Thursday, September 30, 2010


I must say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease sometimes. 

Let me start at the very beginning.  Beau and I have been planning a vacay to Puerto Rico for many, many months.  Actually, wayyy prior to finding out the news of the impending arrival of the chick pea.  Based upon the excellent travel advice of our friends, Paola and Jose, we booked it and are headed to Vieques, an island off the coast of PR,  in a couple of weeks.  Cannot wait as my favorite activities are traveling with Beau, particularly to beachy "tropical" destinations!

Beau and I in Belize, 2008.  Our most recent "big" beach trip. 

My hand in Miami...a tiny taste of the beach this past February.
(Our worst offense?  Not taking any pics together to document any of our travels or adventures!)

A small part of the vacay will include a visit to Old San Juan.  Although there are some seriously ah-mazing beachy resorts in San Juan (Ritz and La Concha), we figured that we would like to experience the charm and history of Old SJ for a bit, especially since we will have been beaching like whales for a week already (quite literally for me these days). 

After reading a ton of reviews, asking all Puerto Rican friends or past visitors, and checking out the pics, we excitedly settled on El Convento Hotel in the heart of Old San Juan.  I called about three months ago to reserve a spot for us for one night on our way back from Vieques, but my attempt was thwarted.  BUMMER.  They have a two night minimum stay.  I will spare you the painful details, but let's just say that I called back about five three times and finally! the hotel agreed to let us book only one night.  I am many things, one of them being perseverant!

El Convento in the heart of Old San Juan.

I really don't think I can describe my anticipation to check out Old SJ with base camp being El Convento. One of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" collection, El Convento was constructed as a convent in 1646.  It operated as a convent for 252 years, prior to operating as a flophouse and finally undergoing a massive renovation in the 60s. I adore a smaller boutique hotel steeped in history, which is why I knew we "had" to stay at EC. 

Now, the good stuff, the pics.

This place seems to perfectly combine old world elegance with some comfy amenities.  I am most excited about the evening wine and cheese hour, complementary to the guests and served on the rooftop!  (I will only take a couple of sips of vino, I promise...)

If anyone has any Old SJ recs that they would like to share, we are all ears.  Still researching restaurant options for our last night in beautiful Puerto Rico.  I am hoping we are sunkissed and relaxed from Vieques as we enjoy all that El Convento and San Juan have to offer, even if it is just for about 15 hours.  I will keep Gimlet Nation posted as we continue to plan our adventures in both Vieques and San Juan.



P.S. I love a good "after!"  Remember E.Lee's post on painting tips from a pro

Here was the subject in question.

E. Lee's inherited "factory lacquer" finish dining chairs.

Well, here is a delightful little updated "after" she sent me.  Check it:

Here is her end chair bedecked in beautiful ikat!  So fresh...and no factor lacquer in sight!  
(If you would like a source for her fabric, you can email me or E.Lee)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cotton Candy

PLEASE tell me I am not the only person who literally became unglued at the mere sight of the fabulous Trudy in all of her cotton candy glory on this week's Mad Men epi? 

(My dear friend Emily coined "cotton candy glory" so I must give her full credit...she also provided the below pic from online.  Thanks!)

I think she is supposed to be about 9 months pregs. 

Beau has suggested that this be my own Halloween costume this year.  Can you imagine?  The sight of such an atrocity would burn my neighbors' retinas off of their eyeballs!  ...but it would be completely perfect, too. 



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kelly Wearstler, Queen of Maximalism

I am not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit that CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood is seriously one of my favorite televisions shows of all time.  Should that confession be placed in the guilty pleasure category or is it standard to love Sunday Morn?  Please advise. 

Well, if it is in the former embarrassment category, you may not have seen the piece on Kelly Wearstler yesterday morning.  Sunday Morning always does a great job of combining true human interest-y fun facts and warm sometimes folksy interviews with legitimate information.  Regarding Kelly, I learned that she posed for Playboy in the 90s and has a 98 year old "lovey" named Frank, but also was intrigued to hear her thoughts on color.  A great balance for 8:00 am on a Sunday morning. 

