For The Luxist: The Vintage Chanel of Her Dreams...

I don't think words are needed here. Quilted lambskin Chanel perfection. If you are a fan of Vintage luxury goods (and aren't we all?), this beauty is up for grabs at Nasty Gal. While I've still never placed an order at the #girlboss's site, it's clear I am n the minority. Sophia Amoruso has created an in-demand online platform for fashion ranging from the rare to the supremely popular. Buck back to this Coco-approved beauty... for a handsome $3450 this vintage drawstring bucket bag can be yours. See all of today's vintage Chanel here. Caution: pricing not for the faint of heart. Chanel is one brand that doesn't sink in value over time. While vintage will net you a savings over new, you are still investing (yes, investing) in a hand-crafted luxury good with an equally luxe price. Happy hunting, luxe lovers! 


Shopping: Indulge in Pre-Black Friday Online Steals...

I don't know about you, but often I wait and wait for a great deal only to realize the "good" deal I passed on was a steal. I'm reminded of this again today with the emergence of a few REALLY good online sales. Since I'm heeding my own advice (and not relying on Cyber Monday to save the day) I wanted to share a few favorites: 

SHOPBOP: 15-25% off your entire purchase, depending upon your purchase size (really good chance to get what you've been stalking!). Use GOBIG15 at checkout. 

TORY BURCH: 30% off any order $250 or more. VERY good sale from Ms. Burch, as I don't think the offer will get sweeter next week (and your faves will definitely sell out). 

REVOLVE CLOTHING: This personal favorite has an insane sale with 80% off some items. Shop now before pieces you love disappear. They most certainly will. 

ANTHROPOLOGIE: Dresses are 25% off and free shipping once your cart tickles the $150 mark. Use code HURRAH to celebrate in style. For dresses, a great offer, but for other items I'm sure we will see a bigger sale coming soon. 

NORDSTROM: Is scooping them all with a massive 40% off clearance in the works. Nordstrom sells out FAST so don't wait if you're ogling an item! Bonus: buy online, pick up in store. My busy girl shopping secret!  

These are all pre-Black Friday deals. I'll let you know once bigger offers swing in. I LOVE a good deal on luxe and I assume you do too! For Shopbop & Tory, I don't imagine the deal will get sweeter. Shop wisely, friends! 

Entertaining: Creating a Serene (& Suberb!) Experience for Overnight Guests...

We often identify entertaining with raucous parties and festive dinners. But holidays are prime time for opening our front doors and guest bedrooms to friends and family visiting from out of town. Entertaining overnight is a far more complex endeavour than greeting them for a meal then ushering them out the door. While it might seem simple (offer a fresh bed & say goodnight) the reality is that having someone under the same roof poses opportunities to demonstrate the true depth of your hosting skills (and patience). 

Before we dig in to what to do and what you need, let's consider the facts. You are offering up space in your private home to a loved one of friend. In doing so, we are inviting them into a bit of our private lives just as they are giving us a glimpse of theirs. The details will vary based upon the closeness of the relationship. Little sister in from college? A much more intimate affair than new in-laws visiting you for the first time. Consider the situation and the necessary formality and plan ahead. 

Now... let's dive in an prepare for an exceptional experience regardless of the guest. 


Ideally, a separate bed & bath are available for guests. No one wants awkward conversation with their father-in-law before that morning espresso. And it's not just about you. Your guest (or guests) will have their own rituals, their own set of needs and expectations. Get your guest area in shape prior to arrival and remove all clutter & storage from the space. A fresh coat of paint, updated lighting (or at least fresh bulbs where needed!) and a lovely rug all help to establish an area as a designated space for visitors. Think "hotel suite chic" and you get the idea. There's no shame in rolling out the red (or shaggy ivory!) carpet for those we care about. 


Honestly, nothing beats a freshly laundered set of high quality sheets. I've tried many brands, I personally prefer percale most of the year and sateen in only the coolest of months. You'll find that most people prefer the feel of percale, so I suggest you invest in a high quality set of classic whites. A mattress pad is crucial or protecting your bed.  And pillows, dear pillows. Please invest in high quality and offer at least two per guest, preferably of different densities. I love them feather filled and almost flat. My husband loves to layer two fluffy pillows under his head. To each his own, right? While you don't have to recreate the Westin Dream Bed, at least offer sensational sheets. They will definitely appreciate it. 


An accommodating table, a conveniently placed lamp and a convenient plug for recharging devices. These are essentials for hosting anyone. Those going the extra mile might wish to offer a candle, a water carafe and a best seller Tip: if your tables have wood tops you should consider having a local glass shop create a custom cut piece to place on top. No one - neither host nor guest - likes a water ring to deal with after the fact. 


Never underestimate the small touches like a luggage rack (hello, bonus points!), an empty set of hangers (praise Jesus) and a small dish for personal effects such as jewelry & keys. It's the little things in life, and these small details will make anyone's visit that much more pleasurable. 


It goes without saying that the bath should be sparkling clean. Polish the hardware, Windex the mirrors and make sure the tile is sparkling. Even the most spartan of spaces can look glamorous when cleaned to perfection. Beyond that I love offering a fluffy stack of towels (white is always right, in my opinion, for keeping the hotel chic vibe front and center), luxe soaps and good lighting. Cleanliness in this case really is king, so don't hold back when the urge to scrub overcomes you. 


Offer guests your wifi password and make their little sanctuary a place they love spending time. A faux fur throw, a seat by the window and a stack of magazines might be all you need to take a spare room from dull to dazzling. If you can, make their stay an exceptional one. You'll feel great, they'll feel loved and everyone wins. 


