Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gifting Themes {2011 = tea + shoes}

Many of our Christmas gifts seem to run in (unplanned) themes around here. One year it was pants (I suppose my husband had worn through most of his that year), or socks, or sweaters -- or (more fun) jewelry. 2011 appears to be the year of tea and shoes, along with some cashmere thrown in owing to a great sale at Lands' End just before Christmas, plus free upgraded two-day shipping that got it here on time.

I gave my mom a Lenox teapot from a pattern she had admired since I was a little girl, and happened to remark on when we were shopping in Atlanta last summer. I love it when I remember something. I also had fun shopping varieties of tea at Teavana, and found pretty tea canisters, tea cups, a glass tumbler and some different blends of tea and German rock sugar there for her and my brother and his girlfriend.

My parents arrived from the airport bearing suitcases of treats - mostly of the homemade cookie, candy and coffee cake varieties (my grandmother's toffee candy was highly requested this year), but also some incredible teas. One of my favorites is this Chinese Green Kiwi Strawberry Tea from The Salt Table in Savannah, Georgia. I haven't been to Savannah in ages, but my parents are closer and can visit more often and this is one of their favorite shops. I'll be perusing their website soon as they do ship (free 3-day on orders over $25. in the lower 48).

On the shoe theme, parcels from John Fluevog (for my brother) and L.K. Bennett (most definitely a happy surprise for me) arrived ahead of my parents, along with a big box which turned out to contain those drizzly-puddly-perfect wellies from Hunter in classic green. I wore them for three days straight. The L.K. Bennett package turned out to hold the nude patent Maddox I've been wishing for since my summer trip to their Atlanta store. It was the last pair in my size, and they sent them out to me with a sweet note. I look forward to popping in again this coming summer.

So. Our houseguests have all flown off, the extra dining table is put away, my husband is back to the office, and I suppose it is time to start taking down the decorations. How long do you leave them up?


Monday, December 26, 2011

Wearing at Christmas {featuring the Hermes Nuees Imaginaires (!!) }

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!

Do you like to wear new things as soon as you receive them? I sure do:

I think flannel jammies (Target, last year) are perfectly acceptable with Hunter boots just out of the box on Christmas morning. Later in the day my Dad's cousin brought over my great uncle who was up from out of state for a visit. We haven't seen him for seven years, so I did need to get dressed:

Of course I was happy to tie on the gorgeous Hermes Nuees Imaginaires. My eight year old orchestrated this gift... she doesn't know the pricing at that shop -- she just admires the beautiful artwork and fabrics -- and she convinced my husband this exact one, in the light blues with the spring green border, with clouds in the shapes of fancifully colored and detailed imaginary animals, was for me this Christmas. I absolutely love it. My sweater (the Piacenza Top in Gold) is one I bought during the Anthropologie 50% off sweater sale, with an Old Navy tank underneath.

I also wore these beautiful earrings from Kendra Scott. Love her designs:

Kendra Scott Kelli Earrings in Lapis

I'm wearing the scarf again today:

I'm switching out the boots for Ugg slippers soon, as I don't plan on going anywhere today. Tomorrow I do though, and you can bet I'll be carrying this:

This is such a great, classic bag and I'm thrilled to have one. I think it deserves a vlog, like I did for the Modalu London Bristol/Pippa. I'll try to get on that soon.

Hope everyone is enjoying the start of the week! I'm off to drink tea and watch a Poirot (that I got too sleepy to finish last night) by the fire with a dog on my lap, while the kids are happily assembling a Harry Potter castle with their dad. I love when he takes some time off.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Deco 2011

I've never really gone for particular themes... I like sparkle, silver, gold, and color, and just sort of throw it all out there. We have bits of blue from RC and B&G Christmas drops, and my children sometimes choose animal-themed ornaments, while I often end up adding birds or travel-related decorations. Here are some pics I snapped yesterday:

My husband suggested I just go ahead and order the 2011 Christmas plate from my wishlist, which he didn't have to do twice, so I did. It arrived a few days ago and will be a nice addition to my little collection (all the others were gifts).

Two more nights till Christmas Eve! I need to find a good ris a la mande recipe soon.

On an unrelated note, I'm also looking for a good pair of heeled black suede boots. You know, like the kind you see on Duchess Catherine - which I've seen reported as (the pricey) Stuart Weitzman Zipkins... though in recent pictures in that olive RL sweater dress it really looks like the boots just have a half zip at the ankle, while the SWs zip all the way up... at any rate, that kind of look. J Crew has some nice ones but they have a brown stacked heel and I'm looking for that sleek, all black sort of look. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some OOTDs...

Between Christmas events and decorating, school volunteering, cleaning, planning, shopping and office work, I have been snapping a few OOTDs here and there. I'll post some Christmas deco soon... I love seeing everyone's decked out trees on the blogs.

Hermes Grand Manege scarf, Loft camel cardi, ON tank in black, jeans + boots

my polish was OPI All Lacquered Up

Loft sweater dress in Navy (last year), Loft cardi in Gray (last year), Target cable tights in gray, Banana Republic Sophie bootie

Zara Flounced Crossover Dress, black tights, J Crew Brewster Boot in Black, Louis Vuitton Speedy 30

And, the Christmas Ornament of the Day:

1999 Bing & Grondahl Drop "Dancing on Christmas Eve"


Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Christmas Wish List

I love making lists... but they are usually of the to-do variety. Lately, I've been checking off my Christmas shopping for everyone -- but my husband's asking what might be included on my list. Here it is:

The 2011 Royal Copenhagen Christmas Plate
104th Edition
pic from
This looks like the view onto Radhuspladsen from our hotel the first time we took our children to Denmark. I love the cat, the little boy in the sailor suit, the paper woven heart (we make those too)... just everything.

