My Weekend in Palm Beach

May 22, 2024

When my husband asked me if I wanted to tag along on his business trip to Florida, of course I said yes! I lounged all day on the beach while he worked, and then we went to dinner in the evenings together. We then spent the weekend in Palm Beach so he could have a little vacation time, too. Neither one of us had been back in 26 years. It looks exactly how I remembered it with perfectly manicured landscaping, beautiful homes and a great shopping avenue. 

We stayed at The Brazilian Court Hotel. It's a historic boutique hotel with beautiful courtyards only two blocks from Worth Avenue and the beach. I was so excited that we got a room upgrade to a one bedroom suite with a living room. It was enormous! I could have stayed there all week. The service is impeccable as well. The staff greeted us by name and made our visit so much more wonderful. One reason we chose this hotel over the very popular Colony Hotel is that a complimentary two hour yacht cruise is included with the stay. We usually rent a boat anyway, so it was a big plus for us. Cafe Boulud is a very popular restaurant on site. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to fit it in. We did go to the bar one evening after getting a recommendation from a local. I was told the white cosmopolitan is a must, and I can see why. The presentation with the orchid in an ice ball was also very cool. My husband had a basil gin martini that he absolutely loved. They did some type of bubble gun blower when they poured his drink. I was surprised they could serve such intricate drinks so quickly to a large crowd.

The first thing we did after unpacking is walk to Worth Avenue for lunch and shopping. I enjoyed browsing the small stores and courtyards. Every turn of the corner was something even more beautiful. Palm Beach truly feels like another world. 

My husband didn't want his photo taken so I got several of him walking from behind. There was a photo shoot going on right here at the corner minutes before with the tallest model I've ever seen in my life wearing a ball gown. Some of the conversations we overheard on the streets and stores were hilarious. I wish I had written some of them down for a "Things I Overheard in Palm Beach." However, everyone was beyond friendly and helpful.

I carefully planned out our itinerary so we could make the most of the two nights we were there. It was difficult with so many great restaurants and things to do. We went to Pizza al Fresco for lunch. I love the outdoor seating in the courtyard. I also wanted something light since we had an early dinner reservation. 

The cute little birds will land on your table and steal the food right off your plate. I thought it was hilarious since I was already finished. 

My favorite places to shop were the small local stores. I also bought new perfume at Aerin. There are so many jewelry stores that I browsed since I'm in the market for a new ring. I met a local jeweler that has had his store on Worth Avenue for 30 years. We're still in contact to discuss the custom piece I have in mind. 

Then we went to dinner at Buccan. The internet said this is "the place" to go for dinner. The internet was right. The corn agnolotti is the crowd favorite. I thought it was amazing as well, but the pork taco is the best taco I have ever had. I don't even care for pork tacos that much! My husband has probably mentioned our dinner there at least once a day. Definitely get a reservation in advance. This is the shoulder season, but the only reservation we could get was 5:45pm despite booking weeks in advance. 

The next day we went to Swifty's at The Colony Hotel for an early lunch. I really just wanted to check out the hotel because I always wanted to stay there after seeing it on social media for so many years. The hotel lobby, restaurant and pool area are so much smaller than I imagined. However, it does look identical to the super cute photos online. My husband was confused why we were paying almost $50 for an ordinary chicken sandwich. It's for the atmosphere, honey!

We had an early lunch at 11am because our boat reservation was at 12:45am. The hotel has three different times daily for the first eight guests to sign up. We booked early so we could have the rest of the day to shop or go to the beach. The boat took us around Peanut Island and on a tour of the homes lining the coast. We had a full boat of eight guests, plus a captain and a deckhand. The two hours flew by with such good company!

Arrange drinks or a charcuterie in advance with the restaurant staff in advance. 

How pretty is the water? I wish I had taken more photos. Between the sun and the rosé in my hand, I needed a nap after this! 

I did rally and we had the hotel staff drop us at the second shopping area in Palm Beach, The Royal Poinciana Plaza. It's not to be missed with Hermes, Zimmerman, Staud and other stores. We then walked over to The Breakers Hotel that I thought was next door. It was more like a 15 minute walk. Thank goodness I wore flats! There was also a Serena & Lily store to break up the walk. We went to The Seafood Bar at the hotel. Again, it was more to check out the hotel than the food, but the food was really good! I debated between The Seafood Bar and the popular Le Bilboquet for weeks, but I really wanted to see The Breakers. They don't take reservations so we got there early, and they seated us right away with a view of the ocean. There's no outdoor seating, but the windows at the rear of the restaurant are floor to ceiling.

