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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Staying In After a Fun Saturday

I'm staying in and enjoying a lazy Sunday at home today after a very fun and eventful Saturday. After having lunch with Kylie yesterday, I drove back out to suburbia. After a while, Fabian and I headed back into town to run a few errands. He mentioned that he wanted to go back to Kuhl-Linscomb. By then, it was almost 5:30, so we didn't have much time to look around as they close at 6:00. Kuhl-Linscomb is one of my favorite stores. It is comprised of five buildings and carries home furnishings as well as jewelry, stationery, beauty products, books, and other gifts.

Inside of Showroom #1

Like a moth to a flame, Fabian's attention was drawn to these mercury glass pendants.

After Kuhl-Linscomb, we drove around looking at houses for a little while and then met up with our friend, Leah for dinner at Shade in The Heights. Leah and I have been friennds since we met in our sophomore English class back in high school over 10 years ago. Unfortunately, it had been months since I'd seen Leah until this past week. She is a hair and make-up artist and owns her own company, which keeps her super busy. Well, that and her husband of five years, Shawn and two adorable children, Kaid, who is 4 and Lilli, who just turned 1 in May keep her pretty busy, too. Luckily, we were able to hang out three times this week. Anyway, after dinner, Leah had to go home and pack for her 7:00 am flight this morning, so we parted ways.

Leah and Me at our friend Meredith's wedding in November of 2006 ~ People always ask if we're sisters or twins.

As Fabian and I were driving on the highway, we heard an announcement on the radio about the Annual Gay Pride Parade that was being held in the Montrose area. Not quite ready to go home, we decided to check it out. We wove up and down the neighborhood streets for close to thirty minutes before we found a place to park off of Dunlavy. We made our way up to Westheimer as we took in the parade in front of Brasil's Café. Needless to say, it was a blast! We had so much fun and were really proud that so many people came out (no pun intended) for the parade.

It is so important for people to believe in and foster tolerance, equality, and compassion in their lives. These are definitely things that I tried to instill in my students. There were times when I would think to myself that if my students only took away one thing from my classes, it would be to treat everyone with kindness and respect no matter how similar or different they are from you.

Tons of people lined Westheimer on both sides for a couple of miles. Some of the floats were hilarious, though a little too racy to post on La Dolce Vita.

Me with all of my beads... Several guys asked Fabian to flash for beads! LOL! Happy Pride!

First image via White Webb Design

Lunch with Kylie of Bandelle

Tiny Boxwood's is the cutest little restaurant. I told Fabian that I will have to take him soon. When I go back, I'll have to take a picture of the gorgeous bar. As soon as we walked in, I noticed the Circa Bryant sconces, which I have in my foyer.

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Kylie of Bandelle for lunch. Kylie suggested that we go to Tiny Boxwood's. I had heard lots of great things about the little cafe and was eager to try it and to meet Kylie, who has been a good blogging friend and was gracious enough to design my new header.

Well, both Kylie and the café were as fabulous as I thought they would be! Kylie is just gorgeous (she could totally be a model), is as sweet and nice as can be, and is smart to boot (she and her husband are both Rice grads). My trio of herbed chicken salad, mixed organic greens in champagne vinaigrette, and seasonal fruit salad was great, too. :)

We decided to brave the heat and sit on the patio. Within 10 minutes, Kylie had gone inside to see if any tables were available as we were both melting in the hot Texas sun. I brought my camera, but we didn't have an opportunity to have someone take our picture, and I would guess that Kylie, like myself, wouldn't be too excited to have her picture taken after sitting in the heat for an hour. Alas, all of the tables inside were taken, so we relied on our lemonade and tea to cool us down as we discovered that we have quite a few things in common. The most rewarding thing I have gotten out of blogging has been the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and in turn, establishing relationships with people who share so many of the same interests.

After lunch, Kylie suggested that we walk through Thompson + Hanson's nursery and that we visit their lovely shop filled with antiques and gifts. You see, Thompson + Hanson is arguably Houston's best landscape architecture firm and they happen to own Tiny Boxwood's Café, the retail nursery, and the antique and décor shop.

