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Winding Down in Wine Country

Chandelier hanging in tree at Viansa Winery Summer is finally over and Joe and I just returned from our last trip of the year to sunny California.  We visited family in Sacramento and fêted our dear friends Mike and Maggie in Sonoma.  Living in New Orleans, we don't get many chances to go wine tasting, so we packed as many stops as possible into a sliver of free time!

Our wine country tour focused around the Carneros Region of Sonoma Valley.  The area is just south of the town of Sonoma, off Highway 121, and makes some of the most delicious sparkling wines you've tasted.  We began our day early at Viansa, where for $10 a person, we sampled their reserve offerings and for $45, brought home a bottle of Cabernet.  The winery is impeccably landscaped and offers sweeping views from the rustic terrace dotted with tables, chairs, strings of lights and chandeliers in the trees.  We sipped, shopped, relaxed and strolled through the vineyards before moving on.

10 minutes up the road you'll find Gloria Ferrer- an expansive estate of the famed Ferrer family, who's been wine-making in Spain since the 16th century!  You may be familiar with their largest brand, Freixenet.  Much like the family she married into, Gloria has a knack for sparkling wine.  Her Pinot Noir-based bubbly, Blanc de Noirs is their most award-winning variety and offered a tasty start to our tour of the facility.  The $20 per person tour lasted roughly an hour and explored different varieties of sparkling wine as well as the wine-making process.

Last, but certainly not least, we made our way to Cornerstone Winery for Mike and Maggie's wedding.  It was a drastic departure from our previous stops.  In lieu of Tuscan architecture, Cornerstone boasts modern art and labyrinth-like gardens.  Everywhere you look there's a sculpture or art installation, intricately woven between shrub-lined walkways.  The ceremony overlooked a modern lily pond, dinner took place inside a tent filled with farm tables, and dancing spilled out of the barn and into windmills on the large lawn.

By the time Joe and I stumbled back to our hotel room, our heads were spinning from all the excitement of the fabulous day... and maybe all that wine as well!

Framed Maps Add Vintage Touch

Vintage maps The way I rave about Fine Art America, you'd think I owned stock in the company.  It's an online database of THOUSANDS of prints... of you guessed it... fine art!  What's cool is that you can find anything from John James Audubon's famous sketches to up and coming modern oil paintings and have them printed any way you'd like.  They offer canvas prints, art prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, greeting cards, even matting and framing.

I purchased the safari-inspired prints for Beau's nursery from their website and recently ordered two prints of antique New Orleans maps to add to our guest bedroom.

To cut down on costs, I bought a pre-made frame, then got the glass and mat cut at the frame shop and had them assemble everything.  The overall size is 24"X30" and with the cost of the framing and prints, each piece came out to only $100 ($200 for the pair).  I love the finished product more than I ever predicted and saved a ton of money doing them this way!  Our British Colonial-inspired guest room is now almost complete.  We just need to change out the light fixture and finish the burlap curtains.  I can't wait to show you the finished result!!

Kingsway House: Contemporary Design With Rich History

Kingsway House Chandelier- Studio WTA A while back my neighbor told me he found his dream home.  Since his house is MY dream house, I figured this place must be amazing.  He was working on a movie that was being filmed at the Kingsway House, on New Orleans' historic Esplanade Avenue.  It's a 12,000 sq ft private residence that's rented out for movies, weddings and parties (my friend Kenny went to a party put on by Solange Knowles there)!

The home began as two separate residences in the 1860's and was combined into one in the 1930's.  Back then, it was owned by Count Leon Arnaud Cazenave, owner of the famous Arnaud's Restaurant.  In the early 1990's, the property was transformed into Kingsway Studios, which recorded the likes of Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M. and Sheryl Crow.  In 2002, it was sold to Nicholas Cage.  Studio WTA worked on renovations for Cage and again for Sean Cummings, the current owner.

The Kingsway House boasts a floor-to-ceiling crystal chandelier- apparently one of only two in the world.  The decor blends modern minimalism with traditional New Orleans warmth. I think its absolutely stunning, but take a look at the pictures from Studio WTA's website and decide for yourself!

British Colonial Blues: Guest Bedroom Inspiration

20140618-054708-20828911.jpg I don't think there's a color combination I love more than classic blue and white.  Ralph Lauren adopted the scheme early and decades later, still hasn't turned back!

As Joe and I began to decorate our upstairs guest bedroom, I chose a British Colonial theme for the space.  I think the vintage, global and travel accents will coordinate perfectly with the safari-themed nursery next door, without being too "matchy matchy."

Grounded with blue walls, crisp white trim and our freshly refinished floors, I've added Ralph Lauren bedding, along with a table and bookcase from Home Decorators Collection that features warm wood tones and beautiful curved lines.

Now, it's time for the fun finishing touches!  Here are some inspiration photos I gathered online.  I'll post pics of our own finished space soon!

 

 

 

Don't Forget About Dad! Father's Day Gift Guide

Aidan Gill Shave

Father's Day is right around the corner (ahem... it's THIS Sunday), so you better get on that gift giving bandwagon... and fast!  Here are some fun options any Dad is sure to love, even if you're lacking in the creativity department.

Aidan Gill Shave  Aidan Gill for Men old-fashioned shave, $35

 

Timex for J Crew Vintage Field Army WatchTimex for J Crew Vintage Field Army Watch, $98

Spotify SubscriptionSpotify subscription, $10 per month

Yee Haw Pickles Sample PackYee Haw Pickles Sample Pack, $65

Smathers and Branson Needlepoint FlaskSmathers and Branson Needlepoint Flask, $65

Home Depot Gift CardHome Depot gift card, any amount

NOLA Couture Gator Bowtie  NOLA Couture Gator Bowtie, $55

Harry's Father Son Shave KitJ Crew Harry's Father and Son Shave Kit, $30

Costco High Sierra Hydration PackCostco High Sierra hydration pack, $38

Driftwood iPhone Dock Uncommon Goods Driftwood Log iPhone Dock, $72

Amazon Prime Amazon Prime subscription, $99 per year