Downton Abbey Inspiration, Christmas table and a little help for a friend

CHÂTEAU DES RÊVES

LE ROUGE ET LE NOIR…. red and black

A Downton Abbey kind of affair... A Downton Abbey kind of affair…

Gold, red and silver Gold, red and silver

Rouge Mixed patterns and colours

Yesterday I was playing around with  tablescape designs, preparing ideas for a friend who asked me help with a Christmas dinner party she was going to have at home, she was a little nervous because it was going to be a semi-formal event and she couldn’t afford to go shopping just for that. Even though I had to put together something with the few things I had, it shows once again that we can do a lot with what we have at hand. Example of that is the throw I brought from the livingroom to use as a tablecloth, at the moment I had red apples and that is what I used in addition to a leaf I pulled from the mantel wreath. I know it’s not perfect or ideal…

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Fifty Shades of What?!

MARSALA

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

Marsala is the color of the year… Well, even though I like this shade very much, to me it gets too close to Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s 2014 seleccion.  Too close but not enough to be able to reuse the accessories of last year with the new shades or tints of the new one. To me last years Radiant Orchid was more in the cooler side, with blue undertones, this years Marsala is more in the warmer side, with earthy undertones like the wine from which it takes it’s name that comes from the surroundings of the Sicilian city of Marsala in Italy . (By the way,  I don’t think there is anything in the colder side in Italy! Everything seems to be warm and intense!)

I love this, I've been a fan of lacquered walls and rich tones for ever and that light fixture is awesome
I love this, I’ve been a fan of lacquered walls and rich tones forever and that light fixture is awesome
Pretty Woman memories
Pretty Woman memories

I don’t follow fashion or trends at all, I enjoy them but they don’t dictate anything in my world, unless I happen to fall in love with one of them.  What I don’t understand is that they pick the colors too close to each other, in the same intensity…. I would rather have them pick something complementary or a tint or shade of the color, so regular people who follow these things can have a better opportunity to play with what they already have just adding the “new” color, creating richer environments with more layers and personality and cooler wardrobes . Well, I’m not color expert or anything close to that but for what is worth, this is my fifty cents in this matter 😉

Some hues are gorgeous like this one
Some hues are gorgeous like this Ives Saint Lauren clutch
Carnival
Carnival
The colors of 2015
The colors of 2015
I'm a little afraid.... it's still Marsala, right?
I’m a little afraid…. It’s still Marsala, right?

I’ve had many people asking me along the years why a particular color, even white, didn’t work with what they had at home or in their closet, when it seemed perfect at the store… Undertones!  I won’t get into that, there are too many blogs and too many experts that already do that brilliantly, just trying to give one more reason why the experts at Pantone should pick something complementary or analogous, with the same or compatible undertones, that will work together and in that way make life simpler for people that don’t know much about the intricacies of color but they do know something is not working and they don’t know why!   Probably I’m wrong but it’s just my humble opinion… Still, I think they should do that at least two years in a row…

These are gorgeous! They would make any woman feel like a queen.
These are gorgeous! They would make any woman feel like a queen.
Marsala, how much I love thee!  Seriously, I absolutely adore this colours here!
Marsala, how much I love thee! Seriously, I absolutely adore these colours here!

The title in this post is Fifty shades of … because I wrote another one called  “The color Purple and it’s fifty shades” talking about last year’s pick.  I’d like to put a link here but I have no idea how… it seems to me that I could reuse some of the images I used there… confusing!

