Equestrian Style

I have loved all things Equestrian since my first lesson in Kindergarten. If you don’t have access to horses or they scare the beejeezus out of you, bringing equestrian elements into your home or fashion is a great way to incorporate the style. I get so annoyed when I see it featured as a “new trend”. Umm..not really since classical horseback riding has been around since the Renaissance.

This book is a great overview of the lifestyle.


I love jewelry that features bridles or bits. This bracelet comes in a few different colors, but as we all know I’m a sucker for white.


These necklaces are from Etsy seller, Natasha Grasso. So beautiful and reasonably priced.

I’m so glad the brand Sporto has had a relaunch. They were so big in the early 90’s and then they just kind of disappeared. A couple winters ago I bought these in the short version with orange rubber and they were a hit in the frozen tundra!

Rebecca Cray features almost solely Equestrian design. Her website is treasure trove. Here a few of my favorites

This Barbour Paddock jacket is darling.Would look great on seriously any body type.

Pair it with these Etienne Aigner boots and some jeans for a well put together look while running around town doing errands.

No Equestrian post would be complete without a little Ralph. This tray is part of his home collection.

I’m not sure about these bookends though.. A little to literal maybe?

Who has fun plans for the weekend? It’s Spring Release weekend in our little wine country, so I’ll be at my husband’s winery manning the gate! I’m so happy it’s May, Spring is FINALLY here:)








Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I am here with fabulous gift ideas that aren’t of the candle, slipper, or robe variety. Come on people, your mom deserves something tailored to her interests, not something you grabbed at Target before brunch.

For the mom that bakes...

Is this not the coolest thing ever??? Give this and then guilt trip her to make you delicious treats. 8 layer cake slicer . $59

Throw this in with it and you’re going to Hawaii next year for Christmas, Mom’s treat. $10

For the mom that loves to beautify…

I was actually told about this blush from my own mother. She’s cool like that. It’s Nars Orgasm. Stop giggling like a school girl and buy it. It’s the best shade on the market and looks great on any skintone. $28

For the new mom….

I don’t even have children yet, and I’m already having nightmares about changing time. How are you supposed to snap all those tiny buttons while you’re busy trying not get kicked in the chest or peed in the face? (True story, that happens, and not just with boys…)

These ingenious pants replace traditional snaps with a fast acting zipper making changing time less a war zone and more a drooling, smiling zone. Until you encounter a blowout. These pants can’t help you there. $30

For the mom that entertains

These modern simplicity champagne flutes from CB2 look great with any table setting and the price is ridic. $2.95 each

Matches are smelly. Let mom light candles in style. Versailles Silver Lighter $63

For the mom that is green and also a little tech savvy.

A solar charger for her cell phone or anything with a USB port. Prepare to have to explain how to use it to her every time she calls. $50

For the mom that is stylish, a little tech savvy, and likes attention in airport security…

I’m obsessed with this Ipad case. If your mom has taste, she will be too. $120

For the mom that thinks she’s French…

Tres delightful! £10

For the mid-century mom…

A Charley Harper Iphone case. Pop in a Stan Getz CD and the first season of Mad Men and she’ll be sashaying around like Joanie in no time. $14.95

For the mom that loves a good monogram…

This cute tray can be personalized with a variety of designs and colors. Wrap it up with some Tervis tumblers and a bottle of Margarita mix and she’s set for summer. $49

These can also be personalized in a multitude of ways. Just think how impressed Muffie and Buffy will be when she sets these on the table during the monthly bridge game. $40

Speaking of Muffie, I guess she has personalized stationary. Your mom can have it too. $78

For the mom that is organized…

I love a good storage box and these are so chic. Organize her closet together as a special add-on.  No, you can’t have her scrunchies, they’re coming back in style. $65

Does your mom recycle with a paper bag shoved under the sink? Give her something sleek and compartmentalized with this trash/recycle duo from the Container Store. Then tell her to bust out the recyclable shopping bags and stop killing the planet. $129

For the mom that has everything…

Have a personalized piece of art work made featuring her home, cabin, chateau, or ski chalet. Price upon request, which means you probably can’t afford it, unless your mom really does own a chateau. In that case, I’m a wonderful travel companion.

Grab me my gun. The best magazine you’re not reading.

I’ve always felt like I lived in the wrong part of the country and born in the wrong time period. I really should have been a southern belle in the 1950’s. Maybe I’m pulling a Shirley MacClaine and really was??? Spooky… or maybe it’s just because of my roots I feel so drawn to the south. My Grandmother was born and bred in Texas. Her little sister is even named Dixie. Seriously.  So my grandmothers Southern blood coupled with spending summers with an aunt in Virginia it’s made me a total wannabe debutante. That is why this magazine has replaced Martha Stewart Living as my monthly must have.

My mom lives in North Carolina during the week for work and commutes back to Minnesota on the weekends. On one of these trips last summer she grabbed an issue in the airport and brought it home for me knowing full well, it was my magazine soul mate. Oh, don’t y’all have magazine soul mates too? (See what I did there?)

