Friday, July 16, 2010

A Shopping Spree--Roses and Garden Fresh

I was delighted to find Christina Strutt's wonderful Cabbages and Roses online. Her shops in London feature clothing and home furnishings made in England and Wales. Victoria readers might remember Christina's name in some of the wonderful stories we reported from Great Britain. In her recent book, At Home with Country, she came across the pond to photograph both the New York City Studio of Tricia Foley (Trish to all who know and love her) and her picture perfect Long Island home.

Christina's fabrics remind one of the casual elegance of an English garden. And the photographs in the book as well as the wares for sale on the web site are a testament to the specialness of English interiors. When I looked at the fabrics, I was inspired to do some redecorating of my own--if only a few new pillows for sofas and beds. I really do have a passion for pillows. (I guess I could be investing in worse things!) You can really change the look and feel of a room, especially a bedroom with fresh fabrics.

Closer to home--when I'm in my New York digs--is the distinctive stock of Kristin Clotilde. But for those of you who want to experience it online, you're in for a treat. The home page is pure fun for shoppers. You'll see how this former Ralph Lauren model is spending her time these days. By the way, she and her twins once modeled for us in Victoria. KC is a firm believer in dresses! Remember those? The garments you can twirl in? Her stock in trade has a 50's feel--an Anne Fogarty appeal.

It's on my to do list to drive over to Larchmont and actually visit the shop. In the Thursday New York Times there's an article on how French women age beautifully. One of the things mentioned is that they are more dress-oriented than we are in America. I have to admit that dresses are not exactly a major item in my closet. But I'm very tempted to make a change to skirts and dresses this coming season.

That article has some good hints, including those from Leslie Caron. Leslie gave me her advice years ago--cold showers! And what I've observed myself of her dressing is well-tailored clothes in rich, deep colors and wonderful accessories. That scarf is really a big thing among French women as is beautiful costume jewelry--or the real thing is pocket books permit. I was in Barneys New York this week before going to my dentist. (I accuse him of being in a disaster zone for my pocket book.) I saw wonderful large-beaded necklaces with luxurious ribbon ties by Lanvin. Now that's a way to spruce up some of the beads in the bottom of the jewelry box.

And for a pure fun summer moment, spend some time on Lexington Company's site. These folks come out of Sweden, but have a real feel for what an All-American summer can be like. I feel myself on my knees digging for clams on Long Island Sound like I did when I was a kid.

Refresh and enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Summer is upon us. And it seems many are spending time packing and unpacking. That's been my life the past few weeks. Book signings...and some nice publicity for the book, especially in Rochester and Minneapolis. Surprised that with two Des Moines, Iowa stories in My First Best Friend--and two other Iowa ones, that the local media wasn't interested. (I used to joke that Iowa claimed you as a citizen if you flew over the state.) However, some wonderful old friends found their way to the very nice Barnes & Noble at Jordan Creek in West Des Moines. It was great to see them. Two of the men were instrumental in my career in magazines. So I was especially happy and proud to see them and share the book.

There is another book we all talked about...Curtiss Anderson's Blueberry Summers. Curt died a few weeks ago. We will all miss his wit and wisdom--and those tales of growing up in Minnesota that never seemed to have an end. At the signing in Minneapolis, a woman asked me about men and their first best friendships, and I directed her to read Curt's book, which the store had in stock! Those readers of the blog who are VICTORIA fans might recall some of these stories in the magazine. That's where the book began--and among the many things I remain so very proud of about my VICTORIA years is inspiring Curt to write his story. I was particularly charmed by his remembrances of his "Aunt Clara," who was really the wife of his dad's best friend.

Kim Shaver at Hooker Furniture has asked me to participate in the blog she has created for the company. Right now she's posted one of my contributions on a topic inspired by a question she's received on how to face up to decorating inertia. It's a two-part entry based on lots of years of answering this question for readers. Once, a woman asked me if it was OK to use her antique tablecloth in a modern kitchen. My response was a little cheeky, but I think it worked: You have my permission. Everybody laughed, but I made my point. You don't need permission to do the things in decorating your own home. Do what pleases you! At any rate, check out the Hooker blog. I'll be contributing on a regular basis. Kim and I worked together on a collection for Hooker a few years ago and I have such respect for her efforts. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does; my kind of girl.

Hope you are all in the midst of vacations that take you to places that bring rest and refreshment. Let us hear about what you are doing on your summer vacation...