I have been fostering these three precious kittens until they are big enough for adoption, and they’ve seriously made my heart grow a billion times since I got them- they are so unbelievably sweet and fluffy and adorable. Binx (far right) was the smallest of the three, weighing only twelve ounces. He followed me everywhere and lived for cuddles. He spent most of his time nestled on my chest snoozing.
He had almost no appetite and would only eat from a bottle (Macon and Hartley started eating kitten food on Thursday) and I was getting worried. I took him into my vet and she gave me some bad news- he had a serious heart murmur and things really weren’t looking good for the little guy. She didn’t think he would make it through the weekend. I heard what she said, but I couldn’t believe that there was a chance we’d actually lose him. By that afternoon, he was seriously struggling. He could barely walk. My heart was breaking. I called the vet. She said that there was nothing we could do, just to hold him and keep him comfortable. He was dying. Sobbing, I held this little guy to my chest as he took his last few breaths and closed his tiny kitten eyes.
Not more than an hour later, my dad called to tell me that my grandfather had just passed away. I just sat on my front porch and let myself cry for a while, and then watched the most beautiful sunset and thought about Grandpa and Binx going to heaven together, and all the people who he loved and would be meeting once again up there. He had such a long and beautiful life, and I felt relief for them both, and happy that Grandpa would have little Binx for a friend.
One of my favorite things about Bebe and Grandpa was their love story, so I want to share a little bit of it here. This is a page from his journal the day they got engaged. I treasure it, especially the end- “We are taking a big step- one that we are so-o sure of, having all the faith in the world in it, and please God be with us- we’ll never regret this, Bebe, and golly we are going to really be happy…”
I know I don’t do personal posts too often, so thanks for bearing with me. Count your blessings big and small and love the ones you’re with. Have a good week everyone! xx MRS
Marrakech is pure magic and it is where I find so much inspiration for my work. I love the colors and smells… the flowers, the spices and dusty winding pathways in the souks….you get the picture! I’m pretty into it. So when I got to chance to go earlier this fall I jumped on it, and I’ve been daydreaming about the few days I spent there ever since.
(Photos 1.2.3. Elle Decor)
When you are decorating your home, think about how you really live instead of how you think you should be living. If you won’t ever use a formal living room, don’t have one. I like to create livable spaces in every room of my client’s homes so that there isn’t any dusty dead space. Ask yourself questions like, how many people will need comfy seating when we’re watching a movie or football game? Where will I drink my coffee in the morning? Do we need a breakfast table? Bar stools at the counter? These little adjustments are what make a house comfortable and homey. Just in time for fall! xx MRS
I just love fall. And after a crazy summer traveling around I am so happy to be back in my little office working on some exciting new projects! September always feels like the start of a new year to me. I’m not huge on Halloween decorations, so I rely heavily on feathers, pinecones, leaves and pumpkins this time of year. Here are a few pics from a very seasonal breakfast on the porch using all of my fall favorites.
I’m on my way to New York right now (literally in the air!!) and I thought this would be the perfect time to share my favorite restaurants in the city. They’re listed in no particular order under two categories, roughly. ‘Fun Dinner Spots’ is self explanatory but ranges from fun night out type dinner places to fancy classics to trendy hotspot type places. Under ‘Casual Less Boom Boom Spots’, you’ll find super casual day or night places as well as more trendy restaurants with a laid back vibe. Here we go!
FUN DINNER SPOTS
- The Breslin: I first went to the Breslin on a cold, rainy night and instantly fell in love with the cozy dining room and fell even more in love when I tried the lamb burger and fries. Lots of real New Yorkers say this is their very favorite burger, and I can see why. If you go on a weekend grab a drink at the Ace Hotel after.
- The Dutch: Great for a date or with a group, cozy young vibe, fun for a Friday night and good for brunch too. Soho.
- The John Dory: Great atmosphere and fresh seafood tucked in the side of the Ace Hotel, like The Breslin. Try the oysters, of course!
- Pullino’s: Perfect place for a fun not too dressy dinner on the East Side. They’re famous for their pizza and I love the Burrata too.
- The Lion: Sceney, pricey, crowded, super fun and lively spot to go with a small group. Try the Lion Burger ‘Special Blend’ which has tomato. caramelized onion, pork belly and provolone or the ricotta gnudi with black truffles, sweet butter and black pepper. So good!
- The Cannibal: Sit at the bar or on the patio in the back covered in tea lights. Order from their extensive craft beer list (i.e this is a great place to go with a guy!) and try the cannibal dogs, the steak tartare (one of the best I’ve ever had) or the bone marrow. I also LOVE their brunch, the biscuits and gravy are so. good.
