CATEGORY: Living La Belle Vie

Getting Cozy Around the House, Yelp Photo Exhibit and Fifth Avenue Style

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It’s fall and we finally have weather conditions to match. Thank heavens. It means I can finally start layering! I decided layering is my favorite thing – in clothes, decor, pastries, meaning….. if you think about it, there’s really no instance when layering isn’t a good idea.

Anyway, around our house, layering comes in the form of blankets, throws and sheepskin all over the place. And no one appreciates that more than this little hedonist:

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This happened within about two minutes of me putting that sheepskin down. Here and the nearby heat vent will be his two favorite spots in the house from now until March.

Elsewhere around the house, I’m still loving my new dining room light…..

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…..and seeing it from different angles.

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Plenty of roasted vegetables are being consumed…..

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…..as are pomegranates.

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And in some fun news, Yelp Paris chose one of my Instagram photos to be part of a special pop-up photo exhibit they held this month in Paris. I wish I could have been there to see it but at least they posted this snapshot from the exhibit with my photo on the bottom left:

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Here’s the actual photo which I took on my summer Paris trip:

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More fun came in the form of this beautifully wrapped package from interior designer Howard Slatkin:

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Inside was a copy of his new book, Fifth Avenue Style (The Vendome Press, October 2013):

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How sweet is he?

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The book takes readers on a very intimate tour of his glamorous Fifth Avenue apartment as well as his process in creating every little detail.

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Layered, luxurious and over the top in the most fabulous way, his home is out of this world and Fifth Avenue Style is a stunner.

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In other words, you’re going to want to get your hands on a copy. More information can be found here.

And speaking of Fifth Avenue, I’m heading to New York this weekend so I could not ask for anything more. The only thing I love more than fall is fall in New York!  If you’d like to follow along on all my usual New York shenanigan, I’ll be on Twitter (@FromTheRightBnk) and Instagram (@FromTheRightBank). See you there!

(All photos by FROM THE RIGHT BANK except 7. by Yelp Paris 10-13. by Tria Giovan/Vendome Press)

 

Living La Belle Vie: Bring On Summer!

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It’s summertime!

I think most people would agree that summer is the happiest season of the year, am I right? I equate summer with fun and in my family where everyone’s birthdays are all in summer months, there’s even more of an excuse to celebrate and take advantage of everything summer has to offer. These are some of my favorite activities – all simple pleasures that I plan on enjoying fully this season. Please share your own favorites in the comments!

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1. Being in/on/under/over any body of water. I’ve always been a water person. The ocean is my happy place. That being said, I’ll take a lake, river, bay….. Whether it’s a boat ride, canoeing, swimming, snorkeling or just walking along the beach, this to me is the #1 best thing about summer.

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2. The next best thing has to be summer food. Basically I like anything and everything grilled in the summertime: grilled corn on the cob with a squeeze of lime and coarse salt, a salad of grilled peaches and arugula with a shallot vinaigrette,  grilled zucchini with picada ….. all so delicious, healthy and easy to make. That’s my kind of cooking. I’ve also never been to a real clambake and am dying to experience one. I’d also settle for the southern equivalent –  a low country boil. Then there’s summer fruit. I actually don’t eat a lot of fruit during the rest of the year but in the summer, I go a little nuts and consume cherries, peaches, tomatoes and any kind of berries by the bushel. And can we talk about ice cream and popsicles? Yup, summer at its best.

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3. Naturally, we need some libations to cool off. My favorite summer cocktail is a Pimm’s cup (there’s a good, simple recipe here). After that, I’ll take a nice glass of rosé. And to celebrate all those birthdays, it’s always a glass of pink champagne. Iced tea, iced coffee, lemonade and at least one fruity drink out of a pineapple or coconut are also a must during the summer.

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4. All of this food and drink will, of course, taste better outside….. whether it’s a picnic, bbq, garden party or lunch at a sidewalk cafe. For cocktails, I’m especially fond of rooftop decks, high above the city.

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5. In the summer, I like to take my entertainment outside too. If you’re lucky enough to have a drive-in, please go so I can live vicariously. I’ve always wanted to go to one! When we lived in New York, the summer film festival at Bryant Park was always fun. Outdoor movie nights at home seems to be popular these days too. I would find it technically challenging but if you’re more competent than I am, here are some tips for hosting one yourself. And of course there are also outdoor concerts to attend, croquet and pétanque to play and maybe even some new lands to explore…..

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6. Finally, summer days aren’t called lazy for nothing. It’s the time for naps in hammocks, watching sunsets, reading fun books and just hanging out doing nothing at all. No wonder everyone seems happier in summer! I say bring it on!

So what about you? What are some of your summer pleasures?

(Photos via Pinterest)

Floral Bouquets to Celebrate Spring: A Simple How-To

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Happy Spring, everybody!  I equate spring with flowers and I really enjoy creating arrangements with all the pretty blooms that become available this time of year. I talked before about how having fresh flowers around the house is a must for me. A simple bunch of one flower will always do the trick but sometimes it’s nice to put together something a little more special like these. And it’s surprisingly easy to do if you just deconstruct them.

