My Spring Bag Crush

Valentino - Spring/Summer 2008

Handbags and shoes are always worth the splurge because they can make any item you wear look expensive. Stores are getting new Spring merchandise in and while it may be too chilly for dresses and sandals, wearing this won't be a problem........
The "Couture Braided Tote" from Valentino

This bag is stunning in person and comes in a multitude of colors. There is so much to love......the beautiful braided detail, the lack of a tacky logo, the fact that the straps are long enough to go over the shoulder.....yes I already tried it on. Plus, the fact that this is Valentino's last season designing for his namesake house, I can justify that it will be a collector's piece! Now the only question is, what color?


Miami Dreaming....

Will it ever stop raining? I feel like it never will. Living in Southern California I rarely dream of escaping the elements but I need some sun!!! I'm going to be Vitamin D deficient. I think I need to get on a plane back to South Beach ASAP....

Beachside at the Raleigh....all I need is a Pucci bikini, US magazine and a mojito........

After a long day by the beach, one of my favorite spots for dinner is Casa Tua. You feel like you are dining in someones chic beach cottage and the food is outstanding. There is also a private club on the second level and an adjacent boutique hotel. Casa Tua is run by Leticia and Miky Grendene, a gorgeous couple, who have backgrounds in the fashion industry. Even more than the food, I love the decor. I took a few snapshots last time I was there (I'm no pro, so don't judge!).

I love the zebra mirror! It adds some glamour to the coastal cottage feel.

You must go there the next time you visit Miami!! For now, I'm putting on my trench coat and wellies.....


Design S-O-S

My sofa (taken with my iphone camera, so forgive the awful lighting!)

It's been rainy and gloomy here in LA, so I've started some "pre-Spring" cleaning. I won't bore you with my entire list, but here are a few things...... I took a yard of fabric, that I've had in the corner of my bedroom collecting dust for 6 months (yes it was still in the packaging), to the upholster to finally get a pillow case made. I cleaned out my fridge and my closet (okay, part of it!). The one thing I didn't accomplish was fixing my cushion situation. Ugh.....

My "naughty" cushion......

.......how it should behave!!

I ordered the circle cut-out chairs from West Elm as a budget alternative to Chippendale chairs (I wish I had just waited and ordered the WS Home or Jonathan Adler ones, oh well). The cut-out chairs actually look great in person. I even put them together all by myself (woo woo) but then opened the cushions to discover that they don't even fit the darn chair. Did I call up customer service to complain or return them to the store? No, of course not!! Instead, we've been sitting on ill-fitting cushions for months now. I take them off when guests come over, so no one notices them. This is just ridiculous. I'm done. I know I need new to have new cushions made, but I can't decide on a fabric for the cushions. I've toyed with plain turquoise but is that boring?

So now I ask your help, dear design experts........any fabric suggestions for my new cushions??
My dining room and living room are adjacent so the colors need to flow. The only graphic in the space is the KWID fabric on the pillows above and other accent colors are orange and turquoise. I feel like I need something traditional to neutralize the modern elements. Can't wait for your insight!


Who doesn't adore Giada?

Giada in Town & Country magazine - January 2007

I love to cook....but it wasn't always this way. When I first started dating my future husband, I was terrified of the kitchen. I didn't even know how to make hard boiled eggs. My mom and dad cooked, but I never paid attention or cared how the food ended up on my plate. It wasn't until 2001 when I discovered Nigella Bites on the Style Network that I became motivated to be a "domestic goddess." I was mesmerized with how easy and natural she made it look. I went out and purchased all of her books published in the US. I graduated to Saturday mornings spent hungover with my roommates watching "cooking school" on the Food Network. I loved Sarah Molten and Bobby Flay!! But it wasn't until I started watching Everyday Italian with Giada de Laurentiis that I truly felt inspired. Not only is Giada bubbly and adorable, her food is really doable! Her show always has a stylish theme and the recipes are fantastic! I went to one of her book signings in NYC a few years ago (when I lived there) and she was even better in person. I have all of her books and they are great. Below is one of my favorite recipes, I've made it a dozen times and it is always a crowd pleaser!

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.


Foo Frenzy

This Foo is available from Jayson. Get the right and the left for chic bookends.

