Inspired in New Mexico...

Work life vs Real life. 

The line tends to get blurry when you love what you do, and you seek that sort of beauty in everyday things. It's why my iphone is a curse. Because I'll find myself editing a picture of pumpkins while walking through the airport. It's obsessive. 

I get writers block on the blog because I am inspired by so many things I don't know where to begin. Babies being born, weddings,..- ofcourse those are all special. But in terms of design, my passion, I am truly inspired when I travel. 

This particular weekend the stars aligned and not only did I get to celebrate the marriage of close friends, but it was in New Mexico... in the oldest chapel in the country.... Under the endless, stunning Santa Fe sky.

I can't get enough of the rich colors and textures that are so indigenous to Santa Fe. And how they played into the details of the wedding evening. The flowers, the table setting, the place cards, the pumpkins.... it was beautiful. 

And it feels good to be inspired again.

Iphone pics from our trip... starting with Hoyt renting a ridiculous red mustang convertible-

but I'm not going to lie I enjoyed it...

I'll let the rest of the pictures tell the story...

Thanks for a special weekend, W&B. Love ya.

N.O. shopping excursion

Just got back from meeting my client in New Orleans for a quick shopping trip- it was fast and furious. And of course, fabulous!

We made our way down Magazine Street, hitting up every shop we could!

I'll just unload my iphone pictures and let them do the talking...

But first- to prove I was really there- 

Gotta love roaches the size of birds.

Love these painted floors...

The Leontine Linens showroom was so pretty and serene...

Shower curtains...

I'm not a huge monogram person but I think their designs are classic and beautiful. They would work in any home.

I love this one (and the color scheme):

I was also diggin' their coffee table in the middle of the showroom-

Then we went to Tara Shaw, which I was really excited about.

We saw this original antique and decided it was perfect for my client's living room- (the sideboard in background) 

Then we turned around and saw Tara Shaw's reproduction of the piece... 

Beautiful job! Looks exactly like the antique. Her reproductions are all through her line Tara Shaw Maison

Many beautiful antique stores...

with impressive employees...

One of my favorite stops of the trip... Julie Neill.

We got these two pretties...

So much character.

So much history.

So glad I went.

France Answers (Franswers)

The title of this post explains a lot about me.

a) I think it's funny.

b) I talk really fast- so in real life it probablydoes sound like Franswers.

c) The thoughts in my head run together, often merging and creating NEW thoughts.

d) I entertain myself with these things and quickly deRAIL. 

Where was I?

France Answers:

Thank you so much for your kind comments! Keeping honest- When I share a lot on the blog I sometimes wake up feeling.. sheepish. Like- oh no, maybe I shouldn't have included my dad doing a JIG. But your comments remind me that y'all actually like reading my weird commentary… and that makes it all worth while. So thank you for your feedback- it means a lot. 

I thought I'd answer a few frequently asked questions. 

 I love your boots! Where did you get them?

Thanks. I love them too. And I'm about to give you an answer that is just as annoying as "I got them abroad."… They're vintage. 

But the good news is: they are from Imogene and Willie in Nashville.

If you've never been to their store, you need to go. They are friends of mine- (actually I've had a crush on them since the moment I walked in and then I just forced them into being our friends. It worked.) But seriously, it's one of the coolest stores in Nashville… and home of hundreds of vintage boots and jeans. A few months back I did a last minute photo shoot with them, sporting their Chambray dress. They put me in some of their vintage boots they had lying around and I would not. could not. take them off. 

So they went home with me. 

They have plenty of vintage ones- all shapes and sizes. Give them a ring and they'll hook you up. 

Where did you get your green shirt?

Get ready…..


Mossimo Military Tunic in "seaweed". Nothing special.. but it's super comfortable and I liked the color. (and yes I like that y'all notice my Target shirt while I'm on the coast of the Mediterranean) 

Is your brother single?

Yes, he is.

Will he kill you for sharing that?

Yes, he will.

Can you share more of your mom's sketches?

This one she did of Shakespeare and Co.- 

She's good.  I'm going to convince her to open at etsy shop.  If it follows through y'all will be the first to know!

In other news...

When we got back from France we had a lot going on with our own house, I was playing catch up from all the work I missed, and Hoyt had one week of freedom before starting his job. One morning he asks "How can I help?" To which I spout out a million things that are running through my head, things that I expect to be written down but not necessarily executed in the way I delivered them (girls at the office call it my "word vomit"--- it's a daily thing.) 

I actually didn't think he was listening… but I found his little working "to do" list later that day: 

Hmmm.. Not sure what to think about the fact that the two NOT crossed off are still pending completion. But really- it's the list listening that counts.

We didn't have plans for the 4th but ended up sitting in a field with some friends watching the U2 concert in the Vanderbilt stadium. We could hear it perfectly and practically see everything. It was great...

