decor, whimsy

 

I often forget how much I love a great dinner party until I attend one again. And, more than that, I tend to forget how autumn inspired dinner parties are some of the very best kind.  It was lovely to attend a dinner with a new twist this past week at the Hotel ZaZa Dallas Bungalows.  It was an INTERACTIVE dinner party – meaning – yes, we helped cook through the evening’s menu with Hotel ZaZa Dallas’ Dragonfly chef Dan Landsberg.  We were greeted at the door of Bungalow 8 with our choice of bubbly or warm (spiked) apple cider.  Because of the sudden temperature drop in Dallas this past week, the mulled cider was an easy choice for me.  After a quick meet and greet with the group, we went on a tour of the new 2 bedroom bungalow.  With a gorgeous exposed brick wall and a cozy feel, the unit felt very New Orleans mixed with just the right amount of fresh paint and carrera marble. It is the perfect size for a small group or even a staycation with family or friends.  I know I could have found myself quite at home there this past Tuesday evening.

 

A peek inside Bungalow 8!

Two different side by side houses make up The Bungalows.  It’s the ideal setup for a wedding party and/or multiple group travel – it’s bachelorette party perfection. Our menu that evening was comprised of Pork Belly Lollipops with a Honey-Ponzu Glaze paired with a delicious Bahn Mi Salad, an incredible Fall Salad (comprised of kale, arugula, apricots, pecans, pomegranate, and more), Scallops and Toasted Orzo Pasta with Chorizo, and Foie Gras and Black Truffle Chicken Ballontine.

 

cooking with the chef

some of the DELICIOUS ingredients of the fall salad

The Fall Salad – making this ASAP (yes, those are yummy blue cheese crackers)

the chef making Pork Belly Lollipops

While some of the food was cooking, we were given another small tour of some of the unoccupied bungalows on the property.  Each one is designed differently and they all have unique styles and feels.  Here were a few of my favorites…

 

There are 12 one bedroom and two bedroom bungalows available for rent and they are priced according to their size (they range from 600-1,200 square feet).  Many of the rooms feature kitchens, living rooms, and even private porches and patios. All of Hotel ZaZa’s amenities are available with a stay at The Bungalows – including room service, the fitness center, spa, and pool.  The interactive dinner party was a delightful way to both explore the new fall menu at the Hotel ZaZa Dallas’ Dragonfly restaurant and to gain an authentic feel of the bungalows and what it would be like to spend a cozy evening inside with the pleasure of great company.

Learn more about The Bungalows here.

style

 

I think the fact that I purchased my first James Perse dress nearly ten years ago on a trip to New York City and STILL can wear it as a summer day dress is a testament to the high quality cotton and how well the clothing ages.  The t-shirts are my absolute FAVORITE and seem to get even more comfortable with every wash.  James Perse is a line that certainly allows you to be cozy and still look and feel great.  I was so excited to learn the line was opening a boutique here in Dallas and it was fantastic to attend the launch party on October 30th at HP Village and to see and shop so much of the collection at one time.  I have so many pieces on my wish list and a few great ideas for my significant other for Christmas. What’s on the top of my list?  This Contrast Sleeve Boucle Cardigan - yes, please!

 

beauty


 

Even if they didn’t have a wonderful story, I think the clean simplicity of the Mitchell and Peach packaging would have sold me on their beauty products.  Aren’t they just lovely? The Mitchell family has been farming in England for five generations. Foxbury Farm remains the center of the estate. Ian and Jod Mitchell grow lavender on the estate. The high quality of the essences distilled from the plantation inspired them to create a bath and body range of the purest quality. Hence, the Mitchell and Peach collection was born. In a world where it’s so important to know where your products are coming from and what’s REALLY in them – I can’t think of a more perfect fit than a company like Mitchell and Peach.

Today, Mitchell and Peach products are hand-blended in England using the finest natural ingredients, including matured essential oils from the family’s fields and honey collected from hives on the estate.  After watching the video, I’m ready to move onto the farm – aren’t you? I simply can’t wait to try these products. I’m sure they are even better than they look!

Learn more about the company here and shop the line here.

Mitchell and Peach handwash

Mitchell and Peach Candle

Mitchell and Peach

style

Kendall Conrad

I’m not exactly sure how I first came across Kendall Conrad, but I do know that after seeing just one of her handbags, I immediately knew I had to see more!  From gorgeous leather accessories, to jewelry, footwear, and objects for the home, Kendall Conrad’s collection is understated, chic, and luxe at the same time.  I was lucky enough to ask Kendall a few questions about her company and plans for the future.

N/S: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?  How did your path designing accessories come to be?

