Friday, January 30

Membership Does Have its Privileges

This Monday we will giveaway the first of twelve Mr & Mrs SmithBlackSmith’ cards to one All the Best reader. To enter send an email to [] subject line: giveaway.

When you're a BlackSmith member, you will receive special privileges at every Smith hotel when booking through the Mr & Mrs Smith website.

A few special privileges include a complimentary bottle of champagne upon arrival at the Setai Miami; a welcome cocktail upon arrival at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills; A collection of Cowshed products from Soho House New York; Two free passes to SFMoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) when staying at the St Regis Hotel San Francisco.

You don't need to be a member to book any of the Smith hotels, but to take advantage of exclusive hotel privileges, you will want to be a Smith Cardholder.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 28

Profile: Suzanne Aaronson

From the moment I spoke with Suzanne Aaronson, founder of Suzanne’s Files, I knew that I had met a kindred spirit. Not only does she share my fervour for seeking out the best in life, she has turned her passion into a successful venture.

Think of Suzanne's Files as your own personal concierge. A unique online resource brimming with travel destinations, restaurant suggestions and gift giving ideas, all designed to help you spend wisely, live responsibly and make the most of every experience.

As a 19-year-old American, attending university in Paris, Suzanne made it her personal hobby to "suss out" and collect information on travel destinations, food, wine, arts, culture, wellness, beauty and gift giving. “Soon my files filled an entire armoire. I was known as the ‘go–to gal’ by all of my friends.”

After university, Suzanne went to NYC to work in the media and entertainment industry, until a new opportunity brought her to London. By 2004 she began turning her “near-obsession” of "collecting the best" into a business, followed by the launch of an e-newsletter and website aptly called—Suzanne's Files.

In addition her interesting finds, Suzanne was also growing a golden Rolodex of savvy, interesting people who added personal insights and an insider’s perspective to the files. Today this elite group of more than 300 and is known as the ‘International Collective,’ people Suzanne trusts for their taste and experience.

Suzanne has also posted a profile of All the Best on her blog. She poses a interesting questions to readers, I would love to hear your feedback to her question.

What is your most prized possession
My quiet confidence

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?

Who are your style icons
Penelope Cruz is always so elegant while also looking young and flirty; George Clooney is forever dapper; and of course, Coco Chanel goes without saying!

What books are currently on your bedside table?
I devour books! Events that Shaped History, The Outliers and Shantaram (reading it for the second time I loved it so much the first!)

What is your favorite luxury in life?
A great meal and wine outside in the shade on a sunny day, with a beautiful natural view, amongst people I love.

What is your idea of earthly happiness
Always learning and growing wiser, continuing to love and be loved, having my health and wits!

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Nelson Mandela. We would sit somewhere cosy, quietly chatting and learning.

Or Madonna! We would workout, a chat over lunch, a visit her recording studio and shop at a famous designers showroom with the designer there, of course.

What countries are on your must visit list
It’s so hard to narrow, so here are my top five:
South Africa for its mix of sun, nature, great food & wine.
Brazil for its rhythm, vibe and shopping.
Italy for the high style acumen and delish cuisine,
Thailand for the peaceful people and natural beauty.
Switzerland for the magnificence of the views and fresh air.

What countries are on your ‘to visit’ list?
Chile, Bali, New Zealand, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania.

What is your idea of the perfect party
Smiles all around the room and people becoming friendly with one another. After people, music and lighting are the most important details followed by food and drink.

What are your favorite cities for shopping
Rio, Sao Paolo, Madrid, Paris, NYC, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles

Monday, January 26

A New Partnership + Giveaway

I am thrilled to announce my new partnership with the super chic and well-respected luxury travel specialist Mr & Mrs Smith. One of my favorite pastimes, among many, is researching hotels, villas and holiday destinations. Part of the attraction to moving abroad was the promise of travel and romantic weekends away with my husband, and so one of my very first purchases was Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection UK and Ireland.

