bonjour everyone, it’s been a long time! it’s officially autumn. i love this season, when october rolls around when we pull out that extra blanket and get the house cozy, even here in miami. it was hard to leave the nest but over the weekend i was invited to a party at one of my favorite places in the world, san diego. my dear friend Lori Chandler runs a collective known as ‘Vignettes’ on Newport Avenue in the heart of the town. she’s celebrating the 18th year and when she asked me to come and do a book signing i knew it would be an affair to remember.
first of all, lori thinks of everything. besides being a dreamer, enchantress, an intoxicating and playful soul, she’s chic and savvy and runs a business working with the best friends and co-workers imaginable. what they all did under that roof for this soiree was unfathomable! it made me want to move right in! whenever i visit i’m completely inspired by everyone’s collective joie de vivre, creativity and boundless energy! not to mention they made me feel like a rock star. i’ll take you for a tour of what went on last saturday…
it was night when i arrived at the airport. lori said she’d send a friend to pick me up. but she didn’t tell me it was the owner of one of the spaces at vignettes, designer extraordinaire (and a true modern day salon hostess), barbara gray. she pulled up in a convertible and handed me a scrunchie. “you’re staying with me!” was all she needed to say and whisked me into the beautiful abyss that was my life for the next 48 hours. it was dark when we got home and i heard waves crashing below. her hubby joked it was just a sound machine. i got to my room and found the chocolates they’d made with my book cover on them next to the bed. i knew i was in for some special treats but this was just the beginning!
in the light of day, i was floored by the magnificence of everything from barbara herself to her cooking, her home, and the glory that just is life in san diego! she whipped up a gourmet breakfast and got us together for the big day. she almost couldn’t tear me away but off we went.
i was greeted at the door by the one and only lori with and pomp, circumstance, welcome signs and lots of love.
when i stepped through the door i was changed forever. she had envisioned a party that would rival a gatsby shindig and personally i think she topped him!
every inch was a feast for the eyes and filled to the brim, dripping with sparkles, champagne, cake and savoir faire!
i’ll let you see what i mean…
in every cabinet rhinestones dazzled in the light
keepsakes, mementos and charms spilled out like champagne bubbles
every vignette was a celebration!
it was a masterpiece from a mastermind who got everyone into the spirit. it’s amazing what a little inspiration can do and how a book can spark the imagination…
the merchants who have spaces in the store all tend to have a french influence and there was magic in every direction. the collections were incredible!
they beefed up their shops for the event they really went all out! you’d have to go to france to find a better selection of goodies!
the enthusiasm permeated the entire store. and everyone expressed a real artistic flair, creating dressing rooms, gardens, beachy themes and elegant arrangements. debbie hung a bed upside down!
her closet displays were like candy…
i wish i knew who everyone’s space belonged to!
Mme. Barbara has two spaces, i think they reflect a couple of her different loves. this one was her beachy, provencal side filled with white porcelain, books and seashells. hence, cottage white!
on the flip side she set up an entire booth of black and white where she had furniture, accessories, and all the trimmings!
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
she made pillows and upholstered chairs and ottomans, styled every inch even made the piping with tiny french words along the edge!
i think i was just shocked by the amount of work that went in to each and every touch and the attention down to the smallest detail.
(click for larger images)
across the way was another terrific booth set up as julia child’s kitchen. this one is run by Robin Slominski of ‘Bistro Chic”. on one side she had the kitchen with cookbooks and made beautiful cookies.
and the other half was set as a charming little french apartment, complete with collections and displays.
once we got through all the booths, we went to the back where two special event areas were arranged.
the first was a tented french patisserie complete with pink oven, blender and flowers. it was adorable and was conceived and executed by stylist, monique hemminger. more of the unending attention detail! inside was the inimitable Kristy Lynn from ‘Sweet Insanity Bake shop’. she not only donned a marie antoinette inspired ship in her hair (that she handmade)! but was also serving her delicious macaroons.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
no one could seem to get enough of her outrageous colors and flavors. check out what else she is doing: sweetinsanitybakeshop.co
Syd Takesha of london light photography kept it together by shooting the event and making sure we all had what we needed! she’s an artist and photographer and sweetheart. i wish my photos looked like hers!
finally, we got to a very special area that had been created for the signing. i couldn’t have felt more special.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was like a vignette come to life.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was created by a woman who wears many hats, she’s known as madame palooza, paris cowgirl and to me, Stunning Sylvia. (her hubby’s pretty great too)! she’s got a lot going on, including prop rentals and a great warehouse space. check out just some of what she does here: facebook.com/MadamPalooza
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
they staged the entire room and even had an old brigitte bardot film playing behind the tv screen on a laptop!
