Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anthropologie goes Cirque!

I was so excited to go to my mailbox today and find the February Anthropologie catalog. Always a treat! I'm going crazy over it since it's a circus theme. I recently blogged about the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas "Cirque" decor, now here it is in Anthropologie, but with apparel. What a brilliant team of people at Anthro. Always in for a surprise and never disappoints!

the catalog cover -- LOVE it!

Looks like stripes are back, and ruffles are here to stay for awhile with these fun tops...

Whimsical shoes with names like, 'Intermission Heels', 'Acrobatic Wedges', and 'Come One Come All', it's sounding like a circus!

Love the "Santa Clara Clutch." Painted ponies spin 'round and 'round atop this slim leather purse, inviting you to store tickets stubs and circus peanuts in its confines.

So stop clowning around and go visit The Greatest Show on Earth at Anthropologie! See the entire line of new arrivals and even flip through the catalog!

photos from Anthropologie

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thank you and Dungeness Crab...

It's been one of those dreary days outside, putting me into one of those "deep thinking" modes. I think you can relate to this kind of day. The kind when something is just gnawing at you.

I was pondering...what is happening to the Art of Gratitude? The lost art of letter writing? If a gift is given, or a kind act is bestowed, isn't it important to recognize the thoughtfulness of the giver with a short note of appreciation, or at the very least, a phone call or email?

One of my favorite stories is about a family friend, (let's call her "Mildred"), sending fresh Dungeness crab every year to some members of my family back east (let's call them "the Smiths"). Every year it was the same, Mildred sent the box of fresh crab and never received a thank you or acknowledgment from the Smiths. Year after year Mildred wondered if the Smiths had received the crab. When finally asked by another family member, Mrs. Smith replied, "If someone gives something with the expectation of a thank you, they shouldn't give it. I just don't have the time to reply. We have such a busy life." Well, I hope you know how the story ends. Mildred never sent the crab again.

Perhaps I'm from an older generation that were taught since childhood to send thank you notes for gifts we received, or call someone to thank them for the dinner party we attended the previous night. I still think it's the right thing to do. It only takes a moment. And, how many times do we get disappointed when someone doesn't acknowledge something we've done, even though we're not doing it to get something back in return?

Okay, I'll get off of my soap box now. Promise. Let me sign off by giving you a BIG THANK YOU for reading my blog, leaving comments when I may not have time to reciprocate (I hope I'm not sounding like Mrs. Smith), and sharing your stories. I'm already starting to feel brighter!

Have a great weekend!

photo credit 1. Darwin Bell, 2.
Taste SF

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Most Beautiful Jewelry Store in the World

I just love vintage postcards. Especially the brilliant old linen ones. There's nothing like the old color and detail of these cards.

I recently purchased this postcard at the Vintage Paper Faire in San Francisco. It was from "A. Andrews' Diamond Palace" in San Francisco, a shop that existed turn of the 19th century. As far as postcards go, it was sort of on the costly side, but it's just beautiful.

From here. "Like the fine diamonds and beautiful pocket watches he sold, his store was no less spectacular. Located at 50 Kearny Street, a landmark was built. Beautiful paintings adorned the tall ceilings supported by marvelous pillars. Mirrors were everywhere, reflecting the elegance of the display cases that were filled with only the finest articles of adornment that had been procured form the four corners of the world."

Wish there was a diamond palace like this now!

Monday, January 25, 2010

American Pickers

I just finished watching "American Pickers" on the History Channel. I missed the premiere last week. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, a duo of antiques dealers and treasure hunters, are on a labor of love mission to recycle America's past. They dig through junk piles, abandoned barns and basements for hidden memorabilia. Kind of like the antiques roadshow, but a much funkier travel version.

I'm not quite sure if I like the show or not. Perhaps I need to see some more episodes. Has anyone seen it yet? What do you think?

I appreciate the History Channel's
new “National Treasures” programming genre in which relics belonging to everyday people tell a history of America.

American Pickers airs Monday evenings on the History Channel. Check your local station (if in the US) for times, and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Ha Ha! Surprise! I'm dating myself, but did any of you use to paint rocks in the 19**'s? I stumbled upon these going through my grandmother's house, and I can honestly say that art was not, and is still not one of my strong suits!

Look at this pretty rock (above) that my cousin painted. Now there's some talent.