Long before Brad and Angelina tried to obscure their identities as skilled assassins, the Brits had there own terminology for a sexy, romantic tryst—‘a Mr and Mrs Smith weekend’. In 2003, James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy launched Mr & Mrs Smith, a boutique hotel booking service and a series of hip travel books, representing the coolest, sexiest and most romantic hotels around the globe.

The first Mr & Mrs Smith book Hotel Collection UK and Ireland, became an instant hit in the UK and a secular bible for couples wanting the perfect romantic weekend away. For those in the know, Mr & Mrs Smith is THE place to turn for travel tips and hip hotels. The hotel collection now features 30+ destinations in the United States and is looking to make a big splash across the pond.

The Bowery Hotel
New York, United States

Their latest title, Mr & Mrs Smith The Global Shortlist, is a carefully curated collection of hotels and irreverent travel tips. Featuring 30 hotels, from atmospheric chateaux to glamorous retreats, this stunning guide stands out for its beautiful photography and the trademark Smith attention to detail.

Every hotel is visited and assessed by the Smith travel team before being experienced anonymously by a couple for the review. After a weekend stay, each reviewer recounts his or her own evocative first-person tale. A few reviewers include: Dita von Teese, Stella McCartney Philip Treacy and Bee Shaffer. I am honored to now be included as a reviewer among such stellar company.

In addition to all the above-mentioned accolades, The Global Shortlist is brimming with witty text. If you have ever wanted to know how to mix the perfect minibar cocktail or play a proper game of strip poker, you will find all the details in this beautiful book.

Castello di Vicarello
Tuscany, Italy

I especially love all of the useful travel phrases translated into many languages - "Take me to your leader", "Please call off your violin player" or "Shaken, not stirred" are just a few translated in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Portuguese.

Each book comes with an exclusive BlackSmith membership card (a $20/£10 value), entitling you to a year of upgrades, discounts and other little extras (a free bottle of champagne, a gourmet picnic hamper or late check-out) when you book online.

Bellinter House
County Meath, Ireland

As a part of this new partnership, there will be a complimentary ‘Blacksmith’ card given to an All the Best reader each month in 2009. A drawing will take place and a winner will be announced on the 1st Monday of each month in 2009.

Additionally, there will be a giveaway of 6 Global Shortlist books to All the Best readers throughout 2009. A drawing will take place and a winner will be announced on the 3rd Monday of February, April, June, August, October and December.

To enter send an email to [] subject line: 'giveaway'
Only one entry per person per month. One reader will be chosen randomly each month.

Sunday, January 25

Soup on Sunday: Burns Supper

Today marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s beloved Robert Burns. Many around the world will mark this occasion with a traditional Burns supper.

The annual Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life. It is a night to celebrate the life and works of Burns. Suppers can range from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance. The BBC has a complete running order on their website. It’s a fun read, but at the end of the day, it comes down to your budget and personal choice.

A few key ingredients for hosting a proper Burns Supper include:
A Piper
A Haggis
A Toast to Robert Burns
One of his songs or poems
Arousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne

The main course is, of course, haggis, and is traditionally served with mashed potatoes (tatties) and mashed neeps (known in England as swede but in Scotland as turnip, or in North America as rutabaga and turnip).

A typical menu might include:
A good warming soup (either Cock-a-leekie or Cullen Skink)
A small plate of haggis, neeps and tatties
A sweet such as Clootie Dumplings (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth)
A cheeseboard with oatcakes and tea/coffee
A wee dram of Whisky

Cullen Skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. This traditional soup is a local speciality, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the north-east coast of Scotland. Cullen Skink is extremely easy and quick to make. It must be said that there are hundreds of variations.

1¼ pints/700 ml milk
½ cup/ small handful flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
2lb /900g undyed, smoked haddock fillet
½ stick/55g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
12oz/ 350g mashed potato
Salt and pepper

Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Remove the leaves from the parsley and add the stalks to the milk. Finely chop the leaves and keep to one side. Add the bay leaf and the haddock.

