decor, guests

The New Victorian RuralistFinderkeepers Market storefront


The best decision James Snowden has ever made was to leave his job as public librarian. When he did, this happened. Finderskeepers Market is one of the best-kept secrets in Lexington, Kentucky design. It’s a world where farmhouse meets loft, modern meets rustic, rough meets soft. And I’m embarrassed to say, I was late to the party.



But now that I’ve entered this world, I’m not sure I want to leave.



Blame me? Snowden calls his style New Victorian Ruralist: a moody mix that plays with unexpected combinations. Dark woods with Lucite. Cold lamps and warm candlelight. Funky next to stuffy. It works. When Snowden decorates a room, he says he’s not only thinking about what’s easy to look at, he’s thinking: what’s easy to live with. The homeowner should continue falling in love with the room—continue discovering new moments, new functions for the room.



What I love about Finderskeepers are the unexpected moments happening throughout the store. Just two rooms make up the space, but it’s easy to spend hours absorbing Snowden’s world. Taking in what’s happening in every nook, noticing details you only see after stealing a second look.



Something as simple as ripping up paper tickets to nestle a favorite candle in a glass vase didn’t seem so obvious until today. How does he dream up this stuff? Snowden’s advice to any amateur decorator: there are no rules, and never forget a sense of play.



I’m not sure you could come up with a better example of that advice than a glowing squirrel. I’m now convinced I need to own this.



A theme I’ve noticed through the store: finding the masculine in hard shapes and stiff furniture, and softening it with plush fabrics, pillows, and lighting. Snowden says he’s seen a lot of design moving that way—clients are enjoying rooms (and asking him to design them) with cold, angular shapes, but at the same time wanting a cozy atmosphere for the family.



And don’t be afraid of color.



Snowden discovers a lot of these great finds in antique markets across the country. But so much of the look comes with finding the perfect corner—creating the perfect arrangement—to let the piece shine on it’s own. The collection of antique scissors pops when it’s put on the top of this glass shelf, filled with glass candleholders, vases, and juice glasses. A heavy object, floating in space.


Grabbed these last few photos from Snowden’s blog.


Snowden’s style shows when you have balance, you have strong design. His playful ideas bend the rules, making Finderskeepers Market an inspiring place to shop create. Thankful to have an eye like his in Lexington.


* Many thanks to Lexington, KY Reporter COURTNEY FISCHER for submitting this fabulous post!  Find Courtney on Facebook and Twitter! And: James Snowden: The New Victorian Ruralist and Finderskeepers Market here.


Panic at the Wine Bar – Swirl It! video featuring Ben F from The Bachelorette

Your palate is like your fingerprint – it’s like nobody else’s, so stop worrying about ordering the wrong wine. Because you don’t have to be a wine snob to know what you like, so drink what your taste buds tell you!” - Swirl It! App

It’s opportunities to blog about things like Swirl It! that make me incredibly relieved I’ve never limited my blog to discussing just one topic.  Out of mere curiosity, I asked my fabulous friend Brittany Hawkins about Swirl It! (when I caught a mention on her Twitter account) and I’ve been dying to try it myself and share it on my blog ever since.  Brittany lives in San Francisco and is on the Swirl It! team.  I’ve always considered her a glamorous wine expert- so I was so excited to hear she was involved with a project like this.  “We want to make wine fun! Our goal is to bring new people into wine and to help them love it more, ” said Brittany.

Swirl It! is a new iPhone application that was recently launched in Beta. Swirl It! is the only taste-based wine recommendation tool that helps you choose wines from menus at your favorite local restaurants, bars and events. And, of course, they could use your help with the testing to add swirl spots and wines to the database!


Meet Brittany Hawkins – a member of the Swirl It! team

image from the Swirl It! launch party

So, how does it work? You can use the Swirl It! app to select a wine from your location. Using the app, you choose to swirl it if you like the wine and to spit it if you don’t. The more you use the application, the more you discover about your own palate (the app actually logs your wine history and preferences) and the easier it will be for the app to give you more accurate and educated recommendations for future uses!

