Fashion · Travel

London for 24 Hours

 

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Francophile or anglophile?  I’m not certain which but I love both Paris and London and jump at any chance to visit.  This month I met a dear friend in London on our way to a girls weekend in Ireland (more to come on Ireland in a later post).  While she was finishing up work, I had 24 hours to play in London.

Normally, I opt for the Sofitel.  It is near Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square making it perfect for a short walk to museums and galleries. This time it was Mayfair and the Beaumont. What a treat!  A small boutique hotel in fashionable Mayfair where they cater to your every need. It was perfect.

I was taken to my room immediately upon arrival after an overnight flight arriving at Heathrow. I’d had an unfortunate accident with a neighboring passenger’s glass of champagne which ended up all over me for the flight. Beware passengers attempting to get to their seats with more than two carryon items.  All I wanted was a shower and fresh clothes. The first thing I noticed was the decadent bath with the heated floor.  My jet lag was an immediate afterthought.

Refreshed with a shower and clean clothes, I was off to the V&A.  It is my favorite museum!  If you love the Tudors it is a must see stop for you.  In prior visits I’ve spent hours wondering the Tudor galleries.  This time I was headed for the Dior and Quant exhibitions  I’d seen the Dior exhibit in Paris but wanted to see the British modifications  I was not disappointed.  Princess Margaret’s gown is to die for as are the Dior London parts of the exhibit  Absolutely fascinating

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From there it was to the Mary Quant exhibition.  I’m not certain which was my favorite.  Would that the Met take their lead for their next fashion exhibition . . . .  The Mary Quant clothes looked so wearable and comfortable.  I loved the jersey dresses and the rain slickers.  I’d wear them today!

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From there I walked the two short blocks to Harrods and the food hall for a bite to tide me over.  The food hall is a sight not to be missed  anything you can think of to eat is there.

Back to Mayfair then to explore.  Hyde Park is there if the weather holds.  Mayfair is perfect for people and car watching with every conceivable car dealership there.  It’s also shoppers nirvana.

After exploring Mayfair, I was off to the Ritz.  Someday I’m going to book tea there as it always looks incredible.  As it was after 4, I opted for the Rivoli Bar and a French 75, or as they call it a Rivoli 75.  A wonderfully refreshing mix of champagne, gin, lemon, and simple syrup  it is a favorite of mine.  I opted for an early dinner with my second.  They have a lovely Caesar salad with grilled chicken – hold the anchovies.  From there, I walked back to the Beaumont enjoying more of Mayfair.

The time difference was beginning to catch up with me but I was still slightly hungry.   I opted for dessert at the bar in the hotel – doughnuts with a raspberry sauce.  They were delicious.

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I returned to my room and crashed  waking up the next morning for my flight to Dublin. The Beaumont once again rose to the occasion.  They have a wonderful breakfast set out with pain as chocolate, juice, tea, or for me coke complete with travel cups and boxes

 

 

Beach · Fashion · Skin care · summer · Travel

Swimsuit Attire

 

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I love the beach and pool and opt for any chance to spend time there.  Recently I decided it was time to replace some of my favorite pieces.  After years of constant wear they’d seen better days.  That begged the question – what to replace them with?  I’m also very conscious of the sun.  My father suffered from skin cancer and was my partner in crime when it came to the beach so I opt for sunscreen, hats, and sun shirts when I’m thinking out side.  For more on my sunscreen odyssey see my post at Sunscreen plus the hat!    As an update I’m going with COOLA!

The swim suit.  I love Tory Burch’s suits and have worn the ones I have out.  They hold up well even after years of use.  I wanted something new though.   I tried a new one made by Marysia.  I loved it enough to purchase a second.  One tip I got from a friend was to purchase the same suit in different colors so the strap lines are in the same place.  I’ve taken that tip to heart.  I have the same Tory suit in navy and black and now the same Marysia suit in white and black and a two piece with the same top.

After settling on a new swimsuit, I decided I needed a refresh on my coverup.  They were also showing signs of wear.  I decided that I wanted a sun shirt.  I purchased a lovely swing style one from Mott with a 50 spf and I found a men’s long sleeve sun shirt in the tennis pro shop that I’ve co-opted.  I wear it with a terry polo mini skirt I’ve had for ages. The mini skirt needs a refresh but I’ve not found a replacement for it – yet!  Although not a sun shirt I also found a lovely tunic style shirt to wear for yoga that I’m giving a trial run as a cover up.  My favorite new addition, however, is a lovely tunic from Gretchen Scott.  It is hand embroidered and simply lovely.

My beach attire would not be complete without a hat, flip flops, and sun glasses.  I usually take both a large floppy hat and a baseball cap or visor in my bag.   The cap and visor are great when the wind whips up and the floppy hat goes flying.  The floppy hat with a wide brim is my preference though to keep the sun off my face.  I’ve used a black hat for many years but at the end of last summer I discovered Peter Beaton’s hats. I have a lovely new one with a wide brim, black blow and pink under rim.  It is amazing. I opt for Channel sunnies.  There is something about the lens they use that makes them perfect for use outside.  For flip flops I am addicted to Tory’s basic black.  I have the traditional ones and the wedge ones.  The wedges are amazing and add a little something to the outfit.

