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!
hello and happy friday everyone! how’s your summer wrapping up? it’s still summer til sept 21st (or 22nd)? so i hope you’ll enjoy a few more bbq’s and outdoor good times. i’ve been nesting at my new place and it’s been great, in fact the sofa arrived today! but on the work front i’ve been feeling that no matter how much i do i’m spinning my wheels. i work work work and am always busy busy busy but now i’m starting to ask, why why why?
maybe it’s a midlife crisis but i’m realizing that i want to really enjoy my life, not just power through the days anymore. i’d like to refine my work and focus on the parts i truly love and am passionate about. and now that summer’s coming to an end i don’t want to watch the days just slip away without remembering something special about each one of them. since so many got away over the past couple months, it’s time to start making some memories on a daily basis. but how?
i started looking up phrases like ‘slowing down time’ and words like ‘relax’ and came across lots wonderful sites full of insights and lots pretty pics on pinterest. (btw all the photos can be found at pinterest.com/parisapartment/boards)
turns out there are tons of people devoted to relaxing and making sure that our days are cherished as opposed to tolerated. it seems like it’s just become habit to work till i’m too tired and spent to enjoy the creative parts of life and that’s what i’d like to change.
whether it’s taking a plunge,
just chiling out,
going for a ride,
communing with nature
smelling the roses,
having a conversation,
or just being alone, it seems that if those niches of time are not specifically carved out, it’s just not going to happen.
one of the first of the articles i stumbled on was by jessica stillman on the inc. website. here’s an excerpt from an overworked man she interviewed:
In Japan, Okinawans maintain a high standard of health. Researchers have traced their longevity to a Confucian practice called hara hachi bu. Roughly translated it means: ‘eat until you are 80 percent full,” he explains.
Jackson decided to apply this principle not to his diet but to his schedule.
“I decided I would start practicing a form of mental hara hachi bu at work,” he writes. “I became conscious of the amount of energy I spent at the office. I would deliberately pace myself so I that I spent only 80 percent of my mental energy throughout the day.”
Without calories to count of an internal fuel gauge, how does he determine when he’s reached 80 percent?
“It’s a state of being mindful. I try not to overstimulate my brain: I pick 2-3 big things to accomplish a day. After that, I focus on little things that don’t require as much energy.” Think of it as another way to follow Ernest Hemingway’s famous dictum on writing: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good.”
if you’re feeling the same way, check out some of these links with some great advice including these tips on what NOT to do in order to be more productive:
-Check my phone while I’m talking to someone
-Multitask during a meeting
-Say “yes” when I really mean “no.”
marie claire interviewed the author of ‘in praise of slowness‘. they say: Every day, you race against the clock-battling traffic, speed-dialing your cell phone, and grabbing takeout. Ever pause to wonder, What is the big hurry? You work fast. You eat fast. You fall in love fast. But to find real happiness, all you have to do is SLOW DOWN.
this site, evolve, reviews another book, “not so fast”, which gives good advice to counteracting the stressful lives a lot of us are living: Get to that yoga class. Squeeze in talking to your family. Hurry up and meditate. Grab a meal. Sleep fast.
when he started speed reading to his kids at night, author carl honore re-evaluated his life. here he lists some good tips for working slower and better throughout the day by adopting some of the following strategies:
- Don’t schedule in more than two meetings per day.
- Don’t schedule any meetings after 3pm. It is the most unproductive time of day and also the time of day where most misunderstandings and therefore conflicts occur
- Don’t pick up your second line (or call waiting) when you are already on a phone call
- Don’t rush your meetings or phone calls.
- Turn notifications off
- Taking renewal breaks throughout the day to stretch and breathe
- Listen more and listen actively. Absorb what the other person is saying
- Don’t take on too much work. Learn to say ‘no’
- Don’t rush your individual tasks.
- Don’t accept any last minute deadlines imposed on you.
- Take a walk at lunch
- Take at least 45 minutes for lunch, eat outside and get some Vitamin D
- Take a packed lunch to work for at least three days in the week.
- Keep a photo on your desk and look at it throughout the day.
leo babauta wrote “the power of less, do less, get more done”. he says here’s how to do it:
1. Do less. Make the conscious choice to do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest.
2. Be present. It’s not enough to just slow down — you need to actually be mindful of whatever you’re doing at the moment.