Foo Dog statues are an ancient Chinese tradition, typically found guarding temples. Fast forward to 2008 and they've become a must have in stylish homes everywhere. It's hard to open a magazine or catalog without seeing them in some form. I have a pair of Foo Dogs in a brilliant shade of turquoise and I adore them. I purchased them from Plantation Home here in LA. They work in a myriad of looks. I especially love them in a blue and white scheme, for a pop of color.

My Foos! As seen in Domino......

From the latest Pottery Barn catalog (image originally on Turquoise Chic)

Ivanka's infamous apartment, she has multiple Foos in her place. I also noticed them on her window sill when she was on Oprah. (image from Style Court)

I want everything in this hutch!! So jealous....(Image also from Style Court)


27 Dresses

I have been fortunate to have escaped the hell of wearing a god-awful bridesmaid dress. My friends haven't been so lucky. In fact, two of my closest girlfriends have been in over 15 weddings since college. One sorority sister even made them do a dance routine (in their hot pink and be-dazzled dresses no less) for the groom. I don't think I could have stomached that one, unless I had the liquid courage of a good bottle of Champagne. Anyway, they have a tradition of leaving the frock in the hotel room, never to be seen again! I like to think the dress I chose for them was not left in the W Hotel on Union Square, but I have a feeling housekeeping opened the closet to a sweet surprise. Oh well!! They paid for them :)

My bridesmaids wore the above dress but in beige (with pearls and cute gold Jimmy Choos), from Jenny Yoo collection

We all can't wait to see 27 Dresses when it comes out next week. For all of us ladies in our late 20s and up, we can definitely relate to wedding nightmares! Check out the Web site for more info on the movie.


My Chiang Mai!

Image courtesy of Style Court

My first official blog comment was about Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon fabric. I had just ordered it to have throw pillows made for my bedroom. I knew Courtney over at Style Court would love it, so I suggested it for a headboard project she was planning. It is truly one of the most beautiful fabrics I've seen.

Chair available at Hudson, a very chic home decor store in Boston

From Domino, another great use of this beautiful fabric

From O at Home, love that lamp!

I've noticed a few blogs knocking Pottery Barn recently, so I couldn't wait to check out their catalog and investigate myself. To my horror, I opened to page 26 and discovered this..........

.....looks very familiar doesn't it??!! Way too similar to my beloved Chiang Mai!!! They basically replaced the dragon with a bird! It was like seeing a knock-off of that coveted Chanel bag you waited months to get.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a retail snob. I mix my Marc Jacobs with my H&M. But for some reason, this depresses me! I guess I can take pride in the fact that I know and have the "original." Sniff, sniff....


Vanity Fairest

Aerin Lauder as seen in Bazaar - June 2007

I dream of having a room dedicated to dressing. Not just a walk-in closet, but a walk-in ROOM. Being that I am married and also not an heir to a cosmetic empire, a vanity is the next best alternative. There are many options when it comes to vanities. Whatever your decorative style may be, they absolutely must be all out girly!!

Cottage Living Jan./Feb. 2008

One of my all time favorite tear sheets, from Cottage Living. That chair is to die for!

As seen in O Magazine....a great option if you have a small space! How cool is a wallpapered closet?

Does it really get better than Jennifer Marsico's vanity? One of my favorite Domino moments! Chic, chic, chic!


Budget Bling!

I just adore J. Crew. They have that "Modern Prep" look down. I find wardrobe staples there every season and Spring '08 is looking to be no exception! Just check out these new additions to their expanding jewelry collection. They look vintage but without the high price tag. Even the most basic tank top and jeans will look chic if you're sporting one of these!

Currently in my shopping cart.....love turquoise!

The perfect statement ring....

Very Verdura!

Confessions of a Design Blog Addict

It started so innocently......it was a random lazy Sunday, my husband was watching football and I was pouring over my usual catalogues and decor magazines. I got on my computer to check my e-mail and I decided to google Kelly Wearstler, just for kicks (she is one of my style icons!). And there I found it, my first blog.... Style Court. I started reading and loved it so much that it has became a daily obsession! I now have multiple blog faves and I log on religiously for my fix of design! How could I not join in on the fun? Please stay tuned for features on interior design, fashion, travel and food!!