Friday, February 28, 2014

Warm Springs, Va. - The Jefferson Pools

For those that love history and the "spa" you'll love hearing about the baths at Warm Springs, often referred to as the Jefferson Pools.  This is Warm Springs, Virginia, very close to the famed Homestead Resort.

(The ladies' baths)

Springs were very famous in the Blue Ridge region and many were wildly extravagant in their day, most long gone.  Incredible hotels were built and people came for the "cure" staying weeks and months at a time, before automobiles when most traveled by horse or train.  The mineral water phrase used in many advertisements is simply a natural water that has been impregnated with foreign substances to cause a decided taste or color.  People thought that these waters could cure disease that medical science could not at the time.

(The Homestead Resort in nearby Hot Springs, Va)

What's more likely is that the clean mountain air and elevation did more to improve one's condition than the mineral water baths.  Two predominant diseases at the time, Yellow fever and cholera, did not exist in the mountains.  In 1793, Yellow fever killed one-tenth of the population of Philadelphia.  Cholera was known to kill 80 percent of its victims.

After the Civil War many spas were closed.  Better cures emerged for disease and the automobile made travel relatively easy so that people did not have to go to one place and stay for long periods of time. Fire was also a frequent culprit.  When these resorts burned there was no incentive left to rebuild.

Lucky for us the baths at Warm Springs are still in tact and open for visitors to use.  The hotel that sat behind the springs is no longer here (it was torn down around 1925).  The men's pool/bath house was built in 1761, making it one of the oldest spa structures still in existence.  It's ancient appearance is part of its charm.

The women's house is newer, built in 1836, they sit side-by-side.  The hotel also boasted cottages so that up to 300 people at a time could come and stay at the baths.  Several of the cottages are still in existence.  The idea was to bathe in the pools twice a day for 12 to 20 minutes each avoiding any active exercise while in the water.  Thomas Jefferson was a frequent visitor.
You can make reservations, there are "adult" and "children" times and make note that "swimsuits are optional."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nekkid Dave Home

When I was in North Carolina in late January I ventured over to a great store, Nekkid Dave Home.  You can read more about this jewel of a store here.

The store is in Reynolda Village, now a great upscale shopping area but at one time was the "farm" for the famous Reynolda House, once owned by R.J. Reynolds, founder of Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Dave has great flair and creates some interesting stuff.  Some new, some old, some in between.

This table is covered in faux fur!

What dog would not love this bed?

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pineapple Picks

Pineapples have long been used in decorating.  In colonial times, ship captains would place a pineapple on a fencepost to mark a return from a long voyage.  The pineapple has been updated, now it's modern and fresh.

It can also go tropical....
Or stick more to its colonial roots:

And I adore this wallpaper:
Happy Tuesday.  Glad to be back in the swing of things!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Filling the Void

As the sun sets on Sochi and the athletes return home, there's a new normal that must be dealt with on home turf, what former Olympic blobsledding champion, Steve Mesler calls, "finding purpose beyond the podium."  You have your medal, the one thing you've strived for your entire life, now what?

There's a life adjustment when you lose a loved one like I recently did, where there's a hole now filled with ache and longing.  You know you'll never see that person again, who will fill those shoes, albeit in a very different way?

When you retire your beloved horse, one that you bonded with and competed over many years, there's a part of you missing, one that you often look back on with sadness, wishing that you had that once again.

Maybe you have to learn to be braver than you ever thought you could be.  You have to take more uncalculated risks, put yourself out there more, don't you think, way beyond your comfort zone. 

As Picasso so wisely said, "I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it."

Filling that void can indeed be painful and difficult but formulated correctly can breathe new life into an old one. Be brave out there!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Au Revoir

Sad day in my world as my father passed very suddenly last night, but not totally unexpected.  Snow storm has not helped either. Say your prayers, hug your family and loved ones and remember, "you always think you have time."

This photo was taken at Thanksgiving our last family get together, under happy circumstances.  He lived a good life.

Taking some time to grieve.....hug your parents if you still have them!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Allure of Ariat

Some may think of the equestrian brand, Ariat, as mainstream.  I beg to differ.  Boots, well, maybe  not as edgy as the new Italian lines but worth a look.  Casual attire and breeches, well...... Like Budweiser is to beer, Ariat is to us riders, the old reliable, always been around, the "go-to" brand cause it's available, it's in the catalogs and so many of the tack stores. But like the old Virginia Slims cigarette commercials used to say (if you're old enough to remember) You've come a long way baby. Ariat has upped the ante, if you will, and can compete with the "big boys" of equestrian fashion.  Let me show you.....

