Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blue & White Napa

Hello friends! So I just got back from Napaaa.  Yep, it was awesome.  The last time I was there, I was 7 months pregnant.  I ate so much food to compensate for the lack of wine that I gained 7 pounds in 4 days! (It was worth it obviously).  It really is a foodie's paradise and beautiful to boot.

I'll spare you a detailed rundown of everything we did, but here are a few highlights (mostly of the blue and white variety).

* Auberge du Soleil

The view from Auberge is pretty much my Heaven.   We woke up and had an early, quiet breakfast overlooking the valley.  That hour was enough to re-energize me for the rest of the year. 

* St. Helena 

St. Helena is probably my favorite little town in Napa Valley.  We walked up and down Main St. a couple of times waiting for stores to open (everything opens around 10:30ish there). 

When we stumbled upon this restaurant I gasped.  The painted brick, the gate, and ... 


... a huge screened-in porch with blue and white ticking pillows!  You know I LOVE a screened-in porch.  Not pictured is a giant wall of potted plants and herbs. 

Archetype's Screened-in Porch
Upon further research, I discovered that Architectural Digest named Archetype one of the "10 Most Beautifully Designed" restaurants. 
As I was snapping pictures, a patron came over to us to rave about the food.  I'm definitely adding this to my list of places to go next time I visit. 

We did a little "shopping."  And by shopping I mean, I snapped pictures of things I wanted to buy.  

This large white coral from Martin Showroom is exactly what I need for an empty shelf above the sofa in the library.


I stalked this blue and white antique shop window for 45 minutes before they opened. 

Open.  Open.  Open.

See, no face prints on the glass.  Y'all should be proud of my willpower.

* Back in Napa

Not 5 minutes in Napa, and I spotted this beautiful cobalt blue hand-painted chest in Thomas Bartlett Interiors.  I had a strong desire to give it a hug.  The color was so beautiful.

More blue and white in Thomas Bartlett
We visited a couple wine spots including Chateau Montelena (gorgeous grounds, good Chardonnay, which I normally don't drink), Del Dotto (amazing cave tour, loved all of the wine).  I happened to be reading in the car this post from MFAMB where she linked to this Remodelista article on the Scottish-inspired Cairdean Estate.  We had an extra hour and I was hungry so we popped in!

Outdoor seating for their restaurant The Farmer & The Fox - love the whimsy
The restaurant is only open for dinner, but we had a lovely sandwich from their bakery and sandwich shop, adorably-named Butterscots.  I'd love to go back when the grounds are finished.  There was still quite a bit of construction, but the design is so fun and interesting that I'd love to see what else they have in store. 

Y'all, I feel rejuvenated and lucky.  It was a really fabulous weekend.  Kip gets to spend some time out there for work once or twice a year (I know, tough gig) so I know I will be back.  I can't wait!

I'd love any recommendations from y'all!

Here are a few more places of note for anyone visiting soon:

Annette's Chocolate & Ice Cream (Napa) - Go there for coffee and order the Almond Mocha - so delicious!

Bottega (Yountville) - Amazing food, ask for Murph to be your waiter and then let him tell you what to eat. 

Pennyweight (St. Helena) - prettiest selection of fine stationery and gifts

Torc (Napa) - Relatively new restaurant, great atmosphere, amazing food and service

Jan de Luz (St. Helena) - gorgeous monogrammed linens

The Christopher Hill Gallery (St. Helena) - contemporary fine art, Christopher is also the nicest person in the world and so fun to talk to, we had so much fun analyzing the work of this cheeky artist Mario Garcia Miro

St. Helena Olive Oil Company - I literally tasted everything in there.  I ended up buying their Nuovo Olio 2014, which is the first press for 2014.  It was so good.  I'm turning into an Olive Oil junky.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Have a Lovely Weekend!

* The Suze's house pre renovation. Not bad! 

