Beautiful Spaces - the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London

Spotted over at Chinoiserie Chic, this place is now on my list for our next trip to London. If you are going to pay way too much for a cocktail, it might as well be in a place like this:

photos via The Langham Hotel

Loving all the pagoda madness. Look at those chandeliers!! This is a situation where if I was stupidly rich I would probably march some poor interior designer into this place, point to the chandelier and say "That". . . and probably regret it later.

Wishlist - Rosie Huntington-Whitley's Ballet Flats

If you've seen a picture of Rosie lately, she is likely wearing these Chloe ballet flats.

photos via Pinterest

 Aren't they cute? Even if I had the budget, they are no longer available. But, Steve Madden has come through for me here:

The Karabana! Find them HERE.

Art - London Print from Matte Stephens

I found this over at Poppytalk. First, can we talk about how cool it is that he spells his name with an "e" on the back? Second, I love his stuff and have never bought anything because people who bounce around the globe need to travel lightly. But, this London print is definitely on the "artwork I need if we ever settle down and stop moving" list. Find more of Matte's work HERE.

artwork image by Matte Stephens

Beautiful Spaces - A Swedish Castle

Look what I came across while house hunting! I don't know how this happened since '17th century Swedish castle in the "available upon request" price range' was not part of my search criteria, but somehow, I found it. Actually, I like to believe, it found me. Isn't it just about the loveliest pink and green baroque abode ever?

More pictures of this, and other homes that far exceed my search criteria can be found HERE.

Obsessions - Leopard

In South Africa, we were fortunate enough to live just a few hours from Kruger National Park. It is truly one of the most incredible places on earth. I have spent majestic moments observing lions, zebras, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, hippos, even crocodiles - every wild animal Africa has to offer. All but the leopard. The elusive leopard. My husband, daughter and I spent an entire day obsessed with spotting a leopard because it was the only animal we had yet to see. All three of us are a "bit" competitive and this became quite a game. Basically, we were not leaving Kruger until we saw a leopard. We were literally zooming past prides of lions, herds of elephants - all of that had become passe - in the quest for the leopard. Rumor had it that they liked to lounge in trees, so we were especially focused on the distant tree limbs. It was madness. My neck and eyes began to ache. There were so many false sighting, my husband began to ignore me. It was not much fun really. And, we never found a leopard. And, now we live in England. Where they don't have leopards running around in the wild, just down the road from your house. Not that I'm aware of anyway. The world of design is also currently obsessed with leopard. It's a classic really, but it's popularity seems to come and go. Here are some leopard looks I love:

Would you wear it as a dress? This is very pretty, but too much leopard for me.

from Emerson Made
I love everything Emerson does, but this is especially cool with the pretty flower.
clutch from M. Andonia
This is so very now - leopard + clutch = THE trend of the moment.

Stairs (yes!) from Style at Home

from Pinterest

Love the leopard belt. It looks great with a pattern too. This is good.

Sandals from Sterling Style

Leopard shoes perhaps? I would wear the ones below, but not the ones above. And I love, love, love it paired with polka dot dress!

Pumps from the Sartorialist

He wears it well, don't you think?

the REAL DEAL in Africa
I think the key with leopard is to keep it minimal. It can go tacky very easily. A little leopard goes a long way. So pair the shoes, the belt, the clutch, (the stairs!), with some classic, conservative pieces and you can't go wrong. How do you wear your leopard?

Wishlist - 2 Wheeled Transportation Device

This outfit is super cute, but what I'm really after is that moped thing? What is that? It looks vintage. I want it.

photo via Tomboy Style
Seriously, I have been wanting a scooter, or something like it for a really long time. NOW, I want a vintage scooter. I think this purchase just got a little more expensive.

Beautiful Spaces - Colorful Bathroom

via MiCasa

I love this super organized and vibrant space. God willing I ever have a bathroom this large in my life, this is great inspiration. It even has a balcony!

Art - Karen Appleton

Sometimes the best present is a painting of a present.

  I have so much love for these oil painting by Karen Appleton I don't even know what to do.

Karen's blog, makes me love her and her artwork even more (if that is possible). As if creating these amazing paintings isn't enough, she is generous enough, on her blog, to share her creative process. I love when people do that!! It's as if they understand my need to know the "story behind the story" which is a really big need I have, by the way. It is really cool to see how much work goes into creating paintings like these. Oh, I just love everything about what is going on here. So inspired. Now, I just have to figure out how to own one of these. If we are settled by then, maybe this could be my combined Christmas/House Warming present. That last sentence/hint was aimed directly at my husband, who claims to read this thing. So, what do you think husband? Any chance of getting my hands on one of these babies? Comment below. Or, we can talk at dinner.

In Fashion - Thomas Wylde

I am loving just about everything from Thomas Wylde these days. Feast your eyes on the gorgeousness:

Some black tights and cuffed ankle boots, and I would really be able to rock my inner Steve Nicks. You have one of those too, right? An inner Stevie? Yes, I believe we all do. See more at Net-A-Porter.

