Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Favorite Books...

One of the most fun things to buy for the store has been coffee table books.  We're suckers for anything with a gorgeous and alluring cover - and if it deals with design, style, furniture or chic cats and dogs - we're all goners.

Last week, our cute Emily (who manages all of our social media, website content and dozens of other projects around the store) came up with a clever little idea to showcase our fave picks.
Keep reading...

Ann adores all things Suzanne Kasler.
Ann says:  "Inspired Interiors by Suzanne Kasler.  The book I wish I could curl up with, in one of our comfy chairs if there's ever a slow minute at the store, is Suzanne Kasler's Inspired Interiors.  We gave the book to our of our employees for Christmas and I told Meg I would take it home and wrap it there (so that I could peruse it first, of course!) I stayed up half the night and had the best time!  The icing on the cake was to see some of our artists' work hanging in Suzanne's gorgeous interiors.  Now, everytime I look through it, I see something different and wonderful.  It's a classic and I'm proud to carry it at the store."

French? Check. Cats? Check. French cats? Home Run!
Meg says:  "I adore cats!  So when we stumbled on this book, The French Cat, I truly flipped.  Rachael Hale, the author, had me hook, line and sinker with her elegant writing - and honestly, is there anything Frenchier than a cat peering down from an open window surrounded by red geraniums and crusty blue shutters?  And French cats have the best names like Craquette, Marilou, Mouchette, Didier and Hercules.  Hale's photography is a magical tour through France, dotted with enigmatic and independent kitties on each page. I can't wait to give this book to myself (and our three unimaginatively named cats) for Christmas.  On second thought, I may not wait till Christmas..."

Linda's got a soft spot for pooches.
Linda says:  "Dogs by Tim Flach. I've been a dog lover since way back, so when I saw the cover of this book with its canine in motion and fur flying, I was immediately drawn.  Having just adopted a new little Corgi mix puppy, I'm feeling very attuned to all things barking.  The pictures are amazing and capture all the little personalities of their subjects.  It's pawsitively perfect!"

Sarah gravitates to anything black and white. (Her reading companion is Sophie.)
Sarah says:  "Black and White by Celerie Kemble.  When I saw this book on the shelf, I knew it had to be my pick.  First of all, as evidenced by my little chair companion in this photo, I'm a fan of all things black and white.  I love the simplicity of it.  I own more black pants and white tops than I care to admit.  Secondly, Ann and Meg gave me this book to celebrate the purchase of my first house last fall. I spent hours curled up in my new living room thumbing through the pages, so I will always have happy memories associated with this book.  Celerie Kemble never disappoings with her amazing interiors - if only my house looked half as chic as those in the book..."

It doesn't surprise any of us that Sam loves the Safari book...she's all about that perfect touch of zebra!
Sam says: "Safari by Patrick de Wilde.  A fanciful recollection:  "When I went to Africa with Ann, she insisted we hang chandeliers from the tree branches and position the Louis XVI mirrors perfectly so they reflected the light of the Serengeti beautifully.  When I returned to the U.S., a friend asked if I had seen any lions.  I gasped and said, "There are lions in  Aftrica?"  This book wonderfully illustrates what I managed to miss - that yes indeed, there are lions in Africa!"

Allison picking up some tips from life's best little go-to book: "How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World."
Allison says:  How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy.  My nineteen year old daughter read this book her senior year of high school and wished she had found it sooner.  A great read for teenage girls (and moms, too.)  My favorite chapter?  How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too!"

We're not surprised that Emily picked "Hers" - a book all about being elegant, refined and feminine. Perfect for Miss Emily!
Emily says:  Hers by Jacqueline de Montravel.  As soon as I saw the pink binding on this book, I knew right then I would be smitten.  De Montravel illustrates how you can achieve femininity in design with a honed, delicate approach.  As a lover of ruffles, giant gold gilt frames and floral prints, I can't get enough of her fabulous, balanced interiors.  And with chapters dedicated to creating personalized home offices, art spaces and how to stock a classic bar, it's brimming with inspiration."

Guess who's getting married in a couple months?
Colleen says:  "Vera Wang on Weddings by Vera Wang.  As Huff Harrington's resident bride-to-be, the girls gave me this gorgeous book on all things wedding by the legend herself, Vera Wang.  The pictures are spectacular, the inspiration even more fabulous.  For every bride, classic to modern, this is a must-have!"

