Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Confessions of a Challenged Packer

 When it comes to packing, I am extremely challenged.
How many coats, how many shoes, how many black pants?

Wouldn't it be lovely to just ship a trunk with everything you need?

 I would seriously pay someone to mentor me while I pack.
But instead, I'm torturing my daughter with text messages asking how many coats, how many shoes and how many black pants!
Do I bring the brown boots?
Do a bring heels?
How about an LBD?

 I ended up packing only black clothing and threw in some leopard pieces to shake it up.
And a few tartan pieces, like a scarf and a plaid lined jacket.

The challenge is to be comfortable, yet chic and not look like a tourist.
I'm traveling with three "fashionistas" so I want to blend in!
After all, it's fashion week in Paris!

We're leaving today and I'm humming that song!
"Leaving on a jet plane...."

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

I love that quote from Audrey Hepburn because it is absolutely true!
Paris is always a good idea.

In a few days, I'll be wandering the cobblestone streets of Paris, enjoying the sights and pretending to be Parisian!  

I can hardly wait to sit at a cafe and sip a cafe au lait!

 Or dress up and explore, eat and shop!

I promise to post from Paris, but for now I need to pack my bags.

I can't wait for the French air to clean up my brain!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Flashback Friday: Experimenting With Night Photography

Driving up the driveway to our house in the wine country, I got out of the car to take these pictures.  The sky was breathtaking!

As I got closer to the top, the old oak tree came into view.

The sky was so surreal.  By the time I walked up the driveway, the pink clouds were gone!  These photos were taken at 6:00 pm, and the moon was already in the sky creating wonderful photo opportunities.  I was in photo heaven!

Since I was in a photographing mood when we got to the house, I walked around taking photos looking through the windows like a Peeping Tom!

I'm having so much fun with photography these days, even though I have no idea what the heck I'm doing!  I was just experimenting with light and exposure here and surprised that these pictures actually turned out.

Peeking in to the kitchen.  

What a beautiful full moon!

This was taken at 9:00 pm.  The moon in the sky, looking southeast.

Here is an example of how bright the sky was.  This was also taken at 9:00 pm! I rested the camera on a chair and pressed the button.  I counted 13 seconds before the shutter closed!
Mr. A and I couldn't believe how this turned out.  It looks like daylight, but you can see the stars in the sky!

It's amazing that so much color came through.  

This was taken around midnight, looking east toward the vineyard.  The moon was very high in the sky, casting shadows on the ground.

Looking down the grape arbor.  Notice the shadows to the right, cast by the moon.

Another photo taken at midnight looking west toward the living room.  Can you see the Big Dipper?

The pool at midnight, looking south.

One of our oak trees, looking north, taken around midnight.   The lights of Cloverdale are below.

The same tree with a flash!

Eventually, it got too cold so we went back inside to download our pictures and see what turned out and what didn't.  About a third of them turned out.  Here is the living room all cozy and warm.

All of these pictures were taken with my Canon Rebel XTi, with a Tamron  18-270 mm lens.  The ISO was at 1600, letting in as much light as possible.  We didn't have a tripod, so instead I rested the camera on a ladder rung or a ledge.  The shutter stayed open for 10 to 15 seconds for the outside shots.

I told Mr. A that I almost don't want to know everything there is to know about my camera and photography.  It's so much fun experimenting and learning.  Thanks for indulging me on this little experiment with light and exposure.  I guess I had a bad case of "night vision!"

This post was from March, 2010 when I was discovering all the wonderful things I could do with my old camera.
This weekend is dedicated to acquiring a new, up-to-date, lightweight camera with all the bells and whistles.
I'm going to need it for an upcoming trip! 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Books At Boxwood House

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."  ~Cicero
I couldn't agree more.  One can design a room with fabulous wallcoverings, luxurious fabrics and elegant antiques, but if it doesn't contain books, then something is missing.

 When staying at The Boxwood House, I had time to notice all the details in the house.  There are many, but what really stood out were all the books in every room. 

Oh, and glasses!  Every nightstand and side table had a stack of books and a pair of reading glasses.

Many of the books in the dining room are about San Francisco or California and its history.
For those guests visiting from another state or country, this would be fascinating.
I find it fascinating and I live here!

There are books about the 1906 earthquake, books about the gold rush, books about the wine country...

...and books about Abraham Lincoln.
The owners of The Boxwood House are obviously interested in history, both local and American history and have been collecting books for years.

How wonderful to have a place to lovingly display them.

For a home that isn't lived in day to day and used as a vacation rental, the books have given it warmth and also a soul. 

As I wondered around during my stay, noticing all the details of this home, so beautifully decorated and curated, I imagined other guests staying here, enjoying the view, enjoying special events with friends and enjoying life. 
I thought, The Boxwood House truly represents all things home!

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience:  this is the ideal life."  ~Mark Twain

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

When Antlers Meet Tartan

 I lusted after these antlers on the Neimann Marcus website for a little too long because now they're gone.
The problem is, I couldn't decide which one I wanted.  The burlap, the red tartan or the green plaid.
I even had a couple in the shopping cart!  
Too late, "you snooze, you lose!"

Then, along came this lovely...
On One King's Lane and I nabbed it!

Someone actually stretched the tartan fabric over the plaque and then if that wasn't enough, added the enamel number.
I swoon!

 What I love is that it is vintage, authentic and hand made.
Don't get me wrong, I would still want one or more of the plaques from Neimann Marcus if they ever become available again, but this beauty is the real deal!

Tartan and antlers, a winning combination don't you think?

Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Flashback Friday: A Valentine's Dessert Table

Just for fun Saturday night, I set up a little dessert table for two, actually make that three, to celebrate Valentine's Day while we were in Asti.

This is a corner in the kitchen with two club chairs and an antique wine table in between.  

I had an embroidered linen square tablecloth that I have been wanting to use, purchased at Uniquely Chic in Healdsburg.

Fresh tulips for the flower vase.

Alabaster lamps and candlesticks provide the ambiance.

See what I mean?  A table for three...

Dexter was very curious about the blackberry torte!

Happy Valentine's Day!

This post was originally from Valentine's Day, 2011.
Remembering "my funny valentine," Dexter...
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