Lately: A Tropical Resort, Painting Central Park, Serenbe Showhouse & More

Good morning, friends, I’m sharing about a million good things with you today as we say goodbye to summer and usher in fall. #favoriteseason

From our summer vacation, I wanted to show you a few snaps from Sala Phuket Resort because I loved everything about it from the design to the food. I was especially obsessed with our villa with its outdoor bathroom (and shower!) and plunge pool…..  (For the record, this is a completely unbiased, unsponsored post!)

I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of vacationing in that part of the world. I was also happy to learn the Sala group owns a number of properties throughout Thailand and I’m definitely going to be keeping it in mind for future trips!

At home, we’ve been watching Rectify and it is one of the best shows on tv hands down. Heartbreaking and shocking. Happy Valley was really suspenseful and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is just plain hilarious.

I’m also kind of addicted to podcasts these days. I’ve been listening to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, the RobCast, Unmistakable Creative, and Good Life Project. I’m looking for others so please let me know if there are any you’d recommend on the topics of spirituality, creativity and especially style.

This time of year, I tend to suffer sensory overload with new product launches, the new season of arts and reports from fashion week coming at us from every direction…..

A September ritual. I look forward to this section every year.
A September ritual. I look forward to this section every year.
Just a couple of my favorite fashion campaigns this season.

There is so much visual stimulation!

There are new books to inspire us too and Vendome Press kindly sent me an advance copy of Painting Central Park by Roger F. Pasquier which is doing just that.

Central Park has inspired so many painters over the years and bringing them together in this beautiful book is a brilliant way to tell the story of this iconic space. Works by George Bellows, William Merritt Chase, Edward Hopper, Milton Avery and many, many others portray the park beautifully as the backdrop for social life and urban history. If you love New York, American history or landscapes, Painting Central Park is a treat.

You can find all the details and see more of the book here.

serenbe designer showhouse

Last but not least, the community of Serenbe and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles unveiled the dreamy 2015 Designer Showhouse. I went to a preview this past weekend and as you can see, the designers just knocked it out of the park! There is much, much more so if you’re in the area, go and be inspired! The showhouse is open now through October 4, 2015 and you can find all the details here.

I’ve also been writing up a storm related to Project Simplify so expect many posts this week and next!

(Photos by FROM THE RIGHT BANK except for the fashion campaign spreads and podcast logos)

Project Simplify: 30-Day Declutter Challenge

coffee table FTRB
No matter how much I simplify, this coffee table will always be layered!

Thank you so much for all of your helpful comments on the last post! I really appreciate all of your input. I would love to continue the discussion so please keep them coming.

So as I said there, I want to look at five different areas as part of Project Simplify and I’ve decided to break it up into monthly subprojects as follows:

September: House
October: Wardrobe
November: Financial/legal/business (I want it to encompass anything that needs regular updating and maintenance such as online accounts/subscriptions, emails, scheduling house/car maintenance, etc.)
December: None – time off for the holidays!
January: Creative projects including studio/office space
February: Health and spirituality

My goal is to tidy up the rest of the house like the kitchen!
I’m starting in the kitchen and the goal is to get the part you don’t see to be as tidy as this side!

So beginning with the house, the one strategy I like best (and suggested by Aimee and Haley) is tackling one small area at a time. I found a 30-day checklist on PopSugar and adapted it to better fit my needs. With today being the first of the month, I’m starting on the list today! #soexcited

FTRB 30-Day Simplify and Declutter Challenge
1.  Fridge and pantry
2.  Kitchen cabinets and drawers
3.  Medicine cabinet
4.  Makeup and skin care items
5.  Bathroom drawers
6.  Linen closet
7.  Storage
8.  More Storage
9.  Holiday decor, gift wrap, etc.
10. Coat Closet
11. Media (DVD’s, CD’s, etc.)
12. Electronics and gadgets
13. Travel items
14. Receipts and mail
15. Desk
16. Digital photos
17. Computer data
18. Books and magazines
19. Fabric stash
20. Laundry room
21. Dog items
22. Garage
23. Outdoor areas
24. Cars
25. Files/documents
26. Stationary/office supplies
27. Samples, swatches and misc.
28. Art supplies
29. Old journals and artwork
30. Photos and memorabilia

A couple of things to note. I’ve left out all clothing-related items since I will be addressing them in October when I will deal with my wardrobe. I have a different strategy for that beast(!) so please check in next month for that. Also, I’m going to be traveling at the end of this month so I’m going to handle items #25-30 in January when I tackle creative projects and studio/office. (That’s where all of these things are located anyway so it kind of makes sense.) So this will technically be a 24 + 6-Day Challenge. If you want to use this list, items #25-30 are also the ones that you could switch out for things I left out like clothes, kids’ rooms, etc. or for things related to your own hobbies and activities.

I’m going to post my daily progress on Snapchat if you’d like to see how I’m doing (username FromTheRightBnk) and I’ll also report back here at the end and share any insights.