3. Disconnect. Don’t always be connected. If you carry around an iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile device, shut it off. Better yet, learn to leave it behind when possible.
4. Focus on people. Too often we spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, and we’re not really there with them. We talk to them but are distracted by devices. We are there, but our minds are on things we need to do. We listen, but we’re really thinking about ourselves and what we want to say.
6. Eat slower. Instead of cramming food down our throats as quickly as possible — leading to overeating and a lack of enjoyment of our food — learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures. Eating slowly has the double benefit of making you fuller on less food and making the food taste better.
7. Drive slower. Speedy driving is a pretty prevalent habit in our fast-paced world, but it’s also responsible for a lot of traffic accidents, stress, and wasted fuel. Instead, make it a habit to slow down when you drive. Appreciate your surroundings.
8. Find pleasure in anything. This is related to being present, but taking it a step farther. Whatever you’re doing, be fully present … and also appreciate every aspect of it, and find the enjoyable aspects. For example, when washing dishes, instead of rushing through it as a boring chore to be finished quickly, really feel the sensations of the water, the suds, the dishes. It can really be an enjoyable task if you learn to see it that way.
10. Breathe. When you find yourself speeding up and stressing out, pause, and take a deep breath. Take a couple more. Really feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down. It’s also nice to take a deep breath or two — do it now and see what I mean. :)
finally, International Institute of Not Doing Much at slowdownnow.org has a cute and cheeky website about the joys of slow living and they offer this advice:
1. Put your feet up, and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
2. Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women, who have superior brain function).
3. Ponder, take your time. Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer.
4. Slowly learn our Slow Manifesto.
5. Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
6. Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations.)
7. Read the slow stories.
8. Spend more time in the bathtub. (See letter from Major Smythe-Blunder.)
9. Practice doing nothing. (Yes, this is the difficult one.)
10. Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you’re only alive on Planet Earth for a limited time.
well, i hope if you were anywhere near the brink of teetering off the cliff as i was, you’ll implement one or two of the ideas above. personally i think i’ll shut off the phone, eat slower and definitely not multi task. i thought spending more time in bed was a good one!
and maybe we can learn a little from our furry friends about letting go of the stress and tension, constant rushing, and over acheiving.
it’s now just past midnight so i can officially say have a fabulous weekend! hope you take somewhere between 5 minutes and an afternoon all to yourself!
and now it’s time to hit the off switch. bon nuit!
good morning dear friends! it’s a brand new day, another that’s full of potential.
moving day is less than 24 hours away and there’s a bit of a ‘to do’ list to conquer.
i could hit the ground running but thought i’d change it up by coming here first instead of continually postponing blogging and only getting to it when there was nothing left on my plate to do.
fact is that there will always be something left to do so why postpone joy?
in the meantime, i thought i’d do a quick search for balcony ideas on pinterest since my new one is completely bare and has the possibility to become absolutely anything.
i hope to be working outside with the girls instead of staring at a white wall like we have in the past!
and we all know a place doesn’t have to be huge to have an enormous impact!
i don’t have a ton of time this am but am going to pull a few things i came across just now in the encyclopedia of pinterest. so i started a new board: balconies!
hope you enjoyed it and are making your little outdoor space a feathered nest this summer no matter what the size!
ok, back to to work!
good morning and happy monday! it feels like forever since i’ve had a chance to sit down and say hello. truth is it’s only been two weeks but it feels like i’ve been around the world and back. i’ve been thinking about you and your summer a lot and hope you’re having a great one! it’s not over officially till september 21st so we still have over a month to go! personally, i’m pretending i’m at summer camp, my building is being sold and it feels like the last days of school around here.
i was supposed to head out to paris this fall but cancelled the trip at the last minute. i have to move and that has been taking up all my time and energy. luckilly i found my new home and will be relocating both home and office on wednesday!
i’ve only seen the new place at what feels like a glance but will take lots of pics once i get fully immersed. i sold most of my stuff when i thought i was heading overseas for a couple months so it will be very zen living. i was excited to roam europe without an end date but i think i’ll be ok comitting to my new place.
it’s been a busy summer for press and i just wanted to take a minute to thank all the people who have been so supportive of what’s been going on with TPA. first of all, thank you to romantic homes for this wonderful article about my french flea market book.
