Monday, December 28, 2009

it’s complicated… december 2009

Happy holidays! Here’s hoping everyone had a good break, some quality family time, maybe a few gifts and a moment or two under the Mistletoe?? All of this, and a movie too. There is something about getting out of the house on a cold day when you know there is no school or work in the morning and enjoying a great movie with an obscenely large box of popcorn (go ahead and add that butter too). Hollywood saves some great ones for a late December release, and It’s Complicated made my list this year. I, of course, love everything Meryl Streep does: Devil Wears Prada, Out of Africa, Julie and Julia, and that only scratches the surface of her resume. While enjoying this romantic comedy I kept noticing Cerulean in frame after frame! Espadrilles (a’ la Toms shoes), Matta dupatta scarves, straw baskets and on an on! I knew we liked this film for a reason! Below are some movie stills (Universal pictures 2009), as well as a few products we saw in the film and a few more we thought Meryl’s character would love. I’m coveting her glamorous Spanish villa in the California hills overlooking the ocean, but she can keep all the “complicated”.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

christmas wish list...

Now that it’s December and the holidays are upon us, Christmas music blares through our office while we wrap presents for customers and send them off to each of the 50 states. We’ve shipped Matta sandals to Hawaii and Virginia Johnson merino shawls to upstate New York. Pom Pom Throws are a favorite gift in Florida, and Nashville loves our many versions of Chai Tea Glasses. I’ve wrapped more than a few gifts myself for friends and family, but of course I can’t tell you what is in those packages or it will spoil the surprise. How about I just tell you what’s on my list this year? I have a very long list, so here are just a few.


Subscriptions to my favorite magazines, including Coastal Living and Elle Décor. Cant get enough of them. Black leather and gold studded wrap bracelet. It is tough and ladylike at the same time. I’m getting one to punch up my work wardrobe.

Tweed Wool Fox hunting jacket- I’m new to the sport and want a really well-made tweed hunting jacket for those cool fall days on horseback. Don’t worry- nothing is killed when I hunt except a flask of whiskey!

Virginia Johnson gauze merino wool scarves- a new shipment of brand new prints arrived at our offices yesterday, and I’m coveting the blue seaweed print. Love it.

Bright white Vespa- I’ve wanted one for years but finally live in a place where I won’t get killed in traffic. I’d love to be zooming around town on one of these! Think of the gas mileage??

Matta silk and cotton pom pom scarves are flying out of our stock room as fast as we can gift wrap them this holiday. I must get one before they are gone- but which color??

Erno Laszlo skin care is absolutely addictive. Once you understand the clocking system (a little more confusing that it has to be) you skin will thank you.

Jonathan Adler sofa will look fantastic in my living room- but I must learn the self control to keep the dog off! Will it ever happen? I’m not so sure, but I have it on good authority that Jonathan lets his dog on his.

Turquoise and chocolate leather belt is a much more sophisticated take on the typical southwest turquoise. I’m hoping to have this to wear to my more casual holiday parties over a fitted blazer.

These Mystique coral, wood and rhinestone sandals are to die for in the softest suede imaginable. I think it’s worth planning a trip somewhere warm just so I can wear them asap.

Friday, November 27, 2009

thanksgiving getaway...

Spent the thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, which certainly puts you in the mood for the holidays. A fire roaring, hikes in the crisp air, warm roasted meals and friends. I started my very own bonfire, roasted the world’s most perfect smores (if I say so myself), made time for some antiquing, and took in the obligatory football game or two. All in all, a nice holiday. (DeSoto Falls shown below)

But of course Im already dreaming of what adventures we can find next year, and have decided that Blackberry Farm sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving retreat. An intimate luxury hotel in the Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is the perfect mix of remote escapism with luxurious extras. Their awards are too many to mention, but it should be noted that among their “best small hotel” awards sit many more for food and wine. On-site cheese mongers, butchers and farmers bring delicious food directly to the table (by way of some fabulous chefs, of course). Gourmands and outdoorsmen alike can find respite, excitement and palette pleasers.

