fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

A gray area.

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

My gray area was literally turning into a gray area.


My gray area – the “gray” themed master bedroom design that I desired – literally created a gray area for my husband and I.  Our differing opinions as to the gray direction were extreme.  So much so, that neither one of us could clearly define what we wanted – especially the color direction that we sought.  As a teacher and a football coach, articulating a “look” and designing a space is foreign to him… but for me, a designer — this task should be child’s play, eh?  Not the case.

To say that it has been challenging is a definite understatement.  Surprisingly puzzling and nothing short of me feeling as if my design expertise is slipping through my fingers.  Haha – the concept of the master bedroom design became unclear – downright murky.  So many options, so many directions… what to do?  What to do?

No lie…  the difficulty in design often emerges when attempting to design your own space.  The effortlessness and creativity you possess when designing clients’ spaces seems to quickly vanish.  Pair that with having to consider and incorporate your mate’s opinion into the design — pffffft — sometimes it can stop you in your tracks.  I am talking a complete halt!

How about 564 days of a complete halt… ridiculous, eh?!

Ever since we moved into our home, we have been trying to come to a compromise on the color direction and design for the room.  Adamant… already envisioning the various charcoal tones mixed with whatever pop color we selected  – I want gray.  Insistent… hmmmmm, just insistent – he doesn’t want gray.  Now mix in a little “get situated in a new house, life, work, children, school, football” and you will gain a better understanding as to why we have remained stagnant and STILL sleep in a master bedroom that is a hot mess!  Haha – there is a reason that when company visits, that door is left with an opening just big enough for that cat to squeeze through… a glimpse inside and my design credibility would surely be in jeopardy.  I say again… the room is a hot mess!

But there is hope…

Especially since ashley gray, #HC-87 has entered my world!

Can’t even believe it myself – but we have FINALLY found a gray that we both approve.  A gray that isn’t too gray, and not too blue and not too dark and not too green — you get it, right?   As much as I deal with paint colors, I should have known that Benjamin Moore’s Historical Colors would provide the solution.  This collection contains a refined array of staple colors that offer rich tones and depth.  Incredibly fitting for a myriad of design styles – I should have known!

Thank goodness for the resources available at my full-time gig, especially my colleagues.  The many days of playing around with fabric sample books and paint colors has paid off  — HOT DAMN — success at last!

I am ecstatic that my husband and I were able to find a solution.  The ideas are aligned… we have determined a wall color, a floor plan, window treatments and the fabric/bedding color scheme — now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and implement this plan.  Really… really?!  Is this chick really about to get the gray area, the master bedroom haven that I have been yearning for?  Isn’t that what we all want?  A bedroom that provides a peaceful and relaxing retreat… an area of solace that rejuvenates your mind, body and spirit… a respite from the world.  Hey… that’s what I want — and well on my way to owning!

Wish us luck as we commence.  Haha – and do say a prayer that it doesn’t take another 564 days to achieve!

Oh… if in need of a new paint color – check out the Historical Colors;




The experiment and the project.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

Isn’t it interesting how your children’s projects can easily evolve into “parent’s” projects?!

Such is the case for me – and my son’s spanish project.

After a busy weekend at work, the reward for myself (since I knew what work with my son still awaited at home) would be a glass (or two) of wine… a glass that would be both invigorating yet relaxing — oxymoron, yes — but attainable nonetheless!

Knowing that I wanted to try something new… and not even interested in being the “selector” of this new venture, I decided that my husband would be the one.  The one to choose, based on whatever instructions I gave, the reward that would grace my lips and supply that “ahhhhhh” that I sought.  If you know me, that is not an easy feat… and for him to engage – haha – well, let the games begin.

The experiment.  To see what he would pick based on my instruction and his knowledge of what typically tantalizes my taste buds.  A full-bodied red was my only requirement — the rest, up to him.

The project.  A timeline… “mi Ninez”… my childhood.  A quick, yet comprehensive outline of my son’s 13 years on this earth.  The objective; each year should be detailed by 1 – 2 descriptive sentences and include pictures.  Naturally, since I am the family photographer, supplying the pictures was my responsibility and my after work mission.

Other than the photographs that are stored on an older hard drive and as of late, my mac… I am at the mercy of two very old and incredibly dusty rectangular plastic pins… each with at least 50-60 “old school” paper envelope packs of photographs developed from 35mm film.  Haha — what is that, eh?!  Needless to say, to gather the pictures needed would be mildly cumbersome  — pair that with a day thronged with design and customers looking for holiday bargains — a glass of wine was definitely on my to-do list!

