Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't judge a book by its cover...

I think my reaction to hearing that the Olsen twins were coming out with a book was "what-ever" but even I should remember not to judge a book by it's cover or in this case authors. I happened to flip through it at the bookstore recently and was pleasantly surprised. The book is titled Influence and it's less about the Olsen twins themselves and more about fabulous influential designers, artists and interesting people. I think it was the interview with David Collins that sold me though. As you know if you read my blog, I very much heart David Collins and I loved reading more about him. Others interviewed include Diane von Furstenberg and Lauren Hutton below, as well as Peter Beard, Karl Lagerfeld, Jack Pierson, and Christian Louboutin and many others. Check it out and you just might be pleasantly surprised too!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mr. Mlinaric at Home

I'm off to Shadyside to shop with friends and then catch my flight back to New York so in my absence, I thought I would leave you with a little treat. The New York Times had a lovely piece on interior designer David Mlinaric (pronounced mill-in-AR-ik) and his lovely flat in London. Just goes to show what you can do in a small space. For more information, click here. Cheers!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Memories

I was telling my friend Kelly recently about my favorite Christmas memory and she couldn't believe that I had one. It happened one Christmas when I feel asleep on the sofa waiting for Santa. The next morning I awoke in my room with a new canopy bed with Holly Hobbie bedspread and linens as if by magic. I think it was also the same year that I received a doll house. Now you know why it was so memorable. Do you have a favorite Christmas or special holiday memory?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all my fabulous friends and readers a very Merry Christmas!

Card from R. Nichols

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in New York

Before I left for the holidays, I managed to take a few photos of the city dressed up for Christmas. The twinkle lights look especially beautiful at night! Kind of makes putting up with the hoards of tourists and lack of taxis worth it! Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Chic Gift Guide: Gold

I wanted to do a gold themed gift guide but wasn't sure what book would work with it until I saw Megalomania: Too Much is Never Enough on I have to say that I'm not exactly sure what the book is about exactly but at least the cover fits the theme perfectly. Kind of also reminds me of Dictator Style which is a favorite of the design world.

I don't know why they don't make gold cell phones and PDA's and the ones they do make are ridiculously expensive. I wear gold all the time and would love it if my technology matched my jewelry. It's really too bad that Vertu is priced way over most people's budget's because they are perfect. Maybe if we're lucky they will come out with a Tar-jay line since there might not be anyone left who will be able to afford them soon!

I read somewhere that the tradition of hanging wreaths on doors began when athletes of the Greek Olympics would take their laurel wreath prizes home and hang them on their doors. This gold bay leaf wreath from Jayson Home and Garden is so beautiful and simple that I think I might have to buy one for myself and leave it up past Christmas.

I already have my gold rimmed china and stemware but I love Gold Aves from Royal Crown Derby. It's a little Versace but you could tone it down by mixing it with some simple white pieces. Also reminds me of a fancy version of a Thomas Paul design.

I love the gold Piggy Bank by Harry Allen but it costs more than the money you could fit in it so my new favorite is the Doggy Bank by Ototo for $57 that I saw on Coco & Kelley! Not only is the price right but you could also tell your friends that it was designed by Jeff Koons and they might believe you.

Another kitchy piece is the gold bar door stop designed by Arik Levy from the Conran Shop. Looks like something a bachelor would have in his apartment or Bart Bass would keep in his safe. Could be the perfect gift for the man who has everything...or perhaps in this economy...nothing left.

I have a fabulous chunky gold bracelet that I bought on J. Crew for $37 that everyone thinks is vintage but unfortunately the "gold" is rubbing off and now it looks pink. I would love it if I could put this Diane von Furstenberg for H. Stern bracelet on my wish list but at $9,700 it seems a bit extravagant or crazy. Maybe someday.

I hope the gold doesn't rub off the shoes too because these little metallic gold flats from J.Crew would be perfect with jeans. Is it crazy that I consider gold a neutral?

The ultimate gold standard has to be the Portofino vacation home of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana who obviously live la dolce vita there but then again, who wouldn't! Maybe you can make friends with their friend J. Lo and she can help wrangle an invitation. I hear she may be on the market again soon so she might just need a getaway or a babysitter. Buon Natale!

Habitually Chic Gift Guide: The Art Lover

I liked Domestic Art: Curated Interiors so much that I actually paid for price for it at Archivia books in NYC because I wanted to take it home and read it right away. Not only are the interiors beautiful but the art collections are too. It's definitely worth picking up for yourself or your favorite art lover.

For the art lover who needs a new daily planner, Smythson has launched the limited edition art diary. John Baldessari, Gary Hume, Ed Ruscha, and Rachel Whiteread have created these collectible works of art that are available separately or as a complete set of 8 for $2,800. I just wonder if they lose their value if you actually write in it!

Mrs. John L. Strong's Collector Diary and Directory seems like a bargain at $295 compared to Smythson and also lists all of the world’s most important art fairs, antique shows and auctions. And as my art advisor friend says, it's a buyers market right now so this could come in very handy.

Sometimes people wonder what an artist was thinking when they look at a painting and now Calvin Tomkins has come to their aid with The Lives of the Artist. Tompkins spent time with the 10 artists he profiles so the resulting essays are more intimate and personal than most over books. This would be a lovely gift for any art lover from a beginner to the serious collector.

One gift that keeps on giving is a museum membership. For the modern art lover, the Museum of Modern Art would be perfect. In addition to the regular memberships, the MoMA also has great affiliate groups such as the Junior Associates for the younger set and The A&D Circle for those interested in architecture and design.

Always a classic is The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Few people know that admission to the museum is actually free, but it's still nice to support them with a membership. They also have a great group for the young art enthusiast called The Apollo Circle.

