Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Zara Picks

When I'm in New York I often go to Zara. If you haven't shopped here it's worth the time as the prices are hard to beat and the quality IMHO is much better than H & M.  Zara is more stylish, often minimalist and the clothes run small so if you are hard to fit, it's a good source.  Here are some of my spring picks.

Love the color of this dress and you can do so many things with it pairing it with shoes, jewelry, a scarf.

This dress has that 70's vibe going on. 

Love the color of this coat. 
How clever is this informal coat with a contrasting hood?  You can do so many things with this one.
This red cotton coat is also adorable.  You can dress this up or down, with jeans, with dresses.  Love, love this one!
These black slipper shoes are also adorable.

These black flats are also versatile.

If you haven't tried Zara you should!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Has Sprung at Vineyard Vines

Vineyard Vines is not a place I usually shop or even find things I like.  But there are some really cute clothes and accessories this spring that I am feeling the love.  This dress is cute, I'd wear it a little longer (size up for the length) or use it as a tunic. See it here.
Love this one too and it would be great for the beach.
See it here.
This bag is adorable.  I could wear this with most of the things in my closet for spring and summer.
See it here.
A great floppy hat for the beach, for the races, for fun.
See it here.
This dress is also adorable.  See it here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Avant Ski

We're headed to the Canadian Rockies later this week for a long overdue ski vacation.  Our favorite spot is the tiny village of Lake Louise and nearby Banff, where we'll stay and ski and hang out (read needlepoint, visiting the spa, and curling up with a good book).  To get in the mood, I am trying to start thinking "winter" and "ski" and "cabin" and "cold" - all in a good way. 

Lake Louise is a real ski locale - they hold World Cup Races here each December and the slopes are long and some are very difficult.  This isn't a place you go to look good or to be seen. You won't see much Hermes on the slopes here, likely Arcteryx.  Lake Louise is part of a national park system so there are no condos, no development, just lots of trees, fabulous landscapes and animals in the wild. We've seen bobcats and elks in winter there.


We'll be skiing the 4200 acres that make up Lake Louise.  It is nirvana, even in bitter cold weather.  That is the Chateau Lake Louise at the bottom of the picture.

The Lodge is lovely.

The cocktail bar in the lobby at Lake Louise is my favorite.  There's no place like it anywhere and yes, this view and this window does exist. We'll be sitting by it in about a week!

 We'll also spend some time at The Post Hotel, another gem in the Canadian Rockies.

 We'll be living in Arcteryx next week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Easter Egg Colors

I love the pastel colors that seem to define Easter.  These are some of my favorite colors to wear and I love surrounding myself with pinks, light blues, pale yellows this time of year, it acts as a "pick me up" to the winter doldrums that seem to take hold in late February. Where is spring?  Why isn't it warm and sunny?  Like these plates from Williams Sonoma.

Or this pink linen blazer from the recent roll out at J Crew.
 Or this blue striped shirt from J Crew.

These bunny napkins from Sur La Table:

Or this classic yellow dress from Talbots:

Live and love in pastel colors!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Salvage Dawgs

We made a brief visit to the infamous Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, VA this past weekend.  If you watch television you may be familiar with the store through its show, Salvage Dawgs.  They always have cool stuff, this visit did not disappoint.

They had an old cement jockey for less than $200. This baby is really heavy so you could not ship this.  You can buy new cement ones for about $125 here in Virginia and then paint them.  This is not an original one (they are not made of cement) but this had that old look.

I saw this and thought it was cute.  Not sure where this would go but it is creative.

Loved these.  Think they are new.  Very tall.

And these lights (battery operated) were very unique.

If in Roanoke, VA a visit to Black Dog Salvage is worth the trip.  They have most everything you need to restore an old house and then some. 

Equestrian Vibe - Tory Burch Fall 2016

Tory is channeling her inner equestrian again as she launched her Fall 2016 collection at Fashion Week earlier this month. 

I can't say that I love this collection, reminds me of the late 1970's a bit, but it is interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Books for the Horse Lover

With the snow, now ice and rain, coming down in Virginia, who wants to be outside?  This is a great time of year to pick up a good book and curl up by a warm fire.  If you love horses then here are some books you might enjoy. These are all fiction for the rider and non-rider alike.