My final mention is to Buckhead Betties for my suit bag.  There is nothing worse than carrying a wet suit.  I discovered a travel pouch designed for carrying your wet suit at Buckhead Betties.  The lining is waterproof and perfect for a wet suit (or your wet hair towel).

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Beach · Family · Food · summer

Egg Salad: Comfort Food

 

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Growing up summer at the beach included egg salad sandwiches for lunch.  I have fond memories of Mom boiling eggs and turning them into deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.  She knew they were a favorite we shared.  Egg salad, chips and a coke and lunch was served.  I have so many fond memories of those lunches.  White sandy beaches, heat, heat, humidity and fun.

Although I never thought about it, the egg salad seemed to be seasonal.  The sandwiches would start appearing after Easter and end sometime after Labor Day.  These days I look forward to my egg salad at the Masters.  There is something about their version of the egg salad sandwich that takes me back to Mom’s.  I’ve  been trying to decode their recipe for years now.  Today as I mixed my egg salad for sandwiches on the beach, I finally came close!

 

 

One dozen eggs – hard boiled and dumped into an ice bath to make pealing easy.

Peel eggs, slice and mash

Add salt and pepper to taste

Mix in 1/4 of mayo to start, add additional as needed.  I used lite mayo,

Add a tablespoon of mustard.  I used Frenches

Spread on bread of your choice and enjoy!

Beach · Books · summer

Summer Beach Reads

It’s that time of year again!  With Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer I think of the beach, pool, and nights playing tennis.  I also think of what I’m going to load to my kindle or iPod to “read” at the beach or pool.  These are some of my recent favorite reads!

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Kristy W. Harvey is my new favorite author.  If you like Alice Monroe or Dorothy Benton Frank, you will love Harvey.  Her Peachtree Bluff trilogy is can’t put down.  I love the mix of the southern beach town with a hint of New York City thrown into the mix.  The story of strong women facing and overcoming the challenges in their lives.  Run, don’t walk to grab these for your beach bag.

 

 

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I devoured the Discovery of Witches trilogy.  It was different, fun, compelling and historical – even for someone who doesn’t run to stories of vampires, witches and demons.  This is the latest.  It is Marcus’ story and it does not disappoint.  All my favorite characters are back in the mix, Diana, Matthew, Baldwin but the focus is on Marcus as Matthew’s son and his upcoming marriage.

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If you enjoy that WWII suspense, espionage book, this and the Alice Network are books for you  I “read” (listened) to both with the audible versions.  I highly recommend the audible version for a long car trip (say to the beach!).  The Alice Network is set in occupied France while the Huntress takes a slightly different turn moving back and forth between post war Boston, post war Austria, and the Eastern front.  Both feature the work of brave women in the war.  The Huntress takes an unusual turn by featuring a woman as a sought after Nazi war criminal.

 

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If you’ve not found the Maisie Dobbs series yet, now is the time. The series began with Maisie in WWI and we’ve now progressed to WWII and the London blitz.  The latest, The American Agent, provides wonderful insight into the beginning of WWII and America’s take on a new world war.

 

More recommendations to come!  I think this is going to be a huge reading summer.

Organization · Travel

The art of packing; the packing cube and the pouch

How do you pack?  That seems like such an easy question.  You throw clothes and toiletries into a bag and go.  It’s not that easy, especially if you are flying and have to contend with TSA.  Enter the packing cube.

 

I’ve become obsessed with the packing cube and the pouch.  It lets me organize, especially small things like cords and chargers for easy access.  I’ve got one cube for glasses, contacts, lens solution and the like.  Another I use for a small dryer, hair towel, flat iron, and brushes.

For cords and chargers, I opt for a small pouch that zips.  Intimates go in a bridal satin pouch.  I have a set of three monogrammed that I purchased from Leontine linens.  The large one is for workout clothes, the medium for intimates, and the small one for belts and scarves.

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The best thing about this system is that with everything in a cube or pouch it all stacks neatly into my carry on bag.

Ready, set, GO!

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Decorating · entertaining · Home · interior design

Garden Week – Virginia

Have I mentioned that I LOVE garden week?  Begun in 1927 to save trees planted at Monticello, every April, for two weeks people open their private homes and gardens through out the state.  What a wonderful fundraiser and treat!  You get to peak inside beautiful homes and gardens for a sneak peak at something beautiful.  Even better, are the floral arrangements done by the local garden clubs.

I always try to make it to the local homes on tour.  Over the years, I’ve discovered entire neighborhoods, homes, and gardens I never knew existed.  I’ve gotten ideas for decorating my home and stolen suggestions for floral arrangements.  One of my favorite arrangements was in a mud room and used hunter rain boots.  It was incredible.

 

humm . . .

 

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I love seeing creativity in action.  Detail and the unexpected are always on display.  How much fun finding the unexpected, like a pair of Hunter boots as a vase!  Then there  is the inspiration factor, it makes me want to spring clean, plant and prepare my porch for use.

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Beach · Fashion · Food · interior design · Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

 

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Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.