KC: I did not always know. I wanted to be an artist for awhile and a cook. I worked as a model for years and a few years as an actress. Then, I focused on painting and cooking. I started designing bags during my second pregnancy.

 

N/S: How would you describe the style or aesthetic of your collection to someone unfamiliar?

KC: I would say that it is classic yet has mojo. Minimal, but with key design details. A handmade quality with a sophisticated finish. Luxurious leathers, no logos.

 

N/S: What is your own personal style like?

KC: minimal, earth tones, tailored. I wear uniforms, very simple. The clothing is a blank canvas that I jazz up with my accessories.

 

 

N/S: What will you be wearing this fall and through the holiday season?

KC: cashmere, blazers, jeans, my manolete slippers and boots.

 

Lupe Sino ll

Thick Rounded Stacking Ring

N/S:  What are your favorite things about LA?

KC: The architecture, the spaciousness-it’s so vast, the diversity-especially downtown. I work with people from Egypt, Armenia, Syria, Iran, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, and Japan!

 

N/S: Who or what most influences you?

KC: sculpture, art and architecture. california, Spain, horse tack and saddlery, tauromachia (my father was a bullfighter), flamenco.

 

Lupe Sino

 

Pacha Wrap Sandal

 

N/S:  Do you have any personal style icons or role models?

KC: sure, so many!

role models: Georgia O’Keefe, Picasso, Jane Goodall, and Jacques Cousteau

 

style icons: Charlotte Rampling, Julie Christy, Geraldine Saglio, Lauren Hutton, Elsa Peretti, Emmanuelle Alt, Sigrid de l’Epine, and Anouk Aimee

 

N/S:  What do you feel has been your single greatest accomplishment thus far?

KC: Having and raising a family. My wonderful daughters Luisa and Fernanda by far!

 

N/S: Where is your line currently sold?

KC: We sell out of our own stores in Venice, Brentwood and now Montecito, as well as our online store.

 

 

Socorro in Charcoal Nubuck

Camaroon Wrist Wrap

N/S:  How do you hope to see your company grow?

KC: We want to keep opening up our own stores and adding new categories. Also, to open up our wholesale business to choice stores around the world.

 

 

N/S: Where are your favorite places to travel?

KC: I always like to return to Paris, London, Spain, Greece, Mexico, and Italy. I would really like to travel around North Africa next and then, South America.

Tauromachia Candle – a great gift idea!

N/S:  What is a typical day like for you?

KC: A typical day would be to get my girls off to school by 7:30 and then, I walk my dogs on the beach. I go for long beach walks then 3 days out of the week. I drive to LA to work with my manufacturers. Then, I go to Venice and deliver production and check on things, maybe meet a customer or a friend and go for lunch at Axe. Then, I go to Brentwood and check on everything there, maybe have a meeting at Farmshop. Once in awhile, I stay down for dinner or a party, but usually I drive home at the end of the day and pick up my girls at volleyball and make dinner for the family.

 

N/S: What is an ideal day like for you?

KC: On the beach with my husband, daughters, dogs and friends.

 

N/S:  What do you think makes your collection standout or different from others in the same category?

KC: I think we stand out and are known for our classic style, luxurious leathers, quality, lack of logos, and custom hardware. The bags have something that appeals to equestriennes as well, perhaps because I am one and it just comes through.

__________

FIND: Kendall Conrad on the web here, Facebook here, & Twitter here.

style

I couldn’t be more excited Veronica Beard will be at Tootsies in Houston tomorrow for a two day trunk show at with their fall 2013 collection and spring 2014 collection.  They also have collaborated on a special capsule jewelry collection with Paige Novick.   The jewelry pieces will also be available at the event!  If you are a regular reader of this blog, I’m sure you know I’m a huge fan of the Veronica Beard collection. I hope you can stop by the event tomorrow and meet designers Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard. Check below for a preview of a few of the items that will be available – including the dress Maria Sharapova recently wore to the VOGUE Fashion Fund.

Learn more about Veronica Beard here.

Happy shopping!

Maria Sharapova wearing Veronica Beard at the Vogue Fashion Fund

a Veronica Beard collaborative jewelry piece with Paige Novick

collaboration jewelry capsule with Paige Novick

Veronica Beard fall 2013

Veronica Beard fall 2013

Veronica Beard fall 2013

Veronica Beard fall 2013

Veronica Beard fall 2013

Veronica Beard spring/summer 2014

style

A few weeks ago at the Highland Park Village fall 2013 magazine launch party, I came across the coolest clutch. It was a CHALKBOARD clutch and Kathryn Knox of DFWStyleDaily was carrying it. I told her to PLEASE send me the information on the line and thankfully, she did. It’s been so much fun exploring ashlyn’d clutches - handmade in LA!