- Babbo: The most delicious Italian by Mario Batalli. Critics call this restaurant his jewel and I can see why. Great for a special date, with your family and also at brunch! Try the Mint Love Letters. Reserve early and request to sit in the first floor dining room unless you’ve got a larger group in which case I’d do a round table in the upstairs dining.
- Dell’anima: Cozy, small, dark, informal space with a lively vibe and amazing Italian. In the West Village. Good date spot.
- L’Artusi: I can’t believe I waited so long to try this lovely spot, the sister restaurant of Dell’anima. Not as dimly lit and romantic as Dell’Anima which makes it a fun double date spot or small group dinner for a special occasion.
- Gotham Grill: This place feels like what Manhattan would have looked like in the 90′s, in a good way. The buzzing, high ceiling dining room is almost always packed and the food is classic & fresh. Another great spot to go with parents or would be fun with a small group or on a date. Love the soft shell crab and the s’mores for dessert.
- Mas Farmhouse: Totally under the radar, fabulous little spot tucked away in the West Village (around the corner from Blue Ribbon)…Quiet, beautiful but quaint, dimly lit. Menu inspired by the cuisine of the French-countryside (Mas is French for farmhouse…) and everything I’ve tried there is excellent, and I love how they tie the seasonal menu with a bit of twine. Charming favorite.
- Il Mulino: I’m starting to realize that there is going to be a lot of Italian on this list, but that’s because there so much good Italian in the city! Il Mulino is a classic, romantic spot . Side note: If you’re planning a special dinner and want to do Italian my top three are Babbo, Il Mulino and Peasant.
- Bobo: West Village staple. Always a crowd-pleaser. Fun for younger crowd. I love to grab drinks here in the cozy bar area downstairs. Check out the patio too. If you’re meeting someone for drinks in the WV this is a good choice.
- Panna II: There is better Indian food in New York no doubt, but I will always love this place. The teeny tiny inside is decked out with thousands of Christmas lights and it is BYOB. Really fun with a group. Inexpensive.
- Public: From the owners of Providores, one of my favorite London restaurants! Wild, intensely flavorful dishes won this pretty restaurant a Michelin star. Good for a small group or a date. Fun, not stuffy. Great bar area for a drink before din. Inside an old muffin factory in Nolita.
- Minetta Tavern: Loud, sceney, fun. Try the burger or the bone marrow (can you tell I like bone marrow?!)…
- La Grenouille: Probably the most romantic restaurant in the city, in a totally not cheesy way. If you don’t look good in this lighting, you’re out of luck. The food, French, obviously, is beyond. Book ahead.
- Locanda Verde: More Italian! Locanda Verde is a happening spot with really good food and a fun vibe. Right in the middle of Tribeca. Buzzy atmosphere, great for a date or a group.
- Bouley: Special spot. Gorgeous flower arrangements, beautiful dining rooms and candlelit wine cellars.
- Hudson Clearwater: Enter through the hidden doorway and step into a charming little garden area, then through the open kitchen to a cozy, candlelit dining room. It’s romantic but buzzy, so it’s been a go-to for mine for a date night or a fun dinner with friends.
- ABC Kitchen: Reserve way ahead. To be honest this hasn’t been a huge crowd-pleaser with my man friends, but all my girlfriends love it. The menu looks sort of boring but everything I’ve tasted is sublime. “Fancy country house” food with some major creative twists inside a beautiful, white-washed space. Don’t miss the desserts! Or one of the celebs traipsing in and out (ahem..Gwyneth!..)
- Employees Only: This crowded spot behind an unmarked door in the West Village is super fun and a great place to go with a few friends for a night out. Loud, great drinks, tasty food, limited seating.
- Peasant: One of my favorites when it comes to Italian. Nolita. Rustic. Candlelit. Date spot.
- David Burke Kitchen: So tasty! Farm-to-table, big portions, classic dishes with kitschy celebrity chef twists. Love the pretzel crab cakes, the “ants on a log” and the grilled artichoke. If you have room, try the cheesecake lollipop tree for dessert! I love that it is below the bar at the James, which has a great terrace and view! Perfect for drinks before or after din. Soho.
- Fatty Crab: SO GOOD. Funky, very casual, foodie vibe.
- Daniel: Fancy, French, old world New York City glitz NY Times four star rated restaurant with flawless service, amazing food and a formal atmosphere in a beautiful modern dining room. Upper East Side. Think birthdays, engagements or if you want to blow it out at one of the classic NY fine dining spots, this is the place to do it. Which reminded me of..