Bring the milk to a gentle boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the haddock from the milk and put to one side. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid.

Heat the butter in stockpot, add the onions and cook gently until translucent about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn. Add the reserved liquid to the onions, then add the potato and stir until incorporated to create a thick, creamy consistency. You can add more milk to create desired consistency.

Flake the smoked haddock into meaty chunks taking care to remove any bones and add to the soup. Add the chopped parsley leaves to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 4 - 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serves 4

Image from Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill's book Classic Entertaining

Thursday, January 22

A Room of Her Own

It has been great fun researching and accumulating photos from First Families past. The White House, First Ladies, and the private quarters in particular, have long been a subject of fascination. This will be my last post on the White House this week, but before moving on to a new topic, I wanted to share these beautiful photos. No matter who you are or your role in the world, everyone needs a place to hide away and call their very own.

The Master Bedroom in 1962, when it was used as Jackie Kennedy's bedroom, photo Architectural Digest.

Just off the Master Bedroom is the Master Dressing Room, generally used now by first ladies as a private study and dressing room. It overlooks the West Wing. Jackie Kennedy's dressing room in 1962, photo Architectural Digest.

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy pose with their family on Christmas Day at the White House, 1962. (L-R): Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr, Anthony Radziwill, Prince Stanislaus Radziwill, Lee Radziwill, and their daughter, Anna Christine Radziwill. Photo Getty Images.

Lady Bird Johnson in the Master Dressing Room making an audio diary entry in 1968.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson at Christmastime in 1965.

Nancy Reagan's dressing room in 1981, photo Architectural Digest - Derry Moore.

Nancy Reagan's dressing table in 1981, photo Architectural Digest.

For her office, Nancy Reagan favored retaining existing White House furniture, which she had refurbished. The wildflower prints were reproduced from 1925 botanical watercolors, photo Architectural Digest.

Wednesday, January 21

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

One of my favorite quotes of the year comes from ten-year-old Malia Obama, “I enjoy decorating. So I get to get this whole new room and do whatever I want!” Like most design junkies, I am anxiously awaiting to see the interior transformation of the White House family quarters. I, for one, was thrilled to hear that the California based interior designer Michael S. Smith was appointed to work with the new First Family.

Since the Truman administration, however, most presidents have engaged top New York design firms to transform the family quarters. Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower used Park Avenue decorator Dorothy Draper, John and Jacqueline Kennedy relied on society decorator Sister Parish, and George and Barbara Bush employed Mark Hampton, who had created Christmas displays at the White House for the Carters and Reagans.

White House curator Mrs. John Pearce, August 1961. Photo by Nina Leen

For both public and private spaces, the president's family can sort through first-rate spoils. There's a White House storage building filled with furniture and art, including over 500 sculptures, drawings, and paintings obtained as gifts or by previous White House curators. Some of the art stored includes the work of Norman Rockwell and Georgia O'Keeffe. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to rummage through all of the objets d'art!

So until we get a glimpse at the work of Michael Smith, I thought I would share a few more photos from First Families past. And, kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama, she has reportedly told the staff that Sasha and Malia will make their own beds and keep their rooms neat.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson at the White House, 1966. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lady Bird Johnson bowling with Patrick Nugent in a private alley in the Executive Office Building, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

White House Cook Zephyr Wright helping Lucy Johnson cook dinner for guests, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

Lucy Baines Johnson with pet beagle, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy reading to her children, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy. Caroline wears a medieval costume dress and a headband, 1962. Photo John F. Kennedy Library/Getty Images

First Lady Jackie Kennedy lifting carton of silver with White House Curator Lorraine Pearce, 1961. Photo by Ed Clark

Mamie Eisenhower inspecting kitchen of the White House, 1958. Photo by Ed Clark

White House china collection, 1944. Photo by George Skadding

Tuesday, January 20

Inauguration Day

With Obama's inauguration just hours away, thousands upon thousands have descended on Washington, D.C., to attend the ceremony, parade and inaugural balls. Over the past few days I have accumulated a few historic photos from past celebrations.

