Monday, December 5, 2011

Packing Light with Color

Leaving this week for an impromptu and (and short duration) trip to Europe to visit family. On such occasions, when planes, trains and automobiles will all be used within a 48 hour period, I try my best to pack light. Well… I said try.

The easiest way to pack light at this time of year is to stick to black, gray, or chocolate brown and pack a few colorful accessories. The same black pants you wear one night to dinner can be worn again sightseeing another day if you switch scarves or accessories. By doing so, the suitcase can stay light and easy.

I can’t make the trip without my dark brown riding boots I’ve had for the last 12 years,, even though they definitely don’t fall into the “packing light” category. Nevertheless, they are coming along for the journey, so my carryon will have to get over it. I plan to wear them with just about every outfit on the trip, whether casual or dressy, day or night.

Here are a few of the accessories that are making the journey to liven up and freshen up my simple staples for travel…

This blue silk ruffle scarf looks cute with along sleeve tee wandering around inside a museum, but can feel dressy too. The color has such punch!

Im wearing this scarf on the plane- obsessed with this color for Fall and Winter! And the soft feel will be comfy as I try to catch some z’s on the flight.

Never get tired of these statement necklaces- and the orange color is so warm with chocolate brown! I plan to wear it under a tweed jacket with jeans and riding boots.

These bracelets are lightweight and so easy to pull on (they are stretchy!) but give some depth to a simple outfit without me having to think about it or ake a decision. Armful of bracelets?? Done.

This necklace is so chic with all black: picture thick black tights, and oversized black sweater and this gold necklace. A little bit reserved 60’s chic, I think. Katherine Hepburn in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner???

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Eats NYC

In the heat of the summer, I have a hard time working up much of an appetite for anything but ice cream and fruity cocktails- healthy, right?? but seriously, something fresh and cool made from the best of the summer fruits and vegetables is right in line with what I'm craving this time of year, and its fun to eat what is in season and available at one of the many farmer's markets that have popped up across the country in honor of the summer bounty.

On a recent last minute jaunt to New York I tried a new restaurant worth mentioning that makes the most of the season's vegetables. Rouge Tomate serves up healthy and fresh fare in midtown Manhattan without leaving you wanting, like some healthy fare often does. Fresh and seasonal is made gourmet and exciting in this mod dining spot, while the fresh juice bar and artisan cocktails keep you hydrated and, well... lubricated (as we say of a good cocktail). I would think even a meat and potatoes kind of gal could enjoy this menu without realizing she was eating lighter.

The place has been open a while, so this is no newcomer to the scene, but its new to me since I usually stick to my standbys when dining in NYC- or at least, my standby neighborhoods. It was nice to try something in a part of town that I usually feel is a good-food desert!

The chef, who worked under some of my favorite chefs, including Daniel Boulud, collaborated on the menu with an in-house nutritionist to develop food that has "a social and environmental consciousness" and follows "a balanced approach to sourcing and preparing food". If it sounds complicated, don't worry. The menu and the meal are straightforward and simply delicious!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Fun

We have been terribly absent on the blog lately but as they say, no news is good news. Been busy enjoying some summer fun on the water! We tried our hardest to plan some exotic getaways this Spring and early summer and had to watch the plans go out the window at the last minute every time... so I'm afraid I don't have too many fabulous travel updates! But we will fix that soon.

In the meantime, we can at least look great around town shopping the Thursday afternoon farmer's market with our Moroccan basket full of summer corn and tomatoes. Or wearing my current favorite- this ruffled coverup looks great at the pool. Or dining al fresco with friends late at night with a casual outfit but some fab accessories.

Send us your travel stories so we can live vicariously through you until our next jaunt!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Deal a Day for Friday...

Just in time for those last minute holiday stocking stuffers, we're offering these tie dye skinny scarves for only NINE BUCKS! They are adorable and a steal, so what are you waiting for??? We also have tons of other great gifts ideas, from long freshwater pearl and crystal necklaces (obsessed with them) to cozy pom pom blankets, and the ever popular Matta pom pom scarves are on sale for the first time ever! There's lots to be merry about this holiday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hola from mexico.. and cerulean hits national newstands!