The surprise.

Actually, it came two-fold.

The hunt for images… the sifting through old photographs, it was far from the complicated task that I had imagined.  Some odd 13 years later… images of my younger self… me pregnant… images of me with my children as toddlers — the nostalgia flooded my body.  Speechless, epecially as my husband shared vivid stories that managed to bring the photographed images back to life.  My son’s laughter… his expressions… even his recollection — all too much.  Acutally — it was nothing short of priceless.

The other surprise.

My husband’s selection.  WOW… that shit was dead on!

An Italian wine.  LAGARIA 2009 Merlot.  Not even deterred by the screw top – I just dove in, expecting it to be… well, how does the saying go?  “It is what it is.”  Smacking my lips, I say that this is a bottle worthy of the minimal monetary investment.  As I poured, the scent that radiated from the glass had me intrigued.  Not even disappointed that it was a medium-bodied wine… for it was bursting with a fruity bouquet that grew stronger with each sip.  DAMN… my husband is a diligent student. eh?!  Or do I gloat and think… I taught him well?!  Haha – he would never admit to this – but I think he reverted back to our travels to Italy last summer and selected a wine based on that region.  Trust me, I am definitely not complaining… my empty glass (ok, glasses)  is proof of my approval!

So, if you can imagine… me – 100% in the moment with my son… his project… the photographs and the wine.  At times, the only action that was appropriate to appreciate — rather, be in the moment — was both eyes closed and a VERY deep inhale.  If anything, it was a reminder that time passes oh so quickly.  And, as we all know to be true — Life is short.

Sidenote:  I grew hungry and rummaged the fridge for a snack to accompany my wine.  Who knew that my black cherries just purchased from Fresh Market would make the perfect mate.  Bite the cherry, sip the wine, bite the cherry… that was my routine.  This haphazard paring —  absolutely a dynamic duo — and enough to make one scream “what the ____!”

In case you are curious… there is still a bit of work left to do on my son’s project.  Naturally he will take the lead with the workload – of course, with his mom by his side.  Hmmm…. is it wrong if I get another bottle of LAGARIA?

Hey… I’m just saying!



Let the crowd say…

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

“All Right!”

Just as instructed, we did… we responded with a robust affirmation of “all riiiiiiiiight!”  And that’s how it went down.  The when?  Valentines … or as some folk say, ValentiMes night.  The where?  Ben’s Next Door on U Street in Washington, DC.  The who?  My boy… the soulful and dynamic Russell Taylor!

Miles away from his New York stomping grounds, Russell Taylor – aka “Rt!” – was the featured artist for “Live” @ Ben’s Next Door – a Tuesday night showcase for independent artists.

Incredibly dapper, donning a tux jacket… crisp white dress shirt with just enough sequins to catch the light… a limited-edition Marc Jacobs cap highlighting the word “PARIS” above the brim and some “oh sooooo sharp” pink suede sneakers… my college friend was in his element!

He engaged the crowd and charmed us with his talent.  Comfortable.  Confident.  A natural with the mic.  The FREE admissions for entry had no bearing on his performance — Russell’s dedication to his music was evident.  Don’t you just love an artist that dives completely into a song… you know, they get lost in the music as they sing – you feel their passion – and through them, you are able to lose yourself as well.  All about energy, eh?

I am not a music critic – just a lover of a great vibe.  My 2 musical weaknesses that stop me in my tracks – a raspy voice and an artist that effortlessly lures you in.  Haha – can I get an “all right” – because Russell fits the bill!  For his Tuesday night set, he kept the performance and his accompaniment intimate – 2 background singers, a bass player, a guitarist and a bongo player.

Perched on a bar stool, Russell opened with a Stevie Wonder cover and sprinkled his own original creations in between.  He worked the room and DAMN… that boy can sing!

Entertained by his lyrics and candid storytelling, I easily got lost in the moment.  The front row seating, combined with an old favorite – my J.LOHR Cabernet Sauvignon – and the company of my husband… surely getting lost in the moment was inevitable!

Good times… no doubt!

I was even witness to Russell’s quick wit as he threw out a humorous, yet stern notice to an audience member whose conversation during song was obnoxiously loud.  Poor poor lady in the red shirt – betcha won’t do that again!

On a night reserved and designed for love, Russell shared with us his talent… his gift… his love of music.  What a phenomenal treat — and all for FREE?


So, for my friend “Rt!”… I am telling you that I am definitely a fan!  I♥Rt!  Haha — all that I need now is my Rt! tee-shirt, eh?  Ummmm… size medium!

