Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Queen's Cup Steeplechase

The Queen’s Cup is like no other sporting event in or around Charlotte. Each year, on the last Saturday in April, thousands head down to Mineral Springs (45 minutes south of Uptown) to watch jockeys in bright silks & their sleek thoroughbreds clear 4+ foot jumps over a beautiful rolling course. And they come prepared -- with their big hats, loud prints, folding chairs, badminton sets, nerf footballs, and coolers packed with 6 hours worth of liquid sustenance. 

This is no place for amateurs.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey, Rain. Skedaddle.

It's raining here. Still.  It was supposed to be gone by now, but it's not. I have a zebra umbrella like Kelly Wearstler's. And I think it's really fun. But I like the sun more. So rain, get lost.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grenson Brogues

Grenson Shoes are quintessentially British -- the company was founded in Northamptonshire in the 1800's by William Green (originally "Green & Son"), and the Grenson factory remains there to this day. Mr. Green's was the first factory in the world to use the Goodyear welt construction method for manufacturing gentlemen‘s shoes. These supremely traditional shoemakers are as well known for their classic brogues as they are for their bespoke shoemaking services. Their painstaking process underscores over a century of amazing craftsmanship. A single pair, made from the finest leathers known to shoe making, can take up to 6 weeks to complete.

Recently, Grenson developed a women’s collection -- in large part based upon its traditional designs for men (we love the Rose, Martha & Grace.)  Although I found their stock situation in London wanting, most styles are readily available (if significantly more expensive) via Grenson's U.S. website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tom's Kitchen, SW3

A few blocks away from hoards of shoppers crowding the King's Road, and just a wee bit down from The Markham Inn, you'll find my favorite outpost of Tom's Kitchen.

Located in a townhouse on the site of a former pub, the bistro and a small bar are on the ground floor, a larger bar one floor up. The menus at Tom's -- chock full of amazing comfort foods crafted from local ingredients -- cover breakfast through dinner.  And everything is served in a deliciously relaxed, vintage environment. Perfect for one of those nights when it's all you can do to reapply the lipstick.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hats Hats Hats

While living in London, I developed a huge millinery crush. And when I returned to the city a few weeks ago, I absolutely loved revisiting a few of my favorite hat haunts.

At the V&A, although most of its collection is currently in storage while Room 40 is under renovation, I managed to view a few pieces crafted by the incomparable Philip Treacy -- part of the much-lauded 2009 Hats exhibition (thankfully documented for posterity in this fabulous book)

The salon upstairs at Lock & Co. in St. James is a favorite with the Duchess of Cambridge.  While there, I was fitted by Sylvia Fletcher herself for one of her Hat-a-porter designs.

And Atelier Millinery is a wonderful little haven just off Carnaby Street, a stone's throw from Liberty. Though a tiny space, it is full of wonderful sinamays, embellishments, and other millinery supplies. But Atelier is also chock full of hats for immediate purchase. Tina Giuntini, one of Atelier's instructors, was helping a pair of costumers seeking the perfect period toppers for a movie currently shooting near London when I arrived. She's an absolute font of information. Whether you're looking for help finding the perfect feather or crafting an amazing pillbox, she's the girl!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sailor Rose

Mom has a friend who creates magical scarves and sells them at the Brooklyn Women's Exchange, and it was there we discovered Sailor Rose - amazing blouses crafted in America from Liberty of London's iconic Tana Lawn fabrics.

As they describe it themselves... This collection (is) inspired by the tradition of improvising and by clothes that might have started as something else; dresses made of feed sacks, a parent’s shirt, pillowcases or bedspreads. Jumpers with rickrack and threadbare cotton shifts. Jeans with fabric added on the hem, and skirts made of pants. Clothes that are just as beautiful when worn by the third child as by the first. Beautiful dresses meant to be played in – that look as good freshly ironed as rumpled. My hope is that our grandchildren might come across these clothes in an attic or thrift store one day and be inspired to use them again, or turn them into something new.

They clean up beautifully in a front loader's hand wash cycle and to maintain the perfect bit of rumple, just hang dry & wear.  Take it from me, once you wear one you'll want to possess these sweet peasant blouses in every print available.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kate

lock up your wellies - the little things love a good chew

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Ready

I'm not one for red velvet bows or colored lights, and my Christmas door likes itself a little understated.  How does your entry like to dress for the holidays?

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yes, Jacksonville.  On business.  And never without a {relatively large} group trip to Singleton's of Mayport.  It's a dive {the food is served on styro and the 'ritas arrive in 20 oz plastic cups}, but some of the best fresh seafood and service in Florida.  If you find yourself on the North Coast, you won't want to miss it...

Fresh seafood on ice as you walk in

The back screened-in porch looks out over the local shrimping fleet.

And don't forget a slice of key lime pie.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mudroom Makeover

Finally converted from a mid-construction nightmare to a finished space for hot chocolate, muddy Wellingtons, and wet paws.

Each frame contains an image of a Labrador Retriever, sourced from antique English dog books and vintage post card collections.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

From Royal Wedding to Charlotte Symphony

Charismatic & oh-so-British Christopher Warren-Green, in his second season as Music Director of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, enjoyed worldwide acclaim conducting the London Chamber Orchestra during this spring's wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.  He has been 'musically acquainted' with HRH Prince Charles for over 30 years (performing at countless royal events throughout, including the Prince's wedding + the Queen's 80th birthday party) and, together with the Abbey's Master of the Choristers, provided counsel to Wills & Kate throughout the planning process.

Last night, Warren-Green and the CSO opened their 80th season with a fabulous all-Russian program. The concert featured Croatian pianist Martina Filjak (in a stunning iridescent moss green gown), making her CSO debut with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. It was a wonderful evening full of amazing performances -- the kind of cultural experience Charlotte cannot afford to lose. And while the Symphony is currently facing significant financial challenges, I'm hoping last night's full house was a strong indication that it will be around for many years to come.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Stupid Is As Stupid Says

Please shut your pie hole about the HPV vaccine, Ms. Bachmann. Those of us with a functioning cerebral cortex have had enough.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kitchen ~ Before & Middle

About 2 months ago, I found a wonderful house painter through a friend. He's much in demand {the good ones always are} so I quickly got myself on his list. I'm very happy to report his team started yesterday morning and they've already made significant progress on the 1st floor. Here's one view of the kitchen + mudroom before, and in progress. All very exciting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Folly Beach

Labor Day weekend was crazy, but Folly -- The Edge of America -- has settled back to its normal, laid-back self. Walks on the near-empty beach are breezy & cool (relatively), outdoor tables are easier to come by @ Taco Boy, and watermelon is back in stock at The Pig. One of the most dog-friendly beach towns anywhere, well-behaved, leashed-up pups are welcome on the beach before 10/after 6, and on the patios of most restaurants anytime (4 paws up from India).

This time of year the waves are surf-perfect and the humidity is low. If you do leave the beach, please don't miss the blackened tuna nachos at Rita's, the blueberry pancakes at the Lost Dog, or the Spiked Lemonade at Blu.