Did you see Cerulean in this month's InStyle Magazine??? Listed as the best of the web for "Breezy, Beachy Looks". They write, "Whether you're headed to St. Tropez or Sarasota, pack your suitcase with these floppy sunhats, boho tunics, and lightweight scarves." Gosh, we're flattered! Here's another reason to go pick up this month's InStyle- a special 20% discount for InStyle readers on everything at Cerulean!

So given the massive amounts of new Cerulean fans that have found us this week through InStyle, it probably wasn't the best time to leave the country, but if you know me at all... So we’re just back from a fabulous trip to Mexico (which we've been planning for ages and hated to cancel!), full of the expected- tequila, margaritas, homemade corn tortillas, and Mayan senoritas. I have some new obsessions as well; agua fresca being one of them, and the luxurious Haciendas scattered across the Yucatan being another. I promise to share details of everything fabulous as soon as I can. In the meantime, here is a photo or two to whet your whistle.

Chichen Itza

Haceinda San Jose Cholu

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Criss-Crossing The Mediterranean...

A friend and Cerulean customer (who always hosts our fabulous trunk shows in Nashville!) just took a quick jaunt to the Mediterranean and sent us some pictures! She has great taste in restaurants, hotels, and everything stylish, so we are trying to snag her list of must do's on both sides of the Med Sea. Until then, enjoy some of her snapshots! They started in Lisbon and made their way to Marrakech, staying at La Mamounia. So jealous!

Views over Lisbon

The Streets of Lisbon.

The marketplaces of Marrakech (calling to me!). Take a guide or you will be overwhelmed and lost in there forever looking at brass, silver and fabric!

Elaborate doors with inlay and stone leading to the bathrooms at La Mamounia.

Intricate stone, tile and plaster work in the room at La Mamounia.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Deal a Day...

If you are not on our email list, you missed a fabulous week of sales! We launched our first-ever Deal a Day week where one fabulous product was marked down - waaaay down- for one day only. The sale lasted until the end of the day, or until we sold out of the item, whichever came first. We started Monday with our Harem Tea Glasses, an adorable set of six hand painted glasses with gold trim just the right size for a digestif, a glass of wine, or juice in the morning. We sold out theses glasses by 9 AM! The week continued with Mystique sandals, baskets marked down to about $5 each, gorgeous Sari patchwork rugs, and more. Sunday was our best deal, a Matta silk and cotton pom pom scarf marked down to 60% off. These scarves are never marked down even the tiniest bit! But I think a lot of our girls were out on the town and away from their computers on Sunday because they missed the deal and were heart broken! We will offer this item on sale again soon because we feel bad you guys missed it! Stayed tuned for more deals and be sure to join our email list!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Moveable Feast...

I am a huge fan of the farm-to-table movement for several reasons. Practically, scientifically, and from a community standpoint, it makes sense. We should be eating what is freshest and what has traveled the least, sat in the fewest warehouses, been on the least number of ships and trucks. We should put our dollars into the hands of our neighbors, who will in turn spend them at our places of business. We should at least know what is grown in our home county at what time of year. 

But on a more superficial level, I just adore the thought of a long table of friends, family, and residents of the community gathered together in a beautiful spot for a fabulous meal.

With that in mind, we are hosting the first of what we hope will be many to come here in Fairhope, Alabama. Moveable Feast is hosting its first dinner Sunday, November 7, at the old Fairhope Dairy on Old Battles Road in Point Clear! We hope anyone within driving distance will get a ticket and come by! 

Visit our new site for all the details and the yummy menu!

ain't it funny how time slips away...

Wow, I can hardly believe that an entire month (or more) just slipped by us! But we've been busy here at Cerulean marking things down- way down- for our massive end of summer sale. And packages are flying out the door filled with great deals! Here are a few of our favorite deals of the moment...