Brittany wine tasting at the Swirl It! Retreat

one of the test vineyards the Swirl It! team visited

members of the Swirl It! team exploring the Frog’s Leap Vineyards.

The Swirl It! Retreat

Now, what are you waiting for?  I hope you’ve already downloaded Swirl It! and are looking forward to using it and curating your own palate as much as I am my own. Recently, I was invited to attend a Swirl It! event in California in November and can’t wait to share more information with you about the upcoming trip.

Happy swirling and definitely let the team know what you think.  Please rate and comment on the new app in the iTunes store – it will help the team throughout the test period!  Find Swirl It! on the web and Facebook.


Thank you to blogger Jessica Craig for sharing and making this beautiful video slideshow of the evening!

Birth of the Cool: A few weeks ago, the ever-fabulous Leslie Pritchard from Again & Again Dallas had a private dinner party with friends at Tom Spicer’s Spiceman’s FM 1410.  Spiceman’s FM 1410 is a small retail store and natural organic urban garden in Dallas.  In fact, there is an 11,000 square foot urban garden directly behind the shop.  The store offers a wide range of fresh culinary herbs, wild and exotic mushrooms, custom salad blends, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Through his work, Tom hopes to “expand on the hub and spoke network of the best organic, local and regional produce available and to educate anyone who wants to learn about these items and the best wasy to prepare and cook them.”  I know that I felt like I was eating in the coolest underground secret place I have ever been in Dallas – it was quite the experience!


“I was thrilled to share a private dinner with 15 of my favorite people in the whole wide world- my girlfriends! Such an amazing group!  Talented. Beautiful. Smart. Sweet-spirited. Indie. Fashionable. Creative. Loyal. And Just Plain Nice.  The night was magical!  Thank you Tommy Spicer for such a great evening!” – Leslie Pritchard

: photo shared from blogger Jessica Craig

Me, Sarah Ludwig, and  Kyle Knight (Knight Moves Blog) - photo credit: Jessica Craig

Campari Tomatoes stuffed with Caprese – white balsmic marinade with lemon basil garnish

Fresh Fleur du Courgettes (squash blossoms) stuffed with herbed goat cheese & tangled salad

After seeing an event on style/SWOON Samantha Sano once hosted, I was so excited to go myself at some point!  Leslie said, “I was thrilled to share a private dinner with 15 of my favorite people in the whole wide world- my girlfriends! Such an amazing group!  Talented. Beautiful. Smart. Sweet-spirited. Indie. Fashionable. Creative. Loyal. And Just Plain Nice.  The night was magical!  Thank you Tommy Spicer for such a great evening!”


Isn’t the vintage light fixture fabulous?  The shop bought it for a mere $25 from a walk-in vendor!

obsessed with the myriad of candlesticks! earthy glam.

Tom Spicer serving the delicious Fresh Fleur du Courgettes (squash blossoms) stuffed with herbed goat cheese & tangled salad

I had never tried a squash blossom before this night- and…. I loved it!

Leslie graciously serving her guests

the tomatoes were so beautiful – they almost didn’t look real!

such a gorgeous table!

loved the mix and match of plates… it made the tablesetting feel incredibly authentic – effortless chic.. the placemats were made of leaf!

my dinner plate… yum!!


by: Tommy Spicer

Campari Tomatoes stuffed with Caprese

white balsmic marinade with

lemon basil garnish


Fresh Fleur du Courgettes stuffed with

herbed goat cheese

& tangled salad


Melange of  Seared Magic Mushrooms

with wilted wild arugula


Grilled Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thigh

w/sage leaf inlay bacon wrapped


Open Pit Seared Rainbow Trout

bedded on red sorrel, sea beans

& purslane with lemon butter


Carmelized Sweet Onions & Gorgonzola Pie

carmelized asian pear glaze


Dude Sweet Chocolate Fondue

with fruit


It truly was an incredible evening and a treat to be surrounded by such inspiring women, making new friends, and catching up with old ones.  The fresh tasting menu is something I will not be forgetting any time in the near future.  And, a return visit to Spiceman’s FM 1410 - could never ever be too soon.  Thank you to Leslie Pritchard, Tommy Spicer, and everyone else who made this evening happen!