- Upstairs at 21 Club: Another classic. Same sort of deal as Daniel without so much of the French influence. Special din spot. Romantic. Dressy.
- Schiller’s. East Village. Love the loud, super fun (and crowded!) weekend-y vibe. Great drinks. Try the mac n’ cheese!
- Beauty & Essex: Girls night? Bachelorette party? This is probably gonna be your place. It’s not my favorite spot for food in the city but it is really fun and lively and it makes for a great night out. Last time I was there, so was Jay-Z! Enter through a barber shop.
- Morandi: Brasserie from Keith McNally (of Pastis, Balthazar, etc.) Fun, lively, always packed. Casual-chic. Good, uncomplicated Italian dishes. Easy go-to spot everyone loves.
- The Waverly Inn: I know, it’s no longer the newest, hottest ticket in town but I’m still a fan. I love the vibe and it’s so wonderful to eat on the ivy covered back terrace. Fun to go with a group or just as two. Reliably tasty food and good cocktails.
- Uncle Boons: Thai! This isn’t really a boom boom dinner spot but it’s fun and I love the funky space and some of the best Thai dishes outside of Bangkok, made by chefs formerly of Per Se. It’s new-ish and always crowded so prepare to wait. Definitely worth a visit. Loved the green mango salad. Nolita.
CASUAL LESS BOOM BOOM SPOTS
- Crif Dogs: Clear your schedule for an evening. Go to Crif Dogs, order a few and sit at one of the ‘tables’ which are old pac-man machines! While you wait for your dogs, step inside the phone booth in the corner and tell the hostess at Please Don’t Tell (the hidden speakeasy next door) to put your name down. She’ll tell you the wait is an hour or two. Then eat your dogs at Crif and walk around the East Village for a bit. I like to get drinks in Alphabet City which is nearby or just explore the streets around there- it’s full of cute wine bars. They’ll call you when your space is ready at Please Don’t Tell, and by then you’ll be ready to try another dog designed by famous chefs from around the city and only available inside PDT. There is no standing in the bar so you’ll have your own area to enjoy your dogs and the super special cocktails.
- Dhaba Indian: Delicious Indian in Murray Hill. Try the fried paneer (for sure) or tikka masala. All of the curries are good too. Across the street from Curry in a Hurry (love that name!) which I’ve never tried but is supposed to be good too.
- Lil’ Frankies: Pizza and vino on the Lower East Side. Good for a couple or a group, casual-ish laid back spot for a fun din. It gets super crowded so plan on a bit of wait.
- Bassanova Ramen: The best Ramen I’ve ever had, served in beautiful antique bowls from Korea. You’ll love the crisp, white space and unpretentious vibe. Tucked in the heart of Chinatown and instantly a favorite in my book. This airy, white washed space with big, loosely arranged hydrangeas and aluminum chairs is the last thing you expect when you club down the stairs right in the middle of Chinatown! *They don’t serve alcohol for now.
- Caracas Arepa Bar: Grab a cerveza and nestle in this cozy East Village spot. The arepas are seriously good, you cannot go wrong. Not a group place. really small. Super casual.
- Fedora: Easy but cute little basement spot in the West Village with a warm vibe.
- Luke’s Lobster: Obviously, get the lobster roll. They have another location on the UES but the one in the East Village is my fave. Very causal. Just a few seats.
- The Meatball Shop: Cute little candlelit restaurant where you can get a fabulous meal (I recommend the meatballs over spaghetti with creamy parmesan sauce) with a glass of wine for around $20. Great for a weeknight but lively enough for a Friday too.
- Joseph Leonard: Adore this space. Rustic, delicious food and they bring you a little jar of pickles to get things started. It’s teensy so don’t go with a group. I usually go just to meet a friend for a late lunch, but it’s a great pick for diner too. Lovely when the weather is nice because they open the big windows and let in the fresh air. So charming.
- Jeffrey’s: Right across the street from Joseph Leonard. Fun, unpretentious West Village spot for dinner. Gets pretty hopping’ at night.
- Market Table: Another casual but cute spot with really good food in the WV. While popular, i.e. it definitely fills up, it’s not nearly as bumpin’ as some of the other places in the area. Good place to catch up with a friend and have a tasty dinner. You’ll be able to hear each other which can be tricky in some NYC restaurants! I like the buratta, beef carpaccio and the seafood dishes (try the soft shell crab or sea bream with artichokes)…
- Fatty Cue: The Asian BBQ here is insane! Love the interior too. Try the pork ribs, fried catfish bao (served with spicy relish, thai chili and aoli) , the Buttermilk Pappardelle (smoked goat ragu, capra sarda and roasted peppers), or the ‘Cue-Rean Fried Chicken (maple butter, hot sauce, smoked honey and watermelon salad). You can’t go wrong. Lively, casual spot with serious comida.