So are any of you up for the challenge? If you are, please share any thoughts and updates!


Living La Belle Vie: Project Simplify


Lately, I’ve been completely consumed with the idea of simplifying my life.  If you’re a regular reader, this may sound entirely antithetical to my love of all the pretty things. Initially it did to me too and I was embarrassed to even talk about it with anyone. But when I obsess over something in a thinking-about-it-almost-every-waking-moment kind of way, I know there is something there to explore and I have most certainly been pondering this nonstop.

So the first thing I want to examine is: Can maximalist tendencies coexist with minimalist concepts?

They sound like diametrically opposed ideas but I have to think there is a way for those of us who just aren’t cut out to be minimalists but who still want to live more simply and I’m determined to figure it out once and for all. I think I was on the right track in this post (from more than 3 years ago!) and it’s time to revisit that approach!


The other thing I want to examine is: Aside from physical possessions, what else can be simplified to decrease stress, increase peace of mind and leave us with more time and energy?

I’ve broken Project Simplify into five main areas: 1) home (the obvious one); 2) wardrobe (also pretty obvious); 3) financial/legal/business; 4) creative projects; and 5) health and spirituality.

I want to take a look at these five areas in the coming months and share what I’m learning and tips I find useful. I’d also love to get any insights and advice you may have. I feel like there’s a big shift happening right now and more than ever, many of us are yearning to edit, pare down, organize…..  Maybe we can help each other along?

So I’ll be contemplating this – and not doing much else – on vacation next week in Thailand. I’ve been counting down the days! The past month has been really stressful on many fronts so this vacation is coming at the perfect time. The inevitable coconut and palm tree images will be on Instagram (@fromtherightbank) and Snapchat (@fromtherightbnk)!

Hope you’re all enjoying these last days of summer. See you in September!


Berlin Journal

Berlin Wall

Berlin was so much more than I expected and two weeks later, I’m still feeling buoyed by all the great design and creativity I saw. I hadn’t been there in 26 years(!) so I did a lot of research and planning beforehand and we ended up having one of the most fun trips in recent memory.

Going forward, I’m going to try and share more of my travel finds and experiences here on the blog. For a long time, I felt that if I can’t cover every aspect of a destination, it’s not worthwhile. (Perfectionist tendencies rearing its ugly head again.) But I’ve also been feeling like it’s a shame not to share all this good information. So I’m going to try and devote more time to putting together these Travel Tips FROM THE RIGHT BANK with the understanding that they’re not meant to be complete guides. (There are certainly more than enough places on the web for basic information on any destination anyway.)

Berlin Tiergarten

So, Berlin. First and foremost, let’s discuss our hotel. Das Stue. Like the city itself, it far exceeded my expectations and don’t you just love when that happens? I’ve been a fan of Patricia Urquiola’s designs for a very long time but after experiencing Das Stue, it’s on a whole other level. The design was so flawless I really could have spent the entire week holed up in the hotel and I would have been happy. Have a look around…..


Around every corner, it was perfection.

But I did leave the hotel long enough to take in some of the sights, to shop and of course, to eat…..


There was a heat wave in most of Europe the week we were there but it was worth suffering the heat to see the Reichstag (she’s a beauty) and we did a quick walk by the Brandenburg Gate and the Wall Memorial.

We spent another very hot (100 degrees!) afternoon walking the length of the East Side Gallery, which is made up of the remnants of the former Berlin wall now covered in some great art.

Our hotel was on the edge of Tiergarten, a huge garden that’s really lush and full of shady trails and lakes. Picture Central Park with a lot more mature trees and a lot less people and that’s the Tiergarten. Peaceful and lovely.

Kreuzberg (Little Istanbul) is full of small cafes, restaurants and shops. I found my favorite shop of the trip there – VooStore – as well as the very quirky Museum of Things.


Checkpoint Charlie is probably the most touristy spot in Berlin but It think it’s a fascinating part of German history and worth a quick visit.

The Helmut Newton Foundation houses the iconic fashion photographer’s personal effects and exhibitions of his work as well as other photographers. On my visit, there were two great exhibits of Willy Maywald and Frank Horvat. If you’re an architecture buff like me, you’ll also want to visit the Bauhaus Archiv which is nearby.

I wanted to check out the design of the Michelberger Hotel so we ducked in for a drink one afternoon. It has a nice laid back, hipster vibe like much of the Friedrichshain neighborhood.

Mitte is the buzziest area by all accounts and one of the areas you’ll want to visit to see contemporary art. There are numerous galleries on and off of the main drag, Augustrasse, where you’ll also find the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (KW). I also recommend two wonderful shops there: Gestalten Space, a concept store and Hut up which makes the most beautiful clothes from just felt, soap and water (no thread!). The Hackische Market also has cute little shops, most with a local focus.