As Obama is set to become the 44th President I am reminded of the great words of Theodore Roosevelt,"The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and family (left) with Vice President Richard M. Nixon and his family (right), during the Inaugural ceremonies.
Photo Paul Schutzer

The beautiful Babe Paley attending President Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural ball in 1953. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

First Lady Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower posing in her inaugural ball gown. Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s clutch was encrusted with 3,456 pink pearls.
Photo by Nina Leen

Lady Bird Johnson, center, her daughters Luci Baines, left, and Lynda Bird, right, model their inaugural gowns in New York City January 12, 1961.

Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband, newly elected President John F. Kennedy, on the day of his Inauguration.
Photo by Paul Schutzer

CIA head Allan W. Dulles walking to attend President-elect John F. Kennedy's inauguration.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Vice President Lyndon Johnson chatting with President John Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy at the President's inaugural ball in 1961.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Jacqueline Kennedy in a gown by Mr. Cassini en route to an inaugural concert in 1961. Mr. Cassini achieved perhaps his greatest fame as the official wardrobe designer for the first lady.

Husband and wife actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh at President John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Monday, January 19

Profile Emily Eerdmans & Regency Redux

Like so many design-obsessed bibliophiles, I spent the better part of autumn anxiously awaiting the release of Emily Eerdmans’ much-anticipated book Regency Redux. I was familiar with her first book Classic English Design and Antiques, published on the occasion of Hyde Park Antiques' fortieth anniversary. Equally, I was aware of her impressive credentials via the dust jacket.

An expert in English decorative arts, Emily received her master's degree in fine and decorative arts from Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. However, I had no idea the breadth of her knowledge until reading Regency Redux. Emily's zeal for the subject and her vast comprehension are truly awe-inspiring!

Written in a highly articulate, yet accessible style, Regency Redux traces the roots of the Regency style, offering readers' a priceless and engaging education. From page one, glamour and elegance are the order of the day. While each page is a visual treat, I would be lying if I did not state that my personal favorites are the glamorous movie sets of the 1930s and '40s—Hollywood's Golden Age. Regency Redux is a must-have for any design library.

Emily Eerdmans is truly a girl after my own heart. I love each and every one of her answers to my questions. I look forward to the day that we can shop for shoes, pop open a bottle of Pol Roger and scour the web for beautiful fabrics.

Do you have a personal favorite period or style
My favorite period of design for the decorative arts is late 18th century neoclassicism –whether Louis XVI, early Regency, or Swedish Gustavian. Josephine's house Malmaison is perfection. But, if I had to choose my favorite period of interior decoration, it would be the high style traditionalism of the 1930s and 40s—Emilio Terry, Syrie Maugham, David Adler/Frances Elkins, Henri Samuel, and Madeleine Castaing of course!

The opulent dining room at Malmaison

How long did it take to complete Regency Redux?
About a year and a half. The printing and shipping of the book took an additional 5 to 6 months. The actual writing - which for me is the hard part - took about four months. My editor once compared writing to a muscle that needs to be exercised - the more it is used, the easier it is. For me, this is definitely true. I often have to cut myself off from everybody just to muster the concentration to focus.

I am also a huge procrastinator. I never watch as much trash TV as when I'm facing a deadline. In fact, one of the reasons I started to blog was to start a regimen of daily writing to keep it flowing.

What was your favorite aspect of the project?
Without question, meeting all the tremendously creative and informed people through my research. Everyone was so generous and enthusiastic. A particular highlight was meeting Hutton Wilkinson who was endlessly helpful and gave me a tour of Tony Duquette's otherworldly Dawnridge. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Emily Eerdmans' own living room

When it comes to your own home, how would you describe your style
English Country House with all its layers, mix of periods, and bold colors. I am definitely an accumulator and find it hard to let go of things.