It was a pretty laid back weekend which we both enjoyed thoroughly. (And for the record, we did kill the house spiders… and somewhat clean.)

Last week highlights in design world:

Wallpaper was installed in a clients house...

Love. Phillip Jeffries grasscloth is always so handsome.

That little side table to the right I actually spotted in an antique store in Birmingham- for a steal!

I thought the top was interesting but the legs were a little too traditional. So I had my wood guy make a more modern base that fits the style of the room much better.

AND these amazing counter stools I ordered for my client finally came in last week: 

Casamidy's Varenne Counter Stools in Perennials Pygmy Stripe Fabric. 

I'm obsessed.

France, Part II

So….The Intermission lasted a little longer than expected. I had intended to finish up the second half of my France post but the jet lag threw me. It took me a few days to recover. 

Where was I…?

We were sad to leave Gavarnie, but after my brother convinced me that the hotel reminded him of The Shining I felt better about leaving.

Then we took our traveling circus to the Atlantic coast. First stop...

St. Jean de Luz

a charming fishing port on the Basque coast, near Biarritz.

Les. Pois. Sons, Les Poissons!

After endless amounts of windy mountain roads it was SO nice to see the horizon... against crystal blue water.

Being a fishing village, the markets were full of interesting creatures... 

The streets were very crowded during the day although this picture proves just the opposite.?

It's weird- I came back from France and ended up with pictures of abandoned streets and shrimp. Oh wait, here's one that proves we were around people:

A local festival activity.

Dad even did a little jig in the streets.

We stayed at the the most charming hotel- Hotel Deveniere- it was more like a local bed and breakfast.

Our courtyard out back...

That my mom liked to draw while we sat down there and sipped on wine...

And just so you know this is what my mom's sketchbook/journal looks like. Her way of describing what we ate… Martha S. would be proud, right?. 

Le Deveniere is full of antique furniture and authentic English flair. 

I loved their hardware:

This was our room-

To the left you will notice a uni-pillow. Hoyt and I like to flip our pillows alot in the middle of the night so this quickly became a problem.  We had to coordinate the pillow turns like they were football drills. If you had a tape recorder you would have heard sporadic yelling throughout the night: "… FLIP!!!!…. FLIP!!!!"

Definitely a first time for everything.

Other than the pillows, we loved our room. 

I didn't take great pictures but the rest of the place has such character. Felt like you were visiting a relative… right at home. 

This was definitely the most relaxing part of the trip, which we needed. After a few nights of pillow flipping and dancing in the streets we packed our bags and left the beach...

We hopped on a train and headed North. 

Next thing I knew we were in Paris.!!!

I have never been to Paris and immediately fell in love with the city. 

And that's not easy for me. It usually takes me a while to love big cities.

But Paris has an energy to it that sucked me in- it's elegant and edgy at the same time. 

We stayed in the heart of St. Germain- (at Hotel Millesime)- and I honestly could live in that area in a heartbeat. Such diversity. So much ART!! 

We didn't have much time there so we tried to visit as much as we could. This is also the reason I (regrettably) don't have as many pictures as I would like. OK- and I admit- I wanted to fit in and it's not very Parisian chic to wear a chunky camera around your neck.

Museum D'Orsay… a must see. Period.

The paintings gave me chill bumps. 

Notre Dame… So cool.

 We hit up Shakespeare and Co.- a little bookstore that's definitely worth a visit. During the 20s and 30s this place was a place of refuge for struggling writers like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and others; owned by George Whitman. This charming bookstore is definitely worth seeing (across the Seine from the Notre Dame)

Not really sure what's going on with the father/son in the foreground. Hmmm… 

Pretty sure what's going on with father/daughter here.  Father sharing an important history lesson. Daughter nodding along but really paying attention to the wood paneling details behind him. 

St. Chapelle (which many of you recommended!!) was, ofcourse, stunning. 

Why don't we make buildings like this anymore?

Inside the Chapel on the second floor were the most beautiful, intricate windows I've ever seen. 

But I kept finding myself staring at the vibrant patterns on the ceilings and floors, envisioning what textiles I could make out of it.  Go figure...

Then, of course,  


I just had to stop in the fabric showrooms like Nobilis, Pierre Frey, etc. 

I celebrated my 27th birthday here- and toasted with an amazing mojito while overlooking the Louvre. (I think it should be a ritual, don't you?)

I read in SKY magazine (I was desperate) an article about Paris. I thought this quote summed it up beautifully:

In Paris "happiness consists of something intangible and fleeting. That success can't be measured. That your experiences matter above all else…. At the very least, Paris gives charm to life's daily grind. At it's extreme, the city changes you."

(thanks mom and dad)

France, Part I

Bonjour mon amis...

