Monday, November 9, 2009

Light, Color, & Energy

"Painting, for me, is about translating the activity and movement of the outside world into a vocabulary of paint and line. Light, color, and energy are reflected in a fractured window view of the underside of a live oak or in the curls and folds of an elephant ear. Each painting experience becomes a challenge to push aesthetic decision-making aside, in favor of drawing in the moment. The best paintings occur when I succeed in letting action dictate form." - Amanda Talley

I have been very stubborn in regards to my taste in art. I can't say that a lot of modern art speaks to me but Amanda Talley's work has a feminine softness of line. The New Orleans artists creates swirls of color with flourishes and washes of subsequent color. Her work is so beautiful. I am drawn to her black and white paintings. Especially the ones with a hint of neutral hues.

She makes painting look so easy to accomplish but if you look closely you will see a multitude of colors that make up the piece that you did not recognize before.

Amanda's paintings would be ideal in a multitude of rooms and can be informal and formal. The tightly wound circles in the image above are very edgy and have a depth that makes them appear to be in motion. Other more loose and vapid swirls as in the formal living room pictured above have a quiet yet bold simplicity that make it a rather surprising focal piece for such a room.

So I have a strong desire to purchase pots of paint, brushes, and a canvas with Amanda Talley to inspire me). Maybe I'll find my own style or else I'll comission a painting from the artist herself.

Images are from the following links: link, link.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Vampire Love Affair

I have always had a thing for vampires. I remember the 1st time I was drawn to them (as fictional characters of course), I was flipping through the channels one day and stopped when I saw a man overcome with grief. Immediately I was drawn to this and couldn't take my eyes off his face. His revenge for the death that made him weep was quick and severe. This was Interview with the Vampire. At that time, I did not watch the entire film but was struck by the Gothic romance and raw emotion portrayed by Louis. I devoured the book and watched the entire movie afterwards. I then went on to read all of Anne Rice's novels.

Louis, I thought was so heartbreakingly romantic and dangerous in his self loathing. Lestat was cunning and lethal but I loved him as well. I liked that they were evil but they held onto their humanity not only to blend in but for vanity's sake, as in Lestat's case. They will always be my favorite.

Tom Cruise was phenomenal as Lestat and I don't think that his performance can be compared to anything else he has done. Kirsten Dunst was such a little adult as Claudia. She impressed me and I couldn't help but feel her rebellion against her child self. She was quite the convincing, conniving little woman. Brad Pitt was ripe with grief and sorrow but could not help himself against what he was. Quite decadent.

Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer came along and caught my attention in the late 90s. Every week I would be sure to catch the newest episodes of Buffy kicking the asses of big bads! The series struck a strong cord as I could identify with its teen heroine and the real life situations that popped up between vampire slayage. It has been a very long time since I have watched the series and now I have returned to it. Over the years, as life got busier, I stopped watching and did not get to see the last 3 seasons. Now it is time to revive my love for BtVS as I pick it up from the beginning.

I'm not looking for closure really as I'm sure I will feel a bit of loss once I am through watching all 7 episodes. I wished when I was younger that I could have had all the adventure Buffy had! Except for all the death and bruises that followed every episode.

I realize how much I still adore Buffy and how much of an influence she was to me growing up. As I am re watching the 1st season, I remember why I liked the show so much. Xander is the comic relief and I find myself laughing at his humor and awkwardness. Buffy is vivacious, a bit blonde, witty and always has something clever to say to the baddies just before she plunges mr. pointy into their chests. She is fashionable and manages to fight in all those short dresses and tall boots. (How she does it I don't know.) Willow seems to always be trying to find herself and reinventing her love lifestyle. Angel...well he was beautiful, soulful, and Anne Rice esque....sigh...

So it's like coming back to long lost friends. Ok...I'm starting to sound weird but I'm happy so who cares. If any one close to me is reading this....I want the complete 7 episodes box set for Christmas! Let's just say if I had that I would be really really happy.

So much for these Twilight vampires. I have to admit that I am not impressed by this genera. In my opinion, stick with old school Anne Rice and BTVS if you want vampires. There is something about Edward that creeps me out.

Images are from the following links: link, link, link.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Boot Debacle

I'm going through a bit of a shoe crisis. I really like so many of the styles of boots available this fall that it is so hard to choose which ones I want. The Flosand gray boot from Aldo is one of my favorites. Last year I had them in black. Now they have them in this beautiful shade of gray that suits my neutral color sensibility. AND....they are on sale.

Then there are these lovelies from Free People. The Vamp is just that with its over the knee and slightly blouson silhouette. I adore the pleats/tucks at the opening cuff. I am a short 5' 2" and can't quite decide if I would be able to pull them off or not. Something to think about.

