Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks for an Amazing Write-Up!

peonies max wanger mary ruffle

{A Cheery Summer Arrangement Captured by Max Wanger}

I was completely flattered and pleasantly surprised this weekend, when the incredibly lovely and talented, Anisha Lakhani published the sweetest, most generous write-up about La Dolce Vita on her very well-written blog, Back to A. Anisha is the New York Scene Editor for PinkMemo, as well as a freelance journalist and published author.

{Anisha’s Novel, Schooled}

I recently read her novel, Schooled, a simultaneously hilarious and alarming tale of teaching and tutoring students from the most exclusive private schools on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Schooled has received praise from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine among others. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and as a former teacher and tutor, I was able to relate on so many levels, though admittedly, on a less grand scale. Manhattan is a completely different animal! It is incredibly flattering to know that someone as fabulous and accomplished as Anisha is a fan of my blog.

{Anisha and her super handsome pup, Harold Moscowitz}

Anisha is a fellow dog lover and pointed out that my dog, Tate deserves to have an official title. So, what should we call my little guy? Resident Cutie? Cuteness Ambassador? Any ideas?

{My Sweet Tate}

Thanks for the kind words, Anisha!

This Week’s Quote

 quote mary ruggle


Image Credit: Saying Images

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

{via The Little Big House}

Happy Memorial Day! This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer and I still get as excited about it as I did when I was a child. Whether you are traveling somewhere or relaxing at home, I hope you have a wonderful, long weekend! Please take some time to remember our troops (and thank them!) for the sacrifices they have made for us.

Forest Wedding Reception Table Ideas

{via José Villa}


{via Once Wed}

{Aran Garagoya via design*sponge}

.littlegirlblue via Mrs. French

{via SFGirlbyBay}

(via abbysharp)

{Abby Sharp via Mary Ruffle}

Snoflake via simplesong

{via Mary Ruffle}

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fabulous Room Friday 05.28.10

{The living room in Mr. and Mrs. Preston’s apartment features a Montauk sofa upholstered in blue wool-mohair from Donghia, a set of vintage chairs, and a Birdie Blossom Pillow by Paul Smith for The Rug Company.}

One of the many perks of being my own boss and working from home is the freedom it allows me. Yesterday, I was able to skip the crowds for Sex and the City 2 and caught a lunch time showing of the movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, my favorite movie theater. They have great food, cocktails, and you have to be 21 to get in, so there aren’t any loud, rowdy teenagers. I liked the new movie much more than the first. I was a pretty big SATC devotee and have probably watched my DVDs a hundred times since the series ended in 2004. The first movie was a bit over-the-top and cheesy for my taste. Without giving too much away, I thought they were all much more true to themselves in SATC2.

carrie apt2

I absolutely loved the new apartment Carrie and Big share in the movie. She decorated it herself and has done a fabulous job with it. Blue is the dominant color in the home, and while it isn’t my favorite color, I do love it in their space. There are lots of great pieces and fabrics from Kravet and Lee Jofa throughout the home as well. For today’s Fabulous Room feature, we’ll be focusing on Carrie and Big’s living room / dining room area.

carri apt

{One of my favorite lines from the movie: “I’ve been cheating on fashion with furniture.” – Carrie Bradshaw}

{I love the built-in shelving in the dining room. The mahogany table is vintage from the 1940s, the chandelier is by Property, and the dining chairs are upholstered in Lee Jofa’s Belgravia fabric.}

{Modern Ann Sacks Tiles in the Kitchen}

{Technically, this is a completely different room, but I had to include the gorgeous headboard in Carrie and Big’s bedroom! The fabric is by Kravet.}

{The ladies all looked stunning at the film’s premiere earlier this week!}


Have you seen Sex and the City 2 yet? If so, what did you think?


Image Credit: ELLE DECOR

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Style Files: Christiane Lemiuex of DwellStudio

Dwell_Christiane_Lemieux_PR_Headshot_151[1]  {The lovely Christiane Lemieux, Creative Director for DwellStudio}

Christiane Lemieux founded DwellStudio in 1999 (it was known as Dwell Home Furnishings until 2007) with an array of modern textiles for hip children’s rooms. Since it’s inception, DwellStudio has become a favorite source of many design lovers. The company’s name is synonymous with modern, eclectic style. In 2008, DwellStudio partnered with Target on a line of table linens, infant clothing and linens, and accessories. This year, DwellStudio has developed a line for Robert Allen textiles, so your favorite Dwell patterns are now available as upholstery. Christiane’s background in fashion and art history, as well as her love of travel are all evident in her beautiful collections.



Name: Christiane Lemieux
Occupation: Creative Director for DwellStudio and DwellStudio for Target
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
Current City: New York, USA


LDV: What inspired you to begin your career in home furnishings?