I'm back!!

I have LOTS of pictures to share. And had plenty of time on the plane ride to come up with a post. Whenever journaling, writing or blogging it's best to get it all out before you a) forget the memories and b) find that you don't have time in a week. It's now or never.  So put your reading glasses on folks… and grab a BIG cup of coffee. 

Ahhh…. France. !!

Where. do I. begin  ?

The trip was unbelievable. My family likes to travel a little "off the beaten path" which means there are surprises around every corner. And a very well-rounded itinerary (with some help from Bronwnell Travel).

It started by flying into Barcelona and cramming into a little rental car: 5 humans+ 5 bags +5 carry ons+jetlag= a traveling circus.

This isn't the car but it felt that small so let's just pretend.

(also please note the fact that Hoyt and Cooper are playing with a bunny in the background. He followed them around like a puppy dog. We like to think he has a heavy French accent and goes by the name of Behr'nard De'pardieu


We were unable to spend time in Barcelona- (that's for another trip!) We immediately drove up the beautiful coast of France. Pit stop: Coulier, one of the towns that sits on the Mediterranean, looked like the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and some fresh air.

Then on to Carcasonne, the walled city- founded in the Golden Age:

What's the Golden Age you might ask?? NO frickin clue. ;)It's just old.  

I won't bore you with a history lesson but it really was fascinating.. I felt a little like Harry Potter. But that could've been the jet lag….

We went to the local market, explored the city, and ate amazing food. (story of the trip)


Inside the walled city was this gorgeous chapel. The architecture!!! 

This group of men stood up and started singing. They sounded like angels.

Everyone silenty sat down and watched in awe...

Beautiful hotel within the walls...

Before dinner that night we walked down to see what was on the other side of the castle. 

(If only we had capes on in this picture…)

And Cooper felt like the third wheel only a few times-

My favorite picture-  it just makes me laugh. Gotcha Pops.

After a nice few days stormin' the castle' we crammed back in our car and played word games, practiced our French, and did sing a longs.

 I'm kidding. 

Think: Griswold family.  Dad trying to translate the French road signs (on volume level 10) accompanied with a familiar British woman's voice saying "recalculating" on repeat, getting stuck at toll booths with a line of angry Europeans honking behind us, siblings in the back flicking and picking on each other, complaining about someone leaving "stinky cheese from the market" in the hot car, telling Dad to please stop swerving Rachel's going to throw up. Mom trying to take photos out a moving vehicle and feed her hungry family by rationing out whatever she has: an old french baguette and a jar of pepper jelly.  Your typical family road trip. 

The next stop was Gavarnie. Good friends of our family recommended it but other than them no one had ever heard of it- not even the locals. We drove into the mountains for what seemed like forever- "recalculating". 

We just kept following the signs, holding on to our stomachs as we hugged ever treacherous turn.  Then finally, we turned one corner and came upon this….

Our mouths dropped in unison. I think my brother's gum fell out.

We stayed a night in this old charming hotel.

The inside really needs updating but when your room has a view like this- who really cares?

My dad corralled his traveling circus and announced we were going on a short hike.


(second favorite pic)

We were all just assuming a stroll down the street' so we didn't really prepare. And by prepare I mean: prepare to hike straight UP the frickin mountain.

Which is why Hoyt is seen wearing his corduroys. And we have two giant cameras and zero water.

We didn't complain (okay- maybe a little) because once we reached the top the views were breathtaking.

The town is pretty busy during the day with hikers, locals, etc. but at night it is eerily quiet.

Hoyt and I overlooking the tiny, magical city. Quite the secret. Part of me wants someone to take over the town and put great restaurants and hotels, but then I'm afraid it would lose it's charm.

Either way, if you are ever in that part of France it is definitely worth seeing.

Are you still reading?

Let's break for Intermission.

Tomorrow I'll post the second half of the trip: St. Jean de Luz and my personal favorite- Paris.

*These pictures are taken by myself and ma mere. I have a Canon Rebel XSi and my mom has a Nikon D90. We both don't have any experience other than practicing, take thousands of pictures, and never using flash.

You might work too much/ need a vacation IF:

You have more food in your office fridge than in your home fridge. 

More furniture in there too...

The UPS delivery guy honks you down on the highway, rolls down the window waving, and yells HEY GIRL, SEE YOU TOMORROW!

You're talking to your mom about landscaping tips for the new house and she asks you "Where does the sun shine during the day?" 

Uhhhh……..  I. don't. know

You catch yourself talking to your husband as if he's another subcontractor: "I need it to get done before Friday. Period."

"Excuse me?"-Hoyt

"Oh.. I mean….. Pleeeease?? (sweet smile)??"

You pinterest all night and your husband tells you to stop working. "It's not work!! Ok, maybe a little. But I. can't. stop."

