culture

book club

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I’ve been completely MIA from my blog for a while, but my excuse is that I was in Greece all last week and was just having too much fun (and also the wifi was a bit spotty). I’m in London now for a couple of days with my mom and am planning to share photos from both Greece and England once I’m home and have things sorted out a bit more. Bear with me!

For now though, I figured I’d share a book that I just finished in case you’re on the lookout for something new to read. I picked up An Italian Wife at the bookstore at LAX and ended up really liking it. The story starts in the late 1800’s and follows the life of Josephine Rimaldi through nearly 100 years, beginning with her early adulthood in Italy and following her through a move to America, where she has children and attemps to assimilate into her new country. It’s a really well written, easy read, and is perfect if you’re looking for a vacation read with substance.

Have a good Memorial Day!

chateau de gudanes

chateau de gudanes france renovation Have you heard of Chateau de Gudanes? It’s an eighteenth century chateau in the South of France that an Australian family has purchased and is restoring, sharing their progress online and via instagram. I had read about the project a few years ago when they first bought it (their story has been featured on Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar) but forgot about it until I came across this update.

The abandoned house had been neglected for years and was/is in need of major help; there was water and structural damage, parts of the interior were just rubble and the roof had caved in in various sections. I can’t imagine taking on such a project, but it’s kind of magical and addicting to watch as they go about their renovations. The family is hoping to be finished with the project this year, and is planning to open to the public for weekend stays – who’s coming with me? 02-chateau-gudanes-update 06-chateau-gudanes-update 08-chateau-gudanes-update 04-chateau-gudanes-update 11-chateau-gudanes-update 09-chateau-gudanes-updateIMG_9351 IMG_7747 chateau gudanes france french chateau renovation chateau de gudanes

an interview with mary elizabeth peterson

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Today I’m sharing a little interview with Mary Elizabeth Peterson, a contemporary abstract artist based in Connecticut. I first discovered her work via Pottery Barn (where so many good things come from), as she currently sells some work on their site like this gorgeous painting that I’m hoping to buy soon. Read on to learn about her inspirations and how she got started, and check out more of her work here. Thanks, Mary Elizabeth!

How did you get started?

I began oil painting in private lessons at age nine. It was clear from the start that I had an exciting “mind’s eye” and that it would need to be developed. But art school seemed too risky so I pursued a degree and skill in journalism. I was a young, rising star VP at a national brokerage house in 1997 when I learned I would need 11 hours of life-threatening brain surgery. With major brain surgery they save the “life support” form for last. The last-minute timing is actually good. There’s no time to think. You just have to trust in your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. I wrote: “if I can’t paint, pull the plug.” At the time, that statement didn’t even have the slightest practical application in my life! It was literally hidden between the lines. But when I was finally able to work again after my surgery I started dropping in on classes at The Corcoran College of Art + Design. I’m pretty sure my art career would have never happened if I hadn’t needed brain surgery. I could not be more happy and fulfilled than I am today as a full-time artist!

How did the Pottery Barn collaboration come about?

The short answer is: Pottery Barn found me! I have been licensing work to them and a handful of other retailers and dealers.

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3.   My art originates from visual memories of remote landscapes, waterways and intriguing natural objects like seedpods. I sort this “mental slideshow” and cull out elements that are not strictly representational but strike me as being somehow or even vaguely familiar.

4.   For the last six years I have been working in a three-story lakeside sunroom studio. I moved recently and I am looking for a new space. I NEED to be near water to be most creative!

5.   I have been nursing two “coffee table book” ideas for a long time and I am close to actually finishing one about accidental art or art made by passersby!

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Vintage Shopping Tips

 

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Today I have a little interview I did with my friend Annette, the vintage and antique shopping expert and blogger behind A Vintage Splendor. She’s always wearing something amazing that she found at a thrift shop or instagramming a killer flea market find, so I asked her to share some of her shopping tips and secrets. Luckily she obliged and now I have some great new shops and websites to check out!

“Have you always been into vintage, or was there something specific that sparked your interest?”

