste. In fact, I have had his recommendation written down for a long time. The stars aligned and both my sons are currently out of town. The dog is at the breeder. No excuses. Free as a bird.

I tell my husband, who has just flown in from a meeting in Ohio, that this is where we're going. Out of the way? Just a little. Luckily, he trusts me (and remember, I trust Ted), so off we go.

See the photo above? Imagaine I am sitting where the woman in the pale green jacket is sitting. Right there in the window on a perfect, balmy summer evening. I decide against my typical champagne and go with the "Fresca". Good decision. Tito's vodka + fresh grapefruit juice + tonic + mint = summer sipper perfection. I have two.
Every morsel of our meal is delicious. Soulful. Inspired. I've eaten all over New York City and I'm telling you….this was off the charts. And, the staff. Let's just say they were cheerful. Happy. Helpful. Beyond. And, the accent color was…yes, you've already guessed it….pink! Not baby girl pink, but a raspberry pink, which is my favorite.
Small world. Don't you love it when things happen that you think, "no way in a million years"? Well, we had one of those last night, too. Our entrees are about to arrive and we hear a familiar voice. It's the wife of my husband's best friend from business school, who lives in Utah. She had just arrived for the week and was walking into Prune for dinner, with a friend.. The place seats 30. There are over 7 million people in NYC. I had texted her an hour earlier to say how I wasn't able to see them this weekend. And, there she was. Seriously?! What are the odds? I'd guess they were better that California Chrome would have won the Triple Crown.

And, finally….a friend dropped off the book, Blood, Bones & Butter, upon hearing we are heading to Prune. It is the memoir of chef/owner, Garbielle Hamilton, and it is a. page. turner. Finished it this afternoon. I have to say, if you are thinking of heading to Prune for dinner on your next foray into Gotham (and you should), read it. Wow. 
Oh….and did you know Gabrielle won the James Beard Award in 2011? So, yes, it was a wonderful evening filled with special moments before we even went. But, this is the kind of thing that you can give yourself in whatever town you live in. Try something new. Go somewhere you haven't been. Break out of the rut.

Give yourself a new experience! I know I'm glad I did!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The House of Joy - D2 Interieurs

Have you ever taken a spin class? You feel really great about signing up, then begin dreading the actual ride right up until the moment where you are walking out dripping with sweat. At that moment you are elated. It was worth it! I'm so glad I did that! Well, that is something like the feeling that JoyRide co-owner, Amy Hochhauser, had when she decided to update the home she shares with her husband and 2 sons. Luckily, she called on the Connecticut design duo, Denise Davies and Kerri Rosenthal, of D2 Interieurs.

Color, happiness and joy abound in this updated 1960s ranch that once belonged to local shop owner, Wende Cohen, of Bungalow! Perfect for a family that loves to hang out together and have their friends and family over, too.
For the full story check out the current issue of athome magazine! You'll even learn about something D2 calls "Kitchen Botox". 

Whether it's making that spin class or updating your home, sometimes just beginning is the hardest party. And, the euphoria that you get with completion is something that you can't get with a shortcut.

Here's to the joy of the ride!

interiors: d2 intérieurs, athome magazine

Friday, August 1, 2014

Party Favors - Blogger Style

Welcome to August and another summer weekend! 

Every Friday, I am trying to focus on elements related to entertaining. At the risk of being repetitive to what you've already seen in blogland this week, I wanted to share some of the beautiful elements of a recent blogger's luncheon that I was privileged to attend. 
When Sandy of You May Be Wandering first told me that she and Tina of The Enchanted Home were trying to coordinate a gathering, I basically cleared my calendar. We met in Greenwich at a beautiful water-side restaurant, where it was obvious we were "expected". I think this is a great opportunity to demonstrate how you can host something outside of your home and still make it seem special. 
Placecards/gift tags had been personalized by our Seattle friend, Jeanne of I Dream Of and she had even sent along a darling little package of blue and white goodies. Sue, of The Zhush, rounded things out with her signature purple gift wrap, which housed darling coasters from Rifle Paper Co. Those coupled with blue and white porcelain pitchers from Tina,  filled with hydrangeas from Sandy, made for a beautiful table and an immediate conversation starter.  Though, trust one was at a loss for words! If anything, I wish we had had more time together.
I loved this setting and gathering so much that I might just have to use it for the next occasion I need to celebrate! And, I'll remember to bring the party favors!

What are you celebrating this weekend?

images: ppt, I Dream Of, The Enchanted Home

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Giving That Gives Back - Found My Animal

For pet owners, I think it's definitely a toss up between who gets more out of the relationship. They definitely take work and dedication but I think the humans actually gain more out of the deal. I know that's how I feel about our Molly. Known affectionately at our house as Smolly, Smolls, Precious, Princess and Ham Sandwich (because she's a ham), she is loved by all of us. 

Since my day hasn't really started until she and I head out for our morning walk, I have to admit I have acquired quite a few matching collars and leashes. But, another is in route as I write. I fell for these nautical-inspired styles by Found My Animal, a company based on good design principles as well as a passion for animal rescue. Yes, I ordered the pink. Surprise, surprise!

Walk your pet in style and know that in giving them a great look, you are helping give other animals a chance to be adopted. 

Are you a proud pet owner or animal lover?

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