This is the most challenging amenity to offer, isn't it? Regardless of how grand your home, it's a simple fact that you and your guests are sharing the same roof for a night or two. Brace yourself for the inevitable! By preparing the guest areas with all they need, you are less likely to be bumping into one another at the bathroom sink at midnight. But be forthcoming about any house rules or scheduling issues and try to be accommodating of theirs. If you're a night owl and they rise before dawn, it's best to set expectations early and show them how the coffee maker works so you can sleep in. Communication (and a little flexibility) will be key. The golden rule of gracious hosting: once they are in bed or in the bath, respect their privacy and let them have their space. Tip: coffee accoutrements in their bedroom or nearby are always a very nice touch! 

Take care of things ahead of the stay and ensure you have time to enjoy your guests. Relax. Host with enthusiasm and open arms. Delight in spending up-close time with those who have traveled to see you. Enjoy them. Celebrate them. Welcome them. It will show. 

Happy hosting, friends!

{images via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6}


Entertaining: Clever Uses for The Impossibly Versatile Bar Cart...


Even those of us not sipping cocktails on the regular can see the myriad virtues of the movable feast that is the bar cart. For some it's about moving it front and center for a festive soiree. For others it's a sophisticated spot to decant wine. Still others might find this do-anything, be-anything, go-anywhere piece of furniture to be the perfect bedside table. 


It does not get more versatile than sleek shelves on a
chic rolling cart. Cocktail enthusiasts may love the intended
purpose, but these multi-tasking beauties can live in
any room of the house. Think: posh towel & toiletry stand or a glam
way to store handbags. Yes, handbags. Perhaps a stunning office supply
area or fab bedside table? The right cart does it all. The choice... is up to you.


I'm showing you my favorites in every conceivable style. Whether you're classic or avant garde, there's a cart here for you. Here's what to consider when purchasing: 

  1. Purpose: what's your goal? Drink serving station or mobile bookcase? As in most things, go in knowing your desired outcome. 
  2. Style: with options in every size and shape, determine your desired look and hunt for pieces that pull that look together or make an otherwise "done" space really sing. 
  3. Size: it matters. And in this case it matters a lot. Bar carts are opportunities to fill that tiny niche in your hall or nestle in the corner of your bath. Know the exact scale you need. 
  4. Function: If you're investing in this chic piece as a destination for those bath towels, measure them and make certain they'll fit. Likewise, if you intend to load it up with bottles of bubbly, consider how the construction and design support those goals. 

Let's face it... what you also want from this is wow factor. This is a FUN purchase! Invest in a bar cart that makes you excited every time you see it. You'll be using this and seeing it all the time, so seek out one that you adore. This single piece of furniture will garner more compliments and be put to great use. This is one home accent piece that pays you back tenfold in compliments and years of use. Select one you absolutely love. Ready to jump in? Me too! Let's find your perfect piece...




I'm a classicist at heart, so a brass rectangular cart will always win me over. I love the idea of using these as a super chic way to store towels & pretty toiletries in a master bath. Love to entertain? Push this baby out to the party area and serve up cocktails until the sun rises again. 




Those smoothed out edges are ideal for niches, tight corners or high traffic areas. Design tip: don't be afraid to use these as unexpected (yet wildly useful) bedside tables for guests. The glass tops make them ideal for resting water glasses. 



I love the idea of having a dramatic piece - perhaps the dramatic chrome modern cart or that bold brass circular version - to stir up curiosity and intrigue at your next fete. 





Which cart would you choose and how would you utilize it? I love seeing new, innovative purposes for classic pieces. Although designed to move the party about your home, I really, really love the idea of not using them for cocktails at all. Nightstands, toiletries & glamorous towel racks are perfect uses for these expertly crafted pieces. How will you use yours? 

{images via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7}

Dreamy Spaces: Milly's Sultry Elegance at Home...

I have long been an obsessive fan of the brand Milly and the adorable designer behind the pretty dresses & accessories. Designed for "modern girly girls" as I like to say, every piece of her collection I own makes me endlessly happy. From small clutches to incredible dresses, this is a woman who understands how women like to feel when getting dressed. We want to feel incredibly feminine, yet relaxed and comfortable. And why shouldn't we? 

Fashion and interior design being inextricably linked, as they are, discovering her stunning Madison Avenue apartment makes me crush on her even more. It too offers her signature blend of posh glamour and unexpected touches. While it was interesting to see that she has far more edge to her personal environment (I'm looking at you, oversized nun painting!) I have to admit to adoring her romantic flourishes and visibly feminine surroundings. Again we see that relaxed yet dressy mix I've come to about Milly. her Upper East side pad is layered in deep pinks, aged finishes, ornate details and pops of exotic leanings here and there. Please join me on a virtual tour of Michelle Smith's elegant home, won't you? 

What you'll find in her home, a collaboration between Michelle and architect Anik Pearson and interior designer Shaun Jackson, is a lived-in environment ripe for family evenings, friendly gatherings and cozy nights in. Just as her fashion offers a "certain something" to our wardrobe, her home possesses the same je ne sais quoi thanks to imperfect antiques and carefully selected pieces. Nothing is forced. Nothing is overdone. Everything is just right and begging to be enjoyed. I hope you'll be inspired to add your own feminine elegance to your home via a sultry mix of weather worn elegance and signature touches all your own. 



Foundations: Preparing for a Fashionable Winter...

As many of you have observed, I've been refining and refining my closet for a few years. This past summer I stumbled upon the most effective method of all for finally cropping it down to a tightly edited closet. It was the pivotal moment in the lengthy personal wardrobe purge. The result? Peace of mind and a walk-in that brings a smile to my face daily. 

So now I'm "there" on my goal of a slimmed down wardrobe. Excess has been eliminated and I love what is left. One advantage is the ability to clearly see what needs to be replaced, updated or added to (more fitted black tees, please!). The other clear advantage of the streamlined result is this: as each new season approaches I can see exactly what is lacking and where the "holes" are in my bulletproof closet. Hence, my current situation. 

