nitesurf by Regime des Fleurs

The hot dry Santa Ana winds / Carry the scent of blossoming citrus groves / Across the valley to the light of the full moon / Fractured on crashing waves / of Venice beach


So, I know it’s normal for me to have a long list of “must-haves” for you, but seriously, scratch everything I’ve told you lately and put a fragrance by Regime des Fleurs at the top of your list!  The scent I chose, Nitesurf, finally arrived at Forty Five Ten in Dallas. I had the pleasure of meeting the two founders at the store earlier this year. At just $95.00 a bottle, you honestly can’t go wrong.  The care and personalized touch that goes into each and every bottle is exceptional.  The fragrances are made in small batches.  The bottle I received was labeled 25/250.


Nitesurf is my new go-to scent.  There are so many layers to the fragrance that I can honestly say I’ve never in my life smelled anything quite like it. It includes Tunisian neroli water absolute, floralozone, phosphorescent petal accord, ginger lily CO2, transparent citrus, nautilus shell destructive distillation (yes, crushed seashells), and grey ambergris tincture.  I’ll be wearing this fragrance all through fall to remind me of long windy walks on the beach.

regime des fleurs town and country

Learn more about Regime des Fleurs here and catch them in the September issue of Town and Country magazine.



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nite surf



Charleston 1

Zero George

This past May, I enjoyed Memorial Day weekend with my boyfriend in Charleston and Kiawah Island for a wedding. We had such a lovely time!  We stayed at the Zero George Hotel – which I highly recommend!  It’s a boutique hotel comprised of historical buildings with a restaurant on property and delicious cocktails.  One evening, we dine with friends at FIG and another at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad).  SNOB was absolutely fantastic.  It’s a must-visit on your trip and please try the Shrimp and Grits and the cocktails are beyond.  Actually, we found it’s difficult to find a bad specialty cocktail in Charleston.

As for shopping, my favorite stores we visited on King Street were: Lily Charleston (for bath, body, and candles!), the Billy Reid boutique (there’s something about Billy Reid & Charleston), and South of Market (home decor). I’ve recently fallen in love with the South of Market blog!  I found the offices of my favorite magazine Garden and Gun - so much fun!

On Saturday, we left for Kiawah Island for the wedding. The wedding was outdoors and the reception had the most beautiful sunset overlooking the golf course.  And, I’m in LOVE with the alligator place setting. So creative! I can’t wait to visit Charleston again soon.

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Zero George

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Zero George

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South of Market design shop

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South of Market design shop

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Enjoying a rooftop cocktail! Love the green Sperry’s

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Garden & Gun

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Kiawah Island Wedding

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Kiawah Island Wedding

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Kiawah Island Wedding Table Setting

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Kiawah Island Wedding Sunset

* images: my own and Zero George from Zero George


the hundred event


The Hundred Event hostesses!

It was wonderful to attend some sessions of The Hundred Event held a week ago in Dallas. A long time fan of the Aspiring Kennedy blog, I was excited to learn that blogger Lauren Bryan Knight was involved in organizing and hosting a bloggers event at the Warwick Melrose Hotel from August 8th-10th.  It was such a great group of women (bloggers, writers, and small business owners) and sponsors included Joules, Minnetonka, Twine Room Design, Lily Jade, and media sponsor Bungalow Magazine. A special thanks was also given to Peacock Alley, Love Ophelia, Uber Dallas, and the Warwick Melrose Hotel.

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speaking on The Brand Perspective Panel!

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On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with representatives from Peacock Alley, Fossil, and Lily Jade on The Brand Perspective.  This panel was about digital marketing and advertising opportunities with brands (what makes them want to work with you!) and the social media that surrounds them.  I attended the beautiful dinner on Friday as well – there was a full weekend of fantastic events!  You can see the entire image gallery here.

My quick points:

1.  Be sure that the brand is a good fit for your audience.  Don’t collaborate with a brand your audience will not receive well because chances are the brand won’t see the results it wants and you could harm your own personal brand.

2. Make it natural.We all don’t like to “read” advertisements on blogs.  Think of different ways you can showcase the product and reach the needs and goals of the brand without being too obvious.

3. Multi-platform promotions. Even if you’re working with a brand and the deal is just for Facebook, give the company a chance to see the value you can provide them when they work with you.  Be sure to utilize other platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even videos during your partnership with the company. They’ll be appreciative you went the extra mile – even if it’s a value add!  It’s often helpful to create a unique hashtag for your partnership, particularly if it’s a longer giveaway or contest.

