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.

 

 

decor

 

I have been closely following New Ravenna mosaics for the past year and I was more than thrilled to see them recently featured in September’s Vogue! Their mosaics are truly works of art and I hope I am lucky enough to have at least one in my own home someday. I am delighted to share an interview with New Ravenna’s Sara Baldwin - fresh from a trip to Paris!

Sara Baldwin with one of her favorite animals- a camel!

N/S: You recently returned from Paris, what are some of your favorite things about the city? Was there anything special about your most recent trip?

Sara: First, the food. And the bread (sighs) – I actually broke my gluten-free diet while in Paris! We also went to Helmut Newcake (gluten free bakery) where I could have my cake and eat it too. Second, the texture and color of the architecture. I love the patina of the cream and warm gray stone facades juxtaposed with Parisian glam like gold-gilded ornaments and statues. Other cities I’ve recently visited also have this wonderful palette—St. Petersburg and of course, Istanbul.

We didn’t find strong furniture trends (just more of the Restoration Hardware-ish retreading) as much as micro color trends such as rich greens, burnt sienna, strong saffron, teal. These jewel tones were used more as accents amongst all the beige and gray, which was a relief. We had inspiring conversations with fellow designers and business owners, like Letitia and her husband Alain from Marie’s Corner. I had remembered a colorful modern wing chair from my last visit and specifically sought them out to see what they were introducing this year. We chatted for over an hour, and it was wonderful to be able to discuss design, craftsmanship, moving to the states from Belgium, and running a family business.

loom jewel glass mosaic

Sara at her Vogue shoot

 

N/S: How do you find inspiration for your new designs?

Sara: I am inspired by my travels, fashion, and shows like High Point and Maison & Objet. I also live near the water and find both solace and inspiration from nature. And, always the daily conversations we have with designers and architects broaden our vision.

N/S: What are some of the key fall trends in the fall 2013 collection from New Ravenna?

Sara: Black and white is a strong trend, although it is a perennial classic and has really has never gone out of style. However some years it feels more dominant. I am continuing my explorations with textiles translated into mosaics. We are accenting with real gold pieces and warm golden stones that create a glow when added to marble mosaics. We create both stone and glass mosaics, and we’re exploring different textures and combinations of materials. I would say that contrast and texture are the most significant trends this fall.

marabel new ravenna

pamir jewel mosaic

 

N/S: New Ravenna was recently recognized September’s Vogue. What was this experience like?

Sara: Amazing, surreal, and…daunting. It impressed even my just turned 14-year-old daughter, who would love to have Anna Wintour‘s job someday. I was thrilled to share the work that we do as a team at New Ravenna. Vogue is the pinnacle of the international fashion community and so as an artist who has always sewn and loved clothing; it was truly an incredible honor. My marketing director Christine and I (think Thelma and Louise) went to New York where the stylists, make-up artist, photographer and her assistants fluffed me for over four hours. I was Cinderella for a day. The Vogue Home Editor, Mieke Ten Have did a beautiful job capturing the essence of what we try to do every day at New Ravenna.

margot in blue onyx

raj

Serena

N/S: With the rise of quick, easy, and diy design, how would you support that there are individuals turning back to artisan quality work when it comes to interiors and design? Do you think this movement will continue?

Sara: There is always a space for people who love art. That never goes away. People seek out artisan quality because they want someone to understand and respect their vision. This is what we strive to accomplish every day. I think it is because of the swell of easy, fast design that people are even more interested in custom work that speaks to their individuality. Accessible design has educated folks, raised their standards, and fueled an interest in work that is more bespoke.

N/S: Where are some of your favorite places in the world to visit?

Sara: Easy! Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. A close second is the Camel Festival in Liwa, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

 

Tatami Radiance


Castilla


Esmerelda

 

N/S: What is the process like from the initial design to bringing the mosaic into a reality?

 

Sara: It really depends on the customer. We are happy to create a very traditional floor mosaic, like a basket weave for an older home renovation, which would be a quicker conversation about details, or a wall to wall mosaic design that is bespoke and must be designed to flow around corners and under tubs in an artful way, which would be a more in-depth conversation with the customer. We are also trusted to bring very abstract ideas to life and challenged to create special projects for hospitality and commercial structures.The conversations depend on the complexity of the project however in every instance we deliver a sample mosaic and drawing for the customer’s approval before we start cutting and assembling their mosaic.

