Monday, September 29, 2008

Feeling Crafty?


A couple of Eddie Ross' Postcard Projects

I recently came across a few projects that I've been inspired to try. They are lovely, inexpensive ways to package gifts for your friends this holiday season.

postcard paper

Eddie Ross featured a few of his do-it-yourself projects on the Martha Stewart show recently. He showed how vintage postcards can be enlarged on a color copier and then used to wrap tin cans and turn them into pretty vases as well as gift wrap.

wrapping paper

These gifts look beautiful dressed in wrapping paper made from vintage postcards.

earring magnets

I love this project and can't believe that it hasn't dawned on me to do this sooner! Eddie took some vintage earrings and turned them into pretty magnets by hot gluing a magnet onto the back. How simple is that? I think the earring magnets would make such a lovely gift.

design sponge can

This project comes from Design*Sponge. It's simply a recovered paint can. You can find these paint cans at the hardware store for about $4 or $5. Then, take some pretty, graphic paper (or whatever pattern your prefer) and cover the can with it. Finish by trimming with ribbon. These dressed up containers would make great containers for gifts and can then be reincarnated as vases, catch-alls, or pencil holders afterwards.

Images via Eddie Ross' Blog and Design*Sponge

Wishing for Autumn to Arrive

New York's Central Park in Autumn

As most people throughout the United States and in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere begin to enjoy the beauty of autumn, it still feels like summer in Houston. It's so frustrating to see all of the new fall clothes out, knowing that it won't be cold enough to wear a sweater for months!I have my fingers crossed that the air will turn crisp soon, but for now I'll just have to dream of autumn in New York to tide me over.

This Week's Quote

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Style Icon Interview: Eddie Ross


This afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking with Eddie Ross, contestant on the second season of Bravo's Top Design, Senior Style Editor of Martha Stewart Living, and self-described jack of all trades. His blog, which includes photos of his incredible flea market transformations and informative lessons on things like flower arranging and preparing for a cocktail party has quickly become a favorite among bloggers.

Eddie's background includes culinary school, owning a catering company, and working for Food Network, House Beautiful, and Martha Stewart Living. He has a multitude of talents, but his passion is for helping people create a beautiful life without spending a fortune. I can honestly say that he is as sweet and gracious as he is talented. His beautiful design aesthetic, refreshing need to "make things pretty", and ability to see the beauty in everything are incredibly inspiring.

eddie ross

Eddie's Gorgeous Manhattan Apartment

La Dolce Vita: When did you first realize that you had a talent for design?

Eddie Ross: “I was working as a caterer in high school and would go into these houses in New Greenwich, Larchmont... big, grand Connecticut homes. I was in awe of the way those people lived. It was so inspiring to see what people could accomplish and how they lived with a lot of money. I thought to myself, 'I want to live that way, but I don't have a lot of money.' At that time, I started shopping thrift stores for antiques and started educating myself about fine porcelain, china, crystal, and silverware.”

LDV: Who or what inspires you the most?

ER: “My grandmother, Dottie was such a huge inspiration. She lived such a beautiful, refined life despite the fact that we didn’t come from gobs and gobs of money. My grandpa was a horticulturalist, and at age 81, he still works twice a week. On summer breaks, he would take two of the four boys in my family and give us projects like weeding, cleaning bushes, scrubbing terra cotta pots in greenhouse to prepare growing for spring. I now realize that he was giving us the jobs he didn't want to do. He taught me about flower arranging since he did the weekly arrangements for some of the grandest homes in Greenwich.”

eddie hydrangeas

Eddie picking some "end of season" hydrangeas

LDV: Do you have a favorite flower?

ER:I think white Casablanca lilies are amazing and I love Italian carnations. They’re like regular carnations, but double the size. You can bunch a lot of them together, in the same color, and they look fantastic on a long table. And they last forever.”

LDV: You have quite a knack for seeing the potential in ordinary objects and turning them into something extraordinary, like you did with your new secretary. Do you look for anything in particular when shopping for antiques or at a flea market?

ER: “I always tend to look for beauty in whatever I’m looking at. I’m always looking at the shape of it, the design, is it useful? Should I paint it? All furniture isn’t created equal; some solid pieces should only be refinished. People always go back and forth about whether or not you should paint these old pieces. What I paint is not antique quality. You have to think about what the piece will look like. Look past the hardware and the finish and think about the big picture.”

eddie ross secretary before

Eddie's Secretary Before

eddie ross secretary after

After: The secretary looks amazing with a fresh coat of paint, mirrored insets, and new hardware

LDV: What do you do with the flea market and thrift store finds you transform? You live in Manhattan where space is at a premium. Do you keep it all for yourself, give it as gifts, or use it for clients?