Visit their webiste at www.blackberryfarm.com.

Spent the thanksgiving holiday in the mountains, which certainly puts you in the mood for the holidays. A fire roaring, hikes in the crisp air, warm roasted meals and friends. I started my very own bonfire, roasted the world’s most perfect smores (if I say so myself), made time for some antiquing, and took in the obligatory football game or two. All in all, a nice holiday. (DeSoto Falls shown below)

But of course Im already dreaming of what adventures we can find next year, and have decided that Blackberry Farm sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving retreat. An intimate luxury hotel in the Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is the perfect mix of remote escapism with luxurious extras. Their awards are too many to mention, but it should be noted that among their “best small hotel” awards sit many more for food and wine. On-site cheese mongers, butchers and farmers bring delicious food directly to the table (by way of some fabulous chefs, of course). Gourmands and outdoorsmen alike can find respite, excitement and palette pleasers.

Visit their webiste at www.blackberryfarm.com.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

outstanding tables...


Thanksgiving is here and the country is preparing. Work seems to have already shut down at a lot of companies (much to our dismay when we are trying to get your orders to you!), the grocery stores are packed with shoppers perusing the featured aisles stocked with cans of pumpkin, spices and marshmallows. Family members are preparing for travel and a few quiet days with family and friends around a splendid table. I am making a delicious spiced pumpkin layer cake with pralines and cream cheese frosting. Yum.

The table is the focus of Thanksgiving, really. Not just what’s on it but who’s at it. And with all of this thinking about preparing a splendid table of my own, I’m reminded of the fabulous company called Outstanding in the Field, who’s bringing delicious food and a truly amazing dining experience to foodies all across the country.


These self-described “culinary celebrations at the source” are held right on the farm at which the produce, meat and herbs were grown and raised. As they say, s et between the soil and the sky, Outstanding in the Field's long, linen-draped table beckons adventurous diners to celebrate food at the source. Bringing together local farmers and food artisans, chefs and winemakers, they explore the connection between the earth and the food on your plate.

While they normally focus on the east and west coasts, they recently made a dip through the southeast (we want more, please!), and friends who attended the events in Nashville and Birmingham had glowing praises of this gastronomic experience. But it is more than just food. It is an experience with friends and family, and making new friends too, around a beautiful and rustic table. Something reminiscent of the first Thanksgiving- celebrating life, food and togetherness.

http://www.outstandinginthefield.com/home.html

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

in search of the perfect cocktail...

We’ve traveled the southeast over the past few weeks holding Cerulean trunk shows in city after city, visiting with cerulean fans and old friends. It was a fabulous adventure driving through Tennessee Mountains full of fall color, or battling would-be hurricanes on the gulf coast. It is exciting for us to meet our loyal customers in person and watch as they ooooh and ahhhh over the feel of the glorious silk or the merino wool or the smooth lacquer. It was a great success and a lot of fun.

But after such hard work and tiring travel, there is nothing better than the perfectly made cocktail to sooth a tired mind. This we found in Nashville Tennessee at the Patterson House. A recently opened mecca to the perfect cocktail (and named after a Tennessee Governor who fought prohibition), this speak easy-inspired, library-like bar is housed in an unassuming old house half way between the campus of Vanderbilt and the honkytonks of downtown Nashville.

Each drink is made the old fashioned way with time and care given to every detail, not the least of which is the ice. After studying the best way to control the rate of melting so as not to alter the composition of the drink, the owners devised a perfect spherical ice cube. Other drinks come with long cylindrical cubes that fit the glasses perfectly. Such attention to detail is given to every aspect of the experience.

I tried a delicious layered concoction of fresh ginger and strong bitters over a dark rum that was divine. Others tried champagne cocktails, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. There is something for every taste and every level of adventure. But not to worry. Those who don’t imbibe won’t be disappointed with the non-alcoholic versions they whip up upon request.