Your friends and blog readers start to worry when you haven't blogged in a week- that must mean she's REALLY busy. No chance I'd actually take a long vacation?? No. Just overworking myself as usual.

Well, this time I'm taking one.... I leave today for a family vacation to France!!(actually by the time this posts I will be there)

I've never been to this country… can't even tell you how excited I am!!

Flying into Barcelona…. then traveling up to:



Saint Jean de Luz

and ending in Paris! 

Ever been?? Would love any recommendations…?

Although I'm definitely going to explore these wonderful cities I can assure you I'll take time to relax, drink wine, eat good food, and take lots of pictures! 

Be back soon.

New Orleans style

I've been doing some research.

Me? Research??? Shocking, I know. This was more like "client research" as one of my clients is a New Orleans native living in the middle of Nashville, TN. Her style is chic, effortless, and very "New Orleans." So.. what does that MEAN exactly? How can I understand my client if I don't really fully understand this Creole style?

Parlange Plantation via flickr 

I borrowed a few of her NOLA books and went on a mini-mission to find out for myself.

Photo on 2010-10-12 at 22.01 #2
< insert PROOF >

New Orleans style is so interesting to me because it's heavily borrowed from so many different cultures and styles but yet it's uniquely New Orleans at the same time. 

 A timeless aesthetic...

Creole houses

There is always something in a room that you couldn't find anywhere else.


 I learned that Lagniappe actually translates to "a little something extra"... which, in my opinion, totally defines the style.  


It's an eclectic mix of French, Spanish, African, Native American, West Indian, Creole, tropical, romantic, rustic, classical.. the list goes on.

But if you're anything like me, you're going to skip right over the history part and just look at the pretty pictures. Pictures explain it better, anyway.

A house by A. Hays Town, via Things that Inspire...


A Hays Town via TTI

Interiors by Gerrie Bremermann that I snagged from Cote de Texas and Southern Accents..

Gerrie bremermann via CDT
Rowan2 southern accents

Bremerman southern accents


And some more beautiful rooms by New Orleans interior designer Tara Shaw ...

Tarashaw veranda 2005-via CDT 
Tara shaw 2veranda 2005 via CDT

Tara shaw veranda 2005 via CDT

Veranda tara shaw

Veranda tara shaw4 

In the book Creole Houses I found a lot of great insider info AND beautiful pictures... (photographs are taken by Steve Gross and Sue Daley)



New Orleans Home & Lifestyles magazine had some good pictures too...

New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles 1NO7

So much character!

A recent Elle Decor issue featured a young, fresh New Orleans home decorated by Tommy Clements. I love that it mixed the owner's New Orleans heritage with modern elements. 

Elle decor new orleans house

OK, Time Out- let's review the entire house because I'm OBSESSED with this place...

The bathroom is unreal. Everything about it I love- even the robe. 

Elle decor new orleans clements 2

I, personally, would not have chosen that artwork for the kitchen- mainly because it doesn't seem to flow with the rest of the house.. but hey, it's not a deal breaker. 

However, the dining room. Is. Awesome. That glossy trestle table paired with the unique, rustic chairs, the black/white photograph and the pop of greenery !! Love.

Elle decor sure thing clements

AND the bedroom!!! I can't even talk about it.

So chic. So interesting. SO New Orleans.

See, now that I've done my research <insert air quotes> I can say things like that: SO New Orleans.- I mean- NAH'lins.  

 At this point all I need is a shopping trip. Who's with me??

(image #1- via flickr, image #2- via Creole Houses, image #3- interior by Gerrie Bremermann, image #4-via House Beautiful)

In The Hamptons...

Can you believe it's almost August already?? This summer has flown by way too fast. I feel like I say this every summer.. Yup, I do.

Last week Hoyt and I were in NYC and we decided to take a quick trip up to East Hampton to visit some friends. We thought- why not?? It's TOO hot in the city right now! And I've always wanted to go there and see what all the hype was about. 


Here's what I found:

In the Hamptons...

You can't beat the weather. There's a nice breeze that makes the summer heat actually pleasant! (imagine that!?),


You walk a lot (unless you live there and own a car) 


Walking in the Hamptons? I can't complain! Plus, I had some time to snap pictures- 



You'll see shingle style homes (aged to perfection) against stark white trim. I could never tire of this look... 
IMG_8885 IMG_8898
IMG_8869 IMG_8899 

I personally like the older homes better than the newer ones... but I'll take either!




(you see a lot of those cars parked out front too)

In the Hamptons,

The landscaping is impeccable. 