the august issue is a keeper, it’s all about the best flea markets and is filled with places on my bucket list all over the usa.
it may be hard to find the issue now cause it’s august and my parents had to get it online. if you find one, nab it!
i also wanted to thank the crew at luxe magazine for including me as a style maker in their summer issue.
it feels a little weird posting this but hey, it’s a log, right? i have to have something to reminisce over when i’m old(er)!
anyway i better get back to packing. with the demolition on either side of my apartment and the workers out the window finishing the new builiding across the way it’s like being in the actual construction zone. i can’t wait to leave. my mantra: two more nights. hope you have a wonderful week!
ps Romantic homes just emailed that they’ll send two more copies so if you want one let me know!
hello all and happy weekend! we’re deep into saturday and all the plans i had seem to have fallen by the wayside. instead of my usual running to be productive, it’s been a leisurely day of lounging and napping, surfing and dreaming.
i’ve been thinking a lot about sleeping lately, talking about it with friends and reading up on the benefits that happen when we get it and the downside when we don’t, even if it’s our choice. funny how some go with just a few hours a night and others need a full 1/3 day. some try to go without it completely although i can’t imagine why…
do you love to get that deep hard sleep where you feel almost drugged? why is is that we fight it like we’re kids who don’t want to miss anything?
i know for parents it’s got to be an impossible task trying to fit it in between moments of silence. that’s probably when you’re least likely to shut down, when you know you have to!
i’ve been reading a bit about it and found that even resting without actually sleeping helps recharge your batteries when you just can’t turn that running commentary in your brain off. in fact there’s some speculation that the body at rest, with the eyes closed, is still getting the exact same nutrients provided during actual sleep.
even if we can’t seem to shut off our brains, we can get horizontal and decompress. there are lots of ways to induce sleep from aromatherapy to yoga to feng shui to eating certain foods. some tips are below and links at the bottom of the post.
if only it were this easy!
if you know someone who needs a nap, taking the reins for a while can be the greatest gift you can bestow on them since it changes everything from an irritable mood to clarity.
and we need it as much as air air and water to do all we do
it’s hard to sleep with abandon, let your problems go, but know you have done what you can for today.
trying to sleep organically can prevent feeling tired in the morning and has the added benefit remembering your dreams. that can lead to a whole other life on a parallel plane!
i’m a firm believer in power naps but there are sure fire trips to get it all at once. one way is to start going to bed a little earlier each night and turn off your electronics for at least 15 minutes before shutting your eyes.
also unplugging all the things in your bedroom with wires, LED lights either blinking or steady…basically unplugging all electromagnetic frequencies so you can sleep uninterrupted
would you be a different person with more sleep?
maybe we’d be a little happier or peppier?
free to conquer the waking and sleeping worlds
even if you’re up from 8 to 8 it’s a long time to be vertical with no rest, it may have to be a conscious decision to shut life down.
sleep is a sure way to wake with a fresh mind and clean slate every single day no matter what happened the day before.
well i hope you have a great night
with lots of dreams
and if you need it, get to bed early
there’s always tomorrow to obsess all over again!
i hope you sleep like a king
and enjoy every minute of unconscious bliss!
good morning darling friends! i hope your morning is already off to a beautiful, brand new start. it’s pretty quiet around here. the day is still full of potential and nothing has turned it into a good or bad day yet.
just like the water can be so different, tranquil or violent, maybe it’s our own energy that makes a good or bad day. i’m going to try to harness and direct mine today. yesterday i was kind of clumsy, today i’m determined to be more mindful.
i’ve been feeling the need to hit the reset button and i thought it would be a good idea to start fresh this week with a post about the simplicity of white.
it’s official, my building’s been sold so i’m out at the end of august. i’ve been working pretty hard to scale down and just can’t believe how much stuff one person can accumulate. it’s truly staggering. there are papers and tear sheets from before the days of pinterest that are close to a decade old!
it got to the point where i had to ask: am i a hoarder?
i never would have dreamed it. in fact i thought i was a minimilist.
now with the move, i’ve had to really look at where i’m heading and what’s worth schlepping…
my usual reaction would have been to start looking for a new apartment.
but i have a friend who always challenges me to look at things in a different way.
interesting concept, but where would i put all my STUFF?
