Saturday, January 19, 2008

Updated pics:

After posting, I realized I really should show my entryhall how it looks everyday -I just took this. It shows more what I'm talking about - organization and a place for everything!

I've also included some pics of my paperwhites that are finally coming up! Those that know me know that I have BLACK THUMBS -so the fact that my paperwhites are actually growing is AMAZING! I've killed so many orchids and houseplants that I should be jailed. I'll post more pics when they actually bloom!

Foyers, entryways....whatever.....

I think every home should have a designated entryway to set a gracious tone for yourself and your guests. You don't want to walk directly into your messy living room or kitchen now do you?? Having a place to set your keys, take off your shoes and coat, sort the mail, place your wet umbrella or just look at something pretty is so important. Here is my entryway
Notice the mirror - so important for checking that you look ok before leaving ( or tying your tie as you are late to work AGAIN ). Also the urn I have for keeping umbrellas, a great place to put them when they're wet too! I have a little dish for holding the content of my pockets such as my keys and my burts bees chapstick ( which i'm addicted to, sadly ) and also a little pot for loose change I pick up. A little lamp is good to because even if you don't have a seperate foyer just the pool of light will designate the seperate entry area. ALso important is a chair to sit in to put on / take off your shoes and also serves as a great place for guest's coats ( or holding dry cleaning or things so you don't forget to take them out! ). This chair is really not very stylish but was my great-grandmothers and it's nice to have some family around. I use the lower shelf of my console to hold my collection of 'World of Interiors' magazines - surely the greatest shelter magazine ever published! I took this picture last month at christmas, so you can see my little decorations - including a cute ceramic tree that was my grandmothers.

Even if you don't have a seperate hallway or foyer, you could designate one in the corner of your kitchen or living room (wherever you walk into your house / apt ) with just a console table, mirror and a bench. Wouldn't that be nice to come home to everyday?

Of course, in my DREAM house I have a large square foyer with a fireplace anchoring one wall ( or staircase perhaps - or both! ) and gracious entries into a living room and a formal dining room ( so important to a gracious home! ). I would furnish it with a large round table in the center -perhaps with a floral arrangement or lamp in the center and my favorite books around. 2 comfy chairs surrounding the table would be an inviting little rest stop. I would line the walls gallery style with my collection of architectural drawings and benches or perhaps bookcases in a small apartment so that the foyer would double as a library. The fireplace would just be SO inviting when you have parties and guests could warm themselves and pretty up for the party by taking off coats and primping in front of a mirror ( I think mirrors are required over mantels, don't you agree? ).
I've included some images of some great entryways with this post - and I'm sorry to say they're just from my image files and I don't remember where I scanned them from! So I'll credit all my favorite inspirational shelter magazines for these images - World of Interiors, Elle Decor, Southern living, Veranda, House & Garden ( defunct :-( ), house beautiful........and any others if thats where I got these images........

Friday, January 18, 2008

A new favorite splurge!

I know one of my few postings was about a candle: but I have to post my NEW favorite candle. While it will never replace my love for the Cleopatra, it's about $10 cheaper and I love it just as much. I guess in the perfect scenario I would keep both on hand.

Well, it's by some company called 'flare' and the box and leaflet have all sorts of cute little sayings like ' do you have FLAIR?' or 'flare for FLAIR' - I really can do without that nonsense but it's cute that their marketing team tried. Props to them! What they SHOULD do is just say - this smells REALLY good.

The scent I'm raving about is called ' fresh-cut' and it IS just that! It smells like fresh cut grass, lilies and lilac all mixed into one. It smells like spring and fresh air! It smells.....pretty! It smells like heaven! So come on over and check it out or order your own! They last 50 hours and are quality soy-based candles ( so no animals were harmed in the making of FLARE ).

The INN at Little Washington

A few weeks ago I went for a culinary ADVENTURE. I know that sounds corny, but really..there was no other way to describe it! I was going to wait to talk about this, but the one friend who took pictures has been a slacker in sending them out *ahem* - but I did find an article on that had written an article about the place just a week before we went with some GREAT photos.