While they won’t seat you unless there is a table available, I would say it is worth the wait. Once inside, grab a chair at the bar so you can watch the barkeeps work their magic up close and personal. What a fabulous way to unwind after the grand tour of trunk shows!

Patterson House - 1711 Division Street - Nashville



Thursday, October 8, 2009

birthday fireworks...


Had a fabulous birthday party last night, including lots of champagne cocktails and sidecars, delicious lobster and cake, all finished off with fireworks on the beach with waves crashing behind us. The picture below shows some oversized sparklers stuck in the sand in a line down the beach. It was great! Thanks for throwing a great party!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

cerulean interviews...


Today we are launching a new section of our website, cerulean interviews. While it is a work in progress, it will be a constantly evolving section that features the people who inspire us most. There will be some designers to the stars, professional taste-makers, but for the most part we are interviewing girls we know that rock. I can guarantee that the pages will be filled with young entrepreneurs who love travel, fashion, food and interiors as much as we do, and who are constantly challenging themselves (and us) to be better and more interesting individuals. People who live by the mantra, "Travel's greatest purpose is to replace and empty mind with an open one."

Enjoy.

Click to read the first Cerulean Interviews.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

what happens in vegas…



Had a quick trip to Las Vegas, and while there were no wild and crazy nights for me ( I was working, people), we over-indulged in a different way. Las Vegas is home to thousands of restaurants, dozens by celebrity chefs like Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Bobby Flay… the list goes on and on. We visited as many as can fit in a 48-hour time span.

Many of these restaurants are exact replicas of restaurants in other places- like Spago in LA and Bouchon in Napa. Same name, same chef, same menu, same décor. But something is always lacking in the Vegas versions. The walls feel a little like Hollywood sets and the clientele are often in t-shirts or worse.

I didn’t let that slow me down, however, or keep me from enjoying fresh oysters, arugula, divine cheeses, lobster ravioli and glass after glass of champagne. A good time was had by all, and this is one instance where I wish what happened in Vegas didn’t have to stay in Vegas.

Throw in a couple of shows (everything from Cirque de Soliel to Holly Madison), some killer shopping, and a great new tan, and I will be dreaming of Vegas for a while to come, humming Katy Perry’s tune with a smile, glad it wasn’t me at the little white wedding chapel with someone’s high school ring!

my vegas cocktail of choice...

1 oz. vodka
1 sugar cube
5 dashes Angostura Bitters
champagne

Put the sugar cube in the bottom of a martini glass and soak with the bitters. Top with vodka and fill glass with champagne. It's a champagne cocktail with a kick!

Friday, August 28, 2009

living the high life...

On a trip to New York just two weeks ago, a friend introduced me to something new and exciting on the city’s west side- The High Line. Someone once said that what they loved about New York City is how it always changes on you, and I would have to add that it keeps changing for the better. This project reflects some real vision for a public space.

First the background… In the late 1840s, the City laid a line of rail road tracks down the west side that went on to cause so many deadly accidents that 10th Avenue became known as Death Avenue. Finally in 1930, an elevated rail road was built, The High Line, eliminating 105 street-level rail road intersections (and saving many lives in the process). This elevated rail track was in continued use until the 80s, when rail road traffic had diminished considerably and the line was unnecessary. (tidbit- they say the last trainload to run down the High Line was in 1980, carrying three carloads of frozen turkeys). The rail sat in disrepair for years afterwards.

By about the year 2000, neighborhood leaders were advocating for a reinvention of this rail track for public use, and it has finally come to fruition. The High Line is open to the public between Gansevoort and 20th, creating a unique juxtaposition of sleek modern walkways and seating with naturalistic plantings, almost meadow-like in places. At any time on any given day, the High Line can be filled with sunbathers on sleek teak loungers, children purchasing ice cream cones, groups of people watching a performance or taking a yoga class, and workers choosing to make their commute to the office a little more pleasant by walking this route instead of on the street below.

