Wanderlust and Summer

Wanderlust and Summer

Hi. It just hit me that summer is here. It isn't only that Memorial Day just passed and I started wearing white jeans again, but I also feel a giddy sense of excitement starting to brew. What is it about summer that conjures those feelings? Experiences seem to attach themselves to memories in a special way unlike at any other time. One of my favorite things about summer is not adhering to a schedule. With that freedom comes a sense of wanderlust – where should we go? Anywhere we want…

What are your favorite things about summertime?  Here are a few of mine:

1.  Simple clothes.


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Shorts


Summer skirt


Maxi dress

White denim skirt

2. Staying up late, getting up early and taking naps.


Moonlight


Bed for nap
Ferragamo bedroom

3. Leisurely meals that don't require standing in front of the stove. Assembling rather than cooking…


Antipasti


Desclans - rose


Peaches
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4. Eating outside whenever possible.


Alfresco


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French table outside

5. Time to read.

I've been on a roll with the last two books I've read. Both outstanding! 


Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles


And the mountains echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

After going to see the Great Gatsby movie last weekend (omg - sooo good!) I want to re-read the book. It was completely lost on my 15 year-old self the first time. All that focus on finding the parallels and metaphors - blah, blah, blah, when the best parts are the descriptive details and the amazing love story!

Any book recommendations?

6. Road trips.


Road trip

Happy summer to you.

 

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NYC – the gift show and other inspirations

NYC – the gift show and other inspirations

I was in NYC last week attending the NYIGF. The trade show takes place twice per year – in August and January. There are literally miles of aisles to walk through with wholesalers selling just about everything you can imagine from plastic gadgets that are one stop away from a garage sale near you, to the finest luxury home furnishings. It can be overwhelming if you don't narrow your focus and spread it out over several days. Even then it's overwhelming!

For the past four years I've been going to the winter show with a brief visit to Northern Virginia first to visit relatives.

Coming from California, I always hope it snows. This year Mother Nature didn't disappoint…

 
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The blurry photo was taken from my grandparent's house in McLean.


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It seems every year the houses in their neighborhood get bigger and bigger. My grandparents have lived in the same house for my entire life. Until recently, the architecture has mostly been Colonial or Georgian Colonial.  These days, the original columned homes are being torn down, and replaced with a range of architectural styles.


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This stone house is so magnificent. I wish I was able to get closer to show you the level of detail.

I took the train from DC to NYC on Saturday afternoon. Even though the time of day and destination didn't match, Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train To Georgia" was playing in my head. And on my iPod…  If you're in the right frame of mind, it can make you cry.

 

I digress. On to the show. I had a mission this time –  accessories!


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We had these pillows in the lavender and gray colorway at the shop and they sold out almost immediately. The one above would be spectacular on a brown sofa.


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These embroidered Peruvian tapestries can be customized in any color and size. They make me excited for summer.


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I'm thinking about carrying these lamps in the shop. They're so universal – boy's bedrooms, family rooms, offices, etc.


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This wallpaper line has caught my eye for the past several years. I don't use wallpaper much, but got thinking they be great to line the back of book shelves or in a powder room.


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These stunning tin chandeliers were one of my favorite new finds. They come in a range of patinas or painted.


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I thought these wood and metal frames were fun and have a great beach house feel.


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On my last day in New York, I decided not to go back to the gift show, and instead hit the streets and absorb all I could of my favorite city before my flight home.

Loved this restaurant's forward thinking optimism.  It was 20 degrees outside.


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Without a destination or anyone to compromise with, I was free to roam wherever I wanted. As it turned out, I wanted to go to Barney's. Long time readers know, I am by no means a shopper and given a choice I would much rather have clothes (super cute, well fitting clothes!) just appear in my closet. That said, there is no place comparable to Barney's  NYC to spot what's on the forefront in the fashion world. 


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I discovered this new-to-me line. 


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What would you wear this with? I'm picturing white jeans + ballet flats.


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It's hard to see, but there is lace trim around the bottom and back of this long v-neck cardigan. Outfit ideas? How about black leather leggings and high heeled ankle boots?


