Saturday, December 31, 2011

Several years ago today we lost a good friend in a tragic safari accident. Coincidentally, this is also the time of year when the camellias are in bloom around here and I like to think they're just for her.

Image from Southern Living

Did you know you can buy camellias, and other trees, from the Arbor Day Foundation and have them shipped right to you?

happy new year - 2012

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year! A friend once told me, "may your parties be grand and your resolutions stand." Here's to making the same resolution every year, cheers. What are your resolutions? Your party plans? Enjoy the weekend!

Image of Sam Spiegel's New Year's Eve Party via All Posters.

for auld lang syne

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ah the New Years party. Something we haven't hosted in a long time as we've been constantly on the move. If in some imaginary world, we lived near all our friends, here is some fun party inspiration. Maybe you will feel inspired for your fete. I love these as favors of good fortune through the new year. Besides, who really has already packed up their holiday stuff, I mean really?

Champagne cocktails, enough said. Need a little libation inspiration?

Sweet wishes for the new year.

Balloons to lift your spirits.

And if you must serve dinner, a festive table.

resolutions, revisted

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My second, constant resolution is fitness. I'm one of those unfortunate souls who is tormented by this Sisyphean task. Meaning, I work out, constantly and continually because I have to but trust, me not because I want to. To keep things motivating, I have to mix it up a lot. And I've found inspiring spaces sure don't hurt. How about Henry Flagler's Hotel Alcazar gym. I would totally work out here. source

The Biltmore Gym, better in person. And a wood rowing machine just like I remember my uncle having. source

Just like in school, I would surely not mind the skylight. source

I have an on again, off again relationship with yoga. Our latest stint together was Bikram, daily however presently we're on a break; it was just suffocating. I've practiced in a lot of studios but my favorite is a little hatha outside. When we lived on the ocean, I practiced in the morning on the beach before the neighbors were up to see me and giggle. I didn't mind that place so much!

I have always been a swimmer so naturally, I love pools such as the old NYAC pool. source


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ah, the post-holidays clean-up. This time of year always sparks a million resolutions for the next and chief among them - get organized. Especially as I haphazardly toss the ornaments into a bin and pray they make it to the next year. For a little inspiration, Jen Jones literally has me trying to keep up with the Joneses as I believe her house is the most organized ever.

Yes, even her freezer is organized. I know.

norman rockwell museum

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yesterday I included some of my favorite Christmas Rockwell prints. As you come down from the sugar highs, toss the wrapping papers and look ahead to the new year, you may be thinking of the places you will go. You should add the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to your list. In 1973, Rockwell left his personal collection to be shared and preserved for years to come. This museum houses the most significant public collection of his life's work.

merry christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I would be remiss if I didn't wish you a truly happy Christmas on Christmas day. As you tie those last ribbons, to all my friends who celebrate Christmas, may you have a joyous holiday. And to those who don't, may your peking duck be amazing.

I'm so enjoying these old Norman Rockwell prints form The Saturday Evening Post.

Images from All

jolly old saint nick

Friday, December 23, 2011

One of my favorite occasional reads is the Smithsonian magazine. Yesterday I plopped onto the sofa (as I ungracefully tend to do) and read this article on Robert Walter Weir's 1838 painting and the history of Saint Nicholas as we know him.

"Weir’s portrayal of St. Nicholas was inspired in part by the descriptions of a fellow Knickerbocker, Washington Irving, the celebrated author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Irving’s A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, published on St. Nicholas Day, December 6, 1809, was replete with charming digressions. Among them was a set piece on the saint, portraying him as an elfin, antic figure, his appearance drawn from the ranks of the Dutch bourgeoisie. Smoking a clay pipe and “laying his finger beside his nose,” Irving wrote, St. Nicholas soars over trees in a flying wagon “wherein he brings his yearly presents to children.” Irving also advanced the notion that the saint descended into chimneys to bestow his treats."

Image and excerpt from the Smithsonian magazine

decoupage on the walls

My jaw dropped when I saw the wall-covering done by Daniela at Aesthetic Oiseau. How perfect for a rental as I hear these homemade starch-glue "decoupaged" fabrics can be easily removed before moving day. So here is the before:

And the gorgeous after:

Images belong to Aesthetic Oiseau

a good read - chandeliers

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Speaking of lighting, or writing of lighting, I remember long ago someone in the blogosphere recommended this book and I'm so glad they did. Chandeliers by Elizabeth Hilliard is so comprehensive for the lighting neophyte. Prior to ordering this little work my extent of appreciation was, "oh shiny" or "oh, that is going to be a pain to clean." It doesn't seem to be in print anymore, but all the better for a bargain hunter.

A chandelier from Whitehall, London. Another, made from rare amber, in Rosenborg Castle of Denmark. An electrolier by Robert Lorimer in Scotland depicting St. George and the Dragon. And lastly, the chandeliers in the Music Room of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

These are images are scanned by me from the book and are credited to Elizabeth Hilliard, 2001. Apologies for the lack of scan quality...

living in ikea

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I have been giggling over this while trying to drink my tea this morning - very difficult to do both at once.


A blanket term for a multi-branched candlestick, these started to become popular in the second half of the 17th century and well into the 18th. They can often be seen canoodling in pairs or are often guilty of hanging out on the wall attached to convex mirrors or standalone. Most commonly girandoles were constructed of hardwoods, gilded bronze, crystal and of course, silver. Naturally.

Images from Alain Truong, A La Vieille Russie, ArtNet, Dorotheum , Objects of Ornamental Art, Cowan's Auctions

cooks in the kitchen

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm a big fan of hobbyist blogs, probably because I am one of them. An old friend, with a razor wit, has started a kitchen blog. I hope you'll check it out, she's a real life food writer in NYC so she really knows her stuff: What You Need In Your Kitchen. And me? I'll leave the cooking to the cooks.

winter dinner

Still decorating for the season? Anti-"retail red" as Reggie Darling says? Here are some lovely festive tables thanks to my decor-crush, Carolyne Roehm.

gush, I have a crush - carolyne roehm

Monday, December 19, 2011

I know, you are probably thinking, "what design-minded person does not know of her?!" Well, I first learned of her work in the early 90's. From my mother. Who liked her clothes. That's right, I knew of her as a clothes designer, first.

While her fashion firm was short-lived, her tastes are timeless. I've been watching her work for a long time and I love her classic sensibilities. Here is a little tour of her own pad via my favorite section of the New York Social Diary.

Image from NYSD, Models of the World