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Book Report

Book Report

Book Report: Barefoot Luxury

Barefoot Luxury by Sandra Espinet

Summer’s just around the corner and we’re looking forward to some downtime at the beach with our toes in the sand…  While our trips will be more local in nature, we can’t help but dream of more luxurious places like the ones photographed for Sandra Espinet’s beautiful new coffee table book, Barefoot Luxury: Mexican Resort Living.

Sleek and Modern

Open Floor Living

Travel with Sandra to this Latin American country know for it’s grand resorts perfect for warm-weather relaxation as she delves into the history of how Mexico became the playground for the rich and famous.  Rumor has it, the filming of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana and the scandalous Burton/Taylor affair had something to do with it…

Bright and Beautiful

As a designer, Sandra developed a signature style that combines the laid back vibe of a Mexican vacation with the luxurious touches expected from her clients.  From calm and collected in Cabo to a reinvented retreat, her rooms with exotic touches and local vintage finds and will transport you to another world.

Swing Time

Sunset Scene

Filled with anecdotes and design tips, Barefoot Luxury urges the reader to leave the workaday world behind and escape to the warm weather, glorious sunsets, and grandeur of Mexican luxury living.  What’s not to love about that?



Book Report

Book Report: Ibiza Bohemia

Ibiza Bohemia

If you suffer from travel envy as we do at times, Instagram is definitely NOT the cure, especially when summer comes around.  It seems that everyone is either on a fabulous trip or planning one and we still have weeks to go before we get away.  A European beach is not in the cards for us this summer so we’re donning our caftans and lacing up our sandals to fly to Ibiza with Assouline’s new gorgeous tome, Ibiza Bohemia, by Renu Kashyap.  This virtual trip is just what we need to be inspired for the summer ahead…

Fab Food

Delightful Decor

This colorful tribute to the Spanish island that has served as a retreat for all types of creatives has us wanting to tap into our bohemian beach loving side and reinvent ourselves.

Peace and Love

Seaside Chic

From its scenic cliffs and deep blue seas, to its white washed walls and peaceful beaches, Ibiza is a place like no other so why not snap up this book and dive right in?

Blues and Greens

book / food / decor / peace / chic / swim

Book Report

Book Report: Brand Brilliance

New from The Brand Stylist

Who wants to elevate their brand and enchant their audience?  We do!  And we’re sure there are some of you out there who would love to get to the next level when it comes to your blog or your business.  For those who have known us for quite a while remember when we embarked on a rebranding journey several years ago (read about it here) and the result was a new logo, a new website and a new Buzz…  Needless to say, the trip was as exciting as it was a bit daunting.

We Agree!

Diane James Home Wireframes

Luckily, we entrusted our project to Fiona Humberstone, “The Brand Stylist”, to hold our hand through the process.  As Creative Director, she pushed us out of our comfort zones and made us look at our brand in a whole new light.  And we love the end result!

How To’s


Now you, too, can embark on a brilliant brand journey since Fiona has just published a “how to” book.  Brand Brilliance is packed with insider insights, tried and tested processes and inspirational examples from more than 50 businesses, including ours.  From using the psychology of color to design a new logo to creating a website with flair and finding your voice in social media, this book will ignite your energy and help you create a clear vision for your brand through inspirational text and beautiful images.

Fiona Humberstone

We highly recommend this wonderful book, as well as Fiona’s first called “How to Style Your Brand“!


Book Report

Slightly South of Simple

A Classic In The Making

When bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand says blogging bestie Kristy Woodson Harvey is “a major new voice in Southern fiction”, she wasn’t kidding…  This voice is roaring back onto the scene with a new book (the first in a series we hear!) about the lives and loves of a mother and her three daughters.  In Slightly South of Simple Kristy explores the complex bonds between these women and weaves a tale that is filled with Southern charm and heart.