Afterwards, we went next door to Indulge, where Kylie had seen some cool items on which to display the beautiful custom jewelry she creates. Indulge is a lovely, French-inspired store which sells furniture, linens, table top items, lighting, and an assortment of gifts. Like Tiny Boxwood's and the Thompson + Hanson shop, Indulge is dressed in a palette of soothing grey, taupe, and cream.

The owners of Indulge often bring their adorable dogs to work. We were greeted by two of these gentle giants and were instantly smitten.

I had such a great time meeting Kylie and visiting these wonderful stores that I hadn't been to before. I promise to take a picture the next time we get together!

Images via Thompson + Hanson and Indulge

Goddess Gowns

I still love the one-shouldered, goddess gown look. Too bad I wouldn't have anywhere to wear any of these beautiful gowns.


Armani Privé
Reem Acra

This Week's Quote

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you." - Oscar Wilde

Image via House Martin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eclectic Home

The current owner's eclectic taste is reflected in the dining room.

A very cool house just came on the market in Houston's West University neighborhood (home to the fabulous Joni of Cote de Texas fame). West U, as Houstonians call it, is known for its high-end real estate, its proximity to the medical center and the city's best shopping, dining, and fine arts district, as well as its small town feel.

This five bedroom house was built in 1997 and features four full and two half baths, over 5,000 square feet of living space, custom cabinetry and paneling, lighting, and finishes throughout, and a pool for the Texas heat. I love the eclectic, funky look of the house. The finishes, particularly the paneling in the kitchen and the geometric wall in the secondary bathroom are quite unique and although one could easily picture them in Metropolitan Home, they are unusual for Houston, which makes me love them even more. Overall, I get the impression that the family who lives here has a great sense of humor and knows how to have fun.

The exterior of the home features lush landscaping.

The hip kitchen and breakfast area

Living room

The formal living room is currently being used as a music room.

The built-ins and paneling in the study are decidedly modern (and refreshing) for Houston.

Serene Master Bedroom

The bright Master Bath is a very nice size

I just love this kids' room! The color palette is so fun and I really like the fact that there is symmetry present in almost every element. I particularly love the bedspreads and the rolling bunk bed ladder.

Awesome built-ins in the play room featuring galvanized bins

Another adorable kid's room

One of the secondary bathrooms features a very cool geometric pattern on the wall

The backyard features a modern pool and landscaping.

This fabulous home is being offered at $1,750,000.
All images are from the MLS listing on for this home.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Une Fille Comme Moi

I recently found out about Une Fille Comme Moi (translation: A Girl Like Me), a fashion blog in the tradition of The Sartorialist. It is written by a stylish French illustrator who photographs random people on the streets of Paris and then writes about their chic wares en francais. It's so easy for me to get stuck in a style rut, and let's face it, suburban Houston doesn't exactly compare to Paris, so it's a great site to visit when one is in need of a little inspiration.

Très chic: Channeling Audrey in Dior

Too cool for school (or at least for me) Boho

Gorgeous red hair, prep á la Blair Waldorf

All images from Une Fille Comme Moi

Smart Wardrobe

Fabian and I saw Get Smart on Friday night. While we've never seen the original, we are big Steve Carrell fans, so we decided to check it out. He was hilarious as one would expect, but my favorite part of the movie was Anne Hathaway's wardrobe (she plays agent 99) which was filled with lots of fabulous coats and jackets, including a Burberry trench that I can't find a picture of to save my life!

Fitted, cream motorcycle jacket

The same white trench from the movie poster

Another white coat

Anne looking fabulous in a little black dress and heels while fighting crime as Agent 99

This Week's Quote

Friday, June 20, 2008

Under a Rock

A personalized iomoi lucite tray would make a fabulous gift for a bride to be.

Evidently, I have been living under a rock. I had not heard of iomoi until very recently. iomoi is a stationery company with fresh, whimsical designs. They carry an assortment of personalized stationery including calling cards, note cards, lucite trays, invitations, etc. However, they are unique in that they offer an e-stationery membership. Through the membership, you are able to choose from several stylish designs and customize them to your liking before sending them off to your friends. It only costs $15 per year.