One of my darkest secrets is my addiction to fabric websites - invariably I'll buy 10 yards of a Clarence House Epingle or a Brunschwig Lampas, and then change my mind entirely on a decorating scheme. However, I don't think I could ever hire a decorator because I take so much pleasure in worrying over every little decision.

What is your most prized possession?
My antique engagement ring - every time I look at it, I think of how lucky I am to have my fiancé Andrew as my partner.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Humor. And then chocolate.

A Palm Beach sitting room by Ruby Ross Wood

Who are your style icons
Diana Vreeland for her zest and fearlessness. Karl Lagerfeld for his polymathic creativity and curiosity.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a book?
Dead: Cecil Beaton although I get the feeling he liked to work alone so that might not have worked out so well; Alive: Derry Moore - his photographs of interiors are unsurpassed and capture the decaying grandeur that I love - he is also the most delightful person.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Flower Decoration by Constance Spry - I'm determined to replicate those blowsy arrangements that made a Maugham or Lancaster room complete; Proust for my Madeleine Castaing book - that is not going well at the moment. Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label on the famed Hollywood dress designer who paired Joan Crawford up with those iconic shoulder pads.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Fabulous shoes. Emma Hope is a particular favorite.

What is your idea of earthly happiness
Sitting on the beach with friends and family sipping Pol Roger while watching the sunset.

Sunday, January 18

Soup on Sunday: Red Lentil Coriander Soup

So far Dr. Joshi's 21 day detox diet has gone fairly well. By far, the hardest aspect of the detox has been eliminating caffeine from my diet. I have been really irritable for the past few days! I had NO idea how much I LOVE my morning coffee. I really should take this opportunity to apologize to my sweet husband, he has patiently put up with my short-temperedness during the initial phase. However, I can report that the cravings have now begun to subside and I actually enjoy the hot water and lemon each morning. As for today I am looking forward to this yummy soup. Enjoy.

1/2 cup (approx.100 grams) red lentils, picked over and washed
7 cups vegetable stock
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
6 carrots, diced
1/4 cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens
cayenne to taste
sea salt
ground black pepper
fresh coriander sprigs

In a 4-quart saucepan heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add carrots, ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric and sauté until carrots have softened. Pour in vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to a boil; skim any froth and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes.

Stir in coriander, scallion greens, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until lentils are cooked. Serve soup garnished with coriander sprigs.

Serves 4

Soup Update:
We just made this soup for lunch - very yummy! We tried an experiment with one bowl. We pureed it until smooth and added lemon juice. It was delicious! If I were doing this with the whole pot, I would use less broth (6 cups) and more lentils (3/4 cup or more depending on how thick you like your soup). Depending on your taste add the juice of 1-2 lemons.

Friday, January 16

Profile: Cortney and Robert Novogratz

I want to be the child of Robert and Cortney Novogratz in my next life. Or, at the very least, I want their ingenuity and stamina. Bob and Cortney, the founders of Sixx Design, and the parents of six beautiful children (now almost seven), including two sets of twins, certainly have a sixth sense when it comes to real estate.

Self-taught designers and developers, this dynamic duo has created a lucrative business transforming dilapidated buildings into upscale residences. Having refurbished or built from scratch more than 10 homes, the Novogratzes have a history of turning nothing into something, and creating real estate value where little existed before. Not to mention, they wear all the hats; from general contractors to interior designers.

Often the Novogratz family live in the homes they design before they are sold, many times furniture included. Bob and Cortney scour flea markets and travel the world in search iron sculptures, cast-off stained glass windows or the perfect lamp to complement homes they design. What I love most is their unabashed use of texture, color and pattern—it’s bold and brilliant!

As always, there are so many books to read and anticipate, but I am especially excited about their new book Downtown Chic, which includes the completion of their latest project—a 6 six-story glass residence facing the Hudson River. Downtown Chic, published by Rizzoli, is set to be released May 2009. As soon as it’s available, I promise to let you know! I’m certain that it will be one to add the library.

