“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” - Coco Chanel


Fabulous Faces


The man has on an ascot. The Sartorialist would have a field day. This, in all fairness, cannot be billed as just a "Fabulous Face". Fabulous attire, fabulous hair, fabulous shoes, purely...fabulous. Classic perfection. And he and his attire would be perfect on this very day some what, 40-50 years later?


Been There...Wanna Go There

For lack of reason, I'm blaming it on the weather. I COULD walk out of my house (with a mere 20 minutes warning to pack) and just GO. Of course the stars would all have to align and money would have to bloom on my redbud out back.

I've ridden a gondola in Venice, Italy under this bridge:


...so I truly can't complain. But I've never walked on the Great Wall of China:


...which is a dream. I've hung out in the markets of Seoul, Korea:


...and loved shopping the market Iteawon. But I long to ride the Orient Express for endless days:


...having breakfast as the Alps go by. I've given Wrigley's gum to children in the Togo, Africa bush:


...and that gives me some perspective.

This blog has evolved into...well, it's tamped my wanderlust for now.

But I'm carrying my passport on my person just in case someone says, "Wanna go to...?"




They are a requirement for MY perfect room. I have on many occasions given absolute life to a room with "doing the bookcases". There is a site where you can buy leather books by the foot. Meaning you give them measurements of how much space you need to fill, the colors you prefer, and they ship you books. Me, I hit the local thrift stores and buy them in bulk for clients. Remove the tattered dust jackets and reveal lovely leather bound volumes. The arrival of the internet has made gorgeous sets of encyclopedias readily and inexpensively available.

Nothing cozies up a room and says "we live here" like books. In a perfect world, I'd add bookcases to my living room and a wall of them in my dining room. (Books would certainly share space with beautiful serving pieces in the dining room.)


Arrgghhh. This is MY perfect room. Bookcases (with books and tchotchkes), pink, a chaise lounge, bust, oil, fireplace and fresh flowers. Dang, I'm such a girlie girl. I LOVE the wallpapered back in the bookcases. (The only thing missing here is a chandelier and I'm just positive it's simply out of view!)

I'm amazed at how many times I have to inquire about books when working in a client's home. The answer is more often than not, "We have plenty. They are inside these cabinets." Get up now and go dig them out. Calling all books! Put your lamps on them. Fill a tray with them. Have some on each table surface in the room. By all means, do not leave them in the cabinet.

Fill up your bookcases.

Images via here




It's no secret I love pink. Hot pink? Whew. I've been asked what my dream kitchen would be. I think the above comes VERY close. I'm a chandelier girl. I love natural blinds. I love wooden flooring. I love glass front cabinets. I love stainless steel. I love butcher block on an island.

The thing I'd change? The countertops (AND the hardware AND the corbels). I'm not fond of the black along with the hot pink. What would I use instead? I honestly don't have an answer for that. I've seen concrete counters I loved, and grey would go grandly with the hot pink.

And since I'm in dream mode, I require this view from those double windows.

photos via here


Fabulous Faces

gordon ramsey Pictures, Images and Photos

Done. I'm officially admitting to having a MAJOR crush on him. Yup. Gordon Ramsey. Restaurateur Extraordinaire. 3 Michelin stars simultaneously.

I WILL visit his "Gordon Ramsey At The London" in NYC. (With a deep desire to lay eyes on him.) And "Maze by Gordon Ramsey" in Cape Town. Africa, that is. The likelihood of either materializing is non-existent.

Please allow me to dream.

Food Network Needs Toyia


My words were "I'm hungry. I think I want an egg sandwich." My baby sister left the room. She returned in a moment asking, "Does it have to be an egg sandwich?" I instantly answered "Not at all. Anything you find in there you are welcomed to fix." (Like my Southern slang?)

I heard pots and pans clanging and didn't give it another thought. In a matter of minutes, in she walked with 2 brimming plates. From a scarcely stocked kitchen...mine, she produced amazing results.

I'm told there is a show on Food Network where a chef knocks on your door and prepares a gourmet meal from whatever you have in your kitchen. She'd be a hit on that show.

She made salmon croquettes (from a can of salmon, egg, cornmeal, brown sugar) , roasted garlic potatoes, and edamame with sea salt. We dined sumptuously.

Food Network needs Toy.


The Hamptons, in Mississippi

When you're told it's going to snow, and you live in south Mississippi as I do, you just sorta smile and give a nonchalant "uh huh". As was the case yesterday evening. I was pleasantly surprised to see the flakes falling around midnight. The streetlight in front of my house provides perfect illumination. When I did retire for the evening, the deck just off my master bedroom was white. I hated that the snow decided to arrive during the night, and figured there would be some remnants when I awoke.