I recently designed an exclusive line for Marble Systems that New Ravenna manufactures. That particular design process began with a trip to Istanbul and Afyon, Turkey, where my incredibly talented design team and I soaked up the sights and sounds of thousands of years of decorative art tradition and attempted to distill it into a line of waterjet crafted mosaics called Talya. We limited the palette to whites, grays, beiges, and then created prototypes. Patterns then need to be engineered for manufacturability and sometimes re-engineered, and then final prototypes are created, approved, and sales tools are created. Finally, the line is launched and “concept boards” are ordered by showrooms that choose to show the line. Working with Marble Systems (who also owns Country Floors) to create a cohesive line that you can mix and match has been an incredibly gratifying experience.

 

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

Sara: We hope to continue to learn from our customers. They are sources of inspiration for us. We are now exporting our mosaics to Europe, the Middle East and Russia. We want to grow our company without borders, learning from all the world’s cultures because there is beauty everywhere. I’m not sure I can think of a better reason to do what we do—we intend to create connections through an appreciation and sharing of our art and artisans. Mary Ann Shaffer, who wrote one of my favorite books “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” once said something that I truly believe: “…love of art-be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music-enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised.” I love that quote! I hope New Ravenna’s work can also build a bridge or two.

 

Sara Baldwin & New Ravenna Mosaics in September 2013′s Vogue

jacqueline vine

Reina

 

N/S: What are 3 things you are excited about this fall?

 

Sara: Hot tea, hot toddies, being back in my cowboy boots. LOL.

 

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

Sara: I am lucky. I wake up in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I was born and raised and now have my business on “the Shore”. Many of us have been working side by side at New Ravenna for more much than a decade. It is a special group.

Some days I need the solitude of my house to let the designs flow from my brain onto paper or my team actually treks to my house so we can be away from the distractions of the Exmore studio. Some days I would prefer that, but I have meetings with bankers and lawyers and accountants and a million places and reasons to be at the studio. Really, I don’t repeat a day.

 

Learn more about New Ravenna here, Twitter here, and find them on Facebook here.

decor

 

I was so excited to learn about Jan Showers’ new book on Glamorous Retreats. Released this month, the book offers an inside look at homes the interior designer has created in locales ranging from Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States. This book includes over 200 never before seen photographs which represent the interior designer’s elegant style. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek below.  The book is available for purchase here.

 

Jan Showers

 

 

 

 

 


style


 
“Donna Karan collects sea glass and used pieces to weight down the hems of dresses during a fashion show.” – Lauren Curran

 

I’m thrilled to share an interview with Lauren Curran of Mermaid Tear Designs today on Nonsense & Sensibility.  My mom introduced me to Lauren’s handmade sea glass jewelry earlier this year and I’ve been in love with it ever since!  The pieces are worn, beautiful, and delicate at the same time.  And, I love that when wearing the pieces, you know there’s a story behind them – even if there’s no way of every knowing it.  Currently, Lauren’s work is available on Etsy, the Charlestown Gallery (Art) in Charlestown, R.I., and at Fayerwether House, Kingston, R.I., where she gives annual wire-wrapping presentations.   On top of offering custom creations, I think the most amazing thing about her collection is that each piece is unique.  With every purchase, you know you have a one-of-a-kind item.
I am a romantic, but isn’t there something truly lovely about wearing a gem that was tossed about waves and molded by the sea, salt, and sand?

 

N/S: How long have you lived by the sea?

Lauren: Here’s a secret: I actually don’t live by the ocean. However, since I was a child my parents summered in Rhode Island. My father’s parents took him as a child and, I guess, you could say it’s in the blood. My children now love RI too – 4th generation. My parents moved to RI years ago and, so, when the need to be by the ocean and to pick sea glass  swells inside of me I pick up and go, which is often!
N/S: Did you always know you wanted to create jewelry?
Lauren: The jewelry designing was a result of a life unfolding.  I love to create whether with words or objects. Part of my life was spent creating with words: as a reporter for the Associated Press in CT and, later, working in public relations. And now that creativity has branched out into jewelry designing.
N/S: How did your business come to be?
Lauren: Well, when you have buckets of beautifully frosted glass in colors of every hue you start thinking: maybe I should do something with ALL this! Lol. Honestly, I took a wire-wrapping class at a shop in Jamestown, RI. After designing sea glass jewelry for friends I started seeing how mesmerized people were with it. AND the stories! It seems everyone has a story about sea glass, especially from years prior to recycling laws when sea glass could easily be found. Also, I love challenging myself to create original designs.