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Cotton knit at the top and arms and crisp cotton in the body. Navy and white stripes are timeless and always look chic. Very Jean-Paul Gaultier. What to pair this with? Faded boyfriend jeans rolled with No. 6 clogs perhaps.


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The skirt on this dress is army green although it looks black in the photo. I bet it's cuter on than on the hanger. Especially with great sandals

Speaking of shoes… 


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After leaving Barney's I had about an hour left before I needed to get back to get my stuff and head to the airport. Since I was nearby and never go, I just decided why not…


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No, I did not ride in this, although had I not been alone…


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I had another photo from inside the park, but I think I accidentally deleted it. Needless to say, it was a good, productive trip. 

Anything you would like to know more about from this post? Email your questions to info@serenaarmstronginteriors.com.

Happy middle of the week to you!

 

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pick-me-ups

pick-me-ups

With the holidays over and Spring still a few months away, I've been looking for new ways to boost the joy factor while getting through this stretch of long cold days. Thought I would share a few I've found, just in case you were in need of a pick-me-up too.

Home Cooking. I bought the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook "Foolproof" while I was in wine country for my birthday weekend in November and have already made a few things.

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click here for a link to Amazon

As with her other books, the recipes are easy to follow, well tested and delicious.

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This is the Chicken with Wild Mushrooms. I made potatoes for along side and a green salad with roasted beets. For the potatoes, I boiled Yukon Gold's (any new potatoes will do), drained them and then smashed them with the bottom of a small pot, then fried them quickly (hot pan) in a little olive oil to crisp on the outside. Sprinkled with coarse salt at the end. A glass of wine – Viognier in this case – was just perfect. 

Reading. I never seem to have enough time to catch up on current events. When a friend (a super smart, well read friend, I might add) highly recommended "The Week" I immediately subscribed. Each issue contains a summary of everything important that has happened that week. It's well written and concise – concise being the opperative word. I take it in my purse for those times I find myself waiting – grocery line, soccer practice, before an appointment, etc. 

 
The week

To subscribe to The Week click here.

Music. Music is so evocotive. We have access to anything our hearts desire at any given moment, so a mental escape with some good music is always possible. In my car I listen to Sirius XM, at work we listen to Pandora and when I excercise I listen to my ipod. My playlists are getting old, so I've been finding new artists to mix in. Lately I'm gravitating to more mellow, emotionally charged songs for some reason… I discovered Mumford & Sons recently and fell in love with their their music. My favorite song, for your listening pleasure, below.

 

Shoes. I'm a girl, what can I say. My daughter Lily and I went to Santa Monica for the weekend to celebrate her 14th birthday right after Christmas. It was a shopping, star stalking, glitter manicure, power packed weekend. Other than a slight fainting spell at my 4th Abercrombie in 24 hours, a great time was had. One of the highlights (for me!) was going to the Ralph Lauren store. My favorite. We got there just as they were marking these down. I'm 5'10" in them! All I need now is the right occasion and of course, the perfect dress…


RL stilettos

Click here for your own pair. Note: they are an additional 30% off the listed price!

I hope your week has something wonderful in it. 

 

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Shopping Heaven – Unionmade

Shopping Heaven – Unionmade

This one's for the boys…

But the store's look is so darn fab, I think ladies will like it too. 

Incidentally, my husband got me a fantastic new camera lens, however my photos suck with it… Old one will be back for next time…

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If I were to pick out an outfit. Oh yeah, I just rememberedI've been schooled by my 16 year old son that boys/men don't wear 'outfits'. So if you have a teenage boy, don't say for example, "Good morning honey, I really like your outfit!" it will backfire. 

Anyway, if I were to pick out what I like on a man, it would look something like these:

 

Billy Reid Heirloom James shirt in Brown

Sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Top snap open. Untucked.

Bladen Indigo Twill Rinse Straight Leg
1930's Leather Jacket in Black

OR

Crewneck t in marine

t-shirt

Levi's 519 Bedford pant in Brindle

Levi's. Enough said.

3 eye Chukka in Arabica Oiled Suede

There are several Unionmade locations in California:

Unionmade locations

The items above are from their website. To be taken there, click here.

 

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