Six am brought heavy dripping sounds, and I simply didn't want to get up. I was hearing what I thought was the snow melting from my roof. I pulled my sleep mask on, and snuggled back in. Three hours later when I rolled over with that "ahhh, I've slept good it's time to get up I'm rested" feeling, I was astounded. Fat, fluffy flakes were still falling, it was a winter wonderland.


...a Mississippi snowgirl with camillias for eyes...

Any of you Yankees that are reading this HAVE to give me a break. I understand you get snow, many feet of it. Now I'm asking you to understand, we DON'T. Yes, we had a smattering last December, but nothing like we saw today. I donned my down coat, warm boots, gloves, hat and scarf and took off walking, twirling in the middle of the road.

My neighbor and dear friend, Fran Ginn invited me in for coffee and warm cinnamon rolls. And it was the start of one of those do-over days. One I wish I could miraculously just do over. Several sets of neighbors came by within minutes. The world was waking up and the falling snow had everyone out and moving. We repeatedly gravitated to a window to stare at the falling snow. I stayed a couple hours and as I was leaving, Fran invited me back for lunch.

I returned to a Barefoot Contessa setting smack dab in the middle of "the Hamptons" for lunch. Of course it all took place right here in lil' ole Columbia, in Fran's kitchen. Fran made Chicken and Rice soup while everyone else pitched in just like on Barefoot Contessa when she has "friends" for lunch. I chopped cilantro. Someone else sliced avacado. The table was set, cheese sliced, bread toasted, glasses filled with ice, then we sat down.

A table of six, all varied and different, yet such a comfortable air. We discussed how the neighborhood needs this sort of comraderie, and more often. We all laughed at our imagined "Hamptons" setting. And we marveled at the snow.

Lunch was an impromtu affair, soup quickly made, invites casually done. Yet made such an impression. Oh, and the snow. Just as snow in Mississippi is surreal, so is being in the Hamptons. Hey, give us a break.

We had snow. And "the Hamptons"...all in one day.


The Suit

Mr. Hamm and the Barcelona Chair are exquisite...

Years ago I read an article in my son's GQ concerning males wearing suits. To make a long story short, the gist of the entire story was that a man wearing a suit/sports coat gets different/better treatment. The author had scoffed at his Dad for years, the wearer of a suit, daily. I don't recall if it was a bet, or if GQ hired him for the story. He was to wear a suit every day for one month (save weekends) to determine how he was perceived and if he did get differential treatment. He kept a daily journal of each and every place he went. He'd always been the dressed down one, never losing the t-shirt and chinos after college. And had forever proclaimed he'd never be in a job situation that required him to dress in a "monkey suit" daily.

He was uncomfortable at first. But without fail, he was treated with utmost respect. He told of fast food places, fine dining, even department stores where he was always given a second glance. And were he perusing a menu board or waiting in line, he was without fail called upon first. The tone of voice with which he was addressed was respect.

Within the first week he became completely comfortable and fell in love with "the suit".

As did I. The man who walks into the restaurant at lunch. The guy grabbing breakfast. The one pumping fuel. If they have on a suit they get a second glance. And always a third. Funny how I've even driven around behind the car to read the tag. Just checking to see if the county is local.

Don't go getting all judgemental on me. It's the truth. A suit demands a second look as well as respect. Yes I am aware we live in a much more relaxed society. And I'm aware suits are not required in many situations. But if there is a question, or likelihood one would be correct, wear it.

Oh, and for a million more points, wear the cuff links too.



A car pulled up to the curb Christmas Day. I was tersely commanded, "Don't look!". Tallulah was being delivered, my gift from my daughter Tayler. Lulah, as she's now known, was a quivering mass. The hype surrounding her arrival was momentous. I later learned she had been rescued from behind Guadalajara, a local Mexican restaurant. Supposedly her Mother still lives there.

The day I put the hot-pink-diamond-collar-with-the-bell around her neck would have won me $10,000.00 on America's Funniest Home Videos. Had I owned a camcorder. She flipped, pawed, and climbed for two solid hours. An audition to Cirque de Soleil would have been a shoo-in. It was priceless. Tears poured I laughed so hard.

Each time I arrive home, she's peering out the French door. There is a large, circular, green, shag rug 3 feet inside the back door. She prisses to the rug and promptly rolls onto her back, legs into the air, for me to scratch her belly. She needs me.


6 am-ish, I shot straight up in bed at the crashing sound, and immediate pouring water. The above two dozen roses in the goldfish vase had been knocked over. And it was sitting on the vanity at the foot of my bed. Yes, water was pouring down the foot of my bed with a slight puddle on the blanket across the foot. (The blanket had Scotchguard as I easily swiped the water away. Oh, and the car is a dream I hope to realize one day, only in convertible form.) I righted the vase, the accident not being her fault totally. It was top heavy.