It is being built in stages, and the first has only just been completed. But when it is done, it will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen.

An event not to be missed… Chefs Dinner to Benefit Friends of the High Line

Friends of the High Line is the conservancy charged with raising private funds for the park and overseeing its maintenance and operations. This chef’s dinner, organized by Chef Tom Colicchio of Craftsteak (and my favorite Top Chef), will be a fabulous al-fresco evening of dinning on the highline with multiple amazing chefs. I can’t imagine anything better than dinner under the stars in New York in early October when the weather is just beginning to turn cool and more than half a dozen NYC chefs have prepared your meal, all for the good cause of urban revitalization.

Check it out… http://www.thehighline.org/events/all/2009/10/chefs-dinner-to-benefit-friends-of-the-high-line




Thursday, August 20, 2009

new inspirations: andean excursion...

Below are just a few of the fabulous pictures that we’ve been sorting through from Lang’s recent last-minute jaunt to Peru (Lang has been working with Cerulean all summer and we missed her while she was exploring high altitudes in the Southern hemisphere). From colorful native clothing, llamas on the roadside, amazing local cuisine and a ride on Hiram Bingham railroad to Machu Pichu, it sounds like a fabulous trip! Im making notes for myself – I have big plans to one day walk the Inca Trail. Must get better at high altitudes first…

Pictures of indigenous Peruvian marketplace, shown at the bottom, make me incredibly envious! How we would love to get our hands on some fabulous, handmade South American gifts and accessories for all our Cerulean fans! Perhaps there is reason for Lang and I to plan a return visit soon!

Enjoy her beautiful photos.





Saturday, August 1, 2009

hidden ireland...

Just returned from a fabulous holiday in Ireland, County Kerry to be exact. We toured this beautiful and rugged southwest corner of the country, traveling along the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic for a little over a week. I can’t say we saw the sun much on this trip, but we discovered so many shining things while on the Emerald Isle!

Never have I met such amazing people when traveling- casual, comfortable, welcoming and fun. It was seven days of hikes through green rocky countryside finished with meals of the absolute freshest seafood I have ever eaten in my life (and coming from a coastal person, that is really saying something).

As an equestrian, I made sure to ride some of the sturdy Irish cobbs and draft horses while there- along beaches and down winding cliffs. Once we even rode straight through the middle of a town, past cafes and stunned shoppers, around a round-about, past an eighteen wheeler, and out to the beaches.

The trip had its share of sights, including stone circles (a’ la Stone Henge), castles, fishing villages full of lobster traps and brightly painted boats, stone cottages and bridges and fences, traditional Irish music, and Guinness of course! The final day was by far the most impressive, as we toured the great Blaskett Island, one of the last bastions of traditional Gaelic culture. The people of this island had a rich oral traditional and maintained their traditional way of life until the mid twentieth century, when the peat bog depletion forced them to move to the Irish mainland. A chartered boat delivered us to the island through rough seas, and left us to explore abandoned stone houses, overgrown hedgerows and fences that once held sheep and cattle, down tiny paths that wound around the rugged island. What a fascinating place.

Pictured below are (left to right, top row down) stone circles outside Kenmare, Lobster Traps in Port McGee, Cart Rides through the Gap of Dunloe, Great Blaskett Island, Dingle Bay, a Cottage on Great Blaskett, Dingle Horse Riding, a Tower Overlooking Dingle Bay, Placing Bets at the Dingle Races with less than professional-looking bookies.












