Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vice, Part I

It has been a whirlwind week and weekend.  Wow.  I don't really know how I am typing coherently.  Actually, I am not sure if I am.  Forgive me if I ramble or misspell or stop.typing.mid.sentence.

Let me just start by saying that Miami was completely surprising to me.  I loved it so much more than I thought I would.  We have already starting mentally planning a trip back soon.  It is the perfect short getaway from New Orleans.  A very affordable one hour fifteen minute flight from Nola?  I am in.    

I arrived late on Wednesday night.  Perfectly timed, Beau was arriving back from his dinner at Michael's Genuine Food and Drink as I was jumping out of my cab.  We had a drink at the sports bar at the Doral with some of his family friends and proceeded back to our room.  I will  write a separate review on tripadvisor and link to it later, but let's just say that we decided that the Doral would not be happening for us for another night. Working too much and taking this trip on a whim resulted in poor planning on our part. After realizing that the Doral was a $50.00 cab ride to and from South Beach, we figured we needed to reconfigure our plan.  Plus, the Doral is ideal for a boys golf vacay, but not a perfect pick for a  weekend getaway to splashy Me-ah-me.   (You can read all of my other tripadvisor reviews under my username, Nolanative.  I try to record my hotel stays on there, but sometimes, of course, fail to do so!)

So....during my pedi at the Doral Spa the next morning, I committed to finding a new spot for Beau and me to rest our heads.  While Beau was at his last CLE sessions, I became a task master and got us relocated to South Beach.  (It was a bit harder than I would have anticipated because Thursday was the start of the Miami Wine and Food Fest....which seems like it would be an amazing trip in and of itself!) 

Needless to say, we escaped the Doral and made a break for the Mondrian on South Beach.  As neither us have ever been to Miami and really have no context for where to stay, etc., I am so glad that I simply called the Delano and, although booked, they placed us at one of its other properties in the Morgan Hotel Group.  
Again, I will write a more detailed review of the Mondrian on tripadvisor, but I think the beautiful snaps as well as a quick visit to the website will speak volumes and express our utter relief when we walked through the posh white lobby.  Upon pulling up in our cab to the chandeliered valet area, we both finally felt like our Miami vacay had begun!

We were upgraded to this room with a view.  Score!  

We actually loved that the Mondrian was on the bay side as opposed to the was quieter and a bit secluded from the hustle and bustle of Collins and Ocean.  Located in a residential neighborhood, but still a 3 minute cab ride to all of the places we wanted to go, the Mondrian was a very happy accident for us.  

I settled into a lounge chair and the amazing bar service began.  Although it was unseasonably chilly for Miami, it was still wonderful to sit in the sunshine and soak up some Vit D. 

Cheers with a view!

We enjoyed too many pool drinks (or "boat drinks"...a term I have never heard, but love!) and watched the sunset from the pool area bar.   We were fortified by some yummy ceviche as we took in the stunner views.  

It looks fake, right? ...and this is an iPhone snap!   

Here are some other design-nutty pics of the Mondrian...

View of pool patio below our balcony with the gorgeous filligreed stained concrete.

One more view from our balc.
Outside near the pool.
Lobby is a show stopper. 

I understand that I proclaimed that our Miami vacay would consist of serious R and R.  Many of you probably chuckled and rightfully so.  We basically had Mardi Gras/Lombardi Gras II, which kicked off at the hotel bar and continued on at Prime 112.   Aside from the masculine-chic environment and very happening vibe, including a great bar and a perfect people-watching experience, the food was also delicious.  Beau proclaimed that the steak may be one of the best he has ever had.  My crab cakes had the perfect crispy outside and softer inside.  Of course, my one bite of the incredibly rich lobster mac and cheese was possibly the best taste I had in Miami.  

I think, however, Beau was sold when we waited at the bar, ordered our fourth-ish round of cocktails (for the day, not the restaurant), and he snacked on this.  

Still life featuring bacon on the bar paired with Beau's vodka soda.  Ambrosia to Beau.  I think the fact that there was bacon in lieu of carbs or bar nuts for the taking was almost too much for him to wrap his mind around.  