Fab Kelly showing off that hand painted foyer of hers. 

I thought the interview was light and fluffy and interesting.  If you are intrigued, you can read it here.  (Still trying to find a clip of the interview and will post if I do!)



Monday, September 27, 2010

Completely Random

I still haven't yet resorted to the "this post is completely random" post, but, after a super long week and an upcoming long day, I figured I would simply compile every nugget that I have wanted to blog about for the past week and simply smush it all together.  Is that cool?  (I must admit...I kind of like reading other bloggers' "completely random" posts on occasion.) 

Super Random I

First things first.  I am so sick of hearing about the Katy/Elmo controversy, but I just have to implore Gimlet Nation for its opinion.  Am I completely morally base and/or desensitized by costume-crazy Nola because I truly do not see the offensiveness of Katy's dress up costume from her duet with Elmo?

I really don't see a difference between Katy's costume and Nancy Kerrigan's ice skating costume from the early 90s...

Or Jasmine's "authentic" costume from Aladdin...

I detect some cartoon cleavage!

Are Jersey Shore-watching American parents really that falsely Puritanical?  ...or are they just perverting yet another thing that need not be perverted?  I dunno, but I truly do not believe that a three year old would even notice Katy Perry's boobs as being inappropriate and sexualized.  Maybe I am naive. 

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can watch the offending Sesame Street piece here.  You won't be able to watch it on Sesame because it has been pulled, never to be seen by our nation's perfectly sheltered youth.  They will have to resort to texting their fellow five year old friends, gyrating to Hannah Montana, and playing Grand Theft auto. 

See, I told y'all this was going to be random!

Super Random II

Next thing.  Last weekend, we were lucky enough to be able to go to the Midwest for a 48 hour sweep.  We flew into Chicago late Friday evening, stayed with Beau's brother and his wife (my bro/sis-in-law) and had a lovely dinner in their awesome Lakeview neighb.  We then got up at 6:00 am and started our road trip to Terre Haute, Indiana for Beau's grandma's 90th birthday party at the TH Country Club.  We came in hot from the road already dressed and ready to celebrate.  THEN, we drove to Hymera, Indiana to gather further with Beau's entire extended fam at their cabin.  There was lots of hitting of golf balls into the lake/pond, playing with filthy dirty dogs, corn hole tourneys, oh, and heavy drinking, of course.  I felt right at Southern home!  THEN, we drove back to Terre Haute, ate our collective favorite, Maurizio's Pizza, and went to bed.  THEN, we woke up, at our second collective favorite, Square Donuts, visited with Beau's Aunt Carolyn and Aunt Judy and, sadly, road tripped back to Chi for our late Sunday flight.  Are y'all tired and/or bored from reading this itinerary? 

Aside from oversharing, I am filling you in on our fun Midwestern times because I have to show you some of the darling, sweet things that Beau's mom saved for 35 years and then handed over to us for the bebe. 
Among many other wonderful day gowns and other sweet things, she sent us home with the following:

Beau's first little cordovan leather shoesies, pictured with a little card that Baptist Hospital (yes, the one on Napoleon and Claiborne in New Orleans) gave to his dad (not his mom) to congratulate him on his baby boy!  I definitely plan to frame it simply for the bebe's room as a little memento. 

My other favorite item.  Hong Kong jammies!  Did y'all ever have Hong Kong jammies?  My sister and I did.  I have no idea who gave us ours, but, in Beau's family, they are a mandatory tradition.  Beau's cousins live in Hong Kong so his aunt has always ensured that everyone under 4'5" can be easily outfitted at all times in Hong Kong jammies or varying versions thereof.  (I know we have many many pics somewhere of all of the Templeton cousins gathered in their jammies over various years and I WILL post them one day!) 

Here are a pair of Beau's....I seriously cannot wait for our kid to rock the vintage ones (and hopefully a couple of new fresh pairs, too!)

Aren't Beau's HK jammies sweet? Sweeter b/c his three brothers had matching ones.

Super Random III

Did I show you guys the awesome John Derian for Targe waste basket that I snatched from when they featured the first glance of John Derian for Targe items?  I am quite pleased with it for the nursery.  I know you can likely find it at your local Targe, but I had to fight tooth and nail for this one on gilt!

Cute and perfectly sized for the tinsie room.

Super Random IV

I spied this mirror at Agora Galleries on Magazine (I have blogged about it before here).  I think it is so pretty and like the idea of a fabric frame for a mirror.  It looks a little Ballard-ish, but there is something that drew me to it.  I actually think it would be great over a bed on a gray (shocker!) wall.  Very soft and delicate, but crisp.

Let me know if you need me to proxy this for you!

Super Random V

Have you guys ever seen Smock. paper in real life?  I have swooned online, but have never examined it in person.  My sister and I went to The Stationer to select some baby shower invites for a family friend, and we were delighted by the Smock. selections. 

The letterpress is truly unique.  The patterns are stunning...a perfect combination of modern and classic. 

Check out their site, but if you have the ability, examine their stuff in person! 

Cute stuff.

Well, happy Monday.  We are enjoying some "Fall" weather in Nola, which will hopefully cheer us up a bit after a hard loss against the Falcons yesterday.  Who Dat Nation must hold its head high for next week's game!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CB2 Surprise

I normally overall like CB2's offerings, but occasionally think that their goods look a bit too much like Ikea stuff for double or even triple the price.  Usually, there are a couple of fun accessories a season that I pine for and that is about it.  Of course, CB2 has also given us the ubiquitous (and delightfully priced) lucite cocktail table for everyman/woman's enjoyment. 

Remember me?  Still available for $249.00.

Let me tell you, I was very surprised and delighted to receive the new CB2 catalog last night, which featured its new lighting for the season.  The victory pendant is a real treat.  It is good looking...and far more luxey looking than the price tag indicates!

If you are seeking an industrial/galvanized light fixture, this is your winner.

I love the size and scale of these, esp. for $149.00 a piece. 

Pefect over the Big Sur standard from Crate and Barrel, in my humble opinion....

Or even over your kitchen island...

Still a fave kitch of mine from the Cottage Living Magazine (RIP) designer showhouse on Camp Street.

Please let me know if you have a project requiring the victory pendant.  I would love to see it in action.  Too good of a deal to pass up. 



P.S.  THANK YOU Gimlet Nation for all of your assistance with the Great Gray Paint Debate of 2010.  I will hopefully have something to show you relatively soon, especially now that I am armed and dangerous with your wonderful perspective and advice. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gray Matters

Selecting neutral paint colors, to me, is one of the most challenging color-oriented design tasks.  Neutrals can either sinnnnggg or totally tank, depending on the addition or subtraction of even the tiniest bit of light or dark tints.  Needless to say, acquiring the perfect "dove gray" hue (did I invent this paint color in my head?!) for the nursery has been a shit show taxing, to say the least. 

Total trainwreck in action....note the lavender-y tones of pretty much all 17 of the paint samples. 

I started to give up and the samples got smaller and smaller as I became more frustrated!

Some of the grays I have found and been inspired by, via decorpad.


Jessica Helgerson

Living etc.

Gina Kates.

Now, I am going to totally sell myself out here.  Usually, I am all about sharing my own tips and tricks with y'all, holding myself out as a pseudo painting/DIY expert.  Well, welcome to amateur hour.  I realized about four days ago that I seriously think that the reason the color is so completely off and looks nothing like gray, much less the swatches I thought I was buying, is because the wall color (which seems to be an innocuous neutral) is either coming through the paint OR we are just having a really hard time seeing the colors for what they are, since they are not up against a pure white.  Who knew this could happen, Mr. Wizard?

Hence, back to square one and having to prime an entire wall to restart our efforts.  After it is primed, we will simply take out all the samples and brushes and start again.  I will keep you posted. 

In the meantime, anyone have a truly perfect dove gray to recommend?  Other colors in the palette are sunshine yellow and pops of turq.  White trim, neutral rug.  Please, have at it.  I apparently need all the help I can get!



Friday, September 17, 2010

A(nother) New Kid on the Block: Rue

Rue online magazine is live!  And, I am loving it already....

Click here to be transported.

What are your thoughts? I will share mine after this weekend...needing time to examine and digest for a couple of hours!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Home Girl

The Nola design community is bursting with pride over one of its own being featured in this month's House Beautiful.  Not that Melissa Rufty hasn't been lauded the world over for her explosive design talents, but her very own home is the featured this month.  Pretty cool for her and New Orleans, no?  

Exterior of her Uptown home.
I am tres stupide...I pass this home all the time and just never knew it was MR's!

Melissa Rufty is one of my favorite designers because she captures the pitch perfect essence of the "New" New Orleans....a balanced combination of incredibly traditional antiques and old artifacts with fresh and vibrant punches of color and pattern. 

Trad family pieces combined with perfect punches of ikat on antique chairs.

Signature MR!  The banquette under the entrance foyer stairwell.  Cozy, yet grand, don't you think?
...check out the nailheads on the custom seating.  Love the interplay with the pattern on the cocktail table.

Custom wine closet off of the dining room.  MR calls it a "filling station."
Editor's Note: I am totally stealing that term.
Beautiful textured walls in the dining room, too.

Natch, Leontine linens abounding.   

Curvaceous bed from Bush Antiques set against pale pink walls. 
Tres Nouvelle Orleans!

Genius combination of patterns throughout the home.
Those suzani pillows up against that wallpaper.  Ooh la la...would have never thought.

Now-iconic Amanda Talley paintings abound in New Orleans homes these days and rightfully so.   
MR did her daughter's room in perfectly sweet pinks layered in patterns. 
 (The bold and utiliatrian toy storage under the antique bamboo side tables is a fabu foil, too.)

Blurry pic of a gorgeous tortoise shell.
I have wanted one of these for a long time.  Such a curiosity!

Check out the full spread of Melissa Rufty's beautiful home in House Beautiful this month.  I picked up my copy here and you can too! 



P.S.  I discovered that perch's blog has some far bigger scans than I do...and it sources the fabrics featured throughout the home for you.  Check it if you want to see more pics or purchase some of the fab fabrics for  Chez You. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Craigslist Connect

Remember the Pier One mirror

Well, I sold it on good ole Craigs to a designer here in Nola.  She plans to paint it for a client who has been lusting over something almost identical for quite some time.  Much like ebay, everyone wins with Craigs! 

Anyway, bright and early on Saturday a.m. during the "exchange," I learned that my "customer" has a great retail website called Sophisticated Mix.  She sells her wares out of two locations, one in Lakeview and one in Old Metairie (as well as her online site and via Facebook).

I was beyond delighted to check it out and discover the potential winner in my 2 year long search for a proper bar cart to serve as our satellite bar in the living room. 


Bamboo tray table for $268.00
It is the perfect size...and doesn't have to permanently serve as a bar forever.
(Who are we kidding?  As long as we need drinks, we will need this bar.)

There are some other great items on her site, too.  Loving this lotus table lamp and its sexy black shade.

Or these ceramic sparrows in all sizes and pairings...

The moral of this post is that you juuuust never know who you are going to meet and why you are going to meet them.  Instead of exchanging a mirror for cash with a questionable person who now knows my address, email, and name, I now have learned about a pretty cool new site with some great products.  Check it out when you have a sec! 



P.S. In honor of my recent "ask and I shall receive," I figure that by putting my bar cart wish on the blog, it will be promptly delivered to my front door by a kind gimleter, right? 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask and you shall receive

I was very spoiled this past weekend.  Most notably, by the company of a dear college friend, Courtney, and her awesome boyfriend, Keith.  There was lots of laughing, telling of old scarring stories, and, of course, eating.  Alot.

Courtney and Keith's visit was all I needed, but she also brought me a little gift.  I almost died when I opened it. 

Remember me?
I posted about my lust for this sweet tray from Paris Hotel Boutique quite some time ago.  Courtney listened!

Who knew that my blog could also serve as an ongoing wish list?  So many benefits and sweet treats!



Tuesday, September 7, 2010


At lunch the other day we snuck on over to the NFL Women's Shop on Magazine Street for a look see.  Apparently, this is a temporary pop up type shop that is just here to serve the immediate and pressing needs of New Orleans ladies for Saints shitake gear, clothing, chapstick, wallets, hand sanitizer, picnic baskets, magnets, jewelry, work out gear, bikinis....

Overall, the store was refreshingly clear of the usual NFL "attire for ladies," such as pink jerseys with bejeweled numbers or daisy dukes with the team name written across the bottoms.  We were pleasantly surprised!

However, there were a couple of puzzling items and this one, in particular, should be shared. 

Jessica Simpson-designed Saints cocktail dress?
Please explain the specific occasion to which you would wear this!

Julie apologizes for the photo quality.  A random patron had some serious things to say about the proprietary rights of the Saints organization to photographs of its merch, particularly this cocktail dress...

Perhaps I will purchase this and squeeze my baby bump into this for Thursday's game.  Dress for success?



Friday, September 3, 2010


I have decided to post more about one of my favorite hobbies/pastimes, besides all things design.  What is this hobby you say?  Why, dining out in all places, but particularly, Nola, baby!

There are so many excellent restaurants here, and I hope to share our tremendous culinary offerings with both Nola Gimleters and soon-to-be-visiting Nola Gimleters, too.  (I will happily discuss the design and interiors of these hot spots, too....)

What prompted this post is the fact that Beau and I have a little date night planned tonight.  Since Project Baby Haynes '11 was put into action, I have been kind of unable to enjoy our favorite dining activites due to the obvious food aversion issues and exhaustion.  (I remember in the thick of the sickies/pregs feeling so proud of myself for sitting inside one of our favorite pizza places at 5:30 pm on a Friday and nibbling on bread sticks and Sprite...and making it out alive.)

Now that I am back in business, we decided that we should celebrate by hitting one of our fave spots in Uptown Nola, Patois.  Beau prefers to standardly refer to it as "Desautel's," which is the name of the fictional restaurant in the HBO show, Treme.  If you haven't seen the show, the actual Patois Restaurant is the location for Desautel's. 

Love Tommy C!

It is a precious French bistro nestled on a residential corner about 2.5 blocks from our house on Laurel Street near Audubon Park.  I adore not only the drink menu (RIP for me) and the cuisine, but also the interior and ambiance generale.  It is hard to find restaurants that perfectly balance sophistication and comfort.  Patois maintains a lively vibe without being sceney.  Thanks, Patois!


Intimate neighborhood dining at its finest.

Corner shot of the restaurant's glowing exterior.

So, what are the shining star highlights at Patois, in my humble opinion?  (I will include Beau's usual picks as well for the majority of you Gimleters who are non-vegetarians! )

The Stand outs....


Potato Gnochhi; Crispy Pork Belly and Seared Scallop; Grilled Lamb Ribs
*I also love the cheese plate, but I have never met a cheese plate I didn't like.


Jumbo Lump Crab Salad
Not to be missed!


Grilled Hangar Steak; Crispy Half Roasted Duck; Gulf Shrimp and Housemade Fettucini

I am unable to access the specialty drink menu, but will update you on which mocktail I select tonight.  Seriously, though, you cannot go wrong with one of their fresh seasonal fruit-based cocktails. 

If you haven't tried Patois OR are thinking about visiting Nola and want to veer off the touristed path, this is a great option.  I highly recommend...bon appetit!



P.S.  Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day.  So ready for a three day weekend filled with organizing projects.  Yes, I really mean that.