Not pictured, I also did some damage at KaDeWe, which you could call the Harrod’s of Berlin. (It was my birthday after all…..) Its claim to fame is that it is the largest department store on the continent and while it didn’t feel that big to me, it certainly had plenty of everything, including a wonderful gourmet food section.


Now let’s talk about the food.

We ate so well! We had some good spatzle, pretzels, currywurst…. all the usual suspects. But the highlights were all the really innovative and novel restaurants that are making the fine dining scene in Berlin really exciting. Oh and the wines! We discovered so many new and interesting wines predominantly from Germany and Austria but also Hungary. The sommeliers at these restaurants are some of the best I’ve met anywhere. They really know what they are doing.

These were the highlights from the week…..


Cinco by Paco Perez. Playful, Cataln-inspired avant-garde cuisine and presentation. Chef Perez happened to be there the night we dined and he was lovely, which is always a plus.

Tim Raue. This was the husband’s favorite restaurant of the trip. Asian-inspired but like nothing you’ve ever had elsewhere and perfect service. I’m still dreaming of the langoustine dish I had.

Paul Saal. Fresh take on traditional German cuisine, pretty terrace/courtyard and the most interesting location inside a former Jewish girls’ school that also houses the oddball Kennedy Museum and a gallery.

Nobelhart & Schmutzig. This one wins for most creative. I can’t even begin to describe it. It’s great food, sourced locally prepared using traditional methods all served from what they call a shared menu. All I can say is if you’re in Berlin, this is one you’ll want to experience.

Horvath. This was not only my favorite of the trip but it goes on my top 10 list for the entire world. (It was that good!) Inventive Austrian cuisine, very friendly service and the best wine pairings we’ve had anywhere in a very long time. I want to get back on a plane just to eat there again.

So there you have it. Again, this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive guide but just the highlights of my own trip so if you have any tips you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments!


P.S. This was the first time I Snapchatted during a trip and it was so much fun. It’s such an easy way to share short video tours and to give you a better feel for places. I’ll definitely be doing more of it on future trips. So join me there if you’d like to see more from my travels – or behind the scenes at home. I’m @fromtherightbnk.


House Projects Update + Snapchat

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I gave myself a June 30 deadline to complete the major house projects and here we are – almost at the end of June! (How did that happen so fast?) Anyway, I’ll be traveling next week so I’m checking in with you a week early and I’m happy to say I got almost everything done. As I already reported, all of the lighting is installed, the laundry room got a little fancy and the cabinets in the butler’s pantry got painted.

In addition….. the wallpaper also went up in the butler’s pantry…..

cole and son vivienne's lace

The living room finally got that new sofa…..

The guest room got a fun wallpaper (called C’est Magnifique)…..

And the dining room got a new look…..

dining room

I donated the old dining furniture and brought in the table, chairs and lighting from the eat-in space in the kitchen. I also swapped out the art wall for this painting by Atlanta artist Nancy Westfall which I bought as a Christmas present to myself!

Obviously this means the eat-in space looks different too and I love, love, love it. Here’s a very tiny peek of that…..

eat-in space

I hope I can reveal all the full spaces here and everywhere else sometime soon!

The three things I didn’t get to are wallpapering the water closet in the master bath (can’t decide on paper), re-wallpapering my dressing room (glitch with the paper) and painting guest room #1 (can’t decide on color). I plan on getting these knocked out during the summer. I swear!

Then for the rest of 2015, I’m giving myself just one giant task: to clear out and organize the storage room and my office/studio. Both are overflowing and in need of some serious attention. I feel like I’ve got some good momentum going so I’m pretty confident I can do it!

Das Stue Hotel
Das Stue Hotel

So in other news, my first trip for the summer will be to Berlin next week. I haven’t been there since before the wall came down(!) and I’ve been wanting to check out its design scene for a while. There’s also been a lot of buzz around its food lately (really!) and I’ve booked some interesting sounding places to check out. Also, we’ll be staying at Das Stue Hotel which I blogged about back when I didn’t even have plans to go to Berlin but just really loved the design. So you can count on plenty of hotel pics on Instagram (@fromtherightbank)!

If you’d like to follow along on this trip, I’ll also be on Snapchat. Now let’s talk about Snapchat and Instagram for a minute.

On Instagram, I try to post only really pretty or interesting photos because that’s what I personally enjoy seeing. And yes, I edit the heck out of most of my photos to get them to look how I want. So hopefully, what you’re getting with my Instagram feed is a beautiful gallery of photos as opposed to just a bunch of snapshots. There’s nothing wrong with that of course but it’s just not how I like to use it.

Now enter Snapchat! I only got on it recently and I’m having so much fun posting snaps and videos of what’s going on behind the scenes at FTRB and random things I’m up to, all on the fly. So if you want to see it all – the unplugged, raw, unfiltered, etc. – join me there! I’m @fromtherightbnk – no ‘a’ in ‘bnk’.

Well, I think that’s enough from me for today. See you back here in a couple of weeks!