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Summer, Summer, Sumertime!

11 May

Not yet. Not really.

But it’s Friday, the sun is shining and my toes are painted pink, so let’s pretend!

Also, not much to report on the home-unpacking front, so a little sunny distraction it is!

Girl in Bathing Cap

How adorable is this photo? Doesn’t it just scream summer?

Love the nail and lip color, the shades, the bathing suit and even the swim cap! That’s probably not the most practical accessory, but it totally works.

Click through to see the whole set of summery, retro pics from photographer Gabor Jurina and stylist Zeina Esmail. The set was shot at Miami’s Raleigh Hotel, which has definitely been added to my places to go list.

Raleigh Hotel Miami

The tree, the lights, those chairs!

Summertime, indeed.

Have a wonderful, sunny weekend!

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New York, New York

30 Apr

Last week, I had a quick little work trip to one of my favorite cities, New York City. Were you tipped off by the New York-themed posts last week?

Bryant Park

Bryant Park, as seen from a 17th floor balcony reception across the street. What a view!

I was there for a PR conference that brought together some of the top minds in the business and was insanely fascinating. Let’s just say I’m kind of in love with what I do.

Know what else I’m in love with?

Walking the streets of New York City, people watching, building watching, taxi watching…just watching, in general. I didn’t get too much time outside of the conference, but when I did, I tried to snap some pictures of things that caught my eye. Want to see?

NYC Buildings

I love how some of the buildings in the Financial District crowd each other, forming these little strips of lights in between.

NYC Buildings2

This narrow street in the Financial District reminded me of some of the older parts of London, quiet and dark. There was even a slight drizzle the night we were walking here. (Interesting observation from my co-worker Hannah: everyone’s umbrellas were black! Down South drizzle means the chance to break out the polka dots and crazy color umbrellas.)

NYC Battery Park

Battery Park, New York City

Battery Park has always been one of my favorite places in the city. Last time I was there, I was fortunate enough to be able to jog through it each morning. There’s something about running while looking at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (where some of my relatives arrived in this country from Italy, Ireland and Germany) that makes for a good day.

This time, no time for morning jogs, but we did eat dinner in a cute little bar overlooking the water. I snapped this shot outside the bar, because I thought the row of benches, old-fashioned lamps and hexagon cobblestone was so romantic.

911 Memorial

The next few photos aren’t pretty. However, there’s a quiet beauty about them, mixed in with stark sadness. I have to admit, visiting the 9/11 Memorial was not easy. It was very strange to be there, at the gravesite of some many people, there in the middle of a bustling city.

911Memorial2

I think the memorial is beautifully done, quiet and unassuming. I felt the names of the victims were at the forefront, as they should be. Of course, it’s not my opinion that counts; it’s the opinions of the families of those victims. I hope the memorial brings them some peace.

911Memorial3

I’d say about 75 percent of the crowd at the memorial was somber, slowly walking around each reflecting pool, taking it all in. However, there were some people there, mostly younger people, who were taking vacation photos and generally being tourists. I won’t lie – this bothered me. I wonder if you weren’t alive, or if you were very young, when this tragedy unfolded, maybe you just don’t feel it the same way? Perhaps there’s a disconnection, like I might have for a Civil War memorial: appreciation for the loss of life, but no real connection to the people affected.

Either way, I hope this memorial helps the people affected to have some closure, and serves as a reminder to the rest of us just how fortunate we are to have not been affected.

Freedom Tower, New York City

Freedom Tower, New York City

Here’s the new Freedom Tower, still under construction and already reaching into the clouds. (Full disclosure: It was raining, so the clouds were a bit more attainable).

The skyscraper will become the tallest in New York City today when it reaches 1,250 feet high, just above the Empire State Building.

Closing on a somber note, but that was my whirlwind trip to the great city of New York.

What I didn’t take pictures of? A perfect slice of thin crust pizza and a quick but necessary pop-in to Bloomingdales (holy luxury bags) and my first time at The Container Store (thank goodness I had to fly home or I would have bought my weight in drawer dividers – nerd).

How was your weekend? Do you live in New York City? I’d love to hear about your favorite home stores there, for the next (hopefully longer) trip!

