Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm Trying to See the Kitchen!

This time of year, many cities across the country host show-home events, showcasing the work of interior designers, decorators and architects in either an historic or newly-built home, in an effort to raise money for a good cause. I’ve gone to some of these in the past and it’s always amazing to see what the designers come up with, although I’m not usually a fan of the ones who go off-script and incorporate stark modernism into a traditional home, for instance. Perhaps that makes me a fuddy-duddy, but that’s just me.

So, in recognition of the hard work that many of these designers perform, I’m sharing some photos I came across from the recent Hampton Designer Show House event in Bridgehampton. This modest abode at 1224 Scuttle Hole Road is the 2011 show house. I love these traditional Hamptons/Outer Banks beach homes. Oh, it's just a lottery-win away!

Per usual, my favorite room in this house is the white kitchen. Perfection! Below are some gorgeous images, although I wish these folks would just get out of the pictures. Really, it’s all about the kitchen, people.

Ladies, you look lovely, but seriously move aside so I can see the cabinetry.

 Okay, at least this guy is allowing me a peek at the fabulous sink as well as that massive fridge behind him.

TGIF, kids. It’s been quite the week for all of us, I’m sure. Luckily, I’m joining some girlfriends at a new restaurant tonight, Harvest, for some gal time. Harvest is a farm-to-table concept restaurant, so I’m really excited to munch-down on some fresh, locally grown veggies and other delightful fare.

Happy weekend!
Images from New York Social Diary
Again, guys, stop hogging up the space. I want to see the island! Okay, you on the left, because you're sporting seersucker, you can stay, but move as far to the left as possible.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shew, Kids, It's Hot!

Here I am, reporting again from the surface of the sun.

For several days in a row, the city has declared a “heat advisory,” warning folks about dangerous ozone levels, extremely high heat indexes, etc. My daughter’s trip to the pool with her day-camp was cancelled today because it’s too hot to even just sit in water. Yeah, that’s pretty darn hot. And, around here, it’s not a dry heat. No, it’s a sopping-wet, humid, muggy, sweat-through-your-shirt-before-you-even-leave-the-house, heat.

So, for my friends who are enjoying some late summer fun in the north on cool lakes and other welcoming bodies of water, I envy you. Wish I could enjoy a breezy sunny day in a linen shirt and capris at the beach, à la Jackie and Caroline...

Or hop off a boat in said capris, and a pair of Jack Rogers sandals...

No, this is more of my reality...

So, dear friends who are in a cooler climate, dip your toes in the  water for me. I’ll be here, sweatin’ it out, thinking of you, longing for the crisp, cool days of fall. Heck, I’d be happy with low 80s at this point.

By the way, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis would have turned 82 today. David Patrick Columbia remembers Jackie in his New York Social Diary column.
Images courtesy of JFK Library collection and

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Work of Art

Last Friday, it was reported in the news that Linda Christian, actress and one-time wife of film legend Tyrone Power, had died at the age of 87.
I knew nothing about her, but came across this photo of Ms. Christian being fitted for her wedding gown in Rome in 1949. The house of Fontana designed the dress. It is such a thing of beauty, a work of art, that I just had to include it here.
Photo by Jean Howard, private collection

Monday, July 25, 2011


So, it's late July and I'm making my way through my summer reading. I just finished "The Dirty Life" a memoir by Kristin Kimball, about her dramatic transition from New York City writer to farmer. Kimball met and fell in love with a farming/man-of-the-land purist (and this is putting it lightly) and tells of their first year together tending to the land and planning their wedding. Not sure why I keep steering toward non-fiction like this (another recent read being "The Bucolic Plague" about two city boys attempting the same thing). Perhaps when I think life on a farm in the countryside sounds wonderful, I need to read memoirs like this to shake me back to reality. Anyhoo, it's a decent read if you're up for it.

I've now moved on to "The Secret History," by Donna Tartt. This book has quite a following and I'm just now discovering it. It was released in 1992, and given that I was a freshman in college, obviously I was focused on so many other things in life, namely, me, so the book wasn't on my radar.

I'd heard a lot about this book in recent months and last week read an interview with the author of "The Help," Kathryn Stockett, who mentioned how much she loved this book, and that the character of Bunny is her all-time favorite villain. So, after not being able to get it via Kindle (only an audio book version was available), I ventured to Barnes & Noble for a hardcopy. To say I'm entranced is an understatement. I look forward to every night when the kids have gone to bed and I can delve back into this book. (Although I've since learned that the audio version is narrated by Robert Sean Leonard from "Dead Poets Society" fame, which is spot-on for this novel. So, I'd be interested in hearing him narrate this story.)