I would highly recommend hitting Prime 112.  Everyone around us loved their meals, the service was impeccable and, honestly, it was just fun to see Lamborghinis and Stretch Hummers pulling up all night (we loved our outside table!).  

One may think that the night ended after a luxurious meal and, at this point, 700 cocktails for the day.  Nope. We hopped in a cab and headed to the Fontainebleau.  I was shocked that we actually went along with our original plan to hit the lobby bar there.  

We were both delighted to settle into a table, people watch, and wikipedia everything on our iPhones about Goldfinger.  Here is a little blurb about Bleau Bar from the Fontainebleau website. 

MiamiNew Times - Best of Miami ® 2009 Best Neighborhood Bar/Miami Beach
The legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach is “the” resort where James Bond and Goldfinger played a game of gin rummy, where Frank and The Rat Pack played and where Elvis was really “in the building,” This iconic playground to the stars is back and more alluring than ever. 

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Fontainebleau was the place to be and seemed to host the who's who in entertainment, including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Reynolds and many others. 

 Mad Men meets hip Miami club.

It was a real treat to examine the Lapidus-designed lobby in person.  I have read so much about it for so long.  I now appreciate and understand the one billion (!) dollar renovation.  The restoration very much captured the feel of an updated take on a classic mid-century modern masterpiece. I thought it perfectly married  the aesthetic of a bygone era with the current "cool" Miami look.  
I had to snap a shot of the famous tuxedo floors....
Just ignore Beau's bunny ears.  And my champagne glass.  And the bad angle.  You get the idea, right?

I was unable to get a good shot of the famed "Stairway to Nowhere," but had to include this snap from New York Social Diary.  

After I tried to convince Beau to continue the party at LIV, the nightclub/discotheque/lounge (I think all of those terms are hilarious) located in the Fontainebleau, we headed back to the Mondrian to rest our weary little heads.  Sadly, it was closing time...for us, that is.  

Next installment of our Miami trip tomorrow...I think you will be highly impressed with our "Miami in a nutshell" experience.  We covered some serious ground. 



P.S.  If we are lucky, Beau may grace us with a guest post on Miami, including his review of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink.  

P.P.S.  Here is a link to an article on the very entertaining vending machine in the lobby of the Mondrian.  You will get a kick out of it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Bold and the Beautiful

Hi everyone! My name is Adrianne Bugg and I started my business, Lambchop Designs, in 2008. Lambchop Designs is "Fun Art for Cool Kids"!!! I am beginning to focus on nursery and big-kid room design. Needless to say, I was really flattered and excited when Jessie asked me to guest blog today.

One of the nursery/kid design topics that BURNS a hole in my head is about BOLD, BEAUTIFUL color. If you have ever been to my site,, you will know about my obsession with real color. Don't get me wrong, I love a good pastel baby room as much as anyone. BUT, let's be honest: do you want your kid's room to look like everyone else's? If you read The Gimlet Eye, then, clearly not! Every room needs a little "kick in the pants" sometimes. Let's look at some bold nursery options, shall we?

We'll start SOFT:
Both of these pics come from another favorite blog: 
She references Urban Grace.

I think you should refer to Jessie's recent post about spray can nozzle attachments. Buy that and some gold spray paint. Have an old Jinny Lind? I do. Paint that beauty! (Side note: This topic makes me want to talk about painting antiques. It's ok. Seriously. Do it.)

Then, get BOLDER:

Rather than sticking with the soft pinks shown above (which is GORG), I would prefer pairing it with the "Catalina" duvet from Serena and Lily:
There is absolutely NO reason you can't have it made into a clever bumper (or toddler-sized duvet) and some fab pillow for the STARK WHITE glider that you will, no doubt, buy to go with the ensemb:


This glider is worth the money, people. No substitutes allowed. Believe me, I have tried! Plus, it is slip-covered. Throw that sucker in the wash with some Oxi Clean...milk spills and sticky suckers = GONE.