4. Think like your reader. If you were to land on a blog, think about how you might like to learn about products.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

5. Be Professional. Record activity and statistics on your blog during the collaboration.  They’ll be watching, but if you provide the brand with a promotion, contest, or collaboration recap or report, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

6. Understand the Goal. Before launching any partnership or campaign, it’s important that you understand the goals of the brand.  Are they looking to drive traffic to their website?  Do they want to capture a new audience? Are they hoping to see the different ways you can style their product and share it with your readers?  By asking your contact or the brand’s representative about what they hope to achieve through the collaboration, you can better customize your strategy to meet those needs.

Thanks to the Hundred Event team and all involved for the amazing opportunity and on successfully hosting such a lovely and successful weekend!

fashion bloggers


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Friday Dinner

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Lauren and her daughter, Viola!
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Cakes by CakeWalk (our favorite)!!! 


Photography Credit: Awake Photography


summer beauty

When it comes to summer beauty, here are a few of my current favorites that I try my best to never leave home without – especially when traveling!  My newest addiction, is the Sugar Lip Tinted Treatment in Tulip with SPF 15.  This gloss keeps my lips hydrated without being too sticky or greasy.  And, for summer, the Tulip tint adds just the right amount of rosy hue that beautifully complements a summer glow. It instantly brightens the face and sometimes it’s all I wear. I highly recommend it!  I am still using the W3LL People cosmetic line based in Austin, Texas.  This line is clean, non-toxic, and 100% natural.  The cosmetics are made in very small batches and there’s an emphasis on organic ingredients that offer a natural benefit to the skin as you wear the makeup.  There aren’t any harsh artificial chemicals, preservatives or petroleums included in their makeup line.  My favorites from the line right now, are the Altruist Satin Mineral Foundation and the Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara.  The Mineral Foundation is light and airy, but seems to effortlessly even out your skin tone with radiance. I have sensitive skin and allergies and can often have trouble finding a mascara that doesn’t aggravate my contact lenses.  The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara makes your lashes voluminous and striking while supplementing them with health botanical ingredients. This mascara lengthens AND builds.  As for fragrance, summer scents to me should either be powdery light and fresh or beachy.  Right now, I’m loving Narciso Rodriguez for her.  It’s a soft feminine fragrance with notes like jasmine, pink peony, rose, and lily of the valley that doesn’t seem to be too much for the Texas heat.


PIRCH_Entry PIRCH is opening this fall at NorthPark Shopping Center in Dallas! It will be so nice to shop the best of the best in indoor and outdoor kitchens, laundry room ideas, and inspiration for the bathroom, all in one place. This full service home store that specializes in plumbing and appliances.  The best part? You can walk in and try everything.  Learn more about PIRCH and some of the lines they carry here!     PIRCH_Bath3 PIRCH_Bath4 PIRCH_Kitchen PIRCH_Showers




I’m all about maxi skirts at the moment.  The piece can take you from day to night with a quick change of accessories.This Striped Piece from J.W. Anderson is a great item to pair with the gorgeous pink maxi from Temperley. For the evening, favorites are: Metallic and Leather Mary Jane Pumps from Miu Miu, Rush Mini Clutch Leather Bag from Fendi in Navy, and the Tahiti Sling Ring at Steven Alan.  Take all the accessories away and can’t you picture the skirt and top with summer flats for a casual look?



One of my favorite local beauty lines is Dear Clark! I love the scent and the way it keeps my hair clean, healthy, and hydrated.  This Thursday, the Dear Clark Hair Studio along with Erica and Trey Kuppin will host an art exhibit featuring pieces from talented at-risk teens who participate in Big Thought’s Creative Solutions Program.  The event will be from 7-10 p.m. this week at the Dear Clark Hair Salon at 3317 McKinney Ave. Come enjoy the art show and shop select products available for purchase – all benefiting Big Thought!  Big Thought is a non-profit organization that serves the Dallas community and provides youth  with access to innovative learning opportunities outside of the classroom setting.  We’ll see you there!


What: Dear Clark and Big Thought Art Exhibit and Shopping Event

When: Thursday, August 7th from 7-10 p.m.

Where: Dear Clark, 3317 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX





Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the sneak peek of the new Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted by Laura Bush. This exhibit celebrates five decades of style, a retrospective of Oscar de la Renta’s career. The exhibit features stunning celebrity red carpet gowns, attire worn by First Ladies, one-of-a-kind pieces, and recent runway gowns.

The exhibit will be presented through October 5th. Learn more.

I hope you enjoy a few photos I snapped on my visit!






“We practice slow design, which is the opposite of ‘fast fashion.’ The ‘slow’ philosophy is a direct response to the instant gratification mindset often seen in fashion. We are not interested in creating garments that are cheaply made and meant to last for a season. To the Alabama Chanin standard, a quality garment is designed and constructed to fit into a person’s wardrobe for years, if not decades. We focus on style over trend.”