- Murray’s: I cannot say enough about Murrary’s. I used to live a block away and it was such a staple for me. They have the most delicious grilled cheese (everything is to take away- no seating- so it’s good for stocking up on tasty treats or for picnic goodies) and an incredible selection of cheeses. The people at the cheese counter are so nice and will give you lots of info and samples to taste. So good!
- John’s on Bleeker: Super-casual, legendary brick oven pizza spot in the West Village.
- Keste: Writing about John’s made me think of Keste- which is across the street and has delicious pizza too. I prefer John’s because I love the New York-y pizzeria vibe in there, but Keste has serious pizza and Michelin recommends it and all that. Definitely worth a go. Super-casual.
- Westville: Quaint little spot for a laid back, healthy-ish dinner in the West Village. It’s nothing to write home about, but if you’re craving a good, simple meal, this is your place. On the less healthy side of things, I really like the smoky mac & cheese.
- Peel’s: Brunch spot. You’ll fall in love right when you get there and see the adorable striped awnings. You can build your own breakfast biscuit, which is fun, but I usually order the biscuits and gravy or the Fried Green Tomato BLT. Peel’s is super conveniently located on the edge of Nolita so it’s a good pick if you’re going to be in that area. Great place to take out of towners for brunch.
- The Standard Grill: Known for it’s lively scene at dinner and also at brunch, pretty yummy food and laughably terrible service that everyone just puts up with because..whatever. For brunch try the Brioche French Toast with buttered rum, walnuts and bananas. Also love the Eggs Benedict, house made sugar donuts in cinnamon and cucumber-dill lemonade.
- No.7: Casual pick up sandwich place. This is at the Ace Hotel, and while most people try to avoid this area of Manhattan if you happen to stay at the Ace Hotel (No.7 is at the bottom) or if you find yourself in the area, this is a great place to grab lunch (it’s takeaway only). They have really serious sandwiches- try the Godfather!
- Cafe Gitane: One of my favorite little sidewalk cafes in Soho, love the avocado toast. It gets really crowded on the weekends but it’s perfect if your shopping around Soho on a weekday.
- Balthazar: Nothing new here, but a classic NY spot nonetheless. I usually get the oysters, but I’ve had their brunch-y food too and it’s good. I like to go to Balthazar and sit at the bar for an early dinner/late afternoon rondevouz- it’s less full of tourists and you can enjoy the vibe. If you’re here with someone who has never been, definitely try it for brunch.
- Cookshop: Chelsea isn’t my very favorite part of New York but it’s fun to do brunch here on weekends and then walk around the High Line and check out some galleries. Their salads are great and I like the Cookshop Scramble- caramelized onions, creme fraiche, chives and a buttermilk biscuit with smoked trout or bacon.
- Lafayette: Lafayette is one of my new favorites. The interior is perfect and I love their Nicoise. Perfect place to catch up with a girlfriend over dinner and a glass of wine. Sort of the next Balthazar.
- Rosemary’s: Rustic Chic, happening spot in the West Village. My New Yorker friends have told me that it’s not even worth trying at dinner because of the lines, and that you’re much better off trying at lunchtime. This place gets packed! They have their very own roof garden on top where they grow fresh herbs that will end up right on your plate! Try the caprese focaccia.
- Momofuku Milk Bar: Warning: once you eat one of their B-Day Truffles you will crave them all the time forever! They are insane. Also try their steamed bork buns. One of my favorite things to do in NYC is to go to the W. 56th street location (look for the Milk sign) and then pop into MOMA!
- Littla Havana: I used to work on Elizabeth Street, and Little Havana was just a few doors down. This open air spot serves delicious Cubano sandwiches, corn and a lively, casual lunch spot.
- Cafe Clementine: Whenever I find myself in Tribeca, I pop in this airy little spot and grab one of their sandwiches or salads, (try the caprese baguette). You can take it to go or eat at the counter.
- Bubby’s: The food isn’t life changing or anything, but it’s adorable and I thought of it because besides Cafe Clementine it is one of my favorite lunch spots in the area. More of a restaurant than CC, and it’s a great pick for brunch too. Tribeca.
- J.G. Melon’s: If I’m on the Upper East Side it’s pretty much going to happen. This is one of my favorite places in New York. Old-school, classic. With the best cheeseburgers and some serious Bloody Mary’s. Sit at the counter and have a few!
