Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daytripping: St. Helena in the Napa Valley



Vintage Home in St. Helena      

 Living in Northern California allows for a depth of experience I sometimes take for granted. I live in Sacramento, a city with more trees in the downtown and midtown areas than any other city in the nation. It encourages an abundance of sidewalk cafes  and fosters those human connections recently discussed on Oprah that promote happiness. It is a cozy, yet vibrant place to live.

And then there are the Sierra Nevada mountains, home to Lake Tahoe and more  world class skiing than anyone could ever need. San Francisco is a daily commute for some, and the dramatic California coast is less than two hours away. We have the Amador wine country in the Sierra foothills to the East and the lush Napa Valley to the West.

Daytripping is easy and rewarding...and something I can't get enough of. I mentioned last week a day trip with my daughters to the Napa Valley, and St. Helena was on our itinerary.

One of my favorite stops is Vintage Home. A home goods store packed with style, Vintage Home always make me yearn for my own little cottage in the valley where I could cook and have friends share a bit of wine and a round of boche ball. 


Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena
 Caldwell Snyder is a contemporary art gallery on the main street that is always fun to wander through. They have a sister gallery in San Francisco, and they are both fabulous! If you are looking for a Valentine's weekend getaway and are considering the wine country, Caldwell Snyder is hosting what will be a very fun event on Feb. 12 called Cameo Rocks. Wine, Cocktails, and other sweet treats! Check out more about the gallery HERE and more details about the event benefiting the Cameo Cinema Community Arts HERE.  
Martin Showroom, St. Helena
 I never pass through St. Helena with out stopping by designer Erin Martin's atelier. Always full of vigorous creativity and wit, it never fails to inspire me. You may remember her contribution to the Elle Decor Showhouse HERE. More info about Erin's Showroom HERE
Olivier, St. Helena
 Are you a lover of food, and by definition, that would include anything made or dipped in olive oil? Then a little hop into Olivier would be a must. Charming and friendly, this shop has olive oil tastings that are to die for. Never miss it when passing through....just a suggestion.

Olivier photo from Olivier website

After all that shopping, we were hungry!! We stopped in at the Market Restaurant for a little brunch.
Market Restaurant, St. Helena

Orange infused waffles with berry compote and chicken apple sausages is what I had.....mmmmmm! I was just checking the menu today and it has already been changed (I love a change-able menu!!). Now it is Banana Bread French Toast with Fruit Compote and Applewood Smoked Bacon....does that sound delicious, or what? Check out the brunch menu HERE.
Orange Waffles at the Market Restaurant
No trip to St. Helena ends without a stop in at Dean and Deluca as we head for home. We have a need to take a little of the flavors back home with us. In this case, we brought home cookies and a beautiful aged jack cheese. We told my husband, Tim that they were gifts for him. Just a little white lie.....he did get to have some.
Goodies at Dean and Deluca
 A day with my girls is something I treasure, and this particular day was perfect. 
I hope you get out and spend a day with someone special....maybe it'll be right here in Napa Valley.

For more information about picturesque St. Helena hop on over HERE

Happy Day to you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Congrats to the Winner of Stealing Magnolias!!!!

Congratulations to


 Winner of the outstanding book, Stealing Magnolias published by Glitterati!! 

Thank you so much to everyone who participated. I had so much fun reading about all of your experiences in one of my favorite cities, the Queen of jazz and mystery, New Orleans.

And a very big Thank You to Glitterati for their partnership in this wonderful Give Away! 

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daytripping in Napa Valley - Woodhouse Chocolate

 Last weekend, my oldest daughter came home from college for the weekend and we decided to have a bit of a girl's day. Both of my girls and I hopped in the car on Sunday morning and drove to Napa for Brunch and a little adventuring. Our first stop was the town of St. Helena in the heart of the wine country. I am not sure what it is, but all three of us have acutely developed chocolate radar. It must be hereditary. We immediately found one of the most charming chocolate shops I have ever seen, Woodhouse Chocolate.
We all stopped dead in our tracks when we were passing by. We decided that we had to stop and get a little gift for Grammy (my mom), who did not feel up to coming on our little jaunt. It would be nice to think that we were so selfless as to only be thinking of others.....but...
....we are not. As soon as we entered, we were only thinking of our own chocolate needs. I chose the Amaretto Almond, and the Orange Chocolate. Daughter "one" chose the Ginger Tea and also the Orange. Daughter "two" picked the Honey and the Pecan Praline. All get an "A +".... and we are very experienced when it comes to handing out grades in this department.

We did, in fact, pick out six pieces for Grammy, including her very favorite Coconut. The gals in the shop wrapped up out package in the prettiest chocolate brown bag with cream tissue and Tiffany Blue grosgrain ribbon. Sinfully delicious perfection in a bag....that's what it was.
 I hope you have a chance to stop in next time you are in the Napa Valley. Really....what is better than wine and chocolate?

If you cannot get to this neck of the woods in the near future, you can shop online at the Woodhouse Website HERE. You can also learn all about the Anderson Family, the purveyors of this fine establishment as well as why the Elephant has become their symbol. So please do stop in and stay awhile! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On the Same Wavelength...Alan Campbell for Quadrille

Wavelength by Alan Campbell for Quadrille
There is not a single Quadrille fabric I do not love. And Alan Campbell's designs for Quadrille Fabrics never fail to inspire me.