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was incredible to meet so many beautiful people that day who share a passion for life, paris, beauty and good energy. i can’t describe the love i had for everyone who traveled near and far to meet me and i treasured every minute!
thank you lori and barbara for a weekend i will never forget. Vignettes, happy anniversary! thank you too to all the people behind the scenes who made the magic happen. from husbands to vendors, cookie makers, clean up crews and stylists, they were all there, buzzing around keeping pillows plumped and pouring champagne, i wish i knew who everyone was but you know who you are!
truth is it went by in the blink of an eye. it was all i could do to leave and can’t wait to get back. the girls inspired to take the month of february and head out to california for a little road tripping and a lot of good old fashioned fun.
as i said earlier, lori has the most incredible spirit. she somehow came across this book and gave it to me just as i was leaving. it makes me think of her gatsby soul and reminds me we can make any place special our own villa, chateau, cottage or paris apartment. all we need are four walls and a dream!
having your friends around to enjoy it with you is the icing on the cake, no matter where you are!
where do i begin? this may be my most picturesque post ever. i have a million more photos but i’m cutting it off here so i can at least get to the matter at hand…the party at vignettes was a roaring good time that was beyond my wildest dreams. mere thanks would never cover what lori and her crew did to welcome and host me for what was truly a fairy tale.
walking into the store was like a dream! everyone in the collective is on the same wavelength and each area was decorated to the hilt with glorious french finds.
i guess i took so many photos cause it was a way to have a piece of this place forever. it’s one of the best resources i’ve ever come across either in the us or in paris. the prices, the selection, the sheer creativity in unique design, display and undeniable passion reinvigorated all my senses and sensibilities for all things french.
to be around such wonderful and expressive people was pure bliss. take a look at the spread, this was just the tip of the iceberg! there was champagne, strawberries and so much more!
but the real highlight was having the ladies and gents come from around town, l.a. and even as far phoenix. it was beyond flattering, it was awe inspiring. some ladies had my book for years and to see it in their hand touched me more than i can say. thank you to everyone who came, i hope you keep in touch!
so if you weren’t there, i hope these photos inspire you to check out this one of a kind wonderland. if you live near san diego please go and say hello, you will not leave disappointed or empty handed. if you’re looking for a one of a kind gift then this is one stop shopping for all tastes and ages, men and women. i plan to interview some of the designers and post their goodies so you can get more of an idea of the variety. these are not crafters, they’re artisans.
thank you thank you thank you to everyone and everything that went into making this one of the best days of my life and something treasure forever! i can’t wait to get back to san diego and play and in the meantime i’ll try to get to the individual posts about some of these creative souls. till then have a great week and more soon!
4828 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107-3111
Open Daily 10:30am-5pm
i don’t think i’ve ever received such a warm and inviting invite to host an event as i did from lori chandler of vignettes in san diego. apparently anyone who’s anyone knows about this treasure trove but it will be my first time visiting. it’s an antiques collective filled to the brim by passionate, creative fairy princesses who let their love fly for all things fabulous, frilly and french!
as i was getting an image to post tonite for the event on saturday, i googled ‘vignettes’ and came across so many gorgeous pix that i got lost in interviews with lori, past hosts’ ruminations (rachel ashwell)! and the wealth of merchandise in the shop. i know it’s not easy to run a store, much less with a lot of vendors, but lori makes it look like so much fun! i’m sure they have a blast all year long, but this is their anniversary party, 15 years! if you don’t know lori yet, check out her store via her blog and website. from what i can see, it’s an atmosphere of pure joy and i feel like i’m heading to a princess party.
in the meantime, i spoke to her hubby today who said she’s busy putting quite the soiree together and i’ll be going on the 7th to help set up. we’re going to have a real ball, so if you’re around please come and play! here’s her adorable invite:
‘We hope you’re planning to put on your
Best Party Dress & attend
Vignettes’ Grand Anniversary Event
this upcoming Saturday, October 9th, from Noon to 5:00 pm.
From taking in all the lavish settings & luxe décor, to meeting Miss Claudia Strasser of The Paris Apartment
& all of Vignettes’ dealers who work so hard &
(just added!) the French Tent Brocante in our back lot, to the lavish patisserie & French macaron display (Edible art!) to the French Champagne – pouring all day (Ooh La La!) to having your picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower,
(Say “Cheese”, I mean “Fromage”) you’ll feel like you’ve been wisked away on a tres magnifique French getaway/escapade – with no jet lag, luggage or passport required!