That's what I'm reading right now. Have you read "The Secret History?" If so, what are your thoughts? What else are you reading these days?

Happy Monday, friends. Hope the week treats you well.
Images from Penguin Books and Alex Chilver Illustration

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gyslain on Market

Stopped into a really cool place for lunch the other day and just had to share, although, it's one of those places you want to keep a secret so you can always get a table. :)

Ghyslain on Market is a cafe and chocolate shop that recently opened in the NuLu district of downtown Louisville. A few of my coworkers had been there for lunch and raved about it, so when a group of them asked me to go this week, I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did.

The food is delicous and the desserts and chocolates look like works of art. The interior is very "Restoration Hardware," with great "new-looking-vintage" lighting and cool blue walls accented in rich browns.

The owner is French-Canadian and has other three other restaurants throughout Indiana (who knew?). His chocolates also are carried in various shops across the country.

So, if you're in this area, stop by for a visit and be sure to purchase a box of chocolates to take with you. For a menu, visit this write-up in Consuming Louisville. The writer notes that gellato may be on the menu at some point, and I'm pleased to report that it's now available, and now I wish I had tried some.

Blogger Feature Report
By the way, don't miss the August issue of Southern Living, where a favorite designer and blogger of ours, Kayce Hughes, and her adorable daughter, are featured. Always fun to see someone you've come to know through Blogger-ville in a national publication, which for many of us, Southern Living is our Bible. (And, the same day that my SL arrive, so did the latest issue of Garden & Gun. It was a eupheric day in my household.)

Here's one of the latest offerings from Kayce Hughes - how lovely is this dress? Perfect for these un-godly hot days were having here in the South right now.

Happy Friday, y'all. For those of us in the Southeast and Eastern U.S., try to keep as cool as possible. The heat index has been reaching into 110-112 in these parts, very unhealthy. Stay as safe, cool and relaxed as possible!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not Good, GQ, Not Good

Just saw this article in an industry publication I regularly read and had to reprint it. Shame on you, GQ, specifically writer John B. Thompson, for your complete lack of sensitivity and out-right stupidity. And cheers to Dr. Brian Skotko of Boston for taking the magazine to task and responding with a touching blog post about his sister, Kristin, who has Down Syndrome.

Apparently, GQ named the 40 worst-dressed cities in the country, with Boston topping the list. According to GQ writer John B. Thompson, the city “… is like America’s Bad-Taste Storm Sewer: all the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate and putrefy.”

The article then went on to slam the mentally-challenged who have an extra chromosome stating, “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”

Really?? For lack of a better response, all I can say is, “GQ, you suck.”

Below is a blurb from Dr. Skotko’s more well thought-out and touching reply, which was posted on the Children’s Hospital of Boston’s Pediatric health blog. Such publications as The Washington Post, Boston Herald and Boston’s Fox News have covered the story, allowing the doctor to speak about the issue. Click here to read the blog post in full.

Mock my pants, not my sister

Go ahead, GQ, and mock my blue whale-emblemed Nantucket-red pants. Laugh if you want at the loud argyles that I prefer to wear with my black suit. I don’t even care if you dismiss the sexy pink polka-dotted tie that I like to wear with my blue-checkered shirt in clinic. But, whatever you do, do not mess with my sister.

You’re a good man, Dr. Skotko, and you are blessed to have an angel like Kristin in your life, but I bet you already knew that. And, I, for one, like how you dress. Preppies across the nation salute you!

For the record, GQ removed the line from the article, but GQ’s editor has not responded to Dr. Skotko’s letter.

Happy, Wednesday, friends. Hope the week is treating you well.
Image from the Children’s Hospital of Boston’s Pediatric health blog

Monday, July 18, 2011

What a Match

Team USA midfielder Carli Lloyd goes up against a player from Japan in the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup final in Germany yesterday. Just looking at them makes my knees hurt.

Team USA, you should be proud of yourselves. It was a fight to the very end, alas Japan took the victory, which is pretty amazing if you think about it. They were the shortest team in the tournament (which explains why USA kept attempting those mega-high goals) and they come from a country where only about 24,000+ women play the sport. Meanwhile, in the United States soccer is the most popular women’s sport. Heck, my daughter could play in a league at age three! So for the Japanese women to win the World Cup championship in a sport where there's not a lot of backing, well, that's quite an achievement.
Teammates Alex Morgan (left) and Abby Wambach celebrate a goal during yesterday's game.