ER: “For me, flea marketing and thrift storing is so relaxing, I do it for fun; for the thrill of the hunt. You can’t go looking for something specific. When I shop, I edit what I buy. I do keep most things if I can edit them and find a place for them. Sometimes I give them as gifts. I switch my furniture out sometimes; mostly things like mirrors and side chairs. I have access to the basement in my building and store things down there. I like to call it my prop house. I keep everything labeled with Polaroid pictures. I’ll put things away for seasons and switch out cashmere blankets for lighter throws; same with china and silver. We’re purchasing a country house in January where I can store all of my props.”

eddie antiques

Eddie enjoying a day of shopping at Sage Street Antiques in Sag Harbor

LDV: What is your prized possession?

ER: “I have 2 sterling silver stuffing spoons that I bought at Portobello Road in London. I had so much trouble getting them through airport security, so they’re definitely a prized possession!”

LDV: You are a contestant on the second season of Bravo’s Top Design and are the definite favorite of many bloggers, including myself. Why did you decide to audition for the show?

ER: “My friend, Tori Mellott works for Domino Magazine and she was at cocktail party with a casting person from Bravo, who mentioned the show and asked her if she had anyone for it. She called me, and my partner, Jaithan and I filled out the application and created my audition video, Martha gave me a leave of absence, and afterwards, my job was waiting for me back home.”

LDV: What has it been like to be on the show and interact with design giants like Margaret Russell, Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, India Hicks, and Todd Oldham?

ER: “You know, I wasn’t star struck. I work in the industry. I know Kelly, I know Margaret, and I know Todd. It was weird having them act like they didn’t know me and having them critique me. I was just with Kelly and Margaret for the launch of Kelly’s new fabric line. I adore Kelly! She is amazing and she does it. Project after project after project. She is a true designer, she’s beautiful, and she is a true style icon.”

eddie ross2

Eddie, on Bravo's Top Design

LDV: So, last week on Top Design, you guys were asked to design store windows for some designers from the past seasons of Project Runway. What was it like working with Santino? Is he your favorite Project Runway designer ever?

ER: “I loved Santino and Christian because they kind of have snarky attitudes, like me. They’re funny, but serious when they need to be and they're extremely talented.

LDV: What other shows do you like to watch?

ER: "I’m addicted to the Rachel Zoe Project. I die. I die. She cracks me up to no end. She’s funny, has a great personality, and she is so passionate about what she does. I love people who have a passion for what they do. Rachel is passionate about making people look beautiful. Kelly, Christian, Santino…they’re all passionate about what they do. I have a passion for creating a beautiful life that doesn’t need to be expensive."

LDV: What do you currently have on your iPod?

ER: "My current thing is the Puppini Sisters, a girl group from England. They do covers of old music, but it’s updated. One plays the accordion, one plays the bad, another plays the violin and they’re really chic."

LDV: Who are your style icons?

ER:For fashion, Ralph Lauren. His new line, Rugby is amazing. In terms of design, Bill Blass. His house in Connecticut is one of my most favorites. His book, Bill Blass: An American Designer is one of my prized possessions and a definite must-have for design lovers. And of course, Martha Stewart. Oh, and Thomas O’Brien. I love his style. Anthony Todd is great, too.”

LDV: Do you have a favorite travel destination?

ER: “I love Maine and small towns in the Midwest. Those areas are so quaint and beautiful. They have such history. I love seeing different styles and the way people live. I want people to start collecting things. Having a beautiful life is not expensive; it’s just about being creative."

eddie silver

Among the many things Eddie enjoys collecting, is his collection of hard to find, antique hotel silver.

LDV: You are a graduate of the revered Culinary Institute of America, so must be a fabulous cook. What is your favorite type of cuisine? What would you choose to have as your last meal?

ER: “My favorite thing to make is hors d’oeuvres. They’re like little, teeny entrees in one bite. People can enjoy so many flavors at a cocktail party. It’s like eating a bunch of little meals."

For my last meal? I love macaroni and cheese! Yes, homemade with a delicious herb bread crumb crust. For dessert, I’d have my grandma’s Dominican walnut pound cake with rum whip cream. My mom and my grandparents are amazing cooks.”

eddie cocktail

A beautiful spread of hors d'oeuvres at one of Eddie's cocktail parties

LDV: You’ve gone from running your own catering company, working as a food editor for Martha Stewart Living and as a producer on the Food Network to working as an editor at House Beautiful and most recently as Senior Style Editor of Martha Stewart Living. You’ve accomplished all of this at age 30! What’s next for you?