A Pretty Day in Tupelo

16 Apr

Quite an adventure was had this weekend in Tupelo.Church

It’s your classic Mississippi small town: churches line Church St., shops line Main St., and shop owners know you’re not from there as soon as your walk in the door.

Tupelo Miss

Tupelo, Miss

My friend Amanda and I did a little shopping, where I found these beautiful tea towels for the new kitchen…

tea towels

…and ducked into this cute dressing room at a lovely little boutique (and bought that green dress).

Dressing Room

We also did a little exploring and ended up at Elvis Presley’s birthplace.

Elvis Presley Front Porch

Elvis Presley House

Quite a humble beginning for the man who would end up in the leopard printed world of Graceland.

After driving around to the “Azalea Festival” (there were more confusing signs for the “festival” than there were people in attendance) and seeing a deer mounted on the hood of a Chevy (I will forever regret not taking a photo), it was time to meet up with some friends and see an amazing concert.

We had a great day exploring Tupelo and an even better time at The Avett Brothers concert.

How was your weekend?

Furniture, Music and a Road Trip (Or the Perfect Weekend)

13 Apr

Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend?

I’m headed down to Tupelo, Mississippi.

Elvis Tupelo

Source: Tupelo.net (I kind of want that shirt.)

Get excited, people!

No? Okay, let me tell you why this is exciting news.

1.  I’m going to see the Avett Brothers play. I could stop there and this would be a great weekend. But wait…there’s more!

music_AvettBrothers1

Source: Bluegrass Today

2.  Tupelo is known as “The Upholstered Furniture Capital of the World.” Given I literally had a dream about the perfect upholstered couch last night (very true), this is extremely exciting.

3.  Tupelo’s Antiques Trail boasts more than 60 homegrown antique stores. Y’all. If there’s one thing the South knows how to do right (besides ridiculously fattening food, music and front porches), it’s antique stores. Oh, the treasures.

antiques tupelo mississippi

This is the only "shop" photo I could find and it looks to be from about 1987. You get the idea. Souce: Tupelo.net

4.  Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, so kitschy Elvis memorabilia (and groovy snapshots like the one above) abound.

Cute boys with guitars, upholstered furniture, antiques, Elvis and a mini road trip?

Kind of the perfect storm of a weekend, if you ask me.

Have a happy weekend!

Pretty Hotel: The Drake Hotel, Chicago

17 Feb

Recognize this hallway?

The Drake Hotel hallway

Source: The Drake Hotel

It’s the hallway of The Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, and it plays a big role in one of the best chick flicks of all time, My Best Friend’s Wedding. (It’s where Julianne’s best friend stays before his wedding – if you haven’t seen it, go to Netflix pronto).

And last week, I got to stay there!

Never has a carpet been so thrilling.

I was fortunate to stay at the beautiful Drake Hotel while in business on Chicago and I have one word: charming. How else do you describe a hotel that greets you like this?

The Drake Hotel lobby

The Drake Hotel Upper Lobby

The Drake Hotel Flowers

Built in 1920, The Drake Hotel oozes charm and old-fashioned style, from its dark wood paneling to its cozy tufted settees.

The Drake Hotel Carved Wood

The Drake Hotel Couch

The Drake Hotel Couch 2

How gorgeous are those couches? There were about six of them throughout the lobby, set in cozy conversation nooks. I love the tufting and the two-tone covering. You can just see ladies in white gloves sitting on them, waiting for afternoon tea to begin.

The ceiling is as exceptional as the rest, with dark wood carvings and stunning chandeliers.

The Drake Hotel Ceiling

The lobby was by far my favorite part of the hotel, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my hotel room. Why? Because my hotel room had…wait for it…TWO bathrooms. Yes, one King size bed and TWO bathrooms.

The Drake Hotel Bathroom 1

Bathroom One

The Drake Hotel Bathroom 2

Bathroom Two

Why two nearly identical bathrooms? Beats me. I suppose it would have been convenient if I had been traveling with someone, but since it was a business trip, I did what any one would do. Switched between them at will…because I could.

