I fell in love with this table setting at the Charlottesville, VA Caspari store. The fern china is French. The chargers are made of cork. The linen napkins and runner in violet and lime add just enough punch. When's dinner?
Even though it's late January there's a lot going on this weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend all month long! It's action-packed for sure. And then there's the Super Bowl next weekend. Who said winter is for sissies?
1) The Pegasus Cup
Gulfstream Park in Florida is the place to be on Saturday to watch California Chrome's final race and a rematch of the Breeder's Cup Classic duel between Chromie and Arrowgate last November. If you love horse racing, this is as good as it gets. And Arrowgate drew the number one post position and Chromie has the outside, number twelve. My bets are on the gray wonder and the Baffert team. Do not miss this! You can read more about it here in this Miami Herald article.
2) The Australian Open Finals
Tennis fans will need recovery after watching two finals that are a throwback to the golden years of tennis. No, this is not a dream. Watch Serena and Venus Williams battle it out early Saturday morning (3 am to be exact). Will Serena win number 23 or will Venus win her first Australian Open title at the ripe old age of 36? To be sure, there are no losers in this final. And if that's not good enough, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have proven everyone wrong as they will battle it out on Sunday morning in the men's final. Both won epic five-set semi-final matches. I predict this one will go to five as well. It doesn't get better than this in tennis, ever.
3) My Home Gym
The gym equipment arrives on Saturday! The home gym will be in operation by Sunday. Cannot wait to be able to get fit during these dark, cold winter months. 4) Oscar Buzz Movies
If you're not a sports fan, this is a good weekend to view some of the best movies of year as the Oscar nominations came out this week. La La Land is high on my list. Manchester By the Sea is number two. Go see them all and make your own picks.
5) More Shoes?
January is always a good time to plan your spring wardrobe. Loving these flats, they look a lot like the Nicholas Kirkwood flats for double the price. And they come in several colors.
Spring is just around the corner and we're starting to see the new spring fashions, the pastel colors, lovely dresses, sandals, even bathing suits! So what's going on the spring wish list? Here are some early entries....
I love these cropped J Crew jackets. They become wardrobe classics that can be worn for many years and are great for those chilly spring days and fall nights. This quilted version is lovely.
If you've ever been to the Upperville Horse Show Grounds just outside of Middleburg, VA, whether you know it or not, you're in Mellon territory. Nearby Rokeby Road acts as one of the borders to the Mellon's once 4000-acre sanctuary in the Virginia Hunt Country.
Virginia Living magazine has produced a wonderful article highlighting the incredible Mellon legacy. The Mellons - Paul and Bunny - made Upperville the center of their prestigous universe for many years. You can read the article here. The estate was for sale a few years back for a staggering $70M.
You can read more about Paul Mellon here in this 1978 article from People. The Mellons loved great art, the country, books and horses, but maybe not in that order.
As is often the case for people born into great wealth, they had an obligation to give back to the world that had blessed them both, and gave they did to numerous causes, schools, museums, and localities inside and outside their adopted state of Virginia. Bunny loved books and her collection of almost 20,000 books is impressive by anyone's standards.
A library was built on the Upperville farm to house her collection. The Mellons had one Derby winner and a statue was placed at their farm in Upperville to honor Sea Hero. The Mellons also hunted with near-by hunts (there are many in their own backyard).
The farm was broken up into parcels according to this article (there are more great photos) which is so sad but not many people have $70M to purchase a farm, not to mention, the maintenance. Hopefully the Mellon legacy will live on through the museums, the artwork, the books and the gardens they left behind. (Most photos are from Virginia Living).
Serena and Lily is one of my favorite catalog stores. Unlike their competitors (Ballard, Pottery Barn), they don't try to appeal to everyone, but instead offer a smaller selection of high quality products that IMHO are different from everyone else. Their wares are not inexpensive but I don't mind paying more for quality and originality.
As we age, we all like to refer to the "good ole days" when everything was different - better, easier, cheaper - you know the drill. But in the horse show world, I truly do believe that older was better. I'm not talking about the 80's, the 90's but I am going back further, let's say to the 1950's, 1960's and possibly the 1970's.
Today we've "dumbed" down our horse shows offering every division known to man, starting at 18 inch jumps in some cases. We have the 2'0 division, the 2'3 division, the 2'6 division (ad nauseum) in 10 different varieties. There are few riders now in the 3'0, 3'3 or 3'6 hunter divisions. It is sad to me as people don't "ride" as much as they get on horse or pony that has been lunged forever, so it won't "peak" at a 2'0 jump and it goes around like a machine. That is not riding to me.
When I learned to ride and started to show, we had a 3'0 division and a 3'6 division. You rode in either or both. If you had a large pony, no matter how green you jumped 3'0. There were no "beginner" divisions. You either rode well enough to conquer 3'0 feet or you stayed home. The horse shows were fun. They didn't start at 7:30 am and go on until after dark to accommodate 50 classes. The jumps were solid and they didn't move. We jumped post and rails, chicken coops, outside courses (more akin to some of the eventing jumps today) and horses were judged also on their conformation (how they look). There were no Warmbloods back then. All the horses were Thoroughbreds. There were far fewer shows and they were well attended. Everyone came out to watch and made a day of it.
The names of the horses and riders/owners are printed in the program.
The classes were simple and straightforward. Look at the options. You did ponies, junior hunters, green, working, ladies, and open. That's all folks!
Sometimes older really is better. You stepped up to the plate or you stayed home - those were the options. No trophies for showing up. You could either compete at "the level" or you found another sport.
Between inaugurations in Washington, the Golden Globes in LA and the upcoming Oscars, it's "gown season." While I don't have the Rolodex to be included in any of these festivities, I always wonder if you did, "what would you wear?" I really have no idea. Wouldn't it be fun to imagine you received an invitation, to the Oscars, to a State Dinner at the White House, an inaugural ball in DC? Here are my picks.
1) Jill Stuart Elderberry Dress
I love the simplicity of this dress. Less is definitely more. This gown is stunning and would need only big earrings and a bracelet.