Why am I lacking winter foundational pieces? It's that spicy Dallas weather. It is so unbelievably hot in Texas each summer that I can hardly imagine cold weather. It makes it almost impossible to imagine what is necessary for cold winter days. The idea of nailing down tall boots when it is 98 degrees is unreasonable at best, torturous at worst. 

That said, when the mercury does drop it drops with urgency. Chilly weather descents upon our pretty city with a major attitude. Days are suddenly overcast and dreary (where art thou, great sun?), and the brisk air is unforgiving. Very unforgiving. Suddenly it is crystal clear what timeless pieces I'll need to add to the mix to pull off this season and many winters in the future. 

Those just joining in should know I'm an investment shopper. Fewer, better, more fabulous additions to the wardrobe are all that are allowed. No fast fashion fixes. No placeholders. No ill fits. No substitutes. Examine each potential new acquisition and take care to source the best of the bunch, considering personal preferences and budget. 

So... what is on the present list for the season? Here it is...

Simple, straightforward and relatively easy to find.... right? It would be if I were merely plugging holes. Remember: this is finding the perfect item at the perfect price in the perfect size. Simple. But simple is not always easy.

I'll tackle a few of my fashion targets in a moment, but explore them more deeply in separate posts. After all, the selection process is a thorough one. You might wonder how (or if) I can shop online for such key pieces. My answer? A few factors come into play here: 

  1. SIZING 
    I'm petite, but it only matters in terms of pants and certain jackets. Eve so,  shopping online is pretty much a necessity as finding petite jeans is rarely an option even in the best of stores.
    I live for and adore reading customer reviews. Criticisms and praise over items (as well as details such as age and body type) offer tremendous wisdom.
    No store will ever offer as to choose from much as the great wide web. If it's out at Neimans, Shopbop may well have it. One I hone in on an item I search far and wide to pin it down in my size. 
    I know my key brands and am always adding a few more trusted labels to the mix (as others are shuffled out).
    Be willing to experiment by ordering several pairs of jeans or a few jackets to see which suits you best. Know the return policies, abide by the basic tenets of being a good customer and simply ship back (typically for free) the items (new with tags, of course) that did not fit. I try to ship back the very next day to avoid any hiccups, but you often have as much as 30 days or more to make decisions. 
    I have two very small girls at home. While I have to take them out to try on shoes and help me find new moisturizers etc, I order online quite a bit. Why? Delivery straight to my door (and return pickup from home as well) are a dream come true. Why run about unnecessarily? I adore shopping and do plenty of it, but there's also a certain thrill in opening those glamorous ribboned Net-a-Porter boxes after the doorbell rings. 

With that... here are a few current contenders for the vacancies above in my wardrobe...





In the Mood For: Francophile Fascinations...


As we process the recent events in Paris, let's pause a moment to shine a little sunshine on all that is beloved about the City of Lights. The people, the architecture, the history, the icons, the culture, the legacy that is this marvelous French city. May your week be filled with love & light to give and receive. xoxo



{image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18}

Musings: On Simplicity as Elegance Embodied...

One secret I've learned in life again and again. Keep it simple. This doesn't mean your life will be plain plain or ordinary. Far from it. Imagine the Tiffany solitaire diamond. Simple in design. Exacting in execution. Breath taking in person. Most of the world's most lovely creations are made with painstaking precision and simplicity. Simple, you see, isn't always easy. (Ask anyone doing the 300 kettlebell swings a day workout how something so straightforward could prove such a challenge.) But keeping your look, your life, your choices, your relationships, your schedule - your very life experience - simple and not complex is one genius way of retaining your joy. 

How am I living this truth? Here's how I do it: 

  1. Make better choices. Consider what you are saying yes to - be they things, people, opportunities, activities, experiences, conversations. Pause half a breath and decide if this investment in time and energy is the best use of those resources. You will never, ever regain your time, so guard it carefully. 
  2. Edit, edit and edit again. If it doesn't make you happy or serve you dutifully, let it go. This means emptying closets, drawers and cabinets of anything you don't absolutely love or need. I do this with great frequency and am getting better and better at it. The absence of the "weight" of things that aren't fabulous is freeing. Sell it, donate it, let it go and discover that you yourself are the one who has been set free from the cage. 
  3. Before tackling a project, ask yourself: is there a better way to do this? Perhaps you are overthinking a challenge or adding degrees of complexity that can be eliminated. If you want to climb a hill, climb a hill. Often the task is far more simple to complete than previously thought. On that note...
  4. Make a list. Not a typical to-do list filled with "buy tissue, buy eggs..." nonsense. No. You're too smart for that. Make a TO ACHIEVE list and structure your days around those larger life goals. For me this means dedicating time to making things and coming up with new ideas for products and projects. For you it might mean finally signing up for that advanced conversational French class so you can fulfill your dream of moving abroad. The lesson? Don't let the minutiae keep you from achieving your dreams. 

The overall lesson is this: Don't major in minor things. Eliminate the distractions in life to better allow you to focus your energies on what matters. Love matters, your dreams matter, your time matters, your life matters. Shake off the excess and let the diamonds in your life shine bright like the stars in the sky. Simplicity is truly elegance embodied. 

Feeling Bookish: New Releases for the Book Lovers On Your List...

By now it has dawned upon us all that gift giving season is upon us. Thankfully, books are almost always a welcome sight during the flurry of present-swapping occasions to come. Today I'll share a few titlesof highly anticipated recent releases. These are hardcovers you'll be inspired to share with your design-loving friends around the globe. 

First up, Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman, The Bazaar Years. If you've ever wanted to peer into the mindset of a creative visionary at the helm of a major publication, this book offers just that. Featuring every issue of Harpers Bazaar under her keen eye, this lovely book gives us a closer look at Vreeland's influence over the magazine and a visual history of her celebrated editorial eye. Less about the woman herself than, say, The Eye Has to Travel or Memos, Modern Woman is still a volume Vreeland fans will want to add to their library on this iconic influential woman. 