Tom Spicer entertaining us with his Kalimbass guitar  – photos: Jessica Craig


Oh, and Tom Spicer entertaining us on his bass guitar with a Kalimba attached while we dined?  BEYOND cool. “I call it my KALIMBASS,” he said.


Find again & again on Facebook here and Spiceman’s FM 1410 here!


Missoni Home Trunk show at Stella Dallas

I love visiting the Stella Dallas store on Lovers Lane.  Earlier this week, I was attracted by their beautiful Missoni Home window display.  Right now, the store is hosting a Missoni Home trunk show with an array of fabric and rug sample books through October 3rd.  On top of that, the store is offering 15% off any Missoni Home purchases! The custom light fixture in the window is to die for, although it isn’t Missoni Home, it’s absolutely gorgeous — and for sale!

custom lampshade -  hand beaded – INCREDIBLE!!!!!! want.

Missoni Home Sample Books

Missoni Home – such detail… just gorgeous!

coolest pouf rug EVER – want this Missoni Home number for my bedroom- bliss!

I was going through the Missoni Home fabric sample books – simply dying!  The metallics, the embroidered patterns, the rug sample made of poufs- all stunning.  I was told that one customer recently bought metallic fabric for pillows and used the leftover fabric to have a vest made for herself- now that’s inventive.  It’s amazing to see all of the fabrics together; this is a line where mix and matching while taking challenges is seemingly effortless.

Square Feathers Wastebasket

custom lamps at Stella Dallas- choose your finish from the tiles shown below

different finishes to choose for the custom lamps

pillow from Missoni Home

bedding from Designers Guild

On top of adoring all of the bedding from Designers Guild, one new line I enjoyed learning about on this visit to Stella Dallas was Square Feathers. This company offers an array of printed and colorful fabrics to help you customize a variety of pieces in your home.  From wastebaskets, to pillows, picture frames, and lampshades – prints from Square Feathers can help you customize your abode and the things you love.  The prints are modern and fresh while still retaining that classic edge you won’t quickly find tiresome.

customized poufs from John Robshaw

customized silhouettes at Stella Dallas

customized lampshades from Square Feathers at Stella Dallas (come with light kits!)

So, yes, I’m now obsessed with lampshades from Square Feathers and the poufy rug from Missoni Home.  And, as always, I adore the customized silhouette pictures Stella Dallas has available.  If you have fallen into the current Missoni craze or just simply want to enjoy it, be sure to stop by Stella Dallas before October 3rd and order your Missoni Home fabric or piece for 15% off. After all, nearly everything can be justified on sale – right?  It was a pleasure to pay a visit to this lovely store in Dallas … Stella Dallas!


“You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them.”
Pride and Prejudice

The Modern Jane Austen Loves a Fancy Cocktail Hour: She chooses the Mini Ella dress by Alice by Temperley, Antaresia T-Straps fron Anthropologie, a lizard clutch from the ROW, and pulls it all together with a Jane Austen Library candle as the hostess gift.  Now that’s chic.

Becoming Jane: In a world of loud trends and often in-your-face fashion – where does the lady who appreciates a soft, quiet sophistication turn?  It’s the understated elegance of  smart and sensible fashion you are looking for, not the “look everyone I’m here” loud and often pretentious style.  This fall is all about modern elegance and who better to channel that than to reimagine a Jane Austen heroine’s fall wardrobe in 2011.  After all it was Austen who said, “Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim.” It’s still a thought to think that she just might like these Nonsense & Sensibility picks….

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matriomony, in a moment.” – Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 6

Jane: The Wedding Guest: And what in the world would Jane wear to a wedding?  A flirty blush Notte by Marchesa dress of course, with Miriam Haskell pearl earrings, a Valentino clutch, and Christian Louboutin shoes – to die for. Witty femininity is Jane Austen’s signature!