Gorgeous Sliced Agate Necklaces were $106, now $26.50!
Our Classic Pom Pom Blankets and Matta Pom Pom Scarves (above) NEVER go on sale... until now.
Mystique Sandals are now 50% off!

We've also been busy planning a trip for mid-October and are at a bit of a loss of where to go. Somewhere warm perhaps? It's been stinking hot here for months so I just dont know. So far we have narrowed it down to somewhere on this side of the globe- think North, South, and Central America. Somewhere a bit off the beaten path, too. Hiking in Peru? Cave diving in Panama? Exploring the ancient civilizations of the Yucatan? Or perhaps an urban-outing to BA? I'm looking for your tips here, folks. Send me any and all ideas...

In the meantime, I leave you with this gorgeous shot of the sunset over Mobile Bay- you couldn't make up these colors if you tried. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

summer cocktail extraordinaire...

We found it! THE perfect summer cocktail. This watermelon margarita recipe came from a recent Everyday Foods (by none other than Martha, goddess of entertaining) and we served it at a recent soiree with much success.

When picking a cocktail du jour for your next party, you want something that can be made ahead of time in batches. That way you aren't slaving away at the bar, one high ball at a time, when a guest wants another cocktail. This watermelon margarita can be blended early in the day and kept cool in the fridge in a pitcher until serving time. Go on and make a double batch- you'll use it!

We served it with some grilled shrimp,  Mexican style corn rolled in spices and cotija cheese, and a fresh salad with hearts of palm and avocado. I love summertime.

Watermelon Margaritas
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 3 wide strips of orange peel to a boil over high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Let syrup cool. In a blender, puree 12 ounces of watermelon cubes (about 2 cups) until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into a pitcher (you should have about 1 cup juice). Stir in cooled syrup, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes), and 3/4 cup white or silver tequila (we used golden tequila in a pinch). Fill salt rimmed glasses with ice and pour over margarita mixture. Garnish with lime wedge.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

montana & wyoming roundup...

Montana and Wyoming proved spectacular this summer, as we knew it would be. Trade the blistering summer heat for cool days and jaw-dropping panoramas. In the end we hardly tried a single restaurant, but a sandwich eaten creekside in the woods or a burger cooked on the grill after a long day of rock climbing beats any gourmet meal. We visited with old friends and made lots of new ones- the people out there, whether born and raised locals or seasonal residents- seem to have an openness that is refreshing and a genuine interest in meeting new people. Each one made our adventure great.

Now to the nuts and bolts of the trip: 1000 miles of driving through canyons, over mountain tops, and across the continental divide. Rock climbing, horse back riding through the Teton Pass (love you, Oreo), fly fishing, a little shopping of course, some hiking here and there, and lots of good times with friends. Made a drive through Yellowstone, but my suggestion is to avoid the place when schools are out if at all possible! I will be thrilled if I never see another RV again, or a person who prefers to the see nature from behind a glass window. But the views and natural features were breathtaking, especially once you made it to the northern park of the park, up above tree line, where few tourist seem to venture.

Grand Tetons come into view
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
First time flyfisher- Montana

It only skims the surface to recommended a few of the amazing restaurants, shops, or sights, but here are some that come to mind anyway:

Best Scenic Drive: Bear Tooth Pass
Exit Yellowstone through the Northeast entrance of the park and follow the road into Red Lodge Montana. The switchbacks continuously wind up and over the mountains, and each turn reveals another inspiring view. Dont worry, around the next turn will be a view to top the last, and so on. Bring a picnic lunch and plan to enjoy the ride.

On top of the world at the Bear Tooth Pass

Best Burger: Billy's Burgers, Jackson, WY
Being in the great outdoors inspires you to eat healthy, natural meals, but every once in a while, a  greasy burger and onion rings, finished off with the perfect milk shake are in order. Billy's diner counter serves them up perfectly.

Best Candy Shop: Montana Candy Emporium, Red Lodge, MT
This old west store front is chock-full of candy of all sorts. Homemade fudge, saltwater taffy in countless flavors, imported deliciousness, gag gifts and sweet stuff of all kinds. Come hungry and ready to chit chat with the manager- he's a talker. But he did open the store for us after hours, so I'm not complaining.