How sweet is this?!
How sweet is this?!
Soft and intense at the same time
Soft and intense at the same time
Vera Wang
Vera Wang
Marsala shoes
Marsala shoes
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothco
Mark Rothko
Lacquered walls!
Lacquered walls!
Very rich
Very rich
Accent
Accent
Without the shadow of a doubt..
Without the shadow of a doubt..
Burberry love
Burberry love
Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs
Just like drops of wine in the snow...
Just like drops of wine in the snow…
Lovelies !
Lovelies !
You prepare a table before me...
You prepare a table before me…
Silence is golden! this is perfect.
Silence is golden and this is perfect!
More Marsala with gold
More Marsala with gold
Starting with wine, ending in rose powder..
Starting with wine, ending in rose powder..
O.P.
O.P.
The new palette
The new palette
A vase full of colour
A vase full of colour
So many dreams and hopes in a bundle...
So many dreams and hopes in a bundle… (Let’s assume the flowers are in some marsala shades and tones 😉 … we just can’t see!)
Definitely warm undertones
Definitely warm undertones
Olivia
Olivia …  must be so fun to dress like her!  Not particularly this one….
More like this one!
More like this one!
There will be cake!
There will be cake!
Scheherazade!
Scheherazade!
One thousand and One nights!
One thousand and One nights!
Rich wines tones
Rich wines tones,Valentino.  I love the booties.
There is something special about winter weddings... I think
There is something special about winter weddings… I think
And there will be more cake !!!!
And there will be more cake !!!!
Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko
Nothing can compete with nature. It's perfect!
Nothing can compete with nature. It’s perfect!
Talking about warmth!
Talking about warmth!
Delicioso!
Delicioso!
Say YES! to this dress!!!
Say YES! to this dress!!!
A magic carpet
A magic carpet
Pinch me to know I'm not dreaming!
Pinch me to know I’m not dreaming!
Candlelight, the best light after the sun!
Candlelight, the best light after the sun!
Very pretty
Very pretty
Shoes.... No woman is immune to that!
Shoes…. No woman is immune to that!
There is a time for everything
There is a time for everything, Marc Jacobs
Elegance
Elegance, Lucy in the sky, with diamonds…Thinking about

Emma… Thinking about “The Help” one of my favorite books!

Too much of a good thing is still too much! I needed a break of solid Marsala!
Too much of a good thing is still too much! I needed a break of solid Marsala!
I needed a glass of wine!
… and I needed a glass of Marsala wine!
I love this photo, I needed the change so bad!
In love with this photo, my eyes were looking for a change..
There is not arguing with this one, beautiful! Is this cheating?  If we combine the red of the roses with the brown of the branches we get MARSALA!  Right?
There is not arguing with this one, beautiful!  Would this be cheating? If we combine the red of the roses with the brown of the branches we get MARSALA! Right?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Mercedes Marsala!....  sounds like a good name for an italian heiress !
Mercedes Marsala!…. Humm …sounds like a good name for an italian heiress!    Update 3-6-16  The author of this photo just contacted me and asked me to include the credit due to his work. It is my pleasure and I am grateful to be able to use his beautiful work.  Photographie 230SL ©Boris VOLCK   Website:  http://photo.borisvolck.fr  

http://photo.borisvolck.fr

Wheels or wings? I pick wings..
Wheels or wings? I pick wings..
I love nature, makes everything feel obtainable!
Nature, makes everything feel obtainable!
Burberry, I love you!
Burberry, I love you!
Another one of my favorites! Hunter boots love.
Another one of my favorites! Hunter boots love.
Loving this dress
Loving this dress so much, I would only change the shoes
More about Marsala, it should come with wine samples!
More about Marsala, it should come with wine samples!
Gorgeous!
Gorgeous Peonies!
Now in the softer side
Weddings
What a great combination, the softness of the skirt with the structured jacket..
What a great combination, the softness of the skirt with the structured leather jacket..Perfect!
Shoe Confidential
Shoe Confidential… the power they hold…
Olivia Palermo, I love her closet ...
Olivia Palermo, in love with her closet …
Wine Dreams...
Wine Dreams…
Chains of life...
Chains of life…
Burberry
Burberry again
Sofas are the best
Sofas are the best, so inviting..
Très chic
Très chic
Green with marsala
With green?
Accents
Accents make a big difference! she is so beautiful..
 I find swimsuits and bigger bikinis more attractive than   tiny ones
I find swimsuits and two pieces sexier and more attractive than tiny bikinis

More Burberry

Subtle
Subtle and classy
more shoes!
Cinderella shoes
So fun!
So fun!
Marsala is the new black
Marsala is the new black
Sweet Carolyne (Roehm)
Sweet Carolyne (Roehm)
Like a romance novel
Like a romance novel
Marsala in a glance
Marsala in a glance
Warm palette
Warm palette in velvet and gold
Flower guide
Flower guide

It’s been a long, long time coming! ~ From St. Augustine, Florida

Beautiful
The Bridge of Lions, famous landmark in St. Augustin, Florida.