I encourage you all to check him out.  If you know like I know, you are merely a click away from becoming a fan!!/rsoulstar

Russell Taylor… he is fly and nothing short of a superstar!  This independent artist – he is on the move and working hard to make big things happen…

one performance at a time!  



Thar’s gold in them thar wipes!

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I am feeling like a Georgia gold miner – for I have struck it rich!

My fortune?

A  7″ x 10″ lil’ white wipe that has got me clicking my heels together and singing “Oh Happy Day!”

Haha – I swear that I am NOT trying to come off like an infomercial… but this latest discovery is practically magic!  Gold, I tell you.  Must be, for it has compelled me to veer from my fwd speak and resort to talking about a… a cleaning product?!  I know… I can’t believe it either!

This background information is necessary…

Out of the many things in the world that I take pleasure in, cleaning is not one of them.  Not to say that I don’t clean, I just have my way, my rhythm and my pace.  Certainly if you know my mother OR my younger sister, you know that they are cleaning royalty – crowned as “Queen Clean” and “Princess Clean” – those two ladies can clean the hell out of anything.  They scour and scruuuuuuuuuuuuuub everything.  They swiffer, vacuum and dust daily.  Windows, walls, baseboards – you name it — they do it.  Literally, I have no qualm about eating off of their floors — immaculate!  Neither one of them has a career in the cleaning industry… their knack for cleaning just comes naturally and their skill set SOARS over any housekeeper that I know!

Then there is me.

That hereditary cleaning gene is in me — just buried a little bit deeper – much deeper!  I would much rather design and decorate my house than clean it.  Gosh — I am not painting an attractive picture about myself, eh?!  Hey, truth is… I have my “areas” that I don’t mind cleaning.  I definitely don’t mind getting my hands dirty  – I just prefer to spend my time otherwise.  Actually, I would much rather hire a cleaning service, but my budgeted other half says otherwise.  Fortunately, my other half doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty either and is an active participant with household chores.  THANK GOODNESS that I have been blessed with a husband who is a hell of a cleaner and we have established a routine that works for me… did I say me?  Haha – I meant to say us!

So… after absorbing the background information, you have to understand my delight in discovering a product that affords a shortcut.  Especially a product that does just what it says it will do and holds true to its marketing platform!  The hidden cleaner in me is elated and ready to stay emerged.  So much so that I am pledging allegiance to the Pledge Multi Surface Everyday Wipes!  YOWZA – 25 ingeniously designed wipes, housed in a sleek blue and yellow packaging and equipped with a clever little peel & reseal cover.  These wipes are safe for so many surfaces — they can be used everyday and clean up pretty much everything.


In my best Katt Williams impersonation, I say “EVer-REE-Thang!”

Of course I put them to the test.

The outside of the packaging proudly displays 5 surfaces that the wipes will easily clean.  Haha — allow me to be your Dear Abby, for in the short time that I have owned these wipes, I have tried it all!  Granite… check.  Metal… check.  Wood… check.  Glass… check.  Electronics… check!  Just like the package says… “Quick, Easy… NO Residue Clean.”  One wipe, that cleans all of that — cleaning is looking like less and less of a chore, eh?!  Oh what fun there is to be had – these wipes will help me complete all of my tasks in a jiffy!  See… there is hope for me after all!

I encourage you to check them out:

I’m not even worried that you will be disappointed – just make sure that you stop back by to share your joy, ok?!

Oh…. almost forgot the best part.

These wipes cleaned the red wine residue on my marble countertops with ease!

Humph… you know I’m sold!



Summarized by one word – UNFORGETTABLE!

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2012 at 5:13 am

Up until now, the images in the movies or magazine articles was my closest experience.

Living vicariously and enamored by the thought, I relished the idea.  I would have to say that getting lost in the moment was easy… especially when the images I saw depicted a comradery of women.  Women who appeared to be strong, radiant and completely immersed in the experience.  It just seemed like a good time and such a fantastic way to be pampered.  Fine dining brought to you by way of a personal chef… haha – who wouldn’t want their moment?

Well… through the courtesy of 2 dear friends and the talent of 2 rising chefs, I had my moment.  Topped of by the setting, a spacious Parisian apartment and the theme, a birthday dinner… I can sum it up in one word — UNFORGETTABLE!

There some moments in life in which words merely aren’t enough.  Indescribable moments that often are best communicated via photography.  As I sit to type this blog, the reality is… my 6 course dinner was just that.