Barbara Cosgrove – Mythic Llama Lamp

Pine Cone Hill – Brooklyn Matelasse

Mr. Solomon’s Blue Hydrangeas

One can’t help but be enchanted by the small coastal town of Peachtree Bluffs, Georgia, and fall in love with its inhabitants.  Kristy’s love of beautiful settings shines through in her descriptive prose and if Ansley, the mother with an interior design business, were a real person, we’d hire her on the spot!  Who wouldn’t want a home decorated with Barbara Cosgrove lamps and Pine Cone Hill textiles and a garden full of blue hydrangeas?

Green Smoothies Anyone?

Porch Swing

Whether you’re heading to the beach this summer, or whiling away the day on a swing with a green smoothie in hand, you need to spend some time Slightly South of Simple.  We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

P.S.  After many years of reading Kristy’s blog, Design Chic, and following her on social media, we’re finally getting to meet her in person and toast her success today!

book / lamp / textiles / hydrangeas / smoothie / swing

Book Report

Spring Into These Books

The Flower Workshop

The Flower Workshop

Have you heard?  Spring showed up two weeks early here in New England – guess that Pennsylvanian groundhog had it right this year!  Today’s temps are supposed to break some records so spring flowers will soon be blooming in just time for Easter.  And just time for Easter, some of our favorite floral designers are out with new books filled with sumptuous bouquets.

Free and Fabulous

Free and Fabulous

We’re inspired by Ariella Chezar’s step-by-step instructions in The Flower Workshop and think she might even be able to teach us a thing or two.  Lewis Miller’s exquisite new book, Styling Nature, is filled with gorgeous photographs shot by Don Freeman making this tome worthy of a collector’s bookshelf.

Styling Nature

Styling Nature

Marvelous Masterpiece

Marvelous Masterpiece

And former Wall Street broker and compliance officer, DeJuan Stroud, took a big leaf of faith when he quit finance to turn his hobby of floral design into a business (we know what that’s like!)  Now he’s one of the most sought-after event planners in New York and his new book, Designing Life’s Celebrations, is sure to please.  This fresh guide to entertaining will show you how to conquer “stem fear” and create beautiful bouquets to go along with your tablesettings.  Every meal should be a celebration, shouldn’t it?

Designing Life's Celebrations

Designing Life’s Celebrations

Pink Perfection

Pink Perfection

Hurrah…Spring has nearly sprung!

ariella / fabulous / lewis / marvelous / dejuan / perfection

Book Report, Giveaway, The Latest Buzz

Celebrating Dear Carolina Day

Dear Carolina

Dear Carolina

While many were celebrating yesterday’s date with magaritas and Mexican fare, we were celebrating the launch of Dear Carolina, the first novel by North Carolina native and beautiful blogger, Kristy Woodson Harvey.  Having had a regatta-free weekend (woohoo!), we spent two days reveling in the Southern charm of this story – two strong but very real women who come together for the sake of a baby girl.  Kristy’s writing career began at UNC where she studied journalism and mass communications and was perfected through her blog, Design Chic, a family affair with her mother, Beth.

The Lovely Kristy

Kristy Woodson Harvey

Dear Carolina‘s richly developed characters (à la Steel Magnolias) live in a world where family comes first and colorful Southern idioms are as abundant as crepe myrtle.  You can’t help but be transported by the two female narrators and the tale they weave for baby Carolina.  So grab a copy, hop on a porch swing with a glass of sweet tea sangria, and prepare to be enchanted…

Porch Swing

Porch Swing

Should you wish to join the celebration and add a little Southern style and comfort to your home and kitchen, Kristy is offering a $1,000 Shop Design Chic Shopping Spree to one lucky winner.  The Design Chic shop is chock full of divine home accessories and furniture, curated with a designer’s expert eye.

Halie Pillow

Halie Pillow

Shopping Spree

Shopping Spree

To enter the shopping spree, send proof of purchase of Dear Carolina (photos are fine!) to  And just for entering, you’ll also receive a free e-copy of the Dear Carolina Companion Cookbook, full of Southern recipes from renowned bloggers and family members, and Dear Carolina printable quotes.  Everyone’s a winner in this giveaway!