From fish clutches, to yes – chalkboard clutches, and glitzy adorned bags perfect for the holiday season, there’s truly a perfect mix of styles for every personality. I always like to learn more about the brand as I think it makes the pieces and designs all the more meaningful and so I reached out to the designer and CEO, Ashlee Nik, to ask her a few questions about her company, the latest collection of clutches, and her handbag line on the horizon.

N/S: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?  Why accessories?

Ashlee: I always had a love for business and for fashion. I knew that I ultimately would love to have my own brand. I think accessories are so great because they can really change the look of an outfit and its the easiest way to spruce up any look. I think you can be bold with your accessories and have a lot of fun with them which just makes them that much more exciting to design!

 

N/S: What was the first piece you’ve ever designed?

Ashlee: I used to design dresses for myself when I was much younger. The first ashlyn’d bag I ever designed was a cream marble printed acrylic clutch that I named “Marabel”.

 

N/S: How did your company come to be?

Ashlee: I was on a search for evening bags and felt the market was lacking something that was truly different but at the same time moderately priced. I spoke with my mother about the idea of creating a bag that looked as though it was made out of a material that was completely unexpected, like marble. This idea ended up emerging into a full collection which my mother, Denise Lewinstein, and I now run. It truly started more as a shopping experience and ended up as a business.

 

N/S: What has been one of the most memorable moments of your career thus far?

Ashlee: I think the most memorable moment since I started ashlyn’d would probably be when I saw my bags on three different celebrities on the red carpet in the same magazine! It was so exciting.

 

N/S: How would you describe your company in three words?

Ashlee: If I had to describe my company in 3 words, I would have to say: innovative affordable luxury.

 

N/S: Where can one currently purchase your accessories?

Ashlee: ashlyn’d clutches are currently sold in over 100 boutiques worldwide including but not limited to- LF stores, Dash boutiques, shopbop.com, and Fred Segal.

 

N/S: How would you describe your collection for fall/holiday?

Ashlee: My brand has this nature oriented theme that you will see throughout every collection. I like for the bags to look as though they are made of natural elements like marble printed acrylics or bags filled with floating sand. However, the Holiday collection definately has this edgier rock vibe to it.

 

the chalkboard clutch! (right)

N/S: How would you describe your own personal style?

Ashlee: My own personal style is ever-changing to say the least. I definately am not afraid to take a fashion risk and I would say my style is certainly eclectic and fun.

 

N/S: Where do you draw your own inspirations?

Ashlee: I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature. I am always looking at different types and colors of marbles, shells, pearls, rocks, etc. We have several bags that are made out of wood and I get a lot of inspiration for the finishes from furniture. My father having run a large furniture business for 45 years, has allowed him to acquire some beautiful antique furniture that I always get inspired by.

 

N/S: How do you hope to see your company grow?

Ashlee: We are introducing leathers and cross-body’s in 2014 so I am very excited to watch the line develop from clutches to a full handbag line!

 

N/S: What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given or greatest lesson you’ve learned?

Ashlee: The greatest piece of advice I have been given is to never give up. My father always tells me that there are no problems in life, only solutions.

 

N/S: What’s the greatest thing about your job?

Ashlee: I think the greatest thing about anyone’s job is when they get to do what they love. I get the most pleasure from taking an idea and watching it develop into an actual product. Knowing you created something from scratch and watching it grow, is a feeling that is unmatched.

_______

We can’t wait to see what’s next for ashlyn’d!

 

Find ashlyn’d on the web here, on Facebook here, and Twitter here.

whimsy

 

It was wonderful to attend a press screening for About Time last week in Dallas. When I saw the film was written and directed by Richard Curtis, I was even more ecstatic. Richard Curtis’ movies include Four Weddings and a Funeral; Notting HillBridget Jones’s Diary; and Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked, which he also directed. And, of course, Notting Hill, Love Actually, and British Jones’s Diary are all on my list of film favorites.

About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie.  The film is a comedy about love and time travel.  It begins when Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time at the age of 21.  His father (Billy Nighy) tells his son how to use his ability and offers him a little bit of guidance and advice.  The story unfolds as Tim uses the time travel to mold and shape his own life, but in doing so, realizes that even traveling back in time can’t make things “perfect.”

I’m in love with British comedies in general, but this particular film is an exceptionally endearing mix of humor and romance.  You should definitely plan an evening or afternoon to see the film while it’s showing in theaters.  It was one of the best movies I’ve seen in quite some time and I can’t wait to own it. Rachel McAdams is also wonderful in the film and I think I’m definitely going to be seeing it again this week!  It opened in select theaters on November 1st and opens everywhere on November 8th.