Don't forget this fun "truck" pillow if you have a boy:

Or, this cutie if you have a girlie:
I found her at River Birch Gifts in White Stone, VA (804) 435-1215


Ok. On to the WALLS. You didn't think I would let this one go, now, did you? (
One of my favorite collections is the Astrology Series (if I do say so, myself!). It is quirky and cute and will add a little BOLD to your beautiful room. Here are just a few to wet your palate:


 My last "clever" idea of the day...framing dishcloths! I could make this a whole WEEK of posts!! When I was decorating my son's nursery (he is now 2 1/2), I was in love with pastels and, as Jessie would say, "NATCH" needed a POP of color. So...a trip to Anthropologie and a staple gun later...VOILA! (Please note thta the green turtle dishcloth is in a handy frame from Target..$20. I bought green satin ribbon from Benjamin Franklin (a craft store near me) and staple-gunned it to the back to hang.) PERFECT given the light blue and white fish theme going on.

I hope this had been helpful! I have a LOT more where that came from. Make sure to tune in to Lambchop Designs in the near future. I am starting my kid's design blog very soon! If you have questions or want to sign up for my newsletters, email me: Adrianne. We will continue to decorate the theme I've started here!

THANK YOU to Jessie for this fun experience.

Happy decorating and BE BOLD!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beach Week Part 3: Pull the Trigger?

I have coveted spun fiberglass patio furniture for a long time.  Countless ebay and craigslist searches have come up fruitless over the years for the reasons of price or distance or usually both.  I actually considered snatching a set from the Viceroy when Leigh and I visited.  Probably not a good idea, right?

via flickr

There was even a tempting spun fiberglass lounger a couple months back wherein Beau had to talk me out of asking my youngest brother in law to drive to Fort Wayne, Indiana and then drive it down to us in New Orleans. 

So, in honor of beach week, look what I found!  Finally!

I plan to pull the trigger...paws off.   I am already envisioning either aqua, yellow, or orange sunbrella cushions.  They will go on the currently empty back deck in preparation for spring/summer and, of course, in honor of beach week.

I need the push, but not too badly.  I have already bid.  They will be mine...why don't you come over and sit and have a cocktail this summer?



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bienvenidos a Miami

I have always said "no" when Beau has asked me to accompany him to conferences in fun places, like D.C. and Scottsdale.  When he found out he was going to be speaking at an upcoming CLE in Miami, I decided to tag along...time to stop foregoing quick trips with my hubby in lieu of work and other obligations on the home front all the time.

So, I am heading out and coming back on Friday!  Truly a quick trip, but worth it.

I will be entertaining myself on Thursday during the day.  Although I wish we would be together throughout the day, one of my favorite things to do is anonymously rove.  Natch, some spa has been scheduled and there is pool time lounging anticipated.  We are staying at the Doral Golf Club and Spa (site of the CLE), but don't think I haven't conducted some cursory South Beach research!

Per Katie (local Miami and Super Bowl expert), we have made reservations at Prime 112.  Beau, for steaks, me, for celebrity sightings.

I plan to rove around Lincoln Road, especially to check out these shops.

This is a photo from the Coral Gables location of Books and Books, but there is a smaller location on Lincoln Road.  I am a true dork and have a list of my favorite book stores from cities outside of New Orleans.  (My DC people know that one of my required stops is always Kramer Books!) 

Fly Boutique.  I am a moth to a flame when it comes to a vintage store (no pun intended).  Even if I can't afford anything.  

Beau and I have decided to eat lunch here.

or here.

If you know us, I am sure you can guess who is voting for what!

I have never been to Miami, but am looking forward to soaking in the art deco architecture and people watching.

Ocean Drive.

Maybe having a drinkie poo here?

I don't know what to expect and, for that, I cannot wait.  A little much-needed post Mardi/Lombardi Gras R and R.

I always rely upon the NY Times' "36 Hours In..." series when planning trips to places I don't know very much about.  They are usually spot on with recommendations with only the occasional miss.  If you haven't used these brief articles before, they always provide some fun suggestions or at least starting off points. 