So, congrats Japan. Well done. And to the USA team, you kicked ass, ladies. We're proud of you.

I love that throughout homes and sports bars across the country, heck, the world, soccer fans sat riveted. And not even soccer fans, just folks cheering on their home team in general.

Sporting events like the Women's World Cup bring us together and give hope to young girls, throughout the world, that they can do anything.

My kids had a swim lesson while the game was underway, but I had a moment to duck into the workout facility at our swim club to see the game’s progress. The young woman working the desk was quite excited about the match, since, at the time, the USA was leading 2 – 1. Sports can certainly create a connection among many.

On another sports/fitness note, what is "planking?" Is it an extreme form of yoga or pilates? Is it good or bad for you? From images I’ve seen, it involves contorting your body in a position I used to do as a kid, and my six-year can do very well, but I don’t think this 38-year old should attempt it. Lately, I've heard mention of it on Facebook and other blogs, but I don't get a sense of what it is, so, if you know, please share.

Happy Monday, friends!
Images from and

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Healthy Rewards = Pretty Shoes

Thanks to everyone who has weighed-in on Operation Motivation. I'm proud to say that for the last two nights, I've power-walked throughout the neighborhood for at least 45 minutes. Doesn't sound like much, but I'm getting there. And, for dinner last night, I made a very healthy chicken dish. I marinated the chicken in a mango-curry sauce, and served it with asparagus and apples, along with a cucumber and tomato salad. Had to also include some angel hair pasta tossed in olive oil for the kids. Two thumbs up!

So, after I post this, I plan to go for another walk, perhaps throw a jog in as well. Again, baby steps.

Don't you think I should reward myself with some new shoes for this effort? Seriously, I think these Multi-bellie sandals from Canafora are a must-have for this gal.

I saw these babies on Summer is a Verb's blog post the other day and fell into complete lust with these darling shoes. Alas, me thinks I would need to run a complete marathon to justify the reward of said sandals. Oh, well, a girl can dream, can't she? Besides, shoes adorned with bells are not very practical when you're trying to sneak up on your kids to see what kind of mischief they're up to. Yeah, need something more stealth for those missions. :)

Happy weekend, friends!
Image courtesy of Canfora Capri Sandals

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Motivation Needed - Suggestions Welcome

What motivates you to exercise and eat healthy? To just get up and run? Besides the obvious benefits, how do you muster the strength after a long day at work, caring for your kids and all of the other aspects of life that make it difficult to find time to focus on you?

A group of us at work are going to start using the method to track dietary and fitness endeavors, but without an actual person saying, "Get off your butt!", I'm worried that I won't keep up with recording my meals, my exercise, etc.

So, dear friends, if a regular fitness routine is part of your life, how do you fit it in? What activities do you do? Do you prefer early morning or evenings? (Sorry, I won't ask about late morning/midday, because that's just not my reality.) And, have you ever used (for a fee) an online fitness consultant, such as Beth from Shut Up and Run?

And, hey, if anyone is willing to try a "virtual" fitness motivation effort, I'd love to hear from you guys. Perhaps we could chat via email each day to discuss what we've done, what we need to do and urge each other to get moving and eat healthier. Let me know if you're up for that. Too bad so many of us are spread across the globe - I think a walking club among several of us would be such fun! Seriously, can you imagine the laughs we would have? :)

It's Thursday, friends...I'm scratching and crawling my way to Friday. It's been one of those weeks. Sigh.
Image from

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ann Mashburn Is Now Online

Got the word yesterday that Ann Mashburn, clothier extraordinaire who opened a boutique last summer, is now selling her wares online.

In addition to Ann’s site, her hubby, Sid, also offers online retail sales. Here’s a blog post I did about them last September.

Now, if I could only afford her prices. Sigh. But, I do love her aesthetic. The crisp blouses with a full skirt and kitten heels, or shirt dresses with colorful prints – all super-fabulous.

And, anyone who has achieved such an amazing career in fashion, and raised five daughters, well, she deserves high praise. And a shot or two of bourbon.

Check out her site to browse her latest offerings. Or, if you live in or around Atlanta, you can check out her boutique, as well as Sid's, in person.