So... no more lady bugs, feet or finger rock painting for me. That career is way over!

photo credit: me. If you must, feel free to share on any site you'd like.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Weekend!

From my city to yours!

photo from here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Insanely Fun Pillows!

So... I'm reading The Bedlam of Beefy's blog (aka Uncle Beefy), and I stumble upon these whimsical pillows from Bonjour Mon Coussin. Stopped me in my tracks! Leave it to the French to create something so fun. Wish I had a spot for one.

You have the "yummy theme" series...
The "type theme" series...
The "vintage theme" series...
And so much more! Check out their site here for all of their designs...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Steampunk. You Like?

Photo by PanzerKitty

I keep hearing the term "steampunk" and wondering what the heck it is. So, I did a little researching...

Clockwise: brass tag locket pearl charm necklace,
dayslonggone; Marie Antoinette frilly couture boot cuffs, Black Orchid Designs; Victorian top hat, topsyturvydesign; Steampunk jewelry, Steampunk supply, Steampunk cufflinks; London Particulars; Victorian top hat with steampunk decoration, poppenkraal.

The wiki dictionary defines Steampunk as "a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, frequently featuring elements of fantasy that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date."

Black Lace neck corset by decadentdesignz

The combination of old-school gadgets and dapper Victorian fashion is right at home with the steampunk and neo-Edwardian creations of Etsy sellers.

Steampunk solid brass goggles by ErihMann

Antique Wrench - Tinkers Toolbox

So tell me, what do you think of steampunk?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Gift from Julia Morgan

Telechron 'Globetrotter" World Time Clock 1937-39

Some of you may have read my blog post about my grandmother, "Bannie," recently passing away. Well, I've had the difficult task of going through her belongings, which include my own items that I've stored at her house since childhood. It's been a hard task, but with some unexpected bittersweet findings.

As we were going through her things, my husband stumbled upon this clock. I hadn't remembered seeing it before. It was certainly handsome, with a wonderful Art Deco look. I turned the clock around, and Bannie had written and attached this note (below) on the back. It was given to my great grandfather (her father) from renown architect Julia Morgan. My great grandfather, Sam Berger, a woodcarver from Romania, collaborated with Julia Morgan on Hearst Castle in San Simeon. In fact, he used to spend entire summers working there. I have fond memories of him. He died when I was 10.

Needless to say, I was in awe thinking that this clock, dating to 1937-39, stayed in the family for all of these years. And, a gift from the late, great Julia Morgan. It was wonderful going through certain items and seeing notes that my grandmother had left. It's as if she was talking to us, telling us what everything was, and where or whom they were from.

A real treasure was this carved table and mirror, given to my grandparents as a wedding gift from my great-grandparents. Entirely hand-carved by my great-grandfather, Sam Berger. I have always admired it since childhood.

Berger as a young man (on right) in his workshop in San Francisco

Samuel Berger emigrated to San Francisco in 1904 from Bucharest, Romania, where he learned his trade as a second generation wood carver. I did a post awhile back about some of Sam's woodcarvings for Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

He carved for California's most beautiful public and private buildings. His works can be found in many churches in San Francisco including, Grace Cathedral, Basilica of Mission Dolores, St. Peter and Paul's, Star of the Sea, St. Cecilia's and St. Brigid's, to name of few.

The table and mirror were one of few items he carved for family and not commercial projects.

This was the first thing you saw when you entered my grandparent's home. Left to me, it's the first thing you see upon entering my house now. When it first arrived I was weeping like a baby. All I could think of is, This shouldn't be here. It's my grandmother's. But, now as I stare at it and touch it, I have fond memories of my grandparents and great-grandparents. Its beautiful detailed carving tells stories of past generations, and I'm honored to have it and will cherish it.

I hope you don't mind me sharing a bit of my family history with you. I miss my grandmother terribly, and hoping that going through these pieces and reading her notes will be comforting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Don't let the cold, rain or snow get you down! Have fun!

photo credit: K.Manghi

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And the Winners Are...

Sincere thanks to all of you for your participation in the Cassia Beck Photography Giveaway!

I enjoyed reading your wonderful comments and seeing your favorite pics. And big thanks to Cassia for generously offering her lovely photographs!

A click at selected the winners...



Mademoiselle Frou-Frou!

Thanks to you all for entering!