I’ve always been interested in vintage clothing, jewelry, and decor.  I love the craftsmanship of vintage pieces, plus I love the story of each piece.  I used to go vintage shopping with my Mom when I was younger and she taught me the tricks of the trade as they say.  She showed me where to shop, how to spot quality designer pieces, and most importantly have fun with the whole experience. Although Iris Apfel has the largest collection of vintage costume jewelry, my Mom and I collectively have an amazing collection!

I have to admit, in High School I did get weird looks from friends when I told them I snagged pieces from the thrift store.  I’m so glad that there isn’t a weird stigma with buying vintage or second hand pieces anymore.

“What are your favorite vintage/antique shops in LA?”

My favorite vintage store for clothing is Sweet As Vintage in Echo Park and for furniture it has to be Sunbeam Vintage in Highland Park. Sweet As Vintage is owned by 2 best friends who put the cool in curate.  Every single piece in their store is hand picked by them and each piece is simply beautiful.  I like to swing by Sweet As when shopping for a dress for a fun fete or wedding.  Sunbeam is curated, but it’s more of a warehouse and turnover in product is crazy.  I like to visit every couple of weeks to check out new pieces and have bought a lot of great pieces for my home at Sunbeam.  They carry a lot of mid century modern furniture and accessories and the prices are very reasonable.

“Do you have any favorite online resources (that you’ll share!)?”

I buy a lot of pieces on Etsy and eBay.  Just like a trip to thrift store or flea market requires scouring for gems, it’s a lot of work finding vintage online, but it’s well worth it! Identify what items or pieces you want and then start your search being as specific as possible. From there broaden your search as needed, but you’ll be surprised by what you find even searching for really unique items. My husband calls this the black hole of vintage shopping because it sucks me in for hours at a time!  I also shop Thriftwares online for dresses although I do pay a premium for it.

“Which items are best to buy secondhand, and are there any items that you think it’s best to just purchase new?”

Furniture, dresses, and jewelry are the best items to buy second hand in my opinion. The quality and craftsmanship is impeccable and they generally require little to no alterations or updates.  My current dining chairs came from the flea market (with the original fabric) and only required a deep cleaning. Same goes for jewelry, which requires nominal cleaning before wear. Dresses sometimes require alterations, but it is money well spent because it’s for a unique, quality item that fits you perfectly.  Much like shopping for new pieces, if you love a vintage piece and can’t imagine life without it, then buy it!

I wouldn’t buy shoes second hand.  Shoes conform to the wearer’s sole so wearing someone else’s shoes means back pain and it’s simply not worth it.  Save up and buy new shoes.

“Lastly – any other tips you might have?”

When visiting the flea market or a thrift store, you should definitely have an action plan before you start shopping.  If not, you’ll be shopping around for hours and not walk away with anything.  Of course, there is the off chance that you will find something but thrifting can be daunting because there is always so much going on at once.  For example, if you’re looking to buy a credenza, then only stick to the furniture section at the Rose Bowl Flea! Although you’ll be tempted by the cute summer dresses, stick to your plan.

tgif – weekend links

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-Have you read Sheryl Sandberg’s incredibly touching essay on grieving her husband? I just can’t imagine. She’s very brave for publicly sharing her thoughts.

-An interesting look at how real life and ‘Entourage’ life intertwine for the movie’s actors. Are you going to see the movie? I definitely will, the series was so entertaining! Plus, Adrien Grenier.

-Net a Porter’s epic sale is still going strong. I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous embroidered dress for a while, and this little number from Splendid might just be the perfect go-to summer dress.

-Domaine shares 13 Gmail hacks. Did you know you can enable ‘undo send’?! Lifesaver.

-In keeping with my beach house blog post yesterday, here are Coastal Living’s favorite nautical rooms.

-When Bill Gates has advice, you take it. Here are 7 books he recommends reading.

-If you’re looking to read something a little lighter, then Jane Can’s list of six summer reads might be right up your alley. I feel like I need to read #2.

image via Domaine

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