“She was stronger alone; and her own good sense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as, with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be.”
Sense and Sensibility, Ch. 23

Jane at Work: We imagine Jane in this beautiful dress by Catherine Malandrino from Neiman Marcus, a gorgeous necklace by Elva Fields, this beautiful gray bag that can go from day to night by Nina Ricci, and simple Lanvin flats.

“‘I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to “Yes,” she ought to say “No” directly.’”Emma: Chapter 7

Jane Dates: The Jane Austen heroine likes to keep the gentlemen guessing.  Is she sparkling like her earrings, brilliant like her handbag, or dark and mysterious like her shoes?  Check: all of the above.  The chiffon top and silk skirt from Katie Ermilio is perfect, paired with Pave Padlock earrings from Eddie Borgo, a Fendi clutch, and Laser-cut calf hair pumps from Alexander McQueen.

“But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.” – Jane Austen- Northanger Abbey

Jane Sleeps: And, yes, not a lot- but the Jane Austen heroine does sleep.  And, when she does, it’s as light and airy as a feather.  After spritzing herself with Cartier “Baiser Volé”, Jane reads “How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World” by Jordan Christy, using her Maison Martin Margiela Ostrich Feather Pen to take notes.  She is utilzing her silk Lanvin travel kit and dressed in a gorgeous floaty nightdress by Jenny Packham.

“It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before.” - Jane Austen

Jane – Black Tie: This long floaty feminine gown – Alice by Temperley commands respect without being obnoxious.  The sapphire earrings from Monique Péan are the color of the deep sea and demonstrate Austen’s female characters frequent love of nature.  The Miu Miu shoes add a bit of glamour and whimsy and the gorgeous clutch from Anya Hindmarch adds the playfulness we love so much in Elizabeth Bennet.


NOW: Dream Hotel Downtown – the view of the pool from my room

Last week, I was invited to be in a video at Condé Nast in New York City that I hope to share more information about with you soon!  I was in the city during the beginning of New York Fashion week and also Fashion’s Night Out!  During my visit, I stayed at the beautiful new Dream Downtown Hotel by father and son hoteliers Sant and Vikram Chatwal in a partnership with Wyndham (Dream D.C. is set to open in 2012). I had a wonderful experience and the decor of the hotel was simply gorgeous – modern and inviting.  The hotel is in a former Maritime Building (originally designed by famed architect Albert Ledner) between Chelsea and the Meatpacking district.

THEN: A seaman’s dorm room in 1966 – from The New York Times

hotel room

I loved all of the attention to detail throughout the hotel.  The Dream Downtown Hotel is complete with a restaurant, gym, pool, poolside restaurant, private screening room, and Marble Lane- a restaurant and bar inside.  There is even a club and lounge – a penthouse called Ph-D with amazing views of the city (had a blast there with my friend Liz- I must say).  When I entered the room where I was staying for the first time, the lighting was perfect and there was soft surrealist music playing throughout the space – even in the shower.  The bedding was extremely plush and each room has a dream dictionary for guests to use throughout their stay.

The rooms are loft style – spacey and airy.  W magazine wrote, “‘It’s your true one stop shop. You can spend not only a whole night there, but a whole weekend,’ says Noah Tepperberg of TAO & Strategic Group, who has done something of a full circle with the opening of Dream—one of his first ventures, Suite 16 ten years ago was just one block away.”  There’s an array of tantalizing textures- tiles, mesh, glass, sterling, and wall cutouts that add even more dimension to the space.  However, the mix of traditional cowhides, leather, and metallic draperies add an unexpected dose of warmth.

the bathroom

LOVED that the bathroom products were all ETRO – amazing!

the shower

The bathroom was perfect.  The tiling was simply gorgeous and I loved the mesh shower curtain.  The bathroom products were from ETRO, an added bit of luxury and Italian flair.  The Dream robes were an added comfort and I couldn’t have felt more at home and incredibly pampered at the same time.