Founding partners, Irene Chen, former director of product development at Donna Karan and Matthew Grenby, an entrepreneur had grown accustomed to communicating through e-mail as they were separated by several time zones. Wanting a more personal touch, they set about designing hand-written notes that could be sent via e-mail and iomoi was born.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Out With The Old, In With The New

The new and improved La Dolce Vita header

I've been wanting a new header for a while and commissioned Kylie of Bandelle to design one for me. I think she has one of the best designed blogs out there and I knew that I would love whatever she came up with since I love her aesthetic. She was so wonderful to work with and listened to all of my suggestions. I absolutely love the end result and think it really reflects me and my blog. What do you think?

The original La Dolce Vita header

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

¡Viva España!

I returned from my trip to Spain last night. After nearly 24 hours of traveling, I'm sure you can imagine how happy I was to get in my bed. Our travel company booked the most ridiculous return flights for us. The tour bus picked us up at our hotel at 4:15 am. We then flew from Madrid to Frankfurt, had a 2 hour lay over, flew from Frankfurt to Chicago, had a 3 hour lay over, then flew from Chicago to Houston. Rough travel schedule aside, it was a wonderful trip.

We could not have hand-picked a better group of students to travel with. They all went into the experience with an open-mind, wanting to soak it all in. They were well-behaved, but incredibly funny and fun. We started in Madrid, where we did some sight-seeing, visited The Prado and Reina Sofía Museums, and went to a Flamenco Show. Then, we drove to Salamanca, where we spent seven days. The kids stayed with host families and went to Spanish school in the mornings. We spent the afternoons seeing sights like the Old and New Cathedrals, University of Salamanca, Casa de las Conchas, and San Esteban Monastery.

In the evenings, Jennifer (my friend/ fellow teacher) and I enjoyed typical Spanish dinners with our tour guide, Julie and Rebecca and Christine, the teachers from the Chicago group that we were combined with. After dinner, we spent time in the Plaza Mayor. The city was hosting its 4th Annual Music and Culture Festival, so there were concerts in the Plaza every night. We got to see Rufus Wainwright (love him!) one night and Gilberto Gil another night. On our first day, the kids asked what we would be doing that night while they had their first, awkward dinner with their new families. We cheekily said we would be hanging out at the library. Well, we actually did! As part of the music festival, they had a really cool lighting and sound set up with different European DJ's and a full bar set inside of the Casa de las Conchas, an incredible building from the 15th century which now houses the city's library, so yes, we did hang out at the library.

We also visited the walled, medieval city of Avila, the Roman Aqueduct and fairy-tale Alcazar castle in Segovia, The Escorial, and the Valley of the Fallen before returning to Madrid on our last night.

I can honestly say that I've never missed my husband more than I did on this trip. It was the longest we have ever been apart. It was hard seeing all of these wonderful places that I knew he would love knowing that he was more than an ocean away. I absolutely loved Spain and can't wait to go back, though next time, it will be with Fabian.

Click on "View All Images" to see enlarged, individual versions of each picture in the slide show.

Summer Reading

Image: Grey Crawford via Desire to Inspire

I just got back from Spain last night and was incredibly excited to see my husband after 12 days of being apart, but was also quite excited about the new books that had arrived from Amazon while I was gone!

I read this during my trip, mostly on the plane. I have read all of Emily Giffin's books (Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof all of which I loved), so I picked this up as soon as I heard about it. She writes what I like to call smart chick lit. I didn't enjoy it as much as her other books because there wasn't enough going on. Most of it was a description of the characters and their surroundings in anticipation of the ending. It was a so-so book in my opinion.

Lauren Weisberger is known as the author of The Devil Wears Prada, which was entertaining, though not incredibly well-written in my opinion. However, I am a sucker for a book set in Manhattan (now that I think of it, every one of these books takes place there) and occasionally enjoy a nice, fluffy read.

I am really excited to read this book. I believe I first heard about it through Habitually Chic. It combines two of my favorite things: real estate and New York!

This book is pure eye candy bound in a hard cover. I can't wait to thoroughly examine each and every page. It is like having the Sex and the City movie on your coffee table. The book includes details about the characters, set design, fashion, and more.