Soo many links to share! So little time! But I love sharing these posts.  If you know me in real life, you know these posts are no different than my cocktail party conversations (or pizza and wine with my friends and kids).  I corner people and then become a relentless soldier in pursuit of making sure they know just how awesome something is.  As I type this, I realize, it's probably really socially awkward of me. 

Anywaayyy, I just want to say a big random thank you to those of you take the time to comment on this blog. I would be perfectly happy sitting here chatting out to the universe even if no one was reading.  But it's so nice at the end of the day, to feel like I've had a conversation about something that delights me. So to those of you who take the time to ask a question or leave a nice little note at the end of a post, I appreciate you!  You really make me feel like I had a little conversation about something that's not, "how do you want me to cut your sandwich? No, I can't do rhinoceros.  I can do a triangle or square."  Really, y'all keep me sane (relatively). 

And don't worry folks who have trouble leaving comments or just plain don't have time. I totally understand. It's hard for me to comment from my phone so I never get to leave as much feedback for my blog friends as I'd like to on a given day. 

I'll probably be here forever talking about silly decor until I'm blue in the face, and I love all of you who take the time to read! 

A simple, fresh (super delicious) tomato sauce I made this week (a couple of weeks ago) 

An interesting article on design blogging. (Note: I don't think anyone will ever accuse me of machine-like content generation)
My new favorite book to read to Edward (it's another one that makes me teary)

Gorgeous blue and white pillows on Etsy 

My friend has been using this Water Sleeping Mask and her skin is looking so pretty and glowy.  (and you can get it at Target!)


Shutter Love for The Suze

An Enchanting Blue and White Dinner Party

I could love Nantucket.  I really could.

Blush Pink Love

Chic Tray Styling

Pretty Old School Rooms

There is a pink feather turkey in this post that I may have to order if it's still there.

Seagrass or Sisal?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: A Popular Pin from Parish-Hadley

I rarely look at my blog stats (I don't really know how), but I did happen to notice that I had a couple visitors from a particular pin on Pinterest.  Every once in awhile I'll come across and image or a pin that is apparently from my blog and I'm like, "oooh I like that, did I post that?!"  Such was the case with the image above.  I thought, "Wait, I posted that? I LOVE it!"  It's Parish-Hadley virtually untouched since the 70s.  And it is still chic and timeless today.  The image is from this post I did back in May of 2011, where I pretended to be Oprah and then declared Veranda my favorite thing.  

Now, you are going to see how crazy I really am and how easily distracted I can get.  In an effort to find a better quality image than the one above, I tried a little Google Image Search.  No dice.  BUUUT I did fall down the rabbit hole know as Visually Similar Images.  Holy Moly. AYayay (in Juan Pablo's voice).

And here's what I  found:

A gorgeous dining room with Trompe L'oeil walls and fun Miles Redd-ish, pagoda pelmets over the drapes.  Note the continued pagoda detail above the door.  See the entire $32 Million Palm Beach Estate to which this dining room dream belongs.

Mica Ertegun’s dining room in Turkey with 18th century engravings depicting antique Turkish costume. (need to know that wall color)

A lovely green room with fern-fabric-covered chairs.  (See Mom, ferns are in again!) (We used to have a ferny kelly green sofa growing up)

I think somebody drew the architecture where this law firm is located and then they used it for their firm website.  Regardless, we all win.

The arched windows, the gorgeous landscape, the black and white floor in this beautiful light-filled living room is definitely going in an "If I ever build a home ..." inspiration file. 

Then this is just pretty, pretty, pretty.

I absolutely love the colors in this dining room!

Can you imagine drinking coffee in this Manhattan sunroom?