– Natalie Chanin

One item near the top of my getaway list, is planning a trip to Florence, Alabama to visit the Alabama Chanin studio and café. Several years ago, I was introduced to Alabama Chanin through Colleen Duffley’s Studio B. Since the introduction, I’ve been an avid follower of their work and designs.  My excitement intensified with the creation of A. Chanin, their basics collection. These closet staples are an introduction into the extraordinary and thoughtful craftsmanship of the line.  With a stunning array of fabrics, colors, and hand embroidered designs, these pieces are treasures that will be enjoyed for years to come.

It’s an honor to feature an interview with the founder and creative director, Natalie Chanin.  Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, Time, Town & Country, Garden and Gun, and CBS News – to name a few. Natalie is an author and member of the CFDA.


N/S: What lead to the development of Alabama Chanin? Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

NC: I really began to discover my love of design in college. I studied as part of a Bauhaus-based design program at North Carolina State University. I have worked steadily in design since then. But, I did not have intentions of building my own brand until it happened. I always say that the creation of Alabama Chanin was a happy accident – the perfect combination of people, places, and ideas meeting at just the right time.



Natalie Chanin


N/S: What are your favorite places and things in Florence, AL? Why did you choose this as your home base?

NC: Florence, Alabama, is a place rich with history and full of talented artists. I’m honored to work with and among this community of creatives. When I have visitors, I often take them to a place known as “The Wall,” a mile-long rock wall near my home built by family friend, Tom Hendrix, in honor of his great-great-grandmother, a Yuchi Indian woman. It’s a sacred place for our community and for me, personally. Florence also has a home designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright that you can tour. More and more, visitors are interested in our region’s recording history, so I like to take them to FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio where people like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and the Rolling Stones recorded. Of course, a barbecue sandwich (with hot slaw) from Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q is also a must.

Florence is my hometown – where I grew up. I came back to Alabama for a simple reason: because they have the workforce that understands how to make the things that I want to make – and to make them well. Those skills and the idea of building a strong community are central to Alabama Chanin at its core. Our community has embraced us and I believe them to be one of our strongest resources.



N/S: What inspires new designs and collections from Alabama Chanin?

NC: How does inspiration come to any artist? I’m encouraged by my community, challenged to succeed by my fellow artists, and moved by my love of family. I find great inspiration in books and photographs, as well. Our most recent collection was inspired by Maxine Payne’s upcoming book titled, Making Pictures: Three For A Dime. It catalogues the work of the Massengill family, who worked in the late 30’s and early 40’s as itinerant photographers in rural Arkansas. The photos of farmers, young couples, babies, and the Massengills themselves really capture a specific time and spirit. I wanted to translate that into our work.





N/S: What makes Alabama Chanin designs different from others?  They are a higher price point, but how did you know there’d be a need & desire for quality design and embroidery – a return to craft?

NC: We practice slow design, which is the opposite of “fast fashion.” The “slow” philosophy is a direct response to the instant gratification mindset often seen in fashion. We are not interested in creating garments that are cheaply made and meant to last for a season. To the Alabama Chanin standard, a quality garment is designed and constructed to fit into a person’s wardrobe for years, if not decades. We focus on style over trend. Our fabrics are organic and healthy for the wearer. Our artisans and factory employees are paid a fair wage. We have found that quality garments can be created when you combine beautiful, durable materials with good design and ethical practices.


I think that people are generally more interested in knowing how things are made, and by whom. The Slow Food movement established the idea that we should be aware of where our food comes from and we should seek out what is good, fair, and clean. It is not such a large shift to transfer those ideas into other areas of your life. Plus, there is a growth in interest in artisanal crafts and skills. People are now more interested in making connections and creating with their hands than in decades. I hope it is not a trend – but instead is a mindset that is here to stay.



N/S: What lead to the development of the restaurant?  How would you explain the café?  Who visits it?

NC: I have always loved cooking and I believe it is important to know where my food comes from, who is growing it, and how it is made. The café is an extension of our mission as a company. We approach our ingredients and recipes from a Slow Food ideology. Our intention is to use locally sourced and organic ingredients, whenever possible. I want our customers to feel that they can trust us to source responsibly in the café, just as we do in our collections.


We have been supported and embraced by our community. We post a weekly menu online and there are many customers who visit regularly. But, we also meet new people every day. And those who attend our in-house workshops eat food catered from The Factory café, as well.



N/S: What lead to the development of the basics line?  How did it come to be?


NC: We have offered basic versions of our garments since we produced our first collections, years ago. It became evident as we were producing unembellished samples that handmade basic garments would make excellent, versatile wardrobe staples.


Our machine-made line of basics, A.Chanin, was launched last year. It has been part of my vision to produce sustainable, ethical machine-made clothing for quite some time. After years of research and building relationships, we felt that we had a good supply chain that would support this effort. But, there are also plans to incorporate our machine-made garments with our hand embroidery techniques. We are excited about the possibilities.