Lots and lots of hydrangeas in brilliant shades of blue and purple,



The town is quaint and adorable,

full of attractive people,

and attractive stores...

like Double RL-



And Book Hampton, the bookstore that I could spend hours in (whoever selected the blue light fixtures is a genius)

In the Hamptons... 

the windows are left open,


The sidewalks go on forever,

Dogs drive their own trucks, 



the porch ceilings are all painted blue,

The beach is dreamy, (these pictures are taken with my iphone's Hipstamatic APP! Download it. It's great)   



You find yourself having good old-fashioned fun like playing a game of wiffle ball as the sun goes down....


Okay fine- or just laying in the grass and watching everyone else play...


IMG_3082  IMG_3078
IMG_3094_2  IMG_3099

The sunsets are pretty perfect,

(are you beginning to see a common thread here..?)



The place is a dreamWe didn't want to leave...

(this photo was taken with the new iphone APP where it shows the persons thoughts!)


That's so sweet of you, Hoyt....I hope I didn't spoil my Christmas present! ;)

Still dreaming...


(all photos taken by me; and just in case you're wondering- there is no APP that shows the person's thoughts. The day they come out with that one  is the day dogs will be driving cars.)


A few weeks ago my client handed me these pictures out of her 'inspiration file' and I gasped. 

Love it. 

The rustic, the antique, the elegant, the modern, the classical, and the drama of mixing it all...


Picture 1 

Isn't it awesome?!

Speaking of drama... While Hoyt and I were at the beach we saw a beautiful sunset and the photograph turned out to be quite dramatic...

And then I got bored with my magazines and picked up.... Twilight. 

(dum dum dum DUM)


Gotta go back to it. Can't help myself...


 *the first three photos are from Connecticut Home & Garden--I think?? The designer is Gretchen Mann*


Santa Fe Home

Several weeks back I posted about my trip to Santa Fe and teased you with a few pictures of the beautiful home I stayed in. Like I promised, I am now back with more eye candy.


First, let me give credit where credit is due.

The Owners: Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with Janine and Ronnie Dunn. (Yes, the Ronnie Dunn from the rockin' country music duo Brooks & Dunn!) To say that I adore their family is an understatement. They are some of the most genuine people I know and it just so happens that their taste..? is impeccable. I went out to Santa Fe with them with the expectation that their western getaway would probably be amazing......

It did not disappoint.

The Designers: This home was previously owned by Renea and Greg Abbott. Renea Abbott and Barbara Carlton are the talented mother/daughter designers who own Shabby Slips in Houston, TX. (I have yet to be in their store but if it's anything like this house I'd be drooling at the doorstep.) So when the Dunns bought the home a few years ago-- they didn't have to change much.  

So that's the background. Now I'm going to do what I do best on this blog: let the pictures do the talking.... 


OK wait- one more thing...

One major selling point for them was the view. The back porch looks out over the entire city of Santa Fe. It's unreal! And you know how the sky is HUGE out west?? Well, it's even bigger from up there...

SF capital

fun fact: The sun sets in the west over the Ortiz mountains. To the East are the Sangre De Cristo (Blood Of Christ) mountains- named for the red color they turn at sunset. 



One thing I LOVED about this place was the quirky floorplan. It's unique and very fitting for a home in Santa Fe. To orient yourselves: the backporch/VIEW is to the left of the sofa, the next hallway leads to the kitchen/breakfast room, the hallway to the right leads to the front door. 


Moving onto the dining room... 



The painting to the far left has been replaced. With none other than... a Joe Andoe original.

It's STUNNING in person.


The charming kitchen....


IMG_6083 IMG_6081 



A little sitting room right outside the master bedroom...


Talk about a headboard! (Double click photo for the full effect)


The winning back porch... (that spans the entire length of the house)




Behind the house there is a path that leads up to a little chapel

Which was covered in snow when I saw it...


And here it is at night...

 Soooo pretty and peaceful....


The End. 

(for now, atleast)

 <photos by Ronnie Dunn ... and some by me. But the good ones are his.>

Santa Fe Sky

I'm in Santa Fe for work...

Blog 3 

The sky here goes on forever... 

and the new fallen snow makes it even more beautiful!

I have lost all concept of time and the internet was down for a few days so if you have emailed or called- this is why. And I promise I'll back in action tomorrow.

But seriously, look how pretty...

Blog 1
Blog 2 

The house I'm staying in?? Amazing.....


The previous owner and decorator was Renea Abbott owner of Shabby Slips in Houston, TN. I'll post more pictures soon... Y'all are going to love it!!

In the mean time, you can find me over at Style Blueprint when I went on a shopping trip with Liza a few weeks ago. We perused through some of my very favorite antique stores in Franklin, TN. Check it out here.!!!

 Also, a big thank you to Holly from Things that Inspire for including me as one of her new favorite blogs for 2010. It meant so much coming from her because I find her blog to be one of my favorite inspirations. Check out some of her recent posts here.