N/S: What was the first piece of jewelry you created with sea glass?
Lauren: Just a simple pair of sterling wire wrapped earrings. But it was that one pair and the reaction of people that got me thinking about other designs.

N/S:  On which beaches do you find your sea glass gems?
Lauren: Now THAT’S top secret. Lol Actually, it’s funny: most people never reveal their spot because sea glass is becoming rare.Last year, NPR  did a story on a Newport, RI woman and her hunt for sea glass. Sure enough, the reporter said she was asked not to reveal the location. Long ago, by the sea, people tossed their broken bottles, dishware, etc. on the rocky cliffs. Luckily, the spot where I go sea glassing was a wealthy resort area during the 1800-1900s and the sea glass, china, porcelain, pottery shards are amazingly beautiful AND plentiful. Colors in every hue, lavender, yellow, black.

N/S: Where and when do you feel most inspired?

Lauren: I feel most inspired when walking in my ‘secret coves’, and I spot a piece of sea glass of sea foam hue. Frosted, perfectly rounded. Really, it looks like a gem. Just lovely. I hold it in my hand and think, ‘what can I design with this in a way that’s never been done before?’
N/S:  Describe a typical or perfect day for you?
Lauren: The perfect day: sun is shining, boats are traveling through the channel, nice breeze, and I’m walking alone near the old sub base on the little beach there. The view, the smell of the salty air, the sound of the buoy swinging in the channel: heaven! Of course, finding a nice hunk of frosted aqua sea glass is the topper! I like to imagine it’s from an old Coca-Cola bottle that a sailor from WW II tossed onto the rocks. And, honestly, it probably is!


N/S: Where can your jewelry be purchased?
Lauren: My jewelry, which also includes pieces made with typewriter keys and vintage buttons, can be purchased at my Etsy site here. Also there’s an amazing art gallery in Charlestown, RI: the ‘Charlestown Gallery’ that carries my seaglass bracelets and sterling chains with sea china and seaglass charms. My items do well there and the gallery is beautiful, featuring the work of regional artists.
N/S: How would you like or hope to see your company grow?
Lauren: I’m an optimist and love taking a chance. I often Tweet pics of my designs to people working in fashion, style, design, entertainment. I read where Donna Karan collects seaglass and used pieces to weight down the hems of dresses during a fashion show.
I’m open to any and all opportunities. I love making custom pieces. I’m also considering reaching out to other boutiques in Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and resort areas in other parts of the country.
N/S: Do you have a piece that is most meaningful or memorable?

Lauren: Yes! One really hot summer day I got up early and drove to the cove. It was blistering hot. Anyways, near a rock I found a beautiful lavender glass stopper- it has a round top with an old fashioned ‘W’ scrolled on top. I don’t know if it is a perfume stopper or was used atop a wine carafe. It’s breathtaking. My other fav piece is more fun than valuable. This past summer I was walking on the beach near the old sub base, and I saw a diamond-shaped object. In fact, it WAS a diamond – albeit fake! It must’ve been from costume jewelry. It’s the size of a large gumball.
N/S: What pieces or piece of your jewelry would make a great gift?

Lauren: My sea glass bracelets are always a hit as are my sterling chains with a piece of sea china dangling at the end and a tiny piece of sea glass dangling from the china.
Also, I just introduced a new design called the ‘Chandelier’: several pieces of tiny sea glass each individually wrapped in sterling wire and attached together to hang vertically from a sterling chain. I’m looking to design more ornate pieces to be worn around the neck.

N/S: Why sea glass?

Lauren: I love the beauty of bygone eras: music of 1940s, clothes of 1950s, the designs of homes and dishware from those two periods. Finding old pieces of sea glass, china, porcelain, etc. it’s like going back. It’s the thrill of wondering where it came from, for what it was used.And now, I will use it to make something beautiful, again!

Shop Lauren’s sea glass jewelry here and feel free to contact her with ideas for your own custom creation!