And, be sure and check out Cassie's blog here and her Etsy shops here and here!

photo credit: Cassia Beck

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cirque Decor? A New Look?

Parasol Bar Wynn Hotel; photo credit: jochibi

I just returned from Las Vegas last week. Had so much fun! One highlight was Cirque du Soleil's, LOVE. Amazing. A "must see" if you go to Vegas.

The other highlight, or shall I say, huge inspiration, was a visit to the Wynn Hotel. It got me thinking, is there possibly a new look for decor that we could call "Cirque?"

Upon entering the hotel, I had no idea of the whimsy that was awaiting me. From floating parasols to a lake of dreams, The Wynn was a treasure! This photo above is from the registration area of the hotel. Amazing tall rock crystal bird table lamps graced the counters with a circus-themed painted mural behind them.

Wynn's inspiration; 1932 Picasso painting Le Rêve

Steve Wynn, a casino/real estate developer, has been credited starting the dramatic resurgence and expansion of the Vegas strip in the 1990s. His companies built some famous resorts in Vegas such as the The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore.

The Parasol Bar; photo credit: cabayarea

Here's what Roger Thomas, Executive of Wynn design had to say about the Parasol installation in the Wynn: “Very early on in the resort’s design and conception, Steve gave me an assignment: His initial inspiration was the 1932 Picasso painting Le Rêve, which is French for ‘the dream.' And so he asked me, ‘How do we convey the feeling of a dream?’ Parasols are among the images I find very dreamlike—I think of Chagall and of people floating in the sky, carrying mini parasols over their heads—so I liked the idea of this ballet of parasols that both turn slowly and move up and down slowly. I often think of guests sitting at Parasol Up; they look at the parasols, and when they look back a few minutes later, they think, Have they changed? Am I dreaming?”

“I came up with their design, the whimsical shapes and colors and embroideries, by closing myself up in a room and large sheets of paper, and I put on Vivaldi and just started drawing these fanciful shapes. They took more than a year to create, and we constructed them here, just outside of Las Vegas. Ultimately I’m thrilled that they’ve become such an iconic element of the resort; they were meant to be a heart of Wynn, with a sort of pulse and movement. One of my favorite things to do is to stand off to the side and watch the reactions of our guests—they always seem entranced, and that’s really fulfilling.”

photo credit: mailgirl333

Yummy candy-colored parasols! The colors are magical at night!

photo credit: catnipmusic

Amazing colorful mosaic flooring throughout the hotel...

The Wynn Hotel reminded me a lot of the historic Cirque Room in the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco. The Cirque Room was the first bar to open in San Francisco following prohibition. It was decorated by architect Tim Pflueger in a beautiful Art Deco style with an incredible bar, and murals by the celebrated Bruton sisters. Before the Venetian Room was opened, the Cirque was the place to go for entertainment in San Francisco.

Having fun in Fairmont's Cirque Room...

Blush Lounge Wynn Hotel - photo credit: stars4esther

The Blush Lounge at the Wynn features a ceiling hung with 300 lanterns that change colors. Amazing.

Blush Lounge Wynn Hotel - photo credit: stars4esther

The Wynn Buffet

I wish I had brought my camera with me. Some of these photos are from my cell phone. Oh well. I had to share this photo of The Buffet at the Wynn. An Alice in Wonderland-evoking atrium styled with towers of fruit flowers and foliage and even some natural light. Insanely beautiful in person!

photo credit: CourtneyMay

I found the photo above on Flickr. The cabanas near the pool are very circus-like. Unfortunately the pool isn't open during the winter. But, how cute, right?

We took a little walk over to Wynn's newest hotel, The Encore. These glass peacocks
are at the entrance to the High-Limit Baccarat room. Woah!

The peacocks are created out of cast glass, with their eyes crafted in jade. Their tails are crafted out of open-work metal, accented by hundreds of Swarovski crystals that were then lit from beneath to give the tails a wonderful glow.

And finally, the Wynn Theatre at the Encore. The rotunda outside The Wynn Theater has 39 crystal-encrusted butterflies hanging from the ceiling that are covered with 8 million multi-colored gems. Unbelievable.

I love the fact that Steve Wynn thought 'out of the box' and came up with a whimsical theme like none other. Not modern. Not Hollywood Regency. Not make believe Paris. Just circus-themed whimsy. Refreshing for a change.

The Wynn Hotels just blew me away.