Haha – an opportunity to live vicariously through me, eh?

As we took our seats at the table, the initial smells that engulfed the room were a sensory overload.  With that as a prelude, I knew that I was in for a ride.

And no doubt there was wine… ahhhhhhh – especially the wine!  Hey, it wouldn’t be complete without a toast to begin the meal!  From there, our chefs teased us with their presentation, served us with poise and absolutely amazed us with their craft.  Even with my friend as an interpreter to field the language barrier, I could surmise from their body language that they were in a zone!

Bon Appétit, eh?  Humph – that is an understatement!  We feasted until we couldn’t move… and then we ate some more!  Each bite, utterly a taste bud orgasm!  Haha – at times, I literally had to silence myself — trying to take it all in… trying to embrace, be in… better yet, remember the moment.  I was feeling it!  Seriously… what more could a girl ask for!

And after dessert… there was more!  The perfect ending to the meal, a birthday serenade in both English and Portuguese.


My moment.

Now immortalized via blog, will forever be cherished and remembered as one of the best experiences in my life.

With that, all that is left to say is…

Happy Birthday….  to me!



7 is my number.

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

At what age does someone claim something to be their favorite?

Presumably early in life, eh?  As children, we make numerous declarations of what we like and want.  Our experiences establish a rhythm and pattern of “things” that afford pleasing sensations and then – POOF – it becomes a favorite.  Hmmm… I can’t even recall the age when I declared my two favorite things.   Nonetheless, for as long as I can remember, my two constant and only two favorite things have been as such:  the color green and the number  7.  I am innately drawn to them – and with favorite things, that is truly all that matters!

The color green… it all started as my favorite crayon.  Now, it  is incorporated into my wardrobe, sprinkled throughout my home decor and always the color I select for my toothbrush.  This color is characterized as soothing.  It is considered to be harmonious, mentally relaxing and refreshing.  Haha – silly me gets an adrenaline rush at the sight – especially when presented with a plate adorned with vibrant green salads and veggies!  My added bonus?  The color surrounds me in nature.  This daily intake of the color green is a visual treat and it adds a lil’ pep in my step!

The number 7.  My number 7.  Being the date of my birth, I’m thinking that the attraction was inevitable.  Upon learning to write, it was always my favorite number to scribble.  Svelte and sleek in shape, the number emits power.  Haha – I have a tendency to vacillate between the implied meaning and significance of the number 7.  A  host of mathematicians and theologians have made their claims, but my number 7 is just simplified.  It just is what it is.  It has a mysterious rhythm and I subconsciously look for its presence in my daily grind.  I find it comforting, lucky – and sometimes a sign of fate.

Fate it would be.  For…

7 months ago.

In the 7th month of the year.

On a whirlwind trip.

I discovered a new favorite… and became moon struck by Paris.

A whirlwind trip is an understatement.  53 hours to be exact.  Me, one of my best girlfriends, her daughter, my daughter and a quaint 30 room hotel.  Each of us, virgins to the city…  unfamiliar with the culture and the language but eager to soak it ALL in.  Countless priceless memories – especially my daughter, the aspiring fashion designer, laying her eyes on the Eiffel Tower for the first time – with me by her side.  I knew at first sight – the city and I were kindred spirits.  You pick the rendition – Roberta Flack or the Fugees – but the city… it was “Killing Me Softly.”  Then and there, my girlfriend and I made a vow — we would return.

And today is the day!

This time, lodging in a spacious three-bedroom apartment with an African inspired motif and oversized windows… and sharing the experience – including myself – with 7 women.  7 women, each charismatic and uniquely beautiful, coming from near and far to inhale the enchanted city and celebrate life — and to simply be “in the moment.”

Yep… I said it – celebrate life!

What an awesome concept, eh?!

Blame it on a clear understanding of the ever-present notion that LIFE IS SHORT.  With that, I say why not?  Why not grasp… clutch tightly… better yet create and take your moments?  I know I am.  Where there is a will… of course we know the rest – so – I made my way!  Even picked up a fun side gig to generate some play money – shameless plug inserted here:  Happy to say that the stars have aligned – cuz baby, with passport in hand and suitcase packed – I am off on a sweet journey.  The sweetest element?  In the midst of it all, while I immerse myself in my new favorite city… my favorite 7 will occur – another birthday.

Sigh… 7 is my number…

and that is about all a girl cay say.

Oh!  Did I mention that the wool coat accompanying me on my trip is a jaw-dropping shade of green?!

Haha — wouldn’t have it any other way!