A few spots to not miss if you ever make it to this part of the world:

The Lime Tree Restaurant, Kenmare, Ireland

An intimate “Double Award Winner” Michelin restaurant that serves fabulous seafood and local lamb set in an 1800’s building in the heart of quaint Kenmare.

http://www.limetreerestaurant.com/index.php

Stop by the Park Hotel for drinks before or after dinner. While we didn’t get a chance to stay at the Park hotel, which overlooks the beautiful bay of Kenmare, it definitely seems to be the best hotel in the area.

http://www.parkkenmare.com/

I also recommend Out of the Blue in Dingle for seafood lovers- their slogan is “Meat eaters need not apply”, and you wont be disappointed.

http://www.outoftheblue.ie/

And don’t miss Fenton’s in Dingle as well. While it may seem like a casual, ordinary seafood restaurant, the food was divine. “Crab Thumbs” as they call them (seemed to be just like stone crab claws to me) kept me thinking about Fenton’s for days.

http://www.dinglerestaurants.com/fentons.html

Finally, if you want help planning your own vacation to Ireland, I have to recommend Hidden Ireland Tours, who planned our trip from top to bottom and didn’t disappoint at all. My good friend Binky organizes the trips and has fabulous contacts over there to get you to the most out of the way, unknown spots, the best local restaurants, the best sights and walks that you would never find on your own.

http://www.hiddenirelandtours.com/


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

new inspirations: saudi arabia ...

One of our favorite friends (who is always spreading the word about cerulean on his travels around the world!) just sent us these pics from a trip through the Saudi Arabian desert. They were so majestic and foreign that we had to share as inspiration! Of course, we are fundamentally against any nation that inhibits women's rights. This is where we would normally make some stupid joke about being forced to cover up our fabulous clothes and accessories with drab robes and head scarves, but this is serious business, so we will refrain. But we do think that the (American) women in the snapshot below in billowing black robes looks tres chic! Enjoy the images- i hope they inspire some Arabian nights of your own!









Friday, July 10, 2009

precious cargo…


The cerulean travelogue is most often a place to reminisce about adventures around the world, or share stories of other people’s travels in order to inspire us all to live a more exotic and open minded life. One of our favorite quotes is “Travels’ greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” That just about sums it all up.

However every once in a while, we find something so unique or inspiring a little closer to home that we have to share it. Enter the Madsen bicycles. I would normally write my own little review on this amazing product, but what the company has says it so well, so we have just copied it below.

I can picture myself riding the bicycle in one of my favorite brightly colored tunics and some ballet flats, a Moroccan straw basket in the back is filled with groceries and produce, and the cerulean mascot, Julep, has her black and white head peeking out over the top of the bucket. A perfectly chic mode of transportation for all my precious cargo! MADSEN Cargo Bikes">Click to learn more.

“Madsen Cycles was started with the idea that a bicycle should do more. Whether you want to work more or play more, a Madsen utility bike gets you and your cargo there in style.

After hauling six neighbor kids around in a wheel barrow bucket bolted to the front of our first prototype, we started to realize what a bicycle can really do. But the bucket on the front, like the box of the European design, creates an awkward center of gravity. So we stretched the chassis and put the bucket on the back. With the natural feel and balance of the rear bucket, you can ride with confidence knowing your load is secure and your cargo is protected.

Our production models have come a long way since that first prototype but our mission has stayed the same; a bicycle should do more. We are not the first to place a load on a bicycle but we are the first to do it right. Tested for up to 600 pounds, the Madsen kg271 is as burly as it is elegant.

So whether you use your Madsen Cycle to drop the kids off at soccer practice, pick up your groceries from the market, or pile in your tools for your next project, we hope you’ll fall in love with your new Madsen Cycle—like we have.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

destination: austin texas...


Austin is one of those towns that everyone says is fabulous. Great shopping, great music, great food, young and vibrant, urban and outdoorsy at the same time. A town of bicycles and Vespas, dogs on leashes sitting outside of sidewalk cafes, sculling on Town Lake, environmentally minded, music at the forefront, modern but TexMex through and through. I recently took my first jaunt to this great spot in the Texas Hill Country and am sharing a few of my favorite tips. I am sure I missed some of the best places while I was there, as time was limited, so if you feel passionate about a better BBQ hole-in-the-wall, or hotel, or boutique, send us your tips and we will share them, too!

Click here to see our must-do list for Austin!