Cire Trudon has a candle that's perfect for the art lover. The Dada candle celebrates the creativity and artistic expression of the Dada movement "with a touch of tea and vetiver, dressed up with crumpled mint leaves and eucalyptus." Of course, not many people can explain Dadaism so you can just tell them "ceci n'est pas une pipe."

If all else fails, just buy them a box of Marie Belle chocolates since each one is like a little piece of art. Just don't try to hang them on the wall!

It took me 40 years to find out that painting is not sculpture. - Paul Cezanne

Holiday Chic Gift Guide: Marie-Antoinette

My gift guides got a little waylaid by last minute holiday shopping and traveling so I'm going to see how many more I can get in before the big day. Maybe they will help the last minute shoppers out there. As I mentioned before, I wanted each guide to be themed around a book and this time it's Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles. The photos by Francois Halard are amazing! (To see them click here.) I think it is one my favorite books of this year and instead of buying your friend or loved one just one book, why not make it a special by including a few others.

Marie-Antoinette: The Journey is the bestselling biography of the doomed Queen by Antonia Fraser that dispels the myths and legends without boring the reader to tears. I think it would a great companion gift to the beautiful photos from The Last Garden of Versailles.

Look at the photos, read the story and then see them both come to life in Marie Antoinette the movie. Sophia Coppola was inspired by Antoinia Fraser's book and the lavish costumes and stunning scenery definitely make it a perfect stocking stuffer.

Another fun book to wrap up with the rest if the Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber. It examines how fashion played a role in not only her life but also her death. And what girl doesn't want to read about fabulous frocks!
You may not be able to dress like Marie-Antoinette but you can burn a candle made by a company that used to supply Versailles. The Cire Trudon Trianon Candle is an homage to Marie Antoinette so when you burn it, you can also pretend that you living a simple country life!

If you are looking for something more dramatic, you can always buy the bust candle of Marie-Antoinette by Cire Trudon but for $85 I probably wouldn't want to burn it.

I think once you've done your homework and read all the books and watched the movie, a trip to Versailles is in order. That way you can see the Queen's actual bed chamber above and the bust that inspired the candle.

Of course, you will stay in Paris so while there, make sure you stop in for some macaroons at Laduree. They are divinely delicious and worth the calories and will make you feel like a queen.

If all that is just too expensive, you could always just wrap up some Let Them Eat Cake Bon Bon Lip Balm by Tokyo Milk and call it a day. But if you buy them a book too, they'll learn that Marie-Antoinette didn't actually say "let them eat cake!" Joyeux Noël!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bon Voyage!

Patrick Dennis: Is the English lady sick, Auntie Mame?
Auntie Mame: She's not English, darling... she's from Pittsburgh.
Patrick Dennis: She sounded English.
Auntie Mame: Well, when you're from Pittsburgh, you have to do something.

That's one of my favorite quotes from Auntie Mame! It seemed appropriate since I'm flying into Pittsburgh Sunday to spend Christmas with my family. They don't actually live in Pittsburgh but it's close and if I'm lucky, I might also meet up with another blogger who'll be in the 'Burgh for the holidays! Can you guess who?

Another lovely blogger, Hello Gorgeous, was so sweet and sent me a copy of Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escape by Patrick Dennis! I was very excited because I was wondering what else to take along to read besides magazines in case my flight is delayed. They better just not cancel my flight like they did on my birthday or lose my luggage. HC doesn't travel light enough for carry on but you probably already guessed that! I'll also be posting while I'm away! Bon voyage and happy holidays!


Over 1500 people entered the Williams-Sonoma Home Cashmere Throw Blanket Giveaway but there could only be five winners! They are Heather Morris, Jessica Miller, Merry Hope Hulsey, Chelsea Watlington, and Caroline Brown! I'll be sending your addresses to Williams-Sonoma Home so that soon you can wrap yourself up up comfy cashmere! Congratulations!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Habitually Chic Giveaway!

To celebrate the opening of their on-line shopping cart, my fabulous new friends at Maison 24 have generously offered to give away 5 of their divine smelling candles to Habitually Chic readers. I have one of the Le Jardin candles and it smells heavenly so I know you will love them! They are also offering 15% off all all web purchases until December 25th!

This time the giveaway rules are a little different. These giveaways are meant to thank my loyal readers so I will be choosing a winner from among those who have signed up as a subscriber. That means if you want to be entered, you have to sign up! This change is due to a sneaky sweepstakes website that posted my giveaway to it's readers. I will be choosing a winner on Tuesday, December 23rd so you have until 11:59pm on Monday, December 22nd to sign up. I will then contact the winners for their mailing address and Maison 24 will ship out the candles to the lucky subscribers! Bonne Chance!

Fraiches is a fresh, clean, invigorating scent created to smell like you (or your man) just stepped out of the barbershop. Not just a candle, it’s a mandle. Fraiches is an enticing blend of Mediterranean geranium, basil and sparkling lemon mixed with lavandin, sensual patchouli and rich vanilla beans. (Yummy!)

La Plage smells like the sun, surf, salty air, & suntan lotion – the sensational scent of a day at the beach. All that and no scratchy sand in your swimsuit – love. La Plage is a warm, seductive fragrance of coconut and almond blended with hints of peony and heliotrope and the richness of tonka beans, praline, and vanilla. (Anything that smells like suntan lotion is a winner in my book!)

Le Jardin is a sexy, sensual blend of fruit, florals and spices that’s decidedly more exotic garden than enchanted garden. Perfect when you’re feeling passionate. Le Jardin is an arousing mix of lily, ylang ylang and wild rose entwined with peach, coconut, patchouli, clove and warm musk. (Love this one too!)