Photos: book, author, porch, pillow and giveaway

Book Report

Book Report: Decorate With Flowers

Decorate With Flowers

Decorate With Flowers

We’re so counting down the days until spring…  If only Mother Nature would cooperate with the weather.  It’s March and we’re still in single digit temps!  We can’t even imagine how long it will take for the frozen tundra that is our back yard to melt and we know our crocus and snowdrops are eager to bloom.

Garden Arrangement

Garden Arrangement

As we wait for gardens to green, we’re excited to read that the uber talented Holly Becker (decor8) has collaborated with the equally gifted Leslie Shewring (A Creative Mint) on Decorate With Flowers, a new “decorating book with a very floral point-of-view”, and has launched a website to tease us with pretty pictures from the book until it is published in April (in five languages no less!)

Pretty Blooms

Pretty Blooms

Container Ideas

Container Ideas

Given that we can barely make a bunch of roses look good in a vase (yep – floral design is a recessive trait which neither of us inherited!), we know we’ll be soaking up the advice in this gem of a book.  From picking the blooms to arranging them in unusual containers, to party and decorating ideas (cocktail hour with the girls looks pretty good to us), Holly’s delightful how-to’s are paired with Leslie’s beautiful styling and photographs making this book a must have for flower lovers everywhere.

Cocktail Hour with the Girls

Cocktail Hour with the Girls

Color and Pattern

Color and Pattern

P.S. We’ve already pre-ordered our copy and you can, too, by clicking here!

Photos: 1 – 6

Book Report, Giveaway

Giveaway: The Well-Traveled Home

Book Your Trip!

Book Your Trip!

With our childhood spent browsing Belgian brocantes (a.k.a junk stores) and traveling around markets in Asia and Europe, we’ve collected many treasures that are now displayed in our homes.  Each has its own story and together, these collected pieces create a sense of worldliness and adventure that perhaps our daily lives do not necessarily reflect.

Terrace Treasures

Tranquil Terrace

That’s why we couldn’t wait to review Sandra Espinet’s beautiful new book, The Well-Traveled Home.  This California and Mexico based designer has lived the life of a “transcontinental nomad” and the experience has allowed her to capture the “evolving interplay of the domestic and the international”, all the while creating alluring and comfortable spaces for her clients.

Bedroom Blues

Bedroom Blues

Leafing through the pages of Sandra’s book was like taking a mini-vacation – we were transported into the luxurious homes of those who live the well-traveled life where a French rococo mirror reflects a bed made with colorful Fortuny fabrics and where a Guatemalan cabinet is accessorized with Coptic crosses and Moroccan urns.  Best of all, Sandra tells the stories behind her best finds and shares some of her favorite shopping haunts and design tips with her readers.

Polished Placesetting

Polished Placesetting

We’re so excited to be able to share Sandra’s book with you and she’s generously offered to send a signed copy to one of our readers (for you to keep or to give at the holidays!)  All you need to do is leave a comment below or email us at with “The Well-Traveled Home” in the subject line.  You’ll have until 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 17, 2013 to enter and we’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Worldly Living

Worldly Living

And for more of Sandra’s sensational settings, please visit her website and blog!

Sophisticated Sink

Sophisticated Sink

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Book Report, Q & A, The Latest Buzz

Q & A with Carolyne Roehm

Carolyne Roehm at Home

We’ve been wondering if the fabulous Carolyne Roehm needs a lengthy introduction, given the number of fans she must have all over the world, yours truly included…


If you haven’t seen her books about flowers, lifestyle, decorating and entertaining (eleven in all), or followed her career as a top fashion designer resulting in her election as President of the CFDA, or been enchanted by her newly revamped website and blog filled with wonderful ideas and pictures, then you haven’t experienced Carolyne’s passion for beauty and her world of gracious style.