Come Celebrate 15 Fabulous Years With Us!’
and these are some of the pics i found just surfing about the place.
i could go on but it’s midnight, you get the picture tho, it’s going to be singing and dancing and chocolate and champagne and strawberries and just like the movie marie antoinette when they had that decadent party! hope you can make it!
hi guys! it’s been a whirlwind summer and truth be known, i’m slightly exhausted and am only now going through the pics i just couldn’t bear to deal with while on the road. you bloggers know what i’m talking about. it’s all fun and games taking the shots but editing, resizing, balancing, cropping, and sorting can take all the joy out of it!
so tonite’s the night. my new goal is to do things in real time cause it’s just not the same when you wait, you know?
anyway, going thru it all i remember how much i love californians who let the ÜbeR foliage grow wild even when it’s trimmed.
totally random non sequitor but in san fran i thought it would be fun to start sending stuff from paris to different collectives, starting with this one, past perfect.
they have two locations and happen to have a space available.
actually the shopping there was amazing, with everything from lighting to big furniture.
this is the space they have open:
so changing gears, cause i could stay on cali for another 10 posts but the weekend took us back across the country to a weekend wedding in lake george. i’ve never spent time there but it was an another incredible hotel and the wedding was of course spectacular.
and i have to give them props for the foliage at the sagamore hotel
and though i couldn’t capture the beauty of the centerpeices, they used champagne grapes tucked in with the flowers and it was absolutment charmant!
on the way out i had to stop by the villa marie antoinette antique shop but it was closed.
still there was enough eye candy to amuse me and the staggering beauty of the architecture in our very own country never ceases to amaze me. there’s much to see and do. what a world!
we took the long way home and stopped at little towns along the way like saratoga and woodstock which were as pretty as anything we’d seen yet.
but i have to draw the line somewhere and just say ‘when’! besides i don’t need to bore you with my vacation shots but do want to remember these last couple weeks. it seems like a recurring theme to make sure the memories don’t get stuffed in a folder along with the pics and i’m grateful for blogging to give me that incentive to do more than just let the days pass by. hope you’re having a great summer and making memories you’ll always remember too. have a fabulous weekend!
hi everyone, happy friday! hope you’re getting ready for a great summer weekend. i’m on a five hour road trip to lake george for a wedding and it’s just getting to be the golden hour so i can’t stay too long but just wanted to continue going thru the sf pics. part of my vow to be more disciplined with both my pics and remembering good days.
i’m trying to go thru one folder a day and today’s is the palace which was a nice surprise on a walk to breakfast.
we went in through what must have been the side door cause even though i had heard it was special, i wasn’t prepared for how magnificent it really was.
the approach was low key
but even a peek into a window revealed we were about to enter another universe
the ceiling literally took my breath away. partly cause i didn’t expect it, but also for its delicate beauty, knowing who created it and the struggles they faced. (this was re-built after the 1906 fire). and made with nothing special, just imagination and sheer will. not knowing if it would happen again, but faith that it wouldn’t and not compromising their art.
buy holy cow do they need a decorator?! i would love to pitch that!
just across the way is a knockout entry with an enormous bouquet of red roses. well, that almost makes up for the furniture! ok i better go, i’m being a terrible co-pilot! xc
i guess i kind of made a vow to myself to get here every day for the foreseeable future. it’s a great escape from the inbox and lets me relive last week. i just came across our day in napa and if i don’t go thru it now, i never will.
it’s our second or third time coming up (for work)!
all our days have started with breakfast at the bouchon bakery in yountville.
i was playing with my new camera, can you tell?!
of course napa was exquisite.
we stopped by a couple wineries but none compared to the robinson family vineyards. of all the places we’ve ever gone, this was by far my favorite. we met the proprietor, tom, and felt like we were at a friend’s house.
their entire business is small and intimate and everyone is involved from his daughters (who created a killer red called ‘great legs’), to the grandkids.
in fact, in season he says everyone comes over and they have a grand old time making wine. he said lots of guests turn friends and come up just for that. anyway, if you’re heading up there i highly recommend a visit for a really special experience and the best red we had in napa!
the cherry on top was a picnic lunch in their beautiful backyard. that was a fun day.
the rest are just some random napa shots. i’m still getting used to the camera but having the different art filters is making taking them more fun. ok back to the grindstone! xoc
wow i can’t believe the day flew by. what a whirlwind and it’s 2am. since life is moving faster than light right now, blogging seems to be the way to reign it in and not let great days go by. working on the pics is turning into a nighttime meditation after a full day. in sf i couldn’t bring myself to post, i was so exhausted! looking at the pics now i remember why! everyday was jam packed. this was one of those great days. lynn picked me up on saturday morning and we arrived bright and early for an outskirts auction. it didn’t look like much at first glance but there were a lot of fantastic pieces tucked into nooks and crannies.
lynn got this old painting
and we both loved this portfolio of all things.
and she wanted this goyard trunk but it went really high
i always look for vanities and loved both of these
finding the pioneer gear is incredible, so much history in a hat.