This is what happens when you start a blog post late at night and then just keep following the links.  Google  I may have to make a regular series out of this.  It's so nice to get lost in beautiful images sometimes. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My New Caspari Die-Cut Placemats

How awesome are these Blue and White Caspari Die-Cut Placemats that my bestie, Tushy (that's what I call her), gave me! They're so me.  I can use them everyday and just wipe them down.  I know, this sounds like an advertisement.  I just get really excited when practical things are pretty.  It's easy for fancy things to be pretty, but I often feel the inexpensive practical things lack the level of prettiness I enjoy.  And I enjoy a very high level of prettiness.  So basically, these make me really happy to look at and I don't have to put them away to collect dust, while I wait for people who know the difference between eating like human and eating like a dog to come dine at my home.  

Tushy bought them from the Charleston china shop, Vieuxtemps, which I told y'all about in this post.  I'm not sure if they have any more, but it wouldn't hurt to call.  I also found some with a quick search on Amazon.

The Caspari Online web site did not have these particular placemats, but they had some other things I loved.

Like these Boxwood Die-Cut placemats that remind me of my girl Christina of The Potted Boxwood.  

I also loved the Famille Rose pattern, 

and the Garden Pavillions pattern.  

Also, how chic is this tortoise matchbox?  That's one of those little details I always forget about until I see my ugly Best Choice matchboxes scattered about my home next to my candles.  (so not a cool blogger thing to admit)

And I love these blue chinoiserie toile die-cut placecards.  These would look good on any table. 

As much as I love fine paper and fancy things, it's nice to have beautiful, less-expensive options for smaller, simpler affairs, like, you know, dinner.  I may be the only one who appreciates it, but that's ok.  My boys will appreciate it when they're in college and and eating off of the dish they found in the sink that may or may not be theirs. 

They will look at their ugly (possibly foreign) plate and think, "My mom would hate this.  I hate this.  I wish she were here to make me her spaghetti and meatballs on her pretty plates and place mats.  I should call her and tell her I love her." 

Right?  They'll do that right?  Sigh. 

As long as they don't get a giant tattoo of my face on their arm (a la Rob Kardashian), I'm willing to settle for knowing that they're thinking it with my super mom ESP. 

P.S. As I've said before, no affiliated links on this blog.  Just my need to share the love.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend with The Suze

The Suze came to visit me over the weekend and we had a great time. It's always nice to have an extra hand when I'm planning one of my kids' birthday extravaganzas.  And it's fun to have somebody to talk to about decorating stuff who truly loves everything as much as I love it.  I don't think there's anyone out there who is as much on the same wavelength as me when it comes to our surroundings as my Mom.  It's a great bond. 

While The Suze was here, my dad sent us some pictures of the new kitchen lights they installed that day.  The Suze was so happy she declared, "oooh, it's like a charm bracelet!!" (Anyone who knows The Suze knows that a charm bracelet is the ultimate in happy sparkles for her). 

I believe these are the Benson Pendants from Restoration Hardware.  The polished nickel keeps them classic, but I do believe these are such a big step in The Suze's recent style evolution.  She's very true to her roots, but just a bit cleaner lines, less cluttered and fussy.  I love it.  You also get a peek of their new kitchen.  The marble is covered, but you can see the sink fixture is gorgeous too.  This all opens up to the family room, which we are soo excited about!

Also, you can see just off to the back left is a built-in that was supposed to be for cookbooks.  It was the first thing they did that The Suze was not in-town for and that's when she realized she was going to need to micro-manage a little more than she thought she would.  It's not at all deep enough for any books.  There's still a lot she can do with it so it's not that big of a deal.  I suggested she display her silver pieces in it.  Like this little nook of genius from Sage Design:

I just love when a house that's less formal turns it up a notch and brings out all of the pretty things.  And for the near future The Suze won't have any kids rollerblading through her house like she did for the last 20+ years (seriously we all did it, like it was no big deal) so she can finally really be fancy again. :)

When The Suze comes in town, she usually does a lot of laundry and dishes (mine), goes to the grocery store 25 times (milk for the boys, wine for the girls) and plays with the kids or tries to teach them to nap (to no avail).  This time we stole away for a bit to check out the nearby Mission Road Antique Mall.  I hadn't been in years (it's not a great place for strollers or monkey children).  It's fun to go to places like this with The Suze because she can show me what's really nice and a good deal and talk me out of something that might sound like a good idea in theory.  We found lots of things we loved.  I came home with these antique egg prints and gold sconces (thanks mom!)