Best Bagel and Coffee: Pearl Street Bagels, Jackson, WY
Freshly made bagels are hard to come by outside New York City, so make sure to stop here.

Best Margarita: Pica's, Wilson, WY
Pica's, the Tex-Mex joint inside the Old Stagecoach, serves up mean comida and a fabulous Margarita. Enjoy the late afternoon on their deck and meet some locals and some seasonal folks, too.

Best Rodeo: Cody, WY
Every western town places their bets on their own town's rodeo, but i have it on good authority from people who know that Cody is the real deal. While they take place every night (every night!), go on weekends for the biggest show and best crowds. Yeehaw.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

wild west, here we come...

We're heading out for a last minute fourth of July trip to Yellowstone, and I'm so excited to get some sunshine and cool weather in such a beautiful place! Horse back riding, hiking, and hopefully some delicious local food- maybe even a rodeo or two!- are all in store for my holiday weekend. I can't think of a more all-American location to spend such a patriotic and festive holiday! A friend we will be visiting sent some pictures to whet the appetite and we had to share them- gorgeous!

Here is what I'm bringing along... you don't have to sacrifice style to make it in the wild frontier. Understated, rustic accessories will top my favorite jeans and a classic shirt. We'd use belts and one simple piece of jewelry to set off our cowboy boots! Nothing too fussy or over the top. And throw in a warm pom pom scarf for nights out or a cotton throw for those chilly nights watching the stars.

Friday, June 11, 2010

eating your way through spain...

Family members are in Madrid at present for some good food and the last days of the Feria de San Isidro, the best of the best bullfights at the Plaza de Toros on Madrid. Tomorrow’s spectacle features bulls from El Ventorillo, and no doubt plenty of wine will be flowing from leather wine bags shared amongst strangers. Shouts fall down on the bullfighters from the stands, cheers of approval or shouts of dismay at their performance.  It is a spectacle.

The vibrant colors of the bullfighters from the Feria de San Isidro inspired this collection of Cerulean must-haves. Bright fuchsia from the Matadors stockings, the red, orange and yellow of the capes, the gold trim of their elaborate costumes. The leather and fabrics and fanfare is all represented below.

I also asked these family members for their “must-eat” list when in Madrid (some of the travelers make Madrid a regular stop every year, so I trust their opinions on this).  Here are the tops:

Owned by a famous Spanish fishing company called Pescaderias Corunesas, O'pazo is the epitome of farm- erg, boat - to table.  A beautifully modern, minimal restaurant with just a touch of seaside décor to soften the look, the service is impeccable and the food divine. Visit their fishmonger in town if you are staying in a place where you can cook your own meal, or just stop by to see the spectacle of it all. They’ve shared the recipe for their house specialty with us- Rodaballo al Horno- a flat fish that seems a lot like flounder that is pan sautéed, finished in the oven, and topped with a garlic vinaigrette before bringing the entire fish to the table. Recipe follows (with my translation skills at work here, so be forgiving).

Recipe for Rodaballo al horno (serves four)
1- 4.5 lb rodaballa (flounder or turbot) (2kg)
10 ounces olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
6 ounces red wine vinegar
Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet or saute pan.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
While the oil is heating, lightly dredge  both sides of the fish in flour. Once the oil is very hot, put in the fish white side down (bottom of the fish down) and cook 2-3 minutes until the white skin has browned. Turn the fish over and put the pan in the oven for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a serving platter. Finely chop the garlic and combine with the vinegar in a small mixing bowl or jar. Add the oil and dripping juice leftover in the sauté pan. Mix well and pour over the fish. Serve immediately.

Asador Donastiarra
You juts need to know one thing- go for the meat (asador means grill).

El Sobrino de Botin
Affectionately referred to as just  ‘Botin’, the oldest restaurant in the world (founded 1725) serves up relevant and tasty fare behind the Plaza Mayor. Try the suckling pig- their specialty.