Where to start -this place is in the middle of nowhere. Let me rephrase that.......'nowheresville' to be exact. I took a bus, a train and a car to get there. Well, took the bus from work to the metro to one of my friend's car exactly-and then it was about a 2 hour drive. FUN!!! So we get there and it's like 5 buildings with no lights in this tiny town. This is basically what greeted us:

I think I've grown used to living in the city because to me this screams: NO GOOD CAN COME FROM THIS PLACE - RUN QUICKLY!!!! But after finding parking ( behind a barn or something - no joke ) it quickly became pleasant. The front of the place is CUTE as seen above and 2 friendly porters were there to greet us and open the door. I think it may have even been this guy, but I'm not sure. And we got 2 doormen, not just this guy ;-) They know we're special:

We quickly were greeted here in the entry:

Of course - we were there the week after New Years, and I don't think these pointsetta were there. Anyways - it's really charming in a cluttery victorianish way. Not GENERIC at all, thank god. Literally every surface was patterned, covered and decorated. Again - ignore the Christmas decorations.
Knowing us, they quickly escorted us to the bar.........and what a surprise.............'s the 'monkey' bar............there are monkey's EVERYWHERE........... SCARY monkeys!!! I mean -look at that guy! Trust me, he is even SCARIER after 2 Kir Royales ( with watercress and blackberries in it! yumm ) and a gin and tonic. And yes -those are carved monkey heads in at the bar.
They also had these little dried fruit and nuts that were AMAZING with this cyane pepper on them - even if you don't like spicey -this was DELICOUS. So after we were all sedated from the monkey's and the long drive -we were escorted to our table in the cozy dining room. This is actually even the exact table the 6 of us sat at!! Each table has one of those fringy lampshades -it really makes each table feel very seperate.
And just as a reminder -thats not us. We're not a group of 60 yr olds out celebrating.....god knows out of college? viagra 1/2 off at walmart?
But the crazy thing is that this cow cart thing was parked RIGHT near us..........
Yes, friends....that is a cheesey cow......pun intended!!! But it really is a lovely dining room, cow and all. But really - monkeys....cows....the place is a ZOO! I think I spotted a few rooster statues as well.Have you ever seen 'Hello, Dolly!' - the movie version with Barbara Streisand, not the GOOD version with Carol Channing? Well - imagine that on a smaller scale - that is the inn at little washington. it was all cute that they had about 9 waiters working us over. The water was poured in unison to all of us at once, our food as well. The wine list is a novel - like 100 pages long and has...I kid you INDEX! It's not a novelette - this is a NOVEL. But it's a novel that someone should make a movie out of....the food is OUT OF THIS WORLD, darlings. Now it's a pre-fixe type meal -but 2 'extras' were thrown in. Before ordering we had a smattering of cute little bites on little soup spoons - creme fresh with caviar, an ADORABLE mini bite sized baked potato...some creamy beet thing I had with caviar and stuff - it was yummy. I'm sorry my food descriptions aren't very vivid, I'm really more visual. I'd say that Creme Fresh was on...everything -as well as cavair and truffles. They LOVE them some truffles....and I love them too! So after that we had our starters. Each starter was like...a work of art. So pretty you didn't want to eat it -but when you did - AMAZING. Every bite was like nothing you've ever tasted before. The flavors were so deep, rich and.......flavorful. LOL It was the sort of sensation where you just close your eyes and meditate on it for a bit while savoring each different flavor SENSATION then go........."DAAAAAAAAM thats good"

Unfortunately -I don't have the pictures of this food yet. They'll come, chickies. Each course was more meat filled ( except for my vegan friend ) and artful. After the appetizer that we ordered we were served this ultra creamy red pepper soup in a CUTE teacup. It was so delicious! And just the right consistency!
Everyone who knows me knows I have a china obsession. Well -this place did not disappoint. They weren't the normal boring restaurant china. This was like, the fine china your grandma ( or me ) has at home! No boring 'modern' or 'contemporary' china. And different for each course - not a boring matched set! That really helped out an aesthete like me. Well, I'll skip each course but let it suffice to say that they were all delicious beyond belief. The wine was also very good. The service was IMPECCABLE. Our very friendly and knowledgable waiter ( who was also cute if memory serves me correctly ) quickly became our conspirator for the evening.
Well - so down to dessert -about 1/2 the table got their FAMOUS dessert 'the 7 deadly sins' -which basically is a plate of 7 different little desserts. I DO have a picture of that...... Now, I do remember it being prettier than that....and larger..but maybe the night they took this photo they had an intern pastry chef do the plate who was disgruntled. However, I didn't get that - I ordered the apple tart.
I LOVE apple or pear anything -especially desserts. Well of course they were out of them and would have to make it for me from scratch, so that everyone at the table woudln't have to wait they brought me a apperatif while everyone else got their desserts: Gratis!! FREE! Now isn't THAT lovely :-) Now -this was SO YUMMY and such a great way to finish up the evening -and the apple tart was to die for of course.
Now anyone reading this, get thee to the 'Inn at Little Washington' , not to be confused with the Inn at Big Washington - which probably doesn't exist and if it does I can guarantee you it isn't as good!! I've never spent that much money that lightly or without some misgiving -but it was SOOOO worth it!!! Tell them a satisfied customer sent you :-) They'll have no clue who that is because I'm sure everyone who stops by is satisfied.