I really really think that these Bentley flat over the knee boots from Free People are so unique with the studs on the cuff. I just know that these paired with leggings and a fitted tunic would be so comfy. I like the height I get with heels but sometimes your feet need a break. I just need to find my suede footwear protector treatment.

I did order these little ankle boots! This is Raleigh from Madden Girl. They look so feminine yet you could wear them with a leather jacket. I am picturing wearing them with skinny jeans right when I receive them! I hope they fit. I have been seeing a trend of ruffles on shoes. They are on anything from boots to sandals.

Something I Dreamt Up

Pink Chocolate

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Broken Heart: Restoration Hardware

I have found the interior scheme of my dreams... For some reason it is difficult for me to plan a cohesive design to the interior and exterior of my home because I am constantly being inspired by so many design themes. But Restoration Hardware seems to have pinned my taste down to the nose. If i can buy all these pieces from one store that is fantastic! The simplicity, neutral color palate, antique look, and unique pieces sets these rooms apart from anything I have seen before.

I was a bit heart broken after I flipped through the pages of the catalogue I received in the mail today. I want a bit of everything that would relieve me of at least $100,000. Scanning my living room I felt a sense of incompleteness and thought about how I would feel if my living room looked like the one in the picture.

I love love love the over sized map of Paris with the lighted frame. Showcasing art is so beautiful. When you have such a large piece you will want to accessorize minimally so as not to take away from the centerpiece. The metal accent lamps combined with the gargantuan tripod lamp are magnificent styles of lighting. I like the traditional curved back sofa (upholstered in linen) combined with the unique accent pieces.

Shuttered armoirs in a very natural almost weathered stain along with the metal and glass table recall modern Belgian design to me. The neutral color palate is very appealing. I have recently added color to my own house but am really gravitating towards the colors in RH. They are calming and peaceful to the eyes while pops of gold create a warm interest.

I want it.

Here again, in this dining room, there is linen upholstery on the chairs, with natural stain on the wood, metal legs and trestles on the table, and neutral walls references the color scheme from the sitting room. Don't forget the pops of gold. I love gold. The lanternesque light fixture above the table blows me away. So simple but unique.

The kitchen has so much light. I think the worst thing is a dark kitchen with few windows. I like to see the outdoors and light in any room. The reclaimed wood island would be the perfect place to prepare a meal. The huge fireplace makes my jaw drop. It could be a limestone fireplace from France. I like when kitchens combine modern appliances with antique accents and functional design. More counter and storage space is a must for a kitchen. I also like the metal bar stools so you could have a bit to eat in the kitchen.

I'm not sure I would be comfortable sitting in these chairs but they have quite a lovely curvy form, gorgeous nail head accents, and the famous Belgian linen upholstery again. I would use two bergere chairs with ottomans instead. They may be a bit more comfy. There is also a trend for books recovered in all one color. It unifies a collection and looks great whether the books are stacked or shelved upright. The globe light fixture is a bit surprising but it is so beautiful I wouldn't take it down.

The bedroom, more focusing on the dressing room here. Beautiful shoe cupboard, with the shutters again. I have a passion for shutters. They remind me of tropical New Orleans or some Caribbean island. The huge mirror is delicately lovely. There is such a feminine and simple aura here. The over sized accent chair and the upholstered bench look like great places to sit when contemplating which shoes to wear.

When I have enough money to make my house look like this...or my future home in France.... I will for sure want to entertain. Maybe you will be invited.

PS. All pictures are from Restoration Hardware.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blushing Wine Sauce

I thought that my readers were hungry for another recipe. Am I right? This was inspired by the meal my sister made for me last weekend. The sauce is made from White Zinfandel wine. I don't enjoy drinking but I like to cook with wine at times. The wine sauce is such a great change from the heavy cream sauces I have been making lately. Baking the chicken until just done then transferring the strips to the skillet helps infuse the sauce's flavors into the chicken.

I have a very sad little garden this year and managed to find about 5 ripe cherry tomatoes that I added in with the store bought ones. Mine were superior to the store tomatoes. They have a much more fresh and delicate taste. The store bought ones had a very pungent tomato taste that reminded me of tomato soup. Still delicious, but I wish my tomato plants were producing more fruit.

Click on the recipe for the full view. This template is from the Creature Comforts blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Al Dente?

One of my favorite recipes is from Better Homes and Gardens: Mushrooms and Pasta. The cream sauce is irresistible! I was looking through my cabinets and decided to add pine nuts, asparagus, and salmon to the mix. This was influenced by the recipe, Pasta and Asparagus, from the Tongue in Cheek blog. What a perfect idea to combine the recipes.

Click on the recipe to see it full size and feel free to print it out for yourself! The recipe template is from the Creature Comforts blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Une Passion Pour des Pâtes (A Passion For Pasta)

I have been dying for pasta. Giada De Laurentiis has an excellent recipe for lasagna rolls that I have been wanting to try out. The recipe can be found on the food network website.