(i promise to get the name of the auction and details tomorrow). our next stop was an hour away to petaluma. it’s a lively couple of streets in an old fashioned all american town. oh and the best part is that it’s full of great antique shopping in 4 or 5 collectives!
this old bank was our first stop. there are three floors and lots of little rooms to explore.
down the street is her favorite place, again i’ll get the deets tomorrow for you. it was filled with great old signs, big harvest tables and styled beautifully!
i would love to get this for lorraine
a collective across the street had 3 more floors of at least 50 dealers.
and the one next to that…
i could go on but there’s only one thing left to say tonight. we didn’t take pics and we didn’t leave the hotel, but it was just as magical. i had the pleasure to have had tea at the hotel with none other than melissa of reverie dreams. she brought her husband sean and daughter gaia and my life will never be the same! they’re the most beautiful trio you’d ever want to meet and i hope you do one day get to experience the joy that’s them! mel, i hope it’s ok i used this photo, it captures these two perfectly.
oh it’s late, ok gotta shut down, bonne nuit!
hi guys! i got to ny on the red eye and am taking tonite to pretend i’m still in sf. and if i don’t go thru these pics right now, they’ll sit in a folder for the rest of my life!
when i was outside the fairmont, there was a lot going by!
i started practicing using my camera and testing its tricks on the fly
i love this city more than ever. it’s got fresh air and beauty everywhere you look.
ok, more soon, buona notte!
when i got to this hotel i had no idea how much of our time in sf would be devoted to it! now i see why the show ‘hotel’ in the 70s was centered around this incredible place! around every corner is more intrigue, history and glory like the tiny vanderbilt in pink and blue above and below.
anyway, from my trip to see some of the ballrooms, i met jessica, one of the kids in charge of running the place who really got my love of the old nooks and crannies. she was gracious enough to give me a tour of the penthouse which was an unexpected treat.
this is just a small sampling of the magnificent floor:
since john’s in food, she introduced us to their hip executive chef (unfortunately i think i erased the photos)! he showed us some of the projects he’s working on, like creating all the hotel’s honey (he put beehives on the roof), and adding sustainable gardens which will grow all the hotel’s herbs and vegetables! fairmont.com/sanfrancisco bee hives
and i didn’t see jessica this morning but wanted to thank her for the invitation yesterday to see the sf ballet in the park. it was a real treat and something we wouldn’t have seen if not for her ongoing hospitality!
so, that will have to do it for my little obsession today as we’re packing up and heading out. i look at this photo above (dorothy draper’s incarnation of the lobby, thanks lynn) and think of the young cool crew that’s handling it now. they’re set to remodel the laurel court restaurant which still has the old school feel but with who’s in charge i know they’ll do a great job preserving it. more soon!
hi guys! i can’t believe it’s actually been an entire week since i’ve had a chance to post about this trip to san francisco. even as i write this it’s rushed. lynn is about to pick me up again for another morning of foggy fun and although i got up early to write, it’s dwindling fast and my connection is slow. still i’m determined that before i see another thing or take another shot i’d say hello and nip the tip of this iceberg of a city!
our home for the past week has been the fairmont hotel at the top of nob hill. (yes virgina, they do have affordable rooms)! it’s been an incredible experience as a history buff and lover of all things old and grand.
the gold dining room in the teens above and today below
the detail is stunning.
this grand dame has seen it all. there is no way to squeeze it all into this short time but the hotel halls are lined with ephemera and photos, old menus and archives from breaking ground to the earthquake to the fire to the resolve to rebuild. just being here is humbling, knowing what the early settlers went through to create this splendor, revel in its glory and see it destroyed. their strength to regroup and rebuild, not knowing if it could all just crumble again is mind boggling.
yet they did it without hesitation, living in tents, carrying supplies uphill, in chilly fog, without bathrooms, heat, electricity or phones.
the more i learn about san franciscans and the pioneers who created this masterpiece of a city brick by brick the more in awe i am.
these men and women are unsung heroes whose names are forgotten but their work lives on.
the ballroom was used in the relief efforts after the quake. it is such a grand room, i’m sure they were beyond grateful it was spared. it must have been strange to live and work in such contrast but they did it. twice!
i’m dying to get into the archives of the hotel. the shot above is from one of the many incarnations the lobby has had over the years. i would have killed to see this one by dorothy draper. ok she’s here, more soon. hope you’re having a great weekend!