She's become an important part of my world. I can't imagine coming home and her not being here. Me not getting to scratch that sweet little belly.

She needs me.


I'm SO Ready For Spring


I'm an eternal optimist. And I'm having issues staying "up". The weather is killing me. If it's not raining, it's snowing OR in the 20's Farenheit. And I'm in Mississippi for God's sake!

I was on a roll. Walking every day and doing well watching what I ate. Yes, I realize this sounds like a cop-out, but it's NOT. It's too COLD to walk. And when I don't walk, I cheat. And don't give me this "awww...you have no idea what cold really is" speech. I could care less. I have warm Southern blood. I want warmth.

I'm SO ready for Spring. I want to garden. I want green shoots coming up. Never before has everything been so brown. (Another reason my walks are curtailed. My brown world is uninspiring these days.) And it's to be in the low 20's and 30's nightly for the entire next week. Not to mention snow predictions for Thursday and Friday.


The above pictures are of the garden featured in the blockbuster "It's Complicated". Oh yeah, I'm having a couple of raised beds this year. And I want a gravel walkway between. I have a lovely yard that shows off my hard work. I've walked it's dead, brown glory several times recently determining just where to place these new beds. They will contain those gorgeous tomato stakes too. No chintzy metal ones for me this year!

Until then, I'll continue wearing coats, hats, scarves and gloves. And dreaming. And cheating. And when Spring DOES get here, I'll post pictures of my raised beds. With fancy tomato stakes. Hopefully with green shoots everywhere.

Oh, and I'd be thrilled to have Mr. Baldwin too.

Again, I'm SO ready for Spring.


Fabulous Faces


I've decided I'm allowed to be cheesy if I so choose (cheesy being a word that always reminds me of my Italian pen pal to whom I once had to give the definition). So here goes, a new series of random posts called Fabulous Faces. And I also refuse to apologize if the posts heavily lean to the male species. Oh myyyyy...

Jon Hamm...leaves me speechless.


Eco-Friendly? Let's Just Try.

I stopped in my tracks and stared. The shopping cart was FULL. Overflowing. With bright kelly green reusable bags. In Columbia, Mississippi. In Wal-Mart. I was blown away. And convicted.

We seem to be inundated with information as of late about being "green". I'm aware, but for the most part it goes in the left ear and out the right. It feels expensive. i.e. "buying a green car". Even switching to eco friendly cleaning products takes time, effort and money. But we CAN do small things that have a massive impact.

According to the World Watch Institute, Americans throw away 100 BILLION PLASTICS BAGS PER YEAR. And according to EarthShare members of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), one plastic bag can take up to 1,000 YEARS to decompose.

In the past decade, governments around the globe have underscored the need to cut plastic bag usage:
San Francisco. In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to outlaw plastic grocery bags.
New York City. In 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at plastic bags, proposing a plan that requires stores to charge six cents per plastic bag used. All designed to reduce the use of plastic bags and increase the use of their reusable counterparts.
Ireland. In March 2002, Ireland instituted a tax of 15 cents per plastic bag, which has led to more than a 90 percent reduction in overall usage.
Africa. In 2007, Africa made a bold move, initiating a continent-wide ban on plastic bags, encouraging the use of reusable bags such as those made from burlap.
China. In 2008, the Chinese government made plans to ban free plastic bags in order to cut down on litter and pollution. The ban could also save the country as much as 37 million barrels of oil, used to produce the bags.

Wow. Africa is ahead of us in this?

Retailers have taken a stand also:
Ikea. In 2007, the home furnishings retailer began charging five cents per plastic bag to reduce consumption and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. Proceeds from the plastic bags—estimated at $7 million—will be donated to EarthShare member, American Forests.
Target. Target recently partnered with popular magazines like People, to encourage shoppers to mail in their plastic Target bags in an effort to recycle them into reusable totes. Send your bags in before November 30, 2008 and receive a free Target Retote. (Bags are also available for sale.)
Wal-Mart. In 2008, Wal-Mart partnered with the EDF to cut down plastic bag usage by one-third by 2013. Through its reuse and recycling efforts, Wal-Mart expects to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally.
Whole Foods. In early 2008 the organic food retailer stopped using plastic bags, encouraging shoppers to use reusable totes.

Last weekend while in Houston I purchased my reusable shopping bags. (They range from $.99-1.99.) I have right at 1,000,000 plastic Wal-Mart bags under my kitchen sink. And yes, I do reuse them. But from now on, I'm doing the reusable tote thing. I'm simply going to put them all into one tote and take them in the store with me. I'll look really cool, AND make God smile.

I'm just sure that He likes me helping keep His lovely creation eco-friendly. 1 Corinthians says "the Earth is the Lords...". Somehow I think He's offended at plastic bags lying around on His exquisite creation for 1,000 years...I can easily help change that.