Check out this video of one of their chefs preparing the suckling pig. Squeamish stomachs need not apply. But you get a good sense of the place and a view of the original oven built when the restaurant first opened its doors 285 years ago…

Friday, June 4, 2010

under the saudi sun...

Below are a few photos that a friend sent me from a recent trip to Saudi Arabia. Had to share...

It's not every day that you see random camels cruising down the side of the highway. Notice the herds of them in the background...

A Saudi wall covered in over-flowing bougainvillea and lush palm trees, with a larger turreted wall in the background.

A beautiful, but somewhat fortified, entrance.

Wooden dhows in downtown Dubai- a pit stop on the way to Riyadh.

Riyadh polo- doesn't seem quite the lush spectacular that I expected for a polo match, but when one lives in the dessert, one works with what he's got.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

come sail away...

With Memorial Day fresh in our minds, and the nautical look topping all the style lists for this summer, we’ve pulled together our own fresh and crisp look for you try on for size. Classic navy blue, silver accessories, a gorgeous and airy white summer scarf, and your favorite red bikini make a slightly patriotic but very chic look for your next trip to the beach or pool. If the red white and blue thing isn’t for you, try this cover-up with our striped infinity scarf for a look that’s ready to set sail.

navy cover-up by echo - etched silver earrings - loose weave cotton scarf - silver bead bracelet - navajo sandal - your own red bathing suit

For more ideas like this on how to pull the look together, visit our How to Wear section on our website!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

cerulean interviews... grace bonney

We obsessively follow the online musings of Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney. Her blog/ website extraordinaire covers interiors, style, food, and do-it-yourself projects, and has forums for female entrepreneurs (she speaks our language through and through). Her inspiring site keeps us motivated to try new things. Her use of technology to stay connected while on the go inspired a cerulean travelogue- and so we tracked her down on her iphone between antique fairs, high powered conferences and lowbrow coffee breaks. Here is what she had to say…

cerulean- How did you first begin Design Sponge? What milestones have you reached or are working on reaching with the site?

I began design*sponge in 2004 while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. ;) I've been proud about a lot of things we've done with the site, but launching the Biz Ladies series in 2008 in person was amazing. I was so proud to have been a part of that, and happy to have been surrounded by so many talented female business owners.

cerulean- How would you describe your own personal style in clothing? vs interiors?

Hmm...I'd say preppy, girly, classic. As I get older I find myself leaning more towards old-school classics and things that make getting dressed and looking pulled together easier. In my interiors I'm the same way, but I take more risks (bright colors, crazy patterns) because I don't have to wear them outside.

cerulean- What are your favorite luxuries in life?

Iced coffee or tea breaks during the day, the occasional car service (vs. the subway), and eating at nice restaurants when we can.

cerulean- What is your favorite vacation destination?

Savanah, Georgia and Montmartre in Paris- they're always locked in a dead heat for first place.

cerulean- What is the one thing that you take from apartment to apartment?

My cats and my husband. Furniture wise? Not a lot- I really enjoy using new apartments as an excuse to trade in old furniture (ebay, craigslist, etc) for "new" used furniture.

cerulean- What can we find you reading?

Magazines or websites, I'm sadly not a huge book reader. Though I've gone through a lot of business books lately.

cerulean- What are your favorite indulgences?

All the pieces listed above, combined with chocolate after almost every meal. Life is too short to pass up really good sweets.

cerulean- Who was your favorite interview/ contributor for Design Sponge?

Working on the Design*Sponge book I got to meet and work with designer Genevieve Gorder, who was the reason I fell in love with design. That was a major high point for me.

cerulean- Who are your interiors style icons?

Dorothy Draper, Ruthie Sommers, my mom.

cerulean- If you had to have a completely different career, what you want it to be?

Something involving food or a specialty food shop.

Grace's blog, Design*Sponge. Click the image to be take directly there.

Grace featured in the November 2008 issue of Domino Magazine, where she and the site are listed as a “leader of the pack”.