Inspiration - Move, Eat & Learn

I first saw this over at Pret-A-Voyager and it has since been making the blog rounds. It's the trip of a lifetime translated into three videos. As someone who places a very high value on experiencing the world fully, leaving comfort zones (both physical and mental) and embracing the unknown, I really appreciate what they have done here. Have a look:

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

These guys are clearly travelers and not tourists. There is nothing wrong with tourists, but, for my money, if I'm going to take the time, effort and expense to go somewhere, I want the full experience. I'm not staying in a chain hotel and I'm not eating food that I can get in London. I have discovered so many amazing foods by simply letting go and eating was is offered to me. This has not always turned out well. I've eaten intestine, chicken's feet and mopane worms (yes, worms). I've gotten sick, but so what? Did I want to eat those things - of course not. But I did want to give the gift that can only be given when you accept what someone offers you. It's a powerful thing and it's rare and you should never pass up the opportunity to release that kind of goodness into the world. You, and the giver, will forever be changed. So, get out there and MOVE, LEARN and EAT.

Beautiful Spaces - Shiny Walls

In a home, I will own, someday, somewhere, I will replicate this wall from Erica Tanov's Marin store. Made of over 4,000 custom fabricated tumbled brass discs and nailed into the wall by hand, it might be quite the project, but it will happen. Someday. Somewhere.

photos via Remodelista

Inspiration - Andrew Adansi-Bonnah

photo credit: Francis Kokutse/AP
Andrew is an 11-year old from Ghana in West Africa. He was moved by the pictures he saw on television of children suffering in Somalia. A place where almost 30,000 children have died over the past three months from starvation. After consulting with the UNICEF and the UN, Andrew set up Save Somali Children from Hunger to raise 20 million Ghanaian cedis — or about 13 million US dollars. His goal is to do this during the 11 weeks of his school holiday, going door to door asking for donations. Did I mention he is eleven? How many eleven year olds do you know, who would come up with this dream, much less give up their school holiday to make it happen? Folks, there is hope for the future. And his name is Andrew Adansi-Bonnah.  So far, he has raised about $6,500. Read more about Andrew HERE and HERE.

Food - Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

I'm going to be adding a Food Post, probably at least a few times a month. I enjoy cooking and I'm always looking for new recipes. There are several amazing cooking sites on the web and I'm excited to share recipes I've had success with. I also have a few favorite cookbooks that I go to time and again. Today's recipe is from my favorite cookbook, The Gaining Ground Table. My friend, Renee, brought me this cookbook when she came to visit us in South Africa. It focuses on cooking seasonally with fresh ingredients. It was such a great gift, because a lot of the cooking websites I follow are based in the US, and I was always opposite season, so while they were focusing on cookouts I was looking for soups and stews. I also love this cookbook because the proceeds from the purchase go to benefit Gaining Ground, a non-profit based in Concord, Massachusetts that grows organic produce for hunger relief. This recipe, for Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is from Kate Feininger and, as you'll see below, it works for the whole family.

Dressing: (this is enough dressing for 2 people; double as needed)

1 oil-packed anchovy fillet finely chopped (optional or I use a squeeze of paste)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons (packed) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I usually use a little less)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic cloved, minced
¼ teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mash anchovy with back of spoon (don't be a wimp - use the anchovy). Whisk together with mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, dijon mustard, minced garlic and worchestershire sauce. Gradually whisk in olive oil. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving).


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and flattened
8 1-inch cubes crustless sourdough bread

Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over med-low heat. Add garlic and saute until golden (about 4 min); discard garlic. Add bread cubes and saute until golden brown and crisp (about 9 min). Transfer to paper towel. (can be made 1 day ahead; store in airtight container at room temp)


hearts of romaine lettuce leaves, chopped (generally one heart per person)
cherry tomatoes, halved
parmesan shavings
salt & pepper to taste
grilled, chopped chicken*
sliced egg (optional)

*I season chicken tenders with Paula Dean's house seasoning (click for recipe) and grill them on a grill pan in olive oil (since we don't have an outdoor grill right now). The key for me with this method is a low-medium flame and they turn out tender and juicy.

Some other things about this recipe: It is totally worth it to make the garlic croutons (and you must use sourdough, I have tried other breads without success). They are sooo delicious! Also, at 12, my daughter is not yet a "salad" eater, so I make the salad for me and my husband and serve her the grilled chicken with a veggie that she likes on the side. Everyone is happy.

For more information, or to order the Gaining Ground cookbook visit their website HERE.

I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my family have. Happy Eating!

Wishlist - Peace in London

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Aaron Biber, age 89, surveys the damage to his hair salon after riots on Sunday night.

Art - Amanda Stone Talley

Today's art from Louisiana artist Amanda Stone Talley.

Some installation photos:

I love the way these fresh modern paintings look in a traditional room.

To purchase and see more visit Ms. Talley's website HERE. Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I am hanging out at home helping out my husband with some research for his project. I realize I am a super dork, but I actually like research. Probably that thing in me that likes to solve problems, which is, at it's core, the job of a designer. Or, I'm just a dork - either way, I'm content. See you next week!

Inspiration - Ferris Bueller

I cannot even express how much I love and appreciate this re-cut of the trailer for Ferris Bueller's Day Off by JosephsBrett. This has always been one of my favorite movies, and while, of course it is funny, for me, the story was always about Cameron - and how Ferris saved him. It wasn't about skipping school, or even learning to "stop and look around once in a while". I've never had a problem with finding ways to have a good time. I have, however, struggled with learning to take responsibility for the trajectory of my life. With understanding that despite my negative experiences, or what I perceive to be the truth, ultimately I have the choice of living in fear or living in freedom. Ferris taught Cameron what it meant to live boldly in the truth that his worth was not based on how he was treated by his father. Thus, one of my favorite movie quotes ever:
I'm not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand.
So, here is to living boldly - to understanding your true value and to not living in fear, but experiencing life fully in a place of power, love and self-control. Happy Wednesday.