I’ll close my ode to The Drake Hotel with an little tidbit from My Best Friend’s Wedding. Remember this scene, where Julia Roberts is leaning against the hotel room door and falls through when Michael opens it? (No? Seriously, please watch this movie this weekend.)

Julia Roberts hair

That was the scene that made 16-year-old me put down the flat iron and embrace my crazy curly hair. If Julia could look this good lying on the ground, surely I could make it work in the halls of my high school, right?

Yeah, not so much, but it was a defining moment. And it was filmed at The Drake Hotel.

Fast forward 14 years and my curly hair and I loved time spent at this beautiful hotel. If you’re in Chicago, check it out, if only for a drink in the lobby. White gloves optional.

Pretty Across the Pond: England

13 Jan

Take an American girl with an obsession for antiques and hats, plop her down in the middle of the English countryside with a cute baby and a dear friend and what do you get?

Basically the best week ever.

Last spring I was fortunate enough to visit my dear friends Abby and Simon for their son Harry’s christening in England. Harry just happens to be my godson and the cutest baby ever.

I’d been to London once as a teenager, and it’s lovely, but this trip was where I fell in love with parts of the rest of the country. It’s a long-distance relationship but I’d say it’s pretty serious.

As I was sorting through photos to print for my upcoming gallery wall, I decided to share just how pretty this country is. If you’ve been there, you know. If you haven’t, find a way. Perhaps Kate Middleton needs an assistant or something.

Notting Hill House

First up, the village of South Zeal in Devon (Southern England).

This was the first of many homes I fell in love with while visiting and it just happens to be the home of one of Abby’s neighbors. The entire street winds up a hillside as if drawn by Bert himself. There are even sheep grazing across the road. Sheep!

South Zeal

Photo courtesy of Geograph.org.uk

Anyway, back to the house. Blue door, blue gate and English bluebells, all set perfectly against century old stone. I’m not sure how old this home is, but there are some on the street that date back to the 1600s. Between that little fact, the blue door and the sheep, I was ready to move in.

South Zeal Pub

Next up, the village pub, Oxenham Arms. It’s been in this very spot since the 12th century. I’ll just let that little gem sink in for a moment. We had a drink here, where I naturally had a pint of that week’s special, Kate Loves Willie (I arrived the day after Prince William said I Do). Who doesn’t love a slightly off-color Royal Wedding joke while sitting in a 12th century bar?

The people at this place were lovely and highly entertained by the fact that I was from the American South. It probably had to do with the fact that in between calling them “y’all” I repeatedly asked if they realized just how old this place was.

They did.

Here are some more photos of places in and around Devon. The area is surrounded by the moors and is beautiful at every turn.

Devonshire Cream Tea

This is the place I experienced Devon Cream Tea, the area’s speciality. It was good, but I most enjoyed the scenery. I could have stayed and listened to this brook for hours.

Horses in Devon

Path Sign

Stone Wall

Abby, Harry and I took a day trip to Dartmouth, a town at the mouth of the Dart river that sits on the Atlantic Ocean. It turned out to be my favorite place we visited.

Hogwarts Express

We took the Hogwarts Express Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway to Kingwear Railway Station, where we hopped a ferry to cross the Dart River.

Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

Dartmouth

Dartmouth

Dartmouth

Atlantic Ocean from Dartmouth

Atlantic Ocean from Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth dates back to medieval times and like any proper English town, it has its own castle. Abby and I hiked up to it (pushing a baby stroller) and were greeted with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

On the way back down, we stumbled upon (probably literally – it was quite steep) the place where the Mayflower was docked before setting off for America. This history nerd just had to have a photo.

Dartmouth

After spending the first part of the week down South, we packed up and headed North for Mr. Harry’s christening. And now…the cutest baby in the world:

Harry

Told ya. That little guy is a heartbreaker.

We traveled to Preston for the christening. While there, we took a little day trip into the famed Lake District, which lives up to its reputation. It reminded me a bit of part of the Blue Ridge Trail through the Appalachian Mountains. Oh, and also, The Land Before Time.

The Lake District England

The Lake District England

The Lake District England

The Lake District

The Lake District England

Oh, England. It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to return.

Have you been to England? What is your favorite part?