outdoor living space at the Dream Downtown

the lobby interior

Dream Downtown pool

The lobby of the Dream Downtown is open and glamorous- with striking lighting and plush metallic fabrics.  With the expanse of lush greenery seen through the windows, the modern space remains inviting – a haven in the city.  The pool is equally beautiful, with a see-through bottom which is visible on the ceiling of the lobby.

the lobby of the Dream Downtown

Marble Lane Steak Joint and Bar in the Dream Downtown

Marble Lane Steak Joint and Bar

Currently, the hotel offers the Marble Lane Steak Joint and Bar, the Pool bar lounge and beach club, the destination rooftop bar and lounge – Ph-D, and the new restaurant Romera New York, a 65-seat high-concept restaurant, featuring innovative cuisine by the acclaimed neurologist-chef, Dr. Miguel Sánchez Romera (where Daphne Guinness hosted an intimate dinner last week). I am so grateful that I had the experience to stay in this lovely new Manhattan hotel.  It was certainly fun, luxurious, and offered a wonderful location in the city.  I would certainly stay here again on a return visit!


Supercalifragilipstick! Poppy King and Kate Spade

I was so excited to learn about the collaboration of Poppy King and Kate Spade on a line of lipsticks: Supercalifragilipstick! that is. I had the pleasure of meeting Poppy King at her book signing at Henri Bendel in New York City several years ago and chronicled the experience on my blog. She is lovely and I am so happy to see her line and the span of her expertise growing!  The packaging is adorable, the collaboration between the brands is brilliant, and I certainly cannot wait to try out the lipstick!  Kate Spade here I come…..

Check out all that is Supercalifragilipstick! here


The FRAGRANCE: Prada Candy fragrance available at Neiman Marcus

the INTRO: After the summer months of trying my absolute very best to leave my face bare and sunkissed, my lips glossy, and my hair sea swept and beachy – I look forward to facing fall with bold color and trying out some of the beauty world’s newest and most promising products. I was so excited to attend a beauty breakfast at Neiman Marcus last month which exhibited some of the new finds from my favorite brands.  I’ve spent the last month adding some new products and fragrances to my normal routine and wanted to share my favorites with you – the ones I certainly plan to replenish.

the FRAGRANCE: As far as fragrances go, I love the new scent from Prada: Candy. Prada Candy is light and sweet, it’s the perfect daytime fragrance to give you a bit of feminine sweetness throughout the day without being overpowering.  The notes of the fragrance are caramel, vanilla, and powdery musks. And, for some reason, it wears even better with silk.  There’s something about adorning yourself in a silk day dress and Prada Candy that is as sweet as can be! According to Neiman Marcus, “the perfume is named after this seductive and joyful girl who is running wild.” Now, if that doesn’t sound like a fun plan for fall, I’m not sure what does!

The LIPSTICK: Guerlain Rouge Automatique (left), The GLOSS: Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss (right)

the LIPSTICK: Now, I’m the girl that tries her hardest not to judge a book by its cover and I guess I could also apply that to lipsticks.  However, the Guerlain Rouge Automatique had me at first glance – I didn’t even care what the color was.  I was using it. There’s something so sleek, shiny, and striking about this lipstick applicator – you feel cool just pulling it out of your purse.  Lucky for me, I love the color as well!  It’s a beautiful neutral called “101″ and it looks great with everything! If you want a beauty accessory to give your shoes a run for their money, this is it.  Long lasting and smooth- it’s everything you could want in a fall lipstick and then some!

the GLOSS: And, as for gloss, I am so picky about gloss. I am the grown up six year old girl who had a Kaboodle filled with every flavor and color of Lipsmacker known to grade schoolers.  Luckily, years later, I have now matured to Chantecaille, but now a connoisseur of course- I am picky when it comes to texture, flavor, shine, and wearability.  The Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss is as the name states: brilliant.  It’s light, juicy, INCREDIBLY SHINY, and simply gorgeous.  Want kissable lips?  This is your gloss.  Want a gloss that can look great over almost every lipstick and on its own?  Again, this is your gloss. The color I have is called Glee, but they all look beautiful!  Seriously, if you don’t believe me, go to Neiman Marcus and just hold the tube of gloss up to the light – you will behold an unimaginably shiny pigment that looks even better on than it does in the translucent container.