- Shake Shack: I’m sure you’ve tried it or at least heard the hype, and the burgers really are good. But I very rarely go because the lines are so ridiculously long. If you happen to walk through the park and the line looks reasonable, go for it! It’s a NYC classic.
- Prune: Pick from ten variations of Bloody Mary’s at this quaint East Village spot with a killer brunch. Try the eggs-benedict. Of the moment with a laid-back vibe, seriously good food.
- The Spotted Pig! Great fun West Village place with quirky, cozy atmosphere. Go for brunch or lunch but expect a crazy wait.
What have I left off? I feel like every time I visit the city there are a dozen new places to try. My friend ESO has been raving about Catch and we’re trying it tonight, I’ll tell you how it is- I can already tell I’m going to love the space! xx MRS
This week I’m in New York for NY Now, which is an amazing Home & Lifestyle Market, formerly known as NYIGF. I’m also planning to check out the Living in Style, Five Centuries of Interior Design exhibit from the Collection of Drawings and Prints at The Met. Excitement! Lots of work going on this week on top, so things are looking pretty hectic, and it’s only Tuesday! I spent last weekend in Shelter Island (guide coming very soon!) so I’m pretty relaxed and rested, and finally not as pale as a ghost! Enough about me, here are a few other things I’ve been loving lately in New York and at large…. (Photo above, Elle Decor)
1) Towels from Calypso 2) Aloha Orchid Candle from Anthro- it fills the room with the best scent even when unlit, I’ve been keeping one on my desk…3) Prada Saffiano bag I’ve been dreaming of 4) WTF pencils from Furbish 5) Chairs from IKEA! Love. 6) Diptyque solid perfumes, obsessed!! A must have for traveling 7) Cannot. stop. eating B-Day Cake Truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar- they are beyond delish. And on another note, a random shot of the beautiful Gwyneth- look at hair!!
With summer sun exposure and the humidity lately, my locks are in dire condition. And since they’ve been on my mind (on an my agenda to get under control this week)…I wanted to share my favorite products AND my a few of my favorite salons. Above: inside Le Salon de David Mallet.
If you’re looking for a salon in London, look no further than Hari’s. They do amazing clear blonde highlights and it’s pretty much a guarantee that you won’t leave with any brassy strands. I like the location on Kings Road (233 Kings Road London SW3) but there is one on Brompton too (305 Brompton Road London SW3 2DY). In New York, the gold standard is DS Studio, but it will cost you. Like twice what you’re used to. But they’re amazing, and you shouldn’t leave without their hair masque, it’s incredible and lasts forever. (74 E. 79th- 212.879.5555). Also in New York try John Berrett Salon, on top of Bergdorf’s (212.872.2700). If you’re having your hair done in Paris, do it at Le Salon de David Mallet. Like the NY salons, prepare to spend quite a bit but have a possible run with Carla Bruni or Penelope Cruz, and of course leave with flawless locks (14, rue Notre Dane de Victoire). Back In Dallas, I go to Osgood O’Neill. When in a pinch (which is all the time for me!) they can always schedule you in with not much notice and do great cuts and color (214.373.6336). I like the Snider Plaza location by SMU. If you plan ahead a bit, call Charlie at Hair by Charlie (214.303.1799) or The Hair Salon at Stanley Korshak, (214.871.3600). In Houston, I like Ceron. They do excellent color and great styling and blowouts, (713.892.8330). At home in Austin, I go to NSalon (3027 N. Lamar- 512.323.3600), ask for Niki. They’re also a good option for blow outs and styling. PS. If you want to really splurge in London, try the salons fancied by the Middleton ladies, Rossano Ferretti (Kate) or Richard Ward, (Carole and Pippa).
Normally when I have trouble sleeping, I rearrange furniture or work on little vignettes. I know, it’s crazy. I even dream about furniture and fabric swatches! Anyway, I’m traveling right now and I don’t think the hotel would appreciate any rearranging, so I’ve been at work on this master in a palette of neutrals with soft blue accents. Here are the key pieces so far….the bed, the bedside table lamps, the bedside tables/dressers, some gorgeous Leontine’s etc…
In the sitting area we’ll bring in a little bit of color and pattern with these guys…
Some upholstered pieces in this print by Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks by Lee Jofa, which I adore..
And that’s about all I’ve got so far! I’ll update as I make more progress. xx MRS
Many of my go-to recipes come from Ina Garten’s cookbooks. What can I say, I love The Barefoot Contessa! I especially love this recipe for her Peach and Blueberry Crumbles, they are so easy and perfect for this time of year. Enjoy!
Get the recipe here at The Food Network!