Alva has a great eye and loves good design.
Alva says:  Interior Visions by Mona Hajj.  In the design work she does for clients adn for herself, Hajj combines old world classicism with unusual treasures from around the world.  For texture in her rooms she uses antique rugs and wall hangings.  Hajj brings an intimacy to her design that displays her client's personality. This is a great source book for anyone looking for design inspiration."

Now you know what we Huffingtons will be doing the next rainy Sunday that comes our way - our noses will be buried in gorgeous, elegant books and our imaginations happily running wild.

Ta ta.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's YOUR favorite thing to do in Provence?

The terrace of Les Murets
“So what is your favorite thing about Provence?” we were asked the other day by a former guest and participant, as we all sat around, sipping champagne, reminiscing and planning for our next trip.
The daily activities calendar
Meg didn’t hesitate.  “Cassis!  I just love the little village, the port, the shops, the boat ride to the Calanques, and Le Grand Bleu is probably my favorite restaurant in Provence.  They’re so friendly, the service is wonderful, the location is ideal and the wine is to die for.  And then of course we get to dip our toes in the Mediterranean.  A perfect day!”
Meg and the models from Vogue in Cassis

Le Grand Bleu restaurant is our best kept secret on the port

Where the boat takes us  around the famous Calanques.
Fresh squid from the sea
Cassis Port
Where we dip our toes in the Mediterranean
Not to be outdone by Meg’s enthusiasm, Ann jumped right in:  “The Gordes Reward.  I love getting up early, dressing for a little workout, and hiking in to Gordes knowing that although the scenery is pretty along the way, the real tada is when you round that final corner and hear the collective gasp from everyone on the trip, including those who have done it a million times before, and see the spectacular village of Gordes rising up from the valley.  There’s nothing like it!  And of course the real reward is the market and fabulous lunch that comes after.”
Ann's favorite thing to do is the Gordes Reward
The views leading up to the Ta Da moment and the minor distractions along the way (is that a FOR SALE sign on that house? OMD does anyone have a pen?!).
The Ta Da! moment

On top of the world!
Linda?  “Well I have to say it’s St. Remy.  Starting with the drive along the iconic plane covered road, followed by the best market of all, on Wednesdays, and then the gorgeous drive by Les Beaux, the obligatory photo op, and the divine three hour lunch at the Bistrot du Paradou .  OMD the eggplant! The lapin (we’ll keep that word in French)!  The cheese tray! The desserts!  The wine!  Oh, and yes, the waiters (collective chuckle) aren’t bad either (uh-huh!).”
Linda in heaven ...

Escargots at the Bistrot du Paradou

The subject of the collective chuckle

Linda just likes to savor the moment and smell the roses wherever she is
What about you Sarah,?  As the newest member of the team to go on a trip, Sarah is a little more reflective in her answer.  “I can’t really pick just one place or one thing,” she starts.  “For me, it’s all about the beauty around every corner, whether it’s a village in the distance, or the ancient architecture or the flowers in the fields or an unexpected sculpture on top of a mountain or the vines reflecting the sun in the vineyards.  It’s the beauty of the land and the way we celebrate the fruits of this beauty with every delicious meal and sip of fresh wine."  Oooh, well put, Sarah!
Sarah with Linda

A view around every corner

Breathtaking gardens

The gates of heaven!
Edith Mezard's shrine to beauty and good taste
Celebrating the fruits of the land
“And what about you?”  we ask our sweet guest, forgetting that her suitcases weighed 3 tons on her return trip to the U.S.  “Well I loved everything you talked about but,” and here there's a little pause and a big chuckle, “my favorite thing to do is Show and Tell night.” (Oh yes, she is a big shopper! ) We do Show and Tell on the last night when everyone takes all their purchases out of their bags and displays them beautifully in their rooms and we parade around from room to room, oohing and aahing and admiring the gorgeous goodies that some of us somehow managed not to buy and wished we had.   “That’s right!  And you did such a great job merchandising, we offered you a job at the store!”
A display of scarves bought at the market

A beautifully merchandised selection of gorgeous monochromatic tones (that somehow match the bedroom decor!)

Huffington girls and their loot!
Yes, we all like that too.   Which leads us to another collective favorite:  Dinners at home in the evening.  That’s when we all get to relax and enjoy a long, leisurely meal, overlooking the sunset and washed down by fresh wine from the vineyard and sometimes followed by the most interesting diversions that have included splashes in the pool, dancing on the terrace, overzealous dishwashing, bursts of French fluency and many more things that will never get talked about because what happens at Les Murets stays at Les Murets!
Shhh ... we'll never tell!
I guess you’ll just have to come see for yourselves and then tell us what your favorite thing is about Provence!
Ta ta ...