I simply love this vest (it works for riders as well as spectators) and I bought this in burgundy for one of my friends for Christmas.  It's charming, reminds me a bit of Ralph for a fraction of the price.   It's lightweight enough for warmer climates too. You can shop for it here.

This half-zip top is a farm owner's and rider's friend.  Since I like things on my neck, this suits me well and I love the color. Isn't orange the new black?  You can layer this when it's cold out, like in our current blizzard conditions.  Comes in several colors too.  See them here.

What about this reversible jacket which features a wind-and water-resistant nylon shell on one side and cozy fleece on the other. Love the stirrup on the zipper. It comes in navy, you can see it here.  This is perfect for the spring shows, for riders and for those who watch.

Black belts are so classic and this one must be related to Gucci. Ariat does belts really well.  You can find it here:

You don't have to ride to adore this belt.  It will look great with jeans or breeches and a simple white t-shirt.  You can see this in more detail here.

Now for the breeches.  Drum roll please..........I've been a fan of Ariat breeches for a long time, switching over from Tailored Sportsman many moons ago, a suggestion from a tack store owner friend and never looked back. The new ones are simply exquisite
These Olympia breeches are perfect for showing. They fit like a glove and the legs don't bunch up like the TS ones do and there's no Velcro either.  Your boots go on easily. They are a great beige color that works well at the big shows where color matters a lot. And they are low rise but not too low if you know what I mean.  Front zip, pockets, they look great on too - the fabric is meant to be flattering, almost like there's a little Spanx built in.  These are not cheap but they will appeal to many types of riders - Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Eventers and even Fox Hunters. 

For those riders out there who may want a more casual pant for everyday or a little higher rise, try these Heritage Regular Rise Full Seat Breeches.  I have them in black. They fit as well as the Olympia but come off a bit more casual and I adore the full seat which is perfect for everyday riding.  The black belt above will look great with these too.  I love the small Ariat logo in silver on each pocket, borrowed from Levi Straus but with a bit more class. 
Let me know what you think about these great products from Ariat.  Riding fashion has indeed come a long way, baby!  Now only if mother nature would cooperate!

Ronner Really Rocks

I am simply in love with these clothes.  Made by a company in South America no less.  Am I alone in my adoration? 

You can purchase the line at LA Saddlery, not sure where else.  What's not to love?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The End of Snow?

I'm a conservationist at heart, and my husband, who reads physics for fun, talks often about how when the ocean currents change, life on earth will change as we know it, but luckily not in my lifetime.  It is truly alarming to read this article below from the New York Times and I hope you will read it and pass it on.  Ignorance is not bliss.

This photo was taken last winter at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, one of the most beautiful spots on the planet in winter (and summer too) but can you imagine this without snow in winter?  Better start imaging.

That's the Chateau Lake Louse with the ski slopes at Lake Louise in the background.

We're bracing for 8-10 inches of snow tomorrow but frankly, I will be cherishing snow this week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Goldfinch

Once in a blue moon a fantastic book comes along, one that you place on your shelf and know you'll read it over and over again. Donna Tartt's masterpiece, The Goldfinch, is one such novel, and even at 700+ pages you'll hope that it doesn't end (at least I didn't). Tartt's first book, The Secret History, was a favorite (and earned a spot on the bookshelf as well). If you crave fantastically written literary fiction, there are plenty of reviews about this new work.  Stephen King's is here:

If you're not a reader, then you're going to really miss out.  At the very least this famous little Dutch painting has gotten a lot more famous thanks to Donna Tartt.

Casual Chic

Seems the entire world has gone casual. Long gone are the days of a formal work wardrobe, a cocktail wardrobe, and formal attire.  I wore dresses to work every day, kept Ann Taylor in business and shopped the major sales at Neimans.  Alas, Nike is my new Neimans.....

But I love the "athletic" look  that is creeping into fashion these days as I've always worn it.  Those of us who live in an athletic world anyway, well, we're all of a sudden fashionable, so in walks "casual chic."

J Crew has taken "vintage" New Balance and made it hot.  Who knew?  The look is fun, comfortable, doesn't need dry cleaning, well, what's not to love?

Add a Patagonia vest...a few pairs of Nike sweats....

A cute scarf:

Skinny jeans work too.

And a few baubles....

And you're off to a casual chic kind of day.  Happy Monday!  Hope your weekend was full of casual fun!

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