There are layers upon layers in this dish, which makes eating lasagna much more entertaining as each serving is a roll, so you don't have to mess with cutting it! The base of this dish starts with a creamy bechamel sauce that is very quick to make with butter, flour, whole milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

The lasagna roll itself is filled with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, an egg, salt, pepper, and thinly sliced prosciutto. Once you have spread the mixture onto the noodles, they can be rolled up and placed on top of the bechamel sauce. Marinara sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese are poured over the top. Bake for 20 minutes covered and 15 uncovered.

My huzband was the guinea pig, who happens to be quite a picky eater. He ate two rolls (unusual for him these days to have seconds) and with a very full stomach proclaimed that it was the best lasagna he has ever eaten.

After taste testing it myself I have to agree. The flavors blend quite well into each other and you are not left with an overly greasy or garlicky taste. The ricotta cheese, spinach, and prosciutto meld into one other and it is difficult to differentiate the meat from the mixture. I like this quite well as I have somewhat of an aversion to meat. The creamy texture is to die for and the sprinkling of mozzarella on top is very light. Perfection for your palate.

The recipe can be found at There is also a video of Giada preparing this meal. I find her to be fascinating as she cooks all this rich Italian food and is quite svelte. If only I could cook like that and not gain an ounce!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leather and Metals

If I had all the money in the world, I would be a happy girl. Well, if I did have all the money in the world I would be quite a content girl but the fun factor of lusting after things you can't have wouldn't be there any more. What good is it to have unlimited anything? It isn't good at all!

But, if I did have some extra laying around I would love to have this look. It is a mishmash of designers put into one. I love the tough look of the leather and studs mixed with the glitzy top. The buckle accents on the skirt play up the hardness of the look while the soft colors of the suede shoes and silver of the top pull in femininity.

Love to Look and Love to Have. Via my creational layout at polyvore.

Metal Cellos

I don't claim to know much about music or pretend to be all that musically inclined. I have had a childhood of passed up musical opportunities: piano, flute, violin, and yes even the recorder - my first grand foray into the music world. I've tried them all but I really didn't like instruments that involve saliva or blowing. With the others I may not have had the best relationship with my instructors. It was me not you instruments. Out of all of them I would probably want to pick up the piano again someday.

C-E-L-L-O, you are my love. I never thought I would find you. You make my fingers bruise and break. You squeak when I want you to sing. You are just about as big as I am but not quite as heavy. Time can be made to play you until I get it right.

It's beautiful, the sound of a well played cello solo. My two non conventional cello influences are Break of Reality and Apocalyptica. Both play classical and metal cello music. I am not much of a metal fan but cello can play it really really well. I love watching the 4 cellist of Apocalyptica head bang their way through a Metallica song. I can't help but smile. I want to play that some day sans head banging. But I first need to get my finger placement right.

Here is another amazing cello music video from Break of Reality, playing Metallica's Day that Never Comes. The above music video is Apocalyptica playing Nothing Else Matters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tablescapes: Design Inspiration

I have a staunch habit of being an avid browser and a less frequent purchaser when it comes to furniture. First, I don't have my design concept for my own home completely developed as I am intrigued by so many styles and designs. It has to be more definite before I will commit. Secondly, it is difficult to find exquisite quality of workmanship and materials. I am usually put off by veneers and most things Ikea. There is something so solid and reassuring about solid wood, dovetailing, nail heads, and dents that seems as if a piece has been around forever. It makes me think about who has used this furniture as time passes. I'm talking about antique furniture but it has to be the perfect piece as I have been introduced to plenty of unappealing subjects!

But there is plenty of room in my heart for new too. It goes to show that reproductions can take the place of authentic. My mini obsession, for the time being, is for trestle or farmhouse tables. Ones that can fit a full family plus guests without a problem. Ones that have dents, scratches, and a color or texture that has been worn down by time. Or falsely distressed by some other means if it is nouvelle.

My favorite new table includes the one in the picture above. It is a Pottery Barn design called the Sumner dining table. This seems to be more of a farmhouse style. I adore its roughly hewn planks and fat legs. The grain of the wood and the soft stain are appealing with wrought iron accents, natural foliage, and linen. It looks like it has been around a while yet is sturdy enough to last another 100 years or so.

What would your dream tablescape be? Is is like my current table want with it's more earthy and rustic side? Or do you prefer something a bit more modern?

Monday, August 17, 2009

How May I Count The Ways To Spend, Spend, Spend

Having paid little attention to the fashion company Free People, I was drawn to their attention after receiving a catalogue last week. I have a tendency to gravitate towards brands like J.Crew and Urban Outfitters, so I think Free People fits into the mix quite well.