Again, if you have ideas for "must dos," in South Beach/Miami, please let me know.  After all, my mental image of Miami is currently something like this...

I don't remember the bird...



P.S.  I am thrilled to introduce a guest blogger for Thursday as my posting will be a tad light due to my vacay.  My friend, Adrianne, is creative and hilarious.  She also happens to be an awesome mama and owner of her own business, Lambchop Designs.  Adrianne works with clients to create unique children's art pieces.  I hope y'all enjoy Adrianne's tips and ideas for nursery art...she is full of fabulous ideas and entertaining to boot!

House Crush of the Week

I knew it was high time to start my own blog when I realized that I had over 50 pictures of houses, decor in restaurant bathrooms (yep), paint colors in strangers' homes, furniture "just because it was awesome...," (you get the drift), just sitting on my iPhone at all times. 

Anyhoo, I figure I should share the wealth of my fabulous house photos that I have taken over the past couple of months.  Although I feel like I "know" every house on my driving and walking routes, I am sometimes surprised by something unique or beautiful that I have never noticed before!  I am constantly snapping pics of houses around New Orleans (and when visiting other cities) for posterity simply because they are neat and worthy of remembering. 

Check out this one.  I am always obsessed with conversions of doubles into singles.  This house looks like two doubles connected by a closed-in portico.  I have never seen anything like it. 


Left side of the front of the love love those shuttered-in spaces on conversions of old porches (Usually they are bathrooms or massive walk in closets!)
Cute address on the shady oak outside, too.

This photo allows you to see that there are two "sections" (identical to each other) facing the street.  The house literally looks like two doubles attached by a recessed entryway/hallway.  Nifty!

Ignore the work truck!  See the entryway and "hallway" between the two large single sections. 

Also, note the great ground cover and the well-done stained and bricked sidewalk.  No treacherous New Orleans sidewalk for these homeowners. 

I wish I could capture how the entirety of the house sits on this corner lot in a quiet and tree-lined stretch of Uptown.  Sorry for the tiny pics.  If someone out in blogland knows the owners, give them a heads up that I love love love their home!



P.S. If you are ever moved to snap a shot of a great home exterior (wherever you are), please send it in!  There is so much eye candy surrounding us in our daily routines, and I know I seem to forget that sometimes. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beach Week

My last post got me obsessed thinking about the large Slim Aarons' photograph in the Palmer Weiss-designed breakfast nook.  Ahhh, to own such a work and get to admire it in person whenever you want! 

Natch, this fantasy led me to a bit of investigation as to how I could make this delusion become a reality.  The search for a poster or a print from and the like did not yield any results.  I did find something very very dangerous, though.  Very dangerous.

Theoretically, you, too, could be the owner of  your own "Poolside Gossip."  The links beneath provide the pricing and sizing information.  To examine an entire gallery of eye candy, click here.  Control your drooling, though. 

Let's just start off by saying that the huge ones (some of which are signed, le sigh) are certainly not in my budget.  The tiny options really aren't either.  However, it can't hurt to look, right? Perfect accompaniment for beachy dreams and all this talk of Palm Springs and Miami.   



This beaut reminds me of the Colony Palms hotel.  I want to be back there now...license to chill.

Beau and I will be having a drinkie at the Fontainbleau this week.  If only it was 1955 (ish)!

Oh, Babe.  I am tortured. 

Had to conclude with some more Kaufmann.  I am having hot flashes.

Let's just end this post with the vision of any one of these genius works framed in your home a la Palmer Weiss or an entire gallery wall of them framed in thin white wooden frames.  If I could have them all framed gallery style, I would never leave my house!  A girl can dream and, after posts about spray paint nozzles, it was time for some fantasy.  

If you want a piece of Slim--without the price tag--here are some tiny tastes:


Here's to champagne wishes and caviar dreams. 



P.S.:  OMG, one more.  Just one more.

Pass me a gimlet!