ER: “People have such a hard time believing that I’m only 30, but I am! {He told me his exact date of birth for proof!} They don’t realize that culinary school is only 2 years and the two extra years that I would have spent in college helped give me a boost to accomplish these things. In the future, I would like to do a book and hopefully one day create a line of products that is a reflection of my collections.”

eddie collection

Items from Eddie's extensive collection of silver, china, and crystal

Eddie is also working on doing flea market tours in the city where he would take people to the flea markets and teach them what to look for. He would like to do it in sessions. One day, they’d look for china, another day they would look for crystal, and so on. I, for one, would love to join him on one of these tours and I'm sure many others would, too as it would be such a great learning opportunity.

LDV: Roughly translated, La Dolce Vita means “the good life” in Italian. What is your idea of living la dolce vita?

ER: “My idea of living the good life is to relax and have fun with what you do. Life’s too short. Make it beautiful.”

eddie ross chair after

Eddie’s special note to his blog readers: I’d really like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and to write in so many wonderful comments and ideas. It’s so inspiring to me to hear that the readers really love what I’m doing and that’s what keeps me going."

All Images Via Eddie Ross' Blog

Click here to view Eddie's Professional Portfolio

Monday, September 22, 2008

Foodies Rejoice!

Mario Batali, Gwyneth, and Bono at the show's premiere party in New York

Do you remember last month I blogged about Spain...On the Road Again, the show which follows Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, and friends as they embark on a culinary tour of Spain? Well, it seems that the show has already been picked up for a second season in Italy!

Does anyone in Houston know when Spain...On the Road Again will premiere in Houston? I searched my DVR, but couldn't find it and I'm so eager to watch!

Image via PopSugar

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cynthia Rowley's Manhattan Oasis

Cynthia Rowley's home is as feminine, original, and beautiful as her designs. Her awe-inspiring dining room (pictured above) is my favorite room in the house. It looks so ethereal, as if it were straight out of a fairy tale. The gorgeous, metallic wallpaper was designed by Rowley and produced by Flavor Paper. The chairs and banquette are covered in fabric by Cole and Son.

Rowley, her husband, and eldest daughter, Kit

The loveliness of the dining room can only be surpassed by Rowley's precious daughter, Gigi.

The living room plays host to Rowley's drawings above the mantel, a zebra print rug, re-upholstered flea market chairs, and a screen with a clover motif reminiscent of Van Cleef and Arpels.

The whimsical master bath hosts a venetian mirror, sleek mosaic tile, and waterproof (naturally) wallpaper of Rowley's design.

The mid-century chaise lounges in the garden are covered in fabric from Lee Jofa.

Images via Elle Decor on PointClickHome

To see more of Rowley's home, check out this month's issue of Elle Decor and be sure to visit her delightful blog!

Quote of the Week

Is it wrong to covet a seven year old's wardrobe?


As most of you know, when you purchase something on J.Crew's website they automatically start sending you e-mails with their new arrivals and sales. Although I don't have kids (How would they know that?), I get their Crewcuts e-mails as well.

The new line for little girls is adorable and quite chic. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit this, but there are pieces I would definitely wear if they made an adult version! Either way, these little outfits make me want to have a little girl some day even more!



Images via J.Crew

Friday, September 19, 2008

Should I Move?

Ever since the whole "New York Fashion Week: Sex and the City Style" debaucle, I have been thinking about finally making the move over to Typepad or WordPress. Sure, I've given it a quick thought in the past, but as is typical of me, I decided to stay with what I know, what had been comfortable, but now I am beyond annoyed. I love my blog and the fact that it has allowed me to express my thoughts, explore new interests, and meet some fabulous new friends. However, the truth of the matter is, I don't get paid for this. (Yes, I know I have some ads on here now, but they haven't brought anything in.) I do it because I love it, but when I spend HOURS on something only to have it disappear, it becomes extremely frustrating!

So, I'd love to hear your opinions if you currently use TypePad or Wordpress and especially if you've made the move from Blogger to one of the other platforms. {Bueller...}Were you able to take all of your posts, hyperlinks, pictures, and comments with you? Were your readers able to find you? I want to be able to take my work with me.There is so much to consider! Thank you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Sex and the City Style

This morning as I perused the new Spring / Summer 2009 Collections from New York Fashion week, I found that in addition to finding things that I personally loved, I kept having things that just screamed "Carrie!", "Charlotte!", "Samantha!", and "Miranda!" at me. Blame it on my poor, worn out Sex and the City DVDs. Since rumors are swirling that a sequel to the Sex and the City movie will eventually be made (yea!), I thought it would be fun (before I spent six hours working on this) to put together some looks for the girls from the new collections, as we all know that they would certainly attend all of the important shows. It's been fun! I guess this is my adult version of playing with paper dolls. I hope you enjoy the looks I put together if the Sex and the City sequel were set in the Spring / Summer of 2009!