Fall at Weatherstone

Needless to say, we were thrilled to be able to interview Carolyne as her new book, Flowers, has just been published.  Better yet…  she’s coming to Stamford, CT this weekend to join notable interior and entertaining designers including Vincente Wolf, Amanda Nisbet, Lulu Powers and Annie Falk at Designing Greenwich sponsored by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens at The Loading Dock.  We can’t wait to visit this first-ever show of its kind in Fairfield County, featuring curated collections of fine art, modern antiques, couture jewelry and more from over 35 galleries worldwide.  What a perfect venue for Carolyne to share her style secrets and introduce her new book!  So, without further ado…

1.  What did you want to be when you were a child?
I really wanted to be a fairy princess and only wear “formals” as they were called back in the 50’s and a tiara of real diamonds – I had a rhinestone one that I wanted to wear to school every day but my mother dissuaded me.  I was not sure how to become a princess so I thought I should have a backup plan.  So, at a very early age, I wanted to be a fashion designer.  No tiara but lots of pretty clothes was second best.

2.  What is your necessary luxury?
My necessary luxuries are lots of cut flowers.

3.  What is your favorite decorating accessory?
My favorite decorating accessory is a mass of cut flowers.

4.  Where do you window shop?
Every place…  But my favorite place is Paris, I suppose, but I look wherever I am.

Setting a Fall Table

5.  What makes a house a home?
The individuality of the owner, the more intimate personal possessions that reflect the interests and the personality of the owner.  A house needs to feel alive in order to be a home – dogs, plants, flowers, scents emanating from something cooking in the kitchen, music playing, the movement of people in the house.

6.  What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
I love the early morning when the house is quiet, the dogs are gathered around me and I have a cup of coffee in my hand.  I also love the end of the day when the shadows are golden and long… with my dogs around me, sitting next to a cozy fire and a good glass of red wine in my hand .

Carolyne’s New Gardners

7.  What is your favorite flower?
That is just too hard – I love them all.  But I shall be traditional and say garden roses and tree peonies.

8.  If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
I am not a big lover of cocktails.  I would prefer to be a great glass of French red wine, either a Burgundy or Bordeaux, because a great glass of wine is memorable and stands the test of time.

9.  If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play a part?
Calamity Jane Part II.  Lord knows, maybe Robin Williams…  I would like for it to be a comedy.

Last Dahlia Dinner

10.  Name one thing from your “Bucket List.”
I want to swim with dolphins in clear, warm and safe waters.

A big thank you to Carolyne for entertaining us with her answers and inspiring us daily!  If you’d like to see her in person this Saturday, click here for more information and tickets.

P.S. And if you’d like to see us participate in the “Secrets of Design Blogger” panel moderated by DJ Carey, we’re on today at 1 pm!

Photos via Carolyne Roehm and House Beautiful


Book Report, Inspirations

In The Garden (and Home) with Stacy Bass

Stacy Bass – Photographer Extraordinaire

While supposedly tending our booth at Rooms With A View last weekend, we sneaked out to meet the hugely talented photographer, Stacy Bass, and get our hands on her beautiful book, In The Garden.  The presentation opened with a gorgeous slideshow of Stacy’s work – both in the garden and in the home – immediately transporting us into the exquisite worlds she shoots.  She then shared some of her favorite tips on how best to capture a space.  Here are some highlights from her talk:

A Garden at Dawn

1.  Shoot gardens at dawn when the sun is rising and stop when it gets too bright.

A Well Tended Bar

2.  Accessories are important and better to have too many than not enough since you can always take something away when framing a shot.

Heavenly Hydrangeas in the Summer

3.  Think about the seasons and what your garden will look like through the windows.

Art in the Bedroom

4.  Invest in art – it’s so important to have something on the walls!

Flowers in the Kitchen

5.  And last but not least, flowers finish a room (just make sure the arrangements you use are of an appropriate scale.)

It was such a treat to meet Stacy and we know we’ll be inspired by her book for many seasons to come.  If you want to see more of her work, we encourage you to visit her site – but be warned, you might get lost in all the beauty!

Photos via CT Post and Stacy Bass Photography