The PENCIL: Armani Beauty – Smooth Silk Eye Pencil (left), The MASCARA: Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara (right)

the PENCIL: In the past, I have been very loyal to Chanel and Laura Mercier when it comes to eye pencils.  However, I ventured out and seemed to have found a new favorite duo when it comes to eye makeup.  I have two new favorite products from Giorgio Armani Beauty that seem to make the perfect pair! I love the Smooth Silk Eye Pencil from Armani Beauty, the black #8 – sharpens with ease and the application is smooth and only smudges as much as you so desire.  And, in fact, the pencil comes with a smudger on one side, which has made packing it on business trips a breeze!

the MASCARA: As for mascara, I haven’t worn anything but DiorShow mascara in years. And, I ended up resenting anyone who would have me try anything different as I still ended up preferring DiorShow over x, y, and z that claimed to be more advanced.  However, this time around, I was surprised when a lovely sales lady at Neiman Marcus NorthPark in Dallas offered to apply Armani Eyes to Kill mascara on my lashes while I was in the store.  I loved it then – and love it now.  I’ve completely switched from DiorShow!  If you want beautiful and long lush lashes – this is truly the perfect mascara. And, the best part is, it rarely if ever clumps. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore DiorShow, but it is now second runner-up to Armani’s Eyes to Kill!

The CLEANSER: La Prairie Cellular Cleansing Water for Eyes and Face (left), The BOLD: Le Métier de Beauté – Ken Downing’s I’m Worn This Way Duo (right)

the CLEANSER: Sometimes, you are just too tired for the five step skin care system (shh, don’t tell my facialist or dermatologist).  Yet, you still want to feel refreshed when your face hits the pillow.  The Cellular Cleansing Water for Eyes and Face from La Prairie is an absolute must for every busy woman with an affinity for beauty products.  It’s soft, light, and silky.  It removes all dirt and makeup from your skin without leaving that oily residue that makes you feel as if you need to wash your face – yet again.  It’s a refreshing lotion that is gentle on the skin, but still removes daily dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin’s surface. Tried and true – it is perfect for traveling and a quick makeup change after work and before an event. I love stashing the bottle in my gym bag to take off my makeup before a workout and to clean my face afterward.

the BOLD: It’s fall, expand your horizons when it comes to color!  I’ve worn red, pink, magenta, and coral – but never PLUM!  Before this season, if one would talk to me about wine or cranberry colored lips, I’d run the other way.  Not my colors – until I tried Ken Downing’s duo from Le Métier de Beauté “I’m Worn This Way.” It’s an absolutely gorgeous vintage bordeaux – a deep plum – that brought out my green eyes in a way that I never thought possible!  I am now addicted to the color plum and I can thank this duo from Le Métier de Beauté for that.  And, the polish?  It’s equally gorgeous – there’s just something about typing with wine colored nails that gets you through the day….

the EVENT: Sip & Shop – Thursday, September 22 at Neiman Marcus Downtown –

the END: So, there you have it – my fall beauty roundup.  And, if my Dallas readers need a bit of an excuse to browse the fall selections from Neiman Marcus, they do have an event this Thursday, September 22nd at the Neiman Marcus Downtown location.  The Current Event is a “Sip and Shop” focusing on the latest fall trends in women’s contemporary.  So grab a cocktail, some friends, and if you spend $350+ you will receive a Neiman Marcus Rachel Zoe clutch.  I’d say that’s certainly a stylish way to tote your new fall 2011 beauty finds around the city.