Axel Vervoordt Living With Light was a treat to read this summer. It's the kind of book you keep at the top of any stack because you find yourself wanting a visual feats here and there. Spaces filled with the key elements of the firm's signature style - a mix of old and new pieces and the four horsemen of design: light, water, metal, wood - make these sunbeam filled rooms sing. Amidst all that stunning sunlight is an enviable display of modern design that leaves you feeling warm and curious, not cold and start. I love the emphasis on client artwork and the "light as air" feel each project evokes. Longtime fans will absolutely love this book. New inductees to the Vervoordt club will discover an urgent need to go back and collect his other must-have books. (An urge I encourage you to act upon!)


And then there was Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors. Principals Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller have been pushing out killer projects for some time. It comes as little surprise that style-savvy Vendome would delight us with a gorgeous (and hefty!) book celebrating their always fun style. This duo turns out projects in a fearless mix of classic meets contemporary style. As much as I study the generously sized pages I can't find a signature "look" for their work, and that ability to create truly unique results is what has garnered them celebrity attention and a bold faced list of clients. Did I mention Anna Wintour wrote the foreword? Enough said! 


And finally, the one... the only, Jeffrey Bilhuber. In American Master, we get a massive dose of his design prowess in one beautifully executed. If there is one takeaway from reading this (and there are MANY), the unspoken message is that it takes deep confidence to produce his style of work. Jeffrey has a fearless approach to dramatic design and while the spaces themselves are approachable and livable, the architectural and design decisions he makes on the path to those results would cause most designers to hit the pause button. Spanning his 30-year career, the pacing of the book is driven by sharing thirty different credos that guide Bilhuber’s work, including such phrases as “What’s liberating is to be fearless” and “Rooms should reveal themselves gradually over time.” 

Four fantastic books, four fantastic gifts. Whether you're lining your own library walls or beginning to plot out those holiday gifts, any of these titles will surely win you the affection of the recipient. Happy reading, everyone!

Color Crush: Gold + Black Forever...



Do you ever find yourself smitten with an image and suddenly drawn to everything that resonates with that original source? Such was the case with that marvelous bath scene at the top of the post. It compelled me to curate a small collection of images and goodies that referenced those crisp lines, ornate details and over-the-top modern styling. May your life be filled with the stunning opulence of gilded finishes and hints (or oodles, if you like!) of chic black. It's a timeless mix that will never, ever go out of style and will always elevate your look - whether you're setting the table, dressing for dinner or wrapping a simple gift. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a classic combo such as this. Stay chic, friends! 



Current Obsessions: Embracing Feminine Opulence...

This week my favorite finds are decidedly feminine with a nod towards the coming cooler months. I seem to be yearning for warmth, more complex fragrances and warmer metallic finishes. It doesn't always require a financial investment. It could be a candlelit bubble bath, a beloved sweater, a cozy night by the fire. Identify those things which you love and embrace them, indulge in them and love them without restraint. What, my darling, are you loving right now?

Dreamy Spaces: Seductive & Soft Sophistication in Sonoma...

Having just returned from nearby Napa, I'm understandably obsessed with all related to this glorious winemaking region. The unique blend of modernism meets rustic is not lost on me. As much as this looks has been spearheaded (and simultaneously embraced and loathed by consumers at large) by RH, it is almost impossible to separate this hilly, winery dotted region from the interior design style that pairs with it so well. 

The $8.5MM real estate listing above is expertly designed in all its linen finery and rough hewn driftwood glory. Try as I might to fight it, I am seduced by the restrained color palette and the easy living those organic textures afford.  I've segmented the listing images into groups to better illustrate the materials and objects that make this decorative style unique. Shop along or simply appreciate the design lessons offered by the unique indoors-meets-out lifestyle where the very definition of effortlessly sophisticated California living is embodied. 


What I love most about West coast living in the connection between indoors and out. The blurring of lines between patio and living areas. The oversized windows and foldaway doors. Even in the bedroom, where expansive showers invite you to relax, unwind and take in the spectacular view outdoors. Once in the bedtime retreat, plump pillows, generous down comforters and soft tonal shades await. Honestly, it's a dreamy space we all should be so blessed to enjoy. 



Enjoy the rest of this sweet pad at Mansion Global. And should you decide 748 Adobe Canyon Road is for you, don't forget this luxe-loving blogger who introduced you to the property. The guest suite appears to be very accommodating. ;) 

Feeling Bookish: Florence de Dampierre Shares Lessons in Living French Chic..

There are no shortage of books discussing this and that a la Parisian. Perhaps they talk about masterful wardrobe editing or extol the virtues of living in the land of fresh croissants and ballet flat chic. But few books lay out in exquisite detail exactly how to go about living your existing daily life with the ease and confidence possessed by those rarified French citizens. In French Chic Living: Simple Ways to make Your Home More Beautiful Florence de Dampierre offers us very specific ways to infuse the spirit of dwelling in a manse in Provence in our daily lives.

This lovely text won't linger in a stack in my library, instead it will be kept handy for frequent reference. Why? Because it is literally filled with "I can use that today" wisdom and great ideas for the care and concern of all things chic living. Having spent time in the French countryside growing up, the viewpoint of the author is decidedly rustic French. But even a city mouse will love the timeless wisdom spilled out on each page. Shopping tips, cocktail party secrets and everything in between. 

From easy recipes to detailed suggestions on exactly what to acquire for your linen closet, how to grow and store your herbs, stocking the ideal pantry and natural cures for everyday niusances. This book, perhaps more than any I've read recently, is the exact gift to give to everyone on your list. From the young singleton in their first apartment to the busy mom of five, this book lays out in beautiful detail what a well-stocked (but never overstuffed) home needs. 

