Saturday, March 31, 2012


The weekend is all about the retreat. The two days of break allow an escape to another city or the beach, or simply let you retreat to your couch with popcorn and a glass of wine. However you spend it, the weekend retreat allows you to rejuvenate, relax, and just be yourself.

One of the most famous retreats in history is Petit Trianon, the private hamlet built for Marie Antoinette in the style of a modest country estate. Complete with a farm and peasant cottages, Petit Trianon allowed the teenage queen to escape the political pressures of life at Versailles and just be herself. Although the expensive project was controversial in an impoverished France, today it is one of the most intriguing historical places to visit. I found these images of Cherry Blossom Girl's trip via Simply Seductive, so in honor of the weekend retreat, enjoy a mental vacation (with picnic) to Petit Trianon below:


Friday, March 30, 2012


Inspired by the delicate embroidered lace of its 2012 Spring Couture collection, Valentino has created beautiful jewelry pieces plated in gold and punctuated with Swarovski crystal. Gold cuffs are something I wear everyday-- what a dream to have this gorgeous piece!

Photo: Pinterest

Click here for more information (... and if you're going to buy it, you're one lucky girl!!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Like Woody Allen's award-winning Midnight in Paris, Elle Ukraine takes us back to the the throbbing nightlife of the City of Lights' jazz age. Natalia Siodmiak is captured dancing til dawn by Andoni & Arantxa, with styling by Makiko Nara.

 Photos: FGR

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Following its first venture into print publication last fall, has released Issue 02 of The glossy covers the Fall 2012 shows and trends, taking the reader into the "private spaces and places where the fashion dream is created". It also features an unprecedented look into Alber Elbaz's private world, including the designer's creative process, thoughts on being ousted from YSL, and why he "still doesn't like" his recently celebrated 10th anniversary collection for Lanvin

"The magazine charts the highs and lows of this often turbulent season, the moments that made it memorable, and the irresistible fashions and accessories soon to be on offer." --

You can order your copy here.


The chaise lounge is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It connotes sophistication, leisure, and a hint of exoticism. The origins of the chaise reach back to ancient Egyptian times, where they were in common use by the 1st Dynasty (aka 3100 - 2890 BC, a really f-ing long time ago).

Cleopatra and Marc Antony depicted as committing their historic double suicide upon a chaise
The Death of Cleopatra by Reginald Arthur, 1892

Chaise lounge also played a big role at the ancient Greek banquet, or symposium, allowing diners to lounge during hours-long drinking and dining sprees. (When did this custom end and can we bring it back?) Ancient Greece is one of my biggest aesthetic influences,  so I love that they used chaise lounges.

"Alcibiades Interrupting Banquet Agathon"-- 
doesn't really feature the chaise, but it's pretty and you get the idea

The popularity of the chaise also extended to the Far East. In ancient China, chaise lounges were standard in family homes. When the British began trading and smuggling opium from China in 1773, chaises skyrocketed in popularity as "opium beds", where users of the narcotic would lounge and relax. 

Late 18th century photograph of opium bed: 
in the words of Dr. Dre, it's that puff puff pass ish, puff pillows no mattress

Here are some of my favorite modern adaptions of this ancient piece, collected mostly via Pinterest:

Photo: Candace Bushnell's Manhattan apartment by Elle Decor

Photo: Houzz

Additional sources: Design Boom, Louvre Museum Official Website, Wikipedia (don't tell my college professors!) 

Don't you love to learn the history of your favorite things? Okay maybe only nerds who were History majors like me do, but hopefully you've enjoyed the gorgeous images! What are your favorite pieces of furniture?

Monday, March 26, 2012


Fortune and love favor the brave. 
-- Ovid  

Love is the beauty of the soul.
-- Saint Augustine

Vogue Paris April 2012
Photographer: Peter Lindbergh
Stylist: Anastasia Barbieri
Model: Isabeli Fontana

Saturday, March 24, 2012


“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. 
I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. 
No more walls.

-- Anaïs Nin

I love this quote-- the fearlessness, sense of adventure, and quest for fullness of life that Anais Nin possessed is always inspirational to me.

The photo just makes me hungry (and thirsty). With any luck, I'll be catapulting through La Scala like this in a few hours.

Will you be going out to eat and drink this Saturday night? Hope you have a good rest of the weekend!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Tom Ford's anticipated Fall / Winter 2012-2013 collection was released in video form this morning, revealing the designer's signature femme fatale fierceness for the next season. Silhouettes were sexy, sleek, and sophisticated, and hues were dark and dangerous. The accessories (cat-eye sunglasses, metal-clasped clutches, stilettos to end all stilettos) are sure to be among the most coveted among street style stars come September, but a select group of lucky celebrities have already borrowed looks for the red carpet.