L.K. Bennett Maddox Shoe in Taupe

Kendra Scott Earrings (so many styles and colors)
This is the Yuri in Chalcedony.

iittala Taika Dinnerware
I bought a coffee cup and saucer in blue in the Copenhagen airport a couple years ago and think it's just beautiful. I'd like to get more pieces in both the blue and the white to use as our breakfast dishes.

Le Creuset Bakeware in Flame
pic from Yahoo Shopping


Hermes Nuees Imaginaires Silk Twill 90

Hermes Pierres d'Orient et d'Occident Silk Twill 90

I hope everyone's starting off a nice weekend and staying warm if it's feeling icy like it is here!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Anthropologie Sweater Sale

Wow - 50% off full priced sweaters and outerwear at Anthropologie. I don't recall so many great sales like this in years past...

I have these two on the way:
(The prices changed automatically when I added these items to my cart, no code needed. Runs today and tomorrow.)

Piacenza Top in Gold

Anthropologie's sweaters, Anthropologie's pics

The Ballard candle sconces for the study (the room I just painted Weimaraner) that were backordered from early November finally arrived yesterday. They are fabulous... love the glow of candlelight. Pics soon.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Loft Shopping {+ I Painted}

The image of treading water comes to mind when I think about my days lately.... getting ready for Christmas and visitors, and extra activities on top of all the usual for children, home and office... It's fun and happy, but it feels a little overwhelming at times. I did recently make time for some quick sale shopping at Loft, and spent an afternoon finally getting the study painted:

Benjamin Moore Weimaraner
(Makes me think exactly of a Weimaraner, really.)

Here's what I bought at the Loft during one of their recent promotions:

Lucky Magazine likes the red bow blouse, too. I just noticed it in the January issue this morning:

I have been snapping some OOTDs here and there which I'll post before too long. Today I look like I'm going to the gym, but I'm not. I hope nobody asks.

Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Downton Abbey, Season 2

So excited we get to see soon in the US! I may have to watch Season 1 again before January:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Appetizers

Honey Almond Brie and Southern Prize Shrimp Dip are my two go-to super-easy appetizers. This year I added another easy - and really pretty - one that I found in a People Magazine while getting a pedicure the other day. I think it was a special holiday edition - Bethenny Frankel was on the cover.

It's so simple and has a different look to it than my usual dips and cheeses. All you do is thinly slice some bosc pears, brush with a little lemon juice to prevent browning, and top them with a slice of Camembert and some fresh oregano leaves. I'll have these out again at Christmas!

So I like to stay home on Black Friday and the only Cyber Monday shopping I did was at The Preppy Princess where I finally ordered one of those fun cases for my iPhone - pink + orange + monogrammed - can't wait. I did find a couple of things at Anthropologie over the weekend and should be able to get some ootds and Polyvores up between all the usual + Christmas shopping and decorating over the next couple weeks.

Happy Tuesday!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are a couple pics of my Thanksgiving table set up that I mentioned. I haven't decided on plates yet but will probably go with plain white. We'll set up a second smaller table with the same sort of deco next to this one.

Pottery Barn Blue Bird runner and napkins (tied with twine), Pottery Barn acorns, World Market rattan chargers
my dining room paint is Benjamin Moore Audubon Russet

I am grateful to have a house full of family for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a warm and cozy holiday weekend filled with love and thankfulness!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Random

I have one more grocery run this morning (celery for the stuffing, more vegetable broth and the ingredients for the Maple Glazed Carrots that Goop emailed out recently - think I'll try those) and then I think I am ready to host Thanksgiving. I don't go out for Black Friday but I will be checking out the amazing online deals that are starting to fill my inbox. My Thanksgiving table is all ready except for a serious shortage of napkin rings. I'm thinking of using twine or raffia, which I'll do a quick search for this morning and then I'll post a dining room pic or two.

Sephora came through yesterday and lots of exciting new Bobbi Brown was on my front porch. According to some websites, these are the eye, cheek and lip colors used by Duchess Catherine at The Royal Wedding. I think they are going to work for me too.

In other Royal News, I found this great blog through a comment on Faux Fuchsia's blog, featuring Crown Princess Mary's style. My husband is from Denmark and we try to go back every other year, so I've long been aware of the Danish Royals and appreciated Danish design... and just love Mary's style. You'll see her in Danish designers as well as Prada, Chanel, Louboutin... even some Zara: Stylish Mary.

The Benjamin Moore Weimaraner for the study is sadly, still in the can, but I did manage to get the playroom/bonus room upstairs painted. I am really happy with the Kona accent wall against the Morrel:

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

Seems it's often dark and rainy around here this time of year. Makes me feel like soup. I've just started making this one recently, though I've had the cookbook for ages:

Pumpkin Soup, changed up just a little from JLSL's St. Louis Days St. Louis Nights

You need:
1/4 c butter
1 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp curry
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 c vegetable broth
1 16 oz can pumpkin
1 c half-and-half
sour cream and green onion

Melt the butter in a large pot and saute onion and garlic. Add the salt, coriander, curry, and cayenne. Add broth and boil uncovered for 15-20 min. Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half and cook for 5 min. Pour into a food processor and blend until creamy. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped green onion.

In the soup I show in the pictures I added more pumpkin as it didn't look like the recipe was making quite enough, so it may look a little thicker than the usual.

I have my Thanksgiving table planned out - will try to post a pic in the next day or two. We have family flying in from Texas and Japan early this week. So excited! I've been painting too... playroom yesterday and getting to the study today. Hope everyone's starting out a great week.