Quadrille just introduced Mr. Campbell's latest fabric design, WAVELENGTH....available in Brown, Blue, Orange and Green. Surely it will not be long before you see it used in interiors appearing in many a shelter magazine. Which designer do you think will be the first?  

I am definitely on the same wavelength.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stealing Away to New Orleans: Stealing Magnolias....A Give Away!

Now that the Holiday Season is over, I am asking myself, what is the next excuse for a huge dose of outrageous fun? It occurred to me that Marde Gras in New Orleans was what we all looked forward to all year when I was living in Louisiana studying interior design at LSU. It was the yearly celebration all of my design student friends looked forward to. Whether it was the colors, the originality, the creativity, the music, or just the great excuse to forget about studying and party all day and night, it didn't matter. New Orleans was calling....and calling loudly....with a big trombone leading the band.

You can imagine my delight when it all of the Southern pageantry, a juxtaposition of beautifully elegant propriety and campy costumes in drag came tumbling back into my mind when I received a copy of a stunning new book .....Stealing Magnolias. Author Debra Shriver, chief communications officer of Hearst Corporation, debuts her first book with passion and obvious love for this one-of-a-kind pearl of a city. It is written in a way that is approachable and extremely informative, especially about the things that matter most in this graceful and bewitching town. All that visit cannot escape without losing a part of themselves. 

Stealing Magnolias is made up of the best bits of Debra's New Orleans experiences....there are beautiful photos of the home she and her husband renovated and decorated not long after Katrina..there are delicious Southern recipes with photos that simply make one's mouth water in anticipation....there are gardens and architectural treasures, all shown through that filter of light that can only be found in this place. That light that sweeps in from the side, bouncing off courtyard walls and underneath iron balconies and finally through gauzy sheer covered windows. 

New Orleans is decidedly French, but oh-so American....home of jazz and the mint julep, world famous Cafe du Monde, and voodoo shops..the cultural diversity buzzes with energy and mystery.

Debra captures it all and gives you a brilliant glimpse of the heart and soul of New Orleans. With it's fabulous photography, snippets from taste makers who have been touched by it's gorgeous decadence (Anne Rice, Dave Matthews, Mark Twain, Alexa Pulitzer, Tennessee Williams, Patrick Dunne and Cole Porter are just a few who's impressions are quoted throughout) and all of the extras of what and how to enjoy this city, Stealing Magnolias will take you away on a fabulous adventure. 


Did I mention the Preface by Blue Dog artist, George Rodrigue, the Forward by best-selling author Mary Randolph Carter, and Introduction by the one and only Roald Dahl? Icing on the cake my dears.

This book is unforgettable and perfect for those who have been and want to rekindle fond memories.....for those who have yet to go, it will get you out of that easy chair booking tickets in time for Marde Gras...for those who love jazz...or find that all things French make them smile inside and out.....and what a gift for those you love!

So.......I am so very excited to be partnering with Glitterati Incorporated in a
GIVE AWAY
of Stealing Magnolias!!!

Here are the rules:

1) Head on over to the Glitterati Website HERE and take a look around. You might just find another book you must have!
2) Become a katiedid Follower by clicking on the Google Follow button in my sidebar.
3) Leave a comment here in the comment box about your favorite memory about New Orleans....real or imagined.
4) You must include your contact information to win! And that means an email address so I can email you with the great news and thereby retrieve a mailing address. 

I will announce the winner January 26th, two weeks from today!!


 GOOD LUCK
and
LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!!!
(all photos from Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver, copyright 2010, published by Glitterati Incorporated. http://www.glitteratiincorporated.com/)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



The California State Capitol with the full moon above

 Well....a bright shiney New Year is upon us! I hope it is promising to be a good one for all of you.

 I wanted to take a moment to recap a few little things from the end of my own 2010. I don't know if any of you had a chance to catch the Lunar Eclipse we had right before Christmas, but it was spectacular. It had rained all day here in Sacramento, and I had given up hope of seeing the darkest night we were going to have for over 300 years. It was the longest night of the year and an eclipse at the same time? Well...there was a knock on my bedroom door at 11:00 p.m. and my daughter said there was a break in the storm and the moon was as clear as a bell. We rousted everyone in the house to go out to the back yard. My daughters had already gotten out blankets for us all, so we settled in for the show. It was peaceful and beautiful, and we were all bundled up together. It was perhaps our most perfect moment of the holiday season. The moon was a full and bright disc. And then the eclipse was complete! I had no idea what to expect....I thought perhaps it would be just a dark grey. But just when I thought the moon would blink out, it became even more clear and more real. It looked just like a red balloon floating maybe 50 feet up in the air....so much more 3 dimensional than when it is fully ablaze. I felt like I could touch it. 

Lunar Eclipse

 This is the best my little point and shoot could do, but do you see what I mean? Sometimes a new perspective can bring even more clarity.

There were other holiday delights as well....like when the doggies got their new bed...

.... Which Nullah claimed for her own...as well as all of the toys...

 There was my daughter's first visit home from college...she treated us all to her brilliant baking skills...

Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake

 She is back at school now....I miss her so....

And then some of the gifts that I spent hours looking through on Christmas Day....
 A beautiful must have for any design library, The World of Madeleine Castaing
And the newest from Vicente Wolf
(Thanks Mom...you know me so well!)



Well...the Holidays had me all tuckered out for a couple of days.... but now I am raring to go with thoughts of red balloons and and a brand new clarity to start off this New Year.

Happy 2011 to you all!