One more thing and then I'll stop talking. I'm so excited about all of the nursery votes I've gotten in! Thank you for participating. I love how each of you has their own style and preference when it comes to decor.  I'll post the winner in the next few days so if you haven't voted yet there is still time! 

I leave today.

Goodbye Santa Fe sky...


a New England adventure

Rye, New Hampshire. What a dream...
I'll start by showing the house we stayed in (along with the rest of the wedding party our new friends):

And every morning I peered out my window blinds to find this:

Not too shabby.

My post on Friday said that I was going to New Hampshire and wished I could bring a bike. I got several comments and emails from blog readers recommending where to go in the area. One particular email was from a woman named Colette, (a reader who had not written me until now) that read: "I have a summer place in rye beach with two new bikes. Would love for you to ride!" She then continued to leave her address, where she leaves her spare key, and a detailed list of where to go and what to do.

Did I mention how much I love blogging? I put a bike on my 'wish list' and low and behold get TWO waiting right down the street from me in the middle of Rye, New Hampshire. Crazy!!! I'm still convinced Colette is an angel.

On Saturday Hoyt was busy with 'best man' stuff and I took off for on an adventure to a) find these bikes and b) eat a lobster. I convinced my new friend (whose boyfriend was also doing 'man stuff')  to tag along. Following Colette's directions we hiked down the beach as the words in her email started to come alive in front of us: (Colette's words in pink)

If you head south along the ocean, turn up Sea Road, by old beach club, great tree lined street:


 Rye has several beaches and my house is near Cable beach which is excellent for walking...


 It is flat, long and so wide at low tide that the sunset reflects off the wet tide and I rejoice at the beauty of creation. Yeah God.



The dogs will be romping and swimming and you can't help but smile at their reckless abandon.  It will be hard to leave.

It was hard to leave (without stealing a dog) but we had to find the bikes so we hopped off the beach and landed right by Colette's street. 
We found her house minutes later along a quiet neighborhood street... 

*I'm so mad that I didn't take a picture but I was too busy trying to get the bikes that I forgot!! Although it might be best to keep it private. But just so you can get a visual picture it looked alot like this: (quaint and adorable)

We walked around back and saw the 2 bikes propped up inside but lo and behold, no one was home. We fished around for the key (where she said we would find it) but only found a few bugs. So, what did I do?

Why, I called her on her cell phone! This adventure wouldn't be over without a fight.

 Hi Colette! It's Rachel from nestegg!! (never said that before) I'm at your house and we see the bikes but we can't get to them!! 

To which she responded: Oh no! I'm so sorry!! Well, you can break the door down..? I don't care! Or find a cracked window and pry it open!! 

Wow, I love this woman.

So as we are circling the house pushing doors and prying windows a neighbor stopped by "Ummm... may I help you?"

Thankfully our peacoats and big smiles convinced the neighbor that we were safe. But I couldn't help but daydream about WHAT IF a police officer pulls us aside for questioning:

"Maam, do you know the owner of this home?"

"Well, sort of sir. She reads my blog- nest egg... Her name is Colette...?? I dont know her last name."


After much illegal trespassing we ended up not being able to get the bikes but it was the thought (and adventure) that counted! Don't worry Colette, I'll be back next year for attempt #2. :)

We had to hurry back for the wedding festivities! So we took off down the road (on the marsh side this time) as I read:

However, you will get to see the trees right along seacoast as development is prohibited because of all the marshland. Unique place Rye is because of the wetlands!

That, it is.


Some leaves were on the brink of changing...

while others were way ahead of the game:

We were able to see the cute coastal homes. The shingle cottages were my favorite...

Then we went into Portsmouth...for some shopping and cruising.

I love towns like these where the buildings are so bright and colorful. It adds so much personality to a city. I would have taken more pictures but it was raining. 

Then I ran into a little store called Hoyt's which was none other than an OFFICE SUPPLY STORE. Could it be any more perfect? I love office supplies-!! And Hoyt! Had to take a pic.


And finally, the wedding:



the cute little church where the ceremony was held


Me and the best man (above, not below)

The lovely bride and groom! They danced to THIS SONG by the Avett Brothers... it was precious. 


Hoyt and his toast...

simple, beautiful flower arrangements


Thanks to Rob and Barbie for the wonderful wedding weekend!! And thanks to Colette for being such a generous blog reader and quite the tour guide! 

Be back soon with design related posts! Promise.



I'm off to Rye, New Hampshire!

Why Rye? you might ask...

One of Hoyt's closest friends from Charlotte is getting married. Hoyt is the best man... and by the transitive property of association that makes me the best woman.  Right??? :)

I wish the best woman could pack a bike to cruise around town on. This one would be nice:

Fendi bike

And biking through Rye you'd probably find the best woman wearing something like this:

Twin Farms, Vermont

Apparently this week is supposed to be PEAK LEAF weekend and we are staying in a house that sits on the coast! Don't worry, I have my camera safely packed up and will be back next week with pictures!

