Thursday, August 28

Profile: Carolyn Corley Burgess

As I mentioned yesterday, I love meeting so many wonderful people via the blogging world. Carolyn Corley Burgess is certainly no exception. Earlier this summer Carolyn came across my blog and graciously emailed me to say how much she enjoyed reading All the Best. After a few emails we realized just how much we had in common, not to mention there were so many uncanny connections.

Her mother is from Scotland, but Carolyn grew up and currently lives in Saint Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. Both her family and her husband’s family have wineries—Monticello Vineyards and Burgess Cellars. Several months ago I mentioned that one of my favorite cookbooks is Lee Bailey's California Wine Country Cooking. One of my very favorite recipes of all time is Saffron Pasta with Chardonnay Red Pepper Sauce that was developed for Monticello Vineyards and featured in Lee Bailey's book. Our emails continued, all filled with lists of commonalities.

The lovely and stylish Carolyn recently launched Petit Luxe, an online boutique specializing in luxury and lifestyle essentials, including Carolina Zapf’s line Baby CZ. The Petit Luxe collection consists of handpicked luxury essentials from around the world ranging from the finest Mongolian cashmere baby blanket to the perfect pair of Scottish wellies. Other favorites include authentic French espadrilles, finely woven cotton poplin tunics and the ultimate in luxury - the Oyuna cashmere robe.

How would you describe your personal style
In general I have a classic preppy style. I love a cute blouse with jeans and flats or heels or girly dresses. My closest is filled with mostly Marc Jacobs, Catherine Malandrino, Megan Park and J Brand jeans.

What is the one thing in life you can't live without
In terms of something material- my Oyuna Cashmere robe!

What books are currently on your bedside table
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

What inspires your creativity?
My son Thatcher and my love of nice, well-made objects.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Oh, there's so many I couldn't narrow it down to one! It would range from William Wallace to Stephen King!

What is your favorite luxury in life
Champagne and cashmere

What is your most prized possession
My engagement ring that my husband secretly worked on for months.
And, although he isn't a possession, my son.

Who are your style icons?
Sofia Coppola and Audrey Hepburn

What is your idea of earthly happiness
The moment I first held my son in my arms.

Profile by Ronda Carman
Photos by Lindsay Garvey

Wednesday, August 27

Lunch with Melissa

I have often said that best aspect of blogging is the wonderful people that I meet—both online and in person. I have just returned home from a lovely afternoon with Melissa Morris. Melissa's blog has long been one of my favorites and I was absolutely delighted to meet her in person. It was great fun to welcome her to Glasgow and show her around the city. I am looking forward to meeting up with her the next time we are in NYC, perhaps Thanksgiving. Of course I am looking forward to meeting her boys Chappy and Monty too!

Monday, August 25

Dressing the Home

Gilles Mendel

Giambattsta Valli

Giambattsta Valli

Earlier in the year I read several good reviews of Dressing the Home: The Private Spaces of Top Fashion Designers. Of course I immediately put it on my “to buy” book list. Lucky for me I was able to snag it for a bargain this summer and the photos and content did not disappoint!

With New York Fashion Week fast approaching this seemed an appropriate post, not to mention that this book is now listed in the Amazon bargain book section.

Dressing the Home
looks inside the homes of more than twenty of today’s hottest fashion designers. A few designers include Christian Louboutin, Catherine Malandrino, Patrick Cox, Betsey Johnson, Diane von Furstenberg, as well as Dolce & Gabbana, who wrote the foreword.

I especially love the homes of both Gilles Mendel and Giambattista Valli. I suppose that would stand to reason, as I adore the clothes they design. If you love fashion and design I think you will love this book too.

Thursday, August 21

Style File: Lisa Cotten

Stunning does not even begin to describe Lisa Cotton—the woman or the jewelry she designs. I have often said that I could live in simple, neutral clothing as long as I have GREAT jewelry and accessories—and these gorgeous gems fit the bill perfectly.

The former model, Town & Country cover girl and mother of four is making quite a name for herself in the jewelry world. Lisa's collection consists of semi-precious and precious stones and solid 18K gold. With a focus on quality she uses the same fabricator who crafts work for Graff and Van Cleef. Lisa’s growing clientele is mostly through word of mouth and trunk shows, a testament to her designs. You can see more of her beautiful work on her website.

How would you describe your typical morning
I wake up at about 6:45 every morning so that I can get a head start on the four kids and two dogs. I walk the dogs and feed them, and as soon as they are fed, I feed the children breakfast. I think I drink about four cups of coffee by 8:00 am. During the school year, everyone is out the door by 8:15 except my two-year old. The sitter comes at 9:30 each morning and then I can finally get some work done! I really do love all of the chaos!

What are your must-have beauty products?
Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with spf 15 and Trish McEvoy lip gloss.

How would you describe your personal style?
Preppy and classic with a modern twist.

What is your all-time favorite handbag
I love the Bottega Veneta clamshell clutches. They last forever!

What handbag do you carry most frequently?
The YSL Muse because it holds all of my stuff, and it doubles as a great diaper bag.