sell it, she said.
and suddenly it was so simple.
then again, what was i holding on to?
so i took it and ran with it, i’ve been liquidating like a maniac, selling everywhere from craiglist to ebay, realizing that it’s only stuff and i was somehow getting emotionally attached to things that were unimportant.
now i’m honing my collections, books, favorite paintings, linens, trays and special letters. those irreplaceables will always be with me. and now everything is out of the drawers, closets and file folders.
i know what every scrap of paper is and where to put the very last paperclip. what a relief! it’s still not finished but i’m enjoying the process watching something that was daunting reach the final stages.
i’ll continue to refine the stacks of papers but they are now a lot less scary. welcoming almost, cause they’re organized and that’s something i can control in an uncontrollable world.
so i guess there’s a little comfort in all this, getting back to basics, simplifying life to the max and clearing the way to be unburdened for adventures to come!
so with that will you join me for a faux house tour of what a white world of infinite potential might look like?
a place to reflect…we really all need the same few things whether in the tropics
or the garden
sending good vibes your way for a white hot great day!
allo mes chères! i hope you’re having a great night. it’s pretty quiet here for the first time in a long while so i’m finally sitting down to write. i’m not sure how my latest obsession started but it’s got me hooked. isn’t it weird when you discover something that everyone else seems to know about? maybe it’s OCD or maybe i just needed to get out of my own head tonight but an ancient concept has captivated me for the past couple hours. it’s known as the ‘fibonacci spiral’, and i’ve only skimmed the surface. as i’m winding down i just read that it’s become about religion or evolution and there are even comments on blogs that are almost angry with its existence. anyway i adore it and hope you enjoy my little unbiased observations of it!
i seem to be the odd woman out but i’ll try to explain what i’ve gathered. it’s a principle known as the fibonacci numbers, also known as the golden ratio, golden mean, sacred geometry and phi. it’s both simple and complicated but basically it’s a geometry term used when a spiral grows outward in perfect proportion mathematically. it can be used to observe everything from a flower to a galaxy. it was a concept brought to life by italian mathemetician, leonardo de pisa fibonacci in 1175.
i’m not sure i can truly express its depth so below is a quick overview on TED:
or if you’d rather see a kid explain it, this one really knows her stuff:
i’ve always been obsessed with spirals and my prized possession is my shell collection. what about you?
i find the whole concept fascinating and it’s opened a new world of exploration and contemplation.
not only does it point to mathematics in everything from nature to art and the human form
but it’s been philosophized about since ancient greece
maybe we’re walking on a giant spiral every day between man’s creations,
the earth’s rotations,
and our own dna
spirals spirals spirals!
and our ancient ancestors were fascinated with spirals too! some of the things i stumbled on said they were in touch with cosmic forces that could generate energy and move objects in ways we can’t conceive
tribes like the hopi indians, sioux, and incas have spirals in their history and on early cave drawings
what was going on?
well whatever it is about spirals, i can’t get enough
i didn’t find any hidden meaning in all of this, but i did come away with a sort of universality that was kind of comforting. maybe there is some rhyme and reason to the world, not just mad chaos. maybe through spiral power we can see we’re all exactly alike. maybe even a whole that united could change the world!
well that’s enough from me tonight. time for bed. sweet dreams!
hello all, how’s your week going? if it’s anything like mine, you’re probably super busy with summer and trying to keep it all together.
spending time with my family gave me some introspective/perspective downtime and that’s always good for shaking things up. i’ve been going full force for so many years that it seems i have developed a sharp edge, maybe i’m a little too rushed, maybe even (gasp)! brusque.
i’ve always been a bit of a party/work animal and am starting to realize just how much i take my body for granted, and how very delicate it really is. we’re only water after all!
between the brain waves,
nerves and neurons, we’re just little whispers of a thing yet we’re so hard on ourselves in every way!
there’s so much i don’t know about how my own body works. funny to be sort of a stranger in it since it’s right here all day every day!
now that i’m back home i’m going to try to be a bit more conscientious about this little temple that’s my one and only possession that matters; what i put in it physically as well as mentally, by concentrating on what i think about and what i eat and drink.
so here’s to taking care, hope you get a little time to yourself this weekend, i know how much you do and am sending good vibes your way this thursday!