Has anyone ever been to Rye? Any places I need to check out?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


2 Fendi Abici bike- as seen in Vogue, image via flickr

3 For my outfit pieces click here


I took off for Austin, Texas this weekend- a spur of the moment trip to visit one of my girlfriends. First time to Austin (or Texas for that matter)- and I loved it! 



That's Celeste. She's a rockstar. And quite the tour guide! 


We toured the town on bikes. All day. 

And the day was beautiful...


 and apparently very 'cool' for Texas weather. Although we did hit up some fans every now and then...


Then we stopped by the local animal shelter called Town Lake... WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF? I'll never know. 

I couldn't help but photograph these faces. And I'm not kidding- it's like they were asking for a photo session..



<cue Sarah Mclachlan song>






What did I tell you? Heart. Wrenching. 

If that doesn't make you want to hop over to your nearest shelter...

Good news is: Celeste filled out an application. She's going to get one!! The story is a little more complicated- involving a dog that's not actually hers that she's trying to re-possess. Hmmm.. Stay tuned...

We then finished off the afternoon by jumping in Barton Springs-


 why don't they have one of these everywhere?

I finally met her cute boyfriend-


Dinner at this fabulous little restaurant called Parkside-

love this shelf system-

Picture 1

Picture 2

Most of the decor that I saw in Austin was alot like this- simple, sustainable, no frills, no fuss. Just a really laid back urban vibe... Not like any other city I've been to. 

Went by Hotel San Jose on South Congress- ever been? 



<photos from southern living>

Also went to another really cool place called Eastside Showroom. Didn't take pictures but loved it. 

and then there was dancing.. ofcourse.


Lots of laughs...


and I mean belly laughs!

IMG_4020Love you Celeste! Thanks for showing me a good time. 

Oh, and while we are OFF the subject of design:

Hoyt turned 30 yesterday!! Happy Birthday to my sweetheart. 



All pictures (except the few I cited above) by me- *Some people have inquired about this: I slightly edit these pictures in iphoto (sometimes I use Photoshop Suites but mainly just iphoto)- convert some to black and white, crop, etc. It's easy, I promise.

Rustic Elegance

One of my favorite things to do in life is 

fine dining with people that I love.


There's nothing better. In fact, I think heaven might be a lot like that. Where the dining table goes on and on and on and on...

When we were in North Carolina this past weekend my sweet Dad treated us to dinner at Artisanal- an absolute gem in the middle of Banner Elk, NC.

 where is that? Here.

 Bill Greene, owner and chef, started off at a very young age working at a country club in NC. He then went on to cook at some of the best restaurants in the country- including becoming the sous-chef for one of their 4 star restaurants, Le Cirque,in New York. But apparently the fast pace life didn't work for him because he soon returned to his hometown in Banner Elk- and now graces this tiny town with his amazing culinary skills. 
His precious wife, Anita, runs the show.

<flatware wallpaper by anthropologie>

(+1= reasons to visit Artisanal)

Picture 9

“This place is amazing”. There is no other word to describe the beauty of the setting and the barn like building, but inside is warmth and elegance. We call it Rustic Elegance”. -Anita Greene

I was going to say that I cannot even begin to describe what is was like pulling up to the restaurant but Anita just said it for me... Trust us- it's perfect. The exterior is dramatic with its dark stain and rustic roof yet it gracefully blends into the setting.  +1

Picture 3

And the interior... +1

Where SCALE is everything.

Picture 11

the wine cellar below- amazing. +1

Picture 2

<all images above from artisinal website>

I pulled my camera out to take a few pics of my own but immediately felt like the paparazzi. That combined with my mouth hanging open for 4 hours straight are reasons for dismissal in my opinion. But they let me stay+1... and devour my food. +1


 OTTN: the driftwood horse sculpture... absolutely stunning. +1 Their 'horse theme' is repeated throughout but not overdone in the slightest bit.

***I'd like to state here that the food here is out of this world+1.... the calamari is the best I've ever had. It's not fried but yet it's not raw either-- again, unexplainable. +1


The outdoor dining porch sits beside a quiet stream.+1 We sat at the far table in the back- and let me tell you: a peaceful stream + self-induced food comatose = Night night Rachel.

One reason I loved it is because of the fabulous, carefully selected decor+1 <I can't find the name of the designer for Artisanal but as soon as I find out I will let you know. Whoever you are- I'm very impressed.>

Some items I spotted (or "look alikes"):

Picture 12Hickorychair


Solaria chandelier Picture 14

(1) Lee barstools sat at the bar.