Hello everybody! where did time go?!   I’ve been really busy lately, traveling and working in a design project, among other things, in St. Augustine, and without realizing I almost forgot I have a blog … Not that I had been writing much since I started, I’ve been rather inconsistent about it, in spite of that I enjoy it immensely… What happens is that I have the impression, or at least I kid my self with the idea that nobody is going to read this, that it is just a kind of personal, kind of private sort of thing… and then I get a bit nervous when I see that I’d had visitors from all over the world…. how did that happened?! How is that even possible?!  I know other bloggers are so used to it, not me, I still find comfort in anonymity and the lack of pressure that comes with not having a lot of people following you… in the other hand, deep down, you have the desire of being validated by people finding some value in your words… It’s complicated…

One of the
A few pictures of my visit to St. Augustine, Florida. This is one of the two Carrara marble Medici lions, flanking one of the entrances of “The Bridge of Lions” One of the prettiest in the country
The second lion, they were sculpted by Italian
The second lion, they were made by the Italian sculptor Romanelli, and are copies of the ones in The Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy.
Bridge of Lions
Bridge of Lions
almost peacefull
Peaceful
....
Open bridge, cars are waiting for the ships to finish crossing, it is a pretty sight! The cars even seem to be enjoying the wait with those views.
The Galleon
The Galleon
Impresive
Impressive
Where two worlds mix together
Where two worlds mix together
What an experience!
What an experience!

I took the time and looked, day by day, where all those visitors came from, WordPress shows all sorts of data like that, (I imagine also every other host in the planet) how many visits you had per day and where in the world your visitors came from… This is so COOL and I can’t believe it!  People from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Greece, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom , Kuwait, Finland, Hungary, Chile, Austria, Kenya, Egypt, Korea,(I assume South Korea, right?!  I don’t think Kim Jong-Un was reading my blog, since he is pretty much the only one with internet access in North Korea …  I don’t take that matter lightly, just not the place or time to discuss it……. – And I went back and looked again, it clearly says: South Korea!)  Perú, Slovenia, Argentina, India, Bosnia & Herzegovina,  Australia, Poland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong SAR China, Serbia, Jersey, Andorra, Iceland, Algeria, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Bermuda, Colombia, European Union, Brazil, Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia, Bangladesh, Romania, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Latvia, Czech Republic, Japan, Montenegro, Vietnam, Croatia and Reunion!   Really? Jersey?! Is that even a country?… Never mind! I just Googled it and of course it is … I feel ashamed… (not really, not that much, how can I keep up with the new configurations of old nations and all the changes the world’s had and continue having?! … I should, but I don’t..)

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– AND THERE THEY ARE!  THE HAPPY CITIZENS OF JERSEY! SORRY GUYS…

I still can’t believe that somebody found me and took the time to read what I wrote… shocking…outstanding…mind blowing…scary… humbling…

Impatience has to be one of my biggest flaws. I can’t just write  this and let it sit and then come back later or the next day and finish it.  The way I see it, or I should say, the way I feel it, is that I’m just sharing this with a group of my friends, in a very informal and relaxed way….that’s why I talk about impatience, if somebody else apart from them is going to read any of these posts, I would/should take the time to correct them and try to make them better… But then again it wouldn’t feel right, it is not who I am, I’m not here pretending to be a writer, I’m just trying to share a little bit of my journey “Here on Earth” and the things I love….  My love of photography shows in my life in so many ways… pictures inundate every corner of it, my head and my phone, and I inundate the people in my life with them!   My poor kids complain often, from wherever in the world they are at the time, about me sending too many photos, but I really believe that in time, they will be happy I did, and very glad to have them. There is a reason why when there is a fire, one of the first things people grab is just that, their pictures.  Family is the great motivator in  life, either the family you were  born in, or the family you created yourself with friends and your own family.