What accessories can you not live without
I always wear my grandmother's diamond ballet ring and one of my cuffs.

What is your favorite indulgence?
I love going out with my girlfriends and laughing, eating and drinking wine.

What is your most prized possession
My Grandmother's diamond ring. She wore it every day, and now I do too.

Who are your style icons?
Lauren Bacall, my Grandmother and Cate Blanchett. They all have effortless, classic elegance.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Taking a nap.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Tuesday, August 19

Fashion Icon

Kate Spade Ads/Photographer Tierney Gearson

Kate Spade Fall '02 Campaign/ Photographer Larry Sultan and Z Photographie/Stylist Karen Patch

Marc Jacobs Ad/Photographer Juergen Teller/Model Sofia Coppola

I love books! Almost as much as I do fashion. This summer I spent several hours (more than I care to admit) shopping and combing through hundreds of titles at the local Half Price Books. In the end, I purchased far more clothing items than books. I did however come across one really great find—Fashion Icon: The Power and Influence of Graphic Design by Mike Toth.

Fashion Icon
is a glossy portfolio of ingenious design work inspired by fashion trends, and packed with examples from print advertising, retail space and packaging. Each photograph is accompanied by descriptions and explores the role of industry players—art directors, photographers, models, magazine editors and stylists.

This book is a visual treat for graphic designers or anyone who loves fashion and advertising. Of course the Kate Spade ads sealed the deal for me, these are some of my very favorite.

Thursday, August 14

Bottle Shock

I love French wines, but as many of you know, I have a soft spot for Napa and Sonoma. Before leaving Texas my husband and I slipped away for an early lunch and afternoon movie.

Bottle Shock
, one of the best films I have seen in a long time, is a charming fictionalized version of the early days of California wine making. It revolves around the historic 1976 blind wine tasting in Paris in which wines from Napa Valley scored a shocking victory over France's noble varietals. The gorgeous cinematography captures the rustic beauty of Napa and it is hugely entertaining to boot. Bottle Shock scored big on the film festival circuit and at Sundance.

Director Randall Miller, who co-wrote the script with his wife Jody Savin, keeps the plot flowing with spirit and intelligence. One of the funny and more memorable lines comes from Alan Rickman who plays Steven Spurrier, a British wine snob based in Paris who travels to Napa to find the underdog vineyards. "I know that you think I'm an asshole," he says to one of the locals, "I'm really not, it's just that I'm British and, well, you're not." I enjoyed every moment of this magical movie.

My only complaint is that the character of Gustavo Brambila wasn't better developed. I really loved his passion and genuine nature. So I felt a bit slighted not to learn more about him and his future. As a nod to Gustavo and the GustavoThrace Vineyard, we stopped by Spec's and bought a bottle of his wine. Oenophile or not this is a must see in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 6

Decorati Interview: Martha Angus

Many of you know that I am quite fond of Decorati, and not just because I write the monthly designer profiles and interviews. Decorati is a great company founded by the talented Shane Reilly. Decorati most recently launched Access, the new online magazine focused entirely on the high-end, residential interior design industry.

Access features leading interior designers, manufacturers, and product collections as well as resources for both the experienced designer and the discriminating consumer. Of course being a blogger, I especially like the new comments feature. It's great when readers have a chance to respond and engage one another in conversation.

You can read my interview with the gifted interior designer Martha Angus in this month's online issue of Access.

Monday, August 4

Style File: Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss

Chic, beautiful, driven and focused are only but a few words to describe style maven and fashion designer Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss. With a loan from her father, Zach Lonstein, and the determination to fill a gap in clothing lines and swimwear for women with curves, Shoshanna picked up a sketchpad and began to create a collection of dresses for large-busted women.

Within two years, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys were selling her designs. Since then her collection has grown to include sportswear, swimwear and now the BabyGirl label, inspired by the birth of her daughter, Sienna. A Hollywood favorite, Shoshanna fans include Katherine Heigl, Sienna Miller, Rachel Weisz, Uma Thurman, Debra Messing and Kelly Ripa.

What items are a must for air travel?
Cashmere blanket and tons of magazines

What accessories can you not live without?
My blackberry, my wedding band and my Jennifer Meyer necklaces.

Which pair of shoes do you wear most often?
Prada silver or gold sandals.

How would you describe your morning routine?
I wake up at 6 am, have my coffee, read the papers (New York Times & WWD), check my email and then have some breakfast. My daughter wakes up at 7 and we usually play (paint, read and giggle) then we get dressed for school/work.

What are your must have beauty products?
YSL mascara , Air Kiss Lip Gloss by Clinique, Estee Lauder Brozer and Bobbi Brown Blush.

How would you describe your own personal style?
Polished with a bit of edge.

What is your all time favorite handbag?

What handbag do you carry most frequently?
Either Balenciaga or Chanel

What is your favorite indulgence?
Really good, fresh food.

What is your most prized possession?
My photos

Who are your style icons?
Sophia Loren and my mother Betty Lonstein.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Free time

Profile by Ronda Carman