When in France…

EAT as the French do! You’d be hard pressed not to eat well while there–from the patisseries and boulangeries, to the roadside stands selling just picked fruits and vegetables and local oysters–there’s no shortage of ways to indulge. And indulge we did with the famously sweet Charente melons, foie gras mouse, handmade sausages, yellow teardrop tomatoes, and the most amazing looking and tasting yellow onion I’ve ever seen, which all made for a delicious lunch.

Oysters! Oysters! Oysters! My idea of heaven, eaten steamed or raw, we tried every variety we could get our greedy hands on.

This snapshot is just a small portion of a seemingly endless table filled with the most incredible pastries, breads, cakes, meringues, and pies I’ve ever seen. We started at this end where we marveled at this amazing feat of a pastry….

…And ended at these football-sized meringues. We took home huge bags filled with everything we couldn’t say no to; half of it was gone by the time we made back to the house. We even invented a new favorite dessert with the coffee flavored meringue that involved salted carmel, chocolate/toffee crunch, and homemade coffee whipped cream. There was a fight over the last spoonful…!

They grow the most perfect bulbs of garlic, shallots and onions…almost too perfect to eat.

One of our favorite late afternoon activities is to go foraging in the hedgerows near the house for blackberries, wild fennel, and Mirabelle plums–which we turn into jams, cobblers, flavored simple syrups (the fennel simple syrup is a favorite for a refreshing afternoon cocktail), and sorbets depending on what strikes our mood. With such abundance it’s easy to make something new and different every day. This year the blackberries were especially wonderful…I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more blackberries as I did in those two weeks.

The Good Life…

I’m just back from spending two weeks at my family’s home located in the Bordeaux region of France. I’m sad to say that it had been nearly two years since my last visit so, with Callie minding shop, off I went with task list in hand. This is the view from across the valley where our house is located. The surrounding fields are planted with sunflowers though they had started to die by the time I arrived–was sorry to have missed the vibrant yellow landscape they make.

On my second day there, we set off to the beautiful town of Blaye which is located on the right bank of the Gironde estuary. I have long been hearing of the very charming Didier and his antiques shop there…and with good reason.

It took me all of five minutes to find exactly what we were looking for and–with a tiny bit of haggling–we’d purchased a beautiful (and massive) maple armoire for the main living room…

A gorgeous sofette covered in mohair for the master bedroom sitting area, minus the fringe which I didn’t love but others did….

And two perfect slipper chairs to go in front of the kitchen fireplace, which now makes it a wonderful little spot to sit with a cup of cocoa in colder months…

Didier also had stacks and stacks of old French linens which made me jump up and down in happiness (I have a small textile obsession). It took a while to go through them all but suffice to say, I now properly understand what French linen is all about. I scooped them wherever I could find them, especially the old embroidered napkins that I brought back as gifts–they make brilliant hand towels.

We also had two weekends of scouring the many brocantes in the area and I feel madly in love with these fellows but sadly they weren’t on the house/garden list! Aren’t they adorable!?

My favorite brocante was located in Mornac-sur-Seudre, a truly charming little village where we also had delicious buckwheat and duck crepes for lunch.

A stop on the way home by a favorite nursery yielded these fantastic new grasses that didn’t quite fit in our tiny little car. We laughed the entire ride home…

Modern Garden

Garden ornaments need not be stuffy, elaborate and traditional. During an LA shopping trip to one of our favorite outdoor stores, Inner Gardens, we found shapes and vessels that bring the modern aesthetic outside–everything from Belgian designs to mid-century classics. Take a peek!


No. 1 Earrings No. 2 Drink Glasses No. 3 Powerstone Tray No. 4 Rug

Montauk Road Trip

After visiting our wonderful friends, Tilton Fenwick, at the Traditional Home Hampton’s Showhouse last week, we took the opportunity to exploit a gorgeous day and headed west to the tip of Long Island for sunshine and lots of wind-whipped hair. We soaked up surfers, fresh air and fresh lobster from a roadside beach shake. Ahh, there’s no better way to get inspired than by spending an afternoon out in nature.

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