When in Vicenza, Italy…


This past August my sister moved from Germany to Vicenza in northern Italy. Always happy for an excuse to escape during winter months, I didn’t think twice when she asked me to come visit over the Thanksgiving holiday to help her get settled into her new home. Her apartment is located in the heart of Vicenza in a beautiful old historic building and it was hard not to be jealous of the space: 2,000 sq feet, three gorgeous marble bathrooms, a kitchen big enough for us to cook together, and a massive light-filled living room with space to host 50 people comfortably.
I think she was worried I wouldn’t leave.

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We had a list of things we were searching for to finish up the apartment and the Italian ‘flea’ markets proved a great place to do that. Less ‘flea’ than most markets I’m used to–on the second Sunday of every month antique dealers come from all over Italy come to set up shop in central Vicenza. Amidst ancient Palladian buildings and a mass of locals, stalls upon stalls of old furs, art, furniture, objet, jewelry, and a wealth of other unique items await perusing. Afterwards, it was great fun visit some of the delicious restaurants and wine bars located just off the main piazza for a leisurely lunch and afternoon spritz.

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Home to twenty-three Andrea Palladio buildings, this was one of my favorites in Vicenza. I can imagine being very content spending long, leisurely days on this portico.

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Vacation Scrapbook: Part Two


One of the best things about my recent trip was having my best friend join me. It was her first time being in France and it was fun to take her to some of my favorite spots, many of which I hadn’t been back to myself in years. One of the places I was most excited to visit again was the beautiful little town of Saint Émilion. One of the things I have always wanted to do was have lunch at the Hostellerie de Plaisance. The hotel is ideally situated in the middle of town and the outdoor dining terrace offers a great vantage point to see the streets below as well as the surrounding area.



Our very decadent lunch included many of our favorite things: escargot, chilled oysters, Charente melon & prosciutto, foie gras and champagne.



The view from the hotel terrace looking down at the center of town.



The new discovery on this trip was Île de Ré, a gorgeous island where family friends were renting a house for the week. We drove up and spent the day with them and explored the island a bit. These handsome, bloomer wearing donkeys are now a tourist attraction for kids (or best friends) to ride but they once played a role in the farming of the island. They say the bloomers help keep the flies and mosquitos at bay.



We stumbled on the most gorgeous food market while antique hunting in Bordeaux. Bought more than we could carry of all sorts of veggies, fresh fruits, handmade cheeses, cakes, and breads. We ate like kings for days.




The vast assortment of cheeses was overwhelming, so we bought one of everything to try!



The last few days of our vacation we packed up and bid France farewell and headed south to Spain. The only two things we had on our list was to visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and to eat dinner at a place a good friend had said was not to miss. We ended up in San Sebastián and immediately fell madly in love with the city. This picture was taken on the way to dinner; the sun was setting when a fast moving storm rolled in creating one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen.



Our last day was spent in a little fishing town called Getaria, which is about 20 minutes from San Sebastián and happens to be the birthplace of Cristóbal Balenciaga. We loved it so much we’re plotting our next visit already.



Every restaurant in town (there were only a handful) had these amazing outdoor grills.



And finally, if your vacation is about to be over and you have one last meal to eat, this is THE place: Elkano. The only recommendation my friend (who has lived in Spain and now owns a delicious tapas restaurant in NYC) made was to eat here. It’s no exaggeration to say that it was one of the best meals of my life. The staff made you feel like you were dining in their home; the seafood was caught fresh that day and prepared so exquisitely that it made you want to cry at how delicious it tasted. C’est tout!



Vacation Scrapbook…Part One


It had been two years since I’d been in France and it was great to be back, especially to be there in the middle of summer when the fields around the house were vibrant with sunflowers. We did go to a couple of brocantes, though I didn’t purchase a single thing, my best friend who joined me on this trip came back with several suitcases filled with her finds. This vacation was really all about eating and drinking well (when is it not I suppose), with long hours spent lounging poolside reading and doing little else. Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. Wish I were back there now!



Fields and fields of sunflowers greeted us everywhere we went.



The hedgerows were overflowing with all types of wild plums and berries. This is a wild Mirabelle plum tree, my favorite. Sadly they were not yet ripe so we weren’t able to pick and put up jam this trip–though there was a promise for some to be made for me to retrieve next visit!



Always curious to find out what they are catching in their nets. These little huts dot the coastline.



We visited one of our favorite little towns in the area: Talmont-sur-Gironde.



Loved this giant, old clamshell that held holy water in a tiny coastal church.



Found a whole entryway to a house framed with one of my favorites, the passion flower vine. We’re planting them along the kitchen garden wall!



First visit to Chateau de Beaulon and I am completely smitten with their delicious pineau (a speciality of the region) and cognacs. Came back with as much as my suitcase could carry.



The other thing Chateau de Beaulon is known for are the “Les Fontaines Bleues” which you can tour on the estate grounds. Their color is unlike anything I have ever seen. That’s it for today. More to come next week.



Summer Essentials


It’s finally July, and we are headed off to France and to Texas for our summer getaways. As we start to pack our bags, we wanted to share what we’d love to pack and bring along to lounge by the pool in France and to boat around a Texas lake.

CALLIE’S PACKING:


A great caftan to throw over wet suits from Two


A sporty, but fun Zimmerman bikini for wake boarding.


A pair of Ray-Bans are a must to protect you from the hot Texas sun.


A great classic stripe towel.


A Sicilian Tote from L-atitude

NICKI’S PACKING:


A vintage Huipil tunic that feels perfectly festive for summer


I live in hats in the summer and love the wide brim on this beauty, though the price tag is the same as a plane ticket!


Turkish towels can also be used as beach blanket and knotted around the neck as a coverup.


This Stella Jean bikini makes me smile just looking at it.


This straw tote is perfect for carrying all my brocante finds!



Scouted Today: All Hands leather bags




The need for stylish ways to carry things around the city (and beyond) for photo shoots, client meetings, and weekend trips is something we are constantly on the look out for. And, to be perfectly honest, we just love bags of all shapes & sizes; we each own a fairly substantial assortment of bags for this very reason. Our new favorite all-purpose bag is from All Hands. Discovered on our recent Texas trip at a wonderful store in Austin called Spartan, All Hand’s “Leather Sailor” bag nicely fits the bill. We chose the natural leather option and it has quickly become the one we find ourselves using the most (though we confess to switching the handle to the outside of the bag–it’s a simple knot that was too pretty to leave on the inside of the bag!). In just a month, the ‘naked’ leather has become more supple from near constant use. This is a bag that will only get better with time..!


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