I'm going to frame the egg prints with thin gold frames and put them up in my family room.  The sconces will adorn Theresa on either side.  

We also popped into Coveted Home, a local interior design and home decor boutique, that I've been dying to visit since my friend Tobe at Because It's Awesome told me about it (a long time ago).   It's taken me forever because (sorry sweet boys) kids.  Y'all know how life with little ones can be - they're great snuggling and laughter, not so much for home decorating.  

The store is really everything I hoped it would be and more (see these images from their Fall Open House).  It's expertly-edited and really only filled with quality things.  

We met Joslyn, the owner and designer.  She's a wealth of information and so sweet.  I love finding local Kansas City talent and look forward to following her work more closely.  That's one of my goals this year, is to shop more locally.  I'm the queen of internet shopping (although Coveted Home does have an online store and blog as well!). 

And finally, The Suze and I both decided we had to have this fabric in our houses.  It's gorgeous.  It's soft and velvety, but not velvet.  The texture is really what makes it.  I just want some pillows for my sofa.  I think The Suze needs to cover a big tufted ottoman with this for right in the middle of the family room between her two white slip-covered sofas on her sea grass rug :) 

Well, that's all for now! The weekend was a blast! This blog would not be what it is without The Suze and her excellent taste.  Now that she's getting "her house" finally, I have a feeling I'll be sharing a lot more of The Suze's inspiration with you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yes, I know, it was so mean of me not to follow in detail the renovation chez Suze all summer, so I offer you the blurry sneak peek above (hope that's ok Mom!).  Gorgeous family room built-ins, which inspire the kind of panic over what books are worthy of display that I know so well.  

I can't wait to get in there and take some detail pictures for y'all!  Most of it was just demolition and boring things like wiring and plumbing. 

Also, I had to tread lightly.  The Suze was going through all of the emotional highs and lows that everyone goes through during this kind of thing.

 There was excitement one day and then the next day it was the worst decision she'd ever made and "why is nobody interested in my mood boards?"

The Suze and I both have a bit of a reality distortion field when it comes to the boundaries of home renovations.

We tend to dismiss phrases like "load bearing walls" and "budget" when sharing our grand visions with people.

In fact, The Suze has been known to remind people that "they can put a man on the moon, so they can surely figure out a way to do this."

Kip tried to gently explain that the people who are installing a dishwasher probably could not put a man on the moon, but The Suze is ever the optimist and insisted some could.  

But we are finally to the point in the redo where she is really happy with the outcome.  

It is far from complete, but we are at a place where there has been at least a few sighs of relief.

It is scary to tear up your home, give a guy a bunch of money and pray he executes your vision.  I mean, there are much scarier things in the world, but when your physical home is the heart and soul of your family, it's very overwhelming.  

But there are some really funny stories about the process, which I would love to share, but it might be too soon.

(like my family was almost briefly involved in a civil war)

(and I, at one point, was called "ruder than mom and dad" by someone). 

 Maybe in a few years? Maybe if y'all share your stories?

So while I don't have many pics from the house to share, I hope you enjoyed the little walk through The Suze's Inspiration Pics.  (Yes, go the the link to see her Pinterest Board with all of these photos and more).   I promise to bring you the good stuff :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Suze is in town!

And she brought some gorgeous fabric samples that she's considering for her entirely new downstairs.   Yep, they are in the final stages of a major house renovation that took all summer! Now the fun starts.  I'll be back with more later! 

P.S. She noticed I'm going back to my roots with my decor choices lately.  She's right.  Basically, if something is not in the color palette above (or blue and white porcelain), I'm not buying it.  So expect more inspiration of this sort.