It’s a scorcher today, folks. For those of us who live in the South, I hope you’re managing to survive. The heat index is 112. Nasty-icky-hot.  Hopefully it won’t stick around too long.
Images from Will May + Makeshift, Unabashedly Prep and Garden & Gun

Monday, July 11, 2011

Virginia Recap

Well, we're back after a whirlwind three-day weekend in Lexington, Va. We attended a family reunion, which was great fun. Our kids had the chance to reunite with beloved cousins, as well get to know new ones, which in kids' time, is an estimated 5 minutes before they're fast friends.

This is where we stayed while there - fabulous place.

Besides swimming at the pool , we made it down to the Maury River and enjoyed dipping our toes (or for some folks, their entire selves), into the refreshing mountain waters.

Miss E. escorting a little cousin. Little Man in the background, running the driveway.

Miss E. with Aunt A, her godmother and Hubby's sister. A's also an awesome tennis instructor. If you live in the Charlotte, NC region, definitely seek her out!

It was a great weekend, but I, for one, am pretty darn tired of Interstate 64. Road trips - ugh. And, we have another one in the near future, but, I'll just focus on the destination. Family, fun and good memories to be made.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and you're ready for the new week. Cheers!
All photos property of JMW A Place to Dwell

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On the Road Again...

Back soon with plenty of tales from the Shenandoah Valley!

Happy weekend, friends!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lilly Shorts: A Must-Have for Summer

Last Friday before we took off for Nashville, I jetted over to our local Lilly store and purchased a fabulous pair of Callahan shorts in the "Hotty Pink Fallin' in Love a Little" print.

(Seriously, who comes up with these names??)

Super-cute shorts, I have to say. I sported these on 4th of July with a navy top, creating a somewhat patriotic ensemble (the shorts appeared more red than pink from a distance). In fact, I wish I had brought these along on the trip to Nashville and worn them to the concert. The fabric is very light-weight and is welcome attire in this heat and humidity.

What are your favorite go-to outfits for staying cool in the summer?
Images courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer and Life's A Beach

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best. Concert. Ever.

Check out this stage! Here I am listening to the opening act, Florence and the Machine, which was an awesome opener.

Words can't describe what an amazing event U2's 360 Tour in Nashville was Saturday night. The music, the spectacular set and technical display, and the overall experience of seeing Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam in person were beyond my wildest dreams.

We had to wait a while to check into our room at the hotel because apparently about 200 crew members with the concert were dilly-dallying and not checking out on time. So, we ate lunch and then walked around Vanderbilt's campus. But, given that it was as hot as the surface of the sun and the humidity was stifling, we made our way back to the hotel. Our room STILL wasn't ready. So, to shut us up appease us, the hotel staff gave us a voucher for two free drinks. Nothing like sitting in the lobby of a fancy hotel with a Corona in hand. Believe me, though, it was a common scene for most of us waiting for our rooms.

Finally, our room became available and Hubby surprised me with a suite on the top floor. SCORE! Not only an ultra-cool space to reside for the evening, but access to the special VIP lounge as well. Yay!

A moment during the concert, as Edge is featured on the jumbo screen.

After the concert, Hubby and I hooked up with a good friend to grab something to eat. It was after midnight and someone at the hotel recommended Cafe Coco, a 24-hour eatery near Vandy's campus. It's a place where the college kids hang, play guitar on the patio and surf the net, all while smoking an endless supply of clove cigarettes; blech, I was so sick of that smell by the end of the night. Needless to say, I felt a bit old. At this point, I was starving, so I opted for a cheese burger. Afterwards, it was more than evident that my days of eating, drinking and staying up past 2 a.m. are long behind me. But, it was such fun and I'm so glad we did it.

So, friends, thanks for indulging me over the last week as this blog became all-things U2. It was amazing!

Happy 4th of July! Hope you have wonderful Independence Day - God Bless America!!
Images property of JMW A Place to Dwell

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beautiful Day (and Weekend)

This is über-excited me, counting down the hours until I see my boys in Nashville. Yeah, I'm a tad bit giddy (and a little cheesy, I know).
I know, I’ve droned on for days about the upcoming U2 concert so, apologies if you’re a bit sick of hearing it. But, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to this weekend, on so many levels: seeing my favorite band, enjoying time away with Hubby in a cool town like Nashville, and chilling out over a three-day weekend. This week has been CRAZY at work, so I really need some down time to just decompress, as I'm sure we all do.
Friends, have a wonderful 4th of July. I just know it's going to be a Beautiful Day.
First image property of jmw-aplacetodwell and second from