If the name Florence de Dampierre name sounds familiar, it is because she is literally a household name. From several other books (Chairs: A History and French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses are but two of her other titles) to licensed lines with such brands as John-Richard, Surya and A&B Home, she is a bonafide authority on the topic of channeling je ne sais quoi into your everyday life. 


I was delighted to interview the author to pull out a few more gems of wisdom. I hope you'll enjoy our discussion! 

Florence, I’ve loved many of your books. Chairs: A History, French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses are two personal favorites. French Chic Living was inspired from your childhood memories of time in France with your family. Can you share more with us about your early life abroad in such a romantic setting? 

Thank you very much. So happy that you like my new book as well. It is a very personal book, close to my heart. It mix together a lot of my memories from my grand-mothers. They were both strong characters in their own way and both had a way of making people and family around them at ease and happy.

Food and smells still are anchored in my mind,and to this day triggered lovely memories. 

The food was relatively simple but always with fresh products. Fresh eggs from the farmer down the road along with milk directly from his cows with the cream on top. All was used to make cakes. Leftover were always reused doing something delicious. No waste was ever a possibility for anything.    

I love that this is a true lifestyle book, offering a reader everything they need to know to set up house and garden in true art de vivre style. What inspired you to share this wisdom with readers? 

My friends have being for ever asking me about recipe for one thing or another or are marveling at some things I am doing. I realized how much of a desire for getting things done is out there and also wanted to share how easy many things are when you know what to do.

In the book you offer exceptional information on tips for selecting, storing and preparing food using natural ingredients - as well as recipes we can follow. I would love to hear about some of your early memories of cooking alongside your grandmother or mom and shopping for menu items at French markets. Any great stories to share?  

For me shopping at open market is a always such a pleasure. I love to look and to try things. It is a total experience and fun experience 

Your brand collaboration with A&B Home provides us with many of the French living essentials outlined in the book. From the perfect cream throw to gorgeous garden urns and elegant lanterns. It must me absolute bliss to see those ideal imagined creations come to life! How important is frequent international travel to your design process for products and interiors?  

Frequent travels are very important as it keep your creative juices flowing and keep you with the finger on the pulse of what is happening. 

Yes it is almost magical to see products that you designed and dreamed of becoming reality . It is a great feeling. 

The holidays are coming up quickly. Given your decidedly European approach to entertaining, could you offer insights on creating a relaxing and welcoming environment for large family gatherings? Any special tips to help us a create stress-free atmosphere as we cook up the most important meals of the year? 

My first tip would be to do things that you can do easily.Do not be over ambitious and try to cook, prepare and organized more than you can master. The goal is to spread joy and happiness around you. Not to be stressed out 

So pace yourself and do not do everything at once. Organization is key and knowing where to buy what, is good! A lovely presentation of a delicious store bought product is not a bad thing!. 

And finally, what can we expect from Florence de Dampierre next? 

Many more products for sure, to make your life better.  

I hope you enjoyed the interview! I found the recipes and entertaining tips to be very on point and applicable for all lifestyles and ages. Love the book and am so happy to have it as a reference. Below is a link to the book on Amazon as well as a few of my other favorite books by Florence. Enjoy! 


Destinations: Fabulous Food, Top Design & Creative Inspiration Collide in San Fran...

Later this week I'll be joining a small band of fellow designers for a fast but thrilling tour of San Francisco's Design District, Napa Valley and that all important 2015 Showhouse. Generously hosted and designed by Zephyr, the retreat has the making of one of the most enjoyable trips I've been on in a while. I can't wait to share stunning moments with you via Instagram and the like. If you're not following me yet, by social links are all below. 

Our goal? To dig into the design scene that San Francisco offers and share that with readers and clients like you. From those sexy modern hoods our hosts creates to artisan creations at showrooms like Coup d'Etat and one-of-a-kind wineries like Ma(i)sonry. The toughest part of any trip lately seems to be clearing the schedule to board the plane, but once aloft I know the thrill of it all will kick in and daily to-do's will be a blip on my mental screen. 

Stay tuned for updates and be sure to connect on Instagram and follow #ZephyrBloggerRetreat2015 on all your social networks. The flight takes off in just a few days! 

Excursions: Ringing in the Holiday Season at the Gaylord Texan...

While we're not likely to receive much snowfall here in Dallas, that doesn't stop us from feeling festive and ringing in the holidays in style. To help us kick off the season, the esteemed Gaylord Texan plays host to thousands of visitors for their annual ICE! event and indoor Christmas wonderland.

We'll be staying the weekend of November 20th. Want to join us? I have an exclusive offer for readers I'll detail below, but let me dazzle you with the many reasons why we'll be visiting their ICE! exhibit. The indoor Christmas wonderland features more than more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures (two million!). It celebrates cultural traditions from around the world featuring holiday scenes and children from Mexico, Germany, and others. This being Texas, expect the unexpected. My daughters will be thrilled with the two-story tall ice slides, an enchanting parade of toys and larger-than-life ornaments. You can also travel through the North Pole and sit inside Santa’s sleigh or experience the Frostbite Factory – an interactive ice carving station. Sonnds fun, right? The amazing holiday experience concludes with the majesty of a full nativity in stunning, crystal clear ice. Brilliant. 

Use code FRANKIBLOG to save 50% on tickets for ICE! valid 11/16 - 19, and 11/23 – 25. Tickets can be purchased online. Limit of 10 tickets per purchaser. Not retroactive. Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Other restrictions may apply. 

The event itself runs November 12, 2015 - January 3, 2016. In addition to the beauty that is the resort itself, The Gaylord is also "the" hotel of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Love to meet them? Don't miss the Dance & Cheer Brunch on November 22 or December 13th. Info on this fun event is below. 

Happy holidays, everyone! 

Dreamy Spaces: Soft Modern Living, Bathed in Light...

Dreamy spaces, all the handiwork of New York designer and lifestyle brand creator Tamara Magel. I love her sexy blend of natural materials, sleek silhouettes and textures. Clearly gifted in the art of style, her projects (and products) all possess that rare blend of aspirational-yet-livable chic. Her photos are absolutely beautiful and can I get an amen on that closet photo? Major applause necessary for the happy homeowner and talented designer. 


Giveaway: Win $250 in Beautiful Goods from Bungalo...

Just in time for the wave of entertaining you are certain to enjoy this fall, Bungalo sweeps in with a sweet $250 gift card giveaway! If you've not yet discovered this great resource, your clean design loving eyes are in for a visual feast. Think: Scandinavian chic with an organic, artisan vibe. Tabletop goods, clever storage ideas and soft woven textiles and yes, golden flatware, await you on the virtual shelves of this online boutique. 

In a sea of over-designed and perhaps oft too fussy products, Bungalo excels at simplicity and "under-thinking" when creating their unique products. Their pillows, soft blankets, bowls, baskets and more address everyday needs with the elegant simplicity often reserved for high-end Japanese brands and Scandi-chic luxe goods. All without those high import prices.

So how did this mod chic brand come to be? Ahhh, that's all to the credit of the creative power behind Bungalo. If the name Regine Raab sounds familiar, it's because she is also the creator of Waggo and before that worked with such notable fashion brands as Marc Jacobs and Adam Lippes. So rather than simply offer you a much needed giveaway (an incredibly generous $250, friends!) I'm also deep diving into some of the thinking that makes serial entrepreneurs like Regine a different breed.

Please enjoy this interview with the lovely and talented Regine Raab...

Regine, I love a good serial entrepreneur, so thank you for taking time to answer a few questions. As the creative mind behind Waggo and now Bunglao Home, you have a knack for filling a niche in the market. Could you tell us the impetus behind the creation of the home goods at Bungalo? What was the moment or the turning point that inspired you to move into the home accessories market?

When I started Waggo, I felt like there was a gap in the pet market — modern, friendly, high quality dog products that actually fit into your home without being too much of an eyesore. As the business grew over the years, we started getting more and more questions and comments from customers asking us if we would ever do similar products for them in addition to their dogs! I can’t tell you how funny it has been to have customers tell us they have bought our dog bowls to use as casserole dishes! I knew when I heard that (time and time again), it was time to start building something for humans as well. Bungalo takes cues from Waggo’s modern aesthetic but definitely has a little bit more of a grown up voice while still being playful. We have been so happy with our customer’s reactions to the brand and are excited continue to expand the offering of modern essentials. 

Marc Jacobs, Adam Lippes… those are impressive fashion houses to have on a list of experience. What key lessons did you learn from that industry that helps shape your businesses today? 

There are two key things that I think about a lot that I brought from my past experience. The first thing is brand focus — you can’t be everything to everyone . At every fashion house I have every worked at, there was always a push and pull between what the customer is asking for and what designers and merchandisers develop. There is a happy medium in the middle where you can be both focused on the vision and future innovation of the brand while still satisfying customer needs. The other thing I learned a lot about was the importance of customer service. After all, you can have great product but if your customers aren’t satisfied, you have no business. I take a tremendous amount of joy in talking to our customers, making sure that their comments are heard, issues are resolved and that they understand we value them. There is nothing better than a customer that is happy at the end of an exchange. 

Design is obviously a key aspect that sets your products apart from other brands. Your cool, modern offerings are the stuff of Scandinavian dreams. Can you share when and where your appreciation for that signature minimalist-yet-warm aesthetic emerged? 

I’m not sure to be honest…  I have always been someone who wanted to love everything I own — I would rather have less and better. I think for me, when I come home I just want it to feel like a breath of fresh air and minimalism, classic stripes, beechwood, white with pops of color, all of that really does it for me. It makes me feel happy and light. 

I’m always interested in morning routines for high-output entrepreneurs. What does your typical workday morning look like? 

On a good day, I am up around 7 and my husband and I normally have breakfast together. I’ve gotten really into tea lately so I’ve been trying all sorts of weird flavors in the morning. I’m a big fan of CBS This Morning, that’s normally how I get my news for the day (I love that Charlie Rose) so I will have that on in the background as I get ready for the day. After my husband leaves, Benny (the Schnoodle) and I will catch up on emails that were received overnight — many of our factories and retailers are overseas so things are around-the-clock! I typically leave the house around 8:30 and Benny and I are lucky enough to walk to work just 15 minutes away! 

Most creative types have a voracious appetite for travel and visual stimulation. What is a favorite escape for you? Where do you love to (or long to) go? 

I do love travel and I have found that to be more and more important as the business grows and I am in the office a lot. It is so important to get out into the world and be inspired by your surroundings - that’s how all of the best ideas come. One of my favorite places locally outside of NYC is the Dia:Beacon — it is a former Nabisco factory that was converted into a contemporary art museum. The space itself is breathtaking — beautiful light wood floors, vast factory windows, beautiful but simple art at every turn. My husband proposed to me here almost 7 years ago inside a Richard Serra sculpture so it also has a sentimental meaning to us. We try to go once a year together. There are so many places I long to go – I would love to go to Vietnam or travel the beautiful countryside of Scandanavia — my list is very long! 

Best book you’ve read recently related to business? 

I really liked the Checklist Manifesto. It has a really basic premise but organizational structure at a small business is so important and I enjoyed learning about how the simplest things can sometimes make a significant difference in the productivity of a business. 

Advice you wish someone had given you at the start of building your brand? 

Slow down! You can’t do everything at once, pick and choose what you are spending your time on and have a long term vision for the brand, short term thinking can be overwhelming. 

And finally, what item (or items) are you currently wild about on Bungalo (I’m personally loving the gold flatware!)? 

I love the dipped storage bins – I have a few at my house because I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hide clutter. 

Great answers indeed! I fully agree with her higher quality lower quantity mentality. I also believe it is the genesis for luxurious design, as simplicity can indeed be stunning. You'll see I also have love for the dipped baskets as well since we've incorporated a few into my daughter's room. Storage for those things you possess is key to a chic and tidy space. 

So, are you inspired to enjoy a little Bungalo in your own bungalow? I thought you would be. Drop your comment below (with email!) to be entered to win the giveaway. Must enter by 12:00 midnight CST November 7th 2015. Winner will be drawn at random from qualifying entries and will receive a $250 gift card good towards their Bungalo purchase. Be sure to browse their site in anticipation of the drawing. And good luck! 


Essential Elements: Cozying Up to a Romantic Fireplace Season...

Yes, it's that time. Cooler nights (and in some cases days) are here. The season of warming yourself by the fire, of snuggling under blankets and fighting the cold with hot tea and warm cocoa. But don't forget personal comforts like a cable knit sweater, fur lined slippers and a subtle hint of fragrance. Bundle up in little private luxuries and settle in to a season of romance. 





For Her: Adorn Her in Uncommon Gifts from the Heart...

Jewelry is unique in that each acquisition comes with a story. Perhaps it is a ring your grandmother once wore. Or maybe it's a bracelet from your first boyfriend. Each piece then becomes a connection to another person, a story, a rich history. Artisan jewelry, then, comes not only with a store shared between the giver and the recipient, it comes with a story to be told of the creator as well. If richly layered history appeals to you, Uncommon Goods may offer just the jewelry box you need to plunder. 

While it's easy to get caught up in the many sparkling rings, bracelets and baubles available, I've been on a hunt for something incredibly specific: heart pendants to share with my daughters. As my very young girls begin to turn into sweet young ladies, I've had the idea to gift them their first pieces of meaningful jewelry. Something significant that expresses my love for them and represents their place in my life. It took only moments to discover the spectacular pieces aligning with those goals. 

These beautiful heart-shaped accessories are the incredible work of artists Tulianna And Alejandra Garces. The detailed pendants are actually pieces of lace that have been masterfully transformed into wearable art. Selections of lace are individually are cut and sewn before being dipped in wax to seal and reinforce their structure. A layer of copper and 24k gold or sterling silver is applied to deliver that lustrous metallic finish. Pieces are then brushed by hand to reveal the marvelous feminine detail of the lace. Finally, lacquer is applied to preserve that stunning finished piece for years to come. Amazing. 

My idea? To wear the gold & silver combo necklace myself and convert the matching earrings into individual heart pendant necklaces for my girls. My youngest is not quite ready to wear hers on a daily basis, but when she is, this lovingly selected and handcrafted piece will await her. My oldest is very excited to wear a piece of me so close to her heart. This sweet gesture is a reminder that even while apart we are connected on so many levels, in so many ways. 

But these pretty pieces aren't just acquisitions. Uncommon Goods is here to do good in the world at large. The company itself gives to many great causes. Each artisan involved also makes an impact in their community. Tulianna And Alejandra Garces, the makers of these pieces above are using their sales to impact their homeland Colombia. 

Produced through a fair trade organization, these handmade pieces as well as the others in the collection provide stable income for economically struggling or displaced communities of Colombian artisans (85% are women and heads of households). The site says it best: "The resulting pieces are glittering tributes to the traditional art of lacemaking, and gorgeous statements to add to your accessory collection." If that doesn't warm your heart, nothing will.  

I hope you've enjoyed this very personal post. If you're feeling the urge to give handmade gifts to friends and family, consider necklaces here, earrings here and bracelets here from this marvelous site. Don't miss their backstory which reveals not only the brand's origin story, but also their deep commitment to sustainability, survival and the future. The pieces shown above are the My Heart Within Yours Necklace and the Mini Gold Dipped Lace Heart Earrings

Interview: Going More Than Skin Deep with the Beauty Experts at Unit Skin Studio...


Instagram friends will have caught a glimpse of my tour of Dallas's Unit Skin Studio a few weeks back. The ultra-chic derm-on-demand outpost is novel in its approach and refreshing in its design. Nestled inside popular Preston Hollow Village at Walnut Hill and N. Central Expressway, this gleaming, light-filled space is a study in chic design (think: Slim Aarons photography lining the walls) and minimalist appeal. But to really tap into the true beauty of Unit's unique approach, we'll have to go more than skin deep. 

Rather than gush about their seriously state-of-the-art offerings and proprietary products (yes, they have them!), I'll let the experts on the team do the speaking. Please enjoy this in-depth interview with the delightful founder Lindsey Pineyro and partner & lead practitioner Sandra Witten, PA-C, MPAS. These ladies and the entire team were so generous with their time when I visited the location. I was wowed by the design of the space, of course, but it only took moments to suss out how passionate and knowledgeable the team was about their professional pursuit. Without further ado, here is what they shared: 

FD: Lindsey, from the moment you walk in the door at Unit Skin Studio, the atmosphere is decidedly stylish. Slim Aarons photography, modern furnishings & natural organic accents. Serene and professional but incredibly chic. Sandra credited you with the design for the interiors - which are amazing from start to finish. Can you tell me where you drew upon for your influences for the beautiful space? 
Lindsey Pineyro: I’ve always had a passion for interiors and really thinking outside the box.  We wanted Unit to feel like your ultra-chic living room that you never had.  From the coffee tables designed by Bret Comber out of Vancouver to the Stark Rug on the floor we thought of everything. 

We feel you can never go wrong with Slim Aaron I mean he defines luxury and jet-setting at its best and a picture is worth a thousand words.  It’s not just about coming to Unit for a “treatment” it’s about the way you feel when you are here, there is something that is drawing you the space.  We believe every touch point has a meaning from the Nespresso Coffee to the receipt paper it all matters to us. 

FD: I chatted with Sandra Witten and your team about everything from good moisturizers to laser resurfacing. From my discussions with Sandra and other team members it is clear your team is very, very knowledgeable about modern skincare technology.  appreciate that these advanced professional services are accessible in a boutique in a mixed use retail center. Why did you choose the Walnut Hill location for Unit? 
UNIT: Great question!  We chose Preston Hollow Village for many reasons!  We felt as though it would encompass a sense of community with all the great restaurants and residential space going in.  We knew that PHV needed a strong buy in from the community and held a high standard to the tenants coming into the center.  We were right on point with our choice.  From PHV we can serve the greater community plus individuals making their way home down the 75 corridor. 

FD: I was very impressed to see that your team has has developed your own line of professional grade skin care products. Unit MD Advanced Dermacare is not your typical line of serums and moisturizers. Between R&D and packaging, this is a major investment that’s been made in the brand. What drove the decision to develop your own line rather than carrying the typical skin care spa / dermatologist office brands?
UNIT: Here are Unit we wanted to be able to offer the best services and the best products!  As you can imagine there are many choices in the market place and yes some of them are great just like our line, however you cannot put a price on being able to speak to a true professional about your skin care needs as well as how our products can be incorporated. 

Investing in your skin is a commitment and we want to make sure that our clients feel confident in their curated plan when they leave.  Our line is unique in many way, we have the ability to compound some of our products such as Porcelain to the perfect strength for your skin!  You cant find that at the department store!

FD: Dallas loves its beauty treatments! Obviously the usual suspects - chemical peels and injectibles - are popular. You explained the myriad benefits of the Micropen and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to me. These were treatments I’d never considered and I’m very intrigued by the concept. What results could a client expect to see from Micropen and PRP Therapy?  
UNIT: Micropen + PRP AKA “The Vampire Facial” is one of the most cutting edge technologies available for skin rejuvenation. This technology was discovered from wound healing research and has been popularized for its effects in sports medicine. Tiger Woods and tennis great Rafael Nadal have received the benefits of PRP for their orthopedic injuries.

Micro needling alone, provides amazing results. Also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT) the micro pen creates tiny wounds into the dermis. The skin responds to this “injury” by creating collagen. The cells that are responsible for this wound healing and collagen production “speak” to each other as they did when they were much younger, creating a robust collagen response. We apply the patients own plasma topically, which is chalk-full of the their own stem cells. Nothing can talk to your own collagen like your own stem cells. The result? Turbo-charged collagen like a Maserati! What does this mean for me? Thicker, more dense skin. less sagging, fine lines and wrinkles reduced, and texture like a baby’s derriere!

(Editor's Note: hello, fountain of youth! Albeit a bit intimidating based upon the description, my curiosity is definitely piqued when it comes to the Vampire Facial! If I dare to do it, I'll be sure to showcase it here and on Insta!)

FD: What other Unit treatments seem to be trending since you’ve opened your doors?  
UNIT: Vampire facial hands-down.

(Editor's Note: Interesting!!!) 

FD: For those on the fence about seeing a skin care specialist to address concerns or simply to develop a preventative skin care routine, what can you tell that that describes the Unit Skin Studio difference?  
UNIT: Unit, Neimans or Nordstrom? Every Dallasite goes somewhere for her skin care. The Unit difference is the quality of the products, and the medical degrees standing behind them. We have prescription strength skin care, that must be dispensed under the supervision of a medical professional. Think of it as over-the-counter vs prescription strength.

Which would you choose? Sandra is a degreed medical professional with 20 years of dermatology experience and Plastic Surgery experience pre dating that… Who would you rather have analyzing your skin care needs? She can also write prescriptions if you have any other dermatological issues. Hop over from Neimans, to Unit, you skin will be in great hands!

FD: Is there one star in the line?
UNIT: Vitality!

FD: And finally - any takeaway tips you can offer readers for caring for their skin each day? 
UNIT: Sandra's mantra - Retin-A at night and sunscreen in the morning is like brushing your teeth for your skin.

(Editor's Note: NOTED! Reassuring to read this and know that I'm doing this faithfully.)

Well... now that we've tapped into their serious skin care genius, I'd love to share a promotion happening now: 

Unit Skin Studio is offering for the month of October in honor of Halloween. Through October when you buy one Vampire Facial at Unit Skin Studio, you'll get one half off! Nothing can speak to your body like your own stem cells. Below is a list of just a few of the benefits from the Vampire Facial, known technically as the Platelet Rich Plasma Facial. 

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Builds collagen up to 1,000X faster than normal facial treatments 
  • Helps with tone and texture of the skin - sun spots, melasma 
  • Can be administered year round - no need to worry about avoiding the sun
  • Little to no downtime 
  • Little to no discomfort 

"Vampires may be scary, but our vampire facial is anything but! No tricks, just treats with our amazing Vampire Facial. Treat yourself this Halloween! This October Unit Skin Studio is offering a special so tempting, it's spooky! When you buy one Vampire Facial in October, you'll get one half off!"

DALLAS, TX, 75230
(214) 484-1221

TUES-FRI 10:00-6:00
SATURDAYS 10:00-3:00

So, girls and boys? What do you think? Is micro-needling something you'd consider? I'm curious, but I'm also keen to explore their skin care line. What makes it unique is its formulation and efficacy. They will not be able to sell it online, as it is more potent than the products available online without a prescription.  Before you plop down another $400 for a promised fountain of youth at a department store, consider swinging by Unit to explore their incredibly well priced line. Please tell Lindsey and the team I sent you. And if you do try micro-needling I would LOVE to see and hear all about it!