As I live no where near the actual store, I was reduced to online shopping. Let's just say my cart was quite full by the end of the hour plus that I was visiting the shop. I absolutely adore the tailored look of the high waisted skirt mixed with the over sized sleeveless tee and leopard wrap. Yes...I did purchase this look but have only received la jupe (skirt). So I anxiously await the final pieces.

To Complete This Look:
Convertible Leopard Swing Wrap $58.00
Coveted Apron Tee in acid heather $48.00
High Waisted Button Skirt $98.00
Mesh Frill Wrap Necklace $28.00
Rhinestone Lace Tight $38.00

Overall, it may seem pricey for the look but the pieces are transitional between many outfits. Mixing and matching is limitless!

Image via Free People.

Creative Elements


I thought I would give polyvore a whirl. So much fun! I could picture this ensemble being worn to an art gallery or strolling the streets of Milan. Quite lady like and sophisticated. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals as they are not difficult to dress up or down. Would you wear this and where would you take your glamorous self?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Parlez-vous Francais?

I have a little more than a week until I begin my French 101 course at the local University. This is 3 years after I have graduated. So I have no clue how my studying skills have held up after all that time. This is huge for me as one of my main goals is to become fluent in French.

I'm quite nervous as I have a background in Spanish and have never be taught French. My problem is that I have a tendency to pronounce and read the French in a Spanish way. Which isn't helpful at all.

This summer, I have been cracking down on Rosetta Stone French to cover some of the basics before I get into the classroom. I don't think that anyone could become fully fluent in French through Rosetta Stone. I believe it is more for the tourist to pick up some of the local vocabulary. The learning through immersion technique is unique as not one word of English is written or spoken. I think it has helped me to begin thinking in French rather than English.

At times I have been driven insane by the Rosetta Stone program during the vocal lessons, as apparently there are some words it thinks I can't pronounce like policier among others. I have gotten my husband to say that word in particular for me so the program will let me move on to the next lesson. I wonder if my instructor will have a problem with my pronunciation. I will let you know.

If anyone has any comments on how to transition into speaking French or has any stories to share regarding speaking French to native speakers please feel free to share.


I absolutely adore antiquing and it just so happens that my favorite blogger, Corey, from Tongue in Cheek has a drool worthy brocante story more often than not. It puts me in the mood to traipse the local antique stores looking for treasure. It would be a defining moment if I was to stumble across some French antique gem hidden in between the nick knacks but that would be too much to ask for in this part of the country.

Today, I settled on something that at first glance is very pretty but does not necessarily have a French or European origin. The silver plated flatware set is covered in beautiful flowers and ribbons. What could be more lovely in a table setting?

After finding the off-putting name of Arbutus attached to my new purchase, I immediately began to research the history. Arbutus trees, also known as strawberry trees are a Mediterranean tree often found in France. I guess I did bring a little bit of France home with me.

Ps. Forgive my wrinkled linen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Little French Adventure

After reading Julia Child's memoirs of her life in France in her most current book before she died (My Life In France) I became inspired to learn to cook well. I have always been fascinated by a well set table and cupboards filled with exotic ingredients. Not to mention I am a Francophile in my heart of hearts. So I set out to buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia and her two chefs in waiting.

I have anxiously been waiting for it's arrival and today it has finally arrived. I cracked open the stiff spine and was initially dismayed that I would be preparing food around this book and in the off chance it may become dirty! To say the least the book is a treasure. In flipping through the pages you can immediately see how much thought and detail has been poured into these pages to create a totally comprehensive cook book.

I am very impressed at the research that was done to enable the reader to find all required ingredients and tools in the ordinary market. I love to cook for my friends and family cuisine out of the ordinary so that they have a memorable experience and come back for more. On an end note, I don't think there is anything to eat for my picky husband. I will make him try each recipe anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spanish Road Trip

Travel, food, culture, celebrities, and orange crocs...... I guess I might be overstepping with the crocs part but this sums up the new travel documentary on Spain, Spain...On the Road Again, with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow. I have been dying to get my eyes on this show after seeing teaser clips on other blogs and you tube. It is so easy to become completely enthralled in a series like this because of the clever road trip experience. I find it fascinating to see the personalities behind the celebrity, like Gwyneth and Claudia. When this comes out on's MINE!

See what I said about the crocs. I wonder why they are always orange? What a strange signature.

Hors de prix - Priceless

I absolutely adore Audrey Tautou and Priceless was instantly added to my infinite Netflix cue. This film showcases the French Riviera in all its luxury and excess, as exploited by Irene (Audrey Tautou). The wardrobe is to die for and I found myself scouring the Internet for likenesses. Hmmmm.....I wonder if I can convince my huzband that a trip to the south of France is an immediate necessity!

This picture is from: