Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oh Canada

If you are on Facebook, you may know Alberto had a heart attack in the Calgary airport on our way to teach a tango workshop. He was put into a paralytic induced coma, had his blood cooled to protect his brain, has been rewarmed and he's off the ventilators, and breathing tube, is talking, but not walking.

Alberto is not all there - sort of like dealing with a mild case of Alzheimer's. He is like a sweet newborn baby.

He needed to have an angio gram today, and he refused! He only wanted Dr. Bhansali his New Orleans doctor.

Finally we got Bhansali on the phone with Alberto to tell him to do it. You know the patient has to be awake and cooperate. So Alberto agreed, but with his memory lapses, it was tough getting him there, because it took the hospital six hours to have a slot. I had to be there with him during the angio.

There is a blockage of course. But too close to one of the valves in the artery (left side) for a stent. They are proposing open heart surgery. Nothing will happen until Monday, when a group of heart specialists look at the angio results.

He cannot travel until his mental state is better, and he can walk. He is talking, eating, but is sometimes very difficult emotionally. He just wants to come home, and really doesn't understand that he is in the hospital. I play him tango music to soothe his troubled mind.

Medivac has been mentioned. But how. It is so expensive. If anyone has any connections in this area, please share your information with me.

We could use a good fund raiser.

Dancers in New Orleans, and people from all over the world are contributing to our Paypal account:

For now the blog must be on the back burner. Please pray for Alberto and me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stealing Magnolias

Here's the deal. I get an e-mail one morning asking me if I have read the new book Stealing Magnolias Tales From A New Orleans Courtyard, by Debra Shriver HERE
I answer, no, but I would love to.
The reply comes back: Where can we send you a book?

The French Quarter home of Debra Shriver
All the interior images are of her home via House Beautiful

Sometimes bloggers get asked to read and review books, and I just love to do this. So the next day via Fedex this lovely book appears on my doorstep. It's a luscious coffee table size book, with a retail price of $60. It is published by Glitterati and it's about New Orleans. I am in heaven.

As I leaf through the beautiful pages, I am sure I have seen some of these images before, and lo and behold they are different versions of an editorial in House Beautiful entitled "A Fabulously Feminine New Orleans home" HERE

The silhouettes on the shelves are of Debra and her husband
They had them made by a street artist in Paris

The interior design is by Hal Williamson, and the fabulously feminine owner of the home is described but never named. Now I know who she is! It's Debra Shriver the author of Stealing Magnolias.

As much as I love the editorial in House Beautiful, I love this book a zillion times more!

Debra and I share similarities. We are both New Yorkers who love New Orleans, and who now call it home. She lives in the French Quarter, and I lived in the French Quarter for the first fourteen months of my new life in New Orleans. She is a high powered business woman who has pretty much given up that life for New Orleans, and I was a high octane business woman who left New York and ended up finding my soul and self again in New Orleans. The back cover author photo shows a smiling blond, and ahem, I am a blond who smiles. Where does she end and where do I begin?

Seriously, Stealing Magnolias is a book I wish I had written about New Orleans, and perhaps it is the book I have been dreaming of doing. It is a wonderful gumbo of a book, combining interior design, cooking, New Orleans history, local customs, and all the wonderful things that make a powerful mojo voodoo charm that has made many a person move here and get lost in the layers that make up New Orleans.

image via Debra Shriver

Debra makes the Paris connection to New Orleans come alive in the most charming ways. She talks about day to day Parisian life style quirks commonly shared by the inhabitants of Nouvelle Orleans. Her home has trinkets and treasures brought back from Paris, fitting in perfectly in her French Quarter digs .

image via Debra Shriver

There is wonderful amount of information about the back stories and customs here in New Orleans that are just priceless. Debra's writing style is enticing and she draws you in with one heady description after another.

image via Debra Shriver

There is "Proust" style questionnaire like the one found at the back of Vanity Fair magazine that would be fun for you to take.

image via Debra Shriver

Here are my answers:

  • Occupation: Stylist, decorator, blogger, writer, tango dancer and tango teacher
  • The best thing about the city (New Orleans) is: The people, the music, the food, the style
  • My favorite meal: Oysters
  • My favorite (New Orleans) cocktail: Kumquat Champagne Cocktail
  • New Orleans is the only place in the world where: People say hello to you on the street
  • My favorite neighborhood: Every neighborhood in New Orleans, grand or humble has its beauty
  • The city's most marked characteristics are: The pursuit of pleasure
  • My favorite New Orleanian is: Miss Anne
  • If I had one free hour (in New Orleans) I would spend it: At Galatoires
  • My one New Orleans obsession is: Its beauty
  • I knew the spell of the city had been cast upon me when: New Orleans chose me to live here, by making the choice and transition effortless.

image via Debra Shriver

Buy this book. For yourself. For a friend. It is just one of those stunning volumes that come along once in awhile. Debra uses the best of the best writers and photographers and artists to enhance her book.

image via Debra Shriver

I have about every pretty picture book ever written about New Orleans and Stealing Magnolias stands out and above them all.

image via Debra Shriver

I plan to get several copies to give out as gifts, especially to people who still sometimes ask me why on earth I would want to live in New Orleans.

image via Debra Shriver

Stealing Magnolias is the book I wanted Vicki Archer and Carla Coulson to do, a sort of My French Life In New Orleans HERE
I wanted to co-write it with them.
I thank Debra Shriver for putting her New Orleans book first on her to-do list.

image via Debra Shriver

Meet Debra Shriver at a book signing and reading of Stealing Magnolias on November 27, 1 - 3 PM, at Garden District Books, 2727 Prytania Street, New Orleans. Tell her the Vamp sent you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Collector's Devotion

I recently had a great visual outing at the home of a collector of spiritual objects. It reminded me of the beautiful homes in the book The Divine Home by Peter Vitale. I have long been fascinated by decor using devotional objects HERE, so this home was a real treat for me.

This is a modest home in size in a lovely part of New Orleans called Old Metairie which is known for gracious living and grand tree lined streets. This house has been remodeled to contain an incredible collection of antiques, providing an aged looking backdrop.

A modest home in Old Metairie

Ordinary front doors have been replaced by a pair of French antique doors. The owners collect old architectural elements and retrofit them into newer spaces. In fact they have a business doing this for many homes in New Orleans.

An angel stands guard at the antique doors from France

The house does not have a large foot print, yet it feels expansive. Tricks like using flat fold Roman shades in linen in lieu of the more traditional silk drapes used in homes in New Orleans, keep the space feeling open.

The living room

Expert layering of objects and furniture is evident here. You feel interested but not overwhelmed.

Vignette in the living room

There are devotional objects come from Spain, France, and Italy. The home owners have lovingly collected them for years.

The angel head in the fireplace is gorgeous!

I snapped these photos on the fly. The house is unstyled as the owners really live it. The light is the natural light only. It deserves a much better magazine worthy photo shoot.

The simple Roman shades in the dining room

I just love getting these special secret glimpses into private homes, and I especially love sharing them with all of you. New Orleans has so many beautiful places behind closed doors and shutters, and walled courtyard patios.

Lovely French antique chandelier

A room used for an office
Fragment of antique fabric used for a valance

Antique angels flank the stove hood in the kitchen

Antique doors retrofitted over modern appliances

Old shutters are used as the pantry doors

A major altar piece from Spain in the wet bar

Butlers table

The family room - old beams were added by the owners

Lovely little soldier stands guard in the family room

Wonderful styling on the bookshelves

Nice trumeau flanked by chunky candle sconces

Gallery wall on stairway to the upstairs bedroom

There is only one bedroom in the house!

An antique bed from a convent

There is only one bedroom in the house. The kids' rooms were in what is now the pool house.

Shelf above the bed

There is a lovely pool and patio and garden. It is a small lot, but every inch of space is ingeniously used.

Antique doors lead to the garden

Lots of plants

Chess board patio - gravel has been removed and pavers will be added

Side yard leading to the street

Back of the house and pool

Loving all this! I hope you have too!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bloggers In The November Magazines

It's always a thrill to see bloggers in print. Bloggers are fast becoming the kings and queens of all media, crossing over into print, online magazines, other blogs and web sites, podcasts, TV, and YouTube.

Gwen Driscoll of Ragland Social Hill has a MAJOR editorial in the November 2010 issue of Elle Decor. Nothing is up online at Elle Decor, so be sure to pick up this issue and check out her fabulous interior design work (page 230 entitled "Homeward Bound).

The November issue of House Beautiful is called "The Ultimate Entertaining Issue." Again they are slow to even have the cover up online. Note to magazines: Keep your web sites current.

Mentioned in a feature starting on page 118 called "101 Party Do's and Don'ts" are many designers weighing in, and quite a few bloggers offered their party tips including Eddie Ross and Joni Webb.

This past July Alberto and I were in New York, and went to a fabulous party at the home of Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar.

It was the best party with many bloggers in attendance: Reggie Darling, Debra Phillips 5th and State, Lauren Leiss from Pure Style Home, Michelle Ginnerty from My Notting Hill, Elizabeth Moyer from Pretty Pink Tulips, Patricia van Essche from PVE, and probably a few more we didn't get to meet in the huge crush of revelers and Green Acres (what I affectionately call Eddie and Jaithan's country manse).

go to page 22 and 24 in the November issue of Woman's Day

At the party at Green Acres, we also met the fabulous Elizabeth Mayhew, author of Flip For Decorating, NBC Today Show regular, and the current and new-ish editor of Woman's Day.

Elizabeth was fascinated by the reactions we bloggers had to one another, squealing and laughing and hugging and kissing, and she was quite taken that many of us had not met in person up until meeting at this party.

She asked if we would mind having our photo taken for the November issue she was working on
where Woman's Day wants you to focus on a few important things like staying connected. She was duly impressed with the connection bloggers have and foster among one another.

So go out and get an arm load of magazines this weekend, and sit on the porch with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Leaf through the pages while enjoying the fine weather and your blog friends saying hi to you from the pages.

And if you missed blog TV star Meg Fairfax from Pigtown on The Nate Berkus Show, go HERE

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The House That eBay Built

There are certain blogs that are poetry.

That's how I feel about Deborah Peterson Milne's Dumbwit Tellher.
The postings are few and far between, but when one pops up, it is imaginative, heartfelt, and original. Every photo chosen is considered and special. It is not a cookie cutter blog.

Having said that, I want to share some photos of the home of Dumbwit Tellher. I asked Deborah to tell me something about the house she decorated.

The layered look is masterful in the living room

Deborah writes: "I'm not 100% sure what to say other than yes..the house is for sale.
We moved here just shy of four years ago from Seattle. We are now empty-nesters and selling the house means we can finally start living our dream, and that is moving to Scotland. Then as you know from reading my blog, we both lost our moms this year.

So..making a change is what we hope for. We just sold our motorcycles, next the cars, stuff will go in storage & we will be off to beautiful, cold, rainy Aberdeen.

Sound crazy...just maybe!! Life is short and I want no more regrets because that shopping bag is over-flowing!"

I spy a fab wheat sheaf coffee table - maybe Deb will sell the furniture too!

She also says: "Each item has a story and a history and very often a few coats of paint. I call our home the house that eBay built."

Love this bedroom - check out the side table lamps - very Emily Henderson!

I love the personal style of this home, and I think it is move-in ready for a young buyer, or a buyer young at heart. I feel a kindred spirit in Deborah. We share many of the same decor choices.

The dining room sideboard is delicious

After seeing so many Cote de Texas style Houston homes, this Houston house is unique and refreshing.

The wall color and painted panels are great

It's a good size home with several bedrooms and bathrooms, and wonderful yard with a pool.

Another view of the living room

Deborah sent me a photo of a guest bathroom after she read my post about fabric HERE

The orange Federal style mirror is genius

It turns out we both use the same source, and used the same fabric for a DIY project.

OMG! A bathroom with "wallpaper" collage

Deborah has done so many great projects in her home. She knows how to swing a paint brush!

I did collage walls in many a bathroom in NYC!
This shade is incredible

If you did not know that Deborah and her husband Graham are empty nesters you would think a Lonny/Rue/Domino young cutie pie blogerator did up this house. The decor is very young at heart, but filled with the wisdom of someone who has lived long enough to utilize and balance color and vintage eras.

This wallpaper is the best!

It's funny how we attach a certain age to certain decor. Like older folks use antiques and refined serious schemes, and younger people use flea market finds, fun, and color.

Her daughter did the CC painting! LOVE it!

When I first started posting photos of my home, many readers thought I was young. And I am very youthful at heart and in my mind's eye ha ha, though old in years with the wisdom to be confident.

Adorable laundry room

I see confidence in Deborah's choices. Love too. And great attitude. This is a woman who clearly makes delicious lemonade from tart lemons.

Deborah and I used this same fabric

You can read her own personal story about her home HERE. Many of you already have. But go read it again, and if you haven't discovered Dumbwit Tellher, add it to your blog list.

And we are both Jacked up! Go HERE to see why!

And if you are in the market for a house in Houston, get in touch with Deborah. Besides getting the fantastic decor, you will be getting a home infused with love and good vibrations that will enhance your new life in this house with those very same qualities. And make her an offer to buy the furniture too!

Love the wall treatment in the bar area

Please send me your house stories and photos. I love sharing and showing Readers Projects.