CL: Its funny – I started in fashion as a designer and then got the opportunity to go over to a home furnishings company to design.  I just fell in love with interiors.  I think I still draw on my fashion background all the time.  I try and bring a fashion element to all my work.

LDV: What do you love most about it? What is the most challenging aspect?

CL: I love the constant design and brand challenge. I love pushing our design forward. It is something I think about all the time – how can I make this better? How can we make this excellent? I think it could always be better.


LDV: Where do you find inspiration?

CL: Everywhere – travel, flea market finds, vintage stores, architecture…I am always looking.  The other day when I was walking the dog I came across some amazing ironwork on the building around the corner…it’s beautiful and intricate…I found myself quickly sketching it.  It made for the start of a great pattern and the funny thing is I have passed it a million times but it finally spoke to me.

LDV: Who are some of your personal style icons?

CL: This is a difficult questions...There are so many peoples who’s work I admire.  I love Consuelo Castiglione from Marni – I think her ability with color and pattern is awe-inspiring. I am having a French Mid-Century moment too – Serge Mouille, Boris Lacroix, Pierre Guraiche and Charlotte Perriand  - I am dreaming of their design.  It changes weekly – I was in a more embellished phase last year but I am returning to a reinterpreted mid-century thing.  I am loving the rigor of clean lines.

LDV: How would you describe your own style?

CL: Minimal luxe.  I am attracted to things that have simple shapes but luxe materials.  I have these amazing gray rugs at home that are so simple but made of silk and I love them.  They fit my style perfectly.

LDV: What is the trait you most admire in a person?

CL: There are a couple that I cherish -honesty, humility and most of all the ability not to take yourself too seriously.

dwell hedgerow

LDV: What is your principal weakness?

CL: I have so many – maybe I should rephrase it as -what are your most glaring weaknesses -  gluttony – I love food, I dream of food, I plan meals in advance….sloth – I love to sleep – in fact I would choose sleep over food and people have told me I am very disorganized…which is probably true.


CL: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Without sounding saccharin – my two children. I could never have designed anything as good myself.

LDV: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?
CL: Traveling to a great new exotic local with amazing food and maybe a beach…staying at a world class hotel, sleeping in followed by long lunches with my family….(in this scenario my kids behave perfectly at the table too :) then touring or whiling away the hours reading on a beach chair.

christianepeonies and polaroids  

Bloom: peonies
Food:  cheese –every kind
Drink: Burgundy

Thing to Wear: Jeans + cute top + great shoes (the DwellStudio uniform)
Destination: India
Season: summer
Meal: Since I am at my favorite destination -India – Dinner at Bukhara in Delhi….the dahl is legendary

Bob Dylan[1]
Musician: I am having a Bob Dylan moment - I am hearing Bob everywhere in New York and he just sounds right.
Artist: I am back in a Rothko phase…minimal, ethereal and amazing color.
Film:  I have to say That Grey Gardens always comes to mind.  Big and Little Edie haunt me.

Mad Men[1]
Television Show: I am addicted to Mad Men - really
Book: I love to read – hence the extravagance below – I love so many books, all the classics – I did just re-read Tender is the Night and I loved it.

Magazines: My favorite by far is T from the times. I love their use of type.
Blogs: I love so many….La Dolce Vita among them!!!
Texture: natural linen

DS catalog 2010[1]
Fabric or Pattern: any DwellStudio pattern – I am loving our Peacock right now – especially the upholstery at Robert Allen.
Color: gray

Scent: Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermes
Extravagance: I am on the list for the 64GB 3G Ipad – I hope to make it my latest extravagance.  I love tech gadgets and can you imagine walking around with a library at your disposal?
Quote: “Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas.”
“It’s just one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

Come see me at the Kravet Social Media Panel Discussion!


I am thrilled and honored to have been asked by Kravet to speak at their upcoming Social Media in Design Discussion Panel. The event will take place at the Kravet Showroom in the Houston Decorative Center this upcoming Tuesday, June 1st at 2:00 pm. I must admit that I am a bit nervous about it. What kind of questions would you have for me if you were to attend a panel on social networking and blogging in the design business?

If you would like to come, please let me know! I would love to see some friendly faces in the audience!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Designing Woman: Hanna Brooks Nation of Gadabout Stationery

GADABOUT-HannaNation[1] {GADABOUT Principal & Designer, Hanna Brooks Nation}

I recently became a fan of the wonderfully chic, stationery company, GADABOUT. The aptly named company (a gadabout is someone who seeks aimless pleasure and travels in search of enjoyment) is the brain-child of the talented, Hanna Brooks Nation who at only 22 years of age, has created one of the most stylish stationery lines I have set my eyes on. Officially founded in 2008, GADABOUT features over sixty designs created by Hanna. The 5x7 note cards are sold in sets of 25, are made with high-quality materials, and are banded and boxed in the company’s signature orange color. In addition, Hanna also offers custom design services including stationery and invitation design, custom illustration, rebranding, and logo design.