Profile Robert Novogratz:

What did you enjoy most about writing Downtown Chic?
It was very meaningful for us to get a chance to chronicle all of our work, and we were given extreme freedom by Rizzoli to make it the book we wanted, which was something to help inspire other people with our designs, but also to have lots of laughs and reinforce just how lucky we are.

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is really a reflection of my design style. Eclectic, with a mix of new and vintage.

Who are your style icons
Ralph Lauren, Yoji Yamamoto, Jean Prouve, Paul Smith and Frank Gehry.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
The strength of my marriage and my family are always at the top. And, we are very proud with what we've been able to accomplish with Sixx Design.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
The collaborations we are working on now are pretty amazing. We are doing projects right now with artist Richard Woods (Established and Sons) on our new building in downtown Manhattan, and with industrial designer Stephen Burks (Readymade Projects). Both are pure genius.

Cortney and I feel like we are getting a masters degree in design from working with both of them.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Travel. Seeing the world really inspires me in every possible way.

What is your most prized possession?
Our home in Trancoso, Brazil because it is so zen, peaceful, and physically-beautiful.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Living in New York City!

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Atlas Shrugged is what I am reading now. I read it twenty years ago for the first time, but picked it back up recently. I needed some inspiration in these crazy times, and the book really reinforced to me how history repeats itself.

What has been your most interesting project to date
Each new building we complete.

Profile Cortney Novogratz:

What did you enjoy most about writing Downtown Chic
I really enjoyed reliving our past projects through the book. It was a great journey, and chronicle of everything we have accomplished so far, and reminds me how much fun we have had pursuing our dream.

How would you describe your personal style
I like to look natural and unfussy, with a little bit of bling to make it more interesting!

Who are your style icons
I love the young and fun style of Betsey Johnson, though I can say on the other hand, that I really love the simplicity and elegance of Ralph Lauren too.

What are your greatest accomplishments
Like Robert, I would have to say that my greatest accomplishments involve my marriage and family.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I am already part of the perfect collaboration with my husband.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Travel with my family in tow is my biggest luxury in life, even though it is always a bit of a production.

What are your most prized possessions?
My kids.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Cocktails and good conversation with dear friends.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
I am reading Letters To a Mother. It seems appropriate since I am nine months pregnant with our seventh child.

What has been your most interesting project to date
Our very first house was the most interesting project to date. Looking back, it is amazing how naive and blissful we were, and how much we have grown since that time.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Wednesday, January 14

Closet Couture

The closet of Amy Fine Collins, once muse to the legendary Geoffrey Beene.

Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti's wonderful wardrobe.

The fabulous shoe's of the Duchess of Windsor, most designed by Roger Vivier.

I have long had an obsession with closets and dressing rooms. I think my fascination began around the age of ten. Growing up, the favorite place to hide from my three sisters was my own walk-in closet. I would spend hours daydreaming, reading books and browsing teen magazines—complete luxury.

I am still captivated with closets and I love nothing more than peering into other people's private spaces and dressing rooms. In my opinion, the rooms belonging to Aerin Lauder, Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, Amy Fine Collins and Duchess of Windsor rank at the very top.

I now have a new closet to add to my list of favorites—Closet Couture! Closet Couture is a brilliant online fashion network that allows you to connect with like minded individuals, stylists, and designers, in order to share ideas and seek advice.

Anchored around virtual closets, Closet Couture provides an easy way to manage wardrobes, upload photos, sell or swap clothes, hire stylists, shop for the season’s most coveted pieces and share web links.

Closet Couture is the brainchild of Christine Elia. “I could easily go online and find the next big band or up and coming artist. That got me thinking, why isn’t there a similar venue for designers and people in the fashion industry?” In order to help realize her vision, she recruited a sterling team of advisory board members, most notably Eva Jeanbart Lorenzotti, Philippe Soussand and Constance Klein.

It seems my fate to be drawn to the wonderful world of online networks as of late. First it was Facebook, then A Small World and now Closet Couture! Between blogs and social networking there are simply not enough hours in the day!