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Touring an Atelier

On a recent trip to St. Petersburg, on an amazing trip organized by Indagare,  I had the privilege to tour the atelier of Larissa and Alexandra Pogoretskaya.  This hyper-talented family, mother and daughter, respectively, along with the husband/father who is a world class photographer, works and creates together in a floor of a nondescript St. Petersburg building.  Don’t be fooled by the exterior.  Their floor houses the entire production of their business.  Seeing the creativity happen–from design, to production, to final product–was inspirational.

Work room

Gorgeous, beautiful and ethereal clothing in an inspirational setting.

Everywhere I looked there was a vignette that made me want to look closer.

My favorite pieces were the gauzy lace blouses–seemingly so fragile, but with a nod to 60s rock and roll, the tailored coats using the softest leather and buttons made from old coins, and the accessories–the hats and jewelry.  I don’t think the jewelry is available to purchase, but it was used rather to set a mood.  The Pogoretskayas may want to rethink that as their aesthetic would make a fabulous jewelry line.

Tribal Jewelry Inspiration

Mad about hats!

Gorgeous linen jacket

My regret is not having more time to have something made to order.  I’m a little jealous of a fellow traveler who is a sample size and bought two beautiful coats off the rack!  You know who you are!  What a perfect, unique souvenir.

Summertime Cocktails

Nothing says summer like a warm breeze and a cool cocktail.

It is time to lighten up–your mood, your dress and your cocktail!  I love adding soda (as in the sparkling water variety) and citrus or other fruits to my white wine, vodka and tequila favorites to extend the cocktail and to provide hydration!   Also, the addition of St. Germain liqueur or Campari to the mix, screams “summer is finally here!”

Image via Epicurious.

My favorite summer cocktail is a mixture of white wine (I use Mahoney Vermentino), club soda, St. Germain, over ice, with a squeeze of lemon.  It sparkles.  It refreshes.  Fill your wine glass (or Tervis Tumbler if you are by the pool!) with ice.  Fill half way with wine, add 1/2-1 oz. St. Germain, Fill the rest with club soda and squeeze in your quarter of lemon.  Stir.  Be amazed.

Image via St. Germain.

The Americano is also a classic summer cocktail.  I always feel very European when I break out the Campari.  Here is a link to the classic recipe via Food & Wine.

Image via

If you are as lucky as I am and have a great place to buy home made, fresh aqua fresca (is that redundant?), then the batch of recipes found at this link to Bon Appetit will be easy peasy.  If not, still give it a go!  Adding your favorite alcohol and maybe a little club soda will make you look like a master mixologist.

Photograph by Maren Caruso via Bon Appetit.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention my favorite hard liquor–tequila.  The “skinny” margarita was not invented by a fit and trim housewife.  Tequila has always been traditionally imbibed over ice with a squeeze of citrus.  Don’t even use an orange liqueur.  Just squeeze a lime or two and add fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice.  Again, add that club soda for your hydration!  If you want a little sweetness, agave nectar does the trick.  Put on your big girl undies and have one of these!

Image via Epicurious.

You’re thirsty now, aren’t you?  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere….

Illusion Lamp for Northern Lighting | Design Milk

Check out this link to the web site Design Milk:

Illusion Lamp for Northern Lighting | Design Milk.

Feeling the love for this great lamp. Or is a table?

So much to love in this lamp/table. Small, clean design. Multi-function.

Comes in white as well…How to choose?

All photos by Tom Gustavsen via Design Milk

Moscow Subway. No graffiti here!


Mid Century Modern on Lake Shore Drive

It seems you can’t turn around any more and not hear the words “midcentury modern.”  Is this a “Mad Men” phenomena?  The culture of the cocktail, those great Eames chairs, a time when we didn’t know about all of the things that could hurt us like cigarettes, booze, and not wearing your seat belt—the nostalgia for this era seems pretty pervasive now.

Image via wikipedia.

If you are nostalgic for that time, or a curator of all things midcentury, consider the condos on North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Located at 860-880, these two unassuming, yet classic black towers were not only his first glass and steel high-rise project, but also the first glass-curtain skyscrapers ever built.


Later, very similar buildings were erected at 900-910 North LSD.  These buildings were originally apartments and now house condos.

Image via

Mies knew what he was doing with those walls of glass–the views over Lake Michigan–never to be impeded–are jaw dropping.  To see a topnotch renovation of a condo in 860 click this link to architects, Windhorst-Gorski’s site.

Precise, streamlined, “less is more,” simplistic, airy.  I have a feeling this type of modern will always feel modern.

Schwinn Twinn

The bad and good part of a tandem bike is needing another person to ride with you. My Schwinn Twinn is ready and raring to go, but because I need someone to ride with me (and because the thing is so dang heavy to load into the truck by myself!) my riding time is limited. Mine has a vintage, 1972, child seat on the back. I wouldn't put a doll in that thing!

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Patrick Roullier, Artist

I love painted furniture.

I love finding a very common piece of furniture at a second hand store, from Pottery Barn, in someone’s garage, and having it not only spruced up but painted in an artistic and personal way.

If you are of the same mind, Patrick Roullier, of Chicago, is your man.  If you have ever window shopped for decoratively painted furniture, you know how expensive it can be.  Plus, you end up with something that is mass produced.

Patrick Roullier, in his element.  Image via 5th & State

What I have done in the past is send Patrick a piece of furniture–I’ve done a bench from Pottery Barn, a cabinet from Restoration Hardware that we converted into a vanity for a powder room with a matching medicine chest, 3 different chests, a boot bench and a couple of decorative items–a tray and a cache pot or two.

Taking the ordinary up about 20 notches! Image via 5th & State

Maybe I have a painted furniture problem? I give Patrick very little direction other than color palette and initial concepts–say, nature/Lake Michigan/birch trees, or dogs/horses/English Country.  The pieces that come back to me are beyond what I could have imagined or ever directed him to do.

The end product of “dogs/horses/country” directions. Details are amazing!

Such intricate and fine details.

You can reach Patrick at  Read more about him and see more examples of his amazing work at the blog 5th and State. There is also a great article about him in the Fall 2011 issue of CS Interiors/Chicago issue. (This link gets you to the issue–page through to page 48).   This is a talent that deserves more recognition–a feature on HGTV?  A line at Barney’s Chelsea’s Passage?  This man is seriously talented.

Etsy Stores

I love Etsy and I have a hard time believing that some folks don’t know what Etsy is.  The creativity and dedication is inspiring.  Now that I’ve spent some time on the site and developed a list of “favorites” I can easily find the perfect gift, vintage find, or supplies to make jewelry.  The featured sellers column is always fun to read.  So if you haven’t already, dig in.  A world of originality awaits!

Here is a list of some of my current favorite stores:

AMRadio:  Love the aesthetic.  I’ve purchased items and have always been pleased.  Reminds me of my childhood.


I use mine to hold jewelry. What will you use yours for?

LexLuxe:  Raw diamonds are a girls more affordable best friend.  Love the studs.  Want the studs.


There they are! Gorgeous!

Sweet Harvey:  Love the letterpress.  Adore the recipe cards and I am the proud owner of a sweet apron with a fawn!


Sweet Harvey Letterpress card. My grandparents had that camper in that same color! Swear!

Noble Town Vintage:  Sarah makes on trend jewelry for a great price.  Makes wonderful gifts.


Someone can buy these for me!

Lenny Mud:  Because every time I see the Mr. T mug, I smile.



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