Each filmstrip below should show four looks. Please click on the pictures if you only see two. I really hate blogger right now. First, every picture disappeared when I published this post, despite the fact that they showed up in the preview. Now, I see all four pictures per strip in the preview, but only two show up once it's published. I've spent over an hour trying to fix it. I'm so sorry! I worked really hard on this and promise the looks are worth clicking on the pictures!

Looks for Carrie Bradshaw
We all know that Carrie is the perennial fashion addict of the group. She lives, eats, and breathes fashion! Now that she is a little older, she has toned it down just a bit, by her own admission. However, she isn't afraid to take risks. Carrie's look can't be constrained to one particular style, as she is a true chameleon. These looks either reminded me of things she's worn in the past or just looked like "her".

Photobucket 1. Ralph Lauren, 2. Halston, 3. Oscar de la Renta, 4. Monique Lhuillier

1. Matthew Williamson, 2. Rachel Roy, 3. Tory Burch, 4. Halston

1. Oscar de la Renta, 2. Halston, 3. Badgley Mishcka, 4. Monique Lhuillier

1. Proenza Schouler, 2. Oscar de la Renta, 3. Monique Lhuillier, 4. Tory Burch

Looks for Charlotte York-Goldenblatt

Charlotte's aesthetic is ultra-feminine and quite chic. She always looks polished, never sloppy, as she is the consummate lady. Charlotte loves feminine details and often favors an A-line silhouette to complement her hour glass shape.

1. Michael Kors, 2. Tuleh, 3. Oscar de la Renta, 4. Badgley Mishcka

1. Oscar de la Renta, 2. Barbara Tfank, 3. L'Wren Scott, 4. Oscar de la Renta

Photobucket 1. Oscar de la Renta, 2. Barbara Tfank, 3. Monique Lhuillier, 4. L'Wren Scott

1. Monique Lhuillier, 2. Rebecca Taylor, 3. Nanette Lepore, Tory Burch

Looks for Samantha Jones
Samantha's wardrobe reflects her personality: sexy, sultry, commanding. Now that she and Smith are no longer together, Samantha is on the prowl again! The looks I put together for her are sleek and form-fitting to show off her amazing figure. Though some are appropriate for her career as a high-powered publicist, but often does she leave anything to the imagination?

1. Badgley Mishcka, 2. Victoria Beckham, 3. Donna Karan, 4. Narciso Rodriguez

1. Elie Tahari, 2. Halston, 3. Ralph Lauren, 4. Marchesa

1. Naeem Khan, 2. Victoria Beckham, 3. Hervé Leger by Max Azria, 4. Costello Tagliapietra

1. Vivienne Tam, 2. Rock & Republic, 3. Costello Tagliapietra, 4. Hervé Leger by Max Azria

Looks for Miranda Hobbes

Miranda's style has progressed the most since the first couple of seasons of Sex and the City. Do you remember the awful pant suits and hideous overalls they put her in at the beginning? Though Miranda's job as a partner at a corporate law firm requires her to dress conservatively most of the time, she has really taken to wearing more feminine silhouettes and often draws attention to her waist.

1. Monique Lhuillier, 2. Oscar de la Renta, 3. Narciso Rodriguez, 4. Victoria Beckham

1. Tory Burch, 2. Ralph Lauren, 3. Barbara Tfank, 4. Donna Karan

1. Tuleh, 2. Barbara Tfank, 3. Oscar de la Renta, 3. Monique Lhuillier

1. Victoria Beckham, 2. Rachel Roy, 3. Tuleh, 4. Carolina Herrera

Images via

Sex and the City Movie DVD Release

Mark your calendars! The Sex and the City Movie is coming to DVD next Tuesday, September 23rd.

Image via Amazon

What's so great about sliced bread?

Poilane Bakery in Paris

As someone who has spent much of her life studying languages, I constantly think about words. I'll go days with a certain word or name stuck in my head. I wonder about semantics. I ponder phrases. Today, I was thinking about the expression, "It's the greatest thing since sliced bread". Who came up with that? Did they really think sliced bread was all that? Sure, it's convenient, but it doesn't compare to a delicious crusty loaf of french bread or sourdough. How could anyone think that a slice of plain Wonderbread could ever compare to ripping into a loaf of artisenal bread, devoid of preservatives, but chock full of crunch when you tear off a delicious piece?

This amazing French loaf even has a P on it! Does it stand for Paloma? Perfectly delicious? No, it stands for Poilane, the amazing Parisian bakery that made it. FYI- You can have these babies overnighted to you from France!

I am aware of how random this is, but I think we all know that I have fully embraced my randomness.

Images via Poilane