(2) Hickory Chair Gunnison leather chair

(4) My dad, Hoyt and a great looking sofa from I-don't-know-where

(3) Solaria rope chandelier

(4) Lee Grand Lounger chair

I told Anita as I left- "Even your toilet paper holders are impeccable." +1

< they are old horseshoes nailed flat against the wall and carefully bent to hold TP- nothing else to it >

If you'd like to take your spouse or significant other on a romantic getaway for a weekend I highly recommend staying at:

Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC


and treating yourself to Artisanal for a little taste of heaven.

Picture 6

I just gave you 10+ reasons!!! That's why.


p.s. If anyone in my family is reading this I promise I'll stop talking raving about Artisanal. I admit- I've gone a little overboard and probably embarrassed you in front of the staff. It's only because I think it's amazing... best restaurant I've ever been to... aaaaaand I'm doing it again. 

Status: Porch


I am here.
If I haven't responded to your email in the past few days- this is why...
I will be back Monday!

and I passed this on the way to a hike yesterday- 


Have a great weekend...
Kick your feet up.
Let your hair down.
Hang your undies out to dry.

East, West...

When returning from a vacation my grandmother used to always say: "East, West, Home's Best!"

I felt the same way when I got back from Mexico the other night. 

Well, it was more like: East, West-wait,what day is it? 

Anyway, Hoyt and I had an incredible time in Cabo... but it's good to be home. I want to share a few pictures with you- in hopes that it will brighten your day!


I have a client that wants her house to reflect the color of water. 
I'll say, "What do you want your living room to look like?"
She'll immediately pull out her latest Coastal Living, point to a beautiful picture of the ocean and reply:
Susan, these are for you!

TTN: those are seals

my sweet sister-n-law, Julianne
Sunset Beach Resort- where we stayed. I highly recommend it! Hoyt and his brother got an incredible deal- not to mention international flights are el cheapo right now.
Livin' it up at the Hotel California....
(kurt-hoyt's brother, julianne, me, hoyt)
Mexican Markets galore
The view from our balcony- (really tough on the eyes, i know)
these adorable children on the beach- I was obsessing over their chunky thighs and cute little wedgies. (Thankfully their mother did not understand a word I was saying)
Sun bathing seal-
Is it just me or does the Lion King song come to mind when seeing this picture? This one.
i dont know... i just like it
Relaxation charge? Complete.
Like the color scheme of the resorts' towels?? 
me too.
I'm going to design a hypothetical bathroom around it- stay tuned...


South of the Border

I'm taking a vacation.



 I went to the website of the resort we are staying at and found a category called A Typical Day. Hmmm... intriguing. I had to click.

(I don't want to make fun of whoever wrote this but I think it's highly entertaining and had to share:)

A Typical Day
(my favorite parts highlighted)

8:00 AM

8:00 AM

The sun rose at exactly 7:03, however the two didn't move until almost an hour later. It was warm, comfortable. He glanced at the clock as she said room service. Good idea. The breeze from the doorway finally stirring them.

11:00 AM

11:00 AM

They decided on shopping, at least for a couple of hours, something for the kids. Cabo San Lucas was bustling, but they knew what they were looking for. She winked at him. Better take that nap he thought.

1:30 PM

1:30 PM

As they entered the Manila Bar back at the resort, their appetites were stirred. They started with salsa, chips and two blended margaritas, followed by two tostadas la casa. Yes, he thought, a nap definitely.

3:30 PM

3:30 PM

They awake refreshed, and energetic. Just enough time for a set of tennis and a quick jacuzzi before the cocktail hour. I finally beat you, she said. I slipped on set point, he replied. Right, she said. He dunked her.

8:00 PM

8:00 PM

Something different tonight? Of course. They relaxed completely in La Nao, their restaurant of choice, and night in the resort. I believe I'll have the salmon. And I, the veal. It was perfect. The food, the wine, the company.

10:00 PM

10:00 PM

Later, after a walk on the beach, she reached over and pinched him. He knew what that meant, and he was glad they had napped. The night was young and would last into the early morning.

Sign me up!!
I hope they found what they were looking for. 

Anyway, I'm SOOOOO excited!!! 

In most cases like this I always feel like I don't deserve a 4-star vacation. But over the past 2 months I have been working my b*tt off to start my own business. And I finally feel like I can say: I deserve this vacation.
nevermind. I still can't say it.  I will never deserve this nice of a resort-!!

but hey, I'll take it. And raise you a daiquiri.

I'll be back in a week with pictures and maybe a funny story or two. (that hopefully doesn't involve dunking...?)

p.s. While I am gone you are allowed to date other people look at other blogs. Here's a few ones I have found recently that I really like:
(always has pretty pictures to look at)
(a fabulous foodie blog, not to mention a friend of mine:)
(the fashionista version of my blog: get the look for less $ out of your nestegg!)

That's all for now!