The photography is  breathtaking and the subjects covered are true Southern Americana.

Isn’t this photo haunting and beautiful at the same time?

The magazine not only features sporting and food,  but it also highlights Southern musicians

The Avett Brothers.

The magazine was launched by Rebecca Wesson Darwin in 2007. Ms. Darwin envisioned a magazine about the South, the sporting life and the land. She had recently moved back to Charleston, South Carolina following a successful publishing career in NYC, and in hindsight, launching a lifestyle magazine in the beginning of the recession was probably not the smartest choice, but she steered them through it and the magazine is thriving.

The magazine also highlights true Southern fashion.

The recipes and food photography is incredible. Traditional southern barbeque with coleslaw and deep fried Okra. Doesn’t get more Southern than that.

Oh wait it does. Pimento cheese spread!

They also offer true southern cocktail recipes like the 610 Magnolia 

1 large and uneven slice of lemon peel
1 rough-cut brown 
    sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash Regan’s Orange 
Bitters No. 6
No more than 1 oz. branch water (or bottled water)
2 large ice cubes
2 oz. Van Winkle Special Reserve 12-year bourbon
Small triangle of orange slice for garnish

Add the lemon peel, sugar cube, and both bitters into the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Using a wooden muddler, begin to muddle the ingredients firmly but not violently in the bottom of the glass, working the muddler in a circle. The tapered shape of the glass allows you to perform this task with ease.

Add the water, and continue to muddle for a bit longer. Add the ice and then the bourbon. Stir with a spoon. Float the thinly sliced orange on top of the drink (not wedged onto the side of the glass), and serve.
I also love that the magazine prominently features animals.

As their masthead says, it truly is the Soul of the South.

With that, I’ll leave you with this truly Southern recipe from one of their recent issues.

Arnold Palmer Cake

From Momufuku Milk Bar
Makes a 6″ Cake, Serves 6 to 8

1 Lemon Tea Cake
1/4 cup Bitter Tea Soak
1 cup Tea Jelly
1 3/4 cups Lemon Mascarpone
2/3 cup Almond-Tea-Crunch

8 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
9 bags Lipton black tea leaves
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream the butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. After 2 or 3 minutes on medium-high, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and egg yolks one by one until they disappear into the butter and sugar.

Scrape down the sides again and turn the mixer to low speed. Stream in the oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Mix on medium until everything is homogenous and fluffy—about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour, tea leaves, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. With the mixer running on low, incorporate the dry ingredients into your main bowl. You don’t want to overmix the cake; just mix until the dry ingredients disappear (45 seconds or so).

Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Spread the cake batter on the pan and give it a little jiggle to even things out. Bake for about 30 minutes, then give it a gentle poke. You’re looking for it to bounce back and for the cake to have pulled back from the edges a bit.

(makes a little more than you need)
2 1/4 cups water
8 bags Lipton black tea
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup instant Lipton unsweetened iced-tea powder
1/2 tsp. pectin NH
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove it from the heat and add the tea bags. Let the bags steep for 5 minutes, or until the tea is very bitter. Discard the tea bags and store the bitter tea soak in an airtight container.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar, pectin, and tea powder until thoroughly combined. Over high heat, slowly whisk in 3 cups of bitter tea soak and the lemon juice, and bring to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 2 minutes. This activates the pectin and will turn the tea and lemon into a beautiful jelly. Transfer the jelly to an appropriate container and refrigerate. Once set, the jelly will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

DIY Round Up

Instead of doing some lengthy DIY tutorial on painting one piece of furniture with 30 photos of sanding and priming, I figure I’ll just post inspiration images that you can handily copy with a quick google search.


Paint an old armoire a bright color but please don’t wear that hat.

Dip old mismatched flatware. Give it as gifts and tell them you bought it from CB2. Make sure to take the goodwill stickers off first.

Dye a rug. I’m still trying to figure out what container you could do this in… Who has a pool I can borrow? Preferably above ground* so I don’t feel bad ruining it.

Paint your chairs. Bonus points if your MIL gave them to you.

Nailhead an upholstered piece. Or upholster a piece and nailhead it. Heck nailhead your walls.  My aunt did a nailhead trim in her game room and invited some lady friends over to help. She also served them wine. The trim is now crooked. Friends don’t let friends drink and nailhead.

Paint more furniture. This is from Furbish. Find a piece on Craigy and get to it. Search rattan, bamboo, or hollywood regency to find a similar style. Good luck not getting paint on the glass.

Find an ugly mirror and glue oyster shells to it. It may still be ugly.

Make a branch chandelier. Find an ugly three arm brass monstrosity. Spray paint it, spray paint some branches and wire them to your hearts content. Have fun dusting that sucker.

Here’s another. Ignore that godawful faux finishing.

Everything looks better gray. They should really shut that door. It’s triggering my OCD. What is that person doing to the horse?

It’s April. Start working on this now and maybe you’ll be halfway done by Christmas.

Those Santa’s are scaring me.

