weekend at gatsby’s

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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.

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i was greeted at the door by the one and only lori with and pomp, circumstance, welcome signs and lots of love.

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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!

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every inch was a feast for the eyes and filled to the brim, dripping with sparkles, champagne, cake and savoir faire!

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i’ll let you see what i mean…

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in every cabinet rhinestones dazzled in the light

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keepsakes, mementos and charms spilled out like champagne bubbles

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every vignette was a celebration!

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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!

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her closet displays were like candy…

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delicious!

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i wish i knew who everyone’s space belonged to!

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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!

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on the flip side she set up an entire booth of black and white where she had furniture, accessories, and all the trimmings!

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(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!

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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.

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(click for larger images)

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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.

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and the other half was set as a charming little french apartment, complete with collections and displays.

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once we got through all the booths, we went to the back where two special event areas were arranged.

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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.

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(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

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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!

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finally, we got to a very special area that had been created for the signing. i couldn’t have felt more special.

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(photo: Syd Takeshta)

it was like a vignette come to life.

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(photo: Syd Takeshta)

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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

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(photo: Syd Takeshta)

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(photo: Syd Takeshta)

they staged the entire room and even had an old brigitte bardot film playing behind the tv screen on a laptop!

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(photo: Syd Takeshta)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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having your friends around to enjoy it with you is the icing on the cake, no matter where you are!

October 3, 2013. California, Life, Vignettes. 25 comments.

around every corner

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hello and happy sunday guys! hope you’re winding down a great weekend. it’s been a day of rest around here and that was both needed, good and lazy. best of all i had time to surf and started looking through the day’s loot. you never know what you collected till the end of the session and see it all together.

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there was so much pretty stuff i pretended to make a little apartment for myself.

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please indulge me and enjoy a tour!

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well it was great having you over and so it’s off to bed. we have a crazy busy day with an early am call time tomorrow. lots of grunt work but still i’m looking forward to it.  and now, have a good night and a great monday!

February 11, 2013. Mood Boards, Photography, Pink, Pintrest, Vignettes, Vintage. 12 comments.

what makes a great vignette

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good morning gang! how’s your week going so far? we’re running around getting ready for a photo shoot on friday and monday.

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in the meantime we’ve got to shoot at home a little but even though it’s filled with pretty things it’s sort of hard for me to capture what i want in my own place.

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fortunately there’s an endless source of inspiration out there! i think you know where i go by now but if not…it’s pinterest! i’m studying the creativity of the settings combined with the science of photography and hopefully will come up with some good images of my own today.

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till then, i hope you get that magic shot if you’re after it too…and pin it! have a great day!

February 6, 2013. Photography, Vignettes. 14 comments.

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