N/S: What will you be wearing this summer?  Any trips planned?

NC: I love wearing skirts and dresses year-round. So, no matter where I go, I will pack our A-Line Dresses, a tunic or two, and my Long Skirts. This summer we have several workshops and events planned, so I will be quite busy. I always try to pencil in a beach trip with my daughter Maggie, so you might catch me sporting an Alabama Chanin sarong with my bathing suit.



N/S: What are a few must-have pieces from Alabama Chanin?

NC: At Alabama Chanin, we want to make pieces that fit into your life, no matter what that life might include. My philosophy is that each person’s “must-have” piece is the one that makes her feel most beautiful.



N/S: Where is Alabama Chanin currently available?

NC: Because Alabama Chanin is a sustainable design company with a goal of zero waste, our collection pieces are available from our online store and a small selection of specialty stores around the world. However, they are made-to-order, whether that order is placed in our Factory store in Florence, online, or at one of our trunk shows across the country.

Our full Alabama Chanin line, including A. Chanin and our DIY kits, can always be purchased from our online store.


N/S: What’s to come this fall from Alabama Chanin?

NC: We have a few sewing workshops on the calendar this fall, as well as a second MAKESHIFT event in New York this October. I’m also busy working on a new collection, collaborations, (and a new book). There is never a dull moment at The Factory.

Find Alabama Chanin on the web here, Facebook here, and Instagram here.

What’s on the N/S list?  The must-have is definitely the Polka Dot Sarong – on sale too!

decor, style

artist Sally King Benedict  - photo credit: Ben Gately Williams

An artist’s pieces at the top of my wish list are those of Sally King Benedict. Benedict was recently featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Domino magazine. If you haven’t picked this issue up, be sure and do so!  I asked the Atlanta based artist a few questions about where she’ll be traveling this summer and the inspiration behind her latest pieces.



Scuba Face

N/S: What inspired the “faces” drawings and paintings? They are so beautiful – and there’s a consistency, yet, they are all so different?

SKB: Most of the time, the faces are a combination of features borrowed from real and imaginary people. I have always been drawn to portraiture, but I prefer to create/sculpt the person as I paint rather than painting from life. It’s a fun freedom to have and it helps me with the balance of purely abstract pieces.



N/S: What are some memorable moments from your trip to Sea Island that most certainly influenced your recent drawings?

SKB: Lounging at the beach club on the lawn, basking by the serene adult pool, Mexican dinners at Bubba Garcia’s and spending quiet nights at Julie’s family’s classic cottage 90 that has not been touched since the 70’s…. all with paint and paper in hand, and a heart full of sentimental memories of growing up in my great grandparents’ cottage on 14th.



Sea Palms Study


N/S: How do you decide where your creation will “live” – whether it’s a work on paper or a painting?

SKB: I have so many fleeting thoughts and ideas, making it hard to find homes for them a lot of the time. I don’t carry around a sketchbook (though I know I should), and I am insanely disorganized in the studio, so catching a fleeting thought and putting it somewhere safe is crucial to my creative process. There live my works on paper. They are normally the pieces that I know I need to create quickly in fear that I will lose the idea forever. The canvas pieces are surely more worked and time consuming. They usually take a different level of commitment and sacrifice. There is so much doing and un-doing, messing up and rarely getting it right throughout the process on canvas where on paper, it has to work the first time for me to be content.



N/S: Where are your pieces currently available?

SKB: There is always a good bit of inventory at my home studio in Atlanta. Most available works are also shown on my website… with a re-launch and “shop” coming soon. I also show with Blue Print in Dallas, Hidell Brooks in Charlotte, and Sandra Morgan in Greenwich. Online, I sell exclusive framed prints through Serena and Lily.


Spring Pool

N/S: How will you be spending your summer? What are some of your favorite things to do? Traveling?

SKB: Would not be summer without quality family beach time. We’re going to Charleston, Ponte Vedra, and then hopefully California and New England late summer/early fall.



N/S: What is a “typical day” like for Sally King Benedict?

SKB: I am not a morning person so getting started requires a lot of coffee. The first part of my day I spend time with my husband and 2-year-old son. Around lunchtime, I get into work mode and check in with my right-hand woman, Julie on what needs to be tackled in the studio that day and any other work correspondences. From about 2 pm until dinner, I paint or I get distracted trying to paint.

The Cabanas

Big Pool Baby Pool

Garraux Face

N/S: What are three of your favorite things?

SKB: Right now: Summer tomatoes and peaches, napping when it’s raining, and seeing my son dance without being provoked.

See more from Sally King Benedict online here, on Facebook here, and follow her on Instagram here.