Step by Step

It seems every time we drive up north to our little country abode, I’m schlepping some sort of box, bag, lamp or item that has an intended purpose in our home away from home. This weekend we’re bringing our wicker furniture we’ve spray painted dark green for the porch, in addition to some carpet and wallcovering samples. Our renovation for the most part, has been a DIY (thanks to my handy Hubby), and as much as the process continues to drag on, it’s been nice to go at it bit by bit to ensure each decision has been thoughtfully considered.

In the box:  Soane’s “Scrolling Fern”  for the masterbath and a few natural fibers for the living room, stairs and bedrooms.

In the box: Soane’s “Scrolling Fern” for the masterbath and a few natural fibers for the living room, stairs and bedrooms.

Distractions

Summer is heating up and with it has come a great deal of exciting client endeavors which I’m particularly excited about. However, one of the challenges with running your own business is finding the “off” button from time to time. Professionally, I’ve been programmed to always be “on” for as long as I can remember, which I know has taken a toll on my mental (and physical!) health. (Even years later, I still have visions of the red light flashing under my pillowcase from my Blackberry - yes, Blackberry, while my then boss was in Asia). And while my work will always be one of my biggest priorities, I am also trying to find that switch and create distractions that will help enforce this philosophy. For me, that distraction is the garden. Scheming up summer parties, tending to my herbs, and experimenting with my new crop of nasturtiums that will make for fun party garnishes.

Nasturtiums frozen for summer cocktails! A little snippet from a garden party last season…

Nasturtiums frozen for summer cocktails! A little snippet from a garden party last season…

Le Sirenuse Miami

It was such a treat to explore Miami’s Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club. It opened in 1930 and today, oozes with such a distinct spirit and legendary style - hollywood glamour meets chic old Florida. It’s as if you could see Sophia Loren dazzling in her diamonds in a booth next to you while the DJ spins Frank Sinatra nearby and the dim table lighting visually seduces. The highlight, was The Champagne Bar, where I had the most delectable cocktail. I had ordered the “Sole” with Grappa, Mezcal (a favorite), bitters, lemon juice, tomato shrub, Yellow Chartreuse and soda. The taste was extraordinary, inventive but delicate and the presentation of course, a true medal of honor for Valentino, the bar’s infamous mixologist. I highly recommend a visit.

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le sirenuse miami champagne bar

Perfectly Petit

My last meal in San Francisco, after a week on the west coast, was at Petit Crenn. It was a lovely way to round out a wonderful time spent mostly with my dear friend, one whom I had lived in San Francisco with for four years. We had visited Petit Crenn previously, and I especially loved the sentiment of returning, years later as our lives have grow respectively since our shared adventure as room mates.

We saddled up at the bar with a glass of wine, which in my opinion is the best seat in the house, as you’re front and center with the chefs preparing the meals. You truly capture insight into the kitchen process, the sacredness of the ingredients, and the true essence of the whole scene…one that fascinates me and makes the experience of dining that much more enjoyable.

We both had the Mt. Lassen Trout, brilliantly and seductively roasted over a wood-fired grill, served with roasted beets, spring onion and walnut. The menu is always sensational, which can make the selection process challenging (in a good way!).

I highly recommend this little gem in Hayes Valley. To see more, visit SF EATER or find the celebratory chef Dominique Crenn on Netfix’s Chef’s Table.

Image via SF Eater, no copyright infringement is intended.

Image via SF Eater, no copyright infringement is intended.

West Coast Magic

I’m working from the west coast this week, staying with my incredibly dear friend, in her Napa home. Having lived in San Francisco for four years, I always love returning and reconnecting with the electric energy out here. I feel it the moment I touch down at SFO. It’s hard to bottle up and describe, but it’s an energy that truly touches my soul and mind. It feels like medicine in a way. It stretches my brain and imagination in such a refreshing manner. I miss being so close to the celebratory innovation out here - whether it’s tech, design, food or wine, and am so grateful to get little taste of it this week!

One of my favorite places in Napa Valley is the little stretch of Yountville where Thomas Keller has undoubtedly made his mark. Washington Street is practically a shrine to Keller, flooded with his sought after restaurants, The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, Ad Hoc, the French Laundry Garden and now, with his latest endeavor, La Calenda. Just a skip away, is the newly opened Restoration Hardware Yountville, a series of buildings that were designed to integrate food, wine, design and art. As my friends and I were discussing, we didn’t want to like it (for a few reasons some might understand)….but we do. Very much.

As part of this new experience, the restaurant reimagined Ma(i)sonry, one of my favorite old spots which combined art & wine within the grounds of a historic stone building. Now, the building plays host to a wine vault with all the Restoration trimmings, and, something I’m particularly excited about…a coffee shop.

We enjoyed a lovely brunch at the RH Restaurant, surrounded by 100 year-old olive trees, glittering chandeliers, roaring fires and the sound of water trickling from stone fountains. Below are some snapshots from our morning however I do suggest viewing on their website for the visuals to really do their justice.

P.S. How about that seductive La Marzocco espresso machine in brass & graphite?! SWOON.

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Summertime Splendor...

I set my coffee down this morning by the stack of straw hats that adorn a console in our upstairs hall. It had me desperately yearn for that simple summer splendor. I am craving the elegant ease that ensues, especially here in Newport… afternoon swims in the sea, bare feet in the garden, salty hair, white ensembles all day and evening… why is summer just so SENSATIONAL? Thank you, Marella Agnelli for inspiring me with this photograph taken of her (and Princess Pignatelli) in the port of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the Cote d’Azur. Black & white photography often evokes more of a “mood” for me than any colors of the rainbow could…Now, let’s press fast-forward to summer…

(Photograph by Henry Clarke via Condé Nast via Getty Images).

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Settling In...

I’m loving our new petite office digs in Newport. There are still odds and ends that need addressing, but I’m taking my time hanging art and perfecting little details while growing into the space. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the Floral Reserve for a celebratory flower shop. I’ll be sharing much more in the coming weeks…

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Dream Home

This home just went on the market in my parent’s neighborhood. The community draws a great deal of summer residents and having just spent a night in Chatham on the Cape, also a very summer-driven town, I was reminded of what really makes my heart sing in terms of real estate. I’m not attracted to new construction and truly prefer the old bones of a structure that has a story to tell. Salt-sprayed shingles, tall hedges, the creak of an old porch floor, views of the sea from your bed or bath…I love the soul of this summer cottage, granted, it needs a bit of attention, I love imagining the possibilities…

To view the listing, see here.

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Lee

I will always recall this New York Times T Magazine feature of Lee Radziwill from 2013. She was the epitome of grace, style & substance. Her life was fascinating - from her early childhood, to the complicated sisterhood with Jackie O, the European princess truly lived life to the beat of her own (chic) drum. I’ve had the book “The Bouvier Sisters” on my nightstand and it has me reflecting on my own sisterhood. Seeing the casket at her funeral adorned in flowers made me smile. It is said she helped design this component and it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. She left us with the same light she brought into our lives & culture (See more here).

Below, glimpses of her iconic apartment in Paris that went up for sale several years ago, as featured in T Magazine.

Long live the spirit of Lee.

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