Learn more about the film here.

style

Irene Neuwirth in Vogue

Ever since I spotted Irene Neuwirth and her lovely Venice Beach home featured in Vogue this past June – I’ve been following the designer of her fabulous dress in the image above.  As soon as I saw that dress, I immediately scoured the page for the source.  I found it to be by Stella Jean. And, since, I’ve been closely following the Milan based brand and its collections.  Stella Jean was born in Rome and has Haitian roots. “Fashion can be used as a cultural translator and a tool against colonisation; it re-establishes the balance between symbols, stories and different worlds through style,” Jean told British Vogue, “Being part of a multiracial family in Italy in the Eighties not only shaped me as a person, but also inspired my professional path – however, it has been neither simple nor painless.”

She started her career as a model and then ventured into design – where she felt most comfortable. For the first time, designer Giorgio Armani opened his Teatro space to allow Stella Jean to show her collection there (it was the first time he opened his catwalk space to another womenswear designer).

You can purchase Stella Jean pieces on MatchesFashion – two pieces have already sold out in the first week. I love the mix of prints in modern cuts.  The brand feels fresh, alive, and most of all, fun!

Did Giorgio Armani offer Stella Jean any advice?

“To not be afraid to keep my DNA and its uniqueness and not to follow the mainstream,” she told British Vogue.

Check out spring/summer 2014 from Stella Jean here and shop the collection on MatchesFashion here.

Or, check them out on the web – great video!

 

 

 

 

Gingham Cotton Shirt from Stella Jean, Fayola Print Skirt from Stella Jean, Stella Jean Contrast Collar Print Top, Dofi Print Pencil Skirt from Stella Jean

decor, style

 

Happy Halloween! I have some BEAUTIFUL images to share with you on the blog today from a recent visit to the gorgeous home of Mrs. Julia Lake. Julia was busy preparing for a Julia Lake Parties fall harvest dinner party she was decorating in the Catskills for a client.  Julia spent the day painting pumpkins and gourds and I was lucky enough to catch a peek at her preparations.  I am hoping I can share the final result when she posts it on her blog!

These are definitely some of the most fantastic pumpkins I’ve ever seen and as you can see from an image below, Julia has completely mastered the perfect gallery wall – I was thoroughly impressed!  She also setup a lovely fall spread for us to enjoy that evening – of cheese, olives, and pumpkin crackers!  I wish I’d snapped an image of the bubbly – the perfect touch was the hibiscus flower floating in my champagne.

Julia is truly talented and I hope you will keep up with her on the web, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

 

 

enjoying bubbly at Julia’s – LOVE her gallery wall!! perfection.

 

 

the party setup!

nuts, bourbon, and pumpkins at the bar!

decor, style, whimsy

After featuring a previous interview last year, I was thrilled to catch up with Alexis Traina of Swanson Vineyards about Modern House Wines which have recently launched to be sold (only) at Target stores across the country.  I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Alexis about one of her latest new adventures and learn more at ModernHouseWines.com!

 

N/S: What was your initial dream or hope for Modern House Wines?  How did they begin?

 

Alexis: After years of being on the fancy side of the wine world, where every story told about a wine revolved around elaborate tales of terroir/ the vintner/ the varietal– I loved the idea of creating a wine that was shamelessly about the wine lover, and not the winemaker.  A wine that honored their gesture/ story/ night/ sense of humor.

N/S: What are some of the newest additions to the line?

 

Alexis: We launched the MODERN HOUSE WINES at Target with a few of our most popular labels: WITH LOVE and EXPENSIVE, and included a new one called: HERE’S TO YOU. Historically, we like to include crowd sourcing when coming up with new labels- for example, my favorite label HELP IS HERE, came from our CALLING ALL WORDSMITHS contest. On MODERNHOUSEWINES.com, we have a new contest rolling to come up with a new label for next fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N/S: Are there any of the wines in particular that you’d suggest as gifts?

 

Alexis: At $12.99, they are the perfect gift for everyone on your gift list– and reflect well on both the giver and receiver.

 

N/S: What are your favorite things about fall?

 

Alexis: I love any opportunity to light a fire and roast marshmallows with my husband + children.

 

 

 

 

 

N/S: How will you be entertaining this fall?  With Modern House wines I assume?

 

Alexis: As my children get older (they are 5 + 6) we love to include them, and as result, it has changed how we entertain/ the foods we serve/ the style of it all.

 

Cheers! I know I will be including Modern House Wines at my gatherings through the holiday season – especially since they are available at one of my favorite go-to stores!
Have you seen them at your local Target yet?

 

Learn more about Modern House Wines at ModernHouseWines.com , on Facebook here, and find them on #Instagram at @AlexisTraina and #modernhousewines.