The hotel itself was so busy with events. Guests were in formal dresses running in and out of the different ballrooms. It was kind of a madhouse, to be honest. The hotel is amazingly beautiful and definitely worth seeing at least once. It is far from Worth Avenue so you need transportation if you want to go shopping. It has more of a resort feel than The Brazilian Court or Colony. It's perfect if you just want to take advantage of all the resort offers-beach, tennis, restaurants. It especially would be nice for a large group. 

We called for our hotel to pick us up and they were there in minutes. We barely had time to take this photo! I kept forgetting to take photos on this trip. Thankfully, my husband was on his game and noticed all the photo worthy places. I mean, I match the flowers! How did I miss that?

We went back to The Brazilian Court and had one drink at the bar before heading to bed. The plan was to go to Le Bar, but we were exhausted. We woke up the next morning and walked through town to Starbucks, and then along the ocean. I wish I could do that everyday. We didn't have to catch our plane until later so we drove through South Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter. We're hoping to move back to Florida in two years when our youngest graduates, so we're getting a feel for where we want to live. I don't know if it's going to happen, but it's good to check out the communities while we're there. I do know that I will be back to Palm Beach and The Brazilian Court Hotel!

Spring Wine Party

Apr 24, 2024

You may remember that several years ago we had a Tuscan winery host a wine pairing dinner at our home.  We had visited the winery on a trip to Italy, and they let us know they visit the US several times a year to host wine pairing dinners. The first one was such a success that they have asked us every year to host another one. It's a bit of an undertaking, but our friends offered to co-host it with us this year because they loved the first wine dinner so much. 

We had planned to hold it outside by the pool like the first party. My husband installed string lights to go over the tables weeks ago. It would have been downright magical if it hadn't rained. I cannot tell you how disappointed we were when we realized all of those plans and table rentals would go to waste. We scrambled at the last minute to move everything inside, but all the small tables would not fit. I had to make do with my breakfast room and dining room tables. I had ordered a new tablecloth for the formal dining room two days before the party from Amazon just in case that happened. That was a good call! 

The bright side is the green tablecloths and gold chinoiserie chairs I chose fit right in with my decor. I knew I wanted sage green to reflect Tuscany. I decided to go more elegant than rustic with bright pink florals and gold accents. 

I added a cute little ribbon to each napkin. It's an inexpensive alternative to napkin rings. We rented the glasses, but saved by ordering plastic flatware and dinnerware. I already had the gold votives and glass vases. You can find both at Michael's for a great price.

We ordered the main course of chicken parmigiana and pasta from a local restaurant. The tiramisu for dessert was from the bakery at our grocery store. We put these personal charcuterie plates together the day of the party. Can you believe these cute plates are acrylic? They also come in various colors. 

It was less expensive to order the tablecloths, plastic plates and flatware online than to rent them. It's also a lot easier to clean up! We bought ours from Efavormart and Amazon. I do draw the line at plastic cups for wine. It just doesn't taste the same as it does out of a glass. We had two servers at the party and they were worth every penny! It was so nice that I could relax and not run around filling glasses. As soon as our guests walked through the door, the servers were greeting them with sparkling wine. They also had the entire kitchen cleaned before they left. I will always hire servers now for every event. The best part is one of them happened to sing Italian opera. He sang us a song at the end of the night that I have on Instagram if you want to check it out. Despite the rain, it ended up being better than I had imagined!

Happy New Year! Plus Christmas 2023

Jan 1, 2024

Happy New Year! I believe this might be the first time in 11 years that I haven't posted a Christmas Home Tour. I'm going to make up for that right now! The decorations were a little more neutral this year. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Every time I tried to add a bit of red, it just didn't feel right for some reason. I'm pretty sure I'll have more traditional color next year because I did miss it even if the gold and ivory were beautiful.

I lost my decorating mojo this year when I got to the stairs. I just left he garland plain, but no one seemed to notice. 

The mantel appears much more simple, but the garland is so layered it isn't even close to simple!

I guess I was feeling gold this year because my outfit matched the tree. 

This gold velvet ribbon is so pretty! I found it at Wal-mart of all places!

My favorite photo! 

Christmas morning

The best Christmas Day breakfast! The skillet potatoes with sautéed onions, bacon and cheese are my favorite. My husband has been making it since our college days.