1) Dick Francis
Francis passed away not too long ago but his books are still great reads. There are tons of them set in the British racing world, mysteries, but very well written.  You can find these often in antique malls for a few dollars, or online.  

2) Rita Mae Brown
Fellow Virginia Rita Mae Brown is an avid fox hunter (she has her own pack of hounds) and she writes mysteries set in the hunting world.

3) Tami Hoag
Hoag is also a mystery writer.

4) Jane Smiley
Smiley is a rider and horse lover and has several books about horses.

5) Other Lesser Known Writers
Here are some books that I am aware of, some I have read, others have been recommended.  

Nancy Shulins - Falling for Eli

Josh Pons - Country Life Diary - this is one of my all time favorite books, written in a three-year diary in narrative form, about life on a breeding farm in Maryland.  Pons writes very well and I did not want to put this one down. I believe it is out of print but it can be found on Amazon or on used book sites. 

Jim Squires - Horse of A Different Color - this is a great book, written by the former editor of the Chicago Tribune who loses his job and buys a breeding farm in Kentucky and breeds a Kentucky Derby winner. The story is true, it is well written and a great book.

Barbara Moss - In and Out

Kathleen Brooks - Bluegrass State of Mind

And if you need an endless list of books to read with horsey themes then you should check this Blog out.  See it here.  Reading is such an escape and no better time of year to escape without leaving the house.  Stay warm and safe this cold and icy February day.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Virginia Under Seige - It's Getting Worse

On Friday, Dominion Power announced an alternative route to it's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which will now be 30 miles longer, will impact an additional 250 landowners and will now go through one of the most beautiful counties in the state, Bath County.  Here is the newest map.  If you recall, the National Forest Service (bless them) told DP that they could not take this monstrosity over Cheat Mountain or through the George Washington National Forest (there is some sanity in our Federal Government and it's nice to learn that not everyone has been bought yet). The blue line shows the new route that will avoid these areas but will now dip down into Bath County (one of the most beautiful places on earth IMHO) and into the Deerfield Valley of Highland County (another gorgeous place, soon to be past tense).

It's interesting that this article (read it here) says that these costs (the $5.1B cost that Dominion will incur) will be passed on to consumers and that we really don't even need these pipelines as the gas they are transporting will likely be gone in less than 15 years. So let's get this right - we consumers will be paying for this monstrosity, then it will be defunct in 15 years, will destroy peoples' farms, take away their land or greatly devalue it, and will be a blight on our landscape for generations to come.  Sounds logical to me!  Greed is good! 

George Washington and Mount Vernon

On Presidents' Day, who better to pay tribute than George Washington.  His influence on design and decoration is clearly evident here in Virginia where he spent a good portion of his life.  Mount Vernon is a lovely spot and if ever near Washington, D.C., the estate is a short drive south of Alexandria, VA.

The house was constructed in 1735 by Washington's father, Augustine Washington and was inherited upon the death in 1752 of Washington's older half-brother, Lawrence.  Washington lived at Mount Vernon for the rest of his life (d. 1799).

Washington played a central role in designing the Mansion, outbuildings, and surrounding landscape at Mount Vernon. With a general lack of professional architects in eighteenth century America, Washington followed a common path for estate holders, consulting a variety of sources to assist in developing plans, including: books on building, architecture, and garden design, inspiration from other structures and gardens, and advice from artisans and builders.

When Washington took possession of Mount Vernon in 1754 he initially retained his father’s house. For most of the next four years Washington was busy serving as an officer in the Virginia militia fighting alongside British troops during the French and Indian War. Following the war, Washington made plans to return to Mount Vernon and commit himself to the life of a tobacco planter. As a result, he decided to enlarge and remodel the structure to suit his changing needs. Washington directed that the mansion be raised from one-and-one-half to two-and-one-half stories, rearranged interior spaces, reconfigured the main staircase, and upgraded the finishes of publicly accessible areas.

Washington began planning the second rebuilding of Mount Vernon in 1773. During this renovation Washington worked to design a house that was original. However, the design also was inspired by many details derived from the neo-classical aesthetic popularized by the Italian architect and author, Andrea Palladio. Washington was exposed to the ideals and designs of Palladianism through a variety of builder’s guides often referred to as "pattern books" that were published in the eighteenth century.

(The Miller Center)

Few renderings exist of the original Mount Vernon, but Washington obviously had very good taste.  The spot is lovely and untouched.  Go see it!
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