Now this is how a woman dresses.

It' safe to say I am obsessed with this collection. What do you think?

As seen on:

Julianne Moore at the Game Changer premiere

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2012 Academy Awards

Jennifer Lawrence at the Hunger Games Paris premiere

Photos: Tom Ford and Getty Images

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Last week, I (somewhat self-consciously) shared snapshots of my entry way and the stories behind the pieces I decorated with. It was fun to reflect on the meaning of my design choices, and the post ended up being one of the most popular on ESS for several days. So this week, I decided to share snapshots of my little kitchen dining nook with the same kind of background notes. In a slight contrast to the rest of my apartment, the dining nook is a little undone, casually informal, and slightly bohemian-- but (I hope) still comfortable and elegant. Here are the stories behind the pieces:

1. Paper Chinese lantern
This was a gift from my grandmother, and in high school was hung in my bedroom window, looking out onto the street from the second floor. When I visited home from college, it was my dad's tradition to have the light on so I could see it from the car when pulling in the drive.

2. Vintage glass decanter
I bought this recently for $6 from the wonderful Melrose Trading Post!

3. Silk jersey "curtains" and raw silk "tablecloth"
These yards of fabric were leftover at work from gown alterations. I like the raw, undone, but inherently luxurious feel. 

4. Silk patchwork embroidered throw pillow 
When I was in high school, I saw this pillow at the now-defunct Pier One and was in love. It stood out from the other faux imports, and finally my mom bought it for me when I re-decorated my bedroom. I was thrilled, and still think it is just as exotically chic as I did at 15.

5. Re-painted table
I got this table for my first apartment when I was 19 at Cost Plus World Market (another mall store with some good pieces, don't always scoff the chains, people!). I had the idea to give it a make-over when I moved into this apartment and discovered Annie Sloan's gorgeous chalk paint. I bought the paint at the lovely Painted Attic in Malibu, where I made friends with the saleslady and listened enraptured to the story of her adventurous life (born in a small English town, moved to Hollywood in the seventies with writer husband, divorced, frolicked, had many careers, now likes to paint). Anyway, I first decided to paint the table Paris Grey, but it was too dark. Then I tried Ivory, but it was too light. I stepped away from my mess, thinking I had made a big mistake, haphazardly covering it with my showroom scrap of a tablecloth. When I had friends over later, they actually gushed over the table: "Where did you find a piece with this unique pattern?? This must have cost a fortune!!" I felt a little better about my failed DIY project and decided to just leave it be. Now it has grown on me a bit, and lends what I would like to tell myself is an artistic air to the nook.

Photos: Instagram 

6. Paper placemats
These aren't really a part of the permanent setting, but I had just served dinner on them and they stayed for the pic. They are available online from Paper Source, but I had bought them as a souvenir from Castello di Amorosa winery, back home in Napa Valley. If you are in Napa, you should really visit the Castle-- rich in history, it is constructed entirely of materials salvaged from medieval Europe and built in the exact fashion of that period's castles.

7. Silver candlesticks
These belonged to my Aunt Teri, and have matching silver napkin rings that say "Monsieur" and "Mademoiselle".

8. Vase
From Goodwill, can't beat it!

9. Caterer's chairs
These are the gold chairs you see at nearly every wedding or event, and I love their elegant simplicity. I found them in the very back of a Restoration Hardware a few years ago, and they have served limitless purposes ever since!


"Italians have a word—sprezzatura—to indicate their belief 
that style must be unconscious and that talent must appear effortless. 
You have sprezzatura if you are naturally able to perform extraordinary deeds, 
come se niente fosse, as if there were nothing to it. "

Gini Alhadeff, Travel + Leisure

One of my core beliefs, too-- wish we had and English equivalent!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Here's a little more editorial love for your Monday, with the gorgeous Victoria Lee showing us the new bedhead in the April issue of Glamour UK.  All of us lazy girls have been thanking our lucky stars that the tousled bedhead look has been an acceptable way of (not) doing our hair for a while now, but if you want to step your game for your next night out, here are four easy boudoir-inspired ways to look a little more sleek:


Photos via FGR


"I only read, look at books, and sketch. 
And daydream—daydreaming's important too."

- Karl Lagerfeld

Read full article here: 

Photos: Miranda Kerr for Jalouse
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