I promise Ryan is happy or he would have not let me take this photo. He's just being cool.

I'm so bummed Dylan missed the family photo. We didn't think to take one until the end of the night and he had left to go to a friend's house. Can you believe how tall the boys are?! Aidan is 6'1 and Ryan is 6'2.

The New Year's Eve table looked elegant, but I was in sweats and we played cards with friends here. It ended up being such a great night! My son and his girlfriend joined in now that they are 21. It's weird, but fun to have your kids quasi adults.

I put away all the Christmas decor on New Year's Day. I ordered a new throw pillow for my sofa to have something to look forward to before I started cleaning up the decorations lol. I think looking forward to a vacation or a new project around the house always makes me feel a little less sad about the season ending. It's getting harder every Christmas because I feel like it's a countdown until the kids aren't under our roof any longer. Of course with the cost of housing these days they may be here longer than we think!

Before Christmas I ordered a new tray and burl wood box for my coffee table. I love the way they look here. 

That's a wrap on 2023! 

Everything is linked here on my LTK page!

My New Two Pages Custom Curtains

Sep 17, 2023

I have been dreaming about curtains for my living room windows since we moved in, but as a designer I knew they were going to cost a fortune. I heard about Two Pages "viral" custom curtains that could be bought on Amazon from home decor influencers for much cheaper than going through a fabricator. I was definitely intrigued enough to bookmark the website a couple of months ago. Thankfully, I never got around to ordering because Two Pages reached out soon after for a collaboration. I was thrilled!

Aren't they beautiful?! They changed the entire look and feel of the living room. It's so much cozier and elegant at the same time.

My curtains are the Liz Drape in a polyester linen fabric. I chose these because I wanted something that didn't wrinkle as much as my 100% linen curtains. The header is a pinch pleat, but I also love the triple and Euro pleat that are available as well. I prefer a non-filtered curtain for a more elegant look so I chose a blackout liner. I love light filtering curtains in more casual rooms. I think what sets these curtains apart from everyone else is the memory shaping. I didn't even iron or steam them. The wrinkles fell out after a few days of hanging! I was recently asked how I chose the color. I decided that the beige-white was perfect for this room because it goes so well with the wall and trim paint. I didn't want to match the decor and then it not match if I change things up in the future. 

How to measure? There are measuring guides the company website if you want them to be functional. You also might consider a traverse rod to make it easier to close. Mine are strictly for aesthetics. I wanted to frame the windows for a softer and more polished look. I prefer a very full look so I measured how much width I could have without blocking the view when they are open. Mine are 72" wide open and about 22" wide closed. I can close them if needed at that width. I hung them as high as possible. The 132" length were perfect for my windows. If you don't have moulding, I suggest to go as close to the ceiling as possible. 

Before photo-It didn't look bad since we added the woodwork a few years ago, but it still lacked the warmth curtains could provide.

So much better!

New Chairs for the Living Room

Jul 30, 2023

I haven't made any changes to my house in a long time. That's not like me at all! I have been more focused on having fun in my spare time with family and friends. However, I could not take looking at my French chairs in my living room one more day when it hit me how much they were not my style at all anymore. I needed to get rid of them yesterday. 

I have been using a lot of swivel barrel style chairs in my projects so I knew that's what I wanted. I also wanted something neutral because as much as I love the blue accents in my living room, I'm getting a little tired of it. It's nice to have the option to switch up colors with the seasons too. I found the perfect chairs at World Market. If you buy them online and pick them up in the store you get an extra 15% off. That makes them under $500 each with tax!

The fabric is an ivory chenille, and of course they swivel! It's hard to tell in the photo because my ceilings are so high, but the back is higher than a lot of chairs this style. It makes them comfortable enough for my 6 foot tall kids.

I don't think I've posted a non-holiday photo with the new millwork we built on the TV wall. It adds so much character to the room. Between the millwork and the new Frame TV I don't feel like this wall is such an eyesore anymore. There was a time I was going to tear out the fireplace and center it on the wall. It would have been a fortune so I'm happy I found this less expensive option.

So what's next? I'd like a bigger rug and a contemporary square coffee table. I'm on the fence about a new media center and a more modern chandelier. I'm hoping they will blend with my new things. Here is a mockup I did when I was trying to decide on the direction I'm going to take this room.  The price tag on these items are quite high so I'll have to make some concessions on the exact pieces, but I love the look. I definitely want some type of burl wood in the room. 

So there's a lot to think about!