Like her designs, Hanna is an absolute delight! We have exchanged quite a few e-mails and she is as sweet and charming as you would imagine. About a month ago, I downloaded POST, Hanna’s iPhone app. At that time, I didn’t know of Hanna or GADABOUT. I was just thrilled to have found my favorite iPhone app yet! POST allows you to customize e-mails and text messages sent from your iPhone with Hanna’s gorgeous designs. It is the coolest thing ever and probably the best $0.99 I have ever spent! You can imagine how excited I was when Hanna contacted me and I realized that she was the creator of POST. Hanna was kind enough to agree to be interviewed for La Dolce Vita.


LDV: When did you first become interested in graphic design?

HBN: Probably the moment I realized how much was possible with it.


LDV: Why did you decide to start your own company?

HBN: I wanted to give myself the chance to wake up every morning and be excited about work. Being able to channel my interests and experiences into a company that challenges me to acquire new ones makes working so enjoyable.


LDV: How would you describe the GADABOUT aesthetic?

HBN: The GADABOUT aesthetic is guided by its own definition: an aimless pleasure seeker, a traveler in search of enjoyment or amusement, one who roams or roves for social activity. The designs celebrate home and what lies beyond it, often drawing from cultural artistry, textiles, interior design, vintage books, fashion, hobby and turn of phrase. I just love the idea of truly appreciating the world around us. I can see her, "the" gadabout, and she makes no exceptions in the scale of what brings her joy. Small or large, lengthy or brief, she wants to be defined by her experiences.  They are what make her, they are what make her social, and they are what gives her things to write thank you notes for. 


LDV: Who are your personal style icons?

HBN: Olivia Palermo, Tory Burch, Amy Smilovic of TIBI, and Reese Witherspoon.


LDV: What inspires you?

HBN: What inspires me is really anything that inspires a tangent thought. I love being interrupted. I am just as easily caught up in the eclectic as the everyday, and most of my designs start off as a "hey, those colors look great together.. what if I put that with that picture I found 3 days ago? It kinda reminds me of that fabric pattern..." It can be as simple a thing as flipping through a new magazine, or learning a new word but if it is visually or mentally interesting, whatever I was doing before that moment is out the window and GADABOUT begins. I bring it on myself also, looking things up is one of my favorite past times and I get so lost in the effort that you could call it inspiration. I just love realizing there is so much that I have yet to stumble upon! gadabout4

LDV: How is GADABOUT different from other stationery companies?

HBN: It is the attention to detail and definition that makes GADABOUT a bit different. I try to make sure that the story behind the design is just as thoughtful as the image, including clever captions and historic legends below each card. I also try to make personalization a bit more original by making the monograms a integral part of the motif or picking fonts that truly favor the design.


LDV: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and running your own business?

HBN: Finding the balance between work and play, critique and appreciation, confidence and doubt.


LDV: How did the idea for your iPhone app, POST come about?

HBN: I have a huge appreciation for newness and technology and had been contemplating a way to bring GADABOUT to a gadget for a couple weeks. The idea came to me after a couple hours of sitting on my sofa. I had been working on my new invitation line, and it came to me as a tangent thought. I immediately pulled out a piece of paper and began to write it all down. After finding an incredible developer, we went to work. The final product allows users to design and send invitations or personalized notes through a text message or email! I have created over 60+ designs, and most have influences from my current collection. 

gadabout post

LDV: What are your goals for GADABOUT?

HBN: My hopes for GADABOUT are to grow in such a way that nothing is truly lost. Projects that expand the brand always have at least a few original elements tucked inside them.  For the immediate future, I would love the opportunity to get other stationery vendors involved with POST and have a proper invitation line made available by summer 2010.



Bloom: Peony

Food: Sushi

Drink: Sparkling Water with lemon

gadabout tibi

Thing to Wear: TIBI, Phillip Lim 3.1, Tory Burch


Destination: Italy

Season: Fall


Musician: Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Van Morrison

Artist: Degas, Philip Mullen


Film: The Royal Tenenbaums

Television Show: Gossip Girl


Book: dictionary, encyclopedia

Magazines: InStyle, Elle and Nylon

Blogs: La Dolce Vita, Garance Doré, New York Times Fashion and Style, The Neo-Traditionalist, Who What Wear, and Refinery29

Personality Trait: curious

Texture: crisp

celerie Kemble[1]

Fabric or Pattern: eclectic


Color: orange

Scent: grapefruit

Meal: long dinner with close friends

Quote: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” -Robert Louis Stevenson


Be sure to visit GADABOUT to see all of Hanna’s fabulous designs!