from style/SWOON

We all look forward to enjoying the fruits of summer and Samantha Reitmayer Sano‘s “The Summer Project,” is certainly not an exception.  Samantha is the genius behind one of my favorite blogs, style/SWOON.  And, recently, adding to her list of creative talents and endeavors, I learned she can also paint beautiful pictures!  She says she has been painting all of her life, but this was her first formal exhibition of her work through her personal blog. After knowing her for several years and not knowing anything about her painting, I knew I had to catch up with her to get the scoop on her project- which she deemed completely spur of the moment! So, who inspires her and does she have a favorite artist?  “Abstract art by far is my favorite,” she said, “I love everything from 70s Pop Art to famous artists like Cy Twombly to up-and-coming people like Michelle Armas. It’s impossible to name them all, but graphic and strong always seems to be what I gravitate towards.”

from Samantha Reitmayer Sano of style/SWOON -

What’s this design maven’s favorite restaurant? “Salum (designed by Julio Quinones) in Dallas. In New York, BG at Bergdorf Goodman (designed by Kelly Wearstler)  Both have AMAZING food, great people watching and the décor just takes me to my happy place.”

The Summer Project: Jerilyn II

Bar Jaimes I – The Summer Project

The harvest of her project is airy, elegant, lyrical, and bold.  The pieces make a statement while retaining a certain mystique. And, after painting an array of different colors on multiple canvases, does Samantha have a favorite piece or pair? “ Oh gosh, the Boerne series has become my favorite,” she said, “I haven’t held onto one yet but I’m particularly fond of the diptychs esp LeMans and Trelawney.“  She originally began the project on a whim and said the process from thinking about selling them to launching them on The Summer Project Big Cartel website only took about a week (they certainly have been selling much much quicker)!  Samantha said that the greatest challenge was sticking to one style. “I like so many things, but I think it’s stronger when it’s more consistent,” she said, “Who knows thought I may vary again! The most meaningful aspect of the project was probably just that people actually bought them (and they sold out, fast!). That was pretty cool. Something I’ve been capable of forever but too shy to show to people. I still don’t know what made me do it but I’m glad. It’s been fun.”

Lanshire I – The Summer Project

Le Mans - The Summer Project

from style/SWOON

Another interesting aspect? Samantha incorporated her love for calligraphy into the project, which is visible in many of the pieces. “I took calligraphy a couple of years ago and loved it,” she said, “I love the beautiful thick/thin strokes and the flow of it. I thought it would be interesting to incorporate it with the watercolor. I chose not to say anything because I want people to read into it with their emotions, not mine.”  She chose the array of soft and bold watercolors she used for The Summer Project from what she was feeling at the moment- whether it was a color trend or timeless style. “I’m really loving gray and blush right now and mostly that is driven by fashion,” said Samantha.

“The Summer Project + Manny’s”

“The Summer Project + Manny’s” invitation – beautiful invitations – a work of art in their own right!

style/SWOON – from “The Summer Project + Manny’s”

On top of adoring all of Samantha’s color selections and her art pieces, I absolutely loved her party for “The Summer Project” she held at the Manny Rodriguez Photography Studio in Dallas. At Manny’s on one August evening, guests sipped mojitos and enjoyed her works which were artfully exhibited around the space.  And, of course, as owner of SWOON the Studio, her invitations stand as a gorgeous work of art on their own!  So, with her project brought to a close at the end of summer, what is Samantha up to now? ” At the graphic design studio I’m working on the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art and branding a new line of shoes for Empower African Children,” she shared, “With style/SWOON I’m helping Dwell with Dignity launch Thrift Studio and working on a backdrop for Grace Bonney’s Design Sponge book signing. She’s one of my idols so that’s way cool to me.”  And, can we expect anymore painting projects from this blogger, designer, stylist, writer, and artist extraordinaire? “Oh yes, I hope to continue this even if just for me… I am sure I will always paint.”

Purchase Samantha’s art from “The Summer Project” here.


Hello Readers! I am so excited to share that I have made it to Round Three for the Lucky magazine Life Contributor contest sponsored by Revlon!  My latest submission, was my Marie Antoinette Dinner party post. I certainly have some tough competition, but I would very much appreciate your support if you have a moment to vote for my latest entry!

Please VOTE for my entry for the Lucky magazine Life Contributor here!

Thanks so much for your support and excitement for Nonsense & Sensibility!