I find photography fascinating, I see it as life itself frozen forever in time in a frame …. Isn’t that something?! perhaps that is why it is so popular to share your life in pictures in so many ways through the internet. People have a need to be seen or to be heard and they measure success with the number of “friends” or followers they have…. when success is found in the ability of living your life doing something you have a passion for, surrounded by the people you love, in peace with yourself and really liking the man or woman staring you back in the mirror!

Not to break a good habit, I’m sharing some pictures of the beautiful city of St. Augustine, where I spent my last month and a half, I hope you enjoy it and perhaps get motivated to visit this wonderful place. xx

IMG_8264_2

My first night,  dinner at O.C. White’s, a really nice place with live music and a dog friendly policy.

Dog friendly restaurants
Dog friendly restaurants
The best part of the night was
The best part of the night was spending time with my daughter who had just moved to St Augustine a few months ago
French
French bakery and pâtisserie, Les Petits Pleasures were we had a really nice “dejeuner”, I didn’t get the name though, half french and half english…
I totally loved the european vibe
I totally loved the european vibe and the relaxed “laissez faire” atmosphere they have
A nice walk after dinner to
A nice walk after dinner to experience the city and the beautiful sites of the oldest european settlement in the United States
a walk to remember...
a walk to remember…
It really was like going back in time
It really was like going back in time, to a place I had never been before, to a time I had never known,  and yet, it still  felt so familiar…

The next pictures are obviously from another day…

Cute little house along facing the Matanzas river
Many pretty houses along the street facing the Matanzas river
Enchanted
Enchanted
I was delighted!
I was delighted!
There were so many ...
There were so many …
Many pretty houses along the street facing the Matanzas river
Many pretty houses along the street facing the Matanzas river
Lovely!
Lovely!

Up to here, all photos are mine.

At this point, after a long day of flying and emotional reunions, my phone had died, so it left me with no choice but getting some pictures from the internet to show you how pretty the city looked illuminated with thousands of lights for the Christmas season. I was told it had been very hard to walk, let alone drive, in the city up to a week before. I arrived on January 20th, so things had calmed down already and I was able to enjoy the sites without the commotion!

..
The Lightener Museum
There is something really special about this city that appears to be frozen on time
There is something really special about this city that appears to be frozen in time
..
..
The Bridge of Lions all decked out for the holidays
The Bridge of Lions all decked out for the holidays, casting it’s spell on the Matanzas river
...
Festival of lights around the holidays
Festival of lights around the holidays
The city has a violent history ...
The city has a violent history …
What a beautiful view!
What a beautiful view!
Bay front
Bay front
Flagler College
Flagler College
Castillo de San Marcos at night
Castillo de San Marcos at night
San Marcos
San Marcos
Bridge of Lions
Bridge of Lions
at night..
at night..
Mysterious..
Mysterious..
Tree covered street in St Augustine
Tree covered street in St Augustine
The Lions
The Lions
Presbyterian church
Presbyterian church
The carrara marble lions , west end of the Bridge
The Carrara marble lions , west end of the Bridge
I'll be coming back really soon!
I’ll be coming back really soon!

– SO…WHAT DO YOU THINK? HAVE YOU ALREADY VISITED ST AUGUSTINE? IF NOT, HOPEFULLY THIS HELPED YOU GET MOTIVATED TO DO SO AND ENJOY ALL THE BEAUTY AND HISTORY THE CITY HAS TO OFFER. I’M GOING BACK AT THE END OF APRIL, SO I WOULD LOVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHAT NOT TO MISS!    MORE PHOTOS TO COME IN THE NEXT POST 😉