To Cork or Not to Cork

To Cork or Not to Cork

I’m sure many of you have wondered, as I have, why some wines have corks and some have twist tops or other means of closures. It’s an interesting question that our wine guru Terry Rogers is here to explain.

The history of cork as a stopper was recorded to date back to the Egyptians thousands of years ago. Ancient Greeks also used cork oak bark to make fishing buoys, sandals and stoppers for vessels for wine and olive oil. The Romans found many uses for cork including the construction of house roofs and beehives, ship construction and women’s shoes. The world’s first cork stopper factory opened around 1750 in Spain, marking the beginning of the industrial application of cork.…

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Posted in wine | Tagged , , | 54 Comments  

Viva Vivat

Viva Vivat

There are many agencies and organizations that rent houses, apartments or villas for vacation throughout the world, but none that I am aware of quite like the Vivat Trust. Established in 1981, it is small and not terribly well known, but it should be. This worthy British association takes small historic buildings that no one either wants or can afford to keep, restores them with grants from trusts and foundations and then rents them out as high end holiday accommodations. The income then covers running and maintenance costs.

Founded by a group of architects and surveyors from Bristol, their first restoration was of the Summer House at Eyton-on-Severn, Shropshire built in 1595.…

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Posted in architecture, history, interior design, travel | Tagged , | 65 Comments  

It’s All in the Details

It’s All in the Details

I love details. As you long time readers know, I completed a large renovation on my last house, which we have since sold. During the planning stages, I probably drove our architect a little crazy with my obsessive interest in details while we were still looking at the bigger picture. But it’s what I love! One of the themes in the house became small repeating squares.

It actually started with the expansion of the dining room where I had the idea of installing a corner of windows. The architect, Rink DuPont, successfully expanded on the concept by adding the detail of small windows above, which then became thematic throughout the house.…

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Posted in architecture | Tagged | 86 Comments  

Pre-Fall Favorites

Pre-Fall Favorites

It somehow seems crazy to be looking at the pre-fall collections now in the midst of winter but if these collections are any indication of what will be unveiled next month at Lincoln Center, then ladies, save your pennies because there is a lot of lovely coming down the pike. Here are a few of my favorites. Nina Ricci’s wearable lady like collection is irresistible. Love the shoes and bags as well.

These big floppy hats were everywhere.

How FABULOUS is this color combination.

a little boho glamourready for date night

photos courtesy of Nina Ricci

The always lovely Lanvin

sporting some of the new longer lengths.…

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At the Movies

At the Movies

I had actually intended to write about a different movie today, but after watching the fabulous first episode of Downton Abbey, I decided on this film, featuring one of the stars of the stunning new series. The incomparable Maggie Smith is one of my favorite actors. At 76 she is still going strong, playing Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey, a role created especially for her by writer Julian Fellowes. He cited her  “unique sense of comedy” as the reason for his choice –  well that quality stood her in good stead in this movie as well.

Keeping Mum, from 2005, is a hysterical black British comedy that is a perfect showcase for Smith’s bountiful talents.…

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Posted in entertainment, film | Tagged , | 24 Comments  

Updating a Classic

Updating a Classic

photo from The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman

It seems that the art of fine writing is back. Almost all the blogger gift lists this holiday season included some stationery or cards and I’ve seen articles everywhere extolling the virtues of the hand written note. Perhaps it’s our dependency on the computer and internet that has everyone hankering for a bit of old fashioned civility. Or perhaps it’s all the talk about how luxury goods companies should focus on the heritage of their brands – just read the discussions from the IHT luxury conference in London this fall.  It brings to mind proper desks, elegant pens and monograms.…

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Posted in design, invitations, letterpress, monograms, Stationery | Tagged , , , | 55 Comments  

Wine Tasting 101

Wine Tasting 101

photo: Thomas D. McAvoy/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images 1952
Wine tastings can be an incredible but also potentially intimidating experience. If you have never attended one and are curious about what is entailed, Terry Rogers of Horseneck Wines, our resident wine expert, is here to offer some guidelines on what to expect.

The wine tasting experience starts with your senses.

1)  Sight – You are served a glass of Chardonnay from California and from experience you know that white wine should be a light to a medium pale yellow. After examining the color, hopefully the wine in your glass looks the way you remember a wine you have enjoyed before. 

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Posted in food and drink, learning, wine | Tagged , | 28 Comments  

New Wave for Wu

New Wave for Wu

Many fashion designers find inspiration in icons of the past. For example, Milly designer Michelle Smith cited Peggy Guggenheim as her muse for her current spring season, featuring strong color and a bit of edgy eccentricity mixed with her usual uptown style. For resort my favorite inspirational combination was Jason Wu’s nod to Anna Karina, the Danish born muse of the French Nouvelle Vague.

In addition to his usual signature dresses, he added tweed short suits, striped bateau tops, trench coats and beautiful jabot blouses, representing an updated version of 60’s Parisian chic. On each attendee’s seat was a box of macaroons and as the pastel colors attested, Wu explained “I wanted it to feel like dessert.”

photo kevin sturman

Karina’s story is a classic.…

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Posted in entertainment, fashion, film | Tagged , | 55 Comments  

A Map by Any Other Name

A Map by Any Other Name

Medieval art curator Melanie Holcomb

Everyone is getting in on the act. As more articles are written on the power of digital media, more individuals, companies and institutions are realizing they need to take advantage of the possibilities. A perfect example is the Metropolitan Museum‘s digital “Connections“. It’s a wonderful new online feature linked to the museum’s main site. It is a weekly digest, updated every Wednesday, of four (this week – some weeks will have less) minute episodes examining a theme by a museum staff member presented by the combination of an audio narration and accompanying slide show of the works of art.…

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Posted in art, art history, learning | Tagged | 42 Comments  

Winter White

Winter White

Yesterday I awoke to winter white in all its natural loveliness. As Keats said, it was a thing of beauty. Sometimes nature does all the talking.

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Posted in garden, photography | Tagged | 37 Comments