*Above ground pools are tacky. So is Shasta and cereal in a bag.

Living Inside The Pages Of April’s Elle Decor

Lots to parse in this month’s issue. They unveiled their entire showhouse at Paramount Bay in Miami. Ten designers were commissioned to overhaul a penthouse apartment. I had high hopes. I should have known better. Let’s start out with the something good, the Trend Alert.

Graphic Patterns!

I loved this entire spread. Art Deco era prints are exploding all over the designsphere. They are a welcome respite from the tribal patterns that have been dominating for the last 6 or so years. (Thank you Madeline Weinrib) Graphic and geometric prints were shown all over the Spring 2012 runways. Gucci featured them prominently.

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy Vogue.com

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy Vogue.com

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy Vogue.com

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy Vogue.com

Unless you own a Goyard and then you’re already ahead of the times:)

My baby.

I was elated to see a spread on Maryam Montague’s home in Morocco. My grandfather immigrated from Mostaganem, Algeria so I love seeing North African spaces and design and trying to imagine what the places my family lived in looked like. Probably nothing like this.

Montague and her architect husband built the 4,500 square foot, two-story home from the ground up. It took almost 4 years to complete.

The master bedroom

I am always a sucker for a year round outdoor dining space. I think it’s from spending so many years in Minnesota. Even though the weather in Washington is considerably better, my goal in life is to get to somewhere where we can be outside year round. Life is too short to be stuck inside for 6 months.

This mural in the guest room is insanely decadent. Admittedly, the room as a whole would really only work in an African/Middle Eastern locale but you can always steal elements like the graphic rug or using an antique quilt for a bedspread.

I feel bad leading with such a beautiful spread because you know what that means… It can only get worse from here. And oh does it.

Am I the only one over the ridiculously over-priced custom design show homes where they throw in a bunch of designers to design individual rooms? I imagine it like a ghetto version of the Real World where instead of fighting over who is going to clean the dishes, they have knockout drag down fights over how many of them get to use a random placed phallic-looking obelisk or the number of natural tree branches allowed per square foot. Oh look…branches and phallic mushrooms! Shocking.

“Giant sculptural tree? Check. Branches in a vase? Check. Hunk of coral? Check. Hmmm…I don’t think we’ve brought enough of the outside in. Oh here, I’ve got some hideous magic mushrooms to shove in the corner. Nothing says modern coastal living more than those… Wait, is that old bust of Mozart still in my storage unit? ”

“The media room. Oh, do people actually watch a television anymore? I’m much too refined for that. The news is too violent and everything I need to know about the arts I can learn from Terri Gross. Well I guess if I have to include one of those dreadful flat screens I’ll make sure to hide it in an armoire. No one can actually know that this room is specifically for viewing media. Now for seating….lets make it as inconvenient as possible to look at that monstrosity. Yes, a chaise. Because why would people want to actually sit next to each other to view that thing? Oh fine. I’ll throw in some ridiculously uncomfortable chairs you can physically turn if you absolutely have to watch that Downtown Abigail show I keep hearing everyone talk about. Darn…I still have to include something coastal… hand me that antler, please.”

“Well I was really hoping to get that gig designing a room for the Vegas showhouse, but I guess I have to settle for crappy ole’ Miami. Le sigh ya’ll. Instead, let’s just decorate it like it should be in Vegas. Make that Liberace proud! Ya know, in my fabric line, I carry shiny gold taffeta. Let’s tuft it with them there Swarovski crystals ( you know that crystals aren’t tacky if they are Swarovski.) and then we’ll pair it with BRIGHT purple! Purple and gold, because nothing screams coastal living more than a big tribute to the Minnesota Vikings. Oh wait we’re going Vegas here right? You know what that means??? Leopard print! Wait…purple leopard print! No, the rug needs to be circular. Like the shape of the bed I would have chosen if I could have convinced Elle Decor it was beachy. I guess this giant gold box will do. Do you have any of that left over fabric from Joanne’s when I was going to sew myself a pair of Zubas? Yes, slap it on that bench there. Thank yoooou.”

Alright alright, enough snarking, I just had to show you the worst of the spaces before we could get to the best. I absolutely adore this entry. From the console, to the art, to the chair with a touch of Missoni. This space is done perfectly. It has touches of coastal, but not a shell in sight:)

I’m torn about the dining room. I love the rope idea, the chandelier, and the table. But lord do those chairs look out of proportion. Is it just me or does it look like if you sat in those you’d barely be chest height with the table??? The buffet looks too small as well. So, while I love that table, it it way too large for the other pieces in the room. Also, the Charlie Brown tree in the corner just looks… sad.

I adore this kitchen. Talk about mixing metals and colors harmoniously! It’s a perfect example of not being afraid to mix things up in your kitchen. The back splash is onyx, the counters are quartz, and the island is granite. A classic way to make a kitchen look more high-end is to not have everything be matchy matchy. The sitting area in the foreground is divine. Perfectly styled.

What do you all think? Love the showhouse or are you over it?