Monday, June 1, 2009

a pirate's life for me...



I spent the weekend at a sailor’s outpost called Pirates Cove that’s reminiscent of something from a far flung Caribbean hideaway. The dress code is bathing suits and bare feet, the drink of choice is a bushwacker with a rum “topper”, cheeseburgers are divine, and the best way to get there is by boat.

Give your captain these coordinates and you cant steer wrong. L 30‘ 19.2 N Lo 87' 32.0 W, right by Intercoastal Waterway Marker #65.

The place is full of local character, which is exactly why I love it, and its been open for business for the last 87 years. Dozens of dogs wander around the place, waiting patiently for cheeseburgers to hit the decks. Some dogs sit on benches like humans and watch the sailboats and speed boats pull up onto the beach and throw anchors overboard. Some retired pirate is usually playing a guitar on the deck in the sun, and tough waitresses walk around shouting out names for people to claim their food. If the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse, batten down the hatches and stay to dance in the rain! A few rain drops won’t spoil your bushwacker. Our black and white mascot Julep is a huge fan of Pirate’s Cove. She stands on the bow of the boat whining as soon as the pirate’s flags of the place come into view on the horizon. She hasn’t won their Dog of the Month yet, but we are still holding out hope…

Of course there’s no need to impress when you’re at Pirate’s Cove, but its always a good idea to bring one of our tunics or pareos to cover up after all these cheeseburgers and buchwackers! We always have something Cerulean in hand…

Friday, May 1, 2009

new obsession - juli b…


We are thrilled to be gracing the (online) pages of e-zine, Juli B - your one-stop shop to get in-the-know about everything for the fab lifestyle. It features editions for cities all across the country, so there’s guaranteed to be a locale near you. And we are obsessed with the travel edition, which features fabulous destinations, new resorts across the world, spas and more. Its sensory overload of beautiful, wonderful things. In just a few moments on the site, I found a gorgeous one-of-a-kind Nanette Lepore beaded collar that everyone in Miami is coveting, read up on the newest Aman resort opening in India, discovered a new art exhibit that is a must-see, and was informed that farmers are the new celebs (love it). There is so much info, so much style, so much to love about Juli B.

Check it out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

best job in the world…




I have mistakenly been under the impression that I have the best job in the world. Think about it- I get to shop for beautiful things all across the world and share them with all of my friends (and fans of Cerulean). I get to write about my adventures, interview designers, and help people find the perfect outfit for the special occasions in their life! I am surrounded by beautiful things all day long and spend hours talking and writing about all of it.

But as I said, I was mistaken. I have just found THE BEST job in the world, and they’ve been taking applications.

Im afraid you are too late if you want to apply, however. Sadly, I bring you this news just a bit too late. Good thing, or I would have applied and left the Cerulean life behind in a heartbeat! The islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia are looking for a “caretaker”. I use the term caretaker loosely, because it seems to me that all that is required of you is to enjoy everything the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, and then report back about how great it is. Snorkel and dive, hike and explore, soak up endless hours of down-under sunshine… and then blog about it, give a phone interview about it, share with the world the fabulosity of it all! What a deal.

I visited the Whitsunday Islands several years ago (the name of that string of islands around The Great Barrier Reef) and was blown away by their beauty. Endless hours of snorkeling and tranquility are offered to those who hop the boat for the jaunt from the mainland. I stayed on an island with one tiny hotel, nothing more, and hiked the length of the island on both sides without once crossing paths with another soul. As fabulous as my trip was, it pales in comparison to the three-bedroom house on glamorous Hamilton Island where the “caretaker” will keep his “office”.

They’ve narrowed down the applicants to a sweet sixteen and will pick the finalist soon. But the good news is that he or she can bring a friend… there is till hope for us all!

The above images are from the job's website. I'm trying to track down the photo album from my own trip to the Great Barrier Reef (including some horrendous pictures of me trying to windsurf (classic) but as yet no luck. Will keep you posted.