This one is stunning and it’s just tulips, hyacinth, ranunculus and peonies in pastel shades:

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This one is just roses and hydrangeas in dusty colors with chamomile all cut very short:

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If you can’t find chamomile, you could substitute daisies or some filler flowers like baby’s breath. (I think chamomile blooms later in the year anyway.)

This beautiful bunch is made up of ranunculus, hyacinth, sweet peas and queen anne’s lace in shades of pink and cream:

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With all of these bouquets, simply gather all the heads together tightly in the shape you want, trim the stems to fit the vase or whatever vessel you are using and voilà. Easy, right?

So go and make yourself a pretty bouquet to enjoy over the weekend and let me know how it turns out! See you Monday!

(Photos via Pinterest as linked.)

*Living La Belle Vie is an FTRB series about celebrating the everyday. You can read more about it here and see other posts in the series here.

Living La Belle Vie: Making Time For Your Passions

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So I did something pretty drastic this weekend that I wanted to share with you.

For quite a while, I’ve been frustrated with how I’m scheduling and using my time. When you don’t have a 9 to 5 office job, your days can flow one to the next, weekdays into weekends without clear delineations between work and play. I both love and hate this. On the one hand, I love having a totally flexible schedule and am grateful for it everyday. But on the other hand, no matter what I’m doing, I always feel like I should be doing something else, like I’m wasting my time with this when I should be doing that. And the worst part is, because I already feel like I’m not doing enough, I never make time for a lot of things that are true passions because it feels frivolous and indulgent.

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All this crystalized for me when I started journaling about it. I made a list of all the things that take up my time during a given week as well as the things I’d like to do but can never seem to find the time. I want to draw and paint more; I want to finally watch all the films in my ridiculously long Netflix queue; I want to re-read all the classics and all those books I’ve only read reviews of; And of course, there are all those house projects. Well, guess what? These are all offline activities.

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I knew (even before this little exercise) that I was spending too much time online. The web has been the source of so many wonderful things in my life, including real friendships, but it can also cause so much anxiety. I want to keep up with everyone and everything and not miss out on the newest and the latest. Of course this is an impossible task and I’ve become better about letting go but I need to do better.

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So what was the drastic thing I did? I went completely offline. And I plan on doing that on the weekends from now on. The one exception is Instagram. It’s my visual diary and I want to keep documenting my days which only takes a few minutes. But that is all. This will leave my weekends free to do all those other activities, and most importantly, without guilt. And by the same token, on weekdays, I won’t feel guilty if I fall down an internet rabbit hole every now and then.

FROM THE RIGHT BANK | www.fromtherightbank.comLife is short and we need to make time for the things that we love doing instead of just complaining about not having time. So what about you? What’s your relationship with the internet like these days?  Have any strategies for balancing life online and off? I’d love to hear.

*Living La Belle Vie is an FTRB series about celebrating the everyday. You can read more about it here and see other posts in the series here.

(Cartoon by Dean Vietor/New Yorker)

Living La Belle Vie: Simple Fresh Flowers (Or, Carnations Get a Bad Rap)

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At the top of my list for Living La Belle Vie are fresh flowers around the house. They are one of those small luxuries in life that just make everything better. I know I’m not alone in this. I mean, when was the last time you read one of those must-have/favorite things lists in a magazine or blog that didn’t include fresh flowers?

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But fresh flowers don’t have to mean only deluxe bouquets or just peonies and ranunculus even if they are everyone and their cousins’ favorite flowers (including me).

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Not at all. In fact, today I’d like to extol the virtues of the humble carnation because I think they get a bad rap and I’ve always been a root-for-the-underdog kind of person.

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At some point everyone decided carnations were uncool and I admit I did too. But in the last year or so I’ve had a change of heart. I genuinely think they are beautiful.

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And of course they are about as inexpensive as you can get. So if you’re not up for dropping a lot of dough for flowers, you won’t do better than a simple bouquet of carnations.

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I think they look best in large bunches in single colors. And what about this idea for Christmas:

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We had a small dinner party last week and I had zero time to think about a centerpiece so I just picked up some pale yellow carnations and blue hydrangeas when I was getting groceries for the party. I just put them in two separate pitchers and I thought they looked great with white dinnerware and blue napkins (which you can just barely see here):

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Simple, quick and easy. Gotta love that. In case you’re wondering what was on the menu: cabernet sauvignon braised short ribs, potato puree and shredded brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots. (I don’t eat meat but almost all my friends are total carnivores. It’s cool. I’m not one of those you-can’t-eat-meat-around-me-vegetarians.)

One last thing about carnations – they last forever. A week later and look, they’re still going strong:

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So, have I made any new converts?

You can see more from my Living La Belle Vie series here.

(Photos: 1.via Tumblr 2&3.via Pinterest as linked 4.Project Wedding 5.Martha Stewart Weddings 6.Oprah 7.Country Living 8&9.FROM THE RIGHT BANK)